Cursed by Fire
Release Date: January 28th, 2015
It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.
Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.
When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.
The light began to fade from his eyes as I crawled across the floor in an effort to reach my father. My nails were raw and bloody as I struggled to carry myself closer to him, digging into the rough wooden floors with each drag of my body.
“I’m coming,” I panted in between breaths. “Just hang on, Papa, I’m coming.”
I woke gasping for breath, drenched in a cold sweat, clutching the hilt of my dagger as if my life depended on it. I frantically looked around the room in search of our attacker while also taking stock of any injuries. I was perfectly whole.
“It was just a nightmare,” I told myself, though that did little to ease the ache in my chest over the remembered pain. I miss you so much.
Rubbing my hands over my face, I pushed back the wet, loose tendrils of hair that had escaped my braid during my fitful rest and returned my dagger to its resting place beneath my pillow. Taking another deep breath I registered a hint of smoke.
My eyes roamed over the room, frantically looking for the source of fire.
“You have got to be kidding me!”
I untangled my body from the sheets, tripping and falling into a heap on the floor before I was able to crawl out of my covers and retrieve an old shirt. I frenziedly swatted at the bedroom curtains with the old t-shirt but the flames continued to rise. Deciding there was no other choice, I ripped the curtains from the window and rushed to the kitchen.
Throwing the curtains into the sink and turning the faucet on all the way, I watched as the flames were snuffed and steam began to rise. The curtains ruined.
Turning the water off, I allowed my body to slide down the smooth wooden cabinets until my bottom met the cool tile floor. I folded my arms across my knees and rested my forehead against them. Closing my eyes I took several deep breaths, my heart still racing from the effects of the recurring nightmare. This was getting out of hand. I had thought the nightmares were fading, but something was bringing the memories back with a screaming vengeance and this was the third time this week they’d plagued me. I missed my parents but it’d been over six years now. They weren’t coming back and I needed to let it go. My subconscious needed to let it go and I needed to let Daniel’s death go. Not the case, no, I wouldn’t let that go. But his death was affecting me in ways I couldn’t allow to continue.
I breathed deeply in an effort to calm my nerves. Small tremors racked my body, the nightmare had shaken me more that I’d like to admit. My skin was covered in a fine sheen of sweat. A physical reminder that I needed to relax before I accidentally caught something else on fire.
Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.
Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.
Q/A with Danielle
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
I’m not entirely sure to tell you the truth. I think when I decided I wanted to write something this story just popped into my head because it was one I wanted to read myself. Overtime it took shape and changed drastically but the idea itself more of less popped in out of nowhere.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration at the Library. There is something entirely exciting about walking through a room filled with books and looking at all of their covers that just inspires you to write more.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to write is difficult. Between my day job, my blog, my home life and beautiful daughter, it all adds up. Time is something I definitely wish I had more of.
What are your current projects?
Currently I’m working on Book 2 in the Blood & Magic series, and a side PNR project that is just beginning to take shape.
Tell us about your first book. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work?
I don’t have any other published works.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not particularly. If there is a message in my book then it is coincidence. I’m a story telling and don’t really look to add special messages in my writing but I do think Cursed by Fire may have developed one, can you guess what it is?
Does music play any type of role in your writing?
Music is HUGE. I tend to assign a song to every scene. Music makes you feel something and I want my book to make my readers feel something as well. Music for specific scenes allows me to strive to draw that emotion into the scene.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?
No. Everything in Cursed by Fire is entirely fictitious.
What books have influenced your life most?
I feel like I should list the classics here but truth be told, Urban Fantasy novels such as those by Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs have inspired me to want to become a writer. Additionally, On Writing by Stephan King has been an extremely helpful tool in developing my craft.
Are there any new authors that have grasp your interest?
Yes. ML Brennan is not completely new but is newer and has caught my attention. Additionally, Sherry Palmer who wrote Life with Charley. Something completely outside my genre scope but so touching has grabbed my attention and held on tight.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you love my story as much as I loved writing it.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
They can visit my website, www.Danielle-Annett.com and follow me on twitter @DanielleCRomero
Do you have a special time to write? How is your day structured writing-wise?
So not structured at all. I fit in time to write whenever I can. Sometimes I write all day and sometimes I don’t write until the weekend rolls around, every day changes.
Why did you choose to write Urban Fantasy stories?
I chose to write Urban Fantasy because its what I enjoy reading most. There is something about fantasy creatures living in todays society and dealing with everything it brings.
What is for you the perfect book hero?
My perfect book hero is someone you can relate to. Someone who goes above and beyond to help others but is not all that extra ordinary. I want to feel like I can be that person.
When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively?
It starts progressively. I typically outline first but even my outline changes as I go. Cursed by Fire went through four different outline revisions and three major rewrites.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing passively about two years. I was just playing around with an idea and slowly it began to take shape. Only within the last year have I taken my writing seriously though and really buckled down to finish a book.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That's tough, I suppose when I typed THE END. That was when I felt accomplished enough to say, I’m a writer.
List three books you have recently read and would recommend.
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
The Kraken Kong by Meljean Brook
Archangel’s Shadow by Nalini Singh
Tell us something that people would be surprised you know how to do.
I crochet. I feel like it is a grandmotherly habit but I learned when I was young and recently finished a baby blanket for my niece.
Will you write more about these characters?
Yes. I have four books planned so far for this particular series.