Deadly Ever After

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Accidental Themes & Being Human: a Guest Post by Cassandra Page

TODAY’S BREW: Whatever Sammy wants. He’s sad school is out.

By Julie

I’m a character writer and editor. I strongly feel that your story’s plot can be the most original and exciting thing to grace the book pages since The Bible and if the character doesn’t drive the story and make you feel, nobody will care. Coincidentally, your plot can be very straightforward and something that’s “been done” a million times, but if the character is complex and rich, that keeps a person reading. Of course, the gold star we all search for is the melding of both things, which requires a lot of research, a lot of editing, and a lot of heart.

This is something our good friend and gifted author, Cass Page, knows a little something about. So I asked her to tell me about how Isla of ISLA’S INHERITANCE came to be such a thoughtful and exciting character. (Also, follow Cass on Twitter https://twitter.com/CassandraPage01 and enter to win an e copy of the book! Tweet #IslasInheritance!)

Accidental themes and being human

by Cassandra Page

I am an unrepentant geek. I play computer games, have a crush on the Doctor and was sorted into Ravenclaw. My geek t-shirt collection is formidable, my coat is kind of a brownish colour, and I role-play—including the bastion of geek awesome that is Dungeons and Dragons. Before I had my son, I used to live action role-play too, dressing up as a vampire or werewolf and physically acting out my characters.

All that role-playing—especially the live-action stuff, which by its nature is immersive—gave me a great foundation on which to build when I sat down to write my first novel, Isla’s Inheritance. Coming up with role-playing characters in games you’re invested in is a lot like coming up with characters for a novel. In both cases, you can spend months or years getting inside the character’s head, thinking about what drives them, living with them through their triumphs and their failures. When my first live-action character died, I cried for days. It was like losing a friend. Like the world’s most epic book hangover.

Of all the characters I’ve created, Isla from my Isla’s Inheritance trilogy is one of my favourites. She’s not as crazy as the berserker teenage vampire I had, and she doesn’t worship dark gods like the Egyptian priestess who wanted to sacrifice the world to Set. She can’t shoot an arrow through someone’s eye at ridiculous distances like my ranger, and she’s never run a brothel while looking like an eighteenth century school mistress.

What Isla has is heart.

I didn’t set out at the beginning of the series with a theme like a compass in my hand, partly because it was my first novel and I was too busy worrying about whether I’d packed water and if my shoes were too tight! I knew I wanted to tell a coming-of-age tale, explore how a sceptical seventeen year old copes with discovering the father she adores has been keeping secrets from her that will change her life.

And I wanted to have fun doing it.

It only slowly dawned on me, after I’d finished the second book in the series and was plotting the third, that the underlying theme to Isla’s story was being human. The discovery reminded me of Stephen King’s observation in On Writing that the story is like a dinosaur’s bones, just waiting to be unearthed.

There are so many books with paranormal protagonists out there; I read a lot of urban fantasy, and I love a good story about people who think the world is normal discovering there is so much more to it. Discovering they have hidden superpowers.

Isla is a half-fae whose powers manifest largely as empathy. Together, she and I got to explore morality, love and what she is willing to sacrifice of herself to save those she cares about. We got to see what makes a person who they are. My books are about people struggling with what it is to be human and other, and to become an adult, all at the same time. And that’s kind of cool.

Although maybe not for my characters. 😉

Three covers together

About Cassandra 

Cassandra

Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge, and loves many genres—although urban fantasy is her favourite. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

All three books in the ISLA’S INHERITANCE trilogy are now available: http://cassandrapage.com/islas-inheritance/

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Introducing ISLA’S INHERITANCE by Cassandra Page!

TODAY’S BREW: I’ve filled my cheeks with pumpkin spice and that’s going to be all day long.

By Julie

I’ve been waiting for this book for what seems like the length of Hulk Hogan’s longest hair. (It’s super early. Check in later for a better metaphor later. A betaphor.) I’m very excited to see my good friend Cassandra Page’s gorgeous book come to life finally!

Isla

HOW STUNNING?!

Isla was content to let her father keep his secrets, but now she can’t stand the touch of iron and her dreams are developing a life of their own. She must discover the truth — before it’s too late.

Seventeen-year-old Isla Blackman only agrees to participate in a Halloween party séance because Dominic, an old crush, wants to. She is sure nothing will happen when they try to contact the spirit of her mother. But the séance receives a chilling reply.

SHE IS NOT DEAD.

Isla doesn’t want to upset her father by prying into the family history he never discusses. When the mysterious and unearthly Jack offers to help her discover the truth, Isla must master her new abilities to protect her loved ones from enemies she never knew existed.

Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

OH, WHAT YOU WANT AN EXCERPT NOW? *EYE ROLL*

“Okay.” Emma rolled up her sleeves so they wouldn’t trail on the table. She slid the upturned scotch glass so the pentagram was centred within it. “Everyone put a finger on top of the glass.” We did. “Ready?” Without waiting for a response, Emma tilted her face towards the ceiling. “Is anyone there?”

Nothing happened.

“Is anyone there?” Emma asked again. She didn’t seem worried. I glanced at Dominic, whose face had fallen.

“Is anyone there?”

The glass began to inch along the surface of the paper, picking up speed as it slid towards the YES. Tamara gasped, going white under the makeup; that pale, she looked like a porcelain doll. Emma smiled, enjoying her moment. The guys watched with wide eyes.

“Welcome.” Emma smiled. “What’s your name?”

I studied the glass in its nest of fingers as it spelled out D-A-N-I-E-L. My eyes narrowed, searching for the whitening around the fingertips that would indicate someone was pushing the glass. Was that why Emma had turned off the light—to hide the tells?

“Hello, Daniel.” Emma smiled again. “Daniel’s my spirit guide,” she added in an aside to the rest of us as the glass slid across to HELLO.

I watched with a frown as the others asked questions of Daniel: where he was born, how he’d died, that sort of thing. I didn’t pay much attention; I was busy trying to see how the trick was being performed. It was a normal scotch glass and, if anyone was pushing it, they were being discrete. Emma was good.

Finally, she looked around the table at us. “Daniel can act as our intermediary to the afterlife, protecting us from evil spirits. Do any of you have relatives who have passed over that you’d like to contact? A grandparent or anything?”

“My grandpop’s dead, but he was an old bastard.” Kurt laughed. “I don’t want to talk to him. Besides, your Daniel wouldn’t let him through if he doesn’t like evil spirits.”

Tamara shook her head; Dominic turned to me. “Isn’t your mother dead?” he asked softly.

“Yes.” I looked away. I’d never known my mother. She’d died giving birth to me. But I didn’t like the idea of turning her into a parlour trick.

Dominic saw my hesitation and looked sheepish. Emma brightened, though. “What was her name?” she asked.

“Melanie,” I said reluctantly. “Melanie Blackman.”

“Hey, we don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” Dominic said.

“It’s all right,” I said. It wasn’t real. It didn’t matter.

“Melanie Blackman, are you there?” Three times Emma repeated the call, and, as before, the glass didn’t move until the third time.

NO.

“No?” Emma looked surprised—which was itself surprising, given she was the one moving the glass. “Melanie Blackman, are you there?”

The glass circled away from the word and back again, rattling across the paper.

NO.

Obviously that wasn’t meant to happen. “Daniel, are you there?”

There was a long delay while I imagined a sheet-covered ghost handing over the receiver of a telephone. YES.

“Why isn’t Melanie Blackman there?”

It wasn’t real. It didn’t matter. But I still held my breath as I watched the glass spell out the reply.

S-H-E [SPACE] I-S [SPACE] N-O-T [SPACE] D-E-A-D.

I KNOW, RIGHT? Cassandra Page is a wonderful writer, friend and human being, and she’s so wonderful she’ll let you enter to win a $50 Amazon gift caaaard! (insert Oprah voice)

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Author bio

Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — which is ironic, as she’s allergic to cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

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