In the fanciful world of Sendalar, where dragons dot the skies and magic is slowly giving way to industry, Raven’s Blood and Talman Goodearth meet in the tiny village of River’s Bend, where they become best friends. When a tragedy occurs, however, the boys are torn apart. Years later, they come back together at university. Love blossoms, but danger lurks in the shadows. Raven and Tal slowly discover that their love may come with a price too high to bear.
All of my stories involve elements of action, adventure, and mystery, but in The Good Shaman I wanted the love story between Raven and Tal to be the main focus. Romance takes center stage in this one. It's not only about two people who spend a lifetime loving one another, it's about how that love helps them to overcome hardships and trauma. I find it beautiful, and my hope is that others can relate to the beauty of it.
I started my very first (unfinished) novel at the age of 15. Now, nearly 30 years later, part of that novel has finally come to fruition in The Good Shaman. Set in the same universe, using many of the same characters, The Good Shaman has been a longterm labor of love. It feels so rewarding to finally see my original vision come alive. I hope that others grow to love this world and these characters as much as I do.
Two hundred years after the first spontaneous genetic mutation occurred, the world has accepted the idea of superpowers. Damon Kelly, bright, hard-working, kind-hearted, and yet lacking any mutation, is deeply involved in the powered community, writing his dissertation on superpower genetics. He’s got his work, he’s got his friends, and he’s got a new love interest, the handsome and sexy Eli Emmert. Just when everything seems like it’s falling into place, however, a new supervillain emerges in the city, and Damon finds himself swept into his orbit. Will he figure out how he attracted the villain’s attention before it’s too late, or will he succumb to the peril?
As my career builds, and I write more and more books, I've started to notice that many of my stories have themes of family drama. No matter how much I try to avoid it, in order to provide variety, it seems to crop back up. In the original version of Peril, Damon's deceased sister was a living brother with whom he was in conflict. Although I changed it up, problems within the Kelly family still arose. I always like to say my characters have a mind of their own. For reasons I haven't yet figured out, mine all have family issues!
Damon was a character of mine for a long time. Eli came later. While I liked the pairing, I had a difficult time figuring out what their story was. It started out as as a contemporary spy yarn but then I decided I didn't know enough about world politics to proceed. Then there was a version involving a federal investigation that was far too complicated. I don't recall how I eventually landed on the superhero theme, but even when I did, this was my hardest story to write. It lost a whole character and several plot points before it ended up in the version you see here.
At the age of sixteen, August Goodson developed a strange and mysterious power overnight: he can find people. Victims of murder, suicide, kidnapping, accidents, and rape; August can find them all, usually dead, but sometimes still alive. Nine years later finds August volunteering his services to the police. He's still smarting from the loss of his long-time love Dante, who cheated on him with his best friend, and harbors a deep crush on the incredibly handsome, and oh-so-straight, Detective Luke Williams. But there are bigger concerns on August's mind: a serial killer is loose in the city, one whose victims are a little too much like him for comfort. When August finds a living victim who may be one of the serial killer's, he's drawn even deeper into the case. Will he make it out alive, or will he soon be the one in need of finding?
August originally had long brown dreadlocks. In my youth, I crushed on a young man from afar (I never met or spoke to him) who had that hairstyle, and that's where my original visual concept of August took hold. However, many years later, as I neared completion of The Finder, I realized I was going to have a hard time finding the right image for the cover. A photographer friend even put a call out (twice) for white male models with dreadlocks and got no responses! Eventually, I decided that I would have to change August's hairstyle. It wasn't easy to give up my original concept, but by time the book was finished, the new visual concept felt like a better fit. Now it's difficult to imagine him any other way.
Since The Finder is told entirely from August's first-person perspective, I wanted to play with the idea that he was an unreliable narrator. Not that he's unstable! We all view ourselves differently from the way others view us. I wanted to explore the idea that August's past had affected him in ways he didn't yet recognize. This is most noticeable whenever he interacts with people outside of the small circle of those he trusts. My aim was to help August resolve these issues during the course of the book, so that he comes out a better person in the end.
August, the main character of The Finder, and his BFF Cherry, first appeared in one of my stories over 20 years ago. I love their relationship. I've always wanted a friend like Cherry, someone who would do practically anything for me. Later in the book, when they argue and need to spend some time apart, that was really difficult for me to write. I didn't like putting them in conflict with one another, but I think that's a more accurate portrayal of a close friendship like this. It was such a relief when I was finally able to let them resolve their issues!
The Finder is the first novel I've ever completed that's written in first person. Since I don't normally write in first person, it was difficult to get into the mindset for it. Which verb tense to use was a constant source of confusion for me. I had to keep telling myself, "Just keep writing! Your editor will fix it!" In the end, I think it was important to persist, because it felt right to write about a character with a psychic ability in the first person. And I feel that the final product is good!
Dr. Bentley Blake, professor of Old Earth Cultures, has a life that seems set in stone: he’ll teach his classes, write research papers, look out for his younger brother Jamie, and, hopefully, he’ll find love somewhere along the way. It’s not an exciting life, but it’s solid and safe. All that changes the day he meets Harlow “Remy” Oakes, a mysterious and handsome man who invites Ben on a quest to find a deadly artifact. Ben declines the invitation, but after an attempted abduction, his life is thrown into chaos. Forced to join in with Oakes, a man he doesn’t trust, Ben finds danger at every turn. Will he and Jamie make it out alive? And will Ben be able to stifle the growing attraction he feels for Harlow Oakes?
In The Artifact, I wanted to play around a bit with the old "hate-to-love" trope. However, since that trope has been explored a lot in fiction, I decided to change it up a bit. It's not that Ben, my main character, hates Harlow Oakes. He simply doesn't trust him. Trust doesn't come naturally to Ben, and it doesn't help that Oakes isn't the most straightforward person. In between all of the action and danger, this is a story about two men learning to become better people for each other.
The Artifact started as a book for National Novel Writing Month. I wanted to do an Indiana Jones-style action adventure story, but I wasn't keen to do a lot of research. That's how I ended up setting the book in the future. Also, I thought it would be fun for readers to take a look at our approximate time period through the eyes of a future generation.
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