Urban Fantasy Author
Book Bling Blog
SYN City! A Review:
Unique and highly entertaining! Georgia has created a secret garden of the supernatural kind, and populated it with strange and wondrous fauna and flora. It is visited by equally unique creatures, such as angels, witches, wizards, weres and orbs. Their interactions make up a fast-paced plot with a fascinating mixture of adventurous encounters for Cara, the only living Synemancer witch. With no one to teach her how to control and use her powers as they manifest, its inevitable that mistakes and mishaps are bound to occur.
Running from the law, the covenant enforcers, that is, Cara and the men who love and want her (yes, men, and all of them hot and sexy) escape one attack after another. Georgia keeps the reader guessing about who, what and why until the very end.
Warning: there are a couple fairly graphic scenes, including a menage a trois that may disturb some readers.
BOOK BLING gives Angel of Syn 4 STARS!
Contemporary witch Cara Augustine goes international and inter-dimensional, from San Francisco to France to an alternate Eden-like dimension, in this second book of the Synemancer series.
Cara is a fugitive, pursued by the Portalkind police for breaking a major covenant. When she accidentally made a werewolf her witch’s familiar, it amounted to enslaving a human. And the punishment is death. On the run for her life, she and her companions stumble into a strange paradise dimension. But they quickly find the dangerous world is filled with strange creatures, deadly and beautiful. And, because she’s quickly learning a Synemancer’s life is never simple. Cara has to deal with an amorous Nephilim (half-angel half-witch), a dangerously deranged French werewolf, and the darkly handsome Nightkind she just might love. Each powerful supernatural man has his own reasons for wanting to possess Cara, body and soul. But if the Portalkind police catch her, she’ll be in a fight for her life.
Mertianna currently lives with her husband, son, and three dogs in Northern California. At a young age, while traveling the globe with her military family, she discovered the joys of reading. Armed with a fascination for science fiction, the paranormal, and fantasy, she amused, shocked, and impressed her teachers with her imaginative stories.
As an adult, reality reared its boring head, and she joined the business workforce. After many years working as a professional manager while secretly wishing she was a writer, she took a detour from the corporate world to immerse herself in the fictional worlds of her own making.
Mertianna has accumulated multiple graduate degrees in business and survived years of doctoral studies in psychology, all of which undoubtedly has influenced how her characters behave or don’t behave as the case may be.
Mertianna will be awarding a canvas tote bag printed with the book cover on one side and a saying on the other("Are you a syn-er?"), and filled with goodies plus a $20 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY). Follow the link below to increase your chances of winning!
REVIEW OF MAFIA SECRET
Mafia Princess takes on the Sopranos in Angie Derek's Mafia Secret. The book is well named, because there are lots of secrets, and lots of Mafioso. Take Marco, for instance (and who wouldn't want to take Marco?!), a hot and sexy Italian Lt. for a major King Pin. The fact that this same King Pin winds up dead and reveals an illegitimate daughter is unwelcome news to both his immediate family and his new-found heir, Lessa.
Marco is the bearer of the bad news, which probably makes the pill easier for Lessa to swallow, but it's bitter nevertheless. Her confusion about her new family and paternity only increase once she begins to realize the true nature of the family business.
When her father's murderer turns Lessa into a target, Marco must keep close in order to protect her and take down his boss's killer. Soon both sparks and bullets are flying as the thrills mount in both the mystery and romance department. Derek doesn't disappoint fans of romance or suspense. She keeps you guessing who the killer may be until the very end.
BOOK BLING gives MAFIA SECRET FIVE STARS!
Lessa Noelle grew up never knowing she was the illegitimate daughter of a mafia king pin. After his murder, she finds herself a surprise heiress immersed in the dangerous world of organized crime with only the guidance of Marco Santo her father’s second in command to help her.
Marco searches for her father’s killer and tries to keep the realities of his life from touching her. An uneasy attraction blossoms between the two. An already dangerous situation turns volatile when a killer turns his attention to Lessa.
Excerpt:He held a white envelope against the glass and spoke again. “I have a letter from your father.”
Available in multiple ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Crossroads, Diesel, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony.
Available as an audio book through Audible.com, Amazon, iTunes.
Angie Derek writes paranormal and romantic suspense. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, two cats, and one pony (she thinks she needs another one to even out the number).
Angie is hosting a tour-wide giveaway for a $10.00 Amazon gift card, so leave a comment and follow her tour for more chances to win. Click on the link below:
Mackenzie Smith has always known that she was different. Growing up as the only human in a pack of rural shape-shifters will do that to you, but then couple it with some mean fighting skills and a fiery temper and you end up with a woman that few will dare to cross.
However, when the only father figure in her life is brutally murdered, and the dangerous Brethren with their predatory Lord Alpha come to investigate, Mack has to not only ensure the physical safety of her adopted family by hiding her apparent humanity, she also has to seek the blood-soaked vengeance that she craves.
After escaping the claws of Corrigan, the Lord Alpha of the Brethren, Mack is trying to lead a quiet lonely life in Inverness in rural Scotland, away from anyone who might happen to be a shapeshifter. However, when she lands a job at an old bookstore owned by a mysterious elderly woman who not only has a familiar passion for herbal lore but also seems to know more than she should, Mack ends up caught in a maelstrom between the Ministry of Mages, the Fae and the Brethren.
Now she has to decide between staying hidden and facing the music, as well as confronting her real feelings for the green eyed power of Corrigan himself.
Mack begins her training at the mages' academy in the hope that, by complying, the stasis spell will be lifted from her old friend, Mrs. Alcoon. However, once there, she finds herself surrounded by unfriendly adults and petulant teenagers, the majority of whom seem determined to see her fail.
Feeling attacked on all fronts, Mack finds it harder and harder to keep a rein on her temper. Forced to attend anger management classes and deal with the predatory attentions of Corrigan, the Lord Alpha of the shapeshifter world, her emotions start to unravel. But when she comes across a familiar text within the walls of the mages' library, which might just provide the clues she needs to unlock the secrets of her background and her dragon blood, she realises that her problems are only just beginning...
EXCERPT from Bloodfire:
Helen Harper is an English teacher currently living abroad in Malaysia. As a long time reader of urban fantasy, she finally bit the bullet and began to develop her own series of novels.
Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland. "I always loved the escapism provided by those genres," states Helen. "No matter how bad life gets, you can always find a route out, even if only temporarily, in the pages of a good book."
The growth of urban fantasy fascinated her - the mix of reality and fantasy along with strong heroic female characters appealed from the very beginning, and inspired her to write her own.
An interview with Sophie from Grave Secrets
Interviewer: Hello, Sophie. Thanks for joining us today.
Sophie: Thanks for having me.
Interviewer: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sophie: Sure. I took over Palmetto Private Investigations when
my father retired. I’ve been running it ever since.
Interviewer: PPI specializes in more paranormal issues though,
Sophie: PPI handles all kinds of clients. But yes, we are sensitive to the special needs of paranormal cases as well. I wouldn’t call it a
specialty. We are just the only business in town not afraid to deal with the vampire community.
Interviewer: Speaking of vampires, the rumor on the street is
that you are the new main squeeze of one Rayne Blackwood.
Sophie: Don’t believe everything you read.
Interviewer: So no truth to the rumors then?
Sophie: We have a professional relationship.
Interviewer: Being professionally involved with the Charleston
Vampire Conclave, how do you feel about the new registration
Sophie: Well, I have to register my guns and I suppose vampires
are at least that dangerous, so I understand government trying to find a way to both make the general public feel safe and also apply some level of accountability. Are they human? No. Do they have rights like humans? I think so.
Interviewer: You can’t exactly put a vampire in handcuffs.
Sophie: Well, you can always try I suppose.
Interviewer: And do you feel safe with a vampire living under
Sophie: I don’t feel safe standing in line at the DMV, but as
far as Caleb is concerned, having him around makes me feel more
Interviewer: How so?
Sophie: The last few times I’ve been in the hospital have been
courtesy of the human population. Having him around is sort of like having a guard dog.
Interviewer: It’s interesting you bring that up. I’ve heard
rumors that vampires aren’t the only fairy tale monsters walking our streets, is that true?
Sophie: I don’t know anything about that…
Interviewer: Really? Even with your rather unique, personal
Sophie: What can I say? I don’t exactly get invited to the
Interviewer: Is there anything you can tell us? Any wisdom
you’ve picked up over the years?
Sophie: Sure. Number one, you can shoot a vampire, but it just
pisses them off. Number two, be more concerned about the human monsters. The vampires are actually really well self-policed.
Interviewer: Good to know. Can you give us an idea of a typical
case for you?
Sophie: I’ve dealt with everything from missing cats to people
digging up graves and trying to re-animate corpses—which by the way is just gross.
Interviewer: Is there anything that could still surprise you,
after all you’ve seen?
Sophie: Never say never.
Interviewer: What about you personally? What do you do for
Sophie: I’m pretty laid back. I watch old movies. And when I’m
feeling really adventurous, I knit.
Interviewer: You knit?
Sophie: I know. I’m a rebel.
Interviewer: And since you have dispelled the romance rumors,
are you seeing anyone?
Sophie: My two favorite guys in the world. Smith and
Interviewer: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our
Sophie: Office hours are 9am-4pm. And we are verygood at what we do.
No pulse? No problem. Sophie D'Angelo is good with weird,
but her latest investigation unnerves even her. A young pregnant woman goes missing and the only witness is a hundred year old ghost.
Sophie reluctantly agrees to play host, literally, to the specter who then seems more interested in Sophie's ex-finance, Caleb, then in solving the case.
As her personal life falls apart around her, Sophie will have to decide how far she's willing to go for justice, and what she's willing to risk to make things right with Caleb again. But how is she supposed to do either with the charismatic Rayne Blackwood, head of the Vampire Enclave, vying for her time, attention, and ultimately, her heart?
Fans of Palmetto Moon, Book One: Born of Blood as well as first time Ficklin readers will not be disappointed with this intriguing new offering in the D'Angelo saga.
What people are saying about the Palmetto Moon series...
"Once again Sherry Ficklin has turned out a magnificent story that kept me on the edge of my seat, when I wasn't falling out of it with laughter at Sophie's snark, or swooning over Caleb
and Rayne. Perfection to the last word.
A definite must read for urban fantasy fans."
FIVE Stars from D. J. Westerfield
"Let me just say this ending just left my mouth hanging open. I was still trying to turn the page! I want the next book now!!!"
FIVE Stars from Tiffany
"Born of Blood, by Sherry D. Ficklin isn’t just your average vampire book. Ficklin manages to write a love story, action, and plenty of sarcasm in this first edition of the Palmetto Moon series.
Sophie D’Angelo is a private investigator who is living with a vampire in her attic who happens to be her ex-fiancé. In this reality vampires live in the open among the undead. Caleb, her ex-fiancé, was turned into a vampire the night before their wedding and he’s been living as her friend in her
attic ever since. He’s also her partner at her PI business, Palmetto Moon. She is contracted to find a missing person and she quickly finds out things are not as they seem.
This was a fun, quick read and a lot of Ms. Ficklin’s personality comes out in this book. The plot is fast moving, the characters are all well developed and likable. I loved this book and can’t wait to read the next edition. Luckily I’ve been selected to get an ARC (Advanced Read Copy) so
I’ll be posting that review soon. I give Born of Blood five out of five donuts."
Five "donuts" from Tyler Jolley
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house
guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people.
She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she's on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is often only seen in blurry photographs.
To learn more about Sherry visit her at her Website
He's determined to set things right, no matter the cost...
The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend roposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.
Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral…and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.
Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.
CONTENT WARNING: Spicy sex.
A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance
Seth leaned in. His lips were close enough to kiss, and his scent of sandalwood and something exotic enveloped her, taking her back to that night on the beach. His eyes flashed with the dangerous fire of his temper. It was similar to the flame of the passion she’d once seen in the green depths. Abby didn’t expect or want the heat curling in her belly, and shivered with a sudden and fierce desire.
“I’m her father, Abigail. I wanted to be her father after she was born. It was you and Mike who insisted I had no business messing things up.”
“I never said any such thing. You never tried. You just left.”
He pounded a fist on the counter top so hard she jumped. “Yes, I left! I wasn’t welcome at home. Dad ran me off with a shotgun. Mike wouldn’t even let me see my daughter. He made it quite clear you and he were happily married, and I had no place in your life. I was under contract to be in Nashville to start recording my first album.”
What did he mean, Mike wouldn’t let him see Emily?
Before she had a chance to voice her question, his eyes darkened as the pupils dilated, obscuring the stormy green. “But I’m no longer nineteen and scared shitless. I could make things very rough for you and this fantasy you’ve got working.”
A cold lump quickly replaced the tangle of heat in her belly. “What-what do you mean?”
He backed off and tapped the countertop. “I’m talking a custody battle. I could have a judge order a paternity test. I think we both know the media hoopla the results would cause.”
Her heart slammed into her chest wall. “You wouldn’t do that.”
“Try me. Now that I’ve met Emily, I want to get to know her.” He walked over to look out the kitchen window. The hard line of his jaw melted, and he swallowed so hard his throat moved up and down. “I was a fool when I let Mike talk me out of being in her life after she was born.”
“What do you mean?”
He glanced at her. “Don’t pretend you don’t know.”
The strings of guitar music provided a soft counterpoint to the hard tension in the kitchen. Emily was outside on the patio playing around with her guitar, waiting for them to finish with the dishes she and Seth had insisted on doing.
“All I want is to have some time with my daughter. That’s all I’m asking for.” When he looked over his shoulder at her, sadness replaced the anger in his eyes. “I’ll keep your little secret. I’ll just be her favorite singer. The family
friend who made it big in Nashville. I don’t want to hurt her. As much as it
galls the hell out of me, I see what Mike means to her.”
He moved toward her and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Besides, I don’t want to hurt Carolann or Frank any more than you do.” He glanced outside again, his voice husky as he spoke. “But I’ll sue you if I have to.”
A part of her wanted to give in to him, but a larger part wanted to punish him. Let him take her to court; she’d make sure the world knew what kind of jerk Seth Kendall really was.
She gritted her teeth and fisted her hands by her sides. “I’ll let you have tonight, Seth. But don’t ask for more.”
She turned away and strode through the French doors.
Sara Walter Ellwood is an award winning author whose novel Gambling On A Secret was named by bestselling author Carolyn Brown in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today as one of her favorite romances of 2012. Although Sara has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her stories. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for nearly 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. She also writes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name of Cera duBois.
Penelope Reece, Penn for short (b. 1984), is an author living in Central Indiana with her husband of two years and her tiny pomeranian Kodi.
She graduated from Indiana University in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in English. She then went on to spend nearly three years in South Korea where she taught English in a private academy. It was here that she met and married her husband in June of 2010. They recently moved back to the States in March of 2012.
Penelope's been writing ever since her nerdy highschool days where her joys were limited to marching band and day dreaming. Her other joys include reading, crocheting, snuggling her little Kodi-man, and watching comedic TV shows such as Parks and the IT Crowd. She also enjoys watching Korean dramas, listening to her husband sing. As well as being hyper and annoying her husband as much as she can.
CHLOE HASKELL, a university student and runaway diva, is determined to
never sing again. After escaping a life in the spot light, she wants only to have a normal life. But when an old flame comes to town, Chloe must decide if she’s willing to forget the past in order to fall in love with the man who broke her heart. RHYS RYTHER, a Broadway composer, has been hired as a substitute professor at the university. There, he’s surprised to learn that his
ex girlfriend, the girl he left without an explanation, is a student at the same university. What's even more surprising is that he still has feelings her. When Chloe unintentionally gets cast in the school’s production of The Phantom
of the Opera, unexplained events start to happen.
She sees shadows everywhere. A ghost haunts her dreams. And someone is watching her. But is it all in her mind or has a dead man come back to claim her? As Chloe and Rhys get closer, he learns that she’s been keeping a secret. It’s a secret so dark that could very well tear them apart. And when the impossible happens, can Rhys overcome Chloe’s dark past in order to save her from an even darker future?
Alphie Brewster attends school, has friends, and a loving family. She's even taken an interest in the hot new neighbor. It's the normal life of your average eighteen-year-old. There's only one problem. Alphie isn’t normal. She's
anything but. You see, Alphie's got this problem. She's always tired, is plagued with vivid nightmares, and can't remember her past. After Alphie stumbles upon a necklace that once belonged to her grandfather, and unintentionally opens a portal that sends a ghostly figure hurtling out at her
from her bedroom mirror, she finds herself faced with another problem. A six foot four inch tall eccentric spook, named Noer, who fills her with fire while draining her energy as if she were a Duracell Battery. With Noer constantly making her go all weak in the knees, Alphie wants nothing more than to be rid of both him and the necklace. Especially, since the sexy neighbor, Cary, has taken a fancy to her. And that's not all. With both spook and Cary fighting for her attentions, Alphie starts to remember things. Things that she wished would stay buried. Then Alphie visits Noer's home in Limbo, and things start to get even weirder. If that isn't complicated enough, a vicious stranger comes looking for the necklace. And this stranger will do anything to get it. Within this chaos, will Alphie be able to come to terms with her past in order to save her family? Or will she become just another lost soul without a body?
When her neighbors accuse Belladonna of Satanism and making them age years to days, she must find who is behind it or face a modern day witch hunt. Her mysterious enemy knows where to strike to cause the most damage: Belladonna's only friend is losing his life-force; the garden that feeds her is dying; and her house ghost goes poltergeist. To save her neighbors and friends and prove her innocence, she must travel to the Otherworld where butterflies have razor wings and where her worst fears will come to life.
The mob on the other side of the wrought iron fence wore no tri-cornered hats or starched bonnets. They didn’t brandish pitchforks or flaming torches. Hell, they didn’t even bring a preacher to drive the Devil out. Still, they had come to flush out a witch and the witch was me.
Larisa Walk, a native Russian, lives in California with her husband and two formerly homeless cats. She writes paranormal fiction that is more often than not populated by characters from the Russian fairy world. Her
short fiction appeared in several anthologies and magazines. She has published a historic fantasy novel, A Handful of Earth, and a modern paranormal novel, A Witch Without Magic. You can read her quirky blogs at: http://www.larisawalk.com
Larisa is gifting a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card to 5 lucky COMMENTORS, so follow her tour to increase your odds!
This dark occult horror novel doesn't pull a punch. Rae demonstrates her research skill and imagination in this take on fallen angels gone awry.
Andel Talistokov is a fallen angel that uses subliminal suggestion in advertising as a weapon for Hellish intentions. Ruling a power structure reminiscent of the one run by Al Pacino in the Devil's Advocate, Andel feels invincible. He tried to defeat God, and now he wants to defeat Satan. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, provides the powerful and arrogant Andel the opportunity to mate with young women to produce Nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels.
Joanna Easterhouse, paroled after a jail term for cocaine use, and her sister, Kim, discover their recently deceased mother had a secretive past. Disbelief soon turns to terror. They are heirs to a twisted celestial legacy. This story is not for the squeamish because Rae doesn't shy away from raw, graphic horror of the kind Clive Barker made popular. The plot is filled with page-turning, unexpected twists and tangles that will make you question what you felt you knew about reality, myth and religion.
Book Bling gives this novel 4 Stars!
Book Bling is pleased to host Author Dina Rae. She is a new author here to stay. As a teacher, she brings an academic element to her work.
Her three novels, Halo of the
Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots.
Her short story, Be Paranoid Be
Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character. In the spring of 2013, her latest novel, Halo of the Nephilim, was released. Dina also freelances for various blogs.
Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories. She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs and programs. When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor,
George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.
She can be contacted at:
Behind every book there is a “story.” The when, how and why a simple idea spun into a fully completed manuscript. As an avid reader and writer, I often wondered how fellow authors came up with their novel. What made them choose those characters, what influenced their writing, how did they conquer writer’s block, etc? It’s strange that now I have readers asking me those questions too. I guess I never really thought people ould be curious about my work too, but that has a lot to do with the fact that being a published author is still surreal to me. But today, I decided to dedicate this blog to the “story” behind my story, The Shifted, and provide you all with ten fun, interesting, and/or influential facts about my YA novel.
The Shifted was never meant to be my debut novel. I didn’t even know it
was going to be a young adult series. It was just an idea that came to me in a
dream one night when I was in the middle of writing a completely different young adult series about angels and demons. I merely wrote down the first chapter (because that is all I dreamt, the scene between Kale, Scout and their mother arguing about a new school) and put the story aside. I didn’t even know for sure if I would even pursue it. I had a lot of story ideas on that “back burner.” All I knew was I wanted to finish the book I was working on, but life had other plans apparently.
My computer crashed.
(Talk about bad luck.) And then my dog ate my flash drive. (No joke.) So after two years of work, I was left with only a couple original printed chapters and an outline. I was beyond bummed and aggravated, so much so that I stopped writing for over a year. In fact, I had no desire to attempt writing a book again until I started reading Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series. After reading the first three books in that series in two days when I was on vacation, something ignited in my head again and all my creativity and desire to write was back. I wanted to write a series that hopefully one day made someone love my work just as much as I loved Rachel’s work. I wanted someone to spend an entire day getting caught up in my writing the way I was with hers. I wanted them to fall in love with my characters the way I fell in love with Shane. He was my all-time favorite.
And on the week I got home from vacation, I was buying a new computer, a new computer chair, and I was writing again. Just. Like. That.
But this time I decided what the heck, I’ll try a different story. So I tried picking up from chapter one of The Shifted (which at the time had no title) and oddly enough, I wrote 96,000 words in three months and got a contract a few months later with Tell-Tale Publishing Group, LLC. Oh, happy day!
Considering I had no outline, no idea how I wanted The Shifted to go, who my characters were going to be besides Kale and Scout, it made writing a bit
complicated at first. Until I visited a park in Medford, NJ where I went to
support my husband in a race. The second I saw it, I just knew that was how I wanted Emerson Fox Academy to be and everything became so visual in my head after that.
As for the characters, some were just random picks on a name list but others had more meaning or influence. For starters, Scout and Kale are my
favorite two characters. I can’t pick who I love more. I might have started off
with the desire to write characters that readers could fall in love with, but in
the end wrote characters that I fell in love with. They’ve all come to mean so much to me and now I completely get why writers say their characters pretty much just came to life and wrote their own stories. Until I wrote The Shifted, I always thought that it was kind of silly when they talked like that. But really, that’s pretty much how it went. When picking Scout’s name I really considered his age and his personality, I wanted something that was young, playful, childish and would make a cute dog’s name too. And I chose Scout to shape shift into a dog because puppies are energetic, funny, stubborn and carefree and that’s exactly Scout’s personality. When I first started writing I pictured him shifting into my dog Chance but I soon realized that my dog was too big a dog and not exactly the right breed, so I changed the breed to be more like a beagle. When I was growing up we had a beagle named Sport, and that dog meant something to me too.
Kale is older, more responsible, respectful, smart, awkward at times and downright sarcastic. His sarcasm is why I love him so much. I have a lot of friends, including myself, who are sarcastic and I know when we are upset, angry, or uncomfortable we tend to try and cover it up with sarcasm. So I could totally relate to Kale’s spouts of uncomfortable jokes, because lame humor is comfort for me. As for his name in the story it states the he was not named after the vegetable but really that is why I first picked his name. I was reading a magazine about the health benefits of Kale and the name just sort of stuck with me. But in the story his name means something more and that will be explained in book two.
Kale’s love interest is Lavallette Waters. Lavallette is actually a town in NJ and since it’s located near the water, I thought Lavallette Waters would be
fitting. However, I couldn’t think of a good nickname for it that fit her personality and physique so I decided to name her “Kit,” short for “Kitten” because she shape shifts into a small cat.
Holland Bentley was actually inspired by my husband’s cousin. I used his last name for the character’s first name and some of his characteristics. The dark hair, light eyes, tall, muscular build. But in real life Mike’s cousin doesn’t act like Holland.
And finally there is another minor character introduced into the book, Jilianna Cortez. She was the most fun to create. I was at a party when my friend Jill asked me to write her into my book. I told her sure and we spent the day thinking of names and what she would look like, etc. It meant a lot to her and to me that I was able to write her into the story.
The fight scene at the rest stop was actually inspired by a dream my mother had one night. She told me she dreamt about an owl and a lynx fighting in the woods and it quickly turned into my next scene. I just had to do some research on animals first. I wanted to get their looks and mannerisms right.
When I first submitted my book to the publishing company I was told I only had half a book, (oops!) and that I too often made Kale sound like a girl and Scout sound like a college professor. (My bad!) So after a month of more writing and a lot of editing, I resubmitted and scored a publishing contract. (The crazy thing was I learned so much in one small rejection letter, that really wasn’t a rejection letter, and my editor’s words of wisdom really helped guide me along.)
The title of my book was a toss up between Shifted, Emerson Fox or Emerson Fox Academy but everyone liked Shifted so I picked that. However, my best friend told me The Shifted sounded better, more suspenseful, so I took her word for it and that became the title of Book 1.
At the end of The Shifted, I actually cried. I cried because I was so happy with how it ended. The first time I thought I finished the book I always felt like something was missing but the second time I knew it was complete. I knew because it felt right. I hadn’t been that certain about something in a long time.
The hardest part to write in the whole story was Kale’s romance with Kit. I’m a chick flick obsessed girl so it was hard getting it right. I didn’t want the romance to come off fake and unbelievable. I still don’t know if I got it right, but I hope so. My mother always told me the two most important parts of a story were the romance and the conversation. I tried keeping both in mind when I started writing because I realized those were my two favorite parts of a book too. But that’s just personal preferences.
When I told my grandmother I just wrote a book she was super excited. She asked me what it was about. I told her it was about shape shifters. She replied, “Oh that’s great dear. What do the three sisters do?”
Needless to say we both were laughing pretty loud after I explained I said “shape shifters.”
It took me one month less to write book two than it did for book one. Looking back, I still have no clue how I managed to write two 90,000+ books in less than six months. In fact, when I told my husband how many words were in book one his response was, “96,000 words? I don’t think I said 96,000 words in my life.” To this day, he hasn’t read my book but he assures me in five years he might be finished. (Sadly, that’s not even his sarcasm. That is the truth. He does not like to read. Five years is probably far-fetched. Maybe ten is more accurate?)
Anyway, there are all kinds of little tidbits and interesting facts behind each of my stories but these ten are the most influential to the development and
completion of The Shifted. I hope you got a kick out of some of them, found
some information you might have been looking for, or just got inspired to give my debut novel a try. Oh, and for anyone that wants to know how I conquer writer’s block…. go for a walk, complain a lot to my best friend through text messaging and/or harass my mother with phone calls of unlimited questions. My mother’s advice is often, “Take a break. You can’t see the forest for the trees.” And somehow, her advice always works.
So next time you are stuck on something, do something different. Talk to a friend, go for a walk, and/or just step away.
As Will Shetterly quotes, “Moving around is good for creativity: the next line of dialogue that you desperately need may well be waiting in the back of the refrigerator or half a mile along your favorite walk."
Great post, Natalie. Thanks for being here today. These are just the sort of questions and answers we readers are interested in hearing about our favorite books. I had to laugh when you talked about including people you knew in the story. It reminded me of the following joke I saw on a plaque: You have entered the home of a writer. Remember, what happens here may end up in a novel.
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This young adult novel may have "shifters" and other paranormal elements, but it's no ordinary storyline. It takes what you thought you knew about shifters and adds a unique and interesting twist, which in turn introduces an entire new cast of fascinating characters.
Kale, the male lead feels a strong sense of responsibility for his younger brother. As the only "non-shifter" in a family of shifters, with a mysterious and hidden past, this complicates his watching out for his brother when they are transferred to an all-shifter school. Kale is required to "act" like a shifter in order to fit in and stay safe.
As if that weren't enough of a problem, he falls in love with a female shifter with some jealous protectors of her own. The friends soon discover that all is not as safe or secretive as their parents presumed at this private school. Someone is killing shifters, and they target Kale's younger brother. Will Kit and Kale be able to save him? Will their love survive the truth of Kale's origins? Find out by reading The Shifted, a powerful breakout novel by Natalie Carlisle. Filled with lots of suspense and action, it's perfect for Tweens, Teens and Adults alike! I, like the majority of readers on Amazon, give this book 5 stars.
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Elizabeth Alsobrooks's books on Goodreads
Illuminati - The Book of Life
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.33)
Illuminati: The Book of Life
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.80)
The Keeper's Secret: Tell-Tale Publishing's Annual Horror Anthology
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)
2016 NaNoWriMo Winner!
My Newest Release
An Amazon Bestseller!
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