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Posts Tagged ‘Urban Fantasy’

juliana spink mills Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Juliana Spink Mills. Juliana Spink Mills was born in England, but grew up in Brazil. Now, she lives in Connecticut and writes science fiction and fantasy. She is the author of Heart Blade and Night Blade, the first two books in the young adult Blade Hunt Chronicles urban fantasy series. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies and online publications. Besides writing, Juliana works as a Portuguese/English translator, and as a teen library assistant. She watches way too many TV shows, and loves to get lost in a good book. Her dream is to move to Narnia when she grows up. Or possibly Middle Earth, if she’s allowed a very small dragon of her own.

Juliana Spink Mills’s latest book, Night Blade, is a YA novel urban fantasy fans are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—In the aftermath of the Heart Blade’s return, Del and Rose have different roads to follow. One leads forward, the other to the distant past. Rose is on a mission to infiltrate and double-cross the ultimate heist, and retrieve a game-changing prize. Meanwhile, as the Court of the Covenant prepares to meet, Del has a quest of her own. She must untangle her lost identity or risk her entire future. With the Blade Hunt prophecy in motion, darkness threatens to rise, and a new sword emerges from the shadows.

And a little “taste” of Night Blade:
  The vampire smiled at Raze. “How do you feel about a little undercover work?”
  “Undercover work? What kind?”
  “The dangerous kind. The sort of work that should suit Raze perfectly, since you’re so determined to leave Rose behind,” he said. “A challenge. You’re infiltrating a heist. I think you’ll make an excellent cat burglar.”

nightblade_front_mills Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Night Blade?

Night Blade is the second in my YA urban fantasy trilogy. The idea for the series came from a short story I was working on. That particular story was never published, but the world stuck in my head and kept growing, and eventually became the first book, Heart Blade.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

I think my two favorites are Camille, an immortal half-demon, and Ben a teenage witch. Camille is fun to write, because her personality is similar to my own (demonic immortality aside). As for Ben, I just like him. He’s had a lot of bad things happen to him, but he doesn’t give up. And, more importantly, he always tries to do the right thing, even if it’s going to cost him.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

Both my books were published by a small press. I think the advantages were that I was involved in every step of the process. I was given everything you can expect from a larger press—editor, copy editor, professional cover art—but additionally, because I worked so closely with the owner of the press, I was involved in a lot of the decision-making. It really was a lesson in what it takes to bring out a book! For a first timer who up to that point had only published short stories, it was a real learning experience.

The disadvantages of a small press are probably obvious, and center mostly around market reach.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

I’m definitely a planner. That said, I’ve become a lot more organic in my process as I’ve gained confidence in myself as a writer. So now, instead of the rigid chapter outlines I used in the past, I tend to do a list of bullet points: key events that need to be incorporated. This gives me wriggle room to go ‘off road’ when I want, and I constantly update this list as the story progresses.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I was definitely a Narnia girl. I was gifted the full Narnia set as a going away present when I moved from England to Brazil at the age of eight. Brazil was new, and exciting, but also confusing and strange, so I absolutely connected with Lucy Pevensie and the rest of C.S. Lewis’ portal-travelling youngsters. I credit those books with a life-long love of fantasy novels.

What writing project are you currently working on?

After a much-needed break to write a sci fi thriller, I’m now working on Star Blade, the last book in my YA trilogy. The planning stage took ages—there is so much to fit in!—but now I’m up and running and delighted to be back in this familiar world of mine. I missed my characters!

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

My favorite bit of advice ever, and one I always pass along, is: “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Nothing happens overnight in publishing. If you love writing, allow yourself the gift of time. And keep writing!

Want to learn more about Juliana Spink Mills and Night Blade? Check out her:  WebsiteFacebook pageTwitterInstagram, and  Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Night Blade.

Thanks to author Juliana Spink Mills for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author E. C. Ambrose (Elaine Isaak) on February 21, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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Jennifer Povey Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Jennifer R. Povey. Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for “Analog.” She is currently working on an urban fantasy series of which the most recent volume, Fallen Day (Lost Guardians Book Four), was released in the summer of 2017. Additionally, she is a regular writer and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

Jennifer Povey Book Jennifer’s latest book, Risen Day, is a great read for those who enjoy urban fantasy. A quick summary for my readers: After saving the city of London from a demon trying to make it his own personal kingdom, Anna McKenzie, Victor Prince and their friends must now save the world…from a similar, but far greater threat. One which has already removed many of Earth’s defenses.

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Risen Day?

This is the fourth (and last) in a series that was essentially an answer to the craze for YA vampire romantic fantasy…remember that? It evolved into something a little different. I hadn’t planned on writing an actual romance.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

Rahel Chudasama. She’s just so much fun to write! I love her powers, and now I kind of regret that I didn’t introduce her until Book Three.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

Self published. The advantage is keeping control and not having to worry about a publisher going bankrupt or deciding your series sold so badly that it isn’t worth publishing the rest. Disadvantage is having to pay for everything.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

Definitely a gardener, although I prefer “discovery writer.” I usually know what the ending is going to be. Usually.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I don’t do favorite questions! 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is the book that got me into science fiction though…and for fantasy, yes, The Hobbit. What? I’m a forty something Brit.

What writing project are you currently working on?

About to start a new science fiction novel, working title, The Veteran –although I know that’s going to change. I also have another book I’ll be publishing in the new year.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

Not to follow writing advice slavishly. The rules are useful, but you need to learn how to break them.

Want to learn more about Jennifer R. Povey and Risen Day? Check out her :
Website, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Risen Day.

Thanks to author Jennifer R. Povey for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Tanya Lisle on December 13. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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0061-eWomenNetwork Thanks to Gail Z. Martin, author of Deadly Curiosities (and many other books), for stopping by and sharing some background information on Voodoo and Hoodoo as used in her urban fantasy novel and story series.

Voodoo and Hoodoo in the Holy City of Charleston, SC by Gail Z. Martin

“Welcome to Charleston, South Carolina, often called the ‘Holy City’ for its large number of beautiful churches. But the gracious lifestyle of Charleston’s wealthy planter-aristocrats was made possible by slavery, and in the years leading up to the Civil War, Charleston was the top port for slaves coming into the United States and for slaves being bought and sold.

My urban fantasy book and short story series, Deadly Curiosities, takes place in Charleston. Charleston is a beautiful city with a bloody past. It’s one of the top tourist attractions in the United States because by day, it’s filled with gorgeous ante bellum architecture, horse-drawn carriage rides, landmark restaurants and quirky shops. But by night, you’ll hear stories of ghosts, duels, pirates, wronged women and wrongful death as Charleston’s Id comes out to play.

In the Deadly Curiosities series, the focus is on Trifles and Folly, an antiques and curio shop that exists to get dangerous magical items off the market and out of the wrong hands. Cassidy Kincaide is the latest person in her family to inherit the shop and the job of protecting the world that goes with it. She’s a psychometric, someone who can read the history of objects by touch. Together with her assistant, Teag Logan, who has his own magic and her business partner, Sorren who is a nearly six hundred year-old vampire, Cassidy navigates the magical underside of the Holy City to handle things that go bump in the night with extreme prejudice.

Which leads me to Voodoo and Hoodoo. Voodoo, or Voudon as its practitioners prefer, comes from the Caribbean, with elements of African and island religions syncretized with Roman Catholicism. Most people associate Voudon with New Orleans. Hoodoo is root magic, incorporating African plant medicine and some shamanic aspects, and hails from the Carolina Lowcountry area.

I use both Voudon and Hoodoo in Deadly Curiosities. Cassidy’s allies include powerful Voudon mambos and houngan (male and female priests) as well as skilled root workers. The choice to include Voudon in Charleston isn’t as strange as it seems. Pre-Civil War, people took their servants with them when they moved from one place to another, certainly when a young woman traveled to marry a man from a distant city. Since there was quite a bit of commerce between Charleston and New Orleans, this kind of relocation isn’t difficult to imagine. Those servants would have brought their beliefs with them, and history shows that a surprising number of slave owners, especially women, were willing to secretly work Voudon and Hoodoo when dire personal situations needed special assistance.

DEADLY-CURIOSITIES1-140x214 Another reason why I chose to use Voudon was because Charleston was not just the top port for the importation and sale of new slaves. In the years after it became more difficult to import new slaves from Africa, Charleston became the main place where formerly-owned slaves from inside the United States changed hands. It was, for its time, the Ebay of human trafficking. So it’s not at all unlikely that some of those slaves came from the New Orleans area or had been exposed to Voudon from family members or other slaves.

I’ve learned a lot researching Voudon and Hoodoo for the books, and find the rich, complex belief systems truly fascinating. As part of my research, I’ve been to Voodoo museums in New Orleans and talked with people from South Carolina who know what it means to ‘put a root’ on someone! While these are just two of the many types of magic woven into the Deadly Curiosities novels and short stories, I think they bring a sense of depth and place to the narrative. Not only that, but the Voudon and Hoodoo practitioners you’ll meet in Deadly Curiosities are some of my favorite characters!

So if all you know about Voudon comes from The Princess and the Frog or The Serpent and the Rainbow (two movies that are not in any way designed for the same audience!), check out my Deadly Curiosities series. There’s a whole new world in the shadows, waiting for you to visit.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for stories and books by author friends of mine. And, a special 50% off discount from Double-Dragon ebooks! You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here.

Trick or Treat: Enjoy The Final Death, the complete Deadly Curiosities Adventures novella here.

And a bonus excerpt from Coffin Box, another Deadly Curiosities Adventures short story here.

And a second bonus excerpt from my friend Stuart Jaffe and his short story Killer of Monsters here.

And a THIRD bonus audio excerpt from Voodoo Children by my friend John Hartness here.”

You can find Deadly Curiosities on Amazon and elsewhere.

Thanks again to Gail Z Martin for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more Monday Guests, Quotable Wednesdays, blogs from me, owl posts, and occasional recipes. Have a magical day – Vonnie

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rachel rawlings Thanks to dark paranormal, urban-fantasy, and horror author Rachel Rawlings, for stopping by and introducing us to her newest novel, Ill Fated, Book 5 in The Maurin Kincaide Series.

Ill Fated, Book 5 in The Maurin Kincaide Series by Rachel Rawlings

Here’s the cover blurb:

ill fated “Some things are destined to end in death. After the first attempt on her life Maurin wasn’t scared. Hell, she was almost flattered. But someone put a price on her head and things are getting complicated. Trouble is brewing in the fae courts and it’s spilling over into Salem. The UnSeelie Dark Guard have answered the call for her head on a platter and people closest to her are disappearing.

Morrigna cover 6x9 Can Maurin master court politics and find her missing men before someone claims the bounty on her head?”

Since this is Book 5, most readers will want to check out the earlier books in The Maurin Kincaide Series: The Morrigna (book 1), Witch Hunt (book 2), Wolfsbane (book 3), and Blood Bath (book 4). You can see the fabulously creepy covers here.

Witch Hunt cover 6x9 Besides writing a series of novels, Rachel is Founder of the HallowRead Convention for fans of Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Steam Punk and Horror – which is how I came to know her.

HallowRead is a wonderful convention to be held again this year in Ellicott City, Maryland on the weekend before Halloween. If you’re into Ghost Tours, Steampunk Teas, panels on vampires, myth, and undead of all sorts – check out the HallowRead website, Facebook page, and blog. I’ll be participating on panels and signing books, along with lots of other writers of dark fantasy and horror – so stop by and say, “Hi.”

Wolfsbane cover 1 Rachel is also the Co-Coordinator of Magnolias and Mausoleums, an author/reader event in New Orleans to be held July 22-26, 2015. I’ve visited New Orleans, assorted Louisiana and Mississippi towns on the edge of the bayou, and a number of cemeteries and burial sites in the area where magnolias and mausoleums rule. I imagine this event will be a spooky good time for fans and writers of urban fantasy, horror, and ghostly tales. For more information, visit www.magnoliasandmausoleums.com

Want to learn more about Rachel Rawlings and her books? Check out her website and The Maurin Kincaide Facebook page, and follow her on twitter.

blood bath And you can buy Rachel’s books from Amazon.

Thanks again to Rachel Rawlings for stopping by. Watch Whimsical Words for more Monday Guests, Quotable Wednesdays, Saturday Owl Posts, blogs from me, and more. Have a darkly mysterious day! – Vonnie

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Vonnie Today, you’re expecting a guest post – and here’s a link to one written by me at Bitten By Books.

First, thanks to Rachel Smith for inviting me to participate in the Urban Fantasy series of guest posts. I write about “The Cityscape of Fantasy.”

I’ve been following the series, and it’s been fun reading what different authors have had to say about this little corner of the fantasy world. But it’s a great (and sometimes spooky) corner for books, movies, and television shows.

The original Beauty and the Beast television series which starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman, has that dark, city vibe. Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley fits the Urban Fantasy feel. And let’s not forget the Grimm television series. (At the moment, one of my favorite tv shows).

I know you can think of many other Urban Fantasy stories, flicks, and tv shows. I love the genre so much that I included stories that would slip into the corners of Urban Fantasy in both my story collections, Owl Light and The Greener Forest. And though my novel, The Enchanted Skean, is an epic fantasy, there are chapters set in the cities and towns that are filled with the twisting streets, moonlit atmosphere, and threatening evil of an Urban Fantasy.

Please visit Bitten by Books and comment on “The Cityscape of Fantasy.”

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Thanks to speculative author Gail Z. Martin for stopping by and sharing her thoughts on epic fantasy. Enjoy!

Suspense, Horror and Romance in Epic Fantasy by Gail Z. Martin

0061-eWomenNetwork One of the things I love about writing epic fantasy is that within the genre, there is room for elements of other genres. Like the old spaghetti sauce ad, “it’s in there.” Part of it is the scope of epic fantasy, with its large scale, sweeping storylines and large cast of characters. That creates a lot of opportunity for drawing on a variety of elements, because you’re working on a bigger canvas (and a larger page count) than many other genres permit.

I know that suspense has its own genre, but certainly any dramatic fiction requires more than a dollop of suspense to keep the reader turning pages. If you want your readers to stick with you over the course of hundreds of pages, there has to be a strong “what’s going to happen next” sense, with tension at the end of every scene and every chapter. I love when readers tell me that I kept them up late or made them run over their lunch hour because they couldn’t put the book down!

Maybe other genres can get by without a touch of horror, but it fits well inside epic fantasy. We often write about brutal times and brutal people–warlords, kings, soldiers, mages and monsters. There’s going to be bloodshed, and often, to illustrate just how bad it is or just how black someone’s heart is, the writing veers into the horrific to make a point. Unlike a horror novel, an epic fantasy doesn’t stay mired in the horrific, nor does the protagonist remain helpless for long. But we definitely touch on it, and can often use it to good purpose.

Epic romance also often lends itself to elements of romance. Dynasties are at stake, and the men and women who produce the next set of rulers are going to have their loves and dalliances, their betrayals and unrequited affections. It can up the stakes for a hero’s survival if someone is waiting for his or her return. When people are thrown together under stressful situations for periods of time, romantic relationships are going to happen. I find that a bit of romance can be a respite from all the battle action and grit, and after having that respite, the hardship seems even more difficult.

The next time you’re stewing up your next epic fantasy, add some spice with horror, suspense and romance. It makes for a mighty tasty story!

Gail Z Martin Ice Forged Come check out all the free excerpts, book giveaways and other goodies that are part of my Days of the Dead blog tour! Trick-or-Treat you way through more than 30 partner sites where you’ll find brand new interviews, freebies and more–details at www.AscendantKingdoms.com .

Ice Forged will be a Kindle Daily Deal with a special one-day price of just $1.99 only on October 31! Get it here: http://amzn.com/B008AS86QY

Reign of Ash, book two in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga launches in April, 2014 from Orbit Books. My new urban fantasy, Deadly Curiosities, comes out in July, 2014 from Solaris Books. I bring out two series of ebook short stories with a new story every month for just .99 on Kindle, Kobo and Nook—check out the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures or the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

About the author: Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and the upcoming Reign of Ash (Orbit Books, 2014), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn and The Dread) from Orbit Books. In 2014, Gail launches a new urban fantasy novel, Deadly Curiosities, from Solaris Books. She is also the author of two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures. Find her at www.ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com , on Twitter @GailZMartin, on http://Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms , at http://DisquietingVisions.com blog and http://GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com

Thanks again to Gail Z. Martin for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests (including tomorrow’s post from author Trisha Wooldridge), blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a fantastical day! – Vonnie

 

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 Hooray! The 2011 issue of The Gunpowder Review arrived in 2 large boxes on my doorstep today. I opened the first box, heart thumping, and examined the newest edition of the women’s literary magazine that I’ve edited for the last 3 years.

I think the front and back covers look stunning. Front butterfly photo is from Katie Hartlove. Back cover photos are from Jean Voxakis, Danuta Kosk-Kosicka, Patti Kinlock, Kristin Stephens Crist, and Robin Bayne. And the poems, prose, photography, and artwork on the inside of the magazine are just as wonderful. I feel priviledged to publish the work of so many creative women, and look forward to hosting a publication reading on November 13th at 1 PM at the Bel Air, Maryland, Barnes & Noble. The public is not only invited, but encouraged to attend – so if you’re in the area, why not stop by?

 And the weather was so balmy today, that husband, Sandy the Black-Mouthed Cur, and I took a hike on the North Central Railroad Trail. We walked beneath deciduous trees that had few leaves remaining on their branches, over bridges spanning a creek that had enough momentum to turn many a mill wheel in the olden days, and beside farmland, woodland, and flood plain. Though there were exposed roots aplenty, fern gullies, and mossy rocks – I didn’t spy any Fairyfolk. Still, I believe that they were there peering at us from rabbit holes and birds’ nests.

There was a feeling of timelessness in the names of the tiny roads we crossed. I must research the history of the NCR Trail and the little towns we walked through. History holds so many secrets and endless inspiration for writers. I’ve used a bit of personal history to YA Urban Fantasy already, and I’ll surely use more.

So hurrah for hikes on sunny days, history, creative women, and the arrival of The Gunpowder Review 2011. Now, back to typing…

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