Ever since he’d been part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figured he’d used up any good karma he had when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races were left with a messy, monster-ridden world and Stalkers were often the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy and dark moved into the neighbourhood.
There certainly were no shortage of monsters or people stupidly willing to become lunch for one.
It was a hard life but one Kai liked. And he was good at it. Killing monsters was easy. Especially since he was one himself.
After an accident retired Dempsey out, Kai set up permanent shop in San Diego, contracting out to the local SoCalGov depot. It was a decent life, filled with bounty, a few friends and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him he wasn’t really human.
That was until a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego and Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It was supposed to a simple run; head up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary with the new Court then back to San Diego. Easy, quick and best of all, profitable. But Ryder’s “simple” run leads to massive trouble and Kai ends up being caught in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.
No one ever got rich by being a Stalker. But then hardly any of them got old either. The way things were looking, it didn’t look like Kai was going to be the exception.
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A few years ago, I wrote an urban fantasy called Black Dog Blues. When the book simmered and boiled in my brain, there were a few things I wanted to have in this book: An elf who was unapologetically bisexual and raised human and living hip deep in blood, gore, guns and monsters.
Then, one day at a yarn store, Elizabeth North of Dreamspinner Press fame, started talking about a new venture they were trying out—DSP Publications, DSP’s boutique genre imprint. Long story short, Elizabeth asked if I’d submit Black Dog Blues, I did and now, here we are—with Kai making his way out into the world.
A major part of Kai’s world is the blend of human and elfin cultures with a dash of Celtic, Asian and some other odds, bits and ends I found lying around. I wanted to portray a melting pot of humanity as San Diego has so many ethnic layers. Building Kai’s San Diego was kind of like making pasta and a sauce. Once the eggs and veggie juice were added to the flour and blended in, I had a pretty good base for my dish. The sauce was Kai, his rather cocky attitude and the pretty huge chip on his shoulder. A few other ingredients—Ryder, other characters, a 1969 Ford Mustang and a pregnant woman—and the whole thing was ready to go.
The main conflict in the series is Kai, the main character, being an elfin raised by humans. He thinks human. He’s kind of shocked to see himself in the mirror and sees an elfin instead. I wanted to write about the conflict of self versus social perception.
The world-building was awesome to do. Something glitched in the universe, causing Earth and Underhill to merge across the planes. Pieces of Earth were replaced with the elfin homeworld, Underhill, and chaos erupted. Landscapes stretched out or shrunk, monstrous animals were introduced to the environment, the Sidhe and the UnSidhe courts appeared.
It was a great book to write. Probably one of the most enjoyable writes I’ve ever done. Finding twists on monsters was a challenge as was reconstructing San Diego so it rolled around the fantastical of Underhill. I’m really looking forward to writing the sequel and I hope you enjoy Black Dog Blues.
Black Dog Blues Blurb
Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears.
It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past. And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.
But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.
No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.
Rhys Ford is a firm believer in love and let love, short walks to a coffee shop and having a spare cat or two. Most days she can be found swearing at her laptop and trying to come up with new ways to kill off perfectly good random characters.
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawaii then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, a black Pomeranian puffball and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a purple Bella coffee maker.