Blood Mercy

Houses of the Dead cover

Today I have the privilege of hosting two creative, interesting women on my blog, and highlighting their new paranormal novella, Thicker Than Water, the first in the Blood Mercy series. It’s an illustrated novella, something I haven’t seen a lot of in adult genres.

This was a no-brainer for me. Paranormal is my favorite genre, of course. And vampires? As long as they don’t sparkle, I’m all in. I was more than happy to dive into this story and be a part of the blog tour.

Now, this was originally supposed to be a character interview with Melrose and Lucy. But, saying those two have issues is a gross understatement. Melrose cancelled, muttering something about a spot on his suit and things he had to do. And Lucy, well bless her heart, she’s been hiding out all week, asking herself questions out loud (and answering them). Every time I got close to ask her if we could talk, her eyes filled with blood lust, she got a weird look on her face and…Yeah. I may be a pretty good fighter, but against a vamp? Nah. I prefer not to be her sanguine meal, thanks.

So, I talked their creators into having a little convo with me instead. Without further ado, I give you Janeen Ippolito and Julia Busko.



What inspired your collaboration? How did you get started?

JB: I’m the type of person who is constantly creating new story ideas, and Janeen’s the type of person who is constantly connecting ideas and pushing towards a finished goal (which is something I lack, hahaha). We’re similar enough that our visions meld well, and different enough that we each bring something unique to the table. We both have a love for horror and monsters, and we both are inspired by the lessons we can learn through their stories.

JI: Ditto.

I love the premise and the new take on vampires and how they are made. I also really love the issues you’ve given each one. What inspired this book?

JB: It started as a role-playing game with friends, and then eventually Janeen and I realized the stories we were telling would make a fantastic book, and here we are!

      JI: Yeah, Julia and I met at work and started talking about stories. From there it was text message after text message writing scenes and characters and plotting all kinds of awful disasters.

 

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I’ve never collaborated with someone else in writing before, though I have a few joint ventures in talks. So, I’m curious about the process. What does a typical writing/creating session look like for you?

     JB: Oh, gosh. Insanity. Both Janeen and I are attracted to shinies (Janeen) and rabbit holes (me), so in the span of a few hours we will have discussed the plot of the book itself, backstories of the characters, tweaks to world-building, and the exact nature of a Jackalope and its relation to a Unicorn.

     JI: The Jackalope and Unicorn discussion was VITAL. As are all the random music searches on YouTube. And the other YouTube videos. All part of the creative process.

     JB: So, although incredibly non-linear, our creative sessions tend towards fun, energetic, and, oddly, focused. We both love to play, but we also both know when to be serious.

I definitely understand the rabbit trail of searching for music! I can get lost in finding the perfect song.

If you could tell yourselves anything when you first began collaborating, what would it be?

     JB: Stop throwing in the kitchen sink, your story arc looks like a glacier.

     JI: Write more things down. Text message is a bear to transcribe. Once I discovered Google Chats, life got easier, because we could copy and paste from transcripts. Oh, and when painting a prop for a student play, open the window. And definitely don’t ignore the fumes in favor of story-texting with a friend.

     JB: But when all-else fails, forgetting to open the window when using Goo-Gone will result in making an awesome new friend.

     JI: Yes! As well as nausea. But not over the friend.

Okay, I don’t think I’ll ask any more about the fumes and the results of that! So…

I have a thing about names. In my own stories, I like the names to have particular meanings. I can spend hours pouring over name sites. How did you select character names for Thicker Than Water?

JB: I look at either a portrait of them I’ve sketched or the face reference I have for them, and I consider their journey, their backstory, and their personality. From that, I generally get an idea of how I want their name to “feel” (strong, bold, gentle, weak, timid, etc). Often times, that’s paired with a sound I want in their name (be it an “Oh” sound, or I want their name to start with a “Jay” sound, or even I have a specific first letter in mind). From there I either narrow my search to a specific language (the website I use has a “sort by country” filter) and go through the list, comparing them to my character’s reference.

 JI: They often come named and refuse to answer to anything else. Which is fun when Julia wants to hunt down names, and I’m stubbornly clinging to the ones in my head. I’m also fussy about making sure there is naming diversity within stories.

Julia, your process sounds a lot like mine. Though I have had a few characters, Like Janeen, come to me already named.

   How many more books will be in this series?

JB: could be 4 books, could be more. Current plan is 4, but I know us well enough to not limit ourselves.

   JI: not including spinoffs!

 

   Okay, last question. What is something you want readers to take away from this series?

     JB: There are monsters in every one of us, and we are more than the horror within ourselves.

 JI: Being born with an issue, ailment, disability, or other chronic illness can define your life, but doesn’t have to define your identity. Everyone is given a particular set of conditions and life experiences, but there is also hope even in darkness. And everyone should consider carefully what they choose to cling to when life turns horrible. We humans have a nasty tendency to indulge destructive habits rather than healing ones.

Also, dachshunds are amazing.

JB: And onion rings go really well with vanilla milkshakes. Try it! Or with French fries, that’s tasty too.

I could argue chocolate shakes go better with fries, but I don’t think you want to get into that here. 😉

Thank you both so much for joining me today! It was a blast!



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Be sure and get your copy of Blood Mercy: Thicker Than Water!

What would you do if the one you loved was turned into a monster?

Melrose Durante brings order. As founder of the Houses of the Dead, he tirelessly opposes the vampires, and provides refuge for the Blood Kind, those like himself who fight against the blood curse that leads to vampirism. His medical breakthroughs have brought many back from the vampire path. After thousands of years, the Blood Kind finally has the upper hand.

Until a vampire attacks Melrose’s family, then begs for asylum. To his friends she’s Lucy, a disturbed young woman prone to incoherent rants, warning of an imminent attack by vampire leader, Conan. But to Melrose she’s something more.

His lost wife, Jane.

One thing is clear – time is running out. In five days Conan will attack Quebec City, killing or enslaving all in his way. If Melrose cannot unlock his wife’s tormented mind, even his immortal wisdom may not be enough to save Quebec City, the Blood Kind, and the Houses of the Dead.

 

Blood Mercy Official Website: http://www.bloodmercy.wordpress.com

Amazon Preorder Link: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Mercy-Thicker-Than-Water-ebook/dp/B01L47ILUS

Uncommon Universes Press Website: http://www.uncommonuniverses.com



2016janeenheadshotJaneen Ippolito

 

Author Bio: Janeen Ippolito is an idea-charged teacher, reader, writer, book reviewer, and the Fearless Leader of Uncommon Universes Press. She writes nonfiction writing help and speculative fiction laced with horror, humor, and cultural tension. Her co-written illustrated novella, Blood Mercy: Thicker Than Water, releases on October 29th.  In her nonexistent spare time she reads, cooks, and sword-fights. Two of her dreams are to eat a fried tarantula and to travel to Antarctica. Go to janeenippolito.com for world-building resources and off-the-wall insights from this sleep-deprived author.

 

Social Media Links

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitowriter/

Twitter: @TheQuietPen

Website: http://www.janeenippolito.com

Instagam: janeen_ippolito

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14112384.Janeen_Ippolito

Pinterest: Janeen Ippolito


2016juliaheadshotJulia Busko

 

Author Bio: Julia Busko (like “bus” and “co.”) is an illustrator, designer, writer, and the Elusive Unicorn (art director) of Uncommon Universes Press.  In addition to co-writing with Janeen Ippolito, Julia has created book covers, made logos and t-shirt designs, and is planning a series of steampunk fairy tale picture books. In her spare time she dances with a local company and watches documentaries and horror movies. She strives for art filled with creative wonder and the beauty inherent in tragedy. Go to juliabusko.com to dive into a world of remarkable visions and artistic musings.

 

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JuliabuskoIllustrator/

Website: http://www.juliabusko.com

Instagram: juliabuskoillustration

Pinterest: Julia Busko


And don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour! Don’t miss out on all the fun.

Monday, October 17th – Deanna Fugett – Interview on Quills and Inkblotts (http://quillsandinkblotts.blogspot.com/)
Tuesday, October 18th – Blood Mercy: Thicker Than Water on The Write Stuff with Parker J. Cole
Thursday, October 20th – Tina Yeager – Blood Kind and Mental/Physical Disorders (http://www.tyeagerwrites.com/)
Monday, October 24th – Laura Vanarendonk Baugh – Dracula, Tropes, other Inspirations(http://lauravanarendonkbaugh.com/blog/)
 
Wednesday, October 26th – Bethany Jennings – Character MBTI Personalities (http://simmeringmind.com/)
Friday, October 28th – Ashley Townsend – Special Interview (https://ashley-townsend.com/)
 
Saturday, October 29th – Launch Party on Facebook! 8 pm-10pm (EST) (https://www.facebook.com/events/1846423622258672/)
Monday, October 31st – GEKE’s Article on New Author’s Fellowship (https://newauthors.wordpress.com/)
Wednesday, November 2 – Ashley Townsend – Behind-the-Scenes Feature (https://ashley-townsend.com/)
Friday, November 4 – H.A. Titus – Special Interview (https://hatitus.com/)

It’s a Zombie Takeover!

Today I have a special guest: Author Michele Israel Harper from L2L2 Publishing Inc.
Before we get into the interview, though, I’d like to tell you a bit more about her and her latest novel, Zombie Takeover.
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I was the bravest, fiercest warrior, single-handedly stopping the zombie apocalypse and earning the respect and admiration of those who fought with me.
Just kidding.
I pretty much peed my pants and wasted a ton of ammo. At least everyone else shot what they were aiming at.
Me? Not so much.
This is my story—me, Candace Marshall, the world’s biggest scaredy-cat, facing my biggest fear. Zombies. It was awesome. (As in, not at all.)
Candace Marshall hates zombie movies. She hates anything scary, in fact. In his usual, not-so thoughtful way, her boyfriend surprises her with advanced screening tickets to the latest zombie flick, complete with interactive features and a tour. She refuses to watch it, but it doesn’t matter.
Horror becomes reality when an experiment gone wrong transforms her peaceful town
into a mess of slathering zombies. Thrown together with the only other survivor, Gavin
Bailey, her favorite actor and secret crush, she somehow fights her way through the mess, 
making plenty of blunders and surprising herself with…courage?
But, just when Candace thinks it can’t get worse than zombies, it does.

Author Head Shot Michele
Michele Israel Harper spends her days as a stayat-home mom and her nights typing 
away furiously on her laptop. Sleep? Sometimes… A member of the Heartland Christian Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, as well as the treasurer for the Indiana chapter of ACFW, Michele has her bachelor’s degree in History and can most often be found with her nose in a book when not chasing her two rambunctious boys or cuddling her new  baby daughter. Visit her website at http://www.MicheleIsraelHarper.coto learn more about her.

I recently had a conversation with Michele that started out as a serious interview. You know, hard-hitting journalism at its best. 
Okay, so I’m kidding. But I did try to be serious.
It just wasn’t happening.
This book and Michele herself are just too much fun! And if you know me at all, you know I just can’t seem to help myself when it comes to cutting up and asking off-the-wall questions.
So here it is, burning questions and sometimes hilarious answers from Michele Harper!
A: Michele, thanks so much for joining me on Guts On The Page. (Funny, since we’re talking all things zombie-licious!)
M: Thank you so much for having me today, Amy!
A: On to the questions. Zombie Takeover seems to be a bit of a variation on the types of stories you normally write. What prompted you to write a zombie story? Do you have a secret love of all things zombie that we don’t know about?
M: Zombie Takeover was actually the second book I ever wrote. (The first was a historical romance I trashed. Believe me. It needed to be. It. Was. Awful.) I hate all things scary, all things zombie, and all things gross, so it blew me away I had this burning story I had to tell—about zombies! What on earth?
maxresdefault (1)A: Candace says she’s the biggest scaredy-cat in the world. So tell us, what’s your biggest fear? And, are you a fraidy cat or is there a bit of daredevil hidden in you?
M: I don’t like the dark, being alone in the dark, watching scary movies, being alone after watching scary movies, Halloween, or anything else scary. Period. Candace Marshall is probably the world’s second biggest scaredy-cat, come to think of it… But tell me I can’t do something, and I’ll just about kill myself trying. I have this crazy competitive streak that just isn’t healthy for me. But I must win! 😉 So…daredevil when it comes to non-horror-ish things!

A: ZT is next on my to-be-read list. I’ve heard there are some hilarious moments. I love a good laugh. I especially love pranks. The bigger the better. I’ve been known to design a few in my time. Like… short sheeting my church camp dorm mom’s bed, eggs included! (No proof was ever found to nail the culprit, so as long as she never reads this, I’m still in the clear!) Have you ever been one to pull pranks on people, and if so, what’s the biggest prank you’ve ever gotten away with?

M: Oh, yes. Pranks all the time—but in high school. I was way more fun back then. Every once in a while I get struck with a “Let’s move all of so-and-so’s furniture out of their house and do an Ashton Kutcher-worthy prank where they think their house has been sold or robbed” idea and my husband just looks at me. “Do you know how much time that would take? Where would you put the furniture?” And I have to back down. Sigh. Can’t think of something small. Of course.

A: So, say there’s a zombie apocalypse. What five fictional characters would you want in your group and why?

M: Doctor Who (but the eleventh). Because I’ve just discovered him, and I’d desperately hope he’d choose to whisk me away instead of investigating. Thor. Because lightning bolts would surely do some damage, right? Uh, Wolverine. He could hack them to pieces. I think that would stop a zombie. Gavin Bailey (if I were Candace). Because who wouldn’t want her biggest crush/movie star/guy who would do absolutely anything to save her and was pretty darn good at it? Ryn from The Faerie Guardian. Because he could write a door to a faerie path with his stylus and take me to a zombie-free part of the world. Okay, I’d take anyone who could keep me away from the creatures and make it so I wouldn’t have to look at their faces. I never, ever, ever want to see one in my entire life. Ever.
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A: Do you think you’d survive long? What would you do to ensure your survival? Would you be a hunter, or try to hide out as long as possible?

M: Are you kidding me? Running, screaming, crying? No way! But I did take martial arts, I’ve always been a fighter, and I love guns and weapons…so maybe? When I paintball, I’m extremely aggressive (and have won a few battles being the only remaining member of my team) and have no problem holing up for hours as I pick off members of the enemy team. Mwahahahaha. So, yes. I’ve changed my mind. I wouldn’t go down without a fight.

A: How many books do you have planned for this series? This is assuming Candace the scaredy-cat survives the initial onslaught and we see more of her. 😉 What kind of track do you see this story taking?

M: Spoilers, sweetie. (Sorry, couldn’t resist! I am a way bigger Doctor Who fan than I thought…) It all depends on whether Candace survives. I make no promises.

A: Zombies seem to be the “it” story line right now. Any thoughts on the current zombie craze, like maybe why the theme is so popular?

M: Nope, none at all because I avoid it. All of it. Scaredy-cat, remember? Maybe because they’re so deliciously creepy and people like to be scared? I don’t get it. (Maybe one of you can help me out with this one? What do you think?)

A: And finally, aside from all the laughs, screams, jump out of your seat moments, episodes of spontaneous shouting as we cheer on the heroine, and all around zombie fun, what do you want readers to take away from this story?

M: Fun. Just good, clean, edge-of-your-seat fun.
A: Now Michele has a few more words for you, the readers, and a question!
M: Thank you for reading this article! What about you? What uber-creepy creature is your fave lore, or you just can’t seem to get enough of?

Now, the fun doesn’t stop here! No way. This is just the beginning of what promises to be a blog tour full of fun, craziness, and laughs. 
First off, be sure and check out the Facebook party on July 14th. There will be prizes galore! Here’s the link so you can save it to your calendar. I highly suggest you get right on that. You won’t want to miss this!

Next, don’t forget to check out the next stops on the tour in the coming days. All the links are below. Each stop is different and will you give you something new from Michele and Zombie Takeover.
Thursday, July 7th: Amy Brock McNew (www.AmyBrockMcNew.comInterview
Friday, July 8th: Kristen Stieffel (www.newauthors.wordpress.comGuest Post
Saturday, July 9th: Laurie Lucking (www.landsuncharted.comMy Top 3 Spec Fic Picks
Sunday, July 10th: Robin Pack (www.snippetsoffaith.comBook Review
Monday, July 11th: Robin Scobee (www.quillsandinkblotts.blogspot.comBook Review
Tuesday, July 12th: Michele Israel Harper (www.MicheleIsraelHarper.comRelease Day Feature
Wednesday, July 13th: Jennette Mbewe (www.jlmbewe.comCandid with Candace: Surviving the Zombie Takeover
Thursday, July 14th: Shayla Eaton (www.curiouserediting.com/blog) Review/Facebook Party
Friday, July 15th: Ralene Burke (www.RaleneBurke.comPost-Launch Feature

Thank you all for joining Michele and myself today. Now go reserve your copy of Zombie Takeover for only 1.99! Seriously. Go now!

A Full and Grateful Heart

Thank You!

Release week for Rebirth surpassed my expectations, my hopes, and my dreams.

So many bought the book, reviewed it, shared, and practically screamed about it from rooftops. I felt the love! I never imagined that it would blow up like it did. To say that I am grateful is an understatement. My heart is overflowing.

Though a bit overwhelming at times, it was one of the greatest weeks of my life. To have so many show their support for me and my story was something I hadn’t even dared hope for. The bloggers on the tour, the readers, my family, my friends, my fellow authors, and most of all my publisher. Everyone stepped up and got behind me. I’m so thankful for all of you. There’s no way I could’ve gotten through the week without you!

20160527_171830(Me signing my first autograph!)

Friday night, we had a launch party at Boondocks. We had an amazing turn out. Again, I got my mind blown. Friends, family, and perfect strangers showed up and showed out, making the night a fantastic success. I’m still flying high! Thank you to all who were able to make it out and see us. It means so much.

(Me and my publisher on the left, my handsome hubby and I on the right.)

(My first two autographs, who happen to be great friends!)

Again, thank you to everyone who had a hand in making Rebirth’s first week out in the world an amazing one! 

This is only the beginning of the adventure and I absolutely cannot wait to see where it takes me.

Love & Hugs, y’all!

Hearts on the Page #5 ~ It’s Not Over

This week, it’s Ryland’s turn again.

A quick recap:

Liz hates the fact that she can see the angels and demons in our realm no one else can. When the demons stopped simply observing and started attacking, Liz took off in the middle of the night. She didn’t say goodbye, and only left a note saying she was sorry.

Determined to protect Ryland and everyone else she loves, she’s run far and fast, trying to put as much distance between them as she can. Ryland won’t accept what she’s done until he hears it from her, so he’s set out to find her. Liz knows him well and has moved again, assuming he’s on her trail.

 

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Lizzy,

You’re good. I’ll give you that.

It’s been two months now since you left and I’m no closer to having you back in my arms. No closer to having answers. I’ve come so close to you so many times, but every time you blow town before I can get a hold on you, barely leaving a trace that you’ve been there. Either you know somehow or you’re guessing that I’m on your trail, or you’re just trying to stay ahead of anyone who might be looking for you. Knowing you, I’m gonna say it’s a little of both.

Well, I guess it’s a good thing I can work from anywhere, because I have a feeling this could go on for a while longer than it already has. Least I won’t be hurting for money. But that’s actually not at the top of the list of my worries about now.

These places I’m finding out you’re staying, working. Liz, what are you thinking? It’s like you’re deliberately putting yourself in danger, tempting fate. You say you wish you didn’t see the things you do, then you put yourself right in the middle of some of the worst situations you could possibly be in! I mean, do you have a death wish? Are you trying to throw me into some kind of breakdown? Or are you making a point that you can do whatever you want? I don’t get it. This isn’t like you. And it’s killing me. I know you’re hurting and I know you’re scared, but, baby, this isn’t the way. It’s about as far from the right way as you can get.

Just know that I’m not giving up. You can try as hard as you want to scare me away, try to make me think you’re a hopeless cause. It’s not going to work. I will never give up on you. I can’t. I love you too much to not at least try to talk some sense into you. I have to try to help you get back on the right path. Try to get you back home. Even though I’m starting to wonder if you ever intend on coming back. Still, that doesn’t matter. I will find you. I have to hear what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, from your mouth. I won’t rest until I do.

We’re not over, baby. Not by a long shot. I’m going to prove how much I love you. Prove that you can trust me. That we can get through anything together, because I know in my heart that we can.

Always,

Ryland

 

 

 

 

Hearts on the Page #4 ~ Run Baby Run

Run Baby Run

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Ryland,

Sometimes, you can have a freaking awesome idea. Something that you think will solve all your problems, make life so much easier. This whole me leaving thing? Yeah, not my brightest decision. I admit it. Things have NOT gotten better. If anything, they’re worse. I’m staying in this nasty motel, because even though I make good tips at the restaurant I work at, it’s not enough to get a place of my own. Maybe I shoulda thought of that before I left with hardly any money.

 

Being low on cash is the least of my worries right now, though. In the past couple weeks, I’ve been jumped four times by demons. So I started practicing some more fighting moves like the ones you taught me, pulling videos up online since I can’t afford to go to a class. It’s weird, I’m even stronger than I was when I mentioned it in my last letter. I’ve been holding my own. No major injuries. But I don’t know why or how. None of this makes any sense. Why can’t they just leave me alone like they did before? What changed that caused them to come after me all the sudden? The only good thing is that they’re not coming after you. So if I have to live in this crap hole and fight every day to keep you safe, I will. It’s worth it. If I could just find a way to get rid of this, whatever it is, I would do it in a heartbeat. Then we would all be safer, right? I can’t believe God would do this to me. Why? What could possibly be the purpose in this? I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this.

 

Anyway, I miss home. I miss my parents. Even more than that, I miss you. I know I need to let you go and get over it. I just can’t. I miss you so much, Ry. I would never tell anyone else, but I cry myself to sleep most nights. I know, that totally doesn’t sound like me. But I can’t help it. I’m so alone here. I’d give anything right now to have you holding me. That’s something I can’t ever have again. Not if things keep up like they are. I’m so afraid they’ll never leave me alone. That I’ll never be able to come home.

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Would it matter, though? Do you even miss me? I had to laugh as I wrote that because, knowing you, you won’t believe I left on my own until you see for yourself. Now I’m not laughing. You’re looking for me, aren’t you? Or am I wrong? There’s a good chance you hate me about now, especially since I disconnected my cell. I just couldn’t take seeing your messages or hearing you on the voicemail. You have to be royally ticked that I never answered, then I cut you off completely.

But honestly I know better than that. You won’t give up until you hear the words from me, will you? Until you hear me say we’re done. I really hope that’s not the case. Now I’m wondering if I should move again. If anyone could find me, it’s you. What with all that computer crap you do. Oh man. If I see you I’ll break and I can’t let that happen. I want to stop you, tell you not to come, but then I’d have to talk to you. I can’t do that. Not yet.

I know you’ll never see this letter but I’m glad I wrote it. It helped me work all this out in my head. I have to move. Something in my gut tells me you’re looking for me. I won’t let you find me. Hopefully, you’ll give up and realize that I’m no good for you.

I hope someday you’ll see I did all this because I love you so much.

Liz

Hearts on the Page #3 ~ Oath

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Oath

Lizzy,

Okay, I’ve had a lot of time to think over the past couple weeks and I’ve come to a few conclusions. First off, I think I’ll keep up with this writing thing. It actually did help to get this crap out of my system a little bit. Who knows? Maybe someday you’ll actually read it. I can only hope.

 

Anyway, I’ve realized something pretty important that I should’ve known right away, I was just too ticked off to see it. The last time I wrote you, I said I doubted your love. I knew as soon as I wrote it that it wasn’t true. I know you love me. I’ve felt it, I’ve seen it. Realizing that and knowing you like I do, I’m pretty sure I know at least part of the reason you left. You think you’re protecting me from something. Saving me. Well here’s the thing, baby girl: I don’t need protecting. If you think you’ve got problems I can’t handle, or you think dealing with whatever’s got you running may end up with me getting hurt in some way, you’re wrong. I’m a big boy and I can take a lot more than you apparently think I can. Not to mention, you should know that I would stand by you through anything. I want to be the one that protects you, the one you rely on. The one you trust. You don’t have to do this alone, whatever this is. And I’m not going to let you fight it all by yourself.

 

I know you’d probably blow a gasket over me telling you I won’t let you do something. But you know I don’t order you around or try to control you. Like that’d even be possible anyway. You’re probably the most stubborn person I’ve ever met. In this case, you’ll just have to get over it. Let me tell you why.

 

This relationship is a partnership. Or it was. Obviously, we’re having a bit of an issue with that about now. Since you’re not here to be in on the discussion, I’m making a command decision. I’m done wallowing and worrying and wondering. I refuse to just sit here and do nothing. That’s not me. Never has been and never will be. I see what I want, or something I need to accomplish, then I make a plan and go after it. That’s who I am. So why should this situation be any different? You are the most important person in the world to me. I want you. I need you.

 

I’m coming after you.

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You know me, Lizzy. You should’ve known I wouldn’t just let you leave and not do anything about it. Not gonna happen. I deserve answers. You owe me at least that much courtesy. Just like I owe you the proof of my loyalty and love; the proof that I won’t give up on us without a fight. You’re too important. We’re too important, and we’ve been through too much to throw it away so easily. You’re mine and I’m yours. I love you more than my own life. I can’t stand the thought of you being out there alone, knowing what’s following you and what you could be facing. What kind of man would I be if I didn’t at least try to protect you, try to bring you home where you’re safe? Not much of one.

 

So get ready, baby girl. Whatever it takes, I will find you.

Ryland

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearts on the Page #2 ~ My Heart is Broken

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Hearts on the Page

A few days ago I released the first post in the Hearts on the Page series; letters between the hero and heroine of The Reluctant Warrior Chronicles. Letters they never sent. On these pages, Liz and Ryland pour their hearts out to each other without restraint. Their secret missives are raw, honest, and painful, but also sprinkled with joy and, at least on Ryland’s part, a whole lot of hope.

 

This week, it’s time to take a look at Liz’s first letter. Can she justify leaving Ryland without a word? Will her plan to outrun her pain work, or just pull her farther into the misery pit? Read on to find out.

My Heart is Broken

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Ryland,

I’m sitting here at some hole-in-the-wall joint in a town I don’t even know the name of, writing a letter I know I’m never gonna send. How’s that for pointless? Maybe it’ll make me feel better though. Doubtful. Life royally sucks about now. Yeah, maybe it’s partly my fault, but not all. I for sure didn’t give myself this freaking curse! But I am going to get rid of it. No matter what I have to do.

It’s like seven in the evening, and by now you know I’m gone. You probably flipped out and gathered a posse or something to look for me. I know you, and you wouldn’t believe it until you had to. Until there was solid proof. Which I’m sure you have by now. I know you like plans and order and this threw a big wrench into that. I really am sorry for that. I hate knowing something I’ve done has hurt you. That’s the last thing I ever wanted. But if I’d stayed, you’d end up being hurt worse, torn apart, and I won’t be the one to do that. I love you too much to stay when I know all I’m gonna bring you is chaos and pain.

You should’ve never made plans with me, for us, in the first place. I’m so screwed up, Ry. This curse is messing with my head, and it’s messing everything up. I know you were all cool when I told you my secret, but you don’t know what it all really means. What it would mean for us. I can never have a normal life. We won’t be able to just live and get married and have babies and live like everyone else. I’ll always have to watch my back and yours too because you won’t even be able to see what’s coming. And I have a feeling something real bad is coming. Need proof? Three weeks ago, one of those nasty freak demons that follows me all the time actually attacked. First time any of them ever did more than stare and snarl. I got some good shots in after I got my crap together and figured out what was happening. And it was weird, it was like I was stronger and faster than I should be. I kept thinking there was no way I should be able to take on a big demon like that and live. Still, it was rough. I know I told you I fell when I was out hiking and I hated lying to you, I never had before, but I had no choice. I know how you are. If you found out, you’d never leave my side, and you’d just end up getting hurt because there’s nothing you can do about any of this. I can’t let that happen. I can’t let you tie yourself to a freak that’ll end up being the reason you end up in a world of pain or even dead.

I love you so freaking much, but I had to do this. It’s my turn to protect you, to watch out for you. I had to put you, my parents, my friends, all ya’lls safety before what I want or what I thought I could have. What I want doesn’t even matter. You have to get over it and move on. It kills me to say this, but find somebody else, Ry. Somebody who can give you what you want, what you need, and not put you in the middle of some stinking war with Hell. I know you’ll find her. You’re the finest man to ever set foot on the dang planet. I should know. But I can’t be around that. I don’t want to see it. I can’t be around you. Period. The only way to keep you safe is for me to stay away. I can’t keep pretending everything will somehow be okay when I know it won’t be.

Don’t think it’s not gonna be hard on me. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. If feels like somebody ripped my heart out through my throat and stomped on it. I never knew anything could hurt this freakin’ bad. What we had was─it was crazy. We were like wildfire, but it worked. Everything was always so intense, but it was perfect. It was just us. Not having that insane, burn you up but at the same time able to cool you down, like we’re one person connection is gonna kill me. It was like we knew what each other were thinking and feeling. Now it just feels empty in my head, my chest, and the farther away from you I get, the worse it gets. I need to stop writing, I’m not even making sense anymore and it’s stupid to even do this because you’ll never see it. But it kinda does make me feel better.

You’ll probably never forgive me. I can live with that as long as you’re okay. As long as you’re safe and have a chance at happiness. I gotta go. I need to put more miles between us so I don’t say to Hell with it and turn around. It was so tempting to ask you to go with me. But, I knew you wouldn’t, and it woulda defeated the point of me leaving in the first place. Ok, I’m leaving now. Maybe I’ll write more, who knows. I love you, Ryland.

In my heart I’ll always be yours,

Liz