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Article: About the Lady of Joy Series

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About the Our Lady of Joy Series:

When I first began writing the Our Lady of Joy series, I had one goal in mind: I wanted to write the kind of series I always loved to read, where the characters felt so real to me that I missed them when I finished.

While I love epic fantasy, I wanted to take a different approach from how it is traditionally written, focusing tightly on how the characters felt as individuals, so that as a reader, you might be in the room as part of that group. I also wanted to create strong female characters who suffered from some of the more common insecurities we as women often face, yet still managed to take control of their lives enough to find happiness.

As an introverted, voracious reader who would rather finish a good book than attend a party, I also wanted to take advantage of the electronic format to write a long, emotionally intense series of books that each lasted longer than an afternoon. Traditionally, books are edited down not only for the reader experience, but to maximize publishing house profits above print costs. With electronic publishing, that is no longer a concern, allowing authors to cater to readers who actively seek out lengthy books, just as I always have.

Most importantly, it was my hope to inspire any girls or women reading to identify with someone like them and to see all the wonderful things about that character, not just her flaws, unconsciously convincing them of their own value.

Even more, by keeping the focus of the book on those characters and their personal journeys over the traditional sweeping scope of epic fantasy, I could show the readers each character's incremental gain as he or she became someone happier and more confident. My hope was to give them ideas which might help in their own lives...or even just allow them to internalize the idea that personal change is rarely instantaneous or easy, despite what books and movies say.

During the course of writing the first seven books, I chose to focus exclusively on readers desiring emotional authenticity as their primary driver for reading fiction. For anyone interested in why, it involves brains which run a parallel processor vs. sequential. Screenwriter Corey Mandell explains it wonderfully at approximately 12:55 in his podcast here:

It took 3 years to write the series and ready it for publication, but I loved every minute of it, finding it truly inspirational on a deeply personal level. So as you read the series, I hope you enjoy it, too.

- Valery

PS - Samples of each book aren't included here but you can see them in the look-inside on each book's Amazon page

The Lady of Joy Series Page on Amazon lists the whole series.

Article: Our Lady of Joy

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Our Lady of Joy

What do you do when you're not who you thought you were?

When Lira is returned to the alternate dimension of her birth, she discovers that she is Our Lady of Joy, the only Emotion Conduit to survive to maturity in that world's history. While being so important might seem like a dream come true for some girls, for her, it's closer to a nightmare. Making things even worse is her violent Guardian Rease, who seems like he might be even more troubled than she is. Too bad he's still the cutest boy she's ever met.

As Lira struggles to adapt to a life she never wanted, her father Jonas is coming for her. Only he has a secret of his own, a dark and dangerous past he thought abandoned long ago. But he has no choice, because he knows what she does not: the future will bring a war to their peaceful world, a war in which Our Lady must stand for the light.

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Article: Our Lady's Wolf

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Our Lady's Wolf

Book 2

Having successfully escaped the Lord High Commissioner’s control with her father and the Harvester’s Gang, Lira, Rease and Night attempt to settle into life at the Davies family estate, Eastlake. As Jonas begins to develop feelings for Dove and comes to terms with his past, Lira petitions the Council for autonomy to continue her romantic involvement with her Guardian as he rebuilds his life and reputation as Our Lady’s Wolf, setting in motion a series of events which she will come to deeply regret.

Charmed by their youth and innocence and eager to preserve it, Hanna Davies becomes something of a protective older sister to Lira and Rease. But the serenity of her carefully ordered life is shattered by the arrival of Blake Weymine, who seems determined to win Our Lady of Joy for his own. Vowing to prevent such a tragedy, Hanna sets herself against Blake, inadvertently beginning a game in which victory proves more costly than either of them had anticipated.

Still struggling with her role as Our Lady of Joy in this new world, Lira fights for her personal independence even as the prophesy begins to unfold around her.

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Article: Our Lady's Travels

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Our Lady's Travels

Book 3

Having fled the Western Marches to avoid either losing her Guardian or being used as a figurehead in a brewing national struggle, Lira now finds herself a guest of the Queen of Isura Okun in the Southern Marches, accompanied by Rease, Night, their kittens, her father and her rapidly growing entourage. Anchored by his title as Our Lady’s Wolf, Rease continues his transformation into a happier man and strengthens his relationship with Lira as she continues to adapt to her role as Our Lady of Joy. Even closer as they devote themselves to this new family being created all around them, Jonas and Dove continue to spend time together as she too begins to realize that she can remake her life to find happiness.

Now far more than a simple houseman, Thomas discovers to his dismay that his involvement is crucial to Our Lady’s success in the coming war foretold in the prophesy, even as his wife Annabelle remains steadfast in her devotion to her role as Our Lady’s Shield Maiden. Lira’s friend Hanna, hopeful that this trip might heal her broken heart, soon finds that such a thing is not to be as Blake Weymine and memories of the time they shared continue haunting her even in this new land.

As Hanna devotes herself to the study of exotic new botanical species in an effort to ignore Blake, he struggles to be the man he wants to be, hopeful that he can some day regain her trust. Yet even as Lira’s extended family remains unaware of what the future will bring, Iranti, one of the Queen’s Seers, finds that she too has a role to play in helping Our Lady hold back the dark, even if it has yet to be revealed.

But even in the opulent luxury of the palace, the ugly promise of the prophesy intrudes as Lira learns once more that being Our Lady of Joy is fraught with risk no matter where she resides.

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Article: Our Lady's Trials

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Our Lady's Trials

Book 4

Alone and denied any allies after being abducted and sold to the Chancellor of the Marches, Lira stubbornly fights against being reduced to nothing but a resource by her imprisonment, a decision which she will soon come to regret. Badly wounded by the loss of the girl he loves, Rease experiences his own hardships as he struggles to accept being alone again and fights to preserve all that he has gained by being Our Lady’s Wolf.

Grieving the loss of his little girl, Jonas does his best with Dove’s help to hold Our Lady’s family together even in her absence, even as Hanna and Blake continue to repair their friendship. Called to her role as Our Lady’s Shield Maiden by circumstance, Annabelle returns to her previous life as a spy in preparation for a future rescue as Iranti, the Seer sent with them by the Queen of Isura Okun, begins to reveal her purpose.

As Our Lady’s loved ones prepare for the right moment to make their family whole again, tragedy is brewing for the girl they all love, just waiting to strike. As they find themselves powerless to intervene, the clock continues ticking, bringing them that much closer to the battle forecast by the prophesy as Lira’s situation continues to worsen.

But this time, the cost for failure could be Our Lady of Joy herself.

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Article: Our Lady's Army

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Our Lady's Army

Book 5

Now back in the Western Marches and reunited with her family and beloved pets, Lira continues to recover from her time away, diligently safeguarded by her Wolf. While the girl he loves continues to heal, Rease focuses on rebuilding her confidence even as he builds even greater public support for Our Lady of Joy, determined as he is to ensure her safety in the coming conflict. But even as his daughter recovers, Jonas finds his worries have not disappeared entirely as he discovers that Rease’s previous assassination of the Chancellor has only added to the toxic relationship between nations as the Western Marches begins to ready itself for war.

Suddenly burdened with the idea of using an innocent child as a weapon once he learns of Millie Weymine’s affinity, Thomas struggles once more to balance the man he wishes to be with the role he must play as Our Lady’s Warlord. Newly arrived to Our Lady’s service, Jebseg Bayajin finds himself challenged to become more than the weapon he was raised to be as he begins to experience a very different kind of life than he had expected. As Hanna and Blake move their relationship to the next level, Iranti focuses only on her role as a Seer to learn all she can of the coming war, hopeful that it might make a difference.

Yet even as more people arrive to aid Our Lady and her family against the gathering dark, the prophesy continues to shape their fate as the clock continues ticking down to the final confrontation.

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Article: Our Lady's Revelations

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Our Lady's Revelations

Book 6

Now back at Eastlake with their beloved pets, Lira and Rease become even closer while Jonas and Dove plan their wedding with the help of their extended family. Finally suspecting that Mouse might have feelings for her, Iranti takes desperate measures to determine the truth of how he feels about her, even as Hanna and Blake settle more fully into their own relationship and learn each other even better.

Now firmly a part of Our Lady’s family, Jebseg is assigned to watch over the Queen’s viperous daughter, Monifa and keep her from causing any further harm. But to his dismay, he soon finds his duty far more complicated than he had anticipated. Titled as Our Lady’s Flame and now established as Lira’s tutor, Violet soon finds her life changing as she too settles into the family and recognizes that she is both wanted and appreciated for the first time in her life.

But even as Our Lady’s family remains unaware, the prophesy is at work, altering all their careful plans as the threat of war approaches.

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Article: Our Lady's War

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Our Lady's War

Book 7

As news comes of an arriving delegation from the Marches tasked with repairing relations between nations, Lira vows not to lose the life and people she so greatly loves, Rease chief among them. Yet even as they anxiously wait for the worst of the prophesy to be revealed in reality, Rease throws himself into his role as a mentor for troubled boys, even recruiting Blake’s help as they expand the program to include animal-assisted therapy, while Jonas and Dove focus on holding together the family that they have built, hoping it will be enough.

Now very worried about what the coming conflict may mean to him as an individual, Thomas finds himself swamped with doubt once more about being titled Our Lady’s Warlord, even as Monifa wonders if the coming war will deliver her just punishment for all her past sins against Our Lady. As Violet prepares to become Our Lady’s Flame to defend her homeland against invasion, Iranti battles the forces of fate itself in an effort to determine more their future, while Mouse finds sudden value in returning to his former profession as an assassin now that all he loves is threatened.

But when their efforts to delay the war prove futile, Our Lady’s family prepares for the fight of their lives.

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Article: Our Lady's Nation

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Our Lady's Nation

Book 8 Available Now!

Abigail Richards has come to Weymine Manor as a pastry chef, hoping it will ease the grief she still feels after losing her husband. Never having worked for the toffs before, she's not sure what to expect. But to Abby's surprise, her employer is nothing like she had imagined.

As Lord High Commissioner of the Western Marches, Marcus Weymine is the most powerful man in the country. But he's also miserable. He spends his days managing the recovery of Our Lady's nation after the war and fretting over his daughter Millie, the first Animal Conduit in history. Even worse, no one at the Manor talks to him like he's a real person... at least until he meets his new pastry chef.

Suddenly, Marcus has more on his mind than just duty.

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