White Bone, Red Sky! Interview and Giveaway with Evelyn Shepherd
I’m thrilled to welcome the amazing Evelyn Shepherd, author of some thrilling supernatural m/m, including the Theo Bourne series. The latest in Theo’s adventures, White Bone, Red Sky, is out now from Loose Id., and Evelyn is giving one lucky commenter a chance to bag a free ebook copy. She’s kindly answered a few of my nosy little questions, so do please remember to say hi
Hi! Thanks for having me. My latest release came out a few months ago, at the beginning of the summer. It’s the third instalment to the Theo Bourne Series, called White Bone, Red Sky.
Theo and Carlos are coming home from vacation and are immediately thrown into a grisly case involving murdered children. While they race against the clock to stop another child from being killed, Carlos faces his own battle. A member of his pack has challenged him for dominance and it’s more than his life at stake.
I actually delve deeper into the world of Phantoms and set the stage for the final two books.
Q. What inspires you?
Hard to say, because there’s really a lot that inspires. Reading always gives me the desire to write, especially when it’s a great fantasy novel. Music definitely gets me in the mood. I could be listening to the radio or have Spotify up and when certain songs come on, I’ll just stop and watch a scene unfold in my mind. Sometimes I use the scenes, sometimes they’re just fun bits that get me in the mood to write a character.
I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from the Mulan OST and pictured Theo training a bunch of fledgling Phantoms. I would seriously work that into a book if I could make it work (which I can’t, so I won’t).
Movie trailers are another thing. I know it’s weird, but there’s something about certain movie trailers (for action, sci-fi, or fantasy) that make me want to write action packed scenes. It always gets my blood pumping.
Q. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block, and if so, any tips to overcome it?
Yes! If any writer says they don’t, they’re lying. It happens to the best of us.
Most people tell you to write through it. Sometimes that works, but for me it usually doesn’t.
If I hit a road block or find that I can’t get the right words, I set a project aside. I tuck it away and then turn to something else: a new project or another project I have going.
Eventually, that spark will hit me again to work on the project that I was blocked on and I’ll go. You can’t always force the words out, and when you do, they aren’t always good. Sometimes when I focus so hard on a story, I lose sight of it. So I need a break. That usually helps.
Or a nap. Naps are good too.
Q. When you get an idea for a book, what comes first–plot, setting, or character?
Err… varies. All three have happened. I’ve created an entire world before I ever gave it characters and a story. But I’ve always designed a character and then from them created a world and story for them to have. With Theo’s stories, it was plots first. Each story is always a little different. I can be hit at random by a character who I want to exist or an idea that sounds really good. I’m also a big fan of world building, so sometimes I just create worlds and see if they can have a story.
Q. You are going out of town for the week, and can pick one or your characters to house sit/pet sit. Who would you chose? And who would be your last choice?
Good question. Well, if I had to pick someone to house sit/pet sit (because it be both), I’d have to choose… Chloe from my novel I Am Here. She’s very responsible, so I know she wouldn’t break my shit, and she’s a maternal character so she’d also make sure my dog was well taken care of.
Sawyer (also from I Am Here) would be the last person! While in the story he grows, he’s still an immature character. He’d forget to feed my dog and he’d probably have sex in my bed. So he can just stay away.
Q. Any exciting WIPs to tell us about?
I’ve just sent the revisions back to my editor for a brand new series I’m starting. It’s an LGBT High Fantasy called A Summoner’s Dirge. I’m super excited about this project, especially since I’ve been working on it for two years. It’s a behemoth of a story, but I think people (at least fantasy fans) will really enjoy it.
It follows the tale of a farmer that glows with the light of a star and an assassin who discovers his secret. Together they travel the world of Zoria, along with a group of sky pirates, and race to prevent a looming war from destroying their world.
That’s just a small description of the story. There’s so much more to it. I drew a lot of inspirations from Christian mythos and classical quest fantasy.
The next project I’m working on is the second booth in the Meteora Trilogy. I’ve just begun the edits of the manuscript, and once I finish those I’ll be turning it into my editor. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say we get to see things through Jesse’s POV and that our boys never get the easy road.
I really enjoyed working on this story, but this was one I struggled with. I had to find the right voice for Jesse and since there’s so much I want to happen in the trilogy, I had to make sure everything was right. I want this to be more than just another zombie novel. So hopefully readers will enjoy I Am Alive when it comes out. I know it’s been a year since I Am
Here was released, but I think the wait will be worth it.
Thanks so much for answering, Evelyn I agree about the nap – always a good solution A love the idea of that Mulan-inspired scene, even if it’ll never happen Good luck with the WIPs!
Scroll on for the complete blurbs from the Theo Bourne Series and I Am Here, and a stunning excerpt from White Bone, Red Sky.
AND DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT AT THE END FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!
Sawyer never it saw it coming. He never expected Jesse to finally respond to him. He never expected the meteors to take out LeVeque tower. He never expected an old woman to try and eat his face off. Sawyer thought that when he went into work that night it just be another boring evening at the bookstore. But the impromptu quickie in the bathroom is just the beginning. Sawyer, with his gorgeously infuriating boss Jesse, his best friend Chloe and her little brother Jaden are in for more than a boring night.
The undead are rising up and they will have to find their way through the aftermath. With the aid of Jesse’s wryly sexy ex-lover/best friend Topher, they will attempt to head south to find a safe haven in a world turned to bedlam. But with the government keeping secrets and the infected turning, it’ll prove that the nightmare is far from over.
As Sawyer struggles to come to terms with his new world, he’ll also face the conflicting truth that he is in love with not one, but two, men.
It leads him to ask life’s great question: can you find love in a zombie apocalypse? Buy it now
Theo Bourne, a powerful Phantom, has returned to Columbus to escape his past. He didn’t plan on sleeping with it. But the one-night stand he had with Carlos is proving to be unforgettable in every sense of the word, mainly because Carlos is his new partner on the Preternatural Task Force.
Theo wants to put as much space between him and the very evident sexual desire he has for Carlos, so that means immersing himself in their latest case — the gruesome murder of two lycanthropes.
Carlos Ramirez has been pining for Theo for a very long time and he isn’t about to let him go. Theo’s heart is guarded by a protective ten-foot layer of ice, though. It’s going to take a lot of charm and a lot of coaxing for this werecoyote to melt the ice. Especially since it feels like every time he starts to warm up to his cold hearted partner, the case takes an unexpected and deadly turn. Buy it now
Valentine’s Day turns into a nightmare when an ancient vampire burns her way through the greater Columbus, ushering in the Aztec God of Death. Theo and Carlos will have to set aside their personal problems in order to put an end to a deranged killer. But as the body count rises, they find out they’re going up against more than a vampire — they’re going up against
In the midst of the chaos, Theo faces his own personal turmoil. When Lloyd confronts Theo about his feelings, Theo isn’t sure whether his heart still belongs to Carlos or if he truly cares for Lloyd. If he wants to save the world, Theo will have to overcome his troubled heart and harness the power within. Buy it now
Blurb: Theo and Carlos are called out of vacation when a madman called the Bogeyman begins to butcher small children. It’s a race against more than the clock as a third victim is abducted. The FBI has stepped in to put an end to the terror that has seized Columbus, but with very few clues to go on, Theo and Carlos are left scrambling for answers. Rhett Bishop just might be the help they’ve been looking for, but it comes with a price – one Theo isn’t sure is worth paying.
The deeper they delve into the bloody massacre rocking Columbus, the more things spin out of control. Theo struggles with his own crippling fears and tries to build the courage to ask Carlos one of the most important questions of his life. But things can never go easy for the two detectives, and as they sort through their case, Carlos begins a battle of his own. A contender has stepped up to take Carlos’s place as Alpha of the local werecoyote pack. If Carlos isn’t careful, he may lose more than his position as pack leader. Buy it now
Excerpt: I stepped off the airplane and followed the flow of traffic out of the terminal. The world felt unsteady after being twenty thousand feet in the air, as if the ground were as soft as a cloud and I’d sink straight through. I looked around. Port Columbus International Airport was a hive of rushing civilians. My grip tightened around my carry-on as a man in a cheap-looking suit slammed into my shoulder. Someone’s hand caught my arm and steadied me. I looked back and flashed Carlos a grateful smile as he steered us out of the stream of bodies.
“You got everything, corazón?”
“Yeah. Let’s get our bags and head home. I’m exhausted.” A yawn escaped me, almost as if to emphasis the fact. We were both jet-lagged, in need of a shower, and stiff in every way but the good one. All I wanted was some food and our bed.
For the last two weeks we had taken a much needed—and painfully earned—vacation to Madrid, Spain. It was a long-overdue celebration of our anniversary. I still had trouble believing that in four months, we’d be celebrating two years together. It was a feat I had never thought possible.
“Come on, baggage is this way.” Carlos dropped a quick kiss on my lips and started moving toward the luggage carousels.
I quickly caught up with him, letting my shoulder bump his as I passed. Warmth unfurled in my stomach and pushed away my fatigue when I looked over my shoulder. Carlos had loosely braided his black hair from his face; the pleat draped down his back to just past his shoulder blades. He had become disheveled during the flight, his black tank top wrinkled and his poured-on jeans riding low on his narrow hips.
We had come a long way since we first met. It had been a rocky beginning, filled with denial, then followed by hesitation. That rocky beginning, which had become stronger and more cemented during the past two years, had laid our foundation. Somehow, between almost dying and all our fears, we had found happiness. Now I was terrified to think of a life without him.
“Try to keep up, mutt,” I goaded teasingly.
Carlos’s smile deepened at my challenge, and we all but ran to the baggage area, making our way down the escalator without mishap. I slid my cell phone out and powered it up as we waited for the baggage carousel to start. The flight had been a taxing ten hours with a layover in New York City. We had made it in on the 742 by eleven, but I didn’t think we’d make it home officially until after midnight.
I called Aunt Claire as soon as my phone finished loading. I knew she’d be waiting to hear that we’d landed safely. Once I’d let Aunt Claire know we’d returned, I sent Carlos’s sister-in-law, Sofia, a quick text. Everyone else could wait till tomorrow.
“How’s Aunt Claire?”
“Good. She said she’s going to bed and that she sends her love.”
A light over the carousel lit up, followed by an alarm. Ten minutes later
bags in hand, we were on a shuttle bus to the long-term parking lot. My cell phone started ringing just as we stepped off the bus. Carlos quirked a brow at me, his chocolate eyes almost black in the night darkness. I glanced down at the caller ID.
“Chief,” I announced.
Technically, we were still on vacation for another day. I hit Talk on reflex. I saw Carlos scowl, but he didn’t say anything.
“You boys landed?”
Even through the phone, I could hear the wheeze of the pack of cigarettes he’d smoked today.
“We just got our bags.” I passed Carlos the keys to my Challenger. I had broken down and traded in my Mustang when it had been on the receiving end of one too many lycanthrope attacks.
“Good. Vacation is over, then. I need you down here at a new scene.”
There was something tight in his voice that made a fist squeeze my stomach until it felt like my airplane pretzels were going to come back up.
“On our way,” I said. Chief rambled off a location and disconnected before I could end the call.
“What’s going on?” Carlos asked as he popped the trunk with the key fob.
“Not sure, but Chief wants us to see a crime scene.” I passed him my suitcase and bag. After we quickly loaded up, I took the keys back and slid into the driver’s seat. My hopes of a shower and bed were blown away with the exhaust as I peeled out of the parking lot.
Carlos and I were partners on the Columbus Police Department’s Preternatural Task Force, or PTF for short. The supernatural have lived among us as legal citizens for years now. It was my and Carlos’s job to investigate any crimes that arose among the arcane dark side of Columbus.
It worked for us because we each had our own ties to the inhuman. Carlos was the leader of the local werecoyote pack, though at the moment, his standing was a bit shaky. I was a Phantom, a human with the combined powers of telekinesis and bilocation. Creating doppelgängers was my specialty.
“Well, the break was fun while it lasted,” Carlos said as he leaned his seat back. I reached over and patted his thigh encouragingly. It would have been nice to ease back into work, but there was never rest for the maleficent.
I got on I-670 and worked my way west, making a loop to I-70. The interstate was dead this late on a Wednesday night, giving me clearance to test how high the gauge on my speedometer could go.
Carey Wayland Elementary, where Chief had asked us to meet him, was just off Livingston, two blocks down from the High Street intersection. I coasted to a stop behind a police car and cut the engine. The crime scene was crawling with officers. A perimeter had been set up around the school,blocking a few curious bystanders from treading on the evidence.
The fist around my stomach clenched into a vise. I had an inkling that whatever was beyond the police tape was something I didn’t want to see. I grabbed the keys and pulled myself out of the car. Carlos followed behind me as I approached the tape and slid my badge out.
Like my gun, I always kept my badge on hand. I had secured both Carlos’s gun and mine in a lockbox and brought them with us to Madrid. I never knew when the shit would hit the fan, and the bad guys didn’t care if we were on vacation.
“I’m Detective Bourne, and this is my partner, Detective Ramirez,” I said to the officer standing watch. He glanced at my badge and lifted the tape for us.
The school’s playground had a ten-foot, chain-link fence wrapped around it. Spotlights had been set up at various points, illuminating the crime scene with a harsh fluorescent flood. Police lights spilled across the pavement and over the rusted swing set and jungle gym, which looked like they dated back to the nineties. A stifling breeze rattled the swing chains.
We were just about to head into July, and the summer so far had been anything but merciful. Even after two weeks of being gone, none of the humidity had abated. Sweat had already begun to form along my back. My black T-shirt clung to me like a second, soggy skin.
Chief Pratt waved us over to a tall slide. Chief was a cross between a walrus and a boar: heavy on the Italian and horns. Over the years, his hair had thinned out and left him with a laurel of steel hair. He puffed on his cigarette like a steam engine and talked around the cancerous stick in his mouth.
“It’s about time you showed your asses.”
“Sorry, next time I’ll try not to be on vacation,” I said and turned to the cadaver. After years of solving grisly murders, it was natural to keep my game face on, but it never made it easier to see the victims. The acid in my stomach soured in the summer heat, even though there wasn’t the usual tang of blood that lingered around cadavers. Of course, that didn’t
mean the scene wasn’t any less violent.
A girl, Caucasian and no older than ten, was stretched out along the bottom of the slide, her arms crossed over her chest. Her hands had been removed at the wrists, and her skin had taken on the ashy pallor of death. Her eyes stared blindly up at the sky, searching for a hope that had been too late.
“Shit,” I heard Carlos hiss behind me. I held my hand out and took the set of latex gloves Chief passed me.
“Has she been photographed?” I asked. With a snap, I slid the gloves on and crouched beside the body. “So who is she?”
Chief nodded. “Stacy Markegarde, age ten. She was reported missing a week ago by her father after she didn’t come home from gymnastics class.”
I ran a finger along the incision on her wrist. The skin was slightly puckered and shriveled back, like it would be from a burn, but otherwise the incision was clean. I could see the bone and muscle of her arm. The muscle had dried to a reddish brown, and I watched as a june beetle crawled across the tendons. I brushed it off and continued my examination up her body. As I lifted her arms, I noted they had begun to stiffen.
Carlos crouched beside me, his own set of gloves on, and observed her torso and face. “No marks up here.”
“Looks like the only wounds are her missing hands. My guess is she died from blood loss, but the medical examiner will be able to verify. Rigor mortis has already begun to set in, so it had to be fairly recently; I’d say, not more than three hours ago. The burn wounds look fresh. The killer must have used a heated utensil to remove her hands.”
I rose to my feet and turned to Chief. “What I want to know is, why are we here? I get that it’s a terrible crime, but this looks like it’s more for Homicide than PTF.”
“A couple of teenagers were the ones to discover the body. They said they were passing by and saw Stacy floating in the air,” Chief replied. He put out his cigarette on the heel of his dusty boot and then placed the crumpled bud back in the pack. “Stacy Markegarde was also a Phantom.”
If you’d like to bag an ebook copy of White Bone, Red Sky, please leave a comment here, leaving your email when prompted. Your email won’t be displayed, or stored for any other purpose. Comp closes Sat 5th October. Many thanks
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