Guest Author & Giveaway: Monica Burns featuring Assassin's Honor

Tuesday, May 18

***This giveaway has ended, but you should still read the's worth your time:)  Thanks for joining the fun!***

Have I ever mentioned that Indiana Jones was one of the reasons I considered becoming an archeology major in college?  Hey, I'm allowed!  Harrison Ford was hot.  I entertained this idea until I had the opportunity to work on a dig for a day.  Yep, that fantasy lasted exactly one measly day (quite possibly not even that long).  I have patience, but archeologists have like crazy patience (and nobody even came close to Indiana Jones hotness).  It wasn't for me, but I can still dream :)  

Monica Burns' heroine in the new Order of the Sicari series is an archeologist and learning about the book Assassin's Honor brought back all the reasons why I was so intrigued with discovering history through symbols and objects.  Monica is here today to talk about her book (that has a cover to rival Indiana Jones), and the symbolism surrounding the mystery of the Sicari.  Read and enjoy!

I was delighted to visit Seductive Musings again and talk about my upcoming release, Assassin’s Honor. So thanks for having me. Assassin’s Honor is my first full-blown paranormal. I’ve written a ghost story before (Dangerous), but nothing where I needed to build a world readers were unfamiliar with. I have to admit that writing my Order of the Sicari series was a lot of fun for me. One of things commented on was the extensive use of symbols in the book.

My particular type of writing style doesn’t always lend itself to complete revelations until someone else points out something in my work. Things just have a way of working themselves into the plot or characterizations without my realizing it. As a seat of the pants writer, it always amazes me when I get three-quarters the way through the book, and something happens in the plot that relates back to something in one of first few chapters. My subconscious obviously knows where it’s going; I just wish it would clue me in on occasion. LOL

So it wasn’t until it was pointed out to me that I realized how many symbols I have in Assassin’s Honor. And not necessarily just actual emblems, but other things as well. When I first came up with the idea for my Order of the Sicari series, I knew I wanted to incorporate history into the overall arc of the series. I wanted to create this big, bold world that was rooted in realism and was something readers could relate too, while experiencing the paranormal aspect. For example, my assassins are exactly that. They kill people. Bad people. Back in the beginning of their history they killed for a living, but they did it honorably. They still do. They take out drug lords, sexual predators, and others who slide through the cracks of the justice system on technicalities. The Sicari protect the innocent. And for the reader, they represent our own helplessness in the face of criminals escaping the justice they deserve. In the books, my Sicari give the reader the satisfaction that if you’re truly evil, you’re going to get your just deserts.

Another aspect of the series is the use of ancient icons that have been handed down to my heroines and heroes through the centuries. One of those is the Sicari symbol itself that is how Sicari recognized each other in their very early history when they were being hunted by the Praetorians, much in the same way that the early Christians recognized a safe place by the sign of the fish. The Sicari symbol is a Roman sword interlocked with an Indian chakram. The icon represents the power of Rome and the wisdom of the Oriental East, which illustrates that force is a last ditch option for the Sicari, unless of course we’re talking about the Praetorians. With these villains, all bets are off.

Another symbol that keeps showing up is the Tyet of Isis. This is an artifact the Sicari are desperately trying to find before the Praetorians do. No one knows what it the artifact is, but the Sicari know the Praetorians want it, which means the Sicari need to find it before their enemy does. In reality, the Tyet of Isis is actually a type of knot that represents the goddess Isis, which was an Egyptian goddess who had a strong following in ancient Rome, and characters in Assassin’s Heart are followers of this deity.

Then there’s the particularly nasty icon of a C balanced on top of an inverted V that’s carved into the cheeks of several victims the heroine knows. No one knows what the symbol means, but like the Sicari, readers will discover the meaning of the symbol in Assassin’s Heart.

Other symbols are less obvious and create a subtle underlying aspect of the overall series by creating the Sicari culture. Some of these include the blood bond, the Rogalis, the Curavi and the Dux Provocare. All of these are traditions within the Sicari culture that create order out of chaos. Following specific laws and customs have helped the Sicari survive over the centuries, and the consequences for disobeying those laws can be quite harsh. This aspect of the Sicari harkens back to their roots in the Praetorian Guard that protected the Caesars before they split into two factions (the Sicari and their enemy, the Praetorians). Laws and punishments in ancient Rome were severe, and in the military especially.

One my personal favorites when it comes to symbols is the Praetorians and the Church. Religion has always spear-headed persecutions of those who didn’t follow the faith. For the Praetorians, the Church became not only a refuge, but a place where they could control their own existence without being discovered. The Praetorians have telepathic powers, and I think it’s pretty smart of them to hide inside an organization that’s responsible for denouncing and persecuting people deemed witches or practitioners of black magic. It’s the perfect cover when you think about it.

I’m sure if I thought about it long and hard, I’d find other symbols in the series, but I’ve rambled on long enough. So tell me what sort of symbols you can think of that you’ve found in other books you’ve read.

Note:  the image used in this post for the Sicari symbol is one that Monica created after dreaming of it back in 2005, though it does bear very similar features to JR Wards "Black Dagger Brotherhood" series symbol, it  was created before the first book in JR Ward's series was published.  I guess great minds think alike :)

Archeologist Emma Zale sees the past when she touches ancient relics. It’s how she uncovered evidence of an ancient order of assassins—the Sicari. When a sinfully dark stranger shows up on her Chicago doorstep demanding an ancient artifact she doesn’t have, he drags her into a world where telekinesis and empaths are the norm. Now someone wants her dead, and her only hope of survival is an assassin who’s every bit as dangerous to her body as he is to her heart.

Ares DeLuca comes from an ancient Roman bloodline of telekinetic assassins. A Sicari, he’s honor bound to kill only in the name of justice. But when the woman he loved was murdered, Ares broke the Sicari code and used his sword for revenge. Love cost him dearly once before, and he’s not willing to pay the price again. At least not until hot, sweet, delectable Emma walked into his life. Not only does she hold the key to a valuable Sicari relic, she might just hold the key to his heart.

(amazon widget)

Thank you Monica for being my guest today!  Despite having lost a good friend just a few weeks ago Monica didn't want to postpone her guest appearance, and was kind enough to share her insight into the importance of symbols for her new paranormal romance series.  Assassin's Honor releases on June 1st, and the next book in the series Assassin's Heart is scheduled to release this fall.   Congratulations Monica!  I'm sure the Order of the Sicari series is a going to be a big hit (the fabulous covers won't hurt either).

You can find out more about Monica Burns and her books on her website, her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.  To celebrate the release of Assassin's Honor Monica is giving away a signed copy to one very lucky commenter.  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • MandatoryLeave a meaningful comment AND answer the question Monica posed to readers (good for 1 entry) 
  • Mandatory:  You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • Blog about this author's giveaway on your blog and leave a link with your comment (good for 15 entries)
  • If you don't have a blog, don't worry you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they leave a comment on this post and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) 
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment
Rules and disclaimers: 
  • This contest for the book is open to US addresses and International addresses with the following caveat...shipping/handling fees for shipment of book outside the US is responsibility of winner. International winners may pay the required postage via PayPal to Monica (email address will be provided in the event the winner is outside the US)
  • To ensure as many readers as possible have a chance to win a copy of the book, Monica awards only one book per reader, per household.
  • The contest will end on May 20 at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice 
Good Luck!

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*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links, and don't forget that the referral fees from your purchases will sponsor the "Reader Rewards" giveaways :)


librarypat,  May 18, 2010 at 2:12 AM  

I am a GFC.

I just started a book today that has symbols in it. On the first page they give the symbols and their meanings. The book is PREDATORY GAME by Christine Feehan and the symbols have to do with the GhostWalker series.

Monica Burns May 18, 2010 at 10:01 AM  

Hi librarypat, I love sybolism in books. I think it's one of the reasons I love Dan Brown's work. That and the adventure aspects, the church and intrigue.

jeanette8042 May 18, 2010 at 11:39 AM  

I think ancient icons or symbols make stories a lot more interesting and recently I noticed a lot of icons and symbols in books. Like in Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series with the All Seeing Eye and other artifacts the characters are searching for.

GFC follower

lilazncutie1215 @

dyockman May 18, 2010 at 11:39 AM  

I love in a lot of the paranormal roms the use of tattoos in various forms. I read one recently Demonfire by Kate Douglas, that used a lizard tattoo through the book and then at the end (I won't tell why) it changes to a Phoenix. I love that!

Beyond that, can I just say that Monica Burns has some of the most beautiful cover art? That Kismet cover is freaking stunning!

dyockman May 18, 2010 at 11:41 AM  

Oh! Forgot to say I am a GFC follower! And I tweeted about the giveaway (told them to say Danielle Yockman sent them)...hopefully someone will come!

Artemis May 18, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

What really comes to mind in symbols would be the Demonica Series from Larissa Ione. There are quite a few in her novels but the one that stands out the most is what is on her Seminus demons. The tatoo that covers their right hand, arm, and throat carries many symbols that tells a story of their ancestors. When they mate addtional symbols are added and their female also receives the same tattoo/symbols.

I find that when used properly in story telling and world building, symbols add a whole new dimension. And it sure sounds like it in the Order of the Sicari. The more I read of this series, the more I drool.

Old follower.

Susan Helene Gottfried May 18, 2010 at 12:40 PM  

No need to enter me, ladies. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've go this posted at Win a Book for you.

Monica Burns May 18, 2010 at 12:49 PM  

Jeanette8042 - I've not had a chance to read much for more than a year because deadlines and working the day job. *sigh* Clearly I've been missing out! I've been wanting to try Gena's work (her agent is MY agent LOL) so I'm going to have to make extra special effort.

Dyockman - Kate Douglas is on a number of author loops with me, and if her work is as awesome as she is, well....I'm definitely missing out. And I LOVE the hot tattoos Thanks for the cover love! I love all the covers Berkley have given me. Assassin's Heart took me a little time to come around, but only because I had this vision of Lysander that didn't rock the marketing dept's world. LOL

Artemis - I'm glad reading about the series makes you drool. I want readers to be eager to read. *grin* And like I told Darlene, I love tats. My oldest got one last year. Although I confess I wasn't happy. NOT with the fact that she wanted one, but the fact that she put Dallas Cowboys on her back. LOL I wanted her to get something that was more personal and meaningful. At the least, something sexy that her future spouse might find intriguing and sexy. LOL

Susan, thanks for the "tweet"

Armenia May 18, 2010 at 3:24 PM  

+1 Assasin's Honor sounds like its the start of a great series. I love Indiana Jones movies, I admit I have the whole series. And Dan Brown's DaVinci Code and Angels&Demons just took me to a wonderful world of symbols. And the book cover is so sexy.

GFC follower

+15 blog giveaway:

armiefox at yahoo dot com

Monica Burns May 18, 2010 at 4:05 PM  

Armenia - I have the complete series of Indiana Jones. No one does Action Adventure better than Spielberg. And I LOVE Dan Brown. He's a wonderful storyteller!

Anonymous,  May 18, 2010 at 4:34 PM  

I would love to read this book.
cheryl.andrews @

BUSY BEE May 18, 2010 at 8:05 PM  

Of course Dan Brown's books are full of symbols and symbolic meanings. I love reading his books!

I am a google follower!

bsyb100 at gmail dot com

Monica Burns May 18, 2010 at 8:17 PM  

Hi Cheryl and Busy Bee. Glad you're interested in the book.Thanks for popping in.

Robin K May 18, 2010 at 9:06 PM  

That is a really hard question. Many of the historical romance books I read have symbols and they tend to play a huge part in the books. especially books featuring druids.

I am a follower.
robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

mbreakfield May 18, 2010 at 11:20 PM  

The Dark-hunter series has symbols. When they become a dark-hunter Artemis' symbol appears somewhere on their body.
I'm a GFC follower.

Monica Burns May 19, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

Robin, Marlene,

Thanks for stopping by. I think it's amazing how many symbols there are in romance books even the ones that aren't entirely obvious. thanks for stopping by.

jellybelly82158 May 19, 2010 at 2:33 PM  

I am a GFC follower -jellybelly82158

Hi Monica, This sounds like a great series. How many books will there be in the series?

Monica Burns May 19, 2010 at 2:52 PM  

Hi Jellybelly, Right now there are three planned, but if readers like them, then there will hopefully be more. It's up to the publisher, but I've got ideas for at least two or three more books after these first three. *grin*

Lori May 19, 2010 at 4:02 PM  

I seen this book being mentioned in several places, but my luck has always had me too late. Finally, I got here in time. I really am interested in reading this series. It has a premise that appeals to me and I must say the covers are nice to look at.

I am already a follower of this blog.

Monica Burns May 19, 2010 at 4:18 PM  

Thanks for popping in Lori. I'm glad the premise appeals. I hope other readers will find it appealing as well.

Pamk May 21, 2010 at 8:57 PM  

Larissa Ione demonica series has her medical symbol for their demon hospital and the seminus demons are marked with according to their lineage. Also Sherrilyn Keyon use a double bow and arrow for her dark-hunters.

Pamk May 21, 2010 at 8:58 PM  

forgot to say i'm an old follower lol

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