I am proud to announce the release of Book 1 of my fantasy duo, “Ashes of Dearen,” which was a load of fun to work on. It’s now available free online:
Download in various ebook formats here:
Dearen is the smallest kingdom of the Three Nations. But thanks to a joy-producing dust called safra, Dearen is also the wealthiest, most powerful, and safest kingdom on the continent. Consumers of safra remain joyful and euphoric for as long as they consume it, and safra can only be found in Dearen. Princess Fayr is about to learn the secret of making safra from her father–the last man alive who knows how—when he is killed by a red-eyed assassin known as a Wolven. Distraught, Princess Fayr must attempt to save her country while watching its safra supply slowly run out.
Meanwhile, the warrior country of Vikand hires another Wolven to succeed where the first failed. Sean Wolven must venture into Dearen and kill the last two members of the royal bloodline: Princess Fayr and her little brother, Kyne. A Vikand politician named Picard, who has been addicted to safra ever since his right arm became mauled in combat, uses cruel wiles to force Sean into an additional agreement: Sean must learn the secret of making safra from the Dearen royalty before he kills them. Sean has little choice but to cover his red eyes and approach Princess Fayr in the guise of a suitor.
King-wife Eleanor of the nation of Yamair worships reason and efficiency. She hates safra and all it stands for, so she visits the vulnerable Princess Fayr and announces her terms. But while she is Dearen, Eleanor tries safra for the first time and the experience changes her life forever.
All four characters soon find themselves in a violent competition for power that brings all Three Nations to the brink of warfare. And little do they know, their scrambling efforts are being carefully watched by a much greater power: the gods behind the beguiling drug that ensnares them all.
I first wrote this book several years ago when I was fed up with writing what other people wanted me to write (classes, jobs, agents, Hollywood, etc.). I wrote whatever the hell I wanted, no matter how strange or perverse, and I didn’t worry about what anyone else might think because I didn’t plan to let anyone read it but my husband (this was when I first came up with my pen name, Jayden Woods, in fact). I had so much fun, of course, that when I was finished I loved what I had created and felt tempted to share it. A few rejection letters later, I tucked the novel away and put it out of my mind.
Recently, I’ve been fed up with writing for different but familiar reasons (i.e., trying to please other people). For whatever reason, I was drawn back to this story and still felt as attached to all the characters as if I had just written it yesterday. And just like that, I found myself rewriting it from scratch.
I should also mention that I don’t rewrite much. Ever. Some people would wag their finger at me for admitting such a thing, but it’s true. Usually once I write something, I feel like it already happened. My characters have made their decisions (usually from some part of my subconscious which I dearly trust) or they’ve said their piece, and that’s that. “Ashes of Dearen” is an exception for me. Truly, I didn’t change the plot much at all when I rewrote it. That’s another confirmation for me that my subconscious tends to know what it’s doing. But I made it better. And that has been deeply satisfying so far.
Now go read it for free. And most importantly, enjoy!