Monday, February 25, 2013

Okay, so I seem to keep forgetting that not everyone is stalking me on Facebook, I know, shame on me! But I'm making up for it, I promise!

Ahem. Enjoy! Here's a peek at Ethereal, which will be here on February 28th. ♥ 

“Hold up, Slayer,” came a low, coarse voice. Rinae paused for a fraction of a second, wondering if she could get away pretending not to have heard him. But Jake always knew when she was lying. He had since Day One.

Nervously, she turned around, suddenly self-conscious in her own skin. A little voice in her heard reminded her that there was nothing to be nervous about, it wasn’t as if she was forbidden from leaving the group’s underground home. Maybe it was her clothes? She did a quick once-over, noting her black pants, black top, shit-kicker thrift boots, and maroon hoodie. Nope, definitely not the clothes.

Jake came up to Rinae, slowing his pace until he inched his way toward her. Out of the dozen or so that roughly lived in their hideout, Jake was both the person you wanted in your back pocket, and the person you wanted to avoid at all costs. He stood at average height, his short blonde hair shocking and naturally bright, the same way his blue eyes glowed on their own. Rinae thought back to the first time she had joked he soaked up all the radiation from a power plant, and how he’d punched her so hard in the shoulder she had sworn it was dislocated. Over time, he came to warm to Rinae, as all the others had carefully done, too. In some ways, she viewed him as an older brother more than their unspoken group leader. He was their dark angel, the protector of their small, tight-knit group to the city’s cruel and unforgiving streets.

“Leaving so soon?” His voice was smooth, but gritty, like sand polishing your feet at the beach. “Del said you only just got back.”

Fighting the mechanical urge to sneer at the mention of Del, she gave a short, jerky bob for a nod. Opening her mouth would have the same effect as pulling the plug to a bathtub full of water; rushing of words that couldn’t be said.

Reaching with a pale hand, Jake touched the hem of Rinae’s sleeve, slipping a finger in the thumbhole. A small frown dashed his lips. “Guess it’ll be the clubs. Kickin’ it out tonight?” Jake probed. He had a terrible habit of sticking his nose where it didn’t belong, but Rinae never could bring herself to say something. “What, are we not good enough for your precious time?”

She knew it was meant to be a friendly jab, still since winced. “You know me,” she offered, shrugging off the verbal sting. Her free hand flexed in and out of a fist, starting to shake. “Can’t sit still for more than a few seconds.”

Jake studied her for a moment, then nodded. She thought back to the first time they met, and how he’d made a passing comment of her visible shaking. In an act of desperation, Rinae had claimed she suffered from some kind of ADD. Couldn’t bring herself to sit still, never kept her mouth shut. And yet somehow he managed to tolerate her, smooth talk the rest of the gang into accepting her like a little sister while she kept the real reason hidden. Now it was her calling card, an excuse she could slap on anything in case she got out of hand.

“So which club are you thinking of crashing?” His hand moved from her sleeve to the ends of her hair, twirling a strand around his index finger. 

Rinae ignored the urge to bite the inside of her cheek, that would be the quickest way to tell she was about to lie. She could feel the tears stinging her eyes, working a wall of liquid that would spill if she didn’t control herself, fast. 

Forcing herself to stop twitching for a moment, she let the lie slip effortlessly from her lips. “Nowhere special. Was thinking about Slash.” She paused, long enough to fake contemplation. “Maybe Glitz & Bitz if I’m feeling edgy.”

“The lesbian bar?” Jake arched a single blonde eyebrow in true, classic cartoon form. Confusion and amusement riddled his voice as he spoke between two chuckles. “Funny, you don’t take me for the gay type.”

She made a move to turn and look away, but it was too late. A fresh, strawberry red blush tinted the upper half of her cheeks. The shakes riddling her body stopped, replaced by a new kind of jittering that swallowed her stomach and rattled her heart. Memories of his lips, brief and strong as he kissed her lips and palms, only made the quivering worse. Against all odds, she kept her cool. “Hey, you never know. Maybe that’s where my true love is at. You know, true love’s kiss can take form in a variety of ways.”

A knowing, come-on-now look settled in his eyes. “So can a chicken’s egg. Scrambled, sunny side up, hard-boiled, deviled, the list goes on. Just picture freshly made deviled eggs, laid out on your naked-”

“Jake Mathews, you finish that sentence, and I’ll-”

“You’ll what?” He pressed his body closer, stealing the space she had been keeping between them instinctively. Heat flamed her cheeks brighter, a twisting sensation in her gut making her brain go hay-wire. She could feel the beginning of her control unwinding, stripping away like paint to a wall. Or clothes to a body.

“What happened, Rinae? What happened to us?” His breath tickled the side of her neck, teeth grazing the edge of her earlobe. Hands found themselves on her hips, holding her tightly in place. “Tell me, Slayer, tell me you miss it. Tell me you miss us like I do.”

Rinae could feel her jaw forcing itself to lock. Her tongue rammed into the roof of her mouth. Sure, she could have told him she missed being together, missed it like a flame misses wood when it burns to ashes. But that would have been a lie. A beautiful, hopeless, damning lie.

He couldn’t be with her, just as she couldn’t be with him. For more reasons than he’d ever know.

Seconds ticked by, slow and silent. Each moment felt like a painful gunshots to the chest. It sealed her fate. Jake’s hands, having moved up and wrapping in her hair, withdrew carefully until they hung to the sides of his body in defeat.

She sighed. “Jake...”

“Be safe.” Red tinged the white in his eyes, hurt wavering inside them. He quickly blinked both eyes, the hurt dissolving with each blink. She could hear the faint wavering of his voice as he fought to keep himself in check. “I’d hate to break someone’s face if you didn’t come home in one piece.”

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hey all! 

Guess who's one of the first stops in the KEEPER OF THE BLACK STONES blog tour? A- this gal! I'm incredibly proud to say Glass House Press gave me the honor of doing an interview with the fresh, intelligent new author PT McHugh. We definitely hit some of the more... interesting topics in this interview. What can I say, I like asking all the weird questions in life, hah! 

Alivia Anders: I'm not one to ask the standard 'When did you start writing, what gave you the idea for Keeper, blah blah blah.' So, I'll go straight for the jugular. Name the weirdest place you had an idea for a scene for Keeper of the Black Stones. Bathroom with a Soap Opera Digest? Shower while singing to Beyonce? Baking a cake for your dog? 

PT McHugh: Weirdest place to think of a scene or a character?  How about walking steel beams several stories above the ground, just after the last beam was hung out at the Raleigh museum? That’s when I figured out how to introduce Tatiana’s character.   

Alivia Anders: We both know that, as authors, sometimes we think of our characters as darling little children. And sometimes, those children misbehave. Tell me which character was the biggest pain in your behind out of everyone in KEEPER.  

PT McHugh: Paul was the most misbehaved character.  Not so much in regard to his antics and humor, but just because of his unpredictability.  I pretty much know where I stand with Reis, Jason, and even Tatiana, but Paul is sometimes out there, and I don’t always know where he’s coming from.  I don’t think he does either.  

Alivia Anders: If you had to choose a lifetime of bacon-flavored foods, or lifetimes of cheesecake flavored foods, which one would you consume?  

PT McHugh: That’s a tough one because you’d be ruining one of the two favorite food groups: bacon and cheesecake (and yes, they have their own individual food groups because of how great they truly are).  But let’s just say that I wouldn’t get sick of one or the other. I guess I would have to vote bacon.  My dogs agree.  

Alivia Anders: Give me three words typically used to describe food, but use them to describe Keeper of the Black Stones. Bonus points if you don't use the words 'juicy' or 'delicious'.  

PT McHugh: Let’s make it more interesting, I can only use words that start with the letter “S”: succulent, savory, scrumptious!

Alivia Anders: Finish the sentence! If I could, I would wear ________ with a superhero costume every day.  

PT McHugh: That’s easy, my Patriots baseball cap.  

Alivia Anders: You wake up in a stalled out elevator, flickering lights and impending doom looming. With you is a cellphone good for one phone call for 30 seconds, a pen and paper, and a copy of Twilight with a lighter. You have enough time to use one of the three. Do you burn Twilight, write something on the pen and paper, or call someone with the cellphone? 

PT McHugh: Well, since Twilight never hurt me physically, I’d leave the book alone.  I wouldn’t want my loved ones to hear me screaming like a little girl, so that leaves me with then pen and paper.  “Love you all … don’t stay up too late girls, and make sure Mommy lets the dogs out before going to bed.”  That’s pretty much what my last though would be.  

Alivia Anders: If Jason from KEEPER had to read one girly magazine (Cosmo, Seventeen, Vogue, etc.) which one would he choose? 

PT McHugh: How about Good Housekeeping?  There are some beautiful younger women who don’t wear as much makeup in that magazine (pretty girls make him very nervous) AND Jason enjoys cooking every once in a while (something we haven’t covered yet). 

Alivia Anders: I typically hear from authors a lot that they never saw themselves as becoming an author. So, pretending you never became an author, list your three fantasy careers and why. (But I'm so going to guess one of your fantasy careers would be a football player for the Patriots!) 

PT McHugh: You’re close on the Patriots, but the real action isn’t playing for the Patriots, but owning them.  I want Robert Kraft’s job.  So that’s number one.  Second choice, how about film director? And for my last wish list fantasy job … professional golfer (they’ve got it made).  

Alivia Anders: If KEEPER was made into a movie (or TV series!) who do you think would play Jason?

PT McHugh: My daughter said the boy who played Peta in the Hunger Games.  Can’t think of his name, but he would be great.  

Alivia Anders: Are you a glass half-full kind of guy, or a glass half-empty gent?

PT McHugh: I wish I were a half-full kind of guy, but unfortunately I have a knack for worrying, just ask my wife, coworkers, daughters, editor, publisher…

Oh, Patrick, you should definitely be looking at the glass half-full! You, sir, have done one of the impossible things in life; you got a book published! Much luck to you and your wicked debut.

Make sure all of you pre-order your copy of KEEPER OF THE BLACK STONES today! (Especially since I see the paperback is on sale, double bonus!)

Friday, February 8, 2013

I've got some awesome hold-onto-your-hats news that's worthy of a little happy dance! 

Finally, I can share some dates for releases this year. Some have moved forward (yay!) and some have been pushed a little back (boo!), but here's a nice list of dates we can all mark on our calendars for 2013. 

Ethereal: An Illumine Series Novella- February 28th, 2013

The Illumine Series: Volume One is pushed back. Currently deciding if I want to publish it or wait for the final book to be released and combine all of them into one massive reduced paperback.

Untitled (The Illumine Series, #4)- Spring 2014
*This one is a constantly shifting, very tentative date. Until I finish the first draft in full and have some editors and betas look it over, I won't be able to stick a solid date on this one. The earliest it COULD release is winter 2013, the latest will be summer 2014.*

A Shard of Ice (The Black Symphony Saga, #1)- April 14th, 2014

An Ice Princess Heart: A Shard of Ice Novella, #1- October 28th, 2013

An Ice Princess Kiss: A Shard of Ice Novella, #2- December 9th, 2013

An Ice Princess Symphony: A Shard of Ice Novella, #3- January 21st, 2014

An Ice Princess Dream: A Shard of Ice Novella, #4- March 25th, 2014

Unwanted: Stand-Alone Adult Dystopian- July 30th, 2013
(This is the only one that hasn't had a change in its date, hah.)

And that's it for now, but we all know I love working on a million projects at the same time. Trust me, you think this year is nuts? Wait until you see what's in store over the next two. If I don't go insane, it's because I met an awesome doctor with some seriously good anti-anxiety meds. Or I moved to Disney. Either way, the next few years are going to be one heck of a roller coaster.