Deadly Ever After

Archive for the month “December, 2014”

What I learned in 2014

Today’s Brew: next to nothing. I had oral surgery yesterday, and my meds aren’t agreeing with me. Most of this was prewritten, but please forgive any whackadoodle typos in this one.

by Kristen

Like I said, I had oral surgery yesterday. I had three teeth that basically needed an overhaul, and I had the last of the hard stuff done yesterday. I’m so glad it’s done. Besides using up the very last drop of my ’14 dental insurance money, I thought it was appropriate. 2014 was about the ugly stuff, and 2015 will be about the pretty stuff. I think that holds true for my publishing career, too.

I had to make some big changes in 2014. I had my hardhat on for much of it, looking at what I had and bringing it to where it needed to be.  Even though I’m in no way an expert on publishing, I learned so much this year. As I was waiting for the procedure to start, I was thinking the tooth analogy worked for my books, too. 2014 was for the ugly stuff, and 2015 is about hitting my stride.

Without further ado….here’s what I learned:

  1. Things in publishing change fast. What might have been tried and true doesn’t work anymore.  What worked in the beginning of the year doesn’t work anymore.  This is what’s going to stay constant: change.  I know a lot of people got burned by Kindle Unlimited. I actually benefitted from it. I wasn’t getting the exposure on the other channels, and even though I did get a lower payout for my full length books, it got them off the virtual shelf and into people’s hands.  As a new writer, that’s what I needed. My full length stuff won’t be in there forever. But I’m going to continue to consider it a tool in my tool box, and try to leverage it so it works.
  2. Writing is the easiest part of the job. For real. My brain supplies me with the stories, and my fingers follow. There’s no rules to the story. I just write. And it’s fun. But then that story needs to be edited and packaged and put out in the world. Putting out a book is like planting a garden. You can’t just forget about it. You need to nurture it to make it grow. I heard a great talk from Courtney Milan at RT, about the phases of being a successful author. I’m somewhere between Phase 1, where I am actively selling every book, and Phase 2, where my books are starting to sell each other.  Getting from Phase 1 to Phase 2 is much harder than writing the book. There’s Phases 3 and 4, but right now, I need to focus on where I am.
  3. You have to spend money to make money. Before you start throwing things at me, hear me out! What did you do before you were a writer? I’m a makeup artist. While that was actually very helpful to me, since I’d already built a career in the arts, a publishing expert it didn’t not make. As an independent author, I pay for editing, cover design, formatting, and publicity. There’s no guarantee I’ll ever see that money back. Tammy Farrell referred to publishing a books as an investment. We need to stop looking at the short game and remember the long game. The books will be available as long as we want to sell them. It’s a business, and you need to treat it as such. Even if you have a publisher, may have to pay for marketing. Your contract may include some marketing, but it may not be enough. Even if you’re going out on your own and contacting bloggers, your time is still an investment. Nothing is free. You have to invest wisely. There’s never any way to tell what’s going to pay off and what won’t.  See #1.
  4. Those who have had success are willing to share. Thank God! So many of those people helped me right my own shaky ship earlier this year. One of the leading voices in makeup business said to us, “you’d never ask someone who’s bankrupt for financial advice, why would you look to someone who’s not successful in your own career for advice?”  Marie Force, Courtney Milan, Zoe York, so many others are putting out some great information on what’s worked for them. I mention Zoe, she’s new to me, but she’s a solid mid list author who is growing. Some of her advice is more tangible for me than what the megastars do.
  5. Publishing is a lot of work! I can sit at my computer from the time that I wake up until the time that I go to bed, and I never get to a point that everything is done. Sure, one project might be complete, but it moves into the next stage, and I start with the next.  It doesn’t feel like work, because most of the time I do it in my jammies. And sometimes I drink. But it’s work.
  6. No two authors will have the same journey. We all have different definitions of what success means. I saw recently someone say no one reads the same book, meaning that our words have a different effect on everyone. That’s so cool! Our stories and schedules are all different. We really are all special snowflakes. Even if you do exactly what another author does, your story and timing is different. Results will vary.
  7. Nobody wants to hear they’re doing it wrong. I made a lot of decisions that were the best ones I could make at the time, and they were God awful. Some people tried to speak up, but again, I thought I’d done all the right things. I brushed them off. Once I was finally ready to listen, I made the changes I needed to. And it was the best thing I ever could have done. We’re not going to get everything write the first time. Some of us are going to fall on our faces pretty spectacularly. I learned so much from the mistakes I made with Because the Night, and I’m a better author for it now. I
  8. Nobody wants to hear they’re doing it wrong, part II. Let’s stop beating up on each other for how we decide to publish. As long as you’re putting the best book you can in the best manner you can, that’s all that matters. A reader shouldn’t know the difference between a self-published book and a traditionally published book. It’s that simple. What I learned in #7 was to make sure the people you ask to work for you are doing the best job they can. For you. That person might do a great job for someone else, but not for you. Stand up for what’s best for you.
  9. Try new things! This is an exciting time to be in publishing. You can be a hybrid author. You can write fan fiction and make a fuckton of money. You can put your books in your own store, or enroll them in Kindle Unlimited. You can write a variety of genres. You can put out as many books as your little fingers can handle typing. Think something is cool? Try it. You might enjoy it.
  10. Writing is the most challenging and rewarding job I’ve ever had. I’ve worked way harder than I expected to, and the journey was nothing like I expected. But I wouldn’t change a thing.
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Julie Takes the Gloves Off For 2015

TODAY’S BREW: Trader Joe’s Winter Blend. I love this stuff.

By Julie

You guys know me pretty well. What you see is what you get here, so if you think you don’t know me, then you haven’t seen anything. In any case here are some solid truths about me that are important these days:

I’m a determined, will-do sonofabitch. Nothing stops me, I don’t make excuses and I make damn sure that I turn every slip-up, every “failure” or rejection into a building block. I make plans, I change them, and I trust my gut. I’m true to me, I believe in myself and I make my own luck. Even when I lose, I win. And I have a helluva time doing it.

I firmly don’t believe in bad days. I’m a resilient motherfucker, and part of that means not getting bogged down by a string of bad moments, but brushing them off and creating the day you want. This also works for week, month, year, life.

If you know me REALLY well, you know that these things weren’t true of me in 2014. This year was a ballbuster. Hardest year of my life. And it beat me down. I’m one that’s quick to say that things can only beat you down if you let them, and more accurately I exemplify it. I’ve had a lot of experiences that change lives, and I’ve made a lot of life changing choices. I NEVER let my circumstances decide my life for me.

Then New Year’s Eve 2013 came. And my husband suddenly didn’t have a job. We already lived pretty goddamn minimally, and were perfectly happy about it. But this? This removed all of our steady income. Not to mention that we’re creatures of routine and habit. We like familiarity around here. Tim had worked at that job down the street from us since we were in high school. Imagine that feeling at 40 and what it does to a person. But as poor as we were, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t love being at home together all the time! The kids, Tim and me? We rarely got irritated by each other, we genuinely enjoyed our time. But it was hard because money and the inevitable depression of unemployment as hard-working people.

Not long after Tim got a new (wonderful for the heart) job, our then 3 year old baby began…. losing himself. WE were losing him. He was always a wild card, earning himself the nickname “Frats” because he was a walking frat party from birth. Without getting too in-depth, his spirit took a turn for violence, debilitating habits that had us walking on eggshells at best, and holding each other sobbing in parking lots at worst. Long, draining story short, we saw (and continue to see) several psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors, finally determining that our boy is not only extremely hyperactive, but has OCD and we need to be on the lookout for bi-polar disorder. Just keeping up with it, the medication, the constant shifting of gears, the effect of changing lots of rules in a house of routine and trying to be fair, nurturing, FUN, and a warrior for my kids’ health while one thrived and grew and the other struggled…. it tore me to shreds. A million times over. The whole time I was virtually isolated due to the new work schedule and my exhaustion. A dark night of the soul indeed.

The hits just kept coming, all year long, one after the other right up until this very week when I found out I have a large fibroid and some other vascular growth to be meddled with.

All of this put my writing and editing jobs into a flummox, and that last of my very own routines was demolished. The thing that was all my own that kept me sane, gone. Sure, RUNNING AWAY came out, and I’m grateful for that, but I wasn’t able to give it the attention it deserves upon publication, and the new book I’m working on has been recently shelved just to give myself a break. (Not for long. I start work again second week of January, so Jolene Haley, don’t freak out. THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS is still very much alive.) In other book news, THE HARPY, which was being pitched to traditional publishers by my agent was determined overall to be too dangerous, too risky, too unorthodox and too “abrasive.” Rejections rolled in. But that is a story for another post.

In any case, this post for as little as it touches on our troubles this year, would have had me shuddering and scream-crying even a couple of weeks ago. Not now.

We were determined to give my boys an amazing Christmas. Sam, with all of the hard work he put in this year as just a baby, to simply be happy with himself deserved everything in the world for all his incredible progress. Doctors are shocked that he is so fantastic in public, so wonderful with other kids, so communicative and incredible in his first year of preschool because it must be exhausting for him. This baby tries so hard, most adults will never know how to control their emotions the way this child does. In the meantime, Bennett at 7 years old, is being asked to bend the rules over and over for his brother. He sacrifices, sees violence that he shouldn’t, and yet is happiest when he’s at home. He won an academic achievement award at school, not to mention countless little good behavior tickets from teachers. He’s sensitive, thoughtful, kind, hilarious, and loves his little brother more than I have ever seen any kid love their sibling. He taught him how to write, for chrissakes.

So these kids get ALL THE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. Because if there’s one way to reward a kid for a great year, it’s that way. Simple. Fun. The final pat on the back of the year. Not to mention that our family was all together, when work has not permitted it as much, and we were so happy. Best Christmas ever.

I wanted a Christmas that kicked 2014 in the ass and said, “YOU’RE OVER. YOU CAN GO NOW.” It was my favorite Christmas ever, and Christmas vacation is still as amazing as the days leading up to it. We’re so happy. That’s all I want.

2014 knocked me to the ground and kicked me over and over. I was defensive. There was no plan, only reaction. There was little personal victory because I was always just trying to get up on my knees again.

Those days are over. I’m a warrior at heart, always have been. Any warrior worth his armor takes serious beating before their greatest victory.

Watch out, 2015. I’m coming for you.

8 Things You Need To Know About Character Arcs

THIS is the way to know the writing rules and break them. It’s not a matter of ignoring what makes a story work…. it’s twisting it to make the rules work for your story.

MOON IN GEMINI

Jaime-Lannister1. Character arcs are not 100% necessary. I’m going to get this out of the way first thing.

This argument is made all the time, and there’s some truth to it. There are some very successful characters that never have a character arc. James Bond is the one most mentioned. While he was retooled somewhat when Daniel Craig took over the role in the movies, the character has never undergone a significant arc. Miss Marple never has an arc, or Hercule Poirot, or Stephanie Plum.

See a pattern here? They’re all characters in a long-running series of stand-alone books. While there are series characters that have arcs (I would argue Indiana Jones is an example) most don’t have them. Mainly because having the characters change would disrupt the series too much.

2. However, not giving your character one can simply be laziness on your part. Just because there are…

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Holiday Hangover Giveaway!

Elizabeth Lee is hosting a giveaway!  Enter to win some great ebooks, including Spend the Night by Elizabeth Lee, Wynn in Doubt by Emily Hemmer, a ebook of your choice from M. Mabie and Casey Quinn, and Secondhand Heart!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some Bargains To Help You Fill Your New Kindle

Today’s Brew: I learned today that Cinnabon’s cinnamon bun K cups are exceptionally delicious.

by Kristen

Yay! Santa brought you a new ereader!  Let’s fill that bitch up!  I know a lot of people are running sales this week, so I wanted to bring your attention to some great reads. This is a great chance to catch up on your reading and try out some new to you authors.

If you find something you love, tell a friend. Hell, tell all your friends. (Do you know how many people I’ve convinced to read Poison Princess by Kresley Cole?  I’ve sold it to random shoppers in Barnes and Noble. I don’t work there. Read it. No one is sorry yet. #teamjackson, yo.)  And nothing says love like leaving a review. I know it can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be a magazine quality piece. Just a sentence or two on what you think is fine.

Prices are accurate as of posting the evening of 12.25.14, even if they’ve gone up by the time you have a chance to read this, check these books out:

Julie’s Shinigami books are both on sale for 99 cents:

Running Home
Running Away

A little me time. The Night Songs Collection 1-3 Box Set will be 3.99 through December 31, 2014.  Not ready to take a bite (see what I did there?) out of three books? Start slow, they’ll be around forever. (I’m hysterical tonight).  Because the Night is 99 cents.

Kat Daemon’s Taming Darkness is 99 cents.

Kaira Rouda’s In the Mirror is 99 cents, and A Mother’s Day is FREE!

All of S.P. Cervantes’ books are 99 cents right now, including the just released His Jar of Hearts.

The Request by Marquita Valentine is FREE!

Karen Erickson’s Wicked Weekend is FREE! Vegas in the house!

Enjoy these books!

Thank YOU!

Today’s Brew: Did you see that white chocolate peppermint martini I posted on Facebook? Come to Mama.

by Kristen

thank-you-birds-thumb
Many of you are starting the Christmas race today: getting the rest of the presents wrapped, or hitting the road, or welcoming the family. I’m winding things down, putting on my favorite jammies, and getting psyched about twenty-four hours of A Christmas Story. I’ll be heading out to see some friends later.
I thought today would be the perfect chance to give my team a huge shout out. They might call it self-publishing, but that’s crap. It takes a village to get a book ready for the public.
Julie Hutchings is my hetrosexual life partner, bird auntie extraordinaire, writing partner, and editor. Thank you for thinking most of my whackadoodle ideas deserve to be brought to life. I wouldn’t have started this journey without you.
Autumn Hull helped me turn the ship around when it was headed straight for the Bermuda Triangle. Thank you for your guidance, advice, and telling it like it is when it’s not pretty. Then helping me make it beautiful.
Tammy, Kat, and P.J. for always being there to lend an ear for the good, bad, and the bizarre. I love growing on this journey with you guys.
Hang Le and Nathalia Suellen for creating beautiful covers that tell my story. A picture is truly worth 1000 words. Also a shout out to selfpubbookcovers.com for having good looking premade material when I put myself on these crazy timelines.
EM Tippetts and Cait Peterson for making the inside of my books as beautiful as the outside.
Tish Thawer for coming up to me at ARC Phoenix like you just knew we were meant to be friends before we’d even said a word to one another.
To all the self-published authors at conferences and online who opened my eyes to this path. You were all so generous with what worked for you and ways to make my books better. You made the decision less scary, more successful, and I’m proud to follow in your footsteps. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with other authors. Together we can all be stronger.
Candice Montgomery, Eva Saur, and Jessica Evans for being kick ass early readers. I plan to keep you nice and busy next year, too. 🙂
All the bloggers who helped spread the word about my books! There are too many to list here…but special shout out to Jolene Haley, Kristen Jett, Melissa Petreshock, Jen Streck, and Lydia Aswolf.
Every single one of my friends for listening to me prattle on endlessly about my books, and for chatting about my characters like they’re real people.
Most importantly, to everyone who saw one of my books and thought it was worth reading. That still doesn’t even seem real. Some really frigging amazing things happened this year and none of it would have been possible without you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I plan on keeping you all busy in 2015 as well.
Happy Holidays and much love from me, Callie, Tristan, Blade, Melanie, Ryder, Cam, Daisy, Kyndra, Aidan, Daphne, Leo, Chloe, and Cane. Cheers!
christmas

Publishing Books Is Like Investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Love this analogy. So much.

Tammy Farrell

Publishing books is like investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Of course, we all wish it was. It would be nice to write your debut novel, see it published, and suddenly it becomes an overnight success, but chances are that’s not going to happen.

Hopefully, what really happens is that you write a book, gain some fans, make some sales, and write another book.

Each book you write is an investment in your future, and your career. When you save for retirement, do you put $100 on a stock and hope it grows to a million? Noooo. You save over time, build on what you have, and diversify your portfolio.

Publishing books is very similar. You have to keep writing books, keeping depositing into your writing portfolio, and keep growing your audience.

I realized this when I released the first two novellas in my Highborn Chroniclesa few months ago…

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The Night Songs Collection 1-3 Box Set is Now Available!

Today’s Brew: Hook up an IV of coffee and spike that bitch. Today’s my last day on the movie I’ve been working on, and from the looks of the scene list, it may be the longest day in movie making history. That’s fine, we’re having a party.

by Kristen

You know what is the gift that keeps on giving? Get your mind out of the gutters. It’s vampires. Who else can give you the gift of eternal life?  If you’re going to live forever, you’re going to need something to read. A lot of something. So I would love to offer you the first three books in The Night Songs Collection. It’s like a one way ticket to Las Vegas without the hangover, or the goons chasing after after you to collect on your gambling debts.  It’s debauchery in the comfort of your own home.

Because the Night, Night Moves, and We Own the Night all available in one pretty package!

Because the Night, Night Moves, and We Own the Night all available in one pretty package!

It’s only 3.99 until 12.31.14! And you can get your very own copy here. Oh, and another thing, while we’re talking about gifts…you can buy an ebook as a gift on Kindle and have it delivered whenever you want. There’s eight days of Hanukkah, twelve days of Christmas…and at least a handful of days of Festivus.

This is what you get. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Because the Night:
Immortal Dilemma is the hottest band in the Las Vegas vampire rock scene. They draw insatiable fans from around the globe, thanks to a supernatural attraction called Bloodlust. Tristan craved such an opportunity to fill his empty mortal life, and now he has eternity to earn his place along the legends of rock n roll debauchery.

Callie always feared that Tristan’s excesses would get him into trouble, but she never thought they’d lead him to immortality. To reconnect with him, she must weave her way through a world not only she had no idea existed, but does not welcome her.

Blade turned down a spot in Immortal Dilemma after learning what he must sacrifice for that lifestyle. He finds Callie a refreshing change from the girls in the vampire rock scene. When Callie drags Blade back into the world of Immortal Dilemma, his resistance drives her into the waiting arms of Tristan, who shows her the true meaning of Bloodlust.

But the very things that Callie fights so hard to save are the very things that fight to destroy her.

Night Moves:
Melanie Vaughn’s job ruined everything. Her social life, nonexistent. Her relationship with her boyfriend, a hostile roommate situation. She resolves to fix everything one snowy afternoon, but instead comes home to discover her boyfriend is already exploring other options. Blonder, bustier options. Rage drives Melanie to do the unthinkable.

When Soul Divider was on the top of the world, so was Ryder Maddox. When the band faded into obscurity, Ryder’s luck plummeted with it. In a last ditch effort to rekindle the band’s heyday, Soul Divider teams up with powerful vampire clan leader, Talis de Rancourt. In return for her services, the band pays the ultimate price for never ending fame.

Now on the run, Melanie meets Ryder in a middle of nowhere hotel. She never expected her teenage rock star crush to be as lost and as in need of a companion as she is. Their connection is all consuming, even before they find they share another kinship: murder.

The newly turned vampires in Soul Divider still have a lot to learn. The police and public begin to connect the girls that go missing or die in sync with the band’s tour schedule. Back at home, clues are also adding up against Melanie as well. Between constant media coverage and unrelenting attention from the authorities, Melanie and Ryder find themselves in uncharted territory.

We Own The Night:
Callie Chabot would stop at nothing to save her ex-boyfriend Blade Bennett from the clutches of vampire clan leader Talis de Rancourt, even if means becoming immortal herself. What she doesn’t know is that Blade has already defeated Talis, and he’s waiting for Callie in the afterlife.

Now Callie only has her creator, Tristan Trevosier, to turn to for guidance. But he’s too wrapped up in the debauchery of the Las Vegas rock scene to give a damn about the particulars of being undead. That’s enough to drive Callie crazy on its own, but female vampires are automatic clan leaders.

Not only does Callie have no idea how to wrangle a vampire clan, but her would-be followers have more to gain from her failure. They instead choose to follow Blade–and he’s hell-bent on making Callie pay for her bad decisions. Since he took out the existing clan leader, that automatically puts him at the helm of what should be Callie’s new clan.

That’s when seasoned rogue vampire, Cash Logan, shows up, shrouded in magic and mystery. No one is sure which side Cash is on, but Callie needs to take a chance on the one vampire who is willing to give her the answers she needs, no matter how dark and frightening they may be. Callie must trust her instincts and form alliances that may backfire. Cash shows Callie that playing nice is no longer an option, and that fixing her wrongs won’t always make everything right.

To take control of herr clan, Callie must look to her rival to see exactly what makes her a leader.

THE BLOOD TALISMAN Giveaway!

TODAY’S BREW: Trader Joe’s 4 pack sampler. All four. Shut up.

By Julie

It’s gifty time, Christmas fans. Start with this fresh new werewolf fantasy.

The Blood Talisman cover

Alex Jacobs gets bitten by a werewolf, and that’s only the beginning of his problems. When his wife is kidnapped and turned into someone he doesn’t recognize anymore, he not only struggles with letting her go but, also with saving her life.  Selene is a powerful witch that not only teaches Alex the ways of the wolf but, also teaches him about restraint and purpose. Her shy innocence quickly attracts him to her and he struggles with being torn between two women. Their feelings for each other are constantly put to the test as a battle for the blood talisman, the key to immortality, is fought for power to some and a way to live forever for others. It is quickly learned that immortality comes at a price to all of humanity.

WELL OF COURSE WE’RE DOING A GIVEAWAY FOR IT:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YTdmM2RlYjFhMDQ0NmM1YWQxNjA5MTk3ZGNiYTk3OjY=/

 But if you don’t win, GO GET IT HERE:
AMAZON
Or for chrissakes, add it on Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22490952-the-blood-talisman

THIS IS KIM, SHE WROTE IT:

Kim's headshot

 

About Kim:

Kim Culpepper is a horror lover! She is the author of The Blood Talisman, several short stories, and also runs Dark Child Create, a company the designs custom book covers. Her work has been published in Sanitarium Magazine, The Opening Line Literary Zine, and more.

 

Kim is a native of Colombus, Mississippi where she lives with her wonderful husband, two beautiful kids, and two mischievous cats.  Most of her writing is based in the south because she enjoys writing characters with accents and the South has plenty of people to inspire that.

 

Kim on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kculpepper1

Kim’s Blog: http://www.kjculpepper.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kim.culpepper.3

Kim on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7957042.Kim_Culpepper

 

Join the book buzz using hashtag #BloodTalisman

 

 

Excerpt from Kat Daemon’s KILLING DARKNESS

Today’s brew: I’m pretty much about to take a coffee bubble bath

by Kristen

Kat Daemon’s decided to take on the biggest, baddest villain of all. Lucifer. If anyone has a story to tell, it’s this guy. Anyone who can run Hell as long as he had is someone worth having a beer with, and definitely reading about. KILLING DARKNESS is the second book in the series, and this story features Brielle, his daughter.  Here’s the blurb:

Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Brielle, born of a mortal-immortal union between a human mother and the devil Himself, is prophesied to be the one capable of turning the tide in the brewing apocalypse.

As Brielle’s thirtieth birthday draws near, she strikes a deal with the devil and sets out on a journey of self discovery. In an attempt to comprehend what it means to be fully human, Brielle finds herself at the door of her therapist, Adam. Blurring relationship lines and questioning everything, she quickly learns that humanity, vulnerability, and love are things she isn’t prepared to handle. Distancing herself, she finds shelter in her father’s arms once more.

 Two worlds are about to collide…

When the archangel Michael suddenly takes a deep interest in Brielle, Lucifer begins to understand that his greatest opponent is curious about more than just her choice. Michael’s fall will be Lucifer’s rise and only Brielle holds the key to making it happen.

With a human, an angel, and a demon all tearing at her heart, Brielle realizes it’s time to decide if her loyalties lie with Michael in Heaven or her father in Hell.

KillingDarknessCoverReveal

Pick up your copy on Amazon and keeping reading for an excerpt!

“Venti iced coffee, sweetened with room,” I said to the barista who marked up my plastic cup with a black marker.

“It’s thirty degrees outside. Wouldn’t you prefer something a little warmer?”

I jumped as Lucas’ rich voice buzzed in my ear. You would think by now I would be used to him appearing out of nowhere. He turned his attention to the barista. “Let’s see… I’ll take a cappuccino, hot, with an extra shot of espresso,” he glanced down at the barista’s name tag, “thanks, Lexi.” He threw her a flirtatious wink.

I watched as the girl swept a loose brown bang behind her ear, unable to hide her smile or the blush that blossomed in her cheeks.

“Um… name? For the cup?” The girl’s blush deepened. She was probably in her early twenties, the same age my mother was when Lucas had worked his magic on her.

“Darth Vader and Princess Leah,” I snapped, tossing down a twenty and pulling my ever so charming father over to the coffee bar. “What are you doing here?” I groaned.

“Coffee. Same as you.”

“You’re so difficult sometimes.”

“I could say the same of you. You’ve been very neglectful at work lately, leaving early every day.”

“You know what I’m doing.”

“I do know, that doesn’t mean I approve of it.”

“I think I’m a little old to be seeking your approval.”

“Yet you do, desperately. So, let me in. Why is it so important that this Adam fellow knows what you are?”

I sighed, it didn’t matter if I told him a lie. He already knew my thoughts. He was being courteous in allowing me to tell him first. “Mom knew about you.”

“Different situation entirely, and I had no intention to ever tell her, circumstances just unraveled a bit.”

“You mean Michael ratted on you.”

“If that’s the version you choose to believe.”

“But eventually, she did know. She knew, and she accepted you. I’d like to know one person, just one, knows what I am before I change for good.”

The moment was broken by the barista placing our drinks in front of us, along with my change. Tossing the bills and coins into the tip jar, I noticed on my father’s cup she had written a number and drawn a heart. What a fool. Heavily, I walked with my drink over to the counter and added some half and half. Watching the cream swirl into the deep brown liquid was like watching a magician. It distracted me, but only for a moment.

“Brielle.” Lucas locked his long fingers around my wrist.

I looked up into his face, a beautiful man, not a day older than thirty-five looked back. Jet black hair, warm creamy skin. With the exception of the eye color, we looked like siblings. I wondered then, would I ever appear older than my father? The thought was startling. Lucas squeezed harder to bring me back to reality.

“Just show him who you are.” His blue eyes glistened with what I wanted to believe was understanding.

“I’ve already shown him how I can read minds. He dismissed it.”

“You need to be bolder.”

“What would you have me do? Slice up my skin and show him how fast I can heal? I don’t think I have a patch left for that circus trick.”

Lucas rubbed a thumb over the scar on my wrist. My bottom lip quivered in response. I would not cry in front of him. He hated when I appeared weak. As much as I wanted to blame him for my scars, they were mine and mine alone.

“All right Brielle, I think you can handle a little more power.” He held up the keys to my Lexus. “Take your doctor for a ride.”

About Kat Daemon

kat-daemon-1Kat Daemon grew up in New York where her imagination always seemed to get the best of her. When she’s not hanging with demons, she’s usually armed with a strong cup of coffee and dreaming up her next tormented character. She is the author of the The Darkness Saga and The Blood Clan Chronicles.

 

You can find out more about Kat and her books at www.katdaemon.com

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