Posts Tagged ‘Urban Fantasy Week’

Urban Fantasy Week: Jennifer Rardin

Urban Fantasy Week

What a great idea this is!? With vamps, weres, and zombies flying around the Internet like viral videos, I wish we could all dress up like our favorite monsters and drink bubbling hot chocolate out of honest-to-goodness cauldrons while we do this deal.? Hang on, lemme get my fangs?

And no, that?s not the reason some form of the word ?bite? appears in every title of the books in the Jaz Parks series.? Nothing fake about the canines on my vampires.? Especially my hero, a nearly three hundred-year-old Rom (that?s the don?t-punch-me word for gypsy) named Vayl, who?s decided the only way he can tolerate his own company in the 21st century is to blend.? Rub shoulders with humans, even work with them day-to-day as if he doesn?t constantly crave their rich, red blood.? How?s he pull it off?

That?s part of what you learn as you move through the series with him and his partner, Jaz.? Yeah, they?ve got a bigger agenda.? As assassins for the CIA?? Huge.

In my latest book,?Bite Marks, the goal is as monumental as ever.? Eliminate the person who wants to destroy NASA?s Australian based eye-to-the-sky?without knowing his or her identity.? Or why the gnomes who?ve orchestrated the whole event don?t recognize the shaman yanking their puppet strings.

I?ll tell you this about Vayl.? If somebody had been jerking him around, he?d have frozen those strings like icicles and turned the marionette master into an ice sculpture.? Because he?s cool like that.? Until he lays his smoldering green eyes on you and then it?s all hot breath and whispered promises from dusk until dawn.? Wanna meet him?? Here?s your chance!

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Another One Bites the Dust

Biting the Bullet

Bitten to Death

One More Bite

Bite Marks?officially releasing October 29, 2009


Jennifer Rardin,
Author of the Jaz Parks Series

Come Visit Me On the Web!
http://www.jenniferrardin.com
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http://www.myspace.com/jenniferrardin
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/477469.Jennifer_Rardin
http://reluctantadults.blogspot.com/

Urban Fantasy Week: Shirin Dubbin

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Paranormal Gets Real

Shirin Dubbin 10/17/09

I’m sitting on a flight pondering what makes the paranormal feel real. Which is tough ’cause my whole body itches like the dickens. Wait! Before you run screaming with visions of internet communicable disease allow me to explain. Twenty-four hours ago I stood on a gorgeous Tybee Island beach and bore witness as my good friend married her big ole teddy bear of a honey.

Such a beautiful wedding. Such vicious bugs.

We were swarmed by biting gnats who left my skin scored with dozens of itchy red bumps, in places as varied as my right armpit (strapless dresses) and lower left buttock (and here I thought ‘kiss my ass’ was just a figure of speech.) Things got so bad the writer in me began to envision the bugs were zombies sent to infect the bridal party?[Ow. Swat. Smack. Smile for the camera] by a vengeful undead queen?named?ooh I know, Faye Tality, who was once in love with the Groom. Heh. Can’t you see it?

    [cue melodramatic music] Four bridesmaids sway down the beach in tea length gowns of silk taffeta; though every step is punctuated with stinging they demurely use bouquets and shoulder shrugs to displace the swarm’s vicious attack. White sand stretches before them and the sky is full of cotton candy clouds. The maid-of-honor nods at the guests. A smile plays across her perfectly glossed mouth. The moment would be perfect if she didn’t have gnats up her skirt nibbling on her ‘cookies.’ Oh well, the show must go on.
    The Bride appears, resplendent in a one-shoulder column of handmade lace, the sash at her waist chosen to match her maids. The Groom’s heart stops. Then begins again in a happy rush.
    The make-up artist has painted the Bride’s face in the manner of an Egyptian Queen and she will not break the illusion no matter how many gnats get trapped between the lace and the underskirt of her gown, ?Ow.? Swat. Smile for the camera.
    The Groom extends a hand to his bride. She stops short, a puzzled look on her face. Her lips part. He waits. Entranced.
    ?Uungh,? she says, ?Brainnnzzz.?
    Her eyes glow bright red before she shambles past the Groom, leaps and wraps her entire body around the good Reverend. Pandemonium breaks out as wedding guest go running, pell-mell, down the beach only to be picked off by voracious bridesmaids. The Bride smiles then bites into the Reverend’s head like an apple. The only thing that saves him is the metal plate in his skull–a souvenir from his days at war?

Could you see it? As much as I’d like to take credit and tell you it’s because I’m a great writer. It’s not. It’s because most of that story is true, or because you’ve been there in some capacity. You’ve attended a wedding or have been a bridesmaid. Maybe bugs have attacked you or perhaps birds. Or you’ve been so bored you found yourself hoping a gathering of people would be attacked by zombies (you know, just to spice things up a bit.) Either way you can relate.

It is the marriage of real and fantasy that makes paranormal fiction work. When the author imbues a story with elements the reader can identify with, or has experienced, it makes the fantasy elements all the more real. That’s especially true of Urban Fantasy where metropolitan grit meets fae glamour and I believe it is what makes the sub-genre so popular.

I first realized this after the release of my book, Keeper of the Way. Every time I learn someone has read it I get excited and end up asking what part they liked best. To my surprise most folks chose a scene I’d think least likely to show up on a list of faves. While riding in a limousine my main character, Nia’Mora, is confronted by her parents. She will sooner or later experience The Twinning, her race’s method of choosing a mate, and they want her to face facts. The scene is simple, depicting a woman as she struggles to reconcile her parents’ wishes with her own:

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Excerpt from Keeper of the Way

    ?Nii,? Tul’Leah said in an infamous ‘this is disappointing but I’m sure we can correct it’ Mama tone. ?Why do you persist in wearing those sunglasses both sun and moonrise??

    Nia’Mora sighed and slipped the sunglasses off her face. She couldn’t be angry. It was a reasonable question. Her spring-green eyes found her mother’s lavender ones. ?Mima, I need a little more time. I don’t want to be bound yet. I don’t?I don’t know. I’m just not ready for a bond-mate.?

    Her father, Ramender, harrumphed, the sound so comical Nii and her mother burst out laughing.

    Truth was, she knew exactly why she didn’t want a mate. Only she couldn’t say it out loud. Deep-rooted fear held her back. Fear that once her mate got into her head–knew her more intimately than one could know their own flesh–he would denounce her as the biggest freak ever; refuse to live with her; spin her around and boot her right out the front door. That would destroy her.

    She shuddered. A visceral memory of the male in the dry cleaners suddenly rode her body the way she wished she could ride him. Each of her pleasure points pulsed with need. The precautions she’d taken not to meet his gaze hadn’t spared her receiving psychic impressions of his power and prowess. Closing her eyes, she forced him out of her head in sections. He didn’t go easily. Something in the masculine scent, the sense of comfort, and the need he evoked within her lingered at the periphery of her consciousness, as if some part of him had taken root there. This could get tricky. Hopefully she’d never see him again.

    So what if her fears were irrational? She had been the weird one her entire life–born with the very human ability of foresight. Elves didn’t deal in premonition. As immortals, they believed in the now and relished the lessons of the past. Her sense of humor added to her Aftermath Cleaner skills made popularity possible. Foresight would have nixed it. Not that it ever made her lonely or an outcast. She had loads of friends who loved her to bits, but even those closest had a hard time figuring her out. She was an odd bird. Like a dodo amongst phoenix. Phoenixes? Either way?

    ?Sunray.? Her father’s voice drew her gaze. He looked the part of a Bollywood hero, his raw silk sherwani tunic switching from maroon to blue each time the Jaguar passed beneath a streetlight. The Indian-style suit fit him like a dream.

    Strange, at almost two centuries, her father was considered a youngster among their people. The years didn’t age the Amaranthine. It refined them. Her mother was over six hundred summers but would give any thirty-year-old mortal woman fits.

    ?Sunray, the path you take to avert your destiny will lead you to it,? her father continued. ?Soul meets soul when eyes meet eyes. When your bond-mate shows up, those sunshades won’t make a pixie’s shrug of difference.?

Though Nia’Mora is an elf and over 88 years-old many people could identify. One reader, Nicole, said if a kick-ass heroine like Nii dealt with the same day-to-day trails she did maybe she could be a fabulous leading lady too. Very cool.

This revelation stuck with me and I began to notice the everyday life details my favorite authors build into their stories. Allergies, taste in music, candy addictions combined with golem mechanics, boys raised in cemeteries or reformed gangster vampires.

As I finish revisions on my latest book, codenamed Dreams, I’ve kept this in mind. In the excerpt below I worked to give the griffons similar qualities to a family pet, named the bar inside a library after a well-known book (I know but I’m weird), and invoke thunderstorm imagery. It is my hope details like these make my brand of Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance all more real for you–but you’ll have to let me know.

Stop by and visit me on my web site http://fan-fatale.com/

And if you’d like, and I hope you would, pick up a copy of Keeper of the Way

Amazon (link: http://www.amazon.com/Keeper-Of-The-Way/dp/B002HJV4Y8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255399635&sr=1-1)

Red Rose Publishing? (link: http://redrosepublishing.com/bookstore/product_info.php?cPath=23_70&products_id=447)

Fictionwise (link:?http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b93868/Keeper-of-the-Way/Shirin-Dubbin/?si=0)

Excerpt from my upcoming WIP, Dreams:

    The end of that thought brought him to stop at the stones steps leading into the big ass library in question. The Libros Arcanum, every library in existence or had ever existed–all and none simultaneously. The pair of griffons standing guard sprang to life and bounded circles around Keoni. Their heads dipped beneath his hands and lifted forcing him to pet them. The Hawaiian patted their feathered heads and furred flanks heartily. One jumped up and laid its front paws on his shoulders.
    ?Easy,? he said grinning at their antics and impatiently swishing tales. He knew what they wanted and materialized the comic books from memory. Flipping one to each, he chuckled as the pair gulped their treats down in single snaps of their beaks?
    Keoni left the griffons behind and took the steps two at a time. Before he reached the top the studded bronze doors swung open in anticipation of his arrival. He stared into the nothingness. Churning clouds of raw Dreaming flickered before him, internally lit by bursts of lightening. You had to know where you were going when dealing with the Libros Arcanum. Otherwise you’d step off the stone entry, drop into unformed imagination and never stop falling.
    ?For Whom the Tale Tolls,? he told the library and it leapt to his request. The clouds became modular and began to fold and flip into new shapes. Its movements reminded Keoni of a grid that decided to become a cube and then, just as suddenly, the interior of a bar.
    With the basic structure of the library’s pub in place the lines softened into the curving backs of chairs and archways. Iridescent building blocks took on wood tones and grain or thinned into glass. The hum of bar patrons rose as they faded into view and solidified.
    ?What’s up big man? You’re late,? Jay said leaning back into one of the square leather couches and throwing his feet up on the matching ottoman.
    Keoni flopped down into the armchair near his reclining friend, ?I’m never late, always right on time.?

Excerpts of Keeper of the Way and Dreams copyright ? 2009 Shirin Dubbin. All Rights Reserved.

Urban Fantasy Week: Fiona Jayde

One of my favorite aspects of the Urban Fantasy genre is the rise of the smart mouthed kick-ass heroine who is vulnerable and strong; emotional and tough; and can fight bad guys wearing stylish heels. (This is where I reveal that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my personal hero.)

Another aspect that I often enjoy is the tortured male hero, one who is torn between light and shadow, and who often falls in love with the one destined to kill his kind. (Angel/Spike ? pick your faves here).

Urban Fantasy allows both writers and readers to explore hyper-realistic worlds grounded in a familiar reality, and while super strength may combat super evil, real human emotions are still at the core of every conflict. And of course, there?s the ass-kicking of bad guys. My favorite part.

I?d like to share a few ass-kicking passages from my? Urban Legend Collection released by Changeling Press last year. This is my take on the classic ?chosen to save humanity? super heroines and the tortured heroes who loves them.

From Urban Myth:

She?d die before they turned her.

The vamp grunted as she fisted the dark slimy threads of his hair in her hand and pulled with enough force for his neck to snap. Metal pierced his throat. His blood spilled on her just as another claimed his place. She rolled with him; managed to keep her throat away from his fangs, managed to rip through her tee shirt and wraparound so the black material hung open, the poison pellets sewn into the tatters close enough, if she could just reach down.

The vamp was on her. She couldn?t buck off his leering grin and crushing weight. This was it. She ripped at a pellet with one hand, her other arm weakening by the second from holding off his face from hers. His weight pressed between her legs in a sick parody of sex, his eyes dark and — There. The poison was in her hand as her arm gripping a?sai was pressed between their bodies, useless now. She shoved the pill into her mouth and watched his fangs descend onto her.

Then he was limp as something wet spilled on her belly. Above him, she saw a sword and Rayan. Death was in her mouth. She looked at him, pissed and dangerous, as he pushed the dead vampyre off her. Vamp blood soaking her clothes, she spat out the poison before launching herself at Rayan, plastering her mouth to his, kissing him. She couldn?t stop kissing him.

From Urban Fantasy:

He could not harm her. The scar that had been burned onto his face was testament to his own weakness. Now, as she stared at him with cool, distrusting eyes while her arousal scented the air, Jake wondered if he would have the strength to do what he could not a century ago.

He took in more of her scent, and ignored the growing bulge between his legs. His sword in his hand, Jake faced her, took his stance, and pointed the blade at the delicate hollow of her throat. Her face had smoothed of all emotion. She sunk low into a back stance, and brought her sword across her body so he would have to reach for her.

Clever. Her sword was longer, giving her an advantage. Making him reach for her, she set him up to lose his balance, leaving him open for a cut or throw. The Hanako he knew didn?t bother much with strategy, counting instead on speed, strength and balance.

Now she waited.

He raised an eyebrow, motioned for her to start. She stood death-still. His sword was cold and heavy in his palms as he leapt forward, silent, swift. Steel sang as their blades slid on each other?s edges.

He?d cut her. On the shoulder, just a small shallow nick. He was surprised that she allowed it. The scent of cherry blossoms mixed with blood, teasing his focus with sharp fingernails.

His next move forward was blocked by her sword cutting into his; he parried right before it sliced his ribs. The sting from it was like a lover?s bite. Her eyes shone silver as she attacked again, slipping under his blade, and nearly gave him a matching scar under his eye. Her sword was lightning swift in those small hands.

They were both bleeding now, the scent of her arousal and her blood thickening his cock to an almost painful ache. Keeping steel fists over his raging blood, Jake watched for openings while they danced for death. There was no fear in her eyes, and yet the small pulse in her neck beat wildly almost as if begging for his mouth. There were no sounds save for singing steel and measured breathing.

With control like icy water in his lungs, careful not to cut her skin, Jake slid the flat of his blade over her nipple. She froze for one small moment, looked down as if expecting blood. He watched the leather of her top strain over heaving breasts. Under it, he could see her nipples beading.

More at ChangelingPress.com

About Fiona:

iona Jayde is a space pilot, a ninth degree black belt in three styles of martial arts, a computer hacker, a mountain climber, a jazz singer, a weight lifter, a superspy with a talent for languages, and an evil genius.


All in her own head.


In life, she is an author of kickass, action packed romances, possesses a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and blue belt in Aikido, a web developer, scared to death of heights, loves jazz piano, can bench-press about 20 pounds — with effort, speaks English and Russian fluently, and when not plotting murder and mayhem enjoys steamy romance novels, sexy spy thrillers, murky mysteries and movies where things frequently blow up.

She can be contacted through her website at www.fionajayde.com

Urban Fantasy Week: Keith Melton

We Don?t See Enough of These In Urban Fantasy Nowadays

Ah, Urban Fantasy. Chock full of vampires, werewolves, demons, angels, witches, fae, among other things. Yet, there are a few UF character possibilities we do not see often enough?

Hi, I?m Keith Melton and I?ll be your degenerate Urban Fantasy tour guide of a few disenfranchised non-human entities.

Hippopotamus shape-shifters

Now we all know hippos actually kill and injure more people every year than sharks, librarians, and poison dart frogs?put together. So why is such a majestically huge and dangerous animal so viciously ignored by the Urban Fantasy community? Imagine the possibilities. A main character on the run from psychotic fae after refusing the Fae King?s romantic overtures. The main character sprints out into the dark, rain-drenched street?right into the path of an oncoming MINI Cooper. He or she shapeshifts into a hippopotamus at the last instant, and the car crumples into a crushed soda can with racing stripes. Also, secondary characters can actually ride atop the hippo shifter, which means they can swim the Delaware River pretty much at will (although, who would want to, really?). This is heavy-duty transport, like an amphibious Humvee, with better gas mileage, but not available in yellow or with power steering.

Red Beret Gnomes

The Special Forces arm of Gnome society wears the Red Beret with pride. While all other gnomes must remain content with pointy red hats, Red Berets bring both style and deadly gnome military prowess to the table. Gnomes are often only included in paranormal and UF as comic relief, leading to large amounts of barely suppressed gnome outrage. However, Red Beret Gnome commandoes once saved an entire Toadstool Forest from decimation by inter- dimensional locusts, and off duty they are widely known to put the ?fun? in fungi.

Note: Leading experts agree that making comments about a gnome?s bright red nose, which is a physical sign the gnome has been throwing back a bit too much strawberry-flavored malt liquor, may lead to a socially awkward moment.

Chainsaw Unicorns

A unicorn with a chainsaw on its head instead of a horn. Enough said.

Alas, neither my vampire/mafia Urban Fantasy?Blood Vice nor?Run, Wolf, my werewolf shifter novella, have any of these refugees from the standard UF bestiary. I do plan to rectify this egregious oversight in the future. However, until such time as I can work in a hippo shifter transporting a squad of Red Beret Gnome Commandoes across a raging river while under attack by Chainsaw Unicorns, readers will have to be content with my standard fare: vampire love and war, explosions, werewolf combat, and swordslinging knights fighting to save humanity from the darkness (or from reality television reruns, whichever is worse). However, I might just have a different surprise up my sleeve with my next book. And no, it?s not flamethrowing Chihuahuas?

Although, that might be awesome too.

Keith Melton

www.keithmelton.net

Links:

Blood Vice

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http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/shop/product.da/blood-vice

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Vice-Nightfall-Syndicate-ebook/dp/B001VA1O9Y/

Run, Wolf

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http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/shop/product.da/run-wolf

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Run-Wolf-Nightfall-Clans-Book/dp/B002LLCI6K/

Urban Fantasy Week: Cat Marsters

Urban fantasy.? I guess I started getting hooked, as so many others did, with Buffy.? Ah, Buffy.? With your shiny hair and your high kicks and your one-liners and your really, really hot boyfriends (I just typed boyfiends then. Go figure).? It was the boyfriends that did it for me.? Those sizzling encounters, where even a conversation felt like foreplay.? And everything was forbidden, because of course our Buffy had a habit of falling for the very creatures she was supposed to be slaying.

Would it have sizzled so much if Buffy’s beaux had been human?? If she’d been an ordinary high school girl?? If Sunnydale hadn’t been on the Hellmouth?? Of course not.? And while I’ll take David Boreanaz and James Marsters in any guise, I had to say the fangs did add a layer of hotness.

Always seems to come back to vampires, doesn’t it?? My first ever published story was about vampires (She Who Dares, now part of the Sundown Inc. collection from Changeling).? I’ve written about werewolves too?and werecats, and fae, and incubi, and sirens, and elves, and demons, and…where was I?? Oh yeah.? Vampires.? The beginning of everything else.

The thing is that vampires are so seductive, so predatory, so sexual.? Think about it: the metaphors of penetration, of arousal, of submission.? Where does a vampire bite you?? It’s no coincidence that it’s on your neck, your wrist, and if you’re really lucky, your groin.? Pulse points are erogenous zones.? Vampires are powerful, both mentally and physically, they’re beautiful and elegant, and if their lives are so long then just think about their stamina…

But they’re not the only ones.? We love our vampire romances, and the hotter the better.? But what about werewolves?? A slightly different fantasy, this one of a bestial lover.? An animal in bed.? Running wild, howling at the moon.? But still not human.? The same can be said of elves, fae and all the other urban fantasy creatures we love so much.? The elegant, powerful and terrifying creatures of the otherworld.? They’re not like ordinary men (or women).? A romance with them would never be normal, mundane or boring.? Vampires don’t come home tired from work, or nag you to do the laundry, or leave toenail clippings in the bath.

But with urban fantasy you’ve got one important detail.? There might be sirens and vampires and weres, oh my, but they’re in the real world, a world of cars and phones and computers.? The world we live in.? Buffy Summers fought demons and shagged vampires, but she also had to do her homework, pass her exams, get a job, pay the rent.? Just like the rest of us.? She lived in the real world…with vampires.

I guess that’s what I love about urban fantasy.? I know it doesn’t exist…but I can allow myself to believe it could.
Latest release: Sundown Investigations collection

Buy link:?http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1234

Excerpt:?http://www.changelingpress.com/content.php?utype=note&uid=3857

You’ve never seen this side of New York City before…

Faeries and vampires have been at war for centuries, but in Manhattan an East Side Story plays out as renegade vampire Maria and Unseelie seer Ruarc clash in a blaze of passion.

Fifteen years ago in Australia, a young shapeshifter named Daisy lost her heart to an Alpha werewolf. Now Adam is back in her life and uncovering all her secrets, but can she ever accept his love again?

Lucky always thought she had a normal life — well, as normal as can be in the fashion industry. But when an incubus and his evil twin start haunting her dreams in the hottest way, she begins to wonder what’s hidden in her own past.

Kat thought her dancing career was over when she was bitten by a wild cat on safari in Africa. But every full moon her shape changes, and a terrifying shifter is on her trail. She takes solace in the arms of the gorgeous Wolfe, but now that the mating fever is on her, will he be enough to satisfy her, or will she need to take more than one shifter to her bed?

Sundown Investigations, where we take personal care of all your needs.

This collection contains the previously released novellas in the Sundown Investigations series:?East Side Story,?Drive Me Daisy,?Get Lucky, and?Here Kitty Kitty.

Cat’s upcoming release is Empire: Dawn Rising, out Nov 19.

Website:?http://www.catmarsters.com

Blog:?http://www.etaknosnhoj.blogspot.com

Facebook:?http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=521725685#/pages/Kate-JohnsonCat-Marsters/24183756175

Twitter:?http://www.twitter.com/etaknosnhoj

Urban Fantasy Week: Chris Marie Green

There always comes a time when someone asks me just what my Vampire Babylon series is.? A ?paranormal romance??? Or could it be categorized more appropriately as an ?urban fantasy??? Because the two subgenres offer a reader different experiences, I?m ready with an answer.

Urban fantasy.

Why?? First, there?s a pretty big difference between PR (paranormal romance) and UF (urban fantasy).? It?s the romance, baby.? Romance is the element that offers the highest stakes in a PR.? In urban fantasies, the highest stakes element is saving the world.? However, both types can contain either element, but the emphasis on one or the other can vary.

More differences?? Urban fantasy usually has a more acerbic wit and most of the time uses first-person point of view, though this isn?t always the case; my Vampire Babylon series uses third-person point of view for the heroine, and the vampires and other characters get third-person points of view, also.? PR seems to maintain a third-person point of view balance between the hero, the heroine, and maybe a villain or subplot character or two.

More food for thought: UF can contain more graphic, grittier violence while PR usually has a lower level of violence.? For UF, the supernatural element is ominous whereas in PR, the supernatural is normally more intriguing or alluring.

When I started writing the Vampire Babylon series, I had no idea it?d be called an urban fantasy.? I wanted to play around with an old-school vamp hunter who goes after some entrepreneur-minded fangers.? I wanted there to be mystery, action, blood, and a touch of romance, like a vampire Indiana Jones movie that takes place in an erotically charged Underground as well as up above in the nourish, faded, grotesque glamour that is Hollywood.

Then, as the series continued past the initial trilogy, the setting moved to London, which offered a chance to explore that old-school vamp hunting to an even greater degree, with fairy tale elements and gothic trappings.? As the label of ?urban fantasy? gained steam in the marketplace, I could see that Vampire Babylon fit comfortably into the subgenre, especially since my heroine definitely fits into the UF mold: feisty, strong, and complete with major real life issues that conflict with her burgeoning?and sometimes reluctant?hunting career.? Slaying is an albatross around Dawn Madison?s neck but, at the same time, it?s forced her to grow as a person, which sounds weird, considering that her humanity is deeply in question at the moment in book five, THE PATH OF RAZORS.? She?s gone from a somewhat bratty and sarcastic ex-stuntwoman on the skids in NIGHT RISING, book one, to a full-fledged, more intense monster whacker.? Her boyfriend is what you could call a possessed vampire.? And her mother might be even more messed up than Dawn is.

Yup, urban fantasy.? It?s Halloween all year around in this dark subgenre.

Contest:? A random winner will be chosen from the comment section in two days.? I?ll be sending an autographed copy of A DROP OF RED, Vampire Babylon, Book Four, to someone who posts here, so comment away!

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Latest Book:
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Chris Marie Green/Crystal Gree

Website: http://www.crystal-green.com/

Blog: http://crystal-green.blogspot.com/

Vampire Babylon: http://www.vampirebabylon.com/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/vampirebabylon

Urban Fantasy Week: Mina Carter

Urban Fantasy. It conjures up all sorts of possibilities and, you know, when I started to write I had no clue I would end up writing it. Of course I had no clue I would end up writing erotic romance either. I was firmly convinced that I was going to write fantasy. Traditional ‘tolkien’ type stuff. Ugh, talk about beating your head against a brick wall. I have half a manuscript still gathering dust that never got anywhere near finished nor will it in it’s current form.

But then, back then pretty much all I read was traditional fantasy. Then wandering around the bookstore I strayed into uncharted areas. You know, the ones marked up ‘here be dragons’ and I found Urban Fantasy. Oh my, was it a revealation! Urban Fantasy led to Paranormal Romance and I was in heaven!

I’d always chafed against fantasy storylines you see, searching out the stories with romances in them and hoarding them like a magpie. I’d play the ‘what if’ game with characters I particuarly liked, matching them up with each other in storylines in my head to make entirely new stories. No, no sidling away there…yes, you at the back, I can see you. There’s a lock on the door, no escape ;)

Where was I? Oh yes…reading fantasy I wanted more. I wanted the strong characters AND I wanted romance. Picky bunny ain’t I? So when I started writing again, that’s what I went for. I’ve been told I write with a dark humour and a particuarly british slant on things. I don’t know about that, I’m just me. I try not to be too sarcastic or swear too much, although my over-riding ambition is to just once get the phrase the ‘dog’s) bollocks’ (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/dog%27s%20bollocks.html into a story without an editor squeaking at me.

I like strong hero’s and the women strong enough to tame them. My favourite type to write is probably a bad boy just waiting for the right woman and I have a thing about unconventional character types. I’ve written vampires but I’ll always gravitate to those more unused paranormal types, particuarly in my Moonlight & Magic series. Gargoyles like Knuckles (Sunlight & Slavery -?http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1163) who on the outside was rough, gruff and mean but inside he was just a big teddy bear.

Tiny, however, is different. A demon prince on the run he ends up in all sorts of trouble when he meets paranormal bounty hunter Cassia…

***

Tiny scanned the queue waiting to get in and the passersby in the street. A cold night, it seemed all the colder for a demon-born like Tiny. Shuddering, he hunched into the turned-up collar of his thick jacket. His gaze swept the road. A rush of jealousy — sharp and immediate — rose as the vampires circled like sharks waiting for a meal. If any of them wore a coat, it was for effect rather than any need for warmth. They didn’t feel the cold.

“Bastards,” he muttered under his breath and wondered if he could crawl inside his jacket completely. Tiny hated being cold with a passion. But then, for any creature born and bred in the warmth of one of the seven hells, cold was pure torture. The fog put a layer of moisture in the air that coated everything, the dampness penetrating deep into Tiny’s bones. He was never going to be warm again — no doubt a punishment for running away from his duties.

Shivering again, he muttered another curse about the weather as a bunch of vamps having a little t?te-?-t?te on the corner opposite caught his attention. He ignored his discomfort as the little group whispering between themselves didn’t break up as he’d expected. Tiny flicked a glance at Misty, who had calmed down the group she had approached. The line moved quickly now.

Feeling his gaze on her, she lifted her head, silent communication passing between the partners for a second before Tiny turned his attention back to the vamps. Misty would keep an eye on the line and call in backup if needed, whilst he dealt with the circling predators intent on picking off the weakest of the human herd.

He didn’t move for a moment, just leaned against the wall, his eyes sharp and alert. Vamps were predictable creatures most of the time, but occasionally one would get a kick in their gallop and try to make a play for someone in the queue, a decision which ended with them having a little chat in a side alley with Tiny or one of his colleagues. There was a running book on how high they could get vamp blood and snot on the brickwork.

However vamps weren’t normally pack animals and they didn’t hunt together. This little group seemed to have missed that particular memo. Tiny’s eyes narrowed as two of the group sauntered across the road and engaged a trio of young women in conversation. Human women, of course; they wouldn’t bother with any of the paranormals in the line.

The third was slower to approach, piling on the vampire “glamour” as he did. The vampires moved in a slick routine, separating the women, who were easy marks. They herded the last girl toward an alley, the arm of her new “friend” wrapped around her shoulders. The tall demon sighed. Vampire charm was hypnotic and she was getting it full force, her head back against the vamp’s shoulder as he gazed deep into her eyes.

“Great, just what I need tonight. A fucking synchronized vampire feeding squad.” Pushing off from the wall, he rolled his shoulders, cracking his neck as he readied himself for action. There was going to be blood and snot on the walls again. Perhaps with three vamps to play with he’d beat Knuckles’ record…

His lips compressed as yet another vamp moved to follow the others into the alley. What was this, an all you can eat until the meal drops dead buffet? He turned, angling his walk to intercept the new player as his heavy boots crunched over the road. Then he got a good look at the newcomer and his step faltered.

She was gorgeous. She was a vampire, but she was gorgeous.

Tiny’s eyes widened in surprise as his brain tried to reconcile the two words in one sentence, even as his body reacted. She was average height… the perfect height to wrap into his arms, slide his hand into her hair and tilt her lips up…

Tiny snapped out of his reverie, his eyes narrowing as he clamped down on the reaction of his body to a fine piece of female ass and forced himself to study her.

She didn’t seem the “type” to be a vampire was the first thing to hit him after the immediate “I want” reaction. Vampires, especially the ones who hovered around Moonlight & Magic, played up to the stereotype: pale skin, dark hair, dark clothing… Goths with attitude, or Lestat knock-offs.

This one could have been the poster-girl for the wholesome, all-American, girl next door type. Not blonde, but in the light cast by the street lights, he could see her hair wasn’t the midnight black most vamps preferred, either. Instead, it contained a waterfall of autumn colors.

She had a tan, as well — not at all the norm for a vamp. When even a small dose of direct UV turned you into crispy critter, tanning was a high risk option. Fake tan, unless his instincts were fooling him.

Were they? Was she something other than a vampire?

For the first time in a couple of hundred years Tiny found himself holding back. He’d always been a player, watching his back and ready for action of any sort — although in the demon courts the more pleasurable kind always came with a price — but this was the first time he’d doubted his instincts.

Face set, he watched the vamp chick head into the alleyway after the couple and tried to ignore the seductive sway of her hips. He noticed anyway; his body had completely different ideas about the matter, his cock already at half mast in his pants. Damn vampires, messing with a guy’s head. He glared at a couple of humans who cut in front of him, then walked into the alley.

Whatever Tiny had expected from tonight, it wasn’t for the problem to be solved before it became a problem. As he entered the alley, he expected to find the vampires fang-deep in the girl’s throat — or other appendage of choice. He expected to have to deal with them in short order whilst trying not to get the human killed. His hand was already reaching for one of the stakes along his ribcage when the woman’s cool voice drifted on the night air to him.

“Okay, honey-bun, we can do this the easy way or the hard way… No, now that was just unpleasant, wasn’t it? No need for language like that at all, especially in front of a lady… Oh really? How about we don’t and say we did…”

Tiny had barely a second to react as the human was thrust into his arms with a “Here, hold this,” before all hell broke loose.

(Deception & Desire -?http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1239)

***

Most of my men are hard-edged and opinionated but they all have one thing in common, they need the love of a good, strong woman. They need passion and yes, they need romance, even though they’ll argue that they just want lots of hot sex. For me the trick is bringing that out of them and making the sparks fly in a believable way. I agree with the other guest bloggers on the emotional content. It has to be real, it has to be believeable and yes, romantic. For me anyway :)

Mina Carter

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