What George RR Martin Taught Me

For my early formative years of writing (early 2000s), there were only a handful of authors I read heavily:  Robert Jordan, Laurell K. Hamilton, Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsay, and George RR Martin.  Since the Shanhasson trilogy was my first project, you’ll probably see a lot of those influences.

I tried to take everything I loved from epic fantasy… the lushness of romance…and the sultry romps of LKH (before the arduer took over)…and create a world that contained it all.  Political intrigue, worldbuilding, large character casts, sweeping story arcs, epic journeys mixed with emotional relationships and complex erotic situations.  If LKH taught me that one heroine could have many lovers, then George RR Martin taught me…

To kill characters.

I’m so in love with Game of Thrones on HBO and I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s generating such excitement for people who might not have read the series, but seriously, I’m worried about people’s reactions as those beloved characters start dropping like flies. 

Okay, I don’t quite kill as many characters as Martin, but major characters DO die in the Shanhasson series.  If you already read Road, you know that.  But killing characters is a huge no-no in Romancelandia, and since I write a lot of romance and romance-like work, I want to be clear up front.

Return to Shanhasson is NOT a romance.

However, if your heart isn’t singing with joy at the end…and yes, a few tears might spill from your eyes (I cry every time I read it)…then I’ve failed utterly and completely.

To be completely fair, characters might be DEAD but they’re not GONE.  e.g. there are still scenes with the characters who were killed and they’re still important to the story.  They’re simply bound to appear only in Dreams.  So here’s a little twist for you:  if I bring back the beloved characters, then it’s only fair that I bring back the hated ones too, right?  *wicked grin*

Anyway, if you take a look at the Return to Shanhasson page, you’ll seen the following warning:

THIS TRILOGY IS NOT ROMANCE. Bad things happen. Significant characters die. Love is the greatest gift of all, and sometimes requires the greatest sacrifice. However, love shines in the darkest night. The road is long and hard, but when Shannari reaches her destination, she’ll reunite with all her loved ones she’s lost over the years and find more love and happiness than she’s ever known.

Thank you, Mr. Martin.

Review: The Bloodgate Guardian

Harry of A Dude reads PNR fame for The Book Smugglers says:

I love that Jaid is vulnerable. I love the fact that she is smart-ass, not kick-ass. She doesn’t do the whole super ninja vixen. No leather pants and favorite blades for this chick. She’s nerdy and the Un-Indiana Jones of the faculty. Brilliant characterization, right there. Pure gold. It makes Jaid stand out from all the other leading females in the genre. I also can honestly say that Jaid’s the strong woman urban fantasy and paranormal romance has been boasting with. She’s not sure she will win and she is mortified to venture, but she does. She falls down and picks herself up, because the situation demands it. That’s what I call bravery and perseverance.

Of course there were a few parts he didn’t like.  Names.  (Oh, you know the drama we already went through over the names, right?)  Shapeshifter.  Yes, the Maya did believe that the most powerful shamans could actually transform into the sacred jaguar.  He also thought it ended too happily.  Considering the version I had originally written [Everybody dies. The end.], I can only smile.

You can read the entire review here.  Thank you, Harry!

Maya Fantasy Blurb

Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath.  Smell the coffee brewing, fresh, crisp books, and stories just waiting to be read?  Great.  Open your eyes and pretend this blurb is on the back of one of those books.  Would you want to read the story?  Opinions and feedback welcomed.

The working title was NIGHT SUN RISING but now that I’m in the query stage, I’ve been calling it THE BLOODGATE CODEX.  Which do you like better?

Epigrapher Dr. Jaid Merritt is known as the “Un-Indiana Jones” on campus, but when her father disappears, she follows him to Guatemala with the ancient codex he discovered.  In the ruins of the city once called the Mouth of Creation, she learns that the fables she’s been translating are frighteningly real:  there really are “Bloodgates” to the mystical realms of the Maya gods, her father disappeared through one of these portals, and in the process, he accidentally released demons bent on human sacrifice.  Now she must find a way to save him, force the demons back to Xibalba, and survive the wrath of the werejaguar priest who guards the magic as the Gatekeeper.