Friday, May 29, 2015

INTERVIEW AND CHAPTER SWAP WITH URBAN FANTASY AUTHOR, SUSAN REID


Well, I am happy to have Urban Fantasy Author Susan Reid back to the blog for another interview/chapter swap. In this interview, she discusses concluding her series, The Divinity Saga, and beginning her new series, HUMANS. And keep reading after the interview; she not only offers the first two chapters of her new book, but links to where you can read the first two books in the Divinity Saga for free!
And don't forget, she is also hosting an interview with me and chapters from Books 1 though 2.5 of The Birthrite Series at her websites:
http://authorsusanreid.blogspot.com/  


 So read on and enjoy! :)




TA: So last time we spoke, you were getting ready to release Immolation, the third book in the Divinity Saga. What's been happening since then?

SR: Madness! Actually, part real life, part fantasy. I’ve changed careers that has put me on the Vampire shift (3rd), and it tends to leave me drained by morning when the shift ends (no pun intended). After a long period of adjustment, I’ve finally been able to not only fit writing back into my schedule, but I’ve managed to dream up a few more great ideas for new stand-alone books in the process. In the last couple of months, I’ve managed to get the first book in my new series, H.U.M.A.N.S the Veiled World Chronicle 1, out by nothing short of a miracle a few months ago. It was one of those that I really wasn’t sure I was ever going to finish let alone put out at all but I’m really happy with it and I certainly hope that others are too. I’ve also been asked if I plan to write book 4 of the Divinity Saga: Divinity: Realm of Annihilation. I’ve answered it before and I will be more than glad to confirm it again as a YES!! I am very excited yet sad at the same time about that. It is the last book in the series and most ‘final’ books tend to provoke that emotion. It will be the longest book in the saga (and you thought that book one was! Ha!). I am finishing up last touches before editing begins as we speak, and I feel absolutely certain that it will be well worth the wait with a few unexpected surprises thrown in too. I do have plans for a prequel and a companion novel from the viewpoint of Fallen angel, Cam`ael but that will be further down the road after the second book in the HUMANS series is released in late fall of this year.


TA: Tell us about the H.U.M.A.N.S. series.

SR: HUMANS! Yes, the name was intended! I loved, loved writing this new urban/supernatural fantasy. I’ve always wanted to do a series that combined both Elementals and of course, the revered Vampires or Nocturnas! I plan to try and cover just about every known (and maybe some not known) supernatural being out there within this series, so I’m not sure how many books will be in it. Basically, HUMANS, which stands for HYBRID HUNTERS, UNDINES, MAGES, ANIMATORS, NOCTURNAS, AND SYLPHS, clever huh? It evolves around the world and everyday life of 26 year old Kai, her twin brother Cole and their closest friends who happen to be elementals of each type. They are both Hybrid Hunters, which are humans descended and created with the bloodline of supernatural animals who were Gods back in their world. Together they own a bar on an unnamed island of the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It’s a hidden bar specifically catering to other elementals as a place of respite, relaxation, socializing, essentially where they can just be themselves. Survival is the key and staying under the radar from the deadly Ascendants, which include the Nocturna race. They’ve managed to wipe out many Elemental colonies, bent on slowly making their way into the world of mortal man. Kai finds herself in a bad situation when the inevitable happens and she ends up being bitten by a starving Nocturna while hunting it. From there on, her life is changed forever and the tables have been turned.


TA: And because being or being perceived as a one trick pony is every author's worst nightmare, how different is this newer series from the Divinity Saga?

SR: Well, that is definitely a nightmare but for me, and I do speak for myself, I enjoy writing and telling stories that the notion of that never really crosses my mind. I never go into a story or idea thinking, ‘This is going to be the next big thing’ or ‘This is definitely going to top my previous series’. I write for the love of writing, telling a story, and getting feedback from those who love to be entertained. It sounds cliché’ but it’s the absolute truth! I go into each story and idea with excitement and try to focus on the mindset of readers who enjoy the genre of Urban and Supernatural fantasy because I’m not just a writer, I am a reader myself.
I like and try to sneak in elements of everyday life, food for thought, and provoking possibilities in each of my stories. That being said, HUMANS differs from the DIVINITY SAGA in several ways, the first and foremost being the type of characters and the struggle of both the protagonist and the antagonist in each one. While the Divinity Saga tends be both dark with a touch of romance and humor, which focuses on the possible end of the world for all beings. Many may ponder about the end of the world so it’s familiar and could even be a possibility to some extent. HUMANS is a lighter series with many elements of humor, a bit of erotica, and lots of action….many ponder the existence of elementals and vampires but I think we all know that those things tend to exist mostly in the minds and hearts of every fan and reader of fantasies.  


TA: What influenced the H.U.M.A.N.S. series?

SR: A lot actually influenced the HUMANS series from music to superheroes in the movies and comics. First and foremost would be my never-ending curiosity and fascination with many things and ideas that many people consider to be non-existent or ridiculous. Next, was my constant imagination and pondering of “What if Vampires had something to be afraid of other than sunlight, werewolves, crosses, garlic, and holy water?” Hint-Hint. I won’t say much more than that or I’d be giving too much away.


TA: In recent years, there have been many conflicts on the subject of book reviews and what is an 'acceptable' review and what is not. What are your thoughts on the subject?

SR: For me, I feel an acceptable review is one that actually offers something either to the reader or the author or both, and I don’t just mean to help boost book sales and numbers. If a person decides to leave a review, that’s awesome and I am always very appreciative of them. It takes time to write a review whether it be long or short, so the effort tells me that not only did the person choose to buy my book, they read it, and were compelled to share and talk about it… whether they thought it was great, good or plain crap. Most people don’t leave reviews at all even if they really did like a book and I’m guilty of that myself, so I try not to sulk or whine if I never get any.
If a review is genuinely honest and presented in a constructive way, then that is a good thing. Many times the author (myself included) is looking for just that kind of feedback to help both hone their craft and learn from. I use it as a gauge to decide if it’s worth continuing on with any given series. Writing is an art form and it is complex. No one person has the absolute right way and no one is perfect. We can learn from each other and as an author myself, I have no problems seeing that others may not think that my work is great or even good for that matter. Bottom lines is, reviews can either help or hurt, some people intentionally want to hurt and those kind of reviews are obvious. For me, I vote for help and that is exactly the kind of review that I will offer…if I can finally get to my own mile long TBR list!


TA: What's on your summer reading list? Any recommendations?

SR: I have tons! My TBR lists contains a combination of both Indie authors and some traditional big names. The Birthrite series is definitely on my list.
Though I will never write it myself, I actually love reading horror and extreme splatter gore (Yes, I am strange, I know). Some of my favorite authors that I would definitely recommend are Edward Lee, Brian Keene, Brian Ketchum, and Jay Anderson. I also love the ‘I am not a Serial Killer: The John Cleaver Series’ Trilogy by Dan Wells….amazing, amazing books!!


TA: And finally, what's coming up for you?

SR: Well, once the Divinity Saga is complete and after the second chronicle of the HUMANS series has been released, I have several projects in the making. I’ve started a few just to get my ideas down before I completely forget. Three have titles already but I will keep that hush for now. I’d love to do so much more soon like, interviews, blog tours, vlogs, giveaways and contests, and hopefully even guest appearances at local bookstores around my area to start. Time permitting, I definitely am working on plans to make at least a few of those happen in the near future.

Thanks, Susan! Now as promised, here is a sneak preview of her new book. Enjoy!






Humans: The Veiled World: Chronicle 1
Sneak Peek
By Susan Reid
 

HUMANS The Veiled World Chronicle !
©2015 by Susan Reid
Chapter 1
Nothing larger than a firefly moved. Apparently, the larger night critters and insects knew that something wasn’t right, exercising a base sense of self-preservation by staying hidden and silent. Even the night scavengers seemed to be offended by the stench of this kind of death too, and I didn’t blame them one bit.
The salty, warm wind stirred lazily over the tops of the dry grass, rustling them gently. The soothing rush of the surf crashed steadily against the rock base of the cliffs facing the north, close to the entrance of the bar. The earpiece tucked into my right ear carried a soft hum of monotonous static, amplifying my growing impatience.
Clouds drifted in and temporarily blotted out the light of the moon, just as a trident forked vein of lightning split through the mass of darkness. The atmosphere was humid and filled with the scent of a brewing and wicked rainstorm blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. The mixture made it a bit difficult to zone in on one particular scent, but thankfully the odor of the undead couldn’t be masked easily if at all.
Only in quiet this calm could you count on a destructive storm to suddenly strike, rip through, and destroy everything in its path at any given moment.
In this instance, that destructive storm was a Nocturna.

He was spotted lurking not far from the vicinity of the bar entrance by Jax and my brother, Cole, earlier this evening.
What his presence around this area ultimately meant was chaos and death, potentially turning our sanctuary into nothing more than a chow hall — that much was certain. However, we hadn’t heard or seen anything in the news about any humans dying under suspicious circumstances on and around the mainland, yet.
How and why he traveled all the way out here undetected was a mystery. We don’t advertise the existence or location of the bar. Unless you were an elemental, heard by word of mouth from others who were patrons, and had the ability to decode all the magical barriers surrounding the entrance, you’d never find or see it.
As far as I knew, there were only three ways onto and off of this island for any being; by boat, jet-ski, which is my personal preference, and air.
Nocturnas are like magnets to each other, so leaving him alive was not an option. We were hunting him before he had a chance to kill any… or anymore humans, let alone any of us.
Cole, Jax, and I are Hybrid Hunters. Our race was created and bred with mystical spirit animal Gods that possessed extraordinary and supernatural hunting abilities. From the time we were toddlers, we began our training and schooling. Our journeys were guided by noble Zheng-Tsao Monks in the arts of guardianship, which included fighting, combat, survival, and tracking.
The only exception to our little vigilante posse was my best friend, Isis. Isis is a Sylph or an air elemental in layman terms. She was perched high and hidden among the branches and coconut clusters of a towering, wide-leafed palm tree just east of my position.
Both Jax and Cole’s eyes were like four, glowing orb-like beacons in the darkness from a half mile away. We had all been spread out in a square formation like this for the last hour. No one was going to rest until it was found and killed.
I was hunkered down low, kneeling behind a mound of overgrown dune and salt grass and flanked by flowering bushes to my right.
Breaking the unusual peace, a sudden light and airy whisper came through the earpiece. “This is gonna be a big rainstorm.”
“That’s pretty obvious, Isis.” I answered back.
“I don’t like big rainstorms with high winds, it screws with my magic.”
“Well, hopefully we won’t need it. See or scent anything yet?”
“I can’t get a bead on anything other than seaweed and a little hibiscus. And…I really have to pee.”
I sighed softly.
“Then go and stop talking so much! Damn!” Cole hissed into our conference-style earpieces.
“Females.” Jax commented and sighed into the mic of his headset.
“No, don’t move. You’ll only give your location away and become an instant target.” I interjected.
Isis made a soft whining sound.
“I’ve got your back, go ahead. I’ll keep watch for you.” Jax offered.
“Uh…yeah, no thanks. I’ll hold it.” Isis declined.
“You’ll be hurting when it starts raining.” Jax teased.
Isis whined again.
“Will you two be quiet?” Cole reprimanded exasperatingly in a hoarse whisper.
I shook my head and laughed quietly to myself.
Suddenly, something scurried and rustled violently through the grass to my left, moving lightning fast.
“Six o’clock!” Jax shouted and both he and Cole jumped up from their hiding spots. I saw something out of my periphery but I was too late to react in time to ready for defense. The tang of virulent, undead flesh assaulted my senses just as my legs were tackled and I was lifted high into the air, then swiftly slammed down to the ground on my back.
I grunted, the wind nearly knocked out of me completely but I still managed to swiftly roll to my side and unclasp the hidden blade strapped to the side of my boot.
With a powerful, sweeping kick of my leg into a wide upward arc, I caught and slashed through his shirt all the way down to the flesh. He shrieked, faltering backwards while clamping his hands across the tattered material that began to steam and blossom with dark blood.
I took that moment to click on the UV attachment mounted on the top of my rifle while quickly jumping to my feet.
A guttural sound came from his throat.
“You’re a lot stronger than I thought.” He grinned and then his long, dark tongue flicked out over his pale, cracked lips.
I wasn’t flattered.
He was a blur when he lunged at me again. Both Jax and Cole’s heavy boots were pounding the earth steadily, approaching fast to my location with their UV lights jostling around wildly in the darkness.
Sudden crisp wind began to gather and swirl wildly. Isis hovered directly overhead, orbiting around us to find a clear shot.
Taking him off guard, I slammed all of my strength into a powerful uppercut beneath his chin. His head snapped back with a crack, jaw clicking shut and his fangs stabbed down on his bottom lip. He growled in both pain and frustration.
Not only was he stunned by the unexpected power of my strike, now the several darts embedded in his back and the dot of UV light marking his forehead were all beginning to take effect.
His skin began to smoke and he pitched sideways, landing on his side in an almost comical, overly-dramatic, convulsive fit. He bucked and jerked, rolling over and over while desperately attempting to both cover his face and reach over his shoulder to remove the ten paralyzing dart heads that were jutting out of his back.
Lightning temporarily lit up his terror-stricken face. His eyes were lost in shadows and dark pits, faded to a faint green illumination.
A lower level Nocturna.
This should be as simple as killing a roach.
His long, slightly curving inward fangs, which were designed to hook into and latch on firmly beneath the skin, were exposed in an angry hiss of determination and hunger.
His arm was a sudden flash of dark movement, whipping out to strike me. I hadn’t expected him to be anything less than delirious with pain and completely immobilized at this point, let alone have the strength to continue to try and attack.
Then again, hunger tends to override adrenaline sometimes and the combination of both often makes an adversary very hard to take down or even kill for that matter.
That was one major rule that a hunter should always remember and keep in mind.
I tensed with a short cry as his clawed fingers raked across my side, tearing through the material of my armor reinforced shirt and into my flesh. The attack left a burning, pain and sting that began to immediately throb and bleed profusely.
Isis aimed the light and barrel of her laser rifle down at the back of the Nocturna’s head.
“Shit! Kai, Are you okay? I don’t want to accidentally shoot or cut you!” Isis’ voice rang in shrill both above me and through the now static filled ear piece, scathing to my eardrum.
“Just do something already! Don’t worry about me!” I shouted back.
Ignoring the painful darts in his back, the approach of Cole, Jax—and the threat of being shot by Isis from above, the Nocturna made a ferocious and desperate dive towards my bleeding wound, even managing to knock me down.
He quickly climbed over me in an attempt to overpower and gain the upper hand. My bashing him on the side of the head repeatedly only made him work harder. He was definitely stronger than I was giving him credit for. It was as if he had purposefully saved the last remaining bit of his incredible strength for the feed.
The pop of Isis’ rifle echoed like a firecracker going off and a dart embedded itself into the back of his head. He jerked and flinched for a half a second but was unfazed as if someone had simply thumped him.
Seriously? Then, he bit down ravenously.
Deadly fangs sunk deep, clamping firmly and then he began to suck. He immediately began to coo with sexual elation and satisfactory indulgence, panting frantically in an attempt to greedily draw more blood.
His probing tongue delved deeper into my cuts to savor every drop. The act made me seethe with both anger and disgust, lancing me with a new pain that flared and radiated throughout my entire body.

Then he began to spit and snarl, abruptly tearing away from me once a spot of skin on the back of his neck began to boil and sizzle. The noxious scent of decay and sulphur began to infiltrate the close space between us. I took the window of opportune it to deftly roll over and away from him, crouching low and ready to counterattack.
Though the pain in my side was excruciating, my adrenaline was compensating. This is bullshit!
I knew I should have brought my katana for this hunt instead of a damned rifle. This scuffle would have been over five minutes ago without my having been injured. With grit and determination, I quickly emptied my remaining darts and loaded a clip of molotov bullets. Raising my reloaded rifle, I aimed and began to squeeze the trigger.
“Wait! Hold up!” Cole halted me, just as he shot another round of darts into the Nocturna.
He shuddered and his body began to contort and twist once again. This time he began to curl up in agony, finally succumbing to the effects of the twenty odd darts that made him near resemble a humanoid pincushion.
Wait? What the hell for?
Isis landed beside me, pulling out her first aid pack from the satchel strapped around her body.
“Are you hurt badly?” She asked, fumbling with pre-soaked medicinal bandages.
“Not really. It’ll be okay.” I shook my head and waved her attempt at assistance away.
“What the hell took you so long to shoot?” Jax reprimanded Isis.
“Screw you, Jax! You try shooting while floating and using magic at the same time! I got him, didn’t I?” Isis pointed down at the several darts sticking out of the back of the Nocturna’s head.
Jax shook his head angrily and then turned to Cole. “Well? What are you waiting for, man? Kill the son of a bitch!” he growled.
The Nocturna was finally succumbing to the paralyzing serum laced darts. It usually didn’t take this many to slow one down enough so that we could both behead and burn them easier.
Nocturna were like mice on speed paired with a ridiculous amount of Herculean strength.
Though I was sure that the darts were doing their duty, I was sure that a part of his weakness was the obvious fact that he was near starvation and death. He was no longer attractive looking, his face gaunt and darkened with starvation.
I knew my brother though. If he wanted to kill him, he could have done it easily, nearly bare-handed.
“No, not yet. There may be others waiting close by and who would know that better than this one.” Cole pointed the tip of his rifle down at the Nocturna, and then he did a wide sweep with his UV light around the perimeter.
“Say the word, I’ll mince him up right now.” Isis threatened with two fingers raised. A rush of chilled, sharp air was already beginning to gather and coalesce around her hand.
“Oh, now you want to do something that might have actually helped.” Jax quipped with sarcasm.
Isis glared at him but her expression quickly turned into guilt when she looked at me and then down at my wound.
Her wind magic was actually quite deadly. She used the force of air to form weapons as sharp and efficient as finely edged razors that could literally cut through anything with precision and ease.
“Hold that thought.” Cole nodded at her. “You okay?” He then asked me while shining a light on my wound.
“Yeah.” I nodded and winced at the jolt of fresh pain that seemed to punish me for lying about it again.
“Go on and head back to the bar with Isis, we’ll take care of things here.” Cole said.
“No way. There could be more out there just like you said, I’m not abandoning you two.” I frowned.
Cole sighed at my stubbornness and then directed to Isis, “Do a complete mile radius aerial check for any movement or anything out of the ordinary for that matter.”
“In other words, do something useful this time.” Jax had to add in to further taunt Isis.
“Don’t make me redo your new haircut, Jax.” Isis threatened as wind began to swirl around and beneath her and then she began to levitate slowly.
“Get your restraints and tie him up good.” Cole then nodded at Jax, who was ready to finish off the undead target.
Appalled, Jax snapped his eyes to Cole in utter disbelief. “What? Man, are you for real? Why waste any time with this piece of corpse shit? He’s not gonna cooperate and you know it.”
“He will, especially with the smell of blood under his nose. We need to have a conversation before we dispose of him.” Cole assured.
“No need. I’ll take it from here.” A smooth yet authoritative voice cut into our conversation.
We all jumped and spun to face the source of the unforeseen invasion with rifles up and ready to fire.
How the hell did we not hear or scent his arrival?
Though we could all see him clearly, Jax shined his light directly into his face anyway, more for annoyance sake.
The brim of his cowboy-style, black hat was pulled low, obscuring his face from his head all the way down to the tip end of his nose. The concealment left the bottom of a square, sculpted jawline and full sexy lips exposed as he turned his head slightly away from the light.
Switching to my natural infrared vision, I carefully scanned his body from head to toe. I could tell that Cole and Jax were doing the same thing. We all three barely acknowledged our own observations among each other through the steady curtain of needle-like rain that began to fall. Our silent exchange confirmed what we all realized at the same time.
He was armed with two huge, kick-ass revolvers strapped to his body underneath his duster. So why wasn’t he going for them?
What was the point of approaching a potential gunfight while armed if you weren’t going to draw your weapons? I mean, three laser rifles all aimed at your head were more than enough reasons to consider it.
The main heat signatures emanating from the inside of his body were in his head and in and around his heart. Everything else remained a cool, dark blue hue.
He must be starving too, otherwise there would be visible heat from the fresh blood running throughout his muscles and entire body.
Those revelations were both odd and surprising to me. I had no idea that these notorious, night parasites had any semblance of an actual warm heart.
Cole was right. This bold, idiotic one on the ground was going to bring many more behind him if we didn’t force him to reveal how he had gotten here. Adrenaline was rising in me again, masking the annoying and profusely bleeding pain in my side.
Though the stranger managed to come upon us virtually undetected, he didn’t seem to be looking for a fight. When his gaze fell on me, I took note that he didn’t seem interested in my fresh and exposed blood at all.
Now that was really bizarre.
Cole was six foot three and about 220 pounds of solid muscle. By comparison, and from what I could make out, this Nocturna was pretty close to his height and build. Rain pattered rhythmically on the top of his hat, dripping steadily over the edge of the brim to further conceal his features, and his long, dark, glistening wet duster flapped in the rain-filled breeze.
Instantly, he reminded me of a bounty hunter.
Hostile or not, he was a Nocturna and we weren’t taking any chances.

Chapter 2
Cole was all but ready to fire and blow this mysterious Nocturna away but since he appeared at ease, not even attempting to go for his guns, he hesitated. Out of Guardian Hunter code, we didn’t believe in shooting or attacking an unarmed and non-threatening being without justifiable cause.
Nocturnas were the exceptions though because they were never without malicious intent by virtue of their diets.
“Who the hell are you?” Cole demanded.
“It doesn’t matter. I said that I would take him off your hands and I appreciate the assistance.” He smiled handsomely, flashing perfect, way too white— normal teeth.
Assistance?
I tried hard to get a glimpse of his eyes but I couldn’t really see them. I was too fixated on his sexy lips when he spoke.
He still hadn’t so much as glanced down at my wound that I could tell. Hmm.
“Thanks but we’re not asking you to take him off of our hands. We handle our own intruders and you’re surrounded right now, so unless you want to end up like him, I suggest you go back to wherever it is you spawned from.” Cole warned him.
That was just it. Where had he come from? Where had they both come from? I wondered.
The Nocturna on the ground had long since slipped into unconsciousness when the last few darts struck him. I think we may have overdone it and killed him unintentionally.
I had spoken way too soon. He suddenly began to rouse, groaning as his head slowly lolled from side to side stopping short when he faced the other Nocturna.
His eyes nearly bugged from their sockets.
I stiffened and both Jax and I watched his movements, ready to shoot him again if he did anything stupid. I was still pissed that he had managed to injure me but that second of carelessness and misjudgment had been my fault.
To our shock, the dazed Nocturna came to life and began to panic. Writhing wildly in an attempt to slither away from the stranger, he began to shout and cower. “No! Not him!”
Both Jax and I looked at each other with puzzlement and then Jax trained his rifle back on him in warning.
“What the fuck is your problem you parasitic freak? You wanna die now?” Jax threatened in disgust.
“Yes! Go ahead and pull the trigger, right here, I’m begging you! It would be more humane!” the Nocturna pleaded, stretching his mouth wide, flashing fangs and all while emphatically pointing inside the dark, gaping, cavernous opening.
“I’m not challenging any of you. I have no reason or desire to fight and I promise to make sure that you aren’t troubled with any more of his kind as well.” The stranger explained, remaining cool and patient as the tilt of his head fell and rested on the Nocturna on the ground.
“His kind? You mean any of your kind, don’t you?” I corrected him rudely.
He smiled slightly, I could see that much even in the darkness and rain.
“Not quite.”
“Bullshit! You guys are all the same and subject to the same complimentary execution as the next one.” Jax clarified.
The stranger was nonchalant to Jax’s insult and threat as well as the Nocturnas sudden bizarre request for us to aid with his suicide.
“No two beings are the same, even those belonging to the same class.” The stranger replied.
The cold, needle-like raindrops were illuminated by a quick flash of lightning. My hair was soaked as was the rest of me, and water annoyingly continued to trickle down into my eyes from my bangs.
Cole huffed with impatience before any of us could respond. “We don’t debate anything with Nocturna and we’ve definitely got this situation under control. Now I did ask who you were and how you got here though. If you don’t want to answer that then you best be on your way.” Cole stated imperiously.
Armed with bad-ass revolvers or not, we weren’t backing down. It was three against one anyway.
It wasn’t like us to engage in any kind of civil conversation or reasoning with Nocturna at all, then again, most of them were not as engaging or as calm as this one either.
Though he carefully scoped out each of our faces, either for memory or comparison before responding, the direction of his gaze seemed to linger and rest a bit longer on me than with Cole and Jax.
I could tell that Cole noticed the same thing and he was none too pleased about it too.
“Who I am and how I got here is irrelevant, though I can’t say the same for him. I haven’t taken count since arriving but you know as well as I do that where there is one, many more will follow. It never dawned on me that I’d find more than one hunter in one place at the same time…and twins at that.” He smiled at me and then tilted his head up slightly to pan the night, rain-filled sky.
He was even more intriguing and tempting to me now that I could see more of his lips and the chiseled shape of his strong jawline, both slick with rain.
“Of course, the air user, well, they’re pretty common. It’s surprising yet refreshing to find you both in the same company though.” He commented matter-of-factly.
He’s already spotted Isis? I hoped that she was alright. I could tell that Cole was thinking the same thing when we looked at each other in the momentary silence.
“Yeah, we’re well aware of that fact. You showed up, didn’t you?” Jax cut him off with a deadly glare.
“As I said, we aren’t of the same class or breed.”
Cole scrutinized him suspiciously, trying to see past the veneer of his words and the physical facade.
“What the hell do you mean, not of the same class or breed?” Cole retorted.
“I greatly admire you guys. Believe it or not, you and I have a lot in common. Give him to me and I can guarantee that you’ll never see him or another Nocturna in this area again.” The stranger completely disregarded his question, which was really pissing Cole off now.
Then he gauged me for a moment.
“I can tend to your injury so that it heals quickly without infection— if you’d like.” His tone was half- soothing and half-seductive, enough to stir up a frenzy of my curious lust. Infection?
“I don’t think so.” I quickly declined.
We were all undecided. This interaction didn’t make any sense.
“What’s the status? I lost connection and now I’m hearing a lot of commotion.” Pierce’s voice ushered in through the static of the earpiece.
“Standby.” Jax acknowledged him.
“He’s alone.” Isis’ voice suddenly affirmed aloud and into our ear-pieces as she landed silently beside me.
I felt a rush of instant relief seeing that she was alright.
“Where the hell have you been?” Cole asked.
“Doing what you asked…thoroughly. Mile radius is all clear. Why’s he still alive?” She nodded at the downed Nocturna in disgust.
“Thank you! I’ve been waiting for it myself! I was hungry but I wasn’t trying to kill anyone!” He pled again, clawing the ground and sliding towards me, only to be halted by the crushing weight of Jax’s heavy-booted foot on his neck.
“Who is he?” Cole decided to ask the insane, poor-excuse for a Nocturna pinned under Jax’s foot instead.
That’s what I’m waiting to know. Who was this Nocturna, that this land shark would rather us kill him than be taken away or dealt with by him? A cruel master? Someone seeking revenge on him? Or was he really a fellow bounty hunter after all?
“Vishinkatura!” the Nocturna hissed in foreboding fear.
“What?” Jax snapped.
“Translate.” Cole ordered the Nocturna.
“It means hunter. I told you, we have much in common.” The stranger cut in impatiently.
We all looked at him questioningly. I somehow didn’t believe that but at the same time, I wanted nothing more than to get out of the soaking rain and start tending to my throbbing and now burning wound.
Cole paused in thought, looking at me, Jax, and then Isis. Grumbling under his breath, he sighed heavily.
“Fine. Do what you want with him as long as I don’t see either one of you around here again.” Cole warned as he knelt down beside the Nocturna. Jax removed his foot, allowing Cole to hoist him roughly to his feet by his neck.
“No! I’m begging you…”
Cole covertly jammed a tracking transmitter down his throat just as he began to protest, and forced him to swallow it by jabbing an elbow into his sternum.
He gagged and swallowed hard with a grimace. Despite the rain, there were still small traces of my blood smeared across his mouth and chin.
Grabbing at his throat and gagging, he tried to speak, “What? No! Please!” he tried futilely to resist even after the other Nocturna grasped a firm hold of the back of his collar and lifted him as if he were a lifeless skeleton.
With a tip of his hat he nodded and flashed another dazzling, toothpaste-commercial-worthy smile.
“Not a problem.”
“I meant what I said about seeing you around here again.” Cole stated firmly as he straightened to stand again.
The stranger regarded each one of us again as if taking notes.
“Understood.” He politely replied.
The doomed Nocturna in his grip began to freak out again, struggling and trying uselessly to escape. Why was he so terrified of him?
“Don’t believe him! Vishinkatura means ca..!”
He was abruptly cut off and I flinched when his head was jerked and twisted, hard. He broke his neck without effort, turning it all the way around as if he were simply unscrewing the cap on a water bottle. The unfortunate undead hung limp with his head twisted nearly backwards on his shoulders and facing us with a frozen, pleading expression.
We all gaped at the stranger suspiciously in reaction to his abrupt and callous method of silencing. He examined his captive nonchalantly as if he were simply carrying a dummy or a bag of laundry under his arm.
“A little overkill, don’t you think? You may want to rethink and revamp the effectiveness of your ammunition. No pun
intended.” The stranger commented on all of the darts sticking out of the Nocturna’s back, head, and neck.
“There’s more than one way to kill and we know them all, always remember that.” Cole promised him.
“I agree. Duly noted.” He replied politely and then turned to leave.
Once he was out of range Jax spoke, “I wonder why he didn’t even bother to pull those bad boys out.”
“Should we follow him? Where’s he gonna go?” Isis asked.
“I’m gonna assume that he’s leaving the same way he arrived.” Cole said as we all watched his form disappear in the distance behind the sheeting rain.
“He didn’t really arrive, he just…appeared. I didn’t know Nocturna could do that.” I said.
“Yeah, I know. There’s apparently a lot we don’t know but I’m gonna bank on a possible gateway somewhere on the island. New mission in effect as of now.” Cole replied in deep thought.




For more of her work, visit
 https://divinitysagabooks.wordpress.com/
 http://www.authorsusanreid.blogspot.com/


Both Divinity the Gathering Book One and Divinity Transcendence Book Two are currently free to download from both Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords: 


And check out my interview and two chapters from Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and previews from Kindred (The Birthrite Series, #2) and Saturn Sun: A Novella (The Birthrite Series, #2.5):
http://authorsusanreid.blogspot.com/  






*****

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

 


Thursday, May 28, 2015

New Interviews and Chapter Swaps Coming Up :)

Hi all,

I was recently interviewed by Robex Lundgren for her music website. Feel free to show her site love and check it out. :)

Robex Lundgren Interviews Tiffany Apan

And this Saturday will bring a new chapter/interview swap between myself and Urban Fantasy Author, Susan Reid. So stay tuned for that and more. :)

Thanks everyone and have a great rest of the week.





*****

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Friday, May 22, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Susan Reid's "The Divinity Saga (Books 1 and 2)"




With summer approaching, it is a great time to catch up on reading (actually, any time of the year is a good time for that). It's also a good time to catch up on book reviews (I got a little busy there for a while).
For those of you that enjoy a good urban fantasy, here are the first two books in a series by author Susan Reid, called The Divinity Saga.

The synopsis on the back of the books are as follows:

The Gathering (Book 1)

"No one knows WHEN the world will end but how do you go on, when you’ve seen HOW it will end? If the dark ones don’t kill me first...I'll tell everyone."--- Starling Marie Roberts.

College Sophomore Starling Roberts is afraid of the dark because she has known this all her life.

The shadow beings are real and she can see them.

Plagued with nightmares of the invasion of Earth by the Dark fallen and ultimately Morning Star isn't an easy burden to carry, especially when the darkness is after you for the very thing that makes each one of us stand apart from them...our Divinity.

Starling is rare and unique.

Her past obstacles and devastations have wilted her own beliefs, leaving her to begin questioning her own purpose and faith.
But that begins to change when the dark shadows begin attacking her mentally...and physically.

Starling has been chosen, one of hundreds of thousands. But her rare divinity has placed her on the top most wanted list by the dark fallen and she has become the target of a planned catastrophic and deadly event gathered, controlled and led by Morning Star himself.

Star's only hope to remain alive and sane---Cam`ael, a renegade, dark fallen Incubus who lusts for her and Drakael—an Angel determined to keep her from him.

This is her Chronicle, pulled and put together from her own personal journals now known as The Book of Starling.

Combined with the journals of Cam`ael; Former Chief Angel of all Powers in his own words and at his own personal request.



Transendence (Book 2):



"I've already died once. For me, dying again-is not an option." Starling Marie Roberts, 3rd tier Divine Warrior. 
Starling doesn't remember how she died nor does she want to. Thankfully, all personal memories are erased once one becomes a divine warrior. Or are they? As if being late to rise wasn't attention drawing and confusing enough, automatically drawing suspicion in a realm that she had only seen glimpses of in her mortal life, surely didn't help. Quickly befriended by a group of welcoming, fellow warriors was an unexpected relief, but where there are large groups, there are always a few that aren't so enthused about the newcomers. Especially the unique ones who question everything. Being in the spirit realm was a lot to take in. It was both exciting and scary, and even more so...was discovering her essence. As far as being branded, she wouldn't have wished that experience on her worst enemy. Maybe. Though Camael has waited for her, he grows frustrated and impatient as the darkness in him begs to be fed. Camael knows that he and Starling will cross paths again. Realizing that she won't remember him, is the most painful of all. Knowing that she will kill him, is the risk he is willing to take to see her again. It doesn't help that Morning Star has been looking for ways to get even, ever since Cam'ael's battle with Drakael. He blames him for Starlings death. He needed to claim her while she was still mortal, not when she became an immortal force to be reckoned with. However, he still wants her- even more so now than before. A new, deadly demon is roaming the Earth, killing higher level fallen, and Camael is about to become his next target. What is forbidden, creates something that may ultimately bring about the invasion of darkness sooner than expected. What lies in darkness, will always come into the light.
These are kind of a tough books to review, only because there isn't much I can tell of in the plot without giving away spoilers. But what I can say is that both of these are page turners. Susan Reid definitely has a talent for building a world and well-rounded characters. My one critique would be that there were some editing issues (I'm also a book editor...I can't help it!). I think if these errors were cleaned up a bit, these books would be a 5 out of 5 star rating instead of a 4 star rating. Other than that, though, these books are excellent and I would recommend you add them to your reading list.

To pick up the books, check out
Susan Reid at Amazon

And for more info on the author, visit the following links:








*****

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound


Monday, May 18, 2015

MUSIC REVIEW: Tempest's New Album, "The Tracks We Leave"






Two weeks ago, the Celtic Rock band, Tempest, came through my town as part of their 2015 Spring Tour. The band was hosted by my friend Chuck Owston, playing this tour stop at the Bryn Mawr Church. This was my second time seeing Tempest live, and I will say that like the last time (when I saw them at the same venue two years ago), they did not disappoint.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some clips from my first time seeing them two years ago:



No matter what venue they are playing at, Tempest offers a highly energetic and entertaining stage show (and Heaven help you if you do not participate :P ). In this most recent concert, they performed their entire new CD, "The Tracks We Leave" from beginning to end. And yes, I enjoyed it immensely. So much, that I picked up a copy after the show (which all the band members graciously signed).
The following morning, I played the CD as I wrote another chapter of Kindred (The Birthrite Series, #2). And given the setting and subject matter of my book series, the music and songs were most definitely befitting. The album title (and title track...which is #2 on the album) is inspired by a very poignant old Dakota Sioux proverb:

"We will be known forever by the tracks we leave."

And I must say that the title track is by far my favorite on the album.

The rest of the album is equally good though, and while Tempest is typically labeled as Celtic Rock, they do play around with other styles and have also have influences from various areas of the world (also dabbling in Norwegian Folk as founding member and frontman Lief Sorbye hails from Norway). They also inject their own brand of humor into every performance.
All in all, it is an enjoyable experience, and I do recommend giving them a listen. And if they will be rolling through your town, stop in and see their show!

You can check out more on Tempest by visiting their official website:
http://tempestmusic.com 

It is also there you will find concert dates along with their CDs and merchandise (yes, I always advocate buying directly from the artist).

Absolutely 5 out of 5 stars. :)










*****

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Monday, May 11, 2015

Research and Accuracy in Fiction: Does It Really Matter? or "But It's Just Fiction!"

Hi everyone,

I know some of you are wondering if I'm ever going to pick up with my chapter by chapter recaps of Jillian Larkin's Vixen (The Flappers, #1). The answer is yes, although I do not have a specific date of when I plan to start those up again. Sometime soon is all can say right now. And yes, I did take a bit of a hiatus from doing that and will get into why on a future post.
With that said, those who have read the Vixen recaps that I have done so far (and have read my blogposts related to historical events) probably can tell that a big issue I have with the book (along with the overuse of particular tropes in much of modern entertainment) is some of the historical errors within the story (the book takes place in the early 1920s for those unaware). And I'm not talking about a here and there date inaccuracy. I'm talking about inaccuracies that can be potentially misleading or even damaging.

Now, is it possible to be 100% accurate in historical fiction? The answer is no. (1) In fact I also did a blogpost on the subject. (2)
Many of us who do write historically tend to go by the "authenticity over accuracy" principle. I mean, want to do a completely accurate piece on the ancient Celts, particularly the Druids? Let me know how that works out for you. But does that also mean shirk the responsibility of researching as best you can?
One argument often presented anytime someone complains of a wrong or incomplete or stereotypical portrayal of a certain person, group, or era is the age old "but it's JUST FICTION! I want to escape when I read/watch a movie! I don't care about accuracy!" And yet, you do. Everyone does to a degree, whether he or she realizes it or not.

As an example, I will use the series/franchise. Fifty Shades of Grey. After its release and skyrocket into popularity, the book received criticism from not only support groups for individuals having endured abusive relationships, but also many within the BDSM community. (3) The latter argued about how the books wrongly portray the lifestyle and even portray it in such a way that anyone wanting to try a BDSM relationship after reading Fifty Shades could easily get hurt or possibly killed if said couple was going to try performing some of the acts without proper research. AND some of the acts performed within the book series was actually very unsafe. Christian Grey, the male lead, was also labeled as abusive in his words and actions, and irresponsible when it came to the practice of the BDSM. Needless to say, many within the lifestyle were horrified when women who were fans of the book started looking to the series author, EL James, as an expert on the subject of BDSM. Meanwhile, she was hardly learned in it herself. And anytime someone tried calling her out on her poor research that could potentially place someone in a dangerous situation, she became defensive. Instead of saying, "yes, this story was my fantasy and that's what it is. A fantasy. I do strongly suggest that if you are looking into such a lifestyle that you do research in order to see if it's for you." But, no.
When I first started blogging, I actually did not list my sources at first. My reasons being (and I even stated this in my blogposts) that I should not have to do others' work for them. After all, much of what I post about is not that difficult to research.
Few things infuriate me more than those in our modern society who will take five ten minutes to skim read over a post that is nothing more than poorly cited and very biased rantings an article on Buzzfeed or other similar sites and suddenly they're an expert on whatever the particular topic is (or even worse..."I spent five seconds staring at a facebook meme telling me about x,y, and z in three sentences and now I know everything there is to know on the topic."). Yet they are still severely misinformed. Simply because they are too lazy to take the time and do proper research. However, it was pointed out to me by several people that this is exactly WHY I should list my sources (and why I even took to having a bibliography of my historical research at the end of each book in my fictional series, The Birthrite).

Here's the thing. Fiction is not just fiction, especially if it is telling the story of a specific time, place, culture, sub-culture, ethnic group, etc and so on. Even with my own Birthrite series, I've had people telling me about how they look forward to learning more about the historical events I write of as the series progresses, along with the characters and their journeys. Therefore, being a writer of fiction does not waive my responsibility to do proper research and cite my sources. Same thing with blogging. Even in reading Amazon and Goodreads reviews about Jillian Larkin's Flappers series, there were those saying of how they loved learning about the 1920s from reading her books. Something that made me cringe. While she isn't necessarily "wrong" about a lot of what she writes in the story, she left a great deal out that could also have shed light on other events of the 1920s. She delves into the race issues but leaves out a crucial piece of literature (among other information) that made its way to the mainstream the year prior to when Vixen takes place (which is in 1923).
In 1922, a story by a man named Zane Gray was published  as a serial in The Ladies Home Journal, which had a nice sized readership. That story was called The Vanishing American and told of a rather shameless love story between a Native American man and a Caucasian female. I will also add that the female lead, Marian, demonstrates a great deal of self-sufficiency and strength despite having some mannerisms that might be seen as antiquated today. The story was popular enough to be published as a novel only a year or two later and was then adapted for film as a screenplay (I will go further in depth when I review the book). For the story, Zane Gray had done years of extensive research on Native Americans and what was facing them. He was coming from a highly sympathetic angle and expressed great concern about them losing their culture to "white America." In fact, in the far too few reviews on Amazon, one reviewer states that this book should be read in schools (as Native American history often gets brushed aside...also I'm sure it is common knowledge that fiction is also often read in schools as a method of studying various topics as well as times in history). (4) And this was a popular book. In the early-mid 1920s. Let that sink in for a moment.
I think that Jillian Larkin had the makings of what could have been a very informative yet entertaining book series. And as I've already stated in my recaps of Vixen, she does have a talent for writing and I think that - with a little more research - she could really have had a book that went above and beyond "the same old." And there were a couple times when it seemed she was going to, but who knows; maybe her publisher objected and therefore they played it safe in that respect? The whole "give people what they expect and are (sadly and disturbingly) comfortable with hearing" principle?

No, it is not just fiction. And no matter how much someone may claim to only seek escapism, we also ingest entertainment as a way of learning and our brains do absorb the information we take in. And while it is impossible to know everything about everything (and likely we never will), doing as much research as possible is crucial. Your readers deserve it. And the people and places you write of deserve it.

I will post an update on when I decide to continue the Vixen recaps, along with why I took a hiatus from doing so. I will also have a review of the Tempest concert and new album, a review of The Vanishing American, and a post in which I will have mini reviews of other books I've read. I've also been reading quite a bit on "Princess/Warrior Programming" (for my book series as well as personal interest) and will be writing a little on that. I've also found info telling of how 'traditionalism' is also quite gynocentric. So stay tuned for all of that.

In the mean time, enjoy the lovely weather and "stand up on your desks." :)

Sources:
1. Writers Digest: 7 Tips to Writing Historical Fiction

2. Accuracy in Historical Fiction: Is it 100% Possible? (*from this blog*)
3. The Elephant Journal: Here's Why Fifty Shades of Grey is not Good BDSM
4. The Vanishing American Amazon Reviews

Another interesting article:
 The Gross 18th Century: Calling Bullshit on the Hygiene Myths





*****

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Restoring the Art of Education, Part 2

Hi everyone,

Well as promised, I am elaborating on my original Restoring the Art of Education post regarding the school, Gregory the Great Academy and their current project.
But first, how did I come to know this all male Catholic Boarding school, you ask?

Well, when I was in high school, I was taking vocal lessons at Wilkes University (in Northeastern PA). My voice teacher's husband was on the faculty at the school (I believe as a music director if memory serves me correctly?). One evening during a vocal lesson, she informed me that the boys at St. Gregory's school were putting on a production of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and had a bit of a dilemma: no one to play Esmeralda. So she asked me if I would be interested and I said I would be.

I remember arriving for the first rehearsal and being greeted by two absolute gentlemen (one was to play Frollo and the other Quasimodo/the director/set designer/script writer and pretty much everything else the show needed). In fact, I think everyone I encountered at that school were some of the most well-mannered individuals I've ever met. The entire rural area and gothic buildings that made up the school exuded a sort of serenity and it was actually difficult returning to "the real world" after rehearsals wrapped. My time there came at a moment in my life where something like that was much needed and there was actually a sense of melancholy when the show wrapped.

As years passed, Gregory the Great Academy and my experience there fell into being a mere fond memory. I went through dark, self-destructive periods in my life and came out of them. A couple times, I may have Googled the school to see what was going on with them, but it wasn't until 2012 when I was writing the first drafts for my book series, The Birthrite and I was doing some research on Catholicism. It was then the school came to mind again. I was also cleaning and reorganizing my office and came across the program, script, and VHS copy of the show (yes, this was the late 1990s). Subtle nods to this school and my time there have come up in my writings, including my short story, The Cemetery by the Lake and in The Birthrite Series, I decided to name the church that Dorothy and her family attend Gregory the Great Church (and yes I also checked dates to make sure there actually COULD be a church with such a name in the year 1931).

Gregory the Great Academy was a wonderfully positive experience and as I said earlier, I like to give back to those that helped me in some way, whether they know it or not. The school has since moved from the location I recall, but they are still going strong (as I do check in on occasion). And "Jack of all trades Quasimodo" is also headmaster there now (sweet Lord, we're old!). It's great to see the school continuing to do well and providing a great education, something that is very hard to come by nowadays. From what I can see, the school seems to strongly encourage critical thinking as opposed to the problematic and very dangerous "group think" that has become so prevalent in our schools over the last few decades.
Some of you may be scratching your heads at the notion of a religious based school encouraging critical thinking while also teaching young men to have the utmost respect for women. Well those of you who are regular readers of my blog should know by now what I always say about making sweeping generalizations based on erroneous actions of a few or even many: Just don't do it. As I said, when I was there for rehearsals, these were some of the most respectful, intelligent gentlemen I have ever had the pleasure of meeting (more so than many in the so-called progressive and "enlightened" modern world). And that is what they are aiming to do and continue with their new "Happy Like Kings" project.

As I said before, please take a moment to check out their indiegogo page. There is still time to contribute, and if you can't then please share. I don't just "willy-nilly"ask people to contribute and support something. It has to be a cause I truly believe in. And I truly believe in this.


Gregory the Great School: Restoring the Art of Education Indiegogo Page

Gregory the Great Academy Website