Sunday, July 6, 2014

Essence by Ela Lourenco: Guest Post with Excerpt



Which Fictional Characters Would I Invite To A Dinner Party?

Ela Lourenco

Well, number one on that list has got to be Gin Blanco, the heroine of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. If you haven’t read them I suggest you do. Gin Blanco is vicious, strong, vulnerable, funny, loyal… she is the ultimate contradiction – she is who I would want to be if I were a protagonist in a book.

A close second would be Carrick, Katra’s Kalandriel from Essence. He might be a talking sword but I think he would be the life and soul of the party, able to switch from meaningful debates about the history of the races to leering at gorgeous women and swearing like a sailor the next (all in his upper class academic English accent.)

We can’t forget Jean-Luc Picard, the Shakespearian Starship Enterprise captain with a voice and diction that can curl your toes (in real life he goes by Patrick Stewart – doesn’t have quite the same appeal unfortunately!) or his third in command Warf, the Klingon. I know I sound like a trekkie (and yes I am proud of that fact!) but there is something so riveting about the Klingon race as a whole, they’re so serious and blood-thirsty and noble all at once – the perfect alpha males really.

Next would be Elena from Nalini Singh’s Archangel series – the hunter, the warrior and the all-round badass (she’s especially welcome if she brings archangel Raphael with her for me to ogle!) and Katniss from The Hunger Games who is every bit the warrior, albeit a more reluctant one.

Last, but by no means least, I would have to invite Ursula, Blade’s mother from Essence. She is the epitome of the strong female character and has a sense of humour to rival Carrick. She is the mother-in-law everyone wants to have and the one no one wants to piss off!

I can think of many more fictional characters I would love to share a bottle of wine with but the list could go on ad nauseam! That said, I think I’ve managed to pick my idea of the perfect dinner party guest combination… whatever else happens, it should be interesting!



Ela Lourenco
Katra is a Fae Hunter in a world once ravaged by a terrible war. Having lost all memory of her childhood and rightful identity, her duty is now to protect the tentative peace brokered by the varying races of the supernatural world.  When an evil darkness begins to spread, draining young witches of their power, Katra must find a way back to her true past in order to save the future.
Enduring many trials as ever-increasing powers awaken within her, Katra must also struggle with the mixed emotions her new partner, Blade - a Black Dragon - is rousing within her. Together they must battle the shadows that plan to devour the world they know and prevent its decent into another thousand-year war.
Can Katra hold onto her strength as the truth of her very being begins to unravel? Can she bear the weight that ancient prophecy has placed on her young shoulders? Or is her destiny to regain her true self, only to lose the world she is sworn to protect?
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The shadows crept closer. Misshapen and twisted, growing as they slipped under the doorway. Silent tendrils of darkness reaching out toward them… A breath hitched, someone whimpered. They huddled together, soundless cries caught in their throats. Each hoping they wouldn’t be picked tonight, each hoping it was all a bad dream. All, except for one girl, she held them; her arms around them, eyes open in defiance, daring them, taunting them back. The shadows pointed to the smallest girl. The girl stood up in front of the little one.
“Leave her alone. You will not take her,” she growled at them.
They ignored her and reached around to grab the little one, who was shivering with fear behind her back.
“I said you will not take her,” the girl forbade.
“Or what?” one of the shadows laughed, “What will you do to stop us?”
The grey curtains began to twitch as a wind appeared out of nowhere. The shadows watched with interest as the girl summoned a gust powerful enough to push them backward.
“Oh look, how sweet,” mocked a shadow, “a little breeze to cool us on this balmy summer’s night.”
The wind slowed, the girl tried to hold onto it… she just couldn’t do it.
“Nice demonstration,” said the other shadow, “you are learning. We are only trying to help you all and to teach you.” He grabbed the little girl’s wrist roughly and yanked her forward.
“Don’t let them take me!” screamed the little girl, clutching desperately onto the other girl’s arm. “Please, help me!” she sobbed as they pulled her away from her friend. The older girl crumpled onto the floor, drained, as the shadows won again. The door slammed shut and as her mind descended into the void she could still hear the little one screaming for her… “Katra!!!!”
“Katra! Katra!”
She sat up drenched in sweat and disorientated and looked around the room. Clothes were carelessly scattered on the Persian rug, books piled on the antique mahogany desk by the window. She rubbed her pounding head.
“Katra!” Maya opened the door. “Still in bed? I thought we were going to practice this morning?” She looked at her and her smile dropped. “Are you ok honey? Did you have another dream?”
“You could say that,” she muttered.
“I brought you a cup of my special brew; it will get rid of the headache.”
“Thanks Maya,” she said inhaling the calming steam of the tea.
“Come downstairs when you’re dressed,” she said, as she busied herself trying to tidy the mess that was Katra’s bedroom. “I bought you some apple and cinnamon muffins from that café around the corner that you like so much.”
“You didn’t have to do that,” Katra complained half-heartedly while Maya tossed her clothes into a basket and started down the stairs. “I was going to do the laundry today.”
“Sure you were honey,” she laughed over her shoulder.
Katra sat on the edge of the bed for a few minutes while sipping her tea. She knew that Maya liked to look after her - it came to her so naturally that it was sometimes easy to forget just how much she had already done for Katra. Maya had found Katra wandering the streets two years ago. Katra had been only eighteen and alone with no memory of her family, no memory of who she was, where she was from - the only thing she seemed to remember was her name. She had been wandering aimlessly through the streets looking for a sign, anything that would trigger a memory. She had walked around for hours until her feet hurt so much they had become numb, when she had finally stumbled upon a small shop. The sign on the door had said ‘closed’, so she hadn’t seen any harm in seeking refuge from the pelting rain under the doorway. She rubbed her hands together and created a small fireball. It was cold and foggy outside and her stomach was growling. She didn’t know how she knew magic, she couldn’t remember, but it seemed to come to her instinctively. She never did it in front of anyone else, sensing that it would attract unwanted attention. She jerked to a stand when the front door suddenly swung open, ready to be told to go away by an irate resident, worried that she had been caught using a spell. It was an older lady, Maya, silver grey hair glinting like a halo in the light of the doorway. She took one look at the young girl and the glow in her hands and invited her inside. She didn’t ask any questions or tell her to leave. She simply went to the kitchen, made a big pot of tea and offered her some scones straight out of the oven. It was almost as if she had been expecting Katra.
Maya went slowly with her, never asking too many questions or making her feel uncomfortable. She told Katra that she could stay a while until she was back on her feet. Sensing the girl wouldn’t accept charity, she offered her room and board in exchange for some help in her shop. Over two years later Maya had become a mixture of mother, friend and mentor to Katra who was still living in the apartment above the shop. It was in fact a magicks shop and Maya was a witch, an elemental. Maya was not just a witch selling magicks although it was a convenient cover for her true purpose as advisor to the supernatural council, the Jura. Her job was to help the council deal with threats to the peace, and to ensure humans never find out about the magical world. There were many supernatural races in the world, vampires, mages, shifters, oracles… each race had a representative, a senator, on the council. It was run very much like the human government and justice system rolled into one. There was a whole different world the humans didn’t know about, supernatural clubs, hospitals, businesses… The leader of the council was an oracle elder. The oracles were the most powerful and respected of the supernatural community and had the abilities of foresight and prophesy. They were known to be just and were in fact responsible for ending the thousands of years of war between the races.
“Are you coming down anytime today?” Maya called up.
“Be there in minute!” Katra quickly pulled on her last pair of clean jeans and a top. She yanked a brush through her hair and ran down the stairs to the kitchen.
“Mmmm,” she sighed appreciatively as the still warm muffin melted on her tongue. “What’s on today?”
“Something has come up Katra. I heard through my contacts at the council there has been some trouble lately. A young earth witch was found in a catatonic state at her home. They are running tests at the hospital as we speak, but the prelims show dangerous magicks in her system.”
Supernaturals didn’t get sick in the same way as humans; their illnesses tend to be magic related.
“What kind of magicks?” She asked between bites.
“My friend at the Council has mentioned that there seems to be a new drug on the market. No one knows what it is made of yet, or how dangerous it is. This is not the first case apparently, but the witch in question is the daughter of one of the Council members…”
“Right, so now they are going to take it seriously.”
“I know how you feel about the way the Council works Katra, but they are trying… there are regulations and procedures.”
“I know, I know. Decision making takes time; they have to vote on everything.” She rolled her eyes.
“Katra, this is serious. The witch they found is only sixteen and there has been no improvement in her condition. The best shamans in the city are baffled. We have kept it quiet for now, the last thing we need is mass panic but if we don’t stop whoever is doing this…”
“Sixteen! I hate to break it to her family but at that age there is no way she will recover.”
If someone out there was selling magicks to underage kids… well, there would be a lot more occupied hospital beds. Earth witches didn’t come into their full powers until they were eighteen, which meant that until then they were completely vulnerable to the effects of strong magicks. In short, a dose of such magicks will fry their magical networks, essentially killing the flow of magic to the brain. Where humans had blood in their veins, supernaturals had magicks. Cut off the circulation and…
“And what is the Council doing about this problem?”
“They notified all hunters to be on the lookout for dealers. The council told parents that there has been some slight trouble in the area recently and suggested a curfew for all minors.”
“That’s just like the Jura, of course they will sweep this all under the rug for as long as they can. Do they really think that a few ‘minor’ problems and a curfew will prevent teenagers from going out to the clubs? Look, I’ll head to a few clubs tonight and see if I can find anything out. I’ll see if I can talk to the girl’s friends too, see if they know anything.”
“Just be careful dear… I have a feeling that this job will be more dangerous than what you’ve done before. It needs to be dealt with discreetly,” Maya looked worried. “And you cannot let your glamour slip.”

MEET THE AUTHOR - Ela Lourenco lives in sunny Scotland with her two daughters and husband. She has a passion for reading and all things supernatural, particularly where there is a whodunit involved! Ela can often be found in the kitchen baking yet another cake as she ponders her next story.





Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of Essence by Ela Lourenco to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!


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Ela Lourenco said...

Hi Laurie,

Thank you so much for hosting 'Essence' on its debut virtual tour, it's very exciting to see it all over the web!!

x Ela

Julianne Snow said...

Laurie - thank you so much for hosting Ela today!

DarcNina said...

Great guest post, Ela and Laurie! :)