Generally, I hate winter. But this December cannot come soon enough because the second installment in Karina Cooper’s new St. Croix Chronicles series hits shelves and it already feels like I’ve spent centuries waiting to get my hands on Gilded. I read Tarnished (and Dished about it with RT's Regina), the series debut, last month and was completely blown away by Cooper’s highly satisfying steampunk tale. The story didn’t exactly end with a cliffhanger, but it did leave a few unfinished plot lines that I’m hoping will continue with Gilded. Luckily for me Christmas has come early with Gilded’s recent cover reveal, which will hopefully tide me over for the next few months.
Tarnished introduced readers to Cherry St. Croix, a young woman living in an alternate Victorian London, which is separated into two parts: gritty, crime-filled London below and London above, which was home to Society’s elite. While with her chaperone in London above, Cherry is a well-behaved miss (okay, maybe 75% of the time), but when she dons her goggles and tool belt and travels to London below, she’s known as a bounty hunter who never fails to collect and deliver. When Cherry agrees to help hunt down a murderer responsible for offing prostitutes, she becomes mixed up in a harrowing scheme involving a mad scientist, reanimated bodies and an assortment of London below’s vagabonds and delinquents. And of course, she must keep all of this from her chaperone, guardian and friends up above.
In Jacqueline M. Battisti’s new digital release, The Guardian of Bastet, cat shifter Trinity Morrigan-Caine is anything but your perfect paranormal. Other than transforming into a house cat, often at inconvenient times, Trinity thinks she’s practically useless as a supernatural being. But when someone in her small town summons a demon, Trinity finds herself in way over her head after she discovers that only she can help bring peace to her community. Battisti’s debut earned a Top Pick! in our September issue and since both Morgan and Elisa can’t resist a great urban fantasy tale, they had to check it out for themselves.
Morgan: After getting to know Trinity at the beginning of the story, I felt very sympathetic toward her. She has tremendous feelings of inadequacy and thinks of herself as un-spectacular.
Elisa: Yeah, I don’t think that that is actually a word.
Morgan: Well, I can’t use the term “unremarkable” because that just doesn’t fit. There is a whole bunch of remarkable things about Trinity, like the fact that her mom is a powerful spell-casting witch and her father is a puma shifter. And, oh yeah, Trinity herself can communicate with animals.
Elisa: Communicate! She can turn into an animal!
Whether in a bottle or not, today’s genies are looking to rub readers the right way, and obliging authors are granting your every wish and fantasy with these paranormal paramours. While they’re not as prevalent as some of the more popular creatures of the night (*cough* vampires *cough*), we embark on a magic carpet ride that even Aladdin would envy to bring you a sampling of the best jinn out there.
Our first stop is to visit the ever-fun, pink-smoke wielding genie, Vana Aphrodite from Judi Fennell’s Magic Gone Wild. She’s a genie who wants to do right, but her magic has a way of … well, going spectacularly wrong. And when Zane, the great-grandson of her former master, discovers that his inheritance includes an inept magical being, he isn’t quite impressed. It’s up to Vana to change the hot football players’ mind about her skills and prove her worth. That’s if she can keep her mind on the tasks at hand and ignore the sparks of attraction that fly — much like her magic — out of control.
It will have been two years since the last Mercy Thompson title hit the shelves when the seventh in the series, Frost Burned, is released in March 2013. Fans are rabid for news of the New York Times bestselling series and its fierce coyote-shifting heroine, Mercy. Since its inception in 2006 with Moon Called, author Patricia Briggs’ creation has thrilled readers and made its way up book lists.
With an enthralling character like Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson it’s easy to understand the appeal of the series. She’s the ultimate Ms. Fix-it: By day she’s a Volkswagen mechanic, but at night she’s usually taking care of whatever danger has crossed her path. Mercy’s a Native American who has the power to shift, at will, into the form of a coyote. In the series she’s taken on a number of otherworldly creatures, and her latest venture found her — finally! — married to her mate, handsome werewolf Adam.
But, as usual, things aren’t smooth sailing in Mercy’s little corner of Washington. Straight from the author’s website, we found this telling little tidbit:
Name: Kira Brady
Book: Hearts of Darkness
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Current Home: Seattle, WA
Job (when not writing): I play zoo tour guide, craft diva, and storybook queen for my two year old heroine-in-training.
Author Icons: Meljean Brook and Ilona Andrews. I love their world building, action-adventure plots, and delicious love stories.
What was it like writing Hearts of Darkness? What was the easiest part? The most difficult?
When I wrote Hearts of Darkness, I had neither child nor day job. I spent most of my time frolicking, reading every book I could get my hands on, and traveling the world with my globetrotting husband. Discipline was the hardest part! I also hadn't figured out that I'm a plotter, not a pantser. I threw out a lot of extra scenes that didn't fit into the final book. I have less time now, but I'm a lot more efficient about how I work.
This week Ilona Andrews releases Gunmetal Magic, which features leading lady Andrea Nash, the best friend the author’s long-running heroine Kate Daniels. But Andrea is on her own when a shifter crime throws this were-hyena back together with the man who broke her heart. Can Andrea and Raphael work out a truce in time to save the pack from a dark supernatural evil?
Whitney: You know when you finish a book and you just want to hoot and holler with glee? Well, that was my experience with this novel.
Morgan: Agreed! We were both Andrews’ novices, but I am pretty confident that we are both now solidly in this author’s camp. Her backlist better get ready for the Morgan Invasion!
Whitney: I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on all the whole Ilona Andrews Reading Rainbow of Awesome. Gunmetal Magic had witty repartee, a twisting plot, excellent secondary characters and a hero and heroine who I absolutely fell in love with.
When seeking advice on how to breathe life into your paranormal characters, look no further than the pro: Yasmine Galenorn. The author, creator of the Otherworld series, has penned many mystical beings and their worlds in rich, compelling detail. Take, for example, the engrossing D’Artigo Sisters. The three women, half-human, half-fae, have went on to inspire a 13-book series. At a craft workshop during the 2012 RWA Conference, the author shared her tips on creating life-like paranormal characters with aspiring writers.
Tip #1 - When crafting a book, leave 90% of the main characters’ back stories out
Galenorn says that it is important for the author to know just about everything about their characters. But when it comes to imparting this information to the reader, be very careful. “Authors need to ask themselves if it is necessary for the reader to know something or just get to see the outcome.”
In the paranormal criminal justice system, creatures are represented by various, yet equally important groups: Among them are the werewolves, vampires, witches and shifters. They investigate crime and prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.
Meet The Crime Fighter: Archer
What He Does: Member of the Bloodhound Guild
Archer’s been accused of many things, but the one thing he most certainly is not is a traitor. Sent to the besieged frontier town of Crystal Springs to prove his loyalty to the Bloodhound Guild, he’s ready to prove his worth — especially to the pretty schoolteacher, Grace Linwood.
Today the author gives us a glimpse into the man who has dedicated his life to taking down the vampires that stalk the fine folk of the Wild West:
Author Coreene Callahan has thrilled readers with her debut Dragonfury series, which follows the half-human, half-dragon shifters of the Nightfury clan. The muscle-bound hunks who tower over six feet have won a legion of fans. With the third book, the eagerly anticipated Fury of Seduction, set to hit shelves on November 13, 2012, RT's Morgan was on hand at BEA to get the scoop from Callahan. They discuss the author's inclusion of strong, independent human women who find themselves thrown into the foreign, and oftentimes dangerous, world of dragon shifters. And the woman who falls in love with the hero of Fury of Seduction is going to need this strength, because her dragon is hot — in more ways than one. Coreene Callahan reveals the identity of the seductive shifter and more in the video below.