Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Melanie”

Happy Book Birthday, We Own the Night

Today’s Brew: Mimosas

by Kristen

Please join me in welcoming WE OWN THE NIGHT to the Night Songs family!  Callie and Tristan are back to resolve the issues they created in Because the Night, and Melanie and Ryder are joining forces with the Las Vegas crew, so to speak.  We even have a happily ever afterlife.

While the series will continue, WE OWN THE NIGHT wraps up this particular story line.  That doesn’t mean that these characters are done forever, they’ll just have fresh issues to deal with in the future.

We-Own-the-Night-print-FOR-WEB

 

 

AMAZON    iTUNES

EXCERPT

I heard the door open softly, but I didn’t turn towards Tristan. He slipped under the blankets and pressed his body against me, draping his arm around my stomach. I didn’t say anything, but I snuggled against him.

“So many nights, I carried you in here and watched you sleep until I almost burned myself with the sunrise.” He murmured, playing with a curl of my hair. “I miss that.”

“That feels good,” I said softly. “I used to hate it when I woke up in here, alone. Now this is where I come to get away from you.”

“There are things I can’t explain to you about this world, but you’ll understand it once it happens to you,” Tristan continued twirling my hair between his fingers, and I wrestled with consciousness. “I know it drives you crazy.”

I turned towards him, resting my head in the nook on his shoulder. “What do you know about Cash?”

“Not much.”

Shouldn’t Tristan know something about the other vampires in town? Maybe that was asking too much. It’s not like they handed out an updated directory every year. “Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing?”

“I’m sure we’re going to find out.” Something about the way he said it, he seemed a million miles away.

Before I had a chance to ask anything else about Cash, our lips met and we were speaking a whole other language. Tristan pulled me in close, his fingers so tangled in my hair I thought we may have to stay like this forever. My hands found their way down to his ass, his hips grinding against me in a way there was no question what he was thinking about.

I couldn’t think anymore tonight. And I just didn’t care.

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The Failure of Fear

Today’s Brew: It’s snowing, so I decided not to go to yoga. But I’m out of creamer, so now I have to leave the house.

by Kristen

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Sometimes I don’t find inspiration, inspiration finds me. Last spring, I’d finished the rewrite of Because the Night. The book you have in your hot little hands was originally two books. I’d torn them apart, and it changed the tone of the series. It was my first major revision, and even though I was much happier with the new book than what I’d started with, learning how to really put a book together exhausted my soul.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write next. Did I want to do jump right into the sequel? Or did I want to give Callie and company a break? The answer, in Night Moves, wound up being both.

Melanie introduced herself to me in a short story. Someone just out of college, someone who thinks she’s doing all the right things. She’s got the job, she’s making good money, she’s got a boyfriend. If Melanie was your friend of Facebook, she could probably fool you into thinking she had her shit together. But like most Facebook statuses, that would be a lie. Like so many other people in America, her job became an infestation that took over everything. All she did was work and it pulled her away from the person she used to be. She knew it was happening, but she surrounded herself with people who accepted less than they wanted or deserved in life, and she begrudgingly accepted it as something that happened when someone became An Adult.

Her boyfriend knew better, and took matters into his own hands. And so the adventure known as Night Moves begins.

I can empathize with Melanie. Of course, I created her. But when I was in my early twenties, I had one of those jobs. It didn’t take over my life, but it sucked my soul. I worked in a bank. I was a teller. I may have mentioned before that numbers feel like rubber bands squeezing my brain, so working with other people’s money and numbers all day long was extremely stressful for me. But that wasn’t really the worst part of it. The people I worked with were all lovely…

You can feel the but coming, can’t you?

Most of them had worked in that local bank all of their lives. They had wonderful families and kids, and I’m sure most of them were really happy. But I noticed a pattern. Everyone was watching the clock, waiting for five o’clock, waiting for Saturday, waiting for their two weeks vacation so they could go to Aruba. They were always waiting for something.

I felt like a bull in a china shop. I needed more. In that environment, I began to think it wasn’t possible. I remember actually having the thought, “Well, I guess dreams don’t come true.”

I’ve fallen on my face a lot in life, I’ve made mistakes. But that thought haunts me like a nightmare. I was trying to convince myself to settle for something I knew was wrong for me.

Meanwhile, on my days off I was going to concerts all over the Eastern seaboard. I needed that extreme opposite  in my life to feel alive. Some days I drove straight home from wherever the show was and wait straight to work, only stopping home to shower and put on my bank teller uniform.

Fun Fact: I used to wear combat boots to work at the bank.

So why the hell didn’t I say screw this, I’m out of here? I was afraid.

I’d convinced myself that no other job was going to be better than the one I already had. I figured it was better to stick with the devil I knew. I stayed there for five years.  I had to actually work up the courage to leave that job. I didn’t do anything spectacular, I went back to school and got a part time job at Piercing Pagoda. But the world didn’t end, and I was much happier.

When I tell that story, it doesn’t even feel like I’m talking about me anymore. Sure, sometimes I’m afraid of change. But I’m way more afraid of missing out on what life has to offer. I don’t ever want to be simply waiting for things to happen, like my two weeks vacation, and not be able to enjoy the moment.

When I put Melanie in the worst case scenario of that situation, I wanted to see what she’d do. And then I kept asking What If. She takes chances, she feels alive. She has to learn who she is again.

The fear of failure can be exactly what hold us back from getting what we want.

Night Moves–Coming Soon!!

Today’s Brew: Might as well face it, I’m addicted to Blueberry.

by Kristen

I don’t know if other authors feel like this, but I feel like once I enter final mode on a book, it feels like I’ll be working on the book FOREVER. Tiny little things that need attention. Big burps I didn’t expect to have to fix. Reading the book over and over until I can’t even look at it anymore. Feeling like it’s never going to be done.

I just finished this process for the follow up to Because the Night, Night Moves. This book was an easy second child for much of the writing and editing process. I should have known. No one’s second child is easy.

Until I thought it was done. I wound up going through a whole round of edits I didn’t think I’d be doing.  This time, I got the added joy of technical difficulties. We lost half a round of edits and my computer decided not to like it’s touch pad anymore. But all the extra work is definitely worth it. I want to make sure my characters are all putting their best foot forward for your enjoyment.

So let me tell you a little about Night Moves. I’m excited about this book. You’re going to meet a new main character, Melanie, and a new band, Soul Divider. Night Moves takes place pretty much at the same time as Because the Night. Soul Divider is part of the same clan as Immortal Dilemma. Because of that, you’ll get to see the Because the Night crew from a whole new perspective. Soul Divider is on tour for much of the book, but they settle in Vegas. I don’t want to tell you too much, of course, because I want you to read and enjoy for yourself.

Do you need to catch up on the series? Get Because the Night!
Want to participate in the cover reveal of Night Moves?  Click here!

But here’s a little sneak peak:

“What the hell is she doing here?” Drake Bonham’s words alarmed me, waking me up better than any cup of coffee could at four in the morning. I tried to hide my shock and act as nonchalant as possible.

Did I really want to explain what I was doing here? As much as I wanted a hole in the head.

I let Ryder take the lead.

“She’s coming with us.” Ryder didn’t look at Drake when he spoke, unaffected by the tone of his inquisition. His eyes lost in the shadow of the bill of his baseball cap, he continued playing with his phone. I stood nervously next to him as he perched on his suitcase. I wanted desperately to reach out to him for some sort of comfort. I didn’t, in fear that Drake would swat my hand like an old nun with a ruler.

“No. Maddox, you know the rules. You double bag it and forget about the chicks when you leave town.” In Drake’s eyes, I was less important than luggage. I wondered about all the girls who followed the band around, hoping for a second of Drake’s attention would feel listening to him right now, talking about me like I was some cheap souvenir.

Ryder sighed and shoved his phone in the pocket of his motorcycle jacket. “I’ve had enough of the rules. They’ve already cost me my kids and marriage. How much more do you expect me to give up for your band? She’s coming with us.”

“That’s right. My band. As your boss, I’m telling you we don’t need to be transporting groupies all over the country.”

“Don’t worry, she won’t cost you a cent. I’ll take care of her out of my per diem.”

“She’s not coming.”

“Either she comes with us, or I stay here with her.” The tension in the room was electric as Ryder and Drake glared at each other, almost willing each other into a full blown fist fight. The other members of the band hardly reacted, like this was a regular occurrence. Great.

Was I willing to destroy any more lives to enter some sort of parallel witness protection plan universe?

I was still recovering from the shock of learning that Drake regarded the other members of the band like bad children who couldn’t think for themselves. If it wasn’t for Ryder, Drake wouldn’t have ever written all of those songs, or had the success he had enjoyed.

No wonder I always liked Ryder better. I always thought Drake was a pompous ass. What had Erin seen in him?

Even a pretty face couldn’t excuse all that ugly.

I put my hand on Ryder’s shoulder. “Listen, I don’t want to cause any trouble. I can meet you there instead.” It might have been a good idea anyway. Otherwise, my car would be left in the parking lot and I’d have no way to get home from wherever they left me.

Like I could ever go home again.

“No. It’s no trouble at all. I want you to come with me.” He looked up at me but didn’t smile.

I could feel the steam rolling off of Drake as he crossed his arms in front of his chest from the corner of my eye. I didn’t dare make eye contact with him, lest he incinerate me with his glare. “It’s cool, I don’t want to cost you your job or anything.”

Drake scoffed, but we both ignored him.

“You won’t. If you’re going to hang around with me, baby, you need to get used to Drake’s outbursts.” Finally the corners of Ryder’s mouth turned upward. I nodded and smiled, sneaking a look at Drake. He rolled his eyes and shook his head.

An awkward silence spread over the lobby as we waited to board the bus. I tried to distract myself by looking at my phone. Friends back home were wondering how Jamie and I were faring during the storm, with some even asking if we needed anything. A friend with electricity and heat offered her house if the cold was too much to handle. All the kindness overwhelmed me. I could probably still feign being a power outage victim; it bought me some time before I had to start answering their questions.

How long would it take before someone started looking for us because we didn’t answer them? How long before Angela’s family started searching for her, if not already?

I attempted to focus, hard, on how excited I should be to be going on tour with my favorite band. But all I could see was Angela’s two little girls.

I focused my thoughts again. I’d never been on a tour bus before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. We boarded a small kitchen area first, and rows of bunks eerily stacked like coffins, filled the middle.

“This is home.” Ryder stopped at the top bunk off to the right side. He graciously took my bag and slung it up on the bed. “The lounge area is in back, and the bathroom is right here.” He pointed to a door at the entrance to the living area. “You know the rules of the bus, right?”

“No. What rules?” What I thought would be a party bus was turning into a boarding school on wheels.

Ryder chuckled and blushed. “I can’t believe I’m saying this to a lady. Serious business, if you know what I mean, goes in a bag and gets thrown out the window.”

I burst out laughing. “Why on earth would you do that?”

“You don’t want to be traveling on a rolling cow patty.”

“Oh my God.” I pictured myself throwing a bag of crap out of the window onto the side of the road. “That’s so gross. Funny, but gross.”

“That’s kind of what life is like on the road.” Adam, the drummer, piped in as he put his stuff in the bunk below us. “Funny, but gross.”

“I wouldn’t expect much else from five guys living on a bus.” I smiled at him. He winked at me and headed back toward the lounge.

Speaking of Drake, where was he? “There are only four bunks and there are five of you.” I did a head count while looking at Ryder. “Where does Drake sleep?”

“He has his own bus.”

“What? Are you kidding? He’s too good to travel with you guys?” And he was concerned about me costing too much money? Little did he know I could more than pay my own way. And the bastard had his own bus.

“Something like that.” Ryder shrugged.

Drake was obviously a sore subject. I needed to stop pouring salt on the wound. Time to switch gears. “So what happens on this bus?”

“Oh you know, a little of this, a little of that.” Ryder smiled, leaning against the bunks, making his black T shirt ride up a little on his stomach, and exposing the line of hair that started at his belly button disappeared into his jeans. I forced myself to tear my eyes away.

“Do the mice play while the cat is away?” I traced my finger along his jawbone.

“They do.” He grabbed my hand, putting my finger into his mouth to suck on it. He had some crazy sharp teeth. I thought I had imagined it while we were in bed together, but now it felt like he practically had fangs. I’d never noticed that before. And believe me, I’d spent a lot of time looking at Ryder Maddox in my life.

“Even if it’s against the rules?” I could barely manage the words as Ryder’s lips made their way down my arm, his eyes never leaving mine.

“Especially if it’s against the rules.” He pulled me in close, nuzzling my neck.

“Jesus, if you two are going to fuck, at least come to the common area so we can enjoy the show!” A thick Scottish accent jeered from the couch. Thomas, the bassist who replaced Chaz, had already cracked into a beer and had a game controller in his lap. “I’d rather watch you, lovie, than fight these bloody dragons for the thousandth time.”

“She’s not that kind of girl, Tommy.” Ryder pulled away, looking annoyed.

“They’re all that kind of girl, mate.”

Ryder rolled his eyes and smiled at me, shaking his head. “That’s why your credit card is maxed out on porn. You need to treat a girl like a lady to get them to stick around.” He turned back at me and pulled my face towards his. “I’m ready for a private viewing.”

Nothing is less sexy than having to climb a ladder into a bunk bed. Well, maybe slightly less sexy is having to crawl across said bunk on my hands and knees, ass high in the air. There wasn’t much room between the mattress and ceiling. I couldn’t sit up completely and I stretched out best I could, giving Ryder enough room to join me in the bunk. His body filled the space, making me claustrophobic. Behind the privacy curtain, the small space was pitch dark, almost airless.

I closed my eyes to regain my bearings, concentrating on Ryder’s hands making their way down my body, under my shirt. I hadn’t bothered with a bra in the early morning hour. I let my mind wander a bit, away from this tiny space as his fingers softly tickled my stomach, and caressed my breasts. The soft movements combined with the whir of the bus lulled me to sleep.

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction, So I Use It As Inspiration

Today’s Brew:  Raspberry Chocolate Truffle

by Kristen

Nothing we write about is original. We just have to put an original spin on it.  This includes our characters.  If we’re writing about people, not aliens from another planet, we need to pull from human characteristics.  The best way to do that is experience, observation, and good ol’ people watching.

In Night Moves, I based all my characters on people I knew.  I might have combined characteristics of more than one person into a character, but it’s pretty close to the truth.  This is true for the rock stars and the fetish model.  When I brought this up in my Lydia’s Literary Lowdown interview, someone said they wouldn’t want to find out they were someone else’s “fiction.”

This took me by surprise.

How many times, as writers, have people asked you to put them in the next book?  And as we all know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

People want to read real characters.  I’ve lived an odd life, and I am very open minded.  I figure the best way to make my characters as three dimensional as possible is to draw from the people I’ve met throughout my life.  I’m very equal opportunity with my characters.  I don’t judge them for what they do.  If they’re bitches or assholes, it is independent of their occupation.

If you’re wondering which character caused the controversy, it was Erin, my fetish model.  Erin is strong and confident about what she does.  I enjoyed writing her tremendously.  I’ve mentioned Erin to my friends who are fetish models, and they loved the idea.  I pulled all of her exploits directly from what they do.

What in the hell was that about? Trixie Temptation?” I practically shrieked.

Shh!” Now it was Erin’s turn to look annoyed. “That’s my stage name.”

Keep talking.”

I’m a traveling model.” Erin explained, looking a little nervous in her reveal. “It’s really the only way I can support myself while I’m out on the road.”

What kind of model?” Erin was just a little bit of a thing with a nose piercing, a pink streak in her hair, and several tattoos. Pretty, definitely, but not in an America’s Next Top Model sort of way.

I do fetish shoots. Artistic Nudes. That sort of stuff.” She said casually. She had a way of dismissing anything anyone else would consider a bombshell.

Erin! That sounds like porn!” I had to put all my energy into keeping my voice down. It was hard. This was just too much.

It’s not! Nobody is putting anything in me. I call the shots, and I know my limits. I probably make more money than you do. I didn’t expect you to judge me, Mel.”

Now I felt bad. “I’m not, it’s just I hate to think of you selling your body so you can support your Drake habit. I mean, this guy’s got more money than God, you’d think he wouldn’t want you doing that.”

It was his idea.” Erin said quietly as she finished off her third cup of coffee. “And face it, Melanie, we’re all selling ourselves in some way.”

–Melanie and Erin in Night Moves

Meet Melanie: Introducing Night Moves

Today’s Brew: Absinthe or something equally poser goth. It’s Marilyn Manson night.

by Kristen

I’ve been working on the second book in the Night Songs Collection, Night Moves.  We meet another muse, Melanie, and eventually, another band, Soul Divider.  Here’s Chapter One, an afternoon that will change her life forever.

 

The governor ordered everyone off the roads by four in the afternoon.  It didn’t surprise me in the least that my office waited until the last possible minute to let us leave.  The powers that be considered our work too important to be interrupted by little things like natural disasters.  Hardy New Englanders shouldn’t freak out over a foot or two of snow, the bosses chided us when we complained about the dangerous conditions awaiting us.  Of course, they had hotel suites waiting for them within walking distance.  I did not. My commute was miserable in perfect weather.

Snow piled up on the roads, covering icy slush.  It wasn’t so much to have to watch for these invisible landmines, but to also have to avoid the bumper car derby taking place all the way down Route Three.

Travel aside, I was actually psyched about this Blizzard.  Its Friday afternoon timing was perfect.  I looked forward to getting home before dark and cuddling up under blankets with my boyfriend, Jamie.  I was always so stressed out and exhausted from work we never got to have any fun anymore.  It was getting to both of us.

Jamie had been striking a big red line through every day on the calendar in our kitchen.  I asked him what he was counting down to.  He told me it was a count of the days since we’d had sex.  It made me want to die inside. When we first got together, we needed both hands to count how many times we were together a day. What happened to us?

The month was drawing to a close, and those red lines taunted me like twenty two middle fingers sticking up at me as I made my coffee every morning at four forty five.   This weekend, we were going to break that streak.  By a landslide.

“Babe?”  I peeled off my wet winter layers as I entered the dim apartment.  We’d already lost power. The fire alarm screeched in the hallway.  I’d expected Jamie to greet me at the door like a hungry dog.  He’d never know how to entertain himself without all his electrical toys.

“Jame?”  Maybe he was napping.  He practically scheduled naps into his day. Jamie worked from home doing web design. If it wasn’t for the on and off trickle of money he dragged in, I’d think it was just a fancy way of saying he spent his day screwing around on the internet.  For once, his nap didn’t annoy me. It gave me an opportunity to wake him up with a nice surprise.

I heard murmurs and soft laughter as I rounded the corner.  Weird.  The apartment walls were thin. Maybe it came from downstairs. The kids that lived downstairs must have been bouncing off the walls, trapped in the house with no electrical enterainment. The voices grew louder as I rounded the corner to the bedroom.

“What the fuck is this?” I exclaimed as I entered our bedroom.  Jamie’s naked body jumped up slightly over the bed, surprised by the sound of my voice.  He couldn’t go too far, since a very important part of him was inside Angela, our crazy white trash bitch of a downstairs neighbor.

I didn’t say another word.  My whole body shook as adrenaline took over.  Jamie’s ass was frozen in mid air, his arms holding him up over that skank’s body.  Her surgically altered breasts jutted out ridiculously from the tangle of sheets.  The least she could have done was save up for a decent boob job. Although, our tax dollars had probably paid for them, so I guess if these were normal circumstances, I could have seen the humor in her botched implants.

My brain ceased to function rationally.  I marched over to my bed and grabbed a handful of Jamie’s overgrown snowboarder hair. With strength I didn’t know I had, I slammed his head down against Angela’s. Over and over again.  Blood splattered against my beloved Pier One upholstered headboard.  I didn’t stop until I saw Angela’s brain oozing out on my pillow, down her chest, and into her exaggerated cleavage.

I dropped Jamie’s limp head into the mess.  Even broken and bleeding, he somehow looked peaceful. I backed away from the bed in horror.  A scream stuck in my throat, threatening to choke me.

I didn’t mean to do this. I didn’t want him to be dead.  I covered my mouth with my hand.  This was my fault.  Sure, he was in bed with that nasty slut, but why couldn’t I have just given him a little bit of attention before it came to this?

God, I hated my job.

As I began to come back to this planet, a different kind of shock washed over me.  I had two dead people naked in my bed.  And a state issued order to stay in the apartment with them.

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