Today, I welcome Skyla Dawn, a very talented, witty author.
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Why I Don’t Maim Kittens in My Books
by Skyla Dawn Cameron
When Marci graciously offered to allow me a guest post on her blog, she said she had no preference for a topic as long as it didn’t involve maiming kittens.
Well, that’s easy, thought I! I’m anti-kitten-maiming, too.
In fact, I’m so anti-kitten-maiming, even fictional accounts don’t make it into my books. Ever. Under any circumstances. There is also no dog-maiming. No animal-maiming of any kind (the exception being a shifter, perhaps, since I count those as humans).
I think all writers have lines they don’t cross. One writer’s line is not another’s. Some writers aren’t comfortable with cursing in their work. Others choose to only include fade-to-black sex scenes. Often our lines are very personal. I know of a few women writers who have taken the stance that they will never have their heroines raped.
I respect the lines the others don’t want to cross. Mine involves animals.
I actually check www.doesthedogdie.com often when deciding what to watch, as a gruesome pet murder is enough to turn me off of horror. There are a few authors whose books I don’t read because an animal usually dies horribly. (Though I have Reasons for my dislike of animal cruelty in works from a writer-standpoint, today I’m sticking with personal issues.)
I can become detached from people; I can go to very dark places when it comes to human characters. But I cease being able to enjoy a work if the family dog dies. I get torn right out of a book or movie if a cat is tortured and murdered.
When most people say they’re animal lovers, they mean they have beloved family pets. I’m a little beyond that: I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly nineteen years (since I was twelve) and eat a mostly vegan diet; I have six cats, a dog, and a rabbit, many of whom are rescues; I donate to animal charities and volunteer my time whenever I’m able; I utilize humane traps and rescue mice from my hoard of ravenous felines. My weakness is animals. I’m the kind of person who goes to a party and sits in the spare room petting the family cat. I will stop and talk to people’s dogs rather than people themselves.
Surely it’s some kind of psychological thing. I’ve debated it, I’ve analyzed it. I’ve always sought to chase after the things I’m afraid of in writing. But I’m not afraid of harming animals in my work, I just simply don’t want to.
This is usually why my characters don’t have pets. I wrote a rural fantasy (like urban, just in a small town) several years ago and my heroine had a cat. Every single scene involved me (and her) thinking, “WHAT ABOUT THE CAT?!!” Danger isn’t just around the corner in my books, it’s right there with claws and teeth tearing down the walls. With so few characters making it out alive, it’s even more difficult to have pets, so I simply don’t include them.
The exception came with my novel Exhumed, the fourth in the Demons of Oblivion series. My heroine likes animals. Not a big fan of people, but she’s a member of VETA or Vampires for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (note: they are MUCH less insane than their human counterparts). Except her building’s always being blown up, and people try to kill her, and it would be really hard for her to have a cat.
Then I pondered…why did she have to have a domesticated cat?
So I ended up giving her a Smilodon populator aka a saber-tooth cat.
Of course Rodney (that is his name: Sir Rodney Ballsgalore, and he sort of adopted my heroine after she freed him from a cruel owner) gets into trouble. It’s no fun if there isn’t danger. He features prominently in the story Damaged: A Zara Lain Novella, and there are direct threats to his life.
Carman stopped at the bottom step, her lips pressed tightly together and her jaw twitching. She was likely about to lay the smack down on me but it was totally worth it. “You realize I need two sacrifices for this—without her, I’ll have to take another.”
“Gosh, I guess it’s too bad you slaughtered all those other kids. This is why I tend to keep backups.”
Her silent consideration of me, however, left me unnerved because I was shit at guessing what went through a witchy brain. “I actually can think of a suitable replacement.” She raised her hand above her shoulder and flicked her fingers once in the direction of the woods. “Boys, find the cat.”
My reaction must’ve echoed on my face, as Carman’s smile went wide and gleeful. “Don’t worry, he’ll make an excellent cloak afterward.”
Throw me around, tie me up, mind-fuck me, even sacrifice me—whatever, I could take it.
But no one threatens my fucking pet.
Rodney is threatened, sure, but while I can never guarantee I won’t kill a main character, I can promise my heroine’s pet saber-tooth cat will always come out on top, with an oversized catnip mouse in his paws and a twitch of his whiskers.
That’s my line: no maiming kittens.
Even of the extinct, prehistoric beast variety.
Demons of Oblivion Series
by Skyla Dawn Cameron
A diverse cast of characters come together in classic urban fantasy about monsters, the people who hunt them, and the occasional apocalypse. Snarky humor, magic with bite, nonstop action, a dose of romance, and at its core: broken people finding family in one another.
Also, there’s a saber-tooth cat named Sir Rodney Ballsgalore. Because reasons.
1 – Bloodlines
2 – Hunter
3 – Lineage
4 – Exhumed
5 – Oblivion (Coming Soon)
Side Stories & Novellas:
A Vampire Walked Into a Bar (Tales from Alchemy Red)
Home: A Zara Lain Story (Free at My World…in words & pages)
Damaged: A Zara Lain Novella
9 Crimes: A Nate O’Connor Novella
Hungry Like the Wendigo (Tales from Alchemy Red)
Kami of Christmas Past: A Peri Takata Novella (Coming Soon)
Howl: A Juliette Aubrey Novella (Coming Soon)
If you’re in her way, it sucks to be you.
After three hundred years of unlife, narcissistic vampire Zara Lain has seemingly done it all, and she’s now making a living as a successful thief-turned-assassin. Her newest assignment seems simple enough: kill the aging leader of the O’Connor coven and his only heir, and she’ll have another ten million in the bank.
But in the dangerous world of the supernatural, few things are ever “simple.”
When a massive assault decimates the continent’s population of powerful witches and warlocks, and its orchestrator has vampires being hunted down and captured, Zara realizes the tables have turned and now she’ll be playing the hero. Forced to join with a smart-mouthed fellow vampire, a demonologist who’s also a fan of hers, a recently widowed—and frequently brooding—warlock, and her best friend’s mom, Zara’s grudgingly willing to do what she can to save the day.
If only people would stop ruining all her outfits…
Details: Exclusive to Kindle until January 2014 http://www.amazon.com/Bloodlines-Demons-of-Oblivion-ebook/dp/B00FI83ZV0/ (Free from October 28 – November 1)
Includes bonus short story “Thrall”, narrated by warlock Nate O’Connor.
Warning: contains heavy doses of snark, a sexually confident heroine who likes killing people and has no secret heart of gold, lots of explosions, and very naughty language.
Also, some terrible stuff happens to expensive formal wear. I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry.
Sometimes natural predators need to be kept in check, and for that, there’s Ryann David. Orphaned as an infant and raised by an exiled branch of the church to become a warrior for God, she and her fellow members of Venatores Daemonum have trained all their lives with only one purpose: destroy all demons in the mortal realm.
But when Ryann and her team are sent to hunt down a vampire who has killed one of their own, a new world of danger, betrayal, and conspiracy greets her. Allied with an irreverent psychic detective and the very monsters she was raised to kill, Ryann will risk everything—her life, her faith, and her heart—in pursuit of the truth as the black and white existence she knew turns a murky shade of gray.
Details: Now on Kindle, AllRomanceeBooks, and Smashwords. Other sites coming soon. http://skyladawncameron.com/novels/hunter
Includes bonus short story “Malice”, narrated by Zara Lain.
Warning: This book contains a demon-hunting nun. No, really. And she doesn’t swear. At all. This might be quite traumatizing to you after reading Bloodlines. Reader discretion is advised.
Family reunions suck.
What’s a woman to do when her dad’s the antichrist, her grandma’s the devil, the end of the world is at her doorstep, and she’s out to avenge the murders of her husband and kids?
Kill everything in her way.
Quarter-demon Peri Takata exists with but one goal in mind: annihilate everyone responsible for the death of her family. Then—her need for vengeance quelled—she plans to take her own life.
Her mission brings her to vampire Zara Lain, the only known survivor of the event that destroyed Peri’s family five years ago. Hunting down a secret society of those who don’t want to be found has its challenges, however, especially when forces are working to keep the antichrist’s daughter very much alive. The apocalypse is closing in and Peri may be playing a role in it whether she wants to or not.
And when a heart long-thought dead begins to beat again with love for another, she’s not so sure about anything anymore.
Details: Now on Kindle, AllRomanceeBooks, and Smashwords. Other sites coming soon. http://www.skyladawncameron.com/novels/lineage
Includes bonus short story “Sunrise”, narrated by warlock Nate O’Connor.
Warning: You’re still here? After the narcissistic assassin in Bloodlines and the demon-hunting nun in Hunter? Well, now you get a sociopathic, quarter-demon mercenary. There’s lots more violence and naughty language in this one. You’re welcome.
Some people just won’t stay buried…
Zara Lain, narcissistic vampire and assassin, cleaned up after a crazy warlock tried to build a vampire army, made some cash when the North American covens were left in shambles, got away when framed for the murder of a Demon Hunter, and dealt with some idiots who tried to jumpstart Armageddon. None of that could prepare her, however, for the moment when her lover of the undead persuasion awakens…
And promptly tries to kill her.
She’s raised a handful of orphaned baby vampires during the past six years and she knows the score: if they don’t get sane again, they have to be staked. And even if she can fix her would-be boyfriend, he’s not the only formerly deceased one in town who wants to kill her. Old enemies are back to put a cramp in her love life, ruin a good pair of heels, and just maybe end the world.
An apocalypse is nigh…and it gets a lot worse than having nothing to wear to the occasion.
Details: Now on Kindle, AllRomanceeBooks, and Smashwords. Other sites coming soon. http://www.skyladawncameron.com/novels/exhumed
Warning: This book may cause you emotional turmoil and feelings of great pain. I’d apologize but it would be a lie; I feed on your tears. Keep ’em coming.
Award-winning author Skyla Dawn Cameron has been writing approximately forever.
Her early storytelling days were spent acting out strange horror/fairy tales with the help of her many dolls, and little has changed except that she now keeps those stories on paper. She signed her first book contract at age twenty-one for River, a unique werewolf tale, which was released to critical and reader praise alike and won her the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy. She now has multiple series on the go to keep her busy, which is great for her attention deficit disorder.
Skyla is a fifth generation crazy cat lady who lives in southern Ontario, where she dabbles in art, is an avid gamer, and watches Buffy reruns. If she ever becomes a grownup, she wants to run her own pub, as well as become world dictator.
You can visit her on the web at www.skyladawncameron.com. When she’s not writing or being glared at by cats, she’s probably on Twitter. You should ping @skyladawn and tell her to get back to work.