Review of “The Black Swan Company” by Luna DeMasi

25442483I’m not an automatic sucker for any vampire book, but this one won me over quickly.  I loved the focus on investigative journalism as a way to dig deeper into the conspiracies and injustices committed by the authorities in this dystopian, semi-post-apocalyptic setting.  There are also elements of paranormal romance for readers who are drawn to that kind of thing, and this was a good way for the author to draw all sorts of emotional turmoil out of the characters.  Melody, as a “strong female lead,” is great because she’s good at her job but also personally flawed in believable ways that make her easy to relate to.

The writing devices the author uses keep the plot flowing while also giving great backstory.  There are journal entries and letters, back-flashes, and occasional dips into POVs other than the main character’s.  The story often reads like a suspense/crime drama.  A lot of time is spent with Melody and Bastian in isolation, but then there are bursts of action to remind you that the world outside is really, really different from the one we know and the one Melody lost.  And the dialogue is great, livening up the story with colorful side characters whom you grow attached to quickly.

I don’t want to give anything away, but what’s really going on with the Black Swan Company is both terrifying and oddly believable.  I also like that these “vampires” aren’t like your typical paranormal monsters, and the gray areas involved are interesting from a moral and sort-of-political standpoint.

If I have any complaint about this book, it’s that the action at the end happens really fast as things come to a climax, and everything gets wrapped up super quickly.  But it also works this way, since everything has been building to what happens in the end and you kind of know what to expect.

Definitely check out this book if you like your vampire stories a little more on the dystopian/crime side.

5 Stars

See it on Amazon!

Alterni Book Release Day!

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Yay, it’s finally book launch day!  This also means my blog/Twitter/Instagram giveaways have ended, and I moments ago sent “Congrats!” notices to the winners via Twitter and Instagram.

Here are the correct answers to the giveaway questions and fill-in-the-blanks:

Twitter week 1:
FILL IN THE BLANK:
“Ooh, I like that one.”
“We’re not picking a puppy, Hakim. Take this seriously.”

Twitter week 2:
FILL IN THE BLANK:
Oh, that burns, she thought as she lowered the finished glass. Nope, this is definitely not a dream. 
Twitter week 3:
FILL IN THE BLANK:
I have enough to focus on without getting a crush on an emo, underwear model monarch.
Twitter week 4:
FILL IN THE BLANK:
“There are alt-worlds where a vampire is the norm? Where werewolves or fairies or whatever else are the norm?”
Twitter week 5: 
FILL IN THE BLANK:
It’s like the start of a bad jokeTwo elves, a nymph, and a fairy walk into a bar…or barbecue joint, in this case.
Instagram week 1: 
Not all alternate reality versions of Esme are human.  Two alt-Esmes were from paranormal races.  What do you think these paranormals were? Vampire and Fairy
Instagram week 2:
FILL IN THE BLANK:
It’s like an average day. Oh, sure, vampires are real here. And I’ll be fighting monsters, learning magic, and working with an ancient Order ruled by Kansas City’s chief of police. But first, don’t forget to put baking soda in the fridge!
Instagram week 3:
Who does Owen say this to?  Esme
Instagram week 4:
“Must you be insulting? You know full well my alt-world ancestor was jinn, not fairy.”
Instagram week 5: 
Which monster would you least like to fight? Any monster was an option!

 

Thanks to everyone who played!


 

Alterni is now available on

Amazon Kindle Unlimited

and in

paperback!

 

Click the picture for the blurb, a sneak peek, and more!

Alterni Cover FRONT

 

Paperback Giveaways – ALTERNI

We’re within the final week to enter the paperback giveaways for my soon-to-be-released Urban Fantasy book, Alterni!  If you’ve missed out on entering these contests so far, I’ve compiled ALL of them below.  Just click the below posts, comment with your answer (they don’t even have to be the right answers!), and you’re entered to win 1 of 10 paperbacks that I’ll give away on 12/12/2017. 

Twitter Contests: 

Instagram Contests:

 

Enter as many contests as you want to increase your chances to win!  

ALTERNI Cover Reveal

I’m having so much fun writing this new series with new characters, a new world, and new monsters!  Here’s the brand new cover for The Alt-World Chronicles Book 1, ALTERNI. 

Description: 

Ever have a nightmare where you’re naked in public? What if everyone else in the room was also naked…and also a version of yourself? That’s the reality Esme Kuchis finds herself in, and soon things get even weirder. 

She’s not in her Kansas City anymore. This alternate world is home to an ancient, secret Order with a king, conjuri magicians, cavali fighters, and dozens of paranormal races. And the purpose of this magical Order? They protect an unsuspecting public from malevolenci, demonic beasts from otherworldly rifts. 

As an alterni summoned to this world, Esme must partner with the king and fight using magic only an alterni can wield. Unfortunately, the model-perfect King Owen is broken by grief and guilt, the Order has little faith in her, and the malevolenci are worse than ever.

Eight alt-Esmes preceded her. Eight lost their lives. Can Esme use her unique gifts to master this world’s magic? If she can’t, the consequences might be more devastating than Owen is willing to say.
Stay tuned for some cool stuff ahead until the book release on 12/12/17. 

Preorder HERE

#AuThorsday with LE Fitzpatrick

5233596Today I’d like to welcome LE Fitzpatrick, dystopian author of  The Running Game.

Can you give us your quickest description of your books?

Fast paced, paranormal/dystopian thriller.  Blade Runner meets Guy Richie.

Interesting!  Do you picture that kind of movie-like direction while you’re writing scenes?

I get told a lot that my books read like films, although I never set out to write them that way.  Mainly I get ideas and inspiration from films I love and they end up somehow being incorporated in my stories.  I like a lot of slick dialogue and action in my books rather than internal monologues, so maybe I use my characters a bit like you would actors and instead of delving into their inner workings, I put a gun in their hands and let them interpret a scene themselves.

What are you working on currently?

Currently I’m working on the rest of the Reacher series, there’s about 6 books planned so far, along with a few shorts to expand on too.  Book 2 is with the publishers at the moment and fingers and toes are crossed for a 2016 release.

I’ve just started writing shorts myself and find it really enjoyable.  Do you plan to use your shorts to tell backstory for your existing characters or to introduce something new into the story?

The history surrounding the backstory of the characters is quite extensive.  The Running Game, the first book in the series, starts when my four main characters come together for the first time, but each of them has come from some sort of dark and traumatic backstory.  When I start mapping out the main story arc of the series I find it really useful to write little snippets of history, etc., and after publishing The Running Game I realized that a lot of the snippets came together to form a little short in its own right.  For me the short stories are a bit like the extra bits you get on a DVD boxset – the deleted scenes, or documentaries – which aren’t part of the main story arc but are great for people wanting more.  Most of the stories concentrate on the additional secondary characters in the book who don’t get as much attention as they perhaps deserve.

What is your favorite scene you’ve written?  Can you give us a peek?

They met at the edge of the docks, where the smell of fish and sea collided with the sulphuric fumes of the neighbouring factories.  John stood like a tall mast protruding out of the harbour. When he made himself visible he was impossible to miss. Wrapped up in his thick black trench coat he was an immovable figure against the harsh breath of the ocean. He was immaculate, despite a night in the lockup, which was more than could be said for Charlie.
The elder brother hobbled forward like some kind of decrepit swamp creature. He stank of sweat and vomit and grime. There were stains down his coat, dirt clogged to the thick layer of stubble against his face. And he felt worse than he looked. He nodded at John, marking the start and end of their apologies.
“You armed?” Charlie asked.
“The usual.” He had one pistol in his holster that they would find. One snub in his boot which was lazily concealed and a knife they would have to autopsy him to uncover. “Is there a plan?”
“Leave alive.” The best laid plans, Charlie thought to himself.
“Sounds good.”
They walked towards the warehouse as a united front.

So much great description in just a small chunk!  Do you prefer setting the tone of a scene with dialogue or description, or a combo of both?

If I want to slow the tone of the story down I will usually rely on my own narrative and descriptive scenes to lay some history or imagery into the plot.  Like above, brothers John and Charlie are meeting for the first time after a huge fight, they are very different in appearance but very similar when it comes to dealing with their relationship.  I wanted the reader to see this scene from a distance, because it’s a private moment between them.  But as the scene progresses and the move towards an action scene I like to use snappy dialogue to change the pace and suddenly grab the reader and involve them in the danger.

When you get stuck in your writing, how do you make yourself keep going?

I find that the process of writing is the easiest thing in the world, it comes more naturally to me that breathing.  For me getting stuck in is very rarely a problem, but getting out again… well let’s just say very few chores happen at home.

Haha.  Do you have to force yourself to stop when you’re on a roll?  Most people indeed have the opposite problem – having enough in their head to get on paper all at once.

Sometimes you have to just stop.  If it’s the wee hours of the morning anything I’m putting down is probably gibberish and you just have to stop for the greater good. But if I’m working through a difficult scene or plot issue I’ll often push to get through it.  I tend to write most days and nights but I’d say at least 80% of those words get deleted.  I sometimes think you have to write 100 pages of nonsense to get to 10 pages of perfection (or at least satisfaction).  My trial and error method could be very frustrating for a lot of people, but I’ve done it this way all my life.

Same here.  Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?

I tend to write fantasy or sci-fi so a lot of my books are very much from my imagination, but I like to inject a lot of humanity into my characters and I tend to put a lot of myself.

So you try to make your characters relatable even when they’re in unfamiliar worlds?  Do you find that comes naturally as a storyteller, or are there times when you feel like you need to infuse your characters with more humanity? 

Everything about my books is character driven.  The settings and unfamiliar worlds fall around the characters and often they reject ideas that are just incredulous or absurd.  I’ve never struggled with making my characters more human per se, but I often struggle with them accepting my plots.  If the story arc isn’t natural and believable the characters reject it and I just can’t get anywhere.  Sometimes it feels like they’ve got more control of the story than me.

Thanks, LE, for sharing!

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WHERE TO FIND: LE Fitzpatrick 
Website:  www.lefitzpatrick.com
Goodreads:  LE Fitzpatrick
Amazon Page:  LE Fitzpatrick
Facebook:  LE Fitzpatrick
Twitter:  @L_E_Fitzpatrick

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