Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Start of The Svatura Series by Abigail Owen- Guest Blog and Giveaway

On "Ask the Author" day on my Facebook site, one of my readers asked a question that got me thinking about how I came up with the idea for Blue Violet. What did I start with? The character? The world? The plot? My initial answer to that reader was that I started with a specific scene. But thinking about it further, it started even before that.

I am a fan of a good story in just about any format - book, movie, spoken, etc. I love to lose myself in the world and the characters. One of my favorite activities for my imagination is to invent new characters who I plop down into the middle of my favorite stories - just in my head of course. I've thought of a daughter for Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, a love interest for Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series, or just a random person who comes along after the story ends and picks up where things left off.

Often I am inspired by several ideas from several sources - mushing them all together to create something different. And that's how Blue Violet got started... with several inspiration points. I loved the idea of a shifter in general. I combined that with different people having different shifts (rather than all the same), like the animagus in the Harry Potter series. Next I pulled in Melificent from Disney's Sleeping Beauty (not the evil part). So my shifter could turn into a dragon - cause how cool is that? Also I didn't want anyone with magic to be able to figure it out, so it needed to be an inherent ability.

As frequently happens, I then reinvented my initial idea several times using a series of "what ifs". What if my character could do this, or that, or the other? My new character started adding animals to her list of shifts. Because one animal is good, but more animals...better. At first they were all flying animals - I kept the dragon and added a falcon, a hummingbird, and a butterfly. For those of you who've read Blue Violet, you can probably guess that my character eventually turned into Ellie. She kept the falcon (and maybe the dragon too ;) ) and added a jaguar and a wolf. I mean, if you're going to be able to shift into multiple animals, might as well make them powerful ones. Right?

But just having those awesome morphs wasn't enough for my character. I had to give her something to do with them.  I usually like stories where someone has a badass ability that no one else knows about. When they finally reveal that ability, it's a big deal. And that's how the scene I mentioned came about. I had my character protecting a group of people she knew. From afar of course. And then she had to reveal who/what she was when they were attacked. Can you guess which scene this became in Blue Violet? Yup - the scene where Ellie turns into a jaguar (after being a falcon) and fights the wolves who attack Lila, Adelaide, and Nate.

And that was the start of Blue Violet. I wrote that scene first and then I built my world and plot around it by answering questions like... Who was attacking them and why? How'd Ellie know them? What's her story? What happens next? And of course there had to be romance in there. A must in my stories. I never dreamed that one little scene would lead to an entire series of books! But here I am.

The Svatura Series
Abigail Owen

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Series Description:

Meet the ladies of the Svatura series: Ellie, Selene, Lila, and Adelaide.

One will come out of hiding to protect others from the fate she suffered. One will lead her people after being released from a hellish nightmare. One will try to start a new life only to discover that her path lies where it always has. And one will experience a loss so terrible that only oblivion can stop the pain.

Individually they are strong. But together these sisters of the heart are a force before whom even their most powerful enemies will tremble. However, that may not be enough. Is the key to their salvation power…or love?

Blue Violet
The Svatura Series
Book One
Abigail Owen

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Art: Debbie Taylor
Page Count: 266
Word Count: 62050

ISBN (digital): 978-1-62830-946-1
ISBN (print): 978-1-5092-0358-1

About the Book:

When fairy tales turn into nightmares…

Ellie Aubrey has spent most of her unnaturally long life hiding her extraordinary abilities from the world. On the run from the shapeshifting wolves who murdered her family, she risks discovery in order to secretly watch over another group of similarly gifted people, determined they won’t suffer the same fate.

Alex Jenner has come home to protect his family from an unknown danger lurking in the woods. Suspicious of the new girl in town, he challenges Ellie in ways that will spark one of two possible outcomes: they’ll spontaneously combust, or she’ll lose control of the one power she’s fought so hard to contain.

In this fairy tale, the dragon the prince must slay is also the princess who holds his heart.

Excerpt #2 (555 words)

A separate part of her mind remained grudgingly impressed with Alex’s powers of observation. Very few people paid close enough attention to catch little nuances as he had with her. Usually they were too self-centered. But he’d called her out on her vagueness from day one. It had the effect of strengthening the connection she was resisting so desperately.

“What is it that you think I’m hiding, exactly?” Ellie asked, hands on her hips.

“You can’t be who you say you are.”

“I don’t say I’m anyone. I’m just me!” she exclaimed. “Who else would I be?”
He flashed her a dark look. “I saw you.”

“Saw me doing what?” Ellie’s confusion was feigned, but her exasperation was authentic.
“Standing in the woods outside my house.”

Ellie gave him a dumfounded look. “And when exactly was I supposed to be standing outside your house?”

“Late last night,” he snapped.

“Yeah,” she scoffed, “that makes total sense. You really are full of yourself. You know that? You think that some little high school girl likes you so much that she’s just going to stand around your house in the cold, hoping for a glimpse?”

“I think you’re a damn good liar is what I think.” Alex clenched his fists. He looked like he wanted to shake her.

Ellie fumed. Forget that he was right. He didn’t know that for sure, and here he was calling her a liar to her face.

She narrowed her eyes, and her voice grew cold. “And what exactly am I supposed to be lying about?”

Alex’s mouth set in a grim line. “I can’t tell you that.”

Ellie arched an eyebrow. “So let me get this straight…After becoming, well, friends I guess, you suddenly start ignoring me. We barely say two words to each other in six weeks, then out of nowhere you kiss me. But based on…” She flung her arms out all akimbo. “I don’t know what exactly…you come over here to tell me that I’m not who I say I am. That I’m apparently stalking you. Then you call me a liar. But you can’t tell me what you think I’m lying about. Could you be more insulting or more weirdly vague?”

“I guess that’s usually your role, isn’t it? Is anything you’ve ever said to me true?”

“Ah!” Frustration engulfed Ellie until she couldn’t speak. She just stood there, her hands on her hips, shaking her head and blinking.

She couldn’t do this, she suddenly realized. She didn’t want to lie to him. She didn’t want to fight with him. But she couldn’t tell him anything. And he was in the same predicament.
And, just like that, her anger with him turned in on herself and the situation. She started shaking. A violent trembling that signaled a loss of control…and the horrifying possibility of what she might become if she didn’t immediately rein it in. Anger, and now fear for Alex’s safety, warred within her as she struggled to keep her human form.

Without another word she turned and rushed for the back door, grabbing her keys off the kitchen counter. She had to get away from him and force herself to calm down before something terrible happened.

Alex grabbed her arm and whipped her around. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“Away from you.”

The Svatura Series
Book Two
Abigail Owen

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Art: Debbie Taylor

About the Book:

Selene sacrificed everything when she took her brother’s place as ruler of the Vyusher—including her secret love for one-time adversary Griffin Aubrey. When nightmares that are just a little too real start, Selene fears she’s turned into a cold-blooded killer…the monster Griffin thinks she is.

Griffin and Ellie Aubrey are finally safe for the first time in over a hundred years, and Griffin doesn’t want to easily forgive the woman he blames for killing his family. But when an unknown menace drives Selene to leave her people and seek their help, Griffin must decide.

Can he move past his hatred of everything she is? Or will the bond that could bring them both the greatest joy now be the source of their deepest despair?

Excerpt #2 (506 words)

The nightmare had started the same as all the others….

She was in her wolf form which was always different than her human self—enhanced sight and more sensitive hearing, attuned to the sounds of the night, and her point of view was lower to the ground. In this dream, she’d been watching a house from the deep shadows of the woods. It was nighttime, and with the lights on inside the house she was watching, she had an easy view of the inhabitant—a middle-aged woman who appeared to be alone. The urge to hurt that woman filled her, overflowing into a barely contained snarl of aggression.

What is happening to me? Confusion swept through Selene. Her urge made absolutely no sense. She’d never deliberately harmed another being in her life.

She started to move, as though her body had a will of its own. She wasn’t in control, the need to kill dictating her actions. Selene prowled over to a small patio that extended from the back of the house. She stopped within feet of the structure and crouched low in a pool of moonlight. Her white form blended in perfectly, rendering her almost invisible.

And there she waited. But the rational part of Selene had no idea what she was waiting for exactly. It was as though her dream-self had been here before, stalked this woman, and knew something was about to happen.

Selene didn’t recognize where she was. She was sure she’d never been to this place when she was awake. What was she doing here? Panic started to set in, she could feel it in the thumping of her heart. Or maybe it wasn’t panic, maybe it was anticipation for the kill. Her thoughts were all tangled up. What was wrong with her?

The fur on her back bristled, and Selene realized that a moment of no return was fast approaching. Her keen hearing picked up the soft tread of the woman inside the house, followed by the click of the door handle. Her muscles coiled more tightly, ready to pounce. The door opened, a ray of light from inside just missing the spot where Selene was hidden, and the woman stepped out onto the patio.

Selene felt her body spring into the air.

No! No! No! She tried to hold herself back, make herself stop. But she couldn’t.

Screams pierced the night air, ringing in Selene’s ears as she slammed into the woman. Selene sank her sharp teeth into the sweet spot at the back of the woman’s neck. Bones crunched under the pressure of her jaws and the sharp, metallic taste of blood surged into her mouth. The woman continued her screeching, thrashing around hysterically under Selene’s deadly grasp. With a guttural growl, Selene clamped down harder before she shook the woman like a rag doll. She felt the satisfying crack when the woman’s neck snapped.

Then, as suddenly as the nightmare had started, darkness consumed her and she jerked awake to find she was safe in her bedroom.

Crimson Dahlia
The Svatura Series
Book Three
Abigail Owen

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Art: Debbie Taylor

About the Book:

Lila Jenner left her family to start a new life away from Ramsey Pierce. After decades of rejection, she needs the chance to discover who she is without him. Helping to rebuild relationships between tribes of Svatura is just the opportunity she needs.

Determined that the fire raging inside him will never harm Lila, Ramsey denies the magical bond that could be theirs alone. But when an old enemy resurfaces and Lila disappears, he realizes he’ll do anything to win her back and make her his.

However, Maddox, driven by a centuries-old quest for revenge, is stronger than any of them ever imagined. Friends and enemies must band together against this shared threat. Even then, they may discover too late that one dragon is not always enough…

Excerpt #2 (300 words)

With a muttered curse, Ramsey closed his mouth over hers. His kiss was not gentle. He was to full of pent up need and frustration for gentle. He didn’t merely kiss.  He devoured her, his need was so great. She tasted of mint and a hint of the wine they’d had with dinner earlier that night.

Slowly, savoring each sensation, he moved his hands over her. Every delectable inch of her body. He couldn’t get enough of touching her. Every luscious curve under his hands spurred him to more intimacy. He swept one hand around her waist to her lower back and then inched his fingers under the elastic band of her undies.

Lila suddenly broke off their kiss with a sharp cry. She stepped back from him, realized that he could see all of her, and hurried over to a nearby bush to grab her dress.

That’s when Ramsey saw it. An ugly welt in the shape of a handprint was rising on the back side of her hip.

“Lila,” he choked.

She pulled her dress over her head. “Don’t. It’s not your fault.”

“I burned you.” The horror of what he’d done to her—and how much worse it could have been—doused every last desire in ice water.

“It’s fine. I’m fine,” she said. She reached out for his hand, but he jerked away from her, stumbling in his haste.

“We need to get Hugh. He’ll heal it for you,” he said.

“No!” Lila shouted. She took a breath and spoke in a calmer tone. “There is no way I’m explaining to my dad how your handprint ended up burnt on my butt. It’s fine. It’ll heal on its own.”

“It’ll scar.”

She tipped up her chin. “I’ll live with that.”

Black Orchid
The Svatura Series
Book Four
Abigail Owen

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Art: Debbie Taylor

About the Book:

Only oblivion can stop her pain.

Adelaide Jenner feels nothing… she is completely numb inside. Her fated love abandoned her and joined their enemy. On that day her sister turned off all Adelaide’s emotions in order to save her from a heartbreak that could push her over the edge of sanity. But the great power she claims, wielded without compassion or love, can only lead to pain.

Nate Pierce believes Adelaide used her extraordinary powers to deceive him all these years. So he destroyed a relationship he thought to be false and hungers for revenge. Now, Nate serves Maddox, unaware that his new leader is using him as a pawn in a bid to enslave or kill all Svatura.

The only hope of finally defeating Maddox is for Adelaide and her sisters to combine their growing powers against him. But the key to a Svatura’s power is the heart, and Adelaide is still missing hers.

Excerpt #2 (325 words)

“You can’t be here,” she said in a low, raspy voice.

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you…. I just saved you!”

She raised her gaze to his, and Nate was stunned to see her green eyes were now glowing bright yellow.

“You don’t understand,” she whispered. “I could really hurt you. You need to leave. Now.”

Nate took a step closer to her. He could see that her slender body was quaking from head to toe.

Adelaide held up both her hands. “I can’t hold it in much longer. You really need to go.” The anguish in her voice concerned him. He could tell she was terrified, but it seemed to be for him, not because of him. She bent over and put her hands on her knees, sucking air into her lungs as fast as she could.

Nate took a step closer but hesitated. She’s a con artist, don’t forget.

But he also wasn’t exactly sure what was happening to her. As far as he knew, none of her powers were actually dangerous.

Suddenly Adelaide fell to her hands and knees. He could see her chest heaving as she struggled for control. Nate acted on pure instinct. Tapping into his speed, he was at her side in less than a blink. He wrapped his strong arms around her from behind, sat down on the ground, and pulled her in tightly to his body. Leaving one armed wrapped around her midriff, he started running his other hand through her hair in a soothing gesture.

Now that he was touching her, Nate was amazed her shaking wasn’t rattling her very bones. It was that violent. Definitely not faking it.

“Breathe.” Come on.

“I… can’t,” she choked out. He knew that if he could see her face, tears would be streaming down her cheeks. And he didn’t like it. It reminded him way too much of his dreams. But he couldn’t think about that right now.

About the Author:

Award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

Website/Blog: http://abigailowen.com/

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Abigail Owen said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today! :)