Friday, November 4, 2011

YA Indie Carnival--Blast from the Past

Step right up, peeps!  Glad you came back for some more carnival fun!  Today's post ought to be interesting.  Well, it was to me.  Our topic is:

Blast from the Past

This is supposed to be a post where we dig up some old work, some ancient writing that we did from way back when.  Well, unfortunately, my "way back when" began only two short years ago.  I wrote my first non-school related piece of work in June of 2009.  Now, granted, that feels like a lifetime ago in author years, but it really wasn't.  Not at all! 

Many of you have probably already heard the story of my first novel, and many more of you have asked me if I'd one day publish that story.  The answer is: probably.  But I'll need to do some serious clean up on it, as I discovered when I went back and pulled out an excerpt for the purposes of this blog post.  Hopefully, all of you have read my more recent works and will agree that I've come a long way as a writer since this first book.  For those of you who haven't, though, please don't judge me based on this!!  I've learned so much about myself, my craft, my strengths and my weaknesses since this book and tomorrow I hope to be able to draw even better illustrations for you than I can today.  That's what I want more than anything--to grow as an author, to continue to put out better and better work until...well, forever!

So without further ado, I'll let you read an excerpt of my first novel, an adult paranormal romance featuring, of course, vampires.  Y'all, meet Alex and Michaela:

“No!”  Alex said vehemently.  “No doctors.  I just need to cool off.  I need to get into a cool bath and I’ll be fine.”  Seeing that she was hardly convinced, Alex continued reassuringly, “Trust me.  I know what I need.” 

Reluctantly, Michaela let Alex steer her toward his bedroom.  Despite his determination, he stumbled and staggered the whole way.   When they got to his room, Alex wasted no time heading for the bathroom and the big tub.  He had but one thought in mind: cold.  He would need blood once he got his body temperature under control--need it badly--but he’d have plenty of time to worry about that later.  He had to get the situation under control before he lost his head and did or said something stupid. 

Alex sat on the edge of the tub to turn on the cold water spigot when a wave of dizziness washed over him, causing him to nearly fall into the empty tub.  Michaela reached out to steady him. 

“Let me help you,” Michaela offered gently, turning on the tap.

“Ice.  Get some ice,” Alex breathed weakly.

As much as she hated to leave him even for a second, Michaela did as Alex asked and went to the kitchen for ice.  She all but ran, lifting the entire receptacle out of the freezer then flying back the way she'd come, prepared to dump the whole thing into the water, even the bucket. 

God, please let him be okay, please let him be okay, Michaela chanted silently as she ran.  By the time she made it back to the bathroom, Michaela found that Alex had climbed into the tub, clothes and all. 

At least he took off his shoes, Michaela thought, spying them where they'd landed on the other side of the room. 

If she hadn’t been so worried about him, she’d have laughed, but the sight of him so weak caused her stomach to twist into a knot of fear.  Michaela refused to entertain the notion that something might happen to him.  Hurriedly, she dumped the ice into the tub.

Alex opened his eyes when the cubes splashed against the placid surface of the water.  Michaela noted that his eyes were dull with fever.  Kneeling by his head, she dipped her hand into the water and pressed her cool fingertips to his forehead.  His skin was still burning hot.

“Where are your washcloths?”  Michaela asked, looking toward what she assumed was a linen cabinet. 

Alex weakly lifted a finger to point in the direction she had supposed.   Michaela got a cloth from the cabinet and returned to her position by the tub.  Dipping the cloth into the water, she wrapped the wet material around an ice cube and began dragging it across Alex's feverish brow. 

If Michaela hadn’t been there, Alex would’ve submerged his entire body, head and all.  Vampires could hold their breath for a very long time, but Michaela would freak out when he didn’t come up for air so that was not an option.  Besides, considering her current ministrations, he might not need to anyway. 

As the frigid water lapped around his pyretic body, Alex felt the swirling in his head diminish as his core temperature dropped.  Closing his eyes and concentrating on the tender loving care of his life mate, Alex calmed and let his vampire body begin its accelerated healing. 

Michaela watched Alex closely.  The ice in the tub was gone, but it had obviously done the trick.  She could tell he was feeling better.  His color was healthier, his breathing had slowed to a more normal rate, his eyes had remained calmly closed for several minutes--all signs that he was no longer in such acute distress.  She thought his skin was even starting to feel much cooler, but she couldn’t be sure.  Her hands were painfully cold, making it difficult to judge temperature.  Dragging her fingers lazily through the water, Michaela let her eyes roam his beautiful physique as she circulated the water over his smooth skin. 

Even in sickness, Alex was powerful in form.  He looked massive lying in the tub, and it was a big tub.  His wet jeans clung to every long muscle in his legs.  They also clung elsewhere, revealing a thick bulge that sent a thrill racing through Michaela. 

Michaela forced her eyes up, afraid if they lingered she might be tempted to take unfair advantage of the sick Alex.  Unfortunately, raising her eyes didn’t help much.  The wet cotton of Alex’s shirt clung to the ridges of his abdomen and to his wide, thickly muscled chest.  Through the pale cotton, she could see the dark hair that spread across his chest and narrowed into a sharp V as it descended down his belly and disappeared under the waistband of his jeans. 

Looking at all the cloth that covered his skin, Michaela thought maybe he would feel even better  and would cool more quickly if she lifted his shirt and let the water rush beneath it and move across his skin.  Gently, she grabbed the fabric of Alex’s shirt and tugged, freeing it from his waistband.  She pulled straight up on the material and a wave of water gushed beneath it, traveling under the material to emerge at the neckline with a blurp as it broke the water’s surface.  

The current of the water pushed Alex’s necklace out from under the collar of his shirt.  Michaela heard the metallic clink of something hitting the floor of the tub.  Without thought, she reached down to retrieve the item. 

A charm dangled from the necklace, a charm Alex must've been keeping hidden inside his shirt. 

But why? Michaela wondered, letting the drop of gold fall into her palm so she could more closely examine it. 

With a sharp gasp, Michaela’s eyes flew to Alex’s face.  His eyes were open and trained on hers, unblinking.  A thousand irrational thoughts swirled inside her head as her gaze darted between Alex’s steady stare and the charm.  Michaela didn’t know how it could be or what it could mean, but the charm that lay against the cool skin of her palm was familiar to her.  In fact, it was intimately familiar to her.  The charm she held was an exact replica of the one she wore, an exact replica of the one personal item she'd been clutching the night she woke up with no memory of her life.

Now I feel like giggling.  It seems like a thousand years ago, and yet it was only a matter of months.  Boy, how things change!  Crazy, right?  Yeah, I think so, too. 

Alright, y'all, as always, TGIF and happy reading!  Before you go, say hello to the other carnival folk that you'll find listed below:

Dani Snell Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Hunted Series and the Hayle Coven Novels
Courtney Cole Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Nicole Williams Author of Eternal Eden, and Fallen Eden. She is also a contributing author in the Glassheart Chronicles
Fisher Amelie Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Laura Elliott Author of Winnemucca as well as 13 on Halloween, book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series
Amy Jones Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Rachel Coles Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms
T.R. Graves Author of Warriors of the Cross
PJ Hoover Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis
Alicia McCalla Author of the upcoming science-fiction novel Breaking Free
Abbi Glines Author of Breathe, and the upcoming Existence and Vincent Boys
Cheri Schmidt Author of Fateful, Fractured, and Fair Maiden
Lexus Luke Author of Manitou, The Sky People Saga
Suzy Turner Author of December Moon and Raven
K.C. Blake Author of Vampire Rules
Gwenn Wright Author of Filter
Kimberly Kinrade Author of Bits of You & Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind
Darby Karchut Author of Griffin Rising and the upcoming Griffin's Fire
Madeline Smoot Author of Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
Cidney Swanson Author of Ripple series
Heather Self Blogger, Reviewer and upcoming Indie Author