Monday, July 21, 2014


So it's July and Deadly Encounters is still not published. I haven't even sent it out to beta readers. I'm hoping to still get the book out before summer's end, but we may be looking at a Fall release. Why?....

The number one reason is time. I need more of it.
I'm not a full time writer. I have a night job that is increasingly demanding of my time.
I'm a mommy, so my days off are full of toddler business with very little me-time.
I'm sleep deprived. Between working at night half the week and then flipping to a day schedule on my weekends, my internal business is confused, causing a state of almost constant exhaustion.

I'm currently in the process of rewriting (I'm on chapter 20 out of 40). Then I'll do the fifth read-through and tidying up, which is the last stage of editing before sending it out to beta readers. While I wait for their input I'll be re-re-reading the first three books to make sure everything is perfectly in line and the voice is constant. Then when I get the book back from the beta readers it's another read-through, formatting for e-book and paperback and then done. I was hoping to be done with all of that by the end of July, but honestly, I'll be luck if it's ready by the end of August.
Here's a cool excerpt from Deadly Encounters: (Let me set the scene for you. Raina is freshly back from the dead after five years. She's had a run in with the demon that killed her and now he's sort of stuck inside her head.)

      The lights in Damon’s bathroom were mercifully dim as I undressed in front of the mirror.  I was scared as hell of what I’d see as I let the green dress fall to the floor.  I closed my eyes.  I didn’t want to see that again; that lumpy, discolored poor excuse for a body.  I held my breath and opened my eyes. I looked into the mirror and I let out a low gasp of relief. My skin was smoothing over, with tiny white vein-like scares fading well into pale skin. My body had healed much in the last few hours. Hell, it almost looked like a normal female body…but it didn’t look like mine.
      I pressed my hand against my stomach and felt only hard muscle behind thick skin.  Whatever excess fatty tissue I had before was gone, recycled by my body along with my lower bowls. Which explained why I hadn’t had the urge to use the toilet.  It also explained why my abdomen was so irregularly petite.  I had a true hourglass figure now; large breasts, wide hips, tiny middle. Nothing but muscles and bone. I didn’t need anything else.  As I understood it, my stomach and lungs were still completely intact, though altered. For vampires, the stomach’s inner walls are thick and smooth, no longer producing acid, while the small intestine is shortened and redirected to the heart. I put my hand on my chest and I could feel the shallow beating of my own heart as it pumped the blood I drank throughout my body, circulating oxygen, nutrients, and hormones and maintaining body temperature.
       The only real downside to being a vampire, besides the obvious social stigma, was the sun aversion.  The vampire virus changes every cell in the body of its host in order to make a more suitable home for it, and for this particular virus that meant no sunlight. There goes any hopes of gaining that golden tan I’d always wanted… By all accounts, I should have burned almost instantly when the sun touched my skin.  I could only guess being a demigod had something to do with my survival.
       The only part of me that I recognized at all was my face; heart shaped with sharply curved eye-brows, dark mahogany red eyes and naturally red lips. But thanks to the scares, not even that was left unspoiled.  Was I me at all anymore? At least I had my mind.
      “Plus one!” Raphael spoke up.
      “Shut it!” I demanded.  He did, but whether or not it was because I told him to, only he knew that. Actually, I’d quite forgotten he was there at all, listening to my thoughts, seeing what I saw in the mirror. My cheeks flushed with embarrassment, which shocked the hell out of me.  You’d think my new streamlined vampire body wouldn’t waste such a precious commodity on such a trivial emotional response…Whatever, why should I be self-conscious for Raphael? Fuck him.
      I bent over to turn on the shower, and then I heard steps approaching from outside the room. It smelled like Alistair. Even though the water was freezing cold, I rushed into it when he knocked. COLD! SHIT! COLD!
      “Yes?” I called out.
      “May I come in?”
      I thought about it for a moment. “Yes,” I said softly. I was behind the white shower curtain, but still, I held onto my breasts as he came through the door.  Through the curtain I could just make out the outline of his tall, slender body. I watched him lean against the countertop and look at me.  No doubt he could see the outline of my body as well.  With that in mind I leaned back against the cool tile.
      “What is it?” I asked him.
      “Damon called.  He wanted me to tell you that Katie invited herself to dinner with him and the kids.  Something about a fight between her and Everett.”
Everett was a proud wizard, and Katie was raised to be a bigot.  I’d be shocked if they didn’t fight and need space from each other from time to time. I’m not pointing fingers, but old habits die hard and when you’re raised from birth to think you’re better than others because of race, you’re more likely to say or do something racist without even thinking it through all the way.
      “It will be good to see her,” I said. “She’s what, twenty-three years old?”
      And, suddenly tears were falling down my cheeks. I don’t know why, but in that moment it hit me just how much I’d lost, all those years away. I never heard Isobel’s first words, or saw her take her first steps. I never heard her laugh or soothed her when she cried. I wasn’t her mommy. I wasn’t there for her, and it hurt so much. I’d give anything in the world to go back and have that, anything.
      “Yes, she and Everett were married last summer,” he said.  “It was a beautiful wedding.”
      “Married?” I smiled at that, even as the tears fell in steady streams down my face.
      Alistair shrugged his shoulders. “There’s something Damon failed to tell you about Isobel. Several months after you past, Isobel was diagnosed.”
      “From what Gabriel has told me, Damon brought her in to see him with a long list of odd behaviors. He was worried because Isobel wouldn’t look anyone in the eye, or move much and she almost never cried. But what worried him most was that Isobel didn’t responded to sounds. He was afraid she was deaf, but tests proved otherwise, and Gabriel diagnosed her as being autistic. I just don’t want you to be surprised or hurt if she doesn’t respond to you. She doesn’t respond to anyone.”
      “Okay,” I murmured under my breath. Too many thoughts and emotions were running through my mind all at once. The more prominent emotions being guilt and confusion. I instantly wanted to know how to fix it, whatever it was. I didn’t really understand.  Had I done something wrong? I didn’t know I was pregnant until days before I gave birth, and I lived such a hard life.  Too much violence and late nights full of coffee and energy drinks. That was no way for a soon to be mommy to live.  Had I known I was with child, I would have done things differently, and maybe she wouldn’t be…different.
      “Raina,” Alistair began, breaking my train of thought. “About what I said before. I want you to know that you are beautiful.”
      Such a drastic change in subject made me tilt my head until his words made sense. Then I frowned. “Are you still worried about my feelings, even now when we have more important things to worry about?” Like an evil lady living in my daughter. Maybe she was the cause of the autism… “I think you’re losing focus.”
       “Well, no duh.  He’s obsessed with you.  It’s rather unhealthy how much he dotes on you,” said Raphael.
      I looked down. “Shut it! Go away!” I thought at him.
      “I can’t.  You made sure of that.”
      “Then just look away and plug your ears or something.”
      “I haven’t got eyes or ears to avert, darling.”
      “Then just shut up.”
      “Right you are. I hate it when people talk during movies, and here I am, blah, blah, blah,” he laughed and fell silent.
      I looked back up and Alistair was standing just in front of the thin white shower curtain. Damn! If I wasn’t already against the tile wall, I’d have fallen back into it.
      “Your feelings are the most important thing to me, Raina.  Would you have scurried into the shower so quickly if I hadn’t been so careless before?”
      He pulled back the curtain and I looked down.  I did feel ashamed of my body.  I couldn’t help it.  It felt unreal and damaged.  What had been done to it stripped me of more than my humanity.  It stripped me of my identity.
      “You’re beautiful, Raina.” I looked up at him, blinking the falling water out of my eyes.  He was so tall and handsome in a very manly sort of way. “Do you always take cold showers or were you in such a hurry to hide?”
      I looked up at him. “I was hiding,” I admitted.
      He smiled tenderly and his kind eyes seemed to be smiling as well. Every part of me longed to be with Alistair, and for too long I’d denied those feelings, pushed them aside, and wrote them off as hero worship. But I was finding it harder and harder to ignore how badly I wanted him.
      He bent down and turned the knob to warm the water.
      “Thank you,” I said, and he looked up at me, same smile as he stood up straight and pulled his shirt over his head revealing smooth pale skin. “What are you doing?”
His smile broadened. “Joining you. Would you like that?” he asked, and his native British accent came through a bit.  That alone let me know that he was becoming excited, forgetting himself.
      I became tongue-tied.  Did I want him naked, soaked in warm water and inches from my equally naked body?  Hell yes! But so many things made it very wrong.  As far as I knew, I was still Damon’s girl. This was Damon’s bathroom.  My kids would be here within an hour or so. Not to mention that I was dead just that morning…And I didn’t feel particularly sexy right then. “I would love that,” I breathed.  “But we can’t.”
      “Damon’s been with other women. He’s moved on. You should, too.”
      My heart sank and I suddenly felt exhausted. Did I really expect Damon to wait five years for me when he had no idea I’d come back? No, obviously not, but still, it hurt like hell.       “This isn’t the right time,” I said.
      “It may never be the right time or place, Raina.  You should take love whenever you can.” The look on his face. The way he moved closer to me. A girl can only take so much. “And—I love you.” Awe shit. Swoon.
      With his jeans still on, he stepped into the shower beside me.  I put my hands on his smooth chest to keep him away, but honestly I didn’t have much fight in me. He closed the distance between us with a firm hand at my lower back.  I let my hands slide from his chest to his back, enjoying every curve. I pressed my breasts against him and he wrapped his arms around me and held me tight, just as Damon had done before, but his fingers glided up and down my back lovingly. I hugged him back with my head on his shoulder. It felt good just to hold him.
      “Raina,” he spoke softly.  I looked up at him and he bent down to kiss me; just a pressing of lips.
      Just that small taste of being with him was amazing. My whole body ached with need, but I couldn’t give in, not right then. It took so much will power, but I turned away from him, giving him my back and breathing hard.
      “What’s wrong?” he asked.
      “This is.”
      I felt him press himself against my back and hug me. “Why is it wrong? We’ve waited so long to be together.”
      I turned and looked at him. “This is Damon’s apartment…” I began but Alistair’s angry face made me stop. “Why are you mad at me?”
      He let go of me and stepped out of the shower in soaked jeans.  “You’re standing there, worried about the decency of making love to a man in another man’s shower, but how long did Damon wait after you died before he found another woman to warm his bed, and then another and another?” Alistair’s anger was radiating from his broad shoulders as he searched for and found his shirt on the floor.
      “How long did he wait?” I asked even though I didn’t want to know.
      He stood tall and closed his eyes, visibly calming himself with deep breaths. “Not long enough. Not very long at all.” He looked at me and he looked hurt and miserable.  “From the moment you told me that you loved me, I couldn’t bring myself to touch anybody else, to think about anybody else.  Even after you were killed.  I loved you more than I was willing to admit to myself.”
      “Alistair, I’m sorry,” I said, but I wasn’t sure what I was sorry for. Even if Damon was sleeping with other women, we shared two children. Maybe Damon had moved on, maybe he had no interest in being with me anymore. Maybe we’d never be a happy little family ever again. But until I knew that for sure, I had to hold out hope.
      He didn’t meet my eyes when he said, “Just clean up and get dressed. I have to change my clothes as well.”
      And with that he was gone.  I felt horrible that he felt rejected.  That was the last thing I wanted, but I was in the right.  I know I was. I closed the curtain and washed myself to the annoying sound of Raphael’s cackle.
      “Good show, old girl.”
      “Bite me,” I said aloud with scorn.