Friday, September 28, 2012

I Love Swag - Don't You?

Congratulations to Van Pham, winner of the Mortal Path Swag Bag!
And to Sharon Stogner, winner of the Mortal Path
"Name a Character in the Next Book" drawing!

Thanks to everyone for their comments.

Whee! It's my turn on the blog, and I'm letting swag do the talking for me this time. Things are busy in Dakota's World and I hope you'll let me slide by with a wink and a nod to my great fans and all readers of urban fantasy. Mortal Path Book 4, working title Bloodletting, is going to be jam-packed with excitement and adventure and ... romance! (giggle)

Want to see yourself in a Mortal Path book? You can name a character in Bloodletting.

For Deliverance: Mortal Path Book 3, I offered the opportunity to name a character. The winner was Jill Bakkum, who appears as a medical doctor in the book. Congratulations, "Dr." Jill!

Details are available on my blog. Entry for naming a character will run through September 30th, 2012. Don't enter unless you're willing to die in the book!

Gray Matter by Shirley Kennett
Fire Cracker by Shirley Kennett
One piece of news I can't resist sharing is that some non-uf books I wrote under my real name of Shirley Kennett are getting closer to release as e-books by Open Road Media. They are suspense books in the PJ Gray series based on recreating crimes in virtual reality. Here are a couple of sample covers, which I'm told are not yet final.

Now - on with the swag! Just enter using the form below. The giveaway consists of a tote bag, three signed Mortal Path books, a calculator, three pens, three bookmarks, and whatever magnets I have lying around. The form will ask you to leave a comment for this post. That's all. The last full day to enter is October 3rd. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Release Day!!

Congratulations to Terry of Florida for winning this month! Thank you all for dropping by to leave comments. See you next month for the next giveaway!

Ten years after For Love or Country released, it has returned sexier and funnier than ever. The Forbidden Lady goes on sale today in e-book form for only $4.99.  The hero of The Forbidden Lady doesn't have fangs, but he does have a razor-sharp wit. And he doesn't turn furry on the full moon. He turns into a fop!  Dressed in lavender silk with a lavender-tinted wig, Quincy Stanton fools everyone into thinking he's a preposterous dandy, while he secretly undergoes some very dangerous spy missions in pre-revolutionary war Boston. Only another spy is clever enough to figure out his disguise...and she does!  For lots of laughs, suspense, and romance, please give The Forbidden Lady a try. The laughs begin today in e-book form. The book will be available in print October 23rd.

A month after that, November 27th, the thirteenth book in the Love at Stake series goes on sale. Wild About You stars Howard Barr, the were-bear who was once a defensive linebacker for the Chicago Bears. I'm celebrating all these releases with three months' worth of contests on my website, At the end of September, I'm giving away ten fabulous historical romance books, then in October and November, I'll give away ten signed copies each month of Wanted: Undead or Alive. That's a total of twenty chances to win Phineas' book!! I'm also running contests on Goodreads, so please check my site there.

But what about The Supernatural Underground?  Yes, I'm running contests here, too!  Today's prize is a signed copy of The Undead Next Door (Jean-Luc's book) plus another great vampire book, Intervamption by Kristin Miller!  I really enjoyed it!  International entries are welcome. Just tell me which you would prefer: a five-hundred-year-old vampire like Roman, Angus, or Jean-Luc?  Or a young, hip Vamp who knows how to party, like Gregori or Phineas?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Moving across the genres

This month has marked the beginning of a new phase in my writing career. My first contemporary romance was published as part of a great anthology called URL Love from HarperCollins Australia.

The premise of the anthology is love in the digital age and in particular, how new technologies impact on how we meet our one true love.

Mine was based on the common experience of a miss-sent text. What if a flirty text from a stranger appeared on your phone. How would you respond?

While the Dream of Asarlai books, and the connected short stories and novella are romances, taking out the excitement of magic and the other world and trying to write a story that would connect with readers while within the normal world was an exciting challenge. While this is only a short story, I've been writing novels as well and having such a fun time.

Each book teaches something new about the writing process. When you go to a new genre to do it, the learning process is so much more difficult and rewarding.

Publishing in a new genre means a new name as well - my contemporary romance is published under the name Elizabeth Dunk. Elizabeth is the name of my patron saint (from my confirmation) and Dunk is the first syllable of my maiden name.

You can read my story, "Small Silky Thing" and lots of other great stories in URL Love.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Breaking News!

Oh, heck, no!!... The international dispute I predicted as part of the main conspiracy for the Diamond Eyes trilogy (between China and Japan over the disputed islands) has hit the news as really happening, so I've just been interviewed for the publisher's next press release:

SF Author predicted threats of war between China and Japan
In a frightening week on the international news scene, the hostile dispute between China and Japan over the "disputed islands" has developed, as predicted, by the urban fantasy writer, AA Bell in the multi-award winning Diamond Eyes trilogy, which climaxes October 1st with the launch of the third book in the series, Leopard Dreaming. (Published by Harper Voyager)

"For the characters to see and hear through time and witness the past and future, I researched international politics well enough to set them against a believable back-drop of conspiracies. But when life imitates art this much, it's tragic," said Bell. "It saddens me that I've been able to see this coming for so long, and yet all of the parties involved continue to move dangerously closer to war."

After the Japanese embassy in Beijing was attacked with rocks, eggs and bottles this week, pictures were released to the world press of large scale anti-Japan protests spreading throughout China, threatening; "For the respect of the motherland, we must go to war with Japan."  

“But posturing for war has involved far more than a few words on placards,” Bell said. “Battleships and military forces have been repositioned around all of the countries in the hot zone, including Korea and Vietnam. But hopefully, life can imitate art closely enough to aim for a peaceful resolution.” 
The alternative,” Bell said, “would be too horrific to contemplate.

So for this week's guest blog here in the supernatural underground, I'm giving away an autographed copy of Leopard Dreaming to the most amazing reply. (Perhaps you know of another strange occurrence of life imitating art, or fiction predicting something that really happened?) e.g. Tom Clancy's military thriller (Red Storm Rising, from memory?) which had a plot where a terrorist flew a plane into the Pentagon... Scary stuff, and not much we can do about such things, except write and keep writing, as a warning of consequences...

So I'm also calling all authors... I'd love to hear about your experiences of times when your research has been "too good for your own good", either in a comment below, or provide me with a link to your blog where you discuss it, so we can help to illustrate that it's really NOT such an uncommon phenomenon for writers who really take their research, settings and backstories so seriously. Sometimes, it's all there, for anyone who cares to look...

For more info:

Ordering for Leopard Dreaming:  (or see for free international postage)  
Other links: 
For other books:  
For other blogs and free giveaways, starting next week: 
Follow/Like me at:
Follow/tweet me if you have inspirational quotes/wise words to share:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The ABCs of Being a Writer

By Merrie Destefano

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a writer, here’s a brief (although scary and chaotic) glimpse. This particular ABC list is specifically aimed at the writer whose currently between contracts like—ahem—I am.

Happily, I DO have another book coming out. October 1st is the release date of my YA novel, FATHOM. [You can read more about that HERE ON MY AWESOME WEBSITE.]

So, without further adieu, here’s my take on what the writer’s life.

Between book contracts, the writer is:

A. Terrified she'll never work again

B. Eating bon bons by the pool

C. Spending WAY too much time on social networking sites

D. Taking in more stray animals than she can feed

E. Working furiously on her next (secret) book

F. Looking for a REAL job with vacations and health insurance

G. Becoming BFFs with her therapist

H. Watching too much TV and claiming it's research

I. Wondering if she really needs high ticket items like cell phones, cars and electricity

J. Deciding pajamas make a great fashion statement

K. Talking to her pets more than she's talking to humans

L. Beginning to think her pets are talking back to her

M. Learning to love/hate peanut butter sandwiches

N. Really mad when her fave TV show is playing reruns

O. Convinced the raccoon living in her backyard is not evil, since it would cost $500 to have it trapped and relocated

P. Turning into a nocturnal creature who can barely function during daylight

Q. Certain no one understands what she's going through, even though all of her friends are writers and half of them are just as neurotic as she is

R. Thinking everything tastes better with chocolate

S. Deeply, truly, madly in love with her current WIP, although she can't talk about it

T. Wondering if Elaina will ever realize that Damon really is the better choice

U. Trying not to read Publishers Marketplace Deals, for fear of discovering that a better, more famous author just wrote the same book she did

V. Hoping that her readers/fans will love her new project

W. Wondering whether milk chocolate or dark chocolate goes better with the latest episode of The Walking Dead

X. Deciding that yoga pants look great and, no, they don't make her look fat

Y. Checking her inbox way too often for an email from A Very Important Publishing Person

Z. Writing lame lists like this


AND for any of you brave enough to have read that entire list, I’m going to give away 2 e-book copies of my new YA paranormal romance novel, FATHOM. Please note: The e-book won’t be available until October 1.

My Pretty New Book...

All you have to do to enter is to post a comment below and share a link to this post somewhere, like Twitter or Facebook or your blog. And you need to include your email address (very important detail.)

This contest will run through midnight on September 30th and the winners will be announced both here and on MY BLOG.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 2012 News

by Sable Grace
August 28, 2012

She was a Dark Breed—half Vampyre, half Lychen. Now she is chosen . . .

Kyana is the new Goddess of the Hunt, chosen for her determination to survive as much as for her passion to protect those she loves. Now, just when she’s finally ready to shed her past and let the one man who really matters into her heart, an evil has resurrected, and only Kyana stands in its way.

But Ryker, as the new Zeus, will not let her fight alone. It has taken him too long to convince Kyana they belong together for him to lose her. And if it means descending into the depths of Hades to make the ultimate sacrifice, then so be it. The fate of the world is at stake, and for Kyana and Ryker, no fight has ever been more personal.

Tatsania's Gift
by Kim Falconer
September 1, 2012

Tatsania's Gift is set on a dystopian Earth in the 24th century where there's no clean water, little food and life is a brutal battle against either the armed forces of ASSIST or other people desperate to survive. Six-year-old Kali is forced to fight for her life when her mother is dragged away by ASSIST and two cruel 'aunties' turn up to take care of her. But her mother has left her something precious - another girl, Nell, who no one else is able to see thanks to her mother's powers as a witch. Together, Nell and Kali, find ways to cope with the hard life the aunties force them into. They discover their own magical powers and join an underground movement where they learn the skills they will need to battle ASSIST.

King of the Damned
by Juliana Stone
November 27, 2012

For millennia the struggle between light and dark, between the upper and lower realms, has been policed by a secret group of warriors culled from every fabric of existence. They are both otherworld and human, male and female. They are light and dark themselves and known to each other as the League of Guardians. Their pledge, to protect the line between dominions and make sure neither side grows too powerful. If they fall, so shall the earth, the heavens and hell. And there will be no more.

With darkness all around him, The League of Guardians is his only means of redemption... 

Azaiel, the fallen, has been given a second chance to atone for the sins of his past. With demons gathering and threatening the league, he must find out if their circle has been breached. What he doesn't foresee is a woman--a fierce warrior--who will turn his world upside down and awaken his tortured soul. 

Rowan James is a powerful witch out to avenge the death of her beloved grandmother, but she needs an ally. Will she be able to trust a man with secrets as dark as the sorrow in his eyes? Loving Rowan means risking salvation and yet Azaiel cannot ignore the hunger burning hot between them--his one last chance at happiness. With danger all around them, will these two desperate souls finally find love in each other? Or be forever damned...

New Moon Rising

Hi Everyone!

The NEW MOON is in VIRGO  and here is the scoop!

This lunation is a symbol of love reborn, deep compassion and reverence for all life, beginning with your own. It’s a time to amp up self-love, acknowledge attractions, welcome compassion and connect to the environment. Intuition deepens, love awakens and yes, you get to be brave!  

Virgo stand(s) for instrumentation, implementation and technical competence. Dennis Elwell

Think new beginnings, initiation and awareness! You start creating habits that make life better. Now. Here are some hints and tips to get you started. Read your Sun sign and rising sign if you know it. If not, comment and I'll walk you through the steps to work it out.

AriesARIES: The New Moon in your house of health is the perfect time to start supportive new habits in the realm of diet, exercise and daily ritual. Think of your body as your best friend. What do you feed her? How do you keep her fit and active? When do you let her rest? Play? Explore? Connect?

TaurusTAURUS: The creative and playful sphere of the heart is awakened at this New Moon. Ask what rituals do you have in place around your artistic expression? Is it haphazard, random or so strict there's no room to breathe? Set into motion some healthy ways to connect to your inner child. Make them fun!

GeminiGEMINI: The New Moon lights up your home, family and emotional security sector. What are you doing to feather your nest, metaphorically and literally? Ask how ritual can improve this area of life. Regular family dinners? Time with rels that could use your expertise? Renewed Feng Shui in the home? Go big!

 CancerCANCER: This is the perfect time to create new habits around self-talk, verbal communication and written or spoken expression, teaching and leaning. Notice how you connection socially around familiar haunts then start putting more conscious awareness on your thoughts. Remember, they do become things!

LeoLEO: New Moon amps up your house of money, a representation of your inner core values and self-esteem. This is excellent for boosting feelings of self-worth and setting in place new habits of care, respect and generosity. Let go the critical and embrace the abundance of non-judgment. So freeing!

 VirgoVIRGO: This is your 'birthday' New Moon and ideal for starting any new project that has your 'heart's desire' in it. Most likely opportunities are rolling in. You get to pick your favorite and lavish it with positive energy. The trick is to not become totally obsessed. Start a habit of balance in everything you do.

LibraLIBRA: The New Moon in Virgo is your 'Dream Moon' as it activates your unconscious mind. Up comes all the buried treasures in the form of inspiration, epiphanies, synchronicities and head over heels love interests. Treat this like a preview of coming attractions. Nurture, respect, revel and enjoy!

 ScorpioSCORPIO: The New Moon in the house of friends is a wonderful opportunity to bring healthy habits of connection into being. Your powers of discernment are heightened, helping you know intuitively which birds of a feather you want to flock with. Remember, to have a friend, be a friend. Spend some time there!
SagittariusSAGITTARIUS: Attention to detail and a feeling of new beginnings lights up your career sector. This is where you put new habits into place. If you've been overworking, pull back. If it's been hard to focus, you practice new awareness. As support and opportunities land, create the perfect balance of work and play.

CapricornCAPRICORN: This is your 'Exploration Moon' as a thirst for the unknown activates every cell in your body. What you thought was a closed door, a limitation or block, opens wide and you walk on through. The habit of open-mindedness can be developed now with very little effort. Easy breezy enlightenment time!

 AquariusAQUARIUS: The Virgo New Moon is a chalice of overflowing opportunity where you create new habits around shared resources. This means anything from finances, borrowed or loaned, creative projects and even intimate, erotic expression can take on new meaning in your life. Think Renaissance!

piscesPISCES: This is your 'Relationship Moon' where you can examine your personal one-to-ones and put into place more supportive, loving and caring habits. Old unconscious behaviors dissolve, replaced by mutual respect and reverence for life with another. Boundaries improve creating more room for unconditional love. It takes 21 days to start a new habit. Let's set fabulous intentions now! Have a wonderful New Moon everyone!

See you in the comments. Let us know what healthy new habits you putting into place.

Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing epic science fantasy novels set in the worlds of Earth and Gaela and beyond.

Kim’s latest release is Tatsania's Gift, a Novella.

You can find out more about Kim at or on The 11th House Blog. She posts here at the SuperntrlUnderg on the 16th of every month. Her books are available worldwide with free shipping via Kim supports the IS_Foundation and awareness of environment with her work. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

End of the summer hoorah

Usually, for me at least, vacations are more stressful that my day to day life. All the stress of packing, making sure the pets are tended to (okay, so they're cats and really do take care of most of their own needs), cleaning, packing, figuring out what to do . . . Then there's the actual vacation part. Oh, and not to mention the getting home part and having to clean and pack away all the vacation stuff and trying to get back into my routine. Typically, I need a vacation from the vacation.

This trip, is completely different. There's still all that stuff to do, but for some reason, I'm not feeling the stress. Bag is packed. Camping gear sorted and ready to be loaded up. Maps and lists of things we want to see/do are printed. Music is loaded on the iPod and books on the iPad.

Perhaps it's the location. I hate Florida summers so getting away to a cooler temp is refreshing! 

And it could be that I'll be able to see a setting that appears in our next book. (We sort of moved it out of the NC area for our story, but still really cool to see)

Even the lazy side of me is getting into the action and is all excited about the thought of hiking every day.

Or it could be that it's just going to be the two of us. I can't remember the last time my husband and I got away alone. Yeah, it's a little painful tug on the heart leaving the kiddo's behind, but we really need this so I'm trying not to focus on that. 

Whatever the reason for the sheer pleasure and excitement about this trip, I'm going to latch onto it with both hands and enjoy the quiet, togetherness, and catching up on all the books by some of my favorite authors and a few new ones, too.

And, if I'm still all excited when I get home and unpacked and have all the pictures uploaded, I'll call this the best summer getaway of my life :)

Just to share my excitement, and give you a little end of the summer reading, one lucky will have a chance to win one of the Dark Breed Novels of their choice. Just leave a comment and share how you handle vacations (or not handle them) and you'll be entered.

Have an awesome week!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

League of Guardians Giveaway--FIND THE BEAVER

All right, thanks to everyone who entered and emailed your findings to my website.  The cute lil beaver was hiding on the extras page. He was busy reading my free online urban fantasy, Three Years Dead!  Victoria Sloboda is the lucky winner--her choice of one of my League books! I've emailed her and thanks for playing along everybody!

Hello all my lovelies!  It's Sunday and I don't know about you all but I've not had enough coffee yet.  I've been a busy little beaver lately,(teehee) working on several different projects, but I am uber excited about a few things.

First off, next month the second novella in my League of Guardians series, TO HELL AND BACK, releases  on October 30th. It continues the story of Logan and Kira, which began in the first novella, WRONG SIDE OF HELL.

If you've not read Wrong Side as of yet, here is the blurb! (by clicking on the title above, you can read an excerpt!)

With battle lines drawn and evil forces gathering in the shadows, the League of Guardians is all that stands between chaos and the human realm…
Logan Winters, an elite hellhound shifter, wants to forget his allegiance to the League and the pain he’s suffered because of it. But when he’s ordered to retrieve Kira Dove from purgatory and bring her back to life, he can’t refuse. Not only will her death affect the balance between the realms, she’s also linked to a past he can’t forget.

Kira Dove, a young woman murdered before her time, wanders the gray realm, alone and vulnerable. The one bright spot in her life is the memory of a mysterious protector who saved her once before. As she makes her way through this terrifying place, she can’t help but wonder…will he come for her again?

As Logan races to save her, he knows he faces a nearly impossible task: How can a hellhound survive in the one place he shouldn’t ever be? The wrong side of hell…

Damn, I loved writing this couple and couldn't wait to continue their story!

(again, by clicking the title at the beginning of the post you can read an excerpt!)

Logan and Kira’s epic love story, first seen in Wrong Side of Hell, continues…

All Logan Winters wants is to be left alone with the woman he loves. But fate isn’t on his side and the demon Lilith isn’t to be trifled with. She wants to know the secrets he will never give up and he’ll do anything to make sure they stay hidden.

 On the run, with a secret of her own to keep and protect, Kira Dove must do whatever it takes to survive. But Kira and Logan soon discover that the path to salvation is littered with treachery, and they’ll each have to journey to hell and back to make sure their love survives the oncoming storm…

To celebrate the upcoming release of not only To Hell and Back, but also the next full length novel in this series, KING OF THE DAMNED,  I will award one lucky winner an ebook in your choice of either, WRONG SIDE OF HELL, WICKED ROAD TO HELL, TO HELL AND BACK, or, KING OF THE DAMNED.

All you have to do to win is find the BEAVER (those who know me well know how much I love chatting about BEAVERS) on my website and email me the location at my website!

I'll let this contest run for a week and announce a winner next Sunday!

EASY!  Have fun and spread the word!

Friday, September 7, 2012

E-book Giveaway: Troll vs. Elf

UPDATE:   The randomly chosen winners are: Tiffany, SandyG265, Auntie April, Beth, BooksbySteph, and Jackie. My winners, please contact me at JocelynnDOTdrakeATgmailDOTcom . I need an email address, your choice of e-novella (Bronx or Trixie), and format (Kindle or Nook).

In July, you got your first glimpse of Low Town while meeting a troll, an incubus, and a warlock with the release of The Asylum Interviews: Bronx.  On Tuesday, the second novella for The Asylum Tales was released as an e-book.  In The Asylum Interviews: Trixie, you will meet a vampire, an elf who's pretending to be a human, and a Chinese man who's ... well ... let's just say that he's more than what he seems to be.

When my publisher agreed to released my new series, they also expressed an interest in  a couple short stories.  This gave me a chance to introduce readers to the characters, the world, and the craziness that happens to Gage in Low Town.

With The Asylum Interviews: Bronx, you meet the troll Bronx and learn the events that lead up to Bronx being hired by Gage for a tattoo artist position at Asylum.  (Of course, these events included tattooing an incubus, rampant mass fornication, and Vestal Virgins.)  With The Asylum Interviews: Trixie, I wanted to spend some time with one of the ladies of Low Town.  The short story is still from Gage's point of view and tells how Gage came to meet and hire Trixie as a tattoo artist at Asylum while helping his ex-girlfriend.

The short story also gives readers their first glimpse of one of my favorite side characters: Chang.  To mix strong, effective potions, Gage sometimes needs a really rare ingredient.  And those rare ingredients can't always be acquired through legal channels.  That little old man is wily, sneaky, and can get his hands on anything.  Of course, it's gonna cost you.  Chang may look harmless, but he's got an interesting secret of his own.

So, if you like warlocks, vampires, trolls, elves, faeries, ogres, and much much more; then stop by Low Town.  Have a drink.  Get some ink.  But watch out for the Ivory Towers.

To get you excited about The Asylum Tales, I am giving away six Nook or Kindle versions of my new novellas.


Leave me a comment stating whether you want The Asylum Interviews: Bronx or The Asylum Interviews: Trixie.  Also, I need to know if you want a Kindle or Nook version.

The contest closes at midnight Eastern time on Saturday, September 8.  I will announce the randomly drawn winners on Sunday.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Interview with Violet Jordan

As the last stop in the Nine Lives Blog tour, I thought my Supernatural Underground family might enjoy an interview with the main character of my Diaries of an Urban Panther series, Violet Jordan. The third volume of her story is now available!

Interview with Violet Jordan, were-panther and Prima of Dallas.

Thank you for finding time in your schedule to sit down with us today. I know that you are a very busy woman.

Does seem I have more responsibilities as of late.

We’ll start with something simple. What do you do for a living?

Huh, well, six months ago, I would have said that I was a screenwriter, but now I’m just sort of independently wealthy, which it turns out is a lot more work. I’d rather be writing about the demons than actually fighting them.

Do you think your previous work helps you in your current life?

Hell yes. Jessa and I are always going round and around trying to figure out what came first, Violet the monster writer or Violet the monster fighter. All I’ve figured out is that my brain doesn’t work like a normal humans, it works like a writers. And I think that the Mother is a pretty good story teller herself because she can always find a way to make my life worse.

Who is the Mother? You’re Mother?

No, she’s like the conscious spirit of the earth. In our wanderer mythology, she’s the benevolent one who gives us our powers. Mostly the power follows a blood line, but in my case, she chose me. So all I have seen is her cruel sense of humor.

Does your own mother know about your calling?

Yes and no. She was a psychic, so she saw what I could become. But she died in a car accident. However, I think I saw her a while back when I met the Mother. Its complicated. I try not to think about it too much, because I'm pretty sure I'm not meant to know everything. Who really wants to know the end of the story?

Are any other people living with you?

Not any more, thank god.

Actually, Chaz said the exact same thing just the other day.

Yeah. Turns out that having seven people and a sentient dog living with you is a bit of a strain on your relationship. So we put a moratorium on people staying with us. Started to get in the way of Chaz and Violet time.

Go back to the sentient dog?

Shadow. One of the boys. He was sort of poisoned to stay in his animal form, but he's still Shadow. He's still one of the boys. But like everything else. Its complicated.
Then lets get to a fun question, what's in your fridge right now?

To be honest, I have no idea. Chaz is the cook in the family. He's also the maid and the weapons expert. He's sort of awesome. I have no idea why he's with me.

What was it about Chaz? Outside of the male model allure.

He pushed back. We met the night I was attacked, which was not the brightest night of my life, so I thought that it was just going to be a Keanu and Sandra kind of thing, flash in the pan while the pan is hot, but when things settle down, he stayed. And when I wasn't thinking straight, he straightened me out. More than anything else, he reminds me to be myself, because you can't lie to yourself and expect to help other people.

So let's get to some tougher questions. What were you afraid of when you were a child?
Ha. Ironically enough. Dogs. This little terrier thing bit me when I was a kid and I was convinced that all dogs hated me. Their little waggy tails were some sort of code for "I'm going to chase you."
And when a pack of them started following me around after I was bitten, I was half convinced it was because I was a big cat. They were actually following orders from Spencer Haverty.
Spencer Haverty your maker?
Yes, the brilliant man who decided to go out for a midnight snack, not actually expecting to find the one person capable of actually taking to the Haverty Legacy. But we sort of took care of him, so no more minions, no more waiting. Its a whole new set of problems now.
And is Tucker Briggs helping you with those problems?
My second in command. I love that mutt. My mother told me stories about him. That I would meet an ancient knight who needed a cause. And sure enough. There he was. Been the best thing for me since Chaz. And Jessa.
Yes, Jessa Feychild, your best friend who moved to Dallas with you?
You mean the best friend who I was fated to save the world with. Yeah. She's amazing. She turned into this powerful butt-kicking fairy princess. It weird because you look at the two of us and just go 'Huh'? But i wouldn't have been able to survive Chaz without her and I couldn't have survived any of this without Chaz, so its this whole support system that actually saved the world.
What does a perfect day in the life of Violet Jordan look like?
Coffee. Really good coffee. A sunny window with a laptop. Some quiet? But it would definitely end with Chaz cooking for me and the boys.
That sounds pretty normal.
I am normal. I mean. I'm just a girl who wants the white picket fence. I want a family and friends, a nice house to call my own. I just happen to be in a situation that means I need to have magical wards in my entry way to keep out demons and a weapons locker under the stairs.
Doesn't really sound like quiet is in your future.
Well, this is how I see it, and trust me when I say that this Yoda didn't happen over night. If I have to fight to make sure that five people get to have that picket fence, I will. And if I have to give up my sun-filled window so that someone else can have a peaceful weekend when their family, I will. And if I have take a phone call in the middle of the night to make sure that someone gets home in time to get their kids to school, I will. Because now I know that if I need them, they will be there. Its what family does.
I'd like to thank you for taking some time out for my story.
 No problem. I love a good story, just make sure that you label it as fiction.
What? No. I'm presenting the world with a truthful view of shifters living among us.
No. You'll publish it as fiction. Get a nice little blog post out of it, and let it be, because humans aren't ready to know the truth. Humans can't. Because as much as I hate lying, humans knowing their are monsters out there would only make things worse for them. I want peace. I want everyone to live their lives and be happy. Its a simple request. And I'll eat you if you try to turn it into the papers.
Yes, Prima Jordan.
Leave a comment or ask a question for Violet Jordan BY MIDNIGHT and you will be entered to win a Diaries of an Urban Panther gift set at the conclusion of the Nine Lives blog tour, running August 20th to September 3rd.
For more chances to enter:
Facebook: Amanda Arista Fan Page (one like equals one entry into the giveaway)
Twitter: @pantherista (a follow equals one entry into the giveaway) (comment on the tour info equals one entry as well).
Amanda Arista

Saturday, September 1, 2012

An Interview with Juliet Marillier Discussing "Shadowfell" — Plus A Giveaway!

Shadowfell/The Heir of Night Book Draw Result:

Thank you so much to everyone who read the interview and particularly to those who commented to enter the joint Shadowfell/The Heir of Night giveaway. Both Juliet and I appreciate your interest and participation.

The draw has now been made by Random Number Integer and the winner is [drum roll!]:

Tyler-Rose Counts

Congratulations Tyler-Rose! If you email me your posting details at contact[at]helenlowe[dot]info, Juliet and I will get the books in the mail to you asap.


Today I am delighted to be interviewing Juliet Marillier here on the Supernatural Underground, with a particular focus on her new YA novel, Shadowfell, which is released in North America this month and was published in Australia in July. But first, although she may in fact need no introduction, I would like to take a moment to introduce Juliet herself.

Introducing Juliet Marillier:

Juliet Marillier’s historical fantasy novels for adults and young adults, including the popular Sevenwaters series, have been translated into many languages and have won a number of awards including the Aurealis, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Sir Julius Vogel Award and the Prix Imaginales. Her lifelong love of folklore, fairy tales and mythology is a major influence on her writing. Juliet is currently working on the Shadowfell series, a story of tyranny and rebellion set in a magical version of ancient Scotland. When not busy writing, she tends to a small pack of waifs and strays.

In addition to this interview, you may find out more on Juliet’s website; she also blogs monthly on


Interview: Juliet Marillier and Shadowfell

US Cover
Helen: Juliet, Shadowfell is your third specifically YA novel, following on from Wildwood Dancing and Cybele’s Secret, and all three have strong romantic elements. Do you feel this is an increasingly important part of writing YA stories, or part of a continuing tradition?

Juliet: YA stories feature a young adult protagonist or protagonists and usually focus on that character’s journey toward maturity ( the tradition of the Bildungsroman.) Learning about love / relationships is an important part of that stage in our lives, so it’s not surprising so many writers are building strong romantic elements into their YA stories. I don’t remember quite such an emphasis on romance in the books my children read as young adults, so I do think the approach has changed. Within my genre of fantasy, there’s been an upsurge of paranormal romance, partly generated by the Twilight books, but also reflecting the popularity of this sub-genre with adult readers. There are far more female fantasy writers (and female fantasy readers) than there were, say, twenty years ago, and perhaps female writers are more confident about including a good love story in a fantasy novel.

Helen: The tagline says that the heroine, Neryn, is “alone, afraid, hunted”—what do you feel are the important elements that make a distinctive heroine, in general terms, and particularly distinguish Neryn in this story, Shadowfell?

Australian cov
Juliet: Ideally, the reader will be able to walk in the heroine's shoes during the novel. The heroine needs to be a true individual with her own strengths and weaknesses and her own quirks. She has to have room for growth, because we want to see her make some kind of journey as the novel progresses. So she shouldn’t be too perfect! When we first meet Neryn she’s at a very low point (hence the tagline.) She’s lost everyone who was important to her, and has no resources other than a talent that seems more curse than blessing. And she lives in a place of fear and distrust; a place where one wrong word can get you killed or enslaved. Neryn is no warrior girl. She’s vulnerable, as any fifteen-year-old would be out wandering on her own with nobody to turn to. As the story progresses we see her find strengths she didn’t know she had.

Helen: The hero is also vital to a successful romantic story, but Flint is perhaps more complex—or conflicted—than the usual romantic hero. Was he a difficult or easy character for you to write?

Juliet: Flint was a great character to write – he came to me fully-fledged, complete with a backstory that emerges gradually over the series. The nature of Flint’s profession means he’s constantly having to set aside his conscience, and as the story develops we see how much that is costing him. Flint is quite young, only in his early twenties, but is quite hardened by the terrible things he’s had to witness and (more importantly) to do in order to keep his identity secret. He’s quite enigmatic as a result of always clamping down tight on his emotions. This is not a standard ‘good girl falls for bad boy’ scenario. There are lots of moral grey areas in the Shadowfell series and some hard choices for both Flint and Neryn.

Helen: Shadowfell returns to the predominantly Celtic tradition that informs your adult books. Do you think Celtic traditions and worlds particularly lend themselves to romantic Fantasy?  And/or are you drawn to it for other reasons?

Juliet: Celtic folklore and mythology is packed with intensely romantic stories – not only love stories, but big-R romances with sweeping themes of lovers parted and thwarted, gods sweeping in to reward or punish, kingdoms won or lost, honour and courage tested to breaking point. The Celts had a strong artistic tradition alongside their warrior tradition, and those two combined to create some grand stories that touch the heart and stir the spirit. For me, that tradition lends itself perfectly to romantic fantasy.

That’s certainly one reason why the Celtic tradition appeals to me, and why I chose to set my first novel, Daughter of the Forest, in Ireland even though it’s based on a Germanic fairy tale. An even stronger reason is that my ancestry is Scottish, with a touch of Irish, so I was brought up surrounded by Celtic culture, with parents who loved music and stories. When I was writing Shadowfell, the Scots dialect spoken by most of the uncanny characters flowed off the pen as a result of that early exposure to the tradition. I should add here for the benefit of potential readers that the country of Alban, where Shadowfell is set, is not actually Scotland, and the series doesn’t belong to any known period of Scots history. Alban is a magical variant of ancient Scotland. 

Helen: Do you have a personal boundary between romantic and sexual content in your storytelling, particularly when writing YA?

Juliet:  It’s a matter of writing what’s appropriate to those characters and that story. And to what fits the time and culture of the book, very important – what might be considered OK in this age of sexual freedom would be unthinkable in some historical or quasi-historical settings. I don’t include graphic sex scenes in YA novels, neither the ‘ insert tab B in slot A’ variety nor the kind full of heavy breathing and euphemisms for body parts. As a reader I prefer a ‘less is more’ approach to scenes of high emotion, including love scenes. I have a different approach when writing for adults – where the story requires it I do include sex scenes, both the romantic kind and, occasionally, the abusive kind. I am always aware of the likely readership for a particular book or series. I have once or twice had young adult readers who have gone on to read my adult fiction when they were not quite ready for it, and have been a bit shocked by some of the content. But other readers of the same age have been fine with my adult novels. The YA classification (approx. 12-17) covers such a huge range of maturity, as well as reading ability, that there can’t be a ‘one size fits all’ rule for what a writer should or should not include. 

Helen: To finish, if Neryn and Flint each had their own theme music, what would it be?

Juliet: What a great question!

Flint: “On the Edge” by Scottish folk/rock band Runrig

Neryn: “Sol Invictus” written and performed by Thea Gilmore

Helen: I love both those themes! Thank you so much for agreeing to be my guest here on the Supernatural Underground today – I have very much enjoyed our conversation and look forward to the next instalment of Neryn and Flint's story.


New Out!
Gemmell Morninstar 2012
To celebrate release of Shadowfell in North America and thhe recent success of The Heir of Night in winning the Gemmell Morningstar Award, Juliet and I are doing a joint Shadowfell/The Heir of Night giveaway today. To enter, just post a comment on the interview – and don't forget to "add 1" for spreading the word via any of Facebook, Twitter et al, to increase your chance to win.

The draw will remain open for a week so entries for the draw will close at midnight, US Eastern Standard Time on Friday 7. The draw will be amde using Random Number Integer and the result will be posted at the top of the interview on Saturday 8.

About the Interviewer:
Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, interviewer, and a 2012 Ursula Bethell Writer-in-Residence at the University of Canterbury. The Gathering of the Lost, the second novel in her The Wall of Night series, was published in April, and she has recently won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012 for the first-in-series, The Heir of Night. Helen posts every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog, on the first of every month here on the Supernatural Underground, and occasionally on SF Signal. You can also follow her on Twitter: @helenl0we