Sing for the Dead
by PJ Schnyder
November 4, 2013
Kayden, a lone were-leopard allied with the London werewolf pack to keep the zombie infestation in check, is used to working solo—until he discovers a beautiful fae woman surrounded by the aftermath of battle. He’s immediately drawn to Sorcha, but quickly discovers she’s much more than a pretty face.
Half Bean Sidhe and half berserker, Sorcha trained over centuries to become the perfect warrior. She agrees to work with local weres to investigate a new type of zombie capable of coordinated attacks—and is partnered with Kayden. He’s strong, darkly handsome and completely unafraid of her. And his kiss fills her with insatiable desire instead of bloodlust.
As Kayden and Sorcha work together, their attraction grows and their deepest scars are bared to each other. But with the force behind the deadly new zombies poised to overwhelm the city, Sorcha can only pray that the next time her bloodlust strikes, Kayden isn’t among the fallen…
Taking the Serpentine bridge helped speed her along, man-made though it was. Crossing running water posed no deterrent for her. Others of fae blood might have paused in the hunt, but the zombies shambling through the bare trees in these parks were not her quarry.
No. Pursuit was not her purpose. Rescue was. The feeling of wrongness, the taint of spoiled magic, worsened as she crossed from Hyde Park into the Kensington Gardens. Perhaps the lake separating the two parks kept some of it from spreading. What humans called the Long Water remained relatively clean of the pall of death exuding from the land.
The trees in Kensington Gardens were bare skeletons this deep into winter in London—sleeping, but restless, tugging at her heart. Would the trees be too sickened to bring forth new life after their roots had bathed in blood? Parks like these provided sanctuary for the lesser fae and Fair Folk living in cities such as London. Without them, the fae who’d made the city their home, braved cold iron, would fade. And for every city lost, the Under Hill shrank as well.
Even if mortals ruled the world, the fae needed to maintain a presence in order to keep the balance of things or their world would fade from existence. She’d been sent to investigate why the fae of London were disappearing, and she’d found death walking. Stupid humans, coming in after dark, to hunt and be overwhelmed, to loot and be taken by surprise. Perhaps such short lives made for stunted memories. Though the zombies found prey too often in these gardens, the humans kept coming. She didn’t Sing for those, the ones who’d done humanity a favor by taking themselves out of the gene pool.
No. Her Songs aided the passing of worthier souls. A tortured cry rang out in the night, sending ripples through the magic saturating the land, tainted as it was. She ran harder. Perhaps she could be savior this time, and not simply witness to death.
The zombies were gathering, called not only by the sounds of struggle, but also by the disturbance. Like sharks drawn to an injured fish in water, it was as if the zombies could sense easy prey. Unnatural as they were, she’d no doubt zombies were animated at least in part by magic of some kind. The parks used to be the reservoirs of old magic in the city. They’d become death traps.
As she broke through the trees, a brownie stood atop a mound in the children’s playground, a curved dome with tunnels for children to crawl through in play. Good that he’d chosen higher ground, bad that he’d allowed himself to be surrounded away from any trees or route of escape. Maybe the mound had reminded him of a hollowed hill, the way the tunnels led beneath it.
Gentle in nature, brownies like him tended places and buildings, their magic sympathetic to home and hearth. They weren’t bred to fighting, weren’t trained as soldiers the way she’d been. While he could turn boggart and create minor havoc, he wasn’t meant for true violence and was no match for the dead trying to eat him. But she was.
Red haze encroached on her vision. Sorcha reached for her swords, drawing them free without slowing her pace, embracing the sweet song of savagery rising in her blood.
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1. What is your writing environment?
My day job requires 90% travel so my writing environment is continually changing. Sometimes I’m at home at my desk, or on my bed, or on the living room couch with my laptop.
Other times, I’m in a hotel bar or at my hotel room desk, or on the hotel bed with my iPad typing away on my Bluetooth keyboard.
Still others, I’m at the airport waiting at the gate, on a plane, or sometimes on a train.
2. Who is your perfect hero/heroine? Why?
I love complex characters. If they are flawed, I want to see them working to overcome. They don’t need to know why they are driven at the beginning, but I want them to be self-aware enough by the end of a story to know why they chose to do what they did along the way.
Even though things outside of their control happen to them, they don’t crumble and think the universe is against them, they act to change the universe. Preferably, they act in a smart way that won’t set them up for failure before they start.
My perfect here/heroine doesn’t have to be the strongest, but I want them to constantly moving forward and enjoying life along the way.
3. Which authors have caught your interest lately? Why?
I’ve been reading a lot of Jill Shalvis lately as my treats in between books. I’d never read contemporary before her and something about her Lucky Harbor series leaves me with a smile.
I love Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and have been going back to re-read the early books in the series. I’ve also gone back and re-read Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series. Both of them are excellent world-builders who create wonderfully complex characters. Plus, there’s always these wonderful moments that make you smile amidst some dark times.
Del Dryden and Christine D’abo both have new steampunk books either recently released or coming soon. Both are on my TBR list. I got the chance to read some sneak peeks and can’t wait to enjoy the full stories!
4. What type of book have you always wanted to write?
I’ve wanted to write the kind of story that leaves my reader hugging the book (or the ereader) to their chest as they savor the story on finishing, something they’d dive in and read again over and over in the future.
5. What’s the last movie you watched and loved?
K-on, the movie. It’s the sequel to a really wonderful anime series of the same name about high school girls in a light music club and their adventures together as friends.
In the movie, the girls decide to go from Japan to London for their senior vacation. The movie, like the series, is surprisingly engaging – it just sucks you in- with laughs and tears and a lot of heartwarming moments. Plus, the animators worked very hard to capture the feel of London and I think they did a great job.
6. Top 3 things on your bucket list
- Go on a series of writer’s retreats in wildly different, luxurious locations like resorts in the tropics and then up in the snowy mountains and then in the African savanna and then maybe an underwater resort.
- Establish a conservation organization dedicated to not only wildlife but also helping animals who work closely with humans, such as helping military explosive detection dogs who’ve served overseas transition back to living at home.
… I honestly can’t come up with a third right now. I very much believe in going out and experiencing things. Just go do it. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to go out and do a lot of the things I’ve dreamed of doing, including writing. J
7. How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
I decided to create Kayden because there have never been big cats naturally living in the UK. There’s groups dedicated to investigating rumored sightings of them, but documented evidence is inconclusive.
Sorcha is a bit harder to explain. She was a series of inspirations over the course of several days that snowballed into the complex character she is. Wine might have been involved.
8. What is your favorite scene in your new release?
My favorite scene might be where Kayden first takes Sorcha to Notting Hill Gate tube station. That’s one heck of a first date. Though, the scene introducing Ollie and the boys is close to my heart too.
9. What would you consider a “perfect” date?
I wouldn’t want to limit a date by defining perfect.
I can say the date that shines in my memory as perfect to me was last holiday season. My boyfriend took me to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ for the Las Noches de la Luminarias. As the sun set, we walked down paths lined with luminaries from alcove to alcove. Every area had a different type of musician playing local or traditional music. The bigger concert areas had live jazz. We stopped at one of these and danced together for a few sets before getting some hot apple cider spiked with Tuaca and continuing our walk.
It was a beautiful night.
10. What are you working on right now?
I’ve got a couple of projects on deck. I’ll be continuing the Triton Experiment series, my science fiction romance featuring Kaitlyn and Rygard. I’m also experimenting with a super secret project but here’s a hint: it’s a subgenre of romance I’ve never written before. ;)
Born and raised in the North East, PJ Schnyder spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every fantasy and sci-fi novel she could borrow from the local and school libraries. She scored fairly high in the verbal portion.
She was introduced to the wonderful world of romance a decade later by her best friend at an anime convention in Seattle.
She now lives somewhere temperate watching the seasons go by with her two dogs and super stealthy ninja kitty, writing her stories and gaming.
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Awesome Prizes: A Sing for the Dead spiral notebook, PJ pen, signed cover flats for Sing for the Dead and Bite Me, and a custom bookmark with one of my favorite quotes from Sing for the Dead, plus a PJ Schnyder USB flash drive.a Rafflecopter giveaway