Monday, August 16, 2010

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Erin Kellison, Author of the Shadow Series

The Qwillery is delighted to welcome Erin Kellison.

Leave it at the door, or The Otherworld

A very strange thing happens when a dancer walks into a dance studio. I imagine it’s the same when a runner puts on his running shoes or any other athlete steps from reality into ‘the zone.’ Dance studios are like that, and when I was a serious student, I’d been counseled by teachers, choreographers, and other dancers to leave whatever was going on in my life at the door. Nothing but dance existed in the studio. The place was very literally a different world, breached by that step from the hallway to the wood or Marley floor. That sense of transport always interested me, and with my fledgling writer’s sensibility, made me wonder.

The studio is an Otherworld, and within its space stories are created and enacted. You might think that a ballet comes to life on the stage, but for me it was always most compelling in the studio, sans costumes and make-up, when I could be so close I felt like I was inside a story. In the dance studio feet blister in pointe shoes, clothes become plastered with musky sweat, the very air is humid with the heat of creation. It’s a different experience altogether. And when the finished product finally hits the stage, I see a completely new world. If the magic is right, the spell mixed with careful precision, the audience is transported too.

All this has been simmering in my head from my dancing days, so when it came time to write a story that included the transition between reality and the fae Otherworld, I knew ballet would be my vehicle of choice. My heroine, Annabella, had to be a dancer, the ballet, Giselle—a ghosty story about two worlds.

There had to be one more element to make this all work: Annabella had to have talent. And what is talent but a pure magic? I know I had next to none when I was dancing, but I saw it in others. I could tell when the discrete movements of the ballet turned into story. Annabella had to have wild talent, the kind that creates legends. The kind that can capture and transport the audience along with the dancer.

Here comes my writer’s What If?: What if there really was an Otherworld that could be breached by talent? What if the ‘the zone’ took you halfway, and talent the rest? What if that place was filled with inspiration, dreams (and nightmares)? Could you cross? Would you? And what could leap into this world?

Here is an excerpt:

Giselle’s broken heart pulled her gaze to the dirt floor of the forest as she rose above from the freshly turned earth of her grave. She kept her hands folded on her breast, to hold the fragments of her love within her. Prince Albrecht would marry another, a royal lady, and not some peasant girl who knew nothing of the world. His betrayal killed her, yet she couldn’t help but love him still.

But she wasn’t a peasant girl any longer.

She was a wili, a ghost, and would dance forever.

Joining the host of other wilis caught in the midnight hush of the wood, Giselle tiptoed down the long diagonal sweep of dancers to bow to her wili queen, Myrtha.

Everything was as it should be, quiet and peaceful. Annabella’s body felt strong, ready for this moment, though a chill of anxiety had her nerves snapping. The sensation went beyond opening night jitters, beyond nerves, to fear.

On one side of her was the woodland backdrop; on the other, the black yawn of theater where the audience sat, voyeurs to Giselle’s tragic love story. Annabella looked up and strained her eyes beyond the side curtains of the stage: A bright angel stood beyond the false trees, his pale green gaze fixed on her. He was her hope, her protection. With him watching, her dance would be lighter, her heart would be lighter.

If Custo was near, she would be safe.

Giselle rose from her deep curtsy and began the series of arabesque turns that marked her advent into the Other. Heart hammering in her chest, she stirred the air, spun her magic, and reached for a world beyond her own.

About Erin:

Erin Kellison is the author of the Shadow Series, which includes Shadow Bound and Shadow Fall. Stories have always been a central part of Erin Kellison's life. She attempted her first book in sixth grade, a dark fantasy adventure, and still has those early hand-written chapters. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English Language and Literature, and went on for a masters in Cultural Anthropology, focusing on oral storytelling. When she had children, nothing scared her anymore, so her focus shifted to writing fiction. She lives in Arizona with her two beautiful daughters and husband, and she will have a dog (breed undetermined) when her youngest turns five.

You can contact Erin though her website,, where you can also sign up to receive her newsletter.



The goodies:

Erin has kindly reserved a copy of Shadow Bound (Shadow Series, Book 1) and Shadow Fall (Shadow Series, Book 2) for one lucky commenter who tells The Qwillery and Erin if you could, would you cross to an Otherworld and why would you cross? (Please leave a way for The Qwillery to contact you.)

The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, August 23, 2010.


  1. I don't think I could cross to an otherworld. I'm not sure adventurous, so I think unless I was forced across, I wouldn't go willingly.

  2. I would cross just out of curiosity.I want to see what was on the other side.

  3. I don't think I would cross unless I knew there was a way to get back.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  4. Yeah, I guess we are all scared little kittens. I would want to know all the rules and have a signed contract up front before I crossed. Need to get back home at the end of the day and all that jazz. Interesting question though and what a GREAT idea for a story. Can't wait to read book two. If it is half as good as book one then I am in for a long night. :)

  5. I guess once I knew I could get back I would cross out of curiosity but only if I could bring a beafy bodyguard!!!! And of course Erins books to keep me entertained.

  6. I'd cross to see what's on the other side and not worry about a way back until I was good and trapped.

  7. I would totally cross to the Otherworld, it would be so awesome to start a new life elsewhere :) Especially with someone you loved (I'd only follow someone I loved there).

    spazp at me dot com

  8. I would cross for my family. But thats about it.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  9. I would cross, but only if I had to save someone, or if it would in some way make the earth a better place!

    chidoryx AT hotmail DOT com

  10. I'ma pretty timid person so I think I'd stay here
    But I'd love to read about it . As I always say those who can do and those who can't read about it later lol

  11. I think we cross over to the Other world every night in our dreams, whether we want to or not. Some of it is good, some bad, some ugly. One thing is certain, the Other world reveals us to ourselves, eh?

    Shadow Fall is an absolutely delicious story. Step away from the computer, gals, and get yourself to the book store!


  12. Yeah, I think I would. I'd probably have a better shot at getting a job and maybe a car that would run more than half the time!!!!

  13. hmm. can't figure out how to leave my info. in the prior comment

  14. I don't think I would cross to an otherworld. I could end up being some monsters' dinner (shudder).... not exactly what I hope for my future, thank you very much. :)

    You can reach me by

  15. I am a curious person who likes to visit new places and try new things, so crossing to an Otherworld might attract me, if a knew at least a bit about what I was going to find there and though I had a reasonable chance of getting back !

    However I am the most un-talented person I know so I would probably only get halfway and then be stuck.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  16. lol, 1st answer was "heck yeah I'd cross" and then I read some of the other comments and realized I'd probably be one of those book characters that gets herself stuck there as the plot because I didnt think things through and now don't have a way back :-s

  17. Hi everyone,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I think I'm with Nora, that we all cross or get close to it more often than we think.
    Best to all,

  18. such a big word and causes so many problems...IF I could cross back and forth it would be worth it. As it was pointed out in our dreams we cross every night. Our fantasies our sense of adventure that we had as children could be full filled as well as our night mares I suppose. But the what if...comes in what if it was wonderful what if it was heinous...what if being here was our otherworld now and we just dont remember it and out dreams at night were mere glimpses of what used to be before we crossed. We would know any different when we got there? I think crossing would be fascinating its the big word IF that gets in the way.
    binnysjen at hotmail dot com

  19. Crossing over would be great to add a little adventure and crazy spice to the world. It would be great to have the adventures with those I love as well.

    Thank you greatly for the chance to win these books. I have had my eye on these. :) They do sound like great reads.

  20. I would love to try to cross to other world when i know there's an easy way to return to this world :)

    why i want to cross because i love the mystery that i would find in other world !

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  21. I would cross if I knew I could easily get back...mostly out of curiosity.
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  22. I believe I would cross. Out of curiosity like it's been said. But also because our world here can be rather dull. I would like some excitement!


  23. I don't think I'd cross. I pretty much a chicken.

  24. The only way would be for my family.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  25. I would definitiely cross over.For me that's what I do when i read one of the many fantasynovels i read,i cross into another world. So i would definitely cross over without any thoughts of how to come back until it's too late.

  26. Nope. No thanks. Sounds so scary.

    and thank you for the giveaway!
    feeyonachan at gmail dot com

  27. I have always been super curious about things. Whether new or old. if curiosity didnt kill the cat, it will kill me one of these days lol. I would go to the otherworld , out of pure experience and hope to open my eyes to not only new things but to look at things in a way i never have before.

    Thanks for the contest

  28. I would take a peek because I'm too curious for my own good. :-) I would want to see how it looks and what there is on the other side. I would cross over if I had to in order to help/save my loved ones.

    Thank you Erin for your generosity, I have heard fantastic praise about your books and can't wait to read them!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com