Light’s Shadow (Yes, it’s really happening!)

The number one question you guys ask me is: Is the third Copper Falls book coming soon?

And I said Yes through 2016. And I wasn’t lying. I was working on it.

One draft… nah, this doesn’t feel right.

Two drafts… ugh.

Three drafts… what the hell is this, even?

Four drafts… better, but nope.

And here we are. I am turning the book over to my amazing beta reading team this weekend, which means there is no going back now. I’m happy with the way Light’s Shadow finally came out. It took a lot longer than I expected it to. And there were times when I think I lost sight of what this story is really about. At its core, the Copper Falls trilogy is about love: Sophie and Calder’s love for one another, and also Migisi and Luc’s. So in finishing up the trilogy, I had to make sure not only that the main story of Sophie fixing the curse and finally freeing herself and her family from Marshall was satisfied in a way that was fulfilling and entertaining, but, even more importantly, I had to let Sophie and Calder’s relationship grow and evolve. They haven’t had an easy time of it. The only ones who have had it worse than Sophie and Calder are Luc and Migisi… and I had to give them an ending, too.

This is what happens when you start book one thinking “ooh! Intertwining storylines. This will be fun!”

 

The truth is, it was fun. It was a lot of work, and now I’m excited to finally share with you that Copper Falls #3, Light’s Shadow, will be out on Friday, April 21st.

Finally. 🙂

I’ll have a cover reveal for you next week, as well as a teaser here and there. I’m hoping this is decent forewarning for those of you who want to re-read Shadow Witch Rising and Shadow Sworn before Light’s Shadow is out — I know some of you do that (and I do as well!) so… there you have it!

After Light’s Shadow, I’m going to work on the next of my Paradise Bay contemporary romance novels while finalizing my plot and notes for my next big project, which is…

The Molly Brooks series.

More details on that over the next few weeks as well. It’s going to be wild. And I have missed my potty-mouthed goddess, so I’m looking forward to delving back into the Hidden world again.

Thank you for your patience regarding Copper Falls. Every time I felt like putting the series off or taking a break from fighting through book 3, the reminder that so many of you cared about Sophie and Calder kept me working. So thank you, and I hope (really, really, really hope….) that Light’s Shadow is worth the wait. I know I feel good about it. I hope you will, too.

Until next time!

XO,

Colleen

Shadow Sworn is Now Available in Audio!

ShadowSworn_AudiobookCoverI am so excited to share that the second Copper Falls book, Shadow Sworn, is now available in audio! The ultra-talented Julia Knippen is back as the voice of Sophie, and she did an absolutely amazing job. I feel like she really, really gets Sophie’s personality and I was just blown away by how well she brought her to life again.  Want to hear a sample?

It’s available at all audiobook retailers. If you are not yet an Audible member, you can get your first audiobook order free, so that’s a great way to get started on a series as well.

 

Shadow Sworn is Available Now!

ShadowSwornCoverHalfSizeThis book, guys.

This book had me tied up in knots. It had me riding a rollercoaster of emotions. At moments, this book made me so happy I swore I never wanted to leave the Copper Falls world, because writing there was an absolute joy. And other moments…

Well. It’s probably best not to talk about those other moments. 😉

What it all comes down to is this: the second Copper Falls book is available now, and I cannot wait to share this next part of Sophie’s story with you. I hope you love it. And I hope you’ll let me know what you think! Thanks, as always, for your amazing support and encouragement. You guys are seriously the best.

XO,

Colleen

Ready for a Shadow Sworn Excerpt?

I think it’s time for a little bit of Shadow Sworn, don’t you? We’re just over two weeks away now! Enjoy!

* * *

ShadowSwornCoverHalfSizeAfter two more days of struggling through work, Sophie was relieved to make it to her day off. She was grateful for the first time since she began working at the resort for the reduced hours that came with the end of the tourist season. Always, before, she’d had her aunt’s debts and the possibility of losing her land hanging over her head. Autumn had always brought the scurry for part time jobs to fill in the missing income.

This year, her meager salary would be enough to cover her living expenses, now that the debt had been paid. Sophie stood in her kitchen and smiled a little to herself. Though, at the time, when Calder had bought her house out from under her at auction, she hadn’t found the situation nearly as comforting.

She leaned against the butcher block counter in her cozy kitchen, sipping one of her favorite herbal tea blends from her favorite antique tea cup. She forced herself to stay, to be calm, to focus on the moment. She forced herself to see the way the late afternoon sun gleamed across the newly-waxed wood floor, the way the light picked up the subtle floral pattern on the area rug in the living room. She held onto Calder’s advice, and hoped that if she could do this one thing, if she could slow down, and focus, and truly exist in the moment… if she could do that, then she could stay mostly sane.

So she stood, the herbal scent of her tea wafting toward her, sun shining in the windows.

And she needed it. She’d spent the entire day with Calder, but he had left a while ago to see Bryce about his ugly car and the hunt the two of them were planning. They did a long hunt every fall, Calder, Bryce, and Calder’s brother, Jon. Calder had initially called it off for that year, and, at Sophie’s insistence, he’d agreed to reschedule with his friend and his brother. She didn’t want his entire life changing, and she didn’t want him to feel like he was singularly devoted to babysitting her.

Though how she would manage for a week, when she was nearly out of her mind having him away from her for even an hour, made her break out in a cold sweat. This possessiveness was part of the curse she’d taken from him. Every time he walked away from her, even if it was simply to leave the house to grab the mail or feed Merlin, it made her edgy, as if she wanted to drag him back and keep him. She’d wondered, at first, how much of that was just her. After a lifetime spent wanting him, she had Calder. She had the one man she’d ever truly wanted, and she knew the rest of their lives wouldn’t be enough.

She smiled, remembering that conversation. How pleased Calder had looked to hear her say those words, the way his face had softened, the warmth in his gaze. The way he’d slowly run his hands down her sides, over her hips, and pulled her toward him. How he’d told her that the insane possessive thing was all the curse, but that she should remember that idea about forever not being long enough for those times when he would undoubtedly manage to piss her off.

She shook her head with a smile and gulped down the last of her tea. She had a quiet house, and time to focus, and she had other things to do besides stand there mooning over Calder. She glanced at the potted plant she’d picked up the day before, sitting on the windowsill near the table where she and Calder ate their meals. She’d bought it on clearance from the local nursery because it was wilted and potbound. That was reassuring, in its way. If she killed it as she seemed to kill so many other plants of late, at least she would have the comfort of knowing it was likely on its way out, anyway.

It had wilted a bit more in her presence, and she supposed it could have been from her Shadow magic. But it could not, as well.

She walked over to the windowsill and picked up the plant, its terra cotta pot cool in her hands. She carried it back to the kitchen and set it on the counter.

And she focused.

She called to mind the magic she’d worked so often, that healing, life-giving magic that had once come to her. It had never roared through her, and it had never come easily. Always, working her magic had been like coaxing a shy animal out of hiding. It had been delicate, painstaking work.

She looked at the plant, and focused first on her gratitude for the Light, for its beauty and richness, for its life-affirming energy.

The fact that she could not longer feel it was something she forced herself not to think about.

She spent a moment sending her apologies to the Light for what she had allowed herself to become. For allowing the Light within her to be profaned, to the point that she’d lost it completely.

She sent a prayer that she would once again be worthy, that the fact that her intentions had been those of a Lightwitch would be enough.

Those things done, she turned her attention once again to the plant. It was an English ivy, and its leaves wilted horribly. Some were brown, some a sickly yellow.

She focused, and recalled the spell she’d used so often.

She could see it. She could see the way the spell was supposed to work, just as she always had. She could see the way she was supposed to cast the spell, the way the magic was supposed to work, the way her power was supposed to wrap itself around the plant, the Light’s power combining with the inherent life force within the plant.

She could see it, and yet she could not call forth even a spark of the Light magic she’d once had.

She focused harder, no longer coaxing. Calling. Commanding.

Begging.

To her utter dismay, instead of Light answering her call, she felt Shadow rise within her. She tried to stop focusing, tried to let the spell drop. She could still envision the way her spell was supposed to work, and as she stood there, she could see Shadow twisting, working its way into the spell she’d been trying to perform.

Sophie gave a strangled cry and closed her eyes, shook her head to break her focus. She felt the spell fall apart, this time with some relief.

The plant looked no worse for wear, she noticed as she looked it over. It didn’t look any better, either, but at least it wasn’t worse.

“One more time,” she murmured to herself. She knew she was reaching the end of her ability to focus at all, as she stood there with her stomach growling in insane hunger, her throat dry with thirst, her body yearning for release. She forced herself to focus. She would have to learn to ignore the hunger. Master it, somehow.

She rebuilt the spell until she was able to see it. This part, she could do. It felt familiar to when she was learning to use her magic, when she was in her teens and early twenties. At first, all she’d been able to do was see the spells she read about online. See the mechanics of them, how they went together. Eventually, she’d learned to fill them with her Light magic, and had been delighted to see plants grow healthier, animals heal, and humans find themselves feeling heartier. She’d worked the magic over and over again, putting a bit of that healing magic into the soaps and lotions she’d once made.

She focused then, holding the spell in her mind, her eyes closed, her hands in front of her, fingers moving every once in a while as she imitated the gestures she’d so often made when casting.

She coaxed. Pleaded. And once again, she was rewarded only with Shadow slithering its way through what she’d made. She groaned in frustration, and the spell shattered.

She plopped down onto one of the dining room chairs and looked at the plant in frustration. She held some hope. At least she could still see the way her magic was supposed to work. As she sat, she looked at the plant without really seeing it, her mind racing as her body nearly screamed with her endless hunger. She could see the way Light magic worked. Did Shadow work the same way? Would she be able to build the spells the way she did with Light?

She shook her head, pushing the thought away. She had no desire to learn how to work Shadow magic. She didn’t want it, and she certainly didn’t want to learn about how to use it.

That crazy, restless energy she’d inherited with Calder’s curse had her gritting her teeth, and she finally gave up. She stood and stepped into her sneakers. She let herself out the back door of her cottage, and headed for the woods, stopping to scratch Merlin’s ears on the way. He gave her a cranky bleat in return, and she shook her head, then took off toward the woods.

She would run off this energy. And then she would come home and try to cook. She hadn’t managed to even cook since the brownie incident.  The two times she’d tried, she’d burned everything, distracted by Calder’s curse.

But today, she’d surprise Calder with dinner, and she’d try to pretend that everything was just fine.

 

***

Calder pulled into his driveway and climbed out of his truck. He pulled the box he’d picked up at the post office out of the back of the truck. The taillights he’d been waiting for to complete Bryce’s slightly-less-ugly car had finally come in. He looked the vintage Dodge over. It was coming along. It ran now, and he’d completed the body work, getting rid of the dings and rust that had accumulated over the years. Of course, there was still the interior to deal with, but he was happy with his progress so far.

He had two more restorations lined up after he finished Bryce’s, and one he was working on while he waited for parts to come in. He glanced at the other car he was working on, a 1970 Barracuda. He’d had more requests for Barracudas in the past few months, and he wondered at the sudden popularity again. There were cycles to all things, and which old cars were trendy was apparently one of them.

Calder stowed the box in his garage, then pulled the garage door shut and looked toward Sophie’s house. Maybe they’d go out to dinner that night, he thought to himself. He didn’t feel like cooking, and she seemed less freaked out by the idea of going out where other people were. He felt his guilt crash over him, the way it did every time he thought of the woman he loved bearing his curse. And while he understood her reasoning, while he understood that she was stronger and better able to handle it than he was, he still couldn’t deny that he was angry with her for taking it. Her reasoning had been based on love and logic, but all he could see when he saw that insanity in her eyes, the insanity that had been so familiar to him, was the fact that the woman he loved was hurting because of him.

And he’d had no say in the matter.

He loved her, more than he’d ever loved anyone. He would do anything for her. And she’d told him time and time again that she couldn’t stand by and watch him fall into insanity, the way his father and every first-born male in his family before him had. She couldn’t do it, because she loved him.

Yet he was supposed to be okay with watching her fall apart. The love of his life, who’d lived through hell already and now had a whole new kind of hell to deal with. He was supposed to be fine with watching her suffer under a curse that was his to bear.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. They’d been over and over it. They’d both said everything they could on the matter, more times than he could count. And it always came down to the fact that what was done couldn’t be undone, and that she was stronger and better able to deal with his curse. His bear did not combine well with the insanity the curse brought. It was a deadly combination that would have resulted, eventually, in Calder having to be kept imprisoned the way his father had.

I can’t do that to you, Calder. I couldn’t lock you up, and you’d end up killing me or someone else. Is that what  you want?

Words thrown at him when she’d reached the breaking point. Words he hadn’t been able to refute, no matter how much he’d wanted to.

Calder swallowed his anger and guilt and crossed the road to her house. As he walked up the gravel driveway, he could hear music coming from the house. The Supremes, he realized. And, the closer he got to the house, he realized he could hear Sophie singing along.

He raised his nose into the air, scenting it. Venison. She was cooking.

And it didn’t even smell burned, he realized with a smile.

He stepped up onto the small porch at the front of the cottage and walked in, the scent of venison and herbs surrounding him, overlaid with her scent, that clean, wild scent that was his woman. Her back was to him as she stirred something on the stove, and she sang, and he watched as her hips moved side to side with the music. Her long, thick curls cascaded down her back, nearly reaching her luscious ass. He practically salivated at the sight.

And this was why, no matter how pissed he was that she’d taken his curse without asking, it was all too easy for him to forget to be irritated with her. One look, and he was a goner.

She turned then and saw him, and she smiled, her dark eyes sparkling.

“Hey, sexy,” she said, coming over to him and wrapping her arms around his waist.

“I don’t think I’m the sexy one here,” he murmured as he lowered his lips to hers.

“Mm. You have no idea,” she whispered against his lips. Then she smiled up at him. “I didn’t burn anything,” she said, and he laughed.

“It smells fantastic,” he said. Together, they set the table, and she plated up a fragrant stew of venison, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and a rich sauce for him. For herself, a baked potato and a side of roasted carrots. They sat and Calder lifted his fork to his mouth. The rich, meaty flavor of the stew only made him feel hungrier, and he dug in, finishing off one plate and getting up to grab a second helping before he even realized it. Sophie laughed a little, and he threw her a grin.

He polished off his second plate, and contemplated a third. There was enough left in the pot for one more helping, he thought.

He looked across the table at Sophie, mesmerized by the sight of her lips around the tines of her fork. The stew was promptly forgotten, just as quickly as his thought of a third helping had come on. He watched as she took another bite, her lush lips closing over her fork, then sliding down the tines as she pulled the fork back out.

“What?” she asked with a bit of a laugh.

Busted.

“You have the most gorgeous mouth,” he said, aware of the low growl in his voice. She stilled at his tone, and he could smell another scent now, even stronger than the stew, than her wild scent.

The intoxicating scent of her desire.

“Calder,” she began softly. He watched her, the way her ample breasts heaved with her shallow breaths, the way her skin flushed a rosy pink under his gaze. He stood up, and without another word, he picked her up and carried her over to the daybed in the living room, dinner completely forgotten in the maddening haze of his need for her.

***

There you go! Shadow Sworn will be out on September 8th (though there’s a very slight chance I’ll have it ready before then. We’ll see!)

Shadow Sworn Cover Reveal and Release Date!

Hello, lovelies! I am putting the finishing touches on Shadow Sworn, which is always a great feeling! It’ll go through a quick edit, and then to my awesome beta reading team, then more edits, and more edits… and then you get to read it!

When, you ask? Shadow Sworn, Copper Falls #2, will be out on September 8th! I can’t wait to share this one with you. I am completely in love with the cover for this one, which was (as usual!) designed by my amazing husband.

ShadowSwornCoverHalfSize

If you look closely, you’ll see that certain elements of the Shadow Witch Rising cover appear in this one as well — our goal for these is that the cover image grows and progresses as the story does. It’s a little thing, but it makes me ridiculously happy.

Gah. I love it.

Synopsis:

A centuries-old curse. A conniving, obsessed warlock. A darkness that grows with each passing day. 

Having succumbed completely to Shadow, Sophie now struggles with both the vile, strange magic flowing through her, as well as the curse her ancestor put on the Turcotte family. In taking the curse, she saved the life of the man she’s loved for her entire life.

All she needed was to buy some time.

But the curse is beginning to eat away at Sophie’s sanity, and learning to wield Shadow magic in a way that might save both herself and Calder’s line from its malevolence is proving nearly impossible. Sophie is in a race against time as well as her own increasing madness to end the curse before it infects Calder’s family again.

An old foe awaits his opportunity.

Marshall, the warlock who now owns Sophie’s soul, haunts the shadows, frustrated by both his own inability to force Sophie completely to his will and the forces that seem to thwart his every attempt to make her do his bidding. His desperation turns to rage, and an entire town will be forced to pay.

Despite her madness, Sophie must learn to wield the magic she never even wanted, or everything and everyone she ever loved will suffer. And the ultimate price she’ll pay to save them will be more than she ever could have imagined.

So. Whaddya say? You, me, Sophie and Calder? September 8th? I cannot wait. 🙂

P.S. — If you’re a GoodReads user, I hope you’ll add Shadow Sworn to your shelf over there. Thank you!

RT Book Reviews Gives Guardian 4 Stars (and other news!)

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The lovely Jill M. Smith, who has reviewed several of my books for RT Book Reviews, reviewed Guardian: Hidden: Soulhunter, Book 1 for the magazine, and I was thrilled to see that she gave it a four-star rating! From her review:

Great news! Rising star Vanderlinden is launching an offshoot series to her exceptional Detroit-set Hidden series. A key component of Vanderlinden’s storytelling is her ability to create well-rounded characters forced into extraordinary circumstances. This excellent new Soulhunter series promises to be just as dramatic and action-packed as Hidden!

I was so happy to hear that she enjoyed it, and I’ve been delighted with the feedback I’ve gotten from you guys as well. I believe she’s reviewing Betrayer for next month’s edition of the magazine, so… fingers crossed! (Also, my ego really enjoyed that “rising star” bit of her review!)

Shadow Sworn Update

Shadow Sworn is on track to be finished next week, and then it goes to the editor and will be available in early September. I’ll have a more exact date as we get closer to the day. I’m not sure about doing a pre-order for this one. We may skip it this time around, but we’ll see.

I love this book. I feel like some of those little threads that I scattered around in Shadow Witch Rising are starting to weave together and I’m really pleased with the way everything is coming together. Sophie and Calder are… sigh. I love them. Can’t wait to share this book with you!

Shifted Fate Update

I suck. I just do. I got off-track with releasing the installments of Jamie’s story in the newsletter, but I will definitely have a newsletter out tomorrow with an installment, and hopefully we’ll stay on track after that. My intention was to release an installment every Friday, but just as it started up, I hit a bit of a rough patch with Shadow Sworn. We are past that now, so things should start working out according to schedule. (Ha. Wishful thinking, right?)

Lost Girl

Finally — Lost Girl is free on Amazon today and tomorrow, so if you know anyone who has been on the fence about giving it a read, this would be a good time to give them a little nudge.

All right. I think that’s it. If I don’t have an installment of Shifted Fate out tomorrow, please feel free to tell me off any time you see me goofing off on Twitter or Facebook. 🙂

 

Shadow Witch Rising

Two people, bound by a powerful curse.

When Sophie Turner finally returns home to the sleepy tourist town of Copper Falls, she imagines the kind of life she’d always dreamed of: calm, quiet, and peaceful. After years of having her steps haunted by a powerful and devious stalker, she is now living on land settled by her ancestors. She can feel the magic in her blood responding, and she feels like she finally has the chance to build a life.

Until he comes along.

All of her dreams of peace and calm come tumbling down the second Calder Turcotte enters Sophie’s life. The danger he brings threatens everything she’s worked for, everything she’s tried to build for herself. He gives Sophie an ultimatum: break the curse her ancestor set on his family, or lose the very land that’s allowing her to heal. And as much as she despises him, as much as she fears him, she’s equally drawn to his icy gaze, his strength. Helping him is the right thing to do.

She never would have guessed how much she’d end up losing to save him.


“Colleen Vanderlinden proved herself a master of fantasy action and adventure in her HIDDEN series. In COPPER FALLS, she only digs deeper. Character. Atmosphere. Humor. Intrigue. Shadow Witch Rising will draw readers into the Copper Falls world. It’s a fantastic start to a series I’m eager to follow.”

—Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Elemental Mysteries, and the Irin Chronicles

“A spectacular start to a promising series.  SHADOW WITCH RISING takes the reader on a turbulent journey with Sophie and Calder, where Evil is parasitic, relentless and determined and Love, in its many forms of friendship, brotherly affection and timeless devotion, offers hope.”

—Grace Draven, USA Today Best-selling author of RADIANCE

New Teaser! Shadow Witch Rising

We are about a week and a half from the release day for Shadow Witch Rising, so I think it’s time for another teaser! This little peek gives you a bit of insight into Sophie’s powers, as well as introduces you to two of her oldest friends. I hope you enjoy it!

* * *

ShadowWitchRisingCover_200Sophie drove home from work, singing along to Taylor Swift and, as always, enjoying the scenery on the meandering two-lane highway. Forest on both sides, and the leaves were starting to turn, shades of red and orange adding to the lush beauty. The sumac at the base of the trees along the roadside were already crimson, like rubies dangling from arching branches.

The sun was just starting to set, washing the landscape in deep orange. She drove with the window down, and let the cool breeze reinvigorate her after eight hours of cleaning up other people’s messes. Not that she wasn’t grateful for it. She was happy to be back in the place she’d grown up, and happy she could support herself. Not only had it been the place she’d spent the happiest times of her childhood, not only was it the only place she’d ever lived where there was actually a community of “others,” including witches and shifters, but it was more friendly and welcoming than anyplace she could imagine. The year-round residents all knew one another. Her first winter, no less than six people she knew from town had driven out to check on her, knowing she was a city girl and, most likely, needed help. She hadn’t, but she’d been touched by the gesture, especially after spending most of her teens and twenties utterly alone.

She rounded a curve in the road, and noticed a large form lying at the side of the road. As she got closer, she recognized it as a deer. Its legs were moving, but it seemed to be struggling.

Sophie pulled over onto the shoulder and got out of her car, leaving the car running and the headlights on so she could see clearly in the darkening evening. She reached the deer and crouched down near its head. It was a doe, she realized. She caught movement in the brush at the side of the road. When she looked, there were at least two fawns there.

Looking back down at the doe, she noticed that its left shoulder was bloodied. She touched it gingerly, felt bone shift beneath her fingers, and the doe let out a pained call.

“All right now,” Sophie murmured, keeping her tone low and soft. She rested both hands over the wound, focused. The doe calmed, stopped flailing, stopped its mournful calling. Sophie closed her eyes, focused what little Light magic she had. From what she’d read, she was basically doing everything wrong. It seemed that many Lightwitches felt and went by instinct more than anything else. Maybe it was because Sophie’s power was so meager in the first place, but she didn’t rely on feeling and intentions. When she closed her eyes, after a while, she could see, in detail, the way the deer was injured, worked her magic in and around it as if binding the broken bones. Her magic wasn’t a sensation or a spirit or whatever her fellow Lightwitches called it. Maybe that was the way it was supposed to be. That was entirely possible. But to Sophie, her magic was and always had been more like a tool, something she could focus and use to her own will. There was really nothing ethereal about it, not the way she used it. Maybe if she’d been trained by another witch instead of learning on her own, it would have been different.

It worked, and that was all that mattered to her. Even with the meager amount of Light magic she possessed, Sophie soon felt the doe’s shoulder healing, bones knitting back together. Had the break been more substantial, she knew she wouldn’t have been able to fix it. Minor wounds, she could heal. Anything beyond that was impossible for her. Her real power seemed to be in protective wards. This was just a side thing she’d figured out as a teenager.

Pulling her hands back, she opened her eyes and looked down at the doe. She was no longer bleeding, and was already trying to stand. Once on her feet, she gave Sophie one final glance, then bounded toward the woods where her fawns were waiting.

Sophie smiled and stood up. The after-effects of using her magic left her warm and peaceful. And, just as the few times she’d managed to heal before, she felt a little more powerful, almost as if Light itself was rewarding her for doing something good with her power. She actually knew it to be true. Her magic had been almost non-existent, just the barest threads of power. Each time she’d done something worthwhile with her magic, she’d felt herself grow a little stronger. Not by leaps, but by bits. Enough to make a difference and enable her to ward herself from danger and use her magic for good things.

Sophie got back into her car, took a couple of wipes from the canister she kept in her back seat, and cleaned the drying blood from her fingers. It was dark now, and the woods looked less friendly. Time to get home.

She put the car into drive and maneuvered onto the empty highway. When she pulled into her driveway, she shook her head. The twins’ familiar convertible sat in her driveway already, the sisters sitting on her porch waiting.

She got out of her car and slammed the door.

“Finally!” Layla said, and Cara elbowed her.

“You smell like deer,” Cara said in greeting.

“Nice to see you, too, dear,” Sophie said. “What are you guys doing here?”

“Were you saving wildlife again?” Cara asked with a wry smile.

“Maybe,” Sophie said.

“You know we’re probably just going to hunt it later, right?”

“Don’t. You. Dare,” Sophie said, and Layla laughed. “She’s a doe, with fawns. Be nice.”

“Fine,” Cara said.

“Come on. Go wash the deer stink off you… although, maybe not. That might actually work for you,” Layla said, and Cara laughed.

“What in the hell are you even talking about?” Sophie asked, unlocking her front door. The twins followed her in.

“We’re going to Jack’s. And you’re coming with us,” Layla said.

“Oh, hell, no. I am not. I’m going to take care of my goats, and take a shower, and read…”

Cara let out an exaggerated yawn.

“Babe, you’re gorgeous, sweet, and you have the kind of boobs I can only get from a really expensive push-up bra. We need to find you someone to get friendly with.”

“I do not need to get ‘friendly’ with anyone.”

“Girl, if that stick gets any further up your butt, I’m gonna start calling you Popsicle,” Layla said, and Cara snorted. “You need to let loose a little and get your mind off of all of this crap for a while. Now, let’s go.”

Sophie rolled her eyes. “What are the chances you’re just going to get up and go without me?”

“Right around zero, Popsicle,” Cara said, and Layla erupted into a fit of giggles.

“Ugh,” Sophie said, though even she had to laugh at the ridiculous nickname. “Fine. Let me go take care of the animals. Are we in a hurry?”

“Not really. We don’t work tomorrow. You?”

Sophie nodded. “Later shift, though.”

“Good. Go do your thing. We’ll be here, rummaging through your cupboards.”

Sophie grabbed the bucket off of the back steps, shaking her head to herself. They did this every once in a while, got it into their heads that she needed to be more social, that she was sinking into melancholy. And, usually, as with now, they were right. She always felt better after a night out with them, so she didn’t put up much of a fight anymore. And they were stubborn as anything. Crazy wolves.

She milked the goats, secured them and the chickens for the night, then carried the milk bucket back inside, put it in the refrigerator.

“It’ll be a few minutes,” Sophie said.

“Take your time,” Layla said, flipping through a magazine from the coffee table.

Sophie headed into her bedroom, grabbed a gray tweed skirt, a form-fitting black sweater she liked, and her pair of knee-high black boots. She showered (pulling her hair up and stuffing it into a shower cap, because it would take forever to dry and even the twins wouldn’t be okay with waiting long enough for her to mess with her crazy mop of hair). Makeup, clothes, arranging a few of her curls that kept trying to twist funny, and she left the room.

“Okay?” Sophie asked, holding her arms out.

“You are so gonna get laid,” Layla said, and Cara whistled.

“I am not going to get laid,” Sophie said. “I’m going out to have fun and relax and stop thinking about the jerk across the road for a while.”

* * *

Shadow Witch Rising is available for pre-order now on Amazon, and will be out on February 23rd!

Copper Falls: Inspiration and Other Miscellany

ShadowWitchRisingCoverI mentioned on Facebook that I’ve had a few questions about the Copper Falls series, and I thought I’d answer those here as well, and also include some other background information for those interested.

First off, I’ve been asked if the series is urban fantasy or paranormal romance. It’s paranormal romance. You’ll find that the pacing and feel of the series is very different from Hidden, because they’re two very different things. Which leads us to the other most common question…

“Is Copper Falls like Hidden?” And the best answer I can give is: in some ways, maybe? It is similar to Hidden in that the series focuses on a female protagonist (Sophie) who is strong in her own way and has to find a way to deal with both external and internal challenges. It’s similar to Hidden in that, obviously, it’s written by me, so you’ll see some familiar things and themes popping up, such as mentions of gardening and old cars and Detroit and (my biggie) the question of what strength looks like. Because there are many ways someone can be strong. Molly was physically/magically strong. She was strong in her sense of right and wrong, and in her devotion to helping. She was weak in other ways. You’ll find that Sophie is also strong in some ways and not so strong in others, because that’s realistic and I like writing those kinds of characters.

It’s not like Hidden, however, in the pacing and overall feel of the story. It’s just different, because that’s what this particular story required.

Inspiration?

I wrote the original set of notes for the series that has since become Copper Falls back in 2010. I wanted to write about someone who had almost no power, magically speaking, but was forced into a situation that seemed impossible given how little magic she had. And I had already written the first draft of Lost Girl and knew who and what Molly was and how her power would evolve, and I liked the idea of writing about someone very different.

Detroit is practically a character in Hidden. The story, for me, had to take place here. The setting is just as important in Copper Falls.

We took a few long camping trips when I was a kid, where we’d travel through Michigan over the course of a week or two, and one of my favorite places in the entire state was Copper Harbor, which sits at the very tip top of the upper peninsula. I still can’t explain it, all these years later, but something about the place just spoke to me and has stayed with me. It is wild and beautiful and touristy… yet not such a big tourist spot that it loses its small town feel. So Copper Falls is based on Copper Harbor somewhat (based on what my favorite things were when I was last there). The falls that are a recurring theme in the books were inspired by the  Manganese Falls in Copper Harbor, which I rode my bike to when we camped nearby. It was a long ride, and it was an accomplishment just to reach them. And then when I did, I’d just stand there, mesmerized. Being a city girl, there was just something magical about having a waterfall within bike riding distance, and that feeling has stuck with me ever since.

There was also this crazy thing where you could go to the town dump and watch black bears come to scavenge for food. People would just sit in their cars and dozens of black bears would show up around sunset. It was really probably stupid, but those bears… they stuck with me as well. 🙂

I can’t wait to share this story with you. It is up for pre-order right now, and will be available on February 23rd!

In the meantime, I know my newsletter subscribers are waiting on the next installment of SOULHUNTER. I was wrapped up in revisions this week, so I didn’t publish a newsletter on Friday. You will definitely get an installment this week, though!

Thanks for reading!

XO,

Colleen

 

Shadow Witch Rising – Now Available for Preorder!

ShadowWitchRisingCover_BiggerCVHello, lovelies!

Today is a big day — Shadow Witch Rising, the first book in my new Copper Falls series, is available now for preorder on Amazon! You can click to order it now, and it will be waiting on your Kindle as soon as the book becomes available in the Amazon store. It will be released on February 23rd.

I had many people asking me to make the HIDDEN series books available for preorder. At first, that wasn’t an option for me because only certain high-profile indie authors had that ability. They recently made it available to all authors, so I hope this makes the ordering process even more streamlined for those of you who want to make sure you have the book ASAP.

If you’re interested, you can find that preorder link here. Thank you so much  — I am so excited to share this story with you!