Snowbound by Jana Denardo

May 8, 2010

This is my second launch party with Dreamspinner press and yet in many ways, it’s my first. Unfortunate circumstances arose during my first one and I accomplished little more than my opening blurb. I have high hopes for this launch.

I was just over on Goodreads and I saw how many people already have the Necking anthology on their ‘to-read’ list and I can’t tell you how thrilling that is. I haven’t had a chance to read all the stories myself yet but I can’t wait until I have the time. What I’ve read so far is exciting stuff. I really love working with the editors at Dreamspinner.

My story Snowbound was just so much fun to write. I was a little worried about it because for the second time in a row, I wrote a story for a Dreamspinner open call that was both historical and a fantasy. That requires research and I was quite ill when I wrote it. I kept thinking I would run out of steam before I could get the required research done and translate it into something people would want to read.

I think I managed it nicely, though. My first readers were so fired up for this story. They kept prodding and poking me to finish it and I owe a lot to them, so thank you very much ladies. It’s appreciated more than you know. In fact they were so excited about these young demon hunters they’re asking me to write more stories for them.

So, historical fantasy you say? Tell me more (or at least that’s what I’m hoping people are thinking right now). It’s set back where I grew up, Pittsburgh, PA. After trying to decide when would the best time period for this would be, I wavered for a while before setting it in the 1930’s. There was just so much going on then, prohibition, the Depression, jazz, the birth of horror movies, it was easy to start finding the setting. However, getting enough historical elements into it without overwhelming the plot wasn’t easy and took a few rewrites but you probably don’t want to hear all the mechanics.

The plot is Caleb, Temple and Agni are demon hunters in an alternative history 1930’s, where demons and monster walk the earth and organizations like the Knights Templars and the Soldiers of the Sun fight to keep humanity safe. These three young men can see and fight the demons and after dealing with a nasty set of demons, they find themselves in a blizzard while on Mount Washington. Snowbound in a Soldiers of the Sun safe house, they found themselves with idle time on their hands. Agni might want to spend it reading and training. Temple has far better plans for them. Unfortunately so do the demons.

 Excerpt

His arm ached. Caleb fought to drag his old-fashioned sword around in time to fend off the demon’s razor claws. He and his team mates hadn’t imagined there would be quite this many of the beasts when they had been asked to help. They were already a man down and trying to get back to their base. Li had died three weeks ago, leaving Temple without a partner.

A gun roared, turning the demon’s head into a fine, bluish mist that sprayed wetly over Caleb. As the beast fell, Caleb saw Temple smirk at him. He was doing just fine without a partner, a real product of their time when it came to using his Tommy gun.

Hearing a subtle whoosh of air, Caleb turned in time to see his own partner’s chakram whip by, taking off the arm of the last of the demons. It would help if the demons looked as monstrous as everyone thought they did. Some, in fact, did, but this last one looked like a young lady shrieking in pain. Caleb ended it for her. 

“I hate it when they look human,” Caleb muttered, his eyes scanning the dilapidated one-time miners’ bar for any lingering demons. The tables, mostly broken to kindling now, had remained in the place. The alcohol was long gone, thanks to prohibition. He wondered what the demons were doing in the bar in the first place. Deserted buildings did make for good places to hide, he supposed.

“Won’t have to worry about it long,” Agni, his partner, muttered, retrieving one of his chakrams. Caleb never could figure out how the young Indian managed to whirl those edged discs without removing his own head by accident.

At Agni’s fatalistic pronouncement, Caleb glanced down at his feet. The female demon he had killed had begun her quick putrescence. With a sickly, organic smell, she dissolved into a slick, reddish-brown ooze that promptly dried up into a powder. Caleb knew he should be grateful for it. At least they didn’t have to hide the bodies. Turning from the sight, Caleb pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and swabbed off his sword. Demon blood was the devil’s own to get off once it dried.

“I’d like to know why so many demons have been cropping up lately.” Temple leaned on the bar that now bore signs of his Tommy gun blasts. He pretended to be unaffected, but the way his chest jerked and heaved gave him away. “What next?” Temple slung back his auburn hair. Unlike most men their age, he rarely wore it oiled. He swore it made him look too much like a popular marionette in Barnum’s Circus.

Caleb had to admit Temple was right. On the other hand, unoiled, the color and appearance of Temple’s hair would fit right in on an Irish Setter. Temple’s overly friendly, enthusiastic personality completed the image. “We should be done here,” Caleb said. “We cleaned the nest.”

“We hope.” Agni huffed. “Regulars never know how many demons are around. They just know people are acting strangely or ‘bad things’ are happening.”

Sheathing his sword, Caleb nodded. If everyone could see the demons, there would be no need for their Order. The trouble was, the very people who called them fearing ghosts or demons or fae folk couldn’t provide much in the way of useful data. They could tell the Soldiers of the Sun the phenomenon they witnessed and whom they might suspect but more often than not, the demons weren’t the strange old woman in the falling down house at the end of the block. No, they were the upstanding men whose place was in perfect order, hiding in plain view. “I guess we should get to a phone and call headquarters. They might have something else for us to do in this area before we head back.”

“At least we’re not far from headquarters now.” Temple reloaded his Tommy gun, just in case.

“So, where do we find a telephone up here?” Agni headed for the door, which hung now by one bent hinge.  He stopped to scoop up his fedora, lost in the fight.  “And just where is the safe house from here?”

“How should I know?” Caleb shrugged. “Though, you would think we would know since headquarters is over by the college.”

“That’s Oakland, this is Mount Washington,” Temple reminded him. They were both suburbs of Pittsburgh but hills and rivers divided the land like a pie cut by a shaky hand. “They barely speak English up here.”

“True. Guess we’d better go find the safe house. Who speaks German?” Caleb knew the question’s answer already. None of them.

“We don’t need to talk to too many people,” Agni said, not that he ever actually did. “Just enough to get to a phone. General Taglioferro can tell us where the safe house is up here on the hill.”

Temple paused on the street, canting his face skywards. Fat wet flakes slapped his cheeks. “Hey, snow. I love snow.”

Agni huffed, rolling his eyes at the young soldier. “I’ve never understood how anyone could possibly like the cold.”

“That’s because you have a stunted sense of fun,” Temple replied.

“You’re a child.”

Caleb ignored them as they fell back into their usual pattern of bickering

WHERE TO FIND IT

You can find the whole story and many more at the following links:

NECKING - 
ebook and paperback release

And you can find my guardian spirit story set in ancient Pompeii, In the Hands of the Gods at the following links in the Dreamspinner anthology A Brush of Wings

And if you like what you see, you can find a nap-sized dream from me  as well. Mysterious Spirit  is a fantasy story with a heavy bondage, submissive/dominance theme.

As you can see, I love talking about myself and my writing and I’m not shy about a little of self promotion. Feel free to ask me anything. I’d love to talk to you and I hope you enjoy this anthology. you can find me at http://jana_denardo.livejournal.com/ (sorry for the raw url. the Linking system fought me. After six times it was time to throw in the towel

6 Responses to “Snowbound by Jana Denardo”

  1. loritoland says:

    Yum! Now I want to read your other story as well. D/s hot!!!

  2. Jana_Denardo says:

    Thank you Loritoland. I’m so glad the excerpt intrigued you. Enjoy

  3. lenorejblack says:

    Ooooh, demon hunters in the 1930s, how cool! Can’t wait to read it!

  4. Intriguing concept for a story, Jana. Looks like it should stand out among all the contemporary ones in the anthology.

    Also, that’s great to know about all the potential readers on Goodreads! I’m really looking forward to when the reviews start to come in.

  5. Jana_Denardo says:

    Yes I think you might be right about it standing out a bit. I don’t do a lot of non-fantasy oriented fiction. And yes, I think I finally got my author’s page set up correctly on Goodreads.

  6. Jana_Denardo says:

    lenoreblack,

    thanks. I hope you enjoy

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