Guest Authors

The Death Skull by Cassiel Knight Guest Post & Giveaway

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Title:  The Death Skull
Series:  Relic Defender # 2
Author:  Cassiel Knight
Published:  May 6th, 2014
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Word Count:  87,000
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Content Warning:  Adult content, minor blood/gore
Recommended Age:  18+
Synopsis:  Fallen angel Marisol Asheni Fell when she unwisely chose to follow Lucifer. Unlike many of her fellow angels, she has no desire for redemption. Instead, she prefers fighting the followers of the Dark when they step over the line. Except, in the deepest part of her soul, she longs for a reason to stop fighting.
Jackson’s only loyalty is to himself and his mother, but even he has boundaries he won’t cross. When his last job threatened the life of a young woman, he tossed aside the lucrative pay, and finds himself fighting evil. He’s attracted to Mari despite her hard, seemingly emotionless edge. And while Mari finds the tall human reluctantly appealing, she has no intention of finding herself in a relationship with a human.
Brought together by the Archangel Michael, they must find and destroy the crystal Mayan Death Skull before the son of Lucifer uses the skull to destroy the world’s leaders and throw the world into chaos to begin Hell on Earth.
Their search for the Death Skull takes them from Chicago to Central America to the lost city of Lubaantun in Belize, the heart of the Mayan civilization, and into a battle for their souls.
Excerpt from The Death Skull (Relic Defender #2) by Cassiel Knight:
Jackson leaned against the gymnasium door. He flexed his right knee, which was still sore and tender from his near-death slide down a mountain a couple of weeks ago. Once off the slopes and in the hillside city of Nagarkot, he’d been pronounced fine by the local doctor. The little joyride down the mountainside had left Jackson with a banged up kneecap and strained and bruised neck and shoulder muscles. Not much more severe than the normal scrapes and cuts he’d gotten over the last six months since he’d turned over a new leaf and joined a band of do-gooders to save the world.How had his life changed so fast from the neatly roped-and-tied, orderly affair to the messy, knotted circle it had become? Six months for a complete turnaround was fast for a man who had been perfectly content as an unscrupulous mercenary working for the rich and powerful.Especially the rich.Now, instead of traveling the world to work for men willing to part with their ill- gotten money, he lived in a goddamn huge mansion with an angel who turned down Heaven, an ex-exotic dancer with a sassy mouth and a destiny to save mankind, a shape- shifting rock with aspirations to be a 1920s mobster, a cocky tech expert and—Her.The woman currently kicking the crap out of the poor punching bag. Correction. Not a woman. Fallen angel. Demon, actually.Christ. Jackson swept a hand through his hair. When he found trouble, he went all the way. Said woman, Marisol Asheni—a flowery name for a hard-ass demon—struck the bag, the force of her blow rocking the heavy sack violently. He half expected the damn thing to crash to the floor.Even as she pounded the hell out of the bag, her body flowed in lovely symmetry. Much like the woman herself, each of her movements was precise, effortless and made with minimum motions. And a helluva lot of grace.

Her taut ass flexed and smoothed under the formfitting tight shorts women—God love them—seemed to favor. Long legs, tanned and straight, looked silky under the soft lights. Her waist was bare, and when she moved he thought he caught a glimpse of something flashing at her navel.

Holy hell, the woman had a belly-button piercing. When had she gotten the damn thing? He sure hadn’t noticed it the last time he’d seen her work out. His appreciative gaze tracked a path up her body, flowing past her curved hips to her uptilted breasts, up the smooth column of her throat. Despite her features being too austere for true beauty and marred only slightly by the iron determination in her square chin, she possessed a wildness he found fascinating.

Her auburn hair, woven into a tight braid, swayed back and forth as she moved. The glowing strands flickered with fire—filled with gold, rich coppers and hot reds.

Any adjective used to describe fire fit Marisol Asheni to a T. As in trouble.

 

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About the Author:
In the job that pays the mortgage and allows her to indulge in her real passion, writing, Cassiel Knight works in the beautiful state of Oregon. Crazy-passionate about the romance writing industry, Cassiel has a paranormal romance series featuring fallen angels and demons from Samhain Publishing, an urban fantasy through Lyrical Press and a Egyptian mythology/archeology series with Champagne Book Group. She writes paranormal romances with kick-assitude that blend archeology and mythology – just a few of her favorite things.
 

Not too long ago, I was listening to a workshop about evoking emotions. The speaker said something that resonated with me. Not because I agreed with it (parts I definitely did) but because I thought it really spoke to why I write. The speaker said, basically, that people go to movies and read books not for special effects but for an emotional experience. And by emotional experience, she meant characters, not the excitement and thrills you get when things are blown up.

When I say I disagree, it’s not that I disagree with the workshop. It’s completely accurate for those who write character-driven stories. It’s more of the context of how she said it and not so much my interpretation. You see, when I craft a story, sure, I want it to be emotional but I want the special effects too. Same thing when I go to a movie. I want to feel awed, thrilled and amazed. Like watching Avatar. There was a message there. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. But what I loved about Avatar, what caused an emotional reaction in me, was the special effects – the world-building. When I thought about the message, I got it. I didn’t care and I wasn’t looking for it when I watched the movie. Nor is it what I look for when I’ve watched the movie for the 10th time.

Of course, I care about characters. I care what happens to them especially when I’m watching them deal with attacking monsters, transforming machines (call me a Transformers junkie), demons and other assorted menaces. The more action the better. I’ll take some emotion, but that’s not why I read books and watch movies. If you look at my movie collection, you’ll find 80% more action/adventure, alien and horror movies then you’ll find romance.

Not because I don’t like romance. Oh, I do. I love to watch two people find each other even as they battle whatever the writer throws at them. However, I’m happiest when the writers spend more time throwing things for the couple to fight versus slowing down to explore their emotions or find a deeper meaning in life.

I think that’s why Relic Defender: Key of Solomon the first book in the series (The Death Skull is second) was rejected as often as it was. Not because it wasn’t a good story or that I was a terrible writer (hey, I have proof I’ve grown as a writer hiding with the dust bunnies under my bed), but because it was more plot intensive than character-driven and romance, if anything, tends to be more character-driven. And that’s okay. It’s just not me.

A close friend of mine, author Susan Lute, writes more emotionally and character-driven romance and I admire her ability to craft stories that tug at the heart strings. She’s great at it; it seems to suit her. She even writes this well-received series about dragons. I haven’t read them (lord knows I wish I had more time for reading) but I suspect, even being paranormal, it’s still much more of an emotionally driven story than action. And that’s okay. It’s just not me.

In fact, The Death Skull is more action oriented than the first one. Sure, the characters have their issues and emotions which they’ll have to deal with–while they are fighting dictators, evil demons and a soul-sucking succubus.

This is why I write, read and watch movies. For the thrills, chills and explosions. Might make it harder for me to find a place shelved strictly under romance. I’m okay with that. And I’ll bet I find readers who are okay with that too.

How about you? What kinds of books resonate with you–books that focus mostly on character or books that have a lot of thrills, chills and spills?

Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
Giveaway is International.

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