Guest Post by Melissa Lummis
How the Little Flame Series was Born
Hello! My name is Melissa Lummis and I write Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. A big thank you to Lisa for inviting me to write a guest blog today! I’d like to share a little bit about how my current series, the Little Flame, got started.
I’m often asked where my book ideas come from and the short answer is from my own experiences and a little bit of magic. When you write Urban Fantasy, that answer tends to raise eyebrows. Have I experienced the paranormal? Well, maybe. But there’s so much more to fantasy novel writing, and there’s all kinds of magic, isn’t there?
For example, there’s how a story idea gels into an actual book, and it definitely felt like magic when the Little Flame series finally came together for me.
I had an idea, about a healer looking for the reincarnation of a lover who could solve a magical problem, bouncing around in my head for months, but it felt vague. I needed a theme. I needed a setting. I was soooo frustrated.
The reincarnated lover could be anywhere. Literally. So where did I want my story to take place? Where did I start? You can see the problem I faced.
But as it turned out, the problem of setting became the magic ingredient that brought everything together, including the theme.
As I often do when I have a writing problem, I headed out to have some fun. I went to Washington, D.C. for a concert with friends at the 9:30 Club. As we jumped on the Metro (D.C.’s subway) after the concert, it occurred to me that my main character could be on tour with a band! Yeah!
I’d just seen one of the most spectacular EDM (Electronic Dance Music) DJ shows of all time so what if my main character was working at the 9:30 Club when she meets a DJ named Maximillian who hires her?! And ooooh! What if I called the first book Nine30??? And each title would reference a concert venue???
It all popped in my head! (I’ve been to a lot of concerts in a lot of cities). And this way she’d be traveling all over and have a better chance of finding this reincarnated lover, plus a steady paycheck. Bonus!
And the clincher was something that caught my eye as I ascended the escalator out of the Dupont Metro North entrance, something that hadn’t been there when I lived in D.C. many years ago. In 2007,
a portion of Walt Whitman’s poem The Wound Dresser was inscribed on the wall that surrounds the entrance. When I saw it, my mouth dropped open. Here was my cosmic sign. I decided right then that my overall theme for the Little Flame series was healing yourself by healing others and, well, here’s the inscription:
Thus in silence in dreams’ projections,
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals;
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night – some are so young;
Some suffer so much – I recall the experience sweet and sad…
And thus, a story was born. And that in itself is magical.
Have you been to any of the concert venues I mentioned? Take a look at the other titles in the series and see if you can guess the venue they reference.
Books 1 - 5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Peacepipe Productions
Date of Publication: September 30, 2014
Number of pages: 495
Word Count: 155K
Cover Artist: Stephanie Nelson
Fiamette Jurato is on a mission: to fix her broken past. She’s teamed up with the world famous DJ, Maximillian, to search for the ex lover who can help her put all the pieces back together. There’s only one problem: he’s been dead for over two hundred years.
As a healer to the supernatural, she’s no stranger to navigating the impossible maze of magical complications. But getting lost in the magic isn’t the problem; finding her way back home is.
The club lights blinked out, and in the humming dark an amplified voice yelled, “Give it up for Maximillian!”
Laser lights flashed around the smoky stage, revealing human-shaped shadows and a DJ setup.
“Make some noise,” the DJ yelled.
A spotlight strobed across the scene, then snapped back to the DJ. I stopped adjusting my white go-go boots and squinted, trying to get a good look at him. The crowd roared as he leaned over to a beanie-wearing guy on his right, a cigarette dangling from his lips. Beanie-guy cupped the end of the cig and flicked a lighter. Smoke obscured the DJ’s face and I sighed. I wanted to see him, dang it. I’d been running late tonight and missed the usual meet-and-greet. Story of my life.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” the DJ mumbled into the mic as he twisted knobs and pushed buttons, puffing smoke and music into the air.
Even with the spotlights, the details of his face were buried under swirling smoke and pulsing laser beams looping the hazy club. The first high notes picked like an electric guitar sample, and words I couldn’t make out repeated in jittery bursts over a subdued bass. Black lights flipped on, turning teeth and all things white into glow-in-the-dark neon. The fog machines bellowed clouds of dry ice that burned my nose. Damn, shouldn’t I be immune to it after so many shows?
Rising up from my kneeling squat, boots finally tied, I dropped my hula hoops onto the platform, then set one thigh-high boot at a time inside the circles. Jutting a white-sequined hip, I waited for the music to build to that explosion of bass and high-pitched alarms that had been driving me deaf the past two months. Yet, I couldn’t say I hated the job. I’d tried different settings, but this was definitely the best fishing spot. The catch I was after liked the nightlife and large crowds.
And this club was packed to the gills. Good. Better pickins. I bent with deliberate flare, popping my ass into the air and giving it a shake as I scooped up one of the glowing hoops and spun it around my hips. I gyrated and dipped, swinging the hoop higher around my exposed midsection, my arms swaying to the music. I didn’t have to think about my next move. It poured out of me like the music from the DJ’s hands. I turned in lazy circles, taking in the jumping crowd as one living, breathing beast. Individual faces surfaced in rare glimpses.
When I completed a 360-degree turn, the bright eyes of the DJ arrested me. I sucked in a breath. He was the hottest thing in L.A. at the moment, exploding all over the music scene. His lips twisted in a sideways Popeye grin, and holding my gaze with penetrating eyes, he flipped black hair over his shoulder and winked. Damn! Heat flushed through me in a prickly flood, followed by a startling surge of disappointment when he returned his attention to the MIDI boards.
He bobbed up and down, one hand constantly flickering as it tweaked the boards in front of him. Everything about him moved to the music, even the occasional finger jabbing his black-rimmed glasses back.
The music decelerated as he pulled the cigarette from his mouth and raised it to the sky, granting the crowd a huge smile that said something mind-blowing was about to happen. The mass of bodies bayed in anticipation. He tucked his smoke back between his lips, and his shoulders rocked as he worked at bringing the music. He raised his palms to the crowd, encouraging them to take it up a notch, and they obliged with glee.
Suddenly, he lifted his euphoric face to the sky, swaying back and forth in focused ecstasy. One arm shot up, an index finger pointing the way to heaven, as he squeezed his eyes shut.
A synthesized female voice cried out, “OOOH MY GOD – god – god – god - god!”
Music burst in a sizzling shower over the DJ and crowd as they leaped together to its driving beat. It got to me. He got to me. I licked the heavy gloss I’d applied preshow before I realized what I was doing, and pressed my lips together trying to fix it. Things lower clenched. Too bad he’s so young. I sighed. And not a vampire.
A tingling on the back of my legs dragged my attention back to my goal for the evening. Peeking over my shoulder, I drove the hoop around my hips, the LEDs smearing white and seven-colored orbits over my mostly bare body. Turning toward a pair of crimson eyes, I dropped my Day-Glo-painted eyelids to half-mast as his burning gaze slid over my boy-shorted backside.
My white halter top glowed in the black light as the strobes made the sequins flash like Christmas lights. The music paused unexpectedly and the DJ mumbled into the mic, “I just finished this song half an hour ago on the tour bus.”
The horde screamed its ridiculous approval. When he turned the music back on, I kicked the second hoop into play. It was all improvised, of course. I had no idea what the DJ was going to do during the show, and he apparently hadn’t known either, considering I never got a playlist. So, to prepare, I’d practiced to all his music all week. This song sounded familiar, but if he’d just created it, I guess it had to do with absorbing his style.
The blipping sample of a laser blast penetrated my sternum, my heart tripping with it. As a quiet drum calmed the moment, I returned the hot stare of my quarry. I couldn’t make out the details of his features, but when I blurred my gaze and tapped into what most healers referred to as their “third eye”, I could see the subtle energy pulse of his aura: definitely vampire. Anticipation bubbled up my spine.
Melissa Lummis writes new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but her stories are also straight up, steamy adult romance. The Love and Light Series is currently available at Amazon exclusively, as well as the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.
Melissa considers herself a truth seeker and a peaceful warrior, in addition to a paranormal and fantasy author. With too many interests for her own good, she has rarely been content with one vocation. Her first professional life was as a high school English teacher, which led to another incarnation as a wife and an instructional designer /technical writer. After starting a family, she found herself reincarnated yet again as a mother, yoga instructor, and personal trainer.
While all her past lives have contributed to who she is today, yoga has become a part of how she gives back, maintaining her Registered Yoga Teacher status with Yoga Alliance so she can help people one-on-one to overcome physical limitations and heal themselves. But she has always been and always will be a writer. She’s authored dozens of wellness articles for various publications, as well as maintains a blog focusing on wellness, healing, and living a life on purpose.
A Yankee by birth and a Penn State graduate, she lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures. Melissa believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer, and if we live our lives as if it is a daring escapade (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.
3 signed paperback sets Little Flame Series: books 1 – 5
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