Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Blood and Magic by Ann Gimpel

Blood and Magic
Ann Gimpel

Publisher: Taliesin
Genre: Dark Paranormal Romance

Book Description:
Can Luke conquer his past and claim the only woman he’s ever loved?

Magic didn’t just find Luke Caulfield. It chased him down, bludgeoned him, and has been dogging him ever since. Some lessons are harder than others. Luke survives by embracing danger and upping the ante to give it one better. An enforcer for the Coven, a large, established group of witches, his latest assignment is playing bodyguard to the daughter of Coven leaders.

Abigail Ruskin is chaperoning a spoiled twelve-year-old from New York to her parents’ home in Utah Territory when Luke gets on their stagecoach in Colorado. A powerful witch herself, Abigail senses Luke’s magic, but he’s so overwhelmingly male, she shies away from contact. Stuck between the petulant child and Luke’s raw sexual energy, Abigail can’t wait for the trip to end.

Wraiths, wolves, and humans with dark magick attack. Unpleasant truths surface about the child and Abigail’s well-ordered world crashes around her. Luke’s so attracted to Abigail, she’s almost all he can think about, but he’s leery too. In over his head, he summons enforcer backup. Will they help him save the woman he’s falling in love with, or demand her immediate execution?

PRFL would like to extend a very warm welcome to our guest blogger, Ann Gimple, author of Blood and Magic, and so many other great books.

Creating a Setting for Your Characters

Thanks so much for inviting me back to your blog, Danica. That’s the best compliment of all. Hope your writing is going well and that 2014 is the best year yet—for all of us.
I’d love to say I use the same process for every book I write, but I don’t. Many of my books begin with an image, or series of images, that form the basis for the book. I occasionally begin with an empty world, and it tells me what kind of characters it needs. I’ve only rarely begun with a character and formed a world around them. 
In Blood and Magic, the world came to me first. It was a nineteenth century version of the United States that’s become a battlefield. People with power stand on one side, and wraiths and other dark creatures stand on the other. I needed gutsy, self-contained characters to survive in such a challenging environment, and they came to me. 
Luke starts out as a scared fifteen year old. His mother’s been taken by wraiths and his father sent him to find the town wizard to help them. Luke knows he has magic, but it scares the living daylights out of him. In many ways this is his story as he comes to terms with who he is. Abigail enters the stage after Luke is long past grown. She’s a powerful witch, but not a match for what’s after them. The story arc brings Luke and Abigail together, but it’s a long, tough journey.
One of the things I love about urban fantasy, as opposed to high fantasy, is it’s set in the “real” world. No odd names for things. No triple moons transiting the sky. My favorite urban fantasies feel so real, they could actually happen. That hunk living next door could be a closet Celtic god, who’s really been alive for millennia.
I’m also wretchedly old-fashioned. We lost something when our lives got very easy. There’s not much challenge left anymore, unless we create it. I think that’s why I’ve had a lifelong love affair with traveling the backcountry with a pack, where I have to rely on my wits. I’ve been cold, lost, and out of food, but I feel ever so much more alive when I get back to civilization. I give my characters similar challenges. They need wits, creativity, and courage to survive to the next chapter. That their worlds hold surprises ups the ante.

How about the rest of you writers out there. Do you create characters first, or worlds? Or do they come to you as a unit that refuses to be separated?

Thank you so much for joining us today, Ann. We really enjoyed the visit and the insights. Good luck and great sales with Blood and Magic!

About the Author

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel
and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Amazon

Tour Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card