Danica leaned against the doorframe and reflected on the various stages of childhood and adolescence she had gone through while occupying this room. The rainbow-painted walls her mother had painstakingly decorated for her had been replaced with posters of boy bands and television heartthrobs until her mother had died. After the funeral, Danica had come home and removed all the posters in a fit of rage, wanting to be surrounded once more by her mother’s rainbows. The last year she had spent in this room, she had felt comforted by those rainbows, as if her mother’s love had been forever sealed beneath the paintbrush strokes on her walls.
"I missed this old place," she whispered.
A sudden rush of cold air moving down the hallway caused Danica to turn away from the bedroom door and peer into the darkness behind her. She took a few steps further down the hall until the aroma of cigar smoke mixed with a hint of brandy wafted in the air around her. Danica remembered that smell. It had always filled her bedroom whenever the dark man would appear.
"Is it you?" she softly called into the hallway. "It’s me, Danica. I’ve come back. Just like I said I would."
Danica walked briskly past the entrance to the master bath to the final door at the end of the hall. Without hesitation, she pushed the cypress door open and walked inside the master bedroom. The light from the large picture window overlooking the courtyard shone into the room, accentuating the deep burgundy color of the carpet beneath her feet. She stepped into the center of the room and observed the ceiling fan above. Danica waited, straining with every breath to hear the slightest stirring.
"Welcome home," a man’s wispy voice resonated around her.
A hopeful smile curled the edges of Danica’s heart-shaped mouth. "Thank you, Gaston. It’s good to be home."
A few minutes later, Danica returned to the living room, where she found Pat scrolling through messages on her cell phone.
"Let’s sign the papers," Danica happily announced. "I want to get moved in as soon as possible."
Pat gave her a wary going-over with her brown eyes. "You positive about this, Danica? I need to make sure you’re aware that other tenants have had problems—"
"It’s fine, Pat. I know you said the place is haunted and people have had some bad experiences, but this…." Danica waved to the room around her. "Just feels right."
Pat gave a skeptical shrug. "I have the papers ready back at the office. The rent is eight hundred and fifty a month. Mr. Caruso wanted me to charge you the same rate he charged your father. He insisted I make this as appealing to you as possible. You must have made quite an impression on the old man when you were a kid. He never cuts anyone a deal."
"Please tell Mr. Caruso I appreciate it."
Pat replaced her cell phone in her front jacket pocket. "Let’s turn off all of these lights and head back to the office."
Suddenly, from the shuttered window beside them, three loud knocks reverberated across the room.
Pat grabbed at her chest. "Jesus! What in the hell was that?"
Danica smirked as she watched the color drain from Pat’s perfectly made-up face. "Just someone outside on the street banging on the wall…happened a lot when I was a kid. Drunk tourists would often bang on the shutters at all hours."
Pat regained her composure. "Of course, you’re right. I didn’t think of that."
Danica motioned to the pocket doors leading to the kitchen. "Let’s get you out of here, Pat, before you have a heart attack."
"Gladly," Pat offered and rushed to the doors. "I never liked this place. I just hope you know what you’re doing, Danica."
"I know," Danica asserted with a grin. "I’ve always known."
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Like most writers, my path to publication was plagued with numerous rejections, intermingled with a few unexpected successes. I tried for several years to send out query letters to agents and publishers. Every time I was told the same thing, you have talent but do not currently fit our needs. Sometimes when a door is slammed shut in your face, you need to pry a window open with a crowbar. Despite the numerous warnings for authors to avoid such pitfalls, I decided to self-published my first novel, To My Senses. I considered it an educational opportunity to discover if I really had the talent to make it as a fiction writer. I researched quite a few companies and went with one associated with a large, and reputable, book seller/distributor. The experience gained was priceless.
And after my first novel, To My Senses, was released I learned the ins and outs of book promotion. My novel garnered critical praise, and received a few awards, all of which helped to bolster my confidence to continue onward with my writing. But it was the encouragement of the book reviewers I got to know while promoting To My Senses, that really convinced me to push onward and publish my second novel, Recovery. Finally World Castle Publishing picked up my third novel, Sacrifice. Now I am on novel number five, The Secret Brokers, with four more contracted and waiting for publication with my publisher.
Is my self-publishing adventure for every writer? No, absolutely not. However, if you are a writer who writes for you, and not to impress a publisher, then perhaps you should look into self-publishing. It can be frustrating to get your book out there and garner the attention you feel it deserves, but if you are talented, the readers will eventually find you. Good books are hard to find these days. As an avid reader, I set out to write a novel I would want to read and remember. And I soon found I was not alone in my beliefs when a small following grabbed on to my novel and started spreading the word about work. Word of mouth is your best promoter and no publicist can buy you that kind of attention. Believe in your writing, get your work out there by any means necessary, be patient, and the rest…well, that is where your story begins.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Excerpt The Satyr’s Curse
Julian put his glass of wine down on the table. “Maybe it is time for a change of tactics.”
Jazzmyn cringed as he came up to her side. “I don’t know if I like the sound of that.”
He moved closer to her and placed his hands about her waist. “I like you this way.”
She ran her hand up his thick chest. “What way?”
“Challenging,” he replied as he enfolded her in his arms.
“Some men might call it obstinate.” She slid her arms about his neck.
“Not me,” he admitted, holding her close.
Julian began swaying to the steady drumbeat of a strange melody drifting down from the balcony above.
Jazzmyn moved along with him, easing her body side to side in time with the hypnotic rhythm. The small garden echoed with the sound of flutes, cymbals, and a seductive drumbeat.
“What is this?” she asked while gazing up at the balcony where the tune was emanating from.
“Very old music, almost ancient. Fascinating, isn’t it?” He dipped his mouth closer to her ear. “Close your eyes and let the music in, Jazzmyn. Just give in to it.”
“You smell like spring,” he whispered as his hands fervently roamed up and down her back.
Jazzmyn’s body heaved with pleasure as she pressed against him. She fought to control the desperate surge of desire that was taking over her rational mind. Her thoughts became obscured with images of the two of them, naked and holding on to each other in the darkness. The ache from her loins was so intense that she almost moaned against his chest. Her hands squeezed his shoulders as she imagined him moving inside her. It was as if the nearness of him set off some kind of chemical reaction in her body. It was an all-consuming lust for him, a want like she had never known. Sure, she had experienced passion with a few men, but no man had ever evoked such desperate need in her. Unexpectedly, an image of Kyle, making love to her in front of her living room fireplace, stunned her out of her trance. She suddenly pulled back from Julian, feeling like a frightened doe, running for her life in the woods.
“What is it?” he asked, noting the change in her.
She shook her head. “Maybe I had too much wine. I just felt dizzy for a moment.”
He placed his arm about her shoulders. “Come and sit down.” He escorted her to the table and pulled out a chair for her. “Here.” He reached for her water goblet. “Drink this, it will help steady you.”
She took the glass and gladly sipped a few deep gulps of the cool water. The fire in her belly cooled and her head immediately cleared.
Julian kneeled beside her chair and worriedly examined her face. After she put the glass down on the table, she finally turned to him.
“I don’t know if it was the wine or the dancing, but I just had the most unusual feeling.”
“What kind of feeling?”
“An intense feeling of….” She rubbed her fingers back and forth over her forehead. “I don’t know how to describe it.”
“You were thinking about us…about how we would be together,” he murmured in a sultry voice.
Jazzmyn stared at him in disbelief. “How can you possibly know what I was thinking?”
His slowly smiled. “I can feel your thoughts.”
She sat back in her chair, shaking her head. “I’m sorry. I must come across as a timid schoolgirl, but I guess I’m just a little overwhelmed by you.”
“You are hardly a timid schoolgirl.” He held out his hand to her and Jazzmyn took it. He pulled her from the chair and wrapped her in his arms. “You’re a woman with desires and needs. And I am a man.” He lowered his face to hers. “A man who desperately needs you, Jazzmyn.”