Title: Serpent’s Kiss
Author: Layla Dorine
Publisher: Encompass Ink
Release Date: April 7th 2017
Cover Art: Rue Volley
Genre: Paranormal, Gay Romance
While searching for their missing sibling, Zaiden and his sister, Kaandhal come across the last pure blooded psy-clairvoyant of their kind. Unfortunately for them, Darian has no idea what he truly is and isn’t much interested in learning, or in helping them locate their brother, Zxex.
A bounty hunter by trade, who’s been all but banished from his family due to his visions, Darian’s a bit cynical about his ability to be of any assistance to them. Never-the-less, Zaiden brings him back to their home Rhumba, where Darian discovers that very little is what it seems.
With plots unfolding all around them and discoveries about his own heritage leaving Darian reeling, he is left with the choice of whether to embrace who and what he is, or spend every moment with them a prisoner on the fringes of their society.
Add in a pesky little bond that only seems to grow the more time he and Zaiden spend together, and several factions looking to gain possession of him and Darian is left wondering if his visions just might be the least of his troubles.
It took him back to another time, to home, when he was still too young to fully understand just how differently he was being treated. In those days, when the flashes of the future he glimpsed showed moments of sadness, he did everything he could to cheer the other person up. When he caught glimpses of troubled times, he attempted to give warnings, going so far as to throw himself between his older brother and a heavy piece of iron seconds before it fell. His leg had been broken for his efforts, but it was better than the vision he’d received of his brother with a huge, bloody gash in his skull, twitching in the hallway.
Blinking back the memory, he drew away from her touch and its warmth. “It only seemed to scare them more,” he admitted.
“But that was no fault of yours,” Kaandhal insisted. “The fault lay with them. Everything you attempted to do was out of love for them, and they repaid that love with scorn and fear, pushing you aside for it. You did not deserve that. Now we are giving you a second chance, but this time, it is up to you to take it. You can hold on to the pain that you carry, you can continue to lash out at the world over the actions of a handful, or you can stand up and be a man and do what you were born to do.”
He was silent for a moment, studying her.
“And if I choose not to use my gifts?” he asked. “If I choose to keep burying them, then what? Your brother seems convinced that someone is going to come hunting me. I’ve got nowhere to go. Will you throw me out of here if I don’t do what you want?”
Tight lipped she shook her head, regarding him sadly. “No. This is your home for as long as you choose to live in it.”
The shock must have registered on his face because her expression changed. “I am so sorry that you’ve grown up to be so skeptical of people.”
“I…” he stammered, shocked at the honest emotion in her voice. “Thanks.”
She smiled then, a soft one, honest and kind. “I have faith in you, Darian. You are capable of great things and I know you will help us bring Zxex back home where he belongs.”
“I wish I was as sure of that as you are,” he admitted. “Kyle…Zxex and I had one hell of a falling out.”
“Might I ask what it was about?” she asked.
Another heavy sigh escaped him as he sank down on the edge of the bed and buried his head in his hands. “He saw me the same way that you do, but more than that, when I looked into his eyes I accidently saw the future, my future and how it related to him.” Darrell shook his head. “I couldn’t handle it, the trust, the expectation. You do know what I do for a living, right? Why there were guns all over my place?”
“Yes,” Kaandhal acknowledged. “You are a bounty hunter, or were, you will not need to make that kind of a living here.”
“And you know that I use my gifts to help me find the people I’m chasing,” he prompted. “That I dig around in the heads of their friends and family until I find the clues I need to locate them. Then I bring them in and I collect on their misfortune.”
“You regret it.”
“How can you tell?” he asked. “Reading my mind again?”
“No, it is in the sound of your voice and the sorrowful look in your eyes. It’s in the way you are curling in on yourself, as if you wish to hide. You do not have to be ashamed here either, Darian. None will hold your past against you. This is a clean slate. All you need to do is embrace it.
♢ Author Interview
Layla Dorine was kind enough to answer a few questions so we could learn a little bit about her and her writing methods:
- Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
Well, I live in the Midwest, but grew up on Guam as my folks were military. I’ve been writing since I was little, I started out with poetry and moved to lyrics and later roleplays in a gaming world. My primary writing goal is just to write every day and continue to share the stories my characters are kind enough to share with me. As long as it stays fun and the characters keep things interesting, I’ll keep on writing.
- Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
Thank you. Serpent’s Kiss explores the world of Snake Shapeshifters, and what it’s like for the main character, Darian, to discover that he is really a pure blooded snake shifter and a very sought after one at that. My favorite aspect of the story is the interactions between Darian and Zaiden and how they come to deal with the bond that begins to form between them. They have such conflicting personalities at times and yet, at their core, there is so much alike about them, that if they weren’t so stubborn, they’d clearly be able to see it. My favorite character of all is Darian, not just because so much of the story revolves around him, but for how much he learns and grows over the course of it. At heart, despite how jaded he is, he has a strong moral compass and a sense of nobility. It was such fun watching him come to navigate their world.
- Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?
Honestly, it’s a coin flip. Serpent’s Kiss was done by the seat of my pants. The characters told me the story and I just jotted it down. No planning went into it and I was surprised several times by some of the twists and turns that took place. Character would pop up and I’d sit back and go, ‘now who the hell is this’ because they would appear out of nowhere, play their part and melt away, and yet, for that brief time they were important. When I do plan a novel I find that plans change all of the time. It’s really up to the characters. If I know them well, I can just dive in, but if I start with an idea and am uncertain of who the characters are, that’s when I do a lot of planning in the beginning, just to try to get a better grasp on things before I sit down at the computer.
- Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?
Oh, deadlines, I must say I despise them and I hate setting any and unless I am working on an anthology story I really haven’t had cause to have to deal with them. They tend to stress me out. Like an execution date looming over my head, because typically, I don’t write something until the characters are ready. If they’re loud, then it’s time to work, if not, it just seems forced and I don’t like forcing things.
- Do you schedule a certain amount of time for writing each day/week, or do you just work it in when you can? Would you like to change this, or does your current method work well for you?
No, I don’t tend to schedule much, I find it very stifling. I have a day planner that tells me if I have to be somewhere out of the ordinary, but otherwise, my days are pretty much wide open since I work from home and only do correspondence work for the local paper. Other than that, I am a full time author and it is such a pleasure to wake up in the morning and do what I love.
- What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?
I think I spent the most time researching Python scale patterns and picking out the perfect one for what I envisioned Darian’s scale patterns were like. I found myself being really picky and trying to match what was in my head to what I saw, which proved to be quite the task.
- How do you develop a story idea? Do you always use the same method? Specifically, which do you develop first in your story building, the characters or the plot?
I tend to write very organically, so I start with the first scene that pops in my head and I work outward. Picture a movie, or a play, that’s how my stories come to me. I don’t set out to develop a part because the characters will do that for me, they will show me their world, all I have to do is listen. I never know how a story will end, or where it will end, or if it will be open ended so a second story can be launched from the first. In that way, it’s like a surprise party every writing session, because I am seeing it for the first time as it goes onto the page.
- What are your favorite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?
Well let’s see, Paranormal has always been one of my favorite genres, and most of my print book collection fits into that genre. I don’t buy as many print books anymore though, simply because of space issues, but I do love to revisit the ones I have.
♢ Author Bio/Links
LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.