Wednesday, December 30, 2015

WIP Wednesday – Netherworld IV: Animal Attraction

I heard something crackle in the brush a few yards away. It sounded big and it was moving in our direction. It was only at that moment that I noted all bird cries in the area had gone quiet. Lana and Taylor exchanged a look.

Lana said, “Maybe a wild pig? Should we call out in case it’s a hunter?”

Taylor peered in the direction “It shouldn’t be since this is county land. Better safe than sorry. Hello!”

The noises ceased. The woods went completely silent with unnatural stillness. Lana and Taylor looked at each other again with real alarm in their eyes. A feral pig or one of the rare bears in the area were not things to mess with.

I said, “Hold on and I’ll check it out.”

Lana whispered my message to Taylor as I rushed towards where I’d heard the noise. I didn’t bother skirting the dense foliage, letting bushes and underbrush pass through my insubstantial body.

I hadn’t gone far when I trotted right through a human. I gasped as I found Cliff Tattingail behind a tree with several palmettos springing up around it. He was perfectly hidden so Taylor and Lana couldn’t see him from their position.

He was also watching them through the scope of the shotgun pointed in their direction.

No release date set.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

WIP Wednesday – Netherworld IV: Animal Attraction

Dan put his hands on his hips and looked up at the canopy of pines over our heads. The thin trunks and branches let us see that the night was clear and filled with stars.

He said, “It’s tough to figure anything out with all these trees. I don’t suppose your flying is any better yet?”

I cringed, but I knew it was our only option. “Actually the flying isn’t all that bad as long as I go straight and don’t mind jetting at supersonic speeds. I land with no problem too – if you have no problems with crash landings.”

Bless his heart, he looked genuinely sympathetic. “My poor girl.”

I mentally urged my pride to take a vacation, with the promise dignity wouldn’t be far behind it. “I suppose I should try. No laughing when I take out a tree.”

Dan didn’t crack a smile. “Never.” 

I squared my shoulders and set myself under the least amount of foliage in the area. I urged myself up and began to elevate.

As I’d told Dan, going straight is not that big a deal. I brushed up against the tips of a few limbs, but pretty much avoided smacking into anything. Within seconds I was up above the trees.

I kept climbing, wanting a good view of everything. Vampire vision is better than ghost vision. Plus certain things were lit up, making it easy to pick out landmarks. In the distance to the west of Highway 17, I saw the airfield. I decided certain lines of lights close to the dark ribbons of roads must be strip malls. Closer to my position, maybe seven miles away and more to the north, was the sprawl of the federal training academy. It had really grown over the years, making the facility about half the size of Fulton Falls.

Most of what lay beneath me was the swath of woods. A breeze through the pines whispered secrets that I couldn’t understand. About three miles away was one well-lit building that I couldn’t quite make out. And even closer, a tiny glimmer of light shone from deep in the trees.

I thought it would be worth my while to check out those two light sources, the smaller one first. Doing my best as usual to maintain a slow pace, I began to move towards the glimmer.

Before long I was zooming along and going faster all the time. I winced knowing how bad the eventual landing was going to be, but the tiny mote of light was getting bigger. Hopefully I wouldn’t flash by it so fast that I wouldn’t be able to pick out its source. I started trying to angle downward to pass as close to the tops of the pines as I was able.

I was almost directly over the light and not nearly as low as I wanted to be when I saw a flash of a different kind of light, sparking near the glimmer. I heard something whiz past my ear. Another flash. Another whiz came even closer. Then I heard the gunshots. 

I had the thought that bullets travel faster than sound before it occurred to me that I was being shot at. In a panic, I abruptly reversed course.

I have to give myself credit. Even though I was somersaulting wildly, I still managed to steer myself back in the direction I’d come from. As the sky and ground changed sides over and over at dizzying speeds, I caught sight of the highway here and there. I aimed for it as best I could. Some small rational part of me was sure I was out of the range of the gun, so I concentrated on slowing myself down as much as possible. With every rotation of my body, the treetops moved closer and closer. And then I was in them.

I stopped trying to fly and let myself drop. My yelps rang through the woods as I bounced off branches. The trees and my bones cracked as we did damage to each other. Pain came steadily, infuriating me.

It seemed like an eternity before I hit solid ground. My legs had been spared damage, and I was on my feet, fanged and ready to drain the bastard who’d shot. I barely noticed my left arm was hanging at a weird angle, useless at my side.

Someone was going down.

No release date set.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

December 2015 Update

Mmm-kay. I kind of fell off with doing monthly updates for a bit. A LOT has been going on at Casa St. John personally and professionally, so hopefully you’ll forgive me. Some challenging things, some great things ... but all of it means I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath!

I’m looking forward to 2016. Exciting things are afoot, my friends. I signed with an agent who knows Kalquor top to bottom and loves our alien guys as much as we do. She has some thrilling ideas about where the Kalquorian universe could go next. More clans in more places? Keep your fingers crossed!
Because of this new development, the release of Netherworld IV: Animal Attraction is being delayed while everyone gets up to speed. I will update its status as soon as I can. NIV:AA is in final edits now, so once we figure out what we want to do with this series, the newest installment will be ready to go. By the way, Netherworld I: Drop Dead Sexy is still 99 cents as an e-book. You’ll want to scoop it up while it lasts. It’s available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and All Romance.

I will start outlining Clans of Kalquor 10 at the start of the new year. It’s time for Tasha’s story! I am excited. I’ve been given a few peeks into what lies ahead, but there are so many different directions it can go. As usual, my characters are teasing me – but they don’t usually start playing with my head this early on! Tasha and others are definitely up to no good.

Let’s talk Shalia’s Diary for a bit now. The seventh storyline wraps up Monday. As I warned you at the outset of this current story, this was more of a set-up of future stories than an individual tale. Because of that, I don’t want to release it as a separate book ... it doesn’t hold up as one in my opinion.

What was originally considered the next tale (eighth storyline) in Shalia’s saga cranks up January 4. It is a story like those appearing in Books 1 – 6. What I’ve decided to do is post it on the blog as usual. When it is done with its run, I will combine it with the ‘set-up’ storyline that you’re currently reading in a single book. So Storylines 7 and 8 will become Book 7.

Got it? Good.

I want to wish all my readers the most beautiful of holidays. Whatever joyous occasion you celebrate, I wish you happiness, health, and a fantastic new year. Thank you all for a wonderful 2015! You are the best.

Much love,


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday – Netherworld IV: Animal Attraction

The body was only a few steps away from the sheriff. A couple deputies were taping the area off for the crime scene unit to go over once they arrived. It was still uncovered, so the discovery had to be pretty fresh. One glance and I had to look away. The victim was bloated, so he’d been out here a few days. It was also obvious he wasn’t whole. I glimpsed some ragged tears on the swollen flesh. My bet was, the feral hogs in the area had taken a few bites of the poor guy. 

Thank goodness I didn’t need to breathe. From the way the officers held their hands over their noses, the guy was pretty ripe. How Grayson could stand there so stoic was beyond me. But then, Grayson has seen some messed up stuff. As small as Fulton Falls and Ford County are, we still have our share of murder, much of it the messy variety.

I steeled myself to take another look. It wasn’t morbid curiosity. I needed to see the dead man’s face. I walked over and stared into the upturned face.

He’d been a hog shifter. The snout and small tusks were a giveaway. There had been five werehogs on the missing list. I inspected the shape of his wide staring eyes, the color of his hair, the jaw structure.

Dan had come over with me. I told him, “I’m not sure because of the shape he’s in, but this man may be one of Levi’s instructors. He looks vaguely familiar, similar to the picture Levi gave me.”

Behind me, Grayson spoke up. “Charlie, you said you smelled nitro coming from the body?”

A werehog deputy paused putting up the tape. “Pretty sure I did, Sheriff, though the decomp is kind of overwhelming the scent. I’d lay odds he was shot. Smelled like some Russian import stuff. Or low-grade domestic.”

“Shot with nitro?” I asked Dan. 

“He must be referring to nitrocellulose. It’s the propellant used in bullets.” Dan looked over the scene and shook his head, his face long with dismay. “Man. What an ugly way to die.”

I saw what he was talking about. The body was at the end of a trail of blood, which wove a path deeper into the woods. He’d been hurt elsewhere and made his way only steps from the road. If I had to judge from the amount of blood in his wake, he must have suffered awfully.

I looked around my surroundings again, suddenly spooked. Dan noticed. “What is it?”

I licked my lips. “It kind of reminds me of where my body ended up after I was killed.”

No release date set.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

WIP Wednesday – Netherworld IV: Animal Attraction

I slowly rose, concentrating on drifting upward rather than lifting off. I was aware of Wendy keeping close watch.

I was about ten feet off the ground. My coach called, “Remember, serene! Just like you’re doing now. That’s great, Brandilynn.”

I tried to hold onto that light as a feather feeling as I rose slowly into the air. “Just a little pixie dust and we’re off to Neverland,” I muttered. 

I was high enough now. I willed myself to move forward, trying to go slow. The magnolia tree in the distance was coming close. It was one of those that didn’t shed its leaves in the winter, and with my vampire sight I could see the veins in the dark green foliage. 

Darn it, the tree was coming at me faster despite all my attempts to keep my pace gradual. It was already a matter of feet away. I tried to slow down. My body began jerking and plunged towards the ground for a brief second.

“Around the tree. Around the tree,” I coaxed, my voice rising in desperation. I jolted to one side. It wasn’t pretty, but I avoided collision. I sailed past the magnolia, again picking up speed.

“Slow turn, slow turn, slow turn,” I chanted, still trying to will my power to behave. My body jerked harder than ever, making me look like a marionette being flung about.

A surge of anger flashed at my inability to control what seemed to come so easily to the other vampires. With the moment of temper, I lost my tenuous power over the ability. I abruptly twisted in the air, bringing me face to trunk with the tree. I shot straight for it.

At the last second, I managed to veer off to one side. I missed the trunk but still smacked into several large branches. Gravity took the last of my conscience influence away, and I landed in a heap at the foot of the tree.

Pain and disappointment robbed me of my usual abhorrence for vulgar language. I let loose with profanity that would make a sailor proud. It was the crowning moment of my failure.

Once I’d emptied my store of potty mouth, I slowly sat up. The one good thing about my situation was having an undead body that healed quickly. 

My moment of thankfulness was interrupted by loud boisterous laughter. Someone was finding my predicament funny, and that made me mad all over again. I shot to my feet and readied to make someone pay.

It was neither Wendy nor Gerald enjoying so much amusement at my expense. I looked in the direction of their stares to see Arthur Dragwald approaching us from the wooded area flanking one side of the field. His gait was impeded by the fact he was nearly doubled over in laughter.

Had he been watching the entire time? Why was he here at all?

Important questions, but my confusion was quickly eclipsed at his hilarity over my latest mishap. Anger rose higher with every rude guffaw.

“See something funny, Arthur?” My voice was dangerous without effort.

He managed to calm enough to speak. “Oh my, yes. Right into the tree! Ah, poor tree, do you think it will survive?”

He drew close. As furious as I was, I couldn’t help but notice that funny charred smell of his. It was different from anyone I’d ever met, though I could have sworn I’d come across it before. It was a vital scent, one that made me think of jalapenos or wasabi. I thought he might be a livelier bite than even Gerald. 

Plus giving him a nice big chomp would shut him up. 

I did make the attempt to be reasonable though I felt anything but that. “You do know laughing at a new vampire, one with little control over her emotions, is an invitation to trouble don’t you?”

Arthur stopped a couple of feet away. His eyes narrowed but the mocking grin remained. “Do you want a taste, young lady? I warn you, it could be a very bad idea.”

For him, yeah. “Keep irritating me, and you’ll find out just how bad an idea it is.”

No release date set.