*Michael Mandrake is the male muse of author Sharita Lira*
Greetings readers. Thanks you Scott at QRI for letting me share my thoughts with you about…well everything.
Okay, not quite.
While I do enjoy some trivial things like celebrity gossip, movies, and the occasional Facebook or Twitter rants, I will mostly talk about things related to books and writing. I am an author after all, and really, who wants to hear my thoughts on politics, hmm?
No, you do not.
So instead, we’ll stick to author things, such as plotting…. Or not. The topic of today’s post is writing paranormal by the seat of my pants.
Now for those who are familiar with my work as Michael, I usually plot everything . If it’s not a formal outline, I write down details for the story. I’ve even written the dreaded synopsis before the story was done.
Yes, I’ve done that, but with this newest series titled Immortals, I’m basically writing whatever comes to mind.
What? You don’t have a hundred thousand how-to manuals within reach?
Oh, I know. I should and really, they aren’t far away from where I’m sitting as I write this post. However, let’s put it this way; with this new series, I truly wanted something different. I desired something completely organic and when you craft a book from your pants, you’d hope that is what happens. All the characters are completely made up in my head and since I don’t (or rather Sharita) doesn’t watch much television, all the weird things that happen in this book are from her warped brain.
What does this new series entail? Hmm, let’s see. Demons, vampires, shifters, and hey, even Lucifer is part of the mix. It is loosely tied to N’awlins Exotica and the paranormal twins books as well, since the three main characters are in book two.
Knowing all this, I’d say it wasn’t difficult to draft these stories. All my ideas are in my brain and for the most part, I know the outcome from all the books.
So why not just plot them, you ask? Because I truly wanted the characters to surprise me. And, as I sit here reading over book two, Immortality’s Gift, they have done just that. I also question Sharita’s sanity after reading these passages, but that is neither here nor there.
Writers are strange creatures, right? Our stories come from a deep place. And when it comes to fantasy, it’s created from something deeper within. Sure, everything has to make sense, which is why beta readers are on standby to tell Shar she’s nuts. However, it could be a great idea even if it doesn’t fit the idea of “sensible.” That’s the wonderful thing about paranormal is everyone’s interpretation is different. The way I write demons is different from any other author. It is however fantasy.
So, perhaps it isn’t a terrible thing to temporarily discard the manuals to writing paranormals and/or fantasies. In this instance, I truly believe Shar and I have come up with some interesting stories that will break the mold. As long as the stories don’t come out boring, I believe we’ve achieved our goal. Plotting this out might’ve stunted the stories growth or the characters would do what they usually do; forget the plot and go their own way. It could be maddening, but also thrilling for the reader and author.
* * * *
Here is a snippet from my latest release, Demon Be Mine. Book One in the Immortals Series!
Blurb: After dying at the hands of Ryland Durand, Eli Peckard is thrust into a different universe, one that is familiar to his home of New Orleans, but scary all the same. Battered and bruised from his rough travels, he is accosted, and then rescued by Anasa, an official in The Realm. From there, Anasa delivers Eli to his most reliable Keeper, Zylen, to heal and teach him the ways of a Soul Catcher as the Dark Lord intends.
Zylen has lived his days in Nouvelle Terre as a Keeper for new fledglings. During his time on the third plane, Zylen has kept his hate for vampires, especially Ryland and his brother. However, being the child of a fallen and a vamp, Zylen still beholds emotions of remorse and empathy for the mentally fragile soul, Eli Peckard, and those feelings transform into something more.
Eli’s insecurities and Zylen’s anxieties over crossing the line of teacher and apprentice might be an obstacle in their budding union. More importantly, Zylen’s instruction for Eli must include lessons that teach the newest souled demon how to survive the final challenge before gaining the ultimate prize.
WARNING: Potential triggers. Mentions of child abuse and rape. Graphic violence
“You are a failure, Eli Peckard! You tried to kill a sixth time, and you botched the job! May you die a fiery death for killing me, you bastard! Forever!”
Afraid, I jerked awake. I rose from the bed. I felt around it, noticing I was alone. Perhaps my Keeper rested elsewhere.
Taking in my surroundings, I glanced at the dark blue walls. Surprisingly, they had no photographs. With the exception of the large armoire and side tables surrounding the canopy bed, the room was bare.
“Failure! Failure! May you die in hell!”
Those voices continued taunting me. I’d never experienced such fear until now. I wondered if those speaking were my victims coming back to haunt me. Thinking of that possibility, I broke out in cold sweats, shuddering and looking around. Although Anasa told me I could only be killed by a higher demon, I still had my doubts.
“Eli. You are awake.”
Hearing Zylen’s voice, I turned my attention from the corner of the room to the door.
“How are you feeling?” Zylen asked with a wry smile.
“Better. However, I woke from a bad dream. Is there a reason for this?”
“You had a bad dream? Concerning what?”
“I think they were the women I’d killed. One said I should die a fiery death.” I shuddered thinking what could be hidden in this house. It was however foreign and the demon Ryland mentioned something about avenging the souls in purgatory during our last meeting.
“Ah, Eli. It is possible that one of your victims is here, then. Who knows? But she can’t harm you. You’re in my care.” Zylen replied.
“And when I’m not?”
Zylen shrugged. “You’re worrying too much, Eli. No demon can harm another here in Nouvelle Terre unless he or she is of higher rank. For example, Valios can. I cannot.”
Despite Zylen’s comments, I still wasn’t convinced.
Zylen took a seat next to me on the bed. “You forget I can read your mind, don’t you? You will stop this useless worrying. I am your Keeper. I will protect you and guide you as you progress in this new world. Eli, being immortal is like being reborn. No, the memories don’t disappear. But your old life does. Valios picked you for a reason. If he didn’t need you, you wouldn’t be here.”
I looked away from Zylen and pulled the sheet further up on my body. Though the words were meant to be comforting, I couldn’t get over my anxieties fast enough.
“Perhaps if I showed you what you can do now, you’ll feel better, hmm?” Zylen patted my leg.
With his hand on me, I jumped and stared at him as if he were an alien being. “I… I suppose so. I’m sorry, Zylen. I believe I am still too overwhelmed.”
“I’m sure you are, but you’re missing out on some terrific things by staying anxious. Come. Get out of bed and dress. With the sun out, you can see more of Nouvelle Terre in all its glory.”
Bio: Michael Mandrake pens complex characters already comfortable with their sexuality. Through these, he builds worlds not centered on erotica but rather the mainstream plots we might encounter in everyday life through personal experiences or the media.