New Elizabeth Rose Novels website, and Free Book

Elizabethrosenovels.com. This is the address of my new website that I have been working on like a madwoman! I am happy with the outcome and want to share it with you.

As an author, each book published is like birthing a baby. Once that baby is born, I need to feed it and nurture it or it dies. Trouble is, with over two dozen of these children, they are very time consuming. But this is my way of telling each one of them they are loved and cherished as only a mother can do. And the same as any proud parent, I want to show them to you.

So please stop by and visit my website and drop me a note. You can sign up for my newsletter and be notified of future births of more of these babies and blogs as well.

Thank you all for supporting me as a new independent e-book author. In gratitude for your support, I’d like to share with you for the next two days for free, my short story, One Red Rose.

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Click the icon to get your free copy of One Red Rose. But remember, it is only for two days, May 7th and 8th. Thank you all once again, and enjoy! – Elizabeth Rose

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Sneak Peek at Urban Fantasy episode – Altercation!

The next episode of my Lost Souls series is coming Monday, April 22nd.  Altercation is episdoe 4 in the series.  I know you’re dieing to know what happened to Samantha and Christian!  In the last episode, Christian was caught by Daniel.  Ben and Damien, of all people (well, not really since he’s a Changed) were working together to find Samantha.  Here’s a sneak peek for you!

The World of the Lost Souls

Souls who refuse to pass into the afterlife become wandering spirits, trapped between the world of the living and the dead.  These are the Lost Souls.  Some of these Lost Souls have banded together, uniting to fight against an evil endangering both their existence and the safety of the human world they once inhabited.  This evil has taken shape in unholy creatures called the Changed, beings who were once Lost Souls but who are now dark, dangerous and disturbed monsters.  The Changed feed on the energy of the Lost Souls, growing stronger with each Lost Soul they drain.  The ultimate goal of the Changed is to harness enough energy to return to the land of the living by possessing the body of a human.  The mission of the Lost Souls is to stop them…

Altercation – Prologue

Pain.  Bright spots of white hotness flashed before her closed eyes.  Then blackness.  Complete blackness.  She wasn’t supposed to feel so much pain.  She no longer had human flesh.  Sam opened her eyes.  It was still dark.  How could there still be such blackness?  Souls could see in the dark.  But this was a black like she had never encountered before.  A cold, death-like black.  Maybe something was blocking her vision.  She turned her head slightly.

Her body came alive.  Her hands were stretched above her head.  She tried to move them, and found she could only move her fingers, something was holding her wrists down.  A feeling of dread began to well up inside her, knotting her stomach.  She attempted to move her legs, but found her ankles were also bound.

God, no, she pleaded as images came rushing back to her of another time, another place.  Her muscles ached in that same familiar way.  She had been here before.  Exactly like this.

Helpless.  Defenseless.

Her stomach twisted tight and panic gnawed at the corners of her sanity.  No!  No!  It couldn’t be.  He was dead!  They had killed him.  Damien had…

Tears sprang to life in her eyes.  She twisted her hands, desperately trying to free herself, but no matter how hard she pulled, her bindings held her with an unrelenting bite.

Calm yourself, she mentally said.  This won’t help you.  Think!  She willed herself still.  She willed the tears away.  She willed the panic back.  She was trembling, but she had to focus.  She swallowed the fear that threatened her calm.

She could feel the straps of leather across her wrists.  They must have been made of iron or she would have been able to free herself.  There must also be straps around her ankles.  She couldn’t faze.  The iron kept her bound and incapable of fazing to a different location.  She could feel her leather boots on her feet, so she was still armored.  She couldn’t feel her sword at her back.  No, she had dropped that in the alley where she had battled the Changed.  Yes!  The Changed.  A small sigh of relief escaped her lips.  It was only Changed.  She was a prisoner of the Changed.  Not his prisoner.  The thought of being a captive of the Changed should have alarmed her, but that was much better than the alternative.

Okay.  She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  What else?  What had happened to her?

She had been in an alley with her silver Audi.  Four Changed had overcome her.  Then why was she still alive?  They had not drained her completely.  What did they want?

She heard a creaking.  She heard something else being scraped across a floor.  Something heavy.

Her questions were about to be answered.

Whatever had been blocking her vision was removed from her head, abruptly pulled off.  It was a black bag of some sort.  A lock of her black hair fell over her lips.  She blinked and squinted as the room came into focus.  Cathedral ceilings towered above her.  To her right on the wall was a large cross.  She turned her head, looking around.  Statues stared down at her from high above, as if casting judgment with unseeing eyes.  She turned her head the other way.  Rows of pews lined an aisle.  She was in a church.

“Ahh!”  A Changed leaned into her view.  His brown hair was long and wild, falling about his face like a curtain.  His grin was malevolent and anxious.

Sam remembered him from the alley.  He was the one who had stood next to the leader.

“So glad you’re awake for this.”  He leaned in closer, his hair brushing her face.  “It makes it all the more exciting.”

Sam stared at him with impassive eyes.  Don’t let him know you’re afraid.  She tugged at her wrists.  “Why don’t you unstrap me.  I’ll show you how exciting it can really be.”

The Changed smiled and looked her up and down.  “You’re one of the prettiest Souls I’ve ever seen.  I’m going to enjoy this.”

She cringed inwardly.  “I can make it even more enjoyable.”  With one of my boots to your ass.

He wiped the strand of hair from her cheek, running his finger over her lips before she could pull away from his touch.  “I bet you’re just like fire, aren’t you?”

She did her best not to squirm with disgust.  “It’s hard to be so hot when you’re tied up.”

He hopped up onto the stone altar she was strapped to, his legs straddling her hips.  He leaned close so his lips almost touched hers.  “I can’t wait to stick my fist into you, baby.”

Sam turned away from him, grimacing, her teeth clenched tight.  She was going to kick his ass but good when she got out.  “I hope my energy burns your sick and demented soul.”

The Changed chuckled softly, his body rumbling on top of hers.  “You are just one hot little –”

“Off.”

The Changed sat up and looked toward the door at the side of the church.

Another Changed stood there.  He was lean and confident, his hands at his side.  His short dark hair was peppered with gray.  Sam thought of a slick businessman when she looked at him.  She had seen him before.  The leader in the alley.  What the hell was this?  Some sort of great big group draining?  Great.  Just great.  How the hell was she going to get out of this?

“Aw,” the Changed on top of her groaned.  He ground his hips into her stomach.  “She’s too hot not to get attention.  Besides, the boss said I could take some of her sweet energy.”

Boss?  How many Changed are working together?  “How many of you Changed does it take to capture me?”

The business leader Changed ignored her.  “He won’t like you abusing her.”

“I was just having some fun.”  The Changed on top of her slowly slid his body from hers, making sure he rubbed against her thighs.

Sam clenched her teeth, disgusted.

“She’s not here for fun, Curtis.  She’s here for draining.  So do it.”

She knew what was coming.  She had been in this position before.  Strapped down to a table at the mercy of a Changed named Scala.  They were going to feed on her energy.  Drain her and recharge her so they could keep feeding on her.  But there was something more than just that going on here.  Sam couldn’t shake the terrible feeling surrounding her.  The Changed did not normally work together.  They were loners.   Who was this other Changed they were talking about?  They had said he so it was a man.

Could Scala still be alive?

She mentally shook her head.  No, they had killed him.  Damien had driven a dagger into the human host’s body, killing both the human and Scala.  That was how a Changed was killed.  Once a Changed made the Jump into a living human they were vulnerable again.  If a Soul killed the human host, the Changed lurking within was also killed.  And if Damien hadn’t destroyed Scala, they had also blasted him.  She, Ben and Christian had channeled their energies together to blast Scala’s life force into nothingness.  It couldn’t be him.  It couldn’t be Scala.  Besides, the surroundings didn’t match Scala’s MO.  Scala preferred barns, not churches.  No, this must be some kind of copycat.  Still, she couldn’t get that unsettling feeling out of her body that this was too similar to the time Scala held her as his prisoner.

Curtis swiped his brown hair from his forehead, gazing down at her chest with a hungry, lusty grin on his lips.  He slowly pulled the string on her black leather bodice, staring down at her.

Sam grit her teeth.  She was going to kill him, and she was going to enjoy doing it.

“Curtis,” the other Changed warned.

“I like to drain skin to skin.”  His smile was wolfish as he pulled the string and her bodice opened, revealing the curve of her breasts.  His gaze dropped to her chest, feasting appreciatively.  His finger followed his hungry gaze, traveling over the swell of her breasts.

Sam’s fists clenched.  “Why don’t you unstrap me so I can enjoy this, too?”

“Orders,” Curtis whispered.  He curled his fingers into a fist, holding it right above where her heart would be if she had been a living human.  “I’d much rather have you fighting when I drained you.”

Sam snarled at him.

Curtis slowly pushed his fist into her.

Pain erupted in white hot flashes.  Sam’s body stiffened as he shoved his hand in deeper.  Her mouth opened in a silent gasp as bolts of agony speared through every nerve of her body.

 

Look for Lost Souls: Altercation on Monday!  Let me know what you think of it…

Alpha Heroes

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines alpha as socially dominant especially in a group of animals.  This made me laugh.  But in a way, it’s what describes an alpha male.  Socially dominant.  He is the hero.  Usually devastatingly handsome, definitely dominant.  In charge.  Strong.  Confident.  Many times he is arrogant.  Wolverine from the X Men comes to mind.

Despite his confidence, an alpha male works in the romance novel, because he is broken or flawed.  He needs the heroine to complete him or keep him in place or both.  He needs her love.

In Angel’s Assassin, Damien is an assassin.  He is the best assassin.  His skills are honed to perfection.  He has no doubts about his skills and instincts.  Physically, none can beat him.  Yet, internally, he yearns for more.  It’s not until he meets Aurora of Acquitaine that he understands what he has been missing.  When he sees the man he could be reflected in her eyes, his entire world shifts and he is lost.

So, what’s the appeal of these arrogant men?  Physically, they are an eye full!  It’s more then that.  They are always in charge.  Think Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  You had no doubt he was going to save Marian.  The trip was definitely worthwhile!

The trick to writing a romance novel with an alpha male is to allow him to show his tender side for the heroine without losing any of his alpha male aspects!

Who is your favorite Alpha Hero?

Guest Authors Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto – The Duchess of the Shallows

Please help me welcome Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto, authors of The Duchess of the Shallows.  Welcome!

Beginnings

It’s said that the most difficult part of a story is the end, but we think beginnings are just as challenging.

When writing The Duchess of the Shallows (http://peccable.com/duchess/), one of the biggest decisions we had to make was when to start the story. Too many novels, particularly in the fantasy genre, start with a thousand years of history, none of which ties directly to the beginning of the tale. Although it’s tempting to begin a fantasy story with a chapter on a great war between the gods or a titanic battle in the fabled past, it misses a simple truth about the way humans relate to events: scale matters.

Scale affects the way we experience both joy and tragedy, whether real or fictional. The news of 3,000 casualities from an earthquake in Pakistan can seem distant, but the death of a long-time coworker hits close to home. The news that the unemployment rate has dropped by 1% is good news for hundreds of thousands, but a video of the triumphant goal scored by our favorite team gets us right in the heart.

The same is true of stories. Opening The Hobbit with a chapter-long tale about the Last Alliance of Elves and Men would have left most readers cold. Instead, Tolkein introduces us to Middle Earth by sharing the surprise of a simple hobbit whose morning is disrupted by the arrival of a legendary wizard.

We agonized for a long time over how to begin the tale of Duchess’ adventures in the fog-bound, rumor-haunted city of Rodaas. Both Duchess and the city have a complex history and backstory, but none of that was important if the reader could not connect to our heroine. Finally, while laboring over a section that was just not working, one of us said, “Where does all of this start? What’s the moment where everything kicks off?” Both of us came to the same answer at the same time: the moment when Duchess presents a mysterious coin to the irritable pawn-shop dealer Hector. His look of shock and fear, and her own reaction are what set off all of the future events. Once we had that clear, the rest of the story flowed easily.

Obviously, the place a story ends is important, because that’s where all of the seeds the author has sown must ultimately bear fruit. But if you don’t get the beginning just right, no one will be around to see the harvest.

Excerpt:

Smoke was not all she remembered from that night; there was also the darkness and the light, two extremes that burned each other to ash, leaving nothing else behind. The darkness had been a deep yet unrestful sleep. She was dreaming that old dream, of someone there in her room, hovering over her bed, only inches away, a gray shape that was insubstantial and yet there in some terrible way she did not understand. And then that figure reached forth and pushed on her chest so hard that all the air went out of her lungs in a rush and she could not gasp even a breath to scream. Several times before she’d woken Father, or Justin, or Marguerite when she’d fallen from bed, thrashing her way back to wakefulness; her brother had been annoyed to have been disturbed, her sister amused. but her father would only nod as if he understood and rock her until she fell asleep once more.

But when she thumped to the floor that night, for a moment she thought that she hadn’t woken at all. The gray figure was still there, barely visible in the flickering light from the hall, and in her mouth was a hot, acrid taste. Then she understood she was seeing great gouts of smoke pouring in her open bedroom door, along the ceiling and then down the walls towards her. Her father’s house was on fire.

The house had been large and rambling; the attics reached to the heavens and the cellars to the depths of the earth, and in her memory, always full: of furniture, of food, of people. But that night, all she could remember were empty rooms. Marguerite’s just next to hers, with the bed sheets pulled down and the windows open but no sister there to smile calmly and tell her it was all right. And the door to Justin’s, down the hall near the servants’ stairs, stood ajar but he was not there. And the kitchens were empty and the dining hall and the sitting rooms. All of them empty of everything but smoke and fear and silence.

And she was alone, a little girl in her white nightgown, and she stumbled through the rooms and corridors of that house and found no one. They’d left her all alone.

She found the foyer and the great stairs that lead to her father’s chambers – his bedroom and his library and his study – where he must surely be. He was just upstairs, maybe even still asleep and she would find him and they would flee together.

But the fire had completely engulfed the upper floors, and halfway up the stairs the smoke became a solid wall of black and the heat was like an oven, drying her still-flowing tears and making the skin on her face feel stretched and tight. She had tried three times to brave that heat, calling for her father, for Justin or Marguerite, for anyone. She remembered the moment when she knew that no one was coming to help her.

Had the fire that night tempered something inside her into Steel?

She didn’t remember stumbling back downstairs, but the next thing she knew she was in the cool dark of the garden. The night air was cold against her skin and needled through her nightgown even as she felt the heat of the house behind her. The light made strange, capering shadows across the grass, and she saw that every upper window of the house was alive with fire.

They could not have forgotten her, no. They could not have left her, here, alone, while the walls burned down around her. And yet somehow she knew they had, and she was all that remained of House Kell.

She’d run around the grounds looking for someone, mindlessly following the wall that enclosed the estate, but she only ended up where she began and none the safer. She fell into the grass, defeated, and never knew how long she lay there before Gelda found her. Gelda, who had been her nurse for as long as she could remember, the closest thing she’d ever known to a mother. There had been a wet nurse when she was little, they told her, someone to feed the child who had killed her mother coming into the world, but Duchess (no – Marina, she had been Marina then) remembered only Gelda. She was a spare, gray thing of gristle and sinew and hard angles, a paradox of much warmth and little patience.

Gelda had draped an old, musty-smelling cloak about her, pulling up the hood, and hurried a sturdy pair of shoes onto her feet. She bundled Marina close, and then out the garden gate.

She stumbled along through darkened streets. Gelda had brooked no questions, driving her on as silent as evening fog. The house was only their winter home, but surely the country estate had not burned. Had Father and Marguerite and Justin gone there? Why hadn’t they come for her? She’d asked Gelda all that and more, but the old nurse simply tugged her silently along, ignoring questions and pleas alike. Before long, Marina stopped asking.

She couldn’t imagine how Gelda passed Beggar’s Gate at night – she had no memory of that – but pass it they did, and gone farther and farther down the hill, until they reached the Shallows.Noam had answered at the nurse’s first knock, as if he’d been waiting just behind the door.

“Take her,” said Gelda, handing Marina to the baker without preamble. “And now we’re quits.” She remembered those words as if they were written on the inside of her eyelids.

“Wasn’t me you owed,” Noam had snapped, and taken her inside.

The bakery had seemed to her child’s mind impossibly small and cramped, but at least she was no longer alone. Gelda had gone and Noam had taken over for the old nurse, whom she’d never seen again. He’d sent his wife and daughters into another room and explained to her that things were different now, that she was no longer Marina Kell and that she should never again mention that name. She remembered large, coarse hands on her shoulders, hard blue eyes staring grimly into hers, the smells of yeast and sweat.

As a part of his family she’d have to carry her own weight. Everyone worked, down to the smallest of his girls, her “sisters”, the youngest of whom had been born only two years before Duchess (not Marina, anymore) had arrived. He had declared that she was Duchess who worked at the bakery and nothing more. There would be wool and cotton instead of silk and satin, and no room of her own but a loft shared with his daughters. He’d taught her how to knead dough, stack loaves, make pastries and count coins. He’d shown her how to survive in the Shallows, both with her wits and her knife, and after awhile even she started to forget she’d ever been anything else. She’d been Duchess for so long that the girl she had been before no longer seemed important. She’d had her life with Noam and his wife and the sisters who were not her sisters, and later Minette and Lysander and the market and gossip with Daphne and Lorelei at the Vermillion. And if there were nights when Duchess wept silently into her straw mattress after the family was asleep, nights when the grief and fear and anger threatened to overspill and send her running out into the Shallows…well, those were no one’s business but her own. No one saw the tears or heard the grinding of clenched teeth, or knew of the midnight oaths that one day she would have no need of any of them. She would be strong and rich and free, and no one would ever again send her running from fire into fear. She would never again be the girl who had huddled in the garden like a mouse, waiting for a family that would never come.

Only in rare moments would memories of that old life stir: in the smell of some high lord’s perfume in the market, or the swirl of a noblewoman’s dress as she climbed into a carriage, or the cultured laughter of one of Minette’s more upscale customers. Then, despite everything Noam had taught her and everything she had lived since that terrible, fiery night, she would for one instant remember who she had been.

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