Monday, May 21, 2012

Guest Blog by Lisa Shearin - Unexpected characters can put the magic in your story

Please welcome Lisa Shearin to The Qwillery.  All Spell Breaks Loose, the 6th and final Raine Benares novel, will be published by Ace on May 29, 2012.

Unexpected characters can put the magic in your story.

One of the best things about writing is when my characters surprise me or the story suddenly goes off in a completely unexpected direction—or best of all, both at the same time.

That’s when the magic happens.

Writers usually fall into one of two categories: plotter or pantster. Hard-core plotters know exactly what happens from A to Z. Others are happy with just a loose sketch. Pantsters throw plot and caution to the wind and just dive in. I used to be the former, and have gradually evolved into the later.

But sometimes for the good of the book, you have to toss any plots or plans you may have right out the window.

Say you’re happily writing along, everything going according to plan. Character A is behaving perfectly. Then Character B—or even a character you’ve never met before—suddenly enters the scene. Everything changes. It’s become my experience that this can be a very good thing. It means that your characters and your story are taking on even more of a life of their own. Whenever this happens to me, I’ve learned to run, don’t walk, after the interfering Character B or the newbie. Those characters know perfectly well what they’re doing and why they’re there even if you don’t. The key is to go with the flow.

Some of my favorite characters have come into existence by crashing my plot party. In a book, party crashers are always welcome. For me, they’re either being pulled into a dark alley, or pushed out of a bar. I’ve learned to pay attention to these people. They’re worth watching—and listening to.

In the Raine Benares series, two of my most notable examples are Piaras Rivalin and Talon Nathrach.

Piaras was supposed to be a “fetch & carry” character, one who would put in only a brief appearance at his grandmother Tarsilia Rivalin’s apothecary shop in MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND. Everything was going along just fine until a few chapters later when Raine sees Piaras being yanked into a dark alley by the henchmen of a goblin prince. Neither Raine nor I saw that one coming. So Raine followed Piaras, and I followed Raine.

Then in ARMED & MAGICAL, a young goblin nightclub singer/dancer is kidnapped by Khrynsani temple guards. I had no clue who this kid was. Turned out he was the son of one of my major characters, Tam Nathrach. Though now I know Talon very well, and I’m not in the least bit surprised that his character would stage such a dramatic entrance. In ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE, Tam’s mom perfectly describes her grandson: “impulsive, stubborn, arrogant, and believes himself irresistible to women and impervious to death.” Yep, that’s my Talon.

Some of my best characters have been my least expected—and my most magical.

About Raine Benares

All Spell Breaks Loose
Raine Benares 6
Ace, May 29, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

My name is Raine Benares—and it sucks to be me right now.

I’m a seeker who found the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that gave me unlimited powers I never wanted. Now I’ve lost the rock—and the magic it gave me—to a goblin dark mage whose main goals are my death and world domination. This is more than incentive enough for a little trip to the goblin capital of Regor with a small band of good friends, not-so-good friends, and one outright enemy. Don’t ask.

All we need to do is destroy the Saghred, kill the mage, and put a renegade goblin prince on the throne. Did I mention I’ll be doing that with no magic?

Con & Conjure
Raine Benares 5
Ace, March 29, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Raine Benares is a seeker who finds lost things and people. Ever since the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that's given her unlimited power, has bonded to her, the goblin king and the elves have wanted to possess its magic themselves. Which means a goblin thief and her ex-fiancé-an elven assassin-are after her. To survive, she'll need the help of her notorious criminal family.

Bewitched & Betrayed
Raine Benares 4
Ace, April 27, 2010
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Raine Benares is a seeker. She finds lost things and missing people- usually alive. But now she's been bonde with the Saghred, a soul- stealing stone of unlimited power, and must hunt down its escapees. Especially since one of them is also hunting her...

The Trouble with Demons
Raine Benares 3
Ace, April 28, 2009
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

For seeker Raine Benares, a demon infestation on the Isle of Mid couldn't come at a worse time. Already fighting the influence of the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone, Raine discovers she is also magically bonded to a dark mage and a white knight, two dangerous and powerful men on opposing sides.

Turns out, the demons want the key to unlock the Saghred. As a seeker, Raine should be able to find it first. As the axis of light and dark powers, she's a magical cataclysm waiting to happen.

Armed & Magical
Raine Benares 2
Ace, April 29, 2008
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

My name is Raine Benares. Until last week I was a seeker—a finder of things lost and people missing. Now I’m psychic roommates with the Saghred, an ancient stone with cataclysmic powers. Just me, the stone, and all the souls it’s ingested over the centuries. Crowded doesn’t even begin to describe it. All I want is my life back—which means getting rid of the stone and the power it possesses. To sort things out, I head for the Isle of Mid, home to the most prestigious sorcery school, as well as the Conclave, the governing body for all magic users. It’s also home to power- grubbing mages who want me dead and goblins who see me as a thief. As if that’s not enough, Mid’s best student spellsingers are disappearing left and right, and I’m expected to find them. Lives are at stake, goblins are threatening to sue, mages are getting greedier, and the stone’s power is getting stronger by the hour. This could get ugly.

Magic Lost, Trouble Found
Raine Benares 1
Ace, May 29, 2007
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Raine Benares is a Sorceress Seeker of average ability until she comes into possession of an amulet that amplifies her powers-and her enemies.

About Lisa

Lisa Shearin currently works as the editor at an advertising agency. She has been a magazine editor and writer of corporate marketing materials of every description. Lisa enjoys singing, reading, writing novels, and fencing (foil and epee, as well as rapier & dagger dueling). She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two cats, two spoiled-rotten retired racing greyhounds, and a Jack Russell terrier who rules them all. Visit her website at

Follow Lisa on Twitter.

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of All Spell Breaks Lose - print book for US and eBook for international - from Ace/Penguin!

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What missing item would you have Raine Benares find for you?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address for the print copy of All Spells Break Loose and an email address for the digital copy. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, May 28, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. G'morning, Sally! Thank you so much for inviting me to the Qwillery!

  2. The thought that Piaras and Talon jumped into the story and messed up your plans doesn't surprise me. They're those sorts of boys -but so much fun!
    Oh boy, what would I have Raine find for me? I guess my brain and/or motivation is out of the question? *sigh*
    How about my socks? I seem to have lost about a dozen pairs...
    my email is: hannah.mohammed.hmg (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. Perhaps she could help me fine my sanity :) Or maybe all the books I've lost in the many moves I've had to do!
    Email: bluetenshi55(at)

  4. Hmm... Can I have her "find" me a new car, lol? NO? Okay, maybe she could find my dog's leash, because my husband lost it and the pooch is NOT happy. This would be a big help, thanks! ;)

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted (!/RebeLovesBooks/status/204579066425253888)


  5. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win a great book. Loved the series and fully expect this one to equal the others. Now as to what Raine could find for about the diamond earring my cat pulled out of my ear while I slept. Seems she likes the shiny as much as I do. ;)

    PS: BTW I had trouble logging in, hence my "anonymous" entry.

  6. My pearl earrings! Sheesh, you take one nap in a car after a conference, and all your jewelry crawls away and hides. x.x Can't wait until Tuesday! The other five books are making room on the shelf for the last one.

    rebekkahniles at gmail dot com

  7. I lost my mothers ring a couple of years ago. I love it and would love to find it. I have searched my house and it's like it disappeared. I have a feeling one of my children misplaced it.
    These books sound great. This is a new author and series for me. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

  8. I'd like her to help me find my memory.

    I follow the blog.


  9. My sister painted a watercolour painting that has since been lost and I'd love to have it back! Thanks for the chance to win the book.

    My e-mail addy is

  10. Hm. Lost items. Well, I am missing an earring - just one. A friend who makes jewelry made them for me and despite the fact that I'm not a sparkly kind of person, I liked them very much and wore them often and they were very sparkly green. Now I only have one :-( but I plan on making it a pendant so all is not lost. If Raine can find the lost one, I'd be very happy!

    Thank you very much for all the Raine books and this giveaway opportunity!
    Oh - also a Quillery follower...

  11. I was going to say my cat, but I actually would really love it is she could find my mother's photo album. It has all her wedding pictures in it and it's gone completely missing!!!

    Looks like I need to be a quillery follower!





  12. My fortune! I swear I was born with one. You know - that little silver spoon? How did it disappear...

    +3: comment, follower, tweeted!/LindaThum/status/204717957627125760

  13. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest. I can't think of anything I would want found.

  14. About 13 years ago, I put $200 cash for a car payment into a book figuring there's no way I could forget which one. I did. It's got to be in a book I still own.
    I'm a gfc follower.


  15. I'd have her find my wedding rings. I think my toddler dropped them down the toilet.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC: molly.frenzel
    +1 tweet:

  16. I would definitely have her find this amazing pair of purple diamond peacock earrings. I didn't appreciate them when my mom gave them to me a long time, but I would totally love to have them back.

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower of The Qwillery
    +1 Tweeted:

  17. My sanity. Would that be possible? ;D

    I gfc/twitter follow
    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  18. I've been waiting for my ship to come in, so if Raine could find it, that would be awesome. :D

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC: Barbara E.

  19. A first edition of Jane Eyre.

    +1 for being Qwillery follower, so 2 entries : )


  20. Lost item....hhmmm.... my earrings. I lost my earring when i shopping.

    GFC as Filia Oktarina
    Twitter :!/FiliaTsuki/status/204968882501451776

    TsukiSelene at yahoo dot co dot id

  21. I would like her to help me find my original hardcover of "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo. Except I think it's probably a lost cause. :-)

    jeschmitt at cox dot com

  22. My youth!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  23. My very first journal that my grandparents signed and dedicated to me. My grandma died shortly after she gave it to me. I still hope it is only misplaced somewhere in a box since we moved around so much.

    +1 commented
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted:

    Thank you!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com