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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Release by Toni V. Sweeney


On November 15, one of my “lost” novels will find its way to publication.

I call these my lost novels because they were exactly that…for all intents and purposes lost, deleted, thrown away, and gone for good.

Almost twenty years ago, in what I can only describe as a fit of madness in which I decided I was about to die, I threw away the only copies of several of my manuscripts and deleted the originals from my computer.  I admit it was somewhat…rash…to put it mildly. Crazy, to be harsh about it.  By the time I came to my senses and realized I was not only not dying but was actually looking forward to being alive, it was too late; not only were the hardcopies gone, but the computer on which they had been written had given up its electronic ghost. 

Believe me, I found myself wishing more than once that I could go back and undo what I’d done but as we all know, that’s impossible. They were gone.  If I went any further with them, I’d have to rewrite those first, precious pages, and as everyone knows, you can rewrite something but you can never recapture exactly the way you originally said it.

Ten years passed, and then…one of those minor miraculous moments happened.  Someone I’d once known, and lost track of, sent me an e-mail.  He was deleting files from his computer and had come upon a folder with my name on it.  In it were copies of some early novels I’d written and sent him to read.  Would I like to have to have them back?

What do you think?

Most of the manuscripts I received were some I had copies of and I’d gone on to polish and edit.  They had actually been published, but tucked in among them were a partial chapter and two very small fragments…of something called Blood Bay.

I never intended to write what I consider a thriller, in fact, but the idea pushed itself into my mind…with the question, How would I have done that story?  The story in question was Cape Fear.  I’d seen the 1962 version, interested in it, not only because parts were filmed in Savannah, but because of the harrowing episodes in which the villain chases the lawyer’s wife.  It gave me chills and I wondered how I would’ve reacted if I’d been in her place.  Then, in 1991, the story was re-filmed, again partly in Savannah, and unlike some remakes, it was just as frightening, perhaps even more so because this time, the teenaged daughter was also one of those threatened.  I kept replaying in my mind the scene where her father asks her about the man she’s seeing and the girl simpers and refuses to answer him, not realizing her new “friend” is the convicted rapist her lawyer father put away fourteen years before and he’s now back for revenge, with her as his target…I was already re-writing the story, looking at it not from the lawyer’s point of view, but from the victim’s.  In my version, he goes after the original victim, still very much alive, but this time, she’s prepared to fight back.

Even a decade later, with absolutely no synopsis and no further idea of the story except that it would involve an island off the coast of Georgia, a vengeful rapist and his victim and the man she loved, I found the story remarkably easy to write; it was the research giving me problems, for the real-life setting had changed quite a bit since my original inception.  I had to find out what color Georgia State Patrol cars were; how far my imaginary island was from the cities of Savannah and Brunswick; if there were any rest areas now in Georgia other than the single one in North Georgia which had existed when I left the state in 1975, what state highway ran through my mythical town of Stella.  What is the actual title of the Savannah Police Department?  What is the main newspaper in that city?  A dozen other things I had to know to give my story the authentic ring it needed. 


Blood Bay is my version of Cape Fear. Set in the Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia, a young woman, agoraphobic after an assault ten years before, is brought out of her shell by a young man determined to show her that love is neither demented nor violent.  Their budding affair is interrupted by the escape from prison of the man who assaulted her and left her for dead, and he’s heading to the island, to finish what he started ten years before. That’s the premise of Blood Bay, told from the viewpoint of Connell Ambers, the victim, Tucker MacKenzie, her would-be lover, and Benjamin Reed, the escaped rapist.  It’s a thriller, like nothing I’d ever written before, and very graphic, and after I finished, I wondered if it was too different for me to submit anywhere.

Finally, after much consideration, I submitted both books to Class Act Books;  Blood Bay will be released November 15.

What’s the moral of this story?  No matter if you’re certain you aren’t going to live another day, don’t ever throw away any manuscript without keeping at least one copy, tucked away somewhere.  The sun may come up tomorrow and you’ll still be here and wanting that story!
And if you aren’t?  Then your heirs will have yet another of your novels to have posthumously published.

click cover to go to Class Act Books 

Connell Ambers was fifteen when she was raped and left for dead by her brother’s best friend.  Ben Reed was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and confined to a psychiatric hospital, but Connell received a worst sentence.  She’s a recluse, taking refuge on Isla Bahia de Sangre—Blood Bay Island-- in Georgia’s Golden Isles.
Tucker McKenzie was simply supposed to stop by on his way to Florida and check on a frat brother’s sister.  Agreeable to doing this favor for Jesse Ambers, Tuck makes two visits to the island before meeting Connell face-to-face but when he does, he finds a contradictory young woman toward whom he feels a startling attraction.  The man who was just passing through stays on, and in spite of Connell’s fears of intimacy, they begin a tentative and somewhat one-sided love affair, as Tuck encourages her into taking the first steps toward again leading a normal life.  
Then Ben Reed escapes, leaving behind a trail of bodies as he makes his way to Bahia de Sangre.  His purpose:  to finish what he started nine years before.  It’ll be a reunion he doesn’t expect.  For this time, Connell’s waiting for him… 
 
…with a gun.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Coming this month

Coming up next week from Class Act Books ...


Connell Ambers was fifteen when she was raped and left for dead by her brother’s best friend.  Ben Reed was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and confined to a psychiatric hospital, but Connell received a worst sentence.  She’s a recluse, taking refuge on Isla Bahia de Sangre—Blood Bay Island-- in Georgia’s Golden Isles.
Tucker McKenzie was simply supposed to stop by on his way to Florida and check on a frat brother’s sister.  Agreeable to doing this favor for Jesse Ambers, Tuck makes two visits to the island before meeting Connell face-to-face but when he does, he finds a contradictory young woman toward whom he feels a startling attraction.  The man who was just passing through stays on, and in spite of Connell’s fears of intimacy, they begin a tentative and somewhat one-sided love affair, as Tuck encourages her into taking the first steps toward again leading a normal life.  
Then Ben Reed escapes, leaving behind a trail of bodies as he makes his way to Bahia de Sangre.  His purpose:  to finish what he started nine years before.  It’ll be a reunion he doesn’t expect.  For this time, Connell’s waiting for him… 
 
…with a gun.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review of Wizard's Wife


This is the review done by Paranormal Romance Guild. a Dual Review in which two people review the book then talk about it:

Gloria Lakritz - She Said: | Penelope Adams - She Said:


Review by Gloria Lakritz

Senior reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild


5*****Stars


I opened The Wizard’s Wife late Saturday afternoon and could not put it down. What a glorious change of pace from many of the darker books now out to read.


Megan McMuir, newlywed, was having a bad day. Her first stop to the doctors office told her that her birth control patch failed, she was pregnant. Upon arriving home to tell her husband David his news, that she was in great health and had did not have a virus, his news got even better. After hearing her explanation about the baby, he felt the need to share with her his news. He was a faery !

David, we learn is from an alternate universe, with portals to get from one to the other. His father is King and he a Royal Prince and Champion of White Fire in the land of Ais Linn. Their enemy is the Lord of Dark Fire, Exeter Dubhtina.


Megan and David's personalities were easy for me to love as well as Ossain, the man servant, and his twin sister Brigid, the housekeeper. Megan’s internal voice was funny and smart, and quite the heroine throughout the storyline. How she went with the flow was lighthearted and fun. She held steadfast in her love for her husband David.


David, or Master Tavy, had not been quite forth coming in is past and who he was. All he knew when he met Megan that night, was that she was everything he desired. She was beauty, innocence, and the light of his heart. Everything Megan saw was Glamoured by his magic; their home, their species. Megan now learns the King and Queen were not at their wedding, because the Prince chose a human. So you can imagine what this news will create, for the child will be a halfling.


When Megan asked all the Glamour be removed, she found the beautiful estate she thought she lived in, with a long driveway and beautiful gardens, was actually a vacant lot with a very large tree, and they all lived in the tree.


There is war, untruths, and many things both tied up and left open. This story is a must read for every person that loves a Fairytale. Ms. Sweeny has left infinite possibilities for sequels, and I for one will want to read them. Bravo.



Review by Penelope Adams

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild



4****Stars


Newlywed Megan McMuir has just received news that she didn’t want to hear, she’s pregnant. Now she has to tell her husband, David, and is dreading it, since he has expressed his desire to not have children right now. Little does Megan know that telling David her news is soon to be the least of her problems.

After breaking the news to David, Megan learns not only is she married to a faery, the beautiful anti-bellum home she lives in is actually a huge oak tree. Her husband’s butler/assistant (Ossian) and his twin sister (Brigid) are also faeries and, oh yeah, there is something called the Harmonic Convergence approaching, which could cause Earth and everyone there danger.


Talk about a bad day; it can only get better right? Um, nope, it can go from bad to worse. David is heir to the throne of the White Fire, and must defeat the Lord of the Dark Fire. So across the Magic Portal into his home land of Ais Linn David goes, leaving Megan with Brigid to protect her. Not one to sit around and wring her hands, Megan, along with Brigid, crosses the portal into Ais Linn and manages to get herself captured by the Lord of the Dark Fire. Welcome to a world of werewolves, unicorns, leprechauns, wizards and all sorts of magical things that go bump in the night.


What a fun book this was. Toni V. Sweeney, who also writes under the name Icy Snow Blackstone, seamlessly starts us out in an Atlanta, Georgia mansion and takes us to a magical Irish-like land of fairy tales. We get to meet leprechauns living in trees, beautiful brave unicorns, drop dead gorgeous faeries, mean nasty (but still drop dead gorgeous) faeries and all sorts of other magical shape shifting creatures.

When we meet Megan, she is a little naïve, even though she is married but still manages to possess a pure soul. During the course of the book, she looses that naivety but retains her purity of soul. I thought she was a little namby-pamby in the beginning of the book, but by the end, I liked the spunk and fire she had developed and cheered for her.


David, oh what can one say about David. He’s one charming Irishman. He straddles both worlds with skill, he is not bad on the eyes, has a cute sense of humor and did I mention not bad on the eyes? I didn’t get the feeling he wanted to embrace his heritage in the beginning of the book, by the end, not only had he embraced it, he won it.


There are a number of secondary characters, all of whom we get to know pretty well. The bad Dark Lord is beautifully dark and dangerous; you can’t help but dislike him. His sister, Siobhan, is equally evil and doesn’t have a good bone in her body (although she isn’t hard on the eyes either). Together they make formidable foes for David, Megan and company.


As I mentioned, Toni Sweeney writes books under another name, one of which we have read and reviewed already, The Irish Lady’s Spanish Lover. This caused a little bit of deja vou all over again for me, one of the names used in that book is also used in this one. Each time I read the name, I would have to remind myself which book I was reading (I’m easily distracted). I also felt the story was wrapped up a little too easily, but other than those two small issues, I enjoyed this book.


I would love to see a sequel with Ossian in it, yummy. There is a small amount of sex, not graphic, almost PG, but it is there. Some small violence, again almost PG, one can’t battle evil without getting one’s hands dirty after all. If you enjoy a world of magic, Irish lore, knights, and fairy tale creatures, this is the book for you.



Now that the reviewers have read each other's thoughts...


G: Wizards Wife by Toni V. Sweeney really captured my interest immediately. Penny, we both saw the tongue-in-cheek saying BAD HAIR DAY for Megan McMuir. What an eye catching opening for the reader, all within the first pages. Through the smooth writing style of our author we were pretty well caught up right away with what we were in for... sorta.


P: The twists and turns helped keep my interest, along with handsome faery hubby David and Ossian the manservant... boy I would like to know more of his story. I agree with you, we should have a sequel for Ossain. Our wonderful story teller Toni V. Sweeney, also writes under the name of Icy Snow Blackstone, who had just charmed us previously in our last Dual Review for The Irish Lady's Spanish Lover.

I thought Megan took finding out her gorgeous Antebellum Mansion was a BIG Tree in the middle of a vacant lot, very well. I might have freaked out after finding her husband had glamoured everything she saw. And when he removed the glamour at her request, she had a hard time finding her bedroom , having to walk on a bed of moss...What say you Penny, How did you find the humor, and mystery?


G: I agree, the twists and turns were great; I was never bored and kept turning the pages as fast as I could. You know me, if I were to discover that my southern mansion was really an old oak tree, I imagine you would be able to hear me for miles away. I think she took everything in stride pretty well, maybe a little to well. Hubby tells me he's a faery prince and really has wings and antenna, my house is a tree on an empty lot, my world may be in for a huge mess and my child is going to be a halfling not accepted by the in-laws - a couch might be involved for a number of days. I'm just saying.


P: The author's view of the other side of the portal was fun, who wouldn't like to ride a unicorn? I did feel the last few chapters seemed a bit rushed and felt the whole 'what happened while they were apart' was glossed over pretty fast. How long did David and Megan stay in Ais Linn, and what happened while they were there? I would have liked that part of the story to have been fleshed out a little more. Here's hoping for a sequel so we can find out.


G: Sooo, the pregnant pause... I need to address with ***NO SPOILERS*** and no pun on words. Our author was kind to Megan skimming over what happened to her when she was captured by the Lord of the Dark Fire and the repercussions therein. Our Prince, however, was not so forthcoming when he was visited by Siobhan, the sister of the Dark Lord, when they were in the alternate universe Ais Linn. This does give me hope that Ms. Sweeney has plans for us to return... and yes a sequel!!!


P: Exactly, and he got to ride a unicorn even. That small chauvinistic plot hole aside, an enjoyable book.

Good night Gracie.


G: Hahaha, and Goodnight George. Yes and thank you Toni V. Sweeney for allowing us the
pleasure of reading and discussing both your books. We await m.o.r.e. Please???

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October New Release


A yearly tradition turns tragic when John Richardson is in the hospital battling a terminal illness. When his grandson, Sean, takes his place, no one can believe it will be the last act of his life. Killed in a drive by shooting, Rhonda Pohs has the job of trying to find out who had motive and was the victim supposed to be John or Sean. Dressed as a scarecrow with a fiberglass jack-o-lantern on his head, he makes the perfect target for someone driving a stolen van. But who? With the entire football team and the cheerleading squad as suspects, it soon becomes apparent it was possibly Sean who was the intended target. As the captain of the football team, the handsome running back was not only the captain of the football team but also the Homecoming King only one week earlier. Rhonda gets unexpected help from Sean's maternal great grandfather, a full-blooded Sioux shaman as he predicts things that lead to secrets being uncovered leading to the name of those behind the horrendous crime.

Available at CLASS ACT BOOKS 


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Dragonfly Prophecy and Interview

Blurb:

It has been said that dragonflies are symbolic of imminent change:
~ Dreaming of one signifies that life is not what it appears to be.
~ Dreaming of a swarm denotes dark stains of guilt on the soul.
~ Dreaming of ingesting one means that one is devoured with a passion that needs to break free to the surface.
I ignored the dragonflies that haunted my dreams.


I have read The Dragonfly Prophecy and it captured
my attention on page one.  Today I have the pleasure
of having Jacquelyn Castle, the author of the intriguing
book here on Class Act's blog for an interview.

Interview by:

Jacqueline Paige

1. Who is Jacquelyn Castle?  
First and foremost, a devoted mother of three great kids.  After that, I'm a fun-loving, outgoing, talkative, financial wizard who'd rather write all of the stories trapped in my head for a living.  Oh, and I think big and dream bigger so hopefully, that will happen someday!

2. Where did you get your inspiration from for Dragonfly Prophecy?  
I was having one of those days where everything seemed to go wrong, everyone wanted me for something, and no one was happy with anything.  I said to myself 'this is not my life.'  Later on,  after feeling very guilt ridden about that statement, I thought about what it would be like to 'wake up' from your life and find things weren't how you left them.

3. How long have you been writing?  
I've been writing since I was a teenager.  I've always loved getting lost in a good book and loved plucking stories out of my imagination even more.  Writing has been a passion of mine for most of my life and it's only recently that I found the courage to submit a story to the professionals in the publishing world.

4. Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it? 
I do, but I'm fortunate that it doesn't happen very often.  My problem is more that I have too much to say!  When I do stumble and have a bout with writers block, I start another story.  I write a few pages, or just the gist of the story, and that gets my mind focused on continuing the original story.   That's probably not what most authors do, but it works for me. 

5. While working on a story, do you directly onto the computer or are there notebooks and plot ideas jotted down in various places?  
Most of the time I work directly on the computer, but plot twists, characters, and storylines are always running around in my brain, so I do jot them down on the first thing I can grab.  I wouldn't want to forget that great idea I had while I was watching a basketball game!  I also use dictation software so when I'm in the car, I talk to my computer and it types everything I say.  Then I go home and edit it a bunch of times.

6.  Do you have any future releases we should watch for? 
Absolutely!  The Dragonfly Prophecy is a three part series.  I'm still editing the second book, but keep an eye out to see what happens to Lexi and her friends when it's released.  I also have an adult sci-fi novel that is almost finished, but remains untitled, that will probably be out before the second Dragonfly book.  I have many other stories that are at different stages of completion so you'll be hearing from me for quite some time!

7.  What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?   
I love spending time with my children doing just about anything – shopping, sports, movies, concerts, to name a few.  I also enjoy anything involving water – water skiing, boating, scuba diving, even a sandy beach is my idea of paradise.  Of course, I love to read too! 

8.  If you had one piece of advice for all those writers sitting out there procrastinating about making that first submission what would it be? Only one? :)  As Nike says, 'Just Do It" and then be prepared for rejection.  Even the most successful writers have been rejected.  But you have to believe in yourself and love what you do - it shows in your writing. 

9.  Tell us about the main characters in Dragonfly Prophecy. 
Lexi is the epitome of every teenaged girl:  Insecure about herself, annoyed by overprotective parents, and caught between the man of her dreams and the man she was destined to be with.  The dashing William is every girls dream and every girls nightmare.  We've all had those haven't we?  Chace, the dork who everyone made fun of in school, proves that you never really know someone, until you understand where they come from. 

10. Where can we find you on the web?  You can find me a www.jacquelyncastle.com or on Facebook.

Thanks for taking the time to be here today, Jacquelyn.
Jacquelyn was generous enough to give me the first chapter to include today.
Enjoy!

Seventeen-year-old Lexi Blane believed she was the creator of her own destiny.  With a brilliant mind, a flawless boyfriend, and parents who would stop the earth from spinning for her, all was going according to plan.
But when her perfect world unravels into one she doesn’t know, it reveals the painful truth of her love, trust, and entire being.  In the struggle to find her true self, Lexi learns she didn’t create her destiny – it created her.
Chapter One
“Don’t even tell me the flight got delayed again.  One more day of this waiting crap and you’ll be visiting me in the nut house!”  I whined into the phone.
William sighed a small laugh.  “Aw, I miss you too, Lexi girl, and would you believe the flight is actually on time?  You all packed up?”
“Packed?”
“They didn’t tell you yet?” he asked.  “Oh damn it!  The time difference,” he mumbled.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I guess I have to tell you now,” he offered sarcastically.  “Since you haven’t been feeling all that great lately, I thought a few days at the beach would do you some good.  So, I planned a little tropical vacay for us, and we leave right after I land!  It was so hard not to slip up every time I talked to you.  Not bad, huh?  You surprised?”  His excitement came through the phone like a little boy bragging to his Dad about his first homerun.  Of course, I was too pissed to care.
“Yeah, I’m surprised.  Thanks for including me,” I said with obvious annoyance.  I adored his sometimes old-fashioned and chivalrous ways, but it irritated the crap out of me when he made decisions without me.  It looked like my parents weren’t so innocent either, since they were the only ones who could’ve told him I was fainting again.  My ‘big surprise’ felt more like a ‘big secret.’
“Aw, don’t be mad, Lex.  It’s better in the Bahamas!” he joked, trying to sound like a travel brochure.
“The Bahamas?  What, are you out of your mind?  My parents will never let me go, unless hell’s gotten a bit chilly these days!”
“Um, yeah, well, they’re coming with us.”
“Great!”  I muttered.  I hadn’t seen him since I came home from England, where I was an exchange student in his school.  That was last semester and this was our big romantic reunion?  Was I the only one who thought it would be a little crowded?
“It’s gonna be fine, Lex.  I gotta run now, the flight’s boarding. Love you, see you in a few hours.”
I slammed the phone shut, but only after he hung up.  I wouldn’t be that rude, even though I was mad at him, and my parents, for leaving me out of things, which was something they were doing a lot of lately.
The loud thump the suitcase made when it hit the floor sent my mother bolting up the stairs.  She thought it was me, until she found me sweaty, frustrated, and stuffing the rest of the forty year old junk back in the closet, which wasn’t much bigger than the cubbyhole I had in pre-school.
“He told you?  Sometimes that boy has diarrhea of the mouth!  He wasn’t supposed to let the cat out of the bag until we got to the airport.”
“I guess he suffocated the cat then,” I scoffed.
“Honey, I already packed your stuff.”  She tidied up the closet and closed the door with a bump of her rump.
“Jesus Christ, Mom, can I do anything for myself?  I’m eighteen you know.  When are you gonna start treating me like an adult?”
“You are an adult so stop swearing at God, he didn’t do anything!” she snapped.
I couldn’t get a reaction nearly half as bad when I dropped the f-bomb, followed by some other colorful phrases.  I didn’t share her spiritual convictions, but I knew what they meant to her, and I felt like a jerk for my choice in words.  She always meant well, even though she could be, and usually was, overbearing at times.
“And I’m sorry, I was only trying to help him surprise you.  Your bag is in my room, behind the door in the bathroom if you want to re-pack it,” she mumbled and stomped to the stairs.
“No, it’s fine, Mom.  I didn’t mean that.  It’s just… well, you know how much I hate surprises. I’m sure you packed stuff I like.  Thanks.”  I caught her tight-lipped smile before she left.  It was her way of letting me know we were okay.
The next few hours were still a little tense, even though I’d made nicey-nice with Mom.  After a while, my father insisted I try to get some rest and banished me to my room like a modern day Cinderella.  It was hard enough to sit still, let alone lie down and shut my eyes.  I flopped on my bed, bunched up the pillow, and stared at the ceiling, while I daydreamed about spending the whole summer with William.  The clock always stands still when you’re waiting for the time to pass, but I checked it against my phone a few times just to make sure it still worked.  Finally, my mother called up to me.
“Lex.  Let’s go down and get some flowers while Dad’s getting the car.”
“Coming!” I sprang up and jammed my toes into the shoes I had waiting at the foot of the bed, while my hands multitasked at insane speeds.  My left searching for the arm of my sweatshirt, and my right squirting William’s favorite perfume all over myself.  I used so much that my father said he should’ve bought stock in Abercrombie and Fitch.  With William being in the States all summer, maybe he should have.
“Take an umbrella too, it’s starting to rain.”
I grabbed my bag and the umbrella, and raced down the stairs so my feet barely touched the carpet.  One quick jump over the last few and I stood on the landing, in front of my slightly startled mother.
“Nothing like young love,” she joked.
I smiled a little before I pushed past her and flung the door open.  “Let’s go!”
It’s a good thing that Manhattan had at least one bodega on every block, since my no frills father rarely had patience for that ‘nonsense’.  The nearest one was only a few feet away from our door and we were in an out, with the smelliest flowers they had, before my father even pulled up to the curb.  We drove through the early summer downpour to Newark Airport in New Jersey, where the London flight would arrive and the Bahamas one would depart an hour later.  Whoever thought up that schedule had a lot of faith in me that I wouldn’t be my usual late self.  And I wasn’t.
I slurped down my Venti Starbucks and walked around the terminal, looking out each window for the British Airways plane.  The smell of un-showered bodies mixed with strong, spicy cologne at that hour of the morning made me so queasy, I thought I’d ruin the big moment by upchucking.  I plunged my face into the bouquet of flowers and sucked up the scent, hoping to mask the stench, at least until the feeling subsided.  With my nose still stuffed in a gardenia, a gentle nudge brushed against my back.  “He’s here,” my mother said.
The plane unloaded its passengers, and the excited crowd got tighter and moved closer to the ramp that grew thick with people and carry-ons.  I ignored the groans and the occasional shoves while I pushed my way to the front of the group.  My bloodshot eyes scanned the crowd for a few seconds until they landed on the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen.  With one deep sigh, months of anxiety disappeared.  “William!”  I screamed, as I ran to him and threw myself into his arms.  He swooped me up and swung me in circles, covering my face with kisses.  I held him so tight, I thought I’d melt into him, and that would have been just fine with me.
“Ah, Lexi girl!  I’ve missed you!” he said.  My parents smiled at us while keeping their distance, so as not to interfere with the mushy part.  William’s arm slid around my waist and we walked toward them, playfully squeezing each other along the way.
“It’s so nice to finally meet you!” my mother gushed.
“Yes it is,” Dad chimed in, and extended his hand for the typical male bonding ritual.  William gave it a shake and leaned into my mother to kiss her cheek.
“My pleasure, Mr. and Mrs. Blane.  Thank you for putting me up for the summer.  It’s really very kind of you.”
“No thanks needed, son.  Let’s go, we’ve got a plane to catch!”  My Dad pounded William’s shoulder while taking his bag from him, and we all headed for the next terminal, laughing most of the way.
I don’t remember much about the flight, other than I pushed up the armrest that kept me apart from William, and snuggled up to his chest.  I woke when my ears started popping from our descent, a little mad at myself for sleeping while my time with William ticked away.
Our hotel overlooked the beach, and was surrounded by palm trees, man-made waterfalls, and a clear blue-green ocean.  We piled into the elevator that took us to the top floor where William booked the penthouse suite overlooking the beach.  He did everything big, and I shouldn’t have been so astonished, but this was outrageous, even for him.  The private pool took up half of the wrap around balcony and was dotted with lounge chairs, tables and white fluffy robes.  On the other side, stood an outdoor kitchen, shower and hot tub, and an entertainment system that was already blaring the native tropical music.  As exhausted as we were, we threw our suits on and never looked back.
That first day of the trip wiped out the remnants of pissyness I had left from my ‘surprise’.  All of the water skiing and beach romping left me too tired to scuba dive, but I’d never miss a chance to be in the ocean, so I acted like I was fine, and went anyway.  Not really the best decision since, after the one-hour dive, I was too exhausted to catch myself and avoid that clumsy fall.
The second day, well, let’s just say it was different.  Aside from a little throbbing in my hand from my scuba boat ‘trip’ the day before, and a weird feeling in my head, it started out wicked great!  The third and fourth wheels–that would be my parents, embarrassingly dressed like tourists, finally left us alone.
“We’re going down the beach and get some shells for this,” my mother said while holding up the putrid fish shaped jar she bought from some local in a mud hut.  Judging by the smirk on my Dad’s face, he didn’t share the thrill.
“Have fun with that,” I giggled and winked at my father.  He tried to be casual when he slid the little paper umbrella from my drink and gave it a whiff.
“Virgins right?”
“Yeah, Dad, no alcohol.”  He sucked the pineapple chunk off the umbrella and his face puckered as if it were a lemon.
“The alcohol might have tasted better!” he joked.
I wanted nothing more than to be alone with William, but a tiny part of me wished my parents stayed, only because I couldn’t shake that weird feeling.  I knew something was definitely wrong, but being with William was more important than that minor malady.  So I did what any other lovesick teenager would do.  I ignored it and hoped it would go away.
“Don’t forget your sunscreen, Lex.  You’re looking pink already.”
“I’ll be sure she puts it on,” William reassured my father.  “Have fun.”
Even though the overprotection thing was humiliating, I felt like my life had finally changed direction.  For once it wasn’t so bad being me. Not on this day anyway.  I was on Paradise Island with my very own fairy tale prince.  He wasn’t the Prince William, but he was mine, and he was much better looking and not nearly as stuffy.  And you’d think he would have been, coming from a family that made the Queen herself look like a penny pincher.
I ain’t gonna lie, it was a newsworthy event when he asked me out, even though I initially avoided him like the occasional cockroach in my closet. I don’t care what anyone says, you could be Einstein’s daughter, but you gotta be a hottie to get a guy like that. I didn’t know what his attraction to me was though, because there was nothing exotic about my looks, unless you’d consider five-foot-five, brown hair and eyes to be exotic.
But just like a typical guy, the thrill of the chase must have sucked him in.  That, or he really did see something in me that I never saw in myself.  And so I wound up with the most perfect man on the planet.
“Your coconut massage is ready,” William snorted.  His hands were full of the sweet smelling liquid as he knelt on the blanket, waiting for me to lie down.  His brown hair, marked by the sun with its golden streaks, fell into his eyes as he smoothed the oil down my back.  He moved his head so the wind blew it off his face and his green eyes caught the reflection of the sea.  They looked an unusual, but beautiful shade of turquoise.  I pulled his head toward mine and kissed that gorgeous face when I was all greased up and ready for the Bahamian sun to roast me.
“Your turn.”  I said and wrestled him to the blanket.  “You don’t want to fry that pale English skin, now do you?”
“Hey, ivory girl, you’re pretty porcelain yourself!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, lay down.”
His long legs hung off the blanket while he nestled his head in the crease of his muscular, folded arms.  My fingers intentionally moved to tickle under them, and I waited for that gleaming smile that gave me chills.  When he flashed it, I kissed every smidgen of his baby soft face, and lay down next to my perfect man, who I was too infatuated with to notice, was too perfect.
And just like my wish for the destiny bus, my luck took a nosedive off the GWB.  That was my first sign.  Too bad I didn’t see it on the way down.
The voices reverberated in my head, “No!  She’s crashing!”
“What?  Who is?”  I brushed my hand against his arm without opening my eyes.
“What?”  William groaned.
“Oh, I thought you said something.”
“Maybe the cabana boy spiked your drink,” he cracked in that British accent that made me melt like ice cream on asphalt.
I laughed him off, but I knew I heard it.  I can’t explain how I knew, but I had a very strong feeling that someone was dying somewhere.  Or I went insane.  Yep, that was reasonable.
“Charging! Clear!”
I froze.  It hurt.
“Lex?  You all right?”  William asked.  He sat up on the blanket and stroked my cheek, those stunning green eyes traced me from head to toe and back again before they stopped at my face.
“I…I don’t feel so good.”  The heat surge stung when it pulsated in my chest and ran through my veins to every cell in my body.  My skin sizzled from the blood boiling beneath it.  What started out as a little twitching in my arms and legs ended in an uncontrollable full-body thrashing session. My heart skipped a few beats and then started again with one deep, heavy thud.  It tickled my ribs when if fluttered for a little while before it found its own rhythm, similar to the ticking of the metronome on my piano.  My body got still.
“Lex?  Lexi?”
“Oh my God, will you shut up?”  I snapped at William.  My head echoed with the voices that got louder and faster.
“What?  I didn’t say anything!”
“Lex?”
“Stop!”  I screamed.
“Adrenaline!”
I heard the word, but his lips didn’t move.  It wasn’t even his voice.  He stared a worrisome glare when my face lost all expression.  That’s when I realized it was me. The voices were talking only to me, and only inside my head.  Terror gripped me like a boa constrictor, stealing the air my lungs needed to inhale a deep, calming breath.  It didn’t take a genius to realize that the same schizophrenia that stole my Grandma finally came to take a swat at me.  The family kept her illness a secret so I didn’t know that much about it, other than I could have inherited it from her along with my trust fund.  I never saw how bad the disease destroyed her mind at the end, and it horrified me that I was about to find out first-hand.
I tried not to let William see my panic when I looked around, hoping to find the source of the voices.  I didn’t want to be crazy, but I couldn’t run out of my own head either.  As my bad fortune would have it, the beach was empty, except for a few surfers trying to catch a wave a few hundred yards away.  It’s here, I thought.  Grandma’s craziness got a grip on me and sunk its long, pointy teeth into my flesh.  I had to find a way to break free, without leaving my brain in its jaws.
“Let’s get out of here.  You don’t look so good.”  William jumped to his feet and shook out our towels, sending the fine grains of sand flying in my face.  The powdery, white sand wasn’t white anymore.  It was black.  I saw nothing but black.

Available at Class Act Books 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DAMIAN: Traditional Vampire and Proud of it!


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They say the “traditional” vampire is making a comeback. No longer the anguished seeker of human acceptance, of finding love and nothing more; no sparkly, benign, adolescent-appearing male wavering between turning the girl he’s attracted to and giving in to his bestial nature, not waging war with werewolves or his own kind; no pair of Undead sibling rivals who’ve loved the same woman in the Past and now are committing the same mistake in the Present… A protagonist more Prince Drakula than Stefan Salvatore or Edward Cullen, this Undead gentleman is sometimes no gentleman. He can be cruel and seductive by turns, blood-lusting or just plain lusting...a ravaging beast or a ravenous lover. If he can’t get what he wants one way, he’ll get it another…no holds barred…

In fact, he’s loving every moment of his Immortal existence with no apology, and handsome head held high.

Within one night, Damian La Croix loses his life and his soul as he willingly choses Undeath rather than perish of the Plague. The Black Death strikes and Damian doesn’t want to die. He wants to live, to marry his betrothed Antoinette, to love her, and when he chances upon a vampire struggling to find a victim in the charnal pit of the dying village, he sees a way to escape the Plague and have Antoinette, too. His payment for immortality: the lives of everyone on his father’s estate—agrees. Then something goes wrong. Antoinette and LeMaitre betray him and Damian strikes back, killing both his beloved and his sire. He doesn’t hesitate; it’s self-defense, and that starts the Night Man on his long, lonely trek through Time, for he still wants someone to love. Not a reincarnation of the unfaithful Antoinette, but simply a woman who’ll accept him for who he is…in spite of what he is.

It’s a bit of a different story, but one I think both horror fans and paranormal romance readers will enjoy, for its perspective of the vampire as both potential villain and hero.

The Night Man Cometh is available from Class Act Books, in ebook and print versions. BUY LINK: : http://www.classactbooks.com/The-Night-Man-Cometh-by-Tony-Paul-de-Vissage-PDF_p_302.html