Following on from yesterday’s expose of that vampire slaying kit, what better way to keep the weekend flowing than with a visit from fellow author Ally Shields and her latest book Burning Both Ends?
Ally: Thanks so much, Steve, for allowing me to indulge in a little BSP (Blatant Self-Promotion)! I have a new release in my Guardian Witch urban fantasy series.
S: Be my guest.
A: Before I get further into that, I’d like to digress and talk for just a moment about writing an on-going series, especially the difficulty of handling series characters.
S: Oh, yes, do. I can’t imagine writing a series.
A: It’s both harder—and easier—than one might think. It’s easier, because you don’t have to create a whole new person, complete with color of hair, color of eyes, mannerisms, background. You already know these people and are ready to involve them in a new adventure. On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to remember every description, every mannerism, and everything your character has said and done. And scraps of note paper get lost, and files get buried on your hard drive.
S: I would lose them.
A: Most authors also have their characters grow and mature, not only in each book, but from book to book. That means you have to constantly reassess how your character now feels about beliefs they held in the past. It’s a challenge.
If you screw up, your readers will notice and remind you. Forcefully. Sometimes I wish I had an assistant to keep it all straight. I work hard at being consistent, and if you find errors, I’m going to blame it on the cyber gremlins! :)
S: They get everywhere!
A: Now, I’d love to share a peek at my latest book…
Burning Both Ends (Guardian Witch #3) Blurb:
Friend or lover. Life or death…
Supernatural cop Ari Calin arrives at the hostile Toronto vampire court with an ultimatum from the Riverdale vampires: Sebastian, Toronto’s vampire prince, must stop his unprovoked attacks—or else. Ari wasn’t expecting a fight—the “or else” was typical vampire grandstanding. But even with vampire Andreas De Luca by her side for a show of strength, things get ugly fast. Toronto’s vampire world is in crisis, and surrounded by enemies, Ari and Andreas find themselves under attack.
Then Ari gets the call from the Magic Council ordering her home. Steffan, a good friend and leader of Riverdale’s werewolves, has gone missing during top secret negotiations with the US government, and is believed to have been kidnapped—or killed.
Andreas can’t abandon the Toronto vampires, and Ari can’t leave him to face impossible odds alone. Neither can she disobey her orders from the Council, or leave her friend Steffan to be tortured and killed. Ari’s loyalties pull her in two directions—the closest thing to love she’s ever known on one side, and friendship and duty on the other. If she can stay alive long enough for the choice to matter…
Fangs flashed where her cheek had been an instant before. Ari whirled, crouching to meet the vampire’s return charge, and her fingers sparked, witch blood clamoring for action. Refusing its urgent call, she threw the magic powder as he wheeled and sped toward her in a blur. Green particles sparkled. A loud thump. The vampire recoiled from the invisible barrier and took two staggering steps. A direct hit. Before a smile more than touched her lips, the dark figure recovered and leaped. Ari backpedaled, but his weight drove her to the hard ground.
He grinned down at her, a lock of dark hair falling across his forehead. Trapping her arms above her head, he leaned close, his dark eyes glittering. He brushed her lips with his and whispered, “Better—but not yet good enough.” Andreas shifted his six-foot, muscled body, sprang up, and offered her a hand.
Ignoring the courtesy, Ari scrambled to her feet. Getting pinned by your boyfriend wasn’t always a good thing. “Back off, bloodsucker,” she grumbled. She shook out the fallen leaves and pine needles that clung to her long, honey-colored hair.
Andreas chuckled. A rich, warm sound. “Touchy tonight. Did I put your nose out of joint, little witch? And here I was, trying to help with your training.” Andreas glided across the forest clearing with the smooth grace of a natural predator. He collected their cell phones from under a park bench where they’d stashed them earlier in the evening and handed her one.
“Thanks.” Ari avoided his eyes. Damn right she was annoyed. She was competitive, and second place wasn’t good enough—even against a master level vampire. Especially one who wasn’t really trying to kill her.
Andreas studied her face, his voice pragmatic. “I am glad you are taking this seriously. Other combatants will be less charitable than I, less mindful of breaking your pretty neck. I can almost guarantee Sebastian will continue his fight with Prince Daron, and next time he may lead the attack. You might have to face him again.”
“Oh, come on. You can’t really believe he’d come to Riverdale. He’s too comfortable lording it over everyone in Toronto.” Andreas shrugged. “It is unlikely, but a sobering thought. With Sebastian, anything is possible.” He frowned, obviously thinking about the brutal vampire leader. “He has grown more aggressive, erratic, perhaps less sane, as sometimes happens with the elder ones. Our defeat of his minions will only fuel his rage and make him more determined.”
“Minions? What kind of word is that?” Ari demanded. “You really should update your vocabulary. Being born in seventeen hundred and something is no excuse for using words no one understands.” She was just being bitchy. In truth, she wouldn’t change a thing about Andreas’s speech or sexy voice. The archaic words, the faint accent of Italian aristocracy, and the shivers of sensation it produced were all part of him. She never got used to the seductive effect…even when she wanted to be annoyed.
Ally Shields was born and raised in the US Midwest, along the Mississippi River, the setting for her urban fantasy series. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time writing in 2009, and Awakening the Fire, the debut novel in her Guardian Witch series, was released in September 2012. Ally still lives within driving distance of the Mississippi with her Miniature Pinscher, Ranger. When not writing, reading, or spending time with family and friends, she loves to travel in the US and abroad. Way too often she can be found on Twitter.
Author contact links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/allyshields
Other books in the series:
Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1), published September 2012
Fire Within (Guardian Witch #2), published Marsh 2013
Blood and Fire (Guardian Witch #4), coming in the fall of 2013
BTW, I suggest you read the books in order to follow the on-going characters and story arc!