Hi, Tami! I’m thrilled at this invitation for shameless promotion. Thanks for having me at the You Gotta Read Guest Blog. Retribution, my first novel, has been out less than a month. It’s an awesome feeling, a bit scary too!
How many of us sit down to write one story and end up with something totally different? Often, I’d glance over my shoulder to ask, “Now where did that come from?” Equally often, a strange chill ran down my spine. Writing this novel was a journey for me as much as it was for my vampire, Michael Malone.
Giving readers what they want is a must in writing romance. Retribution, however, goes a bit deeper. It’s a story of redemption. There’s a huge cast, for one, with multiple points of view throughout the book. You see, I wrote a dream—a really long dream to sustain Michael during eight days of incarceration. Poison snaked though the vampire’s body to juice up his mental anguish until he gives in to total despair. Vivid details and fractured sequences lend more insight to how Michael thinks. He has a specific (often incomplete) concept of those who’ll aid his journey to redemption. And as in many dreams, one’s view is skewed. In Consequences, the follow-up novel, much of his fantasy will serve as premonition with a unique twist, and his journey continues. Book Two of The Champion Chronicles is also contracted with The Wild Rose Press, so stay tuned for its release date.
Writing this vampire’s intricate dream was enormous fun! I knew who my characters were. Michael, of course, didn’t. So his perceptions of them had to be lopsided, and finding that tunnel vision in this arrogant character became a huge challenge. But Retribution isn’t a prequel. It’s where all the action begins.
I’ve previously published and presented on urban music education. That’s a very different writing style. The excursion into paranormal romance, (visit Janelle’s review on www.yougottareadreviews blogspot), posed some stumbling blocks for me. But being a “You need to read” has me bursting with happiness! That said, the jump into fiction was truly an enormous leap! While I can research with the best of them, creating my very own paranormal world held lots of new experiences.
To give some background, I chose Portofino, Italy as the setting for my novels. I visited the breathtaking seaport in 1978. Completely in awe at the water’s edge, the spectacular view of the mountains imbedded in my subconscious. Lily Palmer’s autobiography, Change Lobsters and Dance, had drawn me to the seaport and I hope with all my heart to revisit that part of Italy some day. Trips to Siena, Florence, and Pisa rounded out other settings in Book Two and Three of the series. And studying in London gave insight to Michael’s background as an English trader who came to The New World in 1690.
When I began to write, many details came back like I had just been there yesterday. But it was twenty-eight years after those incredible five months in Europe, and now my brain suffered from educational as well as emotional overload. Teaching and going to school full time is not for the weak in spirit, especially when difficult life-issues are to be faced! Weaving Core-Content through Special Subjects, my year-long action research project, won an award in 2006. School was suddenly behind me, and this mushy brain needed creativity to reemerge—and fast! After booting up the old laptop I wrote, “The boy ran as fast as wind.” I saw a tall, handsome vampire. I swear I did! Chapters poured out, and hell-bent on redeeming this commanding creature, the story haunted my thoughts. But there were questions. What would a vampire see if his mind could be guided away from infinite agony? What role would guilt play in his struggle? Who’d help a demon that had lusted and killed for 200 years before reclaiming moral thought? More important, why? How would this deadly weapon be used against immoral evil?
I’d love to tell you more, but perhaps you’ll want to read the book and find out for yourself. What Michael Malone accomplishes in one very gutsy act is just the beginning. Every action has a consequence. Some are just more complicated than others…
For more information on me and my writing, please visit www.Mflagg-author.com
Thanks again for inviting, Tami.
His fierce brow tightened. Alana pulled away, but only far enough to study Michael’s face. Bruises covered every inch, but many cuts were closed. Fear had lived inside his Guardian for many days now. Her eyes quickly glistened.
“I hurt everywhere,” he said, in a voice huskier than usual, “but I know that you’ve been
here with me. I could sense you. I’m in bad shape. Four broken ribs, shattered right leg—aches and pains too many to count.”
“You’re in Portofino, you know that don’t you?” Michael gave a slight nod. “You’ve been incoherent for days. Miles got you and Lukas out of Manhattan. Celia’s here too…helping with things. The Georgians sent a specialist and yesterday—”
A mischievous smirk appeared. “Is that the person my son sent sailing across the room?”
“One and the same… And Lukas is itching for the control-yourself-or-else speech.”
Michael gave a sharp groan. “I killed the bastards that made him so crazy. He wasn’t
supposed to remember me.”
“Lukas is the reason you worked for NWT, wasn’t he? They actually believed you’d give him up so easily—for an entire year? Then, when they least expected it, you took the Triumvirate out.” He looked away. “I’m not stopping, Michael, even if you don’t want to hear me. But they were prepared, in the event you turned against them. A beastly thing waited in the wings to take a nip. I can’t believe you missed that,” Alana said, with a hint of sarcasm. “You don’t get to play with big bad wizards, and then pick up your toys and go home.”
He refused to meet her gaze. “This is complicated, and I don’t want to discuss it with
you. As long as Lukas is safe, it’s gonna be okay. It’ll just take a while. He needs time to adjust to everything, to adjust to me.” Michael tried to sit up, and realized he couldn’t. He bristled when Alana started to help. “Don’t… I’m fine like this.” He had to lead her away from the anger building inside. A devilish smile reappeared, laying on the charm. “By the way, I enjoyed watching you sleep… And watching you dream.”
“I bet you did,” she said, playfully. His lashes fluttered down, and abruptly, Alana sat forward. “Hey, stay with me, Malone, do you hear me?”
My entire body feels as heavy as stone. Only a light range of motion in stiff arms, and this grip leaves a lot to be desired, especially compared to what I’m used to. Lifting my head off the pillow is a major effort. Every sharp sense remains intact, but something has changed.
He heard her plead, “Come back to me,” and the tone of voice told him that she was afraid he’d
slip away again. When Michael met her gaze, the expression on Alana’s face screamed fear. “I’m
here. Last night…What happened to me?”
“You were in bad shape, I mean really bad—”
“Yeah, fill me in later.” He cut her off in a dismissive manner. “That old lady…Who is she? Where did she come from?” Positive she’d catch the snide remark, he braced himself thinking, if glares were stakes, I’d be dust and bone by now.
“Wow, irritating arrogance is back with a vengeance! So, let’s back up, buddy.” She sat up straighter, and wrapped the bedspread around herself. “First of all, you’ve been out of it for three days. I won’t embarrass you with the sobbing and crying or the moans and groans. Second, a lot—and I do mean a lot of people—have been trying to make you better. Third, that old lady who, by the way, took the infection out of your system was my Zia Rosa.”
“What’s a ‘zeearosa?’” Mimicking her indignant tone on purpose, Alana’s infamous
temper surfaced quickly—just as he hoped it would.
“Zia means aunt in Italian and she’s my mother’s aunt, which makes her my great-aunt,
or for your benefit, my great aunt who knew exactly how to get the poison out of your undead,
ungrateful carcass! Really, how unlike you! I’d show a teeny bit of appreciation, Michael.”
He rolled his eyes, offering no apology. More perturbed, Alana kicked into high gear.
“For your information, she’s a member of the Georgian Sovereign Council. I knew Zia was a
healer. I just didn’t know that she was powerful enough to remove the undead type of infection
you got—when that thing decided to take a bite of dead meat out of you and then used your back as a scratching post!” No reaction took Alana over the top. “Of all the conversations I’ve imagined having with a recently lucid creature I’ve loved so deeply, this is definitely not one of them.”
He watched her pause to take a breath, but it didn’t squash her temper. “I didn’t know you could be so cold. You couldn’t have changed that much since the last time I spoke to you. This is useless.” She inched away. “You’re either a total ass—or you’re not being straight with me.”
Michael flashed a bored frown. Knowing this woman so well, he figured she’d retaliate with aloofness. But a bright smile concealed anger. “I’ve had enough of this conversation. And you don’t get to win the round,” Alana announced, crawling off the other side of the bed.
Michael’s gaze stayed glued to her, especially when the bedspread dropped to the floor and the
naked woman didn’t hurry into her bathroom. “What a visual,” he whispered, drinking in the loveliness of her, “and mission accomplished.”
Passion and vengeance spun like a coin on a table. Alana’s my passion, my destiny. Lying next to her only made him more obsessive. The vampire calculated vengeance coldly,
dangerously. NWT will pay for turning me into a helpless being. “I’ll drive you away, for your own good. I’ll live with the incessant ache in my soul. You aren’t going to be the one way that they can get to me,” he vowed. “I’d walk into the sun and burn in the eternal fires of Hell rather than bring their wrath down upon you or any of these good people.”