Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Feature: Excerpt from DECEPTION, Son of a Mermaid, Book 3

My YA publisher called me this week. On the phone. Because yet another deadline slipped for Book 3 of this series. Today is the first full day of Autumn, so saying the book will release "Summer 2017" is no longer an option.

So we talked. And she made me commit to a hard and fast deadline, no more of this wishy-washy finish-it-when-you're-ready stuff anymore. Family crises be damned. Well, not really, but she lit a fire under my backside and I committed to meeting her deadline, and being in her holiday release brochure as a December release.

Yup. DECEPTION will be arriving in bookstores and
on Amazon  in DECEMBER

When the release party is organized, I'll post about that too, but for now I thought I'd share another little taste of what I've been working on....
* ~ * ~ *

Shea wanted to believe that Kae hadn’t been lying to him from the beginning, but it was getting harder and harder. His heart thudded against his ribcage in an unfamiliar way, his teeth clamping tighter as he swam down the murky hallway.
Once upon a time, he thought they shared everything and nothing could come between them. That illusion was slipping away like the pastel clouds over the ocean at dawn.
Kae had secrets, a fact that hurt more than he wanted to admit out loud. How could he trust her? Should he trust her?
When they reached the end, he faced a large stone door with no windows, only elaborate metal strapping bolting it shut on both sides. The key slid smoothly into the first padlock on the right, which he dropped to the ground before trying the second. With another click, the metal hinges creaked open. Shea dropped the key next to the locks on the ground and pushed the door wider. The inky blackness of the cell made it hard to see anything, but he heard the rattle of iron chains.
Kae put both hands on his arm to peer around him into the darkness. “Alexander? Are you in there?”
Alexander? Since when did she call the sorcerer by his given name?
“Go away,” came the hoarse reply. He could barely make out the words, and could only assume it was the sorcerer’s voice. “You shouldn’t be here, Kae. They’ll be back any minute.”
“There’s one thing we agree on,” Shea muttered, earning an elbow in the stomach from the mermaid.
The chains clattered sharply, echoing in the darkness. “Who’s there? Who’s with you?”
Shea didn’t answer. Kae unhooked one of the lanterns from the corridor wall and entered the room, casting a pale glow into the gloom of the windowless cell. Shea flinched when the light found Zan huddled in a corner, arms bound over his head with chains attached to a hook on the ceiling. His bruised and swollen face was barely recognizable. Kae set the lantern on the floor before swimming to his side. Cradling one of his cheek in her small hand, she used the other to inspect a nasty bruise along his ribs. “This looks so much worse than I thought.”
Shea crossed his arms over his chest, trying not to feel pity for the battered merman. “Why would they beat you?”
“Because I gave the wrong testimony.”
“Wrong?” Shea frowned and swam closer. “You mean you lied under oath?”
Zan’s swollen eyes cracked wide enough to stare up at Shea. “No. I told the truth.”

* ~ * ~ * 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Quoting Quotes...

"You Never Realize How Strong You Are Until Being Strong is Your Only Choice."

Do you know who said that line? Have you seen it on a random inspirational poster and thought they made it up? How about this one:

"It is What a man Thinks of himself that Truly Determines his Fate."


"No Fate But What We Make."

Okay, those last two were from wildly different sources, saying the same thing. The second one is from Sarah Connor, but from the second Terminator movie when the annoying son quotes her. It's the quote that kept running through my head as perfect for my WIP character to spout, except... well, it's a Terminator reference and would take more explaining than I wanted to get into for the story. So I looked up quotes about fate and found the other, which is from Henry David Thoreau and the character would've studied it in high school. Same idea, easier to slip into the narrative.

Do you use quotes in your writing? In GHOSTS DON'T LIE I had two character arguing over the famous "of Mice and Men" quote, which actually originated with a poem by Robert Burns and was originally "schemes" and not "plans" ...

“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”

but colloquially we often hear, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

I'm not even sure if John Steinbeck even uses the entire quote in his novel OF MICE AND MEN but everyone knew what he meant. And it signaled to the reader that things were not going to go according to plan for the main characters.

In my own work, I was going for literary foreshadowing. The character's mother had schemes that didn't work out the way she planned. The abusive husband made plans to kill his wife that went horribly wrong.

I like it when a character quotes a book or movie or song, with a line that adds meaning and depth to what's going on in the bigger picture of the novel. But I draw the line at the in-depth quotes. If you can't do it with a phrase or a sentence, should you be adding the quote at all?

It was popular for a while in romance novels to have song lyrics running through chapters, you know, where the rock star hero is writing and singing songs about the protagonist, trying to win her heart. Or maybe it's just that string of New Adult rock star books I binged on last spring... but it didn't work for me. I tended to skip over the paragraphs of lyrics. If they were there to further the plot, I skipped right over it anyway and don't feel like I missed something.

What about you? Do you use quotes or phrases in your own writing? Do you like reading them in other people's work? How long is too long? What's your favorite source for finding the perfect quote?

And who wrote the quote at the top of the page? I already answered the question on Peggy Jaeger's Facebook page, since she posted one of those "inspirational poster" memes this morning to start off my rant. So I know. Do you?

Happy Writing!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Book Review: Beyond the Mist, by Casi McLean

Beyond the Mist, by Casi McLean
Published September 15, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes.

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams.

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?
My Take:

Casi McLean gives us another intricately plotted time travel, filled with romance and suspense that spans the years, and takes the reader back to one of the most devastating dates in recent U. S. history, 9/11. 

The author lovingly paints a well-researched portrait of 2001 New York City, in the days leading up to the catastrophic event, with great attention to detail. The characters who travel back in time are the only ones who know the horrors about to unfold, filling them with emotional upheaval on so many levels. How would it feel to know thousands are about to die horrific deaths and not be allowed to stop the terrorist event? Would you be able to walk away? This is the moral dilemma the characters face, and we as readers struggle along with them.

Nick Cramer is a man haunted by this particular day in history, and when he figures out time travel is real, he jumps at the chance (quite literally) to go back in time to fix his mistakes and change the past, despite the fact that absolutely everyone tells him not to affect any changes, that ripple effects have unforeseen consequences. When it becomes obvious in the future that Nick has messed with the past, they send one more traveler through the void - Piper Taylor - to figure out what went wrong. Can she figure it out and stop him before it's too late? Can she heal his misery and guilt? It's a race to save the future, amidst the shattering reality that was 9/11.

I'm a sucker for anything with time travel, and I enjoyed this story. I have to admit that Nick's character bothered me a lot, as he was weak willed and kept doing the absolute wrong things, even if it seemed like it was for the right reasons. Piper had been such a flibberdigibbet (love that word) in the first book that I was happy and surprised to see her inner strength emerge in this book - great growth of character.

I do have to disagree with some other reviews I've read, though. You really should read the first Lake Lanier mystery first in order to fully enjoy this story (like Piper's character arc, for example.) Yes, you could read this as a standalone story. It has a definite story arc all its own and an ending that doesn't leave the reader dangling.


The characters are too intertwined and the time travel anomalies too twisted to get the full impact without reading the first story. In fact, now that both are available, you can even read them one right after the other.

Grab a copy on AMAZON.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Feature: Calling for Tales of Ghostly Encounters

The weather is starting to shift and the leaves are beginning to turns... which means... It's almost time to break out the Halloween decorations! Fall means raking leaves and having firepits on the beach, and telling spooky stories... or reading them while curled up with a cup of hot cider...

This past week, I helped a fellow author celebrate her new release with a Facebook event, and one of the games I hosted was "Ghost Encounters" - telling us about your close encounters with the spirit world. And a lot of people have these stories to tell, stories spookier than my own real-life encounters.

When I was writing GHOSTS DON'T LIE, I had a regular feature on my blog called "Ghost Tales for Tuesday" and I invited friends and fellow authors to share their ghosts stories. I'd love to revive that type of feature this fall, and invite you all to be my guest. Tell us your story of a brush with the paranormal! Whether you're a ghost whisperer like my psychic heroine or just living in a haunted house... or visited one that still gives you a shiver when you think about it... share your story.

Email me (or leave your contact info in the comments and I'll email you) and share.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for a ghostly tale to get you started, check out GHOSTS DON'T LIE, available on Amazon, B&N or direct from the publisher.

AMAZON link: