Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Sneak Peek at NIGHT HAWK

Night Hawk - Coming in 2013!

Selling your soul has never been so charming and Mark throws in a little something to sweeten the pot, his girlfriend Naomi.

Sentenced to death at the hands of a demon, Naomi Hawk has a firsthand lesson in despair and betrayal in Mark’s deal for fame with all the trimmings. Deep in the clutches of the underground brotherhood, Naomi's light is coveted for the Master's gain.

When she slips and falls eighty stories from a precarious ledge, Naomi resigns herself to the inevitable impact and death by shattered bones. Before she can escape her demons in eternal slumber, something sinister plucks her from the plummet, stealing her out of the night to sacrifice her forever to the shadows.

Imprisoned in bottomless darkness, Naomi thirsts for justice…and revenge.

Chapter One - Naomi

I still remember the first night.

The full moon illuminated the landscape and I could see for miles from my perch. The eighty-floor drop left me dizzy and I stepped farther back into the wall. My heart thundered in my chest and the adrenaline warmed my skin against the frigid air.

“What are you waiting for?”

His growl yanked my gaze from the busy city street below to his dark and crazed eyes.

My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, dry as desert sand and I shook my head. I didn’t want to jump, no matter how horrifying death at his hands promised to be. The fear of dying by terminal velocity was just too great, cementing my feet to that small ledge.

“I can wait.” His evil laugh hung on the air, chilling whatever heat I had left right out of my bones and I clamped my jaw tight against the tears that threatened, leaving my vision warbled.

I slid farther away from the open window and the glistening blade in his hand. He ran it slowly along the brick, creating a screaming sound that made my teeth ache.

Either way, I was screwed. A flare of anger shot through the fear, adding to the tremor in my skin. Damn you Mark, why did you turn me over to these vultures?

Demon boy looked up at me and chuckled like he heard my silent question. His shaded gaze flashed red before it sank back to the sharp blade. “It was the only way my boss would honor his deal,” he muttered and glanced back at her. “His soul and your life and your boyfriend would have all the fame and fortune he could ever envision.”

“But why me?”

“Your life force is quite a delicacy.” The knife scraped against the brick again. “My boss has waited for centuries to taste the beating heart of a child of the light.”

“I don’t believe you. Mark would never sell me out.” I said, my voice shook with disbelief and I took another step away, but a gale caught me off guard and I teetered on the edge trying to grasp at the brick wall, but my hands were too cold to gain the purchase necessary to catch my balance. All it took was another wind gust and I fell, the scream barreling out of my mouth at the sudden weightless freefall.

I had a moment of satisfaction when the demon’s expression fell into fear tinted shock at losing what his master coveted.

Gravity pulled and my hair whipped across my face, blinding me to anything but streaks of light. I thought my heart would catapult out of my chest it beat so hard and I drew in a breath, waiting for the impact that would turn out the lights for good.

Pain bit around my waist and I was yanked from the descent by a strong grasp. A sharp cry ripped from my throat, and the sound of beating wings filled my world. Before I could focus on what had saved me from certain death, I was tumbling through space again, this time, the hard asphalt of a nearby roof bit into my skin and I rolled away.

When I got my bearings, I brushed the hair from my face in time to see a human form at the edge of the roof. A man in a dark overcoat stepped from the shadows, his intense glare fell on me and he licked his lips, revealing a sharp set of canines.

“Who are you?” I whispered and climbed to my feet. My legs shook under my weight, barely able to hold me up.

He smiled and stepped into the light.

“I’ve been watching you for a while.”

The mere thought of a fiend like him studying me from afar gave me the creeps. The movies always made it quite romantic to be the object of a vampire’s affection, but in reality all they wanted was an entertaining meal.

“Why?” I asked fumbling for the knife clasped to my belt. When my hand came up empty, he laughed, dangling the weapon from his fingers.

“You really think your little daggers will stop me?” He tossed the knife to the edge of the rooftop and stepped toward me.

Being a demon’s meal was bad, but being this bastard’s chew toy was worse, I would rather have been splattered on the pavement. I took another shaking step backwards, too aware of my near frozen condition.

“You didn’t answer my question,” I said, trying to stall him until I could maneuver close enough to dive for my weapons.

He stared me down with hard black eyes. Eyes no more distinct than the shadow he stepped out of.

“Why?” he replied. “Because I swore I’d destroy anything that demon bastard wants and you are at the top of that list. I’m sure he’s gutting his little lackey right now for losing you and he’ll be even more pissed when he finds out I’m the one that stole your life.”

The bitterness in his voice nearly quelled the fight in me, but when he stepped closer, my survival instinct flared and I ducked under his reach, swinging my fist, hoping to get a shot in, but my knuckles only grazed his hard cheek.

His vice-like grip clamped on my throat, pulling me close. The burn of his bite seized my muscles, his poison saturating my entire form with exquisite pain. Each beat of my heart hurt, and I screamed. He pulled away from my neck and stared into my eyes.

“My god, you are delicious,” he whispered, his voice laced with rough desire and before I could pull another breath in, his teeth ripped at my throat again.

My fading gaze landed on the arch of his neck and my scream morphed into a growl. I sank my dull human teeth through his skin and was rewarded with a gasp and the gush of black blood filling my mouth. He pressed me closer, still drinking from my throat and pressing my mouth to his. I tried to wiggle out of his grasp but he clamped down hard enough so I had no choice but to ingest his blood.

A wave of dizziness hit and he loosened his grip, stepping away from me. I crumpled to the ground, heaving the blood from my stomach, but I knew it was too late. I had already swallowed too much of the vile poison and no matter how much I threw up, I couldn’t stop the infection.

“I bet you never saw that coming,” I whispered and sent a glare in his direction.

He no longer held that smug look, instead his handsome face transformed into a mask of horror and his hand clamped his neck, the blood flowing freely over his fingertips.

As the infection spread, it crystallized my cells into a hard shell and transformed my senses into acute hunting weapons. The pain that had gripped me moments ago faded and I stood with a ravenous need. I ran my tongue over my teeth and winced at the cutting edges that would puncture steel if I so desired.

The human soul inside me cried at the injustice. I should be dead, but instead, I was now one of the undead all because the bastard before me decided to pluck the demon’s meal out of the sky.

I stepped toward him with a growl and his eyes widened, reflecting a blue as crisp as the fall sky and I stopped.

“You bit me,” he whispered, his voice unsteady and shaking.

“Did you think I’d just let you drain me dry without a fight?”

His hand dropped from his throat and he stared at the wet blood covering it before raising his gaze to me. “No one has ever bit me before,” he said.

I crossed my arms and studied him. “Sucks, doesn’t it,” I said. I couldn’t help it, the disbelief in his face made me want to laugh but I kept a check on my chuckle.

He blinked and then the smile that spread over his lips sent a shiver through me. Laughter followed, rich and full and as hypnotizing as his smile.

“Yes. It does,” he finally said and wiped at his neck again. The flow of blood had finally stopped and he glanced at me.

“You aren’t such a badass after all,” I said.

The menacing shadow was gone, replaced by a man barely out of his teens. I studied him, taking note of the uncomfortable shift along with his worried scan of the night around us. It took a minute to understand the hesitation in his gaze.

He glanced back at me, and I knew. This kid was scared shitless, but I wasn’t sure if it was me or something else.

“Why do I get the feeling you’re in trouble,” I said.

He laughed and caught my gaze, moving faster than I could blink and I found myself pressed to the wall by his incredibly hard body. His intense stare left me breathless, but this time, it wasn’t food he hungered for and he leaned in to kiss me.

I swept his feet out from under him and he landed on his back with a thud, surprise plastered across his face.

“Not going to happen.” I pointed at him. “You may have turned me into a monster, but that doesn’t give you the right to screw me any time you please.” I didn’t want to rely on any man, never mind a blood crazed vamp, no matter how good looking he was.

I swallowed, suddenly thirsty and my gaze dropped to the dried blood on his collar. I knew soon enough the thirst would overwhelm me but in that moment I swore I’d never become a shadow dwelling killer.

He climbed to his feet, brushing the roof grit from his jacket. “You’re mine now,” he said, trying to exude authority.

I laughed and crossed to the knives, picking them up and hesitating. The silver glinted in the moonlight and I sighed, running a fingertip down the length. The metal created a warm glow on my skin unlike anything I had seen before, but it didn’t penetrate and draw blood like it should have.

I understood his mocking of my weapons now and glanced over my shoulder at him. “No one owns me.” I sheathed both blades and turned toward him, ready for battle.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Wishes

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

My heart still aches for those in Newtown, and for the past week, I’ve been wondering if I would feel anything akin to the excitement I’ve felt in the past at this time of year. However, as the numbness relents, I can feel the joy of the season seeping in. The celebration of my son’s thirteenth birthday helped immensely, especially with having two young ones in the house for the night.

Now, looking at the tree in our living room doesn’t leave me as sad as I have been since the 14th. Instead, I’m starting to get that childish excitement again and instead of focusing on those that are left with empty hearts, I’m thinking of how excited my niece and nephew are for Christmas.

My husband, the sweet man that he is, has had the urge to hug every child he has come across and yesterday, he had the chance to act on that urge with our niece and nephew. A little healing came into our home and I wish the families a piece of that healing spirit, although I know for them, it will be years before the sadness doesn’t overwhelm them.

The outpouring of love across the nation is inspiring. Although it is sad that a national tragedy has to happen to bring us together as one. I’d love to see that spirit personified in everyday life. The 26 acts of kindness that is going around in memory of those lost in Newtown reminds me of Pay it Forward.

It’s a fantastic concept and one we should follow always in everything we do. Maybe it’s not the end of the world that the Mayan’s forecasted, but the end of an era.

Perhaps it’s time we all put aside the building animosities and embrace kindness and love and respect as a way of life.

Perhaps then, we will all find peace.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2013!

Until next time,



Coming in 2013:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thoughts and Prayers

I wanted to take a moment to extend my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of Friday's massacre and honor the memories of those lost. 

The teachers and administrators who put themselves in harm's way to protect the children...
-- Rachel Davino, Female, 07-17-83
-- Dawn Hochsprung, Female, 06-28-65
-- Anne Marie Murphy, Female, 07-25-60
-- Lauren Rousseau, Female, 06-?-82
-- Mary Sherlach, Female, 02-11-56
-- Victoria Soto, Female, 11-04-85

We honor your memory and thank you for those you were able to save. God bless.

The children whose lives were cut short by this tragedy:
-- Charlotte Bacon, Female, 02-22-06

-- Daniel Barden, Male, 09-25-05
-- Olivia Engel, Female, 07-18-06

-- Josephine Gay, Female, 12-11-05
-- Ana Marquez-Greene, Female, 04-04-06
-- Dylan Hockley, Male, 03-08-06
-- Madeleine F. Hsu, Female, 07-10-06

-- Catherine V. Hubbard, Female, 06-08-06
-- Chase Kowalski, Male, 10-31-05

-- Jesse Lewis, Male, 06-30-06

-- James Mattioli, Male, 03-22-06
-- Grace McDonnell, Female, 11-04-05
-- Emilie Parker, Female, 05-12-06

-- Jack Pinto, Male, 05-06-06
-- Noah Pozner, Male, 11-20-06

-- Caroline Previdi, Female, 09-07-06
-- Jessica Rekos, Female, 05-10-06
-- Avielle Richman, Female, 10-17-06

-- Benjamin Wheeler, Male, 09-12-06
-- Allison N. Wyatt, Female, 07-03-06

May you be playing in heaven's light. God bless.

To the families of the victims - I know it will be a while, but my prayer for you is to find strength and peace.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Special Guest Interview with Poppet

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book?

Poppet: My newest books came out a few weeks apart as I wrote them the wrong way around. I started writing Indigo Vamporium, was midway when the second book wouldn't give me peace, so I wrote that (Scarlet Vamporium) and then went back to complete Indigo Vamporium. I released Scarlet earlier than Indigo on fan request. So to me these two books feel like 'my latest book' as a unit.

Indigo Vamporium takes my adult series and characters and examines the vampyre family as teenagers. Seithe was the first book in the vampyre series, so I set Indigo Vamporium in the same city to give it continuity as the book revolves around Seithe coming to terms with and trying to perfect his own abilities. He has a lot of responsibility on his young shoulders and doesn't get on well with his guardian; his father's brother Venix.

In IV he has to dive for hidden halos, has a close call with a ghost ship out on the high seas, is sent into the Vamporium alone to battle the scourge of the underworld, and falls for a local human girl, Tasmin. Ellindt, his twin sister, is on a mission to engage human love and redemption and does what most girls her age do, this has her uncle banishing her to Scotland to stay with her aunt for punishment, severing the close bond Ellindt and Seithe have had since birth. It all falls apart for Seithe and it gets ten times worse when the karma collector kidnaps his human girlfriend.

Book 2, Scarlet Vamporium, follows 17 year old Ellindt as a foreigner in Glencoe, where she meets a wonderful varsity crush. Luckily for her Douglas believes in monsters and beasties because Scotland is rich in tales of the Fey, (the Seelie and Unseelie courts), loch monsters, and has a unicorn as their national animal. It's a match made in heaven, until her family interferes.

JET: What drew you to paranormal romance?

Poppet: I've always found vampyres an intriguing and enigmatic topic.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Poppet: Lordy, where to begin? I tried to get published MANY years ago, but ran into many roadblocks. I write paranormal fantasy and horror, and when I submitted my books to local publishers was told they don't publish these genres, I must write for the 'local' market. So I thought I'd try overseas, only to be met with the issue that I needed an agent. At that time this country had 2 literary agents. I went to the only one in my 'state', only to find out after paying her all the money I had and she'd given me the runaround for 2 years, that she only publishes diaries and autobiographies by famous people. I was so frustrated, the world loves reading romances and, horror and romance are to date the best selling movie genres worldwide, and yet I couldn't even be heard because of the local clampdown on these genres. I tried my hand abroad, but had not enough money to send the printed MS's to big publishers, it was only when the publishers started using the internet broadly and widely that I finally had a chance at knocking on doors. I got an agent in Ireland who did nothing for a year and answered my emails to her twice. So I gave up on the agent idea, joined Authonomy, learned A LOT, and started submitting to any and all publishers who allow you to submit manuscript's unagented. It was a heartbreaking journey, one that often depressed me severely (it seemed so hopeless just because of my geographical location). And often I nearly gave up. It was only the friends I made on Authonomy that kept me going at all. I was even told by a big publisher represented locally that they'd consider my book if a main character was black. They deny it now and I wish I'd kept the email. That shocked me!

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Poppet: When Wild Wolf published me. I had a previous publishing contract, but I chose to leave that publisher because we didn't see eye to eye. I know I sound like a fangirl but Wild Wolf Publishing just gets me, I adore them, and will stay with them no matter how many of my other books make it or break it in the world.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Poppet: Enid Blyton. The Magic Faraway Tree changed my perception of planet earth.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Poppet: When I worked for an ad agency and the creative director (also a film producer) read my work and thought it was good enough. His words encouraged me a lot.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Poppet: I read the Kabbalah, I-Ching, Nag Hammadi texts, dead Sea Scrolls, and five versions of the bible, researched metals, drugs, geography, astronomy, ancient astrology, archeology, the Greek myths and legends, the Egyptian myths and legends, spent 3 months just working out the ancient Greek calendar, read the Popoh Vuh and all the Mayan legends – all for 1 book.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Poppet: Sveta. Because I think the right person for you knows your insecurities and still wants to love you.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

Poppet: Never give up. Work at it day and night. Write and write and write some more. Perfect your writing skills, join a group of authors that aren't afraid to shred your work and tell you the truth, and learn from them. They will remove your ego and polish your writing ability like no other. Only by writing and writing some more will you improve. As Steve King likes to say, the first million words are just practice. If you are good enough, someone, somewhere, will say yes.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with:  Paper or Plastic?

Poppet: Paper

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Poppet: Neither

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Poppet: Both (lol). But if I had to pick one, I pick mountains.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Poppet: Rock – always.

JET: Leather or Lace?

Poppet: Why do I have to choose? :P hmmmm, lace would probably win this war.

JET: Angels or Demons?

Poppet: Both. Demons – but my view of demons is based on their Greek origin. It's a Greek word spelled Daemon. I have this great OLD book that gives ancient astrology lessons by the different cultures (Persian, Greek etc), and it was in there that I first read the Greek definition of daemon. I love daemons!

JET: Paper or Digital?

Poppet: Both (lol) Damn girl! Digital wins, but I like the everlasting aspect of paper. Where would we be now if the scrolls hadn't been hidden in caves for thousands of years? When archaeologists dig up your ebook reader, they won't learn a damn thing.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Poppet: Silent Films for sure.

JET: Twilight or True Blood?

Poppet: True Blood

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Poppet: Coffee

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Poppet: Aisyx, the final installment of my vampyre / neuri series. It's due out 31st December (after the world ends hahahaha). Call me an optimist, or a non believer in paranoid hype. The first quarter of 2013 will see a number of horrors by me, including Paint (a serial killer), Tithe (a medieval horror on the abuse of religion), Night Blind (more killing and stalking), and a haunting story where antiques end up ruining lives.

Thank you JET!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Poppet and her work at the following places:

Twitter: @AuthorPoppet

Other titles by Poppet include Seithe, Venix, Zauran, Sveta, Ryan, Arelstin's Lair, Scarlet Vamporium, Indigo Vamporium, Darkroom, Erra, Shar, Erra More & the Sibitti, Djinn, Blindsided, Penance, Heresy, Dusan, Fey's Adventures, The Scorpion's Sting (Heresy), Solar Eclipse (Heresy), Quislings, Fractured, The Demenion series, Spellbound, and Ruthless.

Until Next Time,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Slaying Dragons: a blog post by Jason Halstead

I was a kid once, farther back than I want to admit. It was back in the days where television was analog and distorted by poor antenna reception. The invention of the VHS tape seemed like a miracle on par with curing leprosy. Unto this fragile and sheltered childhood entered the movie, Conan the Barbarian. In those 129 minutes, my life was changed.

I began to seek out fantasy wherever I could. I started, of course, with the Conan books by Robert E. Howard (and later L. Sprague de Camp and others). I went from there wherever I could, to J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Brooks and beyond. No matter the story, I was hungry for more. But beyond wanting a rich fantasy life, I wanted to be like the heroes in the stories. As a kid, I'd play and pretend to slay dragons and rescue maidens. Eventually I became too old to do that (especially if I ever wanted to have a girlfriend), but I never forgot.

Wanting to be a hero is a part of almost every boy's upbringing. I won't dare to guess how many girls these days want to be heroines rather than princesses (my own daughter wants to be a mix of the two). I grew up learning everything I could to make me able to be that guy that can take care of himself and help others when the situation called for it - everything from first aid to joining the military to becoming a competitive powerlifter. I want to be the guy who a mugger will look at and decide not to challenge. I want to be the guy who can rip the door off the crashed car that's on fire to get the people out. I want to be able to slay the dragon threatening the maiden.

With that in mind, my newest book is a high fantasy called Child of Fate. It's the first book in the Blades of Leander series. The characters are as real as fictional characters can be, with quirks and weaknesses aplenty. They've got their talents and strengths just like a regular person, but what's most important about them is that they're identifiable.

These are the kinds of characters that we like because we understand them. We can remember feeling the same way at times. By living vicariously through the characters in Child of Fate we can answer the "what if" questions.

And isn't it safer to read a book than it is to buy a sword and drive to the nearest national border and start attacking the border guards?

I don't want you getting tazed or enduring a body cavity search, so please consider Child of Fate a safer and more entertaining alternative.

Early winters and distant cities make the northern reaches fit only for adventurous homesteaders. Alto is on the verge of becoming such a man when his father is ambushed by monstrous raiders from the mountains.

Determined to find help for his father Alto leaves his home behind and sets out with a group of adventurers tasked with learning the true nature of the raids. Help for his family grows more and more distant as the boy is swept up into a budding war with a neighboring nation and the threats of evil forces from the mountains.

A fiery-tempered princess from the eastern kingdom falls into Alto's hands by twist of fate. The fate of two nations rests in their hands, provided they can keep them off of each other's throats.

Pick up your copy of Child of Fate at any of these sites: 

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at

Thanks for joining us today!
Until next time,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Symbolism of the Celtic knot

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Michelle Snyder on my blog while I'm over at her blog launching the Saving Face blog tour.  I asked Michelle to put together a post relating to the symbolism behind Celtic knots, which play a role in my new novel.  So without further adieu - here's Michelle...

Michelle Snyder, study from the Book of Kells

The origin of the intricate Celtic knot begins thousands of years ago when our ancestors watched the skies, measured the movement of the sun, moon, and stars, and recorded their findings with dots and lines. Around 8000 BC they saw and named seven planets (then including the sun and moon), and named the days of the weeks after them. They ordered the names of the days by calculating the speed of the planets through their orbits. Megaliths were built to increase the accuracy of their observations. The tools they used to lay out these great stone observatories were strings and rods.

Women were spinning and using thread tens of thousands of years ago. Cords and threads were made by hand, and had many uses other than making their clothing. Cords were used for measuring, and were divided into specific lengths by knots (Duncan-Enzmann). The sections of strings were used to calculate how to divide a circle, to measure time from the passing of stars, and thus to predict the seasons.

Since then knots have acquired many symbolic meanings, and are also used as an information system. For centuries knots have symbolized engagement because knots, like engagements, are binding. In the Celtic, Hindu, and Chinese cultures, knots are designed into wedding garments, representing continuity, longevity, and eternity. Sending messages through love knots is popular in many cultures.

Knots are used in heraldic design, the most famous of which is the Bowen knot – or more accurately an “unknot,” a symbol of the family name. Weaving the string over and under creates intricate patterns, which are used to represent the genealogy of monarchies and nobles. The actual design of the knot is likely inherited from generations of families who were involved in navigation, textiles, or stone masonry.

Another similar function of string, cords, and ribbons is the Maypole. You must have three or more to braid. Maypoles have three, four, five, six, and more ribbons which are woven in and out, over and under by the dancing children. The songs that accompany the dances in ancient times were meant to help children remember how to read the stars, remember the four directions, the eight winds, and to measure time. When the weaving is finished the ribbon is removed from the pole and flattened, and the knot that remains is a physical representation of a mathematical equation necessary to know how to divide a 360 degree circle into single degrees, necessary to find longitude.

Celtic knots are a graphic form of mathematical processes which derive mostly from calendrics. There are countless beautiful decorative letters in the illuminated manuscripts, all designed to preserve the knowledge of how to divide a circle, use the Venus clock, and find longitude. It is easy to see how the woven line which makes these intricate, beautiful patterns could be done with strings, especially if you have ever played cat’s cradle.

Michelle Snyder, M. Phil. is author of several books on the subject of symbology; see her author page at Amazon. Her latest is The Lost Unicorn, a five-star original fairy tale. Visit her blog, Once Upon a Time: World of Symbols.

Duncan-Enzmann has translated thousands of inscriptions from 12,500 BC, found at Ice Age Language.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Spotlight on Submission Therapy

Billionaire CEO of Blakely Incorporated, Natasha runs her empire with an eagle eye for every detail. She’s an obsessive, compulsive, micromanaging hard-ass, consumed by the need to control every aspect of her life and her business.

But underneath that seemingly strong fa├žade, Natasha is a swirling mess of anger, anxiety and sexual addiction. Only her therapist, Dr. Benson, knows how close she is to burning out...or exploding. He insists on a radical form of treatment – Submission Therapy – knowing that it’s her only hope.

Skeptical but intrigued, Natasha agrees to attend the first session. What she finds there is an erotically-charged environment that will forgive none of her habitual bad behavior. And a steely-eyed man who seems to read her every desire - even the ones she won’t admit to herself.

Will Natasha learn what it means to submit? Or will she allow her brittle pride to rob her of what she truly needs?

You can find Submission Therapy on AmazonAmazon UK, All Romance Ebooks, Smashwords, and Excessica

Submission Therapy EXCERPT:   © November 2012 by Willsin Rowe and Katie Salidas

“You really should change that painting on your wall, Derek.”

“Natasha, I’ve asked you many times to call me Dr. Benson.” He leaned over and checked his notes, then jotted something down. Probably a remark about my attitude. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it damn sure won’t be the last.

“No doubt you have, Derek.”

For a shrink, he really seemed stuck on formality, for whatever reason. Some people’s lives are just so petty. I flicked my hand toward the gauche painting in question. “I mean, it’s not calming at all. Thick daubs of acrylic that look like cellulite on the canvas. And what’s with the oranges and blues together? That’s just insane.”

Dr. Benson didn’t appear to get the joke. Simpleton. He pushed his bookish glasses up on his long narrow nose and glared. “Natasha, I’ve been seeing you for a year, now.” His tone was laced with disappointment. “And you’ve made no progress. No change.” He sat back in his vinyl chair. “None at all.”

“Yep, got it, Derek.” I blocked out his face with my watch for a second. The man could talk! I had four meetings scheduled for this afternoon.

He flipped his notebook and it closed with an unusually loud snap. “You’re still control-dependent, and we’ve made no headway with your addiction to sex either.”

I could recite this lecture word for word now. Time was money and these sessions were already costing me too much of both. Apparently with no results to show for them.

I stood and smoothed my skirt. Derek may be a psychiatrist, but he’s still a man. A straight man, judging by the way his eyes scanned my legs. Too bad for him. If he weren’t just a dull, if handsome, shrink, I might have used him for some much-needed stress relief. He could call it addiction all he liked, but for me it was head and shoulders above these damn therapy sessions.

“Well, Derek. Thanks for a wonderful year. I can’t tell you much I’ve enjoyed losing two valuable hours each week, all for nothing.”

He smiled congenially but the strain in his voice was apparent. “If you’d done the exercises as I instructed, you’d have lost six hours.”

I dug my cellphone out of my Louis Vuitton Olive Monogram Antheia Leather Hobo. “Which is why I didn’t.”

“Which is why you’ve failed at therapy and why you are failing at life.”

The deadpan delivery of those words shocked me. Taken aback, I sucked in a breath and, for a moment, considered throwing my phone straight at his stupid smiling face.

“What the fuck did you just say? Have you seen the size of my house? My portfolio of investments? And I’ve failed? If anything it’s you who’s failed, Derek. You’re supposed to cure me.”

Derek folded his arms. “Natasha, we’ve discussed this rudeness of yours.”

“I’m not being rude; I’m being efficient, getting right to the head of the matter, which is your lack of results.”

“There’s a difference between efficiency and rudeness, Natasha, and you are being—”

I dialed Simon’s number. “Bring the car around.” Then snapped my phone closed and turned to leave.


“Derek, I don’t want to appear...efficient, but I have places to be.”

He surprised me by rushing to the door and blocking my exit. I was unprepared for such animation. Standing there filling the doorframe with his arms crossed he almost appeared authoritative. In his khaki pants and black Oxford shirt, and with his blue eyes narrowed behind dark framed glasses he looked like he’d just passed Door Security 101. “So why are you still here?”

The unfamiliar steel of his voice seemed to carry a lilt of taunting. I nodded at the hallway behind him. “I’m hardly going to climb over you.”

“You know what I mean. Why haven’t you gone to yet another doctor?”

Because no-one else will take me. Because I’ve carved a sharp-tongued path through them all. No way I’d expose myself like that. Not to this nobody. He already had too much of me sitting in his notebooks. I pulled out my gold cigarette case and flipped it open. “I really don’t know.”

“Natasha, you can’t smoke in here.”

I rolled my eyes. Tiny lives with tiny rules. “Derek, my company owns this building. One of my companies, anyway.”

He produced a business card from his pocket. “This is it, Natasha. Your last chance.”

I glared at the card, but he didn’t waver. Just held it steady as I blew a stream of smoke into his face. Finally I took the thing and checked it over.

Room 112

Master Sweet

“I see your people are no better than mine. I should proof-read for you.”

Sadly, he didn’t rise to my taunting. He remained remarkably collected, delivering his deadpan statement. “Master Sweet is not a room.”

I tapped the ash from my cigarette into a potted plant by the door. “So what is it? Candy?”

“Radical therapy. I’ve tried the softly-softly, ‘tell me how that makes you feel’ method. It’s had no effect. Clearly you need a more hands-on approach.” He tapped the edge of the card in my hand. “And what you’ll find in that room will gel perfectly with your current…addictions.”

A little about the authors...

Katie Salidas is a Super Woman! Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, She can get the munchkins off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons. She can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, She still finds the time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). She can do all of this and still have time to write.

And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale…

Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.

You can find out more about Katie Salidas on her Website  or her Facebook Page.

Willsin Rowe falls in love with a scent, a playful expression or an act of casual intimacy more easily than with physical beauty. When confronted by any combination of those elements he is a lost cause. He has done many things over and over, done even more things only once, and half-done more things than he cares to admit. He loves to sing and doesn’t let his voice get in the way. He is intelligent but not sensible. He is passionate but fearful. He is not scruffy enough or stylish enough to be cool.

You can find out more about Willsin Rowe on Facebook Page.
Until Next Time,

Monday, October 29, 2012

Announcing Saving Face and blog tour contest!

Saving Face is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Kobo

The Windwalker Serial Killer stalks the inlets of southern Maine for the next beauty to advance his collection and Special Agent Steve Williams is frustrated with always being a breath behind the slippery psychopath. Escalating the pressure, Steve’s adopted sons, CJ and Tom Ryan, take teenage rebellion to an entirely new level, leaving Steve in an explosive situation.

When the Windwalker slaughters Tom’s ex-girlfriend, taking her face as a macabre trinket, Tom is found on the scene covered in her blood, with her scalped body draped across his lap. Damning evidence against him is unearthed, his father's secret identity is about to be exposed, and he's charged with Tanya’s traumatic murder.

To prove his innocence, their only hope is the worst-case scenario; for the Windwalker to harvest a new face.

Blog tour dates include the following stops:

November 7th –

November 8th –

November 14th – Contest for $25 Amazon Gift Certificate!

November 15th –

November 24th –

November 29th –

November 30th –

December 6th -

December 15th -

As new dates are finalized, I'll add them to the list, in the meantime, swing in on the stops and say hello!
Until next time,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Keeper of the Black Stones Cover Reveal!

My friends over at Glass House Press have this new book coming out early next year and I thought I'd help spread the word...

"I've gone by many names, but it has always been me. I met Anne Frank before she wrote her diary. I consulted with Churchill on political doctrine. I crossed the Potomac with Washington. And I even polished Napoleon's shoes, once, though it's not a story I like to tell. I realize that these boasts won't be taken seriously, but I must remind each of you that at one time the earth was flat, the atom unbreakable. And the thought of reaching the moon was just as ridiculous as time travel.

I know, because I was there.

My name is Jason Evans. I'm ten days shy of my fifteenth birthday, and this is my story..."

Keeper of the Black Stones
A Stone Ends Book

Jason Evans, a shy, introverted high school freshman, thought that his mundane life was all there was - girls, golf, physics, and the occasional bully. Until he found out about the secrets his grandfather had been keeping from him ... a set of stones that allowed him to jump through time ... a maniacal madman who used the stones to shape history to his liking ... and Jason’s role as one of the few people in the world who could stop that man.

Against impossible odds, a fourteen-year-old boy must take up his legacy, learn everything he needs to know within one short day, and travel helter skelter into the Middle Ages, to join Henry VII’s fight against Richard III, end the Dark Ages, and stop the man who now holds his grandfather captive. In this romp through history, Jason and his friends must race against time to accomplish not one, but two missions.

Save his grandfather.

And save the world.


“What is this place?” he asked breathlessly. We were in a dark underground room, much smaller than our basement. The room was lined in thick concrete blocks. There was no light coming from the outside, and I guessed that the room was probably soundproof as well. Not a room built for entertaining. A room built for keeping secrets.

Paul found a cord in the ceiling and pulled it. We both jumped as several light bulbs clicked on and flooded the room with harsh artificial light. The light revealed a small metal desk with an old wooden straight-back chair against the back wall. A computer monitor and hard drive sat on top of the desk, along with several pens and pencils and one red three-ring notebook. Beside the desk stood two wooden bookshelves, filled to bursting with books. Next to those, a large map of England was taped to the concrete wall.

I ran my eyes over the map to the floor on the left, and froze. The desk and map were odd, but at least they were everyday items. The large black slab of stone lying next to them was not. The cold chill ran down my spine again, and I shuffled backward several steps.

“Oh my God, is that it?” Paul asked nervously.

I ignored the question and inched my way forward, toward the stone. It was large, perhaps 7 to 8 feet wide and 10 to 11 feet long. Easily 3 to 4 inches thick. Hundreds of symbols were etched into the dark surface, in a language I’d never seen before. The stone was glossy, but didn’t reflect light the way it should. Instead, it seemed to suck the light from the room around us, building its own dark aura. And it hummed. I could feel the pulse of the stone in my bones, like a giant, steady heartbeat. It beat again and again, matching my own heartbeat, and I forgot to breathe. Doc hadn’t been lying, then. The stone did speak to him. And it called to me the same way it called to him. I’d been hearing it for days. I just hadn’t realized it.

As I stood there, transfixed and listening, the writing on the stone began to glow. I blinked and looked again, to see that the glow was gone.

“Did you see that?” I gasped, reaching for Paul and taking my eyes off the stone for the first time.

“See what?” Paul whispered. “The only thing I see is that creepy stone.”

“The symbols … I think they moved,” I said, surprised that Paul hadn’t seen it.

Paul shook his head. “Didn’t see anything like that, buddy.” He took a step toward the stone and bent over to look at it.

I followed slowly, wondering if I’d been seeing things. Then the humming started again, louder than before. This time it went straight to my head, and I gasped and fell to my knees. The stone thrummed louder, and took on its eerie glow, burning brighter and brighter until the symbols themselves lifted up off the surface. They hovered just above the stone’s surface, ghostly, dark reflections of their physical counterparts. Then they began to move, dancing around the edges of the stone to the humming rhythm of its heart.

“Holy…” I breathed. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.

“Hey, what on earth are you doing?” Paul asked nervously.

I stood, keeping my eyes fixed on the dance in front of me. “You’re honestly telling me that you can’t see that?” I whispered.

“See what? This isn’t funny anymore.”

Paul grabbed my arm, and the dance ended as abruptly as it had begun. The symbols fell back into place, and the stone lost its glow. I moaned quietly. The symbols had been strange, eerie, and frightening, but they’d also been surprisingly familiar. Losing them was almost physically painful. I focused on the stone, trying to bring them back, or make the slab glow again.

“So how exactly does this thing work?” Paul asked, breaking my focus.

I cleared my throat and tried to find my voice. “Doc didn’t exactly leave directions in his journal. He just said that the stone … spoke to him.”

“Well what the heck does that mean? That stone doesn’t look like it has any kind of speech capabilities.”

I smiled. “Actually, I think I know exactly what it means.”

Paul didn’t hear me, and reached out to touch the stone. “So this is it,” he said, bending down. “This is the stone that can take us into the past.”

“Stop! What are you doing?” I grabbed his hand and pulled him back.

“I’m just touching it. Why?"

“I don’t know. Who knows what might happen? Maybe you’re not supposed to touch it,” I answered.

“Ah.” Paul nodded. “Good point.” He shoved his hands back into his pockets.

As he spoke, though, a jolt of energy shot from the stone into my bones, and the unearthly glow returned. I felt an irresistible urge to put my own hands on the stone, and allow the symbols to race across my skin. Confused, I closed my eyes, trying to focus and clear my head. All I could feel, all I could hear, was the stone’s humming, drowning out all other sight and sound. Drowning out thought. Then it was gone, leaving in its place a feeling of calm contentment. Of readiness. And a clear, precise light in my mind.

I could feel the stone beneath my hands, as though I were already touching it. My mind explored the deep, cold grooves in the surface, and felt the light touch of the symbols as they moved. A shot of heat moved from the stone, through my hands, and down my spine.

“I wonder what the symbols mean,” Paul said quietly.

I heard him through the haze of the stone, as though he were standing on the other side of a wall, or under water. I suddenly became acutely aware of my surroundings – the smell of mildew and garlic, the friction of a cricket rubbing his back legs together outside. I could taste the sodium that clung to the salt water embedded in the concrete of the walls around us, and felt Paul’s heart beat as if it were in my own chest. I heard sounds that didn’t make any sense. Horses running, and the sound of metal screeching against metal. Men yelling, or cheering.

Looking down, I saw a hazy, half-formed path in front of my feet. Listening closely, I heard exactly where it would lead. And when.

I opened my eyes, breaking the spell, and turned to face Paul. His face had gone slack and white as he stared at me.

“I know exactly what the symbols mean,” I said quietly.

“How do you know that?” Paul asked.

“Because,” I replied slowly, “the stone just told me.” 
Look for Keeper of the Stones  in stores in February of 2013!
Thanks for dropping by.
Until next time,

Friday, September 28, 2012

Interview with Author Susan Cartwright

Today I have the pleasure of having Susan Cartwright, author of Wolf Dawn and Wolf Revenge, on my blog.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book?

Susan: Wolf Revenge is the sequel to Wolf Dawn. It is a continuation of the nail-biting adventure of love, spaceship chases, plagues, alien planets, mind control and the wonderful Red Wolves of Opan.

JET: What drew you to science fiction?

Susan: Probably watching Star Trek and Star Wars. I read everything from Regency romance, paranormal, thrillers, murder mystery and cowboys – you name it. But I only write the future. I like world building on other planets, and imagining futuristic philosophies and attitudes. For a start in my books humankind has lost the guilt ridden, prudish, impractical responses towards sex

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Susan: Overcoming my own barriers.

Luke: “I don’t believe it!”

Yoda: “And that is why you fail.”

What I like about e-book publishing it is that ANYONE can publish ANYTHING and they don’t have to have approval from publishing “gatekeepers.” Other than vanity publishing, publishers once were to the final authority dictating who could and couldn’t write. Now everyone can write a book. And let the reader decide.

I was told to write in a certain way to get approval from a publisher. Adverbs were out. That is to say, “He stepped forward gracefully and took her hand…” “Gracefully” would be frowned on by a publisher. Why? I don’t know. I like adverbs.

I was told to keep a book to 100,000 words or no publisher would publish it. “Wolf Dawn” is about 140,000 words. With e-publishing I was free to write exactly what I wanted, without constraint. Believe me, after trying to meet publishing expectations, this lack of restraint really made my day.

In the end, I made the decision that I didn’t really need a publisher’s magic wand of approval to feel validated as an author. I just needed to get my book out there. So far, people seem to like “Wolf Dawn.” Many even love it.

It’s a big jump to make, self-publishing, but it felt good to just go ahead and do it. No regrets so far….

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Susan: Readers and fans. How neat is that? I love reader’s comments. Many people love my little wolf story. Readers have also been giving me ideas on further books. For fun I have put some fan’s names as characters in my books. It is a little thank you and fun for them and me.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Susan: Too many to name. I was an introverted child and chronic reader, regularly transporting myself to other worlds.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Susan: When I was first published in 4th grade, but I couldn't see money in it so like many potential authors, I pragmatically got a well paid career instead, and wrote as a hobby.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Susan: Oh, quantum physics for sure! (Research for Wolf Revenge)

You see, the act of observing creates the observed.

The double-slit test uses an electron gun to fire particles at a far wall through two slits. The gist of this experiment is that the particles fired through the double slits always take the form they are expected to take. The observation of the observer is what dictates the electron’s form (whether wave or particle). The electrons actually have no form until they are observed. The act of observing is what prompts them to take on any form at all, and each observer creates something different. It throws out everything we once believe in physical or mechanical physics re: cause and effect. Pretty fascinating stuff.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Susan: Book Two, Wolf Revenge. What is not to like about Revenge? So satisfying! Everyone loves that book best, including the author. In the words of one fan: "Wolf Dawn was enchanting and Wolf Revenge exhilarating!"

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

Susan: The best authors write. Just write, write, write pages and pages per day. You will find your own unique style and become good through practice. Oh, and believe in yourself.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Susan: Paper

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Susan: Rare Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Susan: Beach

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Susan: Rock-n-Roll

JET: Leather or Lace?

Susan: Leather baby!

JET: Angels or Demons?

Susan: Angels

JET: Paper or Digital?

Susan: Digital

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Susan: Cheesy for sure

JET: Twilight or True Blood

Susan: True blood. I like grit

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Susan: Fresh ground coffee. Yum

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Susan: The next in the series, Wolf War, Wolf Trap, Wolf Trials or Wolf Triumph. I have no end to ideas, and love spending time with my characters.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Susan Cartwright and her work over at her website:

Until next time,



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sock Puppetry by Dominic H. King

What do 7-time Tour de France ‘winner’, Lance Armstrong, and crime writer, R.J. Ellroy, have in common?

Well, it would appear they have both cheated to get ahead. Lance Armstrong by doping and R.J. Ellroy by inventing people to favourably review his books and attack those of fellow authors – a practice that has been dubbed ‘sock puppetry’.

Lance Armstrong has not admitted the offence, but some commentators and other cyclists from his era have sought to defend the practice by stressing that everyone else was doing it and therefore implying that this was the only way he could ever have ‘won’. Whilst in publishing, RJ Ellroy is by no means the only author to have admitted inventing personas and conversations in a bid to boost sales (see Guardian UK article).
As a new author this poses a number of questions for me: Are authors old and new using pseudonyms to get ahead? Do I stand a chance of being noticed if everyone else is artificially building a buzz around his or her work? If everyone else is doing it, does that make it OK for me to do it too?

Without wanting to sound like a martyr in an industry I have been part of for a nanosecond, I would answer the final question with a firm no. Without specified rules of engagement, any competition becomes meaningless, whether that be slogging your guts out to reach the top of Mont Blanc or the Amazon bookseller list. Full disclosure: I have asked friends who have read my book to tell the world what they think online. True, they doubtless see the book through rose-tinted glasses but, to my mind, this is a world away from posting your own reviews and slating competitors. R.J. Ellroy might well retort that any publicity is good publicity, but it will be interesting to see how these revelations impact on his sales.

Publishing has changed dramatically since the arrival of the digital book, bringing with it the rise of the self-publicist and the peer review. Clearly, sock puppetry is one of the challenges that emerges as authors become their own publicists so I was pleased to find out that Goodreads has a system for identifying the practice and that the Society of Authors would consider introducing a new code if it becomes more widespread.

Ethics can be highly subjective but I think most people would find it hard to justify the actions of anybody, be they a cyclist or an author, who cheated to reach the top. Maybe Lance Armstrong and R.J. Ellroy, let alone Marion Jones and Ben Johnson, would tell me it was all worth it.

But somehow I doubt it.


Dominic H. King is author of the Twin World trilogy. Vol1: The Chamber It is available here on Amazon, Amazon UK and Barnes & Noble.

When an unstoppable evil force known only as ‘the Reaper’ seeks to break into Kal’s world, his life becomes intrinsically linked to that of Daine, a ruthless female assassin. Boy and girl must face challenges both together and apart if Kal is to save his father who lies in a chamber far away, and Daine is discover why she has been called away from everything she has ever known.

Kal must travel further than he has ever been before, alone, except for the sporadic guidance of his father’s best friend, the mysterious Juquor. Relentlessly pursued by the deadly Arrochom, he must show maturity beyond his years to fight prejudice, solitude and the fears that cramp his every waking moment if he is to find a way back to his father.

Daine finds herself in another world, ripped from the comfort of the profession that is all she has ever known, unable even to converse with those around her. Confronted with feelings from a missing adolescence and forced to learn everything she once knew again, she must battle with her gender and revisit painful memories if she is to find purpose and quell the daemons that stalk her dreams.


Chapter 1.i

“You must get back. The evil one is coming. You must be gone before he arrives.”

The old man called to him, but his mind felt heavy and sluggish. Great trees and fields of corn burned. Children ran screaming, their faces contorted with fear. A dark presence rose up, high as a mountain, blotting out the sun.

“Do you hear me? Help is on the way but you must get back!”

The boy awoke with a start. Cold stone bit into his back and he raised himself onto his hands. As he did so, a flash of pain erupted from his leg and looking down he saw that the right leg of his hair trousers was wet with blood. His vision blurred and he tried to focus on his surroundings. A great stone chamber engulfed him, hollow except for thirteen pillars forming an inner-circle. A shaft of light fell from an unseen hole in the cavern ceiling, flooding the centre of the chamber with a pale, ghostly green translucence.

Is it illuminating something? Or someone?

An unseen force; a howling, gusting gale battered the depths of his soul. It bounced around the chamber, wailing and screeching, cutting and biting. Yet nothing stirred.

Laying in utter darkness some twenty paces outside this circle, the boy groaned, raising into a sitting position and squinted ahead, trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his leg. A man lay prone on the cavern floor; his naked body looked frail, brittle. The boy could make out a deeply lined, lightly bearded face and something stirred inside of him.

Was this the man from his dream?

Have I been entombed? Or am I dead?

He thought he should check on the old man but fear kept him still. 

Chapter 1.ii

The air was heavier than usual, unwilling to allow either heat or rain to escape. Dark clouds swirled menacingly overhead, as though forewarning her of danger. She had scouted the area and found nothing, but the stillness made her wary.

Could it be a trap?

She kept her senses sharp and her mind alert for any signs of company. There was only a small window of time to complete the mission. She had to get in and out without being seen. There was no back up, no friends to rescue her if things went wrong. She always worked alone and she liked it that way.

She straightened and craned her neck around the low stone hut she had been crouching behind since the sun had gone down. It looked like the Reaper’s army had moved on but a deep sense of foreboding gripped her. She must be gone before they returned. She made one final scan of the area from her hiding place before gliding away across the sodden earth. The evening was stiflingly muggy under the blackened sky, which offered just the faintest tinge of murky moonlight to guide her. She would not make a sound, she had been taught by the best.

But then, I am the best they have ever seen.

She crept forward with her eyes fixed on the low stone entrance, senses straining for any sign of an ambush. The landscape was bleak and barren. All living things had either escaped or died trying. Charred remains smoldered around her and she tried to block out the stinging, nauseating stench of burnt flesh searing her nostrils as she crossed towards the low entrance to the chamber hewn smoothly out of the black rock.

Get in, get out. It was a job. Nothing more. It was how she survived.


Until Next Time...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

#SampleSunday Sneak Peek

Hi folks - I thought you'd be interested in the first couple chapters of Saving Face - the next Steve Williams book coming out in November...

Chapter 1

The trees swayed in the breeze, dry leaves rustled and the full moon disappeared behind a bank of clouds drawing out the already dark shadows. Shadows he hid within, watching, waiting, frozen in place by his obsession, his bloodlust.

Testing the air with a sniff, he tried detecting a trace of her perfume but came away with only the distinct scent of fall. Crisp. Clean. Carnal.

His edgy hands begged for action and he clenched them, dropping his arms to his sides. Tilting his head, he caught a rhythmic pulse like that of his heart, but accented with crunching leaves. She was coming and his hand shot to the worn handle of his hunting knife.


His fingers stroked the soft wood like a lover and he stared at the jogger-beaten path. The bounce of her headlamp filtered through the thick brush and he blew a slow stream of air through his lips, calming his pounding heart.

Patience, he told himself again. He didn’t want to give her enough time to react, to bolt in the opposite direction. Instead, he counted her steps, watching as the light approached, bouncing with each of her long-legged steps.

It wasn’t her lithe frame he was after. It was her face, her scalp. She passed by him at the store, catching his fancy and fueling his desire. A fine specimen. An excellent addition to his collection with fragile features stretched into a scream - forever captured in his art.

He crept closer to the path, crouching and ready to pounce the moment she crossed. The light drew closer and now he could smell the mixture of Poison and sweat, a sweet concoction that aroused his hunger and almost uncoiled his predatory posture. He inhaled deeply, relishing the scent. Her footfalls close enough to make out her dark form behind the bright light.

He waited and when the twig he placed in the middle of the path snapped, he sprang. In one leap, he caught her, wrapping his arms around her as he tackled. The yelp of surprise brought a smile to his face and he unsheathed the knife, plunging it in her chest before she could regain enough oxygen to produce a curdling scream.

Her eyes widened, blinking at him in the light of her fallen headlamp.

The thrill of the hunt, of the capture fueled his blood, pumping it frantically through his veins, throbbing in his temple, producing little spots of red in the edges of his eyesight. Ripping flesh accompanied each of his thrusts along with muffled cries of pain that gave way to an airy wheeze.

He grabbed her hair, pulling her head forward and slicing the base of her hairline with surgical precision. Sliding his fingers under the gaping wound, he peeled the scalp from the back to the front, separating her skin from the bone.

She did scream then, a high gurgling wail that died moments later when his knife separated the mass of skin and hair and lips he peeled from her bones, severing her jugular in the process. With the prize pelt in his hands, he stood, sheathing the knife and taking off toward the river.

Chapter 2

Eight hours earlier…

“You are ruining my life!” CJ Ryan bellowed.

Steve Williams crossed his arms and stood his ground. “I don’t care. You snuck out of the house after I said you couldn’t go to that party. You know damn well I’d find out and now both you and your brother are grounded until graduation.” His gaze traveled to CJ’s mute brother Tom. “And you, what were you thinking stealing that car?”

Tom thrust his hands in his pockets and stared at the ground.

Steve clenched his teeth together and glanced out the observation window at the Brooksfield police department pit.

“You can’t ground me. You’re not my father.”

His gaze snapped back to CJ and he tilted his head, narrowing his eyes. “I may not be your biological father, but don’t ever doubt my authority here.”

“It’s your fault my parents are dead.”

The mental shove made Steve stumble back a step and he caught himself. In two strides, he stood toe to toe with CJ, his gaze blazing into the azure blue of the seventeen-year-olds equally furious eyes.

“You really want to play that game with me?” he asked, his voice low, almost a growl, but the kid struck a chord. His father had been caught in the cross fire of one of his FBI investigations and his mother, his mother was a completely different story. He had led her right into the belly of the beast.

CJ dropped his gaze, his eyes traveling to Tom’s before he gave a slight shake of his head.

“Why’d you let him steal a car?”

CJ sighed and shrugged, all the hellfire burned out of him for the moment.

“Why?” Steve asked and stepped back, addressing Tom.

I wanted to see my dad. Tom thought, meeting his questioning stare.

“Bullshit.” Steve shook his head. You see him all the time. You probably can see him pacing the room behind me. Can’t you?

Tom’s gaze moved from Steve’s to the angry angel pacing the room. Wings fluttered and a wealth of curses dropped from his lips, his iridescent blue eyes glaring at the two boys. Tom nodded. I wanted to talk with him.

“You could have asked me to bring you here.” Steve softened. It had been a couple months since they visited Paradise Cove. The magical portal where their father could speak to them, to see them and Tom had a ghost of a tongue along with the miraculous recovery of speech. It was the only place on earth that he could articulate his thoughts since the psycho in Georgia cut his tongue out.

But neither boy had the same mental bond Steve had with their father. Their father was now his guardian angel, a constant presence intruding on his every thought. Steve could hear Ty Ryan any time of day or night, even times when he’d rather not have the voice of reason on his shoulder. Sometimes he wished for the blessed silence he knew before he met the Ryan family. The absolute cluelessness to the thoughts around him, to the ghost haunting his every waking minute and to the powers he inherited when Ty died. Reading minds came in handy as an FBI agent, but the constant din in his head was maddening.

“You’ve been too wrapped up in that case to take us,” CJ answered.

That case. He almost laughed at the venom in CJ’s voice. That case shrouded his life, leaving time for nothing else and he missed more football games and nights of homework and family time his wife set aside because of that stinking case.

Another killer was loose. The Windwalker eluded the police, eluded the FBI, and eluded him like he was made of smoke. They had gotten to the last victim minutes after she died. With her body still warm, they scoured the woods for clues, but the tracks disappeared at the bank of the river, just like every other dead, skinned body they found. Stealth, like fog rolling from the snow during strawberry spring, in and out quickly before the victim really knew what happened and it burned him, becoming a mission. An obsession.

CJ knew how frustrated he was and to bring it up here was just his attempt to get a rise out of him, to skirt the real issue.

He ignored the dig. “So you sneak out of the house, crash that party, have a few beers and decide it would be a great idea to steal a car?” Exasperated, he traded glances with the boys. “You crossed state lines. Do you have any idea how serious this is?”

CJ went to speak and closed his mouth. He sank into the chair, fidgeting with his parent’s wedding bands, which he wore on a chain around his neck. Tom followed suit taking the seat next to his brother.

I’m sorry. It was my idea not CJ’s.

“Grand theft auto is serious and you two are close enough to eighteen for the courts to look at this as an opportunity to teach a hard lesson.” He slid into the chair on the other side of the table and leaned forward. “I had to pull a lot of strings to make this disappear but this is the last time I will bail you out. You hear me?” He pounded his index finger on the table, punctuating his words. “The last time!”

* * * *

The magnificent wings fluttered and a chill tingled down Tom’s spine. The incarnation of his father stood before him on the leaf covered moss of Paradise Cove. CJ’s mirror image with grand white wings implanted in his back—a dark angel saddled with the responsibility of keeping Steve Williams safe for the rest of his natural life.

“I can’t believe you would do something like that!” the voice bellowed, shimmering off the water and sending tendrils of ripples through the surface of the cove. Trees shook under the booming tenor, bowing away from the power of it. “I could just ring your neck.”

He took a step back, right into the solid mass of Steve blocking the only entrance to this sacred ground. His escape thwarted and the anger sparked under the layer of fear.

The angel crossed, towering over him, extending his wings to their intimidating breadth. “You stole a car!”

“That’s right. I did,” Tom spoke, standing a little straighter and jutting his chin. His voice unmarred by the absence of a tongue. Smooth and perfect like it should have been.

“I never thought you would be the one to rebel. What the hell happened?”

“I don’t know, ‘Dad’.” He made quotations marks with his fingers, sarcasm lacing his musical tone. Nightmares still plagued him; night after night he relived the days locked in the basement in Georgia. All the snippets of torture, all the grotesque dreams, all the horror, culminating in the reigning fury throbbing in his veins and the dam finally burst. Tom’s eyes narrowed into a glare. “Perhaps it was my mother’s severed head sitting next to me while that bastard carved me up. And you…you didn’t stop him.”

Ty’s wings trembled, retracting a fraction. “I couldn’t stop him, Tommy.” His eyes misted, a bright sheen over the unearthly blue, one slipped down his cheek creating prisms of light like a diamond as it traced his skin and fell to the ground. “I tried, but all I could do was scare his damn dog.”

“Are you telling me, with all your powers, with all your insight, you couldn’t figure out who had taken me any faster than Steve?”

Silence blanketed the cove.

Tom glared at the image of his father and the pained tears streaking his cheeks, guilt and sorrow etching his features enough to make his stomach clench.

Ty swiped his face and shook his head, clearing the self-loathing look out of his eyes, replacing it with indignation. “Look, what happened, happened. That does not give you the right to steal a car.”

“Pft,” Tom scoffed.

“Your mother would be so disappointed.”

Those six words deflated him and a lump formed in his throat. Disappointing her was not on his to-do list, and he slid his glance to CJ. It was a low blow and they both knew it. The kettle top holding his frustration rocked under the steam and the slow simmer over the last eight years finally boiled over.

“What gives you the right to tell me what I can and can’t do?” Tom shoved his hands into the angel’s chest, pushing with all his strength. “You aren’t even my real father.”

“I am your real father. I’m the one who raised you to know what’s right and what’s wrong and what you did today is wrong!”

“Ha! You teach right from wrong? You’re kidding, right?”

“That’s enough.” Wings fluttered again, agitated.

“What Dad? You didn’t think we’d ever find out what you did in that prison of yours?” He took a step closer to the angel. “You killed for sport. No better than the psycho in Georgia. No better than the murderer in Maine right now.”

“I did not kill for sport.”

“But you sure as shit stood by and watched.”

The angel’s blue eyes traveled to CJ’s and then dropped to the ground and he yielded, stepping back. “What I did close to thirty years ago is not under discussion. We’re talking about you breaking the law today.” He raised his eyes again. “I did a lot of things I’m not proud of. Things that should have landed me down under, but for some reason…” He shook his head. “No, because of your mother I landed on the sunny side of heaven. Don’t you dare use the mistakes I made as some sort of excuse for pulling this shit!”

He turned to Steve. “Thanks for bailing them out, now get ‘em out of here.” He turned, his wings extending taking him swiftly up beyond the treetops.

Thanks for swinging in for a read.  Look for other Steve Williams novels here on Amazon.

Until next time...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Elyse Douglas - Best & Worst Memories

What are your best and worst memories from adolescence?
by Elyse Douglas

Elyse: My best memories from adolescence involve high school. I started off in ninth grade as a tall, gangly “four eyed” kid with braces, painfully shy and insecure. I would half-run, half-walk down the hallway, with my head down, eyes lowered, in the hopes that no one would notice me. I attended a Catholic, co-ed school, staffed primarily by Sisters of Mercy, but there were a few lay teachers. One was my freshman year history teacher, a single young man right out of college. I developed a huge crush on him and learned to type just so I could type up his world history outline. (My typing skills helped me much more in life than learning world history, although I did remember some facts about English kings and queens for a while.)

Things started to turn around when I convinced my parents to let me get contact lenses (which I paid for by having a small paper route – throwing papers onto doorstops from my bicycle every morning). Then the boys started getting taller, my braces came off, and suddenly, in eleventh grade, I was considered desirable! The high point of the year was when I was in a production of Camelot, in the chorus.

How I loved the make-up, the make-believe, and the costumes… and I know I looked stunning as a siren in King Arthur’s Court because one of the Sisters told me that a Father who came to see the show actually singled me out as the prettiest girl in the show. Then the boy who played King Pellinore asked me out on a date. He was a great actor, and finally, finally, I had a boyfriend. We danced close at the junior prom, even in a Catholic high school auditorium, and made out in his father’s car until the wee hours of the morning.

By senior year, I had learned to play the guitar so I could lead a hootenanny, I was on the student council, I accompanied the Christmas chorus on the piano, I was named valedictorian, and I lost Pellinore. I dated a few other guys, but it took me until the end of senior year to catch another star, one of the best athletes in the school, who took me to the senior reception. More close dancing and lots more necking. Those were great memories.

My worst memories involve my home life. My parents fought continuously. My sister and brother left for college, leaving me alone in the war zone. I developed an ulcer. I wrote furiously in my journal every night; I wrote poems; I walked the beach – and then my parents sold our beach house, and I was devastated. But you know, we all survive adolescence and crazy home lives. And I have to agree with what one of my boyfriends said: My parents must have done something right, because I turned out to be a pretty nice person.

Douglas: My best memories are of baseball summer days under high blue skies, scooping up baseballs off the fat bats of opposing players who were bigger and richer than I. My best memories are also of falling in love every month with a new girl – and then some of the worst memories are of being too shy to ever let them know it. And then there was the pain and confusion of crashing adolescent emotions – as well as utter shock when I realized that adults were nearly as confused as I was. I thought they had figured life out. Seeing that they hadn’t was very discouraging. Very early on, I knew I had a long, rough road ahead of me.

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Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating - PG

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