Title:  Cursed (Touched Part 1)

Series:  Touched/Sidhe Saga

Author:  S.A. Archer

Published:  Ravynheart Publishing – October 2011

As a private investigator specializing in paranormal problems, London Eyer thought she could handle working for the Sidhe. They couldn’t be any worse than vampires or werewolves or wizards, could they? Oh, how wrong she was. One ‘Touch’ of Sidhe magic and she was cursed. Her only chance to survive is to serve the creep that cursed her against the vicious Changelings out for his blood.

NOTE:   Cursed is a short story.

**note** This book was given to The Book Hookup to read but it did not in any way influence this review.

Ana will put Cursed on her second shelf!

My Review:  Cursed is only one of the books in the interweaving set of stories called the Sidhe Saga.  It also happens to be book one of the Touched Series.  What this means is that it can be looked at individually (as the first book in a series) or as part of the greater Sidhe Saga adventure.  The characters in this short story are also woven into the other stories written by S.A. Archer.  Archer has taken a very unique approach to writing – giving the readers small, interesting bites…and leaving them wanting more.

After reading Cursed, I can certainly see the appeal of a book you can read in one sitting.  It was refreshing to begin a story, feel immersed in the world created by the author, and find myself finished so quickly.  This book had some interesting characters, some questions that were answered and many, many others I was left to ponder over after the last page.  Cursed certainly left me wondering what will happen next…it was such a quick adventure!

Now, there is something about this type of storytelling that I need to get used to.  As you all know, I am a lover of detail.  And this crazy need for information means that I felt like something was missing for me.  I finished the book needing more…more data…more pages…in order to fall in love with these characters.  That being said, however, I know that the story has just begun.  As the series progresses, I am sure I will learn what I need to about our hero, London Eyer, who is a private investigator and has found herself involved with all manner of paranormals.  I look forward to learning about the Changellings, Wood Elfs and Vampires that were introduced.  And, of course, there’s definitely more information to be had about the magic she has discovered through her encounter with Rico, a Sidhe.  I know it’s just the beginning and so my need for detail will likely be fulfilled as the adventure continues.  I will definitely read the rest of the series!

Because I have not read many short stories, I was intrigued with this method of storytelling and needed more (gasp!) information.  The author was kind enough to answer a few questions about these books and the world within them. 

What was your inspiration for writing these short stories?  Where did the ideas come from?
My writing partner S. Ravynheart and I developed the characters and the world through an online role playing game we co-created. I started with Lugh, the Champion of the Sidhe and a Seelie who was very loosely based on the Celtic sun god mythology. Ravynheart created Donovan, head of the Unseelie Elite. We manifested the storyline around the conflict between the Seelie and Unseelie in the wake of the Collapse of the Mounds. The mechanics of the Touch, the culture and the history of the fey, the dynamics of wizard magic, and the depth of character development resulted over months of hardcore gaming.

I was already an author, so when the game reached a natural resting place, I found myself driven to bring the stories to life through fiction. I love this world and these characters. The story was just so massive and amazing, I wanted more than anything to share it with people. Ravynheart and I spent a lot of time working out the best way to recreate the world and the storyline, and serialized mini-series was the only way we could really do the story and characters justice.

Why did you choose the short story/novella format?
Before starting with The Sidhe project, my published work included short stories, novellas, and novels. I prefer the focus and intensity of the shorter lengths. With a novel the main thrust of the story can get diluted with subplots and filler, like passages about the character doing mundane things. I have spoken to other authors who have written stories that were whole and complete, but that ran tens of thousands of words under the typical ‘novel length’. So they go back and come up with scenes just to beef up the word count. For me, that takes away from the intensity and focus of the story. I’d much prefer to par it down to a tight, high-impact story. Shorter fiction does not mean that characterization, powerful descriptions, or intense action is sacrificed. Just the opposite. It means that you won’t be wasting time skimming over passages about the characters chatting over dinner, or working the day job, or dealing with the whatever everyday annoyances that may occur that have nothing to do with the main storyline.

Do you have a favorite character from these books, or one that spoke to you more personally or more clearly as you were writing?
We have three mini-series that are going to have a lot of cross over between them. In the Rise of the Unseelie there is a 17-year-old earthborn Sidhe named Malcolm that connects with me deeper than any of the other characters. He will show up in a few of the Touched stories with London. This young man will go through a lot of character growth. He sort of has the opposite problem from London’s. Where she is cursed and in search of the Touch, he is a Sidhe who possesses the Touch and becomes a very lucrative commodity for the Changeling that imprisons him.

Have you always envisioned yourself becoming an author?
Like a lot of authors, writing and storytelling is a fundamental part of who I am. I constantly have stories running in my head like a movie. As a discovery writer I have the enviable position of following the characters as they grow, fight, discover, fall in love, and suffer betrayal. I write with the passion of a fan, eager to find out what will happen next. They surprise and thrill me every day. I love it and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

What inspires you?
First and foremost I have to say my partner, Ravynheart. If it hadn’t been for the massively awesome role playing we shared there would be no story. Even now we co-write a lot of the books; bouncing ideas off each other, trading scenes, and working up the dialogue. When I am in writing mode I usually have music playing. I select playlists for each character in each stage of their development. I post a lot of the music on my blog at feycast.blogspot.com with snippets from the stories. I also pick ‘playbys’ for my characters as inspiration. A playby is model or actor/actress who I think would be perfect to play the character’s role in a movie. I’ll usually have a photo of the playby up on the side of the computer screen as I work. In Cursed, I used Jennifer Connelly as London, Enrique Iglesias for Rico, and Zachary Quinto as Deacon.

Thanks for the very candid answers, Archer!  I look forward to reading more about this interesting world you’ve created!


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