Saturday, 26 February 2011

Urban Fantasy Bargains

As a quick postscript to the Urban Fantasy Party, I thought you might like to know about a couple of my own e-books - which could be labelled urban fantasy - on special offer right now :).

Changeling Press has Loving the Wolf, the first novella in my City of the Damned series, available for just 99 cents:

Enter, if you dare, the City of the Damned...
...with Marie Treanor's post-apocalyptic trilogy: Loving the Wolf, Loving the Vampire and Loving the Man, available together as an ebook collection.

Five Cherries from Whipped Cream Reviews:
"...humor, passion, excitement, danger, and lots of screaming hot sex, in totally unexpected places." - Holly

Loving the Wolf: City of the Damned Part 1
By Marie Treanor
Available now at Changeling Press for 99 cents!

In the depths of nuclear winter, Lara, a self-sufficient female cop, leaves the safety of her Dome City and travels north in search of her missing brother.  His trail evaporates in an open, ravaged city where the buildings are in ruin and the people burn whatever they can find to keep warm.  There is no law, people mug and kill for food, and packs of dogs and wolves roam the streets.
 
To Lara it is hell itself, until she discovers it is a very special place where a particular cocktail of radiation poisoning has caused strange genetic mutations – like Will, the seductive stranger who is so different that even his fellow werewolves (the feared “lupi”) have rejected him.
 
But Will has many plans: to recover leadership of the werewolves; to rebuild his city; to gain acceptance of the lupi as the superior beings they can become - and to make Lara his life mate. 


You can also use the Damned Discount code :) Buy any of my Tales of the Damned series books at Changeling Press and take 10% off your entire order -- one order only -- with the code TalesOfTheDamned -- good now thru 02/28/2011.



Tales of the Damned include: City of the Damned (Ebook Collection); Christmas of the Damned (Christmas Cookie - short story); Dragul Rising (Ebook Collection) and Rogue Warriors (Ebook Collection). Probably best read in that order, but not strictly necessary :). Read more details on my website, http://www.marietreanor.com/, and at Changeling Press.

Marie

Friday, 25 February 2011

Thank Yous and Winners!

Huge thank you to everyone who came to the urban fantasy party and made it such a fun event! And, of course, a special thanks to our fab guests of honour, Michele Lang, Alayna Williams, Jennifer Estep, Terry Spear and Jennifer Armintrout. Cheers!

Amazingly enough, some of our winners don't seem to have realized it yet! I'm still waiting for the following winners to contact me with their details:

Alayna Williams's winner: FairyGodMother/Colleen
Jennifer Estep's winner: Gaby
Terry Spear's winner: Carol
And, of course, Jennifer Armintrout's winners: Gigi and Nancy G.

And on top of these winners I promised an ebook of the winner's choice from everyone who commented at the party, and the winner of that is:

Amber Stults.

Amber, please contact me Marie AT MarieTreanor DOT com, and let me know which of my ebooks you'd like - you'll find them listed on my website, http://www.marietreanor.com/.

And I'm afraid that's it for this party :(. BUT, the good news is, the next party begins on 28th March, on the theme of Vampires, so I'll look forward to seeing you then. We've got some more wonderful guests to entertain us - I'll be announcing their names very soon!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Marie

Welcome Jennifer Armintrout!

Our final guest of honour at the urban fantasy party is the one and only Jennifer Armintrout! Jennifer also writes more erotic romance as Abigail Barnette. Welcome, Jennifer - tell us about your inspiration for urban fantasy...

Inspiration is a crazy thing. It’s just kind of floating out there in a big, nebulous mass and occasional tendrils of it will prick our brains. And sometimes, that prick has also pricked other people. The prick.

When I was writing the first draft of The Turning, I had a subplot involving a vampire who had removed his heart, rendering him un-stakeable. He kept it in a music box that played “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” While I was shopping the book around to publishers, an episode of my husband’s favorite vampire series, Angel, featured a nearly identical plot, sans music box, but totally with the song. Sonofa–

Okay, so that’s bound to happen once in a writer’s career. After all, there are no new ideas. Everyone says so. And that’s fine. I changed it up a bit and moved on.

Then, when I was writing Lightworld/Darkworld, I explained the concept to a friend. “Have you ever read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman?” he asked. I checked it out. The only element our books had in common was the underground city. Oh, and the fact that an entire action sequence was punctuated by the word “flash” in italics. Like, “Flash. Something happened. Flash. Something else happened.” His was much more exciting than my example, you’ll just have to trust me on this.  I brushed this off with the most logical explanation: Neil Gaiman and I both watch a lot of action movies and it is reflected in our writing.

But my latest book, American Vampire, is chock full of Stephen King references.  Some are intentional.  Some are not.  For example, the title of the book itself was completely out of my control.  The original title was Penance, Ohio, but as authors’ titles so often are, it was changed to American Vampire.  I’m pretty sure I originally signed off on the title, possibly because I was listening to a lot of Bruce Springsteen at the time and The Boss raises some kind of small town patriotism in me.  Shortly after that, someone told me, “Hey, dummy!  Stephen King has a book coming out right now called that!”  Motherfu–

Since the marketing department still thought it was an okay title to use, it stayed.  In the book itself, I have another unintentional nod to King.  The monster that stalks the people of Penance, Ohio is called “It” by the townsfolk.  My intention was simply to highlight what often happens when a zoo animal or a tornado comes to town: everybody saw “It”.  They heard about “It”.  “It” left a mess in their yard.  Whatever.  They never give the monster a name, and refer to it as “It”.

You know, just like this one clown movie that Tim Curry was in but that I’m too scared to watch because I have a crippling fear of Tim Curry.

One thing in the book that was completely formed by the work of Stephen King was the fearful isolation and sense of helplessness the citizens of Penance feel.  I won’t lie and say that my own writing hasn’t been shaped by the groundbreaking rules of horror that Mr. King used to redefine the genre.  Urban Fantasy authors always say that our books are a mash up of several different genres, including horror, and that’s what I wanted to put into American Vampire.  Luckily, this time, I did it intentionally.  Almost.




Excerpt from American Vampire:

If there was one power a vampire could really use, Graf McDonald figured it would have to be internal GPS. Steering his car—a black 1974 De Tomaso Pantera L, a total snatch magnet—with one hand, he jabbed at the tiny screen of his TomTom GPS thingie and said words his mother would have made him eat soap for speaking.

His BlackBerry vibrated against the leather of the passenger seat, seconds before Lady Gaga blared from its tiny speaker. He ripped the GPS from its suction cup base and took it in his left hand, steering with his knees while he answered the phone with his right. That was another thing vampires could use. Extra limbs, to be utilized whenever they willed it.

"Sophia," he said into the phone as he pounded on the TomTom screen. "What do you want?"

"Darling!" Sophia called everyone darling. It was her thing. "You're on your way, yes?"

Of all the traits that got Graf all hot and bothered about his sire, the way she would end questions with the answer she wanted to hear was in the top five, at least. He couldn't help but smile to himself at that. "Slight delay. This stupid GPS thing isn't working."

"Oh, no, no!" Sophia clucked her tongue, and even that sound had an Italian accent. "Darling, you're not going to miss my party, no?"

Graf flicked his gaze to the windshield, to the straight road that hadn't changed since the last time he'd bothered to look at it. "Not if I can help it."

"Well, where are you?" she asked earnestly.

"I'll be honest with you, Soph. I have no fucking clue where I am." He braced himself for the reprimand that was sure to come.

"Graf, your language! You sound like a peasant." She sighed. "You have my address, yes?"

"Yes, I have your address. I programmed it into the thing."

Fucking technology. Usually, he loved it. The internet, thank God for that. High-definition television, yes, yes, yes. Little weaselly devices that pretend like they're going to help you and then stab you in the back? Those could suck his big, fat—

"Honestly, I do not know how you have such difficulty with directions. Get on the highway and go toward Washington, D.C. It is not difficult!" Sophia pouted over the line. "Do that!"

"Well, I would, pumpkin butt, but I dropped the damned TomTom in the parking lot at Denny's, and now it's all in Spanish and I can't get back to the map screen." He took a deep breath and propped the phone against his shoulder as he fished for the cigarettes in his jacket on the seat beside him.

"I do not understand you, you men," Sophia said, sure to lean on the word enough to let him know she meant it as an insult. "You know, I only turn women now, yes? Because they are not as…vulgar and stupid. I do not wish to hurt your feelings, sweet Graf, but it is true, it is just my opinion. Now, why do you not find a place to pull over and ask for directions, and then you hurry here. Okay, good boy. Bye-bye!"

As always, she hung up without a chance for rebuttal. He tossed the phone back onto the seat, threw the TomTom on the passenger side floor, and lit a cigarette. When he looked up at the road, the biggest deer he'd ever seen stared back at him.

With a shout, he jerked the wheel and veered onto the shoulder, narrowly missing the animal. Tall grass and a ditch loomed just past the shoulder, aching to chew up his paint job and destroy his aftermarket ground lighting. Unacceptable. He fought to get the car under control on the gravel shoulder, and brought it to a stop in the center of the road.

Very few things got Graf's adrenaline pumping the way a threat to his car did, and he leaned over the steering wheel, his heart—which usually didn't beat—pounding in his chest.

"Christ," he muttered, easing the gearshift back to First. Okay, maybe Sophia was right. It was time to swallow his pride, ask for help, and keep his eyes on the road.

The trouble was, he reflected as he slowly rolled down the road, scanning the fields on either side for more white-tailed devil creatures, there didn't seem to be anyplace to stop; he'd passed plenty of farms, lots of little ranch houses with decks, aboveground pools, and absolutely no shade trees in the lawns, but nothing that would indicate a town was nearby. He'd passed a grain elevator, but it had been abandoned. When he tried to remember the last time he'd seen anything that promised civilization lay ahead, he had to reach at least an hour back. And he was cutting his trip close… If he wandered around all night, he'd have to find a hotel to stay in. And if he didn't find one before sunup…

He swallowed the lump in his throat and forced himself to take things one step at a time, without panicking. He'd been stranded at sunup before. The memory of prickling pain flaring into full-blown, fiery agony spread over his arms in a heated warning. A cold sweat of blood broke out over his forehead, and he wiped it away with a curse, ordering himself to get his fear under control. Yes, being burned by the sun had been excruciatingly painful. Yes, it had taken a long time to heal. But he'd been younger then, with less healing ability. The entire situation could be avoided, if he kept a cool head.

To distract himself, he thought of all the fun he'd have at his intended destination. Sophia's July Fourth parties were legendary. All those years ago, she'd been in England when news of a potential uprising in King George's colonies had caught her attention and Sophia, never wanting to miss out on anything exciting, had hopped a boat and relocated. Thus, she'd been at the very first July Fourth, and the revolution that followed it.

"Darling," she had told him once, "it was either going to be a historic moment, or it was going to be chaos. How could I miss either? All of those bodies lying around, the countryside unprotected as the men went off to war. Delicious."

Graf smiled at the memory. His sire was…well, she was spectacular. The only thing he didn't like about her was that he had to share her with her other fledglings. She turned about three a year and sent them on their way, like she was a friggin' vampire factory, but, somehow, she made them all feel special and loved. Just receiving her blood was an act of love in itself—what more precious gift could you give someone than the gift of eternal life?

From the corner of his eye, he spotted light. Not enough that a human could have seen it; vampire eyesight was beyond excellent. A beam of light swung wildly through the darkness. A flashlight. Inside a structure of some kind. He hit the brakes and pulled over, examining the source of the light. The building was a gas station, all closed up snug for the night, because nothing in these Midwestern middle grounds stayed open later than ten.

A gas station would have a map. And if someone was robbing the place, he could get one for free. And pick up a snack.

He pulled closer, then killed the engine and let the car drift into the gravel lot, not closing the door when he got out. The element of surprise somehow made people taste better, and if they had a gun, he didn't want to get shot. It wouldn't kill him, but it would hurt like hell.

As he approached the building, it became apparent that the place wasn't just closed, it was abandoned. Several of the windows were broken, but no one had bothered to board them up. The price of cigarettes displayed on the faded sign in the one nonshattered window would have made Graf weep with joy had it been current. He pushed open the unlocked door and a bell jingled. So much for surprise.

The shelves were bare, so the place had clearly been looted. Why would someone even bother to break in?

"Hello!" he called cheerfully. "Anybody home?"

Something scurried in the farthest corner of the store, near the empty, glass-fronted coolers.

"Look, I know you're in here. I saw your flashlight." This was, Graf reflected, the kind of thing that would happen at the beginning of a horror movie. Cocky, confident guy walks into a creepy place, thinking he's the toughest thing in there, something horrible jumps out of the shadows.

But he knew he was the most horrible thing there at the moment, so the horror-movie comparison made him grin. "Okay. You want to do this the hard way? We can do it the hard way."

Whoever it was scurried across the floor. But they didn't move away from him. They approached on hands and knees. A hand grasped his ankle, and he kicked to dislodge it.

"Stop! It will hear us!" A feminine voice, consumed with panic. "Get down! It's coming!"


Dude, my books are awesome.
http://www.jenniferarmintrout.com/


Jennifer's contest (subject to confirmation!): she will be giving away two prizes today - American Vampire (Mira) and In the Blood (Samhain), both in ebook. To enter the contest, say whether you think the hiding woman will be ultimately safer with Graf or with "It"! Or comment on Jennifer's post in some other way. The contest will close at midnight tonight EST, and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Urban Fantasy Book Releases, Part Two!

Here are some more February releases from the world of Urban Fantasy. Again, let's hear your thoughts and recommendations!

Siren’s Surrender, by Devyn Quinn (Signet)
Never embracing her mermaid heritage, Gwen Lonike lives in the human world as the owner of a Maine B&B. But when the gateway to a lost mermaid kingdom is opened, freeing its dangerous queen, Gwen can no longer hide, nor keep her secret from covert agent Blake Whittaker. How long can Gwen and her sisters remain safe from a destructive queen, and from Blake’s superiors, whose ultimate mission could prove the greatest threat of all?



The Curse-Maker, by Kelli Stanley (Minotaur)
When Roman physician Arcturus and his stunning wife Gwyna arrive at Bath for a holiday, a dead body is floating in the sacred spring. It turns out that the murdered man is a curse maker whose curses actually come true, and as murder follows murder, it looks like there’s now a curse on Arcturus. An exotic look at the sideshow world of fake healers, ghost-raisers and medicine men, The Curse-Maker is the story of a spa town where people go to heal—only to wind up dead.

Angel’s Verdict, by Mary Stanton (Berkley)
Celestial advocate Brianna Winston-Beaufort is eager to set aside handling appeals for condemned souls and get back to practicing law in the land of the living. Three months after taking over the family practice Bree jumps at the opportunity to work for an earthly client. But when elderly actress Justine Coville walks into Beaufort & Company’s office to make changes to her will, she drags Bree into a whole otherworld of troubles.



A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah E. Harkness (Viking)
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of demons, witches and vampires descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries—and she is the only creature who can break its spell.


Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages, by Tom Holt (Orbit)
Polly is a real estate solicitor. She is also losing her mind. Someone keeps drinking her coffee. And talking to her clients. And doing her job. And when she goes to the dry cleaner’s to pick up her dress for the party, it’s not there. Not the dress—the dry cleaner’s. And then there are the chickens who think they are people. Something strange is definitely going on, and it’s going to take more than a magical ring to sort it out.

Serpent’s Storm, by Amber Benson (Ace)
Calliope just wants to make it big in the Big Apple like any other working girl. But Callie is also Death’s daughter, no matter how much she tries to stay out of the family business. And now her older sister has made a deal with the Devil himself to engage in a hostile takeover of both Death Inc. and Heaven—once they get Callie out of the way.




King’s Justice, by Maurice Broaddus (Angry Robot)
From the drug gangs of downtown Indianapolis, the one true king will arise. Guided by the crazed visions of his advisor Merle, King knows that he must unite the opposing factions before the streets erupt in all-out war. But how can he preach peace when even his own warriors are plotting against him? Second in the Knights of Breton Court series.




Pale Demon, by Kim Harrison (Eos)
Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after—forever after. But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixie in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination. For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight—freed at last to slay the innocent and devour their souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her. Ninth in the Hallows series.

Dead Waters, by Anton Strout (Ace)
Simon Canderous, of the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, is used to fighting vampires and zombies. But the strange murder of a professor has everyone stumped. And it’s making some people crazy. Literally.






Dead Streets, by Tim Waggoner (Angry Robot)
You’ve got to keep your head to survive in the teeming undead city known as Nekropolis. It’s a pity crazed genius Victor Baron couldn’t manage that. Now everyone wants a piece of him. Zombie detective Matt Richter and his glamorous she-vampire companion Devona are back on the case.





Green-Eyed Demon, by Jaye Wells (Orbit)
Things to do: 1.) Rescue sister. 2.) Murder grandmother. 3.) Don’t upset the voodoo priestess. The clock is ticking for Sabina Kane. Her sister has been kidnapped by her grandmother, the Dark Races are on the brink of war, and a mysterious order is manipulating everyone behind the scenes. Working on information provided by an unlikely ally, Sabina and her trusty sidekicks—a sexy mage named Adam Lazarus and Giguhl, a Mischief demon—head to New Orleans to begin the hunt.


And, of course, Rogue Oracle, by Tuesday's guest of honour at the party, Alayna Williams (Pocket); and American Vampire by today's guest of honour, Jennifer Armintrout (Mira). 

Hope the lists have given you some ideas - I certainly discovered a few that I hadn't heard of that sound great fun!

Marie

Welcome Terry Spear!

It's a great pleasure to welcome today's guest of honour, the very wonderful Terry Spear, who is the author of, among other things, urban fantasy novels featuring sexy werewolves!


Wanna Catch a Little Wolf Fever?
By Terry Spear

To me, urban fantasy is taking a fantastical element and bringing it out of a fantasy world into the real world—a contemporary world, our world.

Some authors have a myriad of mythical creatures populate their contemporary world, while others, like myself, attempt to make it as realistic as possible. So that readers who take the journey will believe—werewolves truly exist in our world. That the chivalrous man who helped you change a tire, or gave you a sexy wink at the grocery store, or got the door for you at the court house might just be a wolf in disguise.
And when you chance to take a walk in the woods, maybe the wolf you see is really the chivalrous man you chanced upon earlier in the civilized world.

In some stories, the fantastical element is secretive, unknown to the rest of the population—like my werewolves, who keep their identity hidden. But in others, like my vampire romance, DEADLY LIAISONS, the vampires exist. Everyone knows it. Everyone is careful to tread lightly around them, if they know what’s good for them.

In each of my stories, both werewolf and vampire, there are those who are good and evil, just like there are humans who are good and evil.

Vampires have been misjudged for centuries, but werewolves even more so. So I’m on a crusade to share their stories, to reveal the truth, to show how wolves, and vampires, can be totally hot, sexy, and loveable.

For now though, if you wish to catch a little wolf fever, if you comment on the question proposed, you will be entered in a chance at an autographed copy of WOLF FEVER.



Excerpt from Wolf Fever:

“Setup: Darien is the pack leader, and Lelandi his alpha mate. Jake is his brother. Carol is the heroine, a psychic and newly turned werewolf, and the pack wants her mated, pronto. But here, the pack is playing in a game of tag—and that’s when Ryan comes into the scene, a leader from another pack—all he wants is to convince her she’s not truly psychic, and she knows something else is going on with him in regard to her, he just can’t admit it to himself…so she proves it and soon the wolf fever is catching…”

Darien fondly patted Lelandi’s ribbon in his belt, but then without warning, he dodged after Jake’s ribbon first. His brother, already eyeing him warily, bolted away from him in time, and Darien headed for Tom with an evil glint in his eye, aggressively, no holds barred this time. Carol figured he was leaving her for the bachelor males instead of retaliating and taking her tag.

She went back to protecting her tail and targeting the guys who were out to get her, never having had so much fun in her life.

Six tags so far, and…

Bang! She was hit, shoved onto her back, taken down by…the red-and-white-striped fiend from her vision. Mervin, the barber?

He smelled of heavy hair tonics and sweat. She moaned, just thinking what being mated to him would be like. He was the only man in town who wore a costume year-round—a barber quartet type of affair, complete with bowtie, red-and-white-striped sports coat, and dark pants, even for playing a rough-and-tumble game such as this. At some time or another during the game, he’d lost his white straw hat.

At least while he had her pinned on her back, he couldn’t get to her tail. But then he wasn’t trying very hard to get it either, she belatedly realized. Keeping her pinned beneath him, he seemed to be enjoying another sport just fine.

She squirmed, trying to unsettle him, but her actions only brought a smile to Mervin’s thin lips. His pale yellow eyes smiled just as brightly. Great.

Without warning, Mervin flew aside, his eyes wide and mouth gaping. Her rescuer, Ryan McKinley, crouched next to her and rested his hand lightly on her shoulder, his brows knit in a deep frown, his eyes dark as a stormy night.

“Are you okay?”

The entire playing field grew silent again, and her heart pounded in panic.

“You shouldn’t be here,” she whispered. “They’ve been looking for you.”

“Carol’s fine,” Darien said, his voice terse as he drew close.

Darien offered his hand to help her to stand. She grabbed Ryan’s knee instead and started to help herself up. Ryan quickly seized her hand and pulled her to her feet, keeping her close by his side in a protective mode, the heat of his body warming hers, his fingers still holding onto hers in a possessive way. But she was more concerned about protecting him!

Darien gave Ryan a dark look, but not in the least bit cowed, Ryan squeezed Carol’s hand reassuringly and tossed a sly smile to Darien. “Good game.”

Lelandi quickly stepped forward and waved a handful of ribbons. “Blue team won!”

Still, everyone waited for Darien to respond, either concerning the game or Ryan, or both. Darien looked at one of his men, who lifted their team’s captured ties, minus Lelandi’s that Darien still had tucked proudly in his belt. His team was definitely short a few.

Darien gave Lelandi an evil smile. “Lelandi’s team won. Let’s eat!” He wrapped his arm around her waist, offered Ryan a warning look, and then nodded to Tom and headed for the house.

Carol breathed a tentative sigh of relief. As uptight as everyone was when waiting to see how their pack leader dealt with issues, she couldn’t shake loose of the tension tightening her chest. She figured that the pressure wouldn’t go away until Ryan left the area for good.

Taking his brother’s cue, Tom approached Ryan. “What are you doing here?”

“Don’t any of you talk to each other?” Ryan moved his hand to Carol’s back and stroked it once in a reassuring way. “I told Jake I wished to speak to Carol about a matter concerning the murder investigation.”

Tom’s eyes widened a little. “Why? The case was solved. All guilty parties were held accountable.”

“Just a couple of questions concerning… investigative techniques.”

Carol’s heart sank. That was what this was all about? Or was Ryan just saying so as a cover? He still stood next to her in protective wolf mode, their bodies lightly touching, the heat curling through her. He sure seemed to want something more of her than to question her.

“Why were you here last night, skulking around?” Tom asked.

Ryan didn’t say anything, which made Carol wonder again if he had an agenda he didn’t wish to discuss with anyone else.

Tom cocked his head to the side, gave Ryan a look that said he didn’t trust him, and then gave a short nod.

“All right, ask your questions of her.”

“Privately.”

Frowning, Tom hesitated. Then he motioned to the side of the house. “Over there. That’s as private as it’s going to get.”

People were milling about, most likely interested in what Tom was going to do to Ryan, or what Ryan had in mind to do with Carol. Most of the onlookers were bachelor males, including one particularly sore-looking barber, who was brushing at yellow-green grass stains on his red-and-white-striped coat.

Ryan took Carol’s arm and led her to the side of the house. His touch was gentle, caring, and protective, and every time he got close, a spark of interest seemed to ignite between them. She looked up at him, expecting… well, hoping he wanted to see more of her. Date her or court her, or whatever werewolves did before they decided they were the right ones for each other and mated for a lifetime. Not that she was ready for a long-term commitment, but a couple of dates would be nice, just to see if he was even her type.

“Carol…” Ryan released her arm and shoved his hands in his pockets, his head bent to speak more privately with her. “Are you sure you didn’t overhear conversations, which is how you came to the conclusions you did and were able to solve the case?”

Instantly, he stoked her ire. She folded her arms and narrowed her eyes at him. So he truly wasn’t interested in her. “What are you inferring?”

He cleared his throat. “Darien and his brothers wouldn’t let me speak with you concerning this matter when I was here before, first, because you had been injured so, and after that…” Ryan shrugged. “They were being protective, I suppose. But after giving your situation further thought—”

“For five months?” Her voice was rife with annoyance, yet she wondered why he’d truly thought about it for that long. Just a rabid need to learn the truth? Or was there more to the story than he was letting on?

Calmly, he ignored her outburst and continued. “Just that you may seem to have psychic powers or a sixth sense or something, but in truth…” He let his words fade, allowing her to draw her own conclusions, his gaze studying her eyes, observing her reaction. Like a P.I. and former cop would. Most likely jaded. Believing the worst in anyone they thought might have something to hide.

In truth, what did he believe?

She opened her mouth to speak but then clamped her lips shut. Hell, ever since her seventh birthday, after nearly drowning in a lake—well, technically she had drowned in the lake, been declared dead, and then revived, she’d had these unwelcome visions. She’d thought everyone else did, too, until she mentioned one to her mother.

She still remembered that day as if it were yesterday. She’d explained how she’d seen a man driving a pickup truck down the street from where they lived and running over one of her classmates. Except that the accident didn’t happen until two days later. And the boy died. Night terrors followed, waking her, and she’d try to catch her breath, tears streaking down her cheeks, her pillow soggy.

Horrified and unable to deal with what she’d seen, she finally told her parents. They’d immediately sent her to a special doctor to get rid of her episodes. After three years of visits, he gave up on her, declaring her utterly hopeless. Well… even worse than that. To mollify her parents, he’d said in an appeasing but not very sincere way that she’d probably grow out of it. The real reason he dropped her as a patient in such a hurry went deeper than that.

Waiting for her to respond, Ryan cleared his throat and shoved his hands in his pockets.

“Sorry. You had a question for me?” She tapped her fingers on her folded arm, an insincere smile playing on her lips. He hadn’t asked her a question, but the way he spoke was definitely a ploy to get her to respond to his observations. And she wasn’t biting.

“Don’t you suppose you might have come by the information you did through some means other than a psychic connection?”

“Hmm, sure. That’s what happened.”

Ryan’s mouth curved up ever so slightly, but she could tell he wasn’t being taken in by her surrender. Before she’d become caught up in the werewolf culture, she’d kept her abilities secret. Now that those in this pack knew about her, she really didn’t care if any were skeptical. As long as they didn’t try to tell her that she didn’t have a sixth sense because it wasn’t possible.

She supposed that was all because of Dr. Metzger and the way his icy blue eyes would peer through his brass rimmed glasses at her, while his big chin tilted down, condemning, judging. If people didn’t believe her in private, fine. Yet, usually if people confronted her like this, she would smile disingenuously and tell them how right they were. She never felt the need to defend what she could see when others couldn’t, or what she could envision or perceive sometimes when she touched an object.

“But you truly believe otherwise,” Ryan finally said.

This time her smile was bright and true to her feelings. She couldn’t help liking Ryan, despite his denial of her abilities. He had an easy but determined manner about him, not brusque like Darien or teasing like Jake or afraid to make waves like Tom. His determination was matched only by her own.

She glanced at the men standing about, including both Tom and Jake. Which made the situation worse. Why couldn’t any of the alpha males show any real interest in her? She was not a beta kind of girl. She supposed that was because her father had become so downtrodden by her mother’s treatment of him. She couldn’t see being married, um, mated to someone like that.

“Carol?” Ryan said, his deep baritone voice again yanking her from her faraway thoughts.

She really needed to get more sleep. She turned her attention back to Ryan. He thought she wasn’t being honest with him about her abilities, when he wasn’t honest about why he had been lurking in the woods last night, watching her window. She didn’t have to be psychic to know something more was going on between them. Time to turn the tables. Throw him off balance.

Trying to look like this was a perfectly natural way for her to act, she smiled, wrapped her arms around his neck, and leaned into the soft sweater covering his hard body, which instantly reminded her just how hard his body was when he wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothes.

She only meant to give him a slow kiss on the mouth, just to prove to him that he had another agenda that he wouldn’t admit to. Or if not, then maybe Tom or Jake would finally show some interest in her. But more than anything, she wanted to get Ryan off the subject of her abilities before she said something in anger that she shouldn’t.

To her surprise, he eagerly captured her mouth with his. Not cautiously, building up the desire in slow careful increments, but judiciously, as if he had been starved for affection for a very long time. His hand cupped the back of her head, his free hand drifting lower on her back and holding her in place.

She hadn’t meant to respond so fully to the kiss either, but his unbridled need fed into hers. Forgetting they had an audience, she parted her lips to accept him, to open an intimate path between them, their tongues dancing, touching, exploring. Her hands fisted in his soft sweater at the back of his neck and held him even tighter. She pressed her body against his hard muscles, and shamelessly she wanted more.

But then he released her and unwrapped her arms from around his neck, his eyes smoky and dark, his expression otherwise unreadable, his hands still securely holding her wrists. Their breaths came quickly as their hearts thundered at a runner’s pace. He opened his mouth as if he was going to say something, but she didn’t want to hear the apology she figured he would offer or another word about her abilities, if that’s what he had in mind.

She quickly spoke instead. “I accept. Come pick me up for a date at six o’clock. Promptly.”

She’d show him he wasn’t as much in control of the situation as he might think.

Then she winked, pulled free, and stalked off toward the house without a backward glance, her blood sizzling with arousal and irritation.

She harrumphed under her breath. All the idiotic romantic notions she had been harboring for Ryan McKinley… and all he really wanted was for her to confess she wasn’t psychic?


©Terry Spear, 2009

Okay, now the question: What would you do if you had some kind of abilities and a hot wolf was trying to convince you that you really didn’t, and you knew he had some other agenda, but he couldn’t admit it to himself???

Here’s where you can find me and I have a newsletter on my website which gives a free read each week. I’m still sharing the wolf tale: ALLURE OF THE WOLF. 
Thanks for stopping by!
Terry Spear

Everyone who answer's Terry's question (What would you do if you had some kind of abilities and a hot wolf was trying to convince you that you really didn’t, and you knew he had some other agenda, but he couldn’t admit it to himself???) will be entered her contest for Wolf Fever. The contest will close at midnight tonight, and the winner, who must have a US or Canada address, will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Urban Fantasy Book Releases, Part 1

Well, we've done films and television, so I thought it was time we got back to the main event. which is after all, books! There are so many great urban fantasy novels out there, that someone new to the genre might find it rather overwhelming. So today and tomorrow, I'm going to list a selection of this month's urban fantasy releases. Feel free to tell me which ones you've read and liked, which you'd put on your TBR list, or which you'd recommend to a reader keen to dip his or her toe into the genre.

Midnight Riot, by Ben Aaronovitch (Del Rey)
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Now, as a wave of bizarre killings engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Unseen, by Rachel Caine (Roc)
After Cassiel and Warden Luis Rocha rescue an adept child from a maniacal Djinn, they realize two things: the girl is already manifesting an incredible amount of power, and her kidnapping was not an isolated incident. This Djinn—aided by her devoted followers—is capturing children all over the world and indoctrinating them so she can use their strength for herself. With no other options, Cassiel infiltrates the Djinn’s organization. Third in the Outcast Season series.


Storm of Reckoning, by Doranna Durgin (Tor)
Lisa “Garrie” McGarity leads a ghost buster team—and has recently become entangled with Trevarr, a fiercely driven demon-hunter from a different dimension. After tumultuous adventures in San Jose, Trevarr returns to this world and to Garrie, a battered exile. But there’s little time to recuperate; a friend in Sedona needs their help. There, in that area of power convergence, Garrie is astonished to find the ethereal breezes quiet, the earth’s activity so diminished as to be nonexistent, if you don’t count those oddball surges that don’t taste like our world at all.

Jane Goes Batty, by Michael Thomas Ford (Ballantine)
After 200 years undead, Jane Austen still has bite. But will her most recent literary success be her last? Life was a lot easier for Jane when she was just an unknown, undead bookstore owner in a sleepy hamlet in upstate New York. But now the world embraces her as Jane Fairfax, author of the bestselling novel Constance—and she’s having a killer time trying to keep her true identity as the Jane Austen a secret. Even the ongoing lessons in “How to Be a Vampire,” taught by her former lover Lord Byron, don’t seem to be helping much, not to mention the constant threat of a certain bloodsucking Brontë sister coming back to finish her off.

Halfway Hexed, by Kimberly Frost (Berkley Trade)
New witch Tammy Jo Trask has a whole town full of trouble. First, there are the local residents who form a scripture-spouting posse and kidnap Tammy to “defend” Duvall, Texas, against witchcraft. Next, someone saddles her with a secret package full of dangerous visions. And who worse to examine Tammy’s entanglement with off-limits and drop-dead gorgeous wizard Bryn Lyons than his ex-girlfriend? Not to mention that the clash between the locals and the magical visitors leads to a series of unnatural disasters that may doom them all.


Forest Moon Rising, by P.R. Frost (Daw)
A new Tess Noncoiré adventure finds the successful fantasy writer and Celestial Blade Warrior making a deal with the Powers That Be, forfeiting her own dreams in order to save those nearest and dearest to her. Tess, along with her imp Scrap, is determined to hunt down a demonic intruder from another dimension, the Norglein, who seems bent on ravishing young women, leaving them pregnant, and waiting for the proper time to steal their babies for his own purposes.


Blood Wyne, by Yasmine Galenorn (Berkley)
The D’Artigo sisters have turned in their badges to the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Now that they’re free agents they’re hoping things will be easier, but when you’re half-human, half-Fae, things can go astray at the most inopportune times—especially if you’re attempting to go undercover and penetrate the underworld of a vamp society on the brink of war.



Curiosity Thrilled the Cat, by Sofie Kelly (Signet)
When librarian Kathleen Paulson moved to Mayville Heights, Minn., she had no idea that two strays would nuzzle their way into her life. Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction and Hercules is a stocky tuxedo cat who shares Kathleen’s fondness for Barry Manilow. But beyond all the fur and purrs, there’s something more to these magical felines.




Evenfall, by Liz Michalski (Berkley Trade)
Frank Wildermuth always regretted a mistake he made as a teenager: choosing Clara Murphy over her sister Gert. And like a true Murphy woman, Gert got on with her life, never admitting to heartbreak. Not even now, decades later, with Frank dead—dead, that is, but not quite gone.





666 Park Avenue, by Gabriella Pierce (Avon)
What if your mother-in-law turned out to be an evil, cold-blooded witch—literally? Ever since wealthy Malcolm Doran swept her off her feet, fledgling architect Jane Boyle has been living a fairy tale. But when Malcolm introduces Jane to the esteemed Doran clan, one of Manhattan’s most feared families, Jane’s fairy tale takes a darker turn. Now she must struggle with newfound magical abilities and the threat of those who will stop at nothing to get them.

Welcome Jennifer Estep!

Today, we're extremely fortunate to welcome the very talented Jennifer Estep, author of the stunning Elemental Assassin series. But I'll let her introduce herself!

Greetings and salutations! I want to say thanks to Marie for having me on the blog today. Thanks, Marie!

I write the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assas­sin code­named the Spi­der who can con­trol the ele­ments of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing peo­ple and right­ing wrongs, Gin runs a bar­be­cue restau­rant called the Pork Pit in the fic­tional South­ern metrop­o­lis of Ash­land. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vam­pires, and ele­men­tals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

Books in the series are Spider’s BiteWeb of Lies, and VenomTan­gled Threads, the fourth book, will be pub­lished in May 2011, while Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released in Octo­ber 2011. Also, Haints and Hob­webs: An Ele­men­tal Assas­sin short story will be pub­lished in The Mam­moth Book of Ghost Romance, which will be released in Octo­ber 2011.

I also write the Mythos Acad­emy young adult urban fan­tasy series for Kens­ing­ton. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psy­chom­e­try, or the abil­ity to know an object’s his­tory just by touch­ing it. After a seri­ous freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Acad­emy, a school for the descen­dants of ancient war­riors like Spar­tans, Valkyries, Ama­zons, and more.
The first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August 2011, while the sec­ond book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in Decem­ber 2011.

So today, Marie suggested that I talk about why I write urban fantasy.

The answer? Because I can write about anything that I want to in urban fantasy. Assassins, mercenaries, bodyguards, kings, queens, beggars, thieves, detectives, librarians – you see all those characters and tons more in urban fantasy.

Then, there’s the world building. I write about elementals and ancient warriors in my two series, but anything goes in urban fantasy. If you can dream it up, you can write about it. Elves, fairies, dwarves, giants, wizards, witches, vampires, werewolves – you can put them in any kind of setting that you want, from modern day America to a post-apocalyptic version of the United States to alternate, demon-infested dimensions.

You can make your characters, magic, and world as light and funny or as dark and dangerous as you want them to be. Your character can be a newbie who’s just coming into his magic or an old soul who’s been around for centuries fighting the good fight against the ultimate evil. She can be a mild-mannered surfer who’s just trying to get by or a kick-ass mercenary who loves slicing bad guys to ribbons with whatever weapon is handy.

You can make the fight scenes as funny or as gritty as you want them to be. (And if you’ve read my Elemental Assassin series, you know that I love gritty fight scenes.) You can have your heroine locked in single combat or have her take on a whole army of bad guys. And you can’t forget your character’s love life, either. Whether you like sweet romances or sizzling love triangles, you’ll find both of those and much more in urban fantasy.

Like I said before, anything goes in urban fantasy, which makes it such a great genre to write and read in.

What about you guys? What do you like about the urban fantasy genre?



Excerpt from Venom, Chapter One


The bastards never even would have gotten close to me if I hadn’t had the flu.

Coughing, sneezing, aching, wheezing. That was me. Gin Blanco. Restaurant owner. Stone and Ice elemental. Former assassin. And all-around badass. Laid low by a microbe.

It had started as a small, ominous tickle in my throat three days ago. And now, well, it wasn’t pretty. Watery eyes. Pale face. And a nose so red and bright even Rudolph would have been jealous. Ugh.

The only reason I’d even crawled out of bed this evening was to come down to Ashland Community College and take the final for the classic literature class I was auditing. I’d finished my essay on symbolism in The Odyssey ten minutes ago. Now I plodded across one of the grassy campus quads and feverishly dreamed of sinking back into my bed and not getting out of it for a week.

Just after seven on a cold, clear December night. This was the last day of finals for the semester, and the campus was largely deserted. Only a few lights burned in the windows of the kudzu-covered brick buildings that rose above my head. The stones whispered of formulas, theories, and knowledge. An old, sonorous, slightly pretentious sound that was decidedly at odds with the sinister shadows that blackened most of the quad. No one else was within sight. Which is probably why they decided to jump me here. Well, that and the fact that kidnapping me would be such a bother.

One second I had my face buried in a tissue blowing my sore, drippy nose for the hundredth time today. The next, I looked up to find myself surrounded by three giants.

Oh, fuck.

I stopped, and they immediately closed ranks, forming a loose triangle of trouble around me. The giants were all around seven feet tall, with oversize, buglike eyes and fists almost as big as my head. One of them grinned at me and cracked his knuckles.

Someone was anxious to get down to the business of beating me.

My gray eyes flicked to the leader of the group, who had taken up a position in front of me—Elliot Slater. Slater was the tallest of the three giants, his seven-foot figure making even his flunkies seem small in comparison. He was almost as wide as he was tall, with a solid, muscled frame. Granite would be easier to break than his ribs. Slater’s complexion was pale, bordering on albino, and almost seemed to glow in the faint light. His hazel eyes provided a bit of color in his chalky skin, although his thin, tousled thatch of blond hair did little to cover his large skull. A diamond in his left pinkie ring sparkled like a star in the dark night.
 
Up until my retirement a few months ago, I’d moonlighted as an assassin known as the Spider. Over the past seventeen years, I’d had plenty of dealings in the shady side of life, so I knew Slater by sight and reputation. On paper, Elliot Slater was a highly respected security consultant with his own platoon of giant bodyguards. In reality, Slater was the number-one enforcer for Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who ran the Southern metropolis of Ashland like it was her own personal fiefdom. Slater stepped in and either cut off, took care of, or permanently disposed of any pesky problems Mab didn’t feel like dealing with herself.

And tonight it looked like that problem was me.

Not surprising. A couple of weeks ago, I’d stiffed someone during a party at Mab Monroe’s mansion. Needless to say, the Fire elemental hadn’t been too thrilled about one of her guests being murdered in her own home when she’d been entertaining a few hundred of her closest business associates. I’d gotten away with it so far, but I knew Mab was doing everything in her power to find the killer. To find me.
I sniffled into my tissue. I wondered if Mab had figured out who I really was. If that was why Slater was here tonight—

Elliot Slater looked over his broad shoulder. “Is this her?”

Slater slid to one side so another man, a much shorter human, could join the circle of giants surrounding me. Underneath his classic trench coat, the man wore a perfect black suit, and his polished wingtips gleamed like wet ink in the semidarkness. His thick mane of gunmetal gray hair resembled a heavy mantle of silver that had somehow been swirled and sculpted around his head. Too bad hate made his brown eyes look like congealed lumps of blood in his smooth, tight face.

I recognized him too. Jonah McAllister. On paper, McAllister was the city’s premiere attorney, a charming, bellicose defense lawyer capable of getting the most vicious killer off scot-free—for the right price. In reality, the slick attorney was another one of Mab Monroe’s top goons, just like Elliot Slater was. Jonah McAllister was Mab’s personal lawyer, responsible for burying her enemies in legal red tape instead of in the ground like Slater did.

McAllister’s son, Jake, was the one I’d murdered at Mab’s party. The twentysomething, beefy frat boy had threatened to rape and murder me, among other things. I’d considered killing him pest extermination more than anything else.

Elliot Slater and Jonah McAllister tag-teaming me. This night just kept getting better and better. I sniffled again. Really should have stayed home in bed.

Jonah McAllister regarded me with cold eyes. “Oh, yes. That’s her. The lovely Ms. Gin Blanco. The bitch who was giving my boy a hard time.”

A hard time? I supposed so, if you thought turning him in to the cops for attempted robbery, breaking a plate full of food in his face, and ultimately stabbing Jake McAllister to death was a hard time. But I noticed that Jonah McAllister didn’t say anything about me actually killing his son. Hmm. Looked like this was some sort of fishing expedition. I decided to play along—for now.

“What is this meeting all about?” My voice came out somewhere between a whiny wheeze and a phlegmy rasp. “Are you taking up Jake’s bad habit of assaulting innocent people?”

Jonah McAllister’s face hardened at my insult. As much as it could, anyway. Despite his sixty-some years, McAllister’s features were as smooth as polished marble, thanks to a vigorous regimen of expensive Air elemental facial treatments. “I would hardly consider you innocent, Ms. Blanco. And you’re the one who assaulted my precious boy first.”

“Your precious boy came into my restaurant, tried to rob me, and almost killed two of my customers with his Fire elemental magic.” I spat out the words, along with some phlegm. “All I did was defend myself. What does it matter now anyway? Your boy is dead because of some weird heart condition. At least, that’s what was in the newspaper.”

Jonah McAllister stared at me, trying to see if I knew more than I was letting on about his son’s untimely demise. I used the lull to blow my nose—again. Fucking microbes.

McAllister’s mouth twisted with disgust at the sight and sound of my sniffles. Admittedly, it wasn’t my most attractive moment. He jerked his head at Elliot Slater, who nodded back.

“Now, Ms. Blanco,” Slater drawled. “The reason for this meeting is that Mr. McAllister thought you might have some information about his son’s death. Jake did have a bit of a heart condition, but there were also some suspicious circumstances surrounding his passing. Happened a couple of weeks ago.”

Suspicious circumstances? I assumed that was polite talk for a sucking stab wound to the chest. But I kept my face blank and ignorant.

“Why would I know anything about Jake’s death?” I asked. “The last time I saw the little punk was the day he brought his old man there down to the Pork Pit to threaten me into dropping the charges against him.”

Lies, of course. I’d run into Jake McAllister one more time after that—at Mab Monroe’s party. Even though I’d been gussied up as a hooker, he’d still recognized me. Since I’d been there to kill someone else, I’d lured sweet little Jakie into a bathroom, stabbed him to death, left his body in the bathtub, and washed the blood off my dress before going back out to the party. Nothing I hadn’t done a hundred times before as the assassin the Spider. I certainly hadn’t lost any sleep over it.

But right now, it looked like I might lose a whole lot more.

“See, that’s the problem. My good friend Jonah doesn’t believe you. So he asked me and some of my boys to come down here and see if perhaps we could jog something free from your memory.” Slater smiled. His lips drew back, giving me a glimpse of his pale pink gums. The giant’s grin reminded me of a jack-o’-lantern’s gaping maw—completely hollow. “We’re going to pay these sorts of visits to anyone Jake might have had a problem with. And your name was at the top of the list.”

Of course it was. I was probably the only person in Ashland who’d ever dared to stand up to Jake McAllister. Now his daddy was going to make me pay for it.

Slater took off his suit jacket, handed it to Jonah McAllister, and started rolling up his shirtsleeves.

I sniffled, blew my nose again, and considered the situation. Four-on-one odds were never terrific, especially since three of the four men were giants. The oversize goons could be hard to bring down, even for a former assassin like me. None of the giants showed any obvious elemental abilities, like letting flames flicker on their clenched fists or forming Ice daggers with their bare hands. But that didn’t mean they didn’t have magic. Which would make them doubly hard to get rid of.

Still, if I hadn’t had the flu, I might have considered killing them—or at least cutting down a couple so I could run away.

Although I’d dragged myself out of bed this evening, I’d grabbed my silverstone knives on the way out the door. Five of them. Two tucked up my sleeves. One nestled in the small of my back. Two more in the sides of my boots. Never left home without them.

Of course, being an elemental myself I didn’t really need my knives to kill. I could just use my magic to take down the giants. My Stone power was so strong that I could do practically anything I wanted to with the element. Like make bricks fly out of the wall of one of the surrounding buildings and use them to brain the giants in their melon-size heads. Splat, splat, splat. It’d be easier than using an Uzi. Hell, if I really wanted to show off, I could just crumble all four of the buildings that ringed the quad down on top of them.

I was also one of the rare elementals who could control more than one element. Stone and Ice, in my case. Until recently, my Ice magic had been far weaker than my Stone power. But thanks to a series of traumatic events, I could do much more with it now. Like create a wall of Ice knives to fling at the men. I’d sliced through a dwarf’s skin doing just that. Giants weren’t quite as tough as dwarves, at least when it came to cutting into them. Even if they did have more blood to spare than their shorter compatriots.
 
But the odds or how to go about killing the giants wasn’t what was holding me back. Not really. It was the consequences; what would happen afterward when their boss, Mab Monroe, got involved.

Seventeen years ago, Mab Monroe had used her elemental Fire magic to kill my mother and older sister, a fact I’d only recently learned. She’d also tortured me, using her magic to superheat and burn a spider rune medallion into my palms. I was planning to deal with Mab myself after I figured out a few things, like why she’d murdered my family in the first place and where my long-lost baby sister, Bria, was now.

Taking care of Jonah McAllister and the rest of his hired help tonight would definitely tip my hand and draw even more of Mab’s attention my way. I didn’t want Mab and her minions to realize that I had any elemental magic. To suspect that I was anything more than the simple restaurant owner Jonah McAllister wanted dead for tattling on his son to the cops. At least, not before I killed her for what she’d done to me.
All that left me with only one option tonight—I was going to have to let the giants hurt me, beat me. That was the only way I could keep my cover identity as Gin Blanco safe, along with who I really was, Genevieve Snow
.
Fuck. This was going to hurt.

Elliot Slater finished rolling up his sleeves. “Are you sure you don’t have anything to tell us, Ms. Blanco?”
I sighed and shook my head. “I told you before. I don’t know anything about Jake McAllister’s death except what I read in the newspaper.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Slater murmured.

The giant stepped forward and flexed his fingers, ready to get on with things. Time for me to put on a little show. I widened my eyes, as though it had just sunk into my flu-addled brain what Elliot Slater was planning to do to me. I let out a phlegmy scream and turned to run, as though I’d forgotten all about the two giants standing behind me. I ran right into them, of course, and they reached for me. Even though I had no real intention of trying to break free, I still struggled to keep up appearances. Yelling, flailing, kicking out with my legs.

While I fought with the bigger, heavier men, I managed to discreetly slip the two silverstone knives that I had up my sleeves into the pockets of my jacket. I didn’t want the giants to feel the weapons when they finally latched onto me. Most innocent women didn’t go around wearing five knives on them, and my being so heavily armed would be the final nail in my coffin as far as Jonah McAllister was concerned about my involvement in his son’s death.

The two giants laughed at me and my weak, exaggerated blows. After a minute of struggling, they seized my upper arms and turned me around to face Elliot Slater once more.

And that’s when the fun really started.

Today Jennifer will give away a print copy of Venom to one lucky reader who answers her question above: What do you like about the urban fantasy genre? The contest will close at midnight tonight and the winner announced on this thread tomorrow. The winner must have a US or Canada address.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Urban Fantasy TV

Well, after talking about movies yesterday, let's move on to the small screen! Which urban fantasy television programmes or series stand out for you?

For me, it was the earlier episodes of Angel (above and below left). It seemed to show Angel as a grown-up, and his brooding seemed to fit really well into the noir, city setting :). I liked the loneliness of the characters, the lurking supernatural dangers and of course the hero protecting the city dwellers from threats they didn't know were there..

I was (still am!) a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan too, of course, but for me, the smaller town setting doesn't seem to work so well as urban fantasy.



From the British side of the Pond, Torchwood - the Dr. Who spin-off series - set largely in the Welsh city of Cardiff springs to mind as innovative and compelling.

True Blood, Supernatural, Reaper, are all on my "watch from the beginning!" list. 


Let's hear your loves and hates and general thoughts on urban fantasy tv!

Marie