September 17, 2012

Morgan Keyes Author of Darkbeast Guest Post +GIVEAWAY!

Today I'm excited to be able to welcome Morgan Keyes to the blog.  

One of the fun parts of being a blogger is being able to feature and promote authors of books that not everyone may know about.  I love that I get to help them introduce the world to their novel.  And that's exactly what I get to do today!

First you need to hear about her book!

A girl’s love for her raven may put her life in jeopardy in this gripping tale.

In Keara’s world, every child has a darkbeast—a creature that takes dark emotions like anger, pride, and rebellion. Keara’s darkbeast is Caw, a raven, and Keara can be free of her worst feelings by transferring them to Caw. He is her constant companion, and they are magically bound to each other until Keara’s twelfth birthday. For on that day Keara must kill her darkbeast—that is the law. Refusing to kill a darkbeast is an offense to the gods, and such heresy is harshly punished by the feared Inquisitors.

But Keara cannot imagine life without Caw. And she finds herself drawn to the Travelers, actors who tour the country performing revels. Keara is fascinated by their hints of a grand life beyond her tiny village. As her birthday approaches, Keara readies herself to leave childhood—and Caw—behind forever. But when the time comes for the sacrifice, will she be able to kill the creature that is so close to her? And if she cannot, where will she turn, and how can she escape the Inquisitors?

Doesn't this sound just great?!!? I think it does!

And now help me welcome Morgan to The O.W.L.

Many thanks to Jill, for allowing me to stop by and tell you about my middle grade fantasy novel, Darkbeast.  

In Darkbeast, twelve-year-old Keara runs away from home rather than sacrifice Caw, the raven darkbeast that she has been magically bound to all her life.  Pursued by Inquisitors who would punish her for heresy, Keara joins a performing troupe of Travelers and tries to find a safe haven for herself and her companion.

Prior to writing Darkbeast, I published sixteen other novels.  They ranged from traditional fantasy (very similar in feel to Keara's story, but intended for adult readers) to paranormal chicklit (light-hearted stories about young professional women who find supernatural creatures in their lives) to category romance (traditional romances where a hero and heroine meet, have their differences, but get together for a "happily ever after").

So, with all those books under my belt, why change names when I decided to write Darkbeast

It's those category romances.  They tell the story of realistic adults, men and women who love each other.  And when I say "love each other", I mean "with a deep emotional bond".  But I also mean "physically".  In fact, my heroes and heroines love each other physically in several scenes, in many different ways, multiple times…  Um, you get the idea.

When I set aside writing romance and started to work on Darkbeast, I quickly realized that Keara's story was a "novel of my heart".  I wasn't sure I would ever sell it, but once I met Keara, I knew I couldn't back away from her story.  Even if my most recent novels had targeted a rather more … mature demographic.

In fact, the first time I met my Darkbeast editor in person, I was in New York to attend the Romance Writers of America annual meeting.  I had just come from a panel that discussed – in rather graphic parts in historical novels.  Imagine my culture shock as I settled into my editor's office and found myself surrounded by picture books and middle grade chapter books with age recommendations on the cover!

My editor and I discussed many things that day – the detailed religion in Darkbeast (twelve gods with distinct attributes, similar to the Greek pantheon), the herblore sprinkled throughout the novel, Caw's insatiable hunger….

But our longest discussion was about pen names.  Because my editor was absolutely certain that Darkbeast should come out under a pen name.  With an age recommendation of "10 and up" on the cover (and the knowledge that some readers would be younger than that), we didn't want to make it quite so easy for kids to find my more adult work.

We agreed almost immediately that my romance persona could talk about Morgan Keyes all she wanted.  But we also agreed that Morgan Keyes would stay mum on the subject of my romance persona.  (It's actually quite easy for people to look us up on the Internet, but we can all pretend that there's a certain … propriety for Morgan.)

As for Darkbeast?  And Keara?  At some point, I foresee some romance in her future, but not for a couple of years...  In the meantime, do you have a favorite middle grade or young adult romance title?

Morgan can be found online at:

Darkbeast is for sale in bricks-and-mortar and online bookstores, including:  Amazon | B & N | Indiebound

Morgan Keyes grew up in California, Texas, Georgia, and Minnesota, accompanied by parents, a brother, a dog, and a cat.  Also, there were books.  Lots and lots of books.  Morgan now lives near Washington, D.C.  In between trips to the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art, she reads, travels, reads, writes, reads, cooks, reads, wrestles with cats, and reads.  Because there are still books.  Lots and lots of books.

Due to the generosity of my publisher, Simon & Schuster, I will give away a copy of Darkbeast to one commenter, chosen at random from all the comments to this post made by 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight.


  1. I always liked the sweet relationship between Inez and Alexander in "the Ghost Belonged to Me." But I don't know if it would have been considered a MG Romance.

  2. "We agreed almost immediately that my romance persona could talk about Morgan Keyes all she wanted. But we also agreed that Morgan Keyes would stay mum on the subject of my romance persona. (It's actually quite easy for people to look us up on the Internet, but we can all pretend that there's a certain … propriety for Morgan.)"

    Except here? ;) But that explains a lot.

    AS for a middle grade favorite romance, I can't think of any. Most were focused to something else with the love relationships happening more as a side product.

  3. Pearl - I haven't read that one, but I'll have to check it out!

    Eve - Yep, we make a few special exceptions, for some very special people :-)

  4. Darkbeast looks like a terrific read. Thanks for running the giveaway.

  5. I love that cover, it's gorgeous. I kinda wish I had a darkbeast to give my imperfections to. Sigh.

  6. This book sounds awesome, and the cover is gorgeous! I added it to my to-read list :]

    I love your blog! I'm studying to be a Middle school English teacher as well, and my goal is to get kids reading. I'm a new follower and I'm looking forward to your reviews :]

    Kaitlin @ Read. Write. Love.

  7. Out of curiosity, who won the book?