ICE free until Wednesday

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My debut novella ICE will be free until Wednesday, January 18. Most reviewers agree that it is worth a read.

Download our free copy today to find out:

  1. What is The Minter and why do the people of Minterville hold it so dear?
  2. Which trusted and beloved community member is hiding a dark and deadly secret?
  3. Where are the women who are disappearing from different parts of town being taken?
  4. What will happen if the town doesn’t band together and act in time?
  5. How, in the aftermath of these dreadful events, will another tragedy that had befallen Minterville be resolved?

Here is a sample excerpt:

We passed the Old Recreation Center, which fell into disuse when the New Recreational Center opened. i remember swimming in the Old Rec’s Center large, pristine swimming pool as a kid. After five years of abandonment, the Old Rec Center had the creepy feel that many rundown buildings have. 

With a touch of alarm, I noticed that the door the to Old Rec Center was open. Who was going in there? Certainly no one was using it to work out….

At that moment, I remembered Mom’s comment about Natalia de los Santos, and felt a renewed and intensified sense of unease. I considered saying something to Uncle Andy, but given his mood that morning, I decided to wait until later.

To this day, I wonder how many lives could have been saved if i had said something to Uncle Andy at that moment. 

Please consider downloading your free copy of ICE today. I truly believe you will enjoy it.

Much love and happy Monday,

Jessica

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ICE is free July 7-11

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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

Interview with Kirsten Campbell

(*This interview was conducted via a blog tour coordinator*)

While in the midst of reading Blood Master by Kirsten Campbell, a few themes and issues piqued my interest. I decided to ask the author directly about them. Here is the interview:

Interview Questions/

Kirsten Campbell-Author of Blood Master – Book 1 of The G.O.D.s Series

 

  1. When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

 

I was nine years old when I wrote my first story/poem and my teacher put it up in the hall for all to see. Ms. Laport started me on my quest to become a writer.

 

  1. What drew you to the dystopian genre?

 

I love thinking about the future and all the possibilities therein, especially after some type of great disaster has enveloped our world and almost destroyed mankind. I love to believe that mankind will carry on and go forward with new abilities and go further with a positive agenda.

 

  1. Can you describe your writing process?

 

Yes, I believe I can.

I write for hours, write until I am finished and then I go back and look at the whole story. I make sure that the ending matches the beginning in some way and that there is growth with each of the characters. I then go through the manuscript and add color, smells, shapes, tastes, and all types of sensory stimuli that I can think of. After that, I give it a once over for grammar and then give it to my beta readers. I have 3 men and 3 women. Every one of them give me feedback and then I answer any and all questions that they ask and deal with suggestions. I then go through it with a fine tooth comb and give to my editor, who then kills me. LOL… 

No, she doesn’t kill me. She deals with things in my manuscript and cleans things up for me.

 

  1. Do you do a lot of research in preparation for writing?

My god, I do a lot of research. I research and when I think I’ve got things just right, I do even more research. I write first, and then research everything medical, physical, mental, and even research certain scientific theories and thermal dynamics because even though I write Urban Paranormal fantasy there must be plausibility in the mix. Only then can things remain sustainable in a fantastic world. Also, I travel for my research. I went to Atlanta, GA and measured out certain areas of Underground Atlanta and measured the areas around the GA. Freight Depot. I reimagined how the area would look if earthquakes hit and even checked out the underground for large pillars that would hold things together if an earthquake hit. I drove around and around Highway 285 to find the perfect area for the fortress and I went into the city, off Peachtree Street, and found the Guild Main Office. I had to actually see where I was putting my characters and how they would move through certain situations in buildings and the underground.

 

 

  1. Where do you get your inspiration?

I draw inspiration from just about anything. Sometimes it’s a song that makes me think of something Griffin might do or say. Sometimes it’s a smell that affects me and I figure it would affect Griffin or Tassta a certain way. I also draw on things that I have gone through and/ or things that are going on in the news or even real life situations.

  1. Blood Master explores the topic of selecting people with certain genetic characteristics (in this case, albinism) for scientific experimentation, yet seems to offer no stance on the ethics surrounding this. What are your thoughts, and were you inspired by any specific historical event in which involuntary experimentation occurred?

 

Well, I was very particular when I chose albinos. I considered all races, all ethnic people and I looked for a common genetic trait that popped up sporadically, yet one that was also what I considered interesting and unusual. After that, I thought about the past, and remembered all the times in school that I was shown different labs that would in fact use albino mice for experimentation. I also thought long and hard about the mystique surrounding albinos and how some people, even now, look at them with significant relevance and consider them either too outside the norm or very exotic. I myself believe that albinos are beautiful and unusual and I do know that in fact, in some cultures they have been revered and even sought out as magical beings. In Africa, the albino population is hunted and many have been mutilated as people seek to acquire an arm or leg for magical remedies with hope for a cure from AIDS or a host of other maladies. Of course, Blood Master takes this premise a step further, but it is fantasy, and there are things going on behind the scenes that cannot be explained until the next few books in the series.

 

  1. It seems that in the far future, especially in times of a crisis, gender would be irrelevant if a person was qualified to do a specific job. Although Penn’s intentions are good, he doesn’t want Tassta as a Guardian just because she’s a female, even at one point saying her task was to have babies. Some readers may read this as gender discrimination. Do you have anything to say in Penn’s defense on this matter?

 

There isn’t gender discrimination, at least not to me. It’s more like-there’s a lack of people, especially viable, healthy females. Remember, the first line in the blurb on the back of the book is, “The Great War, the Clover Virus and the Death Plague have killed off two-thirds of the human population.” Hey, that’s a lot of people. It affects people to go through that much death. It affects people in ways most will never understand and even though things have gotten a bit better with time, there are still preconceived notions of how things are supposed to be. And yes, there are chauvinists in the future. LOL.

Also, let’s not forget the fact that Tassta is pretty young in the first book. She is seventeen and yes, she turns eighteen, but she has been coddled and spoiled most of her life and has had it easy at the fortress. Also, since there are much less people, that means much less women of childbearing age. Turns out most need the females for lots of different jobs that are available at the fortress and they are also needed for conception. (BTW, it is mentioned by Waylene in the Underground that the Brotherhood is dying out, Penn and Tassta are the youngest.)

 

And yes, Penn is a caveman, but he’s a lovable caveman. Tassta is Penn’s twin sister and she is the youngest. He knows she has a lot of duties at the fortress and he doesn’t want to see her overextend herself. She’s already a library assistant, a Medical Assistant and she helps with the children in the fortress and also practices Martial Arts and her Blade Maneuvers. Now she wants to become a Guardian and he just wants his sister to have an easy life, or at least what he considers an easy life. LOL. He comes across as harsh, but he does have her best interest at heart. He just doesn’t know how to verbalize what he feels and it comes across as being behind the times.

 

  1. Your protagonist, Griffin, is the sole survivor of a particularly nasty epidemic. In our lifetime, we’ve seen Ebola, AIDS, deadly strains of influenza, and other lethal viruses that seems to have spread unchecked and had a mortality rate of nearly 100%. What, in your opinion, should the world do to prepare for the possibility of a new, as-of-now undiscovered pandemic?

 

I believe we need to take the possibility of a deadly pandemic more seriously and be more resourceful with what we have already discovered. There is proof of all kinds of medicinal herbs and spices that can actually cure certain types of cancer and push our lifespans way past the 70 – 80’s mark, which are now considered the norm. People in general could be a whole lot healthier if the preconceived thread of life wasn’t to drink and drug away our teen years and our twenties, with hope that once we hit thirty, we could somehow turn the clock back, suck all the poison out of the millions of cells that have been so rudely taken advantage of.

 

Now, as far as the possibility of a pandemic hitting with global ramifications that could possibly kill millions? You must remember that there is a preconceived notion that there is

a 1 to 5 percent chance that there will be someone who is immune to the pandemic, or at least a belief that said disease won’t kill that 1 to 5 percent. The government needs to step in and take the blood from those people in particular, the survivors, and create an antivirus from their blood. It can be done, quite effectively, if we get the resources and step in quickly.

 

Also, here’s my rant on aging:

People as a whole should be more aware of all the changes that their bodies go through with every decade they live. Certain chemical changes occur in a person’s body with each decade of life that they live, and these things need to be taught to teens and then to adults, and to society as a whole, so people are not caught off guard when things start changing inside and outside of their bodies. Aging is not a mistake, it’s a natural biological occurrence. Our bodies suck in pollution and dirt, exhaust fumes and toxic gases, chemicals additives and colorants and yet we think our bodies are not going to change? That’s ridiculous, and this silly preoccupation with looking young even though your insides are falling apart is preposterous and it’s making people desperately go under the knife. Why not eat properly from the beginning and deal with aging from the inside out, and grow old gracefully. Each generation could eventually grow stronger and when a new deadly pandemic emerges, our bodies will be able to deal with it, hopefully.

9. love for the city of Atlanta is evident in Blood Master. What is your connection to Atlanta?

I moved to Atlanta when I turned 16 and lived there for twenty-one years. I met my husband there and had my children there. I love Atlanta and hope to retire there. I now have lots of family that live there. I go to family reunions every year in Atlanta, GA.

  1. Your character development in Blood Master is superb. What advice do you have for other writers on how to properly develop characters?

Thank you so much! I worked on and with my characters for many years. I believe that when writing a character, you must first see your characters and then hear their voices. I also make a chart that tells me their height, weight, hair color, eye color, birthdate and zodiac sign, favorite color, food and different abilities. I then write what’s interesting about the character, pet peeves, goals and I write down all their positive and negative attributes. Yes, even innocent people with goodness in their hearts have bad thoughts once in a while and they have melt downs and failings. We are all human and yes, we must make our characters as human as possible.

Presenting a Special Guest-Kirsten Campbell

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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”

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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.

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.

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Presenting Special Guests-Jen Winters and Yuruch

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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!

Serials and Collections-My New Approach (Part 1)

Those of you who follow my blog and my Facebook group know full-well the frustrations I have experienced while trying to write Glass. Trying to get this plot to go right was like trying to straighten my hair on a humid Georgia day: no matter what special treatments I apply, no matter what “settings” I used,no matter how many times I go over it section by section, it.just.wasn’t.going.to.sit.right. And it was frustrating as hell, because I had characters who, in my mind, were awesome and whose story needed to be told. So, I finally decided to do the same thing to Glass that I do to my hair: cut it so it’s manageable and doesn’t become a huge, tangled mess.

Well, about a week ago when I finally decided that the plot as I had planned it was never going to work (shortly after the rift less than two week ago with a beta-reader and when my husband, upon reading that chapter, told me “I hate to break it to you, Sting (that’s Patrick’s nickname for me), but I have to agree with the beta-reader, at least on that part of it. I can’t understand a single bit of what you’re talking about here.”), I finally decided on a different technique. it was kind of an emergency technique. I was fresh out of ideas, and with summer break coming up, I didn’t want to waste valuable writing time. So I decided that while waiting for Glass to somehow blossom in my mind, I would extract what was originally a minor subplot within Glass, tell the full story behind it, and write it as type of a pre-novel. The concept was easy enough, it was certainly better than doing nothing, and I would still get to use some of the characters I had become so attached to.

Do you all remember those Golden Corral commercials, where the chef with wings smacks the customer with a frying pan and the customer says “Golden Corral!’ (or something like that). That’s what it felt like for me when it occurred to me that since the plot for Glass spanned from 1979 to present day, involved many different subplots (some of which I had to cut out but can now bring back!), and was basically just too much for one narrator to tell, I could write a collection revolving around these two families, the McPhersons and the Hawthornes. This has the added benefit that I can develop the backstories a little more (instead of them being just an afterthought in a bigger novel), develop the characters to my complete satisfaction, and, most importantly, tell the story I want to tell without bogging down one novel. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? The first person who can logically explain this will receive a check for a million dollars from me (postdated to be cashed in the year 33,000).

I began to write the plot outline for this pre-novel (that I’m going to call Earth) and it took me less than a day to map out the plot. I send it to my beta-readers who “approved” it, so now I’m getting started. It’s a crime thriller with a twist of romance. When a young couple is arrested for the murder of the girl’s abusive father, defense attorney Vinny McPherson (the same guy that those of y’all who read the prologue already met) finds himself amazed at the lengths these two will go through for each other. In the process of preparing the defense for the couple, he solves another decades-old crime that took place in his own family. Here are the other books in my planned “McPherson/Hawthorne” series.

2. Fire-As a child, Jeremy (the kid who was called Gerald in the original sequel), watched his mother burn to death in a house fire. Although his mother’s rapist has been identified when his lawyer grandfather was working on another case (and his paternity established), he still has to prove that his mother’s rapist was also her murderer. What Jeremy doesn’t know is that this person was acting on behalf of a much more powerful person-and that Jeremy is still a target. Vinny must reconcile with an old adversary in order to help take down a man who has terrorized both families for years.

3. Water-Vinny becomes the defense attorney for his sister Sandy, a powerful politician, who is accused of murdering her husband by drowning him in the bath tub. During the course of the investigation, it is discovered that Sandy’s late husband may have been involved in some racist assaults. Jeremy, following in his grandfather’s footsteps after taking down one of the world’s most powerful men, takes on his first case by filing a class-action suit on behalf of the assault victims.

4. Wind- When Rev. Charles Greene, one of The Brander’s most famous victims, is shot to death in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant, the city of Jacksonville breaks out in riots. Jenelle (who will be Gerald/Jeremy’s cousin instead of his daughter, and is the sister and sister-in-law, respectively, of Valerie and Jeff), along with her family, have to fight for survival during the especially nasty riots, which are complicating an evacuation of Jacksonville when deadly Hurricane Alberto approaches. Vinny and Jeremy, now working as partners, defend Jenelle when she is framed for the fatal shooting-and once again find themselves at odds with a powerful person with an axe to grind.

See I was trying to tell ALL THIS in ONE NOVEL! No wonder I couldn’t iron it out! Granted, I had to make some changes to the plot (specifically, Gerald/Jeremy will no longer be a death-row inmate. I’d become too attached to him anyways and really wanted to make him a more powerful character. Secondly, I had to change some of the family relationships. I don’t want to wait twenty years to tell Jenelle’s story. My favorite change: Vinny lives! He is the character I like the most, and I now get to make it so he’s still alive at the end of the series :).

I am also planning a Minterville series, using some of the same characters from Ice. More about that in my next post. Take care!