Monday, October 14, 2013

Guest post & Giveaway: Blood Destiny Series by Helen Harper

UFI welcomes Helen Harper Author of The Blood Destiny Series. Thanks for Joining us!!


By day I’m an English teacher and by night I’m an author – and there’s often somewhat of a dichotomy between the two.  While I teach how to write and develop many different text types, from arguments to discursive essays to reviews and so on, naturally creative writing is frequently a feature of lessons. 

There are numerous ways to approach original writing.  Sometimes I’ll introduce a particular stimulus: a piece of music or a news article perhaps.  Other times the writing will be focused around exploring a particular text that we are reading in class, such as an epilogue or the tale of a minor character.  However, always, absolutely always, I make sure that every student plans out what they are going to write first.  Without a clear narrative arc, students’ work often ends up becoming confusing or too full of plot twists.  There are also inevitably those who are unable to think of any other to tie up their stories than to finish with the disastrous old ‘I woke up and discovered it was all a dream’.

And yet, personally, I don’t plan.  I can’t.  When I was furiously typing away on my first novel, Bloodfire, I realised about halfway through that, what I’d started just for fun and made up as I went along, could actually genuinely be a real novel.  Therefore, in order to make sure that it could reach that dizzying potential, I suddenly planned out what was going to happen.  I reasoned that I’d have a better chance of making it to the end once I knew what the end was going to be. 

Unfortunately, from that point on, the writing became considerably less fun.  When I knew myself what was going to take place, my job as the writer just became filling in the blanks.  Painting by numbers. When I didn’t know what was going to happen next because I hadn’t planned it first, it was so much more exciting to see where the plot and the characters ended up.  It was almost as if I became a reader as much as a writer, watching the events unfold before my eyes, filled with suspense about the next move.

As a result, now I never have a clear idea about what is going to happen next.  I have various scenarios that whizz around my mind (usually, of course, when I’m trying to sleep), but I never firmly decide on any until I am deep within the physical act of writing.  This never gibes with what I tell my students to do and I often feel guilty about it.  However, I know through years of teaching experience that they need to plan for the story to be successful. 
Hmmm, I think I need to let go of that notion of success, even if only sometimes, in favour of achieving success in the sheer enjoyment of writing.  Maybe next week I’ll let them just write and see what happens…

Helen Harper is an English teacher currently living abroad in Malaysia. As a long time reader of urban fantasy, she finally bit the bullet and began to develop her own series of novels.
Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland. "I always loved the escapism provided by those genres," states Helen. "No matter how bad life gets, you can always find a route out, even if only temporarily, in the pages of a good book."

The growth of urban fantasy fascinated her - the mix of reality and fantasy along with strong heroic female characters appealed from the very beginning, and inspired her to write her own.

Find Helen and her books

Blood Destiny #1
Mack might be, to all intents and purposes, a normal looking human, but she lives with a pack of shapeshifters in Cornwall in rural England after being dumped there by her mother when she was just a young child. She desperately wants to be accepted by her surrogate family, not least because a lot of them hate her for merely being human, but for some reason her blood just won't allow the transformation to occur.

With a terrible temper to match her fiery red hair, Mack is extraordinarily useful in a fight, and when her pack alpha is brutally and abruptly murdered, she swears vengeance. Unfortunately, his murder also draws in the Brethren - the leaders of the shapeshifter world - who will slaughter everyone in Mack's small rural pack if they discover her true identity. Unfortunately Corrigan, the green-eyed muscle-bound Lord Alpha of the Brethren, doesn't let much slip by him...
Blood Destiny #2

After escaping the claws of Corrigan, the Lord Alpha of the Brethren, Mack is trying to lead a quiet lonely life in Inverness in rural Scotland, away from anyone who might happen to be a shapeshifter. However, when she lands a job at an old bookstore owned by a mysterious elderly woman who not only has a familiar passion for herbal lore but also seems to know more than she should, Mack ends up caught in a maelstrom between the Ministry of Mages, the Fae and the Brethren.

Now she has to decide between staying hidden and facing the music, as well as confronting her real feelings for the green eyed power of Corrigan himself.
Blood Destiny #3
Mack begins her training at the mages' academy in the hope that, by complying, the stasis spell will be lifted from her old friend, Mrs. Alcoon. However, once there, she finds herself surrounded by unfriendly adults and petulant teenagers, the majority of whom seem determined to see her fail.

Feeling attacked on all fronts, Mack finds it harder and harder to keep a rein on her temper. Forced to attend anger management classes and deal with the predatory attentions of Corrigan, the Lord Alpha of the shapeshifter world, her emotions start to unravel. But when she comes across a familiar text within the walls of the mages' library, which might just provide the clues she needs to unlock the secrets of her background and her dragon blood, she realises that her problems are only just beginning...

EXCERPT  from Bloodfire:

I scanned the bookshelves again, looking for something that might help and was about to pull down a precious gems and magical objects encyclopaedia when I suddenly heard voices and the slamming of doors from outside.  Bugger it.  Quickly closing down the computer, I stepped back into the outer office.  I was just in time because Staines came suddenly striding in with the Lord Alpha.  They were in mid conversation and didn’t see me at first.

“My lord, we need to focus on the magic trail before anything else,” Staines was saying.

The Alpha growled.  “The mage can do that better than us.  It’s the tree markings that interest…” his voice trailed off as he saw me and his green eyes narrowed.

“Hi!” I said brightly.  “Found it!”  I held up my mug for display.

They both just stared at me silently.  I cleared my throat.  “Well, I’ll get out your way then.”  I moved towards the door but the Alpha was blocking it.  I looked up at him, waiting for him to move out my way.  He folded his arms and continued to stare.

I felt a flicker of irritation from my bloodfire.  This was my keep, not his.  I moved to brush past him, registering the hard steely curve of his muscles as my arm touched his.  He moved further back, blocking the doorway completely.

“Miss Mackenzie,” he drawled softly.

Helen will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour 
a Rafflecopter giveaway