the story behind the story
As an avid reader of fantasy novels „Creatures of Fire“ is my first attempt at writing a fantasy novel myself. Reading fantasy lets me escape into different worlds, explore foreign characters and talents that are not common in our world, which is why I love this genre so much.
Ever since the idea formed in my head, I wanted to create a world of my own, so I began researching mysterious beings from fairy tales and myths. It didn’t take me long to discover fire demons and to be fascinated by them.
According to myth, fire demons come into our world to avenge murder. Focussed on their mission they are impartial, with a deep seated sense of honor and duty. While researching these creatures, Alexander, one of the main characters of “Creatures of Fire”, entered my thoughts. He began to tell his story: How he came into this world with the sole purpose of avenging murders. How he began to discover his love of ancient artifacts and art. How he led a life withdrawn from humans but also in the midst of their presence. Not much later Sariel joined him, telling how her parents were killed in an accident, how loneliness and sadness engulfed her ever since the tragedy.
But then she met Alexander.
What set out as a love interest developed into something different. Something far more dangerous and mysterious. Fate threw them into situations where they were forced to fight for their believes.
As happens so often, Alexander and Sariel told the story, not me. While writing the book I didn’t know what would happen next and how they would overcome the obstacles that were in their paths. And then they led me into the ancient, fascinating world of the demons – Dschinnanya. A place where nothing stays the same, where changes are the only constant and where no one can be trusted.
Writing this story was an adventure in itself and an experience I wouldn’t want to miss. Currently I am working on part 2 of the series, which promises to lead me and the reader further into the world of the demons and will feature more of the characters readers have come to love.
Creatures of Fire starts out good. By the end of the first chapter, the character you've been watching is a prisoner and you, as the reader, have all these questions and desperately seek answers. This is always my first question when reviewing a book. Did the author suck me in in the first chapter and she definitely did.
I thought the idea that an Ifrit, a demon, would have whatever appearance most appealed to the viewer was an interesting idea. Talk about tempted by the devil!
Sometimes I couldn't believe how naive and stupid the main character was. In fact, looking back on my notes, I find comments about how dumb she is, how dense she is, what's wrong with her? She is so thick headed about certain things. She just won't listen or trust anyone except those she shouldn't trust. In fact, that seems to be a thing throughout the entire book. She doesn't trust people who clearly have her own best interest at heart and trusts people even when everyone else tells her not to.
The dialog was a bit stiff in the book, which I presume might have something to do with her German background. And she really seemed to love the word stilted. I guess six times isn't a whole lot, but it seems like a lot because it tended to be grouped together.
I didn't like her roommate in Paris. Though perfectly realistic, I wanted the main character to run as far away from her as possible. I mean, jeez, who finds out her friend was in a coma then waves it off like it was no more than a scrape? But her take on love was fairly hilarious and made up for it a bit.
There was some wonderful imagery in the story, like when she is in darkness and covered in blue flames. Gorgeous. I loved the world of the demons (I'm not even going to try to name the place). I loved how it was constantly changing. That would be awesome! Get to travel to new and exotic places without actually traveling. Brilliant!
There were parts that had me smiling and laughing and oh so giddy that things were working out as I'd hoped.
The ending seemed a bit abrupt. Though the plot certainly ended, I felt like it was missing something. Maybe I was just hoping for a little more romance in the story. There was a bit of romance hinted at between two of the characters that never seemed to get off the ground.
All in all, a good read. I liked Alexander (even though I just realized I never mentioned him at all, really). Though he's an ifrit, he makes a great hero (and, ironically, a victim as well). He's someone you want to save. He makes for great motivation for the main character (and for the reader). He'll have you reading to the end.
She is a half demon, oblivious to her true nature.
He is a demon set out to avenge murder.
Together they are hunted by the one person she thought she could trust.
Separate they may be able to save each others lives.
“Creatures of Fire” a tale about power, ambition, responsibility and trust. Amazon US
| Amazon UK
about the author
After reading the first book in this series, Seal of Destiny, I was really looking forward to this book when I saw the opportunity to review it as part of a blog tour. I think that, because of how overexcited I was by the first book, this one disappointed me, let me down a bit. Not to say this wasn't a good book. It was. It just wasn't as good as the first and I found it impossible not to compare the two, even though there was maybe a month distance between reading the two.
Though I loved the bible quote at the very beginning, I felt like the first chapter could have done a better job of bringing the reader into the story. Maybe a flashback to his losing his mate so long ago or to his first confrontation with Archon. It didn't have bite, I felt. Seemed like a lot of telling versus showing then.
Archon is the bit baddie in the story. However, I'm still not sure of the full ramifications of his actions. I didn't get as invested in trying to defeat him because I never felt like I truly understood what would happen if he succeeded. Plus, I almost felt sorry for the guy and, what with how he talked about his mother all the time, I couldn't help feeling like he couldn't be all bad.
Chago bugged the crap out of me throughout the book. In the first book, he was exceedingly terse. He simply didn't speak except for the occasional "sí" or something similar. But, though the author still claimed he was terse, he was downright talkative in this book. Plus, I couldn't get over the whole Basque and speaking Spanish thing. He's Basque. And 1100 years old. 1100 years ago, the Basque people spoke Basque. To the best of my knowledge (which admittedly is only what I managed to google), the Basque people only started to lose their culture (possibly their language as well) about 80-something years ago. Until then, even though they were conquered around the 1500's, they remained autonomous. Heck, people didn't even speak anything but Basque and Vulgar Latin (the two derivatives of modern day Spanish) in the region until about a good 400 years after Chago would have been born. So why does he slip into Spanish like it's his native tongue? Plus, the story kind of makes Chago out to be fairly inept. It's not so much that she's working against him this time but he keeps messing up and making the wrong choices. Mostly pertaining to helping out the militia, which seems like it might have been something related to his first failure he defiantly declared he wouldn't repeat, but seems to anyway.
I will say I liked Chago's discomfiture with formalwear. And the one scene where insurgents start a fight out on the streets and Chago is right in the middle of it… saving the day, protecting people and, all in all, being a total badass. Great scene.
Irena is both good and bad. She's both tough, a necessity with her history, and vulnerable. I think the author did a fairly good job with her character, managing to pull off the complexity of the character. I was a little surprised, however (after the fact), that she wasn't bothered by how he described himself (Chago) profession-wise. The first thing that popped into my head was mercenary or personal security (aka private army). Both of those, I would figure with her chosen profession, would not be individuals she cared for. After all, her job was to end conflict and those types profited on perpetuating profit, regardless the cause.
And it really surprised me when Irena goes out to try to negotiate between an insurgent and a police officer, both of whom are armed. I might not know too much about her job, but I know you never try to break up bar fights and you never get between fighting dogs. It seemed stupid, dangerous, and irresponsible, more likely to make things worse than better.
To me, what made this book was a lot of little things. Like when they called a van the "A-team reject van" or when they called Satin's outfit as "disco meets zombie attire." There's little comments like that throughout the book that just made me smile.
All in all, this book was pretty average. I enjoyed it, I got through it. It wasn't as good as the first.
Love, like War, will always find a way…
War has shaped every aspect of Irena Soldan’s life—her childhood, her work, her DNA. Unaware she is the genetic host of the second Seal of the Apocalypse, Irena battles for those who cannot fight for themselves. As a top human-rights operative for The Omega Consortium, her company provides both the financial backing required to undertake her task and a charismatic, publicity-loving boss to promote her cause. Life proceeds on plan for Irena until a mysterious, sexy stranger arrives claiming to be her guardian and Irena’s path takes a sudden, inauspicious turn for both the erotic and the lethal.
Chago has always been the quiet one amongst his warrior Scion brethren—the brooding, Spanish combat expert with a hidden soft side. A member of Divinity’s covert special forces, he’s protected humanity for more than a millennium. Still, his greatest joy comes not from the battlefield, but from tending the cattle herd on his remote Montana ranch.
Irena’s new assignment takes her straight to the heart of a bloody civil conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa and Chago’s mission demands he follow. Expecting a seething cauldron of female whoop-ass, he instead discovers a harbinger of peace amidst a world of ever-increasing violence. The explosively tense situation is further magnified by the cunning Omega Consortium leader, his ambiguous personal agenda, and an ancient foe whose audacious rise to power threatens the world’s very existence.
Despite the cataclysmic circumstances, an undeniable attraction ignites between Chago and Irena. Together, they must unravel the ancient puzzle of the Seals and discover her employer’s ulterior plans before they both become casualties of War. Soon, both are forced to choose between a past riddled with old torments or risk everything they treasure on a love capable of defeating evil incarnate.
About the Author
Traci is the author of paranormal/urban fantasy and contemporary romances featuring a sly, urban edge, including her current Seven Seals series. Her stories feature sizzling alpha-male heroes full of dark humor, quick wits and major attitudes; smart, independent heroines who always give as good as they get; and scrumptiously evil villains who are—more often than not—bent on world destruction. She enjoys weaving ancient curses and mythology, modern science and old religion, and great dialogue together to build red-hot, sizzling chemistry between her main characters.
Traci is an active member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Indiana Romance Writers of America (IRWA) and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Writers (FF&P) and is pursing a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction through Seton Hill University. Her stories have made the final rounds in several RWA chapter contests, including the 2012 Duel on the Delta, the 2012 Molly Awards, and the 2012 Catherine Awards. An earlier draft of Seal of Destiny won the paranormal category of the 2012 Marlene Awards sponsored by the Washington Romance Writers.
Other current projects include upcoming books in the Seven Seals series and a new futuristic suspense series with hints of the paranormal and plenty of romance.
She loves hearing from readers! Connect with Traci here: Website
As soon as Hailey Parrish discovered her husband was cheating with her co-worker, she swore off men. She had to find another job when her boss went to prison for being a pimp in his spare time. Three years later, Hailey still hadn’t gone on a date and she milks chinchilla for a living. Her life is about to get weirder.
While in pursuit of inter-dimensional miscreants who use their arcane powers to prey upon humans, Sebastian Kess was ambushed and mortally wounded. To save his life, he used his own magic to convert his soul to binary code and transfer it into Hailey’s soon-to-be shipped Kindle eBook reader. When Hailey inadvertently releases him and he inhabits her body, she finally has a man inside her, just not in the way she imagined.
Hailey must come to grips with the existence of the parallel dimension of Coursodon and the realization that magically inclined non-humans walk the world while dealing with Sebastian’s arrogant banter in her head. Her predicament also introduces her to another supernatural, the handsome could-be-the-man-of-her-dreams Alex Sunderland. The action moves from Hailey’s hometown of Tucson, Arizona to New England and across Europe as she and Alex try to return Sebastian to his own body while staying one step ahead of the criminals who want to keep him where he is.
FYI, I kind of loved this excerpt. I think this book just might have been bumped up on my reading list because of this...
As I lay in the darkness, it occurred to me that I must be the most boring, single 30 year-old ever. I didn’t go out much, I ate crappy food. I couldn’t even remember the score of the games I just watched.
This was not how I had imagined myself at this point in my life. Had my marriage not crashed and burned, we probably would have a baby by now. Yeah, and I would still be married to an asstard. He probably would have spawned asstardlets. I just wanted to feel like my life was going somewhere, like I was accomplishing something. I rolled over on my side and vowed to try to get myself together and move forward.
When I finally fell asleep, I dreamt I went on my first post-divorce date. The guy took me to a fancy restaurant, ordered lots of food and expensive wine and then ditched me for the voluptuous hostess. I was presented with the check but lacked any means of paying it. After negotiating a payment plan with the restaurant owner, which involved allowing him to indulge his foot fetish with my pinkie toes and some flavored whipped cream, I left the place and got into my car, which was really weird, because my date drove.
There in the parking lot were dine-and-dash and the hostess, groping each other with utter abandon. I revved up the engine, threw the car into drive and peeled out towards them. The headlights illuminated their stunned faces as I spun the car sharply, rolled down the window and chucked a lit Molotov cocktail - made from the empty wine bottle from dinner - at them and sped off humming the theme to “The Lion King.”
I woke up thinking I must be making progress. Usually in my dreams I ran them over after I set them on fire.
Mari didn’t know who was in more of a hurry to get to the suite, Graham or herself. She'd never walked so fast in her life and by the time he pulled the key card out of his wallet, she was out of breath. Graham on the other hand wasn’t even breathing hard.
“Why aren’t you out of breath too? We practically ran all the way here.” she asked between deep breaths.
“I have to keep in shape for my job, you know that sweetheart.”
A sinful smile spread across her face and she laughed. She was about to find out exactly what shape he was in. Had she ever seen him naked before? Only once in the pool house when they were teens, and he'd been perfect then. She couldn’t even fathom what he would look like now with all of the Coast Guard, Firefighter and Search and Rescue training. And of course, his daily workouts at the gym. The visions of Graham naked did nothing to help regulate her breathing or calm her down.
“Hey are you okay? The trek up the stairs wasn’t that bad was it?” he had the slightest look of amusement on his face.
“I’m not so sure it was coming up the stairs that’s driving me wild Graham.” she smiled shyly. “I think it has more to do with the fact that I was imagining you naked,” she whispered.
“Damn! What the hell are we still doing standing around out here for?” he ground out as he slid the key card in the door. He picked her up and carried her into the room. “Time to get naked, you know, so eventually you can breathe again.”
"I've waited a lifetime to touch you like this"
Mari Mannon and Graham Blake always loved each other, but life kept getting in the way. An Alaskan cruise vacation might be just the place to overcome their demons and rebuild the love they once had--to discover a passion they've never known. But first, Mari must cast aside her inhibitions to become the independent, carefree woman she once was. And Graham must learn to believe in love again. Can they find their way, or will everything fall apart for good.
An Adult Romance with family, drama, comedy, sex, tragedy and most of all love. (May not be suitable for all readers - adult content)
about the author
JJ Ellis is first and foremost a mom to five kids, four girls and one boy, ranging in age from 2-17. After that, she is a physically limited wife, blogger and now an author. She holds a degree in Communication Studies (Public Relations) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas but never thought she would chose writing as a career, especially at the age of 42. She once wanted to be a publicist in the entertainment industry, but never a writer. Then one day when she was in her mid thirties she was going through what can only be described as an early 'midlife crisis' and ideas just started to come to her and she felt compelled to write them down. She finished her first book relatively quickly, but life got in the way and it took her eight years to revisit it and then publish her first novel. She can honestly say that now she is finally right where she wants to be.
JJ has been married to her college sweetheart (and romance novel hero) for eighteen and a half years and they reside in Casper, WY with their kids and one crazy mutt named Kreuger. She enjoys reading, writing, blogging, computing, and graphic design. She will try anything that will allow her creativity to be released.
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Resurrecting Harry, An Ode to New Beginnings
Do you know of someone who lost their spouse at a young-than-expected age? After a period of mourning, did they go on to find love once again, or were they only lucky in love once?
Or was it maybe more than that? I know someone that even though they married again, considers that first spouse their one-and-only.
These were some of the questions that ran through my mind when I was working on my new release from Crescent Moon Press, Resurrecting Harry.
The side of me that writes romance novels finds the notion of being so connected to a spouse that no one else would ever fill that void endearing. There is something about the idea of fated love – one single soul that is meant to spend and eternity with the other – that makes our heart melt into a big puddle. Isn’t there?
The other side of my brain, the much more rational side, imagines a life pining for a lost love to be lonely. I truly believe we weren’t meant to live our lives alone.
In Resurrecting Harry, I wanted to honor both sides of the proverbial coin. Honoring the love and dedication that Bess had for her cherished husband was just as important to me as giving her that happily-ever-after that is expected in romance.
One of the stipulations of Jaden’s wager with Harry is that Erich cannot tell Bess that its Harry’s soul entrapped within the new body. He must guide her through her mourning process and help her find the way to a new beginning in life. Yet, the homage to Bess’s life-long commitment is still honored.
What do you think about the idea of two souls being destined? Do you believe that we each have only one soul mate? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below?
With a pop, this faded to white too.
Always trapped. Never escaping. No reward.
The spinning continued, like a phonograph record.
Shivers raked his body. In the distance, he could hear a doctor offering comfort and explaining to a sobbing Bess that hope was lost.
This story was a breath of fresh air, a refreshing twist on a well known tale. The book started out drawing the reader in. The otherworldly scenes with Jaden were really cool. I liked how the world just sort of shifted without warning. The author really made the most of the limitless creative space available.
Though I probably shouldn't have, I liked Jaden too. There was just something about his devil may care attitude and allusiveness that intrigued me and made me smile.
And I couldn't help but be drawn into Harry (or should I say Erich) and Bess's ups and downs. To me, this story is an ultimate example of star-crossed lovers. Harry loves her and, to a certain extent, she feels the pull as well but won't admit it to him or even herself. The reader is pulled through highs where he does good and she lets him into her life just a little, and lows where she shuts down and shuts him out, breaking his heart.
I spent most of the book, equally hoping that she would see him for who he truly is, but at the same time, I think what I was really hoping for was that she would see him as her true soul mate, which, as Harry or Erich, he most certainly would always be.
Great story, new idea. All in all. Worth a read.
About the Author:
Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, two ready-to-leave-the-nest children, and four canine kids. Her perfect fantasy vacation would involve hunting Dracula across Europe with her daughter, who also digs that kind of stuff. When she's not writing about fairies, shifters, vamps, and guardian angels, she's working side-by-side with her husband in their hardwood flooring business.
Constance is actively involved in her local Romance Writers of America chapter (MVRWA) and the Southeast Michigan chapter of the United States Pony Club. When not writing or enjoying the outdoors, she loves reality television or can be found at a Rick Springfield concert (just look for the pink Converse high tops).
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