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, November 30, 2015

Keeping the (Un)dead Fresh - Realm Walker by Kathleen Collins

As a Realm Walker for the Agency, Juliana Norris tracks deadly paranormal quarry using her unique ability to see magical signatures. She excels at her job, but her friends worry about her mysterious habit of dying in the line of duty without staying dead. That's only the first of her secrets.


An estranged mate, a mangled body and a powerful demon who calls her by name…

As a Realm Walker for the Agency, Juliana Norris tracks deadly paranormal quarry using her unique ability to see magical signatures. She excels at her job, but her friends worry about her mysterious habit of dying in the line of duty without staying dead. That's only the first of her secrets.

Most people don't know Juliana became the mate of master vampire Thomas Kendrick before he abandoned her seven years ago. Most people don't know the horrors she endured at the hands of the vampire he left in command. Most people don't know her true parentage, or why a demon on a world-threatening rampage has taken a personal interest in her…

Even as Juliana pursues the demon, it goes after all she holds dear—including Thomas, who is back to claim her for his own. But if she can't reconcile her past and learn to trust herself again, she will lose him forever.

Juliana Norris, Realm Walker with the Agency, is an Altered. A fact that she runs up against every time she’s forced to work with human police officers, and their species-ist commissioner, on cases they can’t solve themselves. Which happens more than they would like to admit.

Her gift—the quality that makes her the best Realm Walker in the business, without boast—is the ability to read magical signatures. Whether the gift came from her father, the dark fae god of death, or the mage mother she can’t remember, is anyone’s guess. And when Altered children start going missing with only wild magical signatures as clues, her heritage is the last thing on her mind.

She can’t afford such distractions, and she definitely can’t afford to worry about the fact that her mate, master vampire Thomas Kendrick, hasn’t spoken to her since she saved him from a demon—maybe it’s because she had to stab him to do so. Because whoever is kidnapping these children must be very powerful to wield wild magic. Very powerful, and very dangerous indeed.

Keep your distance. Don't look him in the eye. Feed him and leave. 

Michael D'Augustino is a priest in the time of the Inquisition. Marked as weak for his refusal to torture those charged with sorcery, heresy, devil worship or worse, he's given another task. Feed the prisoner in the cell in the darkest corner of the dungeon. With the edict comes a set of instructions. 

Ever obedient, Michael does exactly as he is told. Until the night his charge doesn't eat and Michael has to enter the cell to find out why. Instead of the beast he believes to be imprisoned there, he finds a man. A broken, tormented man who asks for help. 

But all is not as it seems and, before the night is through, Michael will be changed forever.
Available at Amazon BN Harlequin Print

Can she find a killer in a town where the basest desires are allowed to run free?

There are zombies in the Dead Zone and Juliana Norris is sent to take care of the problem. And for there to be zombies, there had to be bodies. When vampires are found to be the culprits, Juliana is sent undercover in the red light district of Kansas City. Lying to her mate, Thomas Kendrick, isn’t something she wants to do, but she’s in another vampire’s territory and Thomas would not be pleased. Besides, she’s more than capable of doing the job and she needs to prove it to everyone. Most of all herself.

Charles Morgan is in control of the Kansas City area, making a rich living off his various enterprises. Juliana goes undercover at the strip club Lust and gets sucked into his dark, decadent world. More victims turn up and the Agency is positive they’ve got their man, but Juliana is not so sure. When the Agency refuses to listen, she reluctantly turns to Thomas for help. He intervenes but finds Juliana unaware of the danger she is in and discovers she may just be too deep for him to save.

Keeping the (Un)dead Fresh 

People have been telling stories about the dead, or the undead as the case may be, almost from the first moment they walked on the Earth. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn cavemen had their own legends about what happened to their dead that they grunted to each other over camp fires and drew on cave walls. 

Death is a scary thing. One of the last great unknowns is what happens to us after we die. It seems like there are as many religions and theories about the afterlife as there are people in the world. One of the ways the human race has long come to terms with those things that scare them is to put a face on them. It didn’t take long for fears of the dark and the dead to combine into tales of vampires, zombies and other things that stalk the night. As time went by even those dark tales started to morph into something a little less scary, a little more romantic. My personal theory for this is those stories give us a chance for the everlasting love story. What’s more romantic than literally spending eternity with your soulmate? 

With the rising popularity of urban fantasy and paranormal romance came the fear that the genre would quickly get overdone. I mean how many different ways can you really tell a story about a vampire and have it not get old? The answer is a lot. True there are those stories that fell like you’ve read them before in a dozen different versions, but there are just as many new, original takes that suck you into their world. So what’s the secret? How do you keep a novel about a topic that’s been done to death (pun totally intended) fresh and engaging? 

One thing that recently popped up on my radar was zombie romance. Now I don’t mean romances where our hero and heroine are falling in love while fighting the undead hordes. I mean people falling in love with zombies. While this is certainly an original take, it’s a big no go from me unless it’s a horror novel. I just think of squishy parts, the scent of rotting meat and things falling off and…..yuck. Obviously someone likes it, because they’re writing it or reading it, but it is not for me. 

So what it comes down to is making your novel original enough to pique interest without turning people off. In the Realm Walker series, our heroine is mated to master vampire Thomas Kendrick. The vampires in my world have achieved their long lives through ancient blood magic that is passed down through the lines. They drink blood to feed the spell for their immortality. Since they technically aren’t dead, they can, and do, have children. I have also created my own stories for where certain parts of the vampire myth came from. One of my favorite explanations plays a big part in a future book. 

In Blood Slave, the most recent book in the Realm Walker series. There are also zombies. While these zombies follow the traditional formula of the shuffling walk and groaning, I make it clear that they are not typical for the world they are appearing in. Scientists had tried to recreate their own version of the zombies which came about from magic spells and curses. The Hollywood type zombies were the laughable result. 

Give the readers something unexpected and they’ll stick with you and explore your world. They’ll be sucked in because they’ll want to know what else isn’t going to be as they anticipated. After all, the greatest joys in life often come from the places and people we thought we knew until we saw a whole different, wonderful side to them.

About the author:
Kathleen Collins lives and works in Missouri. By day, she labors in the local prosecutor's office. At night she writes while surrounded by her husband, two boys and two loveable mutts. She is constantly thinking of her next project and loves to connect with her readers. You can find her most often on Facebook or on her website.

1 comment:

ailyn koay said...

mixed parentage, killer girl with a past, interesting but I would wait a while, need a break from vampires and killers. it is christmas