Guest Blogger Hayley B. James Talks French

Today, my guest is fellow Dreamspinner Press author Hayley B. James!  The second book in Hayley’s Elemental Attraction series was just released this week, and although I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I read the first book in the series, “Water Waltz,” and loved it.  You can read my review here.  The series is set in an alternate universe of demons, angels, humans, and lots of other supernatural creatures.  All these creatures live in different countries that share borders and, as with most neighbors, engage in conflict and create alliances, in spite of and because of their differences. 

So I’ll step back and have Hayley tell you a bit about her new book and about the series, in general.  Don’t forget to comment here to be entered to win a copy of Hayley’s new book!  And welcome, Hayley! -Shira


In celebration of Fire Tango’s release, I’m having a little event party until Sunday, November 11th. Any comment made on my blog posts on my blog or this post on Shira’s site puts your name into a drawing to win prizes. So be sure to comment!

Thank you for hosting me today, Shira!

I love reading a book and coming across French. All those letters together are just as beautiful written as they are spoken. In high school I took four years of French and made national honors. I graduated and promptly forgot everything.

My love for the language remained even when my memory failed. I can’t tell you the difference between potato and cheese today, but I can use a beta reader to correct what Google translate breaks.

When I decided to name a few angel characters in my Elemental Attraction series using French words, I asked my beta reader for help. I knew Triste needed to be triste for “sad,” but I couldn’t find the perfect word for a bitter character. (Amer was not originally the silly angel he turned into.) My beta reader helped me pick a name, and I had the idea of Amer speaking both English and French. I really do love how the language reads and looks, so the idea just had to become reality.

I’m lucky enough to have a beta read who speaks and teaches French, and was willing to work with me to get the French parts right. While online services are quick and easy, I rely on my beta to create better sentence structure. She’s a doll!

Fire Tango doesn’t have new angels, but it does have the return of Amer and Sucre. Sucre is the driver for Leandre, but their relationship is not the usual between master and servant. Leandre and Sucre tease each other like good friends. Sucre’s sarcastic tongue and dry wit made writing his parts extra fun for both me and my translator. Luckily, the context makes Sucre’s French parts easy to understand so all readers can enjoy his humor.

Amer and Sucre were both introduced in Water Waltz. They return for the second book and get their own scene together. It wasn’t necessary for the overall plot, but certainly icing on the cake for any fan of the two angels.

Is there one language above others you like to read in your literary adventures?


Excerpt from Fire Tango, by Hayley B. James

Blurb:  Devil Fremont’s unwillingness to divulge even the smallest details of his past makes building a relationship with his lover, Leandre, a struggle. Doubt and frustration tear at the couple and put their bond to the test when Fremont’s secrets find him after his ten years in exile and force him home to Spezia to face serious charges.

Whatever mysteries Fremont has buried, Leandre does not believe murder is one of them—though his waiting fiancé is a surprise. As Fremont trusts his lover with his past, a second murder throws him deeper into the law’s hands.

Desperate to save Fremont, Leandre searches for the truth. But the conspiracy he uncovers goes deeper than he ever imagined. With Fremont’s time running out, Leandre must act quickly to reveal the true culprit before he loses his bond mate for good.


Sucre pinched his nose closed, frowning at the horses and waving a hand in front of his face. It did little to alleviate the dust floating around. “This is ghastly, sir.”

Fremont rolled his eyes at the driver. “You’re behaving as if the smell is unbearable.”

“Imagine how I feel,” Fitzgerald said from beside Sucre. The angel looked down at the faerie and offered an apologetic frown.

“Can’t you fly, mon petit? Rise out of the stench.”

“Faeries can’t fly like angels.” Fitzgerald shrugged. “I can’t stay up.”

“He’s like a chicken.” Fremont pulled himself up and into a saddle. The horse shifted, snorted, and relaxed. Fremont patted the animal’s neck. “Chickens can fly, but they’re no sparrow.”

“I’m not a chicken, I’m not,” Fitzgerald muttered.

“Did you need to get some place, Fremont? I can drive you. You don’t need to take such a….” Sucre paused, searching for the right word. “Such an odd method of transportation.”

“I’m not going anywhere, Sucre.”

“Finer points of a country life, it is.” Fitzgerald smiled at Sucre’s amazement.

“What is? Riding such a beast?” Sucre pointed an incredulous finger at the horse. “Quelle horreur! Why would that be a desired activity?”

Fremont pulled the reins and turned the horse toward the stable doors. “You’re a peculiar one, Sucre.”

“You’re the strange one.”

“Wait for my return, Fitz.”

“Aye, Monty!”

Fremont gripped the reins close to the neck in one hand and dug his heels into the animal’s flank. The horse tore out of the barn, kicking up dirt and dust in its wake. Sucre jumped to the side and took cover behind the now empty stall, causing Fitzgerald to fall over in a fit of laughter.

When Sucre poked his head out, Fitzgerald was dusting off his trousers with his attention focused on the stable’s entrance.

“Kestrel, my lord.” Fitzgerald bowed. “And Leandre. You two just missed Fremont.”

“We saw him leave,” Kestrel said. “He’s testing the new mare’s speed, I see.”

“Expected from him, ain’t it?”

Leandre studied the horse stable in awe and spotted Sucre. The driver gave a small smile and went back behind the stall. Leandre turned to Fitzgerald. “Fremont is a rider?”

“Finer life points, sir,” Sucre said from behind his cover, without concerning himself over how his sarcasm would sound to the prince.

“I see.” Leandre frowned, confused by the new fact. Fremont hadn’t mentioned it, and he couldn’t see a reason why.

Without warning, Kestrel jumped forward, climbed over the nearest stall wall, and mounted a black horse. He used the mane as reins and took off, galloping out of the stable before Fitzgerald could complain about proper riding procedure.

“Your saddle!” Fitzgerald yelled after Kestrel as he frantically waved two hands in front of his face against the assault of dust kicked up by the horse. “Be careful with Rin!” His voice was lost to the air behind Kestrel’s speedy departure.


Hayley can be found on Twitter and Facebook




  1. Rush - Reply

    Thanks for sharing the excerpt. Although I haven’t read the books yet, it sounds like your characters are very likeable from the beginning. I also commented on your site. 🙂


    • Hayley B. James - Reply

      Thanks, Rush! I try to build likable characters. I’ve seen your comments and appreciate the responses 🙂

  2. Jbst - Reply

    Sounds like a very interesting series. Love the titles and series title. Concerning your question about a language (assuming you mean a foreign one to my own), I would say French. It seems to me to be such a beautiful and lyrical language. Though, I would like to have translations. Way back when, it bothered me a lot when I read the old classics and they assumed you understood the French, Italian etc words they had in the stories.

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

    • Hayley B. James - Reply

      The classics sure did use a lot of French without context or a translation available to help along the readers. But I think when classics were written, it was expected of the higher classes to know French well enough to understand it. I think. I could be wrong about that lol.

      thank you for your comment 🙂

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