Wednesday, July 25, 2012

REVIEW: Yasmine Galenorn's Night Seeker

Book: Night Seeker

Author: Yasmine Galenorn

Series: Indigo Court

Publishing stats: July 3rd 2012 by Berkley (USA)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Cover Blurb: Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the dark Fae to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they could have imagined. Now, the Vampiric Fae are on the move, hunting anyone in their path. As the war with the vampires ratchets up, Myst, Queen of the Indigo Court, enshrouds New Forest in her chilling grasp.

Cicely Waters, owl shifter and Wind Witch, has rescued the Fae Prince Grieve at a great cost. Their reunion has lost them the allegiance of the Summer Queen — and the tolerance of the vampires. In desperation they turn to the Consortium for help. Now, to regain the good will of Lainule, they must dare to enter the heart of Myst's realm. But as Cicely and Grieve embark on their search for the heartstone of Summer, Winter is already wreaking her terrifying revenge.

First line: The night was still.

What I liked: Ms. Galenorn has a definite knack for managing large casts. Not only does she ensure that each character is distinct, she has mastered the trickiest talent of all; providing each character with enough stage time so readers are content but in such a way that it is woven naturally into the story telling. In other words, in terms of style, think less General Hospital, more Avengers. I also liked the vividness and detail of description Ms. Galenorn employed. From the forests, to the characters, every sight was treated to a cloak of language that painted it as vibrantly in the mind's eye better than any literal picture could have managed.

What I didn’t like: There was something off about how Cicely talked. She's supposed to be a streetwise twenty-six year old who has spent the last couple of years moving about from city to city with her not-remotely-stable mother. But that's not the impression she gives when she talks. Her language is what you'd expect of a philosophical elder. Actually, it reminded me of Camille in Ms. Galenorn's Otherworld series. Not necessarily a bad thing but a bit out of character given what we know of Cicely.

Overall: I love Ms. Galenorn's writing and, in regards to the story itself, this book served to accomplish a lot. Readers are left wondering how the bad guys will respond while the heroes are given something of a respite and a glimpse at happily ever after. With another two books forthcoming in this series, you know the seeming peace won't last but it's a nice little moment where you realize that a happy ending is possible if only the bad guys can be overcome.

Would I read this author again: Yes - I want to know what happens next!

My rating: ♥♥♥/5

To purchase the book for yourself, you can find it at,,, or The Book Depository. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Top 5 Sundays #12 - Fictional Houses You'd Love to Live in!

One of my friends has an addiction to the HGTV network. In particular, she has a thing for House Hunters, or as I like to call it: "That show that walks you through pretty houses you wish you could have but will probably never afford." And now the show's spun off to go international. That's a lot of pretty houses to be wishing for. Point being, I've got some experience when it comes to dream house fantasy which, as it turns out, is a rather handy tool to bring to bear when writing up a list of fictional houses I'd love to call home.

So, without a further ado, here is Calliope's Domain's Top 5 Fictional Houses You'd Love to Live in! Someone - quick! - cue the drum roll. (Oh! And FYI - the pictures? Those are just close takes on my imagination's vision of the mentioned homes and are in no way official that I know of.)

#5 - Gin's house in Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series
In the first book, Gin lives in an apartment that's pretty Spartan aside from a cluttering of books, weapons and cooking implement. By the second book, she's moved into the house she inherited from her mentor, Fletcher. A mismatch of architectural styles and defense precautions on the outside, the inside is a warren of hallways, stairwells, hidden passages, and rooms. Great if you never know when enemies of deadly intent might be dropping by...

#4 - Charley's apartment in Darynda Jones' Charley Davidson series
They say when it comes to real estate, it's all about the location. Charley Davidson lives in a small apartment in the building she was brought to as a kidnap victim in her childhood. There is the ghost of an elderly Asian man standing in one corner with his back to the room and her front door may as well be revolving for all the traffic it sees - usually regardless of Charley's opinion on the matter. But all that besides, her best friend lives a couple of doors down and her office - which is upstairs from her father's bar - is literally across the parking lot from her apartment building. Ultimately, everything balances out just fine, LOL.

#3 - The Beast's castle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast
 Of all the Disney princesses, Belle has, hands down, the best living accommodations. I mean, West Wing aside, her first night in there, Belle's dinner entertainment is a musical number put on by the silverware, dishes and candlesticks. Yup, that's right, the furniture? It's alive. Not to mention that, for the first time, we've a Disney romance based on time spent together and mutual interest as opposed to love at first sight. And, heck, did you see those gardens?

Oh, who am I kidding? We all know the number one reason for wanting to call this castle home and it has nothing to do with the talking teapot. THIS is why:

#2 - Barrons Books and Baubles from Karen Marie Moning's Fever series
It has books, it has beautiful antique architecture, it offers several rooms above, it has Barrons, it has an intricate and developed underground, it has books, it abuts to a garage filled with beautiful expensive cars, and it can claim one heck of a security system. Oh, and did I mention the books? It's a wondrous, wonderful home and damn if I don't envy Mac like crazy for owning it by series' end.

#1 - American Centurion Embassy from Gini Koch's  Kitty Katt series
This is not your standard embassy. It has secret underground levels sporting even secreter underground laboratories. It has teleporting gates. It has little balls of fluff that can grow to man-size and devour people. It has aliens. And the very best part of all? It has wonderful invisible elves (for which there is a complicated, logic-based scientific explanation) that take care of the cleaning and laundry as well as ensuring an infinite supply of any beverage you can name. Literally. Add to that all the yummy aliens walking about and this embassy is as close to Heaven as you can get. You just have to overlook all the bad guys gunning for the lady and master of the house.

And there you have it! Until next week, lovies. ^^

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Top 5 Sundays #11 - Favorite Names of Female Characters!

Hello again, ladies and gents. It seems we've found ourselves enjoying yet another weekend and, to quote cheesy weathermen everywhere, it's a scorcher. Definitely a weekend made for air conditioning and reading, especially if, like me, you don't have swimming as an alternative. This week's Top 5 is about names, specifically those of female characters. There are a ton of different reasons why your favourite character may have ended up named as they did. Mickey Mouse, for instance, had originally been "Mortimer Mouse" before Walt Disney's wife, Lillian, convinced him to change it, thank the gods. Sometimes it's the name's meaning that gets it attached to a specific character, sometimes it's just a name the author likes, or maybe the author's borrows the name from a favourite celebrity or family member. Wherever the name came from, there's no arguing that names in and of themselves, are important. They don't just identify the character, they embody the character. Names like Arwen, Dorian, Kirk and Sookie are names that are forever engrained in our culture, immortalized thanks to their stories' fame. It's a lot of pressure when you come right down to it. Remember that scene in the penultimate episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Guardian: I'm sorry, what was your name?
Buffy: Buffy.
Guardian: No, really... that.

So without further ado, Calliope's Domain Top 5 Favorite Names of Female Characters!

#5 - LILY YU from Eileen Wilks' World of the Lupi series

 Named after her grandmother, Li Lei, with a last name that more than lends itself to  puns, Lily Yu is a dedicated FBI agent and powerful touch-sensitive who's a stickler for the rules and just a tad obsessed with organization. Fortunately, she provides the perfect balance to her fiancé, werewolf alpha, Rule Turner.

#4 - CESARIA "CHESS" PUTNAM from Stacia Kane's Downside series
 Chess is a ghost banishing, haunting investigating, drug addicted Church witch. She's a mess, to put it lightly, but despite her own state of disaster she still manages to solve her cases, save the day, and go home to her hunky alpha male boyfriend, Terrible. What I like about Chess's name is the inherent dichotomy; you've have Putnam, a last name that harkens back to devout Puritan settlers (incidentally, twelve year old Ann Putnam jr. was one of the more adamant accusers during the Salem witch trials), Cesaria, which denotes a certain degree of sophistication and seems best suited to upperclasswomen, and Chess, a board game. And it all comes together in one character.

#3 - CICELY WATERS from Yasmine Galenorn's Indigo Court series
 "Cicely" is a derivative of "Cecilia" - the Latinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius, which was derived from Latin caecus "blind." At the start of her series, Cicely is blind to her past lives, her heritage, and her destiny. Half owl-shifting Fae, Half wind-controlling witch, Cicely is all warrior. Galenorn is prone to huge casts and has a tendency to bestow unique and distinctly different names on her characters. Cicely was no exception.

#2 - VERITY PRICE from Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series
I love this name, not to mention the character. A cryptozoologist and professional ballroom dancer, Verity is of the opinion that every living creature deserves life; if they're dangerous to humanity, they should be given the chance to relocate or adapt before killing becomes an option. I love how her name means truth; she knows the truth of what's out in the world, she advocates for the truth as her family perceives it while in opposition to the truth set forth by a Covenant of monster hunters. And then there's the matter of true price, a concept derived from her full name. What is the true price one pays to hold true to family, to values, to heritage?

 from Molly Harper's Naked Werewolf series
Talk about a mouthful. This is what happens when you've got incredibly devoted hippie parents. I think the name really says it all in this case and all you really need to know is that she goes by "Mo Wenstein" except where parents or government are involved.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

And the winner is....

Someone cue the drum roll....

Winner of the Kelly Meding contest for a Metawars book is....DUM DUM DUM

 Barbara E!

Congrats Barbara! You can claim your prize by contacting Ms. Meding directly at Please be sure to include your mailing address and whether you'd prefer Trance or Changling for your very own in your email.

I hope everyone enjoyed Ms. Meding's visit to Calliope's Domain - I know it was a blast from my end and hopefully everyone will continue to visit the Domain in the future for reviews, commentaries, interviews contests and more!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Top 5 Sundays #10 - Favorite Book Covers {1st Half of 2012}

Alright now boils and ghouls, this week's Top 5 is taking a look at my favourite book covers so far this year. Everyone knows that old adage about not judging a book by its cover but, hey, the truth is that a book's cover provides potential readers with their first impression of what might lie within its pages. Sometimes, covers will pose the hero or heroine, other times it will snapshot a significant scene or perhaps show a collage of shadow and light, animal and human, architecture and nature that in one way or another indicate the essence of the story the book harbours. I remember reading somewhere that when it came to the blades held by heroines on urban fantasy covers, for instance, the degree of fantasy within the story was directly proportional to the length of the blade; a dagger meant low fantasy, a sword high fantasy. And have you wondered about the sudden change in cover style for MaryJanice Davidson's Undead series? Turns out the original cartoon based covers were drawing too young an audience.

All of which is to say that covers are important - very important. They attract readers, hint at their book's content, and, when you get right down to it, are works of art in their own right. So far in 2012 we've had, on average, about a hundred covers a month revealed for releases ranging as far in the future as January 2013. Here are my top five favourites so far.

#5 - Mortal Ties by Eileen Wilks 
FBI agent Lily Yu is living at Nokolai Clanhome with her fiancé, lupi Rule Turner, when an intruder penetrates their territory, stealing the prototype of a magical device the clan hopes will be worth a fortune--if a few bugs can be worked out . . .

But the prototype can be dangerously erratic, discharging a bizarre form of mind magic—and it looks like the thief wants it for that very side effect. Worse, whoever stole the device didn't learn about it by accident. There's a Nokolai traitor in their midst. Lily and Rule have to find the traitor, the thief, and the prototype. One job proves easy when the thief calls them--and his identity rocks Rule's world.

As they race to recover their missing property, they find Robert Friar's sticky footprints all over the place. Robert Friar―killer, madman, and acolyte of the Old One the Lupi are at war with―an Old One whose power is almost as vast as her ambition to rock the entire world . . .

Expected publication: October 2nd 2012 by Berkley Sensation

So, admittedly, it irks me that this series has zero uniformity when it comes to its cover art, especially considering how amazing some of the more recent covers have been. This one in particular, set to grace the ninth book in the series due out in the fall, simultaneously captures the magic of the series, hints at setting and theme, and showcases main heroine Lily's strength, vulnerability, curiosity, and bravery all with a single snapshot. What greater accomplishment is there for a cover?

#4 - Out for Blood by Kristen Painter
After nearly dying at the hands of the Aurelian, Chrysabelle finds new determination to move beyond life as a comarré. That is until the Kubai Mata bring a new task to her doorstep: rescue the child Tatiana has kidnapped, or Mal becomes enemy number one.
Expected publication: August 21st 2012 by Pocket 

Every cover in this series has shown main heroine Chrysabelle posed with some sort of blade and set into a Gothic styled frame. What I love most about these covers is the artist's use of colour. With the exception of a few details - the red of her ribbon, the blood-hue glow of her blades, the gold of her tattoos - the cover is predominantly black and white. Considering the plot can be summed up using such words as vampires, nobility, tragedy, blood, geisha, blades and outcast this style of cover definitely serves to convey its essence, no question.

#3 - Widow's Web  by Jennifer Estep

Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don’t need another problem, but a new one has come to town.

Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she’s really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she’s back in town, she thinks he’s hers for the taking.

Salina’s playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I’m going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread.
Expected publication: August 21st 2012 by Pocket Books

This cover has made my list for two reasons. Every cover in this series has been stunning and this one has a twist, also known as Reason #1 - the cover you see above? Well, to quote author Jennifer Estep, "The paperback copies will actually have two covers — an outer white cover [on the left] and an inner blue cover [the right, minus the author's name and title, of course - those are there because this is also set to be used as the eBook cover]. Basically, the white cover is a flap that you open up to see the inner cover. This is called a step-back cover. Pretty cool, huh?" Gotta love the ingenuity of that. The second thing I love about this cover is how it harkens back to the earlier ones, once again obscuring Gin's face, once again revealing one of the Spider rune scars gracing her palms, once again giving her blade in the other hand. The introduction of the new coupled with the preservation of the old makes this cover more than just visually pleasing. 

#2 - Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Some people have everything figured out — Andrea Nash is not one of those people. After being kicked out of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea's whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend, Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano — the male alpha of Clan Bouda and Andrea's former lover — die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate ... and must work with Raphael. As her search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, Andrea knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a backseat to saving the world

Expected publication: July 31st 2012 by Ace Books

The books of the Kate Daniels series are usually sure to have three things: a long haired brunette holding a sword, a lion, and some hint of the book's setting. Well, this book, a spin-off featuring Kate's best friend, has a hint of the decaying skyline of Atlanta in the background but that's where the similarities end. There's no hyena or other hero-hinting symbol and certainly no sword, nope, instead you get a blonde with a smoking gun. The autumn colour scheme of this cover is also a change from the Kate covers - most keeping to darker tones of secondary colours. I love the vibrancy, the hints of bad-ass of this colour, but most of all I love how it breaks from its parent series and captures a style all its own.

#1 - Alien vs. Alien by Gini Koch
Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini and the rest of the American Centaurion Diplomatic Corps are still recovering from their introduction to Washington D.C. politics, parties, and conspiracies. So when compromising pictures arrive, no one’s too surprised. They’re also the least of anyone’s worries.

Evil androids running amok, birds of all kinds and from all places creating havoc, a Senator trapped in an ever-tightening web of intrigue, and escalating international tensions all seem tough but manageable. But the disappearance of Jeff Martini and Charles Reynolds during the International One World Festival signals more than the usual nastiness — and it looks like even ACE can’t help them.

Then new trouble arrives in old packages and even with the best hackers in the world, beings from near and far, the full might of Earth’s military, and the Wonder Twins on their side, Centaurion Division’s outmanned and outgunned.

Now Kitty’s racing against the clock to find not only Jeff and Chuckie, but to keep the peace between Middle Eastern countries, all while searching for the bases of super-soldier operations — to stop them or die trying.

Expected publication: December 4th 2012 by DAW Books

You've got a book about aliens that has a cover showing flying saucers and androids attacking Washington, D.C. while Kitty crouches down with her daughter, Jaime, with a gun in one hand while presumably her husband, Jeff, stands guard before them. Oh, and there's a bird. The stunning artwork captures so much emotion - anticipation, concern, fear, bravery, protectiveness, curiosity, love. The bright colours contrasts against the looming space ships. But best of all? It captures what amounts to a touching and typical family moment for the Martini family.

All in all, what all of these covers have in common is simple: they help to drive you crazy waiting for their books' releases!

And there you have it - this week's Top 5! Until next week, Ciao!

REVIEW: Gini Koch's Alien Diplomacy

Book: Alien Diplomacy

Author: Gini Koch

Series: Katherine "Kitty" Katt

Publishing stats: April 3rd 2012 by DAW (USA)

Genre: Science Fiction

Cover Blurb: Being newlyweds and new parents is challenging enough. But Jeff and Kitty Martini are also giving up their roles as super-being exterminators and Commanders in Centaurion Division while mastering the political landscape as the new heads of Centaurion's Diplomatic Corps. Enter a shadowy assassination plot and a new set of anti-alien conspirators, and nothing will ever be the same...

First line: “Missus Martini, can you please explain the proper way to greet a visiting dignitary from China when you are also in the company of dignitaries from Japan, Russia, Thailand, and Bangladesh?”

What I liked: What I've always loved most about this series is its humour. Whether Kitty is thinking through the evil plot, changing diapers, or chatting it up with the Big Bad there's always a sardonic and ironic tone that can't be missed. Of particular amusement is the interaction between Kitty and her uncle-in-law, former Pontifex Richard White. Imagine Mel Brooks' take on a retired James Bond partnered with a female Deadpool, up the sarcasm to eleven, and you've got a pretty good idea on how this partnership works and, damn, but its funny.

What I didn’t like: I think the past books spoiled me because this book...well, with everyone being shuffled about job-wise, there just wasn't as much interaction with the secondary characters as I'd come accustomed to. I was disappointed. In the previous book, Ms. Koch has done a remarkable job balancing page time between established friends and family and new characters, both good and bad. A lot of Diplomacy, however, was given over to the new with what felt like mere glimpses slipped in of such beloved characters as Reader, Christopher, Lorraine and Claudia. Not that the new characters weren't awesome - Olga and Senator Macmillan in particular were fantastic - but I regretted not having the banter and interaction I'd come accustomed to in the past books.

Overall: If I had to sum up the overall theme of this book with one word, it would be frustrated. The characters were frustrated on several levels. The transition into their new roles rough and awkward; everyone realized the necessity and accepted the responsibilities their new jobs entailed, but between trying to live up to expectations of one kind or another and dealing with the actual demands of their jobs the overall impression was that they'd run away screaming if they could. The Bad Guy Plot was largely unknown resulting in, you guessed it, frustration. Multiple assassination attempts, the appearance of several poorly disguised strangers and clues and hints that only lead to questions and no answers only add to the frustration. I honestly have no idea if this is a good or a bad thing - I guess it depends on the reader. Personally, this was not my favourite in the series but it was by no means a bad book, quite the contrary in fact.

Would I read this author again:
Yes - there has yet to be a book in this series that has not made me laugh and, really, what's not to be loved about that?

My rating: ♥♥♥/5

To purchase the book for yourself, you can find it at,,, or The Book Depository. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

INTERVIEW & CONTEST - Yours Truly Chats it up with Author Kelly Meding!

Today on Calliope's Domain we have a real treat - author Kelly Meding has swung by to chat about her writing, current releases, impending works in progress and anything and everything else that might have come to mind, LOL. Scribe of not one but two kickass urban fantasy series, Ms. Meding has been entertaining readers since her first release, Three Days Till Dead, hit shelves in 2009. Skip ahead three years and five, yes, five books later and Ms. Meding continues to deliver fresh, engaging takes on themes and genres long ago thought exhausted.

And stayed tuned for a chance to win winner's choice of a book from Ms. Meding's Metawars series!

So, without further ado, I give you...Kelly Meding! *cue the applause!*

So, I guess I may as well start with the basics: who exactly is Kelly Meding? And, um, you don’t happen to work for any sort of top secret government agency do you? Seem to have a lot of that going on in your books, LOL.
Hah! No, no government agencies. I'm actually pretty boring. I'm a writer. I have a day job in retail. I have a pretty close family who live nearby. I am owned by a very needy cat who shows up in my Twitter feed once in a while. My favorite ice cream is chocolate peanut butter cup....

Has writing always been a passion of yours?
Yes and no. Storytelling has always been a passion of mine. I've made up stories since I was very small, playing with my Care Bears and Cabbage Patch dolls. On the playground, I'd order the other kids around and tell them how our "playing" would go, so we acted out an actual story. I didn't start writing (such as it was) until high school. But by high school, I was more interested in screenplays than in prose, so I learned more about that format. I even took a screenwriting class in college and loved it. Then I rediscovered my love for prose and have been at it since.

I guess the ordering-fellow-kids-around tied in to your interest in screenplays?

I suppose it did, in a way. Mostly it tied into wanting to tell a story. At the time, I didn't understand that regular people wrote books, so it never occurred to me that I could do that one day (don't ask where I thought books came from, because I have no idea). All I knew is that playacting with other kids (or with my toys) was the only way I knew to tell a story.

What about the actual act of writing - how did childhood you feel about that?
I didn't think much about it at all. Writing was something I did for school, not for fun. It didn't become fun until long after childhood. :)

A lot of writers have a horde of stories of one sort or another that they've written and promptly locked away or destroyed, denying their existence ever after. Have you got one of those?
I've kept everything I've ever written. Most of it I have never reread, but that's only because there hasn't been a reason to. Some of the stories I may revisit one day to cull for ideas and maybe rewrite. But I don't have anything locked away that I'm extremely embarrassed about. Everything I've written in the past helped me grow as a writer, so why be ashamed of that, you know?

Speaking of your writing; right now, you've two published series - Dreg City and MetaWars. You most recent release, Changeling, is the second book in your MetaWars series so we'll focus there. How would you describe this series in your own words?
MetaWars is a series about actions and consequences. It follows a team of superheroes who've regained their powers after a fifteen year absences, as they deal with a world permanently scarred by the battles of their predecessors. There's action, drama, awesome powers, and a little bit of romance. The first book, TRANCE, tells how these superheroes come back together and battle an enemy from their past. Book two, CHANGELING, introduces a brand-new enemy for the team to battle.

There are obvious connections to be made between your heroes and comic teams such as X-Men, Avengers and the Justice League, which begs the question: are you a comic book geek?
I'm not as big a geek as I wish I was. I enjoy comics, and I keep up with what's going on in the DCU and Marvel universe. The idea for MetaWars actually spawned from a high school obsession with "The New Teen Titans" books, starting with the first Wolfman/Perez run in the early 80's. I was riveted by those characters, because at the time, they were teenagers just like me. Most of them were sidekicks who's struck out on their own, and each character was unique but still worked well with the other members of their team. I could gush more but I won't. Beyond the comic books, though, I'm a huge fan of comic-based movies. The Avengers still makes my heart flutter....

I'm so on board that bandwagon with you - not only do they have found themselves some rather delicious heroes, they have actual plot to boot!
And they made the heroes seem somehow real, like they'd really exist in the world. That's not easy to do in a movie. So many times, superhero films end up campy.

Too true. There are a lot of disaster hero movies out there and no doubt a lot more to come. Was potential for campiness a concern you had when writing your own hero adventures?
Anytime you're writing about superheroes, you run the risk of people pre-judging you as being campy. They think of spandex and brightly colored clothing, of over the top villains and Batman "Kapow!" bubbles. I wanted to established right away that this world was realistic, and that these were regular people who just happened to be able to do extraordinary things.

One of things the MetaWars series calls attention to is the collateral damage that results from super-powered confrontations. I myself am a huge fan of superhero cartoons - Batman, Superman, Iron Man, X-Men - if it was animated and had heroes, I've watched it, and one of the things they all have in common is that sooner or later something's going to get destroyed, be it a building, a city block,
or whole a urban community. Superman in particular had a thing for going through buildings. And then the next week it's cleaned up, rebuilt, and getting destroyed again. What made you want to go beyond the magic wand?
Realism. There are villains in real life who destroy buildings and ruin lives, and in real life, there are consequences to actions. In most superhero stories, there isn't as much detail paid to the consequences--not just to the villains actions, but the actions of the heroes, as well. No one ever talks about the collateral damage. No one talks about the single father whose livelihood is destroyed when rubble from a damaged building crushes his hot dog cart. Those small things fascinated me, and it made me wonder about a world that had been brought to the edge of ruin by battling supers.

In the first book, Trance, we're introduced to the team and see them struggle to readjust to their powers and find their place in a world made wary by the last generation's legacy. How exactly did you go about putting together this team?
I wanted the team to have a wide variety of powers, but those powers also need to compliment each other in a fight. I knew Trance would have an energy power--she had to be the strongest, but also have a weakness (her body rejecting the new powers she received). Tempest came from my favorite superpower, which is the ability to fly. William was my "Superman." The specifics of each character, including their personalities and backstories, developed as I built the world in which they lived. Each adult hero is very much a product of the life they lived post-War.

I am still upset about William - it's just plain cruel to makes us fall in love with someone and then take him away so soon!
It was cruel, yes, but Trance and her friends live in a cruel world where people die. Letting him go was hard, but in a way, William was my Wash (Serenity reference). He was the moment when readers (and the other characters) sat up and said "This shit is gettin' real!"

Like Firefly, you've had something of a shift in medium happen. Your next two MetaWars books are going to be digital first, right?
Yes, they'll be part of the new Pocket Star imprint, which focuses on original digital content.

Can you spill any plot-related beans on the upcoming installments?
I'm really excited about TEMPEST (book 3) because it's my first male-POV, first-person novel. It's Ethan's story, and it also heavily features a character we meet in CHANGELING. The only big spoiler I'll give now is that he spend quite a bit of time on the east coast... CHIMERA (book 4) may or may not have two POV's, and at least one of them will be Renee.

Did you have any challenges with writing Ethan's POV?

It took a while to find his voice, because Ethan is a very two-sided person. He's the person his friends know, the calm, loyal teammate. But the internal Ethan, the one whose voice is all over that book, is someone very different. Until I wrote the book, I didn't realize what a complex person he was--or how much he was hiding. Finding a good balance there, and just being true to the character, was the main challenge.

So, what are you working on right now?
Right now I'm editing a short story that will appear in an anthology next year. The anthology hasn't been officially announced, but it's a great lineup of authors and a fun concept. Hopefully we'll be able to say something soon. After that, I'll be starting on CHIMERA.

Will the short story connect to either of your series?

No, the story is set in a new universe unconnected to MetaWars or Dreg City, but it is a universe I hope to play in again.

Speaking of revisiting universes, your publisher has made the decision to forgo picking up more Dreg City books - which is just incredibly phrase it extremely mildly. Is this truly the end?
Not necessarily. I have more story to tell in that world. Evy deserves a happy ending, and she isn't letting me forget about her. I want to write more, but the issue is time. I haven't ruled out self-publishing a few more books to finish out the series, at some point in the future.

Hello Ray of Hope! Excuse me for a moment while I order a parade. Or two. Or three.


While we're on the subject of endings, do you have any other beginnings ahead of you? Series wise, that is?
I have a trilogy proposal on submission--no news on how that's going, but it is out there, so keep your fingers crossed.

Toes too! ^^ What do you consider the most difficult aspect of writing? The easiest?
For me, the most difficult aspect of writing is finding the start of the story. The beginning sets the tone for the book, and you have to drawn in the reader. But once I've found the start, the rest comes. The easiest aspect, I think, I get back to you?

LOL, of course. So, last question (I think...probably...possibly) if you could switch lives with any of your characters, who would it be and why?
Oh've read the things I do to my characters, right? *shudder*

They would probably LOVE for you to take their place for a bit, get a taste of what you put them through. And besides - they all end up happy eventually right?
The ones that live....mostly happy.....
Astrid Dane, from WRONG SIDE OF DEAD. She's strong, she kicks ass, and she can shift into a jaguar.

Always a handy trick that.
Yes. And I have a weakness for shifters.

Oh, who does? From Curran (Ilona Andrews) to Marco (Kelly Meding) to Adam (Patricia Briggs) there are some pretty great shifters out there. And those are just the guys. The women - like Faythe (Rachel Vincent) and Riley (Keri Arthur) tend to have the nifty powers AND the kickass factor working for them
Yep, yep.

Okay, I thought of a new last question but this time I mean it. What are you reading right now?

I am not currently reading anything, but the next book I plan to crack open is "The Pregnancy Project" by Gaby Rodriguez.

And that's it. I'm done. Close the curtain. Slam the door. Make with the giant hook. I want to thank you for taking the time to put up with my interrogation...I mean interview. Interview.

Hehe. Not a problem. It was a lot of fun, and thanks for inviting me!
Ms. Meding has generously offered to provide one lucky winner with their very own copy of either Trance or Changeling, their choice. Simply follow Calliope’s Domain and comment below to be eligible! Contest is open to everyone with a mailing address in either the United States or Canada and will end midnight, July 7th, 2012. I'll announce the winner on the very next day - Sunday, July 8th, 2012.

You can find information regarding Ms. Meding’s backlist available at Goodreads, Indigo, Amazon, and Book Depository. Also, be sure to check out her blog - Organized Chaos.