Sunday, September 23, 2012

Morgan Keyes and DARKBEAST (with giveaway)!

I'm super excited to introduce you to a fabulous new middle-grade author--Morgan Keyes! Her first book, Darkbeast, features a strong heroine who defies her society's conventions to stay true to her lifelong companion, who happens to be a none other than a raven. I had the privilege of reading Darkbeast last month, and I fell in love with Keara and Caw and their fascinating story.

Though it's a middle-grade, it's also most certainly a book for those who love my Aspect of Crow fantasy series. The world-building is top-notch, the main characters have to make hard choices, and of course: there are animals!

Morgan is giving away a copy of Darkbeast to one lucky reader today (US and Canada addresses only), so please welcome her to the blog!


Many thanks to Jeri, for allowing me to visit and tell you about my middle grade fantasy novel, Darkbeast. Due to the generosity of my publisher, Simon & Schuster, I will give away a copy of Darkbeast to one commenter chosen at random from all the comments made to this post by 11:59 p.m. EDT Monday night.

In Darkbeast, twelve-year-old Keara runs away from home rather than sacrifice Caw, the raven darkbeast that she has been magically bound to all her life. Pursued by Inquisitors who would punish her for heresy, Keara joins a performing troupe of Travelers and tries to find a safe haven for herself and her companion.

In many ways, Darkbeast is the exact same story as Jeri's Shade series. 

Okay. Darkbeast is about tweens, not teens. And Darkbeast is set in an imaginary land, one that has only the faintest resemblance to the world we live in. And Darkbeast doesn't involve ghosts, or cool bands, or hot Scottish guys, or, or, or…

But both Darkbeast and the Shade series are about ways of seeing the world.  Aura and all the other teens born after the Shift literally see the world differently than adults do – they see ghosts that are invisible to older people.

Similarly, my heroine Keara sees the world in a way that sets her apart from her mother (and from her sisters and from just about everyone else she knows.) Keara sees a world where she loves her darkbeast, even though her bonded raven companion knows the absolute worst things about her – her most evil thoughts, her absolute worst deeds.

Most people shy away from bad memories, from the confirmation that they could have acted better, they could have done more. Most people struggle to fit into their society, doing everything they can to be a happy, healthy, integrated part of the whole.

But where's the fun in that? More to the point, where's the fun in reading about that?

Keara breaks the rules – the very first section of Darkbeast is entitled "Rebellion". Keara's rebellion costs her a lot – family, friends, the comfort of living and working in a familiar world. 

But in exchange, Keara gains an entire new world. She travels to new places and sees new things that she only has only imagined in the past. And if her unique vision, her special understanding of the facts places her directly in harm's way, then maybe – just maybe – it also gives her the keys to her own salvation. All of her adventures grow out of the different way that Keara sees the world around her.

What about you? Are there things that you see completely differently from other people in your life? 

(For me, I have to say it's texting. Almost everyone around me – family and friends – live and die by their cell phones. Me? Not so much. Actually, almost not at all! Half the time, my phone is floating in the bottom of my purse, having run out of power because I forgot to recharge it. And now you probably think I'm as strange as Keara must seem to her people!)

Morgan can be found online at:

Darkbeast is for sale in bricks-and-mortar and online bookstores, including:  Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

Morgan Keyes grew up in California, Texas, Georgia, and Minnesota, accompanied by parents, a brother, a dog, and a cat.  Also, there were books.  Lots and lots of books.  Morgan now lives near Washington, D.C.  In between trips to the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art, she reads, travels, reads, writes, reads, cooks, reads, wrestles with cats, and reads.  Because there are still books.  Lots and lots of books.



DarkBeast seems wonderful and I do enjoy a good middle-grade book, hope I get a chance to read it.

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 9/24/2012 7:21 AM

Who can say no to a book with animals in it? :) I'm looking forward to getting a chance to read it.

Posted by: Blogger Rebecca Harwell at 9/24/2012 9:15 AM

I agree about texting and cell phones. My phone makes phone calls - that's it. No Internet access, no camera, no calendar. I just recently enabled texting because my sister wanted to reach me that way if she needed to. I think I've sent maybe 5 messages.

I really like the idea of Darkbeast.

Posted by: Blogger Riva at 9/24/2012 11:31 AM

Malvina - Thanks for your kind words!

Rebecca - I've always been a fan of animal books, so I guess it's a natural that I finally had to write one :-)

Riva - I first learned to text after September 11, as an emergency contact measure, but I am laughably horrible at it to this day... (Thanks for your kind words about DARKBEAST!)

Morgan, looking forward to the random number drawing at the end of this contest!

Posted by: Blogger Morgan Keyes at 9/24/2012 1:45 PM

This sounds like a book right up my alley and I'm always looking for good "tween" books to recommend to my friends' kids.

Posted by: Blogger Judy (shellseeker93) at 9/24/2012 3:45 PM

what a lovely book! I love a good book with animals and it would be just great as I'm currently reading lots of middle grade.

as for cell phones...I actually managed to stay one whole week without. It made me realize how much I rely on technology. pretty sad.

Love from Italy!

Posted by: Blogger Reading Mind / The Loyal Book at 9/24/2012 6:56 PM

Is this giveaway open to Canadians? I hope so, coz it sounds like a very interesting book:) You promotion of "you'll like this is you like Aspects of Crow" nakes me really want it;)

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 9/24/2012 8:18 PM

Judy - Thanks for the kind words -- DARKBEAST is a perfect tween book!

Reading mind - I just spent a week on vacation, without cell phone access and with limited wi-fi. I'm more wired than I thought I was, judging by how hard it was to do without!

Evrythgcnhapn - S&S will send books to the States and to Canada, so you're included in the contest!

Posted by: Blogger Morgan Keyes at 9/25/2012 11:19 AM

And Judy - you're the winner, according to the Random Number Generator! Congratulations!

(Please send your street address to me at, and I'll have S&S send you your copy of DARKBEAST!)

Posted by: Blogger Morgan Keyes at 9/25/2012 11:20 AM

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