Welcome to my stop on the Cover of Love Blog Hop.
Personally…I love love in all its many facets and shades. It’s one of the reasons I write multicultural and interracial romance. I firmly believe that people should have the choice to date and marry whoever they want to and not be ridiculed for it.
Right now my FAVORITE show on television features an interracial relationship (although taboo because he’s married) which in reality everyone should really HATE but because of the way the show is written…you can’t HELP but love these characters and WANT them to get their happily ever after.
I’m also having a super fan girl crush on Henry Cavill right now. I mean the man is HELLA FINE and can not take a bad picture. I will NOT admit how many times I’ve watched my DVD of Man of Steel since I went to Target at 9 o’clock in the morning the day it was released. Yes…it’s that bad. (Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to Mr. Superman himself and see if I’m wrong about not taking a bad picture.)
And ever since the mid 1990′s I have adored me some Shemar Moore who is bi-racial (white mother/black father). (You can check out my Pinterest board dedicated to him as well.)
I have finally finished book #4 in the Beach House Nights Series which I hope to have released soon. I’m also putting the finishing touches on a Christmas novella which I really need help on the title (see contest below) and will be working on a Valentine novella as soon as I finish it. After that…I have a couple of series I want to start working on. Not sure which I’m going to start first. Of course…they are all interracial.
I guess I’ll entice you with a snippet from my Christmas novella coming soon and then tell you about the contest. So…check it out.
She turned to see him standing just inside the door. “The rooms are wonderful. I can’t say enough how much you’ve outdone yourself. I mean, it’s better than a hotel room. They’re comfortable with an at home feel.”
A large smile spread across his face. “Good. I’m glad you’re satisfied with the accommodations.”
Oh…she was so much more than that…or could be much more if he…well, she wasn’t going to go there with him being so close and a bed just a few feet away.
“If you need anything, anyone on my staff is available to help you by dialing extension sixty one on the phone, or you can come see me. I’m right across the hall.”
Jorja had moved closer to him, couldn’t help it actually. It always felt like there was an invisible magnet between them. She peered around him. “Your office?”
They stood just over the threshold now, facing each other, so close she could smell the soap and aftershave he’d used this morning. She resisted the urge to lean closer and get a better whiff.
“My living quarters.”
“Oh. You live here too?”
In college, their dorm rooms had been two buildings apart. Knowing he was going to be across the hall from her when she got into bed tonight sent an involuntary sliver of awareness straight down her spine.
“Yes.” He never took his eyes off her face. He’d always been so direct that way, giving her his full attention. Being under his intense gaze had always unnerved her, made her think that he saw and read every expression on her face, knew every thought that crossed her mind.
So, there you go. My heroine is Jorja and my hero is Neal. They went to college together and shared a drunken kiss one night they never talked about but also never forgot! Jorja is coordinating her sisters wedding and she, her sister, and all the bridesmaids are staying in a cozy B&B in Colorado the week before the wedding. Neal just happens to own this B&B and one night decides it’s time to let Jorja know how he’s felt about her all these years and after a kiss under the mistletoe (of course) decides to perform a sexy strip tease that leads to a whole lot more.
I need a title…desperately! I’ve thought of Under The Mistletoe, Strip Tease Under The Mistletoe. Neither of these titles are doing it for me. LOL
I NEED YOUR HELP!!! My contest for the blog hop – help me come up with a great title for this sexy little Christmas novella. Leave a comment with your idea and if I choose your title…you will receive a free copy of the title when it releases AND a $10.00 gift cert to Amazon. Also….not part of the contest but if you like me and/or friend me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest…I’ll love you forever! And while we’re talking about multicultural love – who is your favorite actor/actress of a different race? Leave that in your comment as well. I’m curious!
Color of Love Blog Hop Prizes!
1st prize: $50 Amazon gift card + 8 ebooks
2nd prize: $30 Amazon gift card+ 8 ebooks
3rd prize: $20 Amazon gift card + 8 ebooks
4th prize: $10 Amazon gift card + 8 ebooks
You have to enter the Rafflecopter to win! And don’t forget to visit the other authors participating in the hop. Have a great Thanksgiving!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I would like to welcome author Alice Loweecey to my blog today for Five Question Friday. Alice will be giving away an e-copy of Veiled Threat to one lucky winner who comments on this post.
1. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
My favorite character from my books is Sidney, Falcone and Driscoll Investigations’ perky admin. She’s brings out the best in Giulia and Frank. She’s all-natural, always bubbly, and thinks everything’s an adventure. I have the most fun writing her. In Book 3, Veiled Threat, she finally gets to have her all-natural wedding. It was the most fun research I ever did.
2. If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
If I was on a deserted island, the three famous people I’d want with me are Gerard Butler, Cecilia Bartoli, and Colm Wilkinson. I’m a contralto, so it’d be all about the singing! And The Gerard has the advantage of being real easy on the eyes. I’m sure one of them can fish, and I’m a pretty good cook. We’d manage.
3. Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Why?
There are so many authors I want to meet: HP Lovecraft. Dickens. MR James. Kazuya Minekura. Hotaru Odagiri. The Brothers Grimm. Patricia McKillip. Um.. they don’t all have to be living, do they?
- An actor or a book character you have a crush on?
I have the worst crush on Sebastian St. Cyr, the hero of CS Harris’ historical mystery series. Of course I also have a wee crush on Ian Rutledge from the Charles Todd series. Antigone—she had strength. Miss Marple—although I love her best in the Margaret Rutherford movies.
5. What are some day jobs you have held? Have any of them impacted your writing? If so, share an example.
Day Jobs that had an impact on my writing—that’s an easy one. From 1979 to 1983, I was a Franciscan nun. Honestly, that was a 24/7/365 job. On the pedestal, wearing the outfit, under the microscope. So my three published books are about an ex-nun who solves crimes. I have to admit that I’ve never solved a crime in real life… unless I count the time when my kids were 2 and 6. We found abstract designs on the walls of their bedroom—in purple. Then we found a trail of markers laid from the designs to my older son’s bed—all purple markers. At last we found a purple marker stashed under my older son’s pillow. An open and shut case, right? Except my older son used all the markers when he drew—and he never drew on the walls. My younger son, on the other hand, loved purple. It was all he drew with. I sensed a frame up. And I was right. The younger son confessed. Someday I’ll put that in a book.
It’s private investigator Giulia Falcone’s second Christmas since leaving the convent. She’s happy to be spending it with Frank Driscoll, even if his switching from boss to boyfriend and back again is giving her whiplash. But Giulia’s holiday is darkened with disturbing news from her friends Anya and Laurel—their adopted baby girl has been kidnapped. When she learns that two kidnappings in nearby communities, both involving same-sex couples, ended with devastating fatalities, Giulia is more determined than ever to return the infant girl to her mothers. With Frank reluctantly backing her and the understaffed police offering little assistance, Giulia goes undercover to snare the kidnappers before they can do further harm.
Veiled Threat is available NOW!! Get your copy here.
Alice would love it if you stalked her on the web. You can find Alice…
Facebook: Alice Loweecey
I would like to welcome author Kadi Dillon to my blog today for Five Question Friday. Kadi will give away an e-copy of Dancing With Deception to one lucky person who posts on the blog.
1. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I LOVE Gideon and his moodiness. Let’s face it, all men get crabby and grumpy for no reason. Gideon has so many good qualities, that we can forgive his faults. He’s strong, sexy, smart, sexy, honest, and protective. Oh, did I mention sexy?
2. What can your readers expect from you in the future?
I have several novels in the works right now. I am releasing the next installment to the Avery Trilogy sometime later in the year–Colin’s story. I am also working on a romantic suspense that will probably develop into a series. Also in the works is a Mermaid tale.
3. Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
Ireland is the land of my people, as my relatives constantly remind me! I would love to visit there and learn as much as I can about my ancestors and their culture.
4. What are some day jobs you have held? Have any of them impacted your writing? If so, share an example.
Right now my sister and I own and run a candy bouquet business. We offer custom bouquets and gift baskets and the business keeps us super busy. It does have an impact on my writing since I can’t work during normal day hours. Mostly, I write at night when my characters start talking to me. They usually don’t let me get much sleep.
5. What do you like to read in your free time?
Let’s see… Anything! I love a good romance, but my favorite is romantic suspense with very strong lead characters and a lot of action. Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Catherine Anderson, and Lori Foster take up a lot of space on my bookshelves. I also have hundreds of National Geographic’s that I love to read when I can.
When Rebecca Channing promises to hide a mysterious painting known as ‘The Dance’ for her estranged father, she wants only to gain an ounce of affection from him. Instead, she finds herself running for her life, trying to elude two brutal men who will stop at nothing to catch her. Rebecca has to keep them from taking the painting—and her life.
Cornered on a pier, and feeling desperate, Rebecca leaps into a moving boat. She’s safe, but for how long? The ship’s captain, Gideon Avery, won’t let her jump ship and Rebecca is trapped. Gideon is as hard and ruthless as any sailor, but he offers to help her when no one else will.
He whisks her away to his island and his family takes her in, giving her the love and affection she’d been denied all her life. Her pursuers, however, are relentless. Soon, it becomes evident that the painting was only a cover and what they really want is Rebecca.
With time running out and the thugs hot on their trail, Rebecca must fight to protect those she has come to love and her heart.
Dance With Deception is available NOW!!! Get your copy here.
Kadi would love it if you stalked her on the web. You can find Kadi…
I would like to welcome author N. Wood to Five Question Friday! Nat will be giving away an e-copy of My Bittersweet to one lucky winner who posts on the blog.
1. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
My favorite character from My Bittersweet is Nicholas Walker. Though he may come across as whiny and pathetic to some, I like him for the strength he gains later in the story. He begins so withdrawn and emotional and later becomes open and strong.
2. What can your readers expect from you in the future?
I have four books lined up almost ready for publishing. One is a two part series, the other two are single books, all of them M/M. I also have been plotting out a trilogy which will be a new attempt for me in four ones. It’ll be het, vampire, historical and a three part series all of which I’ve not attempted before.
3. If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?
While writing My Bittersweet I had the actors set in my mind so I could picture them more clearly to help with the writing of my story. I’d like to see Jackson Rathbone play Nicholas Walker and Kellan Lutz play Archer Callahan. (Yes, I’m a Twilight fan. What??? those boys are HOT!)
4. What are some day jobs you have held? Have any of them impacted your writing? If so, share an example.
The first job I held after leaving school was as a Graphic Design Finisher. I worked in a printing shop and my job was to use a large guillotine machine to cut down a large sheet of printed card into business card sizes. The work was monotonous, but it gave me a chance to escape into my mind and fantasize stories, places I’d rather be than at work.
Another job I’ve held was as a Print Room Assistant for my local Council Offices. It was basically the same job as my first, but it wasn’t an all day thing. I had the chance to spend most of the afternoon sitting at a computer with no work to actually do. This is how my writing first began. I discovered fanfiction and haven’t looked back since
5. Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
With two dogs, a boyfriend and his disabled sister in the house, the only time I get the peace and quiet enough to write is during the small hours. Often I don’t get to bed until around 3am. If I could choose a place to do my writing it would be in a quiet house on the coast with a sea view, a sea breeze and no disturbances.
For Nicholas Walker, life barely seems worth living. With a too small apartment, a dead end job and a homophobic stepfather, what’s the point? He is at the end of his tether – until he meets Archer. When a misplaced joke pulls them together, will Archer be able to convince Nicholas that he does have something to live for, or is it really better to have loved and lost than to never love at all?
The beeping was getting louder. I understood it was some kind of an alarm, but I didn’t usually set one for work. Groaning, I opened my eyes to find a bright light all around me. I had to blink a couple of times before I realized it was sunlight coming through the window. Weeks had passed since I’d last seen sunlight and like that time this would probably only last an hour or two as well.
I shifted a little, wanting to roll onto my side and block out the din with a pillow over my head. As I moved I discovered a sensation in my briefs like I hadn’t felt for a few years. Oh God, no – seriously? A wet dream?
I slipped my hand under the covers to investigate, to see if I had indeed shot a load in my sleep, but before I could even reach my waist it came into contact with something soft, faintly hairy and warm.
I froze straight away as I recalled the night before. There had been no amazing mind-blowing sex with Archer. That obviously was just a dream. Instead it had been an amazing mind-blowing jerking off session across the room from Archer while he did the same. I remembered he’d led me back to his bed so I could rest. I’d been sleepy and my head had been hurting. He’d gone to leave and I had asked him to stay.
Oh God, he had stayed?
I moved my hand slowly, tracing along the weight that was over my waist. Sure enough I discovered a large hand at the end of an arm. Turning my head and squinting against the sunlight I found the owner of the arm lying next to me, his blue eyes open and watching me; he’d stayed perfectly still as I’d poked and prodded at his arm to work out what it was. When my eyes met his I noticed concern in the cobalt depths.
He lifted his head from the pillow but kept his gaze on mine. “Are you alright?”
I wasn’t sure what he was referring to; my health in general? How I felt after what we’d experienced last night? Or the fact I’d just woken up to find him in bed beside me after embarrassingly blowing a load in my briefs to a highly arousing dream of him fucking me? I just nodded my head quickly in answer and seemingly thinking I was uncomfortable he slid his arm away from me, rolling onto his back and sitting up.
He leaned over and switched off his annoying alarm clock then glanced back to me, but before he could speak I beat him to it. “I got to piss.”
My Bittersweet is available NOW!! Get your copy here.
N. Wood would love it if you stalked her on the web…
I would like to welcome author Michele Richard to Five Question Friday.
1. If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?
Justin McNear – Harry Styles (One Direction)
Alexia (Cross) McNear – Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games)
2. Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
Paris, France. It’s always been the one place I wanted to see.
3. Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Why?
E.L. James. (Fifty Shades of Grey)
E.L. and I started out our publishing careers at the same publishing house. We had talked via Skype for months before we both left TWCS for other houses. Now, I’d love to meet her in person just to put a person to the voice and picture.
4. An actor or a book character you have a crush on?
I’m modeling one of my characters in a future book on him. What can I say?
5. What can your readers expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on the next two in the Mocked by Series. Since each title is about a different couple, the readers won’t have to have read prior books to read Mocked by Silence, but may need to read Mocked by Destiny to follow Mocked by Destiny ~ Joshua’s Journey.
You can stalk Michele on the web here….
I would like to welcome Shawna Romkey to Five Question Friday. Shawna will give away an e-copy of Speak of the Devil to one lucky poster.
- Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I would say Lily. She’s a teenage girl who has experienced some tragic things that she isn’t capable of dealing with. She has inner strength but doesn’t know it yet, so her journey is coming to terms with who she is and what she can do. I think a lot of girls her age have more power than they realize and more strength, but they give it away to other people. I think it’s extremely important for girls to find their strength.
- What can your readers expect from you in the future?
I’m almost finished with the second book in the Speak of the Devil series. I plan for it to be a trilogy, so this next book is the bridge book. Bad things happen. The working title is The Devil Made Me Do It. The logline is: The demons strike back!
- What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I’m reading Death Lies Between Us by Jody A. Kessler. It’s published by Crescent Moon Press, my publisher and due out March 1. I was lucky enough to snag an advanced copy in eBook form.
- Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I do my writing in the morning as soon as the husband and kids leave the house. Well usually I start laundry or the dishwasher, then I get back in bed with my laptop and bang out a#1k1hr. I try to find other writers on twitter, but I’m usually the first #1k1hr person on that early in the morning. The house is quiet, I’m still in my pj’s, the phone isn’t ringing yet, so I’m comfortable and can fit in a thousand words pretty easily then tackle my day guilt free.
- If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Stephen King to talk writing with and he could tell us great stories to keep us entertained.
Nathan Fillion, because, well I have a geek girl crush on him.
Jason Sudekis because he went to KU like I did, so we could talk about that, and he’d be funny to keep our spirits up.
You can stalk Shawna on the web….
What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?
After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the event and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she finds out who…what they really are and that they are falling too.
Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, find a way to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?
Rain fell, not uncommon for late spring in Missouri. “If you don’t like the weather here,” my grandfather would say, “wait five minutes.” Of course, I’d visited distant relatives in Maine once before, and they said the same thing.
Julie fumbled with the wipers while I pulled the sun visor down to check my face in its little rectangular mirror, even though I’’ only left my vanity like five minutes ago. The lights on either side lit up the interior of the car. I reached into my tiny party purse to find my lip gloss, which was easy to locate since I’d only packed the essentials in my bag: phone, some cash, and make-up. As I glanced at myself, I saw Mike in the reflection, smiling at me from the back seat. I stuck my tongue out at him, making him laugh, and put on the lip-gloss, fully aware of how flirty I acted.
The windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with the sudden downpour. The pitter-patter turned to thumping. Hail came down in gumball-sized pellets. “Damn.” Julie jerked the steering wheel to keep The Whale off the curb.
“Slow down, Jules.” Mike gripped Julie’s headrest. “We can pull over until it passes.”
“Yeah.” She squinted to see the road before her.
I pressed my lips together to smooth out the gloss. “Damn is right. I didn’t bring a jacket.”
The Whale swerved to the right crunching along the gravel on the side of the road. I braced myself in my seat. Julie leaned up to the steering wheel and peered over it as my grandmother sometimes did when she drove. I squinted because of the stupid light up visor mirror. I slammed it shut, but Julie panicked and over corrected, pulling The Whale to the left and careening over the yellow dotted line in the middle of the street.
“Julie!” Mike shouted.
Time slowed andticked out in heartbeats.
Julie cringed, her hands moving up to shield her face. Her head turned away from the highway.
Mike reached protectively from the back seat.
The headlights illuminated the rail of the overpass.
The car hit the rail on the opposite side of the road with a hard thud.
Crap. We’re going over the bridge.
The Whale’s nose pointed down toward the water.
A jolt forward and my forehead slammed into the dashboard.
The Whale flipped in the air. I’m upside down.
Did my mom say good-bye when I left?
Cold water rushed into the car.
Is this it?
I can’t breathe. Oh my God, I can’t breathe. I can’t see or breathe!
My heart quickened. It pounded. The Whale leaned on its side under the surface of the water which rushed in fast, and I couldn’t see a damn thing.
Calm, stay calm. Don’t panic. They say when you’re drowning not to panic because you use up your air faster.
Dammit, am I drowning?
I tried to get myself upright and jerked out of my seat belt. Luckily, it gave way. I fought the latch to open the door facing up, but the pressure of the water from Black Water River held it closed, trapping me inside.
Jesus. I know this river. It’s more of a creek. It can’t be more than fifteen feet across and ten feet deep.
I pushed at the door. Opening my mouth to scream, I swallowed water.
I couldn’t see or hear Julie or Mike. My watch ticked. Or was it my heart beating?
Ba bum. Ba bum. Ba bum.
The dreams came. Like a good sleep you don’t want to wake up from. I felt heavy and floaty. I wore this long white gauzy gown and the wind blew my dress and my hair like in some feminine hygiene commercial. I could breathe slowly and deeply. Completely relaxed and at peace, but I was alone.
I floated along in a white space for a while. Drifting. Breathing. Relaxing. Had I gone to a spa? After an immeasurable amount of time, others appeared. They wore white clothing, too, and they floated like me, reaching out. They opened their arms as if to welcome me to them.
I stopped and frowned. I heard no sound, and I didn’t know who these white floaty people were or why they welcomed me. They smiled, genuinely happy, and held their arms out to me. I panicked.
Where’s my mom? My family? Wait, Mike and Julie were just with me, where are they? Are those wings?
I noticed the others floating with me had white feathery wings.
“Lily,: one of them called out.
Holy hell. I’m dead.
I would like to welcome author Kimberly Williams to Five Question Friday. Kimberly will give away an e-copy of No Longer Ugly Inside to one lucky poster.
1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I decided to write my book because I want to tell my story and possibly help someone who is living or has lived my nightmare.
2. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest part about writing this book is that I had to relive the events in my mind in order to tell it exactly as it happened.
3. Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
My favorite place to write is at Starbucks every weekend.
4. What are some day jobs you have held? Have any of them impacted your writing? If so, share an example.
I work as an accountant for my day job. It really has not impact on my writing.
5. If your book was made into a TV series or movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?
If my book becomes a movie, I would like for Jennifer Hudson, and Keke Palmer to play in the movie as some of the main characters.
Kimberly would love it if you stalked her on the web…
I would like to welcome Marteeka Karland to Five Question Friday.
1. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I’m totally good at falling… broke the same finger TWICE in a matter of like five weeks. *groan*
2. Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Why?
Angela Knight. Because she’s SO FRIGGIN COOL!!! And because I owe her a big ole tackle hug and a sloppy kiss with tongue and I really want to see her reaction when I follow threw with my threat to pay my debt.
3. What are 3 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
The mini laptop, my kindle fire, and sometimes I even bother to put on clothes.
4. Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
The “where” is anywhere I can find a place. I’m not really picky. The when… generally the later the better. I’m kind of a night owl and, since making writing my full time job, I’ve got my days and nights turned around. Besides, at night, there isn’t anyone up to BOTHER ME…
5. If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and any other guy with big muscles and a good sense of humor.
Memphis Heat 2: Streetwise
by Marteeka Karland and Shelby Morgen
Memphis, Tennessee. The Russian mob’s moving in, and the FBI’s recruiting Memphis PD’s finest — finest werewolves — to form their new FBI Paranormal Activities Task Force.
Jarod and Belle have been assigned to the FBI — their job, infiltrate the Russian Wolf pack. All they have to do is find the pack. But the closer they get to the Russians, the farther away they seem to be from the truth. So far they’ve found more werewolf cops than Russian wolves.
The Russians seem to have declared war on the MPD, leaving a team of dead cops in their wake, and the Memphis PD to clean up their mess. MPD’s Colonel has a few secrets of his own, and he doesn’t really appreciate FBI intervention on something that’s clearly local jurisdiction — in more ways than one.
When Officer Butch Carson and his rookie trainee, Regan “Sundance” O’Mally, are caught between the MPD and the Russians, they have no one they can turn to but each other. The more they learn about being werewolves, the tighter their own bond becomes. And the more determined they are to stop the assassins who nearly added them to the growing list of victims.
* ~~~~~ * ~~~~~ *
Marteeka would love it if you stalked her on the world wide web…
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marteeka.karland AND https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marteeka-Karland/183118360789?ref=hl
I would like to welcome author Anne Selby to Five Question Friday! Anne will give away an e-copy of The Serpent and the Peacock to one lucky person who comments on the post.
1. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Roger Hamilton. Probably because he is so confused as to the situation he finds himself in. He is a senior police detective in the London Metropolitan police, he is also the Senior Investigating Officer on a murder with a lot of responsibility, but he finds himself losing any control over everything in his life as the story progresses.
2. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I was an Army marksman during my 11 years of service in the British Army, I play drums and guitar and was part of a Blues Band and performed throughout Europe, I can build and configure computers. I am not sure if any of that is unique per se, but I think it might be for a 62 year old pensioner!
3. What can your readers expect from you in the future?
I am three quarters of the way through the second book in the series which continues the story of Roger Hamilton. It’s called The Paths of the Moon. I am working on the outline of a new series of detective novels based on one of the characters from this sequel.
4. Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Why?
I’d have loved to have met J R R Tolkien, I am fascinated with the world, the language and the races he created.
5. What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I am currently reading a book by a man called Bernard Schaffer and it’s based on the Jack the Ripper murders and the story has Sherlock Holmes being asked to investigate.
A Crime/Fantasy novel, based on the Sumerian myths of the Fallen Angels or Grigori.
This is Anne’s first novel which introduces the characters of Eve Hallam and Roger Hamilton, two detectives in the London Metropolitan Police who are assigned to the case involving the murder of a young girl in a London cemetery. They soon find themselves in way over their heads and trying to keep their sanity intact while a mysterious group called Grigori Enterprises seems to be one step ahead of them in the investigation and have their own agenda with regard to the murderer.
Soon to be followed by sequel The Paths of the Moon which follows the adventures of Roger Hamilton aka Semjaza as he tries to fulfill his destiny. The path he will choose will either be for the good or the detriment of mankind. How will he choose?
“Ritual murder,” Eve thought irritably. “That’s all I bloody need. Angels in my private life, demons and black magic in my professional life. Why does everything have to be so damn complicated? It can’t just be a normal sort of murder, it has to have occult connections.”
The discovery in a London cemetery of the body of a young woman sparks off a nationwide murder enquiry and Detective Sergeant Eve Hallam of the London Metropolitan Police, is assigned to the case.
A terrifying encounter with something that she cannot rationally explain, leads Eve to believe that they have more than a simple murder investigation on their hands. She and Roger Hamilton, the senior investigating officer, find themselves desperately trying to keep their lives, their sanity and the investigation on track whilst being constantly and tantalisingly side-tracked by the mysterious group Grigori Enterprises who seem hellbent on obstructing the investigation.
The stench of blood filled its nostrils.
In the nature of all scavengers, its acute sense of smell led it to an unexpected bounty . . . fresh meat, recently slaughtered. So recent, the blood had only stopped flowing a couple of hours earlier and was now beginning to coagulate.
Beady little eyes gleamed with mindless hunger.
The dreadful aroma of death hung in the air and masked the dry, musty smell that normally clung to the stone walls of the silent old building.The intruder clawed feverishly at the rounded heap of newly-dug earth in one corner and the stillness was suddenly disturbed as a clump of soft, loose soil fell away. The scavenger continued to dig frantically to reach the prize waiting beneath. The small trickle of earth turned into steady flow and slowly, but surely, the burial mound opened to reveal part of its bounty. With just one precursory twitch of its tiny nose, the predator began to gnaw at the uncovered flesh.
Despite the cooling weather, a fly, also attracted by the initial stages of decomposition and decay, suddenly landed on the exposed flesh. A pale hand, stiffened in death, lifted involuntarily towards the arched ceiling, but no-one saw it.
Except the rat and the fly and they didn’t care. As far as they were concerned food was food!
“We’re going to get into terrible trouble.”
The young girl in the padded ski jacket cast an anxious and slightly fearful glance behind her. The shadows were lengthening rapidly, throwing the surrounding buildings and statuary into gloom. Dusk had fallen which meant that whatever it was that was rumored to exist in places like this and thrive in darkness, corporeal or not, would soon awaken. If they weren’t already awake of course. Imagination wasn’t something the girl lacked. Quite the contrary in fact. Graveyards at night did not bring out the best in her at all.
Four of her five companions looked at her, faces alight with glee and scorn. There was only one thing better than being in a graveyard at night, and that was being in a graveyard with a cry-baby girl at night. The potential for some considerable verbal abuse was doubled at the very least.
“Don’t be such a wuss Sarah,” said the tallest of the boys. ”Nobody knows we’re here. Anyway it’s more fun being here when its dark, that’s the whole point.”
Privately Sarah thought the fact that nobody knew they were there made it worse, but she stubbornly bit back her objections in the face of such blatant masculine derision. This was about proving that girls could be as adventurous as boys, and she wasn’t about to let the female side down, no sir. No matter what it took. She was in a minority of one after all.
“So, now what Mike?” The fifth boy, an overweight lad with ginger hair and freckles, spoke up.
Despite the assumed bravado of the boys, Sarah noticed that his voice had a distinctly nervous tremor. She realized, with some relief, that she wasn’t the only member of the little party who felt uneasy about being there.
Mike straightened up from tying his shoelace. Somewhere along the line, he had assumed the position of group leader and the rest had meekly accepted it without any form of discussion. He gestured at one of the others, a brown haired boy of about fourteen. ”Colin here says that he was watching a couple of men with shovels earlier just around the other side of the graveyard. His bathroom window faces out over there. I say we go and check out what they were doing. They were probably burying somebody.”
“Burying somebody?” Ginger’s voice came out in a shrill squeak. ”You mean a dead somebody?”
“No, of course not!” snapped Mike scornfully. ”I meant the fucking ghost of Christmas past! Of course I meant a dead somebody. This is a shagging graveyard for fuck’s sake, all the bodies they put in here are dead, you poncy git.”
Everyone laughed at that, but even so, it was decidedly nervous laughter. Ginger flushed the kind of pink that only redheads can manage and muttered something unintelligible under his breath. Sarah smiled at him in support and the pink grew even pinker, if that was possible.
“I’ve never seen anyone dead before,” he admitted. Any bravado he might have felt before had now completely deserted him. His voice had even more of a wobble in it than it had earlier.
Oh god, thought Sarah, he’s going to cry, and she braced herself for the merciless teasing that would inevitably follow the tears, but to her surprise Ginger valiantly managed to keep a stiff upper lip.
Mike sighed. ”Look,” he said in a slightly less scornful tone. ”The whole idea about being here was to look at a dead body. We all agreed. You shouldn’t have come with us if you felt squeamish. You can go back if you like; maybe the main gate will still be open.”
He gestured back at the path and they all turned to look. Darkness was almost completely enfolding the graveyard now, and the path they had all followed between the graves had disappeared into utter gloom. Vague shadowy statues and family crypts, some elaborately decorated with cherubs and crosses, now loomed threateningly here and there. Objects of interest and fascination in daylight, they seemed to take on a much more sinister aspect altogether at night.
Ginger stared glassy-eyed into the darkness. He looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights, thought Sarah.
“I don’t know the way b-back,” he finally managed to stammer.
This made the other boys laugh, but Sarah again smiled at him encouragingly. If he decides to go, she thought, I might as well go with him. Offering to keep him company to the main gate would get her out of this bind and leave her with some sort of self-esteem. The thought of a warm bed seemed very inviting right now. Even the thought of doing her homework was a more inviting proposition.
“Well if you stay then you’ve got to promise that you won’t squeal like a little girly, no matter what we find,” Mike said firmly as he switched on his torch. “No matter what we find,” he repeated and played the torch beam along the path ahead, effectively ending the conundrum.
“Okay, no squealing. I promise,” Ginger agreed sullenly, and he started to follow, but his eyes shifted nervously from side to side.
Sarah sighed inwardly. Well, so much for that avenue of escape.
“Just you make sure you stick to it,” said Mike without turning around.
Aw, leave him be Mike.” Colin spoke up in Ginger’s defense. He winked broadly at him. “He’ll be fine, won’t you Ginge?”
Mike shrugged his shoulders eloquently and headed off confidently down the path. They all followed him in silence, Colin voluntarily bringing up the rear.
The trek along the meandering path was fairly uneventful at first, apart from Ginger developing an annoying habit of stopping abruptly every so often when he thought he’d heard some suspicious noise in the bushes and trees that formed the landscaping of the graveyard. Every time he stopped, Sarah and Colin who were walking behind him, stumbled into him.
“What the hell are you doing?” hissed Colin after climbing up Sarah’s heels for the fourth time in so many minutes. He gave Ginger a sharp shove in his back.
“I thought I heard something!” Ginger protested. His eyes strained into the darkness. Even the tips of his ears seemed to be quivering with alertness.
“It was probably some small animal, a cat or a rat, or something for fuck’s sake. There are lots of things in here that could make a noise and everything sounds louder at night anyway.”
They continued to follow Mike and the other two boys, but hadn’t got more than a couple of yards when the snap of a twig and a very loud rustling noise from behind them caused all three to freeze in their tracks. They stood as still as the graveyard statuary and as silent as the grave, but now all they could hear was the dull scrunching of the other boys’ footsteps on the gravel path as they disappeared into the velvety darkness.
The comforting halo of Mike’s powerful torch gradually faded, leaving Colin, Ginger and Sarah in almost complete darkness. The rustling grew louder and closer. Ginger let out something very close to a sob.
Colin finally found his voice. ”Have either of you got anything like a torch or some frigging matches or a lighter or something?”
“N-no. Nothing,” said Ginger hoarsely. He was convinced the hair on his head was standing on end.
Sarah found herself wondering why they only had one torch between them. She could feel the hysteria bubbling up inside her. Any minute it would break loose and engulf her. Once she started to scream she knew she would never stop, so she bit down hard on her lip. Blood welled up, leaving her with a coppery taste on her tongue and the metallic tinge of fear in her throat.
“Sarah? What about you?” The note of desperation in Colin’s voice partially cut through the paralyzing fear. She jumped slightly.
“Wh-what?” she squeaked, managing to find her voice through the fog of fear. Her pounding heart had apparently moved from her chest into a new position somewhere just below her vocal chords. Illogical fear had taken over and she felt as though she was being strangled.
“A torch,” Colin said as patiently as he could. ”Do you have a torch, or matches? Anything!”
Sarah’s brain flatly refused to work. Staring into the darkness of the foliage around them, her eyes detected movement in the area of a particularly dilapidated large crypt with a intricately carved wooden door. Set in the door, at about eye level, was a metal grille instead of a window. Her eyes slid downwards and she noticed that part of the bottom corner of the decayed wooden door had been either torn or gnawed away. Something dark, about the size of a small cat squeezed effortlessly through the aperture into the darkness beyond. She swallowed convulsively. This whole stupid evening was like something from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
A clammy, podgy hand gripped her arm and she let out a squawk of alarm.
“D-did you see that?” Ginger’s voice was hoarse with fear.
“Yes. N-no. I don’t know what I saw,” she stuttered in distress. ”A cat or something?”
“More like a rat,” said Colin “Lots of them down here. They come where the bodies are, but my dad says that’s why the bodies are put in stone coffins so the rats can’t get them. There’s nothing to be afraid of, but it’s worth taking a look. Torch? Matches?”
Sarah stared at him, still aware that Ginger was holding her arm in a death grip. “I don’t smoke,” she responded automatically and then realized how stupid that sounded. ”No. No matches, no torch, no lighter.”
Colin walked over to the crypt and peered through the metal grille. Everything was dark and there seemed to be nothing to see. He pushed the door and it creaked open slightly. Sarah and Ginger jumped back as one person.
“Well it’s open,” he said, pushing it further open. As he did so, the clouds parted to expose the moon which dimly illuminated the inside of the entrance of the crypt. Colin could make out apertures in the walls with small stone coffins and two large sarcophagus-like tombs standing in the middle of the room. Three candles rested on top of one of them.
“There’s candles. On top of the coffins. Now all we need is something to light them with.”
He disappeared into the gloom of the crypt. Sarah and Ginger looked at each other and with one accord they moved towards the door. Staying outside by themselves was a much worse option than going inside. Colin suddenly reappeared in the doorway making them jump back again. ”Found something!” He cried triumphantly, holding up a battered petrol lighter. “It was on the floor by one of the coffins. Whoever was last in here must have forgotten it.” He flicked the lighter, which sparked but refused to ignite.
Sarah wrinkled her nose. “What’s that smell?” she asked, staring around at the inside of the crypt from the door but refusing to move. She could feel Ginger’s hot fear-filled breath on the back of her neck.
“It’s the petrol,” said Colin, shaking the lighter and flicking it again. ”Don’t know why it doesn’t light. The flint seems okay and there’s lighter fluid in it.”
“No. Not petrol. It’s something else, sort of sweet, like rotten meat.” She sniffed the air. ”Whatever it is, it’s disgusting. Let’s try to catch up with the others.”
Colin grinned and his teeth gleamed in the dull moonlight. ”If it’s meat, then all the more reason to look around. If it was a rat that came in here then it came after something in particular. Aha!”
The lighter flared into flame. Colin adjusted it to a lower level and lit two of the candles. He handed one to Sarah and the other to Ginger. Then he lit one for himself. Now the room was filled with light and rather disappointingly empty, apart from the stone sarcophagi and the stone coffins in the wall niches.
“Nothing here.” He sounded a trifle miffed.
“Well the smell has to be coming from somewhere,” said Sarah. She still hadn’t moved and was holding her candle slightly aloft. Ginger was still standing too close to her and she could hear his heavy wheezing breath. There was something. Just an edge of something unnerving. She frowned in concentration but it was just a fleeting impression, so she tried to shrug it off.
“For god’s sake Ginge. Don’t stand so close to me with that candle, you’re going to set my hair alight or something,” she said irritably.
Ginger flushed and moved back. ”Sorry.”
Colin pushed the edge of the stone cover on top of the sarcophagus in front of him. A slight grating noise and movement told him that they could probably push it open with ease. ”We could look inside,” he said. ”Maybe the smell is coming from in here.”
“No. We couldn’t,” said Sarah. Her face was pale and covered with a light film of sweat. ”I don’t want to. I want to go and find the others.” She couldn’t put her fear into words. There was definitely some sort of atmosphere in here, something she couldn’t quite pin down, like someone had sweated globules of fear and left them hanging around in the air and clinging to the walls. A rustling and squeaking in the dark corner at the back of the crypt caught their attention.
“Ah!” said Colin going to investigate. ”There’s another small part of the crypt at the back, like a little room or something. Come over and bring the other candles.”
Sarah and Ginger looked at each other. ”You go,” she said through slightly numb lips.
“Me?” Ginger’s voice raised in shrill protest. ”Why me? Why not you?”
“You’re the boy.” She spat back.
“And you’re the one who keeps telling us how girls are as good as boys,” Ginger retorted. ”Now you’ve got a chance to prove it! Isn’t that why you came?”
Sarah groaned to herself; she had stepped right into that one with both eyes open.
“Stop arguing both of you,” snapped Colin. ”There’s something here.” His candle flared for a moment and then went out. “Damn,” he said struggling with the lighter, which once again refused to ignite. This time there wasn’t even a spark from the flint. It had obviously died. “One of you come over. I don’t care which of you it is, just as long as you have a lit candle. And watch your step, the flagstones end just about where I’m standing and then there’s just bare earth. The smell’s really strong over here.”
Ginger stood, rooted to the spot, beside the door of the crypt so Sarah sighed and walked slowly over towards the sound of Colin’s voice. Colin took the candle from her and lit his own with it.
As the bright light flared, the whole of the tiny rear chamber was illuminated. A dozen pairs of bright beady little eyes glared red in the light. The rodents who had been busy over a dark heap of earth in the corner scattered in all directions. Ginger promptly forgot his promise and squealed like a dozen little girlies as a couple of them skittered past him and out of the crypt door. He hopped from one foot to the other.
“Are they on me? Are they on me?” he screamed shrilly. He tried to look behind him but the hot wax from the candle dripped down his wrist causing him to yelp in real pain this time. ”Are there any more of them? Guys? What are you doing?”
Somehow there was something not very reassuring about the way Colin and Sarah were standing. Still and silent, they were staring at something in the back of the crypt. Ginger gathered up the courage to walk towards them. “Guys? What’s wrong? What’ve you found?”
Colin turned and Ginger was shocked to see his colour. Even in the warm candlelight, his skin was tinged with green and his eyes looked stunned. He made a futile gesture to try to stop Ginger from coming closer, but now Ginger’s curiosity was aroused and he brushed off Colin’s restraining hand with ease.
He stepped closer to Sarah and realized that she was trembling from head to foot. Her glazed eyes were fixed on the corner of the room where the earth had been dug away by the rats. Huge silent tears were sliding down her cheeks and plopping onto the padding of her jacket. He followed her gaze and was horrified to see what was now uncovered.
His gorge rose and he fled the crypt, uncaring of anything that might have been outside waiting to hurt him. He doubled over on the path and puked into one of the bushes. The contents of his stomach came up like thin acid, which burnt his throat and spattered the leaves.
A light rain started to fall.
Three tall shadowy figures stood in the protection of the trees nearby watching the large boy disgorge the contents of his stomach. Two of them turned to the third and cocked their heads in question. Neither of them spoke, in words at least, but the other had no trouble in understanding their query.
“No,” he said in a low voice. “All that could have been done has been done here. The police will be here soon. One of the children will now no doubt raise the alarm. We will just have to hope that the scavengers have done enough work to cause sufficient confusion. We must not alert them to our presence. Go now, I will wait and see what the police have to say, then I must make my own report.”
The other two bowed their heads, almost in deference. They slipped silently into the trees and were swallowed up in the night. The third figure rubbed his chin, smiled grimly to himself and settled himself down to await the inevitable arrival of the police.
The Serpent and the Peacock is available NOW. Get your copy here!
Anne would love it if you stalked her on the web….
I would like to welcome author Kenneth Weene to Five Question Friday!
1. Who’s my favorite character and why?
With five novels published, I have to admit that unlike the proverbial and dishonest parent, I don’t love all my children equally. Some of those characters are downright despicable and others seem like dear friends. But for shear literary power, my favorite is the unnamed narrator of Memoirs From the Asylum. He lets it all hang out. (No, not in that way you of dirty minds, that’s a different character.) His world is one filled with angst, doubt, helplessness, and stench; and he doesn’t shrink from it or from what he brings to it. Yeah, honesty, even when it’s wrapped in terror and psychosis: that’s the ticket for me.
2. Where is one place I’d really love to visit?
I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life. Much of it in my head, but a quite a lot has actually involved having a passport. The funny thing is most places have been fascinating and I want to go back, except for islands with beaches. My wife and I actually paid extra to get out of Hawaii ahead of schedule and I wouldn’t go back to Puerto Rico on a bet. I like culture, the highbrow stuff like theatre and classical music, great food and interesting museums. I delight in Europe and would like to get to Prague, one of the treasures I missed in that continent. China, yeah that’s a country I wish that I had seen. But most of all, and this is totally weird given my whole highbrow thing, Mongolia. I have always wanted to go to Mongolia, to visit the nomads, to spend a few nights living in a ger, and to hear the throat-singing, not on stage but in real day-to-day life.
3. What’s the hardest thing about writing a book?
I write fiction, literary fiction. The two most difficult things for me to do when writing are maintaining the narrative voice and finding a denouement that works.
Whether the book is told in the first person or the third there is somebody telling the story. The narrator may not be a character in the story, but his (her) voice, how things are said, has to be consistent and has to work with the story being told. For example, Tales From the Dew Drop Inne is narrated by Cal, one of the regulars at the Dew Drop. He has to sound like somebody who would in fact hang out at a local bar. On the other hand, Widow’s Walk is narrated in the third person. It is the story of a woman who is rediscovering life after years of limiting herself to being a wife, mother, and caregiver. Suddenly, she is exploring ideas, religion, education, as well as love and sexuality. The narrator has to be prepared to deal with things like sermons and the college scene. That narrator’s voice is very different from Cal’s.
A denouement is a point at which a story-line changes, it is the event that allows characters to grow; therefore it also allows the story to move towards its conclusion. While a novel can have more than one denouement, there is usually a principle one, an event that really pushes the story arc. In Memoirs From the Asylum the denouement takes place at the circus. The inmates/patients have been taken on a field trip; the hospital administration call it recreational therapy. Suddenly, an elephant goes berserk. I will leave the scene for you to imagine, or better, you can read the book. Suffice it to say, that the world of the asylum will never be the same. Coming up with that mad elephant and with the reactions of the mad to that madness was incredibly difficult. It was only when I was told a story of a circus elephant that had in fact gone berserk and killed its keeper in a small city in the midwestern United States that I got the idea. In that real life event, the elephant was tried, convicted, and hanged–yes, I said hanged.
4. Why do I write in this genre?
I write literary fiction because I love language. It isn’t enough to convey information and events, I want the flow of language to work, to reach as close to poetic form as I can achieve. Next, I want my characters to live and breathe, not simply to act and speak. For me writing is an extension of my fascination with the spoken word.
I have been told, many, many times, that I should write non-fiction, that it would be easier to sell. Having spent my professional career as a psychologist, I have many interesting stories to tell and worthwhile ideas to share. The problem is that as soon as I try to write non-fiction I get stilted. The sentences cease their flow. I no longer want to hear my own words.
No, I’ll leave that intellectualized stuff in my former life and stay with the literary fiction I love. I may try to expand my repertoire. Humor, speculative fiction, possibly some historical fiction; but language and character will always be my fascination.
5. What are three things I never leave home without?
Sorry, Mom, I don’t worry about my underwear or my handkerchief. I do, however, try to always have a pad and pencil or pen. You can never know when inspiration will visit, and I never want to miss that opportunity. It just doesn’t work to keep chanting that great line over and over until the opportunity to right it down occurs.
Number three is not so much a thing as an attitude, an approach to life. I don’t like to admit to being a voyeur, but I have to admit that I am always watching. Who can say which person or event will give me a new idea, a new perspective. There is, for example, a chapter in Tales From the Dew Drop Inne that centers on maple syrup. I know, it sounds such a minimal topic, but it was inspired when I had stopped for breakfast and watched two young men. Eagerly they talked and even more eagerly they ate, and ate, and ate. A whole bottle of syrup consumed with such delight. I did not want to think about how much sugar and high-fructose corn syrup they had consumed, but that evening, replaying the scene in my head, a great chapter was born.
You can also look for Ken on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and all those good places by simply searching for Kenneth Weene. How fortunate for you that he have a unique name. Now if only he can get it better known….