Jessica McHugh's Song of Eidolons

Song of Eidolons was born of my childhood love for legends, fairy tales, fables, and other stories  that stretched my imagination beyond the suburbs. I graduated from Grimm Academy with honors, which mostly consisted of a twisted sense of humor and a penchant for deliciously dark fiction. My first foray into the territory of legends was my Arthurian novel, Camelot Lost, but Song of Eidolons really submerged me in all things legendary. I'd written a  handful of  novels before, so I didn't have the “second novel dread”, but it kind of felt like it. Camelot Lost was the first book I wrote after meeting the man who would become my husband. After meeting him, it felt like a new world. I was a new person, even a new writer, and I wanted the follow-up to Camelot Lost to be even more fantastic.
             I was always a fan of the “big” legends: King Arthur, Atlantis, Robin Hood, etc...but there was one I stumbled across in research that I hadn't heard much about before: Fionn MacCool. (Also known as Fionn mac Cumhaill or Finn McCool) The hero of an Irish myth, Fionn lived in an enchanted forest, defeated a fire-breathing fairy during Samhain, and fell in love with a woman who'd been turned into a deer by an evil sorcerer. Pretty much your typical badass legend. I was instantly enamored of the chap and started doing heavy research on him---for about two days. That's when I realized I didn't want to rewrite another legend. I loved putting my own spin on King Arthur, but I didn't want to get pigeonholed as the author that just rewrites legends. I wanted to create my own.
            That day, Delaney Lortal was born. Unfortunately, I can't say too much about how I developed Delaney as a character without spoiling some of Song of Eidolons' secrets, but as you read, you can immediately tell that while I was willing to let go of my Fionn MacCool story, I didn't let go of him entirely. Nor did I let go of Arthur, Atlantis, or Robin Hood. And just to add an extra dash of legendary levity, I tossed in the Philosopher's Stone and the Fountain of Youth too.
            You might be saying “Wait just a damn minute, Jessica. You just said you didn't want to rewrite legends and here you are throwing eight million legends into this book.”
            True. But in the case of “Song of Eidolons” it's not the details of the mentioned legends that are explored. I explore the power of those legends. The foreword delves deeper into that power, saying it is “eternal and omnipotent, and it is the most greatly coveted power of all.” Legends have the ability to change cultures, belief structures, and people. They certainly changed Delaney Lortal and her grandfather, Dags. That is the story I wanted to tell and when all was said and done, I felt victorious. I was camping with my friends when I wrote the ending. While they were hiking, I stayed behind to write, and when they returned I ran straight up to my husband and screamed,
            “I finished! I wrote the end of Song of Eidolons!”
            “Awesome, honey! What happens?” he asked.
            “I don't know, but I finished it!!”
            That happens a lot actually.
            Song of Eidolons is my favorite story, but it was also my favorite writing experience. It was one of those books that seemed to write itself. Everything fell into place so perfectly. Research was also a surprising joy. I picked out Dags and Delaney's house from a Forest Row real estate website and kept a picture of it in my notebook. Our tiny one-bedroom apartment was littered with summaries and articles and still, I didn't feel overwhelmed by the research. The way the story revealed itself to me was like no other story I've written. Song of Eidolons is my little ball of golden light amidst a legion of dark, often bloody, tales. Plus (and yes, I know this is slightly evil) of all my books with their plot twists and shocking endings, Song of Eidolons has the best “big reveal”, in my opinion. What makes Delaney Lortal such a special character is a jaw-dropping-brain-rocker, even for the wacky chick who wrote it. I don't often re-read my books after they're published, but I can always read Song of Eidolons.

            Thank you so much for having me, Katie. It was an absolute joy to talk about this book and the experience writing it. It was a fantastic time in my life, and I love reliving it. Then again, every book is a blast in its own way. 

If you'd like to check out more or purchase Song of Eidolons, click here

Rising Sign Books: Urban Fantasy Investigations: Guest Blog & Giveawa...

Urban Fantasy Investigations: Guest Blog & Giveaway: Katie Salidas:

Urban Fantasy Investigations welcomes Katie Salidas Author of the Immortalis Series.

Click here to read the interview.

I'll also be giving away one autographed copy "Readers Choice" from my Immortalis Series. Be sure to enter the giveaway!

And the winner of the Zombie book collection is.....

Congratulations Brynn.  

Sorry, small change up here. I've just been informed that we need to pick a different winner. Brynn has already read these books. Ok... Round two!!

Congratulations T.

You'll be hearing from Sommer shortly about how to collect your prize.
Thanks for playing everyone, stay tuned for more Author/Book spotlights and giveaways!

Zombies…Meh…Yeah, right… (Giveaway inside)

Today we have the ever fabulous and quite prolific Mrs. Sommer Marsden gracing the pages of Written in Blood today. She's here to talk to you about... Zombies. Since I have an extreme fear of those animated undead things, I'm going to put my fingers in my ears and sing, "La la la la," while she entertains you and gives her thoughts on those thrilling and often scary creatures of the night. Take it away Sommer!

I never really gave zombies much thought. In fact, I pretty much was ‘meh’ on the whole zombie front. In my mind, zombies=Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and all that jazz. And though they were a good scary time, they weren’t anything I felt compelled to revisit again and again.

Shaun of the Dead was a bit of a stand out for me. The man forced me to watch it and oddly, I enjoyed it so much (let’s face it, the jukebox scene at the Winchester is EPIC!) I was always the one to suggest a re-watch.

But zombies…did I say ‘meh’ already?


Then the title WE KILL DEAD THINGS popped into my mind. It was one of those things…pop! …there it was. A title bubble that floated into my brain out of nowhere. And I thought...hmm…I did a title search and found nothing close. That was very exciting to me as the title really got my mind going with the whole dead thing scenario.

So I wrote the first zombie exterminator book.

While neck deep in ‘research’—if you can call zombie movies and books and mags research instead of fun—it dawned on me I did like zombies! I mean, the Resident Evil movies are…zombies! And I watch those rabidly. I will watch them any day of the week and especially if sick. So, hey, turned out I liked zombies after all.

It took a few weeks for it to go click in my brain that I’d loved zombies for a long time. And had a good scare in my earlier years thanks to the walking dead. I’d just never put two and two together. How, you ask? A simple matter of the dead to zombie timeline.

To me zombies are people who are infected (for whatever reason) and die and then come back—dead but reanimated. But the book I was (finally) recalling had the accidental dead buried intentionally and then they come back—dead but reanimated. And scary as shit.

Two words: Pet Sematary by Stephen King.

Okay, that’s five words! But let’s add this word: pee-your-pants-scary

I read Pet Sematary when I was fifteen. I ate Stephen King books in big, big, greedy bites back in the day. And that particular book I had started before flying from Maryland to Connecticut for Spring Vacation with family. Alone.  I was so into the book that when I got to my aunt’s house, I laid in bed until the wee hours while finishing the tale of Louis and Gage and all things that went bump-shuffle-groan in the night.

And then I passed out in the not-my bed in the not-my house dreaming of dirt chunking off of dead shambling feet and swamp gas lights in dark woods. And poor Jud Crandall.

And I woke to a small boy with blond hair (a bowl cut, no less) about an inch from my face saying my name. Staring at me.

For those of you who don’t know the scenario the coup de grace of Pet Sematary involves a small deadly boy who is hell bent on um…damage.

A small blond boy. A small blond creepy dead boy. With a bowl haircut (if you go by cinema).

And here I was in the not-my bed, in the not-my house with a small blond possibly dead and deadly zombie boy child in my face!

At first there was total silence. That vacuum that sucks in all potential noise and crushes it. And then the vacuum broke.  I screamed like some cheesy B-movie heroine and pin-wheeled my arms, falling off the not-my bed onto the not-my floor as the very-much-small-sweet-my-cousin-and-NOT-deadly little boy started weeping and screaming and wailing.

He hit the floor, sobbing heartily.  I was busy crab walking across the floor toward the wall and neither of us could seem to stop screaming. Until my aunt came in, took one look at the book, one look at me pressed to wall and one look at her son who was still wailing like a banshee and…promptly burst into hysterical laughter. Having to bend double at the waist—mind you—because she could not breathe proper what with all the laughing.

My cousin forgave me. Eventually. Around the time he started to drive. I never lived it down. NEVER. And it only took me writing a whole zombie book of my own to realize that hey, I really have loved zombies for quite a while.

Even if they did scar me and a certain small toddler for life.

That being said and my shame being confessed,  leave me a comment for a chance to win the first two zombie books from the Zombie Exterminator series: WE KILL DEAD THINGS , NO GUILT & LUNATIC FRINGE. Please be forewarned, they’re for ADULTS ONLY and contain explicit sex and language. 


Now that the scary talk is over... ok, yes, I'm a wuss and just the mention of zombies sends me running for the hills... That's beside the point. On to the FUN STUFF!!

Mrs. Sommer Marsden has graciously offered up the full set of Zombie Exterminator books: WE KILL DEAD THINGS ,NO GUILT & LUNATIC FRINGE.

To enter, you'll need to leave a comment for Sommer with your email address (if we cannot contact you we cannot award you the prize) and tell her why you love or hate zombies.

Bonus points go to those who re-tweet (Twitter) or share the link on Facebook!

It's that simple! 

The winner will be announced on Friday the 23rd! 

Good luck and happy reading!!!

Would you like to participate in Vampire Awareness Month - October?

I'm looking for guest post about vampires to feature on this blog during the month of October. Anyone who's a fan of those fanged creatures of the night can contribute.

Send me an email at with VAMPIRE AWARENESS in the subject line if you would like to contribute a guest post to this month long blog event.

Post can be anything from vampire origins, best vampire TV shows and why, what drew you to those creatures of the night, etc... The sky is the limit as long as it pertains to vampires. (sorry, no: zombies, werewolves, fey, etc...)

For authors: At the end of each post you can do some promo for your books, but I'd rather not have the entire post be advertisement. Keep it simple.

What I want is more on the subject of vampires. Why did you chose to write about them? What makes them so interesting? What was the first book that sparked your interest in them, etc... That kind of thing. At the end of the post authors can pimp their work, but I don't want it to be 100% advertisement.Readers ignore things like that.  Sadly, the blogosphere is just flooded with reviews and promotion that it's becoming a bit of white noise to consumers. Readers do still seem to respond to actual content though. This could provide a nice (free) way for authors of paranormal fiction to gain some added exposure.

I will have some spots open on the weekends during the month of October for Vampire book features. This is a first come first serve basis. Please contact me at first to see if space is available.

For advertisers: Have a vampire related product you'd like to have featured in the sidebar of the blog during Vampire Awareness Month? Contact me at for information and pricing.

I popped my cherry at the Erotic Authors Association Conference (Day 2 Recap)

I'm surprised to see that no one weighed in on the comments about the Alpha female and Beta Male question. Perhaps it really doesn't matter if the story is good. If you want to, you can still leave a comment on that post.

I popped my cherry at the Erotic Authors Association Conference (Day 1 Recap)

On to day two!

Day two started off, after a cup of hot tea and some breakfast, with an editors panel. The hot topic of discussion there was the anthology. Bread an butter for some publishers, added perk for others, it was touted as an excellent way for a new author to gain some added exposure. Certainly having your story alongside of other popular authors will give you some notoriety, but be warned, anthologies do not pay that much. I'm not saying anyone should avoid them, but as I always caution, keep your head on straight about things. The anthology isn't the path to millions. I do agree though that added exposure is always a good thing (even for us independent publishers) and to submit a few thousand words is not a huge deal. Most of us can bang that out in a day or so.A quick word of warning as well, and this comes from the editors on the panel... Pay attention to submission guidelines. If you don't follow them, your work won't have a chance of getting into the anthology, no matter how good your story.

From there we moved on to the panel discussing Paranormal. As we all know, paranormal is a hot market, but what is it? How closely linked is it to other genres. Urban Fantasy, Magical Realism, and dare I say it, SciFi? Yes, I did say SciFi. All of them are connected by bringing oddities to the common world. Basically anything that is not "normal" can be considered Paranormal. Magic, creatures, aliens, technology. It's the rules that we give these stories that define which specific sub genre they belong to.  There were however, some that felt authors take too many liberties when trying to be unique within their chosen sub genre. Twilight was brought up to show what the author tried to do to be unique, sparkly vampires. However the general consensus there was, she went too far! The trick is to be unique without being laughable and that's something hard to do. Heads up for all the writers out there, but another general consensus from the publishers and editors on the panels was that Werewolves and other were creatures are a hot item. Specifically, they want to see unique creatures. Were gerbils anyone? =p

After that it was on to the Taboo panel and this was one of great interest to me. In erotica writing or any writing in general, there are lines that one should be wary to cross. The focus on this panel was not exactly, "do not cross" but what are the limits of these taboos? You have the 5 deadly sins: Incest, Children, Rape, Non Consensual, & Elimination (pooping & peeing). All of which sound pretty bad when listed out. But, lets take children for example. I'm sure everyone will agree that writing young kids and sex is bad, but where does that line end? Can you write a coming of age story where a teenager is exploring their own growth and sexuality? Lets add another layer, what about a young gay male developing the courage to come out of the closet? Not romanticized or eroticized, this could be a beneficial story. An empowering story for someone in the gay community. You can't tell me that teenagers don't struggle with their own issues of sexuality. The reality of it is, we know kids are having sex. Sex is posted up everywhere on billboards. Teenage girls are walking around with Juicy plastered across their ass and no one says a thing about that being bad, but in writing, if characters aren't 18 or older, it is a taboo. I'm not going to defend either way, but this shows you how easily the lines can be blurred and that was the focus of this panel. Each one of the 5 deadly sins, depending on how they are approached have a very blurry line between being horrible, and useful in writing.

As I said, this was a wonderfully informative conference!

The rest of the day was taken by some classes. I took a class that was an introduction to the art of BDSM. It was quite interesting to learn the vocabulary as well as see some of the tools in action. That was followed up by a quick class on blurb writing and then the farewell cocktail party.No, I didn't have a drink, pregnancy and all. But I did stay and socialize a bit!

For my first ever conference, it was an awesome experience. The classes were amazing, the panels informative, and the conversations with other writers, truly inspiring! I look forward to being able to attend future writing conferences, and I truly hope that the EAA comes back to Vegas for next year!

Now that my cherry has been popped, I'm aching for more. =)

I popped my cherry at the Erotic Authors Association Conference (Day 1 Recap)

Oh that does sound dirty, doesn't it?

Well, on some level it was true. I had never attended a writer's conference before this one. Virgin nerves and all that, I was still excited to go. The class menu looked so appetizing:

Setting as Character
Hands on Kink
Sexy, Sexy Grammar
Sex Sells, How to write and sell Erotica. 

Then there were the discussion panels:
Erotic Romance
Tales of the Paranormal

And those were just the ones I could make. Beyond that there were readings and more.

The weekend started with an editors panel where members of various erotic/romantic publishers sat down to talk with us about what they were looking for and what they can do for authors. The topic of self publishing came up and surprisingly enough, many of the editors were very supportive of it. The one main thing they offered up in support of traditional vs. self was the ability to let the writer do the writing. On one level I have to agree with that. You all know I am proudly self-published, however it is more of a day job than I had when I was was gainfully employed. It's hard work, and there is no guarantee of a good paycheck. That's not to say that going traditional is going to make anyone rich, but there is the added benefit of a publisher with a sales record and catalog, etc behind you.  That kind of support is something that can help any author build an audience.

From that hugely informative panel, I moved on to the Sex Sells class by M Christian. One of the main focuses here, surprisingly enough can be summed up in this quick quote. "If you can pull the sex scene out of a story and it doesn't change the plot, it isn't necessary. Cut it." That's right. Don't just put sex on paper and think that makes the story. There needs to be an actual story there. The sex should be a big part of it if your writing Erotic Romance but it's not porn.

Next came Sexy, Sexy Grammar with Jean Roberta & Sharazade . Sharazade as you may remember, is my editor! Not only was it an extreme pleasure to meet her in person, but to sit in a class taught by her was great!

I finished up the first day with the Erotic Romance panel where an assortment of great authors and publishers got together to discuss what sells and what doesn't. Interestingly enough, the debate of Alpha Females and Beta Males took up quite a bit of time. Some were very against the idea of this being a saleable combination while others felt that branching out into less traveled territory made for more interesting reading. Ultimately it boiled down to knowing your market and knowing if they would accept it. So, while we're on the topic, what do you think? Can a story work with a strong Alpha female and a Beta male?

We'll recap day 2 soon. I'm exhausted and need to sleep! Until then, I'll be looking forward to hearing your responses.