Friday, August 7, 2015

Behind The Scenes of Fury’s Kiss by Nicola R. White + Giveaway! (Open internationally!)

Fury's Kiss (New England Furies #1)
Nicola R. White

Hawthorne, Massachusetts has always been a nice place, a safe place—a boring place. At least to waitress Tara Walker, who dreams of more excitement than slinging plates of seafood for Cape Cod tourists. But as Tara learns when she is attacked and forced to fight for her life, fate sometimes has a funny way of giving you exactly what you wish for. Faced with strange new powers and embroiled in a murder investigation, Tara must now race to uncover the secrets of the ancient Fury that has woken inside of her—and of the evil that stalks her.

As if Tara’s life hasn’t gotten complicated enough, she is forced to ally herself with Jackson Byrne, witness to her assault and uncle to a pint-sized oracle whose fate is intertwined with hers. Skeptical, stubborn, and oh so sexy, Jackson wrestles with demons of his own. He is determined to ignore the attraction rising between them even faster than the body count, but like it or not, he and Tara need each other if they are to unravel the mysteries that surround them.

Behind The Scenes of Fury’s Kiss, plus an Exclusive Deleted Excerpt!

When I first started writing Fury’s Kiss (almost three years ago!), I thought I was going to write an intense, dark revenge fantasy with supernatural elements. Growing up, I loved movies like The Craft—the story of three high school girls who get caught up in the dark side of witchcraft—and I thought my book would be something similar.

Little did I know, as much as I love to read horror, I don’t have much talent for writing it. (Not yet, anyway! I may try my hand at it again some day). As I wrote, the heroine of Fury’s Kiss evolved from a haunted, dangerous woman consumed by darkness and obsession to a "normal" young woman who uses humor and spunk to cope with the impossible.

As I opened myself up to the possibility of going where the story led, I found inspiration in a variety of sources, from Kim Harrison’s fabulous urban fantasy series, The Hollows, to Buffy The Vampire Slayer (another obsession from my high school days). Some of my own life even found its way into the story! Like Alex, one of Tara’s best friends, I love tattoos and have several big pieces on my body. And like Rachel, the final member of their trio, I’m a total bookworm.

One of the biggest challenges I faced while writing Fury’s Kiss was getting the first chapter right. I have a tendency to give wayyyy too much backstory instead of getting right to the action (the dreaded "info dump") and it took me several complete re-writes to come up with an opening that worked.

(Note to any aspiring authors out there: Hire a professional editor if you plan to self- publish. Trust me, it’s worth it).

To give you an idea of how the first chapter changed, check out this deleted opening scene from draft one of Fury’s Kiss:
It was Friday night and I’d been stood up. And after sitting alone in Starbucks for forty-five minutes, I was starting to feel ridiculous.

I thought of the hour I’d spent primping for my coffee date with Chase Crawford and felt a hot flush of embarrassment creep up my neck. I’d met the MBA student from Harvard the week before when I’d served him at The Graceful Mermaid, the up-scale restaurant where I worked with my roommate and best friend, Rachel Underwood. Although I usually refused to date customers, Chase had worn me down with self-deprecating humor and compliments. And his preppy good looks hadn’t hurt, either—I’d actually been flattered that he’d been so persistent.

Silly me.

I checked my watch for the thousandth time. It was becoming clear that my date wasn’t going to show and I had just decided to wait a few minutes longer when my phone chirped, letting me know I had a text.

Sry cant make it. Sumthin came up. Mayb anothr time.

The message was from Chase, of course, and I felt a stab of anger as I read it. He couldn’t even be bothered to spell check the damn thing. I sighed and got up to throw away the last of my cold macchiato, telling myself I should have known better. Alex Hughes, my other roommate, was always telling me I needed to stop being such a people-pleaser.

What she really meant was that I needed to stop trying to please men—and she was right. This wasn’t the first time I’d found myself sucked in by empty promises, then left to wonder what had gone wrong. I walked out of the coffee shop into the hot July night and told myself to get a grip. Instead of feeling angry, I would take this humiliation as a sign. As of tonight, no man would walk all over Tara Walker ever again.

Of course, given my track record with men, that meant I was probably in for a long dry spell and a lot of nights at home. In middle school, my eagerness to please had landed me firmly in the camp of girls who got asked out because they would write your book report for you. In high school, it had taken me nearly three months to realize that my first real boyfriend was dating me mainly because I had a car.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson after twenty-two years.

Maybe Chase Crawford had actually done me a favor, I mused. Maybe being stood up one last time was just what I needed, the kick in the pants that would finally make me stand up for myself and take charge of my life. I smiled, picturing myself dressed in a designer suit, surrounded by the sounds of my very own restaurant bustling around me. Someday, I would own my own place, instead of just working in one.

And I definitely wouldn’t get stood up.

I looked down at the outfit I’d put together for my date. It would be a while before those business suits materialized, but still, I didn’t look half bad. My wedges, white shorts and flirty top weren’t designer, but they were cute. Too bad I was all dressed up with no place to go. The situation definitely called for a girls’ night out.
Now read the finalized opening paragraphs of Fury’s Kiss:
It was Friday night and I’d been stood up. Which was probably what I deserved for relaxing my strict no-dating- customers policy. But it had been months since I’d had a date, and sometimes it seemed like all I did was sling plates of seafood at the Graceful Mermaid. Working at one of Hawthorne’s few upscale restaurants was good training for my dream of owning my own place one day, but it was hard not to give up sometimes when my feet hurt and my back ached. When I went to bed alone and smelling of shellfish every night.

I checked my watch for the thousandth time before rising to throw my cold macchiato in the trash, and decided to head for Spyder’s. Maybe there would be something happening at the local watering hole.
Big difference, right? The opening wasn’t bad before... but it wasn’t good, either—too long, and not especially relevant. I mean, you’d think from reading that deleted scene that Chase Crawford was a character we would see again, right? Well, you’d be wrong.

Poor Chase—who I spent two whole pages talking about—is never seen or heard from again. And when I was done editing the book, I managed to convey in just a few paragraphs what took me two pages to say before.

One technique that really helped me overcome this pacing issue was to read widely and to work on several different projects at once. For now, I’m devoting most of my energy toward the New England Furies series, but I’m also dabbling in a science fiction romance and a dark romantic suspense. I plan to publish both eventually, and figuring out the different points of view and world building in each of them translated to better writing in all of my work.

Although Fury’s Kiss is my first published novel, it definitely won’t be my last!

About the Author

Nicola R. White is no stranger to the fantastic. Although there are no Furies in her family tree (that she knows of), she comes from a small city on the east coast of Canada where ghost stories and superstitions abound. She has worked on movie sets, as a bartender, in a lighthouse, and as a lawyer, and though she’s never been an exotic dancer like her character, Alex Hughes, she does know how to pole dance.

She has always been fascinated by the strange and morbid, and often stays up too late reading books that give her nightmares. She believes truth is stranger than fiction, and just a few of her heroes are Buffy, Dana Scully, and Xena.

Nicola is a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, and is an active member and supporter of the award-winning Romance Divas website and online forum.


Books à la Mode is giving away three prize packs, each consisting of:
  • Copy of Fury's Kiss (choice of digital or autographed print)
  • $10 Amazon gift card
That's three winner's total! Woohoo!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Nicola's question:
If you could be any figure in Greek mythology, who would you be and why?

Example: a god/goddess, mythological beasts like the Minotaur, historical figures like Helen of Troy or Hercules. Even a character from pop culture—just call me Xena!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Nicola and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the author—a huge thank you to the lovely Nicola R. White!
Giveaway ends August 21st at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open internationally—that means anyone in the world can enter. Yay!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!