Tag Archives: reading

A Tail of Two Kitties

(No, I will not apologize for that post title. ZERO REGRETS.)

Tomorrow we celebrate the release of Covenant (Immortal Soulless Book Four)*. It’s been a wild ride so far, and I’ve met lots of characters I’ve fallen completely in love with, many of them unexpected guests at this particular party. But there’s one who has a very special place in my heart.

The series takes place in Newfoundland, though it’s a darker and more dangerous version of the island than what you see in the tourism videos. I use a mixture of real and invented locations, but every character save for one is entirely made-up. And that one character is fictional… but also not.

Is that confusing? Let me start over with the story of how a blotchy-faced kitten from the SPCA ended up on the pages of a book (and with his claws sunk firmly into the author’s heart).

It all started with a Facebook post. Two kittens alone in the wild, brought in to a shelter. Brothers. Adorable, as kittens tend to be. I saw the post and immediately wanted to adopt the one they were calling “Jiggy”, though it seemed obvious to me that that wasn’t his name. I sent the post to my husband, half-jokingly saying that we could name the black-and-white kitten Rorschach.

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WOOKIT DEM.

Was it unfair to play to his comic book-loving heart with a reference to Watchmen? Maybe. But in my defence I knew we weren’t going to adopt him. We already had two cats and two dogs, and a half-wild kitten seemed like a huge challenge we didn’t need. It was just a cute joke.

But I couldn’t forget that odd little face.

At the time I was in the process of revising Resurrection, book one of the Immortal Soulless series. And suddenly there he was. This kitten I’d seen in that Facebook post was transported to a fictional version of St. John’s. He escorted my protagonist into a diner, jumped up onto the counter, and made himself at home.

Now, the version in the story wasn’t exactly the kitten I’d seen in the photo. Rory (as he’s known in the story) was an older cat. He wasn’t rescued as a kitten and offered a good home. No, this guy was older and larger. Wiser. Tougher. Beat-up. A bit like this, looking like he should have a tiny cigar hanging out of his mouth:

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Sketchy character, that one

A cat who’s seen a lot, who’s suspicious of strangers, especially those who look human but aren’t quite what they seem.

I liked having him in the book. He fit. It worked.

And then my in-laws adopted his brother, and Jiggy the hard-to-rehome kitten was left ALONE AT THE SPCA.

Long story short: I drove out a few days later and came home with the kitten who’d already found his way onto the pages of my book.

But here’s where it gets funny.

That big, battle-scarred, streetwise cat from the book? He’s still entirely fictional in everything but his coat markings.

Because here’s what we ended up with:

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“BONJOUR, HOOMAN!”

Maybe he was the runt of the litter, or maybe I spoiled him so hard that he decided to stay a kitten forever. Whatever the case, Rorschach never went through the “huge feet, long legs” stage, and he never got particularly big for a male cat. He’s almost two years old now and isn’t nearly as large as his brother.

And he’s… different.

The kitten we never expected to come out of his shell now follows me around and talks to me when I get up in the morning. He hollers for me if he can’t find me in the evening. He likes odd foods and will try to steal your blueberry muffin if you don’t keep a close eye on it. He doesn’t blink much, which makes him look a bit nutty. He races around the house making strange noises, and if he escapes out the back door he inevitably freaks out and ends up stuck under the back deck.

Not exactly the cat who ended up in that first book, but an entertaining one nonetheless.

Rory only appeared in Resurrection once, and then only on a few pages. I honestly expected that to be the end of him. But if you’ve been reading the series you know that Imogen (the diner waitress who’s “his” human) showed up again at the end of Atonement. That was a surprise for me, but not as much of a surprise as what came next.

Imogen came back again in Covanant, and she turned out to be far more than she seemed at first glance. And Rory? Well, I can’t say he’s been thrilled about it, but he’s come along for the ride, and he even played a part in unravelling the mystery that plays out on the pages of Covenant.

…which means that a chance encounter with an SPCA Facebook post affected the course of this book series.

Does the real Rorschach know or care? I doubt it. I’ve told him, but I don’t think he was listening. He was too busy knocking stuff off the mantel and bothering his big sisters.

He may have had a rough start in life, but the real-life counterpart of a badass fictional feline seems quite pleased with his own happy ending.

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*knocks sea glass onto floor*

 


Resurrection is available for a limited time for 99 cents in ebook! Click here for links.

COVER1WITHTEXT

 

Since the night of Aviva’s murder she’s been forced to accept a new reality—burned by sunlight, dependent on the blood of the living, searching for her place in a dark world she didn’t believe existed until she awoke as a vampire. When rogue vampires arrive in her clan’s territory and threaten the uneasy peace of the supernatural world, Aviva finds strength in darkness and discovers gifts that are considered shameful in the eyes of vampire society. Powers like hers are dangerous, but they might be her only hope of standing between a pack of ruthless killers and the unsuspecting humans they prey on.  


 

*I think most of you know by now that Tanith Frost is my pen name. It’s not much of a secret.

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COVER REVEAL: Covenant by Tanith Frost

Covenant (Immortal Soulless Book Four)
Tanith Frost

Immortal-Soulless-Covenant-Kindle

Tame the dragon. Close the rift. Don’t trust anyone.

Aviva’s new assignment sounds like something out of a fairy tale, except this time the damsel has been tasked with guarding the dragon. Though he’s plenty to deal with all on his own, it soon becomes clear that this monster trapped in human form is the least of her worries. The open rift that brought him to Earth threatens the veil of secrecy protecting the supernatural world, and the vampires of Maelstrom need to find it before they’re exposed. Worse, it seems that they may not be the only ones hunting for it. If the strange power that flows through the rift falls into the wrong hands, it could spell disaster for Aviva and everyone she cares about.

With only a shifty dragon-man and an inexperienced enchantress by her side, Aviva races to find the rift before the enemy does—a task that only grows more challenging when she uncovers a trail of deception and lies that leads straight to the highest ranks of her clan.

(Cover art by Jessica Allain)

The Immortal Soulless series continues in Covenant, and it’s only getting more exciting! Don’t forget that book one, Resurrection, is available for 99 cents (ebook format), but only for a limited time. That makes this the perfect time to start your summer reading binge! If you like your vampires bloodthirsty, your villains murderous, your shifters too hot for anyone’s own good, and your urban fantasy soaked in dark powers and deep mysteries, this just might be the series for you.

(Bonus points if you like your paranormal activities happening in Canada!)

Have fun… and prepare to lose some sleep. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Resurrection links

Covenant pre-order links

 

 

 


Magic or Monsters Giveaway!

It’s February, and that means it’s almost my birthday!

Last year I gave newsletter subscribers a present for my birthday–a brand new, exclusive novella. That was loads of fun, but I’ve been busy with other projects this year and didn’t have time to write a new story. Still, I wanted to give something away for my birthday.

And that brings us to the “Magic or Monsters” giveaway!

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This giveaway is closes at midnight on February 22 so I can pick the winner on the 23rd, so be sure to enter soon!

The winner’s going to have a tough choice to make: Magic, or monsters? One randomly selected winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Bound OR Into Elurien, along with an ornament that goes with the story (a golden feather for Bound, a key for Into Elurien), PLUS a book-themed pinback button and a gift pouch of my favourite writing tea* to cozy up with while reading.

This giveaway is open internationally (please note that shipping times will vary by destination), and is not endorsed/sponsored by any entity other than myself.

Here’s the rafflecopter link to enter.** Good luck!

(Need more information on the books so you’ll know which to choose if you’ll win? You can find information on all of my books at my website, katesparkes.com)

 

——

*Glitter and Gold from David’s Tea. So magical.

**Entries available for newsletter subscribers, tweeting about the giveaway, or just for visiting my Facebook page.


AVAILABLE NOW: Atonement (Immortal Soulless Book Three)

AVAILABLE NOW!

Atonement-Kindle

Amazon.com (available for purchase or through Kindle Unlimited)

Amazon.ca

Add it on Goodreads

Among the dregs of vampire society, there’s no safety in numbers.

It’s been a year since the vampires of Maelstrom threw Aviva to the wolves. When her next assignment arrives, it’s clear that her elders haven’t forgiven her past sins. She’s to take a position watching over the clan’s weakest members: the old vampires who can’t be trusted to keep the supernatural world’s secrets. Locked away in a crumbling home by the ocean, they exist in isolation, nearly forgotten by the world. It’s a boring job, an assignment more insulting than her placement with the werewolves, and a terrifying warning of where she could end up if she doesn’t change her ways.

Aviva is determined to keep her head down, prove herself, and atone for her mistakes. But when a group of vampire hunters calling themselves the Blood Defenders attacks the home, Aviva has no choice but to step into her role as guardian and hit the road with a group of misfit vampires who are as much a danger to the world as they are to themselves.

When the Blood Defenders shatter the heart of Maelstrom’s power and leave them with nowhere to run, Aviva and her band of monsters have no choice but to stand and fight to save a world that despises them.

Don’t forget that book one, Resurrection, is currently available for just 99 cents on Amazon! This is a limited time offer, so be grab it soon!

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

COVER1WITHTEXT

Her gifts will be her salvation… or her downfall.

No one gave Aviva a choice about becoming a monster. Since the night of her murder she’s been forced to accept a new reality—burned by sunlight, dependent on the blood of the living, searching for her place in a dark world she didn’t believe existed until she awoke as a vampire.

She’s still struggling to accept her fate and master her dark powers when the news arrives: rogue vampires are torturing and killing human residents of the city, threatening the secrecy and uneasy peace of the supernatural world.

As the hunt begins, Aviva’s deliciously distracting trainer, Daniel, helps her seek out her unique strengths. The gifts she discovers are shameful in the eyes of vampire society—and they may be the only thing standing between a pack of ruthless paranormal killers and the unsuspecting humans they prey on.

(All cover art by Jessica Allain)


Coming Soon from Sparrowcat Press…

I know some of you have been waiting. I’ll have the cover/description reveal here on June 1. In the meantime, check out TanithFrost.com for details, and sign up for her newsletter to get a generous four chapter sample of Resurrection! If you’re a fan of Urban Fantasy, vampires, steamy romance, and a whole lot of blood-spattered suspense, you’ll want to check this one out.

immortal soulless resurrection cover reveal teaser dark


Newsletter Exclusive Paperback Giveaway!

I know. You get a ton of email, right? It’s easy to miss stuff in the absolute flood of newsletters, ads, and “wait, when did I even sign up for that?”

But this Friday, you’ll want to watch for an email from me. My newsletter subscribers will find out how to enter to win a signed paperback copy of Bound, plus a gold feather ornament and a “create a little magic every day” bookmark. It’s going to be really easy to enter, chosen totally at random, open internationally, and completely exclusive to subscribers.

If you’re on the list and don’t receive the email, be sure to check your junk folder (or your promo folder if you’re with Gmail and have to put up with that little newsletter-hiding system).

Good luck!

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April Wrap-Up

So… April is over. How did that happen? It seems like I was just setting my goals for this month, and WHOOSH. Gone. Time to set some for May.

Crazy.

I know things have been quiet here while I’ve been focusing on my actual writing work, but here’s a quick recap.

LIFE

Drank a lot of coffee. Drank even more tea. Had a CT scan on my head. Bought myself flowers (not related to any of the previous, but it happened).

My province’s budget came out, and includes massive library closures, larger class sizes in schools, and an additional 10% tax on books (when we’re already the Canadian province with the lowest literacy rate, SWEET DEAL). I get that we need money, but the short-sightedness of all of this blew my mind, and there may have been some ranting on Twitter. *cough*

April is still winter here, even though everyone always forgets that and expects it to be spring. Nine degrees one day, snow the next. At least it’s pretty.

I started Couch to 5K training this month, and just finished week three this morning. What I’m doing now wouldn’t seem like a challenge to most runners, but it is for me. I like the feeling of pushing myself through the hard parts and getting the feeling of accomplishment that comes with that. Of course, I’ve thought of a bunch of ways this is like becoming a writer, but that’s a whole other post.

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Me and my running buddy after week 3, day 1. The snow caught up with us. 🙂

 

READING

According to Goodreads, I read/finished four books in April. The first was You Are A Badass, which was a quick, easy introduction to a lot of self-improvement stuff like overcoming hang-ups (big thing for me, still working on that whole fear of success deal), setting goals, affirmations, visualizations, etc. The casual tone was nice, save for the use of “rill” instead of “really,” which made me want to set the book down and back away slowly. I also read Nail Your Story by Monica Leonelle (interesting take on story structure with ideas and worksheets I’ll be using in the future), The Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle (fun story a friend sent me ages ago and I finally had time to read), and The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (lovely adventure/fantasy-with-no-magic romance. Slow to start, amazing twists and excitement by the end. Recommended to anyone who likes my stuff). Oh. I also read Hard as Ice by Victoria Barbour (another Newfoundland author). I liked Against Her Rules a little better, but it was a fun romance read with the same NL vibe as that one. I need to add that to GR…

Next up: Beloved by Toni Morrison. I’m not sure I’m ready for this one, but I’m trying to alternate in-my-genres books and not-my-genres books, and this is next up for lit fic. Wish me and my tear ducts luck.

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Isn’t this cover adorable?

WRITING

April was an interesting month for my work. Into Elurien, my 50K* contribution to a series of stand-alone novellas by bestselling indie Fantasy Romance authors, is going fabulously. It came back from edits needing a little work, but that went quickly, and it’s now out with beta readers. It’s getting amazing feedback from readers so far. One who loved the Bound Trilogy said she thinks she might like this story even better. I’m completely in love with the characters in this one, and will be sad to let them go. I didn’t even know them back in January, and now we’re almost finished… crazy. But it’s very ready to go, and I can’t wait to see it out in the world.

My other project, The Phoenix Game (working title), is proving a bit more challenging. I didn’t do enough ground-work before I started drafting, because I was trying to take advantage of the weeks I had while IE was out with alpha readers and with my editor. I didn’t get to know the characters well enough, didn’t explore the themes and ideas I’m working with in enough depth, and while my vision for the story is massive and beautiful, the mechanics weren’t quite in place yet. Add to that the challenge of writing in third person when I prefer first (for reading and writing), and what I’ve got so far is 30K words of a book with potential, but that doesn’t have the momentum and keen edge that I want.

So I’m taking a break and reading a bit more on story structure before I continue. Yes, it’s just a first draft, but when I know I’ve made a wrong turn I like to study the map and fix it instead of driving off cliffs, you know?

By the time IE is finished and up for pre-order (May 15), I should be ready to focus entirely on this one. It’s the most challenging book I’ve ever written. A YA story with a potentially complicated structure involving the past and the future (as well as gods and mortals), a deep backstory, themes that I’m still conflicted about myself, and a big cast of characters who are all likely to demand more page time than I can realistically give them when my goal is to keep it around 100K words after edits.

And that’s exciting. It’s wonderful. And it’s a little intimidating when the kids’ summer vacation is just around the corner and I have edits booked for January.

But I think writing is like a game. You level up with each finished project, and while I couldn’t have done this one justice a few years ago, I’m ready  for this challenge now.

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So that’s my April. I’m going to go plan for May now. That will include lots of fun stuff for my readers. Not just pre-orders, but teasers, chapter reveals, a character reveal or two, and (if I can find time), maybe some videos for me to post here and on YouTube as I continue to step outside of my comfort zone and do new things.

Anything is possible.

What were your highlights this month?

*I know, 50K is technically a novel, but series guidelines permit it. Consider it extra value, as it’ll be the same price it would have been at 30K words. 😉

 

 


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