• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Kindle Countdown- A Promotional Tool

You never know if you don’t try. That’s definitely my philosophy when it comes to marketing my work. So this week, I’m trying something new, combined with something I’ve had moderate success with.

Promotions:

  • I’m doing a Kindle Countdown for To Kill a Wizard, which means I’m reducing the price from $2.99 to .99 for one week only.
  • I’m also making The Sea Goddess free tomorrow.
  • (Both of these tools are available for books placed in the KDP Select program.)
  • I’d love to run a promotion for Realm of Goddesses, but it is not currently in the KDP Select program.

In the past, I’ve seen the following results from the giveaways:

  • For every twenty copies I give away, readers buy about one copy of another work.
  • I wouldn’t be too impressed with this, but I always keep in mind that there’s a difference between people downloading my work and actually reading it. Chances are that a lot of the people who picked up free copies still have them sitting in their Kindles, unread, so this isn’t a strategy I think will make me an overnight success.

As for the Kindle Countdown promotional tool, I’ve never used it before. The idea is that Amazon should hopefully have it visible in a few of its lists, and I may get some readers willing to take a chance on my book for .99 versus $2.99.

But as always, I’ll let all of you know how the promotion goes. Have any of you tried it? And if so, did you consider it successful?

“To Kill a Wizard” is Available on Amazon

I know I just published my first short story on Amazon, introducing people to the world of Tarak, but now the first novel in the series is also available. It is absolutely amazing to see two and a half years of work finally being “completed.” So much about being a writer is working alone, just hoping that someday, someone, might see your work. To be at this point feels even more incredible than I ever imagined.

If you’d like to check out my book, here is the cover and the blurb:

Book- Without Back Cover- 1500Pixels

When eighteen-year-old Rose is chosen to join a mysterious order of women known as The Protectors, she hopes to escape a forced marriage and a miserable life. Instead, she unveils the dark secrecy surrounding The Protectors, and uncovers the horrific truth behind their power source. With her loyalty in tatters and her best friend’s life held hostage, she must learn to unlock the powerful magic slumbering deep inside her.

But time is running out.

The Undead Wizards, a dangerous enemy, have re-emerged from the Underworld, plunging The Protectors and the kingdom into a brutal war. Unfortunately, The Fates decree that Rose is the answer to the war may cost her more than she ever imagined. To win, she must decide whether to join them and betray the man she loves, or risk the annihilation of all she holds dear.

The Sea Goddess is Available on Amazon!

I’m so excited to announce my first short story “The Sea Goddess” is available on Amazon today! It has been such an amazing struggle to get to this point, and I am so thankful for all the support I’ve received from friends and family. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them. And, of course, that includes my 7 Evil Dwarves. There’s never been a better group of writers to work with!

If you’re interested in checking out “The Sea Goddess,” here is the cover, the blurb, and a link to Amazon:

The Sea Goddess

The Goddess of the Sea no longer cares just for sacrifices; she’ll punish all those tainted by blood on The Feast of Darkness.

On this cursed night each year, The Goddess’s powerful magic lingers in the air. The moon and seas turn red, stirring violence in all those creatures dark of soul. Lady Dessi Quinn has vowed not to leave the castle on such a dangerous night. Instead, she longs to explore the strange connection between Lord Smit Croswell and herself, even as she tries to deny it.

But as the night progresses, events outside of her control force her to make an impossible choice. A choice that will throw her into danger and change the course of her life forever.

If she can survive it.

Note: “The Goddess of the Sea” takes place in the world of Tarak, but readers can either enjoy this short story before or after “To Kill a Wizard.”

And if you’d like to, I’d appreciate anyone interested in leaving a review!

Reading as a Writer

Blue Colors

When I first started writing, I never thought it’d impact the way I read to quite the extent that it has. But it did. Now, I find there are books I absolutely cannot stand, simply because of the way they’re written… novels that, as just a reader, might not seem that bad.

For example, I recently started reading a new romance series. I was really enjoying the creativity of the world and the depth of the characters, until I realized the plot seemed non-existent. The more I paid attention to the plot, the more I was aware that there was no plot. Nothing drove these characters or challenged these characters, beyond the complications that just sprung up from chapter to chapter.

I still enjoy the series, but I find myself constantly thinking, my writing group would never let me get away with that.

But now, let’s talk about books I love even MORE as an author. Of course, my mind immediately snaps to Harry Potter, but I’d rather discuss a less well-known novel. Namely, Dragon’s Winter by Elizabeth A. Lynn. It is an absolutely amazing book! I think it’s the first novel I read where I realized it was possible to love and empathize with a character who may do some things that, by all logic, are unforgivable.

She spins the story of man who is unable to transform into a dragon, because his younger brother has stolen his amulet. He seems to have a great reluctance to confront or harm his brother, because he feels guilty for something that isn’t his fault… that he has inherited the ability to transform, while his brother did not. I empathized with both characters until his younger brother crosses a line, bringing cruelty on a level that is unforgivable on every level.

This book captured me, not just because of the unique world, but because of its main character, a complicated man who is riddled with flaws. I think it takes an incredibly skilled writer to create a character who crosses so many lines, but who the reader can’t stop rooting for.

What are some books you absolutely love?

Like my posts?  Check out my books available on Amazon: Lisa Morrow

Or, check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow Author Blog

Allison Merritt stops by with a hot demon sheriff and a Giveaway @allison_merritt

Please help me welcome the lovely Allison Merritt to the blog today. She was not only gracious enough to answer some questions, but she’s sharing her HOT! upcoming release, and giving away some goodies.

Peeps! We have a HOT DEMON SHERIFF 😀 Read on to find out more.

wystantour
Allison, thanks so much for stopping in with us. And for letting us delve into your mind. First, tell me about this hot demon. If the book became a movie, which celebrities would play the characters?

 If Wystan became a movie, I’d love to see Henry Cavill play him. Man, does he have the jawline and the muscles for being a badass demon-slaying hottie sheriff? Yes, yes, he does. And for Rhia, I’d like to pick Anne Hathaway. She’s so talented, and I think she’d really capture Rhia’s personality.

 I’ll just say YUM! at Henry Cavill and we can move on 😉

 What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?

 I got a late start on watching Game of Thrones, seriously, I’m just now on season two, but I’m so into this. It makes me want to write fantasy romance. I love movies. It’s not unusual for me to bring home a different DVD ever couple of days to watch. When I’m not on my bum, I like to walk and take photographs of nature.

 It has a great storyline, love the angst, LOL.

 What’s your favorite comfort food?

 Lemon meringue pie. I call it solid sunshine, because that’s what sunshine would taste like if you could get a mouthful—you know, if it was a thing you could taste and not get horribly burned when you ate it.

 What’s your favorite color? Do you decorate your space and/or dress in this color often?

 It’s blue. I have more blue shirts and a couple of dresses than normal. I told my husband not to let me buy any more blue clothes, but it just keeps happening somehow. It’s not my fault cute clothes come in blue. We should complain to the manufacturers.

 Yay for blue! the best color ever.

  If you could time-travel, where would you go and why?

 I have an awful hankering to meet Nikola Tesla. You know the guy invented a way to get electricity without using all that crap Edison did? I curse Edison every time I get an electric bill. Tesla seems like he was a really interesting man. Little is really known about him, but I’d sure like to talk to him.

 Why are manhole covers round?

 They were inspired by stroopwafels. Have you ever had one of those? They’re an amazing thin wafer cookie filled with caramel syrup. They’re fantastic with ice cream.

 Do you have any upcoming news you’d like to share?

 Just a couple of months ago, I submitted Eban (The Heckmasters, Book #2) to my editor and I’m pleased to announce it’s coming out in April 2015. I just got the cover. I promise, between that and the story, everyone will be blown away.

  

Fast Five:

 Coffee or Chocolate? Chocolate

 Jewelry: Precious gems or gold? Gems

 Beach or Mountains? Beach

 Early Morning or Late Night? Late night

 Fruit or Veggies? Fruit

 

About the Book:

 WystancoverTitle: Wystan (The Heckmasters)

Length: 228 pages

Pubisher: Samhain Publishing

Publication date: October 21, 2014
Buy links:

Samhain            Amazon          B&N          Google Books

 

Blurb:

Her search for safety lands her in a totally new kind of danger.

 The Heckmasters, Book 1

 Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.

 Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff.

 The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.

 With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.

 Warning: Contains a take-no-prisoners sheriff, a woman who can’t outrun her supernatural secrets, and a dusty town where hope is as thin as dust in the wind. Author recommends keeping a glass of cool spring water at your elbow while reading.

 

Excerpt:

 Something changed in the air the moment the wagon crossed the town’s border. Too  early to be a supply train, and there was no way in hell it was visitors. Berner didn’t host  town fairs, theatre troupes, peddlers, or bible thumpers.

 Wystan Heckmaster slapped his battered Stetson on his head, collected the keys to the  jail, then stepped out the door. The first thing he saw was a pretty woman with hair the color of maple sugar—a rich brownish-blonde. The frown on her face spoke volumes, and the air around her pronounced trouble. She made a straight path for him.

 “Mr. Heckmaster. Or should I call you Sheriff? Or Mayor? I need to discuss the ad in the Lancaster County Republican with you. Someone placed an ad, but your brother tells me there is no school here. I’m sure there has to be a mistake. There’s only one Berner in New Mexico Territory. I’m very capable at reading maps. If I wasn’t, I would be ashamed to call myself a teacher.”

 He doubted she had taken more than two or three breaths during the speech. If she made talking in rambling paragraphs a habit, no wonder she looked so peaked.

“Teacher?” He glanced along the street, but it was deserted as usual. “Lady, we don’t have a school here. Certainly no need of a teacher.”

 Her hands balled into fists that settled on her hips. The dress she wore was patched—the egg yolk yellow faded into something even more disgusting. It had little flowers dotting the material, but they looked as worn as her scuffed black boots.

 “Then what was the purpose of placing an ad in the Lancaster County Republican?”

 She spoke with the fierceness of a mama bear warning predators away from her cubs.

 Wystan reached into his shirt pocket and drew out a toothpick. “I didn’t place any ad in any Lancaster County anything.” He looked past her, expecting Eban to saunter up the street. Eban had to be the brother she’d referred to since Tell was still on the trail.

 “Someone did,” she insisted. She fished a crumpled and much-folded piece of newsprint out of the pocket hidden by the folds of her skirt. “See? Right here it says, ‘School teacher wanted for spring term at Berner Schoolhouse. Wages paid based on experience. Room and board provided. Apply in person at City Hall, Berner, New Mexico Territory.’ I’m sure my eyes don’t deceive me.”

 Wystan stared at the clipping, then back at the woman. A galaxy of freckles spattered across her nose and cheekbones, making her look younger than her eyes said she was. Full figured and sure as shittin’ a grown woman. The wariness and worry darkening her hazel eyes gave her away as one with a lot of trouble on her plate.

 “I can read.”

 She pulled the ad away from his face, folded it, and returned it to her pocket. “Where would you suggest I look for an explanation, Mr. Heckmaster?”

 Fussy little thing. “I assure you that no one in this town did. There’s been a mistake. Sorry to inconvenience you, Miss Schoolteacher. Now turn around and head home.”

 A flush colored her cheeks. “I can’t head home! I have no home to return to. My little sister and my friend are waiting at the doctor’s office for me to straighten this mess out. The ad says that room and board will be provided. I’d expected to move into a room, sir.”

 “You left them with Eban?” That explained his absence.

 “Beryl is ill, Sheriff. This is the first town we’ve seen in days and it was past time for her to get some attention.” Despair crept into her voice.

 Wystan shifted his weight and transferred the toothpick to the other side of his mouth. “Eban’s not exactly trained in human medicine.”

 The woman’s mouth opened into an O. She shook her head and seemed to regain her senses. “He’s a veterinarian? He seemed certain he could help Beryl.”

 Wystan cleared his throat. “Sure, animal doctor. I’m sorry for your misfortune, lady, but as you can see, Berner’s about run into the ground. There’s nothing here for you or your friend. Might be best to move along.”

 She seemed to deflate. “Move along.” Her lips moved, softly forming the words, but it was as though she didn’t comprehend them. “We’ll move along, right down the trail into the next town where there won’t be any teaching jobs either. Sylvie, Beryl, and I will starve to death on the side of the road with no one in the world to care.”

 

Buy links:

Samhain            Amazon          B&N          Google Books

Click on the link for the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author:

10624850_848959491804943_4194715946300646117_nA love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.

 Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that’s gathering dust after it was determined that she’s better at writing fluff than hard news.

 

Social media links:

Blog – http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com

Facebook – http://facebook.com/allisonmwrites

Twitter – http://twitter.com/allison_merritt

G+ – http://gplus.to/allisonmerritt

Goodreads – http://goodreads.com/AllisonMWrites

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/allisonmwrites/

What’s your relationship with editing? #AmWriting #AmEditing

Since the swamp has been very, very loud the last few weeks from the moans and groans and screams of editing authors, let’s talk about editing.

Free Red Pen Stock Images - 7055204Some people are able to get pretty darn sparkly first drafts out. (I’m eyeing you, Wicked). Others not so much (avoids mirrors).

Some people love this time in the writing process. They revise and rewrite draft after draft until the book shines. Others… yup, not so much.

And some people have different moods based on the individual book they’re working on.

I’ll admit, when I first started writing, I didn’t like what sometimes felt tedious and time consuming, even knowing it’s a very important step. Slowly, me and editing have come to terms with each other 😉

The interesting thing I’m dealing with now, however, is reworking and editing (mostly writing fresh) an older book. The last time I worked on this story was a few years ago, but I’ve delved back into the world and still love it just as much.

The writing… MY writing… urm, has *definitely* improved, LOL.

Which is actually why most of what I’m doing these days is scraping down to the bones and starting fresh. Because–and ask any writer to go back and read something they wrote a while ago–we are all (hopefully) growing as writers. Our skills, basic craft, as well as our imagination, changes over time. And that’s an awesome thing 😀

Q4U: What’s your current relationship with editing like?

~ Amber

 

 

New Release ~ Firestorm (Heart of a Vampire, #5) is here!

Firestorm_Kindle

Firestorm (Heart of a Vampire, Book 5)

Release Date: 11/13/2013

       Buy From   Amazon     B&N

Coming soon to: Smashwords    Kobo     Apple

A Viking vampire must face his tortuous past to save the woman who holds the key to his future.

Eric Wulfgar escapes from twisted dreams, only to find they have followed him into reality. Feeling like a shell of the man he once was, his king’s orders to help a New Orleans vampire clan might require more than he can give. But he has no choice to leave the shadows and return to the living.

Cat Bienville is frantic. Something strange is stalking the vampires of New Orleans. When the missing turn up dead with no explanation and her sire goes missing, she runs out of options. Left in charge of her coven, her duty is to keep her people safe. Only, she’s not prepared for help to come in the form of a chauvinistic male with a tattered soul.

When friends may be foes, Cat and Eric must find balance with one another in order to unveil the evil in their midst, even as a bigger threat darkens the horizon. Yet, Cat’s past may fracture their growing love. For how can she give Eric her heart, when her deepest secret may be more than he can ever accept?

Buy From   Amazon     B&N

Excerpt

Trapped.

Caught in the deepest recesses of his mind, Eric Wulfgar curled on an ice-cold stone floor. So very cold it seeped into his bones.

And pain.

Eternal agony ate at his limbs, into his very soul.

Laughter rang out from the unending darkness, so sweet and musical it should have warmed him. Instead it chilled him to his core. Fear shuddered through him as he realized where he must be. Her dungeon.

From the nothingness, a ball of light appeared. He blinked against the brightness. As his vision focused, he stared at his nightmare come back to life. The glowing orb highlighted long crimson hair framing an angelic face. Lines of cruelty etched around her shining green eyes and laughing red lips.

He stared at the sorceress, unbelieving, uncomprehending. She had killed his family, then captured him and his twin brother long ago.

He would not give in to the whimper building in his dry throat. The memories of this place and his time here with her, had been buried, locked so deeply he’d thought them gone. He’d not been forced to face them in a millennia.

Biting his tongue, he savored the coppery tang of blood filling his mouth, but it was faint, as if none of this was truly real. As he struggled to escape, she laughed harder. It was too late. He had no strength left.

And he cursed himself for such weakness.

Shadows crawled across the floor. Invisible hands grabbed him, flipping him onto his stomach, and yanking his arms and legs out wide.

Fire whipped along his back, burning from shoulders to knees, as she used her favorite whip–blazing with magical hellfire. Flames licked across his skin, over and over, digging deeper, until he was beyond hoarse and could only scream soundlessly. He welcomed the death hovering just beyond reach.

The lashes stopped.

Senseless from pain, his mind nearly broke as he remembered what came next. The sorceress would never let him die.

Her smooth, soft hands caressed his face and arms. She kissed his neck, her flowery scent making him gag.

“My beasts are hungry,” she murmured in his ear.

He wanted to cry out, to beg her to stop. But he was a warrior. A Viking. He refused to be as weak, as broken as she wanted. He would not bend to her desires.

When he responded with nothing but silence, she hissed, “Fine.”

Clutching his hair, she wrenched his head back, then slapped him. Her nails raked furrows down his cheek. The scent of his blood spiked into the air.

And the monsters came, drawn by their endless hunger. Wolves, bears. Other creatures so grotesque and hard to look at, he couldn’t even begin to name them.

Biting.

Chewing.

Devouring him alive.

Finally, blessed darkness took his mind. For a while, he floated, unfeeling, unthinking.

As always, she forced him to wake. Then the healing began, even more agonizing than the rest. Eric’s mind wavered and he knew he would thankfully soon be lost.

The memories dimmed.

It was a short respite. Another feminine laugh echoed around him, this one childlike yet holding a chilling hint of lunacy.

The vision of the sorceress changed, merging into another memory. Long blonde hair curled around a youthful, innocent face. Fiona’s image was comforting, the twin of his king. She skipped across the dungeon’s stone floor toward him, smiling shyly. Yet, like the sorceress, it was false, hiding pure evil.

More recent evil, he knew, not sure where the thought came from. These memories had never been locked inside that dark well. Instead, they were the force that had shattered the barrier he’d long ago erected to hide the past.

All too soon, the pain resumed. His skin burned. No whip this time. Fiona used shards of rowan wood, one of the few kinds of trees remaining with enough earth magic to hurt the vampire he’d become.

She slid the tip of a dagger beneath his skin, then shoved another sliver of rowan into the wound. She moved down the length of his body, adding long, rough scars to those he’d received millennia ago. His skin burned as if, at any moment, it would melt from the intense agony.

Uncontrollable shudders wracked him from the pain. Nausea followed. He would have vomited if there was anything in his stomach. All he could do was heave until the cramps mixed with the fiery burning from the wooden slivers.

He desperately prayed to Odin, begging to fade back into mindlessness. But release eluded him.

From the surrounding darkness, seemingly so far away he shouldn’t be able to hear, his brother shouted their family war cry.

Fear coursed through Eric as a new vision appeared before him. His brother stood in a strange, dark place. Multicolored lights flashed over Brandon’s angry face. A ball made of thousands of shards of glass dangled from a high ceiling. It spun in circles, shooting refracted light over his brother.

Magic filled the air, trapping Brandon. It stank of the sorceress. As her laughter washed over him, he realized she’d finally come to claim their souls as she’d failed to do long ago.

He had to save his brother. Save them both.

With a cry of rage, he called on his ancestors’ berserker strength. His vision blurred. Finally refocused. Blinking in the dim, flickering candlelight, he worked to sort out his memories and thoughts.

Pain no longer leeched at his body, though he still felt weak as an infant. He lay on something soft, facing a blackened, rock hewn wall that didn’t resemble the sorceress’s hellish dungeon.

“Hush, now. It will be all right,” a woman said softly from behind him.

Strangely, her voice soothed a part of his ragged heart. He cautiously turned. The woman smiled at him, breathtakingly beautiful, with an angelic face and short blonde hair.

His lungs compressed, forcing his breath to rush out. As he clenched his fists, he realized he wasn’t chained. He watched her, hiding his triumph. She would pay for that stupidity.

With a roar, he leapt up and lunged toward her.

“Eric, stop,” the woman commanded.

His body obeyed. More damned sorcery.

“You’re safe,” she said, then began to hum.

He remained locked in place. Slowly, the tune came to him. It had been his mother’s favorite melody, one she’d sung to him and Brandon as children.

His focus cleared and he realized she was neither the sorceress, nor his king’s sister. Her short blonde hair was streaked with… pink stripes? Her eyes drew him in, mesmerizing, calming his rage.

“That’s right,” she whispered. “No one will hurt you here.”

“Where’s my brother?” His voice was a hoarse croak.

“My name is Dalia. Do you remember me?”

He tried to shake his head, but still couldn’t move. An overpowering urge filled him. Not anger, as expected, but an unfounded, yet undeniable need to protect this woman.

“That’s all right. It will come in time.” She continued to hum and his tense muscles relaxed a little.

Across the room, a door opened, letting in more light. A large man stood silhouetted in shadow. Eric’s instincts screamed. Keep the woman safe at all costs. His duty.

She turned to glance at the intruder, and the magic over Eric slipped. It was all he needed to break free of her spell. He jumped between her and the doorway, crouching to a fighting stance, baring his fangs. He ignored the light-headedness, his body shaking from weakness.

He’d never win this fight.

It didn’t matter. He would do his duty until death took him. From habit, he reached over his shoulder, grasping for his battle-axe, BrynTröll. It wasn’t there.

The man stepped closer, from shadow to light, just as he’d done millennia ago.

Eric dropped one knee to the stone floor, bowing his head. “Sire.” His voice was little more than a choked whisper.

“Thank the gods you’ve returned to us,” his king said. Rough hands grabbed Eric’s arms, pulling him to his feet.

The rush of anger, the need to protect the woman, spilled from him as if he’d been drained of all energy. He slumped against the man, staring into his face. “Jordan,” he whispered.

“Don’t talk. And you shouldn’t be standing.” Jordan half-carried, half-led him back to the bed and pushed him down onto the mattress.

The woman, Dalia, poured a glass of thick, red liquid, then held it to his lips.

The scent of blood hit him and his stomach roared. When he tried to grasp the cup, his hands shook so badly he spilled the warm drink over his chin and chest.

“Let me hold it,” she said kindly.

He drank. The taste–salty, coppery, yet sweet–only inflamed his hunger. He gulped it down.

Needed more.

As if reading his mind, Dalia refilled the cup four times. Finally, the ravenous ache settled to a bearable level. As warmth rushed through his chilled body, his mind grew clearer. The recent past filled the gaps in his memory.

Dalia, his king’s charge. Vampires from their clan disappearing. He’d been following a lead, trying to find them, when it led to a trap.

Kidnapped.

His king’s twin sister, working with other vampires and, strangely, wolf shifters. They’d all taken pleasure in torturing him.

He fisted his hands in his lap, trying to shove the memories away before they engulfed him.

Pushed them back into the dark depths with the rest. Locked them all up tight.

Slowly, they receded, but didn’t go far. Ghostly whispers hovered at the edge of his mind, flickering like images seen from the corner of his vision.

He once more saw his brother facing evil.

“Where’s Brandon?” he asked again, this time stronger.

Jordan sighed. “We have much to discuss. But you’re with us again. Right now, that’s what matters.”

Pain lashed over Eric’s back. There, then gone. He heard laughter, the sound promising more.

Jordan and Dalia didn’t move, didn’t seem to hear anything amiss.

Eric stared at his king, realizing that while he might be awake, his sanity was lost.

***

Two Weeks Later

In the impossibly cold March night air, Cathrina Bienville raced through the edges of the bayou, outside her beloved city of New Orleans. Even with her vamipiric speed–the trees and miniscule glimmers of light from distant plantations flashed by–there didn’t seem to be any way she could win this race.

Behind her, the baying of the chasing wolves grew louder as they closed in.

She tripped over an exposed root and fell, splashing face first into a puddle of bitter brackish swamp. Spitting grit from her mouth, she rose. Snowy mud dripped down the front of her dark sweater and jeans. Appropriate spy attire, she’d figured earlier.

Running once more, Cat tried to breathe deep. The growing ache in her chest screamed from a deeper pain. She prayed her fall hadn’t damaged something internal.

A branch sliced across her cheek, ripped at her long red hair falling from its bun. Strands tumbled in her face, obscuring her vision. She shoved it back, leaves and twigs poking from the tangled mass.

Freezing sweat dripped down her face, stinging her cuts and scrapes. The heady scent of blood surrounded her.

The howls drew ever nearer, making her stomach lurch.

What was supposed to have been simple–checking out a deserted plantation for her missing coven members and hopefully finding her sire–had turned into a dark, breathless flight from at least six wolves.

All of them out for her blood.

Not good odds. Not in her favor anyway.

At least she’d eaten recently. Right before the alarm had sounded, she’d come across a wolf in his human form. Just as he’d swung his blade for her neck, she’d whispered her precious command. Fire rose from the ground around his feet, distracting him long enough for her to sink her fangs into his delectable throat.

The magic from the shifter’s blood, the only thing sustaining her desperate flight, was fading.

She flashed through the trees, dodging claw-like branches that seemed to surge out and try to capture her in their grip. The ground sucked at her shoes with each step.

The scent of magic drifted to her on the icy breeze. Her plantation, and the wards creating a barrier around it. Almost home, yet still seemingly so far.

Howls rent the air. They were so close now, she could hear claws scrabbling over the ground. She tried to push herself faster still.

The world became a blur, filled only by the sounds of her labored breaths, her thundering heartbeat, and the baying of the hounds at her heels. She caught the stench of wolves, wet fur mixed with decaying meat and blood.

The trembling in her legs slowed her pace.

Howls echoed as the pack sensed their prey within striking distance.

She broke through the last line of grasping branches. A few hundred yards ahead, a line of trees stood sentinel at the edge of her land, marking the boundary of the magical barrier.

A wolf snarled, slamming into her back, sending them both tumbling. It snapped its toothy muzzle at her neck. Fetid breath washed over her face.

She punched it in the throat. Clawing its fur, she shoved her last shreds of power into the command. “Incendium.”

Flames erupted from her palm, hungrily spreading over the beast. Its yelp escalated into a screeching wail of agony.

Shoving it aside, Cat rose to her knees. Not twenty feet away, the other wolves crouched. Bulky shadows glared at her with glowing, ice blue eyes.

She raised her arms, though the effort made her dizzy, and held her hands out, palms facing them.

The wolf beside her stilled. Burning hair and flesh wafted on the cold air.

The rest of the pack howled, the sound ear splitting. Then as one, they fell silent, watching her. None advanced.

Not giving them a chance to realize she had no strength left, Cat stood, trying to hide her shakiness. She walked backwards until she reached the barrier.

As she stepped through, magic swept over her skin in a tingling warmth. She lowered her hands and leaned against a tree. The pack approached the fallen wolf, their anguished howls resuming. Cat turned and stumbled over the stretching fields, towards her home.

She’d failed.

Again.

New Orleans had never been normal, not since the long ago days when her father had claimed the area for the King of France. But lately, dark magics were running rampant through the city.

Dark enough to take out her sire, the leader of their local coven. Jacques Gervais was the most powerful vampire she’d met in her centuries of life. Not only was he missing, so was Cat’s best friend. Just a girl–it had only been a hundred years since her turning–Abby Cameron was still nearly as weak as a mortal. She didn’t know how to use her vampire powers well. If Cat didn’t find the two of them soon…

As she climbed the porch steps to her front door, her head bowed, her shoulders drooping from the heavy weight of worry, she had to admit she was lost and sinking fast. With the mystery of the missing and murdered vampires, the sudden arrival of so many wolves, and the dark magic flooding the city, she needed help.

She couldn’t solve this by herself.

Not with her life intact.

An errant thought hit her. That of a young vampire she’d once helped and befriended. Niki DeVeraux had ended up in some small town in Arizona. More importantly, she’d been taken in by a huge coven of vampires.

Cat wasn’t comfortable reaching out and explaining her problems to others–she’d been brought up to be a proper lady who kept such things to herself–but perhaps they’d be able to help. She had to do something, or her sire and best friend would certainly end up dead… and she’d end up murdered, right along with them.

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Hope you enjoy 😀

~ Amber

Indie-Credible Authors and Giveaway

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Come join me at Wild Wordy Women, celebrating Indie Credible authors. There’s lots of giveaways and great new authors to check out. I’ll be at WWW every Sunday this month, and I’m giving away 2 $5 amazon gift cards to random commenters on the posts. Comment on multiple posts this month for more chances to win : )

And come back to my blog throughout the next couple of months for some awesome blog hops – a TON of awesome prizes, including Kindles, gift cards and so much more : )

(Follow the blog to have posts go directly to your email so you don’t miss any 🙂

I’m Sorry. What Was The Question?

Well it’s another day and another dollar here in the Windy City. The weather has been lovely, though to me anything below 120 in July is amazing. Enough talk about the weather. I have come across an annoyance in my life that I never had when I kept my writing to myself. Now that I have graduated college with a degree in English Literature I often get the question, so are you going to be a teacher? The answer is obviously no to me as I don’t have teacher certification and that is an entirely different degree, still I get it, easy mistake.

I then explain to the well wishers that I plan on making a living writing books. The fun really begins then. Have you written the book? Have you heard of self publishing? Is it like Twilight? Is it like 50 Shades of Grey? Why don’t you write the next Harry Potter? Now as someone who has researched this business and is doing it, I understand that these questions are completely nuts. I can’t express how nuts I think they are because the people asking are just trying to be helpful.

Now let’s go over them one by one:

 Have you written the book?

 I am currently on the third rewrite of the book. Sadly this sucker isn’t like a five page research essay that I can bust out in a few hours. Readers seem to enjoy characters shooting the shit, but rather dislike bullshit used to make a word count. 

Have you heard of self publishing?

No I’ve been living under a rock the past two years. Yes, I’ve heard of it. It’s not the path I would like to take at this time but I also recognize the advantages to it. Our very own Snarky Dwarve has had some great success as an indie author and I’m sure she would be happy to tell you all the benefits. Still not my choice at this time. I leave that door open as situations and mindsets do change, and mine is just as likely to change as anybody’s.

Is it like Twilight?

I am not currently writing a young adult novel. Twilight does have some of the qualities that I would classify as Urban Fantasy, my genre, being that it is fantastical creatures set in a modern setting. At the same time I will admit to not particularly enjoying the books myself. I have read all of them but they’re not my bag. Beyond that, if you write something with the goal to hit a trend, that trend will likely be over by the time you get your manuscript ready. I write Urban Fantasy so whereas I recognize that it too is hot at the moment, it’s what I love to read and write. It’s not forced, it’s what I have always desired to write.

Is it like 50 Shades of Grey?

No, just no.

Why don’t you write the next Harry Potter?

I wish. Not even from a financial stand point, simply as a fan I wish that had come to me.  Again though, write what you love and what comes to you rather than looking only to the trends. Perhaps one day I will have an idea for a great middle grade novel but it’s not at the moment and whereas I wouldn’t turn the money down I’m not greedy. No author is.

To expand on my last statement: yes, most authors dream of the day they hit the New York Times Bestseller list. The fact is though that even if they do, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be millionaires. Most writers would be happy eking out a comfortable living. Hell, I’m a single girl with no dependents, I’d be happy to be eking out minimum wage from my writing. I like Ramen Noodles and Scott toilet paper as much as the next person.

In conclusion, despite these silly questions that we all have to deal with. The interest is there. People who don’t write are fascinated by this idyllic image of the “writer’s life.” All of these questions may seem annoying to the writer but they open the door for honest discussions about the creative process and for educating people about the publishing industry.  People are curious, they want to know. So my question is: what are some of the strange things you’ve been asked when you’ve confessed to being a writer? I know my list is short. Hell I could go on all day but my dad is in town and I have to go to the Zoo tomorrow, which is fine as zoos are bitchin’.

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