Stalked by Flames is now available!

I’m pleased to announce Stalked by Flames is finally out.  This is the first book in my new Dragon’s Breath series and one I’ve really enjoyed writing.  It’s packed full of action from beginning to end, plus a little romance.  If you’re a fan of dragons and/or apocalyptic stories than you might want to check this one out.  A preview of the first three chapters is available here.

For those who are worried, this book does not end on any major cliffhangers the way Darkness Shatters did, but does have some open plot threads that will continue into the future novels.  My intent was to leave you satisfied at the end, yet happy to read more books in the series when they come out later.

You will find this novel is only available on Kindle for the next few months because it has been enrolled in KDP Select, which requires exclusivity to Amazon.  On a bright note, that means if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber you can choose to borrow the ebook instead if you’d prefer.  I do hope to also make it widely available in paperback within the next few weeks.

Below you’ll find the details for Stalked by Flames, plus Amazon links.

Stalked by Flames cover (promo) SUMMARY:

Bailey Monzac has just graduated college and is heading to her parents’ ranch for the summer when dragons invade. Like something out of her worst nightmare, the fire-breathing beasts rain down chaos and devastation on unsuspecting human populations. One minute Bailey’s planning her future; the next she’s merely trying to survive.

But it isn’t long before she discovers she’s different from the people around her—the dragons’ destructive flames don’t affect her. That gives her an edge, but it also means she’ll become a target for powerful individuals seeking to use her to their advantage. Bailey will have to distinguish between allies and enemies quickly as she gets drawn into a war unlike anything the Earth has seen before.

Word count: 101,000 (approximate)

 

 

 

 

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RETAILER LINKS:

AMAZON US    AMAZON UK     AMAZON DE     AMAZON AU     AMAZON CA     AMAZON FR

 

 

 

 

Stalked by Flames update and excerpt

I’m still working through edits on Stalked by Flames.  The book is coming together nicely, but still has a few kinks to work out and a round of proofreading.  Thanks to the eight beta readers who volunteered last month to read the first quarter of the novel.  You were all a tremendous help!  My current expectation is to have the novel out by July 27th.  As soon as it is available on Amazon I’ll post the link here, through social media, and my newsletter/email alerts.

For those who’d like a taste of the novel, I’m posting the first three chapters below.  There may be some minor tweaks made during the final proofread, but otherwise this is the version I’ll be publishing soon.  Hope you enjoy!


 

 Chapter 1

 

Bailey

I should have known the day was going to be bad when I stepped outside and saw vivid purple and red northern lights in the sky—at nine in the morning, in Oklahoma.  Checking my water bottle, I didn’t find anything suspicious in the clear liquid.  Then I caught other people staring upward, too, gawking.  Thank God.  I’d begun to wonder if the hit of acid I’d dropped two years ago had come back to haunt me.

The lights faded and the sky turned dark and ominous shortly after that, which should have been my next clue to stay inside and wait it out.  Not to mention it was a Monday and doomed by default.  But I didn’t, so I only had myself to blame when the clouds unleashed bucket loads of rain on me while I loaded all my personal possessions into the backseat of my truck.

That wasn’t the end of the troubles, though.  Not even close.

Right after turning in the keys to my apartment I discovered my truck had a flat tire on the front.  Someone had slashed it, leaving the poor thing to look like an undercooked soufflé.  I spent the rest of the morning at the shop getting it replaced.

Then right as I was about to escape Norman city limits, my friend Trish called to remind me I hadn’t turned in my library books yet.  It was almost as if fate itself intervened so I couldn’t leave Oklahoma anytime soon, though I suspected she’d wanted to say goodbye one last time.

Another storm approached from the west as I balanced a high stack of books in my arms, heading for Bizzell Library.  With the semester over and graduation just two days ago, there weren’t many people lingering on campus.  Just a few students lounging on the grass and a guy feeding the squirrels.  Most people had gone home for the summer.  Much like I hoped to do.

The ground shook and two of my books tumbled to the sidewalk.  Damn earthquakes.  They were getting more frequent with every passing month, and the experts couldn’t explain them.  Oklahoma had a reputation for tornadoes—not earthquakes.

A few dozen other places in the world were experiencing similar problems.  Extreme weather, earthquakes, and an unsettling sense of doom that left everyone feeling the end was nigh.  Of course, I didn’t buy what those crazy guys on street corners shouted.

I leaned down and grabbed the fallen books and put them back on top of the others before resuming my walk toward the library.  Now that the tremor had passed there wouldn’t be another one for at least thirty minutes.  At least, that’s how it usually went.  None were on the scale of the big California earthquakes, but they were strong enough that you felt them when they struck.  The constant shaking was beginning to take its toll on structures.  I kept waiting for a building to come crumbling down.

A student exiting the library held the doors open when I reached them.  I mumbled my thanks to the guy and kept going.  Five minutes, tops, and I’d be out of there by noon.  Texas wasn’t having all these problems.  I couldn’t wait to get home to my parents’ working ranch where I could put my shiny new business degree to use.  The paperwork alone had become a mess since I’d left, and I had a lot of plans to help increase profits.

Trish, my best friend, stood behind the checkout counter.  We’d been roommates during our freshman year.  I’d never been good with people except those closest to me, but she’d poked and prodded until I let her into my inner circle.  If not for her forcing me out of my reclusiveness, my college experience might have been limited to classes and my dorm room.  I still didn’t like interacting with people much, but she’d helped me improve my social skills a lot.

Trish had graduated on Saturday too, but she planned to stay on for her master’s program.  Her boyfriend, Justin, was chatting with her.  I wasn’t surprised to see him there.

If you looked at them, you wouldn’t think they were a good match.  She had wild curly red hair, pale skin, and a curvy figure.  He had brown hair in a military cut, tanned skin from a lot of time spent outdoors, and a toned physique.  She wore bright, colorful clothing to match her personality, he stuck with earth tones.  He never joked and took everything seriously.  Even their interests weren’t the same.  From the time they’d started dating two years ago until now I’d never understood how they stayed together.

Neither of them noticed me walking up.  Not even when I cleared my throat.

“I’m telling you, it’s fracking causing the earthquakes,” Justin said, his tone serious.

She rolled her eyes.  “Maybe we should frack later and really shake things up.”

“You’re just trying to change the subject.”  He gave her an exasperated look.  “The way they’re drilling these days—it’s important we do something about it.”

Justin was an environmental science major who really got into his studies.  Before college he’d served in the army for six years in the infantry and had done two tours overseas. Now he was enrolled in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program with only one year left to go.  The guy was all about serving his country in whatever way he could.  Now he thought he could do more as an officer.

It made him an interesting choice for Trish, considering she took life a lot less seriously than he did, unless you counted books.  Whether they were fiction or non-fiction she practically lived in them.  Probably the reason she’d chosen to major in library science.

I dropped my stack of books on the counter in front of her.  “Am I interrupting something?”

“Oh, look what the earthquake shook up,” she said, giving me a once-over.  “Bailey, you look like crap.”

I tucked a stray strand of my black hair behind my ear.  Whenever it rained, it fell limp and lifeless.  Cutting it to shoulder-length for the summer hadn’t given it any of the body the stylist had promised.  I suspected my make-up was ruined, too.  It was definitely one of those days.

“There’s another storm approaching,” I explained.

Trish sighed.  “Great.  It’ll probably strike the moment I head home.”

“Not to worry.  I brought an umbrella,” Justin reassured her, patting his backpack.

He was always prepared for anything.

“So you’re really out of here?” Trish asked, drawing my attention back to her.

“The truck is packed and the tank is full.”  I’d even loaded up on water and snacks so I wouldn’t have to stop before the state border.

She scanned the books into the system.  “Make sure you call me when you get home.”

It would only take a little over four hours to drive to my stepfather’s ranch southwest of Dallas.  I’d arrive well before dark and maybe even in time for one of my mother’s home-cooked meals.  After eating like a bum since Christmas break, I was ready for some real food.

A rumble of thunder sounded above our heads.

“Yeah, I will,” I said, glaring up at the ceiling.

Trish came around the counter and gave me a hug.  I had to admit I was going to miss her and all the fun we’d had together in the last four years.  We planned to meet again at the end of the summer, but that seemed a long time away.  Too bad she couldn’t come live on the ranch with me.  I could use a buffer against my brothers.

“Are you sure you don’t want to wait until the storm passes?” she asked, pulling away.

“It’s not raining yet and the radar showed it clear to the south.  I’ll be fine.”

The ground jerked beneath our feet.  Our eyes widened and we grabbed each other for balance.  Then it started shaking faster, sending us tumbling down.  Screams rose up around us and books spilled from nearby shelves, crashing to the floor.  Was this it?  Was this the earthquake that would finally do us in?  Maybe those folks preaching on street corners had been right after all.

Trish and I huddled against the counter as more than a minute went by with no sign of it letting up.  Justin kneeled next to us muttering about fracking, but unlike his usual bravado he looked worried this time.  We’d had some earthquakes recently, but nothing bad enough to send my heart racing into overdrive.  It had to be at least a 6.0 on the Richter scale.  Maybe higher.

About the time I thought the roof would surely come down on top of us, the shaking stopped.  A moment later a loud roar came from somewhere outside.  I’d never heard anything like it, but the angry sound sent chills down my spine.  What the hell was wrong with this place?  It had been fairly normal when I’d first arrived on campus.  Now a day couldn’t go by without something weird happening.

I stood, dusting myself off.  The ceiling had cracked and bits of plaster had spilled down, but the library didn’t look too bad.  After all that shaking it should have appeared a lot worse.

“I’ve got to go,” I said.

A few other students had the same idea and were already heading for the doors.

Trish gripped the counter as she rose up.  “Are you sure this is a good time to leave?”

“Uh, yeah.  This place is falling apart.  You should go, too.”

She shook her head.  “The library was built to last.  It’ll be fine.”

Trish was the one who worked here.  I had to hope she was right.  A part of me wanted to grab her and force her to leave with me.  With everything that kept happening, it couldn’t be safe to stay here.  She was stubborn, though.  I could see it in the tilt of her chin that she wouldn’t go anywhere.  Crazy woman.

“Just be careful,” I warned.  “The next earthquake could be bigger.”

“I will,” she promised.

We hugged one last time and I hurried toward the doors.  Outside a cool blast of wind hit my face and more thunder rumbled to the west.  There were a handful of people grouped together in front of the clock tower.  I was in such a hurry to get to my truck I didn’t think anything of it until one of them pointed at the sky.

“Holy shit, is that for real?” a guy asked.

I swung my head in the direction of the football stadium and nearly stumbled.

“Are those…”  I couldn’t bring myself to finish.

“Dragons,” a young woman next to me breathed out. Continue Reading →

Publishing delay…

I’ve been putting this off because I hated to break the news, but I’m going to have to delay publishing Stalked by Flames.  A few too many things in my personal life came up this month that severely delayed my getting through revisions.  Family troubles, illness, round after round of thunderstorms and massive flooding in my state–a lot of things.  As soon as I’d think I could get back to work something else would come along to throw me off my game.

In addition to that, I’ve just been taking longer to get the story how I want it.  One of the great things about this stage in my writing career is I’ve learned a lot through publishing the Sensor Series.  I’ve been taking all those lessons and applying them so that this new series can start off with a bang, but it has meant revisions have gone slower.  Plus a good deal of research and fact checking has gone into Stalked by Flames.  Not that I don’t have a lot with my other books, but this story has some major elements I haven’t had to deal with before.

I’m rather amazed the guy at the water treatment plant in the town where this book takes place didn’t hang up on me the other day.  I needed to know how the long water would keep running if dragons invaded and knocked out the power grid.  A reasonable question, right?  Of course, I did introduce myself as an author and gave him a brief summary of the story first.  Still, it was a little awkward to ask.  I must say I’m grateful there are sci-fi/fantasy lovers everywhere and he understood my need for information.  We had a nice fifteen minute chat on all the possible scenarios so I could be sure I got it right in my book.  I’ve had other phone calls like that where people were just as cooperative.  And no federal agents have showed up on my doorstep wondering what I’m up to, so that’s a bonus.

I’ve just about got the first quarter of the book where I want it.  That is always the hardest part for me and takes the longest to get through because all the groundwork is laid there.  It had been a while since I’d started a new series and I’d forgotten how complicated world building, character introductions, plot, etc. could be when you don’t have previous books to rely on.  This is an all-new cast with dynamics that are rather different from my other books.

Needless to say I’m estimating it will take a few more weeks to get through revisions on the rest of the book and bounce the manuscript back and forth with my editors.  My hope is to have the book out by July 25th.  If anyone would be interested in doing a beta read of the early chapters (about 20k words) let me know by Sunday, June 28th.  Please only respond if you’re serious about looking them over and can have them back to me in a few days.  For those who email through the contact page or comment here, I’ll get the file to you on Sunday for you to look over.

Thanks to everyone for their patience.  I am very excited about this novel and hope to have it out soon.  For those who haven’t signed up for my book release alerts and want to be sure you don’t miss Stalked by Flames when it comes out, click here.  You’ll only receive emails when I publish new books, nothing else.

Charity Drive, Audio, and other updates

I meant to have an update post sooner, but I had a family emergency come up over the weekend.  My brother was in a car crash last Friday and ended up being flown by helicopter to the hospital because of a head injury he received in the collision.  At first they feared they’d have to operate, but thankfully the bleeding in his brain stopped and they transferred him over to the ICU where they monitored him for a couple of days.

It was a scary experience seeing my younger brother lying there on a ventilator.  The hospital where they took him is nearly an hour from my home so I spent as much time as I could with him until he was out of danger.  Thankfully, he’s been released now and is recuperating.  If anyone messaged me in recent days I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, but I am trying to catch up.

Memorial Day charity drive

For those who read my previous post or caught my mention on Facebook, I participated in a charity drive for veteran charities late last month.  From May 22nd to the 29th any sales I received on Darkness Haunts (all formats), would go to the Wounded Warrior Project.  I didn’t meet my goal of $500, but did raise $302.54 between ebook and paperback sales.  For audio, I’m traditionally published and can’t get the numbers for a while so I kicked up the total amount to cover that.  Today I sent $400 to the Wounded Warrior Project as my donation from the fundraiser.  Thanks to everyone who either bought a copy or helped spread the word.  I really appreciate it.

Darkness Shatters audio coverDarkness Shatters audio release

For those who have been waiting for Darkness Shatters to come out in audio, it is available today.  You can pick up your copy wherever audiobooks are sold in either digital or CD format.  I’m including a few links below:

Amazon

Audible

iTunes

Tantor (only $4.99 as of this posting)

 

Stalked by Flames cover (promo)Stalked by Flames news

I plan to have the first three chapters posted by mid-June for you all to check out.  Stay tuned if you’re interested in trying the first book in my all-new dragon series.  If you haven’t heard about it yet, you can find out more details here.

Cover reveal for Stalked by Flames

I’ve been keeping this quiet for a while now, but it’s finally time to announce a new series I’m starting this summer.  The idea for this came to me over a year ago.  At the time I was working on Darkness Divides and knew I needed to stay focused on the Sensor Series for a few more books before mixing anything else into my writing schedule, but the story continued to bug me.  While plenty of ideas hit me all the time this one refused to let go.  I jotted notes, wrote random scenes, and did some research, but it wasn’t until the release of Darkness Shatters that I allowed myself to focus on Stalked by Flames (though, not to worry, Darkness Wanes is still coming out in October).

It is the first novel in what I hope will become a long series.  The genre is urban fantasy with some apocalyptic elements and it has entirely different creatures/races than the Sensor books.  For those wondering about romance it is going to be a slow-burn that will play out over the course of the series.  There’s no rushing this one, but it will happen eventually.  The heroine will have her POV in first person and the hero in third person (much like what you saw in Darkness Shatters).

Next month I’ll post a book trailer, behind-the-scenes shots from the model photo shoot, and a book excerpt.  For now, you can check out the cover and book summary.  Hope you all are as excited about this one as I am!

Stalked by Flames cover (promo)

EXPECTED RELEASE DATE- July 20th, 2015

SUMMARY:

Bailey Monzac has just graduated college and is heading to her parents’ ranch for the summer when dragons invade. Like something out of her worst nightmare, the fire-breathing beasts rain down chaos and devastation on unsuspecting human populations. One minute Bailey’s planning her future; the next she’s merely trying to survive.

But it isn’t long before she discovers she’s different from the people around her—the dragons’ destructive flames don’t affect her. That gives her an edge, but it also means she’ll become a target for powerful individuals seeking to use her to their advantage. Bailey will have to distinguish between allies and enemies quickly as she gets drawn into a war unlike anything the Earth has seen before.

Add to your Goodreads TBR list here.

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I also have a lot of people to thank for the cover design on this one as it took a whole team to put my vision together.  Below you’ll find everyone involved in the process, but I’d like to give a special shout-out to Alison Esposito at Wild Wolf Leatherwork on Etsy for making the custom leather harness the model is wearing.  It turned out amazing!  Also, I can’t express how much I appreciate the help of my fan design team including Rachel, Sarah, and Kristy who helped me with wardrobe selection and model poses.  You ladies are awesome!

Background design with dragon- Jeff Brown Graphics

Model- Isabella Capri

Model photographer- Teresa Yeh

Hair stylist/make-up artist- Nadya Rutman

Cover design- Claudia McKinney

Typography- Catie McKinney