Roxanne Bland does bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, J.R. Ward, and Laurell K. Hamilton one better with The Underground--rocketing into the upper ranks of urban dark fantasy and paranormal romance by adding a touch of science fiction to the fantastic, horrific, erotic mix. Set in an alternate Seattle, Washington, Bland's heart-pounding, deliciously sexy adventure imagines a city where communities of "exotics"--shapeshifters, witches, elves, and vampires--live among the murderous human population and are ruled over by the cruel, insatiable vampire, Kurt.
The powerful alpha male of the city's werewolf pack, Parker Berenson, is one of the Master's enslaved servants, and he would like nothing better than to hasten the downfall of the vampire overlord who stole his love, the beautiful mage Garrett Larkin. But in a night city already on the razor's edge--in the midst of a spate of inexplicable bloody murders--the alpha wolf's passionate encounter with a stunning interstellar assassin could upset the very delicate balance and ignite a war that neither exotics nor humans can survive.
Warning: Profanity, Violence, Graphic Adult Content
Cold Coffee Press Book Review: The Underground (Second Edition) by Roxanne Bland is a blend of genres which include science fiction, dark urban fantasy and paranormal romance with an adult theme which includes profanity, violence and graphic erotic content.
It is not lions and tigers and bears, but rather werewolves, vampires, witches, and shape-shifters called “Exotics” that rule the night. You will either love it or hate it depending on your ability to meld into the author’s fantasy world and find something strangely different about her cast of characters.
Set in an alternate Seattle Washington where the night hours are more than bewitching, they are truly murderous. The book opens with Parker Berenson, alpha of Seattle’s werewolf fighting to stay in human form. Like many good stories, a love has been lost and someone or something must pay. Parker has anger issues and Garrett (Powerful Witch) is his former girlfriend and perhaps the only one who can truly see “the big picture”.
I always quote a passage to reveal the Author’s writing style without spoiling the story. With ninety-one chapters in this book, I chose an excerpt from Chapter 10.
“At nine a.m. on February second, a cinquet of five witches arrived to fetch Garrett for the first of her many ritual baths. They discovered her sitting naked in a half lotus on the floor, deep in a meditative trance.
Garrett had been awake for hours. She’d had too much on her mind the night before and hadn’t slept well. At five, she’d gotten out of bed and showered. After that, she’d meditated on the silk prayer rug next to the bed, hoping she could replace at least some of her lost sleep. The last thing she needed was to be incapacitated by fatigue when she channeled Goddess.
The cinquet waited in respectful silence until Garrett came out of her trance. Her gaze settled on Paul. “Good morning, Garrett,” he spoke for the other four witches.
Rising from the prayer rug, Garrett stepped over to Paul and kissed him on both cheeks, and then did the same to the others. Pinkie pre- sented her with a pair of soft indoor moccasins. Georgia held up a white, silk-lined satin robe and helped her put it on.
Paul smiled. “Ready, my Lady?” “I’m ready.”
The elder turned and with Garrett walking behind, led the group out of the bedroom to the purification room. The room’s most prominent feature was a square, white, marble Jacuzzi large enough for two people. One side was set into a wall covered with a slab of marble that rose half- way to the ceiling. Neck-sized indentations had been scooped out along the tub’s upper edge. From there, the tub sloped to its bottom, providing back support.
The rest of the wall to which the tub was attached, as well as the room’s other three walls, was covered in dense, dark blue carpet. The floor was laid with waterproofed linoleum in the same color. A series of wall sconces provided a dim light.
I love being in here. The room always evoked in Garrett a sense of inviolate safety, a comfort she never felt outside the Temple’s walls. This must be the way a baby feels in its mother’s womb.”
I, Theodocia McLean endorse The Underground (Second Edition) by Roxanne Bland as an adult dark urban fantasy that will either grab and hold your attention or turn you off depending on your appetite for violent, graphic and erotic content. I purchased this book in a Kindle format on June 7, 2017 and this review was written on June 9, 2017.
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Fantasy, Paranormal & Urban, Science Fiction
In the world-building tradition of Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. LeGuin, The Moreva of Astoreth is a blend of science fiction, romance, and adventure in a unique, richly imagined imperialistic society in which gods and science are indelibly intertwined.
It is the story of the priestess, scientist, and healer Moreva Tehi, the spoiled, headstrong granddaughter of a powerful deity who is banished for a year to a volatile far corner of the planet for neglecting to perform her sacred duty, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Cold Coffee Press Interview With Author Roxanne Bland
Roxanne Bland grew up in Washington, D.C., where she discovered strange and wonderful new worlds through her local library and bookstores. These and other life experiences have convinced her that reality is highly overrated.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Baltimore? I can’t say that I’m proud to be a writer from anywhere (though I will say that while my living in Baltimore is happenstance, Washington, D.C. is my home). Writing is simply what I do, and it’s what I do best.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I suppose you could say it was the books I read as a child. They wrote down their stories; maybe I could write down my stories, too. But those little stories never saw the light of day. I threw them out. Then, I won a writing contest when I was around ten. You’d think that would have been my clue, but it sailed right over my head. I wrote off and on over the next several decades, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that it dawned on me that “hey, I’m pretty good at this, and it’s fun!”
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Not really. Back in those days, I wrote to pass the time (when I had any!), or as a school exercise. My focus was on becoming a career musician. Incredibly time consuming. I did have one high school teacher who suggested that I become a writer, but of course, at that time, it was out of the question.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Sometime in the early 2000s. I wrote a little piece while recovering from illness, and a dear friend browbeat me into making it into a novel. When I realized that I actually might have something, I started shopping it around. No takers. Then I was lucky enough to find an editor who saw promise in my scribblings and agreed to work with me to polish it up. No, that’s not true. We didn’t just polish it up, we made it into an entirely new book.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? I love watching the words spill out over the page (or pixels on a screen, as the case may be). My thoughts, my characters, my story—coming to life. Some writers say that writing “the end” is their reward. To me, writing those two little words is kind of a letdown. Of course, that’s when you start writing another book.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Founding my publishing house, Blackrose Press. My idea is to publish works by people of color. I’ll be ready to take on submissions from other writers sometime in 2018. We’ll start off as an ebook publisher, and then, if the sales warrant, graduate to POD. I’m starting small; only two books per year. Hopefully, when Blackrose Press matures, I’ll be able to publish more.
How many published books do you have? Three, so far.
Please list the titles of all your books:
The Underground (First Edition)
The Moreva of Astoreth
The Underground (Second Edition)
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? Usually while I’m writing the book. I have working titles so I can find it in my files, but the working title never becomes the final title. For example, the working title for The Underground was The Alien Within.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I write paranormal urban fantasy and science fiction. I don’t know that I prefer to write in those genres. It’s more like those are the channels in which my imagination runs.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? The Underground: Second Edition
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? It was the reviews that I received for The Underground. The readers obviously saw merit in the book, but it had issues. So, after kicking it around in my head for a couple of years, I decided to rewrite it. I felt I owed to it my readers to produce a better book, but more than that, I owed it to myself as a writer.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Keep writing and don’t give up.
Who is your favorite author and why? Edgar Allan Poe. I love the lyrical flow of his words, especially his poems (and I’m not into poetry). I know his style of writing is out of date, but I’d love to be able to write like him.