Showing posts with label The Protectors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Protectors. Show all posts

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - December 1, 2013




I hope all my American friends have had a great Thanksgiving. I can't believe it is now December and only a few weeks away from 2014. It feels like time is melting away....even more so when I realised it was time to write this post and I hadn't read very much. I am blaming work for my lack of reading. Not only is it 'tis the season to be jolly' it is also 'tis the season to infect your colleagues with your lurgy' which I have to say doesn't make for such a joyous lyric. It was a positive germ factory in my office this week and needless to say I am now sick (please insert sympathy here).

I wasn't very successful getting back on track reading new books but in an effort to make myself feel better I went back and re-read Once Burned and Twice Tempted from the Night Prince series by Jeaniene Frost. These were really quick reads, especially the second time around and I didn't tax myself too much with the plot (mainly because I had read it before). I prefer this series to the Night Huntress series and think I am the only person on the planet that doesn't get all excited about Cat and Bones. Leila and Vlad are way more interesting of a couple especially as Leila gets only a little mad at her vampire hubby for skewering his enemies in their dungeon. I also like the way that Frost ends each book. Rather than a big dramatic cliff hanger Frost has all the action earlier on (but still close to the end of the book) and then finishes practically mid-sentence. Each time I have read these books I always have to go back and check that there weren't any pages I had missed reading as they end so abruptly.

One book off my TBR that I did manage to read was Between Two Thorns which is the first in the Split Worlds series by Emma Newman. I got this book from NetGalley even though it was first published by Angry Robot back in February (2013). I wasn't immediately grabbed by the story which switches between Mundanis (where we, normal mundanes live) and Aquae Sulis which is in the Nether, an alternate world set more or less in 18th/19th century England and where the leading families are supported by a fae lord. Everyone is kept in line by the Arbiters who are effectively the police and who carry their souls around their neck in a pendant. There are several characters to keep you busy including Sam, a mundane who has witnessed a crime he has been charmed to forget, Max an Arbiter who is cut off from other Arbiters and whose soul now resides around the neck of a gargoyle and Cathy, who has escaped her overbearing parents to live in Mundanis. These characters all come together to try to solve the crime Sam has witnessed.

In the early chapters of the book the scenes would rapidly change between these three characters but it was Max and the Arbiters who I found the most difficult to come to grips with. I couldn't really understand the significance of why Arbiters had their souls implanted in a necklace and I am still not entirely sure other than perhaps being a plot device. None of the characters were particularly likeable but I did think Cathy was slightly more sympathetic. Cathy was trying to escape an arranged marriage and life of virtual servitude to a man she neither liked or respected as she tries to hide in Mundanis. Cathy also has all the best lines and my favourite was when she was wishing she was back at home (in Mundanis) playing Mass Effect rather than standing by the punchbowl in a crinoline heavy ball gown in Aquae Sulis.

Between Two Thorns was one of the reasons why I ended up reading the Night Prince series again. I couldn't really concentrate on the plot that kept rapidly switching between characters. It wasn't until mid way that I was actually engaged in the story. I did end up really enjoying this book and Newman leaves us with a great cliffhanger and I am off to find book 2 (and possibly 3 if I am super naughty).

In the midst of feeling sorry for myself and my impending cold I decided I need something else to read that I could get through really quickly. I had a quick look at what Amazon thought I should be reading and came across Damon, the first in the Protectors series by Teresa Gabelman. This book had good reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon but I wasn't impressed other than with my ability to read it in only 2 hours. I thought it was too stereotypical of the genre (vampire based PNR) and had a few direct similarities to the Sookie Stackhouse series where humans used vamps for their blood. I predicted every plot point and thought the characters were a bit one dimensional. Other readers enjoyed this book more than I but I felt a tad let down as I didn't think it lived up to all the stars it seemed to get.

That was it for me on the reading front. I am hoping I am more successful next week getting back on track. I hope you have a great week and until my next WIR as always, Happy Reading.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guest Blog by Nancy Northcott, author of Renegade - Anticipation - December 20, 2012

Please welcome Nancy Northcott to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Renegade (The Protectors 1) was published on November 6th (eBook) and was published on December 18th in Trade Paperback. Read an interview with Nancy here.






Anticipation

Sally, thank you for having me here today!

Reading often fills me with anticipation. As I turn the pages, I look forward to the triumph of the good characters and the happy conclusion to any romantic arc in the book. I expect serious problems, even danger and disaster, along the way, but I figure the ending will leave me satisfied.

As I writer, I try to deliver what I like to read. This means anticipating what readers might want. Renegade, my debut novel is labeled paranormal romance. I think of it as a combination of dark fantasy and romantic suspense, a label that won’t fit a vendor’s marketing niche. To make it satisfying to readers, I had to look at the components of those genres.

First, I needed characters who had appealing goals but would not be natural allies. A sheriff and a fugitive wouldn’t join forces immediately. They might eventually, though, if the fugitive is wrongly accused. So Renegade is about the mages’ shire reeve, or sheriff, Valeria Banning, and the mage world’s most wanted criminal, former shire reeve Griffin Dare. Trying to clear his name and unmask the real threat force them into dangerous situations that also draw them closer to each other.

I also needed a world and a magic system with rules and consistency. For those, I drew on Wicca, New Age concepts, and folklore. My mages’ power is nature-based, and they can draw only so much of it at any time, or they can burn themselves out with an overload. I set that limit because I felt it was more realistic and more challenging. Unless the characters face significant, believable challenges, the plot has no conflict. It’s the Superman problem of finding an adversary who poses a real threat.

I wanted a place with abundant life energy for my mages to draw. Based on vague childhood memory, I chose the Okefenokee Swamp. It’s actually a peat bog, not a swamp, so it doesn’t smell and isn’t muddy, but its 700 or so square miles in southeast Georgia teem with various forms of wildlife.

Every genre novel hero or heroine needs an adversary, and my mages have the ghouls. Corrupted by dark magic, they can’t breed among themselves, so they kidnap mages or Mundanes (normal humans) for that purpose. They also have talons that extend from beneath their fingernails to drain magical energy or inject potentially lethal venom into their prey. Unable to digest anything not freshly killed, they keep animals for that purpose. They also engage in chaos magic, which not only violates the natural order but feeds on terror, pain, and the ritual sacrifices of souls.

I read pretty much every type of genre fiction as well as a range of nonfiction. I can enjoy a novel that doesn’t have a romantic arc, but I prefer those that do. Renegade is basically a romantic suspense novel set in a contemporary fantasy world, so the romance has to be the primary story arc to deliver what romantic suspense readers most anticipate. Griff’s and Val’s battles against ghouls and mage intrigue provide the provide the danger and suspense elements and fuel the romantic conflict.

I always enjoy reading, but now anticipation, for me, is also about building the mages’ world, driving them toward a final confrontation with their greatest foes. I’m enjoying the process and hope readers will enjoy the end result.

Thanks again for having me, Sally. I’d like to wish all your readers a happy holiday season and a wonderful 2013!





About Renegade

Renegade
The Protectors 1
Grand Central Publishing , November 6, 2012 (eBook)
December 18, 2012 (Trade Paperback)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

SHE FOLLOWS THE RULES

As the Collegium council's top sheriff of the southeastern United States, Valeria Banning doesn't just take her job seriously, she takes it personally. So when a notorious traitor wanted by the authorities suddenly risks his life to save hers, she has to wonder why.

HE BREAKS EVERY ONE OF THEM

As a mage, Griffin is sworn to protect innocents from dark magic, which is how he finds himself fighting side by side with the beautiful Valeria Banning. But when the council finds out the two have been working together, they're both left running for their lives-from the law, the threat of a ghoul takeover, and a possible Collegium mole.





About Nancy

Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy and YA romance. A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the romance and high stakes she loves in her new contemporary mage series.

Married since 1987, she considers herself lucky to have found a man doesn’t mind carrying home a suitcase full of research books. Nancy and her husband have one son, a bossy dog, and a house full of books.


Website : Twitter : Facebook

Friday, November 23, 2012

Interview with Nancy Northcott, author of Renegade - November 23, 2012

Please welcome Nancy Northcott to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Renegade (The Protectors 1) was published on November 6th (eBook) and will be published on December 18th in Trade Paperback.



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Nancy:  Thanks, Sally. I’m delighted to be here!


TQ:  Writing quirks! What are some of yours?

Nancy:  I write in spurts. I do a lot of planning in my head and then can usually turn out a fair number of pages at a sitting. Then I plan some more, then write some more, and so on.

I’m a night owl. I like to write late at night when the house is quiet.

When I get stuck on a plot point, I sometimes play Tetris on our old Nintendo 64 console while my subconscious works out the problem.


TQ:   Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Nancy:  There are so many authors on my keeper shelves that it’s tough to single out just a few.

Georgette Heyer made Regency England come alive for me. Even though her books would be G-rated, the people and their conflicts are clearly depicted. Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shanna showed me hotter side to the genre and remains one of my favorite books. Ruark and Shanna ride an emotional roller coaster through the story.

J.R.R. Tolkien set the standard for sweeping plots, big stakes, and fantasy worldbuilding. So does Lois McMaster Bujold, whose Vorkosigan series takes up a lot of my shelf space. Bujold doesn’t incorporate a lot of romance, but the relationships she does build are wonderful.

I hope I’ve learned something from each of these authors.


TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Nancy:  I’m a plotter with a heavy dose of pantser improvisation. I like to have a road map, but I’m open to appealing detours.


TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Staying within the confines of a particular genre or subgenre has always been difficult for me, so I’m glad to see genre lines starting to blur a bit. Renegade is a primarily a romance, but it has a lot of action and detailed fantasy worldbuilding.


TQ:  Describe Renegade (The Protectors 1) in 140 characters or less.

Nancy:  Contemporary paranormal romantic suspense with a lot of action and wrenching emotion.


TQ:  What inspired you to write Renegade?

Nancy:  The idea probably came from a lot of different places. I’ve loved comic books and superheroes since grade school, and mages are much like superheroes. I’ve always enjoyed action and adventure, which drew me to epic fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, and thrillers. The loner hero battling to see justice done has always held a lot of appeal for me, and the hero of Renegade, Griffin Dare is in that tradition.

Such heroes need allies, so I gave him some in the best fantasy and comic book tradition. The secrecy of the mages was also inspired by comic book super-heroes and their secret identities.

A romance hero, of course, needs a heroine, but I like stories that put the hero and heroine at odds. I didn’t want them to be immediate, natural allies, so he’s a fugitive and she is the sheriff of the southeastern mages.


TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Renegade?

Nancy:  To build the world, I read Wicca, folklore, and New Age materials and talked to people who’re interested in those fields. I talked to artists about Griff’s painting skills and to a Latin professor about the mages’ use of Latin imperatives. I also had help with arming and transporting the mages. For medical questions, I turned to some friends who are doctors and to the two nurses who blog with me.

To find out about southern Georgia and the Okefenokee Swamp, I used the internet, which meant making some things vague. I’m willing to trust long-distance research only so much. When I finally saw the swamp, in May, I fell in love with the beauty of it. I brought a lot of ideas back with me.


TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Nancy:  The easiest character was Val. Because she’s the shire reeve, the mage equivalent of a sheriff, she’s initially very rule-oriented, and I tend to be that way, too. The opening scene in the book, which is hers, is the first one that appeared in my head.

The hardest character was the villain. I won’t use the name because I don’t want to spoil the plot. It’s difficult for me to create a character who’s doing something I see as so very wrong and yet find a way for the character to consider it a good thing. I think it’s important that every character consider his or her actions not only justifiable but necessary.


TQ:   Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Renegade?

Nancy:  Hmm. I have several favorites. One of them is the last scene in Chapter 3. It’s a fight scene, which is always a fun thing to write, with an important aftermath.

I like the character introductions in Chapter 4. That’s also our first look at the town of Wayfarer, and I enjoyed creating that community.


TQ:  What's next?

Nancy:  I’m doing revisions on Protector, a novella scheduled for March 2013. Its title plays off the series title, The Protectors, and I think of it as Protectors 1.5. It’s about a wildland firefighter and a helicopter pilot, both mages, who almost got together three years ago but think it’s maybe for the best they didn’t. They believe they’ve put their attraction behind them until they meet again while fighting a wildfire.

The second book in the series, Guardian, is scheduled for May 2013. I’m finishing those revisions now. It features Stefan Harper from Renegade and the FBI agent he once hoped to marry. They meet again when he’s called in to consult on a murder case she’s working. The attraction between them has persisted, to their mutual dismay, but the secrets and fears that drove them apart before still stand in their way.

I just returned from a research trip to the Okefenokee Swamp and am looking at ways to build the series from here. I have six, maybe seven, books planned, but there’s always the chance there will be more.

Thank you for having me as a guest at the Qwillery!

TQ:  My pleasure!




About Renegade

Renegade
The Protectors 1
Grand Central Publishing , November 6, 2012 (eBook)
December 18, 2012 (Trade Paperback)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

SHE FOLLOWS THE RULES

As the Collegium council's top sheriff of the southeastern United States, Valeria Banning doesn't just take her job seriously, she takes it personally. So when a notorious traitor wanted by the authorities suddenly risks his life to save hers, she has to wonder why.

HE BREAKS EVERY ONE OF THEM

As a mage, Griffin is sworn to protect innocents from dark magic, which is how he finds himself fighting side by side with the beautiful Valeria Banning. But when the council finds out the two have been working together, they're both left running for their lives-from the law, the threat of a ghoul takeover, and a possible Collegium mole.






About Nancy

Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy and YA romance. A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the romance and high stakes she loves in her new contemporary mage series.

Married since 1987, she considers herself lucky to have found a man doesn’t mind carrying home a suitcase full of research books. Nancy and her husband have one son, a bossy dog, and a house full of books.


Website : Twitter : Facebook