Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, October 16, 2017

to change the future … for everyone - Damned (Magnus Blackwell #1) by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

"The detailing of this book makes it the perfect escapism read. The appearance of a Maine Coon cat is a mystery. I don't know if it gets any better than this, but I'm anxiously awaiting the next book. Paranormal fans are in for a treat." - Janet, Goodreads


Published: October 3rd, 2017

Over a hundred years after the death of Magnus Blackwell, Altmover Manor sits abandoned.

Lexie Arden and her fiancé, Will Bennet, are determined to rescue the neglected Mount Desert Island landmark. They want to make Altmover Manor their home. But Magnus has other plans.

A spirit bound to his former residence, Magnus finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young woman. She has a supernatural gift; a gift Magnus wants to exploit.

As Lexie and Will settle in, secrets from Magnus’s past begin to surface. Compelled to learn all she can about the former owner, Lexie becomes immersed in a world of voodoo, curses, and the whereabouts of a mysterious dragon cane.

Magnus’s crimes won’t be so easily forgotten, and what Lexie unearths is going to change the future … for everyone.

The Birth of a Story

Stories come from the ebb and flow of my imagination. I am not big on outlines, and even when I do have one, I never stick to it. I like to see where the story and the characters take me. I often find when writing I listen to my creative muse. Even when working with Lucas Astor on Blackwell, the prequel, and Damned, I had rough outlines of the story, but I added flavors to make it something special. We worked very well together and changed the context of the storyline to add to the development of the characters. Writing with a partner is challenging, and I believe the division of labors in regards to writing is vital, but when you find a partner you click with, you can perform wonders.

Very often for any paranormal book I write, the characters make their way to my hometown of New Orleans. As writers, we are always told write about what you know, and I know my city. Having grown up in the French Quarter, I was raised with all things paranormal and supernatural—and even lived next door to a voodoo priestess. The story of Magnus Blackwell and Lexie Arden may begin in Maine, but its roots are in New Orleans. I find the city adds a je ne sais quoi to the tale of both characters. Such details are vital when building characters, a reader will latch on to. If the characters in a story you write are real to you, they will be real to the reader. 

Names are an essential part of building a character. How to uncover a name varies from writer to writer. Some labor for hours over what to name their hero or heroine. The name of Magnus Blackwell in Damned came from Lucas, and I don’t think a better name could have defined the character. As for Lexie, I wanted something out of the ordinary to reflect the woman she is. When writing about characters from New Orleans, I like to highlight the French heritage so pervasive in the city. I grew up with a lot of Boudreaux’s, Breaux’s, Hebert’s, Devereaux, Gaston’s, and La Jeune’s. Secondary characters, especially those raised in the heart of the Cajun culture, end up with more French first names or surnames in my stories. It does make choosing a name easier, but you also hope to make sure it sounds genuine. Something I believe every writer struggles with. We want the names to become synonymous with our character. However, it does take more than a name to make a character, but it can be the basis for a great foundation.

Creating memorable characters is like a gumbo: you have to add a lot of ingredients to make them good. A story needs distinct characters, and those characters need a good story to become unforgettable. It doesn’t matter how a writer achieves the feat, whether by meticulous outlines, or just writing and writing until they are done. In the end, how you give birth to a story is inconsequential. As long as you win the hearts of the reader, every labor pain will be well worth it. 

About the authors:
Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.

He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.

One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.

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