Interview with Ashlynne Laynne, Author of The Progeny

I am delighted to have my friend from the Amazon Paranormal Discussion Group, Ashlynne Laynne, with me today to talk about her debut novel, THE PROGENY. Ashlynne says that her  life is an eclectic mesh of bi-racial, same sex and mixed gender relationships. This rich tapestry of cultures, ideas and people has always kept her grounded- letting her know what’s truly important in life. These unique relationships were a catalyst in her choosing of races for the characters in her paranormal romance series, THE PROGENY. She has danced to a different beat. She listens to everything- pop, top 40, heavy metal, decade music, gospel. She reads everything- goth magazines, all genres of novels, parenting magazines, home improvement journals. She has written country songs and watched people’s eyes pop out when they realized the person behind the words and melody was not what they expected. Ashlynne remembers where she comes from, but doesn’t let that dictate who she is or who she will become. She is a woman with a lot of imagination and motivation. Ashlynne has generously agreed to provide a free e-copy of THE PROGENY for one commenter. All you have to do is comment or ask a question at the end of the interview to be entered to win.

Ashlynne, what made you want to be an author? At what age did you start telling stories and then writing them down?

I think the fire to write sparked in me when I placed third in an oratorical contest when I was eight. I’ve always been inclined to write poetry and have since I was a teenager. The epilogues of The Progeny, and its sequel, are my original poetry. Writing poetry started as a type of therapy for me to get whatever I was feeling out. I never really thought myself patient enough to write a novel. I got serious about writing in October of 2010 and I never looked back.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?

There is a tremendous sense of satisfaction that comes along with creating a world and people that live in it. To me, writing is a way of being immortal. As long as people read your words, you live on even after your death. The bad part for me is juggling a full time job, a husband, son with special needs and finding the time to write.

How do you think being a poet, a country song writer, wife and mother have prepared you for writing a paranormal romance?

Writing love poetry has helped me with the romantic scenes of my books. I sometimes read my stuff to set my mind frame for a love scene. The same is true of writing music. Good writing tends to take on a certain meter and rhythm that closely matches the flow of music. Being a mother has taught me to nurture my characters. I call them my babies. Being a wife teaches me patience with my writing. I can be very harsh and judgmental of my work. I constantly remind myself to be as forgiving with my writing process as I strive to be with others in my everyday life.

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book–as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?

I’m always thinking about my characters, so it’s no wonder that I dream scenes and story lines that later become scenes in my books. Shauna and Ascher won’t leave me alone! I keep notebooks all over the house. You just never know when inspiration might strike. I also keep paper and a pen on the table beside my bed for the nights that my characters choose to visit my dreams.

You’re employed full-time and you’re a wife, mother to a mentally challenged son and a novelist. That sounds like a lot of caregiving and juggling to me! What’s your favorite time management tip?

Truthfully, my awesome husband is my time management tip. He works, as well, and has taken over most of the household duties so I’m free to write. He has been my biggest cheerleader and I can’t thank him enough for all that he does.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?

Before each book, I do a chapter by chapter outline. It rarely holds up but it’s nice to have a stopping and starting point in mind. Most times, I write the first three or four chapters, skip to write the end then fill in the middle of the book. It’s weird—I know—but it just works for me.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Write every day.

Tell me more about THE PROGENY.

At its core, The Progeny is simply a story about a man and woman who fall in love, and the fact that he’s a half-blood (half-human, half vampire) and she’s a Wiccan human are secondary factors. It started as research about the Salem witch trials, some rough sketches of a special family heirloom that my guys would wear and two names—Ascher and Shauna. In the beginning, of the book, Ascher is grumpy. Frankly, who could blame him? He’s engaged to seal to Ursula—a cold and careless vampire who wants nothing more than to get her hands on a bloodstone— and he feels conflicted about his existence. All of that changes when he meets Shawnette McCutchin. She’s beautiful, intriguing and possesses some of the most potent blood that he’s ever smelled. A war immediately begins in Ascher. He craves Shauna’s blood just as much as he craves her body and the closer they get, the harder it is for him to control his urges. After Ascher calls off the sealing to Ursula, the trouble begins. His family’s peaceful period ends when Ursula’s army attacks the Rousseaus. Kidnapping, some steamy love scenes between our hero and heroine and Wiccan rage complete the plot.

The Progeny Blurb:

“No fate other than the one I choose.” The timeless creed, and tattoo, bore by the Rousseau’s— a vampire clan with the purest bloodline of any vampire family. Out of this clandestine group came one who was different, yet the same: Ascher – a half-bloodling— half- human, half vampire.

Ascher questions the purpose for his existence and which world he truly belongs to: the human world or the vampire world. Two months from sealing to Ursula— a prearranged union to a woman he abhors — he’s at his wit’s end. He knows if he calls off the sealing, the Romanian clan will strike with deadly force, but he cannot see eternity with a cold empty shell of a woman like Ursula.

Just when he thought life was complicated enough, he meets Shauna— a beautiful, bi-racial human wiccan — and immediately develops an unshakable attraction to her. She makes him feel alive and vital despite his origins and Ascher makes a decision that turns his immortal world upside down.

How about an excerpt from THE PROGENY?

Ascher pulled Shauna behind him, his stance clearly a protective one. But why-? Surely, she didn’t need protection from her. His grip tightened around her arm, his knuckles straining with tension. Her mind finally registered his firm hold and sent messages to her heart and eyes.

She wiggled away from him. “Let go of me, Ash! What’s wrong with you? Who is she?”

“I’m fine and she’s nobody. Ursula was just leaving.” He spoke with little conviction.

The hell I am…” the stranger mumbled, an unsavory smirk turning up the corners of her mouth. “Tell her, Ascher. Tell her who I really am!”

“Yeah, Ascher,” Shauna spoke in a mocking tone, her eyes becoming pieces of wet coal in narrow sockets. “Why don’t you tell me the truth…who is she?”

He froze, his youthful face chiseled with a mixture of shock, horror and anger. “There’s something you need to know.”

“Spit it out, Ascher. Tell her! Or I will!” Ursula growled, her hands flicking the shades away from her face.

Terror, worse than any horror movie Shauna had ever seen. More ghastly than any monster a mind could conjure.

Shauna clutched her chest, stepping away from both of them. “Her eyes!” she screamed. “Ascher…what’s wrong with her eyes?”

The stranger giggled and continued piercing her demonized stare into Shauna.

Ascher struggled to control his mounting anger. He clutched Shauna closer. “Do you trust me?”

The floor vibrated underneath their feet. Shauna’s eyes became cold, the glare of distrust swimming in them.

“No. I don’t! Why are you so nervous?”

“You left Katy alone. You should go back up with her. I’ll be up there in a little while. Okay?”

“No. I want to know who she is. Right now, Ascher! Who…is…she?”

“Please, Shauna,”— he huffed with impatience— “just do it.”

“For cryin’ out loud…” Ursula groaned.

“I warned you, Ursula,” he growled, every part of him aching to rip her to shreds. She had nerve. Were he not a gentleman, he’d finish her and be done with it.

“You don’t warn me. Looks like you’ve been keeping a lot from her. Afraid she might not want you if she knows the real you?”

His lips strained against clenched teeth, begging to curl up and release a menacing snarl. Control— He had to stay in control. Push the anger back down. Stem the raging desire to lash out at Ursula.

Her red eyes narrowed, the smirk taunting him, daring him to expose himself. He was strong in his gifts, but rage made her stronger. Her mind turned, fighting off the subliminals he hurled at her.

She cackled, “That won’t work, dearest. It’s time she knows everything.”

“Dearest?” Shauna questioned, her tiny fists balling.

Ascher reached for Shauna but she moved away from him.

“Don’t touch me!”

“Ursula, doing this won’t change things between us,” he uttered, knowing she’d never listen to reason.

“No! She deserves to know the truth, Ascher,” Ursula responded.

“Ursula, please—” He couldn’t believe he was begging her for anything.

Ignoring his pleading, she continued, “My name is Ursula. Ascher and I are to seal in two days.”

Shauna drew in a staggered breath. “Seal— as in marriage?”

Ascher sighed.

“Is this true?” Shauna demanded.

His head dropped in shame. “Yes, but…”

“So she is your fiancée? And let me guess, she’s the first.”

“Shauna, I can explain.”

 

Shauna clutched her head with both hands screaming, “No!” The window, behind her, cracked. She ran towards the door, fresh tears flooding her face. Ascher grabbed at her, missing. “No!” she shouted again. The ceiling rumbled, water raining down from the sprinklers. “Move!” she shouted, pointing towards the door. It flew open, nearly ripping off its hinges. Ascher appeared in front of her. She scowled then pushed him back. “Go away!” she yelled then watched as an unseen force moved him from her path. She turned, backing away from both of them, her eyes fixated on the two. Her finger twirled then pointed at each of them. “Stay!”

“I hope you’re happy now,” he growled at Ursula then sprinted after Shauna, catching her before she hit the stairs. He clutched her, turning her to him. Distress blanketed her face. “Shauna please, just let me explain.”

A strange burn started in her legs. What’s happening to me? She’d had rage issues all her life but never anything like this. Her normally clear eyesight was now blurry and grey. The hall—she’d seen for three months and knew like the back of her hand—became an unfamiliar maze, veiled by her fuzzy vision.

She took a step, stumbled then regained her balance against the wall.

“I told you how important honesty was to me and you’ve been keeping this from me the whole time. You told me she was nobody… that it was only physical curiosity. It doesn’t look that way to me. She talks like she owns you. You told me it was over between the two of you. How were you going to cover up getting married to someone else?”

“I wasn’t, just listen to me…”

She shook her head. “I’ve listened enough. I can’t trust you. Without trust, we have nothing. All you’ve done is feed me lies. You’re a liar! I despise liars! I can’t believe I was going to sleep with you—allow you to be my first.” She gripped her stomach and doubled over. “I’m going to be sick…”

He reached for her, again.

“Don’t touch me!” Every ounce of restraint left her body. Chaos now flooded her brain. She wanted to lash out. No, she needed to lash out.

“Shauna. Just let me take you home. I promise I’ll explain things to you.”

“What part of, ‘I don’t want to hear your lies’— don’t you understand?” she seethed through clenched teeth, her anger blazing directly into him. “Back…!” she barked, pushing her hands away from her body, towards him. He flew back against the wall. “I don’t want to hear it! Don’t touch me, Ascher,” she sobbed into her hands, “I hate you. I wish I’d never met you!”

“Shauna…?” he whispered, pain and disbelief creasing his face.

“Just leave me alone. I never want to see you again.”

“Shauna you don’t….”

“Oh yes I do— I mean it and I quit! I can’t work here anymore.”

She ran out the emergency exit, setting off the door alarm, sprinting—into the night.

Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?

Progeny Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Progeny-Series-by-author-Ashlynne-Laynne/129418917161599

Author Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Ashlynne-Laynne/118945981513261

Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/qlane

Blog http://authoraslane.blogspot.com/

Fan email: Ashlynnelaynne@aol.com

Buy links for your book

Ashlynne, thanks you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

 

#TeaserTrain Sample: AVA by Ashley Barron

Excerpt from the first novel in the Priyas series, ‘Ava

“Pull over,” Ava instructed, as she reached for the wheel.

“What?” Kader brushed her hand aside. “No.”

“Over,” she repeated. “Pull. Over.”

“Why? We don’t have far to go.”

They were passing through downtown Bethesda, and were minutes from her building.

“Do it now, Kader. Hurry.”

“Are you going to be sick?” he asked, as he scanned the busy street for an open spot.

They were on their way back from dinner at the Georgetown Waterfront with Trace, Locke, Layla, and Bonner. Right now, Ava couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant or what food had been on her plate.

She had spent the past three hours sitting across from Kader, being assailed by memories of their life together, their old life: stretched out on the beach, her head on his chest, as they searched the night sky for shooting stars; laughing as she lay trapped beneath him during a game of touch football that went suspiciously awry; running on stage and locking her lips over his to spare the audience from his encore performance during the annual Arden Family Karaoke Night.

Perhaps, all this time, she had misjudged love. Perhaps, she had misjudged Kader.

Ava felt cool air on her face as he lowered her window and instructed her to lean her head out. He had pulled into a parking space. She hadn’t noticed. She would have laughed if her body wasn’t so tense. “Turn off the engine, please,” she said.

He left it running and began punching numbers into his dashboard computer.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m calling my doctor. He’ll meet us at your apartment.”

Over the car speakers, Ava heard the sound of a phone line connecting. With the touch of a finger, she ended the call. “No doctors.”

“Was it something you ate at dinner? Do you have a fever? The shivers?” Kader voiced his concern as he moved his seat all the way back, giving him more room to turn and investigate her condition. “You’re scaring me, Ava. Where do you hurt?”

She unhooked her seat belt and dove on top of him. “I hurt everywhere.”

On the leap over, she banged her knee on the center console and accidentally honked the horn with her heel. She didn’t care. It had been five weeks since this man had walked back into her life. Five chaste weeks in which he had done little more than taunt her with sweet words, kisses on the hand, and a growing pile of puzzle pieces.

“I’m done with you, Kader,” she informed him tartly, as she wedged herself between the steering wheel and his body. “I’m over this whole charade. You have one chance left to show me that you really—”

He stopped her with a hard kiss. His hands made their way down her body to edge of the dress now sitting high up on her thighs. She pulled at the buttons of his shirt, anxious to feel his skin.

A bright light pierced the corner of her eye and she realized that, with one long kiss, Kader Thornton had her seeing stars. She wanted to tell him how much she had missed him, how certain she was that she had been wrong this whole time, but the only sound she could make was a deep, hungry sigh. Hearing it, Kader set his hands on a new course.

“Ava? Ava Arden? Is that you?”

Kader broke the kiss, leaving Ava confused as she lifted her head and opened her eyes. His face, inches from hers, was turned in the direction of the passenger seat. She followed his gaze and saw a skinny, bottle blond in a tight dress leaning through the open window.  In her hand sat a fancy, expensive phone. The bright light of the camera feature announced to Kader and Ava that they were being recorded.

“You had better not be filming us, Lydia Hunt Bellsyn,” Ava threatened.

“You’re on a public street. I can do whatever I want here. So can you, apparently.”

“Turn that thing off! So help me… Kader, do something.” Ava looked to him for backup and noticed his broad grin. She glared at him before lunging in Lydia’s direction.

“And, of course, you are Kader Thornton,” Lydia said, as she pulled her phone out of Ava’s reach. “We’ve met in passing. Nice to see you.”

Kader’s eyes stayed on Ava’s flushed face. He offered no greeting of his own, saying only, “Fair warning. Three. Two. One.”

The window glass began a swift ascent, forcing a squeal from Lydia as she jumped backwards, out of the way.

Kader gripped Ava’s hips and shifted her over to the passenger seat. Unwilling to risk a second encounter with Lydia’s camera phone, she didn’t protest.

He put the car in gear, and they drove the remaining blocks to Ava’s apartment in silence. When it came time for her step out of the car, she wasn’t certain her trembling legs would hold her up long enough to make it through her front door.

Minutes later, she stepped over the threshold with a satisfied sigh. “Home, at last.”

Kader, still holding her hand, stood in the open doorway. “Goodnight, Ava.”

She tugged on his hand, amused. “It’s early. Come in.”

He shook his head and gently pried his fingers loose from her grip. “Goodnight, Ava,” he repeated.

“Oh, no—not this time, Kader. You are not to going to charm me to within an inch of my sanity, and then walk out the door.  Not again.”

He stared at her, his gaze solemn. “It is time for me to go. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Ava jumped across the distance and grabbed hold of his jacket. His arms automatically rose around her.  She felt his body press up against hers, and closed her eyes as shivers of anticipation teased her skin. “Don’t leave me tonight.”

“I have to, Ava,” he assured her in a low, firm voice. “This is not the past. We’re not the same people, not anymore.”

“Why?” she demanded. “What makes us different?  I’m no different today than I was yesterday.”

He kept his voice calm, and said, “We’re both different. Being apart changed us.”

Ava refused to be left to the fate of a cold, empty bed one more time—not with Kader standing in her doorway. “Don’t you remember, Kader?  Don’t you remember me?  Us?”

“I remember a broken man leaving Washington one cold January morning. I’ve come back, come home, for one reason. My heart belongs to you, Ava Arden. But I will not give you all of me, not again, until I know you want all of me back.”

She heard his words but couldn’t take them in, couldn’t process them. Not now, not tonight. “Kader…” she stretched to reach his mouth.

“Not my body, Ava. Me.” He slowly shook his head. “I didn’t understand how to love you, didn’t understand how you wanted to be loved, the first time around. I got it all wrong. I thought you wanted paradise.”

She stepped back, surprised, and searched his eyes. “I do, Kader.”

“Different definitions,” he grunted, and turned again to leave.

“Stay,” she whispered.

Kader looked back at her and froze. A long minute passed before he said, “If you keep moving your hands across your dress that way, I’ll be forced to limit our future contact to public venues only.”

She smiled, and moved her hands up to her hair, slowly running her fingers through the long strands. “Didn’t matter to you tonight, being in public.”

“You ambushed me.”

She stepped out of her high heels. “Want me to ambush you again?”

“You know where I stand, Ava,” he assured her, and walked away.

Ava stared at the empty doorway then stepped into the hall, and insisted, “Don’t you bother calling me tomorrow, Kader Thornton. Or the next day, either. I won’t answer.”

“Sweet dreams,” he said over his shoulder, as his long strides carried him away from her.

His laughter trailed him as he disappeared around the corner.

“No more games!” she shouted.

“My life is no game, Ava. It’s all or nothing.”

Had he said it or had she imagine it? The answer didn’t matter. The line had been drawn. It was time to decide on which side of it she belonged.

Ashley’s novel, AVA, is available NOW for purchase on AMAZON.

To read another sample of Ashley’s writing, please click here.

Interview with Coral Moore, Author of Broods of Fenrir

I am delighted to have my friend from the Paranormal Romance Guild, Coral Moore, with me today to talk about her book, BROODS OF FENRIR. Author of one novel, Coral Moore has always been the kind of girl who makes up stories. Fortunately, she never quite grew out of that. She writes because she loves to invent characters and the desire to find out what happens to her creations drives the tales she tells. Prompted by a general interest in how life works, her undergraduate schooling was in biology. She follows science news and enjoys conversations about genetics and microbiology as much as those about vampires and werewolves. Coral writes speculative fiction and is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Writing at Albertus Magnus College. Currently she lives in Connecticut with the love of her life, who offers both encouragement and kicks in the tail when necessary. Also in residence are two mammals of the families Canidae and Felidae. Coral has generously agreed to provide a free e-copy of BROODS OF FENRIR for one commenter. All you have to do is comment or ask a question at the end of the interview to be entered to win.

Coral, what made you want to be an author? At what age did you start telling stories and then writing them down?

My decision to become an author came after quite a few years of writing for myself as a hobby. I’ve been writing on and off since high school. I waited around until a good idea hit and would spend a day or two playing with it, but I got bored quickly and didn’t finish anything. In 2010 I decided that I should give writing a try as a career. I’m not sure there was any one event that led to the revelation. I think it was just the accumulation of years of reading and dabbling.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?

I love inventing characters. It’s always been my favorite thing about writing. Making up characters and putting them in strange situations is why I write. What I like least is the feeling that nothing is ever good enough. Broods had eight beta readers, an editor and two proofreaders and I still didn’t feel like it was ready. Even when I was uploading it for sale I was making notes on things I’d change and words I would replace. The process doesn’t have a firm ending point, and that lack of clarity bothers me.

How do you think your work biologist prepared you for writing a paranormal romance?

I think any scientific study is really a great place for writers of any genre to start. There’s an objectivity and rigor to the study of science that helps even when writing about things that don’t exist. You can write about a flying monkey, but you either better have the mechanics write or invent some clever magic that explains it, otherwise rather than a cool detail that immerses the reader in your world it becomes an irritation that takes the reader out of your world.

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book–as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?

No. I wish someone dictated my stories, that seems so much easier than having to make them up! I do on occasion find characters behaving in a scene a way other than I want them to. Brand, the main character in Broods, is notorious for going his own way when I think the story should go another way.

You’ve written one novel and published two short stories. What’s your favorite time management tip?

I’m a terrible person to ask for time management tips, really! I keep my deadlines in Google calendar and hope that I set the reminders right, but mostly it’s all in my head.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?

Pantser for life. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I could write an awesome outline that would tell me which way to go as I’m writing. That would solve so many of my problems. My story changes as I write it, and I do a lot of rewriting between drafts because of that. I do think a pantser is part of what keeps writing interesting for me. If I knew from the first page where I was going to end up, I might not have any reason to write my way there.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?

My favorite piece of advice is never to delete anything. You never know when some bit you’ve written that you took out could come in handy later. When I delete a sentence or a passage, I put it into a ‘spare parts’ file. Sometimes I never look back at the parts file aside from adding to it, but more often than not I find tidbits in there that I use later and I’m glad I saved.

Tell me more about BROODS OF FENRIR.

Shapeshifter Brand Geirson was raised to rule the Broods of Fenrir, but he refused his birthright. Instead, he killed their brutal leader–his own father–and walked away.

For hundreds of years he’s avoided brood society, until a werewolf kills an innocent human woman and Brand finds himself dragged back into the violent politics of the shapeshifters. When the two brood women who mean the most to him come under threat, he must take up the throne and risk becoming the kind of vicious bastard his father was, or let the broods descend further into chaos–taking the friend he swore to protect and his lover with them.

How about an excerpt from BROODS OF FENRIR?

Brand walked along the yellow crime scene tape that cordoned off the dilapidated building. His gaze wandered over the stained brick wall and broken windows. He remembered when the building was new, how modern it had seemed rising out of the barren landscape. The abandoned industrial complex south of downtown had deteriorated from a Denver landmark into a crumbling eyesore over the last several decades. Glare from the bright, early winter sun prevented him from seeing inside the dim structure.

The patrolman guarding the perimeter passed a long, appraising look over him. Brand nodded to the man and handed over his identification. The uniformed officer glanced at the badge. He gave Brand another once-over and frowned. “Private security? You’re not authorized to be in this area.”

Between his height and the presence of the wolf inside him, most humans found Brand intimidating. They would never be able to define exactly what bothered them, only a vague sense of strangeness. The more sensitive they were to the energies of the natural world, the harder he had to try to put them at ease. If the man in front of Brand had been a wolf, his hackles would have been raised.

Brand pulled off his sunglasses and smiled without showing his overlong canine teeth. “Detective Grant asked me to stop by.” He kept his voice light, trying to convey that he was just another guy, there to do his job when he’d rather be anywhere else.

With a pensive creasing of his forehead, the officer seemed to come to the conclusion that Brand was no threat, and his expression eased. He turned to speak into the radio at his shoulder. “Tell Grant a guy named Brandon Geirson from Sword Security is here to see him.”

For Brand, dealing with humans was easier than interacting with his own kind. Aggression was counterproductive, rather than required. He appreciated that humans responded better to courtesy than intimidation, something that would never work in the brutal subculture into which he’d been born. The constant battle for rank among the Broods of Fenrir brought out unwelcome feral tendencies.

The crackling that answered was all but incomprehensible. The patrolman handed back Brand’s identification. “He’ll be here shortly.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it.” Brand slid his sunglasses back into place.

“Sure thing.” The officer nodded and resumed his scan of the area.

Grant emerged from the building a few minutes later and jogged over to the edge of the cordoned-off area. He made a beckoning gesture with one thick-fingered hand.

Brand ducked under the yellow tape. “What’s going on, Grant?” They’d never met under what could be called pleasant circumstances, so Brand wasn’t surprised Grant seemed perturbed.

Grant led the way toward one of the oversized loading doors that had been propped open. Police personnel wandered in and out of the building. Snatches of conversation drifted over to them.

Grant paused several feet short of the entry. “We got a call about a body inside. Your company is the security outfit for this place?”

Brand swiped a hand down his face. He hoped some kid hadn’t thought to have an adventure exploring the empty derelict and instead had fallen down an open elevator shaft. It had happened before, and the guilt gnawed at him. “They don’t pay for anything but one guard doing occasional walks of the outside.”

Grant made a note, then fixed his astute eyes on Brand. “Must be frustrating for you.”

Brand sighed. “It is. I’ve tried to talk to the owners about it, but they aren’t interested in spending money to keep out trespassers.”

“Well, in this case, it’s not some adrenaline junkie looking for a new high.” Grant shook his head. “Wish it was. Lady in there is all slashed up.”

Brand froze in the act of scratching his jaw. “She was murdered?”

Grant looked over his notes and gestured toward the page with one finger. “The coroner’s hemming and hawing about bites that look canine, but there’s no animal I know of would do that kind of damage.”

Dread slithered up Brand’s back, raising the hairs on his neck. “Canine?”

Grant flipped a few pages in his notebook. “Maybe some coyotes came in after the guy was done with her and had a snack, who knows?” He shrugged. “All I know is, there’s no dog-like thing on Earth that would slice her up that way.”

Brand knew firsthand that wasn’t true. Bloody images bubbled up from the deep place he’d buried them. His stomach turned while he battled the painful memories. “Why’d you ask me to come here?”

“I need to know about anything unusual going on in the vicinity.”

He met Grant’s cool stare. “Kids come to get their kicks exploring the empty building. It’s been happening since they closed the factory down years ago.”

Grant scribbled some more notes. He pushed a few buttons on his phone and held it up for Brand to see. “You know her?”

Bruises and cuts covered the woman’s swollen face. Brand swallowed to alleviate the sudden tightening of his throat.

At the bottom of the frame, bloody gashes in her clothing made the pain she had endured before her death obvious. Teeth marks were visible along one side of her neck. Not canine, not at all, though Brand understood why someone who didn’t know about the existence of his kind might assume that. He closed his eyes briefly and searched for calm. His temper flared, but he regained control. “No, I’ve never seen her before.”

Grant harrumphed. “That’s all I’ve got for you right now. I’ll call your office when we clear out of here.”

“Thanks.” Brand offered his hand, and Grant shook it with a short nod.

While walking back to his motorcycle, Brand mulled over what do to next. Leaving the investigation up to the police was out of the question. Even if they could figure out who’d done it, they were ill-equipped to deal with one of the brood. The responsibility of seeking justice for the woman’s death fell to him.

The leader of the brood in the Denver area was a long-time friend and one of his biggest clients. In all likelihood, a member of Erik’s brood had murdered that woman. That placed Brand in a dangerous position since he wanted to put the wild animal down.

Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?

The best place to find more about me is on my website: http://www.chaosandinsanity.com/

To find information specific to Broods of Fenrir, you can go here: http://www.BroodsOfFenrir.com/

Coral, thanks you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetie!

I am delighted to report that I am a recipient of the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. I’d like to thank Marilyn Wigglesworth for this award (*throwing kisses*). I am now supposed to share seven (7) random facts about myself. So, here are some random facts about my writing life.

  1. I’m a reformed pantser. I used to write “organically,” but then I found much of my work wound up in the composter, so to speak.
  2. I took course with Karen Docter on the “W” Plot and Alexandra Sokoloff on Screenwriting Tips for Authors and saw the light. I now think about my characters’ motivation and goals and plot before I begin to pour my thoughts into my computer.
  3. I get ideas for writing from dreams, news reports, and life experiences. Then I wonder, “What if…”
  4. I love the Readability utility in Word. Passive voice is my nemesis.
  5. Coffee. Nothing more needs to be said.
  6. If I don’t time myself, I fritter too much time away on Twitter and Facebook. Morning and evening check-ins and I’m done. Okay, well this is really more of a 2012 goal than a reality, but I’m working on it.
  7. DESIRE AND DECEPTION was nominated for an RT Best Erotic Fiction Book of 2011 Award. Yeah, not random, but I HAD to share and pinch myself again!

To celebrate the RT nomination and Valentine’s Day and my Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award, I’m giving away a free e-copy of DESIRE AND DECEPTION to one lucky commenter.

Now, I hereby tag the following ten (10) blog buddies for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. It’s their turn to spill seven secrets and pass the love along.

Caz Austin’s Blogspot

EJ Stevens From the Shadows

David Beem

RW Goodship, aka, The Camera Guy

Derek Flynn, Rant with Occasional Music

Sandy Wolters

Kellianne Sweeney

Books-n-Kisses

Eliza Knight

Jannine Gallant

Howard Hopkins – In Memoriam

Can we pause for a moment from our hectic, over-booked, fatigued, maxed-out, lives and remember what is really important?

We lost one of our own this month – an author of many books, our friend Howard. I didn’t know him outside our literary circle. Aside from social media and mutual support, Howard was one of many online writer pals who exemplified why we all gather here – community.

Death is hardest on those who are left behind. We take comfort in the legacy left behind, the memories we share, the essence of the energy that continues to surround us despite absence of physical body.

When someone passes without warning, without pre-illness, it’s that much tougher. We can grieve illness when someone is still living, and while we mourn the loss we had time to prepare. There is time to process, to tie up loose ends, and to say farewell. Sudden passing is without warning. It doesn’t come with a set of instructions. It’s inconceivable that someone would be there one minute, and simply not the next.

It is because of the finite life line we all share, the No Guarantee brand on every life that does not promise you a single breath past tomorrow, or the next hour, or the next minute, or second – that every breath must be a cause for celebration. What are you doing right now to celebrate that breath you just took?

Because we continue to have the privilege of breathing, let us honor Howard’s LIFE by honoring his work. This year, let’s each commit to read something Howard wrote (if you haven’t already) and post a review.

We are all extremely busy and that will not change. But let’s keep Howard in our thoughts this year, and not allow life to let us forget our ultimate purpose is to revere each second ticking by as a gift not to be squandered.

List of Howard’s books: http://www.goodreads.com/author/list/361542.Howard_Hopkins

The above tribute was written by one of our #TeaserTrain participants Beth Elisa Harris.