Summer Lovin’ Blog H-0-p and Release Day by Mae Clair

SummerLovinBlogHopWelcome to the Summer Lovin’ Blog Hop! Over fifty authors and bloggers have joined together to give you the chance to win an awesome bundle of books as well as read some great posts. Be sure to visit each blog in the hop and comment with your email to increase your chances of winning. Each comment counts as an entry! Our lovely bloggers are also offering individual prizes so be sure to check them out.

So what is it about summer you love best?  The extra-long nights, fun-filled vacations, poolside lounging, or something else entirely? Maybe it’s indulging in summery foods like sweet corn, watermelon, soft ice cream or fresh strawberry pie. It could be ditching your shoes in favor of sandals or flip-flops, relaxing with a good beach read or finding the perfect picnic spot. Summer brings fireflies, fragrant white jasmine, sun-ripened berries, and the magical embrace of a poet’s twilight.

I love all of those things, but this summer I can add something new to the list.

August 5th marks the official release of TWELFTH SUN, my romantic mystery pairing an older woman with a younger man. I set the story in early June at a lavish seaside mansion in a small coastal town. Summer is my favorite season and the eastern seaboard of the U.S. is like a second home to me. What better time and place to have my hero and heroine match wits with an oddball assortment of characters as they compete in the treasure hunt for a 19th century marine artifact? Of course, there’s also the issue of their attraction to one another and the ten year age gap between them, but that was part of the fun in writing the story! 🙂

If you enjoy romance and mystery with an older woman and younger man, I hope you’ll give TWELFTH SUN a try.

twelfthsunwidgetTWELFTH SUN BLURB:
The hunky young PhD knows all about seduction, but what does he know about love?

Reagan Cassidy is settled in her life. She has a thriving interior design firm, an upscale condo, two cats, and a goldfish. As a favor to her uncle, she agrees to team up with his marine archeologist friend to validate and retrieve a nineteenth-century journal, reputedly that of a passenger aboard the doomed schooner Twelfth Sun. Finding a hunky twenty-five-year-old coming out of the shower in her hotel room wasn’t part of the deal, but it’s hard to complain…

Dr. Elijah Cross is cocky and he knows it. He enjoys trading barbs with the lovely Reagan. Barbs, and some innuendo. He can tell she’d rather get back home to her business than stick around for the extended treasure hunt they’ve been talked into, but he’s fine with the situation. At least, until the “clues” start getting personal.

Reagan finds Dr. Gorgeous is as skilled in matters of the heart as he is behind the lectern. Throw in a series of clues which mean more to Elijah than he’ll explain, several odd-ball competitors out to win the journal, a saboteur, and a lavish seaside mansion, and Reagan has enough trouble keeping her head straight, let alone her heart.

WARNING: Younger man, older woman, nautical riddles and romance.

Purchase TWELFTH SUN from:
Amazon 
Barnes and Noble 
Kobo 
iBooks

To celebrate all things summer and my new release, I’ll be awarding a $5.00 gift card to Amazon to one lucky commenter. Just tell me what you love best about summer and be sure to include your email address with your answer. The winner will be announced Friday on my blog.

The fun isn’t over! Be sure to check out all of the other authors and bloggers participating in the hop by clicking the cute linky critter below!

SummerLovinPrizePic

Wizards with Words: Julia Gabriel and Falling for the Prodigal Son

bigstock-magic-book-9719930I’m interview happy this week…and happy to interview authors! 😀 Please say hello to today’s Wizard with Words, Julia Gabriel. I initially connected with Julia on Twitter, was drawn in by her book cover for FALLING FOR THE PRODIGAL SON, then fell in love with the breezy romance. Once I’d finished gobbling it up, I asked Julia to be a guest on my blog.  Let’s get to know her!

~ooOOoo~

Julia, please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

Well, I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid (back then, I illustrated them too!). My mom was an avid reader, and she passed on her love of books (and romance books) to me. I eventually got a master’s degree in creative writing and now teach business and creative writing at a university in Connecticut. I grew up in south-central Pennsylvania but since then, I’ve lived all over the Washington DC area, in San Francisco and now in New England. I write romance books and literary short stories because I love both.

I’m a Keystoner myself, and I love New England. I can look back and say my passion for reading was a gift from my parents too. You’ve definitely lived in some wonderful places! 

Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you?

I’m definitely someone who invests a lot of time in polishing as I go. I’m a slow and careful writer. I love words and sentences so I enjoy the process of just writing sentences. I might be better off if I wrote faster drafts, but that would take away a lot of what I enjoy most about writing.

It sounds like you have a system that works well for you. I’m a polisher too. When it comes to nuts and bolts, which do you develop first, characters or plot?

I usually start with characters in a certain situation. With Falling for the Prodigal Son, my initial idea was “What happens when your new boss was your teenage crush?” Sometimes—like with my current work in progress—the initial situation gets jettisoned because it no longer fits with the way the story is developing. I just had to toss about a hundred pages of that story because the initial situation wasn’t the best way to tell the story.

Wow! That must have been a hard decision to make. I applaud for doing what worked best for the story. Which do you find easier to write and why—description or dialogue?

I find dialogue really easy to write. I think maybe that’s because I am a quiet person by nature—more of a listener than a speaker so I pay close attention to how people talk.

Sounds like me, although sometimes I do get yackity 🙂 Let’s talk about your book, FALLING FOR THE PRODIGAL SON. Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?

17557962

Isn’t this cover GORGEOUS?!?!?

I had the most fun with Sterling Matthew. I always had this image of a little boy hiding behind a tree, watching other kids having fun and not being able to join in. I had to make him confront that little boy at some point. I also had fun writing Lucy’s mom. She was a bit character in the story but she turned out to have quite a personality.

You definitely achieved what you set out to do with Sterling. That image of the little boy hiding behind the tree really hit home for me. What was your favorite scene?

My favorite scene in Falling for the Prodigal Son is definitely the one where Lucy and Sterling are in Muir Woods in northern California (the redwood forest). It’s the scene where they finally confront each other as two people with a history together, and not only as boss and employee. It’s also the first kiss scene! I think the first kiss is my favorite scene in every book (not just mine).

I LOVE first kiss scenes. Great choice! Tell us about the setting for the book (I drooled all over it, LOL).

Falling for the Prodigal Son is set on the eastern shore of Maryland, an area I know well and love. I’ve spent a lot of time kayaking in the area. St. Caroline is loosely based on the real town of St. Michael’s, a sailing mecca and a place where many wealthy people from Washington, DC, own summer homes. I liked the contrast between the wealthy people who vacation there and a summer camp for disadvantaged kids.

Interesting you should say that. The Maryland coast is like a second home to me, and the entire time I was reading FALLING FOR THE PRODIGAL SON, I kept picturing St. Michael’s. It’s a great town!

Share one sentence from the book you love:

“Well, maybe I’m only half sorry. But I’m not going to tell you which half.”

That’s a great line! 🙂  And now, switching gears a bit, when you’re not writing (or reading) what do you do to unwind?

Well, when I’m not writing or reading, I’m usually sitting at my son’s taekwondo practices, grading papers. When I have time, I like to hike and kayak. I also quilt, which I’ve found is a great activity for plotting books. When you hand-quilt, you have to focus on what you’re doing but you don’t really have to think about it. That combination of a focused mind but nothing to think about has given me tons of great plot ideas!

A perfect time to entertain plots and characters! And speaking of plots and characters, share a book that had a profound effect on you and tell us why.

Alice Munro’s “Selected Stories.” She writes literary short stories that have the scope of novels, and her wisdom and insight into the lives of women is breathtaking. Sadly, she recently announced that, at 82, she is done writing.

Oh! It does sound like she’s left a wonderful legacy for readers. And good for her that she kept it up until 82 years of age. What a remarkable author!

Now for some quick personal preference questions: 

Dream vacation: A summer to just travel around Europe
Favorite season: Definitely autumn
Food you never grow tired of: Pizza
Owl or lark: Owl
Mountains or beach: Mountains

Autumn in Connecticut must be beautiful!

Julia, thank you so much for being my guest today. It was a pleasure to have you and I’m delighted to share FALLING FOR THE PRODIGAL SON with my readers. I wish you continued success and am so glad we hooked up on Twitter! 🙂

Look for Julia at the following Haunts:

Web
Blog
Twitter
: @authorjulia
Facebook
Goodreads

Purchase Falling for the Prodigal Son from Amazon

Blurb:
What could be more embarrassing than having slept with your boss … when you both were teenagers?

All Sterling Matthew wants is to get his family’s inn back on sound financial footing—and then leave sleepy St. Caroline for good. He expected the inn’s staff to resist the business changes he has to make. What he didn’t expect was to find skinny, gawky Lucy Wyndham all grown up.

For years, Lucy wondered whether she’d ever catch another glimpse of the tall, quiet boy she’d crushed on at the Chesapeake Inn’s summer camp. Now he’s her boss—and determined to get rid of the camp to improve the inn’s bottom line. But Lucy is just as determined to save the camp, even if the price is her job … and her heart.

Bio: Julia Gabriel is the author of Cupcakes & Chardonnay, Falling for the Prodigal Son, and Feral. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing and is on the faculty of the Writing Department at a university in New England.

An Early Delivery: Twelfth Sun is Now Available, by Mae Clair

Hello friends! In case you’re wondering why there are no beasties, wandering phantoms or legendary creatures in this post, Mythical Monday has been usurped temporarily. I had a post all set to go on the Mary Celeste, and then stumbled over an unexpected delivery: TWELFTH SUN arrived early!

The end of last week, my new contemporary romance/mystery popped up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, and will be available for purchase on iBooks this Thursday. I was in a quandary if I should wait to announce it and ride the August release wave I had planned, or giddily jump up and down (okay, I did that part) and blab about it early.

I decided to blab. 🙂

Several people have told me they’ve already purchased it, and are reading the book, so it seemed silly to hold off and not scream the news from the rooftops (which, by the way I’m terrified of heights, but mentally clambered up there with a bullhorn).

So rather than telling the tale of the Mary Celeste as I had planned (I’m saving that for later), I’m here to share my good news with you! If you’re intrigued by an older woman/younger man romance, like mystery interwoven with your romantic fun, and enjoy the idea of a treasure hunt, please give TWELFTH SUN a try! I’ll be kicking off a two-month blog tour beginning in August, but in the meantime, I’m doing the happy dance over the release of my second book! I’m now a multi-published author.

Wow! That’s still sinking in! 🙂

twelfthsuncoverTWELFTH SUN blurb:
The hunky young PhD knows all about seduction, but what does he know about love?

Reagan Cassidy is settled in her life. She has a thriving interior design firm, an upscale condo, two cats, and a goldfish. As a favor to her uncle, she agrees to team up with his marine archeologist friend to validate and retrieve a nineteenth-century journal, reputedly that of a passenger aboard the doomed schooner Twelfth Sun. Finding a hunky twenty-five-year-old coming out of the shower in her hotel room wasn’t part of the deal, but it’s hard to complain…

Dr. Elijah Cross is cocky and he knows it. He enjoys trading barbs with the lovely Reagan. Barbs, and some innuendo. He can tell she’d rather get back home to her business than stick around for the extended treasure hunt they’ve been talked into, but he’s fine with the situation. At least, until the “clues” start getting personal.

Reagan finds Dr. Gorgeous is as skilled in matters of the heart as he is behind the lectern. Throw in a series of clues which mean more to Elijah than he’ll explain, several odd-ball competitors out to win the journal, a saboteur, and a lavish seaside mansion, and Reagan has enough trouble keeping her head straight, let alone her heart.

WARNING: Younger man, older woman, nautical riddles and romance.

Purchase From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBooks

Wizards with Words: Mary E. Merrell and Soul in Present Condition #G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

bigstock-magic-book-9719930Welcome to another Wizards with Words interview — With a fab giveaway!

Stay tuned for the deets later in this post. For now I’d like to introduce Mary E. Merrell who will be sharing her latest release in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery series. 

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’m a real estate girl (have been since 1988) and am pretty gone on all things strange and weird. Sounds like a good fit for this series, right? (I’ve been in a few vacant spooky houses in the course of my career).

I’m already invested in book one of Mary’s intriguing series and am looking forward to reading all three. Please say hello to Mary!

~ooOOoo~

Mary, Please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.  

I’ve been writing for over ten years now. I was a stay at home mom with two sons and I told myself a lot of stories while I cleaned and did mom stuff. About the time I went into real estate, we got our first computer and I attempted to put one of those stories down. It was a lot harder than I expected, but I was hooked. I took some writing classes and joined a writer’s group. I loved it! Then I went into that vacant home, and a compelling story about a newbie real estate agent and a ghost developed. When I’m not writing, I love to grow things, and my husband and I have a small business making vertical frames for succulents. I try to exercise consistently, (ha, good one) and I love reading and playing soccer. Almost time to retire from soccer…again. My team calls me Brett Favre.

You sound extremely busy! When you do find time to write, do you have a favorite place and/or time of day for flexing your creative muscles? (Sorry, couldn’t resist the exercise connection 🙂).

My favorite time to write is early in the morning. I love to get up, feed the animals and get a cup of coffee and write away, but if I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, the dogs and I go for a run first. I should be doing my crunches and pushups too, but lately I’ve been shirking. Just ask my pants. I write in the office. Usually surrounded by the dogs and cats.

Pets make a perfect patient audience when writing. And I can so relate to the exercise guilt. If it weren’t for my pool routine, I’d be woefully behind. Going back to your writing habits, when it comes to being a plotter vs. panster, I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely? series-lineup I just recently read this term, panster on a blog. I have to say I am definitely a panster, if it means writing by the seat of your pants. (Just figured that out as I was typing) My current release, Soul in Present Condition is completely different from the original draft. I changed the killer, had to add new chapters and delete others. As I really think about this, most of my final drafts probably resemble only 50% of the original concept.

I can most certainly relate to that, being a dyed-in-the-wool panster for many years running. Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you? 

I like to write the book all a one time. Straight through. I’ve written one book a year for the last four years for the NaNoWrimo, and this year, hopefully will be no different. Then the book sits until I can get back and revise it. This works well for me because I don’t do extensive plotting. I have a loose outline that I follow, but it could change drastically as I write. That does mean I have to go back and fill a lot of holes and flesh out the story threads and make sure everything is consistent when I revise. Sometimes, like Soul in Present Condition it hardly looks like the original book at all. front_v1

Speaking of Soul in Present Condition, please tell us a bit about it.

Soul in Present Condition is book #3 in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. This was a fun book to write. I changed it a lot, because I had a great idea for a twist. Rosemary Fernandes is a new real estate agent and her business is building, in spite of ghosts lurking in any home she might show. She knows how to deal with the lost souls that are drawn to her, how to help them move on.

Unfortunately, her gift attracts the undead as well. Now, Rosemary is human servant to a vampire. Marcus Lyons is…difficult but gorgeous. Rosemary doesn’t understand this strange relationship with the vampire, but the more she gets to know him the more human he seems, and the more she finds herself seeing the good in him.

When Rosemary meets a young ghost, all sarcastic and gangster, she has a plan, but this ghost keeps a secret, a deadly secret. Rosemary knows his soul will go on, even in its present condition, but she must convince the vampire that her destiny is helping the spirits that call to her, no matter how dangerous.

In this book, Rosemary’s relationship with her boyfriend, Frank Perez heats up. She realizes her friends and family are in danger just being around her. She wants to tell them her secret, but first she must get permission. As the ghost, the vampire and her friends come together to solve this latest mystery, the dynamics of her life change drastically and nothing will ever be the same.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I loved writing it.

It sounds fascinating! Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.

There are so many little things that I love. I know, I wrote it, but it still tickles me. But I think my favorite scene is with Rosemary and Frank, talking about what’s going to happen with their relationship. Is Frank going to stick around and work for the vampire Marcus Lyons or let the vampire wipe his memory, so he forgets everything, including Rosemary? It’s tender and heartwarming and ends with Rosemary and Frank making the most of a night alone.

I can see why it would be your favorite scene. How about sharing the first three sentences of your book?

I never take clients into a home I haven’t previewed. You never know what you’re going to stumble into. Like a ghost.

Love that! Now share one sentence – – yes, only one! – – of dialogue or description you love.

This isn’t really dialogue, well, internal dialogue then. It’s one of my favorites. “This feud they had with Marcus was going to be the death of me, because if dying of embarrassment was possible, I’d already be a corpse.”

LOL! Very nice! Poor Rosemary. And now for a bit about Mary. When  you’re not writing (or reading) what do you do to unwind?

I do a lot of gardening. Love growing things, and I run and play soccer.

I know you mentioned your pets before. Pets and writers seem to go together like peas in a pod. Tell us about yours and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space. 

I have two dogs and four…I mean five cats. A kitten got into our backyard a couple weeks ago, which is not all that easy since we have a cat fence to keep our cats in and stray cats out. He’s so little he slipped through the lattice in the cat area. I think he’s one of the gang now. In fact, he’s sleeping on the couch next to me. Having trouble naming him. My niece named him Fisher, but my husband doesn’t like it. Well, it’s better than boots. (He has white feet. So cliché.) The cats usually sleep in the office while I’m writing and usually one or another is on the desk vying for my attention. The young dog Lily is always trying to put a toy in my hand so I’ll play tug-o-war, and Charlie (The older female dog, my husband named.) barks at me to chase her. Sometimes I do…

Oh, I love pets. Especially cats! They all sound adorable. And for what it’s worth, I like the name Fisher for the little one. 🙂 Now I have a couple quick questions about fun stuff!

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: I would like a staycation, where I can be home, but nobody knows I’m there, and I don’t have to do anything like housework, cooking, or yardwork, unless I want to. Just me and the animals. Maybe my sisters too.  So they can do the cooking. Hee, hee. I can write until I’m tired of it. Then maybe I’ll read a little too. Or watch stupid TV shows like Big Bang Theory or musicals. Whatever silly movie I’m in the mood for.

Favorite time of day:  Morning

Favorite color:  Yellow

Food you never grow tired of:  Chocolate and coffee together.

I just had a very relaxing staycation with hubby. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any writing, LOL. And you know, I think you’re the first person who’s answered yellow to the color question. It’s so cheerful and summery. That was always my mother’s favorite color and the thought of it makes me smile.

~ooOOoo~

Blurb Soul in Present Condition
Divorced. Check. Ghost Whisperer. Check. Human Servant. Check. Great. Check. Real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes never expected to inherit the ability to communicate with spirits, and she certainly didn’t expect her gift to attract the undead as well. Now Rosemary finds herself ghost whisperer to the lost souls stuck at their haunts and human servant to a gorgeous but aloof vampire Marcus Lyons. Benito Cruz died with a dangerous secret, a secret that connects the ghost to Rosemary. Can Rosemary send the spirit to his final resting place before his past catches up with them, and can she convince the vampire helping spirits like Benito is her destiny? 

Add SOUL IN PRESENT CONDITION to your Goodreads list here!

member_817010[1]Author Bio
Mary E. Merrell writes Paranormal Mysteries and Young Adult Urban Fantasy. She has worked many jobs, but always had stories in her head. It wasn’t until she went into real estate and walked into that old, vacant home that The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series came to life. Fortunately, nothing spooky happened at the furniture store, or the first book could have been, “The Haunted Sofa.”

Mary E. Merrell’s plots are smooth and slightly dark, and her characters sinfully sweet. Try a little guilty pleasure with House Haunting, the first book in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. One reviewer called it “A good start to a new series.”

Mary E. Merrell lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, two dogs, and five cats. She has two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she’s gardening or playing soccer. Please visit her website to see what she’s working on next at www.maryemerrell.com.

You can find Mary at the following haunts:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Available Now/Buy Links:
House Haunting
Curve Appeal 

And now for that giveaway I mentioned at the start of this post. To celebrate the release of SOUL IN PRESENT CONDITION, Mary is giving away two prizes. One lucky person who comments will win a $10 gift card to Amazon and another will win ebook copies of Mary’s first two books in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series (House Haunting and Curve Appeal). So be sure to share your thoughts, say hello, and include your email.  Mary would love to hear from you!

Winners will be announced tomorrow!

Wizards with Words: Jessi Gage with Road Rage

bigstock-magic-book-9719930I’m pleased to welcome another Wizard with Words today, my friend Jessi Gage who has just released her contemporary/paranormal romance, ROAD RAGE. This is an awesome story that deserves every one of the five stars I gave it on Amazon. Check out the fantastic blurb, and then dive into our interview to learn more about this wizardy writer and what makes her tick.

BLURB for ROAD RAGE
He has anger issues and she has amnesia, but together they have amazing chemistry.

Lashing out in anger, construction worker Derek causes an accident on the freeway. His truck escapes unscathed, but he can’t say the same for his conscience. Plagued by nightmares of the wreck, his only comfort comes in the form of nightly visits by a mysterious woman who interrupts his dreams with sensual caresses and words of solace.

Cami has no idea who she is, until she wakes in a hospital bed and learns she’s been comatose due to a car wreck. Her visits with Derek must have been a dream, so why can’t she shake the feeling he was a real man who truly needed her help?

When Derek learns his mystery woman is none other than the driver of the car he cut off and she is fighting for her life, he must decide: Is he man enough to face her and ask forgiveness, or will he run away and avoid the consequences of his anger, yet again?

CONTENT WARNING: Sex with a perfect, imaginary dream girl who really isn’t imaginary

A Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance

Jessi, I’m glad to have you here today. To begin, please share a little about yourself and how you developed a passion for writing.

Jessi: Thanks for having me, Mae! Your passion for writing definitely comes through in your blog. I love your Mythical Mondays, especially when they give me goosebumps!

My passion for writing started when I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now almost 4. I was 3 years deep in a PhD program. While conducting research was fun and fulfilling, it was clear to me I wasn’t cut out to be the intellectual engine driving the research, which is what earning a PhD is all about. I found myself struggling to focus on my general exams. My brain kept wanting to go to the story I had been writing for a few months, which was quickly turning into a novel. Looking back, I can see what a train wreck of a novel it was, LOL, but back then, I thought I had the potential to be the next Stephen King. I mean I read his book ON WRITING so I should be able to write as well as him, right? LOL!

After a mental and emotional battle with myself over quitting the PhD program, I finally gave myself permission to step back from a career that wasn’t a good choice for me. Once I did that, I was able to focus without guilt on improving my writing skills. Six books and 4 years later, I landed my first publishing contract with Lyrical Press, and I’m so thrilled I get to stay home with my kids now and write during those precious few downtimes I get throughout the day.

That is certainly an interesting path to writing! It sounds like you are more than happy and fulfilled by your choice. And now for ROAD RAGE…I believe I finished the book in two days, it was that addictive. Your hero Derek Summers has a problem with anger management which is unusual for the hero of a romance novel. What made you decide to give Derek such an aggressive personality trait?

Jessi: All good heroes have areas in which they are imperfect. Some common examples include extreme protective instincts (read alpha male), workaholic, commitment-phobe, jock who gives more of his heart to his sport than the women in his life, and on and on. Many of the imperfections have plus sides that turn us romance addicts on. The uber-protective male has the dominance needed to win the heart of the woman who doesn’t trust easily. The workaholic has the determination needed to work through relationship challenges. The commitment-phobe can share his free-spirited nature with the repressed heroine, etc.

roadrageI looked at anger, an ugly imperfection if ever there was one, and thought about the flip side. What makes a character angry? Is there ever a justification for anger? How could a heroine help a hero work through his anger? Can anger ever be sexy? Romantic? Answering those questions I learned who Derek was and why his story absolutely had to be told.

I enjoyed reading a different type of romance hero. Cami, by contrast to Derek, is a people-pleaser. She has some emotional baggage which defines her personality and – interesting twist – is terrified of driving on the interstate due to an event from her teen years. I have to admit I prefer taking back roads to the freeway any day, but Cami’s aversion is obsessive. What prompted you to come up with such a unique disorder?

Jessi: Um. I started writing ROAD RAGE soon after I was in an accident on the freeway. Fortunately, the accident wasn’t serious, but my daughter had been in the car with me, and I got to thinking about how much worse it could have been. I was a bit gun shy about driving on the freeway after that, especially merging at high speeds, which is how the accident happened. I’m also a bit of a people pleaser, though the older I get the less I care what others think of me. So Cami is an extension of myself. She’s definitely a people pleaser with some baggage, but her flipside is that she’s compassionate enough to look past Derek’s anger and see the man hurting deep beneath that prickly veneer.

I’m glad the accident wasn’t serious, but I can certainly understand how and why that would shake you up!

There’s also a paranormal element to ROAD RAGE which allows the book to work on multiple levels. Without giving too much away, part of Cami and Derek’s connection is related to a dream state (during which a lot of sexy shenanigans take place 🙂 ). Both Cami and Derek behave differently than they do in the waking world, almost direct parallels of their flesh and blood selves. Intentional?

Jessi: Cami’s excuse for acting different (freer, less cautious) is that she has no memory of who she is or what she’s doing in Derek’s room during the night-time hours. Derek’s excuse is he believes he’s dreaming and that Cami is his very own personal dream girl. They both get a chance to let down their walls and let the other in. Then, when Cami wakes from her coma and no longer appears to Derek at night, they realize what they gained from each other and realize how their lives need to change. So, yeah, intentional. The paranormal aspect serves as a mirror to show the characters what they could have if they change.

Let’s talk about research. I was amazed by the amount you must have done in relation to several plot points in the book – motor vehicle law and, especially, ICU procedure and medical care for head trauma patients. Did you use mostly online sources for your research?

Jessi: I have a private investigator (PI) friend who met with me over several cups of coffee to talk about road rage laws and consequences. In fact, the police lieutenant I wrote into the book is based on this friend. He was a dear and even found California-specific laws and procedures, so I could make Derek’s consequences as realistic as possible. For the medical aspects, I drew on some of my training in speech and hearing sciences. I was fortunate enough as an audiologist to work in hospitals with people who had suffered injuries like Cami’s.

Do you have a favorite scene in the novel? 

Jessi: The first sex scene. The sex scenes are always my favorites!

LOL! From start to finish, how long did it take you to write ROAD RAGE?

Jessi: It started as a 20,000 word novella that I wrote in a few weeks. I submitted it to agents and had my absolute top choice for an agent reject it but say, if this were longer and the characters more developed, it would be great. So I took her advice and turned it into a 78,000 word novel. By that time, I had found a wonderful publishing home at Lyrical, so I never resubmitted to the agent, but I’ll be forever grateful to her for the encouragement.

When you’re developing a novel, do you have a system you follow? Are you a plotter, panster, or somewhere in between?

Jessi: I’m a pantser who loves worksheets. I don’t outline per se, but at the start of each scene I make notes about whose pov the scene is in, what their goal is (characters MUST have a goal in every scene or there can be no genuine conflict), what gets in the way of that goal, what action takes place in the scene, and how the scene ends so the reader MUST keep reading (hook). The tops of my scenes look like this:

POV:

GOAL:

WGW:

ACTION:

HOOK:

If I take a few minutes to fill that information in, I can usually write the scene pretty quickly. By now it’s such a habit that I can hold the information in my mental queue. I still write it all out though, if I’m struggling with a particular scene. It really helps me.

Great process! Do you have any projects in the works you’d like to tell us about?

Jessi: I’m writing the second novel in my Highland Wishes series that started with WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER (Lyrical Press, January 2013). THE WOLF AND THE HIGHLANDER tells the story of Anya, the villainess in book 1. It’s this close to being done *fingers almost touching*. When I write the end, I’ll start on a novella that will be a prequel to the series (Constance and Wilhelm’s story).

ROAD RAGE is a contemporary departure from my Highland time-travels. I have another contemporary, JADE’S SPIRIT that I plan on publishing next year, but first, I need to wrap up Highland Wishes book 2.

Okay, rapid-fire round time:  

Favorite day of the week: Wednesday (This is the day I always have the most time to write)

Favorite food: cupcakes

Favorite color: blue

Favorite music group/band: Third Day

Favorite animal: horse

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: One week alone with my laptop in an Alaskan cabin with Wi-Fi

If I couldn’t be a writer, I’d want to be: an audiologist

Thanks, Jessi. It was fun having you here today (and that Alaskan cabin sounds divine!). I wish you much success with ROAD RAGE!

Thanks for having me, Mae! I loved your questions, and I’m so glad you liked ROAD RAGE!

zz_Jessi Gage headshot2AUTHOR BIO
Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. In addition to writing paranormal romance, she’s a wife, a mom, an audiologist, a church-goer, a Ford driver, a PC user, and a coffee snob. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good triumphs over evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.

Jessi Gage is also the author of WISHING FOR A HIGLANDER

Look for Jessi at the following haunts:
Website | Blog | Facebook Fan Page | Twitter | Goodreads

ROAD RAGE BUY LINKS
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Lyrical Press

A Pen Pal Welcome to Christina Cole

bigstock-Stacks-of-old-letters-on-woode-43415203I’m pleased to have guest blogger Christina Cole here today. Christina and I connected after I read her novel, HAPPILY EVER AFTER. How can you resist a title like that? Well, I couldn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t. Immediately after reading it, I contacted Christina and invited her to guest on my blog. She has a new release coming up in August called SUMMERTIME, so the “timing” was perfect.

Please welcome author Christina Cole as she takes control of my pen for the day! 🙂

~ooOOoo~

Summertime is  Coming!

Here in the midwest — I live in Missouri — it’s been a long and bitterly cold winter. I don’t like snow and ice, and unfortunately we had not inches of the cold stuff, but FEET of it this year.

We struggled through a horrible blizzard in December. Unfortunately I was away from home when it hit, and I had to drive forty miles in it. Truly, it was one of the worst experiences of my life. Visibility was no more than a foot, and I was gripping the steering wheel so tight my knuckles were whiter than the huge flakes coming down. As soon as I reached home, I burst into tears and collapsed in my husband’s arms, so shaken up I couldn’t do anything but cry. I cried for hours afterward. To say it was a nerve-wracking experience would be quite an understatement.

Then, in February, two more blizzards hit. When the first one came, we were both safely home, warm and cozy. We weren’t so lucky a few days later when the next one came. Yes, we knew bad weather was on the way, but due to a family emergency we had no choice but to get out, head for the hospital, and pray we’d be able to make it back home later. We did…but barely. We had to “abandon ship” — well, abandon vehicle — about a block from the house. Two days later, we finally got the car shoveled out and safely home again.

We went through another blast of winter the following week. Things got better for a little while…just an inch or two of snow, here and there, now and then. Lots of frigid temperatures though. Oh, how I looked forward to March and the arrival of spring!

March came…but spring didn’t. The snow and ice and cold lingered on, right into April. We had several inches more snow toward mid-month, and winter wasn’t over yet. Although we did have a few warm, sunny days at the first of May, incredibly, the snow returned for one final wintry blast.

Yep. Snow. The month of May. Even though I’ve lived my entire life in the midwest and have seen a lot of weather extremes, I couldn’t wrap my brain around those words — together. For the record, yes, it has snowed here in May before. The weathermen quickly dug through the archives and informed us all that snow had fallen in Missouri in May of 1935.

Was winter finished with us then? Almost…but not quite. On Mother’s Day, it didn’t snow, but it did frost. Temperatures fell down to the upper 20s Farenheit.

Brrrr! What a long and miserable winter it was!

Throughout those long, cold, snowy days, I kept my thoughts focused on summertime. I imagined hot days with the sun burning down upon the earth.  I thought of brightly-colored sunflowers dancing in the breeze. I dreamed of fragrant summer nights with moonlight and stars, and I conjured up images of lush green fields, azure skies, and sunlight rippling over the surface of a lake.

All of these fanciful bits and pieces came together in my writing as I told a tale of love. Summertime became a season of  hopes and dreams, a season of passion. Could it also be a season of forgiveness?

Here’s a quick little peek at the story of
SUMMERTIME 
coming in August from
Secret Cravings Pubishing

Linn Sparks wanted all life had to offer. Fame, fortune, glamour and excitement. She found it as a star of the stage at the Crown Theater in San Francisco.

For Ed Ferguson, life was far less complicated. All he wanted was Linnie Mae, but she’d left him standing alone at the altar seven years before when she’d run off to pursue her dreams.

Now, it’s 1914, war is breaking out in Europe, and Linn Sparks has come home to Brookfield, Kansas.

But coming back means facing a lot of unpleasant realities: a strained relationship with a father who never wanted her,  a mother whose grasp on sanity is slipping away, and the feelings she still has for the love she left behind.

Ed still wants Linnie Mae, but he knows she won’t stay. How can he spend the summer being near her and not get his heart broken again?

Between them, passions flare in the heat of SUMMERTIME.

~~~~

For more on Christina’s historical romances, please visit her at

Time for Love  
Facebook: Christina Cole 
Twitter: @KCChristinaCole

Wizards with Words: Jane Wakely and Christina’s Bear

bigstock-magic-book-9719930It’s an exciting Tuesday, when I can introduce a new Wizards with Words author. Jane Wakely has visited my blog before, but this is the first I’ve had an opportunity to interview her. She’s here today with her new paranormal/shifter romance, CHRISTINA’S BEAR. And you know how I love the paranormal/shifter stuff, right? Sit back and enjoy!

~ooOOoo~

Let’s start with what first attracted you to writing. When did you realize it was something you wanted to do?

When I look back, I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t writing (except for my almost twenty year break as an adult—and even then I was still creating in my head!) I’ve always enjoyed writing and creating things with words and it’s what attracted me—and convinced me to come back! Early on, I knew I wanted to write, but as I got older I let fear and doubt force me to give up my dream. Luckily, one day I jumped in with both feet and decided to try! 🙂

Good for you! As an author, you write in multiple romance genres and varying heat levels. Do you find it hard to switch between a paranormal and a contemporary, or a sweet romance and a sensual one?

I don’t find it hard to switch between genres. Usually when an idea comes to me, it’s very clear about which genre it belongs in and I go with it. Heat level is a bit different. I have one erotic short and one sweet one (the rest are in the middle.) I prefer to write sensual/spicy scenes, so both of those stories were a challenge—one because I had to add so much more than usual, the other because I had to take out so much! Usually my characters stay where I’m comfy and hang-out in the sensual/spicy zone, but if they pull me somewhere else, I go with it!

Please share the blurb for your current release.

CHRISTINA’S BEAR
Paranormal/Shifter Romance

Christina Mills’ loud, bubbly personality gains her numerous friends and dating opportunities. Unfortunately, being labeled a “party girl” and dating a lot can give people the wrong impression. When Christina’s dates learn the truth about her, they soon move on.

James “Bull” Johnson is a restless bear shifter ready to settle down. At the urging of his friend, he relocates to the mid-sized town of Chestnut Rock. Bull hopes the nearby forest and being near his best friend will help soothe his bear and cure some of his loneliness.

When Bull and Christina meet, he recognizes her as his mate. However, their first two encounters leave Bull thinking Christina is afraid of him and Christina is confused by her feelings toward the stranger. Both Bull and Christina have secrets and insecurities that keep them guarded, but if they can trust one another, they’ll discover they’re made for each other.

Without giving too much away, do you have a favorite scene in the novel?

I love, love, LOVE this couple so it’s really hard to pick a fave scene. I think I’m going to have to go with the Epilogue and all I can tell you is they live happily ever after! 😉

I love HEAs, so that’s good to know! How long does it usually take you to finish a manuscript?

I write novellas/shorts so if I really hustle I can finish a manuscript in two weeks, but it usually takes me three or four. Life usually gets in the way of my hustle! LOL

I hear that! When you start a new project do you usually begin with characters or plot first?

It depends on the story, but most of the time the plot comes first.

What is your next project on the horizon?

Right now I’m working on Book 6 in my Chestnut Rock Shifters Series. (CHRISTINA’S BEAR is book 2!) Next I’ll work on the final planned book, Book 7!

You are definitely busy! And now a few speed round questions:

Plotter or panster: Pantser with a few notes!

Favorite time of year: Fall/Winter

Favorite animal: Tiger

Favorite type of music: I listen to whatever TG (Teen Girl) plays for me! LOL

Favorite spot to write: I have an office, but when no one’s home I prefer the kitchen table!

A book you’ve read more than once: Annabelle’s Courtship by Lucy Monroe

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: I’d like to visit England, Ireland and Scotland!

They’re on my list too. Before we wrap things up today, is there any sage writing advice you’d like to share?

Patience is a virtue in this business! While you’re waiting, keep writing! 🙂

Well said!

Christina's Bear CoverExcerpt CHRISTINA’S BEAR
Christina Mills looked around the now half empty apartment and couldn’t help the sadness sweeping over her. She and Jenn lived here together for two years and now Jenn had been completely gone for two weeks. Christina knew they couldn’t live together forever, but she’d honestly thought it would be much longer before either one of them found the one.

Once Jenn and Matt had worked out their differences, Jenn’s belongings disappeared little by little until her friend finally admitted she was moving in with Matt. Christina was very happy for the two of them—and if she was honest, a little jealous. Not of Matt, of what Jenn found with Matt. Someone to love her unconditionally. Christina often wondered if she would ever find a perfect match.

Making friends was easy. Her height combined with her trim body and large breasts always gained the attention of men, but she’d kept most of them in the friend category. The ones that became boyfriends quickly tired of her bubbly—sometimes loud—personality. Looking for love resulted in dating often and had gained her the reputation of being a fun party girl. Unfortunately, many people made the mistake of thinking she was easy and slept around. Jenn was the only one who knew the truth and now Jenn was gone. Christina felt very alone.

Buy CHRISTINA’S BEAR from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
All Romance Ebooks

Author bio
Jane has always been a writer. Even when she took a break from it for a few years, she couldn’t keep the stories from filling her head. As an avid romance reader, she finally decided her stories needed to be free, and she started writing again.

Reading and liking all genres of romance; it makes sense that she would write that way too. Her stories range from sweet to erotic, contemporary to paranormal, and a bunch in-between. She loves all romance genres, and all levels of spice.

Jane lives on the east coast of the United States with her loving husband, daughter and their Miniature Dachshund.

Look for Jane at the following haunts:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter 
Goodreads 

Cover Reveal: Bachelor’s Special by Christine Warner

Have you heard? Christine Warner has a new novel releasing this month! I’m thrilled to be able to showcase it today. Check out the gorgeous cover and details below, including Christine’s giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card!

Bachelor's-Special-CW-1600

Title: Bachelor’s Special
Author: Christine Warner
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 2013
Imprint: Indulgence

Jill Adgate wants three things from life: a successful catering business, a family, and the love of an exceptional man. What she has is no job, a mounting pile of bills, and her outspoken best friend—who sets her up on a blind date with the man who inadvertently ruined Jill’s life.

Chet Castle is a businessman who has everything, except the ability to trust. Burned by a money-hungry fiancée, he refuses to get involved in any relationship that has a shelf life longer than a head of lettuce.

Intrigued by her ambition—and determined to get her in bed—Chet offers Jill the chance of a lifetime: work as his live-in chef and he’ll help her get her catering business off the ground. When sparks fly in the kitchen, Jill realizes what’s cooking is a recipe for disaster…

BUY LINKS
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Christine WarnerAuthor Bio
Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends. 

Besides laughing and a good round of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmitic.  A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities.  She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.

A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on facebook, twitter and her website at christine-warner.com.

My blog/website:  http://christine-warner.com/ 
Twitter under ChristinesWords: https://twitter.com/#!/ChristinesWords 
My Facebook page…stop by and give it a LIKE to stay up to date with the latest: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Warner/143430882396013 
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5763713.Christine_Warner 

I love to hear from readers and other authors 🙂

Click the Rafflecopter Link to enter a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card!

A Pen Pal Welcome to Author, Jennifer Lowery, by Mae Clair

bigstock-Stacks-of-old-letters-on-woode-43415203Today, I’m pleased to welcome Jennifer Lowery to my blog. Jennifer is one of my sister authors at Lyrical Press and has dropped by to tell us about her latest release, MURPHY’S LAW. So, sit back, grab your beverage of choice and enjoy as Jennifer takes control of my “pen” for the day!

~ooOOoo~

Hi Mae, and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! My contemporary romance, Murphy’s Law, released last month so I’m very excited to be here! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!! 

In honor of my release I am giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter so please leave me a comment with your EMAIL to be entered to win!!

When writing I think authors get into a zone. We forget everything around us when our muse is talking as our fingers fly over the keyboard and we rush to get those words out of our head. We block everything we have to do that day and week, sometimes even forget to take a bathroom break for fear of losing momentum.

This is a good thing, but can also lead to mistakes like misspelled words, grammar mishaps, things like that. Easily fixed, of course, but sometimes we writers make little blunders  that make you wonder just what you were thinking when you typed that! Was it a Freudian slip? An honest slip of your fingers on the keys?

Well, I’m here to share one of my bloopers with you during the writing of Murphy’s Law. I call it a blooper because it makes me laugh every time I read it. I hope you get a chuckle out of it too 🙂

Here is the correct sentence:

He had met Al, the owner, when he’d needed a winch for his SUV and knew he would use discretion.

Here is the sentence as I originally wrote it:

He had met Al, the owner, when he’d needed a wench for his SUV and knew he would use discretion.

Now, mind you, this manuscript got all the way to my editor before anyone caught the blooper! We’re talking six revisions myself! And I never saw it! And could the sentence be more perfect for this blunder, lol. Oh my gosh! What was I thinking!

So there you have it. Not sure what on earth I was thinking when I typed that or how I missed it in revisions, but there it is for you to chuckle over. I hope you enjoyed my blooper! And don’t worry, my fabulous editor at Lyrical caught it and we got quite a laugh out of it J Murphy won’t be picking up any wenches for his SUV!

Thank you for having me today, Mae !! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn’t be here. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 

All my best, 
Jennifer

~ooOOoo~

Murphy’s Law
Contemporary Romance 

Blurb:
Tag: Nowhere to go. No place to hide.

Home is the last place Jon Murphy can go. After being held captive in Tazbekistan, he returns to the States only to find he can’t face his mom and sisters with what he did while he was a prisoner, so he retreats to the mountains.

Widow Sara Sheldon has made a lifetime of mistakes and is now running scared from her husband’s powerful family, who are determined to take her daughter away from her. When her little girl goes missing in the Rockies, Sara enlists the only help she can find: a gruff recluse with tracking skills to admire and a body to covet.

A storm strands Sara and her daughter at Murphy’s cabin, leaving her no choice but to hope her in-laws don’t catch up while she plans where to run next. Murphy resents the invasion of his privacy, but can’t seem to keep his mind–or his hands–off Sara. How can she stand to look at him, with all his scars? He’s not nearly as honorable as she might think…only enough to make sure she’s safe, and then he’ll go back to being alone, the way he should be.

CONTENT WARNING: Sexual content
A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

MurphysLaw coverExcerpt:
Murphy sat at the kitchen table, half in the shadows created by the soft light glowing above the stove, hair tousled from sleep. Naked to the waist. A bottle of amber liquid sat in front of him, an empty glass in his hand. Her gaze landed on his muscled shoulders and trailed across his tanned chest. So much for getting him out of her mind. Now she had the real thing to dream about. Looking at the dark hairs that veed down his chest and disappeared behind the table, she decided he’d been right. He was a dangerous man.

She tore her gaze away from temptation and looked at the granite lines of his face. Beneath the hardness of his expression, something haunting lingered. Drawn, she circled the table to the opposite end.

Murphy met her eyes with coldness that should have sent her running for the safety of her room, but she remained standing in place. He wanted to chase her away. This time she wasn’t running.

“Mind if I join you?” She grabbed a glass and from the cupboard and reached over his shoulder for the bottle.

His hand snaked out and wrapped around hers, preventing her from pouring a drink.

“I mind,” he growled.

“Well, get over it. I need a drink.”

Scowling, he let go of her hand and allowed her to pour a glass for herself. She refilled his glass next, set the bottle on the table, moved to the chair beside him and sat, lifting her glass.

“Cheers.” She brought the glass to her lips. His gaze as she drained the glass made her fight the urge to cough as the fiery liquid burned its way down her throat. Seconds later she felt the familiar warming sensation as it numbed her insides. Her eyes filled with tears. She blinked them away and reached for the bottle.

Murphy held it away from her. “What are you doing?”

“Having a drink. I’m not in the mood for warm milk tonight.”

His eyes darkened and narrowed. “You don’t strike me as the drinking type.”

She wasn’t, but tonight it sounded good. Maybe it would soothe away her problems and make her forget how screwed-up her life was. Talking about Kent earlier had brought back painful memories. She didn’t want to feel that misery anymore.

“Maybe you don’t know my type,” she said.

He studied her closely for a moment before rubbing a hand over his face. “Go back to bed, Sara. Sleep it off.”

“I don’t want to sleep it off. I’m tired of thinking about it.”

Maybe it was the whisky, or his naked chest, or the part of her that had been dormant for six years coming back to life. More than anything she wanted to discover it with Murphy, her strong, scarred hero.

She rose to her feet. He watched warily as she stepped in front of him and positioned herself between him and the table. He leaned back in his chair and sent her a thunderous look.

“You and I are alike in many ways, Murphy,” she said softly. “We’ve both lost pieces of ourselves we can’t ever get back and it has forced us into a life of loneliness and solitude. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being alone.”

He pinned her with a hard glare. “I’m not what you want. Go back to your room before I do something we’ll both regret in the morning.”

His harshly spoken words sent little electrical shocks through her body.

“I’m tired of people telling me what I want.”

Jennifer Lowery Author picAuthor Bio:
Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer.  Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side. 

Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers.  She loves everything there is about romance.  Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines.  She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.  

Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.  When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. 

Find Jennifer at the following haunts:

Author Website   Facebook   Twitter   Romance Recipes

Buy Murphy’s Law:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Lyrical Press
iTunes

 

Book Spotlight: Blood Family: Quest for the Vampire Key by Mark Knight

I love reading in multiple genres. Right now I’m engrossed in book three of a fantasy trilogy. Prior to that I was mired in romance – – everything from contemporary to paranormal. I also love reading thrillers, mysteries, YA novels and even horror. That’s why when I heard about Mark Knight’s new release, I had to take part in promoting it!

Title: Blood Family: Quest for the Vampire Key
Author: Mark Knight
Genre: Dark Paranormal
Publisher: Amazon
Illustrator: David M. Rabbitte 
Release Date: April 7, 2013

bloodfamily-fullsize

BLURB:
Until the age of seventeen, Daniel Dark had no idea of his true origins. Something was ulcerating deep inside him, waiting to claw its way free. Pastor Nathan Dark and his wife, Annie, had adopted him and brought him up as their own. But Daniel always felt that there was a secret they feared tell him…

Everything changes the day a mysterious package arrives at his home. It contains blood – human blood. Daniel’s vampire half awakens and takes its first step out of the shadows. The once lazy, goalless youth transforms into sharp-sensed killer. Now, there is no turning back.

Many horrors await Daniel, for he not only can detect but also attract the living dead…

Daniel Dark will unlock the sinister netherworld where helpless humans are kept and bred for bloodletting, and where he will have to face the unutterable evil.

EXCERPT:
Daniel loved Sunday mornings. The folks had gone to Sunday Service of course, leaving Daniel with the entire house to himself.

Mom and Dad had given up trying to keep their son going to church. He hated the place, and made no bones about it. Considering all that his Dad had put him through in that building – the chanting, the laying on of hands, the constricting straps – they really couldn’t protest too much. So, they went to the church and Nathan gave his sermon and Annie helped with the communion, while Daniel sat in the living room at home blitzing out on a slew of Jackie Chan DVDs and cramming down junk food. Bliss.

After the Sunday roast (which even now was sizzling in its own juices in the oven, sending mouth-watering aromas into the living room) Daniel would have a catnap in his room, and then would get ready for an evening out with his cronies. He still hadn’t phoned his girl to see if she wanted to come. Maybe I should just hang loose for a while, he pondered. Daelin can call me for a change.

Yeah, like that would happen.

Impatience would win. Daniel would make the call.

The doorbell rang. Hoisting himself up from the couch, he ambled over to the front door, surprised that there was a caller on a Sunday morning.

Shit, he thought, I’m just in boxers! He shrugged inwardly. Whatever. They’ll have to take me as I am.

He got a fleeting glimpse of the caller through the slim stained glass window that bisected the door. If he had looked a few seconds longer he might have thought twice about opening up at all – but he’d already turned the handle and was swinging the door wide open.

What stood there before him was a courier holding a parcel. Then – no courier, just the parcel on the doorstep.

He’d just imagined the courier.

Just…imagined…?

The parcel was not large, perhaps the length of a loaf of bread, and wrapped in plain brown paper, tied off with string. He picked it up.

Oddly, there was no return address. No postmark. The handwriting of his name and address looked ordinary enough, however. Taking one last look left and right to see if he could see who had left it, he took the mysterious package inside and closed the door against the cold.

The package, by strange contrast, was warm. It was making his palms tingle, as though thousands of miniscule, electrified worms were eating their way out of the package and into his skin. It’s a bomb, he thought, only ninety-seven percent seriously. A bomb left by that creepy old pastor. Well, if it is, I’ll come back and haunt the fuck out of him.

He could have opened it right there but instead took it up the stairs into his room, closing the door after him. Usually, this is what he would do if his parents were home and he wanted to be alone (which was most of the time). Something about this package was telling him that it was not just specifically but uniquely for him, and where better to view its contents than that most sacred of realms – his bedroom.

Standing in the center of the room amid the debris of corn snacks, car mags, and yesterday’s clothes, Daniel allowed himself a long moment to wonder just who could have sent him this thing. It was nowhere near his birthday. His relatives were not about to send him a gift without a reason. Could it be Daelin? Nope – wasn’t her style. She had the role of gift-getter down pat, and Daniel could see no reason why that would have changed.

For a long moment he stared at the package. Feeling a chill, he quickly pulled on a tee shirt and jeans. He took a deep breath. Ok – I’m going for it.

The brown paper tore easily. The parcel wasn’t crumpled at all – in fact, it barely seemed that it had even been handled. Still there was that strange warmth, that weird prickling…

Finally, the last shred of paper fell to the floor. What Daniel Dark held in his hands immediately induced strange sensations. Wonder. Confusion. Dread.  It was a glass sphere, like a crystal ball. Black-red in color. Upon its surface was an embossed symbol, a kind of a trident.

For glass, it was remarkably warm. It was then he realized that the orb was not made of red glass; the redness was coming from what it encased within. His hands were tingling even more than before. There was a hissing sound…

The heat from his hands was eating into the material of the sphere. Daniel watched, open mouthed, as the outlines of each of his hands sunk slowly into the glass as though melting their way through it. An electrified glow traced his fingers as the orb continued to distort, until…

Detonation.

mark-portrait-mausoleum-sept-2010About the Author:
Mark Knight grew up in Massachusetts, USA. Settling in the UK, Mark continued to write novels of differing genres, including horror and television scripts. Mark has scripted two horror scripts for Hollywood’s Little Slices of Death production company and one for Illusion Studios. He also won several short story competitions, and has had his work featured in published anthologies. Mark concentrates now on Young Adult urban fantasy novels.

www.markknightbooks.com 
www.bloodfamily.co.uk 
@markknightbooks (Twitter)
www.amazon.com/author/markknight