Judging from recent Tweets and other discussions, I’m guessing most of us are planning to participate in this year’s National Novel Writing Month. We only have one more week left to complete any outlines, character sketches, etc. before the writing frenzy begins.
It’s fitting that we enter this final week of preparation with a guest judge who is a prolific writer in her own right. Ally Shields just released the fourth book in her Guardian Witch series, with books 1-3 released since September 2012. That’s four books on the market in essentially one year!
One of these books was even drafted during NaNo and Ally will be participating again this year! If you’d like to connect with her, she’s Iowagal.
She calls herself a ‘river rat’, having been born and raised along the Mississippi River, which also serves as the setting and contributes some of the folklore for her urban fantasy series. Now, she lives in Iowa and spends her time writing, reading, visiting family, or traveling.
Her stories take place in Riverdale, a place where humans find themselves living with the supernatural among them. Arianna Calin is a fire witch and is charged with keeping the peace as the Guardian and supernatural cop for the Olde Town district, where most of the supernaturals live.
The most recent release, Blood and Fire, complicates the problems Ari was left with in the previous book without losing the newcomer to the series and without boring the dedicated fan. Here’s an excerpt:
“Black magic is rolling off him in waves.”
“You don’t say?” Ryan looked at the victim with renewed interest but backed up a half step, as if tainted magic might be contagious. “I thought he was human.”
“He is human. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t attacked by a rogue magic user. Or that he didn’t dabble in things he couldn’t control. Do you know who he is?”
“No. Although his face seems familiar, like I might have seen him somewhere. No wallet or ID on him. I know,” he added, when she made a small sound in her throat, “that’s suspicious by itself. Unless some petty thief found him and relieved him of his identification before our good Samaritan came along.” Ryan waved a hand toward the searchers. “We’re looking for the wallet. If somebody wanted the money and cards, they might have tossed the rest.”
“Did he leave a parked car or truck in the area?”
“A cruiser is looking. So far, nothing. What do you think he was doing out here? Don’t see any fishing or rappelling gear.”
“A trail hiker, maybe. I’d think a tourist would have a camera, although he might have dropped it during … whatever happened. He’s dressed pretty warmly.” She pointed to the wool socks, then looked back up at the cliffs. “More like a caver, but again, we’re missing equipment. He’d need at least a flashlight. I’ll take a look up there. See what I can find.”
Ryan shifted his feet and followed her gaze to the cliff tops. “Let’s hope he wasn’t in the caves. The vampires would raise hell with anyone nosing around, maybe guarantee he didn’t return. They’re damned territorial.”
What an inspiration, right? Don’t forget to come back Tuesday night at 7:30 central to play along with us! You’ll get a chance to win one of the four Guardian Witch books!