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Review: Beneath the Skin by R.L. Martinez (Book 2 of the Witchbreed Series)

Beneath the Skin by R.L. Martinez (Book 2 of the Witchbreed Series)

About the Book

Abandoned, betrayed, and wanted for murder.

Lady Oriabel Dominax is a witch on the run. The deadly magic now awakened inside her is hungry, and it is all Oriabel can do to control it. With no choice but to trust strangers as her guardians, she quickly discovers not everyone is who they say they are and the very magic she fears might be her only weapon to protect those she loves.

Since rescuing her sister from certain death, Lady Ottilde Dominax’s only goal is to keep Oriabel safe and alive. Not an easy task when both the enemy and their so-called allies are hunting them. Placing all her trust in the very man who held her prisoner, Ottilde must open her heart and mind to a future she could never have predicted, a future guided only by love and survival.

Life, death, and tragedy lie ahead as the Dominax twins set out on a perilous journey to safety. But knowing they are mere pawns in someone else’s game means fighting for family is all they have left.

For fans of Sarah J. Maas and Juliet Marillier, The WITCHBREED series is a “magical and spellbinding” epic tale of witches, warriors, and “a sisterly bond like none other.”


My thoughts:

A seamless blend of epic fantasy and storytelling, book two Beneath the Skin picks up after the life changing events of In the Blood. Oriabel and Ottilde are together at last but quickly discover forces are trying to separate them again. This time both girls are being hunted for who and what they are. Within Oriabel lies the child all the hunters want. A missing link to an even greater power.

R.L. Martinez has again captured the beauty of this raw, untamed world with a sense of reality that is hard to shake after putting the book down. The magic and shapeshifting fantasy elements are written in a believable way and the world building is breathtaking.

The sisters’ romantic entanglements are deeply complex, interweaving love and duty until clear lines become lost and motivation is murky. The sisters once again have difficult choices to make. Give up their love or fight for what they need to survive.

Never come between a mother and her child. Oriabel will do anything and everything she must to keep her child safe. R. L. Martinez has once again taken us on a spellbinding journey, one that I was heartbroken to finish. Bring on Book Three.


Read here for my review of Boook One: In the Blood

Don’t lie to me (Friday Fictioneers)

Jack scooched further down on the leather seat feeling the skin on the back of his thighs pull dangerously. This was not his idea of a good afternoon. Or a good morning come to think of it. Twisting his head from side to side sent a spark of electricity through his spine.

His stomach growled at the same time as his phone trilled.

He felt around with one hand for the open bag of crisps while thumbing the screen of his phone on with the other. His gaze didn’t leave the house. “Hun? Yeah, the game was great. All nighter.”



This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

word count: 100


© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Plotter or Panster? The joy of a fight scene. My writing journey part four

Plotter or Panster? And the joy of a fight scene. My writing journey part four

A bit of a ramble…


Whether you are a plotter minutely breaking down every scene and every emotional twist of the knife…

…or if you are a pantser freely writing and flowing in whatever direction your characters tell you THEY want to go in, going with the flow, feeling the vibe…

…at some point you need a destination.


Which mean building to an ending.

Which means layering info as you go… hard to do unless you plot out every little detail.

I work half and half.  Plotter and pantser.

I write crime/mystery stories couched in scifi or fantasy… which means leaving clues along the way.

I might have mentioned before that I nut out the general direction and character arc. Have a theme (maybe) or a message (possibly) I do try to have the (A) story and (B) story before I start. A lot of the time I don’t have the ending in mind until I start writing… and then about half way through… BANG. the end comes to me.

At which point I go back to my plotted notes and rework the last section to lead into my ending.

BUT I only use a loose note for each chapter.

“Toni and mate find clue.”

“Mich finds body”

“Tracey learns story from Nana.”


The really interesting part is that after I finish that draft I go back to the start and find all the points I can add in clues, hints and teasers. I live for revisions. This is where the fun layering of clues comes in.

When I know I need to get to Z from A but find out C leads to F via Q I get the giggles.

When I realise, in my panster style, I have already layered two or three clues, I feel like a hero fighting my way to the end of a gang of badguys.

But what happens in your plotter/pantser writing style if you get stuck…


…at worst possible moment



Throw in a fight.

I love a good action scene. My CPs and beta readers will all swear to my need for action. Big emotional scene?… end it by kicking someones ass, or making someone laugh, or my favorite… big space battle. When I read friends’ work… my main note is “more action”, “action scene here”, “I want a big fight here,” “kick… his… ass…”

Of course, context is good… I mean, it needs to make sense within your story.

But there is nothing more satisfying than a big knock down, brawling, punch-on to break up a scene or jump the plot forward.

Character gets shot… *gulp*


The story arc changes… it spurs on the writing… and off you go again.

The build up can be intensely enjoyable too… (should they? will they? can they?) Training scenes are fun and allow for great plot development in a character’s emotional arc.

And you know… fight scenes are just fun.

And then… there is the cliff hanger. Don’t ya just love doing that to your readers?



Others in my series

First Draft



Don’t stare for long (Friday Fictioneers)

I loved to stare at Grandma’s jar.

She said it was a very special jar. She called it the Jar of Souls.

It sounded mysterious and magical.

Everyone I ever asked said it was poppycock or balderdash.

But I remember Grandma’s eyes when she talked about it. The hush in her voice, the constellations in her gaze.


Whenever I got the chance, I stared at the jar.


Now, I wish I could get out.

One day I will. I feel my power growing.

Grandma stares into the jar.

Can she feel me glaring back? I know she does.

I wait.


This is  Friday Fictioneers prompt

Word count: 100


End of month (Friday Fictioneers)

I plonk the cup down and let out a whoop.

“Dammit!” Stacey groans. The rest of the admin team looks less than impressed. I jump to my feet crowing my victory.

The monthly competition over how many corrections our team makes requiring reprints or replacement pages was childish sure… but it gives us something to look forward to.

I run my fingers over the box’s edge licking my lips.

“All right, all right! Just take it already.” Stacey slumps back in her chair, defeated.

I cracked the seal. The aroma of chocolate fills my nose.

And I was NOT sharing.



This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt



© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

New short story published!!


Excited to say I have a new short story published at


If you want to have a read… click Below!

Retirement is Just Another Word

The Past Beckons (Friday Fictioneers)


I’m actually here. I’m still pinching myself. I know the science, I’ve studied it for years.

It shouldn’t have worked.

And yet…


Even though I speak modern-day Italian what I hear around me is anything but. I thought I was getting the hang of it.

Another cold draught of water thrown in my face suggests I’m wrong.

And my shirt… itches.

The smell is off. Camphor? Starch? I’m gonna scratch my skin raw.


I have three more days.

I’m not sure I’m gonna last that long.


A come hither smile beckons from the tavern doorway.

Then again… I probably will.



This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

Word Count: 100


© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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