Catch Up

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My apologies for getting behind on my blogging! So, for a little Catch Up 🙂

1: I’m about halfway through editing a book. I’m hoping to have it done by the end of this weekend- I have about 142 pages left to go.

2: I’ve got the first chapter written on a new paranormal mystery trilogy. This takes place in the Isles and West world, but in a different town with different characters. It’s also a bit lighter in tone than the Isles and West series, which I did on purpose. It’s more of a…dark cozy mystery 🙂

3: I’ve also written the first chapter down of a dark paranormal novel that is also set in the I&W series but with a different set of characters. This is a single book, not part of series.

4: I’ve outlined several novels set in the I&W world, outside of Delilah and Milly. That world is lush, and filled with stories that bring you deeper into the Dark and Glory as well as different gifts and locations. I can’t wait to bring them all into the light for you to read!

5: I’m making good headway on the first Ghoultown novel! Different characters, different gifts–will be awesome!

6: I’m also a few chapters into a new series and new world. I don’t want to say too much on it right now, but I will tell you that it includes the classic monsters with a twist 😉

7: I’m almost finished with a short story in the Slayer world. Different characters, but I love them all. This is an introduction to the full-length novel I’ve got planned for these characters.

 

That sounds like a lot of books at one time but it’s actually pretty tame for me LOL

I took a break from writing for about two months because of all the first half of the year releases, and it feels really great to be writing again, to feel that fire to bring new characters to life. I think the break really helped refresh my imagination and gave me a chance to recharge the creative batteries while I concentrated on promo and such.

So that’s what’s been going on with me 🙂 Blogging should be back to normal from here on out!

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Fantasy Friday: Rachel Vincent

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This week’s Fantasy Friday features Rachel Vincent’s Menagerie series.

I first found Rachel via her blog, about three months before her first Shifter book, Stray, released. I loved the Shifter series, than fell in love with her Soul Screamers YA series. Then came her Unbound series, which I also enjoyed, though not as much as her other two series. Basically, I will give anything this woman writes a try. She’s earned a spot on my auto-buy list, and it isn’t easy to get on that. So when Menagerie was announced I was excited to see what she’d created this time around, and was not disappointed.

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!!

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click on covers to go to Amazon

note: this is the new paperback reissue cover for Menagerie. I love it! But the original cover, currently on Amazon, is beautiful as well.

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Menagerie is the first book in the series, and the only one available at this time. It’s the story of Delilah Marlowe, who learns the hard way that she isn’t exactly human. By the end of the book, she discovers she’s a Fury. I loved Vincent’s take on this mythical creature- it was refreshingly different than other books I’ve read. Here’s the blurb:

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town. 

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed. 

****

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Spectacle, book two, is due out March 2017. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where Vincent takes this series. Here’s the blurb:

When their coup of Metzger’s Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of “exotic wildlife.” Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle’s owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price. 

But Vandekamp’s closely guarded client list isn’t the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

****

Menagerie is firmly dark fantasy. I won’t sugarcoat how dark this book is- the events that take place are not for the faint of heart. Abuse, rape, death, and the way the cryptids are treated is not something for every reader. However, I found the story well-worth reading, and the world-building is fantastic and the imagery vivid. The only complaint I really have is that I found the ending slightly rushed. I expected a bit more than was written. That said, while I wish the end had a bit more meat on it, the actual endpoint is satisfying. When I left Delilah and the other cryptids I felt a mix of hope and wariness, because nothing in their world is easy.

I do recommend giving this book a try if you enjoy Dark Fantasy and Urban Fantasy. The world is vivid, imaginative, and while the cruelty within the pages is hard to take, the character journey and rich world are worth the read.

#TeaserTuesday

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Here’s a little Tuesday Teaser from A Taste So Bittersweet 🙂

*****

@copyright October Weeks 2016

 

Having Tuck in the city was more nerve-wracking than what had happened with Mads. She’d been so close to that slayer … and now she was going to have to face her for the first time in eight years, knowing what she had taken, what she had done. She was well aware that Tuck had mourned both Eden and herself for those long eight years, there was no doubt of that, but what scared her was the thought that Tuck was here as the Ripper, and the Ripper was not someone she wanted to face.

She’d had more than one nightmare in her first few years as a vampire of being hunted by the Ripper. Now here she was…

“Come on, Grim,” the Ripper said, “show me the monster I have to slay.”

“I’m not a monster, Tuck. I’m Fiona, your friend.”

The Ripper smiled, sending chills down her spine. “Friend or not, Fiona, you killed innocents, amongst others. You need to be taken care of.” She raised her sword. Slowly.

Fiona went to her knees, knowing she could not run. “Tuck,” she whispered. “Please…”

Tuck held the sword to Fiona’s heart, eyes crystal and filled with knowing. “I will give you what you want, Grim. That’s why I’ve come.”

“Don’t. I’m not—”

“You are,” Tuck replied softly … and the sword plunged deep.

Fiona shook her head, shivering at that particular nightmare. It was oft repeated, at rest or fully awake.

She tried to push it from her mind, the memories of the nightmares, but could not. It wasn’t just Tuck. It was the thought that other slayers would know she still lived after Tuck had seen her. Slayers were not very forgiving when it came to the killing of their own, and Fiona had done much killing, to both normal humans and slayers.

The slayer in her had screamed not to take those lives, but the vampire who had turned her, who had control over her, forced her to take life after life. Then the bastard let his will on her go, ceased his control on her, and set her free out into the world where he knew she’d kill more on her own, to try and shut the voices off in her head. And she’d heard voices—all the lives she’d taken echoing in her mind, haunting her every move, her every kill. She couldn’t control it, but she knew what she wanted, silence, and she knew how to get it—slayers.

That was why slayers-turned-vampire were tracked so quickly. They actually hunted down the scent of their own kind to end their suffering. She was no different.

She remembered the scent of hunters, the feel of them touching the slayer in her.

A gentle pull persisted as she fed, as she moved. It was deep, in her blood. She knew it well—blood calling blood. It made her pause over her victim, the human chest still heaving, trying to get air, still fighting. That made her want to drink more, and she turned her head back to her victim. The slayers could wait…

She shook the memory before it could get too far. The slayer in her had been very aware that they could still feel her, even at the height of her bloodlust, for the ability to mask her scent completely came long after her turning.

She remembered following the scent of a group of slayers but found herself lured by another, single slayer on her way to that group. This slayer had practically begged her to follow. She had killed two or three humans each night on the trail to this slayer, through each unnamed city and town, the screams of the dead ravaging her mind, more potently with each kill. Each kill made her crave more blood…

Bloodlust overrode everything, the sweet taste of it … oh she could taste it now.

It was so beautifully sweet on her tongue, so luscious and exquisite that she had to have more, so much more. She could never get enough. Just one more kill before the rapture of certain death. Nothing else mattered. Just one more…

Fiona forced herself out of the memory, gripping the side of the tub as she knelt by it as it filled. She heard it cracking and let go, closing her eyes and ordering every muscle in her body to calm, using the sound of the falling water to aid her senses. It was something she had learned growing up as a slayer, and despite how overwhelming the emotions inside of her could become, the exercise still worked.

The last she remembered of any slayer was being rendered unconscious. When she woke, she was in a cell at the mansion. She couldn’t remember if the slayer was male or female, or even if she’d known the person. All she knew was that it was a slayer, and that was the only thing that mattered at the time.

Monday Madness

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I had a very busy weekend, and wasn’t home for most of it, so I didn’t get much writing done. Overall, I wrote about 2k on two different projects. Hopefully this week I’ll make up for the lack of words this weekend- I already have some words written today 🙂

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Fantasy Friday: Matthew Cook

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This week’s Fantasy Friday is spotlighting Matthew Cook’s The Ballad of Kirin Widowmaker series.

I read book one, Blood Magic, when it was released in 2007. It quickly became a favorite read, and I was very happy to know that there was going to be a sequel. A third book was planned, but has not been published, which makes me a little sad because I really love this series and was looking forward to where the main character’s story was going. However, the first two books are still favorites of mine and I reread them at least once a year.

LIGHT SPOILER AHEAD!!!

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click on covers to go to Amazon

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Blurb:

Her sister was murdered, and Kirin hungers for revenge. Using the power of her “blood magic,” the young necromancer creates grotesque and inhumanly strong creatures by calling men’s souls back into their dead bodies. These “sweetlings,” as she calls them, are utterly devoted to her, and Kirin cherishes them as if they were her own children. But while fighting a bloody war against a relentless enemy, she meets Lia Cho, a beautiful and gentle woman who can call the power of storms… and soon, Kirin learns that there is more to life than pain and vengeance.

Blood Magic starts off strong and never lets up. Kirin’s voice pulled me in immediately, and I couldn’t put the book down until I was finished. It only took me about three hours to finish this book! The chapters alternate between the present day action of fighting the Mor, and the past, showing what led Kirin to be the necromancer and fighter she is. That type of writing normally would turn me off but Cook does a fantastic job of alternating smoothly, so the story felt natural instead of choppy. Kirin’s journey is heartbreaking; from her ill-fated marriage and her sister’s death, to how she became what most people fear. I found her to be a wonderful narrator, both relatable and otherworldly. The introduction of Lia was well done and I really enjoyed the effect she had on Kirin and the way she sees life.

 

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Blurb:

The besieged Imperial City lies inside the massive wall of the Armitage; outside, the attacking Mor have laid waste to most of the land. The Imperial Court seems unaware of their peril, but Kirin and Lia — who have barely survived the Mor and made their way to the City — know the danger all too well! When Kirin discovers a necromancer who seems to possess her power over blood, she hopes he can help her understand her strange magic. Meanwhile, the deadly Mor are assaulting the walls of the city that shelters them.

Nights of Sin, book two, is wonderful but not quite as good as book one. I found this one to be a bit more “typical” fantasy instead of continuing the rich, fast-paced, and dark bent of book one. That said, I still enjoyed the story and found it a well-done second book in the series. I found it incredibly heartbreaking that even the people she saved from the Mor- including her Captain- show her no gratitude and still greatly fear her power. That both saddened me, and made me angry. I also liked the evolution of Kirin and Lia’s relationship, though I am not fond of how that ended. I feel that Lia turned her back on Kirin, and it would take a lot for me to accept her again if she tried to rejoin Kirin.

While I hope to read more of this series, books one and two are more than a fantastic addition to the fantasy section of my bookshelf.  If you can find copies of these books, I highly recommend giving them a try!