Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
- Ariel originally had an older brother named Mason. He was supposed to be a character that was in the story until the end.
- Alex's name was originally Cody Nester. This name just kept sticking even though I hated it, until I forced myself to change it. New goal: no surnames that rhyme with "molester." In fact, nearly everyone's name was different except for Theo: Ariel was Ava, Henry was Dante, Jenna was Jennifer, but it was a pain typing those pesky extra three letters all the time.
- Before Alex as a character even existed, there was a character named Oliver who always wore a trenchcoat and was like the funnyman of the group who was also shy. He didn't work.
- Originally, Ariel was moving to Hell, and Theo and Henry were the ones who had lived there their whole lives. That idea was so overdone at the time in other books, however, that I decided to flip it.
- In the very first drafts, there was a ghost who haunted Ariel's room (which was in the attic, not the basement). He was the ghost of a man who had been killed by the original Thornhill group. Ariel was even possibly going to develop feelings for him, as he was a major character (even though he was dead), but it just made everything too complicated. His name, for the record, was Sebastian Greydon, because Sebastian is the best name eva.
- The original ending of Gravity wasn't quite so bleak. Lainey takes down all the flyers and apologizes to Ariel. But I like cliffhangers in the middle of a series (NOT the end) and I liked the idea of everything falling back down.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Inertia will be free on Amazon from Friday, May 10th through Sunday, May 12, so if you haven't read it, be sure to snag a copy. The Kindle Select run for that book is over May 18th, so it will go to all the regular platforms.
Oh, by the way, have you read Velocity yet?
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Kobo and iBooks coming soon!
Below is part of chapter 1 from Velocity. BEWARE, IT CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS!
I didn’t wait for Hugh to settle in when we got back to the apartment. I was done skirting around―I just wanted answers. It was time to split this thing between us open and let the guts hang out.
After all the events that had happened, Hugh had told me he would tell me all of his secrets. He gave me a time frame of a week, but he’d kept tight lipped. With Claire’s deteriorating medical condition, real life got in the way of our fractured fairy tale. “We need to talk,” I said, shutting the door and tossing my coat on a nearby chair.
He collapsed on the couch with his shoulders hunched over.
“About what?” he asked, irritated, peering up at me with hollow, sickly eyes.
“I want answers.”
“Answers regarding what, kiddo?” He wiped his tired eyes with his hand, looking ancient. The TV remote was waiting on the coffee table and he reached for it. “Look, I’m really tired and I don’t want―”
I knocked the remote to the floor, where the batteries skidded out and bounced off the wall. His expression changed into stunned surprise.
“Enough! Enough of the lies and sneaking around!” I couldn’t stop my voice from shouting. “I can’t wait anymore! I understand that you’re tired, but there is something huge and scary about to go down in Hell, and I’m a part of it―whether you like it or not. So was mom. After what I saw…” I shuddered at the memory. "I've had to deal with being scared and terrified and shunned by people that hated me for reasons I didn't even understand, for years now!"
He assessed me for a long moment without speaking, his reaction maddeningly impossible to read.
“Ariel...you know I love you. But it's because I love you that I feel like you don't need to know. Claire…she thought she saw visions. But she was emotionally unstable for a long time. I know the Ford girl has been cruel. I know that dating Henry has upset Phillip, and he's been horrible, but you’re too young to…”
“Didn’t Claire tell you?” I asked in a hushed whisper.
“Your mother didn’t tell me a damn thing once she started going to Thornhill’s meetings.” Bitterness edged his voice, and I was taken aback. It was the first time since Claire’s death that he had expressed anger. “All I knew when you came to live with me was that you two weren’t getting along, and it was my job to deal with it.”
I steadied my shoulders and looked him in the eye. “I see ghosts, too. Just like mom said she saw.”
At first, his expression remained flat, like he couldn’t comprehend my revelation. But then his eyebrows rose sharply and I could tell it came as a surprise.
“I started seeing them when I turned fifteen,” I continued, bolstered by my own courage. I felt my face heat up but wasn’t about to stop now. “At first, it seemed random. Dreams about weird places and things. Then Jenna and the ghosts of the other girls that died visited me. But I never thought I could tell you about it.” I laughed a short, hollow laugh. “I mean, how do you talk about something like that without the other party thinking you’re a nutcase? I didn’t tell anyone except for Theo and Henry.”
I was pacing now, back and forth in front of the TV. “I know that grandma was in a mental hospital for the same thing. I know both of them took medication to stop it. And I know what Thornhill is doing—that they’re really a cult.”
I felt so lightheaded that I had to grip the back of the recliner, but it was all out. All my secrets. Now, hopefully, I wouldn’t regret talking and want to shut the secrets back in. I waited for Hugh’s reaction.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He jumped up from the couch with sudden anger, his eyes hurt and wandering, nostrils flaring. “You and I were always close, why didn’t you tell me?” His tight fist slammed onto his chest. “I would have believed you.”
I stepped back, a little shocked by the intensity of his sudden reaction. “I couldn’t talk to you. You two were always so scared for my safety that you kept me under lock and key. I had no evidence and I’m just a kid. I couldn't predict how you would react. After all, you could have locked me up in a mental institution like Eleanor."
"We never would have done that," Hugh said firmly.
"But other parents would have. You knew that Claire saw ghosts before this all happened, didn't you?”
He turned away from me, running his hand through his hair, his nervous tic. “Of course I knew. But I thought she had stopped.” “Did you know that I would see ghosts?”
He remained in loaded, unbearable silence. I shifted where I stood, my thoughts racing. Finally, I stomped up and slammed my hand forcefully on his shoulder. “You did, didn’t you?”
He whipped around, grasping me by both shoulders. “I didn’t know for sure! It was only a possibility.”
I wrenched away from him. How could they not tell me? It would have prevented so many hours of me thinking I was a freak.
“Corinne never saw ghosts,” he continued, more quietly. “Even though she’s spent her life trying. And Claire knew nothing about her real grandparents because Eleanor was adopted.”
“Why didn’t you warn me about what I was going to be up against?” I asked through gritted teeth, turning back so I could glare at him. “Do you have any idea of the things I’ve seen?”
“More than you know,” he said, his shoulders slumping sadly. My feelings of anger towards him softened a little upon looking at his sorry face.
“We were trying to shield you,” he continued. “I know you’re angry, but it’s because you don’t understand. You’ve always been so open with us, that’s why we encouraged you to treat us like friends―so you’d come to us if something was off. I know we were smothering you, but it was like drowning a flower in too much water because you want to make sure it grows. We hoped that you didn’t have the Sight. We…”
“What I didn’t understand came back to attack me. Now I’m in danger.” I pounded the center of my chest, on top of my heart. “Claire freaked out when I told her, and I thought she was going to shake my brains out. It sounds crazy, and I didn’t want you to commit me, too. But she obviously suspected it because she put me on that medication.”
I remembered briefly how much I'd felt like a zombie when I’d taken my anti-anxiety medication, how strange it was to come out of my gray cocoon when it was gone.
“I didn’t know the medication stopped her visions!” he shouted abruptly, making me wince. He turned around and ground his hands into his scalp, then gestured dramatically. “I didn’t know. Your mother was lying to me the whole time.”
“Phillip knows I have the Sight.”
“Then that just makes it ten times harder.”
“You already knew about Thornhill, why Phillip wants us to leave town, why the girls died. Didn’t you?” I accused.
He pulled his suit jacket tight. “Yes. I know. I know much more than you probably do.”
“Then tell me!” I pleaded desperately, hitting the back of the chair again.
“I don’t know where to start,” he murmured, his voice cracking.
“Start from the beginning,” I said evenly. “Tell me everything.”
He took a deep breath, scrubbing the stubbly beard on his chin. “Sit down,” he said hoarsely.
I didn’t take his offer. My legs twitched and bounced of their own accord. He went over and pulled a bottle of wine from the modest rack that had been collecting dust. Pouring a hearty shot into his coffee mug, he brought it back to the couch and sat down. His calloused hands were shaking, the skin stained from paint thinner.
“Obviously there is a lot we never told you,” Hugh began. “But starting from the top could take a while. So for heaven’s sake, Ariel, sit down. All of your pacing is making me nervous.”
I finally obliged and dropped into the worn recliner across from him. Adrenaline still pumped through me from confronting him, and I practically had to force myself not to jump back to my feet.
“We didn’t tell you that you might see ghosts because we honestly didn’t know,” Hugh began. “We didn’t want to scare you. You’ve always had that predilection for spooky things like me, so I was suspicious. But you seemed okay. Claire watched you like a hawk on your birthday―I don’t think you realized―but other than seeming sad over Jenna’s disappearance, you seemed fine.”
I thought back to that day, when I’d felt so strange and had my first dream of the Dexter Orphanage.
“I wasn’t fine,” I said, my voice catching in my throat.
“I see that now,” Hugh said, more gently. He leaned back against the couch. “We shouldn’t have expected it to just hit you like a lightning bolt, but Claire said it was like that for her.”
His words conjured up a brief image from back at the séance I'd had years ago with my friends at the Dexter Orphanage. At the time, I'd thought a lightning bolt hit the table and I passed out. I blinked it away.
“Why couldn’t you just ask me? Say, ‘hey Ariel, seen any floating sheets lately?’”
“And who would have sounded like the crazy ones then, hmm?" Hugh asked. "Especially if you didn't see visions. We didn’t want to make you worry unnecessarily. Claire always viewed her gift of Sight as a curse, like a flaw in her brain. She insisted we not ask you directly. She just wanted the whole thing to go away, you know she did that with a lot of difficult situations.”
I nodded, biting my nail. She did that all the time, so it didn’t surprise me. I felt a guilty pang of anger against my mother and shifted against the chair.
“I should have talked to you about it after what happened with Warwick,” Hugh said, more to himself than to me. “With Thornhill doing what they're doing, and your relationship with Henry, I should have known better. I just thought that Phillip didn’t want you around because you were my daughter. I understand why you didn’t tell us. I just wish it didn’t have to be that way.”
“Okay, so the beginning is?” I was getting impatient again. I wanted to run, and the urge reminded me of Jenna. Running to clear my mind.
He rubbed his hands over his eyes and drained his cup, then settled back with his hands clasped between his knees.
“I told you we all went to high school together. But I barely knew your mother until senior year, other than seeing a pretty face from a rich family. She and Phillip were the most bitchin’ couple in school. Athletic, rich, pretty. I played chess, wore big glasses, and had this really bad haircut that I thought was awesome. I thought I was invisible to the likes of her.
“Until one day at a football game. Your mom was a cheerleader, and I ran the concession stand, to get some work experience. I was out front changing the sales sign on the stand, and she was walking past and tripped. I caught her.”
I had heard this story before, but I didn’t interrupt him now. Usually the tale cut off there, but he continued. “When I held her in my arms, it was like I felt this electrical charge.” His voice took on a soft tone, and I saw his eyes begin to glisten. He curved his arms as though he were still holding her. “For a moment, I wasn’t even there. I was somewhere else. We had a connection that day.”
“She came to me after that, during one of our tournament practices. Me, Robert, Noah, and Edgar used to pal around back then, if you can believe it.”
“Who’s Noah?” I asked.
“Oh, he's your science teacher, Mr. Golem. Edgar―McPherson― was part of the prayer group, too, but he was their errand boy. He went to the meetings in school, but not the ones that they held at night. They prayed around a flagpole that used to be where that hideous fountain at your school is now. It makes me crazy to think two men I used to be friends with were murderers. Do you think that says something about me?”
He questioned me with his eyes. I knew he was actually asking me. I bit my lip. “I think it means that you trusted the wrong people.”
He smirked, a cold, bitter look, and stared down at his hands. “Yeah. But that day, she walked in, gorgeous, looking like she thought she was entering the lion’s den. She was there for me.
“Claire came over to my house, and she admitted everything the prayer group had been up to. It was a sham, of course. Their meetings were just a front for Phillip’s weird occult interest. They would meet after school, to do these strange rituals, chanting from obscure books. Your mother's family was never particularly religious, and she went along with it at first. She had been seeing ghosts for a while, but she'd kept it a secret from everyone other than Phillip. The others could only see ghosts under the influence of the alchemy magic of the rituals.”
“Alchemy magic?” I asked, raising my eyebrow. I thought about how Eleanor’s necklace had alchemical symbols on the back, about the copper symbol I’d seen in my dreams.
“Supposedly, they’d learned to manipulate the elements and bend them to their will. But I never saw a display of it. She was scared because the group had met late at night, dressed up in robes and chanted. They sacrificed Deana’s pet rabbit. Cut its throat and bled it on a seal down in the basement of the high school.”
“Where Alyssa and Susan were found? In the pool room?” I asked.
He nodded. “I believe so. I mean, the police didn’t show me, but I would assume it was there by your description.”
I kept silent so he could continue. He stood up while he continued to talk and brought the bottle back to the table. Setting a cup in front of me, he poured a little in. “While I don’t usually approve of underage drinking, you might want this in a minute,” he said softly.
I took the cup in my hands, surprised, but didn’t drink yet.
“Why was she so scared?” I asked. “What made her stop going along with it?”
“Because the rabbit was just practice,” Hugh said. “Phillip was reading all about occult history in Hell. He was planning on trying to sacrifice a girl on that seal, and was just testing to make sure it was still active. She couldn’t let the girl get hurt, and even though she―” He choked up for a moment, and I sipped a little wine just to take the edge off. “She cared about her boyfriend; she couldn’t let him hurt anyone else. She thought he was crazy.”
“Why would she stay with him if he was such a psycho?” I asked bluntly, shivering.
Hugh shrugged, tipping more wine into his cup. “You’ve seen him in action, Ariel. He’s charismatic and powerful, just like his father before him. Just like his son is. Henry will be a lot like his father one day, you’ll see.”
I bit my bottom lip and scowled down at the floor. “Henry isn’t like him.”
He tilted my chin up with one finger. “You think that now, Ariel. And I agree, he’s shown goodness toward you. He’s also been a complete asshole to you, kiddo. You can’t…”
“There were reasons,” I said angrily, jerking away. “And at least he explained them to me.”
“After the fact. Are you completely sure that you trust him?”
“Yes.” Was I completely sure? I decided I was. “Can we get back to the story? You still have a lot to tell me, right? How did you stop the sacrifice?”
“Right.” He sighed again. “Now, my memory of the time isn’t concrete. What I do remember is that me and my merry band of dimwits stormed in. Claire and I didn’t even have to convince my comrades that ghosts and supernatural forces existed, just that Phillip was crazy. We had all felt like something was wrong in town. Come to find out, they didn’t have the right supernatural equipment anyway. It was a doomed failure.
“That was it? They just backed down?”
Hugh nodded. “Realistically, I’m surprised Phillip let us get off so easily. When it was over we threatened to go to the authorities, but he said it had all been a nervous breakdown. He apologized to Claire, not even knowing that she was the one who had outed him until later. But she broke up with him and left the prayer group. They disbanded soon thereafter. We naively thought it was over.”
“Why didn’t you move out of Hell?”
“That’s something I can’t really explain, kiddo. Her family was here. We just wanted to stay here. It’s a good town if you take the supernatural crazy evil energy aspect out.” He tried for a little smirk, and I let out a short laugh back. The tension dispelled a little, and I drank the small amount of sweet-sour wine.
“When I found out the Rhodes' were back in town, my radar went off. Something was wrong; especially when Thornhill gained steam. I didn’t realize it was related until Phillip moved back and took over. I researched into the past―family records, newspaper articles―and found out that John Dexter, the man who used to own the Dexter orphanage, was an occult enthusiast who planned to bring a realm called Dark to earth."
“I already know that part,” I said quickly. It was weird to think we had both been looking for the same things at the same time without knowing it.
He looked surprised, and maybe a little impressed. “So you do. You always made a good detective. Phillip was modeling Dexter's ritual, trying to find out as much about it as he could. But he was hasty, too eager, and he acted before he discovered the complexity of the ritual.
"Claire told me there was no way, that it was just friends getting together. She kept defending them. I think a small part of her always regretted what giving up her friends entailed. She lost her popularity and her ranking. When Jenna, and then the little girls, went missing, it was like the fear crept back into her. But she didn’t admit it. Not to me, not to anyone.”
That brought up Ambrose Slaughter’s revelation into my mind, and it still stung just as much as when I’d first heard it. “Do you know that she tossed a coin to see who would give up something precious?” I asked, bitterness undisguised. “With Jenna’s mom, Rachel. Rachel lost.”
He frowned severely, seeming genuinely shocked. The power left his voice, leaving it hushed. “I didn’t know anything about that. She never told me. Is that true? Who told you that?”
“Ambrose Slaughter.” I neglected to clarify that it had been in a dream after his death.
“The Slaughters can’t always be trusted―” Hugh began, but I cut him off.
“I believe him about this. He was telling the truth.”
“Ariel. I’m sure your mother wouldn’t put you in danger.”
“Really?” I challenged. “She changed when she went to those meetings. It was like they were brainwashing her.”
“I saw that. I know it was all she could think about.”
That subject was still too raw. Claire would normally have been sitting there to defend herself, but she was gone. Never coming back.
“How do you feel about the ghosts? Was it hard to believe at first?” I asked, trying to get the subject off of her.
He pulled at his bottom lip with his thumb and finger, looking deliberately away from me.
“What?” I frowned. He was still keeping secrets from me.
“You’re going to make me lay it all out in one sitting, aren’t you?” he asked with a weary smile.
“Yes.” The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and my scalp began to prickle. How bad was it?
He squeezed his eyes shut. “Your mother wasn’t the only one. I used to see ghosts, too.”
Friday, April 26, 2013
The time is getting closer for the final book in the Gravity series to come out. I've been writing about these characters for almost five years now, and it's bittersweet to say goodbye to them. I really enjoyed writing the last book in the series, and hopefully you guys will think the wait was worth it. The date of May 1st is actually significant in the book, which is part of why I chose it.
In anticipation of the release of Velocity next Wednesday, I'm giving away thirty copies of the eBook. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. The contest ends on midnight of the day of release.
My next post will be next Wednesday to let you know when Velocity goes live on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords!