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.

Friday, June 22, 2018

it may be too late… Embracing the Demon by Beth Woodward

“Embracing The Demon is a thrilling, sexy, dangerous ride of a book. Count me as Team Dale, one hundred percent.”
—Nik Korpon, author of The Rebellion's Last Traitor


Published: June 19th, 2018
Cover Artist: Leonard Philbrick

Dale Highland never wanted to be a demon…but now she may be the only one who can save them all…

Dale Highland never wanted to be a demon, never wanted to go back to the supernatural world, but now she has no choice.

A militant anti-supernatural group called the Zeta Coalition is trying to kill Dale, and a mysterious illness ravages angels and demons throughout the world. As the death toll rises, and the Zetas get closer and closer to Dale, she starts to realize the two things are connected.

To save them all, Dale will have to team up with John Goodwin, the man she once loved. The man who destroyed her.

But by the time Dale and John figure out the Zetas’ real intentions, it may be too late…


1. What kind of Urban Fantasy is Embracing the Demon and in what way it is different from the book #1 The Demon Within
I would describe both The Demon Within and Embracing the Demon as “dark urban fantasy.” It’s a bit grittier and more violent than a lot of the urban fantasy I’ve read, and I wouldn’t recommend it for readers younger than about 16 or so. 

As far as how the books are different: in The Demon Within, Dale is just learning about what she is and the powers that come along with it. Everything is new to her, and there’s a lot of setup that happens both for her and the reader about what angels and demons are and their history. By the time book 2 rolls around, Dale has known she’s half-demon for a while, and she has a better grasp on her abilities. That was really cool for me as a writer, because it meant I got to explore some different aspects and places in the angel and demon world. But this time around, Dale also has some choices to make about how she will fit and the role she’ll play in the larger supernatural world. 

2. What is the role of romance in an Urban Fantasy and in Dale Highland’s series? 
As a reader, I adore urban fantasies with romantic sub-plots. The stakes of urban fantasy tend to be very high—saving the world, being the chosen one, etc.—and having romance allows you to mesh that with a tense, high-stakes relationship. Being attracted to someone and falling in love is something most people can relate to, and the nature of urban fantasy can add additional obstacles to the relationship. My favorite kind of book is one where the leads ultimately get their HEA, but they have to work really hard to get there…and you’re left not knowing if, or how, it can ever happen for them. 

Dale’s got herself a very tortured relationship. In book 1, she meets and falls for John Goodwin. But he’s half-angel and therefore her mortal enemy (strike one), he’s more than 300 years her senior (strike two), and he’s got a lot of secrets he’s keeping from Dale (very big STRIKE THREE). Not that any of it lessens her attraction to him. Dale’s Facebook relationship status would be, “It’s complicated NO SERIOUSLY IT IS STOP JUDGING ME!” 

3. Both volumes have very expressive covers. How important are the covers and what are the criteria on which did you choose them? 
My editor at California Coldblood Books, Robert J. Peterson, had the final say on the covers. But I was lucky in that I got more input than a lot of authors do in the selection process. The first time I spoke with Bob about covers, the only guidance I gave him is that I didn’t want Dale to be too scantily clad. I’ve read a lot of urban fantasy novels where the cover model is wearing something the character would never dream of wearing, and it bothered me. 

But California Coldblood surprised me when they went in a completely different direction than the standard urban fantasy cover. As soon as I saw the cover for The Demon Within, I loved it. It was just so eye catching—pun intended. Eyes have been the focal point on both my covers, and I think that’s significant for Dale, who has spent so much of her life hiding who and what she is. In book 1, you don’t see any of Dale’s face. In book 2, you see just a little bit more—just as the character is coming more into herself. It’s perfect. 

I just hope the covers for books 3 and 4 are as amazing as the first two. I’m not sure how they can top these! 

4. How and why your angels are the bad guys? 
I’m going to go full-on Obi-Wan Kenobi and say that the angels are only the bad guys…from a certain point of view

I love moral ambiguity and gray areas. The angels are the bad guys because this is Dale’s story. These are the people who exiled Dale’s mother and tried to kill Dale herself. They also have a grudge against her entire race, so that tends to make Thanksgiving dinners kind of awkward. But if you were to ask an angel, they would say that they’re just trying to protect their people and their culture. 

Xenophobia is a big theme in the series, and you see a lot of it among the angels. They feel that they are above humans, but they also fear their numbers and reproductive capability. That said, there’s also—as we really see in Embracing the Demon—a lot of divergence among the angels themselves. Not all angels think alike, and I hope to explore that more in the third book. 

5. What it is, in your opinion, the biggest NO and the biggest must in an Urban Fantasy in general and in Dale Highland series in particular? 
That’s a tough one! For me, my favorite urban fantasy series are the ones that feel like they have an overarching plan. Each book has its own plot, but each book also advances the overarching plot. Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, the final book of which releases this summer, does an excellent job of this. There are things happening in the series now that have been set up since book 1, and it’s awesome. It’s something I’m trying to do myself, but I’m not nearly in that league! 

As far as the biggest NO…I’d say coercive or non-consensual sex between the main characters. And really, for me, that’s in any book, regardless of genre. If you’re supposed to be rooting for these characters to get together, then that will just kill it immediately for me. It’s amazing how many paranormal books I’ve read where the “hero” rapes the heroine because he’s overcome with some magical mating frenzy, but it’s supposed to be okay because the heroine really actually likes it. Ugh. 

6. There is a place for an HEA in your books? 
Now that would be a spoiler ;-) 


He wore a gray suit with a dark shirt and a blue tie that fit him so perfectly I knew it must have been custom made for him. His dark blond hair had been combed and gelled into submission. Normally, it stood up in random spikes around his head—not as a stylistic choice, but because he had the tendency to run his fingers through it nervously until it went in about 14 different directions. 
Until that moment, I hadn’t been convinced he’d survived the fall off the roof of Amara’s estate. Every night in my dreams, I stared at his broken body, tears running down my face. I wasn’t sure why I cried: because I had killed him, or because he had destroyed me.
But here was John, very much alive, looking like the fantasy of some billionaire boss about to have hot monkey sex with his secretary on the desk. He didn’t look like the John I remembered, who’d spent most of our time together wearing blood-covered t-shirts. Which one was the real John, I wondered, the suave businessman or the urban warrior? And then I noticed the pin on his lapel: a flaming angel that matched the ones on the others’ pendants. John had declared his allegiance, and it wasn’t to me.
“My apologies for the mess,” he said. “Ephraim, Leah, please clean that up. Make sure you dispose of the body well. I don’t want him coming back to haunt us one of these days.” A man and a woman jumped out of their seats and scooped up the body, leaving just a puddle of blood behind. Guess they’d be getting that later.
John turned to the rest of the group. “Let’s not forget why we’re here. This illness is already devastating our community, and it’s getting worse. The Zeta Coalition created it with the intent of wiping out supernaturals—angels and demons. And if we can’t cooperate, they will succeed.”
“She’s the daughter of our worst enemy!” someone shouted.
“Amara is dead. And Dale is not Amara.” He paused. “Covington is right. We need more information if we’re going to survive this, and Dale is our best hope of gaining access to their records containment facility.”
“What about taking an army and storming the compound, like we talked about a few weeks ago?” someone asked.
To my surprise, it was Tina who answered. “The compound is too heavily fortified, and its underground architecture would make it difficult to strong-arm. We’ve run the scenario many times, accounting for the different variables. The most likely outcome is that we’d end up trapped down there while the Zetas pick us off.”
“There must be another way,” a woman said.
“Maybe, but this is the best way,” John replied. “We all know Dale can do things that no one else can. Her return may have been a coincidence, but we should use that to our advantage.”
“I haven’t agreed to anything yet,” I managed to get out through gritted teeth.

About the author:
Beth Woodward has always had a love for the dark, the mysterious, and all things macabre. She blames her mother for this one: while other kids were watching cartoons, Beth and her mother were watching Unsolved Mysteries together every week. She was doomed from the beginning. At 12, she discovered the wonders of science fiction and fantasy when she read A Wrinkle in Time, which remains the most influential book of her life. Growing up, she was Meg Murray with a dash of Oscar the Grouch. She’s been writing fiction since she was six years old; as a cantankerous kid whose family moved often, the fictional characters she created became her friends. As an adult, she’s slightly more well adjusted, but she still withdraws into her head more often than is probably healthy.

When she’s not writing, Beth volunteers at her local animal shelter, attends as many sci-fi/fantasy conventions as she can, and travels as much as time and money will allow. She lives in the Washington, DC, area with her husband and their three cats.

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Unknown said...

Great interview! Thank you for having me.

CCAM said...

Thank you;
Good Answers :)

Laura said...

Oh goodness! This sounds good!

Unknown said...

Wow! The interview alone made me want to read all the books written so far. I didn't even need to read the summaries for each title. Thank you.