Stalk me elsewhere

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Devil is Alive and Well

“What is that?” Luis asked, trying to compose himself while his body seemed bent on bringing up the remaining undigested contents of his stomach.
“One of our brothers,” Nathaniel stood and said.
“What?” Luis managed to ask. “But how? Who?”
“I am uncertain.”
Nathaniel was out of sorts. He was as confused as he had ever been in his life, going back all the way to his home in Cimpulung, Romania. The object at his feet was clearly a burned human form, and one of the monks of the monastery. How he had been dispatched was unclear. There was no wind about them, though the monastery was high in the mountains. It was as if everything was dead - human, animal, plant, atmosphere – everything.
“What’s that other terrible odor?” Luis asked.
“Sulfur,” Nathaniel answered. And then he began to wonder.
“Yes. It used to be called brimstone.”

Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. *glances around, sighs* Still summer, huh?
This is the traditional end of summer weekend, and how I wish it were Halloween already. At least then the heat would be long gone. If you enjoy summer then I hope the season finds you enjoying all that is left. Me? Not so much. That's central California for ya'. *grins*
I led off with a snippet of book 2 in my Dance on Fire crossover vampire series. The series that begs the question whether a vampire can be used by God. It's not a Christian novel, necessarily, but it does ask those questions and plays along those lines. The reviews have been good for Dance on Fire and Dance on Fire: Flash Point. I'm sitting on book 3 at the moment, patiently awaiting word from my betas as to how I'm doing so far. I've actually heard from one of them already, and she couldn't be happier. She says it's my best so far. That's always great to hear. It does have a title that I am not yet ready to reveal. The amazing Maria Zannini is also whipping up her cover magic at the moment. I'm still taking my time and hoping for an early 2015 release. We'll see... 

Cautiously, they walked inside the monastery. The sound of the door opening and closing behind them was loud. The monastery, which had always been a place of quiet reflection, now reminded Nathaniel of a crypt.
He would soon hate himself for having thought so.
When they turned a corner they stumbled upon two more smoldering heaps of human remains. In the candlelight they could make out more of the details, but it did nothing but succeed in making them further sickened in both stomach and heart—and for good reason. Not only did Nathaniel fully expect to see more of these, but now he was certain that Luis might be the last of his brothers left alive.
At the end of the corridor, there was another.
They walked through a doorway and were met by yet another. Luis covered his nose with both hands. They began to walk faster now. Their footfalls echoed harshly against the stone and wood building.
Outside the sanctuary, they found another. They had to slide it out of their way in order to open the door. When they did, they found precisely what they expected to find. The place was filled with rolled up charred remains. In the light of the sanctuary, the smoke and heat could be seen wafting off.
“My God!” Luis whispered.
“No, it isn’t.”
At the front of the sanctuary was a figure. At first glance, he appeared to be a tall man with a medium build, although he stood with his back to them, his hands clasped behind him. “I know you’re not referring to me,” he laughed. “But I appreciate the sentiment.”
The man wore slacks and a dress jacket. His dark hair was slicked back. The candlelight reflected off gold jewelry on several of his fingers as well as his left wrist.
“You know,” he continued, but still didn’t turn around to face them. “There’s something about this architecture that I’ve always liked. I don’t know what it is. I guess it’s familiar.”
“Whatever happens,” Nathaniel instructed. “Do not speak.”
Luis turned as if to ask why, but Nathaniel gave him a sharp look. He turned back just as the figure before them turned. He was still holding his hands behind his back.
“That’s right, dear Luis. Don’t speak. Truth be told, none of your brothers said anything either and it didn’t save them. Who’s to say what may happen?”

The reason I'm offering up what happens at the end of book 2 is because it is a fantastic tease as to what will be the entirety of book 3. Satan is not pleased that there is a vampire seeking God and thwarting his plans at seemingly every turn. It gets under his skin, as it were. And he will not put up with that...

“What do you want?” Nathaniel asked.
“What do I want,” the figure mimicked. “Hmm? I wonder. No, wait. I know. I want you to stay out of my affairs!” With those words, he swatted a smoldering ball of remains that was on the pew beside him. It rolled along the pew and collided with another, causing both to fall onto the wood floor. “I want you to quit killing my creations! How’s that? Is that clear enough for you to understand?”
“I have only become involved when it had to do with my friends.”
“Not true,” he said, and his voice was suddenly lacking the vile anger of just a few moments before. “When you leaped through that nursery window and interfered with my son, they were not yet your friends.”
Nathaniel saw Luis out of the corner of his eye. The man looked awestruck, but he couldn’t worry about that now. It was obvious, however, that Luis knew who this was.
The devil walked up the center aisle and stood before them in all of his twenty-first century splendor. He was impeccably dressed in a double-breasted grey suit, grey slacks and black Italian dress shoes. He removed his hands from behind his back and clasped them before him.
“So,” he said. “You boys have done well: four vampires dead. And let’s not forget about Angie.”
Nathaniel said nothing.
The devil looked away as if remembering something. “Make that five vampires. I forgot about Mark.”
The devil tried to tempt Nathaniel into reacting negatively. He wasn’t taking the bait.
“I mean, those were your bite marks on his neck, right?” he sarcastically asked.
“Yes,” Nathaniel answered through clenched teeth.
“I’m sorry,” the devil asked. “What was that?”
“Just what is it that you want, Devil?” Nathaniel asked, trying to get the conversation away from that nerve that the devil had begun to scratch.
The devil straightened up his posture. “I really don’t like that name,” he said. “I prefer Satan. You may call me that.”
Nathaniel said nothing. He knew enough about the devil from what he had read in the Bible to know that he needed to speak as little as possible. Anything more and he risked getting drawn into something that this evil force might be able to use against him, or risk becoming angered such that all of his control might be lost. As it was, things were tenuous at best.
And Satan knew that.

“What may I call you, is the question.” The Devil walked up to Nathaniel and didn’t stop until he had come before him, nearly touching his nose with his own. “I created vampires. You are a vampire. I imagine that you won’t quibble with this. That must make you my son. What do you say?”

So there you have it. I took a break from the series and these characters I have known so long when I wrote Seeing Ghosts. I was pretty burned out. It was such a wonderful break that I came back to my series, renewed. I wrote 143k words in four months. Soon I will take another pass at it before sending it off to my fantastic editor, Natalie G. Owens. If you have yet to sink your teeth into the books, I hope you'll take a look at them and give them a chance. Perhaps you'll like them enough to get caught up before Satan steps out of the shadows and attacks the vampire Nathaniel and his extended family with all that he has up his diabolical sleeve. Get the e-book that starts it off for only 99 cents.

Have a great September.

We'll talk soon.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Beta Time and a Time Out

Our view for a couple of days.

Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. It's August, and another hot month for those of us in Central California. Summer is my least favorite season, so I'm simply biding my time until Halloween when it will finally be cool again. On the other hand, I am reminded that we don't have to shovel snow here, so one could see why I don't dread winter.

Well, as promised I have completed enough of my latest book to place it into the hands of a few wonderful beta readers. It's basically in the 94% finished range. I have some minor research opportunities to add some depth here and there, not to mention anything that the betas think I need to do to improve it as a whole. I really don't anticipate having to do too much in terms of plot, character development, etc., but we'll see. Then it will be off to the editor, but I'm not in any hurry. Taking time off allows my mind to wrap itself around the novel in such a way that I come up with little tidbits to add, or to recall plot twists or webs that could have been tied together much better than they were. At the end of this post I'll show you my working synopsis and allow anyone to be a beta reader for that, if they so desire.

A year ago I could not imagine being away from work for very long. I had just transferred to my new location and, as a kind of acting manager, felt responsible for everything that went on. Perhaps it was all of the 12 hour days this year, but I finally pulled myself away. As I pen this post I am completing a one week vacation, and not once did I worry about what was going on in my absence. I did take my company cell phone, but basically only monitored the goings on.

And I thought teenagers slept a lot?!?

This lion was huge when it got up moments later. And the growls they make? Yikes!

We drove from the Fresno area down to beautiful San Diego and stayed there for a couple of days, before driving up to Anaheim for the rest of the trip. Sadly, we did not visit Disneyland this time. We go quite a lot, so it wasn't so bad. *weeps* Originally, the plan was to stay in San Diego. That was until my 16 year old began searching for baseball games in the neighborhood, and found the freeway series would be in full swing with the Dodgers visiting the Angels. In any event, here are some photos of San Diego, our visit to the zoo, the game, and anything else I might decide to throw in.

I just had to see the Flamingos. :)

They had 2 babies. The youngest was 6 feet when it was born!

Beside the USS Midway which is now a museum, there is a park dedicated to that wonderful generation. It's a must see.

Our view of the Dodgers 2-1 win over the Angels. Sadly, I was keeping one eye on the Cubs score until it got out of hand (13-4). *sigh*

Okay, for those of you who have yet to read any of my crossover vampire series, let me set the stage for you. In Dance on Fire, Nathaniel is the "good" vampire. He knows that he is undead flesh, and because of this fact, is keenly aware that he is outside the kingdom of God. He meets someone who doesn't believe that, especially after he saves her and her family from certain death. He and his nemesis cross paths after many decades apart and battle it out in my hometown. In book 2, Dance on Fire: Flash Point, five vampires descend upon our hero and his extended family to exact some twisted revenge upon them all. Now, in book 3 (title to be revealed soon), the world's ultimate villain is back to destroy Nathaniel once and for all. Here's the synopsis. I'd love to hear your thoughts...

The devil is alive and well.

The vampire Nathaniel lives in the mountains of Oregon, seeking God and keeping a watchful eye on his friends and extended family, and keenly aware of this fact, having met Satan once before in the flesh.

Robbie and Rebekah Lopez are special, and have been since that fateful night Nathaniel saved them from another vampire. As teens, they should be concerned with only their studies, interests and friends. However, they know they are marked, and must be ready for any threat. To do so, they keep constant contact with Nathaniel as they watch over their parents, Michael and Barbara; brother Jerod; and Aunt Vanessa and her daughter Grace. They are all that is left.

They have yet to meet the devil, but they soon will.

It is Satan who has orchestrated the destruction and ruin brought upon them from the very beginning. And he’s not done. He has been setting the stage for his ultimate revenge. At long last, the devil will step out of the darkness and the shadows, with an army of vampires and an infernal plot to finish Nathaniel off for good.

And anyone who stands with him. 

If you have yet to pick up my books, I have the links on the side of the blog. The first ebook in my crossover vampire series is only 99 cents. I'd appreciate it very much if you grabbed a copy and gave me a chance. I think you'll be pleased.
I couldn't end on a sweet note, could I? 

In any event, we'll talk soon.