Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guest Blogger Jessica Andersen: Who Scares You?

UPDATE: The winner of SKYKEEPERS by Jessica Andersen is maered! Congrats! Please email your physical addy to contests @ knightagency.net (remove spaces from email addy). Thanks for hanging out with us Jessica! Fab post! And thanks to everyone who participated. BTW, we have another great guest blog and giveaway planned for next week with a wonderful new mystery writer -- so stay tuned!
Hello, and thanks to the awesome Knight Agency for inviting me to visit and talk about SKYKEEPERS: A NOVEL OF THE FINAL PROPHECY!

One randomly selected commenter will win a signed copy of NIGHTKEEPERS or DAWNKEEPERS, which are the first two books in this sexy series of paranormal thrillers. And, of course, SKYKEEPERS is in a bookstore near you!

Here’s the blurb:

Ancient prophecy holds that 12/21/2012 will bring a global cataclysm. Mankind’s only hope lies with the Nightkeepers, modern magic-wielding warriors who must find their destined mates and fulfill the legends to defeat the rise of terrible Mayan demons in the last few years leading up to 2012.

In SKYKEEPERS, Michael Stone is a man with a dark secret that has skewed his magical abilities dangerously toward the underworld. Seeking redemption, he sets out on a perilous mission to save the daughter of Ambrose Ledbetter, a renowned Mayanist who died before he could reveal the location of a hidden library. The Nightkeepers must find the library before their enemies gain access to its valuable cache of spells and prophecies.

Sasha Ledbetter grew up hearing heroic tales of an ancient group of powerful magi who were destined to save the world from destruction. She never expected that her bedtime stories would come to life in the form of Nightkeeper Michael Stone, or that she’d hold the key to the warrior’s survival. As Sasha and Michael join forces to prevent the imminent battle, sparks of attraction ignite between them, and they’re forced to confront the unexpected passion that brings them together … and also tears them apart.


This series (and particularly this book) often looks at what makes people afraid. In the largest sense, the overall arc is about the fear of death and endings: The Nightkeepers are fighting to keep the world from ending, and to keep themselves (and future generations) alive. But more, it’s about the fear of failure: The Nightkeepers’ parents sacrificed themselves in an effort to short-circuit the 12/21/2012 countdown, but it continued and their children grew up orphans, in many cases not realizing their true natures. Now reunited, the modern magi are struggling to find their footing amidst new magic, ancient prophecies, and things that go bump in the night.

Within each story, the hero and heroine must deal with more personal fears. In SKYKEEPERS, Michael fears the loss of control—of his temper, his soul, the situation around him … and his heart. Likewise, Sasha fears change, growth, and learning the truth about her father and herself.

I think we can all relate to these fears, some of which might reflect back on our own lives. The concept of a relatable fear is in part what makes us (as readers) connect with a story, even if it’s about something that might not be part of our daily lives, such as Mayan magi, or vampires, or aliens … The world of the story might interest us, but without a relatable character, it’s just a world. It’s the characters that help us connect.

Beyond the ‘big picture’ stuff, smaller fears can become important details that help bring characters to life. In the fourth book in this series (DEMONKEEPERS, April ’10), the hero is recovering from a demonic possession that kept him trapped inside his own skull for nearly a year. As such, he emerges badly claustrophobic, to the point that he avoids his own couch because its soft, enfolding cushions and high arms make him feel trapped.

Most often, these small details about a character emerge as I’m writing the story. Sometimes I don’t even know why someone has a certain phobia at first, only to see it later and think, “Duh. Of course!” But by the same token, (as a writer) don’t be afraid to think about your characters’ phobias and use them as quirks, or clues into that person’s backstory. As part of this, I’ve always thought that it’s interesting to look at the wide variety of phobias out there, and think about where they might stem from, and what interesting behaviors those fears might create.

Me? I’m afraid of spiders … specifically, of big brown spiders crawling into my ears (this stems from a baaad incident with a pair of earmuffs). I’m also not a big fan of heights or bridges.

So tell me … what small, strange thing scares you (or one of your characters) and if you’re willing to share … why???

Remember, all commenters are entered to win! The winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon. For more info on Skykeepers and the rest of the Keepers books, check out
www.JessicaAndersen.com.

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39 Comments:

Blogger ColleenFL said...

Your books sound great. I'm adding them to my TBR list. I'm not fond of spiders or snakes. There's just something wrong about them. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:27:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kathy Fawcett said...

This series sounds great. Can't wait to start reading it.

I can't think of anything I am scared of...well except for dying...But isn't everyone?

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:34:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Angie Ledbetter said...

Any book featuring Ledbetters has gotta be good. :)

What am I afraid of? My mother-in-law.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger elnice said...

This book sounds scary. I am excited. I love even more that it is a series. Are you planning beyond a book 4?

I am afraid of deep, dark water. I have dreams about it sometimes, not being able to find the surface, not knowing what is beneath me or beside me. (shudder)

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:45:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lee said...

I would love to win one of your books.

My fear is of the garbage disposal in the sink. I cannot put my hand in it. Even if the power is off and there is no one else in the house, I am some how afraid that it will turn on. I blame Stephen King for my irrational fear!

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:55:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jessica Andersen said...

Colleen- Hi, and thanks for adding Skykeepers and the others to the TBB list! Yeah, spiders (shudders). They go under the heading of Things That Should Stay Outdoors And Away From Me.

Kathy- Hmm... I think I'm more in the "I don't *want* to die right now, leaving everyone I love behind, with so many things undone" category versus being afraid of death per se. But then again, I may be lying to myself there, having buried the fear beneath a layer of 'I believe in an afterlife, and it's just a transition to a new adventure.' Interesting point, and one I spent a couple of minutes wrestling with. Thank you for that!

Angie- LOLOL! Rock the power of the Ledbetters (including, I suspect, your MIL)!

elnice- Thanks! Yes, it's cool because the first three books are available now, so you can dive right in if you're of a mind to do so. I'm planning 9 books in the series, all of which will (fingers crossed!) be out before the end of 2012.

Water dreams, huh? My significant other (Brian) has them, too. Are you a Cancer perchance? I guess they tend to have water dreams. Me, I have dreams of being chased.

Lee- That's a good one! We don't have a disposal now, but two houses ago we did, and I am sooo with you on the fear...

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jenn said...

The series sounds really interesting. I look forward to procuring it

Spiders are a big one for me. Spiders, and flying stinging things.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Alli said...

Definitely spiders, but then again, I am from Australia - land of scary and venemous creatures.

I also don't do so well at heights and I took up skydiving to get over the fear - didn't work. LOL!

Jessica's books are BRILLIANT! I'm currently reading SK right now and am finding it hard to put down.

PS - Jessica, I already have your three books so please don't put me in the draw - someone else can win them and discover the magic you have written!

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger tetewa said...

My greatest fear would have to be snakes with spiders coming in second!

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:44:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dawn Maria said...

I've always been afraid of a tide that keeps coming in, all the way past the beach. As a girl, this was a re-occurring nightmare. Just last month, when we were in Oceanside, CA on vacation, I refused to cross the beach where the tide had come in. My husband kept insisting the water was shallow and although I could see it was, I still couldn't do it.

In general I think we all fear failure, change and even success at different points in life.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 11:27:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ... said...

Do not enter me in contest. I have all your books already. Just picked up Skykeeper. I am not found of snakes. It an uncontrollable fear steaming from I don't know.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 11:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Steena Holmes said...

Jessica, I can't wait to read your book. It is definitely on my TBR list!

My fear ... imagine yourself falling asleep in a soft, comfortable bed. You dreams start off sweet, filled with love and teenage romance. As you begin to wake, your dreams turn into nightmares, ones filled with creepy crawly disgusting little creatures. When you wake, you realize your nightmare didn't end. Your bed is FULL of tiny little baby spiders - inside and outside the covers.

OMG - that still freaks me out! Yep, I was at a sleepover at a friends. Apparently their guest room was hardly ever used (or cleaned) and there were spider eggs in the window. I guess I had that magical ability to tell them when it was time to be born ;(

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 11:44:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Razlover's Book Blog said...

Hi Jessica,

Great review and I love the cover!

Wasps and hornets scare the heck out of me because when I was younger a wasp was chasing me and another time a hornet landed on my nose and started crawling over my face (I had a hard time standing still).

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 11:55:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jessica Andersen said...

Jenn- Hi, and I hope you check out the series! Yes, I think the stinging part is a big piece of the spider/snake/wasp thing! Although if that's the case, why aren't we afraid of rose bushes?

Alli- (waves) Thanks so much! Ooh, yes, heights. Shudders. And big, hairy Australian spiders. Euwgh.

tetewa- LOL- The phrase 'snakes with spiders' immediately made me think of a snake with spiders crawling out of its mouth and eyes. Then I saw the 'coming in a close second' and felt better. Funny how quickly the brain can flash on something cringe-inducing!!

Dawn- Another water-dreamer, interesting! In an odd way, I've always wanted to dream about water. Maybe not to that degree, though!

... (anon?)- Thanks so much for loving the series!!

Steena- Aieeeee! Okay, that would've scarred me for life, I think. I'm getting the creepy-crawlies just sitting here and reading that!

Razlover- Thanks for the cover props! It's tough to beat a half-nekkid hunk with a big knife :) And hornets ... (shudders)...

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 12:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thanks for the great blog post.
Insects creep me out.
Not a fear but an "Ugh! Kill it!"
Love and best wishes,
twitter: @RKCharron
xoxo

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 3:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Suzette said...

I started this series and love it! So would love to be in a contest to win Nightkeepers or Dawnkeepers.

Scared of....my children being taken. They arent babies or anything but Lord knows thats one of the things I fear the most with so many sick people out there.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 3:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Debbie said...

Your series sounds exciting. How have I missed it until now?

As a teen it was vampires. My closet doors had to be closed and I slept with covers around my neck.

I've always been terrified of falling (not of heights, just falling from them), which put a damper on any guy who wanted to "dip" me while dancing.

Now it's mainly the safety of my children, who are out discovering the world in their late teens.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 4:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Emily C. said...

Ooh, sounds interesting. I'm just braking into the PNR genre, and I look forward to reading a new one!

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 5:48:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jemi said...

Jessica - this sounds like an awesome series - look forward to reading all the books!

My biggest fear is snakes. When I was little I had a recurring almost-dream. In my teeny room I "knew" a large snake was slithering up the corner kitty-corner from my bed. It would then slither across the ceiling towards me. If I could wake up in time and open my eyes, it would vanish. If I didn't, it would fall on my bed. Woke my folks up screaming more than once :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 6:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jessica Andersen said...

RKC- Thanks for the shout-out, fellow insect-squoosher!

Suzette- Yay, I'm glad you're getting into the books :) Sad to say, protecting the kids is more of a necessity than a phobia these days ...

Debbie- I hope you'll check out the series! LOL on sleeping with the covers around your neck as an anti-vamp defense.

Emily- Welcome to the wonderful world of PNR!

Jemi- Ugh (shudders). I used to have a similar dream, only it wasn't a snake, it was a killer clown. Nothing like a good old fashioned nightmare to get the adrenaline pumping!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 7:05:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Emma F. said...

I when I first hear of your books, I was like... WOW :o!!! Anyways, I'm really eager to start reading your books, hope I win so I can read the first book.

What am I scared of... alot of things... the dark, scary movies, heights, bugs... the list goes on.*shrugs shoulders as if she really doesn't care*;D

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 8:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger D. Michael Olive said...

Snakes. I hate snakes. You can be walking through the woods and all of sudden, there it is. We had a strawberry patch when I was a child and, much to my chagrin, it was full of copperheads and one big bad timber rattler. Yech!

The other thing that frightens me is liver. Whe would anyone eat the detox factory of an animals body? I get the chills just thinking of finding a big hunk on my plate.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 8:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Barbarita V said...

That sounds like a very interesting series. I would love to read more about it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pamk said...

spiders and bugs crawling on me ick me out. The snakes don't bother me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I don't like spiders but I'll certainly step on one if I see one.
I don't like heights but I'll still get up one to change bulbs or wash ceilings and walls.
Your books sound great by the way.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger KM Wilsher said...

Nice! I would love to see this world. Michael sounds divine -- and the prophecy. I am hooked!

I am scared of leaving the curling iron on (check it 4 times before leaving the house) and it catching fire.

I am afraid of the garden tool shed. . .makes me think of Freddy Krueger or the Blair witches.

And, like Sasha and Michael, failure.

I want to read this Jessica!

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:26:00 PM EDT  
Blogger donnas said...

Sounds like a great series.

My biggest fears are spiders and fire, mostly in my house.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 11:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jeanette8042 said...

The books sound awesome!

I am deinitely scared of spiders and most other insects, they're just so creepy crawly *shudder*.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 11:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kytaira said...

Spiders. Snakes. Bridges that don't have nice safe sides. I am convinced I drowned after a car accident in a past life.

Your series sounds great. I'm convinced I have the first book but can't find it in my house!

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 12:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lea McKee said...

This series sounds ah-maz-ing! i can't wait to read it.

Although I can't think of much i'm super afraid of, a character in my novel is terrified of rejection.

Her name is Hailey and she can see things most people can't, because of those things her father abandoned her and her Grandmother passed on.
So she is at war with herself over her growing feelings for her high-school crush and the chance that if she allows herself to get close to him he might reject her too.

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 1:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Shannon said...

I have heard nothing but good things about your series, and have them on my list of "to reads."

I'm afraid of bugs that are bigger than my thumb and heights.

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 1:52:00 AM EDT  
OpenID chichaihana said...

Nightkeepers and Dawnkeepers have been on my To Read List for awhile now and I'd love the chance to win it.

Who scares me... my crazy imagination and that of others! Who -knows- the crazy things we can think of!

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 2:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jessica Andersen said...

Emma- Glad you think the series sounds cool- good luck, and lol on the brave shrug. I can relate!

D. Michael- Liver = Best. Answer. Ever!

Barbarita- Thanks and good luck!

Pam- Another vote for bugs- gotcha!

Diane- I feel you on the 'don't love heights, but can deal if necessary.' :)

KM- Thanks- please check out the series!! And innteresting on the curling iron. I totally get the tool shed- an entire generation has been scarred by Freddy, I think.

donnas- Totally logical, I think :)

jeanette- Thanks for the shout-out!

kytaira- Hope you can dig out Nightkeepers, and give it a try!

Lea- Thanks for the shout-out, and good luck with your story!

Shannon- Glad you've heard good things, and I love the 'rule of thumb'!

chichaihana- It's one of those things where being creative is both a good thing .... and a challenge sometimes! LOL

To all-- thanks so much for joining me today, and I hope you'll pick up a copy of SKYKEEPERS! Today's winner will be contacted by email in the next couple of days, and I'll send the book out!

Be well, happy reading, and best of luck to the aspiring writers!

Jess

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 7:41:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous maered said...

I am deeply afraid of creepie-crawlies - all of them. In fact, there was a massive spider in my room last night. :(

And your books look great!

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 8:54:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lori T said...

Hi Jessica~

Ok, this is a bit embarrassing, but for me it is moths. They so completely gross and freak me out.

This series sounds so good and I would love to be entered.

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 9:12:00 AM EDT  
Blogger elnice said...

Jessica, thanks for responding to our post, we feel special. I am going to pick your books up regardless if I win or not.

Thanks for this site with helping me find some great new authors.

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 11:09:00 AM EDT  
Blogger elnice said...

By the way, your website is really spectacular. I love the graphics.

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 11:11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger I Heart Book Gossip said...

Love the cover of this book. Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Friday, August 14, 2009 at 11:38:00 AM EDT  
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