Thanks for inviting me to guest blog! From the time I first started writing, I’ve heard the adage “write what you know”. Problem is, when creating a world filled with sorcerers and demons, it’s hard to follow that sage advice. Despite all the research I could cram into endless hours, I’ve actually never lived in an alternate world. That part of my December release, DEMON’S HUNGER, had to come strictly from my imagination.
But there was a part of the story that adhered to the “write what you know” trope. The bones. I teach human anatomy, so I know about bones. I know their names and the names of all the little bumps and grooves. I find bones fascinating. And bones are at the core of DEMON’S HUNGER, where forensic anthropologist Vivien Cairn agrees to examine skeletal remains in order to help sexy sorcerer Dain Hawkins hunt a supernatural serial killer before the next brutal murder takes place…only to find herself the most likely suspect.
I adore tortured heroes who are forced to delve deep and face their own secret demons. Dain Hawkins is just such a hero. His character was introduced in the first of my sorcerer stories, DEMON’S KISS. Dain has been betrayed in the past and that has left him guarded, unable to trust. He’s all about honor and duty, until he meets Vivien. But as the bones pile up, he must face the possibility that the woman he is coming to love is in fact linked to the demonic killer leaving a trail of bodies in its wake.
DEMON’S HUNGER was a blast to write, very dark and twisty. But then all my books seem to come out that way: my contemporary paranormals, my historical suspense, and even the speculative romance I write as Eve Kenin.
So here’s a question for you: Do you follow authors across multiple genres? Do you feel their voice changes as the genre changes?
I follow favorite authors. For example: Michelle Rowen writes light and funny paranormals, but her alter ego, Michelle Maddox writes darker and sexier speculative romance. I follow Linda Howard no matter what she writes, suspense, historical, time travel. I follow Kelley Armstrong from her Otherworld paranormals to her YA series to her Nadia Stafford hit-woman series. I followed Karen Marie Moning from her highlanders to her urban-fantasy fever series (definitely a different voice there). And I followed Lori Devoti from her romantic comedies to her dark, sexy Nocturnes.
Interestingly, I’ve heard from readers who follow my work across genres, and others who really enjoy only one of the genres I write. So what about you? Do you cross genres with favorite authors?
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From the shadows, Gavin Johnston watched the play of expressions cross the girl's face as she struggled to stay awake. He knew what thoughts tugged at her through the haze, knew that the alley spun and darkened as she struggled to focus, shape and form dancing beyond her grasp.
He'd tried three of the common drugs on himself first, just so he'd know what it was like. GHB, Rophypnol, ketamine. Rohypnol turned blue when he dropped the pills in liquid, which made it less than ideal for his use.
He liked GHB best. No odor. No color. He'd used it on a dozen women in recent months. The last one had died. Not his fault. She'd choked on her own vomit.
The girl on the ground moaned as her head lolled to the side. Her eyes moved slowly from left to right. He thought she must be wondering what she was doing out here. Or perhaps she was too far gone for that.
Did she remember staggering to the bathroom? Did she remember that he'd looped her arm across his shoulders and half carried her out the back door to the alley, laid her down by the dumpster beneath the dark night sky?
The rancid stink rising from the dumpster slapped him. She must have smelled it, too, because she tried to roll away, but only managed to shift from her side to her back before her body betrayed her.
He smiled, finding humor in her distress. Did she wonder how she'd gotten so drunk on only a single glass of wine? Or did she realize that he had put something in her drink?
Her eyes opened, drifted shut, opened again, focusing on him. She was pretty. Very pretty. Olive skin. Dark hair, sleek and smooth, fanning out against the ground. Great body, encased in a tight little skirt and low-cut top. No bra.
"Are you woozy, pretty girl?" he asked with a nasty laugh, knowing she was. Enjoying the fact that she was weak and vulnerable.
Earlier tonight, he'd been the one who was weak. Vulnerable. He'd been the one tormented.
It had been a mistake, allowing himself to be in that position, but this was his opportunity to remedy that, his chance to be strong.
The bare bulb over the back door of the bar cast a yellow circle of light, and he had no liking for that. Grabbing her under her armpits, he dragged her along the pavement into the shadows. A quick glance up and down the alley confirmed they were completely alone.
Hunkering down beside her, he stroked her hair back from her face. She stared up at him, her eyes wide, and for a moment they looked far too lucid for his taste. Then her lids drifted shut, and he relaxed.
He undid the button of his jeans, then the zipper, metal sliding over metal with a dull rasp.
The girl's eyes flicked open, pinned him with a hard, cold gaze, dark and glittering. Fever bright.
He froze, the first lick of unease touching him like the flicker of a flame.
"Don't stop now," she whispered, her lips curving to reveal animal-white teeth as she dropped her gaze to his crotch.
Whoa. Gavin's thoughts skidded one against the next, slamming into each other. She shouldn't be speaking. The drug...She shouldn't be able to speak-
"I told you not to stop," she murmured.
The air around her shimmered, like heat rising off pavement. He caught glimpses of talons and incredibly long teeth, and he jerked back, suddenly afraid that he'd given the drug to himself by accident.
Unease turned to icy fear, even though he couldn't say why. She was just a girl, a drugged girl, lying on the cold ground. Only...she was something more, something...dark. His heart slammed against his ribs and his blood pounded hard in his ears.
What the hell? What the fucking hell?
He wanted to tell her to fuck herself. He wanted to get up and run. But his muscles wouldn't obey his command and, against his will, his hands stayed on the open fly of his jeans.
All he could do was kneel by her side as she reached for him, escalating fear congealing in his gut. All he could do was gasp as she tore his shirt open from neck to hem, then tore his skin, her nails raking him to leave four deep furrows on his chest.
With a low hum of pleasure, she brought her bloodied fingers to her mouth, licked them clean.
Her teeth...what the hell was with her teeth?
She wasn't human. He could see that now. Oh, God, she wasn't human.
He was going to be sick. The fear inside him kindled and swelled until it grew to a roaring blaze.
He was still on his knees at her side, and he swayed, dizzy with fear and horror, desperate to get up and run, to be anywhere but here. Only, his limbs wouldn't do what he told them, wouldn't obey the commands of his mind.
"Not a very nice feeling, is it?" she asked, her voice so incredibly sexy, making him hard even through his terror. And that frightened him even more until all he knew was the great crashing waves of his panic.
She kept talking, low murmurs of encouragement and reassurance.
With a smile, she struck, her fingers curled like talons. Pain rocked him, sharp and deep.
At first, he thought she'd punched him.
The breath whooshed out of him in a quick exhale. He doubled over, feeling as though not just his breath was dragged from him, but his life in one great, sucking pull.
He looked down. Stared at his belly in mute horror.
She hadn't punched him.
Blood spurted over her wrist, her forearm. His gut was ripped open, her hand inside him. Inside him. His head jerked up and he looked into her eyes, the swirling depths of her too-black eyes.
Wrenching agony exploded inside him.
Rearing up, she cupped her free hand against the base of his skull, pressed her mouth to his and swallowed his agonized screams.