Monday, September 28, 2015

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Autumn Moon by Jan DeLima

UFI welcomes Author Jan DeLima. Thanks for Joining us!!

CHALLENGES OF WRITING A SERIES 

Do you read a series in order from book one, or do you begin with later books?  As a reader, I always start with the first book and read them in order.  I’m curious to know what kind of reader you are.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my books, I write the Celtic Wolves series, which begins with Celtic Moon and is followed by Summer Moon.  Autumn Moon, book three, will be available at midnight.  The stories are inspired by Celtic folklore and are a mixture of paranormal romance and urban fantasy.  Set in modern day, it’s a world where warriors are also wolves and reality isn’t always what it seems.  Each installment features a new couple’s love story, while the fantasy elements span the series.  The books are written for adults and contain graphic love scenes and battle scenes—and a few shocking scenes as well.  It’s those graphic scenes that may have landed my books on the urban fantasy side of things instead of paranormal romance.

Now that I’ve released three novels, I can no longer claim to be a debut author.  But this is the first series I’ve written, and I did run into some challenges.  The main one, for me at least, was how much information from earlier books should be included in later installments.  It’s a precarious balance, because there needs to be enough information for new readers to grasp the world and couple’s backstory without being lost, and yet there shouldn’t be so much that it’s a retelling.

Another challenge is that early review copies are sent to reviewers who haven’t read previous books, and they need to be able to jump right in and understand what’s going on.  

For readers who are starting the series at this point, I’ve worked very hard to include brief reminders of past events and the history of the characters’ origin and world, and I’ve tried to do this in new ways using fresh perspectives.  But, again, it is a series.  Important events have happened in previous books that motivate later actions, and I am respectful of readers who have read this series from the beginning and don’t want earlier events retold at length in each installment.  

Adding to the challenge is the fact that Elen and Cormack have been secondary but significant characters throughout the series, and Autumn Moon is the story where these two finally get together.  Of all the emails I get from readers, this is the couple I’m asked most about.  Cormack and Elen are both outcasts for different reasons, and drawn together as friends because of it.  Elen is feared for her magical abilities, and Cormack has been trapped in wolf form for centuries.  They’ve lived together as friends for hundreds of years, bound by an emotional connection—but not a physical one because of their unique circumstances.  

Everything changes at the end of Celtic Moon, book one, when Elen frees Cormack from his curse.  Cormack is now a man.  He wants more than friendship, but first he must learn his new human form before he can claim the woman he loves.  Instead of adding more magic to the mix, I took a realistic approach with his character.  Cormack doesn’t instantly begin to walk on two feet or speak.  He has to learn, which is frustrating for him because he’s always had the intelligence of a man while trapped in wolf form.  But understanding a language and speaking it with an unfamiliar tongue is a difficult challenge for a proud man.  He doesn’t want Elen witnessing his learning process, and so he leaves with Luc, her brother and the hero of book two, until he can return to her as a worthy mate.  This process takes time.  In Summer Moon, readers get to watch Cormack’s progress as a secondary character—and Elen’s heartbreak as he avoids her.  His pride becomes the conflict here, and I had so much fun with this couple!

From Autumn Moon:
Cormack formed an intimidating figure as he marched beside her with graceful strides. His sword swung from his side, the belted scabbard hanging low off his hip, with his eyes sharp and searching for potential threats. 

He’d left her as a gentle friend but returned to her as a warrior. And why did that make her stomach flutter as if a thousand butterflies danced to his song? 

If you begin this series with Autumn Moon, you will meet Cormack the warrior and not the tortured wolf from earlier books. Cormack’s separation from Elen during his training created some wonderful conflicts to overcome; all the while they are learning each other for the first time with hearts that are already bound.  Their journey was truly magical to write.  

I will leave you with an excerpt from Autumn Moon when Elen confronts him about why he’s stayed away, but I am also interested in my earlier question.  What kind of series reader are you?  Will you start a series midway through?  Or do you start at the beginning?

As always, I hope you’re reading something just for fun!

Jan

An excerpt from Autumn Moon:
 
Elen’s gaze returned to meet his, filled with uncertainty. “Then why?” She lifted her hands in a helpless gesture. “Why haven’t you told me this sooner? Why have you stayed away? Why have you avoided me?” The questions flowed like rivers in spring. “I thought we were friends.”

Her last insult saved Cormack from babbling like an idiot. She wasn’t ready to hear what desires haunted his soul. Like boiling blood through his veins, he wanted her with a fierceness that would frighten her. “I needed to learn how to be human.”

“But I would have helped you.”

“I know.” He cringed at the thought. “But there are some things a man needs to learn on his own. Private things.”

“But we’re Celts.” She scoffed as if he’d made a tasteless joke. “Since when do you value privacy?”

Since I’ve been given a chance to have you. Needing to put an end to her questions, he provided a reason she couldn’t refute. “Yes, I am a Celt, which is why I deserve to have my will respected.”

And, more importantly, his pride.

That first week in an unfamiliar body was not a story for her ears, or the months that followed. Accounts of him dripping soup down his chin or fumbling with buttons and shoelaces. Forming his first words and bumbling the sounds. Or slicing his leg while learning how to swing a sword. Having his face crisscrossed with cuts like an adolescent teen after shaving.

Or enthusiastic body parts that arose every morning without fail. And, yes, their race was known to openly love without shame, and not to judge, as it should be, but Celts also respected each individual’s journey and preference.

And his was, and always would be, Elen. He’d waited centuries for her. Was it too much to ask that she wait a few months for him to be worthy of her?
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Jan DeLima is the author of the Celtic Wolves novels, including Summer Moon and Celtic Moon. She lives in Maine with her husband and their two sons. Unlike many authors, Jan didn’t pen stories at an early age, but she has always been a dedicated reader.  It wasn’t until after her children entered school that she began writing. Raised in a military family, she lived in different countries such as Thailand and Germany, but home base has always been Maine.


Find Jan and her books
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Autumn Moon 
Celtic Wolves #3
Amazon  BN
The heart of a warrior, the soul of a wolf, and the desires of a man…

For centuries, Cormack has lived between worlds—a man trapped in the body of a wolf, shunned by humans and shifters alike. Only one person has ever welcomed his company: Elen, a kindred outcast who is feared by others of her ancient Celtic race for her strange healing abilities.

Cormack has always valued Elen’s kindness and understanding, but after a desperate act of friendship causes Elen to free him from his curse, he realizes he wants more. He wants all of her—completely and forever.Except before Cormack can win Elen’s heart, Pendaran, the evil leader of the Guardians, captures her, determined to manipulate her incredible power to aid him in his twisted war against the shapeshifting tribes.

Now Cormack must use all of his skills as a warrior and a wolf to save the woman he loves—before Pendaran’s vile schemes destroy them all…
 Excerpt
Too wired to sleep, Elen opened the wine and poured a glass, sipping quietly as she walked over to the bed.  Cormack slept above the coverlet and on his back, with one arm raised over his head, while the other rested by his side.  His hair was still damp from his shower, and he wore jeans but no shirt, as if he’d just rested his head and sleep claimed him first.

His chest rose and fell with even breaths.  She was not one to marvel over physical attributes, but this was Cormack, and his body was meant for pleasure, like a goddess had molded him for her personal divine gratification.  His frame was large, and toned, with wide shoulders and a firm chest that tapered down to his hips.  His hardened stomach would provide the perfect friction were she to ride him just like this.

And as that image flooded her mind, another, more wicked one, followed.  It was greedy, and selfish, but all her niceness had been used up for the day.  He looked peaceful, and innocent, but the man was practically immortal after all.  Their kind did not die from lack of sleep.  They might go mad, of course, but that took a few weeks.  And had he not said, do with me as you will?

She needed to touch him.  That was all.  Well, no, she wanted more, but for now that would do.  Taking a sip of her wine, she gently set the glass on an end table by the bed, and gave into temptation.  Starting by his heart, she brushed lightly across his chest, tracing down the indent between, and lingering on the valleys and curves of his muscles.  Flattening her hand over his stomach, she felt the soft hair that began just above the waistband of his jeans and disappeared below.  She had never seen him in this restful state, at least not in his human form, and took in her ravenous fill.

Her hand lingered over the button of his jeans.  She swallowed, wanting… Oh, how she wanted.  It burned like molten earth, fed by a need that had been denied for too long.  Even now she felt her body moisten and swell just from imagining what waited beyond that closure, and how it would feel inside her.

Or how it would taste.

She thumbed the button.  A quick flick was all it would take.

A sound made her jolt, an intake of breath perhaps, followed by a sudden rise under her hands.  She snapped her eyes to his face.

Cormack was awake.

And watching her.

A fire raged within his cerulean gaze.  “Kill me now if you stop, Elen, because then I’ll know I’m well and truly cursed and I cannot be tortured anymore.”


Prequel for Autumn Moon:
http://jandelima.com/ms-hafwen-excerpt/
 
First chapter for Autumn Moon:
http://jandelima.com/autumn-moon-first-chapter/

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3 comments:

  1. Sounds fantastic, looking forward to reading it!

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  2. This sounds like a really great read!

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  3. sounds like a great read. and I like the cover

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