Micah is the main – and very troubled – character of my debut novel, Rise of the Fallen (Book One of the All the King's Men Series, or AKM). He's a vampire who has been alive so long he can't even remember his true age, but he remembers all-too-well the Middle Ages. That's when he lost his first mate, a wife named Katarina. It was a miracle he survived that loss, and now he has to try to survive the loss of another? That probably won't happen unless Fate intervenes and sends in a savior.
Rise of the Fallen is the story of how Micah navigates himself through his biologically-imposed hell to search for a way out of his pain. And if he doesn't succeed in getting himself killed first, he might just find his savior in the most unexpected person: A spunky blonde named Samantha Garrett who has her own past she's trying to run away from. When these two finally meet, sparks fly and danger closes in. They'll have to save each other if they are to survive.
When I started writing Rise of the Fallen (ROTF) over a year ago, I simply wanted to write Micah's story, and that's it. I was in a dark place in my own life, and was struggling to find my own way back from the brink of depression after losing my job and my identity. Writing through Micah's pain was cathartic. It was as if he and I needed each other. I know I needed him. And he needed me if he wanted to get out of his chasm of despair. So, write I did, and slowly but surely he and I worked our way out of the depths of hell.
As I began writing, though, an interesting thing happened. It quickly became clear that Micah wasn't by himself in this new world he and I were creating. Suddenly, I had six other damaged male vampires and mixed-blood vampires who wanted their stories told, too. Before I knew it, Tristan, Arion, Severin, Traceon, Io, and Malek had joined the mix and I had a series on my hands. That's when All the King's Men (AKM) was born.
AKM is an organization created by King Bain, who we aren't introduced to until book two (due out May 25), to maintain and enforce the truce between the vampires and their rivals, the drecks. Drecks are shifters who are described as "distant cousins" to the vampires, and throughout the centuries, drecks and vampires have been in and out of war with each other as they jockey to be the dominant race. That's a hard mountain to climb for the drecks, because, as is said more than once, vampire blood trumps dreck blood. The same goes for their venom.
In Rise of the Fallen, Apostle is the head dreck in charge of his own little band of deviants. He's bad ass, hungry to give Micah the pain he wants, and would like nothing more than to see the vampires fall extinct so the drecks can take over. He makes a formidable enemy for the vampires.
These vampires aren't your normal vampires, either. I wanted to make my vampires more tragic, more damaged, and more unique than what I've read elsewhere. Why not allow them more interesting powers and abilities? Why not make them more diverse? The human race is filled with diversity and people who have special gifts and talents. Why can't vampires share that diverse nature?
Consequently, with the help of my characters (yes, I do what my characters tell me, because they know best), I created a paranormal world where my characters battle the same fears, prejudices, and dangers we humans do, but on a more epic and magnified level. Not only does this series tackle Micah's severe self-destruction and near-mortal depression in ROTF, but each subsequent book covers each of the other characters' battles with their own demons and social fears.
Tristan, who's the leader of Micah's team, sums it up best in the yet-to-be published book two, Heart of the Warrior, when he says: "I have got to have the most dysfunctional team at AKM." On his team, he has: Micah (and we already know how messed up he is); a male who is closeted in fear over his sexuality and is only just beginning to understand the oppression he's endured all his life to hide the truth; a male who lives in fear that the secrets of his past will be exposed, and who is running from an assassin hell-bent on exacting justice; a male who has never allowed himself to grieve the loss of his human mate and is about to get a drastic wake-up call; a prejudiced playboy whose world is about to get turned upside-down and be reminded of his drug-addicted past; a male whose life is built on borrowed time; and a male who is bound – literally – to a lifestyle of hardcore BDSM and submission to keep from falling prey to the enormous power that resides within him, and who has a tragic past he can't forget.
The world of AKM is an exciting one, and Rise of the Fallen is just the beginning of what these tragic males will have to endure as I tell all their stories. A few other key characters come along in books two-four whose stories will be told, as well. I anticipate ten AKM books, and at least two AKM novellas, and I am thrilled with how well Rise of the Fallen has kicked off the series.
Here are just a few samples of what reviewers are saying about Rise of the Fallen:
"This author has taken a way over populated paranormal genre and brought us something different. Her characters are strong, yet troubled…If she continues with work like this, she could easily join or surpass the ranks of Ward, Kenyon, and Feehan." –Wowed1
"RISE OF THE FALLEN left me breathless and begging for more. It's filled with tension, romance, conflict, and a cast of characters screaming to tell their own stories. Being a debut novel, I [cannot] believe how well written this book is." -LoveMyBooks
"Rise of the Fallen by Donya Lynne was an incredible book filled with love, loss, and discovery! The characters had such depth and realism it seemed like they were going to jump off the page!"- Asher Rae
"The best features in the books? The dialogues. I grinned nearly the whole time, especially because they sounded so "right" and "normal". Does that make sense? They were funny, teasing and entertaining but not in an artificial way." -Sunne
And, finally, I can't end this post without giving you an excerpt from Rise of the Fallen:
"Show me," she said, flipping the Bowie in her hand so she could hand it to him handle first. "Teach me something."
Maybe Micah could show her how to disembowel someone. That way, if Steve ever did find her, she could have some fun. The thought immediately filled her with guilt. Could she really do that to someone? Even an abusive ass like Steve? Put a bullet between his eyes, maybe, but cutting him up like she was Jack the Ripper? Okay, so under the right circumstances, she probably could. Better to be prepared if it happened.
Micah's gaze shot to hers and he reached out almost tentatively to take the knife. It was as if he wasn't sure he should.
"Oh, go on," she said. "I won't hurt you."
With a smirk, he took the knife and flipped it around, the blade shimmering as it danced in the light. He tossed and sliced it through the air then grabbed it backhand and lunged for her, pushing the blade toward her throat and stopping a couple of feet away. She barely flinched, knowing in her heart that he would never hurt her. Their eyes met and he seemed almost as breathless as she felt, and not from exertion.
Biting her lip, she clutched the Big Brother with the same grip he was using on the Bowie.
"Like this?" She batted his arm away and surged toward him.
He fell to his back as she cut the knife through the air and stopped within inches of his throat. She loomed over him, feeling her pulse quicken as his eyes smoldered up at her.
"Where were you a few days ago?" he said, his voice deep and seductive.
"Apparently waiting to rescue you." She barely pressed the edge of the blade to his skin, biting her lip, liking the thrill she got from the look in his eye. It was a mix of fear and lust, the way she imagined a cuffed masochist looked as he prepared for his master to flog him.
"Any regrets?" he asked.
She shook her head, heat pooling like warm honey low in her belly and between her legs. "No."
Sam felt him relinquish himself as the Bowie thudded to the floor. His free arm swooped around her and pulled her on top of him. She had to swing her leg out from under the covers, but with the knife still held to his throat, she straddled his hips and skimmed her other hand over his smooth, bare chest, as surprised at her reaction to him as he was.
"Tell me you're not using some mind trick on me to make me feel this way," she said.
His hands crept up her bare thighs and inside the legs of her shorts. "I'm not compelling you, if that's what you mean."
Raking her blunt nails across his pec, she smiled as he hissed and pushed his chest toward her hand. He looked good, still thin but more puffed up, like someone had hooked him up to a hose and blown air into what had looked like a deflated body the other night.
"You look better, by the way. The other night you looked like you needed a couple or a dozen sandwiches."
"Oh?" His hands pushed further inside her shorts and she shifted her weight so he could explore further if he wanted to, but he only went so far before pulling his hands back out to continue exploring her elsewhere.
Sam hadn't reacted to a man like this in a long time. Actually, she had never reacted to a man like this. Was it just the danger Micah represented, or how safe she felt with him despite all the peripheral shit she still wasn't sure she had wrapped her head around? Or was it the knife at his throat, or just the fact that she had been through a lot in the last twelve hours and simply needed an outlet for all that unspent adrenaline? Maybe it was a combination of everything. Who knew? What she did know was that her body craved his in a way that felt almost criminal.
Shifting her hold on the knife, she dragged the tip of the blade lightly over his skin, to the hollow of his throat, down his sternum, and over to one dark, gathered, quarter-sized nipple.
Normally so straight-laced and proper, Sam wanted nothing of either right now. Some would say that after so long without, her body now felt the need to make up for lost time, spilling over with arousal. A dark, mysterious man, possibly – probably – a vampire, lay under her, bent to her will as she flicked the tip of the knife across the puckered hardness of his nipple.
"Aren't you scared?" She bent forward so that her face was directly over his and her hips rose from him. His hands skated up the sides of her legs and into her shirt to blister her skin with desire.
"I'm scared you'll stop." His hips thrust upward to keep the connection between their lower bodies, and his hardness pressed against her.
If you would like to buy Rise of the Fallen or take a closer look, here are the links where you can find the ebook:
Amazon: Amazon - Rise of the FallenBarnes & Noble: B&N - Rise of the Fallen
Smashwords: SW: Rise of the Fallen
All Romance ebooks: ARe: Rise of the Fallen
And I'd love to meet you on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDonyaLynne
Book Two, Heart of the Warrior, is due out May 25.
Author's Note: My thanks to model and web designer, Andrei Andrei, for his permission to use his image on the cover of Rise of the Fallen. You can see more of his body of work at his website: http://www.andreiandrei.com/