Monthly Archive: May 2011


By Syrie James and Ryan M. James

EXCERPT #1 (from Chapter 7)

“Have you ever had an empanada?” Claire asked Alec, as they finished retrieving their books and headed toward the library stairwell.

“Are we always going to play the ‘Has Alec Eaten This?’ game?” he asked quietly.

Claire worried that she’d offended him, until she saw a good-natured smile tug at his lips. “I’m just curious. I mean, after the pizza thing—I’ve never met anyone before who hadn’t—”

“Let’s put it this way,” Alec interjected. “If it’s fried, fattening, caffeinated, alcoholic, or high in sugar content, it’s safe to assume that I rarely eat it—or have never tried it.”

Claire stared at him. “Why?”

“Are your parents fitness freaks, or do they just hate you?” Erica said.

Alec stiffened visibly. “They just followed a healthy lifestyle, which I continue to embrace. But they . . . died when I was young.”

Erica went red in the face. A silence fell.

“Way to go, Erica,” Brian said, clapping. “That was awkward.”

“I’m sorry.” Claire felt terrible.

“Me too.” Erica looked at her feet.

“Thanks, but . . . don’t worry about it. It’s okay.”

All at once, Claire understood Alec’s earlier comment about her mom. No wonder he’s often so quiet and moody, she thought, her heart going out to him. It was bad enough to grow up without a father. But to have no parents at all? That was too awful to contemplate. She’d assumed Alec had moved here with his parents because of a job transfer or something. Who does he live with? she wondered. A grandparent? An aunt or uncle? She wasn’t sure this was the right moment to ask.

They neared the bottom of the stairs, where the construction crew was still working atop a three-tiered scaffolding tower. Claire spied Neil standing just beyond it by the drop-off circle.

He waved at them and shouted something Claire couldn’t hear over the annoying beeping noise of a truck backing up.

The four of them passed underneath the scaffolding, heading toward the circle. They were halfway through the makeshift corridor when Claire heard the sudden, loud roar of an engine. To her horror, the truck was speeding backward toward them.

Before she could think or move, the vehicle collided with the base of the scaffolding with a devastating crash.

The screech of tearing metal ripped through the air as the entire structure overhead began to collapse.
A huge wooden platform barreled down directly at them.

Claire screamed and ducked, a single thought popping into her mind: I’m going to die.

Frozen in terror, Claire fixed her gaze on the heavy wooden platform hurtling toward their heads, which was a split second away from crushing them all.

But it never did.

Somehow, impossibly, the platform seemed to hover for a fraction of a second in midair. Alec stood tall above her, one arm extended, fingers splayed, as if magically holding up the platform by sheer willpower. She heard screams and shouts from above as suddenly the whole board tilted to one side. In her peripheral vision she caught sight of three men landing safely on the pavement nearby.

Before Claire could blink, Alec’s arms were wrapped around her and their friends and then they were airborne. They landed heavily and painfully on the concrete, out of harm’s way, as the entire scaffolding tower smashed to the ground beside them in an explosion of dust, screeching metal, and splintering wood.

The thundering clatter echoed in Claire’s ears as they all lay in a heap. Dust stung her eyes, but as she blinked it away her gaze briefly locked with Alec’s. Then, just as suddenly as he’d tackled them, Alec was up on his feet and gone.

* * * * * * * * *

EXCERPT #2 (from Chapter 25)

Below them, a million lights twinkled through the darkness. The only sounds were the wind in her ears and the drone of the city far below.

“It’s beautiful,” Claire said softly.

“In the past, I loved to watch the people down below. Now I like it even better, because I’m one of them.”

“Let’s make sure you keep it that way.”

Alec drew her into his arms and held her close against his chest, his handsome face and dark blond hair bathed in moonlight. “That’s my plan.”

Claire’s stomach fluttered at the look in his eyes, which were infused with emotion. Alec lowered his head and brought his lips close to hers. “Ready?” he murmured softly.

Claire nodded, her heart jumping. As she wrapped her arms around him, she closed her eyes, willing her mind to stay in the moment and reciting her mantra. But at the first touch of his mouth on hers, all thoughts fled like leaves on the wind.

She became immersed in the exquisite joy that spread through her as his body pressed tightly against hers. It was wonderful. Magical. Effortless. Visionless. She felt as if she was floating.

I love you, she thought, her heart so full, she thought it might overflow or burst from her chest. If only she had the nerve to say the words aloud.

When Claire opened her eyes and met his gaze, she couldn’t help but smile, which inadvertently interrupted the kiss. The breeze brushed through her hair, and she felt her skirt fluttering against her legs. How can that be? Claire wondered, with the part of her mind that could still think. How could the wind pass through the low wall beside them?

In her peripheral vision, she suddenly caught sight of something strange—the rooftop was several yards below them.

Below them?

Claire gasped. Looking down, she discovered that they were hovering in the air in each other’s arms.

“Oh my G—” she began.

“Shhh,” Alec cautioned swiftly. “I’m concentrating. You wanted to fly, didn’t you?”

Claire’s heart pounded wildly as she reveled in Alec’s protective embrace. She held on to him even more firmly, soaking in the twinkling lights of the city all around them as they slowly began to spin.

And spin.

And spin.

Letting all her fears go, Claire brought her lips back to his.

Browse inside Forbidden

All Rights Reserved by Syrie James & Ryan M James




A Paranormal Romance by Syrie James & Ryan M James

Claire Brennan has spent her entire life wondering who her father is, and why her paranoid, “hippie” mom insists on moving every year or two. Who—or what—are they running from? Desperate to stay put at the high school she loves, Claire hides the fact that she’s started getting psychic visions that seem to predict the future—especially when the visions take a darker turn, warning Claire that her own life is in danger.

Alec MacKenzie is new at Emerson Academy, and on the outside he seems like a shy guy with a charming Scottish accent. In reality, Alec is an angelic watcher with incredible powers, whose exhausting duties occasionally include eliminating the wayward descendants of his forefathers. He chose Emerson Academy as the ideal hiding place where he could escape and just be normal for once. What he hadn’t planned on was falling deeply in love with Claire, whose secret heritage makes their relationship—and her very existence—forbidden.

When it becomes plain that Claire’s life is on the line, they are faced with a terrible choice. How much will they risk to stay together? How far will Alec go to protect her?

Syrie James joined forces with her talented son Ryan M. James to co-write Forbidden, a paranormal romance that offers an imaginative new look at the angel myth.

“Beautifully written! Romantic and filled with delicious tension. Forbidden enchants!”
—Sophie Jordan, author of Firelight

“A YA novel that hits all the right notes… the plot and storyline are great, and the characters strong… The James’ go full-out. If you enjoy angels, ‘forbidden’ romance and dashing heroes, then this should be added to your TBR.”

“I didn’t want this book to end… Suspenseful, surprising and a fantastic read… I recommend it for everyone. Rating: 5/5.”
—The Sagacity Quest

“4.5 out of 5 stars. A spectacular new Young Adult writing team! … Full of intrigue, romance and humor … [and] very much about trust, discovery, and love …This may be written for Young Adults, however, might I also suggest, for the young at heart?”

“A thrilling ride… the romance is so powerful… All age groups will find themselves absolutely attached to this incredible novel! 5 stars.”
—Feathered Quill

“Quite effective paranormal suspense and intense-but-quixotic high-school romance… Genre addicts will enjoy it.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“An addictive read. It isn’t like the other angel paranormal books out there. This will make you want more more more.”
—Beneath the Cover

“If you love paranormal stories dealing with angels, Forbidden is one for your wish list. If you love romance, here is a great romance story! … Adults would enjoy it.”
—Into The Hall of Books

“Had me hooked from the first page. A must-read!”
—Bookloving Mommy

“5 STARS! I just loved this book.”
—Annabell’s Book Nook

Read More Reviews…

Order the book, or the Kindle edition here.

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All Rights Reserved by Syrie James & Ryan M James


A new look at a beloved trilogy.

A comedic journey through an epic universe.

A defective clone without a clue.

What’s in a Clone anyway? DANSON DELTA-40 is the sole survivor of the latest failed batch of Clone soldiers, hurriedly created to provide enough troops so the Galactic Republic can win the war that eats at its very foundations. Unfortunately, Danson isn’t exactly your model soldier. He’s had no training. He even doesn’t know how to fire his rifle. And he questions the rather… questionable practices of the army founded on the “overwhelm them with many in useless plastic armor” principle. Unacceptable.

Fortunately, Danson’s destiny lies elsewhere. When he accidentally steps through a portal in time/space one day, he begins his quest to find a place where he truly belongs… in the underbelly of the events of the original Star Wars Trilogy. The lone representative of the world of the Prequel Trilogies, Danson finds that a lot of things don’t add up, and that he isn’t exactly welcome either. From jobs with both the Imperial and Rebel armies to bounty-hunting with Boba Fett and other private-sector jobs (such as mining lava on Mustafar), Danson and his few loyal compatriots cast a new glance onto a story so familiar, showing what really happened behind the scenes.

Shot entirely in the Star Wars: Battlefront II engine, A CLONE APART is a web series that promises to give viewers a new look at this classic universe in the tradition of machinima like Red vs Blue.

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Star Wars Music © Sony Music Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Forbidden FAQ

Ryan & Syrie James, co-writers of Forbidden, will now answer some questions.

(click each question to expand & read the answer)

SJ: Ryan is extremely talented and imaginative, and had always been a voracious reader, but he’d never written a book before. However, in his work as an editor in the video game industry, he was a storyteller by profession. And for years, Ryan had been giving me such detailed, perceptive, and incredibly insightful notes on every book I’d ever written, that I had learned to never turn in a manuscript without first addressing his feedback.

When I came up with the initial idea for Forbidden, and Ryan suggested we write it together, I was intrigued. We had enjoyed collaborating on two screenplays, but we’d been in different physical locations, and the only way I was willing to co-write a book was if we actually sat together in the same room and wrote. I wondered: could we pull it off? If so, how and when?

Suddenly, the timing to write Forbidden appeared as if by magic. I had turned in the manuscript for Dracula, My Love and had an opening in my schedule. Ryan’s employer closed down operations, and he had the promise of a terrific new job that wouldn’t start for six months, giving him a window to work with me. We decided to go for it!

RJ: I enjoy telling stories, regardless of the medium. After we’d already written two screenplays together, my mother switched years ago to writing novels, and I saw she was having a blast. When the opportunity came for me to join her in writing one, I jumped at the chance that maybe we could have that much fun together. Oh, and also because I was excited that we had a great story to tell!

SJ: About five or six years ago, an idea began percolating in my head to write a book about a teenage girl who begins getting psychic messages from a mysterious source. I could visualize the secret identity of the person behind those messages. The idea fascinated me. I decided I wanted the girl to enlist the aid of a boy at school to solve the mystery, that a deeply felt romance should develop between them, and that this young man should prove to be far more involved and invested in the mystery than she ever anticipated.

I put the idea on the back burner when I became busy writing and selling other books. Flash forward a few years. I was standing in line for a movie at a film festival, pondering an independent movie I had co-written a few years earlier with my son Ryan, and thinking about what I should write next… when inspiration hit. The movie we’d written and produced, entitled REAL, is about a young man named Alec–a lonely, supernatural action hero in a dark world, whose heart’s desire is to be human and lead a normal life. What if, I thought, I combined my idea of a psychic girl with a character similar to Alec? What if he left his supernatural “job” forever, and tried to pass as human–but although he was over a century old, he looked so young that he could only fit in at a high school?

RJ: At that instant, my mother called me from the line at said film festival and asked my “permission” to use Alec in her next book. I immediately loved the idea, but insisted that we write the book together. Though she was [understandably] hesitant, as we’d never written anything as complex as a novel together, I’m glad she did. I was too invested in making sure Alec’s story was told “right”–a super-powered being who wanted to give that up and live a normal life, that was the essence of him–and I wanted the opportunity to re-tell that story with no limits. There were so many things that the film we’d made couldn’t quite achieve, and the chance to come back to Alec once again, to “fix” him and his world into something more fully fleshed out, I couldn’t pass that up.

Also, tempering Alec’s story with Claire’s made for greater intrigue: a 16-year-old girl’s life begins to implode when she comes into unusual psychic powers, which turn out to have a heavenly source … and the new guy at school with whom she falls in love, may be her only true ally in a confusing and increasingly dangerous world.

SJ & RJ: After writing Dracula, My Love, Syrie developed such a soft spot in her heart for vampires that she didn’t want to write about a vampire hunter, as Alec originally was in the film. Ryan happily suggested that Alec could be a different kind of action hero–a heavenly one–who was suffering from the same kind of identity crisis as the character in his film.

The Biblical/historical implications of the Grigori and the Nephilim are huge. When you’re dealing with angels, suddenly anything is possible. And what could be more fascinating than an angel gone AWOL? Especially if these aren’t your typical do-gooder angels, but are angelic beings empowered with far more serious responsibilities. By going back to the sources of the myths, we were able to conceive of a different world for our angels, giving them diverse, X-men-caliber powers.

We created a world based on the idea that every creature of myth and legend could be traced back to the family of these types of beings which literally opened up the universe to us. It also means that even vampires and werewolves were possible for us to explore in future books, should we ever choose to do so.

SJ & RJ: The school is more than inspired. It’s more of a direct mirror of Ryan’s middle/high school, Brentwood School in Los Angeles, which has had a very lasting, positive influence on both our lives. The school was filled with dedicated and nurturing faculty who not only challenged their students and gave Ryan and his brother a wonderful background in both arts and sciences, but gave us some wonderful specifics for the teachers in this novel. If we’re ever lucky enough to make a movie of this, we hope they’ll let us film it on campus!

SJ: Claire’s abilities came from my long fascination with the notion of psychic power. Thomas Edison once said that we only use 10% of our brain, and I believe that. Our minds are capable of so much more than we realize or understand. For many years now, I myself have been getting occasional, out-of-the-blue messages and helpful warnings which have come true. Where do they come from? What does it mean? Every now and then, I wonder: do I have an angel sitting on my shoulder, watching over me?

RJ: Alec’s abilities were inspired more or less by his previous incarnation in the film we wrote. Back then, he had to be capable of taking down vampires, so speed and strength were a must. His telekinesis, however, was new, and comes from my lifelong desire to have that power for myself. To move things with my mind, including/especially myself, would be nothing short of a dream come true. Almost every night my sleeping brain conjures up situations where I can fly or move things without touching them.

SJ & RJ: Vincent is a different situation. When we created the character of Alec for our film, Ryan had always wanted to introduce a person with the power of illusion–something he’d not really seen realized in the film world to his satisfaction–but there was no budget for such a thing. In the limitless possibilities of a novel, however, we had free reign to introduce a character who could make people believe they were seeing whatever he wanted to, which was great fun.

SJ: Actually, Forbidden was written first! Through the different schedules of different publishers, Nocturne simply came out a year earlier. But no, from the beginning Ryan wanted us to try telling the story from both the male and female points of view. This isn’t unheard of in this genre, but it seems to be less common. It was great fun getting into the heads of both of our main characters. I love the way it turned out, and hope that readers do, too.

RJ: I was certain that we could do great things by showing both character’s points of view. So often, you see a story where the intrepid hero or heroine is on the outside, slowly uncovering layer after layer of the supernatural world they’ve gotten themselves into. By telling the tale through Alec’s eyes from the start, we could tease his world from the very beginning, playing with that delightful balance where sometimes the reader knows more than the characters, or vice versa.

SJ & RJ: With a few exceptions, everything was written with the both of us sitting in one room, crafting all the material together. Sure, sometimes Syrie insisted “I don’t believe a girl would ever say that,” or Ryan would implore that Alec “be a little more reserved here emotionally,” but it was all in the name of balance and compromise. Ultimately, we both wanted a book that both men and women would appreciate, regardless which perspective each chapter was from.

SJ & RJ: It was a blast. We began by writing a detailed storyboard and outline, hashing out characters, plot, and all the details of the world we thought we needed to make sense (and then some). Then, three days a week for six months, from 9AM to 6PM, we sat together at Syrie’s computer and wrote the first draft. We set the story at a fictional version of the unique private high school Ryan attended, and this novel became a love letter of sorts to that wonderful school.

Once we sold the book to HarperTeen, several additional months of hard work went into the revisions. We both loved working together. We challenged each other to explore new ideas, and often found ourselves finishing each other’s sentences. It has been a remarkable and very rewarding experience, and we are thrilled to share the novel with readers.

SJ & RJ: When we wrote our two screenplays, Ryan was at college in San Diego while Syrie was home in LA. It mostly involved long phone conversations, each person writing sections, and editing each other’s work digitally. Though we tried to incorporate our love of some screenwriting techniques (see below), including the structure of our outline, this was our first time sitting in a room together, drafting one word at a time. There is no substitute for that level of interplay in the creative process.

SJ & RJ: Ryan suggested we try something as an experiment for this book: wherever we could describe something through action or dialogue, as you would do in a screenplay, rather than internal monologue, we should try it. And any scene that would end up “on the cutting room floor” should go, to keep the pacing lean like a film.

We ended up with a book that we hope emulates some of the best qualities of film while still incorporating the strength of a novel–including a character’s inner thoughts, emotions, and sensations firsthand.

SJ: That part wasn’t difficult at all. Not only is my most recent novel, Nocturne, a contemporary piece, but many of the screenplays I wrote were set in modern day.

Historical novels require meticulous research; every detail and even the language must be historically correct for the time period. It was very freeing to be relieved of that responsibility while writing Forbidden–and great fun to get into the mind of 16-year-olds, and revisit high school again!

SJ & RJ: Not at all. We wrote the novel with the intention and hope of appealing to people of all ages. Adults went through the experience of high school too, and we believe they can just as readily relate to the situations and emotions experienced by Alec and Claire as can anyone under 18.

Teen audiences are very sophisticated–and if our story can be appreciated by a teenager and their parents–and grandparents–that will give them all more things to talk about!

SJ & RJ: It’s not easy to engineer a brand-new, mythical world and combine it with reality. We spent several weeks ironing out the story and world of Forbidden before we sat down to write it, but we could’ve easily spent double that length of time or more.

Sometimes it’s not until you have a character asking another “why do you X?” that you realize it’s impossible to think of everything. When all else failed, we were fortunate to have a very wise and patient editor, Kari Sutherland, who combed through our manuscript with enthusiasm and attention to detail, to make sure the merger was seamless and consistent.

RJ: The scene where Claire and her friends discuss whether or not Alec is a vampire was one of my favorites. We got to make our characters do what few others in paranormal stories seem to do: acknowledge their familiarity with other-worldly creatures, and compare the strange things they’ve noticed with the culture we’re all familiar with. It was fun to let our main characters bounce ideas back and forth touching upon all sorts of pop culture lore–from Dracula to Edward, Obi-Wan to Superman, Bourne to Buffy–in their questions of Alec’s true nature.

SJ: For me it’s a tie between the scene on the rooftop where Alec and Claire hover and spin in each other’s arms, and the Ferris Wheel scene where they share their first meaningful kiss. What can I say? I love romance!

All Rights Reserved by Syrie James & Ryan M James

ACA Cast


Danson is our hero. Or something. The lone survivor of a failed batch of clone soldiers hurriedly created in hopes of helping win a war against a bunch of droids. When he steps through an accidental wormhole in time, he comes face to face with a harsh, Imperial future and is forced to forge his own destiny. Oh, and he likes rain.


A Clone Trooper created from an earlier batch than Danson’s. Good thing too, or he’d be dead. Anyway, Bhiff was a young, well-trained clone trooper, ready to do what was needed to help the Republic achieve victory. Twenty years later, he’s mostly ignoring his superiors and wishing he could find a place with good clean air, a temperate climate, where hopefully he can kill things there for free.


Alpha was created with the first batch of elite Clone “ARC” Troopers prior to the Battle of Geonosis. With an enhanced sense of independence and tactical prowess, Alpha-12 rose to a position of power during the Clone Wars and led many squads to victory throughout the war. Despite many setbacks, Alpha-12 hopes to one day become known as the greatest Clone Commander in history. He will do whatever it takes to achieve his goal.


Scout comes from the second batch of Clones, when the clone localization problems started. After proving himself to be an effective yes-man, Percy was promoted to the esteemed position of Republic Science Officer on Kamino. He has remained at that post ever since, cleverly hiding from combat behind regulations and red tape.


A prototypical droid soldier meant to replace Stormtroopers someday, Rook belongs to a dark force of many destined to someday invade Rebel Bases. However, Imperial regulation keeps him from carrying a real weapon until official activation, which causes him great humiliation.


A Stormtrooper recruit from the planet Gurvan, Teflin is a demolitions expert who really loves his job, his bazooka‚…and not much else. He certainly doesn’t like following orders any more than Bhiff does, and enjoys performing interrogations where he’s the “bad trooper,” and there’s no one to play the “good trooper.”

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