Karen Mahoney Guest Post & Giveaway: Donna’s Letter to Xan


I’m a big fan of Karen Mahoney’s writing. Both her nerd-girl vampire Moth from Falling to Ash and alchemist Donna Underwood from the Iron Witch trilogy are young adult protagonists I connect with and ones that resonate with teen readers, too. The third book in the Iron Witch trilogy The Stone Demon releases today. It is excellent (and Donna wears a really gorgeous dress at one point, which made me wish I had occasions that called for ball gowns). In celebration of the new release, today Karen has shared with us a letter from Donna to her boyfriend Xan. It’s set between The Wood Queen and The Stone Demon. So, no spoilers!

Also, at the end of the post we have a very generous giveaway: A full signed set of The Iron Witch, The Wood Queen and The Stone Demon. Open internationally. Yes. That happened.

Dear Xan,

By the time you read this I’ll be on the plane to London. I can’t believe that I’m going so far away from you!

I miss you already. People say that, don’t they? I always thought it was silly, but I understand it now. Sitting here writing this letter to you while waiting for my flight, I miss you. I can feel it in my chest, right through my heart and deep into my bones. I don’t want to say goodbye, and airport goodbyes suck the worst of all.

Donna had to leave Xan. This makes for a sad VBC.

It’s not even like we’ve known each other very long, but when we first met on that rooftop at that stupid party of yours, I knew we had a connection. It scared me, but I knew it all the same. Not like a pre-packaged, microwaveable instant sort of love… I’m not saying that. But a real connection. More than just the regular kind of attraction; we’ve both lost so much, and we both had to learn to keep secrets from such a young age. I could see the darkness in your eyes. The darkness and the pain. And, weird as it no doubt makes me sound, that drew me closer to you.

We have both been changed by magic – and not necessarily a gentle sort of magic.

Right now everything is… uncertain. It doesn’t help that I simply don’t know what to expect from the Order of the Crow. Will it be any better with them in London, than it was with the Order of the Dragon back home? I want to trust Miranda, but after everything I’ve found out recently… I just don’t know who to trust now – not when it comes to the alchemists. Well, apart from my mom. And maybe Robert Lee? Perhaps. But even if I can trust Robert, he’s still recovering from his injuries and won’t exactly be welcoming me with open arms. I know that makes me selfish, but I’m just being honest. I’ll be alone. It doesn’t matter how cool Miranda seems, this whole trip is nothing more than a punishment.

And a punishment for what? Everything I did… I’d do it again. I had to save Mom. Right? Isn’t the end of the world a worthwhile price to pay? (You don’t need to answer that.)

I just sat back from this piece of paper and actually waited for a response from you. Stupid, huh? I was hoping that if I can do something as crazy as open magical doorways, maybe that means I can suddenly communicate with you via telepathy.

(In case you wanted to know: the telepathy thing didn’t work. Apparently we’ll have to rely on emails and Skype once I arrive in London.)

Anyway. Thank you for being there for me in the Ironwood, at the end, when it counted. I’ll call you as soon as we land, but I wanted to leave this for you to read after I’d gone. Just in case I can’t say it on the phone. Sometimes I find it hard to tell you what I really feel, even though it’s all right there on the tip of my tongue.

Take care of yourself. Keep an eye on Nav for me, okay? And don’t rush into anything with Maker. Please? He’s not all bad – not like Simon Gaunt – but he’s still responsible for binding my powers and he might still be under the Magus’ influence. Just… be careful. The alchemists are tricky; they’ll promise you things without telling you the true consequences. And if you do take Maker up on his offer to help you fly again, just promise me something first, okay? Promise me that you’ll read the fine print. Don’t sign your soul away because you lost sight of the big picture. One of us making deals with a demon is more than enough.

I hope it’s not too long before I see you again. Maybe you can visit me in London sooner than you thought. Maybe you could try




Want to get your hands on the whole Iron Witch trilogy? How about signed copies of all three books? Done. One lucky VBC reader will take home the signed collection. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Open internationally.

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(Photo © Carlos Restrepo | Dreamstime.com)

6 Responses to “Karen Mahoney Guest Post & Giveaway: Donna’s Letter to Xan”

  1. *swoons*

    That’s a great letter!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Sydney W says:

    That is an awesome giveaway!!
    Kudos to you for making it international 🙂
    Loved the excerpt.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Sydney W

  3. Thanks to you both! Glad you enjoyed it. Good luck with the giveaway… 🙂


  4. Brenda Hyde says:

    Ditto to the Swoon! Thank you so much for the giveaway:)

  5. You’re welcome! It’s so nice to have all 3 together.

  6. Dina says:

    OMG!!!I was just thinking how could I get all the paperback copies of THE IRON WITCH trilogy.And for them to be in english,not italian.Some friends of mine are going to London on a week-end (don´t know when),and I was ready to beg them to buy it for me.But this giveaway is soo much better.Of course if I win.If not I´ll stick with the plan A. 🙂

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