The Haedyn Chronicles
Jennifer L. Oliver
Genre: Dark fantasy
Publisher: Small Escapes Publishing, LLC
Number of pages: 212 pages
Word Count: 54,000
Cover Artist: Jennifer L. Oliver
There’s always a choice.
Haedyn chooses to survive. As the last Unnamed, a species mistakenly created from angels and demons, she is an abomination to both the human and supernatural worlds. If survival means being the favorite servant of the demon Azazel, it’s a choice she can live with. Until she meets Lex.
Former investigative reporter, Lex Carter knows more than the average human - he saw his brother murdered by vampires. Now he’s dedicated his life to learning everything there is to know about monsters, how to kill them, and what happens to their victims. But when he’s kidnapped by a super-human albino who claims she's protecting him, he realizes that not all supernatural creatures are monsters and there may be one that's worth saving.
Together, they just might be able to discover the truth about Haedyn’s past and free her from Azazel’s bonds. But will she still choose to survive when it means risking the souls of those she loves?
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The concrete cell reeked with a mixture of rotten trash, burning flesh, and the sweet tanginess of blood. Haedyn twitched her nose. No matter how often she had to deal with it, she'd never get used to that smell. It was horrible.
Dirt crunched and rolled under the soles of her boots as she circled the silver chair in the middle of the room. Its occupant was furious, snapping and snarling at her. Not that she blamed him. Being captured by a demon's minion wouldn't rate high on her list of fun, either.
The prisoner struggled against his restraints. “Bitch. My Alpha’s gonna kill you. Just wait," he growled, pupils wide with the animosity of a trapped animal. "He’ll come here and rip through that white skin of yours like it's a sheet of paper, then hang your head on the wall like a trophy.”
She rolled her eyes and ignored his aggression. Werewolves had the worst tempers, especially when they were wounded or trapped. This one was both. Plus, he’d been drugged and was unable to change to his more powerful wolf form. Yeah, he was beyond pissed.
She sighed and continued circling. He'd wear himself out eventually. The anger and vile comments were all part of the process. Then the next phase would begin, full of tears and begging. That's when she'd break him, make him tell her where to find the human. But for now, she'd play the game until he was ready.
“Where's the human?”
"I ain't telling you shit." He spat on the floor at her feet.
"Tell me where the human is and I'll set you free."
The werewolf narrowed his yellow eyes. "You won't set me free. You think I don't know who you are? You're that demon Azazel's little bitch. You don't set no one free. You kill 'em."
Haedyn clenched her jaw. The werewolf was right; he wasn't going to leave here alive. She needed that information and there was only one way he was going to tell her. Poor sap. He just forced her hand.
She circled the chair again. This was the part of the job she hated. Inflicting pain. Killing. Every time she heard them scream, made them bleed, she swore a piece of her insides turned to dust.
It was the price she paid for serving a demon. But she didn't have a choice. Either she did what was expected of her or she faced punishment from her master.
Demons didn’t give second chances, and Azazel was no different. Disobeying his orders meant death. And even if she was stupid enough to go up against him, she had no one to turn to for help.
She was the last Unnamed. A mistake created by the demons and angels, which is why they killed off the rest of her kind. Humans mistakenly called her “albino” and kept their distance once they saw her deep red eyes. The supernatural world thought she was an abomination. If they weren't scared shitless of her, then they wanted to kill her.
She didn't fit in and she was all alone. Which is why she made the decision fourteen years ago to do whatever she had to in order to survive. Serving Azazel was the only choice she had.
Besides, what else would she do? She was evil, part demon. And like Azazel said the night he found her at the orphanage, she had a gift for death. One which he had honed. Now, she was his best interrogator, his best assassin.
Haedyn looked again at the werewolf. He shifted and squirmed, pulling at his shackles. Drops of blood beaded along his forehead. She smelled the panic and the fear mixed in with his sweat. Then she met his eyes. For a brief moment, a part of her screamed to let him go. She quickly pushed the impulse away.
Discipline. She had to maintain discipline. Compassion was a weakness. How many times had Azazel pounded that into her during their sessions? Fourteen years of intense training and still she had to remind herself.
She closed her eyes, burying the whispers of empathy deep inside. A stillness settled within her. Then she re-emerged as the cold-hearted, unemotional assassin Azazel had molded her into.
This is what she was trained to be. This is what she was trained to do. Save them. Deliver them. It's what kept her alive, and that’s all that mattered.
Playlist for book
Q: Hello. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
A: Hi everyone! Thanks for having me here today.
So, I’m just a normal person, kind of on the boring side. I’m a native of North Carolina but since I fell in love with this awesome man who lived in Florida, I had no choice but to
force a love potion down his throat marry him and move to the sunshine state. Most of my family is up north but I love it here, especially being able to Christmas shop in flip flops.
As for writing, I’ve done that my whole life. When I was in grade school, creative writing papers were my favorite assignment. Most of the writing I did while I was growing up was purely for my own enjoyment. I wanted to be an author, dreamed about it even, but I never thought it was something I could actually “do.” I just thought it was some fanciful dream a young person has, like being an astronaut or some famous singer. It wasn’t until 2008 that I realized the only thing holding me back from following my dream was me. So I stopped standing in my own way and began reading and researching everything I could find about becoming an author.
Q: What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
A: I typically write in the dark fantasy and paranormal genres. I have considered others, though. Right now, some of my work borderlines on horror (the suspenseful kind, not the gory kind) and some can actual slide into paranormal romance without much trouble. I would like to try my hand at contemporary romance one day.
Q: Do you have a favorite of your books or characters?
A: This is a tough one. I think my favorite character overall is Haedyn. She’s tough, but she’s got a vulnerable side, too. She portrays a lot of what happens to us in our early twenties or so. She’s trying to figure out who she is and find her place in the world.
BUT, my favorite character to write is definitely Azazel. There’s always conflict and tension around him. He’s forever scheming and plotting to get his own way. He’s just so… evil. It’s kind of fun to build him up and then have him get all ticked off when things fall down around him.
Q: What are you working on at the moment / next?
A: Right now, I’m working on two different projects. First, is Demon Rising, the next book in the Haedyn Chronicles. This one has been giving me a hard time. Haedyn has to deal with some major betrayal and breach of trust in this story, but those emotions are conflicting with her gut instincts. Her confusion only leads her to focus more on wanting to avenge her friend’s death. Which of course, means I have to dig deeper into my own experiences and relive them so that I can make her feelings seem more realistic. That’s probably the toughest part for a writer, in my opinion. Getting to the core of those hard emotions and putting them out there for the world to see.
The second project is a paranormal short story that I’ll be giving away for free to my newsletter subscribers. It’s about a Djinn who doesn’t want to be in the family business of rescuing other supernatural beings, but she finds herself drawn to a young Siren who has no idea of her abilities, and is being used by a thug in nefarious ways. :) Think Shield meets The Rescuers (yes, the cartoon movie).
It has series potential but I won’t really know until I finish writing it.
Q: Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
A: Writing every day is actually a goal of mine. I’m trying to create a daily habit, which of course helps battle my writer’s block. And yes, I do suffer from that occasionally. To be honest, that’s another challenge I’ve been facing in writing this currently novel, Demon Rising. But I’ve learned that writing in shorter sprints, several times a day, really helps me. I’m all about the baby steps!
Q: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
A: I don’t have a method, per say. Most of my stories start out because I have characters that appear in my mind. Some come to me fully formed with a name, like Haedyn did. Others tend to come to me with just a little info and I give them a name I think fits. If I have a sense of their background or heritage, I may Google names or look in name books.
Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?
A: When I’m not writing, one can usually find me tending my flower garden, reading, watching TV with my husband, or playing with my dog, Jake. He’s listened to me work out story issues many a time. ;)
I read all sorts of things. Craft books, paranormal/fantasy, romance, you name it.
My husband and I have a list of shows that we keep up with - Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow, The Following, Gotham, Castle, Bones, and Criminal Minds. I tend to watch a lot of paranormal shows and movies. Anything by Joss Whedon is a must for me.
Q: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
A: Read everything. Read other books in your genre. Read books that are not in your genre or ones you wouldn’t “normally” read for entertainment. Read craft books and blogs. And in between, keep writing!
During her many years of working at a daily newspaper, Jennifer L. Oliver honed her writing skills in secret. As an avid reader, she enjoys books that give her an entertaining and temporary escape from the ruckus of everyday life. Now, she hopes to bring the same enjoyment to others through her own work.
Jennifer is the author of The Haedyn Chronicles, and other dark urban fantasy and paranormal thrillers. She is also a freelance proofreader and always looking for the opportunity to help other authors reach their publishing dreams.
Although she was born and raised in North Carolina, she now lives on Florida's gulf coast with her husband, two cats, and a Royal Bahamian Potcake dog who is more than half her size and thinks the world revolves around treats. When she's not writing, you can find her playing in the flower garden, giggling with her granddaughter, and enjoying time with her family and friends.