Release Day Blitz – Fallout by SD Wasley

Congratulations to SD Wasley on the release of her latest book, Fallout, The Incorruptibles, Book Two!

I was lucky enough to beta read this novel and it’s nothing short of amazing. Make sure you pick up Downfall, book 1, first if you haven’t read it yet (Link at the bottom of the post). This is such a strong sequel and book 3 is on its way too!

Fallout (The Incorruptibles Book 2)

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by S.D. Wasley

Release Date: March 24, 2016

Summary

From Amazon bestselling author S.D. Wasley comes a new adult

paranormal romance series, The Incorruptibles,

perfect for lovers of Lauren Kate’s Fallen and the Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Obsidian series.

Blurb

Even when love seems unbreakable, it can still be battered, distorted—damaged beyond repair.

There’s only one thing Frankie yearns for these days, and that’s to share the gift that makes Cain so extraordinary. But no matter how inferior she feels, she’s determined to help the man she loves with his secret rescues, hoping that one day she will access a higher power of her own.

The one thing she knows for sure is that nothing will ever come between her and Cain again.

Then a stranger arrives in their midst, disrupting the solid loyalties in Cain’s group. This man has the very thing Frankie needs to unlock her powers, but the price is higher than she could have dreamed.

Can Frankie and Cain’s love survive the fallout?

 

Fallout is book 2 in the new adult paranormal romance series, The Incorruptibles, by Amazon Bestselling author S.D. Wasley.

Buy links

Paperback coming very soon.

Excerpt

Albion peeped in.

“How’s Frankie?”

“I feel awful,” I groaned. “Food poisoning, maybe.”

“Do you need to vomit again?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

He fetched me a bucket. “Do you want Dad to come and check you out?”

“No, I’m okay.” I made another effort to stand. “I need to go?”

“What?” Albion’s voice rose in angry disbelief. “Frankie, are you frickin’ insane?” You’re sick.

I moaned. “I know.” I slumped back on my bed.

“If I catch you trying to leave this house tonight, I will personally handcuff you to your bed. And don’t think I haven’t got the handcuffs.” He waggled his eyebrows.

“Ugh, I’m definitely gonna vomit now.”

I went back to sleep almost immediately. Maybe it was my feverish state, or maybe my agitation over missing a night at Gaunt House, but my sleep was filled with a dream I couldn’t shake. I was standing beside a rock wall, staring at it in confusion, my mind blank and bewildered. Unexpectedly, the rock crumbled and something emerged from the wall. Hands. It was a pair of hands coming through the wall, reaching for me.

I woke the next morning to find several missed calls and text messages from Cain. He sounded increasingly panicky as the night wore on. I replied, explaining my illness, before sitting up slowly to test my steadiness. So far, so good. In fact, I felt so much more like myself that I got up and made my way into the kitchen to find some breakfast.

“Hey!” Albion smiled at me. “All better?”

“I think so. Must have been a gastro bug.”

“Don’t be so sure. A bunch of people in town got sick yesterday. Dad was out all night dishing out anti-emetics and electrolyte drinks. Lots of them had been at Misty’s Coffee Shop yesterday so the health department’s investigating.”

“Great. Salmonella?”

“Don’t know. Some people are better already but others are still getting admitted to hospital. Dad only just got to bed. I told him about you, and he let me know what to watch out for in case it got worse.” All of a sudden he gave me a hard stare.

“What?”

“Your scary boyfriend came round, late last night when you were asleep.” Albion looked deeply unimpressed. “I told him you were sick but I don’t think he believed me. He looked like he wanted to barge past me and see for himself.”

I opened the fridge door to hide my face. I could kind of understand why Albion found Cain’s behaviour objectionable. But he didn’t know what we’d been through together and how hard it had been when we were apart. “Yeah, I’ve messaged him to tell him I was sick. He was worried, I guess.”

“Tell him he’d better not try that again or I might have to ban him from coming round here.”

You and what army? I was tempted to say. But it was Albion’s house and if he didn’t like Cain coming around he had the right to say so. I emerged from the fridge and nodded, avoiding his eyes. I’d have to remind Cain not to scare Albion.

My cousin kept his gaze on me. “What do you guys do?”

“Huh?”

“I mean, do you ever go out and do, y’know … normal couple stuff? Or do you just hang in his trailer?”

I sighed inwardly and regretted telling him about Cain’s home. “We go out in a group sometimes.”

“You and Cain and who else? Jude McBride?”

I nodded.

“Isn’t that kind of weird? To go out with your boyfriend … and your ex-boyfriend, simultaneously?”

“Yes, that would be weird, Albion. But it’s not like that. Jude was never really my boyfriend and there are others in the group, too.”

“And when it’s only you and Cain?”

I was silent. Cain and I didn’t date. Not like normal couples. Weariness washed over me. I was too weak for this conversation. “I’m still not feeling well.”

He pursed his lips, observing me. “Okay,” he said, to my surprise. And then, with a quick grin, “We can pick it up again later.”

I rested and tried to avoid Albion throughout the day, sipping water and sports drinks. Maybe it was wrong, but it pleased me that Cain had come looking for me the night before. Considering my own wobbly feelings about Helen and Cain’s meeting there was something gratifying in knowing he was worried about me. I went out to Gaunt House early to see him. The electrical tower buzzed loudly in the yellow afternoon light … strange. I hadn’t seen it do that for a long while. Cain must have heard my car arrive because he suddenly appeared outside the ruin, hovering while I parked. I smiled at the sight of him, that lean muscular frame and dark hair, unkempt as always and falling over his forehead. When I got out of my car he seized me like he hadn’t seen me for weeks and just about squeezed the breath out of me.

“Jesus Christ,” he muttered. “Are you okay?”

I laughed, hugging him back. “It was a stomach bug. I’m fine. Ow,” I added when the embrace became uncomfortable.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry.” He released me instantly. “I’m a fucking jerk.”

That made me stare and notice how agitated he looked. “What’s wrong?”

He rubbed a hand through his hair and hovered for a moment. “Come on, Francesca. Come down with me. I’m sorry. Let’s talk.”

I did as he said. He got us both beers but I declined since my stomach wasn’t completely right yet. He opened his and took a huge gulp.

“Cain?” I was scared now.

Long silence. “Francesca. I’m sorry.”

Sorry, again? What was going on?

leon teaser

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Haven’t started The Incorruptibles yet? Pick up Book 1 here for just 99c.

Cover Reveal – Brew by David Estes

Salem’s Revenge strikes without warning or mercy, ravaging the powerless human race under the forces of united gangs of witches, wizards, and warlocks. During the slaughter, Rhett Carter’s foster parents and sister are killed, and his best friend and girlfriend are abducted by a gang of witches calling themselves the Necromancers, who deal in the dark magic of raising the dead. Rhett’s sword-wielding neighbor with a mysterious past saves Rhett from becoming another casualty of the massacre and teaches him the skills he needs to survive in this new world.

Rhett is broken, his normal high school life of book blogging and football playing shoved in a witch-apocalyptic blender. The only thing he has left is his burning desire for revenge. Armed with his new witch hunting skills and a loyal, magic powered dog named Hex, he sets out into the unknown with one mission: hunt and destroy those who took away everyone he ever loved.

But Rhett isn’t just a witch hunter; he has secrets of his own that he has yet to discover, secrets that his enemies will stop at nothing to keep him from.

And discovering the truth about himself is the human race’s only hope.

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children’s and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David’s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

Stranger than Fiction

 

1525482_588942477844429_1972120768_nI recently watched a movie called Stranger than Fiction. It’s about a man who can hear a voice narrating his life, as though he’s a character in a book. Seeing this idea in action made me realise how familiar the concept was. I live my life just like that, because I’m a writer, and we narrate on instinct. Our lives are always followed by a mysterious voice-over, because the characters in our stories are shaped by our day to day actions. They live with us, and the things they experience are extracts of our real lives.

That’s not to say every moment of every day is lived as a novel. Inside a writer’s mind, sometimes it is quiet, but the story can begin with the most simple catalyst. It could be lying in bed, shopping for groceries, walking the dog or driving the car. It might seem like a menial task, but somewhere inside the author’s imagination, there is a character doing that exact thing. Only their situation might not be as simple as ours.

A car ride might not be a trip home from work—it’s a killer fleeing the scene of a crime, a frightened girl on the way to an orphanage, or the last vehicle with a low fuel tank in the zombie apocalypse. The narrator kicks in, turning the mundane into something magical. The trees arch over the car, the storm clouds turn black with menace. Wind thrashes rain against the windscreen as the wipers creak. And suddenly this simple life becomes a beautiful book scene.

The narrator lays the groundwork in our minds, and sometimes in the car, middle of peak-hour traffic, you fill in the characters’ dialogue (yes I do this, and pretend I’m on a hands-free phone call). The narrator helps us pull pieces of the real world into our stories so our characters have more dimension. And sometimes it’s hard to break away from that imaginary place to face the real world once more. But this world we live in, is an amazing place for a writer, we’re never alone and the narrator can fill us with wonder at any turn. The whole thing might sound a little nuts, but I know all the writers out there will be nodding their heads. It’s just something we do.

Set your narrator free.

 

A Work In Progress

Life these days has been a little hectic, my writing time has been shrinking to a sad little one day a week affair. But I’m powering through it, I have a new novel in the works, and while it might take me a little longer to write it is coming along nicely. So here’s the opening chapter of my new ghost hunter story. It’s a little longer than my usual posts but if you’re curious about what goes on in my dark little writing hideaway (the outback caravan), have a read through and let me know what you think.

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“If you murder an innocent man you are responsible for the blood of his unborn descendants, and the weight of this responsibility is yours to carry til the end of time.”

 

#

 

Chapter One

 

Daniel watched the rain weaving patterns on his windscreen. He closed his eyes and inhaled a sharp breath, everything was harder when it rained.  This house was out in the middle of nowhere and he was parked on a dirt path for lack of better options. He could only hope the rain was heavy enough to erase the tyre marks when he left.

Between the trees he could see the lights flashing as the girl moved from room to room—she had no idea he was outside or of the things he was going to do to her. It was better that way, she would be easier to sneak up on and her spectres would be unprepared for his attack. He unzipped his jacket and checked the tools were secure; the lock-pick, torch, mirror and a flick knife for back up. He pulled the black leather gloves over his slim fingers and unbuttoned the sheathed knife in his boot. There was no point waiting any longer, it wouldn’t get any easier.

 

Daniel released the door, the hinge locking halfway before he shoved it open and stepped into the winter wind. The mud squelched beneath his boots—he would need to check for those tracks on his way out too. He slipped quietly between the trees, ignoring the rain seeping into the neck of his jacket. It was dark outside, she probably wouldn’t see him sidling up to the windows but he paused anyway. She stood in the kitchen, her eyes cast on the pot as she stirred the contents and put it back in the oven. She appeared to be a few years younger than him—in her early twenties at most—her light hair tied back in a loose ponytail. It was the most relaxed he’d seen her. For a second it made him wonder if now was really the time, if it wasn’t exactly the right moment he had no way of knowing if he was doing the right thing. And he didn’t want to kill anyone who didn’t have to be killed, especially someone so young.

She started to head back to the lounge room, absentmindedly scratching her arm as she walked past the window. Suddenly her eyes widened and panic filled her expression. Daniel found he’d been holding his own breath until that moment, silently hoping he’d been wrong and he could turn back and leave her for another night. But this was it, she’d seen them: the ghosts in the reflection.

 

A glass had slipped from her hand and shattered on the tiles beneath her. She stood frozen for a moment before the spectres stepped back into the veil. Now she was probably trying to convince herself what she’d seen wasn’t real. She moved closer to the window and wiped her hand over the glass. Daniel retreated into the shadows but he guessed she was too scared to consider looking outside anyway. Deep down she would know the reflection she’d seen only moments ago wasn’t human. He watched as she tried to find it again, her eyes blinking rapidly in an effort to recreate the image.

But that wasn’t the way it worked. The spectres couldn’t be called upon by the damned, they came to them when they were least expecting it. Usually lurking in the mirrors until the victim was at their weakest. Their dark, twisted faces seeking them in windows and pools of water, building on their fear until they thought they were losing their mind.

It was Daniel’s job to stop the spectres gaining control, but there was no way to save the host, their life was already considered lost. This girl standing on the other side of the glass, her innocent features so tortured by fear—she was as good as dead—the best he could do was end her suffering.

 

The girl was busy trying to collect herself, Daniel moved round to the other side of the house where the lights were off. He walked until he found a room with hard flooring instead of carpet, the last thing he wanted was to leave muddy footprints for the police to find. The girl would still be in the kitchen, the spectres would leave her alone just long enough for her to think she’d imagined them. He took the time to scrape the mud from his boots before he unzipped his jacket for the lock-pick. He worked quickly and silently, feeling the latch drop to the side before he slid the door open. A rush of central heating blew into his face but nothing could ease the chill from his bones before he made a kill. The only way he knew to do it was as fast as possible so his conscience didn’t have time to catch up with him.

 

The sound of the TV streaming from the lounge room helped to mask the sound of his footsteps. He paused before he turned each corner, within minutes they would be face to face but he couldn’t afford to be surprised by her. Once she saw him her spectres would appear at the surface of the veil and that was his moment.

The ghosts could only be viewed indirectly until he was willing to move into the veil himself. Eventually he would have to but even a few seconds of studying them would give him an advantage once he slipped into their dark world. He pulled the mirror from his pocket and used it to scan the kitchen, the girl was gone and she’d taken her ghosts with her. She was most likely watching TV, trying to ignore that creeping feeling she wasn’t alone. Daniel switched the oven off as he passed it and reached the doorway of the lounge room.

There she was, straight backed on the couch, arms tight around her chest, her back to him as he used the mirror to watch her spectres. They moved faster now he had joined them, their ghostly arms trying to punch through the veil and enclose him. He could almost feel them gripping his throat as though they knew what he was here for. They would be screaming too even though he couldn’t hear them, he wasn’t the one who was damned, but the girl before him turned her head to the side as she listened. Just as the spectres couldn’t be seen directly they couldn’t be heard that way either. It was in echoes she would hear their ghostly taunts, they would be getting louder as Daniel’s presence angered them. Her shoulder’s tensed before she grabbed the remote for the TV and switched it off, in the darkness of the screen she saw another reflection, this time not just the spectres, but herself, and Daniel hovering just behind her.

 

She screamed and jumped from her seat, cheeks already pink with stress as she turned to face the man in black standing in her home. He held his hand out to make her pause, if she became too irate her spectres would be harder to fight. It was always a difficult choice to make—the more effort he put into calming her, the harder the kill would be. Her deep blue eyes filled with tears and what he saw in them weakened him. This was the first time he’d seen her up close, he hadn’t expected to be moved the way he was.

“It’s okay,” he whispered on impulse.

For a moment she looked as though she wanted to jump into his arms and beg for comfort. It just proved how much the spectres were already influencing her thoughts.

His expression must have held her back. “Are you here to hurt me?” her jaw was trembling so hard it looked like it might lock.

Daniel’s heart beat harder, he couldn’t afford to talk to her anymore. He lifted the mirror and held it to the side of her face, the spectres’ angry eyes flashed in the reflection so suddenly he couldn’t help reacting.

The girl turned to the mirror and she caught sight of her own ghosts once again. They were furious, their faces morphing together to form a grotesque image, a sight so frightening her knees weakened and dropped her to the ground.

Daniel pulled the bowie knife from his boot and the moment her spectres saw the weapon they found the strength to reach beyond the veil. That was the thing about ghosts of the living, they weren’t powerless like the ghosts of the dead. They slipped inside her one by one; her once innocent eyes immediately turning to fury. That image was just what he needed to finish the job.

 

Her hands stretched out like claws as she launched at him, her strength multiplied by the spectres inside her. She went straight for the knife, her delicate hand locking around the blade as her eyes seemed to draw him in. Daniel yanked the knife away, waiting for her blood to spill on the mahogany flooring, but her skin was left untouched. He paused a moment to make sense of it and that was exactly what they were expecting.

The girl jumped and hooked her arm around his neck, she was small but the force of it knocked his balance, he stumbled and bumped into a table, knocking the lamp to the floor. Her hand gripped the side of his face, her fingers digging so hard he was sure he must be bleeding. The spectres were stronger than he thought.

He threw his knife on the floor before she could take it from him, grabbing her arm and tipping her over his shoulder. She hit the ground with a thud but still it didn’t stop her. Her eyes were no longer a deep blue, they were a black abyss, the spectres using her life force to gain more power. There was only one way to destroy them. He held the mirror at arm’s length, using the reflection to watch the spectres moving inside her.

There were more than usual, at least five, all working together to manipulate her body. They were fast but once he moved into the veil everything would slow down. She snatched the mirror and smashed it against the floor boards, lifting a jagged piece to use as a weapon. Daniel took a step back, knowing it had to be now. If he didn’t go to the other side she would kill him.

He took a deep breath because once he crossed to the other side he wouldn’t be able to take another. His eyes shuddered closed as he concentrated on slowing his heart rate—within seconds the ghosts started to weave into his consciousness. Usually he spent all his time trying to block them but once he allowed the channel to open they would do the rest. Their hands reached out, their cries growing louder in his ears as they locked their icy cold fingers around his chest and pulled him through the veil.

 

His body felt numb, the atmosphere inside the veil was different, like it was just a dream. It was as though he was dead, his heart and lungs slowing to a dangerous pace as every shred of hope and happiness he once felt was stripped away from him. It was difficult for the body to adjust, his muscles contracted as the panic tried to take control of him.

The ghosts surrounded him, all their faces reflecting the girl he’d come to kill. They were her ghosts after all, created and sustained by her. They were attached to her life and that meant they were capable of influencing the world in dark and violent ways. But everything had a weakness and he knew theirs.

His presence inside the veil distracted them, their voices grew louder as they lashed at him, their ghostly tendrils wrapping around his body, making movement more difficult. Straining to escape them would do no good, what he wanted was to focus their attention so he could slip back to the other side before they had chance to realise his intentions.

He turned his head, the other side still visible through the veil. The girl was on the floor, her hair now messy and hanging in her eyes but he could tell by her posture the ghosts had left her.

Instead they were feeding on him, using their translucent hands to reach inside his body and take the energy they desired.

 

It didn’t take long for his body to droop, he was growing tired and the longer he spent here the harder it would be to get back. If he focused his attention on the physical needs of his body he could shake the veil, but he had to act quickly before the ghosts moved back to their host.

His lungs were starting to burn, in this world they didn’t need air but his mind still craved it. The more he thought about oxygen the more he wanted it, there was a stagnant feeling in his chest, a feeling he couldn’t bear any longer. The cold grip of the ghosts started to fade as he focused his mind. Daniel’s lungs fought back, heaving as though the sheer force of it would create the air he needed.

The haze over his eyes cleared, his body warming and stomach lurching as though he’d been dropped to his feet from a sickening height. The girl lifted her head the moment he returned to his body, her eyes glistened as she stared up at him for mercy but it was too late for that.

Daniel pulled the flick knife from his pocket and used his boot to pin her shoulder to the floor. She didn’t make a sound as he pressed the blade against her skin and drew it across her throat.

 

Blood seeped from the wound but he didn’t allow himself to take in the sight. Usually he reached only for his mirror to check the spectres had been destroyed—that’s how he knew his job was complete. But the mirror was broken into small pieces, the only one big enough to use was already covered in the girl’s blood and he knew better than to pick up soiled items. Her eyes were open and staring, the lifeless pupils surrounded once again by pure blue. Suddenly the house seemed too silent. He collected the bowie knife from the floor and secured it back in his boot.

There was a mirror on the wall, he stood in front of it and checked his face for scratches—there were red marks where she’d pressed against his cheek but the skin wasn’t broken. He used the reflection to check the body behind him. There were no auras moving around it, no spectres floating nearby, everything was still and there was nothing left to do but cover his tracks.

 

–*–

 

The first couple of hours after a kill always passed in a haze. He’d learnt to switch off the emotional thought process and focus on the job. For it was in the hurry to leave a site of murder that mistakes would be made. Instead he breathed deeply and calmly, spending time scouring the rooms for evidence and carefully removing anything that could place him at the crime scene. The rain outside had grown heavier, the mud thicker when he finally stepped out and relocked the door he’d entered. The footprints from earlier had already been washed away and after checking the sky he felt confident the weather would destroy all signs of his presence within minutes of leaving.

Rain gathered in the neck of his jacket, a steady stream flowing down his back as he turned his head to check amongst the trees. Goosebumps formed on his torso, the wind following the water and turning his skin to ice. But he was alone, he felt sure of it. The house was so remote there was little chance of anyone seeing him. Still he sat in his car for a long time, quietly observing his surroundings before he prepared to leave.

His hands were sweaty, he pulled his fingers free and slipped the gloves inside a paper bag. The adrenaline was wearing off and his hands were shaking. It wouldn’t be long before the flashbacks started.

 

Daniel drove a long way and as the distance grew his mental state started to change. He’d completed his job—the kill and the clean up—as a professional he’d succeeded. There was nothing left to focus on, no evidence to hide, no body to dispose of. Now he was just a man—a man who had committed murder.

 

 

My Secret Weapon

download (3)Well there’s no denying it, writing a novel is hard work. I spent so long editing the Shadow Series that to some degree I forgot what it was like to actually write a novel, after all it has been a few years since I finished the last one!

There’s a lot of hard work, even when you have an outline for the story, things change. Characters get in the way, you realise something’s missing and you need to change directions or suddenly you discover a major plot flaw. To be honest it’s one of my favourite things about writing a book, I almost feel as though each little speed bump is steering the fate of the novel to a place it was always meant to end up. I’ve heard so many authors say it, and it’s absolutely true—you are just a vessel, the characters tell their own story. And the challenges make the accomplishment worth so much more!

In saying that, it does take determination to work through the pitfalls. There’s nothing better than sitting down with your laptop and letting the words pour out, but it isn’t always like that. There are times when you just sit and stare out the window wondering how you’re going to continue. The key is to never give up, even when the writing’s bad and the story sucks you just keep going, rewriting until every little piece fits together.

Here’s where my secret weapon comes into it.

People often ask how I find the motivation to write novels, for me the answer is quite simple—once I start, it’s harder for me to stop than it is to continue. I have an inability to leave any project unfinished, I’m not sure if it’s extreme motivation or just plain OCD. But I’m not complaining. Once the first chapter of a book is written, I’m following it right to the end. There are a lot of authors who have a few stories on the go, they work on different ideas and write new material while they are editing something old. This is pretty useful to distance yourself from a story but I just can’t do it. When I’m working on something I have to give it everything and there’s no space for anything else in my head. Without this little quirk in my personality I don’t know if I’d be a writer, it’s my driving force; the thing that keeps me going no matter what obstacles get in my way.

Who could wish for more right?

Well everything must have balance and this little obsession carries over to the rest of my life. No matter what I start I can’t leave it undone! Even if it’s a huge time waster. My examples might break a few hearts but I have to say it … Game of Thrones, I know everyone loves the TV series but I don’t. I hate it in fact, the characters are awful, I can’t relate to them, I don’t like the setting, the list goes on, but I had to watch the entire first series even though I knew I hated it after just a few episodes.

And a few years ago I subscribed to a movie magazine. I found myself reading every single article word for word, even the ones I wasn’t interested in. It was so time consuming, and I was barely absorbing the information but I couldn’t stop. It took great effort for me to acknowledge there just wasn’t time in my life for this magazine once a month.

Even when I’m reading a book, this little quirk looms over me. If I hate what I’m reading I have to finish it. It’s ridiculous! Sometimes my reading slows to a page a night but I can’t move on until it’s finished. Recently I attempted Anne Rice’s Violin, I made it halfway and decided this obsessive follow through had to stop, I hate the book! But even as I write this blog it sits on my shelf taunting me. All I have to do is resist the urge to pick it back up, eventually I’ll have to forget about it right?

What can I say it’s a blessing and a curse, my secret weapon. But reading things I despise and watching hours of bad TV shows is a small price to pay! OCD in a writer … maybe not such a bad thing.

 

Part I Writing The Shadow Series

Laura's Promo Photos 247In celebration of the release of The Shadow Series, what better topic to blog about than the creation of the books? Consider this the literary version of an audio commentary. In this blog you will learn about the finer details; where the inspiration came from, how I planned the storyline, the editing and finally the publishing (to be published as a three part series). Just like any other art form there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes and here’s where you get a sneak peak.

I actually started writing this blog back in 2011, it was more of a diary for my own records, at the time I had no idea I would publish it in the days leading up to the series launch. This journey has been the single most rewarding experience of my life and you’re about to get a little taste of the work that has gone into creating it.

The Idea

In 2009 I had just finished working on a two year project, it was my first novel, which in all honesty was meant to be my only novel. I was in the process of editing that book when I started thinking about the concept for The Shadow Series. I can’t remember exactly what brought my attention to shadows but that single topic is literally the entire basis of this storyline.

Shadows are constantly used to represent fear of the unknown in an audience whether it be via movies, music or performance and I was feeling the draw towards a topic that could instil a sense of fear in a reader. I wanted to work on something dark and mysterious not just to scare them but to use it as a contrast for the light. I wanted to take my character to the very edge of her survival ability and then see how she could overcome it.

Shadows were always going to be the focus of the story, I knew that from the beginning but it took weeks of planning for me to decide exactly how I was going to turn that subject from a psychological thriller into a fantasy novel. I worked with the idea of my protagonist being afraid of her shadow, it was the perfect way to make her utterly powerless, no matter how fast she ran or how hard she tried to escape it her shadow would always be one step behind her. To bring the fantasy genre into it I made the shadow responsible for transporting the characters into an alternate universe, where there is no civilisation and the forest is filled with wild animals and soulless men who hunt humans. It wasn’t a psychological thriller if the phenomenon was really happening.

In my mind it was always a series, I’d written a standalone book and I wanted to try something a little more challenging. As soon as the characters were created in my head the storyline seemed to unfold on its own. For me the hardest thing about writing a book is coming up with the initial concept, once that’s done the ideas seem to reproduce and before long I’m thinking of them faster than I can write them down. I knew exactly how the story was going to end before I even started writing it—it gave me a sense of purpose, a clear direction, and made the writing process faster than I thought possible.

The Writing

Book One

The first draft came out in a bit of a frenzy, words can’t really describe the exhilarating feeling of the all those ideas swimming around in my head while I was writing. It was almost like I was living the life of my character, every time she was running I was running, when she was afraid I felt it, when she was emotionally distraught my own heart was racing and by the end of the day I had lived 12 hours in this amazing and terrifying world known as the Shadowlands.

Writing this series took my desire to be a writer to a whole new level, at the time I was feeling a little lost in my career choice to be a nurse and the days I spent writing made me feel more alive than ever. It amazed me how I could spend hours in this tense and emotional state with my character and yet I felt so strong—no matter how much time I spent on it writing didn’t seem to tire me out it actually gave me more energy. It took me four months to write the draft of Beyond the Shadows and in that time something clicked into place, I knew I’d found exactly what I was looking for in life and there was no going back.

With my previous book I only allowed one person to read it, my sister, and it wasn’t until it was completely finished and edited that I sent it to her. For Beyond the Shadows I decided to change that tactic. I sent the first few chapters to my friend Kate, in hindsight I wouldn’t do it again because stopping to edit part way through stunted the writing process, but Kate’s advice had a huge impact on the structure of the book. She made me realise there was too much information being stuffed in the readers’ face and when I worked with the ‘less is more’ approach things shuffled into their rightful place. The entire series would be very different if it wasn’t for that change so she deserves an appropriate shout out. Thanks Kate!

When the draft was finished I shared it amongst friends and family, all of whom gave me amazing support and advice. Thanks to the first readers; Sarah, Mum, Kuch, Annette, Roz, Rachel, Frances, Sue and Jean, your enthusiasm and suggestions helped spur me on, I saved absolutely every piece of advice you gave me and it helped shape the future of the characters.

The draft manuscripts used for editing.

The draft manuscripts used for editing.

I truly don’t remember the exact number of times I edited that first book, I know it was at least four and that was before I even decided to publish it—more on that later.

Book Two

The second book in the series burst out of me at an alarming speed, it took three months to write the draft but it was probably so easy because the characters and their world was already created, plus I’d figured out a pretty good writing rhythm. During this time I did all the cliché things you think a writer would do. I worked way past midnight, I fell asleep with notebooks on my chest, I woke up in the middle of the night to record new ideas, I shut the door and snapped at people who tried to interrupt me. I read an SAS Survival Guide from cover to cover and a book dedicated to the quest for alternate realities. My mum traced and cut out my own shadow for me so I could work on the concept with a visual aid. I was on a role and there was no stopping me.

Laura's Promo Photos 261

SAS Survival Guide and Hiding in the Mirror – All in the name of research!

I was also lulled into a false sense of security because of this book, at the time I didn’t realise that no matter how many books you’ve written the process changes every time. I smashed book two out, passed it onto my official editor—my sister—and moved right onto book three. Initially The Shadow Series was going to be a trilogy, I had no idea of the trouble waiting for me when I began the final book.

Book Three

Everything changed when I started this book, I expected I would slip back into routine and everything would work out perfectly but that was certainly not the case. Since book three was meant to be the last there were a lot of loose ends to tie up. I had never worked on a storyline as complex as this, there were a lot of characters and a lot of simultaneous plots that needed to line up. I had so many notes and a clear structure of events that needed to happen in order for everything to tie together. It was really difficult to keep all those things in mind without letting it disrupt the flow of my sentences.

Some of the plot points that were once blue-tacked to my wardrobe door.

Some of the plot points that were once blue-tacked to my wardrobe door.

I ended up writing all the important events on individual pieces of paper, I knew all those things needed to happen but the order I initially intended for them was constantly changing. To make sure I didn’t miss anything out I stuck all those pieces of paper inside my wardrobe doors and moved them around each time the plot twisted in a direction I didn’t expect it to.

During the writing of book three I had a few moments of despair, days when I started thinking I had screwed it up completely and there was no way to fix it. I was quite close to the end of the draft when I suddenly felt like I had to stop and read it, I just had a feeling things weren’t working. I remember very clearly lying on the rug in my lounge room and reading the draft, within a few hours I went from thinking my manuscript was nearly complete to realising I was less than half way. It was pretty clear to me then that I had to split the book in two. It was a horrifying moment, I just felt like months of work were completely wasted. The problem was I’d tried to jam too many things into a short space and in order to correct the pacing of the story I had to rewrite the entire thing.

So I wrote it again … twice. Book three was the greatest writing challenge I have faced this far, it took close to a year to complete it but looking back I’m so glad I spent that time on it. It taught me a lot about my strength as a writer, I know now that no matter how bad it is there is always a way to fix it, I owed it to my characters to struggle through and finish their story. Of the people who have read advanced copies of the series a number of them told me book three was their favourite—it makes the whole thing worthwhile.

Book Four

There’s a fine line when you’re developing multiple plotlines, sometimes just a few sentences can be the difference between intriguing the reader and giving everything away prematurely. I had been leaving clues for three books, I wanted the reader to be suspicious but of course I didn’t want them to be able to guess the ending. To begin with I did get that balance wrong and my test audience picked it up pretty quickly. I have to say this is the book where the feedback made the greatest difference, I went through it at least six times picking out all those little hints that gave the wrong idea. Even up to the week before this book went to print I was still rereading the first 50 pages and making subtle changes.

The writing is the part I love and it’s the dedication to the characters and the story that gave me the motivation to get through the editing and the publishing. The truth is these three aspects all hold the same value for the final product so there was no fair way to fit them into the same blog.

Part II Editing the Shadow Series will be published on Saturday 11th May.

Perth After Dark

I live in Perth and the rest of Australia has a joke about us. “I went to Perth and it was closed.” We are the capital city of Western Australia but we’re considered somewhat backwards from the other cities in … Continue reading

Wherever there’s a shadow there’s a light.

When I tell people about my books the most frequently asked question is: where did you get the idea? Usually it’s in a social environment and it’s inappropriate to launch into an inspirational description, but what better medium to use than a blog. My paranormal/fantasy series is about a woman who discovers her shadow can transport her to a parallel universe; it’s a terrifying place where mysterious creatures roam and danger challenges her will to survive. She’s searching for a way to protect herself but she soon discovers she has no control over the transfer and gradually the phenomenon starts to destroy her life.

So where did it all begin?

For me the idea for a book often begins with a subject, obviously there are shadows everywhere you go and I started to wonder how it would affect your life if you were afraid of them. There is a sentence in the book that says ‘You will be surprised how aware of shadows you’ll become’, and I have to say that was exactly what happened. There are certain times of day and particular lighting positions that create stronger shadows but the only time you can ever truly be without a shadow is in complete darkness. But what kind of life would that be? And what if you couldn’t tell anyone why you were so afraid of them?


There is definitely a psychological thriller vibe in the first book and it was interesting to take the journey with my character as she struggled to come to terms with what was happening to her, but my favourite genre is fantasy and that’s what I love to write. I figure the true life horror stories of insanity, death and destruction are all around me, why would I want to write about them? Instead I prefer to imagine scenarios in which the tragedies of everyday life are born out of something more mysterious. So what if her delusions were actually real?

The Shadowlands may be a parallel universe but it is nothing like the world we live in so while the concept allowed me to explore the psychological challenges the setting brought the fantasy element to life. There is no limit when it comes to fantasy and so from that point it was just a matter of coming up with creatures that would scare the shit out of me if I ever came across them!

It is the beginning of a story that is the hard part, once I start writing ideas come in regular waves and I get to live a small part of my character’s life every day. You will never find me without a notebook in my handbag because the finer details of the story come from the world around me.

Inspiration is everywhere.