Susan Phelan – Guest Blog
Today we have Paranormal Romance author Susan Phelan here to celebrate the upcoming release of her new novel, The Last Watch, which will be out on September 19th. She’s written up a great guest blog and included a couple of excerpts to whet our appetites for more. At the bottom of the post I’ve included a link to Susan’s Countdown Contest to win your own copy! Let’s give Susan a warm welcome as it’s her first time visiting us here at SVR. 🙂
“ Writing Evolution” leads to new Paranormal Suspense THE LAST WATCH
I’ve discovered that, throughout their career, a writer will undergo several periods of growth and evolution in which they organically begin gravitating toward a different style of writing or genre. Of course, the journey of the artist, in which the art form (in this case, writing) reflects our ever changing experience as a
person on the planet is a given. But some other reasons for this sometimes quite subtle shift can be biological (we are getting older and therefore view things differently) or circumstantial (certain events have permanently altered our feelings and thoughts).
If we’re smart, we won’t fight the tide, desperately trying to force our creativity back into the nice, neat already established category it had previously fit into. Rather, we will embrace our “strange” new tendencies along with the unknown direction they are pushing us toward, blindly trusting in the power and ultimate “rightness” of going with the creative flow that inspires us.
I know of whence I speak because to date, I have already experienced two writing evolutions.
The first time, I abandoned the paranormal romances I’d previously penned to write a series of erotica books under a secret pseudonym. The basis behind that premiere literary shift was simple: I had felt too confined by the strict constraints and restrictions of the romance category at the time and longed to write in a kind of no-holds-barred manner while still focusing on the romantic interaction between the characters. A natural writing evolution followed suit.
Two years later, my writing evolved again. In retrospect, I can now see I changed because I was starving for something. Really ravenous. For what? I didn’t know. I only knew that I wanted to be gripped by a story line, really drawn in and held tight by it without the distraction of an explicit, torrid love scene (or two or three). The attraction between the characters would be there —oh boy, would it be there— but there would be something so much more urgent and important than the hero and heroine hopping into the sack.
From this creative craving came THE LAST WATCH.
A suspenseful thriller/paranormal /mystery, THE LAST WATCH satisfied all my needs of the moment. I was intrigued by the intricate cast of characters and how they all fit into the puzzling mystery; I was titillated by the understated passion between the Detective Jude Madison and Libby-Leigh Bryon; I was shocked and scared by Lennox’s dark drive; I was compelled to complete the book to see what happened next; I was warmed and satisfied by its resolution.
This latest writing evolution has led to the desire to share intense, nail-biting tales about provocative characters in a new and thrilling way. I think I’ve accomplished that with THE LAST WATCH and I sincerely hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Until its release on
September 19, 2011, here are a couple of excerpts from THE LAST WATCH.
THE LAST WATCH Excerpt #1
Donovan Frost watched as the final glass auto-lock door of the correctional facility glided soundlessly open, even as the buzz of the entry and exit alarm rang in his ears.
It had been a long time since he was a free man. On one hand, the idea of being on the outside was a little scary. But on the other, it was nothing short of exhilarating.
“See ya,” the administrating police officer said from behind his bullet-proof booth.
Frost slipped him a sidelong glance.
Not if I see you first.
With a deep breath, he stepped through the doorway and out into the heat of the early morning sun. Tilting his face up to the sky, he closed his eyes, smiling at the feel of the strong rays on his skin.
The soft thud of the door sliding closed behind his back brought Frost’s eyes open with a jerk. Fifty or so yards straight ahead, a cab was idling by the curb that bordered the facility’s front parking lot. Turning his head, he gave the institution one last look.
Clinton Correctional Facility.
For the past fifteen years, the maximum security prison had been his home. Situated in the Adirondack village of Dannemora, the state penitentiary took its name from its setting in Clinton County. However because of its remote northern location near the Canadian border, it was more commonly referred to as “Little Siberia.” Opened in the late 1800s, the expansive complex now had a capacity of 2900. Its current population was 2846.
Make that 2845.
In addition to a regular assortment of various ethnic gangs, Little Siberia housed some of the nation’s most notorious mobsters, axe murderers, gangster rappers, and kidnappers through the years including the likes of Lucky Luciano and Tupac Shakur.
And up until a few moments ago, Donovan Frost.
The vicious killer had a reputation that preceded him wherever he went. Including the big house. And it was big.
Beyond the façade and administrative building of the development, the massive north yard on the left half of the prison compound was split into
two sections that contained courts for basketball, handball, football and weight-lifting. The entire area was bounded by a perimeter wall that, from the air, looked like a huge concrete T.
T for trouble.
The outdoor zone was the location of more fights and murders than any other place in the prison. Frost himself had been in a few scuffles there
throughout his incarceration, including one that damn near killed him. To the right of the unofficial fight site was a grassy slope on which stood the inmate-built Church of Saint Dismas. In Christian tradition, Saint Dismas was the “good thief” crucified alongside Jesus who vowed to repent his sins.
Frost pivoted back around and headed for the taxi, glancing down at the contents of the plastic ziplock bag he carried. In it, there were the
usual personal items: a wallet, identification, a razor, a watch, a cell phone, keys. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Even the lone paperback novel tossed into the pack didn’t look out of place. Evidently well-read, its spine was white with countless cracks and its pages were dog-eared and tattered. Indeed the book appeared to have been pored over so much that even the lettering on the jacket was hard to read. Nevertheless, Frost’s eyes moved across the embossed type out of habit. An unnecessary practice.
He knew every word on, and in between, its covers. The front was plain black and blank except for the single image of a green-scaled lizard and the words: Chameleon By Libby Leigh Bryon
Frost climbed into the backseat of the cab and set the package beside him. The cabbie looked at him in the rear view mirror.
The driver’s eyes widened as he whistled softly.
“From here? That’s going to cost you a pretty penny.”
“There’s a $200 tip in it for you if you get me there by ten.”
The cab lurched forward and sped out of the lot.
Taking out the cell phone, Frost dialed a number he had long since memorized. After three rings, an overly polite female voice answered.
“Good morning, Dr. Gossin’s office.”
“This is James Seymour,” Frost said. “I’d like to confirm my appointment today.”
“Was that for a consultation?”
“One moment, please.”
Canned music, irritating in its affability, floated down the line before the receptionist returned.
“Oh yes. Here it is. You’re scheduled for rhinoplasty, jaw, chin and cheekbone augmentation, and blepharoplasty at ten a.m.”
“What was that last one?”
“Blepharoplasty? That’s the eyelid surgery.”
“Right. See you then.”
Frost clicked off the phone and settled in. Stretching his legs out under the seat in front of him, he lay his head back against the rest. It would be a three-hour trip. Might as well get comfortable. Tilting his head to one side, Frost glanced at the bagged book
amongst his personal belongings once more.
With a dry, raspy sound, he started to laugh.
THE LAST WATCH Excerpt # 2
Jude appeared in the doorway of Hannah’s bedroom. Even before he spoke, the look on his face told Libby the situation had changed for the worse.
“Stokes is here. That means Lennox is too.”
“Stay here,” Jude hissed. “And stay low.”
In a flash, he disappeared around the corner.
Before Libby had a chance to crouch down, a shot blasted through the window sending a spray of glass against her back as she reflexively twisted around, shielding Hannah with her body. But that wasn’t all that hit her.
The bullet caught Libby high in the thigh. With a grunt, she fell back on the bed pulling Hannah on top of her. Hannah started crying. “Ssssh, it’s okay honey,” Libby said, grimacing. Scooting forward to the edge of the cot, she slid them both down onto the floor. The pain in her leg was excruciating.
“Mommy, you have a boo-boo,” Hannah cried, pointing to the dark stain on the leg of Libby’s jeans.
“Sit here. And don’t move,” Libby whispered as she placed Hannah on the floor beside her. Crawling over to the closet she reached up, grasping at the several of David’s neck ties that hung from a wooden hanger.
Another shot rang out splintering the hanger. Pieces of it, along with the ties, fell to the ground. Libby grabbed one of the lengths of silk and along with the longest bit of wood she could find, quickly fashioned a crude tourniquet around her thigh. Hannah was crying softly she worked.
Dragging her injured leg behind her, Libby clawed her way back to collect Hannah in her arms, her gaze moving to the shattered window and beyond.
The morning sun was hot. Intense. Blinding.
Libby squeezed her eyes shut as she thought of Jude.
The light might not kill him but it would weaken him even more. And without food for the past 48 hours, he was already in bad shape. When combined, Jude would have less strength than a mortal man and that meant only one thing:
He could be hurt.
For a second Libby flat out panicked. She was in no condition to help Jude but she didn’t want to leave him to fight the battle alone.
Not in his current condition.
But she wouldn’t leave Hannah.
“Get in the closet,” she grunted, setting Hannah down on all fours and pushing her toward the large walk-in space. As they crept along the floor, a volley of gunfire and loud shouts rang out in the backyard below. Hannah scrambled in first, quickly turning around, screaming as another series of shots sounded much louder.
This time, in the house.
Scurrying in after Hannah, Libby closed the closet door behind them. It creaked a little as the outer latch caught, sealing them into the dark, musty space.
Libby pulled Hannah close and cuddled her against her chest, stroking her hair.
“Not a peep,” she said softly.
And there wasn’t.
Not from Hannah.
Not from Libby.
Not from anyone else.
From that point on, there was only silence.
A deafening sickening silence that stretched out endlessly.
That is, until the footsteps.
Thank you Susan. 😀 Yes indeed, I want to read more! How about you guys?
Here’s the link to Susan’s Countdown Contest. Go on over and enter to win a copy of The Last Watch on the release date of September 19th, 2011. Leave a question or comment for Susan as she’ll be popping by through-out the day to reply.