Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the curse. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal.
Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.
Toot's Review by Stacy Sabala
This is a story with a paranormal spin on Cinderella. Five blood princes from different realms are brought together. They give their blood to a magical tree that houses a woman named Eurydice. It is her plan to find mates for the five men. Her first prince is Etienne the werewolf. He has been ‘blessed’ by a witch and is losing his wolf. He has yet to find a way to stop becoming fully human.
Loupe lives with her step mother and two step sisters. She is forced to live in the cellar and skin the dead wolves that they bring her. Once when she was approaching one of the dead wolves, it reached up and bit her and then transformed into a woman. Loupe from then on was infected and became a werewolf herself. She would sneak out when the moon was to be full and chain herself up in the forest. She couldn’t let her step mother know. They would kill her.
Loupe and Etienne are brought together by three wolf cubs, a pixie and a blessing given by a witch whom knows more than she lets on.
This story was fun to read. The parallels to Cinderella were obvious but it was interesting to see what the author added to the story. The step mother was an extremely horrible person. She was beyond cruel to the point of pathological.
The relationship between Loupe and Etienne was sweet with each trying to protect the other from the wolf they held inside. Loupe was a great character once she grew courage and take what she wanted instead of cowering with fear. The Pixie, however, was my favorite. He made me laugh out loud.
This is the first as there are four more princes to have stories and I can’t wait to see what happens. I give this a 4 out of 5 for its original ideas.
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Thank you so much for sitting down with Toot's for an interview. If you don't mind, I have some questions for you about your new series Blood Prince, your new book, Before Midnight, and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.
So first off, your newest book is part of your series, Blood Prince. Let's talk about the series as a whole....
In your own words, what is the Blood Prince series about?
It’s about my guilty obsession with fairy tales and my inability to write anything without a paranormal creature in it. Ha! No, really, it’s about a hamadryad with a plan to open up a new world (her motive has not yet been revealed). She requires the blood of five princes in order to attain her goal, and to get them to their full potential, she needs them to be mated. Being a hamadryad, she can’t really get around, so she enlists the help of little minions (and really, who told her it was a good idea to give a pixie a wand?).
Each book is written almost as a stand-alone, with the prologue and epilogue tying them together in a series arc. Each story is, at its heart, a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, the Little Mermaid, and Sleeping Beauty.
Can you tell us a bit about the newest book in the series, Before Midnight?
Actually, Before Midnight is book one. I just released book three, Golden Stair, on February 1st, 2014. Before Midnight is a Cinderella retelling with a werewolf prince. Book two, One Bite, is Snow White with a vampire, and book three, Golden Stair, is Rapunzel with a demon.
In Before Midnight, Loupe (Cinderella) is a loup garou (a werewolf by way of a curse). The prince is a lycanthrope (a werewolf by birth) who has been “blessed” by a witch to become human. He does not want to become human, so he must find a loup garou to bite him (counteracting the “blessing” with a “curse”). He holds a grand ball to get all of his subjects to the castle so he can sniff out a loup garou. It all sounds like a lovely plan, and it would have gone a lot smoother if the prince hadn’t gone and frightened poor Loupe. Fortunately for him (and unfortunately for her), she leaves a clue behind. Not quite a shoe, but close…
How did you come up with the title of your newest book in the series and can you tell us its significance?
My critique partner actually suggested “After Midnight” when I was bouncing ideas off of her for a title. I changed it to “Before Midnight” since that’s more of an echo of what the fairy godmother said (“Get your peasant tush home before midnight” is how it went, I think).
Before Midnight also went nicely with the werewolf mythos I built, wherein he has to find a loup garou to curse him before midnight on the third night of the full moon.
Each book in the series has a two word title (because I’m a bit OCD like that) that relates to both the heroine and the hero. For One Bite, it was one bite of the apple (for Snow White) and one bite of Snow White’s neck (for the vampire). Golden Stair referenced Rapunzel’s hair, and the stairway to heaven (surely a temptation for all demons with a sense of humor?).
How many books are planned for the series?
There are five books planned for the series. Before Midnight (Cinderella with a werewolf prince), One Bite (Snow White with a vampire prince), Golden Stair (Rapunzel with a demon prince), Divine Scales (Little Mermaid with an angel prince), and Beautiful Salvation (Sleeping Beauty with a god prince).
I am planning a spinoff series, but to say more than that would give away too much of the Blood Prince series…
What was your favorite scene to write for your hero or heroine in Before Midnight?
The scene where Loupe (Cinderella) meets the pixie (parallel of fairy godmother). Loeg is completely irreverent. He doesn’t let the fact that what he’s saying doesn’t make a great deal of sense affect his annoyance with people not understanding him. He also doesn’t let it affect his volume. Observe:
The pixie spared her a withering glance then turned his attention back to his measuring. “Well, you could hardly begrudge me a little piece of wolfskin after all I’ve done for you, now could you? You must have some gratitude.”
No matter how hard she tried, Loupe could not recall anything the pixie had done that would warrant her gratitude. Her brain flipped through old wives’ tales, struggling to remember what random kindnesses were attributed to the fey. She drew a blank.
“I’m sorry, what did you do for me?” she asked finally, as politely as she could.
Loeg threw down the rope and shot to his feet. “I helped you go to the ball!”
“I’m not going to the ball!” Loupe snapped, her patience finally at an end. In a slightly quieter voice, she added, “I can’t.”
“Don’t be stupid, of course you can,” Loeg argued.
Loupe shook her head. “No, you don’t understand. I’m cursed.”
“Yes, yes, yes, a werewolf bit you and now you have the lunacy.” The pixie waved a hand as if it was of no consequence. “That doesn’t mean you can’t go to the ball.”
“It’s tonight! The night of the full moon!” Loupe protested, pushing away her surprise at the pixie’s knowledge of her situation. For all she knew he had magical powers that let him tell such things just by looking at her.
“Yes, so you’d better get out of there before the clock strikes midnight,” the pixie agreed. “The ointment I gave you won’t keep you human once the moon reaches its peak.”
Thoroughly confused, Loupe threw her hands up in the air. “What ointment?”
Loeg flew at her face, pulling a small bottle from a pouch tied to his belt. “This ointment!” he shouted. With a sigh of exasperation, he dropped it in the general direction of her hand.
What's next for you?
Right now I’m working on Divine Scales, book four in the Blood Prince series. Marcela is the little mermaid, and she’s used to spending all of her time fulfilling her role, saving sailors from ships in distress. It isn’t until she gets a good look at the angelic prince Patricio that she’s tempted to reach for something for herself. She had no way of knowing about his curse. (evil author laugh) Sign up for my mailing list and be alerted when it comes out and you can read all about why it’s not a good idea to offend a witch…
Is there anything you’d like to add or say to your fans?
Yes. I’d like to thank everyone who has shown me so much support through this series. Especially those who took part in my monthly Typo Challenge and those who joined my Facebook group, Sirens of the Black Stream, and helped me choose new cover art for Golden Stair. Without you guys, my princes wouldn’t be romancing thousands of readers, my books would be shamed by line editor-resistant typos, and Golden Stair would still have a cover that no one but me enjoyed (once again I’m forced to admit that my personal taste is not representative of the general population--Yes, Mum, you were right).
Are there any of your stories or characters that hold a special place in your heart?
Ana, from Under His Skin. Partially because so many people didn’t like her. I deliberately wrote Ana to be a little more selfish when dealing with others. Psychologically, that’s just the mindset a person in her situation would develop. She was a skinwalker (think were-fox only they take the skin off and put it back on to change instead of just shifting the same skin into different shapes) who watched her fox-skin burn at the hands of someone who claimed to love her. Poor Ana was fighting just to stay sane, and she made some very poor choices. But in the end, I think she redeemed herself, and she holds a special place in my heart for all she went through.
If the book or series had to have a theme song, what would it be?
I am a die hard Alice Cooper fan, so of course I’ll need to use one of the Master’s songs. For the general population, I’d say the theme song is No More Mr. Nice Guy. For the Alice fans, it’s Congregation (and Welcome to My Nightmare 2 was AMAZING).
Lastly, let's steal an idea from the magazines.....What 5 things do fans not know about you and 5 they don't know about the book?
- I sleep with a stuffed My Little Pony.
- I play Dungeons & Dragons (technically, Pathfinder). I also own a Star Trek uniform which I may or may not wear for funsies.
- I love the Penguins of Madagascar television series (favorites in order: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, Private). I may have to curb my obsession a little now that my four-year-old son has started trying to hack up bombs like Rico…
- There are squirrels living in the ceiling of my apartment. I’m convinced they are holding some sort of furry Olympics. As soon as they break through, I’ll be selling tickets! (If my landlord is reading this: I need to speak to you about giving those fuzzy devils a permit to hold their winter games in my ceiling).
- My eyebrows give away my feelings, often without my permission. When I was young, I worked very hard to learn to raise one eyebrow at a time. Now I wish the buggers would quit getting me in trouble.
- Originally, Etienne was going to be a cursed werewolf searching for a cure.
- It was supposed to be a stand alone novel, not a series.
- The pixie, Loeg, is going to show up in another story. Probably in the spin-off series when I twist Beauty and the Beast.
- Originally, Loupe was going to know Etienne was a werewolf. Her fairy godmother was going to give her a wolf skin (instead of a dress) so she could go on a hunt (instead of the ball). If I can work through the technical problems I encountered when plotting the original idea, I might still write it.
- Before Midnight is free on all major retailers.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking time to answer some questions. Congratulations on the new book and I can't wait for everyone to read it!
Jennifer enjoys listening to Alice Cooper, trying new recipes (to which she will add garlic whether it calls for it or not), watching television with her family, and playing with her woefully intelligent three year old son.
Jennifer spends most of her time drinking coffee from her X-Men mug and desperately trying to get all her ideas written down before her toddler can find that all magical button on her laptop to make all her work vanish.
If you would like to receive an alert when a new Jennifer Blackstream title is released or goes on sale, and also be automatically entered to win prizes in various contests, sign up for her mailing list at www.jenniferblackstream.com