Today I've got the awesome Chrystalla Thoma here to talk about her latest Urban Fantasy.... Take it away, Chrys!
Hi Katie, thanks for hosting me today to talk about my urban fantasy series “Boreal and John Grey”.
I love elves – have done ever since I read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as a teenager. Beautiful and wise, in tune with nature and its energy, ancient and timeless.
And I admit a certain fascination with those “leaf-shaped” ears as described by Tolkien.
However, when I went back to Tolkien’s sources, such as the old Norse (old Icelandic) Edda – epic poems and tales – I realized he’d changed the aelfar (the elves”) to fit his world. Sure, the elves were said to have magic, and sometimes they were mentioned in the same breath as the aesir (the gods), but they were wicked tricksters who brought misfortune and illness, and exchanged healthy children with sickly changelings.
Tall and pale – their name means ‘white’ – these beings were not peaceful and distant but meddlesome and wanted something from us humans.
Well, the Edda say that the elves lived in another world – called Aelfheim (Elfhame = Elf home), one of the nine worlds hanging on the world tree Ygdrasil. So what the heck were they doing in our world all the way to the Middle Ages when the stories were written down?
Tada, inspiration flash. The elves had come here, had traveled through a Gate to our world, intent on conquering it. No tree-hugging, peace-loving elves, but tech-savvy, ambitious and not-so-nice elves, who wanted this world for their own.
But how did they fail?
The Edda tells us that apart from the Light Elves, living on the surface of their world, Dark Elves living underground. So what if the Dark elves were the wise, peaceful ones, and what if they had managed to stop their Light brethren and locked the Gates?
And what if now, today, the Light elves had finally found a way to cross once more and take over our world?
Enter Ella Benson, Paranormal Bureau agent, who fights all that crosses between worlds – shades and shadows. But something has changed: increasingly dangerous creatures are slipping into her city, her work partner has just gone missing, and a mysterious – and, frankly, quite hot — guy saves her life. His name is Finn and, as it turns out, he’s a natural when it comes to fighting the Shades.
With the Gates opening and her partner gone, Ella needs a new ally. Enlisting the mysterious Finn is her first thought and seems to work quite well, until she realizes Finn has some dangerous secrets of his own.
Together with Finn, and the fate of the world on her shoulders, what’s Ella to do but grab her weapons and figure it all out, one way or another.
Read the complete First Season of the series Boreal and John Grey, books 1-5 (The Encounter, The Gate, The Dragon, The Dream and The Truth) at a special price with an Author’s Note at the end.
The first episode in the series is free so you can sample it – here:Amazon
Where to find the complete season 1 boxset:
The goblin crouched down and drew its huge fist back. Time slowed. She saw it coming at her like a dark wave, about to smash her face.
The fist stopped an inch from her face. The goblin groaned. Its yellow eyes widened, the lumbering body shuddered and pitched sideways.
Ella blinked up at the scaffolds and beams, then sat up slowly, her head spinning. Her knife lay a few feet away. She reached for it, her other hand going to her gun, still in its hip holster.
The kobolds advanced over the half-built wall, clawed hands extended, and she cocked the gun, taking aim.
Something pale streaked her vision and she blinked. Hallucinations? She must have hit her head harder than she thought. Because a man was there, blades flashing in the moonlight. He fell on the kobolds, twirling and delivering heavy blows, his blond hair flying under a green bandana. Like a hurricane, he pivoted and kicked, then cut and stabbed, until the Shades fell back, raising spindly hands to cover their faces.
Okay, what the hell?
The man didn’t stop. He spun closer to the kobolds, hacking at them with his blades — bowie knives, long and wicked, covered in symbols — marking one on the arm. The kobold shrieked and flickered in and out of existence. The other one cowered and whimpered. Ella narrowed her eyes. Why did they fear his knives but not hers? The blades were dark. Iron?
A bellow from the left reminded her the goblin was still present. Crap. Her hand felt too heavy, her head too light, filled with sharp pebbles that bounced inside her skull. The goblin pushed itself upright and turned to her.
“Oh no, you don’t,” she whispered and took aim. She fired one, two, three bullets into its chest. The goblin staggered back but didn’t fall. Cursing, she reversed her grip on the knife and threw it at the creature’s head. It hit it smack in the forehead.
The goblin fell and fizzled, its limbs melting away, its torso and head going last, a grizzly Cheshire cat grin on its face — finally returning to the place behind the Veil.
Ella blinked at the empty spot the goblin had occupied, then turned to see the man dispatch the last kobold. Suddenly there was ringing quiet, punctuated by the guy’s hissing breaths. He looked up.
“Are you okay?” he asked. He had a strange accent, a way of drawing out the vowels. Russian, perhaps. He was handsome in a lean and austere sort of way — thin face, high cheekbones, a small mouth, and hooded ice-blue eyes. His chest rose and fell, stretching the black material of his dirty white t-shirt. He wore a green bandana under which his ash-blond hair fluttered down to his shoulders. “Hey, can you hear me?”
“Yeah, sorry. I’m fine.” To prove it, she clicked the safety of her gun on and stood, wobbling only a little. “Thank you. You’re...?”
“You should get out of here. More Vaettir may arrive.”
“Vaettir? You mean Shades?” That had sounded Nordic. Maybe not Russian then.
He nodded, eyes darting around the place, knives held loosely at his sides, ichor dripping steadily to the floor. Silvery designs flashed on his bare forearms — tattoos? Or paint?
“Yes, Shades.” He walked to the half-finished wall and checked behind it, every movement graceful like a panther’s.
Ella shook her head dazedly. What was wrong with her? “I’m Ella, working for the Investigations Bureau.” She didn’t normally recruit people, but he saw Shades, and the way he fought ... “Finding someone with your abilities is rare and we could really use another... Wait!” He was backing away and she didn’t even know his name. She took a step toward him as the police sirens sounded in the distance. “Don’t go!”