Author Spotlight: Donna Hawk

Author Spotlight: Donna Hawk




Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?



I usually do a rough outline, generally what I know I want to happen. The problem is, sometimes the characters get a mind of their own and start stuff. Then I have to go back and change my outline or just let it flow for a while to see what they have on their minds. Characters… sometimes you just can’t tell them what to do!

Do your characters ever want to take over the story? 



Always. And then there are those times when my characters aren’t speaking to me at all. I do a lot of outlining and background at that time. Pretty soon, one of them shows up and starts talking again. Depends on their moods.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?



Not either one actually. But I guess I’m more of a morning person than a night person. I don’t mind staying up late, just don’t ask my brain to do anything that requires much thinking. In the morning, I like to get up and start my day. I hate sleeping late. Morning is definitely my favorite time of day.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I love to travel, but don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. Growing up, my dad took us to every state west of the Mississippi, including a two-month trek to Alaska. Now, the first place I’d choose to go would probably be Scotland. I want to chat with Nessie. My mom tells me my family is from there, but I’m pretty sure we don’t have family there any more. It just seems like it would be so pretty. AND they speak English, so that’s a plus for someone like me who doesn’t know any foreign languages.

I’ve been to Sweden twice to see a penpal of mine. That was loads of fun. Unfortunately, she passed away, but I have tons of wonderful memories of her and my trips there.

Do distant places feature in your books?



My first two books are set in the United States and are places I’m familiar with. This new one is set in an imaginary realm, a shadow world called Mortgatha. So, yes, it would be distant. And probably not someplace I’d ever choose to go. J

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release? 



It’s called Where Darkness Walks. It is the first of the Mortgatha Trilogy. My main character, Clarie Perl, get caught up and pushed through a set of dark doors to this other, dark realm. It’s full of scary characters, not all of which can be seen, that are trying to keep her there. She knows there is a rift that will send her home, but the problem is that the rift moves randomly and she doesn’t know how it works.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

I have learned a lot, but I’m still an infant, so to speak. It’s so hard to break open any kind of notice but authors like Amanda Hocking give us indie authors a lot of hope. I know if you go through an agent, then a publisher, it could take more than a couple of years to get a book out—and that’s if they accept your manuscript. I know a lot of manuscripts don’t get the attention they deserve because agents and publishers are working so hard alongside the indie authors. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s who you know. Hmmmm, I don’t actually know a lot of people in the business.

I also know that, like a lot of things that take so much time, writing has to be a labor of love because very few authors truly hit the big times. That said, because I do love writing, I will keep doing it as long as it gives me pleasure.

Is there anything you would do differently?

The only thing I’d do differently is I’d do it sooner. I’ve sat on full-length manuscripts for years because I didn’t have the nerve to put myself out there. Finally, I got the nerve and I’m really pretty proud of myself!



Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

Oh, I can’t think of anyone in particular. I just remember thinking while I was in college: I think I could write something like this… Finally I decided to do it. That was years and years ago. It was only recently that I let anyone else actually read what I wrote.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?



Keep at it. Don’t let a bad review or someone’s cousin talk you out of it. Keep writing because you’ll get better with every project. I know my second book was soooooooo much better than my first. Whatever you do, HAVE IT EDITED. There isn’t anything worse than glaring mistakes when you have such a good story. Write it, put it away for a couple of weeks, then read it again. Look for mistakes, just saying.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book



Clarie’s world is about to change for the darker. Rand broke up with her at the prom, she uncovers a secret in the hidden back of an armoire, and she meets Patrick, who is determined to help her forget her broken heart.

As Clarie evades classmate Bulldog’s stalking, she and Patrick explore the dark halls of an abandoned cement plant. After following Clarie and Patrick deep inside, Bulldog confronts Clarie as he fights with Patrick. When she is accidentally pushed against a set of dark doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha, everything she fears is set into motion to keep her away from her beloved Earth world.

Even with Patrick’s help, the doorway home moves randomly, evil characters beset them at every turn, and the way home seems farther away than ever.

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.

Website * Facebook * Goodreads * Smashwords * Twitter * Amazon

Where Darkness Walks

Where Darkness Walks (Mortgatha Trilogy Book 1) By Donna Hawk

Clarie’s world is about to change for the darker. Rand broke up with her at the prom, she uncovers a secret in the hidden back of an armoire, and she meets Patrick, who is determined to help her forget her broken heart.

As Clarie evades classmate Bulldog’s stalking, she and Patrick explore the dark halls of an abandoned cement plant. After following Clarie and Patrick deep inside the cement plant, Bulldog confronts Clarie as he fights with Patrick. When she is accidentally pushed against a set of dark doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha, everything she fears is set into motion to keep her away from her beloved Earth world.

Even with Patrick’s help, the doorway home moves randomly, evil characters beset them at every turn, and the way home seems farther away than ever.

Where you can purchase this book

Paperback Createspace

E-Book Amazon

donna

About the Author

I have been a teacher in Kansas for 33 years. I enjoy writing, riding my bicycle, and spending time with my husband. I am an avid photographer and Photoshop user. Currently, I am working on a dark trilogy for young adults, the first of which I am hoping will be completed by the end of the summer 2013.
If you have any questions for me, you can email me at: bydonnahawk@gmail.com

Website

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Goodreads

Saskia Book Tours Website: www.saskiabookservices.yolasite.com

 

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Q & A for Shades of Summer, The Haunting Ruby Series, Book One

Click the image to purchase on Amazon

1.  What is the title of your book?

Shades of  Summer, The Haunting Ruby Series Book One

2.  What is the genre and age rating?

Young adult paranormal romance

3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.

Ruby Matthews is a 17 year old girl who is haunted, both literally and figuratively, by the past as she tries to move forward after a tragic loss.  She meets the boy of her dreams at what feels like the worst possible time.

4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

The first three books in the series are currently available and I am working on the final installment.  I wanted to do one book for each season of the year.  Each season corresponds directly with the direction Ruby’s life is taking her.

5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Ruby is slightly mysterious.  She has black hair with one red streak.  Her hair is naturally curly but she straightens it every day to try to look more ‘normal’.  She is average height, thin build with pretty hazel eyes.  She sees herself as plain but that isn’t how the world sees her.

6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example? 

Ruby has a problem with lying.  Her lies aren’t malicious but they always tend to bite her in the behind.  She lies because she’s afraid of what other people will think about her and her slightly odd ways.

EXCERPT:

I opened my mouth to tell my dad what I just experienced.  “Dad the light just….” When my brain caught up with my mouth, I shut it pretty fast.  If I told him what I thought just happened, he would think I was crazy, right?  He threatened to send me to a psychiatrist about a thousand different times over the past year, but I was always able to pull my act together long enough for him to change his mind.  This time, I wouldn’t just sound depressed, I would sound insane.  There would be no talking my way out of this one.  So I lied.

7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example? 

Ruby’s best quality is her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of someone she loves.

EXCERPT:

I knew he was trying to be nice, but he wanted to go check on Rachel and I couldn’t ask him to wait for me.  “Zach, go find Rachel—I’ll stay here until you get back.”

He opened his mouth as though to speak, but no words came out.

“I’ll be fine—you said it yourself, the storm’s over.  I’ll find Coco and then wait for you upstairs.  Go find your sister.  I know you’ll be sick with worry until you know she’s safe.”

I knew it was a tough choice for him.  But who needed him most—Rachel or me?  I watched as he mulled it over in his head.

“Are you sure?  I hate to leave you here alone even on a good day.  If something happens, you won’t even be able to call me.”

“Nothing will happen.  Just go!”  There wasn’t a single worry in my mind that I would be anything but perfectly safe.

“Alright.  Just find her and get out of this basement.  I’ll be back as soon as I can.”  He hugged me close and gave me an extra squeeze.  “Be careful.”

“You, too.”  I watched as he closed the door behind him.  It was only after he was on the other side of it that I started to change my mind.

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?

Ruby’s romantic interest is Zach Mason. Something happens the first time they meet that simply takes both of their breaths away.  Their relationship is intense in so many different ways.  Paranormal activity forces Ruby to keep him at arm’s length.  She is afraid that Zach will leave her when he finds out the truth about her, so she tries to spare herself that pain by keeping him at a distance.

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Zach Mason is the exact opposite of Ruby on the outside.  He has blond hair, blue eyes, and an athletic build.  He has a smile that would melt anyone’s heart.  Ruby swears that there isn’t a female of any species that wouldn’t find him irresistible.  She’s right.

10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

Rachel Mason.  Rachel is Zach’s twin sister and Ruby’s new best friend.  I like Rachel because she isn’t afraid to speak her mind.  She tends to say funny things when you least expect it.

11.  Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?

Every character has at least a small piece of someone I have known.

12.  Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…

EXCERPT:

I jerked away from the table, nearly burning myself on a candle in the process.  We took one look at each other.  One thing was clear.  We needed to get out of there.

One by one, the candles extinguished themselves around the circle, wispy trails of smoke drifting up in their wake.  Another flash of lightning lit the room and I saw that we were not alone in the attic.  A dark shadow hovered closely behind Rachel.

“It’s behind you!”  I reached out frantically to pull her away but it was too late.  The entity rocketed forward and dove straight into her. 

Rachel’s eyes flew wide and her face contorted into a vision of agony.  I watched helplessly as she doubled over and the shadow figure forced itself out through her stomach and disappeared.  She crumpled to the floor lifelessly.

“No!  Rachel!”  I rushed to her side, afraid of what I was going to find.  I grabbed for her wrist and felt a weak pulse.  I breathed a sigh of relief—I couldn’t be responsible for another death!

“Rachel!  You have to wake up!  We have to get out of here!”  I took her by the shoulders and shook her hard but she bobbled limply like a rag doll.

I sunk to the floor beside her and cried.  A thundering crash resonated behind me.  And then another.  And another.  I opened my eyes to see my books flying off of the shelf one at a time and hurtling across the room.  I had to get us both out of there.

I was too weak to carry her so I gripped her by the ankles and dragged her toward the door, book bombs exploding around us as I went.  Suddenly, a weak groan rose from her throat.

“Rachel, we have to get out of here!  You need to get up—now!”  I slapped her sharply across the face.  It always seemed to work in the movies—it was worth a try.

“Ruby?!  Why are you slapping me?”  Rachel opened her eyes slowly.  “Where are we?”

I could tell when the initial confusion wore off because a look of mortal terror replaced it. 

Just then, the door flung open and a looming figure appeared in the doorway.  A piercing scream escaped my throat as it seized me around the waist and pulled me toward it.

Thanks to author, Joy Elbel for giving us a sneak peek into the first book in The Haunting Ruby Series! Keep your eyes peeled for more from The Haunting Ruby Series, as I’ll be featuring books two and three during the next couple of months, leading up to the release of the final book at the end of the summer!

Joy Elbel

For more information on author Joy Elbel, or her current and future projects, click one of the following links:

 ~*~Blog~*~Website~*~Facebook~*~Twitter~*~

Click the image to purchase Shades of Summer, The Haunting Ruby Series, Book One:

Coming Soon: The Mortgatha Trilogy…

Cover Reveal !!

I’m very excited to recommend a brand new YA Fantasy from a great friend and amazing author, Donna Hawk.

The first book in her new YA trilogy, Where Darkness Walks, is expected to be available for purchase at the end of this month (May 2013). It is the first book in the The Mortgatha Trilogy, and trust me…you will definitely want to check it out!

Where Darkness Walks

Where Darkness Walks

Clarie’s world is about to change for the darker. Claire couldn’t believe it when her boyfriend broke up with her, not only breaking her heart, but doing it at the prom. However, when she uncovers a secret in the hidden back of an armoire, and meets Patrick, who is determined to help her forget her broken heart, she starts to realize that things could definitely be worse.

…and she’s about to figure out exactly how much worse things can get.

As Clarie evades classmate Bulldog’s stalking, she and Patrick explore the dark halls of an abandoned cement plant. After following Clarie and Patrick deep inside the cement plant, Bulldog confronts Clarie as he fights with Patrick. When she is accidentally pushed against a set of dark doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha, everything she fears is set into motion to keep her away from her beloved Earth world. Even with Patrick’s help, the doorway home moves randomly, evil characters beset them at every turn, and the way home seems farther away than ever.

donnaMeet the Author:

My name is Donna Hawk. I’ve been a middle school teacher for 33 years. I taught Reading, mostly, but also I’ve taught a variety of things: yearbook, photography, creative writing, social studies… the list seems endless. I truly enjoy that age kids. I retired two years ago because I wanted to devote time to writing. I live in a small town, on a farm with my husband, a dog, and a whole bunch of cows. I know everyone in town, so writing is a good way to escape! I am also an avid photographer.

For more on Donna Hawk and her new trilogy:

~*~Facebook~*~Twitter~*~Goodreads~*~Website~*~

Q&A on Darkening Chaos, the final book in The Destroyer Trilogy, by DelSheree Gladden

1.  What is the title of your book?

I just released the last book in my latest series, “The Destroyer Trilogy”.  The first book is Inquest, the second book is Secret of Betrayal, and the final book is Darkening Chaos.

2.  What is the genre and age rating?

I would classify this series as YA urban fantasy, but it has elements that sci-fi, paranormal, and romance readers will enjoy.  The whole series works well as a crossover as well.  I have a good mix of teen and adult readers who have enjoyed the series.

3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.

Libby Sparks was born to accomplish one thing … Destroy the world.

She has the power to do it, but what she doesn’t have is the desire. The whole world hates her for a destiny she has no intention of living up to. At least until her only friend, Milo, is attacked by the Guardians. Libby is forced to choose between revealing her true power and condemning herself to death, and saving Milo’s life.

4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

Darkening Chaos was released March 2013, completing “The Destroyer Trilogy”.  All three books are available in paperback and ebook.

When I first got the idea for a girl meant to destroy the world, I knew it would take more than one book to tell her story. First she had to choose between accepting her destiny or turning away from everything and everyone. After making her choice, she had to make a plan, figure out how to live up to her decision without getting everyone killed. And finally, she had to take control of her life and fight to put everything she believes in into practice. I don’t like going more than 3 books in a series because as a reader, I can’t stand not knowing when the series will end. I like to know that all my questions will be answered at some point, so that is how I write my series.

5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Libby Lookalike IMBD

Libby Sparks believes herself to be someone who can easily melt into the background, but she definitely stands out in many ways. Libby has long chestnut colored hair that is very straight. No curls for this girl, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why J. Libby also has a fair complexion and dark blue eyes. She is a little on the short side at 5’4”, but she compensates with an athletic build that warns others that she won’t be an easy takedown.  Most unique about Libby are the jet black diktats, perfectly rectangular scars, circling her left wrist. 

6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Libby’s biggest fault is underestimating herself, and those around her. When it comes to herself, Libby has a hard time overcoming being named after a Roman goddess of death and having a destiny to cause pain and destruction. She sees herself as only capable of doing harm.

When it comes to others in her life, Libby struggles to see their true intentions. She wants to see the best in people, but even though she has experienced betrayal many times, it is never easy for her to suspect those she loves of double dealing.

Excerpt:

‘I huddle against his chest and say, “You don’t know what it was like in his head. He’s done so many horrible things, and I had to watch them all. I just … I need to be reminded that no matter how bad things get for me, I’ll never turn into him.”

I’m crying again by the time I finish. He pulls me up and kisses me, but only lightly. “Libby, whatever you saw, you aren’t Drake. You never could be.”

“You don’t know that. Drake tried to make me do horrible things. What if I had done them? I couldn’t have lived with myself. I would have turned as black as he did. I still may. You don’t know. You don’t know.”

“Yes, I do,” he says forcefully, interrupting my mounting hysteria.

“How?” I ask.

He smoothes the hair back from my face. His body heat spreads through me as he presses me closer to him. There is no doubt in his expression when he says, “You seem to think that a cloud of pain and misery follow you wherever you go, but you’re wrong. You are so wrong. You see the bad things of this world and blame yourself for them. Look at all the good you’ve done.”

“What good have I done? So many people I’ve cared about are dead because of me.” I touch the pendant Lance gave me and stare at the two halves. I’m supposed to have both rebirth and destruction inside of me, but when is the good half going to show up?

“You’ve saved the lives of so many others and protected them from the Guardians,” he says. “You’ve done things no one else in history has ever done before, too. And if you need another reason, the one I think is the most important is you made me fall in love with you.”

He runs his hands through my hair slowly, his eyes never leaving mine. “Libby, I know bad things have happened, people have been hurt, but you’ve stopped even more pain. The bad doesn’t follow you, you follow it, because you care about other people and you want to stop it from happening if you can. That’s why I know you’ll never turn into Drake. Your heart is too filled with love and compassion to ever make room for selfishness and hate. Maybe the whole world doesn’t see that yet, but they will.”

7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Despite Libby’s destiny, she is a good person that wants to do good and help people. She often puts others before herself, sometimes even putting her life in danger in the process. Libby is a fierce friend, and she proves it many times throughout the series.

Excerpt:

‘Terrified of watching him die, I race forward and fling myself at her. My body alone won’t stop her, but my spirit connects with her and rips her away from Lance. I hear the sound of squealing tires somewhere behind me. I can’t stop to look. The shock of me attacking her has worn off. The Sihir turns on me. Her dead eyes lock with mine. A shiver runs through my entire body as the recognition the Guardians were hoping for blossoms in her mind. Delirious glee spreads through her expression as she mistakenly thinks she has found her prize. She dives forward to claim my body for her own. Prophecy calls me the most powerful person in the world, but I freeze at her attack, sure I will never be able to stop her.

The icy plunge of her spirit hands into my chest finally pushes me to action. I fight with savage spiritual slashing against her efforts to tear my spirit out. I force her hands off and out of reach, but I know I can’t keep this up for long. The Sihir’s hands push closer to me and honest terror that I am about to die sinks into me. She won’t stop with me, either. Lance and Braden are screaming at me somewhere nearby. They won’t be spared if I fail.

I have to do something.

Desperate, I try to speak to her spirit. The frenzied nature of her state won’t let me, but it reminds me of something. It reminds me of rescuing Casey. Her hands are now inches away from my chest. Using every ounce of Strength I have, I wrench my body away from her. I have barely a second to dredge up my frazzled spirit and take hold. On the verge of abandoning my body, something I’m not even sure is possible outside of the spirit world, I pause and pray to whoever will listen that I’m not about to kill us both.’

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?

There are several romantic interests in this series. In the very beginning, Libby and Lance are a couple, but that quickly changes when Lance tries to kill Libby after finding out her true destiny. After being abandoned by everyone, Libby is sure she will spend what is left of her life alone until grungy, loner Milo shows up. She has a few reservations about his motives, but it doesn’t stop her from developing feelings for him.

Lance plays a big part in all three books, but the real romantic conflict develops when Braden inserts himself into Libby’s life. A Guardian (the group intent on killing Libby), Braden should want nothing to do with Libby. The strange connection they share pushes them toward each other despite Libby’s best efforts to stay away. Staying true to Milo—knowing if she even should—becomes so consuming it threatens to ruin everything.

Because this is YA and I like to keep things clean, there is no sex, but there is still plenty of sexual tension.

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Milo Lookalike IMBD

First, Milo. A former quarterback, Milo is tall, broad shouldered (when he isn’t slouching), and very fit. When he and Libby meet, his grungy appearance makes her mistake him for a slacker, but his slightly too long light brown hair serves its purpose … hiding his stormy grey eyes and the intelligence behind them. Milo looks like he would be more interested in vegging out in a dimly lit basement with a stack of video games than anything else, but beneath the disguise is a guy you would definitely want backing you up in a fight.

Braden Lookalike IMBD

M.C.’s sidenote: Toe-curling hotness

Now, Braden. The first word that comes to Libby’s mind when she thinks of Braden is grace. Braden is tall and fit, but has a build somewhere between Olympic swimmer and dancer. His caramel colored hair and green eyes are paired with a keen and curious mind. Braden may appear to be softer than Milo, but he can be fierce when he wants something, and when it comes to protecting those he loves.

10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

I’d definitely have to go with Mr. Walters. Upon first meeting Libby, he offers to kill her—which certainly makes him memorable. First impressions may lead readers to believe Mr. Walters is a crackpot. The Einstein-style hair and quirky mannerisms are misleading, though. In reality, Mr. Walters is a very complex character with deep motivations and plenty of secrets.

11.  Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?

I think there are bits and pieces of people I know in all of my characters, but I don’t have anyone in particular that a character was modeled after. I always worry that if I transpose a real person into fiction they might realize that’s what I did, which wouldn’t be so bad if they were the heroine, but probably wouldn’t go over too well if they weren’t such a likable character.

12.  Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…

Excerpt:

“I do hope you are patient with me, Libby,” Mr. Walters says, interrupting my thoughts, “because I only received this assignment to teach you about being the Destroyer late last night and had very little time to prepare. It’s not an easy task to consolidate a lifetime of research into a curriculum overnight. And we only have an hour at a time to work with. I do hope that by the end of the year you’ll have a better understanding of what you will be expected to do as the only member of the Destroyer class.”

“Uh, really?”

You would think the majority of the world would be much happier if I had no idea what I was supposed to do as the Destroyer. I’m not even sure I want to know what I’m supposed to do. Every time I’ve tried to find out it never led anywhere good, so now I’d like to avoid finding out in the hopes that if I don’t know I’ll never actually do anything bad.

“Of course, dear. You have to know your purpose in life if you expect to ever accomplish it, don’t you?”

There is something wrong with this man. “But I don’t want to fulfill my purpose. I don’t want to hurt or destroy anything. You don’t want me to do that either. Nobody does!”

“Well, of course no one wants to see you harm anyone, but that’s hardly the point,” Mr. Walters says.

“How is that not the point?”

“Because the point of this class is to teach you to be the best Destroyer you can possibly be. What you do with that knowledge is completely up to you, but I refuse to have a student leave one of my classes not fully trained to do their duty.”

He’s serious. As if my killing people a few years from now has no bearing on his teaching me to do it, he opens his notebook and instructs me to do the same. What choice do I have but to follow him?

“Now,” he says, “I have been researching the Destroyer class most of my life. It has always fascinated me that there is only one member, one single person meant to destroy our entire society. When we have millions of Guardians to fight against the Destroyer, Visionaries who might see her coming, Concealers to find her, etc., I have always been curious about how this one person is actually meant to succeed.”

I cough and interrupt his rambling. “If the Destroyer, me, has all the talents of the ones meant to stop me, then all I have to do is use the talents I have against them, right? That’s hardly a mystery.”

“Precisely,” he says, “but the problem is that while a Guardian only needs to focus on honing Speed and Strength, you must master all seven talents if you have any hope of surviving past your eighteenth birthday. Mastering one or two talents takes years, decades even, but you only have two years. That, my dear, is the real question that has plagued me for so long. How can one person reach perfection before the whole world turns on her?”

“Oh. Yeah, I guess that would be something of a problem, if I was planning on actually surviving longer than two years,” I say.

Mr. Walters simply blinks at me. “You mean you don’t plan on surviving?”

“Uh, not really.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s impossible, for one, and surviving would mean hurting people, ruining lives. I don’t want to be a part of that. I’d rather let one of those psychotic Guardians slice me into little pieces than watch myself do the same thing to someone else.”

No matter what anyone says, I will not hurt anyone. Not again.

Walking over to my desk at a slow, thoughtful pace, Mr. Walters surprises me by touching his index finger to the spot of dried blood on my neck. “If you don’t want your gifts then why didn’t you let Lance or the Guardian kill you last night? Why don’t you kill yourself right now?”

He pushes back his blazer sleeve and snatches the Guardian blade out of its sheath so quickly I barely see more than a flash of light on steel before it is pressing against my throat. A Guardian. My heart is pounding against my chest, my mind screaming at me to run. I am alone in a room with a Guardian who is apparently obsessed with the Destroyer. With me. And he has a knife balanced exactly against my carotid artery. Black spots fleck my vision and I realize I’m hyperventilating. It requires all my quickly vanishing willpower to tap my Naturalism and slow my breathing enough to see clearly again.

“If you ask me to kill you, I will do that for you, Libby, though I would not take any pleasure in it,” Mr. Walters says. “Or if you prefer to end your life by your own hand, I will not stop you. Either way, if death is what you truly want, I will allow you to have it. Right here. Right now. This is the only time I will make this offer, Libby. It is your choice.”

The pressure of the blade on my skin increases slightly, and I cry out. “No! No don’t!”

Instantly the knife is withdrawn, back in its sheath like it never left. “Why?” he asks.

“Because I don’t want to die,” I say. Tears bleed down my cheeks and I wipe them away furiously, angrily.

“You will die eventually. There is no doubting that.”

“But I don’t want to die yet, not today. Not for as long as I can manage it.” Maybe it’s wrong to want to live. With everything I’ve done, and am, I probably deserve to die. But I don’t want to. Not yet.

Placing his hands on my desk, Mr. Walters leans forward. His wizened features grow eerily strong and firm as he peers down at me. “If you don’t want to die, then you have to embrace who and what you are, Libby. Becoming the Destroyer is the only thing that is going to keep you alive.”

I hope you have enjoyed this look at “The Destroyer Trilogy” and, in particular, the final book: Darkening Chaos!

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Don’t forget to check out the author, DelSheree Gladden…become her fan and/or follow her on the following links: 

DelSheree’s Blog * DelSheree’s Website * Facebook* Twitter * Goodreads * Wattpad * Amazon

Q&A of Celtic Blood by James Loftus

1.  What is the title of your book?

Celtic Blood.

 2.  What is the genre and age rating?

My novel is historical fiction with supernatural elements, particularly, witchcraft.  The age rating is young adult, primarily, boys.  Celtic Blood could be described as a blood thirsty war epic.

 3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.

Set in 13th century Scotland. The son of the murdered Earl of Ross, is a fugitive when his family, rival claimants for Scotland’s crown, are declared traitors. Influenced by MacBeth and the writing of Nigel Tranter it is a tale of high drama and suspense.

Both Nigel Tranter and the Scottish play, resonate with me profoundly.

 4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

There is a sequel.  I have already written it in draft form but have it on hold.   A couple of other projects got in the way, a ghost film script which an agent is looking at.  No, not a real estate agent.  The other project is auto-biographical novel on my time in the police force in north-west Queensland, involving a Kadaicha Man.  I knew one once … long ago… in a place far far away.

 5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

My main character starts out as a thin weakling boy who has been sheltered from the shadow of doom with which his family is being engulfed by.  Think the Tsesarevitch, Alexei, of Russia, who plays with his marbles and toy soldiers whilst Russia disintergrates.  He walks in palaces and thinks he is loved and admired by the people of Russia and will one day be a Tsar following in his father’s wake.  My character Morgund comes of a long line of unlucky folk.  His family are closely related to the reigning king .

Morgund’s family the MacAedh’s have risen in rebellion many times contesting for the crown and thus have left many of themselves dead on battlefields.   Never kings have they been nor ever will they be.

Morgund is a young innocent, not much interested in the loud talk and manly boasts of his father, such talk and unwise actions have caused the MacAedhs deadly violence as he knows but thinks have finally been laid to rest – little does he know.  According to his mother he is better suited being a priest than a warrior.  That all changes when his father is murdered and he as the only MacAedh left to carry on the name, must face the bitter reality that many see him now as little more than a minor obstacle to obtaining the lands the MacAedh’s hold.  Only by virtue of the sword can these lands be held.  Morgund is incapable of  holding them, having no more use for a sword than a broom.   He seeks sanctuary with the king where he believes lays safety.  He is about to find out it was the king who killed his father.  This same king, plans to kill him.

When forced against his will to fight to save his life, a companion comes to his aid, Seward, whose life was saved by the lately murdered, Earl of Ross, Morgund’s father.  Seward is a warrior who holds every virtue of the swordsman, valor,  balance, power, speed, and the uncanny ability – perhaps seemingly uncanny to those unfamiliar with the technique required – to perceive an opponents movements almost before they are made.  His cuts are true, and deadly!

Almost despite himself Seward befriends Morgund and takes on the impossible task of training him.  Seward soon sees that despite his weak frame the boy is determined to be a fighter, and does have the heart required.   Morgund committing himself to remaking himself, to save himself, to save his mother, to avenge his father, whose kind and gentle face he sees in the air all around him, burns to be a man like Seward is, feared, one who casts thunderbolts from the lofty heights that warriors reside on.

And Morgund through unrelenting effort turns himself into a swordsman as good as any, and better than most.  He finds that he can match Seward who all fear, and that body that was so weak becomes path to arrogance.

 6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Because I blabber-moutheds so bad last question, I will be brief (my version of brief). Morgund grows into a man who holds little compassion for other men and has a cold and ruthless heart.  The man who he owes so much to, Seward, he would cut down without a second glance back at.  As the old Johnny Cash song goes,  “I killed a man just so I could watch him die.”

Not quite so bad or brutal as that but when given just cause …  Of course, no one ever does evil for evil’s sake, at least not in court in front of the judge.   Morgund decides if the cause is just, and thus satisfied, his training takes over and a man becomes bloody meat and the steal of his sword as if by its own accord makes a grisly relic of what might once have been a handsome head.  To see Morgund smile then, is to see Death himself, smiling. 

So, his tortured formative years leave him somewhat without a conscience.

No sentence or paragraph describes this it is just the sum total of the actions he takes, the decisions made.

 7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

 Determination.

Excerpt:

‘The other two, older and stronger should have dominated Morgund but Morgundʼs commitment was the greater, putting in many extra hours attempting mastery, gave him the edge.  Having been in constant danger he was determined to be prepared for the future which could hold anything.’

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?

My character experiences first love, and all that that entails, a magical ride into a world of delight, where only those who live there too can say what kind of world it is, words have their limitations.  However, as a writer, I show, and hopefully, that tells.  The deepest most potent of spells, is a love spell.

There is another woman which causes sexual tension and causes an explosive atmosphere however Morgund fools himself that he cares little for these woman, he cares for avenging his father’s murder, these girls are but his misspent youth that he will find a way to trivialize and laugh at when time has flown, knowing full well in his heart that he did not treat them well, and that they have residence in his heart whilst it still does beat.

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

The characters are young teenagers and are very beautiful.  Weren’t we all!   In the spring of life life is lustrous and lustful, the body is immortal, and the night is endless, and the tingles that shimmer on the skin risk igniting into a searing flame that scars us right through to our hearts.   The gateway to heaven lies beneath our loins.  That night I am still living and will live my whole life long.

My wife is very beautiful, and gives me  the inspiration to write of love.

 10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

Seward, because he is favored by the gods.  Made in their image, with the mighty body of a Titan with a face to rival Apollo’s.  So handsome that the gods might seek his death.  An honourable man with a sense of duty, uncomplicated, and heroic.

 11.  Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?

 Yes, my best friends and worst enemies.  Of course none of my enemies walk around with swords.

 12.  Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…

Excerpt: 

‘Men ran like waves rushing to shore pitching long, strong, swords, held high. The drum beat from the hill behind them was drowned out by screaming war cries. Suddenly waves of men stopped by a wall of pikes. Within moments Morgundʼs shield was reduced to splinters and blood, his or anotherʼs, blinded him. He was badly shaken by the ferocity of the charge and defence, which nothing could have prepared him for.

Morgund was swept along, grasping his sword firmly, lest it become dislodged amidst the crush. He thought he might be wounded, for he felt nauseous and his vision swam with grey stars. Finally his sight cleared. Thick masses of men were coming forward. Pushed back by the enemy.  Trying to stay afoot was a near impossibility.

Pressure from behind as men surged forth into battle. Morgund almost collapsed, but somehow retained his footing. Charging again, forcing. Falling meant certain death under foot or at the end of a pike. The sheer stress of the situation unhinged minds. Affected men emitted shrieks, or low moaning sobs. Those surrendering to panic lost their lives immediately. Morgund pushed the panic from his mind as the crowds pushed him. To stay upon oneʼs feet meant to live, at least a while longer. Morgund was among the stalwart.

The relentless crush caused disruption upon the separate enemy detachments. The first enemy square, followed by another, sagged. The kingʼs soldiers were tough and determined, however. They key factor affecting the course of the combat that the rebels had numbers against them. They withdrew sluggishly, remaining in their contingents and maintaining their martial discipline slowing the rebel advance.

The bulk of Morgundʼs rebels had flattened the first line of defenders. The kingʼs men were stout and the next line continued to withdraw in good order. To Morgund, it was akin to hacking into an impenetrable forest. After the initial collision no cohesion could be maintained. There was no end to the slaughter, nor low acts. Captured men had their eyes cut out whilst still alive. The young men attracted by trumpet and bright pendant alike came to realise their mistake.

Morgund with no choice nevertheless, to give him the courage to face his enemies, with grudges to repay, Morgund could easily see MacCainstacairt in the men before him. He saw the face of the man he hated which kept his sword arm rising and falling. He felt a severe pain in his head. Had he been hit? His legs were weak. Crouching down, he gained a few minutes of rest but soon thereafter he was one of many who were fighting for space and life. Morgund saw no point in the fierce resistance of his enemies. He could see, as could all, that for them, this day was lost. Yet fight on they did. Hired outsiders, the kings mercenaries knew what that if they were broken into small numbers and spilled into the countryside they would suffer cruelly. Having cut a destructive path through these formerly green and productive lands, defeat would deliver them into the hands of the people they had molested.

The protracted fighting and close quarters combat sapped away the strength of men on both sides. Morgund could feel his strength draining away, as surely as if he was drained of blood. He was jostled remorselessly, battered from side to side.

At one moment he could see the ground, splashed red with blood, littered with the dead and dying, and parts of the dead and those who would die, all being ground under a stampede. To fall was to die, and Morgund almost lost balance when he trampled over something that moved. Then his eyes were skyward as they were dragged thither by ravenʼs wings.

Those black birds wheeled high above, patiently waiting for dead flesh. His vision was grey again, the pain in his head intense. The smell of blood and sweat was overpowering. The shriek of a man impaled on pikes. By his side, a comrade lost his hand, at the wrist, and held it with his one remaining hand. The manʼs sword fell to the ground at his feet, along with the hand. Defenceless, he was cut down. A wave of nausea flooded over Morgund as he breathed in the mingled smells of the flesh torn asunder, life blood flowing freely, the earthen smell of loosened bowels. He vomited violently, coughing and gagging.

Then, from the thick of battle, Morgund was cast into gentler waters, from darkness into light. Men moved alone or in small groups, and he was assured at least of not being trampled. Fatigue settled heavily on him like a lead cloak. Struggling to remain upright, having fought his way through densely packed men, he thought he had survived the worst of the melee.

One of the kingʼs soldiers raised a shield and Morgund saw a glint of metal in the manʼs hand. Morgundʼs feet couldnʼt move. Morgund finally lunged out. Cold steel met flesh, and another of the enemy fell. A greater lull developed. He stood in a sea of tranquillity, alone, on an island bare, none close by.’

I hope you have enjoyed this little peek inside Celtic Blood, by James Loftus! Want to see more…click on the image below to purchase the book at Amazon!

You can find out more about the author, James Loftus, on Goodreads.

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