Today, I would like to introduce urban fantasy author, LJ DeLeon. To me urban fantasy is a cross between science fiction and fantasy, but that's me. Ms. DeLeon has led a very interesting life.
Bio: LJ DeLeon is an Army brat and a world-traveled former
1. Briefly take us on the journey with you – when did you start writing and what hurdles did you have to overcome to get published?
I am an avid reader. When I was stationed at the US Embassy in
, I read a book that wasn’t just a wall-banger but the kind you wanted to burn in the barbecue. Not knowing better, I said, “I can write better than that!” A year later, I had a completed book. I printed it, read it, and used it to line the cat’s litter box. Then I set about learning how to write fiction. I joined RWA, flew from Switzerland to Switzerland to attend my first conference, took every craft workshop they had, and then wrote and wrote and wrote some more. Chicago
2. What’s been the greatest contributing factor to achieving your goal of publication?
My husband. Halfway through writing my first novel, I got an idea for the second and started to write it. My husband had me print it out “so he could read it.” Once he had the papers in his hand, he hit the delete button and took my back-up disk. Remember when we had disks? He said, “You get this back after you’ve finished your book. If you don’t finish the first one, you’ll never finish a novel because you’ll always get another idea in the middle of the book you’re currently writing.” He was right.
3. What has surprised you the most about being a published author?
How the pressure increased. I’d always known that authors did their own marketing and had edits, et cetera. The pressure to write the next book surprised me. I had to treat writing like a business. My fans also let me know they are fast readers and want me to write faster so they can get the next book in the Warriors For Light series or The Turner Chronicles. Fans are the true pressure and for them I am grateful. Every time I hit a block, I pull out their letters and read them for inspiration.
4. How do you come up with your story ideas?
I’m a news junkie and I get a lot of my ideas from it. I know it sounds strange, but I watch the news and think, what if? I’ve also always read Fantasy and Science Fiction. So my first inclination is to put a what if into urban fantasy romance or futuristic romance. The key to all my writing is: Honor is the ultimate seduction.
5. Do you have a favorite author?
Now that is mean. I have so many, but I’ll give it a stab. I love Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Allan Cole (anything he writes), Marjorie Liu, among a large number. I’ve also discovered a couple of new indie authors KH Lemoyne and LW Herndon.
6. What did you want to be when you grew up at the ages of 6, 13 and 24?
At six, I wanted to be an explorer. At thirteen, I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer. I was with a swimming team and went to the Junior Olympics. At twenty-three, I was married to a career army officer, who later joined the
CIA, and was traveling the world, fulfilling my desire to become an explorer and learning about other cultures.
7. Tell us a little bit about your next book? Will it be a romantic fantasy or some other genre?
They will be urban fantasy like the three books out in the Warriors For Light series. They will be shorter than the first two books in the series Warrior’s Rise & Dragon Child. They will be closer in length to Absolution.
8. Would you like to tell us about your release? How did you come up with the idea?
My next release will be
. It’s due out late July or the middle of August 2011. This story is a shorter one. It is about a major secondary character, Raziel, King of the Seraphim and when he met his mate, Leila. It tells the story of their love match, jealousy, a fight for power, and Beliar’s and Asmodeus’ fall from grace. (I plan to bring out one or two of these shorter books per year of secondary characters. Some of them will be under twenty thousand words.) Defiance
Sophie’s Challenge & Kate’s Army will be released late November or early December 2011. These books are part of the main Warriors For Light series arc. You meet Sophie and learn about Kate in Dragon Child.
9. Could you give us a blurb and an excerpt of your story? I'm sure my readers would love to read a little of your story.
Blurb for Warrior’s Rise
For Fae-human half-breed Deva Morgan, life as she knows it changes on her thirtieth birthday. One moment she’s a barkeep, the next she is a warrior fated to save Earth from the Dark Lord and his demon hoard. Shunned by both her races, she faces a danger-filled quest with few allies. Too bad her powers haven’t fully emerged or stabilized.
For Deva it is life or death, on-the-job training with her companion, Padraig O’Neal, a Fae warrior with a shadowed past. Can he quiet the storm raging inside her, help her harness the growing power within her, and provide a barrier between Deva and a fatal outcome? Will their love be enough to save Deva and stop the Dark Lord’s demons from entering Earth?
Excerpt of Warrior’s Rise:
This is the second scene from Warrior’s Rise. Padraig is a Fae warrior who has been sent from Otherworld by the queen to train Deva. This is after Padraig and Deva killed two Fomorii demons.
For the past hour, Deva had watched Padraig. Everything about him telegraphed, Come near me at your own risk. Yet his swirling silver eyes hypnotized and captivated her, and she couldn’t keep from tracking his movements.
His intimidating six-foot-six muscled swimmer’s build warned he could take on all comers. A long black leather duster covered his matching vest, pants and black boots that came almost to his knees. They looked like shit-kickers, but she knew they weren’t. Something about them triggered a memory. Silver-blond hair, pulled back in a queue that fell halfway down his back, displayed his regal features in sharp relief.
The man moved around her bar, silent, like a wraith. Not a whisper from his clothing or footfalls. Her dad moved the same way in Fae-made clothing. As beautiful as Padraig’s movements were, this man was more deadly than a Black Mamba.
Just a few hours ago, her biggest problem was reining in Mark and Jamie when she’d shouted at them over the music that the table was for pool only! Chastened, they had backed away and raised beer bottles in her direction. In contrast, the co-ed beside them had flipped her off.
Dressed in jeans, wife-beater t-shirts and scuffed boots, they looked like they’d just come in from a ride on their hogs. Their leather jackets hung on the coat hooks by the door. To norm females, they were attractive bad boys you wanted to reform. Just by walking into a room, they drew every unattached woman. Their brindle hair set off ice blue eyes that danced in delight when looking at any woman.
Gorgeous werewolves and Steve, her missing wereleopard. A witch, Druid and two mages, or magicks as they like to be called, and a gargoyle. “Monsters,” if one believed human norm fiction. “Warriors For Light” to the Tuatha de Danaan. But Deva simply called them Family.
Now her biggest problem was safeguarding them all. Unfortunately, she suspected that task was bigger than she could handle.
Sighing, she forced a smile as Padraig slid onto the stool facing her. Thank the Goddess for the plank of wood between them. Otherwise, she’d embarrass herself by yanking free that leather tie and running her fingers through that long, silky hair.
“Well done. I was surprised at your ease using the shotgun.”
As his tongue moistened perfectly sculpted lips, she gripped the counter to keep upright and clinched her teeth to keep from mimicking his action. The weakness in her knees she couldn’t control. His voice flowed over her like warm honey begging to be licked off.
She jerked herself back from her fantasy, reached into the cooler, retrieved another longneck and smacked it onto the bar it on front of him. “I’ve been training for this moment since I was twelve. After eighteen years, I hope I’d be able to take on a demon.”
“Practice is different from ending an actual life, even that of a Fomorii, especially when it wears a human face.”
Frowning, she rubbed her shaking hand against the side of her leg. Until the moment she’d pulled the trigger, she hadn’t been sure she could do it. He was right. Killing someone, even a demon, was different than lopping the head off a pumpkin scarecrow.
She’d always been a healer and a seer at witch level, but three months ago she began changing. Mutating. Now her ability exceeded that of an Earth seer, maybe even one from Otherworld, and that scared the crap out of her. Something caged inside her clawed toward freedom, savage in its demand for release. A tsunami of power was building, waiting, biding its time to break free and erase everything in its path.
Her eyes lifted and met Padraig’s glacial stare. His words, while comforting, hadn’t touched those frigid silver-gray eyes that broadcasted danger, stay away. He seemed to understand the conflict she’d experienced with her first kill. Perhaps he would be useful after all.
Damn! What was it about this bad boy that drew her?
For the full first chapter of all my released Warriors For Light and Turner Chronicles books go to my website htttp://www.ljdeleon.com and look under books. This site also has free short stories.
For my blog and information about the Warriors For Light series go to http://www.warriorsforlight.com
Thank you for being with us today, LJ. Your books sound as exciting as your life. May your stories be a huge success. I've enjoyed getting to know you better. I wish I'd known you sooner, I would have liked to have followed you around the world when you were with the C.I.A. Smile.
Until next Sunday, have a great week.