It’s time to celebrate!
Delta Legend is now out in paperback!
I’m reposting my 5 Star review and Kelan has written an awesome guest post.
That’s not all.
This is a Tag Team Event.
I’ll be giving away one paperback copy of Delta Legend generously provided by Kelan O’Connell. After entering my giveaway, head on over to Sherry’s blog at fundinmental for another chance to win!
When 16-year-old Oakland teenager, Calvin Pierce, makes a bad decision and winds up getting arrested, his mother is quick to take action. Determined not to lose a second son to the drug and gang violence of the inner city, she sends Calvin to spend the summer working for his great uncle in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
There in the predominately white region of agriculture and recreational boating, Calvin’s a fish out of water with a chip on his shoulder. But when severed body parts are discovered floating in a slough, his summer of proving himself takes on new meaning.
Something deadly is lurking in the deep, murky waterways of the Delta. Now the daunting task of containing the living incarnation of a mythical creature falls to Calvin and his ragtag posse of oddball characters.
Enjoy Kelan’s Guest Post
THE RIDE OF SUSPENDED DISBELIEF
Writing Urban Fantasy Adventure is a bit like creating a wild new theme park ride. It’s a really fun gig. If done right, readers will happily board your attraction and stay engaged through the whole crazy ride, ping-ponging between anticipation, fear, laughter, and satisfaction.
Photo by Dan Hatfield, OrlandoInformer.com
As a novelist, I have to make sure my story has all the necessary elements required for a great ride, and suspended disbelief is a key element in good fantasy fiction.
In Urban Fantasy, fantastical things happen in the modern world as we know it. Undoubtedly, the biggest challenge of writing for this genre is creating a sense of isolation in our modern world. Considering the sheer number of humans crawling all over the planet armed with multiple means of connecting, this can be a formidable task. Enter the all-important selection of location.
The setting for Delta Legend goes by both the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the California Delta. I refer to it by both names in the book. Though surrounded by populated cities, the heart of the Delta retains a sense of isolation due to its vast expanses of farmland and seemingly endless waterways that snake on for 1000 plus miles. That’s right—one thousand.
It was definitely challenging to describe this unique region in a way that would give people who’ve never been there a visceral sense of the place. Luckily, I have a couple things going for me in this regard. One, I have a background as a screenwriter, so I write visually. And two, I spent a good deal of time in the California Delta from the time I was 15 until I was in my mid 30′s. And let me tell you, no matter how old I got, swimming or waiting to get picked up on a water ski in the Delta, always freaked me out a bit. Anything could be lurking in those deep murky waters.
Photo by Kelan
Of course, if anything like what happens in the book were to actually happen in the Delta, it would be extremely hard to keep it on the down-low, but that’s where the all-important suspended disbelief and sense of isolation come into play.
Then there’s the fact that every once in while, something fantastical happens in our real world—something that makes fantasy all the more plausible.
In case you missed it, check this out: This very real sea creature was discovered recently off the shores of Catalina Island, a place I visited several times when I lived in Los Angeles.
Nope, not Photoshopped.
The gal who found this creature (dead) while snorkeling, grabbed it by the tail and hauled it to shore (holy crap) because she knew her friends wouldn’t believe her if they didn’t see it for themselves.
And that, my friends, is the stuff that fuels imagination and inspires all manner of Urban Fantasy and folklore. Laura Thomas’ review of Delta Legend is titled, “There’s Something In the Water!” Hell yeah, there is.
Wanna come along for the ride? It’s fun … and a little scary.
Delta Legend is so much more than a scary creature story. It is about second chances, community, new friendships, budding romance, courage and honor.
There is an inner story that provides vital background for the legend. Kelan has really done a lot of research in order to tell you about this creature and where the events take place. Her descriptions of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are almost visual. You can almost feel the sluggish, dark water on your skin and the cold, silty bottom between your toes.
There are many characters that have their parts to play in this book. They are all essential to the plot and add depth, believability and some comic relief.
When Calvin has a brush with the juvenile court system, his mother, Angela, knows she has to do something. After losing her older son Leo to drug and gang violence, she does not want him going down the same path. Her solution is to send Calvin to stay with his great-uncle Samuel for the summer break. He wants no part of the “cuts”, or back country life and arrives with a big chip on his shoulder.
Samuel was apprehensive about taking in Calvin, but is pleasantly surprised when his great-nephew shows a penchant for machine and engine repair. He proves to be a hard worker and an asset at Samuel’s Marine Repair Shop.
Calvin’s first encounter with Mei Li, a young Chinese farm girl, is confrontational. She sees through his tough guy persona and calls him on it. She is sassy and bold and he wants nothing to do with her.
Samuel takes Calvin into the local cafe and small grocery owned by Frances. It is also where the rental desk for Heron’s Harbor Marina, which her teenage son Jess runs. The locals come there to hang out, have a bite to eat and catch up on the daily news around town. It seems every small town has one of these.
After a little bit of juggling, Calvin and Jess start up a friendship. Mei Li is friends with Jess and includes herself on their outings. It is not hard for the others to notice that Jess has developed an interest in Lauren. She is a nice girl, but hangs with the town bullies. But soon enough Lauren sees them for what they are and joins up with Jess, Calvin and Mei Li.
Good old boys Terry and Neal just want to fish and drink cold beer. They motor to their favorite fishing spot and settle in to catch some dinner when they spot what looks like debris from a boat floating in the water. Seeing what they think is a wig, they hook it and take a look. What they had on the end of that hook was someone’s face. Their return trip broke records. This is not the only encounter they have with body parts, it seems like they just can’t get a day of fishing in.
It soon becomes obvious that something is preying on the people of the Delta. Something hungry. The fatalities start piling up, and finally even Sheriff Ray Cruz has to accept that there is a deadly creature cruising the waters, killing and eating the unsuspecting .
The mish mash of locals, along with Calvin and his posse of friends and Sheriff Cruz and bumbling Deputy Burt Watson, unite to combat this evil monster. There are many more characters that I’ve not mentioned, each one adding flavor and dimension to the story. Kelan has the ability to weave them in without confusing you or slowing down your reading enjoyment. No flipping back and forth to see who’s who.
I particularly liked her characterization of Joe, Tak and Samuel. I smilingly think of them as the Over the Hill Gang.
There are a few surprises, you think something has been left out, but then Kelan slips it in effortlessly, providing all of the answers.
And I can’t wait for you to read the great “Oh No!” ending.
If you are looking for a unique monster story with lots of action, adventure and scares, I recommend you get Delta Legend and get reading.
You can go HERE to read my original review post and check out my interview with Kelan!
Author Kelan O’Connell
Though she’s been writing in one form or another since the age of 20, Delta Legend is Kelan O’Connell’s first solo novel. She began writing in college, creating character monologues as a way to stand out in auditions and later went on to write sketch comedy, one-act plays, and more specs for screen than she cares to admit.
Kelan holds a degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University and has worked in the Film and Television Industry in Northern California and Los Angeles—among her many other day jobs.
She currently lives in Northern California with her partner, Sound Engineer/Producer, Tom Size, and the incredibly spoiled pets of Camp RunAmuck.
Be sure to visit Kelan’s blog: http://kelanoconnell.blogspot.com
and the Delta Legend website: http://deltalegend.com
I have one print copy of Delta Legend to give away!
An International Giveaway!
To enter, please leave your email address with your comment so I can contact you if you win and answer this question:
“What sea monster scares you the most?”
This is a Tag Team Event hosted by myself and Sherry at fundinmental.
You can visit Sherry’s blog for another chance to win and see what she thinks about Delta Legend HERE.
Giveaway ends February 3rd.
Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!
To see all of my giveaways click on the lucky horseshoe below!