Thursday, June 30, 2011

Awesome...er?

I don't do this kind of things often, so you'll have to excuse me for a moment...today is going to be a very long day for me. See, I'm spending time pretending it's not today. And I have to say, I already know it's going to be damn hard.

Why?

Well, check out this list. Go on, open a new tab or window and go look.

Yup, that would be the list for the 14th Annual PRISM Contest for Published Authors Finalists. At first glance, that's a pretty awesome list, right? I've read some of those books and you should really do yourself a favor and pick up some of them if you haven't--you'll thank yourself for it later.

But wait! It's gonna get awesome-er (yeah, not a word, I know--give me a break here). Check out the fourth category down--Futuristic. I own all four of those books and--look at that--I had the great honor of writing one of them too.

Yup, my first science fiction/futuristic/space opera ebook Midnight's Ghost is a finalist.


So, how about, to celebrate my squee, I give away a download of the book. So, take all week and tell me about a recent squee-worthy moment and I'll pick a winner to announce in my regularly scheduled post next week.

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not So Secret Addiction

I have an Etsy addiction. I don't think I hide it well, due to the number of "Oh! Oh! Check this out!" tweets I send and post on Facebook. But I tell myself not everyone knows how bad I've got it. I like homemade items, you know?

They're unique and made by artists. Not just some shopkeeper who throws up a website and peddles reproductions or mass manufactured pieces. There's nothing wrong with that, and we depend on such things to buffer the cost of living, but you do kind of crave something different every once in a while. Especially around Christmas or for birthdays. That's when I've gotten more dedicated to trolling Etsy--around the holidays. Or in anticipation of the holidays.

Which leads me to possibly the worst link I could have ever clicked while floating around on Twitter. Heartsy. It's a daily email giving you a chance to buy vouches for store credits. So you might pay $5 for $20 worth of store credits. Every day, it's a new hand full of shops chosen, and you'd never find them all on your own. It's been a really cool week scrolling through those daily listings and finding new stores to bookmark.

Let me show you a couple of gems:

LetThemEatPie


Let's pretend the most recent additions weren't all to bakeries. *cough*
How about y'all? Any guilty indulgences or favorite places to shop that are off the beaten path?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nervous To Meet You

Hi everyone,

Well, I'm off to RWA today. Its not hard for me to get there. Its just a few minutes over the bridge. But, I'm a little bit nervous to go!

Truth is, in 'real' life, I'm pretty shy. It's how I ended up writing by myself behind a computer to begin with. I love people. I love making new friends and learning new things. This isn't my first conference--I went to the Liberty State Fiction Writers earlier this year--and I had a wonderful time.

I have to say that right now I am nervous with anticipation.

Anyone else?

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Dog




Anyone who follows me on twitter has read about my dog. Lola is a Tree Walking Coon Hound. I've never seen her walk any trees, chase coons, or hunt with any success but I love her. Even when she locked me out of the house in the middle of a snowstorm while I was in my pajamas, I could still forgive her because she's a goof. Look at that face. It's a loving goof face.





She's convinced she's a little boy. Not only is she species confused but gender as well. One morning after the boys ran out to catch the school bus she decided to sit at the table on a chair and wait for me to serve her breakfast like the rest of the family.

I came across this hilarious blog http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/07/dog.html where the author worries her dog might be dumb. I contected with her concerns and performed the same tests she did. To my shock, Lola did very well. She's just fooling me.

Smart girl.


Annie Nicholas
http://www.annienicholas.com/

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Release of TAINTED BLOOD, The Dark Element Book One!!

YIPPEE!! Tomorrow is release day for Tainted Blood, The Dark Element Book One!! To celebrate here at Paranormal Romantics I'm going to giveaway a signed ebook of A Warrior's Witch, An Otherworld Romance. Yup, you heard it signed! Neat, right?!

So, leave a comment with your email address and on Monday I'll draw a winner using random.org.

Good luck!

Earth Witch, Sabi has been gifted with the ability to see premonitions of the darkness that threatens human lives. Safe in the Otherworld she adjusts to these new visions…which isn’t going so well. Luckily, she’s got the sexy Guardian, Ryker to help her work through these visions. He’s intent to show her how to distance herself from them and help her gain control of life. Not that it’s really helping. These visions are leaving her crippled and unable to help pinpoint the killer’s locations to stop these acts from happening.

If that’s not enough to deal with, she soon begins to see vampires on a killing rampage in San Francisco. Vampires are being born and left to fend for themselves, resulting in innocent lives being taken while they’re in the throes of blood lust. But as Sabi’s visions begin to kick up a notch, personal matters need to be put aside. And as the mystery begins to unravel, Sabi will begin to see that these visions are getting far more dangerous and that humans are not the only ones at risk―she is…

Saturday, June 25, 2011

J is for Jaded

Business first, then I'll get down to the topic for the week.
Hailey, you're the winner of a copy of Slipping the Past. I'll shoot that out to you soon. :)

It took me a good long while to think of something that went with J. Every time I tried to come up with a topic, all I could think of was my last name.

From Dictionary.com, here's the definition of jaded:  A disreputable or ill-tempered woman.

Since Alice isn't disreputable, she must be the other, an ill-tempered woman. She was one of my biggest challenges to write and is also one of my favorite heroines. She is a woman taken to the brink, one step from giving up, holding on only because she wants to save others from her fate.
Meet Alice MacKay, former wife, mother and overworked explosive ordnance tech, working in Trios Space Port.
 
MacKay stood. Pulling open a cabinet inside the wall, she retrieved a rucksack that held her tools. She wouldn’t take a flack suit. It weighed too much, and she needed to be able to swim. Besides, she didn’t have time to pack. A couple of grounding bracelets sat in the bottom of the drawer. MacKay scooped them up and crammed them into her bag. This wouldn’t be the first time she’d dealt with voltage, and they’d helped in the past.


Turning, she caught Boomer snooping on her bookshelf. “You’re still here.

“It’s your lucky day,” he said, continuing to pry into her business. “Sea wasps sound like water creatures. Did you happen to notice I used to be a Marine? I can handle the wasps.”

He pulled a book off the shelf and opened it. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, a first edition print, and something he didn’t need to smear his skin oils all over. MacKay bristled.

“You like Alice in Wonderland?” He thumbed through the pages.

“My first name is Alice.” Why did I tell him that? MacKay strode over and pulled the treasured book from his hands. She’d already suffered one casualty at the Marine’s hands. The paperweight could be replaced; the book was priceless. She placed it back on the shelf and locked gazes with him. “It was a gift. As for you being a Marine, I noticed, and it isn’t one of your better qualities in my humble opinion.”

“I’d say it’s an advantage.”

“Really? So, tell me how you’d handle these things?” She took a step closer and tipped her head back to look him in the eyes. Inches separated them. “Kill them? Bad idea. Let me give you a clue. You’re from Earth.” She jabbed him in the chest with her index finger. “Sea wasps are nasty aquatic creatures from another world. They’re territorial, highly aggressive, and in this case, better alive than dead. They could be the only reason that bomb hasn’t detonated. That water they’re in will carry a charge. The current will cause muscle spasms, pain and possible loss of consciousness. You have any heart problems?”

Heat flared in his eyes. Crowding his space hadn’t affected him the way she’d expected. At the least, he should have retreated. She took a step back and he snagged her wrist, tugging her back into the vis-à-vis.

“Your name really is Alice?”

“I asked you a question.” Gods, she’d melt if she didn’t get away. She twisted out of his grip and put space between them.

“No.” Boomer shook his head and closed the freshly-opened distance. “Both of my hearts work fine, and you know you need my help with this.”

“Yes, my name is Alice. Don’t ever use it, and I’ve managed to work through worse situations without your help or anyone else’s for that matter.”

Two hearts. She should have known. He’d claim to be half Odroxian. She didn’t want to admit it, but two hearts could give him an advantage against the voltage he would encounter inside that tank. He might be useful after all. But she’d be damned if she’d tell him that.

MacKay swung the pack over her shoulder and brushed past him. Following, he grabbed her arm and stopped her. She eyed his hand. He let go.

“I can help.”

“You could also get me killed.”

But he did have two hearts, and if he could keep the wasps off her while she defused that bomb... She had insulating bracelets that should ground most of what the creatures hit her with, but it wouldn’t stop the zap from hurting like hell. The fewer stings she received, the better. She would already be freezing her ass off in the tank. A little help could go a long way. Maybe he could help.

“I thought you placed the ad for this reason. These sea wasp things sound like trouble—more trouble than you can handle. Let me take care of them while you defuse the bomb.”

Do it MacKay. Nothing says you have to keep him as an employee afterward. She sighed. “You’re not going to leave, are you?”

“No.”

MacKay shoved the pack into his hands. “Carry this.”

“Does that mean I got the job?”

“It means—carry it. I’ll decide if you get the job when I’m done with the freighter.”

Boomer grinned. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Call me MacKay.”

“MacKay.”

That voice. MacKay’s heart jumped. And that smile reminded her of her husband when he’d been alive. When Glenn had smiled like that, she’d never been able to say no. She knew little about Boomer, and what she did know generated a fluttering in her stomach and sent red flags up all over the place. He knew how to put her off balance and emotionally disarm her, a lot like Glenn used to do. She hadn’t intended to bring him along, but now found herself with an assistant.

Her hands shook, and her heart raced. She’d given him shit for being jittery, but here she was, shaking as if she was about to go out on her first date. For the first time in five years, she’d noticed a man sexually. Not just any man, but one that reminded her of a happier time in her life, something she’d never get back. Nothing good could come of this.

“Do what I say and stay the hell out of my way.”

“Are you always this personable, MacKay?”

“I’m looking for an employee, Mr. Boomer, not a date.”

“Not a problem. You’re not my type.”

MacKay paused. What he’d said stung. She might not have a supermodel’s beauty, but she didn’t resemble a mud gat either. What was his problem, and what the hell did he mean she wasn’t his type? She knew better than to ask, but the words just leapt from her mouth. “And what exactly is your type, Mr. Boomer?”

“Less antichrist . Softer, feminine. More, you know…nice.”

“I’m not the antichrist, Mr. Boomer.”

“It’s your story. Tell it the way you want to. I’m looking for a job, Alice, not a date. So why does it matter?”

He’d thrown her words right back in her face, and for once, she’d wished she hadn’t said them.

“It doesn’t.” MacKay stalked away.

But it did. Why? She shouldn’t care if he found her soft and female. But damn it all to hell, she did care. And it bugged her more than the fact he’d found a way to worm himself into her employment.

Have a great weekend!

D L Jackson

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Friday

World Building can make or break the story. Spacing it out, and not info dumping, is what gets a reader’s interest, then the mix has to be right to keep them reading. For me, this is the hardest part of the story. I want to tell everything just as it’s rushing through my brain. I can’t do that! Often I worry, "Did I put too much in the beginning, or too little?" The knack is to get just the right amount of ‘story’ up front. I don’t know how others do it, but I generally start with a synopsis and build from there. I let the story unfold as quickly as it wants to from the minute I type the words: Chapter One. I know where I want the characters to start off – where they go is up to them! *smile*
For the first Chapter, I let it rip. Once I get it all out of my head, I go back to the beginning and delete most of it! Yeah, I know, sounds crazy, but it works for me. I keep what I cut away in another document because it’s all part of the world I’ve started to build – I just need to find the right points to place it after removing it. Have I thoroughly confused you? Does anyone even really need to know that? Probably not… so I’ll move on.
My new WIP is based on an old Armik song, For Annette, and for months it clamored around in my head until it exploded. For now, I’ll share the video that was my inspiration.


Along with inspiration of another kind that helps to write what I think they'd look like for real! Mount up...
 


 


Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm Missing Something

Some kind of gene in my makeup or something because I don't get it. Or maybe I should say them. I'm talking about shoes.
See, I see those and wonder how in the heck someone can walk in those. How are they comfortable in any way. My feet weep just looking at them.Give me a pair of my favorites any day:
Is it just me, though? Am I the only one who doesn't get the whole shoes obsession phenomenon?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Werewolf, You Say?

I'll admit this isn't the post I had planned for today, but I was checking in to see what my blog mates had been up to and saw Stacey mention Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series. While our opinions on what works and does may differ, we're in total agree that 1) Adam is hawt and 2) Mercy is just plain cool. She's the only heroine I can name off the top of my head that I actually like. So that's saying something. I just finished catching up with the series last week. Something happened in book three that made me wary of how the other books would unfold. I should have trusted the author more. She did a fantastic job of handling the situation. Either way, I'm caught up now and while River Marked had a slow start for me, I really enjoyed the last half of the book. I'm ready for the next one.

(We don't get a new Mercy book until 2013. I don't know how I'll make it that long.)

In the meantime, I wanted to catch up with her Alpha and Omega series. See--one of the things I love about Mercy's series is the Marrok, Bran, who is like a father to her. Samuel is also such a fantastic character, and his little brother, Charles, is too. So I was thrilled when Briggs began a spin off based in Mercy's world that follows Charles and his mate, Anna, on their adventures. (And gives me more time with Bran, which I <3)

As a matter of fact, I would be happy if Briggs wrote a series about Bran. Very happy.

But it occurs to me not everyone may know those series are connected. Since I'm in a time crunch this week, I'm going to leave you all with a recommendation to read not only Mercy, but to give Charles a chance. That series, by the way, is written in third rather than Mercy's first person.

Now Briggs begins an extraordinary new series set in Mercy Thompson's world - but with rules of its own.

INTRODUCING THE ALPHA AND OMEGA NOVELS...


Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack.and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member - and as his mate.
Check it out on Amazon here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pushing Forward

Yesterday, I spent time editing Return to the Sea (no release date yet but I'll keep you updated) and writing the next installment in the Westervelt Wolves series. I also read a really great short story that a friend had written. So, all-in-all, in addition to going to the dentist, handling the cable company, coordinating a large delivery that showed up at the wrong time, and taking care of my kids--it was a productive day.

Interested in seeing how much I can get done today. I'd like to up my word count on my work in progress. But, I'm just three days back from my week-long vacation so I'm working on getting back into the swing of things.

How about all of you? How are you doing?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sangria...


Summer is the time for Sangria!  I've been asked to share this recipe a few times and here it is. Finally.

The Best Sangria EVER

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
one bottle of wine (regular size, not the super-sized ones)
1/4 cup brandy (this is essential, don't forget it!)
17oz of club soda
1 cup of fruit
ice cubes

To vary your Sangria you can make it white.

Use white wine instead of  red, I sometimes substitute the orange juice for another type like pineapple or guava.

Happy Summer.

And for your viewing pleasure...





Annie Nicholas

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Werewolf love...

Happy Sunday!! I'm back to share another story I'm reading, because I cannot gush over River Marked enough. It's a very rare thing for me to read a story where there is little to no romance. But I'm addicted to the Mercy Thompson novels.

Not saying there is no romance at all, it just plays a small role and you won't find any steamy scenes. These types of stories I tend to stay far away from. So, when I picked up the first novel, Moon Called, I really had no expectations. I must say I was floored the second I started reading it--truly and undeniably captivated!

Silver Borne was the last Mercy Thompson story I read and I'll admit I was disappointed in the direction it took. But River Marked has redeemed it all for me. Not only has the plot been fantastic, but more of Adam and Mercy's relationship is shown in this book. I wasn't expecting it so it's been a wonderful surprise.

I am now (well...maybe have been all along) officially head over heels in love with Adam. He definitely tops my favorite hero's list!

If you get a chance, check it out--it's a wonderful series!



Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She's never known any others of her kind. Until now.

An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-one that her father's people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help...

BUY LINK

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Time for a Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Some love affairs last a lifetime…others never end.


Fifty years into the future, if you’re one of the damned, you don’t run for your life, you run to save your soul. Jocelyn Miller is wanted for crimes she committed before she was born. Homeless, blind and out in the elements on one of the coldest nights of the year, her desperation results in a bad decision. When Jocelyn and her brother Nate rob a convenience store, Jocelyn comes face to face with her worst nightmare and greatest love, a reaper named Gabriel.

Gabriel Solaris is an Enforcer, a genetically enhanced psychic often referred to as a reaper for his ability to take souls, and he’s charged with collecting Jocelyn’s. When he finds Jocelyn outside the store, he’s sure she’s up to something illegal. Proving it isn’t necessary. He holds a warrant and it’s all he needs. But the closer Gabriel gets to Jocelyn, the more he begins to question his duty and why he believes her claims of innocence. When Jocelyn tells him she loved him once, Gabriel loses control and kisses her. Instead of taking her soul, he gives her a week to prove innocence in her past-life crimes, something he has no authority to grant.

Slipping the Past has finaled in the RWI's More than Magic contest!

Getting the news about the contest final reminded me of the first time I made a sell. It was only a short story, but it was the beginning of my career as a published writer.

There I sat in Panera Breads, muching on my bagel, reading my emails that had piled up that week, as I didn't have internet at home because of a remodel, and there it was. The "we want your story" letter.

I squealed. That's right. Outloud in Panera. Then I realized where I was and looked up. A baker's dozen of Panera patrons stared at me. Yes my face was the color of a ripe tomato, but I was happy.

This time when I squealed, I only woke the house. So to celebrate I've decided to give away an e-copy of my novel, Slipping the Past. All you have to do is leave a comment about one of your squeal-worthy experiences before Friday at midnight. I'll draw a name from the commentors and announce the winner in next Saturday's post.

*Inserts gratidous excerpt*

Justinus eyed her from across the room. Handsome, powerful and wealthy, everything she should desire. He’d been a friend from childhood. They used to sneak out and ride together, play in the fields and they even learned about sex together. He’d been her first and at one time she thought herself in love with him. But lately he’d taken on a serious air, watching her with hunger, always questioning where she went and with whom.

“Where were you this night, Jocasta? I came by earlier.”
She shrugged and twisted a beaded bracelet on her wrist, a trinket Augustus purchased for her earlier. “Taking in the celebration.”
“Did you attend with someone?”
She glanced up and caught the look in his eyes. Fire. Lust. Her stomach fluttered. “Alone.”
“You shouldn’t go out unescorted. A beautiful woman could find herself in trouble. I might lose you to another lover.”
Jocasta laughed. “You tease me, Justinus. You’re not my lover.”
“I tease not. I’ve asked your father for permission to marry you. He has agreed that the arrangement would be quite satisfactory.”
“Marriage?” Jocasta’s heart thumped in her chest. She could do worse. She cared deeply for him, but regardless she could never love him, not like the Centurion with the amber eyes.
He rose from where he’d reclined and walked toward her. “I’ve loved you all my life.”
She tipped her head back and stared into his face. “You’re my closest friend and I love you as such, but not as intimately as you profess.”
“I hope it will become so much more.” He knelt before her, pulled a bundle wrapped in bright fabric from the folds of his military tunic and held out a jeweled collar. “I’ve had this brought this all the way from Egypt for you. I’ve heard Cleopatra wore something very similar. Here, take it, a small token of my affections.”
Jocasta glanced down at the beaded bracelet she wore and back at the lapis and gold collar. “It’s lovely.”
He reached forward. “Lift your hair.”
Jocasta shook her head. “I can’t take that. I’ve fallen in love with another.”
Justinus’s glared and a tick pulsed in his jaw. His black eyes looked darker, full of rage. “Who?”
“Does it matter?”
“Who?”
“His name is Augustus. He’s a Centurion.”
“Augustus?” Justinus’s eyes fell, a frown creased his face. Pain burned across his countenance.
“Justinus?” There was more there than he was saying. “Do you know him?”
“He’s my brother. Anyone but him. I can’t kill him, but I can’t let you go either. I could never let you go.”


Have a great Saturday and good luck.
 
D L

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Friday

Before she knew what was happening, before anything could be done to prevent the calamity that would ensue, something sinister had taken hold. Stealthily, it crept deep into the soft, icky matter she knew as her brain. It had started days ago with a small grain, a tiny particle latching painfully onto her spine, and it began the long journey upward, into and past her medulla.
Resembling a vine on a garden trellis, it wrapped and braided itself insidiously around anything in its path. Left side, right side, the creature stormed through each compartment strangling every thought and idea she’d struggled in vain to keep buried away. Winding its way through layers of matter, it stole what belonged to her alone. She mentally grappled with the spectre, the horrible monster taking shape inside the hard, craggy, sometimes vacant, thing her skull had become.

Her fingers massaged the templar bones, digging into the soft space trying to push it back down, out of her mind. Pinching the tense, thick cords that stretched between her head and shoulders, she attempted to dislodge it, make it leave. Nothing worked.

Soon, the noises she’d heard in her head since the beginning of time started again. Voices, some human, but most were unheard of blood-thirsting monsters… they all screamed and clamored to be set free. The cacophony grew unbearable. Moving to the mirror above the vanity, she stared into her different colored eyes. It approached the frontal lobe quicker than ever before, reaching the point of no return. The beast would pour from her, carrying all of her heart and soul.

A rainbow of color exploded painfully in her mind. There was only one thing she could do, only one way to get rid of it…

She started another WIP!

Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Research

Have been watching a community talk about research. Most of the conversations revolved around how far do people go for research but it got me thinking about something else having to do with research. As in do you love it or hate it?

Personally, I love it. I enjoy digging for something and educating myself further. Luckily, my real life job involves a lot of this as well. In fact, recently at work I spend two solid eight hour days searching for an answer. I found it at the completion of those two days and when my boss thanked me for my persistence, I said that had been just like searching for a treasure with a map without a big black X-marks-the-spot.

A lot of the time, research for a book is just like that. Sometimes, I’ll get an idea in my head of how something should go, but I have no idea what the environment is like. For instance, recently, I had a scene in a book that took place in a morgue. I didn’t actually visit a morgue but never underestimate the power of the internet. It’s not just for surfing…well, you know. Find a good search engine and you’ve got the ultimate research tool right there. A good day of research and I knew far more about morgues and autopsies than I ever thought I would. As it turns out, I have a good friend who is a college professor of anatomy. She called me up one day and asked if I'd like to see the cadaver she just got in for teaching her classes. Oddly enough, I took her up on the offer. Really, you just never know. And to be honest, I was extremely fascinated.

Just as you shouldn’t ever underestimate the power of a good search engine, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of simply asking a question. There are times when you need a specific answer to a specific question and the power of the internet search engine is just too broad.

I think that no matter what you write, be it romance, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, there’s an element in research to it all. I’ve always thought that having a basic knowledge of something can make me well versed in whatever I’m writing about and can make the experience for the reader richer as well.

Research, for me, is a highly enjoyable process. Almost as much as writing in the first place.

Anyone else have any odd or extreme lengths they've gone to all in the name of research?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Good News Bee

Okay, so I really don't like bees. It's not so much that I'm afraid of them, as they like to zoom at my head. That's just not cool. Let's not talk about my tendency to jump from moving vehicles to escape them, either. It's not fear...it's...um...caution. Yeah, caution.

Regardless of my personal feelings on bees, Mom always says a Good News bee brings good news. I saw four outside my front door last week, and I think she was right this time. I have good news. Very good news. And I'd like to share it with y'all.

Are you ready?

I signed a contract with Samhain Publishing yesterday. Yep. My editor loved Evermine and is now waiting on Dillon's book. Pretty cool, huh? I'm excited. And nervous.

Next week, I have a pretty cool post lined up. It's a spinoff of a mini workshop I've been doing. This week, you'll have to forgive me. I'm basking, and I have Kiss of Snow waiting for me on my Kindle. You know, as a reward for good behavior. ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Things That Go Bump In The Night




Thanks to Rebecca for letting me do a guest post today.

Since I was a little kid, I've loved all things paranormal. I love it all - ghosts, hauntings, possession, demons, angels, vampires, banshees, succubi, incubi, fairies, elves, goblins, dragons, gnomes and, of course, aliens. While some terrify me, others intrigue me, I can't help but love them and want to research them further.



Ghosts both scare and intrigue me.
I've seen some photos and video which I don't doubt are big hoaxes, but every now and then I come across one that just chills me to the bone. While I know a lot of ghost hunting shows are just too ridiculous to believe, I've found Ghost Adventures very intriguing. I don't know if it's the guys (because they're not typical loopy looking ghost hunters) or just the fact that they have some fascinating footage, but I love their show.




I think the real reason I believe in ghosts and am so intrigued and frightened by them is because I have had a few experiences with them. A couple were just weird and one was absolutely terrifying (I still think it was a demon I saw, not a ghost).

What is your favourite thing that 'bumps in the night'?
Please, feel free to share your experiences, I LOVE hearing of people's accounts of hauntings, seeing strange things or beings and encounters.


Have a great Tuesday everyone!! ;-)

Liia

Monday, June 13, 2011

What Makes a Woman?

It's no secret I like to garden. I've written a few blogs on the subject. Maybe too many. LOL It's a good way to allow my mind to wander as I battle the weeds and nuture the flowers.

Yesterday, while trying to figure if the plant I was about to up root was weed or a black eyed susan, I over heard my younger son say something about being able to ride on the big kid bus next week and that he wouldn't be a little boy anymore.

A milestone. *sad sigh*

This, of course, lead me to think about milestones in general, particularly those a girl has to achieve to be a woman. I don't think when a person turns eighteen they automatically become an adult. That's just an age  some bureaucrat chose. Heck, I've met some thirty years old I wouldn't consider an adult.

What are some of the things a girl needs to do in her life, in general, that matures her into a woman?

Some things that came to mind are:
  • Losing her virginity
  • Having her heart broken
  • Sticking her neck out for someone
Anything else come to mind?



PS: I'm giving away The Angler series this week at this BLOG HOP

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My love for Katie MacAlister!!

Happy Sunday!! I'm home from vacation now, and I wanted to share a book with you all that I read while I was away. As some of you know, Katie MacAlister is my favorite author. Her dragon series top my all time favorite reads and going on the 9th book in the series I'm amazed she can still keep me captivated.

So why do I love her work? Well, she writes some of the sexiest men I've ever read--hello, dragon shifters? Plus she adds in humor that I just love and always has a mystery wrapped up in there too.

I cannot say enough about all the dragon books--if you haven't had a chance to read her stuff, go get them right away!!

Here is the book I read...and I can only hope the next one comes out soon!!


Even an ancient dragon can learn how to multitask…

Ysolde de Bouchier is a woman beset with trials. The dragon part of her buried deep for centuries is still making itself known, but in ways that just don’t make sense. She’s continuing to have visions, but now they involve events she wasn’t present to witness.

As if that isn’t enough, she’s caught up in a tangled web of plans that seem to grow more complex each day. Not only does she have to work out peace between her Light Dragon mate Baltic and the weyr, she also has to free his friend, convince an archimage to lift the spell controlling her magic, figure out what it is that the First Dragon expects her to do, rescue a half-dragon damsel in over her head, and once and for all clear Baltic’s name of murder charges that continue to plague him.

No one told Ysolde that dragon love would be so hard…


BUY LINK

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I is for Intelligence

As long as their has been opposing governments, there have been spies. If you've been thinking about writing a spymaster or espionage ring into one of your stories, there are some basics you should know.

Top Secret--we've all heard of this classification used for data, but what does it really mean. What are the repercussions of Top Secret information falling into the wrong hands? The definition as I was taught when I went through my Military Intelligence training is simple, if Top Secret information gets out, it can and will start a war.

That's it. Plain and simple. It really puts the Wiki leaks into perspective doesn't it?

Spies are not who you expect. Wash, rinse and repeat. When writing your spies, remember these people need to blend with the general population and their job isn't always gathering intelligence, but sometimes spreading misinformation--deception, or analyzing information they've received and decoding messages. Like chess, this information is used to decide the next move, whether it be repositioning troops on a battlefield or shifting assignments of agents in the field.

Spies can be elderly, or mothers with babies or even a woman who hangs her clothes on the line to send convert messages, as one of George Washington's female agents from his infamous Culper ring did.

There are many areas of a spy network. From gathering information, dissemination, to analyzing the data to see if it supports what is known, or if the collected data could be a deception itself. All intelligence agents are not necessarily James Bond or Mati Hari. Remember, their purpose is to blend and sometimes the opposing government already knows who they are, and intentionally feed them false information, as George Washington's agents did.

So when writing your spy, ask yourself, what is their place in the network? Who are they and why could the information they hold in their heads, start a war and if information is leaked, what is the intent of the leak? Then you got the basis for a great cloak and dagger story.

Have a great weekend.

D L Jackson

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Friday

Okay, am I allowed to say Summer is flying by--too fast--it's mid June already. Oh, right, officially it doesn't start until the 20th, or is it the 21st? Either way, I'm already enjoying the hot-as-hell weather which feels like Summer should feel!! And that brings me to my post. *grin*
 
Coming soon from Razor's Edge Press.

THIRSTY

To quench her thirst, she'd have to dance with the devil...

 Monique finally found a place where she could live out her fantasy. Little did she know the den of iniquity she'd walked into was inhabited by every monster in the world.

Nolan, a vampire who worked as a Slayer, wanted to give the human woman her every wish. But first, Satan's son had to be reckoned with. The one thing both agreed on was Moni should have what she wanted--enough sex to quench her thirst.

The sound of the door swinging in distracted them both.

God damn, the woman was striking. Tall, curvaceous, and with dark brown hair to her ass, an ass that cried out to be fucked. Christ. Nolan’s cock came alive. So did every other part of his body, which took a lot of doing considering he’d been dead too many years to count.

Peris chuckled on the other side of the counter, giving his balls a nice squeeze. “Looks like a live one to me. I might make a play for her myself.”

“Not unless you’re looking forward to visiting relatives.” Peris had connections to the hierarchy below, but, with the dark one’s permission, Nolan would send the young man to Hell in a heartbeat. Nolan had been called lots of things -- dead, undead, bloodsucker, motherfucker -- and he lived up to every one of them. He was a Slayer, and he was the best. “Get the lady a beer. Let’s see what she does with it.”

Watching the woman make her way to the bar, he took a deep breath. Human. Omen’s wasn’t a place humans popped into often, and for good reason. The cloying feeling of imminent danger was prevalent, a vibe even the shallowest human sensed the minute they entered the establishment.

This one ignored it, so she must be looking for something. Or someone. The blood pulsing through her gorgeous body would soon be running through his veins. Wouldn’t kill her, vamps didn’t do that anymore. Okay, some did, but they were the ones he took out of play, and he enjoyed every minute of it.

She slid onto a stool at the opposite end of the bar, and it felt like she’d plopped into his lap. Cum slipped from the slit on his dick, which jerked violently inside his designer slacks. He reached up to loosen a button or two at the collar of the stark white silk shirt he wore. Getting into her panties, if she wore any, was going to be pure joy. After fucking her senseless, he’d taste her -- just a little bit if she was worth another ride. If not, he’d have a full meal before sending her home.

Peris delivered a cold brew with a glass and turned away, pretending to straighten the bottles of liquor on display. Nolan, adjusting his heightened vision, gazed right into her eyes when she looked his way. One hazel, one brown -- not something he saw often. Tipping the bottle toward him, she smiled and nodded before putting it to her lips. No glass! Excellent. A cock sucker, and he’d bet every year he had lived she was a good one. When her pink tongue darted through painted red lips, wrapped around the top of the bottle and licked it dry, he made his move.

Easing into her mind, he sifted through all the day’s clutter. Such tiny panties. With a groan that lodged in his throat, he backed out, sniffing at the air. Sweet. What he’d unearthed in her mind made his dead heart beat like a drum. Fantasies should be played out, and he intended to help with hers.

Are you Thirsty yet!


Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting Forged Redux

A few weeks ago, Blogger bugged out. It disappeared completely and actually caused me to move another site I run off Blogger completely. So, I thought I'd share the post I had scheduled for that day (and it actually did post, only Blogger didn't come back for several days) because I'm participating in a release party at The Romance Studio today to promote Forged in Fire. Just comment on any of the posts I make over there today for a chance to win your choice of either Flash of Dark or Blood Fever - the first two books in the series.

Here's the link to excerpt #1: http://theromancestudio.com/party/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9649:first-excerpt-forged-in-fire-by-sara-brookes&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=54

Ah, vampires. My interest sparked in the creatures the very first time I picked up L. J. Smith's The Awakening - the first book in The Vampire Diaries series in 1991. (Yes, the same books that spun off the television show. Which, BTW, I don't watch. I tried. Truly. It just doesn't work for me.) I was 16 at the time.


Now, I get to write about those very things that caught my eye. In fact, my latest vampire book just released on Monday with Liquid Silver Books.



As vampire Evande Austin tries to adjust to her new found abilities, she can’t fight her new reality. She never intended to fall in love with two men. But she also never intended to take Fae blood to keep her alive either.
Trouble lurks in the shadows and Evande fears she will not be able to control the raging blood fever that burns through her because of Quinn. Thanks to Logan, the man who gives her anchor, Evande is able to maintain a thread of sanity in the blinding chaos.
When the Elders strike out and her future tumbles around her feet, Evande realizes the two men give her a bond she is unable to survive without. They need her just as much as she needs them. Giving into them both could just be the one thing that saves everyone.
But one thing remains clear—nothing comes without a cost.

Warning: This is a molten title. Contains elements some readers may find objectionable: Violence, blood, foul-language from a smartass Fae king, a newbie vampire unashamed of his kinks and a scintillating m/f/m bath scene that’s hot enough to steam mirrors


The first chapter it available in its entirety here: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/books/forgedinfireexcerpt.htm
And you can purchase the book here: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/books/forgedinfire.htm

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Pageantry of Writing

I found myself pondering the similarity between writing and beauty pageants last night. I know a few of you blinked at that, but it's true. Hear me out...

When you're in a pageant, you're in it to win it. You do your best, make sure you look your best, and wear the brightest smile you can muster even when you don't win. As a matter of fact, you go out of your way to show those who placed how happy you are for them--even if you really aren't.

(ETA: It's damn hard to be happy for someone when you're hurting and they're holding the prize. I don't know anyone who doesn't need a day or so to walk to off the sting and get their head on straight. There's nothing wrong with that. It's human nature. By the time your sincere happiness for them sets in, you'll be glad you did the right thing in the first place.)

When you write a book and submit it--you've done your best, you made sure it was polished and at its best, and you keep smiling even when you're given revisions or rejections. You keep you chin up and congratulate those around you when they land contract after contract and you feel as if you have nothing to show for your effort.

(ETA: See ETA above.)

See? Similar.

I suppose it's all in how you look at it. It's all in how bad you want something and how hard you're willing to work to get it. Can you always go home with a crown? No, and contracts are just as rare. I guess what I'm leading up to is while everyone wishes at some point to be the pretty girl going home with the rhinestone tiara, we can't all be that girl. We have to take turns.

There will always be someone prettier than you, smarter than you, or that has worked harder than you have. It's a fact of life, and here's another--the only thing in life you can control is yourself.

Do your best. Be your best. Eventually, you will be rewarded.

I know it's hard to believe that. In a few months, I might need to re-read this post and remind myself of that fact. All I can do is work harder, learn more, and hope the right idea hits the right person the right way.

I feel I should also add everything I know about beauty pageants I learned from watching Miss Congeniality. I meant no offense by my comparison. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One Night With A Wolf--Win A Copy!

So, last week I wrote about Driven. This week I thought I would tell you all about my newest release, entitled One Night With A Wolf. It is part of the 1NS series with Decadent Publishing.

Here is a blurb:

Joseph Penn is a Werewolf who has come to New York City to celebrate his sister’s birthday. Having been turned against his will years earlier in a violent attack, he spends as little time as possible away from his secluded home. Sitting in the bar, waiting for his sister, he’s shocked when he receives an unexpected text from his old friend, Madame Evangeline, the owner of the exclusive dating service, 1Night Stand, telling him he’s being set up with a woman in that very bar.

Kaylee Post has lost her boyfriend, her job, and her self-confidence. Intending to celebrate her friend’s birthday at the Manhattan restaurant, she never expects instead to have a one-night stand with a wolf who will change her life in ways she can’t yet imagine.


Genre: Paranormal romance, contemporary, erotic romance

Heat level: 4

Cover art by Dara England




~Excerpt~

He ran a hand through his brown hair as he considered Eve’s last text. He knew the woman made a very nice living setting people up. People signed up online using some kind of questionnaire. So why Eve wasted her time with him when he so clearly wanted to be left alone went beyond his understanding.

The girl on the stool—Kaylee—fiddled with the straw in her multi-colored drink. Could he leave her there and not tell her that no one would show up? He sighed. Of course he couldn’t. He might have been changed, against his will, to a werewolf who shifted into a canine every time a full moon showed up, but he hadn’t lost all the manners his mother had once instilled in him.

As he walked slowly toward the woman, he took a deep breath. Outside of his cabin in the woods, he very rarely allowed himself to use his wolf senses. Tempting fate courted danger, especially since for years after his initial bad-luck-bite he’d occasionally lose control of himself and end up growling or pawing at some unsuspecting stranger.

These days he handled the urges but still….

On some primal level, Kaylee Post called to him. He had to give Eve credit for getting the physical attraction part down. He’d liked blondes before he’d been bit. Especially ones who had sad violet eyes and pouty, kissable lips. Wow. Yeah.

As he leaned on the bar, he tried to smile in a way that wouldn’t alarm her. Kaylee caught her breath as he approached. Regular humans might not hear the small intake he’d noticed, but increased sensitivity to sound came with the wolf-bite.

“Hi.”

A slight red hue covered her cheekbones and stained her pale skin. What did that mean? Sickness? Then it struck him and he felt like an idiot. She blushed. He’d come over and his presence had made her blush. To his recollection, that had never happened before. Women didn’t react that strongly when they first met him.

“Hello.” Her voice sounded lower than he’d expected. Not too deep, but sexy and sultry in a way he knew would stick with him later.

“My name is Joseph Penn. I think we have something in common.”

Her violet eyes flared to life with an unknown emotion and it relieved him to see she didn’t seem sad when she spoke to him. “What would that be, Joseph? Or do people call you Joe?”

He shrugged. “Either, or.”

“Alright, Joe. What do we have in common?”

Now his cheeks burned. Maybe because her violet eyes seemed to pierce right into his soul, or perhaps it had been a really long time since he’d had sex, but Kaylee Post turned him on. In a major way.

“Well, um…” Okay, get the stammering under control. “We’ve both been stood up by my sister.”


I had a lot of fun writing this book. I loved these characters. Have you ever read or written in a world created by someone else that just fueled your imagination? Comment below to win a copy of One Night With A Wolf


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Start

There are so many things I want to accomplish this summer. Every year I start the season with an idea of how we can spend the summer months then fall appears and I'm left empty handed wondering, "Did I do any of the things I wanted?"

So this year I decided to blog my TO DO list and at the end of summer I'll evaluate it.
  • Go to Colorado to visit family
  • Attend as many swim meets as possible and work at a timer.
  • Hike Mont St Hilaire in Canada
  • Go mining for crystals
  • Go to Six Flags
  • Attend Renassiance Fair
  • Finish and submit present WIP
The list looks daunting but I think we can manage it!

What are your goals for the summer break?

Remembering what's important....

It's pretty hard to believe that it hasn't even been a year since I was first published, and I have eighteen books out now. Clearly, I have a busy muse, but sometimes one needs to put their foot down and refuse to work. This is one of those times.

As any mom knows, we all live a crazy life, busy days, and it's so easy to get caught up in it all. But sometimes, you just have to remember what really matters. And that for me right now is spending time with the hubby. For the last week we've been in the Riveria Maya just being hubby and wife, instead of mom and dad. Here is a little about what we are doing...

Our hotel. Sigh, right?!


Things we plan on doing...

Lounging on the beach and reading...(and maybe drinking one or two margarita's)

Visiting Tulum - The Mayan Ruins


Things we won't be doing...

There is only one thing I refuse to do and that's snorkeling! Yes, I know it's beautiful, but I went snorkling on our honeymoon, and it didn't work out so well. I not only almost drowned my husband but also the tour guide. Everything was amazing...until I saw the eel, then it was game over. If I want to see fish, I'll go to an aquarium where there is a thick piece of glass separating us! :)


Next week, I'll post our pictures from our trip and share our fun vacation, kid free, in total bliss!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Whatcha Reading?

What are you reading?

Is it any good? Would you recommend it?

What are you looking forward to reading?

I just finished Lora Leigh's Tempting the Beast. Yes, I know. What took me so long to read this? I loved the concept of the Breeds and her world building is great. I could do with more plot and less sex. Yes, I know. ME? Won't stop me from reading the other books or recommending it. LOL


Friday, June 3, 2011

It's Friday

*Peeping from under the covers* "Are the monsters all gone?"

May, was a fun month, Memorial Day has come and gone - it's summertime!! *YEAH*

Due to my job, I get to be up in the wee hours of the morning, and I love it. Quiet, dark, the perfect breeding ground for monsters of all sorts. Especially in my mind. *grin* I've been getting some writing done and this past week Zader's Menagerie hit the cyber bookshelves, so if you've been keeping up with the bloody cats, don't miss this entry which introduces a wolf... err... two, actually. July will see the release of Thirsty, a hot little story about a woman with a fantasy, a vampire who wants to help her live it, and the devil's son who knows just how to make her happy. It has all the good things monsters are made of.

What's really on my mind is writing, and the fact that I'm finding time to do it again. Not as much as I was, but I am writing. That's another thing about the quiet, dark nights. No ringing phones, no cars whizzing by, no interruptions whatsoever. Ahh, the joy of it all. *laughing*

And you know what else? I'm finding time to cook!! Yesterday it was homemade meatballs, with a gravy that was out of this world. Chunks of peppers in every color - red, green, yellow, even orange. Extra jalapeno, of course. The vadalia onions were so sweet! On a soft roll, it was to die for. Fast food quickly loses it's appeal when it's all you have time for. I'm catching up with some of my favorite shows via On Demand. Ooh, if you haven't seen The Voice, you must, must see it.  Talk about talent.

Finally, I'm eyeing my bookshelf, which looks amazingly like an oasis in the middle of the desert. And boy, oh boy, am I thirsty.

What should I read?

Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

Recently, I received a compliment on how I conduct myself in public. After I thanked the person (and I still thank you BTW, you know who you are) I thought about it. When first started submitting my work for consideration for publication, I promised myself that I would make a effort to ensure I acted a certain way on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Anywhere where I put my name out there. Publishers, editors, etc will look up your website, social media accounts, etc--despite what others will have you think--and see what you have out there. How you conduct yourself. They. Do. Look. The way I see it, my name is a brand. I'm trying to market it. When you try to market something, you want it to look as best as if possibly can.

Believe it or not, it's work. A lot. Sometimes people just say really stupid things and it's hard to not come back with something. Or even ask them what in the world they were thinking when they said it. But I bite my tongue and just keep on trucking. I  have frustrations in all stages of this business and just because I'm where I am at today doesn't mean that I don't still have frustrations. It's just a new set of them.

When I can't take it anymore (because, let's face it, I am human) my husband or a few trusted friend get to listen to my vents. And that's really the key to that calm, cool & collected appearance someone complimented me on. If you get a rejection you have a hard time handling, a review that just tears you a new one, or you're just frustrated beyond belief because you feel as if you're not getting anywhere, find someone you trust--offline or somewhere far, far away from public eye--and let loose. Rant all you like. You'll probably laugh about it later when you've gotten all those emotions out. And you have every right in the world to let loose like that.

Being an author isn't just about writing books and then selling them. There's a complete package to being an author and sometimes it's easy to forget the internet isn't private--especially social media---and someone is always watching.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Charlotte Loves Zombies

If you’ve come to this blog looking for Hailey, I’m afraid I’ve got some grave news. I kidnapped her last night.

But I swear, it wasn’t my fault! She was just too orsum and funny and cool and talented for me to stand another second without her. I had to have her for my Collection of Orsum People (the one I keep, under the stairs).

And the truth is, I know she’ll be happy, amongst such illustrious company as Michael Fassbender, Tyrion from Game of Thrones, and the person who invented jellybeans. And even if she’s not, well, I’ll just tell her the zombie apocalypse is upon us and she’s far better off in the secret land beneath my stairs.

There are almost no zombies in this magical and mystical place. But there are many, many zombies up here. I’m not even lying about that! I even wrote a book about the zombie apocalypse, look! Here’s the blurb for it:


June has spent the last two years of her life trying to avoid death at the hands of murderous psychopaths and ravening zombies. So when Jamie turns up on the scene, careless, still whole and promising her safety on a little paradise island, she isn’t quite sure she can trust him. Especially when he tells her that it’s just him, and his equally big, burly, handsome friend Blake.

But Jamie and Blake are even better than her wildest dreams—sweet and funny and charming. And worst of all: sexy as hell. Though they're trying to be gentlemanly with her, all she can think about is how much she wants to get tangled up in them, and forget the nightmare the world has become. She's waiting for her reawakening—back to life and happiness and love.

And they seem like just the right sort of men to wake her—body and soul.


And an excerpt, to doubly, nay triply prove it:

All June could think was—Kelsey is dead, Kelsey is dead, Kelsey is dead—while the image of the ravening hordes feasting on Kelsey’s body played behind her eyes. She tried to shut it off, keep it down, keep running before they got to her, but Kelsey’s blood was still wet and all over her right arm.
And if Jamie hadn’t shot Kelsey—right as she was still screaming, and begging for help—she’d be one of them, now. That’s what happened. Once they bit you or bled on you or hell, spat on you, you had maybe thirty seconds.
Before you turned.
She needed to stop, just stop for a second. Lean against something and catch her breath. But Jamie had somehow led them into this building and he just kept running and running—only up instead of out.
June didn’t even know if Jamie was really his name, or if he was leading them right into a dead end. But he kept going, none-the-less.
She could hear the hordes, busting through the door below. He’d barred it, but they were coming in anyway, to this place that was an almost total deathtrap. The staircase was narrow and blanketed in darkness, one winding section after the next. Even if she dared to pause and look over the railing, she wouldn’t be able to see them until they were almost on her.
“Jamie, wait!” she shouted, but not because things would be easier if he had hold of her hand or was there to comfort her in this dire hour of need. She’d made it this far, on her own.
Or at least, she’d made it this far, with Kelsey.
No, it was just that—if he kept going, eventually they’d be trapped, on the roof. And she couldn’t have that. That was one of her and Kelsey’s rules—don’t run to someplace with only one exit.
Only it was just her rule, now. This guy, this Jamie…he didn’t seem to have any rules. He’d decided to run to the roof of a twenty story building then potentially wait outside until the hordes pushed through a probably very flimsy fire door.
Kelsey had said to her. She had said—wait. He’s as crazy as they are. A safe island? He’s nuts. We can’t go with him. He’s probably an insane apocalypse rapist.
And she’d been right, God help her. Maybe not about the insane apocalypse rapist part, but even so and besides—there was still time for that. He could be anyone, be into anything. He could have planned this all along…Kelsey’s death, the run to the roof…hell, maybe he had a whole party of insane assholes up there, just waiting to do horrible things to her.
Even if that was as nuts as he now seemed. Why would he trap himself on the roof, just to have a little fun with her? Nothing in her head was functioning in quite the way it should. Connections had been lost. Wiring had come loose.
She still called out to him again, when they got to the level before the last one. Her voice came out hoarse and breathless, burning lungs making everything difficult, Kelsey in her mind making everything worse. But somehow the words emerged.
“Jamie, stop. Take the nineteenth floor exit, okay—we can go back down on the other side of the building—answer me, fuck!”
He did, then. She heard him call out over her own shrieking breaths, the pounding of her sneakers on stone, and the sounds of the once-were-people below, slathering and barking like animals.
There were two cracks, like he’d fired her gun into the stairwell. Though she couldn’t see where he was shooting or at what. Then—
“Just keep following me, June-bug—come on!”
Only it sounded more like come own, because of the Texan twang Kelsey had sworn up and down was fake. And he’d called her June-bug again, because he was crazy, he was crazy, oh dear Lord he was probably leading them to their deaths.
This was all just some final mad hurrah. He was suicidal, and this was how he wanted to go out. Death by stairs or death by zombies—because they were zombies, no matter how much she tried to pretend otherwise—or even worse, death by roof.
Was that what he was going to do? Hurl himself off? Plummet to his untimely end? She didn’t know. All she could really think about was how close the first ravening cannibal was getting, and how unfit she really was. She’d started believing all the cardio was really beginning to pay off, but as it turned out, eighteen flights of stairs and she was out for the count. Her heart clawed at her ribcage. Her thigh muscles screamed and screamed.
While her zombie pals kept coming and coming, as though the stairs were nothing, really. Why, leaping up eighteen flights was like a morning stroll to them! They could have climbed these stairs forever and still had the wherewithal to eat her innards, once they got their claw-like hands on her.
She hit the fire door to the roof just as one of said claw-like hands brushed the back of her shirt.
It made everything inside her leap, including the heart she’d thought had escaped. Whenever they got really close—that was when you realized just how terrible they were. How awful the world had become. How much it wasn’t like a movie at all, but like a constant and unbearable pressure against your sanity, always threatening to make you go over.
She felt like going over, when the door wouldn’t close on them. For a second of pushing and heaving with their hands coming through and all over her, her mind tried to fly away. It told her to start screaming uncontrollably, while clawing at herself—that doing so would really be her best bet. No more running constantly. No more pain over Kelsey—and before Kelsey, Joanne and Pat and the old lady whose name she never learned.
Just peace, finally. One moment of agony, then peace.
Only it wouldn’t be, would it? No, it wouldn’t be. If she stopped pushing at the door and jamming it at them and just God, let the door snap their arms, let it crush them, let it kill them all forever, if she stopped…they’d turn her into one of them. And no matter how much she tried to let it hurt her that Jamie had pointed the gun and shot Kelsey between the eyes, it didn’t. It couldn’t.
Being one of them was worse. After all, it could have been that they’d caught a disease. It might have been that they were infected with something—like in 28 Days Later, rather than Night of the Living Dead. But part of her wondered whenever she stared into their hollow, ink-black eyes, if they’d simply lost their souls.
He looked like it. The one who’d managed to squeeze his mottled face into the crack she was struggling to close in the door. He had no pupils, no irises, no whites to his eyes. It was all just blackness, empty and weirdly unseeing, as though they operated on no more than a bloodlust now. Like upright land sharks roaming the land, blindly searching out prey.
She wrenched the door from him for just an instant then smashed it back into his face. It was a risky move, but oh so worth it. Worth it for the satisfaction, worth it for Kelsey, worth it for everything these things had taken from everyone. People’s souls hadn’t left. These things had stolen them.
And when it slithered away and the door quite abruptly shut, the idea didn’t go with it. It stayed, and festered—so much so that she wanted to open the door for one mad moment, just to smash it back in their faces again, and again, and again.
She wanted to, but Jamie was calling to her. And other sounds were starting to flood through her now, too, other big, big sounds that she should have noticed ages ago.
At first she thought it was some kind of weapon. That he’d found a chainsaw or a pneumatic drill or a wood chipper. Something he’d known was up here all along for them to use against the enemy.
But then the wind whipped up and she turned to see something far more incredible than a zombie eating wood chipper. It was so incredible that she forgot the zombies battering on the fire door, for a second. They’d bust through it soon enough because although they couldn’t figure out handles, the sheer pressure of them would figure out the release bar.
Though it didn’t seem to matter. For the first time in these two years of hell, it didn’t matter. She found herself laughing out loud, high and probably hysterical.
Jamie had only gone and gotten himself a helicopter. And not only that, but he apparently knew how to fly a helicopter. The rotors were going. They were kicking up the fine gravel that lined the roof of whatever building this was, and he was yelling to her—
“Come on, June-bug, get your ass in here!”
She thought of him talking about the island. About his buddy who was waiting for them. How they’d just wanted to find survivors, and populate their safe haven, and how crazy that had sounded when he first started yakking about it.
Then she ran to him.

And if you liked the excerpt and are not too disturbed by my completely fake kidnapping of Hailey, you can buy it here:



I mean, I realise I should carry on the charade, here, and suggest you all buy my book to gain Hailey her freedom from Michael Fassbender, but let’s be honest. If I were telling the truth, who on earth would want to be freed from Michael Fassbender??