July Author Spotlight — M.J. Kaestli

The fireworks are over, unless you live in my neighborhood which seems to think two weeks before and two weeks after the 4th of July is primetime for fireworks until all hours of the night.

So why should we stop the fireworks? And this time, I don’t mean the ones that go BOOM and frighten my tiny puppy.

These fireworks come from a seemingly endless pool of fiery romance. So let’s meet the source of this fun, steamy romance that’s better than a roman candle backfiring and hitting your neighbor’s leaf pile…

M.J. Kaestli writes Young Adult (YA) Dystopian Romance. She writes strong female leads who don’t know they were born to conquer the world.

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Hi, M.J.! Thanks for joining us. Please give our readers an introduction of yourself, not just the writer in you, but who you are.

I’ve created and shared stories since I could speak and written them since I could
hold a pen. I publish under M. J. Kaestli and I’m primarily writing YA Dystopian
(currently 5 out of 7 books in series).

On top of writing, I’m also a book reviewer. I post weekly book recommendations
on my website, YouTube channel, Instagram and Facebook. If you enjoy YA,
Dystopian, and Urban Fantasy, then come check out my reviews!

I live in Vancouver Canada and I love and go for nature walks along the sea wall
or in the forested areas. I hope to someday soon add a dog to those walks and my
home. I will admit, I often walk in the off-leash section of the park just so I can pet
all the dogs. It’s time I get my own…

What genre do you prefer to write and why?

My first love is Dystopian and I have since I was a kid. I think the reason is
because my dad was a survivalist. Any and every illness, turn in the economy,
governmental change, and new technology were all viewed as potential culprits for
bringing the end. How life as we knew it would soon end was weekday
conversation at the dinner table in my house.

I used to have regular nightmares as a kid and often daytime anxiety as well. I
thought way too much about how or if I would survive our looming destruction.
When I discovered Dystopian books at first it was a comfort because it represented
the reality I lived in and always ended well.

I know it sounds like I should hate Dystopian, but I think it safely explores
elements of humanity that really opens the mind to what surrounds you. I don’t
write out of fear of the future but more out of wanting to see the world on a wider
spectrum, to consider what I’ve never considered.

Do you write under a pseudonym? What made you decide to do so/or not? What
inspired your pseudo?

Yes, M. J. Kaestli is a pen name. There were a few reasons why I wanted to
publish under a pen name but I’d say the most prevalent is because I want to write
so many different genres. I’m a fan of grouping genres together under one
umbrella to protect the reader and ensure they continue to get what they want
without confusion.

I knew I wanted this pen name to feature strong female leads so I drew inspiration
from the strong women in my life. The M is for Michelle which is my real first
name. The J is for Jean which was my mothers name. And Kaestli was the maiden
name of my great-grandmother. I never got to meet her but was inspired by stories
of her as a child. She seemed to have more spunk and attitude than what was
deemed appropriate in her day.

Do you have a small or large circle of author friends? How do they help you
become a better writer?

My circle of non-writer friends has become rather thin. Most of my friends both
locally and online are fellow writers.

I’m heavily involved with my local Nanowrimo community. We formed our own
group outside of the annual writing challenge and host weekly write-ins. I think
writers need to be constantly surrounded by other writers, even just to have people
who make you feel normal.

As writers, we sacrifice so much of our personal time and money in pursuit of a
dream most think isn’t realistic. It’s too easy to give into self-doubt, insecurity, or
doing something easier with our time. We need each other for emotional support.
There is also a huge perk to get an extra set of eyes on your work or to have
someone to bounce ideas off of. Collaboration helps to keep the words flowing,

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or do you prefer writing series?

I’m incapable of writing short stories or stand alone novels. If the idea isn’t
multiple books with complex plots then I can’t get excited enough about it to get
through the writing process.

The State Series has overlapping timelines with multiple character points of view.
It has taken me longer to finish than I would have liked so moving forward, I plan
to work more in worlds with multiple series while releasing the timeline and main
character. I hope this speeds up my process while holding the integrity of what I
love in the finer details.

Do you base characters off people you know If so, do you let them know before
they read the novel?

Everyone and everything I’ve experienced in my life has an impact on my writing.
Modeling characters after real people isn’t something I do with intent, but can
happen organically. And yes, if I become aware of it (which usually takes time for
me to see it) I will tell them.

My main character Freya in The State Series was just a character to me until I
finished writing the first 3 books. While editing, I realized that Freya in so many
ways was my mom. She passed before I finished writing Compliant and so I never
got the chance to tell her.

What does success as a writer look like to you?

This is a hard question as there are multiple levels of success. Naturally, I want to
earn enough money that I don’t have to do anything else to live. I want to focus
full-time on writing and have the money to hire out all the background work I can
so that I can write even more.

But there are other kinds of success than money. I think my biggest moment as an
author was receiving feedback from one of the first people who read Compliant.
She read it in less than 24 hours and reported she was a “bad mom” because she
couldn’t put it down. To me, knowing I’ve touched someone’s life is success.

I feel that the world is made a better place through reading and storytelling. It’s an
honor when I can help connect people with stories that impact them, both as an
author and reviewer.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice or strictly as a business?

It’s definitely both and more. I feel like when I started taking my writing seriously
was when my life really began and I discovered who I am. It’s spiritual,
therapeutic, entertainment, social, all the things.

It’s also a business because if you want to share your stories with the world, you
have to spend money to get them out there. Publishing is expensive. And if I want
my stories to touch lives (which I do) I have to pay money to market them. There
has to be a balance of both income and spending. Plus, the more income I receive,
the more backend work I can hire out, and the more books I can write.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Of course! I love to read my reviews because it helps me to figure out what the
readers liked about my books so I can try to give them more.

The most negative review I’ve received was someone hated my main character
(and wrote paragraphs about how much and why) but then closed with saying they
would still recommend my books because the story’s so good.
I laughed, shrugged, and thought they must have really loved my story because
they really hated Freya. I want people to feel something when they read my books.
Even hating my character is better in my mind than writing one that’s forgettable.
You have to take the good with the bad because someone else told me Freya was a
real person to them. We each have our own tastes. My books aren’t for everyone
and I accept that as I don’t like every book I read that others love.

What is your favorite childhood book?

Monica Hughes became my favorite author in elementary school when my teacher
read our class Space Trap. It was the first Sci Fi book I was exposed to and that’s
when I discovered I love to read.

I later found Invitation to the Game at my library, the first Dystopian novel I read.
I was forever changed. I checked all her books out multiple times and they had a
huge impact on shaping my young mind into the person I’ve become.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

The moment I understood what an author was as a child. I used to talk people into
corners telling them my stories before I could write. Once I realized why I had no
friends, I started to quietly write my stories down. At the time, I didn’t know it was
a possible answer to the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Ideas have always come easy, it’s the writing that was hard. As I’m also dyslexic, I
struggled to get through the writing process as I was continually challenged with
spelling, grammar and the use of language. That kept me blocked until I realized
one day that 40 was just around the corner (I was 36.5).

I set out a very clear goal to write every day because I had to finish at least 1 novel
before 40 and self-publish it. I was about 6 months late on publishing Compliant,
but I had written about 6 books by 40 and published the first 3 in series by the end
of that year.

I still struggle with sentence structure, grammar, spelling, all those things that
received the red pen strike from my English teachers. But, I learned that the only
thing that really matters is I tell my stories to the best of my ability. Between
editors and all the software’s available, I have no longer allow my limitations to
hold me back.

Thanks so much for joining us, M.J.

If you want to learn more about M.J., her books, and what she has coming up in the future, you can find her at the below links.

Her website & blog: https://www.mjkaestli.com/

Purchase link for her latest book: http://mybook.to/Compliant

Amazon.com: Compliant: A Young Adult Dystopian Romance (The State ...
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H8Z34QX?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjkaestli/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjkaestli/

Book Review YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Zxh5Fz7FQuEQ0-D-uy61w?view_as=subscriber

Until next time, dear readers! Stay safe, Stay cool!
KC

Endings are Hard

Probably one of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Chuck (aka God) on the tv series Supernatural, which coincidentally is ending soon. I’m too heartbroken to discuss Supernatural ending, but ENDINGs in particular catch authors between a rock and a hard place.

Chuck (aka God) from Supernatural says it best:

“Endings are hard. Any chapped-ass monkey with a keyboard can poop out a beginning, but endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch. There’s always gonna be holes. And since it’s the ending, it’s all supposed to add up to something. I’m telling you, they’re a raging pain in the ass.”

This is true not just with tv shows and movies, but books…especially series. You (as a reader) commit your time, your energy, your imagination, your heart and soul to a story and then the author either leaves you hanging with a cliffhanger only your imagination can fill in, or tries too hard to wrap it all up in a nice HEA (Happily Ever After) bow, or leaves you unsatisfied in some way that perhaps even you don’t understand. You just know that you are not happy now that it (the story) has ended. Sometimes, it really is just the fact that something you love has come to an end that there’s a huge hole in your heart. Regardless of the why, ENDINGS SUCK!

This discussion all started with a Facebook dialog on another author’s page and it really has me mulling things over hard, especially as I’m currently editing Book 3 of my own series (which was supposed to end with Book 3, but even I – the author – am not satisfied with the ending so I’m busting this baby out to at least 2 more books after #3 ~ much to the chagrin of the other stories swirling around in my noggin desperate to get out). Whereas the conversation on FB was particular to tv series, this also applies to book series.

Most tv series, and book series, have disappointing endings. For one, if you’re a fan of a show/book series, you’re already sad it’s ending. But why are we so emotionally connected to how the series ends?

For example, when Supernatural ends here in a few weeks…unless Sam and Dean are showing up on my own front porch then I will be disappointed because the characters and story have become part of my life. Watching the show has been my “escape” for years. Now what am I supposed to do? Find another show? *Gasp!* The horror of the thought!

I had the same thoughts/feelings when Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the off-shoot series, Angel, ended. Buffy wrapped up in a cute bow with dozens or more slayers now out in the world to protect us all from vamps and other hellish nightmares. What’s not to love about that? With Angel, it was a fantastic smashup, action-packed cliffhanger with the main character (the incredibly hot David Boreanaz) saying, “I kind of want to slay the dragon. Let’s get to work!” and then fade to black. OMG! What a kickass ending, right? Then why was I left with a huge black abyss in my soul?

Let’s take this to books. I just finished a series by one of my favorite authors. Gobbled up each and every book. Got to the end…good guys won! FMC (female main character) and MMC (male main character) live happily ever after! Supporting characters also live happily ever after! Awesome, right? I should be thrilled, right? NOPE! It was all wrapped up too neatly in a bow. Why on earth would I be disappointed when everyone except the bad guys got a wonderful HEA?

Even historical fiction based on real-life persons, I know how it’s going to end, but I’m still like “WTF? Cleopatra DIES! Octavian Caesar wins?!” Ugh!

Endings suck. They just do. Because part of our hearts and souls are connected to the story. It has fueled our imagination for years possibly. So when the inevitable happens…the ending…we are left with a piece of ourselves missing/torn/bruised.

No ending, no matter how HEA (happily ever after) given to us by tv producers or authors, will ever fill that hole, soothe that ache, or mend that jagged rip in our souls. So despite the best intentions of the creators, we will always remain disappointed to some extent.

As I keep writing my own series, dear readers, I am trying to keep you all in mind as I continue creating to get the the inevitable ending. But the truth is, the story must end how the creator sees it in his/her own imagination. Sometimes even we don’t like our own ending, but that’s just where the story leads. I’ve tried to write stories with different endings, different circumstances that didn’t fit with the story banging around in my head, and to be honest…that was always a huge mistake and I always went back and changed things to authentically sync with the story in my own head. The characters wouldn’t have it any other way.

So please don’t lash out at the authors, the tv show creators and producers and screen writers when the book or show or movie ends and leaves you upset or let down.

Image result for endings suckTruly, we are not out here in the universe trying to find ways to piss off the fans. No matter what ending is written, it’s never going to be enough to fill that gaping hole in our hearts because it simply is …THE END!

As Supernatural’s Chuck said several seasons ago,

“No doubt, endings are hard, but then again, nothing ever really ends, does it?”

Maybe that’s why endings are so difficult, either we can’t accept that it is “the end” or perhaps nothing ever really ends. Our imaginations make the story live on.

Image result for nothing ever ends

 

Lessons Learned and Big Announcement

First, let’s get the BIG announcement out of the way because quite frankly I’m too tickled pink to put this off.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE…

Book of the Month

After some fantastic reviews from The Naked Reviewers last week, they chose my paranormal fantasy romance book, Rekindled Prophecy – Book 1 of the Greylyn the Guardian Angel series, as their Book of the Month for March 2020!!!!!

The book was also named as the Book of the Week from 2/26/2020 to 3/4/2020!

Somebody pinch me! Okay, not THAT hard! Geez, now I’ll bruise.

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Now for the original posting for this week ~ Lessons Learned from my first book signing event at Penned Charleston this past weekend.

See the source imageTo sum it up  – it was a series of unfortunate events which ended happily ever after.

  1.  Should travel the night before the event. I was stuck in a traffic jam on I-26 EAST towards Charleston with all lanes blocked due to a horrific accident. Nowhere to turn around, just had to sit there and continue sitting for a long time. Ended up 1 1/2 hours late!
  2.  Bring an assistant! Can be anyone, friend, foe, hubby, kids! Just bring someone to help out so the author can make trips to the ladies’ room and get food/beverages. Initially the hubby was supposed to attend with me, but he was easily persuaded to ditch me to take our youngest son to a wrestling tournament in Fayetteville, NC. Figured I’d be okay on my own, but easily see now how having a helper with me would have made the whole experience run more smoothly and enjoyable. Also assistants were working the venue by walking around and visiting all the tables and mingling with the guests/readers to direct traffic to their author’s tables. Assistants also freed up their authors to walk around and meet new authors and just mingle.
  3.  Double-check swag before the event. I found a typo on the bookmarks as I was sitting at the table Saturday. To say I was horrified is an understatement!
  4. Bring more swag! Some authors had some serious swag at their tables. Some had raffles going for their super swag. I had bookmarks with typos, postcards with book info (which I ran out of), candy (mints and chocolate), and mini hand sanitizers.
  5.  Personalized labels for swag (such as the hand sanitizers) can be easily purchased I learned from one incredibly helpful author assistant. One lady had personalized packaging for candies and chocolates!
  6.  When the venue doesn’t provide linen table cloths for the tables, bring your own nice linen table cloth, not a flimsy plastic tie-dye one.
  7.  Check into vinyl posters and heavy duty easels. Most authors had 8-10 foot posters set up behind and beside their tables. I had a foam board 12×18 book poster propped up a stack of books on a chair beside me.
  8.  Purchase easels for posters and something to connect the banner to the table.
  9.  Purchase book stands so the books aren’t just laying down on the table.
  10.  Sneak in snacks. The venue said no beverages or food to be brought in – they provided water stations and some appetizers were handed out in the beginning during setup (which I missed due to #1). I ended up eating more of my own candy which was supposed to be just for visitors to my table.

Sounds a bit like a disaster, right? Actually, it wasn’t at all! I met a lot of amazing authors, author assistants, bloggers, reviewers, cover artists, and most especially readers! I learned a lot! I made some contacts including a lovely author in my local area (Hi, Haven Cage!) who also organizes local author get-togethers, and I now have a Reiki healer to call locally when my chakras are imbalanced. So, HUGE WIN!

Sadly, I ended up leaving right after the event rather than staying for the 60s-themed party that evening (another Lesson Learned – STAY FOR THE PARTY!).

Hopefully this Lessons Learned segment will benefit other newbie authors as you go to your own book signing events.

Well, I’m off to celebrate my Book of the Month award with some of my leftover chocolate from Penned Charleston!

I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

1st Ever Book Signing!

I am beyond excited to be attending my first EVER book signing event this coming weekend (2/29/2020) in one of my favorite cities on planet Earth – Charleston, SC.

New Release banner

Since this my first book signing, and Penned Charleston is such a HUGE event, I will admit to being a bit intimidated and nervous.

What if I don’t bring enough books?

What if no one wants a book?

What if my brand new Square card reader doesn’t work (or user error – I’ve never used one before)?

What other items should I bring?

What if the banner doesn’t stay attached to the table? What if there’s no place to hang the poster of the book cover?

And so many other questions have been playing roller derby in my head and are only gaining speed and momentum as the day edges closer.

Luckily, other authors have heard my pleas for help and offered amazing advice, so fingers crossed that I will be as prepared as I can be. I have my banner, my poster (well, actually it hasn’t been delivered yet – Yikes!), bookmarks, pens (have been ordered but have not arrived yet either – Double Yikes!), candy (individually wrapped mints and chocolates, plastic candy bowl, bright tie-dyed table cloth because the event is going with a 60s theme, lots of hand sanitizer (also order, but not delivered – Triple Yikes!), Square card reader (still gotta learn how to use this thing), oh and…books!

Unfortunately, due to the short notice when I signed up for this event, I was unable to coordinate a pre-order form and list so I could bring just the right amount of books, with a few extras. So I will selling books directly at the event instead and my inventory of books in my current possession isn’t that extensive. I genuinely am hoping to run out of books and have to take orders to send readers afterwards. Lesson learned for the next book signing (Queen City Book Fair on 5/23/2020) is to have a pre-order promotion well in advance and to institute all the lessons I will learn this upcoming weekend.

So if you are anywhere near Charleston, SC or want an excuse to visit this amazingly charming city, please join me this Saturday at the North Charleston Marriott for Penned Charleston! The weather forecast is calling for a mild 55 degrees and mostly sunny!

Hope to see some of you there. If you don’t live close and have a book signing event like Penned Charleston near you, please send me an email or private message here and I’d love to see about attending closer to you if you’re interested in getting your own copy of Rekindled Prophecy signed or just want to meet up and chat.

Until next week!

Besties,

KC

 

 

 

Paperback Release TOMORROW 2/18/2020 for Rekindled Prophecy

book cover FB promo

Rekindled Prophecy is the first book in my fantasy/paranormal series, Greylyn the Guardian Angel. It came out in hardcover and ebook last November 2019 and will release in paperback format tomorrow, 2/18/2020!

I am so excited about the paperback release for many reasons:

  1. Hardcover books are sometimes too bulky to carry around in your purse, even if you use a drawstring athletic bag as a purse like me. (***Note to self: Buy a real purse one day!***)
  2. A LOT of people (and I do mean A LOT) prefer a physical book over ebooks despite the digital version being much more portable. There are a number of reasons for this preference. Some love the paper smell of books. Some have not transitioned to ebooks and never will (my own mom for one).
  3. An author can’t sign an ebook.
  4. Book shelves don’t get stacked with ebooks. You need hardcover or paperbacks for that. So if you love seeing your bookshelves nearly toppling over with books, ebooks will not do the trick. you need hardcover and paperback.
  5. Paperback books are generally cheaper than the hardcovers. So if you buy books in bulk to add to your TBR pile, paperback is the more economical option.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore my Kindle too. It’s the easiest to transport. Since I do most of my reading sitting at swim meets, wrestling tournaments, and in the car rider line at my daughter’s school, throwing the Kindle in the drawstring bag I utilize for a purse is the fastest, most convenient option.

Also, I LOVE hard cover books! I keep the book cover jackets on them too and line them up on my bookshelves with adoration and love! I have a full collection of hardcover Stephen King and Anne Rice books. When I was a struggling twenty-something, I switched to paperbacks and I proudly display them too on my shelves. (***Side note: All books have been stowed away in boxes while we renovate my office, including built-in book cases! Secretly I believe my hubby wants to keep the books in the boxes as he fails to see the necessity in keeping all my books, and keeping them all displayed for me to lovingly gaze it while I daydream when I should be writing or editing, but he will NOT win this one!)

So if you a bookaholic like myself, and you prefer physical books over the ebooks, and you love fantasy/paranormal with a steaming shot of romance thrown in, please check out Rekindled Prophecy starting tomorrow (it’s available for pre-order now, too).

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BOOK BLURB:

Guardian angel, Greylyn saves innocent humans from their own inner demons or the more nefarious real ones. She’s overdue for some rest and relaxation, but upon finding her archenemy already entrenched at an authentic Irish bed and breakfast, she knows her vacation is over before it ever starts.

Enemies for over four centuries, Greylyn has fought the dark guardian, Kael; and fought her desire for him. This time, however, she must work with the dashing dark guardian to protect innocent lives. It’s a deadly gamble. One she has no choice but to take.

But the situation is far more treacherous than she realizes as a notorious fallen archangel holds the lives of a mother and her unborn child over Greylyn’s head to force her to consummate a dormant, but deadly prophecy. One so deadly that Heaven didn’t even write it down.

Rekindled Prophecy: Greylyn the Guardian Angel is a fantasy/paranormal novel with strong undertones of romance and sex appeal between two enemies – one working for Heaven, the other working for Hell.

 

https://books2read.com/u/bzoaBE

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Teaser:

Greylyn gulped in air. She wasn’t dead, not yet. Renewed energy pulsated through her body and gave her strength to push herself up on shaky arms. She stared, turning to look at each man as they circled each other. Both men with deadly intent etched on their faces. In between getting hit, and throwing jabs of his own, the stranger muttered, “Had to be you! It just had to be you!” One final uppercut to Jasper’s jaw, and the guardian angel fell back.

Her mouth opened to scream for him to leave Jasper alone, but no words came out. He turned to her, his face bloodied, but with a sad smile. “Until next time, love.” Seconds later, he vanished down the alleyway.

Suddenly able to move again, Greylyn jumped up and ran over to Jasper. “Who the hell was that?”

“Oh, I’m fine, by the way.” With the indignant look he flashed her, she knew Jasper was far from being fine. Physically, yes, he was alright. But his icy-blue eyes spoke volumes of fury she could not under-stand.

“I’m so sorry …” She checked him for injuries, hands roved over his body. His clothes were spatter-ed with blood. Other than his pride, and a black eye that would fade in an hour or two, he was in perfect shape.

Greylyn knew she looked a mess. Hell, she should be dead. Instead, the blood had already dried and the sizzle of her bones mending underneath her skin comforted her.

I’m not going to die. At least not tonight.

Jasper cupped her chin. “Yes, I know. It’s my fault. It was too soon to send you out on your own like that. I realized my mistake and came to find you, in case you needed assistance.” A nerve twitched in his jaw. “And, I find I was correct. You certainly needed help.”

“Oh, no! Edward? Did he escape? I came out here looking for him, but these guys,” she waved her hand toward the corpses littering the alley, “were after him and …”

“Yes, yes. I get it. You ran into the bad guys and as a bonus, you got a bloody dark guardian your first time on your own.”

“A what?”

“A dark guardian. The exact opposite of us, darling. You are just lucky I came along when I did. That one would’ve carved you up like a porterhouse steak.” He pushed himself off the ground. At his full height of well over six feet tall, he towered above her.

“Does this dark guardian have a name?” She didn’t know why it mattered that she find out his name.

Jasper narrowed his eyes at her in obvious disapproval. “That one in particular is Kael,” Jasper spat. “Truly nasty piece of work. Avoid him at all costs. Hopefully, you will never have to see that creature again.”

He turned toward her and grabbed her by the upper arms, leaning forward so they were nose to nose. An aroma of whiskey and tobacco wafted into her face. “Greylyn, promise me that you will stay away from Kael. If he ever crosses your path, either annihilate him completely with your dagger through his heart and then rip it out of his body while it’s still beating; or run. Just run.”

******

A quick note before I sign off, if you live in (or in driving distance from) Charleston, SC, I will be at the Penned Charleston book signing event on 2/29/2020. Please come by and say “Hi!” I’ll have paperbacks of Rekindled Prophecy to sell and to sign, along with some book swag.

And if you live in Charlotte, NC (or nearby, or within driving distance), please come out to the Queen City Book Fair on 5/23/2020 to see me and many other fabulous authors. I’ll have more paperbacks to sign, and hope to have a pre-order link set up soon.

Queen City Book Fair flyer

I’ll send out updates for future book signings and events as I schedule them.

Thanks and I hope everyone has a beautiful week!

 

Love always,

KC

Epic Fail but Will Always Try, Try Again

Last Friday (2/7/2020) evening I held an Author Reading from my debut fantasy/paranormal novel, Rekindled Prophecy – Book 1 of the Greylyn the Guardian Angel series.

book cover FB promo

Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/bzoaBE

Well, that was an outright disaster!

Several lovely friends showed up to listen to me read, and asked questions, made comments and generally it was an overall good time.

So what went wrong?

I coughed throughout the entire reading!

No, I don’t have the flu, or the corona virus.

What I had was allergies to all the drywall and general construction dust from my office. The room has been under renovations for some time now, and completely unusable, but I insisted (to myself) that I should do the reading from my office (mostly to avoid any of the other people living in my house from intruding – most of the time they respect the sanctity of my office).

You’ve been warned, but if you’re interested in listening to the reading and the Q&A session, here’s a link to the video on Facebook.

Now I am a self-proclaimed non-techie so I haven’t figured out how to edit the footage yet, and I’m rather certain there wouldn’t be a lot left if I took out all the coughing. My next best alternative is to record the whole thing, but then you’d miss the discussion and Q&A.

In lieu of a teaser for this week, you may have to work for it to listen through the reading of the Prologue from Rekindled Prophecy. Now there’s a lot of controversy these days in the literary community about prologues and epilogues, but I LOVE them and use them frequently. Every book in the series will start with a prologue giving the reader a glimpse from Greylyn’s past that has significant impact on her present and future. It’s a peek behind the curtain.

But if you don’t want to wade through my coughing fits to listen to the prologue, please direct message me here or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KCFreemanAuthor/ and I’ll send you a word document copy of the text.

Next month, I’ll make another attempt at a live reading from my book and hold another Q&A session. Because…why not? It was fun, despite the coughing.

 

 

 

 

What Would Buffy Do?

 

So you may be a bit confused by the title of this week’s blog but here’s my logic which may or may not pass for real logic but it is what it is, folks!

  • I’m a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan
  • I’m a huge Supernatural fan
  • When the Ghostfacers asked “WWBD?” or “What Would Buffy Do?” I squealed with delight.
  • There’s a somewhat similar push/pull/stalkerish vibe with my characters, Greylyn and Kael, as was between Buffy and Angelus (not really Angel, but his alter ego) and between Buffy and Spike.
  • Buffy was “The One”  –  According to buffy.fandom.com/wiki/Slayer, the definition of “Slayer” is…Into every generation, there is a chosen one. One girl in all the world. She alone will wield the strength and skill to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness; To stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer.―The original prophecy of the Slayer. Well, Greylyn, was the one person who could fulfill this prophecy that the bad guy wants fulfilled. She’s “the One” but he doesn’t call her that.

Now the story of Greylyn the Guardian Angel isn’t based on Buffy. I just wanted to compel any Buffy fans out there, that if you liked Buffy, you’ll love Greylyn too!

Also, WWBD…

If you’re looking for something Twilight-esqe, Rekindled Prophecy – Book 1 of the Greylyn the Guardian Angel series is not for you. Sorry in the Greylyn universe vamps are not romantic, although they do try to fake it in the second book of the series (so maybe you’ll like this series after all if you’re a Twilight fan), Revelations which is currently with the editor.

Here’s a little excerpt to showcase just how Greylyn and Kael are a bit Buffy and Angelus (evil Angel obsessed with tormenting Buffy). And if you have no clue who Buffy is…please do yourself a favor and look up this series (I think it may be on Hulu now).

*********

A wave of heat originated from his touch, spreading out to her entire body. “Everything’s al-right now, Gr—” His voice, smooth yet husky, trailed off but with a slight accent marking him as not English.

A chill raced through her veins, freezing her in place as she watched his glowing topaz eyes morph to a deep crimson. 

A demon?

No, not exactly. The hint of sulfur was missing. The way pinpricks of pain flashed out when a demon touched her skin didn’t happen. Oh, there were pinpricks of something, but definitely not the same sensation. No, he wasn’t a demon, nor was he possessed by one. Of that she was certain, but the realization something was different about this man was enough to jar her back to her senses.

Her fingers coiled tighter around the hilt of her dagger—a weapon bestowed upon her as part of her initiation into the world of guardian angels. The handle, intricately carved with a Celtic symbol inter-laced with the sign of infinity and two opals of varying shades embedded in the center, now pressed into the soft skin of her palm. Months of intensive practice, it was now an extension of herself. Its sharp, jagged edges of an almost blue metal were forged specifically to kill demons, to kill anything not intended for this world. Greylyn prayed it also worked on whatever this man was.

He hadn’t moved. Just stared at her with those freaky eyes of blood. She slashed upward with the blade. He jerked away, but not in time. A gash appeared across his cheek, and his hand flew up to his face. Greylyn used his momentary surprise to push herself off the ground to run away. Not two steps later, the man grabbed her upper arm, hauling her backward into his chest with such momentum she felt, as well as heard, the cracking of her spine from the impact. The small bones of her wrist popped painfully under pressure from his much larger hand, forcing her fist to unclasp and the dagger to fall. His other hand snaked around her waist to press firmly into the small of her back.

“Going somewhere so soon?” His voice held a gruff edge to it now, no longer velvety smooth.

Every instinct screamed at her not to, but she defiantly craned her neck to stare up at her captor. Big mistake. He whipped her around to face him. Now pressed against his chest, the thumping of her own heart mixed with the sound of his own rose to a deafening level, blocking out all other sounds. His lips curled on one side, highlighting a dimple. Perfectly white teeth glinted in the dim moonlight. Warm breath caressed her face, smelling slightly of bourbon.

“Let. Me. Go,” she ground out from clenched teeth. Her body shivered, but she refused to acknowledge the fear. Although she thought she might not survive her first guardian assignment, Jasper’s mantra that he’d drilled into her head over the last year rang in her ears—Never acknowledge the fear. A guardian does not have the luxury of giving in to fear. Greylyn prayed her eyes reflected resolve and courage, not the terror coursing through her veins. Or whatever else was pulsing through her body.

A full grin broke out on the man’s face. The red flames dancing in his eyes smoldered before returning to their topaz hue that had riveted her in place earlier. His entire face relaxed. “Now, love. Why would I do that? There’s so much we have to discuss before …”

Greylyn stomped down on his foot with all her strength. Considering their significant size difference, she didn’t expect it to work, but it startled her captor enough for him to loosen his grip. She wrenched her arm away while her other fist swung up and slammed into his face. Blood gushed from his nose, flowing down to drip off his chiseled chin.

Instead of an angry shout or a return punch, he glared steadily at her with no other outward show of pain or emotion.

“So much for civility then.” The words were spoken so softly through thinned lips that she almost doubted he’d spoken at all until his fist shot out. Excruciating pain blinded her.

The jerk broke my nose!

Strong hands gripped her arms and yanked her with such force her neck snapped as her body sailed across the alleyway. Colliding with the moss-covered stone wall of the tavern, all the air whooshed out of her lungs. A coppery tinge filled her mouth.

Pain and anger boiled up, fueling a surge of adrenaline that brought everything into crystal clear focus. All sound, except for her assailant’s heavy breathing, stopped. She waited.

Why didn’t he attack?

She raised her head in defiance, blood, and muck clinging to the strands of hair covering her face.

I am a guardian angel. No evil shall pass by me.

The words were drilled into her for months by her mentor. He’d made her repeat it verbally every day before lessons and every night before sleep.

This man was obviously evil. Demon or not, evil was evil. She had no choice but to put an end to him.

“Like hitting little girls, do you? Not very gentle-manly.” She clicked her tongue behind her teeth as her arms numbly pushed her into a squatting position. Sizing him up, this time as an opponent, Greylyn saw past the fashionable attire and good looks to the dark soul underneath. A blackness exuded from his aura, so dark it mingled with the night sky. How had she not seen it before?

The man straightened to his full height, hands at his side curled into fists. “You shouldn’t be here, love.” She’d expected an angry retort or another attack, but his voice was soft and shaky.

Her eyes darted around the alley. She needed a weapon, preferably her own. Where had it gone? With the moon fully ensconced behind the clouds, it was impossible to see more than his faint outline, even with her superior nighttime vision.

Greylyn rose to stand, her fists clenched at her hips and her back against the broken stone wall. “Well, I am here. Ready to party.” She’d aimed for a daring, but jovial tone. The slight squeak at the end belied her inner fear.

“Looking for a good time, I see. Well then, how about a dance?”

He sprung at her in a blur, but Greylyn dodged just an inch to the left, and he slammed into the same wall he’d thrown her against. She pivoted to attack while he was still prone on the ground, but a sudden glint of blue caught her attention. Her dagger! Just a few yards away.

She dove to the right, her outstretched fingers grazed the hilt, but her hesitation cost her. A hand clamped down fully on the handle and wrestled it away from her grasp. He rolled her over roughly, straddled her hips with her arms trapped under-neath his knees, and smashed her face with the fist holding her own weapon.

Pain exploded as bones and tendons cracked, and blood seemed to spurt from every pore. The assault continued, punch after punch, blow after blow. Greylyn’s world turned crimson just before a blackness edged her vision.

Her first assignment as a guardian angel. Her first failure, and quite possibly, her last.

Death was inevitable. Not even her own super-natural strength could save her from this monster.

Despite the agony racing throughout her body, her mind clearly accepted her fate.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil …

Silence fell over the alley. The rain of punches stopped. Greylyn’s eyes opened to peek at her attacker. What she saw chilled her to her soul—the demonic red eyes had smoldered away, back to their original gold-flecked hue. The man’s face trans-formed from pure rage to sadness as a tear rolled down his face. A tear? “I’m … I … Oh, no …” His trembling lips continued to move, but no coherent words formed.

“What in the bloody hell …” An angry roar shocked her out of her stupor. That voice she recognized. Jasper.

A tall shadow with piercing eyes of ice jerked her assailant away from her.

“You damn …” He didn’t finish his sentence, just punched the man in the face while holding him by his lapel.

Greylyn gulped in air. She wasn’t dead, not yet. Renewed energy pulsated through her body and gave her strength to push herself up on shaky arms. She stared, turning to look at each man as they circled each other. Both men with deadly intent etched on their faces. In between getting hit and throwing jabs of his own, the stranger muttered, “Had to be you! It just had to be you!” One final uppercut to Jasper’s jaw and the guardian angel fell back.

Her mouth opened to scream for him to leave Jasper alone, but no words came out. He turned to her, his face bloodied, but with a sad smile. “Until next time, love.” Seconds later, he vanished down the alleyway.

Suddenly able to move again, Greylyn jumped up and ran over to Jasper. “Who the hell was that?”

“Oh, I’m fine, by the way.” With the indignant look he flashed her, she knew Jasper was far from being fine. Physically, yes, he was alright. But his icy-blue eyes spoke volumes of fury she could not under-stand.

“I’m so sorry …” She checked him for injuries, her hands roved over his body. His clothes were spatter-ed with blood. Other than his pride, and a black eye that would fade in an hour or two, he was in perfect shape.

Greylyn knew she looked a mess. Hell, she should be dead. Instead, the blood had already dried, and the sizzle of her bones mending underneath her skin comforted her.

I’m not going to die. At least not tonight.

Jasper cupped her chin. “Yes, I know. It’s my fault. It was too soon to send you out on your own like that. I realized my mistake and came to find you, in case you needed assistance.” A nerve twitched in his jaw. “And, I find I was correct. You certainly needed help.” Disappointment was evident in his tone.

“Oh, no! Edward? Did he escape? I came out here looking for him, but these guys,” she waved her hand toward the corpses littering the alley, “were after him and …”

“Yes, yes. I get it. You ran into the bad guys, and as a bonus, you got a bloody dark guardian your first time on your own.”

“A what?”

“A dark guardian. The exact opposite of us, darling. You are just lucky I came along when I did. That one would’ve carved you up like a porterhouse steak.” He pushed himself off the ground. At his full height of well over six feet tall, he towered above her.

“Does this dark guardian have a name?” She didn’t know why it mattered that she find out his name. Jasper narrowed his eyes at her in obvious dis-approval.

“That one in particular is Kael,” Jasper spat. “Truly nasty piece of work. Avoid him at all costs. Hopefully, you will never have to see that creature again.”

He turned toward her and grabbed her by the upper arms, leaning forward so they were nose to nose. An aroma of whiskey and tobacco wafted into her face. “Greylyn, promise me that you will stay away from Kael. If he ever crosses your path, either annihilate him completely with your dagger through his heart and then rip it out of his body while it’s still beating; or run. Just run.”

******

And one of my favorite Kael lines:

“Besides, if I want you dead, I’ll do the deed myself. No one else gets that pleasure. No one.” His tone was teasing, but she suspected it was the underlying truth.

 

Until next week!

When in doubt, remember to ask yourself…

Buffy would buy Rekindled Prophecy – Book 1 of the Greylyn the Guardian Angel series.

Rekindled Prophecy: Greylyn the Guardian Angel is a fantasy/paranormal novel with strong undertones of romance and sex appeal between two enemies – one working for Heaven, the other working for Hell.

https://books2read.com/u/bzoaBE

 

Teaser Tuesday

Welcome to a new year, a new decade! 2020 started out a bit rough for this author. I’ve basically been sick since November 2019 but have finally recovered enough to get back to writing and editing.

What does that mean for the Greylyn the Guardian Angel series? It means forward progress on Book 2. Yesterday evening, just before the college national championship football game (Geaux Tigers!), I sent off Book 2 (working title: Revelations) to the publisher. Now on to editing Book 3 which is going to a bit more strenuous since I’ve had all these lovely ideas for plots twists and expanding the series to incorporate.

With Book 2 off to the publisher, thought I’d offer up a teaser just to whet your appetites for more Greylyn and Kael. I hope you enjoy!

***

Considering how traitorous her body reacted to the dark guardian in normal circumstances, she didn’t want to imagine what being this close would do to her over the long term. Twenty-four hours? Did the vamp expect them to do this little exercise for that long? At the very least, shouldn’t they be given potty-breaks?

Her head already throbbed with tension to fight her body for control. She couldn’t allow herself a second to relax. All it would take is one moment of weakness.

Too late. His closeness was already sending ripples of goosebumps up her arms while a delicious heat crept up her cheeks. To distract herself, she scanned the garden for signs of surveillance. Anything to avoid looking at Kael. Being here with him made her more nervous than facing down the entire throng of Olivier’s minions months ago.

Absentmindedly, she pulled out a platinum chain tucked underneath her shirt and toyed with the ring dangling it – a nervous tick she’d picked up after their first encounter. The ring had been in the pocket of the drab wool dress she’d been buried in. The one and only link to a life she didn’t remember, a normal human life.

Kael reached over to touch her face, but a voice boomed over the loud speaker again. “No touching.” He withdrew his hands, holding them up in the air as a sign of surrender.

Forcing herself to lock eyes with Kael might be the hardest thing she’d done since tearing herself away from him at Gaelic Haven. She had wanted nothing more than to lose herself in his arms. That night had haunted her ever since. She’d dreamed of melting into his strong, inviting arms, caressing the stubble along his jawline…

Great balls of fire, Greylyn! Get over it! Hasn’t even been two minutes!

***

Until next time!

 

A Belated “Teaser Tuesday”

Teaser+Tuesday+2

Folks, the holidays have me so scatter-brained, I didn’t realize the day, thus “Teaser Tuesday” will have to be a bit late. We need a good name for Wednesday teasers… any suggestions?

How about:

Wowza Wednesday!

We’ll table that discussion and get down to business since I still have holiday shopping and wrapping…and don’t even mention holiday baking to me yet because I just can’t even right now!

So, a teaser? A teaser? What shall I tease this week from the Greylyn the Guardian Angel series? Should I stick with Book 1, Rekindled Prophecy, which by the way would make a perfect gift for the fantasy/paranormal fiction fan in your life?

 

Or should I leap forward and give you lovelies a taste of Book 2, Revelations? Maybe skip way ahead to Book 3, working title, Remembrance? Or way, way ahead to Book 4 (yes, I finally decided that Book 4 is definitely in order, there is no way I can fit all this story into just 3 books), working title, Redemption?

For the sake of not wanting to spill the beans too soon on future books, we’ll stick with Rekindled Prophecy for today. Although, with the working titles of the other books, I am considering renaming the first book to just Rekindled. Any opinions on the subject, please shoot me a comment here or direct message me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KCFreemanAuthor/

Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of my all-time favorite villains — Olivier.

Olivier is a fallen archangel. It’s rumored he whispered evil tidings into Lucifer’s ear which led to his Fall. Quite honestly, it’s anyone’s guess who is the worst of the worst — Lucifer or Olivier.

Olivier wants the prophecy fulfilled, even though he’s not completely sure of what it entails. He knows enough to be dangerous. Apparently, he’s the ONLY ONE who wants this. Heaven is against it. Hell will do anything to stop it. So what will our heroine do with angels and demons fighting to keep this prophecy from reaching fruition?

How did I come up with Olivier? Well, the name is from one of my favorite actors of all time. Laurence Olivier. Actually…Sir Laurence Olivier. He was knighted by the Queen of England. Cool, huh?

But this Olivier, while debonair looking and always stylishly dressed in designer suits and power ties, is nothing like the actor who played Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice nor Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.

No, this Olivier is more Thor-looking with Loki’s sharp wit and designs for destruction.

So let me peel back the curtain a tad, and let you discover Olivier for yourselves.

***

“Well, my boy,” said the larger man in a Dolce & Gabbana suit while he slapped the other man on the shoulder. They had watched the petite guardian pick herself up and sprint away from the bloody carnage behind the bar. They had the best vantage point for the battle, hidden in the shadows atop a crumbling service station a couple blocks away. “You’ve done a fine job of keeping track of our girl over the years. I’ll admit that I’m thrilled you defied my brother so long ago and chose not to kill her. Not many can get away with such disobedience. But this gamble has really paid off.”

Smiling, Kael replied, “Always glad to be of service to you, sir.” Teaming up with one of the most notorious tyrants of Hell had been dangerous, but he wouldn’t change a thing.

“Not much longer now until we can set things in motion with our little angel. I’ve waited long enough.” Without so much as a farewell, the large, hulking man vanished into whirling tunnel of air with only the sound of his laughter continuing to resonate in stifling humidity.

***

Happy Holidays! I’ll be back next week for a Christmas Eve Tuesday Teaser!

 

 

 

Teaser Tuesday

paper bags near wall

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

It’s the day after Cyber-Monday, a four days after Black Friday (hope everyone finished their holiday shopping and everyone is giving and receiving books this year), and two weeks since the release of my debut fantasy/paranormal novel, Rekindled Prophecy (Book 1 of the Greylyn the Guardian Angel series).

Rekindled Prophecy Hardcover 3d

If by chance you haven’t finished your shopping, and the person(s) on your list enjoy reading fantasy/paranormal fiction, check out this little teaser from the above story. Regardless of the completion of your gift-giving list, check out this excerpt from the book.

***

Just as a small ray of early morning sun peeked between the slate-gray clouds, the shadowy outline of Gaelic Haven came into view. There were no lights on in the main house or the Carriage House. Breathing a sigh of relief, she tiptoed from the car to the Carriage House and opened the foyer door without so much as a creak.

“Didn’t realize you were such a partier, Greylyn. If I had known you wanted to party all night, I could’ve joined you.”

She froze in place. Despite the sarcasm, there was an underlying tension behind his words. The words were more clipped than usual. Greylyn didn’t know what to make of it and was too tired to care. Ignoring him, she reached for the door to her room.

The shadow at the top of the stairs pounced like a preying tiger to stand between her and the door. The little light that was available in the foyer from a small tabletop lantern reflected the gold in his eyes as they stood almost nose to nose, staring at each other for what seemed like an eternity. No matter how she tried, there was no looking away.

How could she be this tired and still be so affected by his closeness?

Without warning, his hand came up to her face, causing her to flinch. Instead of striking as she expected, his hand caressed the place just below her eye where she had been sliced earlier. His fingers softly moved over the now dried and crusted blood. Her skin warmed, as if she’d stepped too close to a bonfire.

His eyes strayed back to her own. The pupils enlarged, registering alarm and something else she couldn’t place. In a strained, gruff voice, he whispered through clenched teeth, “Who or what did this to you?”

It was difficult to think, much less speak or move, with Kael this close to her. His hand, still cupping her face, paralyzed her. She repeated to herself, “This is the enemy. This is the enemy,” in an effort to free herself from his hypnotic gaze.

The best she could manage was to say, “What’s the big deal? Worried that someone else might kill me before you’ve had your chance?”

She had wanted to sound sarcastic. Instead, her words came out more like a breathy whisper that ended with a pitiful squeak.

He leaned in closer, a mere inch or two from her face, his eyes locked on her own. “I don’t want to kill you, Greylyn. I would never allow anyone else to hurt you either. Haven’t you figured that out by now?”

***

If you are enticed by the above teaser, please check out the entire story. Rekindled Prophecy is available on numerous book retail sites, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible, Walmart eBooks, Google Play, Abebooks, Book Depository, Alibris, Better World Books, and Indie Bound.

Here’s a link to the ebook at Amazon, but the hard cover is also available.

Also, I’m trying to build up my newsletter. If you believe you’d enjoy regular updates about the book, the series, general discussion of all things related to guardian angels, my silly rants and ravings on a myriad of topics, please check out my newsletter signup at http://www.eepurl.com/gDp4Jr

As an added enticement, I’ve joined with 9 other authors in a December Reader Appreciation/Newsletter Buildup campaign. Leann Ryans, L.P. Dillon, Becca Dawn, Nora Nolan, L.V. Lane, Krya Fox, Rowan Thalia, KC Freeman. V.T. Bonds, and Mandi Konesni have joined together to offer 24 days worth of prizes in December.

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From December 1st through the 23rd, one person on our newsletter subscriber list will be chosen each day to win a prize leading up to the grand prize drawing on the 24th. The grand prize winner will receive 15 ebooks, an audiobook, 3 paperbacks, and Amazon gift cards totaling $50.

You must sign up for all 10 newsletters to qualify to win a prize. The winner each day will be notified and announced on Facebook once their subscriptions are verified. Each author is responsible for delivery of their book and prizes to the winner.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1LCoDbQsFeACRukRT_t0ZjyTQLDs7oKdXezS9HsCADgY/viewform?fbclid=IwAR25TxaSx_2wYzQgdX4-JfGXz-SgFHnb31SqsNlxJqav6Tay4_O7YVgb5BU&edit_requested=true

Happiest of holidays to everyone! Ciao for now! Come back next week for another teaser.