Treacherous Destiny Submitted!

I am both pleased and terrified to announce that I have submitted the first book in the Haven’s Realm saga to my target publisher for consideration. In order not to jinx things, I won’t tell you who at this time, but I’ve researched this house, and they put out some great stories. Waiting for their response is just about going to kill me!

When I learned it was eligible for republication with the current publisher, I considered rewriting Joshua and Catherine’s story. I opened the manuscript and began scrutinizing it, and realized for the first time just how much I learned while with Secret Cravings Publishing. The work was truly cringe-worthy. Sad thing is, I really thought it was better than my original version. I didn’t get far before fate pulled the rug out from under Haven’s Realm, and when I regained my footing, I worked harder than ever to improve my first novel. Five months of head-banging later, I’m finally here.

I suppose it is the same with all writers of series, especially ones as large or larger than mine, that we learn more about the worlds we create the more we write. When I first wrote Joshua’s story, he had very little to say. I poked him some after I wrote Haven’s King, and was able to get a little more from him, but my writing skill at the time prevented me from adequately expressing all that this story represents. For that, and to those of you who have read Twilight Destiny, I encourage you to give Joshua and Catherine another read when Treacherous Destiny is released.

So keep an eye here for more updates. I expect not to hear back for three months, time that I’ll invest in updating the rest of the series. I have other submissions in mind, but want to approach them one at a time, beginning with my first choice. A long road, I’ll admit, but I have a lot of work to do in the interim.

Oh, and for those of you who’ve been asking, Trey is talking up a storm. His will be book eight!

Thank you for reading! And…wish me luck!

~Tamara Monteau

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The end of an era for Haven’s Realm

It is with the greatest sorrow that I must announce the closing of Secret Cravings Publishing. Haven’s Realm has been taken off the market, but I promise you that isn’t the end of the saga!

While I await the release notices for my right to republish, I’m working on preparing the series for submission to a number of publishing houses. Twilight Destiny is currently in the hands of my final beta reader, and I’m preparing the supporting documentation to present the saga. I intend to take my time, get things just right in my heart and head, before I make my next move.

Jason and his Council are waiting patiently at the moment, ready to voice their support should they be called on while I revamp (no pun intended) each book. I know I can promise better detail, stronger sensuality and passion, and a much more satisfying read between every set of covers.

I’ve learned a lot from the Secret Cravings staff, and owe Sandy Sullivan my respect and gratitude. I will carry their lessons forward while I do the same for Haven’s Realm.

~Tamara Monteau

Join me today in an interview with John Austin!

JohnAustinI’m once again on The Book Club, discussing my latest release, Midnight Skye!

AustinInterviewListen to the podcast live at http://www.tantalk1340.com, or any time at http://internetradiopros.com/bookclub/?p=episode&name=2015-06-17_zbookclub_for_062315_tamara_monteau_midnight_and_skye.mp3!

What are Damphere?

Recently, I had a wonderful opportunity to spend time with a new friend and fan. In the smattering of various conversation topics came a few comments and questions regarding Haven’s Realm, my favorite subject. One she asked mirrored a few more I’ve received over time, the origin of the damphere. I thought it time to tell you about these marvelous, inherently dangerous, creatures.

When I wrote my first novel, Twilight Destiny, back in 2003, the idea of a mortal being impregnated by a vampire wasn’t new. I had, in fact, read a shockingly unique twist by Linda Lael Miller, where one of my favorite female characters becomes impregnated by her mortal lover. I loved the idea. For her. I wanted another approach.

I like to do research online, and don’t swear by any one source. I often enjoy finding blog sites and forums I can browse through, especially when attempting to fully grasp a concept based more on myth and legend than on fact. Precious little information of any real credence was available at the time, and I really got a giggle over some of the ideas floating around in cyberspace.

Research indicated that a damphere is the hybrid result of a vampire impregnating a mortal. Please note that I did not say human. I pondered this while I read several articles describing damphere bears, wolves, and even beavers, and shook my head against the irrationality. The immortal sire would have to be of the same species in order to thusly procreate, and since most animals lack a sense of romance in their mating rituals, in fact lack all but basic procreational instincts, they probably won’t find their way into Haven’s Realm.

I concluded, for the sake of my series, that the male vampire retains his seed. He couldn’t produce a damphere without it. Women, however, lose the ability to nurture life. Their bodies probably still have eggs, but daily rest would restore any tissue altered in the course of the previous night. Bye bye baby. If pressed, through my writings, I’ll simply explain that the vampiress’ physiology prevents the eggs from being released. After all, they don’t go through “that time of the month.”

It takes a mortal woman and a willing vampire to create a vampire-human hybrid. That goes without saying. I’ve mentioned in my writings that birthing a damphere takes a great deal of willpower and fortitude. If you haven’t read my work, I’ll only tell you that Catherine, my first heroine, nearly dies in the attempt during my second story. Carrying the child would not be a problem that can’t be overcome with the best diet and exercise. Any baby draws what elements it needs from its mother’s body, so replenishing these nutrients is vital. She’ll need all her strength and endurance in the end.

Mentally, damphere are aware the moment their microscopic hearts begin to beat. They develop a strong life force, feeding, unfortunately, on that of their hosts. By the time they’re ready to emerge, the mother’s life is dependently connected to the child’s. Usually, the moment the baby draws breath, his mother dies. Tragic.

Thankfully, I’ve found a handy way around that problem. Consequences derived from the events in book two give two of my Council Elders unique skills. Combine this with their growing understanding of the half-breeds and their capabilities, and the hope they won’t become lethal enemies, and you’ll understand why the Council is now no longer adverse to the subject. Whether or not more children are born to my vampire family remains to be seen.

The exact nature of my youngest characters is not yet clear. As I’ve said in other articles, I write what my imagined friends tell me to. At this time, three damphere belong to Haven’s Community. The MacAaron twins reached the celebration of their fourth year, and are displaying the intelligence and vocal skills of teenagers. Their bodies, right now, are growing in sync with their ages, but not their minds. Already they’ve learned how to manipulate their environment, opening doors and such, to the dismay of their parents. Little Devon has already mastered aggressive skills his father sometimes needs to circumvent.

As they grow older, physical aging will slow, granting them, perhaps, centuries of life through their immortal parent’s aggressive and persistent physiology. But that is not all they inherit. Damphere typically have all the powers of the vampire, with the freedoms of a mortal. Although some suffer a mild thirst, they usually eat solid food. They have the advantage of daylight tolerance, making them potentially lethal enemies. It was one of these who killed Lysander, one time Elder and sire to Antonia, the only woman on the Council. It’s no wonder she acted the way she did on discovering Catherine’s condition.

The most recent addition is a boy of nine, the product of a demented vampire’s tendencies. His mother failed to survive confinement, leaving him to the protection and support of the Chancellor of the Savant. Unfortunately, Lorenz suffers from autism, along with isolated motor and language deficiencies. Carloman and I are placing all our hopes in my uniquely talented Dragon/seer friend, Hope, that she find a way to break through the boy’s isolation and bring him out to the real world before the power growing inside him destroys himself and all those around him.

I hope this answers your questions. Please feel free to ask more. In fact, I look forward to suggestions for my next article. Thank you for dropping by, Cherished Readers!

~Tamara Monteau

Arguing With Myself – The Power of Dialog

Carrying the story through dialog is the best way to write a novel. All authors, at least those who produce well-written stories, know this to be one of the most important elements in leading readers along. But I’ve discovered hidden power in surrendering to dialog while solving problems. I call it arguing with myself.

I’ve often maintained that my characters do all the writing, that I sometimes feel my role is one of secretary, taking notes and putting their thoughts in logical order. I write, basically, by the seat of my pants, allowing my muse, and my carefully constructed characters, to take the lead. Whenever I have a problem that research and contemplation fails to resolve, I turn it over to my characters, close my eyes, and let the solution run its course.

A good example lies in a conversation near the end of Midnight Skye, the book I’m currently putting the finishing touches on. In this book, I introduce a new line of characters – the Sen Aesir, an evil vampire offshoot from ancient times, and Adept, wizards who work with elemental magick. Interaction I wrote early in the book that has since been withdrawn for later use (for reasons I’ll explain after Midnight Skye is released) revealed the fact that vampires cannot drink from Adept. Since the problem resurfaced in a meeting near the end, I had to come up with a reason why.

And so, I asked the question of my knowledgeable King and Council through my confused heroine, when she learns the Community are holding two Adept prisoner.

“I don’t understand,” Summer argued boldly. “Why can’t you just take control of them?”

“We cannot drink Adept blood, and blood is what helps us secure our connection,” Lucien explained.

“You can’t…why not?”

“They’re marked as paranormal beings, though not immortal, and are followers of nature,” Jason answered. “Vampires exist outside nature, our very presence a violation of her most basic rules. Drinking that contrary power would render us nullified for a time, which would cause both our bodies and spirits great distress, as well as make the task of forcing a servant bond impossible. It would also leave us more vulnerable to intrusion and mortal injury.”

The solution was so simple I should have understood from the beginning. But when my vampire expressed his confusion over why he couldn’t drink from the young woman standing before him (again for reasons I can’t reveal right now), his confusion stuck with me. It took me asking, through my newest and least experienced member, to find the answer. And the answer came, believe it or not, just as I finished typing the question, as if Jason had been waiting for just the right moment to speak up. Surrendering myself to my characters and letting them argue it out has since become an easy habit.

This probably isn’t true of all writers. Then again, maybe more than a few have had similar experiences. Our imagined friends, whether they stick with us through a series or only inhabit one story, very often have minds of their own, insisting on paths we’d prefer not to take. There have been times when I was the reluctant follower, and when I placed my faith in my inner vision, these altered paths led to more important consequences than I ever could have imagined all at once.

After all has been said and done (and written down), isn’t it more interesting to read a story where the characters are involved and emotionally interactive, instead of page after page of dry explanation? My characters come to life in the minds of my readers. This is the power of dialog!

~Tamara Monteau