Reborn Dream Cast: Part II


A couple of months ago I cast the main characters of my book Reborn. (Read Part I of my Reborn Dream Cast here.) It was a fun “what if” post to write, and a Part II is long overdue. So far, we have:

1. Candace Accola (Caroline on The Vampire Diaries) as Siobhan Elliot

2. Tom Hiddleston (Loki from the Thor franchise) as Jasper Hart (mostly because my love for Tom is deep and never-ending)

3. Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) as Anna Wallace

4. Mark Salling (Glee) as Jimmy Wallace

5. Charlize Theron (from lots of things) as Farrah

6. Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, among other things) as Victoria

Although I have much love for my main characters, my secondary characters are just as near and dear to my heart. They might not have as much “page time” as the others, but I’ve obviously included each for an important reason. (Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in the book.) In fact, sometimes I have more fun writing my secondary characters–namely Peter and Apate. So, without further ado:

Zac Efron as Max

When Zac first popped into my mind as a potential Max, it made me teehee a little. He’s most well known for being in the High School Musical franchise. But actually, Zac is visually a perfect fit for Max. Max is the token human in Reborn–gets mixed up in everything without really meaning to. He’s supposed to look like the stereotypical all-American boy, boy-next-door, whatever you want to call it–and Zac Efron is definitely that guy.

Claire Holt as Tanya

Tanya is Siobhan’s roommate at the Gamma Lambda Phi house. She’s a blonde bombshell and GLPhi’s recruitment chair. She can also be rather whiney and bitchy. Claire Holt is probably best known for her role as Rebekah on The Vampire Diaries and its phenomenal (at least in my opinion) spin-off The Originals. I really like Rebekah’s character–she’s actually quite complex. Hard and unfeeling on the outside, vulnerable on the inside. But it’s Rebekah’s blonde bitch side that Claire could channel for her new role in my imaginary movie.

Shailene Woodley as Carly

So after being the primary character in the Divergent movie, Shailene is probably not going to settle for a secondary role. She’s really just the only actress I could think of that looked like the Carly I have pictured in my mind palace. (I believe my cousin also thought Shailene would be a good match, if I’m remembering our conversation correctly…) Shailene just needs to make her hair WAY curlier and crazier. In Reborn, Carly often gets talked into doing things she doesn’t really want to do. You’ll be seeing more of her in Relapse.

Shemar Moore as Hephaestus

Shemar Moore is on Criminal Minds…a fantastic show, which I often just can’t watch because it freaks me out. Shemar is great on CM and sexy as hell. I think he’d make a great Hephaestus. As the god of fire and the forge, Shemar would be an imposing figure.

Gabriel Mann as Peter

To be honest, I have never watched Revenge, even though it looks like a show I might like. But one night I saw this blonde British guy on one of the commercials for it and thought, “It’s Peter!” Peter is the keyboardist in Jimmy’s band Search and Destroy–he’s tall, blonde, lanky, British, mischievous, silly, and a bit flamboyant. I don’t know, maybe Gabriel is too old to play Peter, but as I’m looking up pictures of him for this post, the more certain I feel about this casting choice.

Joe Manganiello as Dr. Eric Mars

Um, first of all, let’s just gaze fondly upon this picture of the gloriously hot Joe Manganiello. In Reborn, Siobhan jokingly refers to Eric as a “sexy lumberjack.” Eric embodies virility and physical power, but also violence and chaos. Manganiello’s sexy is definitely raw, powerful, and masculine. He also went to my alma mater (not at the same time as me), and I’d like for him to keep having work.

Phoebe Tonkin as Apate

Phoebe Tonkin is another actress from The Originals. It was actually her portrayal as teenage witch Faye on the short lived The Secret Circle (based on another series of books by one of my all-time favorite authors, L. J. Smith) that made me think of her as Apate. Faye was always very mischievous and attracted to dark magic. Apate is developing into a similar character (you also see much more of her in Relapse)–she’s a spirit of deceit and mischief with an inner struggle between her good and it-feels-good-to-be-bad sides. (As several of my characters do, because I’m completely obsessed with this concept.)

*****

Have you read Reborn? Who’s on your dream cast! Please share in the comments, or let me know what you think of mine! 😉 (I know I have some male readers now and would be interested to know who your favorite female character is and who you would cast!)

Reborn Releases November 5!!!


Reborn FINALI announced this on the Facebook page and Twitter last week, so this is the official blog announcement: My debut novel Reborn releases Tuesday, November 5, 2013!!!!! (Speaking of the Facebook page…I’m two away from 40 likes…a nice round number. So scroll down a bit and give it a like if you haven’t!) I’m super excited to share my baby (my baby being the book, of course) with my family, friends, and strangers on the Internet!!! I started this blog a little over a year ago to get back into creative writing, and I’m proud of myself for actually sticking with it and following through with a project! This post has a lot of exclamation points!!!

The Amazon Kindle edition of Reborn will be FREE on release day. The Smashwords and print versions will be released on dates TBD. For now, I leave you with the “back cover” book synopsis, updated book trailer, and Heidi Sieverding’s beautiful cover art. Like what you see? You can read an excerpt from Chapter One here.

***

Back in high school, Siobhan Elliot’s life was simple: Cheerleading, friends, and parties. But that all changed the night she and her friends investigated a mysterious light in the woods. There they found an injured man –an irresistible man with hypnotic blue eyes and magnificent black wings. A man Siobhan recognized.

He was the handsome dark angel from her dreams.

And with one touch of his hand, he left her with a special gift: A set of mythical wings that would change her life forever. Then he disappeared without a trace. Siobhan thought she would never see him again.

Now, six years later, her dark angel reappears –this time as a teaching assistant at her college. He calls himself Jasper. He challenges everything Siobhan thought she knew about herself and her world. And he’s come back for only one thing:

Her.

Or so he says. Siobhan is about to find out that nothing is what it seems in this strange, new world.

***

Reborn Cover Reveal


Reborn FINALHere is the official cover for Reborn, designed by Heidi Sieverding! You may remember my interview with Heidi. She’s a blogger over at Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer, a Secret Cravings author, a graphic designer and a fabulous human being. I am thrilled she designed the book cover for Reborn…every time I gaze upon it I get so many feels, haha! She also designs banners, book trailers, postcards and badges, and I highly recommend her! I’ll have some more announcements later in the week, so stay tuned…

And it wouldn’t be Monday without a little music: Lana del Ray’s Summertime Sadness. This is one of the few instances where I like the remix a little better than the original.  I want to use this version in one of my book trailers.

Checking back in with H. N. Sieverding


HN SieverdingBack in April of this year, I posted my first ever author interview with H. N. Sieverding. Well, a lot of exciting things have happened since that interview, so I thought it was about time to check back in with her! Now a Secret Cravings author, Ms. Sieverding has published the first two books in her delectable Christina’s Kisses series, Initiation and Seed of the Master. (Follow the links to purchase them on  the publisher’s web site. You can also find them on Amazon, Bookstrand, All Romance ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.) They were bestsellers on Bookstrand and the publisher’s web site. I’m also especially excited for the release of her paranormal romance The Bloodlust Prince. I was a beta reader for it and loved it! The ebook comes out in December, the print version in June 2014.

Ms. Sieverding’s stories have strong themes of dark fantasy, paranormal romance and sexy horror. Right now she’s jumping between edits for her upcoming releases and working on Black Hawke, a Paranormal Romance about a photographer and her secret bad boy boyfriend.  (Throughout the book she is trying to figure out his real identity…or if he’s married…) She’s also one of the hosts of Freshly Booked.

Check out our interview below, followed by an excerpt from Initiation and a list of all of her upcoming releases!

Her blog: Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

***

“What you produce as a writer is art.  A voice that opens a vein and leaves the reader lapping at the blood that’s been drawn.”  

-H. N. Sieverding

***

christain_header_quote6SL: When did you first start writing stories?

HN: When I was in grade school, I used to write about a family of alligators that I named the Ellers. I wrote my first novel, Alexandria, my junior year of high school. I decided to write a novel and I sat down on the desktop in our crowded kitchen (I come from a family of seven) and did just that. I was so proud of it (though now it makes me cringe to read through it) and to me that was a huge feat that most people would never accomplish. From that day on it was my dream to become a published author and now I am.

SL: Who or what most inspires your writing?

HN: I get inspired by things around me but it’s not always people or stories. It might be a line I heard someone say or facial expression that sparks a character/story idea. I find the most inspiration when I’m alone listening to music or during a nice drive in the countryside.

SL: Do you listen to music while you write, or do you need peace and quiet?

HN: I write in front of the TV or while cuddling with my son and his ipad, so I can write anywhere. My ideal writing place is sitting on the bed donning a pair of earphones without any distractions. Whenever I get a moment to myself where I can do that, I will take it. Music drowns out the world and helps me concentrate better, giving me that escape I need to write. I’m a big fan of hard rock so on my playlist is Darkest Days, Hollywood Undead, Disturbed and Saliva. The song in my head right now-Levitate (damn it’s catchy).

SL: Which of your stories is your favorite?

HN: Ooo…hard question. If I absolutely had to choose, I’d say The Bloodlust Prince. I could read that story a million times and never get bored. I’m also a big cat person and I love that they are both Cat Demons (more like anime Cat Demons/vampires than real cats) and have lots of cat-like qualities that make their courting both unique and super cute.

Coming in second would be Nero, even though most people ignore that one. I think the whole description of the ‘zombie army’ throws people off. It’s actually a love story about Nero coming to terms with the tragic death of his love (who isn’t really dead-sshhh) and his father’s insanity. My favorite thing about it-the character of Nero. He’s by far my greatest creation-I love em 😀

SL: Who is your favorite author?

HN: Myself. I write all the stories I would love to read. Beyond editing and reading others writing on blogs, I don’t read (unless some asks me to read something of theirs). The last book I read was Paula’s, Queen of Ages, which was pretty sexy by the way. I could say Reverend Wilbert Awdry is my favorite author but not many people would get that reference 😉

SL: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

HN: If you’re serious about becoming published, make sure you have a thick skin and can take bad reviews. Know in advance you will most likely be met with A LOT of disappointment-whether it be having no fans/readers, bad reviews, no reviews and having your awesome novel be ignored and blend into the woodwork. Remember that writing is something you do because you love it, not to get rich or popular. Most authors don’t make much money (if any), so don’t expect to get rich off this career path.

Below is a sexy excerpt from Christian’s Kisses Book 1, Initiation. Happy reading!

***

Her eyes wandered over to the table where the elites sat near the back of the room. She tried to avoid eye contact with them but soon Inititiation_MEDfound herself trapped by a pair of curious eyes. Her brow rose when her eyes grew wider, her baby blues reflecting the innocent fear of child as she returned Christian’s relentless gaze.

Although she knew how dangerous this man was, she couldn’t break the stare, her dazed expression showing her intense fear of him. She watched him take a slow drink from his glass, a devilish smile gracing his lips as he took in this angel that would soon meet the fate he would create for her.

He was drinking what appeared to be blood, the rings on his tanned fingers sparkling under the lights. He was surrounded by beautiful women, all of them fighting to sit next to him and get as close as possible. Addison took a few steps backward, the intensity and promise of sin in Christian’s gaze terrifying her. Even though the sight of her pleased him, he didn’t appear to be in a good mood, his mind seeming distracted.

Swallowing the lump building in her throat, Addison decided she should leave instead of seeing what more could come from this silent staring contest with Christian. She quickly turned around and started toward the large double doors. She wanted to get out of the room as fast as she could, her lower lip quivering as fear overtook her body. Then, someone grabbed her hand, making her turn around and halting her retreat.

One of the elite vampires, Samson, was holding her fingers, his large fangs kissing his bottom lip as he smiled at her. “Come join us.”

Addison nodded, her fear of him silencing her voice. Samson put a loose arm around her shoulders, leading her over to their table.

Samson laughed when he felt Addison tremble under his hands. He ignored her uneasiness and maneuvered her through the crowd gathered around the table. She kept her head down as she passed people so she didn’t see Christian motioning to the girls around him to leave.

Samson placed her next to Christian, and Addison slowly sank down in the chair. She tried not to look over at all the women that were staring at her angrily, but she could still feel their eyes on her.

Christian sat up a little straighter, pushing a glass of champagne in front of her, “What’s your name?”

“Addison.” She forced a smile, glancing up at him briefly then back down at the drink in front of her.

Addison knew who Christian was, her nervousness about being around such an important person wearing thick on her gentle features. She had seen him a few times at swanky functions held for museum fundraisers and auctions, but their only interactions had been a small smile or a wave in passing.

She worked in the preservation department at the CartwrightMuseum, one of the largest in the country. As a member of the staff, she was allowed to attend the events, but mostly as another body to fill the room. The museum employees weren’t allowed to converse with the donors, like Christian, unless they had reason or were approached by them.

He eyed her curiously, licking his lips as he set down his half-empty cup. Addison studied the contents, noticing it wasn’t blood, but some kind of unidentifiable brownish red drink. Her shaky hands picked up the glass in front of her, and she purposefully took a sip, her long fingers wrapping tightly around the stem.

“Are you enjoying my club?” Like a cat, Christian’s eyes scanned the room quickly, watching a few people that walked by their table.

Addison’s voice was soft and inaudible over the voices of the crowd around them, “Yes. It’s great.”

“What?” Even though he had heard her, Christian pretended like he hadn’t. “I cannot hear you over the music.” He scooted his chair closer to her, his hips banging against hers and making her jump a little. A sly smile appeared on his face as he caught her in his gaze. He knew he was making her nervous.

Addison laughed, her light blue eyes darting all over Christian’s handsome face, “I said it’s great.”

Christian picked up his drink again and took an unhurried swallow, the shifting of his stare smooth as he once again scanned the crowd in front of them. Christian’s poise was unfailing. He was extremely attractive, his firm build and striking eyes enough to cause Addison’s heart to race and make her slightly dizzy.

Even though she knew he was a killer, being in his presence was intoxicating. His good looks were a sin against nature, and sitting next to someone so inhumanly flawless carried an indescribable feeling. This was the lure of the devil that made any woman bow to his every whim.

A beautiful girl with platinum blonde hair and perfect breasts sat down next to Christian, rubbing his shoulder and making him turn to her. However, his attention didn’t stay on her and quickly switched back to Addison. He placed his hand on Addison’s knee for a few seconds before letting it slide up her dress. Then, he rubbed her inner thigh, his touch soft and light. Addison jumped at his action, a fearful expression on her face as she choked a little on the champagne she was drinking.

He looked over at her and chuckled, his devilish eyes settling on hers before he spoke softly into her ear, “Relax sweetheart.” He moved her hair behind her shoulder, gazing at her neck for a few seconds. Leaning even closer, Christian continued to brush his fingers up and down the inside of her leg. “I am not going to bite.”

Christian felt her body shake a little at his comment, which ignited a small chuckle from his lips, “Yet.”

*****

Upcoming release dates (the links take you to the book trailers):

  • Initiation (Christian’s Kisses Book 1) releases in print January 2014.
  • Seed of the Master (Christian’s Kisses Book 2) releases in print May 2014.
  • Secret Scarlet releases in ebook September/October 2013 and in print April 2014.
  • Blood Kisses (Nightwalkers Book 1) releases in ebook November 2013 and in print May 2014.
  • The Bloodlust Prince releases in ebook December 2013 and in print June 2014.
  • Forever Black (Nightwalkers Book 2) releases in ebook January 2014 and in print July 2014.
  • Blood War (Nightwalkers Book 3) releases in ebook March 2014 and in print September 2014.
  • Forever Mine releases in ebook May 2014 and in print November 2014.

 

Character Profile: Jasper Hart


Who is the handsome, mysterious and elegant Jasper Hart?

Tonight, as another shameless plug for my romantic urban fantasy novel Reborn, I’m reposting this character profile for one of Siobhan’s love interest Jasper Hart. [To those of you who had the misfortune honor (sorry, I’m feelin’ silly tonight) of reading the earliest version of Reborn, Jasper has undergone a surname change. It’s still a clue as to his true identity, but I kinda, maybe changed the underlying mythology of the book…..]

ID-10012562Jasper Hart

From: Reborn (paranormal romance, urban fantasy)

Character Type: Antihero

Age: Really old, but he looks about late-twenties (of course)

Physical Description: Tall; shoulder-length, slightly wavy dark hair; midnight blue eyes; well-built with magnificent black wings

Species: Alien from a parallel universe

Occupation: PhD student in the history department; teaching assistant for World Myths and Legends

Relationship Status: Widower

Love interest: Siobhan

Goals: To win Siobhan’s trust and heart

Obstacles:

  • Farrah, Siobhan’s sorority’s nosey new house mother (who probably isn’t human, either)
  • Siobhan’s stubbornness and independence

Strengths: Physical strength and power; seductive; persuasive

Flaws: Arrogant; chauvinistic

Enjoys:

  • Learning about new cultures
  • Flying around the city at night
  • Enticing Siobhan
  • Brooding

Inspiration: Ville Valo, HIM frontman

“You belong to…”

You belong to me. I know that’s what he wants to say, but after a pause he corrects himself.

“We belong together. I love you. You believe me, don’t you?”

***

Book cover black

 

Reborn teaser: The Encounter


Book cover blackAs promised, here’s a teaser from Chapter One of my romantic (erotic?) urban fantasy novel Reborn. (Kids, don’t try this at home. And by “this,” I mean going off into the woods at night because you see something kinda strange.)

***

“Hey, look at that!” He pointed into the woods.

Anna joined him and peered into the thick, dark trees. “I don’t see anything, Jim.”

“No, look! Something’s glowing!” He turned and gave me a lopsided grin. “Let’s go see what it is, kids!” He swung his arm in a sideways punch as if it were the 1950s and something was really swell.

“Ugh, come on, Jim,” Anna groaned. “Just stay here. Dad’s picking us up soon, anyway.”

I came up on Jimmy’s other side, the distant flicker of a white flame catching my eye. “I see it.” I didn’t know what it was, but there was something mesmerizing about it. I took an involuntarily step forward and looked over at Jimmy.

“Let’s go.” I smiled. Jimmy grinned back, his eyes alight with mischief. Anna sighed, and I sensed a frustrated inner eye roll.

“Fine.” She looked back at our drunken peers. “No one’s even going to notice we’re gone. If something happens to us –”

“If we realize it’s too far, we’ll turn around,” Jimmy assured her. Sometimes it was hard for me to believe that cautious Anna and impulsive Jimmy were even related, let alone twins.

We crept into the woods, our feet crunching over fallen twigs and leaves. Even though it was late and dark, I wasn’t afraid –maybe because I was with Anna and Jimmy, or maybe that one beer I had instilled me with false confidence. The white glow really wasn’t as far away as it seemed from the yard, and it grew steadily larger and more luminous. A cool autumn breeze caressed my face, bringing a blend of sweet scents to my nose, like someone was burning a honey vanilla candle.

“It’s a fire,” Jimmy whispered. We stopped a few yards away from it. But it wasn’t like any fire I’d ever seen –it was yellow-white and lapped at the ground without burning it. It stayed inside an almost perfect circle a few feet wide, only the curling tendrils of sweet-smelling smoke escaping it.

“You came.”

All of us went completely still at the sound of the weak, hoarse voice. I looked wildly around but didn’t see anything.

“You saw my signal, and you came to help me.”

Then, I saw him, sprawled against a maple tree beyond the strange fire.

I looked away quickly, my face flushing in embarrassment. I got enough of a glimpse to realize he was mostly naked, muscles rippling down his marble-white chest and abdomen before disappearing underneath a black loin-cloth.

“Siobhan.”

My head snapped up again when he whispered my name. This time I couldn’t look away, my eyes drinking him in. Even in as vulnerable a position as he was, his presence permeated the forest, seeping into every crevice of every tree trunk, saturating every pore in the dirt floor. And he was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. Tousled dark hair brushed his shoulders framing high cheekbones and a sensuous mouth. A pair of magnificent, black feathered wings protruded from his back, crushed against the unforgiving ground. He reminded me of a fallen angel, but if angels existed, I didn’t think they had his kind of sinister, carnal magnetism. But what shocked me the most wasn’t his perfect body, his handsome face or even the wings.

He was the man from my dreams.

“Siobhan.” This time it was Anna saying my name as she fearfully watched me tiptoe around the fire to go to him.

His thick eyelashes fluttered open, and underneath his eyes were a deep blue whirlpool sucking me in even further. His lips moved, but I couldn’t hear him, so I leaned down closer.

“Psyche. You came back to me.”

What was Psyche? And what did he mean, “You came back to me?” With the exception of my dreams, I’d never met him before in my life.

I didn’t pull away or snap at him. In his final moments of life, he was feverish and confused. “I don’t know you,” I reminded him gently, “but I will help you if I can.”

His eyes pleaded with me as he raised his hand into the air, palm facing me. In a trance-like state I extended my own and brushed my palm and fingers against his, which were warm and slick with sweat. I almost jerked away, but I took a deep breath and maintained the contact, all the while staring into the dark pools of his eyes.

“Siobhan, you’re it.” At least I thought that was what he said –his voice was so small and weak.

“Let’s go back to the house.” Anna’s insistent voice was shrill with anxiety. She pulled on my arm while Jimmy pried this strange man’s hand away from mine. Jimmy didn’t let go of my hand immediately, instead clasping it firmly in his.

“Anna’s right,” he said, although I barely heard him as a flood of nausea suddenly seized me, waves of it coursing through my stomach and back.

Wait – my back?

I slipped my fingers out of Jimmy’s and brought both hands to my stomach.

“What’s wrong?” Anna asked and took a step toward me, but I staggered away from her. I didn’t know what was happening to me. All I knew was the urgency crashing down on me. I had to get away from them before it happened.

“Wait! Siobhan!”

Their panicked voices followed me as I took off deeper into the woods. Frenzied footsteps picked up behind me, but a burst of adrenaline pushed me forward so I outran them even in my delirious state. I made it to the muddy bank of a stream before tossing the orange sports drink I’d drained at the game all over the matted grass.

I felt better after throwing up, my stomach settling, but the unfamiliar rolling underneath my varsity jacket persisted. Bone and muscle liquefied as two jagged edges knifed through my skin. I tore my jacket off to the sound of splitting seams as they exploded out of my back, leaving the vest of my cheerleading uniform in strips of sweaty polyester.

Panting, hands still at my stomach, I sat still for a few beats to calm myself. Once the hammer of my heart in my chest dwindled to a patter and my breathing steadied, I crawled to the bank and looked through bleary eyes at my reflection in the roiling dark silver surface on the creek.  My violet eyes glanced at my face, white with shock, and the blonde hair sticking to my cheeks and neck before coming to rest on the butterfly-like wings looming behind me, shimmering midnight blue and indigo in the dark.

Character Profile: Siobhan Elliot


Siobhan (shi-VAWN) Elliot

Siobhan8

Age: Early 20s

Hometown: Laurel, Pennsylvania

“Occupation”: Student at fictional college Thurston University

Major: Biology

Physical Description: 5’2″, slim, blonde hair, violet eyes

Species: Demigod

Relationship Status: At the beginning of Reborn, she’s friends-with-benefits with Max.

Love interests:

  • College boyfriend: Max
  • Old flame: Childhood friend/Search and Destroy frontman Jimmy
  • Really old flame: Mysterious, charming World Myths and Legends teaching assistant Jasper

Goals: In Reborn, to find out who–and what–Jasper is and what her connection to him is

Obstacles: Jasper is intensely erotic and a little hard to resist.

Strengths: Smart, outgoing

Weaknesses: A little bit of a space case; doesn’t always say what she’s really feeling

Hobbies: Social chair for Gamma Lambda Phi sorority; running; sci-fi TV shows

“Spending this time with him has helped me realize there’s something else between us–something that could transcend each of our faults, our mistakes, our darkness. Something that would only become stronger and more real if I can show him what it means to truly love someone.”

***

Book of the Week: The Darkest Powers Trilogy


I’m starting yet another new type of post -Book of the Week -an idea I’m borrowing from WhatANerdGirlSays. (You can find her most recent Book of the Week about Obsidian here.) Hopefully this will motivate me to do some more reading this summer outside of the usual science-y things I read for my research.

This week I have a fun new series I’ve been dying to tell you about (I just haven’t had the time). Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy (The Summoning, The Awakening, and The Reckoning) is  my most recent guilty pleasure and is now one of my all-time favorite series in this genre. These are the first of Armstrong’s books that I’ve read, but they won’t be the last. (I believe she usually writes adult fiction.) I also had some pangs of nostalgia reading them because they reminded me of old school L. J. Smith. In fact, the plot is reminiscent of Smith’s Dark Visions trilogy. (I’m not at all saying they’re a rip off, just that there are some similarities. I mean, it’s really difficult to come up with a completely fresh idea. What I really look for is how successful the author can put a new twist on what might be not an utterly original idea.) Especially if you are an L. J. Smith fan, you will love these books. They are young-adult-paranormal-romance-perfection.

Summary: Our heroine (and aspiring screenplay writer) Chloe is sent to a home for “disturbed” teenagers after having a public “meltdown” at her high school. At Lyle House, she is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Chloe soon realizes that her “schizophrenia” is actually a true supernatural ability: She is a necromancer; not only capable of seeing ghosts, but also raising the dead. Several of her housemates turn out to be supernaturals as well. This secret new world of the supernaturals is home to necromancers, witches, sorcerers, psychics, werewolves and demi-demons -as well as those of their own kind that want to tamper with the special abilities of supernaturals. This series is packed with action, plot twists and subtle sexual tension. (It is, after all, a young adult book…don’t want it getting too racy…)

Despite her diagnosis at Lyle House, it’s clear at the beginning that Chloe can “see dead people.” Honestly, in the first few chapters, I wasn’t sure I could really get into the whole “necromancer” thing, but I’m glad I stuck with it because I ended up loving it. It was a nice break from the normal paranormal fair (and by that I mean vampires). It’s told from Chloe’s POV, so we get a lot of insight into her inner struggle with her abilities. Although these books aren’t character-driven, most of the main characters change throughout the series as their experiences shape them. And Kelley Armstrong is simply talented at writing fast-paced, suspenseful fiction.

Some of you will love this, some of you will hate it (I LOVED it), but there is a love triangle in the books between Chloe and two foster brothers who are also at Lyle House: Derek and Simon. First of all -OK, I keep throwing around the word “loved,” so let’s change it up a bit -I was OBSESSED with Derek. Just like many fictional bad boys, Derek is mysterious, brood-y, and does NOT play well with others, except for maybe Simon. As Ms. Armstrong makes clear in the books, Derek and Simon may not be related by blood, but they are brothers and friends in the truest sense. Chloe gets along more easily with the amiable, good-looking Simon, while she and Derek clash at almost every turn.

My favorite thing about Derek, though, is that he’s not supposed to be stereotypically handsome. In fact, especially in The Summoning, puberty is not being kind to this boy. As the series progresses, Derek grows out of this, but he’s still no Damon Salvatore. 😉 I just found it refreshing. Then again, it’s not like he’s totally hideous or something, either…let’s just say, he works out…

Not gonna lie, probably the biggest reason I loved these books was the Derek/Chloe dynamic. I don’t know if this trilogy inspired any Simon/Chloe shippers, but I was all about Derek and Chloe. (What should we call them? Dloe? Chlerek?) I also really loved the plot twists Armstrong throws at her readers, leaving them questioning who the characters can really trust. The only thing that didn’t work for me is the whole Chloe-wants-to-be-a-screenwriter aspect. It just seemed really forced. It was more natural in the last installment, but in the other two it felt like Chloe was talking about movies or how she would turn something that just happened into a scene in a movie in every other paragraph. Perhaps it’s because I can’t relate to it, but in my opinion it was overdone. Chloe likes movies. I got it the first hundred times.

But other than this personal pet peeve, I highly recommend The Darkest Powers trilogy if you are looking for a quick, fun, and at times sexy escape. I liked them so much I wish I had bought them instead of borrowing them from the library. That is a big deal for me. I don’t buy books that often unless I am absolutely sure I will reread them, and even then I don’t usually end up reading them again. I read the last book twice before returning it to the library because I didn’t want them to end. Luckily, Armstrong has another young adult trilogy called Darkness Rising, which I think is in the same world as Powers, although with a different set of characters.

Character Profile: Celeste Lowe


Well, somehow it’s Wednesday already, and since I don’t have another chapter of The Fallen ready to post, I’ve decided to post a character profile such as those Heidi’s been posting on her fantastic blog, Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer. (I’m also borrowing her format because I like it.)

But first, a little shameless self-promotion reminder to “Like” my blog’s Facebook page by clicking on the link in the menu on the left. (You may have to scroll down a tad, but it’s there!) And thanks to those of you who have!

Now, let’s meet:

Celeste Lowe

From: Star Eyes (paranormal romance, YA)

Character Type: Protagonist

Age: Sixteen

Physical Description: Silver-blonde hair and blue eyes

Species: Alien from the planet Mondra

“Occupation”: High school student

Relationship Status: In a relationship…but it’s complicated

Love interest(s): Dave, a human teenager, is her true love, but she can’t deny her attraction to Hazri, another Mondrian.

Goals: To feel like a “normal teenager”; to be a good friend and girlfriend; to figure out what the Mondrians want with Earth

Obstacles: Since her people are telepathic, it’s almost impossible for her to keep anything from Hazri.

Strengths: Telepathic and telekinetic; loyal; open-minded

Flaws: Forgive the cliché, but she “cares too much” -but seriously, she cares deeply about her friends and family, so can be easily devastated. But she also does have a jealous streak.

Enjoys: Astronomy, journalism, hanging out with her friends

Excerpt:

“You know what?” Dave said after the server had already left. “I just realized that I don’t have any silverware.” He tried to flag down the host.

“Yes, you do,” Celeste said, nodding toward his plate.

“I swear that wasn’t there…oh well.” He placed the napkin on his lap and drizzled some dressing over his salad. Celeste glanced around, hoping that no one had seen the bundle of utensils wrapped carefully in a dark red napkin rise off of the empty table next to them, fly through the air and land quietly beside Dave’s plate.

This was actually really enjoyable to write -I sort of abandoned the world in this book, so it was fun to revisit! Hope you liked this glimpse into Celeste’s character, too!

Isn’t it Bro-mantic?


I realized I haven’t composed nearly enough Top 10 lists on The Urge to Write. So what better time to write one than during the Scandal commercial breaks? (It’s arguably more productive than what I did during the commercials of Sunday’s Once Upon A Time, which was to watch the prior week’s episode on my lap top…..) And what could be better than a list of the Top 10 Bromances?

According to Wikipedia. a bromance is a close, non-sexual relationship between at least two men, a form of affectional intimacy. 😉

Women are usually thought of as forming closer bonds than men, but as the following duos show, fictional men, at least, can enjoy powerful, nearly unbreakable bonds with one another (although the occasional girl may come between them, as you will see). My list of the Top 10 Bromances spans decades and includes characters from my all-time favorite books, TV shows and movies of a variety of genres (fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, “dramedy”). And one non-fictional pair, as you will see…

Be sure to share your favorite bromances in the comments!

10. Adam Black and Darroc

This bromance is worth a mention since I recently devoured Karen Moning’s The Immortal Highlander. I enjoyed this back story bromance between the mischievous Adam Black (Puck being one of his many other aliases) and Council Elder Darroc. I loved this idea of two reckless Fae princes conquering Fairy and Earth together:

“Watching Adam with his little human had reminded him [Darroc] of the times long ago when they’d ridden the Wild Hunt together, when they’d hunted like brother-gods, invincible and free, ruled by nothing and no one…Mortals had been nothing more to them than lowly beasts, good for a chase, amusing to play with…”

Unfortunately, by the time the events in the book happen, Adam must stop his now arch-nemesis Darroc from overthrowing Aoibheal and freeing the Unseelie from their icy dark prison. And well, if you’ve read the Fever series, you know how that eventually turns out…

9. Evan and Cappie

Freshman year at the fictional Cyprus-Rhodes University of ABC Family’s Greek, rich playboy Evan Chambers and adorable slacker Cappie were once roommates and bffs. Unfortunately, when this show commenced their friendship had already entered rocky terrain: They’ve joined opposing fraternities, and Evan is dating Cappie’s ex, ZBZ sister Casey. Although I spent most of Greek‘s four seasons waiting for Cappie and Casey to finally get back together (and stay that way), the Evan/Cappie on-again, off-again bromance was another central conflict on the show. Fortunately, by the series finale the two seem to finally make amends, although I’m not sure they could ever truly go back to those early carefree days of freshman year.

8. Shawn and Gus

I haven’t talked about my love for Psych much on this blog, but if you haven’t checked it out yet, this show is seriously awesome and hilarious. Shawn and Gus have been best friends since they were kids and despite the fact that they are polar opposites. Shawn is ridiculously perceptive, which serves him well in his job as a “psychic” consultant to the Santa Barbara PD, but he drifts through life rather aimlessly; on the other hand, Gus has a serious job as a pharmaceutical rep and is more focused and level-headed. Nevertheless, these two are the very definition of best friends forever as they solve mysteries and get into all sorts of mischief (courtesy of Shawn).

7. Howard and Raj probably have one of the most special friendships out of the entire gang on The Big Bang Theory. But seriously, beyond all of the jokes about their “ersatz homosexual relationship,” in the earliest seasons Howard and Raj are two single nerds banding together in search of comic books and, of course, love. Of course, Howard doesn’t completely reform his  creepster ways until he meets charming microbiologist Bernadette, but I think this also has a positive influence on his friendship with Raj, making it a little less codependent but still solid.

6. Finn Hudson and Kurt Hummel

This is the first (but not the last) brother duo on this list -well, step-brother duo. Glee’s Finn and Kurt didn’t start off as allies; due to his reputation as the cute, clean-cut jock at McKinley High, Finn was initially wary of the merging of the Hudson-Hummels and of having a gay friend/step-brother. Kurt wasn’t particularly sensitive to Finn’s feelings, either. But by the end of Season 3, Finn has amassed the courage to stand up for Glee Club, Kurt and their friendship. Glee is one of the few shows (if not the only one) at least in the United States that portrays a friendship between a gay teenage boy and a straight one, period, while also doing so with tact and grace.

“In Glee Club whenever two of us got together we got a nickname. Rachel and I are Finchel. Rachel and Puck were Puckleberry. And today a new union is formed: Furt. You and I, man. We’re brothers from another mother.”

5. David Bowie and Iggy Pop

And yet again, I manage to include my two favorite people! In fact, the only reason they’re not higher up on the list is because they’re real people. I know I should have probably kept this focused -confined to fictional characters -but I can’t resist. There’s just something epic about picturing these two musicians collaborating together in Berlin -writing songs, performing, and being generally awesome. They’re even making a movie about those creative years in Berlin. (I’m not getting paid to endorse the movie or anything like that, I’m just orgasmically excited about it-so much so that I’m making up words.)

4. The Salvatore Brothers

Although many differences exist between The Vampire Diaries TV series and the original L. J. Smith books, one steadfast theme is the bond between Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Sure, they’ve fallen twice fallen for the same girl -the enticing vampire Katherine and later for her doppelgänger Elena. This show is now in its fourth tumultuous season, and it’s becoming harder and harder to see Stefan as just the “good brother” and Damon as the bad guy. Stefan’s relapsed into his dark side, the notorious Ripper, and we’ve seen Damon let his guard down as far as Elena’s concerned as well as caught glimpses of a more selfless Damon. Even through their ups and downs, Stefan and Damon know they can depend on each other and trust the other to keep Elena safe.

(Damon:) “I was hoping we could hang. You know a little brother bonding. I know we don’t actually “hang out”. We team up, we join forces, we activate our Wonder twin powers.”

3. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley

Of course, part of the true magic of J. K. Rowling’s epic series lies in the dynamic of the main trio -Harry, Ron and Hermoine -but since tonight’s focus is on bromances, we will consider Harry/Ron. These two are a team from their start at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and remain friends well into adulthood, as is evident in the epilogue of The Deathly Hallows. They follow in the footsteps of James Potter and Sirius Black, getting wrapped up in all sorts of mischief and shenanigans (or rather, the mayhem finds them, Harry being the Chose One and all). Throughout all of their adventures in and out of Hogwarts, Harry and Ron fight for goodness and peace in both the wizard and Muggle worlds.

2. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee

If this list only contained book bromances, Frodo and Sam would be number one. I mean, come on –theirs is the quintessential bromance. They leave their cozy shire to go on the ultimate adventure with a company of dwarves, elves and humans. Although they find true friends in their new allies, only Sam can help Frodo overcome his obsession with the One Ring in order to destroy it at the very end. Sam’s loyalty to Frodo is  unwavering.

(Frodo:) “I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.”

1. Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock

Another classic example of two best friends having epic adventures, only this time exploring space, that final frontier. Although its special effects are quite outdated now, the themes of friendship and the exploration of the unknown (I can’t seem to say what I want to say without it sounding like I’m talking about something else…)  in The Original Series are timeless. Wikipedia tells me that the Kirk/Spock dynamic also inspired a lot of sexy fanfic back in the day and has greatly influenced the development of these communities as we know them today. I am also a fan of J. J. Abram’s reinvention of the franchise (I’ve watched it so many times I’ve lost count), in which we saw Kirk and Spock’s mutual animosity blossom into the bromance we know and love.