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September 14, 2015

Girl Crush Mondays + Giveaway: Aria Naveed of Kissed by Fire by Danielle Annett

Kissed by Fire
Blood & Magic 2
Danielle Annett
September 15, 2015
Urban Fantasy

As Friend of the Pack, Aria Naveed should be untouchable, protected by the most influential group in the Pacific Northwest. But someone is unleashing rogue vampires to hunt her down, and she is determined to find out why.

When Aria gains command of Sanborn Place and takes on a case involving a mysterious paranormal, her life is put in more peril than ever as she finds herself bound to an influential power player. She doesn’t want to be anyone’s puppet, but must tread carefully as she traverses the streets of Spokane, WA, or risk being overwhelmed by the forces moving against her.

As the only known pyrokinetic in the area, Aria is in high demand, but not for her services. It seems that to those in power, she’s worth more dead than alive, and if a mysterious enemy has their way, she won’t live long enough to find out why.





Creating Strong Female Leads
by Danielle Annett

Women in fiction are so important. As a woman I want to make sure that I represent my gender appropriately and so often women are portrayed as damsels in distress but in my Blood & Magic series, you’ll find women with inner strength and strong will. Let’s take Aria for example. She’s tough, stubborn, and falls into that “kick ass heroine” category we so often see in Urban Fantasy novels, but she also has moments of weakness without ever being truly weak.

When I wrote Aria I had to give her a backstory. There had to be a reason why she was a mercenary. Why she had trust issues, why she was a skilled fighter, and why she walked around everywhere with a pair of daggers. For her character to make sense. I had to have answers for all of the whys. That's one of the most important things when developing your characters. If you want them to be strong, they have to have a reason to need that strength.

In addition to all of that, I had to make her relatable. I want my readers to not only like Aria, but to want to be her. Heck, I want to be her. To accomplish that she needs to be relatable. She’s tough as nails but she isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes and she owns them. A big issue for her, are injustices in the world. If we look at the case involving Daniel from book 1, Cursed by Fire, we see Aria refuse to let it go, even when it was no longer her responsibility. She has this need to protect the innocent, especially children. I feel like this is such a feminine trait because in her own way, she wants to be a caretaker and a lot of that stems from her past in being alone at such a young age.

When creating strong female characters, you have to remember that just because they need to be strong, doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings. Emotions don’t make your characters weak. They make them human and being human is vitally important. Being driven by her emotions is one of the things that makes Aria push forward even when times get tough.




Fire called to me, tempting me to bring it forth, to destroy my foe in one quick and easy strike. It would be too easy. There was something very wrong about this, about a newly made vampire walking the streets of downtown Spokane as if he were on a leisurely stroll. The change had to have been recent. Blood soaked his light-blue shirt, leaving a large stain over his chest and the left side of his body. If I’d had to guess, he’d been changed within the last few hours. His skin hadn’t turned the pale milky white associated with the undead yet.
Before I could think further, he struck. In a split second, his once jerky movements morphed into a flash of speed as he launched himself at me. I twisted out of the way but was too slow to avoid his second strike. He grabbed me by the back of the neck, flinging me across the road like a rag doll. My body collided with a parking meter, the near frozen metal splitting my cheek and knocking the air from my lungs.
I exhaled a vicious curse before drawing my twin daggers from the thigh sheath beneath my dress and jumping to my feet. My dress rode up, but I couldn’t have cared less at the moment. I was just grateful that despite the dress, I’d managed to wear the blades. Warm blood seeped from my cheek and my ribs ached with my movements.
He charged again, and this time I was ready. I allowed my attacker to get close, his hands brushing my shoulders right before I sank my first blade into the soft flesh of his stomach. My second pierced his chest, but I missed the heart. With my blades still imbedded, he squeezed my shoulder, the pain explosive. I heard a distinct pop before my left arm went limp.
Shit!
My brain took a backseat as adrenaline flowed through my muscles. I kicked out with my left foot, the heel in my shoe sinking into his calf. His leg buckled under the assault and I pulled free, losing my heel in the process but retaining one of my blades. The other remained in his chest.
My left arm hung loose at my side. My right lifted and was ready with my dagger, dark-red blood dripping from its point. His eyes glowed an even deeper red, fangs descending farther to cover his bottom lip. You might as well put those back, mister. You won’t be making a meal out of me. Hot blood surged through my veins. I hastily kicked off my remaining heel, ignoring the discomfort of the snow and gravel beneath my feet. I needed to move faster.
When he struck again, I threw myself to the left, my right arm coming up and slashing his throat in a swift motion. A gurgling sound emanated from his throat, but I knew it wouldn’t last. He would begin healing almost immediately.
Damn vampire. I needed to disable him somehow without killing him. My fire was calling to me and I shoved it down with everything I had. I could not light him on fire. I was determined to find out who had turned him and why he’d been set loose. I moved to deliver another blow, a deep stab to his stomach once more, but just as I moved to strike, a deep growl echoed through the streets. Another predator making itself known. Like an idiot, I turned, and the moment of distraction cost me as I felt the vampire sink his teeth into my raised forearm. A scream escaped me, and then the growl turned into a thundering roar.
I watched in suspended silence as Declan tackled the fledging vampire, bringing him to the ground, the crunch of bone loud to my ears as his body hit the pavement. He’d taken a mouthful of my flesh with him when he’d gone down, and blood flowed freely from the wound, staining the ground red. I tried without success to staunch the bleeding with my left hand but couldn’t get my arm to corporate.
Before I could stop him, Declan brought his hands to the vampire’s neck and, in one quick movement, snapped it. The sound made me cringe. He rose from the body and kicked it once. He grunted in satisfaction when the body didn’t respond.
As though a switch had been flicked, I snapped out of my daze, fury and so much frustration rising to the surface. “What the hell did you just do?” I yelled at him. Don’t light the Alpha on fire. Don’t light the Alpha on fire. I repeated the mantra over and over in my head. It would not bode well for me to attack him right now. No matter how much he deserved it.
Declan looked taken aback for a moment. “I saved your life,” he said.
Urgh. Moron! “No, you didn’t. You ruined it. I cannot believe you just snapped his neck like that, without any thought.” My temperature rose and I had to take a calming breath to contain myself. It didn’t help much.
“Why would I think about it? He had his fangs buried in your arm. I’d expect a little gratitude here.”
I stormed past him and crouched beside the vampire, tearing my blade from his chest. I wiped the blade on the edge of my dress before sheathing it. It was already ruined so a little more blood couldn't hurt it. I needed something else to focus on aside from Declan’s stupidity or I was going to lose what little control I had. I skimmed my hands over the now cold body, checking the pockets of his shirt and pants to find anything that may provide me with some sort of clue.
“What are you doing?” Declan asked, obviously annoyed.
Join the club, buddy. I was pretty damn annoyed myself.
“I’m looking for information,” I bit out. “It would have been much easier to just question the vampire but no, you had to go and snap his neck and be all ‘I am tiger, hear me roar.’” I threw my hands in the air in frustration.
He snarled beside me. “I saved your life.”

“No. You interfered. I’m a pyrokinetic. Don’t you think if I’d wanted him dead, I’d have lit his ass on fire as soon as he got close? I wasn’t trying to kill him. I was trying to disable him, and then you had to come out here all hot-headed and kill him.”




Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.

Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.


Follow Danielle
Website | Facebook | @Danielle_Annett | Goodreads




Signed Print Copy of Cursed by Fire AND Kissed by Fire 
Ebook Copy of Cursed by Fire AND Kissed by Fire










Talk Supe


46 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! I always love visiting your blog

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and you're always welcome here :)

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  2. Wicked cover! I'm a fan of those bad ass female protagonists!

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    1. Then I'm sure you'll get long with Aria

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  3. "Emotions don't make your characters weak."

    Totally agree! Love that cover too.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. I find the baddest bitches in UF are the ones with the most painful pasts.

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  4. I agree Karen. I love strong women protagonists, but without feelings they are robots. Feelings make them relateable. Thanks for the giveaway.
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  5. Replies
    1. I agre, I love the theme of the series so far cover wise

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  6. I love women that don't wait around to be rescued but instead do the rescuing themselves. This sounds like a fun series! Great guest post and thanks for sharing this!

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    1. That's why I'm not very fond of Disney Princesses

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  7. This sounds right up my alley, thanks Braine <3

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    1. YW ;)

      I think she's open/looking for reviewers. Hit her up!

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  8. Thanks for sharing - great guest post. I think it's important for all characters, men and women, to show emotion and be realistic no matter what genre of book. As for women in general, I love finding strong women who aren't afraid of their emotions at the same time.

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  9. Lovely post. An unforgettable female character is a perfectly balanced mix of strength and feeling. It's that marriage of contrasts that makes them unforgettable.

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    1. And this is why you're a writer and I'm just a blogger

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  10. Gotta love a heroine who can kick some ass.

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    1. Heroines like Aria makes me want to take up some sort of self defense/martial arts class. That way I can kick some ass too! lol

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  11. Oh ma gosh! The covers in this series are fantastic! Love the guest post too. I agree, women in fiction should be portrayed more often as strong and capable of saving themselves. The damsel in distress concept is so overdone.

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    1. Right? Not just in UF but in every book!

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  12. I actually think that perceived weakness can be a sign of strength or at least enhance the feeling for strength in a character. This sounds interesting!

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    1. It can be a good device, surprise the readers with a solid character arc

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  13. I enjoyed the post about writing the female heroine and particularly your own heroine. I was struck by the 'give her a reason to be strong'.

    Look forward to reading this series.

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    1. I love that part too, she earned her strength versus an innate gift

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  14. That's what I like about urban fantasy the kickass heroine's, although I don't mind reading about female that need some helps now and either. I really like the covers for this series with the fire accents!
    I think backstory is very important in books and I want to know why a character is a certain way. I usually don't care how the character acts as long as it make sense and that character has a reason for acting that way. And I like seeing the emotions from characetrs too, it's often what makes them feel real and relatable. Great post!

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    1. Yup, if the backstory is well done, it actually enriches the "present" and makes the stakes higher, the reader more invested

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  15. I need to meet Aria. I love a kickass heroine - especially in UF. Thanks for sharing Ms. Annett's guest post. It was interesting learning more about Aria from her. :)

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  16. I love a strong heroine and enjoyed book one of this series. I need to squeeze this book in. The covers are stellar.

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    1. I love the cover art, I wonder what the next one is going to look like.

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  17. Great excerpt! He had to try and save the day! Damn it!

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

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  18. Exactly, I love a strong heroine, but also when they have a vulnerability that makes them realistic.

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    1. It's boring when they're too perfect or have no motivation aside from doing their jobs right

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  19. I am all about the strong female characters. I loved this! I love when they are vulnerable but don't want to be.

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  20. I love all the thought and LOVE she put into her heroine. How cool to write someone you want to be!!

    Must have this series now!!! I agree with Kimba, the covers are phenomenal! I'm running to find the books now...

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  21. Oooh. I like that back story. And a mercenary. Cool beans! Thank you!

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  22. A female character who is bad-ass but still not afraid of emotions is the best kind, Braine! Thanks for sharing, I gotta add this to my TBR :)
    Have a fantastic day :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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  23. I stopped by because of the cover but LOVED the post. For me, if the fake lead isn't a strong character she's better off dead and the book is an epic failure. It's so important to have a strong female in a book.

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