First, I would like to thank Alexandra Anthony for tagging me to participate in this first challenge – “The Next Big Thing” blog hop challenge!
Here are the rules:
1) Give credit to the one(s) who tagged you.
2) Answer the following questions about your latest work in progress.
3) Tag five other authors and let them know you’ve tagged them.
Five authors I’m tagging:
5) Laura Pfundt
I decided to answer this set of questions for the first novel, which I’m going to be sending out to agents hopefully sometime in January. I’m still in the editing process.
This first book is about Ashriel, a shima who is captured and forced to be his enemy’s pawn. He surrendered to spare a friend, and now he’s trapped in the human realm. Doomed to become their weapon. Most of his power stripped from him, restricted by a magical contract that will eventually take control of him, he’s unable to free himself, or help the humans his enemy lures in.
And that’s when he meets Jillian… One of the humans to be sacrificed…
1) What is the title of your book?
~ The Blood Curse. Lol, I always, always struggle with titles. 🙂
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
There’s a scene in one of my favorite books, Sabriel, by Garth Nix, where Sabriel finds the statue of a man and kisses the statue to wake him up from a curse. I’ve always loved that scene, and the mental image of a man trapped in stone has always stuck with me. I kept imagining this woman with her hand against the statue’s cheek, like she *knew* he would wake up – just for her.
The man’s curse in Sabriel wasn’t really a big focal point – it was more a background thing to give the man a past and set him up to be important to Sabriel. So I started thinking I wanted to do my own version of that kind of situation, and make a cursed statue the focal point of one of my stories. I started playing with the idea, trying to figure out what kind of curse would leave a man trapped in stone, and in what situations would that be believable within the rules I was trying to create at the same time: Maybe this statue hasn’t always been there? Maybe the heroine dreams of a man, and when she sees the statue she knows it’s him? Maybe he’s cursed? Maybe he’s been betrayed? Enslaved? Maybe he’s being controlled?
At the time, I didn’t have all my rules for the different races fully fleshed out, so there was a lot of overlap. Eventually I cut out the dreams and gave those to the lukesh aspects (djinn/genie aspects) for later stories, like The Dreamer. Ashriel turning to stone became part of his aspect (I want his aspect to be a surprise for now. 🙂 ), and eventually part of his curse, but not the main point of it.
I built everything around Ashriel from the beginning – why and how he was cursed, and how his curse would effect others around him, both human and shima.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
~ Paranormal romance. My very favorite genre. 🙂
I love the freedom of it. I feel like I can run amok and do whatever I like, which is always when I have the most fun with my writing.
The main theme in my book is the romance, and all the subplots fuel it on, and hopefully strengthen it. My subplots are mainly all about the magic, battle, and conspiracy that surround my main characters, Ashriel and Jillian.
Here on WordPress, because I don’t know who may run across my blog on the web, and I was unsure about the WordPress content rules, I don’t include the love scenes. But I do have full love scenes in my novels.
4) Which actors/actresses would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
~ Hmmm… This one’s a tough one, but I had a lot of fun picking actors and actresses. 🙂 If I’m going to dream, I may as well go big! Lol, also – there are a lot of secondary characters who may end up as main characters in other books, so I tried to consider that in my choices. 🙂
Once a shima reaches adulthood, because they are immortal, their bodies stop aging – so when you see Lansa and his son, they both look the same age. 🙂 There are only two exceptions to this. The first is when a shima gives up their immortality to age as a human. And the second is if they suffer from an illness called ‘hajithra’ – which happens if they take in too much of the darkness and abuse their powers.
Uma Thurman – Enalel Mirela, Banen’s aunt
Sigourney Weaver – Helena Miller
Alan Rickman – Paul Johnson
5) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
~ I think it took me around 2 years?
6) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
~ Lol, another tough one.
Content wise, in the paranormal romance genre, maybe the Dark Series, by Christine Feehan? Or the Dark Hunter series, by Sherrilyn Kenyon?
They both have really in-depth backgrounds set up for their immortals. And they both also give many of their characters some darkness in their past.
I really love both of their approaches. I’ve tried to strengthen my world-building and character backgrounds to that level, because that’s what really draws me in as a reader. I love that Christine Feehan has written her own language for her Carpathian vampires. And I love the spin Sherrilyn Kenyon puts on myths and legends. I also love dark, twisty heroes. 🙂
7) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
~ This kind of ties in to my answers for 2 and 6. I’ve been inspired by movies and books about beings similar to mine. But also, my love for magical creatures, and the paranormal romance genre in general. 🙂
And, I have to admit – I love the freedom of running amok on paper. I love to escape into a world as far removed from reality as I can possibly get when reading or watching a movie – and I love to write the same way. 🙂
8) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? How about a teaser?
~ I’m hoping the world I’ve built will draw readers in. I’ve had a lot of fun taking some of my favorite myths and legends and putting my own twist on them. I’m hoping readers will enjoy seeing old favorites, such as vampires and djinn, from a slightly different perspective. 🙂
And I would love to share a teaser with you guys! 🙂
This is a scene I pulled from the middle of chapter five. At this point in the story, Ashriel has been going out of his way to try and get Jillian to want to leave. Lol, if you read the first scene I shared for the “Look” challenge, you’ll know he tries his best to be… umm… convincing. He really gives it his all. 🙂 So far, the tactics he’s used in the past to scare humans away isn’t working. Jillian has become suspicious. She knows something is wrong, but for some reason she feels like she has to stay…
And here’s a song from the soundtrack I put together for this story. I thought it fit the scene. This is definitely an Ashriel song. 🙂
She shot him a glance, eyes narrowed. “I’m not going to play along.” She began wiping down the desk, shifting things as she worked, trying to distract herself.
“Who said I’m playing?” he asked quietly, and she tensed, knowing she wasn’t going to like whatever else he had to say. “I will do whatever I have to do to get you to leave this place. If that includes making your life hell, then I’ll have to make myself do it.”
“You’re telling me this isn’t how you usually get your kicks?” she demanded, not particularly caring if he heard the disbelief in her tone. “I’m just special?”
“No,” he admitted with a chuckle. “I do enjoy messing with people.”
“This isn’t going to work with me,” she said breezily, trying for indifference as she faced him again.
He gave her a menacing smile then. “I’ll wear you down eventually. You have no idea how much time I have on my hands,” he said with feeling, some hidden meaning in his words. He nodded towards the desk again. “Now, don’t you have work to do?”
She clenched the dust rag in her hands, wishing she could strangle him. Noticing the way his gaze zeroed in on the reaction, she forced her fingers to uncurl from their death grip.
“You aren’t going to break anything else?” she demanded, proud of how calm she sounded.
“Oh, no,” he said pleasantly. “I’m still going to tear this place apart.” He managed to say this with the same matter-of-fact tone someone else would use to discuss the weather. “I’m just going to wait until you’re done dusting. Doing such detailed cleaning of those fragile things.” The smile that curved his lips could have been friendly, if one managed to forget he was trying to make her lose it. “Putting all those little trinkets back exactly where they belong…”
Breathe… Just breathe… she chanted to herself.
“Well?” He gestured around them. “Let’s go. I would say that I don’t have all day…” Obviously knowing he had her right where he wanted her, he tilted his head, his grin widening. “But I do. I do have all day to spend with you. Following you. Giving you a helping hand with the chores. All day.”He arched a brow, and openly continued to enjoy her reaction. “Every day until you leave.”
And that was it.
That was the moment she finally lost it.
This was a losing battle anyway, and she knew it. This had to be the most ridiculous situation she had ever been in, and there was nothing else to do about it, so she just laughed. She laughed so hard and so long that her stomach hurt, and he actually started to look a little concerned.
Wiping her eyes, she shrugged, and swept her arm over the desk, knocking everything to the ground. “No one seems to care anyway,” she said, sounding strangely calm even to her own ears. “Go for it. It’s not my house. And if they don’t care, I have no reason to worry about it.” She shrugged again, and another bubble of laughter escaped. “From now on, I’ll just save myself the time if it’s all the same. Go ahead and destroy everything. Sweeping is easier than rearranging things while I dust. So, from now on, I’ll just follow you around the house. It will be much easier, and much faster, that way. Now…” She gave him a cold smile, bracing her hands on the desk as she stared him down. “For the last time, I’m not leaving,” she nearly growled, unable to keep the calm in her voice no matter how hard she tried.
“Tease,” he muttered.
“What?” She blinked at him, completely lost.
“Just when I think I’ve pushed you far enough, and I’m taunted with the idea that you might actually cave, you disappoint me.” He sighed heavily.
“What is your problem?” she demanded, planting her hands on her hips. “Is this personal, or something? Because it’s really starting to feel like it is.”
“Why do you want to stay so badly?” he returned, all signs of humor fading.
She looked away from him, unable to meet his gaze. “The money is good,” she lied stiffly.
“Kaitsa dahuj hano!” he growled through clenched teeth, slipping into his native tongue as he completely lost his patience.
He moved so quickly then that she couldn’t contain a small cry of surprise, automatically stumbling away from him as her hands came up defensively. One second he was several feet away, and the next he was looming over her, grabbing her by the shoulders to steady her, looking very much like he wanted to shake her while he was at it.
She flattened her palms against his chest, some instinctual part of her a little scared of him suddenly. She hadn’t seen him move. He was just suddenly there.
“Finally!” he growled, his gaze burning into her. “You should be scared! You have no idea how dangerous this is!”
“So explain it to me!” she yelled, hands curling into the front of his shirt. She was tired of being in the dark.
“Don’t you understand that I can’t?”
“Won’t,” she stated flatly, glaring at him.
“Can’t,” he insisted, firmly correcting her. He gave her a long, searching look. His hands softened on her shoulders. “And I think you know that this is personal,” he said darkly, his mood doing another dizzying one-eighty.
She could feel the change in him. He wasn’t messing with her now. All pretenses were gone, and he was finally giving her some honest answers.
She swallowed hard, taking a deep breath before she nodded. She thought she was beginning to understand. Maybe he was driving her crazy, trying to get her to leave, for the same reason she refused to leave. Maybe he was trying to find a way to protect her just as much as she was trying to find a way to do the same for him. The only real difference seemed to be that he knew what was going on, and she didn’t.
Her instincts had been right. Something was wrong here. And the more Ashriel said, and didn’t say, she was beginning to think that Odath and Petrin were the danger.
When his hands moved, one shackling her left wrist, the other sliding around her waist, she didn’t struggle. Her free hand drifted up to rest on his shoulder, but she couldn’t decide whether it was to keep a small distance between them or to pull him down for a kiss.
“If you want me to leave,” she hesitantly began. “I will.”
“Promise me,” he demanded softly, relief showing in his gaze.
“But you have to come with me.”
He closed his eyes for a long moment, and she felt his hand tighten on her wrist.
“If it were possible, I would,” he said, sounding like he genuinely meant it. His eyes met hers again. “Please, tell me you’ll go.”
Jillian shook her head firmly. “You can’t expect me to leave you here.” She swallowed nervously, knowing she was crossing an invisible line as she said her fears out loud. “Whatever’s going on here, whatever it is that you can’t tell me, I think you’re in as much danger here as I am.”
“You can’t save me,” he said fiercely, confirming her suspicions. “There’s nothing you can do for me.”
“So call the police to help you.”
“They would all die.”
Jillian paled, fear settling in her gut as she heard the absolute certainty in his voice. She took another steadying breath.
“You stay, I stay,” she said determinedly. “Tell me how I can help you.”