ATTENTION AUTHORS! Would you like some free promotion?

If you didn’t already know, I do two monthly blog series where I focus on authors and their work. One is an interview I conduct via email, and the second is a guest post of an excerpt for a book the author wishes to promote. I’ve had the pleasure of highlighting some wonderful authors, and it’s time to put the call out again.

I welcome all authors, published either Self, Indie, Traditionally, and in any genre minus any books/authors with books depicting bestiality, any form of animal cruelty, child pornography, or any book where the author demonizes another group of people based on race, religion or sexual orientation.

Breakdown

I do one interview per month and it goes live on the 15th. There are ten questions and I try to make them as much about you and your work as I can by basing future questions off your answers.

The guest post consists of a 1,500 – 2000 excerpt from your novel(s) and goes live on the last day of the month. If you would like to do both, I can arrange it so that your interview and guest post would appear in the same month. If you would like this, please be aware that it may not happen in a month of your choosing.

My goal is to promote only you, so if you’re part of a blog group or writing group, that’s wonderful, but I don’t want to promote them. I have a limited amount of spots open; therefore, it is a first-come-first-serve deal. I will update this post until all spots are filled.

NOW TAKING CLIENTS FOR THE 2016 SCHEDULE

Interview Schedule

ALL DATES OPEN

Guest Excerpt Post

ALL DATES OPEN

Please note:

I require all potential guests to have their book available on both .mobi and epub formats. This means the public can purchase your ebook on either Amazon (.mobi) or Barns and Noble/iTunes/Kobo or any other outlet that deals with epub. If your book is print only that’s fine; everyone can hold a book, but not everyone has the same ereader.

If you’re interested, you can email me at the address below. Please include how you are published (Traditional, Indie, or Self), the name and genre of the book you wish to promote and several links to where your book can be found. This is just a reassurance for me that people of all ereader types can purchase your book.

Post all this in the body of your email and send it to;

darkewhispers69 (at) gmail (dot) com

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Writer In Progress: Trembling Souls; written by Jamie White

This month I bring you an excerpt from Jamie White’s novella TREMBLING SOULS, the second in her STAINS series. She chose this excerpt because…

“…this excerpt, more than any other incarnation, this one has had the biggest impact on Fiona’s life now. It has shaped her behavior and fears until this point and might be the reason she once again meets an early grave. It’s also had a huge impact on a couple of other characters in the series.”

~~~~~

Excerpt

Trembling Souls Cover“You promised these cures of yours would work.”

Maria sighed as she took her neighbor’s hand. Tears welled in her eyes as she gazed at the lifeless figure in the bed. After taking a moment to compose herself, she turned her attention to the woman’s husband.

“I warned you from the beginning that sometimes a cure isn’t meant to work. I wish I had been able to do more, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m so sorry.”

He glared at her, pulling his hand away from hers. “Get out of my home. I do not want to see you around here again.”

She nodded. “If that’s what you wish. I am sorry, I wanted to help her… please believe that.”

Maria turned and shuffled out of the modest home, guilt twisting her stomach into knots. The woman’s husband had come to Maria for help weeks ago after the doctor in town told him there was nothing he could do to help.

So many people had become ill in this town the past few years; it was as if they would never know peace again. Maria had lost several friends in that time, and she’d vowed to do whatever she could to help others here. Most of the time, her herbal cures worked beautifully — she’d seen some incredible miracles. Sadly, she’d also seen her share of failures.

Those haunted her, but she tried to remember they were rare. The looks on the faces of those she cured were worth the occasional pain and anger directed her way from a grieving relative. It was funny… When she warned him the cures didn’t work every time, he’d dismissed it. He’d told her he didn’t care; he just had to try. He’d actually sought her out and begged for her assistance.

Maria closed her eyes and once more tried to compose herself before she continued on her way, her shoes clicking against the cobblestone roads. She didn’t want to chance passing anyone who might question her somber demeanor. She’d heard rumors people were getting accused of being in league with the devil and there was the chance her cures could be seen as witchcraft. She scoffed at the very idea. If there was anyone in this town with the powers these creatures were said to have, she had yet to meet them. It all seemed completely ridiculous to her.

As she neared her own home, she pulled her coat tighter to her body and hurried her pace. She opened the front door, and then kicked it closed as she pulled her coat off. “I’m back.”

“How did it go?”

She looked over to see her husband emerge from the bedroom. The waning daylight was offset by the candles he’d lit, casting shadows on the walls that filled her with a vague sense of dread. She longed for the bright glow of day to chase away her dark mood.

“It didn’t work—she’s gone.”

His eyes softened and he approached Maria, wrapping his arms around her. “I’m sorry. I know you were hoping for a miracle.”

She sniffed, wiping a tear that was forming in one eye. “I guess it wasn’t in His plan this time. I just wish I could have made her husband understand… he was so upset, I’ve never felt such hate come from one person in my life.”

“You can hardly blame him at the moment… Once he has some time to think, I am sure he will understand you did what you could.”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right.” She kissed her husband on the forehead and pulled away. “I should probably go lie down.”

“Of course.” He gave her a kiss in return and smiled. “Get some rest and don’t fret too much — things will look much better after you’ve had some sleep. I’ll join you later.”

She nodded in response before walking into the bedroom. She lay down, trying to put the evening out of her mind and get the sleep that eluded her. Between everything she had to do at home and all the time she’d been spending trying to help that poor woman, she’d been run ragged.

Fiona’s eyes slowly opened. She lay in bed, staring at the ceiling with a growing knot in her stomach. In some ways, she found this dream even more disturbing than the one she’d had back home where she burned at the stake. She could still see the pain in the man’s eyes, filling her with a sense of guilt she couldn’t understand.

This is ridiculous. Why am I dreaming about that again?

 ~~~~~

Where to purchase Trembling Souls:

Trembling Souls CoverAmazon: http://www.amazon.com/Trembling-Souls-Stains-Novella-Book-ebook/dp/B00U1VAWOC/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barns and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trembling-souls-jamie-white/1121299865?ean=2940046601862

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/522943

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author PhotoWhere to find Jamie online:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJamieWhite

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JamieWAuthor

Instagram: https://instagram.com/jamiewauthor/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/AuthorJamieW/

Writer In Progress: Worlds Apart, written by Marlene Dotterer

One of the first people I met when I started writing was Marlene Dotterer. Our friendship came about through the Online Writer’s Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. (OWW) Her first novel, a time-travel story called Shipbuilder, was one of the first novels I read when I got my new Kobo. She’s expanded her library since then and I am pleased to bring you an excerpt from her new urban fantasy novel WORLDS APART.

She chose this excerpt because…

“One of my favorite things about Worlds Apart is the relationships between the various characters. For instance, there are three strong women in this story who like and respect each other. Worlds Apart is a romance, but watching the friendship grow between these women is as satisfying as the sex. The scene I’ve chosen for you is near the end, but hopefully won’t give away any spoilers. It’s a good scene to see all three women in action, each doing her job, arguing and compromising as needed. They are: Tina Cassidy, a human doctor, Shandari Urboron, an empathic healer, and Kasia Windblood, an elf, whose job is best described as a police captain.”

~~~~~~

Excerpt

Marlene Dotterer_Worlds Apart thumbnailA guard stood at the entrance, blocking her way. His head brushed the nine-foot ceiling, and the arms he crossed over his chest were thin tree trunks. Tina detected a green cast to his face and hands, but it was his resolve that she noticed. No one was getting past.

“What the hell?” She pivoted to face Shandari. “Is the ogre here to protect me or to guard me?”

“Both.” Shandari managed to sound authoritative and apologetic all at once. “If you go out there, we may not be able to protect you. You’re safest in here.”

“Bullshit.”

“Why….”

Bullshit, Shandari! You’ve got a hundred witches and elves and whatever in a perimeter out there. Kasia’s out there. Hell, Will’s out there, and for all I know, so is Ringstrom. I’m not in any more danger than they are.”

“Yes, you are. You have a connection to Clive that the others don’t. It will draw him to you, and he will not be able to control himself.”

“I don’t care. He’s hurt.” Tina swung back to face the giant, thrusting a finger upward to poke as high as she could. She could just hit his chest, but she jabbed the finger hard. “I can feel it. Clive is hurt. He needs help, and you are going to move aside and let me out of here. If you want to come with me, fine. You can carry the damn car, for all I care. Now, move.”

His expression didn’t change, but he lifted an eyebrow at Shandari. Tina didn’t bother to look back, but Shandari must have given some signal, for the mountain shrugged once, and stepped aside. The double doors looked incongruously small next to him. Tina wondered how he had managed to get inside. Her panic gave her no time to question. She slammed against the doors, shooting through as they flew open with a force they weren’t made to withstand.

Outside, the night was clear and cold. Stars glittered over the town. Shadows of nearby buildings leaned toward her from the west, drawing Tina’s gaze to meet the glare of the full moon. She jammed her feet into the ground to stop her forward rush, shocked into paralysis by its unspoken message. Then the panic returned, and her attention came back to the empty parking lot. “Shit!” She turned in a circle, arms outstretched, until she came face-to-face with Shandari, watching from the porch. Somehow, the giant had emerged from the building. He stood behind Shandari, regarding Tina with deep disapproval.

She ignored him.

“I need a car,” she said. Shandari lifted her hands, as if to prove she did not have one. Tina slapped her hips, remembering too late that her cell phone was gone. Lips pressed tight, she took a step, firming her resolve to barrel past the giant again, to go back inside and use the phone. She’d call Sharon.

Before her next step, bouncing lights appeared around the corner of the clinic, accompanied by the crunch of running feet.

“Nobody move!” A man’s shout came from behind the leading flashlight, which stopped about twenty feet from Tina. In the light’s shadow, she saw a gun pointed at her. Behind the lead figure, the second light was performing a series of leaps as the person holding it scanned the area behind Tina, then around and behind all of them.

“It’s me,” Tina said, her voice small in the darkness. “Is that you, Eddie?”

“Yeah.” He lowered his gun, but didn’t holster it. “What the hell are you doing out here?”

“I’m trying to get to Clive. He’s hurt. He needs me.”

“That’s not going to happen, Dr. Cassidy.” The other man stepped next to Eddie. He seemed familiar, but she couldn’t place him. “You should not be out here at all. You need to…”

“I need to find a car and get out there,” Tina said. “Why can’t everyone understand that?”

He stepped closer to her, his glance taking in the scrubs and flimsy tennis shoes she wore, reminding her she wasn’t prepared to hike around the mountains.

“I do understand. I’m Riff Freeder. I was with Clive when he found you. I understand a great deal, Tina. Including the danger you would face out there.”

“The other werewolf is dead.” To her own ears, Tina sounded like she was begging him.

“The danger now is from Clive.”

“Clive will not hurt me.”

The giant guffawed, making the ground tremble under Tina’s feet. Even so, she heard Shandari’s sigh from the porch.

“Will you force Clive to live with the consequences if he did?” Riff asked.

“Listen, I don’t know how to explain this to you people. But I’ve got to be there.” She pointed with both hands at her chest and stomach, turning to catch the gazes of each Kaarmaneshian. “There’s something inside me that’s forcing me to go. Every minute you detain me makes it worse.” She focused on Shandari, whose face showed a trace of doubt. “It hurts, Shandari. If I don’t go, I think I’ll explode. And Clive will die.”

Shandari stared at her, then turned to Riff. Tina held her breath, wondering if they could communicate telepathically. Perhaps they could, because Riff nodded and held out a hand to Tina.

“We have a vehicle in back. I’ll take you. But you’ll still have to convince Kasia.”

Everyone around her moved, streaking off in various directions. Tina could not track them all, so she concentrated on her hand in Riff’s as he pulled her around the clinic at a fast trot. The beam of his flashlight passed over Eddie’s black Dodge Ram. She scrambled into the back seat, while Riff stood guard. A few minutes later, Shandari and Eddie rounded the building. Shandari climbed in and tossed a bundle of clothing into Tina’s lap.

“Your jacket,” she said. “And hiking boots. Your nurse brought them over from your house this afternoon.”

Bless Sharon and her uncanny insight.

No one talked during Eddie’s wild drive to Kasia’s reconnaissance camp. Tina struggled into the boots, fighting both the seat belt and her lack of balance with the curvy mountain road. Eddie’s speed matched her own urgent yearnings, so she didn’t ask him to slow down.

Just as they screeched to a stop behind Ringstom’s police car on the side of the road, Shandari reached a hand to grip Tina’s fingers. “Center the panic you feel,” she said. “Control it, Tina. You’ll need it to convince Kasia.”

The truth of this statement became evident as soon as Tina stepped out of the truck. Two tall and very strong figures blinked into existence on both sides of her, grabbed her arms and lifted her off her feet, putting her right back in. The door shut on her nose and they turned their backs to her, blocking her way out. When she turned to the other door, she saw figures surrounding the truck, as still and immovable as rocks.

Behind the steering wheel, Eddie sputtered. “What the hell?”

Shandari did not repress a snort of laughter.

Tina slapped the window. “Goddammit, Kasia!” She didn’t quite shout, certain that Kasia would hear her even if she whispered. She concentrated on the panic in her middle and envisioned sending it out with her words, to smack the elf upside her head. “I know this is dangerous, but I also know I have to go out there. Don’t waste any more time, please. Clive is still alive. But he won’t be much longer if we don’t help him now.”

The panic reached a high pitch and Tina winced. Placing her hands on the window, she directed the panic into a push, trying to break through the glass and the backs of her guards. A sharp pain pierced her head, but she kept pushing.

In a swift move, the guards stepped away. One of them reached back to open the door. Tina fell into strong arms that forced her upright to meet Kasia’s furious glare. “Stop doing that before you hurt yourself,” she snapped.

“I wouldn’t have to do anything if people would stop fighting me about it. I’m not a child, Kasia. I decide for myself what risks I will take.”

“Do you see those people?” Kasia asked, indicating everyone who was surrounding the area, far more than just the few who stood by Eddie’s truck. “Every one of them is standing there for the express purpose of protecting you. Every one of them is willing to die or risk the werewolf’s curse, if it will keep that werewolf away from you. They understand the risk they’re taking. You do not.”

“You’re right,” Tina said, anger still coloring her words. “I don’t understand everything. I don’t get how this magic works. I just know what it’s telling me to do. I don’t have any way of turning it off, Kasia. I’m going out there.”

A touch of doubt moved across Kasia’s face. Her glance went past Tina to stare at a point behind her. “What do you See, Shandari?”

Shandari’s voice was soft, but everyone could hear her. “I can tell you that Tina and Clive have worked a spell between them. I can’t see it all, but she’s telling the truth about its compulsion. I think…” and here, she paused, as if not trusting her own words, “…I think there is protection in the spell.”

Kasia’s chin came up, and Shandari spoke with more urgency, faster and louder. “No. I cannot guarantee that. If Clive should bite her, there is no help for it. I do not think he will attack her. The spell will hold him back.”

Kasia’s gaze came back to Tina, her chin moving with suppressed tension. “All right. I’ll take you myself. Just you and I, so bring whatever equipment you’ll need with you.”

Tina breathed again, her mind in sudden turmoil. What would she find up there?

Will pushed through the guards, holding a backpack out. “Take this. I’ve had it ready for several hours. Antibiotics, soap, water, morphine, saline solution and IV, bandages, scissors, tape… it will work for either wolf or man.”

The first-aid list cleared Tina’s mind, allowing her knowledge and skill to return in full force. She grabbed the bag, shoving it onto a shoulder. “Thank you.”

“Here, put this on,” Kasia said, tossing a piece of white fabric to Tina. “It’s protective clothing.” She demonstrated by shaking hers out and stepping into it. It somehow formed itself around her.

“Like a hazmat suit,” Will murmured, as he helped Tina into hers. The fabric shaped into legs, torso, and arms, then hood and facemask. Tina felt a moment of panic, but the stuff on her face vanished as soon as it had formed. She knew it was still there, but it didn’t interfere with breathing or speaking.

The panic had not left her belly. She hiked the backpack to her shoulder and stepped toward the outer circle. “Let’s go.”

Kasia took her arm. “We’ll go the fast way.” She tapped her strap and threw something into the air in front of her. A portal appeared and Tina at last felt a bit of relief. She’d be there soon.

Kasia tapped her forehead and that part of her suit lit up with a directional light. She shouldered a rifle-type weapon and jerked her chin at Tina. “Stay right behind me.”

She stepped through, and Tina followed.

~~~~~~

Marlene Dotterer_Worlds Apart thumbnailBook Links:

Amazon (Print and Kindle): amazon.com/author/marlenedotterer

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mdotterer

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/search?query=Marlene%20Dotterer&fcsearchfield=Author&fclanguages=all

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s?store=allproducts&keyword=marlene+dotterer

MDottererWhere to find Marlene online:

Website and blog: https://marlenedotterer.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/mdott

Amazon: amazon.com/author/marlenedotterer

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mdotterer

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marlenedotterer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarleneDotterer

Writer In Progress: Red Desert – Point of No Return, written by Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

This month I am pleased to bring you an excerpt from Italian author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli. Her novel, RED DESERT – POINT OF NO RETURN, is the first book of her series and has recently been translated into English. She is also a best-selling author in Italy.

She chose this scene because, as she states…

This scene better summarises what you can find in this story. There’s the marvel of the discovery but also the lethal danger of Mars, which can kill you any time, if you aren’t careful enough. And there’s also the mystery. Anna left Station Alpha at dawn and entered the Martian desert all alone. What happened? Where is she going? What secret is she hiding?

Finally there’s someone coming from her past, who may be the key to understand why she decided to go to live on Mars and never come back.”

~~~~~~

Excerpt:

coverRD1-smallAs I get closer to the canyon, the details of its configuration become increasingly clear. Its naked beauty, devoid of the grace given by life, fascinates me, leaving me open-mouthed.

Proceeding at maximum speed, my rover jerks as it hits a boulder. The terrain has become more rugged. I must slow down.

I move forward with caution, bringing the vehicle close to the cliff. But I avoid reaching its edge. I don’t know about the quality of the rock at that point and I have no idea if it will bear the weight. I stop, while keeping the engine on, to contemplate the wonder of the natural show that lies before my eyes. Even if it’s thought that water flowed on Mars in the past, which was demonstrated by the presence of dried up river beds scattered across its surface, this canyon system seems to have had a different origin. The fractures, created by seismic phenomena, have been modelled over millions of years by carbon dioxide escaping from underground at high speed, thus eroding them, just like the perpetual motion of water would do.

I pull out my camera and start taking some pictures. But since I’m fixed in this position, I soon run out of all possible framings. I’m tempted to put the suit on, get out and take a stroll. Then I realise that, since my departure, I haven’t checked my air time yet.

I switch off the engine. I don’t want to waste energy, other than the necessary one for life support and instrumentation. I free myself from the seatbelt and go to the back of the rover. The suit indicator is at 80% which means I don’t have ten hours, but only eight. It could be worse. If I get out for five minutes to take some pictures, it won’t make much difference.

Without wasting any more time I prepare, depressurise the vehicle, and step out to take a little stroll.

The view from my helmet isn’t actually much better than the one from the windshield. A weak wind lifts some dust with each step I take. I’ve already touched that thin sand more than once inside Station Alpha, but now I wonder how it would feel to lay on it under the sun. I check the temperature with the augmented reality with which the helmet is fitted. It projects a set of useful information before my eyes, as if they are part of the surrounding environment. It reads a little more than five degrees Celsius. It’s cold, but not so cold.

If only the atmosphere wasn’t so rarefied.

I give up my reveries. They are stealing precious seconds that I should use in a more rational way. Holding my camera, I walk toward the edge of the canyon, capturing many different images.

I hope the photographs are coming out well. It’s difficult to say from the small display on the back of the device. I’ve never been a great photographer. I can waste even the easiest snapshot. But the light is perfect now that the sun is high. The various layers of rock seem to shine by themselves. It’s almost incredible that so much beauty could be accidental.

I’m still bewitched by such a view when my foot slips on the terrain. Before I can counteract the loss of balance, I find myself supine; my back hits the breathing device and my head is thrown backwards, bending my neck. My helmet bumps into a stone and the rebounding effect runs all over my body, dazing me. The light becomes more and more intense, forcing me to close my eyes, and I have the impression of hearing remote music, rocking me softly.

My eyes snap open; I’m breathing heavily. I’m still lying on the ground. The sun is directly over me. I lift my right arm with caution, to check my suit indicators. Everything seems alright. There’s no pressure drop, but I have been reckless. I could have damaged it, and died in excruciating pain.

I think about Michelle for a moment. She tried to leave the station without her suit. Her body swelled up in the airlock, until her more superficial tissues exploded and spread themselves over the doorway. Her corpse blocked it. We had to use the exit on the other side of the station to move away what had remained of her, which had frozen in the meantime. We tried to clean, but her thickened blood had seeped in everywhere.

I still cannot believe she decided to kill herself that way. The thought that someone may have pushed her in there and activated the door to kill her hasn’t allowed me to have a decent sleep for many a long night. The fact I’m here now is in most part due to that doubt.

I try to breathe deeply and calm down. I must have lost consciousness, but only for a couple of minutes. I sit up with caution. My camera is tied to my suit with a lanyard. It seems undamaged. I pick myself up from the ground and head back to the rover.

No more strolling, for a while.

Once inside, I get rid of my equipment and I lie back in my seat. I start downloading the photographs, which are immediately displayed on the dashboard screen, and I activate the satellite connection. As I start the upload, a notification appears.

“Incoming message,” the cold voice of the computer recites.

At first I think Hassan is trying to contact me again, by using the satellite transmission, but then I read on the windshield augmented reality that it comes from Houston and was recorded five hours earlier. It’s mission control, attempting to persuade me to go back. I’m really curious to hear what they have thought up.

I turn on the video playback and the virtual screen is filled with a person’s face.

“Anna … hi. To tell the truth I’m not convinced that asking me to talk to you has been a clever idea. But I’m here now so I must try.”

In disbelief, I put a hand on my face. “Jan,” I whisper, while watching the image of the only man I have ever loved in all my life.

~~~~~~

Book Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/product/dp/B00L979374

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/red-desert-rita-carla-francesca-monticelli/1119142303?ean=2940045814508

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/red-desert-point-of-no-return/id857900290?mt=1

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/red-desert-point-of-no-return

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rita_Carla_Francesca_Monticelli_Red_Desert_Point_o?id=PmjiAwAAQBAJ

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/426323

Oyster: https://www.oysterbooks.com/book/4wLfLBLqdvxC6TJUw5XS6d/red-desert-point-of-no-return

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/book/216883610/Red-Desert-Point-of-No-Return

Where to find Rita online:

fotoautore-quadrata600Facebook: www.facebook.com/RitaCarlaFMonticelli

Twitter: twitter.com/ladyanakina

MySpace: www.myspace.com/anakina

aNobii: www.anobii.com/anakina/books

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/anakina

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/ladyanakina

Google+: plus.google.com/+RitaCarlaFrancescaMonticelli

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ladyanakina

Smashwords: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/anakina

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/anakina

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/ritacarlafrancescamonticelli

 

Writer In Progress; The Prophecies of Mortals, written by Darke Conteur

I had an author scheduled for this month, but after several weeks of not replying to my emails, I had to write this one off the schedule. I was going to let this installment go, but then I decided that I’d put up an excerpt from my own work. After all, it’s my site. Why the hell not?

The scene I chose is from the third chapter. It depicts some downtime for a couple members of the team, and yet that spectre of paranormal is always there. It’s a part of their lives whether they consciously want it to be or not. It also sparks a small doubt about Jezryall and what may lie ahead for the team.

~~~~~

Excerpt:

The-Prophecies-of-Mortals web resolutionBright colours flashed on the flat-screen television, as an animated explosion from the video game Martin played with Jared and Daniel engulfed the view.

“Damn,” Martin said, as his part of the screen slowly went red. “I didn’t see the bugger.”

Jared motioned toward the television. “I don’t know why you keep camping out there. Zombies spawn right around that corner.”

“Yeah.” Daniel yanked violently on his controller. “You’re just begging to get killed doing that.”

Martin looked at the screen. “Aren’t one of you guys going to revive me?”

Daniel jerked his controller. “We’re getting there.”

“We need to take out more zombies before we come and get you,” Jared said.

“Hurry up. It would really suck if I died.”

“No,” Jared tapped one of the buttons on his controller, “it would really suck if we died trying to save you.”

Martin sat back and watched the first-person action play out on the television. Shooter games were all right, but there was something unsettling about running around an apocalyptic background killing zombies.

“Take your time, guys. If I die, I die.”

Jared did a quick glanced at him. “No need to get all dramatic. Geez, I’ll come and revive you now.”

“No, that’s not it. I can’t get into this game. I guess killing zombies is not my thing.”

Jared lowered his controller. “It’s just a game.”

“Yeah I know, but…”

Daniel stopped the game and put down his controller. “We found some real zombies under the Russian Embassy a while back.”

An apologetic look washed over Jared. “Oh shit, yeah, I forgot about that.” He looked up at the frozen image of a zombie on the screen. “You know, these aren’t anything like real zombies. These things are more like Wraiths.”

Daniel nodded. “Yeah, just as fast, too.”

Jared smiled and nudged Daniel. “Remember that nest outside London?”

Jared’s laughter was full blown as Daniel shook his head and lowered it into his hands. “You should have seen him, Martin. He was running like Satan himself was chasing him. And screaming.”

“They just came out of nowhere,” Daniel said. “Just like in the game.”

“It was hilarious.”

“Not for me.”

Jared calmed down and leaned back in the sofa. “Sorry. Sometimes it’s easier to handle if I laugh about things.” He looked down at his hands. “Especially when it’s the really nasty stuff.”

“I don’t blame you,” Martin said. “It’s just lately, I’ve been trying to deal with this shit, and just when I think it can’t get any worse….”

Jared nodded. “Yeah. Been there. I did two tours in Afghanistan before this, and I didn’t think I’d ever see anything as horrible as the stuff from Hell. I sometimes wonder if people would kill as much as they do if they knew what was really out there.”

“Who knows, they might kill even more.”

Daniel stood. “Anyone want a beer?”

“Sounds good,” Jared said.

“Do we have any?” Martin asked.

“No, but I think we need alcohol and I can run to the store down the street quickly enough.”

Jared pulled out his wallet. “Here, my treat.”

Daniel took the money and headed for the staircase. “Anything in particular you want?”

“Nope,” Jared said. “Just as long as we can get drunk on it.”

Martin turned off the video game and put the controllers away. He could feel Jared’s gaze on him with each move.

“What?”

Jared shrugged. “Nothing.”

“No, there’s something.”

The young man slid to the edge of the sofa. “Okay, I have to know. No one else here will be straight with me, but I gotta know.”

“Know what?”

“What’s it like living in the same building as a sex demon?”

Martin rolled his eyes. “You’re joking, right?”

“No, I’m serious.”

“Why do you want to know?”

“Because she’s one of a kind. Did you know that?”

“Yeah, but she has no loyalty to any of her kind.”

“And you don’t find that weird?”

“Why? Should I?”

“Have you ever run across a full-blood demon?”

“No.”

“I have, and they’re nasty. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Jez and all, but she is part demon and the only way she can control that darker side is by feeding of the lustful energies of humans.”

Martin thought for a moment. “I’ve never seen her do anything like that.”

“Exactly, so how is she controlling that dark part of her? Unless there’s a romance going on here that no one knows about, how is she feeding it?”

“I dunno. Maybe she’s learned self-control?”

“From who? I know her history. When her mother died she was taken to live with foster parents. Then when they died she was taken to a monastery. We’re talking Dark Ages, too. Neither of those places would teach her anything about her darker side, let alone how to control it.” He paused for a moment. “Only that she was evil, born of evil.”

Martin thought for a moment. “I’ve never seen her feed on anyone. Maybe she does it in secret?”

“How she’s keeping it placid between feedings? And how much energy can she siphon from unsuspecting people? Can’t be much.”

A chill ran through him. “I don’t know.”

“If I were you, I’d want to know. With the way things are getting, she could let loose and take out a whole village.”

“She wouldn’t do that.”

“Really? If her human side is severely injured, you don’t think her demon side would take over in a heartbeat?”

Martin thought back to the incident at the Spire portal. The thing he saw attack those minions was blood-thirsty, and revelled in the carnage. Maybe she needed to give the demon a small burst of freedom every now and then to keep it under her control.

What if it liked the carnage too much?

What if it wanted more?

~~~~~~

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Teaser Tuesday; The Possession of Mercy Moreau

As some of you may know, I’m working on a paranormal romance. What makes mine different than others, is that I’m trying to create it in its Gothic roots; where the paranormal is a background element, rather than a characteristic. Gothic horror always had an element of romance in it, and so does this. Only steamier.

 

This teaser introduces one of Mercy’s new lovers. Warning! Graphic Language!

Here is this Teaser Tuesday’s excerpt from The Possession of Mercy Moreau.

~~~~

The waitress picked up the menu and walked away, leaving Mercy alone again. She shifted in her seat and looked out the huge window next to her table. The light from the building front barely made it across the parking lot and the woods looked dark and eerie. She glanced skyward to the rock face that looked out over the channel. It was steep and very high. She was pretty sure the light she’d seen with the deck hand was somewhere around this area but as she shifted to get a better look at the outside, a shuffling sound along with chair legs scraping across the floor seemed a little too close, and was followed by a feeling she was being watched. The smell of engine fluid and alcohol was strong. Mercy turned back around in her chair and discovered the table directly in front of her was now occupied.

He nodded at her. His auburn hair hung down past his shoulders and looked like some of the motor oil on his clothing greased his hair back. “Ain’t seen you around here before?” He slurred his words as he played with the moustache that framed his mouth. He could barely keep his eyes open and reminded her of the bikers she’d seen riding around town in the summer.

Mercy smiled and looked away. He was trouble in more ways that one.

“What? Don’t you talk?”

“Leave her alone, Clyde,” her waitress said, coming around and placing some condiments down on Mercy’s table.  “The woman doesn’t need you bugging her. Go sit back at your own table.”

He kept his focus on Mercy. “But I wanna eat here?”

Mercy felt uncomfortable under his glare and tried to focus on something outside of the inn.

“Well I’m not serving you if you sit there.”

This got Clyde’s attention. “You better fuckin’ serve my food!”

Her waitress stepped between tables, blocking his view of Mercy. “You get off your drunken ass, you ignorant son-of-a-bitch, and walk yourself back over to the other side of the room, or I’ll call Carl out here and he’ll throw your sorry ass out.”

Clyde leaned back in his chair, almost like he couldn’t focus on her any other way. “Carl wouldn’t do that. He’s my friend.”

“Carl doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you.” She put her hands on her hips. “Now move!”

Mercy heard the chair legs scrap along the floor as Clyde stood and shuffled his way back across the room. He sat down with several other men, all dressed in the same backwoods, grease-monkey outfit.

“I don’t know what you were getting so upset about, Aggie” Clyde said, falling into a chair. “I just wanted to talk to the pretty lady.”

“Well that’s fine, but she just got here and the last thing she needs is to be bothered by the likes of you.” She put some food down in front of him. “Especially since you’ve been drinking.”

The young woman walked back into the kitchen, coming out a few moments later with a sandwich on a plate. Mercy watched her in the reflection of the window as she grabbed the coffee pot and headed back her way.

“Sorry about Clyde, here,” the waitress said and put the plate down in front of her. “I promise he won’t bother you again.”

Mercy smiled as more coffee was added to her cup.

“Clyde’s a jerk. Even more so when he’s drunk.”

Mercy nodded as she picked up her sandwich. “Thanks.”

“Not a problem.” She pointed at her nametag. “My name’s Aggie. If you need anything, feel free to come and ask. Enjoy your meal.”

Mercy nodded as her phone rang. She looked at the small blue screen before she flipped it open.

“Mrs. Macintyre, hello! I hope my call didn’t get you out of bed…Good, I was a little worried that it was too late to arrive….I’m not sure. I’m at the inn in Lennox right now… Oh good. Okay, would you like me to come now or in the morning?…Sure, not a problem. See you in a while.”

Mercy closed her phone and dropped it back into her purse. Mrs. Macintyre sounded older on the phone than her fifty-five years. From the exchange in emails the last couple of months Mercy pretty much knew the Macintyre family history off by heart. She felt a weight lift from her shoulders as she bit into her sandwich. At least she wouldn’t need to spend the night here. Maybe it was because she was sitting next to a very large window, but she couldn’t shake the feeling she was being watched.

Mercy took the occasional glance out the window, watching things in the diner through the reflection. Aggie was right about Clyde. He never came back her way again, but he did give her a really long look when he and his friends left the inn. It sent shivers through her the way he smiled at her. Like he knew she was watching him through the reflection, and liked it. Mercy looked away. She wasn’t used to men looking at her like that; like she was some piece of meat. She felt her face get warm as a knot tightened in her throat as she chewed her food. Being single, starting over; none of this was going to be easy.

She didn’t stay long after she finished her food. She left Aggie a nice tip as a thank-you for running interference with Clyde. It was the least she could do for dealing with that drunk.

The cool night air was refreshing. It wasn’t this cool back in the city. A chill ran through her again and she hurried to her car. Maybe she should have brought warmer clothing. As she keyed the lock on her car, shouts and laughter echoed in the night from somewhere across the street. Mercy froze as she saw the same drunk man standing in the parking lot of the local convenience store, standing around with his friends. Her hands trembled as he stopped joking around and looked straight at her. He wasn’t two-hundred feet away, but it felt like he was right there, on the other side of her car.

He started walking toward her. Mercy’s heart raced as she yanked open the car door and got inside. She didn’t want to look at him, but could see him coming closer from the corner of her eye; stumbling in a drunken walk as he made his way toward the road. She fumbled with her keys trying to find the one to start the car, and looking at the diner, hoping to see Aggie, but her saviour wasn’t anywhere to be seen. She keyed the ignition but the car wouldn’t start. Mercy’s eyes teared up as she tried again and again to get the car going.

The quick alarm of a police siren caused her to jump back in her seat. The black and white patrol car pulled up in front of Clyde and stopped. She watched, hunched over her steering wheel as the officer got out and pointed at the drunk. A low, muffled, and rather angry voice argued with the officer, but after more finger-pointing and the removal of handcuffs from the officer’s belt, the men got into a beat-up pickup truck. Mercy glanced quickly back at the diner. This time Aggie was standing by the entrance, her arms crossed, glaring at the scene across the street. She looked over at Mercy, smiled and nodded.

Mercy managed a weak smile back as the engine roared to life with the turn of the key. She sat and waited until the pick-up truck drove down one of the empty side streets before she put her own it in drive and pulled away. Mind you, she kept a close eye on her rear-view mirror. Just in case.

There were no street lights on the road into Hallowell. Mercy kept switching her gaze from the road ahead, to the rear-view mirror. Last think she wanted was to be alone on a stretch of highway with Clyde and his cronies behind her. She was so caught up with what might be going on behind her that she almost missed the turn off to the Macintyre’s home.

The driveway was better lit than the road with several replica gas-lamps lining the driveway up to the house. Mercy pulled up to the huge two-story Victorian home and let out a deep breath. She was beginning to feel better about being her and her anger with Thomas was just about gone. At least she was off the road.

New Cover Art for the New Year!

Ah, the start of a new month, a new year and new cover art! Welcome the new cover for the second book in my paranormal series, UNDER THE COVER OF WICCA.

 Here is an excerpt. For a special treat, those of you who receive my newsletter will be getting a second excerpt. A hint of things to come? In the meantime, enjoy and Happy New Year!

~~~~

Martin opened the door and walked in. The office was quiet and from the looks of a thin layer of dust on Barb’s desk, no one had been there in some time. The room felt cool and the silence sent a shiver up his spine. He walked back out into the hall and headed for Daniel’s lab. Maybe everyone was gathered in there? He turned the knob on the second wooden door and poked his head inside.

“Hello, anybody home?”

“Good morning, Mr. Cunningham.”

Martin jumped as Jezryall’s sultry voice came from behind him. “Shit! I didn’t see you in the hall!”

“My apologies,” A playful smile lit up her face. “Barbara informs me frequently that I am too quiet in my approach.” She tilted her head to one side. “I suppose that is something I should work on.”

She was standing way too close to him again and the weight of her gaze made him feel self-conscious. Those eyes were too inviting, and he forced himself to look away.

“Maybe you could wear a bell or something,” he murmured, uncomfortable with her closeness. “You know, something small so we know when you’re coming.”

Jezryall nodded. “I will take that under advisement. Now, if you will follow me.”

He watched her walk away. Her long silk dress swayed rhythmically with each graceful step. They walked past the desk and continued down the hall. The dim light from the drippy candles did little to light the corridor. Martin wondered if maybe, like everything else, there was a reason for this too.

 “I am impressed you arrived so quickly,” she said, as Martin shuffled behind.

“Well considering I haven’t spoken to anyone since the ride back here from the Embassy, I figured I’d better jump down here right away.”

They came to a second corridor and Jezryall turned left and continued. Sunlight from a large window at the end of the hall, brightened up the corridor.

“Yes, I am sorry about that, but I thought it would be better if you had some time to yourself. To let you digest the events of that day.”

Martin smiled. “Thanks. I have to admit, I did need some time to wrap my brain around that whole zombie-killer worm thing.”

“That is only natural.”

Martin eyed several doors along the corridor. A strange noise caught his attention from the door closest to him.

“What’s behind these doors?” he asked.

Jezryall paused for a moment. “Private places.”

Well, there went his notion that he’d start getting a straight answer. A stray thought popped into his mind and he looked wearily at one of the doors.

“Is that creature behind one of them?”

Jezryall stopped and faced him. “Creature?”

“Yeah, that Brosnie.” He reached up and placed his hand on the door. There was something about the way the wood looked. The pattern in the grain seemed familiar…

Jezryall stepped next to the doorframe, glancing first at the door, then at him. “No, we have him someplace safe below the building.” She reached out and lifted his hand off the door. “Daniel is thinking of keeping it as a pet.”

Martin gave his head a quick shake. “You’re kidding.”

“No. He’s become quite fond of it, actually. Seems to think he and the Brosnie have something in common.”

Jezryall turned and continued on down another corridor.

“You know, I don’t know him that well, but somehow, that doesn’t surprise me.”

Martin ran to catch up. He found her waiting by a stone staircase.

                “Wow,” he chuckled. “This place certainly does have its twists and turns.”

Jezryall smiled. “There is much more to Terin Global than what you see on the outside.”

She turned and walked up the stairs.

“Yeah,” Martin whispered. “I’m beginning to see that.”

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