Sunday, February 17, 2013

Coming Storm Update - Announcements!

I've had a lot of varied and diverse things going on lately. I've been working on writing, audio, and video projects. Some of them have been shorter or smaller and others have been rather large and time consuming. I've tried to keep people in the loop with updates from time to time on Facebook, Twitter, or here on my blog. This has proven to be more difficult than I thought it would be.

I figure now is as good a time as any to address as many of the questions that have been posed to me concerning the most current information about 'The Coming Storm' trilogy.

I'll try to cover as much of information here as I can, but if I forget to include anything, or don't answer your question please feel free to ask anything in the comments section below.

First of all - Blood & Spirits, Book One in the series is getting a face-lift by way of new cover art. The new edition of the book (with the new cover) will release on the same day as Distant Thunder, Book Two. There are several options for new cover art and I will likely be holding a contest online allowing readers to vote on which new cover they think is best.

Currently (until the end of March) there is an eBook giveaway being hosted by author Meaka Kyel on her blog.

I'm thankful that I have friends and fellow authors like Meaka who are kind enough to get involved in getting my work out to a wider audience. 

Feel free to check it out here by clicking here.

Also, the trailer for Blood & Spirits has been featured on the "I Love Book Trailers!" blog.

If you haven't already taken a look at the trailer that I shot with the amazingly talented Daniel Yokum, you should check it out. Click here to see it on the Blog.

Next - Distant Thunder, Book Two in the series is in the final stages of editing before release. It looks, at this point, as though the release date will be the 2nd of April. I couldn't be more excited. The early feedback I've gotten has been overwhelmingly positive and I look forward to getting into the hands of my readers.

Click here for the link to the Goodreads page for Distant Thunder.

Another development worth noting is that I am currently working on putting together audio book copies of the first two books of the series. It's not something that will be rushed and sloppy, because of that I don't have dates for release yet. Be assured though, those of you who have asked about getting the series in audio book format - I have heard you and I am working in that direction.

Lastly, Driving Rain, Book Three in the series is already in the early stages of editing and should be released in late 2013/early 2014. This is dependent on many variables including other projects that I'm trying to get out by the end of the year.

I think that covers everything that I needed to cover. As I said above, any questions you still have can be asked in the comments section below.

To all of you, my readers - of my fiction, my poetry, my blog, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your continued support and kind words. Thank you for continuing to read!

I've also added an excerpt from Distant Thunder below, if you want to scroll down. Enjoy.

Thanks all,

 - D.S.



Kathy Gallows spins around so fast it seems as though she’s about to take flight. Laughter bubbles up inside the seven-year old, until it finally boils over in a cacophonous flood. Squinting from a smile so wide her face can hardly contain it, she’s swelling with the joy that’s spilling loudly from her in all directions. As she twirls, flowing red hair trails out behind her like a meteor burning its way across the sky.
Her white sundress, detailed in fine lace, twirls out at the bottom, letting her legs experience not only the summer sun but the afternoon breeze.
Summit Drive in nineteen fifty-two is an idyllic picture of Midwestern Americana. Better Homes and Gardens brought to life. Every collar is blue, every picket fence white. Pekin, Kentucky at its best.
A voice calls to her from the front door of her house. “Kathy, it’s time to come inside.”
Wobbling to a stop, she giggles again and stumbles forward on unsteady legs toward her front door. Almost meeting the grass face first after only two steps provokes another burst of tittering laughs. Without a single worry in the world, Kathy knows that today is a good day to be dizzy.
Stepping through the doorway everything changes. She’s twenty, and her hair is braided tightly against the back of her head.
She’s in Rogers Park now, and there are goose bumps on her arms from the chill of the Chicago winter. It’s still her house, but not the one she entered. Time has shifted around her. She’s recently dead, already drinking blood but still living with Sasha; that makes it nineteen sixty-five.
She can hear the voice still calling her. It sounds as though it’s coming from the basement where she’s not permitted to be. Only Jules and Sasha can go down there. Working girls have to stay upstairs.
Creeping down the hallway closer to the basement door, it’s obvious the voice is growing more urgent.
“Kathy, I need you to help me! Please!”
Someone has left the door open, so she can peek through the crack ever so slightly.
Jules’ body, engulfed in flames, falls against the door. Shrieking, she jumps backward, but not fast enough. What remains of him collapses on top of her, burning and crumbling to ash.
All Kathy can do is scream.


I jump awake in bed, narrowly avoiding a fall to the floor. Near panic, I take stock of my surroundings and I’m reassured that it’s 2012, and I’m in the old Masonic Lodge where I fell asleep. Even though I know I’m safe it does little to help with the anxiety. Lately, my dreams have become horrors, twisted visions loosely based on my memories. I haven’t been Kathy for almost forty-eight years.
I don’t know who she is; the voice that was calling to me. It’s been haunting my dreams for the last month, and I’ve had more than my fill. I don’t know if my subconscious is trying to tell me something, or if I’m just going insane, but every day, like clockwork, there she is.
Jules gave me this life for better or worse. He made me immortal. He made me Veronica. I am not coping well with his death.
I just might be going crazy.

Chapter 1

It seems so weird that there wasn’t even a funeral. There were no services or gatherings to mark his passing. Rituals like those are left behind when we stop breathing. Clearly, I haven’t adjusted to that part of what I am yet, even after all these years. All I can focus on is that the man who made me is gone. He only exists in the memories of those who knew him. For me, his loss is still so jarringly abrupt.
It’s taken Learner five weeks and my repeated requests to call a meeting of the Council to discuss the events surrounding Jules’ death. You’d think five weeks would be enough time for me to at least find some kind of acceptance of the fact that he had passed. He hadn’t been actively involved in my life in seventeen years. Here I am, though, still feeling like I’m in shock. I’m like a traumatized child who just lost her only parent. Believe me, I know what that’s like. I’d already been through it twice before Jules decided to make me, so I’m confident I can be fair in making the comparison.
Beneath me the worn out bedsprings groan in protest as I sit up and slowly stretch. Even if I hadn’t had some strange woman keeping my dreams unsettling, my living conditions wouldn’t have let me sleep well – not that I can ever sleep for long.
At least the windows are bricked up in this room and not just tarped over like they are in the rest of the building. If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was a loft apartment somewhere in a larger city than the flyspeck that is Pekin, Kentucky. There’s a starving artist charm here; not the feel of an empty condemned building we were squatters in.
The place really could do with a good cleaning, though. It looks like everything was given a good scrub down when Garrett and Sunny moved in months ago, and no one has so much as swept since. It’s not like there are piles of garbage littering up every room, there’s just a dingy feel to it all. It’s noticeably organized, but without any upkeep.
Garrett’s a man built for Spartan living, one who doesn’t seem to notice little trifles like these. Sunny, as queen of this castle, can’t be bothered with something mundane like occasional light dusting. Garrett still treats her like the twelve-year-old she looks like and that only serves to keep her spoiled. All she’s done, since she killed all the breathers that worked for them, is constantly bitch about needing a maid.
As a guest, I’m not sure how they’d take it if I just started tidying up. I don’t want to go all Martha Stewart on the place or anything, but I’m afraid I might ruffle feathers if I start moving things around to do something as simple as running a vacuum cleaner.
The room service hasn’t been bad, though. As usual, there’s a glass of warm red liquid waiting for me on the table next to the bed when I wake up. Even though I rarely sleep more than half an hour a day, and never on a regular schedule, somehow, Garrett always seems to know when I fall asleep and makes sure I wake up feeling cared for. Bringing the glass to my lips induces an involuntary smile.
“Mmmm… Fresh-squeezed. Not from concentrate.” I mumble the words aloud. On some level, I expect to hear one of my girls laugh at my odd sense of humor. I miss having them around. I need to be back in my own house.
Frank assures me this is the last day we’ll have to spend living on Garrett’s generosity at the old Masonic Lodge. The Jefferson House is supposed to be ready for us to move back in tonight, and sleep in tomorrow.
I could have gone back to the Ranch House, but the memories there are a little too thick. I don’t even want to look at the clothes in the closets there. I’ve been living out of suitcases and bags for more than a month.
Clothes have always been one of my eccentricities. They’re more important to me than they are to most people. Not only do they carry the memories of the places they’ve been and times they’ve seen, but they help set an emotional tone and showcase an attitude.
Frank spoiled me long ago by taking over all of my clothes shopping. I was resistant to him doing it at first, but over time, I came to trust that I wouldn’t be disappointed.  Having them bought for me also came with an unexpected bonus – the excitement of getting presents regularly. Who doesn’t love presents? Even if they happen to be bought with your own money, they’re still presents.
Since Frank has now acquired my aversion to sunlight, I had to send someone else to L.A. to replace my whole wardrobe. Piper got saddled with the task, and she more than exceeded my expectations. While it’s true that I’ve always adored Frank’s taste in elegant formalwear and clubbing attire, Piper’s taste trends more toward the bitch end of the spectrum. I can appreciate that a lot, things being how they are these days, not to mention that a completely new wardrobe has done wonders for keeping forward momentum.
The rushing of water in the makeshift shower set up in the next room tells me Garrett has beaten me to the shower. It’s probably for the best. I should just wait and get cleaned up in my own bathroom later. Something tells me that after meeting with Learner and the Council, I’m going to need a long relaxing shower for at least an hour. Or five.
I rub my eyes as I cross the room to the garment bag hanging on the dark red flannel sheet serving as a curtain that divides the room in half. Dividing the room was Garrett’s idea. He thought giving me more privacy would make me feel more at home. While I appreciate the sentiment, it honestly just serves to make this place look tackier.
Pulling back the zipper I go over each article of clothing, considering it carefully, even though I already know what I’m going to wear. Pulling out the slinky black number I run my hand over the fabric and ponder what memories tonight will attach to this dress. 
Hanging the dress next to the garment bag, I take off my sweatshirt and fling it in my laundry basket. Walking around naked in seedy places is just one of the many natural talents that the life I’ve lived has fostered. Modesty is for sheltered young girls with fleeting lives. I have no use for it.
Overall, Garrett’s done his best to be a sweetheart. He’s tried so hard to make Frank and me as comfortable as possible. I’ve had a hard time with the fact that he looks so much like Jules, but he’s done a million little things to try to comfort me. Julie, Leslie, and Piper are all convinced he’s in love with me – or crushing really hard, at least. They don’t understand how different emotions seem when viewed through the prism of a dozen lifetimes. I want to believe he cares about me, but I keep telling myself he has to be too old for love.
I find my perfume in the overnight bag next to the bed and spritz myself – two hundred dollars a bottle and worth every penny. I consider a thong for a moment and then look back at the unforgiving fabric of that dress. I’m not going to let panty lines ruin my appearance.
The knee length sheath dress comes off the hanger and drops over my head before I notice Garrett standing by the bed. He’s looking at me smiling and shaking his head. An involuntary shiver spills over me. I must have forgotten to close the curtain... again.
He’s already changed to meet with the Council, and he looks hot. His strategically messy short brown hair and deceptively expensive, slightly tight-fitting suit are impressive. There’s something about the way his perfectly toned, six-foot-three-inch body moves though… no matter what he’s wearing. There’s just something, a quality I can’t describe. My words could ever do him justice. He’s masculine beautiful; not an easy thing to pull off.
He exudes a chaotic blend of modern fashion and classic sophistication that would turn any girl with a heartbeat into a gushing, stuttering idiot. I look back into the mirror and begin to pull my dress down into place slowly, instinctively putting on a show for him. I blame it on too many years in a sexual career field. You can’t work in, or run a brothel for as many years as I have without it having some lasting effects.
As the fabric stretches down over me, griping me like a glove, I being to worry that the seams will split. If it fit any tighter, I believe they would. Piper said she thinks skin tight and black is what’s best for me right now. I don’t know if she thinks I should look like I’m in mourning, semi-professional, or just slutty.
Looking back toward the bed, I find Garrett digging through a leather bag filled with antique bobbles and trinkets. It’s a real shame dead men aren’t as impressed with tits and ass as living ones. Everything in my life would be so much simpler if they were.
He walks up behind me and slips a diamond necklace over my head as I’m facing the mirror. It’s old. Older than me. I can tell just by looking. It’s more expensive than anything I’d normally wear to meet the vultures, but it’ll do just fine for tonight.
I have to move Rachel’s new chapter books off of the shoe boxes in the corner to locate the right heels to complete my look. The books remind me how much I owe her as well. Having a daughter to raise has kept me from dwelling too much on death, even if she happens to be dead herself. She may be a ghost, but she’s still a precocious eight-year-old with a voracious need for time and attention.
I’m really not thrilled with the idea of Rachel being exposed to Sunny any more than absolutely necessary, so Lucy has been looking after her during the day. At least that buys me more time to try to sleep, even if I do generally just spend the time working out elaborate plots for revenge on Paco or Learner. Besides, Sunny’s out of control addiction to pornography, her foul mouth, and her contempt for me are all good enough reasons to keep Rachel away from here as much as possible.
Having Lucy for a best friend has certainly proved invaluable. There’s nothing quite like having a ghost sitter on call for my ghost daughter when I need her. Yeah, even for me, life has gotten a little strange.
I strap on my heels and examine myself in the full length mirror. Everything below the neck seems passable – hot, if I do say so myself. I look at Garrett, and he gives me a nod of approval. I’m not so much nervous about how things are going to go as I am just anxious to get it over with.
“You gonna be ready to go in twenty?” Garrett asks, stopping in the doorway and looking back at me.
“Give me twenty. My hair needs help, and I need to paint my face.”
Tonight, I go to war.



  1. I'm about half way through Blood & Sprits and I have to say, I love it! I'm very excited to read the sequel! I think everything you have in the works is amazing! Congrats and keep going! :)

  2. Blood & Spirits was a refreshing change in 'Vamp' fiction. I look forward to reading the next book. The excerpt only makes the wait worse.