20 YA paranormal romance and urban fantasy books based on myths and legends

Most of my YA dark fantasy books are based on mythology or legends so I was excited to get a spot in the boxset anthology of full-length PNR and UF books coming out in January 2017 called Dark Legends.

I’ve been working on Shearwater (and I’m only 5 chapters from the end) but am switching gears so I can finish Scarlet Thread and include it in this anthology. My book will be 2.99 but start with some free and 99cent promotions (sign up to my list to make sure you get a free copy). If you like Scarlet Thread and are willing to support me by buying the full book, it should be out in December. OR you can get it along with 19 other books for 99cents by buying the Dark Legends boxset. That’s a much better deal, but you’ll have to wait a little longer (mid January) to start reading it.

Here’s the sales copy:

Don’t miss this collection of more than twenty unique twists in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, providing over one million words of supernatural suspense that will transport you to new worlds with smoking hot action and heart-throttling adventure!

The DARK LEGENDS boxed set includes: Mermaids, Sirens, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Sorcerers, Warriors, Angels, Faeries, Demons, Witches, Psychics, Ghosts, Mythology, Folk Tales, Legends, Dark Magic, Time Travel, and More!

 

image

Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M27CAGU
Nookhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/…/dark…/1124659666
Kobohttps://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/dark-legends-1
iBookshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1156914318

 

Participating Authors

  • T.F. Walsh with Demon’s Mark 
  • Monica Corwin with Soulless
  • J.L. Weil with White Raven
  • Laxmi Hariharan with Redemption
  • JA Culican with The Keeper of Dragons
  • Muffy Wilson and The Para-Portage of Emily
  • GK DeRosa with Wilder: The Guardian Series
  • Marilyn Peake with Shade
  • Kevin McLaughlin with By Darkness Revealed
  • Carissa Ann Lynch with Midnight Moss
  • Vivienne Savage with Making Waves
  • Anna Hub with Beyond the Shadows
  • HJ Lawson with New Order
  • Emma Nichols with Blood Moon
  • Shelley Munro with Claimed & Seduced
  • J.A.Armitage with Two of Clubs
  • Leilani Love with Violca’s Dragon
  • Demelza Carlton with Ocean’s Gift
  • Xyla Turner with Broken Treaty
  • D.S. Murphy with Scarlet Thread
  • Jeremy Williams with Winemaker of the North

Scarlet Thread Update

Scarlet Thread is by far my most popular book, with almost 50,000 downloads – the second half of book one is roughly sketched out but since I need to finish it quickly this month I’m also calling for plot recommendations. If you’ve read part one and would like to suggest a plot twist, character development or something you’d like to see happen, please comment on this Facebook post!

 

 

 

Shearwater and Scarlet Thread updates!

Shearwater and Scarlet Thread are my most popular books – I’m working on Part 2 of Shearwater now (in Ireland!) and thought I’d post some updates. Firstly, this book is kicking my ass. I’ve only gotten 10 chapters passed the end of Part One and have 20 to go. Here’s a sneak preview…

2016-09-15_18-22-03

 

I’ve never been satisfied with the cover, so I tried to make a new one… but when I posted it on Facebook almost everyone preferred the original. I’ll try some more and ask for feedback once I have some final options.

14264837_10157499374315790_7492570789103932528_n

 

This is our (amazing) apartment in Portrush. So much space, great for writing.

14424885_10157540374975790_3691219317119960247_o

 

 

 

14425571_10153994830494779_2351258198186696546_o

 

This is our neighborhood:

14358911_10157555443390790_2061014871761640603_n 14449942_10157555443515790_7815891936277276879_n 14446162_10157555443465790_310254675683864401_n

 

I had hoped to finish Shearwater but the end of September, but it’s not going as quickly as I’d hoped. I wanted to have it out by Halloween but that’s looking unlikely, so probably in November…

In November we’ll be living in a castle in France, and I plan to finish Scarlet Thread (by far the most popular). I’d like to get a new cover for it as well. If I have time this year I’ll finish Orpheum and Prescient.

Since my first books are free, I’m not earning any money from my writing yet and still need to work, which means, less writing time. Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have four full books out earning some money, so I can focus on writing and get more stories out to you (I have so many stories!)

Orpheus, Dionysus and Bulgaria (lesser known Greek myths)

We spent last month in Bulgaria. I spent most of that time working on book covers and getting organized – it seems like a long time ago but it was only last month I finally finished my PhD and we flew pretty much straight here.

Plovdiv is a charming, comfortable little town, then we spent a week exploring the mountains and history. My novel Orpheum is set in Bulgaria, so we wanted to see the ancient Thracian ruins, the Devil’s cave (where Orpheus is set to have gone into Hell to save his love), and some other sites where Orpheus and Dionysus were worshiped. Now we’re in Sofia, finishing up our trip.

At Perperikon, I learned a great story about the creation of amethyst (so I bought one):

The name Amethyst derives from the Greek word ametusthos, meaning “not intoxicated,” and comes from an ancient legend. The wine god Bacchus, angry over an insult and determined to avenge himself decreed the first person he should meet would be devoured by his tigers. The unfortunate mortal happened to be a beautiful maiden named Amethyst on her way to worship at the shrine of Diana. As the ferocious beasts sprang, she sought the protection of the goddess and was saved by being turned into a clear, white crystal. Bacchus, regretting his cruelty, poured the juice of his grapes over the stone as an offering, giving the gem its lovely purple hue.

We also spent a week in this amazing writing retreat – an apartment we rented in the Southern Rhodope mountains. Not easy to get to, but worth it. I hope to finish part 2 of Orpheum this year!

IMG_1173 IMG_1178 14068136_10157451805715790_81761370964041276_n 14079956_10157451805450790_2900133122278296744_n  14184441_10157451805065790_4850344508205636214_n 14184540_10157466392585790_8574805670788706962_n 14199551_10157466391925790_2963529474053521704_n

I’ll be at the London Film and Comic Con!

Just finishing my PhD and finally, finally moving on with my life… this year I managed to put out some fiction, which was a huge goal of mine, but now I’ll have the time to finish what I’ve started and start writing full-time. I have dozens and dozens of novels sketched out; first up will be finishing Shearwater this fall. I wasn’t really planning on doing live events until I had 10 finished books out, but since we’ll be flying into London and I wanted to go to the London Film and Comic Con July 29-31st, I just decided to book my own table.

I won’t be bringing books with me, but I will have some “I’m really a mermaid” stickers and some cool stuff. If you’re in London, come visit!

Mermaid books mermaid YA books

The Europe trip has three main goals: my book Orpheum is set in Sofia, Bulgaria but I haven’t actually been there yet… so we’ll stay there for about a month soaking up culture and visiting the ancient Thracian temples. I also REALLY want to stay at this amazing mountainous apartment and do some writing.

2016-07-06_1-01-20

After that we’ll head to Ireland to check out the places mentioned in Shearwater around Portballintrae, like Dunlace castle and Giant’s Causeway. I think I’m going to giveaway a free trip to join me, as part of my launch for Shearwater part 2, but I’ll announce that later.

dunluce castle 2

We’ll end up in Dublin for the Claddagh Author Event … there are a few authors I’d like to meet.

Finally, in November we’re meeting 10 bestselling authors and some of the top YA booktubers to spend a month in a castle and it’s going to be epic. We’ll be posting lots of fun stuff on social media, and do some contests and things. This is the place we rented (in France).

nanowrimocastle

I plan to do at least one major “writing retreat in a castle” per year from now on.

Mostly however, I need to focus on finishing more complete books and then building them up into series… I’m shooting for 100 books in the next 5 years.

Not everything is a freaking love triangle (AKA: why your presumptions about young adult literature prove your bias)

I’ve made it no secret that I’m writing YA literature based on a template. Yes, a lot of YA is formulaic. Yes, there are some tropes that get annoying when they’re repeated. And you don’t want to annoy readers.

However, I maintain that writers shouldn’t just try to avoid all cliches. Writing popular fiction, like crafting any powerful story, is based on fundamentals of story construction that go back thousands of years.

Books need conflict. And a lot of bestselling young adult fiction really aren’t that innovative. They’re the same old stories, but retold in a fresh way. I want to give young adult readers what they’ve come to expect of the genre, while delighting or surprising them by remixing common themes in a way they haven’t seen before.

So it’s a little annoying to have all my future works criticized (as I know they will be) for merely having a “love triangle.” It’s as if a love triangle is a superficial thing, incidental to the story, that can easily be removed.

Most of the time, it isn’t. Because stories are built on character, not just plot events. In just about every cop show, ever, there’s a girl and a guy in a platonic working relationship. That’s so each of them can have multiple other partners, which opens up more plot events. In young adult fiction, the number is usually three. In my estimation, it’s because you need a representative of two warring races/classes, and a hero who is the medium between them. It allows for maximal conflict.

Sometimes the heroine is a girl. In The 100, (if you’ve been watching season three) Clark is sort of split between Bellamy, who represents the SkyCrew, and Lexa, who represents the grounders. She needs to make peace between them.

In the Shannara Chronicles, Amberle is a princess elf, the last of her kind. Wil is a halfblood. He alone has the power to use a magic weapon. Eretria is a human orphan with a mysterious background. She has visions and “her blood is the key.”

In Shades of Blue, Jennifer xxx plays a dirty cop, pinned between an FBI agent who is trying to bring down her ring leader, and Wozniac. Neither, incidentally, is her love interest – she’s actually banging the lawyer who can keep her violent ex locked up for good. So sex isn’t necessarily part of the “love triangle” at all – although there’s something creepy and sexual brewing between her and the FBI agent, Wozniac is more like a father figure to her.

Yes there is some romance and dramatic tension happening between all the characters, which keeps things interesting, but they’re really not that important compared to the racial warfare happening around them.

So I find it a little flippant to discount any book since Twilight with the complaint that it has a “love triangle” anytime there are three main characters representing necessarily diverse points of view. The conflict shouldn’t just stem from petty jealousy, but the fear, distrust, hatred and desire should be structured around the more important stuff that has calamitous consequences for everyone else.

Twilight is an excellent book, because it did the love triangle well. Which is exactly why I think the phrase “love triangle” needs to be assigned a new definition. As is, it has come to represent amazing, well told stories that should not be discounted out of hand – where the alleged love triangle is really a necessary and interesting center of conflict between three major players.

This is simply good construction.

Love Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Three decisions.

Peace, War, or aligning with either team.

It’s not fair to say, “Oh look, there are three characters, that must be heading towards a love triangle because they’re there” and then discrediting the book for that reason. If a book has a romantic interest flippantly, for no reason at all, which isn’t connected to the larger circumstances, then yes, that should be criticized. But that’s bad writing. It has nothing to do with the love triangle.

And I hate comments like “the love triangle was well done” or “poorly done”. Not everything is a fucking love triangle. If a girl has a love interest and another friend who likes her, but she doesn’t like him back in that way, is it still a love triangle? If she finds out one is her brother? If he’s actually an assassin sent to kill her or a prince in disguise? The story matters, not how many main characters there or how they feel about each other or whether they’re male or female and might develop feelings for each other.

Readers, stop hunting for love triangles and enjoy the story. If it’s poorly told, say so. Don’t discount it out of hand because some other critic says there’s a love triangle in there.

Authors, don’t avoid love triangles just because you think readers are sick of them; and don’t write them just because you think readers want them. Write what’s necessary to tell a great story, fill it with as much conflict as possible, and do things that readers have never seen before.

YA Writing Trick #1: The Missing Family Member

You’ll see this in a lot of YA fiction, TV series, etc – it’s easy and effective.

It’s the “hunt for the missing family member.”

One of the main characters has missing parents, or a mother or father, or a big brother or sister, or younger sibling that has gone missing. Maybe even an uncle (although uncles generally turn out to be the bad guy).

It’s easy to introduce and explain, and justifies having good, smart characters make stupid decisions. You need conflict, and the plot should be character driven, which means your characters sometimes need to do stupid, desperate things that aren’t very safe.

Why would they risk it?
Why would they press on when their friends tell them to stop?

Why would they throw their life and current relationships away?

To find the truth.

This is Mulder chasing his abducted sister.

It not only helps us understand the character’s devotion to the cause, it also helps give the character a motivation to take deliberate, if reckless, action, without losing the sympathy of the reader, which makes it very effective.

Strangely, so far in most of my fiction, I haven’t used this technique, which is a mistake. Most of my characters are only children. Nobody goes missing. They don’t have a burning quest to find them. My characters are usually motivated by external opposition and trying to protect loved ones.

But this doesn’t have to be used by a main character – maybe you need a marginal character or friend to do something to jumpstart the plot into action at the right time… the “missing relative” gives them a reason to do so which is honorable, without turning them into a bad guy.