Guest Author: Story Alchemy by Isabel Cooper

Antho-Gambled AwayI am excited to welcome author Isabel Cooper, who is celebrating the release of her story Raising the Stakes as part of the Gambled Away anthology.

Get revenge. Pay a debt. Save a soul. Lose your heart.

Spanning centuries and continents, five brand-new novellas from beloved historical romance authors tell the stories of men and women who find themselves wagered in a game of chance and are forced to play for the highest stakes of all: love.

Raising The Stakes by Isabel Cooper
California, 1938 — When the flute she won in last night’s poker game unexpectedly summons an elven warrior bound to her service, two-bit con artist Sam takes quick advantage. With Talathan’s fairy powers at her command, her shakedown of a crooked preacher is a sure thing…but would she rather take a gamble on love?

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Story Alchemy

I totally abused our local snowcone place as a kid. Watermelon *and* bubblegum? Blue raspberry *and* green apple? Sign me up! Now I’ve become the “adult” who realizes that if you combine milk and fourteen-dollar-peach-liqueur you get booze that tastes like Peaches and Cream oatmeal, and there’s a certain kind of red wine that, if you put it in Vanilla Coke, will reproduce the flavor of banana Nerds.

As a lifestyle, it works for me.

And I take the same approach to fiction. Sure, not everything goes together, and if you try to combine too much, you end up with grossness–another snow-cone lesson in childhood, and one I was slow to learn–but if two things seem like they might go well, why not mess around and see how the combination works out? Time travel in Victorian England, shapeshifting dragons in the Scottish Highlands, and now elves working with 1930s con-artists–it’s all been fun to write.

Plus, combining genres means you get a new perspective on both of them. One of the amusing scenes in Raising the Stakes is when my hero describes the kind of favors he’s done for previous mortals, including slaying their enemies, and my heroine is like “…I don’t think that’d work so well for me.” There have been eras and situations where killing one guy, or his army, would help; by the 1930s, for a lot of people the problem wasn’t one person but a whole system, and the might of an elven warrior doesn’t actually help that much. He has to be useful in other ways.

You also get to see some of the similarities between different genres. Writing my first novel, No Proper Lady, really made me aware of just how much a makeover is like a training montage. Raising the Stakes came together for me when I watched a bunch of Leverage, read a bunch of fairy tales, and realized that “Puss in Boots” is one of the first caper stories.

A successful cocktail, at least in my book, is one that does some alchemy: a bunch of separate ingredients come in, a new and unified taste comes out. I try to take the same approach to crossing genres in fiction: not just throwing things together but seeing where the pieces fit, what compliments what else, and hopefully creating a final work that hangs together.

At the very least, I always have a good time!
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Meet Isabel Cooper!

ICooper-Legend of the Highland DragonIsabel Cooper lives in Boston, where she works as an editor by day and drinks odd cocktails by night. She’s been known to play a few rounds of poker, but mostly for M&Ms. She only travels through time the normal direction, and has never fought any kind of demon, unless you count younger sisters. She can waltz, though.

Contact Info: Website | GoodReads | Amazon

Want to purchase Isabel’s novels?
Englefield

  1. No Proper Lady
  2. Lessons After Dark
  3. Curious Affairs at Midnight

Highland Dragons

  1. Legend of the Highland Dragon
  2. The Highland Dragon’s Lady
  3. Night of the Highland Dragon

Gambled Away

Get revenge. Pay a debt. Save a soul. Lose your heart.

Spanning centuries and continents, five brand-new novellas from beloved historical romance authors tell the stories of men and women who find themselves wagered in a game of chance and are forced to play for the highest stakes of all: love.

Gideon and the Den of Thieves by Joanna Bourne
London, 1793 – Soldier of fortune Gideon Gage has come home from halfway around the world, fully prepared to face down a ruthless gang to save his sister. But there’s one member of the gang he could never have been prepared for: fascinating Aimée, driven from her own home by the French Revolution and desperately in need of his help.

Antho-Gambled AwayRaising The Stakes by Isabel Cooper
California, 1938 — When the flute she won in last night’s poker game unexpectedly summons an elven warrior bound to her service, two-bit con artist Sam takes quick advantage. With Talathan’s fairy powers at her command, her shakedown of a crooked preacher is a sure thing…but would she rather take a gamble on love?

All or Nothing by Rose Lerner
England, 1819 – Architect Simon Radcliffe-Gould needs someone to pose as his mistress so he can actually get some work done at a scandalous house party. Irrepressible gambling den hostess Maggie da Silva would rather be his mistress, but she’ll take what she can get…

The Liar’s Dice by Jeannie Lin
Tang Dynasty China, 849 A.D. — Lady Bai’s first taste of freedom brings her face to face with murder. A dangerous and enigmatic stranger becomes her closest ally as she investigates the crime, but can she trust her heart or her instincts when everyone is playing a game of liar’s dice?

Redeemed by Molly O’Keefe
Denver, 1868 — After agonizing years in the Civil War’s surgical tents, Union doctor James Madison has nothing left to lose. But when beautiful, tortured Helen Winters is the prize in a high-stakes game of poker, he goes all in to save her—and maybe his own soul.

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

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