Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BLOODY SEPTEMBER! A truly unique giveaway and a chance to help somebody out!

Attention all thralls!

Did you know that blood donations in the U.S. are down at least 10%? Well, I didn't know it either, until last night when I happened on the statistics online and started to think that it might be time for me to make a donation. After all, who cares more about a blood shortage than someone who writes about vampires? I spend a lot of my time thinking about thralls (the ultimate donors!)  but I had never actually gotten around to donating blood myself. In fact, I didn't actually get around to making the appointment last night, either.

Then, this morning, something cool happened.

I got a phone call from our local blood bank! They were just calling people at random to encourage them to donate - that's how bad the need has gotten! - but I took the timing as a sign. I made an appointment to give blood for the first time at 10 a.m.
Sept. 1. And you know what? I felt pretty good!

So good, in fact, that I started to think about ways to encourage other people to donate, too. What if we did a book giveaway for anyone willing to get in touch with their inner thrall? I contacted some of my very favorite paranormal authors and the response was off the chain! Nichole Chase offered copies of her YA paranormal Mortal Obligation (which I just read and loved!). Elizabeth Hunter, whose Elemental Mysteries series has been climbing the charts, declared it "Bloody September" and in minutes had a wordpress site set up for the giveaway. Killian McRae offered an ARC of her new paranormal romance Pure and Sinful and made us a widget so cute it's scary. In a matter of hours, we had lined up a dream giveaway with donations coming from as far away as Samoa (Lani Wendt Young's Telesa!) and as near to me as St. Paul (Tate Hallaway's Tall, Dark and Deadly and her new urban fantasy, Precinct 13!) And the momentum just keeps growing!

So here's where you come in: Check out the incredible lineup of authors on the Bloody September site. Then follow the Red Cross link on the site to find a blood donation center near you and set up a time to donate. Send a picture of you giving blood (to BloodySeptember2012@yahoo.com) and you're entered for a chance to win!

But even more important than that, you'll know that your thrallish ways just might save a life. Chances are you'll never have to fight off a werewolf attack or rescue a friend from the undead, but you can still be a hero to someone in need. Just ask yourself, What would Emmie do? ;) And stay tuned for pictures of my own blood donor adventure come Sept 1!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Full Moon Clip From Crossfire

Hi, all! In honor of the full moon, I decided to share a passage I've been working on from CROSSFIRE. In this chapter, Ander's younger brother D.J. is about to experience his first full moon a a werewolf. Ander, Cicely and Naomi have him chained down, and they are waiting for the moon to rise. This is from Ander's point of view, and it is a work in progress. (If you would rather watch a video of me reading this, I just posted one on the Darkride facebook page :)

             Naomi nods thoughtfully. “Good. But I know it’s still hard to watch someone else transform. It’s a helpless feeling.”

           “Yeah,” I say, “I mean, I’m happy that I don’t wolf out like that any more, believe me, but it’s almost worse, worrying about somebody else. I almost wish it could be me, you know?”

            “Survivor guilt,” Cicely says. I had almost forgotten she was there, she has been so quiet. “You feel bad for being the one who isn’t suffering. You feel like it should be you, like you don’t deserve to be the one who escaped.”

            I know we aren’t just talking about D.J. any more, and I also know she’s right. Looking at D.J. chained to the wall brings me right back to the helplessness I felt as I watched Cicely die. I can’t save D.J. from turning, any more than I could save Cicely from getting vamped. The irony of it never ceases to amaze me: I more powerful than any human could dream of being, but I’m powerless over this. I’m Super Man, but I can’t save anyone. I’m finally in control of myself, but I can’t control anything else.

            Naomi reaches out a hand towards me, then quickly draws it back. I know she’s itching to touch me, to charm me, but she isn’t going to do it in front of Cicely.

            Instead, she lays her hand on D.J.’s shoulder, and I picture the energy flowing into him like honey. “Jonah used to read a lot,” she says.

It’s the first time she has talked about her lost love in a while. I don’t want to scare her away from the subject, so I try to sound casual. “Yeah? What did he read?”

“Everything. Research about wolves. Folk tales about lycanthropy. Poetry.”

“Poetry?” It’s hard for me to picture a werewolf sitting around reading poems.

Naomi smiles at the look on my face. “There can be answers in poetry, too, Ander, and we were looking for answers. Jonah loved poetry. But his real love was mythology. Did you know that, in the Norse myths, the cosmic wolf is destined to destroy the world?”

            “Sounds right,” I say. “I’ve felt like I was going to destroy the world a bunch of times.”

            “Why hasn’t he? Destroyed the world, I mean?” Cicely says. I’m not sure if she’s talking about me or the cosmic wolf.

            “Well,” Naomi’s hand moves to the silver plated chains that hold D.J.’s arm. “The gods keep him tied down. At first they tried to bind him with the world’s strongest chains, but he broke them.”

            I laugh nervously. “You consider this a pep talk, Naomi?”

            Cicely laughs, too.  Naomi gives me a look. “They found something better!” she says, “The dwarves told them they needed to weave a rope out of six impossible things.”

            “Yeah?” I say, “Like what?”

            Naomi’s brow furrows as she struggles to remember. “The root of a mountain, I think? The breath of a fish? Stuff like that.”

            I feel disappointed in spite of myself. For a second I had hoped there was some real answer hidden in the myth. “The breath of a fish doesn’t sound that strong,” I note.

            Cicely grins. “Strong smelling, maybe.”

             D.J. stirs and opens his eyes.

            “Well,” Naomi smiles kindly at him, “The point is, it worked. They wove the rope of impossible things, and even though it was as thin and soft as spider silk, it still held the wolf down and kept him from destroying the world.”

            “Six impossible things,” I say skeptically.

            “Before breakfast!” Cicely adds. We all look at her like she’s crazy. “You know? That line from Alice in Wonderland? The Queen says she tries to do six impossible things before breakfast.”

            Something about her words makes me think of Michael, shuffling around the kitchen after a long night at the bar, trying to make another batch of potion for me before I leave for school in the morning. Trying to hit on the six impossible things that would keep me from destroying the world that day.

            “And he’ll never break out?” D.J.’s voice is hoarse with pain. I didn’t think he had been listening. He’s scared, I can tell, no matter how hard he tries to hide it.

            “Well…” Naomi reaches out one cautious hand to stroke D.J.’s cheek. I see him relax little at her charming touch, but not that much. “The truth is, they didn’t believe it could hold forever. They believed the wolf would some day get free.”

            Cicely widens her eyes at Naomi to say why are you telling him this?

            “But the point,” Naomi says quickly, “is that, even if the wolf destroys the world some day, today is not the day.”

            Today is not the end of the world. Well, maybe not for all of us, but for D.J. it’s the end of the world as he has known it, the beginning of another life, and no matter how strong he thinks he is or how ready, it’s going to feel like that cosmic wolf has swallowed him whole. That much I know for sure.

            Cicely slips her hand into mine and gives it a little squeeze. She looks up at me and smiles her most reassuring smile. It makes me think of all the little things that bind us – the impossible things, the things that shouldn’t be. They may be soft as spider silk – soft as Cicely’s hand in mine – but they keep us from hurting each other, no matter how bad we want to. Tonight we will wrap D.J. in the strongest chains, but ultimately that’s not what will keep him from hurting someone. Cicely has told me about the night of the Fall Formal, when I chased her across the fields behind the school, how I caught her, but then hesitated for just a second when I looked into her eyes. And I let her go. I can’t remember that, of course, and I’m not sure what to make of it, but I know what Michael would say: It’s the little threads that connect is too each other – the little threads that connect us to our real selves - that keep us from destroying the world.

            And we’ve just gotta pray they hold.