Friday, July 22, 2011

Guest Post + Giveaway: JL Bryan and The Paranormals Series

Today I'm super excited to be one of three blogs revealing the cover for the third book in JL Bryan's deliciously dark and fascinating young adult series focusing on a young woman named Jenny and her unusual ability to spread disease at the barest touch. As you can see, this newest installment is titled ALEXANDER DEATH and will be releasing in October. JL is joining me on the blog to talk a little bit about how he came up with the title for the series itself, and be sure and check the bottom of the post for details on the giveaway and the other participating blogs!


When I finished Jenny Pox, I realized there was much more room to explore Jenny's story and her background, but I wasn't sure whether I would actually get around to writing follow-up books or not.

The reviews for the book often said that they would like to see a sequel and learn more about Jenny, and I also heard from a number of readers by email and social media asking whether there would be a sequel. Since I was interested and the readers were interested, I decided to build onto the story. I didn't just want to do a sequel, or an episodic series, but a deeply integrated trilogy where everything was woven together in a satisfying way.

The clearest place to begin was the question of Ashleigh's opposite. If Seth and Jenny were opposites, with their powers to heal and to spread plague, then Ashleigh clearly had an opposite, whose touch had the opposite effect from making people feel love.

Some people have asked why Tommy's touch spreads fear instead of hate. My thinking is that hate is not necessarily the opposite of love. Our strongest hates are personal and often originate in love—we hate the friend or lover who betrays us, for example. That kind of hate is powered by the previous feelings of love that existed.

To me, fear seems like the most direct opposite of love. Love draws people together, while fear separates us from each other. This can be fear of people who are different from you, which can often be alleviated just by getting to know an individual from the feared group. There is also the way fear affects our personal relationships. Fear of getting hurt can stop a relationship from ever forming, or lead to jealousy and conflict within a relationship. So we have love pulling people together in an affectionate, positive and helping way, while fear pushes people apart, divides them, and even makes them willing to use violence.

So, there was Ashleigh's opposite. A couple of other paranormals, Alexander and his opposite Esmeralda, came into the story to shed some light on Jenny's past lives and to move events forward. In Alexander, we have a second person Jenny can touch, so this is the first time in her life she's had relationship options. She can be with Seth or with Alexander, and there are some pros and cons to each of them...

Finally, the series itself needed a name. Jenny and Seth aren't an established kind of paranormal being, like a vampire or werewolf, so this was a challenge. They are fragments of the original chaos that reigned before the universe was created (fellow ancient mythology geeks, you know what I'm talking about). Appropriate words might have included “djinn,” “demons,” “gods,” or the simple Lovecraftian “Old Ones.” These all had connotations that I didn't want to deal with, however. These characters repeatedly reincarnate among humans, but they are not human souls. They're sort of the creatures that snuck in under the cracks in the door to our world. They don't belong here.

In the end, I decided the best word was a general one: paranormals. This makes their supernatural nature clear, but it also points to one of the central conflicts faced by Jenny and Seth, which is their endless struggle to be like “normal” humans, when it is impossible for them to do that.

This is why the trilogy that begins with Jenny Pox is now known as The Paranormals, Book One through Three. Because when you've written more than a quarter-million words about a certain group of characters, it's nice to have an actual word to call them.

Thanks so much for stopping by JL! For more information on both JL and
The Paranormals series (highly recommended, though definitely for older YA audiences as there is some more explicit sex and violence in both published works) you can find him here:



As today is the one year book birthday of JENNY POX (Happy Birthday Jenny!), JL has generously offered up e-book copies of both JENNY POX (book 1) and TOMMY NIGHTMARE (book 2) to one lucky winner. To enter, please just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. Since these are e-books, this giveaway is international and will run through midnight EST on Friday, July 29th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog.

Be sure and check out the other two participating blogs as they will have fun guest posts and birthday giveaway celebrations as well:

The Slowest Bookworm
Bewitched Bookworms


  1. hi Jenny! it's always interesting to know from the author's perspective how a book and its characters came to be. this series certainly piqued my curiosity! it would be great to win those 2 copies! thanks for hosting and thanks to JL Bryan as well for being gracious. c",)

    old GFC follower

  2. WICKED excited!!! I've wanted to read Jenny Pox since you reviewed it before... so DOUBLE excited for this one!

  3. I've definitely wanted to read Jenny Pox for such a long time!!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  4. I'd love to read book 2. Thanks for the chance to win.


  5. I've been meaning to read this books for a while now. Thanks for the giveaway!


  6. Oh I love this post from Jeff. I loved this deeper insight into his mind of creating the series... I'm glad he decided to write a series, it totally deserves more story than just one book. Also, he simply created very dark and intriguing character! (and for obvious reasons I'm not entering, I'm just leaving my 2cents!

  7. Hi I found you thru random search. Im your new follower, and I love your blog. Goodluck to everyone whos joining this giveaway.
    care to follow me back? thanks in advance. great post by the way.


  8. I love the new series name, The Paranormals. It's perfect and I think the cover is awesome. I'm really excited to reading Alexander Death, but I'm also kinda scared as I think this one is going to be the scariest of the three.

  9. Thanks for the giveaway! Would love to win this ebook =D

    my email add is serenekua AT gmail DOT com

  10. Alright another giveaway! Thanks so much Jenny!

    bwithbite (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Thanks for the giveaway! This series sounds great.

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  12. Thanks for this amazing giveaway! These look like really interesting books and I would love to win!

    susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

  13. Thanks for taking the time to go into the thought process behind the series. As always, you can opt me out of the contest as I already own the first two in The Paranormals series :)

    See you at the next stop!

  14. Hi Jenny! Thanks for hosting me today. I loved that graphic the Bookworms made to merge the first and second book covers. It's great to see so many enthusiastic comments about the books!

  15. Thanks for the introduction to a new series. I would definitely love to start reading it.

    lincalc at gmail dot com

  16. This one sounds awesome!! Really unique concept. I would love to be entered to win. =)


  17. I like what you said about love and fear--I really hadn't thought of them being opposites, but you're so right! Great guest post. :)

  18. Thanks for the giveaway!! This series sounds awesome!!

  19. thanks for the giveaway! looking forward to reading all 3 in a row.


  20. Yay, Jenny thanks so much for your awesome giveaways. I loved this interview. I haven't heard of these books before and now after the interview I really want to read them. I love that the characters have that opposite powers thing going on. Sounds very unique. Adding them to my to read list. Hope I win. Just wondering if the e-books will be just for the kindle or can they be for nook too?

    Thanks again.

  21. Ohhhh old ones :D Yes I know what you are talking about and it sounds fascinating

  22. Oh yes! please enter me! I really do want to read these.

    Oh and although I personally believe that indifference is the opposite of love, I also believe that fear and love cannot co-exist. So, I so get what you are saying. I am really curious about that!

    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  23. Sounds like a great series!

    bigferret at email dot com

  24. I'm loving the new cover. And yes, I can imagine it must be nice to call characters you've created and developed something, even if they are hard to define because of their many facets.

  25. I like the cover...its beautiful but also a little creepy.

  26. These books look very interesting, thank you for sharing!


  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. First time I'd read anything about these books. Love the cover for book two. Doing a contest on my blog that it fits perfectly into.
    Definitely going on my wishlist.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  29. Sounds really good. Thanks for the chance!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  30. Been meaning to read Jenny Pox for a long time now. I've heard pretty good things about it. I'm glad that the author had so much interest in Jenny Pox that he was inspired to write more about her.


  31. I have heard about this series recently and it sounds intriguing. Congratulations on the new release this October Alexander Death sounds great. I wold love to read Jenny Pox and Tommy Nightmare. Thank you for the wonderful post and giveaway opportunity. Happy Birthday Jenny!


  32. I'm not familiar with these books, but I love the thought the author put into continuing the series. Not only did he clearly to a lot of plot and world building, but also seriously contemplated the emotional underpinnings of the characters.

    alisoncanread at gmail dot com

  33. Great guest post and I can't wait for Alexander Death! I loved Jenny Pox that I won here on your blog Jenny! And I have TN sitting here ready to read before AD comes out. So not entering the contest, but thanks again for Jenny Pox and want to say if you haven't read it, it's like nothing You've ever read before!


  34. Thanks for the giveaway!

  35. Hi, Jenny. I have been wanting to read this series for a while now. Please enter me in contest. It sounds very good.

  36. When I think of the opposite of love, I usually think of hate rather than fear. What JL says though is very true.

    That cover is so pretty. Thanks for the giveaway.

  37. I have not heard of these books before. They sound very good. And I love paranormal books. LOVE.

  38. Would love to read these. I've never actually seen them before so thanks for the giveaway!


  39. What a great giveaway! This is the first I've heard of these books and they look really good.

    pam262 at gmail

    Thanks! :)

  40. The cover is fantastic! I have heard a lot about the first book - Jenny Pox. Great guest post!

  41. I haven't read anything in the Paranormals series yet, but the interview really makes me want to read these books now. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!


  42. I really want to read these books ,and thank you for this opportunity :-)
    Peace. :)

  43. Thank you for the giveaway! I have never heard of these books but I sure want to read them now.

    jbronderblogs at aol dot com

  44. Hi i have read both of these books and have been dieing for the third, I would love to win so my grandaughter can have her own copy so she leave mine alone. thanks joannie

  45. I love the new cover and I would love a chance to win!