Chicklit, Drama, Fiction, Romance, women, writing

I Hate Rom-Com’s

I hate romantic comedies. Other than a select few most of them are predictable.

The couple meets in some cute way, most times with the desperate and single woman doing something to look like a complete idiot. Maybe she knocks over an entire table of food at a restaurant and he helps her clean up the mess. Or she gets her dress caught in the door of a cab and has to run along the side of it until the hero swoops in and saves the day.
After the cute meet the couple starts to date and all the woman’s flaws and insecurities come to the surface while most times the hero remains as clever and attractive as ever. Everything is fine until some conflict either internal or external threatens to break them up for good. One of the two has an epiphany and realizes they can’t live without their soul mate and by the end of the story everything is neatly tied in a pretty little pink bow and the happy couple lives happily ever after.

No wonder audiences have been staying away from romantic comedies in droves. Who wants to watch a story that’s that predictable? As a reader, it’s a tired formula I’ve seen repeated over and over again in a number of romance novels and it’s the reason I don’t read those types of books anymore.

As a writer, especially with a series, making things unpredictable is something you have to consider, especially when your story has romantic elements. Though the reader may say they want the heroine and her love interest to be happily married with kids, don’t believe them.

I can testify that I’ve thought the same thing with the TV series Castle. As soon as Detective Beckett and Richard Castle got together I was done. That was last season and I haven’t watched it since. After watching two characters who have been pining for each other for years finally get together, it’s boring now that we have what we wanted.
What keeps your reader interested is the tension between the couple. Move their relationship forward slowly. If you put them together as a couple, tear them apart soon after and have them find their way back to each other all over again. Introduce that best friend who’s been yearning after the hero since they were kids. Maybe one of them has an unforgiveable secret? What if her jealous best friend is a liar and spreads a nasty lie that breaks them apart. Unbeknownst to the hero, maybe his lady love has been replaced with her crazed, long thought dead twin sister. The longer you can keep your couple from that happily ever after the more the reader is pulled in. Make them wait!

Just because you’re following the romance formula doesn’t mean you have to play it by the book.

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Drama, Fiction, ghosts, money, Murder, mystery, Paranormal, Romance, supernatural, women

The Body Hunters: Dirty Secrets, Naked Truth Excerpt-Alistair Brogan’s Murder

Enjoy a sneak peek at the first chapter in the third book in The Body Hunters series. The Body Hunters: Dirty Secrets, Naked Truths by Raven Newcastle http://amazon.com/dp/B00GOZ7ULC/

Alistair Brogan’s eyelids cracked open a little after one in the morning. Through sheer stubbornness he continued to lay there, willing himself to fall back to sleep. After nearly an hour of watching the digital digits on his alarm clock mark the passing time, Alistair gave it up. At the moment sleep wasn’t going to allow him to escape the mess of his creation.

He forced himself to sit up. He ran a hand through his tousled grey hair, which stood straight up like muddy icicles.  The space in the king size bed beside him was empty; a few blond hairs on the pillow the only trace of the high priced call girl with whom he’d spent part of the evening.  Obviously his meter had run out and she’d gone off in pursuit of the next paying client.

Alistair winced as the soles of his feet touched the frigid bedroom floor, the wood cut from some rare tree from the Amazon.  He slipped into a pair of handcrafted silk slippers, monogrammed with his initials.  He was considering not even bothering with a shower, until his own body funk assailed him.

Alistair shuffled to the bathroom with its heated tile floors, his worries heavy on his shoulders.  He gazed at his nude form in the bathroom mirror.  He didn’t look too bad for a chap well beyond the half century mark.  His eye sight had been corrected with laser surgery so he no longer required the grandfatherly glasses he used to wear.  His hair was expertly cut by a stylist known to have clipped the hairs of U.S. Presidents and heads of state.  His fingers pinched his waist, finding no trace of the love handles that had plagued him for years, his belly flat and taut like a fashion model half his age.  His unforgiving personal trainer had seen to that and the man’s exorbitant fee had been money well spent.

A personal shopper made sure that his walk in closet was overflowing with fine garments and shoes that befitted a man of his wealth and stature.  A fleet of fine automobiles filled the garage of his mansion, while a handful of servants waited on his every beck and call.  When Alistair talked, people paid attention.  Everywhere he went people knew him and wanted to be around him.  To the outside world Alistair Brogan was the picture of power and influence, but why did he feel so hollow inside?

When Alistair looked at himself in the mirror all he saw was staring back at him was the face of a con man and a thief.  Alistair Brogan, CEO of Capital Securities Associates or C.S.A. was guilty of running a Ponzi scheme.  He’d duped corporations, charities, middle class workers, and little old ladies out of billions of dollars.  Over the years, he kept telling himself that he’d go on the straight and narrow and clean up the mess he’d started, but as the years went by he only got deeper and deeper in the tar pit of his own making.

Just a few months ago, Alistair had developed a plan that would allow him to pay off all his investors back in full. The plan would take time to pay off, precious time he no longer had. Unfortunately, there was no more sand in his hour glass and two weeks ago the whole house of cards came crashing down.

A legion of FBI agents in their windbreakers descended on C.S.A.’s headquarters in Savannah in search of a paper trail.  The SEC had been investigating him for years and finally had gathered enough evidence for a warrant.  Like buzzards swooping down on a carcass, the media was all over the story.  Cameras and microphones were shoved into the faces of clueless C.S.A. employees and Alistair’s equally clueless friends and family.

Alistair was exiled from his circle of friends as soon as the news broke.  He’d gone from a VIP to the most hated man in America in mere days.  His victims now paraded outside the gate of his mansion with their torches and pitchforks, calling for the head of the monster.  His former friends treated him like he was poisonous, avoiding any contact with him.  Alistair felt like he didn’t have an ally in the world.

The arraignment was mercifully quick and his hot shot lawyer was able to get Alistair released on bond and put on house arrest.  Thankfully he was able to avoid wearing one of those awful tethers, since the lawyer negotiated the surrender of his passports.  Alistair was now confined to his luxurious seven bed room, Savannah, Georgia mansion.  With the house empty since he fired his staff, the mansion was even more like a prison.  Save for the occasional call girl, Alistair was in solitary confinement with no other human contact.

As he stood in the shower letting the steaming jets of nearly scalding water work over his exhausted muscles, Alistair reminisced over his past transgressions and his pitiful existence.

He’d never been much of a husband or father. He knew now that he was never worthy of his first wife, his one true love, Cindy Good.  She was truly a saint who’d put up with his lying and cheating for years, but even saints have their limitations.  She’d taken their children and had been living happily ever after for years.

Wife number two was a conniving temptress who was only after his money.  She’d abandoned him as soon as she’d gotten word of the charges against him and the possibility of losing everything of which she’d grown accustomed.

The disappointment in his eldest son’s face whenever he looked at him was enough to kill him. It was a wonder that Alistair Jr. didn’t change his name to avoid all association with his fallen father. Luckily he was spared the judgment of his daughter who lived in Europe with her husband and children. It was one thing to be a bad father, another to be publicly branded a crook.

How ironic that the one child he could truly lean on at this time was his problem child, his youngest son Carl, by his second wife.  It was Carl, the former drug addict, who comforted Alistair with words of wisdom and encouragement. While he was never charged with anything as serious as running a Ponzi scheme, Carl had seen the inside of a jail cell on several occasions in his relatively short life and knew what they were up against.

Ceasing the ruminations on his children and turning off the punishing spray of water using the digital touch screen panel, Alistair stepped out of the glass enclosed shower.  The scent of his musky imported body wash and shampoo lingered on his skin.  Donning just his silk bathrobe, he headed downstairs, taking in the things he’d accumulated over the years.

As he passed the baby grand piano in the living room, he reminisced on the items he’d acquired.  There was the antique Persian rug he’d acquired in Morocco, the antique vase from Malaysia, a collection of hand blown glass ornaments from Italy.  These items he cherished would soon be auctioned to the highest bidder to cover the losses that his clientele had suffered because of his schemes.  His bank accounts were already frozen and it was only a matter of time before his property was seized.

His breath caught in his throat as if he could feel the walls of justice closing in on him.  His lawyer insisted on pleading not guilty, but Alistair knew that his days were numbered.  He was guilty as sin and he was going to spend the rest of his earthly existence and part of the afterlife in a federal prison.

Trying to shake off the stress, Alistair arrived at the room containing his indoor pool.  The combination of the chlorine and the heated water made the room hot and the air hard to breathe.  Shrugging out of his robe, he stepped into the warm waters.  He swam laps around the pool until his arms and legs felt like they’d been injected with lead.  The dull pain helped to lower his anxiety level.

“Nice day for a swim, huh?”  A masked figure dressed in black emerged from the shadows, a gun gleaming in its hand.

“Wh-who are you?”  In near panic, Alistair quickly cinched the robe around his waist.

The intruder never answered, letting the sound of the gunshot speak for him. A jet of red black blood sprayed like a fountain from Alistair’s perfectly tanned neck.  He fell to his knees, his hands around his own throat, desperately attempting to stop the bleeding as his life flowed through his fingers.  Alistair’s voice was replaced by thick garbled static, the blood in his throat nearly gagging him.

The dark figure stood less than a foot from Alistair’s crouching form and pulled the trigger again.  Grey matter and blood spatter made a mess of the white tile.   Alistair collapsed in a heap.   Death overrode any modesty as his robe fell open, leaving his naked body fully exposed.  The intruder fired two more rounds into Alistair’s skull before kicking the dead man into the pool.

A murky red cloud surrounded Alistair as he floated on top of the water like an overfed goldfish.  Satisfied with their handiwork, the intruder fled the room, carefully avoiding the blood on the floor.

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Author, biracial, Chicklit, Drama, family, Fiction, ghosts, indie authors, Murder, mystery, Paranormal, Romance, supernatural, supernatural, women, writing

Excerpt from The Body Hunters: Paradise Denied-Meeting with the Cartwright’s

Here’s an excerpt from Book 2 in our series, The Body Hunters: Paradise Denied. In this snippet, our psychic detectives Aiden and Danielle meet with the grieving family of Jason Cartwright. Enjoy!

The JTC Technology Corporation campus occupied several hundred acres of San Jose real estate. The driver dropped Aiden and Danny off in front of the company’s headquarters. For a few seconds they stood gaping at the sharp inclines and daring angles of the building’s structural design which looked like some futuristic spacecraft from a science fiction movie. Security officers awaited them as they stepped into the expansive five-story complex. After signing the two of them in, giving them guest badges, and taking Danny’s laptop out of her messenger bag and giving it a once over before giving it back to her, they were allowed to pass into the lobby.

Stepping into the headquarters was like entering a time machine into the future. The building’s interior consisted of polished chrome, black marble and mirrored glass. Twin, glass enclosed elevators were located in the middle of the first floor, while a staircase that looked more like a glass art sculpture offered access to all levels of the building. The sun was nearly blinding, reflecting off the polished tile floor of the lobby. Since it was around lunch time, the atrium was hectic with activity. Mixed among the mundane sea of neutral office attire were what Danny assumed were the more relaxed creative geniuses in their brightly-colored classic cartoon and superhero T-shirts.

A man, no older than thirty of Asian descent was standing in the lobby near a large bronze sculpture of a hand holding a globe. His thin body was pretty much built like a stick figure, his polo shirt and khakis a couple sizes too large, hanging off his lanky frame. The smile he greeted Danny and Aiden with was as inviting as a bathtub full of ice cubes.

“I’m Carter Wu, lead software developer for JTC Technology. Welcome.” He said boringly as if they were stopping him from doing more important work. “If you come with me, I’ll give you a tour of the facility.”

“I thought we were supposed to meet with the Cartwright’s?” Aiden spoke up as they started to follow.

Carter sighed and rolled his eyes, his tone of voice condescending. “Unfortunately, their board meeting is running a little late. By the time our tour is over they should be ready for you.”
Carter didn’t sound very enthused to be doing what some would consider babysitting. With as much heart as an automaton, he gave them the abridged history of JTC Technology.
The company started in Boston, where Jason Cartwright a technological prodigy, was attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT at the age of fifteen. He had programmed his first computer operating system at the age of sixteen. That same year, with his parents insistence he had started JTC Technology out of the family’s garage.

Eight years later JTC was a highly successful Fortune 500 company. Though they were successful in the private sector with their computer programs and consumer gadgets, the bulk of the company’s profits came from their contracts with the United States Defense Department. JTC did everything from create simulators where military recruits could enact crucial combat situations to supply electronics military personnel used on the battlefield.

They were given a full tour of the grounds, which included the Research and Development building located east of the main complex and the programming wing where computer programs were born. With the tour completed, Carter took them to the fifth floor of the headquarters where the board meeting was just ending. Sullen-faced board members were filing out as they approached

“Your guests, sir.” Carter snidely announced to Tim Cartwright, CEO and the victim’s father. “Would you be requiring anything else?”

Tim seemed to narrow his eyes on Carter as if silently reprimanding him and his unpleasant attitude. “It’s alright, Carter, we can take it from here.”

Dismissing the software developer,Tim took Danny’s hand in his own and kissed it. Aiden glared. He didn’t approve at all! Jealousy reared its head in him, and all he could do was to keep glowering at the man. Tim Cartwright failed to notice.

Tim smiled widely showing off a set of teeth worthy of a tooth paste commercial. He was rakishly handsome, the type of man who only looked better with age. He was a few inches shorter than Aiden. His height and wide-shouldered build hinted at a previous athletic career, evident in his stance and the graceful way he moved. His dark hair was surrendering to gray with strands of silver mixed throughout.

He led them into the conference room where Barbara, or Barbie as she liked to be called, was waiting. She and Tim looked to have coordinated their attire, both of them dressed in black power suits. With the shake-up at the company and with their son the brainchild missing and presumed dead, Danny assumed they were trying to keep up a united front for the stockholders.
“Thank you so much for coming.” Barbie welcomed them, offering them a seat at the oblong mahogany table. She took a seat at the table’s head with Tim to her right. Introductions were made all around with the Cartwright’s insisting on being addressed by their first names. Danny and Aiden also offered their condolences.

“Do you have a picture of Jason?” Danny asked.

Reaching into his jacket pocket, Tim produced a picture of his son and slid it across the table to Danny. Jason smiled back in the photo which apparently was taken on his graduation day from MIT since he was wearing his cap and gown. He was a good looking kid, a scrawny carbon copy of his father.

“Is it OK if I keep it?” She asked.

“Of course you can.” Barbie said with a nod.

“We really hope you can help us.” Tim’s jovial expression had softened, his hands clasped in front of him. He looked to be on the verge of tears, worry lines creasing his brow.

“We’ll try our best, Tim.” Danny sincerely offered.

“You two come highly recommended. What is your experience with cases such as this?” Barbie asked.

“Well I worked with both the New Orleans and the New York Police Department along with my brief experience with the FBI as a consultant. I also worked as a contractor with the Federal Government solving cold cases.” Danny said, offering her references.

“I served with the Marines for three tours in Afghanistan. After that I worked with the FBI for two years in their Criminal Investigation Division.” Aiden informed them.

“You were the one with Cassie when she was kidnapped by Gerard right? Weren’t you his fiancée?” Barbie asked Danny. Upon hearing Gerard’s name, she took a deep breath to answer, but Aiden spoke up before she could get a word out.

“Yes, she was, and I was the agent that rescued them.”

“Well then it looks like we’re in good hands.” Tim observed, nodding to his wife. “Hopefully you can help us track down that woman our son was fool enough to marry.”

Danny looked confused. “I thought we were also trying to locate your son? He’s still missing isn’t he?”

Frowning, Barbie waved her hand indifferently. “At this point it’s more of a recovery operation than a rescue. The authorities were only able to recover two bodies from the yacht’s wreckage. They say we may never find Jason’s body.”

“You try to protect your kids, but sometimes they just won’t listen.” Tim hid his reddened eyes with the palm of his hand and started bawling. Supportively, his wife clenched his other hand.
Vengeance blazed in Barbie’s eyes. “Whatever it costs to find that murderous bitch, we’ll pay it. We’ll give you access to our private jet, and we’ll provide you a company credit card to cover any expenses you may incur. Whatever you need, name it and it will be provided to you.”

Danny and Aiden considered the offer to be quite generous, and they were able to come to agreeable terms with the Cartwright’s as far as their fee for their investigative services.
Curiosity got the best of Barbie. “Tell me, you two are working together, but are you lovers as well?”

Danny gave a sharp intake of air, the sound similar to someone suddenly letting the air out of a balloon. “What?”

Aiden stepped in for her, his tone stern and reproachful. “With all due respect, whatever our relationship is, it’s between us. Danielle and I have worked well together in the past, and it will in no way affect how we work on finding your daughter-in-law.” Just because they were rich and paying for their services didn’t give them the right to pry into their personal lives.

Barbie apologized profusely. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend or be so forward. Since that business with Gerard and hearing that you were her rescuer, well there just seems to be a certain kind of chemistry between the two of you.”

“Please don’t mention that monster’s name again. It’s over and in the past now.” Aiden said.

“Please accept our apologies. I can see that would be a very horrible memory. We didn’t mean any harm, right honey?” Barbie nodded in agreement with Tim’s statement.

“Apology accepted, Now if we can get down to business let’s just focus on finding your daughter-in-law.” Danny changed the subject and opened her laptop ready to take notes. “What can you tell me about her?”

“She’s a gold digging, white trash bitch. How’s that for a start?” Barbie spat venomously.

“Ah OK, let’s start with where did she and Jason meet?” Aiden clarified the questioning.

Barbie turned to Tim, and he shrugged. “I think they met when she was still married to Jason’s friend. What was his name?” Tim snapped his fingers repeatedly as if it would help him remember. “What was his name…Winston? Eric Winston. I know for a fact Eric met her at a strip club where she was performing.”

Danny and Aiden exchanged a look. They weren’t privy to that particular nugget of information.

“She was a stripper?” Aiden asked.

Tim nodded grimly.

“She killed him, you know. Shot that poor boy to death and left him in the woods. The animals had devoured him before his body was found.” Barbie informed them, snatching a handful of tissue from a nearby box and blowing her nose. “My poor son. We don’t even have a body to bury. I swear she’s going to pay for what she did.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss.” Danny offered, patting Barbie’s hand.

Barbie sniffled and dabbed at her eyes. “It’s OK darling.”

Tim had since composed himself. “She killed the Winston kid on their honeymoon. Good kid that he was. Jason felt sorry for her and offered to pay for Amanda’s legal defense. The prosecutors didn’t have enough to bring her to trial so they dropped the case. Next thing I know Jason is hanging around with this girl, and last week we find out they’ve eloped.”

“Eric didn’t put her in the will as his beneficiary so his family contested her inheriting his millions. She didn’t follow through with the legal battle because she got her hooks in another rich victim; my son.” Barbie said.

“I think the wise thing to do is start where it all began and track her from there.” Danny said to Aiden. “It’s only been a few days. She hasn’t gone that far.”

He nodded, turning to the Cartwright’s. “You said they eloped to Hawaii?”

“Yes. They were secretly married two days before the boat explosion.” Tim said.

“Jason and the girl used our private villa in Hawaii before the explosion. The police weren’t able to find any leads there and have given it the all clear. You two are welcome to use it. I’ll have it prepared for your arrival.” Barbie said, taking her smart phone and rapidly sending a text message.

“That’s fine. It may take a day or two, though” Aiden agreed. “We need to get back to Georgia, touch base with our government contacts and go from there.

After another twenty-five minutes of ironing out the details and arrangements, both of them caught the waiting Town car back to the hotel.

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Author, Chicklit, Drama, Fiction, mystery, Paranormal, supernatural, supernatural, Uncategorized

Building a Hero

When we went about creating our hero for our first novel, The Body Hunters, we wanted him to be different. The white guy with the unruly hair and the roguish countenance had been done to death and we were tired of the sparkly vampires. Our guy had to be exotic and a man all his own. When Danielle saw him for the first time, we wanted her to be like ‘Whoa!’. I wish I could get a mental picture of what our readers fantasize about when they read about him. I know who we looked to for inspiration when we created him.

Like Danielle, Aiden is psychic, what we call a physical medium who can access the memories stored in objects. Danny may be a prodigy with her abilities, having been formally trained by her Grandmere, but Aiden needs work. She has to teach him how to use his new found psychic powers.

Our male lead had to be an alpha male foremost. It would suit him well since he would be Danielle Labouleaux’s friend, lover, confidant, and protector. Making him a former military man was no question, which would eventually lead to his career as an FBI agent. Though Danielle or Danny as we call her is headstrong and feisty, he needed to be her voice of reason during her emotional crisis.  He’d give her so much leeway to misbehave, before reigning her back in.

We also needed him to reside on 64 Gutter Lane. A hero is no fun without the bad boy edge, so Aiden definitely has a one track mind that runs right into the gutter. His flirtatious comments always make Danny blush and make for some fun banter and situations between the two.

Though he may sound like the perfect man, we also wanted to ground him in reality.  Aiden isn’t perfect, in fact he’s far from it. He’s bad with money and spends it like there’s no tomorrow. He also has a bad temper and can sometimes be a slob. That’s where Danny comes in to help him where he’s weak, while he does the same for her.

Our readers gravitate to him like bees to honey.  Though we wanted women to love our hero, we didn’t think they’d love him to the point of taking his side in arguments and blaming Danny for all their problems. In creating Danny’s soul mate, we may have just created a monster. I’m pretty sure that Aiden Stone would be happy with that.

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biracial, Chicklit, daughters, Drama, family, fathers, Fiction, Indie Author, relationships, Romance, women

Visions of the Past: A Body Hunters Prequel

The Body Hunters by Raven Newcastle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009X971ME/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_N6xQrb13R6TGQ …

 

The Body Hunters: Paradise Denied by Raven Newcastle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CODG81Q/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_r7xQrb0RWBN1N … … the fun continues in the sequel.

Marcel Labouleaux leaned back in his office chair, putting his hurting feet up on his desk in his New Orleans FBI office. It was late in the evening but he wasn’t working; he was however contemplating his next move. His feet were still smarting from the punishing kicks he gave to the custom chopper that belonged to his young partner Lucian Tepes. His knuckles were bloody and swollen from using Lucian as a punching bag.

 Lucian’s crime was being caught with Marcel’s only daughter the morning after she slept over, giving her virginity to him. She had just barely turned twenty and even though technically old enough to make her own decisions, Marcel was blindsided by the relationship. He felt betrayed by the FBI partner he treated like a son, feeling he took advantage of his daughter’s innocence with men. 

He was also not ready to admit that his headstrong daughter was no longer a little girl he could protect. Not that Danielle needed protection; she could kick the ass of any boy who tried to take advantage of her, as her prom date from high school found out. Danny, as she called herself much to her mother’s dismay, had been a teenage terror, defying her parents and especially her mother at every move. Her tantrums and outburst were met with his stern discipline usually to no avail. She was going to do what she wanted, when she wanted and now apparently with whom she wanted.

Marcel had dreaded this day for a long time. He wasn’t ignorant to the fact it would happen, he‘d just hoped he’d been long dead or she at least married first. An old fashioned idea he knew and he also realized when it came to Danielle he was wishing too much. He just couldn’t figure out what she saw in the dark haired white boy with the slight European accent and dangerous bike.  He smacked his hand to his head realizing he’d just answered his own stupid question. 

 Marcel rubbed his short cropped graying hair feeling the bald spot he figured would turn into a horseshoe in a couple of years. Groaning at the thought he closed his eyes and smiled reliving the image of beating the young man on the ground watching him bleed from his cut lip, that pleasant memory over with his mind wandered back to his daughter.

 She was in college taking police courses claiming she wanted to be FBI just like dad. Marcel didn’t take it seriously, knowing she was just doing it to give her mother yet another reason to fret over her choices. She seemed to take great pleasure in torturing her mother on a regular basis. 

An image of his beloved Julianna came into his mind. Danny definitely was her mother’s daughter. Her long black hair and high cheek bones were features that made both of them knock out beauties. Danny was a caramel brown copy of her. The only other distinguishing characteristic she carried from Marcel was golden brown eyes which were a family trait they shared with his mother. Like his mother Marie, Danielle’s dancing eyes could turn into dangerous daggers in a heartbeat. 

The debutante balls and finishing school Julianna had enrolled her in drew Danny’s ire toward her mother. The battle of wills and wits between the two was enough to make him want to drink. The slamming of doors and the I hate you’s that spewed from Danny’s pretty mouth on almost a daily basis from the time she was fourteen to eighteen grayed him quicker than anything else.

 Then there was the talking to the dead thing. Danny tried to explain it to him that she was psychic like his mother Marie. Danny was very close to her grandmere and her influence on her was calming, but this ghost business was too much. He’d scolded his mother for putting those nonsensical ideas into her head. He believed in what he could see and touch only and had no time for ‘I see dead people’ craziness.

Julianna followed his lead on the subject much like she deferred to him in most things which pleasantly surprised him considering her temperament and upbringing. Julianna Benoit Labouleaux had come from the bluest blood in all of New Orleans and desperately wanted to impart some of her southern belle manners and gentility into her daughter. He never argued about her attempts in fact he secretly wished Danny was a little more refined and not a carrier of the trademarked Labouleaux temper.

His mind wandered now of the pleasant memory of his wife. The headstrong southern belle he fell hard for. She could charm and cut you all at the same time with her smile. He allowed his thoughts to float to a special time and place he knew they would be devoted to each other forever.

 The evening soirée was the highlight of the social season. Everyone who was anyone in the Parish was in attendance, private invitation only. The light orchestral music floated in the late January night from the stage set around potted pink and purple orchids.  Tuxedoed waiters greeted the throngs of guests arriving to take their seats amongst the white linen tables. The silverware was real and the goblets were made of the purest crystal. No expense was spared for the twentieth anniversary dinner of Jeannette and Louis Benoit at their exclusive and not so inclusive country club. The demanded attire for the evening was evening gowns and tops and tails. Rounding the club’s circular driveway was the white horse drawn carriage that held the guests of honor. They made their grand entrance to the polite applause of the standing guests as they took their seats at the head table. Missing was their nineteen year old daughter Julianna, who snuck away while pretending to get dressed for the affair. Julianna had a special surprise for her parents, who to her were more acquaintances than parents having been brought up and taught more about life by nannies and the house staff.

Julianna planned to bring a special date, her newly minted husband she secretly eloped with just the day before. The young, handsome man with the dangerous grin that made her melt into a puddle every time she saw him waited for her outside her window nervously twisting his hands. This was going to get ugly, Marcel Labouleaux mused. He was not a blue blood, he had no money, and most of all he was black. That fact alone, he had warned her before they took their vows, would get her disowned by her family. She didn’t care, he was all she could think or care about, that and their precious baby growing inside of her.

He placed his hands on her hips to steady her as she descended the ladder. He hoped they were undetected by the house staff that was under strict orders to report her whereabouts immediately, especially if she was seen in the company of him. He turned her around and gave her a quick kiss. “Are you sure you want to do this tonight?”

She gazed lovingly at him. “No time like the present.” She smiled that charming but dangerous smile. He knew there was no talking her out of it.

They quickly snuck off the grounds and into Lucille, his 1970 cherry red Camaro, the only thing of value Marcel owned and the second love of his life. Peeling away down the tree lined street with the throaty engine roaring, he watched her being carefree, almost giddy as she sang along to Ray Parker Jr.’s  Ghostbusters .

The crowd parted as Julianna stormed past the Maître de with Marcel in tow after being told only she could enter the country club.  Flutes of champagne and food trays were overturned as she pushed the unfortunate waitstaff out of her way. The club’s elder trustees tried to stop her march toward the dining area where her mother and father were now alerted to their daughter’s presence.

“We’ve contacted the police Mr. Benoit.” The silver haired club trustee advised to an astonished Louis.

“Yes Daddy, please have us arrested! I’d love nothing more than to spend my honeymoon in jail!” Julianna spat out as the crowd gasped surrounding the young couple.

Marcel tried to match his new wife’s resolve standing tall wrapping a protective arm around her.

“Honeymoon?  You better not be telling me you married…him!” he pointed his finger at Marcel. Jeannette feigned a swoon.

“Oh mother really! And yes daddy! I believe you know your new son in law!”

He did indeed know his new son in law; Louis Benoit had hired him as a porter few months back for a car dealership he owned. It was there in Louis’s office that Marcel first laid eyes on the young temperamental Julianna, filing papers, falling head over heels for her. He was fired and threatened with great bodily harm by Louis after being discovered making out with his daughter in the back of his Camaro. No daughter of his was going to date let alone give herself over to a black boy he told her as he grounded her for the umpteenth time.

“Julianna we’ve had enough of your foolishness, you’ve made your point now please come here!” Jeannette reached for her daughter’s arm having made a miraculous recovery from her sudden case of the vapors. “And you young man had better leave before the police arrive.”

“Get your hands off me mother, this is for real we are married and you’d better get used to it!” Julianna yelled swatting her mother’s hand away.

Marcel upon hearing the sirens closing in, prayed for a miracle as images of police batons across his head tortured him. “Honey maybe we should go now.”

Louis snarled back. “Yes Julianna maybe you had better listen to your husband and leave, but know this, as long as you are with him, you do not come back home!”

“You want me to leave just like your other family daddy? How are your sons doing daddy!  You know the twins? I hear you’re sending them to a boarding school in Spain. They should fit in perfectly with their brown skin!” Julianna’s trademarked smile betrayed to her father she knew much more about his secret love affair than she was even disclosing now. She was playing a dangerous game of chicken with him.

“I…I don’t know what you are talking about! Stop making up lies Julianna!” Was all he could stammer. His own eyes showed his guilt as Jeannette slapped him across the face.

“So it is true!” Jeannette cried as she fell back into her chair. “You’ve been lying me all these years! Those are your sons with Vivian, how could you?”  Jeannette pushed him away as he tried to reach out to her.

Satisfied that her father had enough trouble on his hands at exposing his scandal, Julianna turned on her heel and led her husband out the front door and dared the patrolman to stop her.

Marcel took a deep breath as he drove Lucille away from the pretentiousness of the club. “Um…Honey? Is it true? About your dad I mean.”

Julianna answered him in her best southern drawl. “Yes darling it is. I do declare daddy was diddling the cook. She threatened to expose their illicit affair to mother if he didn’t pay her off. He got her another position after she had my half brothers and I’m sure out of guilt he’s agreed to take care of them financially.”

Marcel was stunned. “How long ago was this?”

“They are ten now I think. I’ve only seen them once at a park with Vivian. I confronted her a few years back after I found some pictures of them with daddy in his desk drawer. She said he barely acknowledged them but has consistently paid for their education, keeping this fact away from mother of course.” Julianna curled into Marcel’s arm as the headlights from oncoming vehicles passed them in what seemed like to Marcel slow motion.

“Girl that is some crazy shit!” Marcel laughed as he turned down the street leading to his mother’s restaurant. “Mama will be waiting for us, she’s probably been by the phone the whole time worrying we’re in jail or worse. You don’t mind living with her for a while, do you?”

Julianna squeezed his thigh. “Anywhere with you baby!”

“Back at ya baby but you keep squeezing me like that we’re never going to make it past the back seat.”

Julianna laughed. “That back seat is what got us in this situation in the first place.” She patted her belly laughing. “Do you think we’ll tell Danielle about it someday?”

“Daniel you mean! It’s a boy I can just feel it.” Marcel grinned. “I plan on giving this car to him when he’s old enough to take care of it so maybe we keep that information of where he was conceived to ourselves.” Marcel grinned. 

Julianna sang along under her breath to Prince’s The Beautiful Ones. Marcel didn’t know what the future held for them but he knew it would always include her by his side.

 Marcel awoke at two am practically falling out of his office chair. The yellow street light illuminating a rain soaked lonely street outside. He heard the whir of a vacuum cleaner in the next office. The cleaning staff must have arrived. He never really thought about who emptied his trash can, it was just always ready for another days paper waste when he arrived in the morning. His reminisces and dreams of days long ago over made him temporarily forget why he even escaped his home.  The familiar bruised figure in his doorway refreshed his memory.

“Taking your life in your own hands Lucian.” Marcel barked.

“Please Marcel we need to talk.” Lucian Tepes dared Marcel’s gaze as he carefully walked over to the chair in front of Marcel’s desk.

“God help me tell me you love her and she’s not just a fuck to you.”

“I love her with all my heart Marcel, I…we never intended to hurt you or Julianna I swear. I want to marry her.”

Marcel took his gun out of his desk and held it in his hands inspecting it. “That’s noble of you, does she know this?” He said sarcastically.

Lucian licked his dry lips watching Marcel inspect the bullet chamber. “She doesn’t know that’s what I want. Not yet anyway.”

Marcel pointed the gun at Lucian. “Do you really think this is wise telling me this at two in the morning after the night we just had? Is this a special brand of Romanian stupidity?” He said referring to Lucian’s nationality and homeland.

“I just wanted you to know how I feel; she’s not just another girl to me.” Lucian closed his eyes waiting for a bullet to explode his skull.

Marcel leaned back and drew a deep breath; he put his Glock back in the drawer and locked it. Rubbing his chin looking out the window he could see the reflection of the beat up young man and himself, except his mind’s eye kept seeing himself on that fateful day at the country club.  

“Take this under advisement Lucian, should my daughter do you the honor of becoming your wife, you’d better elope and never let me catch wind of it before hand. If and it’s a big if, she decides to do such a stupid thing with you, I can guarantee you my reaction will be ugly, but I won’t beat you down again for her sake and Julianna’s. For some reason Julianna likes you.  You will take a few days off and heal, and then when you come back you will make up some excuse to be reassigned to a new partner, got it?”

“Yes sir.” Lucian nodded his agreement as well.

“Do not tell my daughter or my wife you were here tonight or that we talked or I’ll call in all the favors I have and have your sorry ass assigned to some remote outpost in Alaska. Hear me boy?”

“I mean it when I say I love her.” Lucian said as he got up leave.

“I don’t doubt you do but I’m going to make you prove it at every level son.” Marcel stood up and held out his hand for Lucian to shake. Hesitantly Lucian took his hand in a firm grip.

“I would expect nothing less.” He said as he left Marcel in his office and to his thoughts.

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Author, biracial, Chicklit, Fiction, Indie Author, Paranormal, Romance, women

Aloha Nani

Please enjoy another short story on our heroine from The Body Hunters and The Body Hunters: Paradise Denied.

The Body Hunters by Raven Newcastle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009X971ME/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_N6xQrb13R6TGQ …

The Body Hunters: Paradise Denied by Raven Newcastle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CODG81Q/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_r7xQrb0RWBN1N … … the fun continues in the sequel.

“Mama, I don’t want to go!” A pouting ten year old Danny informed her mother under no uncertain terms was she going to the sports exhibition expo in New Orleans. She threw herself on her bed tossing a throw pillow across the room.

Julianna Labouleaux rubbed her temples with her delicate fingers. “Danielle, may I remind you that you are the one who wanted to play soccer? “

“To play not be stared at like I’m some freakazoid!”

“Darling, you should be proud, you are the only girl on the team and the best goalie they have. Your coach just wants to show you off a bit. How about you do it for your team honey?”

Danny hated to be the center of attention and hated being told what to do even more.  Rolling her eyes and folding her arms across her chest was her international sign for ‘I don’t care what you think, I’m not doing it.’ 

Julianna sighed in defeat. “Darling it’s up to you, but right now I have to pack.”

“Are you leaving again mama?” Danny looked up at her mother’s violet eyes feeling a bit hurt.

Pain overtook Julianna’s heart, squeezing every last ounce of guilt out of her. “It’s just for a few days.” She looked away from her daughter’s silently pleading eyes.

“Is Daddy going with you?”

Julianna took her child’s face in her hands. “Not this time honey, he’ll be home and your Grandmere says she’s taking you to the zoo. I’ll try my best to be home to see you compete at the exhibition, that is of course if you decide to participate.”

“That’s what you said the last time you signed me up for ballet lessons and then didn’t show up for my recital!” Danny barked pushing her mother’s hands away from her face.

“Danielle!” A loud booming voice reverberated in her room, the imposing figure of her father, Marcel stood in the doorway.

Julianna hurriedly walked over to Marcel placing a soft hand on his chest to calm him.

“Marc it’s alright, she’s just a little upset and you can’t blame her.”  Her light touch always did the trick. “Please talk to her about the exhibition, her coach has already signed her up.” She gave him a quick kiss on his lips as she left Danny’s bedroom.

Marcel plopped himself down next to Danny on her bed. Her golden brown skin and eyes matched his and the emotions she held behind her eyes contained a lot of awe and a smidge of fear of him. He put his strong arm around her. “Danny, please be more respectful of your mother, she doesn’t want to leave you.”

“Then why is she going again?” Danny didn’t know whether to scream or cry.

Marcel hugged her close. “You know sometimes she has to go away and help her family.”

“She says you’re not going this time. Are you really staying home?”

“Yes but I have to work so your Grandmere will watch you and take you to soccer practice.”

“And the zoo?” She asked as she crawled into her dad’s lap.

“Yes baby girl and the zoo. But only if you do the exhibition.”

The only thing Danny loved more than being in Grandmere’s restaurant reveling in the delicious smells and excitement of the busy kitchen was the zoo. Taking pictures of the animals was her favorite hobby since she could look at them over and over without being dragged into the spirit realm dealing with the ‘ghosties’, as she and Grandmere put it.

She had in fact had several of her animal pictures blown up and plastered all over her walls since, as she discovered, any pictures of humans could transport her at anytime to relive past memories or visit with the deceased. Like her grandmere, Danny was blessed with psychic skills.

“Isn’t that bribing daddy? Didn’t you say to bribe someone was a crime? Like that case you were working on with Uncle Ryan?” Uncle Ryan to Danny was her father’s FBI partner for the last six years.

Marcel nodded his head. “Yes, you’re right baby girl, but I would really like it if you did the exhibition, it’ll be fun and I’ll get to take lots of pictures and brag on you.” He kissed the top of her head.

“Mama says she’ll be there, do you think she will? She tells me that all the time and then never shows up.”

“I’ll tell you what, what do we do when you make us a promise and don’t keep it?”

Danny pondered for a moment resting her head on his chest. “I get grounded and you take my TV away.”

“Ok, so if mama doesn’t show when she promised then you get to ground her and she has to watch cartoons with you all day.”

“And eat any kind of ice cream I want?”  She asked her bright eyes wide with delight.

Marcel laughed. “Yes and any ice cream you’d like.”

 “You really shouldn’t promise her things like that Marc.” Julianna advised as she brushed her long raven colored hair at her vanity mirror.


Marcel stared at his wife’s reflection in her mirror, His own eyes looking heavy and weary.

“Honey, what am I supposed to say to her? Just promise me you’ll do your best to be home for her competition you know she craves your attention.”

Julianna dropped her brush on the table and lowered her head covering her misty violet eyes with her hair. She knew he hated to see her cry, but she wasn’t fooling him. Lifting her up off her chair he held her close nuzzling her neck.

“I want to be there, you know that but you know that every time there is a chance that something can go wrong.” She cried.

He did his best to console her “Julie, you are the best at what you do so don’t talk like that; someday this will all be over.”

“Someday, someday feels like a long way off. When she’s an adult we will have to tell her the truth, I can’t imagine what that conversation is going to be like.”

Marcel took her head in his hands. “Like you said that’s a long way off; let’s not worry about it tonight.” He kissed her deeply as she melted into his arms.

“Lose these!” She whispered in his ear tugging at his shorts.

Marcel smiled. “Yes ma’am!”

 Danny tiptoed back to her room confident mom and dad hadn’t seen her, crawling back into her bed she hugged her big teddy bear that Marcel had won for her at a local summer fair. She fell asleep wondering what her mother meant by ‘possibly go wrong’.

 “Cher? Come now we have to get to the field, you’re up soon.” Grandmere Marie grabbed Danny’s hand leading her to her coach.

“I’m OK grandmere you go sit with daddy. Make sure he takes plenty of pictures for mama.”

“OK, you don’t be nervous. Just do your best sweetheart.” The older woman gave her a kiss and left for the sideline of the soccer field.

The New Orleans Sports Expo was a big event and school teams from all over the U.S were invited to compete for championship titles in various sports in all age groups. Danny was in the ten and under soccer division. She held the awe of her coach Duncan Stewart, a stout Scotsman with a heavy accent. He had tried in vain to tell her it was a brogue not an accent, but as he told her, as long as she could keep goal like that, then she could call it whatever she wanted. 

Danny hated to admit it but the ballet lessons her mother forced her to take actually paid off making her light and fast on her feet. She had even won the respect and admiration of the boys on the team after being placed with them when there were no openings left in the girls division. Marcel had demanded that his little girl be given the right to play. The sports director just figured she’d give up and quit against the boys when it got too rough, but  coach Duncan Stewart found out better the first time she dove for a block.

“Wait here lass.” Duncan ordered as he went to see when her turn was up.

Several young rowdy teenage boys caught Danny’s attention chanting in the corridor saying words that were foreign to her and stomping on the ground beating their chests. Danny walked over to the boys to watch the display closer.

“Aloha!” a few of the boys called out to her.

“What does that mean?” she asked in her shy southern tone.

One of the tall boys answered her. “It means hello.”

“What were you doing?” She asked of the group.

One of the teens, a tall muscular young man with a skin tone that almost matched hers came forward. “It’s a war chant, we do it before all our games, Shorty.“

“I’ve never heard anything like it before. Do you play soccer?” She asked mesmerized by his blue eyes that were partially being covered by his long dark hair.

“Shorty we play a real game, rugby.”

Danny was offended. “Soccer’s real!“

The big teenager laughed kneeling down to her. “Do you even know what rugby is shorty?”

“Well, no.”

“It’s like football but much tougher. Grrrrr.” He growled at her as he made a face squinting his eyes and sticking out his tongue, putting his hands up to look like bear claws. She took a cautious step back. A worried look crossed his face. “I’m sorry shorty did I scare you?

“No!” She said in a small voice, but in truth the big teenager did scare her.

“What are you here for Shorty?” he asked.

“My name is Danielle not Shorty and I’m in a goalie competition; it’s between me and another boy to see who can keep the most soccer balls out of the goal and i’m going to win.” 

“You against a boy? No offense, but a little Nani like you doesn’t stand a chance. You’re a skinny little string bean. Did you lose your front teeth to a soccer ball?” 

Danny instinctively covered her mouth feeling embarrassed.

“No, they just fell out! And I am just as good as any boy! You don’t have to be such a jerk! At least I don’t have a caterpillar growing on my face!”  She pinched his arm hard.

“Ow, damn Shorty that hurt!” He bellowed.

Uproarious laughter and the sharp sound of thigh slapping from his teammates ensued as he stood up to yell at them. “Shut up okole pukas!”

“Hey I think she likes you! better watch out that Kailani doesn’t see you with her, she’ll be jealous brah!” His buddy chided.

Another teammate chimed in. “You should dump Kailani for this feisty little one, looks like she can keep you in line Brah!”

The big teenager with the blue eyes saluted his teammates with his middle finger.

“Danielle you’re up lass!” Duncan Stewart motioned for her to come towards the field. Danny started to run to her coach.

“Hey little Nani, hang loose and good luck!” The big teenager with the blue eyes held up his hand like a fist with only his thumb and pinky fingers up.

Danny mimicked the gesture as the big teen smiled back at her.

 “It’s a nice trophy Danny.” Julianna said as her daughter slid into bed.

“Were you there for all of it?” Danny asked hugging her teddy bear.

Julianna smiled at her. “Most of it, I’m so proud of you sweetheart!”

“I’m glad you were able to make it mama, I was afraid you wouldn’t show at all. I guess this means you don’t have eat ice cream and watch cartoons with me.” Danny sighed disappointedly.

Julianna kissed her forehead. “I don’t know about that, I think that sounds like fun. Maybe we can do each other’s hair and paint our toes too?”

“Ugh!” Was all Danny could muster at the thought of her mother suggesting girly activities. “Mama, what does this mean?” She showed her the gesture the young teenager had made with his hands.

“It’s Hawaiian; it means take it easy I think, where did you learn that?”

“A boy. What does okole puka mean?”

Julianna gave her a disapproving frown. “Did you hear that from that boy too?” Danny nodded. “Never you mind what it means.”

“What about Nani? Is that bad too?”

Julianna brushed Danny’s hair back from her face. “I think it means pretty. Sounds like you got a boyfriend at that competition.” Julianna teased.

“Ugh no mama he’s old!”

Julianna laughed. “Old! How old?”

“Not like you and daddy old, but like one of those teenagers grandmere complains about that work in the restaurant. He called me little Nani.”

“I don’t know, sounds you like him! We’re not going to have to plan a wedding are we?” She teased.

Danny giggled at mother’s comment. “No mama!”   

“Good because I don’t think your daddy is ready for you to get married just yet.” Julianna brought her blanket up to her chest and tucked her in. She gave her a kiss and turned out her side table lamp. “Goodnight darling.”  

 Danny opened her eyes shaking off the chill in her body and cobweb’s in her brain. It was the same after every visit to the spirit realm. She dropped the high school team photo of a bunch of muscular teenage boys in their team jerseys holding a very large trophy. She had pulled the photo out of a box in the basement mislabeled ‘kitchen stuff’. Photographs were her psychic gateway into the spirit realm.

She had been sorting the final boxes in storage since moving into the Savannah home almost a year ago not realizing the box she opened was not her own. She fingered the photograph a moment longer resting her finger near a familiar face. Putting the picture aside she dug back into the box and pulled out a red jersey that had a silhouetted tropical floral pattern in the background and Polynesian tribal markings that ran down along the left side. On the back of the shirt was the name STONE with the number 25.  

Oh my God! She thought to herself, no freaking way! She held the jersey close to her chest. Searching again inside the box she found his class ring and a picture of him, his father Joseph Stone and his mother Anna Stone smiling as they all three held a large trophy together. Aiden’s father was native Hawaiian and it was clear from the photo that he took after his father in his physique and his naturally exotic but rugged good looks. He also shared many of his mother’s African American and Irish features, none more than her ocean blue eyes that glowed almost luminescent from the picture in the filtered basement light. They seemed to be staring into Danny’s soul. A soft female voice entered her thoughts. Sometimes we have to look to the past to see our future. She was startled by the voice realizing it wasn’t her own. She looked down at the t-shirt she was wearing, a favorite one she had worn for years that was a gift from her now ex-husband. He had given it to her on their first date. She slipped it off and replaced it with the jersey. As she suspected it was too big for her but in her mind it fit like a glove.

“Nani? Nani?” Aiden bellowed for her from the side kitchen door that led to the outside garden path.

“I don’t think the neighbors heard you, can you yell louder, please?” she mocked. “What do you want?” She barked at him sticking her head out the door.

Aiden stood by the large outdoor garbage can and held up her favorite AC/DC t-shirt. “Why are you throwing this away?”

“I found something new I liked and figured it was about time I let go of the past.”

Confusion crossed his face. “Really? You’re really going to throw your favorite tee away? What could possibly replace this?”

Danny opened the kitchen door wide to fully reveal his old jersey. “It’s okay isn’t it Big Daddy?” She strode up to him wrapping her arms around his waist.

“Oh my God! My rugby jersey from high school! I thought I lost it, where did you find it?” He asked as he embraced her tightly.

“Some idiot put it in a box of old memento’s and labeled it ‘kitchen stuff’”

Aiden laughed. “Yeah I was pretty drunk when I packed up the apartment, but Nani are you sure you want to throw this away?” He held up the t-shirt again. “This shirt holds a lot of memories for you.”

 “I think it’s time for me to make new ones.” She reached her arms up around his neck and pulled herself up to his 6′ 4″ frame wrapping her legs around his waist. He let the shirt fall back in the trash as he wrapped his strong arms around her. Holding her close to him as they shared a deep kiss.

 

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audience, Author, Chicklit, Drama, fans, Fiction, Indie Author, Romance, Uncategorized, women

How Much is Too Much?

Last week while in the midst of writing the third book of The Body Hunters Series we had the discussion of how far we really wanted to delve into our mythology. Though our series is about a pair of detectives with extraordinary abilities which they use to solve mysteries; at its heart our story is about two unique people working together while trying to sort out the difficulties of their relationship. What we had in mind was creative and would have made for an interesting story, but was it so far into paranormal mythology that it would turn off the readers?

As an example we referenced the HBO series True Blood. Though I’m late getting into the series, starting halfway through Season 5, the common complaint I hear about it is that they got too convoluted. People miss the earlier episodes when it was a scandalous supernatural tale about who hooked up with whom. I can say the same about a show I enjoyed during its first season ABC’s Revenge. The first season was simple; a young woman with a list of names going after the people who wronged her. The second season of Revenge was too far removed from the simple concepts of season one. I gave up watching halfway through and to date have yet to even watch the second season finale.

Keeping these lessons in mind, we decided to scale back on the storyline we were planning. Though the storyline is still present, it’s not an all encompassing plot like we originally planned.

While it would have been a compelling story with deeper supernatural elements, we listen to our readers first and foremost. Though our superfans enjoy the paranormal activity that brings our characters together, the thing they enjoy the most is the human connections and relationships. We don’t want to alienate our readers by introducing concepts that are too out there. So using these TV shows as examples of what happens when you don’t give your fans what they want, we decided to ramp up the drama and a little boom-chica for good measure.

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