Saturday, July 21, 2012

Meet the Author on Facebook - The After-Party

I just wrapped up an amazing chat on Dreamspinner Press's Facebook page to celebrate the release of Art of Death!  I'd promised to share a preview of the sequel, Bonds of Death, which is due out in October, but due to timing and the desire to not spoil the story for anyone, I decided to post it here.

Sequel Preview: Bonds of Death
What's better than a book about nude modeling and the undead?  TWO books about nude modeling and the undead!  Bonds of Death, the sequel to Art of Death is scheduled for an October release.  As we learned in Art of Death, the undead grow stronger when they take on human worshippers.  Since each undead has a weakness that could potentially kill them for good, sometimes a human worshipper is the only thing that can help them resist an attack targeting their weakness.  So what happens when the headstrong Riley is asked to worship his undead lover in order to save his life?

(beware: Art of Death spoilers ahead)

Featured in Bonds of Death: a copycat murderer, assassination attempts on Westwood, creepy baby dolls, martial arts training for a certain guy who likes to get himself into trouble, and :gasp: a love interest for Porter!

Excuse me while I leave this excerpt here…  (Beware, this hasn't been through the editors yet.)

Also, a bit of irony - about a month after I wrote this scene, my drawing tablet died and I had to drop $500 to replace it. :sigh:


Excerpt: Bonds of Death

Riley had intended to go straight home from the bar, but the crates of watermelons outside the entrance to Whole Foods caught his eye. On a whim, he steered his bike into the parking lot, pulling up alongside the crates and contemplating whether or not to go inside the store.

As much as it pained him to admit it, he was spoiled. While he lived with Nick, they only bought organic groceries. His relationship with food was fickle to begin with; even when he ate organic, he was likely to get nauseous over unexpected abnormalities on his plate. Dry hulls in his oatmeal made him gag. Stray bones and tendons in his meat were worse. As picky as he was with his organic meals, he was terrified of what he might find within the depths of a conventional apple or cut of corn-fed beef.

But alas, he couldn’t justify the expense of going inside the shop. He knew how it always went: he’d start by eyeing the rows of pretty vegetables, trying to decide which one or two to buy as a special treat, only to end up at the cash register with an overflowing basket and a fifty-dollar receipt. Resigned, he turned away and pedaled the rest of the way home.

He returned to a dark apartment and pulled open the kitchen cabinets. It would be another night of generic spaghetti with generic tomato sauce. There was a single cucumber in the vegetable drawer. He pulled it out and checked it for mold before setting it on the cutting board.

“Did you just get in?”

Riley jumped, crashing back against the fridge and knocking his head. “Shit, Westwood!” he gasped, squinting at the shadowed figure that had stepped out of his bedroom.


Riley rubbed the back of his head. “I don’t mind you breaking into the apartment, but don’t do it when I’m not home.” He turned away, pulling open a drawer and grabbing a knife to cut the cucumber. “I wouldn’t be totally opposed to you calling and letting me know you’re on your way over here, either.”

“It’s more fun this way.”

“It’s all fun and games until someone has a heart attack.” Riley quickly chopped the cucumber and set it aside, then retrieved a pot and filled it with water. “And what if I want to reach you? When are you going to give me your cell number?”

“You don’t need my cell number.”

“Of course I don’t. We’ve only been sleeping together for six months. Why would I need your number?” He cranked up the heat on the gas stove, listening to it click several times before finally igniting. “I went to the bar on Ballard. Quinn said Porter hasn’t shown up for work in two days. I tried to text him, and he sent back a really short message saying something came up.” He turned. “I know this is a long shot, but have you heard from him?”

Westwood shook his head. He continued to watch Riley in the kitchen as if he were putting on a show.

Riley reached for one of the top cabinets and looked inside. He couldn’t find the spaghetti. He frowned, feeling around like a raccoon in the dark. He came up with a nearly empty bag of rice that Porter had bought from an Indian grocer in Tampa, but no pasta. “Damn it!” he groaned, slinging the bag of rice onto the counter. He slid down to the ground, sitting on the floor and rubbing his temples.

“What are you doing?” Westwood asked curiously.

“Nothing.” Riley yanked on his hair and then scrubbed his face. He tried to reason with himself, tried to talk himself out of disappointment. Maybe rice and tomato sauce won’t be disgusting. Maybe it’ll be surprisingly wonderful.

Westwood stepped around the corner and into the kitchen, where he could finally see Riley sitting hunched on the floor with his forehead resting on his knees. “What? You don’t have food in the house?”

“I thought I had an extra box of pasta, but now I remember putting the second one back at the grocery store because I was twenty cents short.” He leaned his head back, closing his eyes. “I’d kill for some sautéed halibut right now.”

“Where would you get that?”

“Nick’s house.”

Westwood took a seat on the floor beside Riley, humoring him. He wrapped an arm around Riley’s waist and pulled him close. Despite himself, Riley turned toward him, pressing his face into the crook of Westwood’s neck and taking in his earthy scent. “My drawing tablet quit on me last month. It cost almost five hundred dollars to replace it. I figured, ‘no big deal; I’ll pick up some extra jobs, and I won’t buy meat for the rest of the year’. But it’s not so easy to find extra jobs, and damn, I miss meat.”

Westwood laughed softly and gave Riley a squeeze.

A thought popped into Riley’s mind, and he perked up. “Hey—do you know what kind of food they serve at a wights-only party?”

Westwood suddenly pulled back, a startled expression on his face as he stared down at Riley. “What?”

“I got invited to a wights-only party in a couple weeks. I wonder what type of food they’d have there? It’s not the type of thing to have a cover charge, is it?”

“Why are you suddenly asking about wights-only parties? Who invited you?”

“That guy—Thackary Jones.”

Westwood’s lips pressed into a tight frown. He pulled further away from Riley and crossed his arms over his chest. “Why do you want to go to that kind of a party?”

“Because I’m hungry.” When it became clear that Westwood expected a more thorough explanation, he continued. “It’s not that I ‘want’ to go so badly. But I got invited, and if there’s going to be free food, I don’t see why I shouldn’t go.”

“The only reason to go to a wights-only party is if you plan on accepting one of the undead as your liege. That means you perform their ritual and start worshipping them. Is that really what you want to do?”

“Can’t I just go and see who’s there and find out what their rituals are, and then say I’m not interested? And maybe eat some of their food while I’m there?”

“Good luck coming out of a wights-only party unattached.” Westwood raised his eyebrows. “At a typical wights-only party, the undead outnumber the humans three to one, sometimes more. And they’re all desperate for new worshippers. The undead want human worshippers because each ritual the human performs makes them stronger. They’re not going to let you out of there without performing a ritual.” He grumbled under his breath. “But I don’t see why Thackary still does those parties. He has enough humans already. And I don’t see why he invited you personally.”

“He seemed to know who I was. He asked if I was friends with you.”

Westwood set his jaw. Abruptly, he stood up. “Your water’s boiling,” he said before heading into the bedroom. Moments later, Riley heard the bedroom window slam shut.

No comments:

Post a Comment