Cocktails with Juliette Cross - Forged in Fire

Martini à la Colette: Very dry and a little dirty
Good evening, dear readers! 
Wow, I haven't had a post in over two weeks since I have been on the road for two back-to-back novel conferences! I had naïvely thought I would be able to blog about the conferences during the conferences! It was all I could do to post the occasional picture on my Facebook Author Page! I will tell you all about my adventures once I catch my breath (especially now that I'm out of those corsets!).

Since I could certainly use a little something to help me relax, it seems only fitting that my first blog after this hiatus should be Cocktails with Colette, the Thursday night feature I have now and then to introduce you to my friends who write in genres other than romance.

Tonight I am thrilled to introduce you to an author who joins us for Happy Hour from right here in Louisiana! (In fact, just last night we chatted on the phone over wine.) Urban Fantasy writer Juliette Cross joins me tonight to tell you about her upcoming novel Forged in Fire - and YEA! - an excerpt! (By the way, I have been to The Dungeon she mentions on quite a few occasions...) So shake yourself a martini (gently so as not to water it down), sit back, relax, and hear what Juliette has to tell us this evening...

 As a reader, I have eclectic taste. However, I tend to stick to certain genres—historical, romantic, fantasy/paranormal. When I stumbled across Pulse & Prejudice on Goodreads, I was thrilled—all three of my favs rolled into one. (I also have an affinity for classic British literature, and Colette’s book has the classic flavor with the amped-up romantic scenes my lusty self longs for.) After reading Colette’s fantastic rendition of swoon-worthy Mr. Darcy as the dark and brooding vampire, I decided to send her a congratulatory message through GR, noting that we were both southern Louisiana writers. An immediate friendship struck up from there.

As for me, I write urban fantasy and urban fantasy romance in the growing New Adult genre. My novel, Forged in Fire, is set in the gritty and sensual setting of New Orleans—one of my favorite haunts. On her twentieth birthday, Genevieve Drake is nearly murdered by a demon in a back alley, then saved by a Dominus Daemonum (Master of Demons) named Jude Delacroix.  She discovers she is a Vessel, one who is born to serve the light but can be corrupted and used as a weapon for darkness. One of the darker scenes in the novel takes place in The Dungeon, which is a real club right off Bourbon Street, where a mass murder once took place in the 1800s. New Orleans is full of intriguing true stories that only enhance the fiction set there. Of course, in real life, I don’t think the owner is a high demon
with a fascination for piercings and buxom blondes.

Here’s an excerpt from a scene in The Dungeon:
     The vocalist, Maria Brink, didn’t exactly sing the lyrics, more like said them in a sing-song way. Words about suffering as a blessing, death as life, and burning right before your eyes. The very air of this place scraped at my Vessel shell, trying to get in. I trembled, but kept my face like stone, locking my jaw. Jude stopped me, leaning very close.
     “Breathe, Genevieve.”
     His lips brushed the top of my ear. I hadn’t realized it, but he was right. I’d actually stopped breathing. On the far wall sat a throne below a mounted dragon’s head. In the corner of the room was a wooden perch where a huge, black raven stared at the crowd. For a second, I thought it was real, but it didn’t move or blink. I wondered how long the life-like statue had been there. The eerie words of Edgar Allan Poe filtered through my mind, And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting . . . and his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming. The urge to run kept shoving at me.
   A throng of Dungeon groupies sipped from goblets in true Goth style surrounding the one on the throne. I wondered if I’d stepped into a vampire coven, but as we all know, vampires don’t exist.
     Maria Brink screamed the word “burn” in a long, agonizing wail as if she
were literally on fire. The sensation of walking directly toward a dark creature who would snatch the chance to own me like an animal, like the girl on the leash, with a woman screaming about burning alive sent me into a state of surrealism. I thought I might have an out-of-body experience at any moment.
     The man, if you can call him that, wore black dress pants, an expensive-looking white button-down with silver cuff links. He held a clear glass with crimson liquid and whispered intimately to a corseted, red-lipped blonde propped on the edge of his throne. I noticed a pewter skull ring on his forefinger. Silver studs pierced pretty much everything, lining his earlobes all the way up the cartilage. If it weren’t for all the metal crap in his face, he might’ve been handsome. The blonde’s cleavage spilled out of her top, as she leaned forward for his pleasure. The creature’s eyes grazed her a moment longer before turning his attention to us.
     Annoyance skittered across his eyes when he saw Jude. And something else. Jude nodded.
     The man pulled himself more upright, taking a sip from his glass.
    “Greetings, Jude,” he crooned as if a Dominus Daemonum stepping into his lair were an everyday occurrence. He tipped his glass up in a toast, “To the saint of lost causes.”
     I didn’t miss the intention of insult. I glanced at Jude, seeing his eyes wiped clear of any light, his expression like granite. Apparently, he caught it, too. Jude had that look about him when he’s examining every minute detail, trying to discover what’s hidden beneath.
     Fixing my gaze on our host, I shuddered. His eyes had flickered to me. Though I couldn’t tell their exact color as he observed from the shadows, one thing was for certain. There was no sign of the fiery red hue coloring the irises of the other demons I’d seen so far. There was also no doubt in my mind, body, or soul that this thing was in fact a demon. A high one.
     “Mmmmm. You’ve brought me a gift?” he asked, letting his eyes rove up and down my body. “Overdressed, but quite delectable. Come on, Jude. I’ll give you mine if you give me yours.”
     The blonde gave Jude a seductive smile, tilting her voluptuous body so he could see all she had to offer. Apparently, this proposition was nothing new to her. My green-eyed monster within laid her ears back and hissed.
     Jude repositioned himself directly behind me, moving his hand to wrap around my right hip. It was an act of possession. Not in any romantic sort of way, mind you. This was the way Jude did things. Subtle moves to let you know where you stood in his book. Right now he was telling this Dommiel dude I was in no way up for grabs. I pressed back into the wall behind me, the 6’5” wall of muscle and badass attitude, just so our host knew how I felt on the topic of swapping. Dommiel smiled, revealing a row of perfect, gleaming white teeth.
–Genevieve Drake, Forged in Fire

I’m currently working on a trilogy of novellas (urban fantasy romance) in a world where humans live alongside a half-dragon race called Morgons. The first, Soulfire, begins with an old fairytale human mothers tell their daughters in order to frighten them from straying too close to Morgon men. Unfortunately, this kind of temptation has the opposite effect on my heroine, Jessen Cade. This first novella is a loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet, except with a happily-ever-after, half-dragon men, and sex. Here’s the prologue:
      Thousands of years ago, Radomis, the dragon king of the North, took flight on the last full moon of winter. Beating great, black wings, he soared away from his mountainous kingdom, lured by some unknown force to the sultry lands in the west where humans dwelled. Dragons and humans had always lived apart.
     On this same night, Princess Morga honored the fertility rite of bathing under the full moon the night before her wedding. As she stepped from the natural steaming pool, rivulets of water glistening over milk-pale skin, ebony hair slick over her breasts and down her back, the dragon king saw her. Instant desire ensnared his beastly heart. He descended.
     Shifting into human form, a man of might and beauty, he murdered her guards and handmaidens. Horrified, Morga could do nothing as the dragon king took her in his arms, hard lust in cold eyes. The moment his tongue licked into her mouth, she felt the burning of soulfire—the dragon elixir meant for his one and only mate. Golden heat melted through blood and bone, filling her with euphoric pleasure, bonding her to him forever.
     Radomis took her on the ground among bloody bodies and moon-shadows, intent to sate his hunger. But one night would never be enough. Shifting into dragon form, he carried her in his claws back to his kingdom. She would be his queen, trapped in a gilded cage of opulence and endless desire. From their union, a child was born—an abomination. A human body with dragon wings and dragon strength. The boy, Larkos, was outcast among dragonkind, including his father. Only Morga showed him any love.
     When Larkos reached manhood, he wielded his rage with an avenging sword, tracking and killing all of dragonkind. Even in beast form, his father could not match him, finally falling to the forgotten son’s sword. What Larkonis did not know was that soulfire bonded his loving mother to the beast in such a way that when his dragon-heart stopped beating, so did hers.
     This is the tale I’d been told when my body began changing from child to woman, a warning for young girls to beware of Morgon men.
     “Never stray from your own kind, Jessen,” my mother would say, “or you could end up like Princess Morga, a slave and outcast to be abhorred.”
     The problem was I’d never been a very obedient daughter. Never the one to do exactly what I was told. And fairy tales have no meaning when the stars align and Fortune spins her wheel, weaving her own story for your heart. –Jessen Cade, Soulfire

The Nightwing novellas are in the works, and I have a novel series planned as well for the Morgon world. Though I’m still querying/shopping for a publisher and don’t have a link for the book yet, I’d love for you to join me on Facebook and my website. If you’re into fantasy, then we’re already friends, so come hang out. Thank you so much for having me today, Colette! You know how I love cocktails. ;) Cheers, everyone!


  1. The Nightwing novellas sound awesome. Great post, thanks!

  2. I have had the pleasure of beta reading the first novella in this series and let me tell you, it's AMAZING! Sucked me right in! So you need to read it when it comes out, PERIOD! :)


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