My #Guest Michael D. Smith gives an in-depth description of his hero in CommWealth

Please welcome my guest, Michael D. Smith , author ofCommWealth

*** Tell us about your hero, his strengths and weaknesses.

Allan Larson is one of the six major figures in CommWealth.  Though two other characters eventually step forth to function as heroes, Allan is the consummate anti-hero whose absurd and puerile ambitions dominate this book.  I’ve always thought of the characters in CommWealth as an ensemble cast in a movie, where accomplished actors divide the plot between them and no one actor has the lead role.  The ensemble concept is apt for this novel, in which these characters form the core of the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe.  The Cup of Fog coffeehouse in the fictional coastal Texas town of Linstar is their home base and forms the stage upon which the forces of the novel collide.

The insanity of the six-month-old CommWealth system, in which all private property has been outlawed and citizens are required to share everything, finds its apt expression in Allan Larson as he glibly procures free electronics and a Porsche in the first scene.  Allan is a narcissistic playwright and actor who forces Forensic Squad to stage his mediocre play Cabaret.  Supercilious, clueless, and manipulative, he’s claimed a mansion in Linstar Heights and surrounded himself with expensive cars and gadgets.  As a writer he thinks he should express his buried truths, but he’s too fearful to find out what they really are, and when crime tempts him, he sees it as just another avenue to fulfilling his needs.  He considers himself too creative to be bothered making backup copies of his writing, and it’s only by luck that he gets a digital copy of Cabaret back after his laptop is claimed by another citizen along with all his wide screen TVs, sports cars, and motorcycles.  He dominates Forensic Squad not as a leader or someone who can make the troupe function, but as its clever, over-the-top “idea man” playwright with just enough charisma to keep things rolling his way.

If Allan has any redeeming quality, it’s his hesitant realization of a need for friendship or for the comradeship of the theatrical troupe, even as he considers how such friends and fellow actors might further or thwart his ambitions, and when might be the best opportunity to betray them.  His loneliness can be touching.  Though he lives in a dream world and rewrites every event to conform to his worldview, when a machine gun is pressed into his hands and his service is demanded as a soldier of a revolution against CommWealth, he’s at least grounded enough to see the absolute futility of such a battle–although his cowardice also plays a large part here.

Blurb:

The CommWealth system, has created a society in which there is no legal claim to any kind of private property. Any object from your house to the clothes you’re wearing can be demanded by anyone, to be enjoyed for thirty days before someone else can request it. As actors in the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe attempt to adapt to this chaos, their breaking of the Four Rules sustaining the system, as several members navigate betrayals, double agents, and murder to find themselves leading a suicidal revolution.

Excerpt:

CommWealth Rules:

Rule One – You are free to enjoy the chosen object for thirty days. During this period no other person may request it.

Rule Two – The requestor is untouchable for thirty days by the person asked. Attempts at retaliation, such as demanding unusually large quantities from the original requestor after the thirty-day period, carry stiff penalties.

Rule Three – Once you ask somebody for something, you can never ask him or her for anything else again.

Rule Four – You can never ask for the same thing back from the person who got it from you, not even after his or her thirty days of enjoyment.

Allan shivered at the reflection of his black overcoat and his striding legs on the wet sidewalk. Up ahead someone with a DreamPiston Electronics bag opened a shiny red Porsche glistening with thousands of water beads.

“Okay,” Allan said, “I’ll take your car here.”

The mustached little twerp looked up. “Ahhh, crap…”

“C’mon, don’t give me any trouble. Gimme the key.”

“Look, it’s raining. And I just got these MP3 players and the new Fappy tablet—”

“Not my problem. Fork the damn key over.”

“Look, my umbrella’s in the car—can I just get my umbrella so my stuff—”

“Forget it. The umbrella’s part of the car as far as I’m concerned. Anything in the car. Besides, I just lost my umbrella a couple blocks back. I’m soaked.”

“C’mon, I just got this car the other day!”

“Don’t hand me that. The sticker on the plate says you got it a month and a half ago. You’re overdue, buddy. Now hand me the key.”

“Dammit! Dammit!”

“Got trouble there?” A bright blue City of Linstar police car idled in the rain. “Got a Hoarder there?” a huge officer grinned.

“Uh, no… not at all…” said the twerp. “I just—I just can’t find the key—”

“Yeah, right—you just unlocked the damn car with it,” Allan said, turning to the policeman. “He is giving me a lot of crap about it.”

“C’mon, sir, you know better than that.” The officer’s name tag read BARCLAY.

“Dammit!” the twerp snarled. He separated the Porsche key off his key ring, thrust it at Allan, then spun around and fastened on a man coming down the sidewalk.

“Give me that umbrella! Right now!”

“Goddammit…” the man grunted, surrendering his umbrella to the twerp, who grabbed it and hoisted it above his DreamPiston bag.

“We really got the Christmas spirit here, don’t we?” Barclay said.

“Really,” Allan said. “Some people…” He examined the Porsche key in the rain. “Thanks for your help, officer.”

“Oh, I’m sure it wasn’t really necessary. People are basically good, you know. Give ’em time to adjust and all, that’s what I say.”

The twerp leapt into traffic with his new umbrella and his bag, waving his free arm. A little green car skidded to a halt. The twerp ran to the window and pounded on it. “Give me this car! Right now! Damn you!”

“Jesus…” Allan said. “What a bastard!”

Barclay was out of his patrol car in a second, hand on his hand on his holster. “Sir, that’s not the right way to go about it. We need to be respectful. That’s the CommWealth way.”

About the Author:

Michael D. Smith was raised in the Northeast and the Chicago area, before moving to Texas to attend Rice University, where he began developing as a writer and visual artist.  In addition to exhibiting and selling paintings and drawings, he’s completed fifteen novels.

Smith’s writing in both mainstream and science fiction genres uses humor to investigate psychological themes.  On his blog, he explores art and writing processes, and his web site contains further examples of his writing and art. He is currently Technology Librarian for McKinney Public Library in McKinney, Texas.

CommWealth is his first novel published by Class Act Books.

Find out more about Michael at:

Website: , www.sortmind.com,

Blog: www. http://blog.sortmind.com/wordpress/

CommWealth is available at:

Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/dystopian/commwealth-6022015-08-14-23-29-50-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/CommWealth-Michael-D-Smith-ebook/dp/B013YPU5D4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478983628&sr=8-1&keywords=CommWealth

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/commwealth-michael-d-smith/1122537291?ean=2940152097313

Now that you’ve read about my guest, please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

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My #Guest Jeremy Higley on His Hero in The Son of Dark

Please welcome author Jeremy Higley, as he describes his hero in The Son of Dark

Tell me about your hero, his strengths and weaknesses.

I started writing The Son of Dark during my senior year of college. It took me about three years to finish. Now that it’s done, I still struggle to summarize the story properly without feeling like I’m leaving things out.

My hero, Skel, is a wizard in training and the foster son of an elephant herder who resents him. At the age of 14, his world falls apart when his master leaves unexpectedly, and his true father shows up to tell him about the prophecy that led to his birth. The same night his infant foster brother is kidnapped by a magical dream cult called the Dun Ko.

The book also follows the journey of my secondary “hero,” a former pirate turned merchant whose wife has been possessed by a dragon. As Skel searches for the Dun Ko and the lost child, he gets tangled up in the man’s quest to find a cure for his wife’s enchantment. Meanwhile, the good and evil wizards from an age before are becoming active again as the prophecy of the Darksome Thorn, the same prophecy without which Skel would never have been born, is weaving the past and the present together in preparation for a dark threat approaching from beyond the horizon.

Skel is not so much an accidental hero as a reluctant one. He wants to do the right thing, and he would like to help everybody, but he hates being the center of attention. He’s like a main character who wants to take the role of a supporting character, but Fate won’t let him. The most fascinating part of his journey, for me, is his development into a leader. He certainly isn’t there by the end of the first book. He likely will have an awkward relationship with his role for a while yet.

Indeed, I think I’ll always see Skel as an unassuming soul whose greatness is thrust upon him by forces beyond his control.

Blurb for Son of Dark:

A thousand years ago, the wizards of the Nynsa  failed to follow the prophecy of the Darksome Thorn, and now the greatest evil of their time has survived into the next age.

Now, the Darksome Thorn has revealed a new prophecy, and the very evil they failed to kill is working to use that prophecy to his advantage.

Forces of evil run rampant in the land of Duskain. Ancient powers are stirring. A greater darkness is imminent…

…and Skel, the foster son of an elephant herder, finds himself caught in the middle of everything. Will Skel’s newly developing powers be a help or a hindrance…

Excerpt for Son of Dark:

Marga pointed to the south. Zar didn’t turn, but he heard a gasp of recognition from Skel.

“Aja-aja,” he said with concern. “Three of them, about two miles away.”

Zar sighed in trepidation. The aja-aja were rare, enormous snakes prowling the Eltar plains, preying on elephants and any herders foolish enough to attack them. They had three heads each and stocky, powerful bodies to match, and could grow to over forty feet long. They killed and then predigested their prey by spitting streams of corrosive poison from their mouths.

“The aja-aja will be no problem,” he bluffed, staring into Marga’s eyes. “I have two magic-users with me now, a wizard and a Phage. They’re perfectly capable of dispatching a few overgrown snakes.”

“If so, then I’ll simply have to wait longer to be reunited with my precious one,”

the Wyvern said, eyeing the flattened snake corpses around her.

Something inside Zar began to burn like a fuse at the words “precious one.”

“You knew her before, I presume,” he continued, his voice much quieter. “Before you kidnapped her, I mean, and took over her mind.”

“She was mine to take,” the Wyvern retorted through Marga’s lips. “She was always mine to take.”

The last words hissed from Marga’s mouth like a challenge. Zar’s fingers wrapped around his sword’s hilt. He wanted nothing more at this moment than a way to strike at

his enemy, but the Wyvern was far, far away.

“If you want her,” Zar said, “you’ll have to kill me.”

“Too risky,” the Wyvern replied. “You crave nothing more than to die for her. To kill you might break my grip.”

“If you don’t kill me she will never truly be yours,” Zar said. He walked to within an arm’s length of her. “As long as there’s breath in me, I will always be fighting to free

her.”

“I’m sure you mean that,” the Wyvern said. “Once you’re dead, there’s nothing to stop me from singing her back to me.”

About the Author:

Jeremy Higley was born in California but now lives in Arizona. As of 2016 he’s a graduate student working on a master’s degree in English. He’s also an instructional aide at a local elementary school, a novelist, and a contributing editor for a nonprofit student success company called LifeBound.

The Son of Dark, Book 1 of The Darksome Thorn, is his first novel.

Find out more about Jeremy at:

Website: www.darksomethorn.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeremy.higley.3?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/darksomethorn/

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-higley-93b0b418

Google+: https://plus.google.com/100303315189666735431

Buy Links:

Publishers Website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/cat-young-adult/the-son-of-dark-tales-of-the-darksome-thorn-book-1-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-eBooks/b?ie=UTF8&node=154606011

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Son-Dark-Darksome-Thorn-Book-ebook/dp/B01IG983XC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=U

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/650660

Thanks for stopping by,

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How Evil Is My Villian? by my #Guest Juanita Aydlette Author of It’s in the Blood

Please welcome my guest, Juanita Aydlette, author of It’s in the Blood 

Tell us more about your story, Juanita.

HOW EVIL IS MY VILLIAN?

The villain in my story, IT’S IN THE BLOOD, is named Rhodora. She’s from a supposedly extinct tribe called The Inans, whose evil leader was killed thousands of years ago by a set of twins possessing magical powers, who were born to an enemy tribe.

During the quest to resurrect her leader from the dead, she stalks a set of twins and their mother born in the enemy village from their birthplace in the jungles of Brazil to Africa. She suspects they are the predicted rebirth of the Miraculous Twins. Rhodora kills their mother, marries their unsuspecting father, and patiently waits for the twins’ eighteenth birthday. It is then she plans to slaughter one of the twins and use her blood to resurrect her leader.

Rhodora’s beauty is a lure during the day. At midnight she turns into a hideous creature that feeds on rodents and other small animals. Upon reviving her leader, the curse will be lifted and she will be the envy of all women. She will also become queen of a new tribe and rule all of South America.

BLURB:

itsinthedblood-1When Gabrielle Madsen accompanies her parents on a three month trip to Africa, she is in for a pretty unique summer. As a botany major in college, her first interest is to hopefully discover a new plant species during her visit. Her discovery, however, tips her world on its axis.

Being a very naïve but dangerously curious young woman, she accepts a sight-seeing invitation from strangers that she met in her hotel lobby. This little escapade sets off a chain of events that changes the course of her life forever.

She instantly falls for Joshua Van Ness, one of the group’s members. Very quickly, their relationship excels.

Joshua and his twin sister, Christina, are descendants of an ancient Brazilian tribe, and they have a secret. Gabby’s curiosity about Josh heats up and puts her life in danger. Will the dark forces that wish to possess Josh and his sister view Gabby as an extra bonus?

Is this summer love worth the risk?

EXCERPT:

Josh looked into my eyes as he moved his feet in rhythm with the warriors.

“I love you.” He kissed my forehead pressing his lips in firmly.

“I love you too, Josh, more than you’ll ever know.”

The singing continued from above and below, with the tiger and the lioness now circling the temple outside the ring of tribesmen. The dancers’ rhythm increased in speed and they enhanced the ceremony with brisk, hand clapping. Mike stood and cupped Chris’s other hand within his own. Peter gently stroked her hair. The heart-breaking sadness twisted my insides as the uplifting voices of the brave warriors sung Chris’s soul into the spirit world. It was apparent that death was too easily accepted in this part of the world. I was devastated. I wasn’t ready to let go of my newly acquired family member so soon.

During a quick onset of nausea, I panicked, thinking that maybe I had picked up some sort of foreign bug. My tummy was starting to feel warm with Josh’s hand cupped over Chris’s, although his body heat was always searing.

I was staring at Mike with the sincerest of empathy when he fell to his knees and pressed his face against Chris’s hand. I wished that I could reach inside of him and cradle his heart and mend its shattered pieces. Earlier that day in the hotel, when he connected with Chris through the magic of my little one, I truly believed that he had just come to grips with the secret world that had graced his surroundings from the moment he met Chris. This was our bonding link. His thoughts were suddenly mine, a trip back into time, recalling some of the unbelievable events that had taken place before his eyes. He accepted them blindly without question because of his unconditional love for her. He didn’t want to know the why’s that trailed every strange episode in her life. All he wanted was to be with her through it all, forever.

aydlette-1ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Juanita Aydlette was born in Shreveport, Louisiana.

What started out as a childhood obsession with magical creatures became a passion in her later years. She created such magic in her first novel IT’S IN THE BLOOD, and challenged her imagination to bring readers into her world of romance, suspense and fear of the unknown.

Her upcoming novel BLOOD TIES continues this epic saga.

Find out more about Juanita at:

https://twitter.com/JuanitaAydlette

https://www.facebook.com/juanita.aydlette

http://thesouloffiction.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Class-Act-Books-279355422086332/?fref=ts

Twitter: @Juanita Aydlette

Buy Links for IT’S IN THE BLOOD:

Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/cat-fantasy/it-s-in-the-blood-716-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Its-Blood-Juanita-Aydlette-ebook/dp/B01KEC287G/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1471477043&sr=8-3&keywords=It%27s+in+the+Blood

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/658257

I hope you enjoyed visiting with my guest. Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

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My Guest Leslie Heath shares her hero from The Last Mayor’s Son

***Hi Leslie, Tell me about your hero, his strengths and weaknesses.

leslie The hero of The Last Mayor’s Son, Aibek is a twenty-year-old orphan who is raised by his aunt and uncle in the city. He grows up learning to fight, to lead, and to be an officer in the Xona Army, but must adjust his plans when he learns that the village of his birth is in peril and needs his help. Longing for some news of his parents, he sets out for the Tsari Forest – even though he’s only seen a few scrawny trees in his young life – and the uncertainty of returning to a treetop homeland recently freed from a vicious ruler. Thus begins the tale of Aibek’s journey to Nivaka to assume the roles and responsibilities of his birthright as the last mayor’s son.

Due to his uncle’s harsh and implacable parenting, Aibek struggles with anxiety, insecurity, and the desire to please everyone – undesirable attributes in a mayor. He must learn to make decisions and take control if he is to lead the village to victory against the evil Helak’s approaching army. Meanwhile, he also faces an unknown enemy within the forest village, who opposes the new government and works to maim and kill both the mayor and the fledgling council. Thankfully, his best friend, Faruz, tags along on the journey and provides some much-needed levity and confidence.

Unbeknownst to him, Aibek is a born leader who inspires confidence in those around him. It doesn’t take long before most of the several hundred residents of Nivaka love him for his charismatic personality, and pledge to follow him into a battle they know they may not win. Aibek and Faruz work to build an army out of the peaceful village, though the previous governor had forbidden swordplay and all arts of war for the past twenty years. Will Aibek learn to trust his leader’s instincts and guide the village to an era of peace?

Blurb

thelastmayorssoncove3Twenty years after the death of his parents, Aibek must return to the forest and lead his hometown to freedom.

Villagers summon him to be their new mayor after they overthrow the small group of soldiers the ruthless Helak appointed to rule them. They need someone to help them fight off the army that seeks to regain the enemy’s brutal control. Aibek has no problem with standing and fighting. It’s the leading that has him concerned.

Distracted by the problem of teaching a placid people to defend themselves, Aibek nearly overlooks a plot to overthrow the fledgling government. Will he figure out who in the village wants him gone before it’s too late?

Author Bio

Leslie E. Heath lives in rural North Carolina with her husband, children, and an unsettlingly large number of rescue pets. She enjoys writing, which is important because she plans to do a lot more of it. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time at the beach, training for and competing in long-distance running events, and working as a registered nurse.

The Last Mayor’s Son is Heath’s publishing debut and the first volume of a planned trilogy.

Buy links

http://www.classactbooks.com/young-adult/the-last-mayor-s-son-762-detail

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33404442-the-last-mayor-s-son?from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946523003/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_9PdKybQYYQ63Z

 

My Guest# Tena Stetler reveals her inspiration for A Demon’s Witch

Tena Stetler
Tena Stetler

Today my guest is Tena Stetler, author of A Demon’s Witch

Paranormal Romance

Rating PG-13

Best selling author, Tena Stetler, uses her over-active imagination to spin tales of paranormal romance/suspense and cozy mysteries. Her spicy romances spin the adventures of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. From demons to faeries and witches to vampires her intriguing characters take roads less traveled to draw you into exciting tales that  engage the imagination and warm the heart.
What was your inspiration for A Demon’s Witch?
A Demon’s Witch was my debut novel and has remained close to my heart. A Demon’s Witch hit the market and garnered best seller status. It earned The Romantic Reviews Readers Choice 2016 Nominee in the paranormal romance category.   I love talking about this story.
The ideas begin to percolate as I sat in a beauty salon listening to the chatter from other customers. One woman swore she’d been approached by a vampire want-to-be.
This got me to thinking, which is scary in and of itself. What if the hairdresser was an alpha male, Demon Overlord of the Western Hemisphere that owned a multi-species salon in Washington DC? Enter a powerful witch, whose beauty caught the eye of the demon on a rainy day when she rushed into his salon. Now, unbeknownst to him, she is not any ordinary witch, but the little sister of the demon’s enforcer. Now you have a romance with unbelievable complications. 
The story became a series, but the other planned books in the series took a strange turn when the majority of readers and reviewers clamored for the enforcer, Tristian’s story to be next in line. I’d never considered writing a book on the witch’s brother, the demon’s enforcer. But after mulling it over for several months and publishing three unrelated books, 
I am excited to announce A Warlock’s Secrets (Tristian’s story) is awaiting cover art and will be published spring 2017. So please watch for it!
Tena’s contact links:
 
Newsletter: Sign up on web page www.tenastetler.com
 
For a chance to win an amazon $5.00 GC or a e-book of A Witch’s Journey please sign up for my newsletter at  http://www.tenastetler.com and Like my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/tenastetler.author.
 
51oxj6gawvl-_uy250_I hope you enjoy my blurb and peek into A Demon’s Witch.
 
Keeping a lid on all the paranormal beings inhabiting Washington D.C., is a daunting job. Bruce, a six hundred year old demon and the Territory Overlord of the Western Hemisphere, keeps his finger on the pulse of DC’s power players through the activities at his highly successful Wycked Hair Salon. His movie star good looks and body builder physique keeps his dance card full and the rumor mills running.  Within these walls, his anonymity is safe, mostly.
Bruce’s world spins out of control when Angelique, a pint size, gorgeous witch, with an attitude breezes through the doors of his salon. She is the younger sister of Tristian, Bruce’s long time trusted enforcer, whose professional skills are second to none. Tristian is furious at the relationship between Bruce and Angelique, a dangerous situation, but something darker threatens them all. Will undeniable attraction between demon and witch tear their worlds apart?
Excerpt:
At two in the morning he awoke feeling her restlessness, listening he heard her soft sobs. He pulled on his black silk lounge pants and grabbed the robe from the foot of his bed. Padding silently in his bare feet down the hall, he paused at her bedroom door just as her anguished scream filled the room. He was at the side of her bed a second later. Gathering her onto his lap, he held her unyielding body to his until her flailing limbs quieted and her troubled violet eyes opened. Cognizant of where she was now and with whom, she flung her arms around his neck and clung tight as shivers racked her slight frame.
Megan came running from the other wing of the house where the staff lived during the week. “Is everything all right?” She peeked inside Angie’s bedroom door.
“Just a nightmare, nothing to worry about. She’s awake now.
“Oh no my Lord,” Megan said in a low frantic whisper.
“Don’t call me that,” he growled, his amber eyes tinged with orange glowed in the dark room.
“Sorry. There’s something dark and dangerous chasing that one.” She nodded in Angie’s direction. “It’s not of this world.”
He lowered his voice and spoke kindly. “Go back to bed, I’ve got this handled.” He paused for a beat exhaling slowly. “For now.”
 
Buy Link: AMAZON  http://amzn.com/1509203087

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My Guest Casi McLean presents Beneath The Lake – A Time-Slip Romantic Suspense –

Please meet Casi McLean, author of Beneath The Lake – A Time-Slip, Romantic Suspense – Rated PG13
 
USA Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2jB4JXp
 
What is your inspiration for For Beneath The Lake, Casi?:
I love to talk about my story, Beneath The Lake, and the eerie lake lore that inspired my museA town that time forgot––the history and creepy stories attached to a rural area that sleeps beneath Atlanta’s famous man-made lake, Sidney Lanier, fascinated me. Homes, churches and businesses still linger beneath the surface. The moonshiners of the 1940’s added built-in suspense, and the birth of NASCAR. Looper Speedway, a half-mile dirt track where bootleggers competed with their souped-up cars, exposed its cement stands in a recent draught. 
There’s a Lady of the Lake who haunts the ghost town too––the spine-chilling lore is the basis for book three in my Beneath The Lake series, Between The Shadows. Some say she lures victims to her watery grave. The truth is, swimmers get trapped among the deadfall of sheered-off trees and town remains. Even expert divers get tangled beneath the murky surface, hence the lake’s unnerving label: Lanier never gives up its dead. The inspiration swirled in my mind, begging for a story to be told. What a perfect setting for my romantic time-slip suspense series.
Why time-slip? Ever since my childhood imagination discovered Madeleine L’Engles, A Wrinkle In Time, the idea of time travel intrigued me. And Lake Lanier, a man-made lake with mesmerizing history, presented a plausible theory. What if the excavation explosions triggered a seismic shift? Given enough energy, could the blasts rip a portal into a different dimension or a crack in time? The possibilities were endless.
The birth of Lacey Montgomery evolved through my young adult love for Jude Deveraux’s A Knight In Shining Armor. The time-slip novel introduced her endearing Montgomery family. I hope my books honor her inspiration. My high school friend, Hilary Johnson, inspired the persona of my heroine, Lacey Montgomery. A lawyer, discouraged with defending criminals, yearned to help honest people in trouble. Some of Hillary’s finer qualities became part of Lacey––the dysfunctional relationships came from my own personal experiences. LOL. Once these elements entwined, Beneath The Lake blossomed with an energy and life of its own.
The sequel, Beyond The Mist, picks up where the first story ends incorporating two minor characters as the new hero and heroine. Beyond The Mist is complete, in editing, and will be published in a few months.
For a Free Gift, and a chance to win my entire short story collection, Destiny: Five Novelettes With a Twist, click here:https://spark.adobe.com/page/pxekfzj8Rx4el/
I hope you enjoy my trailer, blurb, and the opening excerpt below.
 
cydmaduuqaaadtjBlurb –
A ghost town submerged beneath Atlanta’s famous man-made Lake Lanier reportedly lures victims to a watery grave. But when Lacey Montgomery’s car spins out of control and hurtles into the depths of the icy water, she awakens in the arms of a stranger, in a town she’s never heard of–34 years before she was born.
When the 2012 lawyer tangles with a 1949 hunk, fire and ice swirl into a stream of sweltering desire. Bobby Reynolds is smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes and, despite adamant protest, Lacey falls in love with a town destined for extinction, and the man who vows to save his legacy.
Threatened by a nefarious stalker, the wrath of bootleggers, and twists of fate, Lacey must find the key to a mysterious portal before time rips the lovers apart, leaving their star-crossed spirits to wander forever through a ghost town buried beneath the lake.
Excerpt:
Lake Lanier, Georgia—June 2011
A final thud hurled him backward, flailing through brush and thickets like a rag doll. Grasping at anything to break momentum, Rob’s hand clung to a branch wedged into the face of the precipice. Spiny splinters sliced his skin. Blood oozed and trickled into his palms, and one by one, his fingers slowly slipped.
A sharp crack echoed through the silence of the ravine as the bough succumbed to his weight. He plummeted into free-fall. Clenching his eyes, he drew in a deep breath, terrified of the pain, the mauling that waited on the jagged rocks below.
When icy water broke his fall, the chill kept him from losing consciousness. He spun, straining to see, but darkness enveloped him. Soggy clothing pulled him deeper—deeper into the murky, fathomless depths. He wrestled to squirm free from the waterlogged jacket dragging him down to a watery grave, watched the coat disappear into black obscurity. Panic gripped his stomach, or was it death that snaked around his chest, squeezing, squeezing, squeezing the air, the life from his body? Lack of oxygen burned his lungs, beckoning surrender, and a shard of rage pierced his gut as reality set in. He lunged upward with one last thrust and burst from the water’s deadly grip, gasping for air. A gurgling howl spewed from the depths of his soul and echoed into silence.
Sunlight shimmered across a smooth, indigo lake, but aside from the slight ripples of his own paddling, nothing but stillness surrounded him. He floated toward the shore, sucking deep breaths into his lungs until the pummeling in his chest subsided. When he reached the water’s edge, he hoisted his body onto the soft red clay and collapsed while the sun’s warmth drained the tension from his body.
No one knew he had survived. The rules had shifted. Now he could reinvent himself, become a stealth predator. His target: Lacey Madison Montgomery.
Amazon Best-Selling Author Casi McLean Bio:
 
Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense. Beneath The Lake won the 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense.
Her stories entwine strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.
Contact Links:
 
Winner Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence
Winner 2016 Best Heroine Still Moments Magazine
2016 Aspen Gold Finalist for Best Romantic Suspense
2015 Top Pick by Night Owl Reviews
2015 Chicago Fire and Ice Finalist
2014 Winner 2014 AWC Short Story Award
Romantic Suspense, Time Slips, And Mystery with a Sprinkle of Magic….

My Guest Tony-Paul de Vissage turns a Villain’s Son into a Hero

1959403_763700340320774_7851013420971761107_nTony-Paul, tell me about your hero, his strengths and weaknesses.

A few years ago, on a dare, I wrote a novel titled Absinthe. It did pretty good, earning an award for the Best M/M Historical Horror novel of 2014 by the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice.

My “hero,” or rather protagonist—for there were many who questioned any heroic attributes Absinthe possessed—was an opportunist, cold, manipulative, and with absolutely NO moral compass to guide him. He’d been deliberately raised that way, as an instrument of revenge. He was at the same time, the hero and the villain of this particular story….yet some people found him fascinating because of his ethical dichotomy.

After the novel’s publication, I went on to other things, thinking that particular story was done, but eventually Absinthe again reared his handsome, if debauched, head. The same friend who conned me into writing that novel, was at it again.

absinthe-front_180x270“So…when are you going to write a sequel to Absinthe?” she asked, out of the blue one afternoon.

“Probably never,” I replied, and continued with what I was doing, which was writing a chapter of my new novel.

“You mean you didn’t write that epilogue with a sequel in mind?  Come on.”  

“Nope…” I kept my eyes on the computer screen.

“But…what about all the questions left unanswered?” she demanded.

“What questions?” I tried to pretend I didn’t know what she meant.

It didn’t work.

“What questions…?  Don’t play stupid.” She caught my arm and shook it, jerking my hand from the keyboard which sent it nearly toppling from the typing shelf. I managed to catch it before it crashed to the floor. “Come on, don’t leave us hanging…there’s more to the story and you know it!”

I did know it…and as much as I tried to ignore it and work on something else, the idea had been buzzing around in my brain for a bit. After that little episode, the buzz was as loud as a chorus of cicadas. Sighing and saving what I’d been working on, I bowed to the inevitable and took up the threads where they’d been left hanging…and Essence of Absinthe was the result.

This novel takes up the story of Absinthe’s son, David…a young man the exact opposite of his father in every way. David isn’t the typical 18th century young nobleman spending his time drinking carousing, gambling, with a mistress in every brothel in town…look to his best friend Rouge for that. Rather, the young man is shy around women, obedient to a fault, and, in his twentieth year, still chaste. He’s even perhaps a bit of a prude, especially from Rouge’s point of view. David is a very moral young person, highly religious, as evidenced by his numerous visits to the family chapel to pray for his family and for his friend. He’d probably be shocked out of his highborn mind if he knew his father had been a very highly-paid man-whore named Absinthe.

Point of fact, David doesn’t know he’s Absinthe’s son. He believes himself the son of Étienne, the Marquis Delafée, who is in reality his grandfather. This fact, hidden from David all his life, will cause problems later on, for when his “father,” fearing the upcoming rumbles of revolution in France, decides to take his family to the safety of colonial Louisiana, he delivers his “son” to the very place where the spirits of the dead have been waiting, for two decades…

Nouvelle-Orléans is very different from France, and in this city of voodou and obeah, mountain men and aristocrats, where passion and desire for revenge exist side-by-side, this very gentle, very good youngster is about to have a very rude awakening to the darker side of life.

Young David will face some heart-shattering facts strong enough to make even the strong walls of his moral fiber crumble.  He will face some decisions designed to threaten his very existence as well as his own beliefs. In the end, it won’t change his love for his parents, or his friendship with Rouge, but it will serve to make him more of an adult and less of a dreamer, more cynical and less of a believer in the good of his fellow men..

Essence of Absinthe may be considered mild in comparison to its predecessor but that’s because the subject matter has changed. Absinthe was a tale of obessesion; Essence of Absinthe is a story of possession, and how the desire for revenge can survive and fester and wreak itself upon the innocent, especially those who are completely unaware of its existence.

I hope those reading the story will applaud the way I handled that, as well as David’s responses.

BlURB:

The noble family of Vaurien has secrets, and one Étienne Vaurien and his wife have suppressed for twenty years is about to be discovered. Taking his family from France to escape the murmur of revolution places his son David in mortal danger.

A city may change but some things remain the same. Hatred and the desire for revenge are at the top of the list. David’s resemblance to Étienne’s deceased eldest son, Absinthe, is remarked upon by many but to one person it means more than a mere likeness of features.

Genevieve, Etienne’s abandoned mistress and Absinthe’s amour, has pined twenty years for her young lover. Now, she has a chance to get him back…and she isn’t going to let death stop her.

In a short time, David’s living body will house the spirit of a dead man who wants once again to live…and love.

essence-copyEXCERPT:

David decided to ask something always bothering him. “I know you’re not a particularly religious man, sir, but why don’t you like the chapel? They say you haven’t been inside since the fire.”

Immediately he wondered if he should’ve mentioned that, since it brought up a reference to the near-forbidden subject of Étienne’s lost son.

They?” Étienne’s eyes held a surprising twinkle at his son’s remark. “What else do those mysterious “they” say?” He gave David a direct, near-confrontational stare. “Who are “they,” exactly?”

“I don’t know…servants…townspeople…visitors…” David waved his hands.

“Ah…that hazy and indistinct group which forms our opinions for us.” His father nodded, a finger going to his lips. “I see.” He appeared amused by his son’s vagueness. “You still haven’t told me what else they’ve said.”

“Nothing,” David admitted. “Apparently no one wishes to speak of it.”

“I wish you wouldn’t.” Étienne’s reply was abrupt. Softer, he went on, “You know I don’t like to be reminded of what I lost that day.”

“I’m sorry, sir.” David truly was.

He acknowledged his father kept a tight rein on his emotions. When in public, even if a mere visit to the village, he was, while not cold, at least aloof…polite and friendly, but reserved and a little distant. Very rarely did the Marquis Delafée let outsiders see his gentler side.

“Not that I haven’t regained it through you, mon fils,” Étienne added hastily, as if realizing how his statement sounded. “It’s simply…” He stopped, shaking his head.

“I apologize for mentioning it at all.” David hesitated, then said, in a softer tone, “It’s only…you never speak of him if you can help it, and that makes me curious, of course…of what happened that day.”

There was silence, broken only when Étienne muttered, “I really don’t want…” He studied his son briefly. “I didn’t intend this to be a day of revelations.”

He stopped again, then replaced the quill he held in its holder with a deliberate movement.

“Perhaps, you should know more.” Étienne sighed, as if in surrender. “Sit, son.” He indicated a chair placed to the side of the desk. “No need to stand like a servant.”

David dropped gratefully into the chair as Étienne continued, grudgingly, “It was his wedding day. He died in that fire before the ceremony could be completed.”

“As did Rouge’s father.” David remembered the inscription on his brother’s vault…that a second body lay in the tomb with him. The engraving chiseled into the granite stated for all to see that his best friend’s father was also buried there.

“Rouge Meurtrier, pèreoui.” Briefly, the marquis avoided his son’s gaze.

“My uncle died, also.”

“Uncle?” Étienne looked up. “Whom do you mean?”

 “Didn’t Mamère’s brother die that day, too? Jean-Paul? Why don’t they speak of him, either?”
“How do you know about Jean-Paul?” Étienne half-rose from his chair, leaning  across the desk toward his son. “Who’ve you been talking to?”

“No one, I swear. It’s merely another of the questions I’ve long wished to ask.” Startled, David found himself bending backward as if to escape his father’s grasp though the marquis hadn’t raised either hand.  He struggled to keep any condemnation out of his voice. “Once when I went to visit Gran’père Georges, I wandered into the garden. At the end of it, I found the family burial plot. The mausoleum was open and I went in. Morbid curiosity I suppose…to see the names of Mamère’s ancestors,” he added. “You know my hobby.”

His father nodded and relaxed.  David was surprised. Until that moment, he hadn’t realized Étienne was tense. Why should he be?

“I found his vault…Jean-Paul la Carrière, Vicomte la Proie.”. Just that and his death date…the same as my brother’s…and Rouge Meurtrier’s.”

Oui. Jean-Paul died that day also. He was Absinthe’s…compagnon de mariage…”

“Absinthe. Why did they call him that?” David persisted, fearing his father might soon regret reawakening the tragedy and refused to say more.

“Because of his eyes…they were the color of that infernal liqueur.” Étienne took a deep breath, looking away as if to hide the fact his own eyes were also that color, but in his case, he’d been called Peridot.

Using that surnom to differentiate the deceased child from his living namesake had become habit but it still cause an ache. To his son, it sounded as if he were controlling great fury.

“I don’t wish to speak of this any longer, David.”

Absinthe is available from Class Act Books. Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Essence of Absinthe will be available in April 15, 2017, and will be listed with the above vendors.

About the Author:

A writer of French Huguenot extraction, one of Tony-Paul de Vissage’s first movie memories is of being six years old, viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula’s Daughter on television, and being scared sleepless—and he’s now paying back his very permissive parents by writing about the Undead.

Find out more about Tony-Paul at:

Twitter:  @tpvissage

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonypaul.devissage?fref=ts

Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/our-authors/manufacturers/tony-paul-de-vissage

Amazon author’s page: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile