Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Zyan Star Series, Character Profile: Zyan!

At long last, we come to the last character profile in the series, Zyan herself!! I have so much love for Zyan. Martinis with the Devil, the first in the series, is the only book I've ever written where the character was the inspiration for the whole thing. Usually I have a cool plot idea, the great "what if?" question that pops into a writer's head. But Zyan came, rather insistently and incessantly, after I read the Twilight series years ago. She started pounding in my head, like "that whole finding your true love at 17 is great and all, but what happens if you're wrong about the person, and you end up totally screwed and immortal so you can think about how much of a dumb ass you are for all eternity?" Yeah, she's fairly sarcastic :)

I'd written another fantasy novel before Martinis, and had a hard time pinning the voice for that character, but not with Zy. She came in loud and clear, and the words just flowed. Plus, she's so fun, feeding my obsession for chicks with swords, martinis, and bad language. Okay, so here she is!

Name: Zyan Star
Supernatural powers: Anam Gatai (Irish soul thief): magic akin to a witch, immortal, can call to souls like a Siren, extra strength, regeneration
Appearance: Pale skin, darkish/burgundy hair, espresso eyes
Favorite drink: Siren's Kiss Martini (has cherries)
Weapon of choice: Katana, though uses magic when she has to

Zy is pretty much a total badass and never behaves herself :) I warn people, if you don't like magic, violence, sex, cussing and mouthy women with swords, you will most certainly NOT like these books. 

It's practically impossible for me to put in a fave Zyan excerpt, because I love so many of them... I'm going to be a tease and include one from the second book, Whiskey and Angelfire, which releases on July 4th. Also, I JUST got back the cover from my amazeballs cover artist, and I literally cried a little bit it's so perfect. My newsletter subscribers will get to see it before anyone else, so sign up if you haven't already. I'll also be giving away some ARCs. Okay, so here we go - Zy and the gang have just arrived in Dublin to search for a missing angel (NHTF stands for non-human task force and HR stands for Holy Representative):

The interior of the building was stark and militaristic, not in the slightest bit welcoming. Looked like the NHTF had definitely taken the lead in d├ęcor. It had none of the elegance of the lobby in HR headquarters back home. A single desk stood at the back of the room, behind which sat an angel in the usual pale gray tunic, and an NHTF officer in an olive uniform. To the right of them was a door, flanked by two more officers. Though it was only a couple hours until midnight, none of them seemed surprised to have visitors. Eli stopped in front of the desk and cast a quick salute. He’d changed when I went home, and now wore the same sort of tunic the other angel did instead of the jeans and t-shirt he seemed to prefer. It covered up all his nice muscly bits, which was a tad tragic.

“Commander Whitesong here to see Commander Juno.”

The nameless angel and NHTF officer nodded. The NHTF officer leaned to the side, casting a glance that slid off me like I was five-day-old roadkill. “And these are?”

Eli opened his mouth to speak, but I stepped around him. “Special Agent Zyan Star. Yes, THE Zyan Star. Appointed by the HR of Northwest America after saving his life and preventing Lucifer from taking over the realm of Earth.”

They looked me up and down, taking in my burgundy hair, leather jacket and jeans. Not to mention the big-ass katana strapped across my back. And the emerald green nail polish.

I hooked a finger over my shoulder toward Quinn and Riley. “And these two were instrumental in helping me and Eli - Commander Whitesong, that is - save the planet’s ass. We’re here to find the angel you guys lost.”

“I’ll call Commander Juno,” the angel said, scrambling over his words slightly.

Eli cast me a reproving look as we waited, but I just grinned in return. A couple minutes later the two NHTF officers guarding the door pulled it open and a tall angel emerged. Her hair was short and red, her eyes a startling purple, bright unlike Eli’s pale lavender ones.

“I’m Commander Juno,” she said. “Follow me."

We entered the depths of the building, passing through stark white hall after stark white hall. What was it with them and decorating like a mental hospital? We reached what was clearly a command center, a busy room with banks of screens and holographic programs running. Angels and NHTF officers stood together, monitoring video feeds, calling out commands into their comm devices, and repositioning various satellite feeds.

“After Officer Lightwing went missing, we tapped into our global surveillance network to see if we could pick him up via facial recognition scans,” Juno said, confirming my thoughts. “We also of course have the supernatural DNA scanners in all businesses to track the supernatural population. It picks up angels as well. Nothing matching his DNA signature so far. Wherever he’s been taken, it’s off the grid.”

Hopefully not off the grid as in dead, I thought grimly.

“His apartment was pristine, not a trace of a struggle or any suspicious DNA evidence,” she continued. “Of course, not that we really expected anyone to have taken him out from under our noses in this building. We’ve interviewed his contacts outside the angelic forces and no one has seen or heard anything pertaining to his whereabouts.” She sighed, her purple eyes troubled. “He simply clocked out of work two days ago, presumably left the building to run an errand, and vanished from there.”

“What makes you certain he was abducted?” I asked.

Juno looked over as if noticing me for the first time. Her face bore a look of confusion. “What else could explain his disappearance?”

I shrugged. “Maybe he didn’t want to work for the angelic forces anymore.”

The female angel went stiff as an oak. “Angels do not abandon their position, Ms. Star.” Her tone was arctic. “Unlike the other supernatural races, we are born and carry on our lives to fulfill a very specific purpose: to protect humanity. It is our duty, pure and simple, and not something we can simply walk out on.”

I let her insult of other supes slide right on by. “That’s all very noble, but I’ll repeat my question: do you have hard evidence that Ambriel was abducted?”

“I don’t need evidence.” Juno’s eyes bored into mine. “I’m not sure how the HR in Seattle handles things, but we follow a very strict code of conduct here in Dublin. We’re not accustomed to bringing in outside help on our missions, let alone someone of your… reputation. Not all of us are keen on your involvement in this, so I suggest you tread lightly if you wish to continue employment with the angelic forces.”

I smiled broadly. “Let me clarify something about my reputation, as you seem to be confused. I follow no code of conduct and I never tread lightly. That’s why the HR asked for my help, and later promoted me to special agent. I get shit done. And another thing - I am no one’s employee. I choose the cases I wish to work, and since so far your team here in Dublin has failed to find even the tiniest lead in Ambriel’s disappearance, Eli and I were called in to salvage the situation. I respect the HR, and I’m working this case as a personal favor to him. You can fire me if you wish, it makes no difference.”

So there's some Zyan for ya! Hope you enjoyed. Check out my newsletter for the droolworthy book cover. TTFN!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Zyan Star Series, Character Profile: Eli

We're nearing the end of my character profile series! Today we have Eli, Zyan's angelic partner. Without further ado:

Name: Elijah Whitesong
Supernatural powers: Angel
Appearance: Pale skin, straight blonde hair (a bit on the longish side), lavender eyes
Favorite drink: Dwarven beer
Weapon of choice: Blast of white light from his angel powers, though he also has a wicked staff he uses occasionally

Eli and Zy's chemistry is so fun to write. I mean, she's a soul thief, he's an angel? Talk about some tension. Eli is Zy's opposite: rule-abiding, a bit stuck-up, almost totally straight-laced... at least at first. He's also incredibly compassionate and good-hearted and can be a real badass in a battle. They play off each other so well.

Here's one of my favorite Eli excerpts from Martinis with the Devil (it took me a really long time to pick which one, without being too spoiler-y). This is close to the beginning of the book; Zy has just arrived at the hospital to check in on her friend Will after his bar burned down, and her and Eli saved him. It's trimmed a bit in the middle for brevity.

We found the ER nurse’s station. One quick lie and an ensorcelled nurse later, and we were standing outside the curtained-off temporary room where Will lay. He’d been plugged up to an oxygen machine.

Now what are you doing here?” Eli asked, arms crossed over his chest.

“What, have you switched from HR security to ER security?” I rolled my eyes. “Will is a good friend of mine. What were you doing at the bar?”

“I’d heard there’s a new Assembly member and that he’d stopped by earlier. I went by to check it out. So, do you know what happened tonight?”

“Yeah.” I cast a guilty glance over at Quinn and Riley, who stood against the wall. “I ran into my ex earlier, and we’re not exactly on the best of terms, so Will kicked him out of the club. My guess is, Alexander came back to exact revenge. He’s pretty prejudiced against some of the supes like the Cyclopses.” I paused. “Oh, and by the way, he’s the new Assembly member, and the one that’s been trying to knock off the HR.”

Eli’s eyes narrowed. “When exactly were you planning on telling me this?”

“Chill, okay? I didn’t realize when you were at Noir that it was him. But then at Will’s bar, it hit me. Since I want the lowlife immortal dead as much as you do, I hired some help and figured we’d take care of it for you.”

“Yeah, well clearly that plan’s working out fantastically,” he said, his tone razorblades and jagged glass.

Goddamn, was everyone trying to piss me off tonight? “You’re a total asshole. Has anyone ever told you that?” 

A groan rose up from behind the curtain. “Oooh, are we skipping right to the dirty talk? I dig it.”

“Will!” I shoved back the curtain and gave him a very careful hug. “Jesus Christ, you had me so worried!” Eli threw me a reproving look for dropping the J-Bomb. Like I freaking cared.

“Well, I had to get your attention somehow.” He grinned weakly.

“Please don’t say stuff like that.” My hazel eyes searched his face. I drew in a long breath. “It was Alexander wasn’t it? The guy from earlier?”

Will’s expression became somber, a look I’d never seen on him before. It made it a bit hard to breath. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure. I had run down to the wine cellar to get a case of Pinot Grigio when I heard someone follow me down. I turned and saw just a flash of black hair right as something hit me over the head.”

My eyes were directed very carefully at the chalk white sheets on the hospital gurney. I raised them up to Will’s, trying to keep my emotions at bay. “He’ll pay for what he’s done, Will. I’m not going to let him get away with this.”

“Don’t do anything foolish on my account,” Will said, squeezing my hand.

“She won’t,” Eli said, stepping up on the other side of Will’s bed. “Alexander is under official investigation by the HR’s security team, and he’ll be brought to justice through an official legal process.”

“Since when has hiring soul stealers been an official legal process of the HR?” I snapped.

Eli smiled tightly. “We didn’t hire you.”

“But you tried.” I flashed him my very best you’re so full of shit smile.   
Eli opened his mouth to speak, but someone cleared their throat very loudly behind us.

“Excuse me, I’m Dr. Harris and I need to check on this patient.” The woman looked down at the chart in her hands through rectangle glasses. “Uh, William Evers.”

Quinn and Riley popped their heads in to say goodbye to Will, and we all strode back down the hall. 

“I’m going to need you to accompany me to HR headquarters,” Eli said after less than ten paces. All business again.

“And why is that?” I raised my brows.

“Because, if you’re going to assist in bringing in a known assassin, you need to be officially briefed.” He didn’t look at me as he spoke, just sauntered fluidly down the hall.

“Oh, so now I am hired? Which is it? I’m starting to get whiplash.”

Quinn and Riley’s eyes darted back and forth between us, Quinn’s expression one of apprehension, while Riley looked like he was laid out with some popcorn watching a juicy soap opera.

“Well, the official decision is up to the HR. He said he wanted to meet you.” Eli glanced over at my face this time, to judge my expression I guess.

I attempted to keep my face neutral, though the fact that the HR wanted to meet me was pretty surprising. “Whatever. But this is going to be on my terms, or I’m out.”

I heard Eli grind his teeth together. “You’ll work within the law or you’ll be arrested.”

“I’d love to see you try.” I laughed, rolling my head back and putting some oomph into it, which served its intended purpose of making Eli even more agitated.

“I’m serious—” he began.

“Tell me something I don’t know.” I stopped walking and put a finger on his chest. It was as rock hard as it looked. Not that I cared. “You are way too serious. Like, the king of serious. Loosen up a bit, okay? I’ll go with you to meet the HR, and we’ll see what he has to say about all this.”

Hope you enjoyed it! Eli's character arc over the course of the book, and into the second and third books, is really fun to watch unfold. Hint, hint: announcement of the release date for the second book, Whiskey and Angelfire, and the cover reveal coming soon!


Monday, May 9, 2016

Two Awesome Book Birthdays!!

Hi, friends! I am very excited to share TWO awesome new books that released today, both from very talented and experienced writers. Let's jump right in!

The first is Cloaked in Blood by T.F. Walsh. I love her steamy paranormal romances! They'll get your heart pumping for sure :) This one is #3 in the series, but can be read as a stand-alone.

The daughter of a sultan alpha, Selena Kurt agrees to an arranged wulfkin mating to protect her sister from a dangerous alpha from the enemy clan. To her surprise, her match is Marcin Ulf, the next in line for the Hungarian throne . . . and the wulfkin who broke her heart years ago.

Marcin is just as shocked to learn he'll be matched to the enemy's daughter and the woman he's never forgotten. Before they can be paired, however, they're drawn into a tournament where Marcin will compete to free his estranged imprisoned brother, while Selena battles for the life of another wulfkin alpha. Both intend to seize this chance to save those they're fighting for - even if it means facing off with one another just as their romance rekindles.

Will tribe loyalty triumph, or will they realize they're better off as a team before it's too late?

Sign up here for T.F. Walsh’s newsletter to keep up to date with latest releases, giveaways, and exclusive content. 

Add to Goodreads or Purchase at: Amazon     Kobo      B&N     Googleplay      iTunes 

Plus, a giveaway!

Next up is The Haunted Stepsister by Medeia Sharif. It's a super fun middle grade horror for the younger crowd! Very creepy and with a nice twist at the end :)

Sixth grade isn’t easy for Jesenya Moradi, especially since her father’s recent remarriage and tension with her new stepsister, Kammy. After an incident at school that nearly destroyed Kammy's life, Jess has been desperate to get on Kammy’s good side. But a fateful trip to an allegedly haunted bathroom changes both girls’ lives forever.

The rumors about the bathroom are true, and now Jess is convinced a demon's possessing Kammy. Eerie things happen whenever she's around – flying objects, flickering lights, not to mention the fact that something, or someone, is making people into its puppets.

Worse, the demon seems fixated on making Jess confess her part in ruining Kammy's reputation. Sticking to her Muslim faith, Jess enlists the help of an imam to exorcise the demon from Kammy. But can they get rid of the demon before it destroys her new family?

Add to Goodreads  or purchase at Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Smashwords

Help me in wishing these two ladies a happy book birthday!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG and Zyan Star Series, Character Profile: Donovan

Hi, friends! Today my Zyan Star character profile series continues with Donovan! If you missed the previous three, you can see them here: Quinn, Riley and Pan.

But it's also IWSG day, our monthly blog hop of insecure writers led by Alex Cavanaugh. The last month for me was an intense one, because I released Martinis with the Devil, the first book in my Zyan Star urban fantasy series. It came out in two parts, part one on the 11th and part two on the 25th. With book releases comes a lot of checking of your sales numbers and rankings, and wondering if you're doing well or not. Well, compared to well established authors my numbers aren't anything special, but that's the key to happiness - don't compare yourself to others! I'm pretty happy with my humble numbers as a newbie author. And the adventure just keeps on, with the second book in the series coming out next month (exact date TBD)! Click here to see the other lovely IWSG posts.

And now back to the sexy Irishman Donovan!

Name: Donovan
Supernatural powers: Shapeshifting Panther
Appearance (when not a steel gray panther): Tan skin, short medium brown hair, jade green eyes
Favorite drink: Whiskey
Weapon of choice: Claw and teeth

Donovan is Zy's ex-boyfriend. They first meet in Black Magic & Mojitos, the prequel to Martinis with the Devil. They're both from Ireland, and both bounty hunters, so the sparks fly instantly. In Martinis, it's about five years later and they've broken up. Donovan wants to get back together, but he's got some competition this time around: Eli, the hot angelic warrior. Zy doesn't really want to work with him, but she needs some help, and Donovan's the best in the business (other than her).

Here's one of my favorite Donovan excerpts from Martinis with the Devil: 

Donovan took us into a large room that looked like a library. “Have a seat.” He gestured towards the empty chairs across from his seat at a large mahogany desk.

“You’ve gotten all high-brow, huh?” I asked, folding into one of the chairs and kicking my feet up on the desk. Good thing I’d had some extra boots in the Porsche since I tossed my heels into the ocean. And was tracking down my archenemy tonight.

Donovan shrugged, leaning back in his chair. He was playing it cool, too. “What can I help you with?”

“I want to kill my ex,” I said casually. When he tensed, I clarified. “My first ex. He’s almost two thousand years old. Riley thought I might need some help.”

“Forced your hand, did he?” Donovan said with a smirk. “I didn’t think that was possible.”

“Well, Riley and Quinn can be quite persuasive.”

Donovan shot them both a grin. “I know they can.” He sighed, fingers laced behind his head as he contemplated the ceiling. “It’s like old times, all of us in the same room, planning some crazy suicide mission.” A chuckle escaped his lips as he looked at me. “Remember when we were trying to bring in that rogue harpie, and she spewed green goo all over your face?”

“I think the Nightmares were my favorite,” Riley said, sharing a conspiratorial smile with Donovan. “The first mission we worked with you. Though Rio de Janeiro was hot as Hell itself.”

I shot Riley a look and he wiped his smile.

Donovan smiled even bigger, his eyes lingering on mine. “Yes, back when we first met. But that was a long time ago. Why would I risk my ass to help you now?”

“Why, money of course,” I answered without hesitation. “Alexander, the delight that he is, has been trying to assassinate the HR. They contacted me to protect him. I’m just trying to get some good mercs.”

Donovan smiled. “Okay. Fifty percent of your take.”

“Please,” I scoffed. “Try thirty.”

“Forty-five.” His lips turned up even more. He was enjoying this.

I rolled my eyes. “Forty.”

“Forty and a favor.” His eyes had a gleam in them I didn’t care for at all.

Mine narrowed. “What kind of favor?”    

He leaned back even further in his chair. “I’ve missed the taste of those lips something awful.”

Riley busted out laughing and even Quinn’s lips twitched upwards. “Excuse us a minute?” I said to them without turning my eyes from Donovan’s wolfish grin. They got up and walked for the door. Riley cast one last look over his shoulder.

I looked up at Donovan. God, but Irish boys could be such trouble…

“Zyan, what happened to us?” Donovan’s green eyes burned into mine.

Okay, so apparently he wasn’t playing it cool. I smiled sweetly. “You cheated on me, remember?”

“I can’t imagine now why I ever would have done such a foolish thing,” he said, his voice low. I had long ago lost my Irish lilt, but he’d kept his and it was sexy as hell. Damn him.

“Well, you did. So the way I figure it, you owe me a favor, not the other way around.” I stood up and placed my palms on his desk.

“I never said you owed me a favor,” he said, his grin returning. “I just asked for one.”

I walked slowly around the edge of his desk, the heels of my boots sinking down into the carpet. Stopping before him, I rested my hands on his arms and leaned forward until my lips hovered right over his. His breath washed warm over my skin, and with it the scent of aftershave and a tang of whiskey. I heard his heartbeat quicken. “You should have thought of how much you’d miss me before you cheated,” I murmured.

“I’ll remember that next time,” he said, his lips brushing into mine as he spoke. One hand reached up to cup my cheek.

“There won’t be a next time,” I whispered. Then I was standing across the room. He blinked in surprise at my little disappearing act, which was pretty satisfying, even if it was the most basic of Anam Gatai tricks. “So, are you in or are you out?”

“Ah, hell, Zyan,” he said, “I’ll always be in if you are.”

Hope you enjoyed that taste of Donovan! If you want more, Martinis with the Devil Part One is free on Smashwords, B&N, iTunes and Kobo for the forseeable future, and only 99 cents on Amazon. 

IWSG friends and other friends, have an awesome rest of the week!