Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Odin Blood Series by Ronnell D. Porter: Win a Kindle

Dagger Heart
The valiant King Ulfur defeated the evil that swept the seaside village of Nornör into despair; Morgan, the demon witch, has been dead for nearly twenty years. The truce between King Úlfur and the Queen of the Fae has remained intact since the day that Morgan’s dark curses vanished. It seemed that peace had finally come to the wounded souls of the village.

But this peace is shaken when three curses that Morgan promised with her dying breath are placed upon the Norwegian village: who among them has cast the spell?

Seventeen-year-old Erica finds herself trapped in the middle of a witch’s deadly revenge scheme with no way out but to fight for survival. On top of trying to end the curses devouring her village like a savage beast she finds herself at the center of attention when it comes to Viking King Úlfur’s three sons: Kriger, Paul, and Finn.

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Mystery
Content Warning: It does contain some graphic fantasy violence as there is a sequence wherein an army of undead invades the heroine's homeland, and a Tolkien-ish battle ensues. 16+ recommended
Note: Dagger Heart is currently FREE on Amazon Kindle!

Ebon Heart (Sequel to Dagger Heart)

Three of them will fight alongside her.
Two of them want to marry her.
One of them could be the son of King Úlfur… and Morgan.

You know not of King Bersek, Lord of Berserkers... The Berserkers are men of darkness; heartless and unyielding. They know no fear, they know no pain – and the sound of them ripping and slashing and tearing people apart by their limbs: chaos incarnate."

One year after triumphing over the events surrounding the cursed Blackthorn Dagger, Queen 'Dagger Heart' Erica receives an ominous warning from a group of survivors that arrives in her village of Nornör: an army like no other, steeped in dark necromancy, heads for her Norwegian shores. With the winter solstice quickly approaching and no sign of the black wolf that used to roam the woods of her lands, she races against time to uncover the mystery of The Necromancer, as well as the absence of her dear friend and love, Finn.

An Interview with Ronnell D. Porter
What inspired you to write this book?
At first it was something of an attempt to break into mainstream Paranormal Romance. When you rely on your writing to eat, then you write what's popular. But I didn't want to do something that other people have read about before, I wanted to write a paranormal romance in a setting that I generally don't see much of, which is the Viking setting. What it turned into was more of a look into the role of a young woman in pre-medieval Scandinavia, and what a struggle it was simply to live how she wished. On top of trolls and witches.

Read More--the interview, an excerpt, and meet the author.

Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?
I wanted to write when I was much younger, and then my sights shifted to many other goals during my pre-teen to teenage years, such as an animator, a film composer, to a game designer. And then the writing bug returned and that bite was the final itch to get my words onto paper, and six months later I finished by first novel. After that, it became somewhat of a need until I was producing two-to-three novels a year. So I would say i was a little bit of both. But I wouldn't stop writing now, I couldn't do without it. It's the cream in my coffee.

When did you decide to take that step that made you a published author?
I would like to change the question just a bit to say What made me decide to take the step toward self-publishing, instead of when. The when of it was right after I'd finished my first novel, when I was nineteen years old. The why of it all was simple: the restless foolishness of youth. I was impatient, my ego had been deflated by a few rejections from agents, and I immediately took the hand of the first self-publishing outlet that reached out to me and offered validation. At the time, that was Lulu, which is (or was) the most laughable print-on-demand service out there. I can't say whether they are still the worst POD choice as I haven't used them in about four years now, but that's beside the point. If I could go back in time and confront myself, I wouldn't say that I would warn myself not go the self-publishing route, but rather to adopt a pseudonym. There seems to be a stigma upon the self-published, a mark among them, in the eyes of agents and the traditional publishing system as a whole, and my self-published works are now permanently attached to my name. So, say I wrote a novel that really was considered written well enough to be published. One Google search of my name would bring up my past novels, and all of the examples of my undeveloped writing voice. I would most likely be denied representation. This is not an assertion based on my own past experiences, and I am not implying that my writing is currently sufficient enough to snag representation. But if I had used a pseudonym my good name would still be available to me to use in the event that I had, perhaps, written the novel that would amount to the paragon of my life's knowledge and skills.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?
As a writer in the twenty-first century, especially a self-published writer who specializes in digital sales, the greatest challenge placed before me would be the aspect of social networking. In order to be a successful indie author you need to be extremely social, so much so that it probably borders the point of being excessively social. You need to be able to sell yourself like a product - not your book, not your words, not your messages, but yourself. I am not a very social individual, online or offline. I don't believe that I really developed proper or effective socialization skills growing up, and there still seems to be some sort of blockage in that section of my brain that raises a sense of anxiety when confronted by social situations. As a result I don't really understand how to approach these scenarios, such beginning a conversation with a friendly stranger, or making new friends. The friends I hold now, all very dear to me, I gained by chance, and only as the result of their initiative. So I would like to believe that if I weren't such a recluse that I would do my stories a much greater service than I currently provide for them.

If you had to sum up Dagger Heart in 30 or less words, what would you say?
A young Viking girl sticks it to the man... as well as witches, trolls, faeries, and demons...

Do you have a favorite character in The Odin Blood Series?
My current favorite is an old soldier named Folkvar.

Tell us about your favorite character in this book!
Folkvar has a great and immovable sense of loyalty to whoever he is serving, even upon pain of death. Even if he does not agree with what they say, or the reasons behind their causes, he will keep that oath intact. I really enjoyed building his back story, which really explains why he is so loyal, and turns out to be a very pitiful reason.

What message do you hope readers take away from the book?
This was something I was asked a couple of days ago, actually, and it really offered me the opportunity to think about what I really would like a reader to carry with them from the Odin Blood Series. The idea that really latched onto me was the overall message of freedom. There are scenarios when a character is presented with the freedom to choose to fight for their home, or not to fight for their home and to walk away, and either choice of fine, that's their right. Dagger Heart was more or less written for a female readership. Even if this book is deemed a passing cursory tale of violent Vikings, if readers walk away with but one message, it would be to the women who have read it, both the young and wise, and that message would be to protect your rights. A right is defined as that which is morally correct, just, and honorable. And unfortunately, even today, in 2013, there exists no human society where every right is given and protected. But many of us have the fortune of living in a society where most of them are granted and lawfully protected. A great many of the individuals who can sit down and read this blog post have more protected privileges than hundreds of millions of women around the world have. And in the past these rights have had to be debated for, fought for, and voted for, until they were effectively given. This is not a job that is finished, it is not something that should be taken for granted, nor do I think any free, independent woman reading this takes them for granted. But silent appreciation tends to lead to a certain comfort-zone, and that's when things usually begin to come under question by those who would set the human race back a few decades. So it does need to be said now and then to remind us all that rights must be consistently brought up, openly spoken for, and openly appreciated to remind everyone that they are, by their definition, the moral, just, and honorable way. Therefore if someone takes anything away from Dagger Heart and Ebon Heart, I would like it to be speak out for, fight for, and protect your right to be a free woman, and the rights of other men and women to live as they wish.

What was the last book that made you cry?
I just recently finished the last words of the late and great writer and orator Christopher Hitchens. The book is called Mortality, a very intimate account of his experiences during the final eighteen months of esophageal cancer until his death.

The last book that made you laugh?
The people who know me outside of the internet know that I have one very constant guilty pleasure, and that is the television series Little House on the Prairie. I own all nine seasons and the three post-season TV movies and watch them regularly, as I have since I first began watching them in syndication before heading to school when I was about twelve years old. I picked up the autobiography of Allison Arngrim, the actress/comedian behind the infamous monster-turned-saintly-housewife Nellie Olsen, titled Confessions of a Prairie B!@$#, sans the censored symbols. It, too, made me cry, but no other book in the last few years has managed to make me laugh out loud as much as this very charming little collection of stories from her life before, during, and after the prairie.

If you could be any character from literature, who would it be?
- Neville Longbottom.

Is there a genre you wish you could write, but haven’t made the plunge? Which one and what appeals to you about it?
Horror. I would love to write horror because I do enjoy horror films, novels, and video games, because with horror you can explore some very bizarre tales and taboos. The problem is that I've never been scared by a novel, so I don't quite understand what scares other people when they read the genre. What builds up tension for them? I would really like insight to those answers, but as it stands I really can't write in the horror genre, I just continue to enjoy the stories that come my way.

Tell us the soundtrack to your book.
I do make a unique playlist for every writing project that I begin since music has great influence on my moods and I like to stay in the mood of the novel I'm working on. In the case of Dagger Heart and Ebon Heart, if I had control over what the soundtrack listing would be, it would go like this:
Moon And Moon by Bat For Lashes
Solstice by Björk
Werewolf by Cat Power
Twenty-Four Years by Claire Voyant
If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray
The Hunt by Grizzly Bear
Disengaged by Grouper
The Sprout And The Bean by Joanna Newsom
Close Watch by Agnes Obel
Words of Love by Anna Ternheim
Skinny Love by Bon Iver
Anti-Pioneer by Feist
What The Water Gave Me by Florend + The Machine
Mermaids by Forest City Lovers
The Rain by Melody Gardot
Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars

How do you feel about book trailers and do you have any?
I have one homemade trailer that I built for Dagger Heart, since they were all the a while ago. But I have seen very, very few trailers that I thought were well made (my own not included). In fact there are so few book trailers that I was impressed with that they can be counted on one hand. But my favorite would have to be the trailer for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

What is your favorite movie based on a book, where you preferred the movie?
There are three, actually: In Dreams, which is based on the novel Doll's Eyes. The other two are Love and Death on Long Island and The House of Mirth, both based on novels of the same name. All three tend to stray away from the book in certain areas and it gives the story a unique presentation while getting the message across. But what I like about the ending to The House of Mirth is that the ending is much less victimizing of Lily Bart's character, and gives a sense of dignity to her death - at least more so than I ever gathered from the novel.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
I used to write by the advice of the late Christopher Hitchens, who said that one should write precisely as they would speak. And so in my early works, that was the habit I fell into. But sometimes that didn't particularly represent the characters very well since I would be speaking for characters that I didn't agree with, and everyone eventually turned into a Mary Sue and Gary Stu. So, while this is undoubtedly the best advice for writing things from your perspective, in the case of fiction the best advice I've come across is to try and become your character during your entire writing session. An acting class may even help you better understand your characters if you have trouble staying true to their voice.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The soft candlelight lit her room with hot yellow flickers of flame as she held a black iron jewelry box in her lap. It was so intricate, so lovely, and it allowed her to not only read Finn’s words of love, but to run her fingers across them so that she knew that he was real, that the feeling of his love wasn’t just the fading dream of a naïve girl. When she closed her eyes and held the jewelry box close to her, she could almost see his round face, his dark hair, brows, and lashes contrasted against the pallor of his skin, and those eyes that always seemed to catch whatever light was near to make them glow, even with the faintest of rays in the night. They were the eyes of the Fae blood within him, eyes that held an ancient magic and natural wisdom pooled in shades of forest green.

Finn rolled onto his side and took her hand into his. He left soft kisses along her hand, her wrist, and slid his body against hers.

"I want you to know that I'd decided never to leave your side again," he said. He looked suddenly uncomfortable, his brow strewn together and his jaw clenched tightly. Then he finally drew in a deep breath through his nose and nodded to himself.

"Before I returned here, I think I was starting to forget what it was like to be human... To be me. Emotions were starting we feel dulled, and something like a memory. Suddenly what was important in my like didn't seem to matter much; my old life, the death of my brothers, my mother, my father... Even you. I almost didn't return to Nornör at all, but something inside of me - maybe the last little piece of humanity inside of me - urged me back here. And suddenly, when I saw you again, all of the parts of me that got lost inside of that wolf's body began to come back together. Suddenly I felt fire again, and passion, and I felt that there was something that gave my life meaning again. When I held you for the first time, I felt whole again."

Finn grew bolder, and nodded to himself.

"I can't risk forgetting who I am again - but more importantly, I can't risk forgetting what you mean to me."

"I don't think you ever would have forgotten who you are," Erica said.

"I very nearly forgot you - that's bad enough. I wouldn't want to live with myself if I'd forgotten your name, your face, your voice, your scent..."

"You won't," Erica whispered. She cradled his head against her chest and let him rest there as she tangled her fingers into his thick black hair. "I promise that you'll never have to go another day of your life without me there to remind you of who you are. You are Finn Úlfurson, the man that I have loved since the first time we ran through the woods and howled together like maniacs."

Finn chuckled against her, and lifted his head.

"And you are Erica, great leader to the people of Nornör, and the woman I have loved since you struck me over the head with a rock."
Meet the Author
Ronnell D. Porter was raised in Ogden, Utah, and now resides in Denver, Colorado. During his free time he plays the violin, dabbles in graphic design, and, of course, thoroughly enjoys writing stories. He believes that a novel written simply to entertain does its readers a disservice; instead, a book's narrative should always change the way we perceive the world around us, and grant us a little more wisdom than we had when starting the story.


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