Soul Collectors

All posts in the Soul Collectors category

#TBT Character Interviews

Published March 24, 2016 by administrator

I was skipping through the archives of my computer the other day and I ran across one of the more amusing moments from my promotional history. This tidbit was originally given to my friend Amy Ravenel for promotion of the first story in the Soul Collectors series, Devil’s Daughter. She sent me the first character interview I ever did, and reading it made me smile. I’m sharing it here for fun (and totally blaming Amy). Enjoy…and while you’re at it, go buy a copy of Devil’s Daughter. It’s a great story at a great price.

DevilsDaughter-v3

 

Character Interview: Lydia St. Clair

A: Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Lydia St. Clair and I’m a bounty hunter for the Devil. I know that sounds a little cliché, but it’s true. When I was eighteen, I made a pretty sloppy deal with him because I did something stupid. A few years later he came back and I ended up selling my soul to him to make that first deal right.  Think of me as a sort of rogue from Dungeons and Dragons. I can sneak up on people, pick locks, steal things… oh, and my car never runs out of gas. How’s that for awesome?

A: What’s the strangest bounty you’ve ever collected?

Tough question. My first was a Nephilim, which in retrospect was probably the tamest thing I’ve encountered.  Since then there have been some real doozies… vampires, werewolves, a warlock… but the strangest one was probably the necromancer that carried Medusa’s left eye in a jar on a chain around his neck. Lucky for me I didn’t get turned to stone.  The eye is in a mirrored bottle on a shelf in my house. It still freaks me out.

A: What kind of man is the Devil?

He’s the Devil. That’s really the best explanation. Most people think He’s evil but really… well, yeah, He’s evil. But it’s not all hellfire and brimstone like some would have you believe. He’s a smart ass mostly, and He has an agenda. Like with the Nephilim I went after – His methods are pretty underhanded but it probably was for the best that He had me catch the guy. After all, the spawn of a fallen angel with the powers of absolution could cause huge problems in all sorts of areas. Sometimes His actions are for the greater good, but He would never, ever admit it.

A: How do you like to relax and unwind after a tough night?

Relax? Unwind? What are these things you speak of?

Seriously, though, when I finally get free time, I like to spend it with my Dad. Every now and again we get to go fishing – I don’t really like to fish, but I like being out on the lake, and I like being with him. If I don’t have time to blow like that, I’m always good with sitting down on my couch in front of the TV with a bottle of wine and a bag of chips.

A: Now for the fun questions: What is your favorite word?

“No.” I love that word, and there are times when I really wish I could use it more often.

A: What is your favorite color?

Peacock Blue. It makes me happy.

A: Books or movies?

I wasn’t much the reading type when I was a teenager – I was more the get drunk and get laid type. Didn’t remember many movies either because I was usually high as a kite. My favorite movie to sit and watch now is Labyrinth. It’s one of the few things I have from my childhood and it still makes me smile. I still don’t get to read much, but I do have a copy of Gone With the Wind next to my bed.

A: Favorite animal?

I used to love Unicorns until the necromancer sent one after me… now it would probably have to be my cat, Charon. Except when he wakes me up at 3am for food.

A: Why should my readers pick up your story?

Because I’m awesome? Isn’t that reason enough?  No? Oh, all right… people really should read this story because it’s intensely personal. There’s tragedy and triumph, and even some humor in the darkness.  It’s also the beginning of my adventures and it tells a little bit about how I got to be who I am today.

A: Where can they find this book?

Devil’s Daughter is available for $.99 from Amazon right now!

So This Happened…

Published October 1, 2014 by administrator

Armageddon Rising - Cover

I wrote this book. and Seventh Star Press released it. And the world is right.
And because it’s awesome, everyone should go out and buy a copy right now. Seriously.

BLURB

At eighteen years old, Lydia St. Clair made a deal with the devil. Three years later, she made a second deal to save her father’s life. Now a bounty hunter by trade, she uses her skills to locate missing monsters and find any object Lucifer desires.

When she wakes from a memory-based nightmare, she follows the smell of brimstone to her kitchen where she discovers a single clue regarding her next job: a half-burned slip of parchment with the word “Armageddon” scrawled upon it. Lucifer can tell her little about the job except how the Scroll of Damnation, a holy relic prophesized to bring about the end of the world in the Book of Revelation, has been stolen from its home in Odin’s vault in Asgard. Gaea’s Council, unsure of the thief’s identity or location, prepares for war, and the fate of the outside world hangs in the balance.

With a hobgoblin named Nix as a sidekick, a series of gifts from the Council, and her own street smarts, Lydia embarks on an impossible quest and a race against time. If she succeeds in finding the scroll and returning it to the council before all seven seals can be broken, she saves the world. If not…

Armageddon Rising is Book One of The Soul Collectors Series.

BUY LINKS

Amazon (Kindle & Paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Kindle & Paperback) | Kobo

Monday Mix Tape: The Soul Collectors

Published July 21, 2014 by administrator

Mornin’ creeps!

I figured we’d kick this thing of right. As y’all know, thanks to Seventh Star Press, Devil’s Daughter is back in the spotlight, and its sister novel, Armageddon Rising is coming up fast behind it. I’ve spent a lot of time in this world over the last two years (we won’t rehash the story, I promise), so I thought it fitting to share a taste of the playlist that’s building this world. It’s a four-and-a-half hour playlist right now, and while it’s metal-centric, there’s some interesting variety.

The whole list can be found here through Spotify: Soul Collectors


 

Apocalyptica: Worlds Collide

Melodic, heavy instrumental with cellos. One of my favorite contemporary instrumentals, and it definitely sets the mood for when I climb into Lydia’s head.

 

REM: Losing My Religion

I’ve loved this song for years, but it’s sort of the anti-theme song for Lydia. I think through her trials being the Devil’s right hand, she’s actually gaining a little ground there.

Slayer: Raining Blood

Vicious, violent, and excellent for writing a good fight scene.

 

Black Veil Brides: Wretched and Divine

It fits the theme. Beautifully. And I just love this song in a big, stupid way.

Nine Inch Nails: Meet Your Master

We’re not going to talk about my longstanding and unhealthy love affair with Nine Inch Nails. We’re going to talk about how this is pretty much the theme song of Devil’s Daughter. The master becoming the servant and the end is nigh? Yeah. Works pretty well. And this man has quite possibly the sexiest voice ever. But we weren’t going to talk about that…

Shinedown: Second Chance

This one is self explanatory for anyone who knows the series, the characters, and the story. I do love this song too.

God Module: Levitation

Yeah. This just sort of says it all. Have a listen. Read the lyrics. Yeah.

Okay, So I Lied About That Thing I Said Earlier.

Published February 3, 2014 by administrator

Remember how I said (and apparently keep saying) that I’m going to do better and actually be a better blogger, writer, reader, and all around human being? Yeah…no. Ain’t happening. I have, yet again, failed miserably.

It’s the first week in February in a brand new year and I still haven’t accomplished shit. Blog-wise, of course.

But you know what? That’s okay. Because if I’m not here prattling on about whatever mundane little things are happening in my life, it means I might actually be getting work done somewhere else.  I intentionally don’t make resolutions because I don’t like making myself feel guilty for not upholding that bizarre new-year oath that in all honesty doesn’t amount to much. I don’t have the time to feel guilty or pat myself on the head and say “There, there. It’s okay. You’re only human.” I KNOW I’M HUMAN G**DAMMIT! I accepted that a long time ago. In this case, all of that is pretty much why I’m not here. I’m expending all of my effort and what little time I have doing other – dare I say it, more productive – things.

That’s part of being a writer, though. You have to budget your time, sacrifice things, rearrange schedules, move mountains, and still have dinner on the table by 7PM. As all twelve of you who regularly read my nonsense know, I have a child (who, by the way, just turned two last week), a husband, and a step-daughter who is a senior in high school and preparing for real life, real jobs, and college. I also work a full-time job and just happen to be chief cook and bottle washer in my household. Twenty-four hours is NOT enough to get everything accomplished that’s on my schedule in a single day, but I make it work. Hell, I do more than just make it work.

I rock that bitch.

Yeah, I’m awesome. I’m not afraid to admit it or to tell everyone in the world that I OWN THIS. Or rather, I will just as soon as the plans I’ve set in motion take hold. See, I haven’t just been lounging around, eating grapes from a male supermodel’s fingers and drinking wine. I’ve been working my butt off to make sure things are going to go the way I want them to.

You want proof that I’m not just sitting around with my thumb up my butt? How’s this for proof:

HAUNTED: That lovable story of delinquent grandchildren, ghosts, and really nasty consequences, is finally going to be reissued in eBook format. The lovely and talented Nicole Kurtz at Mocha Memoirs Press is pushing hard to get everything ready to go for next week. It is Women in Horror Month after all, and I’m a woman that just happens to write horror. What better time to push it? Right now we’re waiting on the cover art, then it’s gravy all the way to the finish line. Rock.

ARMAGEDDON RISING: Artwork request has officially been submitted. The illustrious Matt Perry has my ideas in-hand and I’m so excited about it that I could squeak. I have a virtual release party scheduled at Bitten By Books on May 28th, and ConCarolinas is the following weekend. I’m crazy-excited about this book, y’all. I mean really.

HEROES BEST FRIEND: The fabulous Scott Sandridge and Seventh Star Press have put together an anthology of animal companions, and yours truly is included.  Look What the Cat Dragged In is a fun little murder mystery told from the point of view of a talking tuxedo cat named Miko. This little gem hits e-shelves Friday, and the print version will be right on its tail…so to speak.

Oh, and how about a website?  The all new www.SHRoddey.com is up and out in the world! I’m still tweaking, but it’s getting okay.

If that’s not enough to prove my point, you’re welcome to smell my thumb, too. But that might be weird. I’m going to stop writing now. What I won’t do is make any ridiculous promises that I’m going to make more sense, talk more often, or do anything in particular. Just stay tuned. I’ll be back.

Eventually.

[Insert Witty Header Here]

Published December 16, 2013 by administrator

Yeah, I’m not very witty these days. I blame the holidays for that.

I know, I know… I’ve been completely silent for the last two months, so why show up now?

Because I actually have things to say! We’re going to start with the news that I have, in fact, finished Armageddon Rising. The first novel in the Soul Collectors series is complete! I’m editing it one last time before I ship it off to Seventh Star Press so the fun can begin. Then I get to sit back and wait for the real edits to roll in. This will be a grand old time, won’t it? I’m just glad to have the beast finished. The last three months have been huge fun with that, by the way. This is officially the fastest I’ve ever written a novel, and I’m happy to see it done.

OH! OH! OH! I’m on the radio!

Well, sort of. A few SSP cohorts and I have lovingly dubbed ourselves The Star Chamber, and we have started up a blog talk radio show. Episode 4 is due to air this Wednesday night at 9:00 PM EST. Be sure to pop in and download the first three episodes here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/starchambershow

I suppose once I turn this book in, it’ll be time to let Siobhan loose again. She’s been chomping at the bit to write a few stories, so I need to appease her before she seizes control and really does some damage. Speaking of Siobhan…

Any of you out there like schmoopy holiday romance? You do??? Well why don’t you just head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of the All Romance eBooks bestseller Under the Mistletoe? Siobhan wrote it (yes, for those of you just tuning in, I share a brain with Siobhan Kinkade). Once you buy it, send me an email and tell me the next to last word of the story, and I’ll give you your very own copy of Lost in the Shadows, absolutely free!

Tune in Wednesday! Another episode of 20 Questions will be rolling out, this time with the author of the coming of age Steampunk fantasy novel, The Kingdom of Vosh.

Also, you lovely little creeps may want to be on the lookout for some fun new fiction from yours truly at the first of the year. I’m putting the finishing touches on a new project that should debut in the next two months. I’m not sharing any details yet other than this: It’ll be on Amazon, and it’ll be cheap. And it’ll be good.

Trust me on that. I would know. I wrote it.

Sad Stories and New Families

Published September 24, 2013 by administrator

There’s been radio silence on this end again. For that, I apologize. I really shouldn’t stay quiet so long, but this time of year seems to really get to me.

September 13th  would have been my father’s 67th birthday. At this point in his life, he would have been preparing to retire and making plans to spend his Golden years enjoying the world he’d worked so hard to build. Unfortunately, that idea was cut short a year and a half ago when he passed away. Losing my father devastated me in more ways than even I realized.  I wasn’t myself at all last year, and now that the fog is somewhat beginning to lift from my mind, I’m realizing just how bad off I really was. That’s the problem with severe depression – those suffering from it often don’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late. You feel normal until you come out of it and realize how un-normal you really were. Normally I can fight it, and I couldn’t fight this. That scares me.

I’ve brought all of this up for a reason. The different facets of my mind have been discussing this for a very long while, but given this month’s activities, posting this journey in the wake of my father’s birthday seemed apropos, considering his death is what ultimately set me on this track. I’m going to tell you a story. Some of it is very sad. Some of it is scary. But it has a happy ending. Just bear with me.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

On April 2, 2012, my father went in for quintuple bypass heart surgery. The surgery went well, but we discovered that his lungs were weak and in bad shape from years of smoking. He tried to pull the respirator tube out of his throat, and had to be sedated. He stayed i

n that drug-induced coma for the remainder of his life. For three weeks, my mother and I camped out in the CCICU waiting room at Roper Hospital in Charleston, SC. I’d come home for a day or two, then turn around and go back to stay with her. My brothers came and went as they could, and we watched the ups and downs, the good days and bad, pass in a blur of floral wallpaper, cafeteria food, and heart monitors. At one point he seemed to be doing better and the nurses were hopeful. Then he crashed hard.

burning candle and heart hands

On April 25th at 12:00 PM, he passed away, with all of us standing by his side.

The next four days are still a complete mystery to me. We got back to my parents’ house (my mother’s house, I corrected myself more than once) later that afternoon, and I started writing. I wrote for four days in between trips to Walterboro for arrangements, visitation, and finally, the funeral. When I got home the evening of April 29th, I had a nearly complete story in my hands. I don’t remember writing it, and I wasn’t sure what I really had.

At the time I was working with someone I thought was a friend of mine. She’d recently started up a press and was trying to build her reputation. She had already published my first story, Haunted, and it seemed to be doing okay. We were talking one afternoon, just as friends, about all sorts of things, and the conversation turned to writing. She knew my situation and knew what I’d been through, so when it came around to what I’d written, she asked if she could read it.

So I sent the first draft of Devil’s Daughter to her. She immediately turned around and offered me a contract on it. Which I foolishly accepted.

I should stop here and explain something – not because I want to start a firestorm, but because it’s part of the story – that’s touchy and may seem a little cruel or catty. At the time I was publishing with No Boundaries Press, and the owner, Kharisma Rhayne, is someone  I thought to be a friend. We’d talked quite a bit and we’d become good friends over the year or so we’d been in contact. At least, I thought we had. What I failed to realize was that there were warning signs all over the place. First, she’d never told me her real name. She’d told me stories of her past and some of the bad things she’d been through, and we’d talked about both her children and mine, about families and pastimes and hobbies… everything.  I never once thought I’d end up on the receiving end of her cruelty.

What I didn’t realize when I signed that second contract was that I was being taken advantage of. I honestly don’t remember the things that turned out to be in it. I have the clear memory of reading the contract and thinking “okay, I can live with this”, signing it, and emailing it over to her.  The book released in November 2012 without announcement or fanfare. it had been out nearly four days before she even told me.

Then things began to get weird.

Off and on over the next few months, people sent me messages asking about a possible sequel to Devil’s Daughter.  It was praised for its emotional value as well as its creativity.  A few people even asked me to make it into a series.  Having written it out of grief, it did my heart good to hear that it was well accepted. I wasn’t really writing at the time, but Lydia kept talking. She put all sorts of crazy ideas in my head and I realized in early January that I was gearing up to write actual novels about her. That was the point when, in the middle of this awful depression, I started to see light at the end of the tunnel. I started outlining and writing. It got to the point where I was only happy when I was working with Lydia, and the more I talked to her, the more I realized that she had a whole lot to say and wasn’t going to be done any time soon.

In January, I got into a discussion with a friend about writing, publishers, and the series in general, and in the end I had a full proposal for a five-book series that I wanted to submit. Of course, at the very last minute I went back and re-read the contract only to find that there was a surprisingly one-sided first refusal clause written into it. And by one-sided I mean not just first shot at the next book, but first shot at any book involving those characters.  It appeared that if I wanted to publish this series with another house – because there was never any conscious intention of writing a series at the outset – I was going to have to pay through the teeth to get my rights back. We’re talking a $200 buy-out clause on a story that was less than 10,000 words.

I decided I’d deal with that when it came down to it. I sent the proposal over to this friend with a note that if there was interest, I would have to take care of that before we could move forward.

Fast-forward to June of this year. We’ve passed the one-year anniversary of my father’s death, and I’m starting to clear out a little. Logically I know that if he were to see me the way I was, he’d be upset by it. That was sort of the reason why he didn’t want to tell us he needed surgery in the first place. Anyway… I’m getting better. I’m writing again. Things are finally starting to look up.

Of course, at this point, nobody at NBP has been paid since August 2012. We’re in the middle of our third quarter without payments, statements, or even any words as to when this might happen. Kharisma has dropped off the face of the planet. A few of us started talking just offhand about whether payments were expected or not. We began to sort out who had gotten paid and who hadn’t. People were beginning to contact Preditors & Editors and Writer Beware, and everyone was getting upset. Once the clear consensus was made that a group was going to approach her about breach of contract, nonpayment, and rights reversion, there’s this bizarre coincidence:

I’m still trying to sort out exactly how to handle this process when lo and behold, that very night, an assistant appears.

“Heather”, whoever she may or may not be, pops up and announces that as of the end of that quarter, No Boundaries Press will be shutting its doors. Everyone will get their rights back. Everyone will be paid. Meanwhile, I’m talking to Kharisma, trying to sort out what’s going on because everyone knows we’re friends and they’re coming to me to find out what happened.  I get a few interesting stories, and then she falls off the planet again.  The last time I talked to her was June 17th, and that was right before the letters rolled out giving us the rights back to our stories.

Great. Score one for the home team. Now about my money…

Messages started flying about when we were going to get paid. We were told August 31st would be final close-out date. At this point I’m assuming that I’m owed a small chunk of change from two stories over a year and a half from first publication to final rights reversion. Did I hear anything about it? No. Am I upset? Yes. From June 30th until August 31st, I’m in contact with the No Boundaries girls, trying to keep this thing on the tracks. We’re all angry, but we ultimately decide to wait until after that deadline to start grinding the gears. I’m particularly angry because over the last two years, I’ve stood up and defended this woman against the rest of the world. I did everything in my power to help her, and in the end I walked away with no money, no books, and egg on my face.

Toward the end of August, I heard from the other publisher friend again. We exchanged some ridiculous dialogue, then spent over an hour on the phone one night.  We talked about Lydia and my plans for her, as well as my plans for the future and the best course of action now for world domination later. It was a strange conversation, but one that makes me laugh every time I think about it. And that’s saying something, because very few people have been able to truly make me laugh lately.

August 31st came and went. No payment. No statement. No contact. At this point I just want her out of my life and to put this whole mess behind me. Yes, I want her to pay up. Yes, I want the world to know that she took shameless advantage of about fifty people. No, I don’t believe any of the stories she told me. Yes, I want this to end. I don’t have the money to hire a lawyer and go after her, and for what it’s worth, I’d be far overspending. I’m ready to let it all go, but that niggling voice in the back of my head just wouldn’t shut up. The whole thing was still hanging out there, left unfinished. It was driving me mad.

Which is ultimately what led me to tell this story in the first place.

Like I said, it’s not a particularly happy story… overall I’d consider it a learning experience.  I’m much more wary of people offering “too good to be true” deals.  Everything I read, I read very carefully now. I dissect contracts, and if I don’t like it, I won’t sign it.  And I’m not as quick to trust people these days. They have to earn it.

Fast forward again to the happy ending.

On September 11, 2013, two days before my Daddy’s 67th Birthday, Seventh Star Press made this announcement:

SSP Banner

Seventh Star Press is proud to welcome S. H. Roddey to its author family with the addition of a wonderful new genre-crossing series, The Soul Collectors, which debuts with the release of Damnation Day in early 2014.

The dark fantasy/horror series introduces the character Lydia St. Clair, a bounty hunter who is a collector of souls due to the deal she made with the Devil to save her father’s life.  In the first book of the series, Damnation Day, she awakens from a troubling dream, only to find a charred piece of parchment with the word “Armageddon” on it.

The document contains her upcoming assignment, which will send her on an adventure filled with twists, turns,  and an assortment of deities, strange creatures, powerful artifacts, supernatural realms, and more!  An apocalypse looms, and it is up to Lydia to unravel mysteries and put a stop to the most diabolical of plans.

All of it is just part of the job for a collector of souls!

On bringing The Soul Collectors Series to Seventh Star Press and joining its author family, S.H. Roddey commented, “I like the family atmosphere. It’s nice to see that there’s still a publisher in this world that isn’t just about the money – that that an old-fashioned place still exists where the doors are always open and the people are always willing to help each other. It’s cozy, but still professional.”

It’s official, ladies and germs, Lydia is back! I’ve signed a seven-book contract with Seventh Star Press, and the first novel is due in to my poor, unsuspecting editor by December 1st. They have even graciously agreed to re-publish Devil’s Daughter in digital format. And when they call SSP a “family”, they truly mean it. I’ve made some wonderful friends already, and it’s an amazing feeling. It’s nice to know that there’s a group of people that have my back, just like I’ve got theirs.

It took awhile to get there, but in the end, I’d say things have worked out nicely. I lost a friend, but I’ve gained a new family, and today I couldn’t be happier.

Champagne Toast

Want the lowdown on NBP? Check out Erica Pike’s blog post:
When Authors Steal from Authors.