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Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Peek Inside My Creative Process. Part 2.

 
Hi everyone,
As you remember, in the run-up to the Cambion Journals – Rage of Augustus release – I wanted to share a bit about the creative process behind this stories development, and what went into Augustus Thorne’s character.
 
Last week, I revealed a few details as to how I came up with the hero himself. A bit cheeky, I know, as I was literally asleep on the job. (His character actually came to me in a dream). Thankfully, however, after I remembered details about the repetitive scenes that spawned the idea, I managed to stay awake long enough to develop a great character.
Augustus Thorne is someone you wouldn’t want to cross. He’s a demon/human hybrid. A bad guy. But he’s a bad guy with a difference...Because he doesn’t want to be.
So, how could I make his story stand out from all the others?
Well, the first step was to make his message something you could really relate to.
His mother, Rosemary, was a young woman of impeccable character with the world at her feet. She was young, beautiful, and was engaged to marry the son of a local squire in 18th century rural England. Unfortunately, she was also the target of a demon. An Incubus cursed with an unsavoury appetite.
Incubi and Succubae feed on emotions. The stronger the emotion, the more succulent the feeding process will be. Unfortunately, the most powerful feelings are those released during moments of terror or sexual arousal. Needless to say, demons gorge themselves on such passions, and take great delight in perverting humans to their will, regardless of the cost. Usually, such attentions result in the death of the human involved. Rarely, the victims survive. If they do, they are not the lucky ones...
Over a period of many months, the Incubi targeting Rosemary wrought his skills artfully, and seduced her into a spiral of self loathing and destruction. Pregnancy, not death, was the result, ruining her life and her reputation. Cast out, she was left alone to fend for herself in an unforgiving and judgemental world. When Augustus was born, it was obvious he was not a human child. Instead of abandoning him – as usually happened to the offspring resulting from such liaisons – Rosemary cherished the child, and did her best to instil her own values within him.
And just as well, because Augustus was a force of nature!
As a Cambion – a human/demon hybrid – Augustus was blessed with all of Demondims attributes.  Supernatural abilities, preternatural longevity, hypnotically compulsive and stunning good looks. But, more worryingly, he also inherited their terrible hunger. The cruel, aching yearning that draws him to the life-force of humans.
 
And yet, Augustus refused to wholly submit to his true nature. Why? Because the sustained efforts of his loving mother paid off! Over the years, she instilled in Augustus a strong sense of right and wrong. Of self discipline and justice. Added to this was the fact that Augustus was an eye witness of the suffering his father’s attentions inflicted on Rosemary over the years. He experienced first-hand the shipwreck of a life she had to endure, and because of that, the seeds of hatred were born.
A hatred of the suffering his mother has had to endure.
A hatred of those who would inflict their desires on humankind.
A hatred of the hunger he is cursed with.
And especially, a hatred of the one who caused his existence in the first place. His very own spawn-father, Fanon.
All these things combined to focus his fury into a knot of self loathing. Because of them, Augustus can never be normal. He can never have what other men have. Someone to love. A family. Children. A simple, normal life.
And realizing he can never be whole, Augustus focuses that hatred into a pit of burning desire. The desire for revenge. And the Cambion Journals describe his journey as he seeks to vent that rage in a most focused and prejudiced fashion.
Do you see how people could relate to this?
Well, so could I. But I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to make sure that readers would really be able to relate to Augustus and share his experiences with him.
So, how could I take all this passion, all this involvement, make it personal and move it up to the next level?
Ah – by taking the second step - a risk.
When you look at the world of publishing today, there appear to be very strict guidelines governing the use of PoV. 99.9% of the stories you will ever read are presented in either 1st or 3rd person.
However, as a prolific reader, I’ve enjoyed stories by authors from all around the world. Yes, I’m an avid sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal fan, but I’ve also enjoyed books in genres across the board. In recent years, I enjoyed a number of crime thrillers from a couple of very well known international bestselling authors, (male and female), who mixed PoV. YES – they mixed them.
Eg, the main character – who most of the story related to – was written in 1st person. It allowed you to involve yourself with that character, and experience what he/she felt, how he/she thought, and how they might react under certain circumstances. However, because of the complexity of the stories, other events/developments were taking place elsewhere that you needed to know and understand. As such, those parts were written in 3rd person.
Now, I noted the PoV’s were never mixed during a single scene. And thank goodness, because that would be crazy, and confusing, and something I’d never consider. However, by skilful application – eg, keeping PoV within their own specific chapters or major scene change – those advanced and well established writers created and presented a story that was both captivating and engaging. It allowed me to involve myself with the main character, whilst the story highlighted important plot developments elsewhere that the main character would be unaware of, (and yet, which were critical to the story).
This gave me an idea. I’m a new writer and can only aspire to the success these ‘expert’ and experienced authors display. They have taken a complex and dangerous practice, said ‘Stuff you, I don’t care!’ and made it work. But I’m new. Would I dare risk such a thing? Well, as my own training instructor in the military used to say, “No pain, no gain.”
So I thought, Hell yes!
Yes, I’m new. But, if I truly want to improve at my craft, I have to stretch myself. So I did.
It was incredibly difficult, taxing and stressful, but, over the course of many months I developed a style specific to Augustus Thorne’s story. (And with the help and support of my editor and the team at Pagan Writers Press, we produced a tale that will - quite simply - blow you away).
The Cambion Journals will engage you as you are personally invited into Augustus Thorne’s life. You won’t have to put up with the distance of what he felt, what he saw, what he experienced. No! You’ll be there with him...
My heart began to beat faster the moment I laid my eyes upon him...
I could taste the bile rising in my throat. Every atom of my soul cried out for vengeance. At last! Take him, Augustus. Rip his heart out!
Nails of ice wormed their way down my spine as I realized my mother was in danger...
And, as the story requires it, you’ll be able to delve into secrets that Augustus knows absolutely nothing about. In different chapters and scenes, circumstances and events will be occurring, elsewhere, that are not only essential to the unravelling plot, but which will complicate the events Augustus has to deal with, and which increase the chances of him failing.
I know...
The twists and turns and backstabbing will make you spit! They'll make you seethe with rage. They'll frustrate you as they make you want more...
But, you’ll have to read the story to discover exactly what I mean.
So, do you want to immerse yourself in the Cambion Journals?
 
The wait is nearly over. And soon, you’ll be there, with Augustus, to experience his rage.
 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

They Say...

 
 
They say...
Life’s like that! Cruel, short, and full of strife.
Augustus Thorne has learned that lesson only too well.
All he ever wanted was someone to love. Someone to cherish. A family. Children.
Surely, that’s not too much to ask is it?
 
Sadly, it is. Especially when you’re a demon/human hybrid cursed with a rage and burning hunger you have to fight to control each and every single day of your long and lonely life.
Never underestimate the sacrifices some have to make on our behalf.
The Symbol of sacrifice
Coming soon...
 

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Cambion Journals - Rage of Augustus Excerpt

 
 
I waited in the shadows. I was very, very good at that. I had to be considering the prey I was hunting. He was old, he was powerful and his appetites gave him strength way beyond any other foe I’d ever had to face.
It had taken me decades to get close to him and months to track him to North America, because up until now, he was nomadic. The world was his garden—or his dining room, dependent on your view—and he’d always been cautious and restrained in his choice of delicacies. But at last he’d slipped up!
I’d been scouting the internet and scanning coroner’s reports as usual when I noticed a pattern developing here in Los Angeles. Over a period of only six weeks, five apparently healthy young women had simply wasted away and died. Three were married, one was in a steady same-sex relationship, and the other was single. Further digging had revealed all were extremely popular, active and good-looking.
As you know, Los Angeles is a big city. Just scratching the surface a little will reveal all sorts of sordid goings-on and shady dealings that would make your hair curl. So why would these particular deaths stand out?
I specialize in a very particular method of death. When usually vigorous, energetic people simply fade away and die for no reason, it gets my attention. That by itself would have been enough to warrant a visit. But what kept my interest in these cases were the descriptions of the young women involved.
All ranged from their early twenties to mid-thirties and every single one of them was blonde and extremely attractive. And that was what made me get on a plane and travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic within hours of reading the reports, because only one scum-bag I knew of ever restricted his victims to such a narrow profile. Fanon!
As I mentioned, he was getting old now, and they were just his type. For him to select so many similar victims in such a confined area and in such a short period of time was either a huge mistake or it indicated an arrogance that surprised me. I didn’t really care which; I’d wanted to take him for over two hundred years. And can you blame me? 
It was because of him I existed. It was because of him I was a monster, a menace to society, cursed with a hunger I could barely control.
Yes, I am what I am because of my accursed father.
I didn’t care how long I had to wait. Soon he’d arrive, and when he did, I’d make sure he paid in full for what he’d done to my mother.
*****
 
The shadows are coming...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Peek Inside My Creative Process

(For the Cambion Journals)
 
 
In the run-up to the Cambion Journals – Rage of Augustus release, I thought I’d share a bit about the creative process behind this story's development, and what went into Augustus Thorne’s character, because as you’ll see, he’s still rather new.
Back in 2011, I was asked to submit a pitch regarding any ideas I had for a future project.
At the time, I halfway through the first Guardian trilogy. But you know what it’s like when you’re writing. Good ideas or concepts are like a bus. You wait for ages for one to turn up, then three come rolling in at once. That was the case here. I was up to my neck in theme and plot, and I kept getting great ideas about other stories and future projects.
I don’t know about you, but I get my ideas from all sorts of places. I’ve come up with concepts from sources as diverse as real life experience, from flicking TV channels, and from dreams.
The Cambion Journals developed after a particularly vivid dream...as follows.
During the previous week, I’d been babysitting for friends and ended up watching the various cartoons and fun films kiddies like to watch, over and over again. A few in particular obviously stuck in my mind. Beauty and the Beast, and Star Wars – Return of the Sith. I say that, because I had several dreams in the week that followed.
Now, I dream a lot. What’s a bit weird about me is that I remember my experiences, and, often become aware of the fact I’m dreaming before I wake up. Many times, I have the same scenario repeat itself, and that’s when it becomes fun, because I can take control.
 
In these particular dreams, I played the role of a nasty piece of work. A real bad guy. The dream would always start in an old mansion where people were trapped. They were being threatened by something that defied explanation. Panic ensued, and, as everyone tried to escape, they were being cut down by something that would attack from the shadows.
Somehow, I always began the experience by watching the scene from somewhere up on the ceiling among the chandeliers. I’d feel both enraged and aroused by the scene below me, as it made my senses sing with invigorating power. Nevertheless, I felt it important to stop the carnage. So, I’d simply drop sixty or seventy feet to the floor.
However, as people realized I was there, they’d scream in terror. Their terror fed me, and I had to really struggle not to attack them myself. I’d turn and catch my image in a mirror. Surprised, I’d realize I had a demonic caste to my image, and that others like me were responsible for the ensuing mayhem. My dream would puzzle me. So why do I feel so enraged?
I’d turn again, and always find an ethereal woman walking toward me through the chaos. Displaying no fear, she’d walk right up to me, lovingly touch my cheek, and whisper, “Protect them.”
You know the way it is in dreams. Somehow, you recognize total strangers. In this scenario, I just knew the woman was my long dead mother. She’d died hundreds of years ago, and had absolute confidence that I would do the right thing.
So I would. Using all the supernatural powers at my disposal, I’d rip the demons to shreds, feed on their terror and free the hostages from certain death. The trouble was, everyone was still terrified of me, and would fall over themselves in their haste to get away.
Often, a woman would fall trying to escape. It was always the same woman. I’d help her to her feet, and just stand there staring at her. She was beautiful. I wanted to be with her. I wanted her to know me, see me as a real person and realize she had nothing to fear. But I could feel the hunger rising inside of me because of her panic. In the end, I’d always have to back away and run deep into the bowels of mansion for fear of harming her.
And THAT was how I came up with the basis of Augustus Thorne’s character.
He’s a bad guy. But a bad guy with a heart. So I built on that...
His mother was attacked by an Incubus, and Augustus is the result. As a Cambion – a human/demon hybrid – he has all their supernatural abilities and longevity, but he hates them. Why? His human mother didn’t abandon him as a child – as usually happens – and her input during his early years helped him develop a conscience and a strong sense of justice. He saw the way his existence ruined her life, and he resolved never to wreak such suffering on others.
That’s harder than you can imagine. Because along with his unnatural good looks and attributes, he has also inherited a curse. The hunger! He must feed from humans or die. It is a process that prevents him from being the one thing he craves. Normal.
Because of his curse, he can never fall in love. Never settle down. Never have a family of his own to love and cherish. And he hates Demondim for that, because his mother helps him realize how precious such things are, and how a person’s life is empty without them.
Seeing how his mother’s life was destroyed, he vows to hunt down and exterminate the one being responsible for her suffering. His own father – Fanon. It is a quest that takes Augustus down through the centuries and around the world, for his father is ancient and cunning...and very powerful.
In the process, Augustus develops the skills necessary to ravage his kind, for Cambions are stronger and more aggressive, possessing abilities Augustus has not yet fully come to realize. And as the net closes on his father, Augustus becomes aware of as yet, hidden prophecies that may have a bearing on his future, and the future of humankind.
How does his journey turn out?
Does he get to wreak his revenge?
You’ll see...
=
Because next week, I’ll discus a number of unusual methods I adopted to tell his story. One, I hope you’ll find, will make you feel as if you’re there with him.
Until then  :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

They Say

 
They say...
Life’s like that! Cruel, short, and full of strife.
Over the last two hundred and fifty years, Augustus Thorne has learned that lesson only too well.
All he ever wanted was someone to love. Someone to cherish. A family. Children.
Surely, that’s not too much to ask is it?
Sadly, it is. Especially when you’re a demon/human hybrid cursed with a rage and hunger you have to fight to control each and every single day of your long and lonely life.
 
Be thankful for his sacrifice.
 
 It's the only thing standing between us and oblivion.
 
The Cambion Journals - Rage of Augustus. Coming this month.
 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

They Say...

 
They say...
The best things in life are free.
And yet, those simple things we take for granted – love, happiness, a family – are priceless to those who can never have them.
Augustus Thorne. All he has left is the rage...

 
You could say it consumes him.
 
 

Feel his pain...soon!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Spotlight is on...

 
 
Hello everyone.
Today, I have the privilege of being interviewed by Cathy Brockman.
 
I really enjoyed myself as her guest - and as you'll get to see, the interview was great fun.
 
 
Enjoy :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Mother's Love - Choices

Superhuman strength and speed. Hyper-aggression and the capacity to control others by force of will. The focus to alter the memories of those who cross your path. Command over the elements themselves. Invisibility, combined with the ability to fly and phase through solid objects.
The stuff of heroes?
Well, yes...except this hero needs to feed from humans to stay alive.
You’d imagine such power in the wrong hands could be your worst nightmare...
Never underestimate the power and influence of a mother’s love!
 
Augustus Thorne...a true hero in disguise.
Coming soon.