Laura Kaye Talks About the Hard Ink Series & Hard To Hold On To

This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?

Think on THAT a while…

Welcome, Author Laura Kaye! You’ve just released Hard to Hold On To.  Tell us a little bit about your story.  

HardToHoldOnTo hires

Hard to Hold On To is a contemporary love story between a troubled Army veteran and the woman he recently saved. It is the third book in the Hard Ink series, which features the survivors of an Army Special Forces unit trying to recover their stolen honor after being unjustly discharged from the military. I am donating all of the proceeds of the first two weeks’ sales of the book to the Wounded Warrior Project.

You also write books about vampires and Greek gods. Do you consider your book(s) urban fantasy,  paranormal romance or something else? What attracted you to the genre?

EoE_500 newIn general, I consider the Vampire Warrior Kings and Hearts of the Anemoi series to be paranormal romance. The Hearts of the Anemoi is the series that focuses on Greek gods, and it’s sometimes deemed fantasy romance because gods and goddesses often represent a lighter form of paranormal, but the series gets quite dark as it progresses to the end in East of Ecstasy, which just released in the spring.

I’ve been interested in the supernatural since I was a kid. My family totally believed in this stuff and there was a lot of supernatural lure in my family history. So it was natural that I’d start writing where I did most of my reading – in the paranormal realm. My vampire romance Forever Freed was the first piece of fiction I wrote and sold.

Let’s talk beasties. Do any monsters make appearances in your novels. If so, tell us about a few of them. Do you have a favorite? Don’t lie. Every parent…erm…author…does. Spill it. If not, what makes your book paranormal, urban fantasy or science fiction?

My favorite all-time paranormal creature is the vampire. Immortal, powerful, animalistic, fangs! What’s not to love!

Is Hard to Hold On To part of a series? Stand-alone book? If it is a series, what does the future look like for this series? How many more books to come? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!

Yes! Hard to Hold On To is the third story in the Hard Ink series. The series will ultimately have at least four full-length novels and three novellas. The next release, Hard to Come By, comes out on November 25.

What else are you working on?

I’m currently writing the last book in the Hard Ink series (currently untitled) and preparing to re-release a backlist title (Just Gotta Say). I also just submitted proposals for two new series to my agent!

Of all the characters in your fictional world, which one or couple would you most like to hang out with over a long weekend? What would you do together?

I really love all the characters in my Hard Ink world. I’d just really love to be able to hang out in the Hard Ink building with the whole big crew! *♥* The series really started with and around Nick Rixey and his brother Jeremy, and it would be a blast to have the pair of them give me some new ink! Ahem.

Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?

I’m a total pantser. Now, I’ll confess that writing romantic suspense has required more plotting from me. But, in general, I plot as little as possible and usually only a few chapters ahead of where I am. The steps I take before diving into a new book? Um, I open Word? LOL

How long does it typically take for you to write a novel?  Best case scenario? How about editing? How long will you pick at it before setting it free to the world?

I’m a fast writer, to a certain extent because my current deadline commitments require me to be. Under normal circumstances, I am for 3,000 words a day at least 5 days a week. If I hit that, I’ll produce 15,000 words a week, which means it should take me about 2-3 weeks to write a novella or about 6-8 weeks to write a full-length novel. However, I’ve written 100,000-word novels in 4-6 weeks on more than one occasion. I revise as I write. So, each day when I sit down, I re-read the previous 10-20 pages and revise it, and that gets me back into the flow of the story. When I reach the end, I’m done.

Do you have any advice to new authors or anyone considering writing fiction?

1) BICHOK – Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. You can’t revise what you haven’t written and you can’t sell what you haven’t written. So write EVERY DAY. Yes, every day. Even if you only commit to an hour a day or even 100 words a day, you need to get in the habit of making forward progress. And never underestimate the amazing power of getting to write “The End” and proving to yourself you can finish a whole book.

2) Read, read, read. One of the best ways to learn how to WRITE is to READ extensively in your genre. Find books you think do a great job at characters or worldbuilding or suspense or pacing and study them (just be sure that your application of those techniques in your own work is in your original words!).

3) Treat it like a profession, by which I mean join the professional organizations, do the work consistently, study and hone your craft, and always present yourself professionally (on social media, on your website, and in only submitting or publishing your work when it’s in the absolute best shape it can be).

4) Find a critique partner, preferably someone else who is professionally pursuing publication and not just a friend who will tell you it’s great! Because it may be great, but everyone benefits from having other writers who know the craft and the genre give you feedback on your work. You can find critique partners through local and online writers groups.

5) Don’t give up! At the beginning of your writing career, you will get a lot more nos and rejections than yeses and acceptances! Persevere and don’t give up! Every big name author you know experienced rejection at some point in their career.

Can you give us a taste of what to expect? 

Edward “Easy” Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves—which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight.  He may have just met her, but Jenna’s the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can’t describe how he makes her feel–and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.

As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

Excerpt:

Jenna awoke with the immediate realization that she was wrapped so tightly around Easy that she might as well have been lying on him. But she couldn’t bring herself to feel bad or guilty or embarrassed about it in the least. Because his heat and his touch and his clean scent in her nose had allowed her to sleep without nightmares. And because she refused to regret something she wanted and might not get to have again.

After all, he’d said he liked her, but she had no idea exactly how he liked her. Maybe he meant like a kid sister. Or maybe he meant as a friend.

Except … his hips shifted under her leg, and she did not think she was imagining what she was feeling. He was hard. He was holding her, and he was hard.

Jenna’s heart tripped into a sprint. Not out of fear but out of curiosity, amazement, interest. Because Easy made her feel safer than she’d ever felt in her life.

He was hard. She was more than a little intrigued.

Easy was patient and kind, and he made her feel special and cared for. And from his handsome face to his incredible muscles to the ink on his chest, he was totally, freaking gorgeous.

And he’d saved her life.

Couldn’t forget that.

The simple act of thinking about the man in these terms made Jenna’s belly flip.

And while she half expected to freak out at the idea of sex after she’d been pawed by Bruno’s assholes, when she looked at Easy, she didn’t see any of that, she didn’t feel it, she didn’t think about it.

What she thought about instead was that, if those assholes had killed her, she would’ve died without ever knowing what it felt like to love a man. And be loved in return.

She could’ve died.

The realization made her feel like she’d never really been living. But now she could. Now she had a second chance.

Jenna shifted herself closer, her body reacting to her thoughts and her closeness to his.

A hand clamped down on her thigh.

And Jenna’s heart turned into a hammer inside her chest.

“Jenna,” Easy said, voice full of gravel and warning.

She tilted her face upward, bringing her lips against his throat. And before she’d even thought about it, she kissed him. A long, soft press of her lips against the suddenly jumping pulse in his throat.

He groaned, and it was a sound as sexy as it was tortured. Beneath her thigh, he hardened further.

She kissed him again, dizziness threatening as her body slingshotted from sleepy to utterly, eagerly awake. And aroused.

“Jenna,” he said again, though this time it came out as more of a plea. His hand slid up her thigh. His fingers pressed into her back, pulling her tighter against him.

She slipped her fingers from his and gently cupped the other side of his neck as her lips found his skin again and again…

Where can we find Hard to Hold On To online?

Buy at Amazon | Amazon.ca | Amazon UK | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Hard to Hold On To on Goodreads

Other Books in the Hard Ink Series:

Hard As It Gets

Hard As You Can

Hard to Come By (11/25/14)

Laura Kaye croppedLaura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

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Reapers Revealed: Heads Are Rolling – A Snippet From Reap & Redeem

We’re closing in on the Oct. 6 Release Day for Reap & Redeem, book two of the Reaper Series. Let’s get this party started with a scene from Chapter One where heads are already rolling.

Reap & Redeem coverChapter One

Kylen kicked the head across the floor of the dark shed with his steel-toed boot. Blood dripped into a pool on the floor from his scythe, which he still gripped tightly with one hand. He straightened to his full height and tilted his neck from side to side, listening to his spine crack and pop. Another demon down.

“You don’t have to keep killing them yourself, you know,” Deacon said, grimacing at the black ooze spilling out of the severed neck.

“Yeah, I do.” Kylen turned and walked to the door, taking a quick survey of the cemetery. A dark, sticky trail marked his course.

“You have to admit, he’s efficient.” Nate picked up the head by the hair and dropped it into a black garbage bag.

“That’s one way to look at it.” Deacon pressed his hand, which was glowing with Reiki energy, to the center of the dead male’s chest, directly over his heart chakra.

Kylen watched as light radiated from Deacon, encasing him and the body in a soft glow. The demon boiled forth from the dead human host in a thick black torrent of sulfurous haze. Spreading his arms wide, Deacon summoned the stream, which penetrated through his sternum. His body shuddered and the light around him sparked and cracked like the arc of a welder. The glow intensified to supernova status before winking out. Several smaller streams of gray light flowed forth from the ruined body, too, entering through Deacon’s mouth.

“Well? Did you retrieve all the souls?” Nate lifted the feet and legs of the body onto the tarp he’d set beside it.

Deacon frowned. “Yes.”

“How many?”

“Three.” Deacon rose and grasped the body by the shoulders, helping Nate maneuver it. “And the demon.”

“I really hate this shit.” Nate said, pulling a spool of duct tape from his backpack.
They rolled the man tightly in the tarp, taping both ends so that none of the bodily fluids would discharge in transit.

“How many more demons do you think there are?” Nate wrapped the head in a plastic bag and walked toward the door.

“Grim thinks there are at least two dozen more,” Deacon reminded him.
“Great. Slow and steady wins the race, yeah?”

“I’m not sure we have the luxury of slow and steady anymore. At this rate, we’re never going to find them all. There’s already way too much collateral damage. This many missing humans in town won’t go unnoticed much longer. We need to find their exit portals and shut down the rest of the demons. Sooner would be better than later.”

Kylen waited in the doorway, dividing his attention between the business in the shed and the cemetery grounds. Deacon was right of course. They needed to close the portals. Permanently. As it was, they were playing a game of supernatural Whac-A-Mole. Close one portal and another popped up. New entrance portals continued to open each week, which then had to be closed by Grim and Deacon. And while one batch of demons gathered their fill of souls before sliding down the small one-way shoots to Hell—the exit portals, the next batch waited for their chance. It had become a never-ending battle and the reapers needed to press on.

They didn’t bother cleaning up the black ooze or the blood trail. The only way to make sure the scene was completely clean was fire, but arson would be sure to draw more attention to the mower garage by the edge of the cemetery than a few stains that could easily be oil or fuel. None of them were concerned about the law. There were far worse things for them to worry about.

They’d burn the body at home, and then bury the ashes and bits of bone. Just as they’d dealt with the other eleven. This host’s disappearance would never be explained. Good thing, since the guy’s head was detached.

THANKS FOR READING!

Want to read more? Pre-order now for the Oct. 6 release and Reap & Redeem will magically appear on your e-reader. 

AMAZON | NOOK | KOBO 

Reap & Redeem coverReap & Redeem blurb

He’s a reaper who has given up on saving souls. Will a dying woman be his salvation?

After a century of enslavement to pure evil, Kylen Larson is finally free. But he’s long past caring. The only woman he ever loved is dead, and he’s tormented by memories of the horrors his demon parasite forced him to commit. Now, he lives for nothing more than hunting down the infernal creatures invading Meridian, Arkansas, and destroying them.

Olivia Evans is in the final stages of cancer when Kylen accidentally saves her from demonic possession. When he rescues this innocent soul, Kylen rediscovers his mission—and his heart. All he wants is to help Olivia stay alive. He’ll just have to fight off an invasion from Hell first…

Interview With Angie Fox – New York Times Bestselling Author of Beverly Hills Demon Slayer

This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?

Think on THAT a while…

Welcome, Angie Fox! You’ve just released Beverly Hills Demon Slayer. Tell us a little bit about your story.  

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Beverly Hills Demon Slayer is about a preschool teacher turned demon slayer who has run off with her Grandmother’s gang of biker witches. Happens all the time, right? I’m having so much fun with this series and this book is just the latest. All of the books are stand-alones and can be read in any order. In Beverly Hills Demon Slayer, an ancient cult becomes the “in” thing in Beverly Hills and Lizzie the demon slayer quickly realizes there’s more to it than youth potions, parties, and priceless Egyptian artifacts. So she goes in undercover with the biker witches and things don’t quite go according to plan.

Do you consider your book(s) urban fantasy, paranormal romance or something else? What attracted you to the genre?

My books are usually shelved in paranormal romance because I have a full romantic story in every book, and of course – a happy ending. I don’t do cliffhangers. Each book is a complete story on its own.

I love the genre because it’s an exciting, romantic, fun way to escape into another world.

Let’s talk beasties. Do any monsters make appearances in your novels? If so, tell us about a few of them. Do you have a favorite? Don’t lie. Every parent…erm…author…does. Spill it. If not, what makes your book paranormal, urban fantasy or science fiction?

Yes. Lots of beasties. My favorite has to be Lizzie’s pet dog, Pirate. It’s funny because I never planned to write him. But in the second chapter of The Accidental Demon Slayer (which is free right now on Amazon by the way), when Lizzie learns she’s a demon slayer and all hell is after her, she takes comfort in her dog. As I was writing, I thought, “This is a sweet moment. Now how do I throw her off?” Simple. I made the dog say something to her. Nothing big. After all, he’s only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where my heroine can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard).

It amused me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, my heroine can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier. A lot of readers tell me Pirate is their favorite character.

Is this a series? Stand-alone book? If it is a series, what does the future look like for this series? How many more books to come? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!

This is a series and I have at least three more books planned. Book 7, Night of the Living Demon Slayer, comes out early 2015.

What else are you working on?

I have a trilogy that just released called the Monster MASH series, about a paranormal MASH unit in the middle of a great immortal war. Two of the books in that series have been nominated for RITA awards (in 2013 and in 2014). I’m also working on a series about a ghost hunter. Spooky!

Of all the characters in your fictional word, which one or couple would you most like to hang out with over a long weekend? What would you do together? What actor or actress would play him/her in a movie?

The Accidental Demon SlayerI’d most like to hang out with the biker witches from the Accidental Demon Slayer books. They are some of the most fun characters to write because I never know what they’re going to do.

Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?

I’m a plantser. I like to know where the plot is headed and, of course, why the characters do what they do. But I also like to leave it open for my characters to surprise me and tell their own stories. I go with what excites me, because if I’m entertained and can’t wait to get back to the keyboard every day, I know I’m writing a story my readers will get wrapped up in as well.

How long does it typically take for you to write a novel?  Best case scenario? How about editing? How long will you pick at it before setting it free to the world?

Demon Slayer WeddingIt depends on the book. The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers took me the longest, probably because The Accidental Demon Slayer hit the mass market paperback New York Times bestseller list while I was writing and that freaked me out. Suddenly, I thought I had to write a New York Times bestseller-worthy book (whatever that means) and it totally locked me up.

The least amount of time I took to write a book was three months for My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding. I’d been dying to write it and it just poured out onto the page. Editing usually takes a week or so. I write very tight first drafts. I don’t even start a new chapter until the chapter before is polished to the hilt.

So I’ll write a draft, put it away for a month in order to get some distance, then I’ll read it over and edit before goes to my editor. After the editor finished, by that point I’ve had some distance and I’ll play with the manuscript for another week or two before sending it out for copyediting. The short answer is that I’d rather have it right than fast.

Do you have any advice to new authors or anyone considering writing fiction?

Yes. Read a lot. That part is also a lot of fun.  J

Can you give us a taste of what to expect? 

A New York Times bestselling series!

All that glitters is not gold…
Demon slayer Lizzie Brown isn’t exactly a diamonds and champagne type of girl. But when an ancient cult becomes the “in” thing in Beverly Hills, she realizes there’s more to it than youth potions, parties, and priceless Egyptian artifacts. There’s a demon involved…and Lizzie’s not on the guest list.

She goes in undercover, along with her sexy Greek shape-shifter husband, her biker witch buddies, and a dog that is way too fond of free appetizers and the red carpet lifestyle. Between dodging detection and uncovering ancient secrets, Lizzie has her hands full. And when the demon manages to hook his claws into Lizzie’s eternal soul, she’s afraid she may be stepping out for her final event.

Where can we find you and your books online? 

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Facebook | Twitter

AAngie Fox dining rm shotngie Fox is the New York Times bestselling author of several books about vampires, werewolves and things that go bump in the night. Her characters are fun and fearless, but in real life, Angie is afraid of basements, going up stairs when it’s dark behind her, and don’t even get her started on those scary puppets from 60’s-era holiday specials.

She writes Accidental Demon Slayer series, are about a preschool teacher turned demon slayer who has to run off with her grandmother’s gang of biker witches. Happens all the time, right? She also writes a darker, sexier series about a paranormal M*A*S*H unit stuck in the middle of an immortal war. The first book in that trilogy, Immorally Yours, was a RITA finalist in 2013. The third book in that trilogy, Immortally Ever After, was a RITA finalist in 2014.

Angie earned a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri. During that time, she also skipped class for an entire week so she could read Anne Rice’s vampire series from cover to cover.

Angie makes her home in St. Louis, Missouri with a college football-addicted husband, two kids, and a dog named Moxie.

Haunt My Heart Is On Its Way

The first and second draft of Haunt My Heart is complete and out to beta readers. Haunt My Heart is my fourth book and a standalone paranormal ghost romance, which I’ll be self-publishing…soon.

I’m excited about self-publishing and this book seemed like the perfect opportunity to dive in.

Want to know more? Here’s the blurb:

Haunt My Heart -paranormal ghost romance - Available soon!

Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor in Fredericksburg, VA, she brings home more than a souvenir.

Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General, right up until the day he was hexed. Awakening 150 years later, he has to find true love if he wants to be corporeal again, a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

Finally, if you’d like to see my inspiration for Haunt My Heart and sneak behind the scenes, click on over to my Pinterest book board.

Stay tuned. I’ll have a few snippets and excerpts posting soon.

 

 

Interview with Chris Cannon, YA Author of Going Down In Flames

This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?

Think on THAT a while…

Welcome, Chris Cannon Here! You’ve just released Going Down In Flames.  Tell us a little bit about your story.

GoingDownInFlames_full (533x800)

Bryn discovers she’s a shape-shifting dragon when flames shoot out of her mouth for the first time. (Not the present she’d hoped for on her sixteenth birthday.)

Do you consider your book(s) urban fantasy, paranormal romance or something else? What attracted you to the genre? Going Down In Flames takes place in modern times, but there is magic and paranormal elements. Of course there’s also romance. How about paranormal, urban fantasy romance?

Is this a series? Stand-alone book? If it is a series, what does the future look like for this series? How many more books to come? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!

Going Down In Flames is the first book in my shape-shifting dragon series. Book two is schedule to come out early Winter 2015. I’m about halfway through book 3.

What else are you working on?

I have a New Adult novel which I’m pitching as The Matrix meets La Femme Nikita. In the future, Psychics are recruited a.k.a kidnapped and forced to work as spies.

Of all the characters in your fictional word, which one or couple would you most like to hang out with over a long weekend? What would you do together? What actor or actress would play him/her in a movie?

I’d like to hang out with Valmont, Bryn’s knight. He’s snarky and smooth with a side of sexy.

Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?  I’m a panster. I start with characters and put them in a situation, which will cause conflict. I know the major plot points of the book but how I get from point A to point B is a mystery until it pours out onto the page.

Do you have any advice to new authors or anyone considering writing fiction?

Read, read, read.

Can you give us a taste of what to expect? 

Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on.

Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention.

Zavien is tired of the Directorate’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules.

At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can’t have.

Excerpt:

Bryn’s heart beat fast as she flew through the night sky. Up above the clouds, there wasn’t much to see. Everything was gray and damp, which fit her mood perfectly.

The wind buffeted her wings, making it difficult to fly in a straight line. Her short practice flight hadn’t prepared her for this type of exertion. What if she couldn’t make it? A cold blast of wind knocked her off course and sent her veering toward Zavien.

He moved out of the way with ease. “Hello, I was flying there.”

Like she needed crap from him right now. A growl rumbled from her throat, and smoke shot from her nostrils.

He must’ve realized how close he was to being barbecued, because the next word out of his mouth was, “Sorry.”

Twenty minutes later, Garret and Zavien began a spiraling descent. Thank God. She landed next to them on the ground and stumbled sideways. Using her wings, she steadied herself. Why were landings so hard? Tired and embarrassed, she shifted to human form. Her legs felt like they were made of cement.

A tall, black, wrought iron fence stood between them and the buildings beyond. A security guard with red hair and a muscular build like her father’s stood by the gate. He didn’t appear happy to see them. “What are you doing out here? Curfew is in ten minutes.”

Zavien produced a letter from his shirt pocket. “Believe it or not, I’m on official duty for the Directorate.”

The security guard scanned the paper. “There’s a first time for everything.” He pressed a code into the numbered pad on the side of the gate. It swung open on silent hinges. “Best get inside. It’s late.”

Bryn stepped onto the school grounds and examined the campus that would be her new home. Something about this place was off. Old-fashioned streetlamps lined the walkways, casting a haze of light. Imposing buildings, complete with statues of gargoyles, loomed against the night sky. Dark figures could be seen on stone balconies. Some stood on two legs, while others had wings.

Half a dozen buildings surrounded the large park they walked through. The landscaping was too perfect. It reminded her of the time she’d gone to Disneyland, where the bushes had been trimmed to resemble giraffes and lions. There wasn’t a stray leaf or weed anywhere. But this definitely wasn’t the happiest place on earth.

“This way.” Garret led them toward a building on the right. When they reached their destination, he held the door open for her. “Welcome to our dorm.”

As she stepped across the threshold, a sea of curious, hazel eyes met her gaze. She did a double take. Every single person had the same coloring as Garret. Same dark skin. Same brown hair.

And she was gawking. Clamping down on the anxiety attack she felt certain was coming on, she gave a tight smile. Her audience pointed and whispered. Not the friendliest greeting she’d ever received. At least they weren’t pelting her with textbooks.

flamedragonsclean

 Where can we find you and your books online? 

Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Buy links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo 

0765 72chriscannonpubphotoChris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

I’ll be at the Vegas Valley Book Festival in October.

 

 

 

 

Deconstructing My Zombie Apocalypse Bug-Out Bag. Just. In. Case.

IMG_7088You may have seen or heard me mention my zombie apocalypse bug-out bag and think, “Yeah, right. Whatever. You don’t really have a bag.”

In which case, you would be wrong. I travel a lot for my day job and while a zombie apocalypse may seem unlikely, other catastrophes and scenarios are entirely probable. Has The Walking Dead and Jericho taught you nothing? If disaster should strike while I’m a hundred miles from home, rendering normal modes of travel impossible? My plan is to get home, one way or another.

With that in mind, I keep a bag in my trunk. Not kidding.

Let’s take a look inside, shall we?

IMG_7089

First off, not shown here is a spare pair of running shoes. Every day when you leave your house you should ask yourself, “Do I want to run from zombies in these shoes?” If the answer is no, then you should probably add a pair of shoes to your trunk. In winter I trade out the tennies for boots. Same reason.

These are basic survival gear items in addition to a few luxury items. I’m sure you’ll think of some that should be added. Feel free to comment at the end of the post and let me know what I left out.

Reading Material: Being an author, I can’t live without some sort of reading material. For this endeavor, what better than the US ARMY SURVIVAL MANUAL? Interesting AND informative in case that trek home gets longer and hairier than anticipated.

Water: I have two plans for water. First off a small emergency ration in the foil packet to get me by until I come across a stream. From that point forward, I have iodine tablets. While they might not taste the best, the tablets make water potable , killing bacteria, viruses and giardia. I also have a water bottle just waiting to be filled.

Food: I have two dehydrated meals, which become delicious with water added. Of course I can’t boil water but in a pinch, a cold meal is better than nothing at all. You add the water to the pouch, seal it up and wait for it to rehydrate. Two meals isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing. I even remembered a spork!

Light: Making one’s way across the countryside in the event of a disaster will likely require some stealth and a flashlight since most of the travel would likely be at night to avoid discovery.  I have a small flashlight and glow sticks. Extra batteries not shown. I have a crank flashlight I should also add.

First Aid Kit: In case of brambles, briars or other perilous baddies lurking in the woods.

Rope/Twine: Can be used for all sorts of things. See US ARMY SURVIVAL MANUAL.

Emergency Thermal Blanket: In case of a thermal emergency. Duh.

Clothing: Rain gear, fleece jacket, hat, bandana, socks and a clean pair of underwear because…you’re mother told you to.

Fire: waterproof matches, and flint. Yes, I know how to start a fire.

Compass: I have two. It will at least point me in the general direction of home. Frankly, I plan to stay off of but keep the major highways within view and follow them home.

Weapons: My weapon of choice is a machete. Why? Have you been in the Missouri woods? And because you don’t need to reload a machete.

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So what’s in your zombie apocalypse bug-out bag? What luxury item do you or would you need? Comment below :D

While there are no zombies in Reap & Repent, the reapers do carry backpacks filled with supplies. Just. In. Case.

See why….

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)

Reap & Repent blurb  

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They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

#8Sunday – A Reap & Repent Snippet: Demon Whac-A-Mole

In this eight sentence excerpt (creative editing in play) our reaper hero, Deacon, is searching the cemeteries trying to catch Kylen, a demon possessed reaper wreaking havoc in the town of Meridian. His town. Instead of Kylen, he finds yet another demon. Perfect.

 

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)

It was quickly becoming a game of Whac-A-Mole; put one demon down, and another popped up.

Could this night get any more fubar?

An added bonus: unlike Deacon, the demon could choose to abandon its body if things went south. It had nothing but a shell to lose. Deacon had a whole hell of a lot more at stake.

Of course, dead was never really dead in the supernatural world. The best he could hope for was that the demon would stream away to the portal to Hell, wherever it was, and disappear like the others. He flicked open his scythe and made his move.

 

 

That’s all until next week, folks. Thanks for visiting.

Click on the link to check out the other participating authors. So many tasty samplings!

 

 

 

Reap & Repent blurb  

AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO  

They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

Interview with Paranormal Investigator & Author David E. Harkins: Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks

This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?

Think on THAT a while…

This weeks brings us someone special. David Harkins is the real deal: a paranormal investigator and author.

Welcome, Dave Harkins! You’ve just released “Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks.” 

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What inspired Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks? What attracted you to the genre?

I have always had a fascination with graveyards and cemeteries; more notably some of the older ones that I have had the pleasure of visiting. I find them very alluring historically and aesthetically. I moved to Missouri back in 1985 from California state and had the opportunity to visit many smaller unknown family plots as well as some of the more known cemeteries and Civil War Battlefields here in the Ozarks. During my visits to some of these burial grounds I had the opportunity to speak with many local folks who after finding out my involvement in the paranormal started to tell me of strange happenings that were allegedly occurring at some of these locations. Being thoroughly enthralled with these stories I started researching some of the persons, history and lore associated with these places. After doing so I found that many of the events that occurred surrounding these graveyards could be triggers for paranormal activity.

Is paranormal research a hobby for you, research or an occupation?

I am the founder and Director for the Ozarks Paranormal Society. (T.O.P.S) I have been actively researching and investigating the paranormal for over 30 years. At this point the paranormal has become a full time venture for me.

 Are you a first generation paranormal researcher?

No. My Grandmother who was of Cherokee decent was also very involved in the aspects of paranormal, spiritual and supernatural realms. I grew up around it and have had a strong fascination with it since childhood. I suppose it all really kicked into gear when some friends and I started up an Occult Bookstore back in 1980 in Fresno California. We would have different folks come into the shop looking for books or any information on hauntings and other paranormal activity. Most of them were just looking for some sort of help and had nowhere else to turn. Having always been fascinated by all things metaphysical and having many paranormal experiences myself, I found it natural to investigate their claims. This is where my journey into paranormal investigation began.

Tell us about a few of the local and more exotic locations you’ve visited in your paranormal research.

That’s a very hard one to answer. I have investigated all over the planet. On a local level I would say that our team was granted permission by the Department of the Interior to do an overnight investigation of the Battlefield at Wilson’s Creek near Republic, Missouri back in 2011. We were the first team ever granted such permission and to this date still are. A month later we returned to the battlefield for a second investigation which was filmed for the Travel Channel special Legends of the Ozarks.

I have also done two amazing evening investigations of Stonehenge in England back in the 1990’s.

Have you written other books on the subject? Any fiction in the works? What else are you working on? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!

I’m working on two more books that should be released sometime next year.  I can’t really disclose what they’re about exactly, but they do involve events that have occurred in Missouri and more notably the Ozarks.

What’s one personal paranormal experience stands out in your mind and why?

Wow! That’s a really hard question to answer. There have been so many that none truly stands out as being any more significant than the others. As long as there are folk out there that are in need of some sort of assistance in dealing with a situation that could be paranormal in nature I will be there to assist in any way possible. It has been a great journey thus far and I’m always fascinated at the twists and turns that this path presents to me. I have no clue where this road will lead me to next so I’ll just keep my head up and continue looking for the next adventure.

Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?

I’m more of a planner. I start with an outline of the history that I feel I need to cover.  After I have assembled enough history, legend and local lore I like to investigate the claims made by others to give my spin on what may or may not be happening at a location.

Do you have any advice to a newbie interested in learning more about the paranormal aspects in our everyday lives?

Do not venture out on your own! Not all paranormal investigation is like what you see on the television shows. It’s not all fun and can at times be very dangerous. To get started in the field of paranormal investigation all you really need are a few basic tools of the trade such as a digital recorder to perform EVP Sessions, a camera for visual evidence and some sort and an emf meter to check for natural or unexplainable sources of varying Electromagnetic fields. Once again I stress never investigate alone and always seek permission from property owners before investigating any site. If you for any reason feel that you are in a very uncomfortable or hostile situation, have the sense to leave the area. Step back and assess what just occurred. If you are not the type to venture out on your own, get on the internet and look for a local paranormal group that is experienced and reputable and see if they have any entry level positions open that you may apply for and also check to see if they conduct any sort of training classes for the public.

Can you give us a taste of what to expect?

From the neatly tended urban necropolis to the long-forgotten family plot at the end of a winding gravel road, these “quiet cities” of the Ozarks have the power to send chills up and down the spine of the most hardened skeptic. Be it the restless Civil War soldiers of Greenbrier, the mass murderer who stalks Peace Church or the red eyes that persecute visitors to Robinson, tales of ghostly activity abound in every burial ground carved out of the ancient Ozark hills.

Where can we find you and your books online? 

Website | TOPS (The Ozarks Paranormal Society | Facebook

You can find my book at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Walmart

 

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Originally from Fresno California David Harkins now resides in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. In 1980 David helped launch an Occult Bookstore in Fresno which is still in operation today. During the early years at the bookstore folks would come into the shop and share stories of their homes being haunted by things they believed to be of a paranormal nature. With a fascination with all things Occult and Paranormal David began investigating these claims of supposed paranormal activity and soon got hooked on the fact some of these claims may actually be happening. At this point his journey into the paranormal world began. Soon after moving to the Ozark Mountains of Missouri in 1985 David began investigating different locations in the Ozarks and eventually encountered others with the same interest in the paranormal.

In 2006 after meeting more folks in the area with a strong lure to the paranormal, David founded The Ozarks Paranormal Society (T.O.P.S). Since forming T.O.P.S David has been featured on Radio, Print and television. Most notably, he and his team were featured on the Travel Channel program “Legends of the Ozarks” investigating the activity at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield near Springfield, Missouri. In 2013 the Ozarks Paranormal Society became official family members the world renowned paranormal team The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS). Over the years David has investigated many places in the United States, as well as Europe and India and continues his journey thru the paranormal world to this day.

UPCOMING EVENTS: 

I will be a Guest Speaker at the 3rd annual Delta Paranormal Project happening in Vicksburg, Mississippi October 3rd thru 5th. You can check out their website for more information at: http://www.deltaparanormalproject.com/

 

 

 

Zombie Walk 2014

IMG_7119 (768x1024)A couple of weekends ago, I participated in the Zombie Walk Lebanon 2014. This was the 5th annual, but the first for me. The theme was 50′s Sock Hop and there was a dance afterward. Clearly I didn’t follow the theme nor did I attend the zombie dance, but the walk was awesome!???????? SONY DSC

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And here is some of my best shambling in action!

Want to walk? The next walk is July 18, 2015 and the theme is Hollywood. Like their page at Zombie Walk Lebanon so you don’t miss out.

Know what else you won’t want to miss? Reap & Repent.

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Reap & Repent blurb

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

 

 

 

 

Grave Discoveries: Pine Hill Cemetery – A Haunting We Will Go

This week’s offering is a hidden treasure I discovered thanks to David E. Harkin’s book Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks. I was thrilled to learn several of the cemeteries he mentioned were within my day job territory. So this week as I was visiting St. James for blood drives, I wandered out to Pine Hill Cemetery. And by the way…it’s haunted.

Within this fence, you’ll find the Goat Man’s grave, witches and more.

IMG_7034 (1024x768)One does not simply happen upon Pine Hill Cemetery. It is well off the beaten path about five miles outside the St. James city limit. I wandered down a long, winding blacktop road outside of St. James down County Road 3450 (AKA Spook Hollow Road. Not making that up!).

It was a hot day and the lush greenery encroached across the road making it increasingly eerie even in the daylight. I prayed Google Maps was up for the challenge and the cell signal held. At one point there was water over the road from the previous night’s storm. Now, I drive a Ford Fusion. It is not an off-road-adventure-worthy mobile so I was a little concerned I might be getting in over my head but trudged forward.

The large limb over the road was the the second deterrent,  but I managed to skirt around it as well. I was starting to get that little tingle of foreboding in the hollow of my chest that perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe I should turn back.

After all, no one even knew I was OUT on this little side trip.

Ignoring common sense, I trudged forward.

And then the road narrowed and devolved to gravel.

Seriously?

Several long minutes later, I was relieved to finally arrive.

Of course there was no actual signage but Google Maps declared our adventure a success.

Here’s what I found:

IMG_7047 (1024x768)This one was especially creepy to me, like it was clawing itself up out of the ground. Pretty sure that’s a lichen covered “Lamb of God” at the top.

IMG_7051 (1024x768)It is shady cemetery for the most part and there were indeed some pine trees. This grave was just a pile of rocks. Efficient. I like it.

IMG_7046 (1024x768)I found these rock garden graves interesting.

IMG_7045 (768x1024)One thing we have in abundance in Missouri is rocks.

IMG_7037 (768x1024)Another melting Lamb of God on top. They don’t age well.

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Broken and haphazardly placed…just how I like it.

IMG_7039 (1024x768)Can’t get much simpler than this one.

IMG_7040 (1024x768)All Hand of God and no name.

IMG_7041 (1024x768)More shade-tree graves.

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IMG_7050 (768x1024)This one was a new combination for me. The hand pointing Heaven and to the crown according to Grave Addiction symbolizes victory or triumph over death.

IMG_7049 (768x1024)And finally a bird nest. Beginnings and endings right there.

Want to know more about the Goat Man and the witches of Pine Hill? Go get David E. Harkin’s book Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks. It’s full of haunted graveyard goodness. Also…join me right here this Friday, Aug. 1 for an interview with David E. Harkins to learn more about him and his paranormal research.

Sign up to receive post updates in your inbox at the top right of this page so you don’t miss out on future posts from the Grave Discoveries series.

Speaking of cemeteries. Did you know that reapers travel from consecrated ground to consecrated ground through and invisible network called the consecrated subway? It’s true. Just one of the amazing details of the the Reaper Series.

Want to know more? There’s still plenty of time to read book one and join in on the fun. Reap & Repent is available now at all ebook retailers. 

AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

Reap & Repent blurb

Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.