Sunday, March 27, 2016
I trace the trigger housing on my gun and count the remaining clones congregated around the room. We’re grossly outnumbered. And Owen is weaponless. This can’t end well if we don’t comply.
“You have thirty seconds to accept my terms,” Lyong says, a nettled edge to his voice.
I shiver, picturing his one-eyed tic appraising me in a monitor somewhere as he talks, his papery skin rippling with the effort of speech. I can’t see a way out of the situation that gives me any chance of saving Owen, other than to negotiate. Hesitantly, I raise my arms and step forward.
“My brother’s injured,” I yell. “If you give us your word you’ll help him, we’ll turn over our weapons.”
My heart strains in my chest. I’m counting on Mason and Sven to hold their fire. I wait for what seems like forever, steeling myself for Lyong’s response.
The intercom crackles to life, but Lyong’s words are drowned out in a barrage of gunfire. I pitch sideways beneath a conveyer belt and huddle in a ball, shaking. Debris pelts me from every angle; chunks of seat cushions, shredded medical tubing, shards of glass from exploding computer screens. A pungent chemical smell fills the air.
All over the room, disoriented Schutz Clones fly backward. I stare in disbelief as they writhe in death throes, ossifying before my eyes. Mason bolts across the floor and rolls under the belt beside me. His eyes gleam like cat’s eyes in the dim light. “It’s the Council,” he yells, between breaths. “They’ve penetrated the Craniopolis!”
I blink as I digest what he’s saying, my ears roaring.
Mason slams a fresh cartridge into his gun, his knuckles bleeding profusely. “They must have triggered the explosion. They’ve been planning an attack for months.”
My brain slowly wraps itself around the information. There’s still a chance of getting out of here alive. I unload my pack and roll over into sniper position. “Then let’s finish this.” I lock eyes with Mason. “For Owen.”
What is the hardest part about being a writer?
Treating it like a real job where you have to show up at a certain time and put in your hours on a daily basis. It’s all too easy to throw in a load of laundry, start answering emails and jump on Facebook, and before you know it half the morning has been swallowed up with trivial pursuits. Once you commit to the discipline of treating your writing time as sacred, you can make real progress in terms of the quality of your craft, and the quantity of writing you produce.
What inspired you to write this book?
I've always been fascinated by regimes and resistance movements, and the heroes who emerge from atrocities. I grew up reading every concentration camp escape story I could get my hands on. As an author, I find it intriguing to place characters in dystopian, post-apocalyptic or sci-fi settings and watch what unfurls inside them as they go head to head with staggering odds. After spending several summers in Idaho, and learning more about Preppers and survivalists, the idea to plant Derry Connolly in a bunker community of homesteaders and mountain men took seed and The Undergrounders Series was born.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
I aim for about three hours of writing time, five days a week. I sometimes do some editing later in the day if I have extra time, but with three kids heading in different directions most days, it gets frantic!
Have you always enjoyed writing?
I grew up among rich storytelling traditions in my native Ireland and it was a natural transition for me to try my hand at writing. Irish legends are full of action, adventure, impossible missions, and unlikely heroes, and to this day nothing captivates me more than an epic story. Anything along the lines of The Hunger Games or The Divergent Series is always a must read for me, only because I’m endlessly fascinated by the capacity of heroic individuals to rise above tyranny and change the course of history. As a child, I was always reading or scribbling something, and I have a stack of poems, stories and half-finished projects that document some of the big picture ideas I was wrestling with even back then.
How did you choose the title?
There are three books in the series and the titles track the internal growth of the main protagonist Derry Connolly. Immurement is the state of being entombed or confined in an enclosed space. At the outset of book one Derry is trapped in her own self-doubt and insecurity. The bunker symbolizes the prison she yearns to break out of in order to find her place and calling in a world with no rule book.
Embattlement is the state of being engaged in battle or conflict. As well as describing the obvious physical struggle against the Sweepers, the title symbolizes the “civil war” of sorts that wages inside Derry as she rises up against everything that has held her back.
Judgement is the act of imposing judgement. Derry discovers a lot of harsh truths about leadership during her journey, not the least of which is that every great leader must discern when to seek reconciliation and when to pursue retribution. Internally, Derry must evaluate her own moral imperfections and the darkness lurking in her own heart.
Best piece of advice for writers trying to break in?
If you are certain writing is where your passion and strengths intersect, don’t take your eyes off the goal. Put your shoulder to the wheel and throw your whole heart into mastering the craft, and taking incremental steps toward publication. Dogged persistence will get you there in the end, and the talent you have honed along the way will be your staying power.
Book Tour Organized by:
Thursday, March 24, 2016
I'm very excited to share that Highland Raven is included in a Scottish Romance box set with some other fabulous authors. The Knight Winds box set is now available on Amazon for a wee 99 cents!
Check out all the books in the set:
HIGHLANDER IN HER DREAMS Allie MackayAfter stepping through a magical gateway, Kira Bedwell finds herself in fourteenth century Scotland, face-to-face with Aidan MacDonald, the irresistible Highlander who has visited her in dreams. As their romance transcends to reality, it will take all of their courage and will for their love to survive beyond time itself…
CLAIMED Tarah Scott
Talbot expects to find a hostile woman in the Scottish heiress Edward commands him to marry. Instead, he discovers a Highland beauty worthy of a man’s respect...and love. Talbot will do anything to win her acceptance—except the one thing she demands: betray his king and embrace his Scottish heritage.
THE SAXON BRIDE Ashley York Rowena Godwinson is a Saxon princess and refuses to go willingly into a forced marriage to one of King William's most favored knights. Falling prey to rumors of Norman depravity, she fears being forced to suffer the ultimate humiliation of being shared by his men. John of Normandy is a soldier made for battle, ingrained with chivalry and a deep sense of loyalty to his mentor and king. Serving his liege is all the reward he requires and neither a title nor a bride tempts him. The challenge of winning over a bunch of heathen Saxons and the crazed woman they serve only deepens his determination to remove himself from England.
Returning five years later to find a woman passionate enough to satisfy his deepest, unspoken desire fills him with the need to make his wife see him as more than an armed foe. Can he win her over before she learns her own father died at his hand? Rowena's struggle against enemy occupation fades away in the pleasurable arms of her Norman husband but will he bring her people to their knees in his attempts to please his liege lord? Or can she win him over to the Saxon's side even while one of her own plots to overthrow the bastard king?
ROSE of HOPE Màiri Norris Her sentence is death.
Evil turns the life of Ysane Wulfsingas, a woman of gentleness and peace, into a nightmare that drives her to murder. When a new enemy, the fearsome knight Fallard D'Auvrecher, charges headlong into her life intent on picking up where her former husband left off, her only defense is to guard well her heart.
Captain Fallard D'Auvrecher holds the opportunity of a lifetime within his hand. To keep it, he must rescue Ysane Wulfsingas from execution, for the beautiful Rose of Wulfsinraed is the key to all he has fought for as a knight of King William. Fallard must conquer not only the rebel commander who desires Wulfsinraed for himself, but also the demesne's serenely obstinate mistress.
Though he has waged countless battles, Fallard soon learns the greatest challenge of all is the fight for the lady's heart.
HIGHLAND RAVEN Melanie Karsak Scotland, 1026—Gruoch, descendant of the line of MacAlpin, should have been born into a life of ease. But fate is fickle. Her father's untimely death, rumored to have been plotted by King Malcolm, leaves her future uncertain and stained by the prophecy that she will avenge her family line. Haunted by dreams of a raven-haired man she’s never met, Gruoch soon feels her fate is not her own. She is duty-bound to wed a powerful lord, if not the Prince himself; however, she’s not sure she can stop her heart when she meets Banquo, a gallant highlander and druid.
ISOBELLE by L.L. Muir Gaspar Dragotti is content to hide behind the mask of God’s Dragon until a fiery Scotswoman, Isobelle Ross, bursts into his life. He believes his thick scales can protect him while he bends her to his will, but he is sorely mistaken. No matter what barriers he puts between them, she is able to touch his icy heart.
The question is—which one of them will be burned?
Thursday, March 10, 2016
I'm very pleased to share with you the cover for Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection! This collection features many of the same authors from The Witching Hour Collection and The Falling in Deep Collection! I'm all booked up this time so couldn't make it into this one (though now I wish I had put in a Sid story), but I know this is going to be another hit! Coming in April!