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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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. ❤

Character Intimacy

My cover designer and friend, Myah Frazer, came up with a great blog topic for me to go over. A beautiful, multifaceted question regarding character development and intimacy.

“Character development and the intimacy that you, as a writer, do or do not allow yourself to create with your characters. How do behaviors, quirks, nuances, even notions become full fledged characters – what is the process and how much of *you* does it take over? – with their very own psyches and needs – are they demanding and do you find yourself interacting with them on a more substantial level than character/creator.. and how does that affect you?”

I am VERY intimate with my characters, and each and every one of them (the main ones especially) carry traits and quirks of my own. Anything from my past or present comes alive within them. I allow them free reign of my imagination and never worry about how much of me they are taking, because I am always the stronger one. I always walk away me. And that’s not to say I am perfect, but to say that I am strong and extremely malleable. I can share many parts of my own psyche with them, without losing any part of myself. I can jump in and out of writing. There is only one who remains with me always, and that’s Devendra.

Demanding? Devendra is the most demanding. She resides in me always. She’s my inner witch. I have had Devendra with me for as long as I can remember! It’d be hard to let anyone else play her on the big screen, should that opportunity ever arise, and I think it will be in the stipulations of contract that if I cannot play her role (haha!) then I MUST be in the casting room when her actress is chosen. It is so important to me. She is the only one that I consider parallel with me, or part of me on a daily basis, whether I am writing or not. When I finished Blood Life, she kept chattering away at me, wouldn’t leave me alone to sleep, until I agreed/decided to write her story leading up to Blood Life, a prequel that I am working on now and hope to have ready for release by late October. Halloween, maybe. Seems fitting of a vampire / witch novel.

The rest of my stars, although important, they take smaller parts of me and run with those pieces becoming their own individual characters. Lokee is tricky, as he is the bad side of me. He’s dark and dirty, but also wants nothing more than acceptance and love. Since he does not get it, he strikes out at everyone and exudes hatred instead. Alexandria/Alethea is my weaker side, my inner victim becoming strong with every growing day. Roman is my perfect lover projected… he is every man I’ve loved and want to love. He’s my “Weird Science” creation of a man instead of a woman. 😉

Lillith… she is very special. The mother of the Combined. The Goddess of the vampires and the witches of the Spectrum (the world I’ve created for them to exist among humans). Lillith is my dangerous but controlling side. She is the most powerful character among them all and next to Devendra. She is my own mother in many ways. The strong one holding us all up, the one that remains in control, and the ultimate nurturer and protector.

I allow them all that they need to help me write their stories. I channel each and every one of them into my words and my life as needed. And I hope they decide to stay with me through the bitter end. Maybe even forever after. ❤

And in case you missed it, I recorded a live excerpt reading of Chapter 12. I’ll be reading live, from a different chapter, on May 22nd, at this cute little local cafe that hosts local author readings monthly. Check out the little website… buy the book! Watch the video. What else? Oh, like the fan page or follow me on Twitter to keep updated! hehe

The Writer in Me

I am so much a writer, the blessing (and curse) runs through my veins like nothing else in this world. It’s magical, like a predestined craft, a trade, a calling, even, that no other hobby or profession can satisfy. And I must have time to write.  Correction, in this crazy world, I must make time to write or my life just feels . . . ordinary. Writing is my life. I wrote my first short story, about a crazy cat lady who died and all her cats ate her, at 10 years old. And look, I didn’t become a serial killer!? You’d think, “Whoa, troubled kid!” Nope. Not troubled (in that sense, anyway). But wildly imaginative, and a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Edgar Allen Poe shorts, et al. Enough said.

Many authors will tell you they come up with story ideas through occurrences in everyday life or through dreams / nightmares, and then outline them before sitting down to write them out. Not me. In fact, outlining really messes up my flow. I sit down and channel the story.  It just comes to me.  I’ll sit with no idea which story I’m going to write in (since I have five other books in progress at present). It depends on the mood I’m in.  I’ll sit down in my office and place my fingers on the home keys of my Asus keyboard, feeling the firmness of them, waiting for the first words to come to me. And that’s just what happens.

Sometimes I will start slowly and speed up as pictures and ideas invade my mind, or, if I’m lucky, my fingers start smoking across the keys as I pound out a scene or two, even a chapter, in record time.  When the temporary possession ends, I go back to read what I’ve written.  When it’s good, I can’t believe I wrote it. I get humble but excited. When it’s bad, it gets deleted and I walk away.  Simple as that.

I will say, though, that some ideas do come to me through everyday life occurrences rather than dreams.  Dreams do sometimes play a role in my imaginative tales, but being out in society, people-watching, gets me the bulk of my material. I see people, I study their actions and body language; if I make eye contact, I decide what they’re thinking (or their thoughts literally fly out at me – it’s frightening!) and it fuels a character or scenario. Little do they know they’re supplying my story tank in some little important way. I wonder if they’d be flattered or weirded out by it? I’d be flattered, but I’m a writer, so I understand. How about you? How would you feel if you found out the reason for a stranger’s stare was that they were momentarily struck by your presence and that you’re quite possibly supplying ammo for a fictional character’s actions?