Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wraiths: Pucker up. Guest Post with Erin Kellison

Erin Kellison is the author of the Shadow Series, which includes Shadow Bound and Shadow Fall. Stories have always been a central part of Erin Kellison's life. She attempted her first book in sixth grade, a dark fantasy adventure, and still has those early hand-written chapters. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English Language and Literature, and went on for a masters in Cultural Anthropology, focusing on oral storytelling. When she had children, nothing scared her anymore, so her focus shifted to writing fiction. She lives in Arizona with her two beautiful daughters and husband, and she will have a dog (breed undetermined) when her youngest turns five.

There is also a NOOK giveaway on Erin's Web Site, so go on over there and check it out! Also, win Erin's novels, Shadow Bound & Shadow Fall on the BWB. Click here.

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And without further ado... here is Erin Kellison:

Wraiths: Pucker up.
My Shadow series (including Shadow Bound and its sequel Shadow Fall) is all about the creatures that exist at the brink of life and death. I guess I’m twisted that way. Spirits (Ghosts) are the souls of people who fight against moving on from mortality to the afterlife. They exist by will alone and cannot act on the mortal world (because they have no body to do so).

Wraiths are almost their complete opposite. They have bodies, but have given up their souls for immortal life. The longer they go without feeding, the less connection with humanity they have. They are inhumanly strong, with exceptional senses.  Where did I get the idea for them? Well, I’ll tell you.
When I was a kid, I watched a cartoon in which a young man walks down a country dirt road. He sees a really pretty young woman down the way and approaches her. She immediately puts her arms around him in an embrace. He is surprised. She puts her lips to his, but instead of making out, she sucks the life out of him. He ages rapidly, then falls to the ground, a near corpse. Lovely story, right? (By the way, I have no idea what the name of the cartoon is or even how old I was when I saw it or I’d give it credit here. If anyone can name it, I’ll give you a copy of both my upcoming releases. I’d love to see this show again. I’ve seen variations on this idea in TV and film, but would love to see the original cartoon from childhood.)

The story stuck with me, like a nightmare I couldn’t shake. BUT, as I grew up and the story replayed itself in my head time and time again, I started to think through the idea. A kiss, bringing death. Later, after acquainting myself with more and more fantasy, I named this creature wraith.  I picked up the idea for a wraith creature from this cartoon, so I owe it a big fat thank you. With one difference: The wraiths of my Shadow series don’t suck life-energy. They suck souls.

Here’s an excerpt from Shadow Bound showing the wraiths in action.  The main character is Talia O’Brien, who has a few special gifts of her own.  This is her first introduction to the wraiths. 

    The woman smiled with edged condescension. “Ms. O’Brien. It’s my honor to serve you. My master sends his regards and looks forward to meeting you in person.” She turned to her companion. “Finish that one quickly, Grady. We need to get going.”

    Grady lifted Melanie off the floor. 

    “Stop it!” The room was getting darker, but Talia couldn’t help it. “Put her down!” Melanie was almost purple. “Please let her go. I’ll do whatever you want.”

    “You’ll do that anyway,” the woman answered. “And Grady’s hungry. If he doesn’t eat now, he’ll be pestering me all the way back to stop for a little human takeout. And I can’t have that.”

    Melanie’s eyes flickered back in her head like some kind of waking REM.

Talia looped her arms over Grady’s outstretched one and put her weight into pulling them both down. He would not budge. He smiled at her efforts. She kicked at him. He seemed flesh enough, but he reacted like stone.

    The woman grabbed Talia’s shoulder and pulled her away with such unexpected strength that Talia stumbled backward. 

“You can’t hurt him,” the woman said, “it’s useless to try.” 

    Talia swiped at the tears of frustration blurring her vision. Please let this be a nightmare.

    Then Grady opened his mouth. Opened and opened beyond anything human. He bared his teeth, all sharply pointed and strangely extended, and pulled Melanie toward him. Mouth clamped over mouth. 

    Talia froze midbreath in horror. She felt a tug in her gut. A tug from a well of life and soul. Not hers, still seated snugly in her body. But an echo of Melanie’s self being ripped out, fed upon in a desecration of spirit that scored Talia’s mind and heart.

Utter blackness fell as Talia screamed.



Melissa said...

Oh, love that teaser.

I don't know the cartoon, but it sounds like someone's idea of a succubus. Might help?

As far as the dog... make sure you teach "Leave it" and "Watch Me". Those 2 commands are very helpful. :) (Sorry, it's the dog trainer in me).

Tanya said...

Love the teaser! I just put Shadow Bound on my TBR yesterday, and I can't wait to read it!