Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Guest Blogger Lark Latroy

Welcome back my friend and fellow author Lark Latroy! I asked Lark to come back and talk to us on a fascinating subject - the Druids. Lark has written of them in he two books of the Neo Druid series. Please have a seat in my den while I get us something to drink. Go ahead and tell them about it, why don't you?  

Hello folks, Ms. Hayes has asked me to return to her lovely site, so here I am. Thanks Julie, always a pleasure. Have a seat everyone, get comfortable, grab a drink if you care to. I have a story to tell you, about Druids. In particular, my Druids, ten of them in fact. I have been asked several times why I picked Druids as the lead characters for my stories, and really, there is a good reason.

The genre of the paranormal has gotten soft, lately. Vampires used to be something to be afraid of, but now they're more like over-aged mama’s boys with issues. The werewolf has been reduced to more animal than tortured soul, and in some cases, wimped-out losers. Witches have turned into PMSing mall rats, they’ve lost their evil attempts at controlling nature and humanity. In short, paranormal is trying to be more, normal, to fit in with today’s world and society. BORING!

 I wanted something different for my stories, and Druids have a mysterious past. They kept no written records of their own, all knowledge was passed on by word of mouth. The only written histories about them come from either people they visited, or people that conquered the Celtic lands. The second group is where most people get their vision of Druids, from the deeply slanted writings of Roman historians. Because the history of the Druids is so thin, I saw them as the perfect heroes for my tales. I also gave them a very fanciful back history. Since Druids existed in the Celtic lands for much longer than any recorded history, I can take a certain creative liberty with their past.

Now that my first two stories are out in print, people can read the beginnings of my vision for a paranormal series that, to say the least, is a bit different. NeoDruids is a tale of ten seemingly normal people living in present day Boston. They come from all walks of life: a teacher, a nurse, a computer systems engineer (keep smiling everyone, we all write ourselves into our stories), a tech writer, and others. There is even a cop in this group. They call themselves The Order, and they try very hard to practice an ancient belief that very little is known about.

I also did not want the usual good vs evil type of story. I personally feel that those stories have been done to death, and also remove a certain human element from the characters. My Druids are human, with human frailties. They are not always good, in fact, they occasionally break the law. This is actually brought out in the first story, “Druids Dawning”. Instead, I wanted to give the Druids a much larger challenge. They learn in the second story, “Here Be Dragons”, that they are defenders of order, facing the entities of chaos. By doing this I can let the Druids be more human, make mistakes, and even break the law, if it is going to help maintain cosmic order, or at least something close to it.
The challenges faced by the Druids can come from both within our world, other people, and from parallel worlds. I like the idea of parallel worlds for two reasons; 1) I can be very flexible in the makeup of those worlds, 2) The possibilities are endless as to what comes through the portals into our world. Forces that can take over a human, to commit serial killings for a dark ritual, a banished member of a very powerful race, lost children of incredible power and mischief, strange creatures struggling to survive while fleeing a dying world, and many more visitors can be brought into play through this method. When the threat if from their own kind, humans, all I need to do is pick up a newspaper, and ideas start to flow.  I think you get what I’m saying.

But as important to my plots, are my characters. Writers go on and on about their muses. Well, so do I, however my muses are real, living people. The male characters are all based on men from my life. A teacher, a coworker, a master chief, a boss, a friend, a father, are all sources for the men in my stories. The ladies however, get special treatment. I like strong, powerful, intelligent women in stories. One of my favorite characters is Ellen Ripley. She not only kicked alien ass on her own ship, but kept going through three sequels to the Alien saga. I want my lady characters to be just as tough. But, they also have to be very beautiful. My stories are paranormal, but there is an erotic romance side to them as well. If you have read the first two stories, then you’ve been introduced to two of the muses already. If you haven’t read them, then you’re going to meet those two now.

On the cover of “Druids Dawning” you see a very pretty young woman. She goes by the name of Isobel Wren, and she is the perfect inspiration for the character of Jill Reese. She has fantastic, thick, brown hair, a marvelous smile, shows a great deal of emotion in her expressions, and has very pretty, big brown eyes. Miss Wren works as a fetish and nude model, but you will notice I don’t talk about her as one. As with all the muses, I get my inspirations in what I see above her neck, and there is a lot of inspiration there. After finally getting to chat with Miss Wren through the Internet, I learned that Jill Reese is not far removed from Isobel Wren. I created a character very much like the real person, and didn’t even know it at the time.
 The cover art for “Here Be Dragons”, and the story itself, is a story in and of itself. If you look at that cover, you see the picture that inspired the entire story, and the main character of the tale. The lovely woman in that picture is Betcee May. Yes, what I find above her neck is where the character came from, but in her case there is a very tight focus in one place. Miss May has the most enchanting eyes, that she clearly knows how to use with great effect. The rest of her features are fantastic, but her eyes, especially in that on picture, set the whole stage for the story, and the character of Durinllew. When I saw that picture, I knew I had to have it on the cover of the story. Maxwell G, the photographer, and the web site Bare Maidens, were most helpful in securing the rights to use that picture. And Reese Dante did a fantastic job of bringing together the dragon and the woman.

I’ll let you all in on a little secret here. I’m working on the third story in the series, and this story focuses more on the Priestess and her lover Galnor. As I’m sure you can guess, I want to get a picture of the muse for the Priestess on the cover of the story. That muse is probably one of the best known nude models of the past decade. She retired from modeling in 2008, but left behind a legacy of inspiring work, and loyal fans. I have not contacted her yet, because the story is not finished. But when it is, rest assured that I will make all attempts to have Erica Rose Campbell on the cover of the next story. Her glamorous smile and bright eyes are the source of creativity for the Priestess, and I hope she will be as receptive as the others have been.
So, there you have it folks. A little tale about the paranormal series, “NeoDruids”, and a little more about me. Thanks for having me again. Please remember, my books are available at Silver Publishing
And to start you on your way, here are a couple of excerpts from both of my stories:

The dream started simply enough. He flew over the city. A kind of giddy excitement filled his dream and he gazed down on the buildings and streets. The night seemed peaceful, and he felt drawn in a certain direction. As he slowed down in the dream, it seemed as if he were perched on a window two stories up from the ground. He peered into the open window and received a bit of a shock at what he saw.

Jill Reese lay on a large bed in a dark room. Her fingers were working madly between her thighs, and her naked body writhed with excitement and lust. It shocked him to hear Jill call his name in an erotic tone. Transfixed and deeply aroused, he could not pull his eyes from the beautiful woman as she brought herself to an explosive climax. It was as if he were actually peeking in on Jill and watching her most intimate moments. The realization the he was spying on his coworker brought up feelings of guilt, and the dream changed to a deserted street in an area of town he did not recognize.

As he tried to get his bearings, he felt a certain dread at the change in his dream. Everything looked gray and he searched for the focus of the dream. Suddenly, he realized he stood in an area of town just outside the infamous Combat Zone, also called China Town. The area looked to be made up of mostly cheap apartments and run down stores. Confusion grew over why the dream had changed to this setting. As he fought with the confusion, his gaze drifted up the street, and then he saw her.

A small woman with long black hair, wearing a traditional short Asian dress, moved quickly up the sidewalk across the street from him. She glanced behind herself several times, a look of terror in her eyes. Mitch moved across the street without walking and watched the woman approach him. She did not see him, and passed right through him as she hurried on. The look of terror did not leave her for an instant. Mitch followed her.

A huge hand wearing a black glove reached out of a dark entryway and grabbed the woman by the throat. She struggled hard to get away and Mitch hurried after her as she disappeared into the inky blackness. A large shape pulled the woman into what appeared to be an abandoned store. It dragged the struggling woman towards the far back corner where it then pushed her up against the wall.

She clawed at the large arm, her eyes blind with fear. Mitch was helpless to do anything but watch, and when the long, highly polished blade came into view, he screamed.

Mitch sat up in his bed, screaming in terror, and for the life of him, he did not know why.

"So much for our honeymoon," Jill muttered as Mitch took her hand.

"Perhaps, my being here will be helpful to you as well," Durinllew said, facing the newlyweds.

"What do you mean?" Mitch asked.

"Brigh has just been initiated. She will soon receive her gift. I can help her learn about the gift."

"You would do that?" Jill asked.

"Brigh, it is the duty of my kind to teach the Druids. Much, almost all, of what you should know has been lost. I will help guide you. I also want to be near this man of yours. Falnon is something new, I think. I wish to learn all that I can about him and his gifts." Durinllew answered and smiled.

"Will it be alright if she stays with you and Falnon?" the Priestess asked.

"Well, I suppose we could make up the spare bedroom. I just hope you don't have a problem with a couple of people that can't keep their hands off each other," Jill replied, giggling.

"You and Falnon are very much in love. I do not wish to come between you. I would ask you both to feel free to explore your lives together, just as if I were never here."

"Then it's settled," Mitch stated, "You'll come back to our house and stay with us until we know what is going on. Lang, I'll join you tomorrow. I already saw you asking, the answer is yes, and don't worry about using me. It's my gift you need, and I'm happy to help."

"I really wish you'd let me ask for your help first, Falnon. Something about you being able to see what we do before we even think about it is a bit discouraging," Lang replied.

"What time?" Mitch asked.

"Say about ten tomorrow? I promise, Brigh, I won't keep him out all day."

"You better not. I have plans for him, myself," Jill replied, smiling.

Jill and Mitch gathered the gifts left behind the night before. They both noticed that Galnor added many bottles of his own wine to their collection. Mitch groaned, remembering the cobwebs in his head from the previous night's drinking. Jill also found the basket containing the herbs and roots held many extra bottles than the day before. Clearly, the Priestess felt she had not given the newlyweds enough for their home.

Durinllew, again, looked disdainfully at Jill's car, but she climbed into the back seat without complaint. Jill had to show her how to work the seatbelt. Once loaded, they waved goodbye to the other Druids. The strange woman remained silent on the drive back to Boston. Jill noticed a number of times, when she checked the review mirror, that Durinllew seemed lost in thought. Mitch also noticed the deep silence from the back seat, but he said nothing, not wishing to disturb the dragon-woman.

Durinllew felt the curiosity from her two companions, but her mind stayed focused on the question of who called the dragon-kind. The theft of the Shield of Bess and the murders Lang described brought up the most terrible thoughts in her mind. She wanted her worries to be a mistake, but from the way Lang described the bodies, she felt certain that she alone knew how those innocent people died. Not only how they died, but why, and what the murderer took from them when they died. The idea chilled her to the very core. If her concerns were indeed true, the Druids would face a foe that her people had thrust onto their world.

The thought made the lovely woman very sad.

Lark LaTroy

Thanks for being here, Lark, and for giving us a fascinating insight into your Druids, and a peek into your books. Have questions for Lark? Are there more things that you want to know? Ask away! Feel free to leave a comment! Thanks to everyone for stopping by, have a great day!

♥ Julie

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