ICE is free July 7-11

IceCover

I am humbled and amazed by how well my first novella has been received. With 70+ reviews between Amazon and Goodreads, it has been a great joy to know that most readers have enjoyed ICE. Is it perfect? No, but the vast majority of readers have said that they enjoyed the small-town feel, the suspense, and the sense of community.

ICE tells the story of one fateful November morning when the the fictional town of Minterville, Georgia, is brutalized by vicious thugs. Twenty women are kidnapped and set in a death trap that can quite literally be described as cold. Time is ticking away as the rest of the town scrambles to come up with a viable rescue plan.

Here are what some reviewers have said about ICE:

“This book is a crazy (in a good way) mixture of supernatural, thriller, and mystery.” Emily Woodmansee, who gave it 4 stars.

“The twist this story takes left me caring more about ICE and it’s characters than any book I read recently.” Barbara Chioffi, who gave it 5 stars.

“This was an enjoyable read and the story was good…This being a great beginning to a writing career, there are some things that I personally feel could have made this story far better.” Tom Fallwell, who rated it 3.5 stars.

“A fast paced entertainment that sets the scene frot an uncertain future.” Mmcqu2005, who rated it 5 stars.

“Very interesting storyline…unique writing style.” Amanshay, who rated it 4 stars.

“The plot was excellent, the descriptive a done in a way that made the author’s research excellent.” Amazon Pygmy Reviews, who rated it 5 stars.

“This had an excellent plot that kept m reading to the end but it could have been so much more…[the author] is talented and I would read more…just need more development.” Loki, who rated it three stars.

ICE is also the precursor to my upcoming C.I.N. Dystopian trilogy. If you are interested, check it out free until the 11th. Thank you for your support of indie authors.

https://www.amazon.com/Ice-Jessica-Wren-ebook/product-reviews/B00O1CCAU6/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_hist_2?ie=UTF8&sortBy=recent&formatType=current_format&filterByStar=two_star&pageNumber=1

Presenting a Special Guest-Kirsten Campbell

kirsten

Recently, I met, via Author Promo Co-op, a wonderful lady, Mrs. Kirsten Campbell. Kirsten is a resident of New York but there is a special place in her heart for Georgia. She is a wife, mother of four, and a grandmother, and also volunteers for various causes. A full biography can be found on her Amazon Author Page.  A genuinely kindhearted and caring person, it was my sincerest pleasure to make her acquaintance.

blood master

Kirsten is the author of a thrilling young-adult dystopian novel called Blood Master. Blood Master is Book 1 of The G.O.D series. Siblings Tassta and Penn, raised in the confines of the protective Brotherhood Fortress,  are on a raid in downtown Atlanta, now in ruins after a devastating earthquake. They meet Griffin Storm, an albino man, which is surprising to them because they have been told that all albinos died during the Death Plague. Tassta, the seventeen-year-old niece of the Brotherhood Fortress’s leader, is anxious to become the Brotherhood’s first female guardian, but she cannot deny her intense attraction to Griffin. As for Griffin, although he is equally attracted to Tassta, he feels it is his obligation to protect and provide for the children who are sheltered in Underground Atlanta, and is torn between staying at the Brotherhood Fortress with Tassta and Penn, or returning to Underground Atlanta to fulfill his duties. Blood Master will make you laugh, make you cry, keep you on the edge of your seat with lots of twists and turns, and, most importantly, keep you rooting for Tassta and Griffin.

To learn more about this wonderful, talented lady, please visit her website. Please stay tuned, because soon I am going to post an interview with Mrs. Campbell and with Griffin Storm.

Presenting a Special Guest-Lynne Murray

Lynne Murray

Tomorrow we celebrate The Lovely Lynne Murray, an event dedicated to the writing of a lady who is not only a fantastic author, but a wonderful person as well. I thoroughly enjoyed her book Gravitas: Valkyrie in the Forbidden Zone, but when I looked at her author page, I realized that she is quite prolific. And before I forget to mention it, Gravitas is on sale this weekend for $0.99.

gravitas

Blurb:

Sybil from Planet Valkyrie carries a risky amount of Gravitas, a top secret aphrodisiac embedded in the Ritual Jewelry around her neck. Before she can trade it, she is attacked by an angry warrior from slave-holding Planet Roggr. Sybil lands on Earth—in the Forbidden Zone. Rescue is impossible, all portals are sealed. Can she protect herself, shield her hazardous cargo and find a way home before the Gravitas destroys her?

Some Reviewer Comments:

One of my favorite parts of this novel is the witty dialogue. Although Sybil’s clueless culture shock is endearing, she turns out to be confident and resourceful as she attempts to figure out a way to return to Valkyries”

This book is too much fun to miss.”

“…the story is imaginative and empowering. I enjoyed this quick read.”

The author has a good sense of humour and an eye for unexpected detail about humans, which comes from the outsider perspective of Sybilla. The novel itself is a pacy, entertaining read with snappy and often funny dialogue.”

There is a companion short story that goes with this novel: Valkyrie in the Demon Realm

Valkyrie

Blurb:

Sybil, from the Planet Valkyrie carries a risky amount of Gravitas, a potent aphrodisiac. The cargo must be harvested before the damaging side effects send her into another realm. Or has it already happened? Where did that demon, the color of molten lava, come from? And what can she do to defeat it?

#LovelyLynne has written other novels and books as well, including some non-fiction tips for writers. Check out her Amazon page to check out her full selection.

I do encourage you to drop by tomorrow and meet #LovelyLynne. You’ll be glad you did!

To get in touch with her:

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lynne.murray.7771?fref=ts

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/268380.Lynne_Murray?from_search=true&search_version=service

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/lynnemurray

Celebrating 50 Reviews of “Ice”

Ice_cover2

A little less than a year after publication, today “Ice” got its 50th review on Amazon (there are more reviews if you count the ones on Goodreads). I am beyond humbled that my debut novel is been, for the most part, well-received. Most reviewers agree that although “Ice’ has its faults (which mostly boil down to first-time-writer mistakes), that the story overall is good.

Because a lot of reviewers told me that some of the ideas presented in “Ice” need further development, I am now planning a quick rewrite to make some adjustments-and to make it match the planned Minterville series. (I will never again attempt a first-person thriller novel, especially with multiple narrators.) The Minterville series will eventually contain eight novels (with Ice being Book 5), with the last two being crossover novels with my Cadiz Beach series.

  1. Blizzard-recounts James Minter’s service in World War II, his heroic action that earned him The Minter as a reward, and his return home to found the horse-breeding hacienda that eventually became the city of Minterville
  2. Snow-Thirty-five years after the founding Minterville, the town is inhabited exclusively by the “Mints”-until 1980, when a stranger arrives in town, down on his luck and looking for a job. Although Jim is mistrustful, the stranger proves to be hard-working and resourceful-and has fallen in love with Jim’s homely daughter. Jim, whose stepson died of a heroin overdose, has his suspicions that the stranger may be involved with criminal activity, but he cannot prove it and is terrified for his only daughter’s safety.
  3. Frost-exactly ten years later in 1990, another stranger, a beautiful but somewhat disagreeable woman, appears out of nowhere. Jim, out of pity, offers her a job and she proves to be an extremely talented gardener. But when she starts receiving visits from shady characters, Jim is forced to choose between protecting the young woman who has married into the Minterville clan and sending her away (to a possible demise) to protect his believed community.
  4. Chills-The year is 1993, and and series of disasters have befallen Minterville. Jim, now close to death, warns the townspeople that the disasters are indicative of an eventual disaster that will threaten the survival of the community. Tom seconds Jim’s prediction and is elected mayor. And when a baby girl goes missing, the Mints are on edge, wondering who is stalking their town.
  5. Ice-By 2011, life in Minterville for the most part returns to normal. However, in November, The Minter stops functioning, a sure-fire signal that evil is present in the town. When a terrible crime occurs, the Mints are devastated to find out that one of their own may be responsible for the crime.
  6. Shivers-Five years after the so-called Minterville massacre, rumors of a second attack are circulating. Feeling responsible for the damage inflicted on the town, one person sets out to rid the world of the threat that had been plaguing Minterville for years.
  7. Freeze- Cadiz beach-based writer Jenelle Greene travels to Minterville to write a book about the 2011 killings, with her son Isaac and her second cousin Brielle in tow. She soon forms a bond with the only living survivor of the Minterville Massacre.It is no secret that Jenelle is the granddaughter of the infamous late Irish mobster Connor Cahill, but comparing notes, Jenelle and her new friends wonder if there may be a connection between Connor and the “Ice Queen” who tortured Minterville for so long.Things get more complicated when Isaac falls in love with a Mint and decides to stay ,and Brielle, a Consummate, soon picks up that there is something supernatural about the town. Fearful that The Minter will be exposed (and paranoid about another attack), the Mints do all they can to expel the now-unwanted outsiders.
  8. Winter- The younger generation of Mints are now marrying outside the community, and Jim’s granddaughter, fearing that The Minter will eventually die out, tells her own grandson what he needs to do to make sure it goes on. Meanwhile, a stranger arrives in town, claiming he has been hearing the word “Minterville” in his head his whole life and finally located the only city by that name in America. Digging into his past, the Mints discover that the youth was born in prison to one of the women responsible for the Minterville Massacre. But who is his Mint father? More importantly, why would he betray his town for lust, and did he further endanger Minterville? Kendra swallows her pride and calls Brielle, who may have answers that will send shock waves-but eventually bring peace-to the two towns.

In the next few days I will write a post describing the Cadiz Beach series. I got a little side-tracked, but I want to thank every single person who took the time to read and review Ice. I am learned something from every single review-good and bad-that I can apply towards futures projects and hopefully give readers an even better reading experience.

Presenting a Special Guest-Miranda Shanklin

Meet Miranda Shanklin, author of the Soul Journey series (who’s also celebrating a birthday today). The series revolves around four teens who discover they have power beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations–and some powerful enemies.

And let me just add that these are some of these most beautiful covers I have ever seen.

Miranda Shanklin

Book 1 is Soul Journey. 

soul journey

Blurb:

It has been many lifetimes since the cycle began.

The cycle that still haunts Annisa Lawson.

A spell cast in desperation to help, which only caused heartache.

Now, Annisa has found her way out of the varying repeats of her past; only to bring more danger to herself, and those around her. Now she must learn to survive with the help of her friends: Chase, Penelope, and Landon have all gone through each life cycle with Annisa. Sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Now that Annisa has broken the cycle of their collective punishment, she finds that she needs her friends more than ever to keep their enemies, known, and unknown, at bay. As the group of friends learn of their souls’ journeys through their many life cycles, they must also learn to control the magick they have discovered within themselves and each other, in order to defeat the most feared assassin in their world.

What reviews have said about Soul Journey:

Such an amazing book!!!I don’t even know where to begin… the feels, the conflict & uncertantity of life is almost too much for Annisa, but she recovers beautifully and accecpts her new found lot in life with grace & dignity.” -Amanda Wise

“Fantastic coming of age story with a fun Sci-fi/Fantasy twist! The description of magic and how it’s wielded was absolutely beautiful, it actually gave me chills. Book 2, Soul Redemption is definitely on my TBR!”-K.D

“What a suspenseful book to read. I loved all the characters. They were very well liked. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to read a book that is a YA book with great characters that you will love to read about.k has it all… mystery, love, conflict, regret, action… I have throughly enjoyed it!”-Tamra Cordery

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Journey-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00N7T7CX4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 2 is Soul Redemption. 

Soul Redemption

Blurb:

Just when Annisa and her friends were starting to think maybe the Counsel would leave them alone, two new students arrive at school. In any other town, new students wouldn’t be a sign that something big was about to happen to Annisa, Chase, Landon, and Penelope; but this wasn’t a normal town and they weren’t normal teenagers. They had come into their powers and defeated the most feared assassin in their world, so the appearance of new witches in their small town could only mean one thing…..the Counsel was ready to make another attempt to destroy them.

After watching the new students alienate them from everyone they know, including their parents, Annisa and her friends break through the spell and things start to calm down for them. It’s not until an old enemy returns with news that will shock them that they realize everything is not as it seems. Now they have to decide whether or not to trust an old enemy claiming to help them, or try and fight against the Counsel’s most trusted Advisors on their own.

The choice the group makes will change their lives forever.

What reviewers are saying:

“This second book in the Soul Series, captures your attention and imagination, even better than the first book. You live through the characters. You feel what they feel, become angry at what happens to them..you know them inside and out. If you like fantasy/romance/suspense/action/and young adult drama, this is the book series for you. 10/10!”-Crystal

Lots of twists here with the witches coming into their powers. Great story!” Pamijo

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Redemption-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00O3N22GA/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book 3 of the Series is Soul Knowledge:

Soul Knowledge

Blurb:

Annisa Lawson and her friends were getting pretty good at surviving. So far, they have defeated every force sent to destroy them. So when they are faced with new forces they had never thought possible, they were not entirely prepared. They were scrambling to catch up their magickal knowledge of the forces that were being sent after them. With their newly strengthened bond, they would have to work together to triumph. Just when they think they have it all figured out, something new pops up.
They are offered help, but will it be enough to once again overcome the forces working against them? The highly misunderstood forces in play will either help or hinder them; the question is, who do they trust?
The collective uncertainty and lack of knowledge could be the downfall of the entire group, testing their ability to trust in their own power, and that of each other. Can they overcome these forces and once again defend their special bond from destruction?

What reviewers are saying:

“A real rollercoaster of a ride. With spells gone wrong, kidnappings, destruction and love put to the ultimate test”-Samaris

“This series is amazing. The way the author portrays witches is very unique. This book was full of action and suspense. It was hard to put down. All the characters are interesting and believable”-Angie Campbell

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Knowledge-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00PA4JC9Q/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book 4 of the series is Soul Freedom

soul freedom

Blurb:

With the stress of graduation and planning weddings, Annisa and her group of friends want to end things with the Counsel once and for all. They strengthen their bond to the strongest it can be and go on the offensive. After they achieve their goal, they find that was not their only problem. Now they have to figure out who will be the next Counsel, and how to deal with other realms that have found their way in. While the group guards over the Origin, Annisa goes with members of the other realms to track down the wayward travelers, before they cause too much damage in our realm. To prevent this from happeningagain or any damage that may result, the group, along with their newly appointed Counsel, must come up with a system to allow other realms access to our realm, so they don’t have to constantly be on the lookout for trespassers from other realms. Can it be done in time for Annisa and her friends to enjoy graduation, and Annisa’s upcoming nuptials? With the help of friends and family, it just may be possible!

What reviewers are saying:

“This book is probably my favourite of the series so far…This one kept up at a steady pace and had me interested the entire time. I can’t wait to see where Miranda takes them next.”-Caitlin

“I was so engrossed in reading this book that I didn’t even realize I was close to the end until I turned the page to the ‘about the author’ blurb”-Amanda Wise

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Freedom-Series-Book-Volume/dp/1505267560/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book 5 of the series is Soul Discovery

Soul Discovery

Blurb:

Annisa and her group have finally made it to the point where they don’t have to watch over their shoulders for someone trying to destroy them. They have put together a system that allows the other realms access to our realm and they are still able to keep an eye on them. Will the faeries and the trolls outsmart them and accomplish their goal? Will Annisa and the others be able to obtain enough support to keep their realm intact? Or will the faeries and trolls destroy all that this realm stands for? Chase and Annisa have taken on a task that they are not sure if they can accomplish without the help of the others who have to stay behind and keep things running smoothly at the passageways. They will have to be creative and convincing to pull this one off and create a truce between all the realms.

What reviewers are saying:

“I really loved the fresh approach to a paranormal story. It was a little slow at start, but, it did not take long for me to become hooked. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.”-V. Hudson

“Miranda did a great job rounding out the ending leaving me satisfied with the complete story. If you haven’t picked up book 1 in the soul saver series and are into paranormal YA I would recommend this series to you.”-Caitlin

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Discovery-Series-Book-Volume/dp/1505892309/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

To connect with Miranda Shanklin:

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8526541.Miranda_Shanklin?from_search=true&search_version=service

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mirandashanklinauthor?fref=ts

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/mlshanklin

Her Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Miranda-Shanklin/e/B00N7X1LMI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Presenting a Special Guest-P.A. Williams

Meet the saucy, energetic, gregarious Paul Anthony Williams. He is also known as his #PlayBoyPaul for his (completely harmless) flirtatious ways that make him a hit with the ladies.

Paul Williams

Also a prolific horror writer, PlayBoyPaul is the author of the Dark Clown Series, which consists of The Snake of Snowspire, The fires of Al Yon, and The Tides of Time. The first two are free this weekend.

Book 1 of the Dark Clown series is The Snake of Snowspire

the snake of snowspire

Blurb:

A storm rages in the north region of Neduin. Snowspire sits amongst the snowfields and cold dark forests. It’s two distinct towering spires like great booming gravestones rise high above the city walls, casting its grey dark shadow upon the ground below. A greedy king waits for the arrival of the King from the East with hoards of gold to pay for his services and men. The King of the East seeks men to increase his own army as they venture south toward the High King’s castle to take the throne for his own. But to gain these men he must put a plan into motion with various pieces in place. Unknown to him the High King aware of the army in the north, formulates his own plan which begins with the arrival of a stranger who has traveled from the south toward the kingdom of Snowspire, with murder on his mind . . .
Away from Snowspire a soothsayer watches the events unfold, yet when the time comes will her involvement cause the downfall of Neduin? Or will a more sinister person cast the first stone to bring the Realm down upon its knees . . .

Sounds super-exciting to me. I can’t wait to get on this one. But don’t take it from me. This is what one reviewer had to say about The Snake of Snowspire:

“This is not usually the type of genre that I go for but I was sucked into the story straight away. This is a fabulous book. Shades of George Martin, Narnia and a very, very dark Tolkien. All written in a crisp, economical style which is hard to believe comes from a first time author. Can’t wait for the next in the series.”-Truth42.

Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Snake-Snowspire-Dark-Clown-Book-ebook/dp/B00M8JFPAQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 2 is The Fires of Al Yon.

The fires of Al Yon

Blurb:

Ten years have passed since the Battle of Southwell, peace flitters across the whole of Neduin. But a new deadlier enemy will rise from the shadows, hungry for blood and hungry for revenge, spreading his fires of terror from Snowspire all the way towards the Kingdom of the High King.

Jonas Yale has to make a decision…a decision that could affect the whole of Neduin. Meanwhile, two thieves start an adventure that will lead them to treasures and terror, resulting in the discovery of an ancient evil from Neduin’s past that could destroy them all.

This is what reviewer Rainne had to say about The Fires of Al Yon:

“An interesting and adventurous journey in an imaginative world, with plenty of action, intrigue, and unique characters.”

Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Fires-Yon-Dark-Clown-Book-ebook/dp/B00QIR2TZS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 3 is The Tides if Time

The Tides of Time

The Very Poetic Blurb:

From the shadows I will come,
to rip the minds and souls of everyone,
to feast upon the flesh of fools and wench,
to bathe within the blood of the fallen taking in every aroma and stench,
to face the one who holds the key,
to his or my destiny…

From the darkness he will breathe,
from the tomb he will leave,
to begin a journey to watch the flames burn,
everything and all,
as the tides of time start to call,
the tides start to call….

Rumor has it that #PlayBoyPaul has additional books in the works, including a fourth book in the Dark Clown Series.

Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/TIDES-TIME-Dark-Clown-Book-ebook/dp/B00WRADYU4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

To connect with #PlayboyPaul: 

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2030116.P_A_Williams?from_search=true&search_version=serviceoyPaul:

On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/P.A.-Williams/e/B00MEQSYCY/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/PAWILLIAMSUK36

Happy reading!

Help Me Live a Dream!

Who wants to help me fulfill my dream of having “Ice” as bestseller for a day? It’s free until the 9th and as of this post, it’s #2 in two sub-genres and #653 overall. http://www.amazon.com/Ice-Jessica-Wren-ebook/dp/B00O1CCAU6/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1436196425&sr=1-6&keywords=ice&pebp=1436196435519&perid=1PY5Q6MDPD37976ABPA2.

If I can break the top 500 by the end of today, I’ll be so happy.

If you already have “Ice” or crime thrillers aren’t your thing, you can still help by reblogging and entering my rafflecopter https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2a6ee6ce1/?. Any and all help is deeply appreciated.

Ice_cover2

Presenting Special Guests-Jen Winters and Yuruch

Jen irwin

Hello, everyone. This is my friend, Jen Winters. She is the author of the Guardians series. In addition to being an accomplished author, she is also a married mother of two and co-admin for Author Promo Co-Op. She works very hard to keep a balanced life, which includes reading, writing, parenting, and promoting other authors! Let me tell you a bit about her books:

kissing demons

Kissing Demons is Book 1 of the series. Narrated by the kick-ass Guardian Geneva Archer, who, upon her natural death, was appointed by God the task of cleansing people’s auras when they are affected by evil and protecting the world from demonic attacks. One evening, she decided to have a drink at a hideaway bar for supernaturals, where she meets her soulmate, Alex Wolfe. The two begin a hot, steamy relationship. Unfortunately, Alex is the son of the demon Yuruch, who has been a thorn in Geneva’s side since she first became a Guardian. When Yuruch calls together Alex and his other children to assist him in a mission of mass destruction, Alex is powerless to disobey his father’s command. Geneva, of course, is pissed to no end! She, along with her trustworthy team, must come up with a plan to outsmart Yuruch so she can have Alex back and hopefully save as many lives as possible.

kissing the rain

Kissing the Rain is a novelette that tells the story from Alex’s point of view. He lives a peaceful existence as a math teacher in a secluded school for halflings in France. When his father, the demon Yuruch, calls him to Texas for a mission of destruction, Alex resentfully obeys. Trying to avoid facing his father for as long as possible, Alex hides out in the Hunter’s Moon, a hideway lounge for supernaturals. It is there he meets a beautiful, redheaded Guardian that he knows immediately is his intended soulmate.

Fallen Angels

Fallen Angels is Book 2 of the Guardians series. Narrated by the brooding, workaholic fallen angel Ambrose, he tells the story of his fall from Heaven, his despair at having no mission or purpose, and his serendipitous encounter with the demon Yuruch, with whom he enters into a covenant for mutual protection. Over the millennia, Ambrose and Yuruch form an eternal, unbreakable bond, and although Ambrose finds him insufferable at times, he would give his very life for his best friend and constant companion. Ambrose, through his friendships with Yuruch and his romance with Guardian Lavinia, learns a lesson about fate and destiny that frees him from a long lifetime nihilistic melancholy.

Here is the link to Jen’s Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jen-Winters/e/B00RSOYPCA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Now, what is the common link between the three stories? Here he is:

Close-up portrait of a young masculine good looking man

This is Yuruch, the delightfully evil demon that you just can’t help but love! I wanted to get his side of the story and to learn more about what makes him tick, so he agreed to an interview:

Interview with Yuruch

J: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me today. And congratulations on the upcoming birth of your grandson. I think Geneva and Alex are going to make wonderful parents. I have some questions for you, but please feel free to skip any that you feel are inappropriate or would give away too much of your top-secret plans (not trying to incur the wrath of Hell here…)

Y: Thank you for thinking of me! I rarely get the opportunity to get my voice heard. People are so involved with my son and my brother that I never get a word in edgewise!

J: Sounds frustrating! What was your job as a “machine” under the Divine Will?

Y: Oh, I did a little of this and a little of that, but mainly I was in charge of delivering souls to creatures in need of them. I can tell you it was an ok job, but it seems to me that I could do better with fewer directives and more imagination.

J: Of course. Something all of us with monotonous jobs can relate to. So why did you choose to fight on Lucifer’s side?

Y: I wanted more freedom to be who I thought I should be. Lucifer offered me that chance. Unfortunately, he then changed his mind and tried to enslave me as much as the Other one did.

J: But you seem to despise Lucifer. Do you wish you had chosen differently? Or, were there any choices that were acceptable to you?

Y: If you knew what went on in Hell you wouldn’t like Lucifer either. He’s quite self-involved and the power he has is what had been given to him by others. I am disinterested in giving him what he hasn’t earned. The moment we all got souls, his deceptions became evident to me. I lost my power and my connection to the Creator because he lied to me. I may despise the Creator, but at least He has never lied to me. Lucifer deceived us all and apparently I am the only  demon that noticed. I will fight Lucifer until the end of time for breaking me with lies.

J: Sounds like a daunting task! Can you tell us what Lucifer and Hell are like? I’d rather hear it from you than experience it firsthand.

Y: The only power Lucifer has over Hell is what has been afforded him by the demons there. I hate to break it to you, but Hell isn’t for your kind, so you don’t have to even consider the possibility of ending up there yourself. There are places for your kind, but Hell is not one of them. Hell itself isn’t so bad, really. It’s the company that gives the place its reputation. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Fires of Hell, right? Myth. Sort of. The fires of hell refer to the fiery pain inflicted by the fiery swords of the angels. There are certainly many demons who are on fire for eternity in hell, but it’s not because Hell itself is on fire. They are the demons stupid enough to follow Lucifer into battle and lose.

J: I wish someone would say that to all those so-called “Christians” who are constantly screaming “You’ll burn in Hell!” Not very Christian-like at all in my opinion. But I digress. Do you have any theories on why the Creator gave you and Ambrose (and presumably, other demons and fallens) the ability to procreate, knowing that the offspring would be abominations and predestined to eternal damnation?

Y: Well, Ambrose thinks that way about our offspring, but I happen to think that if I wasn’t supposed to have kids, I wouldn’t be able to.  I don’t believe in predestination. I was given a soul and I am a free agent; my ability to choose is vital to the point of this universe. Alex maybe half demon and all werewolf, but as we all know, he is good to the core. I don’t know where I went wrong with that one.

J: Yeah, I do get the distinct impression that fatherhood isn’t Ambrose’s cup of tea. I know you’re not exactly thrilled that your arch-nemesis, Geneva Archer, is about to be your daughter-in-law. However, there are times when you seem to genuinely respect and admire her. I would like to hear more about Geneva from your perspective.

Y: Ah Geneva–she is a beauty, isn’t she? I am actually quite proud of Alex for that one! Who knew my genes would become the son of a Guardian? I wouldn’t say she is my arch-nemesis. I think I have proven to be my own worst enemy, haha; but she has been quite meddlesome, hasn’t she? I’d like to think that given time to get to know me, she would actually enjoy my company. Though, now that I am thinking about it, she reminds me of Eve. Now that woman scares me! I think given a few thousand years under her belt, Geneva could very well become the next Eve. She’s already set up for it being the mother of my grandson.

J: Learn to cook enchiladas. I think that will win her over ;). I’m curious: Why, of all places, did you choose Fort Worth, Texas?

Y:  *evil laughter* I chose Fort Worth because it was an easy target. All those humans milling about, complacent toward terrorism because they had never experienced anything so traumatizing as Chicago had. Ten years and they had forgotten what it was like to lose a limb. I reminded them. It was also helpful that the most powerful werewolf pack and the most powerful vampire coven were there. I had been sprinkling my genes into both of those lines since their inception and I was able to use the pack and the vampires to set off the bombs. Suicide bombers who couldn’t tell me no. It was a perfect plan.

J: That makes sense. And although I can’t say I agree with the taking of innocent lives, you do have a point about people becoming overly complacent. Now, let me ask you about Ambrose. You two are like night and day. Whereas you are excitable and impulsive, he is mainly an over-serious workaholic (unless you give him an Xbox, and then nothing gets accomplished). The flip side to that coin is that you two complement each other in a lot of ways, and he has expressed deep feelings for you. However, he never tires of telling anyone who will listen what a royal pain-in-the-behind you are to him at time, and I’m sure you think the same of him. The Covenant aside, how would you describe your longstanding, mutually beneficial partnership with Ambrose?

Y: I trust Ambrose with my life. I have to–he sustains it. But beyond that, he is a good guy. Sulky sure, and he holds on to his misery like no one I have ever met, but he’s good. He treats me as well as I can expect and he respects me as his brother. I don’t know anyone who sees me for who I am not just what I am. Yes, I am a demon and yes I do eveil things, but that’s all everyone except Ambrose sees. Ambrose sees me differently–maybe through some rose tinted glasses at times, but always as his brother first. And while it may seem odd coming from a demon, I love that guy too. Hes my only friend in the universe and I would do anything for him. Anything. I would save the immortal representation of Divine love for Ambrose. The only thing I have ever regretted in my life was disappointing Amrbose. I’d do anything to make it up to him.

J: It’s so rare to find a loyal friend. You have been blessed to have found Ambrose. What was it about Ambrose that made you decide he would be a good partner and companion?

Y: I spent quite a lot of time listening to the screams of the demons that Ambrose sent back to Hell, gift-wrapped for Lucifer. When Lucifer sent me after him, I knew that my time as second in command was at an end. Lucifer never wanted Ambrose dead, he wanted Ambrose to do his dirty work. When I became that dirty work–well, let’s just say I was a bit angry about that. Ambrose was an accident, but a good one nonetheless for me. Making that deal was the best thing I have ever done–even if Ambrose regrets it.

J: It’s pretty clear that Lucifer underestimated you both. What do think of Ambrose’s budding romance with Lavinia? What advice would you give him as a friend? Please note that it’s a little too late to tell him to go buy a pack of Trojans…

Y: HAHAHAHAHA!! When condoms came out, Ambrose tried them and found out too quickly that they didn’t work for him at all! Fortunately for him, the woman he got pregnant died shortly after in a freak accident. I had nothing to do with it no matter what he tells you. I have always enjoyed his offspring and would have really loved to see what became of that one. Personally, I don’t go for the whole soul mate thing, but I can see that he loves her in his own way. I personally don’t know her well. I encountered  her once about five thousand years ago, but she didn’t know me from any other demon at the time and I haven’t been inclined to remind her that I was the one who got away. As for advice? I’ve never loved anyone like that. I have kept a cool distance from the mothers of my offspring. So, I guess I should tell him not to screw it up! He’s pretty committed though. He’s an all or nothing kind of person.

J: Um…well, my sources are telling me that there will be a great love in your future. We shall see. What, besides tormenting Guardians and devastating major metropolitan areas, are your favorite hobbies?

Y: I do so love seeing what my offspring can do. Unlike Ambrose, I wait around for them to be born and I keep tabs on them. I also love to read and I have taken up the habit of journalling. I have journalled since the invention of papyrus. I have a whole shed of my life experiences hidden away (no I won’t tell you where). I also enjoy sports, especially the ones where balls are required. Tennis is fascinating. I find the human mind’s ability to invent games astonishing.

J: Can you tell me who’ll win the World Series this year? No? well, it was worth a shot…Anyhow, do you have a preference for any particular being’s “chi” or does it matter?

Y: By far, Ambrose is the best I’ve ever had. But throwing him out of the equation, I would say that the best I’ve ever had was this little thing in Ancient China. She was just a tiny thing, dying from starvation because she was  abandoned by her parents. I thought I would end the baby’s suffering and I took her chi away. It was perfect in every way. Not nearly as powerful as Ambrose’s, and it couldn’t sustain me for long, but it definitely tasted just as good as Ambrose’s.

J: So it’s true: you do have a soft side :D. About your son Alex: he seems especially willful and defiant, more so than your other children. What kind of antics did he get into as a kid? Any humorous stories to share? Did you ever have to give him a fatherly butt-whipping (or at least thought he needed one?)

Y: This is the one time I wish I had kept better track of my offspring. After he was twelve, I didn’t see him. Before he was twelve, I didn’t worry about him. It turns out that I should have taken a more active interest in him. In order for him to be my avatar I had to place a special bond on him. Unlike his siblings, he couldn’t be called until I was absolutely sure he had overcome the halfling side of himself. I had to do a whole deadly and disgusting ritual just so that Alex would be able to eventually control his wild side. Then Stephan got a hold of him and, sure he learned control, but then he also learned to be utterly good. Do you even know how inconvenient it was having him fight me the entire time I had him? I honestly believe that if he had just given up and let me be, I wouldn’t be in the situation I am in now. I would be comfortably ruling world already.

J: Yeah, probably. I don’t think DFACS comes after the supernatural, so maybe a little more discipline (your way) was in order. But despite being classified as a demon, you seem to have a lot of good qualities (as mentioned previously), such as loyalty, helpfulness, and a tiny bit of compassion (don’t worry; we won’t tell Lucifer). Are we to understand that no one, be they demons, fallens, angels, Guardians, humans, vampires, or otherwise, is 100% evil or 100% good?

Y:  We weren’t made to be good or evil. We were given the choice. So yes, I suppose that we all have the potential for good and evil in us–some of us lean more toward one than the other. But we are all free agents and we do what we want. I don’t feel particularly evil. Sure I’ve done some pretty horrible things, but those were just a means to an end. My ends aren’t particularly nasty. Ambrose once pointed out that everything I do is either sticking it to the Creator or sticking it to Lucifer, and that’s true, but that’s not the ultimate end for me. What I want is to be free and safe from the ones who have been hunting me my whole life.

J: That’s understandable. Ambrose seems to have an incredible knack for bungling up his assignments. I can almost see you do that Patrick Stewart-style face-palm. The first one changed the course of human history in a profound way. Do you have any idea what became of the twins? We have met their well-known mother. And since we’re on the subject, any idea of what became of her gullible, costally-deficient husband?

Y: Well that one he almost couldn’t help making a mess of, haha. Well of course the older brother killed the younger, but he survived long enough to pass on his soullessness to his offspring. Actually, there are many like him. Plenty of my unfinished assignments became soulless creatures. If you look hard enough at some people you can see it. There are people alive today that don’t have souls. I spent some time recently searching out those soulless individuals; they make great employees. they don’t have any moral obligations keeping them from accomplishing their tasks and they can be quite easily manipulated. I have used the soulless to accomplish many things including getting them into seats of power around the world.
J: Heck, yeah! Just watch the news and you see soulless people every day. Soulless people. One of the most recent examples occurred in a church, where people go to worship the Creator. If that isn’t soullessness, I don’t now what is.Now, in a suspiciously short time, two of the supposedly infertile Guardians conceived. Do you consider this to be a bad sign for demons? I mean, the last time such a miraculous conception occurred, the resulting child (the Son of the Creator and an ordinary human woman), wielded tremendous power over demons, including the ability to send them directly back to Hell. I bet your demon brothers are still complaining about the humiliating experience of having to occupy swine bodies.
Y: evil laughter* oh that was HILARIOUS!! I couldn’t have done it better myself! As for the Guardians, this has happened once before that I can remember. However, that one chose to remain human and died at the end of her human life. Now that we have two Guardians pregnant with the children of my kind, I am very curious to discover what and who they are. I would never remind Ambrose that his child with Lavinia is up for grabs for me. I think he may never forgive me, but if she’s useful, I might take advantage of her powers.
J: Oh, I think you’d have an easier time fighting Lucifer himself than Ambrose over Lavinia and their child. He’s really attached to her, you know. Do you believe that you (and other demons, fallens, and angels), have any control over your own destiny? I believe you alluded to this a time or two in a conversation with Ambrose (Ambrose: I’m going to Hell anyways. It’s just a question of ‘when?’ You: “Oh, stop being such a Negative Ned and go get that witch pregnant!”)
Y: Ambrose is quite fatalistic, isn’t he? It’s part of his charm. Personally I do think that we control our own destinies. Yes, I know there is the whole Divine Plan and that can’t be thwarted, but outside of the overall plan, we make our own destinies and lives. No I am not convinced about the whole soul mate thing that Ambrose is on right now. Soul mates isn’t something I ever experienced before the fall and I certainly haven’t seen proof of it since. Guardians claim certain men are their soul mates, but I think that they are exaggerating the circumstances. I’ve managed to take many Guardians’ powers away from them and none of them lived long enough to think me their soul mate.
J: I’m not so sure about that. It seems to me that Geneva is quite determined, and whatever she sets her mind to is pretty much gonna happen!. Can you give us a hint for any of your future plans? The ones that Ambrose seems to think are all hare-brained, idiotic bids for attention? Perhaps a tsunami? A nuclear power plant explosion? Oooh, how about another Ice Age?(Note: this third idea is of particular interest to the interviewer. She lives in Georgia and it is currently summertime. She’s not sure if Hell itself is very much hotter).
Y: I like how you think! Ice Age! That’s a BRILLIANT idea! Unfortunately for me, I’ve been cursed. I don’t even know what is going to happen. Hopefully this whole judgement thing will be over quickly and I can get back to sticking it to the Creator and Lucifer. Hopefully…

J: I think with the folks you have on your side, you’ll be back in the swing of things before you know it. Now finally, any words for your REAL Creator and Master, Mrs. Jen Winters? Keep in mind that you are subject to Her whims and desires, and She can do as She wishes to you without any prior warning, and that includes unspeakable eternal torment. I’d speak kindly to Her if I were you.

Y: What I would like to know is, what in the hell were you thinking cursing me like that?! I could have gone on forever without losing all the best bits of me! How are you going to put me back together? And where am I going?

Jen: Oh, Yuruch, if I told you that you would never learn. Good luck in Norway! See you soon!
J: (whispers) She’s pretty merciful and kind hearted. I think she’s on your side. And just between you and me, I think she considers you her best work. (normal voice). Well, I do thank you for your time. And I hear you have some rough days ahead. Good luck with that and I wish you the best.
Well, folks, you’ve heard straight from the demon’s mouth. To read more about the adventures of Yuruch and his family and companions, click on Jen’s author page above, which will include links to all three books. Youcan also find Jen on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WintersJen?fref=ts), Twitter (@JenWintersNE), and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10904196.Jen_Winters?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr). (But as for Yuruch, well, I don’t think he’s going to have very much Internet access in the days ahead….)
I hope you enjoyed this character interview. PLease reblog if you can. Thanks JW

Money for Twenty (a Parody)

It has always been a dream of mine to be the female Weird Al Yankovich. Parody-writing is a lot of fun. Here is a parody of the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits that summarizes my novel Ice. Enjoy!

Money for Twenty

(I want my, I want my lost money…I want my, I want my lost money…I want my, I want my lost money…I want my, I want my lost money)

Now look at them weirdos

What the hell’re they doing?

They act like they got some kind of ESP

But it ain’t working, that’s the way we’ll do it,

Money for twenty, or we’ll let them freeze.

Now that old building, that is where we’ll do it

Let me tell ya, that cop is dumb

Maybe then we’ll take his daughter with the others

We need to get a hold of the rich one.

(Chorus):

We got to hurry up and get this plan moving

Cuz we got spaces for twenty

We got to get back Manuela’s millions

We got to get back to Miami…

Old Man Watson is the mayor of this hellhole

Yeah, buddy, he’s been hiding here

Old Man Watson thought he was gonna outsmart us

Old Watson’s daughter, she’s a billionaire.

(Chorus)

Get ’em in there! Now!

(Chorus)

Look at that, look there…

She should’ve known to stop all that yellin’

She should’ve known to shut her mouth

Now look at that blood spot that happened when we crushed her skull in, yeah

Against the pool side

Now what’s in here? What’s that? Why are my eyes stinging?

There’s something in the air and now it’s hard to breathe

Ah, this ain’t working. I’m done with this shit, screw it.

Money for twenty, or we let them freeze.

(Chorus)

Listen here, now. This ain’t working. This ain’t how to do it. They took too long and we let them freeze.

This ain’t working. This ain’t how to do it.

Money for twenty or we let them freeze

(Money for twenty, we let them freeze….)

(I want my, I want my, I want my lost money…)

This ain’t working!

The Five Hundred

In case anyone is interested, my brother Winston Blake Wheeler Ward runs a cool monthly writing challenge called The Five Hundred. What happens is on the first day of every month, Winston gives you a theme. You write a short story between 400-600 words on that theme. I just entered a short story in this month’s contest, and it’s a lot of fun.

For more information or to enter the contest, check it out here: http://the-five-hundred.com/