It's finished! Finally, I can breathe again.
So, without further ado, I present the blurb for The Body (Spirit Trilogy #2) coming out fall 2014. ENJOY!
They vowed to never return.
Their lives depend on it. With last summer behind them, Lucas and Carrie think they’re safe.
Only the Moore House isn’t through with them.
When Lucas receives bad news, the search for the elusive half-demon who holds the key to Lucas’s death becomes first priority. The creature might be Lucas’s only shot at finding his soul. Problem is he doesn’t want to be found.
Dead ends and blocked attempts leave them wary.
Lucas seems to be fading away. His eyes no longer glow, his skin pales. Exhaustion consumes him, leaving him distant when he’s with Carrie. Not knowing what’s happening to him kills her.
From all around, shadows creep in, and there’s nowhere to hide.
Then, a mysterious stranger suddenly appears in town and unlocks a deadly secret from Lucas’s past. When the Moore House becomes their only escape--
No one is safe.
One of the questions I frequently get asked is "How do you come up with an idea and work it through to publication?" Great question!
It works differently for every author, so I'm speaking only for myself here. Step-by-step, off we go!
Step 1: AN IDEA
This can come anywhere, anytime, and from anything. I've had story ideas that hit me in the middle of the night, in a dream, driving, or showering. Ideas, unfortunately, don't ask my schedule before just showing up in my life. I'm ALWAYS thinking about something book-related.
As for where the ideas come from, well, from anything. A name. A song. A scene. A title. Scenery. Absolutely nowhere.
Step 2: MENTAL WORKOUT
It's like calisthenics for the brain. Now that I have this great idea, I have to work it out in my head. I need something more solid than just an idea before I put it down on paper, so to speak. I don't need everything about the story, or even the ending, but I do need to know where it's going to go. This step usually takes a few months and continues until I turn it into my publisher.
Step 3: THE ROUGH DRAFT
I pick the story that won't leave me alone. It's that one that's forcing me to tell it. Sometimes I'll write up a rough outline, sometimes I won't. It's constantly changing, anyway.
Now I type out the story as I see it in my head. Depending on tons of factors, this can take me 6 weeks to 4 months.
Step 4: EDITS
The rough draft is the fun part; Editing is actual work. Line by line, chapter by chapter, I dig into the story. This includes content, copyedits, revising, re-writes, and cutting. The whole book gets a complete make-over.
Step 5: REPEAT STEP 4
Whoa, wait a sec? Again?
Yep. Again. From beginning to end.
Step 6: REPEAT STEP 4
This isn't an accidental step; I do another round of edits.
Step 7: CRITIQUE PARTNERS - 1
When I have the manuscript as good as I think it can be from my perspective, it's time to start swapping chapters with my amazing critique partners (CP's). These are other authors or inspiring authors that go through my work line by line, chapter by chapter, giving their thoughts and trying to tighten up my book. In exchange, I do the same for them.
Step 8: EDIT
As I get my chapters back from my first CP, I consider their comments and make changes.
Step 9: CRITIQUE PARTNER - 2
Then I give it to my next CP to work their magic.
Step 10: EDIT
And edit all chapters, taking in CP #2's comments.
Step 11: CRITIQUE PARTNER - 3
You get it by now. Per book, I usually do at least three rounds of CP's, and this can be happening fairly simultaneously. One CP might be on chapter 10 when I start exchanges with another, beginning at chapter 1.
Step 12: EDIT
If this is my last CP, I not only take their advice, but I comb through the manuscript one last time for my own benefit. There's always stuff to edit. Art is never finished; it's just abandoned.
Step 13: BETA READERS
Almost done! Now I send the polished manuscript off to beta readers, people who read through my book, beginning to end, as if they're reading a novel. They make sure it flows well, it's consistent, and there's no logical errors in the storyline. Again, I use at least three.
Step 14: EDIT
Yeah, there's definitely a pattern here. After talking with each beta reader, I make my final changes and do one last round of edits.
Step 15: SEND TO PUBLISHER
Ahhh, that feels good. Now, I sit back and bite my nails to see if they want it or not. (I try to lave it alone, but I always end up making more edits!)
Step 16: FIRST ROUND EDITS FROM EDITOR
YES! They want to publish it! For a while, everything is out of my control while they send the manuscript to the editor and cover designer. When my editor is finished, they send me their suggestions.
Step 16: EDITS
I bet you didn't see that coming? LOL! I make edits suggested by my editor and send it back.
Step 17: SECOND ROUND EDITS FROM EDITOR
This goes on until everyone is happy!
Step 18: EDITS
And I keep editing until I'm happy!
Step 19: FORMATTING & FINAL EDITS
The formatter sends me the final formatting for my approval. This is my LAST chance to make any edits, so of course, I do! As soon as I send it back, it's finished!
And that's all! The book gets published and all the amazing readers have the chance to read what I've been working on the last year or so.
It takes me 8-9 months from start to publisher. From publisher to public depends on their schedule. During the editing-CP phase, I'm usually working on my next rough draft, though, so it doesn't seem like that long.
I love writing novels, and as long as you keep reading them, I'll keep writing them!
**This is New Adult. Recommended readers 17+**
The box under my bed taunts me. I ignore it. This year, I won’t succumb to its cries on this day
“Fuck this shit.” I roll off my bed and search the dresser for my keys. Not there.
Where the hell did I put them?
I yank the door open and round the corner into the bathroom. Nothing but the usual.
Out in the living room, I throw the cushions off the sofa and check the chair and the coffee table. A handful of loose change, a couple of empty condom wrappers, three McDonald’s French fries, and a ten-dollar bill which I pocket. No keys.
I stomp into the kitchen and grab Dylan’s motorcycle keys from the drawer. Dude never misplaces anything. Predictable bastard.
Apparently he heard me because when I get back to the living room, he’s standing there.
I glance at him on my way past. “Borrowing your motorcycle.”
“What are you doing, Damian?”
Turning around, I dangle the keys in front his face. “Borrowing. Your. Motorcycle.” I repeat it slowly, enunciating every word so maybe he gets it the second time.
“Last day of finals is tomorrow.” My roommate is annoyed. “Look, bro, it’s been four years since Ka—”
Suddenly, I have Dylan pinned to the wall, my hand around his throat. I squeeze hard enough to make him understand. “You’re my best friend, man, but I don’t need your psycho-babble bullshit again. Not today.”
Dylan sighs and nods as best he can.
I take a step back, letting go of him. He rubs his neck, and I feel a small pang of guilt. Dude means well.
“I can’t deal with this right now.” I flip the keys into my palm and walk out the door.
I love the sound of Dylan’s motorcycle when I rev it up. The noise drowns out everything, especially the shit in my head. Her memory hasn’t faded, not even a little.
Speeding down the street, I don’t think. The route is on autopilot in my brain.
I park in my usual spot and stuff the keys in my pocket. It’s Tuesday night, so the parking lot is almost empty. Good thing, too, because tonight, I want to be alone.
Loud music assaults me as soon as I walk in. I don’t even look around to see who’s there. No need; everything I want is behind the counter.
“What’ll it be, Damian?” Max asks.
“Tequila. Straight up,” I say, pounding my fist twice on the wood.
“Sure thing, man.”
I don’t sit on a stool, and I don’t wait. On my way to a booth in the corner, I shoot a quick glance at the guys playing pool. I recognize a couple of them from school. For them, tonight is about relaxing. For me, it’s about forgetting.
I slide in, running my fingers through my hair. The way her hazel eyes still pierce me guts me to the core. They’ll always haunt me.
“Damian, my love, my final wish is for you to let me go.”
I can’t do it.
“Two tequila shots.”
I almost jump out of my seat at the sound, but when I stare at the waitress, I realize the voice didn’t belong to her. Of course she would never have said that. She hated me drinking.
I give the new girl a quick nod. She turns, and I down the first shot, watching the way her ass moves as she walks away.
Flipping the glass over, I send a wave to Max then knock back the other one. He usually cuts me off at eight, and tonight, that won’t take long. It won’t be enough to drown her out of my head, but it might be enough to make the images fuzzy.
“Are you happy, Damian?”
I squeeze my lids shut. What the fuck kind of question is that? A knife stabs me through the heart, and I want to vomit.
The sound of two more glasses hits the table in front of me, forcing my eyes open. My gaze darts to the nametag on the waitress’ t-shirt, just inches above her left nipple poking hard into the cotton. I lick my lips.
I guess she’ll do.
As I wait, my mind takes me back to that morning, and how she waited until sunrise to leave me. Maybe it was her way of reminding me.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it? No matter how dark it gets, the sun always rises and starts a new day. The darkness is forgotten.”
God, I miss her so much. Everything about her.
Cameron sets two more shots on the table, and I don’t look at her this time. I’m gonna need more alcohol for that.
I rub my face with my palms.
“I’ll always be with you.”
I jab my fists into the seat, pain racing through my knuckles. She fucking left me all alone! She’s gone and I’m here. It’s not fucking fair.
The sting of tears threatens, so I kill the shots, one right after the other. I slam the second glass on the table too hard, but I don’t care.
When Cameron comes back over, she sets two more in front of me and says, “Rough night?”
I huff and down the first one. “You could say that.”
Her bare thigh is so close to me. I can’t wait to feel it up later.
“Bring me two more, if you would,” I say.
She bites her lip. “Um, I don’t know. Max…”
“Just bring me the fucking shots. Max and I have an agreement.”
Cameron glances over her shoulder at the bartender. Getting the confirmation from Max, she swings around.
“I’ll be right back.”
I lean back, rubbing a finger over my lips, the alcohol finally kicking in.
“You have a whole life in front of you. Don’t waste it. Don’t dwell on the past.”
Cameron saunters over with a tray of my last four shots of the night. I stare at her thighs, already imagining what they taste like. I’m moving on, baby. Just like you told me to.
“Thanks,” I say as she sets them down. “When are you off?”
She hesitates. “Um, like, now. My boyfriend is picking me up.”
I down the last two and go up to pay my tab. My buzz was decent, but not enough. It’s never enough anymore.
“See ya, man.”
Stuffing my hands in my pockets, I take my time walking across the parking lot to Dylan’s motorcycle. I pull out the keys and rev the engine. Her face isn’t gone, but it’s barely recognizable now. Just how I need it.
Slowly, I back out and notice Cameron standing against the side of the bar, hugging her arms from the chill.
Stood up. Sweet.
I pull up next to her. “Need a lift?”
“Uh, no. Toby should be here any minute.”
Toby Stanton? Cameron might be an even better lay than I imagined.
“Toby should have been here by now.” I reach my hand to her. “Come on. I’ll take you home.”
She bites her lip again, and I hope to know what that feels like in about ten minutes.
Cameron sighs and takes my hand. “I live on campus—Frederiksen Court.”
I help her up behind me, her arms slipping around my waist. Smirking, I say, “Hang on.”
We peel out into traffic, the wind slamming against my face. Cameron nestles her head into my back and holds me tighter. She says something, but I can’t hear her.
On the way back to mine and Dylan’s apartment—off-campus—I take a shortcut. By now, I just need to get Cameron naked. Fuck everything else.
I park beside my BMW and shut off the engine.
“I said Frederiksen Court,” Cameron says, confused.
I climb off and get back on, facing her. “I said I’d take you home. This is where I live.”
“—is off fucking someone else and forgot about you.” My hands find her knees and begin sliding up her thighs. They feel as good as they look.
She frowns, but doesn’t say anything. I’m right, and she knows it.
Taking in every inch of her skin, I run my fingers up her inner thighs as what I said sinks in. To let it go deeper, I kiss her neck, sucking on the flesh. She’ll cave. They always do.
“He’s probably working out late at the gym,” she says, trying to convince herself.
“Yeah, probably not.” I switch sides, and she tilts her head, letting me continue. Down below, I move her panties to the side to massage her. She stiffens a little, gasping.
“Toby … he’s a … a National Champion boxer. He, uh.” She pauses, her breaths become shallow, just how I like it.
Yep. Toby Stanton. This is gonna be good.
She swallows. “He works out a lot.”
I grunt. “I bet he does.”
I know he does.
She nods. “He does.”
Her hips start to move against my fingers, and I crush my lips into hers. I’m not surprised that she returns the kiss with fervor. Toby only gets the feisty ones.
My fingers start slipping on her, and I can’t take it anymore. I’ve got to get my mouth on that.
When I let go, a disappointed gasp escapes her. I help her off the bike and lead her inside to my room. Thankfully, Dylan is already in bed. He hates when I bring girls home.
My shirt’s over my head before I have the door closed behind me. Kicking it, it slams closed. I don’t take the time to lock it.
Cameron fumbles with my belt; Fuck that shit. I pull her close, slide my hands under the waistband of her skirt, feeling every inch of the smooth skin. Walking her backwards to my bed, I lean into her until she sits and I can finish the job, tossing the black wad and her panties across the room.
With her sitting there, I undo my belt and jeans, stepping out of them. Toby is clearly out of her thoughts now. She moans in excitement. Now, to get the rest of her goddamn clothes off.
Gliding my palms up her thighs, I take a short detour between them.
“Oh, yes!” she cries out as I slip inside of her. I finger her until she’s on the verge of coming.
Pulling out, I chuckle, knowing it’s about to get a whole lot better real quick. She frowns, giving me puppy-dog eyes.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be back,” I whisper in her ear.
She throws her head back with a smile on her face.
I grab the bottom of her shirt and begin to lift it, but it won’t move past her chest. She’d pinned her nametag to her bra.
“Oh, Cameron,” I groan. I hate that I have to take the extra time to undo the damn thing.
“Sorry,” she says, panting. Music to my ears. “Here, let me get it.” She turns the top of her shirt inside out, unhooking the pin. “There. Oh, and this is my friend’s nametag. I forgot mine. My name is Katey.”
Someone just punched me in the stomach.
‘Don’t leave me, Katie. I’m gonna fuck up, but don’t leave me.’
“Get. The fuck. Out,” I breathe.
Her brows furrow. “Excuse me?”
“Get the fuck. Out of here.” I gather up her clothes and shove them in her chest, knocking her backwards a little. “Now.”
The pathetic look on her face doesn’t faze me. She means absolutely nothing to me.
I throw the door open and don’t look at her as she shuffles out undressed from the waist down. I don’t give a shit.
“How am I supposed to get home?”
“I don’t give a damn,” I say and slam the door in her face.
A stunned second later, she screams, “You’re a fucking asshole!” from the other side.
I collapse on the bed, my face buried in the blankets.
Yeah, Kate, I know. I know.
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