My 13 Favorite Shadow World Scenes (So Far)

One thing I love about a book release is catching people quoting their favorite lines and scenes.  It makes me think about my own favorites in the series, and how they might differ from a reader’s.  There are some moments that have just been a blast to write, some so much so that I didn’t want them to be finished and would keep going back over them hoping I could stay engaged with the moment.

So, for fun, here are my favorite moments and scenes (sometimes chapters) of the Shadow World series thus far.  The list is weighted slightly toward Shadowstorm because it’s freshest on my mind, but they’re in order of chronology, not preference.

Needless to say, SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE SHADOW WORLD SERIES UP TO BOOK 6

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1. Queen of Shadows – Opening Scene

Untitled 2Openings are freaking HARD to write, but after about fifty different takes on it, I was satisfied.  I just loved the image of our poor, mentally battered heroine finding herself buying beer and candy bars next to the man who will turn out to be her partner – who is himself there buying ice cream blissfully unaware he’s just met his soul mate.

One of the things I was trying to do in QoS was to lay it all out there from page 1 – I never made any real secret of how things would end up for Miranda.  I wasn’t interested in some will they/won’t they tired romantic cliche; I was interested in how and why.   As the LOLCats say, “WHY YOU SURPRISED? IS TITLE OF BOOK!”

 

2. Queen of Shadows – Miranda and David’s “first date”

There’s something so fun about the juxtaposition of supernatural creatures and incredibly ordinary situations.  First, we start off seeing Kat and Drew react to David’s sudden appearance, their first impression being David asking if he should kill Drew; then Miranda drags him off for ice cream, and we get to watch a 350 year old nerd scarf down a sundae that would render most humans catatonic from sugar overload.  After that, of course, is the shagging, which is always fun.

3. Shadowflame – “The Prime of California Had Arrived.”

Deven’s introduction in the second book remains one of top five in the whole series.  I just love the “visual” – it’s a cinematic and iconic moment.  I particularly like the “shot” of Deven wordlessly pulling aside the lapel of his coat and exposing both Ghostlight and his Signet – Miranda knows exactly who she’s dealing with before a name is spoken by either.  The next few chapters in fact delight me because I know that all the enmity between them will eventually turn into an intimate friendship that changes them both profoundly.  You’d never know it based on how they meet.  I love that.

4. Shadow’s Fall – A Doomed Shag

Again, it’s those seemingly ordinary moments that I enjoy most with my characters, and the part in the third book where Miranda and David attempt to have sex but she ends up falling off the desk and he gets hit in the head with his own Signet tickles me.  I’ve always thought sex is kind of inherently silly, and if you can’t laugh with your partner, your relationship is probably going to get really boring really quickly.  No couple has misty Sarah McLachlan sex or mad passionate Nine Inch Nails “Closer” sex every time.  Not even badass vampires.

5. Shadow’s Fall – The very last line of the book

Oh, that line still makes me so happy.  Shadow’s Fall was arduous to write; there was so much Untitled 2aawfulness about to happen, and getting there with the right amount of tension and pain took a lot out of me.  I knew people were going to lose their minds when it was pretty clear that yes, David was really dead – and I let that shock stay in place up to the very last possible second, but I didn’t want to drag it out just for the sake of drama.  I wanted everything to fall apart so utterly it would break every heart in the room (it sure as hell broke mine), but then to offer this bewildering second of hope with a dose of WTF that I hoped would sustain everyone the year it would take to get the sequel out.  I like to think it worked.

6. Of Shadow Born – The Haven Comes Back to Life

The fourth book is one of my favorites – I just felt like the whole thing clicked really well.  I loved watching Miranda try to hold herself together without David; not so much because of the sadness involved, but because it showed both the strength of her character and how much she had learned in the last few years about how to lead and how to survive.  The moment where she hits the recall button to call the Elite back to the Haven, and all the systems come back online while Stella watches, gets me every time.

7. Of Shadow Born – Olivia’s Houseguest

I was really proud of the scene where David wakes up in Olivia’s loft with his mind all screwed up after the transition to Thirdborn (and that whole resurrection thing) – I doubt anyone really noticed, but the scene starts out without any actual reference to David himself.  No pronouns, no sense of who he is as a narrator – I mean, we know who he is, but it’s not even until midway through the scene that he starts thinking of himself as “he.”  The moment he says, “I’m alive,” the language switches to a more traditional narrative.  Maybe it’s pretentious, but it was fun as hell to write.

8. Shadowbound – The Proposal

I’m so mean to poor Deven.  Miranda has to deal with a lot of tragedy and pain, but most of it comes from outside herself; she doesn’t for a second believe she knows everything, but she does know herself, and knows who she wants to be.  Dev on the other hand is locked in a seven-century battle with his own self-hatred.  But I wanted to give him just a little bit of happiness before the next tragedy befell him, and what seems like a totally random idea on Jonathan’s part leads Dev to one of the few purely happy experiences of his life.

You know, until I fuck it all up in the next chapter.

9. Shadowbound – Turning Nico

Nico’s another fun character because of inner conflict.  His perspective on becoming and living as a vampire is fundamentally different from the others’ so turning him into a vampire was a chance to turn all that white light and happy trees stuff upside down and expose the darker creature underneath.  I especially like when he tries to eat Stella in the library; who doesn’t love bitey sexual tension?  A relationship between the two of them seemed like just the right kind of weird.  The best part, though, is the way he reacts to Miranda and David in that scene – there’s more to a Signet than just legal authority, there’s an instinctive recognition and fear even for an above average vamp like Nico.  We also get our first real look at the chemistry between him and David, which I always thought was a yummy thing indeed.

10. Shadowstorm – Miranda’s Walk to Holding

Everyone loves that moment in a movie where the bad guy is marched down a hallway by law enforcement, most likely to the glass-walled cage he’ll escape from in the next act.  I’d been itching to give Miranda a scene like that, showing how alienated she’s become from the human world even though technically she’s still a part of it.

11. Shadowstorm – David Juggling Nutter Butters

I mean, c’mon, if you were telekinetic you’d totally do the same thing.

12. Shadowstorm – Deven and Miranda’s Coffee Date

Untitled 2bEvery writer slips bits of her own history into her characters’ lives.  Miranda’s story about getting busy in a Burger King bathroom was actually taken from my own life.  I enjoyed writing the scene just because I love writing good conversation – plus, it was a lot of fun giving Deven a giggle fit.

Not to mention, in order for Dev to know so enough about Harry Potter fan fiction to come up with an accurate-sounding porn fic username, he had to have read some at some point, and that thought give me  a giggle fit.

13. Shadowstorm – This Love

The scene where Deven and Nico finally sleep together was probably my favorite to write in Book 6.  I couldn’t tell you why, exactly; there are sexier moments in the book, and more emotional ones, but I worked hard to make it feel like the two of them hooking up was something earned, not just a matter of destiny shoving them together and voila, everything’s peachy.  They both went through a lot to reach each other.  To quote Nico’s thoughts, “Somehow in the midst of everything that was wrong, something had gone very, very right. ”

Don’t forget, Shadowstorm is now available for purchase in paperback and electronic forms – check out this post for more information.

And just FYI, my supporters over at Patreon have already read the first chapter of Book 7.  That could be you too!  Click below to find out more.

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Of Shadow Born: Sneak Preview #2

Here’s our second and final excerpt before next Tuesday’s release.

It’s the first part of Chapter 1, scene 2: it doesn’t give away anything too major, at least nothing you couldn’t have deduced from Shadow’s Fall, meaning where Miranda ended up immediately afterward.

Once again, don’t scroll down past the cover art if you haven’t finished Shadow’s Fall!

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Chapter One, Scene 2 (partial)

There’s a vampire on my couch.

“Lark, seriously, this is the fifth message I’ve left you. I’ve been trying to reach you since last night—I need you to come over, okay? I’ll explain when you get here.”

The living room was as dark as she could get it, with blankets hung over the one window, but Stella had a candle burning on her altar and its light flickered in the jewel-toned hair of the unconscious woman who hadn’t so much as twitched in nearly thirty hours. Once in a while Stella could see her chest rise and fall, but it was the only sign Miranda Grey was even alive. Her skin was ashen, and the aura of power that had surrounded her when they’d met seemed to have evaporated into the night as Stella half led, half carried her to the car and across Austin to Stella’s apartment.

Even the light in her Signet was dull. It still shone, but through a glass darkly. Stella would have called it a coma if Miranda were human. Did vampires have comas?

There’s a vampire on my couch. This is not my life.

She wanted desperately to call her father. He might have some idea what the hell was going on . . . but her intuition told her to wait, and it was intuition that had led her to the building downtown just before the front of it blew out and turned the whole world into hell. She somehow didn’t think the human police would know anything more about the whole thing than she did.

Miranda hadn’t spoken or even acknowledged Stella’s presence once they were in the car. She just fell against the window and passed out.

Stella stood in the doorway between the living room and tiny kitchen, chewing on her fingernail, wondering what she was supposed to do now.

She’d done the best she could to make Miranda comfortable, whatever that meant in this situation— she’d pulled her boots off, unbuckled the sword from her waist and laid it on the coffee table, wiped the soot off her face and swabbed at the wounds all over her torso . . . but by then the gashes were already healing, leaving only angry pink scabs in their wake. Stella had debated with herself on whether to do anything else, but the sight of all those bloody holes in Miranda’s shirt was too creepy, so she wrestled the singer out of her clothes and into a set of Stella’s pajamas. They were about three sizes too big but would have to do for now. She doubted Miranda would care at this point.

Long about noon, there was a knock.

Stella jumped about a mile and squeaked. Warily, she checked the peephole, then let out a massive sigh of relief. She darted over to the couch and yanked a throw blanket down over Miranda’s exposed skin, just in case—the front door opened into a short hallway, but she had no idea how much sunlight was too much.

Lark was just about to pound on the door again when Stella opened it.

“Jesus Fancy Dancing Christ, Stell! What is all this?” Lark, who looked more worried than Stella had ever seen her, held up her phone and the list of missed calls and texts.

“Where the hell have you been?” Stella demanded, hauling her inside and locking the door again.

“Hung over, of course,” Lark replied. “I had my phone off. What’s the big emergency?”

Stella ushered her into the living room and gestured helplessly at the couch.

Lark gave her a dubious look. “Um . . . you know how I always said I’d help you bury a body? That was a metaphor, sweetie.”

Stella sighed again. “No . . . look.”

She lifted the blanket.

Lark’s mouth dropped open. “Is that . . .”

“Yeah.”

“What the . . .”

“I have no idea.”

“How did . . .”

Stella pointed at her altar, where the tarot cards were still spread as she’d left them. “I was doing a reading, and I had a vision. I followed it downtown to this building that was on fire, and found her in the street.”

Lark, eyes still huge, sank down in the rickety armchair they’d scavenged from behind a furniture store. “There’s a famous person on your couch.”

Stella nodded.

“And . . . she’s wearing your Hello Kitty pajamas.”

Stella nodded.

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