Monthly Archives: February 2015

And Introducing… (part 2)

Unbound eBook Version

Here are two more new characters from Unbound, the final book of the Alex Crocker series.

As I said in yesterday’s post, I don’t think any of the passages I picked are major spoilers, but I suppose they might give away a little, so read at your own risk!

Charlie – I always tell my students, pay attention to any seemingly unimportant characters an author takes the time to describe or develop. Chances are they’ll reappear and be far more important than they seemed at first glance. This is certainly the case with Charlie, who actually appeared, though was unnamed, in Unveiled. Here’s an excerpt with Charlie and Alex.

When all the mundane moments—dinnertime banter, tea with Sarah, Tuesday nights with Rocky, and just about every pleasant moment with Markus—were stripped away, what was left was a highlight reel of tension and terror.

“It really wasn’t as bad as all that makes it sound,” she said, unsure whom she was trying to convince.

Charlie looked up from the last notes he’d scribbled down. “Funny, isn’t it, how both species have the same survival instinct to persist even when all the evidence tells us it’s not worth the effort?”

“Maybe it’s our hearts that tell us to persist for the sake of those we love, those who make it worth it.” It was just another part of being interdependent. She thought back to her web of loved ones. She told Darian her feelings would get her killed, but they’d saved her more than a few times, too.

Charlie dropped his gaze back to his notebook. “Maybe, but as we both know, that list dwindles the longer you’re a part of this life.”

Sensing a grief only one kind of loss could evoke, her hand went to her mouth. She glanced at Rocky who nodded.

“Charlie, I’m so sorry. I only meant to help that night. I never thought—”

“Of course you didn’t. No one apart from a few monsters in my coven could have predicted that. I didn’t when I stepped forward.”

Alex’s jaw dropped. He had volunteered to take the beating that nearly killed him? “You meant to take the blame for all of them,” she said. His mild manners and unassuming dress hid so much she never could have predicted, even after sensing him for the last ten hours.

He nodded. “But Leonce knew I was doing it for the very reason you said, to protect those I loved.”

“So he took the one you loved the most. Sick bastard,” Rocky spat as he paced the cell.

Torie – Torie’s story first appeared in “Unknown,” a short story from the series that I wrote while still drafting book two. I always knew she’d play into the series, I just wasn’t sure where. Unbound not only had a place for her, the story required her.

Torie stood with Alex and the two males on the bank of the river that ran through the center of Bristol feeding into the bay. There was a layer of ice over its surface. It looked deceptively safe, which was why every other winter someone lost his life trying to cross it. Bodies were rarely found. Winter searches were dangerous, and the current this close to the ocean was swift and strong. This year it was going to be a foolish teenage girl, walking home alone in the dark at the start of a nasty snowstorm.

Sage turned to Torie holding a rock the size of a basketball. He made eye contact and held it. It was uncomfortable, but she knew if she couldn’t answer the question forming in his head with absolute certainty, he’d walk away.

“You’re sure about this?” He was thinking of the million reasons not to help her. She kept thinking of the one good reason to follow through. It was the right thing to do. For her, sure, and her family. But also for the people she didn’t want to hurt but knew she’d have to if she remained with the Vengatti. And for the people she could help if the Rectinatti could learn to trust her and were willing to train her. They did it for the human. Why not her?

The human willingly runs into danger to help other humans as well as her coven. And she’s old enough to understand the responsibility that comes with her gift and her place among us. Sage answered Torie’s unspoken question in matching silence.

I’m running to keep myself from becoming one of those dangers. And I’ve kept what I am a secret since I was four in order to protect my family. I know a little about responsibility.

Sage held her gaze. I’ll buy that. But you’re still a kid; I’m not sure you can really understand what you’re giving up until it’s too late.

“I’m sure,” she answered aloud. The certainty of it stole her breath away. But Sage seemed to understand the difference between pain and doubt.

He nodded, took her coat from her and wrapped it around the rock to give the divers something to find. He hurled the boulder to the center of the river where the ice was thinnest. It crashed through the surface leaving a hole large enough for a slender teen to have fallen through.

That’s it for new characters, at least important ones. But there’s plenty of action for some of the minor characters from other books in Unbound, too!


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And Introducing…

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I loved writing a series for so many reasons. One of the biggies was because I could continue to develop and write my favorite characters. Let’s face it, over the course of five years and over a thousand pages (yikes!), you get a little attached. But some of the fun is also adding new faces to the mix with each new book. Unbound was no exception. Over the next couple days, I thought I’d give you a taste of some of the new characters in the final book of the Alex Crocker series.

I don’t think any of the passages I picked are major spoilers, but I suppose they might give away a little, so read at your own risk!

1. Liam – Oh, if it weren’t for editing. Liam and Sage actually had a much deeper side-story in my first draft, but as the book began to grow to unruly proportions, it needed to be trimmed. He’s still present and important, but not nearly as much as this backstory lovin’ author would have liked. Here’s a scene he shares with Alex.

“We had a call that there was a possible assault on a female in the area. Is everything alright, Miss?” the darker haired officer questioned.

Alex glanced back quickly to the convenience store clerk who was peering nervously from behind the counter. She began to calm him and the officers as she explained.

“Yes. Genius here is a friend. He recognized me and thought it would be a riot to sneak up behind me. I assure you he’ll rethink repeating the stunt if he ever wants to have sex again.”

She looked to Liam. Her gift could only get them so far. Luckily, he had caught on and cringed.

“I should’ve known better than to mess with an East Bristol chick. They’re all ball-busters—literally.” Liam adjusted himself, faking a wince. Alex hid her surprise as one of the officers, obviously a local, laughed. “Sorry if we scared the clerk in there,” Liam finished.

“It’s alright. He calls at least once a month with some story. This was one of the few believable ones,” the first officer responded, his hand no longer on his weapon. “So long as no one’s hurt too badly.” He nodded to Liam.

“I’m married with two little girls. If my masculinity can handle princess parties, it can handle just about anything,” the hulking warrior replied. Alex rolled her eyes. It was a good thing she hadn’t let up on her influencing. If she didn’t buy that, they sure as hell wouldn’t.

Both officers shook their heads and wished them a good night as they headed back to their car. As soon as it was out of sight, Liam pulled out his knife again and began dragging her quickly towards the club.

“Princess parties, really? That’s the lie you chose? And how’d you know I was from East Bristol?”

“I remembered your sweatshirt the first warrior meeting you attended. Besides you do fit the profile—mouthy and tough.” Alex stomped on his foot, but his steel-toed boots kept him from missing a beat. “And the princess parties are true, but, ah, that can stay between us right?”

Yeah, right, ’cause our favorite heroine is so good at keeping her mouth shut!

2. Abby – Another example of a character with a Sage story just itching to be told—but not in this novel.

“Sage Matthew, to what do I owe this displeasure?” Abigail sashayed out from behind the counter. Her honey colored waist length hair swinging just above the curve of her hips.

“Karma’s a bitch, witch. I suspect a couple centuries of poisoning people with your magic mumbo jumbo could be coming home to roost. But I’m not here for a social visit,” Sage said. He avoided eye contact by scanning the shop’s modern merchandise with a look of distaste. He was disgusted there were enough humans who bought into this occult crap to legitimize the storefront that enabled her to sell potions, pills, and ‘spells’ to the few remaining witches and the far too many remaining vampires who hadn’t embraced modern medicine and science.

“No, I don’t suppose you are. Though I hadn’t heard you and the tiny mill girl you manipulated into feeding you had gotten mated, never mind had young.” She looked first at Torie then at Rocky. The young warrior became very interested in a candle on the shelf behind him, but Sage heard his tittering.

“They’re not mine,” he spat. “This one’s technically not even Rectinatti. But you know that. You know exactly who she is.”

Abby knows far more than she’s sharing in this book, but that’s another story for another day!

If you haven’t already checked out the book (or any of the books) they’re all on my Amazon page. You can also find them all on Barnes and Noble.

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New Blog, Old Habits

Thanks to a change at GoDaddy, my blog literally disappeared last spring. Luckily, with some help from the customer service guys, I was able to transfer what I hope is all of my posts and all the comments. Unfortunately the formatting was lost in the transfer. I now need to go back and fix each post individually. Frankly, my current writing takes precedent over writing new posts, never mind fixing old ones, so you’ll have to be patient with me here! This sounds like the perfect summer project. Until then I’ll try to get back to more frequent posts here on the adventures of writing, teaching, and life. For more about my adventures in trying to become a single mother, check out Merely Mothers where I’m now a regular contributor.

Thanks for understanding!


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