Category: Government Agency vs. Supernatural

Just a quick change to the contest as a result of this, apparently I misunderstood while setting up the giveaway but there will be two winners instead of one.  Both winners will receive one of the two Jackie Rutledge novels rather than one receiving both.  I’m sorry about the mix up guys.  This will be reflected on the giveaway post as well.   But on to the fun stuff!  As the title suggests, we’ve got a guest post to day from the author himself!  Enjoy!

Hello, everyone. I’ve been granted the opportunity to post today in regard to the release of the second book in my Deadworld series, The Vengeful Dead. It’s what I would call paranormal crime fiction or if you’re in a bookstore, urban fantasy. One of the problems in writing urban fantasy, or any genre for that matter, is developing something that feels fresh and new, even when it often isn’t. There is certainly a vast wealth of material to draw upon regarding the supernatural, from vampires to werewolves to demons and fairies. We UF authors borrow a lot from the lore and stories of old to build our own.

I am certainly no exception to this. Deadworld has its share of ghosts and vampires, though I’ve taken a bit of a different spin on what a vampire is.  They aren’t your traditional, gothic, undead variety, because I wanted to do something different with them that would give readers a different feel. On that end, I believe I’ve succeeded to some degree. When I originally wrote Deadworld, I  had a completed story left with some dangling threads that could be picked up if a publisher decided they wanted to pursue that. Fortunately for me, they did, and I was left trying to figure out exactly where to go from there. When I sold, I had moved on to another story and had left Deadworld to sit. Now I had to develop another two books to go with the first. So, where was it going to go?

I knew there would be cases to solve, a developing relationship between Jackie and Nick, and Jackie’s continued efforts to resolve her emotional issues (she has a few of them).  Having a love for epic stories though, I wanted to incorporate a bigger, series spanning arc. I wanted it to involve the supernatural, and I had three major elements to work with: vampires, ghosts, and the “other” side or Deadworld where the ghosts reside and the vampires are inextricably connected to.  Vampires and ghosts have been used quite a bit, and even with a “fresh” spin, I didn’t feel all that excited about expanded upon them. The Deadworld though, it held possibilities. What could I do with this place, a spirit world that in some ways was a mirror of our own? If it was a place where the souls of the dead resided until they were ready to move on, what could I do with it? The first question that came to mind was, “If souls move on from here, where exactly is it they move on too?” This led me to think that if Deadworld was something of a world between, and we humans moved there when we died, what was to say that something else, from somewhere else, couldn’t access it as well?

The image of that something else came to me rather quickly, and you will see it in The Vengeful Dead, albeit in more of an introductory fashion. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t give out any more details on that, but it is the beginning of a story arc that will encompass the rest of the series, or at least the next few books, assuming I’m fortunate enough for it to get that far. This element begins to develop in book three, The Lingering Dead, and assuming I get a new contract, will really take hold in book four. This element did not come from any mythology or lore that I know of. If it is similar, it’s purely coincidental. Perhaps I’m going out on a limb in creating something out of thin air that has no basis in any supernatural history, but it’s been fun to develop, albeit difficult, because there is no base from which to work. On the plus side, I can’t get any of it “wrong.” On the negative, it might be straying too far from what is typically thought of within the urban fantasy genre. Regardless, it’s a risk worth taking and I’m having fun creating it, which as a writer, is something I find to be very important. I just hope that you all as readers will enjoy the ride.

I want to thank Lauren for having me here today, and in regard to the giveaway, if the winner of The Vengeful Dead has yet to read Deadworld, I still have some author copies and I’ll be happy to include that in the prize. Take care and happy reading everyone!

So, today is the official release date of J.N. Duncan’s new book The Vengeful Dead.  This is awesome.  What’s even more awesome is that one of you guys is going to win a signed copy of both The Vengeful Dead and the first book in the series, Deadworld.

So, what do you guys have to do to enter?

Be an e-mail follower and leave a comment about your favorite urban fantasy or paranormal romance series.

For an extra entry follow me on Twitter @Tymp3st

The contest will run from today until next Tuesday the 11th at midnight and I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.

Edit:  The giveaway was meant to be for the books separately rather than together, I got that mixed up while setting this up and gave you guys bad information. There are more details in the guest post. Best of luck everyone!

Given that it’s a Tuesday and I’m still studying for finals, I thought I’d take a quick break to post my review for J. N. Duncan’s Deadworld and remind everyone about the Maiden in Light giveaway that ends on the first.

FBI agent Jackie Rutledge is at least as tough as any of the supernatural killers she’s faced before, but when bodies start showing up exsanguinated and totally clean of evidence she finds herself faced with needing help beyond the FBI’s resources.  For this case she and her partner Laurel are going to have to rely on the Bruce Wane-esque P.I. Nick Anderson and his team of odd ball supernaturals.  Can they trust him though?  Nick’s keeping secrets that stretch back over a century that may drag Jackie and Laurel far further into a twisted game of vengeance than they ever should have gone.

My impressions of J. N. Duncan’s Deadworld are colored by his use of a few tropes that tend to really annoy me as well as an immediate degree of respect for his writing for using them in a way that takes them from annoying to genuine feeling plot twists and bits of character development.  Jackie is six kinds of emotionally messed up and hard to like because of it, but then character development happens.  She’s still messed up, but it’s an understandable level of messed up that she doesn’t just magically get over all of the sudden.  Laurel’s most blatant characterization for a big chunk of the book seems based on her sexuality, but she’s not written as just a bundle of stereotypes and gets nearly as much development as the main characters.  Nick gets slightly less active development, the guy’s a pile of secrets and guilt from cover to cover, but he gets a back story that shows why he has that guilt and a personality that almost gives reason to the secrets.  That said, the villain is never given any reason for his actions aside from doing it for the sheer evil of it and to mess with Nick for no adequately explained reason.  I will complain that there were some moments of dialogue that seemed completely out of character and threw me for a bit of a loop, especially towards the end.  It’s also a nitpicky little thing, it may be the stilettos or the leather pants, but I can’t see Jackie as the cover model.  It’s also worth mentioning that Duncan didn’t immediately shoe horn Jackie and Nick into a relationship, a definite plus in my book as they’re both too damaged for something that fast to work out, but seems to be easing them towards something.

For the little things and the fact that I have problems with the lack of villainous reasoning, I give it a four out of five and wait impatiently for the October release of book two The Vengeful Dead.