Showing posts with label Interview With The Villain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interview With The Villain. Show all posts

Monday, October 16, 2017

Guest Post on Villains by Joe M. Solomon





The Darkness: Giger, Texas
Joe M. Solomon

Genre: Horror/Supernatural

Publisher: NES Publishing, LLC

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9990024-0-7
ASIN: B07435H5YR

Number of pages: 372
Word Count: 106,029

Cover Artist: Syneca Featherstone



Book Description:

When night falls in Giger, Texas, shadows gather as they always do in dim corners and other areas bereft of light.  But this time they consolidate and attack any who tread too close. Michael Warren, a twenty-four-year-old resident of Giger, finds himself at the epicenter of this horror and is stunned by the losses suffered overnight.  Then the sun sets and the shadows again coalesce, growing more aggressive, the darkness eviscerating anyone it touches.

His only weapon light, Michael struggles to survive and searches frantically for his girlfriend, aiding friends along the way.  When Hurricane Daniel roars ashore, wind gusts shred trees and tear down power lines, plunging all of Southeastern Texas into blackness that only feeds and strengthens the encroaching darkness.  Rising floodwater provides easy thoroughfares from which the darkness can strike as Michael and his friends contend with the elements, clash with criminals, and battle their way to his residence where they will stand against the darkness and fight to survive.

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Excerpt:
Startled, Eddie blinked and wiped at his own eyes. “What was…? Hello?”

No answer.
      
His pulse picked up. “C-Curt, you in here… you a-a-a-asshole?”

A box fell behind him.

Eddie spun around, body tight as a knot, eyes wide as their sockets would allow. “Wh-h-h-h-who the hell’s that?” he demanded with as much sternness as he could inject into his quivering voice.


Soft whispers trickled out of a minuscule pocket of emptiness near the back door on the farthest wall. There, amid the gloom, something progressed toward him. At first, its movements appeared mechanical, inelastic. Then it evolved into a smooth flow. A soft ripple. A consolidated wave of darkness.



Review - The Darkness Giger, Texas - 5 Stars

A total scarefest! Definitely not for the squeamish. This takes place right before a hurricane is about to hit. Those of us who have dealt with a hurricane or are afraid of the dark, will experience real terror among these pages. Michael Warren and his friends have no idea why there are mass murders taking place at night, not just in Giger, Texas, but all over the world. You won't believe what they encounter. Many of you may want to sleep with the lights on after this.

We have a very plausible scenario here that switches to the viewpoint of thecharacters throughout. If you live in the Houston area, you can really visualize this taking place which makes it all the more terrifying. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this, but it was worth the ride. Seasoned horror fans will be glued to their seats as a new terror takes shape. - Reviewed by Janet



GUEST POST: VILLAINS


Let’s explore a little about what scares you.  I’ve read books and watched movies that reflect things that scare us.  Sometimes it is waking up and suddenly realizing that you are the last person on earth, i.e. Loneliness.  According to psychiatrists, we need people for everything from simple companionship to feeling good about ourselves.  This notion was examined time and again on the TV series The Twilight Zone. In Where is Everybody?, our main character basically wakes up in a town alone.  He tries a pay phone.  Nothing.  He rushes from a restaurant to the sheriff’’s office, finding no one.  He has a moment of hope when he sees a woman sitting in a car.  Further investigating, however, reveals that it is a mannequin.  When he can find no hope, ultimately our protagonist starts to crack up.  



We also see it in Time Enough when the main character survives a nuclear war.  Upon surfacing, the man finds everything has been destroyed.  He is a ferocious reader who wears thick eyeglasses. However, after discovering piles and piles of books he now has all the time in the world to read, he sees another on the ground, bends to retrieve it, and his glasses slide off of his nose and break.  Now he is alone, unable to read, with no one to talk to and nothing to do but wait to die.

In a more recent film, Passengers, the main character is on a spaceship, heading to a new world with thousands of other passengers.  By accident, the main character accidentally awakens.  All of the others still sleep.  Doing almost everything he wants to, from dancing in a virtual club to space walking outside of the ship, he finds it isn’t enough.  He needs a companion and soon finds it paramount.

So we need other people and fear total solitude. What else scares us?  Let’s consider some childhood that sometimes follow us into adulthood.  The three I’ve heard mentioned the most often are the monsters under the bed, the boogeyman in the closet and what lurks in the darkness.  As adults, the darkness continues to frighten us because we are aware now of terrors—like serial killers—that may lay in waiting for us as we walk to our cars late at night. Sick individuals who aren’t out steal our money or carjack us, but just want to see us suffer and die.  Or the lone gunman who unexpectedly sprays crowds with bullets or the man who waits in the shadows, engine running, carefully timing a hit and run.  All for the sake of violence.  But what happens when the menace in the darkness waiting to kill you isn’t a person, but the darkness itself is? 
“So what?” some might respond.  “The darkness is intangible.”  But what if it became tangible, not just her or there, but everywhere shadows formed.  And the one thing we knew for certain was that the sun must set. 
Again, so might shrug and say, “So what?  I’ll simply turn on the lights.”  What if a hurricane then plowed ashore and took away your light source?  What if the darkness grew so thick that is blocked out the starts from the sky… and the light in your house?  How would you protect yourself if a candle or flashlight simply wasn’t enough light to stave off the darkness?  Would submersing yourself in such a tale take you back to an earlier time in your life when the monster under the bed and the boogeyman in the closet seemed terrifyingly real? 

Well, this is what I present to you, dear reader:  A villain you cannot speak with, interview, reason with or evade… ever!

About the Author:

Joe M. Solomon earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, followed by both master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University. Joe’s supernatural thriller The Darkness: Giger, Texas released in 2017. A second novel—The Light: Houston, Texas—and a collection of short stories that arise from the macabre will soon follow.  




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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Interview With The Villain: Aliya Dalrae


Character Interview with Helmut Fuhrmann,
Antagonist from the Jessica Sweet Novels
As conducted by the Literature Lemur during his radio show, The Character Hour

Literature Lemur:  Hello, and welcome to The Character Hour! I’m the Literature Lemur, and boy do we have a show for you! Today we will be talking with none other than Helmut Fuhrmann, Sorcerer extraordinaire. You may remember him from The Jessica Sweet Novels, “Sweet Vengeance” and “Sweet Discovery,” but I’m here to tell you, there’s a lot more to this fictional felon than meets the eye. So let’s give a warm welcome to today’s vicious villain, Helmut Fuhrmann! Welcome Helmut, thank you for joining us!

Fuhrmann:  Thank you for having me.

Literature Lemur:  Before we go to the phones, why don’t you give us a little background on yourself? I’m sure the audience would love to know a bit about who you are and how you came to be such horrible person.

Fuhrmann:  M’yes. I was born in Germany, many, many years ago. Honestly, I’ve stopped keeping track. I am, as you say, of a breed of Sorcerers, and we are, for the most part, a peaceful people. However, when that butcher, Raven, destroyed my life, I had no choice but to exact my revenge.

Literature Lemur:  By going after him and those he loves, right?

Fuhrmann:  But of course.

Literature Lemur: I see. You say you are a peaceful people. But isn’t it true you are trying to wipe out the lycanthropes?

Fuhrmann:  The war with the wolves is as ancient as we are a people. Besides, they started it.

Literature Lemur: *laughs nervously* Alrighty then! Let’s go to the phones!  Lyra from Florida, You’re on the air! What is your question for Helmut Fuhrmann?

Lyra:  Hey LL! Mr. Fuhrmann, I want to know when you decided to take your revenge. What was the breaking point?

Fuhrmann: Thank you Lyra. The breaking point was when I discovered my wife, eviscerated by that Vampire. The decision was instantaneous. The moment I saw my beloved Sylva’s battered and bloodied body, I knew that someday I would have my revenge on the animal who destroyed her. There was never a choice.

Lyra: But do you really not feel any guilt when you hurt other people? Do you think that only your people are worthy of respect and pity?

Fuhrmann:  No one is worthy of my pity. I will destroy anyone who gets in the way of my vengeance, regardless of their blood. I would as easily eliminate one of my own as a Vampire or Werewolf. I have one purpose in this life, and that is to avenge my wife. Stand in my way, and you will surely die.

Literature Lemur: *clears throat* Thank you, Lyra!

Lyra: But I had…

Literature Lemur: Next caller! Susan from Wisconsin, welcome to The Character Hour. You’re on the air with Helmut Fuhrmann from the Jessica Sweet Novels.

Susan:  Oh, Sweet! Mr. Fuhrmann, I just had to comment on your amazing hair. It’s so long and floaty – I was just wondering, what is your hair care regimen? Are there any products you could recommend?

Fuhrmann: Why thank you Susan, so kind of you to ask. Our hair is a point of pride for my kind. While I would love to let it fly freely, it is necessary to keep it in check while out amongst the humans. As far as care, I have a special potion that I use for cleansing purposes, one derived by my mother centuries ago, specifically crafted for the delicate nature of our follicles. However, in a pinch, I have been known to use John Frieda’s Frizz Ease.

Literature Lemur: How fascinating! And thank you Susan, for that perfectly safe question! Our next caller is Eva from Rhode Island. Welcome Eva, you’re on the air.

Eva: Ok, Fuhrmann, not finding you likeable in the least, share “one” redeeming feature about yourself besides devotion to your wife, which is an aberration at best.

Literature Lemur:  Oh boy…

Fuhrmann: *taps fingers on the table*…*looks at the ceiling*…

Literature Lemur: Mr. Fuhrmann?

Fuhrmann: I’m sorry. I’m drawing a blank. My love for my Sylva is everything good about me. Without that? I’m afraid we’ll have to move on…

Literature Lemur: So right! Our next caller is Jessica from Oregon. Hello, Jessica, you’re on the air!

Jessica: Hey, Hi Literature Lemur. Uh, Mr. Fuhrmann, I was just wondering, do you have any role models of evil? You know, torture masters or dark wizards who you admire or emulate?

Fuhrmann: Excellent question, young lady. As a matter of fact, I do! The Marquis de Sade has always been a personal favorite, although I have found myself greatly admiring the work of a dark wizard by the name of Voldemort. That man really knows how to stir the pot, don’t you think? But by far, the greatest torture master of all times would have to be George R.R. Martin. He’s new to the game, by my standards, but he does have a way with making people scream. *smiles wickedly*

Jessica: Uh…nice…So, quick follow up? What is your favorite recipe, passed down by Gramma Fuhrmann?

Fuhrmann: Hmm…That would have to be her Konigsberger Klops. It’s a lovely dumpling filled with minced meat & salt herring, served in a creamy sauce with capers and lemon juice.

Literature Lemur: That sounds delicious!

Fuhrmann:  In fact, it is.

Literature Lemur: And, moving on. Our next caller is Maple from Australia. Maple, go ahead with your question.

Maple:  Hello! Mr. Fuhrmann, I have another hair related question, but this one is more of a technical nature. Does the static electricity that makes your hair fly around interfere with your magic, or is it a part of it?

Fuhrmann: Ah, yes. Excellent question! It is actually a part of the magic. Or the magic is a part of it. As our people are fond of saying, the more magic in the man, the more life in his mane. I mentioned before that our hair is a point of pride, and this is precisely the reason why. Were I to “let my hair down,” so to speak, you would see just how powerful I am! *laughs maniacally*

Literature Lemur: That’s so very interesting, there, Mr. Fuhrmann, but let’s say you keep that braid in for now, right?
*Fuhrmann scowls*

Literature Lemur: Our next caller is Jeannie from New Hampshire. Jeannie, do you have a question for Helmut Fuhrmann?

Jeannie: Indeed I do! Mr. Fuhrmann, if you weren’t so busy doing all of this evil Sorcerer stuff, what would you see yourself doing, you know, for a living?

Fuhrmann: Interesting questions, Jeannie. I believe if I weren’t so focused on avenging my wife, I would probably be working for the government in some capacity. Technically, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing now, but you know how it is. Priorities and such.

Literature Lemur: Yes, I suppose we do! *clears throat again* So, I think we have just enough time for one more question. Maude from Miami? You’re on the air!

Lyra: Hey, I got cut off earlier, and I had more questions.

Literature Lemur: Wait, is this Lyra from Florida again?

Lyra: Yeah, Mr. Furhmann. Can I call you Helmut? I have to know: Do you think you will ever love again? How did you learn your powers? Do you like human food? What’s your favorite movie? Are you secretly attracted to Jessica? Come on, all the guys are! And how does it feel to have…

Fuhrmann: *growls and removes the band from his braid, releasing his hair. Static flies from his fingertips and an earsplitting screech bursts from the speakers.*

Literature Lemur: Okay folks! I think that’s about all the time we have today. Thank you Mr. Fuhrmann, for your candid interview and for your extreme patience with all of our callers!
*Wind blows around the studio, sending papers and equipment flying*

Literature Lemur: *yelling over the din* Join us tomorrow for another amazing show! This is the Literature Lemur, with the Character Hour, signing off!

*Radios the world over experience unexplained dead air*


Synopsis:
Jessica Sweet is an orphan –Again…
At 26, the term may not truly apply, but having been abandoned by her birth parents at an early age, the death of her adoptive parents is like déjà vu all over again. Now she finds herself alone, facing a future that should be unsure; however, the visions she’s been plagued with since childhood are about to descend upon her, pulling her into a supernatural world where her deepest fantasies and most harrowing nightmares will soon come true.

A monster, even by Vampire Standards...
…Raven has spent the better part of his five hundred seventy plus years fighting the evil within. His capture by an ancient breed of Sorcerers, just surfacing in the Legion’s base town of Fallen Cross, Ohio, leaves him beaten and starving. Escape leads him to an old farmhouse, the single heartbeat within promising life. What he couldn’t know is that the blood he now seeks will sustain him in ways he could never imagine…
  (Goodreads)

Synopsis:
Jessica Sweet
Women are dying in Fallen Cross, people I know, people close to me.
However, it’s the way they die that has me worried. 
There hasn’t been a murder like this in a very long time. 
In fact, the last one on Legion record was about the time Raven stopped killing…

Raven
Vampire by birth, monster by choice. 
For centuries he was out of control, a murderer and so much worse. 
Jessica’s love broke the curse that controlled him, restoring his free will, 
but his savage ways remain in the past. 
Or do they?
His Jessica has visions. Fate and her visions brought them together. 
Now, they are threatening to tear them apart…(Goodreads)


About the Author:
Aliya DalRae is the author of the Jessica Sweet Trilogy. Her debut novel, Sweet Vengeance, was published in February 2016, with the sequel, Sweet Discovery, becoming available in April 2017. The third and final book in the trilogy, Sweet Destiny, is well underway.

Born and raised in a farming community in rural Southwest Ohio, Aliya grew up a middle child, with an older and younger brother. Surrounded by corn and cows, it was not unusual for Aliya to immerse herself in books, her way of escaping the humdrum small-town life to visit fantastic lands full of mystery, myth and legend. And of course, romance.

Aliya’s first love was musical theater, and as a teenager dreamed of one day performing on Broadway. Her early writing consisted mostly of poetry and songs. Those dreams were put on hold, as life intervened (as life often does), and she moved on with other pursuits.

After graduation, and a brief time living in England, Aliya returned to her home town, where she worked mainly in administrative positions, but her love for books never waned.

In 1992, Aliya met her immortal beloved, and they have been inseparable ever since. When not weaving romantic tales, she can be found working side by side with her husband in their furniture restoration business, where she weaves caned chairs instead.



Friday, September 1, 2017

Interview With The Villain & Review: Torment





Torment
The Damned Series
Book Four
By LM Pruitt

Release Date August 8, 2017

Genre: PNR

Book Description:

Enemies are so stimulating.--Katherine Hepburn

If you can look past the part where they're trying to kill you.

The Damned want my head on a platter. The Winged have similar plans.

As for Morning Star and the Power... well, only They know.

One false step... and everything is lost.

CONTAINS SCENES OF GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND SEXUAL ACTIVITY. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Amazon


Interview with a Villain

(I’ll admit, when I was given this particular interview topic, I was stumped—mostly because the true villain for the Damned series has yet to be revealed. So instead, I decided to sit down a fan favorite who may or may not have villainous intent—Lilith, the current reigning leader of the succubae.)

--So, I think we’d all like to know—why make the jump from being Adam’s first wife to being, for all intents and purposes, a demon?

I’ll be honest, I’m surprised anyone in this day and age even remembers I was married to Adam before Eve—who was, I’m not ashamed to say, a much better wife than me, even taking in to account the whole eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge thing. I’m not surprised by the fact people just assume I went straight for the so-called dark side. It’s never really a fall from grace—it’s more a gradual slide and tumble down the hill.

--So what caused your slide down the hill?
A man, of course (light laughter). The man, at least for me. And not a man so much as one of the Watchers, although they weren’t called that in the beginning. In the beginning, he was just Samael. And then, when the other Watchers Fell and Heaven was closed, he became the Angel of Death—fitting, since it was the career change which killed our marriage.

--And it was after this… career change that you had a change of your own?

People do desperate and stupid things when they’ve had their heart broken. I don’t apologize for any of the things I did or the choices I made. I rebuilt myself and then I gave other women the chance to do the same.

--Now, I understand in theory what a succubae is and what they do but I’d like to hear from the original succubus on those topics.

We tempt people—mostly men, although some of the girls specialize in women and some are indiscriminate—with the sex of their wildest dreams and then harvest their energy. We rarely kill anyone, simply because it’s messy and time-consuming and causes so many complications with the other side. The energy is pooled, some of it being sent to Morning Star and the rest being redistributed back to the girls. It’s a nice, tidy little system.

--But not everybody is happy with the system.

If I spent my time trying to make everybody happy I would never get anything else done.

--Which isn’t really an answer to the question.

Well, you didn’t really ask a question, did you? (long pause) The situation is being handled. Not as quickly and efficiently as I would prefer but it’s being handled. I fully believe it will be resolved in the next few months.

--My sources tell me you’re looking at abdicating your position to one of the leaders of the so-called rebellion, Julie Watson, who also happens to be one of your newest girls. Why would you willing step down from the position you created after all this time?


What can I say? We all make sacrifices for love.


4 DEMONIC STAR REVIEW:

Starting a series in the middle is always a risk. It must be hard for authors to balance continuing the story for devoted fans while also creating a book that could attack new readers. I think the author of this book did a good job of both. This is book four of the Damned series. I will admit, there were times when I was a little confused as to what was going one, but Pruitt did a good job of filling in the gaps of the story line. I like the fast speed of the plot kept me entertained and I pretty much ignored everyone until I made it to the end. I just wanted to see what would happen next. I like the idea behind this story and I do not know of another story that creates demon characters as anti-heroes. I believe, if I had started this book from the beginning I would have a closer connection to the characters and the premise of the story. 

Reviewed by Terri


Excerpt:

“You’ll catch cold if you stay out here much longer.”
I didn’t turn around, continuing to study the skyline. “I’m fine.”
“It’s three in the morning. You should be asleep.” He didn’t sound angry about the fact I wasn’t or the fact I was standing outside in late September in sleep pants and a thin cotton tank. If anything, his scolding sounded as if it was for form and nothing else. “It’s been a long day for all of us.”
“Yes.” Now I did turn around, studying Barry with the same intensity I’d shown the various buildings of Prague. “Why are you mad at me?”
“I’m not mad.” He pulled a cigar from the pocket of his sleep pants but didn’t light it, staring at the tip for a moment before sliding it back in his pocket. “I’m tired, Julie. As I said, it’s been a long day. The next few days—weeks, rather—promise to be equally long. We all need to sleep, to keep our strength up for what lies ahead.”
“You haven’t touched me since we got back.” Since he stood in front of my sister and ripped her heart out and then walked away without a backward glance. “You’ve barely said anything all night long.”
“As I said, I’m tired.” He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, letting out a long sigh. “There’s been quite a bit of upheaval in the last thirty-six hours or so. Quite a bit. Forgive me if I’m not my usual charming self. You have more than enough people here to pay you attention if you’re feeling uncared for.”
“That’s not what I meant.” I turned back to the city view, widening my eyes and blinking rapidly in an effort to keep the tears at bay. I didn’t have a problem with using tears as a weapon when they were called for but I wouldn’t use them with him, ever. “You’re right. It’s late. Go to sleep. I’m fine.”
“We both know I’m not going to sleep until you do.” I heard the sound of metal scraping over concrete and glanced over my shoulder to find he’d pulled one of the patio chairs free of the table. Sitting down and stretching out his legs, he said, “As long as you’re here, I’m here.”
“Barry—.”
“Arguing will only frustrate us both, Julie Elizabeth, and we’ve had enough frustration for the day.” He slid further down in the seat, almost slouching, and crossed his arms. “As long as you’re here, I’m here.”
“But do you want to be here?” The question tumbled out before I even realized it was in my mind and I bit my tongue, already regretting it. “Never mind. You don’t have to answer that.”
“Come here.” When I didn’t move, he uncrossed his arms and held out one hand. “Please.”
Crossing the balcony, I took his hand, curling up in his lap and resting my head on his shoulder. We sat in silence for a few minutes before he cleared his throat. “I don’t know any other way to say it. I can simply say as long as you’re here, I’m here. When you want to leave, we’ll leave.”
“And where would we go?” Joanne’s face in the instant after Barry verbally sucker punched her, Asmodeus’s face the second after I shot him, flashed through my mind and I hunched my shoulders as if the memory carried a physical blow. “There’s no place left. We burned all those bridges today.”
“The thing about bridges is they can always be rebuilt and when they are, they’re stronger than before they burned.” He brushed my hair away from my face, stroking one hand down my back and pulling me tighter against him. “But since you don’t want to leave, the discussion is moot.”
“We’re doing the right thing.”
“The right thing done the wrong way is no longer the right thing.”
“If there was a way to do this differently, we would have taken it.” We’d tried to take it. We’d tried to meet the others halfway. Nobody—Lilith, Asmodeus, the Power, Morning Star—wanted to bend.
So we would have to break them.
“After the raids begin today, there is no turning back. You and your supporters will be branded traitors. There will be bounties on your heads.” He pressed his lips to my hair, breathing deep. “On all our heads. You’ve never lived through a war.”
It wasn’t a question but I answered anyway. “No, I haven’t.”
“I’ve been through more than my fair share, even considering my age. When it’s impossible to die from manmade weapons, you tend to fight in wars simply to alleviate the boredom.” He turned, pressing his face in to my hair. “And they’re nothing compared to supernatural wars. So far you’ve only seen the pretty side of Hell. There are things which will be unleashed which should never exist out of nightmares.”
“On us or by us?”
“Both.” His hand shook as he stroked my back and I wasn’t sure if he was trying to comfort me or himself. “Some things can’t be unseen or unfelt. You’ll carry it with you until the day you die.”
“Are you trying to scare me?”
“I’m trying to warn you. Up until now, everything about this war has been theoretical. Until today, no true shots were fired.” He drew back, his face unnaturally somber, even for him. “I know you did what you had to do and I don’t fault you for that decision.”
“But I officially started the war.” I nodded. “I know. I’ll live with it.”
“Things will get worse.” He pressed a kiss to my forehead. “They always do.”
“And then they get better.” I had to believe that. If I didn’t, then there was a good chance I was wrecking and ruining lives for no reason at all. I pressed my lips to his, lightly, for comfort more than anything else. “Things will be better. We’re going to make them better.”
We didn’t have any other choice.


About the Author:

L.M. Pruitt has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. A native of Florida with a love of New Orleans, she has the uncanny ability to find humor in most things and would probably kill a plastic plant. She knows this because she's killed bamboo. Twice.  She is the author of the Winged series, the Plaisir Coupable series, Jude Magdalyn series, the Moon Rising series, and Taken: A Frankie Post Novel.






Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Interview With The Villain: Trial By Charm


Title: Trial By Charm
Author: Jolene Buchheit
Genre: Young Adult Greek-Inspired Urban Fantasy
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: 

Seventeen-year-old Julia Wright doesn’t understand her friends’ obsession with boys. She proudly maintains her composure no matter who is in her presence – though some annoying and rude boys still manage to grate her last nerve. Then she is blackmailed into being the manager of the men’s swim team, and finds herself face to face with the worst of them all. Team Captain Vander Thelxinoe is the typical self-assured jock. He has the ability to change people’s minds at will, only his charms don’t work on Julia. Now he’s anxious to figure out why, and the closer he tries to get, the more desperate she is to stay away – especially when he somehow awakens a side of her she never knew existed. Their unexpected friendship puts Julia in the middle of a quest she doesn’t quite understand. As her familiar world begins to unravel around her, Julia must partner with the one person who knows how to push her buttons – and, in doing so, discovers the unbelievable truth about who she really is. Can Julia and Vander survive the trial set before them, or will they face the extreme consequences of failure?




Interview with Demeter
1.    What is your greatest fear? When my daughter was taken from me and married off to that loser Hades who sits on the throne in the Underworld, my life ceased to have any meaning. Cold, dead winter was born as babe of my affair with grief. My greatest fear is losing her again, who knows what my second bout with sadness would create.


2.    What is the trait you most deplore in others? Uselessness. When someone has only one task to tend to and they fail to achieve their goal, it makes me want to tear my own hair out. What good is anyone who can't find what they have been assigned to find. That's why those waste of skin hoodlums who used to call Persephone their friend, find themselves cursed to live on an island. They will never know the happiness or joy of having their own children because no man can stand to be near them. Useless!

3.    On what occasion do you lie? *shrugs* Whenever it serves me.

4.    Which living person do you most despise? Obviously, I abhor Hades. He stole my daughter and her innocence and now I have to share her with him for half of every year. It's a torture no mother should have to endure giving up my daughter to her husband over and over again as time rages on.

5.    What do you most value in your friends? My associates or what you would call friends are faithful to fulfill their obligations and commitments. My life is a series of scratching backs and having my back scratched in return. Nothing I do is done without return payment.

6.    What is it that you most dislike? Winter. Creating Spring and enjoying the bounty of blessings in the Summer brings me so much joy, especially with Persephone at my side.

7.    What is your greatest wish? *sigh* I don't waste my time on wishes and dreams. I either do what I want or cash in my favors and make things happen.

8.    What is your motto? The darkness of Winter only lasts for a season, how long that season lasts is up to me. *evil laugh*




As a substitute teacher, Jolene spends her days in high school classrooms harvesting material for her Young Adult novels. She also uses it as an outlet for fangirling by showing upcoming book-to-movie trailers at the end of class, or discussing vital issues like whether Katniss should have picked Gale or Peeta. She is committed to helping Special Education teenagers become independent adults and helping them find a way to focus on the positive especially when life gets hard. At home, Jolene loves to cuddle with her husband, two kids, and three cats—sometimes all at once—while reading Young Adult books or repeatedly watching movies based on them.

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I study his profile. His chiseled jaw and dark, floppy hair are like something out of a magazine advertisement. His eyes, too—they aren’t dark to match his hair, like mine—they are parts of green and blue, much like the painting of the sea in the other room. “Who painted that piece above the couch in there?” He shrugs, not answering me in any concrete way. Then he shifts his weight from one foot to the other and his awkwardness makes it clear to me. “You did it, didn’t you? You’re a painter.” He shrugs again. I hop down from my stool to go take another look at the painting. The artist must have signed it, and I will get my answer that way. I go down the hall, past the bathroom, the stairs, and the front door until I’m standing in the parlor, looking at Vander, who is blocking the painting from my view. He must have gone through the dining room next to the kitchen to end up in here before me. He’s staring at me and chewing on his lip while flexing and balling his hands. He’s more nervous than I have ever seen him—not before a swim meet, not in class when he didn’t know an answer, not when he told me how he felt in the bathroom a little bit ago. This is where his heart lies, in this painting of this island. I try to look around him, and he leans over. “Don’t.” He is stern, but gentle. He clears his throat. “Please don’t touch it. You will want to, but don’t.” He’s right. I do want to touch it; I want to climb inside of it. I’m seeing it, and somehow it’s seeing me, and it’s making me feel pulled apart. I want to dive into the waters, to swim to that far-off land, and I also want to turn the boat around and sail as far and as quickly as I can in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, the light from the sun is dimming, laughing at me for thinking I can have any control here. I want in! Vander grabs both of my arms, which are currently outstretched toward the painting. My knees are on the seat of the couch, and I don’t even remember moving forward. His voice startles me. “You can’t.” I blink hard and turn to look him fully in the face. “I can’t what?” “You can’t go there, and you can’t go away from there. It’s just a painting.” Was I talking out loud, or can he read my mind? How does he know what I was thinking? I let him lead me through the dining room, back into the kitchen, where the timer is going off. I shake my head to let loose the feelings that painting stirred in me. “It’s more than that, and you know it. How?” I don’t even have to finish the sentence. He knows exactly what I’m asking.



Monday, February 29, 2016

Interview With a Villain: Christian A. Brown



Blurb:

Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her—visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.

With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.


Feast of Fates, Excerpt #2 (533 Words)

Morigan took the bracelet.
            “I accept your offering.” The Wolf’s face lit and she thought that he would leap at her. “Yet first, I have a request.”
            “Anything, my Fawn.”
            “I would like to see…what you are. The second body that shares your soul. Show me your fangs and claws,” she commanded.
            Perhaps it was the steadiness of her voice, how she ordered him to bare himself as if he belonged to her, that made the Wolf’s heart roar to comply. He did not shed his skin but for the whitest moons of the year, and even then, so far from the city and never in front of another. In a sense, he was as much a virgin as she. With an unaccustomed shyness, he found himself undressing before the Fawn, confused for a speck as to who was the hunter. The flare of her nostrils, the intensity of her stare that ate at him for once.
            I have chosen well for a mate. She is as much a Wolf as I, he thought, kicking off his boots and then shimmying his pants down to join the rest of his clothing. No bashful maiden was Morigan, and she did not look away from his nakedness, but appreciated what she saw: every rough, hairy, huge bit of him.


Blurb

As two queens plot each other's destruction, a small band of adventurers continues its quest for the knowledge needed to defeat the mad King Brutus and his unearthly parasite, the Black Queen. Their search brings Morigan and the Wolf to the perilous forests of Alabion, where they and their companions will face the darkness of their pasts-and discover equally dark destinies.

Meanwhile, far from Alabion, the queens of the East and West continue their deadly dance. One seeks a relic of great power, while the other puts her faith in a mix of military and technomagikal force. Both are aware they have a slim window of opportunity to settle their power struggle-after all, Mad Brutus's recent defeat is at best a setback. The mad king is already amassing a new army of soulless husks in the wastelands of Mor'Khul.

Unknown to the great powers struggling for control, a father and son wander those same wastelands, scavenging what they can as they weather Brutus's gathering storm. They too have a role to play in Geadhain's fate-a role which may just provide a last remnant of hope.


Portraying Evil by Christian A. Brown

A while ago, I had a lovely blogger review that praised many aspects of Feast of Fates. On that list—and what stuck with me the most—were the reader’s commendations toward some of the darker material in my book. Life is composed of many shades and colors: passionate reds, golden acts of kindness, and the blackest evils. I believe that stories of the scope I wish to tell should encompass that spectrum. Therefore, while I write some beautiful scenes, I also feel the need to balance the scales, to flesh out a realistic environment by adding the unsavory. Neglect, depravity, racism, murder, physical and sexual assault. None of these topics are comfortable to discuss. None of these topics should be handled with anything but care. I deal with each of them in my work. I choose to depict them in the raw, ugly fashion in which they are experienced by their survivors (not victims—there is a notable distinction). As a survivor of assault myself, I see no other way in which these events should be portrayed. As horrific as one imagines—or writes—these scenarios, I assure you the reality is worse. More crippling, more haunting, and usually more violent.

I don’t write dark things because I am a lover of the macabre or a sadist. In fact, often writing these scenes makes me feel as repulsed as when my readers read such material. Good. If whenever Brutus comes onto the page, your skin crawls and you are terrified of what deplorable act he will do, then I’ve done my job. Evil should not have a soft-touch (unless it’s the insidious kind). Evil should make you shiver. How soon we forget in our comfortable North American lives that we live in the same world where Malala was shot for going to school. Where the Montreal Massacre of women seeking to better themselves happened. Where we have genocides and child soldiers. I wish that the events that I write were less dark than those occurring outside Geadhain. Though, they’re not. I feel it is necessary for evil to be accurately described in order to illustrate the journey one (character) takes toward healing.

A Feast of Fates case study, if you will. Please stop reading if you’re spoiler averse and haven’t read the first book yet. (And hurry up! The second book is out now!) In Feast of Fates, we meet any number of characters who have endured trauma. Mouse, who is sold into sexual slavery. She breaks this fate at the cost of her humanity—which she later regains and then some. Macha, who is a displaced indigenous girl that also suffers a reprehensible separation from her family. Kanatuk, another indigenous person who endures a lifetime of horrific abuse—he, too, eventually finds his humanity and strength. Vortigern, who loses his family, his memory, and lives in a state of living-death and forgetfulness. The list goes on. I do not discriminate between male and female, between who should be “fairly” suffering and who shouldn’t. That’s the nasty part about life: it doesn’t give two shits who suffers or why. I’m a sensitive person, and it hurts to write these horrible fates for my characters. However, like the reader and like those of us in the real world, I hold to the hope that these people will learn from their lessons of pain. I believe in them. I believe that they have the power to heal themselves, and to remember the good of humanity. Most of the time, my characters do not disappoint me.

In what is a less easily perceived emotional struggle, we have Lila. She is Queen of Eod and living a glorious and seemingly immortal life with the Everfair King. Long ago, Magnus saved her from a misogynistic, caste-driven society (and marriage). And for a thousand years thereafter she and Magnus were happy together, blissfully happy. That happiness lasts until a horrific—and again, this incident has to be ghastly to sunder a bond of one thousand years—assault by her husband while he is under the possession of an entropic force. A number of complex issues and questions stem from this event. How responsible is Magnus? Can Lila forgive him for this one grotesque incident in their thousand year marriage? He certainly feels guilty. Lila, at the time, puts on a brave face and forgives him. After all, she is the stoic queen of a nation of hundreds of thousands, and her country must come before her needs. She has that mothering sense, of sacrificing her emotions and comfort for others, even though she has not borne children from Magnus (the Immortal king is sterile—at least with her physiology). So she buries her trauma (as people do), and says that she forgives him for the pressing sake of dealing with what evil took over her husband. Sadly, Lila’s story is not unique. Most first time incidents of domestic abuse are forgiven or simply unreported. That’s a statistical reality.

As time and progression through the novel shows us, however, Lila neither forgives nor forgets. The scars are too deep, and those wounds cannot possibly heal in weeks or months—not to a woman that knows eternity. In many ways, Lila is brought back to the very situation and oppression from which she believed herself to have escaped. She questions everything about the brother-kings, their connection to each other and to her, and her sense of individuality and pride. She questions who she really is, for she has become a stranger to herself. The growth and arc of her character is quite broad, spanning all four novels. I have to say though, she is one of my favorite and certainly one of the most inspiring characters once she finds herself. Lila’s journey is one to which many women can relate—regardless of whether Lila is real or not. Being confused. Being lost in the darkness. Forging ahead, even when all she knows is a sickening fear and agony that she can tell no one about. Lila is a composite of all that I’ve learned and seen of women pushing past their station, pushing to define themselves after trauma, and discovering new limits on who and what they thought they could be.


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