Give a warm welcome to Vikki Romano , author of Devil in the Details!
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Vikki and her Devil in the Details!
Vikkie ready to answer some questions?
- What defines you as an author? As a person? Are they one in the same? I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself defined. I change and learn daily and it’s hard to nail me down on most days. As an author, I strive to express myself as often as possible and allow my stories to reveal bits of myself and my psyche, but I think that’s a commonality for most writers. You can’t write and expect to reveal nothing of yourself. Writing is cathartic and therapeutic for me in so many ways. Keeps me sane and grounded.
- What inspired this particular story? I was asked to participate in Desiree Holt’s Kindle World last year and had reservations. I write sci fi thrillers and this was a departure from that comfort zone. Maybe that’s what intrigued me. I love a good challenge and Desiree had faith that I could do it. The MCs came to me right away and I knew I wanted the hero to be different. I didn’t want the typical beefy, broody ex-Marine type. I wanted a stealthy, athletic man with a curious mind. Asher Boyce fit that bill and was really fun to write.
- What secret do you use to blast through writer’s block? Personally, I don’t believe in it. I’m a writer and if I can’t write, something is wrong. Most times blocks are caused by stagnation in the story or with the characters. I usually have two or three books going at a time in different genres so if I find myself stalling, I switch. The different genre and mindset refresh my thought process pretty quickly. I also find music suitable to the scene helps stir emotion and thought.
- Who is your favorite character of all of the books you’ve written and Why? Calder McKenna. The hero of my Alpha Core Trilogy. (http://smarturl.it/ACT3) He’d been on my mind for years just waiting for a story. I initially used him as a target, you know, how much pain and angst could I put him through before he cracked. All the “what ifs” that just piled up. He’s a strong guy, but he has a rough past full of regret and anger. Add a hacked brain on top of it all and you have yourself a perfect storm. I found myself very vulnerable and emotional writing him.
- What inspired you to write? Life. Everything around me. I’m one of the oddballs that has a story running through her head at any given moment. I can see them like movies and at times feel like I’m taking dictation when I write. It would be great if I could type as fast as my brain could think.
Since I was a kid. Literally since I could hold a crayon. I used to make little books for my family out of scrap paper and staple them together. I think my mom still has a few. Wonder how much they’re worth now? LOL
- Did you tell friends and family that you were writing a book? Or did it take a while to come out and tell friends and family you were a writer? No, it was more like “When are you going to publish” from my family and friends. I had full manuscripts written in junior high and high school and it wasn’t until I was in college that I started seriously pursuing publication. Back then, there were only a few publishing houses and not much else. No ebooks or audiobooks. I got requests for a historical I had written from a couple of them, but I didn’t agree with the changes they asked me to make and decided early on that I wouldn’t sell out, become cookie cutter. I’m glad I stuck to my guns.
- Do you see yourself in your characters? Oh yeah, you can’t not. You put a little of yourself in everything you write. I see the stubbornness and the gumption. I also see the self-deprecation and fear. It’s all there. You can’t hide from it.
- What do you want your readers to take away from your books? I want to provoke thought. Again with the “what if”. I have been in technology since it’s infancy in the 80s and I’m enthralled with where it could go from here. AI, sentient life, technical advances that we can’t even dream of. I touch on a lot of that in my sci fi series and want it to spark questions, doubt and interest.
- Where do your story ideas come from? If they come to you in the middle of the night, do you get up and write them all down? Life, news, anywhere really. I’ll hear something in a passing conversation on the street and my mind will just take off. I have a notebook with me always… in the car, at my desk, in most rooms of my house. If I don’t have paper, I record snippets on my phone. I’ve always had a curious mind and have been told I’ve been asking questions since I could speak.
- Do you find it easier to write from a male or female point of view? Why? Male and perhaps it’s a bit of a bad habit. Romance novels of the past painted women as such needy, desperate creatures with no spine without a man. I am so not that woman. I’ve been independent and self-reliant all my life and never felt I needed a man to make me whole. I never understood that sentiment. I’ve always had a more aggressive, dominant personality that was easier to express as a male character, but once I started writing sci fi and self-published without the agents pressing for submissive heroines, I could let out what real women could be. Still learning to let go of bad habits, but I think in my last series, Sierra Mason was a revelation. She’s strong, vibrant and has a spine. She was a perfect match for Calder.
- Why do you write what you write? Ie. Contemporary, paranormal, suspense, etc. I write cross-genre. For me writing is writing. As mentioned, I’m a techie geek, so the sci fi stuff was a no-brainer. It was almost too easy for me. I’m also a history buff so writing historicals is also a love of mine (see those at www.VictoriaOliveri.com) As a writer, you need to love your subject. Your personal passion must be there or the story will just be flat.
If writing is your first passion, what is your second? Research. It’s one of the reasons I love writing historicals, but it’s also a double-edged sword. I could spend all day researching and not get any writing in. It’s all-consuming and can go off on a tangent. I could start in the morning looking for specific info on a historical place and look up and realize it’s 3am and I’m looking at 13th century soup recipes.
Speed Round (one word only answer): Yep, I know torture for a writer!<evil laugh>
Favorite movie: The Big Blue
Favorite book: Zen and the Art of motorcycle maintenance
Last book read: Royally Screwed
Favorite color: Purple
Stilettos or flipflops: barefeet
Coffee or tea: chai
Ebook or audiobook or paperback: everything
Pencil or pen: pen
Favorite song: Two Ghosts
Streak or not: streak
Favorite dessert: Blondies
Favorite junk food: bacon
Favorite thing to do to relax: sleep
Champagne or gin: amaretto
Paranormal or Historical: historical
Wonder Woman or Top Model: WW
Favorite TV show: Lucifer
Hot or cold: cold
I’d die if I don’t have: cell
Review or Not: Review
Finally, Tell me something no one knows about you.
I’m a tech geek and gadget junkie with a background in hardware and software development. My first typewriter wrote in cursive and I love info on space exploration and AI. You can find me at www.VikkiRomano.com
So we have Devil in the Details!
Asher Boyce is a veteran private securities agent with a jaded history in the CIA and with the women in his past. When hired as a linguistics specialist by the Holden Agency to seek out a missing treasure in Russia, he realizes immediately that danger is inevitable. And death is imminent.
Tara Harriman had been burned before. Working in conjunction with MI6 and the CIA, she knows what she’s getting into and she knows who she’s being partnered with…. a man she’d worked with five years earlier. A man whose nearness ignited a passion she never thought could exist. A man who’d never left her thoughts, even after all these years.
When danger traps them and threatens not only their lives but the lives of their friends, they must find a way to forgive the past so that they may have a chance at the future. Together.
Let’s take a peek between the pages of Devil in the Details. Shall we?
“If you’re not going to take this mission seriously, I’ll let Grey know that I need a replacement.”
Asher furrowed his brows and sat back from her.
“Jesus, when did you get so uptight?” he asked, his eyes searching hers, noting how she looked away from him. “No, it’s just me, isn’t it?”
“Since I’ve met you, you’ve done nothing but leer and offer innuendos. I don’t consider that professional behavior.”
“Leer?” he asked with a smirk. “Is that even a word anymore?”
“You were looking down my shirt!”
“I did no such thing. I simply noted your bra peeking from behind your sweater. Kind of hard to miss.”
She turned a sour face back to him and after a moment’s hesitation, started the car and sped away from the palace.
“Besides, I seem to remember you being a little more than interested while we were holed up in that skirmish in Greece,” he said, watching the scenery fly by as she pulled onto the highway.
“That was five years ago,” she said harshly, almost angrily as she shifted the car. “Some of us tend to grow up and move on.”
“Grow up?” he said with a scowl turning to her. “I was thirty- two when we met and had already completed over a hundred successful missions. Just because I happen to have a sense of humor and like to look at a beautiful woman, that makes me childish?”
“It makes you dangerous…” was all she said without even looking in his direction.
This was going to be a long, long mission.
Devil in the Details – Coming September 21, 2017 from Kindle Words. Buy links will be listed on Vikki’s website. http://www.vikkiromano.com/
About the Author:
My love for sci-fi goes way back to my childhood. I mean, who didn’t love movies like Tron and Terminator when they were a kid? Or great oldies like War Games. I grew up in the advent of technology and rode the wave of the dot com lifestyle in my 20s.
In college, I was a true cyberpunk and gloried over works by Gibson and Dick. I reveled in the hackers manifesto like a warrior and actually prayed for a world like BladeRunner. They were very cool, hyper-energized times we were in and it gave me scores of ideas and hands-on experience to dump into my work.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, to see where tech could go. Being involved in the field as a database admin and then later as a hardware tech and web designer, I had my fingers in all of it and I loved what it was all about. To this day, I still follow tech news and grin childishly when something new and spectacular comes onto the tech science scene.
My Alpha Core series reflects all that I have experienced and all that my mind has considered in our tech burgeoning times. And there’s a lot more where that came from. 🙂
It was wonderful having you with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Devil in the Details.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Devil in the Details, Kindle Worlds, SCIENCE FICTION TECHNO THRILLERS, Vikki Romano by firstname.lastname@example.org with 5 comments.
Welcome back Casi McLean, author of the Lake Lanier Mysteries, the second book, Beyond the Mist releases in a few days on September 15, 2017! I see you’ve brought a couple friends with you.
Yes I sure have. This is Nick Cramer and Piper Taylor from Beyond the Mist.
Oh goodie, more victims, uh — I mean guests. (Tena rubs her hands together gleefully.) Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate.
Casi, first tell us about writing Beyond the Mist.
Beyond The Mist took shape as a sequel to Beneath The Lake in my Lake Lanier Mysteries. The eerie lore attached to the ghost town that sleeps beneath the surface of Lake Lanier fascinates me. And creating a time portal hidden in Reynolds Cove bubbled so many stories to the surface, I could write for years and still have fodder. That said, my own passion about the 9/11 tragedy, how the details are already slipping into silent corners of history books, coupled with a real and present danger facing the world, I felt compelled to share this story.
Was it fun or difficult? I read and researched so much to make sure my facts were accurate, but watching live videos and History Channel documentaries for days on end ripped through me like nothing I’ve written about before. That was extremely difficult!
Do your characters always act as you expect? A better question might be does my writing describe my characters well. They truly have a mind of their own and nudge my muse endlessly to be heard.
Are you a plotter, or fly (write) by the seat of your pants? I’m totally a panster. I can’t start a story until I know my characters…what they look like, who they are inside, their hopes and dreams as well as their baggage and not so pleasant qualities. They write my stories. I simply try to keep up.
What are you working on now?
Between The Shadows, Book #3 in my Lake Lanier Mysteries. I’m on chapter 9, so depending on my available writing time, maybe this time next year. I submitted Beyond The Mist last February and the publication date is September 15, so the process takes time. That said, the story is flowing so well now, I can’t wait to seclude myself and write away.
Now let’s find out a little about Nick Cramer.
Thanks for stopping by Nick. Do you mind answers a few questions?
Not at all. Shoot!
Tells us about the real you—
What event in your past has left the most indelible impression on you? If I told you that, I might ruin the story for a lot of people. I will say a glimpse into the past of your future is priceless.
What do you most value? Definitely my family and friends, especially a certain blonde who completely stole my heart.
What is the type of woman you want to spend the rest of your life with? The perfect woman for me is one who brings out the best in me.
What do you consider most important in life? I used to think my law career was the most important mark I could make on the world. But now I’d say relationships…it’s the people not the places or things that make life worth living.
What is your biggest secret? Telling you would defeat the purpose of a secret now, wouldn’t it? I’ll just say murdering someone can really mess with a guy’s head.
I should say so, not to mention the legal consequences. Okay, Piper your turn.
I’m ready — I think. (laughs nervously)
Who were the biggest role models in your life? Lacey Montgomery. We grew up together and she’s like a sister to me. But I’d have to include her husband, Rob and my Aunt Alice.
What kind of man do you want to spend the rest of your life with? My knight in shining armor is a man who loves me for me, someone who gets me, respects me and has my back no matter what. Of course if he’s hot, sexy and can curl my toes with a kiss, I wouldn’t mind at all.
What kind of man would you never choose? As far as I’m concerned, a man who is all about himself, his needs, his wants, his desires…he’s not for me. I put my man first and I want a man who does the same for me.
What is most important to you in life? My parents died when I was little and I Aunt Alice raised me. Lacey’s family became mine when my aunt died and I can’t imagine anything more important than my family.
What is your biggest fear? After popping in and out of time and seeing up front and personal the horror of the September 11, 2001 tragedy in New York, my fear is our world could self-destruct if people blindly live their lives in ignorance. People need to wake up and unite against terror lurking in the shadows.
Thanks so much for joining us Piper and Nick. Casi, tell us a little about Beyond the Mist
Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into Nick Cramer’s arms. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, until a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier lures him into a time slip that triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams. Can Piper avoid the terrorism of 2001 New York and bring him home before he alters time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?
Here’s my review on Beyond the Mist.
Dedicated to the victims of the September 11, 21 terrorist attack on United States soil, Beyond the Mist was written with author Casi McLean’s deepest respect and compassion for their families and friends. That being said, this tale is an exciting fictional prospective of the possibilities of time travel and bad decisions made for the right reasons.
Beyond the Mist returns to a tiny hamlet nestled in the north Georgia Mountains and the eerie Lake Lanier. Is it cursed or is something else going on here? A prototype time machine perhaps taking advantage of a seismic shift creating a portal though time in Lake Lanier? Unauthorized use can cause unbelievable consequences to the timeline for those involved and those not.
Nick Cramer blames himself for the death of former girlfriend, Carly Patterson, if only he could go back in time to right his perceived wrong. Piper Taylor is willing to risk her life to save Nick from himself and the disastrous results of his actions during his time-slip to 2001. Can they correct results of Nick’s well-meaning actions in time to set the timeline on the right path? Will Nick realize that Piper is may well be his destiny?
The events swirl around the days leading up to and during September 11, 2001. The actions of the character’s will keep you enthralled until the very last page.
I loved this book! An exciting, unique tale of time travel adventure with second chances at true love. Twists and turns in Beyond the Mist will keep you flipping pages until the end when you close the book and wonder what’s next in the world beyond the mist.”
My rating – Five Stars
Let’s take a peek between the pages of Beyond the Mist.
A soft mist hovered over the moonlit lake, beckoning, luring him forward with the seductive enticement of a mermaid’s song. Rhythmic clatter of a distant train moaned in harmony with a symphony of cricket chirps and croaking frogs. Spellbound, Nick Cramer took a long breath and waded deeper into the murky cove. Dank air, laden with a scent of soggy earth and pine, crawled across his bare arms. The hairs on the back of his neck bristled, shooting a prickle down his spine that slithered into an icy pool coiled in the pit of his stomach. He clenched his fingers into a tight fist, determined to fight through the emotion consuming him. Fear sliced through his belly like icy shards until he finally heaved, forcing rancid bile to choke into his throat.
I have to do this––he inched forward––only a few more steps and––
A sudden surge swirled around him, yanking him into a whirling vortex, where a violent blue streak dragged him deeper, deeper beneath the lake into the shadowy depths. Heart pounding, he battled against the force, twisting, thrusting toward the surface with all of his strength but, despite his muscular build, he spun like a feather in wind into oblivion. When the mist dissolved, Nick Cramer had vanished.
Darkness consumed him, a cyclone spinning, twisting Nick as he ripped through an endless void. His lungs burned for oxygen. He could hold his breath no longer, and relinquished his resolve, but he felt no pain. Instead, a sense of serenity encircled him as if he were floating, weightless, breathless, helpless on a cloud of warm air…then the abyss abruptly imploded. Pierced by a brilliant violet-blue light that shattered into a kaleidoscope of color, the tempest hurtled him, whirling, snaking boundlessly until he finally burst through the surface, gasping for air.
He filled his lungs to capacity, breathed in and out several times before opening his eyes to assimilate the greenish blur surrounding him. Instinctively dog-paddling to stay afloat, he stared at a rustic old wooden bench situated atop a ridge above until his head stopped swimming. He had survived the tumult that ripped his body through Lord knows what and challenged him physically and emotionally to the limits few men could endure. And for what, to end up exactly where he started?
“Noooooo.” His blood-curdling moan cut through the silence.
He slapped his hand across the water, scooping a splash that flew around him. There was nothing more he could do. He tried. He risked his life to set things right, to offset the tragic event that had haunted him for eleven years, but he always knew the chance equated to that of a snowball in hell.
Check out the trailer of Beyond the Mist Beyond The Mist ~ star-crossed lovers survive a cyclone of 9/11 terrorism
About the Author:
Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense.
Casi’s powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in story lines they can’t put down.
Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.
Learn more about Casi at the links listed below:
Book trailer links:
It was wonderful having you with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Beyond the Mist!
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog, Book Reviews and tagged Casi McLean, fantasy, Lake Lanier Mysteries, Romance, Time travel by email@example.com with 18 comments.
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Anise Eden and her Paranormal Romance/Suspense, All The Light There Is, Book Three in The Healing Edge! Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post
Tena, thank you so much for having me on Authors’ Secrets to celebrate the release of ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS! It is such a pleasure to be here.
Anise, the pleasure it all mine. Glad to celebrate All The Light There is! Tell us what inspired this particular story.
As the last installment in The Healing Edge paranormal romance/suspense trilogy, ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS casts its group of paranormally-gifted healers into a new and galvanizing role as they uncover a deep web of subterfuge that puts them in the crosshairs. In this crucible of science and spirituality, danger and destiny, the relationship between Cate and Ben deepens, and the MacGregor Group discovers shocking truths about their true potential. ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS ties together the interpersonal connections and larger plots of the first two books, acting as both the culmination of the series and a broadening of the imagination for the future of the MacGregor Group.
Did you tell friends and family that you were writing a book? Or did it take a while to come out and tell friends and family you were a writer?
The impulse to write my first novel caught me completely by surprise, so the only person I told at first was my husband. Once it was finished, I shared my first book with a few trusted people, but the process of revealing my work progressed very slowly. Early on, it felt as though both my work and the new writer in me needed protection—a little bit like crabs that have recently molted and remain vulnerable until their shells have a chance to develop. Now, one of my greatest joys is getting the word out to readers who I believe will enjoy my particular brand of paranormal romance/suspense!
What do you want your readers to take away from your books?
First and foremost, I want my readers to have an entertaining and enjoyable experience. Beyond that, since everyone’s experience is unique, I believe we all take away different things from what we read. However, I write about characters who are misfits, living on the fringe of “normality” and feeling out of place for a variety of reasons. It is my wish that my books will inspire people to have more compassion for themselves and others; to throw open the windows of the mind and consider new possibilities; and to know that they are not alone—that there is always hope.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m something of a homebody who enjoys the simple pleasures: sharing a meal with loved ones, reading, playing with the dog. I also love traveling, especially to explore history, and taking in a really good play or concert. Those types of experiences live inside of me and enrich my life in countless ways, and I often draw upon them when writing.
ParaTrain Internship, Day Six
It’s just a meeting. Nothing to be nervous about. I wiped my damp palms on my skirt and ordered my brain to focus on something else. Like the Jag, I thought. Focus on the fact that you’re finally getting a ride in the Jag.
And not just any Jag—the British 1936 Jaguar SS100 Ben had restored. He’d found the car in a barn in Pennsylvania, sitting on blocks and covered in hay bales. Now, it looked like it had just left the showroom. My fingertips roamed across the soft leather seat as I admired each piece of shining chrome and the deep glow of the wood on the dash. The car’s transformation was a testament to Ben’s workmanship—not to mention to his patience and tenacity when it came to the things he loved.
The things—and the people, I thought, smiling down at my ring. I hadn’t exactly made things easy for Ben, but now, two gold birds were wrapped around my finger, holding a lustrous piece of Scottish agate between their wings. He’d wanted to give me a tangible reminder of how he felt, a talisman to guard against anxiety and doubt.
I stole a glance at Ben. He was completely in his element, left hand loosely holding the steering wheel, right elbow propped up on the door. Everything about him was solid and squared-off, from the angle of his jaw to the way he carried his shoulders. These qualities were augmented by his charcoal gray suit and crisp white shirt—worn sans tie, as usual. I marveled that no matter what internal battles he might be fighting, Ben always exuded a quiet confidence.
“Enjoying yourself?” he asked.
“Completely.” I closed my eyes and inhaled my new favorite scent—a mixture of fine wool, cotton, and vintage leather that clung to Ben like an olfactory tattoo. “My mom would have loved this, you know.”
His light brown eyes softened. “You think so?”
“Absolutely.” Every summer when I was a kid, she had taken me to the local car shows. Back then, we could only look, never touch. Riding along with Ben, I felt like a glamorous movie star. I struck my best Hollywood pose, and he smiled.
It was such a pleasure—not to mention a relief—to see Ben relax after the nonstop drama of the past two weeks. There had been too many life-and-death situations, too much tension. And more than anyone, Ben had earned a vacation. With that in mind, after our meeting at the Smithsonian, we planned to spend the rest of the weekend on the Eastern Shore. That evening, we had a dinner date with my mother’s cousin, Ardis, and a reservation at a nice bed-and-breakfast. Sunday’s schedule was still open. I thought we might head to the ocean; I loved the beach in the fall. Or we could take the ferry to Smith Island; wander around St. Michaels, go sailing…. As I considered the possibilities, I nearly forgot to be nervous.
Then we entered downtown D.C. I sobered as stately suburban homes gave way to modern office buildings and massive structures of chiseled granite. Before long, the Smithsonian office building came into view—ten stories of tinted glass reflecting the cloudless blue sky like a darkened mirror. It took up half a city block.
Ben caught me biting my lip. “You know there’s nothing to be nervous about, right?”
“I know,” I lied. The truth was, I couldn’t believe we were actually there. It had been less than twenty-four hours since Ben told his mother, Dr. MacGregor, about our group’s experience with the double kheir ritual. Now we were on our way to meet with her world-class paranormal research team—and not just to exchange information. We’d been asked to give a demonstration, as well.
I had dressed up for the occasion, wearing a dove gray pencil skirt and a wine-colored cashmere sweater my mother had given me one Christmas. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t belong at the Smithsonian—not as anything more than a tourist, anyway.
“Well, just in case,” he said, “let me remind you that you have nothing to prove here. None of us do. My mother already told her colleagues what happened with our ritual, and they’re keen to know more. But they don’t have any definite expectations; after all, half of them still think the double kheir is just a myth.” In a conspiratorial tone, he added, “Think of it this way. I know you have a lot of questions. Today, you can ask anything you like.”
“Hmm.” I bit the tip of my finger. “Anything?”
“Like whether The Da Vinci Code was based in fact? And whether they’re all members of the Illuminati?”
He chuckled as we pulled into the underground parking garage. “If you ask them those questions, I’ll make sure you get a substantial year-end bonus.”
“Deal,” I said, smiling tentatively. I was still getting used to the idea that my new boyfriend was also my new boss.
Ben was the manager of the MacGregor Group, an alternative healing clinic founded by his mother and housed in a repurposed church. I first met him when my former employer, Dr. Nelson, sent me to the MacGregor Group for treatment. My mother’s recent suicide had left me in pieces, unable to function. As close as she and I had been, somehow I hadn’t seen that my mother was in crisis. Her shocking loss had debilitated me, and I could barely leave my house, let alone return to my job as a psychotherapist. What Dr. Nelson hadn’t told me was that Dr. MacGregor was a psychiatrist who specialized in paranormal gifts, and that instead of “treating” me, she and Ben were enrolling me in ParaTrain, a paranormal skills training program. My first lesson had been to learn the definition of an empath—and that I was one.
Since then, my life had changed so dramatically that it was unrecognizable. Dr. Nelson, Dr. MacGregor, and Ben had all worked hard to convince me that because I was an empath, the key to maintaining my mental health was to leave my job as a therapist and go to work for the MacGregor Group. The idea of leaving my beloved therapy clients was nothing short of heartrending. But after due consideration and several persuasive paranormal experiences, I had agreed to take their advice. Before I could officially start my new job, though, I had to complete a three-week training program: one week of preparation, followed by a two-week internship.
My time in ParaTrain had flown by. Although I was starting my final week of the internship, I still didn’t feel anywhere near ready to take on my new role as an empath healer. Before I met the MacGregors, I hadn’t even known that empaths existed, so I was still struggling to find my bearings. And the unexpected romance between Ben and me was keeping me permanently off-balance. Add in the mind-blowing experience we’d had with the double kheir the previous week, and…. Well, I didn’t even know what had happened there, so I was fairly certain that I’d make a fool of myself trying to describe it to the Smithsonian research team.
That thought had me wiping my palms on my skirt again. “I am nervous, though, about this demonstration we’re supposed to give. The researchers may not have any definite expectations, but surely they’re hoping to see something. And unlike the rest of you, I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“You’ll be fine, Cate,” Ben reassured me as we pulled into a parking space. “Kai’s got it all figured out. He said he has something simple and easy planned, so just follow his instructions. Even if nothing interesting happens, that’s still useful information for my mother’s team. They’re scientists, remember? In an experiment, even a negative result is valuable.”
I had no reason to doubt Kai. He was a highly capable expert in ancient rituals, among other things. But when it came to the paranormal, I had a track record of unintentionally messing things up. “What if I forget our instructions and start reading people’s emotions?”
Dr. MacGregor had passed on a request from her project director that we refrain from using our paranormal gifts on the members of the research team without their specific permission. Apparently, they were much more comfortable observing others than being observed themselves.
“The fact that you’re already worrying about that means it’s highly unlikely you’ll forget,” he said. “And even if you do, who’s going to know?”
Only everyone, I thought. My poker face was nonexistent. I buried my face in my hands. “I’m just afraid that I’m going to embarrass myself. And you. And your mother. And disappoint everyone.”
Ben turned off the ignition. I felt him lean towards me and gently tuck an escaped strand of hair into my braid. “That’s not possible.”
His optimism was endearing, if ill-founded. “Oh, I assure you, it’s possible.”
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged All The Light There Is, Anise Eden, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Telepath by firstname.lastname@example.org with 2 comments.
September 11, 2001, is burned in my memory for all time. I was no where closed to ground zero in New York. In fact I was 1, 775 miles away in Colorado. But the sights and sounds broadcast on the television and computer of the planes crashing into the twin towers, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field, were still life changing. Launching America into a new consciousness, the threat of global terrorism was front and center.
I had just started a new job, I was getting ready for work when I stopped to check my email before shutting the computer down at approximately 8:00 a.m. , MDT. A friend’s email popped up with urgent on it then an IM. The message said “Turn on your television before you head to work. It’s awful, we’ve been attacked.”
I tagged him back “What? I gotta go.” But upon his insistence, I headed down stairs flipped on the television. To my horror I saw the video of the fiery blasts that rocked the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes. I’m not sure how long I stood there watching the events as they unfolded that morning. That particular scene was burned into my memory. For the first time in history, the FAA grounded all flights over or bound for United States air space. It was an eerie sound… or no sound at all I guess. Where I live, air traffic from local airports and the numerous air force bases are an everyday occurrence. But the dead silence was unnerving.
Anyway, I finally tore myself from the television, got in my SUV and drove to work. There I found my boss and a few co-workers glued to the computer screens and MSNBC where World Trade Center’s North Tower collapse 102 minutes after being struck by Flight 11 was being aired. Continuous news coverage and updates at ground zero. Not much work got done that morning in our office. I think we were all in a state of shock. How could this happen? Within a couple of hours, the business owner called and told us all to go home.
Coverage continued all day and at 8:30 p.m., President Bush addressed the nation, calling the attacks “evil, despicable acts of terror” and declaring that America, it’s friends and allies would “stand together to win the war against terrorism.”
From that day forward, there was a new normal. It couldn’t happen to the United States, but it had. We’d been attacked on our on soil… so many American lives lost on that one day, through the actions of a few. A day millions will never forget.
So…where were you the morning of September 11, 2001?
Posted in My Say What Blog and tagged 2001, Ground Zero, September 11, World Trade Towers by email@example.com with 4 comments.