Tuesday, August 30, 2011

From Assassins to Nuns

Today I have a special post for you, with Excerpt and all!

Today is release day for Skyla Dawn Cameron, with her second book in The Demons of Oblivion series ~ Hunter.  A story of a Demon hunting Nun. 

Skyla talks today of writing Assassins then straight to a Nun!

THEN!  There is one amazing Excerpt at the end of the post.  Man, that woman ends in a very tight spot!  I need to read more!  Please welcome with the warmth you always do, Skyla Dawn Cameron!  (I believe there are drinks on the table, vodka and more. Do enjoy!)

From Assassins to Nuns

“I could so ‘hear’ you telling the story. Her dialogue sounds like stuff you’d say.”

Anyone who knows me and reads Bloodlines inevitably says this. My mother has. My co-worker has. My friends have. My voice comes through in a lot of my characters, but Zara Lain seems to be the one who most sounds like the Skyla people know. I don’t actually know whether to be offended or not—I’m not as quick-witted or funny as Zara, so either they think I’m funnier than I am (I’m okay with this), or they don’t really listen to me to begin with so have no idea I’m not that funny (I am less okay with this). But I digress.

Stepping into Zara’s skin to write from her point of view is like hanging out with an old friend who you know so well, you can finish each other’s sentences.

Zara, however, is nothing like me. She’s confident to the point of arrogant (I lean toward insecure). She’s promiscuous (talking to boys frightens me). She kills people for a living (okay, so do I, but they’re not real people...usually). She can drive and has flashy cars (I can’t even ride a bike). She’s aggressive and extroverted (I’m painfully shy). She doesn’t have five cats (*cough*).

Which could be why I can go from writing a snarky vampire assassin in one book to a demon-hunting nun in the next.

Ryann, the narrator of today’s release Hunter, sounds nothing like me. She doesn’t swear. She doesn’t snark. She’s religious. She navigates public transportation far more successfully than I ever have. She can step in a church without bursting into flame. She also doesn’t have five cats (*cough*).

I’m often asked what made me decide to switch to a different narrator for the second book in the series rather than continue with Zara Lain immediately after Bloodlines. And...actually, I ask myself this as well, as most readers get a kick out of Zara and I now worry they’re going to hate Ryann because she’s nothing like her, and then my series will tank, and then I won’t be able to publish another Zara book (also, neither of my heroines are paranoid; clearly I am).

But where’s the fun in telling the same story twice? Where’s the challenge in taking the formula that worked the first time and just doing it all over again? I think there’s a danger with any long running series. Characters become stale. Storylines become repetitive. I’m not naming names, but I’m sure y’all can think of a few.

I’m nowhere near that point with Zara and I have many more stories of hers to tell, but I want readers eagerly anticipating her next book, not dreading it. I want to have a series with many fleshed out characters who have interlocking stories, not just a repeat of Snark and Violence with Zara Lain. And I want to step out of my comfort zone as a writer and spend 100K words with someone who is nothing like me.

Hunter was a harder book to write. Ryann makes choices I wouldn’t. She believes things I don’t. And, for better or worse, she’s entirely different from Zara, like Hunter is entirely different from Bloodlines, which may disappoint some readers while pleasing others. But it isn’t that difficult to step from writing an assassin to writing a nun when you, the writer, isn’t much like either of them.

One of these days I’m determined to write a crazy cat lady, though.

About the Author: Award-winning author Skyla Dawn Cameron has been writing approximately forever. Her early storytelling days were spent acting out strange horror/fairy tales with the help of her many dolls, and little has changed except that she now keeps those stories on paper. She signed her first book contract at age twenty-one for River, a unique werewolf tale, which was released to critical and reader praise alike and won her the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy. She now has multiple series on the go to keep her busy, which is great for her attention deficit disorder.

Skyla lives in Southern Ontario where she dabbles in art, is an avid gamer, and watches Buffy reruns. She’s naturally brunette, occasionally a redhead, and will probably go blonde again soon. If she ever becomes a grown-up, she wants to run her own pub, as well as become world dictator. You can visit her on the web at http://www.skyladawncameron.com/ for free fiction, book news, a community forum, and tons of other totally awesome stuff.

She also has five cats. Here’s the newest:

Hunter jacket copy:

Sometimes natural predators need to be kept in check, and for that, there's Ryann David. Orphaned as an infant and raised by an exiled branch of the church to become a warrior for God, she and her fellow members of Venatores Daemonum have trained all their lives with only one purpose: destroy all demons in the mortal realm.

But when Ryann and her team are sent to hunt down a vampire who has killed one of their own, a new world of danger, betrayal, and conspiracy greets her. Allied with an irreverent psychic detective and the very monsters she was raised to kill, Ryann will risk everything—her life, her faith, and her heart—in pursuit of the truth as the black and white existence she knew turns a murky shade of gray.


Hunter Excerpt (exclusive)

Sweat beaded on my forehead, twisted with my hair, and slithered down my back. I’d shuck off my hoodie but it had kept my arms from being scraped to pieces when I fell before, and I’d likely fall again—plus no way was I taking time to remove the katana. I flexed my fingers, aware of the stake on the ground in my peripheral vision.

I braced. Studied him. Waited. He shifted his weight and movement flickered in his shoulder seconds before two punches came my way. I caught his wrists, directing each blow to the side. When he wasn’t catching me off guard, he was sloppy, either oblivious to his tells or not caring—and it could be the latter, as he was a vampire and few could compete with them so he relied on strength and speed only.

His left leg tensed, weight shifting again. When the kick came, I was prepared; I ducked and spun, pulling the katana from its sheath, feet kissing the cement as I danced around him. The blade came down, artfully slicing through his left hamstring.

The vampire howled as he tumbled forward, and blood sprayed as I cut the hamstring of his right leg next.

He had strength and speed, yes, but I had skill and now he wouldn’t be running far.

A backhand swipe I didn’t see coming struck me across the face, snapping my head to the side so hard my ears rang. I stumbled. Fought to right myself. An instant later, pain pierced my leg as he latched on, teeth sinking into flesh just above my knee. Terror spiked adrenalin through my veins and my heart knocked against my ribs at the sight of the bloodsucker crouched there, bleeding, feeding off of me while I forgot the most important lesson: they didn’t need working legs to be deadly.

I yelped even as I told myself not to—even as I remembered this was little more than a wild animal who would be incited to do worse by any weakness I showed. Blood pooled on the grimy ground around us but it hadn’t slowed him down; he could no longer stand but his teeth tore into my flesh again. I flexed my grip on the katana, swung it up, then he let my leg go and gave me a hard shove.

Balance left me and I dropped on my back, hard, barking my elbows on cement.

And then he was on me, pinning me to the alleyway floor that stank of garbage and urine. Fingers locked on my wrists, squeezing; my katana was lost to me, fallen somewhere as the stake had. His mouth opened, dark and gaping but for those horrible teeth that shone white. I struggled but my legs were beneath his, my arms restrained up near my head. Panic rose, clawing up my throat.

As he neared me, I swung my head forward, the hard bone of my forehead striking his nose which broke with a crack.

Now my head thundered with pain and hot blood sprayed across my face, but I’d broken his attention on my neck. His grip on my wrists tightened and he returned my head butt, smacking my forehead harder than I’d hit him. White hot stars played over my blurry vision, pain shooting straight down my neck when the back of my head bumped the pavement.

I shuddered at the feel of his tongue, warm and wet, dragging up my cheek, and he nipped at my ear.

“Mmm, I like the taste of you,” came his voice, dark and thick all around me, drowning me in terror. “Is it true the blood of a virgin nun is sweeter than all others?”

Dear God, please, dear Lord, I... I couldn’t even form a prayer, tears burning my eyes and tremors rocking me bone deep.

His teeth nicked my shoulder and I let out a helpless, terrified cry that built in my chest before rising, rising, to spill past my lips.


Thank you Skyla for stopping by the blog today!  And man, I want the rest that goes with that excerpt.  She is in one tight position there and I want to know what happens!  :) Thank you for the great post.  That kitten is just adorable.

So, Are you curious about the books?  Well, go check them out:
Skyla's Site and Blog
Skyla's Books (on her site)
Skyla on Twitter


  1. Okay, Mel's gone. Who brought the tequila? *puts on music*

  2. Great post...oh and mel is gone?
    I got the tequila shots!

  3. Woohoo! Tequila!

    Who was picking up the male strippers?

  4. This sounds like a really interesting book. I've never read an urban fantasy before featuring a nun. Though I still need to get a hold of the first book in the series.

  5. Read everything up to the excerpt, don't like reading those. I'm looking forward to sampling this series at some point, from all I've been hearing about it, it sounds pretty cool.

    Was actually at Borders yesterday and was hoping to see a copy of this to get it there, but it was a longshot at best.

    Don't know when yet, but for sure giving it a shot in the near future. If only just so I can get Mel off my back.

    Good luck Skyla.

  6. Fabulous post! I LOVED Bloodlines and cannot WAIT to get Hunter!! "I'm too shy to say this to a boy" made me giggle. That's why reading Zara is fun, because we'd all like to talk like her and have her swagger :P I look forward to reading Ryann's POV!

  7. Thank you Nina, Simcha, and Bastard!

    Pamela--I do hope you enjoy Hunter. When I get my head on straight tomorrow, I'm going to try to get review copies out.

    Uh, Mel...about that favourite lamp of yours...*cough* *shuffles beer bottles behind the couch*

  8. From Assassins to Nuns - what an amazing title for a great post. There's a lot of talk about Hunter out there so thanks for sharing with us.

  9. Tequilla!?! That's the one I asked you all to stay away from! lol. Well, good think I stashed away to secret hidden bottle for my self. Right here in the ca... WHAT! You all found that one too! Geez, I really missed one hell of a party here.

    Male Strippers! Oh, look I see one still sleeping in the corner. Hmm, gots to go wake him up.... ;D

    Oh, Skyla. Don't worry about the lamp. The dogs broke it some time ago, I was tring to make it look good, but um... well... looks like it's gonzo's. ;) he he. That just means I get to go shopping again! Yeah!

  10. Blodeuedd - Thank you for stopping by! :) Hope you enjoyed the post. And I've tormented you enough with the series yet. ;D

    Nina - So glad you enjoyed this post. One great thing about the books thus far, even though there are characters that criss cross Skyla has set the books up so you don't have to read the first book to read this one. But I really enjoyed the first one, so I ]ould. :) I'm getting ready to read Hunter now.

    Simcha - So glad you like the sounds of this book! :) I really enjoyed the first book. And the neat thing with this series thus far is Skyla has different narrators so you probably wouldn't have to read the first book to
    ead this one. I'm getting ready to read Hunter now. :)

    Bastard - I here you on the excerpts. I don't always read them myself. lol. :) Oh, one of these days I'll stop hounding you about the series. lol. (sorry) ;D Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the post.

    Pamela {Spaz} - Oh Thank you! So glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post. lol. Zara is to fun with these lines. I wish I could be as quick and witty as her too. And I'm excited to read of Ryann too.

    Petty Witter - Oh wow. So excited to hear the buzz is out on Hunter. :) And so glad you stopped by and enjoyed to post. :)

  11. Skyla I have to thank you for taking the time to stop by here and bring, er, hold down the fort here. ;D And I have to say those cabana boys must have been working double time to clean up! The place looks spotless and amazing. Um, except for that half naked, oh my! um, man laying behind the couch. Did you for get to take something, or someone home? ;D lol! Thank you!!!

  12. ROFL! I loved this post and I love the snarkiness. I really need to pick this one up.

    Btw, Sorry Mel... I brought the strippers. I did save one for you. Oh and a shot as well. ;)

  13. Oh hunny, we left that cabana boy behind just for you. I locked your hubby out--you've got time to watch a quick strip tease.

  14. Melissa (Books&Things) - lol. So glad you enjoyed the post! :) And you are to kind. I think I could use that shot now. ;D

    Skyla - lol. Thank you! and glad you locked the hubby out for me. ;D


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