Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Guest Post with S.J. Kincaid

Photo Content from S.J. Kincaid

S.J. Kincaid was born in Alabama, grew up in California, and attended high school in New Hampshire, but it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Scotland that she realized that she wanted to be a writer. Her debut, Insignia, came out in July of 2012. The second book in the series, Vortex was released in July of 2013. The final book in the trilogy, Catalyst, came out October 28, 2014. Her standalone novel The Diabolic will be released in fall 2016.


As a kid, I always wanted to go to boarding school. My two older siblings went first, starting with my brother, who didn’t like how often we moved and wanted to go to school in the same place for four years. This was all pre-9/11, so we could go right to the gate with them, and I remember just staring out the window at the plane they were boarding, sick with envy, wishing I were getting on that plane.

For all my childhood, boarding school was this bright, gleaming dream for me, especially after I entered Junior High, lost my friends from elementary school, and suddenly found myself lonely more days than not.

I'd go across the country to a new home and make a ton of new friends. I began to truly apply myself, to devote myself to getting the best possible grades, to studying for the SSATs.

I got in.

The last three months of eighth grade, I passed classes this way: I’d received a rule book for the boarding school, so I smuggled into class with me and read it over and over, just to soak in this sign of the school I'd soon attend.

And when I went to boarding school...

Well, let's just say: wherever you go, there you are.

There is no changing your circumstances unless you change yourself. I love the makeover movies as much as the next person where some down-on-his-or-her-luck person gets a new job, a new look, and new confidence, and just lives a better life, but you bring all of your hang-ups and worries with you. Even now, I have to remind myself of this when I get restless and want to move: I know exactly what I’ll do somewhere new. I’ll sit in Panera or a coffee place and write a lot. I’ll go on the internet to much. I’ll watch a bunch of Star Trek: The Next Generation recuts.

The most important thing I learned in school was therefore to look inward, not outward, and fix myself before I saw reasons for displeasure in what I saw about me.

it is never good to build your expectations too high. They are impossible to meet. I did not make friends. I did not thrive in classes. And I was not happy.

Lesson the first of this? It was a hard one to learn, but I finally got it by the time I graduated: it is not them, it's me. I struggled to make friends because the first sign of rejection, the first hint of adversity, and I'd withdraw from people. I'd hide myself in my room, eat a lot of junk food, and blare Les Miserables (likely alienating more people who lived around me suffering from my very loud music).

But the second lesson I learned was the most important, and even now, I have to remind myself of it: I don't necessarily need other people.

Yes, I love the company of friends every so often, but I learned over the course of Junior High and then High School not only how to be by myself for a great deal of the time, but how to make good use of it.

These were the years that turned me into a writer, you see. In the absence of exterior socialization, I spent a lot of time in my own head, and I began writing. A lot. My imagination became incredibly vivid and developed, and I wielded it as a tool for these stories. I still do.

To be honest, now as an adult, I get nervous sometimes when drawn into situations with constant exposure to people. It's not social anxiety, since I've basically overcome that. Rather, I know outside stimulation burns up some of the energy I'd otherwise keep in my head, imagining stories. Rather than fearing I'll never have a social life as I did when I was young, I now fear the idea a social life may ruin my writing.

So, there are still lessons to be learned, but school taught me to be the person I am now-- or rather, the writer I am. Even if it was a hard lesson at the time, and I might've enjoyed the person I would have become if life had been easier back then, I wouldn't change it even if I could.

1. "The Emperor wishes me to send my innocent little lamb to the slaughter. No. Instead, I'll send him my anaconda."

I like that this line is the book in a nutshell: Nemesis is a dangerous killer - the blades of the butterfly on he cover - sent in place of Sidonia Impyrean, the heiress sought by the Emperor as his hostage.

2. "These people truly were cruel. But if they posed a threat to Sidonia in any way, they would discover I was crueler still."

I like this line because it's Nemesis in a nutshell. This is her task in the book, and this is how she thinks:

3. The other aspects I enjoyed while writing THE DIABOLIC were the relationships between Nemesis and other female characters.

"And as her eyes held mine, wide and glorious and so self-destructively devoted to me, to me of all things, I felt a helpless surge of rage, because I knew there was no way to tear this from her. I could break her in half, I could stomp every bone in her body to dust, and I still would never vanquish that resolve, that madness.

That was when I realized for the first time that Sidonia Impyrean... could be indomitable."

The primary one centers upon Sidonia, the girl Nemesis literally exists to protect. I liked this moment when Sidonia stands up and refuses to allow Nemesis's ready sacrifice for her. I always imagined Nemesis as the physical powerhouse, but Sidonia as a gentle girl with a layer of steel beneath-- which Nemesis finally realizes for herself.

4. I'd love to speak about Neveni, about Cygna, but I'm going to mention the last quote with regard to a character named 'Enmity', as you can tell from her odd name, not a regular person, but rather a Diabolic like Nemesis.

"'Leaving so soon, GrandeƩ Impyrean?'

I turned slowly to face Enmity. She studied me in that animalistic way and I held very still, every thought about how to behave like a real person rushing from my mind.

My twin. My shadow. Only fitting that she'd be the one to see through me...

'What business is it of yours?' My voice sounded too hard, too threatening-- too much like my voice.

In so many ways, Nemesis sees the first hint of her own humanity in this other person who is so like her, and yet Enmity is also her greatest threat. Here, Nemesis struggles in the face of a direct encounter with her to maintain the guise of being the delicate, vulnerable Sidonia, all while aware of just how great a threat Enmity poses to her—due to being so much like Nemesis herself.

Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this epic novel about what happens when the galaxy’s most deadly weapon masquerades as a senator’s daughter and a hostage of the galactic court.

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. 

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.


SIDONIA had made a dangerous mistake.

She was carving a statue out of a great stone slab. There was something mesmerizing about the swiping and flashing of her laser blade, bright against the dark window overlooking the starscape. She never aimed the blade where I expected, but somehow she always produced an image in the stone that my own imagination could never have conjured. Today it was a star gone supernova, a scene from Helionic history depicted vividly in rock.

Yet one swipe of her blade had extracted too large a chunk from the base of the sculpture. I saw it at once and jumped to my feet, alarm prickling through me. The structure was no longer stable. At any moment, that entire statue was going to come crashing down.

Donia knelt to study the visual effect she’d created. Oblivious to the danger.

I approached quietly. I didn’t want to warn her—it might startle her into jerking or jumping, and cutting herself with the laser. Better to rectify the situation myself. My steps drew me across the room. Just as I reached her, the first creak sounded, fragments of dust raining down from above her as the statue tilted forward.

I seized Donia and whipped her out of the way. A great crashing exploded in our ears, dust choking the stale air of the art chamber.

I wrested the laser blade from Donia’s hand and switched it off.

She pulled free, rubbing at her eyes. “Oh no! I didn’t see that coming.” Dismay slackened her face as she looked over the wreckage. “I’ve ruined it, haven’t I?”

“Forget the statue,” I said. “Are you hurt?”

She glumly waved off my question. “I can’t believe I did that. It was going so well. . . .” With one slippered foot, she kicked at a chunk of broken stone, then sighed and glanced at me. “Did I say thanks? I didn’t. Thanks, Nemesis.”

Her thanks did not interest me. It was her safety that mattered. I was her Diabolic. Only people craved praise.

Diabolics weren’t people.

We looked like people, to be sure. We had the DNA of people, but we were something else: creatures fashioned to be utterly ruthless and totally loyal to a single individual. We would gladly kill for that person, and only for them. That’s why the elite imperial families eagerly snatched us up to serve as lifelong bodyguards for themselves and their children, and to be the bane of their enemies.

You can purchase The Diabolic at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you S.J. KINCAID for making this giveaway possible.
Five Winners will receive a Copy of Diabolic +Swags by S.J. Kincaid.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! I was hooked from the first chapter until the end. In fact, I didn't want it to end. This story was so different from anything I've ever read before. S. J. Kincaid has woven a fantastical tale with characters that you come to care about, except for the evil ones who you will loathe. I was so pleased to find out there will be a second book. This would make an incredible movie!

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