Thursday, March 28, 2013

Author Interview with Kylie Griffin

Today I have Kylie Griffin, author of the super awesome Light Blade series on my blog answering a few questions. She's a fantastically fun lady and a gem of an author to talk to. Check out what she has to say about writing and her new book ALLEGIANCE SWORN, which comes out in just 5 days!!! And don't forget to post your comment to win Light Blade goodies. I can tell you from personal experience that they are super cool!

Kylie, thank you so much for stopping by today. I'm dying to know some of the ins and outs of how you've created this amazing world.
Amanda, thanks for having me. I'm sure you've got some great questions, so let's get started!

Okay, first question. Are the Light Blade books the first books you've ever written? I know a lot of new authors say they have been writing books for years until they finally wrote one they thought would sell. Is that your experience?
Yes, I have been writing for years, Amanda. I started as an 11y.o. and continued right through high school, encouraged by two wonderful English teachers.
Most of the stories though will never see the light of day again. Those years are what I consider my apprenticeship, the time I spent learning the craft of writing, entering contests, going to workshops and learning about the publishing industry. Many of the ideas from these early pieces of work however will be salvaged and reused.
So, the Light Blade series aren't the first books I've written. If you're talking complete manuscripts, then they're #6, #7 & #8 of the work I've produced that are what I view as being of a publishable standard.

Do you have a special place where you do your writing?
I have an office/library where I like to do most of my writing. Sometimes I migrate with my laptop into the living room and write in my recliner, just for a change of scenery.
Something I do like when I'm writing is a burning incense or a scented candle. Other than that, I like silence. Music just distracts me. If it has lyrics then I end up listening to them or breaking out in verse. LOL.

I've always wanted to know, how do you choose the names of your characters?
I have half a dozen baby name books on my bookshelf. I'll flip through them looking for names, take part of one and a bit of another and combine them. I like saying them out loud and hearing the combination of sounds as well as how they look on paper. Sometimes I spot a name in the credits of a TV show and use it.
That's sounds really interesting, and hard to decide!

When you write your books, do you write from beginning to end, or do you have specific events in mind and then fill the story in around them?
My writing process has evolved over time. When I first started out I was a pantster. I took an idea and just wrote, and ended up with with many, many incomplete pieces of work. 
Now, because of the publishing process, I've had to evolve and become more of a plotter. My editor needs a rough idea of what happens in the story when I submit a proposal. So I have to know he beginning, several pivotal scenes, and the end before I write it.
As for the nitty-gritty process of writing, I like to go from beginning to end rather than just writing scenes out of order and cobbling them together. I'll write fresh scenes in the morning and by evening go back over and edit it. The next morning I like to reread what I wrote the day before to get into the mind-set and go again from there.
Rinse and repeat for about 3-4 months and I end up with a finished book!

When you started the Light Blade series, what came first? Did you have an idea about the characters you wanted to write and then created the demons and the half demons and such to fight that, or did you want to write about demons and then develop the characters from there?
Annika first “appeared” to me exactly as readers discover her in the opening scene of VENGEANCE BORN - descending into father’s dungeon about to meet a human Light Blade warrior for the first time, about to begin her escape and achieve her goal of beginning a new life.
It's usually the characters I see first when I come up with an idea for a story. They're usually in a situation and I just play around with the idea (aka daydream) until the details take shape and form.
As the Light Blade series developed I put all the details of characters, places, animals, the language, politics, military and cultural information etc. into a series bible so I could keep track of everything. I even drew maps as the world grew (they appear in ALLIANCE FORGED an ALLEGIANCE SWORN).
As an avid reader of fantasy, I appreciate a map in the front of the book to see where everything is and get perspective on a world I've never been to.

Will you ever give us access to your "Series Bible" that you reference on your blog? I know we'd all be dying to see it!
LOL! You make the "Series Bible" sound like a Top Secret document! I guess it could be considered just that given it has blurbs and information about future stories in the Light Blade series.
It's not a particularly neat notebook, as I write most of the information in by hand (and I don't have the neatest handwriting!) and I've loose leaf pieces of paper shoved into it as well. The pages are divided into sections, one for each book I've written so far, and they have preliminary ideas jotted down for future books in this series. Each completed book section contains information under the heading I outlined in the previous question.
But, yes, to answer your question people have had access to it and probably will again. I've taken it to writers conferences and author talks as a "show and tell" item for workshops, and I have no doubt that it will go on similar future excursions. :-)
It's just so interesting to see how authors think through their process, I think it would be like an insight into your mind :)

Okay. Last question and this was one I was dying to know the answer to before I read ALLEGIANCE SWOWN. The events in Vengeance Born and Alliance Forged all seem to be leading us to a big battle. Will we get the battle in Allegiance Sworn? And will that wrap up the current plot line and move us into a new one, or will we not get the resolution quite yet?
Amanda, this is a great question! 
Before I wrote ALLEGIANCE SWORN I'd have given the resounding answer of "Yes! A big battle is planned for this book! The Light Blades and Na'Reish will decide once and for all which of them will prevail over the other. And yes, this will wrap up the current plot line."But - yep, you knew that was coming, didn't you? - all I want to say is that the big battle morphed into something I wasn't expecting. No specific details (*grin*), but there is a battle or two, lives are threatened, decisions are made, people die.
As the story is set in demon territory for the most part, readers will get to see the Na'Reish up close and personal. And as Arek spends most of his time as a slave in this story, readers will see and experience Na'Reish culture from his perspective, and it ain't pretty!
For those also wondering if we get to see the demon leader, Savyr, you will. Arek and Imhara encounter him in a rather tension-filled scene that has unexpected consequences for both of them.
What I envisaged as "the big battle" and what the characters wanted, ended in a compromise that I hope readers will understand and like. Instead of one final battle, ALLEGIANCE SWORN is the first of many confrontations between opposing sides. I can't say more than that without giving away spoilers for this book and the next two (which I hope my editor will contract!).
I totally saw this as I was reading ALLEGIANCE SWORN. The demon realm was so interesting and the book had such a different feel to it. It was really powerful. And I thought I was going to be disappointed that there wasn't the resolution I was looking for, but I found it incredibly satisfying in the most unsatisfying way! If that makes any sense. LOL.

Amanda, it's been great being here on your blog! I really enjoyed answering your question about the "Series Bible" and I was wondering what sorts of things readers like authors to share with them along these lines.
Do you enjoy reading about how the author keep their world-building consistent? Deleted scenes? Character interviews? Something else? The information would be helpful to know for future guest blogs or when talking to readers at events or book signings.
Anyone who shares an answer & leaves an email address (so you can be contacted) will have their name thrown into the hat for a special Light Blade swag* draw in thanks! (*signed bookmarks, magnets, notepad & Allegiance Sworn tote bag) The winner will be announced Wednesday, 3rd April, 2013.
Kylie, thanks so much for coming! It's always so interesting to get a look inside a favorite author's brain. Thanks for hanging out with us today, and I can't wait to see where we go next in the Light Blade world!

Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when
she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend
the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her
childhood adventures.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young
children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.
Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she
volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit
her website at

ALLEGIANCE SWORN (Bk#3 in the Light Blade series) comes out on 2nd April, 2013. For those new to the series, the mass market version of VENGEANCE BORN (Bk#1) releases on the same day. If you aren't familiar with the series, jump on the wagon! You don't know what your missing!

If you want an inside look at Kylie's books, check out my reviews!
Book #1
Book #2
Book #3

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Allegiance Sworn by Kylie Griffin


I've got a very special review today of Kylie Griffin's Allegiance Sworn. This is book 3 in her spectacular Light Blade series. This is a special review, because the book doesn't come out until next Tuesday, April 2nd.

One of the perks of working in a library means you sometimes get book releases before they come out. You should have seen me on Friday when I opened a book box and found this! I was literally jumping up and down with excitement. And it turned out it was for very good reason!

***Spoiler Alert*** If you haven't read Alliance Forged, don't keep reading. There may be spoilers from the end of the book.

Poor Arek Barial (former second to the Lady's Chosen) has been taken hostage by a group of Na'Reish slave traders during a failed attempt on a blood raid. From what we know of him and his hostility towards the demon race, this is a fate worse than death. When Arek ends up in Imhara's fortress, it is impossible for him to believe that Na'esih, Na'Chi (half-demons, half human) and humans are all living together in peace and equality. Arek must decide whether to hold on to his hatred and resentment, or give it up and work with Imhara towards a common goal. And if they happen to not be able to keep their hands off each other in the mean time? I guess we'll just have to suffer through it. Or enjoy every second. Either way ;-)

Before I read Allegiance Sworn, I thought that it wasn't possible for anyone to be hotter than Varian. Oh boy, was I wrong. "Clean and clothed, he caught her eye. Now she couldn't look away. The morning sunlight angling in from the windows caught the dips and hollows of his body, outlining every smooth line and heavy curve of muscle along his bare shoulders and chest. Her gaze followed the fine dusting of blond hair as it arrowed down his ridged abdomen then disappeared beneath the waistband of his breeches" (Page 86). I think I re-read that part about 5 times and then had to cool myself off. Can you say hot, hot, HOT?! Arek may just be THE hottest novel character I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Maybe it's because on top of all his manliness, he is only human, so it is believable that there could be such a man out there. Either way, yum!

I have to say, Allegiance Sworn was different than I thought it would be. For the most part, I could see where the story was going, but what I didn't expect was the emotion in this story. For some reason, Arek and Imhara's story just grabbed me by the heart and yanked. I felt their pain and loss and I understood what motivated them. They came from the same place and never were two people more suited to each other. In having a discussion with another librarian, I couldn't describe just how emotional this book was for me. It was so much deeper than the first two, I just wasn't expecting it. And the ending had me feeling desolate and alone and heartbroken. Needless to say, it was amazing. Never have I felt such a range of emotions while reading a book. When they hurt, I hurt. When they were touched, I was touched. When they felt empty, I felt empty. It was just profound. I loved it. So, thank you, Kylie. No one has ever done that to me before. It definitely gets a rating of 5 out of 5 stars!

So, the moral of the story is, next Tuesday, April 2nd, get to your closest book store and buy Allegiance Sworn. And let me know what you thought.

Also, don't forget that in just two days, Thursday, March 28th, Kylie will be doing an interview right here! Stop by and get entered to win some cool prizes!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Death, Doom and Detention by Darynda Jones

The normal part of Lorelei MacAlister’s life didn’t just slip away quietly the day Jared Kovach came to town. Nope. The normal part of her life shattered. It exploded. It burst into a gazillion shards of fleeting light.It went out with a bang.
Goodbye normal.Hello dark and eerie.

While her best friend, Brooklyn, is focusing all of her energy on helping Lorelei hone her abilities, Lorelei is dealing with the reality that Satan’s second in command has taken up residence inside her body. Oh, and the fact that she has a crush on the Angel of Death. But what a beautiful death it is. If those weren’t bad enough, something sinister has come to town and it wants nothing more than to hear Lorelei’s dying breath as it strangles it out of her. Thank goodness the gang has a supernatural champion. But what happens when the only being who can save them switches sides midstream? How can a group of misfits capture one of the most powerful beings ever created? And will they find out how to bring Jared back to them before it’s too late?

Lorelei McAlister used to be a normal teenage girl. She and her 2 best friends were just trying to survive high school, while trying to avoid she-whose-name-must-never-be-spoken. You know? Normal teenage things. Unfortunately, Lor had the great misfortune of being born the last prophet of Arabeth. You'd think that would be awesome, except that it means she's the only one who can save the world by stopping a massive war before it even starts, and because of that, only about a million different spiritual entities want her dead. No big, right? And to top it all off, her pretty much boyfriend, Jared, aka the Angel of Death, is kinda avoiding her. Girl can't catch a break. Her best friend Brooke thinks Lorelei's ability to have visions is wicked awesome, but she doesn't realize how stressful it is for her. When something horrible happens to Jared, Lorelei finally has to decide just how she is going to take a stand in this war, whether she likes it or not.

There is death (and boy is he hot!), doom (supernatural war, remember?) and detention (oh the joys of high school). Darynda Jones' YA Darklight series is for teens and adults alike. Ms. Jones has given us a funny, yet touching story about a girl who just wants to be normal, but can't. Similar to her Charley Davidson books, she's given us a bad boy to love, who is a sucker for his woman. Even though this is a YA novel, it is still plenty steamy, just without being explicit. If you're a fan of Paranormal Romance, you must add this series to your shelf. I can't wait to see what happens next in "Death and the Girl He Loves" which comes out October 8th. 5 out of 5 stars for the Mighty Darynda Jones!

And don't forget, it's just over 2 weeks until author Kylie Griffin stops by to talk about her new book, Allegiance Sworn, which comes out April 2nd. Stop by March 28th to get the inside scoop on what I consider the best new series of 2012 and to sign up to win a SWAG pack.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Upcoming: Author Interview with Kylie Griffin!

Hello everyone!

On Thursday, March 28th, Kylie Griffin, author of the incredibly addicting Light Blades series will be here to discuss her books in anticipation of her upcoming release Allegiance Sworn. Stop by between March 28th and the release date, April 2nd, to participate in the discussion and be entered to win a swag pack.

Kylie has some terrific answers to questions I know you've been wanting to ask. So stop by and get the scoop on the sensational Light Blade series.

Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian

It's finally here! Book 11 in Lara Adrian's sizzling Midnight Breed series is titled Edge of Dawn. This story follows Mira, the pint-sized oracle we know and love, but now, she is all grown up! *** Spoiler Alert*** If you haven't read Darker After Midnight, don't continue. There are spoilers to the end of Darker that you won't want to know.

Edge of Dawn starts out 20 years after the events of Darker After Midnight. At the end of Darker, the Order kills Dragos and the Breed are exposed to the humans. The last 20 years have been full of fighting and struggles to find a new normal, now that humans are aware of the Breed's existence.

Mira is now a captain in the Order's ranks. She reminds me a lot of her mother, Renata, with her sassy attitude and unending loyalty, as well as being a super hot fighter chick. Mira is suffering the loss of Kellan Archer, the Bree youth whose family was slaughtered by Dragos in an effort to find the Order's compound.

It has been eight years since the blast that killed Kellan, or so Mira thinks. She's out of control and quickly spiraling toward self-destruction. Kellan is the only man she's ever loved, and she just can't let him go. When a patrol night goes seriously wrong, Lucan banishes Mira to babysitting duty. As she gets to her missions house, a genius scientist related to an important council member, she finds a kidnapping in the works and is abducted herself. She is taken back to the rebels' bunker and gets the shock of her life.

Kellan Archer was supposed to remain dead. The blast that everyone believed took his life eight years ago provided the perfect opportunity to escape the horrible vision he saw in Mira's eyes. He never expected to see her again, but he couldn't bring himself to leave Boston, so it's no wonder they couldn't be separated for long.

Mira feels betrayed by Kellan. She has spent the last eight years mourning him and destroying her life due to her grief. But she can't forget the love that she has had for Kellan since she was a little girl of eight. When a member of Kellan's group goes rogue and kidnaps the scientist, it looks as if Kellan's terrible future is really going to come true. Is Mira's love enough to protect Kellan from the vision he saw eight year ago? And is Kellan's blood strong enough to heal Mira's deepest wounds?

I must admit, when I heard that the story was going to be 20 years in the future I thought 1. Did nothing interesting happen in those 20 years? And 2. Wait a second! We've got loads of questions. Surely they made some headway in 20 years! Also, I worried about how I would feel about Mira being an adult and having sex. In my mind she would always be the little Mouse, but Lara didn't disappoint me. She made the story feel like it really had progressed 20 years and that all the characters had grown in that time. It was heart-pounding and heart-breaking and I couldn't put it down. I read it when I was supposed to be working (oops) and I finished it by the end of the work day. I absolutely absorbed the story and almost wet my pants at the ending. 5 out of 5 stars for sure.

I cannot wait to see where Lara Adrian takes the series next. I just know it's going to be exceptional! Crave the Night can't come soon enough!