Today I am so pleased to welcome Anna Butler to Joyfully Jay. Anna has come to talk to us about the release of her Taking Shield box set. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


Kisses, not roses

If romance is moonlight and roses, perfect dates and chocolates, holding hands on a beach walk and kissing someone until you can’t breathe; if it’s perfection and thrills and overwhelming emotions, if it’s faithfulness and passion; and if it’s the narrow-minded focus on that one perfect lover that closes out the entire world…then Taking Shield is not a romance.

All right, all those things are exaggerations. But at the same time, if you’re looking for a romance you want to see certain things: attraction meets passion to create faithful love, ending in a Happy Ever After (or at least, Happy For Now). En route the lovers can have all sorts of things happen: murders, mystery, magic, mayhem. But all that matters is they’re together at the end and the reader’s experienced the love, drama, and fulfilment along with them. The reader can put the book down feeling good about the outcome, uplifted and satisfied by seeing two people coming together in happiness.

Sadly, the Taking Shield series won’t supply that. Before you all huff in disapproval, let me just reassure you that Shield ISa love story. It’s a very deep, intense and passionate love story that covers six years of interstellar war and billions of miles of space travel—and two men who love each other. It’s just not a romance, as you might define it.

Taking Shield deals with two main themes, intertwining with each other: the war against the Maess and Shield Captain Bennet’s part in it and, set against that, the (mutual) love he develops for Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. The Maess war and everything Bennet has to do there gets equal billing with the slow unfolding of his relationship with Flynn.

That relationship plays out against a big space opera background—aliens, battle, explosions, mayhem, politics and death—and it meets very few romance tropes. Bennet and Flynn meet and part, meet and part, until they’re dizzy. And throughout there are relationships with other people, some of those het. They love each other, miss each other, but with little prospect of being together, they get on with things: life, jobs, fighting the war, saving the planet, and sex (if not love).

To give you a taste of the non-romance bits… To have his few incandescent days with Flynn in book one (Gyrfalcon), Bennet is unfaithful to his long term partner, Joss (who is a serial adulterer himself). Bennet and Flynn part at the end of book one, never expecting to meet again… and ditto they part at the end of book two (Heart Scarab) after Bennet ditches Joss and takes up with Flynn for a very intense few weeks… In Makepeace, the third book, they don’t meet at all until the end, and Flynn’s barely in the book at all. No one gets any loving in that one. Nor in book four, The Chains Of Their Sins, where the focus is more on politics and war than it is on love, though there is a lot of UST going on. Only at the very end of the saga, as Day of Wrath comes to its close, is there a little hope they’ll have their chance together. But it’s not assured. There’s no real happy ever after. There’s only the promise that there might be.

So no. Not a romance.

Taking Shield is science fiction. It’s science fiction with people in it. Faulty people who can be selfish and demanding, loving and caring, all in the same chapter. People who aren’t starry-eyed lovers, but deeply pragmatic soldiers with a job to do, and the job has to take precedence because if they fail at that, humanity fails. People who come up against an enemy they can’t fathom, and have to dig deep within themselves to find the skills and fortitude to survive. But people who love each other despite the odds, despite the war, despite battles and loss and devastation. And when war, death and devastation are well-nigh overwhelming, Taking Shield is about two people who have each other.

Not romance, perhaps. But romantic.


Hate buying books in a series until the whole thing is done? Then check out the Rainbow Award-winning Taking Shield series, just released as an e-book boxed set. Not only do you get the entire series, there’s a very nice saving on the cost of the individual books! 

About Taking Shield

Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war that’s dragged on for generations.

Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Bennet, also an analyst with the Military Strategy Unit, uncovers crucial data about the Maess to help with the war effort. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family—his difficult relationship with his long term partner, Joss; his estrangement from his father, Caeden, the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla; and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest

Over the Taking Shield arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.


Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. She’s supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.


Anna has brought a $20 Amazon gift card to give away. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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