Posts Tagged ‘urban fantasy’


The Blackwell Family Secret:
by Jonathan L. Ferrara
5.5×8.5, 224 pages
Publication date: December 5, 2014
$15.95 trade paperback, ISBN 978-1-940076-19-5
$5.95 E-book, ISBN 978-1-940076-20-1
Publisher: Dragonwell Publishing
Distribution: Ingram Book Company
www.dragonwellpublishing.com / AMAZON

Nicholas Blackwell has no idea he is supposed to fulfill a destiny. All he knows is that he draws trouble like a magnet. Orphaned at eleven when two demonic men killed his parents, he copes with the strict rules of his new home, St. Christopher’s academy, unaware that he has been the real target for the killers and that his guardian angel has saved him in the nick of time. And now, his problems are only beginning when a mysterious serpent lures him into the woods and tricks him into a demonic ritual that will unleash the Seven Deadly Sins to destroy the humankind. Nicholas has no choice but to correct his mistake–or die trying. Aided by Amy, a shy but determined girl who seems to know more about his task than she should, Nicholas’s quest is to travel into the City of Demonio and defeat the Seven Guardians of Sin. To succeed, he must confront demons, monsters, and lost souls, learn the mysteries of the Chapel of Dreams, discover the true meaning of friendship and love, and face the darkest secret of all: the Blackwell Family Secret.

“The Blackwell Family Secret: the Guardians of Sin” is a debut young adult urban fantasy adventure with a Christian theme.

About the author:

unnamed copyJonathan L. Ferrara was born in San Pedro, California to an Italian fisherman and a mother from New York. Growing up with one older brother, Jonathan had several hobbies: finding the best hiding spots to jump out and scare his mother, discovering new fantasy book series, and imagining outrageous, whimsical worlds full of magic. He is now happily married, residing in California in the City of Angels. He has two wonderful children-his dog Koda and cat Merlin.

Look for my review of this book soon!

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Known Devil is the third instalment in Gustainis’ Occult Crime Unit urban fantasy series. Though I had not read the first two books, this one was completely stand-alone and didn’t make me feel I was missing anything. I have, however, read other books from Gustainis in the past (Evil WaysBlack Magic Woman and Sympathy for the Devil), and thoroughly enjoyed them. He is a fabulous writer.

In this exciting new series, Detective Sergeant Stanley Markowski of the Scranton PD’s Occult Crimes Unit,  and his partner, vampire detective Karl Renfer, try to keep law and order in a world where supernaturals — or supes — have come out of the closet and walk the streets with humans. Markowski’s daughter, a vampire witch, is eager to help and offer her expertise, especially because she’s attracted to Karl.

A new drug has hit the streets, Haemoglobin Plus — better known as Slide — the first drug that addicts supes, and as a result, a new wave of crimes has risen in Scranton. Stan and Karl are right on the case, interrogating both humans and supes alike, trying to find out who is behind the new drug: Pietro Calabrese, the Godfather of the local vampire family? Wizard Victor Castle, the unofficial head of the city’s whole supernatural community?  The Delatasso family? Or the new Patriot Party, who has  declared supes “abominations before the Lord?”

If you love urban fantasy a la crime noir, you’ll love this book. Gustainis is smart, gritty, snarky. I just love his sharp, witty descriptions. Take a look at a few:

“He had salt-and-pepper hair, wide-set brown eyes, and a thin moustache in the middle of a face that was no harder than your average concrete wall.”

“He stared at me with eyes that had probably looked dead even before he became a vampire.”

“The terrace outside the front door is open in warmer weather, for those who like sharing their food with the local bugs. I prefer to eat inside, where the only insects I’m likely to encounter have two legs.”

“I saw a puzzled look on his face — maybe because Karl’s grip, like every vampire’s, is colder than a banker’s heart.”

Gustainis is also a master at providing comic relief. I laughed out loud at times. Stan is a likable, sympathetic character, tough yet kind when needed. The world building, the setting, and all the supernatural details come through in a genuine, realistic way. I also enjoyed all the police procedural, showing once more, as in his other books, that Gustainis has done his research well.

The story moves at a fairly quick pace, propelled by entertaining dialogue and lots of action scenes. Particularly interesting is the dynamics between humans and supernaturals now that they have to co-exist side by side. But best of all, is the author’s gifted prose, a pleasure to read. Highly recommended for fans of detective urban fantasy!

Visit the author’s website.

Find out more on Amazon.

My review as originally published in Blogcritics.

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8716893Mike Phillips is author of The World Below and Reign of the Nightmare Prince. His short stories have appeared in ParAbnormal Digest, Cemetery Moon, Sinister Tales, Beyond Centauri, the World of Myth, Mystic Signals and many others. Online, his work has appeared in Lorelei Signal, Kzine, Bewildering Stories, Midnight Times, and Fringe. He is best known for his Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal series. Please visit Mike at http://www.mikephillipsfantasy.com.

1) Tell us a little about your book. 

The World Below: In ancient times, magical creatures inhabited the earth. They lived on mountaintops, in the branches of trees, at the bottom of lakes and rivers. But that was long ago, before the human race declared war on the creatures they feared and hated. Now the enchanted peoples are all but gone. Those few that remain fear being stretched out on an examination table in some secret, governmental facility. The only place they can hide from the ever increasing number of satellites and smart phones is in the World Below.

Mitch Hardy is going through a hard time in his life. In his early twenties, he was working his way through college when he suffered an accident that left him flat broke and physically deformed. With some good advice from a friend, Mitch decides to make a fresh start in a new town. Things start looking up. Mitch finds a place to live, a decent job, good friends. He even meets a nice girl. Unknown to Mitch, his new girlfriend is one of the elder race, the faerie folk.

Lady Elizabeth is looking for a father she never knew. The key to finding him is somehow tied up with the mysterious Blade of Caro. Desperate, she steals the Blade from its protector, the despotic ruler of the World Below, the Dragon of Worms, Baron Finkbeiner. When Elizabeth is kidnapped by the Baron, Mitch is pulled into a world he never dreamed existed.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story? 

I can’t trace The World Below back to a single idea. I knew I wanted to do an urban fantasy, something where I throw out the rules and just have fun. I always liked the bad guys in books and movies, so I thought it might be interesting to let the goblins be heroes for a change. I threw in some adventure and romance and there you go.

3) Do you read widely? 

I have diverse reading habits. Short stories, poetry, novels, I read it all. I have an interest in science and engineering, so I read a lot of non-fiction articles as well. When I’m reading fiction, I gravitate toward stories of the supernatural. Some of the new authors you find in online anthologies are really pushing the boundaries of the genre and are worth checking out if you haven’t already. I also like historical fiction. My most guilty pleasure is the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell.

4) Who are your favorite authors? 

WB Yates, Margaret Atwood, Walter Mosley, Neil Gaiman, Dean Koontz, James Lee Burke, and Jim Butcher are some of my favorite writers. When I’m taking a break from writing, I like to read old favorites like Watership Down or Anansi Boys.

5) Who influenced you most? 

The poetry of WB Yates has been a big influence on my writing. I love the imagery. My style of writing is most influenced by James Lee Burke. Beyond that, I must give a nod to Dean Koontz. He taught me how to write suspense, how to draw out key moments to make the action more dramatic.

6) What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?  

I love storytelling. I try to make my writing as imaginative and as vivid as I can. I write in the horror and dark fantasy genres, but I don’t go for blood and guts and the gross stuff. I like suspense and things that puts the senses on edge. That said, in The World Below goblins become the heroes. They do, admittedly, tend toward the behavior of fifth grade boys. So you might get a gross out or two from them.

63827907) What scares you? 

Oddly enough, it never fails to surprise me when readers and editors tell me how scary my writing is. On more than one occasion, I’ve been credited with nightmares. I’m not typically frightened by the supernatural. Real violence, especially against women and children and animals, only makes me angry. So for me, the real thing to fear in modern society is accountants.

8) Where can we find you online? 

Staying in touch is not my strong suit.  Sorry. I have mikephillipsfantasy.com, but to date I’ve done nothing with it. I’m a regular on quite a few print and online periodicals. My Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal series of short stories have been especially well received. The World Below launches in a month. I promise to get the website up and running soon.

9) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell us about it. 

I’m a safety engineer by trade. Being a chemical and industrial hygiene specialist, and living in Michigan, I’ve spent a lot of time in heavy industry. The accident Mitch suffers at the beginning of the story is based upon what I’ve seen in my career. He gets burned by molten iron. I had a similar experience, though mine was certainly not as serious as the one Mitch goes through. I was “baptized”, initiated, into the crew. They overcharged a crucible of iron and jogged the hoist control as it passed by me. It ruined my favorite leather jacket and scared the heck out of me, but they knew what they were doing. I got a shower of sparks without a single burn on me. What a way for the union guys to say, “Welcome to the club, kid.”

10) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? 

I never wanted to be a writer. I went to college, got a great job when I graduated, and was bored out of my skull. I didn’t have any money when going to school, so I was used to working forty hours a week and taking a full time schedule. When I got my “real job” I had more down-time than I ever had in my life. Stories just started developing in my mind and I thought it would be fun to write them down. Now I can’t stop. If I don’t write, the stories work their way into my head anyway. The only way I can get the stories to leave me alone is to write them down. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing, but it was never anything I set out to do.

11) Have you ever written something that you’re afraid to let other people read? Why? 

Talking about my writing embarrasses me. I don’t know why. I’ve had great success with my short stories, but I never told anyone that I was a writer until my first novel, Reign of the Nightmare Prince, came out two years ago. Then, I had to come clean to my friends and family. You know, I get a kick out of seeing my work in print or online, but to me it’s all just academic. I write what pleases me. I don’t think of the people that –wait, now I am…

12) Why do you write the genre(s) you do? 

Stories of the fantastic, stories or terror, these have always delighted me. Writing for me is all about pushing the boundaries of my imagination. The more fantastic it is, the better. That’s why I write in horror, dark fantasy, and Sci-Fi.

13) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it? 

The toughest part about writing is marketing and staying in touch with my readers. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to all those people who have supported my work over the years. I wish I was better at telling them how much I appreciate their loyalty. I also have a sense of obligation to my publishers. Taking a chance on an unknown like me is a huge financial risk. I feel that I need to be better at supporting what they are trying to do in promotions and sales. I’m afraid that all too often I fall short of expectations in this regard.

14) How much is your protagonist like you? How different? 

In The World Below, the protagonist is a guy name Mitch Hardy. He’s just starting out in life, trying to put himself through college. He wants to be a teacher, to influence young people in a positive way and give back to his community. Life has treated him harshly, but because of those experiences, Mitch has a strong sense of right and wrong. I wish I had been as mature at his age.

16) What kind of research did you do for this type of story? 

I’m proud to say I’ve done absolutely no research for The World Below. It all comes from what was bouncing around in my head at the time.

17) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not? 

I don’t like writing scenes with profanity, explicit sex, or gratuitous violence. The world has enough ugliness in it already. That’s the world we live in, though. That’s the human experience. So ignoring sex and violence would be a mistake.

18) What about your book makes it special? 

The World Below is one of the wildest rides you’ll ever take. It’s full of crazy characters, imagination, magic and action. I hope you all agree.

19) What are your thoughts on the future of books? 

My next book, Dawn of Ages is coming soon from Damnation/Eternal Press. So look for that sometime around the New Year. I’m about half way through a sequel to The World Below. The working title is The World Beyond. I’m also editing a collection of my Crow Witch stories. When completed, I hope to find a good home for that too.

20) What are your hobbies? Do you ever work them into a story? 

I’m a farm kid and I like to get my hands dirty. Every year, I dig up my suburban yard and do something different. My neighbors think I’m nuts. I call it gardening. In my Crow Witch series of short stories, Miss Weigenmeister is an avid gardener. She gets better results than I do.

21) What are you passionate about? 

Spending time with family and friends, travel and the outdoors. Reading and writing fits in there too.

22) How do you want to be remembered? 

Go ahead and forget me when I’m gone. I’m not at all worried about being remembered. I try to be the best person that I can be in the here and now and not worry too much about what life will bring.

23) How does your childhood influence your writing? 

What a great question. This is the most significant influence on my writing. I grew up on a small farm. We grew most of our own fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs. We heated out house with wood. We built the majority of the furniture ourselves in my dad’s workshop. In the summer, my dad turned off the television and brought us to the library. Now, our closest neighbor was a mile away, and they weren’t very fun. So, most of my summer was spent reading. My love of a good story came from that experience. My characters are hardworking, fun loving people. I was the third of four brothers, the rascal, the smart mouth. I like a good scoundrel and I think others do too.

24) Everyone has a quirk; what’s yours? 

I love animals. I grew up with dogs and cats and all the different farm animals you can imagine. I even had a pet duck that used to follow me around. Her name was Peeper and I rescued her from a weasel the night of her birth –or should I say hatching? My wife is allergic to fur, so I can’t have a dog or a cat or any of the usual suspects. I do have a pet rat. Her name is Sassy and she is my second rat. Once you get past the tail and the black plague thing, rats are great pets. They are very affectionate. They are intelligent and trainable too. I often think of Sassy as a very small dog. When I have a party, I bring Sassy out for everyone to meet. Am I cool, or what?

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17605079The Catholic Church fights the Legions of Hell in Mysterious Albion, Book I in Leone’s Vatican Vampire Hunter series.

American college student Lucy Manning is visiting the London nightclub scene when she loses her best friend to a vampire. Traumatized by her friend’s death as well as by the fact that she herself was almost killed, Lucy flights back to the States.

But soon after, she is visited by two members of the Church — Father Gelasius and Sister Anne — who make her an offer she can’t resist.

Against her family’s wishes, Lucy heads back to London and joins a secret society of vampire hunters. Together with Father Gelasius, Sister Anne, and two other young members like herself, Lucy begins to fight the vampires who haunt the streets of night-time London — of course, not without going through a tough training first.

As more innocent victims disappear, it becomes obvious that the situation is getting worse…for an ancient, powerful vampire has risen from her slumber, and she’ll stop at nothing to shed rivers of blood upon the earth.

Mysterious Albion is an entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable read. I used to be a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and this story, though different in many aspects, has a similar tone that will be relished by fans of the genre.

Lucy is a very real, sympathetic character, and Leone did an excellent job in bringing London and the English countryside to life.

I also especially enjoyed the traditional vampire lore where vampires are depicted as evil monsters and not sexy creatures — quite refreshing!

This is Catholic urban fantasy, so there’s also a lot of religious references. However, I didn’t find these detrimental to the plot.

Witty dialogue isn’t lacking and there’s a fair share of fun battle scenes.


More on the author’s website. Purchase on Amazon and B&N.

Originally published in Blogcritics Magazine.

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ImageCassie came to me, I didn’t go to her.  

I finished The Immortality Virus late in the fall of 2008, and though I took pride in my second novel, I felt worn out (creatively). When the new year came, bringing with it the opportunity for all kinds of writerly resolutions, I decided I needed to take the year off. I would read, blog, journal, but otherwise give my muse time to heal. 

I didn’t make it a year. It turns out, I really am a writer. Writers write. We can’t not write. Taking the pressure off my muse did turn out to have been a great idea, but putting a time frame on it was a bit naive.  

Cassie came to me in mid-February, as I played on the floor with me (then) 9-month-old daughter. I won’t go so far as to say she popped into my head fully formed, but it was close. I sat bolt upright, my eyes probably doing that cartoon bulge, as a light bulb appeared over my head.  

What if… What if the hero of a fantasy story was the only one in it without magic?  

I wrote the first line of the story as soon as my daughter went down for a nap. It read: “My parents think the longer the name, the more powerful the sorcerer, so they named me Nicolas Merlin Apollonius Roger Scot. You can call me Nick.” 

Okay, so it needed work. It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted a female heroine. Nicolas (who does not go by Nick and might set you on fire if you tried) became the oldest of Cassie’s siblings. 

After that, Cassie told me new things about herself every day. I had a rough draft by the end of June.


Award-winning author Christine Amsden has written stories since she was eight, always with a touch of the strange or unusual. She became a “serious” writer in 2003, after attending a boot Imagecamp with Orson Scott Card. She finished Touch of Fate shortly afterward, then penned The Immortality Virus, which won two awards. Expect many more titles by this up-and-coming author.

Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

Find Christine Amsden on the web: 

Web Site: http://christineamsden.com/wordpress/

Blog: http://christineamsden.com/wordpress/?page_id=200

Facebook: Christine Amsden

Twitter: @ChristineAmsden

Goodreads: Christine Amsden

Goodreads Q&A Group: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/48134-q-a-with-christine-amsden


Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.


“When sorcerers call the shots, what’s a girl without powers to do? Get ready for a ripper of a murder mystery full of romance and intrigue, where magic potions bubble, passions spark and vampires are definitely not your friend. Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective grabs you by the heart and won’t let go until the very last page. Well written, immersive and unputdownable. This is urban fantasy at its best. More please!” 

–Kim Falconer, bestselling author of The Spell of Rosette, Quantum Enchantment Series


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Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities.  She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

Website: www.suzanne-johnson.com 

Blog: http://suzanne-johnson.blogspot.com 

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Suzanne_Johnson 

FB: http://www.facebook.com/Suzanne.Johnson.author 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5046525.Suzanne_Johnson 

Publisher Page: http://us.macmillan.com/author/suzannejohnson

ImageThanks for this interview, Suzanne! Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it?

River Road is the second book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, following Royal Street, although it can be read as a standalone. In it, the borders between modern New Orleans and the preternatural world have been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and the wizard sentinel whose job it is to police the borders has her hands full. She’s trying to calm feuding clans of Cajun mermen, figure out what’s poisoning the water of the Mississippi River, and—oh yeah—figure out who’s murdering wizards. The series was inspired by my own experiences as a New Orleans resident at the time of Hurricane Katrina, although, sadly, I am not a wizard and the undead pirate Jean Lafitte isn’t one of my key allies. Too bad, that.

Are you a full-time writer or do you have another job?

I’d love to write full time, but I have this annoying mortgage payment! So I have a day job as associate editor of a university magazine. My first career has been as a journalist and magazine editor. One of these days, though….

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

Since I do have a full-time “day job,” I have to maximize my writing time—which means I’m a plotter. I tried writing one book stream-of-consciousness, and it wandered all over the place and took longer to revise (like, six times) than to write in the first place. I don’t plan every little detail, but I do have enough nailed down to know what needs to happen in each chapter. I’ve written six novels now (nothing compared to lots of authors!), so I’ve gotten a system down that gives me enough outline to keep me from wandering off course, but still leaves me enough flexibility to be creative.

How long did it take you to write it? Did it require research?

This book took about four months to write, then another couple of months to revise. I tend to do a lot of research—probably too much. My wizard goes on a dinner date in a past version of New Orleans with the pirate Jean Lafitte, for example, and they eat at Antoine’s. So I researched what foods Antoine’s Restaurant served in 1850. I’ve done tons of research on the pirate Lafitte, New Orleans history and, for this book, the mythology of merpeople and nymphs. Lots of research!

Did you go the traditional way or did you self publish? What has the process been like so far?

I write two series (this one and a paranormal romance series under another name), and have gone the traditional route with both of them. I was fortunate after writing Royal Street to find a great agent, and then to have Tor Books interested in publishing the Sentinels of New Orleans series.

Do you have a favorite book you’d like to recommend readers?

In urban fantasy, I adore Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. In paranormal romance, I’m a big fan of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. I recently realized how long it’s been (like, years) since I read a standalone. I’m definitely a series girl!

Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

I have a holiday paranormal short, Christmas in Dogtown, that just came out for Kindle and Nook. And the third book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, Elysian Fields, will be out next August—I’m working with my editor on revisions to that one right now. Then we’ll see—I have a couple of proposals for new projects I’m working on.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Thanks for having me here today! I always love to hear from readers and am happy to provide bookplates or answer questions!


River Road

Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 2

Suzanne Johnson

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Tor Books

ISBN: 978-0765327802

ASIN: B00842H5VI

Number of pages: 336

Word Count: approx. 92,000

Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen

Amazon  Barnes & Noble

Book Depository  Indiebound 

Book Description: 

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

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Tour giveaway 

10 ebook copies of Blood and Moonlight and one $25 gift card to Amazon!

Click HERE to enter!

Moira Keith has a penchant for men in kilts, is a lover of shoes, Celtic mythology, connoisseur of Guinness, baker of cupcakes and overall complete mess! As an author of paranormal, urban fantasy and contemporary romance, Moira writes stories that are often filled with the magic of love and the mayhem that ensues, threatening to keep her couples apart. Currently, Moira resides in Las Vegas with her twin zombie sons, their beta fish, and a turtle.

Website – http://moirakeith.com

Blog – http://moirakeith.com/news 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authormoirakeith 

Twitter – http://twitter.com/moirakeith 

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2909057.Moira_Keith


Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it?

Though Kiara Morrigan O’Conaill shares the bloodlines of both Fae and Wolf, she refuses to claim her place in the Fae courts or submit to the animal within. After witnessing her mother’s death, the need for revenge and answers has led her to Las Vegas, and a call for help shakes her confidence and leads her back to a world that has already left her for dead once.

The seed for this story idea came from reading about the Battle of Mag Tuired, which is a mythological battle fought in Ireland. My mind just kind of ran from there.

Are you a full-time writer or do you have another job?

Unfortunately, I’ve not yet achieved the status of full-time writer. I still have to go to the day job, which helps me pay the bills and sometimes even fills the idea hopper, especially at times when I’m struggling with some of my secondary character development.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I spent a lot of time brainstorming and re-hashing aspects of the book that I didn’t think were working. More than likely, it was the result of my answer for the second part of your question…stream of consciousness.  I loathe outlining. Probably because I haven’t found what works yet. The second book will have to lean more toward outlining.

How long did it take you to write it? Did it require research?

It took me approximately two years give or take. I did some research, but since the base of the story idea stems from mythology that I then just took and added an alternate ending to the myth, I had the opportunity to really play with it.

Did you go the traditional way or did you self publish? What has the process been like so far?

This particular book ended up being self-published. Every story is a labor of love, but this story was one I believed in enough to test the self-publishing venue with. So far, it has been a bit challenging. I tried to make sure I put this book through the same process a publisher would. I hired a cover artist, put it through three rounds of edits, and had beta readers. The hardest part though has been the marketing aspect of it. When you go down the self-publishing road, you don’t have the publisher’s name recognition and marketing pushing your sales. You have to learn to balance every hat, so to speak, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.

Do you have a favorite book you’d like to recommend readers?

One of my favorite books is The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson. The awesomeness bound inside that cover made me fall in love with her  work  and to be inspired by her.

Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

Currently, I’m working on a reaper story for NaNoWriMo, but I’ve also begun the second book for the Moonlight trilogy. I’m really looking forward to getting that one out, especially because we will be in an entirely different setting. The first book we are submerged in the world of the wolves, with some of the fae world leeching over. In the second book it will reverse.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Keep reading. No matter what, we all write stories we hope you will love. The more you read, the more likely you are to find a diamond in the rough story that captures your soul and holds it hostage. Those moments, as an author, are worth every moment spent bleeding words out onto the page.


Book Description:

Though she shares the bloodlines of both Fae and Wolf, Kiara Morrigan O’Conaill refuses to claim her place in the Fae courts or submit to the animal within. Witnessing the murder of her Fae mother two years ago drives her back into those worlds, to search for answers and revenge.

Devlin McClure lives for one thing—the Pack. When their leader, the Cadeyrn, disappears, desperation sends Devlin to the last person he should be asking for help—the Cadeyrn’s estranged daughter, Kiara.

Kiara and Devlin are drawn to each other by fate and destined to embrace the very thing that threatens to rip their worlds apart. Now, Kiara will have to decide which is stronger, blood or moonlight?

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ImageThe Nameless Prince is a beautifully-crafted debut YA novel about faith, disillusionment and innocence.

Ten-year old Seth Bauman lives in the gang-ravaged streets of Silver Lake. Abandoned by his mother right after his birth, he shares a very dysfunctional and loveless home with his mean Uncle Troy and his uncle’s girlfriend Cheryll. Rather than care for the young boy, Troy and Cheryll spend most of their time on the couch in front of the TV, killing zombies and exploding enemy tanks. Seth’s true escape is in his drawings of dwarves, elves and dragons. Sensitive at heart, Seth wants to understand why Uncle Troy dislikes him so much; at the same time, he feels torn by an intense desire for approval.

Though Seth knows that his mother abandoned him, he innocently believes she’s out there somewhere and that one day she’ll show up with an explanation that will make it all make sense.

One day, his friend Elena, whom he always walks from school to home, is abducted by a local gang called LAMO—the L.A. Mayan Order. Brave at heart, Seth follows the Boatman of the L.A. River through the underground sewers and metro tunnels underneath Silver Lake, where the LAMO headquarters are located.

That’s when the fine lines between fantasy and reality blur. In fact, they grotesquely twist. Suddenly, Seth finds himself in a dark parallel world in turmoil where nothing is what appears to be. He meets Constantine, a faun who refers to Seth as The Nameless Prince, and who believes he is the famous prince of prophesy who’s come to save their world—the Interior—from the Dark Forces. Thus Seth embarks on a journey where he must pass tests and solve riddles in order to discover his true name and reunite with his long lost twin, the King. Eventually Seth realizes that he doesn’t need to understand what’s going on, but that he must have faith. If he fails, he could end up in the depths of the labyrinth, torn limb from limb by the bloodthirsty Minotaur.

But what is reality and what is fantasy? Is it all really happening or is it in Seth’s mind—a defence mechanism as a result of Elena’s abduction and the recent violence directed towards the homeless?

The Nameless Prince is a fascinating read. I love how the author presents the different realities and how he borrows concepts from quantum physics to enrich his plot: none of the alternate universes are true unless you step into them. There are parallels with Moses and Noah’s Ark and of course the novel is, like Alice in Wonderland, a “through the whole” story. At times, the novel reminded me of the film, Pan’s Labyrinth, where the young protagonist also escapes into an eerie and captivating fantasy world. However, The Nameless Prince isn’t as violent or sadistic. Ultimately, it is a story about the balance of the universe: goodness may win but there are always new evil forces at work. In other words, “maintaining harmony is an eternal struggle.”

Though Seth is ten years old, I’d say the audience for this book is 12 and up, and that includes adult readers as well. The Nameless Prince isn’t your typical YA fantasy novel published these days. Yes, it is a classic hero’s journey with all the tests and riddles, but it is also a book full of interesting ideas and substance. In short, it is a book that stimulates the mind and intellect. Recommended!

Author web site: http://www.namelessprince.com/

Author Interview on Video:

The Nameless Prince Facebook Page:


My review originally appeared in Blogcritics Magazine. 

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The next presidential election is getting near… and handsome, charismatic Senator Howard Stark wants to become president. There’s only one problem: He’s possessed by Sargatanas, a powerful demon who wants to unleash all evil on earth. To make things worse, Stark’s assistant happens to be a malevolent, highly-intelligent practitioner of the black arts, and she’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants. One by one, the other candidates begin to die, some of illness, others due to mysterious accidents.

Enter the good guys: occult investigator Quincey Morris and his partner, white witch Libby Chastain. Together, they risk their lives while trying to find a way to exorcise the senator, which isn’t easy. After all, how do you get past the U.S. Secret Service and the forces of hell itself?

Sympathy for the Devil is pure entertainment. I’ve read all of the books in the Morris and Chastain Investigation series and I have to say I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed them. Just like in the earlier installments, the story, told from multiple points of view, opens with a reader-grabbing scene and continues its quick, suspenseful pace until the end. Author Justin Gustainis raises the stakes high and makes the characters sympathetic, getting you to care for their predicament. He’s also great at making you hate the villain. The secondary characters are interesting, too — even some of the bad ones are likable.

Lots of action and dialogue propel the plot; Gustainis doesn’t spend much time on description. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy and supernatural, and political thrillers, you’ll relish this one. Also, Sympathy for the Devil stands alone perfectly, so don’t worry if you haven’t read the earlier novels. I certainly look forward to reading what Quincey and Libby are up to next.

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All her life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled Darby Karchut. A native of New Mexico, Darby grew up in a family that venerated books and she spent her childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another. Fascinated by mythologies from around the world, she attended the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in anthropology. After moving to Colorado, she then earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher.

Drawing from her extensive knowledge of world cultures, she blends ancient myths with modern urban life to write stories that relate to young teens today.

Darby lives in Colorado with her husband, where she still teaches at a local junior high school. She enjoys running, biking, and skiing the Rocky Mountains in all types of weather. Griffin Rising is her first novel. Visit the author at her website: www.darbykarchut.com.

Your first teen novel, Griffin Rising, blends ancient myths with modern urban life. Please tell us a little about the book.

For centuries, rumors have abounded of a lowly caste of supernatural beings known as the Terrae Angeli. Armed with the power to control Earth, Fire, Wind and Water, these warriors secretly serve as guardians for mortals in danger.

But for one young angel-in-training, Griffin, life is hell as a cruel master makes his apprenticeship a nightmare. On the verge of failing, a new mentor, Basil, enters his life and changes it forever. It is their father-and-son relationship, sometimes turbulent, often hilarious, always affectionate, that is the heart and soul of the story.

Masquerading as the average teen next door, Griffin struggles to learn his trade, navigate the ups and downs of modern life among humans (including falling in love with the girl next door), and prepare for the ancient trial-by-combat every apprentice must pass at sixteen or be forced to become mortal.

How did your fascination with mythology start?

All my life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled me. A native of New Mexico, I grew up in a family that venerated books and I spent my childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another, especially the works of J.R.R Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander. As a teen, Joseph Campbell’s writings made me aware of the power in the great myths from around the world, so I attended the University of New Mexico and graduated with a degree in anthropology.

Why an angel?

One day, in the summer of 2009, I was browsing in my favorite bookstore and discovered a book about legends from the Middle Ages. Obsessed with all things medieval, I thumbed through it and came across a short paragraph that described a lowly caste of guardian angels that were said to control the ancient elements of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water. Not being particularly interested in angels, I put the book back and forgot all about it.

A few days later, while running the trails in the foothills near my home, the idea of writing a story about clandestine warriors-angels, who live among us while training their young apprentices, just roared up behind me and slammed into my head. Like an avalanche, you might say. And thus Griffin, Basil, and all the other Terrae Angeli were born.

Is the book part of a 3-book series? What is the theme of the series as a whole?

The book is the first in a possible 4-book saga. The theme is simply: On the road to adulthood, every hero-figure needs a father-figure. Once in awhile.

What about your protagonist will make readers want to read about him? What qualities make him a hero?

Griffin is the classic flawed hero. Surviving a brutal past causes him to have moments of self-doubt. Except when a mortal is in peril, than his true nature as a guardian angel shines forth. And, although he is one of the good guys, Griffin can be as snarky as the next teenager, especially to his mentor and surrogate father, Basil.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Since I had never written anything before, I had no idea what I was doing. I was beyond clueless. So I simply wrote the first draft of the book, then went back and studied everything I could about writing. Each time I learned something new, I went back and re-wrote the book. I must have written over twenty drafts before I began submitting it to various agents and publishers. I also read three to four YA novels a week. The more I read, the better I wrote.

How do you balance your teaching job with writing? Do you have a writing schedule? I’ve trained myself to write whenever I have a fifteen-minute block of time: lunch break, after school, evenings, and weekends. It does take discipline, but I love writing, so it’s more like play to me. And I never watch TV. Or cook.

I heard you love the revision process. What about it do you enjoy so much? Most writers find it tedious.  OMGosh, I would STILL be revising Griffin Rising if I could. I live to tweak. I find the more I polish a piece of writing, the better it gets. Without exception. For me, the first draft is the hardest part – it’s excruciatingly painful. Even with a strong outline, I have to wrench each scene out of my head word by word. But then once that draft is finished, I dive in and begin tweaking and polishing, adding and taking away.

How did you find Twilight Times Books? Did they offer a contract for the series based on the first manuscript? I began submitting my manuscript to both agents and publishers in the spring of 2010. Since Twilight Times Book has a sterling reputation and is well respected among small and mid-list book publishers, I sent them a copy of the manuscript in April and kept my fingers crossed. In June, I was offered a contract. Subsequently, I have also signed a contract for the next book in the series, Griffin’s Fire.

How do you market your books? It is a multi-pronged approach. Prior to release, I sent out close to 80 copies to various YA book bloggers, reviewers, and local bookstores as well as networking within the YA book world via my own blog and website. Anything and everything to get a “buzz” going. As the school year begins this coming fall, I will also be doing author visits to various middle and high schools in my area. My publisher also sent advanced readers copies to the well-known book reviews such as Library Journal, Foreword, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and so on.

I understand you’re working on the sequel, Griffin’s Fire. When will this one be out? The release date is tentatively scheduled for April 2012.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? I would encourage anyone interested in writing YA books to read extensively in that genre. Best thing you can do as an author is saturate your mind with good writing. There is an old saying: you read and you read and then one day, you throw up a book. Inelegant, but so very true.

Learn the rules of writing, then break them as necessary to make your story better. Everything is about The Story.

Thanks, Darby!

Thank you, Mayra. I had a terrific time visiting with you.





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