June 10, 2012

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Kylie Griffin

It is my immense pleasure to welcome author Kylie Griffin to My Book Chatter, and boy are you guys in for a treat!
Kylie is going to share some insights into her sexy leading man Varian today, and as an extra special treat, she is also giving away a Varian T-shirt to one lucky commenter!!
Be sure to check the details at the end of this post for your chance to win.

So without further ado, please welcome, Kylie Griffin...

Kylie Griffin
G'day everyone! I've been looking forward to visiting Cath's blog for some time now and meeting some of her readers. I'm getting really excited about my book release for ALLIANCE FORGED (Bk#2 in the Light Blade series - Berkley Sensation, July 3rd 2012) and can't think of a better way to kick of my blog tour than starting here!

Now I know some of Cath's readers are into paranormal romance with a passion. So, I thought it might be of interest to some to learn a little about the hot guy on the cover. He's garnered quite a bit of interest, mostly from those of the female persuasion :-), although there have been a few guys asking why I used them as my cover model (they have quite vivid imaginations! LOL).

Back to the hot cover dude. If you haven't read the back cover blurb, I'd like you to meet Varian. He belongs to a race of people called the Na'Chi - a half human, half demon hybrid species. Not only is he the leader of a rag-tag bunch of outcasts but he's also a warrior. Being part demon he's inherited their incredible strength and enhanced senses and as he's of mixed blood these traits are augmented during battle (this is a Gift from the human deity known as the Lady). The Gift has kept him, and the rest of the Na'Chi, safe from the Na'Reish demons who consider them a bloodborn disgrace and would see them all dead.
Super Sexy Varian
Imagine having such abilities. Who wouldn't want to experience such incredible power and prowess in battle? Should I reveal now that Varian actually fears his Na'Reish heritage? For him, having such a Gift is a double-edged sword - it helps him protect his people but the kicker is the risk he takes every time he goes into battle. Letting his Na'Reish side loose leaves him open to battle-rush, an insatiable hunger to take a life, the thrill of the kill. That addiction could one day overwhelm him and turn him into a mindless beast who is unable to tell friend from foe. And having spent most of his life honing and using his Gift, Varian is finding it harder and harder to control that side of him.

Does he lose control? Yes.
Does he hurt anyone? Yes! (and I'm not referring to the Na'Reish demons he disposes of either)
More importantly, does he manage to conquer the beast? Well, that's something you're just going to have to find out for yourself when you read ALLIANCE FORGED! ;-)

Let's check out the cover again *grin* - yeah, I know, it's a burden, but someone has to do it, and it may as well be you!

If you look really closely at Varian's eyes you might notice they're a violet color. This is a special feature of the Na'Chi. But wait, there's more! There are flecks within the violet that change color with the moods and emotions they're feeling. It's one way to tell a Na'Chi from a Na'Reish demon.

If you've read VENGEANCE BORN, you'll have meet Annika, the heroine, who is also Na'Chi. And if you recall the scene in the forest when Kalan threatened to kill her, you'll remember the flecks in her eyes turned yellow. The emotion she was feeling was fear. Their eyes are an easy way for others to gauge what they're feeling.

Being a warrior-type, Varian gives new meaning to the words stoic and reserved, he keeps his emotions and thoughts pretty much to himself. So you'd think changing eye colors would come in handy for Kymora, our heroine in ALLIANCE FORGED, to discover what Varian's feeling, right?

Weeeeellllll ... no. She's blind.

But, like Varian, she has a Gift - the ability to read auras and through that their emotions, and the accuracy of her readings increase if she's able to make skin to skin contact. So while she can't see Varian's eyes she compensates for it this way. It made for some interesting scenes between them, especially once Varian found out about her Gift!

If you'd like to read more about Varian and Kymora in ALLIANCE FORGED you can visit my website to read an excerpt (http://www.kyliegriffin.com/AF_Excerpt.html).
In the meantime, here's the back cover blurb to whet your appetite:

(Book #2 of the Light Blade series)
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.
Cath, thanks so much for inviting me along. I hope everyone has enjoyed learning a little more about Varian, my hero from ALLIANCE FORGED!
If you have any questions or would like to know more about either our hero or heroine, just ask. :-) 

Thanks Kylie, I for one can not wait to get my hands on Varian, I mean, a copy of Alliance Forged! 
Okay people this is it...for your chance to win a gorgeous Varian t-shirt answer this question: What features make a good book cover for you?

Leave your answer and a valid email address in a comment below and you're in
the draw!!

I will 'randomly' pick a winner at the end of Kylie's blog tour and email the
winner with details on how to claim their prize :)

Be sure to check out Kylie's blog for more tour destinations for your chance to
win more Light Blade swag and Alliance Forged ARC's.

If you'd like more information about Kylie Griffin and her books,

here are some links that may interest you =D



  1. thank you so much for the insight into varian, he is sexy sexy :P
    for me a cover has to catch my eye, meaning bright colours with a hot guy always helps. the font has to be eye popping. and sometimes i like dark and gothic covers that have a splash of colour :)
    thank you for the giveaway :)

  2. Wow love it!! Great post and blog as well:) I have not read any of Kylie books but they sure sound very good! I think the features that make a good book cover is just the WOW factor and that it has something to do with the story! I think covers really make you buy a book and if you have not heard anything about it it makes you more opt to buy. The cover just need to be pop materially!:) Thanks for the giveaway!!

    paranormalbookclub (at) hotmail (dot) com

  3. Hi Kylie!

    Really enjoyed your first book (as did hubby!)

    A great cover IMHO - keep it simple but eye-catching. I love having the hero or heroine front and centre with a vague reveal of the setting in the background =)

  4. Fun post, and congrats on Alliance Forged, Kylie! For me, a clean design, with some eyecatching art that gives me a good feel for the type of story inside makes a good cover. I like covers that reflect the mood and style of the story. If they include a shot of the hunky hero and/or heroine, all the better :)

    No need to include me in the draw--thanks so much!

  5. Great post, and I can't wait for Alliance Forged to be released! What a very pretty cover it is. I'm with Mel, a hint of landscape to set the scene and the hero and or heroine front and centre. Nice and simple.

  6. Looks fab, Kylie!
    I think the best book covers are the ones that tell you what you'll be reading... in this case a book with a very sexy hero! Good luck with your release day.

  7. Hi Kylie,

    for me, your book is the example of features that make a good book cover, always love all your cover boooks, great designer :)


  8. Um, Kylie, just one important question: does Varian come with the shirt as well as on it? ; P
    I actually love your covers, they're aesthetically pleasing with more than enough to spark my imagination as I read the story. I loved Annika on the cover of Vengeance Born and this one with Varian is pretty damn near perfect too. I can't wait to see the cover of Allegiance Sworn!

  9. Hi, Kylie,
    I'm looking forward to my copy of Alliance Forged to arrive from The Book Depository. I'm hoping you'll be able to sign in at conference. :)

    As for covers... colours that contrast, fonts that reflect the theme of the book and yes, I admit it, a well sculptured hero does not offend me. :) Images that reveal the world within the story also attract my interest.

  10. Sounds interesting. Like your blog...comprehensive. Tweeted and promoted it.

    I also joined your blog via GFC and followed it via networked blog

    Would love if you returned the favor and found the time to do both...on my blog. You have to scroll down past the other blogs to see the faces. My blog is http://www.thefatandtheskinnyonwellness.com/2012/06/audra-mcdonald-accepting-her-award.html

    Thanks so much. I appreciate your support. Gracias.

  11. Has to reflect mood of the story... that said a hot man on the front doesn't let it down either ;P

    Congrats Kylie!!

    Kelly Ethan

  12. Many times, it's the background which captures my attention. There is a trilogy which features a different handsome man on the cover but the background had fire and ancient historical sites. The backgrounds really caught my eye.

    Tracey D

  13. I have been waiting and waiting for Varian's story ever since I put down Vengeance Born! And this post just brought all those feelings back. Can't wait!!

  14. Wow what a hot cover! Besides the smoking hot Varian, the light colors,background capture the eye- Very eye-catching. Sounds like a great novel. Much success to you and before I go I must look again at the cover. :)

  15. Definitely a cover featuring a hot, sexy, half naked alpha male! :) Tattoos wouldn't hurt either... hehe

    I love the cover for Kylie Griffin's Alliance book! I love guys with long hair but very few can pull it off but the model in the cover pulls it off perfectly! :)

    Thank you for the giveaway!


  16. # Alice! The first comment for the post... :-) - Varian is a hot hero, isn't he? (reminds me a little bit of Jamie Durie when he was with Manpower Australia - sigh!)
    Ohh, the dark, Gothic sort of cover with a splash of colour certainly catches the eye doesn't it. One series I can think of that did that recently for me is Kristen Painter's Blood series - the one where most of the pictures of the heroine are grey and the title and something else on the cover is bright red.

  17. #Hi Bella! :-) I get what you mean by the WOW factor - it's something that's hard to define but when you see it, you know it. Gene Mollica (who's the cover artist for my Light Blade series) has also done the cover of Moonglow by Kristen Callihan - it's stunning.

    It has the heroine in this gorgeous green dress carrying a lantern - a golden orb-like glow in the a cover that is predominately green forest. And while it may seem like it's just a girl in the forest, the more you look, the more details you see in the picture and they have to be related to the story. I know Gene likes to take the little details and work them in to give greater meaning to his covers.

  18. #Hi Mel! Thanks for dropping by. I still think it's great your DH read my book!!! I've honestly been surprised by how many guys have picked up VENGEANCE BORN and read it. They make the excuse of saying it was the cover that got them - LOL - but then a few have told me that "the story wasn't bad" and I take those sorts of comments as compliments. :-)

  19. #flchen 1 - thanks for calling in and commenting (are you sure we can't tempt you to enter the draw?). Hmm, I know what you mean by getting a cover that reflects some of the story within, nothing worst than having a vague or misleading picture.
    I like to see whatever character on the front actually reflect the character in the book. So if they have blond hair then they should have it on the cover too.

  20. #Kylie, another vote for the hint of landscape & character. Sometimes too much detail can distract, can't it?

    #Hi Jess, thanks for the good wishes! And yes, you're definitely getting a story with a sexy hero with ALLIANCE FORGED.

    #Eli, thank you for your compliment on AF. I know you followed my VENGEANCE BORN blog tour, so you'd know this already, but for those new to this series, the cover artist is Gene Mollica (www.genemollica.com). He works for quite a few publishers and has created covers for authors - L.A.Banks, Patricia Briggs, Richelle Mead, and C.E.Murphy & Ellen Connor, just to name a few.

  21. # Hi, CTGreen! ;-) I'm hanging out to see the cover for ALLEGIANCE SWORN too! Shouldn't be much longer now! LOL
    As for Varian coming with the t-shirt, well, all I can say is, are you prepared to take Kymora on? She uses a staff to help her get around but it also doubles as a weapon! :-D

  22. #Sandy, hunt me down at conference, I'd be thrilled to sign you copy of ALLIANCE FORGED for you! :-) Thanks for buy it!!!
    Having now gone through the whole making of a cover process, I really make the time to check out a book's cover and appreciating the time and effort given to it.
    Leis Pederson, my editor, has involved me in the cover making process of all of my books. She's asked for a mini-portfolio of ideas of what I'd like to see on the cover of my books. I submit photos of models who resemble the characters, landscapes, armor, clothes, written descriptions of the characters & pivotal scenes.
    She takes that to a cover conference with the art department and between her and the art director they come up with a concept. They send that and my portfolio of ideas to the cover artist and he works with that to produce the cover.
    Once it comes back to the publishing house, the title, back cover blurb etc are inserted. It's sent to my agent and I for a quick look. Tweaks are requests and a few months later you have a book cover!
    Fascinating process.

  23. #Hi goldensylph, thanks for dropping by. :-)

  24. #Hey, Kelly, great to see you here! A good looking guy on the cover certainly appeals to me too. They don't have to be face on. For example, I remember buying one of the very few historical romances I own based on the cover shot alone. It was New Zealand author Helen Kirkman's FORBIDDEN.
    The cover shot features a dark haired hero with his back to the camera, bare back, hands bound. No idea until later what the story line was all about (turns out he was a slave bought by a lady who needed his help to get out of trouble) but it just captivated me.

  25. #Tracey, the covers you're describing sound awesome - I don't suppose you remember the name of the series?
    One series I like for the simplicity of style/colour is Kevan Hearne's The Iron Druid Chronicles.
    They feature the hero on the front in various warrior-like poses, each cover has a single predominate colour, and the guy has a Celtic tattoo on his forearm. I saw the first book, HOUNDED on a shelf and picked it up. My favourite though is HEXED, there's such intensity in it.

  26. #Lexi, that is so good to hear! Thank you! I do hope you enjoy ALLIANCE FORGED as much as you did VENGEANCE BORN. :-)

    #Amber, by all means, feel free to oogle the cover & Varian all you like! LOL
    I love Gene's use of colour on both VB & AF. The backgrounds he's featured on both are scenes/landscapes from the story. VENGEANCE BORN is a wintery, snow filled scene with mountains in the background. Annika's story takes place in winter and the mountains are those close to Sacred Lake, the city where Kalan takes her.
    In ALLIANCE FORGED, the book opens with Varian and the Na'Chi living in these mountains, and they and the Light Blade warriors who've come to live with them train in the forests nearby. This is the scene on the front cover. I love the earthy colours - the greens & browns.
    Very cool, eh?

  27. #YWLiang, thank you for the compliment on the cover, and yes, this guy does manage to do the long-dark haired hero well. Sigh. :-)
    While tattoo's are pretty common on paranormal/UF covers if they're done well, they really work, don't they?
    For those unfamiliar with the Light Blade series, the markings you see on Annika on VENGEANCE BORN and Varian here on ALLIANCE FORGED are actually genetic skin markings. They run down the sides of their faces, necks, shoulders and then curve over to their shoulder blades,and down either side of their spine, buttocks and backs of their legs to their ankles.
    The Na'Reish demons have them too but they tend to be much darker and more defined.

  28. Nice to see all the great comments on here :)
    It doesnt take much to intice me to buy a book, put a half naked sexy man with muscley forearms and maybe some tattoos on the cover and I'll buy it...yes I'm shallow and freely admit it!!!
    Then again I love a dreamy, whimsical cover too :)
    Keep up all the great comments =D

  29. #Cath, I think there are a lot of buyers out there who would agree with you! LOL
    It's great to meet some new faces here - I've enjoyed reading people's comments. :-)

  30. I want you to know, I thought a LONG time about this... and I don't have an answer! I like all different kinds of covers for a lot of different reasons, so I couldn't come up with a good answer. In general, I think black and white covers are a fav for me (like Kresley Cole's IAD or Larissa Ione's LOD), but then I look at Vengenace Born and love that one too, so really, I haven't got a clue what that special something is. Having said that, I usually either love a cover or hate it. There isn't much in between...

  31. #Aimee, I appreciate your honest answer. Everyone's different and that's what makes talking about books so interesting.
    As Bella mentioned - she knows a good cover when she sees it. I suspect the same of you, despite not having a strong preference for one type or another. :-)

  32. Hi Cath and Kylie! Great post!
    Kylie, I love the sound of your strong but vulnerable Varian! And that cover is scrumptious - as is your first cover!
    I like covers that reflect the story while being visually appealing. I know it's naughty to judge a book by its cover... but I do find it annoying to buy something that suggests I'm getting one type of story when it turns out that the book is something else entirely.
    No fear of that with your gorgeous covers - they promise excitement and drama and a different world and that's what you deliver!

  33. Nice post. I like bright colors and not a cluttered cover.


  34. #Sharon, Varian is an intriguing mix of strength and vulnerability.
    The many decisions he has to make to safeguard his people yet ensure the alliance works is a real balancing act. Throw his growing feelings for Kymora into the mix and it's just that much more difficult for him! His responsibilities play havoc with his personal feelings.
    He knows his decisions aren't always popular, and when events start to hot up (aka the rebels & with Kymora), he's faced with the impossible task of making sure everyone's needs are met without compromising their safety. He understands everyone has to change, himself included, but realising it and achieving the goal isn't always that easy.
    I had a lot of fun writing him (does that sound mean and evil, torturing him like this? LOL).

  35. #bn100 - thanks for dropping in and commenting. :-)

  36. Kylie, you have the most glorious book covers. I showed off my copy of VENGEANCE BORN to my sis & she was suitably impressed but I'm not letting her get her hands on my copy!! LOL.

    I like covers which are detailed and clean colors. I'm not particularly fond of abstract designs or cut off/partial features.

    Can't wait to read Alliance Forged!


  37. #Hi Linda, I'm with you on the cut off/partial features thumbs down. I know as readers we tend to make up an image of characters in our minds but the whole missing body parts thing just makes the cover look incomplete (IMHO).
    And thank you for buying VB and for sharing your story! LOL Good to hear your sister was suitably impressed with it.
    Gene (cover artist) is so chuffed when I email to let him know that his work is appreciated.

  38. @kylie you are sooo sweet for replying to all the comments, and yes i totally agree with you on kristen painter's series

    BTW thank you so much for signing vengeance born for me for my birthday, stacey in australia got it for me for my birthday and sent it to me :) and then i read it in one sitting as i couldnt put it down, was completly amazing :)

  39. #Alice, what a great friend Stacey is! LOL I remember our emails back and forth over this "gift for a friend" - it was a pleasure to be a part of the birthday process (Happy Belated Birthday), and I'm chuffed you enjoyed VB. I love hearing how you read it in one sitting. Thank you! :-)

  40. Great post! I loved Varian in the first book and am really looking forward to this book. Covers need to be pleasing to the eye. Whether it's the model of the scenery it needs to blend with each other but should also go with the story.

  41. #Kristina, hey! It's interesting seeing what everyone likes in a cover but it looks like everyone likes the cover to reflect the story line of the book.

    Only 16 days to go before you get your hands on Varian! :-)

  42. Hi Cath and Kylie. I can't wait to read this one. I can't remember when I liked a secondary character set more than in Vengance Born. You managed a great set up for this book without compromising the payoff of the first story, which was very neatly done, Miss Kylie!

  43. Thank, Imelda, I'm glad you enjoyed the secondary storyline of Kymora & Varian in VENGEANCE BORN.

    The adventure continues for them in ALLIANCE FORGED...enjoy!

  44. ugh. try again, different things attract me to covers, just dont like odd cartoonish covers


    dlsmilad at yahoo dot com

  45. Hey, Dina! Thanks for dropping in! So, I'm guessing by your comment, no manga? :-)

  46. I don't like it when people are on the cover. I like to use my imagination when it comes to what the people look like. And covers with the people do kinda influence me on what they look like. I think the title should be bold and in an interesting font. Sorry but Times New Roman is everywhere so not that font. And colors that seem to match the genre of the book. You wouldn't use pinks and light purples for a dark gothic book.
    thanks for the chance to enter.

  47. So a great color scheme, I like abstracts and then there is stuff like the cover like Obsidian or ReVamped or all of the Fallen series those amazing dresses!!! My goodness I want to own every single one of them.

    Thanks for the giveaway! BTW I LOVE your cover Kylie! It catches the eye and draws you in and he is just Yummy!

    tobihelton at gmail dot com

  48. I think something mysterious and eye-catching, with the proper use of colors, and if your characters are sexy—definitely feature them on the cover, just as Kylie has. Kylie, I have a question, do you work with a cover design team? Where did you get your model for this cover? And lastly, do you have your covers done before you start the book, during writing it, or after it's finished? Your book has intrigued me and I'll surely be adding it to my Good Reads shelf :-):

  49. Hi Anon (Heather31swpa),
    It's interesting how varied people's taste are when it comes to covers and what goes on them.

    One of the things I find intriguing are the "styles" associated with different genres ie. historical romances tend to have a woman and a man in period dress, urban fantasy a kick-ass woman in leather, usually with a blade of some sort, and so on.

    Thanks for sharing your viewpoint on covers.

  50. Tobi, thank you - Varian has certainly garnered a LOT of attention since people began seeing him on the cover of ALLIANCE FORGED.

    The cover model's name is Matthew D.Fox and if you Google him you'll find a very nice portfolio of photos of him.

    Wow, the whole Lauren Kate/Fallen series is visually stunning - you're right, those dresses are gorgeous!

  51. Ashley, my editor asked me for my ideas concerning the covers for each of my books.

    Have to admit I was surprised but please to be asked as I was under the impression authors had very little input into their covers.

    So when Leis was due to go to a cover conference with the art department at Berkley she'd email me and ask me for my ideas.

    I'd put together a portfolio of descriptions of the characters, photos of models/scenery/buildings/clothing/weapons etc. that I felt best portrayed my story and the characters.

    She took it to the meeting with the art director and between them and my portfolio, they'd come up with a brief for the cover artist.

    The cover artist for my Light Blade series is Gene Mollica (www.genemollica.com). I did an interview with him late last year on my blog if you'd like to know the details he went to to construct VENGEANCE BORN - http://kyliegriffinromance.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/do-you-judge-book-by-its-cover-part-1.html

    But basically he reads the brief, looks at the pictures sent through, works out which models he needs and gets/orders the costumes/props. Once he's photographed the model/s he then photoshops in the background and digital effects.

    Gene has worked with Matt Fox (the cover model for ALLIANCE FORGED) before, they're good friends. Matt is a 6ft 2in., 27y.o New Yorker. Other than the longer hair (which was a wig) what you see on the cover of AF is who Matt is in real life - nice, eh? :-)

    Once Gene has the cover done he sends it back to the Berkley art dept where the title, blurb and other bits and pieces are put onto the cover.

    As for when they get made, it's usually sometime during the process of writing the book. For example, I'm finishing up Bk#3 Allegiance Sworn right now. I submitted cover ideas to my editor for the cover conference back in late April. Gene shot the cover in May. My first look at the cover was in mid-June. It needed a few tweaks but now is complete and ready to roll once I go through the editing process of the story.

    A bit of a long winded answer, but it's an interesting process.

  52. Thank you to everyone who visited Cath's blog over the last month - I wish you all luck in the draw!!!

    Cath, thanks for having me, I've had a ball!

  53. Thanks for sharing all that info Kylie. You've got quite a system in place and I wish you much success. Hope you have a great Sunday. ~Ashley


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