Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 A new Blank page to a new chapter of life.



With  the new year comes new adventures and new surprises. We will have failures and success over the course of the next 365 days. Actually this is leap year so I think that gives us 366 days. Not 100% on that. Anyway, with that being said my new years starts with me saying goodbye to Blooger and hello to WordPress.

Don't get me wrong. Blogger has been good to me and easy and I've seen HUGE success with building my follower base. I was never a consistent enough blogger these past years (especially the last two years I let life pull me away from them for almost the whole 2 years) but I am want to venture over to WordPress and see why so many SO MANY of my friends seem to prefer it and all this talk about you have more to do with Wordpress and blah blah blah.  Also I may hold a small grudge on Blogger because they deleted one of my blogs for no reason and would never respond to emails about why or how to get it back. So losing 2 years of blogging (that I did do constantly) and a business that I worked at least 16+ hours 7 days a week on kinda broke my heart. Yes blogger has the right to delete your blog for no reason at all Facebook deleted and locked the account for the same business on the same month because Facebook didn't like people using Profiles for businesses and if your name didn't seem like a real name you could verify with a drivers license (yes they asked me to scan in a jpeg of my drivers license to keep my business profile) then they deleted you :( It was a very very heart breaking and sad month last year when it happen. But i am taking it as a sign from the universe that I needed to be approaching my business differently so here I am in 2016 with plans and a new slate.

Okay so I would LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE if you all would come over to word press and follow my blogs over there. Yes I say blogs because I've branched out this blog into the many blogs I was incorporating into it and setting my blogs up for the many different niches to reach. That way if you want to read my blog about Books and authors but not about Gaming you can follow my book blog and ignore the games blog. Etc.


M.A. Grace Author Blog - authormagrace.wordpress.com

Darken Scorpio Gaming Blog - darkenscorpio.wordpress.com






Book Reviews and related stuff - pagesofthestory.wordpress.com


Now I still have like 250 blog post from here on blogger to switch over to the new blogs so you will see older post but I will be beginning later today to welcome in the new year with new post and current information on each blog. I really really want to get back into my blogging and reconnect with all my top notch and amazing followers who you've all stuck with me for the last 4-5 years. I love each and every one of you and I want to continue our relationship into 2016 so I really really really hope you'll come follow me on WordPress so we can make 2016 AMAZING together!


Also for anyone interested for fun I do have Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest accounts you can follow as well. (Ani Dark is nonactive at the moment as I need to get more done before I promote and push her to much)

Twitter:
 Author M. A Grace - https://twitter.com/AuthorMAGrace
Gaming Account: Darken Scorpio - https://twitter.com/DarkenScorpio
Erotica Author: Ani Dark - https://twitter.com/AuthorAniDark
Vaping (Ecigs, RDA's, MODS, etc): Charlies Vape House - https://twitter.com/VaperCharlie


Facebook Pages:
Author M. A Grace - https://www.facebook.com/MA-Grace-1424291311194159/
Gaming Account: Darken Scorpio - https://www.facebook.com/DarkenScorpio/
Erotica Author: Ani Dark - https://www.facebook.com/AniDarkAuthor/
Vaping (Ecigs, RDA's, MODS, etc): Charlies Vape House -  https://www.facebook.com/CharliesVapeHouse/


 Facebook Groups:

Health, Fitness, and Friengs - https://www.facebook.com/groups/587264967967531/


Pinterest:
Toni Sinns : https://www.pinterest.com/lilgracielou/


Instagram (I don't use this much cause I dont get the hang of it yet like what do I put on here?)
DarkenScorpio -https://www.instagram.com/darkenscorpio/


I also have a TON of profiles on websites that I can't remember them all. Like LinkedIn, FourSquare, GoodReads, Literary Addicts, WLC, Myspace, WritersSpace, etc but I'll try to get as many of my accounts (updated for one) but also put on the new blogs for the appropriate interested people to see. Because obviously my hard cord COD (Call of Duty) fans may not be that interested in following me on Literary Addicts website. But you never know!


So here is to the new year, the new chapter, continued friendships and new ones as well. I hope to see each and every one of you in 2016 and connect, reconnect, and more for the next chapter of our lives.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cover Reveal for K.S Thomas upcoming novel I call him Brady





COMING APRIL 2014

 

Born the only son to one of Hollywood’s most prominent power couples, Jack Cole’s life is damn near perfect. With women lining up to be with him, movie parts most seasoned actors would die for and the freedom to live above the rules, Jack’s life is going completely according to plan.

Until Embers…

Embers doesn’t have time to waste on any more dirt-bags. Too busy trying to take care of herself and her daughter to take any more chances on romance, she’s limiting her love life to day dreaming about one hot and sexy, Jack Cole.

Except her surefire way to keep her heart safe goes completely awry when her dream guy and her reality suddenly collide.

A master of recreating the human emotions he’s never allowed himself to feel, Jack must now deal with the consequences of offering his heart to someone who may be too scared to keep it.




Want more? Sign up HERE to have an official release announcement sent directly to your inbox!

 

 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Available NOW!! Salty by K.S Thomas



Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance
Author: K.S. Thomas


Synopsis: 

Tritonia ‘Salty’ Casavant has spent her entire life out at sea on her parents' sailboat. Raised by a marine biologist and her mother’s extended family of modern day pirates, her perception of the world isn’t exactly normal.
Now a single mother herself and living alone on the boat her parents left her, she enjoys her private paradise as she cruises back and forth between the Islands of Hawaii.
Everything changes when a local gang begins using her strip of ocean as a dumping ground for smuggled drugs and firearms. Soon Salty is in the middle of an all-out turf war she inadvertently started and the only way out is through Detective Finn Murphy.



Excerpt 

As the challenger approached, it became apparent that Chick was bringing visitors. Salty frowned as she spotted two haoles standing at the helm. Even from where she was positioned she could tell that they were cops. Given her life experience, she knew the type inside and out. Then, having written those characters a hundred times over in her stories as the antagonists and the nature of the heroine in her novels, it was hard for Salty to muster any warm fuzzy feelings at the sight of the two police men as they pulled up beside her sailboat.
     From the look on Chick’s face, she could tell that he wasn’t thrilled either, although those feelings were probably partially directed at her now that he had likely discovered Amaui’s identity.  Regardless of the reason, the strangers’ presence seemed to be a necessary evil for the time being, so Salty made her way to the stern and waited for Hani to toss her a rope. Once the speedboat had been securely rafted off the Salty Kisses, all four of the men aboard the A'ole Aina found themselves standing on Salty’s front step.           
“Salty, this is Lieutenant Pierce and Detective Murphy. They’re colleagues of Detective Mahelona’s.” Chick made a face as he said Amaui’s name.
     “That’s nice. Why the hell did you bring them here?” Salty replied, completely ignoring the two men wearing badges.
     “Because we asked him to,” Lieutenant Pierce interjected. “Ms. Casavant, you were witness to a crime. We were hoping you could recount the events that took place the night you met Detective Mahelona for us.”
     Salty eyed the man from top to bottom. He was almost as tall as Chick, but considerably leaner. His hazel eyes had a youthfulness about them, but the flecks of grey he had spread throughout his hair and goatee had Salty gauge him to be at least in his early forties, forty-five at the most. Even though he was a white guy, he had the distinct look of someone who had lived on the islands for a very long time. With his loosely fit grey cargo pants and navy blue polo shirt it was about as lax a uniform as you could find. Not uncommon for Hawaii though. Pierce’s partner, on the other hand was as much of an outsider as the tourists who trampled the beaches year after year, season after season.
     Murphy was shorter than Pierce with dirty blond hair and blue eyes that matched the surrounding waters. He was stocky and muscular and wore his black pants and fitted blue button up shirt nicely. The sleeves had been rolled up, but that was the only indication Murphy gave that he was aware of the summer climate and its accompanying 83 degrees.
     Salty glanced back and forth between the two one last time, trying to decide whom she would rather deal with, when she heard Murphy mutter, “This is a complete waste of time.”
     “Whose time is that exactly, Detective?” Salty demanded.
     “Ours. We should be out following real leads, not wasting our time taking boat rides out to see some modern day pirate princess who’s probably been out at sea for so long she no longer has a real grasp on reality!” Detective Murphy ranted at her.
While Salty had been sizing up the two officers, Murphy had apparently done the same with her. Judging from his little speech, he hadn’t been too impressed with what he’d seen. Maybe it had been the fact that she was barefoot and wearing nothing more than her standard shorts and bikini top. Or perhaps it had been the sight of her tattoos which spanned the greater part of her body. Salty had to take a mental account of what her hair might look like at that very moment. She had washed and brushed it just that morning, but the ocean air and constant breeze wreaked havoc on her long brown locks, and most days Salty found herself staring at a wild woman anytime she came face to face with her reflection. She never bothered with make-up, but her permanent golden tan, sparkling green eyes and wind burned red lips had made it unnecessary anyway.
     “What are you doing, Finn? You can’t just insult these people!” Pierce sounded appalled as he scolded his partner. He turned to Chick and Salty, looking mortified. “I am so sorry. Please, let me apologize for Detective Murphy.”
     Salty was starring daggers at Finn Murphy and he was locked onto her returning fire.
     “No, I agree with your partner. This was a complete waste of your time. You should go.” She turned on her heel and began to walk away. “For what it’s worth, this wasn’t the first drop the Kakumei have made. I’ve counted at least seven, always between the hours of midnight and 2am. By sunrise some local fishing boat comes tugging along to retrieve the shipment. It’s never the same boat, but twice I noticed they had the same colors. I was never close enough to make out any lettering, but I could still give a pretty good description if I needed to.” Salty didn’t know what had possessed her to divulge all of that. Probably the part where that idiot Murphy had implied that she was crazy and incompetent. It’s not like he could have known that it would strike a chord with her, but it had…and not in a good way.
     So much for not getting involved, she thought. She could already feel Chick’s glare burning through the bare skin of her back and she reached up absentmindedly to rub the spot.
     “How do you know it was the Kakumei?” Murphy asked.          
“For starters, I’m not an idiot. Just because I don’t spend my time on land doesn’t mean I don’t know what happens there. It’s all about perspective, haole. When you’re standing directly in front of a tree, all you can see is that tree’s bark. But, if you back away a bit, you start to see the entire forest…or, as it is in my case, the entire island.” Salty was slowly meandering back over to where the men stood. “Look, if you don’t believe me, send a dive team out. Last week they made a drop. Three times I heard something hit the water, but the next day the crew only pulled out two shipments. I’m guessing whatever else they dumped is still sitting at the bed of the ocean in hopes of never being found.”
     The officers exchanged a glance. Both Chick and Salty noticed.
     “What?” Salty asked. “You already know what it is, don’t you?”
     “Eric Choy’s father went missing ten days ago. He’s been a prominent player in the business world for many years, not just on the island but internationally. We think his shipping company may have been compromised somewhere along the way…and we think the Kakumei had something to do with it,” Pierce expounded stepping forward.
     “That explains what they were doing with Eric. How did Detective Mahelona end up in the mix?” Salty wasn’t even sure why she wanted to know. If nothing else it was potential material for her next novel.
     “Amaui’s his girlfriend. It was just an unlucky coincidence that she was there when they grabbed him,” said Murphy. Pierce shot him a look suggesting he zip it, but Murphy just shrugged and said, “What? Now we’re not disclosing important information regarding our highly sensitive, open investigation? My mistake. I was just following your lead, buddy.” For the first time since meeting Finn Murphy, Salty had to fight back a smile.
     “Anyway,” Pierce continued, “any information you can give us regarding that night, or any others involving these ‘drops’ would be greatly appreciated.”
     Salty twisted her mouth from side to side as she mulled it over, purposely avoiding eye contact with Chick as she did so. Finally she said, “I’ll tell you whatever I can, but honestly I don’t see how any of it will help. I mean, sure, I can identify boats, but not people. I doubt any of my information will trump what Amaui already knows.”
     “That might be less than you think,” Murphy said, shaking his head and turning away. Neither he nor Pierce elaborated on it any further.
So, Salty began to recount everything that had happened, starting with the first night she had heard the plane down to the night she pulled Amaui and Eric from the water. She was sure not to leave out even the tiniest of details, not because she wanted to be thorough, but because she simply couldn’t help herself. Details in descriptions had become a hazard of the job a long time ago. Even Finn Murphy seemed pleased with everything she was able to give them.
     “That was incredibly meticulous. Are you sure you don’t have a background in law enforcement?” he joked.
     Salty snorted. “Not exactly. I write about a lot of cops in my books though.”
     Chick chuckled.
     “Why’s that funny?” Murphy asked.
     “Because the cops I write about aren’t exactly the most observant. They can’t be. I mean, it wouldn’t work very well for my heroine if they were stellar members of the force,” Salty explained. She knew she wasn’t coming off well, but then Murphy and Pierce had to have known when they were coming on board that they wouldn’t be held in the highest regard. Cops and pirates just didn’t mix.











Meet The Author

Author K.S. Thomas



Dog Lover who likes her pastries full of cream and sugar….oh…and I write some 
Aside from being an author, I am also a mom to a beautiful 5 year old little girl. I tell everyone I named her after my great-grandmother (because that’s the mature answer), but really, I named her after my favorite princess – just so happens I got lucky and they had the same name…If I wasn’t a writer, I would work on a horse ranch – I’m an animal lover (in addition to dogs, horses are at the top of my list). I wear flip-flops pretty much everywhere I go. I would rather stay awake until 5 am than get up at 5 am (years of bar tending have left their mark), if I can, I’m going to the beach AND I will always be nice to people who bring me chocolate…or coffee…if you bring me both, I’ll probably love you forever.
A gypsy at heart, I write the way I live, following the story wherever it may lead, always ready to start the next one. This is clearly reflected in my body of work which to date includes everything from Children’s Lit to Thrillers.
I happily reside in sunny Florida (for now) and can be contacted via my blog, my website  or the following social media sites ~

Twitter: @friedgatortail

Other Books by K.S. Thomas include ~


Upcoming Releases for 2014
Diner Guy
The Final Descendants “Et Calceum” (Book Two of The Final Descendants Series)

Sign up HERE to stay up-to-date on all of her upcoming releases.





Thursday, January 16, 2014

Get on board with Wapi Aponi Book Tours!

 

Wapi Aponi Book Tours

 

Founded by two Indie Authors, Wapi Aponi Book Tours is a brand new Book Tour Management Service with firsthand experience in book marketing and a personal knowledge of the importance of a successful book launch!

At Wapi Aponi Book Tours Everyone is Welcome and All Genres are accepted!

They offer a variety of Packages ranging from THE TEA PARTY at $35 to FIT FOR A QUEEN at $120 all of which include a custom banner, as well as, additional promotion via Tweets, Facebook and Google+ posts!

For your chance to win a FREE TOUR and to find out more about all they have to offer please visit them at www.facebook.com/wapiaponi or check out their WEBSITE.

WAPI APONI BOOK TOURS ~ Looking Forward To Telling The World About Your Newest Creations!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Presenting the cover for Life After by P.A. Warren



Hadley is Lost. Living is a struggle with her family gone, leaving her the lone survivor of a horrible car accident. As Hadley struggles to overcome the grief that comes with the loss of her family, she wonders if she wants to continue living. Life doesn’t feel worth living until she meets Avery. Avery…who makes her want to feel things she shouldn’t so soon after her tragic loss. Avery…who makes her want to live. With Avery’s love, will she be able to overcome the grief or will it consume her?




Life After
By P.A. Warren
Genre: New Adult Romance

Releasing: January 2014

Add it to your GoodRead's to be read list today by Clicking Here




Hadley with the help of Avery will find that after the storm come the rainbows.




Learn More About The Author... P.A. Warren

P.A. Warren currently lives in the fine state of North Carolina. She is an avid reader and blogger. P.A Warren first found a love of books while reading The Babysitter Little Sister series by Ann M. Martin and since then hasn’t looked back. Reading everything she could and would get her hands on. Befriending librarians was one of P.A Warren’s favorite things to do. She also has a huge love for Squirrels.

She now has a Kindle and has found gold in Indie Authors. It has been a lifelong dream of hers to write  So when she was finally able sit down and put words to paper she was thrilled, and has been writing non-stop since. She looks forward to hearing from readers!

Connect with P.A. Warren



Cover Designed by the talented Sprinkles On Top Studios!

Check out Sprinkles On Top Studios in one of the following ways....

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Peace In Time Book Blitz & Blog Hop - Meet MCV Egan & Enter To Win!





PEACE POST SEPTEMBER 21st 2013 by M.C.V. Egan

Today we celebrate the UN’s INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE, the resolution to have loud voices for PEACE and a special day was passed in 1981; the first celebration was in 1982.
If we can at least try as a society to visualize the possibility of PEACE perhaps someday we will be able to accomplish this. It is a great tool to teach said desire tour children, so that they perhaps find a way to instill PEACE as a way of life*.

On a personal note, I spent my formative years in the 1970swatching the Vietnam War on TV. Literally eating dinner as I watched soldiers from both sides, kill and die.
Inasmuch as there were Peace movements the conservative society that surrounded me represented an acceptance of war. It was simply an accepted principle. Historically it has been an accepted necessity, countries are born through bloody revolutions and re-formed through just as bloody civil wars. We watch it every day.

There have however been great examples of NON violent changes with great results. As per Wikipedia:

A nonviolent revolution is a revolution using mostly campaigns of civil resistance, including various forms of nonviolent protest, to bring about the departure of governments seen as entrenched and authoritarian. While many campaigns of civil resistance are aimed at much more limited goals than revolution, generally a nonviolent revolution is characterized by simultaneous advocacy of democracy, human rights and national independence in the country concerned. In some cases a campaign of civil resistance with a revolutionary purpose may be able to bring about the defeat of a dictatorial regime only if it obtains a degree of support from the armed forces, or at least their benevolent neutrality.**

My favorite principles and acts of a peaceful resolution are those from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi:

A nonviolent revolution is not a program of seizure of power. It is a program of transformation of relationships ending in a peaceful transfer of power.
 Mohandas Gandhi, 1942***

I hope you enjoy the Peace Hop, ponder on Peace and spread the possibility.








About The Author:



M.C.V. Egan lives in South Florida. she is fluent in four languages; English, Spanish, French and Swedish. From a young age became determined to solve the 'mystery' of her grandfather's death, she has researched this story for almost two decades. the story has taken her to Denmark, England and unconventional world of psychics.Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads







Genre: Historical Paranormal
Publisher: AuthorHouse Publishing
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Amazon

On August 15th, 1939 an English passenger plane from British Airways Ltd. Crashed in Danish waters between the towns of Nykobing/Falster and Vordingborg. There were five casualties reported and one survivor. Just two weeks before Hitler invaded Poland with the world at the brink of war the manner in which this incident was investigated left much open to doubt. The jurisdiction battle between the two towns and the newly formed Danish secret police, created an atmosphere of intrigue and distrust.

In the winter of 2009-2010 a young executive, Bill is promoted and transferred to London for a major International firm. He has struggled for the better part of his life with nightmares and phobias, which only seem to worsen in London. As he seeks the help of a therapist he accepts that his issues may well be related to a 'past-life trauma'.

Through love, curiosity, archives and the information superhighway of the 21st century Bill travels through knowledge and time to uncover the story of the 1939 plane crash.

The Bridge of Deaths is a love story and a mystery. Fictional characters travel through the world of past life regressions and information acquired from psychics as well as archives and historical sources to solve "One of those mysteries that never get solved" is based on true events and real people, it is the culmination of 18 years of sifting through sources in Denmark, England and the United States, it finds a way to help the reader feel that he /she is also sifting through data and forming their own conclusions.

The journey takes the reader to well known and little known events leading up to the Second World War, both in Europe and America. The journey also takes the reader to the possibility of finding oneself in this lifetime by exploring past lives.








Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Come meet the Author of Dream Weaver....Su Williams





CRINGE-WORTHY?
I always cringe a little when someone asks me what inspired me to write Dream Weaver, because I know there are haters out there for the thing that inspired me and I don’t want them to judge my book because of it. (Dang! Run-along sentence much?!) So, I’ll just out with it from the get go and hope you give me a chance. OK. So. It was the Twilight Saga that inspired me to write Dream Weaver. OK, there it is. I know there are millions of people who absolutely LOVED Twilight…me among them. It had been many years since I’d written anything of any consequence, but when I finished those books…and a 9 month round of hypnosis…I thought, “I could do that.” So, I set out to do it.

A LONG, LONG VOYAGE
It took me 5 years to get Dream Weaver where I wanted it. I started with a 67 page manuscript that I pitched to agents and editors at my first conference. To this day I can’t believe I sent that manuscript out to the people who requested it. At last year’s PNWA conference, I pitched to 8 AEs and got 7 requests for partials. I also met a girl who lived near me and we became ‘editors’ for each other. I sent her my MS and she sent me hers. She had a lot of questions and comments when I got it back. Some I agreed with and made the changes. I truly believe that that one simple act astronomically changed Dream Weaver.
Over those 5 years I devoured everything I could on writing. I participated in writing prompts on Writer’s Digest that taught me how to say things with as few words as possible and still get the picture across. (You only get 500 words on these prompts.) I got a great book called Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon. It’s about as tattered and marked as a well-loved Bible. I even studied an English Comp textbook. Willingly.

WHO INSPIRED ME?
I have a few absolute favorite authors.
Richelle Mead whose Vampire Academy books are such an intense read, and soon to be a movie, that when I went to reread them I couldn’t because the emotion is so raw.
Lisa McMann is one of writers that agents might call ‘sparse’. She doesn’t need a lot of flowery speech to draw the most vibrant pictures. My favorite so far? Dead to You. I wrote to Lisa after I finished and said, ‘Lisa McMann knows just where to plunge the knife…and twist for good measure.’ Yeah, that good.
Maggie Stiefvater is so beautiful and lyrical in her writing. Her Shiver trilogy is AMAZING! She inspire me so much to be more poetic in my writing.
And finally, Annette Curtis Klaus. She captured the very nature of the beast in her novel Blood and Chocolate. An uber-great read.

AND THE THANKS GOES TO…
Toni, thanks so much for allowing me to stop by and meet your friends. I’ve made Dream Weaver available for ONLY .99 on Amazon Kindle and B&N,  so I hope readers will make the tiny investment for it. So far, Dream Weaver has gotten very good ratings. It holds a 4.2 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, and a 4.42 stars on GoodReads.

My only question to your readers now is…Do You DARE TO DREAM!?



Many thanks,
Su











 Dream Weaver

By Su Williams 

Prologue 

Nick 

Incorporeal I drift, camouflaged against the shimmering snow, no more than a sparkling flurry in the wind, dancing just on the precipice of light shielding me from her--and them. I am her aegis, her defense from the darkness that presses in on her from without, evil cloaked from her eyes. I feel her inner darkness’ pull on her; hear it call her name.
Vivid images whose birth I cannot fathom--whether from within her heart, or tailored for her torment--still, after all these months accost her sleep and crush her soul. Yet, her screams tear the night and my heart less often than before. Surely, she is strong enough to endure some terror; no lifetime is without it. Such a gentle soul so tethered and weighted by so much loss, so much grief. I have mended what I can of her damaged mind without wholly purging her memories. At least I can dull her pain, callous her tender heart.
I know the unwritten code: ‘There are mortals, and there are immortals, and never the twain shall meet.’ Still, I find myself here, hovering on the fringe of the woods just outside the halo of light that wreathes her home. And they haunt the darkness, hidden within the shadows. I sense them, though not how near. I shudder at the consequences if they discover my presence. They would kill her, or at the very least brutalize her--just because they are able, just for my torment, the fresh nightmare of her torture a delicacy on their lips as they devour my memory.
They are changing, such aberrant evolutions we have found in their kind of late. Creatures so like us, spoken from the same heavenly breath, yet worlds apart. Their sustenance makes them monsters, even evil. They grow stronger pillaging the gifts of our kind and using them as their own and leave us worse than dead. For this cause, I feel powerless, mortal.
She knows nothing of my world, few mortals do, and it is only because of a promise and her safety that I enter hers. I vowed to protect her at any cost, with my life if necessary. And something of her draws me in, her heart to mine. It wakens an ache, a passion that long ago I laid to rest, deep beneath the sodden earth, entombed in company of my mortal life.
My heart aches with indecision. Should I go to her, risk her life perhaps to save it, or leave her be to strengthen from the terror? 

CHAPTER 1 Going Under

Night terrors stalk my sleep and haunt me through each day. I am never free. Macabre phantoms, twisted metal, flames and the sound of my parent’s screams, their cries for salvation. And I would give it--if I could, were the realm in which I live and the terrors in which they died equal.
In time, my gasps for air and life abated. I learned to live without the press of suffocation on my lungs. At the least I was treading water with some hope of survival. But monsters strike even in the shallows, even when you’re feet from shore and almost standing on solid ground.
The subtle bumps of a predator, like a shark in the deep, reawakened the terrors. And I lived in fear of the jaws ripping through me and dragging me under, lost again to the darkness of terror. The darkness that has nothing to do with light or sleep.
I am Emari Sweet, sole survivor of a crash I was never in. The crash that claimed the lives of my beloved parents Zecharias and Jane Sweet. The crash that left me orphaned at 17. The crash I foresaw in the eyes of the State Trooper before the words formed on his tongue. Cold and hard, the words turned my
blood to hardened steel and eviscerated me. My soul twisted and shredded.
I lived with the terrors for many weeks after that. My best girl, Ivy, kept my body functioning, the basics for sustenance of life. She kept me Earthbound and alive when I’d rather have been neither. She guided me through an icy summer that tumbled into autumn like the leaves off a tree.
Adrian Rovnikov, my father’s best friend, my shrink since the crash, brought me drugs--antidepressants. But they are only safe in the right hands. In mine, they are death. So, before I caused irreparable harm, the pills went the way of dead fish.
Dreams of an angel with eyes of obsidian wound their way through the darkness until they finally displaced the terrors. His gentle hand calmed my writhing body, drew out the poison of the chimera, and guided me back to life. The dark-eyed angel faded as my darkness dawned into light. Yet, even when the terrors diminished, the torment hovered nearby, stalking my sanity, prepared to strike at any show of weakness.
Winter’s chill cast a mantle of white over Spokane. Trees wore shimmering nacreous cloaks that rivaled the grandeur of their summer dress greens and fall’s autumnal oranges, reds and yellows. The city lay calm and peaceful under winter’s frigid embrace and my heart still ached under the frost of grief. I hid it from all but the most discerning eyes.
The tumble of seasons brought more than cold; the real monster lurked in dark corners and phoned me at work, promised me pain and fear.

* * * 

Daylight masquerades as dusk, the clouds heavy-laden with snow. An arctic blast extends its arm, balling its fist to bludgeon the car from the road. Brake lights flash a glaring red. The tires whir and whine on the frozen asphalt seeking elusive purchase. The wind flings the car across three frosted lanes. Panic twists my father’s face as the car fishtails out of control. His frantic hands, hands that can do anything, build anything, grapple uselessly at the wheel. My mother’s face is fear-white, her mouth a perfect ‘o’ that disappears beneath her small, stark hand. A wall of white emerges out of the flurry before the windshield, but not of snow. Cement. Massive and merciless. The shiny new sedan plows into the bridge abutment, lifting Mom’s side of the car into flight. Giant sparkling snowflakes of shattering glass fly into the air as the car rolls over and over. Metal screams and moans in protest. Finally settling on its top, the car slides across the icy black tarmac, a path of broken scattered pieces in its wake.
Upside down, my mother’s pallid face appears at her window. Violent crimson drenches her hair, a severe contrast against her spectral skin. Her dazzling emerald green eyes, my own eyes staring back at me, implore for my help. Pounding hysterically, her knuckles split and bleed, smearing the window in a web of red. The roar of fire drowns her cries, flames that now return the light to the day, and vanquish the masquerade.
Driven by panic, I plunge through the whirling eddies of snow. But I can’t get to them. I have no traction, my steps falter. I am prisoner to the freezing storm, powerless to save them; held at bay by the fireball that lights the grey gauzy day cotton-bright like summer, and sends seismic shockwaves that undulate the ground beneath me. Shrapnel of rocks and glass rain down upon me.
Exhausted and useless, I collapse to my knees on the caustic, sub-zero ice. The acrid smell of smoke and gasoline grows heavy in the air, searing my throat and nostrils. Like a pin-hole camera, the light etches the panic and fear on my mother’s face onto my retinas and deep into my brain. The blaze scorches my eyes, bringing my tears to a boil. Searing heat and the horror of looking into the faces of my mother and father as the flames devour them forces me to look away. My body finally crumbles onto the cold freeway, in exhausted agony. I crush my ears with my hands to block out the maelstrom. Their haunting screams reverberate in my ears, echoes of the torment resounding throughout my body.
The reality of my own screams awoke me. I bolted upright and clutched my head. My body trembled and rocked, soaked in sweat, as I manically searched for a thread of truth. My breath rasped from my raw lungs that thrashed against the smoke-that-wasn’t.
Comforting gazes from my black and white movie monsters centered my thoughts. Bela Legosi, both Lon Chaneys, Boris Karloff and even Vlad Dracul himself, with his large round piercing eyes, crowded the walls of my black and white bedroom. Vlad was the only true monster there, but somehow I found a strange compassion for the man, given his tortured history. My glossy companions brought my heart an odd comfort.

* * * 

Ninety minutes later, I sat in Adrian’s office and debated with myself just how much to tell him. I didn’t need the ‘Emari, you should come stay with us’ lecture again. I’d proved to the Spokane Courts that I was capable in every way to be considered an adult, and was granted emancipation.
“Nightmares again?” Adrian asked.
“Ya think?” I wasn’t being disrespectful. We were just beyond fluff and formality.
“Any idea what the stress trigger is this time?”
“Um…” I squirmed against the soft red leather of his couch. “There’s this guy…”
A small conspiratorial smile crept onto Adrian’s face while I paused, contemplating.
“Uh, no. I mean a bad guy. He’s calling me. At work. Like phone stalking me.” I hated admitting even this little bit to him, but most of the time his psycho-babble really did help.
Adrian leaned across the desk. His eyes narrowed and deep canyons grooved his forehead. “And just what is being done to stop him?”
Great! Just what I need. ‘Protective-daddy’ mode.
“It’s all good.” I waved him down. “My friend, Jesse, escorts me to and from my car every day and Collin keeps one of the Loss Prevention guys in the department as much as he can.” Despite playing it off as no big deal to Adrian, a cold uneasiness squirmed through me like night crawlers.
“Is he only calling you at work?” The Doc was in full-on interrogation mode now.
“Yes. Only at work. But it’s weird. It’s like he’s watching me but the LP guys never find anyone.”
“Tell me you’ve called the police.”
“Sure, sure. Nothing the cops can do unless the guy actually kills me or something, though.”
Adrian sat back in his chair with a harrumph of frustration, the ‘daddy-look’ still plastered on his face. “Emari…”
“Adrian. Don’t even start.”
“Then why are you here?” he retorted.
“The night terrors? You’re supposed to say a bunch of ‘shrinky’ kinds of things to make me feel better.”
So he did. And when he was done, he walked me to the door. He gave me the usual ‘be careful’ and ‘buckle up for safety’ speech; something he and Dad must’ve gone to school together to learn.
Then he gave me his best fatherly hug. I had to admit, his arms truly did feel like the safest place in the world.
“See you for Thanksgiving?” he asked.
“Sure, Uncle Adrian. Kiss Celeste and the kids for me.” He wasn’t really my uncle. Just my father’s closest friend in the world.
“Of course. See you then, Emari.”
“See ya.”
I shambled into work after my meeting with Adrian. Ivy saw me for the zombie I was, so in contrast to her perky pixiness. Her ornery smile wavered as I drew nearer but she reined it in. She’d given up months ago with the ‘you look like hell’ comments. Visine and Covergirl couldn’t wreak miracles that big. She opened her arms and I stepped inside.
“You okay?” she whispered.
I stepped out of her embrace. “Sure, sure,” I said with a grin, and a quote from one of our favorite books. The marbled blue of her eyes softened into limpid pools, so vast any guy could swim in them. I tucked a wisp of her soft brown hair behind her ear. “Let’s get to work.”
She pinched my arm playfully as she released me. “Collin’s got LP scheduled in an hour, but Blake came early, off the clock,” she informed me as we sorted children’s clothing to reshelf. “Jess’s gonna be pissed you didn’t wait for him.”
Jesse DeLaRosa was the closest thing to a real life Prince Charming in my world. He was instantly likeable, flirtatious in the sweetest way, easy at being a fast friend, faultlessly kindhearted. His ingenuous smile lit up any room, a constant feature that graced his lightly bronzed face. He sang or whistled while he worked, no matter how mundane or dirty the job, a lingering accent, from his days as a child in Puerto Rico colored his speech. He was a couple of years older than Ivy and me, but he clicked with our dorkiness and we’d become best friends. He’d taken it upon himself to be my daily escort--even on his days off.
“He’ll get over it,” I told her, but inwardly I hoped he wasn’t too mad at me.
Every time the phone rang, it jangled our nerves. Ivy’s hand lashed out with the speed of a viper to
protect me from innocuous callers.
“You can’t field all of the calls, Ives,” I said after the fourth call.
“I can try,” she replied with a smug half smile.
The stalker wouldn’t call with Ivy present, and we both knew it. He would wait until she went on break, as though he had a bird’s nest in the middle of the department. He wanted me alone, separated from the pack, vulnerable.
Ivy reluctantly took her break and Blake haunted the racks. Despite my anticipation, adrenalin shot through me like an ice river and my heart banged against my ribcage when the phone rang. I watched Ivy’s shadow disappear from sight as I reached a quivering hand to the phone.
“Children’s Department,” I choked out. Collin instructed us not to give our names until this ‘situation’ was resolved.
“I see you,” the voice purred gruffly. I envisioned a lion crouched in tall grass. Rigid, poised for attack. His words were soft and succinct, as though masking something from me, but the smooth lacquered surface didn’t camouflage the menace that roiled underneath--like the delicate crust of cooled lava veiling the molten lake beneath.
Blake’s eyes locked on my face as he lurched away from a rack of boy’s jeans. They followed the silent nod of my head. The muscles of his line-backer physique hardened as he prowled the department.
“I’m sorry. What was that?” I delayed. My voice quivered with anger, to my dismay. I wasn’t scared. I was pissed. But I knew he would read it as fear--just what he wanted.
“Your rent-a-cop won’t catch me.” The lion’s throaty warning growl. His voice turned acerbic, his need to induce fear sparked electrically through the phone. “Nah. He’s not even a rent-a-cop. Not even a pathetic mall cop. Just some punk kid they hired to baby-sit the store.”
Baby-sit? Either this guy’s full of crap or he’s freakin’ huge. I was betting on full of crap.
He chortled at my unease, and I heard something familiar but untouchable in his voice. Like I knew him from somewhere--and that pissed me off even more. “What the hell do you want?” I demanded.
“Just you,” he said slowly. He sniggered again with a ghoulish glee and the line went dead.
“Damn it!” I slammed the phone down and turned with a start. A customer, a woman with a little boy about five glared at me with righteous indignation. “Oh. I’m so sorry. I just…it was…there was this guy.”
She harrumphed and stormed away, towing the boy in her sanctimonious wake. No doubt to complain to my manager.
So. Let her.
Blake shuffled up to the quad, what we associates at Cash’s Department Store called our customer service desks. “Sorry, Em. No luck.” He looked every bit the defeated athlete, his hands stuffed into his jeans pockets making his shoulders and arms bulge.
“It’s all good. He’ll get bored eventually and go away.” I hope.


Chapter 2 Haunted

I was prophetic, if not pathetic. The calls ceased and my stalker fell silent, not so much as a heavy breather. Perhaps he’d moved on to some other prey. Poor girl. Everyone around me breathed easier. But a specter of black ice lingered under the surface, chilled me to my core. Deep down I felt a dark and malevolent storm brewing. I wondered if I’d manage to survive it unscathed or if my entire world would shatter with the velocity of its fury.
* * *



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