Tuesday, March 22, 2016

In the Blood by R. L. Martínez


1. What inspired you to become an author?

In 7th grade, my teacher assigned our class a creative writing assignment: describe something from top to bottom, side to side. This is the first such project I can remember ever receiving. In fact, until then, I had not given much thought to writing. I certainly never pictured myself as “a writer.” Though I LOVED making up stories for my Breyer Horse figures and Shera action figures to act out. And I adored dressing up in costumes and making up dramas.
For my initial crack at the assignment, I chose to describe my bedroom. It was dusky pink and sick with fake flowers, including on the wall paper. About half-way through my first draft, I looked down at my paper and thought, “I can do better than this.” I crumpled up the description of my room and began afresh. This time I imagined walking through a forest – something I have always found restorative and enlivening.


I had to read the assignment in front of my class (my teacher was a bit of a sadist) and when I was done, my teacher looked at me and said, “Beautiful.” I remember the expression on her face and the tone of her voice when she said that and it drove me to write and write and write, trying to get someone else to react that same way to something I had created.

2. How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

Originally, the book was going to be titled Blood Magic. But then I found out “blood magic” is a real thing and considered an evil practice. So, then I began playing around with titles that still incorporated blood, which is one of the levels of witchbreed magic used throughout the books. That got me to thinking of how to incorporate ALL the levels of magic in the titles of the books. And that led me formalize the origins of magic in this world I created. Doing that inspired me to write a creation story in verse form, which begins with the line, “In the blood of the witchbreed…”

3. Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I usually think of a title first. Not intentionally, but often the title comes to me first. Sometimes, though, I end up changing the title for various reasons.

4. What book are you reading now?

When God was a Woman by Merlin Stone

5. What books are in your to read pile?

Oh Lord, so many! But a few of them are Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs; Eidolon by Grace Draven; Ruby Fruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown; The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy; After the Woods by Kim Savage; The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty; The Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King; Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolpho Anaya.

6. What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

I am currently revising the sequel to In the Blood; revising the first book in a paranormal romance series; and writing the rough draft of a fairytale retelling.

7. Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure, this is from the urban fantasy/paranormal romance I’m revising and hoping to send out on submission soon:

Near the stairs leading up to the air door stood a man she never thought she would see again. Max’s hands were braced behind his back as he watched her minutely, his dark eyes unreadable. Katherine stopped, clenching Teji’s hand until the little girl squirmed to get away. Katherine loosened her hold and turned to Keith. “What is this?”
“I’ve hired the best security company in the world to act as your security detail,” Keith said in a mild voice.
“And neglected to tell me the team included my ex-husband,” she hissed. “How long have you planned this?”
Keith, glanced fleetingly towards the plane then stepped close to her. He put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her near. To an outsider the gesture may have looked comforting, even affectionate, but Katherine felt Keith’s fingers dig into her. She winced but remained otherwise still.
“Now listen, my darling,” Keith said in an undertone heavy with threat, “I’ve arranged the best security available for you and Teji. To keep you safe. The least you can do is display a little gratitude.”
“You’re the one who said I was never to see or contact him again,” she muttered, eyes lowered. She had the uncomfortable feeling that Keith was testing her, waiting to see if she would behave.
Keith sighed. “Yes, but the conference will be rife with security risks. I’ve decided to take a calculated risk in the interest of security.” His fingers bit further into her shoulders and she knew she would have bruises later. “Are we going to have a problem?”
Katherine closed her eyes against the pain. When she opened them again, it was to see Teji’s pale, worried face, staring up at her. The little girl had dropped her hold on Katherine’s fingers and now wrung her hands together in a way Katherine knew all too well. “No problem,” she breathed. She managed a tight smile at Teji.
Keith released her instantly. “Good. And, by the way, I do expect you to maintain a professional distance. You might be in his company, but that doesn’t give you any excuse to get close. Understand?”
Katherine nodded. Keith patted her on the back, simultaneously turning her so they could continue walking towards the plane. Teji’s hand crept back into hers and Katherine gave the child a bright, if false, grin.
She studied the other members of the team she knew as they drew closer. JJ slouched to Max’ left. She wore a heavy gun belt over black cargo pants. A black tank-top peeked out from under her Kevlar vest and black fleece jacket. When Katherine looked at her, the redhead gave her an apologetic grimace. Katherine tried to smile back, but her face felt frozen. She slid her gaze to Babe Holt on Max’s right, a man she was convinced moonlighted as a men’s underwear model. His shoulder-length blonde hair was pulled into a low ponytail, revealing the exquisite line of his jaw. A heavily supplied utility belt dragged his already low-slung black cargo pants, down further. A black short-sleeved T-shirt displayed his gorgeous, muscled arms. Both Babe and JJ flicked their eyes between their commander and her. If they’re going to pussy-foot around us the entire time, this is going to be a long trip, Katherine thought with a grimace.
On the other side of the stairs were two other squad members she had never met. One, a young Asian woman, watched Katherine with a sweet, earnest face and shy smile. She wore no gun belt or, as far as Katherine could see, weapons of any kind, though she did have on a bullet proof vest over her own uniform of black T-shirt and cargo pants. A laptop bag was slung over one shoulder. Katherine wondered how in the world she had gotten a job at a world-renowned security company. She couldn’t stand more than five feet tall and looked to weigh no more than ninety pounds.
Katherine’s gaze moved to the last member of the team and almost missed a step when she realized that the man was an albino. He too wore dark sunglasses, which made his appearance all the more disturbing. Unlike his teammates, he wasn’t wearing black or a Kevlar vest. Instead, he sported a button down pinstripe shirt under a navy blazer and matching slacks. His white hands clasped a battered looking briefcase.
What a strange collection of people for a team, Katherine thought. But, she supposed it was all in keeping with Max’ rather unpredictable personality. He often found potential in people and things others would ignore or discard. And he was always right. Except once. His one mistake.
Katherine was careful to maintain her cool, indifferent mask as she continued towards the jet, even as her stomach began to twist. Teji squeezed her hand again and, when she looked at the child’s face, saw her smiling widely.
Though Katherine had avoided looking at her ex-husband, eventually her eyes strayed to him of their own volition. His clothing, identical to his teammates’ highlighted the long, lean strength he had developed over his checkered career. He wasn’t a bulky, overly broad man like the spies in action movies. Instead, he was whittled down to the essentials. Anyone could see he was capable of producing serious damage to an enemy. But, in case someone rather stupid did not get the message, he was also armed like a South American guerilla. A double shoulder holster held two M.45s, while his black utility belt was packed with a collection of extra clips, a baton, mace, another, smaller gun, and three knives ranging in size from one as long as her forearm to one that could have laid easily in the flat of her hand. His bullet-proof vest hugged his torso tightly and Katherine wondered how he could possibly be comfortable in all that gear. With a start, she noticed the chocolate lab sitting at max feet. The animal’s tail wagged in excitement, but it made no move to come greet the newcomers.
Katherine moved her eyes from the dog back up to Max’s face and felt her belly spasm. It had a sharp, angular handsomeness that hinted at continuous physical exertion and rough living. As she drew near, she could just make out the small lines around his eyes and the deep dent between his brows. Those signs of stress had not been there eight years ago. How many of those lines were drawn for her sake? The question popped into her head and she bit the inside of her cheek to quell the rise of emotion it evoked.

8. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

World-building has always been tough for me. The universes I create are so very real to me that I often mislead myself into thinking that EVERYONE sees what I see. Which causes me to leave out crucial world-building details.

9. Who designed the cover of your latest book?

E. L. Wicker of Lakewater Press

10. Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?

Absolutely! I make a dedicated playlist for each book. Some of the main songs on In the Blood’s list “Bleeding Out” by Imagine Dragons; “Poison and Wine” by the Civil Wars; “I Tuoi Fiori” by Etta Scollo; “Promentory” from The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack by John Newton; “Hidden Away” by Josh Groban; “In a Glade” by Milla; “Aftermath” by Lifehouse; “Run” – Katherine McPhee version (but penned by Snow Patrol); “Clocks Back” by Metaphorest; “Shake it Out” by Florence + The Machine


In the Blood
The Witchbreed
Book One
R. L. Martínez

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Lakewater Press

Date of Publication: March 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9944511-0-1
ISBN: 978-0-9944511-1-8
ASIN: B019X8WCWI

Number of pages: 370
Word Count: app. 122,000

Cover Artist: E. L. Wicker

Book Description:

The Warrior

The war between Dosalyn and Roanaan has ended, but a new battle begins for prisoner-of-war, Ottilde Dominax. Dreams of her witchbreed twin sister are visions of death and betrayal. Driven by their grim warning, she escapes her captors and races across nations to save her sister.

But she may arrive too late…

The Witch

Oriabel Dominax has kept her healing magic secret while she cares for her family's struggling estate. But the arrival of a new lord with secrets of his own, the discovery of a dark and addictive magic, and threats from a cruel blackmailer push Oriabel closer to disaster.

Through it all, the Witch’s Tree calls…





Second Excerpt

Blood slid down Oriabel Dominax’s arm and dripped into the three brass dishes set on the floor. When each was a quarter full, she knotted a strip of cotton around the cut above her elbow. She gripped the counter next to her as a wave of dizziness swept over her. She closed her eyes and sucked in an unsteady breath.
“You take too much, little apple.”
Oriabel opened her eyes and grimaced at the old woman crouched by her side. “It’s nothing, Jacind.” In answer, the old woman slapped her on the shoulder. Oriabel made a face but did not protest the reproof. Instead, she refocused on the Seeing spell. After sprinkling each pool of blood with purplish-grey powder consisting of diamiana, jasmine, and mugwort, she touched a lit candle to the center of the dishes. She squinted as bright blue flames sparked and spat in response. Once the flames died, Oriabel bit her lip and inspected the patterns left on the surface of the blood, Jacind peering over her shoulder. In the first dish, the powder had melted into a swirling black mass that solidified into a long wavy line. The snake. Her eyes moved to the next dish, where the powder had formed a pinwheel with a line running through its middle. She pulled back sharply. A return? She leaned closer to the dish but it remained the same. Ottilde.

About the Author:

R. L. Martinez writes fantasy and science fiction with dark edges and corners. She began writing when she was in the seventh grade when her teacher assigned a creative writing project. She lives in Norman, OK with her husband, two young sons, a mouse-killing cat, and two naughty pooches.





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