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S.J. Day

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

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All in a Day's Work


By Lauren Spielberg

Think the release and promotion of two series simultaneously is a piece of cake? Think again. The elbow grease that goes into the mechanics of publishing is enough to make any hardworking adult reach for her pillow and blanket. Except for Sylvia Day, an author so prolific her publisher requested she write under a third pseudonym so as not to confuse readers. As it stands, she uses her own name, Sylvia Day, for most subgenres of romance; S.J. Day for urban fantasy and non-romance fiction; and her newest moniker, Livia Dare, for her erotic fantasy romances, launching next month.

Day's extraordinary journey began in 2003, when the Southern California-based author wrote for a solid 13 months -- and sold virtually everything in a short amount of time. The only thing that didn't sell was a story called In the Flesh. Originally intended as a stand-alone, In the Flesh was finally sold in 2006 and will be released next month by Zebra as the first in the erotically charged Sapphire trilogy.

The 2008 recipient of the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Sensual Historical for her novel Don't Tempt Me (Brava, Apr. '08), Day is also tackling the urban fantasy world, kicking off her Marked series, back-to-back releases beginning in May.

"I wrote the proposal for the Marked series back in summer of 2006," Day says. "When it sold to Tor, my editor, Heather Osborn, asked me to write it as a back-to-back series. So it was entirely the publisher's idea, and I'm hugely grateful for the work they've put into it."

The Marked series follows Japanese-American protagonist Evangeline (aka Eve) Hollis as she reckons with otherworldly schemes and politics in Southern California's Orange County. A pawn in a much bigger game, the former agnostic is suddenly in a unique position to manipulate two brothers -- who just happen to be Cain and Abel.

The first book of the series, Eve of Darkness, written under the S.J. Day moniker, vividly sets the scene for Eve's precarious situation. A casual tryst with a man of mystery changes the course of her life irrevocably. Now cursed with the Mark of Cain for her indiscretion, she's forced to battle demons as penance.

"Evangeline is a logical thinker," Day notes. "She looks at facts, and she's often able to separate her emotions from her conclusions. That's her real strength. She's a full-blooded mortal who isn't all that adept at the combat side of being a Mark. The only help she gets from the Mark of Cain is quicker healing and a body that runs at its prime. She's on her own with the rest, so her ability to think outside the box and not take anything at face value is her best asset. She knows how to maneuver to keep herself as self-reliant and autonomous as possible."

Eve of Destruction (Jun.) and Eve of Chaos (Jul.) carry on Eve's quest to stay alive ... all while maintaining the dicey balance between heaven and hell and two of the world's most infamous brothers.

Not only are these gritty urban fantasies the lengthiest novels in Day's arsenal to date, they're also intended to continue beyond the initial three-book scope. "Only deadlines and page counts kept me from going on indefinitely," she quips.

As if manipulating the story of Cain and Abel for her own purposes weren't ingenious enough, Day travels an entirely different route with the Sapphire series, which she describes as "historical with gadgets." The erotic fantasy --Kensington editor Kate Duffy calls book one, In the Flesh, Day's most scintillating tale so far -- follows a beloved concubine, Sapphire, and the Crown Prince of D'Ashier, Wulfric.

"It's Romeo and Juliet, sheik/concubine, warrior and kick-ass heroine," the author divulges. "First Wulfric is Sapphire's captive. Then he turns the tables and captures her. But in the end, they're both caught by the passion between them and must risk everything, including a war, to be together. They're lusty characters, two people who live at the extreme in everything they do. That lust for life makes them very explosive together."

Day writes full time, seven days a week, but hopes to cut back a bit to spend more time with her family. But her relentless writing schedule isn't the only key to her success. It also takes ingenuity, perseverance and all the additional help an author can muster, especially with so many releases so close together.

"I've been fortunate in the past to have my books released in separate months, so this is a first for me," Day says of promoting her Marked and Sapphire series concurrently. "The burden of carrying, branding and promoting three pen names is enormous and expensive; I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Luckily, my publishers shoulder a lot of the promotional burden -- print advertisements, advance reading copies, bookmarks, tote bags, lots of cover flats, giveaways, etc. I augment their efforts by creating promotional plans that include a personal publicist, additional mailings and advertisements, my websites, book trailers, excerpt booklets, web banners, etc.

"I put a lot of time and money into letting readers and booksellers know that I have a new book coming out. I work hard on my stories and I want people to know they're out there."

Chances are Day will win even more accolades and land on more bestselling lists with her latest series. Her work ethic is almost unparalleled, and her ability to tell stories effectively in almost every conceivable genre is amazing.

"The only thing I try to do with each successive book is make it different from the others," Day concludes. "Aside from my voice, I hope every book I write bears little resemblance to any other book I've written. Switching things up is what makes writing a joy for me, and I hope it keeps readers guessing."

Excerpt from Eve of Darkness

Eve sighed and rested her cheek into his palm. "You killed him."


"Explain that to me." Her dark eyes gazed up at him with a mixture of revulsion and wary fascination. "He said it wasn't the first time."

"'Am I my brother's keeper?'" he recited softly.

Eve blinked up at him, a frown marring the beauty of her face. "You're going to quote Scripture at a time like ... "

As her voice faded, Alec watched her confusion turn into slowly dawning comprehension. She had never been able to hide anything from him, but she'd have to learn to don a poker face now. Infernals would take advantage of any perceived weakness.

"The Mark of Cain," she whispered. "Alec Cain."

"I know it sounds fantastical," he began tightly.

"I believe you." She made an impatient gesture with her hand and barked a crazed little laugh. "I'm not even all that surprised. Not after the last week. Seven days. Shit ... I suppose that's not a coincidence."

"There is no such thing as coincidence."

"What's going on?" Her hand covered the spot on her deltoid where the mark rested. "What does this mean?"

"It's a calling, angel. A -- "

"I thought it was a punishment."

"It serves that purpose, too."

The way she bit her lower lip was an added sign of her distress, but the inner core of steel that had first attracted him to her did not fail. "Killing demons and fairies? Look at me, Alec. Do I look like I can do that?"

"You're capable of anything that needs to be done. Far more so than most Marks."

"Most Marks?" Her eyes widened. "There are more?"


"Jesus ... Ow, damn it! This thing keeps burning."

"Because you're taking the Lord's name in vain. You'll have to get over that."

Her mouth took on a mulish cast. "This is bullshit. Why me? Why?"

He exhaled harshly, his breath ruffling the hair atop her head. There was no way to deny his culpability in her downfall. But he wasn't going to keep pointing it out.

Read the entire first chapter at


1. I'm a bit of a computer geek and the co-owner of a web-hosting company.

2. It's rare that I watch romantic movies. I just don't enjoy them nearly as much as a good blow-'em-up action flick. And by "good" I mean lots of explosions. A cohesive plot is optional.

3. I forget my wedding anniversary every year.

4. My son was born on my birthday, which was also his due date.

5. I'm a coffee-holic. I drink coffee from morning till night and I'll pay any price for really good coffee beans.

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