Shift by M R Merrick (Book 2)
Devastated by a terrible loss, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else—a monster threatening to tear her apart.
As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.
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Guest Post :
A Story is Born
The Protector series wasn’t some life-long dream of mine. I never had aspirations to write any kind of novel, let alone one filled me magic and demons and adventure. I discovered my love for reading late in my life and I enjoyed it, but I was happy to watch a plethora of movies and play video games just the same. Exiled, and writing fiction in general, kind of happened to me by accident.
It started with a rough day that turned into a rough week, which eventually curved into a rough month. I needed out. Out of this rut and away from the grey cloud that seemed to loiter around my head. More than anything I needed an escape, if only for a little while. Movies couldn’t hack it, video games weren’t enthralling me, and my desire to read had been vanquished, so I decided I’d create the escape myself. I couldn’t design video games and making a movie I’d actually watch seemed out of reach, so I sat down and started writing. But what would I write? I truly had no idea.
I’d always had an odd obsession with the elements, so I thought about that. What if I could create fire in the palm of my hand, or take the water in a glass and have it bend to my will? I love vampires and shifters and all sorts of demons, but what if I changed the way they existed? I sat down and wrote that first night for six hours straight. It started with a fight scene between Chase Williams and what would eventually become my version of the vampire. They weren’t the undead, they were very much alive, and they had their own unique government. You could be turned, or born, but either way the hunters were your enemy. But I didn’t want the vampires to be the center of my story. I wanted it to be about more than that.
When I looked up and saw how long I’d been at it, I realized I had something. All sorts of questions and details expanded in my mind. Who was Chase? Why was the demon after him? Why was he alone? Where are the other hunters? Wait…who’s this Rayna that keeps popping up in my mind? She’s sassy, I like her. No, I love her. I can’t stop thinking about any of this. Yep. There’s definitely something here.
I spent the next while talking non-stop to my wife. She’s my soundboard and I bounced idea after idea off of her. She’d come home from a long shift at work and I’m sure she was overwhelmed by this sudden desire to write a book, and on top of that she was probably exhausted after a long day at work, but she listened to every word nonetheless and fueled my excitement even further. We spent hours talking that night. It wasn’t just me that was excited, she was too. This whole story could be amazing! That’s it, I was committed. This story would be written.
I wrote the book, I added to it, I cut it in half, I rewrote it, I left it alone, I revised it, and I attacked it in every way I could. When I was done, I felt like it had come alive. This wasn’t just some mild attempt to escape the trials of life. It was a passion submerged in flames and swallowing me whole.
The demons came to life, dark blood rippling beneath pale skin. Creatures from other worlds were born in the depths of my imagination: snake-like bodies slithered over the blue rock of Vortan, while multi-legged demons who spoke in youthful rhyme trampled through the stone mazes. I literally let my eyes fall shut and described the worlds as I saw them. Some were desolate wastelands while others were filled with such beauty it was difficult to describe. Drakar’s purple water ran along the coast, half-troll half-giant concoctions fished from the rivers, and tiny birds that could morph into massive creations would help you scale across the landscape…if you could get away from the hulk-like goblin that traded you for it. The fire burned from within, rising up and spilling out over my fingertips. Water healed the wounds the fire left, and the earth brought a peace to my soul so magical the pages turned themselves. The air pushed me forward when I didn’t think I could go any further, and the lightning crackled, reigniting my soul when my eyes grew weary. The other dimensions revolved around all the adventure inside Stonewall, New York, while Chase, Rayna, and the rest of the gang struggled through loss and heartache, begging one another not to give up. I had been consumed entirely by a world that all started with a single fight.
I spent the next eighteen months researching things, and in 2011 I decided I would publish it. I hired two editors, a cover artist, and I invested in the opinions of a few trusted beta readers. On July 1st 2011, I clicked publish for the first time, and just as my life had changed when I wrote that first scene, my life shifted again. I met a plethora of amazing people through social media. I discovered bloggers and agents and writers who I’ve come to trust and respect. And most importantly, I took my first step forward with a career as an author.
Of course none of this was as simple and easy as this post will make it appear. Each book had its own challenges, and life has thrown me many curveballs since it all began, but for the first time in my life I’ve found something I truly love to do and I’m committed to every part of it. I’ve never stayed at a job for longer than eighteen months. It’s inevitable that I’ll get bored and want a change, but here I am 5 years after I started writing Exiled and I’m still going.
In that time, I’ve not only published one, but four novels. The Protector series has come to an end, with many standalone spinoff stories on the horizon, but right now I’m creating an entirely new world in Sacred Cities. One full of new demons, a new landscape, and a completely different adventure. All the while the last few months have been an assault on my imagination. New stories are being born and new ideas come to fruition each day. There may be a lot that is uncertain in this business, and even more so in this world, but the one thing I can say for certain is that my passion for telling stories and creating new worlds isn’t going anywhere.
Come for the action, stay for the adventure, and if you want magic, monsters and imagination thrown in too, you’ve come to the right place.
About The Author :
M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer and author of The Protector Series, a Young Adult mash-up between Urban and Epic Fantasy. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he’s usually found at the computer between a pair of headphones and in front of a large bowl of cereal.
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