Happy, happy book birthday to Redemption, the final book in the Demon Spring trilogy! It seems like just yesterday when I started this trilogy. Now Jack, Cam, and Anya's story comes to an end. I hope y'all love it as much as I do. Get all the buy links and information below! And if you need the first two books in the trilogy, check out the below!
For my last meet the characters blog post, I really saved the best for last. Lotan started out as a passing mention in the first Demon Spring book, then turned into a fully-fledged, flawed, handsome love interest new character in the last book. Today, I'm so thrilled to tell you more about him. He's definitely a character Cam you will remember. Spoilers for the end of the second book ahead. Lotan the Prince Without spoiling much, Lotan wanders into Anya and Cam's path by design. He showers them with hospitality, he offers them food and drink. Then lowers the boom: He wants Anya to help him wage war against Bael. Anya, of course, is focused on getting Jack out of danger. Cam, too, is very focused on getting Jack out. Very focused. So focused. So very focused. As last week, it's just more fun to share a sneak peek.... "Enough discussion. I think we should eat," Lotan said with a chuckle. He pulled out a chair across from him, and smiled at Cam. "Please, Agent Macarro, have a seat." "Well, it would be rude not to," Cam said to Anya's dry glare. She perched on the seat and let Lotan slide it to the table. "Thank you." "You're—" Lotan frowned when Anya loudly pulled her chair out, sat down, and scooted to the table. "Welcome." "Ignore her," Cam said with a wave of her hand. "I plan to," he said with a wink. "Wine?" He plucked a glass carafe off the table and tipped it into a nearby wine glass. "There's a vineyard here in the noxlands, but you really can't beat a vintage merlot. Wouldn't you agree, Lady Anat?" "I'm partial to cabernet franc," Anya said as he poured wine into her and Oce's glasses. "I'm partial to wine, period," Cam said, swiping hers from the table. "Cheers." Lotan and Oce lifted their goblets, but Anya hadn't lifted a finger. The wine was like velvet on Cam's tongue, probably the most delicious vintage she'd had in her life. Then again, she mostly drank boxed wine for expediency's sake. "Now, please, eat," Lotan said. Cam didn't need to be told twice. She helped herself to as much as she could fit on her plate. Then, when that was gone, she took second helpings of the potatoes and fruit relish, and bread so fresh it must've just come out of the [...]
Last year, I had a hell of a fun time writing all three books in the Demon Spring trilogy. It was an interesting premise for me: Write all three books before the first one was even published. Even this blog post, going live in July 2018, was written way back in September of 2017. (Boy I hope we all survived the orange one's presidency) Writing the books together gave me the space to make the hard changes I might not have made if I was a bit more rushed. From name changes to adding entire scenes, I had plenty of time to make these books perfect. Name Adjustments More than just scenes, I made some significant changes to names throughout the book. Most notably--Jack was called Ben in the first draft. Once I pick a character name, I generally stick with it. Ben and Bael, however, was too much. So I changed it to Jack and Jackson. The Division was also called The Agency at first. Horrifyingly, I found an "Agency" in the first proof copy of Resurgence. But I really liked having a full, acronym-heavy name for the demon bureaucracy. It made my former-US government-consulting-heart happy. For the demons themselves, I really wanted a global mythology, but also to be very careful to not appropriate any currently-practiced religions. And even as careful as I was, I still managed to veer too close to reality with the first iteration of the noxes. Thankfully, I was early enough in the process where the change wasn't a big deal. So the noxes, while based out of Mexico, are wholly made-up creatures. And even with Lotan, whose name now comes from the Ba'al mythologies, went through a few iterations. At one point, he was Quetzalcoatl. After discussing it with a few folks, I decided against using him. I ended up preferring Lotan more as a character name. Again, because I had time and space, I could adjust and tweak before anyone really saw the story. Would I Write Three Books At Once Again? If you've been around my world a while, you know there are two kinds of book series in the noggin: The Old Kids and the New Kids. The old guys--Razia and Lexie, along with a few others--have been thought and re-thought for decades. I've already walked through all the intricacies and plot hang-ups. So I don't see the value in writing [...]
The only belus to not be still alive in the Demon Spring books, the belu noxes are somewhat of a mystery. Bael clearly hates them, but why? In the final book, I had a lot of fun telling their story, including their supposed beef with Bael, and how their son Lotan comes to be. I thought I might share a sneak peek (and introduce y'all to Lotan, who you'll more about next week). Spoilers for the end of the second book The Belu Noxes, a love story Cam and Anya's first stop (although unwillingly) in the final Demon Spring book is to the noxes. There, Lotan tells Cam a little more about his folks: "How much do you know about when the first demons arrived in this world?" Lotan asked. "Depends on who you ask," Cam said with a chuckle. "My grandmother says God banished the most evil humans to the Underworld for their sins. The evil in their hearts changed the world, turning it into the magical cesspool it is today—no offense, of course." "Of course," Lotan said, the amused smile still sitting on the edges of his mouth. "My great-aunt and others with more scientific minds believe there was seismic activity, the first breach between this world and ours, and a small group of humans fell through. The survivors are the belus." Lotan leaned in so close Cam could count each one of his black eyelashes. "Your grandmother was correct." "O-oh good," Cam said, suddenly unable to breathe. He turned back to the overhang, inhaling the night air. "When I was a babe, my father took me on his knee and told me about the day he and my mother arrived in this world. They'd been living in a village in what you humans now call Central America. God arrived to take my mother to the Underworld. She would be a martyr, suffering for all eternity for the sin of anger. It was a great honor, so God said, to be given this great power." "Sounds like kind of a cop out," Cam said. "My mother was of the same opinion, especially when she learned she would leave my father behind in the human world. There are some who would say my mother's anger wasn't anger at all, but passion. And much of that passion was for my father. They worshiped each other. So how could she rejoice [...]
In the first two books of the Demon Spring trilogy, we spend a lot of time in the human world. The presence of demons is mentioned, but the how and the why aren’t really detailed. In the final book, I really got a chance to go deeper into demon mythology and the true origins of Demons. Mild spoilers for the first and second Demon Spring books […]
With the upcoming release of the final book in #DemonSpring, I thought I'd revisit Bael, the original athtar. I wrote about him very briefly before the first book came out. But now that we've seen more of him, I really wanted to dive deep into the belu athtar and his character. Spoilers for the first and second books Bael the Narcissist Coming into the final book of my urban fantasy trilogy, we really see a lot about Bael. He is the quintessential insecure narcissist, willing to toy with emotions and prone to lash out when he feels threatened. As I wrote in the author's note of the first book, his whims and rants seem unbelievable, but for anyone who's ever dealt with a narcissist, they aren't. He's been given the power to control time, yet he's obsessed with what people think of him. He demands loyalty, and when he doesn't get it, he punishes. His relationship with Anya is, to put it bluntly, sick. He found her as a thirteen year old girl, filled her head with delusions and lies, then used his so-called "love" to manipulate her. Granted, she bears some responsibility. But if you think about it, she's been isolated from him. There's no domestic violence resource center she can turn to. She's been brainwashed to believe that he is the beginning and end of all things. But hey, as long as she doesn't piss him off, things will be good. The Belu Giveth and Taketh Away Bael's lofty vision of himself comes both from his magic (after all, his sin is pride), and from the way he can create a schism. He likens himself to the very God who banished them. After all, he goes to the world, he finds the humans, and he brings them to the other belus. But for himself, he only takes one new athtar. And after a while, Anya begins to understand why: when a human is transformed, a connection forms. But it's not just one way. Bael will know the language and customs of the athtar he transitions. For him, it's about control. When he begins to lose control is when his temper shows its face. The noxes, Xo and Mot, never wanted anything to do with Bael. They didn't want spawn, they didn't want to go back to the human world. They were content in their jungle world, loving one [...]
As the plot for Demon Spring was coming together, the third book became very clearly a story featuring two ornery women on a common goal. Having done something similar for Alliances, the second Razia book, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into writing another book about female friendships. And let me tell you, Cam and Anya did not disappoint. Warning: Spoilers for the second Demon Spring book ahead Working Together At the end of Revival, Bael takes Jack to the Underworld. Anya, of course, springs into action and makes plans to retrieve him. Cam, of course, decides she's not getting stuck behind and invites herself along. Anya has a grudging respect for Cam, as she is Jack's best friend, and Anya has developed a fondness for Jack. Cam, on the other hand, loathes Anya for dragging Jack into her nonsense. The first few pages cracks and rattles with disagreements, fights, arguments, and Anya's forlorn stares out into the distance. Cam doesn't believe Anya will save Jack--instead, she thinks Bael will bat his eyes at her and she'll fall at his feet again. But Cam's mother gives her some good advice: Look at Anya's actions and Bael's reactions. It's clear Anya is trying, but she needs help to get there. And who better than Cam to guide her along the way? One of the biggest differences between Anya and Razia in my mind is that Anya very clearly cares for people. She and Cam become very close rather quickly (Because Reasons), and when the nox prince comes along, Anya reverts into Mother Mode. Lotan, who I'll talk about in the coming weeks, is sexy, suave, and leaves Cam tongue-tied. She doesn't like Lotan as she believes his parents killed her daughter, but eventually, as Cam warms to him, Anya warms to him. Begrudgingly. Just Say No to Love Triangles It's very easy to write a book about two women fighting over the same guy. It's also surprisingly easy to write a book about two women who love the same guy, but differently. Cam and Anya give each other the space to have their own relationship with Jack. That's the book I wrote here. It may not pass the Bechdel test specifically, but I still really like the portrayal of female friendships. Cam's jealousy of Anya is rooted not in romantic jealousy, Instead, it's the innate fear that Jack has become [...]
In my urban fantasy trilogy, I had a lot of fun coming up with the different mythologies of each demon species. For the kappas, a nod to my love of all things Japan, I had a lot of lore to play with. But the belu kappa, Mizuchi, became a much stronger character as I began writing the third book. And it had very little to do with lore, and a lot to do with how the demon of greed became one so selfless. The Greedy Man In the final book, there's a pretty stark contrast between Mizuchi's origin and the noxes. Lotan, the nox prince, tells Cam his parents had fought God to be together forever. After all, what kind of blessing would it be if the love of her life wasn't beside her? Mizuchi, on the other hand, readily gave up his human life, love, and even children on the pursuit of more. And when Bael came knocking with the promise of spawn, he readily signed up. The Mizuchi we meed in Redemption is a man who's been chastened by time. He threw his lot in early with Bael in the early years, but now realizes that there's a heavy cost to loyalty. He's lost control of his own spawn. In fact, he barely has control of his own lands. But there's one thing he still has: his mind. The Strategist One of the things I love about Mizuchi is he's sneaky. He's also a little ruthless, willing to play with Anya's emotions to get her to do the right thing. He's really a morally gray character, but his goals are for the greater good. He's also the mastermind behind Lotan's plan, the one who takes lofty ideas into tangible actions. Mizuchi's greed has been tempered, but his thirst for knowledge remains. He inundated himself with as much strategy and military knowledge as he could. Will it be enough to fight against the athtar demon who can stop time? You'll have to read to find out...
In my urban fantasy trilogy, there are five kinds of demons - lilins, kappas, elokos, noxes, and athtars. Per the demonic myths, there are five so-called "original" demons, called belus, who were banished by God to the Underworld. The belu eloko, Biloko, was taken from the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo around 3,000 B.C., and that's where he reappeared in 400 A.D. Slight spoilers for Book 1 and 2 Biloko in the Underworld In the initial few centuries, the belus kept to themselves in giant lands made to look like their homelands. As they sat in their own demonic magic, they became more powerful--and more disfigured. Biloko grew shorter, and his hair turned into grass. His magic, which uses a bell-like sound to hypnotize, became more powerful. Eventually, Bael got lonely and started wandering around the different lands. His magic had turned him even more narcissistic, and he wanted everyone to love him. But Biloko had already made friends with Xo and Mot, the only couple that had been banished. And they wanted nothing to do with Bael. Thus Bael wanted nothing to do with Biloko. Biloko Switches Sides In 1500 B.C., Bael created the first schism back into the human world and returned with a thirteen year old girl. (Why? He was jealous of Xo and Mot). Eventually, Bael went back, and this time came with a hundred humans. His goal: Divvy them up among the most loyal belus. Therefore, Mizuchi and Freyja got fifty each. This continued for a few centuries, until Biloko began to realize what he was missing out on. Around 600 B.C., Bael graciously allowed Mizuchi to return to his homeland in Japan. Then, in 200 B.C., Freyja was allowed to return to present-day Germany, close to the Denmark border. By this time, Biloko had successfully cut ties with the noxes completely, and had been pressuring Bael to let him go back to his homeland. But Bael, who never forgets anything, finally let Biloko go back to his homeland... in 400 A.D. But instead of sending him to a populated area with lots of potential new spawn, he sent him to a large plain. Biloko and the Talismans In the second book, Cam learns that the villagers near where Biloko had emerged had been given a set of symbols to ward against demonic magic. Therefore, he only came back with fifty humans that first trip [...]
In my urban fantasy trilogy, "belu" is the ancient word for "original demon." So the belu lilin, Freyja, was the very first lilin ever created. To celebrate the last book in the trilogy coming out, I thought I'd write a little more about each belu's origins. Freyja, the Myth Freyja comes from Norse mythology. She's the goddess of fertility, love, sex, all them good stuff. She's got some cool mythology surrounding her, having a chariot pulled by two cats, keeps a boar by her side, possessing a cloak of falcon feathers. You know, the typical awesome that comes with being a goddess. In Demon Spring, she's the belu lilin. Lilin, for those unfamiliar, are lust demons, based on Mesopotamian lore about night spirits that attacked men. In the book, lilins use pheromones and glamour (magic to change their appearance) to get humans to fall in love with them. Freyja, the Belu In the books, Freyja is described as a pale woman with pointy ears and long blonde hair. That is, of course, with her glamour. Without it, she's a wiry-haired, gray-skinned creature with fangs. We first meet Freyja in Resurgence, where she walks in pumping miasma and gorgeousness. Jack's nearly taken, if not for Anya's firm hand on his shoulder. In the second book, it's Freyja's bottled glamour that helps Jack and Anya escape from some sticky situations. She's treated more like a patron saint in Amsterdam, where a giant mural depicts her in all her glory. But it's in book three where we really get some good face time with her. As with most of the demons, it's clear that along the way, she's lost a little control over her spawn. Whereas she stocks her castle bedrooms with condoms and other protection, her lilins basically run amok. They actively prey on humans with little remorse. While Freyja does bear some responsibility, Bael is the king. And therefore sets the tone.