Romance Family Style
Is your family always on the same page? Mine isn’t. In fact, sometimes I’m not even sure we are on the same planet. One thing I am sure of, though, is that we love each other and do what we can to have each other’s backs, no matter how far apart we are in miles or politics.
I love writing about families. Not all of my characters have biological families—I also love writing about orphans or abandoned characters who create families—but there’s one series of mine that’s ALL about family: Uttor.
The world of Uttor is an alternate universe not very unlike our Earth’s late medieval era, and two of its ruling families are at war.
In this corner are the Kordeun family, the royal family of storied Sebboy—they are numerous, beautiful, and devoted to a single god very different from the Uttoran Empire’s large collection of gods. The nine Kordeun siblings are ruled by their father King Lukacz, an autocratic, ambitious, and often hateful man who sees his daughters as political capital and his sons as miniature versions of himself.
Opposing them are the Leonntes, rulers of Sebboy’s powerful neighbor Uttor. Assassinations and dynastic wars have killed off most of the family, but surviving siblings Gaspar and Adora have a tight, unbreakable bond. The empire is resurgent and thriving.
When the oldest Kordeun prince kidnaps Adora Leonnte and forces her into marriage, all hell breaks loose. And that is the starting point of the Uttor series, which begins with Captive Heart. When Gaspar goes to rescue his sister, he wants revenge—and the last thing he expects is to lose his heart. Neither does Julissa, the Kordeun sister who has become the Uttoran emperor’s prize captive.
Every major theme of the series has its origins in this first book. Gaspar and Julissa represent two families and two nations with very different views on just about everything. He’s had to fight for his life and the right to rule his country. Julissa is a sheltered princess who has never had to fight, but now must fight for what she believes, pitting herself not just against Gaspar but against her own family. Can she give them up to be with him? Does she have to?
In each book, the main characters must ask this question of themselves: who is my family and will my love for someone else tear me away from them? Peta Kordeun is gay and despised by his father, and he falls in love with Uttor’s greatest general. Adora Leonnte bears a child born of rape, and finds her choice of husband opposed by her beloved brother. Endre Kordeun, more drawn to books than people, is forced to choose between the man he loves and his family’s safety. In books to come, other members of these families confront slavery, war, and an arranged marriage.
In all the books, these characters turn to each other, counsel each other, and battle each other. That’s what family is about. Romance, love, defending their members against all attacks, and a whole lot of telling each other they’re being idiots. Because that’s what families do.
Captive Heart Blurb:
A vengeful emperor conquered her country…now he’s after her heart.
Julissa has only known life as a sheltered princess in Sebboy’s opulent but restrictive society, ruled over by strict parents and the righteous Prophets of her god. She is all but destined to a marriage of alliance until her brother kidnaps a foreign princess as his bride, and Julissa’s country becomes the target of the girl’s vengeful brother. Gaspar Leonnte may have a big nose and be the subject of ridicule at Julissa’s family table, but he doesn’t have any trouble conquering Sebboy.
While fleeing the city, Julissa falls into Gaspar’s hands and everything she ever knew changes. When a misunderstanding brings Julissa to his bed, the victorious emperor sees no reason not to enjoy his pretty captive for the night. Julissa should refuse him and honor her duty to her family and Prophet, but how can she fight the passion Gaspar awakens… even if doing so might mean her life?
Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.
Tali’s books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, Adored, and Victory Portrait, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often publishes in anthologies, and puts up free stories and excerpts on her blog.