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Posts Tagged ‘Medusa’s Consortium’

Redeeming the Villain

I don’t know about you but there are few things I find more boring than a villain who is just flat out evil. You know the kind I mean, the kind who would pull wings off butterflies just for the fun of it, the kind who would kill for no reason. Therein lies the problem. What makes a villain boring is when I have no idea why he’s such an evil bastard, when I can find, in the story no motivation for such despicable villainy, no driving force. I need motivation! I need to be able to identify on some level with what make him who he is.


The best villains are the ones you sort of have the hots for, the ones you can’t help but like. Even as you hate them, you still “get” them, you still understand that they, like everyone else, have baggage. They’re complicated. They have histories, they have quirks and neuroses that sometimes make them do horrific things and at other times make them surprise us with their humanity. They’re the ones you think of almost as much as you do the hero in a story. The best villains are the ones who, in spite of every horrible thing they do, you still want to see them redeemed.


What I hope I’ve created in Blindsided’s villain, Cyrus, is a character so twisted that he will at times make readers’ skin crawl, but a character so complex that he will, at other times make readers wonder how he might have turned out differently under different circumstances.


On the other hand, Blindsided has given me the chance to bring back the villain from In the Flesh — The Guardian,and toy with another fascinating story trope – what is it that makes us human, and how do we redeem ourselves and live in community? How do we care for one another when we’ve never been taught?


Can a villain be redeemed? Should a villain be redeemed? Let’s face it, what makes a villain interesting is that he is dangerous and unpredictable. Is the taming of a villain akin to de-fanging a vampire?


The one thing the Guardian will never be is tame or safe. The one thing Cyrus will never be is free of his history, the history he despises, free of the baggage that goes along with. Working with two such delicious villains in the same novel and pitting them against each other has been a real treat for me. I hope it will be for you too.


Here is a little excerpt of the Guardian’s observations about Susan and Reese’ first encounter with Cyrus. They have been kept in the dark, unable to get a good view of Cyrus’ face, but the Guardian is very observant. Enjoy.



Blindsided – Villainous Descriptions:


“He has one eye,” Reese said once they were tucked safely back into the limo and fighting the traffic out of Midtown. Neither of them had spoken before out of fear they might be overheard, but Desiree was deeply paranoid, so her limos were pretty much invasion-proof tanks.

“What?” Susan said. “How do you know?”

“I had my phone camera on selfie. Oh, I didn’t use it. I didn’t dare, but I had the angle just right that I got enough of a look at him to see that he wore an eye patch.”

“I love you, Reese Chambers,” she said, giving his hand a hard squeeze.

He forced a smile. “I couldn’t see much else. What about the Guardian? Did you enlist his help?”

She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “Not intentionally, but he felt we were under enough of a threat that he made his presence known.”


“Mr. Chambers is right, Susan. This Cyrus wears an eye patch. He is very much not human.”

“What else?” Reese asked, scooting to the front of his seat as she conveyed the demon’s words.

The Guardian didn’t wait for her to ask. His voice felt like an intimate whisper in her ear. “While he was very well dressed in a bespoke suit, he smelled of something more earthy.”

“More earthy? What do you mean, more earthy?” she asked, raising her hand to silence Reese when he opened his mouth to speak.

“Like sheep? Seriously?” She responded to the words only she could hear.

“Sheep? Here in New York City?” Reese said. “What else?”

“Susan, if you would just let me speak through your voice, I could—”

“No,” she said out loud. “I don’t trust you.” Then she blushed at Reese’s raised eyebrow.

“You don’t have to speak out loud. I can hear your thoughts just fine, remember?”

“I know that! I fucking know that!” This time she only thought her words, but she still felt the heat of embarrassment rise to her cheeks.

“What’s he saying?” Reese asked.

Fighting back a flood of memories, she listened as the Guardian spoke in what felt way too much like a lover’s voice—way more sensual than a voice inside her head should have been, and God help her, it felt good, even as it terrified her. But he was her prisoner, she reminded herself, and she would not lose control again. She focused on his words, and her translation became almost simultaneous.

“Cyrus is big, the Guardian says. I sensed that too just in the space he occupied,” she added. Then she continued relaying the Guardian’s thoughts. “He’s Michael’s height, but heavier built, though not fat. His hair is very blond, and while he’s flawed—that’s what the Guardian says—he’d still be considered handsome if he were to walk the streets of Manhattan, though he doubts that he often does that. He says that Cyrus is not a cosmopolitan man. In fact, while his clothing is bespoke, it lacks subtlety, as though he isn’t quite familiar with the way a man in this day and age should dress.”

“In this day and age?” Reese asked.

“He has the distinct feel about him of a being out of time, of not knowing quite how to act here in this age and place. I got that too. And also it was in the way he spoke.”

“I wondered about that,” Reese commented. “Though I forget sometimes because I’m used to it around Alonso. Magda and Talia seem to have adapted to the modern use of language a little better, but then they’ve not made the effort to isolate themselves that Alonso has.”

The Guardian chuckled softly, and Susan felt the sensation inside her chest. “Having experience of such isolation myself, perhaps I am quicker to pick up on his discomfort.”

Susan didn’t translate that. It was meant for her ears only, and it was meant conversationally, as though he spoke to a friend. But she wasn’t his friend. She fucking wasn’t his friend! As though he’d read her thoughts, which no doubt, he
had, he withdrew slightly. This time he spoke more formally, and Susan resumed the translation. “He’s not working for himself.”

“Then who?” both she and Reese asked at the same time.

“I do not know,” came the Guardian’s response. “But whoever it is, this Cyrus fears him a great deal.”

Susan translated this to Reese and the Guardian’s voice became close and personal again.

“His fear of whomever he serves makes him both dangerous and unpredictable, Susan. You must be very careful.”


Magda Agrees to Cover Shots: New Covers for Medusa’s Consortium


The Medusa’s Consortium series is getting a new look! AND the lady herself finally consented to do a cover shot. Not sure how she managed it without her glasses, or without turning the photographer into stone, but the Queen of Scary has her secrets, and I’m happy to say that both photographer and cover designer are safe and still in the flesh. Though it was touch and go for the novelist there for a little while.



And what did it take to convince Magda Gardener/AKA Medusa to appear on the new covers of the stories of her Consortium, you may ask. Well I’m still flesh and blood, so she got over her huff with little damage done. However, she did say it would cost me majorly, something along the line that my arse is now hers. As if it wasn’t already. It didn’t hurt that she got on well with Emmy Ellis and the lovely folks at Studeoenp. I think I actually heard that she and Emmy are having coffee together sometime next week.



I have no idea what the cost will be in the long run. Magda Gardener has a way of calling in debts when you least expect it. She always gets her pound of flesh with interest. Still, I think it was worth it, don’t you? I’m willing to pay.



A New Excerpt from Blindsided

Happy Sunday my Lovelies. I’m having my coffee and my oatmeal and thought I’d share this insightful excerpt with you from Blindsided, my new release and the second book in Medusa’s Consortium. One of the things I’ve loved most about writing Blindsided was the interaction between Alonso and Michael and their struggle to deal with their feelings for Susan and for each other as their own relationship evolves. Lots of evolving relationships in Blindsided. This is one of my favourite scenes from their imprisonment. Enjoy!






Blindsided Blurb:

In New York City, away from those she loves, living with the enigmatic vampire, Desiree Fielding, Susan Innes struggles to come to terms with life as a vampire whose body serves as the prison for a deadly demon.

When Reese Chambers arrives unexpectedly from England, desperate for her help, she discovers that Alonso Darlington, his lover and her maker, has been taken captive and Reese has been warned to tell no one but her. Before the two can make a plan, Susan receives her own message from a man calling himself just Cyrus. He not only holds her maker prisoner, but also her lover, the angel Michael. If she wishes to see either of them alive, she’ll come to him and not tell Magda Gardener, the woman they all work for and fear.

With no help coming from Magda or her Consortium, Susan and Reese must turn to the Guardian – the terrifying demon now imprisoned in her body. He alone can help them, but how can she possibly trust him after all he’s done?



What I didn’t want to know – Excerpt form Blindsided:

For a long moment, they lay in silence, the rise of their steamy breath in the freezing air the only movement. Michael observed that Alonso really had internalized the appearance of respiration. Even in pain and several pints low, he still kept up the human ruse. He wondered if in time Susan would do the same. No doubt if the demon living inside her thought it would protect him, he would make damn sure she breathed regularly. That was one more argument he and Susan had left unresolved. He had all but accused her of spending time with the Guardian and keeping it from him. He’d hurt her with his words, and she’d been angry. Fuck, how the hell did he think she’d respond to such accusations? He hated unfinished business, especially when he wasn’t exactly sure he would ever get the chance to finish it. But this was Susan he was talking about, and Reese was no slouch either. The two would find a way. He was sure of it, and when they did he wouldn’t want to be in Cyrus’ shoes.

A soft grunt from Alonso as he tried to get comfortable brought Michael’s attention back to the present. “I was

thinking,” he said, “I can stretch my wrist out far enough for you to feed. Would that help at all?”

Alonso made another attempt to move and cursed under his breath. When he was in control of the pain, he spoke. “It wouldn’t do anything about the silver, but it might make me strong enough to do something worthwhile if we get our chance.” Then he added, “Are you sure you want to do that? You’ve fed Susan. You know what it’s like, and I don’t have the strength to shield myself if you do.”

Fortunately Michael could still shield himself. He didn’t figure Alonso knowing that Cyrus had one of his henchmen slit Reese’s throat and that Susan had killed the bastard and healed Reese would be helpful right now. He would withhold that information until it could do them some good, a lesson he’d learned from Magda, the hard way. “I’ll do my best to be as non-observant as possible.”

Truth was, he couldn’t stand the thought of the man being weakened in this way. Alonso’s strength had always been a given, and being a part of Magda’s Consortium meant the vampire always had his back. You could do a whole lot worse than having a vampire as strong as Alonso as your ally—especially when the woman you work for has so many enemies. And now there was one more to add to the list—Cyrus, whoever he was. Without being able to bring Magda into the situation, they were short-handed in a serious way. He needed Alonso strong.

He wriggled and squirmed as close as he could get, then extended his arm, wrist up, maneuvering so that Alonso would have to move as little as possible. “Pretty sure Hal won’t disturb us for a little while,” he assured him as he positioned himself, glad, for the first time since he woke up in this icebox that he had on only a T-shirt. “There’s a poker game going on in a warmer part of our villa, and he likes to gamble. He’s on a winning streak at the moment.” When Alonso raised an eyebrow, Michael shrugged. “I hear things—especially when I eavesdrop. Besides, my hearing’s as good as yours, you know?”

“But not your manners,” Alonso said with an attempt at a chuckle that came out more like a clipped hiss.

“I can be well-mannered when it serves me,” Michael replied. “I’m an angel, remember?”

“Good, then prove it by trying not to pay too much attention to my inner workings while I feed.”

Before Michael could respond, Alonso clamped down on his wrist—none too gently. “Ouch, you bastard. Why don’t you just rip it open and gnaw on the bone a bit while you’re at it?”

While Alonso made no response, Michael could have sworn the man was smiling around his efforts to chew the offered wrist off. Then the flood of feelings, memories and experiences hit Michael like a sledgehammer. He would have been embarrassed, would have looked the other way, would have shut it all off if he could have. He simply hadn’t expected Alonso’s inability to shield to be so complete. The silver was doing a real number on him.

Right at the forefront of all that Michael neither wanted to see nor feel were images of Susan, naked and clutched in Alonso’s arms while he drained her life away. Through it all, Michael had sat helplessly watching, knowing that there was nothing he could do. But along with that image was a wave of gut-wrenching sadness. For the first time Michael realized that Alonso had truly not wanted to make Susan into a vampire. Even as he drained her, his heart broke for what would now be the gift he would give to her. How could Michael have believed that a man who lived in forced solitude to protect the world from the threat he saw himself to be could have ever wished that existence on anyone else? And yet in his jealousy, in his own pain and loss, that’s exactly what he thought.

To see another person’s inner workings through the blood meant more than a voyeur’s little look-see. It meant experiencing the feelings that ran deeper than the blood, whether they belonged to the person who fed, or to the person being fed upon. It meant experiencing them as though they were your own. That was in addition to your own, and Michael’s inner workings were unsettling enough without adding Alonso’s to the mix. No wonder shielding was the very first lesson both vampire and familiar learned. It was respect. It was decency. It was something that Alonso couldn’t do for himself in his weakened state. Too late, Michael discovered to his horror that, under the stress of the situation, he was no more able to shield himself than Alonso was.

He could do nothing but relive the memory of Susan feeding from Alonso for the first time, of Alonso giving her back the life he’d taken, giving it back through the gift of his blood. Michael held his own painful memories of that horrible time, memories of watching helplessly as his beautiful Susan lay naked in Alonso’s arms, the fledgling of a vampire who found her way more attractive than he ever intended. She’d done it all so that she could become a prison cell for a demon who lived for lust. She’d done it all to save him, to save all of them. And yet it hurt as nothing ever had hurt in all of Michael’s long existence.

The exchange of blood was like that. It carried with it incredible lust and longing. Michael felt it in the tiny exchanges he’d made with Susan, a bonding that deepened not only their lust and their longing, but their love and desire for each other. How much more would that be the case when the exchange was complete, when a whole life was given up in the blood and then taken back?

Alonso loved Susan with all of his heart. The place she held within it didn’t eclipse Reese’s, but it balanced it in a way Michael couldn’t comprehend, and he was certain Reese couldn’t either. In an instant, he understood exactly why there was trouble in paradise. And just when Michael struggled to get his head around that unwanted bit of information, Alonso’s fantasies broadsided him. The things the man fantasized about doing to Susan made Michael at once insane with jealousy and on fire with lust. In spite of the former, his cock responded as though the fantasies were his own.

“I need you to stop now,” he forced the words up through his tight throat. Alonso didn’t respond, lost in the flow of blood as he was, and even though Michael was shielded, he doubted himself, doubted his abilities. He sure as hell didn’t want the bastard to see his thoughts, his inner workings. He panicked and jerked back. “Goddamnit, Alonso, I need you to stop. Now!”

But even in his weakened condition, Alonso held tight, pulling deeply and roughly at the flow of blood. Pain shot up Michael’s arm clear to his shoulder. Then, with a groan that was agony of a different kind, Alonso pulled free, gave a quick sealing lick to the wound and turned away with a hiss of pain and the smell of newly-burnt flesh. This time the tension in his shoulders, the wracking drag of unnecessary breath wasn’t from physical pain.

Michael pushed himself back against the wall, the jangling of the shackles on his ankles and wrists drowning out the sound of their ragged breathing. He shoved as far away from Alonso as he could get, the ache in his groin a vivid reminder of the violation he’d just committed. Christ, he hadn’t meant to embarrass Alonso. In spite of his own embarrassment at doing the unthinkable, he couldn’t force back the jealousy of the closeness Alonso shared, and what he felt for his only fledgling. Nor could he fight back the lust. Not his fault. Not Alonso’s fault either, and yet he hated him for it. He hated that there was so much more than just jealousy caught up in his feelings, so much more than anger and frustration. “Alonso, I’m—”

“Shut up, Michael.” There was another groan as the man shifted further from him beneath his silver chains.

Michael looked down at the bite marks on his wrist, wondering what the hell had inspired him to ask a vampire, whose secrets he was certain he didn’t want to know, to feed from him. It wasn’t like it would do either of them much good at the moment.

He watched Alonso’s back for a long time until he was fairly sure he’d lapsed into unconsciousness again. His own lust eased, dissipating into the cold metallic air that now smelled faintly of his own blood, and he was relieved for his solitude. The bite mark on his wrist was nearly healed. Angels healed as fast as vampires—physically, at least. The healing from what had happened to Susan, the bond she now inadvertently shared with Alonso, well, that wound wouldn’t heal so quickly. None of them could have possibly known the consequences of her choice. She was a fledgling vampire with a demon living inside her, a demon who was her prisoner, a demon who had once been his lover, and who had often resided in him.

Christ, was he jealous of Susan now, too? Or was he jealous of the demon for sharing an intimacy with the woman he loved that he would never have? But then neither would Alonso. Fat lot of comfort that was.


Buried Pleasures Available for Pre-Order



 With Blindsided just hot off the presses, I can’t tell you how excited I am to inform you that Buried Pleasures, book three of Medusa’s Consortium, is now available for pre-order.



Guarantee you’ll get the first read when Buried Pleasure continues the story of Magda and her gang in Vegas. And wow, the woman has one helluva gang in Sin City. It’s a good thing, because she’s going to need all the help she can get, and so is Samantha ‘Sam’ Black, the last siren.



Buried Pleasures Blurb:

When Samantha Black shares her sandwich with a dog, his owner, Jon—a homeless man living in the Las Vegas storm tunnels, gives her a poker chip worth a fortune from the exclusive casino, Buried Pleasures. All Sam has to do is cash it in. Sam is in Vegas for one reason only, to get her friend, Evie Holt, away from sinister magician, Darian Fox, who holds her prisoner in an effort to force Sam to perform at his club, Illusions. A neon circus tent of strange and mystical acts, Illusions is one of the biggest draws in Vegas, and he’s hell-bent on including Sam on his more than slightly sinister program.

The shadowy Magda Gardener will do anything to keep Sam from cashing in that chip. She knows that Buried Pleasures is the gate to Hades and cashing in the chip is a one-way ticket across the River Styx, which runs beneath the storm tunnels of Vegas.



Coming 9th January 2018 – available for pre-order now!

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon AU
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
iBooks UK
iBooks US


A Different Kind of Magic — Buried Pleasures Excerpt:

She opened the piano and ran her fingers carefully over the cool ivory. The buzz of the long familiar, and yet ever mysterious, magic climbed her spine with the effervescing tingle that was always there in the presence of potential music. Jon, who had returned to her side, pulled the padded bench out for her, and she slipped onto it letting both hands arch delicately against the keys, barely making contact. The cloak she’d nearly forgotten she wore, slid down her arms to cover the backs of her hands, but before she could shrug it back, Jon moved behind her and undid the clasp at her throat, easing it off her shoulders to pool on the bench around her.

His touch was a different kind of magic. It sent a cascade of goose flesh over her clavicle down the tops of her breasts, and the tight gasp that escaped her lips was almost, but not quite a sob. Above the keys she flexed her fingers. Behind her, heat radiated off Jon’s body. His breath was warm against her nape. Then he leaned down and spoke close to her ear. “Sing for me, Samantha. I need you to sing for me.”

She withdrew her hands as though the keys were suddenly on fire and clenched them tightly in her lap. “I can’t. You saw what I did to those men, and when I sing I see things, things I shouldn’t know, things I don’t want to know. I … I invade peoples’
private space. I don’t mean to,” she added quickly, “but it happens, and I can’t help it, and the music takes over and I can’t stop until it’s finished no matter how badly I want to, and … I don’t want to do that to you.”

He stepped closer until the tense muscles of his thighs warmed her back, until the shape of him pressed against her almost as it had in his bed. But she was so much more conscious of it now, so much more conscious of the depth of what he desired from her, of her own desire to give it to him, to give him what she’d never been able to give anyone.

He slid strong fingers down across her neck, over her pulse point, which hammered and jerked beneath his touch. Then he cupped her cheek with a rough palm and pressed her back against his belly.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” she managed around a struggle to breathe. “I never wanted to hurt anyone. When it’s good, it’s the most amazing thing ever. Believe me, I would gladly share that with you, but when it all goes wrong …” Her eyes misted at the thought of all that she’d had to keep hidden to protect the people around her.

He leaned over her and took her clenched hands into his. “You won’t hurt me, and it will be good, I promise.” Then he brought her fists to his lips and kissed her knuckles, easing her fingers open one by one as he did so. “You’re a siren, Samantha. That’s why you can do what you can do. Your music is your power and you can control it.”



If you haven’t yet read In The Flesh, Book One of Medusa’s Consortium, nows your chance to get it FREE!



The lovely Victoria DeLuis has invited an amazing bunch of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy authors in for this wonderful giveaway. She was kind enough to include yours truly. She has invited us to take iveaway for the whole month of October. I’ve included In The Flesh, book one of my Mesdusa’s Consortium series.

Follow the link below and you’ll find over SEVENTY fabulous FREE reads, featuring novels, novellas, and previews. So if you love UF and PNR as much as I do, browse through the covers, and then click to download the book from Amazon, InstaFreebie or BookFunnel


It’s like trick-or-treat candy for lovers of UF/PNR. So go ahead, indulge! Better than chocolate and calorie free!


Here is the page link: http://victoriadeluis.com/promo/





While I posted parts of this blog several years ago, with Blindsided just out, it seemed more appropriate than ever, and with me away on retreat allowing my characters to dictate what I write, I had to share these thoughts with you.

We writers of fiction often play god creating both characters and plot and setting that created world in motion to see what happens, to even control what happens. We actually get to look inside the heads of our characters and see what’s going on there, what motivates, what inspires, what frightens, what excites. In a lot of ways that’s the norm. That’s what the writing life is supposed to be like, that’s supposed to be our experience as we plot the story and shape our characters.


But in every good writing experience I’ve ever had, in almost every novel I’ve ever written, there comes a point when I stop being the creator, when I stop telling the characters what’s going to happen and how they’ll react to it. There comes a point, a certain threshold – usually when I’m most deeply into the world I’ve created, when the characters rise up and rebel. They stop being my puppets and they start telling me exactly how it’s going to be. They make it very clear to me that I have been demoted from god, creator of the fictional world and all who live in it to … well … to a glorified secretary and little more. They tell me what to write and I don’t argue. I just write, because at that point, they know what’s best.


OK, the position is actually a bit more glamorous than that of a secretary because my characters now drag me along, whether my bag is packed or not, to wherever the plot takes them and through whatever twists and turns unfold in the process. I become the war correspondent reporting the action on the front. I become the Scribe, responsible for recording the facts, responsible for writing the truth as my characters see it. I also become their advocate. It becomes my job to speak for the character to the readers, to make sure the readers ‘get them’ and their plight.


The Scribe! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what that means, especially as I work on the Medusa’s Consortium series in which the roll of the scribe becomes a lot more important. I’ve been trying out that position, opening myself to the idea of being prepared for anything. The result has been several stories I’ve shared with you on this blog, as well as some highly imaginative incidents that may or may not have involved strong drink, too little sleep, and a sense of humor that is most active when the imagination is stimulated. The story of the storyteller is another story within itself. The storyteller, the novelist, the war correspondent, the reporter, are all quite often used as plot devices that frame the story. In fact the story within a story, the plot within a plot, the play within a play is as old as Shakespeare and probably older.


It’s old because it works. It works because it give more dimension and also allows the Scribe a little bit of distance, a little bit of space to say, while pointing the finger, ‘Hey, it wasn’t my idea! They told me to say it! It’s their fault, not mine!’ If ever there was license for a writer to misbehave with abandon, I’d say the Scribe is it. So, I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. My new release, Blindsided as well as In The Flesh are both Scribe stories, in which our scribe, Susan Innes takes center stage. Encounter in a Dry Canyon and the encounters with Alonso Darlington as well as the lady in the sunglasses, (and you all now know that this lady will be putting me through my paces for a long time to come) are all examples of the writer as Scribe, of the writer only there to observe and tell the characters’ stories.


Being a Scribe for the characters and events of an intriguing story means that I, the writer, gets the hell out of the way
and let the characters tell the story, let them guide me through the events as they unfold. If I’m not in the way, the story is one step closer to its purest form, colored by the characters views of events and experiences rather than my own, and that has to be the difference between Nescafe and a freshly made, triple espresso with whipped cream on top!


While I’m away in Zagreb on my writer’s retreat, I hope to spend a lot of time getting out of the way and letting the characters dictate the story to me while they drag me right on into the middle of the action. I think that’s the very best place for a writer to be, and when it happens, it’s a heady experience! It’s also an experience that affects the writer in ways too much control over a story never could. So, bring it on, I say! But I don’t say that without a certain amount of fear and trepidation as I settle my sweaty fingers onto the keyboard and take a deep breath.

© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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