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The Ghost Host
fingertips up my arms. I sit down in an armchair next to the loveseat my parents are parked on. I look over at them, not heartened by the fearful expressions on their faces. My stomach turns as I force myself to face the FBI agents.
I had a heck of a time finding a redhead on stock photos sties, but I’m lucky enough to have a fabulous photographer for a sister and she got the lovely Kate Bordeaux to pose as Echo Simmons for the front cover and I think it turned out awesome!!
Pre-Order the book right now!
Kassondra Sturtevant with Mystereah Photography (Facebook)
Summer usually decreases my productivity significantly. Not just writing, but cleaning, weeding, organizing, etc. The kids are home, projects around the house and yard on going on, trips are taken, a million random things need done and distract you from your original tasks, and on and on.
Some people don’t work well under pressure. For me, it’s the only way I get anything done sometimes. Those deadlines might be more vague like, the kids get home by 3 o’clock. I need to finish this chapter by then and get the dishes in the dishwasher. Or they might be more concrete, like when my publisher wants edits back by a certain date.
The first half of this year we were selling and buying a house and moving. That pretty much takes up all your time. I didn’t get much writing done and release dates I had a vague imagining of drifted past unnoticed. Then summer hit. We’ve been out of town more then we’ve been in town it feels like. I had extra classes I was teaching and the kids had activities and my husband was super busy at work.
The writing I did was sandwiched in between other things and done late at night when my husband was out of town and I was too chicken to go to bed by myself. I worked on half-finished projects from last year that had been abandoned or never started, but I was scattered and distracted easily.
One of the projects I wanted to get back to was The Ghost Host, but I was having a hard time focusing on it. When my good friend Apryl Baker put out the call for her annual YA/NA Blogfest this August/September (GOING ON NOW!!) my first thought was to feature something already finished. Less stress on me, right? Sure, but also a heck of a lot less projects getting wrapped up.
Even though I still had about 25% of The Ghost Host to write, not to mention revisions and editing, I signed up the Ghost Host as my featured story and told myself that whatever day Apryl gave me, that would be the pre-order release date. With as hectic as things have been lately, I knew I was taking a risk, but guess what? IT WORKED.
After getting the date of Sept 2nd from Apryl, I got to work and finished the last quarter of the book in about two weeks. It’s off to beta readers now and it looks like I’ll make my pre-order date of Sept 2nd and release date of October 6th, 2015. Thanks to my awesomely talented photographer sister Kassondra Sturtevant (Mystereah Photogrpahy), I also have a new cover model and was able to finish the cover art. You can get a sneak peek of THE GHOST HOST on the YA/NA Blogfest Sept 2nd.
I’ve always known that I work better under deadlines, but I guess I’ve just been lazy about actually setting them and making myself stick to them. I have a lot to catch up on, so that’s going to change. In the hopes of being more productive, I’m going to push myself a little harder. Readers have been asking me when on earth I’m planning to release Wicked Revenge and even though I’m not going to make an October release because I already have two other books releasing that month (The Ghost Host and The Only Shark In The Sea), I am now determined to have Wicked Revenge out before Christmas.
The third Escaping Fate (Oracle Lost) has also been requested and I’m setting a firm time to have it ready by March 2016.
Somewhere in there the fourth Date Shark book (Shark In Troubled Waters) will also come out, but that one’s up to my publisher.
Memory’s Edge needs a sequel and I want to release them close together, so my plan is to set a deadline of having the first draft of the sequel to beta readers by the beginning of March and to release these two in April and May 2016.
Unedited Excerpt From
THE GHOST HOST
“Echo, I’m Dr. Rosemond. I’ll be assisting Agent Morton with your testing. I have some paperwork to go over with you before we begin.”
As Dr. Rosemond explains the risks of each test—which are minimal—and goes over some stuff about confidential information and all that. She seems to honestly enjoy what she does. Clearly, she’s never had to deal with ghosts face to face or she’d have different feelings on the matter. Finally, I sign my name three or four times.
There’s open space around me with about a dozen different devices positioned in a ring around me. One of the interns, or whoever they are, sticks a bunch of monitor wires all over me, and then we seem to be set. “So, what exactly do you want me to do?” I ask Agent Morton.
“Basically, we’ll run you through a few exercises to see how accurate you are in locating spirits.”
I scrunch my face at him because that seems like a stupid thing to ask me to do since I can see them, but I realize they have to “prove” I can see them.
“Are there any spirits present now?” Agent Morton asks. Dr. Rosemond’s eyes are as bright and alert as a dog waiting to have the ball thrown.
I don’t really need to look, but I do a quick scan to see how many are hanging about. I’m only vaguely surprised to see five ghosts present—some of my regulars—are hanging back behind the monitoring equipment. I can’t help wondering if they know what this is all about.
“There are five here right now, but they’re all standing outside the range of the equipment,” I explain.
“Can you encourage them to come closer,” Dr. Rosemond asks.
Grimacing, I want to tell her that’s the last thing I want to do, but this will all be for nothing if I don’t. Lifting one of my hands, I point to one of the ghosts that has been with me the longest. She used to stand over my crib when I was little and make me laugh. I motion for her to come forward. She hesitates, and I wonder if any of this stuff hurts ghosts. I can’t imagine how it would, so I say, “Liza, it’s okay. They just want to run a few tests.”
I trust Liza not to do something crazy, and apparently she trusts me enough not to try and hurt her. She steps into the circle and approaches me slowly. No alarm bells go off to indicate there’s a ghost inside the circle, but from the corner of my eye I see several members of the team getting excited.
“Echo, can you give us the exact location of Liza?” Agent Morton asks.
“She’s standing to my left, by my knee, about a foot away,” I tell him. He writes something down and nods.
That’s pretty much how the rest of the morning goes. Hours later, I’m about to ask if we’re almost done when the one ghost I didn’t want to see today steps into view.
“No, no, no, no, no,” I start whispering frantically. I don’t say it out loud, but in my head I’m begging him to go away, to just disappear for a while. As if he knows exactly what I’m asking for, he cocks his head to the side and ignores me.
Heads pop up as one of the cameras fritzes out with a pop and puff of smoke. Something starts beeping as he crosses into the circle. Thanks to the monitors stuck all over me, I’m sure they can all see my pulse skyrocketing.
“Echo, what’s going on?” Agent Morton asks.
I want to answer him, but I press myself into the back of my chair when Archer keeps coming toward me. “Go away, please,” I beg him, which seems to be the exact wrong thing to say.
A blast of cold hits me. Frost begins to forms beneath his insubstantial feet. One blurry arm reaches forward. I want to scream, but I keep my mouth shut as tightly as I can. He doesn’t touch me, but he touches one of the wires connected to me and I yelp as it shorts out and zaps me.
Almost as though he’s startled, he pulls back and drops the wire. “That hurt,” I snap as I glare at him. He cocks his head to the side again. I’m not sure if he’s confused, or just staring at me. When his hand reaches out again, I really start to panic. “Don’t touch me. Please don’t touch me again.”
I’m begging, but I don’t care. My eyes squeeze shut as his hand moves closer. Don’t scream. Don’t scream. I hold my body rigid, waiting for the assault, but all I feel is ice against my cheek. My eyes snap open when it vanishes, hoping he’s left, but instead, I see him standing in front of me, a frozen tear balanced on his finger. My hand presses to my cheek to find a few more frozen and quickly melting tears.
Archer bows his head, and then he’s gone. I look around, startled and afraid he isn’t really gone, but he’s nowhere to be seen. I start yanking wires off my body as I struggle to breathe normally. Malachi is there in a flash, ripping off sticky tabs and pulling me into his arms. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine. I’m fine,” I say in a rush. I close my eyes, wanting to block out everything but Malachi. Agent Morton’s voice pulls me out of his protective embrace.
“Echo, what just happened? The readings we got were nothing like earlier.” Dr. Rosemond looks flat out excited, but Agent Morton is clearly concerned.
I think about things I should probably do better at or start or finish, but I don’t set specific resolutions that I work toward throughout the year. Probably because I know I have the attention span of a gnat and the memory of a three month old puppy.
I write the same way I make resolutions. By the seat of my pants. It works for me. I like having a schedule, but not specific deadlines. I’m good at meeting deadlines. They stress me out, though. I’d rather have a goal than a deadline, which may sound like the same thing.
A goal implies having a plan to meet a certain objective. For me, a deadline is something unmovable that may or may not fit into the general mayhem of every day life. Sometimes, I do set deadlines for myself when something really needs to be done by a certain date, like with finishing Invincible, but most of the time I would rather set goals for when I’d like to have certain things done. If life gets in the way, I can always readjust.
So, what are my goals for 2015?
As far as writing goes, I do have a few things in mind.
New Books to Write
Wicked Revenge is on the writing slate this year, and will hopefully be finished and ready for publishing sometime this year. It will be the final book in the Someone Wicked series, so that series will be getting wrapped up. Yay!
I’m hoping to have time to start writing Oracle Lost, the third book in the Escaping Fate Series, but if I do finish it, it’ll probably be toward the end of the year, unless I get stuck on something else and jump into this one.
The third, and possibly final book in the Date Shark Series, still doesn’t have a name, but hopefully will by the time I finish it this year. This installment will focus on Vance. He’s been there to help his friends through difficult situations, but now he’ll be the one in need of help. I’ve had requests to write about Sabine, but if I do, it’ll probably be more in the novella category.
Books to Publish
The books above may or may not fall into this category as well. We’ll just have to see. On the schedule for sure, though, will be a couple of new romances and possibly a venture into the New Adult genre.
Torino Dreams will be popping up on ebook shelves this year, though I haven’t nailed down the date yet. This action packed romance may or may not be part of a series. I haven’t decided quite yet.
Memory’s Edge will be a two part series. I don’t have a for sure release date set yet for this one either. I may wait to release it until I have part two written so I don’t leave readers hanging for too long.
My nearly finished project, The Ghost Host, may or may not be on this depending on what I decide to do with it. I’m playing around with the idea of shopping it out to agents. I’m still undecided, though, so I’ll keep you all updated.
Projects that will take a while to finish
The one long distance project I’m working on is still under wraps since I’m still working out the concept and details, but it will be dystopian fiction, either YA or NA. It will deal with what really make us human and what takes us across the line of humanity into monsters. I’m really excited about this one, but it’s going to take me a while to get it just right.
Other than these projects who knows. I’m notorious for starting random new projects at the drop of a hat!
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