Guest Author: Isabelle Santiago

Today, Literary Escapism is excited to welcome Isabelle Santiago, author of Zerah’s Chosen, the first book in Isabelle’s Guardian Circle series.

In Zerah, Guardians of Water, Air, Fire, Earth, Life and Death are chosen by The Beings to serve their people. Able to feel the emotions the Beings cannot, they help their world stay in balance.

Guardians live and die together, but when Kieran is born with the marks that prove he’s the Guardian of Death, his mother hides him instead of giving him up to the temple. She loves him too much to lose him. But then he starts seeing people die, and they’re begging him for help. Trying to remove the “curse”, he inadvertently kills a seer and is brought to the attention of the temple.

His mother is imprisoned and he’s turned over to the temple. The rest of his life, he’s expected to live there, study with the other Guardians, learn the right ways to use his power.

Amaya, the embodiment of Water, breaks through his brittle shell, helps him to see that all of life isn’t bleak, but they’ve sworn a vow and love for one another isn’t part of it. He’ll never know the people he must eventually lead into the next life, never know love, never be free.

If he stays…

Doesn’t this sound good? Want to read an excerpt? If it does, stick around as we’re giving away a copy at the end.

Series Allure

I’ve always been a big fan of the series as an artform, on television and in books. There’s just something special about the intricate tapestry a writer can weave between lives making them forever intertwined. As a reader, I’ve been known to obsess over characters (ok, I admit, obsess might be putting it lightly). I fall inexplicably in love with them and want to spend as much time as possible in their world.

As an author, I appreciate how difficult it is to craft a full, fleshed out, three dimensional world and the people that inhabit it but I’ve never had any desire to write a series for myself. That is, until I met Kieran and Amaya.

The story came to me like many others, a sudden scene playing out in my mind, making me a voyeur into their lives. The volatile mix of emotions, the anger, the guilt, the hurt and desire were so strong, they literally knocked the wind out of me, caused a heavy ache in my chest. I immediately started drafting what I knew of their story. But the more time I spent with the two characters, the more I realized that I barely knew the half of what was happening to them- of what HAD happened to them.

“It’s complicated,” Kieran once said to Amaya, during the sixth or seventh draft of the story. “There’s so much you don’t know.” And although his words were meant for her, they struck me strongest because he was right. There was far too much about their past that I’d missed. Why, despite the obvious love they shared were things so strained between them? Why was he so angry? Why was she so guilt-ridden?

Just like that I lost my ideal happily ever after. The neat beginning/middle/end I was so accustomed to went out the window. I’ll admit, I was terrified at first. I loved reading other people’s epic landscapes or rustic space operas, but could I create the world that was slowly forming in my head? Could I really do it justice? Or worse, would I get tired of spending so much time with the same characters?

Despite all these doubts, I put aside the story I was working on and focused on my characters’ pasts only to discover that it was a beautiful story all its own. As any author can tell you, there are times when you have to relinquish control and trust your characters, trust your muse to tell the story in its entirety. When I was done, I realized that what I’d originally envisioned had just been one tiny piece of a much grander puzzle.

The final product was Book I of the Guardian Circle Series, Zerah’s Chosen. And now that I’ve fallen head over heels, I’m thrilled that this is only the beginning.


Contest Time!  Isabelle is offering up a copy of her new ebook, Zerah’s Chosen (in any electronic format you choose).  In order to get your hands on one of these puppies, all you have to do is answer her question: What is it about series novels that you enjoy?  What is your favorite series? International entries are welcome!

There is one caveat for this contest….whoever wins the novel must be willing to post a review of it somewhere.  Whether it’s on GoodReads, LibraryThing, Amazon, your own blog or wherever, let’s help spread the word about Isabelle’s book.

As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat:

  • +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
  • +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
  • +1 Join the Literary Escapism Facebook page and/or follow LE on Twitter
  • +1 subscribe to Literary Escapism – either via a reader or email (see the RSS button at the bottom of the sidebar)
  • +10 purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: myjaxon AT gmail DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries, but it has to be through the LE Amazon Link.

The contest will stay open until January 14th, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer and the List Randomizer.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. I’m not entering, as I’m not doing tons of real reviews lately but I’ll likely be picking this up – it sounds so wonderfully imaginative! I love the concept of seeing people die and being overly sensitive like that. And that by shielding him, his mother makes it worse. Wow.

  2. My favourite series! This is a difficult one to decide on. I am a big fan of the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole and charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series. I think one of the things that draws me is the depth and layers the characters can attain after many books. It is so nice to come back to something familiar and see what your favourite characters have been up to after reading something else.

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  3. Okay here is my attempt to put all of the emotions, thoughts and images to that question into an understandable answer!

    Because sometimes one book isn’t enough, the world and the characters are that awesome that you crave more books, a series that you can just keep immersing yourself in, because you’re that hooked, that addicted to what happens there, to the people and the world.

    And while you’re reading the book you wonder about that mysterious snippet of information that was so casually and offhandedly dropped in conversation or worldbuilding, that makes you think of the history of the world/empire/culture, the pasts of the characters, etc it makes you linger there, even as the action moves forward, you keep turning that nugget over and over in the back of your mind…

    And when you’ve finished you feel so empty and drained, and is it THAT long until the next book comes out and you can get your fix!!???! XD

    You lie awake wondering what happens next, trying to piece together the mismatching evanescent clues and hints and you fall asleep dreaming and wishing that such a world really did exist and that you were there…

    Okay so most of this might sort of also be used for one book, but a good series keeps you hooked and drags you along,no matter how long it cxan last! a bad series, you just get tired and wished it would end already! ;)

    Good series that i love and would return to again and again?
    Okay well recently its been:
    – Archangel series and the Psy/Changelings series by Nalini Singh
    – The Cast Series (The Chronicles of Elantra) by Michelle Sagara
    – Night Huntress Series/World by Jeanine Frost
    – The Raine Benares Series by Lisa Shearin
    – The Kate Daniels and The Edge Series by Ilona and Gordon Andrews
    – The Dark-Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon

    And before it was:
    – The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series by Tad Williams
    – The wars of Light and Shadow by Janny Wurts
    – Any of the series by Tamora Pierce,

    and probably more but these are the ones that come to mind first! ;)

  4. In series novels I like the extension of the core story on tangent paths. Kinda like an octopus… You start in the middle and get all familiar with the creature and then explore each tentacle individually. Allows for a world to be large and not overwhelming with overlapping plotlines. At this point my favorite series is the Dark Hunter Series. I really enjoy the transformation of the characters from beginning to present.

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  5. I like the fact that over a series, you get to know more of each characters lives and how they’ve become the person they are now. I enjoy that you can decide whether or not their skills and attributes are going to be of use to the plot, and overall the characters relationships with each other and how they progress.
    My favourite series, would be Harry Potter for its pure genius!, Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires for its humour and Richelle Meads Vampire Academy for its strength in characters.
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  6. I like series because you are able to know characters better, there are more subplots and more time to write the romance so it seems more realistic.
    Some of my favourite series are:
    Cassandra Clare Mortal Instruments series
    Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Were Hunter series
    All Lora Leigh series
    Harry Potter
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins..

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  7. I enjoy series because each book focuses on a different character that I’ve met in a previous book. I also like when the other characters make “appearances” in the other books.

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  8. I love series collections. My favorite series (it changes everytime I read another one) is the Twilight series. At the time of this reading I needed something light and flowing, and this fit the bill. With collections, you have already invested interest and feelings with these characters. You want to know what happens in their lifes next.

  9. I like series novels because you get to know the characters and they are allowed to grow more so than in just one book. My favorite series is the In Death series and the Stephanie Plum novels. I also like the Twilight series.

  10. What I love about a series is the ability to jump right into the action. I’ve learned about the setting, the customs, the people, and the history. Reading an on going series is like going to a family reunion. You get to catch up with who’s gotten married, divorced, or had kids. I love seeing the couple that had their HEA ending and catching up with them. I love knowing the back history when a new character or lesser character from a storyline appears. You are comfortable much quicker with the storyline and characters. I, myself, tend to collect all the books(or at least 3 or 4) in a series and then read them back to back. My all time favorite series is JD Robb’s “Eve Dallas”. I only started them about 18 months ago so I had a pile to read(4 or 5 at a time). I would finish a book late at night and immediately start the next before going to bed. I hope that this series goes on forever as I don’t get tired of Eve’s snarkyness nor Roark’s ability to understand and love her.
    There are many other series I have enjoyed

    Christine Feehan’s “Dark”
    PC Cast “House of Night”
    Rachael Caine’s “Weather Wardens”
    JR Ward’s “Brotherhood of Blood”
    Rebecca York’s “Moon”
    Maggie Shayne “Wings in the Night”
    Rachel Vincent’s “Werecats”
    MaryJanice Davidson “Queen Betsy”
    oh and another I can’t forget if only because it started in 1980 and even though it’s only 5 books strong and one of the few I reread
    Jean Auel “Earth Children”

    I subscribe here and comment on most all of your reviews.

    Richelle Meads “Vampire Academy”

  11. I agree with all of you! My favorite part of book series is being with characters I learn to love! It definitely DOES feel like a family reunion. Right now, I’m obsessing over the FEVER series by Karen Marie Moning. Brilliant stuff. Of course, I fell in the Twilight spell. But I also enjoyed the Parallel Series by Deidre Knight.

  12. I love series books because the story is always continuing but just with different characters ,and when you’re reading a new book in the series ,you still have some of the characters from the previous books . It is nice , like the others said , its like a family reunion .My favourite , or at least one of my favourites is the Merry Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton.
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  13. I tend to read series books less now than when I was younger but the attraction is still not having to say good bye to favourite characters (at least for a while). Also being familiar with a world from page one is relaxing and reassuring.

    As an adult my favourite series is Thursday Next by Jasper Ffforde. Intelligent humour – it’s a winner for me every time.

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  14. Please count me in and thanks for making it open for overseas readers. Much appreciated.

    I like series because you follow the characters in their personal lives as well – look at the P D James series and the detective! You get to know all of them so well, their style of work, even their style of speech.

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