Today I have a special post for you, with Excerpt and all!
Today is release day for Skyla Dawn Cameron, with her second book in The Demons of Oblivion series ~ Hunter. A story of a Demon hunting Nun.
Skyla talks today of writing Assassins then straight to a Nun!
THEN! There is one amazing Excerpt at the end of the post. Man, that woman ends in a very tight spot! I need to read more! Please welcome with the warmth you always do, Skyla Dawn Cameron! (I believe there are drinks on the table, vodka and more. Do enjoy!)
From Assassins to Nuns
“I could so ‘hear’ you telling the story. Her dialogue sounds like stuff you’d say.”
Bloodlines inevitably says this. My mother has. My co-worker has. My friends have. My voice comes through in a lot of my characters, but Zara Lain seems to be the one who most sounds like the Skyla people know. I don’t actually know whether to be offended or not—I’m not as quick-witted or funny as Zara, so either they think I’m funnier than I am (I’m okay with this), or they don’t really listen to me to begin with so have no idea I’m not that funny (I am less okay with this). But I digress.
Stepping into Zara’s skin to write from her point of view is like hanging out with an old friend who you know so well, you can finish each other’s sentences.
Zara, however, is nothing like me. She’s confident to the point of arrogant (I lean toward insecure). She’s promiscuous (talking to boys frightens me). She kills people for a living (okay, so do I, but they’re not real people...usually). She can drive and has flashy cars (I can’t even ride a bike). She’s aggressive and extroverted (I’m painfully shy). She doesn’t have five cats (*cough*).
Hunter, sounds nothing like me. She doesn’t swear. She doesn’t snark. She’s religious. She navigates public transportation far more successfully than I ever have. She can step in a church without bursting into flame. She also doesn’t have five cats (*cough*).
I’m often asked what made me decide to switch to a different narrator for the second book in the series rather than continue with Zara Lain immediately after Bloodlines. And...actually, I ask myself this as well, as most readers get a kick out of Zara and I now worry they’re going to hate Ryann because she’s nothing like her, and then my series will tank, and then I won’t be able to publish another Zara book (also, neither of my heroines are paranoid; clearly I am).
But where’s the fun in telling the same story twice? Where’s the challenge in taking the formula that worked the first time and just doing it all over again? I think there’s a danger with any long running series. Characters become stale. Storylines become repetitive. I’m not naming names, but I’m sure y’all can think of a few.
I’m nowhere near that point with Zara and I have many more stories of hers to tell, but I want readers eagerly anticipating her next book, not dreading it. I want to have a series with many fleshed out characters who have interlocking stories, not just a repeat of Snark and Violence with Zara Lain. And I want to step out of my comfort zone as a writer and spend 100K words with someone who is nothing like me.
Hunter was a harder book to write. Ryann makes choices I wouldn’t. She believes things I don’t. And, for better or worse, she’s entirely different from Zara, like Hunter is entirely different from Bloodlines, which may disappoint some readers while pleasing others. But it isn’t that difficult to step from writing an assassin to writing a nun when you, the writer, isn’t much like either of them.
One of these days I’m determined to write a crazy cat lady, though.
About the Author: Award-winning author Skyla Dawn Cameron has been writing approximately forever. Her early storytelling days were spent acting out strange horror/fairy tales with the help of her many dolls, and little has changed except that she now keeps those stories on paper. She signed her first book contract at age twenty-one for River, a unique werewolf tale, which was released to critical and reader praise alike and won her the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy. She now has multiple series on the go to keep her busy, which is great for her attention deficit disorder.
Skyla lives in Southern Ontario where she dabbles in art, is an avid gamer, and watches Buffy reruns. She’s naturally brunette, occasionally a redhead, and will probably go blonde again soon. If she ever becomes a grown-up, she wants to run her own pub, as well as become world dictator. You can visit her on the web at http://www.skyladawncameron.com/ for free fiction, book news, a community forum, and tons of other totally awesome stuff.
She also has five cats. Here’s the newest:
Hunter jacket copy:
Sometimes natural predators need to be kept in check, and for that, there's Ryann David. Orphaned as an infant and raised by an exiled branch of the church to become a warrior for God, she and her fellow members of Venatores Daemonum have trained all their lives with only one purpose: destroy all demons in the mortal realm.
But when Ryann and her team are sent to hunt down a vampire who has killed one of their own, a new world of danger, betrayal, and conspiracy greets her. Allied with an irreverent psychic detective and the very monsters she was raised to kill, Ryann will risk everything—her life, her faith, and her heart—in pursuit of the truth as the black and white existence she knew turns a murky shade of gray.
Hunter Excerpt (exclusive)
Sweat beaded on my forehead, twisted with my hair, and slithered down my back. I’d shuck off my hoodie but it had kept my arms from being scraped to pieces when I fell before, and I’d likely fall again—plus no way was I taking time to remove the katana. I flexed my fingers, aware of the stake on the ground in my peripheral vision.
I braced. Studied him. Waited. He shifted his weight and movement flickered in his shoulder seconds before two punches came my way. I caught his wrists, directing each blow to the side. When he wasn’t catching me off guard, he was sloppy, either oblivious to his tells or not caring—and it could be the latter, as he was a vampire and few could compete with them so he relied on strength and speed only.
His left leg tensed, weight shifting again. When the kick came, I was prepared; I ducked and spun, pulling the katana from its sheath, feet kissing the cement as I danced around him. The blade came down, artfully slicing through his left hamstring.
The vampire howled as he tumbled forward, and blood sprayed as I cut the hamstring of his right leg next.
He had strength and speed, yes, but I had skill and now he wouldn’t be running far.
A backhand swipe I didn’t see coming struck me across the face, snapping my head to the side so hard my ears rang. I stumbled. Fought to right myself. An instant later, pain pierced my leg as he latched on, teeth sinking into flesh just above my knee. Terror spiked adrenalin through my veins and my heart knocked against my ribs at the sight of the bloodsucker crouched there, bleeding, feeding off of me while I forgot the most important lesson: they didn’t need working legs to be deadly.
I yelped even as I told myself not to—even as I remembered this was little more than a wild animal who would be incited to do worse by any weakness I showed. Blood pooled on the grimy ground around us but it hadn’t slowed him down; he could no longer stand but his teeth tore into my flesh again. I flexed my grip on the katana, swung it up, then he let my leg go and gave me a hard shove.
Balance left me and I dropped on my back, hard, barking my elbows on cement.
And then he was on me, pinning me to the alleyway floor that stank of garbage and urine. Fingers locked on my wrists, squeezing; my katana was lost to me, fallen somewhere as the stake had. His mouth opened, dark and gaping but for those horrible teeth that shone white. I struggled but my legs were beneath his, my arms restrained up near my head. Panic rose, clawing up my throat.
As he neared me, I swung my head forward, the hard bone of my forehead striking his nose which broke with a crack.
Now my head thundered with pain and hot blood sprayed across my face, but I’d broken his attention on my neck. His grip on my wrists tightened and he returned my head butt, smacking my forehead harder than I’d hit him. White hot stars played over my blurry vision, pain shooting straight down my neck when the back of my head bumped the pavement.
I shuddered at the feel of his tongue, warm and wet, dragging up my cheek, and he nipped at my ear.
“Mmm, I like the taste of you,” came his voice, dark and thick all around me, drowning me in terror. “Is it true the blood of a virgin nun is sweeter than all others?”
Dear God, please, dear Lord, I... I couldn’t even form a prayer, tears burning my eyes and tremors rocking me bone deep.
His teeth nicked my shoulder and I let out a helpless, terrified cry that built in my chest before rising, rising, to spill past my lips.
Thank you Skyla for stopping by the blog today! And man, I want the rest that goes with that excerpt. She is in one tight position there and I want to know what happens! :) Thank you for the great post. That kitten is just adorable.
So, Are you curious about the books? Well, go check them out:
Skyla's Site and Blog
Skyla's Books (on her site)
Skyla on Twitter