Saturday, May 04, 2013

Fourteen

Back in 1999 I outlined a dark fantasy novel series about a secret society of vampires who lived among us. While at the time there wasn't much vampire fiction on the market, I had faith in the idea. Unfortunately I was also a rookie writer and had almost no confidence in myself or my work. The first rejection I received for that proposal was so harsh that I became convinced it was a terrible idea and couldn't work up the nerve to send it out again. I packed up all my outlines and notes, cried over it a little, and then put it away and moved on.

I couldn't let go of the terrible idea entirely, so I wrote some short stories about my vampires for my own amusement. They came out so well that I decided to post a couple on my web site. My readers then went crazy over them, which confused me. If this was a terrible idea, why were they begging me to write more?

I respect my readers' opinions, but the old rejection still haunted me, so I hauled out on my old files, took a hard look at the idea and began tinkering. The only major change I made with the idea concerned the vampires, who had originally been former poets called Darklings. I thought I could do better, so I consulted history, found new inspiration, made my vampires former Templars, renamed them the Darkyn and ran with it from there.

When I submitted my not-so-terrible idea again, I sold it to the first editor who looked at it (after she had a tussle with the second editor who saw it and also wanted to acquire the series.) The series got published, the books began appearing on the Times list and suddenly I had a big hit on my hands.

Nightbound, my fourteenth Darkyn universe novel, in print debuts next week. It's the final book in the third series for this universe, and fourteen years ago I could never have imagined being here. Thanks to my readers I am, and that's part of the magic of the writing life. So is this:



To celebrate this lovely moment I'm giving away a signed set* of all fourteen Darkyn universe novels in print. If you'd like a chance to own them, in comments to this post name your favorite character from the series (or if you don't have one, toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Thursday, May 9th, 2013. I'll choose one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner all fourteen signed novels and a surprise**. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

*Unless the winner would like the books personalized I'm going to flat-sign the set, which should increase their value as collectors prefer books with signatures only, and I rarely flat-sign anything.

**No, I won't tell you what the surprise is -- that would spoil it -- but my surprises are always good ones.

79 comments:

  1. Wow. And I just finished re-reading my entire set. I don't have the entire set yet. My favorite character, of the books I've read, would either be Alexandra or Nicola. Alexandra probably because I've seen her so often and gotten to know her better than others. Nicola because I like the idea of her being a thief with a protective streak

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  2. Hi Jennifer Gilley tossing her name in!

    I haven't read any of them yet, but I'd like to!

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  4. Gabriel or Michael

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  5. Sheila4:27 AM

    Not a fair question!
    I'll say Alexandra. With all the books that I've read since this series started, I think it says something about the character and the writing that I can still remember her.

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  6. OMG, choosing just one favorite character? I'm so glad you aren't making me. (And I'm horrible with names, which doesn't help.)

    Congratulations on 14 of these. I'd think with the success these have seen, whoever gave you that harsh rejection is kicking themselves. (If not, they should be.)

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  7. Susanne6:37 AM

    Have to toss my name in the hat, too. I have all of your books but I would love a pristine new, signed set. Mine have been read many times and did a lot of backpack traveling - and it shows! :-)

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  8. Denise M8:22 AM

    I've been waiting for the last book so patiently. as soon as it comes out I'm going to start at the beginning and re-read the whole lot. SO excited.

    I couldn't tell you who my favorite character is - I love them all!

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  9. I have to admit that Lucan really appeals to me. He's such a ruthless bad boy but you write him in such a way that he is so sympathetic too. I appreciate his matter of fact approach to everything.

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  10. Anne V.8:46 AM

    I think it would have to be Alexandra-her character drew me in from the first pages!

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  11. CONGRATULATIONS! That's an amazing accomplishment! The whole series is fantastic -- I don't think I can name just ONE favorite character. :)

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  12. Fran K8:51 AM

    Oh how devilish! Who wouldn't want to win the entire set? But how can you make me choose just one character. There's just so many contenders. Alexandra and Michael are obvious choices but I preferred Jayr and Jamys and Phillipe - so I've now got to pick one. Hmmmm, I'm going to have to go with Phillipe.

    and Jamys and Jayr . . . .

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  13. kathybaug10:32 AM

    I'd love to win the set. My favorite character is Alexandra. I loved it every time she showed up in a book.

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  14. It would have to be either Jayr or Simone.
    Wow, what a great prize!

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  15. To pick just one is so hard! I love the series.

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  16. Those ideas that won't go away are usually good ones. I'm glad you stuck with them. I'm only starting with the Darkyn, but I'm going to say Alexandra as well. I have a thing for the first heroine in a series.

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  17. Congratulations and best wishes. I would choose Alexandra.

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  18. Oh dear. I'm drawing a blank on a favorite character, but I'd like to throw my name in. Congratulations on such a great series!

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  19. Jayr is my favorite for sure!

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  20. The series is captivating and my favorite is Phillipe. Continued enjoyment and much fun.

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  21. I like Jayr...and your blog, while I don't always get to the books when I want to, your blog I peek in on everyday. As another aspiring freelancer it is nice to see the working side of things.

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  22. Michael. I've had a thing for him since Day One. You never forget your first love... ;D

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  23. Alexandra and Michael. Loved them since the beginning of the series. Not to harp on a subject but the title of the first book - If Angels Burn lured me into the world of the Darkyn and I have loved it ever since. I do wish you would write more science fiction. I miss Cherijo.

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  24. No way can I choose just one!! I forces, I would probably say Alexandra.
    And congratulations!!

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  25. I have the books so don't put my name in the hat, but my favorite character has to be Richard. (You knew I'd say that.)

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  26. Throwing my name in the hat. :)

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  27. Congratulations on a great series. Alexandra appears to be the favorite.

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  28. Jayr, Nicola, and Lucan are my favorites! I've loved this series since the first book!

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  29. bn1003:26 PM

    Haven't read the series yet, but would like to

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  30. I found you through a friend on Facebook, and although I can't give a favorite character because the books are new to me, I'm actually really looking forward to reading them - I can't believe I hadn't picked them up before!!! It's embarrassing to admit that, but exciting for me too because I'm always looking for a new author to love!

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  31. OK...DO NOT enter me twice - just once for the first comment - but now I'm THOROUGHLY embarrassed...because I DO know your work. STARDOC is one of my favorite Sci Fi books of all time, and your article on how to write synopses is the way I learned to write them! (OK, yeah, embarrassed doesn't begin to describe it.)

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    1. No worries, Susan -- I've had so many aliases over the years the Feds couldn't fit them all in one file. :)

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  32. Also, just a note on the one comment that was deleted by me -- our pal Shiloh Walker requested her entry be withdrawn to be fair to everyone else (she already owns a few books signed by me, and wants to give those who don't have any a better chance at winning. Which is very cool of her, I must say.)

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  33. How cool! Congratulations on number fourteen!

    My favorite is Charlotte Marena.

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  34. Valentin Jaus and Jamys! I started with the second book, but it only made me dream about what happened to them. I'm so glad you published them later.

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  35. Anonymous5:21 PM

    I have to second Alexandra. She is so my type of female lead character! But my favorite character of all time that you have written is Cherijo! Since she is from your SciFi series though, I doubt she is on the list of potential choices=)
    Stephanie L

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  36. I have to agree with Stephanie on this one, Cherijo is my all time favorite but since she is not one of the choices, I would opt for Alexandra and Samantha. Both are strong protagonists but know how to handle their emotions.

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  37. Lucan. By far. He has the perfect attitude for his place in the universe.

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  38. Lucan will always be tops to me! Congrats on such an amazing series.

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  39. clairecherven9:25 PM

    The joke among my friends is that if a had a boychild, I would name him, Michael Cyprien Cherven! Michael is the standard for every other fiction character (or not) I've read.

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  40. So, I stumbled across your books at a grocery store, and Evermore was the first one that I read. It was a beautiful book with a lovely cover and I immediately fell in love with Jayr. She was my first and while I've read all of the books in the series multiple times, her story has stayed my favorite. (Though I must say I have loved all of the books dearly) I loved that she was never the typical romance novel girl and all of her beautiful flaws just made her more real to me.

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  41. Tina C.9:51 PM

    I only have a couple of your books (I have a tiny book budget and mostly make do with what I can find second-hand or borrow from the library), so it would be hard for me to pick a favorite character. Instead, I'll just throw my name in the hat. :O)

    tinaotherworld (at) yahoo . com

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  42. I LOVE the Darkyn series!! Alex remains a true favorite for me and I love the title of her book If Angels Burn. I remember when I picked up If Angels Burn and started reading, I knew within the first few chapters, I was about to embark on a Darkyn reading marathon so I ordered the rest of the books and proceeded to do so. After I finished reading the last book in the Darkyn series I was disappointed there weren't anymore so I was ecstatic when you announced the spin off series, The Kindred. Your Darkyn series is at the top of my favorite series lists and it's characters are all so memorable.

    Congrats and Yay for the release of Nightbound"!

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  43. Margaret12:26 AM

    Your writing story is inspiring. :) As for a favorite character, that's tough. Like many other commenters, I liked Alexandra a lot, for being able to handle herself.

    Keep up the good work!

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  44. Since I have only read one story, I don't rally have a favorite yet. But I would LOVE to win the entire set since I have little to no money for purchasing books since I am disabled and trying to get my disablility approved :) Congrats on the upcoming release of NIGHTBOUND and congrats for not being able to walk away from your idea!
    ~June
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

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  45. I'd have to say Gabriel and Nicola are perhaps my most favorite couple, with Jayr & Byrne a close second. I've very picky in my reading about the vampire "myth", and your Darkyn stories have continued to be a delight to this reader. Thank you!

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  46. I love this series so much. I just found it last year, so I got to read the whole thing through, and then buy new books! Yay! My favorite characters are the head of the Templars (I am having a senior moment and can't remember his name) because he is so creepy, Michael (of course), Lucan (because he is sexy and evil) and Robin (for his ego and because I just want to hug him). Also Gabriel, because. Sorry, I can't just have one favorite.

    I hope you know that we, your fans, will buy more books about the Darkyns, if you just happen to have a story that has to be told. I am so pleased that the Ilona Andrews' writing team has decided to branch out a bit with semi-independent publishing, partially because the big publishing houses don't always like their stuff because they can't figure out how to market it.

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  47. I loved the series and can't pick just one character. If Angels Burn is still my favorite book, and Michael is my favorite, followed closely by Lucan (so sexy and evil and a rat bastard), Gabriel (for his way with bugs and his humanity), and Jema.
    I have to give an honorable mention to the leader of the Templars (whose name I am drawing a blank on) because he is genuinely creepy, and incredibly ruthless.

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  48. Gabriel is definitely my favorite character. Congrats on #14!

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  49. Anonymous8:07 AM

    My favorites are Alexandra and Michael, Lucan and Samantha... and Richard.
    Sorry, can´t pick just one. :)

    Lia

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  50. 14 years? Are you sure? Somehow it doesn't seem quite that long ago. Alex is my favorite character....so far.

    SandyL

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    1. It's been fourteen years since I originally came up with the idea for the Darkyn, Sandy -- it's been only nine years since I sold the series. To readers it likely seems a lot less because the books didn't begin hitting the shelves until April 2005.

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  51. Anonymous11:23 AM

    I have been a fan from the beginning! What a great ride it has been! Can't wait for the new series, so excited to read something entirely new from you!
    Leslee

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  52. Alex....congrats on 14 books!

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  53. Throwing my hat in. I really enjoy your blog and the Way of the Cheetah but have never read any of the Darkyn books. This would be a great way for my wife and me to get started.

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  54. I haven't read the series, but since the recommendation came by ways of Lisa Cohen, I sure would like to give it a try. If I don't get them I will nonetheless get at least the first book. It just sounds too yummy to let pass.

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  55. I can't pick just one, so I'll throw my name in the hat! Thank you for all you do!

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  56. I have a lot of favorites, but Jayr would probably win. Total badass who writes poetry!

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  57. Anonymous3:52 AM

    Jayr is my favourite

    Heather from Oz

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  58. Lynn,
    Richard.....because I believe beneath all of his ruthlessness, he is a good man trying to do what he 'thinks' is best for his people. Leaders are often misunderstood!
    Tami
    Jacksonville

    P.S. And yes, I am still patiently waiting for you to redeem him in some way!

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  59. Michael is my favorite. :) Thanks for the awesome giveaway. :)

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  60. I can't pick just one, so I'll throw my name in the hat! Thank you for all you do! Gotta admit, I prefer the Stardoc series...

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  61. Penny Pflager10:38 AM

    I started reading your books when StarDoc came around. Being such a Cherijo fan, I can't help but see the same strength in character that is Alexandra. Even when the books were focusing on different people, I would always hope that Alexandra would get a scene in the story. She, just as Cherijo, means that much to me.

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  62. Anonymous12:42 PM

    I have to say Lucan is my favorite.....but i do love them all. Thanks for writing and keep them coming.

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  63. I don't need to win, since I have a lot of these books (though not all 14 -- that's amazing!), but I just wanted to say thank you for such wonderful stories and for being an inspiration to aspiring writers like me.

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  64. It looks like a genre that I would enjoy exploring, and I would love to throw my hat into the ring as well.

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  65. My favorite is most definitely Jayr.

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  66. Marianne McA4:37 AM

    Tossing my name into the hat as well.

    Don't the books like pretty all together like that?

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    1. That's one of the perks of finishing a series, Marianne -- I get to assemble the nice lineup of books and gloat over them. :)

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  67. LaurieF10:10 AM

    Lucan and Samantha.
    Can't pick one without the other.
    Also.... Alexandra and Michael:)
    Congrats, am looking forward to
    reading Nightbound.
    I'm hoping it arrives today!

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  68. Read the first couple and found it a great twist on the vampire genre. Congrats on persevering!

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  69. My fav character would probably be Alex. While reading book 1 I found her a little abrasive but after a few books she grew on me and has since become one of my favorite paranormal heroines. She doesn't let people push her around, and she sticks to what she believes. I appreciate her character more after reading some particularly vapid female characters in the genre.

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  70. I will have to put my name in the hat because I haven't read the books yet. I am someone who prefers to have a whole series (or, at least, the books so far) before digging in. This is a wonderful (and generous!) opportunity to get them all at once.

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  71. I'm partial to Robin. Congratulations on the accomplishment!

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  72. Haven't had the opportunity to read this series yet so I'm going to say Michael as he's the hero of the first book and I've heard great things about him.

    Thanks so much for the generous giveaway!

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  73. I've only read the first book so far, so I don't have a favourite character yet. Congratulations on your achievement -- 14 books is a helluva series. Will you miss this world and characters now you're finished?

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    1. Thank you, Marina -- and yes, after all these years of publishing books about the Darkyn I will miss working on the series. That said, I'm not finished -- I still have a few more stories to tell, one novel about Richard almost finished, and when I have time I'll be posting some free Darkyn e-books online for my readers. There's also the possibility that the publisher will want more Darkyn novels sometime in the future.

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    2. I'm glad to hear you say that you have more stories to tell. I always have a mental block about his name but I was interested by the darkyn in "Evermore" who can freeze stuff. :)

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  74. What a hard question.
    My favorite character would be either Alex's big brother John Keller or Gabriel. I truly felt for both as they had really suffered in their own way.

    Congratulations on this great series.
    Ezinwanyi

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