Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway w/ Kylie Griffin

A Visual Feast…
(aka Heart-pounding Heroes & Breath-taking Heroines)
I never used to search for pictures to find inspiration for the heroes or heroines of my books. My heroes tended to be my actor crush for the month – Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale – while the heroines were modelled on kick-ass TV/movie characters like Sarah Connor (Terminator), Selene (Underworld), or Eowyn (LOTR) all of whom were very capable, strong-willed, independent women.
But then I went to a couple of workshops on collaging at writers’ conferences, and bam! I found myself searching out images on the internet to find pictures to match my heroes and heroines.
Being a visual person (photography and patching are two of my passions) I wondered why this idea hadn’t occurred to me before because it really appealed to me. I love making maps of the worlds I create. I have files of photos on backgrounds for the settings in my stories, the same for armour/clothing and weapons – all used as reference material as I wrote my stories.
Why not pictures of cover models/actors/people for my characters? Well, that deficiency has now been seen to and I’d like to introduce you to some of my heroes and heroines from the Light Blade series.
For Arek in ALLEGIANCE SWORN, my newest release, I came across this image before I even knew who the actor was. Yes, I know, shame on me for not knowing Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth, but I’ve more than made up for that shortfall!
The rakish blond hair, the hard jaw line with beard stubble, the brooding look in his eyes was Arek to a T! Chris Hemsworth portrays a fantastic Arek and Gene Mollica (my cover artist) managed a great match with the cover model he used in his photo shoot.
And let’s not forget Imhara, Arek’s heroine. Strong-willed, no-nonsense, passionate. I love the intensity in her expression on the cover of ALLEGIANCE SWORN and that she’s in some kick-ass armour holding an awesome sword. After all she’s the leader of her people and has survived numerous assassination attempts.
Varian, the hero of ALLIANCE FORGED, wasn’t hard to find an image for. I had a young Jamie Durie (from Manpower Australia) picked out to represent him almost from the first. Tall, built (‘cause he’s a warrior), and long, dark hair – almost the typical hero – but Varian has a scar that stretches from the corner of his eye to the bottom of his jaw. Finding a picture of a man with a scar wasn’t easy. Actually, it was down right impossible, so it’s lucky Varian was portrayed on the cover and the scar was added in digitally!


And if you’ve already read ALLIANCE FORGED you know Varian’s a tortured hero, and again, Gene Mollica portrayed this with the male cover model. The eyes give him that brooding, intense look I could imagine in Varian’s gaze.
Searching for an image of Kymora, the heroine, proved easier. Classically beautiful and graceful, there were plenty of long, dark haired cover models to choose from. Her determination to the point of stubbornness (and some might call her pushy) counterbalances her beauty.


For VENGEANCE BORN, Kalan had to be older, more worldly experienced and leader-like – a firm jawline and beard stubble does that for me. You’ll notice all my Light Blade warriors also all have longer than average hair lengths, very Aragorn from LOTR but it fits with the world they live in.

Annika on the cover of Vengeance Born is EXACTLY as I imagined her to be. Again, very beautiful, but she has no allusions to just how attractive she is given she was brought up to loath the markings on her face and body, exposed to insults and receiving abused for being half-demon.
So, what do you think? If you’ve read the Light Blade series, are these characters the ones you imagined them to be?
Do you like seeing the characters portrayed on the covers of the books you read, or would you prefer to form impressions of the heroes and heroines just from the text?
Vengeance Born

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…
Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy.
With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons—and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.
When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council—and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war…

Alliance Forged

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a blind priestess lays claim to a half-breed warrior, body and soul…
Hunted and marked for death by Na’Reish demons for their half-blood heritage, the Na’Chi are searching for a new home—something an alliance offered by the human leader could provide. With both races divided by prejudice, when Light Blade rebels brutally attack the Na’Chi, the alliance seems doomed to fail.
Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, a hybrid race of gifted warriors, is cursed with the darker impulses of his demon heritage. Controlling the part of himself that craves the high of the battle is a struggle he’s afraid he’ll lose—until he meets Kymora Tayn, a priestess driven to serve her deity. While he’s unwilling to trust anyone outside his people, he finds himself drawn to Kymora’s strength and passionate nature, and discovers she has the power to calm the darkness inside him.
When the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart a war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human— is an alliance. However, when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves.
Allegiance Sworn

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a demon leader seeks to unify the races…
With the alliance of the humans and the half-blood Na’Chi forged, the demon Na’Reish prepare for war by seizing human blood-slaves. Captured during a rescue mission-gone-wrong, Light Blade warrior Arek Barial finds himself claimed by a Na’Reishi female who offers him an unexpected choice.
Raised in the elite ranks of a society she abhors, Imhara Kaal lives a dangerous double life as a Na’Reish Clan-leader and an advocate for a caste-free life that honors the Old Ways. Openly rebelling against the Na’Reish would mean her death, unless she can find an emissary willing to present her petition to the human Blade council.
But Arek isn’t about to blindly follow a demon—despite the intense attraction growing between them. And while hatred for the Na’Reish is all he has ever known, Arek must learn to trust Imhara, or risk the destruction of all three races…

Kylie Griffin
Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her childhood adventures.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.
Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit her website at www.kyliegriffin.com


I’m giving away a signed copy of ALLEGIANCE SWORN and VENGEANCE BORN (mass market) to celebrate the release of both books this month (AS as a trade, and VB in mass market format). It’s open internationally, so join in the discussion and leave your email address so you can be contacted, and you’ll go into the draw! Good luck!

Thank you so much Kylie for joining us today and for the amazing giveaway.


  1. i must have allegiance sworn, i've heard so many good thing about this series that i really want to discover it ( i got book1for my birthday yes!!)

    i do like the choice of actors too

    thank you a lot for the iternational giveaway


    1. My pleasure, Miki. Fingers crossed in the draw then. :-)


  2. Mmmmmm yummy, what a great visual when thinking about characters! I'd love to get these to read!

    crystalwoodmancy AT gmail DOT com

    1. Looking for these guys and girls online was a lot of fun. We writers call it research (and sometimes procrastination) but if it helps in the long run...then I'm all for it! LOL

  3. I have read so many great things about your series. I cant wait to get to start it. Congrats on the new release!!

    baccuhs76 at myself dot com

    1. G'day, Donnas, thanks! Nice avatar - I'm a bit of a cat person myself. :-)

      So do you prefer to see the characters portrayed on the books you read? Or just a hint of who they are (ie.heads chopped off on covers)?

  4. Hi Kylie! We used to have a huge mango tree in our backgarden & my sisters & I used to play Magical Faraway Tree on it (one of my fav Enid Blyton books as a kid). Unfortunately I don't have your talent for telling stories. My elder sis used to be the leader. I was the pest of the family :p
    I have Vengeance Born (1 of my fav books!) & so hoping to win Allegiance Sworn.


    1. I think almost every kid had a tree to play in and turned it into something imaginative. Awesome fun, Linda.

      Oh, and your preference is duly noted. Thanks! :-)

  5. Love the eye candy yum yum yum :) Hope you are having a fantastic week.


    1. It's a hard life as an author sometimes, but we've got to research, Wanda. LOL

  6. I do love Jamie Durie. Fabulous actor choices & loved learning how they inspired the cover characters.


    1. Thanks, Mary. I remember seeing Jamie when he was a young man with Manpower Australia. Who'd have thought then that he'd inspire one of my characters??? :-)

  7. Kylie

    I am loving this series and I so love the covers you really have awesome ones and the people you have chosen as the heroes and heroines are a perfect match. I am just about finished Alligance Sworn and am savouring every word this book is so sensual I can hardly put it down. thank you so much for the wonderful hours of reading pleasure you have given me in this series

    Have Fun

    1. I can't thank Gene Mollica enough for the beautiful covers he created, Helen. He's awesome!

      And it's doubly awesome to hear you're enjoying the series! :-)

  8. I love the idea of using a photo of someone. I find when I get stuck you can almost look at the picture and say. What are you thinking right now. Your covers are fantastic and give a real feel as to what to expect from the stories.

    1. Maggie, I love putting together the portfolio for the art department to send on to Gene Mollica (cover artist). They have such a great grasp of the concept of the series.

  9. So glad I stopped here to see your post Kylie! Love the pictures! The characters usually are just in my mind but I don't mind seeing examples at all, not with so many hot men :) I will keep Chris in mind when I start Allegiance Sworn.

    eyesofblueice (at) gmail

    1. Ahh, Lexi, Chris is perfect for Arek. I love his look with the longer hair and beard stubble. So Arek!

  10. Ohh, love the resemblance of Kalan with Aragorn. But I love Aragorn more, lol! I like the way you picture them Kylie, help me to imagine how they look alike. Also love the cover, I think all the cover of your books are beautiful :)

    Thanks for the giveaway
    sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com

    1. The visual images do help, don't they? And yes, the covers are gorgeous, Ren. I'm blessed to have had Gene Mollica as the cover artist on all three in the series. :-)

  11. I've heard great things about this series, those pictures are just to die for. Can imagine the characters that go with those faces ;)

    Thank you for the giveaway, fingers crossed :D


    1. Ahh, Ana, a familiar face! I think i just saw you over at TRC!!! :-)

      The heroes/actors, particularly Chris H. matching Arek to a T, were fun to research!

  12. Awesome images!! Love seeing how that all came together.

    Heidi Taylor

  13. Thanks for the 'behind-the-scenes' look! I first discovered this series (and it's been on my TBR since) because I was browsing Gene Mollica's website! The woman's gaze on Vengeance Born is just so intense and powerful.

    On seeing the characters portrayed on the covers - It depends. I'm not a huge fan of those headless men/woman ones. If they were going to show the character, I'd want them to actually look like the characters at least (i.e. right hair color).

    celeste_fiore {at} live [dot] com

    1. Lynn, how awesome you discovered the Light Blade series through Gene's website! Annika (the character on VENGEANCE BORN) makes for an amazing cover - she is so compelling.

      I have to admit I cried with happiness the first time I saw that book cover.

      Like you, I'm not a fan of the headless cover model. LOL

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