Guest Post: Why Mix Paranormal & Dystopian?

Why mix Paranormal and Dystopian?

Guest Post by Emily S. Hurricane

Two words: why not? Okay but seriously…I really love end of the world stories. But as with most tales, I also love something with a paranormal twist. I wondered what it would be like for a set of people to have the entire world at their fingertips because there are just so little people left.

So what if a disease wiped out humanity and all that was left were immune supernatural creatures? And what if one of them didn’t even know what she was?

Daphne doesn’t know what she is, and has to navigate being potentially the last person on earth. This obviously isn’t a new idea, but I thought it would be so interesting to look at it through the lens of what on the surface seems like an everywoman. Imagine having to watch everyone around you die horribly, and somehow come through unscathed? I wanted to explore what that would do to a person, how she would deal with it (or not deal with it), and what she would do with her time.

What would you do if you were the last person on earth?

Emily hails from rural Nova Scotia, curled up on a tree stump with a bubblegum pink notebook and a steaming mug of French roast coffee. She is a thirtysomething mom of a toddler and a fur-baby. Her lumbersexual husband doesn’t actually work in lumber anymore, but he still wears the plaid and the beard.

When she’s not writing and/or momming, she’s sipping espresso, crocheting, and listening to audiobooks. She’s an established freelance writer and editor.

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The Beginning of the End  (Bloodlines Vol. 1) by Emily S. Hurricane ~ Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Daphne Rhodes would tell anyone: being ‘the one’ sucks.

At least, she would if there was anyone left to tell. She’s the one who’d survived. The one with the magic immune system that saved her.

The only one left on this whole miserable planet.

Daphne spends her days alone and craving answers as to why it had to be her. Why did she have to watch everyone she’d ever known and loved die a horrific death?

On her mother’s deathbed, Daphne learns long-hidden family secrets that send her on a quest across Canada to not only discover where she came from, why she survived, and who she is…but what she is, as well.

Volume 1 of the Bloodlines Series

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Life After by Kira Adams #giveaway

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Life After (Infinite Love #2) by Kira Adams ~ Genre: New Adult Cartel Contemporary Romance

Topher
I’d never imagined I would find someone who completed me, just to lose her. I’d never imagined the love I felt could be overshadowed by the deepest depression I’d ever lived through. Two years had passed since she touched my life, since she was taken from me. I was afraid to let anyone else close, afraid to lose them like I lost her, and then Destiny crashed into my life. She was nothing like Ciera, and that’s what attracted me. The more she pushed me away, the more I wanted her. I knew I was playing with fire, but I liked the burn.

Destiny
He was so unexpected, nothing like the guys I would normally go for, but he was persistent. He saw the ugliness inside of me, and he accepted it; he nurtured it. I’d been looking out for me for so long that, when he came into the picture, I couldn’t accept it. It was too good to be true. He was too good to be true, too good for someone like me. But when shit hit the fan, Topher was there by my side, holding me up. He didn’t run away when things got tough, and that meant the world to me. I wasn’t Ciera; I didn’t want to be her. I just wanted a chance to show him the love I knew he deserved. 

**Only .99 cents!!**

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Krista Pakseresht has always been a dreamer, from the first time she opened her eyes, and creating worlds through words is one thing she is truly talented at. She specializes in young adult/new adult romance, horror, action, fantasy, and non-fiction under the pen name Kira Adams. She is the author of the Infinite Love series, the Foundation series, the Darkness Falls series, A Date with the Devil, The Life I Never Asked For, Never Trust a Bad Boy and Ultimate Game Changer.

Want to stay up to date with all the new releases, cover reveals, never-before-seen excerpts, and more? Sign up for the Kira Adams newsletter here.

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Matthew R. Davis ~ Author Interview

Today, I’d like to welcome Matthew R. Davis, author of If Only Tonight We Could Sleep and Midnight In The Chapel Of Love, as my guest.

Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…

  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name?

I’m Matthew R. Davis, and I use that name for everything. Like, the middle initial gets bandied about everywhere, not just in my writing, because I’ve come to know myself by that handle.

  • Where do you call home?

Adelaide, South Australia. I grew up in a large country town called Port Pirie, also in SA, where the rest of my family still lives.

  • What is your family like?

Lovely. My father, mother, and younger brother work together in an auto parts store where I sometimes do casual shifts, and they’ve also dabbled in the creative arts. My father wrote some songs when he was younger, published cartoons in outlets such as Punch Magazine, and we recently collaborated on a short story that he wrote and I rewrote; my brother has self-released two albums of singer/songwriter pop for which I conceived and assembled the cover art, with images shot by Red Wallflower Photography.

  • Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?

I love all forms of art and do as much as I can. I play bass, guitar, keyboards, theremin, and anything else I can get my hands on – I’ve been in many bands over the years. I’m the lead singer, bassist, and main songwriter for Blood Red Renaissance, an idiosyncratic heavy rock band on hiatus for years, and also the bassist/backing vocalist for icecocoon, a progressive metal group. I designed all the posters and album art for BRR and I’ve done some visual work for icecocoon as well as editing their live videos and performance clips. A MAPS film school graduate, I’ve worked on short films as composer, director, editor, producer, lighting guy, grip, and actor – recently I’ve shot a few scenes as an extra for Ribspreader, a forthcoming trash horror feature film by local punk icon Dick Dale. I’ve performed spoken word shows with punk poets Paroxysm Press and the SA Writers Centre. I’ve done photo shoots as a camera assistant for Red Wallflower Photography and we like to explore abandoned derelict buildings together. Basically, I’ll do anything creative that takes my fancy!

  • What is your greatest dream?

For me: as much success, happiness, and creative fulfilment as I can earn. For the world: as much peace, compassion, and acceptance as we can attain.

  • What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

Wow, getting deep here! I wish I could be more active, organised, healthy, and happy with myself. Life is a constant struggle against my own laziness, distraction, thoughtlessness, self-indulgence, and low self-opinion. Well, you did ask.

  • Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love?

Of course I do. You wouldn’t necessarily call it love from an adult perspective, but I fell hard for a girl called Janelle when I was ten. We were sort of an item in that harmless primary school way for about six months, and then, setting in place a pattern that would sometimes recur later in life, I refused to get over her for far too long.

  • What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

I’ve been fairly lucky thus far. I’ve lost very few people close to me and I walked away unscathed from a drunken car crash. In truth, my worst experiences are having my heart broken and living with the knowledge that I’ve hurt others through my own clumsiness, selfishness, and dishonesty. I don’t think that pain will ever entirely go away.

  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing fiction since the age of seven. I don’t recall the impetus for that, but I’ve always loved stories. In terms of influences that kept me going after the initial phase of writing that so many kids do, I’d have to tip my hat to Terrance Dicks, Ray Bradbury, and Stephen King among a great many others.

  • What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

When I was a kid, my dream was to be a heroic soldier of fortune who would live a life of action, save lots of people, and kill lots of bad guys – thankfully, I grew out of that! Otherwise, I’ve really only ever wanted to be an author and a musician, and I’ve done a lot in those fields… but I’m never satisfied with my achievements, and I’m still reaching for the stars.

  • Who is your role model?

If I had to pick one at all, the Doctor from Doctor Who. Their courage, compassion, intelligence, eccentricity, and broad-minded joy at the universe has inspired me as long as I can remember.

  • What is your greatest fear?

I asked myself this once so I could write a novel manuscript about it. Turns out the answer is mediocrity, failure, regret, and hurting others. Also, sharks.

  • Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, or audiobooks?

Physical books, hands down. I will read ebooks when the occasion calls for it, but I don’t have much interest in audiobooks.

  • Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so, what was it?

So many times! I’ve reread hundreds of books, though I don’t do that much these days as there are always so many new releases and unread classics to discover.

  • What is your opinion of novellas?

Love them! Sometimes they are the perfect vehicle for a story, especially in horror, and they rarely outstay their welcome. I’ve written a few that have yet to find a home.

  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?

Yes, of course! A recent example is Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. The cover art and author blurbs had my interest firmly piqued before I even took the book off the shelf.

  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?

My wish list is and will always be enormous! We don’t have enough room for me to list off everything I want to get. In terms of upcoming releases, I’m looking forward to the new books by Stephen King (both of them), Ramsey Campbell, Laird Barron, Philip Fracassi, and Tamsyn Muir.

  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?

You’ve caught me between books! I grabbed a few things from the library today – as if I didn’t have enough at home to read – and I’ll probably start with The Best Horror of the Year Volume Twelve, edited by Ellen Datlow.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story

  • What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?

Midnight in the Chapel of Love, my first novel. “A rural gothic mystery with underpinnings of cosmic horror, an examination of what makes a man tick – a great read!”

  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?

Don Noble created the cover of my novel, and I’m very happy with it. My first collection had internal images that were thought up by me before passing through the mental and literal lens of Red Wallflower Photography to become something new between what I wanted and what she was seeing; the cover was my idea, she shot it, and I put the layout together.

  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?

I don’t listen to music when writing or editing, but it nevertheless plays a huge role in my work. I often write about music and musicians and they seep into my process in all sorts of ways. For example, the chapters in MITCOL are titled after songs which create a cool playlist for the book.

  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

My collection went nameless a long time before I found a title that resonated with me; once I lit upon If Only Tonight We Could Sleep – after a song by The Cure which is mentioned in the book – that was the job done! I wanted to call the cave system at the heart of my novel the Cathedral until I learned there was already one by that name, so I changed it to the Chapel; for a while I thought The Chapel of Love would make an interestingly different title for such a dark story, but then I expanded it to Midnight in the Chapel of Love and that clicked neatly into place.

  • In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?

The main character in Midnight in the Chapel of Love is Jonathan Trotter, who goes by Jonno when he’s a teenager and Jonny as an adult. He’s become a kitchen manager but he’s one of those people who never really feels at home anywhere – even, perhaps, in his romantic relationships. He’s a well-meaning guy but he’s fraught with confusion and insecurity. He left his country town home under a dark cloud after finishing high school and he’s stayed away for fifteen years, insistent upon leaving that part of him behind in the inscrutable shadows – but now his father has died and he must return to Waterwich, where the mysteries and challenges of his past rear their heads to threaten his future…

  • What are some of his/her favorite foods?

Jonny is, as I said, a kitchen manager, and he’s always been a bit of a whiz with food. He doesn’t have a clear favourite, but the vegetarian burgers he makes at work are mentioned at one point and he’s also a fan of pizza and yiros.

  • Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

I hope that readers will identify with Jonny to some degree. The book is, in many ways, an examination of the male psyche and its tendencies toward grace, and also toxicity. Aside from Jonny, we meet a few different types of man throughout the story and see both their natural strengths and endemic weaknesses. Jonny is flawed, but he’s smart, funny, and caring. Whether these attributes are ultimately enough to save him is for the reader to discover…

  • What first gave you the idea for your latest book?

The first seeds of MITCOL were planted as I drove from Port Pirie to Adelaide one afternoon, listening to Something for Kate’s “The Fireball at the End of Everything”. The basic idea is fairly plain, all things considered – a standard plot in lit-fic and horror both, really – but I layered more ideas and themes onto it until I felt I had something unique that needed to be written.

Let’s talk now about your writing process

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I’m almost exclusively a plotter, though I leave a bit of wiggle room to add or alter things on the fly. I like to know where my tale is going to end up so I can feed in relevant themes, recurring images, foreshadowing, etc.

  • Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?

The main challenge in writing is to achieve the level of craft I set for myself, to reach a bar that is forever being lifted higher and higher and yet will never attain the lofty heights where my favourite authors reside. The main challenge in publishing is to crack the bigger markets, receive the critical and financial success reached by my influences, and make a real name for myself – the usual! It’s hard to know what I should or would have done differently – maybe a stronger focus on my goals so that I could have been where I am a lot sooner, but to be fair, my work might not have been ready and I might have come to regret publishing things that would embarrass me.

  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?

My first book, If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, came out through Things in the Well, a small Australian indie; my first novel, Midnight in the Chapel of Love, is being released by JournalStone, a well-known and respected American independent press. I came close with a major Australian publisher, but I don’t know if my work will ever quite be what the majors are looking for… even if I believe there’s a lot of crossover potential.

  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?

Simple: read a lot, write a lot, and just keep going.

  • What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?

See above, plus: be well-read enough that you can see where your own work stands in relation to industry standards, and be objective enough to know when you’re good enough to compete with your idols and influences.

  • Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.

My blog is at matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com. You can find me on Facebook, too, at www.facebook.com/MxRxDx.


Grace Rose Thomas ~ Author Interview

Australia based author Grace Rose Thomas is the YA Urban Fantasy author of The A’vean Chronicles. Check out the video to find out how you can win a copy of her first book Awaken.

(Click on the cover images to order your copy)

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.)

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Bound in Strength by Zola Blue #giveaway

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

Born in Florida, I am a resident of the US, but now I reside on a lovely island in British Columbia Canada with my mother and two dogs, and one cat. During the early years of my life, I worked in the business industry, thus reaching my goal of obtaining my degree in Business Management. I love to read, and over my lifetime, I have probably read hundreds of books. Now that life has given a bit more time to concentrate on my personal life, I am following God and writing fun, fanciful fiction stories, which blend over into the fantasy realm.  I hope that each time I put words on the paper, it makes you want to read it. I always hope someone has fallen in love with my words and want to continue reading them.

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Bound in Strength: Stance Upon Heartache (The Mejuarian Book 2) by Zola Blue ~ Genre: Fantasy

Four god-like creatures named Mejuarian living on planet Ercutis, their world was near perfect.
Mejuarian, a cross between an animal and godly beings, have a splendorous village where everyone gets along. They live in a hierarchical society, and everyone loves their king and queen. A near utopian life that allows all Mejuarian to rise to their most extraordinary levels of consciousness. That is until they discover using systems much like our own, an asteroid is on course to decimate their village and erase their long history. Short notice, they plan to move all inhabitants, along with those bound to them by their magical powers, to the other side of their planet and reside in the lands of their longtime ally and trade partners, the Dragonors.

Very upsetting to many Mejuarian mothers and fathers having mewlings is that their ancient tradition of birthing nests on an ancestral altar would be away from their homes.

However, all seems to go as planned, and they depart with all twelve ships successfully. One ship dedicated to moving the birth alter intact with nests placed on it trails the fleet. Unfortunately, the Mejuar scientist’s slight miscalculation allowed for the meteor’s early arrival. A shockwave forces the underpowered, overloaded ship carrying the nests to crash land. Before its descent, a piece of the broken altar is dragged into space, and two of its occupants.

On earth, a family torn with grief after the loss or their mother tries to enjoy a day of convalescing by a local lake. Hubert, the local veterinarian with his two children Ren a teen, and Brooklyn, his baby sister, are exploring after a picnic lunch. Ren discovers the charred nests and is curious as to what they are. Hubert also becomes interested in the unusual possible chrysalids. The inquisitive vet takes the nests back to his facility and uses the extent of written and photo journals available to him in 1960. He is unable to identify them and ponders, what are they?

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Would you like a chance to win a $40 Amazon gift card (1 winner), a Swag Pack (2 winners), a Signed copy of Bound in Strength (2 winners), or an eBook of Bound in Strength (1 winner)? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

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Everdal Update #6…

Update #6 March 31, 2021

WORKING TITLE: Everdal
GENRE: YA/NA Fantasy
Status: Writing First Draft
Days in current Status: 65
Days of actual writing: 14
Current Word Count: 33,560
Current Chapter Count Complete: 15
NEXT STEPS: Complete first draft - Estimated completion date: 5/31/2021

A Month of Excuses!

If I had a dollar for every excuse I made not to write over the past month… Well, I’d have a lot of dollars.

  • Work Deadlines
  • Kid Commitments
  • Home Owner Obligations
  • Wifely Responsibilities
  • To Tired
  • I Need to Exercise
  • To Much Computer Time
  • I Have to Cook
  • THE LIST GOES ON

No More Excuses!

They say that you are more likely to reach your goals if you write them down and share them with others. Unfortunately, that didn’t work for me… I missed my writing deadline of March 31st (today). But, I don’t give up so easily. I’m setting a new deadline and this time it will stick. Come hell or high water! I will have the first draft of Everdal done by May 31, 2021. I hope each and every one of you reading this, will hold me to it. Comment below… message me… email me (ninasodenbooks@gmail.com)… Tweet me @Nina_Soden… tag me on Instagram Nina_Soden… just find a way to let me know you are pushing me to reach this goal. Sometimes it takes outside inspiration and motivation. Sometimes it just takes finding an extra thirty minutes in a day. I think I need a little of both. Ok, no more slaking… I’m going to go put in an hour of writing and try to get another 1,000 words in before I stop for the night.


She’s Still The One by Kaci Rose #giveaway

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

She’s Still the One by Kaci Rose ~ Genre: Contemporary, Billionaire Rockstar Romance

Bro Code Rule #1 – You can’t have your best friend’s younger sister.

Austin

What is it that guys I date don’t seem to understand what a causal relationship is?

That doesn’t mean to propose to me. This is why I packed up everything into my car and I’m now heading to my brothers.

Only he’s not there. His best friend Dallas is.

Dammit, he’s the reason none of my relationships have worked out. I compare them all to how he treats me.

When they go on tour and drag me along it’s hard to hide feelings in the small space of a tour bus. But my brother has made it very clear.

Dallas is no good for me. We both risk losing my brother if we go any further.

Dallas

It sucks when you can’t have the one girl you love.

When the band I started with Austin’s brother took off girls were easy. It was less messy having flings.

Then she moves into the house with us.

Even when her brother has made it perfectly clear she is off limits I can’t seem to stay away.

She is still the only one who makes my heart race.

When her life is on the line because of the band’s fame can we put our differences aside long enough to save her?

Can I convince them both I’ve changed, and I will be a one-woman man the rest of my days if she just chooses me?

This is a Steamy, Rockstar, Brother’s Best Friend Romance. No Cliffhangers.
As always there is a satisfying Happy Ever After.
If you love steamy romances with hot love scenes, and rockstars, then this one is for you.

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Kaci runs on coffee, chocolate, and Oreos. She loves her book boyfriends with tattoos, muscles, beards, and a little dirty.

Kaci loves romance books and has been jotting down ideas since she was in high school and is now putting the ideas down on paper. She believes in satisfying, happily ever afters with a lot of steam on the way.

She was born and raised in Southwest Florida but is wholeheartedly a mountain girl. She has been reading as many books as she could get her hands on since grade school and loves to travel when she gets the chance.

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The Soul Warrior by Adrian Rose Spear #giveaway

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

The Soul Warrior (Book One) by Adrian Spear ~ Genre: Historical Romantic Fantasy

Follow the adventures of Lorrain McGregor, a young woman whose soul is chosen for a great purpose. When her body dies in 1851, her soul survives to go back in time…to the year 1631 in Jamestown, Virginia. She is faced with many obstacles but there are magical creatures just waiting for her to arrive. Lorrain will realize as a Soul Warrior she has the ability to change the course of history. But for what and why was her soul chosen? As a strong woman who embraces her power and newfound supernatural friends Lorrain demonstrates what a true femme fatale is. Is this a second chance to make right her wrongs? Who will tame Lorrain’s heart? Can she survive what this new life has thrown her way? Come along and find out…

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This is Adrian Rose Spear, author of The Soul Warrior. I was born in Sacramento, California where I had quite a rollercoaster of a childhood. By the time I was 15, I had been in foster care for eight years and was lucky enough to reunite with my biological parents. I worked in grocery stores for most of my working career and doing so helped put me through college. in 2019, I graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a BA in History. Recently, my husband and I moved to eastern Virginia where I have had the pleasure of working at some amazing living history museums. My love of history made an impact on this novel. I truly wanted to make it authentic as possible, with room to allow for the fantasy of course. I have always considered myself a strong, independent, and hardworking woman who has overcome many things and I am delighted to share my imagination with the world!

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Author Interview ~ Adrian Spear

An interview with Adrian Spear, author of The Soul Warrior!

About the Author

When I was younger, in my teens and early twenties, I found it almost impossible not to share my life’s story. There was reason to be proud- I had survived eight years of abuse at the hands of my foster mother and made it out at age sixteen only to be reunited with my biological parents. But what I had not understood until later is that although my past still gripped my consciousness- it did not define me.

My late teens were extremely rough because I was on a quest to find the love and acceptance I had been denied through the most crucial years of my life. Luckily, my biological parents had stepped back into my life like an anchor and enabled me to slowly heal and grow. I experimented with drugs and put myself in dangerous situations but by the time I had turned twenty-one I knew my life’s purpose was one that involved an education. One of my ways of healing was writing- poetry, short stories, and even journaling. I channeled that into a possible degree at a community college where I started out as an English major, but my love of writing would be challenged after facing the realization that I did not know how to write at college level. Then I took a history class that changed my view and future vision of what I aspired to be. The power of history and knowledge captivated me and soon, I was writing some of the best papers in that class. My college journey was longer than most, but I finally graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s in history with a focus on public history. Now, I work at the amazing living history museum at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Was it easy, no. I worked in the grocery business since I was seventeen and only quit when I got a job as a student assistant in a library and history center for Caltrans. Hard work and perseverance have followed me throughout my life, and it did when it came to my book, The Soul Warrior. The concept was started in 2012 and it was only a year later that I developed all my characters, with sketches, and started an actual storyline. I started writing it almost a dozen times and restarted it just as many times. But it wasn’t until early 2020 when COVID-19 shut down the world and forced me to stay at home-and I wrote. The last chapter, the last paragraph, the last sentence was so amazing to write because it had almost taken me a decade to get this book finished! I am truly proud of the story I created but also proud of the characters I was able to develop. My main character reflects me and all the things I have survived in my life. She was created to be strong and a fighter which is one heck of a combination.

About the book/characters

My book was inspired by many things including some well-known books, movies and television shows. I was a huge fan of True Blood when it came out on HBO in 2008. But what I loved even more was the Sookie Stackhouse novels they were based on. It was from this wonderful series that made my love of vampires and vampiric lore come alive. Besides being sexualized creatures, they are also seemingly misunderstood beings because of how intricate and complex an actual vampire would be. Imagine living for centuries and experiencing the highs and lows that come with being a vampire. They love but also can’t bear to love because it’s almost torture, especially to love a human. They also must experience the sadness of immortality with all their memories, regrets, and dreams to boot. It was from this idea, from this train of thought that produced the beginnings of The Soul Warrior. I knew I wanted a vampire love story but what I didn’t know was how my vampire characters would evolve.

Believe it or not, my book was originally going to take place in the 1850’s with Lorrain’s soul traveling to the future from the 1700’s. But that changed when I decided to take a stab at redeveloping my vampire characters, Xavier and Queen Dahlia. At first, Xavier was just a regular vampire from the time period and not Native American. Queen Dahlia was also not Native American, and she was one of four original Kings and Queens that I later decided didn’t fit into my new storyline. It wasn’t until I began rewriting (again!) and decided to make some changes. I thought making Xavier a Native American would provide a means of tension between Lorrain and him. Then the thought of making Xavier Queen Dahlia’s son came to be and the rest is history- and their stories are revealed much more in my book.

Spoilers

The Soul Warrior is book one in a series. I have started book two which takes place in the 1750’s in Williamsburg, Virginia. I have added a handful of new characters- two of which I will share with you as a spoiler. The first character I will reveal is a young woman by the name of Paisley. She is a fairy from the Royal Territories where she and her twin sister work at a family shop- where they sell handmade items. She has a green thumb as well, very good in the garden and has a love for all kinds of plants. She will join Lorrain in her purpose and become a love interest for another character.

The other character I developed out of pure joy and was extremely happy with how he turned out. Dominic will be introduced almost halfway through and he is a young gargoyle. His natural instincts are to protect the good and pure, so he becomes an asset to Lorrain and her friends. But he is not very easy to get along with and although he is highly intelligent, he is still very much a teenage boy.

Would you like a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card or a Print Copy of the Soul Warrior? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!


What Goes into a Killer First Line? And How to Craft Your Own!

What Goes into a Killer First Line? And How to Craft Your Own!

Guest Post by Desiree Villena

You’ve meticulously outlined a plot, researched the concept, even started thinking about how you might go about publishing your book — now you have to actually put pen to paper and write the first sentence. This should be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, right?

Alas, it’s rarely such. But if this is the moment you’ve found yourself lost for words, you’re definitely not alone!

Great first lines come in many shapes and sizes, depending on variables like genre, aim, and the events of your opening scene. Rather than giving a one-size-fits-all approach, I’d like to analyze the art of the opener with a few examples, so that you can decide upon the most slick and stylish opening line for your story.

Option #1: Establish a simple fact or event

Sometimes, less is more. Rather than conjuring up something dramatic and unforgettable, sometimes your best option is getting something — anything — down on paper! Opening a scene in the clearest way possible establishes narrative directness, rather than appearing convoluted and overwrought. For an example of an opener that’s both attention-grabbing and fact-based, let’s look at Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend:

This morning Rino telephoned. I thought he wanted money again and I was ready to say no.”

Here, Ferrante states an event that has occurred and explains it in simple terms. In the first part of this opener, we learn of the event: a conversation, which we soon find out is between an elderly lady and a young man, about a woman who has suddenly gone missing. In the second part, we get a sense of the interesting dynamic between the two, via the protagonist’s assumption over what the call is about. Simple, yet highly effective.

Option #2: Jump into the action

Forget what you were taught at school — starting with exposition is not a hard-and-fast rule when it comes to kicking off your story. In fact, many story structures advocate for cutting straight to the action to establish pace, intrigue, and excitement early on. It also allows for more sophisticated incorporation of character development and backstory as the plot develops.

Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You is a great example of establishing the crunch point of a story in the opener:

 “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.”

This line is short, sparse, and shocking. The reader immediately understands the crisis upon which the story will likely hinge. It doesn’t waste any time in grabbing the reader’s attention and setting the stage for the mystery that is about to unfold.

Option #3: Set the mood with something literary

That said, a little bit of exposition can be a more appropriate way to begin your story — particularly if it’s a slowburn or a more lighthearted form of fiction, like a romance or a slice-of-life drama. This can be done through the use of a literary device, like a simile or metaphor, or a detailed description of a place or a character.

For example, John Kennedy Tooles’ A Confederacy of Dunces starts with a physical description of Ignatius J. Reilly, Toole’s unpleasant, flatulent, work-shy protagonist:

“A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head.”

This opening instantly establishes the humorous tone of this cult classic, and shows Reilly to be a character with silly and somewhat foolish dimensions. It also figures as a more subtle illustration of the general tone of the story — comical yet description-heavy.

To use a metaphor of my own, this approach might be considered a dimming of the stage lights, rather than setting up the props! Illustrative, expressive writing with a touch of symbolism effectively establishes the ambience of a scene and allows for a gentle build up to the action.

Option #4: Impart some thoughtful philosophy

Some of the most memorable lines in fiction take a more worldly approach. This will require more expansive thinking than the other three tactics — but, when done well, can imbue your writing with an air of authority and significance that goes beyond the relaying of a series of events. L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between is a classic, oft-cited example of this type of opener:

 “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

In this case, Hartley alludes to the regret-tinged tale of his elderly protagonist, Leo, concerning a fateful visit to the country estate of his childhood friend Marcus. Rather than expressing a point of action, this kind of opening steps back from the plot and expresses a sentiment that resonates with the narrative arc of the story. If done well, this can be a stylish and thoughtful way to foreshadow the morale of your story, affirm a particular tone, and impart some wisdom onto your readers. Creative and classy.

If you’re still stumped, fear not! You can start writing your book or story at whichever point you feel is most clarified in your mind — beginning, middle, or end. As long as you keep plugging away, you’re bound to come up with something sooner or later!


The author of this guest post, Desiree Villena, is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories.