Guest Post The Portal and the Panther



Five Things I Can Tell You About The Portal & the Panther Without Ruining It

After taking a deep breath and letting my cursor hover over the “Save and Publish” button for a few minutes, I published the first two books in my young adult trilogy on December 19, 2014.  The results so far have been promising:  The last time I ran a promotion, The Portal & the Panther made it to #1 on Amazon’s Top 100 in the free category for Science Fiction Action & Adventure, and #4 in the free category for Teen & Young Adult Fantasy Coming of Age.

Here are five things I can tell you about the first book in the series without ruining them for you:

1 – I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there are no aliens.  Technically speaking.

One of my five star reviews on Amazon begins with:

“Shapeshifters, aliens, high school drama, danger, laughs – what else do you want?”  Well… the “aliens” bit might be a little misleading.  There’s no outer space element to this story, no spaceships, no green Martians with laser guns.

There are “intruders” from “other worlds,” but those worlds aren’t in outer space.  They’re parallel universes.

2 – Also there’s no sex.

There’s some romance, yes, but nothing too erotic.  My books are strictly PG-13, folks.  My parents are my No. 1 and No. 2 beta readers, so even though I’ll be turning 40 in just a few more years, I have to be able to give them new chapters of my books without blushing.

3 – But there are some fight scenes.

The Portal & the Panther focuses a lot on characters — namely, the title character’s internal struggle to figure out exactly who he does and doesn’t want to be.  Because there’s so much emphasis on character development, the action takes a little while to heat up.  But be patient — you’ll get your fight scenes!  (And by the way, if you’re into action sequences, the fight scenes only increase as the books continue into The Girl Between Worlds (already published) and The Rook & the King (due out in May 2015.))

4 – And everybody loves Jon.

I’ve been pleased that nearly everyone who’s reviewed the book so far seems to love the main character, Jon Parker.  I’ve got to admit that I’m a little partial to Jon, myself.  Here’s what people have said in their reviews:

“Jon is a loveable and loyal main character who struggles to survive high school before this mess. He has few friends and an absentee father. Saving the world on top of it would be more than most teenagers could bear. Like most of us, he fumbles his way through the nuances of his life with heart and charm.”

“The main character is well written and likeable. He and his emotions feel real.”

“Bottomline: I highly recommend checking out Jon’s adventure here – and after that, Kristin. The writing is top-notch, the plot unique, and the characters become like beloved friends.”

5 – Sorry.  The first book lands on a cliffhanger.

Don’t hate me.  My only truly negative review so far actually started somewhat positive; it says the book has an interesting premise and the “author has a good voice.”  But — yes it’s true — the book ends on a cliffhanger.  For that reason, the reviewer gave me two stars.  😦

At least I published the first two books at the same time.  So it’s not like you have to wait for six months to find out what happens!  Heck, the first chapter of the second book is even included in The Portal & the Panther.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Portal & the Panther as much as I enjoyed writing it!

About The Book

PP - FINALTitle: The Portal & The Panther

Author: R.A. Marshall

Genre: YA Fantasy / Science-Fiction

The only thing seventeen year-old Jon Parker wants is to escape his sleepy hometown of Mecksville, Arkansas. But everything changes when Jon stumbles into the boys’ bathroom and transforms into a black panther.

Without choice, Jon is thrust into a world where parallel universes are real, shapeshifters exist, and dangerous “intruders” can control the elements with a mere thought. Jon learns he’s inherited his shapeshifting ability from his long-dead mother, and now, like it or not, his mission is to protect our world from invaders from other worlds.

But is it a mission Jon will accept? His decision will determine the fate of the people he loves — and our whole world.

Author Bio

photo1My first attempt at novel writing was when I was ten years old.  At the time, I was writing fan fiction, without realizing what fan fiction actually was (I don’t think the term existed yet).  I had just finished reading Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein for the second time and, for the second time, couldn’t stand that the book was ending.  I needed some sort of sequel. I think I got about 12 handwritten pages into my Tunnel in the Sky sequel before my father pointed out that I’d never be able to publish it.

I tried writing novels again some time in college, but that was the period in my life when I took myself faaaaaar too seriously. If you’re over the age of 23, you’ll know what I mean by that.  I was only interested in writing something Important, something that Mattered, and consequently wrote no more than about 10,000 words before giving up.  In my heart, I didn’t want to write Les Mis or War and Peace, but The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

When Kindle came along and I stopped buying actual paper books, I realized that there was a revolution going on in the publishing world.  As I heard tales of self-published authors meeting with unprecedented success, I decided it was time to dust off my fiction writing skills and join their ranks.  I could finally just write for the hell of it and never have to worry about what a publisher would think or what anyone else would think.

I finished the first draft of The Portal and the Panther in April 2014; I plan to publish it in January 2015.  Meanwhile, I’m hard at work on the second book in the Guardians of the Portal series, The Girl Between Worlds.  I hope to also have it ready at the same time as The P and the P.




You can read the prologue here:

Email sign-up: If you sign up before March 15, you will get the third book for free.

Twitter: RAMarshall78


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