Tuesday, 28 October 2014

ANOTHER MILESTONE ANOTHER CHAPTER




Today I’m sitting back and putting my feet up, because I’ve just climbed another mountain and need to breathe out before I tackle the next one. The mountain I’m referring to isn’t one of the many Monroes that I could climb, (at least, that’s what I cheerily tell myself as I comfortably slouch on the couch) it’s the publication of my second novel, Tatya’s Return, which is Book One in the Samsara Trilogy.

From the seed of an idea, your first draft, any number of edits, to completion takes time and hard work. Yet the process of realizing a world that existed only in my imagination, in a form that others can share is deeply satisfying. Of course there's the moot point of others liking what you've written, but one fact you can be sure of is that you can't please all the people all the time. And that's fine.

Saturday is the 1st November, and the beginning of the NaNoWriMo, when I plan to write the first draft of Book Two of the trilogy. As a result, for the next few days while I’m breathing out I’m also trying to make sense of the marketing game, while my imagination buzzes with scenes and ideas for Book Two.

In honour of Halloween at the end of this week, and because Tatya’s Return is in the paranormal genre, I’m posting the first chapter today. So, whether you’re an aficionado of the genre or not, I hope you enjoy the extract.

The blurb:

Set in the mid-western town of Orleton, this paranormal romantic thriller charts an explosive struggle between power and love.

Vanse,a master vampire and the local supernatural head honcho, wants Tatya's love. Angelus, another powerful vampire, searches for Tatya seeking to use her powers for his own ends, and wants her surrender. But Tatya, a healer who possesses potent yet undeveloped talents, isn't interested in either of them. As Tatya's powers develop, events spiral out of control and her life begins to change in unforeseen ways. Forces beyond her understanding are in motion and whether she wants to or not, Tatya has a vital role to play.

Tatya's Return is Book One in the Samsara Trilogy


CHAPTER ONE
VANSE


Tatya looked up as a grimy unshaven man, water dripping off him, boarded the bus and staggered down the aisle. The passengers, as one, avoided his gaze, staring with fixed intention out of the windows as if the downpour outside held immense fascination. If they didn’t see him, maybe he wouldn’t see them. He was about to park himself next to Tatya when she clutched the box of donuts closer to her chest with her left hand, using her right to flick a repulsion spell at him. A look of momentary confusion crossed the man’s face as he gazed at the empty seat before moving to the rear of the bus.
She was thankful she lived in Orleton, a small mid-west town without subways with their hobgoblins, ghosts and trolls roaming the system seeking out the weak, desperate and vulnerable souls. Gremlin haunted humans didn’t normally bother her when she needed to travel by public transport,  but the heavy waft of tobacco trailing him hit the back of her throat combining with the wet animal smell from the woolen jumper of the woman in front.
Tatya held her wrist under her nose breathing in the fragrance of sandalwood. Today she’d no choice. When your own transport was a tenth hand Ford truck you couldn’t afford to service properly - a not broken don’t fix it motor - then public transport became the sole option. You could take advantage of friends only up to a point. And with the business at a standstill since Sean’s illness, money to fix her vehicle was tight.
Besides she had more urgent issues on her mind.
Aunt Lil.
Her one living relative. The one shelter in the devastation of her life after her parents died fifteen years ago in a train accident. Who now lay in hospital undergoing tests after Tatya found her collapsed on the floor of the kitchen, while black smoke from the burnt lasagne oozed out of the oven filling the kitchen. It was nothing short of a miracle Tatya came back when she did before the house burnt down with her aunt inside. She’d left for the annual mid-west organic farmers conference, stopped for gas twenty minutes out, returning because that was when she realized she’d rushed out of the house without her laptop.
All of that was on hold. Right now, she sat on a bus, her empathetic abilities locked down tight, headed in the pouring rain for St. Raphael’s Hospital to find out the results of the latest tests.
Unfortunately Aunt Lil’s sickness wasn’t the only problem waiting for at the hospital. St. Raphael’s was where Orleton’s supernatural head honcho, Vanse, had his headquarters, which made everything worse. St. Raphael’s was Vanse’s domain, and the thought of seeing him made her nauseous. Her green eyes flashed, hands tingling as power began to spark from her fingertips. Worry about her aunt’s condition left her tense, out of control. The possibility of losing her aunt shattered her stability, leaving her emotions and command of her powers all over the place. Centering her thoughts on the protective amulet at her neck, she soothed away the negativity.
Of course, hospitals like St. Raphael’s were one of the major loci for supernaturals, especially vamps, as it provided easy access to their legalized blood bank allowance. And because that’s where the defenseless sick and dying lay. Patients who never recovered their full strength didn’t raise any eyebrows; and when those without protection lay at death’s door, no one questioned if it was the full eight pints of blood left in their corpses.
She used to call him Vanse the vamp, and once the name had made her giggle – it was straight out of an old B movie. Not anymore. Not since he’d turned Sean, her best friend and business partner, or rather ex-partner.
Over the past couple of years she and Sean had started from scratch, and built up a moderately successful herb business – with Tatya’s healing practice on the side. They’d worked together on everything from planting seeds through to supplying local herbalists and private customers with their specialist curative teas. Sean had been working on his latest project, setting up a website for online marketing, when his health went terminally downhill.
Sean tried to talk to her every time she visited, but with Vanse always looming in the background, she’d avoided him. She clenched her hands, ignoring the stray thought of what a thrill it would be to use her power for revenge – just for once.
Tatya tried to avoid such hot spots of bad karma as hospitals, because her psychic talent of seeing auras went into overload, resulting in severe migraines if she didn’t take care. Sean’s diagnosis of full blown AIDs, the 20th century plague had changed that. Sean, one of the group she’d hung out with at high school, caught it from a former girlfriend who happened to have dated a junkie for a while. Tatya had visited him every day, watching him become more emaciated as the disease ravaged his body.
Why Vanse had turned Sean was beyond her comprehension. Sean didn’t possess the kind of qualities she envisioned being desirable in a vampire. Generous, kind, a green fingered earth magician who celebrated the growing of life; the feel of dark rich crumbly compost running through his fingers sent him into raptures; a poet who wrote haikus. He’d make a lousy vampire. Well, Vanse and eternity would provide plenty of time to develop other traits, and Sean would turn from someone who loved life to someone who took it. And it was Vanse’s fault. She swallowed the lump of resentment swelling in her throat, and mentally stuck a large, fat, white oak stake into his heart.
The bus jerked to a halt at the hospital stop. Small towns didn’t always offer the most efficient service – this one to the hospital being an exception. Tatya, along with the majority of passengers, trailed off the bus, hitching her jacket hood up to keep off the driving rain. She splashed along behind the straggle of hunched shoulders and pinched faces under umbrellas towards the beckoning shelter of the hospital.
Inside, Tatya pushed her jacket hood back off her head. Her thick copper-brown hair escaping, as usual from the clip she’d stuck in it; her attempt to appear presentable. She ignored the familiar clinical smell of hospital disinfectant hitting her as she walked over to the elevator. She stood with the crush of people, donuts under her arm, heading for the women’s ward on the second floor. Maybe this time she’d hear some good news. Maybe she’d be able to bring her aunt home.
Aunt Lil was sitting up in bed, pillows plumped behind her. She’d lost weight and her normally ruddy cheeks were pale, but her face lit up with a broad grin lit up as her niece entered the ward.
Tatya! My darling!’
Tatya hugged her aunt in a fierce embrace. Intimately attuned to Aunt Lil’s energy, she opened her awareness a fraction, sensing her aunt was stronger than yesterday. Her aunt’s inner aura was resuming its usual brightness, and the grubby gray smears of previous days were fading.
There, there ... ’ Aunt Lil wiped the tears from Tatya’s face. ‘I’m fine.’
Here. All your favorites.’
Tatya put the donut box on the bedside table, making herself comfortable on the visitor’s chair, shuffling it closer to the bed. She glanced round at the other four women in the ward, three of whom chatted with family and friends. The fourth and most elderly patient lay thin and frail, her eyes closed, on the farthest bed. Tatya had never seen anyone visit Alice Franklin.
I’ll check on Alice in a while.’
Oh, you’ve a soft heart for those who need it.’
Tell me, have you had any test results yet?’
That reminds me, that nice young doctor said to tell you he wants to have a word with you.’
Tatya rolled her eyes. Aunt Lil was always trying to pair her up with someone. And not someone Tatya had ever taken a liking to, at least not so far.
 ‘Perhaps he’ll ask me out,’ she joked, pushing her unruly hair out of her eyes, and striking a provocative pose before having a fit of giggles.
Oh, and by the way, your friend sends his regards.’
Tatya stiffened.
Sean?’
No, dear, the other one. The tall, dark and handsome one!’
Who in the world was Aunt Lil talking about?
Him. That’s the one I mean.’ She pointed behind Tatya who turned round, her breath catching as she saw who stood there.
Yes, exactly as Aunt Lil said, Vanse was tall, dark and handsome – that was if your tastes ran to the undead. She’d swear he had a radar that pinged an alert the instant she entered the building. He leant against the doorway, arms crossed, eyes mournful.
‘Come in, Vanse,’ Aunt Lil beckoned him over. Tatya shivered as he eyed her before coming to stand by her side. The fact he had no aura to read was unsettling. Trying not to fall off the chair, she inched as far away from him as possible. She was much too aware of him, the effect he had on her – the pull he exerted was almost overpowering. The faint scent of sandalwood tickled her nose. Studying her aunt’s white bed sheet, she did her best to ignore his close presence, in the faint hope he’d take the hint and leave. No such luck. Vamps weren’t known for their subtlety.
This is my niece, Tatya. Tatya this is Vanse.’
Yes, Aunt Lil. We’ve met.’ Not bothering to hide her intense aversion, she glared up at him. ‘How’s Sean?’ She laced her voice with bitterness – bitterness she wanted him to hear.
He’s well.’
Tatya froze as his voice stroked every sense in her body. She touched the small locket hanging on a silver chain resting at her throat. A gift from a close friend, it contained the image of Lord Nrsimgha, a protective deity, whom she’d adopted as her own.
If you wish to speak with him, I will summon him. Yes, it’s difficult for you to accept, but it may well help him.’
Help him! How dare he? Didn’t he understand how hard it was for her to see Sean as a vampire? She’d met him with him only the once since his change. One of the benefits of becoming a vampire was the enhanced physical perfection. Sean’s light brown dread locks had transformed into a smooth rich chestnut mane, his slight, wiry physique stretched and mutated conforming to the standard vamp body with its perfect height and musculature; he was now Michelangelo’s David, hardly recognizable as the friend she’d once known. As far as Tatya was concerned, it was too high a price for your soul. As far as she’d gathered, Vanse had never asked Sean – just turned him.
She narrowed her eyes, feeling the familiar tingle of power begin to build in her fingers. Vanse moved back a few steps.
Until later, Miss Lilian.’
He offered an old fashion bow to Aunt Lil, and was gone.
You two would make a lovely couple.’
Tatya choked.
Not in this lifetime, and not while I’ve a pulse in my body!’
Alice Franklin’s coughing brought Tatya to her feet.
I’ve got this,’ she said to Aunt Lil.
As she helped Alice’s wasted body into a sitting position, Tatya was shocked at the transparency of her auric haze. Drawing on her power, she sent a subtle stream of energy into the woman, focussing on her weakened heart and lungs. The old lady’s aura strengthened, thickening where it met her skin and giving off a pale yellow glow as the coughing fit subsided.
Thank you, dear.’
Tatya poured a glass of water, holding it to her lips while she drank.
 ‘Your aunt is very lucky to have you.’ She focussed her rheumy eyes on Tatya. ‘I fear I’ll not be in this world much longer.’
Oh, don’t say such things,’ Tatya chided, her voice kind. ‘They can do wonders these days with modern medicine.’
Tatya had always possessed the ability to ease pain by touch, and as a teenager had become intrigued by traditional medicines - hence her business venture - but she couldn’t eradicate disease. With Sean, she’d done what she could to alleviate his suffering, but it hadn’t been enough.
When you’ve breathed your allotted number of breaths, my dear, that’s it.’ Alice sipped a bit more water. ‘But if I can help anyone as I leave, that’s a bonus.’
Alice’s gaze wandered over to the ward entrance. Tatya turned to see what had captured the old lady’s attention. Sean stood just outside the ward, a lost bewildered look on his face. She bit her lip. Surely the old woman didn’t mean what Tatya thought she meant?
Go speak to him, dear. He doesn’t understand why you won’t.’
Tatya bent and kissed Alice’s forehead.
I’ll come tomorrow. Promise.’
Aunt Lil’s eyes were closed, she often dozed during visits, so Tatya took a deep breath and walked towards Sean. Before his death, she’d spent months grieving for him - and the Sean she’d known was dead - yet here he stood in front of her, re-born. Vanse was the one she was angry with, she didn’t know why she was blaming Sean..
Let’s talk,’ she said, leading the way out of the ward.
They sat side by side on a bench in a nearby alcove. Sean’s back was ramrod straight, fingers tapping his knees, unsure of how to proceed.
How are you?’ she asked. It was difficult to remember her Sean might still be somewhere inside this newly transformed vampire.
I miss you.’ He reached for her hand but she held up her palm. He flinched back.
I’m sorry, Sean.’
Everything’s different. Sensations, colors, light.’
A nurse clicked passed, pushing a trolley full of medication.
I sense the blood pulsing in their arteries, Tatya. And I crave it. It’s awful.’
She stared at his hands. Hands that had previously grown healing herbs.
If it wasn’t for Vanse, I wouldn’t be able to control myself.’
If it wasn’t for Vanse, you wouldn’t have to control yourself!’ She didn’t regret speaking so bluntly.
Thanks for your support. Why can’t you accept this,’ his hand flicked downwards ‘is still me?’
You were supposed to die. When I left you were dead. Then he ... ’ she couldn’t finish the sentence.
Okay. It’s not the life I would have chosen, and I don’t have a pulse but this is me, Tatya.’ His voice cracked. ‘Please, don’t give up on me.’
Tatya didn’t answer. She hadn’t come to terms with what had happened to Sean, and her concerns now centred on Aunt Lil. With the living, not the undead.
I have to go.’ Sean spoke abruptly.
Is he calling you?’
Yes. Didn’t you know? It’s part of the care package – a master vampire has telepathic links with his close followers, especially those recently turned. Believe it or not, it’s a matter of safety while we’re learning.’
Tatya wasn’t interested. Even violent criminals and animals cared for their own.
Go on then. Obey your master.’ She knew her words hurt. But no matter what he said or did, this wasn’t her Sean. She couldn’t tell if he was fooling himself or genuinely believed his own words. She stared at her hands, squeezing them tight, not wanting to watch him leave.
Aunt Lil’s doctor was off duty. The officious nursing manager told her only the doctor had authorization to discuss the details of her aunt’s condition, but she could inform her that more tests would be conducted tomorrow. Frustration at the lack of information and uncertainty about her aunt’s condition fuelled her anxieties, but there was nothing she could do but wait till tomorrow and ask again.
At the end of visiting hours, Tatya kissed her aunt softly on the forehead, and whispered goodbye. She waved to Alice Franklin who waved back.
She was crossing the foyer, when she heard a distinctly recognizable voice.
Sheriff Corwin berating a deputy officer. Nothing new in that. Over the past couple of years Corwin had invited her to assist in couple of missing people cases. Someone had told him of her talent in locating missing objects – a gift she’d not seriously used until she met the Sheriff. Now the police paid her a decent consultant’s fee when he made use of her services.
Corwin noticed her approach.
I’ll be over later – got something I want to run by you,’ he said without missing a beat in his tirade. ‘Okay.’
It wasn’t a question.
Sure. I’ll be home.’
He turned back to raking his subordinate over the coals.
As Tatya neared the exit, she fought the urge to look back. And lost. She turned slowly. Vanse was leaning against a wall by the elevators. Their gazes met. The expression in his eyes wasn’t one of triumph though, he was pleading.

**********

Thank you for taking the time to read the extract, and if you enjoyed it, the book is available on:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/487847
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tatyas-Return-Samsara-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00OX0TE2I

When the Smashwords conversion process is complete, it will also be available on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple iBookstore etc.  
You can also pop over to Wattpad and read any of my posted stories ... just click on the links to the right.

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku   

Thanks for visiting my blog, and please do leave a comment.
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

PREPPING FOR THE NANO




This will be my third nano, but for those who are just discovering the NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) it is a writing challenge that takes place every November, where you are required to write a minimum of 1,667 words a day. This results in a total of 50,010 – enough for a rough/first draft of a novel. 

Completing this number of words uses the technique of fast drafting. Now, while I’m not an aficionado of the horror genre, (okay, I’m a scaredy-cat) I am a fan of Stephen King’s On Writing, which is part autobiography and part writing advice. In his book King says: ‘Once I start work on a project, I don’t stop and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind ... worst of all the excitement of spinning something new begins to fade ... I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words.’

Please, don’t misunderstand me as I’m not equating my nano effort with Stephen King’s writing. Nonetheless, this does sound very similar to the style which nano participants adopt to complete the challenge. 

Fast drafting (or sprint writing, as I’ve heard it called) is exactly what it says ... getting your story down as fast as possible. Some people plan before writing, others do it as they go. Some can’t help but edit a bit as they write, others don’t.  

For myself, I write a chapter outline containing a brief description of the major scenes. As long as I can witness those scenes in my mind, all I have to do is write, to the best of my ability, what is living in my imagination. One consistent piece of advice - which ties in with King’s method - is don’t get knotted up about what you write in your explosion of creativity. 

There are criticisms too, the main one being that a draft done in this manner will be an editing nightmare. Another I’ve read is that your time would be better spent reading than writing rubbish. The latter was clearly written by someone (a long suffering editor?) whose desk was swamped with a tsunami of post nano novels. 

Yet it’s because we read wonderful books, which fill our heads with stories, sparking the desire to write our own, that we participate. And, I agree, there are standards of what is acceptable in a novel, but there is no one way to achieve that goal.

Fast drafting - whether for the nano or not - has its pressures. Staying focussed and keeping up the pace can be intense, but it can also be an invigorating, exhilarating experience.

Writing Update 

The publication date for Tatya’s Return approaches, and I’m experiencing high levels of nervous anticipation as I gallop towards the finishing line. I’ll complete the final edits today, then a list of points to check, the cover to finalize, the formatting and uploading. This time I’m planning to use Smashwords and distribute to the other eplatforms as well as Amazon. The actual date will depend on the length of time between uploading and appearing on the various websites, but barring any unforeseen events, it will be before the end of October (she says with her fingers, and toes, crossed – after all Halloween approaches).

So this week will be a busy one, and as the anticipation builds, so does the sense of satisfaction. I feel unbelievably lucky to be on this journey. 

Today’s Haiku
is skin on skin love –
at that place where mine and yours touch
do we become one  

Useful Links:
This is a great article for anyone considering self-publishing:
And for anyone who wants to check out the NaNoWriMo:
http://nanowrimo.org/ 

I’d love it if you checked out my debut novel, One Summer in Montmartre, or popped over to Wattpad and read any of my posted stories ... just click on the links to the right.

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku 

To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.



 

About Me

My photo

         
         
Apart from writing, I'm compiling a bucket list of places I'd like to  visit...from Iceland to Hawaii and onwards....
         

Google+ Followers

Followers

Translate

Search This Blog

Like us on Facebook