An Excerpt from DEVENDRA

The prequel to my debut novel, Blood Life, is Devendra, which I am working hard on at present. I decided, just to test the waters a bit, that I’d post a few excerpts until its release. Things may change a little, but these excerpts are very close to final form, if not final.

My planned release date for Devendra is Halloween. Of course, life gets in the way sometimes, so that hopeful date could be pushed. However, if I can help it, Halloween it is.  I’ll keep you posted either way. For now, an excerpt of Devendra. Please feel free to post your thoughts! They are not only welcomed but encouraged. And, above all else, ENJOY!

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“Nooo!” she screamed, the tone reverberating off the stone walls, vibrating in her chest. “Leave him alone!!”

The sound of jingling keys echoed down the hallway as footsteps drew close to her cell. There was a moment of hollow silence before a burly, iron-clad guard moved swiftly in her direction. He unhooked the keys that dangled at his side, used one of them to grant himself entry to her cell, and moved squarely in front of her. Without warning, he raised a powerful arm into the air; she had only a moment to think to lift her hands to guard her face before the back of his right hand landed hard across her cheek.

Devendra saw a white flash behind closed eyes before she lost her footing and fell to the side. In the eerie silence of the strike, with ears ringing, she fought to pick herself up from the ground as quickly as possible, to show him a semblance of strength. Devendra ignored the enclosing darkness and tiny dots of light in her vision, struggling to steady herself in front of him. Her head spun gently as she fought the urge to faint, lifting a cool hand to comfort her injured cheekbone. It felt good resting against the swelling, a cool and cold palm to soak in some of the heat.

In her magical mind’s eye, she willed the fluid of the swelling to be reabsorbed by surrounding cells as quickly as it had risen. But, as bad luck would have it . . . nothing happened. She swallowed rising fear, feeling naked suddenly before her jailer.

The man they called Stoughton towered over her, a shadow of evil, threatening to strike again. His hair was short but full against his head, peppered with grey and black, collecting at his temples in white cotton wisps. If not for his malice, he was quite a handsome man, strong and lean standing at what she gauged at about a foot and a half above her own five-foot-four stance. But he was infused with evil. He carried a scent of it that sickened her. It hovered around him like a dense fog, suffocating to those with an ability to sense it.

Releasing her incapacity to conjure up the protective magic she needed to resist another strike to mere happenstance, she tried again. She reached inside her soul and called up a force, a mystic shield to protect herself so that his hand might just fall asleep and he would merely decide not to hit her again.

Devendra found that mental manipulations worked well when a quick, secret summoning of magic was necessary, but this didn’t work either. He repeated his attack with even more vigor than before. Reeling as she picked herself up a second time from the hard stone ground, she realized she was empty. Her magic, usually responding with vibrant force at her cue, made no attempt at all.

She panicked, quietly, fighting to maintain a mask of calm before him. Once maybe, but twice? Her magic refused to move two times in the matter of seconds. Instead it whirled within her solar plexus, the eye of a great storm, watching and waiting. For what?

Quickly coming to terms with the newfound failure to call on her gifts, Devendra made the decision to ignore the stinging vibration of the hit. The will of a mortal was strong, but the will of a witch had to be stronger. At least strong enough to will away pain. Strong will demanded no illusion, only focus and determination. But even this didn’t work. A new little sack filled with fluid under the original tingling warm spot left behind on her face. She could feel it rising, throbbing with her heartbeat.

“Stoughton!” a voice rang out, ricocheting off the walls, causing Devendra to flinch. Their eyes remained locked for a moment before he whipped his head in the direction of the call. “Give me a moment,” he yelled over his shoulder.

Turning his head to look back down at her, he said, “I’ll deal with you later,” and turned to walk away, leaving her to as much peace as she could find in her current situation.

Sobbing in whispers, Devendra closed her eyes and lowered her head, muttering, “Oh Viktor.” Lifting her head once again and inhaling deeply, she curled her right hand into a fist and pounded hard on her chest once, twice, leaving behind a pink mark. She pounded a third time, hoping the action might begin to calm her racing heart. Her heart muscle responded by palpitating fiercely in her chest.

Moving on, she reached down with both hands and clutched at her dirty ivory chiffon dress, pulling on it fiercely, feeling crazed. She wanted desperately to ease the anxiety by ruining something beautiful. She ripped and tore at the dress until Stoughton returned to her cell, his eyes ablaze, lustful even. She stared back at him, defiantly, daring to challenge him in silence. Her hatred hung in the air between them like stagnant tobacco smoke, seemingly connecting them in the space.

“Don’t look at me like that, Witch,” he warned in a dangerous tone, moving so close to her that she could feel the heat rise from his body. His pheromones tried to seduce her, unseen tendrils daring to reach out and request an audience. Repulsed, she averted her eyes slightly, just enough to ease his stance, but not to indicate submission.

Stoughton reached down for her arms, lowering his face in line with hers, and clutched her wrists viciously. He squeezed them until she looked up into his face again. Her sapphire eyes burned bluer than they had ever been, but there was no lust there, only pure, unadulterated hatred. His eyes held hers confidently for a moment before tossing her wrists away with a snarl. Satisfied with the moment, feeling in complete control of his witch prisoner, he smiled wickedly before leaving her once again to herself.

When Stoughton was gone, Devendra exhaled dramatically, shifting her thoughts to her magic, or lack thereof. Since it was somehow blocked in that awful place, she could not use any spells to release herself from captivity. She could only watch and swallow the rage. She chewed on her nails, looking once again to Viktor’s cell across the dark stone-tiled hallway from her own.

Devendra’s sad eyes traced over her battered lover, caressing him. Viktor sat in a slump against the stone wall. His torso hunched over and his legs slayed out in front of him. He was completely motionless in the corner of his musty cell, half hidden in the shadows and light that crept in through the small window above, reflecting onto the walls around him.

She didn’t need much light to adore his beauty. His chocolate brown hair and olive skin lived bright and beautiful in her memory. She craved the morning look she received each time she opened her eyes for the day to his vibrant hazel eyes. Even in captivity, Viktor was magnificent. Pulling her hand from her mouth, she moved slowly to the bars and extended it across the empty void that separated them, longing to touch him, to save him.

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Book Review: INSIDE THE OUTSIDE by Martin Lastrapes

In addition to writing, I also love to read! They do go hand-in-hand, after all. And I just finished reading this fabulous debut horror novel by Martin Lastrapes about a teenage cannibal living the first 15 years of her life in a cult in the San Bernadino Mountains of California.  It was easily a 5-star rating from me. I had trouble finding anything really wrong with the story that was worth mentioning. It read like a dream and any teeny tiny slights were easily overlooked. See my full review below. And if you get a chance to pick this one up, DO IT! You won’t be disappointed, especially if you enjoy darker fiction varieties, tending toward cult classics.

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 stars!

“Hold on a minute… you hear that? That is me taking a nice, deep, refreshing breath. Why, you ask? Because I just finished reading something truly new and exciting! I’m a huge horror fan, both to read and to watch, and seldom lately do I find myself as anxious to review something. INSIDE THE OUTSIDE had me hooked from the first page. The author, Martin Lastrapes, has successfully written a debut novel with an exquisite voice that expertly paints an effective picture of his characters and their surroundings. You feel their emotions. You fight their inner battles along with them. You identify with them. You even feel like you are speaking their words. You really get inside. Martin has done this with rare expertise and I applaud him.

Timber, the main character, is both endearing and creepy. You love her in her strengths and in her weaknesses. You want to protect her (at least I did) from the world at large. You agree with just about every single thing she does. You feel elated when she wins and heartbroken when she loses.

Martin also teases you throughout the book. He throws out reveals but you feel like you never get to them and it’s maddening!! In a good way, mind you, because it keeps you hooked. You finish a chapter and think you can put the book down, but NOOOOOOO, he tantalizes you and forces you to keep going. That is part of the genius in his writing style — the way that he strings you along but doesn’t necessarily provide until later on or until the very end. And speaking of the end: NO HOLLYWOOD ENDING HERE. Well, partly, but not fully. You get some, you lose some, and you want more. I highly recommend this story to anyone that likes dark fiction or cult stories — or even drama! There’s a lot of drama that pulls at the heart strings and anyone/everyone can identify with. Horror fan or not. I absolutely loved this book!”

So there you have it. Great book, amazing new author, impeccable writing, creepy storyline. Enjoy!

My First Author Interview

I am so excited this morning.

I woke up to an email from Martin Lastrapes, award-winning author of Inside the Outside, letting me know that he had posted my first-ever author interview. That’s right. I’ve now been officially de-virginized and you can “read all about it” on his blog.

He asked me 10 questions which I answered with raw honesty, added links and pictures, and truly made me feel like a star. I can’t thank him enough for being a great new friend, an amazingly talented author, and a generally super cool person.

So if you have a few minutes this morning (or afternoon or evening), please check out my interview and let me know your thoughts. Ask me anything and I will answer honestly. ❤

Growing Pains (of life and writing)

By now, if you are following my blog at all, you’ve learned that I am a writer. Duh, I say it constantly (haha!). Also that I wrote and self-published my first full-length, horror fiction novel, Blood Life. In case this is your first visit, the book is about vampires, witches, magic, violence, and sex. It is set in a fictional world (which was designed to be forgiving of language style and surroundings). It is much different than Twilight, and there is no sparkling Edward Cullen. There are, however, weak protagonists, like Bella Swan, but mine become much stronger with time, aging like fine wine.

Character interactions are vast and intriguing, maybe even infuriating at times. There is Roman and Devendra, Roman and Alexandria, Roman and Alethea (he sounds a little slutty at this point, but when you read it, you’ll see how that works). There’s also Lokee and Lorien. Seth and Lorien. Lillith and Silas.  Just throwing names out there because I love these characters and their crazy relationships.  My point being, there’s a lot to this book. It is a deep, multi-faceted thriller adventure in disguise. It’s magical and unique for a debut, but also true to form, there are some issues with the plot and I’m not too proud to admit that or to point them out.  It’s part of becoming a better writer, after all!

Although I pull everything together nicely in the end, I’m prepared for heavy critiquing from some readers, and just plain love of the story from others who are just reading and getting hooked (and not reviewing, per se). I let the book out there knowing this full well. I had to release it, because I had been writing it for such a long time, and until I finally let it go, I could not focus on anything else.  It was almost therapeutic to do so. And if you read it closely, you might see the 15-year span of growth in me as a writer peppered throughout in rewrites.  If I’d tried to revise any more of it, I may have just scrapped it, and it was too good of story to do that.  😉

Why am I saying all this? Well, because the prequel, Devendra, is coming out so well! It is written completely in my present frame of mind. And I don’t think it would have been channeled from brain to fingers quite as deliciously had I actually written it first.  As I write it now, I’m moved in a way I cannot describe, and moving yourself is key (moving others is the ultimate goal, but you catch my drift). And I have so much more to come: two more vampire/witch books, a female serial killer by the name of Z (you’re gonna love her), and a phantom ghost lover of a girl living in a place much like hell on earth.

So as the reviews are rolling in for Blood Life, I’m feeling motivated and fulfilled. I’ve heard things from “It reads like a movie!” to “I don’t read this genre normally, but the story really hooked me!” to “I love your mind!” to “Please keep writing!” All of those bits of feedback have really satisfied my ego. And not in a conceited way, but in a pleasing, humble way. I’m very proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. And most of all, I thank you, the reader, for reading my story and giving it a chance! Whether you love it, like it, or hate it, I appreciate you for taking the time to look at it and consider it. Hats off to you. ❤

5 of my favorite lesser-known freaky films.

Happy Friday and first day of June! I’m doing another Top 5 list because… well, just because.

I love horror movies. 

Always have, always will. I wish I had a friend that liked horror as much so I could make a regular movie night with them. Instead, I end up watching a lot of them alone because I seem to be the only one in my inner circle that enjoys it. And I’m the weird one. At least that makes for a creepier experience?

I think the first horror film I saw was David Lynch’s Eraserhead. I realize that isn’t necessary categorized as horror, per se, but to a 5- or 6-year-old mind, it’s definitely scary movie quality. I was entirely engrossed by the dancing cornish gamehens that oozed in their hot pan of death. Never ate one again (ever, come to think of it, since I don’t believe I had one prior to turning 5). Although I loved this movie, and it planted a rare seed in my dark little mind, it’s not on this list. I’m sticking to true horror, and my definition of it in this day and age of gore. Gore is cool and fun, but really not all my thing. Don’t misunderstand me, I like it, it’s a natural element of horror, and some of the movies below will have a fair share of gore, but I get annoyed when that’s all the movie focuses on. I’m into TERROR and being terrorized. It’s almost like a good porno. One with a plot that you can get into. Yes, I like good porn, like Behind the Green Door with Marilyn Chambers (also in Rabid, a horror film). But that would be another post entirely. 😉

Maybe I’m just old (not really that old) so my brain is wired differently. For instance, Ichi the Killer was fun, but just way over the I-want-to-get-as-bloody-spurty-good-as-I-can scale. And it didn’t scare me at all. Not one bit. It actually kinda irritated me because I watched it thinking I’d be freaked out. I wasn’t. That said, I like a lot of foreign horror. But my personal favorite all-time American horror movie is The Exorcist. Not surprising. That movie is truly frightening, engaging, and nightmare-inducing for me to this day. I’ve seen it a million times. Even in the womb, as my mother went to see it in the theater with my dad when she was pregnant with me and had to leave half-way through because she was afraid I’d come out possessed. hehe

So here’s my obscure list. Maybe not to all, but to some, I’m sure these will be new and I consider them should-definitely-see’s. And none of them got very good reviews. They’re all in the mid-range. Watch and see what YOU think of them!

#5: Session 9, 2001. Written and directed by Brad Anderson. CREEPY insane asylum ruins where the spirits of the mistreated patients are restless. I don’t think I need to say any more! So very creepy. I loved this movie! Got it for like $3 at a Blockbuster clearance event and so happy I picked it up. The deep scary voice from this movie – actually from the perpetrator – lives in my nightmares now (along with Candyman’s – but he’s not on this list).

#4: Wolf Creek, 2005. Written and directed by Greg Mclean. I’m really into horror films with scenarios of things that really could happen. Slashers are fun, I adore them, but these are the types I really love. Wolf Creek is one of those movies. A group of friends are stranded in the Australian outback. There is no escape! Crazy family catches their scent, makes their “friendly” move to help, and the rest is a fight for survival with little to no means of possible escape. And the killers are brutal and unforgiving. And I’ve heard the outback is a scary place to be stranded as it is. After seeing Wolf Creek, I doubt I’ll ever feel the itch to find out myself. EEK!

#3: The Strangers, 2008. Written and directed by Bryan Bertino. I want more from this director! I loved the pace and talk about feeling like you’re there in the film with them! It was absolutely spine-tingling, the feeling of Liv’s apprehension and terror. Also, the being home alone and terrorized by a senseless violence so deep it stays with you. Example: “Kristen: Why are you doing this to us? Pin-Up Girl: [pause] Because you were home.” That’s the most frightening to me. You never see the killers’ faces, all the more alluring. And one more memorable interaction from the film: “Dollface: [referring to Christian Living pamphlet] Can I have one? Mormon Boy #1: Are you a sinner? Dollface: [after long pause] Sometimes.” Really? Sometimes?! After just slaughtering a couple in their home for no other reason than because they were home. C-H-I-L-L-I-N-G!

#2: The Collector, 2009. Directed by Marcus Dunstan. In the style of an intense torture fest, The Collector does it with… dare I say a fresh, exciting, hooking tone. Yes, I said hooking. Unknown, masked killer enters and successfully boobie traps the home of a family that a construction worker/ex-con has come to rob to help his own family out of a terrible crisis. There are two story lines going on and it is done without confusion. The traps are great. The terror of being held captive emanates through the screen; you really feel like you’re in it. GREAT movie.  And the soundtrack rocks, too. Bonus.

#1: A Tale of Two Sisters, 2003. Written and directed by South Korean director, Jee-woon Kim. This movie is FABULOUS! I can’t rave about it enough. I’m telling you, it is a must-see if nothing else on this list is. It is truly a beautiful, frightening film. The Americans remade it and called it The Uninvited. If I hadn’t loved and seen A Tale of Two Sisters a few times, I may not have realized that was a remake at all.  I don’t believe they make any mention of it as such? Unless I just missed it. But it is undoubtedly the same story with only a few subtle changes. It was okay, but nothing near as good as the original. A true foreign masterpiece. Creepy and chilling to the core. And that is all I’ll say about that one. 😉 And don’t forget to set your subtitles. Dubbing doesn’t do it any justice at all…. and unless you speak Korean, you’ll really miss things without subs. I say this because I gave it to my mom to watch and she didn’t know how to set her DVD player up and thereby watched it in Korean. Then called me to say how scary it was but too bad she couldn’t understand what was happening.  ?!  hehe (Another Honorable Mention by this director is I Saw the Devil.)

Need I say more? If you haven’t seen any of those movies, and you love horror, you really should! Go out and get them. If you have seen them and loved them, can we be horror movie buddies, please? 😉

ENJOY! And please let me know your thoughts / feelings on my choices.  Also feel free to recommend any to me.  I LOVE discovering new, great, otherwise-unknown horror-esque films.

OH, and today is the very last day (for real this time) to get a digital copy of BLOOD LIFE for free for the kindle or kindle app: http://amzn.com/B007OGFR60