Thursday, 31 January 2013

Dangerous Beauty, A Homage to Fan Art by Tali Spencer

Guest Blog Post – FanArt

Thanks, Nephy, for giving me this chance to visit and promote my new release, Dangerous Beauty. I’ll get to that. For now I’d like to talk about fan art.

Authors almost universally love fan art. I say almost because I’m sure there’s some author out there who despises rainbows, puppies, happy couples, and fan art. I have yet to meet that author, though. All of the ones I know are astonished, delighted, and flattered by art work their fans have created.

I’m a huge fan of fan art. No surprise there, right? I mean, I go all gooey over my book covers and praise the people who create them. Dangerous Beauty has a gorgeous cover by artist Adrian Nicholas, who also did the cover for Captive Heart. One of my sons is a successful artist and animator whose earliest efforts were based on artists he loved. As a teen he sent one of his fan art drawings to Bill Watterson, creator of the Calvin and Hobbes comics, who wrote back a lovely letter and critique that sealed the kid’s career choice.

Most of the artists who create fan art are amateurs and most fan art is devoted to visual media such as movies, TV shows, comics, and video games. That said, some artists are fans of books and sometimes they create images to go with their favorite 
characters or stories. That’s the fan art I’m talking about today. These artistic fans turn words into pictures and their work ranges from worshipful to fun to amazing.

Writers often feature artwork created by fans on their websites or blogs. Why not? We’re proud of them! Fan art is like a trophy: visible proof of our work having touched someone besides our mothers or spouses. We certainly share them with our friends: “Look what this person did! See? Here’s my character!” I shared mine with my dentist. Few things tickle a writer more than knowing a story reached someone else and moved, inspired, or provoked them.

Want some examples? I’ll start with one of my own. Bailey Zweifel, a fan of my romance novel Captive Heart, made me squee like a teen girl at a Bieber concert when she sent me this picture she had created using Doll Divine, an online doll-making program. Here are the three female main characters of the novel—Julissa, Aurelia, and Adora. Bailey captured each woman’s appearance and personality in her choices of dress and accessories. This is adorable!

Some of you may know M.A. Church and her novel, The Harvest. (Hurry up and get that novel published, M!) Here is one fan’s interpretation of Keyno, the feline alien. What a character looks like is one of those things where every fan will have a unique vision. Michelle’s opinion? “I think having a fan take time to do a drawing for an author is the ultimate compliment!”

Isabelle Rowan author of the novel, INK, uses her fan art to help promote her novels. “I have some character pics from INK that an ex student of mine drew. I made them into postcards I loved them so much.” The artist is Benson Noynay and you can see more of his work on Isabelle’s website. Here’s his character sketch of Dominic, INK’s centurion/vampire.

DJ Serani’s new book, Choices, inspired this vision of her characters Bathasar and Teman by the artist Rubiconn. How gorgeous is that?

Andrea Speed was delighted when a fan tweeted her with this image inspired by her Infected series. This one is from Infected: Prey. The artist, Raelynn, is a dedicated fan artist.

Chris T. Kat, author of Secret Chemistry, shares this gorgeous pic drawn by the artist Mondriana for Chris’ story, “Fundamental Changes.” She loves it so much she uses it as her avatar on some sites.

Christopher “Kit” Moss, whose novel Frankie and Johnny will be released in August by Dreamspinner, shared images inspired by the book and characters. Here’s artist Linda Laaksonen’s concept of Frankie:

Fan art also can convey setting or other elements of the book, as Laaksonen does here:

Some writers create fan art for other writers whose books they read and love. Not only is Pinkie Rae Parker a talented writer (“Curtain Calls”), here’s her illustration of Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files, written by Jim Butcher. Pinkie’s fan art is well-known in writer circles.

WARNING. Some fan art—like fan fiction—veers into adult territory. Click away now if you don’t want to be ambushed by the following examples, because they’re definitely NSFW.

Adrienne Wilder, author of City of Dragons, writes red hot M/M urban fantasy and paranormal romance. No wonder her work inspires images like these. Or is it that her work inspires her writing? Because—that’s right—Adrienne is also the artist.  “I do it to help me to ‘see’ characters sometimes,” she says. Judging by these pics, she sees her characters just fine!

Here are Joey and Taylor from Adrienne’s novel, Skin Deep.

Here is another of Adrienne’s pics, this time of Jericho and Vesh, from Worth.

* * * *

Hope you enjoyed my little tour. I don’t have any fan art from Dangerous Beauty (yet), but here’s the blurb.


Once the Kordeun family ruled Sebboy…now they are imperial captives of the Uttoran Emperor. Devout and studious, Endre Kordeun loves his family and will do anything to free them, even if that means pretending he’s gay so he can pass messages to his father’s shady allies. With his golden good looks and a beautiful male courtesan posing as his lover, Endre finds Uttor’s decadent society more than willing to believe his ruse.

But when a passionate kiss from a dark, gorgeous man unlocks feelings Endre had been hiding even from himself, lies start to unravel. Arshad, prince of Tabar, is Endre’s match in every way…including a shared love for science and celestial mechanics. Going forward with his charade will be dangerous, and not only because he might be discovered. In that event, even his own father would kill him. How much is Endre willing to risk for love?

And a really short (but juicy) excerpt:

He lay on a rug in a room at the center of the universe. Arshad kissed his belly, hair tickling his skin, then moved to his thigh where it rested against that broad dark chest. Endre swallowed a moan as the discomfort in his ass turned slowly to pleasure, his lover’s finger moving deeper, curving and brushing the core of his body to create sensations that were strange but no longer painful.

“I have you now, princeling,” his dark prince taunted.

This time the turning of his finger brushed something deep and hot, releasing a burst of pleasure that left him gasping. His cock quivered and half-filled with blood.

“God, Arshad—”

“You like that? Let’s do it again.”

He did it again. And again. And again. Endre rolled his pelvis, pushing back onto Arshad’s finger, begging more. Arshad kept hooking his finger inside, finding that place until he wanted to scream.

“Please. I want you inside me.”

Those full lips passed lightly atop his and he sought them hungrily.

“I can tell.”

* * * *

Thanks, Nephy for letting stop by to talk about my love for fan art and introduce my new book! Here’s more information if anyone should wish to contact me.

Dangerous Beauty is available at Resplendence Publishing and also at AllRomance.
My author page. 
My Goodreads author page.
I'm on Facebook
and Twitter

What an amazing collection of fan art, Tali. Thank you so much for sharing and for letting me be involved in the promotion of your book. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE fan of fan art and particularly of one wonderful artist who captures my own characters so well and so excitingly. I squee like a teenager whenever I see one of her depictions, especially of my darling Silver. You'll see them all over my blog. 

I can't let a post on fan art go by without including some of her work.

Here are two of my favourites

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Wednesday Flash - Two Sides of the Same Coin

Another Wednesday rolls around and with it comes another installment of 'Angel'. I had a lot of fun writing this one because I wrote it from Micha'el's point of view and he's such a bastard. This week's chapter of Dust and Ash rocked so it eased me into the week with a smile, not that it lasted long with problems in work (as per usual). But, I've made it to Wednesday intact so there's hope for the rest of the week.

This week I chose a picture prompt which kind of fits in.

Michael knelt and stared in shock at the two angels who stood before him like twin stars. Passa’el, with his dark hair and dark eyes, and Uzzi’el with hair like gold and eyes of blue. Not that he could see the colour of their eyes. He wondered if they realised there was a rainbow light glowing from their eye sockets making it seem as if their bodies were merely receptacles for some unearthly being made only of rainbows.

Power radiated from the two angels who stood, hand in hand, silent and still. There was no anger in them, no condemnation. Their faces were calm and their stance relaxed. Blue sparks and little arcs of electricity ran up their arms from their joined hands and that strange, multi-coloured light poured from them, forming bonds that he didn’t bother to struggle against.

“You know you can’t bind me for long.” Michael smiled, his angel smile. “Soon I will be free and you will die. Neither of you has the power to hold me for long and certainly not to defeat me.”

“True,” Uzzi’el said in a voice that was calm and gentle. “Neither of us has the power to defeat you, but both of us do.”

“What do you mean?” Michael laughed at him boldly, certain of his own power, his ability to see this arrogant young fool and his mate crushed under his heel. He’d made a big mistake in leaving their destruction in the hands of others. This time he would take care of it personally.

“You’ve told me, twice. Don’t you remember?”

“Remember what?” His patience was beginning to wane. He hated being confined and he hated even more that his men were seeing him on his knees in the dust. Come to think of it, why weren’t they coming to his aid? Cowards. He’d see them pay for this.

“Once, a long time ago, we stood before you as we are now.” Passa’el took up the conversation with the same gentle tone. “Only that time, we were the ones in chains. You were our judge and executioner. You condemned us for our support of humanity and took it on yourself to carry out sentence without even referring to The Council. You tore my soul from my body and cast it down to wander among humanity for eternity, to witness their excesses and nature, with no power to influence them. I was doomed to wander, unable to move on, unable to return home.”

“My punishment,” Uzzi’el continued smoothly as if they were one being speaking with one voice. “was to suffer his fall through our bond and then the forceful breaking of our connection. You thought it would break me, and it did, for a while. I remember, just before the deed was done, you looked into our eyes and told us that together we were powerful, more powerful perhaps than you, but alone we were nothing and would never be anything other than a whisper in the night.”

“Yes, I remember that.” Michael shivered with delight at the memory of the power he’d wielded over the pathetic, broken angels. Oh how they’d pleaded, begging to be allowed to suffer their punishment together, or to take the punishment of the other to gain reprieve for their lover. He’d taken such great pleasure in tearing them apart, plundering the power of their love. How delicious it had been to watch Uzzi’el writhe in the dirt, screaming out his pain, his loss. The image had stayed with him for quite a time, but in the end he’d forgotten.

“And then, not a week ago, when the probes of your enforcers were still in my brain, you allowed me respite from their torment long enough to torment me yourself with what you were going to do to my ‘pathetic band of miscreants’. You stood before me and said that if only Passa’el were still with me, perhaps I would have had a chance. Of all, we two were the only ones who might have been able to defeat you. Alone, I was an annoying irritation who would soon be nothing more than a mindless drone.”

Micha’el remembered that, too. He smiled at the memory. Uzzi’el, bound and helpless, his eyes wide with pain and fear as the enforcers invaded his mind and took it apart, piece by piece. He should have waited until those eyes went blank forever, but he had been too eager to crush the rebel army.

“It was the sound of Passa’el’s name that freed me, that allowed me to shake off the power of the enforcers and flee. I believed that Gabri’el would be searching from me, but when I couldn’t find him, I fell and couldn’t stop falling. It seems that the seed you’d planted in me when you spoke Passa’el’s name was enough for my soul to find him and take me to him.”

“But how…how did you find your way back?” He addressed his question to Passa’el.

“That is a question I can’t answer. The universe works its miracles and who am I to question?”

“Who indeed? You’re a no one.”

“Indeed, Alone I am no one. I am nothing. But we are together now and nothing will ever part us again. We are one and nothing will stand against us.” He looked at Uzzi’el at precisely the same moment Uzzi’el turned his head to meet him. Their eyes met and an explosion of rainbow light washed over Micha’el in waves of unbearable sweetness.

For the first time in as long as he could remember, Micha’el; Archangel, warrior, leader of the celestial armies, felt fear.

Now, go check out the rest of our flashers, who deserve your undivided attention

Friday, 25 January 2013

Fallen Angel - It's Finally Here

Vampires, angels, demons and a were panther. What more can you ask for? Throw in a love story as old as time, a desperate race to solve an ancient puzzle and you've got an explosive mix of reality and fantasy. Or maybe you just have reality.

Eons ago a group of angels fought a war, for their right to love who they pleased. They lost. They were cast out of Eden. Their children fled and many were slaughtered, but not all. some survived. Fallen Angel is not a story about that fall.

Cover art by Maria, and Mika Star

Fallen Angel is published by Romance First Publishing

Isobel is a were panther. She believes she shares her body with the soul of a big cat. She belongs to a group who all believe themselves to be Otherkin, beings that are not entirely human. She absolutely believes it. At least she thinks she does until she meets Arran who turns out to be a ‘real’ vampire.

Arran mocks her, teases her and embarrasses her in front of her friends, and yet…

When she starts having flashbacks to another time, a time when she belonged in Arran’s arms, Isobel’s feelings for Arran change and for brief moments she believes he feels the same, but still he treats her coldly.

Against her better judgment, Isobel follows Arran on a dangerous quest for a mysterious object that holds a great truth about vampires.

When she discovers the reason Arran has been pushing her away Isobel gives herself to him completely and they re-forge a bond that was broken eons ago.

In a desperate race against time, Isobel and Arran search for the mythical object in the hope it might save Arran’s life. However, what they find at the end of their journey is something so huge, so unbelievable powerful, it must be destroyed. But where does that leave Arran?

As Isobel holds him and watches his life slip away, she has an idea. But will it work?

As their lips met their souls touched, and Isobel’s mind opened. She saw the lake again only this time she wasn’t an onlooker. She stood with her arms around Arran, trying to hide her face as blood rained from the sky. She knew the sun was still high but it was so dark, like night. If she looked up she would have seen the sun obscured by the bodies fighting, their blood bathing the earth below, dripping onto her hair and back. Arran prevented her looking up. His arms weren’t the only things wrapped around her. She nuzzled into down as soft as a baby chick that lined the coal black wings curving overhead and around her body.

“Save me,” she whispered and he nodded his eyes dark, deep and endlessly sad.

“When I say – run.”

She nodded wordlessly.


Arran spread his wings and grabbed her hand. She screamed in terror as blood rained down upon her. Skidding and slipping on the gory grass they ran until they reached the wood and the trees afforded them some protection. Now and again a scream cracked the air, followed by a thud as another body fell to the earth, but from which side they didn’t know and dared not stop to check. The friends and family that they left behind tugged at their hearts, but terror was a harsh taskmaster and they could do naught but run on, until they were too exhausted to run anymore.

Collapsing at last in the roots of a huge old tree, Arran tucked Isobel into the hollow and made them as comfortable as he could. Eventually he covered them with his wings for warmth and comfort, but fear for their safety startled him at every snap of a twig or call of a bird. Desperate, terrified, alone, in the renewed light of a sun finally cleared to shine again, they stared into each other’s eyes and knew their unity was all they had left.

With a gasp, Isobel pulled away from Arran and stared at him, not pausing even to wonder if the image was true. The truth was obvious. It was a memory and the intensity of that moment spilled into the present. Isobel tore at the straps of her dress, desperate to be free of it and feel him against her bare skin.  Arran froze, staring as her body was revealed, pale and perfect in the darkness.  When she was naked, she turned to him with fire in her eyes, gratified to see a matching flare in his own.

Hungry fingers fumbled with buttons that refused to yield. Isobel lost all patience and tore the shirt from his body, surprised by her own strength. Arran laughed, a deep rumble that only served to inflame her more.

“I think, perhaps, I should do the rest. I happen to like these trousers, and I don’t really want them shredded by a wild cat.”

Lowering themselves onto the bed, that same, strange shift of reality showed Isobel a different Arran. He had the same face and eyes, but he no longer lay on the plush bed, the soft velvet covers spread out under him. Now he sprawled on the rough floor of an ancient wood, his body cushioned on large, night black wings, the feathers glossy in the moonlight.

Isobel reached out a tentative hand and brushed the trembling feathers. They were sleek and oily at the wing ridges, but deeper, closer to Arran’s body, they were soft and fluffy, like a down quilt ready to wrap around her in eternal comfort and safety.

And then they were back again. The room enclosed them and the sounds of faraway fighting faded. Smells faded slower and the metallic tang of blood made her nose itch for some time.

Arran reached out, a look of reverence and awe on his face, and touched Isobel’s hair, running the soft silken strands through his fingers.

“You have hair the colour of old flames, just like you did then.”

“You have hair the colour of the night, just like you did then.” Isobel reached for his hair but went past his head to the space behind it. “I remember your wings.”

“My wings burned off a long time ago.”

“The only wings I ever had were in my heart whenever I looked into your eyes.  They still work as well as they ever did.”

“Hell Isobel, do you know what this means?”

“I guess it means you don’t really need to find that room anymore.”

“No.  But I do need to find what it protects.”

“Yes, my love, you do.”

“Do you remember, Isobel?” Arran whispered. “Do you remember everything?”

“Yes, I remember everything. I remember the white city on the cliff, the City of Angels, they called it in the village. I remember the men, the beautiful men with wings who were so cold and distant. And I remember… those who weren’t.”

“I can hardly believe it.”

“Me either.”

“My… our fathers were angels, weren’t they? Real angels.”

“Yes,” Isobel whispered, stroking his chest. “And our mothers were human. That’s why they killed them; why they hunted us. Were we the only survivors?”

Arran shook his head. “I don’t know. I can’t remember. There have been times, I think – in other lives; times when I’ve met someone or heard or seen something that’s not fit into any life I remember… remembered then. Maybe they were people we knew then. I don’t think true angels live and die as we do, so perhaps there were others like us, who escaped the war, too.” He laughed. “Escaped the war,” he repeated, dazed. “The war in heaven.”

“But it wasn’t in heaven. It wasn’t about God or the Devil or…”

“No, it was about…”


“Not just about us, Isobel. The Council decreed that humans and malakim shouldn’t mix but it wasn’t just about that. It was the Source.”

“Yes,” she said, stunned. “The Source.”

“It was really about power wasn’t it?”

“Yes. The Council had it and they didn’t want to share it. If only… It seems incredible now, looking back… all the way back. They held it in their hand: the Source of all life. The actual Source of all life. They had the power to create… anything. They could transcend humanity, create a new race of transcendental beings and instead…”

“No, they couldn’t Isobel. They were right about that. They couldn’t ascend humanity.”

“Why not?”

“Don’t you see? If they used the Source to change one race into an entirely different one, even if it was more enlightened, a ‘better’ one, they’d have been putting themselves in the place of God. It’s not for anyone, not even the Sanhedrin Malakim to do that, to take that kind of drastic action.”

“You sound as if you’re siding with them.”

“Siding with them?” He frowned at her, then smiled. “We’ve had this argument before. I’ll tell you now what I told you then, and take it further. The Council was right in preventing the Source being from used to ascend humanity. They were right that humanity needed to undergo its own evolution. But they were wrong, so totally wrong in what they did about it. Making decrees about who someone can or cannot love is impossible. Breaking apart lovers and destroying families for the sake of a decree is evil.

“What our parents did was wrong. Not their love, that should never have been punished. But taking things into their own hands and making the choice to ascend humans without permission from the Council, yes, that was wrong. The task of protecting the Source fell to the Council, and that wasn’t easy. The Source was the single most powerful substance in the universe, responsible for the very creation of the universe. No one knew exactly what it was capable of or that it would be as much bad as it was good.

“Don’t you see… the Council succeeded for millennia in preventing the Source from being used for selfish ends, and then Semjaza took it into his head to transcend Ishtahar and the whole world went crazy.”

“It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t start the war.”

“He did start the war, Isobel. I’m not saying he was entirely wrong, but his action in ascending Ishtahar did start the war. He violated the most sacred law by taking a human into the sanctuary, by having her enter the Source, and by allowing her to transcend.”

“He loved her.”

“I know. And I know what it’s like to love like that.” He looked up into Isobel’s eyes, brushing her hair off her face and tucking it behind her ear. “I’m not saying I wouldn’t have done it myself, but you have to be realistic and you have to be honest. He did start the war.”

“Okay, okay, he started the war. But the Council should never have done what they did. Maybe Semjaza did break the law, maybe he violated the sanctuary or whatever… but he didn’t deserve what they did, none of them did, none of us did.”

“No, whole scale slaughter of entire families is never acceptable for any reason. That’s when the real power trip began and that’s when the whole thing went to hell. Do you… do you think that after… after the war… Do you think they were sorry? Do you think that when everything calmed down, the Council regretted what they did and…?”

“No, Arran, I don’t and they didn’t. Look at what’s happened since. They’ve hunted us through history. So many things make sense now. We’ve never stopped running. They’ve hunted us and they’re hunting us still.”


The war approaches, closer every day.
No one knows what’s behind the gates, but they weaken every moon cycle, every nightfall, every hour.
Be ready when they open.  
Remember, awaken, wait for the call… and follow Arran and Isobel.

By Maria

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Next Big Thing - Blog Hop

I have absolutely no idea what this is all about but, as I was asked so nicely and I have a new book out tomorrow that I have been too busy (ready lazy) to publicise as I should, I figured that I'd at least give it a go so if I do it wrong I apologise. Also be aware, as I'm sure Andy who was the one who tagged me, will confirm, I have next to zero technical skill and a habit of getting things wrong all the time.

I'm jumping into this with as much grace as a hippo trying to do a swan dive but anything for publicity, hey, so here I go.

First, you should go take a look at Andy's forum where you will find his post which is much more interesting than mine. While you're there check out the Author Profiles which are of me and my good friend Alicia Nordwell.

Anyway, I think this is where I dive into the questions, I think (I hope)

Nephylim's Next Big Thing

1.  What is the working title of your book

There is no working title. The actual title is Fallen Angel

2.  Where did the idea come from for the book

Oooh now here's a question, so get ready for a trip to the dark side. For many years I was active on a forum for 'real' vampires and Otherkin. By this, I mean people who are living it and not pretending it, people who genuinely believe their human body is shared by not only a human soul but a non human one, or that there is no human soul at all but something bigger, something that needs more energy than the human body can supply, hence the need to take in more life force either through kinetic energy or through living blood.  I could go into this in a lot more detail but if you're interested there's a lot of information out there (not all of it correct. If you find anyone who claims to have been 'turned' laugh at them. Real vampires are born not 'turned')

Through that forum, which sadly no longer exists, I met Otherkin who bore the souls of Angels. Some fallen, some not and that led to a whole new exploration which is a story, and a long one, in itself. If you're interested in 'real' fallen angels and the things they go through trying to get a hold of who they are and who they were then take a wander through this forum Shadow of the Fallen

Through a combination of these two forums and experiences I developed a firm belief about what really happened in the fall from heaven, and the connection between vampires and fallen angels. I've been bringing snippets through in my writings for years and this is the most overt yet. Maybe one day I'll tell the whole story. For now this is Arran and Isobel's story.

3. What's the genre of the book?

Contemporary romance. There's possibly a bit of fantasy/paranormal there depending on whether you believe otherkin/vampires/fallen angels are real :)

4.  Which actors would you use to play your characters in a movie rendition

This isn't an easy one. After much consideration I'd have to say:-

For Isobel - Ann Hathway and this black beauty

And for Arran, maybe Ben Barnes and my beautiful white friend

The Shade, I guess will have to be animatronic

5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book

When Isobel meets Arran, the snarky vampire, everything she believes to be true is turned on its head and, in a cruel twist, when she finally discovers the truth and rekindles a love that has survived thousands of years, she stands to lose it all

6  Will your book be self published or represented by and agency/publisher

Fallen Angel will be published by Romance First Publishing on 25th January 2013

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript

Not long. Not long at all. I'd say maybe six to eight weeks. It's one of those stories that just fell out of my fingers.

8. What other books would you compare this with in your genre?

If there are any I haven't read them.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My friends on Shadow of the Fallen who need their stories told

10. What else about your book might pique you readers' interest?

What? Apart from the fact that it's written by someone who believe vampires and angels are real and has written a work of fiction that isn't really fiction at all but designed to get out a message without actually putting it forward as a message, in the hope that other fallen angels who are still lurking in the background might come forward? 

Ummm.... no, not really :)

Apart from this book, I have a few others I'm hoping to get out there this year including a Young Adult novel about the adventures of a blind boy who meets someone who changes his life forever, to be published with Featherweight Press I have also been working on a collaboration with a fellow author S L Danielson which is a series of Young Adult books, following a group of friends through five years of their lives. As it's me, they are a very turbulent, tortuous and exciting five years and deal with issues such as suicide, abuse, mental health issues, violence, prostitution, success, stardom, unshakable love and unbreakable faith.

I will therefore tag the said S L Danielson who can talk about our releases and thereby give me two bites of the cherry. I'm a lawyer; bite me. Although, from what you've read above you can be pretty sure I'll bite back.