Posts Tagged ‘urban fantasy’

The Kingdom
Berkeley Blackfriars Book 1
by J. R. Mabry
Genre: Urban Fantasy
An unhinged tycoon.
A lodge of evil magicians.
A plan to steal every child from the face of the earth…
When Kat Webber discovers her brother’s comatose body in the midst of a
demonic ritual, she knew she was in over her head…
Fr. Richard Kinney is having a crappy week. He’s not at all sure he’s
the best leader for the demon-hunting Berkeley Blackfriars, and his
boyfriend has just broken up with him. But when a violent demon
possesses one of the richest men in the world, Richard doesn’t have
time for self-pity.
Kat and the Blackfriars discover their situations are entertwined—leading
them to a lodge of black magicians who make every avocado in the
world disappear. Their dark power growing, they eliminate every dog
from existence.
Kat and the Blackfriars find themselves in a desperate race against time
as the magicians try to eliminate their next target—every child on
earth. To save the world’s next generation, Kat and the Berkeley
Blackfriars will have to put themselves in the line of fire instead…
The Kingdom is the first book in the Berkeley Blackfriars series. If you love
supernatural suspense laced with humor and danger, you’ll love J.R.
Mabry’s Berkeley Blackfriars’ books. Fans of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Preacher,
The Dresden Files, and the Mercy Thompson series will thrill to this new
paranormal fantasy adventure.
**Only .99 cents!**
J.R. Mabry roams the earth like the ghost of Jacob Marley, searching for
the perfect omelet pan. He writes thoughtful urban fantasy and
science fiction. When not haunting high-end cooking stores, he lives
with his wife and three dogs in Oakland, CA. He is allergic to
coffee, tea, and alcohol, and for this reason the hills resound with
his lamentation. He is also generally a cheery guy.

Check out the relaunch of The Kingdom, out now from Apocryphile Press. The
relaunched The Power will be out next month, followed by the all-new
The Glory—also known as the Berkeley Blackfriars series. The
Berkeley Blackfriars aren’t your ordinary priests—they curse like
longshoremen and aren’t above the occasional spliff or
one-night-stand. But if you’ve got a nasty demon on your ass,
they’re exactly the guys you want in your corner.
For a free short story in the Berkeley Blackfriars universe, download The
Demon Bunny of Ipswich.
For more on The Kingdom and the Berkeley
Blackfriars, visit J.R. Mabry’s website at http://www.jrmabry.com.

Guest Post

When did you know you were a writer?

Writing is like a virus. It gets into you when you’re small, and often you don’t even notice it. But it gradually spreads throughout your system, leaving no part of your life untouched.

My first act of creative fiction was committed in the third grade. It was a short story called, “The Mystery of Salary Swamp,” and it featured pencil drawings of people that looked more turtle-ish than human, had zero character development, and an ending you could see coming from the first paragraph. Still…it was a start. Oh, there was also, somewhere between pages three and four, a recipe for cinnamon toast. That was there for two reasons: first, I knew how to make cinnamon toast; and second, because Patti Duke had written a story on her TV show, and had included a recipe. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. You’re welcome, Patti.

I don’t remember if the story was a school assignment or not—probably not. But I did show it to my teacher, Mr. Vanasaker. He was impressed. So were my folks. I remember thinking, “That wasn’t hard, and I got a lot of good feels from it. Let’s do that again.” So I did. And again. And again.

In other words, I got bit. My best friend Mickey was also a writer, and in seventh grade we were in neck-to-neck competition for a school-wide writing contest. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that one of us was going to win it—but just which of us would was anyone’s guess. In my heart, I knew that Mickey was the more accomplished writer, and that my little story didn’t hold a candle to his. His characters sounded like grown-ups. Mine sounded like a kid trying to sound like a grown-up. That’s a big difference.

Yet, something about my story must have had some charm, because the contest ended in a tie. This eliminated any hard feelings, but didn’t settle the score between Mickey and I. Even in junior college, when we went on a European tour together, Mickey and I were competitive about our trip diaries.

But real life intervened. I became a magazine editor, and later a pastor and a teacher. Writing went on the back burner. I wrote articles now and then, but nothing major. Then I realized that there was no appropriate textbook for the graduate studies program I was putting together. If my students were going to have what they needed, I would have to write it. So I did. I wrote more textbooks, and many of them are in use in graduate programs around the country.

Encouraged, I had an idea for a novel that just wouldn’t let me go. So I wrote The Kingdom. And you know what? It kicked my ass. Finishing that damned novel was the hardest thing I have ever done. Seriously, climbing Everest would have been a piece of cake by comparison. Dental surgery without anesthesia would be nothing compared to this. But I kept at it, and three years after I began, it was done.

I was exhausted. I didn’t write another word for six months. But then I wrote a Christmas novel, What Child is This? Then I wrote a sequel to The Kingdom, The Power. Somewhere along the way, with every finished novel, it got easier. I no longer collapse in a heap when novel is finished. Instead, I don’t miss a beat. I finish one novel and start the next one the very next day.

I have now finished eight novels, and have outlines for about four more. The only thing I regret is that I don’t have time to write as much as I want to! So yeah, I got infected with the writing bug in third grade, and it has now snowballed into a full-blown chronic condition. I can manage it, but I don’t think I’ll ever be rid of it. And I don’t think I want to be.

 

For a free short story in the Berkeley Blackfriars universe, download The Demon Bunny of Ipswich. For more on The Kingdom and the Berkeley Blackfriars, visit J.R. Mabry’s website at http://www.jrmabry.com.


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Girl Divided
by Willow Rose
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy

They think she’s a monster, but she’s their only hope…

In a divided nation, 14-year-old Jetta belongs nowhere. Her face is
split right down the middle: half-black and half-white. The non-white
residents of her New Orleans camp call her a demon. The white
oppressors who took over during the 2nd American Civil War have
called her much worse…
After years as an outcast, Jetta uncovers her true heritage as the daughter
of an African storm god and a Finnish death goddess. As she attempts
to harness her terrible new abilities to turn the tide in the war,
trouble comes to those she tries to help. Only Jetta has the power to
heal her divided homeland… or destroy everything in her path…
Girl Divided is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel infused
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She lives on Florida’s Space Coast with her husband and two daughters.
When she is not writing or reading, you will find her surfing and
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Willow’s books are fast-paced, nail-biting pageturners.
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GUEST POST

What is it that draws you to mystery, horror and paranormal thrillers?

I love the supernatural and you can feel it even in my mysteries and thrillers. I like the creepy and my books are often gritty and scary. That’s why they named me the Queen of Scream I guess.

How difficult is it to maintain the suspense and intrigue in your books while still building up to a satisfying ending?

That’s actually my favorite part. The plot. In my books you’ll meet several people whose stories don’t seem to have anything to do with each other, but at the end you’ll realize it is all connected somehow and I make sure you’ll be surprised when you realize how. That is a lot of fun.

You have a knack for creating characters who readers care about. What is your secret for creating compelling characters?

Oh wow. Thank you. I am happy to hear that. I think that I care a lot about them myself. And I try to make them have more than one side to them. Especially the bad guys. There is always a very good reason for them to be the way they are and I take my time to explain what happened to them. Their motives are important. And even my heroes mess up now and then. Just like the rest of us. I am also not afraid to make them be emotional. I spend more time writing about their emotions than describing what they look like or what the place they’re at looks like.

Tell us a bit about your writing habits. Do you plan out the plots of your books before you start writing?

It is very different, actually. Sometimes I dream something, other times it’s just something that comes to me and I think, Hmm that’s interesting or scary, maybe my readers will find it interesting or scary too. I always try to go places where I frighten myself, where there is pain or fear. Like recently I read a post on Facebook about a woman warning other mothers that she and her daughter were being approached by this man in Target and then afterwards in the parking lot outside and she had heard about this trafficking ring that targeted mothers and their children. Reading that post scared me like crazy so I knew I had to write about it. It turned out it was a hoax, but the idea was planted and soon it became a book.

What do you do when you are busy writing a book and the next idea is nagging at the back of your mind? Are you one of those authors who writes multiple books at a time?

I don’t write multiple books at a time, but I do get ideas all the time even while writing. I have a document, actually several where I write these things down, so when I get to the time when I need to write it, all the ideas are there. Right now I have the next four books planned out. I used to worry that the ideas would stop coming, but I don’t anymore. It’s like the more I write, the more ideas I get.

Besides being a best-selling author, what other secret skills do you have?

I surf. That’s my biggest passion besides writing and reading. I get the best ideas while being in the ocean.

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Rhuna – Keeper of Wisdom
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 1
by Barbara Underwood
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
In the ancient, mystical past when an idyllic Atlantis-like civilization
flourished, its people with exceptional powers could build giant
stone structures like the Pyramids, and transform elements such as
sand to stone and metal to gold with concentrated energy of the
mind.
This utopian Atlan Empire is rocked when one of its most preeminent
Masters rebels and seeks to subvert the ideals of Atlan society.
Roaming the countryside in a black robe, misusing his powers on
innocent people, he becomes known as the dreaded Dark Master.

 

On a distant and isolated island on the fringes of the Atlan Empire, a
young girl named Rhuna comes of age when she meets a man from Atlán
and learns that her father was an Atlan Master who was killed in his
attempt to destroy the Dark Master.
Journeying across oceans and ancient worlds, Rhuna learns to master her inherent
mental powers, transforming elements and summoning visions by means
of the Gazing of the Waters. Unlike her peers, however, Rhuna
discovers she has an extra power, namely the ability to summon
visions mentally, without incantations or powders.
When the Dark Master’s activities become a threat to the peaceful Atlan
Empire, the Atlan Masters come to realize that they cannot defeat him
without Rhuna’s special visionary powers to observe the Dark
Master’s activity and whereabouts.
The first book in this extraordinary Urban Fantasy series lays the
foundations of the Atlan Empire and Rhuna’s world, and even when
the Dark Master appears to have been defeated, secret and sinister
powers continue to threaten the ancient Utopia.
Rhuna- Crossroads
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 2
This exciting second book in the Rhuna YA Urban Fantasy Series can also be
read as a standalone novel.

 

Some years have passed since Rhuna helped to defeat the Dark Master in her
new home of Atlán, and now Rhuna has a teenage daughter who
accompanies her on an assignment in Ancient Egypt to investigate some
disturbing reports.
She soon discovers an astonishing underground network of the Dark
Master’s followers, along with the secret group of Atlans dedicated
to stopping them. In the process of trying to carry out her
assignment, Rhuna is confronted with enormous challenges that could
drastically change her entire life and everything she has ever
believed in!
Rhuna – The Star Child
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 3
This thrilling sequel to Rhuna: Crossroads is set in mystical Ancient
Egypt where Black Magic was developed by the followers of the
legendary villain, The Dark Master. As strange and frightening curses
plague the population, Rhuna discovers the underground organization
that performs this uncanny new magic, but she can only combat it with
the help of her long-lost father. Having learned from her father
amazing new skills to empower her on the Astral Plane, Rhuna once
again strives to preserve peace and harmony in the idyllic Atlan
civilization.

 

Far more challenging than fighting powerful Dark Forces, however, is
Rhuna’s personal anguish when her daughter becomes involved with
the leader of the Black Magic movement, and the once-perfect Atlan
society based on utopian principles begins to crumble all around her.
Shocking events escalate Rhuna’s world to a breathless climax as
she and her family undergo a momentous upheaval, and she is forced to
make great personal sacrifices for her loved ones.
Rhuna – New Horizons
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 4
The fourth book in the series, Rhuna: New Horizons can also be read as a
standalone novel.
After sacrificing a life of comfort and security for her daughter’s sake,
Rhuna and her family go into exile and start a new life in the former
Atlan colony of Varappa. This faraway land is a frontier of new
technology such as air travel, loops in time and a society apparently
flourishing without a governing body of any kind.
On the surface, everyone appears to thrive in this liberated society,
but this kind of free thinking is fertile ground for the Dark Master
and his followers. Just when Rhuna and her family settle into their
beautiful new lakeside home, strange things begin to happen. Powerful
conjurers cause upheaval with their sinister magic, driving people
from their homes.
An isolated society claiming to adhere to the ways of the First Atlans,
appear to be fighting a losing battle against these followers of the
Dark Master. While attempting to find a diplomatic solution to the
escalating conflict, Rhuna faces great challenges in her personal
life. Aradin’s love for her has cooled off inexplicably, and
Lozira’s emotional wellbeing teeters on a precarious threshold. In
desperation, Rhuna combines her magical powers and Varappan
technology to do the unthinkable. What she does, however, is
forbidden, and brings about a rift between her and her own father.
Rhuna may have headed down a path from which there is no turning
back…

 GUEST POST FROM THE AUTHOR

The Writing Process, Some Advice, and how to Unwind

My writing process is fairly straight-forward, combining practical common sense with a bit of unbridled creative passion!  First of all, I glean all the information on my next topic (eg Rhuna in Ancient Egypt) from my stash of historical, New Age, spiritual, pseudoscientific books and take notes of the points I like.  From about 50 such points, however, I might only end up using half or less, but that’s fine.  In the beginning, I don’t have a clear idea of what I’m going to use, but if I have a nice long list of ideas/topics/facts/myths to choose from, then it’s easier to grab one as I’m going along.

Before I start writing, I formulate a general plot in my head.  Since this a series, I have a definite starting point (the cliff-hanger from the last book) and end point (the cliff-hanger leading to the next book).   I have some definite ideas what will happen between both points; not just in terms of events but how characters will be affected.

Once I have a fairly solid base line to follow, I allow myself to develop and add things as I go along, and this often happens almost by itself from Part II onwards.  Often I have Part I clearly defined in my mind before I get started, and this helps me lay the groundwork for the rest of the book, such as setting the scene, raising the new issues or problems Rhuna will be facing, and creating some suspense as to what will happen.

Usually I write to story in sequence, but at times I’ve been overwhelmed by new ideas or a description of feelings or events that happen further along in the story.  That’s when I let the creativity flow freely, and later I connect those scenes with the ones written in chronological order.

Some advice I’d gladly pass on to new and aspiring authors are these:

  • Be yourself. Don’t try to write in the style of a popular author, or even your favourite author.  You have to find your own inner voice and then let it shine forth.
  • Every word you write should come from your heart and soul – not your brain dictating how you think it should read. If you do this, readers will instinctively feel it and have an emotional response to your book.
  • Remember that books are like people: with some you immediately ‘click’; with others you just can’t gel. This goes for the books you read yourself, but also what to remember when readers don’t like your book.  Not everyone is going to like it, just as not everyone is going to like you personally.  That’s just the way it is.
  • If you are being yourself in your creation, then continue to be true to yourself. Keep writing and growing while doing the necessary promotion and marketing of your books, and your readership will grow:  slowly but surely.

Being creative can be more mentally exhausting that you realize, so it’s important to make yourself have a break before you feel the brain fog or mental block developing.  In my case, I have another creative outlet, namely art: sketching, oil painting, acrylic, watercolour, still life, portraits or whatever grabs my fancy.  I meet with other artists at the local Art Society’s studio once a week, and this is already a great little break when I’ve been writing or thinking a lot about a book.  Other times, I feel I need a week or two away from writing and just do paintings and sketches around home.

When I’m out of creative gusto, I play games: jigsaw puzzles (on the computer nowadays – much easier!) some hidden object mystery games and Super City on Facebook.  Other times just going to the park with hubby and the dog is enough unwinding for a few hours.  And believe it or not, doing some necessary chores and housework can also help to unwind mentally just by giving you some distance from the work you were focused on.

Barbara Underwood was born and raised in Sydney, Australia; the only child of
German migrants who provided a rich and diverse childhood
environment. Already in third grade she wrote a short children’s book
for a class project and realized that she was deeply satisfied with
creating stories. In sixth grade, for another class project, her
teacher was so impressed by the lengthy story she submitted, that he
commented at the end “I see we are going to have another author”.
Over the years Barbara kept writing one thing or another, but only as a
hobby while she pursued other interests and goals. In the 1990s, she
completed a correspondence course in professional writing, doing it
in her spare time after work. This led to having a few short stories
published, but what she really wanted to do was write a proper
novel.
At this time, Barbara had travelled extensively and gained a wealth of
knowledge and experience in subjects that held special appeal for
her, namely ancient history, myths and legends (such as Atlantis, the
builders of megaliths around the world), folklore (the belief that a
god-like race gave mankind its technology), human psychology and the
culture of other countries. What better subject for her first novel
than to combine all these elements into one big adventure!
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!