Here’s the trailer for The Catalyst, which is book 3 in the Pretverse. The book releases in ebook the first week in June, Audio and print a little later as those formats become available.
The lovely Michelle Davidson Argyle put this together for me. I selected video, music, and wrote the text. She did all the actual awesomeness and work.
I can finally reveal cover art for The Catalyst! I LOVE this cover. My cover art is done by the amazing Robin Ludwig, who I highly recommend. And yes, I will never stop bragging that I was her very first book cover.
And here is the audiobook cover (It will be available in audio a few months after print–simply due to the time it takes to do audio, as well as any possible wait time for availability of my narrator. I release things as soon as they are ready, which is why you have ebook, then print, then audio. It’s not the same as “windowing” that trad pub does. I don’t withhold once stuff is available. I make it available as it’s ready.) Chet has said he’s interested in narrating The Catalyst, but of course that isn’t set in stone until all the paperwork is done (I’m 100% on board, and as far as I know Chet is as well, I just don’t want to “assume” something is in the bag until ink is dry). But anyway, here is the audio cover:
And here is the book description: (I’ll also be adding an author’s note in the front of the book to indicate it’s an ensemble book and not primarily JUST Z and Fiona’s story. They are the bookends for this story and have their own love story going on, but it’s not the main thrust of the plot, but they tie into the main thrust of the plot which revolves around Cole, Jane, and Cain. And Fiona and Z get plenty of screen time!):
It started with one lost, shivering pup; it may end in a war…
Panthers don’t do responsibility. They don’t do long-term relationships. They definitely don’t raise kids. But when Z discovers a young wolf in the forest, he takes him in, unaware of the powerful beings hunting the pup.
Fiona is a witch who can’t leave her house; the birds have told her something bad will happen. The mailbox is as far as she’ll go, but even that may provide more danger than she’s bargained for. When a wolf pup stumbles into her garden, her safe, wrapped-up world heads for a free fall.
But along with danger, the pup brings a chance at love—a chance an agoraphobic witch and a bachelor panther shifter aren’t likely to find on their own.
Thanks to everybody who bought Dark Mercy during the special weekend sale, I hope you enjoy it! For those who haven’t picked the book up, I switched the price back on Barnes and Noble. However, on Amazon, it may still be showing on sale because I just changed the price on B&N so Amazon would put it on sale (so people could see the discount they were getting when they landed on the page and realize it “was” a sale, and not the normal price.)
Here are the buy links again for the book:
And here is an excerpt:
“A-Angeline. I haven’t seen you here in awhile.” Could he not get that schoolboy stutter out of his voice?
“I was fighting temptation,” she replied coyly.
Hadrian cleared his throat. “And did you succeed?”
She glided closer—or floated. The length of her dress made it impossible to tell which. She stopped mere inches in front of him. He should have taken a step back, should have excused himself, but her strange eyes locked with his. They drew him in, hypnotizing him.
If he were another type of man, he would have proclaimed she was a witch putting him under a spell, but it was just as much his responsibility as hers for not moving away. It was his fault for not finding a replacement for midnight Mass. His mind became fuzzy.
What was I just thinking about?
Her eyes pulled him in, making the rest of the room swirl around him in a slow blur. If he’d looked down to find them both floating and spinning in the air, he wouldn’t have been surprised. He was dizzy from the delicious scent emanating from her.
Her voice was a siren’s song when she spoke again. “Forgive me, Father, for I’m about to sin.”
Angeline’s mouth tasted like hot cinnamon candy as her lips descended on his. Her lip gloss left his mouth tingling. She might burn him alive with a single kiss. She chuckled as she continued her exploration of his mouth, as if he’d stated his thought aloud and she found it amusing.
Somewhere deep inside him was the place that was screaming that this must not happen, but it sounded like it was shouting from far away down a long, dark hallway, disappearing into a tinny echo. Quickly overtaking that voice was one penetrating thought that refused to release him.
I want her. I want her. I want her. I want her. The thought happened in rhythm to the beat of his heart.
Her lips left his mouth and made a burning trail over his cheek and up to the lobe of his ear. “Father Hadrian.” It was a breathy pant that held all the promise of a new universe unfolding.
He couldn’t remember what she said after that or even if she said something after that. The pounding of his own blood rushing through his ears—and other blood racing south in response to her nearness—had drowned out his ability to think or hear anything else but the lilting magic of her voice calling his name.
“Father Hadrian… ”
Her tone had gone from that of an angel to a writhing serpent as she rubbed her sinewy body against him. This was wrong. The thinking part of him clawed to get out. Something was all wrong about this, beyond the breaking of a vow. But he couldn’t form a coherent thought.
I want her. I want her. I want her.
“And you shall have me. Forever,” she said.
Had he spoken out loud? He wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me right now,” he said, as her fingers slid under the Roman collar.
It startled him. His collar. Where were his vestments? There were more layers of clothing, or there had been a few moments ago. He glanced down to find the vestments somehow on the floor of the sanctuary. He started to pull away.
“No, Father. Eyes right here on mine. Stay with me.”
His gaze shifted back to her eyes and his will merged with her again. He didn’t realize his shirt was off until the air from the chilly room hit his bare chest.
“Oh, what a surprise. You must work out. Don’t be shy, Father Hadrian. It’s a crime you never get to be inside a woman with this body.”
Thanks for reading!
In the Pretverse, death is an illusion. Everything and everybody is immortal due to reincarnation being a big part of the verse. The demons and angels in the series are in a fixed form and can’t die and reincarnate, so they are the exception to the rule. (The angels will be introduced to in book 3: The Catalyst.) However, humans, vampires, and therians (werecreatures) reincarnate. Typically a therian stays therian, a human stays human, and a vampire goes back to being human since that’s the root of who they were.
It’s true that vampires are “part demon”, but that’s not enough to make them physically immortal. (sunlight and stakes anyone?)
My world has a lot of literal soul mates. Characters who have been together in previous lives finding each other again, or who for some reason couldn’t be together in previous lives but now are able to rectify that. I like the drama of characters who have these deep roots and connections to each other, rediscovering those connections. Of course, not every book will address whether or not characters have a pre-existing connection if it isn’t germane to the book.
Another side effect of this is you never really know if a villain is dead. In the case of demons, you can’t really kill them, you can just magically bind them. In the case of other types of villains, they die, but they come back. Luckily they don’t usually remember who they were. Either they continue being evil assholes in their new incarnation or they make a change for the better.
Some books in the series happen in a future dystopian society in which the humans all know about the preternatural world. (fun, fun). Who shows up again in this world, and what side they’ll be on may surprise you when we get there.
For now, we’re still in the books that are introducing the world and allowing you to meet the different factions and key players in how the world unfolds.
One of the challenges with writing a world with reincarnation as well as truly immortal characters (like the demons and angels) is creating a sense of drama out of that. The fact that most of the humans don’t realize they are immortal does part of the work there. Also, never knowing who you’ll have to deal with again at a future date is fun to play around with as well.
I also like the set-up of taking a character who goes through all these lifetimes and fixing them in one state for awhile or forever as is the case when a demon is created or someone is turned into a vampire.
You might notice a couple of strong recurring themes in my work: redemption and perspective.
Perspective: everybody is the hero of their own story. With the exception of the villain in Kept (and he didn’t survive long in my world), I try to make 3-dimensional villains who have their own motivations and goals. If the story were told from their perspective, you would see their side and root for them. Because, in general, their goal isn’t to “destroy humanity” or “take over the world”. It’s much more nuanced than that. Nobody thinks they’re the bad guy, and in your own story you aren’t. But while you’re the hero of your own story, you may be the villain of somebody else’s. I find this concept fascinating, and it’s a theme I repeat. It’s why good guys will become villains and villains will become good guys because it’s all about whose head we are in at any given moment.
Redemption: another theme I visit a lot. The idea that redemption is an ongoing process and evolution for a person and that we save ourselves and we save each other. It’s a collaborative act of co-creation. i.e. I don’t see people as victims waiting for a rescuer. In Save My Soul mutual redemption is a theme and it’s a theme I’ll re-visit probably many times in many ways.
Dark Mercy: Dark Mercy is not a romance. However, Hadrian and Angeline WILL end up together. I say this as the author, not to be spoilery, but to tell you that I write romance. Romance involves happily ever afters. The question isn’t IF a couple will end up together but how that will happen. Sometimes the road isn’t completely linear, but that’s okay. I feel, and I hope my readers agree, that it’s a far bigger payoff when the route isn’t a straight line.
Dark Mercy is the story of how Hadrian and Angeline meet and it isn’t a fluffy story. There is pain for both of them, and they each have a complicated history. The ending isn’t fluffy happyverse but it’s their backstory. It’s the thing that will make their novel together work. (Book 5 in the full-length books).
Similarly, just like I might use a novella to give a set-up story that isn’t the actual HEA, I might create a “happily for now” that might require something bad to happen to bring the couple to a full HEA. For example, Jane and Cole. Something will happen in book 3 (The Catalyst) that some might not like but it will be resolved by the end of the book. The point isn’t to “take something away from you” but to give you an “actual” HEA. Right now Cole and Jane do not have an HEA. Cole has a lifespan of hundreds of years and Jane has a normal human lifespan. That’s not happy except in the most short-sighted way. But, that will be addressed.
So, Hadrian and Angeline ARE a future couple. Don’t worry, all will be well. But THIS story in Dark Mercy is the story I have to tell first. The payoff will be bigger for you later. Though I hope readers will be able to enjoy the story for what it is, now.
For anyone who prefers audiobooks, Save My Soul is FINALLY at Audible. (It took FOREVER for this title to get listed. I think we finished with recording and such all the way back in February to give you some idea about the long lag time.)
If you haven’t heard my awesome narrator, Chet Williamson, you should definitely click on the button to listen to the sample at Audible.