Friday, February 13, 2015

Cover Reveal: A World Apart (Shades Below, #1)

It's that moment you've all been waiting for!

Okay, maybe not. But I'VE been excited for this moment ever since my lovely and talented friend and cover artist sent me her newest creation.

If you're a writer, there are all kinds of questions you face when starting a new series. Questions about characters, questions about theme and plot and story arcs. If you're a self-publishing writer, you have even more questions.

To blog tour or not to blog tour?

Pay for publicity, or try to drum up buzz on your own?

Perhaps most importantly, the cover. What is your cover going to say, not just about the book it's gracing, but about the rest of the series? The first cover in a series is arguably the most important one. It's the first face people see. It's what sells your anchor book long before readers (hopefully) fall in love with it.

A World Apart--and by extension, the Shades Below series--now has a face. And might I just say, I think it's a pretty bitchin' one.

But enough talk.

"There are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian.  It's my job to bump back."

Private investigator Jesper MacMillian was sure he'd seen it all.  After all, in a city like San Francisco, strange is what's for breakfast.  Following a long  recovery after a horrific accident, his life is finally the way he wants it- or at least, close enough.  The only monsters on his radar are the ones that keep him awake at night.

All that changes the day he meets Lena Alan.

Before MacMillian has a chance to brace for impact, Lena drags him into a world where monsters aren't just real, they're hiding in plain sight.  Suddenly, everything he knows is suspect, starting with his current case.  For Lena, a medium since childhood, it's just another day at the office.

For MacMillian, it's the beginning of the end of everything he thinks he knows.



It was cold in the small concrete chamber.

A draft whistled through the tunnels, carrying with it the smell of liquid garbage and roast meat.  Duck, if he wasn't mistaken.  The man drew a deep, cleansing breath.  Minutes earlier, the only thing he'd been able to smell was fear.  All he'd been able to hear were screams.

Not anymore.

Now, the slight, dirty figure on the table before him was still and silent.  Now, if he listened closely, he could hear the sounds of traffic, the buzz of the street car lines embedded in the concrete overhead.

The young man's pleas still grated in his ears.  Poor fellow.  He'd tried to end it quickly, but there were certain things required for the ritual, things necessarily obtained while blood still pumped through his unwitting assistant's veins.  He pressed a hand to the man's pale forehead and reminded himself --not for the first time-- why he was doing this.

He glanced at the other table in the far corner of the chamber.  The figure that lay on it was covered with a shroud, but he could picture the face as clearly as if it were his own.  In a way, it almost was.
It would all be worth it in the end.  For the sake of his soul, it had to be.

He moved quickly.  The young man's chest was already laid open, the smooth, white ribs carefully cracked and pried apart.  The entire cavity was brimming with blood.  Its coppery stench hung heavy in the air, like some rare and forbidden perfume.

The rest of the ingredients waited in stinking repose on the cart beside the table: magical elixirs distilled under the full moon.  Marrow.  Stones.  Various entrails of various profane animals.  The ashes of a bird, so long extinct its very existence had passed into the realm of myth.

He'd poured his life's savings into obtaining it all, but after countless failed attempts, his supplies were dwindling.  He glanced at the other table again, and his chest tightened.

He couldn't fail again.  He wouldn't fail again.

The incantation was so familiar now he could recite it by rote.  The ancient words twisted and flowed over his tongue.  As he spoke, he began to move.  All great spells started with movement; he knew that now.  He knew many things now, many more than when he'd begun.  Movement was meditation, a journey into oblivion, a way to connect with the divine.

And so he moved.  He flailed his arms and stomped his feet and whirled around in a circle, again and again and again.  His rational brain started to recede.  Foam flecked the corners of his mouth.  He slipped further and further into the frenzied zen he'd come to know so well.

He was still reciting the incantation, screaming it now.  Just before he lost himself completely, he shrieked out the final, blasphemous word.  The energy abruptly sapped from his muscles.  He collapsed to the ground.  Waited.


He curled his fingers into the cold floor.  The sound that rose from his throat was hardly human.  Of course, after everything he'd done, he was fairly sure he'd sacrificed his humanity long ago.  What was he doing wrong?  He had followed the spell to the letter, every time.  And every time, he had failed.

He sighed, and hauled himself to his feet.  His bones creaked, and he had fresh bruises on his knees.  Failure wasn't enough; now he would be reminded of it for days to come.  He dusted off his trousers and cinched his tie closer to his throat.

At least he still had options.  He reached under the table, retrieved the pocketknife and the blank strip of leather he already had waiting.  Then he gritted his teeth, and drew the sharp edge of the blade across his palm.  Blood sprang to the surface.

He smoothed the leather flat on the table, dipped one finger into the wound, and started to write.


Release Date: March 21, 2015!

This is a blog train, and there are more excerpts to read!
I have some awesome friends I'd like you to meet! Each of these fabulous bloggers has volunteered to host a different excerpt from A World Apart on their blog. Stop by, give them some love, and read what happens next!

1st Stop: L.J.K. Oliva Books <<You Are Here
7th Stop: The DarkerSide
8th Stop: Write Bitches

Hit all the stops to read A World Apart up through Chapter 2!


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  1. Very good! Best wishes from a friend from afar. Just kidding. I am happy for you.

    1. Haha, thanks Mr. G. "Sea" Hall ;-)

    2. Thanks, Kendall! Amy Mateyka is a bona fide genius. Thanks for stopping by!

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