Q&A with Helena Shaw, Coven’s Calling Excerpt & Giveaway

Coven’s Calling (Night Hunters, #2)

  • By Helena Shaw
  • Editions: ebook, paperback
  • Published: January 30th 2015
  • Genre: New Adult Paranormal
  • Dawn Garrett has left behind the horrors she faced in Goosemont for a life on the road with Jase Byrnes. With his guidance, she’s started her training as a hunter of the things that hide in the shadows.
    But that training is interrupted when another hunter needs help on a case. Together, Dawn and Jase head south to Louisiana to discover just what is behind a series of gruesome attacks in the suburb of Bon Marais. It’s the perfect chance for Dawn to show off her new skills, but with real danger lurking everywhere, Jase isn’t ready to let her out of his sight.
    She’s sick of being held back, but when someone from her past arrives in Bon Marais, Dawn will face her toughest fight yet. She has to make a choice whether to become the hunter, or to follow her heart.

    ~ Bewitching BT


    Covens Calling Banner 851 x 315


    The trio ate in silence, and Dawn did what she could to keep an eye on the crowd, to listen, but

    everyone who passed was more occupied with talking about what else they had to buy for Christmas

    than they were about any of the strange goings-on in town.

    “This is a bust,” Jo moaned as she finished her burger. “Most people are downright ignoring us.”

    “It’s because we’re a group,” Jase said to her. “It’s harder for people to feel at ease around a group of

    people they don’t know. Just standing here, we look like we’re watching them. We need to go about this

    another way.”

    “Such as?” Dawn asked, though she knew the answer and was not looking forward to it.

    “We need to split up,” Jase said. “Sixty minutes, got that? We meet back at this exact spot.”

    “So you can get another burger?” Jo joked.

    “Hey, now,” Jase laughed with her. “Just because I want a second helping doesn’t make it my only


    Dawn wished she could share in their lack of concern, but being left on her own was scarier than she

    remembered it being only weeks before. She’d grown accustomed to having Jase by her side, and there

    was no way of knowing if someone—or something—was out in the woods just waiting for them to split


    Her concerns weren’t long-lived. As Dawn began to pace around the clearing on her own, she

    couldn’t help but let herself enjoy the sights, the sounds, and most of all, the smells. It was all so

    familiar, a beautiful flashback to her childhood. A cotton candy stand beckoned her on her left, while a

    vendor selling fudge called to her from her right. All around her, people were smiling, and a few even

    said ‘hello’ to her as she passed. Despite the dangers, people seemed friendly. Maybe even forcibly so.

    Just as her guard began to drop, Dawn spotted two silhouettes off in the shadows between the

    motor for the Ferris wheel and the pump for the unused bouncy house. Despite their poufy jackets, their

    shapes were decidedly female, and with the noise around them, there was no way they weren’t having a

    conversation they wanted to keep between just the two of them.

    Slowly, Dawn made her way through the crowd of people. The two women she was keeping an eye

    on had their backs to her, and over the noise they might never hear her, but she couldn’t take that

    chance. She just needed to get close enough to hear something, anything, before she made her retreat


    Around her the crowd broke, and she managed to get close enough to hear a soft, lilting voice just

    above the roar of the motor. It wasn’t a voice she recognized—at least, she didn’t think so—but despite

    its softness, there was anger there.

    “Look,” she heard one of them hiss at the other, “I screwed up, but I’m not the only one. You need to

    keep that damn ghoul on a tighter leash.”

    Dawn’s heart skipped a beat. She’d found them. There were at least two witches, and she’d found

    them. All she needed was to get close enough to them to see who they were before she found Jase and

    told him just what she’d discovered.

    It was risky, but she had to do it. Her heart pounded as she moved. They were only a couple feet

    away, and all she needed was a quick look and she could disappear into the crowd, unnoticed and


    Her luck was lacking, though, and from the shadows a third figure appeared. Before she could make

    sense of the hooded face before her, they raised their hand and a fine pink dust clouded the air. In her

    eyes, her nose, and her throat, the smoky plume burned, and she nearly fell to her knees, coughing in a

    feeble effort to stop the attack.

    It was only when she was able to breathe again that things started to change. With every inhale came

    a deep warmth that flowed through her veins and filled her with passion, desire, and need.


    1. What would you say inspired you to write Coven’s Calling?
    For the first book, I’d say what really inspired me was my life-long love of the paranormal. I’ve always been more interested in the people who hunt, investigate, and search out the things that go bump in the night, and I wanted to tell a story that involved that, but with a healthy dose of romance too. Of course, for the sequel I knew that Dawn and Jase’s story wasn’t finished and continued writing!

    2. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist?
    My two protagonists, Dawn and Jase, were two separate characters I’d been playing around with in my head for some time, and realized they worked together. Dawn is the kind of woman I’ve always enjoyed reading about – strong, determined, but she has her own demons to battle. Jase is the hero I’ve always lusted after – protective, bullheaded, and of course, very sexy.
    This book also introduced a new protagonist in Jo, and she is the kind of woman I’ve found myself butting heads with, yet loving dearly. She’s independent, doesn’t take grief from anyone, yet is loyal to a fault.
    My antagonists (and there are a few!) were born from my absolute love of the villainesses of the world. They are powerful women, beautiful, smart, and deadly.

    3. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
    It used to be a big problem for me. I’d sit down, get ready to write, and just buckle. I also used to be totally opposed to using an outline. Once I started outlining, and outlining in great detail, writer’s block isn’t really an issue anymore. The only problems seem to crop up when I’m working on an outline, but those are easier to work through.

    4. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
    Years ago, when I first realized that writing could be a career for me, I started writing a book. No outline, no direction, I just knew how I wanted it to end. It took me two years and I finally finished it, but I never really did anything with it. I’ve looked at it again since then, but more than anything, it wound up being good practice.

    5. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
    Writing is an amazing outlet and has helped my mental health better than anything else I’ve tried. I live in the dark depths of Canada (okay, not so dark), but seasonal depression has long been an issue in my family. Writing helps me work through that, and I always find if I don’t do any writing for a few days, I’m not as happy. Getting to do it as a career is the most amazing thing.

    6. Was there ever a time, during your work for the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
    All the time! I think that’s totally normal with any creative project. Something isn’t going well, you’re having a bad day, etc. Usually whining about it a little bit helps (husbands make great sounding boards!) and taking some time to work on something else is a big help. More than anything, it’s about pulling up those bootstraps, reminding yourself that a first draft is never perfect, and getting back to work.

    7. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
    Normally I’m up at 7, and I go for a nice long walk (as long as it’s not too cold). I get the boys ready, and once I’m alone, I sit at my tablet in the living room and write write write with small breaks for things like making tea, doing some tidying, laundry, lunch, and so on. I enjoy yoga when I have time for it, and before we moved I used to do martial arts, which I’d love to get back into in the near future.

    8. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
    I’d like to be able to say that it’s water off a duck’s back and you just laugh and move on, but my gosh, hearing bad reviews just cuts right through you. I’ve gotten a bad review here or there that is constructive, and that’s fine, but it’s the ones that tear it apart, tell you that you’re a bad writer, and cut you down that hurt so bad. Honestly, you’re allowed to let those things hurt. No one enjoys that, no one just ignores it. What do you do about it? Let yourself have your feelings hurt for a bit, and mope about it a little, and then move on.

    9. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
    Coven’s Calling is book two in the Night Hunters series, and I have two more books plotted. The fourth one is planned to wrap things up, but if there is demand and my own desire, I might just continue Jase and Dawn’s story. I love them, I love writing their world, so we’ll see.

    10. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
    I’ve got another idea that’s been rolling around in my head, but it’s not paranormal in the slightest. I might give myself a pen name and publish it that way, as my current catalogue is paranormal romance. This other book is still romance, and kind of combines my love of MC and Billionaires all in one.
    As for paranormal, I’ve fallen in love with Jo’s character from Coven’s Calling and I might just see about doing something with her in the future.

    11. What made you decide to go the self-pub way?
    I spent a ton of time researching going the self-published route, and talked to a lot of other authors. At the end of the day, it was about creative control and actually getting my book into the hands (and ereaders) of readers. Some editor at a publishing company isn’t the end all, be all of what people want to read. Doing it myself meant that wall was torn down.

    12. What would you say was the toughest part?
    Promotion by far! Writing is work, but it’s still fun. Editing is a bit harder, and having an editor go through your book and chop it up hurts a bit, but it’s still not that hard. Getting started in the promotional stuff is way more work and isn’t discussed nearly as much, despite it being so important to a book’s success. Luckily, there are lots of services and blogs out there willing to help!

    13. Did you hire professionals for editing, cover design, formatting?
    I have an editor I adore (Wyrmwood Publishing & Editing), but I have a background in Photoshop so I do the covers myself. I also taught myself formatting, and while that was a huge pain at first, it’s so worth it and much easier once you do it the first time. I even did the paperback formatting myself, and that was quite a trial!

    14. How did you decide who to hire, if you worked with pros?
    I met Lana at Wyrmwood (my editor) on a writing forum. We’d been chatting for a long time, and I’d read some of her work, plus everyone raved about her. I tried her out with a novella I wrote, and was very impressed with her work and professional attitude. So when it came time for my novels to be edited, there was no one else I wanted to turn to.

    15. How long did the production part take, from the moment you began working on the manuscript to self-pub to when you hit ‘Publish’?
    Harvest Moon (Night Hunters Book One) took me about two and a half months from start to finish to outline, write, send to the editor, get back, format, and publish. It seems fast, but being a writer is my full-time job, and I treat it that way. Plus, a detailed outline really does kill writer’s block, which makes things go a lot smoother. Coven’s Calling began the day after Harvest Moon was published and it took about the same amount of time, maybe a little less as I took time off for Christmas.

    16. Where is your work being distributed? How did you decide which one to go with?
    For right now, I’m only on Amazon for the Night Hunters series. It’s a bit of a gamble, but so far Kindle Unlimited has been very good to me. Not only do lends help make authors money, but it’s a great promotional tool as well. Also, being in Canada means I don’t have as many options to publish directly, which is a shame. If sites like B&N open up to us in the north, my distribution will surely change.

    17. If you could turn back in time and do things differently, would you? What would you change?
    I wouldn’t have ignored writing for so long! I’d thought about it as far back as high school, but never really put much effort into it. I was focused on a ‘real’ job, never realizing that writing is a real job.

    Fun Facts

    18. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
    Financial security for life. How boring, but I guess my adulthood is showing!

    19. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – It’s the kind of book you could read 1000 times and still find something you missed. Infinitely rereadable.

    20. Name your favorite fruit.
    Fresh strawberries

    21. Coffee or tea?
    Used to be coffee, but now it’s tea all the way. I even worked at a tea store for a little while!

    22. Favorite season?
    It’s a tie between spring and fall. Where we live we get about six months of winter about four of summer. That leaves about one month (if we’re lucky) of the most beautiful spring that’s so full of hope. The birds sing in the day, and the frogs sing at night and it’s perfect. It’s enough to make you forget that for four mounts we’ll be dealing with boiling hot days at 100% humidity.
    Fall is perfect for about three to four weeks from late September to early October. It’s not too cold, it’s a little spooky, and the perfect time to go on a haunted hike, sip apple cider, and cuddle up with a loved one while watching your favorite scary movie.
    Honestly, those two months of the year are what keep me living here.

    23. How about fav time of 24 hours?
    11am. I find I’m my most productive, the weather is usually the best, and it’s generally pretty quiet.

    24. Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
    Kind of! I did Sparks as a little girl, and then Brownies and Girl Guides, but I watched too many scary movies and quit when I found out we had to go camping. I was too scared that Jason would get me!

    25. Favorite food for breakfast?
    I love bread. Not just for breakfast. I just really, really love bread.

    26. Latest book you’ve bought and read?
    My husband got me the World of Ice and Fire for Christmas and I’ve been working through that and love it. Next up is Revival by Stephen King and then A Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson.

    27. Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
    I do! My husband and I met in a comic store and we’re both a bit nerdy. I have (eep) about 50 Monster High dolls! I swear I’m an adult!

    28. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
    Right now it’s the Pantone Color of the Year – Marsala! I’ve never been into the idea of a ‘color’ of the year, but it’s such an amazing shade. I absolutely love it and I’m currently trying to convince my husband to let me paint every room in our house that shade.

    29. Drama or comedy?
    Lately? Comedy all day long. Most times I watch TV lately I just put on Top Gear reruns!

    30. Cats or dogs?
    We have two cats, and at the end of the day, I’d say cats, but I want another dog (a big one!) and maybe a second one. And a goat. And an alpaca. And a snake. I really, really like animals.


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    About the Author & Links:

    Helena Shaw resides in a small town in western Ontario. When she is not writing, she is taking care of her two boys and her husband.

    Website | Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


    3 thoughts on “Q&A with Helena Shaw, Coven’s Calling Excerpt & Giveaway

    1. kindlemom1

      Thanks for sharing this, it sounds really good! I am always amazed at how fast some author’s can put books out. How do they do it? I think I would have spent way more than two years on my first try.

      1. Helena Shaw

        To be honest, my first attempt at anything took me a long time, too! Trying to have a full time job, a family, and you know, a life? The books always took a back seat and got muddled when I didn’t touch it for long stretches.

        I got a fantastic opportunity to be able to write full time, and I absolutely love writing Jase and Dawn’s story. I’m already into book three! It makes getting the books done quickly a lot easier, plus my editor is fantastic and so encouraging.

        Don’t give up on writing, though. Two months, two years, two decades, it’s your story – tell it!
        Helena Shaw recently posted…Harvest MoonMy Profile


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