Guest Author Thursday: Emily Fortney with The Dark Ruler #newrelease #fantasy #youngadult

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in script

Hello, and please welcome Emily Fortney back to my blog. Emily and I originally met in a local writing group, and I’m delighted to help her with the launch of her newest release The Dark Ruler. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? She also has a special offer for you at the end of the post.

Here’s Emily to give you some background on The Dark Ruler and her Camilla Crim series!

cover of The Dark Ruler shows young girl on horseback, sword strapped over shoulder, castle in background

It is great to be back on Mae’s blog and talking to all of you! When I was here last summer, I was sharing about my young adult fantasy book, The Sacrifice of One. I was re-launching that book at that time. Yes, you read that right, it was a RE-launch. After years of sitting on this book and just focusing on my writing, I decided to rebrand it and widen the distribution. All during the re-launch, I was also working on a brand new book in that series called The Dark Ruler. Well, I’m back again to announce that The Dark Ruler officially released this week! 

This is book #3 in my Camilla Crim series. It’s actually been almost three years since I released a new book, so this is a big deal for me and I’m really excited to tell you about it. 

Let me introduce you to my leading lady, Camilla. How shall I describe Camilla? She’s stubborn and talks without thinking, but she’s also fiery and passionate. In The Dark Ruler she’s on a mission to kill the Supreme Ruler, Quinten Warwick, and free the people of Elmyra from slavery. Unsurprisingly, a slew of mysteries lie between the walls of the capital city where the Supreme Ruler resides.

Things are little more complicated than that straight forward goal. Because Camilla has a mother with suspect intentions. After abandoning Camilla when she was just a toddler, Portia weasels her way back into Camilla’s world and has taken to meddling with her life. Although a very powerful witch, Portia is intent on drawing little ol’ Camilla to her side. The problem is, Camilla doesn’t know why her mother is suddenly interested in her, and frankly, she doesn’t care. She wants nothing to do with her mother.

For those of you who’ve never read any of the books in this series, let’s back up. Before Camilla had problems with her mom and found herself taking on the role of a Supreme Ruler assassin, she worked at the national farm, being treated as little more than a slave. Camilla even bears the brand of Quinten Warwick on her arm. She’s a peasant, a nothing. 

Everything changes when she finds out that her brother is being hunted down for a murder she knows he didn’t commit, or at least she’s pretty sure… All of that plays out in The Sacrifice of One. (Stick around until the end of this post for a special offer on this book!)

Book cover for The Sacrifice of One by Emily Fortney, a young adult fantasy novel, showacs attractive young woman with long hair

First, I’d like to draw the veil and take you behind the scenes of The Dark Ruler and the process I took to write this book. Like all of you, last year was different for me. Here in America, COVID struck in early March. Literally the week that everything shut down was the same week that I left my 9-5 job of nearly 10 years to write part time. Leaving my job was pre-planned and had nothing to do with COVID. It was a weird time of transition for me. 

The point is, I wrote The Dark Ruler during the pandemic. The lack of social gatherings really cut down on my commitments and I was able to spend a lot of time at my laptop clacking away. For me, this book is a positive part of 2020. It helped me survive it in a way and I’m not sure I could have written it as quickly as I did without quarantine. 

As an author I often get asked what inspired me to write my books. That question is hard to answer. A million things have inspired me. In the case of The Dark Ruler, I had been thinking over this plot for years. The skeleton of this installment was in my head even while I was writing the earlier Camilla books. But I will let you in on one major inspiration. It’s a little bit of a spoiler, so let’s keep it hush hush

In 2019 I married my best friend. The development of our relationship and our actual wedding event inspired certain parts of The Dark Ruler. There is of course a romance element to the Camilla books and much of that storyline in this book, is inspired by my own experiences of falling in love. I’ll stop before I get too gushy on you!

The Dark Ruler is available NOW! Make sure you go grab your copy. New to the series? You can read book #1, The Sacrifice of One, for FREE by CLICKING HERE and signing up on my email newsletter. If you love The Sacrifice of One, there are 3 more books in the series you can binge on!

One more thing. As a special gift to Mae’s readers, if you sign up for my email newsletter, not only will you get a FREE eBook copy of The Sacrifice of One, but I will send a bookish sticker pack to the first 50 people that sign up. 😊 Just shoot me an email at and let me know that you signed up and came from Mae’s blog. Put your address in the email, and I’ll mail you a sticker pack! Sign up HERE

It’s been a blast to chat with you all today. Thanks again to Mae for letting me post and tell you about my new release. You can read the full blurb of The Dark Ruler below and connect with me on all the social medias.

Happy reading!


A wicked man sits on the throne in Elmyra’s capital city, and Camilla is determined to end his reign by any means necessary. Blinded by her determination, Camilla will abandon her life in Bear Gap and join forces with Reed, a man she doesn’t know as well as she thought. Their plan? To kill The Supreme Ruler of Elmyra.

The plot to assassinate Quinten Warwick will lead them through treacherous terrain and down the infamous Thief Road to the capital city of LilyAye. Once there, they must join with the LilyAye rebels and find a way to put an end to the country’s dark ruler.

Photo of author, Emily FortneyAuthor Bio:
Emily has come a long way from building forts in the woods behind her childhood home. She’s the author of the The Sacrifice of One, the first book in a thrilling, young adult fantasy series. Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, Emily currently resides with her husband and shelter cat, and is vigilant about keeping her house well stocked with dark chocolate.

Connect with Emily at the following haunts:
Website | Email Newsletter | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Wattpad


Thanks for joining Emily and me today for the launch of her book. I hope you enjoyed her post as much as I did. Camilla certainly sounds like an interesting heroine. Don’t forget to take Emily up on her offer for The Sacrifice of One, then hop over to Amazon grab the latest in this series. Please help Emily spread the word by using the sharing buttons below. Drop her a line and say hello! 🙂


Mae Clair Presents: Love, Lattes, and Mutants by Sandra Cox #YA #newrelease

Before sharing the wonderful new release by Sandra Cox, just a quick note to say that my ECLIPSE LAKE book tour is continuing today, and you can find me at Read Your Writes Book Reviews. And now *drum roll, please*….

Are you in the mood for something fun and different? If so, I think you’re going to love this one. I’m happy to share in the cover reveal and release excitement for LOVE, LATTES, AND MUTANTS by Sandra Cox. Check out this delightful book below, and be sure to enter Sandra’s giveaway. This fun-sounding YA title is available now!

PUBLISHER:  Kensington Publishing
RELEASE DATE:  February 17, 2015

Love, Lattes and Mutants


Finding love is hard, even when you aren’t a mutant.

Like most seventeen-year-olds, Piper Dunn wants to blend in with the crowd. Having a blowhole is a definite handicap. A product of a lab-engineered mother with dolphin DNA, Piper spends her school days hiding her brilliant ocean-colored eyes and sea siren voice behind baggy clothing and ugly glasses. When Tyler, the new boy in school, zeroes in on her, ignoring every other girl vying for his attention, no one, including Piper, understands why…

Then Piper is captured on one of her secret missions rescuing endangered sea creatures and ends up in the same test center where her mother was engineered. There she discovers she isn’t the only one of her kind. Joel is someone she doesn’t have to hide from, and she finds herself drawn to the dolph-boy who shares her secrets. Talking to him is almost as easy as escaping from the lab. Deciding which boy has captured her heart is another story…

Purchase from:
Barnes and Noble

Author, Sandra CoxAuthor bio:
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

Connect with Sandra at the following haunts:



Attractive gold seahorse necklaceGIVEAWAY ALERT:
Enter the Rafflecopter drawing here

First Prize:
A Piper-approved necklace and $10 Starbucks Card

Attractive rope and gold starfish bracelet

2nd Prize:
A Piper-approved bracelet


Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: Joanne Wadsworth

A beam of light shines out from an open bookHello and welcome to another Wizard with Words.  Today, I’m welcoming Joanne Wadsworth to my blog. Joanne is a sister author at Lyrical Press and, has just released her debut novel, PROTECTOR, a young adult, fantasy romance. Joanne and I became new authors with Lyrical about the same time, and it’s been a delight to get to know her. Her book promises to be an engaging read, the beginning of her MAGIO-EARTH SERIES. I hope you’ll welcome Joanne as she tells us a bit about herself and her particular style of writing.

I’m so happy to have you here, Joanne. To start, how about sharing what first prompted you to begin writing?

Joanne: Thanks for the lovely intro, Mae. I’ve been so excited about dropping by your blog to visit. Mine’s an unusual story. In 2009 I was waiting in the car for my son to finish preschool. I’d turned up way too early, and with time on my hands, I picked up a pad and pen and began writing. I couldn’t stop. In fact, I’d say I was addicted right from that first moment. After I got home, I swapped the pad and pen for my laptop, and away I went. I studied the craft of writing in every way I could. I wrote eight hours a day, seven days a week. I was completely hooked.

Wow, what an amazing way to discover writing! And your dedication to embracing the craft was remarkable. I’ll say you’re hooked, LOL. I’d love to hear more about PROTECTOR. Can you tell us about the plot and your characters?

Joanne: Absolutely. Protector is in fact that first book I constructed the storyline for outside my son’s preschool. It holds a very special place in my heart, and now being my debut, I’m sure it always will. Now for the plot–

ProtectorMy heroine, Faith, is a young eighteen-year-old woman completing High School in New Zealand. She’s a regular girl and ready to experience life, only the last thing she expects is to meet a man from another world, a prince who finds her on Earth through their soul-bound bond. Davio comes from Magio, a planet where the people have strength skills, and Faith soon becomes caught between two worlds. To further complicate issues, she comes into the skill of forethought and soon discovers her unknown father is from this other world.

Lovely! I like that you’re blending elements of YA with fantasy and romance. How long did it take to finish your manuscript from initial draft to submission-ready?

Joanne: I rewrote Protector in 2011, and it took five months to complete. At the end, I was so excited–I was completely ready to head out there and submit.

I’m always curious how authors who have a planned series develop their novels. When you wrote PROTECTOR did you know it was going to be the first book of several, or did the series develop as you wrote? And, tagging onto that question, do you find it difficult maintaining plot threads and characters over multiple books?

Joanne: I definitely plotted. With this series I sat for days in the beginning constructing it, building a large cast of heroes and heroines, and a scourge of villains. I plotted several books and laid out what went where. Book two in the series has just been contracted with a release date of 4th November 2013, and this month I’ve begun writing book three of which my editor already has the synopsis outline. There’ll be several books in the series, and each one is already half written in my head, but the other half comes as I write. In many ways my characters drive their story, and at times I have no control over where they lead me. They’re young, and they have a mind of their own. I just go with it. 🙂

I can definitely relate to that! In your novel, you introduce readers to the planet Magio. I love the idea of world-building a completely different reality. Is there any element of Magio that you wished existed on Earth?

Joanne: I love that once Magiolings reach eighteen, they no longer physically age, and they live easily to around one-hundred and twenty. I’m grinning right now at the thought of never getting wrinkles or gray hair, of always having the boundless energy of youth.

I’d love to bottle that, LOL! I’m curious how you chose the names for your characters, especially those who live on Magio.

Joanne: I’ve never been asked this question before–how cool. To give the characters from Magio an other-worldly name, I found the best way, was to take an Earth name and swap or remove letters. I played around with them until I had something that was unusual, yet still pronounceable. For example in the second book, I took the name Elizabeth, and made it into Elizara.

How clever!  I love when creativity strikes with unique ideas like that. Do you have a favorite time of day to write, when you’re more productive or more creative than others?

Joanne: I start first thing in the morning at 8.30 once the kids have gone to school. I have four kiddies, and they’re aged 14, 12, 10 and 8, so once there’s no noise, oh boy, I’m like a bullet heading to my office.

I bet! 🙂 What is the current title you’re reading on your Kindle/Nook or in print?

Joanne: I love my Kindle and now only buy ebooks for the ease of carrying so many around in one easy to store place. Would you believe I’m currently reading six books? Usually it’s about four, and I’m not sure if this is normal, but since I can read two to three books in a week, I usually have a number on the go at any one time. Does anyone else do this? Please, tell me I’m not alone. 🙂 Anyway, I’m currently reading Fantasy Mountain by Piper Denna, Born of Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon, By the Sword written by Alison Stuart, Hard Core by Jennifer Lowery, The Devil of Kilmartin by Laurin Wittig, and Trouble Won’t Wait by Autumn Piper. It’s a wide spectrum of stories, from contemporary to paranormal to historical.

That’s amazing! I’m an avid reader but I’ve never been able to read more than one book at a time — unless I’m balancing a novel with a book on writing craft. Then I might have two going at once. It sounds like you’ve got some wonderful selections. I’m a Kindle addict too 🙂 Speaking of books, I know you already have another contracted with Lyrical Press. Can you share some details about that?

Joanne: I’d love to. Warrior is book two in the Magio-Earth series. It’s the story of Hope and Silas, and is set both within the Outback of Australia, and Magio. I love combining both worlds.  They come from opposing nations, but are mated, their soul-bound bond causing havoc as Silas is drawn to aid Hope in her endeavor to discover her unknown mother’s lost heritage. Theirs is a journal which takes them deep into foreign lands. It’s fast-paced and exciting for the Young Adult.

Awesome! Okay, now some quick stuff for the fun of it!

Favorite number: 7
Favorite color: Now, don’t laugh, but it’s seriously the color of diamonds. Those sparkly little gems can’t be outdone by anything else.
Favorite food: Watermelon, but soft-serve ice-cream is a close second.
Dressy or casual: Casual.
Dawn or dusk: Dawn.
Cake or pie: Cake.
Book you would like to see made into a movie: Nalini Singh’s, Angels’ Blood.
Five books you enjoying reading over and over again: You know, I only ever read a book once, unless I count the kids bedtime stories, of which they are all the classics, like Peter Pan. I love Peter Pan. Okay, now I wonder if this is why I love the fantasy genre?

That was fun! I especially liked your answer about the color of diamonds 🙂 Joanne, thank you again for visiting my blog and taking the time to do an interview with me. I wish you much success with PROTECTOR. I’ve already snatched it up from Amazon, and I’m sure many others will too!

Joanne: Thanks, Mae. You are a fabulous host. 🙂

Joanne Wadsworth (2)Author Bio:
Reading romance books captivated Joanne Wadsworth as a teenager, particularly when she tucked herself into bed at night and continued to dream those stories as she slept. She’d visualize the direction, taking the hero and heroine on an adventure unparalleled to what she’d read. Today she is devoted to writing romance, bringing her imagination to life within the lines of young adult, and thrilling romantic suspense.

Born in New Zealand, Joanne works both as a writer and a financial controller, all while keeping up with her four energetic children and dreamy husband.

Visit Joanne Wadsworth at

Look for Joanne at the following haunts:
Website and Blog / Twitter / Facebook Fan Page / Goodreads.


To love and protect…across worlds.

Eighteen-year-old Faith Stryker is prepared to leap out into the unknown world beyond her home shores of New Zealand to experience life. Only she never expected to encounter Magio, a planet with two warring countries, where its people reach adulthood at eighteen by coming into their strength and prophetic abilities. Only after Faith discovers she’s a Halfling–thanks to her warrior father she’s never met–does her own skill of forethought develop.

Peacio’s Prince Davio Loveria is sent to the young Faith Stryker by his grandfather, but not all goes as planned. Davio discovers Faith isn’t just a Halfling, she’s also his soul-bound mate–an intense relationship he cannot, nor will not, give up.

With two wars now waging…one of land and the other of the heart…can the young lovers find their place in the world?


Davio leaned over me, all six foot four of him, his warm honey-brown hair falling forward to curl snugly around his neck, and I longed for him, just as I had during my first sighting of him in the classroom.

“What’s happening is the bond, my mate. It will become difficult for me to keep my distance both physically and emotionally unless I leave and end this now.”

My heart hitched. “You want to leave?” I swayed closer on impulse. “Is that how this bond works? We find each other and then you leave?” God preserve his people if it did.

“No, it is not. Those mated are bonded for life if we allow the link to grow. Except that would be the most unwise choice for us to take. You are, quite clearly, neither from my country nor from my world, and as such will have no allegiance to me or my people. I have no wish to join with one who does not wish to join with me in all ways. With that being the case, I will find another when the time is right. As should you,” he added solemnly.

I frowned. Hold on–did he just say he would be joining with another woman?

I bit my tongue. That was good? I should leave it at that, right?

Jeez, what was wrong with me for questioning that choice?

“I’m sorry. We just met, and you’re right. Go find your, your–” Strangely, I struggled to get the words out and finally gave up. “Well, have yourself a nice long life, and all that.” I patted his chest roughly.

That was more like me.

The clock ticked and time slowed.

He didn’t move.

“Look at me.” He tipped up my chin, directly staring at me. “This would never work.”

“I understand. It’s been pretty awful meeting you too.” I leaned back, only to feel the pressure of his hand move around my waist to the small of my back, preventing me.

I moved to grip his arm. “Okay, you were going.”

BUY THE BOOK AT: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Lyrical Press / Kobo.