Tag Archives: Lost Souls Series

Natasha’s Vlog – One Thing That Sca-aaaaaaaargh!

The twenty ninth installment of my vlog! Today I discuss moving past fears, and the awesome Jekyll & Hyde Club in New York.

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The scariest four letter word for writers

Send

And it doesn’t get any less scary once you have a book or two under your belt. So just hit that sucker. Hit it good. ;)

Before we go too much further into 2013, I need to get a few things off my chest.

Thank you to everyone who has thus far supported my dream of being a writer through purchasing my books. It is my most sincere wish that this is the year your dreams are generously bolstered and encouraged.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts about my work on their review sites. I don’t comment on them (it’s become a huge no-no for authors), but I do read many of them. As does my mom.

Thank you to everyone who has said that they can’t wait to read more of my work. On days when I felt like I was the worst possible writer in the world, incapable of stringing together a sentence, let alone a plot, your amazingly kind words kicked my self-pity-soaked brain in the tush.

Thank you to my friends and family for all of your encouragement, especially Dad. I believe that heaven has a special place reserved for the fathers of writers. After listening to us whinge and whine (all the while making seemingly endless cups of tea), they deserve it.

Thank you to my editor, and everyone at Carina Press who has championed my books. Yes, I’ve said thank you before. And I’ll keep saying it, because I appreciate the work you all do.

Here’s to a great 2013. Huzzah! :D

 

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Of NaNo and villains

It’s no secret that trying to write the third Lost Souls book has been like trying to pull teeth…from a T-rex …using nothing but  a piece of frayed dental floss. Every time I’ve come close to thinking I have it ready to fire off to my Editor Extraordinaire, something unravels and falls to messy, goopy pieces (this is actually a huge compliment to said Editor Extraordinaire – it’s her ‘EVERYTHING for a reason’ technique that is revealing these sinkholes). I’ve pulled it apart, sewn it back up, added, deleted, cried, threatened, offered to write more naughty scenes (no takers. You’d be surprised what a gentleman Janus is)…

Messy. Goopy. Pieces.

So I decided to follow the lead of wildly awesome, and very committed writer pal, Jen, and sign up for NaNoWriMo.

Wha-huh?

Bear with me. Sometimes when you can’t see the wood for the trees, you need to paddle a canoe down the rapids to clear your head. The way I see it, the frenetic pace – and stipulated deadline – of NaNo is just what I need to get my inner editor out of the way, and clear the creative pipes, so to speak. My hope going into this exercise is that I’ll be able to reach the end of the month with a few useful revelations, to use in tackling LS3. Sans goop.

Thing is.. it turns out the revelations have started arriving a little sooner than anticipated.

See, on the drive home from work I was listening to Crispen Freiman’s podcast on voicing villains (in cartoons, games, etc). While he was discussing how villains are essentially all wounded or scared, my mind sort of drifted to the lead villain in LS3. And it hit me-

Blamo!

I’d imported the lead villain from another story, and tried to get her origional back story – her wound – to fit the Lost Souls universe. And it. Wasn’t. Working. This story’s villain was simmering beneath the import. She needed to be allowed out, to have her own way, cause her own havoc – feel justified in taking on Rachel because of her own unique wound.

Huzzah!

So, am I abandoning NaNo to dive back into LS3? Short answer – no. I’m making notes, and sticking with this month’s plan. After all, I want to stay sans goop.

And I really want to earn my first ‘NaNoWriMo’ t-shirt;)

***Part of the NaNoWriMo madness this year? If you’re looking for a another writing buddy, feel free to look me up under user name ‘NatGreyAngel’.***

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Finding your characters residing in unlikely places…and resin faces

Rachel and Janus are breaking my damn heart today. Which is a good thing, actually.

Life is starting to smooth out a little, and blessedly, I’m starting to really hear my characters again. Not that they ever stopped talking to me, but it is so, so hard to listen when stress and anxiety have you curled up in a figurative ball, and the last thing you want to do is work through a manuscript because all you can see are the problems, not the potential. One of these days, when I have the courage to do so, I’m going to write a blog post about the crippling effect of stress on the writing mind, and how not having a contract can sometimes be the biggest blessing, and motivator, when pushing through trying circumstances.

But enough about that for the moment. Let’s get down to toys and book characters. (FYI – if you are in any way shy about doll nudity, please be very careful clicking the links in this post. Not all of the companies I’ll be discussing show fully clothed dolls.)

Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the eighties, but for me, cartoons and toys made in the likeness of the characters in those stories go hand in hand. My Little Pony, Thundercats, Jem, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man, Smurfs – name a cartoon I sat and enjoyed, chances are I had a corresponding toy. And I still collect toys and figurines from shows I enjoy today (if anyone ever brings out a series of action figures for Supernatural that have a decent likeness to the characters, I will be ALL OVER THEM). Call it good corporate training or a long-standing habit I love to participate in, but cartoons and toys go together as naturally as peanut butter and jelly in my world. (Or peanut butter and golden syrup. Yum!)

So it’s no surprise that I occasionally wonder what dolls would best suite various novels I’m reading, or in this case, working on. This can be challenging, though, especially if you’re trying to style up an ‘off the shelf’ doll. (Unless you’re Sherillyn Kenyon, in which case you already have a drool worthy special edition of Acheron available). But if you’re willing to step away from the pink toy isles and wonder into the domain of the ball joint doll collectors, the possibilities open up dramatically…

What is a ball joint doll? The short answer is a highly articulated hand-made doll, usually cast in resin, with near limitless customisation potential. They can be hyper realistic, have more of an anime feel, be fantasy or sci-fi themed – quite literally anything you can imagine. They’re mostly made by Asian companies (although there are some spectacular North American artists making small batches of them), and if you don’t happen to like the way these companies paint their dolls (ie their faceups or body blushing) no problem – there are talented enthusiasts around the globe who can dramatically change the ‘personality’ of your doll by applying their exquisite artistic talents.

*Swoon*

Now, these dolls do not come cheep – even tiny dolls (without faceup, wigs or clothes) can start out at US$200 with postage. But that doesn’t mean a girl can’t window shop…and begin counting pennies like a crazy woman…for dolls that resemble her characters.

Let’s start with Rachel. I’ve said time and again that the model on the covers of the Lost Souls series is essentially exactly how I envisioned Rachel. Finding a doll to match that image was a little bit of a challenge. But I think I found one that’s pretty damn close – Iplehouse’s Carina (in particular with her Type A faceup).

Iplehouse Carina. Image copyright Iplehouse.com.

Now, naturally she’d need different colored eyes, a slightly darker wig and um, slightly smaller *cough* assets, but with this style faceup, she’s a dead ringer for Rachel. Even though I don’t expressly say it in the books, this is the style of makeup Rachel favors (smokey, lined eyes and a touch of lipstick/gloss). And yes, I LOVE the fact that the doll who resembles her most is named Carina.

Now the boys on the other hand…I came close, but I may still change them. I think part of the challenge stems from trying to keep within the same range as Rachel/Carina, so they’d make a striking, well-balanced trio if I decided to get all three.

Starting with Janus, the closest I could come was Iplehouse Chase (with D-Type faceup):

Iplehouse Chase. Image copyright to Iplehouse.com

Now, I’d have to order Chase in ‘light brown’ to get closer to Janus’s skin tone, but I think that eye shape and slight, cocky smile is Janus to a ‘T’. He’d also have to be on a ‘Model’ body, as he’s taller and has a slightly slimmer build than Kit.

For Kit I went with Iplehouse Tedros (with A-type faceup):

Iplehouse Tedros. Image copyright Iplehouse.com

Obviously the boy would need to go blond, and change his eye color, but I quite like the intensity in this doll’s face. Kit can be a very lighthearted character who’s quick with a joke/quip, but he also feels things very deeply, which can be troublesome when he’s trying to control his wraith side.

So why bother taking the time to match fictional characters with dolls I don’t own? Quite simply it’s a delightful way to get to know your characters. Starting with a base, adding details like faceups, wigs, eyes and clothing styles – it’s just another way to explore/finalize character creation! Or in my case, it was a great way to get back into the groove of writing my trio once again.

Go on, give it a try. It’s free to look. (Until you fall under the spell of BJDs. Then you’re free to pull up a chair and start counting pennies alongside me. ;) )

Have a great week, all!

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Sometimes I want the bad guys to win…over at @CarinaPress

Hi all!

Just a quick reminder that I’m the guest blogger this morning over at Carina Press. They’ll also be posting fun facts and snippets related to The Ravenous Dead and my myself over at their Facebook page and Twitter acc. Feel free to pop over and put in your 2c.

Have a great day! :D

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The Ravenous Dead is (A)LIVE! (A)LIVE!

Well, it’s finally here – The Ravenous Dead is now (a)live and ready for download! (Nope, that’ll never get old. ;D)

Thanks so much to my editor, Melissa Johnson, and the entire Carina team for believing in this story, as well as all their hard work in getting it to publication. I don’t think I’ll ever not be in awe of the behind the scenes work that goes in to getting a book into the hands of readers. You all rock my world.

Thank you also to all the amazing readers who bought The Stubborn Dead, with an added thank you to everyone who pre-ordered Ravenous. And a very special thank you to every single reader who has posted a review of Stubborn and/or Ravenous – I deeply, deeply appreciate that you took time out of your busy day to share your thoughts.

I’ll be the guest blogger on the Carina Press blog this Wednesday, where I’ll be chatting about wanting the bad guys in stories to win. Be sure to drop by, and have your say!

Until then, have a fabulous week, and thanks for stopping by! :D

 

The Ravenous Dead - Lost Souls book 2

Available from Carina Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Coming soon to Audible.com.

Excerpt from the book:

Rachel Miller brought the sharpened tip of the Italian rapier’s blade to rest in front of Kit’s Adam’s apple just as Jon Bon Jovi began hollering the first line of “You Give Love a Bad Name.” Her heart beginning to beat a little faster, she held her position and stared at him, waiting for him to make a move.

Kit dove backward, snickering like a schoolboy.

Rachel sighed, lowering the sword slightly. “How old are you?”

“I’m sorry.” He tried to stifle his glee, his “aw shucks, ma’am” good looks in full effect. “I just can’t take you seriously with that thing.”

“How is it you can’t take me seriously when I’m wielding a live weapon?”

“I don’t know.” He rubbed the back of his head and shrugged. “I mean, I guess it’s a bit of a girlie sword. If you had something with a significant blade on it, like a long sword, I might feel threatened. But then you’d look even sillier–”

Rachel spun around and speared the punching bag hanging from the ceiling in one elegant lunge. She recovered immediately and turned on Kit before he had time to fully comprehend that the blade had pushed clean through the bag as though it had been made of tissue paper.

“What the–?” He stepped back.

She lunged at him, aiming for his head.

Kit ducked with millimeters to spare. Rachel didn’t hesitate, going after him again and again, using the music to maintain an aggressive tempo. Years of competitive swordplay and dodging violent entities for a living allowed her to anticipate and counteract his movements with little effort.

It wasn’t enough.

Opening her heightened sense of empathy, she could pick up that Kit was perturbed but not afraid. They both knew he “wraithed-out” when he was mad. Mention his back-stabbing sister who’d tried to have him killed while he was stuck in his wraith form, and Kit just about transformed on the spot. Rachel had a solid hunch that he would shape shift in reaction to other strong primal emotions, such as fear. If they could nail down the range of emotions that caused uncontrolled shifts, they’d know what frames of mind to tap for controlled changes.

First things first.

“Rachel–what the hell?”

She feigned a strike one way and then sliced from the other. This time she made no effort to miss him. The blade tip nipped across the flesh of his cheek. Blood immediately beaded along the wound.

“Holy shit! Stop it!”

He tried to dive for a nearby dumbbell. She blocked him, her blade seeking out and opening up the softer flesh on top of his reaching hand.

Confusion finally gave way to fear.

The room temperature dipped dramatically.

One more push.

Kit’s back slammed against the wall, his hands raised in a surrender position on either side of his head. A small, red smear bloomed on the wall as the back of his wounded hand swiped across the dusty wallpaper. At the last moment he made an attempt to escape.

Rachel brought the sword to within millimeters of his face in what to her was a very controlled lunge. Kit, though, must have seen his life pass before his eyes.

Human-Kit literally poofed into wraith-Kit.

Or at least he came close. Rachel could have sworn she saw him transform, his body elongating, darkening, edges blurring as he replaced his human body with the otherworldly, cowl-like visage of the wraith. But just as quickly as it started, the transformation reversed, leaving a panting, sweating, wide-eyed human-Kit glaring at her.

 

 

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Six Sentence Sunday part seven – The Ravenous Dead

Tomorrow is release day for The Ravenous Dead!  Let’s have one last Six Sentence Sunday to wrap things up. (Thanks again to everyone who stopped by last week. You all rock!)

The reaper has attacked Rachel, Kit and Luke at the graveyard, but they’re not going down without a fight. Rachel has managed to remove some of the souls fuelling him, but two remain inside the monster’s belly. Before she can find a way to remove them, the reaper makes his true target known. And there’s nothing Rachel can do to save Kit:

 

‘ Too little, too late.

The reaper slammed into Kit, hard. The pair went to the ground, creating a crunch that could have been bodies meeting wet earth and grave markers, or the breaking of Kit’s bones. The sound of Luke’s magazine snapping into his gun followed immediately after, but the reaper wasn’t waiting around. He leapt up and backhanded Luke so fast he barely saw it coming. Then the reaper threw Kit’s limp body over his shoulder and took off running.’

 

Be sure to stop by the Six Sentence Sunday website and take a peak at the veritable treasure chest of snippets available from a host of marvelous authors! And thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has stopped by and read these snippets over the past few weeks. I greatly appreciate all of your support! :D

***

The Ravenous Dead - Lost Souls book 2

This time the dead are hungry…

Rachel Miller doesn’t just see dead people, she rescues them. As a member of The Order of Rescue Mediums, she spends most of her time helping stubborn spirits move on from the world. But after she learns the details of three brutal murders, she knows the culprit can only be a reaper, an undead monster that relentlessly stalks its victims to feed on their souls.

A reaper once consumed the soul of Rachel’s mentor as she watched frozen in fear. Now, Rachel is in the role of teacher to Kit Elkeles, a rodach just learning to control his wraithlike powers. After Kit and Rachel rescue a half-vampire, they work to protect him while searching for a way to stop the reaper. But when Rachel realizes who the monster is really after—and just what kind of dark magic she’ll need to stop it—will she be able to do what is necessary before it devours one of her friends…or even herself?

Available from Carina Press on July 16, 2012. Available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***

Official cover for 'The Stubborn Dead' by Natasha Hoar, published by Carina Press in Jan 2012

Haven’t read the first story in the Lost Souls series? Pick up The Stubborn Dead – available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore and other fine ebook retailers. Coming soon to Audible.com.

(F.Y.I. – The Lost Souls series are not written as stand alone books. For maximum enjoyment, I’d highly suggest reading them in order, starting with The Stubborn Dead.)

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(Whoops! Forgot to sign up for) Six Sentence Sunday part six – The Ravenous Dead

One week to go until the release of The Ravenous Dead! Now, unfortunately I forgot to sign up at the Six Sentence Sunday website (gah! Where does the time go?). But that doesn’t mean we can’t do a ‘if I’d signed up, this would have been my entry’ post. ;) (Thanks again to everyone who stopped by last week. You all rock!)

This week, Rachel has finally discovered the identity of the reaper – as well as the most horrific consequence tied to his transformation:

‘ She fisted her hands tightly, rage bubbling up in her. “When Timothy Hopper killed his wife, chances are he also unwittingly swallowed the tiny soul of his unborn child.” The moment the words left her mouth her subtle senses registered a sudden rush of intense, hostile energy barreling toward them. The psychic scent of rotting flesh and stagnant water hit her like a freight train. She started to shout a warning to Luke.

A freakish roar of unspeakable pain filled the night air and a spray of blood temporarily blinded her.’

Be sure to stop by the Six Sentence Sunday website and take a peak at the veritable treasure chest of snippets available from a host of marvelous authors! Until next week, have a fab Sunday, and thanks for stopping by. :D

***

The Ravenous Dead - Lost Souls book 2

This time the dead are hungry…

Rachel Miller doesn’t just see dead people, she rescues them. As a member of The Order of Rescue Mediums, she spends most of her time helping stubborn spirits move on from the world. But after she learns the details of three brutal murders, she knows the culprit can only be a reaper, an undead monster that relentlessly stalks its victims to feed on their souls.

A reaper once consumed the soul of Rachel’s mentor as she watched frozen in fear. Now, Rachel is in the role of teacher to Kit Elkeles, a rodach just learning to control his wraithlike powers. After Kit and Rachel rescue a half-vampire, they work to protect him while searching for a way to stop the reaper. But when Rachel realizes who the monster is really after—and just what kind of dark magic she’ll need to stop it—will she be able to do what is necessary before it devours one of her friends…or even herself?

Available for preorder from Carina Press , Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***

Official cover for 'The Stubborn Dead' by Natasha Hoar, published by Carina Press in Jan 2012

Haven’t read the first story in the Lost Souls series? Pick up The Stubborn Dead – available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBookstore and other fine ebook retailers. Audio book now available at Audible.com.

(F.Y.I. – The Lost Souls series are not written as stand alone books. For maximum enjoyment, I’d highly suggest reading them in order, starting with The Stubborn Dead.)

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Six Sentence Sunday part five – The Ravenous Dead

Two weeks to go until the release of The Ravenous Dead – huzzah! Time for another Six Sentence Sunday. (Thanks again to everyone who stopped by last week. You all rock!)

This week, we catch up with Rachel as she attempts to discover the identity of the reaper. Before she can confirm her suspicions, she’s approached by the father of one of the reaper’s victims, Armel Lefurgey. The grieving father has sinister intentions, though. And the ‘solution’ he offers Rachel to help bring down the reaper comes with a terrible cost:

 

‘ He ignored her for a moment, the smile on his thin lips angled slightly higher. “Ever heard of a twilight compulsion, Ms. Miller?” The necklace swayed ever so slightly as he continued to speak, not bothering to wait for her answer. “It’s an effect on a spirit created by a magically charged item that held extreme importance to said spirit while they were living. Holding the item and calling the deceased’s name causes the spirit to rush to you, and nothing can stop them from reaching you. Not even the emissaries of heaven.” ‘

 

Be sure to stop by the Six Sentence Sunday website and take a peak at the veritable treasure chest of snippets available from a host of marvelous authors! Until next week, have a fab Sunday, and thanks for stopping by. :D

***

The Ravenous Dead - Lost Souls book 2

This time the dead are hungry…

Rachel Miller doesn’t just see dead people, she rescues them. As a member of The Order of Rescue Mediums, she spends most of her time helping stubborn spirits move on from the world. But after she learns the details of three brutal murders, she knows the culprit can only be a reaper, an undead monster that relentlessly stalks its victims to feed on their souls.

A reaper once consumed the soul of Rachel’s mentor as she watched frozen in fear. Now, Rachel is in the role of teacher to Kit Elkeles, a rodach just learning to control his wraithlike powers. After Kit and Rachel rescue a half-vampire, they work to protect him while searching for a way to stop the reaper. But when Rachel realizes who the monster is really after—and just what kind of dark magic she’ll need to stop it—will she be able to do what is necessary before it devours one of her friends…or even herself?

Available from Carina Press on July 16, 2012. Available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***

Official cover for 'The Stubborn Dead' by Natasha Hoar, published by Carina Press in Jan 2012

Haven’t read the first story in the Lost Souls series? Pick up The Stubborn Dead – available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore and other fine ebook retailers. Coming soon to Audible.com.

(F.Y.I. – The Lost Souls series are not written as stand alone books. For maximum enjoyment, I’d highly suggest reading them in order, starting with The Stubborn Dead.)

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Six Sentence Sunday part four – The Ravenous Dead

Three weeks to go until the release of The Ravenous Dead – whoot! Time for another Six Sentence Sunday. (And thanks again to everyone who stopped by last week. You all rock!)

For this week, we get a glimpse into the mind of the reaper – a former terminal cancer patient named Timothy Hopper, whose wife wanted to save him through magical means. Horrified at the prospect of needing to consume souls in order to survive, even if they’re from people who ‘deserved worse’, he initially balks at the idea:

 

‘ She’d begged him to reconsider. She’d even used her skills and almost every ounce of strength in her body to bring back as much of his health as she could for one blissful day. But once those hours faded away, the cancer began devouring him in earnest.

He’d relented.

Timothy swallowed, the action producing a long, awkward, rough sensation of sandpaper being pulled up and then back down his throat.

She hadn’t mentioned he would be able to sense the distinct personality of the soul he was slowly ingesting.’

 

Be sure to stop by the Six Sentence Sunday website and take a peak at the veritable treasure chest of snippets available from a host of marvelous authors! Until next week, have a fab Sunday, and thanks for stopping by. :D

***

The Ravenous Dead - Lost Souls book 2

This time the dead are hungry…

Rachel Miller doesn’t just see dead people, she rescues them. As a member of The Order of Rescue Mediums, she spends most of her time helping stubborn spirits move on from the world. But after she learns the details of three brutal murders, she knows the culprit can only be a reaper, an undead monster that relentlessly stalks its victims to feed on their souls.

A reaper once consumed the soul of Rachel’s mentor as she watched frozen in fear. Now, Rachel is in the role of teacher to Kit Elkeles, a rodach just learning to control his wraithlike powers. After Kit and Rachel rescue a half-vampire, they work to protect him while searching for a way to stop the reaper. But when Rachel realizes who the monster is really after—and just what kind of dark magic she’ll need to stop it—will she be able to do what is necessary before it devours one of her friends…or even herself?

Available from Carina Press on July 16, 2012. Available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***

Official cover for 'The Stubborn Dead' by Natasha Hoar, published by Carina Press in Jan 2012

Haven’t read the first story in the Lost Souls series? Pick up The Stubborn Dead – available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore and other fine ebook retailers. Coming soon to Audible.com.

(F.Y.I. – The Lost Souls series are not written as stand alone books. For maximum enjoyment, I’d highly suggest reading them in order, starting with The Stubborn Dead.)

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