Ink-Stained Scribe



Shapeshifting "Hellhound" Helena Martin isn't sure who she hates more, the sorcerers who fired the magic-laced bullet, or the cruel master who used her mother as a shield. She always figured they would finish each other off without her help, and if she just kept her head down she might survive them both. But when a battle with the Sorcerer's Guild destroys the spell binding the Hellhounds to their demon-summoning master, Helena risks using her secret aptitude for magic to aid her pack's escape. Finally free of the insidious spell, Helena believes she might actually have a chance to live without the violence and heartbreak she grew up with. But her pack has different ideas.

Not only do they ditch Miami for the winter wasteland of Minnesota, enroll her in University, and saddle her with a stolen book of spells, they also expect her somehow to cut off the source of Gwydhain’s power by closing the gate to the demon realm. It’s hard enough to act normal around her geeky-hot new housemate Jaesung without sprinkling salt around doors, blowing up her window, and getting arrested for streaking. With her stumbling, self-taught Magic drawing the attention of the local Sorcerer's Guild, keeping her Magic-wielding canine status on the down-low might just be impossible.

But as Helena refuses demands to hand over her book of spells, the Guild's methods of coercion become increasingly violent and she realizes the humans that were supposed to be her cover have slowly become a liability, for they give her the one thing she misses most of all--a home. Then her master's agents catch up with them and Helena--untrained, isolated, and with more to lose than ever--has only one chance to keep her pack and her human friends safe: make peace with the sorcerers who killed her mother.

(*Note: This is not the original summary for this post, but the one based on revisions.)

(Cleolinda) Time for a trip to the department of backstory. (/Cleolinda)

So, a couple days before NaNoWriMo started, I was going through Holly Lisle's "How To Write Page-Turning Scenes" book, and I did an exercise scene on interpersonal conflict, which produced a very intriguing scene. I didn't think much of it at the time besides, "Huh. It's not complete, but I wonder if I could use it on Pendragon Variety." Then I got to thinking. What is this character exactly, since she isn't entirely human? Why is this book so important? Why is her Godfather handing the book over to someone who wants to kill her? Who is this RA that has screwed everything up, and why does she like him?

Before I knew it, I had decided she was a Hellhound (which really meant nothing to me at the time) and I had a couple scene ideas in my head. I was willing to ignore it for a while, since I've never really been a huge fan of supernatural fantasy. I played VtM and WtA in High School, but it wasn't nearly as engaging as D&D for me - while it's intriguing to contemplate the definition of humanity and the struggle not to nom the face off someone you love, I'm not generally a huge fan of vampires or werewolves or shape-shifters, at least not as they've become in modern fiction. I heard horror stories of a once-respectable and interesting supernatural fantasy series turning into novel-length sex-scenes interrupted by the occasional criminal investigation. My feelings are best summed up by the following (un)smiley: (. _ . );;
Celtic Warriors becoming Demon-Fighting Hounds? HELL yes.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a fangirl about plenty of things. I cosplay; I surf the internet for macros of my favorite bands; I have been known to read (and write) fanfiction. But when my beloved fantasy section suddenly became saturated with a genre I wasn't into, leaving little room for anything else, my desire to wade through the wave of silvered jackets for something a little closer to "human girl accidentally bonds with a draconian enemy on the brink of inter-species war" collapsed.

Because of my relative distance from supernatural (romance) fantasy, I shuffled the idea aside, because I didn't really want to write just one more book in that wave.

I was planning to use NaNoWriMo to finish the second half of Book II in the Markmasters Trilogy, but as I continued with "How to Write Page-Turning Scenes" I ran across a reference to Holly Lisle's notecarding method. I gave it a shot using what little of the scenes I had come up with. Lo and behold, by the end of the day (Halloween, 2010, to be exact), I had an entire plot for a new novel. I was going to do NaNoWriMo.

No Vampires. No Werewolves. No Fallen Angels, and no Zombies. I am a bit guilty of having shapeshifters, but don't worry--there is no furry porn in my book. There is magic, though. And Celtic warriors. And spirals. And Starcraft. (Hey, the love interest is Korean. And a geek. You know he plays Starcraft.) There *might* be a girl in hound form shamelessly taking advantage of her crush's soft spot for dogs. Hey, if I could become a hound at will, I might shove my nose in a couple crotches too. Just for fun.