New Release: Stifled (Summoned #2), by Rainy Kaye

Stifled Release
Today we’re celebrating the release of STIFLED, book two in the SUMMONED series by USA Today Bestselling author, Rainy Kaye. A dark twist on genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him. In STIFLED, Dimitri trails an elusive jinn and finds himself in the middle of a community keeping dark secrets. The SUMMONED series is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Scroll down to pick up your copy of STIFLED, get SUMMONED for free for a limited time, and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Stifled Final 2 PSDDimitri would like nothing more than to live a low-key life in Naples, Italy. His girlfriend, Syd, has other plans.

After three months of researching, she is positive she has found a jinn on a killing spree in San Diego, California. Since Syd gave Dimitri the one thing he thought was out of reach, he feels obligated to use his ill-gained talents for her cause.

A few hours back in the US proves that Dimitri and Syd didn’t quite make the clean escape they had thought. As they trail the elusive jinn, someone else trails them. What should have been a simple trip to confirm once and for all if the jinn are living among humans, instead reveals a community keeping dark secrets.

Unfortunately for Dim, the only way out is in.

Get your copy here!

Haven’t read book one yet? No problem! It’s currently FREE on Amazon.

summoned_cover_final_biggerTwenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally.

Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well.

When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri canít tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isnít the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karlís ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw comingóthe wish that will destroy him.
summoned free banner
about_rainy_kayerainykayeRainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona.

She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA. Someone told her she’s a USA Today Bestselling author. She thought there would be cake.

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My Blogging Lapse, RT2014 People-Watching, and Stuff

Nancy Brant asked me to participate in a writing process blog hop and I saw it as an opportunity to post something. I haven’t blogged in a while. It sucks, but there’s a reason for it that’s relevant to my writing process. For me, writing takes one road, and reading/reviewing/blogging/promoting take another. I am working on strategy to manage both at the same time, but I’m not there yet.

There are a few, very exciting things happening with my writing career. A few years ago, I would have found one of them greatly disappointing. The benefit of time, and rapid progress in the industry, is that what might have been a setback only three years ago is now a blessing, and not even a disguised one. I apologize for being vague. I’d love to tell the story, because I think it’s an interesting one, but I neither can nor should. Truly, it doesn’t provide much value for other writers, not even for those in a similar situation.


Marie Sexton, Me, and Alanna Coco

I attended RT 2014 in New Orleans this year. I met great people, spent a lot of time with my childhood friend, Marie Sexton, and sat in on some insightful panels. However, the most valuable thing I took away from the conference is something I observed while people watching among the indie authors. The ones that are successful–which I will define as having name recognition with strangers (think Lilliana Hart)—had two things in common that most of the authors in NOLA lacked. One, they referred to themselves as “indie publishers”, and two, they don’t sit still. Their books are the sellable component of their personal businesses, which is kept afloat with various entrepreneurial requirements. Whereas many self-published authors are fighting to connect with readers to sell a book, these few are reading trade publications, making connections, and building brands. Their books are marketing them, rather than the other way round.

Clearly, it’s not a model for success that can be implemented overnight by a working mom with a daily 50-mile round trip commute, but it’s nice to have an attainable goal.

Right now, the bulk of my focus is on Glitch, book one of a YA Sci-fi series. As of this morning, Glitch is a working title, because a book with that title was released in the same genre back in February. The idea for “The Winter Son” trilogy came about from a desire to dabble in the war between angels, but make angels the bad guys. It was originally called “The Choir Boys,” and it was intended to be a paranormal romance featuring an immortal paramilitary operative, but my main character argued that he wasn’t old enough to vote, so changes had to be made. I finish books, but they’re never the ones I start.

I’ve been asked how my work is different from others in its genre. I think that’s a question better left to readers. There’s a literary concept called “suspension of disbelief” and basically, readers cannot relate to something perfect. The more incredible something is–wealthy, beautiful, and/or powerful—the more flawed it has to be. Take any superhero you like and weigh his/her strengths against weaknesses. You’ll find they balance each other out.

It might be a cop out, but I try to make my characters on the average side, more representable of the young adult population. I avoid hot heroes and girls with red hair and green eyes. I have smart kids who make dumb, and sometimes selfish decisions. My world building is largely contemporary, but as the story progresses and the surface is scratched, evidence of richer, darker, even alien worlds can be found beneath.

I never set about writing this way. It evolved over time. I’m half-Japanese, and having been raised in Wyoming, I have come to self-identify as a white woman. For half of my life, I was a practicing Mormon, but in my 20s, I discovered an atheist within. I’m Pro-Gun, Pro-Choice, Pro-Fiscal Responsibility, Pro-Diversity, and a straight ally of the LGBT community. My writing, I believe, is a reflection of me, and written for my 16-year-old self…a girl whose life was shaped by reading books that were over her head.

My writing process is one that needs to change the more I think about it. I work out ideas in notebooks, write scenes in Scrivener, edit on hard copy, and I get done when I get done. It worked well when I was writing for myself, but my goals have changed. One day, I hope to quit my job and write full-time, and spending two years to complete one book isn’t going to get me there.

I was supposed to tag in three other writers to post next Monday, but like I said…I have two roads at the moment. Finding authors to participate turned out to be on the other one. Instead, please check out these great new releases.

Summoned, by Rainy Kaye

The Devil Made Me Do It  (Book 2, Speak of the Devil Series), by Shawna Romkey

Endured (Book 3, Shadowed Love Series), by Kinley Baker

ARC Review: Summoned (#1), by Rainy Kaye

Immortal Ink Publishing
Release Date: March, 2014
Dark Paranormal

Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

A dark twist on the genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him.

SUMMONED is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Note: SUMMONED contains strong language, naughty scenes, mature content, terrible wishes, mystery, violence, discomfort, explosions, and an apple.

Summoned opens with the kidnapping. Dimitri dislikes kidnappings. Murders are easier for him. He gets in, does the job, and goes home to wait for his next assignment. On this afternoon, he has a precocious nine year old and her stuffed bunny shackled in his back seat. He doesn’t know why his boss wants her, but tells himself that it’s for ransom and she’ll be home before bedtime. He never sees anyone that he brings to Karl’s desert mansion after security drags them from his car, which is why he goes immediately to a bar to forget the afternoon ever happened. While there, he meets Sydney, a sexy blond who’s supposed to meet a friend until she gets stood up. Easy hook-up. No strings attached. At least, that’s the idea at the time.

Dimitri Hayes is an astonishingly complex antihero. He’s a child, a monster, a victim, a sex-fiend, and a bad man’s puppet. His entire reason for existing is to fulfill Karl Walker’s violent wishes. Because the act of being summoned physically moves him, without warning, from wherever he is to a special room in Karl’s house, Dimitri’s life outside of work is incredibly limited. He can’t have a part-time job, make friends. His sex-life consists of one-night-stands that he rudely kicks out in the morning to ensure they don’t call back. He doesn’t like it, doesn’t want to do what he does, but he literally has no choice. The magical bond that tethers him to his master is cruel when challenged. As it stands, there’s nothing in his life worth the trouble. So he lies to himself about who his victims are to make them worthy of the fate he brings to their door.

Syd, a “rock star” he meets by chance, was supposed to help him forget his troubles for a few hours and get lost. Getting rid of her, and her insatiable sexual appetite, proves to be impossible. Despite Dimitri being a complete jerk to her, she keeps calling, texting, and showing up at his house, until she becomes something he can’t live with or without.

I was delighted by the evolution of Dimitri’s character over the course of story. We are introduced to a deviant, who is somewhat weak-minded and apathetic, and he grows into someone with a moral compass that finds its true North and holds onto it for dear life. (And not just his own.)

But don’t get me wrong, Summoned is not a romance. In fact, I was neither surprised nor disappointed by the blood bath at the end. (No, that’s not a spoiler. Surely you can guess by now that people die, and I’m not telling whom.)

If you’ve seen me around the Internet, you might have read four things about me. I like a) organic scenes, b) inquisitive characters, c) slow reveals, and d) snowballing climaxes. In Summoned, Rainy Kaye solidly hits a, c, and d, which makes it a story pretty much written just for me. Even throws in a puzzle and Pre-Muslim Arabia at total bonuses.

Still, the author gave me an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review, and the book is not perfect.  Some things are errors that I fully expect to be cleaned up before publication, because Immortal Ink cares about stuff like that. I also found details that I personally would have chosen to do differently, but Ms. Kaye didn’t actually write it just for me. It would suck of me to hold those against her, and I try hard not to suck.

I give Summoned 4.5 stars, and I round up. I recommend it to fans of dark paranormal that don’t mind mature content with their felonies and apples.

About My Book Reviews

Cover Reveal: Circus of Lost Souls, by Riley J Ford and Rebecca Hamilton


horror ebookCirque du Lune is killing off teenagers, but it’s all part of the act.

Or is it?
As the body count rises with each performance, one girl at this infamous theater-based summer camp finds herself contemplating what’s real and what’s not.
What if it’s not just a horror show, but a live snuff performance? What if the murders . . . are real?
* * *
Sign Up For Release Notification — When you do, you are automatically entered to win a free copy of the book, and you will also have an opportunity to purchase the book at the new release discounted price. We will only email you once for these purposes, and your email from this list will not be used for any other reason at any other time.

Excerpt of The Forever Girl, by Rebecca Hamilton #bbf

SHERIFF LOCUMB AND I sat in a small room with a table and two chairs and a cheap light embedded into the suspended ceiling overhead. I wiped my palms on my pants, but the sweat kept coming.

He pulled up a picture on his cell phone. “Look familiar?”

Maybe he should’ve gotten an eight-by-twelve print. What was the picture of? Wood? A reddish-orange figure eight and a cross? I frowned and shook my head. “Should this look familiar?”

“Someone spray-painted this on the abandoned grain elevator,” he said coolly. “Why don’t you tell me what you know?”

“What I know about spray-paint?”

“Look.” He leveled his gaze at me. “Mrs. Franklin said one of the women in her congregation—well, her daughter got sick. They think you had something to do with it.”

“Mrs. Franklin thinks I have something to do with everything.”

“Well?” he asked.

“Well, what? I didn’t get anyone sick.”

He puffed his cheeks and blew out a breath. “I’m not saying you got anyone sick, Sophia. They think you hexed their child by spray-painting this satanic symbol.”

“You think I hexed someone? You’re kidding.”

Belle Meadow might be a small town, but surely it wasn’t so dull that they needed to call me down to the station for this.

“You’re here because Mrs. Franklin suggested you might be the one who vandalized the abandoned grain elevator, not because you ‘cursed’ someone.”

“And?” I asked.

“Well, did you?”

“I’m Wiccan.”

He stared blankly. “What’s that have to do with the case?”

“Wiccans don’t believe in Satan.”

“Listen, lady. I don’t care what you believe in. Why don’t you just tell me where you were when the offense took place?”

“Which was when?”

“May tenth.”

“At Colorado State, taking my senior year finals.” Something a few minutes of research would have told him without dragging me down here. Besides, how did Mrs. Franklin know the date? Did she take daily drives around town with her calendar and journal, looking for signs of demonic worship?

Sheriff Locumb leaned back in his chair, slapping his hands against his knees before standing. “I’m sure you wouldn’t mind waiting here while I check with the school?”

I gestured toward the door. “Go ahead.”

I would like to say I enjoyed the silence while he was gone, but the constant hushing in my brain made that impossible.

Sheriff Locumb returned with a cup of coffee and an apology. I didn’t drink the coffee, but I did ask him about the sick kid, and he told me it’d just been a case of chicken pox. Not a demonic plague or anything like that.

After squaring everything away, I returned outside to my Jeep and gripped the steering wheel. I couldn’t deal with Mrs. Franklin’s crazy accusations and the damn hissing. Something had to give.

Taking three deep breaths, I pushed the hissing as far into the back of my skull as possible. I wasn’t about to go back to work. Someone was bound to interrupt my relaxation efforts with a request for a drink refill or a complaint that their jalapeno loaf was too spicy or their ginger-lime chicken wasn’t chickeny enough.

As I drove home, I concentrated on the road—on one mailbox after another, on the way tree branches laced overhead, even on the glare of traffic lights, counting the seconds until they turned green. Anything to distract me from the noise.

My Jeep shushed along the pavement, but the roll of the road didn’t do me any good. The quieter the world around me, the louder the buzzing in my brain. Coping was no longer a viable option.

At the last major cross street before my neighborhood, the noise in my head roared. I slammed my palm against the steering wheel, gritting my teeth.

Enough was enough. I flicked my turn signal in the other direction and veered onto the highway before my courage fled. It was time to turn away from caution and toward Sparrow’s Grotto. Toward something that might silence the hissing forever.

For more information, view Rebecca Hamilton’s Book Blogger Fair – Summer 2013 page.

After the Fear, by Rosanne Rivers

—An Excerpt—

afterthefearOne blink awake. Then two. All around is thick nothingness, so black it seems blue. With every second that passes, my panic spreads. Why am I lying down? Why does my body hurt? I feel as though I’ve been dragged over rocks to get here.

Sweat. Blood. Medicine. Earth. Urine. I choke on the vile smells stealing their way down my throat and up my nose. Yet the stench is better than the memories which jam into my mind. The needle, my Debtbook status, Coral’s father. I pretend for a second I’m still in the kitchen, that Dad will be here any minute to save me. Even as I grab the soil beneath me I wish for it to be true.

There’s a gasping sound now, like a saw chewing through wood, again and again. It’s coming from me. Hot tears sting my eyes, burning and desperate to escape, but I blink them away. Won’t cry, won’t cry, won’t cry.

Slowly, I push myself up so that I’m sitting. My arm throbs in protest, telling me that’s where Mr Winters stabbed me with the needle. Through the dark, I make out three walls. Bars cover the last side, as if I’m in an over-sized crate.

There’s movement next to me. I jerk away, but my elbow collides with something warm and soft. No, not something. Someone.

I’m not alone.

I pause, struggling to breathe. I feel like I’ve been caught at lying. My stomach is hollow, and I’m just waiting, waiting for my brain to find a solution that I know isn’t coming. Although I wish they wouldn’t, my eyes adjust to the shade. More bodies. Every speck of soil is covered in mangled shapes. Hugging my arms around my knees, I make myself as small as possible. Maybe if I’m tiny enough, I can disappear and no one will notice me ever again. Not Coral, not Dylan, not the Shepherds.

Coral. There aren’t enough horrible words to describe her right now. Did she send me here? To this prison which smells worse than a corpse? I need to find out what will happen to us, but my head is still foggy, and I have too many pains and aches to think straight.

The girl next to me shudders once again, and like that, she’s awake and freaking out. I want to grab her and tell her to be quiet—instinct tells me we should keep the fact that we’ve woken a secret—but other groans stop me. Really, really slowly, I run my eyes over the room.

The mass of bodies begin to writhe and pulse. Everyone is waking, like some sort of mass resurrection. I cling to myself tighter. I know I’m watching something horrid unfold, like when I see something balanced on an edge, but I’m too far away to stop it from toppling over.

And after the fall, there’s always a smash.

Available in Kindle | Nook | iBook | Kobo | CreateSpace

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Rosanne RiversRosanne Rivers lives in Birmingham, UK and considers it one of her favourite cities, second only to Rome. She delights in writing for children and young adults and hopes to bring readers to an unfamiliar yet alluring setting. Rosanne was inspired to write when she read the Harry Potter books, and at age fourteen, she wrote romance fanfiction on just about every pairing you could dream up from the HP series. She currently lives with her partner and two bunny rabbits and is working on a post-apocalyptic adventure book for middle grade readers.

Book Review: The Portrait of Alatiel Salazar, by Steven Katriel

Cover: The Portrait of Alatiel Salazar

Coming June, 2012, Immortal Ink Press

When Gabriel Holland’s beloved Helena vanishes from his life, he journeys to the home of disgraced artist Cristian Salazar, the man he holds responsible for her disappearance and the death of several friends. Once in the town of Carliton, Gabriel finds only malice and mystery in the tales told by the few brave enough to speak ill of Salazar and the sinister Cousin Beatriz. And within shadows, in the guise of night, walks Alatiel, the creature Helena has become. . . .

An unnamed narrator stands amidst bloodstained pages in a ruined house in Camden Town, reading the desperate tale of a woman named Helena Graham. Her opening paragraphs refer to a wretched woman who has forced upon her a “hateful gift.” Alatiel, as she calls this maligned force, appeared to Helen to be nothing more than a vulnerable young woman when Julian Paradine introduced her to their circle of wannabe English bohemians. Helena tells herself that the interest her brother’s friends have in the destitute beauties they share for a time before discarding is purely artistic, even while harboring darker, more realistic suspicions.

Two men in their circle react strangely when Julian presents his new muse. Callum Flynn, a dreadful poet, leaves immediately and without explanation. Helena’s boyfriend and mediocre painter, Gabriel Holland, feigns concern for Flynn and backs away from the table with such suddenness that he knocks his chair over. Helena remains behind with Julian and their friend Daniele Navarro, who is given the first turn with the girl. From the moment that Julian takes Alatiel by the arm and pushes her forward for inspection by his friends, life for everyone who has seen the frail mute descends steadily into a hellish nightmare.

But the narrator hasn’t come across Helena’s tale by accident. The curse did not start at the artists’ table, or even with Julian’s flaky association with occult painter Cristian Salazar, whom the narrator knows to be Alatiel’s father. The narrator is the one who angered the Salazar family, and he is the one upon whom the young demon is taking revenge.

Set in England, in the late 19th century, The Portrait of Alatiel Salazar is a gothic novella in the tradition of Edgar Allen Poe. The silent muse is creepy in the way only corruption masked by innocence can be. The men of the story are rounded out in tiny degrees as gentlemen, artists, monsters, fools, cowards, and perverts, each of them utterly human. Helena is none of these things, save human, but it doesn’t matter. The narrator cares about her; for Alatiel, that’s more than cause enough to punish her.

The author’s voice lends the prose an old feel, as if it were written a hundred years ago. Additionally, the writing is simple and clear. If Katriel has made any missteps with the Victorian setting or language, the flow will keep the casual reader (read: not students of period literature) from taking notice.

Additionally, the author chooses his words carefully, managing to convey gruesome scenes in ways that allow the reader to decide how disturbed they want to be by them. For instance, I avoid sexual violence in fiction. I don’t handle it well. The rape that takes place in Portrait is written in such a way that I was through it before put together that was in fact what had taken place. The gravity of the incident builds as aftermath, so it’s no less awful than it should be, but the rape itself is handled extremely delicately. I found that every disturbing scene of the story was handled with similar care.

Steven Katriel is a talented writer with a great future. I would recommend The Portrait of Alatiel Salazar to fans of Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock.

Genre: Horror, Gothic

Rating: ★★★★★

Note: I was given an advanced copy by the publisher.

A Surprise visit from S.M. Boyce!

UPDATED (April 19): When you buy a pendant, you’re automatically entered in a contest to make a short guest appearance in Heritage, the epic finale to the Grimoire Trilogy. Click here for more details!

Hey gang! I’m thrilled to be sharing some awesome news with you, and I’m so grateful that Wendy let me kidnap her blog for the day to do it. You may remember me from when I was here a last month on my Hidden World blog tour promoting my novel, The Grimoire: Lichgates. To those of you who participated and won some of the hundreds of dollars in prizes, thanks for making that tour so epic!

So today, I’m here with awesome, Grimoire-related news I think you’ll really like. Because we of the modern era like information to be fast and furious, I made this quick video to tell you what all the fuss is about:

Isn’t that cool? I’m bringing the Grimoire pendant from my novel to life!

There’s a lot of buzz around the pendant, and I’ll fill orders in the order they’re received. That means it’s really best to act as soon as you know which pendant you want. For all the ordering info, head over to the pendant’s page on my blog.

Thanks again for having me today! You’re all amazing and I can’t thank you enough for reading Lichgates. You’re making all my geeky little dreams come true.

Learn More:

Evolution Thursday: Rebecca Hamilton

Rebecca Hamilton writes Paranormal Fantasy, Horror, and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and three kids, along with multiple writing personalities that range from morbid to literary. She enjoys dancing with her kids to television show theme songs and would love the beach if it weren’t for the sand. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently.

To learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, please visit the website below.

You can stalk her blog, follow her on Twitter and Like her on Facebook.

Rebecca, what gave you the idea for The Forever Girl?

I wanted to write a book and I had this idea about a Wiccan girl who would perform a ritual to get rid of her curse. I also knew that she might have to kill her lover in order to save him. I guess I expected it to be more paranormal romance when I started, but instead it’s more paranormal fantasy with some romance in it. And the big “problem” ended up being bumped into book 4 of the series instead because one of the side characters took over my general plot idea.

Do you recall the first scene you wrote?

A scene with Sophia and her three friends in the wood performing a Wiccan ritual. It was the opening scene initially. There was also a seance in several early drafts of the book. It was a bit “Now and Then” meets “The Craft”. Boy, how things have changed since then. I almost miss those early drafts.

Did you have a scene that you loved but ended up cutting?

See above! There was also a scene with Sophia and her Dad discussing her ancestry and the document Sophia found in the attic. I loved that scene and I miss it tons.

I usually have an a-ha moment, where an insignificant detail becomes something really important. Did you have a moment like that? Will it spoil the plot to tell me what it was?

For me the detail was character who had a secret I wasn’t expecting that entirely changed the direction of the novel.

Are you surprised where the story took you? Or if ended up where you planned, were you surprised how you got there?

I’m extremely surprised. The original story was nothing like the final product. And the version of the story now is nothing like the first draft. Truth be told, the first draft of this novel was almost entirely a different story.

What story idea is sitting in the class right now, raising his hand madly, begging you to call on him?

Book 2. I am most excited about book 2 and every day new little details pop in my mind, demanding I hurry up and finish and make use of all the great ideas being given to me. But I have to finish the project I’m working on now. Also, in my heart, there are a couple literary fiction novels that want me to return to them. And in my email box, there a few people demanding I finish the disgusting horror novel I started last year, but I think it’s too gross to sell, so I haven’t been able to finish it.

I would like to thank Rebecca for being Evolution Thursday’s very first guest. Please check out the trailer and blurb for The Forever Girl.

Solving the mystery of an ancestor’s hanging might silence the clashing whispers in Sophia’s mind, but the cult in her town and the supernaturals who secretly reside there are determined to silence her first.

As Sophia unknowingly crosses the line into an elemental world full of vampire-like creatures, shapeshifters, and supernatural grim reapers, she meets Charles, a man who becomes both lover and ally.

But can she trust him?

It’s not until someone nearly kills Sophia that she realizes the only way to unveil the source of her family’s curse: abandon her faith or abandon her humanity. If she wants to survive, she must accept who she is, perform dark magic, and fight to the death for her freedom.

The Forever Girl is available just about anywhere you can buy a book.

Next week, I’ll have Krystal Wade’s answers for Wilde’s Fire.

Interview with The Grimoire Trilogy’s Braeden Drakonin

Good morning friends. Today, I have a treat for you. Braeden Drakonin is here. Party hats!

Oh, sorry, you might not know who that is. Rest assured, he likes it better that way. Where he comes from, he’s a wanted man. One king needs him taken alive, another king would really like to put a poisoned blade through him, and then there’s Deirdre, the plucky soul thief ready to sell him to whoever offers her more. No wonder he was so anxious to cross over and do this interview.

Braeden: You summed that up really well, actually. So you’re 100% certain that no one can trace this, right? I can’t have anyone from my world reading this.

WSR: I can say with 100% certainty that I’ve never had a page viewed from Ourea, but I am still building my audience.

Braeden: Ah. You’re a sarcastic one.

WSR: Braeden, you mentioned to Kara that you’ve spent a lot of time in the human world. How long have you been coming here? Do you have any favorite places?

Braeden: I’ve been coming here since I was fifteen, so that’s, what…nine years? Yes, nine. As for my favorite places, I love to sit in bars and just watch humans do their thing. You want entertainment? Go to a bar. Plus, there’s whiskey. Magical stuff.

WSR: Your world is called Ourea, which is on Earth, but in a parallel dimension to ours, and you can cross between them using Lichgates. Kara Magari walked through one to find herself in your world. What can you tell us about the lichgates?

Braeden: No one knows who made the first lichgates, or who founded Ourea, but we have figured out how to create new lichgates. My home, Hillside, is protected by several that we created, so no one can even see the city unless they know where these lichgates are and how to open them.

Lichgates are wonderful defenses because they can be anywhere and appear as anything. I even saw one disguised as a mural on the side of a brick wall in the human world, once. In plain view! I couldn’t believe it, but no one else seemed to know what it was.

WSR: Huh. I’ve seen murals that looked like you could walk right through them. I’ve often been tempted to try it.

Braeden: Careful. They aren’t all lichgates.

WSR: Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. Now, magic is commonplace in your world. Your people use for everything from heating bath water to forming weapons out of air. How does your magic work? When do children begin learning?

Braedon: Mastering magic is all about controlling the energy in all things around you. You tap into that power and manipulate it to make even inanimate objects move. Or, if you’re controlling the elements, you pull what you need from the world around you. To make a flame, for instance, you tap into the energy in the wood and the air to ignite a fire in your hand.

Children begin learning as soon as they start to walk, really. Small things here and there, like warming the dish water with a flame technique or chasing away weeds from the garden with a root-breaking spell.

WSR: Magic allows you to change forms. You appear as four separate races of yakona during Kara’s adventure. You spend most of your time as Hillsidian, but…the Kirelm can fly; The Losse can breathe underwater. What’s your favorite?

Braeden: That’s tough. I’ve spent a solid twelve years pretending to be Hillsidian, so I can hold that form without even thinking about it. It’s comfortable. But the Kirelm form is incredible! Enhanced eyesight, excellent sense of smell, tuned hearing…there’s nothing like it. So it’s a toss-up for me.

Oh, but don’t tell Kara that. She and the Kirelms aren’t on the best terms right now and I don’t want her to get mad.

WSR: But, in truth, you are Stelian.

Braeden: *Sighs* Unfortunately.

WSR: When you were 12, your mother and Blood Aislynn of Ayavel smuggled you out of Stele. Your father’s not exactly the merciful sort, so why would either take the risk?

Braeden: Blood Aislynn was half-unconscious from being tortured, so she didn’t have much say in what was happening. Mother, though…I think she realized how my father was training me to be like him. I didn’t want that, and fought it as much as I could, but I wouldn’t have been able to overcome it if I’d stayed. I guess she thought giving me a second chance at life was worth risking death, or worse.

WSR: And until recently, Carden, your father, thought you were dead. What gave your secret away?

Braeden: A king—we call kings “Bloods,” but the term is interchangeable—he draws his power from the royal bloodline, which gives him and a single heir incredible power. When he couldn’t conceive another son with the bloodline, he realized I wasn’t dead like he had previously assumed.

WSR: While we’re still on the subject of Bloods, heirs, and bloodlines, what is the daru?

Braeden: Bloods, Wendy! You ask hard questions.

WSR: You wouldn’t want Kara to think I soft-balled you, would you?

Braeden: Fine, I’ll answer.

The daru is, according to legend, the physical embodiment of a royal’s soul. It’s the manifestation of absolute and unimaginable power, and it can rarely be stopped once the royal calls it forward. It’s a frightening thing to behold. I hate mine.

WSR: Kara Magari. When you were trapped together in a cage and drug back to Stele, what did you think of her?

Braeden: Oh man. Now you have me worried that she’ll read this, too. This is between you and me, but I thought she wouldn’t last long. Pretty thing like that? No way. Especially not if she was going to my father’s kingdom. It wasn’t until I realized that she had the Grimoire that I thought she stood a chance, and even then, it was a small one. She really proved me wrong.

WSR: The Grimoire? What is it?

Braeden: The Grimoire is a thousand-year-old book that can answer any question asked of it. It’s powerful, and its secrets are coveted by everyone who knows that the book exists. It was hidden for the last millennia, and now that it’s back, everyone wants it. Including me.

WSR: Me too! Now, the Vagabond plays a very important role to the story. Who is The Vagabond? What does it mean to be a Vagabond? Why is having one important?

Braeden: The Vagabond is the Grimoire’s master. It’s a title handed down from the first Vagabond, who created the book a thousand years ago. Only the Vagabond can read the Grimoire, so he or she is crucial to interpreting and using the book’s magic.

WSR: One last thing, before we go. Your home is Hillside, but with your “brother” Gavin promising to kill off the Stelian bloodline…which is you…where does that leave you? What’s next for you and Kara?

Braeden: Gavin’s parents adopted me without knowing what I am, or who my real father is. I have no idea what I would do if Gavin figured me out, so I have to lay low, play it safe, and hope for the best. I don’t have the best track record with that sort of thing, though.

WSR: I wish you luck. Thank you for coming and indulging my curiosity. I will be picking up the next book to find out how you do.

Braeden: I appreciate that. Thanks for having me.

Everyone, please check out The Grimoire: Lichgates. And click on the banner below for more contest details! There’s one just for people who visited my blog today!