Title: Demon Royale (The Dream Slayer Series, #2)
Age Group: YA
Author: Jill Cooper
Release date: Oct. 10, 2012
The only thing worse than dying, is running away…
Since becoming employed by a supernatural protection agency, Natalie Johnson’s life has been more interesting than ever. While most teens are working on their summer tans, Natalie works on slaughtering the undead lurking just outside her town’s borders.
The workload takes more than just a toll on her love life, it dampens her spirit and her health, as the town is plagued by a mysterious murderer intent on stealing the residents’ souls. Natalie’s investigation is hampered by her declining health and the sicker she gets, the more inadequate she feels.
Guilt over her inability to act, weighs heavily on Natalie’s shoulders during a time when her strength is needed more than ever. As some of those closest to her begin to lose faith, she must make the hardest stand yet to save the soul of the one person she can always count on:
DREAM SLAYER (Book, #1) will be FREE Oct. 12-14, 2012.
work to deal with her little head issues?
Ruth sat beside Natalie and took her hands. “I spoke with Tristan this morning. He wanted me to tell you to get better. He was going to cover for you with Charles in the shop.”
Great, just what she needed to worry about, her boyfriend getting turned undead because he was ‘covering’ for her. Instead of saying all that, she just nodded. “Can he come see me?”
Natalie could tell from Ruth’s tone that she wasn’t in favor of the arrangement.
“But until we figure out what made you so sick last night, I rather you get no visitors.”
Natalie’s eyes widened. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Mom, I know you’re worried, but c’mon. I’m all by myself in this stupid bed.”
Ruth shook her head, her curls swishing. “I saw how close you and Tristan were yesterday, young lady, and I didn’t like it. I think the two of you need some space. If I wasn’t here, who knows what your father would have done.”
Natalie’s blood pressure jolted up ten points, and she took a deep breath. “Mom—”
“Don’t ‘Mom’ me. It’s summer, I know how things get, but your senior year starts soon, and you’ve always put your studies first. I’m not going to let you get carried away, no matter who the boy is. Some distance would do you good until September. Then we can reevaluate.”
“Mom, you’re worried, I get it, but you can’t forbid me from seeing Tristan.”
“Of course not. That’s why I appealed to his higher senses. A quick phone call, and he was able to see things from my point of view.”
His? What the hell did that mean? “Tell me you didn’t!” Natalie’s teeth chattered together she was so angry. “Mom, I’m not twelve! I’m seventeen! You always said you wanted me to ‘get a life’ and I did. And now you’re trying to destroy it?”
“Well, I didn’t realize you were going to get sick. And destroyed? Come now, Natalie. Don’t be so dramatic I expect such behavior from your sister, but not from you. Tristan understood, and so should you.”
Oh, I bet he understood.
“You didn’t see the shape you were in last night.” Ruth took a deep breath, and her entire body quivered. “You were not in control of your body. Mumbling things that made no sense and in so much pain you didn’t recognize your own father. It kills us to see you like that—kills us. I will stop at nothing to make sure you get well—no matter the lengths I have to go.” Her mom wore a look on her face that said, I am mother bear, and you will not harm my baby cubs.
Natalie knew not to mess with her when she got like that. She opened her mouth to speak, but she closed it when Brian entered the room. He looked like a pit-bull who’d just been whipped into submission. “Doctors are going to put you on some medicine for epilepsy. They think your fainting spells have been minor seizures, but last night’s was a bit worse.”
Ruth let out a breath and gripped Natalie’s hand, patting the top with her other. “This is good news. This we know how to fight. We can take control of this, can’t we?”
Brian nodded and went ‘hmmf,’ but something about his expression made Natalie feel like he wasn’t telling the whole story.
“What else did he say to you, Dad?” Natalie asked.
Brian shrugged and handed her a folded up piece of paper. “We should be able to take you home tonight, but there’s a list of limitations. Things you need to go easy on; just for now. Until the doctors know if they have a handle on this thing.”
Natalie unfolded the paper and scanned it quickly. It didn’t look so bad except for the part about getting enough sleep and minimizing stress. How was she supposed to do that and maintain her paladin duties? She couldn’t get a doctor’s note vampires would accept. People were dying, and she needed a vacation?
Writing Demon Royale (Or how I panicked about getting it wrong)
In Dream Slayer Natalie Johnson is a day dreamer who creates a world of fantastical adventures. Her dreams create chaos in the real world as everyone’s nightmares, deepest fears, manifest around them. When it’s over she discovers her real power, strength, but people suffer along the way.
And some die.
I had setup a platform for a series about two kick butt heroines. I know where they will end up in Book three and ultimately where the series will end. But how do I get them there?
Initial I had a kick butt plot setup where Natalie springs into action, kills a lot of demons, saves her friends from sacrifice, and eats a lot of pancakes. It was great, it was exciting. My husband loved it, but I wasn’t sure.
It was missing something.
I wasn’t sure what it was missing at first. It seemed like a logical step in Natalie’s progression. She’s learning to fight and figuring out who she is; her relationship with her boyfriend, and along the way she saves the world. Again.
But there was no compassion for the fallen. No remorse for the damage and death she had caused in the first book. I realized I had focused all her attention on learning to fight, to become an effective undead killer, and I needed to put that focus on her emotions.
So I kept some aspects of the plot I loved (like the pancakes, demonic squirrels) and I started over. In Dream Slayer, Natalie had never questioned her destiny because there wasn’t time. The city was at stake! There was evil all around.
Now in this highly personal novel for Natalie it gives her the opportunity to mourn the lost and gives her the chance to decide, ‘is this what I really want’? Is she comfortable being a hero, a leader?
While there is still a lot of danger, evil, and the world is again at risk, it is a smaller journey for Natalie as she comes to grips with her life and the past choices she’s made. As she gets sicker and she begins to lose strength, she always loses resolve. When you’re the hero with no one else to reside on what should she do? What would you do?a Rafflecopter giveaway