Death Be Told Playlist TOP 10

Now DEATH BE TOLD book five in the Terra Vane series is with the beta readers, I’m experiencing my usual transition from being completely absorbed by a story, and having time to catch up on all my administrative duties. In other words, I miss the fantasy.

 

 

So, to honor six weeks of dedication, neglecting housework, looking as if I have only one set of clothes, I’ve decided to share the top ten songs from my Death Be Told playlist with you, so you can see where a lot of the inspiration came from and maybe you can enjoy a song or two.

 

Counting down from ten to my ultimate favorite at number one, let us begin:

 

10 – Panda (Luca Lush Remix) by Desiigner

 

I heard this song while watching the new Baywatch movie, and there is something so badass about this song—a song that deserves the slow-mo walk group entrance—and I had to have it on my playlist. Whenever it came on while writing, tingles would flow through me, and I felt like I could take on the world. So, of course, it had to bleed into my story and my characters.
Just imagine, Terra in the front, walking in slow motion with her leather jacket, shades on, Kaleb by her side walking his sexy-ass self along, Bernard the other side of her, Mayra and the others behind them, then what would be fantastic, is Terra making a Monsters Inc blooper move and tripping over in slow motion. Now that, I would watch …

 

9 – Weight by Lee DeWyze

 

I discovered this song while watching Siren, and it tends to follow me from playlist to playlist. The lyrics are beautiful. The voice of Lee DeWyze is hypnotizing, and the music sets a mood of contemplation that is open to interpretation. It is the reason for many scenes in not only Death Be Told, but also its predecessors.

 

8 – Take Your Place by CID & VINNE

 

Not only does this song make me crave for days of alcohol, glad rags and getting crushed in a club while breaking out the dance moves (I’d last only five minutes now, but it would be an AWESOME five minutes!!), but it also puts some energy into my writing. This song creates more upbeat energy to the playlist to keep me sane and out of the sphere of melancholy, and it plays well with the lighter scenes in the story.

 

7 – Shutter Island by Jessie Reyez

 

Jessie Reyez’s voice is insane. I love it. And I love the quirkiness of the song. There is an edge to it, but it also creates the perfect atmosphere for a bunch of supernaturals trying to fit in with the unwitting humans. It makes the words flow, and it also triggers Terra’s darker side.

 

6 –  Thunderclouds by Sia, Diplo & Labrinth

 

 

Put Sia and Labrinth together, and you’re always going to get magic, so it goes to show that their song should feature on a playlist for a story where magic is featured. There is also part of this song that brings a beautiful, understated, sophisticated scene of two faceless people to mind, dancing slow, movements, subtle, inviting, with the odd quickened steps with no words exchanged between them. I see the woman in a long red dress, the man wearing a suit with his jacket gone, bowtie hanging loosely around his neck, and the top few of his buttons popped open. I may have to feature this somewhere in the future!

 

5 – High Hopes by Panic at the Disco

 

This song was a late addition to the list and one that became a fast favorite. It makes me want to dance every time it comes on—which may be a hindrance more than a help—but it gives me the pick me up I need to keep going. It also boosts Terra and kicks her out of her pity party and guilt trips, so this song is a must!

 

4 – Flight in G Minor (feat. Dirty Cello) by Amp Live

 

This song is an excellent example of what happens when genres are mashed-up. When the bass kicks in, it turns into the ultimate badass song. I first heard it on Cloak and Dagger (hanging on for Season 2 by the way), and I had to have it on the playlist. It’s at times like this I would like to shake hands with the people who come up with songs for the soundtrack on shows such as this one. This song sets the tone for fight scenes, finding your inner strength, and it’s the perfect song for inspiring your creativity.

 

3 – Ashes by Claire Guerreso

 

This song is a Terra Vane series song, not necessarily a song for the playlist of a specific book. I first heard this on the finale of Lucifer, and the final scenes of that show were so hauntingly beautiful, and I believe one of the reasons for that was this song. It took me a few listens to hear it without tears rolling down my face, but now it comes with me everywhere in regards to playlists. So beautiful. So inspiring. And I still get goosebumps now when I hear it. The scenes that this compliments when writing are endless.

 

2 – Gangsta’s Paradise by 2WEI

 

I loved the original of this song when I was—cough cough—eight maybe? Okay, okay, maybe when I was in my teens. But when I heard this version, my skin went cold, and my imagination went crazy. This song not only inspired me while writing Death Be Told, but it is also the reason for the finale of the series. If only I could transpose the images of my head into an epic movie trailer, this music would be perfect!!!

 

1 – An Evening I will not Forget / Furthest Thing by Dermot Kennedy

 

This song has to be number one. It just has to. At first, you think okay, yeah, I like it. It gets me thinking. But when it begins to shift around 1:35, you start to feel the brewing tension. It’s a song, that at this point, makes you wonder where it’s going, but oh boy, when it gets to 2:05 you realize you’re on a beautiful rollercoaster of emotion, and, if you’re anything like me, your imagination will grip onto it with two hands. Every time this song comes on, I freeze. My emotions take over as they sit back and watch my imagination play it all out, and the scene borne from it—albeit not included in Death Be Told—is one that is both upsetting, yet powerful and beautiful. I only hope I can do it justice when the time comes in book six (for when the scene is planned). Until then though, it stays on this playlist, and I have to have it as my number one.

 

So, there you go! Thanks for sticking with it if you’ve got this far. I don’t listen to this kind of music outside of writing because it’s too dangerous. It gets its hook into my imagination, and I’m a goner. Off into fantasy land where the stories are born.
I hope you enjoyed it! And I hope you’re enjoying the Terra Vane series so far. If you’ve not yet taken a look, you can check out the trailers and additional information here.
Have a great day! I hope you’re now inspired to create your own magic.

Death Be Burned Out Now

Death Be Burned, book four in the Terra Vane series is now on sale. The paperback is due for release shortly, but for now, you can purchase the ebook via your local Amazon store or by clicking here.

(Note: Mild spoilers ahead)

Death Be Burned sees Terra facing off with another escaped prisoner, this time a djinn who is creating havoc by setting fires in Seattle. Innocent people are being caught in the crossfire, and Terra and the Interside Enforcement Team (IET) need to find the djinn before more the devastation increases. Not only that, Terra is having some serious relationship issues. Her heart is being turned in a different direction as more obstacles appear in the path of her and Cole, and she knows, deep down, she needs to make a decision. But to what end?

As the djinn continues on his deadly path of vengeance, Terra doesn’t only have to deal with leading the IET, evolving powers, and feelings being stirred up for her partner, but she also crosses paths with Special Agent Noah Grady of the FBI. A serial killer is on the loose, and Terra inadvertently becomes involved. Not only that, a loss hovers in their future and one that will change the IET forever.

Know that there will be a resolution in the next book, Death Be Told regarding some of Terra’s relationship woes, but she needs to realize a few things first. I also feel like shaking her a little and saying ‘Get your shiz together,’ but I refrain because I get it. I understand her feelings and her fears, but fear not! Death Be Told is going to turn the tide, yet again, in many ways!

Death Be Burned takes us through the portal for the first time, seeing how Terra behaves in her old city, and how she handles keeping the humans ignorant to both the djinn, and the members of her team. We get to visit the FBI offices and see how Terra interacts with the agency, and how ignorance isn’t only for those in Portiside. There is also another foe brewing in the background …

In addition to the release of Death Be Burned, there is also another short story available as part of the Portiside Diaries. These shorts compliment the Terra Vane series and are available to download for free when you subscribe to my newsletter. The new addition is called DIARY OF A DJINN and told from the perspective of Daha Mishnal; the djinn featured in Death Be Burned.

So, if you haven’t had the chance to check out the Terra Vane series, then firstly, where’ve you been? Secondly, if you want to, you can do so by clicking here to check out the trailers and the like to see if it gets your urban fantasy juices flowing (gross, yeah I know).

If you’ve already read Death Be Burned, then I do hope you enjoyed it. There is so much more to come—my 90k word limit is killing me—but at least it keeps the fire burning (get it?), and we get to have more of Terra and the gang.
Have a great day all!


Interview with a Writer

Christianmichael Dutton is a writer who knows how to weave a dark tale of fantasy. He also writes under the pen name Hui Lang (Chinese for “gray wolf”). With tales of woe, fantasy and heroes and heroines with bite, Christianmichael isn’t afraid to step into the realms of the world of pirates, demons, and private eyes, exploring hierarchies and relationships with a dark twist.

 

Hi Christianmichael, thanks for answering a few questions about your writing journey. First of all, are you able to tell us what first drew you to writing?

I always felt since I was a kid I had stories to tell. I didn’t get into reading until after I got my first set of Dungeons and Dragons (because I couldn’t find anyone to play with me). So, I started reading fantasy books. My first real book that I fell in love with reading was the Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Autumn Twilight. I knew then I could write a tale (hopefully) like those authors could.

What kind of books do you like to a.) read and b.) write?

I like to read fantasy (just about all types); however, my favorite kind of fantasy is “gonzo” fantasy where you have many different types of vocations among characters (warrior, assassin, wizard, sorcerer, cleric, etc.), different races (human, 500 different types of elves, lizardman, some Cat-girl, some Wolf-girl, etc.). However, when I beta-read for fellow authors or if someone wants a review, I’ll read any genre at any rating.

I tend to write “grimdark” fantasy (where morality is a very loose term among the characters, good doesn’t always win and does so at the expense of other good characters, and tragedy at every corner).

What was the first story you wrote?

My first book was a fantasy story when I was 14 years old. I don’t have a title for it, but it’s a quest fantasy about a warrior who has to stop an evil wizard as he seized the reins of power. I mixed in a lot of 20th century weapons with the fantasy.

A lot of your books delve deep into dark fantasy. What draws you to writing for such a genre?

My writing reflects real life. Those who have power stay in power. They are cruel, malicious, and throw away the weak as if mere playthings. This trickles down all the way into our inner cities where predators prey upon the elderly and children, where everyday men and women don’t have control over their lives, the pressures of day-to-day surviving causes them to snap. These are my stories, but I put them in a fantasy backdrop. If I’m not writing about the power players, I’m writing about their victims and their struggles.

I understand, when you can fit it into your busy schedule, that you enjoy beta reading for other authors. What do you tend to get out of this process?

There are three things I like about beta-reading. The first is that it exposes me to other genres that I don’t typically read or write. For example, your work was the first urban fantasy / police procedural work I’ve read. Never read anything like it before. The second thing is that I enjoy helping other writers improve their craft, particularly if I see typical problems such as taking the story from Point A to Point B with no twists or real development in between. I enjoy helping other writers expand their story to tell a more complete tale or push their characters to an 11 on the dial. The last thing is when a writer loves the feedback they’ve gotten from me and they are revamping their story. They aren’t following me word-for-word, but they appreciate the criticism I’ve given them and fixing problems.

Tell us more about your stories you have published.

I’ve written eight and am working on a ninth. However, I have a few short stories. I write under the pen name Hui Lang (Chinese for “gray wolf”).

The first is Malicyne’s Puzzle. It’s set in my fantasy world for my Rise of Evil series. It’s a pirate adventure with a switch on gender expectations and a twist at the end of the story. It’s in the anthology Shadows of the Sea edited by J.E. Feldman.

The second is Thela’s Angel and Daughter of Darkness in Shadows of the Fallen edited by J.E. Feldman. Thela’s Angel is currently my personal favorite as it’s about an abused woman in a cruel society who desires a son, but she is won by a new husband from a duel and her entire life changes.

Daughter of Darkness is about what is good, what is evil, and the question of nature vs. nurture as a holy knight with an unknown past protects a baby born from a demon.

The next story is Down the Wishing Well for the anthology Chasing White Rabbits due out October 2018. It’s a retelling of Alice Adventures in Wonderland with an African-American Alice in a fictional town of Truthdale, Alabama in 1956.

The most recent story is The Mark of the Spider for the anthology All Dark Places. It’s a pulp noir horror story set in San Francisco 1925. It follows the story of a private eye Marlo Price as he’s brought into a high-profile murder case.

What advice would you give any future writers?

My advice is three points. Firstly, practice a lot. When you hear the expression, “write your million words of crap”, that really means something. You got to get all the bad writing out of you and you need feedback on it, so you can continue to work on your problems. Secondly, get feedback. Get lots of feedback. Take the criticisms on your work to heart and fix the problems. If you get feedback from me, expect suggestions on how to fix your problems. I don’t tell you that your characters are flat and boring and then offer nothing on how to spice them up. Lastly, learn to love to edit. Editing is not about fixing your grammar. It’s about looking for opportunities to spice up your story. A lot of novice writers, chuck out a first draft and think they are done. No, not by a long shot.

Do you have any quirks, or processes you follow when writing?

I can write in just about any environment, but I need coffee. I drink a lot of coffee while I write. I drink so much that I can drown a fish if it was water.

Do you have a music playlist for when you write? If so, are you able to name a couple of songs that inspire you?

Yes, I a range of tastes, but here’s a few songs I like to listen to over, and over, and over, and…

The nightcore version of The Devil Within by Digital Daggers. I watch this version because of the picture of a demon who is crying. This is important to me because if I can capture a genuine emotion of a demon crying and make the reader sympathetic to their plight, then I’m doing something right as an author.

It’s a Sin cover by Hidden Citizens.

Anything from Eurielle, but I’m particularly fond of City of the Dead.

I listen to my music on YouTube, so here are the links.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEqpBshmRmM&start_radio=1&list=RDMEqpBshmRmM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP7IxnP5Wik

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VInr-cSNNU

What three things do you like about being an author?

Firstly, meeting with other authors and reading their works. I enjoy talking about their “babies”, and then get the opportunity to discuss my work in return. Secondly, getting feedback from my own beta-readers on how to fix problems with my stories. I love this because it makes me a better writer on each pass. For example, Thela’s Angel would not have been the powerful story it is if I didn’t get feedback on it. Lastly, reading good reviews on my work.

What three things do you dislike about being an author?

The market flooded with hucksters, fraudsters, and amateurs who think they are the next Earnest Hemingway, but can’t be bothered to hire an editor before publishing their work. The next thing is the sad fact that I’ll probably not make any money in this, but it applies to a lot of authors in this kind of environment these days. The last thing is the amount of time it really takes to be a full-fledged author (writing, editing, marketing, beta-reading for others, social media updates, blogging just to name a few of the things to do). The last statement particularly scares me because I feel like I may drive myself out of the market if I am unable to handle the commitments on my time.

Can you tell us which one of your characters you’ve written about is your favorite?

Currently, that would be the Tri-Headed Queen, the Goddess of Lust and Pain, the Mother Who Loves Her Children. She is not only one of the major evil goddesses in my fantasy world, but she’s also a personable goddess in that she’s not driven to be cruel for cruelty’s sake. She does carry an interest in other people so long as they don’t bore her (god help them if they do). The other thing is that she typically acts like the Faustian devil, offering a pact of selling one’s soul in exchange for money, power, sex, etc, which makes her more engaging in the affairs of the mortals.

What future projects do you have in the pipeline?

I am currently working on a ninth novel, but I cannot discuss the details. I can’t even reveal the genre. Sorry, state secret. However, I’m also working on a short story. The tentative working title is The Game is Still Not Finished. It’s a story set about thirty something years prior to the events of the Rise of Evil series about a grizzled lantern bearer and his elven sister-in-law whom he has a very antagonistic relationship with. Both of them are trying to find a way to free his wife (her sister) who is being held prisoner by the queen of the snow-elves; however, things take a turn for the worse when they end up in a ghost-haunted wood with an abandoned waycoach inn.

After I finish The Game, I have no less than four short stories I’d like to work on the anthology First Love by Dragon Soul Press. The working titles are When Children Play, The Black-heart River and the Siren, The Curse of the Medusa, and Jack’s Addiction. The first three are set in my fantasy world while Jack’s Addiction is a more contemporary story about a young man who is in rehab recovering from drugs and alcohol as he tries to get over the loss of his first love killed by a drunk driver.

Where can people or potential readers find out more about you and your works?

For Malicyne’s Puzzle:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CZTYK5H?pf_rd_p=d1f45e03-8b73-4c9a-9beb-4819111bef9a&pf_rd_r=QF7SG4BGZ65E5S550J1B

 

 

 

For Thela’s Angel and Daughter of Darkness:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1724812920/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

 

 

 

A special thanks to you for having me.

DEATH BE BURNED – Cover & Trailer Release

For the those of you who follow me on social networks, or if you’ve signed up to the newsletter, then you’ve probably already seen the book cover for book 4 in the Terra Vane series, DEATH BE BURNED. If you haven’t seen it however, here it is:

And if that’s not all, the trailer is now available to view, too! … Seriously, I’m on fire! (Couldn’t resist 😉) … here it is:

 

But what is it all about, I hear you cry! Well don’t worry, I’ve finally got the book blurb down with help from some great people. So let me throw this one at ya! … Get ready to catch!

SYNOPSIS:

When the fire burns, many will die, and it’s up to the IET to stop the arson attacks before it’s too late.

When a fire-wielding djinn escapes through the portal from the world of Portiside and wreaks havoc on Seattle, it’s up to the human psychic Agent Terra Vane and the IET—Interside Enforcement Team—to track him down before the body count rises even further.

Not only are the team limited by the lack of leads coming through, but operating under the radar makes the case even more difficult.

The humans have no knowledge of the vampire, shifters, demon and fairy among them, and it’s up to Terra to make sure they never do. At least, not on her watch.

As they face the djinn’s brewing thirst for revenge, Terra and the team must pull together with all the resources they have to hand and find him before it’s too late.

The fire is burning, and death is only the beginning.

So, when will Death Be Burned be released? On that, I’ve still got some work to do—yeah, I know, I bragged too early—but I will be letting you know very soon. I do plan for the pre-order for the book to become available at the end of July though, and I aim to sell it at a lower price during the pre-order time period all being well, so I’ll keep you posted!

This one is going to be a game-changer for Terra and the gang. I cannot WAIT to share this one with you!

Have a great day!

 

When Characters Come to Life …

When Characters Come to Life …

Okay … not necessarily when characters come to life as in life, life, but when some characteristics, or traits can be seen in a real and living person.

When this happens, you’ve got to admit, it’s pretty cool. And it’s even more cool, when that person is related to you.

So, imagine my surprise, when my gorgeous and very talented niece turns up on my doorstep for a coffee and a catch up, and her hair is now freaking black and dip dyed purple on the ends. I kind of screeched and shouted “Terra Vane!” and bless her—she gets me—strolls on through as if her aunt hasn’t lost her mind—and lets me take a few pics!

What then came out of my mouth after not seeing her for a while, wasn’t take a seat, or, do you want a coffee, but it was a very excitable, “Can I blog this!!!!” … She’s a fellow Piscean who walks her own path and who is a huge inspiration to me, so of course, she said ‘yes’ without batting an eyelid. Thanks Faye!!

It made me think though. It’s not often when I see people who resemble characters from my book—or even remind me of them. I don’t tend to people-watch then put those people in my stories. The characters tend to form and spiral out of my imagination. So when I see character-like people in the real world and not in fiction, I fan-girl internally to the point where I’m ready to combust! I actually stalked someone once. Round a supermarket. Just for a few aisles. But then I had to let it go before I got arrested. Or worse—noticed by the person. He looked like he’d just walked out of one of my books and I was like “Whoooa…” It was an amazing feeling. And it’s even more amazing when I have people contact me to say that they’ve seen someone in real-life who resembles a character from one of my books. Then it’s: “Aaaaaah!” *Screaming while clapping hands and jumping up and down like I mean it*

This is what I think the drive is for a lot of authors to see their books either on the big screen or on TV. To see your characters come to life in front of you must be such a rush. I know I would be crying, like, every second. With happiness, of course.

Now, while I’m waiting for the fairies to get their shit together and come open the door for me to step through into their magical realm for real, seeing flickers of these characters in others makes my day. I love it.

So thank you Faye. And thank you stranger who I followed in the supermarket. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of the world that was born from my imagination. Or a past life. Who knows. We’ve got to keep an open mind, haven’t we!

Have a great day all, keep an eye out for the magic.