Random thoughts on our impending doom and everyday life, courtesy of a Romance Writer who occasionally feels the need to talk like a Sailor.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

DARK CHILD with Adina West

Today's guest is my friend, and fellow Momentum author, Adina West. She's written a wonderful Paranormal Romance serial called Dark Child. You can get the first episode for FREE (link below).

Dark Child is my debut novel, a paranormal fantasy initially published by Pan Macmillan’s digital-only imprint Momentum as a serialized novel in five parts starting 1 Feb 2013. With one episode released each month, it has gained a growing following, and on 1st May, Dark Child: Episode 4 debuted at #1 on the Apple iBookstore charts in Australia and New Zealand, and #4 on the iBookstore charts in the UK.

The concluding part to the serial, Dark Child: Episode 5, will be released 1 June together with the Omnibus Edition which re-combines all five parts into one novel as I originally wrote it.

Dark Child: Episode 1, the novella length introduction to this series, is available for FREE. You can download it here.

I’ve been writing for years and years, but I have to admit it took me a while to get my act together. My usual MO was to get a whizz bang idea, and start writing, and then trail off…soon. I have fragments written of lots of projects. Projects I never finished.

There was something a bit different about Dark Child though. It was the first project I attempted after I had a major attitude change. After I decided that I did want to make a serious career of writing and I did want to be published. I’d been writing romance for years, and this time I decided to try something completely different. Well, not completely different – I wanted to keep the romance, but write something with paranormal elements. Yep, you guessed it. Twilight was huge at the time!

Write what you know, I remembered hearing. Write what you like to read. I loved reading paranormal, and without quite realizing it, I’d watched pretty much every vampire movie and TV series made in the last twenty years. Right now I’m a total True Blood and Vampire Diaries fangirl! J So I thought if I liked the genre anyway, it made sense to try something that would have a shot at publication. No more dilly-dallying around.

Anyway, I started with an idea about a human girl – an unusual human girl, who moved into an apartment building with a secret. An apartment building warded with magical runes, so she shouldn’t have been able to see it, let alone walk through the front door. And then my inspiration fired-up and I started embroidering the initial concept. I filled in what had come before that first scene I’d written. What had brought my heroine to this apartment building? Who was she? And I wrote about what happened next. The story of a unique young woman caught out in the wrong place, at very much the wrong time.

When I finally finished, I had the first book of what I thought could be a series, and it was a crazy mish mash of genres - closer to urban fantasy than anything else, but not quite fitting the mold. It had romance, and touches of epic fantasy, and suspense. A combination of all the elements I loved, in a somewhat unholy alliance. And that was Dark Child.

Dark Child - Omnibus Edition:

Perfect for fans of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, this intriguing urban fantasy follows the story of Kat Chanter, who discovers that the world she knows is controlled by ancient creatures who feed on blood. And she might just be one of them ...

Lately things have been getting weird for pathology technician Kat Chanter. She's been craving raw meat, and having dreams so realistic they're scary. When she accepts a job offer from the prestigious Hema Castus Research Institute, she hopes she'll have the chance to discover what's wrong with her, but instead, her move to New York thrusts her headlong into a treacherous hidden world, where the wrong move could be fatal . . .

Tarot, witchcraft and astrology all take on a frightening resonance in Dark Child's richly imagined alternative reality where vampiric beings live among us, hidden by magic. Dark romance tangles with paranormal fantasy and page-turning suspense in this enthralling tale of 'dark child' Kat Chanter, half-human and half-vampire, who has woken an ancient prophecy and must face a formidable destiny.

Available now from leading online retailers, Omnibus buy links are here.

Kat’s life is under threat, and she’s hiding out deep in the White Mountains, under the protection of the wild and dangerous unalil…one of whom doesn’t always make her feel completely safe. Meet Alek. J

He tilted his head, blue eyes suddenly shining with a slumberous, sensual light. She’d seen that expression before. It sent her imagination tumbling into dark and unfamiliar territory, making her face heat. One minute he had her wanting to flee to safety, and the next . . . She swallowed again, struggling to marshal her wayward thoughts. She didn’t want to be feeling this right now.
“Would it help if you knew I’ve never done anything to a woman that she didn’t want me to do?” Alek asked.
God, that she could certainly believe. A melting heat pooled in her belly, liquid and deep, and she tensed, fighting the unwelcome response. Damn him for the pictures he was putting in her head. He may have been gorgeous, but his behavior around her was so completely over the top. He really did take sexual aggressiveness to a new level.
“Alek, you don’t need to tell me about your . . .”
He laughed. “I meant what I said about fulfilling your desires Kat. If you’ll let me. So if you want a back rub one night . . .”
And here we go with the seduction routine, Kat thought. Maybe I am getting to know him after all.
“Umm . . . yeah, well if I don’t get murdered or kidnapped by the Directorate in the next little while I may keep that in mind.” She might have sounded a little sharp, but he was too intense for comfort, and she did find him unnerving, whether he was trying to intimidate her or turning on the charm. But if she was being honest with herself, what unnerved her most was her own reaction to him. Not to the Alek who was trying his damnedest to seduce her with his words; to the man she sensed hiding beneath the smart comments and overconfidence.
“You’re privileged, Kat. Usually I don’t offer. Usually they beg me. And then later, they beg for more.” He gave a wicked grin.
Kat didn’t smile. She eyed him thoughtfully. “I think you like trying to shock me.”
He shrugged in response. “I think you don’t want to believe the offer’s genuine.” There was an edge to his voice, as if she wasn’t responding the way he’d hoped she would.
Kat blinked. What offer? What in heck had they been talking about, before . . . Oh, that’s right, the back rub. If that was really what he had been offering, which she doubted.
“Okay. Whatever.” She took refuge in silence, and then realized he was holding his hand out in her direction – like he wanted to shake hands.
“Friends?” he asked, with a spine-melting smile, and at that moment Kat thought she could forgive him anything.

Adina West grew up on a remote property on Australia’s east coast, in country New South Wales. She spent most of her childhood curled up with a book, and her first teenage job was shelving books at the local library, where she was cautioned more than once for reading them instead of putting them away.
Her first stories were laboriously typed up with two fingers on her parents’ old typewriter. Her dream of one day being a published writer progressed much faster after she learned to touch type and switched to a computer.
Adina lives in Sydney’s leafy north-west with her IT guru husband, two children, and a couple of unwelcome possums who really don’t know how to take a hint. You can visit her online at

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Weekend Writing Warrior ... Lick

Welcome to another Weekend Writing Warriors with eight from LICK. My Contemporary NA out 1st July. Here’s the quickie blurb….

Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure as hell never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hang-over to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man beside her, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

We’re continuing straight on from last week. If you’d like to do a catch up, the entirety of what we’ve covered of the first chapter can be found here. Our heroine is reflecting upon her goal for the previous night and discreetly checking out the condom she still has tucked into the side of her bra. Meanwhile, the gorgeous stranger hanging out with her on the bathroom floor, is sorting out some pain killers to deal with her hangover.

     The condom remained whole and hearty. How disappointing. Or maybe not. Finally plucking up the courage to get back on the horse, so to speak, and then not remembering it would have been horrible.
     The man handed me the glass of water and placed two pills into my hand. He then sat back on his haunches to watch me. He had an intensity to him that I was in no condition to deal with.
     “Thanks,” I said, then swallowed the aspirin.

Friday, 24 May 2013

The keen joy that is "being a book whore".

I saw one of those ecard thingies the other day that said something along the lines of “Yes, I’m a book whore. I open my mind to each and every one of them.” Can you relate? I could. You can usually tell within the first few pages if a story is speaking to you. If you like the voice and the writing style appeals etc. Does the situation interest you? Are you relating in some small way with the heroine? Do you care what happens to her? And the hero … ahh, the hero. Does he do it for you? Are you willing to open your mind to the fantasy that is the story in front of you and undertake this journey with these two people?

That was a lot of questions. Sorry. I hate to put you on the spot like that, but these issues needed to be raised. Last night I read “After Hours” by Cara McKenna. The hero, Kelly Robak, was about as alpha as they come. Big, burly, brutish. Lots of words that ended with ‘b’. Slowly, over the course of the story, the heroine (and his growing feelings for her), peeled him back to a softer, more accessible version of himself. Like an onion but muscular and with cool scars. He still had a definite edge to him, make no mistake about that. But his character had grown, opened up and evolved.

Anyway, I was thinking about why he was such a great hero. What was it about him that he’d wormed his way into my mind and made himself all at home there? Because that’s what books with great characters do, isn’t it? They stay with you long after the story is finished. They probably even demand a reread. I can just picture them getting all up in your face going “Oi! You and me. On the couch. Now.” And of course, you’d be all like “Yes, sir. Right away. Let me just mute the husband and two point four children and I’ll be right with you.”

To my mind, Kelly Robak proved himself to be a great hero because he ticked all the boxes. (I don’t know how to make boxes or ticks in a format blogger will allow so whatever just go with it…) Note: These are the characteristics I look for in a hero. We’re all different and variety is a beautiful necessary thing.

Personality is very important.
Physically appealing? YEP. Now that doesn’t mean he was pretty (not that there’s anything wrong with pretty, no sireee). It just means that he appealed in his own special way, bless him.

Hot in the sack? Oh, you betcha.

Personality? Yes, he had one. He definitely had one. Sometimes he was surly and sometimes he smiled. But what he did always made sense within the context of who he was.

Background? Kelly came from somewhere and it had shaped and affected him. He had a back story that made sense and deepened him as a character. There was nothing two dimensional about him. 

Dependable? I don’t mean, did he have pot roast every Tuesday night without fail. Nothing so tedious as that. But when the heroine needed him, he came through for her in spades. No matter that they were going through a rough patch at the time, he was there when she needed him.

Okay, I’m going to wrap up the categories there. Though no doubt, they could go on and on. I was going to do a list of some of my recent favourites but this post is getting long. So why don’t I leave that job to you? Go on. Hit me with it. Who are your favourite heroes and why? What makes you swoon and reread, time and again?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

On the subject of delicate little artistic feelings.

WARNING: Naughty language and sweeping generalizations occur here. Deal with it. And yes, this is a topic we tend to keep coming back to.

Talk to the hedgehog.
Writers are weird sorts. Introverts. Shut-ins. The kind of people who have too many cats, but instead of cats we have books. And sometimes cats too. I mean, why restrict yourself, right? Our uniform is pajamas or a track suit if we’re feeling fancy. Our social skills can be hit and miss, and also, we like a drink or two. Occasionally, we’re considered neurotic but that’s bullshit. *awkward laugh* Why? Did you hear something?

In times gone by, it didn’t matter that we were often perceived as being a little odd. We could go about our daily job of making up adventures for our imaginary friends and it was all good. In fact, it was grand. To a large extent, the real world could go take a flying fuck. If our editor wanted to give us a hard time about Mr Fletcher’s sudden inexplicable interest in wearing his wife’s underwear in Chapters three thru five, she couldn’t just dash off an email or summon us to Skype. And interaction with our audience was limited to the odd signing or some such.

But then things changed. The internet happened. Suddenly, everyone could publish and the competition was fiercer than ever. Social media was the go and writers had to promote themselves, to throw themselves out into the wild and wanton world of the buying public. But creating something requires you to have delicate little artistic feelings. They’re what cause you to dream and care enough to create in the first place. They’re what spur you on when it seems like Heidi the Hedgehog’s declaration of love isn’t quite emotive enough, no matter how many ways you rewrite it. *tears on the keyboard*

Delicate little artistic feelings can, however, also hinder you, the bastards. When a crit partner says she doesn’t believe Heidi truly gives a shit about Gary the gnome, it hurts. When the first one star review comes in and there’s a gif of someone running Heidi over with a lawnmower leaving nothing but a splatter of blood behind, it hurts. Your delicate little artistic feelings turn to depression and despair followed by the mother of all ranty rages. All of these feelings are valid. Taking to the internet to voice them to the masses, however, is dumb. The internet is not only instantaneous, but it is forever. You cannot control who sees what. So talk to your friends. Talk to a hedgehog. Wear someone else’s underwear if you think it will help. Don’t take it public. Whenever possible, keep your delicate little feelings in check and off the internet. The end.