Interview with Donna Galanti, on writing paranormal suspense & trilogies

Want to know more about how to write a trilogy? Today, Idea City interviews Donna Galanti, author of the paranormal Element Trilogy books. Plus, enter a great giveaway below! A summary of her newest:
A Hidden Element.  Evil lurks within…
When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so?

Tell us about your main character
Caleb Madroc lives an oppressed life. He has sons he can’t be a father to, he can’t choose who he loves, and must carry out despicable acts to survive. Yet Caleb finds he’s pushed to the wall even further and must risk the things he desires to save those he loves. Caleb is also a Watcher in a way, and Watchers are some of my favorite characters to write.

In what ways does he change?
Caleb discovers he doesn’t have to be dictated by his dark genes and can choose love over hate, and hope can win out in the end.

Give us your favorite line from your protagonist
Caleb Madroc: “I will protect the children. I promise. But I can’t promise to save you.”

From an antagonist
Adrian Madroc: “If you cannot, your sons will die. And you will throw the first stone.”

An emblematic, teaser paragraph
He wanted to redeem himself either way through sparing others pain. Sweat broke out on his brow. Was she too far gone? His stomach tightened. He moved his hands faster over her. Come back, Rachel. Please. Her head lolled to one side. He stroked her hair as he worked and spoke to her.
“I do love you, Rachel. I never stopped. I wanted more, but it wasn’t meant to be. I had to think of our children first.” She remained cold beneath his hands.
This gift he had. Perhaps it was not enough for her.

What keeps you going when your inspiration flags?
I take a break and find an inspiring book to read. This always fuels my own creativity.

What truly inspires you and fires up your vision?
To me, writing is all about passion – feeling the good and feeling the bad. And I want to feel it all. To explore the twin sides of our human nature: the good inside us, the dark inside us.

Best words of advice you ever received?
Don’t edit while writing that first draft! Once I got over this block my writing took off and I found I could write THE END.

Find success by perfecting your writing in one genre. I believe today’s fiction was built by cross-genre writers, like Dean Koontz, and they opened doors for writers to further challenge themselves in their writing and push the boundaries.

Offer some writing advice to aspiring and new authors
Get out of your writer’s cave and join writer communities and organizations now, no matter what level of writing you are at. Keep learning your craft and keep filling your writer’s toolbox! Visit my Writers Corner for inspiration, advice, and resources on writing.

Which do you enjoy writing most: action, romance, setting, dialogue?
A combination of dialogue and action. At first a scene comes to me in dialogue and then I see the action painted around it.

A hint of what you’re working on next?
I’m plotting the final book in the Element Trilogy and a YA medieval fantasy series. I also write middle grade and in 2015 have the first two books coming out in my adventure fantasy series, Joshua and the Lightning Road. You can learn more about it here. 

How is it writing a trilogy? Biggest challenges? Fun aspects?
It’s fun bringing the characters I fell in love with back to life and introducing new characters to love. The biggest challenges in writing a sequel for me, are blending in the necessary details from book one to inform the reader and move the story along while also creating a standalone novel as well.

The most important theme of book one? Book two?
In book one, A Human Element, it’s revealed that if we overcome our genes and thrive through love, we can conquer our obstacles and achieve anything. But without love, we are lost.  In book two, A Hidden Element, a major theme is that relinquishing the struggle to belong leads to self-acceptance.

Care to share a hint of what’s to come in book three?
Aha! Think V meets Supernatural. ☺

Visit her: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as fiction for teens and tweens. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer.

Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element.
Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element: ON SALE NOW THROUGH 8/31 FOR JUST $ 0.99 cents!
Deadly Dozen: 12 Mystery/Thriller novels for just $3.99.

“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall

“Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

“Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector

Captured Love cover reveal by Juliana Haygert

Idea City is participating in the cover reveal for Juliana Haygert’s Captured Love, launching in November! She’s offering two great giveaways: with Goodreads and Rafflecopter. Make sure to scroll down and enter!

About Captured Love
Contemporary, NA romance
70K, strong language & graphic scenes 

It’s been four years since twenty-year-old Jessica Hayes has been home, but when she discovers her father is dying, she must return to her hometown in South Carolina and face her past. Jessica thought patching up her relationship with her father would be her biggest challenge, but when she runs into Ryan Dawson—the catalyst of all her problems—she wonders if coming home was a mistake.

Ryan knows he screwed up. Hell, he paid the price…with interest. But when he runs into his best friend’s little sister, Jessica, he’s reminded that his debt will never truly be paid. He may have turned his life around, but he can’t undo the damage. So, he does what he should have done all those years ago. He stays away from Jessica, and all the other personal demons that still haunt him.

Jessica thought she wanted nothing to with Ryan, but something is different about him and she needs to know why. When she discovers the truth behind his change, she puts her troubles aside and tries to help him. But is putting her heart back in the line of fire worth disrupting her stable life back in Ohio, or will the past repeat itself, leaving her brokenhearted once again?


While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.
Find Juliana on: twitter, website, Facebook, Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Captured Love by Juliana Haygert

      Enter to win

Calling all International fiction foodies! What’s your fave foodie scene in a novel?

Today, Idea City joins Lexa, Media and Beth, the creators of the International Potluck Fest in talking about great foodie scenes in fiction! You don’t have to be in the hop to check out the posts and comment.

One of the funniest foodie scenes I’ve read is in Wallbanger (18+), a rowdy romance, where the protag’s love interest is always cooking. There’s a love-fest after bread-making, where they’re literally rolling in the flour. Since that’s too steamy to post here, I’ll tell you about a scene from my NA romance, Private Internship that launches on September 29.

Artist Sienna is interning for bad-boy sculptor, Caz Mason. He’s a major handful, and is constantly testing her with strange games, but one of his enticing talents is that he’s a great cook!
Here’s a snippet that displays his canny wiles:

Joining me at the table, he sits forward in his chair instead of straddling it. “My own concoction,” he announces. “Pheasant chili.”

“What a treat.” I take an experimental bite. The flavor detonates in my mouth. “Man, this is great! Where’d you learn to cook?”

“From an old Texan migrant down in the Smokies.” Sounds dubious, but what do I know? I know that I appreciate a man who can cook. We gobble the food down. Something about hard physical labor—you work up quite an appetite. 

Afterwards, Caz wipes his mouth with the napkin and clears his throat. “So, why don’t you bring in a few of your pieces tomorrow? I should know what my intern is doing.”

My pulse spikes. I’m partly flattered and partly terrified—especially after his scathing critique on that very first day. “You sure? I mean, it’s not about my work, it’s about your—”

“Be more sure of yourself,” he barks. “I can’t tolerate insecure people.”

I shrivel up inside. But he’s right. I need to be strong, be proud. “Okay, fine. Shall I continue shoveling sugar after lunch?”

“Way too tedious,” he announces. “Let’s play a game.”

“What game? Not so sure I want any more of those.”

“Oh, don’t be a wimp,” he says wryly, and jumps up. “Let’s go.”

Do you use food in some way in your writing? To set mood? Entice? Add a sense of reality? What’s your fave fictional scene involving food?

Great reads, powerful covers, totally TBRs!

Idea City has a few great show and tells today.

First up: Twisted Earths is now on Goodreads! So you can totally put it on your TBR list. More on the collection in my last post.

Second up: Graeme Ing’s Necromancer launches on August 25th! Powerful cover, eh? So, if you’re adding Twisted Earths to your TBR list, why not add Graeme’s Necromancer too?

About the book: 

Maldren, a young necromancer, is the only person brave enough to stand against the creature. Instead of help from the Masters of his Guild, he is given a new apprentice. Why now, and why a girl? As they unravel the clues to defeating the fiend, they discover a secret society holding the future of the city in its grip. After betrayals and attempts on his life, Maldren has reason to suspect everyone he thought a friend, even the girl.

His last hope lies in an alliance with a depraved and murderous ghost, but how can he trust it? Its sinister past is intertwined in the lives of everyone he holds dear.       Can only evil defeat evil?

Third up, but just as important!: If you haven’t uploaded C. Lee’s Double Negative, a gritty teen novel from Evernight Teen, you can do it now! On Amazon

Here’s a line from Hutch McQueen, the protagonist:
“My life was going, going, gone, and I hadn’t been laid yet. I couldn’t go into the slammer before that happened.” 

AND, we have outtakes from the novel! In C. Lee’s own words:
I love to write description, but it seldom stays in the book. I think I write it for myself, really. Once it’s on the page, I can see where I am in the scene, and it’s easy for me to write the characters–what they see and where they move in the space I’ve created. Here are two pieces of description I liked, but that didn’t add much to the book, so they wound up on the cutting room floor.

Liz sat at the back of the church not listening to the words, but focused on Tim Kerry’s voice, the way it rose and fell, spilling over the heads of the parishioners. She closed her eyes and imagined it caressing the quiet corners of the old stone building, an historical landmark that no longer quite held the swell of worshippers at Christmas, but was perfectly suited for the regular congregation. There’d be a new church across town in a few years, but this one would always be her favorite. Soaked with decades of incense, softened by the brush of uncountable hands and shoulders, its pews gleaming more from the slide of butts into place than the swipe of caretaker dust cloths, this church epitomized what her religion was all about.

Palm Street is in the back corner of Larkston and miles from Camilla Terrace, the upscale part of town. Palm Street is the place Hutch McQueen longs to escape. Here’s how I saw it, but it never made the final version.

C Lee

One dusty palm tree remained from the developer’s try at living up to the Palm Street name. Once, back in the eighty’s, palms grew in front of all the houses, and there were lawns and kids. Now, most of the front yards had defunct cars or recycling cans, and no one sat on the porches. The brightest features on any of the houses were the yellow bug lights. They were always on.

While I missed not having that description in the book, I still had it in my mind, so the setting that Hutch stepped into was very clear. I could write his reaction to it without ever including it for the reader. I let them imagine Palm Street in their own way.

 What’s at the top of your TBR list right now?

Sneak Peek at the forthcoming Untethered Realms anthology, Twisted Earths. Out this fall!

We’re so excited to give you a sneak peek of the cover and stories in the first Untethered Realms collection called Twisted Earths. Isn’t the art spectacular?!

The anthology launches on October 1st. We don’t yet have it on Goodreads, so the best way to get release deets is to join the UR blog or UR Facebook group. And while you’re there check out the amazing new banner that our designer, Erin made for us.

Now, for a taste of the stories!

Twisted Earths is a collection of tales from Untethered Realms, a group of speculative fiction authors. The stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets—sandy loam, clay, knotted with roots and vines, dreaded paths through unexplored planets, and in enchanted forests, lit by candlelight and two moons.

M. Pax, author of the series, The Backworlds and The Rifters spins a tale called Patchworker 2.0. Specialists with digital interfaces are the only ones who can distinguish between biological energy and mechanical pulses, and “patch” AIs, which hold the world together. Patchworker Evalyn Shore meets up with an AI with deadly intent.

Cherie Reich, known for her epic fantasy series The Fate Challenges and The Foxwick Chronicles, presents Lady Death. Umbria, a beautiful and powerful swordsmith, is given an impossible task by her brother Leon when he asks, “You are the assassin. Are you scared to destroy Death when you are up to your elbows in it?”

Angela Brown is the author of the paranormal Shadow Jumpers and NEO Chronicles series. In her story, In The Know, Jacob, a loyal family man is struggling to stay out of debt when he’s hired to report on big plans for a future Detroit. He’s given a mysterious manila envelope with instructions to “open it alone” or pay the price. With switchback twists you won’t see coming, a debt of a much steeper cost is what he just might end up paying for his involvement.

Catherine Stine, author of the futuristic thrillers, Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire, offers The Day of The Flying Dogs, a sinister tale of brilliant, troubled NYC high-school student, Theo. He experiences a day at Coney Island that includes drugs, delusions, a lonely capybara, Nathan’s hotdogs and a mind-bending lesson in our very twisted universe.

Christine Rains, known best for her paranormal series The Thirteenth Floor, gives us The Ole Saint, a story at once sweet, horrific and heartrending. Ezra longs to fit in and have boys stop calling him witch and freak, yet his unique supernatural skill sets him apart, and the last gift from The Ole Saint cinches the deal.

Graeme Ing, known for his young adult fantasy, Ocean of Dust presents The Malachite Mine, a gripping, scream-inducing ride. Whatever was Mary thinking when she accepted her husband’s gift of a most terrifying twenty-first birthday celebration in an abandoned Russian mine?

River Fairchild, author of the Jewels of Chandra series, presents A Grand Purpose. Rosaya and her cousin, Drianna are soon to be married off, but Rosaya is unhappy with her assigned match. She’s much more intoxicated by the older Firrandor, a wizard she hardly knows. When Rosaya is accused of killing an oracle boy, all bets are off, not only for her love, but her freedom.

Gwen Gardner, who pens the cozy paranormal mystery series, Indigo Eady, adds to her collection with Ghostly Guardian. Indigo and her rib-tickling ghost-busters must travel to a dangerous pirate-laden past in order to unearth a curmudgeonly eighteenth century spirit that is plaguing the Blind Badger Pub.

Misha Gerrick, whose War of Six Crowns series is forthcoming, gives us a story called Red Earth and White Light. Emily, a young ghost bride has long haunted a house. She longs to cross over into the afterlife, but she’s trapped in memories of lilies and betrayal.

We hope you’ll enjoy this weird and wonderful volume!

Who we are:

Beautiful cover from Elizabeth Arroyo for her new YA supernatural, DARKNESS

Today, Idea City is revealing the cover for Elizabeth Arroyo’s new YA supernatural thriller DARKNESS. Isn’t it pretty and mysterious? The novel launches on August 12!

About the book

Seventeen-year-old Carly Lopez suffers from post-traumatic stress, though the “post” part technically doesn’t apply…not when the killer’s still out there. 
As the only survivor of the killing spree that left four dead girls in its wake, Carly fails to unearth her buried memories of that day and is consumed with guilt. After a year of silence, the killer is back, and Carly will stop at nothing to stop him. 
With each new death, Carly’s reality shatters, propelling her deeper into the darkness where the dead haunt her and where the truth lies. Her only firm grasp of reality is Hunter Jackson, whose mysterious overprotectiveness of Carly forces her to doubt the reason behind her guilt. But Hunter has a secret.

And when she discovers a horrible truth, Carly questions her involvement in the murders. Was she directly responsible? Did she help the killer? Carly soon learns that finding answers may mean risking more than just her sanity.

About the author:
Elizabeth is the author of THE SECOND SIGN and THE SECOND SHADOW, a dark young adult paranormal romance series. Elizabeth currently teaches writing to teens at a local community center.

Find more about Elizabeth at: 
Website, blog, Facebook, Twitter