Posts tagged “urban fantasy

Work-in-Progress Teaser: BETWEEN THE DEMON AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA

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My inspiration for Khalid – my novel’s anti-hero

I am very proud of my current progress on writing Between the Demon and the Deep Blue Sea and I’m grateful for the support of my critique partners and friends, who have had a chance to read some of it. Although, I haven’t begun revising the novel – I’m currently still in the drafting phase (and even that is more of a skeleton draft) – I am excited to share a teaser from the opening chapter.

The winter chill bit into her skin, but Shay valiantly ignored the discomfort as she navigated her way through shadows and moonlight. The heels of her borrowed six-inch stilettos clicked on the pavement. There were no security cameras in the empty parking lot. The lighting dim. And the only other residents nearby were two rooms down, with the curtains drawn.

The Casablanca Motel, located in the part of Vancouver that would never make it into travel brochures, made the perfect hiding spot. Officially, it was a roadside retreat for the desperate, weary traveler. Unofficially, the motel offered its clients services of the check in, make out, and check out variety. The oh-so-romantic decor included an overflowing green garbage bin. Nearby, a rat enjoyed the seedy ambience as it nibbled delicately on a fuzzy, half-eaten slice of pepperoni pizza from Peppito’s Pizzeria…or so the cardboard container claimed. She was sure that Peppito — whoever he was — would love to know that his clientele had expanded to the four-legged variety.

Deciding that it was better to give the rodent and his dinner some privacy, Shay focused on room 409. Her target was in that room. According to the file that she had received from River Cameron, her best friend and boss, the werewolf she was tracking currently went by the name of Ambrose Bellwood. The very active Mr. Bellwood was accused of identity fraud, grand theft auto, money laundering, drug trafficking…and the list went on. Apparently, if one lived as long as werewolves did, you could really diversify your personal portfolio. But it wasn’t until recently, when Bellwood added murder to his repertoire during his escape from police custody, that someone in charge decided enough was enough and the city’s enforcers had been called to deal with the problem. It wasn’t unusual. The Enforcers Academy had more manpower and better resources to deal nonhuman threats, but working for the police meant that they were basically doing this for free. But as River claimed, occasional charity work was good publicity for the Academy.

As an enforcer, Shay had been tasked with the job of hauling Bellwood’s ass back to jail for a much needed time out — okay, so the official job description may have varied a bit in phrasing, but the sentiment was the same.

It was too bad the order hadn’t said dead or alive. A kill order would have saved Shay at least twenty-four hours of surveillance time, not to mention she could have avoided having to squish her feet into heels that were a size too small. The back of her ankles stung with every step. Shay was going to have an angry set of blisters by the time this job was over. Unfortunately, her orders were to bring in Bellwood alive because her contact in the RCMP wanted him to roll over and tattle on his accomplices. That, of course, meant finding a way to get close to him.

It had been River’s idea that the easiest way to get close to him was to play on his weakness for scantily dressed females….hence, the blink-and-it-might-disappear dress and medieval torture devices on her feet.

Shay bent one leg to massage her ankle before continuing the rest of the way to Bellwood’s room. When she was less than a foot away from the door, she paused. Like the rest of the motel, the door needed to be doused in bleach. It was marked with fingerprints and a rainbow of stains. Shay curled her nose at the thought of having to touch her knuckles to the incognito petri dish, but steeled herself to knock.

River needs to give me a raise.

She pulled her hand away from the door after knocking thrice. Absently, she rubbed the back of her dirtied appendage on the ridiculously expensive scrap of cloth she was wearing. The red silk rasped against her skin.

Shay barely managed to get the look of disgust off her face before the door swung open. Bellwood stood on the other side, wearing an unbuttoned white dress shirt and black pants. Both looked expensive.

Well, well, well, I guess crime pays after all.

Shay is such an easy character to write. Her voice comes naturally, but other characters – Khalid, and even River, who both make appearances later – are a bit harder to write. The story is written in third person, but I’m playing it safe and writing most of the novel from Shay’s focal point. I have drafted a chapter – just one – from Khalid’s perspective and it was a difficult transition because I still don’t know him very well as a character.

Which brings me to the question – how well do you actually need to know your characters before you start writing a story? 

I never know my characters until I start putting words to paper, but they begin to flesh out as the plot develops. Of course, this may or may not be the best method for writing.

Hope you enjoyed the teaser,

Rika Ashton (aka The Tentative Writer)

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Cover Reveal: SHARDS OF HOPE by Nalini Singh

Check out the incomparable cover for Nalini Singh‘s upcoming Psy-Changeling masterpiece, Shards of Hope:

The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action” of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races…

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.

Do we love it? Hate it? Or are we stuck on our neighbour’s fence about this one?

Well, cover or no…I’ve only got one thing to say to Aden:

So bring it on!

Rika Ashton

(aka “WOW!”)


Behold…The Beauty of the ARC

Guys!

The wonderful Kaleigha over at Wicked Scribes has an arc of Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh…we now know who to bribe for teasers, don’t we? 😉

Rika Ashton

(aka “Secretly – or maybe not so secretly – I am very envious.”)

Wicked Scribes

Nalini Singh is one of my two absolutely favorite authors, so when I get a surprise package in the mail from her, I get more than a little excited. Once again, I wasn’t expecting it, but today I got the wonderful surprise of an ARC of Archangel’s Shadows. Behold the beauty…

imageThe saddest thing is that I have only read the first 50 pages, but I am already more involved in the story than I have been after 250 pages of Dark Skye.

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Cover Reveal: BOUND BY FLAMES by Jeaniene Frost

I tweeted this earlier, but in case you missed the update, here is the very gorgeous cover for Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost!

And the equally beautiful step-back art:

Love it? Hate it? Don’t care either way? What are we thinking? Do comment and share. 🙂

-Rika Ashton

(aka Cover Lover)


Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost: A Night Prince News Post

Hi y’all,

We’ve finally got the title reveal for the third book in the Night Prince by Jeaniene Frost. The book is officially titled Bound by Flames.

Okay, so the title did break the pattern that Once Burned and Twice Tempted had set – I was thinking Thrice something…but since this is the FINAL book in the series, we are going out with a BANG!

I was very happy with the title – but honestly, with a hero like Vlad, the title could have been something extraordinarily sappy and I would still have preordered the book. (Release date: January 26, 2015)

But that’s not all, Ms. Frost also gave us a teaser of the step back art featuring Paul Marron as Vlad:

Ah, Leila and Vlad – the only couple who could compete with Cat and Bones in the Night Huntress world, at least in my humble opinion.

Also, for a final news headline – IAN!!!!!!!!

Ms. Frost is working on Ian’s novel, but there’s nothing official yet. The heroine’s been decided and the writing is underway, but she’s not making promises that Ian’s novel will be published until everything’s in place. So my advice, let’s keep our fingers crossed!

And that’s all the Night Prince/Night Huntress news I have for now. To read the full post where Ms. Frost revealed the title and art, go here.

If you’ve got your own spoilers to share, please leave a comment below. 

Rika Ashton

(aka Book Reporter)


Cover and Blurb Reveal: Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh

Wow, just wow! I had a mini attack of fangirl hysteria – and by mini, I mean HUGE – when I saw the cover for Nalini Singh’s upcoming Archangel’s Shadows, starring Ashwini and Janvier:

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s sensual and painfully beautiful Guild Hunter world in her new novel of sacrifice, loyalty, and the choices of love that can shatter the heart.

In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot—should not—be walking the streets.

This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…

Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.

I love, love, love the cover! Yeah, it’s not exactly how I imagined Ashwini and Janvier (from what little we can see of him), but the models are decent and and I adore Ashwini’s outfit. 😀

I remember reading Ash and Janvier’s short story in Angel’s Pawn and thinking that the characters were too fun not to get their own novel, so I’m glad it’s finally happened. Of course, it’s going to be hard to beat Elena and Raphael for top spot on my favourites list, but Ash and Janvier have potential – especially if he’s as funny as I remember. 🙂

So, who else is excited for Archangel’s Shadows?

Rika Ashton

(aka “Hold on, I’m hyperventilating.”)