It's Never What You Expect

Saturday, August 1, 2015

My 3 am visitor

I have lived in Alaska my whole life (except a few small stints outside visiting other states). I grew up with wildlife in my backyard, or the front or sides, even the porch. Moose are a common occurrence in Alaska, as well as in my writing. You just get used to them, learn to live around them and hope you never get up close and personal.

I’ve been up close and personal a few times.

When I was a kid, still in school, it was dark when I waited for the bus. No matter how early the hour was or how late. In the winter, it’s dark longer here. In grade school, the bus stop was a few houses down at the ‘pump house’. Everything in my neighborhood, the houses, the ‘pump house’, the street in general is surrounded by trees.

There were several occasions when I’d walk to the bus stop, only to find I’d walked right up on a moose, hidden in the dark, cleverly camouflaged with its dark brown colors to blend in with the trees and the night sky.

Let me tell you, you will probably never move as quickly as you do when your fight of flight instinct kicks in because you are faced with a half-ton kicking, stomping, goring death machine. I’m small, but I’ve scaled ten-foot chain link fences in seconds flat to escape a charging moose. I have no idea how I did it, but that’s adrenaline for you.

The yard I have now is much bigger than the one I grew in, it’s filled with trees, forest even. Lots of new growth trees popping where they were cleared to make way for the house. Very attractive to these behemoths.  

Last night, I had one of these late night visitors in my yard, just outside my bedroom window, enjoying some of those new growth trees that have popped up since last year.

Like I said, I grew up in Alaska, and prior to moving out my home in Wasilla, I’d never truly heard the sound of a moose eating. The first time I heard it, I’d just gotten home. It was late, dark. I opened the door to my truck and was confronted with what sounded like bones snapping and flesh being stripped from those very same bones. It was horrific.

As a writer, my imagination can do terrible things and it was working overtime, imaging that maybe a bear had found its way into my yard with a kill and was slowly, methodically eating it right there in the trees, in the dip of the hill below me.

I tried turning my truck back on and angling it into the trees to see what I was dealing with, even went out onto the street, but to no avail. Needless to say, I didn’t exit the vehicle on that side, but parked as close to my porch steps as possible and then crawled over the seat to the passenger side that was facing the house and hurried inside.

Later, when I heard this same sound coming from another part of the yard, this time I was able to get a good angle with my headlights and identify the culprit as not a bear, but a moose, stripping not flesh from bone, but leaves and bark from tree limbs and not bones snapping, but twigs being bitten off.

So there I am, lying in bed at 3 am, the horrific sounds of something very amiss outside carrying into my room through the opened window, my dog awake, barking, warning me that there’s an intruder on our property. Even knowing the sound, having heard it before, in my fight or flight, adrenaline burning away the fog of sleep brain, I get up to find out who or what is outside my window, armed, just in case. I flip on the back flood light (sorry neighbors), open the door and peek out.

There in the small copse of trees, head turned back to look at me in a lazy, I’m the biggest thing around so I’m not really worried about whatever is there sort of way, is an adolescent moose. He almost gives me a shrug and then goes back to munching away.

I turned on the fan to drown out the sounds that, even though I know the source, still sound like the worst kind of death to me, and I went back to bed.

Here is the evidence of his disturbing visit:
Notice the stripped branches all along the right side.

Snapped the tops right off this poor little tree.

More branches stripped clean of their leaves and some of their bark. Imagine what that must sound like at 3am.
 

 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cover Reveal - Faceless by Monica Millard

BOOK INFO:

Faceless by Monica Millard
(Mortal Monsters #1)
Publication date: September 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal

Synopsis:
There isn’t a lot of excitement or drama to be had for a teenager in Wasilla, Alaska. This is especially true for students of the charter high school, Lakes Charter. That is until a jock is killed in a brutal attack on school property.

The victim is the instigator of the school’s bullying ring and his biggest target, both literally at six and a half feet tall and in frequency, is Eli Markham, the lead suspect. The only problem with that story is at the time the murder took place, he was in the school parking lot installing a new battery with Mackenzie Carver. Me.

I didn’t really know Eli before I gave him a ride. I don’t think anyone does know him. He’s kind of a loner, but we’ve been thrown together and the more time I spend with him, the more I want to learn. All of that will have to wait though, because something is after us, something that isn’t human, something that keeps trying to frame Eli for crimes he didn’t commit.

The scheme might be more successful if I didn’t keep getting in the way of someone’s plans.

Add it on Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25978819-faceless
 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A New Young Adult Series, News and Updates

I have not been very consistent on this blog lately. I know it’s been a while since you heard from me. The last post was in April and prior to that was December, and that one wasn’t even my words. I apologize for my neglect.

I’ve come to remedy this. To let you in on all the things going on in my life. To share the exiting news and commiserate over the difficulties. I haven’t just mean absent from the blog of late. If you’ve friended or followed me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest, well I’ve been mostly hiding there as well. I’ve had fits and spurts of activity, and have been trying for more lately, but in the last few months life has dealt me a few personal blows.

I lost three family members in May. One canine and two relatives of the human persuasion. I’ve also had a diagnosis of doggy diabetes for my remaining baby. It’s been a struggle, but I’ve tried to find the positives in all these things. Losing my first baby prepared me for the coming losses. I was lucky enough to be there and have some special time with one of them. I was able to say goodbye. And I was able provide support where it was needed with other family members. The diagnosis of my critter has forced me to get up off my butt, but it’s also made me want to take steps to improve my own health and then do so. As a result, I’ve lost eight pounds in the last two weeks.

In those same few months, as you know I finished a novel and began another. I’ve been writing as feverishly as I can, which initially accounted for my absence. I will be releasing the first in the trilogy sometime in the next month. Novel two is in the final stages of the first draft and I hope to have it finished in the next week or so, but happy events may delay that.

I also attended a wonderful writers conference with and even more wonderful friend, who also happens to be an awesome writer.  It was a treasured experience. I learned a lot in just a few short days and met so many wonderful people. I got out of my comfort zone. I took a bus across state lines. It was beautiful and amazing and I loved every minute of it. (We have city busses, but we don’t really have big bus lines like there are down in the Lower 48.)

All of these events have me revaluating my life, reflecting on where I’m at and where I’d like to be. But it’s easy to fall back into ruts once normal life resumes, losing those magical insights we found during times of struggle or change or even the stepping out from our normal routine.

I watched a Ted Talk yesterday. I love Ted Talks, but this one was the type of special that stands above the rest. In it a little girl was talking about her mission to save enslaved children around the world. She is an inspiration. She has a quote that resonated with me so strongly. “Start with your heart.” What a wise statement from someone so young. The context might be very different, but I stopped and thought long and hard about that statement and what it meant to me.

I would like to apply the idea of starting with your heart to my own life. My heart is with my family, is with meeting people and making connections, it’s with learning and it’s with writing. Knowing where my heart is the first step. Going forward, I’d like to try to put those things above all the rest and see how what changes it causes.

If you’d like to have a look at the Ted Talk which I found so inspirational, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBZc3t4BIhY

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Five Tips for Success as a Self-Published Author - Guest Post by Susan Kaye Quinn

Five Tips for Success as a Self-Published Author
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Can you spot the self-published titles?
Hint: they all are. 
(Caveat: A.G. Riddle started out indie but is now published through Amazon's 47North imprint along with Marko Kloos)
The truth is that self-published titles now regularly top the charts - if not outright dominate them. Successful self-published titles have great covers and lots of fervent fans - often the only way to distinguish them from traditionally published titles is the publisher listing in the description (and the price - indie titles are usually less than $5.99 for single titles).
How do you become one of these successful indie authors? Hard work, luck, and educating yourself about how the indie marketplace works.
Here are FIVE TIPS to get you started. For a full run-down on how to launch your indie author career, see my Indie Author Survival Guide (Second Edition now available). To take your indie author career to the next level, pre-order my For Love or Money: Crafting an Indie Author Career (releases 7.14).
TIP #1: Study the Bestsellers - In both craft and business, studying successful people will help you discern the ingredients of success. Always be striving to take your craft up a level - by craft I mean storytelling, not just the way you string words together. Because as much as we like to disparage that poorly written erotica book at the top of the charts, I guarantee that good stories well told actually do sell. (Alternatively, if you want to chase the latest trend, that's possible now  - there's no sin in giving readers more of what they want, but it's nowhere near as easy as you think.) As far as business, look who is selling in your genre and what they did to get there. Don't follow what people say - look at what they actually do. The actions of successful people often fly in the face of conventional wisdom. (I welcome you to look at my own path to success as well as many other indie authors - often the most successful are not the ones offering advice about it! #yesIseetheirony )
TIP #2: Be a Professional - Don't dabble. Don't dip your toe into indie publishing with a short story that's not going to sell. Go full cannon-ball jump into the pond with professional covers, formatting, editing, the works. Make sure your novel can comfortably sit in the top 100 of your category. This will require up-front investment, but most books can be well-published for under $1000 - and I know of no other legit business you can start for that little money invested. Don't skimp. (Note: on the other hand, don't throw money away on a $3000 cover that will be hard to recoup; be sensible.)
TIP #3: Launch With a Series - You don't have to pre-write an entire trilogy and release the books one month apart... but that's an option now, with indie publishing. If you can write a novel in six months, you could publish the first book, then write and publish Books 2 and 3 within a year. I've seen both models be successful (note: don't wait more than six months between books). Make the commitment to quickly build a backlist and get books into readers' hands. Delivering three connected novels to readers within a year is a strong way to launch a career (note: I'm talking novels here, not novellas or short stories or serials - those are fun, but not career-launchers).
TIP #4: Launch in Amazon then Go Wide -  There's a lot to learn in indie publishing, so staying focused can be key to staying on track - plus launching a new series in the Kindle Unlimited system gives new authors/new series a boost in visibility. Use this to get your footing. Then, when you've established your brand as an author, you can expand to the other retailers (Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play). You'll be a veteran at that point and in a good position to weigh the pros and cons of exclusivity vs. reach.
TIP #5: Never Stop Writing - the single most important thing you can do in your career is write the next book. Generating new IP (Intellectual Property) is the one thing only you can do - the rest can be outsourced. It's tempting to get bogged down in all the latest and greatest changes in the industry, but the biggest lever you can pull to move sales is to launch a new book. Or an entirely new series. You want to study the bestsellers, but always remember: your biggest asset is your uniqueness. Make sure you're continually feeding your creativity, reaching for that next level with your work, bringing out the fullest expression of your abilities. Spend the bulk of your time doing creative work - reading, writing, watching movies, taking workshops, using craft books to boost your skills, exploring new forms, learning how to write faster... whatever works for you to elevate your craft and increase your enjoyment of writing. This is the creative life you want, yes?
I really should have started with TIP #0: Decide What Mountain You Want To Climb - I have an entire section in my Indie Author Survival Guide about making a Mission Statement so that you know you're climbing the right hill before you set off in dogged pursuit of the success you think you want. 
Knowing what will make you happy, then having a plan to get there? That's the only key to success you actually need.
p.s. if all of this terrifies you, I understand. Truly. Watch this webinar on facing your fears and don't let that hold you back. 
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the Singularity Series, the Mindajck Trilogy and the Debt Collector serial (as well as other speculative fiction works) and has been indie publishing since 2011. She?s not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: she?s one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. The Indie Author Survival Guide is based on her experience in self-publishing fiction?the First Edition was published in 2013, the Second Edition in 2015, updated to account for changes in the industry. It?s a guide to help her fellow writer-friends take their own leaps into the wild (and wonderful) world of indie publishing? and not only survive, but thrive. Facebook | Tumblr | Website | All of Susan's Fiction
Indie Author Survival Guide (Second Edition) now available
For Love or Money: Crafting an Indie Author Career - preorder for 7.14

Monday, April 13, 2015

Let there be cake-The cake is a lie


I’m not sure how many of you will be familiar with the reference I’m about to make. There is this really cool video game called Portal in which you are given a gun that allows you to solve puzzle type problems in a unique way with your handy dandy portal gun. Like any good game, the problems you encounter grow progressively more difficult as you advance. You are accompanied on your journey through their maze by Glados, a creepy, wise cracking computer voice that encourages you, and promises that at the end there will be cake.

At one point, later in the game, in frightening graffiti on the wall the warning is scrawled: THE CAKE IS A LIE

This is exactly how I am feeling this morning.

One of the hardest things about being a writer is that it is a solitary endeavor. I am running a marathon, but there is no one at the finish line waiting with a medal or even a congratulatory bottle of water and a pat on the back for persevering when things got tough and making it to the end anyway.

I finished the project I was working on last night in the wee hours, when everyone else was asleep and I should have been too. I wrote over eleven thousand words this weekend. I completed a whole novel last night! And then I hit save, backed it up in several locations, closed the file and went to sleep.

I woke up this morning to feelings of relief, sadness and disappointment. Relief that it’s done! Sadness that it’s done. And disappointment that it’s done, that I’ve accomplished this great thing and…

An accomplishment like this should be marked with a party. There should be cheering. There should be cake! But there scrawled on the wall in what looks chillingly like blood is the graffiti: THE CAKE IS A LIE.

I went to work. I made the motions of living my life. Like normal. I didn’t even say anything at first. Honestly, I think I was mourning and wanted consolation. Mourning what? Both the loss of something that has consumed me for two and a half months solid and the lack of acknowledgement.

But you haven’t told anyone, you say? Yes, and this is where the tough part comes in, for me at least, being a writer. Everyone wants to be acknowledged. They want their accomplishments to be recognized. But most of us also don’t like to toot our own horn, which is where the crux of the problem comes in.

As a writer, no one is going to know you’ve accomplished this great thing if you don’t tell them, but if you shout it from the rooftops it feels an awful lot like tooting your own horn, like you’re a rooster up there strutting, saying, “Look at me! Look at me!”

I’m learning sometimes it more selfish to keep quiet than to let others share in your successes, to hope someone will look over and see you grinning madly or crying quietly into your Cheerios. So, I say, COCK A DOODLE DOO! Let’s make some damn cake!

 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spark Rizing by Kate Corcino Book Blitz and Giveaway


Book & Author Details:
 
Spark Rising by Kate Corcino
Publication date: December 15th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction

Synopsis:
All that’s required to ignite a revolution is a single spark rising.
Two hundred years after the cataclysm that annihilated fossil fuels, Sparks keep electricity flowing through their control of energy-giving Dust. The Council of Nine rebuilt civilization on the backs of Sparks, offering citizens a comfortable life in a relo-city in exchange for power, particularly over the children able to fuel the future. The strongest of the boys are taken as Wards and raised to become elite agents, the Council’s enforcers and spies. Strong girls—those who could advance the rapidly-evolving matrilineal power—don’t exist. Not according to the Council.
Lena Gracey died as a child, mourned publicly by parents desperate to keep her from the Council. She was raised in hiding until she fled the relo-city for solitary freedom in the desert. Lena lives off the grid, selling her power on the black market.
Agent Alex Reyes was honed into a calculating weapon at the Ward School to do the Council’s dirty work. But Alex lives a double life. He’s leading the next generation of agents in a secret revolution to destroy those in power from within.
The life Lena built to escape her past ends the day Alex arrives looking for a renegade Spark.
 
 
 
Purchase:
Will be found here come release day: Amazon
 
AUTHOR BIO:
Kate Corcino is a reformed shy girl who found her voice (and uses it…a lot). She believes in magic, coffee, Starburst candies, genre fiction, descriptive profanity, and cackling over wine with good friends. A recovering Dr. Pepper addict, she knows the only addiction worth feeding is the one that follows the “click-whooooosh” of a new story settling into her brain.

She also believes in the transformative power of screwing up and second chances. Cheers to works-in-progress of the literary and lifelong variety!

She is currently gearing up for publication of Ignition Point and Spark Rising , the first books in the Progenitor Saga, a near future dystopian adventure series with romantic elements, science, magic, and plenty of action.
 
Author links:
https://twitter.com/katecorcino


Tell us about Spark Rising.
Spark Rising is a post-apocalyptic adventure set in the southwestern United States of the future. It’s the story of Magdalena Gracey, a young woman with the power to create and manipulate the only form of electricity left in the world, and Agent Alejandro Reyes, a man trained from childhood to be an elite soldier for the ruling government. He’s sent to investigate a report of an illegal Spark living in the desert. But Alex has his own agenda. And if the two of them can learn to work together instead of killing each other, they might have a chance at sparking a revolution…and love.
 

What gave you the idea for your main character in Spark Rising?

I’m not sure I ever really have ideas of characters. I sort of get lost in a daydream that just comes to me, and they are there, fully formed. Some are more vocal than others. Some daydreams I jot down. Some I let go. Lena and Alex grabbed hold of me when I was supposed to be writing something else and wouldn’t let me let go—which isn’t surprising, considering the characters of Lena and Alex are two very driven, stubborn, obsessive characters. They wouldn’t let me forget them even if I tried.

Would you say you know your characters well?

 I’d like to think I do, although they do surprise me sometimes. They’ve also been known to fight back. If I’m not true to a character, they stop cooperating and the story flow stops until I get back on track. Alex, my male MC, is a huge pain in the ass and is very, very good at doing this to me (which should surprise no one who reads Spark Rising!).

Where did you get the idea for Spark Rising?

It just came. I actually sat down with an old, unfinished classic fantasy manuscript. I was determined to finish it. But when it came time to write, I found I was jotting notes about a completely different story—it wasn’t even the same genre. Lena and Alex wanted their story told.

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for you?  

Editing. Absolutely. I had done beta rounds. I had revised it five times—heavy revisions where I cut thirty thousand words. I felt pretty confident. Ha HA! My editor, who is amazing, sent me a ten-page email shredding it. Having never been through the process, I was devastated. I printed it out and read it and cried and swore up a storm. And then I put it away for a week. Once I’d calmed down, I was ready to look at it objectively and make my revision list and go through it very methodically. But that first look—oh, that was brutal! It’s also the most important part. You’ve got to have an editor you trust, and one who is willing to make you cry if it means your manuscript is better at the end. Someone who tells you what you want to hear or is afraid to tell you what you need to hear is doing you ZERO favors.

What inspired Spark Rising?

In the days before the story came, I’d seen two sets of photos online. The first was an abandoned town in the desert that was being buried by sand. The second was a series of various city skylines from around the world showing what the night sky would look like if there were no lights, no electricity. I was blown away. Because yes, they’re both gorgeous. But the devastation of that loss of civilization…wow. Even in devastation, there would be beauty so long as we are the kind of people who have the capacity to see it. That’s the big "what if?” What kind of people are able to see the beauty?

Do you see yourself in any of the characters of Spark Rising?  

Hmm. Not much, no. I think Lena has some of my negative qualities—the bossiness, the tendency to jump to conclusions. As her story moves on through the greater arc of the series, I think she’ll reflect a little more of me, as she discovers and fights with her maternal instinct. Alex has my extreme pragmatism and love of profanity, also not necessarily good qualities. Jackson? He has too much light in him to be a reflection of me!

What made you decide to end Spark Rising the way you did?

*laugh* It originally had a very different ending. By the time I'd made other changes that really were very necessary, the ending I wrote originally didn’t work. The ending it has now is actually the third ending written, I think. Those last two chapters changed A LOT.

 
How many books long will the Progenitor Saga be?
Originally, I’d planned five main novel-length books. It may stretch slightly longer, but no more than seven. But they’re long, and it takes a while to write them, so I also plan to release collections of related short stories and novellas in between the novels. The shorts are about secondary characters, or side events, or past events and will all stand alone. The first collection, Ignition Point, is already out. In fact, readers responded so well to one of the characters in Ignition Point that I’ve written him into the second book. So, if you read it…yes, Ghost does return!
 

 
 
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Debt Collector Season 2 by Susan Kaye Quinn Release Day Blitz






Debt Collector
Season Two
Episodes 10-18
Susan Kaye Quinn

Genre: Urban Fantasy with a Cyberpunk Twist

Date of Publication:
Dec 15, 2014

ASIN: B00OF18W50

Number of pages: 500
Word Count: 125,000

Cover Artist: Steven Novak

Book Description:
What's your life worth on the open market?
In this gritty urban fantasy, debt collectors take your life energy and give it to someone more "worthy"... all while paying the price with black marks on their souls.


Wraith is a shadow in the night, haunting the bedrooms of the rich "high potentials" who have stolen life energy from the desperate and dying. The justice and the sweet mercy hit that follow keep her from falling into her own personal abyss.

Her secret nighttime work also keeps her on level for her real mission: carrying on her father's legacy of attempting to bring an end to debt collection as a whole. But when a mysterious debt collector interrupts her in the act and discovers her secret, everything Wraith loves may be destroyed by the one thing she can never fix-- the original sin of being a debt collector herself.

Available at Amazon

Contains mature content and themes.
 
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/0-ngIMiEF1M   
 "Wraith is amazing and just as compelling as Lirium--once again I'm hooked!!"
 "I loved being back in this world! Wraith has captivated me."
OPTIONED FOR VIRTUAL REALITY  BY IMMERSIVE ENTERTAINMENT
 
2014 Semi-Finalist in Science Fiction in the Kindle Book Awards
The nine episodes of Season Two of the Debt Collector serial are collectively 125k words or about 500 pages.
It is recommended that you start with the first season, but each season is a complete story for that debt collector and can serve as an entry point to the series.
There are five planned seasons in the Debt Collector series, the first four each from the perspective of a different debt collector with the fifth season bringing all four together.

READING ORDER

Season One - Lirium - COMPLETE
Episodes 1-9: Delirium, Agony, Ecstasy, Broken, Driven, Fallen, Promise, Ruthless, Passion
Season Two - Wraith
10 - Wraith (10.20)
11 - Specter  (10.27)
12 - Menace (11.3)
13 - Temptation (11.10)
14- Shattered (11.17)
15 - Penance (11.24)
16 - Judgment (12.1)
17- Corruption (12.8)
18- Atonement (12.15)
BOX SET (Vol 10-18) - (12.15)

Excerpt:

My new collection suit weighs less than a shadow on my skin, and my soft-soled boots don’t even whisper as I creep across the thick, yielding carpet of my target’s apartment. With the best bullet-resistant synthetics money can buy, the black curve-hugging suit makes me look more like female-special-forces than someone’s hot date for the night. It raised the bellman’s eyebrows, but an untraceable debit card got me waved through the lobby, no problem. Money buys a lot of things. Access to one of the highest-security luxury buildings in LA. A ninety-fifth-floor apartment high above the smog-soaked city, complete with all the clean air you can breathe. And the no-doubt illegal collection of ivory-handled daggers I passed on the way in. It’s too bad for data-mining mogul Adrien Odel that money can’t buy your way out of a blackened soul.

I know.

I’ve tried.

And tonight I’ve come to collect a debt he doesn’t even think he owes.

Outside the floor-to-ceiling windows of Odel’s apartment, the city is lit up with a nighttime electric haze, the kind that makes it look seedy even in the high-rent district. It’s the perfect backdrop for a collection, and my suit is a black silhouette against it, a hole of death punched in the city’s twinkling lights. The high-tech fabric clings to me like the original sin I can never expiate, the one every debt collector is born with: the ability to deliver death with the slightest touch. We traffic in it, surround ourselves with it, and can never escape it.

Not that I haven’t tried that, too.

But even a short three-week dry spell away from collecting has me needy as all hell. The craving for a life energy hit claws at my back, and every step across the carpet amps up the desire. Even the possibility of Odel pulling a gun and shooting me dead hypes the thrill a little. My palm aches in anticipation—for the justice and the high that comes with it—but I take it slow, watching the placement of my feet and checking the windows. Along one edge, next to a mile-wide screen and some pretentious artwork, there’s a control panel. Only the rich want windows that open in the city, but it’s a bonus for me, especially given the windows face the broad expanse of the skyline and not the high-rise next door.

As I check out the control panel, the high-rise becomes a peep show. A woman’s naked body is pressed against the glass, exposed to the city’s onlookers as a man clutches her bare skin and makes love to her. I’m transfixed by the way they move, skin against skin, without care for the contact or the watchers. In a moment, they’re gone. Maybe reason broke through the passion. Maybe the glass was cold, in spite of the perpetual heat of LA.

Regardless, the image holds me hostage.

Having a lover isn’t something that’s part of my future. Or my present, for that matter. But that doesn’t stop the base need from surging up, usually at the least convenient of times. Then a different image—a cold, pale specter from my past—crawls out of the dark corners of my mind and reminds me I’m not the kind of woman who gets to have a normal life. I’m the kind who takes life and then gives it away. And the ecstasy of that is the closest I’ll ever get to the normal kind again—so it had better be good enough.

I couldn’t stomach even that pleasure for a while, not after what the debt collectors did to my father. I managed a whole three weeks without a single collection. But in the end, it’s the only thing that keeps me stable. And I’ve had a severe lack of stable ever since my father’s death nearly tore down the teetering scaffold of lies that comprises my life. That’s when the abyss reared up and stared me full in the face. Will-power alone wasn’t enough to stop it—the darkness just opened its maw and threatened to swallow me whole. At least that would have put an end the torment… but I couldn’t let the sin of who I am destroy everything my father had worked for. That we had both worked for. So here I am, dressed like a phantom, stalking the rich to give to the poor. With a tremor in my hands that’s more than a little unsettling. For better and worse, it’s the one thing that keeps me out of that dark place and gives me hope that one day I might redeem everything I am and everything I’ve done.


 

 

















About the author:

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy and the Debt Collector serial, as well as other speculative fiction novels and short stories. Her work has appeared in the Synchronic anthology and has been optioned for Virtual Reality by Immersive Entertainment. Her business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist" but she mostly sits around in her PJs in awe that she gets to write full time.
Subscribe to the newsletter for a free short story: http://smarturl.it/SKQnewsletter
More about Sue:

http://smarturl.it/SKQwebsite






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reviews: 34
ratings: 44 (avg rating 3.91)

Chosen - A Children of the Gods Short Story Chosen - A Children of the Gods Short Story
reviews: 4
ratings: 17 (avg rating 3.47)

The Fall The Fall
reviews: 7
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.83)

Monica's bookshelf: read

Darkhouse
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Rebellion
Blood and Feathers
The Rithmatist
Forbidden Blood
Last Blood
Out for Blood
Bad Blood
Flesh and Blood
Blood Rights
Girl Parts


Monica Millard's favorite books »

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