It's hard to believe that I started this journey 4 years ago today. I hit that publish button on my very first book. Revitalized. Since then I have learned a lot, grown a lot and improved. I sit here today and I have to stop myself. Why? Well, I find myself going over the laundry list of things I didn't do. Things I didn't accomplish. That list starts to put me in a bad spirit. I cannot cross over into a new year while in a funk. So I have to stop and instead think of all the good, the wonderful little victories I did accomplish. I take an hour to focus on that positive energy and then I start preparing.
Yes, tomorrow will mark the start of a new year and in the eyes of some, it is a chance for a new beginning. For me it is quite different. Tomorrow is in fact a new year, but it is a continuation of all that I have already started. There is no new beginning, no starting over. Why would I want to do that? I wouldn't be the person, the mother, the author that I am today if not for all the lesson, trials and triumphs I have seen through the years. Tomorrow I continue on, tomorrow take another step towards my goals as I do everyday. Don't get me wrong, I have some awesomeness planned for 2015 and I am so excited to get to it all! Vampires, Sirens and Wolves oh my!
Once again I want to thank everyone who has been by my side showing love and support. It means so very much to me and this journey wouldn't be as fulfilling if not for all of you.
Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year!
Stay Safe. Have Fun.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
He hadn’t expected to run into her. He danced along the borders and stayed as hidden as he could. He’d only come in contact with two wolves who he had no trouble dodging. He caught her scent long before he ever found her. He could have veered off, and headed another way. It would have been the smart thing to do. Avoiding her made sense, but he didn’t. He wanted to see her even though he knew in his gut that it would only complicate things further for him. She wouldn’t recognize his scent even if she had caught wind of him. He no longer carried the fragrance of a beta wolf. Nor did he smell of an alpha, the sent was his own, completely unique to him. He approached with caution; she was the kind to attack if she felt threatened. Why would she be out in the middle of nowhere and by herself? He scoped out the area and scented the air for any companions. There was no one around but her. Where was her pack? So many questions passed through his mind as she came into view. She sat on the edge of the bank of a small river. Nude. She washed herself and he watched her closely. Her body was just as he remembered it to be. Every curve was there, taunting him and inciting memories of the past.
“Are you going to just stand there or are you going to speak?” Tatiana called out. He did not move. “I know you are there, whatever you are. If you have been sent to find me, let me remind you, the last person who tried to capture me was unsuccessful. I would tell you to ask him yourself but I don’t think he will have much luck expressing his failure without his head.” She stood from the water peered out into the trees around her. She couldn’t see him yet, he wavered. Should he reveal himself to her? “I have your scent now, I will find you. I will not let you lead them to me!” Still nude she challenger her hidden admire.
“Calm down, Tot!” He called out on top of a smooth chuckle.
“Tot?” She turned towards his voice. “Only one person has ever called me that. Who are you?” She thought she recognized the voice that used her nickname given to her by a once stranger. Had she finally lost her mind? Even the scent of this thing was wrong. It was wolf but it smelled like no other wolf she’d ever come across.
“Well,” he stepped out of the shadow. “If only one person has ever called you by that name, it would stand to chance that I would be that person.” He flashed her the same cocky smile he always had and waited for her reaction.
“Fuck me senseless!” She relaxed her stance. “Jeremiah?”
“In the flesh baby!” He grinned from ear to ear and held his hands out in expectation of a hug that never came.
“I thought you were dead.” Tatiana picked up her clothing and started to dry and cover herself.
“Yeah, a lot of people seem to have come to that very same conclusion.” Jeremiah leaned against the moss covered side of a tree and watched her closely, tilting his head to get a better view of her ass as she bent to pull her pants over her legs..
“How? How are you here? I searched for you, for a long time. Your scent, every trace of you was gone.” She stopped and scrunched her nose as she inhaled him again. “Your scent, you don’t smell the same. What is that about?”
“A lot of things have changed about me over the years.” He dodged her question and wondered how many times he could to do that before she insisted he actually answer it.
“Oh, yeah, like what?”
“Well, I think we should start with you. Why are you out here Tot? Who is out for you?” He searched her expression. “There is only one reason you would be out here on your own and killing anyone who comes to look for you. Who did you piss off?”
“That is not important.” She pulled her hair back from her face.
“It isn’t?” He remained in place against the tree watching her closely. He still got under her skin. She would never admit it but it was true.
“No, not really. It’s my business and therefore not yours. You get to keep your business to yourself. I have the right to do the same.”
“Okay, we will let that stand, for now.” He chuckled again now remembering just how tough of a wolf Tatiana was. She never backed down, never gave in even to him and that was what he’d loved the most about her.
“For now, you say that as if you have some plan of hanging around.” She turned on him as she pulled her shirt over her head and across her abdomen.
“Well, as far as I can tell, we are both loners. Maybe we can be loners together.” He flashed a smile that made her melt. She’d missed him, every bit of him, and especially that cocky ass grin of his.
“Loners together, huh? That is a shitty line, you’re out of practice.” She laughed as she stepped away from the water and closer to him.
“You know, you didn’t have to cover up because of me.”
“Right, I guess I was just supposed to stand there and let you ogle me? I think not.”
“Who was ogling? I was simply appreciating the view.”
“You are such a perve. So where are you headed ghost boy?” She punched him in the shoulder, the first moment of contact they would have had in years and even the playful gesture did something more to her.
“My brother is hurt and I need to go help him.” He said in short as he grabbed her wrist preventing her from moving further from him.
“No one else capable?” She questioned.
“No, unfortunately, not with what happened to him.” Jeremiah’s eyes became hard and Tatiana stopped her effort move away from him.
“You look a little tortured there, guilty.” She said now more serious.
“I am, in a way.” It was the truth he’d already admitted to himself.
“In a way, and I suspect it is something that you won’t be talking to me about any time soon.” She cocked her head to the side and smile just slightly. He was the same as she’d remembered him, even the touch of his hand on her wrist; it was tight, secure and it made her stomach do flips she’d missed feeling.. He was always so careful with her even though she was tough as hell. He’d be the first man to treat her as a woman and not just a warrior who stood by the side of the Alpha.
“You would be correct about that.”
“And what exactly is the benefit of two loners traveling together when they both have their own set of secrets?” She moved the topic back to one that they both felt comfortable in discussing.
“The same as it was before, you watch my back and I will watch yours. No questions asked.” He pulled her close to him and wrapped his arms around her hugging her closely to his body. The moment their bodies made contact he knew just how big of a mistake he’d made by not turning away from her scent. His wolf rumbled from within and he held back the urge to vocalize a growl.
“Hmm, I think I like the sound of that.” She grinned at him and enjoyed the hug for just a moment longer before pulling away.
Jeremiah waited for Tatiana to get her things together and thought about the first time they’d met. It was right after Malcom had been called to beta for that ass hat Vincent, who he was happy to hear had finally been taken down after all of his years of leading their pack into the ground. When Jeremiah left, he made sure to make it look believable. He had to be sure it looked like a lost cause. No one would spend much time looking for him anyway but if it looked like his chances of survival were low they damn sure wouldn’t waste the manpower.
Malcom was a friend but he’d never known that they were brothers. He’d never known that their father had done the down and dirty with about six of the she-wolves in the pack. This resulted in four children, two boys and two girls. The girls were twins and were taken away from the pack with their mother who said that she refused to have them live in the shadow of his favorite, Malcom. Their father had married Malcom’s mother as she bore his first son and that was all that seem to count in his eyes. Jeremiah came years later proving that his dear old dad was still sleeping around.
Time and time again Jeremiah wished his mother had had the guts to pack up their home and move away. Instead they lived the secondary life. His father’s visits were often late and even still, they were a rare occurrence. He’d come, toss some hand-me-downs from his brother and then head to the bedroom with his mother. The most he’d ever said to his father was hello and goodbye. The only times his father showed any pride in his second son was his time he spent playing sports. Jeremiah was a star and he proved it on the field. But even that wasn’t enough to gain a permanent part in his father’s life. Besides Malcom was equally as skilled on the field and older which meant more people were looking his was when game time came around.
Once Malcom was called to his post, Jeremiah decided to leave. He was old enough to be on his own. He watched their father as he beamed with pride over Malcom and he couldn’t take it anymore. The trail left behind was for his mother so that she wouldn’t come looking for him. Malcom made it look as though he had perished, fallen into the Gulf of Mexico during an excursion to Corpus Christi where there was said to be activity between sirens and the witch covens. This was a duel that they had long since thought was squashed but apparently an unknown Siren was stirring up some trouble. He’d watched the woman crawl from the clear waters carrying a small baby in her hands. He could have stopped her but something told him not to. Besides it wasn’t really the wolves’ concern but it was close to home and they had to be sure there was no foul play that would trickle over into their territory. As far as he could tell it wouldn’t be a problem for him and he was acting out his own escape plan.
His mother held service for her son and mourned him for years before she finally died peacefully in her bed, alone. He’d watched over her from afar, had informants that kept him posted, a few friends that knew his intentions. Once she died, he stopped communications with everyone from his former pack and headed further north.
It was after he finally turned his back to his past that he first encountered Tatiana. She was running free through the woods and he’d been watching her until she caught his scent and started to chase him. He wasn’t afraid of her and knew that he would have no problem tanking her down if it came to that but he ran anyway. He let her chase him until she could no longer. He listened to her labored breathing and her curses as the distance between their two forms increased. Eventually he turned back and slowly closed in on her. He knew that she would be able to sense him near.
“Tired already?” He said in nude male form after shifting back from his wolf.
“Who are you?” She growled and fanned herself. Her body had nearly overheated during the run. She’d been focusing on getting into better shape but still had a long way to go. Tatiana had huge plans for herself and he could sense her determination from the moment they spoke.
“Woa she-wolf, I come in peace.” He held his hands up in defense and took a step backwards. He wore that cocky smile that she would grow to love.
“You don’t belong here,” she sniffed the air around him. “Your scent, you are from the southern territories. What are you doing here?”
“I’m from no territory, not anymore.” He dropped his hands.
“You’re leaving your pack?” She abandoned her offensive posture. “That takes a lot of balls. What could be so bad to make you risk such a bold move?”
“Something I would prefer not to talk about if you don’t mind.”
“If you are caught up here you will die,” she eyed the lone wolf and changed the topic.
“Lucky I don’t plan on getting caught by anyone. I’m just passing through.” He turned to walk away and continue his path further north.
“Where are you going?”
“Why? You planning on joining me?” He looked over his shoulder to her.
“No.” She responded quickly before looking away from his tight ass. She forced herself to dispel any thoughts of grabbing hold of the dark flesh and squeezing it with her hands.
“I didn’t think so.” He chuckled. He guessed exactly what thoughts were moving through her head from the slight rise in her pheromones.
“Well its getting dark soon. You realize the pack is about to tighten their patrols for the vampires. They won’t care if you aren’t a fanger, you don’t belong here. I can get you somewhere safe. This way you can rest up and continue on your way in the morning.” She offered hastily and then wanted to bite her own tongue off. If anyone found out what she was doing for this man she would lose all hope for her plan to become second in command to her pack’s Alpha. Odds were already stacked against her because she was a female. Through her training she had proved time and time again that she was just as good if not better than most of the men in their pack. She had to push hard still, she had to outshine them all.
“You’d do that for me? Why?” He turned to face her completely and cocked his head to the side.
“I don’t know,” she looked him up and down. “You seem like a nice enough guy, possibly out of your mind for coming here alone, but an okay guy all the same.”
“Well, thanks.” He smirked. “Happy to be an ‘okay’ guy if it gets me safety for the night, I appreciate it.”
“No problem, Follow me.” He followed her happily to the placed they would spend many nights together. From that first encounter he was hooked to her completely.
They had many meetings after that. It became a routine for them. No meeting ever lasted for more than a weekend. After many years, while traveling through Canada he was approached to be a part of the team and part of that deal meant leaving his old life behind. It meant leaving her behind. He kept tabs on her over the years and even sent her anonymous flowers when she was called to beta for her pack. But as far as she was concerned, Jeremiah was no more.
Now he followed her through the woods just as he did that first time and watched as she carefully surveyed their surroundings just as he’d done before. The sun would be setting soon and they would need to set up camp. He hadn’t covered nearly as much ground as he wanted to and would have to move double time the next morning to make up for the time he’d lost but he couldn’t turn away from her. Even if they were only together for one night, he would have his time. Hell, with the team no doubt strategizing to take him down if he succeeded in curing his brother, he had wasn’t sure how much time he had left to go off on tangents with old pals. He damn sure wasn’t going to pass up this chance.
Friday, October 31, 2014
ANEW RELEASES NOVEMBER 1, 2014. HERE IS A LITTLE TASTE OF WHAT'S TO COME!
“Kendra. There is no other way. You will taste my blood, you will drink from me, and you will stop. Because if you don’t stop, I will die...” He tightened his grip. I tried to move, I should have been strong enough but the thirst, and my nature overrode my brain.
“I don’t understand why you are doing this.” I sobbed.
“I am doing this because you have to learn! You have to be in control. You cannot let your thirst control you or Malik will not be the last one to die by your hands. Is that what you want?” He knew it wasn’t, I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I didn’t want to take any more lives.
“No.” I knew he was right. I thought about that hiker in the woods, the first victim of my lack of control. There was no way I could continue on this path or I would definitely become the beast that everyone feared so much. I had to find a way to hold on to my humanity. “Okay. I’ll do it, just, please don’t move.”
“Okay.” He took a deep breath and held it.
I eased in to him. I tried to hold my breath as well, to limit the scent that was still overwhelming me, but the moment I parted my lips to taste him, it sent me reeling. I bit down on him and begin to drink; I felt him tense up for a second and then relax. His blood flowed easily into my mouth, across my tongue and down my throat, infusing me with the musky flavor of man that emanated from him.
“Okay, enough. Stop now.” he stated firmly, his voice sounded far off but I heard him. I wanted to continue, to let the fury take over, but at that very moment, I got a flash of the man in the woods, the vampire in my bedroom, and then a glimpse of Max with that same empty look in his eyes. With that image, I shut everything off and pushed myself away from him. I flew half way across the kitchen and fell to my knees. I held myself there, and managed to take deep calming breaths, but the air was still thick with the scent of his blood.
“The blood, you have to clean it up, I can still smell you.” My body jerked, the thirst trying to move me back to feed on him. The wolf in me was holding me back to save Max. Max scrambled to find a towel but was coming up empty and I was losing my hold on myself.
“A little vampire saliva helps that.” Marc said from the kitchen door where he leaned against the frame.
“What the hell?!” Max growled. He covered his neck where the blood leaked.
“No need to be embarrassed. I completely agree with you. My little sister needs to learn to control those urges. But vampire feeding lesson number one, if you want to close that wound up, end the feed and get your thirst back under control, all you really need is one lick.” He held up a finger and licked it with the tip of his tongue.
“You are not licking me!” Max glared at Marc. He had finally found a towel and was pressing it against his neck, using pressure to staunch the blood flow.
“Ugh, gross, not me, her.” Marc pointed at me, still crouched in the corner like a rabid animal.
“I can’t.” My voice was deep, the thirst still strong. My back arched and I pressed further into the wall.
“Well you have to, or he will die.”
“The cut isn’t that bad, he’s not going to die.” I spoke with choppy breaths trying not to breath too much of Max in.
“Oh, he will die, because I haven’t had a meal yet today and the first thing I smelled when I opened my eyes was fresh blood. Maybe I will have a drink and maybe I won’t be able to stop, maybe I won’t want to stop. I’ve never had wolf blood before. I hear it’s incredible, hard to stop once you get going.”
“You would never.” I growled, feeling defensive, entitled, Max was mine.
“Oh, wouldn’t I?” Marc flashed and in a moment was standing behind Max with his fangs out.
“Stop!” I tensed as he licked his lips.
“No! You stop me if you want to save your boyfriend. Grow up and stop acting like a coward!” He bared his fangs and challenged me, giving me one more chance to react but I couldn’t make myself move.
“Stop, please.” I pleaded, trying to appeal to his brotherly side, the side that would never hurt me. It was no use.
GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY!
Thursday, October 30, 2014
ANEW RELEASES NOVEMBER 1, 2014. HERE IS A LITTLE TASTE OF WHAT'S TO COME!
Just a few minutes passed, and Max returned. He ushered me inside, and told Marc he had to wait outside of the door. His kind was not allowed on the wolves’ sacred ground. Marc shot me a questioning gaze but I shrugged it off. There was nothing else we could do. Besides that, my curiosity was sparked by all of the unexpected confusion. Technically, I wasn’t their kind according to all of their remarks so why was I allowed inside. It didn’t matter; there was no way I could leave without finding out more.
Once inside, I found a small man sitting on the floor, legs crossed Indian style. He looked old and fragile. I imagined one strong gust of wind, possibly even a gentle breeze, could break him like a twig. His body had long since passed the point of being able to handle a turn. Slowly, he lifted his hand and gestured to the open spot on the floor in front of him. I hesitated for a moment before I decided to take a seat.
He reached across the small area between us and grabbed my hand. With a stick, he spread what looked like tar across my palm. There was a candle on the floor between us. With no physical interference, it suddenly lit. One word came to mind, witch. I guess the proper term would actually be warlock considering this was a man but I could smell his scent now and I knew that he was no wolf. He was human and his smell reminded me of my father’s friend, the woman who created my elixir.
He positioned my hand, palm up over the flame and began a rhythmic chant. I waited impatiently as nothing happened. As I was about to remove my hand and get up to leave, the air in the room stopped moving. The flame no longer flickered, but was a still point underneath my hand. The heat spread on my skin up along my arm and began to penetrate me. I could feel the fire dancing across my bones. I wanted to cry, move away but I couldn’t; I was frozen. I looked across to the man who sat still, chanting and looking at me. His eyes became smoke filled orbs and the sound of his voice turned from a soft murmur to a piercing shrill that caused my ears to ache. The tar began to boil and bubble in my palm, I felt its heat, but it didn’t actually burn me. It danced in black circles across my hand and my eyes became locked on its movement.
In the movement of the tar, I witnessed what I would have previously thought impossible. I was watching a scene as it was being played out like a mini movie in my palm. Two figures appeared tall in liquid movement. One was a wolf and one a vampire. They fought each other to contain the same space. Each trying to force the other off the edge but in the end the two fused together. The figure that they formed seemed normal, even human, but it was unstable. Every so often, it would shift to reveal one of its two selves, but it would never remain, as the other would battle to be at the forefront.
The old warlock stopped his chanting and the tar fell to cover the inside of my palm. I watched it as the bubbling stopped and then the substance disappeared. It absorbed into my skin with a burning sensation. I tried to wipe it away, to stop the fire beneath my skin but it was useless. I looked to the old man to try to ask for his help. He pointed to my palm and then to me. ”You are cursed child.” That is all he would say. No matter how many times I asked him to elaborate on his statement that is all he would say. I would never hear the voice of the old man again as he turned from me and got up to leave disappearing behind a curtain at the back of the small room opposite of where I entered.
Monday, October 27, 2014
To some this label may not mean much at all. But to me this 5-star seal happens to mean quite a bit. I have been hearing about Reader’s Favorite for about two years now from other local Chicagoland authors. Tales of how great it is to have this amazing seal to post on your books. How avid readers and book clubs recognize the meaning behind it. So of course, after hearing such amazing things about it, well I wanted to have one of my own. I wanted to be able to proudly display my books with a 5 star seal of approval because to me it stood for more than one reviewer’s opinion. It stood for the beginning of something more, something greater and the continuation of my dream.
To set a goal and reach for it and actually achieve it is an Amazing feeling and this year, I have done that time and time again. I have to admit that the release of Siren’s Call changed my world as an author. I fell in love with Syrinada’s story and I put my all into it. I am happy to say that it has been my most successful to date. I believe the readers can just tell how much I loved the book while writing it and how much extra time and energy I put into creating the story and making sure it was just as amazing as I imagined it. This is something I will continue to do with all of my works but to really feel the fire as I was writing it was so amazing and to feed it as I did was a life lesson I truly needed.
I started this year with a list of goals, a short one. It was necessary for me to write it all down and stick to it. It helped me to keep focus on why I am doing all of this. I want to be more than just another writer, I want my name to be known and my characters to be loved.
My 2014 Author Goals
1. I wanted my book to rank. Not only did that happen but I had a short time one the TOP 50 list of Paranormal Authors! WOO!
2. I wanted to sell at least one book per day for the year. A small goal which would mean 365 (paperback / ebooks) for the year. And I surpassed that goal very early in the year. Happy to say I did no FREE promotions, a few $0.99 days but most of my sales were actually full priced copies!
3. I wanted to achieved 20 ~5 star reviews for Siren’s Call on Amazon.com and as of yesterday that has happened!
4. I wanted to go to Printers Row. I went and I rocked it out with Siren’s Call!
5. I wanted to get the 5 star seal from Reader’s Favorite…
That is another goal to check off my list. Next year hasn't begun but I am already making my list of achievements. I am claiming my wins right now. 2014 was awesome. Yes there have been a few bumps in the road but I wouldn't change anything. I have learned so much and I continue to grow as an author. It is because of my awesome support team and the amazing friends that I have made over the years that I continue to grow and improve. That is all I aim to do.
*****The READER’S FAVORITE 5 STAR REVIEW*****
Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
Siren’s Call is a mythological fantasy written by Jessica Cage. Syrinada is just an ordinary young woman, as far as she’s concerned. She’s an orphan and was raised by her Aunt Noreen. Everything changes when she’s attacked on her way home by a van load of thugs. The leader injects her with a drug, and, when she awakens, she’s in a grubby room with her captor. When he begins to assault her, Syrinada watches in horror as he explodes. She’s become obsessed with her attackers, and begins to hunt them down with a weird and inexplicable sexual tension and hunger. Her friend, Malachi, tells her that he knows what’s going on with her. He and his brother, Demetrius, have been watching over her as her guardians. Syrinada, Malachi explains, is a siren whose mother fell in love with one of the sirens’ mortal enemies, a warlock. Syrinada’s mother died, but her father is still very much alive and is but one of many enemies intent on harming her.
Jessica Cage’s mythological fantasy, Siren’s Call, is an entertaining and fast-paced novel that grabbed my attention from the minute I started reading it and held it throughout the story. Syrinada is feisty, stubborn and a lot of fun to read about. The mythological story behind Siren’s Call is compelling and well-plotted. Malachi and Demetrius are solid supporting characters, and their rivalry over Syrinada is tense and dynamic. I enjoyed watching Malachi coach the newly awoken siren in Syrinada, who’s quite unable at first to resist seducing and destroying just about any man she encounters. Their trip to Louisiana is beautifully described, especially the boat trip the three of them take to visit the seer, Cecile, in her cabin in the swamp. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Siren’s Call is highly recommended.
If you haven’t already, pick up your copy of Siren’s Call HERE.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Question to readers and Authors alike.
How do you feel about authors using Kickstarts / Go Fund Me? How do you feel about them asking for your support? I myself know the cost of publishing (It's nothing cheap). And as it was said (by another author unnamed), Not everyone can afford to put in the cost of funding their dreams. We will gladly donate money to the most ridiculous causes (I remember reading about how someone raised thousands to buy some Macaroni...for no particular reason at all) but we frown on people who are simply trying to follow their dreams? Comments have been outrageous saying "Go get a job.", "Stop begging." These are from the very people who will gladly stick their hand out to win a free bookmark from that SAME author. Well, how do you think that author got those bookmarks? How do you think that author gets it to you? Magic? In shipping out free swag alone, we will spend HUNDREDS each year. Most of us have full time jobs and families to support not to mention all of the expenses of life. I am posting this just to say, don't be so quick to judge someone who is simply trying to follow their dreams. Because we must do it by whatever means necessary. Some of us simply do not have it in us to throw our hands up and walk away. Is there not something that you want so much that you could almost taste it? Is there not something in your life that you have dreamed about? It kills me to see "fans" turn around and bash the very people who pour their hearts out trying to bring something beautiful to the world. No, I have not started a Campaign and I can't say at this point that I would. But if it came down to it, and I had a choice of asking my "supporters" to help me or turning away from my dream, my passion...well You would definitely see a link posted below.
I never rant...ever... but this time I had to say it. I nearly gave up on my dream, its a devastating feeling and I hope and pray that no one else has to go through that. Follow your dreams, by any means necessary...well not murder, that's illegal.
Just in case you think I am Joshing you...here is a link of how a man raised over $55,000 in order to make potato salad!
Is that to say we as a human race value a man's need for Potato Salad above a person's desire to follow their dream?
Friday, September 5, 2014
Recently I received a message from KDP requesting copyright proof of my first book Revitalized. This is the first book I had ever written and was dumbfounded. Why did I need to prove it now? This book has been out for nearly 4 years! I wanted to scream at my computer.
The letter in my email:
The letter in my email:
And of course... now I am in panic mode. They are telling me if I don't respond and prove my case I am taken down from KDP forever??
Now, before you panic like I did, a lot of authors have apparently seen this before...I had never. It is supposedly an auto generated email that Amazon sends out when your work appears in another book (a snippet in a anthology or in this case the UNEARTHED anthology that was on sale for a limited time to support Cancer Sucks).
Why did I panic? Well, as I said before, I had never seen this before and I emailed them back and though their generic auto response says "We will respond in 24 hours" it took 2 days to get a reply. In that two days my mind concocted all the hideous stories of evil doers out to snag others works. Hell, I am a fiction writer! But the through is that it happens! We see it all the time and I for one am one of those who walks around say... "It will never happen to me!" or even joke about how flattered I would feel if someone had thought my work was good enough to steal. Well for a moment in time, I felt as though it had happened to me and I was no where near flattered. I was crushed!
I was lucky, because there are so many authors out there who do get their work stolen and now I feel like...well damn, it could happen to me. (And as it has been pointed out to me, it probably has...there are thousands of websites where readers can download stolen copies of book ...no, I will not list them.)
I am writing this post to do two things. One is to clear the air of concern from all of the amazing people who reached out to me. Thank you for supporting me in my moment of panic. The second thing is to say this to all of the authors, musicians and artist alike who have suffered from this horrible crime and still push on doing what they love, I applaud you. Because I wasn't sure what I would do, if I would continue on. Its devastating and heartbreaking and I still cant not say that I understand what you have gone through but I have a bit more understanding of it.
Now it is said that you don't need to get your copyrights anymore that its an automated thing now. Once you hit publish, and create that ISBN, your work it your own. But for those interested in it, and for those of you like me who are still way to paranoid to believe in that, you can go to Copyright.gov. I made the investment and it surely helped to give me just a bit more peace of mind throughout this process. And well, you can never have too much proof of what is your own.
Also, check out this article--> CLICK HERE<--- It may help you decide which way to go when you get ready to publish your work!
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
It's official, the Beta readers loved Anew! Now it is inDebbi's hands! Can't wait for this release. The Hybrid Tales short story series has come so far and I can't wait for the world to read this new novel! Love the fans who supported it and asked for more. Thanks to you all who fell in love with Kendra and to Randall Rutledge who felt her story was worth turning into a script! Hoping for big things for Kendra and her amazingly wild story! The cover shoot is happening soon and I know the amazing Ashley Gaines is going to knock it out of the park!
AND NOW YOUR SNEAK PREVIEW OF ANEW...
My childhood was confusing to say the least. It took years to bury the urge to rip out the throats of my siblings and even longer to understand why I had such urges. Don’t get me wrong now, I acquired a few injuries myself by the hands of my younger brothers. And I say younger, because, they look younger, due to vampires/ human hybrids having a slower age progression than werewolves. My brothers were special because they were born vampires. They would age at a slower rate until they hit maturity and then become frozen like the rest of their kind. And what made them special was their ability to stand in the sun, eat human food and they required less intake of blood. My brothers weren’t unique, it had long since become a sensation to create these vampiric beings. The law prohibiting the mating with human women was lifted and instead there was a limit placed on the act. There is speculation that the vamp government thought it a great way to grow their own spies. These children would be able to infiltrate human society in a way vampires never had been able to before. The youngest of my brothers is about six years older than I am. The good thing about my life was that I was the only girl and because of this our father paid special attention to me. He wanted a daughter, and he got one; me.
Werewolves reproduced naturally just as humans and any other animal did. I was born from my mother directly unlike with Vampires who had to use surrogates. All of my vampire brothers had different mothers. This was due to the fact that if a human woman chose to give birth to a vampire, she had only two options; become a vampire herself, or die. I never asked about their mothers, I just knew that they weren’t around and I used it as comfort that I wasn’t the only unwanted child in the house. I figured either they traded their children for eternity of youth or they decided that they were unable to make the change. My father came to have five sons, well above the limit of two offspring. He wanted a girl and simply refused to stop until he had gotten it. Unfortunately he only seemed capable of male offspring.
His age and power won him leniency with the vampire government but eventually he was ordered by the elders to cease his explorations. He was drawing far too much attention to the clan and, that is when our father sought to find another way to satisfy his need for a female heir. Years before, my adopted father saved my birth father’s life. It was told to be an ugly battle between vampire and wolves and for whatever reason, my father chose to spare the life of the man who would one day aide in fulfilling his greatest desire, hence the previously mentioned debt. When he found out about me, it took him no time at all to put in his request for payback.
At first, I was hurt to find out that I had been so easily handed off, and to the enemy at that. That hurt grew to anger due to the avoidance of my father, he refused to give me a proper explanation for what had occurred. Any time I asked he would wave me off telling me that I shouldn’t be concern with matters of “Ancient history.” This of course was always before he would send me off to another class, once in the most ironic of fashions it was to my history class! I very nearly called him out on that but decided it best not to. I decided that the only way to get the closure or satisfaction I needed, was to go and find my birth parents and confront them myself. I would never be able to get pass it until I could ask them how they were able to toss me aside. This was my first mistake.
Marc has always been my favorite brother because he was the only one who I ever really connected with and the only one that didn’t make me feel like a complete and total outsider. The others learned to tolerate my presence, but they never truly accepted me as one of them. Marc was favored because he was the first born and I got additional attention because I was the only girl so it made sense that we were both alienated by the others who wanted nothing more than for our father to show them the same level of care and attention that he did to two of us. They hated Marc, but I got the bulk of their anger because in their eyes I was receiving love that they felt I did not deserve, love that didn’t belong to me. There was a flaw in their logic though, it wasn’t that our father loved me more, he possessed me in a way he hadn’t them. He acquired me after so many years of failing to create his girl, once he had me, he was never going to step too far away for fear that I may vanish. He was obsessed with having a daughter, and he got one.
I approached Marc one Friday after training. It was the perfect time to approach because there was no one around and that hardly ever happened in our house. We all had to attend three hours of rigorous physical combat training every day after home studies, except on Saturdays. That day, we were allowed what father called Exploration. This was a time when we left the safety of the nest, and blended into the world as normal kids. Because of their hybrid status, the sun did no physical harm to them unless they spent too much time in it. If they did it would result in a massive headache that if gone untreated or if the exposure was prolonged, could result in a fatality.
“Marc, I have sort of a difficult question to ask you.” I sat down next to my brother at the small dining table in the corner of our kitchen. It was Marc’s favorite place to eat. He hated the grand (oversized) table that sat in the large dining room just outside of the kitchen.
“What’s that?” Marc bit into his steak sandwich which was rare…really rare, and took a long slurp of his blood soda. Blood soda was really just a mixture of your run of the mill bag-o-blood and carbonation. It just gave it a fizzy taste, like drinking a coke. My brothers claim that it’s absolutely delicious, I wouldn’t really know as this was not a part of my daily diet regimen.
“Will you help me find them?” I fidgeted with my hands, afraid of what his answer would be. He had no reason to help me. Yes we were close, but that didn’t mean that he would be willing to take the risk of getting caught by our father doing something that would clearly go against everything he would ever want us to be doing. I was sure that he would have been completely against my pursuit.
“Yeah, sure,” he took another huge chomp out of his sandwich that sent a piece of steak flying across the room. He plucked it out of the air and popped it into his mouth. Marc always ate like that, messy and on the verge of truly disgusting but he was proud of his beastly manners.
“You don’t even know who I’m talking about. You may want to wait for an explanation.” I snagged one of the chips off of his plate being sure to aim for one that was nowhere near the pool of blood that leaked from his sandwich.
“I know who you are talking about. I saw your papers and your computer which you always leave open and unprotected. You know if you were trying to be secretive, I’d suggest you put in just a tad more effort. You do live in a house full of vampires after all.” He laughed and pulled his plate further away from me. He knew me well, chip addict that I was, he would have very few of the salty snacks left if they remained within my reach.
“Okay, so you know I want to find my birth parents and you’re still willing to help me. Why?” I asked him as I stood from the table to grab my own bag of chips from the cabinet above the large stainless steel refrigerator.
“Yeah, I am. I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t help you.” He turned in his seat and leaned his back against the table so that he could see me. Obtaining chips always took a bit of added effort because I was shorter than everyone in the house and they never took my small stature into account when stocking my favorite chips. I could hear him laughing beneath his breath as I pulled the step stool over to aid me in my efforts.
“Okay, but, you know what that means, right? We would have to cross over into their territory, which isn’t exactly the safest thing for you to do. Besides, father would be furious if he ever found out what we were up to.” I finally snagged my chips and returned to the table.
“Yeah, I am aware of all of the risk; give me some credit little sister. Don’t worry, I can handle myself. So, we leave tomorrow.” He winked at me, stood from the table and left the room laughing and chewing on the last of his sandwich before giving me another chance to question his decision making skills.
We spent the night preparing for our trip and had to act in more of a stealth mode as we were no longer alone in the house and could not speak or act freely. Using my stolen map, I showed Marc the areas of wolf territory that I had eliminated as possibilities through both general knowledge from our father and the little we were taught in our studies. We packed our bags and tried to get some rest. I managed to get a whopping 30 minutes, at most. The only thing I could think of when we headed out at the crack of dawn was how thankful I was that dear old dad loved to spend his summers in other countries, mostly ones with a cooler climate. If he were home, we would not have made it to the door before he figured out what we were up to and stopped us. We still had to be careful because he had his minions watching over us. They however tended to slack on the weekends especially after a Friday night of binge bloodletting and drinking whatever spirits the kitchen hand would release to them.
A definite advantage that comes with being supernatural is having supernatural speed. A trip that would have taken an entire day for a human took only a few hours for us. We left our house just before the sun began to rise, and were standing on the outskirts of wolf territory by nine o’clock. It was me who caused the hesitation; not Marc. If it wasn’t for my reservations, he would have continued on, unfazed by what we could possibly be facing. I suggested that we stop and take time to eat and hydrate our bodies. Moving at top speed for an extended period of time really takes its toll. This time, Marc drank straight from a blood bag, and I enjoyed a nice thick cut steak with my elixir.
Oh, my elixir let me explain about that. Father had it made special for me. A witch he claims is a friend concocted the potion as a way to extend my life so that I could be around longer. Vampires lives were basically limitless. Werewolves, though their lives are long, do die of old age. The oldest living wolf I had heard of was 200 years old and even the legends had only made it to about 300. Father was near 800 years old and to a few vampires he was actually considered to be a youngster. This was a difference that our father was unable to accept because he had done so much to obtain me and he wanted to keep me around, so he asked for the witch’s help. So, every morning with my first meal, I drink the elixir. It took me a while to get used to the flavor, truth be told I only ever got to a level of aggravated tolerance for the stuff. It is pungent, and a leaves a horrible after taste that tends to linger far longer than I ever want it to. I chase my elixir with a grape soda to help erase the taste faster. We pack up and Marc is already feeling fully energized. I claim that I need more time. I crack make a smart remark about how vamps recover faster than wolves but I’m lying and he knows it, but he allows it.
“So, when are you going to admit to me that you’re scared?” Marc asked as he tossed what seemed like the hundredth stone across the field. Each one pierced the side of a tree and stuck there. I imagined needing the Jaws of Life to get them out.
“I am not!” I indignantly kicked at the rocks beneath my feet.
“Yes you are. And, the sooner you admit it, the sooner we can deal with it and move on. We can’t stay out here all day Kendra.” I saw him wince a bit; the headache must have been setting in. For a vampire, he had been sitting in the sun for far too long already.
“Yeah, okay, so what? Maybe I am afraid. I don’t know what we’re walking into Marc. What if they don’t want to see me? What if they don’t like me? I mean, I can’t imagine too many of them being happy to be around the ‘enemy wolf’. I was raised by and with vampires. I am not exactly a part of their pack.”
“Whatever the outcome will be, you need to do it, which was very obvious to me or I wouldn’t be here. Besides, it’s not that bad if they don’t want or like you, you already have a home.” He made his statement as he headed off to cross the borderline.
I followed him, knowing that he wouldn’t stop for further discussion. He inherited his stubborn streak from Father. I knew he would never let me turn around. That was the thing about Marc; once he set his mind to something, he never turned back. It would be done, no matter what he had to do to make it happen.
It took another hour of travel through the forest that guarded the wolf territory. Their eyes and ears were all on us once we stepped on their land. They knew we were there and they were paying close attention, but no one approached us. I took that as a good sign. At least the locals were not hostile, so far.
When we broke free of the woods our feet landed on cobble stone. It felt like we were taking a trip back in time. This place reminded me of something out of a movie; a depiction of life lived long ago. I was told that werewolves lived simple lives, but this seemed a bit extreme.
“I bet you they don’t even own cell phones here.” Marc snickered as we walked down the road.
Ahead of us was a town with brick buildings. I imagined each of the houses having fireplaces. Ours did not, we had central heating. That of course, was never used. I usually had the air conditioning running, and to answer your next question, yes, even in the winter. That thing about a wolves body temperature running hot, well it’s true. Some days, if I hold a piece of ice, it will melt in seconds. It gets really uncomfortable, especially in the summer.
We walked at a normal speed as we took in our surroundings, the eyes were still there. They sat off in the distance. But, I saw each and every pair. It seemed as though there were hundreds, I told myself I was over reacting.
“You see them right?” I asked Marc.
“Yes, and hear, and smell. They don’t seem to be interested in any attack.” He looked at his watch to check the time. We had a curfew to keep to and our layover in the field did not help our schedule.
“Let’s hope it stays that way.” I nervously stated back.
We scoured the town, and asked whoever we ran into about my birth parents. No one had anything to say, but it was clearly a conspiracy. I had to have been a cover up. In a pack, they are all mentally connected, they fed off each other’s energy and we able to check in on one another even if they were on the other side of the globe. How could they not know? It quickly became clear that the answers to my questions weren’t unknown. For whatever reason, they were all holding back, there were all keeping this secret from me. Were they told to do so? Were they warned that if I ever came near they should lie and quickly get away? That is exactly what happened with each encounter, we would get a nervous “I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about that”, and then they would quickly depart our company.
By the time the sun started to descend, I had nothing. We ate one more meal. This time Marc actually enjoyed his steak sandwich with his blood. We packed up and left. The return trip was depressing. By the time we made it home, I had dissolved into an emotional wreck. I went to my room and hid out. I cried as well, and I cried out loud. There was no use in trying to hide it. In a house full of vampires, I knew everyone could hear, but I did not care.
It was the next day, as we walked from studies to training that Marc approached me.
“So,” He whispered. “I think we better try a different tactic next time around.”
“What do you mean next time? What makes you think there is going to be a next time Marc? Those people clearly aren’t going to give us any information.” I stopped in my tracks and stared at the sky. I wished I had wings so that I could fly away to escape the rejection I felt.
“We try a different town, a different approach. Someone will tell us something.” He winked and left, in his usual way. He rarely ever gave me time to debate him, not that it would do any good.
Marc took over from that point. I was left out of all the details. He studied my research, and concocted a new plan. I became unnecessary. This was actually a good thing after the first attempt; I would have been useless anyway. I would have just accepted the defeat and not gone any further. That is why I asked for Marc’s help in the first place. I knew that when Marc sets his mind on something he stays committed. He was now determined, where my confidence was swaying me towards giving up, he never faltered.
The week passed all too quickly for me. Saturday morning was upon us. This time Marc thought it best if we drove he was also somehow able to get us a weekend pass from Father. Apparently we were going on a road trip with some human pals and were not expected to return until Monday. Trying to avoid spending so much time in the open sun like on our last trip, he decided to use an entrance further from the forest. That last headache nearly put him out but being inside of the car would help as he made sure to choose one with heavily tinted windows.
We drove the border of wolf territory and ended up on the exact opposite position the first point of entry we used on our first useless attempt at gaining answers. It wasn’t until we were there that he chose to fill me in on the rest of the details of his brilliantly constructed plan. That was also the moment when I wanted to punch him in the face for being such an idiot! I was able to hold back, barely.
What was his big plan? Wait until you hear this one! He would go into town, pick a fight, and because he was a vampire he would be captured. Then, I would have to come in and plead his case by telling my story, and hope for the best. Hope for the best! That was his actual finishing statement! I could have killed him right then. The only problem in his ‘plan’ was that there were too many opportunities for errors to be made. We had no way of knowing how they would react to a vampire and I didn’t want to take the chance of him getting hurt, or worse! Some wolves wouldn’t wait for an explanation or for a wolf to show up and vouch for the intruder.
“What if it doesn’t work that way Marc? What if they just kill you on the spot? They might not take time to step back and ask questions. You know, the old kill first, ask questions later bit?” I balled my fist and punched the dashboard. “This was a stupid plan!”
He thought about it for a moment, and then simply replied, “Well, that would suck. And my plan isn’t stupid, but if you can come up with another solution, be my guest.” He leaned back in his seat and waited.
“We have to find another way. Or better yet, give up and go on that road trip. Why waste the free pass?” As I turned to look at the map and reevaluate the situation, I heard his door slam shut. “Damn it Marc!” I yelled at the blurred image of his body running toward the town.
I immediately jumped from the car and followed his path. I knew I would never catch him before he was able to set his plan into action. I just hoped I could get there before anything happened to him and I hoped like hell that he didn’t get himself killed. How was I supposed to explain that to our father? Daughter or no, he would not be happy about losing his first born. I managed to make it there just as the death blow was coming down from above his head.
“Stop!” I yelled into the crowd. Marc was on his knees surrounded by the people of the little town and they were all in wolf form. I didn’t understand why, but mid run, I shifted into my wolf form. It was something that I rarely ever did, but I knew that with this pack, or any other for that matter, if I wanted to be taken seriously, I needed show them some respect. And I had to show that we were on common ground, I was like them. Yes, I was an outsider, but I was still one of their own even if none of them would admit it.
I came to a stop just between Marc and the wolf that was bearing down on him. The large wolf had sleek black fir. His scent was strong, not the Alpha by far, but higher up in rank than the other wolves that surrounded us. Great, Marc just had to pick the big bad wolf. Literally!
I stood still as the large wolf approached me, custom as I had read it would be to allow him to assess me before things went any further. He sniffed me, eyed my body intently and then turned up his nose. Apparently he was not too pleased by what he found, I held back the urge to snort or show any other type of an attitude problem. I also knew that this was not a good start and that I had to change the way things were going or Marc was sure to be dead. I would most likely be next in line for termination. I took a submissive position by bowing my head slightly in an attempt to show the wolf that I meant him no harm. I second guessed this decision, was it wise to appear as weak to this male? Maybe he wouldn’t take me seriously. And this is exactly why wolves shouldn’t be raised by vampires; they were two completely different worlds. I remembered father telling me that some wolves’ found it enticing to make an example of a wolf that seemed weak and was disrespected by the pack. I hoped like hell that the one who was still sizing me up wasn’t one of those wolves.
There was no way for us to communicate in wolf form since I was not bonded with this pack, so all I had to offer was my body language. Every movement had to be carefully executed.
Once he determined that I was no threat to him or his pack, he shifted to his human form. He stood in front of me completely naked, and looked at me expectantly. He was offering me a chance to plead the cases of both Marc and myself. One by one, following suit, all of the wolves shifted back to human form. I stayed in my wolf skin.
“Is there a problem?” He asked me.
I shook my head no.
“Kendra? I think you need to change back now.” Marc looked around us at some of the faces. My not changing when they did was a form of disrespect. I knew this, but, I was too embarrassed to stand in front of the entire town completely naked. I was ready for any of this so I didn’t even think to take the precautions of keeping my clothing, which were now shredded on the ground back at the spot where I shifted.
“Shift now wolf or pretty boy loses his head!” The head wolf yelled at me. He seemed to be losing his patience and was quickly becoming more irritated the longer I hesitated.
I took in a deep breath, closed my eyes and allowed my wolf form to wash away. I waited for the laughter, but it never came. In fact there were a few deep intakes of breath. The appreciative kind, mixed with some that were more out of misperception. I forced myself to open my eyes. In front of me stood the man who was just mocking me, with his mouth wide open, and his eyes looking as if they would pop from his head at any second. And there was that embarrassment I was afraid of. What the hell were they looking at?
“What is she?” A young woman asked from among the crowd. This was a question I was not expecting to hear. I was a wolf, like them, what else could I have been? They saw me shift from girl to wolf and back. I didn’t understand how that left room for confusion.
“I don’t know.” He turned to the crowd. “Leave now. All of you go home.”
Silently they all left, as commanded and without protest. This left Marc on his knees and me standing there naked. Suddenly the level of my embarrassment heightened .as many eyes turned to just two pair and they were both focused on me.
“What are you?” The man seemed to grow in size as he questioned me. His body rippled with the start of a change. It looked as if he was preparing to attack me and I still had no idea why.
“What do you mean? She’s a wolf like you!” Marc stood and spoke up for me, because I was still too shocked to do it for myself.
“I do not know what she is, but a wolf she is not!” He growled at Marc, daring him to make a move.
“What do you mean?” I looked in his eyes and could see that he was being honest. That this was not just a tactic used to mess with my head. “You saw me shift!”