Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Blast & Interview: His Cemetery Doll by @Brantwijn

His Cemetery Doll Banner 851 x 315



clip_image002His Cemetery Doll

Brantwijn Serrah

Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance

Publisher: Breathless Press

Date of Publication: 10/24/14

ISBN: 978-1-77101-394-9


Number of pages: 173

Word Count: 53,000

Cover Artist: Happi Anarchy

Book Description:

There's a woman in the graveyard.

Conall Mackay never put stock in ghost stories. Not even after thirteen years serving as the cemetery keeper in the village of Whitetail Knoll. But things change. Now, his daughter is dreaming of a figure among the tombstones. The grounds are overrun by dark thorns almost faster than Con can clear them. White fog and gray ribbons creep up on him in the night, and a voiceless beauty beckons him from the darkest corners of the graves.

When the world he knows starts to unravel, Conall might finally be forced to believe

Book Trailer:


He hadn't slept long before he heard sounds from down in the kitchen below.

"Shyla!" he called gruffly. "Weren't you heading into town?"

No answer came from below, but the sounds of pots clanging told him his daughter toyed about down there. Perhaps she'd decided not to leave him after all and taken it into her head to now re-organize the house, since he'd so clearly wanted her to stay out of the cemetery. With a low groan, Conall rolled out of bed and stepped out into the hall.

"Shyla!" he called again, coming to the head of the stairs. If she had stayed home, she could at least do it without making a lot of noise.

"Shyla, I—"

He staggered then, as the hallway dimmed. Afternoon light flickered strangely, lightning cracking a dismal sky outside, and in the space of time afterward everything else darkened. Conall darted a glance around him as the house fell into shadow.

From the top of the stairwell, he saw the first whispering tendrils of white fog.

The heat of adrenaline shot through his limbs. Conall stumbled back into his bedroom, even as the fog pursued. His gaze shot to the window as the last gray light of day faded away and eerie darkness replaced it, like an eclipse sliding over the sun.

More cold mists veiled the glass, dancing and floating. Trembling overtook him as he spun to find another escape.

He froze, finding himself face-to-face with the broken mask of the cemetery doll.

"You—" he gasped. His breath came out white as the fog enveloped them both, leaving a space of mere inches between them, so he could still see her expressionless face. Gray ribbons wound and curled through the air around him.

"Who are you?" he asked.

The doll stared up at him. He sensed her searching, looking into his eyes even though hers remained covered. She held him there with her unseen gaze, until her cool, cold hand came up to touch his bare chest.

Conall let out a low breath. He closed his eyes, and a shudder of strange ease rippled through his body. The cool pads of her fingers ran down his sternum, to his navel. The silky ribbons brushed along his side.

Then he noticed her other hand. She lifted it up, to her own chest, and she held something tightly in her fingers: Shyla's stuffed dog.

"I made that...for my daughter," he whispered. The woman with the broken mask tilted her head down toward the small toy, studying it. For a fraction of a second, her fingers appeared to tighten around it. She returned her gaze to him, then, and the toy fell from her grip into the fog, forgotten.

"Wait—" he said, but she brought her other hand up to his chest to join the first, and he recognized eagerness in the way she pressed her icy skin against his. Her face tilted to him, and then came her lips again, ivory and flawless.

"I—" Conall breathed. "I...don't understand..."

Her fingers slid up, around his neck, but he pulled away.

"No, this...this can't real. I'm asleep. I must be."

Gray ribbons danced, pulling him back to her, and she stroked his face. He sucked in a breath at her touch and found his own hand coming up to brush hers.

"You're so cold," he said. "Like stone...but..."

Her cool touch thrilled him; it made his skin tingle and the heat of his own body sing. Her perfect flesh did, in fact, prove soft under his hands, as if the contact with his worn calluses infused cold ivory with yearning. She caressed his cheek, and Conall leaned into it. Before he could stop himself, he bowed his head to her and kissed her frozen lips.


Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I think, in my heart, I have. I went through different phases of "what do I want to be when I grow up", until in my senior year of high school it actually occurred to me that I could be a writer. I've always been happiest telling stories, though, even before I realized it.

When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?

Probably when I was 17, in my first creative writing course. I hadn't expected the coursework to feel so natural and exciting to me. My teacher responded to my enthusiasm with enthusiasm of her own, and helped me start finding ways to submit my writing. It wasn't until later in life I started thinking of myself as an "author", so much—that term always seemed to come tied to an actual paycheck, in my mind—but I started thinking of myself as a writer when I really understood how deeply the act of writing moved me.

How long did it take to get your first book published?

Many years, and many retries.  My first actual published novel is Lotus Petals, but before Breathless Press picked that one up I had been trying to get a supernatural adventure series published with DAW books for about five years.  That one's still on the drawing table, so to speak. Lotus Petals went through about a year and a half of submissions before my editor, Jayne, decided to take a chance on it.

Do you do another job except for writing?

I do have a full-time day job, yes. It makes things very, very busy.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

My newest release is His Cemetery Doll, a paranormal romance. It's the story of a graveyard keeper tangled up in the mystery of a ghostly living doll.

Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?

I am published by Breathless Press.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

That always depends.  Some novels I can write out in less than a month; at least one novella I've written in 10 days. Other times, a book can take months and months and still not be ready.  His Cemetery Doll was a lovely, well-behaved story that came about quite smoothly; it took six weeks from start to finish.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

I have a paranormal lesbian romance coming out in December, and a couple of stories in an upcoming superhero anthology. I'll be working on a BDSM/Power Exchange story for National Novel Writing Month, and I have sequels to Lotus Petals and Goblin Fires in the works.


What genre would you place your books into?

I gravitate quite a bit to paranormal/supernatural, but I do like to dabble across genres once in a while.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?

I love the concept of spirituality, power and consciousness existing beyond our human capacity to predict. Endless possibilities of the imagination. I also like the darkness that comes with supernatural/paranormal. It raises the stakes in a pretty unique way.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?

Broken Doll is my favorite. She represents about a thousand things for me, moments in my creative development, my storytelling; characteristics I aspire to find within myself. I have incredible sentimental feelings for her.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?

I do, and I'm a firm believer that even negative reviews can have a good effect on me. My advice to all writers, and advice I try to adhere to, is that even if a review is negative, it is worth one good, thorough read, and some consideration. Reviews are written by readers; you should want to know what your readers feel, even if you don't agree. You have to be honest and wise enough to take a step back and see if there is any truth in what the reviewer says. Occasionally there isn't; for some reviewers, it's simply a matter of taste. In some case, the reviewer honestly missed the point entirely (I'm thinking specifically of authors who have received criticism of graphic sexuality in their erotic works). But the average reviewer can have wonderful things to teach you, if you let them. So I read all reviews and try to learn something from them.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?

I have a problem where I can't really start writing if I don't have the title set. I can know exactly what I want to write—I can even have the words down in my head, crystal clear!—but if I don't have a title, I'm stymied.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

Very often I choose names or words with significant meanings. For example, Conall—which is the name of the lead character in His Cemetery Doll—is a Celtic name meaning "strong in battle". Conall is a former soldier, and when called into battle again he is, despite his old injuries, still very strong. It's the core of his personality, to me.

Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?

Sometimes one, sometimes the other. Sometimes I'll use a name as a placeholder for a little while, even though I know I'm going to change it later. For example, when I was writing Goblin Fires, I adopted a place name from the author who inspired me, but only temporarily.  Jim Butcher used the name "Arctus Tor" for the stronghold of the Winter fae in his series, The Dresden Files, and when my characters travel to the lands of Winter fae, I originally used this name, too. This was only to keep myself moving through the story, though, and not to get stalled out while I tried to think of something.  I knew it would eventually change. The name I finally settled on—Vintereich—was cobbled together taking into consideration the historical and regional origins of my fae bloodlines, but I had to write a little further into them before I could find the right elements to consider.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?

These aren't really things I "decide" about the characters. The characters come to me mostly fully formed, and the details of their personalities are things I sort of discover as we go along. Those things are already there—I could probably give you a ballpark idea over whether or not a character is a tomboy or a femme fatale pretty much right away—but the specific details, like the way my goblin knight Reagan loves peppermint or the way my vampire Rhiannon is bi-curious even though she would never admit it, those are things I discover only by getting to know them myself.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")

I find that themes and messages do tend to unfold while I'm writing, but I don't normally go out of my way to put them there. There's usually something a bit deeper I want to bring out in most stories. For example, my next project is going to be a BDSM fantasy novel where I hope to explore elements of an M/s (Master/slave) power exchange. I really want to show a contrast between a balanced, mutually healthy power exchange, and one that is not, but I don't want it to boil down to one partner being a good guy and one partner being a bad guy.  There's much, much more to it, and much more to what a power exchange means, and I want to explore a lot of that.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?

At this time in my life, audiobooks are mostly my preferred. The nature of my day job allows me to listen to them while I work, whereas I have to carve out time to read-by-eyeball.  I do collect paperbacks, however, because I like to meet authors at signings and I love to have one of their actual hard-copy books in my hands to show for it.





When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology. She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work.

Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at

Brantwijn's Facebook:

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Twitter: @Brantwijn

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