Friday, November 16, 2018

Interview + Giveaway: Circle of Flames by Jane S. Morrissey (@janesmorrissey, @RoxanneRhoads, @SoulMatePublish)

UFI welcomes Author Jane S. Morrissey. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

So many things! One of them is that I’ve traveled quite a lot in life and lived all over the world which is one of the reasons I wanted this series to be a more global experience.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

At the moment, I have a two-year old at home, so “down time” seems like a thing of the past. It’s okay thought because I have a full-time job I thoroughly enjoy, I somehow manage to carve out time to write, and love spending time with my child. Going through the world at the pace of a 2-year old forces me to slow down and take in the world around me in a different way.

What is your Favorite part of writing?
   
When I first started writing, I realized what I’d been missing in my life. It was a little like starting a meditation practice for me – which I have also tried on and off over the years. Everything settles down when I was writing and I felt a freedom I’d never experienced. Life is easier and makes more sense when I’m writing.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?

My life before having a child, was to wake up early to write every morning for an hour or two before work. Now it all depends on how much sleep I get and how early the house is hopping. It has forced me to be more adaptive and squeeze my writing in where I can. I’m hoping to be able to return to more of a routine in the years to come, but for the moment – this is one of my challenges. It gives me lots of good excuses to explain away writer’s block!

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?


My very favorite book, which I re-read probably once a year, is Red Heart of Jade by Marjorie M. Liu.

he Red Heart of Jade: A Dirk & Steele Novel by [Liu, Marjorie M.]


How would you pitch Quytel Series to someone who has not heard of it before?

A globe-trotting, paranormal thriller. Each story is grounded in a romance set against the backdrop of several unfolding arcs that stretch into the realms beyond Earth.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Quytel Series is set in?

In the world of the Quytel, there are seven Circles, each by a defined geographic territory. The Quytel have psychic abilities and have been tasked with maintaining the balance of psychic power on the planet. They are the arm of justice for all others with supernatural abilities, shapeshifters, elementals, mages, and others who are mostly hidden and marginalized in the backdrop of our normal world.


Born with psychic abilities and branded with genetic markers, those who are chosen and survive a deadly initiation become Quytel. Three Judges, three Seekers, seven Warriors, and a Commander make up a Quytel Circle. Seven Circles are bound to specific geographic territories on Earth. Through near immortality, powerful psychic abilities, and an unbreakable bond that ties them together, they are the servants of justice.

 
Do you have a favorite scene in Circle of Flames?

    I have several, and here is a sneak peak of one of them:

Sighing, even more tired of her own story than usual, she started up her front steps. Halfway up, she stopped, heart pounding at the sight of a large man sitting on the loveseat on her porch, half hidden by deep shadows.
She knew him. She was sure she’d never met him, but she knew him. His face kept flashing in her mind, sex and danger. Who was he?
“Rough night, Emma?” His deep voice said her name like a sigh on a warm summer breeze. Tingles of desire licked all over her body, settling low in her belly.
Emma’s heart pounded, sparks building into fire, while fear plucked the strings of her nerves like an out-of-tune banjo.
“Who are you?” She was a fool for not running straight back to her car and calling the police.
“My name is Darius.”
The name fit, another piece of the puzzle falling into place.
When he stood he was far taller than she’d expected, broader across the shoulders, with powerful arms and legs, clearly comfortable using his strength to intimidate. Well, she refused to be intimated by him. Fire swirled close, more under her control.
Darius walked to the top of the stairs, near enough that she caught the scent of sandalwood and moss. It teased her senses; tendrils of familiarity trickled along the edge of her awareness.


Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
In each book, there is one character who stands out more than the rest and that I enjoy writing, but throughout the series, I would have to say my favorite is Mack. He is a strong secondary character in Circle of Dreams and Circle of Flames . . . the 3rd and 4th books in this series will be coming out in 2019 – and Mack will finally have his story told!

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?

There is more to come in this series! Circle of the Pack and Circle of Time will be coming out in 2019 and the 5th book in the Quytel Series is in the works . . .
 
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Jane Morrissey is a paranormal romance writer who loves romance, magic, and writing. Her paranormal romantic mysteries will keep you reading late into the night. Jane spends her time writing, enjoying the glorious California Coast near her home and spending as much time as she can with family and friends.

Find Jane and her books
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Circle of Flames
Quytel #2
Amazon
Sent back to his homeland to investigate the disappearance of psychic children, Darius Curilian must face the haunting truths of his past. In a remote village, Darius and his team arrive too late to stop a kidnapping but discover a beautiful stranger who could hold the key to finding the missing children.

A self-defined loner, Emma Williams has always been different. Fire breathes in her soul and has set her apart from everyone her whole life. When she stumbles upon a child in danger, she falls into Darius’s unwilling arms and is pulled into the dark world of the Quytel as they fight for their lives.
Excerpt:

For her safety and ours, Darius reminded himself.
“Scotch?” Emma emerged from the kitchen with two tumblers half full of amber liquid. “I don’t know about you, but I could use a drink after the last couple of days.”
She’d changed into a comfortable looking pair of cotton drawstring pants and a spaghetti-strap tank, leaving a tempting part of her flat belly revealed. Padding into the room on bare feet, her dark, silk-red hair brushed her jawline and fell to her shoulders. His cock hardened.
He stood and crossed the narrow room, taking the glass she offered him. “Thank you.”
“Cheers.” She raised her glass and sat on the loveseat, tucking her feet under her. “So what now?”
“I should leave.” He didn’t move, feeling the weight of Sita’s vial in his pocket. He took a long drink of the scotch and savored the smoke on his tongue.
“Will I see you again?” Those lapis-lazuli eyes met his. They reminded him of Egyptian jewels watching, waiting, her pale skin illuminated by the soft, yellow glow filling the room.
“I’d like that.” He chased the implication of his statement with another swallow of scotch burning his throat. Just because he wouldn’t ever see her again didn’t mean he wouldn’t want to. He was dead certain one night with her would do nothing to quench his hunger.

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Promo + Giveaway: Pirate’s Passion by Lisa Kessler (@LdyDisney, @puretextuality, @EntangledPub)


 Pirate's Passion 
Sentinels of Savannah #2
Amazon  |  Entangled Publishing  |  Barnes Noble  |  Kobo  |  iBooks
Samuel Keegan used to man the wheel of the Sea Dog over 200 years ago, but these days he’s the front man of a southern rock band. Rum and women are plentiful, but his world is changing rapidly now that his crew is back together searching for the Holy Grail to break their curse. But the quest leads him to a historian with raven hair and a wicked smile. She holds all the answers, but she could also spell death for them all.

Dr. Charlotte Sinclair works for the Maritime Museum in Savannah, an expert on ancient pirate wrecks. When a government agent requests her help in a top-secret investigation, she discovers not only is the Holy Grail real, but the lead singer of her favorite band is actually the immortal pilot of the Sea Dog crew.

The search for the Grail opens some dark secrets better left hidden, and Charlotte's life might depend on one Pirate's Passion...
Each book in the Sentinels of Savannah series is STANDALONE: 
* Magnolia Mystic
* Pirate’s Passion
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LISA KESSLER is an Amazon Best Selling and award winning author of dark paranormal fiction. Her debut novel, Night Walker, won a San Diego Book Award for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror as well as the Romance Through the Ages Award for Best Paranormal and Best First Book. Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award. When she’s not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego. You can learn more at http://Lisa-Kessler.com She loves hearing from readers!

Find Lisa and her books
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon
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 To celebrate the release of PIRATE’S PASSION by Lisa Kessler, we’re giving away for a $25 Amazon gift card!
GIVEAWAY TERMS + CONDITIONS:  Open internationally. One winner will be chosen to receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing.  Giveaway ends 11/2/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Entangled Publishing will send one winning prize, Pure Textuality PR will deliver the other. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Interview + Giveaway: Seasons of Sorcery: A Fantasy Anthology (@jeffekennedy, @Jennifer_Estep, @GraceDraven, @AuthorABouchet)

UFI welcomes Author Jeffe Kennedy, Jennifer Estep, Grace Draven, and Amanda Bouchet. Thanks for Joining us!!


Urban Fantasy Investigations: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?


Grace Draven: I currently have six unpublished, half-finished books sitting on my hard drive.


Jennifer Estep: I wrote six or so books before I got published, so I have those, along with several others that I’ve written over the years since then. So I would guess I have around 10 to 15 unpublished or half-finished books on my computer.


Jeffe Kennedy: This depends on how you slice it. Right now I have:
1 finished novel awaiting publication
1 finished novel I wrote a long time ago that has never been published
1 unfinished novel collaboration in progress
1 unfinished novella – for Seasons of Sorcery!
1 unfinished novel for a proposal I was solicited to do, that has been tabled


Amanda Bouchet: I thought it was about six, but when I opened my “Novels in the Drawer” folder on my computer to check, I realized it was more like twelve! There are three or four that are finished and partially edited, but I doubt I'll ever go back to them. They were all from before the publication of my first trilogy (The Kingmaker Chronicles) and learning experiences for me. Others are just the first twenty to fifty pages of novels—ideas that were getting very persistent in my head and needed an outlet. It's unlikely I'll go back to them, even though there are a few I'd be tempted to look at again someday. Unfortunately, they're kind of “off brand” at this point. A YA paranormal, a YA dystopian, a contemporary romance with a hint of suspense... I never say never, though, and I do like to mix things up!


Urban Fantasy Investigations: Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?


Grace Draven: I very rarely remember my dreams/nightmares once I wake up, so no. The only nightmare I vividly remember is one where my family and I lived in a trailer, and I could see a monster F5 tornado heading toward us. I was screaming that we had to seek shelter elsewhere. My husband, however, was supremely unconcerned and proceeded to inform me that trailer was tornado-proof because it was painted purple and therefore perfectly safe. I was still mad at him for about 2 hours after I woke up. :-D I haven't made that one into a story yet.


Jennifer Estep: Not usually. I tend to have really odd, disjointed dreams – like I’ll be sitting on my couch inside my house, but the couch/house don’t look anything like my real-life couch/house. One time, I dreamed that giant yellow banana slugs invaded my house and were crawling around everywhere (think all the spiders in the movie Arachnophobia). Don’t ask me why I dreamed that. I have no idea.  


Most of the time, I’ll wake up and think, “Wow. That was a weird dream,” and then promptly forget the dream five minutes later. LOL.


Jeffe Kennedy: Oh, yes, often! Most salient, The Mark of the Tala came from a dream where I was a princess in a castle with a monster rampaging outside. I knew it was me the monster wanted. My sister and her noble husband kept promising to protect me, and they kept sending people out to fight it, but everyone they sent died. I knew I'd have to go out there and face it myself. Readers of the book will recognize this core image!


Amanda Bouchet: I've sometimes intended to, but I don't write the dream down fast enough and it turns vague and distant in my mind and I lose interest. I also lose the detail and the atmosphere that made it so interesting to begin with. In the cold light of day, what seemed cool and intriguing just appears pretty darn weird and doesn't make much sense. So no, I let my dreams fade into that twilight where I can't quite grasp what happened anymore and mostly get my story ideas from daydreaming instead!

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Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include novels, non-fiction, poetry, and short fiction. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award.

Find Jeffe Kennedy and her books
Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Kill the Queen, book #1, was released on Oct. 2.

The Crown of Shards series focuses on Everleigh Blair, a member of the royal family who is distantly in line for the throne of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. But when the unthinkable happens, Evie finds herself fighting for her life—both inside and outside the gladiator arena.

Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series. 

Find Jennifer Estep and her books

Grace Draven is a Louisiana native living in Texas with her husband, kids and a big, doofus dog. She has loved storytelling since forever and is a fan of the fictional bad boy. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and 2016, and a USA Today Bestselling author.


Find Grace Draven and her books
Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

 The Kingmaker Chronicles, took form. She writes what she loves to read: epic exploits, steamy romance, and characters that make you laugh and cry.
Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England where she spent much of her time tromping around in the woods and making up grand adventures in her head. It was inevitable that one day she would start writing them down. Drawing on her Greek heritage for the setting and on her love of all things daring and romantic for the rest, her debut trilogy,

Her first novel, A Promise of Fire, won several Romance Writers of America chapter contests, including the Orange Rose Contest and the paranormal category of the prestigious Golden Pen.

A French master's graduate and former English teacher, Amanda lives in Paris, France. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children who will soon be correcting her French.


Find Amanda Bouchet and her books
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Seasons of Sorcery
A Fantasy Anthology
Amazon
WINTER'S WEB BY JENNIFER ESTEP
An assassin at a renaissance faire. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, if you’re Gin Blanco. This Spider is trapped in someone else’s icy web—and it seems like they don’t want her to leave the faire alive . . .

A CURSE FOR SPRING BY AMANDA BOUCHET

A malevolent spell strangles the kingdom of Leathen in catastrophic drought. Prince Daric must break the curse before his people starve. A once-mighty goddess trapped in a human body might be the key—but saving his kingdom could mean losing all that he loves.

THE DRAGONS OF SUMMER BY JEFFE KENNEDY

As unofficial consort to the High Queen, former mercenary Harlan Konyngrr faces a challenge worse than looming war and fearsome dragons. His long-held secrets threaten what he loves most—and he must make a choice between vows to two women.

A WILDERNESS OF GLASS BY GRACE DRAVEN

The stretch of sea known as The Gray rules the lives of those in the village of Ancilar, including widow Brida Gazi. In the aftermath of an autumn storm, Brida discovers one of the sea's secrets cast onto the shore—a discovery that will change her world, mend her soul, and put her in the greatest danger she's ever faced.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Viking’s Valor by Sky Purington (@SkyPurington, @RoxanneRhoads)


Viking's Valor
Viking Ancestors: Rise of the Dragon #2
Amazon
Cursed by her dragon ancestor, Sage is at the root of a burgeoning prophecy that threatens her sisters. The only way to protect them is to leave Winter Harbor, Maine, and travel back in time to tenth century Scandinavia. Back to Håkon and Leif, the men she left behind. Two warriors pitted against each other to win her over so they might strengthen their position in an ongoing war. Yet when she arrives, she's captured by someone else entirely.

Set to annihilate his nemesis before he wreaks havoc and claims Sage as his own, Viking Håkon Sigdir pursues Leif. Until Sage is taken by Magnus of the Årud tribe. It then becomes a race to see who can save her first from the enemy's rogue ally. A race that turns into a battle of wills as their rivalry for Sage intensifies.

Sparks fly as an age-old vendetta ignites a love triangle that threatens not just the fate of Håkon's people but his very heart. Will Sage ultimately choose him or Leif? Will she see past the dark enchantment affiliated with her ancestor's prophecy and realize who is destined for her? Better yet, will she see clearly the evil imposter? Because if she falls for Leif's mock heroism rather than Håkon's genuine valor, the war will be lost.
Excerpt #1:

“Yes, Siv and I shared love of a sort,” he agreed, not about to deny that lying with Siv had always been very good. “But not love like what I see between my father and Shannon.” He kept his eyes with Sage’s, remembering all too well the kiss they had shared. How strongly it had affected him. “There is something greater out there. Something different than what Siv and I shared.”
“Mating with another dragon,” she whispered. “But is that love? Or is it obligation?” She looked to the sea again and shook her head. “Sorry I said that. I was just thinking out loud.”
“Have you not seen love then?” he said softly. “Do your parents not share it?”
“They do actually.” She sighed and kept eying the water as she fiddled with her skin of ale but didn’t drink from it. “And they’re not both dragon so I know it’s as real as it can get between a man and woman.”
“So you do not think it can be real between two dragons then?”
“Honestly,” she whispered, “I’m not so sure.” Her eyes finally returned to his. “Everything that exists between two dragons, you and I, is pure DNA. Pure beast. It’s all automatic in some strange way…not as natural.”
“That is where we disagree,” he murmured. “I think it is more natural than what humans experience.”
“Maybe more instinctual,” she countered.
“That too,” he agreed. “But also…” he struggled to find the right words as he looked to the roughening sea, to the turbulent bubbling clouds on the dark horizon. “Mating between dragons is more than love. It is an experience of the flesh and soul combined with powerful ancestry that makes it something untouchable. Unique.”
“Might I speak bluntly?” she murmured. “About your birth mother.”
“Yes.”
“She wasn’t dragon, right?”
“No.”
“And she died when you were very young. She left you behind.”
“Yes.”
“Could it be, then, that you see more strength in a relationship between two dragons because you inherently feel they’re stronger,” she said. “That they won’t leave you behind. Like Shannon, your step-mother, who is still here to this day?”
He considered her, understanding the truth in her statement, but not of the same mind. “Elder Naðr ended up with Megan, a human. My grandfather ended up with my grandmother Veronica, a human and they shared a great love so I have seen how strong it can be.”
“What is it you are searching for, Sage?” he continued gently, pushing her comfort level because he had to. Because he needed to understand. “Why do you fear love?” Then he pushed it a little further. “Why do you fear us?”
“I never said I fear us.”
“But you do.”
“I might.”
“You do.”
She finally moved beyond a quick sip of ale and took a few hearty swigs before her eyes returned to his. “I suppose there’s something you should know about me…that you and your family should have known by now.”
She hung her head and inhaled deeply before she looked at him again and said the last thing he saw coming.



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Sky Purington is the bestselling author of forty novels and novellas. A New Englander born and bred who recently moved to Virginia, Sky was raised hearing stories of folklore, myth, and legend. When combined with a love for history, romance, and time-travel, elements from the stories of her youth found release in her books.

Purington loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington. Interested in keeping up with Sky’s latest news and releases? Either visit Sky’s website, www.SkyPurington.com, subscribe to her quarterly newsletter or sign up for personalized text message alerts. Simply text 'skypurington' (no quotes, one word, all lowercase) to 74121 or visit Sky’s Sign-up Page. Texts will ONLY be sent when there is a new book release. Readers can easily opt out at any time.

Love social networking? Find Sky on Facebook and Twitter.


Find Sky and her books
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Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews (@ilona_andrews, @ilona_andrews)

Diamond Fire
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Hidden Legacy Book #3.5
ASIN:   9780062878410
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

As usual, I was hesitant to jump into a different characters head in a much beloved series, but Ilona Andrews made it easy.

Catalina was fun to follow. She's different from her sister, but in a good way. I already knew about her power from previous books, but you really get a feel for how Catalina struggles with using it in DIAMOND FIRE. She can't trust if interest is real or because of her power which makes it hard for her to trust what males say to her.

I enjoyed reading about Catalina taking the reigns on the investigation of the story and she did a really great job of solving not only the main mystery, but unveiling secrets that were hidden in the family that could have hurt her family in the future.

DIAMOND FIRE was a nice little sneak peek into what we should expect from Catalina as we dive into her part of the Hidden Legacy series.

I gave it 4/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Week in Review: 11/4-11/10



Books Received for Review

Seasons of Sorcery Anthology

Books I've Read

City of War by Debbie Cassidy
Pirate's Passion by Lisa Kessler
Heir of Storm by D.D Miers and Graceley Knox
Seasons of Sorcery Anthology

Reviews Posted

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones (@Darynda, @StMartinsPress, @SMPRomance)

  ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

* New Releases for the week. Was there anything you were looking forward to reading?

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway: Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews (@ilona_andrews, @AvonImpulse)

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway: Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost (@puretextuality, @Jeaniene_Frost, @avonbooks)

* Thursday- Charley Davidson Re-Read Tour: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (@Darynda, @StMartinsPress, @SMPRomance)

* Friday- Guest Blog + Giveaway: Sons of Darkness by Gail Z. Martin (@GailZMartin, @RoxanneRhoads)

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* Did you know you can follow UFI on these other sites?

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.
 

 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Sons of Darkness by Gail Z. Martin (@GailZMartin, @RoxanneRhoads)

UFI welcomes Author Gail Z. Martin. Thanks for Joining us!!

Rewriting History
By Gail Z. Martin

My new Night Vigil series (first book, Sons of Darkness) is set in Pittsburgh, and draws on a lot of history, legend and lore around that city and Central Pennsylvania. Mixing real and made-up details to make a believable framework for urban fantasy is a little bit of history, and a little bit of magic.

In Sons of Darkness, demon-hunting former priest Travis Dominick works with the misfit psychics of the Night Vigil to fight supernatural creatures and malicious paranormal activity. When a series of disappearances, suicides and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, Travis teams up with former special ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.

I lived in Pittsburgh for ten years, and I’m originally from north of the city, so I always enjoy the chance to use it as a fictional setting. This isn’t the first time—the Iron & Blood series I co-write with my husband, Larry N. Martin, is set in an 1898 alternative history version of the Burgh. And our Spells Salt and Steel series, starring Mark Wojcik as a mechanic/monster hunter, is set in Northwestern Pennsylvania. I’ve also used Pittsburgh—and the main characters in Sons of Darkness—in Dark Rivers and Lucky Town, written under my Morgan Brice pen name (urban fantasy MM paranormal romance).  And my Deadly Curiosities series might not be in Pittsburgh (it’s set in Charleston, SC) but it still requires weaving fact and fiction to make a satisfying urban fantasy setting.

When I start a new urban fantasy, I begin with the history. What’s the back story of the real city? What battles, scandals, bloody uprisings, spectacular disasters or odd occurrences happened there? You can’t make this stuff up because it’s too amazing, and those details not only add authenticity, they can change the whole path of your story for the better.

Then, because everything I write involves the paranormal and supernatural, I look for the local ghost stories, hauntings, famous tragedies, urban legends and local lore. I have shelves of books of local and regional ghost stories, and I find a lot of good ideas online. I always check out what the local paranormal investigation groups are doing, where they go, what pictures they take. Ditto the urban explorers, who go where others fear to tread. It’s amazing what a few searches will turn up—and even if it’s not directly usable, it always gets me thinking of new possibilities.

In Sons of Darkness, I use a real ghost town—Peale, Pennsylvania. But the adjacent Cooper City is entirely my creation, based on bits and pieces of many little PA towns I’ve known in my life. Sometimes I will fictionalize a place, business, or person because I’m going to use it in a negative way, and don’t want to offend anyone or have legal repercussions. Mostly I do it so that I don’t have to worry about not getting a detail right—if I make it up, no one can tell me I got it wrong! I’ve used real historical figures in my books, mostly in a positive light (unless history documents their misdeeds).

 
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Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. Books include Witchbane and Badlands.


Find Gail and her books
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Sons of Darkness
 The Night Vigil #1
A demon-hunting ex-priest teams up with a former FBI agent to solve a series of supernaturally-instigated deaths and disappearances.

Demon-hunting former priest Travis Dominick works with the misfit psychics of the Night Vigil to fight supernatural creatures and malicious paranormal activity. When a series of disappearances, suicides and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, Travis teams up with former special ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.

Excerpt #1:

The abandoned warehouse squatted next to a rusting railway spur, the faded paint of its sign almost unreadable against the old brick walls. Too sturdy to knock down, too expensive to gentrify, the decaying building smelled of mold and dust, rats…and blood.
Travis Dominick moved silently through the shadows, intent on his prey. Moonlight and the distant glow of streetlights filtered through the dirty windows and skylights, giving barely enough illumination for him to make his way.
He knew his quarry had gone to ground here. The ghosts told him so, and the vision that woke him in a cold sweat showed him where to look. Travis blended in with the darkness, with raven-dark hair and black clothing that let him melt into the shadows.
There. He saw the creature’s matted brown coat as it eased around one of the pillars supporting the roof. In its beast form, the monster was the size of a large wolf, or even a mastiff. But that’s where the likeness to any normal canine ended. The nachzehrer was a vampire-shifter, a plague-carrier, and it had murdered—and eaten—an entire family. Travis had come to put an end to its killing spree.
He pulled a silver knife from the bandolier across his chest and hurled it. It flew silently, and sunk hilt-deep into the creature’s hindquarters. The beast gave a howl, not from the injury—which Travis knew wouldn’t be lethal—but from the shift the silver forced.
Sinew and slick muscle glistened as the dirty pelt stripped away into bloody ribbons, and the body reshaped itself when bones broke and knit with a disturbing snap and crunch. The monster hunched, no longer on all fours but not yet standing upright.
A burst of gunfire cut into the creature and pockmarked the pillar behind it. Fast shots from an automatic weapon. The beast bellowed, bloodied but not seriously hurt.
Then the bullets weren’t silver. Fuck. There’s a newbie out there who thinks he’s Van Helsing.
Travis peered out from where he’d retreated with his back to one of the pillars. The creature shook off the last gory remnants of its fur. In the half-light, Travis could make out the thing that had once been human, before it brought plague to its family and stripped their bones clean with the knife-sharp teeth of its changed form.
More shots tore into the monster’s head and body, but the creature did not collapse, needing more than steel to slay it. Then, with a burst of speed, it leaped into the shadows, intent on bringing down its assailant.
“Shit,” Travis muttered, taking off at a run. I could have done this the easy way, but no…some Buffy wanna-be has to fuck it all up.
Travis held a coiled silver whip in his left hand, and a Glock with silver bullets in his right. Silver and steel knives of varying sizes filled the bandolier and hung from sheathes strapped to his belt. He had come prepared to destroy the monster. Now, he had to save the idiot who had gone looking for trouble—and found it.
The creature moved fast, leaping for its attacker with its teeth bared and its sharp claws out. A man cursed, and the beast yowled in pain. Travis closed in on the scene, to find a powerfully built blond man going after the monster with a K-bar in each hand. Every time Travis moved to line up a shot with the Glock, the combatants pivoted, putting the man squarely in his sights. As annoyed as he was at the interloper, Travis couldn’t justify shooting him.
The beast stood half a head taller than its opponent, but whoever the dipshit was who had blundered into Travis’s hunt, the guy knew how to fight. Travis might have answered to a different authority for his own training, but he’d learned from some of the best, and he recognized the close-quarters moves as elite military, maybe special ops. So perhaps the fight was not as uneven as he had first suspected.
Travis circled, looking for an opening, figuring he and the mystery man could double-team the creature.
“Stay back! I’ve got this!” The blond man growled, slashing with the knife in his right hand and thrusting with the blade in his left.
Unless those knives were edged with blessed silver, Travis knew the other man could harry the creature all day without ever bringing it down.
“Get out of the way, and I’ll finish it,” Travis called back. He lashed out with the silver whip, flaying open a deep gash in the monster’s back. The beast jerked and turned, recognizing a second threat, but shifted its stance before Travis could get off a shot with the Glock, putting the man between them.
“I told you, I’ve got—” The reply broke off as the creature put on a press of speed, swiping its powerful clawed hand across the man’s shoulder and tossing him effortlessly through the air. The stranger hit one of the support pillars hard, but he staggered to his feet, ready for another round.
“Of all the stupid, asinine, fucking idiots,” Travis muttered as he tried to flank the creature, but although the beast remained intent on its injured quarry, it was clever enough not to expose its back to Travis.
The stranger didn’t wait for the beast to attack again. He came at the creature with kicks and punches in a flurry of expertly trained movement that would have had a human opponent down in seconds. The two long knives sank deep into the monster’s body, and the thing howled in fury and pain. It lunged, and claws tore into the fighter’s shoulder as the beast opened its maw and bared its fangs, lowering its head toward the struggling man’s throat.
Intent on fresh blood, the creature made a mistake. Travis dodged into position. He didn’t dare shoot into the back of the beast for fear the bullets went through and hit the man. But three side shots would do nicely—head, chest, and hip.
The monster roared and tossed the man aside. This time, he did not get up. Travis faced the beast, putting a silver bullet between the creature’s eyes and through its heart. It fell to its knees, covered in its own blood and that of its would-be attacker, and leveled a baleful glare.
Angry red blisters criss-crossed the monster’s pale skin as the blessed silver worked its poison, fighting against the unholy energies that animated the beast. Travis reached for a flask on his belt and sloshed a measure of salted holy water into the creature’s ravaged face.
Travis raised a hand in blessing. “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, let there be extinguished in you all power of the devil,” he intoned, making the sign of the cross. “Through this holy unction may the Lord pardon thee whatever sins or faults thou hast committed.”
The nachzeher that had once been a man named Rick Kohrs collapsed in a bloody heap on the floor.

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