Monday, September 9, 2013

Writing from Inspiration… and finding an Urban Fantasy Romance

Congratulations to "Julie O", the winner of Linda's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

Hello to everyone. *waving* I’m Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, visiting to share a disturbing (and therefore inspirational) way to stumble upon an idea.

Of course, inspiration can come from anywhere, and for me, pretty much everywhere, but I’m going to pick one instance and run with it – in case you’ve had a similar thing happen.

A couple of years ago, my niece got married to a Frenchman, so my family traveled to Paris for the start of the celebrations. A family member (he who shall be named) suggested we climb to the top of Notre Dame Cathedral, to not only get a birds-eye view of Paris, but see the famous gargoyles up close. So, we did.
And geez.

It was one of the spookiest places on the planet, because this is the Gallery of Chimeras – a walkway populated with grotesque stone sculptures, most of them life-sized. The whole she bang is there, from gargoyles to all sorts of  mixtures of beasts (chimeras). There are hundreds of these creatures supposedly guarding Notre Dame’s rooftops. But are they guarding the Cathedral? Really? 

Right there, face-to-face with them, my next story was born. Because my question was: What do these beasts do after nightfall? Followed by this question: How could things so dramatically ugly be attached to a cathedral, at all? What was up with that?

Okay. So without going into the research that took place in a flurry after that visit, my story idea came together quickly, and “Trapped in Stone” was born as the first urban fantasy novella of a new series I titled Dark vs Light.

Here’s the tagline: “Her lover’s soul is at stake . . . She was vowed to change his fate.”

You see, there was a man trapped inside one of those grotesque stone statues on that rooftop, and I had to find a way to get him out. I just knew he was there. Izzy, my femme character in the book, was born to try to take care of that, and help him to be able to breathe again, as a man.

He is trapped for 364 days a year, and can shed the spell only one night – the 365th, in order to find a replacement for himself on the Gallery. The number of monsters up there must remain static, or the cathedral’s walls might finally crumble.

Layering is the fun part of the process. Like in that last sentence. And there is plenty of layering here.

Expanding the tagline went like this: “High above the streets of Paris a war has been going between the forces of Good and Evil over the soul of one man. And a woman stands in the way.”

Let me say again that ideas come and go all the time over here, and I can pick and choose which ones to write for my PNR book deadlines. But this . . . this story was truly unique, and urban fantasy at its most gothic.

Does there have to be romance in an urban fantasy? No. But since I love romance (who doesn’t?), and I write a lot of paranormal romance novels, this “urban fantasy” novella has plenty of it. The best kind. What could be more romantic than a woman who waits for the one night when her lover can shed his stone casing and be with her again? Will she sacrifice her limited time with him in order for him to succeed?

Immediate inspirational fodder. One of those magical moments when the stars align, and a story writes itself.

Moments like that don’t happen real often for authors with tight deadlines for other books. When they do, we have to find the time to fill in the page with the quest of these two people, so that we, as writers, can see what happens, and how our questions about the situation are answered, after layer upon layer of trouble for the two main characters. Sometimes we can’t rest until we do.

Et voila! “Trapped in Stone” was born and finished and has been released this month. A gothic, romantic urban fantasy, with gargoyles, chimeras, and much darker things, plus a look at the streets of Paris, a bit of info on the concepts of sacrifice and payback, and some insight about what really happens after dark on the walls of one of the world’s most famous cathedrals – and why. In a 30,000 word novella.

If you’d like to take a look at it, check out my web page, or Amazon/BN. I sure would love, after an inspiration lightning strike like the one hitting me with this story, to know if you will read and catch the fever of this story, and also recognize how thrilled I was to find this tale. And all because of a niece’s wedding, travel to a foreign country, and trying out something I hadn’t done before (there are a LOT of steps going up to that Gallery).

Please also visit me on Facebook: to see what’s up next. Dark vs Light book 2 comes out in November.

My short bio: Books published by Kensington Brava, Dorchester, Amazon Montlake, and I’m completing my 17th  book/ novella for Harlequin Nocturne.

Questions of your own? Ask away. Leave a wave so I know you have stopped by, and  *** one luck commenter will win a backlist book of their choice! *** I’ll look forward to hearing from you, and am really excited to be here, guest posting.


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 10th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. Nice inspiration

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  2. Hi Linda (waving)
    Ever since watching the Wizard of Oz and those dang flying monkeys, Gargoyles freak me out. I haven't gotten any braver as I've aged either. :) Is there any one thing that makes you very thankful it isn't real? ....or at least as far as we know isn't real...

    jo1963jo at gmail dot com

    1. Oh, Julie O.. it's real, all right. *smiling grimly* My story will prove it. LOL LOL LOLLLLL
      Thanks for the comment and the wave.

    2. LOL Linda... when I have flying monkey nightmares tonight I'm blaming you.

    3. Oh yes.... sure.... blame the monkeys on me. *wink* I have flying Gargoyles, and much darker things in this book, and believe me, flying monkeys are peanuts. LOL LOL LOl.......