Unholy Ghosts…Unholy Magic…contest…

Contest is closed.  Winner will be announced next week at the blog

So last week, I read the most awesome urban fantasy.  I’m talking ranking up there with Ilona Andrews and you all know I’m a total junkie for her stuff.

Dear Stacia Kane.

Um. Whoa. I’ve read some gritty, raw UF before, but this is like…well. Whoa.


The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen and constantly attack the living. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Consequently, there are many false claims of hauntings from those hoping to profit. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully-tattooed witch and freewheeling Debunker and ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for nailing the human liars or banishing the wicked dead. But she’s keeping a dark secret from the Church: a little drug problem that’s landed her in hot and dangerous water.

Chess owes a murderous drug lord named Bump a lot of money. And Bump wants immediate payback. All Chess has to do is dispatch a very nasty species of undead from an old airport. But the job involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and crossing swords with enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust with a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.

You can probably tell by the blurb there’s no fairy tale princesses or princes here, but yikes.  It’s awesome. I loved, loved, loved it. Loved it so much I hit Stacia up for details on more in the series, and yessssss…. she shared.  And um, I’m getting the other books, too.

And book 2 is available now.


For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.

Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they—along with their ruthless employers—are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire.

I even got an excerpt out of her….info on the contest below.


and shuddered again There was no way to put it off any more. She’d have to check the bathroom.

It waited for her, seeming to breathe a sigh of welcome when she stepped onto the dark marble floor. In the dim, cold moonlight coming through the frosted window the entire room looked wet, slick with something dark and unpleasant.

Her light scanned across the ceiling, revealing nothing. Not even a spiderweb in one of the corners, no surprise there. She did find a tiny seam of shadow on the nearest wall, which proved to be a small cupboard.

Bleach, disinfectant, bleach, scrubbing cleanser, thick bleach to cling in crevices, spare disinfecting toilet discs to make the water blue—why would people want to make their own bathrooms look like public toilets when you could get discs that didn’t dye the water?—scrub brushes, sponges, gloves… The entire cupboard reeked of bleach and cleansers, like one of the bottles had spilled. It was making her light-headed, making her eyes sting.

The Spectrometer showed some extra interest around the sink, which had been restored to its original clean and sparkling white. Chess leaned over, ready to shine her light down the drain—

And almost jumped out of her skin when a face flashed in the mirror, just behind her right shoulder.

The light fell, bouncing off the marble with a series of crashing clicks and clatters, rolling to the edge and finally falling on the floor. Chess searched the room, found nothing.

She had not imagined that face. A woman, her eyes pale pupilless orbs set in the furious visage of her face. Tangled hair hanging in clumps down over her shoulders. Lips curled in a snarl… Chess shuddered, tried to get control of herself,.

This time it did not stop. Her hands seemed controlled by someone other than herself. She tried to lift them to push her hair back from her face, to rub her forehead, but they trembled like she was in the throes of a seizure.

She wrapped her arms around herself. When had it gotten so cold in here? The marble at her back froze her spine. She didn’t feel like she could move, couldn’t seem to get enough air into her lungs.

A sound, barely audible, from the bedroom. She couldn’t identify it, but when she turned to look she saw a pale shape taking form…

Her grip on her arms started to hurt, but she couldn’t let go. The hazy mass writhed, trying to find its form, then snapped into being with sudden clarity.

A man. Faint folds and lines indicated trousers and a loose, tucked in shirt. He hadn’t seen her. His attention was focused on the empty bed, but she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt he didn’t see it. He saw shapes there, sleeping forms. He must, because his translucent arms lifted and the sharp head of the axe formed a steep angle with the ceiling.

The axe came down.

She bit her lip hard enough to taste blood, but barely felt it. All she felt was a miserable sickness, fear and shame at that fear, the horror of witnessing a gruesome murder over a hundred years after it happened…

The axe came up again, and down. Up, and down again. She could practically see blood spurting from the long-buried figures on the bed, practically smell the—

The smell. The smell was back, waves of choking foulness that left her gasping on the floor. She couldn’t get away from it, couldn’t stand it. The window was only ten feet or so away, across the wide expanse of dark marble floor.

As quietly as she could she reached into her bag, using every bit of her strength just to get her hands to obey. She was prepared this time, with graveyard dirt and asafoetida. She’d even brought some melidia with her, just in case.

She’d take her chances with the ghost. She needed air. Had to have it, or she would die. Her stomach churned, her head pounded like she’d drunk a case of beer the night before, and spots flashed before her eyes, but the window was there.

She curled her legs beneath her, gave the figure in the bedroom one last look, and leapt forward.


Now…onto the contest.  You interested?  Want the books?  Since I’m always into hooking people on to awesome books, you can win these books.  Both of them.  Here’s how…answer this question-(it’s rambling, but I ramble).

One thing I loved about Unholy Ghosts was how damned flawed and scarred and real the characters were-it’s a very harsh, brutal world, like nothing I’d want to live in and the heroine was somebody I didn’t know that I would have liked-but I loved her.  So…what are some flawed characters that you’ve fallen in love with? Hhmmmm?  To enter the contest, just tell us some scarred, flawed, imperfect characters you’ve enjoyed…I’ll draw one random commenter and that person will win both books (unsigned!).

You have until 9AM EST on 7/8/2010 to enter!

Make sure you read my disclaimer-(follow the link and read please-by entering, you’ve acknowledged that you’ve read my rules) particularly the part where you have to check back to see if you win!

The basics…

  • You must check back to see if you’ve won.  If you don’t check back, you don’t know if you’ve won and I do not email the winners, which means…you don’t get your prize.  You forfeit it if you don’t claim it within 2 weeks.
  • Do NOT forward to sweepstakes sites-these contests are for my readers…not to be farmed out to sweeps sites.
  • One entry per household
  • Open across the globe
  • You must enter at my blog, not via feed sites like Amazon/goodreads/facebook, etc.

40 Replies to “Unholy Ghosts…Unholy Magic…contest…”

  1. For me the realest characters were the ones from Megan Hart’s ‘Broken’, especially Sadie. They made me think about life and love and all the other hard staff. Great book but I won’t read it again anytime soon, it’s just too real…

  2. Wow, if you say it’s as good as Ilona, then it must be great! I will definately have to move these books up my TBR list.

  3. The first characters that came to mind when I saw this question were Lilith Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine and Jill Kismet. They’re somewhat alike in my mind, but that’s a good thing to me because I was sad when Dante’s story was over.

  4. I would say Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Zarek and JR Ward’s Zsadist. They both have lots of issues they are dealing with.

  5. My favorite flawed character is Faythe from Rachel Vincent’s Shifters series. She’s impulsive and it often gets her into trouble, but she’s also a smart, kick @ss heroine.

  6. MinnChica, just don’t go looking for a similiar story to Ilona’s.

    The world-building abilities by both are amazing and I got sucked in by both. Stacia’s got a much harsher world, though.

  7. There are quite a few i’m in love with.
    Jean Claude and Asher in Laurell K. Hamiltons Anita books. Gregori in Christine Feehans Carpathians are the ones that pop out in my head at the moment.

  8. In the world of romance, Lora Leigh’s Nathan Malone/Noah Blake from her Tempting Seals & Elite Ops Series and Jeaniene Frost’s Spade/Charles are two scarred men I fell in love with immediately. However, I’ve never enjoyed any anti-hero more than Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt.

  9. I agree with CrystalGB on Zarek and Zsadist. I would also nominate Cyrus from the Blood Ties books by Jennifer Armintrout. He is most definitely damaged and then some.

  10. The one character who I feel has lots of flaws is, Gin from Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep. She seems like the girl that lives next door and going to therapy.


  11. hmmm I’d say Devon Davenport in After by Amy Efshaw. I hated her a lot at first. There’s still moments where I want to kick her. Yet in the end, she did a total 360 which earned my respect.

  12. My fav flawed character is Arpazia from Tanith Lee’s White as Snow. She is the Queen in it and despite her wrong doings somehow you want to know her and a sympathy grows for her, awesome.

  13. I would have to say since I just finished the last book in the series(put out) It would have to be the Gedion from the Lords of the Underworld Series by Gena Showalter. All of them possesed by demons and having other stuff to deal with. Majorily flawed lol.

  14. Cullen and Kate from Ilona series are flawed. Loved this last one. I’d take him warts and all if I didn’t think Kate would kill me deader than dead lol. I also think Zarek has a lot of issues In SK book as do most of her Dark hunters dang it they had to die awefully and scream for vengence in order to become dark hunters in the first place. These books are on my wish list. I think they’d make interesting reads.

  15. I just finished reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (loved it btw!) so Sam is the first one to come to my mind. He was abused by his parents and have serious self esteem issues, but he is trying so hard to do what’s good, I really felt for him.

    Thanks for the giveaway =)

  16. I completely agree with Dante Valentine listed above. I really enjoyed the series but it had some seriously dark aspects and characters.

  17. I prefer an imperfect character,they give us such interesting storylines. Great list of characters so far, would add Sophia from Nalini Singh’s latest, Bonds of Justice.

  18. I’ll go with a lighthearted and funny but seriously flawed character–Queen Betsy from the Mary Janice Davidson vampire series. She’s vain and selfish but somehow manages to entertain and come out on top.

  19. I really love Mac from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. She is all sorts of flawed and yet I root for her every time.

  20. Luke and Quinn from “Fragile” and “Broken”

    Sir Alistair Munroe from “To Beguile a Beast” by Elizabeth Hoyt

    Luke Morgan from “Healing Luke” by Beth Cornelison

    Sebastian Dain from “Lord of Scoundrels” by Loretta Chase

    Nicholas Kenleigh and Elspeth Stewart from “Ride the Fire” by Pamela Clare

    Lady Blanche Harrington and Rex de Warenne from “The Perfect Bride” by Brenda Joyce

  21. Mary, from Carrie Ryan’s “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” is one of my favorite flawed characters.
    By being unable to live within the boundaries and traditions set up by the village, her dreams leads her to the path she needed to take.

  22. Flawed and tortured heroes – there are many that come to mind. As someone mentioned above, JR Ward does create characters who have been through the proverbial wringer (Zsadist being my favorite). Moving away from PRN and UF, some historical romances by Laura Kinsale Mary Jo Putney and Mary Balogh feature heroes who move from anguish to happiness.

  23. can’t beat Zarek from kenyon’s dance with the devil for real and highly flawed.

  24. I HAVE to go with Zsadist from BDB and Asher from Anita Blake.

    I’ve seen this book around and I really want to read them. I’m adding them to by TBB list!

  25. The most scarred character I have read about is Sir Gideon in Anna Campbell’s Captive of Sin, a book I am currently reading. His treatment while in captivity in India was gruesome and left him mentally afflicted, but he is gradually proving to be a lovable hero. The book itself is a very compelling read.

  26. I love flawed characters, the more flawed the better. My all-time favorite flawed character is from a medieval Scottish historical series called The Lymond Chronicles written years ago by an author named Dorothy Dunnett. Her protagonist, Francis Crawford, was a tortured anti-hero type who goes through all kinds of trials in the course of 6 books, but ultimately finds happiness in the end. I’ve measured every hero ever since against him.

  27. I loved Ian in Jennifer Ashley’s “The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie”. Also love all of the tortured and scarred characters from JR Ward’s BDB series.

  28. My favorite scarred character is Zhadist from JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. It took the love of a good woman, Bella, to help him get over what had happened in the past. He was so scarred that he was distancing himself from those that truly loved him. Bella saw that there was much more to him, and helped him realize that.

  29. My favorite character is Elle from Megan Hart’s book Dirty. She was real, honest, flawed and she was written, as though she could be someone, you know. The emotions are so real as a reader you can’t but help but to feel her pain, her sorrow and her struggle to be okay in her own skin. The book was not just a romance; it had so many different parts to make Elle relatable and even loveable.

  30. oh it has to be Zsadist from JR Wards Black Dagger Brotherhood series..That was an awesome book!

    I am dying to read these 2 books, I have them on my I WANT NOW want list..LOL

    Thanks for the chance to win these Shiloh!


  31. Karma Marx from Ghost of a Chance by Katie MacAlister (writing as Kate Marsh I believe). Love that character, keep hoping another book will come out.

    Pendergast from the Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston books (relic, cabinet of curiousities, etc.) LOVE those books.

  32. It seems most characters are flawed in one way or another, I think its what makes an interesting story.

    Characters that I would pick are..
    Alot of Christine Feehan Characters have flaws, maybe that why I love her so much. I also agree with the other bloggers on Asher (LKH – Anita Blake)

    I’ve heard some much hype about these two books from so many people. Thank you for the contest Shiloh.

  33. Zhadist from JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood
    Ian from Jennifer Ashley’s “The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
    Hamish Macrea from Karen Ranney’s To Love A Scottish Lord
    Troy Sacheverell from Sandra Schwab’s The Lilly Brand
    To name just a few of my faves .
    wanda f

  34. Flawed characters that I like? How about all of the JR Ward Brothers!!

    On a more serious note, I just read Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire and I loved it. I thought it was great how numb she was in the beginning of the book, it was very realistic… I could feel myself needing to cope that way if I had lost my lover and daughter the way she had.

  35. Karin Harlow’s Jax Cassidy, and Flicka (yes the horse) are flawed characters I love. There are others but I can’t remember off top of my head.

  36. I really enjoy reading the story of a “flawed” character just trying to deal and do her best. these feel more real to me. i.e; Rachael Morgan (Kim Harrison), Morgan Kingsley (Jenna Black), Jill Kismet (Lilith Saintcrow), Mira (Joycelynn Drake), and so very many more. I just love the UF genre.

  37. I’ve read many flawed characters but there are that most sticks out for me: Dageus MacKeltar from The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning and, most recently read, Gin from Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series!

  38. There’s nothing like a flawed alpha male. I must say many of my favorites have been mentioned, but another I came up with is Jonas Wyatt from Lora Leigh’s breed series. He’s been everyone’s thorn in the side and now he has found the love of a good woman.

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