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.



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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It’s Possible – I’ve Killed a Lot of People.

With Halloween just round the corner and a seemingly endless run of Forensic Files reruns on TV, I found myself pondering the many ways I’ve done my characters in, and how there are certain commonalities.  I apparently get off on blowing people up, for example.  (Who knew?)

Just sticking with the Shadow World novels it was quite a list.  I didn’t include large numbers of unnamed people who died in battles or explosions; I tried to stick mostly to people who at least had a name.

Obviously I’m no George R.R. Martin or anything, but I do seem to burn through vampires at an alarming rate.

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Shadowbound: The Official Playlist

Tomorrow’s the big day!  I know you’re planning to camp out in front of Barnes & Noble tonight, so to entertain you while you wait, or while you’re reading tomorrow, here is the soundtrack of the book – music that inspired particular scenes, music I feel would be playing in the background of particular scenes if the book became a movie, and songs that are actually in the book itself.  I’ve made a YouTube playlist of the whole thing and it’ll be available on Spotify as well.

Below the video is a list of each song with my notes on where it goes in the story.  Enjoy!

1 – Meg Myers, Curbstomp

I imagine this as the opening credits song for this book – Shadowbound has a lot of scenes involving “Character X walks around town very purposefully” and in particular the chorus of this song feels right during the first scene of Chapter 1, with Miranda on the hunt after a show.

2 – Anna Nalick – Wreck of the Day

Originally this song was actually in the book, but I ended up replacing it with lyrics I wrote myself to avoid worrying about copyright issues; in fact there’s only one song left in this book, #10 on the list.  “Wreck of the Day” seemed like a song that Miranda would cover, especially quietly in her music room while she’s thinking through Important Vampire Business.

3 – Florence and the Machine – Landscape

Mood music, really.  A friend of mine told me this song reminded her of Miranda, and I agree.

4 – Silversun Pickups – Skin Graph

Fight scene music.  There are quite a few fight scenes in Shadowbound.  One of them is an entire chapter long and involves a hayloft and a bulldozer.  *laugh*  This song in particular fits a scene in Chapter Four in which the enemy finds out how utterly stupid it is to attack a certain goth Irish vampire of our acquaintance.

5 – Emily Moldy – My Own One

Speaking of said vampire, you’ll find our Deven gets a lot more focus in this volume – there’s an important reason for that, but in Chapter Eight we find him on a walk someplace very different from the city, with someone very different from…well, everyone.  I first heard this lovely song in the background of a commercial filmed among the giant redwoods, and it stuck with me as something to use if I ever wrote a similar scene.

6 – O+S – Haunts

This being a book about vampires there has to be dark and haunting music, of course.  There are a number of scenes I could hear this in, but there’s one specifically that I had in mind: in it, we see a character turned into a vampire, and it’s extremely sexy and so is this song.

7 – Mimi Page – Jigsaw

“Jigsaw” was in the soundtrack for Of Shadow Born as well, and I chose it again deliberately, because it evokes a very sweet, romantic feeling that is almost a relief – a moment of unvarnished love between two people amid the chaos and darkness of their world.  This song was also originally in the text, but again, I removed it – Miranda plays it on a rickety old piano in Chapter Thirteen during a very romantic moment.

8 – The Neighbourhood – How

More stalking-round-the-city music.  No specific scene for this one, I just liked the feel of it.

9 – Garbage – The Trick is to Keep Breathing

Conversational background.  As always my characters talk a lot.  There’s also a moment where Miranda and Stella are having ice cream (shocker, I know) at Amy’s that it could be playing over the speakers.

10 – Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars – Safe & Sound

This is the only song whose actual lyrics are in the book. Yes, it’s a Taylor Swift song, but it’s nothing like her music; it’s a lullaby originally recorded for The Hunger Games soundtrack and is haunting and quiet.  Miranda sings this to help soothe someone toward the end of the book.

11 – Uh Huh Her – Time Stands Still

More general background music.  There are plenty of introspective moments of characters staring out at things or lying awake at night.

12 – Lana Del Rey – Dark Paradise

This is the end credits song.  Lyrically it’s perfect, and musically it has the lush, epic feel you’d expect to hear while watching the credits roll and trying to make your brain work again so you can leave the theater.

Please don’t kill me.

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