Monday, 22 October 2012

Blog Tour And Giveaway: Dark Light Of Day - Jill Archer

Dark Light of Day

Buy It:    Barnes & Noble   Amazon

Failing is not an option...

“I’ve been watching you, wondering, waiting to see where you’d end up. After all, there are other demon law schools,” Seknecus said, making a moue of distaste that made it clear exactly what he thought of them. “But I was happy to see that you chose St. Lucifer’s.”

Technically my mother chose St. Lucifer’s . . . But there seemed no reason to interrupt just to clarify that bit of misinformation. Seknecus wandered around the room, picking through papers, flipping open and quickly shutting the front covers of various leather-bound books, never meeting my eye. I had no doubt, however, that his attention was fully focused on me.

“So, you see, seeing your name on my List wasn’t exactly a surprise, although it appeared much later than I would have liked.”

He did look at me then, with a frown of disapproval. I did my best to look expressionless because none seemed appropriate. It wouldn’t do to look amused, bored or, Luck forbid, rebellious. Seknecus stared at me with narrowed eyes and then went back to wandering.

“You’ve got some catching up to do,” he said, addressing a copy of Sin and Sanction: Codification & Case Law. “It doesn’t matter why or what excuses you’ve got for yourself. You will be held to the same standards as everyone else, regardless of whose daughter you are. And you’ve missed a lot of class already.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but he cut me off with a wave.

“Manipulation class,” he clarified. “You’re going to have to work ten times as hard as everyone else just to pass. Quintus Rochester doesn’t go easy on students and he’s likely to see your absence during the early part of the semester as a challenge. You know, failing is not an option. Not if you want to live.”

Guest Post...
Dark Light of Day's Technology Level: Halja is a Circa 1900's Fantasy World

Urban fantasy novels are often set in a contemporary setting. The stories may take place in an alternate world, but the places within which those stories are set are frequently based on real places. For fun, here's a list of popular UF/Fantasy/Paranormal series and a separate list of the real world places that inspired their settings. See if you can match them up:

1.      Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series
2.      Jim Butcher's Dresden Files
3.      Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series
4.      Cassandra Claire's Immortal Instruments series
5.      Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series
6.      Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series
7.      Karen Marie Moning's Fever series
8.      Kim Harrison's The Hollows series
A.   Cincinnati
B.   Chicago
C.   St. Louis
D.   Ireland
E.   Northwestern Louisiana
F.   Manhattan
G.   Atlanta
H.   Washington State

When I started writing my debut novel Dark Light of Day I knew I did not want to set it in any place that too closely mirrored reality. I knew, even if I was building an alternate world, I would still have to be fairly accurate in some of my setting details if the alternate world was based on a real place. And I didn't want to spend hours researching the answers to world building questions. I wanted to make them up. For me, it seemed easier -- and more fun -- to create a completely new place where my story would take place. So I created a country called Halja.

When I first explained the country's backstory to my husband, he called Halja an "upside-down world." But that makes it sound as if everyone's walking around on the ceilings, which, of course, isn't the case. What he meant though, was that instead of the meek inheriting the earth, the demons did -- and they "inherited it" or won it, more than 2,000 years before Dark Light of Day even opens. So the people of Halja -- the descendants of those who fought on both sides of Armageddon -- have had time to re-build their world.

But to what level of technology? Initially, I only knew that I didn't want to set the story in a medieval setting, nor did I want to set it in a Matrix-like setting. I knew I wanted cars, but not horses and carriages. I wanted letter writing, but no texting or e-mailing. And I definitely didn't want cell phones, computers, or airplanes. On the other hand, I wanted electricity and some modern conveniences. My editor helped me to shape and smooth Halja's technology level during revisions and I love what we came up with -- a circa 1900's fantasy setting.

To create the setting for Dark Light of Day, I gave many common, everyday items a circa 1900's fantasy make-over. For instance:

·         Telephones became "electro-harmonic machines." My inspiration for these frustratingly difficult to use communication devices came from the first telephones -- those wooden boxes that used to hang on the wall with separate ear and mouth pieces. My grandmother used to have an old, inoperable one hanging on the wall in her basement. When we were kids, my brother and I used to take turns standing on our tip-toes, shouting into it. I've always been fascinated by people's stories of "party lines" and telephone operators.

·         Elevators became "winder lifts." Even if you've never ridden in one, you know what an old elevator looks like. They're the kind with the gated fronts and the uniformed operators. Some of them have marble tiled floors, brass railings, and mahogany paneling. They are beautiful, vintage mechanical works of art from a bygone era. (Although Baltimore still has one, I believe, at One East Lexington Street).

·         Even make-up, fashion, and food got a retro Haljan make-over. Instead of stilettos, characters wear ballet slippers or ribboned platform shoes. Lipstick and nail polish became "pots of lip gloss" and "nail lacquer." Paella became "Lethe prawns and shallots" and plain, old chardonnay and merlot became apple wines infused with Angel spells.

In short, it was great fun building the world of Halja and I'm looking forward to sprinkling future books with similar setting details.

[Quiz Key: 1-H, 2-B, 3-G, 4-F, 5-E, 6-C, 7-D, 8-A]

So, readers, how about you? Do you like settings that are based on a real place? Somewhere you can actually visit? Or do you like settings that are completely made-up? One hundred percent fictional, where the only place you can visit them is on your own mind? Do you like contemporary settings and modern trappings? Or do you prefer historical or fantasy aesthetics? Let me know in the comments! A big thanks to Sarah here at Head Stuck in a Book for hosting me today! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio:
Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jill earned a bachelor of science from Penn State University and later moved to Baltimore to attend the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude. She went on to practice law as a “dirt lawyer” for ten years, specializing in real estate law, municipal development, commercial leasing, and anything involving exceedingly lengthy legalese-like contractual monstrosities.

Jill now lives in rural Maryland with her two children and husband, who is a recreational pilot. Weekends are often spent flying around in the family’s small Cessna, visiting tiny un-towered airfields and other local points of interest.

twitter: @archer_jill


  1. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for posting this, Sarah! Hope you're having a good Monday.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to introduce us to this book.