Author Spotlight: Donna Hawk

Author Spotlight: Donna Hawk




Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?



I usually do a rough outline, generally what I know I want to happen. The problem is, sometimes the characters get a mind of their own and start stuff. Then I have to go back and change my outline or just let it flow for a while to see what they have on their minds. Characters… sometimes you just can’t tell them what to do!

Do your characters ever want to take over the story? 



Always. And then there are those times when my characters aren’t speaking to me at all. I do a lot of outlining and background at that time. Pretty soon, one of them shows up and starts talking again. Depends on their moods.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?



Not either one actually. But I guess I’m more of a morning person than a night person. I don’t mind staying up late, just don’t ask my brain to do anything that requires much thinking. In the morning, I like to get up and start my day. I hate sleeping late. Morning is definitely my favorite time of day.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I love to travel, but don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. Growing up, my dad took us to every state west of the Mississippi, including a two-month trek to Alaska. Now, the first place I’d choose to go would probably be Scotland. I want to chat with Nessie. My mom tells me my family is from there, but I’m pretty sure we don’t have family there any more. It just seems like it would be so pretty. AND they speak English, so that’s a plus for someone like me who doesn’t know any foreign languages.

I’ve been to Sweden twice to see a penpal of mine. That was loads of fun. Unfortunately, she passed away, but I have tons of wonderful memories of her and my trips there.

Do distant places feature in your books?



My first two books are set in the United States and are places I’m familiar with. This new one is set in an imaginary realm, a shadow world called Mortgatha. So, yes, it would be distant. And probably not someplace I’d ever choose to go. J

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release? 



It’s called Where Darkness Walks. It is the first of the Mortgatha Trilogy. My main character, Clarie Perl, get caught up and pushed through a set of dark doors to this other, dark realm. It’s full of scary characters, not all of which can be seen, that are trying to keep her there. She knows there is a rift that will send her home, but the problem is that the rift moves randomly and she doesn’t know how it works.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

I have learned a lot, but I’m still an infant, so to speak. It’s so hard to break open any kind of notice but authors like Amanda Hocking give us indie authors a lot of hope. I know if you go through an agent, then a publisher, it could take more than a couple of years to get a book out—and that’s if they accept your manuscript. I know a lot of manuscripts don’t get the attention they deserve because agents and publishers are working so hard alongside the indie authors. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s who you know. Hmmmm, I don’t actually know a lot of people in the business.

I also know that, like a lot of things that take so much time, writing has to be a labor of love because very few authors truly hit the big times. That said, because I do love writing, I will keep doing it as long as it gives me pleasure.

Is there anything you would do differently?

The only thing I’d do differently is I’d do it sooner. I’ve sat on full-length manuscripts for years because I didn’t have the nerve to put myself out there. Finally, I got the nerve and I’m really pretty proud of myself!



Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

Oh, I can’t think of anyone in particular. I just remember thinking while I was in college: I think I could write something like this… Finally I decided to do it. That was years and years ago. It was only recently that I let anyone else actually read what I wrote.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?



Keep at it. Don’t let a bad review or someone’s cousin talk you out of it. Keep writing because you’ll get better with every project. I know my second book was soooooooo much better than my first. Whatever you do, HAVE IT EDITED. There isn’t anything worse than glaring mistakes when you have such a good story. Write it, put it away for a couple of weeks, then read it again. Look for mistakes, just saying.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book



Clarie’s world is about to change for the darker. Rand broke up with her at the prom, she uncovers a secret in the hidden back of an armoire, and she meets Patrick, who is determined to help her forget her broken heart.

As Clarie evades classmate Bulldog’s stalking, she and Patrick explore the dark halls of an abandoned cement plant. After following Clarie and Patrick deep inside, Bulldog confronts Clarie as he fights with Patrick. When she is accidentally pushed against a set of dark doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha, everything she fears is set into motion to keep her away from her beloved Earth world.

Even with Patrick’s help, the doorway home moves randomly, evil characters beset them at every turn, and the way home seems farther away than ever.

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.

Website * Facebook * Goodreads * Smashwords * Twitter * Amazon

Where Darkness Walks

Where Darkness Walks (Mortgatha Trilogy Book 1) By Donna Hawk

Clarie’s world is about to change for the darker. Rand broke up with her at the prom, she uncovers a secret in the hidden back of an armoire, and she meets Patrick, who is determined to help her forget her broken heart.

As Clarie evades classmate Bulldog’s stalking, she and Patrick explore the dark halls of an abandoned cement plant. After following Clarie and Patrick deep inside the cement plant, Bulldog confronts Clarie as he fights with Patrick. When she is accidentally pushed against a set of dark doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha, everything she fears is set into motion to keep her away from her beloved Earth world.

Even with Patrick’s help, the doorway home moves randomly, evil characters beset them at every turn, and the way home seems farther away than ever.

Where you can purchase this book

Paperback Createspace

E-Book Amazon

donna

About the Author

I have been a teacher in Kansas for 33 years. I enjoy writing, riding my bicycle, and spending time with my husband. I am an avid photographer and Photoshop user. Currently, I am working on a dark trilogy for young adults, the first of which I am hoping will be completed by the end of the summer 2013.
If you have any questions for me, you can email me at: bydonnahawk@gmail.com

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Saskia Book Tours Website: www.saskiabookservices.yolasite.com

 

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Indie Author Feature: Cathy Vickers

Now for something entirely different…

So far, the Write-It-Forward Indie Author Initiative has primarily featured an in-depth look into only the fantastic books written by various Indie Authors. I don’t want to be all smug about it, but I think there have been some pretty amazing novels featured in the Q & A section. Various genres, age ranges, and writing styles have been featured as well.  If you’re looking for your next read, then be sure to check out the links in the sidebar to find books in your preferred genre. Okay, clearly I have digressed from my original purpose…

What I was trying to do, was point out that even with the library of featured books that I have built for the Indie Author Initiative, something seems to be missing.

If you’ve read my author bio, you can’t help but notice the less-than-serious portrayal of myself as a professional (of any sort). However, I am not the norm…or normal, for that matter. But, even in my most inane ramblings, I am giving you a glimpse of who I am…I just want you to work for it. 😉 I’m sure you are wondering where I am going with this, right? Well, in this never-ending struggle to promote myself as an Indie Author, I have had the privilege of meeting some really amazing people, who also happen to be writers. What I have found, as we all muddle through the daily minutia of self-promotion, is that their personal stories are as important as the ones they have created for you, their readers.   

Thus, as a special interest feature, I will be sprinkling in a few author profiles so that you can get a glimpse of the person behind the book.  

Enjoy!

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Introducing:  Catherine L. Vickers, Author of a fantasy series about the World of Aarabassa

Her Completed Works:

  • Book 1 Guardian Dragons
  • Book 2 Flight of a Changeling

Cathy, would you  please briefly describe your journey in writing your book?

On a cold, wet day in the middle of Northern France, I was stuck in a tent on holiday with my family. We are a family of readers so we were all lying on our camping beds reading our books quietly. I cannot remember what I was reading as I had strangely started to write some mini scenery plots down as a break from reading. The memory is vague, but I know I wrote everything by hand (as no electricity and certainly no wifi in camping). I wrote lots of descriptive paragraphs on an A4 pad. I then cut out each paragraph and began to move the order of them around. This hand written method lasted for approximately a year and once I had a real plot with real people in a good order (paragraphs literally cut and pasted to larger pieces of paper), I then typed it all up on a desk top computer (lap tops were expensive then).

Today everything is typed on a lap top and the cutting and pasting is much easier. I have developed a style whereby I simply write and write and write, without editing or proofing. Then when I am approximately three quarters of the way through my plot, I will go back and begin the editing. The process of editing will happen many times by reading the whole thing through and making constant changes, at least 20-30 times.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

 Always treat others as you would expect them to treat yourself. I hope that my readers will get the same as I do when I read a book. Excellent likable or hatable characters. A plot that keeps you turning the pages with its twists and expectations. Descriptive surroundings so the reader feels as though they are in the stage setting. A story that they do not want to finish but yet they want to know how it ends.

 What is your writing schedule like?

I’m actually a bit of a scatterbrain. I love to make lists but then I tend to change the schedule on the lists. I read and write every day. I also have a self employed day job so that has to fit in aswell. I will make a list of the days tasks and stick to it as closely as I can.  If I cannot, then what I didn’t get done goes as more urgent the next day. I don’t necessarily write for my book every day, it could be a promotional day whereby I’m doing written interviews or perhaps finding new free places to market my books. Everyday will involve some task to do with my work as an author, even on holiday.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

There are two hard tasks to being a writer. One is the old adage of ‘writers block’. I overcome this one fairly easily by putting a scenario to one of my older children and they often come up with good ideas because they are also avid readers. Sometimes their ideas are enough to move me forward. The second stumbler is being an indie author. Promotion and marketing takes up a lot of my time but at least I cannot blame anyone else if things do not go to plan.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I have a blog where I’m attempting to share my books and other relevant information. It’s early days yet but I’m getting ideas all the time on how to improve it. If any readers pop in and have any ideas on how I can improve it, please let me know.

Please click on the following link to visit Cathy’s blog:  http://onewomansquestuk.blogspot.co.uk/

What kinds of books do you like to read?

I didn’t take reading seriously until in my thirties when I had to read Charles Dickens and instantly became a fan. I then looked at other English classics and read the Bronte sisters.  My very first fantasy author was the famous Lord of the Rings (before the days of the films). I was then lured to Anne Rice via the character Lastat. I also read her witch tales and loved them all. This gave me a taste of horror and I became enmeshed in Brian Lumley. By now I was loving anything fantasy and my list of favourite authors was continually growing. Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, I think I could easily fill the page with authors I adore, and it still grows.

Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it is available.

Shortly Book 1, Guardian Dragons will be coming to its 90 day end with KDP on Amazon and I will be able to publish the e-copy elsewhere. Once this is accomplished I will release Book 2, Flight of a Chageling via KDP Amazon as a kindle verson.

Book 2, Flight of a Changeling immediately follows on from Book 1.

Based on the world of Aarabassa where one half is dark and the other is in constant sunlight. A magic barrier divides the darker characters out of the Lightlands. Prince Raphael is taken on a pilgrimage to heal his illness, by Rikka the herbal nurse, but all is not as it seems.

Prince Amos and Prince Leon depart on separate quests to invite the various races, including dwarves, centaurs and merpeople, to the Lightlands Council to ready for battle with the creatures of the Darklands

Heather, the Changeling is journeying to the Guardian Dragons lair, meeting with the Forest Keepers on her way. Her final destination, to meet with the monshaad Emperor on the other side.

It is, however, available to read now on Amazon worldwide but only in paperback.

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Special thanks to Cathy Vickers for taking the time to share some of her thoughts and experiences as an Indie Author! Be sure to check out the Q&A that I will be posting in the next few days, featuring her second book, Flight of a Changeling. 

Click the image to purchase on Amazon

  Find out more about Cathy by clicking the following links:

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Coming Soon: The Mortgatha Trilogy…

Cover Reveal !!

I’m very excited to recommend a brand new YA Fantasy from a great friend and amazing author, Donna Hawk.

The first book in her new YA trilogy, Where Darkness Walks, is expected to be available for purchase at the end of this month (May 2013). It is the first book in the The Mortgatha Trilogy, and trust me…you will definitely want to check it out!

Where Darkness Walks

Where Darkness Walks

Clarie’s world is about to change for the darker. Claire couldn’t believe it when her boyfriend broke up with her, not only breaking her heart, but doing it at the prom. However, when she uncovers a secret in the hidden back of an armoire, and meets Patrick, who is determined to help her forget her broken heart, she starts to realize that things could definitely be worse.

…and she’s about to figure out exactly how much worse things can get.

As Clarie evades classmate Bulldog’s stalking, she and Patrick explore the dark halls of an abandoned cement plant. After following Clarie and Patrick deep inside the cement plant, Bulldog confronts Clarie as he fights with Patrick. When she is accidentally pushed against a set of dark doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha, everything she fears is set into motion to keep her away from her beloved Earth world. Even with Patrick’s help, the doorway home moves randomly, evil characters beset them at every turn, and the way home seems farther away than ever.

donnaMeet the Author:

My name is Donna Hawk. I’ve been a middle school teacher for 33 years. I taught Reading, mostly, but also I’ve taught a variety of things: yearbook, photography, creative writing, social studies… the list seems endless. I truly enjoy that age kids. I retired two years ago because I wanted to devote time to writing. I live in a small town, on a farm with my husband, a dog, and a whole bunch of cows. I know everyone in town, so writing is a good way to escape! I am also an avid photographer.

For more on Donna Hawk and her new trilogy:

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My Serendipitous Encounter with Irving Podolsky

Sometimes, my stupid mouth gets me into trouble…

Let’s just say that self-monitoring is not one of my strengths. Oh, I’ve come a long way, I’m no longer letting my mouth write checks that my ass can’t cash. I’m still not entirely sure what that means, but I no longer let my ass handle my financial affairs, so I’m covered either way. The point that I’m trying to make is this: not everyone appreciates a droll sense of humor. In fact, some people get downright testy. Yeah, my mouth sometimes gets me into trouble…but sometimes, I get lucky.

Sometimes a coincidence is more than a coincidence, sometimes it’s serendipitous…

Okay, I’ll stop with all of the dramatic prose and get to the story, because it is a good one!

As an indie author, marketing and promoting my work has been much more time consuming than actually writing my book.  Ugh.  I really hate self-promoting…I even hate the phrase ‘self-promotion’. Some authors really take it to the extreme; it’s more like self-love or self-gratification. Yech. I hate the smarminess and back-slapping. I am just really bad at it, I am much better at self-deprecation, or irreverence. Yep, I like irreverence, it suits me.

So anyway, the other day, I was perusing the discussion threads on an indie author forum when I came across one thread asking group members for enlightening discussion topics. Sadly, only one group member had responded to the original question. Looking back, I now realize that his suggestion was both serious and enlightened, however, I barely even glanced at it.

Instead, I suggested that we discuss the “badass pornstache” in his profile picture. 

16505_20x16_P_MM

Yes, I was being a bit of a smart-ass, but in my defense… Do I even need to say it? I mean seriously, have you ever seen a more perfect example? I can answer that question for you. No, you have not… and I will tell you why.

When I made my slightly inappropriate suggestion, I assumed the man behind the profile pic was a 20-something hipster trying to be cool by using a retro photo as a profile picture. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I was wrong, but the word wrong, doesn’t really cover it.

This is an actual photo of author Irving Podolsky, complete with the pornstache that may very well have been the original pornstache. Wha -huh?

This photo of Irving Podolsky, author of Irv’s Odyssey (A Trilogy), was taken in the early 70s, when Irv worked in the porn industry as a film director.

So you’re thinking coincidence, right? Nope, it is much more than a simple coincidence…because that one irreverent suggestion led to a shocking discovery, friendly banter, and professional admiration.  That, my friends, is serendipity.

I love literature, I love books and reading, I love words…lots of people do. I would say that lots of people write too, but that would be a gross understatement. Thousands upon thousands of people write and publish every day, some write very well. However, I can count on one hand how many fellow indie authors write with humor, emotion, and purpose. Irv’s Odyssey is not just a story, it is a journey through life as told by a story-teller, with a droll sense of humor…cause nothing else would do. 🙂

So, without further ado… I would now like to present fellow author and new friend, Irving Podolsky:

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Well thank you Ms. Lavocat for your kind words. I’m jazzed about this invitation but honestly, I have boredom-fear. I’m afraid when people read why I write what I write, they’ll find it uninteresting and go away. This is just me. Other authors answer your questions and stay sticky. I’m compelled to cut to the chase – SEX.

I like sex. It’s fun and it feels good. But there’s more important reasons why jumping on butts is good for you, assuming the couple (or more) agree to this one tiny rule: STAY REAL.

Even more than real – STAY OPEN – EXPRESS TRUTH.

Okay, okay, too heavy. It’s not fun when it’s about going mental. You’re right, it’s not fun. It’s something else. It’s a connection. And it takes confidence and trust to make that happen.

But you know that. And here’s something else you know. After a while, after the feel-good part cools down, if there’s no connection it’s time for another f**k buddy. 

Nothing wrong with that but growing up I was looking for love…and a job. Sound familiar?

I wrote a trilogy about that stuff. It’s titled Irv’s Odyssey, and it starts when my character, Irving Podolsky, graduates UCLA film school and it ends when Irv finds Miss Dreamboat.

(I’m not Irv but I took his name. He’s okay with that.)

Anyway, between 1970 and 1975 our lad encounters many strange jobs, none of which is about making movies. He does however, meet a ton of intriguing people. Some work in porn, some in a mental hospital, some in food service, some in Europe, and some in other dimensions (as in, out-of-body travels).

Is there romance? Kinda. But you won’t find it in most of my sex scenes because when love is kindled between Irv and his Soul Mate their intimacy stays closed. But stick around. Along the way Irv trips into plenty of You want WHAT? sex open to the public.

For this post I chose three scenes from Book One, Lost in a Looking Glass. They’ll give you an idea of how Irv learns about naked girls. My hero is almost a virgin when his story begins, and as I said, his first gig out of school dropped him into directing adult films. Scary. Everyone knew what to do but Irv.

The scene below picks up near the end of a chapter where Irv met, by accident, another porn queen at his friend’s place. Her name is Summer and husband is in jail for dealing weed and male prostitution. She’s lonely of course, and she wants Irv because he’s a nice Jewish boy wanting to do the right thing. Problem is, “right” and “wrong” have turned upside down and Summer needs to explain that.

Irv tells his story in first person. Right now, he’s trying to leave a married woman’s bathroom as he contemplates all the ‘what-if’s.

Excerpt: 

As I reach for my shirt I see that she’s not taking her eyes off me, nor moving out of the doorway. And I’m thinking, this night was always about sex. And I can’t deny she’s a turn-on. But the only thing that comes out of my mouth is, “What about Jake?” 

“I told you. He’d understand.”

Maybe he would. And maybe adultery doesn’t count anymore. But honestly, what I’m more concerned about is feeling enough attraction for this girl to override the guilt factor. Suppose my conscience kicks in and decides there’s ‘Potential-damage-down-the-road’ and that warning shuts down my body. I’d come off as a limp dick, which would get back to Rog and Rhetta and maybe Jack at Python, and who knows who else. Worse, I’d get smacked in the face with the cold truth, that I’m still hung up about responsibility when it comes to sex.

But I don’t want to be hung up. I need to go through with this, for my own self confidence. I have to be able to have sex, just for sex, without the inhibitions. Because that’s what people do now. Sport-fucking is in.

Yeah. I’m going for it. I drop my shirt to the floor and take a step closer to her. She reaches for my hand, gently slides her fingers between mine. “Don’t be scared,” she says, “It’s just me.” 

*****

It’s dark. I’m lying next to Summer in Rog and Rhetta’s bed. She’s licking my neck. Should I worry about the kids waking up? Don’t think about that. Whooh! Now she’s caressing my face with her soft lips while purring into my ear. How could Jake possibly understand about this? Don’t think about that either. Concentrate on how sexy this is and how you’re feeling down there. Stiff yet? Yeah… So far so good. It’s all good. When was the last time these sheets were changed? Mom changed my sheets once a week. They felt great after a bath. God, her hands know where to go.   

“Irving…”

She’s whispering. It’s sensuous. I breathe out a… “Yeah?” eyes still closed.

“Will you use my toy?” I open my eyes. A fat, twelve inch black wiener is silhouetted against the ceiling. That’s her toy? Who could compete with that? Only a jack-hammer.

She throws off the covers, hands me that log and rolls onto her tummy, butt in the air. “Turn it on,” she instructs. Oh… There’s a knob on the back. Looks like it moves. I twist it. The thing starts vibrating and buzzing. And ya know what? I feel about as sexy as a vet examining a zebra. But I move it around down there anyway, and she starts moaning and undulating and she’s getting louder and now I’m really afraid she’ll wake her kids. But they don’t come in, and Summer’s eyes roll back, her lips pucker and she grabs the sheets, balling them up in her palms.

Climaxing, or sounding like it, she rolls over, grabs my neck, pulls me down onto her body, rubbing me, jabbing her tongue into my mouth. She tastes like a garlic pizza with cigarette topping, as her hand moves between my legs. I’m getting tight again. Focus! Focus! Block everything else out, including the garlic.

Oh boy. She’s moving her face to where her hand is. Whatever was turned off in me is now turning on. Big time! But like, I’m making it with a married mommy. Is this okay? Yeah. This mom is okay. Really okay? Guess so. And I’m still holding up. All systems ‘GO.’ 

Relax Podolsky. Concentrate. Let the body take the reward. It’s a gift. No strings attached. I’m not taking. I’m giving. Oh no! Oh no! I’m losing it! She knows it. She’s moving my own hand to her body parts as she rubs me off. “Oh Irv…come inside me. That’s right…that’s right….Oh God! Oh God! Irv, you’re so good! Oh Jesus, yeah!  You’re doing it soooo right!”

Oh… Uhh… Concentrate! Let it happen… I’m back! Charged hard. WOW! Fireworks? Well… Not exactly. 

*****

 How long has it been since my big bang? Or little bang. Four minutes? I’m staring up at the ceiling, with Summer’s head resting on my shoulder. I think she’s asleep. And I’m just grateful I finished the race, limping over the finish line. After that incredible build up, the best I can say about it is – it was…adequate. And now it’s quiet again and lonely again, because I’m lying with a wife I borrowed for the night, on cold sticky sheets.

 Yeah…I know. Not the most romantic interlude in literature. But it wasn’t supposed to be. It was what it was, like real life.

Here’s another scene about real life with Beverly Walker. She too is a porn gal, but shy as a daisy. How porn and shyness go together is beyond me, but this is the story that came out and Irv went with it.

His first date with Bev was a total crash and he promised himself never again would he try to make love to an introvert on a dirty couch strewn with cat food while two gals shoot smack in the back room. But Bev got herself another place in the Hollywood Hills and invited Irv up for… Well, you’ll find out.

Excerpt: 

Walking into the kitchen, I look through the wide doorway into the den. Now this is a place for romance; real leather couches with big fluffy throw pillows, soft lighting, a wine collection, a super sound system wired into the ceiling and a God’s-eye-view of LA. It’s a love nest, where I will soon be melting into Beverly Walker’s luscious breasts, a girl without a single spoken word to share with me. But what the hey, I will get past that. I will communicate through feelings, playing her body like a vintage violin, kindling her passion – building, building, building toward orgasm until we climax in perfect harmony. Or something like that. I hope.

She hands me a Miller out of the fridge and as I follow her into the den, I realize she’s wearing the exact same hot pants and halter she had on the last time. It’s a repeat performance, this time done right. So sitting next to her on the couch, facing Johnny Carson and his monologue on the TV, I get cozy with Beverly Walker. Just past the RCA is the wall of glass and the twinkling city lights far below. What a cool place to make love.

My hand goes over her bare shoulder just as she’s about to light a cigarette. I pull it out of her mouth with my free hand and nudge her down onto the cushions, making this comfortable couch into an even more comfortable bed. We start kissing and my fingers begin their journey, moving under her bra-like thing to her warm soft breasts. And yes, this time, it’s good with Miss Walker. It’s all good; her kissing, the spectacular setting, her sexy mood, the privacy, the footsteps shuffling past us on the other side of the couch… 

WHAT?! THERE’S FOOTSTEPS?!

Taking a breath and holding it, I slowly raise my eyes up over the couch arm. There’s a bald guy walking into the kitchen wearing tennis shorts and nothing else. He grabs a beer out of the fridge, turns and heads back to us. I duck, signaling Bev to zip it. I hear his bare feet crossing by, moving down the hall as he hums Raindrops Keep Falling my Head on his way to the bedroom wing. There’s a door close. Game over!

I spring off Bev’s body to stand over her. And in a loud angry whisper, I start the questioning. “Was that the guy who owns this place?!”

“Uh huh.”

“Does he know I’m here?!”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t KNOW!?

“He said I could have friends over.”

“To fuck?!”

“That wasn’t nice.”

“Beverly, what were you thinking? Suppose we were doing it. He would have caught us! Is that a climax for you?

“No.”

“But you always seem to have sex with people around! What kind of crazy turn-on is that?”

“I don’t know.”

She doesn’t know. How can she not know? Doesn’t she think about anything? How can a girl so conflicted be so dense at the same time?

She lights her cigarette, with her attention shifting back to Johnny on the Tonight Show. “Bev, I’m sorry. I think it would be better if I leave now.”

“Okay.”

“I’ll just let myself out.”

“Okay.”

“I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.”

“It’s okay.”

And that’s how it ended with Beverly Walker. After three “okay’s” I left and never saw her again. But I learned another lesson that night: Some girls, some of them even gorgeous, can only make love when there’s risk involved. Or lying in kitty kibble.

 Honestly, there ARE romantic scenes in my books but it won’t be this next one either. Irv has more to learn about life, and especially Sheva Gladstein, the hippy supervisor where he’s currently employed – a locked-down mental hospital for brain damaged kids, ages three to thirty. Yep. Weird. All Irv wants to do is make movies and find that nice Jewish girl.

He sorta found one with Sheva, but the “nice” part is up in the air; ‘cause like I said, where Irv lives now, right and wrong, good and bad, has turned inside out.

On his third night after starting the job, Sheva invited him to her on-campus apartment. Unfortunately Irv just threw up from eating the grub served to the kids and Sheva’s suggesting sex.

Excerpt: 

Under the shower, I’m still trying to figure that out. What is normal, anyway? Certainly she’s not. What makes her tick? She marries a bi-guy, he turns out to be more gay than straight, and she’s not destroyed about that? Maybe she is, but in denial, submerged in this mental institution. Wonder if she reads Hebrew, been to Israel. Not me. Never had the Jewish urge. Don’t have the urge for sex either. Not one itty-bitty bit. I’d just like to get to know her better. Maybe we can postpone the biology and talk instead. She seems really smart.

Shower’s over, my hair is dry and Sheva’s already in bed, wearing a see-through negligee and grinning like a six year-old waiting for Daddy’s bedtime story. “Hop in!” she bubbles. I don’t hop in. I slide in, slowly, still feeling queasy. “How’d you ever end up here, Sheva?”

Her hand goes to my chest, where she starts rubbing. Without an answer to my question, I’m getting the feeling she’s not up for conversation. And when she unfastens her nighty and takes it off, there’s no doubt about that. Naked now, she quickly gets me that way too, by pulling off my jocks under the sheets. Now back to fondling me, she works her way down to my crotch, fast.

Should we kiss first? My mouth tastes like yesterday’s eggplant. But maybe she’s used to that. Don’t want to come off like a jerk without a heart. I move close to her lips.

“No kissing,” she whispers. “Just fun!” 

Fun? With a stomach virus?  Wouldn’t a ration of intimacy be a good place to start?

Nope. Sheva’s already in third gear, both hands down there between my legs. Guess that’s the swap for kissing. Which is good, I think. Sheva’s in charge, like she is with the kids on the other side of the wall; caring, but with no deep connection. With us now, it’s just physical, having sensations from the waist down, with lots of panting. Not mine. Hers. And gurgling and sentence fragments which follow, like, “Yeah, that’s good…” And, “More of that. Right there.” And, “Not so hard. Slower.” And between the words, I hear more huffing and puffing. It’s okay, I guess. It’s not corny yet.

What’s this? She’s grabbing my butt, pulling me down hard onto her. Oh boy. I’m a human dildo. Better concentrate or she’ll have nothing to use. She’s breathing faster now. Moving faster. Breathing faster. Humping and pumping faster. Building to the big pay-off. Wow. This is way too speedy for a Jewish girl. It can’t be more than twenty seconds since we started. But she’s charging for the checkered flag, like a drag racer, throwing that last bit juice as she powers over the finish line. And me? I’m the parachute that slows her down after beating the land speed record.

I hear a yelp. Did that come from her? Yes it did. She must have climaxed a second time. Now comes a long sigh. Forget the afterglow, Sheva’s settling into a sleeping position a foot and a half away from me. Guess the ‘fun’ is over, after thirty-one and a half seconds. I’m okay with it, though. Didn’t feel like balling anyway.

“Sheva..?”

“Mmm?”

“Can we talk for a while?”

She turns over, looking at me through squinting eyes. “I’ve got to be up by six, sweetie.” 

“So you don’t want to talk?”

“Tomorrow. Okay?”

“Um… Sure.”

She returns to facing the wall and settles under the sheets.

Okay. Talking isn’t the end all, be all. Before language there was gesture and touching. I feel her warm body near mine and that’s good, because I’m sharing a very personal space with this girl, as she goes into sleep, when she becomes vulnerable, which means she trusts me. I suppose.

It would be nice to feel a connection, some reassurance that she cared, at least for thirty-one and a half seconds. Maybe if I just drop my arm lightly over her shoulder… Yes. Nice. I’ll spread my fingers over her smooth skin close to her breast, let her know I’m here for her, that it wasn’t just a fuck.

“Oh no,” she mumbles. “None of that.”

“What?”

She takes my hand away and turns back to me. “I’m married.”

“Oh yeah… Sorry.” 

I adjust on my left arm, staring at the opposite wall. How should I feel about this? I’m not sure. The way she reminded me about her marriage, I felt like I was in kindergarten being advised why it’s not safe to chase a ball across the road. And that I was a big enough boy to understand that this ‘fun’ thing we did was only about play-sex. Nothing else. It was a quick blip on her radar, without another thought chasing it.

Okay. I didn’t have to come here. Or take the shower and get into this bed with her. What right do I have to feel disappointed? Just the same, it’s amazing how alone you can feel, even when you’re in bed with someone else.

 So there you have it – another reason why sex can be the furthest thing from connection. But that’s life and Irv’s Odyssey is about learning more about it. By the time Irv meets the girl of his dreams, he knows what’s real and what isn’t.

That’s what I write about: What’s real and what isn’t, from where I see it. But my reality isn’t yours, which is why God invented the internet. If you’ve got thoughts about my ideas, I’d love to hear about yours.

You can find me at www.IrvingsJourney.com. I promise I’ll answer.

Q&A on Darkening Chaos, the final book in The Destroyer Trilogy, by DelSheree Gladden

1.  What is the title of your book?

I just released the last book in my latest series, “The Destroyer Trilogy”.  The first book is Inquest, the second book is Secret of Betrayal, and the final book is Darkening Chaos.

2.  What is the genre and age rating?

I would classify this series as YA urban fantasy, but it has elements that sci-fi, paranormal, and romance readers will enjoy.  The whole series works well as a crossover as well.  I have a good mix of teen and adult readers who have enjoyed the series.

3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.

Libby Sparks was born to accomplish one thing … Destroy the world.

She has the power to do it, but what she doesn’t have is the desire. The whole world hates her for a destiny she has no intention of living up to. At least until her only friend, Milo, is attacked by the Guardians. Libby is forced to choose between revealing her true power and condemning herself to death, and saving Milo’s life.

4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

Darkening Chaos was released March 2013, completing “The Destroyer Trilogy”.  All three books are available in paperback and ebook.

When I first got the idea for a girl meant to destroy the world, I knew it would take more than one book to tell her story. First she had to choose between accepting her destiny or turning away from everything and everyone. After making her choice, she had to make a plan, figure out how to live up to her decision without getting everyone killed. And finally, she had to take control of her life and fight to put everything she believes in into practice. I don’t like going more than 3 books in a series because as a reader, I can’t stand not knowing when the series will end. I like to know that all my questions will be answered at some point, so that is how I write my series.

5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Libby Lookalike IMBD

Libby Sparks believes herself to be someone who can easily melt into the background, but she definitely stands out in many ways. Libby has long chestnut colored hair that is very straight. No curls for this girl, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why J. Libby also has a fair complexion and dark blue eyes. She is a little on the short side at 5’4”, but she compensates with an athletic build that warns others that she won’t be an easy takedown.  Most unique about Libby are the jet black diktats, perfectly rectangular scars, circling her left wrist. 

6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Libby’s biggest fault is underestimating herself, and those around her. When it comes to herself, Libby has a hard time overcoming being named after a Roman goddess of death and having a destiny to cause pain and destruction. She sees herself as only capable of doing harm.

When it comes to others in her life, Libby struggles to see their true intentions. She wants to see the best in people, but even though she has experienced betrayal many times, it is never easy for her to suspect those she loves of double dealing.

Excerpt:

‘I huddle against his chest and say, “You don’t know what it was like in his head. He’s done so many horrible things, and I had to watch them all. I just … I need to be reminded that no matter how bad things get for me, I’ll never turn into him.”

I’m crying again by the time I finish. He pulls me up and kisses me, but only lightly. “Libby, whatever you saw, you aren’t Drake. You never could be.”

“You don’t know that. Drake tried to make me do horrible things. What if I had done them? I couldn’t have lived with myself. I would have turned as black as he did. I still may. You don’t know. You don’t know.”

“Yes, I do,” he says forcefully, interrupting my mounting hysteria.

“How?” I ask.

He smoothes the hair back from my face. His body heat spreads through me as he presses me closer to him. There is no doubt in his expression when he says, “You seem to think that a cloud of pain and misery follow you wherever you go, but you’re wrong. You are so wrong. You see the bad things of this world and blame yourself for them. Look at all the good you’ve done.”

“What good have I done? So many people I’ve cared about are dead because of me.” I touch the pendant Lance gave me and stare at the two halves. I’m supposed to have both rebirth and destruction inside of me, but when is the good half going to show up?

“You’ve saved the lives of so many others and protected them from the Guardians,” he says. “You’ve done things no one else in history has ever done before, too. And if you need another reason, the one I think is the most important is you made me fall in love with you.”

He runs his hands through my hair slowly, his eyes never leaving mine. “Libby, I know bad things have happened, people have been hurt, but you’ve stopped even more pain. The bad doesn’t follow you, you follow it, because you care about other people and you want to stop it from happening if you can. That’s why I know you’ll never turn into Drake. Your heart is too filled with love and compassion to ever make room for selfishness and hate. Maybe the whole world doesn’t see that yet, but they will.”

7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Despite Libby’s destiny, she is a good person that wants to do good and help people. She often puts others before herself, sometimes even putting her life in danger in the process. Libby is a fierce friend, and she proves it many times throughout the series.

Excerpt:

‘Terrified of watching him die, I race forward and fling myself at her. My body alone won’t stop her, but my spirit connects with her and rips her away from Lance. I hear the sound of squealing tires somewhere behind me. I can’t stop to look. The shock of me attacking her has worn off. The Sihir turns on me. Her dead eyes lock with mine. A shiver runs through my entire body as the recognition the Guardians were hoping for blossoms in her mind. Delirious glee spreads through her expression as she mistakenly thinks she has found her prize. She dives forward to claim my body for her own. Prophecy calls me the most powerful person in the world, but I freeze at her attack, sure I will never be able to stop her.

The icy plunge of her spirit hands into my chest finally pushes me to action. I fight with savage spiritual slashing against her efforts to tear my spirit out. I force her hands off and out of reach, but I know I can’t keep this up for long. The Sihir’s hands push closer to me and honest terror that I am about to die sinks into me. She won’t stop with me, either. Lance and Braden are screaming at me somewhere nearby. They won’t be spared if I fail.

I have to do something.

Desperate, I try to speak to her spirit. The frenzied nature of her state won’t let me, but it reminds me of something. It reminds me of rescuing Casey. Her hands are now inches away from my chest. Using every ounce of Strength I have, I wrench my body away from her. I have barely a second to dredge up my frazzled spirit and take hold. On the verge of abandoning my body, something I’m not even sure is possible outside of the spirit world, I pause and pray to whoever will listen that I’m not about to kill us both.’

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?

There are several romantic interests in this series. In the very beginning, Libby and Lance are a couple, but that quickly changes when Lance tries to kill Libby after finding out her true destiny. After being abandoned by everyone, Libby is sure she will spend what is left of her life alone until grungy, loner Milo shows up. She has a few reservations about his motives, but it doesn’t stop her from developing feelings for him.

Lance plays a big part in all three books, but the real romantic conflict develops when Braden inserts himself into Libby’s life. A Guardian (the group intent on killing Libby), Braden should want nothing to do with Libby. The strange connection they share pushes them toward each other despite Libby’s best efforts to stay away. Staying true to Milo—knowing if she even should—becomes so consuming it threatens to ruin everything.

Because this is YA and I like to keep things clean, there is no sex, but there is still plenty of sexual tension.

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Milo Lookalike IMBD

First, Milo. A former quarterback, Milo is tall, broad shouldered (when he isn’t slouching), and very fit. When he and Libby meet, his grungy appearance makes her mistake him for a slacker, but his slightly too long light brown hair serves its purpose … hiding his stormy grey eyes and the intelligence behind them. Milo looks like he would be more interested in vegging out in a dimly lit basement with a stack of video games than anything else, but beneath the disguise is a guy you would definitely want backing you up in a fight.

Braden Lookalike IMBD

M.C.’s sidenote: Toe-curling hotness

Now, Braden. The first word that comes to Libby’s mind when she thinks of Braden is grace. Braden is tall and fit, but has a build somewhere between Olympic swimmer and dancer. His caramel colored hair and green eyes are paired with a keen and curious mind. Braden may appear to be softer than Milo, but he can be fierce when he wants something, and when it comes to protecting those he loves.

10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

I’d definitely have to go with Mr. Walters. Upon first meeting Libby, he offers to kill her—which certainly makes him memorable. First impressions may lead readers to believe Mr. Walters is a crackpot. The Einstein-style hair and quirky mannerisms are misleading, though. In reality, Mr. Walters is a very complex character with deep motivations and plenty of secrets.

11.  Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?

I think there are bits and pieces of people I know in all of my characters, but I don’t have anyone in particular that a character was modeled after. I always worry that if I transpose a real person into fiction they might realize that’s what I did, which wouldn’t be so bad if they were the heroine, but probably wouldn’t go over too well if they weren’t such a likable character.

12.  Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…

Excerpt:

“I do hope you are patient with me, Libby,” Mr. Walters says, interrupting my thoughts, “because I only received this assignment to teach you about being the Destroyer late last night and had very little time to prepare. It’s not an easy task to consolidate a lifetime of research into a curriculum overnight. And we only have an hour at a time to work with. I do hope that by the end of the year you’ll have a better understanding of what you will be expected to do as the only member of the Destroyer class.”

“Uh, really?”

You would think the majority of the world would be much happier if I had no idea what I was supposed to do as the Destroyer. I’m not even sure I want to know what I’m supposed to do. Every time I’ve tried to find out it never led anywhere good, so now I’d like to avoid finding out in the hopes that if I don’t know I’ll never actually do anything bad.

“Of course, dear. You have to know your purpose in life if you expect to ever accomplish it, don’t you?”

There is something wrong with this man. “But I don’t want to fulfill my purpose. I don’t want to hurt or destroy anything. You don’t want me to do that either. Nobody does!”

“Well, of course no one wants to see you harm anyone, but that’s hardly the point,” Mr. Walters says.

“How is that not the point?”

“Because the point of this class is to teach you to be the best Destroyer you can possibly be. What you do with that knowledge is completely up to you, but I refuse to have a student leave one of my classes not fully trained to do their duty.”

He’s serious. As if my killing people a few years from now has no bearing on his teaching me to do it, he opens his notebook and instructs me to do the same. What choice do I have but to follow him?

“Now,” he says, “I have been researching the Destroyer class most of my life. It has always fascinated me that there is only one member, one single person meant to destroy our entire society. When we have millions of Guardians to fight against the Destroyer, Visionaries who might see her coming, Concealers to find her, etc., I have always been curious about how this one person is actually meant to succeed.”

I cough and interrupt his rambling. “If the Destroyer, me, has all the talents of the ones meant to stop me, then all I have to do is use the talents I have against them, right? That’s hardly a mystery.”

“Precisely,” he says, “but the problem is that while a Guardian only needs to focus on honing Speed and Strength, you must master all seven talents if you have any hope of surviving past your eighteenth birthday. Mastering one or two talents takes years, decades even, but you only have two years. That, my dear, is the real question that has plagued me for so long. How can one person reach perfection before the whole world turns on her?”

“Oh. Yeah, I guess that would be something of a problem, if I was planning on actually surviving longer than two years,” I say.

Mr. Walters simply blinks at me. “You mean you don’t plan on surviving?”

“Uh, not really.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s impossible, for one, and surviving would mean hurting people, ruining lives. I don’t want to be a part of that. I’d rather let one of those psychotic Guardians slice me into little pieces than watch myself do the same thing to someone else.”

No matter what anyone says, I will not hurt anyone. Not again.

Walking over to my desk at a slow, thoughtful pace, Mr. Walters surprises me by touching his index finger to the spot of dried blood on my neck. “If you don’t want your gifts then why didn’t you let Lance or the Guardian kill you last night? Why don’t you kill yourself right now?”

He pushes back his blazer sleeve and snatches the Guardian blade out of its sheath so quickly I barely see more than a flash of light on steel before it is pressing against my throat. A Guardian. My heart is pounding against my chest, my mind screaming at me to run. I am alone in a room with a Guardian who is apparently obsessed with the Destroyer. With me. And he has a knife balanced exactly against my carotid artery. Black spots fleck my vision and I realize I’m hyperventilating. It requires all my quickly vanishing willpower to tap my Naturalism and slow my breathing enough to see clearly again.

“If you ask me to kill you, I will do that for you, Libby, though I would not take any pleasure in it,” Mr. Walters says. “Or if you prefer to end your life by your own hand, I will not stop you. Either way, if death is what you truly want, I will allow you to have it. Right here. Right now. This is the only time I will make this offer, Libby. It is your choice.”

The pressure of the blade on my skin increases slightly, and I cry out. “No! No don’t!”

Instantly the knife is withdrawn, back in its sheath like it never left. “Why?” he asks.

“Because I don’t want to die,” I say. Tears bleed down my cheeks and I wipe them away furiously, angrily.

“You will die eventually. There is no doubting that.”

“But I don’t want to die yet, not today. Not for as long as I can manage it.” Maybe it’s wrong to want to live. With everything I’ve done, and am, I probably deserve to die. But I don’t want to. Not yet.

Placing his hands on my desk, Mr. Walters leans forward. His wizened features grow eerily strong and firm as he peers down at me. “If you don’t want to die, then you have to embrace who and what you are, Libby. Becoming the Destroyer is the only thing that is going to keep you alive.”

I hope you have enjoyed this look at “The Destroyer Trilogy” and, in particular, the final book: Darkening Chaos!

You can purchase the entire series today on Amazon by clicking the following images…


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