Excerpt from Destined for Dreams

I know you all have been waiting patiently for the next installment in the Dark Destiny Series. In a few days, I’ll be doing the official cover reveal and announcing the release date (which is very soon, I promise!).  For now, I thought I’d go ahead and share the first two chapters of the novel.  Hope you enjoy!

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Chapter 1

 Bartol

When a man has too much time on his hands, and he’s trying his best not to think of a certain troublesome woman in his life, he must find some sort of distraction.  Over the last few weeks, while avoiding the aforementioned woman, Bartol had turned to an old hobby—one that came from a time before electricity and modern machinery—back in the days when a man used his bare hands and simple tools for crafting his work.  And if he did a reasonably good job, he might even make a little money for his efforts.  Carpentry had been his trade off and on for many centuries whenever he had the spare time or needed a little extra cash.

When Bartol had gotten the brilliant idea to start up his old hobby again, it had seemed simple enough.  Build a table, some chairs, perhaps a desk—easy.  Of course, he’d had to construct a workshop first since there was hardly enough space in his cabin, but that hadn’t been too difficult despite the cold Alaskan weather.  And as a nephilim—half angel and half human—who’d lived more than eighteen-hundred years, Bartol had the strength of dozens of humans to speed up the process.  It had kept him busy and helped keep Cori from his mind—the woman who’d become his bonded mate and then rejected him.

Bartol sighed deeply and ran a brush over the chair, staining the wood a deep russet color.  It would be beautiful when it was done, maybe his best work yet. Working his way over the high back, similar to the Victorian style, he recalled what had first driven him to learn such a trade.  It was, ironically, to impress women.  He didn’t impress them now, most especially his mate, with his scars and reclusive behavior, but at least the work served a more important purpose.

He’d discovered how much humans would pay for unique pieces, and he’d found someone in Fairbanks willing to sell the furniture for him to local customers as well as others across the country.  The first piece he’d put on the market, a desk, had netted him over a thousand dollars.  It was a start to rebuilding the fortune he’d lost while locked away in Purgatory for more than a century.  If one must be confined as a prisoner for a long period, it was a bad idea to do it just before the economy went into shambles and a recession started.  Most of his investments were lost, and he’d had no idea it was happening until it was too late.

So now Bartol was starting over and taking whatever jobs he could.  The archangels were paying him a fair wage for his assistance in training a young nerou crossbreed—Tormod—who had both angel and demon blood, as well as a little something else, but that job would run out in a few months.  He needed to have something else in place before then.

Plus, Bartol didn’t want to rely on the archangels any more than necessary, especially since they were the ones who’d confined him to Purgatory in the first place and caused him to lose nearly everything.  They might regret the severity of their punishment now that they knew he wasn’t as guilty as they’d thought, but it didn’t undo the damage.  Bartol had been tortured both physically and psychologically during that time and scarred for life.  He would never be the same man again, which was likely why Cori had rejected him.  She had to see he wasn’t worth her time or energy.

A shuffling noise came from just outside the workshop.  He’d almost missed it with the blowing wind hitting the walls and windows as yet another snow storm passed through.  If not for a wood-burning stove nearby, it would have been freezing inside.

Bartol stiffened and slowly turned on his stool.  Only a few people knew about this private escape deep in the woods, and none of them were expected.  Tormod had the day off to spend with his mother, no friends had mentioned dropping by for a visit, and Cori had yet to discover his shop since he’d constructed the building well out of sight from his cabin, and he hadn’t spoken to her since before it was built anyway.

As the door slid open, a large, muscular figure appeared with snow swirling around him.  His body blocked what little light was available on such a gloomy day as he entered the workshop.  It took a moment for Bartol’s eyes to make out the chiseled features of his oldest rival and closest friend.

“Caius,” he said, standing.  “It’s been a long time.”  More than two centuries, in fact.

The older nephilim chuckled and moved forward to stand under the solitary light bulb hanging from the ceiling.  “Too long.”

“How did you find me?”  Bartol hadn’t exactly advertised his current whereabouts to the supernatural world, considering all he wanted was solitude since returning to Earth.

“Word travels, my friend, especially after what you did to get yourself thrown in Purgatory.  People pay attention. Continue reading

Publishing updates and baby’s gender…

Things have been rather hectic since my last post (sadly, a couple of months ago), but I’ve got a few things I can go ahead and tell you about now.

I’ve moved into a new place, which took me nearly a month to get unpacked and settled.  On a bright note, I’ve got my own office now which has turned into a great writing haven.  I’m also able to use the closet to store all the extra paperbacks for my books, plus promo goodies.  Before, I didn’t have a dedicated space for all these things because my apartment was too small, so everything was scattered in boxes wherever I could find a bit of space.  I also had to write in odd places.  Having a desk and an office after all these years of being an author is so much better, and I’ve already found myself being a lot more productive in the last month.  The cats also like the office because they can keep me company while looking out the window.

Below are some pics of the office I took a couple of weeks ago (with anything spoilery blurred in case you look too closely).  I’ve since added more notes to the bulletin board, and I’ve got my printer hooked up, but this is pretty much how things look now.

And at least organizing giveaways will be easier than ever.  As you can see below, I’ve got a lot of paperbacks for both series, audio CDs, and spiral notebooks in the hanging shelf.  There’s a few tote bags, fridge magnets, and other things you can’t see because they’re in the black pullout boxes in the bottom shelf.  And I have my office supplies, reference books, research materials, and other writing/publishing related things in there such as props used for cover model photo shoots.  It’s hard to believe I ever lived without a dedicated closet for all this stuff before.

And here’s a closeup…

As for book progress, I’m getting very close.  There was a slight setback with a recent family emergency.  Moving and pregnancy related stuff haven’t helped either, but I’m continuing to work hard on it. Within the next few days, I’ll be sending out the first set of chapters for Destined for Dreams to beta readers.  It will take time to cycle through them and my editor, but I’m hoping to do a cover reveal by the end of the month and give you a firm date for when it will be out (hopefully no later than mid-September).  Please stay tuned and expect some excerpts here on the blog soon.  For anyone worried they might miss book 2 of the Dark Destiny Series, you can sign up for my release alerts here.  I always send those emails within a day of the book coming out.

The Dragon’s Breath Series is no longer in Kindle Unlimited, and I’ve started reloading all four books onto Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. If you are a reader on one of those platforms and you’ve been waiting for the books to be available, this is your chance to grab them.  They will stay wide on all the retailers for the foreseeable future.  For those wondering when book five will be out, it will most likely be late December or January.  We’ll have to see on the timing of the baby being born and how that affects my ability to write/publish near delivery.

Speaking of the baby, those on my Facebook fan group already got the news a while ago, but for the rest of you…it’s a boy!  A blood test and an ultrasound confirmed it.  I wasn’t all that particular either way on the gender since this is my first.  We are just happy that the baby is healthy and looking great as of the last checkup earlier this month.  Because I’m on blood pressure meds for migraines, and I’m considered advanced maternal age, my OBGYN does have me seeing a perinatal specialist as well who is monitoring the pregnancy closely.

Before you ask about names, I will just say that’s a heated topic at the moment.  My husband has shot down all my suggestions and his ideas usually consist of superhero and action star names (this kid is not being called John Wick, Jason Bourne, Thor, Batman, or anything else ridiculous).  We get a lot of suggestions from friends and family as well, which can make it overwhelming.  I have decided things are much easier when I’m naming characters in my books because I get 100 percent control and don’t have to consult anyone if I don’t feel like it.  Hopefully, we’ll get something figured out. Fingers crossed!

So that’s it for now.  Hope everyone in the northern hemisphere had a lovely summer and wonderful vacations if you took them.  For those of you down under, I hope the winter hasn’t been too cold!

~Susan

A big plot twist in my life

As this blog post title suggests, I recently had an unexpected twist come up in my life. Something that took me completely by surprise.  Those of you who have been following me for at least a couple of years may recall this post from November 2015 where I talked about some personal troubles I had.  Many of you were kind enough to comment with your support, encouragement, and/or similar stories you’d faced in your own lives. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

Now I finally have an update for you and it is good news!

Back in April I discovered I was pregnant.  Yes, really, after ten years of trying.  To say I was shocked would be an understatement, and let’s just say I was certain the pregnancy test must have been broken even if signs pointed toward it being right.  I tapped at the thing, wondering if it was playing a cruel joke on me.  Then I took another test and got the same results.  This was a Saturday night so there was little I could do to confirm it further until Monday when I could call my doctor.  Like me, she’d pretty much given up on me ever conceiving, so needless to say she got me into her office much faster than expected- the next day.  I had to go to the lab first and then be at the clinic an hour later.  Apparently, she and the nurse hovered over the computer waiting for the results to come in and they had broad grins on their faces when they came into the exam room to meet my husband and me.  It was true.  I was finally carrying a baby, and though I would have preferred for it to happen before reaching “advanced maternal age” I’m truly excited.  Better now than never.

Having said all that, deep fear rode me that it could all go wrong at any moment.  Like fate would tease me with something so miraculous and then take it away, so I’ve kept quiet until I reached the second trimester even though I knew some people would be wondering about the next book, but I feared jinxing anything.  During that time, I faced all the usual pregnancy related symptoms (nausea, exhaustion, severe headaches I couldn’t take pain meds for so I just curled in a ball until they passed, and a few other things that are less pleasant to even mention).  These issues are starting to taper off slowly and will hopefully be gone soon now that I’m on week fourteen.  The baby is due in mid-December, for those wondering.

My husband and I have also had to scramble to find a bigger home because our small apartment wasn’t going to cut it with a baby on the way.  I used up the days I was feeling a little better and more energetic to go house hunting and eventually found a great place to rent.  We we’ve been busy packing and will be moving into the house next week.  It’s got a yard and back patio, plus lots of extra space inside so it’s going to be a huge improvement over my current residence.

So all of this is to say, if you haven’t guessed already, that not a lot of writing has gotten done in the last few months like I’d hoped.  Destined for Dreams has been started, but it isn’t near completion yet.  My hope is that as soon as we get settled into the new house I can focus entirely on getting the novel finished.  I’ve been reassured by some of my fellow authors that the second trimester of pregnancy was an extremely productive time for them, especially compared to the first where it’s tough to be creative when it’s all you can do to hold your food down (if you can find anything you can tolerate to eat, that is).  I’m looking forward to buckling down in my new home (new to me, anyway) and giving you all a second novel in the Dark Destiny Series you can truly enjoy to be followed by the last book of the trilogy.

Please be patient with me in the meantime.  I’ll post updates as I have them and an excerpt once I’ve got something polished enough to share.  Thanks again to those who have been supportive along the way!

Christmas with Dragons in audio

Christmas with Dragons is finally live in audio.  Some of you may have noticed it was on Audible already a couple of days ago, but I wanted to hold off my announcement until it filtered out to all the other retailers. You’ll find the links below.

Hope you enjoy!

RETAILER LINKS

AUDIBLE   AMAZON   ITUNES

May 2017 updates

I’ve got a ton of updates for you all regarding free books, audio, and other stuff.  Things have been a bit hectic for me lately, so I didn’t get a chance to mention some of them sooner, but to make up for that I’ll do a giveaway at the end of this post.

First off, Darkness Haunts (book 1 of the Sensor Series) is currently free on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iTunes.  This is the first time I’ve ever dropped the price that low since I released it over four years ago.  If any of you haven’t tried this series yet, this is your chance to check it out.  The price will be going back up to $3.99 in about a week so be sure to grab it while you can.  It is whispersynced for the audio listeners out there, too.

Speaking of which, Darkness Taunts (book 2 of the Sensor Series) is finally whispersynced as well for anyone who might have skipped grabbing the audio of that one (I’ve heard some people didn’t get it for that reason).

 


Next up is Stalked by Flames.  While all of the Dragon’s Breath books are exclusive to Amazon for the moment, and in the Kindle Unlimited program for people to borrow, the first book in the series is also available to Amazon Prime readers for free.  This will only last for a few more weeks, so pick up your copy of Stalked by Flames if you haven’t already.  And yes, it is whispersynced for the audio listeners who might want to grab that as well.

Also, those waiting on Christmas with Dragons to be in audio don’t have much longer to wait.  It should be available by the end of May.  The narrator and sound engineers are wrapping up production on it now.


In case some of you were holding out on picking up Destined for Shadows until it was in Kindle Unlimited, it is in the program now.  I’ll keep it there for the time being, but the next installment in the Dark Destiny Series, Destined for Dreams, will be wide on all the retailers for a short period before it goes into KU.  The release for that will likely be in late June of this year.

Destined for Shadows is also now available in paperback for those who are interested.  I don’t have news for audio yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do.  There will likely be a separate post about what is going on with that.


Now for the giveaway!  One lucky individual will win a paperback copy of Destined for Shadows, a tote bag, and a fridge magnet.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below (with a valid email address in the appropriate field) and tell me which of my books you have liked the best so far.

This giveaway will run until midnight (CDT) on Sunday, May 7th, 2017.  One random person will be chosen as the winner.  I will respond to them in the comments section below and send them an email to get their mailing information.  This is open to international contestants.