Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Virtual Tour - Of Fear & Faith (Death and Destiny, #1) by ND Jones

Of Fear and Faith
Death and Destiny, #1
by N.D. Jones
Publisher: Siren-BookStrand Publishing
Date of Publication: July 22nd 2014
Cover Artist: Harris Channing
Genre: Paranormal Romance

From The Book Junkie Reads . . . Of Fear & Faith (Death and Destiny, #1) . . .
Content, content, content. You cannot get around the authentic feel of this one. There was a feel of realness to this one. I could almost transport myself to this time, place, and scene as it was taking place. The words came off the pages to engage and entice you to believe.  I absolutely love paranormal read of all kinds. I love even more paranormal romance. Add to that there was something of all the paranormal supernatural genres that kept me turning pages and getting excited for what was coming next. 

Gods, goddess, witches, demons, destiny, death, and then there was more. Getting immersed in this world of paranormal/supernatural activities was a breeze. ND Jones made the flow enjoying and inviting.  The mix of romance and mystery with some suspense all capped in a paranormal world packed in Baltimore. 

I could not get enough and I am looking for more. I had the please to snag an interview with the author herself. That would be contained below. 

**This ARC was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Death and Destiny series:
Of Fear and Faith – Death and Destiny, #1
??? – Death and Destiny, #3


Before trust and love can take hold, grow solid roots, and blossom into a reality larger than self, fear must be conquered and faith embraced. Yet fear of an ancient prophecy, of burning magical power, and a broken heart, Sanura Williams, psychology professor, is unprepared when Special Agent Assefa Berber enters her life, hunting a preternatural serial killer. Assefa's intelligent, chocolate eyes and intoxicating aura signature stirs her fire spirit but frightens the woman.

In a world where all is not as it seems, Sanura and Assefa must battle the gods' first creations - vile predators who threaten the safety of humans. Each confrontation, each bloody clash, will bring Sanura and Assefa closer to fulfilling the prophecy of being the Fire Witch and Cat of Legend - the ones who will save humanity from the Water Witch of Legend. Death, godly magic, and physical attraction draw Sanura and Assefa to each other, but fear and faith will determine their destiny.
Buy Links:  Amazon     BN     Kobo

She watched Makena exit the room and make a right. The hallway led to the stairs that would take Makena to the second level and to her bedroom. Two minutes later, a solidly shut door was heard, a door that never required that much force to close.
After the clear dramatics, they moved to the living room, Sanura acutely aware there was no third person for her to play off of. Then the guilt came. She’d ignored it all evening, but with Assefa’s sweet, brown eyes gazing down at her, Sanura had to say, “I’m sorry about today. You drove all the way from Baltimore to pay me a visit and we didn’t even have time to talk before we were interrupted.” She really didn’t want to rehash the uncomfortable moment in the lecture hall, but she also didn’t want Richard hanging between them either. Whatever was happening between them—and, yes, something was happening—Sanura wanted, no needed, Assefa to understand that Richard no longer mattered.
“No need to apologize. I had a status meeting with my division chief in DC, and College Park is almost around the corner. I should be the one to apologize for showing up unannounced and expecting you to drop everything to have a bite to eat with me.”
Calm. Flatly stated.
“Lunch would’ve been nice, but still—”
Assefa waved another apology away and made his way to the front door, grabbing his suit jacket off the coat hook once he reached the foyer. He slid into the fine garment, the movement graceful yet quick.
He didn’t seem upset, but the good humor he’d displayed earlier was gone, the beginnings of that damn mask reforming and slipping back into place. Walls. Sanura hated them. Helped her patients dismantle them. Hell, she had her own. Yet the wall Assefa was so carefully constructing bothered her.
She’d followed him to the door. “Since you refuse my apology, at least let me take you to dinner tomorrow. Have you been to the Inner Harbor?”
“I haven’t had time to take in Charm City, too busy trying to catch that damn adze and too tired to do anything other than sleep on my days off.”
“Good, then I’ll be happy to show you downtown Baltimore, avoiding the strip clubs, of course. Unless you’re into that type of thing,” she teased, hoping to break through his wall. His shocked expression told her she’d scored a direct hit. “You aren’t the only one who can—”
He kissed her.
Spontaneous and shocking, it momentarily left Sanura paralyzed, unresponsive.
But as his soft lips gently caressed hers, her lower brain functions finally took over, compelling Sanura to return the unexpected—but so damn nice—kiss. It was a short, undemanding kiss, serving more to test the waters than to ignite a flame. But he tasted so good, much better than any man had a right to. Spice and mint mingled in an exotic cocktail of irresistible were-cat maleness.
Assefa leaned further into her, and placed a kiss on her cheek as he’d done on the front porch two weeks ago. Then he trailed those plump, sensuous lips down her neck and deeply inhaled.
Sanura’s hands flew to his waist, and pulled him closer with each maddening lungful he took of her. And he took many deep, arousing breaths that sent an electrical charge cascading through Sanura’s body, settling in her core—heavy and hot.
“You still smell wrong,” he finally said, head tucked in the crook of her neck, hot breath inviting more than a verbal response. “I need to know what the real you smells like.” Not quite a demand but neither a plea.
“That’s part of the ritual.” She nearly moaned the words as the intensity of their auras so close together increased with every second they stayed in each other’s arms. Made worse or better, depending on how she looked at it, each time his tantalizing lips found her pulsing neck.
Buy Links:  Amazon     BN     Kobo
Author Info

N. D. Jones lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. Having earned a M.A. in Political Science, she is a dedicated educator. She taught high school social studies for nine years. Currently, she is a professional development specialist with a local Maryland school system, working on increasing student achievement through teacher and administrator efficacy. N.D. is also a continuing education student who is pursuing her doctorate in education in Community College Leadership.

A desire to see more novels with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, inspired the author to take on the challenge of penning such romantic reads. She is the author of two paranormal romance series: Winged Warriors and Death and Destiny. N.D. likes to read historical and paranormal romance novels, as well as comics and manga.
AUthor Links:

How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
I never thought about my writing as having a particular style, but of course, every author does. If I had to describe my style of writing, I’d say there’s a melodic cadence to my writing. When I listen to my books, I can hear it, feel it. For example, I have an odd writing fascination with the number three. I have no idea where it came from, but three feels right when I’m describing or explaining something. I don’t do it all the time, but I do it enough that I now consider it a subconscious/conscious trend. Let me give you, what else, three examples from “Of Fear and Faith.”

Assefa only smiled, knowing from Mike’s entrance he hadn’t had his cup of leftover station coffee—gritty, bland, and hard to swallow. (pg. 12)

“A demon. A monster. The devil. Take your pick, detective, and you’ll be right.” (pg. 19)

Too many damn times. Too many kills. Too many victims. (pg. 20)

As you can see, I didn’t have to search too far into my novel to find examples.

I was once asked if I had a “crazy writing quirk.” My response to that question also applies to my general writing style for paranormal and fantasy romance novels. I’ll share my response with you. I tend to write my action sequences like comic book scenes. Well, not exactly, but I use a lot of SFX when I write my action sequences. Not POW, like in old Batman and Robin comics, because, well, that’s just a little too corny nowadays. But thud, crack, smack, pop, yeah, you’ll find those sound effects in my stories. What can I say, I enjoy comics so I find nothing wrong with adding a bit of a comic book flavor to my novels. Here are two examples, see, not three, from “Of Fear and Faith.”

The sky over the ancient land of Yoruba darkened as the thunderstorm approached, growing mile by mile, village by village, blanketing the sky in unforgiving clouds of anger and loneliness.
Thunder raged behind the clouds, its agonized roar sending animals and humans fleeing for safety.
More thunder, loud and menacing.
Sàngó, the god of fire, lightning and thunder appeared in the sky. Bolts of burning, ragged heat surrounded him, setting him apart from the blackness of the caustic sky (Prologue).

Sanura raised both arms, lifted them skyward and commanded in a booming, dictatorial voice that sounded nothing like her, “Heed my call. Listen to my demand. Bring my familiar to me.”
Then…rampaging gallops in the sky.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
The ground outside the force field quaked.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
The adzes stopped their prowling.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
The gallops were getting closer, louder.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Crackle. Thud. Crackle.
“Bring the cat of legend to me now!”
Crackle. Boom. (pg. 171-172)

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?
I do most of my writing in my bedroom. I have this great sleigh bed I use as my desk. I probably should use an actual desk, but I love the comfort and coziness of my bedroom to that of any other room in my house. While I don’t require absolute silence to write, it’s preferable. I never listen to music while writing, not even instrumental music. Background noise is a distraction. I find it difficult to focus if too much is going on around me, especially if I’m writing an intense scene. Scenes of action and intimacy are what I consider intense scenes that require quiet and focus.

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way though to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or do you build upon your character during story creation?
I build upon my characters during the story creation. I should probably sketch out every little detail about each character before writing. I read some authors use that method. And while I’m a pretty organized and detailed person, I have no interest in doing a deep character profile for each character. I will admit, however, having written the second book in the Death and Destiny Trilogy a character profile cheat sheet would’ve been nice (LOL). I may have to revisit my decision to not use the strategy.

My book has a great ensemble cast, so I work hard to create diverse yet complementary characters. I try not to create “the funny” character or “the jerk” character, for example. What I want are three-dimensional characters, this includes supporting characters. So while I don’t write a complete bio of each character beforehand, I am very deliberate in the crafting of each character and the role(s) they serve in the book. With a trilogy, I’m able to show the growth of my characters as well as their deeper layers, which is quite nice and rewarding.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so which one(s)?
It may be cliché to say, but I adore all of my main characters. Thus far, I’ve written three published works, and the heroes and heroines are different yet alike in the most wonderful of ways. However, I’ve fallen most in love with Assefa Berber and Sanura Williams from my Death and Destiny Trilogy. I think, in part, it’s because I’ve spent the most amount of time writing them. My first two works were novellas, and I didn’t give myself enough page time to dig as deeply as I could have if I’d written full-length novels. That’s one of my regrets, as I look back on those sweet but short stories. I could’ve done much more with Serwa and Issa, and Alastar and Zora. As a result, I’ve taken a lot more time nurturing Sanura and Assefa, granting them three books, which is a huge step up from two novellas.

Do you have a character that you have been working on that you can't wait to put to paper?
Not exactly. There are supporting characters who will receive more page time in upcoming books. I look forward to exploring those characters, especially Assefa’s brother, sister, and father. The second book in the Death and Destiny Trilogy, which will be released in August, highlights Sanura’s family, friends, and witch community. The third and final book in the trilogy will switch it up a bit and take the couple to Sudan and other African countries as they battle to save the world.

Death and Destiny is what you titled this series. Could you give more of an insight as to what brought you to this name in particular? Were there other choices?
I’m all about themes, which becomes quite clear when people read my works. I take titles of my books and series quite seriously. In fact, I start with the title of my book before I begin writing. The title must feel right for the story I have in mind. Since the trilogy is about a doomsday prophecy, Death and Destiny simply made sense. Sanura and Assefa are the destined fire witch and cat of legend. That is their fate, their unfair lot in life, thanks to the gods. And their destiny, unfortunately, includes violence, bloodshed and yes, the death of innocents.

Do you have an idea of the length of this series?
Death and Destiny is a trilogy, so it’s three full-length novels. The second book in the trilogy, “Of Beasts and Bonds,” is now finished and will be available for pre-order in May. Like “Of Fear and Faith,” the title of book two is thematic, giving readers a foundation for the story. Words like fear, faith, beasts, and bonds aren’t meant just for the hero and heroine in this trilogy. The words also apply to many of the secondary characters, including protagonists.

Will secondary characters in this book be brought forth as primary characters in another book or series?
Great question. Originally, I hadn’t planned on writing any other books in the Death and Destiny Universe after the third book. However, as I began to write book two in the trilogy, adding characters and fleshing out others mentioned in “Of Fear and Faith,” I began to see how I could weave a few of the supporting characters into a new series, making them lead characters. With that decision made, I used book two to put certain subplots in place that will play out in the upcoming series. After reading book two, a couple of the future pairings will be obvious to readers, while others will not. I look forward to telling those characters story. But first I must finish the love story of Sanura and Assefa.

What do you have next for your readers?
I’m excited about the upcoming release of “Of Beasts and Bonds.” I love what I was able to do in this book in terms of character development and Sanura’s and Assefa’s magical abilities. As a paranormal romance writer, I go to great lengths to show the paranormal aspects of the story. Preternatural beings in my stories must demonstrate to the reader what makes them awesome and frightening. For me, that means letting them cut loose and showing what they are about. I was really able to do that in the second installment of the trilogy, even more so than I did in the first novel. The scenes of magic, godly power, and were-cat might are among my favorite scenes in “Of Beasts and Bonds.” Outside of, of course, the quite, tender, sensual moments between Sanura and Assefa.

AUthor Links:

Tour giveaway: 3 Novels with Soul Gift Boxes
The gift boxes will each include an autographed copy of “Of Fear and Faith,” an Amazon gift certificate for an ebook copy of “Heat, Hunt, Hope,” a Dropbox gift certificate for a MP3 download of the audiobook version of “Fire, Fury, Faith,” and two swag items.

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