Happy Book Birthday to THE DEMON WITHIN

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Unofficially, The Demon Within has been out in the world for a couple of weeks now. Officially, though, the release date is today. You should be able to get the book everywhere now, and any brick-and-mortar bookstore should be able to order it if it’s not in stock already.

I wrote out the book’s acknowledgements several months ago, before the book went to press. But since then, the list of people to thank has grown, and I want to make sure I do so here:

I got some amazing blurbs (basically, those things on the cover of a book saying, “This is the best book ever!”) from some amazing authors and bloggers: Jenn Bennett, author of the kick-ass Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series as well as the Roaring Twenties paranormal romance series; Carolyn Crane, author of the Disillusionists urban fantasy series and the Associates series of romantic suspense novels; Joe Alfano from the Wicked Lil’ Pixie blog; and Jodi Scaife from Fanboy Comics (which is currently rebranding as Fanbase Press). Thank you all for taking the time to read my book and for writing up such amazing blurbs! It’s incredible, as a first-time published author, to open your book to the front page and read all the cool things people are saying about it.

I want to single out Carolyn Crane in particular because, in addition to providing an awesome blurb, she has also been a friend and an inspiration to me for several years now. I first started talking to Carolyn back in 2010, when I interviewed her for CC2K, the blog I wrote for at the time. After that, we started talking more via Facebook and Twitter, chatting about writing, the publishing world, and, of course, our cats. I got to meet her last summer when we attended the Romance Writers of America Conference, and she’s just as sweet and down-to-Earth in person as she had been online. Carolyn, you’re seriously just a super cool person, and I’m so glad to have you as my writer friend.

Several blogs have already featured me, either as an interviewee or guest blogger, and I’d like to thank them as well: Audrey Kearns and the Geek Girl Authority blog; Andi Cumbo-Floyd and her AndiLit writing blog; and Barbra Dillon from Fanboy Comics.

I would also like to thank my friends and family members for supporting me in this endeavor. I’m shocked, and humbled, by how many of you have bought the book, spread the word about it among your own family and friends, and reviewed it. I tend toward the cynical end of the spectrum, but I feel like I’m having my George Bailey moment right now. Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. No woman, either.

And then there is everyone else. Maybe you bought the book at Wizard World Comic-Con, and I signed it for you. Maybe it was recommended to you, likely by one of my amazing network of friends and family. Or maybe you saw it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and thought, “This sounds cool,” and bought it just because. However you got there, thank you for taking a chance on an unpublished, unproven writer, and I hope you like the book.

For almost six years now, Dale Highland and her dark, crazy world of angels and demons with superpowers have been taking up real estate in my brain. And now they’re here. No matter what else happens, Dale is a part of the universe now.

Happy birthday, Dale.

 

 

 

 

 

Jenn Bennett Blurb, and Other Cool Stuff

Jenn Bennett, the author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series and the Roaring Twenties paranormal romances, blurbed The Demon Within. (Basically, think of how, on most books you read, you’ll see quotes on the front that say things like, “This is the most amazing book since sliced bread!” — says Important Author.)

She said, “Engaging, old-school urban fantasy. Will appeal to readers hungering for spirited supernatural action with a dash of forbidden romance.”

This is my very first blurb, so I’m doing happy tap dances over here. Better, it comes from an author whose work I already love. The Arcadia Bell series is high-stakes and consistently fun, and it has one of my favorite book couples of all time: Cady and Lon, whose relationship always struck me as sweeter and more realistic (not to mention more equal) than a lot of other romances in the alpha-male dominated UF market. The Roaring Twenties books I actually read much more recently, and I loved them. Great characters, great world building, and a unique setting (1920s San Francisco). I had been hungering for historical sci-fi/fantasy that was NOT steampunk. Not that I dislike steampunk, but I’ve been seeing so much of it lately that no longer has that unique feel that made me love it in the first place. So the Roaring Twenties books really hit the spot.

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The old City Hall subway station in New York City, which has been abandoned since the 1940s and is featured in The Demon Within.

 

In other news, I am being featured today on the AndiLit Blog giving some tips for scene building and “setting the stage.” As a writer, this is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I tend to focus more on character and plot than on stage setting. It was also one of the things that my editor from California Coldblood pushed me hardest on during the revision process. I had to come up with some strategies to compensate for my lack of visual imagination. I talk about a few of the strategies I’ve learned to use. Thank you to Andi Cumbo-Floyd for hosting me 🙂

Best of 2014: Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett

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My second pick for my top 10 books of 2014 is Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett.

The blurb:

In Book Four of the beloved urban fantasy series Romantic Times calls one “for your keeper shelf,” the ultimate mother-daughter fight is about to go down.

Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell’s life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who’s not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady’s body. Forced to delve deep into the mystery surrounding her own birth, she must uncover which evil spell her parents cast during her conception…and how to reverse it. Fast. As Cady and her lover Lon embark on a dangerous journey through her magical past, Lon’s teenage son Jupe sneaks off for his own investigation. Each family secret they uncover is darker than the last, and Cady, who has worn many identities–Moonchild, mage, fugitive–is about to add one more to the list.

Banishing the Dark is the fourth, and final, book in Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series. I, for one, am very sorry to see it go. Bennett’s world is incredibly fun and well-realized, populated with Earthbound demons with specific “knacks”—supernatural abilities—and human magic-users. Cady, the protagonist, is one such human magic user who comes to find out that the magic Moonchild ritual surrounding her conception have given her more power than she realizes, and that her beloved parents were not the people she thought they were.

But what has always drawn me to this series most is the characters, especially the supporting cast. Cady’s boyfriend, Lon, an Earthbound demon, is strong and reserved, a dominant personality who is capable of allowing Cady to take the lead when necessary. He’s significantly older than Cady (42 to her 25), which is realistically treated as an obstacle to their burgeoning relationship. By book 4, their relationship has become more established, but Bennett continues to find ways to keep their dynamic feeling fresh and compelling.

Lon’s son, Jupiter, is intelligent, exuberant, and talkative. He’s the complete opposite of most of the moody teens you see in fiction—and, quite frankly, in real life—and he’s a joy to read about. Banishing the Dark marks the first time he’s had point-of-view scenes in the series, and they’re great fun.

Unlike many fantasy series, where the main attraction are the supernatural aspects of the story, it’s the human factor that keeps me coming back to this series.

Bennett also has a way of writing suspenseful scenes that keep you glued to your seat. I read the book in one sitting, unable to put it down. Book 3 ends on a cliffhanger, and I spent a year anxiously awaiting this book. Once I got it, I wasn’t disappointed.

The arc of the series does build from book to book, so I’d recommend starting with book 1, Kindling the Moon.