BORN TO LOVE WILD: Character Interviews & Release Party

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Born to Love Wild Digital

BORN TO LOVE WILD: A Paranormal Romance Short Story Anthology by Stars and Stone Books

Featuring: USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, Pepper McGraw, M.T. DeSantis, Read Gallo, J. Bigelow, and Andie Biagini.

 

Buy Now:

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TheBorn to Love Wild authors all came together to answer some questions about their stories for the anthology. Here, four of the authors interview their characters with the same set of five questions.

 

Andie Biagini – “Water Temperature”
An engineering student and a cryptozoologist. One of them can talk to sea monsters, but it’s not who you think.

What did you do on summer vacations as a child?

Madison: My family spent as many days at the beach as we could. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean.

What do you like best about your partner, physically, and why?

Madison: Luis has the most gorgeous brown eyes. They’re the color of sea glass.

What drives you crazy about your partner, and why?

Madison: He gets bossy when he thinks he knows what’s best for me. We’re working on it.

If you were offered an obscene amount of money, what would you do with it? Why?

Madison: I would pay off my student loans, donate to a marine conservation organization, and then go on some really fabulous vacations. There are so many beaches I haven’t been to yet.

What’s next for you and your partner?

Madison: He’s working and I have my internship, but we have the rest of the summer to see where things go.

 

Bigelow – “Focal Point”

Sometimes a wizard from Sweden needs help from a medium from Michigan. 

What did you do on summer vacations as a child?

Faas: I learned how to use my abilities from my grandparents and helped them on their farm.

Elizabeth: I played with other kids in the woods. I didn’t realize they were spirits until later when I tried to introduce one to my mom and she couldn’t see him.

What do you like best about your partner, physically, and why?

Faas: Everything. But, if I had to pick one thing, it would be her behind. I love watching her walk.

Elizabeth: His eyes. Faas looks at me so intensely as if I’m the only one and there’s nothing outside of us.

Faas: Because there isn’t.

Elizabeth: Hush. (Said with a smile)

What drives you crazy about your partner, and why?

Faas: The way she treats everyone and everything with kindness until they prove her wrong. There aren’t many humans like that.

Elizabeth: He can be snarky, but when the time comes for him to work, he’s serious.

If you were offered an obscene amount of money, what would you do with it? Why?

Faas: I’d give it to research for cancer. Too many people die of this disease and it can’t be cured with magic.

Elizabeth: I’d put it into art programs in Michigan. I think being creative is an outlet for what bothers a person. There’s a point in the process of making something, no matter what it is, where you fall into the art itself and the outside world disappears…Metaphorically.

What’s next for you and your partner?

Faas: Figuring how to stay together.

Elizabeth: We’re sticking together. We just need to iron out the details. Any relationship takes a lot of work, but we’re willing to put in the effort.

Faas: We’ll do well. We started out as friends and having that foundation helps.

Elizabeth: That doesn’t mean we won’t fight or get angry, but we know what’s at stake. We’ll find a way.

 

M.T. DeSantis – “Forever Love”

To find a chance… A chance to find…

What did you do on summer vacations as a child? (Or, if not applicable, what’s your favorite thing about summer?)

Karli: I mostly kept to myself. I’d hang out in my room or the basement and listen to music while drawing or coloring. It sounds lonely, but I enjoyed it.

Ellowyn: Is “summer vacation” a human concept? Since the fae have no such thing, I shall say that my favorite thing about summer is the warmth of the nights. I can lie naked beneath the sky and not be bothered by a chill upon my skin.

What do you like best about your partner, physically, and why?

Karli: Ellowyn’s contrast of color just draws me to her. Her ebony skin and silvery-white hair are so alluring.

Ellowyn: Karli’s shapely bosom is my favorite part of her physical appearance. They both arouse me and provide a place to rest my head when I require comfort.

What drives you crazy about your partner, and why?

Karli: Ellowyn occasionally has a grudging streak. Maybe it’s a fae thing. Living forever probably messes with your emotions. I guess I’ll find out.

Ellowyn: Karli thinks of life in human terms. She will rush to do something, and I must gently remind her that we have eternity. Fortunately, she does not rush when we are together, if my meaning is clear.

If you were offered an obscene amount of money, what would you do with it? Why?

Karli: I would build a shrine to the fae dance in the mortal world. Such beauty should be shared with everyone.

Ellowyn: The fae have no use for money. Though, I suppose purchasing a following of devoted humans to perform my every whim holds some appeal.

What’s next for you and your partner?

Karli: I am going to get used to my new existence. My life has changed so much since I met Ellowyn, and I’m excited to explore everything this life has to offer.

Ellowyn: Next and forever, I will be at Karli’s side. She is my forever love.

 

Traci Douglass – “Blood Strong: A Blood Ravagers Novella”

One guardian demon in love. One witch with a secret crush. One evil threatening their newfound connection.

What did you do on summer vacations as a child?

Spud: Dad used to take mom and I out into the Big Horn mountains for cookouts.

Emma: I remember to Summer Solstice celebrations in Nantucket, before we moved to Wyoming. So much fun.

What do you like best about your partner, physically, and why?

Spud: (looks over at Emma beside him) You mean beside the fact she’s the most beautiful woman in the world?

Emma: (blushes then kisses Spud) Aw. You are so sweet. There are so many things I love about Spud. His strength. The sexy little horns on his head. But most of all I love his huge heart.

What drives you crazy about your partner, and why?

Spud: (holds up his hands and shakes his head) Nope. Not going there. Nope, nope, nope.

Emma: (laughs, elbowing him in the side) C’mon. I won’t get mad. Promise. I’ll tell you what drives me nuts about him. His sense of decency. He’s always worried about what other people are going to think. Will they be offended? Should I say this? How can I make them more comfortable around me? Be who you are, I say. Let them adjust.

Spud: (snorts) Well, I guess she can be kind of mouthy sometimes.

Emma: Hey! I am not mouthy. I speak my mind, that’s all.

Spud: Mouthy.

Emma: (crosses arms) So you’ve got a problem with my attitude then?

Spud: I thought you said you wouldn’t get mad?

(interview pauses as bickering commences)

If you were offered an obscene amount of money, what would you do with it? Why?

Spud: (runs a hand through his shoulder length brown hair, sighing) Right now? I’d try to buy back what I said a few minutes ago. At least then I’d have some peace and quiet.

Emma: (cheeks flushed and eyes sparkling with anger) Peace and quiet? (looks at interviewer) Seriously? See this is exactly what I’m talking about. If you feel a certain way, Spud, then own it. Don’t push your feelings aside and pretend they don’t exist to make me happy.

Spud: (lets his head fall back as he exhales slow) I love you Emma. I love everything about you. You are my soul mate, my bonded partner, my everything. When you’re happy, I’m happy. Period. The end. Is that enough realness for you?

Emma: (blinks at him, expression astonished) Uh… wow! I don’t know what to say.

Spud: (glances over at her and grins) How about a kiss then?

Emma: I thought you’d never ask.

What’s next for you and your partner?

(No answer, as Emma straddles Spud on his chair and passionate making out commences. Interviewer quietly leaves the room.).

 

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR AUTHORS

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NaNoWriMo Update,Take Two

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So, here I am, traveling again, and wouldn’t you guess it, I’ve written diddly squat.

This means I need a plan.

And that is early morning writing sprints. Before the real commitments of my day smack the creativity from my life, I need to plant it and write.

I know. I know. That’s what I said last week, but you know what it’s like to visit with family. Plans and people become the priority. Well, writing needs to shift back up there, and do it will, even if I have to wake up extra early to get it there.

So, bear and little red, I’m coming for you.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Tell me about your struggles and triumphs, and I’d love to hear about your WIP, regardless of the stage you’re in.

The Shoemaker’s Apprentice Excerpt & Pre-Order

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If you are a Boden fan, that seven-foot-tall leprechaun who tells bad puns and loves Ria, check out an excerpt from his new story, “The Shoemaker’s Apprentice.”

He turned out to be everything I thought he was.

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We wound our way through hills, trees, and mist until we came up behind one of the waterfalls on the American border. The water wet my hair and shoulders as Hailey dragged an old chalk stone across half-dry rock beneath the cascade.

Irv pat me on the back, smiling wide. “Can’t say I’d mind seeing you again, buddy, and I hope to all things holy that I can get in on the action next time. But I wouldn’t mind you calling a fella for a thank-you whiskey when peace is upon you, either.”

I agreed. My tongue stuck to the back of my throat, not ready to step through a gate that led home.

A shimmer covered the jagged pieces of earth, and breath sucked into my lungs as Hailey motioned me forward. Each member of their squad laid a hand on me, and we stepped through together.

Drenched in chills, the world whooshed around us, upturning my stomach with its topsy swirling. 

In a blink, my feet hit the springy grass beyond the wooded entrance of the faerie mound.

My bags thunked softly against the ground, and the team made quick work of their goodbyes, nodding to the two armed guards that stepped from beyond the cloak of magick.

My thank you didn’t suffice, but it was all I had.

Unless I included the bag on my back and four around my feet.

The coward in me—the one that’d run away all those centuries ago—wished they’d stayed behind. When what I needed was to face the guards and my punishment myself.

I dropped my last bag on the rest as the two approached. We’d never had guards when I lived here. Few of us left our mound for the human world. With the way humans were, the change surely became necessary.

That was, after all, what sent into action the events that ruined my young life. What killed my little sister.

The sentries accessed my baggage—one tall and lean, the other small and slender, an elf and a pixie. The elf poked around the canvas, but the pixie took more interest in me.

“Name?”

My mother tongue hit my ear like a painful echo.

“Boden Einarsson, son of Unnur and Halldor.”

They shared a brief look before the elf nodded.

“You’ll have to come with us.”

I bowed my shoulders in consent.

“You’ll need to relinquish that weapon before we take you inside.”

They could have it.

Past the glittering trinkets on tree trunks and branches, we walked into a holding cell. They were different than the ones I remember from picking Fannar up after one of his benders—less iron and more light. 

I sat at the oak table, hands in my lap to keep its natural truth properties from igniting a spell. Odd, I’d never felt one as strong as I did now, but my powers had morphed, evolved. So much had changed in such a short time.

Ria’s blood whispered magick across the left side of my face, sharp and tingling where the iron sliced into it but tendrils crept deeper.

Even before she touched me with her blood, our magick mixed together, and part of her lingered with me, easing the emptiness. The effect doubled when her skin met mine. I’d never experienced such attachment before.

The longer I waited, the more I itched to rub her stone between my fingers.

A portal opened to the room via the far door, and cold air pushed against my damp jeans. The faerie that entered was a council guard, someone working towards becoming an agent from the leaf insignia pinned on his collar. Down-turned features showed that he lacked the sense of humor custom to most of their enlisted.

“We need a record of where you obtained the weapon before I take you to meet the official who will review your statement.” The drone tossed down a pad of paper and pen and frowned when I didn’t snap to it.

“A friend found it.” I twirled the red stone between my left thumb and forefinger.

“Write it down.”

My smile irritated the crinkle in his brows, but I leaned forward and wrote it down.

A friend found it.

I couldn’t help myself, twisting Ria’s charm with more intent. My outward calm was her doing. A bluff is only as good as the audience, and the rest of the fae never did get my sense of humor.

The drone sneered. “Leprechaun.”

Baited.

Probably not such a good idea to antagonize the organization I’d run from, the one ready and willing to punish me for what happened in the woods east of the mound.

I shut my eyes to recall Alvilda’s small, sweet face. She’d been more present for me these last few weeks, as heavy as they were when she’d died.

Hey. We want the real story. The whole thing. On paper. Now.” The drone’s fingers thumped against the table to accentuate his authority.

“Wrote it on oak. The spell shows I am telling the truth. A friend found it.”

Silver eyes narrowed at me. “How can you see the spell?”

I shrugged my left.

He examined the mark on my face, matching it with the sword I handed in. “A friend found it?”

“Yep. Don’t know where from. Don’t know who from. Don’t know why.”

“Who is your friend?”

“A friend. You know, the type of person you’d protect with your life?”

Features touched in distain, nostrils flaring. “If the big wigs didn’t want ahold of you, I’d have you under a truth extraction to watch you squirm.”

“If you wanted some squirming, you only had to ask.” I winked and sent him back a step.

“Get up. Let’s go.” He jostled me upright, ushering me through the door with the dramatic flair only a faerie would take time for.

This time, we stepped through to a plain, corporate-looking hallway. Clove smoke swirled in the air as the drone opened the wide Alder door. The sweeping room imposed the occupant’s importance, and the tree emblems signaled his high rank.

Beyond the shelves and displays spread a dark desk, lit with magickal enchantments, but the show-stopper was the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking their mound, the curve of the wooden barrier around the clusters of homes, the small farms, the city center, and the edge of the palace with its ceremonial gates. Beyond them spread the half-frozen mountains, a river, and the shine of clear water replacing smaller peaks of the Hekla volcano.

Cold flashed through my bones, dropping me into the shallow but frozen depths of the lake, the weak ice around me crumbled each time I tried to climb out. Fannar saved me, but not before falling in himself. The warmth he siphoned into me kept me alive and handicapped my brother. 

It fractured our already strained relationship, and not long after, I got our favorite sister killed.

The drone nudged me into a seat with his foot, and I sighed at the silhouette of shoulders and whirls of smoke, itching for one of the cigars in my bag and a glass of whiskey.

“Thank you, Neisti. You can go.” Familiarity swam in that dour voice as the council member turned. Light highlighted his short blonde hair, slender nose, and strong chin—one we shared.

“Fannar.” 

 

 

Long ago, the death of his little sister broke his family apart.

After a close call left him blind in one eye, Boden must return to the home he fled as a young leprechaun.

For hundreds of years, he has feared facing his family and punishment for his sister’s death.

Boden needs to make up for his mistakes before he can fight a war for the woman he loves.

Find out what secrets are unleashed in THE SHOEMAKER’S APPRENTICE.

Pre-order now on Kindle, on Nook, or on Kobo.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week One Update

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Hey, lovelies.

I’m almost a week into Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’m already behind. 

This isn’t much of a surprise, however, as I worked a one-day show with my mother for July 4th, which meant two days to drive, set up, open, close, break down, and drive back. Disassembling the tent was a bit of a rush with the thunder and lightning threatening us the entire hour (it takes us two or more to pack up, usually).

So, I’m behind two days. Fortunately, that only means 1,300 words to make up, which I can more than do by the end of the month—and maybe even the week.

Thankfully, I pushed past a mild block to hit a bit more than my word count.

Now, with a nine-year-old over for the night, five other project vying for my attention, and another big two-day travel coming next week, I’m sure I’ll have a few more bumps. 

The only thing I can and will do is sit with the intention to write as often as possible, so that’s my plan.

How is your WIP? Let me know in the comments below.

TRANSCENDENT Cover Reveal

I’m a day late, y’all, but traveling will do that. This cover by Dean Samed is amazing, and I love working with him. He makes our big beasts look pretty darn beautiful. Can’t wait to show you all what we have in store for the pre-order limited edition hardback boxes!

Let me know what y’all think of this one.

Transmundane Press

There exists a realm beyond reality. A place where nothing is what it seems and anything is possible.

Each soul who travels to this mysterious world finds something different.

Some voyagers get lost in this land of DREAMS, forgetting their way back to the path, to home. Others experience intense VISIONS, glimmers of the past, present, and future, discovering sacred knowledge and infinite wisdom. NIGHTMARES also lurk in this land, twisted and horrible creatures wait in the darkest corners while HALLUCINATIONS reveal the unspoken truths of our hearts and souls.

Are you ready?

Step through the gate and leave everything you knew behind.

Step through the gate and become TRANSCENDENT.

Transcendent - Amazon Kindle.jpg

Dean Samed always does a wonderful job!

The Official Blurb:

A parallel dimension exists below the surface of reality.

Its doors swing open every time we sleep, allowing us passage into the land of DREAMS, a plane rich with exotic…

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BORN TO LOVE WILD: Pre-order & Excerpt from M.T. DeSantis

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Born to Love Wild Digital

Excerpt from M.T. DeSantis’s “Forever Love”:

If she didn’t find love tonight, she never would.

Karli tugged at the halter top of her dress where it weighed against the back of her neck. The dress was not one she would normally wear. The neckline dipped low between her breasts, showing the curving tops of what had been called her “best assets.” How she wanted to cover up. The only thing about the dress she liked was the color. At the top, it was the green of grass beneath noonday sun, and it flowed down into darker shades, ending in a forest hue. The fabric, so light, whispered around her bare legs like a spring breeze, making Karli shiver. In a bold moment, she’d bought the dress for the dance at which she now stood—the summer eve’s dance of the fae. Her grandmother’s stories from years ago promised beauty beyond comprehension and love found by midnight’s arrival. Those humans lucky enough to catch the eye of a fae might be granted eternal life to spend forever with their love.

Karli hugged herself. So far, the first part of her grandmother’s tales had proven true. A violet hue joined the sky’s usual blue. Silver shimmers, more brilliant than stars, fluttered through the unending color overhead. An orange tint glimmered across the moon, the result of the human and fae worlds blurring together. Something exotic spiced the air. It was clove and pepper and roses and, at the same time, none of those things. Yes, her grandmother’s first promise was kept. It was the second one, the finding love, that Karli doubted. She’d never had much luck there.

But then, wasn’t her bad luck why she was here? And if she didn’t actually get out among the dancers, she’d never see if her luck improved.

With a deep breath to steel herself, Karli stepped from beneath the elm tree where she’d spent the last hour hiding. Out under the sky, the music grew stronger, filling Karli’s ears and soul in a way no human melody ever had. The languid plucking of strings and haunting tones of flutes played a song both sensual and ethereal. All around, fae and humans swayed to the sound. Two human men held hands, gazing at one another with expanses of stars in their eyes. A nymph with sky-blue skin and waist-length raven hair glided between Karli and the men. A human man followed, steps slow and trancelike. His dark eyes fixed on the nymph with love or lust or some combination of both. When they passed, the two male dancers were locked in a passionate embrace, bodies rippling in time to the music.

Karli watched, knowing she shouldn’t stare. What would it take for someone to hold her with such desire? She shook her head and turned away—to find herself gazing into a set of green eyes flecked with silver.

“You are human,” the eyes’ owner said. It was a fae woman with ebony skin and ivory hair. She looked about Karli’s age, but for fae, the appearance of thirty meant she could be three hundred.

“I am.” Karli ducked her head, heat rising in her cheeks. It hadn’t been a question. “I mean, you know that.”

The fae laughed, low.

The sound struck a chord in Karli’s body, humming in tune to the music.

The fae held out one slender hand. Delicate fingers tapered almost to points. “I am Ellowyn, and you wish to dance.”

Ellowyn. The name was a song in itself, a harmony of bells. The silver in Ellowyn’s eyes danced to the tune of her name. Of its own accord, Karli’s hand reached to grasp the fae woman’s. Ellowyn’s flesh was satin and lace. Karli shivered.

Smoldering heat curled in Ellowyn’s gaze. She pulled Karli closer until their bodies almost touched. The tease of contact fluttered over Karli’s skin like feathers tossed in the wind.

“What is your name?” Ellowyn purred the question.

Karli’s mouth went dry. The desire in those four simple words sent sensations she’d never known coursing through her. “Karli,” she said in a breathy half-whisper.

Ellowyn smiled, revealing brilliant white teeth. “Karli.” In the fae’s carnal purr, Karli’s name was a decadent dessert of chocolate and cream. “Dance with me, Karli.”

© 2018 M.T. DeSantis

 

Featuring: USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, Pepper McGraw, M.T. DeSantis, Read Gallo, J. Bigelow, and Andie Biagini.

Pre-Order Now:

Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Learn More:

Traci Douglass – “Blood Strong: A Blood Ravagers Novella”

One guardian demon in love. One witch with a secret crush. One evil threatening their newfound connection.

Cara McKinnon – “A Change of Heart”

She’s a hybrid shifter who’s not supposed to exist. He’s a wolf who was born to protect her. But her secrets force him to choose: his mate, or his pack loyalty?

Sheri Queen – “The Robinson Agency”

Some are born with the gift to see into the future. Others create their own destiny.

Pepper McGraw – “Full Moon Shenanigans”

The full moon’s coming and it’s time to embrace the wildness within.

M.T. DeSantis – “Forever Love”

To find a chance… A chance to find…

Read Gallo – “The Flying Saltines”

When a river falls in love with an ordinary person will New York City survive?

J. Bigelow – “Focal Point”

Sometimes a wizard from Sweden needs help from a medium from Michigan.

Andie Biagini – “Water Temperature”
An engineering student and a cryptozoologist. One of them can talk to sea monsters, but it’s not who you think.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR AUTHORS

 

STARS AND STONE BOOKS: http://starsandstonebooks.com/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40582115-born-to-love-wild 

FACEBOOK RELEASE PARTY: https://www.facebook.com/events/2062183134008615/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/starsstonebooks

ANTHOLOGY WEBSITE: http://starsandstonebooks.com/born-to-love-wild 

 

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Elementals

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I am fascinated with elementals. I have one in my Broken World series, Nami, but in Lily Grave’s world, they’re a bit more than humans who can control the elements.

They often appear as clairvoyants and tricksters who love jewelry and are feared by humans, but they’re often the workers of Lady Gaia, the Earth Mother. With spirits made of raw, volatile energy, they are ageless and cycle with the earth, absorbing negativity, changing, and being reborn to do it again.

Many use divine objects created by god and work with alchemy to channel their powers.

Some are human or human hybrids. The only way for an elemental to gain a genuine soul is to marry with a human and produce offspring.

Elementalsimage.jpgAllow me to break this down with some examples.

The Pigmy or Gnome, who tend the earth through the season’s cycles. They manage energy wells, cleaning the negative imprints left by humans. Most dwell in caves and mountains.

The Undines, who guard the seas, protecting the water, control tides, and have a hand in climate. They cleanse the waters poisoned by industrial waste and pesticides, recharge electromagnetic fields and currents, and clear mankind’s emotions, like selfishness, anger, abuse, anxiety, and indulgence. They can appear as mermaids and live in the waves.

The Sylphs, who aerate life, directing air currents and the atmosphere. They nourish all living things, purify the air before it can taint the water and earth, and cleanse the mental plane, too, of hatred, racial prejudice, rebellious bigotry, resentment, pride, ambition, greed, and jealousy, etc. They are thin and ethereal, transforming gracefully in mid air as they travel great distances in a short time and often appear as butterflies.

The Salamanders, who infuse organic and inorganic life with creation fire, sustain life, and provide electricity’s flame for daily use. Without it, life would decay, corrode, and disintegrate. They hold the burden of absorbing huge conglomerates of negativity over large cities, including crime and darkness. Although they sustain life, they are often taken for granted. Most often, they appear as lizard-like creatures.

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I can’t wait to explore these guys in Lily’s world as the series grows, and they may become some main players. Ooo, the ideas are swirling.

 

Stay tuned for more mini-ethology lessons from Lily Graves’s world and sign up for an ARC of the first in her series, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR.

Did You Know…About the Paranormal War?

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I have two distinct groups in my Broken World series, the Celampresians and the Assetato, who fight for rule over the paranormal world.

First, the Celampresians are named after the queen of the vampires, the first one in existence: Phea Celampresian. She’s vain, so she named her army after herself.

I chose that name after some research about Altantis and what type of surnames may have come from their culture. “Celam-” means the noble, and Phea was part of Atlantean nobility as her stepfather held a high-ranking government position. This also plays into her heritage: she was born of an Atlantean human woman impregnated by the primordial god, Chronos; therefore, making Phea the granddaughter of the Earth Goddess, Gaia. I infuse this mythology in her story, “Maiden of the Underworld.” In any case, I’m going off on a tangent, as I do. The second part of the name, “presian,” came from my tweaking two other names: Ampheresian, which means unsophisticated, hardy, and enduring, and Diaprepesian, which means ambitious, untrustworthy, and sly, all of which describe Phea’s personality not long after she becomes a vampire.

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Essentially, the Celampresians are the bad guys, an evil coalition that aims to kill off most of the shifter races because Phea wants a dictatorship with all paranormal creatures under her control. This stems from her birth as the first paranormal creature, the mother of all vampires and the grandmother of all shifters.

Second, the Assetato have a bit simpler of a back-story. I knew that Rosalie, the head of the Assetato, was Italian royalty before she was stolen and changed by one of the Celampresians. Once she freed herself from their reign, she banded with important allies and founded the organization in order to undermine Phea’s hold on the paranormal world so that vampires, shifters, and humans can live together. Simply put, I named them the Italian translation for “The Thirsty,” as they work not to kill humans in order to survive.

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The Assetato are supposed to be the good guys, but their means of fighting don’t always seem so pure. They combat Phea’s control over them and want to live more peacefully, although they also battle their natural impulses to consume human blood and flesh. They are mostly good-doers in the U.S. but are more aggressive in Europe, as I will explore in an upcoming spin-off novel THE SISTER WITH THE STOLEN POCKET WATCH about a mermaid-unicorn, but that’s a whole new tangent.

This is why they create safe houses, like seen in LOVING RED and “The Mark of the Phoenix.” To house their brethren away from the Celampresians, to protect humans, to let their soldiers heal, and to safeguard humans against their base natures.

The last note I want to make about the Assetato as an organization and all of the links between the two groups is this—Anthemos Romulus Celampresian. You may or may not recognize that name from book one and the short story “The Mark of the Phoenix,” where I give hints of his role in this world. Anthemos, or Mumu as his mother likes to call him, is the Atlantean god of beasts, the only god remaining from that pantheon, and the father of shifters.

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To put it bluntly, he’s both Phea’s son and the real driving force behind the organization that combats her. Besides all of the Atlantean threads at play in Ria’s tale—my current perspective, Anthemos’s function is far more strictly tied than I’ve let on. He is, after all, his mother’s son, and their relationship affects a lot more than a few camps of creatures.

Looking forward to revealing more about this magickal place!

 

Want to know more about Altantis? About Phea? Check out Did You Know…About Phea and James, my interviewwith Phea, the vampire queen, and my free download of her creation story, “Maiden of the Underworld.”

 

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Ghosts

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As Lily investigates the missing kids at her school, she encounters corporeal ghosts, a group that pretty much hates everyone but their own. They’re lively and have a flair for drama. They’re my punk kids, my conspiracy theorists, my gang for making mischief. They skirt the line of playful and illegal.

But most ghostly legends and mythologies are tackled individually—a particular being has reason to stick around after death—be it a grudge, a wrong-doing, a broken heart.

That’s what makes them the most fun to play with. They can be anything: the cold that bleeds fear into a room, the knocking in the attack, the flash of eyes in the dark.

Most often, they’re just stuck.

I thought it might be interesting to explore some of the particular cultural mythologies they embody.

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Like the vanishing hitchhiker legend in the US, where people traveling encountered a normal passenger who’s left something behind or asks to borrow protection from the cold. Often, the loaned garment is found draped over a local gravestone.

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Close to home in Rochester, NY, comes the White Lady, who haunts Durand-Eastman Park. She’s also been noted as the Lady in the Lake, wandering the park and obsessively looking for her daughter’s body, who’d been slain by a boyfriend. The mother, the White Lady, died of heartbreak.

Another version of the White Lady comes as a murder or suicide victim that died before she could share the location of a hidden treasure in the UK. In Germany, the wife of a prince was caught cheating. The lover drowned in a moat, and the prince locked the princess up behind a wall with some food and water. He died in battle, and she died in the manor.

In Brazil, they are the victims of honor killings. Yet, for the Netherlands, she embodies the banshee, abducting babies and women, punishing people who treated them badly.

The White Lady burned in a castle farm on her wedding day in the Schinveldse Bossen forest. And in Malta, a young bride jumped to her death, wearing her gown, the day before the wedding.

The White Lady is such a popular ghost tale that she’s found a home in a slew of pop-culture shows, like Supernatural, and movies such as, The Grudge, and Scary Movie 2, etc.

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The Mononoke, from Japan, are vengeful, dead, and live spirits in their classical literature, who possessed individuals and made them suffer, caused disease, and sometimes death. They are often referred to as changed beings.

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One of my favorites is the Filipino Aswang, a shapeshifting monster who combines the vampire, the ghoul, and the witch. The creature was meant to frighten the people and discourage mobility in the sixteenth century. The story of dwelling in the outskirts of forests spread quickly between towns.

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Another interesting ghost comes from Chinese Buddhism and traditional religion: the hungry ghost. As most become a regular ghost when die then slowly weaken and die a second time, a hungry ghost occurred in unfortunate circumstances or evil deeds. They exist in perpetual emptiness, aching for fulfillment or relief.

All of them suffer for something that happened in life, by their own doing or not, something that cannot be denied any version Lily may come across.

 

Stay tuned for more mini-ethology lessons from Lily Graves’s world and sign up for an ARC of the first in her series, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR.

 

Got a ghost story to share? Tell me about it in the comments below!

 

Getting my Camp NaNoWriMo on.

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I’m doing it again. Trying to write a complete project in a month. But this go around, my word-count goal is so much smaller than my last four attempts at a measly 20k.

Yes, I just put measly before 20k, but on average I aim for 40-50k in a NaNoWriMo session, and I’ve only hit that goal twice.

Finally, I’m getting to work with my LOVING RED characters again. This one will be a prequel, outlining both Kaia’s background with Dev—the bear and ex—and the circus incident with the Scarlet Queen, whose just appeared in Ria’s world. I am so excited to continue this story thread. If you don’t know anything about the LOVING RED gang, their storyline jumpstarted with Facebook roleplaying…which is why many of my characters have their own profile pages.

Anyways, I don’t so much want to talk about their story (but I’ve done that here, here,  and here if you want to know more). Instead, I wanted to set y’all up for the NaNoWriMo advice and exercises I’m going to be throwing at you over the next few months.

Now is the time for planning…even though I may have outlined this story at the end of last year, it’s nice to review and remind myself what the hell I’ll be doing.

Originally, I used Harmon’s Plot Embryo to develop my ideas and create more symmetry in my stories. I tend to lean toward the cliff-hanger and don’t want to be a one-trick pony. My notes on that below, and an excellent YouTube post I took these notes from.

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From this process, I teased out the major plot points and decided on an alternating point of view. Like in LOVING RED, I will use first person for Dev—as he is the character I created and played in roleplaying, and third person for Kaia, who was played by a close friend.

That let me create my current outline, which I’ll sneak peek right here.

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For the rest of this month, I will be reading this over, working through details as best as I can, and will probably start the opening scene(s) before July hits. Yes, I know that’s cheating, but I’m doing this to get my first draft down, not to win anything. Besides, I play by my own rules!

And that’s it for now. I’m set up, finishing another story, hopefully giving myself a week break in between, and jumping in to this novelette.

Are you using the summer to complete some writing goals? Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Let me know what you’re working on, what your goals are, how you plan to meet them, and if you want to hear about keeping on track, catching up, and adapting to real life as you craft.