Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
I’ve been writing for most of my life, and my stories have always had an element of the paranormal or fantastic. Whenever I’ve tried to write something in a contemporary or literary genre, it has always turned paranormal sooner or later. I’ve given up and accepted the inevitable. ;)
Please tell us about your latest release.
The second book in my Looking Glass Gods series, Idol of Blood, was released on Tuesday. The series is a dark but romantic fantasy set in a world once ruled by a godlike race called the Meer, now fallen out of favor following a violent revolution. Idol of Blood continues the story of Jak, who identifies as genderless, and Ra and Ahr, two foreigners from the ancient-Egyptian-esque Anamnesis Delta, who share a secret, tumultuous past—both vying for Jak’s attention.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
Most of my characters’ names just come to me, but sometimes I want a name from a particular language or heritage, so I search a lot of baby-name websites. This series, however, was one in which every single character basically told me “this is my name.”
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
Jak was probably the hardest character to write, because I had to avoid using any pronouns. I’ve never been a fan of the singular “they” or of any of the other alternative pronouns, so I decided Jak would just avoid them altogether.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
There were two characters in this series I really enjoyed writing. MeerShiva is ancient, powerful—and mad, by her own admission. It was very freeing and empowering to write her scenes, where she basically did whatever she wanted. And there was always method behind her madness. The other character I had a lot of fun writing was Pearl, also known as the Meerchild. Pearl’s scenes were almost stream-of-consciousness writing, and I really fell in love with that character.
How does this world differ from our normal world?
The series is set in an alternate world that’s similar to our own, in a setting that includes highland country loosely based on Iceland and Scotland, and lowlands resembling ancient Egypt and British colonial Southeast Asia. Magic exists in this world, but most no longer believe in it or in the Meeric race who were once worshipped as gods for their ability to conjure.
With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
The Looking Glass Gods books definitely need to be read in order. The first book, Idol of Bone, begins with a mystery that slowly unravels over the course of the book. Starting anywhere else in the series (other than the prequel novella, The Devil’s Garden) would mean major spoilers.
Do you write in different genres?
I have a gothic paranormal m/f romance, The Lost Coast, coming out in December. While it isn’t that far from fantasy with its paranormal characters, it’s the first I wrote specifically as a romance, and the first based in the real world rather than any imagined world. My latest project is also m/f paranormal romance.
Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
I don’t have a hard time switching between epic and urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but I think I’d have a hard time writing in genres that were significantly dissimilar.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
I started writing stories in grade school for extra credit, and liked it so much I knew it was what I wanted to do for a living. I’ve been writing ever since.
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
I’m an unabashed TV junky, mostly fantasy and science fiction shows like Doctor Who and Supernatural, with some crime dramas in the mix. I watch television more than I read, because after writing for several hours a day following eight hours of editing for my day job, I just need to sit back, indulge in some passive entertainment, and relax.
What can readers expect next from you?
The final book in the series, Idol of Glass, is out in October, followed by my gothic paranormal romance, The Lost Coast, in December.
Where can readers find you on the web?
I’m pretty easy to find. My website is www.janekindred.com, and all of my social media accounts are basically my name: @JaneKindred, facebook.com/janekindred, pinterest.com/janekindred, +JaneKindred, and janekindred.tumblr.com.
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Since the light was beginning to lower, they set up camp, only a dozen leagues from the green riverbanks of Rhyman. Jak and Geffn lay on either side of Ra, a peculiar triad of necessity, and Geffn, fatigued, was asleep almost instantly.
Ra curled away from him toward Jak beneath her blanket, eyes seeming to glint like a cat’s, though nothing else was visible in the darkness. “We haven’t really had a moment alone since…” The soft murmur trailed off. Jak knew precisely what moment Ra meant. Before they’d left Rhyman; before Ra had disappeared in the night to rescue little Pearl—a Meerchild bred in captivity and kept in a cage by the prelate of In’La; before Ra had set fire to the temple there, and the prelate with it, Jak had thrown caution to the wind and climbed into bed with a goddess. The commitment to celibacy Jak had tried to maintain since before Ra’s arrival in Haethfalt had been tossed aside like a cheap shirt.
After returning to Rhyman with Pearl, Ra had made no further overtures toward Jak, and Jak hadn’t presumed to make any toward Ra.
“It’s all right. We don’t need to—” The weak protest died on Jak’s lips as Ra’s descended on them. Her kisses had a tendency to take one’s breath away, as if she gathered it all into herself, holding it, holding time, before giving it back.
When she finally let them both breathe, Ra slid beneath the blanket and rested her head on Jak’s breast. “I could deepen Geffn’s sleep.”
Jak considered it for a rash moment before squelching the thought. “No. That wouldn’t be fair to him.” That was an understatement. Screwing one’s new lover while asleep next to the jilted lover whose heart one had recently broken would be in bad form, to say the least. And it would add more to that invisible price Ra must be paying if she were to expend magical energy when she had so little physical energy to spare. “We’ll have time enough when we get home.”
“Home.” Ra snuggled closer. “That sounds very nice. I’ve never had a home before. Just a temple.” She said the word as if it meant “jail”. While she spoke, however, her hand moved down Jak’s arm with feathery strokes, dipped over Jak’s hip and across Jak’s belly, and played at the loose drawstring waistband, fingers just inside it.
Jak placed a hand over Ra’s, meaning to stop her, but Ra entwined their fingers and slid them lower. As if it were an act of self-pleasuring, Ra used Jak’s fingers to delve deeper and press against the supple flesh, tentative, leisurely motions encouraging Jak to show her how to proceed.
“When we return to Mound RemPetaJakGeffnMelKeirenRa—” She murmured the absurdly long name of their Haethfalt household as if they were only having a quiet conversation—“I’d like to make a quilt by hand.” She drew Jak’s fingers in a complex pattern, up and down, over and across, doubling back in infinity symbols that ended in sharp, insistent points, like the edges of rings bisecting each other. “Do you like this pattern?”
Jak shivered and breathed ascent as Ra pressed Jak’s fingers into the center point of the bisection. Her motions became smaller, tighter and more definitive.
“Some little rosettes where the squares join,” Ra whispered. “One. Two. Three. Four…” She demonstrated. “With a diamond in the center. Right…there.”
Jak had to grab the blanket and bite down on it to keep the sweet little crooning howl Ra had inspired from escaping audibly.
“And another, there.”
Jak struggled not to thrash, rationing sharp rhythmic breaths into the fabric of the blanket.
“And then just there.”
In the grip of a wave of pleasure so intense it was almost unbearable, Jak clutched Ra’s hand so she could no longer effect her blissful torment, the other hand digging into the bedroll as pantomimed moans were buried in the crook of an elbow.
“Perhaps in peacock blue with threads of gold,” Ra continued as if she hadn’t just destroyed Jak utterly, her other hand casually stroking once more up Jak’s arm. “The colors of Ludtaht Ra. Though it may be time for new colors. I’ve always liked indigo.” She nestled against the hollow of Jak’s neck, putting a little kiss there before relaxing with a sigh to match Jak’s heaving breath. “Does that work for you?”
It took a moment to remember how to swallow and speak. “Work for me?” Jak let out a nervous, whispered laugh. “Just about killed me. I’m crazy about it.”
Idol of Blood
Looking Glass Gods
Genre: Dark fantasy
with erotic and romantic elements/
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date of Publication: June 23, 2015
Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 80K
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
The price of revenge may be her sanity…and the lives of those she loves.
No longer haunted by memories of her life—and death—as the Meer of Rhyman, Ra looks forward to a quiet existence with her lover Jak in the Haethfalt highlands.
Having made peace with Ahr, her consort from her former life, Ra can finally explore her new relationship, free of the ghosts of the past—until she unwittingly unearths Jak’s own.
Out of instinct, she uses her Meeric power to heal the pain of Jak’s childhood trauma.
But all magic has a price, and Ra’s bill has come due.
Succumbing to the affliction inherent in her race, Ra flees to the mountain ruins where her mother’s temple once stood. As the madness takes hold, she resurrects the ancient city of AhlZel in a tremendous act of magic that seals her fate—and threatens to destroy those who would give up everything to save her from herself.
Product Warnings: Contains dark themes, violence, gender-bending sex, and recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse.
If you have not yet read book one there are spoliers ahead- you have been warned
Ch. 1 Excerpt, Idol of Blood (Book 2)
White dunes rolled and swayed into the distance like banks of snow. Counterfeits. Snow would be cold. That was the first thing she remembered. The first thing she’d seen and felt. Snow. The brisk insistence of it like the emphatic intake of air into a newborn’s lungs.
The second thing she remembered was Jak—startled eyes of steel gray, freckled cheeks, birch-bark hair tied practically back; stubborn, reserved, and as different from anyone in Ra’s limited experience as the snow was from the lush valley of the Anamnesis Delta where Ra belonged. As different from Ahr as anyone she could possibly have stumbled into on that first day of her new life. Jak had been a safe port in the storm of memory from which Ra fled.
Foolishly or not, Ra had returned, stealing a life from the ashes of her unstrung elements, her renaissance rashly effected. She’d returned either to punish Ahr or to beg forgiveness. Or both. She couldn’t remember. Ahr had killed her. Or rather killed him, the Ra that had been, the Meer of Rhyman.
She stumbled on the powdery sand and sat abruptly. It seemed the thing to do.
“Ra.” Jak was at her side in an instant, crouching with a look of concern. “Are you all right?” The bright Deltan sun glinted off the fair hair in a silvery halo.
“I just need to rest a moment.”
Sweet Jak. Ra had finally worn down the defenses, the wall of stone that kept others at a safe distance and allowed Jak to maintain control. Jak had let her in as she was sure no one else had been. Ra had touched Jak in intimate places—but not every place. No inner sanctum for Ra. Not yet.
Jak uncorked a water skin and offered it to her before rising and drawing their companion aside. Ra supposed she oughtn’t eavesdrop, but tuning out the Meeric flow was more difficult than tuning in to it after nearly four hundred years of meditative practice.
Ra’s eyes followed Jak, black sapphires in a white marble face peering through ebony tresses damp with sweat.
Jak nodded in her direction, voice low. “She can’t make this trip, Geffn. This is absurd.”
They’d traveled barely half a day from Rhyman, the place Ra had once ruled as divine Meer, but this Ra bore little resemblance to the majestic breed who’d occupied the altar-thrones and temples of the Deltan city-states before the Expurgation had overthrown them. Weak from the hunger strike she’d embarked upon, intent upon ending her new life after the memories of the former one returned to her, it had taken the last of Ra’s strength to destroy the templar priests who’d betrayed the Meer. Jak tried not to think of the minute bits of red matter to which the prelate of Rhyman had been reduced.
“No.” Geffn’s expression was vague, as though Jak’s words didn’t quite register. He’d been perhaps the mostly deeply affected by witnessing what Ra was capable of with a word. To Geffn, Ra had been a foundling in need of protection. Following her to Rhyman when she’d fled the snow-blanketed mounds of Haethfalt after remembering the violent end of her past life, Geffn had convinced himself Ra was incapable of protecting herself. Of course, Jak had thought the same.
“Geffn.” Jak spoke sharply to snap him out of his narcosis. “You have to pull yourself together and put what you’ve seen out of your head. I need you.”
Geffn’s eyes came into focus. “Need me? You most certainly don’t need me, Jak. You don’t need anyone.”
Jak ignored this. At least it was more like his usual self. “What do we do with her, Geff? It’s not safe to take her back to Rhyman. Not in this condition.”
“No, not Rhyman.” Geffn considered. “Better In’La. At least there we could barter for one of those two-wheeled motorized contraptions.”
“A motorcycle.” Ra’s voice startled them. She’d come up behind them while they spoke. “Did you want one, Geffn?” She took his hands and placed his palms together, wrapping her hands around them. “One only has to ask.” There was a sound behind them, and when they turned to look, a sculpture of molded metal alloy on two wide rubber wheels sat in the center of the path.
Geffn gaped, unable to speak.
“Vetmaaimeerra,” Ra murmured with a wry smile. “It’s yours. Is it what you meant?”
Geffn walked about the polished machine, touching it hesitantly. It was solid and complete, and excellently made, as though crafted itself of conjured memory. On its right was a sidecar for an extra passenger, and protective shields for the eyes hung over one of the handlebars.
“I don’t know how it works.” He crouched and studied its pipes and engine in fascination. “Or what propels it. I think they burn some kind of fuel.”
“It will have all it needs,” said Ra. “Try it.”
Jak watched her closely. There was no point now in trying to tell Ra she mustn’t conjure. She wasn’t some child. She was a conjurer, intrinsically, and had paid a dear price for her nature. Who she was, as surely as who Jak was and fought for the right to be, would have to be accepted. Coexistence without judgment was the credo of the Haethfalt settlements.
Still, the exertion was disconcerting. It had seemed before, when Ra’s origins had been a mystery, that conjuring took something from her—which, of course, it must by some law of nature. Scrutinizing her now after this latest expenditure, Jak wondered what it might be. She was mildly flushed, but apparently not physically tired, as mere walking had made her. Jak feared the invisible toll.
About the Author:
Jane Kindred is the author of epic fantasy series The House of Arkhangel’sk, Demons of Elysium, and Looking Glass Gods. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.