Posts Tagged ‘urban fantasy’

Today I’m following up on my previous post about the contrast of characters who are Innocent or Not Innocent. For most writers, I think we understand that stereotypes do not result in very good writing. No one likes them. In fact, I’ve noticed that a lot of writers want to conceal the nature of stereotypes by calling them something else. “Tropes,” for instance.

You say to-ma-to, I say to-mah-to.

However, a clever writer can have fun with stereotypes, flipping them and such. I’ve done that myself, and I find it a really effective way to get readers to question some assumptions they might not even have known they had.

One book I read recently does a really good job with this. That’s The City We Became, by N. K. Jemisin. Jemisin is a multi-award-winning author, and that’s for good reason. She uses stereotypes liberally throughout the book. In fact, every one of her principal characters is a stereotype. Before you complain about spoilers, I just want to point out that the cover copy on the book says this exact thing.

I’m speaking here of the stereotype as a character which embodies and personifies a set of ideas and actions that are closely associated. In this book, the main characters embody and personify the five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island, with Jersey City playing a strong supporting role. Jemisin explores what it means to exist as a stereotype while also being an individual.

She brings in a whole lot of other stuff, too. There are queers, racism, sexual harassment, artistic fraud. There’s a strong vein of homage to a certain vintage horror author. There are a whole bunch of observations that might have made more sense if I had ever lived in New York City. The thing is, none of it felt forced or packed in for the sake of woke-ness. The book is big because New York is big.

I especially enjoyed this book because it expands the definition of what Urban Fantasy can be. Not that there’s anything wrong with vampires, werewolves, love triangles, et all. Those concepts were very successful, but they’ve all been done. Many times. The genre was overdue for a shake-up.

As writers, if we want to avoid using stereotypes, one thing we can do is to be aware of what’s current for our genre. You recognize stereotypes once you start seeing them repeated. For that reason alone, I urge you to read The City We Became. Personally, I can’t wait for the next book.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Today we’re joined by Sheryl R. Hayes, with her urban fantasy, Chaos Wolf. Seems like her character, Jordan Abbey, is in a truly “hairy” situation.

Jordan Abbey paused at the entrance to the great hall. She didn’t think she would have the chance to wear this green silk mermaid dress and matching heels again, given the tendency for vampires to dress their servants in a different finery each time they gathered. She closed her brown eyes, drawing in a deep breath and squaring her shoulders. “Just like when Montgomery introduced you to Elder Marcus.” And just like when she met the vampire ruling the city of Rancho Robles, she stepped into the hall with a confidence she didn’t feel.

Character Questions

Are there intelligent races other than yours, and do they get along? Well, there are humans, which I used to be one until that werewolf bit me. I didn’t even know they were real, let alone one was stalking me. Montgomery, the vampire who saw it happen, should have either left me to my fate or handed me over to the Black Oak Pack. Instead, he took me in and offered to help me. Very unusual since vampires and werewolves can’t stand each other.

Are you an insider or an outsider in your homeland? Definitely an outsider. Most of the vampires think I’m a threat and some sort of sleeper agent for the Black Oak Pack. The werewolves think I’m insane for rejecting a place in the pack and choosing to live with a vampire. Plus I have a steep learning curve for both cultures since humans don’t know that they are real.

Author Questions

Fantasy has many genres. How did you choose yours? I’ve enjoyed reading urban fantasy stories. But the one thing that frustrated me is that while vampires and werewolves did not like each other, no book I read ever delved into why. I decided that I wanted to tell that story, and it made sense to do it in a modern setting.

Why do you write? I’ve always told stories since I was a child. Mostly I told them to myself, until I discovered fanfiction. From there I branched out into original fiction. So I’m still telling stories to a different audience.

Chaos Wolf

Bitten by a werewolf. Taught by a vampire. At this rate, she’s going to start a war. Literature major Jordan Abbey ordered a double mocha latte, but it wasn’t supposed to come with a side order bite by a love-sick werewolf. When a vampire comes to her rescue, gut instinct tells her he has questionable motives. But he’s the only one she can trust to help get in touch with her inner animal. Within a week, her smart mouth lands her in trouble with the hostile Alpha of the local pack and the stiff-necked vampire Elder. She now has less than a moon cycle to master shape changing… or else. And the besotted werewolf who started this whole mess is stalking Jordan and killing her friends. He won’t take no for an answer. In the Northern California town of Rancho Robles, where the children of the Wolf and the Bat share an uneasy coexistence, one woman makes an epic mess of the status quo.

To purchase

About Sheryl R. Hayes

Sheryl R. Hayes can be found untangling plot threads or the yarn her cats have been playing with. In addition to writing, she is a cosplayer focusing on knit and crochet costumes and works full time at a Bay Area water company.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Lyndi Alexander joins us with her character Daven Talvi, from her urban fantasy series, Clan Elves of the Bitterroot.

Daven Talvi paused on the uppermost step, surveying the crowded room before him. The music was beautiful, but too loud. His mountain forests were quiet, filled with natural sounds. But he’d lost his chance at the hand of the young elf queen. He’d lost his mate. He was lonely. He’d accepted the invitation to the ball in hopes of lifting his spirits and, if he was very lucky, to find a new partner to share his years. He straightened his dark green cape and proceeded down the stairs, asking the first single lady he found to dance.

Character Questions

Are you an insider or an outsider in your homeland? Interesting question, and I’m not sure how to answer. My people are wood elves living in the forests of Montana. A war 25 human years ago forced our clan to make some difficult choices. I was specially chosen to go into a suspended state, with a number of brethren, to await a better time. During this time, I lost my mate and missed watching my son grow to adulthood. Now that I have been revived, I’m the same age as my son and his friends, which is very awkward for us. The world now is very different than it was, so I feel like an outsider a lot of the time.

What kind of house do you live in? Our clan doesn’t live in “houses,” as you humans think of it. We have constructed magical platforms in the forest, high above the ground, where our families live in communal happiness. The branches shelter us from the elements, and the platforms and supports are not visible to anyone not tuned to elven magic. So, if you’re walking in the woods one day and think you hear a bit of conversation, or childish laughter—you may be in clan territory!

Author Questions

Fantasy has many genres. How did you choose yours? I didn’t really “choose” urban fantasy. I tend to begin with a story idea—in this case, what happens when a cynical barista finds a glass slipper on the sidewalk and her friend dares her to try it on—and then since it was fantasy set in modern times in Missoula, Montana, voila! Urban fantasy.

Do you have a regular critique group, and how do you connect with them? For many years, I was a member of Pennwriters, a supportive authors’ group in PA. Our local Erie group was called Fellowship of the Quill, meeting weekly for coffee and critiques. These amazing folks helped me launch a dozen books over the 1990s and 2000s. Then I moved to Asheville, NC, and lost touch with them, and writing came very slowly. Last year—and this is the only good thing that came of 2020 for me—they went to a ZOOM format, and I could once again connect with them. Since then, I’ve finished three manuscripts, two of which are published and one awaiting contract. The group is so good because members come from various professions, like lawyers, police, teachers, etc., and so not only do we get input on our writing, but also can ask questions on facts and how-does-this-happen? Sort of things. They’re going back to meeting in person this summer, but hope to incorporate a ZOOM component into their live meetings so we can all continue to share.

The Elf Queen

When Jelani tries on a real glass slipper left lying on the sidewalk, it splits in half and out pours dozens of two-inch high creatures who scurry away into the shadows. As if that’s not bizarre enough, she is soon approached by two men claiming (of all things) to be elves who need her help to rescue their queen.

To purchase

About the Author

Lyndi Alexander dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others. She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications is eclectic, from science fiction to romance to horror, from tech reporting to television reviews. She’s a single mother of seven with two children on the autism spectrum, a quilter, a gardener, and woman of all trades. When she has time, she blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at http://awalkabout.wordpress.com

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Fancy suits and big crowds and lots of elites. Not my idea of a good time on any side of that triangle, but it wasn’t exactly the first time I’d found myself somewhere I wanted to be. All in all, I’d take a fancy dress party to infiltrating a nest full of harpies. Still had the scars from that one. I approached the entrance and did my best tough guy act to keep anyone from bothering me as long as possible, and I made a beeline straight for the bar. Anything this fancy? They were paying for the drinks and I was happy to lighten their pockets up for them.

Character Questions

Is there something you are willing to die for?

Well I’m an OPA agent. Office of Preternatural Affairs. Protecting country and populace against the threats that the rest of everyone doesn’t want to have to deal with. When was the last time you went toe-to-toe with a sorcerer ready to bleed you out? How about a dragon? Yeah, I didn’t take this job thinking I might never die in the course of a job.

Would you rather sneak into a dragon’s den or attend a demonic parliament?

Definitely demons. They get a bad rap. The whole claws and horns thing’s a little creepy. I’ll admit my own biases. But I work with a demon every day. Bark is way worse than their bite, in my opinion. Not that dragons are all bad. But I’ve got a Glock and they can eat me. I’m not that stupid.

If you encounter a dragon, what should you do?

Dragons again, huh? Well if they’re after you, run like hell and hope that works. If it doesn’t, hope like hell you’ve got someone with magic on the way. Maybe a lesser dragon you could take on hand to hand or with a normal gun, but I wouldn’t want to dance that dance if I didn’t have to. Lucky me, that’s what they give me a paycheck to do is dance that dance. If I don’t have a choice in the matter? Aim for the eyes.

Author Questions

How much do you plan ahead of time, vs. following the story where it leads?

I’m a big-time plotter. I like to have my entire roadmap laid out. But just like when you go on a road trip with me, I sometimes take a little detour, do something, and then swing back onto the track. While I enjoy writing off the cuff, from a sheer work and efficiency standpoint, I have to do a lot less work overall if I plan out before I write the first word.

Is there a fantasy trope that you would like to NEVER see again?

There are some general tropes I’d like to see gotten rid of, but specific to fantasy, if we could possibly never have an “I’m going to stop taking my anxiety/depression/etc meds” plotline in fantasy again, I would be so down for that. It’s super lazy and cliché to have “the drugs are blocking you from the magic.” And it’s also frankly quite harmful and stigmatizing. People use those medications to be able to live their actual lives and function. They don’t rob you of magic. They keep you from offing yourself. Give me a character who finally gets help, and because they’re finally able to breathe for a second, the magic reveals itself. Or just give me a magical world where sometimes people have to take SSRIs because they just need a little hand.

Do you have a personal motto or tag line?

For writing in particular, I have “Nobody else is going to do the work for you.” But in the larger life sense, I’ve always resonated quite strongly with a quote from, of all people, Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” I, and most other people, have opinions on her at this point, but that quote, often mis-attributed to Nelson Mandela, was one of those rare things that simply stopped me dead the first time I saw it. I have big issues connected to success. We don’t need to go into my personal psychology, here, but I always found that this quote could speak to me in a deep, halting way that lets me change my thinking and my actions, at least for a while.

Toxic Influence (Office of Preternatural Affairs #1)

Dashiel Rourke was never supposed to join the Office of Preternatural Affairs. He was nothing but a low-rung counterterrorism agent. A cog in the greater FBI machine. But when the poison gas attacks plaguing New York City turn out to be a little more magical than anyone expected…well, desperate times. And once he gets a lungful of that poison, it becomes personal.

Now he’s suited up with a magical sidearm, a seven-foot troll for a partner, and a whole lot of questions with not that many answers to go around. One thing he does know? Whoever or whatever is behind this mess, he’s not going to stop until he can take them down. Even if that means hanging out with elves and hags for a little while.

But Dash and the rest of the OPA don’t know just how deep this goes…or how deadly the endgame is. If you like high-stakes FBI drama and higher-stakes magic, check out Toxic Influence today.

The Author

Voss Foster lives in the middle of the Eastern Washington desert, where he writes science fiction and fantasy from inside a single-wide trailer. He is the author of the Evenstad Media Presents series, as well as the Office of Preternatural Affairs series. His short work is available from a variety of publications, including Vox.com, Flame Tree Publishing’s Heroic Fantasy Anthology, and the bestselling Alternative Truths Anthology. When he can be pried away from his keyboard, he can be found cooking, belly dancing, singing, and cuddling dogs, though rarely all at the same time. More information can be found at http://vossfoster.blogspot.com

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Today I’m excited to host my good friend, C. S. Boyack, and his latest e-book, Viral Blues. Over to you, Craig!

Thanks for inviting me over, Deborah. Authors always need a place to promote our wares. I’m promoting my newest book, Viral Blues.

This one is a paranormal tale, just in time for Halloween. My style is more dark humor than slasher, so if that’s your Halloween style, this one might not be what you’re looking for. If your style is more Sean of the Dead, Zombieland, and even Evil Dead, I’ve got a book I’d like to tell you about.

Viral Blues

Someone knows about the Hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

Viral Blues is my 13th book, and because it’s a paranormal tale, I published it on Friday the 13th. It seemed like a good bit of juju to court. I hope everyone will give Viral Blues a try.

About C. S. Boyack

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.


Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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Looking for some spooky reading around Hallowe’en? Allow me to remind you about my 99-cent e-books!


The Gellboar, urban fantasy novelette.

The Gellboar

The Holy Mothers have decreed that only women can be trusted with the awesome powers of sorcery. But Dan can no more live without magic than he could go without breathing. Disguised as a woman, he struggles to provide for his sickly daughter through illicit magic. But his life of lies has drawn a darker eye than that of the Holy Mothers…

Get it from Amazon or your favorite e-bookseller. It’s also available from libraries on Overdrive!




The Weight of Their Souls

The Weight of Their Souls, swords & sorcery novelette.

The Weight of Their Souls

The epic war is over, the great Enemy destroyed. A ragtag band of survivors makes their way home, only to discover there were survivors on the other side, too. And even a lesser evil from that vicious host can still be a deadly threat.

It’s swords against sorcery, with more than just their lives on the line. The travelers, who barely know each other, must summon the courage to face one more battle.

Get it from Amazon or your favorite e-bookseller. It’s also available from libraries on Overdrive!


Read them already? Please leave a review so other readers can enjoy them, too.

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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The Invisible Library is an urban fantasy/adventure series, wherein there is a great Library whose mission is collect and store dangerous books from multiple dimensions. These dimensions are arrayed in a spectrum between chaos and order. Chaos realms are dominated by fae, while order realms are ruled by dragons. In the eons-long war of dragons and fae, the Library remains neutral while attempting to preserve all the multiverse from annihilation. Sounds simple enough, right?

Ha ha ha.

The main character is Irene, a courageous Librarian who uses any means necessary to gather the requested books. For Irene, “any means” includes a magical language and a no-nonsense attitude. In the first book, she finds herself paired with Vale, a thinly disguised clone of Sherlock Holmes, who is native to the quasi-Victorian realm where Irene is working. She also has a handsome young assistant named Kai, who turns out to be a dragon in human guise. My only small complaint is that Kai spends almost no time in his natural dragonic form, because Cogman’s dragons are so impressive.

You can see the love triangle taking shape between Irene, Vale and Kai. At the same time, you can see Irene growing in strength and purpose. The connections she’s forging, with her team and a wider cast of characters, may indeed save the multiverse one day.

Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

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I’m super excited to be making a blog visit today. C. S. Boyack is hosting me for an episode of Lisa Burton Radio on his blog, Entertaining Stories.

Well, technically, it will be Dan Forster, the main character of my dark fantasy novelette The Gellboar, who will be visiting Boyack’s character, Lisa Burton. They’ll talk about Dan’s situation, what exactly a Gellboar is, and much more.

I hope you’ll stop by Entertaining Stories and leave your comments and questions. Cheers!

Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?.

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Here’s a fun debut novel that mashes up Chinese folklore, urban fantasy, comic book heroes and martial arts adventure in a lively package. The main character is Missy Masters, street magician and descendant of a famous super-hero, Mr. Mystic. Good old grandpa has been missing for a while when Missy suddenly inherits his powers. She can control shadows and travel through a mysterious Shadow Realm inhabited by demonic beings who really want a yummy human snack.

Missy attempts to take up her grandfather’s name and career, but discovers  how difficult the life can be. After barely escaping a super-battle, she heads out to China in hopes of finding the immortal dragon who once trained her grandfather. She does, and then becomes embroiled in the complicated dynamics of a dragon court where the most powerful beings have very little use for humans.

The plot braids together two stories, “then” (her years in China) and “now,” her life since returning to San Francisco. There’s plenty to enjoy in the martial-arts battles, scary-cool creatures from Chinese myth, a slightly scary super-hero organization, and the race to save the world from an evil dragon, Lung Di.

It’s a fun read, with lots of banter, moderate violence and sex. If you like urban fantasy or martial arts, this one is worth checking out.


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We return to the alt-future Los Angeles of Van Eekhout’s Daniel Blackland trilogy for the con of a lifetime and the finale. If you haven’t read these books, perhaps you should skip the rest of this post because of spoilers.








At the end of Pacific Fire, Daniel and his adopted son, Sam, were racing each other for the right to sacrifice their own lives in order to destroy the pacific firedrake created by a consortium of bad guys (and one not so bad). Which is, by the way, one of the best father/son scenes I’ve read in years. Sam won the dubious honor. His personality now inhabits a fire-breathing monster that roams the kingdom of Southern California torching neighborhoods because it can.

Daniel has gathered a posse to try and somehow get Sam out of the dragon’s body. They include old friends Moth, Cassandra, and Sam’s sort-of girlfriend Em. After a failed rescue attempt, guerilla fighters from the enemy kingdom of Northern California swoop in to abduct the firedrake. Now the race is on. Joined by the not-so-bad mage, Gabriel Argent, and his BFF, Max the magic-hound, Daniel heads north to get the one object that can save Sam.

This he does by impersonating his clone-brother, Paul, who met his fate at the end of Pacific Fire. To be fair, Paul tried to kill Daniel but Daniel turned the tables. Now Daniel has to navigate the treacherous waters of Paul’s life, including mentors, friends, lovers,  and Paul’s four-year-old daughter (a monstrosity in her own right). Not to mention the mother who left Daniel behind all those years ago. Virtually everyone is insanely ambitious, and some of them keep trying to kill him.

Meanwhile, Sam struggles and fails to stop the firedrake’s rampages. He encounters a young woman named Annabel, one of the original Hierarch’s numberless victims. Together they search for answers, penetrating the thickets of the dragon’s brain, only to confront their mutual worst nightmare. All this while Cassandra, Gabriel and Max face their own moments of decision between loyalty and justice.

As in previous books, there’s a lot of crazy magic and horrific references, leavened by snappy banter. The caper moves throughout. But this series is really about characters who lay it all on the line for family and friendship. Add in the pacific firedrake, and there’s not much more you could ask for.

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