It’s hard to believe 2015 is already drawing to a close. This has been a whirlwind year, one brimming with artistic satisfaction and fulfillment, and all of you have played an instrumental role. Thank you for reading my books, for your messages and words of support and encouragement. They have truly meant the world to me.
As a holiday surprise, I’m sharing the very first sneak peek of my next novel, A WOVEN SILENCE. 🙂
I hope you enjoy this tidbit of what’s to come. Thank you for an amazing year and I wish you and yours a holidays season filled with much warmth, love, and joy.
A WOVEN SILENCE
In a small, forgotten town at the foothills of Blue Mountain, three children decide to take the future into their hands, changing the course of their lives forever…
Despite the unraveling of her personal life, concert pianist Leila Cates returns to a world she thought she’d left behind and is pulled into a murder investigation that stretches from New York’s glittering stages to the belly of the criminal underworld.
Leila teams up again with NYPD Detective Orion Frazier and what begins with the death of a prominent businessman quickly turns into a twisted maze of deception and betrayal.
Struggling with a violence spanning over two decades, Leila and Orion discover long-buried secrets that set off a dangerous chain of events. How far would people go to protect those they love?
An unnerving psychological thriller, A Woven Silence is a riveting novel of love and loyalty, retribution and atonement, in which four individuals confront their darkest truths and a past that will not die.
Add to GoodReads >>
Grab Breaking Measures, the prequel novella, now!
E-BOOK/PRINT: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
AUDIOBOOK: Audible | Amazon | iTunes
Add to GoodReads >>
A Woven Silence: Sneak Peek 1
Mama always returned to the thread.
When her beautiful fingers trembled with fear and her dreams threatened to crumble beneath the walls of her prison, she would disappear behind the sewing machine and drown herself in its mind-numbing rattle.
These threads, she said, were born from this town, from our collective tears and blood, sweat and screams, rage and desperation. Our lives imbued each stitch with power, our entwined experiences strengthening the fabric that clothed countless strangers.
I remember her hands every time I dress. With each stroke of silk or cotton, I wonder whose calloused fingers – whose pain – had given birth to my day’s identity.
Something inevitable was created all those years ago, a connection as tight and intricate as Mama’s stitching.
It was easier then to believe a predetermined force had brought us together. A destiny or fate, the same simplistic explanation behind why the bad lived and the good died, and some sailed through life with barely a scratch while others clawed for every breath they took.
But now I believe differently.
That year had been nothing more than a sequence of chances, one landing right after the other in the same way the needle met fabric. All those circumstances had neatly aligned to sew together a tapestry far greater than us.
That’s all that night ever was.
Weaving life out of separate threads.
THREE HOURS AFTER
Excerpts from transcripts, night of December 12.
Silver Birch Township, Carbon County, PA
Officer Ned Ratliff, Head of Silver Birch Police Department
Officer Ratliff : [coughs] Anne, do you know why you’re here?
Officer Ratliff: What’s that?
Anne: I want my mom. Can I call her?
Officer Ratliff: Did you see what happened on the ridge today?
Officer Ratliff: I’m sorry, Anne, but your mother’s gone.
Officer Ratliff: [clears throat] Now don’t worry about anything. We’ll help you —
Anne: You’re wrong. Today wasn’t her day to be there.
Officer Ratliff: We found her —
Anne: No. [Chair scratching across floor] She doesn’t work on Thursdays.
Officer Ratliff: We’re trying to figure out why she was there. I’m so sorry —
Anne: You’re lying. Why are you lying?
David: You can’t hold me.
Officer Ratliff: We’re not holding you —
David: Then why’d you pull me in?
Officer Ratliff: Do you know what happened tonight?
David: I ain’t blind.
Officer Ratliff: Know how it happened?
David: Why would I know that?
Officer Ratliff: Do you know where your uncle is?
David: [muffled]…he don’t tell me where he goes.
Officer Ratliff: He was there. When it happened.
Officer Ratliff: Gonna have to speak up —
David: Is he dead?
Officer Ratliff: Yes.
Officer Ratliff: I’m sorry, son.
David: I ain’t your son.
Officer Ratliff: If there’s something we can do —
David: Who did it?
David: Who did it?
Officer Ratliff: That’s a matter for the authorities. This is an official investigation —
David: You tellin’ me my uncle’s dead and I wanna know who did it!
Officer Ratliff: Why?
David: So I know who needs to pay.
Officer Ratliff: I’m real sorry, Sally.
Sally: [words slurred] But… [inaudible]…what we gonna do about money? Will paid for the food —
Aaron: We’ll figure something out —
Sally: What’s everyone gonna do? The town —
Officer Ratliff: Now, you don’t have to worry about that now. Go on home with Aaron and take care of yourself. Someone will come down and make sure Silver Birch is all right.
Sally: But —
Aaron: Ma, let’s go home.
Sally: Ned, please. If Will’s gone, I can’t…[Hiccup. Inaudible.]…promise you’ll make sure we’re all right. You’ll take care of us.
Officer Ratliff: ‘Course I’ll do everything I can. But you know I can’t promise —
Aaron: I will. [Shuffling sound] I promise I’ll take of you. You don’t have to worry about Will.
Sally: [inaudible]…what we gonna do, baby?
[A clatter. Sound of sliding chairs.]
Officer Ratliff: Here. Let me help…
Aaron: Come on. Put your arm around me. There. [soft grunt]. Okay, hold on.
Sally: [mumbles]…said he wouldn’t leave and now he ain’t comin’ back—
Aaron: But I’m here. No, no, door’s that way…[inaudible] Hold on tight. I won’t leave you.
Sally: Someone took him away, baby…[inaudible]…took that place away.
Aaron: I know —
Officer Ratliff: I’ll get to the bottom of it. Don’t you worry about that.
Aaron: We’ll all help find who did this. To you, to me, to this town.
Sally: [whispers] You’re so good to me, baby…[inaudible]…such a good boy.
Aaron: Don’t worry, Ma. Don’t worry. We’ll find ‘em.
I promised you the first extended excerpt from Breaker once we reached 1000 adds on GoodReads…and you guys did it!!
I got so excited I even decided to hold a special Halloween giveaway 🙂
Before I share all of that, a quick reminder:
Now, here’s that excerpt you’ve been waiting for – enjoy! 🙂
We turned down a dirt trail that wound into Acadia National Forest. Maple and spruce trees cocooned us, their straight trunks casting shadowy masts in the moonlight. The car’s lights flashed across several abandoned cottages. Darkened windows stared at us like empty eyes.
Frances took another left and the pull of the ocean strengthened as she cut toward the coast. Soon, the dirt trail smoothed into paved asphalt and the tree density lessened until the forest abruptly ended.
According to Jeeves’ debriefing, Merbais had been here for hundreds of years, long before the French arrived and named the island île des Monts Déserts because of the craggy cliffs towering over the sea. While it wasn’t the wealthiest or most populated community, it possessed a striking landscape of mountains, rivers, lakes, and bluffs against the powerful Atlantic ocean. Winters were harsh, but the community lived in perfect balance between nature and sea.
No boundaries or gates separated it from the surrounding beauty. Even the paved road sloped and lilted, meandering as if following an invisible course laid out by the island.
Merbais almost seemed to have sprung, perfectly formed, out of the ground.
Frances slowed the car. Shards of glass littered porches and front steps. Smashed doors hung off frames. Broken windows and damaged wood marred once pristine cottages.
To our right was a small, boxy building with a crimson handprint smeared across the bright white siding. The sign above the door read “Merbais Sundries” in neat letters.
A small exhale from behind me. “Oh.”
Ahead, a cluster of cars and buildings indicated the town’s main junction. Frances pulled over and parked a few blocks away.
“The losses…” Her fingers tightened around the wheel. She cleared her throat. “The losses are high.We had to covert our Academy’s cafeteria into a makeshift morgue.”
Hesitant, she glanced at me then at the rearview mirror. “You need to know.”
The warning wasn’t for me.
Patrice sat still and tall, pale hands folded on her lap. Her perfectly pressed teal designer suit appeared starkly out of place against the ripped fabric of the truck’s back seat.
The usual haughtiness hardened her face into ice. But what reflected in her eyes was a fear I’d once seen in a glittering white palace cradled on a bed of rugged cliffs.
Just as I was about to suggest she remain behind, she spoke. “I understand.”
She opened her door and I slowly exited the car after her. Maybe Julian’s mother had a stronger spine than I thought.
Patrice straightened her suit, expression smoothing into the kind of professional blankness you saw in career politicians.
Wariness quickly replaced my surprise.
Maybe she had something else planned.
Frances led the way. Patrice’s heels clicked against the sidewalk, the precise rap echoing down the empty street. The area had already been cleared, but stains of violence remained. An overturned garbage can. A bloodied hammer. A child’s shoe.
Stifling, overpowering currents of emotions surged against my Virtue as we neared the town square. I slammed my filters down, steeling myself for what lay ahead.
Worst of all was the silence. A thick blanket of grief suffocated the night, punctuated only by the occasional cries of utter despair.
This wasn’t an attack.
This was an annihilation.
Bodies lined the side of the road, covered in sheets and tablecloths. A few residents, their faces gaunt with shock, aimlessly staggered between corpses. Others collapsed beside cloth-covered shapes, haunted eyes blankly staring at the lumps and contours of the dead hidden beneath.
An ondine lay sprawled on the ground outside a café, her neck twisted at an awkward angle. She couldn’t have been older than twelve or thirteen. Her hair, a beautiful shade of flaxen gold, spilled across the sidewalk beside her, the tips tinged crimson from the blood pooling beneath a nearby body.
Nausea rose, flooding my mouth with an acidic taste.
She looked like Helene.
Someone hurriedly covered her with a cheerful, floral-patterned curtain.
Chevaliers and gardinels moved among the carnage, movements efficient and expressions numb. Blaise’s white-blond hair gleamed under the streetlamp beside a sign for the Merbais library. He and Ethan dragged a body toward a waiting truck.
A chevalier ran to Frances and whispered. She frowned.
“Is everything all right, Marquisa?” Patrice asked.
“An infrastructure problem I need to deal with.” Uncertainty flashed across her face. “Maybe you’d like to —“
“I’ll join you.” Patrice tilted her chin. “I’m sure my experience on the Council can prove useful in some way.”
Frances looked at me and I shook my head. “I’d like to take a look around.”
Patrice shot me a pitying glance. My political diplomacy skills clearly left room for improvement.
Frances didn’t take offense. “Come by my office when you’re done.”
After they left, I slowly picked a path through the debris. Here, in this vicious destruction of beauty, the Shadow had left something for me.
It was a certainty resonating deep in my bones, an instinct as strong as the stench of coppery blood, salty sea, and loamy mud assaulting my nose.
I stepped around chunks of wood, the edges jagged as if they’d been clawed off. On my left, long scratches marked the front door of a two-story home. A demillir’s head lolled on the porch near the front steps. The rest of him slumped by the door a few feet away, fingernails bloodied from his attempts to get in.
A slight movement came from the window. Ivory lace curtains shifted and a pale, wide-eyed child stared at me. What was etched into his face was a scar that would eventually fade over time. But it would never completely disappear.
He released the curtain and sank back into the darkness.
I pulled aside a nearby chevalier and gestured. “Kid’s in there.”
And because his job demanded it, the chevalier entered the bowels of the house and pulled back from the abyss yet another child who’d experienced something that never should’ve happened.
Stopping a recurrence meant ending this war.
But how do you find reason behind senselessness? How do you uncover logic behind depravity?
Where are you?
I scoured the eight blocks of the town center, desperate frustration mounting with each passing minute.
Nothing spoke to me.
No iris, no cryptic message, nothing I could use to understand what had happened here.
There was only death, raw and potent, an unadorned, merciless display of what he was capable of.
A SPOOKTACULAR GIVEAWAY
Halloween is just around the corner. In celebration of the season and as a thank you to my readers for getting us so quickly to our goal, I’m holding another giveaway!
One winner will receive the following prize pack:
- Signed paperback copies of Whirl, Billow, Crest, and Ondine Quartet Companion Works
- Signed swag
Contest is open US only and will end November 1, 2014. Winner will be announced here on this post and will be notified by e-mail. Winner will have 48 hours to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Author is not responsible for lost or damaged prizes.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
A reminder before I share today’s teaser: Breaker is currently available for pre-order at $0.99. Release day price will be $4.99.
>> Click here for details on how to receive a bonus post-Breaker short story during release week.
Releases December 29, 2014
Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Kobo | Amazon: Paperback
War. Prophecy. Freedom.
She fought for herself.
She fought for friendship and love.
Now, Kendra Irisavie fights for the survival of her world.
War rages on, leaving no one untouched. Destruction rips through elemental communities and terror flourishes in its wake. Suspicion soars, order fractures, and loyalties crumble despite Kendra’s desperate attempts to protect everyone she holds dear.
When an organized Aquidae army launches a series of merciless assaults, Kendra and her friends set out to end the bloodshed once and for all. With the fate of elementals hanging in balance, the Shadow and sondaleur hunt each other down in a brutal match of cunning and will.
Kendra has trained for this her entire life. But in a ravaged world where trust is scarce and no life is sacred, she soon realizes her battle may be against an invincible enemy and that her darkest days lie ahead.
Twists and turns shape her harrowing odyssey, leading to a stunning climax that challenges everything she believes in.
Torn between destiny and autonomy, Kendra must finally decide whether the cost of freedom is too high.
Heartbreaking decisions, turbulent alliances, and shattering revelations collide in Breaker, the explosive conclusion to the Ondine Quartet.
It’s been crazy busy around here. But a lot of exciting things will be happening over the next few weeks – can’t wait to share them with you!
Here’s your BREAKER snippet for today:
A tall, thin shadow separated from the line of trees and emerged from the darkness. Coarse, dark hair was messily tied back and a full beard now concealed his jawline. His leathery, tanned skin blended into the night.
“Why the hell are you following—“
He moved fast. I caught a streak of silver before cold metal pressed against my forehead.
Ray cocked his gun. “How do I know you are who you say you are?”
Moonlight shifted, catching the paranoia flashing through his eyes. Sudden moves were clearly out of the question.
The ground shuddered and groaned. Concrete continued splintering under the weakened structural integrity and slabs broke off the main foundation in rapid succession.
Another gust of wind cut across the bridge, howling through the yawning gap now separating me from the others.
The blue-black depths of the ocean beckoned a hundred yards below.
A cold lump of fear settled in the pit of my stomach.
I wasn’t going to make it.
Have you signed up for my newsletter? A never before seen short scene (from a surprise character’s point of view) will be sent out to subscribers tomorrow.
The scene won’t be shared on my blog or website for another three months – newsletter subscribers always get the first look! If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here.
And here’s your BREAKER snippet for today:
I smiled against his mouth. “You’re going to get me worked up.”
“I like you worked up.”