Friday, September 3, 2010

Guest Post and Giveaway - J.K. Beck (aka Julie Kenner)


Today the talented 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.

Exploring this world has been like taking a trip to Europe. (Bear with me, that will eventually make sense. I hope.) When I was fresh out of law school, I did the backpacking through Europe thing. I planned the trip out in detail, reading every travel guide I could get my hands on (this was pre-Internet, so my travel bible was the Let’s Go! books). I had my Eurail pass. I was ready.

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.

Writing this series (actually, writing any book) is a lot like that. I started with a basic plan--a human attorney is drawn into a paranormal world when she’s recruited to be a prosecutor for Division 6, part of the Preternatural Enforcement Coalition. I added a problem--in her first case, she’s supposed to put away a murder suspect: a man she had a one night stand with, and now learns is a vampire (actually, that part sort of came whole cloth, but if I could break the though process down, the prosecuting the vamp thing probably came a few neuron fires later). I had the framework for the world and its law--my plan and my Eurail map--before I began writing. But then as my fingers landed on the keyboard, things shifted, some things changed outright, and some things I didn’t know until the characters told me, or introduced themselves.

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.
 I wanted them to be the same. To be fighting their own daemons. To look back on who they were and what they did in life (and Luke made some very poor choices) and have to deal with that in the present, even if the present is hundreds or thousands of years later.

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

Happy reading!









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.

38 comments:

  1. Thanks for this giveaway and the chance to win!
    sazzyfrazz at gmail dot com

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  2. Hello, J.K. and Doug! Thanks for a great giveaway! I have read "When Blood Calls", and it is terrific! A fantastic start to a great new paranormal suspense series! I can't wait to read books 2 and 3 : )

    Vampires, The Undead, Soul Suckers, Nosferatu & etc. have really become quite versatile. They have evolved! The story line and character development lies in the skill of the authors' hands and the creative depths of their minds. I still prefer the urbane, sophisticated, supremely confident and seductive “Old World” Vampires. With very little effort, their insidious charm will steal from you things that can never be restored, and at some point you will no longer care! However, today’s Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Vampires have a deliciously dark charm all their own. While Vampires were always thought to be soulless, the very intensity of their nature suggests the possibility for eternal love. As for eternal life…be careful for what you wish : )

    Vampires will never lose their eerily erotic allure. They can easily dispatch all challengers to the paranormal throne. Vampires are the most insidious evil, often appearing solicitous and charming. All the while, they are sensing the beat of your heart and savoring the thought of slaking their thirst with the red, red wine of your blood. I've no doubt Vampires will be around as long as humanity exists.

    I love INTENSE. Who would want a Vampire who was not intense? Having said that, it's so much more attractive for that Vampire to have one soft spot--his love for a very special woman! The increasingly creative and expansive world of Vampire fiction is truly a paranormal feast! A savory-sweet, sensual smorgasbord--let's dine : )

    US Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

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  3. Thanks for the giveaway. I prefer traditional vampires who can't go out during the day.

    sgiden AT verizon.net

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  4. I like classic vampire lore, Bram Stoker was my first exposure so it stuck. Thanks for the great post, I love the Euro connection.

    jenma76 at hotmail dot com

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  5. I am really torn on this one. I loved the vampires in Salem's Lot, the Lost Boys, and that kind of story. They aren't pretty, they don't love you, and the story doesn't always have a happy ever after. On the other hand, I also like them when they are the bad boy, sensual, and charming. They are still dangerous, but not trying to kill everything in sight. I guess I just like vampires.
    I would love to read this book, I can never get enough stories with vampires.
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

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  6. I prefer to read the traditional vampire stories of can't go out in sunlight, crosses, and stakes to the heart.

    usignolc(at)yahooDOTcom

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  7. I really don't care if it is a traditional vampire or not. As long as they have some humanity and inner struggle to do good while they resit the urge to be evil. (is that traditional?)
    kjovus(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. Thanks, all! And thank you for the kudos, Virginia!

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  9. I'm actually partial to the werewolf or demon characters. They just seem so much more manly and rugged. Which is weird, because my fiance could double as a vampire. He's up all night, sleeps all day, and the light from his video games keeps him a pasty white. He acts like sunlight would kill him, and his stake is anything in vegetable form.
    Thanks for offering the giveaway! I devoured the first book and I can't wait to read more.

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  10. Hi JK!
    congrats on the release! I just got book 1 and it's great :)
    I like my vampires... yeah, honestly I don't know, there is no favorite type of them, cause they all have their specifics...
    greetings, Ina

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  11. I love the super hearing and thought reading powers. In Frost's Night Huntress series Master vampires can FLY too! But not as bats, like batman!

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

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  12. Thanks for the great giveaway! I like all kind of vampires, much more than werewolves! The best I like vampires cloaked as rich business men with a very dark secret seducing the heroine!
    mirko_di_wallenberg@hotmail.com

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  13. Hi! Thanks for the great giveaway. The books look really good and just went on my wishlist.

    I like almost any Vampire mythology as long as it is well done. I have enjoyed dark tortured vampire stories, humorous ones and horror where vampires are mindless bloodsuckers.

    I will admit to a preference for darker more intense stories, where being a vampire isn't something easily controlled with bagged blood and thick curtains. Vampires are dangerous, and without the edge, why call them vampires at all?

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  14. I enjoy the vampire mythology that mixes some of the familiar with a little something that makes it the author's own. For example, Lara Adrian's vampires are a mix of human and alien. And Lynsay Sand's vampires are born and have families, although they can "turn" a human occasionally. I like vampires that don't kill to eat, they still drink blood from humans, but through mind control they erase their memory of it.

    I'm looking forward to reading JK Beck's new series, I can't wait to check out her vampires.

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  15. Thanks, all! BryansJenn, I'm cracking up over the "his stake is anything in vegetable form" comment. I think that's my daughter!

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  16. Thanks for a great giveaway and a chance to win. I love the reference to Angel. I really loved Angel

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  17. Hi, Julie,

    I'm a big fan of your books! I just picked up WHEN BLOOD CALLS and can't wait to dig into it!

    I like pretty much all vampire lore -- I just love vampire stories. :)

    Thanks for the contest!

    karenwitkowski AT aol(dot)com

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  18. I'm looking forward to reading When Blood Calls. I like my vampires to have some good in them, but other than that I enjoy reading what different authors have envisioned for their characters. I like the fact that different authors have different visions and anything goes.

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  19. forgot my email
    lynnflagler@yahoo.com

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  20. I prefer my vamps tall dark handsome with fangs. I like when they are unable to venture in the sun for very long. I like it when they are ruthless but under everything tender at heart!!

    aliciahall0605(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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  21. What attracts me to vamps is their immortality. Other than that I like variety in their abilities in weaknesses. It is more interesting when the author adds things to the myths and doesn't just go strictly traditional.
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

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  22. Congrats on your new book and series. I can't wait to read them. I am old world vampires fan, I guess it's because that's what I am most fimiliar with.

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  23. Hi J.K. and Doug!

    Wow, I love finding a new series, I'll be checking it out!

    I love all kinds of vampires; the warm and cuddly, the ferocious and scary. Really, there's nothing like a good vampire story. I've often wondered exactly what it is that attracts me almost eerily to the vampire. Is it the immortality? The sex appeal? The icy coolness? Or the hot blooded pheromones? Personally, I thinks it's a combination of all, and it only gets better with each new tale I read. There's always a new way to look at vampirism, you'd think everything had already been explored, but it hasn't, and I'm loving it. I keep wondering if another paranormal creature will unseat vampires as a favorite, but I don't believe so. Vampires are a staple in the urban fantasy diet.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Dottie :)

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  24. I'm fairly open to new takes on the traditional vampire, but at the same time I don't want it so mixed up with the lore of other creatures and changed so much that it dilutes or muddies up definition of a vampire. That said I like my vampire stories dark and intense, as a story about life and death should be.

    alternate email from blogger
    magenta 2 red [at] gmail [dot] com

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  25. I usually like new takes on vampires, because it's more interesting to me to find out the new rules and compare them to the traditional concept of vampires. I also like them conflicted and somewhat human, not just some scary, stupid blood-thirsty creatures. Spike and Angel from the Buffy series are good examples of what I have in mind.

    Thanks for the chance!

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

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  26. I prefer vampires that have feelings and are relatively human (Angel) vs. the much copied uber-cold bloodsucker (Kelley Armstrong's version).

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  27. I like dark and dangerous vampires, they can't be tame, almost human versions. As a hero though, they can still be dark but must have some type of emotional connection with the heroine (or heroine to the hero).

    I think that the vampires in Kelly Armstrong's Rachel Morgan series are probably the most realistic (for a fictional character)if unemotional.

    I'm really looking forward to this new series by Julie. I loved her demon killing mom series, but am looking forward to something darker.

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  28. Oops, the email for the last post from Anne is acm05atjuno.com.

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  29. This looks like a very interesting read! I'm definitely going to pick it up soon! Thanks for the contest!

    I don't like Bram Stoker vamps but something more human like.

    vokalchick@gmail.com

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  30. Great post and I love all types of vampire mythology, especially when authors give their won twist to them. Such as when an author's vampire can be in the sun or be killed in certain ways.

    lilazncutie1215[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  31. Honestly, I like to see a movement back to the 'monster' vampires, though I still read the pleasant, sparkly UF versions right now. But the vamps that really tear out your throat--like David Wellington's--or seduce/bleed the life from people--like the classic Dracula--are my favorites.

    spiffyish at hotmail dot com

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  32. Great post. I loved When Blood Calls and looking forward to When Pleasure Rules.

    I really like all of the vampire mythology. The variations in it are part of the reason vampires are my favorite paranormal characters. There is just so much that authors can do with the starting myth.

    Tweet - http://twitter.com/DonnaS1/statuses/24072808589

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

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  33. Could have sworn I commented to this... lol ah well... here we go!

    I like vampire mythology where the vampires are pretty much evil, nasty bloodsuckers with only a few exceptional nice ones in the bunch. Not sure why... maybe it's one of those things like high school. lol

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  34. I've enjoyed Julie Kenner's works so I know I'll enjoy J.K. Beck's!

    I look forward in reading this series.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

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  35. I like vampire mythology where vampires are mysterious and hard to figure out.

    forceofstars(at)yahoo(dot)dk

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  36. I like the traditional vampire mythology: where they have a demon inside a human body (with enhanced strength), and thus they have to fight with their conscience. I like my vamps to be dark and mysterious, enthralling yet having a dangerous vibe. I don't want them to be able to shapeshift into bats and fly off (I prefer to have a separate species of shapeshifters, werewolves), and sparkling vampires are ridiculous!

    Thanks for the great giveaway and congratulations on your upcoming release!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

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  37. I'm not sure how I prefer my vampires. I seem to like all kinds. I like the purely predator ones, the ones that do nothing but live long and prosper and those that combine the two. I will say that I'm not all that fond of sparkly vampires as I found that bit to be a little odd and illogical. Logic may seem an odd word to use for paranormal but for me, everything has to have a sound reason for being or I'll get annoyed and read something else.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to checking out your new series.
    aprildotvrugtmanatgmaildotcom

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  38. I prefer my vampires more along the lines of the original Dracula stories. The kind that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up, but you still wanted more LOL...

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    justpeachy36@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete

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