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December 22, 2014

Series 101: Adventures of Owl by Kristi Charish + Exclusive Excerpt

Owl and the Japanese Circus
Adventures of Owl 1
Kristi Charish
Urban Fantasy
Simon &Schuster
January 15, 2015
Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.

I know a lot of you have been hearing buzzes and have seen Kristi Charish's OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS. I'm currently reading this and it's really good. It's got lots of exciting twists and turns UF fans love! My review is coming up later this week, it's been a busy month so for the meantime, here's a little series 101 & an exclusive excerpt for your pleasure.




The Owl & The Japanese Circus | Adventures of Owl 1
Genre: Adventure/ Urban Fantasy in the spirit of adventure classics such as Indiana Jones.

What to Expect: Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.


The Mythology & Cosmology
Under a landscape familiar to our own lies a hidden supernatural world filled with an assortment of creatures, both the usual suspects and not so usual suspects. For the most part they make the effort to stay hidden, until the odd hapless archaeologists stumbles into them by accident...


Who is Alix aka Owl
Alix isn’t your typical urban fantasy heroine. For starters, she is most definitely not the head turner when she steps into a room. Her friends fill that role. She also doesn’t have super powers. Instead, she relies on her wits, resourcefulness, and sheer guts to get herself out of tight situations.

On the personal side, Owl is self-admittedly hopeless around people and gifted (or cursed, depending on your prospective) with an uncanny lack of social filters and self awareness that does its fair share digging her into more trouble than necessary. She has a moral compass...maybe not the same one most people live by but it’s been colored by her life’s recent ups and downs. The important thing is she sticks by it and always tries her best to do the right thing.

"Owl" is Alix’s alias as an antiquities thief. It’s a play on her last name, Hiboux. 


Beyond the Usual
This is a hard one because there are so many incarnations of mythological creature to begin with depending on whose legends you look at. For example, take the vampire; the stories vary wildly depending on when and where in history they’re from. It’s probably most accurate to say I borrow heavily from mythology archetypes and add in a bit of my own modern interpretation. I will say that though the usual suspects are present and accounted for (vampires, dragons), there are plenty of unconventional creatures introduced. Much more detail then that, and I risk giving away spoilers.


Fangs & Scales
There are some definitely villains in the story Owl/Alix could do without in her life. Vampires with a penchant for expensive shoes and a dragon come to mind...Having said that, all the villains in the story are not so clear cut or obvious. There are some surprises lurking in here.


The Hook
A lot of urban fantasy stars a knock-out, diamond in the rough, mercenary-like femme fatale with a conflict and central plotline that centers around a love interest.

While there is nothing wrong with that story (I love many of that story line), Owl is not that female protagonist and this isn’t that urban fantasy.

Owl is a very flawed character. She’s geeky, insecure, socially awkward, and to top it all off hates admitting she’s wrong. She also has a lot of redeeming qualities hidden under there; she’s independent, loyal, determined, and hell bent on digging herself out of her own messes- be they her fault or not. She might clean up all right given half an effort but she will never be (and doesn’t want to be) the statuesque urban fantasy knock-out. And that’s Ok. Owl is not the girl who pines after the guy or waits for someone to rescue her- she’ll handle the rescuing on her own, thankyouverymuch. She tries to make the best out of bad situations (some her own making, some not) without wallowing in the past or hoping someone will save her- a struggle I hope will resonate with readers. There’s also a human element of survival in Owl’s attitude as she tries to forcefully cut out an unconventional place in an unconventional world.


Not that kind of urban fantasy heroine: Tomb Raider Owl is not. 


What's your zip code, Owl?
On the urban fantasy front, there are definitely similarities to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Kim Harrison’s The Hollows, both of which I’m a huge fan of. Outside books, I think it’s accurate to say Owl tips her hat to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, along with adventure movies such as Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and Big Trouble in Little China

...or at least Kurt Russell’s destruction counter in Big Trouble in Little China.


How many books do we want? I want a lot!
That depends...how many books do people want ;-) Right now there are two books planned in the series, OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS and Owl and the City of Angels (Jan 2016). I certainly hope (and plan) to write more Owl adventures.


Tweet!
Owl: Fun adventure starring a modern ‘Indiana Jane’ who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.


Thanks Kristi!
Are you kidding? Thanks for having me! Also people can also read serialized stories for free on my Wattpad page where I try to post every few weeks.






Excerpt from Owl and the Japanese Circus, Chapter 3: Tokyo Rose
               I navigated the crowded platform until I located the train that would take me to the Shiyuba district, where Nadya lived. Not until I was sitting on the train and relatively sure no one had followed me did I turn my cell phone back on.
               Two messages blinked into existence on my screen; one from Oricho and one from Nadya. I checked my email—yeah international data plans—and still nothing from Lady Siyu yet, or Dragon Lady as I referred to her in my phone address book, where she’d never see it. I checked Oricho’s message first. All he said was that it was important, and to call him. Shit. Why bother leaving a message if you don’t leave any details? Why not just text? Nadya’s message was a more efficient use of long distance; she was going to be at the club late, so I was to just meet her there.
               I put my Bluetooth earbud in and called Oricho. He answered on the first ring.
               “Oricho? It’s Owl—please don’t tell me a pack of vampires are hot on my tail. If they are, so help me—”
               “Lady Siyu has successfully contacted the Paris Vampire Contingency on Mr. Kurosawa’s behalf and requested that I contact you with the information,” he said.
               Well, it wasn’t completely bad news. “Why the hell didn’t she just call me herself ?”
               Oricho paused for a moment. “Lady Siyu does not deal well with inefficient phone conversations,” he said carefully.
               “Oh, you got to be kidding me,” I said, just as the train pulled up to the next station. I checked the name printed in big black letters on the tile wall through the window; still six more to go. “Fine, well, what information did she get on Sabine?”
Another pause. Not good.
               “She said they were less than forthcoming with any relevant in- formation.”
               “That’s it? I thought you guys could make them talk?”
               “Though they were evasive throughout the entire conversation— eventually falling on the fail-safe that they couldn’t possibly keep track of every vampire in Paris—Lady Siyu is convinced they were attempting to obtain as much information from her as she was from them.”
               A chill went down my spine. Sabine was independent. “Fuck,” I said, drawing a few sideways glances. I could picture Oricho arching an eyebrow. For someone with so many visible tattoos, he sure as hell was prim and proper. “I don’t think I can stress how really not good this is.”
               “I’ve already arranged—”
               “No, you don’t understand. If she’s not with the Paris vampire pack—” I cupped my hand around my cell as a couple of other passengers glanced over at me. I lowered my voice. “If she’s not with them, then that means she’s independent.”
               “We did not agree to negotiate any other truces with other par- ties you’ve entered into disagreement with. That would be a separate agreement.”
               That kind of tunnel thinking pissed me off, and right when I’d started not hating Oricho. “You soooo aren’t getting it. I have no out- standing disagreements with any other parties. The Paris boys were it.” Well, and Egypt . . . and an assortment of antiquities departments spread over the world, but they’ve got no idea who I am. I took a deep
breath. Where to start explaining? Damn, this is why I work alone and under the radar.
               “OK, Sabine is a vampire who a major vampire organization wants info about. I’d never even heard of her until her vampire flunkie antiquities specialist showed up in your casino and accosted me. Right after I agreed to retrieve the egg scroll—to try to retrieve the scroll contents,” I corrected myself before continuing. “I don’t think this Sabine cares two tail feathers about me. I think you’ve got another tomb raider after the scroll that was supposed to be in that egg, who happens to be a vampire.“
               The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I’ll bet Sebastian hadn’t had any plans to shoot me. He’d probably been there to grab my notes and deliver me to Sabine. The fact that the Paris boys have been looking for me was just a convenient cover and the obvious conclusion we would jump to.
               I was still pissed off, so I took the time to slide another jab in . . . while I was far away from Vegas. “And since we’re talking about what we agreed to, I agreed to try and retrieve the scroll for Mr. Kurosawa in exchange for getting rid of my vampire problem. No- where in that agreement does it say I need to deal with your vampire problems.” Geez, when I say it like that, it sounds like vampires are some kind of infestation. I wonder if there’s some kind of high-tech vampire exterminator? I’ve never found one, but I’ve seen stranger. I was about to suggest it to Oricho, when he jumped back into the conversation.
               “How certain are you of this assessment?”
               I thought about it for a second. My reputation rests on transparency after all. “Let’s just say if I had to bet my life on motivation, that would be it.”
There was another measured pause on Oricho’s end. I didn’t blame him. If I found out a vampire was messing around with a business transaction . . . I imagine it’s a bit like finding out from a maid that the hotel is infested with bedbugs.
               “I will appraise my contact in Japan of our new situation and brief Mr. Kurosawa and Lady Siyu of your assessment.”
               A lot of good that was going to do me. She probably just thought I’d pissed off another vampire. “Fine, do that. Just don’t deal with it too late. Otherwise you’re going to need another antiquities specialist—”
               “In the future I will refrain from assumptions concerning the transparency of your business dealings. I recommend you do the same, and do try to be careful.” And with that Oricho hung up.
               I held the phone out for a moment. Damn, that had almost been an apology. I checked the name of the upcoming stop: Harajuku Station. My stop. I tossed my phone back in my pocket and grabbed Captain’s carrier, ready to push through the crowds waiting to get in. The door to the train slid open and Captain growled and crammed himself up against the carrier’s mesh. I froze. The faint rotting lily of the valley hit me. I held my breath.
               A Japanese woman in a pink Chanel suit stood in front of me. She glanced down at Captain, who was putting new meaning into the expression hissy fit, and then back at me. She smiled, revealing the slight points of her canines; nothing a normal person would notice, but I’m not normal. I swallowed, and it took every ounce of self-control not to bolt for the exit.
               People were getting restless on either side. Ignoring Captain, the vampire slipped around me into the train as I stood frozen. I forced myself to step onto the platform. I knew I should keep going and not look back, but I’m not known for making wise choices under pressure. I glanced over my shoulder. The vampire in the pink Chanel-style suit was standing by the open train door.
               She smirked at me. “Nice cat,” she said in perfect English right before the door closed.
               I shook my head and headed upstairs. “Just a local vampire,” I whispered through Captain’s carrier screen. “Nothing to worry about, but nice catch,” I said, and tossed him a cat treat from the stash in my pocket.







Kristi is the author of a forthcoming urban fantasy series OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Jan 13th, 2015, Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Jan 2016.

Kristi is also a scientist with a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.


Follow Kristi
Website | @kristicharish | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ | Wattpad












33 comments:

  1. I just finished this one up and enjoyed it, loved the interview, Braine :)

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    1. I loved it too & I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Can't wait for the next one!

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  2. This sounds really good, thanks for the chance to win! :D

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    1. It is! Very fun and unique, good luck!

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  3. I liked this book, it was a fun one! Really curious to read more. thanks for the post.

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    1. Me too! The plot for the second one is very interesting, I wonder where Owl's next adventure is going to be.

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  4. I am most curious about this book. It sounds right up my alley and I am trying to incorporate way more UF in my schedule next year, so I want this one. Hmm... Treasure hunting book, I am not sure probably The Da Vinci Code.

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    1. Yes a little UF never hurt nobody. Ooh the Da Vinci Code is one of my faves!

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  5. Okay, I know I'm judging a book by its title but I might not have picked up this one. However, it sounds really good and I think I'd like Alix's lack of social filters. ;)

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    1. This is really fun and very good and Alix is really funny.

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  6. It sounds different and I do like that

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  7. I'm reading this one atm and really enjoying it so far - this was a fun supplement to my reading :D What a fun post! I think what I like most about Ow is in fact her lack of social skills, it's nice to have an MC I can relate too hehe Thanks for sharing ^^ and happy holidays!

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    1. Yup, Owl sure is quite the character. Not really snarky, she's just careless.

      Happy holidays!

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  8. Well this sounds like a wild ride! I haven't read a good urban fantasy in a long time.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Give this a try, maybe this will work?

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  9. I read Owl a while ago and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to her coming out of her shell a little in future books.

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    1. She has a different series coming out, I just saw the press release, excited!

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  10. Favorite treasure hunting movie...does Romancing the Stone count? Love this cover!

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  11. Gotta go with Indiana Jones :) It's a classic! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Vampires AND dragons? Awesome! Owl also sounds like my kind of heroine- I love that she lacks social filters, lol.

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  13. I love how Owl is not the typical UF heroine. We need more normals like her!

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    1. Definitely, she's very cunning and has 9 lives I think

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  14. I actually haven't heard of this series before, but I think I would really enjoy it. Thanks for putting it on my radar!!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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  15. Wow, Owl reminds me like the paranormal version of Veronica Mars! This sounds like an amazingly unique paranormal read - with all of the varied and unconventional paranormal creatures! Love the sound of it, thanks for sharing Braine.

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    1. Personality wise? Yup, very Veronica!

      Thanks for stopping by, Jeann!

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  16. Love the breakdown on this new series. It sounds great. Adventure and supernatural world building are such a great blend to read. And Owl herself sounds fascinating.

    I love that she's a treasure hunter like Indiana Jones which is my fav, but she's her own gal too. Looking forward to reading these.

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    1. You will enjoy this, Sophia! Merry Christmas!

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  17. I haven't really read nay treasure hunt books so I don't have a fave.

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