Happy Friday, all!
It was a crazy week around here, but an awesome week, too. The first Hidden book came out on Monday, and it surpassed what I was hoping for on its free promotion day. It’s sold pretty consistently this week, and it has also gotten its first couple of reviews on Amazon and GoodReads — all 4 and 5 star reviews! Yay!
I’ve been getting questions here on the blog, and via email and Twitter, so I thought I’d answer them here:
1) When will book 2 be out? Answer: Monday, December 16th! I’ve been editing it pretty much since the season ended in October, and it’s nearly ready to go.
2) Is this the last season of Hidden? Answer: Yes. This is the final season, and it will be over by mid-February, 2014.
3) What about Hidden books? Will there be more? Answer: Yep! There are two novellas currently in the works, dealing with other team members and their lives after what happens in book three. I also have another trilogy set in the Hidden world in the works, but I can’t really talk about that right now because, spoilers. The paranormal romance series I’m working on right now is set in Detroit in the general period of time as the Hidden series, and there will be a cameo or two from a couple of characters from Hidden. The main focus of the series will be completely new characters, however.
4) Will there be more webserials after this one ends? Answer: Hell yeah! This is fun for me. It keeps me writing, even when I don’t feel like writing. I’ll have more up about the next serial around the time I’m wrapping up Hidden. You can expect that one to start in March, 2014.
A Sneak Peek
The paranormal romance series I mentioned above is my current work in progress. I shared the Pinterest inspiration board on Twitter (and you can see it here) so I thought maybe I’d give you a quick peek at the first bit of it.
Perdition Lane, Book One
Vampires tend to be very finicky about their dry cleaning. And, if there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s piss off a vampire. So when Shayla picked up Grace McDunnagh’s weekly dry cleaning order, she checked it over, eyes flicking expertly to all of the normal problem areas. Neckline, of course. Chest. Some vampires tended to dribble when they ate. Finally, she checked the arms and wrists thoroughly. Most people wouldn’t think to check there, but that was a common spot for a smudge or smear of blood, especially if the vampire was embracing its dinner at the time.
And, sure enough, she caught sight of a reddish-brown smear on the cuff of Grace’s favorite white silk shirt. (Why vampires would even consider wearing white was beyond her. But whatever.)
She pointed it out to the elderly woman behind the counter. “I’m not paying for this,” she said, setting the blouse back onto the counter.
“We can’t get out every stain—” the woman began.
“Yes, you can. This shirt was a mess, and you got out everything else. You missed a spot,” Shayla said, resting her elbows on the tall counter. “I need this perfect.”
The woman sighed. “Fine. One hour.”
Shayla nodded, paid her for the three garments that had been cleaned satisfactorily, then carried Grace’s three plastic-clad dresses out to her car. She hung them over the backseat of the gas guzzling Delta 88, then climbed into the driver’s seat and pulled the door shut behind her with a satisfying slam.
Just perfect. Now she’d have to swing back here again before she could drop this crap off at Grace’s. It didn’t matter particularly to the vampire; she wouldn’t even be awake for another couple hours. But it threw Shayla’s whole damn schedule off.
She dug a slip of wrinkled paper out of her coat pocket as she waited for the car to warm up again. Packages mailed for the shapeshifters in Hamtramck, check. Grocery shopping for the witches in Hazel Park, check. Pets boarded for the two vamps in Midtown, dry cleaning for Grace, call and dispute charge card bill for Old Bill, the warlock. Done, almost done, and done. Damn. she would have actually finished on time for once, if it hadn’t been for the stupid dry cleaners.
She glanced at her watch. And now she had to pick up Damian. She’d have to bring him back here with her, then swing back toward Grace’s then home. She sighed and shifted the car into drive, listening to the engine sputter, then catch and run. She’d have to ask him to look at it again.
She maneuvered through the streets until she got to the Delray neighborhood. The air here was a constant haze, due to the factories nearby, and the air stunk of sewage and filth. A ghost town. Hardly anyone lived here anymore, and the few remaining businesses were stuck, waiting for a decision to be made, one way or another, about whether a new bridge crossing into Canada would level what was left of the neighborhood. Until then, those who wanted to leave were stuck in a kind of limbo. No one would buy their homes or businesses with the fate of the neighborhood so unsure, yet there was hardly anyone left in the area to shop or dine in the few remaining stores.
She drove through, finally pulling up alongside an empty lot. It used to be a scrap metal yard, and now, years later, men from around the city came here to mine for scrap. They stood in holes, often deeper than they were tall, and went at it with pickaxes and shovels, digging out steel and iron even so many years later. She pressed the horn, once, trying to get Damian’s attention. A few of the other men looked up, and she saw them calling toward the far end of the lot. A few of them waved at her. Regulars. They were here nearly every time she came to drop off or pick up Damian.
A few minutes later, she saw his tall, thin frame walking through the lot. He was carrying a large plastic tub, filled with whatever he’d managed to mine that day. As usual, a black knit hat was on his head, covering his blond hair. A few men slapped him on the shoulder as he walked past them, and he said a few words to them as he walked, eyes on her car.
Shayla reached down and popped the lever for the trunk, then got out and opened it. Damian reached the car, and shoved the heavy container into the trunk.
“Thanks,” he said, glancing up at Shayla before slamming the trunk shut and walking over to the driver’s side, where he opened her door for her. She climbed in, and he shut the door behind her. It was something Damian did. He opened doors for her. She didn’t rally give it much thought. He’d been doing it since she was ten years old.
A moment later, he climbed in the passenger seat, and she put the car into drive.
“Sounds like shit,” he said.
“Yeah. Can you look at it again?”
“Looks like a decent haul today,” she said after a while.
He was quiet. “Should be enough for this month’s rent, with what I made last week.”
She stayed silent. The rent was only part of it. He’d paid his daughter’s Catholic school tuition already that month. Now rent. Not a penny left for things like food or clothes or anything else.
“They say anything about giving your hours back at the plant?”
He shook his head. “They’re still shitting around. We’re all lucky to get our two and a half days a week, as far as they’re concerned. No one wants to push the bastards on it, because the next thing, we won’t have any.”
Damian had gotten into an auto parts factory after returning from his tour in Afghanistan. It had been a decent gig, but things slowed down and his pay slowly dribbled down to nothing. He’d started mining when a friend of his from the factory got him into it. He was holding on to both as hard as he could.
He wasn’t the type of person who would work out in retail or food service. He applied for a few janitorial jobs, but nothing had panned out yet.
“You could still come work with me,” she said, eyes on the road.
“We’ve been over this. I couldn’t deal with the people you do. And you need your money for school.”
“I don’t need that much.”
“Can we stop? I don’t want to do this again, all right?”
They drove a while in silence. She glanced over at her oldest friend, and it hurt her, the same way it did every time she saw him like this. Tired, filthy. Hands cut up from digging for shards of metal. A bristly five o’clock shadow peppered his jawline. His jeans and flannel shirt were muddy, his work boots quickly turning gray with drying mud and clay.
“I need to finish this pick up for Grace. The dry cleaners screwed up her order again.”
He just nodded and closed his eyes, and rested his head back against the seat. She drove back toward the dry cleaners, eased into a parking spot right in front.
“I’ll come in with you,” Damian said, and she nodded. He got out, walked around and opened her door for her, then they walked into the dry cleaners, Damian’s tall form shadowing hers. He stood a couple of feet behind her, hands in his pockets, and she approached the counter, rang the bell for service. A few moments later, the woman from earlier came out from the back, saw who it was, and went back wordlessly for the garment. She brought it out, and Shayla looked it over again, paying special attention to the arms.
“Thanks. This is perfect,” she finally said, and then handed the woman money to cover the cost of cleaning. She and Damian left, getting back into the car. Next stop was the large Tudor home Grace the vampire lived in, not too far from where Shayla lived.
“You don’t have to come in if you don’t want to,” Shayla said as she pulled into the driveway.
“I’ll come, if it’s okay.”
She nodded and they both walked up to the front door. The sun had set now, and Shayla hunched her shoulders against the prickling up her spine as she rang the doorbell.
“You’re kinda freaked out by them, huh?” Damian said. She just glared at him.
“Shh. Anyone sane would be,” she whispered as they waited.
She looked at him like he was nuts. “Did you miss the part where they drink blood for sustenance?”
He shrugged. “So? We eat dead animals. At least their food lives after they eat. Usually,” he amended.
She just stared at him.
“Nothing. I’m just surprised.”
* * *
So, there it is. This is already shaping up to be a fun book to write, and I’ll hopefully have more sneak peeks for you before the book comes out (hopefully) next summer.
Thanks for everything. You guys rock! 🙂