by Anna Campbell
We love debut authors here in the lair and I'm delighted to introduce a very talented new author who I met for an uproarious lunch a couple of RWAs ago (she's a friend of Louisa's - should be recommendation enough, huh?). Lexi's huge fun in person so I wasn't remotely surprised when I heard she'd translated that funny, snarky humor into a three-book deal with Kensington Brava.
You can find out more about Lexi at her website: www.lexigeorge.com
Here's the blurb for DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE which is out this month:
A warrior, a demon, and the girl next door…
Looking For Trouble...
Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, ‘cause she’s not looking for a man. Mama’s wrong. Addy has looked. There’s just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown. Until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior from—well, not from around here, that’s for sure. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he’s from another dimension.
Addy couldn’t care less where he’s from. He’s gorgeous. Serious muscles. Disturbing green eyes. Brand really gets her going. Too bad he’s a whack job. Says he’s come to rescue her from a demon. Puh-lease. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quite streets of Hannah. Her mortal enemy Meredith, otherwise known as the Death Starr, breaks out in a severe and inexplicable case of butt boils. Addy might not know what’s going on, but she definitely wants a certain sexy demon hunter by her side when it all goes down…
So without more ado, here's Lexi!
Lexi, welcome to the Bandits and huge congratulations on the release of your debut paranormal romance DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE. Can you tell us about this story?
Small town florist Addy Corwin is out running with her dog one night when she is attacked and left for dead. She is saved by Brand Dalvahni, six-foot-four inches of hard-muscled yummy. Opposites attract and, from the start, Addy is irresistibly drawn to Brand. Says he’s an immortal demon hunter and that he’s come to rescue Addy from the rogue demon that marked her.
Demons and demon hunters in boring little Hannah, Alabama? Pul-leeze!
But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quiet streets of Hannah. Woo woo is one thing, but what really has Addy rattled is her reaction to Brand. She goes into hormonal meltdown every time the handsome warrior comes near. And that’s not her only problem. Addy's encounter with the demon has changed her, giving her powers of her own, not to mention a startling new hair-do.
Her cosmetological troubles are nothing compared to the extreme make-over Brand gets when he meets Addy, the one female in ten thousand years who can make him forget that he’s a warrior and remember he’s a man. While Brand struggles to protect Addy from the evil creature on her trail, a demon of a different sort stalks the unsuspecting warrior: Addy’s matchmaking mama.
Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE. The scene opens in Addy’s living room where she awakes, dizzy and confused, on her couch after being attacked by a demon. Surely she imagined the whole thing? To her surprise and astonishment, the supernaturally gorgeous guy from the woods is real. And he’s in her house! She tells him to leave and he refuses. Says he’s there to protect her from the djegrali—his word for 'demon'. Addy thinks he’s a total babe. Too bad he’s a whack job.
Addy stepped away from the couch and her knees buckled.
One moment Brand was across the room, his shoulder against the wall, the picture of aloof boredom, and the next she was in his arms. She closed her eyes and swallowed a sigh as she was lifted against his hard chest. The man sure had muscles, she’d give him that.
“You will recline, at once.” His tone was stern.
Okay, muscles and a few control issues.
She opened her eyes as he lowered her to the couch, and saw a grimace of pain flash across his features. It was the first expression of any kind she’d seen on his face, unless you counted the lip twitch thing. The man could give a marble statue lessons in being stoic.
She caught his arm as he started to rise. “That thing hurt you!”
He stilled, his gaze on her fingers wrapped around his wrist. “You are mistaken. The djegrali did not injure me. It is your touch that disturbs me.”
Addy stiffened and drew back.“Well, excuse the hell out of me.”
He caught her by the hand. “You misunderstand. You do not repulse me.”
He knelt down beside her. He put his fingers under her chin and tilted her face with gentle fingers. Addy stifled a gasp. Who was this guy? The merest touch from him and her breasts tingled and she felt all hot and wobbly inside. What was the matter with her?
“Look at me,” he commanded.
Sweet Sister Ruth, he had a voice was like whiskey and smoke. She shivered and raised her eyes to his. He stroked her cheek with his thumb, a rapt expression on his face. His thumb drifted lower to brush her bottom lip. “You must be patient with me, Adara Jean Corwin. The Dalvahni do not experience emotion. It would be superfluous. We exist for one purpose and one purpose alone: to hunt the djegrali. For ten thousand years, that has been my objective, until now.”
“Ten thousand years, huh?” With an effort, she squelched the sudden urge to scrape the pad of his thumb with her teeth. No doubt about it, she was in hormonal meltdown. “Sounds boring. You need to get a new hobby, expand your horizons.”
“Earth is but one of the realms where the Dalvahni hunt the djegrali.”
Oh, brother, too bad. He was paying a visit to schizoid-land again.
Then the impact of his words percolated through the fog of lust that set her brain and her body on fire.
“Hey, wait a minute, I didn’t tell you my name!”
“The animal you call Dooley informed me of many things, including how to find this dwelling.”
“You don’t say? Funny, she’s never said a thing to me in four years.”
He put his hand on her shoulder as she tried to sit up.“You will not rise,” he said with annoying calm.
“Oh, yeah? That’s what you think, bub.”
She pushed at his arm, an exercise in futility. The man was built like the proverbial brick outhouse.
His hand slid over her abdomen and down her running shorts to her legs.His hand felt hot against her bare skin.
“Dooley, come here,” he said.
The dog rose and trotted over to the couch.
Brand traced an intricate pattern with his fingers along the skin of her inner thigh. Addy began to shake. What was happening to her? This was so unlike her. All her life she’d struggled to rein in her reckless nature, the wild streak that made her mama wring her hands in despair. Self-control was her hard-earned mantra. Think first and feel later. But this guy . . . this guy really got her going, made her want to throw caution to the wind. She wanted to arch her hips against his hand, a stranger’s hand.
“Speak, Dooley,” Brand said with his gaze on Addy’s face.
“DOOLEY LOVE ADDY. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE,” the Lab said in the growly voice of a three-pack-a-day smoker. Flinging up a back paw, she scratched her ear. “CAN DOOLEY HAVE CHICKEN LEG IN COLD BOX? CAN DOOLEY?” Her head snapped around. "OH, LOOK, A BUG!"
There was a long moment of silence as Addy gaped at her dog in shock. Slowly, she raised her eyes to Brand’s.
“Who are you?”
A slight crease appeared between Brand’s brows. The expression in his eyes grew puzzled.
“Until tonight, I thought I knew.”
Lowering his dark head, he kissed her.
Whiskey and smoke, huh? Works for me! You’ve got a novella, “The Bride Wore Demon Dust”, in what looks like a really fun anthology called SO I MARRIED A DEMON SLAYER that comes out in August. Please give us the lowdown on this story.
"The Bride Wore Demon Dust” is the story of a runaway bride. Bunny Raines is the librarian in the small town of Hannah—the town that is the setting of the first book. The story opens at a quaint church on a river. It is Bunny’s wedding day and she is blissfully happy to be marrying the man of her dreams—Rafe Dalvahni, six foot four inches of hard muscled, masculine yummy. To Bunny’s horror and dismay, she discovers—after she’s married!—that her boring little hometown is infested with demons, and her husband is an immortal demon slayer. The ‘mugger’ he saved her from the night they met was a demon, and Rafe saved her from certain death by giving her part of his essence.
Not only is she married to a total stranger, she’s changed species! Worse, she’s pregnant . . . although she hasn’t told Rafe about the baby yet.
Distraught and confused, Bunny flees the wedding and Rafe goes after her. Unfortunately, so does the demon that tried to kill her. Having marked her, the demon is irresistibly drawn to her, especially now that she’s a powerful Dalvahni and a worthy receptacle for the demon.
Sounds great! Here in the lair, we love call stories. Will you please share yours?
I’ve been writing for more than 16 years. My first two books were part of a romantic fantasy series. I knew nothing about fiction writing. Never took a class or read a book on writing, just started writing and loved it. So, I’m self-taught. I joined a writer’s group about five years ago and that was a tremendous help. Getting feed-back and constructive criticism is essential, in my opinion. You can’t write in a vacuum, not if you want to get published. There are rules and you have to learn about them before you can break them.
Around the same time that I joined the writer’s group, I started the querying rounds on the first book of the romantic fantasy that I’d been working on for more than ten years. I got rejected. Big time. Something like a hundred ‘no thanks.’ Discouraged, I decided to try my hand at a paranormal romance. The book took a year to write and the result was DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE, my debut book with Kensington. The book was a total surprise. When I started writing it, I thought it was going to be dark. But it quickly morphed into something else. This snarky voice came out of me that I never knew existed. It was amazing and liberating.
I had done well on the contest circuit while writing the book and I was jazzed. This is it, I thought. This is the one that will make it! In January 2010, I started querying and received a flurry of requests for partials and fulls from agents. I was excited and hopeful . . . and then the rejections started pouring in. Light paranormal doesn’t sell, was the consensus. I was devastated. Another series dead in the water.
I went on my romance writer’s loop and whined and a woman I barely knew at the time sent me an email. There was an interview of Megan Records on line that I needed to check out, she said, and then I needed to query her. I had never thought about querying an editor—too focused on getting an agent. I read the interview and Megan said she saw a lot of dark paranormal. No surprise there, that’s what the agents had said was selling. But then Megan said something that made me sit up and take notice. I don’t see much funny anymore, but I’d like to.
I sent Megan a query letter, referencing her interview and said, I write funny! She sent me back an email and asked for the full. This was in February of 2010.
On March 11, 2010, I was on my way to the doctor for a recheck because I had broken by foot in two places in February. I fell off my shoe. It’s a talent, I know. Anyway, a friend was driving me and my sad, casted foot to the doctor when my cell phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it, because it was an out-of-state call. I figured it was a wrong number or one of those Nigerian bank schemes. I answered the phone and, boy, am I ever glad I did! It was Megan Records calling to offer me a three-book deal! Good thing I wasn’t driving. I would have wrecked the car!
Great story! What’s next for Lexi George?
I am hard at work on book two of the demon hunter series, tentatively entitled DEMON HUNTING IN THE DEEP SOUTH. The deadline on book two is in June and it will be out next year. After that, it’s on to book three, DEMON HUNTING IN A DIVE BAR.
If the series does well, I have three more demon hunter books in mind.
Because my spies have been following you for years, I know you’re an enthusiastic amateur thespian. How do you think your acting experience feeds into your writing?
I think anything creative, whether it be dancing, painting, acting, quilting, etc., gets your juices flowing. I started out writing poetry in elementary, but the words dried up when I went to law school. The thing that freed my inner muse was scrap booking! I started scrap booking when my kids were little. Tapping into my creative side opened me up to other possibilities within myself and, from there, I turned to writing. Acting does the same thing. Being creative fills you with joy, connects you to the divine, and spills over to other things in a positive way.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read, read, read, and WRITE! Writing is a craft and it’s a muscle that gets stronger with exercise. Try to write something every day, whether it’s a letter, blog, a short story, an essay, poetry—whatever. Check out some of the wonderful craft books on writing out there. Stephen King’s ON WRITING is an excellent one. Take advantage of the internet. There is a wealth of knowledge available at your fingertips on everything from structure and plot to POV and dialogue tags. Join a writer’s group or start one of your own. Even if you don’t all write the same thing, it is exciting to be around other writers, and you will learn from one another. Brain storming with other writers is great. A writers' group will also teach you to give and accept constructive criticism.
Also, be ready to face rejection. It is part of the process. It sucks. It stings. It hurts. It knocks your feet out from under you and throws you into a spiral of self doubt. Give yourself a day to pout and sing the “I Suck” song, then shake it off and get back on the horse. Remember that writing is subjective. You cannot write a book that will please everyone. Write the book you want to read. Name an author, classic or otherwise, that everybody loves universally. You can’t, because people have different tastes. You are going to be rejected on the road to being published. After you get published, guess what? You face rejection again! There will be reviewers that love you and those that hate you, as I am already finding out. You will work with editors who want you to revise your manuscript. You may submit a proposal on your next fabulous series idea and get rejected on that too. But, don’t give up. If you give up, you will lose. Believe in yourself and persevere.Writing is not for wimps.
Lexi, do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandit Buddies?
I’d really love to hear about YOUR creative outlet. Writing, scrap booking, painting, sculpting, photography, cooking? What gets you inner muse going?
Lexi is very generously giving away TWO copies of DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE today to commenters so good luck, people!