Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine’s Day Interview with the Witches from Paranormal Pleasures: Ten Tales of Supernatural Seduction

We have a special Valentine’s Day interview with a few of the witches from the erotic short story collection Paranormal Pleasures: Ten Tales of Supernatural Seduction.

I’ll start with Marissa from “A Last Goodbye”. Marissa is new to the supernatural world, being a late bloomer with her magic but her trainer, Deirdre, who happens to be a vampire, is showing her the ropes and helping her acclimate quite well.

RR: So Marissa how are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, is Deirdre very romantic?

Marissa: Deirdre is quite the romantic though don’t tell her I said that, it would ruin her ice queen image. I’m not sure what she has planned but I know she’s up to something, she’s had a twinkle in her eye and that always means she’s in planning mode.

RR: Has she done grand romantic gestures before?

Marissa: Not any extremely grand gestures, she’s more of an everyday romantic- a rose on my pillow, a new book of spells on my desk…she always does something sweet for me.

RR: That is precious. I think it’s so important to have those little everyday reminders of love they keep the romance alive.

Marissa: Oh yes, it definitely does. And with our crazy lifestyles and supernatural drama…it can be hard to think about the mundane stuff.

RR: Vampires, witches and their drama…

Marissa: You know it.

As Marissa giggles thinking about her new life full of vampires I turn to Ariadne from “Witch in the Middle”. Ariadne has not one but two gorgeous men in her life. Such a greedy witch J

RR: Hi Ariadne, how are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? Anything special planned? Will you celebrate with both of your men?

Ariadne: I’m not sure what I will be doing for Valentine’s Day this year.

RR: Why not?

Ariadne: The whole “who to be with” issue, and choosing which guy to celebrate with is such a headache.

RR: Why not be with them both?

Ariadne: And risk the dirty looks, the questioning looks…or even worse the guys getting into it in the middle of a romantic dinner and embarrassing me? No thank you.

RR: So they’re still having issues with each other?

Ariadne: Men are so territorial, jealousy is always an issue. They are always trying to one up each other or be the better man. Sometimes I wonder if I should just choose and be done with it.

RR: I’m sorry to hear that, I was really hoping the three of you had worked things out.

Ariadne: Perhaps they’ll get over the pettiness so I can have a HappyValentine’s Day. I would really love to be with both of them and have a good time.

RR: Well there you go, just tell them you want to go out and have fun without their egos getting in the way.

Ariadne: Thanks, Rox I will do that. Now I just have to figure out what to wear.

RR: Maybe you should go chat with Marissa and Deirdre I hear Deirdre has closets full of amazing clothes.

Ariadne: Thanks, I’ll do that.

Ariadne wanders off to find Marissa and I turn to Elita from “The Questioning Concubine”.
RR: Hello Elita, glad you could join us today. How are things going with the investigation?

Elita: Thanks to Connor I’m finally making some headway with the case. I’m closer than ever to finding out who killed my parents.

RR: That’s great news. Are you taking any time off to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Elita: Oh yes *she smiles coyly*. We will definitely be celebrating Valentine’s day.

RR: Do you and Connor have anything planned?

Elita: A wicked little grin creeps across her pretty features…I do. I want to surprise him with a very romantic and sexy evening.

RR: Really? How do give an incubus a romantic surprise? I mean, after all he is all about the sex.

Elita: That’s just it, he is used to doling out the pleasure and being the means to an end. I want to give him pleasure, treat him like he has treated me. I want to return the affection. I don’t think he’s used to being on the receiving end of love.

RR: So you plan to turn things upside down for your pleasure demon?

Elita: Oh yes *again with that wicked grin*. I wanted to ask her more but I didn’t want to get into the TMI area plus I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for  Connor, who knows maybe there’s a future story in the works featuring Elita and Connor’s Valentine’s pleasurefest.

RR: Good luck with that. I hope it turns out to be a spectacular night for the tow of you.

Elita: Oh it will it’s going to be so amazing and so damn hot…
*she blushes as she realizes she’s getting a little carried away*

RR: I clear my throat thanks for joining me for this little interview, I hope all of your Valentine fantasies turn out to be fabulous.

Elita: Thanks Rox I’m sure they will.

Elita wanders off and I turn to the witch that’s left, Vicki from “Witching You A Merry Christmas”.

RR: So Vicki, You and Daniel ended up having a very wonderful Christmas last year, will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day together as well?

Vicki: She gives me a shy smile Yes, we’ll be together for Valentine’s and for the rest of the holidays.

RR: Wonderful. So any plans?

Vicki: I think Daniel has something up his sleeve. He is such a sweet and charming romantic.

RR: What kind of romantic is he, hearts and flowers or something deeper?

Vicki: Oh a little of both. He does the hearts and flowers and chocolates but he always adds something deeply personal- like finding a first edition copy of my favorite book signed by the author. Or hunting down my grandmother’s locket which had been pawned years ago when my mother needed money.

RR: Wow. He puts his detective skills to work for romance huh?

Vicki: She laughs Oh yes. He is very good at tracking things down, and he’s such a good listener. Sometimes I think he knows me better than I know myself.

RR: I know he loves Christmas and goes all out with the decorations, is he the same way for Valentine’s day?

Vicki: He loves to celebrate…anything. He has an entire room filled with decorations for every holiday.

RR: So that’s a yes? I laugh.

Vicki: Most definitely.

RR: Well thank you for joining me today, thanks to all the witches that took the time to stop by and answer my questions.

To learn more about these characters check out Paranormal Pleasures Ten Tales of Supernatural Seduction.

Roxanne Rhoads
Publisher: Bewitching Books
Genre: Paranormal erotica
ISBN: 0615470386 / 9780615470382
Page Count: 138

Book description:

Ten tantalizing, erotic tales of vampires, witches and demons grace the pages of this short story collection by Roxanne Rhoads.

Step into the darkness and let these tales tempt and tease to satisfy your paranormal cravings.

Eight of Roxanne Rhoads' previous eBook publications appear in print for the first time, along with two brand new, never before published tales of supernatural love and lust.

Extended Description

A Last Goodbye

New witch Marissa is learning the ropes of being one of The Others. One of her mentors is vampire Deirdre, a tall beauty who really irritates Marissa. Marissa is extremely pissed when she shows up to Dante's Ball and finds Deirdre there with Marissa's recent ex-boyfriend, Jeff. The one she was encouraged to break up with because of his humanity. Deirdre explains her reasons for bringing Jeff and offers to help Marissa say goodbye to him in a way none of them will ever forget


Vanessa is tired of her boyfriend Simon’s promiscuous vampire ways and stakes him, repeatedly- not close enough to the heart to kill him but close enough to make it hurt. But now she’s had a change of heart and considers embracing the sexual world of the vampire instead of being jealous of it.

Witch in the Middle

Ariadne is a witch torn between two men, a vampire and a human. Her heart doesn’t want to choose but the men force her to make a decision that could break her heart, unless with the help of the Goddess all three of them can come to a mutually acceptable…and enjoyable agreement.

When It Storms

Devon’s witchy girlfriend becomes insatiable every time a storm rolls around and he’s more than happy to give her exactly what she needs.

Monster Inside

Shannon’s never seen her vampire boyfriend, Logan, vamp out before. Then one night he has to kill to save her life. Can she ever look at him the same way again?

The Questioning Concubine

Elita, a pure blood witch, has come home to find who or what killed her parents and to take her rightful place as the head of the coven. After five years of investigating and exhausting all conventional methods at her disposal, she decides to do the one thing a good witch should never do—summon a demon. The demon is not what she expected. Elita is soon swept up in his power… and her own.


The residents of the sleepy little town of Flushing, Michigan had no idea a vampire lived among them, seducing and drinking from all the men in town. Renata walked among them, blending in, taking only what she needed. One night, while she was on the prowl for fresh blood at a carnival, a handsome carnie caught her eye. She had no way of knowing he was a vampire hunter and was there for her.

Sea of Blood

Liana made Nerissa a vampire centuries ago in the islands of Greece but she’s never tired of her companion or the way she hunts her prey.

A Halloween to Remember

What says Halloween better than a wild party at an old Victorian mansion complete with its own cemetery? Perhaps meeting the man of your dreams thanks to the magic of Halloween.

Adena can’t believe her eyes when she spots Dimitri in the library- he looks like something straight off the cover of a historical romance novel-the type of guy she’s always dreamed of. Too bad he disappears before she has the chance to introduce herself. When she finally spots him again later that night she decides she’s not letting him get away again. Adena thinks she’s finally found the one. Until she wakes up alone the next morning- in the cemetery.

Halloween magic brought them together but will it be strong enough to keep them together?

Witching You A Merry Christmas

Witch Vicki has been leery of vampires ever since she was attacked five years ago. Daniel's a vampire and he's been secretly in love in with Vicki for two years ever since becoming Vicki's partner in The Guardians a supernatural group of paranormal crime fighters. Daniel loves Christmas and hopes the spirit of the holidays will soften Vicki's hatred of vampires and help her see him in a new light. Will he get his Christmas wish?

Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage by Emily Kemme

Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage
Emily Kemme

Genre: Chick Lit

Publisher: Arrowhead Publishing

Date of Publication: January 27, 2017

ISBN: 0983740127

Number of pages: 288
Word Count: 107,532

Cover Artist: Mia Kemme

Tagline: “We all live with ghosts. . . Some are those of people who’ve never been born.”

Book Description:

“We all live with ghosts. . . Some are those of people who’ve never been born.”

So begins Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage, the second novel by award-winning Greeley, Colorado author Emily Kemme.

Loosely based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the novel takes on life itself as a pilgrimage. One of life’s biggest struggles is fitting in with the rest of the human race, and an aspect of that is having children. It’s not meant for everyone and yet, true to Darwinian forces, it’s almost expected. Giving birth and then raising a child to maturity is one of the bravest tasks we take on. 

On what was supposed to be a day to celebrate, another cruel outburst from Holly Thomas’ sister-in-law begins a spiral of events that would leave Holly questioning every choice she’d ever made and every belief she held as truth.

Had she done the right thing by her unborn child? Had she given enough, or too much, freedom of choice to her son? Did she truly, deeply know her husband and clinic partner, Roger? And what right had she to counsel infertile couples after her own pregnancies?

With the Fertility Tour only weeks away, a group of unlikely and disparate pilgrims look to her for guidance. But Holly’s life has unraveled in ways she could not have imagined, including a restraining order against her. Will she be able to find her footing and make peace with her choices and herself? Will visiting the religious and sacred feminine sites in England help her regain control or only tear her further apart?


"Today exists for you to let your mind wander, let it free, all week long. This is the time for reflection and evaluation."

Deeply traumatized after her daughter, Arella, is born dead, fertility counselor Holly Thomas struggles to achieve inner peace. Roger—Holly's supportive husband and a prominent fertility doctor—accepts her grief-induced eccentricities, but his intolerant Christian family resents her and her Jewish roots. When Edward, Roger's brother, openly belittles the Bar Mitzvah of Daniel, Holly's son, tensions escalate, and her whole world threatens to fall apart. To overcome heartbreak and reflect on self-discovery and relationships, Holly and Roger take a group of patients from their clinic on a fertility tour. This tour becomes a spiritual pilgrimage for unrealized truths.

Kemme elegantly examines the complicated aspects of life and relationships. Using Holly's experiences with a failed pregnancy, her in-laws, and Roger, Kemme focuses on how pain can shape and enlighten us. That religious intolerance can inflict significant emotional damage is depicted through Roger's family members who weaponize words to hurt Holly. This, along with Holly's emotional fragility, causes strain in her marriage. However, Roger's unwavering love helps Holly stay somewhat balanced, letting her emotionally heal many patients who cannot conceive. Some of these couples include Leah and Rachel, the Rhanjhas, the Chandlers, Burbages, and Jane Brown and her mother. As Holly and Roger take their chosen couples on a fertility tour to England, various colliding elements within the patients' lives emerge, thereby projecting how relationships bless or burden us. Pain becomes a recurrent theme in the novel, neutralized by the healing touch of water as a metaphor. Arella's grave is near water, and the visit to the sacred sites of England serves as ritual cleansing for the characters. Artistically nuanced language and the sincere, soothing tone bring out the true beauty of this literary novel. This is an introspective, gentle novel that illuminates and rejuvenates in the same breath.

RECOMMENDED by The US Review of Books

Fertility doctors confront the lingering effects of personal and cultural emotional trauma. Holly and Roger Thomas have a stable marriage, fulfilling careers, and a son practicing for his bar mitzvah. Holly insists on throwing a birthday party each year complete with gifts for their stillborn daughter, but Roger doesn't complain. His Catholic brother and sister-in-law, however, find fault with Holly, primarily because she's Jewish. Her religion haunts her, almost as much as the death of her daughter. . .
. . . the author often beautifully depicts Holly s self-doubt as she explores different aspects of overcoming trauma. . . [in a] positive tale of moving forward through unexpected circumstances.

-- Kirkus Reviews

Dr. Roger and Holly Thomas run a successful fertility clinic in New York City. Roger tends to the patients' physical needs while Holly ministers to their emotional and psychological ones. The couple cherish the routines of their partnership and their happy marriage as they struggle with the pain of a lost child. Holly continues to throw their daughter birthday parties long after the child's been buried. This painful ritual causes her in-laws to question her sanity and is a source of annual familial strife.
Then the Thomas's son, Daniel, decides to complete his Bar Mitzvah. While Holly was born Jewish and Roger was born Catholic, neither parent practices his or her childhood religion. They've exposed Daniel to both religions for the sake of their families, but neither of them expected him to take it this far. Roger's devoutly Catholic family cannot accept Daniel's sincerity, and harsh words are said at his birthday party. Holly and Roger's resulting fight has surprising and unintended consequences.
All this turmoil takes its toll on the workings of the clinic. The Thomases have hosted something they call the Fertility Tour for over a decade. It's an opportunity for their clients to connect to one another outside of their familiar surroundings. Holly conducts the tour; she chooses the participants, orchestrates ice-breakers, and mediates conflicts. Normally she's a skillful operator, but she's lost her confidence. This year's tour is populated by an odd and ill-matched assortment of individuals. Needless to say, this tour does not run smoothly. Roger and Holly must find a way to reconnect with one another in order to salvage the retreat.

The Thomases deal with people at their most vulnerable. Fertility is closely tied to an individual's identity, and both men and women find it difficult to process the inability to have a child. While Holly and Roger have never encountered problems with conceiving, they have suffered a loss and are sympathetic to thwarted expectations. This closeness to struggle and their ongoing religious turmoil provide the pair with a lot of philosophical ground to cover. Is religion necessary to cope with the vicissitudes of life? Is God responsible?

Drinking the Knock Water is at heart an exploration of the role religion plays in the life of an individual. Faith in a god can both connect a soul to others and sow discord. In the end, it's up to the reader to decide if faith is essential or composed of empty rituals.

-- Manhattan Book Review

Excerpt: CHAPTER 1: Circumnavigating Sanity

          In a town famous for its ghosts, it was easy to imagine there was one lurking behind every tree. And while Holly knew most visitors to Sleepy Hollow expected movie-inspired visions of the headless horseman, in truth the densely wooded surroundings allowed a more peaceful somnolence. In spite of its thirty-mile proximity to the most populated city in the country, what with New York’s electric hubbub of restless, cosmopolitan energy, there was never a feeling of urgency in the little hamlet, merely a sleepy torpor, a sensing that the world stopped in this hollow of quiet dead.
            Whether the town cultivated any sensational image was another question altogether. Holly suspected it did not, at least not year round. Of course, there were the Halloween weekends, prompting arrival of thrill seekers by the thousands, but that was just theatrics. No real ghosts shared the stage.
            If there was any spectral unrest, it existed only in the minds of the towns' inhabitants.
            Even by the light of early evening in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where saturated gray skies released rain to drip from the trees, dotted here and there with planted shrubs and summer flowers in fresh bloom, there was a lovely serenity, enhanced further by the rain’s sudden cease. Here, there was nothing to fear.
            Holly entered the cemetery through scrolled iron gates wedged between gray quarried stone, which made up the wall bordering the grounds. She jogged up Forest Avenue, turned left on Transit, making her way up Hill Side, and then down onto Cascade, where she left the well-marked gravel path. From there she strode through wet grass crowded with lichened grave stones, some weatherworn and leaning askew, others newly polished with crisp lettering, until she reached the pale little stone marking the grave. At the baby’s feet, a short drop off past the main road, the Pocantico River burbled as it shot over rocky masses. Holly’s one request of Roger and the cemetery’s caretaker was that the site be near water, the giver of life, bringer of tranquility. Knowing how nearly Holly brinked insanity in those days, Roger swiftly supported her wishes; they were lucky to find a small plot in a relatively unpopulated section.
            Holly sat next to the grave, nestled the spray into the humped grass covering it, and leaned her cheek against the smooth stone. It was simple and austere, with only a slight scallop of embellishment at the top, befitting a little one who had never breathed air. She closed her eyes, inhaling deeply to catch her breath from the run, collecting her thoughts. Above her head, squirrels batted sticks together, hidden away in the leafy trees, a reminder of the unseen life they shared.
            Marit always managed to rattle her, either poking fun at Holly’s whims, or sometimes with outright malice, which Holly knew all too well stemmed from their differences in religious outlook. The fact that Arella’s birthday fell on St. John’s Eve didn’t help. For someone as devotedly Catholic as her sister-in-law, celebrating a baby’s life who had never been born, was sacrilege. The saint’s day was meant to celebrate a birth, Marit insisted, and certainly had nothing to do with a baby born dead.
            But it wasn’t a topic Holly was willing to think about today, not on Arella’s birthday. Instead, she catalogued her daughter’s gifts:  an enormous stuffed pony for her bed, and a cellphone. She chuckled at that one, recalling Roger’s perplexity.
            “Why do you have to get the baby a phone?” he’d asked her the week before when she walked into the house, arms loaded with shopping bags. Holly had exclaimed that Arella wasn’t a baby anymore, she was turning eleven, and every preteen needed a cellphone.
            Roger chewed his upper lip for a while, before asking, “Is this along the lines of ‘ET phone home?’”  He had laughed, and so had she. Gifts for Arella were an annual practice in their household, and long gone were the days where Roger made much of a fuss over it. Keeping Holly happy was his primary goal in life, even if that meant some particularly nutsy charges on their credit card every June. His wife’s frenzied activities subsided within a week or so after the birthday celebration, allowing her to settle back into reality, recharged and reaffirmed with the notion that she was doing the right thing by Arella.
            She felt warm pressure on her right shoulder, and opening her eyes saw that Millie’s husband, Josiah, knelt at her side on one corduroyed knee, his gnarled hand grasping her shoulder lightly, holding her steadfast. Holly looked up into the old man’s deep blue eyes, shot through with red veins, but firm and gentle in their gaze, and nodded. He stood up slowly and she extended a hand for him to pull, which he did.
            “Almost everybody’s there at the cottage,” he said. “Except Edward, but you knew that.” They were both aware that there was no need to explain further; of all the friends and relatives, Roger’s brother had never attended these parties, whether he was in town or off somewhere in the world. For some reason, Josiah enjoyed pointing out this fact to her, a reminder perhaps of which of the two older men in her life she could count on more.
            Holly stood immobile, gazing into the tangle of trees rambling up the hillside away from the brook.
            He looked at her closely. “We all live with ghosts.”
            The motion of her head was barely noticeable. “Yes,” she agreed. “Some are those of people who’ve never been born.”

            She looked down at the grave. “I have to leave now, Arella. Your party is starting.” She swept her index finger over the top of the stone, letting it linger on the upward swooping scallop, and then turned to walk with Josiah back up the hill.

About the Author:

As the award-winning author for her novels, Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage and In Search of Sushi Tora, and on her lifestyle blog, “Feeding the Famished”, Emily Kemme tends to look at the world in all its rawness. She writes about human nature, and on her blog shares recipes and food for thought along with insights about daily life. She is a recipe creator but winces when labeled a foodie. She is the Food and Lifestyle Contributor for the Greeley Tribune’s Dining column and also writes features for the newspaper and its magazine, #Greality.

"I write about what I ate for lunch only if it's meaningful," Emily says. "Mostly, I'm just hungry.”

Emily also writes because her degrees in American and English History, followed by a law degree from the University of Colorado, left her searching for her voice. She also suffered from chronic insomnia.

“Writing helps clarify my mind, erasing clutter, and makes room for more impressions. My thoughts can seem random and disconnected, but once they flow onto paper, a coherency and purpose emerges, directing patterns into story. I sleep much better, too.”

As an author who lives in Greeley, Colorado, she celebrates people’s differences, noting that the biggest problem with being different is when it’s deemed a problem. Emily often identifies with the underdog, focusing on humanizing the outsider, showing there is not only one right way to be or to live. Through her writing she hopes her audience will be open to new ideas, the acceptance of others, and will recognize the universalities of human experience in a non-judgmental way as they meet her characters and follow their stories.

Her first novel, In Search of Sushi Tora, was awarded as Finalist for First Novel in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and her second novel, Drinking the Knock Water, was awarded as a Finalist in Chick Lit in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received two CIPA EVVY awards.  Emily is currently working on a children’s book series, Moro and The Cone of Shame, a collaborative project with her daughter-in-law, Mia. She is also writing her third novel, The Man With the Wonky Spleen, a story about human idiosyncrasies.

Professional Memberships: PEN America

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Review Witch Creek by Laura Bickle

Witch Creek (Wildlands #4)Witch Creek by Laura Bickle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A page turning adventure I could not put down. I started the book right before midnight on Saturday and finished it around 11:30 pm Sunday night. I just couldn't stop reading.

This is book four of Petra and Gabe's story- and the most emotional and in depth one yet.

This book pulled no punches when it came to making you feel the story. Witch Creek proves that Bickle's strengths are definitely character development and world building as she takes us deep into the wild and weird world of Temperance from the current mess involving Owen the latest Rutherford heir, all the way back to the town's dark beginnings with Lascaris.

We finally get Gabe's backstory in bits and pieces as Petra searches for him while he's being held prisoner by Owen Rutherford. Petra fears the worst, that she may never see her love again and that heartbreak will yank at your emotions as you ache for the two of them to be reunited.

We are introduced to new characters and we see a couple characters fleshed out that were previously just in the shadows. We learn a lot about Lev, the bartender, who becomes an integral player in Petra's story. We learn about his past and we suffer his heartbreak. I wonder how he'll play into future books. I wouldn't mind seeing him become Petra's ally.

And Sig, Petra's coyote sidekick, we learn a little more about him in each book. I love how Bickle usually incorporates an animal sidekick into her books- and slowly reveals that the animal is much more than what they appear to be.

The most gripping part of Witch Creek is that it takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions as characters deal with death and rebirth from different perspectives.

Petra faces death from cancer. Gabe faces death at Owen and The Mermaid, Muirenn's hands.

Other characters deal with the death or impending death of loved ones. Even the Tree of Life, The Lunaria, is dealing with its own version of death and rebirth.

Parts of this book are truly heart wrenching. It was so well written, so deep...I was in tears several times.

The Wildlands Series is the perfect blend of alchemy, folklore, and magic with Petra and Gabe's love story at the heart of it. Urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, with touches of horror and romance. This multi genre mash up is a must read.

View all my reviews

Guest Blog - Hexcommunicated by Rafael Chandler

Hey there! I'm Rafael Chandler, author of Hexcommunicated. I'd like to tell you a bit about my writing process.

Writing is my life.

By day, I write video games. While working for Sony, Ubisoft, Kabam, Gameloft, and various other video game studios and publishers, I've authored 10 video games, including SOCOM 4 and Rainbow Six: Lockdown. I've also worked as a co-writer or copywriter on dozens of other games.

Sometimes, the project is brief: for example, I'll get hired to additional dialogue or story content for a mobile game that's already available. Something like that only takes a few weeks.

Other times, I get brought on board while the project is in its early stages, and I work with the game designers on creating the concept, developing the characters, and shaping the narrative. A project like that can last for years, and it's as serious an undertaking as any novel that I've written.

Speaking of which, I've written four novels: two vampire novels, a story about superheroes and supervillains, and a bloody tale of serial killers at war with each other. 

I've also written a dozen tabletop role-playing game sourcebooks, two non-fiction books, magazine and newspaper articles, a couple of comic books, and a blog series about video game development which was hosted by game industry site Gamasutra.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

So how I remain focused and motivated? Well, I have a process.

First: coffee. 

The secret to good coffee is to roll out of bed, blinking in the harsh and unfamiliar light of the sun, then stagger downstairs, accompanied by my pug, Jangis Con (that's how our little one spelled it, so that's the name that we gave the dog).

I feed the dog. I boil the water (I like my coffee the way I like everything: cheap and instant).

I take the coffee upstairs, set it down, forget about it, let it get cold, sip it, curse, take it downstairs, nuke it, and then repeat. This goes on for hours.

Second, I require a relaxing vibe in order to crank out all those thousands of words per day. 

A safe, comforting space produces a safe and comfortable frame of mind. Can't have that!

So I painted the walls red and decorated my office with heavy metal posters and monster toys.

Music also plays an important role. Mellow tunes put me in a mellow mood. So I listen to death metal. These days, I enjoy Artificial Brain, Ulcerate, and Blood Red Throne.

Ahh, that's nice.

The next order of business is the writing space itself.

I bought a workbench at the hardware store, and I stand at it all day. I type, I scribble, I walk around the room, muttering dialogue to myself, playing the roles of arguing characters.

No matter what I'm working on, I always start with an outline. A one-page summary with a few bullet points gets rewritten as a three-page outline with character names and major events. The next version includes a few additional details, such as locations or relationship notes.

A few months later, the outline is over a hundred pages long, and I'm ready to begin writing the novel.

The process is not unlike writing a screenplay for a video game: a brief concept document evolves and grows through various development and production stages, eventually becoming a massive spreadsheet with thousands of fields for character names, mood, area, special effects such as static or distortion, notes for the voice actors, filenames, and so on.

It's not all work, of course. Throughout the day, I take several breaks to play with my dog. Look at that face. How could I resist?

So that's it. That's the setup. That's where I was at when I wrote Hexcommunicated.

So what about you? What's your work environment like? Got a special setup? What about music? What inspires you?

Rafael Chandler

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Neoplastic Press

Date of Publication: July 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1478196662

Number of pages: 302
Word Count: 94,400

Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Cover Model: Rose Ballentine

Tagline: When the sun comes up, the girl of his dreams will murder him.

Book Description:

The name is Tepes. Nicolae Tepes. I'm a federal agent with Hex Division.

When the sun comes up, the girl of my dreams is going to kill me.

My partner's a werewolf, but we get along okay. We were investigating this murder when we stumbled across a conspiracy unlike anything we've ever dealt with before. Ghostmortems, Scarevoyants, all kinds of freaks.

It started bad and got worse quick: a psychic on our team had a vision of the future. At sunrise, I'll die at the hands of the woman I love, and then a psychotic death cult will deploy a supernatural weapon of mass destruction.

We've got eight hours to prevent this prophecy from coming true, but the psychics of Hex Division are never wrong...

Excerpt Two:

          I holstered my gun. "Right. Let's toss the place."
            Zheng flipped the mattress over.
            I pulled dresser drawers. I froze. Stainless steel shuriken rattled against each other. I hauled open a few more drawers; in each one, more throwing stars. Maybe a hundred total.
            "Whiskey tango foxtrot," Zheng said. She leaned the mattress against the wall. A half-dozen circular saw blades gleamed on the boxspring.
            "Ambush," I said. I drew my gun. I snapped my fangs.
            Zheng went feral: full werewolf. Teeth bared, she hunched over and glared around the room, waiting for something to twitch so that she could eviscerate it. I held still.
            After a minute, I relaxed.
            "Okay," I said. "Nobody here. Let's keep searching."
            With a high-pitched scraping sound, the bed's metal frame buckled once, then lurched across the room. With a heavy thud, it slammed end-first into the door, scattering saw blades all over the carpet.
            I got ready to shoot, but there was no one to aim at. The bed had moved of its own accord. I whirled around. No targets. Zheng growled, a menacing rumble from deep in her chest. She cocked her head like a terrier. I heard it too: a clinking sound.
            The shuriken in the drawers floated up into the air. Suspended by some invisible force, they twirled in neat rows, their sharpened edges flinging light around the room.
            "Jesus on the cross," Zheng said.
            I bolted for the bathroom. "Move," I said. "Get the door." I couldn't seem to form complete sentences. My instincts were screaming in crimson meter-high all-caps. My legs felt like concrete.
            The circular saw blades wobbled up off the carpet and formed a line, rotating cautiously. They hovered. Zheng turned to follow me into the bathroom.
            As if fired from a gun, the shuriken sliced through the air towards us. Behind them, the saw blades spun forward.
            A hungry blade caught me in the side, chewing through my ribs and shredding one of my lungs. I coughed out a scream and fell short of the bathroom door. Pain sizzled in my nerve endings as a cluster of shuriken bit into my upper back, embedding themselves in the muscle tissue. Another saw blade shrieked towards me. I rolled over. It thunked into the carpet, then trembled as it tried to wrench itself out of the floor.
            Zheng lunged for the bed frame. "Get it off the door," she snarled. Shuriken swarmed her like a school of piranha, slicing into her wrists and thighs, then darting away. She hauled at the frame, but it wouldn't budge, held in place by the same force that had turned this hotel room into a slaughterhouse.
            A saw blade whistled towards Zheng's neck. She jerked her head to the side. It bounced off the metal frame, then zipped towards me. I scrambled off the blood-soaked carpet and hurled myself into the bathroom. Kicking the door shut, I slid back across the tiles. Saw blades thunked into the door.
            "Break the window," I yelled through the door. "Jump for it." Zheng could survive a six-story fall, no problem.
            "Can't get through," she yelled back. "Any windows in there?"
            I grabbed the sink, elbowed myself up, and glimpsed a blood-soaked ghoul in the mirror, a throwing star sticking out of his shoulder. With a grunt, I reached back and started to yank it out, then thought better of it. At least it was stuck in the bone. If I pulled it loose, it might go for my eyes.
            The toilet lid rattled.
            "Oh, for fuck's sake," I said, backing away. The lid bounced up. A dozen serrated kitchen knives scraped their tips past the ceramic lid, shiny shark teeth poking forward as I reached for the doorknob.
            Diving back into the room, I pulled the door shut behind me. The knives punched halfway through the door. I backed up.
            Zheng stood in the middle of the room, clothes slashed to ribbons, muscles bulging as she swung the dresser around. Shuriken and saw blades, stuck in the dresser, shook violently as they tried to wrench themselves loose.
            Flakes of plaster tumbled down from a ragged hole in the drywall; it looked like Zheng had tried to claw her way through to the next room.
            I aimed my gun at the window, then saw the saw blades, dozens of them, pressed against the glass, a foot apart from each other, spinning silently. Any attempt to pass through them would hack me into strips.
            "I got heartbeats," Zheng growled. It was hard to understand her with those monstrous fangs in her mouth.
            Behind her, a swarm of shuriken wheeled and dove. "Behind you."
            She dropped the dresser and swatted at the throwing stars irritably, some of them smacking into her arm, clacking into the bone. Blood spurted. She yelped. A metal lamp whipped itself off a nightstand and clocked me in the temple. I fell to my knees, black spots dancing across my field of vision. Zheng hauled me to my feet.
            "Two pulses, both slow. All this yelling, they should be worried. But they're not. Whoever they are, they're asleep."
            I blinked, trying hard to put this all together. A saw blade flew at me. I picked up the wooden coffee table and used it as a shield; the blade buzzed through the table and tore off part of my right bicep. I grabbed the spurting wound, clamped down on it. How much blood had I lost? Three or four pints? Out of what, ten? How long before I passed out and got decapitated?
            A half-dozen saw blades peeled off the window and darted towards us. Zheng picked up the dresser and chucked it at them.
            "Apologies in advance," Zheng growled. "No time to claw through the wall. I need a battering ram."
            "Wait," I croaked.
            Ignoring my protests, she hoisted me up.
            "You got all those metal parts," she said, a shuriken clipping one of her ears off. "Figure I'm strong enough, you should go through drywall pretty good."

            "Oh, shit," I said.

About the Author:

Rafael Chandler writes novels (Mask Beneath Her Face, The Astounding Antagonists), video games (SOCOM 4, Rainbow Six: Lockdown), and tabletop role-playing games (Teratic Tome, Lusus Naturae). He's a metalhead, kaijuphile, and gorehound.

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