We are please to #Spotlight with #Review, In His Majesty’s Service by Elizabeth Silver & Jenny Urban, for you today!
We also hope you will enjoy this interview between Elizabeth and Jenny … Liz on the Spot
Mwahahaha, it’s my turn to turn the screws, er, I mean, interview my BFF and co-author Liz Silver. You’ll very quickly notice that Liz is the more outgoing and confident of the two of us. She insists she’s an introvert, but I don’t think I believe her.
J: For my first question, Liz, I’m turning yours back on you. When did you decide you wanted to write stories? Do you have a favorite of everything you’ve written, or one that was more fun to write than another?
L: I’d been telling stories for years before I realized this was what I needed to do. But I remember that moment like I took a snapshot. I’d just discovered my first love–Ray Bradbury–and had been devouring yet another short story collection when it happened
Ray Bradbury wrote a story called “The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl.” In a wide-angle view, it’s about a guy trying to cover up a heinous crime. But the detail shows a man who is both methodical and unhinged, deadly calm and a slave to his passions. He kills his wife’s lover and then becomes consumed with the need to erase his presence in the dead man’s home. What starts out as a cold practicality spirals out of control until the police find him the next day, scrubbing out the cobwebs in the attic. They lead the man out, and he pauses at the front door, wipes the handle with a handkerchief, smiles, and leaves.
What struck me about that was how masterfully the story had been woven, that we as the readers were brought from shock at the initial crime to actually sharing in the killer’s satisfaction at a job well done… I put the book down, looked at my cat and said, “Holy crap. I could never be that good. But I’m gonna try.”
The cat was less than impressed, but then she was a one-eyed barn cat. She’d probably never even heard of Ray Bradbury. Philistine.
J: Okay, next question. You’re better at writing solo than I am – I tend to need a sounding board and a Plotter. <g> How is it different for you writing solo as opposed to co-writing? What are the pros? The cons?
L: I tend to fizzle out on my own rather than finish, let’s be honest. Working with you takes a lot of pressure off me to get every last thing perfect, not to mention I have a built-in sounding board who knows all my shorthand, and you help keep my enthusiasm going. I do have some short stories I’ve finished on my own, though, and I think the biggest pro was I never have to stop and wonder if what I was doing would work for your creative brain. Which sounds horrible when I write it out, but you and I both know that sometimes my creative brain goes places you won’t follow. The cons? Well, I think the cons are in that I seem to really suck at finishing longer pieces without you. I have an embarrassing number of 75% complete novels on my hard drive.
J: You’ve edited books as well as writing. How does that affect the way you write?
L: I think I’m more aware of writing sins than I was before. I know my crutch words (just, really, actually, pull, cup, so) and know to look for them. But I also have the ability to articulate why certain structural issues are a thing to worry about, and how to fix them. Which is handy, since I’m Plot Girl. I’d hate to suck at my job when you’re so good at finding excuses to Porn.
J: I know this is like asking a parent if they have a favorite child, but do you have a favorite book? Or a favorite in each of the genres you read? What genres do you read?
L: I think it’s important to understand that I learned to read late in life (I was 7) and have not slowed down since. I was explaining the John Steinbeck’s use of symbolism in The Pearl to my classmates when I was 10, and reading Jean M. Auel when I was 11. My all-time favorite book, though, is Fahrenheit 451. I re-read it every few years and find something new in it every time. Told you I love Bradbury. A close second is Jude Deveraux’s Remembrance, which is a big part of why I absolutely lost my mind when she followed me back on Twitter (SENPAI NOTICED ME). Third in yet another genre? A Tale of Two Cities. I read a lot of genres. Sci-fi, fantasy, romance in pretty much any sub-genre, mysteries, classics, children’s lit, plays, historical, urban fantasy… The top two books on my TBR pile are a John Grisham spy thriller and The Witches of New York — a historical paranormal novel about lesbian witches.
J: Again, it’s your turn. How would you describe In His Majesty’s Service in 250 words or less?
L: Soul mates don’t mean that there’s an instant HEA for our heroes, not when they both have very complicated and demanding lives long before they meet. Embracing the idea that they’re meant to be also means giving up what they both thought their lives would be, something neither Anders or Zach are particularly happy to do. Add in the fact that people keep trying to kill them, a kingdom on the verge of chaos, and a couple of smarmy politicians, and there’s no easy answer to the mess they find themselves in.
J: What, besides Facebook, do you like to do when you’re not writing?
L: I crochet, I sew, I bake, I spend an obscene number of hours playing in fandoms. I also have a side gig reading tarot cards, because clearly I don’t have enough things to do to occupy my time. And, of course, I read. A lot.
About In His Majesty’s Service
Everyone in the Drion Collective knows that finding your match—the one person in existence with the same soul mark as yours—is the best thing that could ever happen. But the last thing Lord Anders Hawthorne is thinking about when he boards a ship to Drion for the king’s funeral is finding his soul mate.
Captain Zachary O’Connell has the perfect life—his ship, the stars, and no emotional entanglements. When heat sparks between him and Lord Hawthorne, Zach gleefully dives into a no-strings arrangement. He doesn’t expect it to last beyond arrival at Drion, any more than he expects trouble along the way.
Trouble quickly finds them, however, and it soon becomes clear that Lord Hawthorne is not only not who he says he is, but also that he’s the target of a deadly plot. With danger all around them, Zach and Anders must work together to save the Collective. Meanwhile, Zach must come to grips with losing everything he always thought he wanted, to have the one thing he never dreamed he needed.
Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/in-his-majestys-service
I don’t normally go for sci-fi stories, but there was so much going on in this book that is generally a big yes for me that I signed up to review it without much hesitation. Fated mates? Check. Royal romance? Check. Super duper steamy? Check. Oh, and the “telepathic sex” tag on Riptide’s website? Color me intrigued.
This is my first book by these authors, and I was impressed with their writing and the complex story they created. A good bit of it kept me interested enough to keep reading despite the issues I had (see below). Also despite the somewhat perfunctory mystery that was one of the two plot lines driving the story. There were some fantastic secondary characters (especially Oliver, Zach’s second in command – I’d love to read his story. Maybe a romance with Grant? Eh?). There is a teensy weensy bit (ok a lot) of insta-love, but, this being a fated mates story, it didn’t bother me in the least. Zach and Anders had chemistry from their first few pages together. The first quarter of the book, I was fully invested.
However, there were a couple of things I didn’t so much like about this book after that. One, it was long. Way too long. There was a lot of extemporaneous, extended dialogue scenes, extra bits to the “mystery,” etc. that could’ve totally been left out and I would’ve been A-ok with it. These particular passages had no added value beyond increasing the word count of the book. Also, and it kind of kills me to say this because I never thought I’d say this, there were a few too many sex scenes. I like a good sex scene as much as the next reader, but it really threw the pacing of the story in some places. We’d be going along with some plot building or much-needed character development, and we’d get overthrown by gratuitous sex. Yet again.
The biggest thing that took stars off my rating, however? I really didn’t like the characters. I thought they were both selfish assholes who never really showed redemption by the end. I like to think of myself as somewhat of a connoisseur of the fated mates trope; I’ve read a lot of it, good and bad, and in this case, I never really believed it. Aside from some telepathic linking and being told that they’re a perfect match because of their birthmarks, there was really nothing that made me think Zach and Anders had a connection. Besides all that sex. Honestly, take the soul marks thing out of it, and they’re nothing but two dudes who have basically nothing in common except for their unwillingness for compromise but like to have sex with each other.
A copy of this book was received through NetGalley for review on OMGReads.
About Elizabeth Silver
Elizabeth Silver is a writer, a tarot reader, a Level Two Cat Lady, and an internet junkie. Her day job is terribly dull, her hobbies oddly specific and quirky, and her husband the most patient person a writer could ask for.
A New Jersey native, Liz is a proud nerd and an awkward human being. She likes to think it makes her endearing. When not writing, Liz can be found collecting tarot cards, chasing Pokemon, fighting her way out of YouTube spirals, and/or performing online searches that will probably land her on a government list somewhere someday.
Connect with Liz:
About Jenny Urban
Jenny Urban lives not too far from Las Vegas—but not too close—with two cats named after fictional wizards. She has been writing with coauthor Elizabeth Silver for nearly fifteen years, with their first book published in 2010.
When not writing or at the evil day job, she loves to sing, play the piano, read, and watch monster-hunting brothers on TV.
Connect with Jenny:
To celebrate the release of In His Majesty’s Service, one lucky winner will receive a Kindle Fire 7, and a second lucky winner will win a swag pack including a bag, a t-shirt, a $5 Riptide gift card and a collection of paper goodies!
Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 16, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!