First and foremost, everybody give it up for this Old Lady. C'mon, c'mon, today is my 45th birthday! I'm so glad to be over here on Paromantasy again so I can celebrate this milestone with you.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about my current release, "Child of War-A God is Born" and how it came to be. When we (the Muse and I—I never take sole credit for anything I write, it's always a joint effort even if his name isn't on the cover next to mine) first sat down to write “The Heart of War” it wasn’t with the intent of turning it into a series. It was supposed to be a stand-alone novel—and it is. You could read it, finish it, and be perfectly happy to leave the story where it ends….I think…I hope. As we finished it we realized we weren’t ready for it to end. There was more story to tell but we hung back for a bit and waited to see how well received “The Heart War” was before making the commitment of going forward. Luckily for us, it got all kinds of raves (and a few pans), people loved it.
With that massive ego-boosting burst of encouragement, we sat down to write “Child of War” Book #2 in the “OF WAR” series and soon realized it was going to be two books if we wanted to tell the whole tale. We always like to tell the *whole* tale, that’s definitely one thing about us we tend not to leave stones unturned or dark corners unexplored, which makes for long stories. In this market, anything over 150,000 words seemed to be considered ‘too long’. “Heart” came in 209,000 and was a tough sell. We don’t like to write for the masses or to fit in but thought we’d give the 150,000 word thing a shot—mainly because we want to toss our hat into the 2011 Amazon Breakout Novel Awards. We were unable to do that last time around due to the word count on “Heart”. I had no delusions about winning that award it's just nice to have the opportunity to toss your hat into the ring every now and again.
Another thing about us is we don’t do is ‘light and fluffy’, well, we do humor but not full stories that are cute. We do ‘dark and gritty’ so I knew this wasn’t going to be your average cutesy story about a pregnant woman, expectant father, and adorable child who gets into the darndest mischief. Nope, we were going to deal with The Kid From Hell among other things. I thought back to all of the movies I grew up and loved that had a wicked kid at the center; Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, The Exorcist, Children of the Corn, The Good Son and just a smattering of ‘Chucky’. Just a little, I really don’t like ‘Chucky’…at all.
Then I started thinking about my own daughters who are now 25 and 20 years-old. Like most kids they did some amazingly cute things and I used a few of them in the story. They also did some pretty rotten stuff when they were younger, yep, they sure did. They’re much better now but believe me there were times I was sure they weren’t going to make it to their next birthday cuz I was gonna kill ‘em! I used a few of those things too.
Near the end of Book #1 "The Heart of War", shortly before he dies, Cernunnos tells Alena that the baby she's carrying will bring glory to Ares but only pain and misery to her. Zeus agreed with his nemesis' prophecy.
With all of the above as our background, we crafted ‘Raven’ the son of Ares and Alena. “Child of War-A God is Born” follows Raven from just before birth until his 6th birthday. Since he’s an Olympian he ages faster than human children, by the end of the novel while he’s chronologically 6 years-old he’s actually more along the lines of a 12-14 year-old boy. There were many days I wished I could do The Kid Trick with my kids. It turned out to be more challenging than I thought and many steps were necessary to make it believable rather than feeling like a cheat. I always hate it when a TV show suddenly flashes 'Five Years Later' across the screen just after a baby's been born because so much gets left out and the audience always groans because they know they've been cheated.
After a harrowing birth and with foreboding shadows surrounding the young baby we have a nice happy family for a very short while. Able to run by the time he's six months old, Raven gets into mischief right from the start and early on exhibits a volatile temper. But more than that he is more powerful and advanced than any of the Olympians have ever seen. Not many of them like him.
Not being a full-blooded Olympian, Raven would have to undergo several challenging trials to prove himself worthy of being an Olympian. Yet, Ares strikes a wicked bargain with Zeus to avoid this and have the boy accepted when he is three days old. Alena can't stand her in-laws, they're a hateful bunch of backstabbers. Afraid her son will turn out like them, she will not allow Raven to take his place among them. If there’s one person most of the Olympians despise more than Raven it’s Alena who they’re sure has married Ares and come to Olympus as part of some nefarious plot to exact revenge against the Olympians who were less than kind to the Fey millenniums before.
With the help of some prodding from Apollo, Raven grows to hate his mother, blaming her for him being an outcast among the Gods. Being powerful and willful, destruction soon ensues.
Raven was a more difficult character to write and get to know than we thought he’d be. We've left him on the verge of manhood and on the edge of a knife. He still has the time and the chance to turn his life around but; will he? If so, how?
I’m very interested to see how Raven develops as he grows into a man in “Child of War-Rising Son”.
I'd like to leave you with a short excerpt from the book.
Raven, his serpent eyes blazing with cold fire, sneered at her as he stood, holding the bar in her mouth. "How do you like it?"
The little boy was stronger than Onya ever would have imagined; no matter how much she pushed at him or struggled to be free of his merciless grasp he just wouldn't let go. Her mind raced with thoughts of dying here on the kitchen floor with the wolf pup behind her, on his haunches, ready to strike, and the angry little boy sneering at her like a bug under a microscope as the nasty tasting soap blocked her airway. "H-h-help!" She managed to call out without choking.
"I said shut up!" Raven bellowed and tightened his grip, a feat Onya wouldn't have thought possible until he actually did it. "Taste good, bitch? You like that?"
That was when Alena and Ares arrived home. "RAVEN! What in the name of the Gods are you doing? Let her go!" Onya, a full-grown even if petite woman, was fighting for her very life as her face went from crimson to light blue and Raven stood there smiling, watching her. Rushing across the kitchen to pry Raven off Onya, Spirit Walker decided it was a good time to defend his master and leapt at her face, sharp little teeth bared and claws already reaching out for her in midair. Out of her own survival instincts, Alena laced her hands together and gave the wolf a good smack when he came within range of the double axe handle. The animal tumbled through the air and then to the floor where he hit his head and sat there dazed for a few moments as Alena continued rushing forward. She grabbed hold of Raven's hands and pulled as hard as she could, but his grip was like a vice. Onya was turning a terrifying shade of azure. "Let her go! Now Raven!" Almost worse than that, Raven's hands were encasing themselves in ice.
"No!" The boy snarled, "She's a bitch! She made me eat soap; now it's her turn!"
Alena never hit her son not once; she did raise a hand to him but now she had no choice as she laced her fingers together one more time and brought them down in a mighty blow on the upturned joints of his elbows. Raven's arms sank with the force and his fingers released for half a moment, long enough for Alena to plant her foot in Onya's stomach and push the young woman away from him. On the floor, Onya spat out the soap. Gasping for air, with her hand to her throat and her eyes wide, she stared at the boy who'd almost taken her life.
"You whore!" Raven bellowed at his mother and let loose with a barrage of ice balls from his palms. Several of the four-pound balls of solid ice hit Alena square in the head, knocking her backward and then off her feet. When she was on the ground and curled up in a protective ball, he kept going.
With her head tucked firmly to her chest and knees, Alena called out for her Husband. "Ares!"
End post….start promo material
CHILD OF WAR-A GOD IS BORN-Book #2 in the "OF WAR" series
CHILD OF WAR-A GOD IS BORN is currently available in limited signed hard cover available only through the publisher http://www.moonsmusings.com/
Paperbacks will be available through Amazon.com, Books-a-Million.com and Barnesandnoble.com on Halloween! E-Books will release on Black Friday (11/25/2011) on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, All Romance Ebooks, Eros, Diesel, Kobo, Smashwords and others.
THE HEART OF WAR -Book #1 in the "OF WAR" series
It is available in paperback through Amazon.com
Also from Books-a-Million.com and Barnes and Nobles
In e-books through
All Romance E-Books
Also from Diesel, Kobo, and Eros
Facebook: http://facebook.com/lbdarling ('fan page')