Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. Welcome to my little part of the great CoffinHop event. It's so good to see you here. Let me thank old friends and new visitors for taking the time to visit. I hope I make it worth your while. If you are unfamiliar with the event, don't worry. Just follow the link. It is the Halloween event to end all of them; a chance to meet so many fantastic authors of dark fiction, and their work. Not only can you win tons of books, but there's swag, too. Trust me, and just follow the link.
For those who have yet to meet me, I am a writer of horror and paranormal fiction from a crossover perspective. I discovered horror novels in my teens and have been reading them ever since. I am a huge music fan and originally grew my hair long, thinking I might get into music. Soon, however, I came to realize that expressing myself in dark fiction was where my heart was. I attempted to continue writing into my 20's, but life got in the way. I went nearly two decades, thinking I would never find my name on the spine of a book. It was that potential regret that caused me to dust off that manuscript and see it published. I now have three novels and am currently working on book 4...
Dance on Fire is my first novel. It was supposed to be a serial killer story, but then a vampire stepped out of the shadows - which was a hell of a surprise even for me. *laughs* The story was originally hard R-Rated. Then came another surprise. I made the story a crossover. Even back then I thought we needed another vampire story like a hole in the head. My idea to make it different was to explore whether a vampire could be used by God for good. It was then that a series was born. I don't label it Christian fiction, because there is blood and guts in this, and profanity - not a lot, but it's there. I wanted to cross over faith and edge of your seat horror, and not have to pull too many punches.
In the following snippet. the great beast Vincent has attacked a woman and her twin babies. Their mother lies in a heap on the floor of their nursery. She has no idea of the action happening above her...
The vampire has heightened senses: taste, smell, touch, sight and hearing. All five are far more highly tuned to his world around him than that of his victims. He has better vision than that of a hungry eagle in search of a morsel from high above the forest. He can smell the presence of human beings faster than the deer can smell a mediocre hunter. Not only can the vampire hear a pin drop, but he can recognize the disturbance in the molecules as the pin slices its way through the air toward the ground. In fact, just one of these senses makes it impossible for the vampire to be taken by surprise.
Except by another vampire.
Therefore, when Nathaniel suddenly came out of nowhere and swept the baby from his hands, knocking him into the far wall in the same motion; he actually let out a cry of surprise.
Nathaniel replaced the baby in her crib and with but a touch quickly pushed the piece of furniture safely behind him.
“Nicely done, Nathaniel. I wondered when you might show yourself,” he added quietly, stepping away from the wall and running both of his hands through his long hair in order to get it out of his face. “Cliché, I know, but I taught you very well, indeed.”
“You taught me only to hate. And I hate you very much.”
Vincent sighed, and then took a threatening step forward.
“Remain where you are, Vincent!” Nathaniel commanded. “These are under my charge.”
“Oh, but Nathaniel, surely you don't think me gluttonous. I will gladly share them with you.”
Nathaniel made no effort to respond.
“Ah, but that is right,” he quickly interjected. “You don't feed on human blood, do you, Nathaniel? Such a pity. Cats and vermin!” he said with a dramatic shudder. “It makes you considerably weaker than I, you realize. In that instance, I guess I will have both!”
“No!” Nathaniel stood his ground.
“I will not be ordered around, Nathaniel,” Vincent said firmly, taking another step forward.
Nathaniel said nothing and made no effort to withdraw.
Vincent stopped. “Ah, you mean to challenge me. I adore challenges. It has been a challenge, my finding you. It has been a challenge following a cold trail across the globe.” Vincent stepped closer. “And now that I have you…” He stared his adversary down, menacingly. A moment later he reached out delicately with his left hand and lovingly moved a stray hair out of Nathaniel’s face. He whispered: “And I do have you, Nathaniel.” He lowered his hand back to his side and changed his expression again, this time to a look of intimidation. Then, he shook it off again.
“Just go, Vincent,” Nathaniel said, placing his hands on the back of the little baby's crib. “It is still early. I trust you have more than enough time to acquire for yourself another meal.”
Vincent sighed again and smiled, turning his attention back to the nearest baby. They were each still screaming their lungs out, red-faced panic on their tiny faces. Something in that scene coerced a giggle out of him.
He reached down into the nearest crib and gently and tenderly caressed the skin of the baby boy's throat with his ugly discolored fingernail. The infant recoiled at the touch and did his best to move away.
Vincent pulled the hand away from the baby and then, glancing dramatically into Nathaniel's eyes, stuck the caressing finger into his mouth and licked the scent from it.
“No more games, Vincent.”
Vincent turned his gaze back upon Nathaniel, his face devoid of expression. He appeared neither pleased nor angered. “It is so good to hear you speak my name again after all of these years.”
“It has been much longer than years.” There was a pregnant pause where Vincent’s name should have followed, but Nathaniel refused to satisfy the monster any further. “And not at all long enough.”
Vincent nodded with understanding or perhaps it was acknowledgement that there was nothing more to discuss. No chance at reconciliation. “I'll not be denied so easily the next time, Nathaniel.”
Nathaniel gave no response.
Vincent started to walk back towards the open window but stopped short. “I’m almost sorry that this must end, my young Nathaniel: my hunt for you. This chance meeting. Our next meeting.” There was the obvious threat in those words, but he showed no hint of it on his face or in his tone. “It is good to find you, finally. I have grown so exhausted with the travelling.” Vincent glanced around the tiny nursery as if he could see the Sierra Mountain Range to the near East, the Pacific Coast to the distant West. “I miss the old country. I will be returning home soon.” He looked back at Nathaniel. His expression melted slightly. It was almost sweet, he knew, were it not for his black, long-dead heart. “Come back with me, my son. May this not end with the shedding of our blood that mingles inside you.”
Nathaniel steadied himself. He wanted to roar back a comment, but held his tongue until he had regained some measure of composure. “I am not your son!”
“No? Are you quite certain? Consider your clothing.” Vincent lifted his left hand as if meaning to reach out for the side of Nathaniel’s head, but did not. “And your hair… is it not as long as mine?”
“That was your doing. I can do nothing to change it.”
Vincent thought to say more, but did not. He just studied Nathaniel as if he had expected as much, but had genuinely hoped for something else. He seemed to sigh, but if so, quickly shook it off. He turned and stepped through the window. Before he departed, he turned to stare deeply at Nathaniel a moment longer. His prodigal son stared back. It had been so long since he had beheld his own reflection in the eyes of the boy. Many years he’d swam in those eyes, never to find comfort there.
Apparently the comfort was to come when those eyes no longer held any reflection.And then he was gone. The window seemed to slam shut of its own accord.
Dance on Fire: Flash Point is book two in the series. This book practically wrote itself. In it, it is five years later and all is seemingly well. Little do the characters know, however, that five vampires are coming with a terrible revenge in their hearts. They are led by the vampire Tiffany who escaped book one.
In the following snippet, Nathaniel and his human friends have staged a rescue...
Nathaniel had him immediately and slammed him face first into the grass in the corner yard. He dragged him hurriedly, not allowing him to get his balance, and slammed him repeatedly into a nearby tree.
“What do you want?” Erich yelled between blows.
“I want to know what happened to the two women?”
“Why?” Erich asked, weak from both the body damage and because he had yet to feed.
“Because I do!” he yelled. “They mean something to me.” He pulled the vampire close to him.
“I don’t understand,” Erich groaned. He began to wilt. If not for Nathaniel holding him, he would have fallen. “Both you and Tiffany going to so much trouble. Who was this Victor who caused so much to bear?”
Nathaniel paused, wondering whether he had heard him correctly. “What did you say?’ he asked, releasing him. The idea was simply too incredulous to be believed. “Did you say, Victor?”
“That was his name, wasn’t it?” Erich said, glancing up from a seated position there in the yard. “Victor?”
Feeling a sharp spike of anger beginning to swell within him, Nathaniel reached back down, grabbing the vampire by the hair and quickly hauling him to his feet. He brought his face close as he snarled through gritted teeth. “His name was Vincent! You have committed murder and brought ruin to two families and do not know the name of the monster that caused all of this to be!” Blinded by fury, Nathaniel brought his hands over the vampire’s head and slammed it repeatedly against the tree. It did little to appease his anger. Eventually, he gripped the vampire’s ears as if he were about to rip them off of his head. Instead, he gave them a turn, and twisted Erich’s head around.
Chief Daniels came walking up as Nathaniel released the vampire to the ground at his feet. He wasn’t dead, but would be soon enough. He spun. The chief raised his hands quickly in fear. Nathaniel saw the look on his face and waved him off.
“Did you hear?” Nathaniel yelled. The chief raised his hands again, this time motioning for him to watch the loudness of his voice, but the vampire would have none of it. “They don’t even know why they are doing this!”
Having said this, he turned back around, grabbed the body at his feet and proceeded to drag it behind him as he walked with a renewed purpose down the sidewalk toward the Rosen house.Chief Daniels watched the incredible sight before him, but quickly went over to the fence and fished for his radio. “Michael,” he said when he had it back on. “Two down, but I think Nathaniel’s just gone off the reservation!”
At this point I needed a break from all things vampire. My love for haunted house stories and romantic films caused me to write my first paranormal, Seeing Ghosts. It isn't a romance, but it does have a heavy dose of romance in it. In the story, Paul Herrera inherits an old farm house on the California central coast. The woman who shows him the house is the spitting image of his dead wife, taken from him three years before, along with their unborn son. Dealing with ghosts from his past, Paul must deal with new ghosts, alone for a week in a haunted house that holds many secrets.
The following snippet is how the book begins...
I suppose you can say this whole thing began and ended with ghosts. Not all my life, of course, but only all that ever really mattered. Everything before meeting Angie happened simply to get me prepared for our life together. No real living had occurred until that moment. After Angie died, I was left only with ghosts. Now tonight I lie beside another woman who is not my wife, and who I have yet to touch. I marvel at her even, peaceful breathing as I stare at the awful ghost that sits calmly, but menacingly, near the foot of the bed.
Aunt Flora is dead and has been for several months. There’s really no reason on God’s green earth why she should be here, in my home, a place she’d never visited in life, but here she sits just the same, and I’m sure I know why. Perhaps it has everything to do with her not having a home of her own any longer, or because she’s lost her husband once again. She seems to grin at me as if she can read my thoughts.
Now she nods dramatically to say that she can, indeed.
“What do you want, Flora?” I finally ask, whispering. I try to be as quiet as possible. It seems like a useless proposition. Peace is an illusion to me at this point; like something so far out of my grasp as to be laughable.
“You know what I want, Paul.” Her voice is low and calm, but seems to reverberate against the walls. “You know very well what I want,” she says as the all-too-familiar lightning flashes outside probe into the bedroom and illuminate her. A gust of wind rattles the window briefly. It must’ve been the reason I awoke in the first place. I’m pretty sure it was just wind, but who could know at this point? In any event, there’d be no more sleeping.
I see Flora’s terrible features—that aged and deep-wrinkled skin pulled over high cheekbones; and that profound smile that brings no pleasure, but only sets me on edge. Thunder roars in the distance as if on queue. I am intimately familiar with this particular storm. Both it and Flora seem to have followed me.
“I can’t help you with that, Flora,” I say.
“Yes, I know. All you can do is bring everything to ruin.”
I stare at the ghost and say nothing further, taking in the sight of her with her long-sleeved white blouse, dark slacks and black shoes. It’s incredible to me that I’m having another conversation with my aunt. It’s clear she holds me to blame for what’s happened. If I wasn’t afraid before, there’s no denying it now.
Flora reclines against the winged-back chair that was Angie’s favorite and smiles. Her arms remain atop the arm rests, the perfect picture of quiet. Another bolt lights up the sky and my eyes immediately find her claw-like fingers as they seem to be digging into the upholstery. Now I know better and I shiver at this apparently perfect culmination of events.
“It’s not over, Paul,” Flora says. Her tone is firm and reminds me of a wild animal’s growl. “You know damn well what I want! It is all that I have ever wanted. But you have taken that from me. You have taken far too much. Now I shall do the taking. Do you hear me, Paul? Do you understand what I am telling you?”Now I’m the one who leans back. I sit up first, positioning myself against the tall headboard. Here is a trend I can’t shake free of—me being awake as the night wanes. Another burst of lightning flashes across the Central California sky and then disappears, casting the room back into shadow. Thunder sounds. The storm is fast approaching. I say nothing more as I recline and simply stare at my dead aunt who sits and stares back, composed for the moment. It would seem I’ve become quite comfortable with ghosts, doesn’t it?
I was so pleased with the way Seeing Ghosts came out that I came away refreshed and ready to sprint back to my vampire series. I am now working on book three in the series. I am aiming for an early 2015 release. The cover and title are ready to go. I'm just waiting to reveal that once we get closer to our release date. In any event, I can tell you that the devil is alive and well, and none too pleased that one of his vampires has been seeking God. He will step out of the shadows, armed with over one hundred vampires - because undead flesh that seeks God cannot be allowed to live. More on that coming this winter...
Once again, thank you for stopping by. If you want to read one or all of my e-books, just leave me a comment here, telling me which one you'd like to win. I will be giving away several copies of each. One Grand Prize winner will receive signed softcover copies of the two Dance on Fire books, and another will win a signed copy of Seeing Ghosts. Just please leave me a way to get a hold of you should you win. The contest will be open until November 1st.
In the meantime, please continue coffin hopping by following this link.
We'll talk soon.