Cover Reveal For Breaking The Nexus!

Good morning everyone! 😀 I have a real treat for you today, I am one of the lucky blogs who gets to show off the new cover for Lindsay Avalon’s debut novel; Breaking The Nexus!!! Psst….I also designed the cover for her, don’t forget to check out my artist page. 😉

So, without further ado, I’ll hand over to Lindsay….enjoy everyone! 🙂

My debut paranormal romance, Breaking the Nexus, is coming 12/12/12! This gorgeous cover was designed by none other than Miranda Stork and I’m proud to share it with the world! Breaking the Nexus is the first in a series featuring the Mythrian Realm, and will be available from Amazon.com in ebook and print form on 12/12/12. Don’t miss your chance to discover what happens when mythology blends with reality!

BLURB

Throughout history, myths and legends of extraordinary creatures have been told and retold. Fantastic tales of demons and banshees, gryphons and dragons, and of course, magic. Stories that every child grows to learn are nothing more than fantasy…or are they?

Beyond the world you see lies a hidden realm, the Mythrian Realm, inhabited by all of the creatures you’ve been told are mere fiction. Only one thing lies between humans and the truth: the Nexus. A magical barrier erected millennia ago to separate the two realms, it has stood the test of time. Until now.

For Mythrian Sha Phoenix, magic is nothing new. But when she stumbles upon a portal on the verge of collapse, her fate will forever change. Pulled through the portal into the Human Realm, she lands in the middle of Detective Connor Flynn’s brutal murder scene. Soon it is obvious someone is using blood magic to try to bring down the Nexus. Together, Connor and Sha must work to unravel the secrets before the barrier falls and the realms collide.

The Nexus is breaking and all hell is about to unleash…literally.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/author.lindsay.avalon

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LindsayAvalon

Blog: http://lindsayavalon.blogspot.com

Amazon Author: http://amazon.com/author/lindsayavalon

And guess what else? You can enter Lindsay’s AMAZING grand giveaway here!!! GO TO THE FREE STUFF! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0a8d1f4

And the moment you’ve all been waiting for…..the gorgeous cover! 🙂

 

All images and writing included for Breaking the Nexus are property and copyright of Lindsay Avalon 2012 and may not be used, reproduced, or copied in any form without her prior written consent.

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ERIN Is Finally Here!

Woohoo! Happy Monday people! Today I have an extra special post for everyone-ERIN IS RELEASED TODAY! That’s right, the sequel to Conner is finally here 😀

 

Erin is the werewolf Queen of Athol Castle. She has no memories of the events of a few months ago, where she believed herself to be a psychologist, and met the enigmatic and charming Conner…

Filtiarn has taken over Conner’s body once more, and is relishing being in control. Cruel and sensual, he decides to work on a plan…to take over humanity. He begins a war…of werewolves against humans. But unknown to him, Conner is fighting against him within his own body, to set things right, and to bring Erin back from her own darkness. He tries to undo a great mistake from long ago, using Erin’s famed sword, Sioctine, as remnants of his own memory come back to him, opening up the present he now lives in.

At the same time, another enemy is using the situation to their advantage, following the werewolves at every turn, threatening to undo everything that Conner is struggling to obtain…

But will he be able to bring Erin back from Filtiarn’s grasp, or is it too late? And will he be able to stop the war against the humans progressing?

And who is threatening to take over not only the humans, but the werewolves as well?

 

 

But wait, there’s more!

Not only can you pick up a copy today, but you can enter the fun and the contest for LOADS of goodies over at our Facebook event page! 😀

https://www.facebook.com/events/351493858267345/

Did KDP Select Work?-Or, How I Panicked About Giving Away My Work Free

Okay, I’m jumping on the bandwagon of authors who have done a blog post about this, but they haven’t done one about my experience, so now you get to skim through another load of paragraphs about KDP Select. 🙂

Now, you should know that I did do this with some trepidation. Some angry little egotistical part of me was screaming, “What the hell are you giving them away for?! Do you know how long I worked on that?!?!” But then another calmer part of me, probably slobbing on the sofa, was replying, “But no-one knows about your book…we need to build up a readership. This could be the way to do it.”

When I started KDP Select, my books on Amazon.com were at something like #589, 605 (give or take another few lightyears away from anyone ever seeing them), and they were so low on Amazon.co.uk, they weren’t even ranked! Yes, that is possible. Anyhoo, I started my free promotion last Friday, and began twittering, facebooking, and any other number of social-media-ing that sounds like it would get you into a court case. I waited a while, and then-

10 downloads!

This was, you must realise, after just waiting for twenty minutes or so! I was so excited, I became addicted straight away. I suddenly wanted to see where my book would rise up. It rose further and further, with over 1400 downloads at the end of the first day!

Over the weekend, it slowed down a little, as I suppose the first rush of people had already downloaded it, but it still went steady at about 60 downloads an hour. Overall, when the weekend had finished, I had over 3000 downloads of Conner, meaning it was in more people’s hands, to speak about it from word of mouth, to boost the rankings, and to gain a readership.

These were the figures I managed to capture on Sunday, and I was also at #2 in horror and suspense on Amazon.de, but I didn’t manage to get the figures for that, with about 76 downloads overall, so you obviously need less downloads to get to a good ranking on Amazon.de! Here are the captures, the first one is UK the seconds one is US.

So, the real questions is, did it help sales? Well, in a word, yes. 🙂

It’s only been two days since the promotion ended, but I’m already getting pretty good sales figures, at about 7 a day. Now that may not sound like much, but 7 a day is a great deal more than 0 a month! Now, I don’t know how long it will stay at this rate, but I’m hoping I can at least gain a little readership, and get people hooked for the sequel, Erin, due to come out in September!

So, I’ll let you know what happens in a week or so!….. 🙂

 

Why Self-Publish? (Or Why I’m Too Impatient)

Okay, so I’m not that bad…no really! I didn’t actually think it would be easier to self-publish. Because in fact I know it’s very, very hard. A few years ago I worked for Stag Editors in New York as a proofreader and copy-editor, and believe it or not, some of our clients were indie authors. So I not only got to see the plethora of talent available in indie books, but also saw a lot of the mistakes.

When I first wrote Conner, I was only eighteen. It was a great acheivement for me, and there are plenty of young authors who are very good, but mine was….well, just good. Lots of people loved it, said nice things about it, but…it was immature. I hadn’t wanted to write an YA novel. I had wanted to write a novel for adults. So when I got comments back such as ‘my young daughter would love to read this’, I knew I had done something wrong.

For some reason, I couldn’t look at it objectively at the time. It took me two years to write it, and it was my first ‘proper’ novel. I had it self-published for friends and family, but never sold more than a few copies. So I felt it, and went off to write the sequel, Erin. Then I left that one because I felt as though I wasn’t sure what to write after Chapter 12. And then I went off to write some short stories, and to start my next novel.

Then recently I came back to it. I had almsot given up on the idea of Conner ever being something that would be published, or indeed ever seen. Nothing more than a sad story to tell my grand-children round the fire when I’m old. “Well, children, I once tried to do something, and got lazy….”

I didn’t want that though! So I rolled up my sleeves, sat down at my laptop, and began to write again. I absolutely pulled Conner apart. I considered what would set it apart from a YA novel-it isn’t as if I don’t read, I do, and have a collection of around 3000 books scattered around the cottage, much to my boyfriend’s amusement. Whole chunks of Conner were taken away, others were changed, and brand spanking new parts were put in. Then I checked it again, and again, and again.

And then I still didn’t go for it. Because first I wanted Erin finished, so that they would match up. So now I had to finish Erin. It had sat on my hard-drive for nearly two years untouched, and now I wrote over 63,000 words in a week. Why? Not because I had found my ‘muse’, or because my life suddenly cleared up and got easier (although there was a much loved family member who died the year before, so obviously I couldn’t write then). It was because I had Grown Up. Because I had realised that if I ever wanted anyone to read my book, I was damn well going to have to think about the advice I had been given, and ACT on it.

I made the cover for Conner, and I didn’t like it, so I spent two days trying out covers, considering what it would look like, before I finally settled on the delicious cover that it is now. 🙂

The cover of ‘Conner’

After all this, I had decided I would self-publish. Well, you probably guessed that, seeing as I’m waffling on about covers. But why on earth go for the hard option?

I can handle criticism, I couldn’t for the longest time, but now I can let it roll over me like air. So it certainly wasn’t that I was worried about rejection. In fact, I reckon nine times out ten the best authors in the world get rejection. But after the long haul I had with Conner and Erin, something about them felt different from any other book I would write. I needed to keep them as they were, because I had stripped them time and again with my own editing. And having done it for a job, I think (I hope! 🙂 ) I knew what I was doing.

Plus I loved the creative control, and I’ve always been a little bit of a control freak-my favourite game when I was younger was ‘The Sims’, and yes, I did try the thing where you kill them off in the pool. Don’t ask if you’ve never heard of this, I promise it isn’t as ominous as it sounds…lol!

So I self-published this time because there was almost something sacred to me about Conner and Erin. Something that had gone ten rounds with a critic and leapt up again screaming, ‘Edit me, will ya’?” So I kept it as it is, so that it will be remembered as it is. And because I love marketing my book now, I’m beginning to thrive on it, in fact.

But my next book? Vigilante of Shadows? Yeah, I’m going to try to get that traditionally published. Rejections and all. 🙂

DON’T FORGET! Conner is currently free this weekend only on Amazon. so grab it now while you can! I want lots of reviews from you lovely people! 😀 http://goo.gl/vtOH7 (US)

Want A Free Book?

Just a quick note to all my followers, that today, Conner is FREE on Amazon! Yup, you can grab a copy of Conner from any of the Amazon sites with my ebook from today until Sunday 27th. So what are you waiting for, go and get it now! 🙂

Erin is a young psychologist, with no time for anything but her work, and unable to remember anything about her past. She leads an uneventful life, but a lonely one, in which she secretly wishes for a soulmate…

Conner is an unusual patient who approaches her, thrusting her into a strange world of darkness that runs beneath our own. He believes hiimself to be a creature of legend-a werewolf. But he also draws Erin with a roguish charm, and an irresitible feeling that seems to bind them together…

Conner desperately tries to save her from an unknown evil that persues her with a relentless passion that crosses centuries, an evil that once took her very soul away, somewhere in Erin’s lost memories.

As she becomes more entwined in a series of events that will remind her of who she really is, will she make it away from the oncoming darkness unscathed…?

Reviews for Conner from Amazon;

“5/5 stars Amazon.co.uk

A fast past paced rollercoaster of a tale that’s got everything. Twists and turns, passion and fear mixed with amazing characters all wonderfully told in an expressive and descriptive style from the author.
Conner is a fascinating tale of an intelligent psychologist Erin Miller who is transported from academia into an amazing world of werewolves and vampires, romance and violence. Her world is turned upside down….. Drawn into this strange world which challenges all her academic and professional beliefs she discovers that Werewolves are in fact real…………….
It kept me not only entertained but excited and unable to put it down….. Now I just can’t wait for the sequel…. So many questions………If it’s anything like Conner it will be brilliant……….. ”

“5/5 stars, Amazon.com

I’m hooked and I can’t wait for the sequel. The characters are amazing. I love that the story is fast paced and I want to be friends with Erin and Conner. It’s a great book, the settings were so vivid. I felt at once like I was “across the pond”. Erin was a strong female character, and her life will always be better when she spends time with Conner. I love the book Conner. “

Free Versus Paid?

Today I was just discussing with a fellow author about free kindle books through KDP. (Liz Long actually, whose interview will be here on the blog on Wednesday!) It seems an awful lot of people are making their books free through KDP’s select program, and reporting great thigns about it. But does it actually work?

I’m tempted to try it myself at the end of this week, or perhaps next week, but I never quite have the courage to press ‘okay’. Why? Is it because I don’t see why I should give away something for free when I spent so much time on it? A little perhaps, but then again I know the power of throwing a few free books people’s way; the best form of publicity is word of mouth, and a few free books could generate hundreds of sales. Is it because I’m afriad no-one will download it? Again, maybe a little, but I seem to have quite a few followers who would at least give it a go if it was free; and even I’ve been known to download something just because it was free.

I think maybe it is because it’s such a new idea. And like all ideas, you have no idea which way the wind is going to blow. Some ideas, such as Twitter, are brilliant; a fantastic way to meet other people, network, and expand to find out about you and your books.

And maybe I’m just a little bit worried the wind will blow and leave me with this face I’m pulling. 🙂

But having said all this, lots of people have put their book up for free, and found that within a few hours of Twittering, Facebooking, or blogging about it, they have attracted a huge amount of attention for their book, and sent their books downloads into the hundreds, even the thousands! Even after their promotion has ended, they continue to have great sales. Sounds almost too easy, right?

Right. It is. And this is where I have the issue. What if people simply wait to get the book free? And the author is delighted with the results, perhaps even catapulting them into the Top 100 or Top 10 lists on Kindle. But then comes the lull. They get sales afterwards, but nowhere near as many as they would have hoped for. So, in a fit of desperation (and I have seen a few authors do this), they put it up for free again!

So I think it can be a good idea as long as you are prepared to grit your teeth and see it flying off the virtual shelves for one day in order to get good reviews and word-of-mouth afterwards, and also as long as you have other ways to promote it. Make sure that you continue to do everything with your marketing, and it should work.

Well, that’s the plan anyway folks. I’ll let you know once I’ve finally decided to push that ‘okay’ button.

Two for the Price of One

Aren’t you lucky? Two posts up today, instead of just one!

First it’s just to remind everyone that I have my first ever interview with the lovely Cassidy Kingston up on Monday! She’s a paranormal romance writer, and will be telling us all about her love of all things geeky, and about her very sexy characters from her books!

Also, I think I promised a little excerpt for you all later on, hmm? Well, instead of an excerpt from Conner, I’ve decided I’m going to let you have a little sneaky look at the first chapter of Erin, the sequel to Conner,due to come out in September! So enjoy….

 

Chapter 1

 

Erin was running, her hair swaying around her face. The woods surrounded her with their scent, the freshness of the leaves and the perfume of the flowers infusing in a delightful sweetness. A soft, cool air blew past her, making her shiver slightly. The same air rustled the trees, making them murmur to one another, the spirits of the trees whispering a secret amongst them. The warm sunlight peered through the leafy canopy, sending golden shafts of light dancing along the ground.

She was wearing a light green dress, but it was torn and shredded. She ran barefoot, having no shoes at all, across the twigs and grass beneath her feet.

The strange thing was, she didn’t feel as though she was running away from anything-rather, she felt she was running towards something; but what?

Erin was running so fast that the woods around her almost became a blur. She could feel the heartbeat of everything around her, of every animal, of the woods themselves. A deep drumming throb that ran through every footstep, every river, every breath

of wind. It was as though she were a part of the woods around her. It was the most primal, raw, wonderful feeling she had ever felt.

Suddenly, she came to a clearing, surrounded by tall pines. In the centre of the clearing, sat on a large rock, was Filtiarn. He was sat leaning forwards, looking down at the grassy floor, his hands linked together in front of himself. As Erin appeared shyly at the edge of the clearing, he looked up slowly. His amber eyes lit up as he saw her, a charming grin spreading across his face. He was wearing jeans that were slightly ripped all over, but no shoes or top. He didn’t move, but held out his hand for Erin to go closer.

She walked forwards, holding out her hand to grasp his. As their fingers touched, he pulled her sharply towards him, sitting her on his knee. She gasped with delight as he pulled her, and then laughed, throwing her arms around his neck.

It was then that she remembered-they had been out running together, in their wolfen forms, enjoying the early morning sunshine. She had got a little lost, and run off by herself, not realizing that Filtiarn had stopped. Once she had changed back to her human form, she had realised she had left him behind, and had retraced her steps, back to the clearing where Filtiarn was sat waiting for her.

He hugged her back, showing his fangs as he

smiled. Suddenly, the sunshine disappeared, sending the clearing into darkness. Erin looked back at Filtiarn, worried by this sudden change. He grinned back at her, but it now seemed fixed, and cold. His canines grew out to their full length, and he pinned Erin’s arms tightly to her sides.

“Filtiarn? What are you doing?” she asked, her voice sounding scared and weak.

“I’m going to make you forget who you once were, and make you truly mine…” he snarled, grasping her throat, and hovering over it with his canines, saliva dripping onto her neck….

 

Erin sat bolt upright, cold sweat dripping down her forehead. It took a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the soothing black darkness in her room, as she blinked. Her heart was racing so fast it made her chest hurt, and she was shaking slightly.

Taking a deep breath, Erin tried to calm herself down, wiping the sweat from her forehead, and hugging her knees into her chest. She looked around herself, familiarising herself with her room again, as you do after a nightmare has shaken you.

“It was just a nightmare, Erin, just a nightmare.” she muttered to herself.

The problem was that she had been

having this nightmare for the last month; in fact the whole month she had been back at Athol Castle. She couldn’t remember anything for years before being at the castle. When she asked Filtiarn about it, he simply replied, “You were in a coma, you finally woke from it.”

The nightmare was sometimes different, sometimes in a different place, sometimes it went even further, with Filtiarn actually killing her. She tried to tell herself it was just her imagination, but she did have to wonder why it kept coming back night after night. Was her mind trying to tell her something?

Erin slowly pulled the covers back from her bed, and looked at the small alarm clock next to her bed. It said it was five am, and she could just see small prying fingers of sunlight peeping through her curtains. Erin stretched, and slid out of the bed, her silky nightgown falling around her legs. She padded over to the window, the flagstones of her room cold on her feet, throwing the curtains open. Warm morning sunlight flooded the room, bathing it in a gentle golden glow.

Looking down at the courtyard outside, Erin decided she would go and practice with Sioctine again. She was incredibly rusty with it, but she assumed that being in a coma for

twenty-six years would do that. She turned and smiled across at the silvery sword, resting on a red velvet cloth, near her bed. The blue jewel was on top, icy wisps floating away from it in folds. The jewel itself actually had a name, ‘Fuar’, simply meaning, ‘cold’ in Irish Gaelic. The other jewel also had a Gaelic name, ‘Paisean’, meaning ‘passion’. Although the jewels had their own names, they were rarely used, as they were now part of the sword.

Rubbing some of the sleep from her eyes, she walked back across to the sword, pausing in front of it. Gently, she ran the back of her hand against the gleaming metal of the actual blade. Picking it up, she swung it around, loving the feel of its weight pulling her hand around slightly.

Smiling, she put the sword down on the bed, reaching for her clothes, which she had laid out for the next day on one of her chairs. As she reached out for them, she caught her reflection in the full-length mirror that sat facing the bed. Erin stood up again, looking into the mirror, frowning. Something looked different, but she couldn’t put her finger on what.

Her brow furrowed, she walked towards it, unhurriedly. As she ended up in front of it, she peered into it, and then pulled a confused

face.

Both of her reflection’s irises were blue!

She knew that one of hers was silver, pure silver, so that definitely wasn’t right. Still frowning, she moved her hand, as though waving. Her reflection did the same. She leaned in, and the reflection copied her. She then turned around, and the reflection again copied her.

Erin had just decided that there must be something wrong with the mirror, when the reflection leaned in by itself, and smiled at her!

Erin inhaled sharply, stepping backwards, almost tripping over a rug. Shaking, she closed her eyes, and then opened them again, looking into the mirror. Her reflection was still there, looking concerned. The reflection lifted her hand and crooked her finger, indicating Erin should come forwards.

Erin shook her head, stammering, but still with a commanding tone in her voice, “Who…or what…are you?”

The reflection smiled kindly, it features softening. “I am you, Erin. I am your inner voice.”

“What?” Erin shook her head sharply, closing her eyes, as though to shake the image in the mirror away. Taking a deep breath, she walked forwards, staring straight into the

reflection’s eyes.

The reflection grinned as she saw Erin walking closer, and nodded. “Yes. I am your inner voice-a part of your soul. I must warn you, Erin, you are in danger.”

Erin swallowed, glancing across to her sword. She knew it was useless to think about grabbing it anyway; if this was an enchantment, having a sword would do nothing, even an enchanted sword. “What do you mean? How am I in danger?”

The reflection’s expression fell as she spoke the next few sentences, her eyes darkening. “You are in control of an enemy. An enemy of both your mate and yourself. This is not who you are, Erin.”

“My mate?” Erin repeated, worriedly. “You mean Filtiarn?”

Smiling again, but sadly this time, her reflection shook its head, the dark hair cascading around its face. “He may not be your mate, Erin. Just remember who you really are. Please.”

A sudden knocking on Erin’s door made her jump, turning her head towards the darkened wood.

“Erin? I heard noise. Are you up?”

It was Filtiarn. He had been gone all night, out hunting, but he must have returned

and decided not to wake her. Clearing her throat, Erin shouted back.

“Yes, Filtiarn, I’m just getting dressed; I’ll be down in a moment!”

As she listened to his footsteps tapping away from the door, she swallowed nervously. She turned her head back to the mirror, expecting to still see the reflected image of her ‘inner voice’. But it was gone. Her reflection was copying her exactly, and her eyes had returned to their normal blue and silver.

Had she imagined it?

 

As she walked into the throne room, she saw Filtiarn stood at the end, in full battle attire, at least for him. He was stood talking to one of the lower members of the pack, looking deep in conversation. He was dressed completely in black, a leather jacket with straps around his torso, with jeans, his trademark biker boots still on his feet. A long silver blade hung by his side, looking big even on his six-foot five frame.

As Erin entered the room, Filtiarn looked up at her, a grin breaking over his features. He nodded at the young man he had been talking to for him to stay where he was, and then walked over to Erin, taking long strides, the sword

swinging with each stride.

He leaned over and kissed her forehead, tenderly, his hand behind her head possessively. When he looked up again, his eyes had burnt to a dark grey colour, the metallic silver of them shining brightly.

“Why were you not awake earlier this morning? I thought you would be outside with Sioctine.” He looked down at her, his eyebrows raised questioningly. Erin shrugged.

“I was going to, but…well, I slept in.” She was about to tell him about the mirror, but then decided not to. She didn’t want him to get worried about her seeing strange things in mirrors-it was probably just her seeing things, she had only just woken up.

“Ah, very well.” Filtiarn put his arm around Erin’s shoulders, pulling her towards him. She pressed herself into him, smiling. She hadn’t dressed in her usual velvet dress, but simply in jeans and a red t-shirt. Filtiarn began walking her back over to the young man, beckoning for him to come forwards.

The young man did walk over, quickly, and bowed his head before both Erin and Filtiarn. Standing back up again, he looked expectantly at Filtiarn. Filtiarn cleared his throat, and turned to Erin.

“I don’t think you will remember this young man, Erin. He is Daithí.” He pronounced the name ‘Dah-hee’. “We have been discussing what the pack needs to do to get started with our plan. We have decided that modern means is the quickest way, of course.”

“Modern means?”

“Yes.” Filtiarn nodded, a dark look coming into his eyes, which somehow made him look even more wolfish. “We’re going to have a press conference, Erin.”

Using Music As Inspiration…

While I’m currently rewriting my third novel, Vigilante of Shadows (Scarlet Rain Series #1), I had a think about what I use to give me inspiration. Of course, I use people around me as inspiration for my characters, and there are quite a few of my friends who might recognise themselves in some of the characters….but which ones? 🙂

And then of course the beautiful Scottish, Irish and Yorkshire landscapes come from either my travels to these stunning places, or where I live right now, in the case of Yorkshire. There is nothing like looking out of your bedroom window and seeing the hills down the road, disappearing into white wisps of cloud, covered in a quilt of green and red. I often go for walks to give me inspiration, to imagine better the cold wind whipping around someone’s ears, or the hot sun making you feel sleepy.

But what about those times when you can’t, or don’t need, to go out? What about when you know what you want to write, but your muse has packed her bag and gone off on another one of those fortnightly ‘muse’ holidays that it so often takes? Well, I use music.

Writing paranormal romance and horror, gives me quite a wide berth with music, which is good as I have a wide berth in tastes. On a night out, I like to hear dance music, but none of that ever makes it way into my writing playlist. Instead, it ranges from the soothing classical strains of Venus from the beautiful Planets Suite, by Holstz, to Amaranth by NightWish. For the more romantic scenes it could be a mixture of either, for any fight or battle scenes I get the metal going, and for eerie-ness I make sure I have something like Forsaken by Disturbed, or Ride of The Valkyries.

I find that it helps me to concentrate again, focussing my attention back onto my work and away form whatever else was distracting me before. I also find that it has a good effect on my writing, usually flavouring it in some way. Sometimes an entire chapter or book title can be inspired from one of my writing playlist songs. You think you’ve just read about how Filtiarn feels about Erin? Nope, that’s just Swamped by Lacuna Coil!

So how about you? Does any music help you if you’re writing? And which songs?

Just an Update

Yawn! I am tired today! And no, before you ask, I haven’t been hurdling jumping or running after cars, I’m just lazy. It’s strange that whenever I don’t do much in a day, I feel more tired than if I had actually been doing something exhaustive.

But moving on….I got my first blog review of Conner! It was done by Paula Philips, of The Phantom Photographer blog, and was (happily!) favourable! Here is a small piece of the review here, along with a link.

“…A fast paced novel that keeps readers entertained and has not only Werewolf storylines but also pyschiatry sprinkled throughout...”

http://thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/review-connor-by-miranda-stork.html

So that made me a little more perked up yesterday! But today I’m sat on my own again, slobbing around, as my partner has had to go away on another business trip. I can’t wait until they invent those little buttons on a belt; you press them and you instantly end up another country, room, or wherever you need to be, before pressing the button again, and coming back. Will make travel much faster. It’ll probably make travel sickness worse though. 😀

I also got the trailer for Conner up on YouTube, it’s not amazingly long, but I like it. (Mind you, I’m biased). You can take a look at it here-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1E8Ragu5fik

Plus, I’ve been doing lots for Erin, getting giveaways and reviews ready for its release in early September 2012.

So this isn’t an especially long post, but I’ll get another one up later today, or early tomorrow, and I’m tired! (sulks like a tired toddler.)

 

Laters!

A New Day Beckons….

Ah, the first post of a brand spanking new blog….is there anything better? I haven’t had the chance to mess it up yet with lots of posts that show I had nothing to talk about that day, and no posts repeating the one from last year (you know, THAT one).

Anyhoo, moving on…today is a lovely sunny day, and that’s nice considering it’s rained enough for the ark to come around two or three times over the last month. also, my boyfriend has had to go away to Spain so I get to slob around for a few days and act like a teenager again….then cue a hurried day of cleaning when he comes back, like I left it like that all the time!

It also means I really get to relax and do lots of writing, without worrying about the time to get the dinner on, or whether I ironed the clothes or not. I tend not to realise the time when I’m writing on my own, as it allows me to let the creativity flow.

Well, you might be asking what exactly I write…I write a blend of paranormal romance/fantasy. I have one book published so far, with my second one coming out in the autumn. So…I thought I would let you all have a little teaser of my first book, Conner. Just the prologue and first chapter mind, you don’t get more than that today!

So without further ado, go ahead and read!

 

Conner by Miranda Stork

Prologue

 

North Yorkshire, 1751

 

The cool night breeze tossed the branches together, making them whisper to one another, as though they were the only ones with a secret tonight. A light aroma of sweet summer flowers drifted through the small clearing, where a shadowy figure breathed heavily. The clearing was lit by a single ray of silvery moonlight piercing through the trees, fireflies dancing in its glow, while the unsettling silence weighed heavily on the cool summer night air.

The figure shifted slightly, causing excitement amongst the fireflies, and causing a variation in the heavy silence.  Peering through the frame of trees and branches in front of him, he looked across at the woods and well-used, dusty road. Slowly, he moved through the grass until he was only a few feet away from the edge of the road, his amber eyes glowing, his hair ruffling in the soft wind.

He could hear the steadily-growing-closer rattle of carriage wheels. The scent of the woods was now mixed with the strong aroma of horses, and the conflicting sweetness of a lady’s perfume.

His heart began beating faster, the blood in his veins pumping faster as his muscles readied themselves for the sprint he knew was coming. His breathing grew ever faster as the rattle and clapping of horse’s hooves and the carriage grew ever closer.

A long thread of saliva stretched from the side of his jaw. He knew he should try to fight these feelings of excitement and overwhelming power, but it was so much more thrilling to let them take over.  After all, he pondered as his victims unknowingly rose towards their fate, isn’t that what separates us from the animals? And that was indeed an interesting question to ask in his present state…

 

Chapter 1

“And that is the basic framework of the schizophrenic mind. Next week we’ll be discussing why people become schizophrenic; or rather what could be possible triggers of it. I’ll see you all next week.” Professor Erin Miller began neatly collecting her papers from her desk as the class began to leave, a loud murmuring of conversation filling the room as they began to file out.

“Erin! It’s been a while!”

She looked up quickly, her long brown hair swaying across her face, her light blue eyes staring across the lecture theatre.

“Professor Whitfield, hello!” Erin’s tone was polite but without being cordial. “What a surprise! What brings you down here from the practice?”

The ‘practice’ she referred to, was a private surgery the professor had opened as a place for him to see his patients who had psychological problems, but no financial

problems. Erin thought it was unethical to choose who received help with their problems based on the size of their bank balances. Having said that, Erin had occasionally done work for Professor Whitfield when she had needed to ‘pay the rent’, as it were.

“Well, I’ll get straight to the point.” He paused for a second, as if collecting his thoughts, scratching his white beard thoughtfully, looking like a serious, understated Father Christmas. “We have a patient at the practice who is a little…” Here he paused again. “A little…‘non-textbook’.”

“Really, in what way?” She cleared some of her desk, and sat on the wooden top, eyes attentive to what was being said.

Professor Whitfield smiled, tiredly. “He believes he is a lycanthrope.”

“A what?”

“A lycanthrope-a werewolf.”

Erin looked at him in surprise, a smile twitching at the corners of her mouth. “And where do I come into this?”

“You are the leading expert in the county in schizophrenic and related cases. And I’d like you to take this case.” He peered at her expectantly, head slightly cocked, like a dog waiting for a treat.

Erin sighed, slid off the desk, and walked around it to the back. She shook her head slightly, and then looked back up at him. “I don’t know. You know I don’t believe in private practices Frank…and besides, I have so much to do here.”

“Look, I know how you feel about my practice, and I wouldn’t ask, but…” He sighed, and pulled a chair in front of her desk, sitting down heavily. “He has been one of our patients for six years now, and we haven’t made any progress with him. He continues to act aggressively towards nurses; he’s even seriously injured one of them.”

Erin gasped. “What happened?”

“Well, the nurse went into his room alone, to give him his dinner. She has told us that he was sat quite calmly on his bed, reading a book. He then told her he wasn’t hungry, and would she please take it out. She refused, and said she would leave it on a table for him, as is procedure. He then asked her again in an aggressive tone and began making growling noises, but this was usual and she ignored it.” He looked up at Erin, pausing, as if his next words were an unpleasant pill he had to swallow. “From outside, there were two other nurses who heard an unearthly screaming.

They hit the alarm and raced to his room. They ran in on him ripping out the nurse’s throat with his teeth.”

A hand flew over Erin’s mouth. “That’s horrible! Is she alright?”

The professor nodded slowly. “Yes, well…she’s physically alright, but…” he trailed off as he shook his head.

“And you want me…to go in with this maniac and talk to him? This is way beyond anything else I’ve dealt with and-“

“You would of course be watched over by a nurse as you were talking to him. Also, there’s something else.” Professor Whitfield continued. Raising himself from the chair, he slowly paced across to the window and back again. “He has specifically asked for you.”

Erin looked, puzzled, at the back of the professor. “Asked for me?”

“Yes.” Frank Whitfield turned back and looked squarely at her. “It would appear you have a fan.”

“Well…”

“Look, I’ll leave you his file, look over it, ring me in the morning.” He smiled, placing a pink paper file on her desk. He tapped it, raising his eyebrows, and then turned and walked quietly out without another word.

Erin looked down, doubtfully, at the file.

 

 

Erin paced across her warm living room, the soft glow of her electric fire reflecting off her red sofa. It had been playing on her mind since Professor Whitfield had left the pink file on her desk.

It sounded so intriguing, but…she really didn’t like working up at his practice. It was simply full of people with minor mental illnesses who had enough money to pay to get rid of them. There were plenty of people with worse problems couldn’t afford the private care system, and she wanted to help them. Working for a patient at this practice was going against her principles. But…this patient did sound…different. She sighed, and heavily flopped down on a chair, picking up the folder that she had carelessly thrown onto her ebony and glass coffee table.

Fingering the sharp spine with one finger, Erin studied the file with apprehension. She was curious, but at the same time, she knew she would want to carry on this case if she looked at it, she just knew it.

“Oh, what the hell-just look, Erin.” she muttered to herself impatiently.

Taking a deep breath, she opened the file to reveal carefully typed case notes with a Polaroid photograph paper-clipped to the first page.

The photo showed a young man in his mid to late twenties, with soft black hair cut short, and an infectious smile, the lips almost curving into a sensual smirk. But the most strange-and also the most striking thing about him-was his eyes. They were brilliant amber, looking straight at the camera, a strange mix of coolness and warmth.

Erin stared for a moment at the photo, and then carefully laid it aside. She continued to look through the file. The first typed sheet was simply detailing when he was sectioned, and to which ward. The second sheet seemed more interesting, it listed his symptoms. Erin pulled it out and began to read it aloud to herself.

“Delusions of being able to change into a lycanthrope, aggressiveness, growling noises, socially inept, egocentric…”

Erin shook her head sadly, as she read down the list. She did briefly wonder why Professor Whitfield wanted her to take this case; this sounded a lot more like clinical lycanthropy rather than schizophrenia, but she reasoned that they had some similar tendencies.

And clinical lycanthropy was incredibly rare; it did usually turn out to be an extreme form of schizophrenia. When she had finished, she set it aside with his photograph, gently. She then leafed through endless sheets of medication lists and daily reports until she stopped, and slowly took out one paper. It was hand written, not typed, and it was almost all written with an old fashioned hand, except for a few sentences at the top. Erin began to read.

 

‘Whitfield Institution, August 2011

 

This is a small piece written by the patient Conner Woods, this shall be used for psychological evaluation only. This shall be in his words and it shall be a personal statement.

 

Dear reader, I am sure you will know nothing true of me until I have finished writing, so please do not make up your opinion from what you hear from others, judge me from my own words.

My name is Conner Woods, and I was born in the village of Athol, in Ireland, in the vicinity which is now known as Armagh.

I was born in December around 300 BC, on a cold yet beautiful day, my mother always

told me. I was an only child, although I get the strange memory of once having had a twin brother. I was brought up by a man I thought was my father, but turned out to be my stepfather.

I was always different. I had raven-black locks, and-strangest of all-amber eyes bright as an owl’s. My stepfather always treated me differently-not without love; I never had want of that-but with a slight anxiety, as though I might snap with a violent temper at a moment’s notice.

We lived very comfortably at that time, quite happy. Everyone knew each other and we all helped one another. The children, including myself, were all brought up by all the people in the village, each of them teaching us in different ways. One of the villagers taught me to read, another to fight. I also always remember there was another little girl in the village, the daughter of the head of our village. She was so beautiful, and I grew up in love with her, but that is another story, not to be told here.

Everyone has a distinct point in their lives where everything in their lives changes, be it for better or worse.

For some, it is when they become parents, others; when they find their soulmate, or realize their destiny. For me, the first of my two turning

points came when I became eighteen.

I had been feeling restless about the village, and there were murmurs amongst the older villagers, about the other children and me, talk of an ‘awakening’. I had no idea what this would be about. I also began to notice that small groups of villagers would disappear outside of the village for days at a time. They would leave with bundles of items, wrapped in brown cloth, and come back empty-handed.

I had decided to go for a walk after some of these villagers one night, to see where it was that they went; in the sky a weak, early moon tried to compete with the brilliance of the setting sun. The grass shushed at me as I walked through it with its long stalks. I had been walking through the woods for quite some time, when I suddenly came across something that made me stop.

It was a small stone hut. Its rotted door hung from ivy hinges, and moss crept into every little crack in the aged wood. A memory from childhood crept into my mind.

I had come across it once before, at the age of six or seven, and ran to my mother, lagging behind, delighted at my discovery. As I told her, her face fell. “You must never go there again, never!” She grabbed my arm and pulled

me back along the path, sobbing and upset-at what, I wasn’t sure.

As the memory faded, I looked again at the small hut. I should have walked away, but something compelled me to go forward, to answer this unknown question in my mind. I took a deep breath and pulled the rotting door open.

Inside, to my surprise, there was a single wooden bed and a rudimentary bookshelf, holding more flagons and jugs than books, along the far wall. There was a small, well-used, wooden desk below the dusty window, and a threadbare rug adorned the floor. I walked over to the desk, where a long-ago-written letter lay on top, tied with a faded piece of woven cloth. I sat down on the bed, coughed at the clouds of dust that rose, and carefully untied the letter.

‘Dear Lucius,

 

This is the last time you will hear of me, for our affair must end. We are far too different, you and I; we are worlds apart from one another.

I love you so much my heart is breaking in my breast as I write this to you, and my hand shakes, but it is for the best.

I am with your child, who shall always remind me of you, but you cannot see him.

Please respect my wishes, it must be this way, but I shall never forget you.

Yours eternally,

Rosa’

 

Rosa. That was my mother’s name.

The shock hit me in an icy wave. Affair? With child?

I ran back to the village, time standing still as I angrily clutched the letter in my fist. I don’t remember how long it took, and I don’t remember bursting into my mother’s room in our small hut.

She was alone, and looked up at me in shock. I threw the letter at her feet, and glared furiously at her. There was a moment’s pause, before she slowly bent and picked up the note.

“So you know then?” she quietly asked. The words echoed deafeningly in the silence.

“Yes, I know!” I hissed. “How much of it is true?”

She sighed, and walked over to the window. Taking a second to look out into the

night, she sat down on a nearby chair.

“I met your father-your real father-when I was a little girl. He lived in the village and was

like an older brother towards me. When he became old enough, he left because…he had problems here. He couldn’t adjust to being…like everybody else. He returned many years later, when I was still young but married to your father.

To cut a long story short, we fell in love, and began our affair. He was a…werewolf.”

“WHAT!  You speak madness, woman!”

“No. I’m afraid I speak the truth.”

I stared at her, wondering if she had been taken mad. “But…but…they aren’t real! They don’t exist!” My voice trailed off, and I shook my head in disbelief.

My mother spoke gently. “Darling, I’m afraid they do exist, in fact the entire village is full of them.”

I blinked at her in shock, wondering if the words I was now hearing were a bad dream; and that at any moment I should wake up and find the sun shining through my window.

“She shook her head. “This isn’t how you were supposed to find out. There must be a…awakening for werewolves…when they are old enough. There was to be a ceremony, but I

suppose it makes no difference that you know now.”

I gasped, and backed away, as though to

escape her words. “But…but, it can’t be, I would have noticed before now…” My voice trailed off.

My mother smiled, something twitching the corners of her mouth. “I’m afraid there would not be any sign until you were ‘awakened’…brought to understand your condition. Once you reach the age of eighteen, you will start to develop into a full werewolf. It is the way of them all, it is to prevent young children becoming frightened by what they are, or doing some damage to themselves or others, without realising it.”

“And my real father?”

“Your real father is a man called Lucius O’Neil. He was born in this village many, many years ago. But when he found out what he was, he couldn’t deal with it properly. He found himself far too controlled by his nature. He had to leave the village…he asked me to go with him, but I feared for your safety.”

Those were the last words I can remember my mother speaking. My memories begin to fade in and out from that point on; I have entire periods of my life blacked out for hundreds of years, in which I have no idea what

happened to me-or others, if there were any others in my care.

I have written this statement at the

bequest of Dr Whitfield, but I write it simply to ask the one person who can help me, to come to my aid; Erin Miller.

Conner Woods.’

 

Erin stared sadly at the pages for a moment, collecting her thoughts. She lifted the file off her knee, and placed it back on her table. Raising herself off the red and gold armchair, she walked over to her house phone. Taking a deep breath, she quickly dialled a number, and raised the receiver to her ear.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Dr Whitfield?”

“Erin? Have you considered my offer?”

She took another deep breath, realizing there was no way out if she agreed. “Yes.”

“Wonderful! I’ll see you tomorrow, at the surgery. Bye for now.”

“Okay. Goodbye.”

Erin replaced the receiver, and glanced across at the papers still laid on the arm of the chair. She walked across, and picked up the young man’s photo again. Smiling, she shook her head at his frozen expression.

“It’s strange.” she murmured to herself. “Something about it seemed so real.”

End of chapter 1

 

I hope you enjoyed that little teaser…if you would like to read more of Conner, you can buy it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and even get it on Kindle and other compatible devices.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Conner-Miranda-Stork/dp/1475214707/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1336555351&sr=8-2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/conner-miranda-f-stork/1016212446