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13 December 2013

A look at Paranormal/Urban Fantasy stories with C M Michaels ( @UFAuthor @GoddessFish #erom #paranormal )

Hi all! Grab a cup of tea – or whatever it is you like to drink – and join in the discussion. Today we have C M Michaels visiting and giving us a look into his writing & his thoughts on the paranormal/urban fantasy genres.
About our guest, C M Michaels:
* C.M. Michaels grew up in a small town in northern Michigan as the youngest child of a close-knit family of seven. He met his wife, Teresa, while attending Saginaw Valley State University. Together they’ve provided a loving home for several four-legged “kids”, including Sophie, their eternally young at heart, hopelessly spoiled Spaniel.
* He has always enjoyed writing, and still has fond memories of reading his first book, a children’s novella, to local grade schools when he was 14. Dangerous Waters, the first book in the Sisters in Blood series, is being published by Freya’s Bower on September 5th, 2013. C.M. is currently working on the second book in the Sisters in Blood series along with a Fantasy romance.
* When he’s not writing, C.M. can be found curled up with a good book, watching movies or hitting the hiking trails with his wife. An avid reader since discovering Jim Kjelgaard novels in early childhood, his favorite authors include Kelley Armstrong, Peter V. Brett, Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Cassandra Claire, J.R. Ward, Laini Taylor and Tessa Dawn.
* C.M. currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.

Now for his: 5 musts every paranormal / urban fantasy novel should have...
* I write in the paranormal, fantasy and urban fantasy genres, which comprises the lion’s share of what I read as well. When I think about my favorite books they have several things in common:
1.....A winning formula – Most of the extremely successful books are part of a series, and each book in the series generally follows an established formula. In some cases like Black Dagger Brotherhood (J.R Ward), Blood Shadows (Tessa Dawn) and the Dark Hunter series (Sherrilyn Kenyon), each story has a romance at its core, pairing one of the main supernatural characters with their love interest. You know going in the two will end up together—in spite of whatever Herculean obstacles are put in their way—but somehow that only enhances the enjoyment. For others, the formula involves established POV changes. In Kelly Armstrong’s Otherworld series, for example, the protagonist shifts from book to book, giving you a different viewpoint of all of the central characters and putting more focus on whichever supernatural creature is being showcased in that novel (witches, vampires, werewolves, half-demons, etc.). Then there are those I like to call running storylines, where each installment in the series is almost entirely focused on advancing plot elements that span multiple books. Two of my favorite series are great examples of this type (both by Richelle Mead) – Vampire Academy and Bloodlines.
2.....Lovable, distinguishable and imperfect characters – There is a fine line to walk here. While I love the main characters to be flawed and to make mistakes they need to do so without coming across as idiots. The reader should be able to understand why they make the decisions they do, even if we know they are wrong and will lead them into trouble. The characters also need to have unique traits as far as how they talk, dress, think and carry out their daily routines. I should be able to tell who is speaking without relying on speaker connotations.
3.....An interesting and original supernatural angle – In order for a series to become a favorite of mine the author needs to offer a unique take on whatever sub-genre they are in. Whether that is accomplished by creating an entirely new species, providing wicked and unique powers, or dreaming up a never thought of before explanation for the origin / governing rules of your creepy crawlies, the story needs to differentiate itself and make me feel like I’m reading something original.
4.....An overall series plot arc – While following a formula for each individual novel is great, those that are more on the stand-alone installment side still need to advance plot elements that stretch across the entire series. I need to know that the time I invest in a multi-book series is leading somewhere.
5.....Engaging prose and a strong narrative voice – Whether told in first or third person, the narrative voice needs to offer me an intimate look into the mind of the main characters and make it easy to visualize what’s being described on the page without putting me to sleep with six hundred word descriptions of what a tree looks like. If I find myself skipping ahead or skim reading on a regular basis it will be the last book I buy in the series. As a society we don’t have the patience we used to for overly flowery prose. We all have a million things competing for our free time and far shorten attention spans. As for the syntax, when done right, the speaker attributes and action beats totally blend into the prose. If I’m noticing these connectors it’s likely because they are either repeated too frequently or are too generic – she smiled, he laughed, etc.

A look into his story
~ Blurb ~
* For Emily Waters, a nature-loving, small-town girl with an overprotective father, heading off to Boston University to study conservation biology is a dream come true—until a chance encounter catapults her into a mythical world she'd do anything to escape.
* The latest victim in a rash of abductions near campus, Emily is brutally attacked before being rescued by a powerful new friend. She survives the ordeal, only to find herself held captive and presented with an impossible choice.
* While preparing for the unimaginable life she must now embrace, clues soon emerge that Emily may not be entirely human, and her physical transformation awakens goddess-like powers that her new family cannot begin to explain.
* Dealing with her human first love, the not-so-platonic relationship with her coven "sister," and her new vampire sort-of-boyfriend further complicates matters, not to mention being secretly hunted by the psychopaths who attacked her. And as the only known offspring of a once all-powerful race, the climactic battle is just the beginning of her journey.
~ Excerpt ~ (Emily meets Daniel)
* I quit watching him and let myself enjoy the feeling that dancing always gave me. A couple of songs had passed before we were close together again. I couldn’t believe he was the same guy. Daniel blended in perfectly with everyone else on the floor and looked like he’d been club dancing for years. When the song ended we made our way over to an empty table.
* “I can’t believe how much fun that was!” he shouted.
* “I’ve never seen someone pick it up so fast. You’re a natural!”
* “Yeah, right—more like you’re a hell of a teacher.”
* “Thanks, Daniel.” The affectionate, almost star struck look in his eyes reminded me of what Ruby had said. If I didn’t want to hurt him, I couldn’t afford to wait any longer. But like the true blue coward I was, rather than taking the plunge, I chose to study a particularly interesting piece of lint on the floor.
* “What’s wrong?”
* “I need to ask you something that is going to sound really bizarre.”
* “Okay…” Fear of where this might be headed had him gathering his legs underneath him like a coiled up house cat preparing to leap out of danger.
* After a long pause I met his gaze. “You can sleep with me tonight if you want to.”
* “Jesus, Brooke, we—”
* “Please let me finish,” I interrupted. “I’m a virgin, which I can’t exactly fake, so I’ve obviously never done anything like this before. If you say yes, I’ll expect you to make love to me, and all I can offer you is tonight—it’s your choice.”
* “Why only tonight?” The disappointment and sadness in his words was palpable.
* “I wish I could explain, but I’m afraid it’s extremely complicated. Part of saying yes is agreeing not to ask questions I can’t answer.”
* We sat in silence for a few uncomfortable seconds before he reached out and took my hand, gripping it like he could make my question disappear if he only squeezed hard enough. “I’m a virgin too. I get my ass ridden constantly for it but I’m not ashamed—I sure as hell didn’t come here expecting to go home with someone tonight. I get the feeling that you did, and I just happened to be the guy you picked."
* Daniel pressed his forehead against the palm of his free hand and closed his eyes. "Damn it! I really like you, Brooke, but I gotta know why you’re so desperate to lose your virginity tonight, and why you can’t have a relationship with the person you give it to. If you can’t or won’t answer those questions, then I’ll have to say no.”
* The stinging pain of rejection filled my chest as I pulled my hand away. How could it hurt this bad to be turned down by someone I just met? Did I really like him that much already? Trying to salvage what little pride I had left, I stood up and turned to leave, tears streaming down my cheeks.

Buy Dangerous Waters here...
Freya’s Bower (Paperback) | Freya’s Bower (eBook) | Amazon (Paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | All Romance eBooks | Kobo

Find C M Michaels at:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Book trailer

Thank you for joining us here today, C M Michaels! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your story.

ANNOUNCEMENT! The author will award a $50 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter! So be sure to leave your name and email with your comment, use the rafflecopter below & visit the other tour stops (find them here: goddessfishpromotions-virtual-book-tour-dangerous-waters) for a greater chance of winning!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

C.M. Michaels said...

Thank you for hosting me today! I will reply to comments this evening.

Anonymous said...

Very useful and thought-provoking list!


Steph F. said...

Totally agree with the 5 musts. They are all my criteria as well. The story sounds really good and unusual. I can't wait to read it.