Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Chapter 1 continued...

            Before Ian could tell Drake to keep his voice down, the asshole sped down the hallway the previous two guys had come from.  He raced to keep up.  What was freak trying to do?
            Just as the two guards at the door noticed intruders approached, Drake punched his fists through the air, sending a shock wave tearing through the drywall, ripping up the flooring, and knocking the guards so hard, Ian heard bones snap.  Then Drake reached his right hand for the door and grasped back at emptiness.  The door tore from the hinges and slammed against the opposite wall.
            Jesus Christ…what kind of monster had he teamed up with?
            Ian never had a chance to ask.  Drake had run inside to answer the cries of surprise and chaos.  And amid the din, Ian heard someone call his name.
            Ian drove his dagger into a guard’s gut before pulling it out in a satisfying slick of blood.  He slashed his way into the room, surprised that Drake hadn’t taken care of the sentries.  But the moment he stepped inside, he saw that Drake was surrounded.
            Against his will, Ian’s attention was drawn to the five people encircling Drake.  Three men, two women.  The Council.  It had to be.
            “Go!” Drake called.
            With so much attention on Drake, no one had a chance to worry about the lone teenage girl chained in the farthest corner of the room and the reason why he was in this god-forsaken hole in the first place.
            Ian ducked and ran as Drake sent an enemy flying his way.  Skidding to a stop in front of the girl, Ian tried desperately to cut open the chains, but to no avail.
            “Get me out of here!” Lainey cried.
            “I’m trying!” Ian yelled right back, still sawing away at the iron with his dagger.
            “Move!” screamed Drake.
            Ian dove to the side and from the corner of his eyes, saw a white light shoot from Drake’s fingertips.  It ripped across the room, piercing through two guys, and headed straight for Lainey.  He didn’t have a chance to scream.  Had he just been betrayed, partnering with a man who had come to kill Lainey?
            The light passed through Lainey’s chain, cutting her from bondage.  She struggled to stand, but her knees gave way and she stumbled.  Ian caught her and glanced down.  Where were her shoes?
            Much worse than that, she wasn’t wearing any enhancers.  She’d never be able to outrun these guys.  Just as he considered hauling her over his back, a loud crash and screams of pain came behind him.
            “Let’s go!” Drake commanded, running to their side.
            He scooped Lainey up with one arm and with a wave of the other, sent a table flying at the Council on the opposite end.
            They ran out the door, dashing down the hall, back out to the sewers, through darkened expanses.  The monster ahead of him kept running, so he did too.  Despite all the charms he wore, his muscles began to ache.  To support such extraordinary abilities, the human body still had to pay a price.  If they continued at this breakneck pace, he would wear out.  He could already see it, his legs buckling under him while this asshole took Lainey from him.
            Where the hell were they going anyway?  This wasn’t the way he came in.  And why wasn’t Lainey bitching and screaming like she usually did with him?
            Fuck!  He had to keep up with this maniac.  Otherwise Carm would give him an earful—partnering with the enemy just to rescue Lainey only to lose her again.  If the old geezer hassled him anymore over this, he would rather just quit the Knighthood.
            Oh wait.  He couldn’t.  He was next in line after Carm.
            Drake stopped and Ian halted also, thankful for the moment to catch his breath.   Drake set Lainey back on her feet and climbed up the ladder to move aside the manhole.  Moonlight severed the darkness, throwing an unearthly glow across Drake’s face.  With light streaming down to match Drake’s white shirt while the lower body stayed shrouded in the sewer, it appeared as if he were cut in half.  Disembodied.
            Drake reached his hand down to Lainey, who stood there motionless and hesitant.  Then Drake said the most unexpected thing.
            “Trust me.”
            Trust him?  How could anyone trust these people?
            But Lainey must have because she caught his hand and climbed up, which left Ian no choice but to follow.
            He emerged in an alleyway, trash littering the dewy, shadow-streaked tar paving.  They were in the city…somewhere.
            “Let’s do something about those chains,” Drake murmured.
            Ian barely saw Drake move, only that the moment his fingers touched Lainey’s cuffs, they broke in half and clanged to the ground.
            “My car’s down the way.  Want a ride?”
            Was this dude crazy?  He was talking like they just finished eating dinner at a restaurant!  Ian glanced around quickly, calculating his chances of contacting another Knighthood agent before the Council’s dogs spotted him.  He thought about telling the asshole to shove it but then he noticed Lainey pleading at him with her eyes.  God, she looked pathetic.
            Rips across her jeans came at strange angles and smudges of grime stained her white polo.  Her hair hung in clumped cords and even in the night’s light, he could see her bloodshot eyes.
            “Fine,” he whispered.
            Their odds on foot weren’t good anyway.  Not with Lainey looking like a homeless person and in the end, Paris was still Council headquarters.
            They piled into the black sedan, Drake behind the wheel, and he and Lainey sitting awkwardly in the back.  She sat behind the passenger seat, eyes staring ahead with an occasional glance out of the tinted windows, brows slightly furrowed, but otherwise calm.  Beside her, his mind riddled with questions while one hand lay ready to pull out his dagger, ready to kill the driver and plunge them all to death if he had to.  He would never let anyone touch Lainey.
This is a work of fiction.  The names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, business establishments, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the author is illegal.
Thank you for supporting the author's rights.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Chapter 1 continued...

            The boy’s amulets shone even in the blackness.  The earring and ear cuff on the left ear to enhance hearing; the rings on his fingers, likely speed and strength charms; and metallic bracelets jingled off his wrists.
            Two long daggers, perpendicular to each of the boy’s arms, slashed through the ranks.  Drake followed suit, killing everyone in his path.
            Death breathed silence through the abyss.
            As the guards faded to dust, Drake flew the blade to the boy’s carotid artery, stopping short of the skin.  A second later, the boy wrenched out a gun, pointing it at Drake’s heart.
            Drake smiled.  The boy was fast, but not fast enough.  He could have killed the assassin in that second.  But he didn’t.  He was much more interested to know why a young assassin had come knocking on hell’s door.
            “Since when do assassins enter the Paris Underground?  Death wish, perhaps?” Drake mused.
            “It’s knight, you asshole.”
            Sweat gleamed off the boy’s brow, sliding down his temple to dribble across the square jaw, before becoming just another drop of water on the sewer floor.  The boy’s dread thundered in Drake’s ear through his thumping heart.  He couldn’t have been more than twenty-five, with a sandy crop of sunshine on his head.  Yet he held Drake’s gaze and gun with steady eyes and hand.  Young, but well trained.
            “Move and I’ll kill you,” the boy said, cocking back the safety on the gun and pointing it closer.
            Drake didn’t bother to glance at the gun he knew it so well.  Military issue 1862 Smith & Wesson revolver; wooden grip, rare nickel finish; elite alchemic weapon of the Assassins Association.  Any bullet fired from it homed in on the intended victim, sought out the heart, and exploded.  Only three still in existence…all in the hands of the ruling family.
            “Nice Blooming Heart you have there.  You must be a Steele.”
            The boy didn’t answer so Drake decided to goad him a little.
            “Would you mind being a little quieter next time?  I don’t want my recon ruined by an inexperienced assassin.”
            The boy gave a bitter laugh.  “That’s rich.  You don’t actually expect me to believe—”
            “I killed all of those guards, didn’t I?  I’m sure we have the same goal in mind.  After all, isn’t your enemy’s enemy, your friend?”
            When the boy didn’t immediately answer, Drake smiled.  He knew he had a willing partner in wait.
            “I’m going to lower my hand.  I believe you are a gentleman and will lower your gun also.”
            Drake caught the razor blade and put it back into his pocket.  The boy didn’t move.  After a long minute, he too lowered his hand and stuck the gun in the back of his belt.
            “So let me ask again.  Are you a Steele?”
            The boy nodded.
            “My name is Drake.”
            “Ian.  Ian Steele.”
            They said nothing more and merely turned to open another door into the unknown.
            Yellow fluorescent lights lit a long corridor of white walls sparsely dotted with brown wooden doors against polished linoleum floors that branched off to unknown destinations.
            No more guards.  This was it.  Behind one of those hallways, beyond another door, the Council met, plotting to sink its claws and exert its influence on another aspect of the world.
            Chary footfalls tread across the white, immaculate strip, empty save for the lone pillar supporting the ceiling and city above.  As they neared the middle of the corridor, Drake suddenly grabbed Ian’s shoulder and pushed him behind the pillar.  Ian threw him a curious look but said nothing.  Two hundred feet from them, down the left hallway, someone had opened a door.
            Ian pulled two small throwing daggers from his boots as two sets of feet came towards them.  The delayed clicking of the approaching wooden loafer indicated a long, familiar stride.
            “Well that was a surprise,” came a voice.
            Drake caught Ian’s wrist, staying the weapon.  He’s my friend, Drake mouthed.
            “Does anyone know who she is?” the same man asked.
            Drake heard Ian’s heart skip a beat.  He glanced at Ian, who had held his breath, waiting to hear.
            “She was caught in New York,” said another.
            Ian’s hands clenched the leather weaving of the daggers and Drake tightened his grip for fear the boy would run out and expose them.
            “That’s Christoff’s jurisdiction.”
            “If I find anything else out, I’ll let you know.”
            The footsteps turned the corner and Drake held his breath and slowed his heartbeat.  Sure enough, the clicking of the wooden heels stopped a few feet from the pillar.
            “What is it, Kelley?”
            “Nothing,” Kelley replied, continuing down the hall.  “I just realized I left something in the lab downstairs.  Mind walking with me?”
            The two men disappeared down another hallway and it wasn’t until Drake heard the ping of an elevator did he feel safe to step out.  Kelley must have heard their heartbeats and likely guessed Drake had killed the guards at the front door.  To avoid any questions, Kelley had purposely taken the Council’s man back down to the basement.
            Ian put away his throwing daggers and removed the long knives he battled with before.  Anger flashed across his face.
            Tonight’s mission had taken a different turn.  But Drake didn’t mind.
            He called forth his powers.  Blood rushed through his veins and energy coursed to his hands leaving his fingers tingling.  He stretched his hearing through the corridor, past the drywall, searching for the Council, feeling for a mix of powers congregated in a single room.
            Badump…badump…  Three…five…ten…  Fifteen down the right hall.
            He grinned at Ian.
            “How about a flashy entrance?”

*          *          *

This is a work of fiction.  The names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, business establishments, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the author is illegal.
Thank you for supporting the author's rights.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Part I: Marked
Chapter 1

            Drake ran down the spiraling stairway to the bowels of the endless tunnels of stone quarry walls and mining rubble.  Electric lights danced in the darkness, solitary sentries of wet gravel pathways leading to destroyed estates and cathedral cemeteries.  In some caverns, the water seeped through the ceilings, calcifying with the eternal residents, cementing together in a lovers’ embrace of limestone rock.  Four hours in the Paris Underground and those ghosts among the fecund matter and stench of decay were his only company.
            Tourists never saw this section of the Underground.  They saw only a road to a history of death, contamination, and the human will to find order sparsely displayed in paved floors, reinforced cement for weakening Roman arches, and buttressed supports among turning tunnels.  Even the Parisian residents who lived above this rot stayed innocent and ignorant.  They drank their coffee with long drags of their cigarettes, not knowing the catacombs connected to the sewers, which connected to the Council headquarters.  They didn’t know that a gentle 1,300-mile river of human waste and putrid smells, sandstone and maintenance pipes, complete with signs that mirrored the streets above, led to those who truly controlled the City of Lights.
            But he knew. 
            Something sinister stirred for the Council to call an emergency meeting, requiring all five of its governing members to fly in from across the globe.  Something important had happened.  Or was about to.
            What could they possibly discuss except more novel political decisions to quench an insatiable quest for power that could extinguish the fragile lives of the people who would have nothing left but torched towns, ruined homes, and orphaned children fleeing the devastation left behind from war?
            A bitter void expanded through Drake, threatening to swallow his rationale.  He would never let another war overtake the continents.  It didn’t matter how many he had to kill.
            Dim, winding channels blended into cavities darker than black.  Where had the Council hidden the entrance to the site?
            Suddenly, he stilled.  The feeling was faint, but tangible.  Drake stepped silently towards the feeling and after five minutes, stopped again.  It grew stronger.  Two of them.  He gauged they were lower-levels.
            He focused his eyes through the veiled torpid thickness.  It took a second for his sight to adjust, but he saw them standing there in black suits, guarding the front of a black, wrought-iron gate with bars wide enough to let water through.  No lock hung on the open gate.  It likely had a lot of regular traffic.
            Two more men in black suits and ties walked by the gate, patrolling the dank hallway.
            He had only one shot—that short split second when all four stood within close range in front of the gate.  He watched the men walk back and forth, gauging the length of time it took for them to cross each other’s paths.
            Drake slipped his hand into his pocket, pulling out a small razor blade between two fingers.  Just as the two patrols intersected, Drake shot out his hand.
            The razor flew at the guards, slicing the path his hand instructed.  The blade cut from left to right though the first patrol’s neck, making a sharp left turn to carve through the throat of the right sentry, then the left.  Drake pulled his hand back, the power in his blood calling the razor, to careen around and sever the esophagus of the last patrol.
            Drake caught the razor in his fingers and waited.  The guards stood still for a few seconds before they crumpled to the floor, their bodies slowly disappearing in different colors of crystalline light.  He shook the blood from the small weapon and slid it back into his pocket, fingers tracing the blade, admiring its sharp edge without feeling its bite.
            He continued through the sewers along the edge of the flowing wastewater ravine, heart calm despite his increasing proximity to the Council.  Discovery waited.  His imagination logged dozens of reasons for tonight’s emergency meeting.  Perhaps they discovered a traitor in their midst.  Or they were arguing over territory jurisdiction.  Maybe they tired of peace and wanted to start another War of Awakening.
            The Council never surprised him, with its ambition that hid itself behind bureaucracy, that chain of command that claimed to represent those of the same blood, spreading its control through every aspect of human life.  A cancer.
            He edged around a bend.  He couldn’t see them, but he felt them.  Dozens.  This had to be a major artery to where the Council met.
            “Who’s there?” someone asked.
            Before Drake could wonder how the guards could have heard him, a faint metallic scent wafted to his nostrils.
            It was too late.  He would have to kill them all.
            Drake rushed down the dark hallway.  The razor left his fingertips, slicing across the throat of a guard several feet away just as he rammed his hand into an enemy’s chest, ripping through the thin fabric of the shirt, tearing into the flesh, with ribs giving way under the onslaught, breaking and cracking from the sternum.  His hand closed around the pulsating organ, fingers pressing against arteries.  He squeezed and wrenched it out in a stream of blood.
            He tossed the heart away with one hand and guided the razor with the other.  It sped in trails of white light, the small blade carving through the enemies’ flesh in rivulets of blood.
            And all the while, his eyes followed the lone attacker who had started it all.  A boy.  An assassin.
This is a work of fiction.  The names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, business establishments, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the author is illegal.
Thank you for supporting the author's rights.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Like Urban Fantasy? Check here for news on the serial release of my story!

Hi folks, I'm going to release one of my absolute favorite stories I ever wrote (and am still revising) here on my website.  I will release it in serial format just like the old days of Dickens.

Why is it one of my favorites?  The fantasy world is gritty, gruesome, and glamorous.  I shopped it around agents many years ago and get several nibbles, but no bites.  But in my heart of hearts, I still love this story.

It's a vampire story, but a non-traditional one.  It doesn't follow the normal mythology and it doesn't follow the story arc that everyone expects it to follow.  I have to warn you in advance.  It's bloody.  Graphically bloody at times.  There is explicit language (which I will need to censor for the sake of my young readers).  There is love...but no romance.  And the powers these vampires have are nothing like what you'd expect.

Stay tuned for The Last Alchemist!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


It's a word I hear more and more often.  As writers, we talk about building relationships with our readers and with other authors.  But how do you do that in a natural, organic fashion?

I've journeyed into this uncharted territory these last few weeks as I ask myself how to build an author platform.

What I have done:
1) joined Twitter under my pen name
2) joined Goodreads under my pen name
3) set up a website

So you do all of that and your followers and readers magically appear?  Of course not.

It takes TIME.  Maybe more time than I can give, in fact.

What works for me:
Twitter - I retweet versus new tweets.  I need to keep my real life separate so I find retweeting industry news and helping promote others is better for me.
Goodreads - I am working on ramping up author interviews for my blog on my author website

And I've suddenly found myself sharing about my book with people I don't necessarily want to read my book...like my boss' boss' boss.  (Um...you probably don't read romance novels...right?)  But you never know because she or he may know someone who does!  And what's important is to start building that connection.

Maybe they won't like your book.  Maybe they will.  And just maybe they will share your book with others.  Then you'll have built yet another relationship.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Under Contract!

Debut Romance Novel

I am so excited to announce I am now under contract with Soul Mate Publishing for my paranormal romance MARRY ME!

Some of you may remember that MARRY ME won 1st place in the Emerald City Opener 2011 in the paranormal romance category.  Submissions began late last year and early this year with a brief hiatus as life a my day-job got busier.  Then after RWA Nationals in Anaheim, I again pitched MM.

Responses have become less frequent and with the holidays, I hadn't expected as much activity.  In the past, I submitted to e-pubs after agents.  This time I decided to submit together.  There were several reasons for this.

1) fewer responses from agents and editors
2) longer response times
3) changing landscape of publishing
4) increasing fragmentation of publishing

It really is a "brave new world" these days...

Why Soul Mate

Soul Mate has beautiful cover art.  A lot of young publishers will tell you they have the best cover art in the world.  Covers sell books and as authors, we care how our story is portrayed.  I perused several sites and Soul Mate's cover art was attractive and PROFESSIONAL.  If I could and wanted to do the cover art, I would have self-published.  But I don't.  I want multiple sets of eyes to edit, I want someone to help with promotions, and someone else to help design a beautiful cover.  Obviously, I'm not at the stage of working on the cover yet, but so far, I like what I see.

Soul Mate is a budding enterprise.  In my "real" life, I have a MBA from a prestigious school and have worked in 5 different industries in my career.  I joined RWA in 2001 and I've been submitting books before there was the convenience of the Internet to do so.  I know corporate business and I know publishing.  And I want to grow WITH a business.

Soul Mate will allow me to do that!

New Pen Name

MARRY ME will be under my new pen name Jennifer Shea.  You can find my alter-ego here.  It will be cataloging the publishing journey for anyone interested.  She is also on Twitter under @jensheaauthor.  Follow me and I will follow back!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Marketing & Promotion

For the next few months, this blog is going to start a separate focus on marketing and promotion (the reasons behind this will be revealed at a later date).

Given my increasing time commitments elsewhere I am going to begin cataloging different websites, best practices, etc. that will help writers.

The ongoing saga of my writing will continue.

Cheers and I hope everyone had a great holiday!