J.K. Beck (aka Julie Kenner) is here to introduce you to her new vampire series The Shadow Keepers. The first book in the series, When Blood Calls released on Tuesday and will be closely followed by When Pleasure Rules on September 28 and When Wicked Craves on October 26.
I just finished the first book and it was thoroughly entertaining (my review here) and I have started the ARCs of books 2 and 3 with reviews to come shortly. Think Law & Order meets urban fantasy.
Julie also shares some terrific news about the future of the series (congratulations are in order). To celebrate the launch, JK is giving a way a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift certificate and an Advance Copy of Book 2 - When Pleasure Rules. Woot!
To enter the giveaway leave a comment for JK and/or tell us about the type of vampire mythology you most enjoy. If you'd like to share the news on your blog or other social networking site, please do. Contest will remain open until Monday, September 13 at Midnight EST.
Thanks for joining us once again - take it away Julie!
WHEREIN J.K. OPINES ABOUT HOW WRITING A BOOK IS LIKE BACKPACKING THROUGH EUROPE. SERIOUSLY.
First of all, thanks to Doug for having me back to talk about my current and upcoming releases in the Shadow Keeper series. Although, technically, I suppose he’s not having me back, since J.K. Beck hasn’t been here before. (I’ve been here as Julie Kenner, but unlike my Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series, I don’t think anyone is going to tell me their middle-grader reads my J.K. Beck books. At least, I hope not!)
As J.K. Beck, I’m writing a dark, edgy, paranormal series set in and around an ancient judicial system with jurisdiction over all the creatures that we humans like to believe are myth. The first book in the series, When Blood Calls, just hit shelves on Tuesday, and I’m still in that release-week giddy place. The next two books, When Pleasure Rules and When Wicked Craves, come fast on its heels in November and December. And there are three more in the works! When Passion Lies, When Danger Hungers, and When Temptation Burns, and I’m thrilled beyond belief that Bantam is as excited about the series as I am, and gave me the green light to push on with the series.
But when I got there, I learned so much more than I could have from those books about cool places to see and cool things to do. I met interesting people and would hang with them for a day. They’d tell me about off-the-beaten-path hostels that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.
In other words, I strayed off my plan--or realized that I never had a plan for that part of the trip anyway.
One character in particular screams to mind--a character I didn’t even know existed until I saw that waving “pick me!” hand flashing in my mind.
The truth is, this is a good thing. Authors are storytellers, and if we’ve already told the story in the synopsis, then where’s the fun in writing it? The fun is in figuring out all the things that aren’t in the synop (and, yes, veering wildly away from it at times, but that’s okay and editors seem to understand the need!).
There are so many little things I discovered on the way about the characters and the world that it’s hard to outline, and certainly hard to do so without giving away spoilers. One Major Part of Sara’s backstory never even entered my brain until I started writing her and was asking myself “why” questions. The major factor in how vampires work in my universe (something that has received more than a few nods in various reviews), presented self as I was writing Luke. Basically, the vampires in the world I’ve created aren’t possessed of a demon as is so common in vampire mythology. Instead, the change pulls out the daemon hidden deep within them, the evil that’s buried inside everybody, if you will. And that evil can take over if it’s not battled back down. Some vamps manage--some don’t, and those rogues are pursued by the PEC with a vengeance.
That piece of the puzzle wasn’t something I had outlined before hand--it came organic to the story as I was writing it, but the cool thing is that it was already there. I can look at myself and see where it came from. It’s more than a Buffy thing, but that’s the easiest way to illustrate. Early in Buffy, Giles explains to Xander that the friend who’s turned into a vampire has died. His soul is gone, and he’s now just the demon who’s moved in. But then later, when Angel becomes good after being so bad, everyone seems to forget that. Bad Angel was the demon--the soul that was Angel was gone. Good Angel is Soul-Full guy back in the game, keeping that demon at bay. And yet even Giles never made that distinction. It bugged me. And that mythology also meant that the human characters are different people than their vampire selves.
And there were lots of other things that presented themselves while writing Blood and Pleasure and Wicked. Little things like local hang-outs, and big things like characters telling me that, no, I wasn’t quite on target with their backstory. But that’s what makes this ride so much fun for the author, and, I think, keeps the books and the series fresh for the readers!
I hope you enjoy the Shadow Keepers. You can read all about the series at www.theshadowkeepers.com and follow me on my blog at www.jkbeck.com (it’s the same site, just different places). There, you can also request swag, join my mailing list, learn about contests, and read more about each of the books. You can also friend me on Facebook www.facebook.com/authorjkbeck and follow me on Twitter, www.twitter.com/jkbeck
Here are the synopses for the initial three books in the series.
Sara Constantine is one of the country’s most tenacious prosecuting attorneys—and she’s just secured a well-earned promotion. At first she’s thrilled. Then she finds out her new job involves prosecuting vampires and werewolves. And nothing prepares Sara for the shock she receives when she meets the first defendant she’ll be trying to put away: Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.
When Lucius Dragos kisses the beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s only hoping to blend into the crowd and avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s following…and planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss to secure his cover ignites into a fierce hunger that leads to an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows Sara will do whatever it takes to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not the monster she thinks he is. And that might mean making the greatest sacrifice a vampire can make.
Seven innocents have been brutally murdered on the streets of Los Angeles, yet the Shadow Alliance has no suspects and no leads. And as more bodies are discovered, the age-old feud between the vampires and werewolves threatens to explode and turn the city into a living nightmare.
With her back to the wall, Lissa Monroe—a strong-willed, ravishingly beautiful succubus who entices men to surrender their souls—agrees to go undercover for the Alliance. Her mission: infiltrate the mind of werewolf leader Vincent Rand, a ferociously alluring enemy who has a powerful hold over her. Lissa has never lost control of her deepest desires, but Rand is an impenetrable paradox, a principled soldier who fears nothing — except perhaps the darkness of his own past. As the city of Angels teeters on the brink of apocalypse, these two adversaries must join together to have even the slimmest chance of surviving a more lethal enemy hidden in plain sight.
A danger to both the human and shadow communities, Petra Lang is cursed never to love. For one touch of her skin unleashes the vilest demons imaginable. Sentenced to death by the shadow authorities, who fear she’ll turn her curse against them, Petra is rescued at the last instant by vampire advocate Nicholas Montegue. As their bodies merge and transform into mist, Petra feels an urgent erotic longing.
Nicholas fought long and hard to save Petra—and nearly paid the ultimate price. He risked his own life to spare hers, yet he knows he can never give in to the explosive attraction he feels for her. But the deep yearning they share can only be deferred for so long. Together, they must find a way to lift the curse. For only a love this strong has the power to overcome such monstrous evil.