Interview and Post: L.J. DeLeon, Author of the Warriors For Light Series (Re-Post)

I’m reposting this because the original, which had been posted on Thursday the 12th, had been a victim of Blogger’s 20+ hour breakdown and had been temporarily removed.  When it reappeared it had formatting errors that couldn’t be repaired.  My apologies to anyone that’s receiving my reviews in their e-mail who’ll end up seeing this twice. 

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I’m absolutely thrilled to have L.J. DeLeon, author of the Warriors For Light series and The Ultimate Game, come and chat with me.  She was kind enough to send me the first two books in her Warriors For Light series, Warrior’s Rise and Dragon Child (my review for Dragon Child will follow my interview with L.J.) and I loved them so much I took the plunge, begged her to be gentle with me and invited her over.  I wanted to talk a little bit about the series, the new book which has just been released and writing fantasy.

AbsolutionThe new book Absolution is going to feature someone close to Moira?Yes and no. Absolution, which has just been released, goes back to Warrior’s Rise. Lucan “Luc” Woods has been tormented by his actions. The heroine Allana is the Fae princess switched for Moira. While she’s lived most of her life in the Goddess’ dimension, hIfreann, her early years were in the Dark Lord’s Abyss and the repercussions from that time are affecting Earth today.From the title, it seems like it’s going to be a have a deeper focus on the emotional elements and less on the battlefield. Is that so? Will we still be seeing the Cáidh Arm and the rest of the gang fighting away?

You’re right; Absolution is deeply emotional. It focuses on the healing of two wounded souls. While you will see a little of Deva, the Cáidh Arm, and her mate Padraig, the focus is on Luc and Allana, with Fritz in more prominence, along with Raziel and Rice, a daemon you will love, and a surprise or two about a previous character. While there are a couple of action sequences, the central theme is forgiving yourself enough so that you can accept love.

It sounds gorgeous.  Dragon Child had some really emotional scenes for Moira and Steve, I’m looking forward to more of the same.  I can’t wait to read more about Raziel too – I’ve loved how bits and pieces of him keep getting revealed.  What a wonderful character he’s turning out to be!

Any sneak peek about whose book might be next (my lips are sealed, I promise)?

LOL. Well, I have a short—around 10,000-15,000 words—titled Defiance, coming this June or July. This is about Raziel and his wife, a moment in time, and we experience the Dark Lord’s fall from grace. However, the next two books will be about our twin werewolves and their twin sister mates—Allana’s missing daughters. Jamie’s book is Sophie’s Challenge and Mark’s book is Kate’s Army. Both of these books are scheduled for November or December 2011. Carlson, Sophie’s estranged, arch-villain husband, will torment her and Jamie. Deva will be in both Jamie/Sophie’s book and Mark/Kate’s book.

These books, while fantasy, center on the eternal struggle of good versus evil with love complicating—or is it simplifying?—the hero’s and heroine’s choices. To paraphrase Captain James T. Kirk, “Good can triumph over evil, but it must be very, very careful.” Fantasy follows real life. We struggle against odds. We see the best and worst of people in crucial moments.

Warrior's RiseThis is why I love to write fantasy. It allows me to deal with situations that might otherwise be too sensitive in a real life setting. In Warrior’s Rise and Dragon Child, books one and two of the Warriors For Light series, I’ve tried to show even good, decent people can be forced to make horrible choices that haunt them. Inherent goodness and love enable the characters to win. The heroes and heroines of each book are stronger together than apart.

I love creating different worlds. Throughout the series, in addition to Earth, I have three other worlds.

The magickal world of the Fae is Otherworld, inspired by the Celtic Land of Eternal Youth. In Warrior’s Rise we visit this world. Poor Deva, she’s a warrior and has never been in a Fae Royal Court and must learn how to navigate this world. We also see this world in Dragon Child through Moira’s eyes. Both women suffer the same problems. The racially pure Fae aren’t fond of mixed breeds, although in Moira’s case her heritage comes as a surprise.

In both Warrior’s Rise and Dragon Child, we experience the Dark Lord’s domain, the Abyss. Even in this world, all is not as it seems. There are degrees of bad, and more often it’s shades of gray.

While we see a little of the Goddess’ world of hIfreann in Warrior’s Rise, it is in Dragon Child we experience the truth of this world. King Raziel rules this world, second only to the Goddess. He is the leader of her Paladins, the Seraphim, and their weapons, the Saraphs, über shapeshifters who can take any form but are most comfortable as fire-breathing dragons. Luckily for Moira, she was switched at birth and raised in Otherworld. Poor thing has a rough time dealing with her true Mommy Dearest.

I love each of these four worlds. The good, the bad, and the ugly, but then I love life. I believe if it’s lived to the fullest, sometimes it feels like a fantasy.

I’d like to invite every to stop by my website. They can read excerpts of my Warriors and Max Turner books plus some free flash fiction or short stories. My blog is written primarily by the characters of the Warriors series, has some wonderful animal pictures, and also has excerpts from the Warriors For Light books. For those of who have read the books, please drop me a line via either website. I’d love to know which characters you want to read more about, including stories ideas or title suggestions.

My books are sold at all major e-bookstores. Print versions will be available by December 2011.

Bio: LJ DeLeon is an Army brat and a world-traveled former CIA Intelligence Analyst who has seen enough of this world to appreciate other worlds. Working for the CIA was great training for writing fantasy, paranormal, and futuristic romance—and understanding the warrior mentality. Amazing how real life and fiction overlap.

L.J. DeLeon’s Website
Warriors For Light Website

I second, third and fourth the suggestion to stop by L.J.’s websites – they’re loaded with information and excerpts and just a lot of fun to navigate around.  Having read the two books, I personally had some fun with the reference page.

Thank you so much L.J. for taking the time to answer some questions for me and write such a thoughtful post!  I did some rather juvenile form of dancing in my chair when you said that Raziel, Mark and Jamie’s books will all be out this year in addition to Allana’s book.  I don’t want to be pushy (which means I do) but there’s a certain Seraphim that I’m getting a little squirmy for a story for.  Not that two books in I’m chomping, right?

 

Dragon ChildDragon Child

By L.J. DeLeon
Publisher: Dark Hallows Publishing
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Source: Author

A fire-breathing dragon, Moira O’Neal, was exchanged at birth for a Fae princess. Discovering the truth, she escapes the cage of the royal court and joins forces with the sexiest wereleopard on Earthworld. She fights the urge to mate and the trap that comes with it as they race against time to find the missing princess and a master of the black arts who covets her power.Major Steve Taylor, a wereleopard in the Army For Light, partners with the impetuous Moira in the middle a dangerous mission where failure means all their deaths. Worse, his leopard decides Moira is his mate, leaving the man at war with his cat.

Goodreads Summary

Even with her mass of curling red hair and brown eyes as evidence, no one at the court of the Tuatha de Danaan in the Otherworld seemed to figure out that Princess Moira O’Neal wasn’t related by blood to her blond, blue-eyed royal family, not even Moira herself. It wasn’t until she secreted herself away in one of her mother’s rooms using a newly discovered power that she hears the truth – she was a changeling, swapped at birth with Queen Graciela’s real child by Beliar, the Dark One. Graciela is begging Major Steve Taylor, a wereleopard fighting the war against the Dark to find this daughter, whom she thinks is now on Earth.

Heartbroken at the thought of not really being part of a family anymore, Moira vows she’ll help find Graciela’s daughter and in the process, find her own birth mother and figure out exactly what she is. She’s been discovering all sorts of emerging powers and having dreams of soaring high in the sky as something other than fae. She’s allowed to train as a warrior, quickly earning her leathers, then tricking her family into letting her go to Earth where she wants to join the search with the intriguing, arousing Steve.

When Moira’s finally found out and her story told, Steve is tasked with watching her on his mission.  His cat purrs in pleasure while the man in him groans in frustration.  She’s completely unstable in the use of her powers and has trouble following orders.  His cat wins most of the arguments, including one that involves mating, which is dangerous in the midst of a war with a woman who doesn’t want it.

Steve and Moira’s quest for the fae changeling Alanna ends abruptly with a horrific murder at the hands of the evil Senator Carlson, someone the Warriors for Light have been chasing since the beginning.  Vowing to hunt him down before looking for her sister, Moira joins the search, only to be swept away by family treachery and held away from the man she loves by someone she should have been able to trust.

I probably ought to start by saying I can’t stress enough how much you ought to read Warrior’s Rise before you start this.  It really isn’t necessary – this still can stand on its own as a good book and there are enough explanations of characters and situations that you get the gist of what everyone is and their motivations are, but it enriches everything so much that I just can’t recommend it highly enough.

There’s a huge war going on between the Warriors For Light and the Warriors For Dark, initially brought on when humans were told they needed to fear supes (all supernatural creatures).  The “good” supes were ushered into safe territories, leaving plenty of places for demons and other nasties to portal through and take over.  The Warriors For Light are tasked with making sure they don’t.  The books are filled with exciting action, military and supernatural – lots of heads get lopped off and if you’re a gun aficionado, you’ll have something to smile about.

In Warrior’s Rise, Steve was the epitome of the big macho man and he has the title to go along with it.  The leopard clans are divided into leaps and his father is the head of all of the leaps on Earth, The Felix, making Steve the heir someday.  Alpha times a million.  Here though, once his cat gets a sniff of Moira, he finds himself purring and out of control.  The beast begins to rule the man and it’s an interesting juxtaposition to see Steve being the one who’s begging Moira for a commitment and who’s deteriorating without her.  Usually it’s the other way around, gender-wise.  I really liked the way that he initially turned to Deva and his family for help but then eventually trusted that Moira would come back to him.

I just ached for Moira.  I wanted to cry (okay, I did) when she found out she wasn’t really Graciela’s daughter or Padraig’s sister, felt like she was just less, then thought the only path she could take was replacing herself at the palace with the real Princess and finding her own birth mother to see what she really was.  She wanted Steve but she wanted freedom and didn’t know how to have both yet – caught up in her anger and hurt she made rash decisions she kept regretting.

There are some seriously good secondary stories emerging that seem to take place right along with the main story barely even disrupting anything (except for one).  Moira has a very intriguing brother who pops in who’s a fae spy; she has an impassive trainer who may or may not have had feelings for her; there’s a prophecy about Moira’s best friend and most interesting to me, the newly created Seraphim Sabina and her minder/bodyguard Azrael.  I’m going to trust that L.J. has a purpose for sticking with the Dark One/Belios story, because it seems to not be doing anything but making me cranky at this point – he really just growls and yells for Sabina or Raziel – but I’m going to trust.

Ah, time for the sexy part, because I like to leave it at the end.  Teasingly.  Steve and Moira have some really inventive sex and I don’t mean things like hanging from trees or anything.  They do have some sizzling human to human encounters and then there are other things in other places – still human, just a little inventive which is sweet.  Their first encounter is pretty hot, in a very, very odd way.  I just can’t spoil it.

My Summary: Most of the time I stay far away from books that throw too many elements at me at once and then expect me to even want to keep them straight.  This isn’t completely the case here, but there are a lot of things happening: mythology of Seraphim and their Seraphs, paranormals of all types, human witches and warlocks, complex military maneuvers as well as coordinated fae and shapeshifter attacks.  There’s also a strong romantic and emotional line woven in.  It all works well because it’s delivered in measured doses with breaks between all the information delivery.  As someone who reads for “feel,” I loved that this had such an emotional punch, that Steve and Moira didn’t just fall into each other but had to grow into their relationship.

My Rating: A-

Barbara

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