Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Strix

…After drawing a piece of amber from a witch's wish bag, Arcona awakens to a past life as a vengeful Celtic witch - a Strix, who used blood and sex magic to get her way. She turned the gladiator Tyr into a bloodthirsty Slayer. Now Tyr wants his revenge…

That’s how “The Strix” first took shape in my mind. Last year my dear friend and sister in publishing toil, Amber Skyze had a great idea. She mentioned two very intriguing ideas that grabbed and held my interest. She mentioned she had an ancestor who was accused of witchcraft (I it knew all along! lol) and she mentioned her yearly trips to Salem Massachusetts and how fun it would be to have her fortune told in a real witch’s shop…. Fun indeed.

We started talking about a collaborative book series that would include magic, romance and big-time, life-changing adventure. Amber came up with the idea of having four girlfriends in their early thirties get together for a weekend reunion in Salem, to celebrate the Halloween season. The ladies visit a highly unusual occult shop peopled with immortal beings and each pulls a wish stone from a magic bag. After each woman makes her wish—her life gets tipped upside down, shaken and then some.

To add to our peril we started this project November 1st as part of NANO national novel writing month. One month of work? Yeah right. The project grew and grew and before we knew it four very different adventure stories were shaping up into full-length 85k+ novels.

I have to back up a little, in October, I knew I was going to do a NANO experiment with Amber but I had no idea what I was going to write. I hadn’t yet thought of anything. Nothing interesting was coming through. Then one gorgeous day in late October, I was at a yoga class, standing in some semi-painful pose with my eyes closed and my deceased friend Arcona came through to me loud and clear.

I lost my beloved friend almost ten years ago and the real life Arcona was a beautiful, successful, philosophical person who was a mentor to me on many levels. She died far too young. One of the things I missed most about Arcona’s passing was the loss of our creative collaboration. She was a good group leader and knew how to get the best out of everyone.

On that October day in the yoga studio, Arcona’s spirit brushed passed me. I actually had the physical sensation she was near and started to cry a little. She was German and in her typical precise way, in a flash she downloaded a complete story into my head of a Teutonic witch who goes astray. It was an astonishing experience and I hurried home to make notes and tell Amber our paranormal book series had the go-ahead from the spirit realm.

The Strix was a pleasure to write and I seemly couldn’t write fast enough. Arcona seemed to help me the entire time continually pointing me toward important names and places. The story that unfolded was passionate and violent. Clearly it wasn’t for the faint of heart. I began to wonder which publisher I should show it to.

About a week into the work, I shared a 31-page partial with Amber, simply to see what she thought of my plot set-up. The sneaky girl, bless her for this, secretly showed the partial to someone right away and that publisher later bought off on it no subbing and no struggling. It was the easiest sell of my career to date.

The Strix and several other high adventure woman’s stories found a good home at Loose Id Publishing in the “Bag Of Tricks” Book Series.

The next book in the series is Amber Skyze creation “Claimed By Dragons” It’s Jael’s story, which is a sizzling hot ménage with two gorgeous male dragon-shifters on Mount Kilimanjaro. That book is due for release September 28th and we’ll have more to share about it soon.

Here’s the official Strix blurb:

A cursed amber amulet unearthed in Pompeii flings Arcona into a past life of witchcraft, bloodshed, revenge and sexual slavery to the cruel Master of a gladiatorial school. This violent parallel world is populated with “Slayers,” blood-drinking immortals devoted to the gods of war and mayhem.

As a Strix, or malignant witch, Arcona once used sex and blood rituals to create a race of immortal warriors to unleash on Rome. Now it’s time to pay.

The gladiator Tyr was one desperately lonely lover she betrayed. Against his will, she turned him into Upir Likhyi, a foul vampire. For two millennia he’s lived a grim existence as a Slayer, in constant sexual arousal yet denied release; now, he's pissed off and wants revenge. He kidnaps Arcona planning to drink her dry and break the curse. 

Along the way Arcona and Tyr relive their sexual slavery at the hands of Rome and blood sport in the arena, but the real magic is they forgive and fall in love. 

Too bad another Slayer wants them dead.

The Strix Book Trailer:

This year my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on Friday the 13th. As an anniversary gift he gave me this beautiful book trailer. 

It seems so fitting that The Strix is about a witch who goes wrong and has to redeem herself... Ummm. 

The haunting music is one of my other loves--Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. This piece of music is titled the "The Mark Has Been Made" it's from the Fragile album (1999 Halo 14) NIN was the internal soundtrack for this book. 

Thank you Honey for the book trailer. Thank you Trent for writing inspiring music.

If you haven’t given Loose Id Publishing a try, this is the time. Be brave and take the ride. Loose Id isn’t afraid to go to the edge and leap. Check out Loose Id. They are bold and I love my new publisher. Thank you Loose Id for giving me a chance.

At the time I wrote this blog, the Loose Id website was down for maintenance and I was unable to post the buy-link. Be assured the store will soon be back on-line with a fresher, sophisticated look.

Katalina Leon & Amber Skyze, “The Strix” book one of the, Bag Of Tricks Book Series. Coming soon  from Loose Id Publishing.


  1. Great excerpt. I was so excited that the two of you were collaborating on some stories. I really can't wait to read this book!!

  2. This is so exciting! I'm really thrilled for the two of you.