I haven’t posted a Sunday Stealing in a while but I liked this last weeks questions so here we are with another.
I haven’t posted a Sunday Stealing in a while but I liked this last weeks questions so here we are with another.
I was lucky and got to review Michael Carill’s book Shades of Grey. I enjoyed it very much and as mentioned in my review will be keeping an eye out for more of his work. He has two free books that make it easy to check out his work. This is great for authors to do allowing a reader to sample their work. I’m going to mention one now so that you all can give it a read and see what you think. I haven’t read it yet but will soon.
None of the residents of Barnaby Close are particularly unhappy. It’s in a nice area and the families are well off and caring. So why have they started killing each other?
“It’s a legitimate question,” my sister insisted over the phone.
“Is not,” I shot back.
“Well….if you don’t know the answer…”
“Of course I know,” I snapped at her. “It’s just…does it really matter?”
“It does to me. Maya doesn’t eat human food; she feeds off human auras, so… does she poop or not?”
Writing my first novel has been an amazing adventure. I knew it would be hard. I knew there would be plot holes to fill, dialogue to carefully craft (and then re-craft and re-craft and re-craft…), and pacing knots to patiently untangle. Did I ever think that I would spend several days contemplating whether or not my main character poops?
No, but that’s both the fun and challenge of writing in the paranormal genre. You can make your characters do the most unbelievable things…as long as it’s believable.
What I mean is that the paranormal elements must work; there must be some rudimentary foundation of logic, some master plan or map that the author has built behind the scenes.
Let me take a step back and provide a little context. Earlier this year, I released my first novel, Falling , book one in the Girl With Broken Wings series. Falling is a paranormal adventure featuring Maya, a college sophomore who is abducted and changed into an “Angel”. My angels aren’t of the fluffy-wing, harp-wielding variety. They are a group of genetically-enhanced super humans who possess extremely keen senses, reflexes and strength. Additionally, they can see emotions as colors in the auras that each human exudes. Angels feed off these auras, making humans their number one snack of choice.
When I created Maya as a character, I had to develop her unique voice, define her motivations (easy – she mostly just wants to find and kill the one who changed her), and figure out how her new body worked. I spent a lot of time imaging how Maya interacted with a world in which she could hear the other end of a phone conversation from across the street, run a sub-four minute mile and lift three hundred pounds overhead easily. Then there was the hunger. Enhanced senses are great, but I also had to describe what it was like for Maya to live every day tempted to feed off the energy of the humans around her (including her two vigilante rescuers who also happen to be her half-brothers).
Probably the most difficult aspect of creating Maya was figuring out how the auras worked and defining a consistent system wherein different colors, movement and brightness all helped Maya read the emotional patterns of the humans around her.
My sister wasn’t about to let me off the hook on this matter and made it her personal mission to constantly pepper me with questions like, “what color is angst?”, “what about hubris?”
Hubris? Seriously? I need to have an aura color for hubris?
The easiest paranormal element for me to write was the actual way in which Maya feeds. It’s kind of funny how some things can be so very clear, and other aspects are a struggle to define and develop. Maya’s feeding was definitely on the “very clear” side of things. In fact, it was almost the first part of her I ever saw.
Like most of the things I write, Falling started out as a single scene that materialized inside my head and then wouldn’t leave. I imagined a young woman approaching a bed where her brother slept (this would eventually turn out to be Gabe). To her enhanced eyes, he is cloaked in a beautiful blue aura. She hungers for that aura, for his energy. The addiction is so strong that she cannot fight it. As she drifts closer to the bed, the skin peels back from her palms and vein-covered bulbs lift out of each hand. Unable to stop herself, she reaches out her hand, ready to attach her feeding bulbs to his aura and drain him.
This scene eventually became the prologue of the novel, and I built the angel feeding mechanics around that central vision of the skin peeling back from Maya’s palms and the bulbs slowly lifting out. I added more details and even drew up an “angel anatomy outline” for myself, but the essentials remained the same.
I think readers may be interested to know how much thought writers put into all the background details of how paranormal elements work in their stories and how many reams (electronic reams now) of charts, anatomy outlines, lists of aura-color correlations never see the light of day.
I wonder this myself when I pick up a new paranormal novel (by “pick up” I mean download onto my Kindle). I’m sure it varies from author to author. I imagine some authors are obsessive like me (must make more charts), while others put more faith in the reader’s ability to suspend belief.
I love details. I love feeling the story in my bones, and I love it when readers come to me with questions like “Does Maya need to brush her teeth?” “Can she get pregnant?” But even I have my limits…which is why the poop question will remain unanswered!
Falling is J Bennett’s first novel and the first book in the Girl With Broken Wings series. It is currently available as an ebook for $2.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. J Bennett is a professional copywriter and copyeditor. She also writes the blog www.ShyWriter.com
The intellectual challenge of college and the warm embrace of a serious boyfriend have given Maya the wings she needs to break away from her bookish and shy reserve. Her ideal life comes crashing down when she and her boyfriend are accosted by a stranger. A stranger with glowing hands.
Maya’s boyfriend is killed. She is kidnapped. Changed.
A rescue comes, but not soon enough.
Maya’s senses sharpen, her body becomes strong and agile, and she develops the ability to visually see the emotions of those around her as colorful auras…beautiful auras…tempting auras.
And then there’s the song…
Now, Maya must struggle to control the murderous appetite that fuels her new abilities, accept her altered condition and learn to trust two vigilante half-brothers she never knew she had. As she joins the battle against a secret network of powerful and destructive beings that call themselves “Angels”, Maya vows to find and destroy the one who changed her.
On the bright side, at least Maya’s oldest half-brother has stopped trying to kill her.
J Bennett is a professional copywriter and copyeditor as well as a novelist. Falling is the first book in the Girl With Broken Wings series.
Learn more about Falling at www.GirlWithBrokenWings.com
J Bennett also blogs at www.ShyWriter.com
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I want to welcome Desiree Finkbeiner today to share about her book Ethos : Morning Star
A character interview with Kalen from the book who shares about his world, himself and his love.
Tell us about your world, Kalen. What is the purpose of your travel
between Earth and Ethos?
In the beginning, our first parents were place on Ethos to gain
experience, and to become the creators of our entire race, also to have dominion
over all other life on Ethos; so long as that dominion was exercised in
righteousness. For them to fulfill their mission, they were given a mushroom
to protect, which contained all the magic of Ethos. This magic was
the source of all magic, which was to be divided among all living creatures
for their benefit. But it was forbidden for any living creature to
partake of it while in the flesh, lest they live forever in their wicked
ness. The only correct way to receive a portion of its magic was through
lineage and ceremony.
As the first parents populated the world with their creations, the tempt
ation for their children to partake of the mushroom was far too enticing
for them to resist. So they hid the mushroom on Earth, to keep it safe
from their own children. As Earth became a developing world, man threate
ned the safety of the mushroom, so warriors were sent to watch over it,
to protect it from humanity. Though it was still in danger on Earth, the
implications of the mushroom being use for evil was far greater if it had
remained on Ethos. Thus, the Daghoon Warriors were called and chosen
from the purest and most obedient children of Ethos.
I was called to that order of duty as a high ranking warrior of Ethos, sworn
to protect the deep magic of Ethos, even to the giving of my life.
What brought you to have to bear this life of solitude? Was it by
As I mentioned, one must be called, but the choice to decline such a mission
is still available to the individual. But my heart was filled with
compassion and duty to serve my kindred. I had never denied a call from
the universe, so I accepted the call and swore an oath to complete my mission
with honor, no matter the cost.
How do you deal with being alone all the time?
Fortunately, I’m not entirely alone. True, that I rarely see another face
like my own, and even human friendship is limited to trading for supplies.
Relegated to vagabond, I spend my days becoming acquainted with nat
ure and the creatures of the Earth. But I’m also blessed to be accompanied
by the select drones of my Queen dragonfly. They are my trackers and
only friends, so they are dear to me indeed. Though, I once had a horse
for companionship while stationed in China during one of my missions. He
was a lovely creature.
If there was anything you could change about your life, what would it be and why?
I would change nothing. I am who I am today because of my triumphs
and mistakes. Pain refines the soul, and I cherish every moment in
life because tomorrow always brings the culmination of the past. This
life is for experience, though some experiences are bought with a
You’re a career military man, I’ve heard. How long were you in the
From the time of my coming of age. I was only a boy when I was called
to the office of daghoon warrior, and training began immediately. I
was taken from my home and placed in a military monastery, completely
immersed in training to recondition my thoughts and actions.
Everything I do is related to my duty as protector of our deepest
magic, and there were times my training was so brutal that I was sent
to the healers to recover. During my military training, I also
received spiritual training from the elders to teach me how to
harness my gifts to their full potential.
What’s the one thing you have always wanted to do but
I always wanted to find love, but my station and calling forbid it.
As a consolation, I was allowed the special opportunity to become the
companion of Lebion, my queen dragonfly. And though I’m sure it
doesn’t compare to the connection shared between husband and wife, it
is a very rare and special connection nonetheless. Lebion empowers me
with a spiritual connection to the universe that few will ever find
in mortal life.
Kalen, tell us the honest truth, when did you fall in love
with Bree? At first sight? Or did it take a while?
It wasn’t until I studied her afterglow. I saw such purity and
strength that I felt immediately connected to her. But I fought it,
buried it, and resisted the temptation to love her. Then, when I
thought I had failed her, when I turned my back for only a moment and
she fell into the hands of Ellette’s minions, I knew I couldn’t live
my live without her. Sometimes, one doesn’t know what they have until
How many girlfriends did you have before her?
As a very young boy, I remember having simple attractions…. crushes,
I believe you call them… but they were innocent and never allowed to blossom. I
was taken from the world of courtship and thrust into a military life
early on. I’d never even kissed a fae… Brianna was my first and only
love. Though, admittedly, I spent many nights dreaming of what it
would be like to have a companion to love and hold. The elders told
me it was even forbidden to dream of love, so I forced it from my
mind… until Brianna entered my world. Forcing her from my mind would
be like stopping the beating of my own heart.
And in your relationship with Bree, how are you different with
her than you are with your family and friends? Why do you think this
My relationship to my parents was very formal, and before Brianna,
the only female love I knew was that of my mother. I didn’t have many
friends, other than the dragonflies, since my mission was very
solitary. Most of my relationships have been with the elders and my
training officers. As a daghoon, I was taught that relationships were
dangerous, that they could endanger my mission, used against me. In
spite of my lack of connection to others, I was still taught to have
compassion on all forms of life. It was through the dragonflies and
the animals of Earth that I learned to respect life in even the
meekest form. But with Brianna, I have been opened to an entirely
new level of understanding about the universe and how love can
empower its recipient. My greatest source of strength however,
also seems to be my greatest weakness.
What parts of loving come easy for you? And what’s Hard?
Love, in essence, was always easy to possess, so long as I did not let it possess me. I am the master of my own heart, but I’ve learned that in loving an equal, one must give their heart to their companion.
So it was with Brianna, I’ve given my heart to her, and while it was easy to give, it was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done… especially since I’ve been indoctrinated to deny myself of such a connection for so long.
If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?
First, to wish for an end to the war so that all sentient beings may
find peace. Second, a wish to an alliance between the worlds of Ethos
and Earth, that we may comingle peaceably. And third, a wish for all
beings to have their agency to choose for themselves, without evil
constantly trying to force its will on others… but then again,
without opposition in life, would there even be a choice? Would there
even be an understanding of love or peace?
Man no longer worships the old gods; forgotten and forsaken, they have become nothing more than myth and legend. But all that is about to change. After the ruins of a vast, ancient civilization are
discovered on the ocean floor, Coast Guard officers find a series of derelict ships drifting in the current–high-priced yachts and leaking fishing boats, all ransacked, splattered in blood, their crews missing and presumed dead.
And that’s just the beginning.
Vacationing artist Larry Neuhaus has just witnessed a gruesome shark attack, a young couple torn apart right before his eyes … at least, he thinks it was a shark. And when one of these victims turns out to be the only son of Roger Hays, the most powerful man in the country, things go from bad to worse. Now, to stop the carnage,Larry and his new-found friends must work together to unravel a mystery as old as time, and face an enemy as dark as the ocean depths.
I love how Michael took history and myth that we are all familiar with and incorporated it in his story in a new way. There are many legends about Poseidon god of the sea and Michael has created one that is elaborate and entertaining.
It took me a little while to get into the story I can’t say why this was as the story was good but guessing due to all the personal stuff I have going on but as I kept reading and the action started I realized one day that I had chewed half a nail off and that’s when I had that moment of ohhhhh it’s grabbed me hook, line and sinker. < Book related joke there. Hmm okay I’m not a comedian what can I say.
The book starts off with a legendary city being found and then boats turning up with no people on board but lots of blood and gore. What happened on board and who is responsible? How does it all tie in with Larry who while vacationing on an island in New England witnesses what appears to be a shark attack. When it’s discovered that the victims of the attack were the son of a mobster billionaire and his girlfriend you have angry vengeful dad and his friends coming to town.
Once the action started I was sucked in. It is a great tale with action, adventure, revenge, drama, mythology and the wildest sex scene I’ve ever read. Seventh Star Press should consider an erotic imprint as Michael West knows how to write a steamy scene even when one of those involved has gills. The horror had me biting my nails, the sex scene had me fanning my face and the story had me absorbed. A great book that I highly recommend.
The first in an urban fantasy series The Legacy of the Gods looks to be a fantastic fun series and I am already looking forward to the next book.
Here are just a couple of my fave quotes from the book. I had many but thought it best to narrow them down.
Duct tape. Like the force in Star Wars: it had a dark side, a light side, and it bound the universe together.
Satisfied, Larry ran to his clothes, his balls flapping madly.