Prison Fae (Supernatural Penitentiary 1)

I just posted a list of some upcoming and new release “Supernatural Penitentiary” books, but also wanted to announce Marisa and I are working on an amazing new series, tentatively titled “prison fae” (cover reveal coming soon!)

Here’s an exclusive sneak peak! If you’re a book reviewer, we will have a limited number of ARC’s available in our private FB group.

Excerpt – kidnapped by Fae

I pulled my car into the parking lot of Sherwood Apartments. For a second, I sat in my car and gathered myself. The evening was…fun. Nice. Something warm fluttered inside my chest. I climbed out of my car, taking my phone in one hand and my keys in the other.

As I crossed the parking lot, I unlocked the screen of my phone.

Made it! Have a good night! <3

I sighed in relief and texted Ashley back with one hand.

Have a good night, Ash! I’m home, too.

Send.

Without warning, I struck something hard. My phone flew out of my hand, and I stumbled over Ashley’s heels, while I tried to regain my balance. I snapped my head up. My blood seemed to freeze as I locked eyes with the young man before me. Those eyes were the same light, crystal-blue as Ashley’s were, but Ashley’s eyes were always bright and smiling. This man’s eyes were like ice and sent a sharp, involuntary shiver racing down my spine.

Slowly, I noticed other features. He was about my age. His face was all sharp angles and his skin the palest milk-white I’d ever seen and stood in stark contrast with his night-black hair. I doubted anyone would ever call him handsome, but he was pretty in a strange, otherworldly way.

“Watch where you’re going, you idiot!” he snapped.

For a second, I couldn’t speak. It was as if he’d cast some sort of spell on me and rendered me speechless. He swept away, stepping on my phone and grinding it into the concrete, before continuing down the sidewalk. The crunch of my phone on the pavement was like a trumpet blaring in my ear. Suddenly, the spell snapped, and everything came crashing down.

“Asshole!” I shouted after him. “What’s your problem?”

Seething, I bent down and retrieved my phone. A long crack split the screen in half, but it looked like my case had kind of worked. This was salvageable, at least. I traced my finger over the broken split in the glass and scowled. My head jerked up, as I prepared to give that son of a gun a piece of my mind, but he was gone.

Strong fingers seized my arm and jerked me back. When I twisted around, pain jolted up my arm, all the way to my shoulder. It was him.

How did he get behind me so quickly?

“Excuse me?” he asked. “Did you say something?”

I twisted my wrist, trying to free myself, but his grip tightened. Something sharp and hot, like lightning, burst through my arm. “What did you do?” he snapped.

“Let go!” I shouted, deliberately raising my voice. “What the Hell is wrong with you?”

I didn’t see anyone around, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t. Someone might hear me.

“Apologize,” he said.

Apologize?” I asked. “For what? For you bumping into me?”

He smiled thinly. “I don’t take kindly to being called an asshole.”

“And I don’t take kindly to being grabbed, you weirdo!”

I moved into a fighting stance, and with as much force as I could, launched my foot forward. My borrowed heel gauged into his shin, and using the distraction, I twisted my wrist free. He fell back, hissing. In the streetlights, his blue eyes gleamed in fury.

“Now, get a move on before I call the police!” I shouted.

“You’ll regret this,” he said. His voice was cold and stern, as if he was delivering some deep prophecy.

Abruptly, he turned on his heel and walked away. For a few seconds, I stood, my hands curled into fists. I just wanted to make sure he really walked away. I waited until he vanished from view before quickening my pace. My feet pounded on the pavement.

There’s nothing he can actually do to me, I thought. He’s just a creep who doesn’t understand how to act like a freaking decent human being.

A shadow swept over the pavement before the apartment door, so sudden that I jumped. I halted. A toad. That was all. I let out a nervous, breathless laugh and bent down. “You need to stay away from the pavement,” I whispered.

I glanced up to ensure the creep wasn’t still lingering around, but I didn’t see him. Still, he might be hiding in the shadows, watching. I ought to just dart into the apartment and lock the door. But if I woke up in the morning and realized that someone had stepped on the frog or run him over with a car, I knew I’d feel guilty. Besides, now I was close enough to the buildings that someone would hear if I screamed.

And I’ll be damned before I let some creep dictate what I do.

The frog croaked. I smiled and after placing my phone beside the doormat, I scooped the frog in my hands. This one didn’t fight like the last one had. A chill tingled down my spine. I’d just quickly put him back. Gingerly, I kicked off my borrowed heels and padded down the cold pavement. I squinted in the darkness, trying to find the brambles, as I carefully made my way down through the grasses and weeds. As I placed the frog on the ground, something hard pressed against my palm. The frog croaked from the ground, gazing at me with large eyes. I tilted my hand, palm up, and frowned. There, resting in my hand, was a small gold ring. It was shaped like a tiara and set with twinkling, white stones.

“How did you get this?” I whispered.

The frog croaked again, as if that was an answer.

I straightened and slipped the ring onto my middle finger. It fit well, which was surprising. My ring size was a ridiculously small four-and-a-half. Rings never fit me.

“Thank you?” I said.

The frog hopped away and splashed into the drainage ditch.

Weird, I thought.

I cautiously climbed back from the weeds and brambles and back to the sidewalk. I rubbed my feet on the welcome mat before our apartment, grabbed my phone and borrowed shoes, and unlocked the door. My eyelids felt heavy. I just really needed to go to bed.

“Stupid creep,” I muttered.

I didn’t recognize him, though, which meant he didn’t hang around the apartments much. I’d probably never see him again. Thank God for small mercies.

I slipped inside the apartment, quietly closing the door behind me. In the darkness, I saw Cedric, sprawled over the sofa. Empty beer bottles littered the table before him.

Where is Mom? I wondered.

I stepped quietly into the bedroom, my eyes narrowing as I looked at the bed. Empty. My gaze darted to the bathroom door and the strip of light beneath it. I sucked in a sharp breath. I would’ve never imagined Mom would be awake when I got home, and here, I stood in Ashley’s red velvet dress and shimmering pumps.

I’m nineteen, and if I want to go out with my friend, I should be able to, I thought.

But at the same time, guilt rushed through me. I’d lied, and now, I was caught in my lie.

The door creaked open. I straightened my spine and waited, as the light spread over me. Mom stepped from the bathroom, stopping abruptly to look me. “Where have you—I thought you were at work.”

I gulped. “I was out with Ashley. Actually.”

“You—you lied to me?” Mom asked.

“Yes. I’m sorry,” I said. “I—”

Mom laughed. I frowned and furrowed my brow, unsure what she thought was so hilarious about being lied to.

“You’re not mad?” I asked.

Mom shook her head. “You sneaked out to a party or something? That’s not so bad. I did my share of sneaking around when I was young. Why, my parents hated your father! He had this long hair that they absolutely loathed. They said he looked like—” Mom cut off abruptly.

“My father?” I asked.

I remembered my father, and he didn’t have long hair. It was short and cut close to his scalp.

Mom flipped off the light. “Your father,” she repeated. “Yes. When he was young, he had very long hair.”

“I don’t remember that.”

Mom ran her finger along my ear and kissed my forehead. “You wouldn’t,” she said. “You were very young. Get in bed. It’s late.”

As I pulled off Ashley’s dress, I heard the creak of box springs as Mom climbed into our shared bed. She’d taken me lying…abnormally well. Maybe she was still mostly asleep, and the realization of what I’d said hadn’t really sank in. I fished a hanger from the closet and hanged Ashley’s dress on it. Then, I pulled on the first pair of pajamas I found.

My father had long hair, I mused.

I tried to imagine him young with long, dark hair, but the image didn’t want to come. Instead, I ran my fingers through my own hair. Just how long had his been? Was it between his shoulder blades like mine was, or even longer?

Ultimately, it didn’t matter. My dad had walked out of my life years ago, thank God, and he was never coming back.

***

My wrists hurt. I yawned and rolled over in bed, my eyes opening a crack, as I tried to get back to sleep. Metal scraped somewhere at the edge of my hearing. Probably Cedric. He never seemed to care that I worked until two in the morning. I groaned. My head felt too heavy, and my mouth tasted of iron. I sat upright, blinking blearily.

The blanket, for lack of a better word, was some a threadbare, stained piece of rough cloth. Like burlap or something. I lifted my hand to grasp it, and my wrists ached. Handcuffs! But they weren’t made of steel. Instead, the cuffs seemed forged of something gold-colored. Maybe bronze? But oddly, I found no seams or breaks in the metal. It was as if they’d been forged right around my wrists. I raised my wrists, twisting them in the light.

The handcuffs were still there, hard and unyielding. And already, they’d left red, raised welts across my skin. I pulled hard, testing the chain between them, but that only made the cuffs dig in more harshly.

What?

I looked wildly around. This wasn’t my bed. This wasn’t my room. The walls were made of rough, gray stone that ran the length of the room. It looked to be square and was barely wide or long enough for the bed, and the bed wasn’t exactly huge. At one end of the room, there was a wooden door, banded with a dull, black-gray metal. Behind the bed, there was a window, set with round, golden bars, through which I could see pale blue slats of the sky. My chest ached. All my blood seemed to rush to my head.

Where am I? What happened?

I stepped gingerly onto the floor, which was made of something sleek and gray. My foot ached. Ashley’s shoes had left blisters. And I—

I wasn’t wearing my clothes. A sharp, shrill scream tore unbidden from my throat. My chained hands fumbled with the dark blue cotton pants. This wasn’t my shirt either. It was the same color as the pants and embroidered with H-3157 in stark, black thread. I backed against the wall, my head reeling.

Someone changed my clothes.

My pulse raced.

Someone changed my clothes.

The words somehow wouldn’t register. I rushed mindlessly to the door and seized the knob, twisting and yanking. It didn’t budge. Some distant part of me knew that was to be expected, but another, louder part of me seemed to have all the control. And that part wanted to rip the door off its hinges.

But the door still didn’t budge. I stumbled back, my chest heaving. Was I shaking, or was it the room? I gulped greedily, trying to force air into my lungs. There didn’t seem to be enough of anything. This wasn’t my room, wasn’t my bed, weren’t my clothes, and—

All my thoughts crashed and collided so violently that my knees shook. I clambered over the bed and hauled myself up. I forced myself onto the balls of my feet, so I could gaze out the window. Grass and sky. It looked as though I was on the side of a hill. Or a mountain.

There aren’t any hills or mountains in Hattiesburg. Where the Hell am I?

I bolted from the window, tripping over the blankets. The mattress felt strange beneath my feet, all prickly and uneven. I edged into the corner, keeping my back to the wall and the door in my line of sight.

What happened? What happened? What happened?

My heart raced, the echo of its beats reverberating in my skull. This looked like a prison. But not quite. It didn’t resemble the prisons I’d seen in movies with the bare, tile floors and bunkbeds. There weren’t enough bars, and everything looked too old here.

But what happened?

I searched my memories. The part with Ashley. Travis and Alejo. That jerk in the parking lot. I felt a sharp flash of fear. But no, that was completely irrational. I’d made it home. I distinctly remembered talking to Mom. If someone had pulled me out of my room, I would’ve woken up. Or Mom would’ve woken up. Even as useless as he was, I doubted Cedric would let someone just break into our house and take me.

But what if whoever took me did something to them?

Bile rose in my throat. I felt like I might vomit. Just in case, I searched for a toilet, but all I found was an empty pail. I squeezed my eyes shut and pulled my knees up to my chest. Someone had brought me here, changed my clothes, and done who knew what else. I dropped my forehead to my knees and tried to fight back the wave of nausea that rose inside me.

My eyes burned with tears. I rubbed them roughly away against my knees. Focus, Gaudere, I thought. What do you know?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Maybe I’ve been caught by human traffickers, I thought, with cold and creeping dread.

Just recently, the vice president of the university sent out an email about human trafficking on campus. Someone had passed around fliers and made posts on Facebook about an alleged human trafficker, and after the university police department was flooded with calls, the university had to step in and ask people to stop calling. There was no proof of any human traffickers on campus. There never had been.

I sucked in a deep breath. What if it hadn’t been a hoax?

But, no. That was ridiculous. I’d made it home, where…

Where something terrible happened. I choked back a sob. Whatever this was, I had to be strong. But all I really wanted was to take a bath in boiling hot water, so I could scrub every inch of me.

And someone changed my clothes. I shuddered. What else had they done? Groped me? Or worse? I tipped my head back against the wall and dress a quick, shaky breath. No. It wouldn’t do to think like that. I’d only upset myself. I needed to pull myself together, so I could survive whatever this was. Just survive. I could do it.

Click.

Across the room, the doorknob turned.

***

There was no one there. I cautiously uncurled from the bed and padded to the door. Was it a mistake? Carefully, I peered out. Before me, there was a wide, round tower that stretched upwards as far as I could see. Just beyond it, there were several rooms, their wood doors thrown open. Around me, there were rooms, too. People flooded the halls, all of them dressed in the same dark blue pants and shirts.

“Get a move on!” a voice barked.

Someone shoved harshly against my shoulder. My head collided with the wall. Black spots obscured my vision, as I stumbled. Dimly, I made out a dark-haired man in a heavy-looking white coat. He seized my arm and dragged me forward, shoving me. The hall crowded with people bustling, shouting and moving.

I stumbled. A foot struck my shin. Pain thundered through my leg, and although I tried to keep my balance, it was impossible in the crowded hall with people rushing all over and around me. I fell, my wrists scraping hard against the ground. When I tried to stand, something collided hard with the back of my head.

I yelped. A foot stamped on my hand. I pulled my arms back, the cuffs digging into my wrists. “Stop!” I shouted.

But no one did. There was kicking, stomping, and moving. I tried edging towards the wall, but I was caught in a flood of people. Panic rose inside me. My chest hurt, and my breath came quickly. I fought, trying to force myself up with everything in me, before I was trampled, but I couldn’t make it. Cackling laughter rose in my ears. Someone kicked my face. My jaw ached.

“First morning?” A sharp, feminine voice asked.

A hand seized my bicep, hauling me up. I gasped, my head aching with the sudden movement. Stumbling over my feet, the hand pulled me through the throng. My head spun. All I could see of my rescuer was a froth of short, red curls and a slender figure, drowning in the same blue cotton clothes that I wore.

I quickened my pace, trying to catch up to her. Her arm left my bicep and drifted lower, her fingers pulling on my cuffs. “Keep up, Doll-face,” she whispered. “They’re a rude bunch! You can’t expect them to stop for you.”

I glanced at her profile and was so startled that I nearly stumbled. If she hadn’t gripped me so tightly, I’d have probably fallen again. She was shockingly beautiful, like an Instagram model who’d been put through a half-dozen filters and Photoshop. Her skin was the same golden-brown as the banding on a piece of polished tiger’s eye and just as smooth.

My gaze drifted lower. SP-4562 was embroidered across her chest.

Numbers, I realized, for identifying us.

Maybe that was how the human traffickers were keeping count of us.

“What’s going on?” I asked, shouting to be heard.

The woman’s green eyes remained firmly fixed ahead of us. “Breakfast! If you’re late, you won’t eat until six o’clock tonight. So don’t be late. Keep moving because no one will stop for you.”

“Breakfast?” I asked.

“Yes. You slept through the first bells. At six o’clock, you shower—”

“In the morning?” I asked.

She nodded sharply. “Six o’clock. You make your bed and shower. Breakfast is at seven. After breakfast, you return to your cell for roll call and inspection. The warden will likely remove the cuffs for you, provided you behave. At nine, is exercise. You have leisure time between ten and eleven.”

“Wait. A warden?” I asked.

The woman steered me down a crowded stairwell. The railing crushed into my hip as we descended. “Yes. A warden.”

“But—I’m in prison?” I stammered.

Her brow furrowed. “Where did you think you were?”

Prison. This was all a mistake, then. Hope blossomed in my chest. Even though I’d never been in prison before, one of Mom’s ex-boyfriends had gone to prison. There were laws and Constitutional rights. They couldn’t just keep me here. If it was a prison, there was still hope. “I—I thought this was human trafficking or something! It’s a prison?”

She nodded.

“So—so I get a phone call, right?”

“A…phone call? I don’t know what that is.”

What? I glanced at her, unsure if she’d misheard me.

“My mom,” I said. “I can call my mom. This is—this is a mistake! You can’t just throw someone in prison. There has to be a trial and—and evidence! I have Constitutional rights!”

“Not here.”

No, there had to be. “This is a mistake,” I insisted. “I don’t—I don’t belong here! I haven’t done anything wrong! This isn’t legal!”

“It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing you can do.”

Heat rushed to my face. Why was she so nonchalant about it?

Maybe she’s just messing with me, I thought. That must be it. Surely, I get a phone call. And if not, I’m sure Mom will call the police. Or Ashley will. Then, they’ll find me. They can’t keep me here forever.

We reached the floor, emerging into a round area. The tower base stood in the center of the room, surrounded by small, square tables bolted to the ground. The woman released her grip on my cuffs and shoved me forward instead. Already people—no, prisoners—were seated at some. I twisted around, searching. I bumped into someone and received a growl in return. The woman pushed me away. When I looked over my shoulder, my blood ran cold.

It was a man. No, not really. He couldn’t have been any older than I was, but I didn’t notice that at first. Instead, my gaze fell upon the straitjacket, strapped tightly over his massive form and the leather mask covering the lower half of his jaw. Another low growl rumbled from his throat. Clumps of his matted, brown hair fell into his blazing gray eyes. I shivered, as his attention fixed on me.

“H-2159,” the woman said quietly. “He’s always in a bad mood, so stay away from him.”

Considering I had no desire to go near him, that wouldn’t be very hard. Before me, I could see that two lines had formed. A cafeteria.

“This is the only time I can help you,” the woman continued in a low tone. “If you want to survive, you’ll get as far away from me as you can. I’m trouble.”

Without warning, she shoved me away.

“But I—I don’t even know—what’s your name?”

She tapped the number over her chest. “Can’t you see? Or are you blind as well as stupid? SP-4562,” she said, raising her voice. “Now, stay away from me, you bitch! The last thing I need is dead weight pulling me down!”

Taste: Kingdom of Blood and Ash: (Vampire Magic Preview)

Taste: Kingdom of Blood and Ash: (Vampire Magic Preview)

I’ve been working on Taste for a few years, and the story keeps growing.

It’s a vampire dystopia, and one review called it “Hunger Games meets Shade of Vampire.”

However it’s an interesting mix of fantasy and science-fiction, where the “vampires” are genetically modified super-humans who keep humans in captivity: each “Elite” must choose a human bride to honor the peace between the races, and the protagonist’s adventure begins when she is chosen. So there’s also the “choosing ceremony” motif – I actually began this book probably around 2013 when “choosing ceremony” books were popular, but I’ve seen a few similar stories recently that I loved, like the 100th Queen, so maybe it’s making a comeback.

I’ve tried multiple covers for this book, and actually it was the one on the far right that helped make some interesting story changes:

But ultimately I went with this beautiful art from Consuelo Parra.

Even though I have a pretty clean outline and know exactly how it ends (I usually start from my endings), the middle is developing and a few new characters have emerged. I’m confident there are some EPIC scenes in this book, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be my best book yet, but it’s also developing more slowly than I’d like (plus, like usual, my stories keep growing and I have a difficult time knowing exactly where to cut off book one and where to start book two).

I HOPE to have it done in April 2018, because I have so many other projects to work on.
Read the excerpt below, and if you like it, download the first six chapters.

EXCERPT:

I covered my mouth and nose with my mother’s shawl and cut through the poisonous ash, ignoring the battered warnings signs. Going past the wall is death. Inhale too much ash and it will kill you. But this wasn’t my first time skirting the laws. I headed further away from the purification engines, whose motors filled our town with a constant hum, and climbed the oak tree that had grown too close to the perimeter fence ringing our compound.

As I shuffled out to the tip of a gnarled branch, the buzz of electricity radiating from the fence made the hair on my arm stand up. We didn’t have much electricity in Algrave, but I knew it was dangerous. I gripped the rough bark between my fingers, wobbling slightly as I blinked away a chunk of ash that had gotten stuck in my eyelashes. It wouldn’t harm me in small doses, as long as I didn’t breathe it in. But the ash wasn’t the only thing beyond the fence that could kill me.

My father used to tell me stories about the beasts outside the gates. Rancid breath. Claws as long as my arm. Teeth that could pierce the hardest stone. Their beady red eyes—the last thing you’d see before they ripped you open. Slagpaw, we called them. His stories terrified me when I was young, but it had been years since the last attack. Maybe the elite hunted them to extinction, or maybe they were just a story to scare the village kids from wandering too far into the ash. But I wasn’t a child any longer, and my father was gone. Besides, it was Festival tonight, and I didn’t want to be late.

I lowered myself down from the branch and dropped into the pile of leaves I’d left on my last trip. I’d nearly broken my ankle the first time I made the drop. This time I rolled, tucking my bow to the side. I brushed myself off and took a deep breath through my shawl. It filtered out the ash while letting in the fresh scent of pine sap. Nocking an arrow, I walked forward silently, my bow ready. My father had taught me how to walk without snapping any twigs when I was younger. He said it might save my life someday. I’d never really understood what he meant, and he’d died before I could ask him.

He left behind a bow he made himself, a hunting knife, and a few basic traps. When I realized my mother planned to sell them, I begged her to let me use them instead. She gave me a month to learn how to hunt. Twenty-eight days later, I came home with my first rabbit. Since then, she’s pretty much given me free reign, as long as I helped put food on the table.

Of course, she didn’t know how far I really needed to go to get meat these days. She thought I stayed within the compound and waited for a really stupid bird or squirrel to wander in. That hadn’t happened in months. I was sick of hearing my little brother complain that he was hungry. He was too young to understand rationing, or why we could never buy the sweet pastries in the market.

My mom did what work she could, but there was only so much she could do. At night, she soaked her feet in hot water with herbs, and rubbed the back of her neck. Sometimes I’d catch her staring at the walls and smiling to herself. I think she was secretly looking forward to the Choosing ceremony. Not that anybody in our family had ever been chosen, but she could hope. For my part, I was determined to make myself useful in any way that I could. And this could be my last Festival at home with my family. I wanted to make it special.

Twigs snapped behind me and I whirled around, pulling the taut string of my bow to my ear. A buck with magnificient antlers moved slowly through the trees. I’d never killed anything so large before. At least it was an easy target. I held my breath as it turned its three eyes towards me. Radioactive, my father would have said. Whatever that meant. Meat was meat. I steadied my breath, aiming for the front of its body, hoping to hit one of the vital organs.

I was just about to release my arrow when I heard the voices. My eyes widened in surprise and my heart pounded like a drum in my chest. There shouldn’t be anybody else beyond the wall, unless…

Oh, shit.

I ducked just in time to see a group of elites wander into the meadow, laughing and shoving each other. They looked like us, mostly—but I knew they were faster and stronger than any human. And far more dangeous than the creatures in my father’s bedtime stories. Apart from the handful of guards posted around the compound, who wore a standard black uniform, and a small team of engineers that came through our village every few months to check the machines, I hadn’t had much interaction with the elite. They all looked young, healthy, and clean in a way the people of my village could never hope to look, as if they took a bath every night and every morning. These ones were wearing richer materials and clothing than I’d ever seen.

One of the Elites held a finger up to his mouth. He ran a thin-fingered hand over the long, dark hair slicked back over his ears, then signalled the others to loop around to the other side of a small meadow. I was so sure they smelled me, my heart nearly stopped. I crouched on my toes, preparing to run, but then one of them hollered and chased a buck into the clearing. My buck. The rest of them ran around the animal in circles, terrifying the poor beast. They let it dart around and think it could escape into the woods, before appearing just in front of it again. They moved so fast my eyes could scarcely keep track of them.

The one with dark hair straightened his purple velvet jacket and approached the animal, keeping his arms out to both sides until he was right in front of it. Without warning, he grabbed the buck by the antlers and snapped them both off with a firm twist. As the animal stood there, stunned, he plunged the antlers into either side of the buck, skewering it and sending a spray of blood up over his white shirt and pale face. Then he smiled, licking the blood from the corners of his mouth.

My stomach turned sour as the other elites crowded around the animal. They raised silver chalices to the still-quivering animal, filling their cups with warm blood. One of them found a vein, and latched his teeth around the creature’s neck. He bit down hard, and blood streamed over his lips and chin. I shuddered and took a step backwards.

The leader’s head snapped up, and he looked straight at me with hungry eyes. Before I could even think about running, he was at my side. A cruel smile played on his lips as he glared down at me. Very slowly, he took an embroidered handkerchief out of his dark jacket and wiped the deer’s blood off his face.

“Ready for a new game, boys?” he called.

Keep Reading: Get the first 6 chapters free!

 


IMAGE CREDITS

-Red dress:
Cover art: Consuelo Parra
Model: 3corpses-in-A-casket
Bg: cd-stock.deviantart

-Lonely:
Cover art: Consuelo Parra
Model: Black-ofelia-stock

-When the soul dies:
Cover art: Consuelo Parra
Model: 3corpses-in-a-casket

 

 

 

 

 

 

VAMPIRE Books GIVEAWAY

I’ll be giving out vampire prizes and free ARC copies to my list during the launch, make sure you sign up to win!

 

Gods of music and madness book one (Orpheum)

Gods of music and madness book one (Orpheum)

Yesterday I finished Orpheum. Part one was published previously and ends on a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, even though people like it, I’ve been getting some negative reviews about how frustrating it is to wait for more.

I worked on this book through the winter, and we spent another month in Bulgaria doing research and visiting some of the geographical and historical locations in the book. I continued working on the book in Edinburgh over New Year’s… and was stuck on the last chapter for two weeks as we moved to Taipei.

But finally, I got to THE END and it’s pretty great. The full book also ends on a pretty big cliffhanger. I may leave it as it is, or I may add in an epilogue for at least a partial sense of completion, since it will probably be awhile until there’s another book in this series (I think it’s good – but I also have better projects mapped out and I want to be working on my best ideas, not the ideas I started years ago).

The original cover looked like this:

If you haven’t read part one yet, you can get the first several chapters for free in my starter library.

I like to update covers when I significantly change a book, so I’ve been working on a new cover, which will look something like this:

In a day or two, I’ll have a limited number of ARC copies to give out, so make sure you’re on my email list if you want one (these advanced copies are for fans who don’t mind helping me spot the inevitable handful of typos, and who can also post a review of the finished book on Amazon – if you’d prefer waiting for a clean copy, the full thing will be on Amazon next week).

Here’s an excerpt:

The world was my weapon, and I felt more powerful than I ever had before. Blood dripped from my fingertips, as the recent scabs reopened against the sharp strings of my violin. My eyes blackened as music filled my body, a rushing song, the voice of a god pumping in my veins. I hear his voice and I am destruction.

Here are a couple videos I made about the book… the second one is on-location in Bulgaria.

GIVEAWAY FOR MUSIC LOVERS!

I’m also running a giveaway where you can WIN a paperback version of the full book, and one of these cool miniature violin pendants with a working case.

>CLICK HERE TO ENTER<<

 

 

 

Europe was great, but we’ve just flown back to Taiwan for Chinese New Year and will be in Asia for the next several months. Here’s a picture of our street. I’m working on TASTE next and I can’t wait to share the full book!

 

I’m working on TASTE for the rest of this month – my vampire dystopia – you can still get the free sample on Amazon for a limited time here:

Get the first 5 chapters now.

If it’s good enough for JK Rowling… (on the Harry Potter trail in Edinburgh)

Little known fact about me: I spent my 20s researching ceremonial magic.

Will power. Conviction. Invincible belief in infinite possibilities.

I’ve grown a bit lazy and sometimes tend to get mired down in the small, daily tasks rather than the big picture goals – but it’s important (I believe) to have a future that’s exciting enough to fight for.

Since I’m in Edinburgh, one of the main sources of inspiration for Harry Potter, I bought myself a Harry Potter leather journal and am spending January First getting clear on my annual goals.

I don’t have the awesome crystal wand I bought in the Canary Islands with me last year, but I agree with Albus Dumbledore, “Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

Interestingly, every Harry Potter personality test I’ve taken matches me with Draco Malfoy, and I can see why.

Slytherin are all about Resourcefulness and Ambition.

They’re about logic, reason, and Machiavellian plotting. They set long term goals and work towards them tirelessly. While Hufflepuff are too focused on the minutiae to see the big picture, and Gryffindor like Harry are full of passion and convictions about Good and Evil, Slytherin are willing to bend all rules to achieve their desires.

In fiction, the brave, blustering hero usually wins, often by accident or sheer perseverance – but rarely through intelligence.

People want to believe that good people will be rewarded with success, even if they’re not smart or particularly skilled.

And there is magic in that.

Often, you can set an impossible goal and believe in it hard enough, your circumstances and behavior will begin to align with the destination you’ve chosen. You’ll start to “see” shortcuts and actionable steps that were invisible before. Setting the goal is like unlocking a secret kind of enhanced vision where opportunities align as if by magic, if only you’re bold enough to seize them when they appear.

HOWEVER, in real life, this isn’t always enough, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

For example, I want to publish a whole bunch of new books this year, and I want them to be amazing. I can’t wait around and hope that works out, because my goal depends on both skill and hard work – hundreds of hours of painstaking plotting, drafting, revising and publishing.

I may not have Gryffindor’s optimism that everything will work out for the best, but I do have Slytherin’s cynical realism, that I am capable of getting what I want, as long as I’m also willing to commit the time and effort. I need to spend years improving my craft, analyzing bestsellers, struggling with my muse, until I become one of the best writers or “most powerful magicians” of my time.

As I wrote in my PhD thesis, ambition isn’t evil. It’s human, and potentially the greatest thing about humanity – the desire to create, to improve, to enhance. The gift of seeing how things are and being able to imagine how they could be.

I’m not ashamed of my ambition – though it was once the sin that caused Lucifer to fall, it’s become the attribute that saved Faust’s soul. Ambition is the studious and hard-won self-improvement that makes real change possible, and I believe it’s a noble pursuit. I’ve spent the past 7 years dedicating myself to the principles I set forth in Creativindie, and things I only dreamed about several years ago are now starting to take shape. I can’t wait to see what I can achieve in the next few years, but I must stay true to the course, choose goals that are challenging enough to fill me with eagerness, and do the work.

Goals aren’t only about belief or magical thinking. Goals are the reason we choose to do something rather than nothing.

What are your 2018 goals and resolutions?

 

PS) While in Northern Scotland I heard some folklore that will probably help me plot Shearwater book two, which is one of 10 projects I’ll be working on this year.

Prescient part two (the full book) is almost ready!

Prescient part two (the full book) is almost ready!

This month I’m working on part two of Prescient and I’m kind of loving it. It was going to be my first novel, but the time-travel plotting elements were too challenging to keep straight. There are some big twists and reveals, and while it’s not exactly a zombie apocalypse thriller (though it will be by book 2 or 3), there are some great scenes and a lot of dramatic tension between characters. I think it’ll be my best work yet so I’m excited to share.

In the meantime, you can read part one here – or you can sign up to my list to get part one for free. When the whole book is done, I’ll update the book on Amazon with this new cover, and I’ll send out free ARC copies to everyone on my list so you can read the full thing.

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