Today, I am excited to welcome author Shea Berkley, who just released the first novel in the brand new Keepers of Life series, The Marked Son, as recently released.
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what.
When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.
Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death…
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away an ebook of The Marked Son to one lucky winner.
Falling into a Story
I’ve always been a fly girl. Free faller. Jump before I look. I take that first step and then after about the fifth one, I wonder, is this smart?
Yeah, it’s my head; it works faster than my brain.
If you don’t understand that concept, let me help you. An idea flashes, and I think, “Cool idea. Bet it’d be fun.” Then wham! I’m off. Five steps later, the electrons catch up to the idea and they fire like mad to get my attention saying things like, “Nooooo! Stop the madness! Regret is a breath away!”
If I’m lucky, I can scurry back to the jumping point and no one’s the wiser for my stupidity. If not, I hang on ‘cause the fall might be fun, but the landing is gonna hurt like heck.
It’s no surprise I write much like I live. I jump into the fray. I sink into the words and roll around with glee and only when my brain catches up do I pop up and take a look at what I have. That’s what happened when I created Dylan, the main character in The Marked Son. I knew I needed someone damaged, but not irreparably. I wanted someone who portrayed control, but who deep inside felt lost. I needed a hero that didn’t know he was heroic.
I love those kinds of guys. They’re the ones who don’t have to brag about being awesome, they just are. They do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. They can’t imagine doing anything else. Everything fell into place, but a story is only as good as the challenges presented to the hero, so I needed Dylan to come up against something that would knock his world askew.
Being told you’re not who you think you are can mess with anyone’s head. Being told you’re a mythological creature can make you doubt your own sanity. Falling for a girl who you’d only known in your dreams and seeing the impossible come to life will either drive you over the edge or push you toward a greater purpose. Or, you get really angry at those who have lied and manipulated you since you were born and the magic you now possess becomes so wild, you become something dangerous to yourself and others. That’s Dylan’s problem, and one he’s trying to understand throughout the series.
If I’ve done my job, you’ll love the story. What’s not to love about a guy struggling to understand who he is and where he belongs in the world? It’s the same questions we all ask ourselves. Who am I, and where do I belong?
I’m a writer, an entertainer. It’s what I was meant to be. Hopefully, after you’ve read my books, you’ll agree.
Many thanks to Jackie and the gang for inviting me to play here on Literary Escapism. You can tell they have a passion for books and a good story. Thanks for the chance to mingle. I’ve had fun.
Excerpt of The Marked Son
I was eight the first time I saw the girl.
Mom freaked when I told her, said I was letting a girl terrorize my dreams, but I didn’t get it. They were dreams, not nightmares. I don’t remember ever waking up afraid. Not back then. So when the dreams kept coming, year after year, each one more vivid than the last, I held onto them like a skydiver clutching his ripcord. No way would I let Mom take them away from me.
It’s been years since she’s asked me about the girl, but lately Mom’s been curious. I tell her I haven’t had a dream in awhile. She eyes me like I’m lying.
So what if I am? I may not remember everything about my dreams when I wake up, but I do know when I’m about to have one. My scalp tingles, like tiny bugs zap, zap, zapping along my skin. The darkness behind my lids turns smoky. I’ve tried to pull away at that point but it’s no use. I don’t fight it now. Instead I sink into the thick air and come out the other side into a world that is nothing like the one I know…
Yet, it’s familiar.
Tonight, the smoke fades, and the girl appears in a thin, white gown. I’m lying in a meadow surrounded by deep woods, one hand tucked behind my head—shirtless and shoeless and wearing a pair of old, ratty jeans. I can hear the TV I left on fading in the distance until the sound of the meadow fills the air.
She’s suddenly beside me, beautiful beyond words, her long, dark hair spilling over her shoulder as she bends to touch my hand. Her cool fingers rest more like mist than flesh in my palm. The rough corset she’s wearing cinches the fabric snug to her hips. She’s got a definite Victorian vibe going, but it suits her. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it.
Her violet eyes darken, revealing the silent plea that carries a hint of desperation, and she tugs, urging me to get to my feet. She wants me to run, to escape. In the last two weeks, we’ve tried, running so long and so hard that we’re sure we’ll never find our way home again. We’ll be lost together forever. It’s what she wants. It’s what I need. But it always fails. We eventually wind up back at the meadow.
Tonight, I’m content to pull her down beside me, lie in the soft grass, and stare at the sky. Our fingers intertwine, our shoulders touch. We’ve both gotten older since the first time we met. There have been years when we rarely saw each other, but lately, our time together has intensified. There’s a feeling of impending doom that wasn’t there when we were younger, as if this perfect place of dreams is about to shatter, and we’ll never see each other again.
There’s so much I want to know. Why do I only dream about her when I need her most? Am I insane? I don’t ask. I’m afraid to. I want her to be real, just a few months more, maybe a year. Then I’ll grow up and cut this strange, imaginary cord. I can’t lose her smile, not yet, or her lips against my cheek—one of her butterfly kisses that’s gone before it’s begun.
Her silence has never bothered me before. Tonight, all I want is one word.
Shea Berkley started out writing nonfiction (not so fun) and quickly moved into fiction (totally fun), and knew she’d found her calling. (Her family was thrilled she’d found friends to play with even if they weren’t technically real.) She’s still pleasantly surprised people are willing to pay to read her stories.
Besides writing, her many diversions include kickboxing, reading awesome books and hanging out with her loud and rambunctious family. With five kids (all girls), her biggest job is to make sure the little darlings don’t harass the neighbors and then play dumb when the cops come knocking on her door.
Thank you Shea for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!
Contest Time! Shea is giving away an ebook of The Marked Son to one lucky winner. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: Do you love the hero who doesn’t know he is heroic or is there a different kind you prefer? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
The contest will stay open until September 13th at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.