Local Author Showcase

In just under two weeks (11 days, to be exact), I’ll be participating in a local author showcase at McFarlan Library. For anyone interested, the link attached to this gives all the information from the library, including times, how to get there (for those that haven’t been before), and the other authors participating. Also, while the link says I’ll only have Blood of the Immortal available (at the time of sign-up for the event Heart of Lavora wasn’t published), I will have both books with me. So if you’d like a signed copy, or a copy of any of the other books from other authors, stop on by and see us!

https://www.thegdl.org/index.php/events/all-events/event/1893-local-authors-showcase

BTW, the physical copies of Heart of Lavora came in today, and they are BEAUTIFUL.

A little back story…

I realized I said I would post a short story that related to Heart of Lavora, but hadn’t yet. This short takes place 200 years before the start of Heart of Lavora. It sets the background for the major conflict in the novel…and I’m really hoping it doesn’t give away too much.

Without further adieu, I give you Amara.

 

Amara sat up in bed, a cold sweat soaking her. She shook as she gripped the large amethyst stone around her neck. Death was upon them.

She looked around, finding herself alone in the room. Her voice trembling, she shouted, “Finn!” In an instant, the bedroom door flew open. Finn entered, his face as pale as his hair.

“Amara, what is it? Are you—”

“He’s dead.” Tears flooded her eyes as she repeated, “He’s dead.”

Finn moved to her side, wrapping her in his arms. “I’m so sorry, Mar.”

She leaned into him, giving in to her grief. She felt the pain of loss in every inch of her body, barely able to tolerate the cold reaching to her bones. “I don’t understand. He still had at least two hundred years. How could this happen?”

“You don’t want the answer to that,” Finn whispered.

Amara pulled away. “You saw this? You knew?

He shook his head. “No, King Baltus saw it. He warned me this would happen.”

Her eyes widened. “That’s why you didn’t want to stay at the palace last night.”

“He said the same thing would happen to you if we stayed. He didn’t want that.” Finn lowered his eyes. “He saw one of your brothers murdering him.”

Amara felt her heart breaking. “No, he had to be wrong. They wouldn’t…” She stopped, realizing the twins had always been prone to anger. She’d known both Tynan and Kieran would be furious with the king’s decision. But she never imagined either would stoop so low as to kill their own father. Few Sidhe had ever committed such a heinous crime. Amara stiffened, anger replacing the grief. “I need to get to the palace. Now.”

Finn gripped her shoulders. “Mar, I know how you’re feeling, but—”

“No, you don’t know. You couldn’t.”

“You’re my mate. I feel everything you do. And I loved your father. We both lost him.” He paused, sighing. “You can’t fight them.”

Amara grit her teeth, narrowed her eyes. “I’m not weak, Finn.”

“I didn’t mean—”

“I’m the strongest Interrupter Lavora has had in over four hundred years! They can’t stop my power. And now I have the Amulet.”

Shaking his head, Finn said, “Freezing time won’t do any good. The minute you do anything to one, the other—”

“Then I’ll separate them first!” she cried.

Finn closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “To what end, Mar?”

Amara clenched her fists a she said, “I’m going to kill whichever one of them did this.”

Finn’s eyes flew open. “You can’t do that.”

“Watch me.”

He took her face in his hands. “If you do this, you’ll lose your soul. You’ll change into someone unrecognizable. There is no coming back from that, and I won’t allow you—”

“Allow me?” She pried his hands off her, then stood, glaring down at him. “I am queen now.”

“And I am still your mate! I won’t lose you to that.” He sighed, lowering his head. “I’ll fight them.”

All Amara’s anger fell away, and she sank back to the bed. Taking his hands, she whispered, “Your power is passive. You’ll die if you fight them.”

The corner of his mouth tipped up. “Glad to see you still care.”

“Finn…I’m sorry. I let my grief get the best of me.” She lifted her hand to his cheek, allowing him to feel her love. “I can’t lose you, either.”

Finn turned his head, kissing her palm. “We can’t fight them. We have to get you out of Lavora.”

Amara pulled her hand away, shocked. “I can’t leave.”

“We don’t have a choice. Whichever one of your brothers killed the king, he will come for you next.” He rose from the bed and moved to the window, pulling the curtain back and peering outside. “We have about an hour until dawn.”

“No, you don’t understand. I can’t cross over. I tried when I was eighteen, and I can’t open the doorway.”

Finn glanced back to her. “Was this before, or after we bonded?”

She lowered her head, feeling a blush burn her cheeks. “Before the bond, but after we learned you were immune to my powers.”

He chuckled, causing her to look up. “You know we can’t go through the Veil without our mates.”

“So you’re coming with me?”

“Of course. You think I’d leave you alone in a world you don’t know?”

Amara shook her head. “This doesn’t feel right. Leaving our people without a ruler—”

“You really think Tynan or Kieran won’t take the throne?”

She frowned. “Father had to tell someone else of his decision. He knew what was going to happen. He wouldn’t he keep it quiet.”

Finn’s eyes widened. “You’re right, he wouldn’t.” He strode to the wardrobe in the corner of the room and pulled open the doors.

As he changed from his white cotton pants into a brown leather pair, Amara asked, “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to Lord Canaan’s. Your father trusted him the most. He must know the truth.” He removed a matching vest and slipped it on. Lacing the front, he turned to face Amara. “I want to you get everything ready, and meet me at the Veil in one hour. If Canaan doesn’t know, we’ll have to leave. We have to keep you safe, and keep the Amulet away from your brothers.” He crossed the room to her side and bent, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.

“Be careful.”

Finn smiled. “I’ll be fine.”

 

Dawn was fast approaching. Amara hid in the trees near the Veil, awaiting Finn. With every minute that passed, her anxiety rose. She was certain someone was watching her, waiting for her to let her guard down. While she could sense the presence of hatred, of evil, she couldn’t recognize the heartbeat. An icy vice overpowered all her senses, making her tremble.

Attempting to calm her nerves, she took in her surrounding, committing every detail to memory. She’d never allow herself to forget the lush green fields, the massive trees, or the wildflowers that bloomed everywhere. As she took in a deep breath, she wondered if anywhere could smell as fragrant and wonderful as her homeland.

Regret filled her. This was her home, her kingdom, and her traitorous brother—Tynan, she suspected—was chasing her away. She shouldn’t let him. She should stay and fight for what belonged to her. She should…

A hand touched her shoulder, and she jumped, covering a gasp. Turning her head, she saw Finn behind her, a frown on his face. “What is it?” she asked.

Finn shook his head. “Lord Canaan is dead. Someone poured liquefied iron down his throat.”

“Dear Mother!” Amara felt bile rising in her throat. Murder was rare enough in their world, but for someone to do something this sinister, this sickening…she shook her head. “This can’t be the work of either of my brothers. They couldn’t…I can’t believe either of them would do this.”

“Your father’s premonitions have never been wrong.”

She shut her eyes tightly, forcing back tears. “I wish he’d been wrong this time.”

He pulled her close, holding her tight against him. “Mar, you’re freezing.”

“I know. I’m sensing evil.”

Finn cursed under his breath, then stepped back and rubbed her arms. “We have to go, now. Are you ready?”

Amara sighed. “As ready as I’ll ever be. Do you have any idea where we’re going to go?” She paused, wondering, “Will we need to use glamour to fit in?”

“No, we won’t need glamour. Humans think we’re tiny, glittery beings with wings. They’ll never guess we look just like them.” He took her hand and led her to the white stone arch that served as a gateway between their world and the human lands. He traced one of the many intricate swirls carved into the rock. “And yes, I know the perfect place for us.”

“You aren’t going anywhere.”

Amara and Finn spun around to see a body emerging from the shadows. With dark hair and clothing, it took a moment for Amara to recognize the speaker. “Kieran.” Rage coursed through her veins. Before she could take a step toward her brother, Finn grabbed her arms, holding her back. “How could you do this?”

Kieran sneered. “I can’t become king with you alive. Once you are dead, I’ll announce Father’s decision, and accuse Tynan of these crimes.”

“No one will ever believe you. You’ve lost your soul, Kieran, and they’ll all feel it. You’re cold as ice now.”

Laughing, Kieran responded, “That’s just a myth.”

“I can feel you now,” Amara stated.

Kieran’s hand began to glow with a bright green light. “You’re more sensitive than the rest of us, remember? The others won’t sense a thing.” As he raised his hand, the smile left his face for a moment. “It shouldn’t have been this way, Amara.”

Finn stepped in front of Amara, shielding her. “I won’t let you do this.”

“What are you going to do, Finn? You have premonitions. They’re useless in a fight.”

Pushing Finn out of the way, Amara said, “But my power isn’t. And I have the Amulet now. You can’t defeat me.”

Kieran’s smug grin returned. “Actually, I can.” He cast out his hand, sending a blast of wind toward her. When she didn’t even flinch, Kieran clenched his fist, turning the gust into a spiraling tornado.

Amara held out her own hand, her white energy encasing it. Instantly, the tornado turned into a column of frozen air, which fell to the ground in a circle of snow. “Back off, Kieran. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Too bad the feeling isn’t mutual.” Kieran threw his arm out her once more, this time shooting a bolt of lightning at her. The bolt struck Amara in her hand, but didn’t harm her. Instead, it hurtled back to Kieran, knocking him to the ground.

“Amara, don’t kill him,” Finn warned, grasping her arm.

“He has to pay for what he’s done.”

“If you take his life, you’ll be just like him.”

She sighed. “I hate it when you’re right.” Amara cast her power once more, encasing her brother in a block of solid ice. “Someone will thaw him eventually.”

“We need to go. We’re almost out of time.” Finn turned back to the arch, shaking his head. “I wish you hadn’t told him you have the Amulet. He’ll try to follow us.”

Amara took Finn’s hand. “He would have figured it out. That power came from the Amulet, not from me. Besides, the human lands are vast. He’ll have to find us first.”

Finn smiled. “Right.” He led her under the stone doorway. “Tailte daonna oscailte.”

A whirlpool of light surrounded them, colors swirling in a blinding, dizzying spiral. Amara felt the ground fall from beneath her feet, and gripped Finn’s arm, terrified she would end up in this strange new world alone. When the spinning finally stopped, Amara and Finn found themselves standing on a beach, a large body of water lapping at their feet.

“Where are we?” Amara asked.

Finn pointed to a hill in the west. “Just over that rise is a town called Haven. We will be safe there. A family of Sidhe already lives there, and I’m sure they will help us.”

“Haven,” she whispered, inhaling a deep breath of the salty air. “What’s it like?”

He laced his fingers with hers and smiled. “Like home.”

“Home,” she repeated, her thoughts on the kingdom. She closed her eyes, using the power of the Amulet to see into the future. Pain tore at her as she saw the devastation her brothers would cause in her absence, the rift that would divide her people for generations to come. “What have I done?” she choked, looking into Finn’s eyes. “Tynan and Kieran will tear Lavora apart.”

Finn took her face in his hands. “Our people are survivors. We’ll wait until we know it’s safe, and then return and take back your throne.”

A tear slipped down her cheek. “We won’t be able to go back. It will never be safe for us.”

“Then we’ll stay here in Haven, and pass our knowledge on to our family. We may not be able to return, but one day, they will.”

“How can you be so certain?”

“I know why the king chose you over your brothers.”

She shrugged. “I’m the oldest.”

“No. He saw the Heart coming from you.”

Amara’ jaw dropped. “That’s not possible. The Heart is a myth. No one can control every power of the Sidhe, not without the Amulet.”

“I found it hard to believe myself, until I saw the vision.” He smiled, adding, “The Heart will return our kingdom to its glory.”

 

Blood of the Immortal now available!

I’m so excited to announce that Blood of the Immortal is LIVE! For now, the paperback is only available through CreateSpace, but it will be on Amazon.com next week. It is also available on Kindle, and should be live on Nook tomorrow.

Here are the links! Happy reading!

 

Paperback:

https://www.createspace.com/4744474

 

Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Immortal-Trilogy-Ashley-Jeffers-ebook/dp/B00JWT55PU/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398387523&sr=1-16&keywords=Blood+of+the+Immortal

Deleted Scene from Blood of the Immortal

As promised, here is the scene that was deleted from the final version of the novel. Hope you enjoy your sneak peek into Zachary’s back story.

 

Partheck, 1728

 

Zachary circled the plaza for the third time, checking to make sure no one lurked in the shadows. Though people filled the area, he did not want anyone to see him, knowing it was better that way. Most of the people he had known when he lived in Partheck three years earlier assumed he was dead; to find out otherwise would most likely cause more problems than he wanted to deal with. He did not want to explain to anyone what he had become.

Only two people knew the truth, his brother Oliver, and his close friend, Arianna.  They were the only people who could call him back to Partheck, and this time it had been Arianna. The last time he saw her, nearly two months earlier, he knew something was bothering her, but she had refused to speak on it. Even her uncle, with whom Zachary had been staying, did not know what had caused the change in her. When he received a letter from her, asking to meet her at the Temple of Dagar, he knew he had to go.

But as he thought about the letter she left, he realized it seemed odd. There was an urgency to it, one that he did not quite understand. As the moments ticked slowly by, he thought about what it could be that she had to say. Was the news good? Or had something terrible happened? What if she had not sent the letter to him, and this was yet another trap set by her father?

Zachary looked up to see the sun setting behind the Temple. He could not allow himself to think negatively. She would be here soon, he was sure of it. Finally, just after the last person had left the area, he saw her approaching the fountain across from the Temple. He stepped from the shadows, allowing the moonlight to reveal his location.

She walked towards him slowly, her dark cloak billowing behind her. From her posture, he knew there was something wrong.

“Arianna, are you well?” he asked.

She did not answer his question, but posed one of her own, her eyes lowered to the ground. “Where have you been?”

“In Alles… I thought you knew?”

“I sent you four letters. I half expected you to not show up tonight, like the other times. Were you somewhere else, or…”

He sighed. “I only received one letter from you. Layla probably kept the others. You said that you had news?” He held his breath, almost afraid of what she would say.

“You will not be happy to hear it,” Arianna responded, turning away from him.

Zachary placed his hand on her shoulder. “We have known each other for years. We are practically family. You know you can tell me anything.”

“I know, but…this is so difficult. I…I have decided to marry Devlin.”

Shocked, his arms dropped. “I beg your pardon?”

“I have no choice. It is my only option.”

“No, it is not. What about—”

“He knows. I told him of my decision last week. Now he will not speak to me.”

He shook his head. “Of course not. He loves you.”

Arianna closed her eyes, and a tear slipped down her cheek. “And I will always love him. But I must do what is necessary to—”

“Is it really necessary to marry a man that you despise more than anything?”

“It is the only way my family will stop hunting you. They refuse to believe my uncle about our relationship, just as you refused to let me tell them the truth. It is hard enough knowing that I am responsible for what has happened to you already. I do not want to be responsible for your death too.”

“Let them hunt me. I no longer care. Nothing your family does can hurt me. I tried killing myself after—”

“Please do not tell me such things. It only makes this worse. I am doing this as a way to make amends. Please forgive me. It would have been better if the two of you had never met me. I can only hope that you will both find happiness in the future. Goodbye, Mr. Wilhelm.”

“Mr. Wilhelm? You have not called me that in years.” When she lowered her head, he ran his hand down his face. “So you are cutting ties with us both.” He sighed. “This cannot be what you really want.”

She shook her head. “What I want no longer matters.”

“Then what about what we want? Do you truly believe we want to lose another person we care for? You are the only friend I have left in the world, Arianna. To everyone else, I am dead.”

She turned back to face him and took his hands in hers. “Do not say that. You have already found a new family with my uncle’s. And you have forever to find the love you have been looking for. At least you do not have to marry someone just because your father commands it. Father promised he would leave you alone if I married Devlin, so that is what I am doing. Regardless of what has happened, you are family, and I would do anything for you.”

“Then leave. Go to your uncle’s, and…” Feeling a tightening in his chest, Zachary stiffened and looked around. He knew someone was watching them.

“I cannot. I must remain here,” Arianna responded.

“Shh. We are not alone.” He stared towards the Temple’s many broken, stained-glass windows, searching for whoever could be there. A shadow passed by one, and he counted the seconds before it appeared in the next. Though there was no light coming from any of them, he could see the outline of a man, could hear the steady beat of the man’s heart. But was the watcher friend or foe?

As soon as he stepped forward, he heard a snap from a bow and saw an arrow heading towards him. Moving quick as lightning, he easily caught it just before it struck him in the chest.

“You cannot kill me that easily, Francis!” he shouted toward the Temple.

“That could not have been my father. He cannot shoot a bow.”

“Then who…he has hired someone to kill me. Again.”

Arianna walked toward him and placed her hand on his shoulder. “You must leave now,” she begged. As he turned, an arrow tore into his chest. He yelped in pain before collapsing to the ground. Though he remained conscious, he found himself immobilized.

“Zachary!” Arianna cried as she knelt beside him. A growing ring of blood stained his white shirt, directly over his heart. As she pulled the arrow from his chest, she sobbed, “I swear, I had nothing to do with this.”

He desperately wanted to answer her, to tell her he was fine, but was still unable to move. The last time he was impaled, he had remained frozen for half an hour. He hoped it would not last as long this time.

He heard a male voice and knew who had attacked: her brother, Marcello. “Arianna, you were told to stay away from him. This was for your own good.”

“How could you, Marcello! Did Father ask you to do this?”

“He does not know of this. It would have killed him to know that you were meeting this monster again, especially after you promised not to.”

“He is not a monster!” Zachary felt her head on his shoulder, her tears wetting his shirt. “I just wanted to tell him goodbye.”

“It is time to go home now, Arianna.”

“No! Let me go!”

Hearing Arianna’s distress, Zachary managed to turn his head turned toward the direction of her call, but the rest of him remained frozen. When he saw Marcello dragging Arianna away, he forced himself to his feet and slowly crept toward them, doing his best to ignore the pain he still felt.

“Marcello, release her now, and I will not hurt you.”

“How can you still be alive?” Marcello asked, his eyes wide with fear.

“For being related to a vampire, you know so little about our kind. You may have hit me in the heart with that arrow, but when Arianna removed it I was able to heal.” He paused, taking a deep breath as his pain increased. He was beginning to wonder if some kind of drug was on the arrow. Something was not right. “What have I done to deserve this hatred from you and your father?”

“I know how you feel about my sister, how you have manipulated her. I will not let you use her any longer. The arrow may not have been able to kill you, but I am certain that even you cannot withstand the amount of belladonna that I coated the arrow with just to make sure you did not escape.”

“Marcello, you cannot do this!” Arianna cried.

“It is already done.”

Marcello was right. Zachary suddenly began to feel light-headed. Pain shot through him, and he cried out as he fell to his knees, clutching his chest. Within seconds, the pain was too much to bear, and he lost consciousness.

When he awoke, he found himself in darkness. Cool stone surrounded him. Barely able to move, he realized he was in a sarcophagus. Thankful for his vampire vision, he looked around, finding the words “Enjoy eternity” written above him. Anger and fear mixed inside him. He attempted to lift the lid, but could not move it more than a few inches. Even sliding it did not work. Whoever had trapped him must have wrapped the coffin in silver chains. Zachary shouted for help, but heard no answer. He continued to struggle with the coffin’s lid for what felt like hours. Unable to free himself, he finally gave up the struggle, wondering how much time would pass before someone freed him.

Introducing Zachary

Our next interview is with Zachary, the male lead of Blood of the Immortal. To get better insight into who he is, the interview takes place 300 years before the story does, just before his imprisonment.

 

Name: Zachary Wilhelm

Age: (at time of interview) 28

Appearance: Just under six feet in height, athletic build, long dark hair, sapphire eyes, handsome face. In a perfect world, Nicholas Hoult would play Zachary (granted, he’d either have to grow his hair longer or wear a wig, but that’s not really an issue).

 

Personality: Fiercely loyal, protective of those he cares for. Not one to back down from a fight. Very active. Highly intelligent.

 1.    How long have you been a vampire?

Three years. However, if you ask Layla, my maker’s daughter, I am not a true vampire. I have never fed from a human. I also do not need as much blood as a newly turned vampire should.

2.    Do you know why that is?

No. Perhaps one day I will, but as of now, I do not think on it much. I did not ask for this life. If it were not for the increased abilities, I could almost fool myself into believing I am still human.

3.    What abilities do you have?

Flying, increased speed and strength, some mind manipulation, telekinesis…Matthias, my maker, says my powers will increase as I age, but as of now, I do not have much.

4.    Does your family know what’s happened to you?

My younger brother is aware, but I have not seen my sister or older brother in almost five years. It has been even longer since I have spoken to my father. If my mother was still alive, I am certain she would accept me for what I have become. It is possible this never would have happened.

5.    Why did it happen?

*Shrugs* Mother always used to say “Problems arise when secrets are kept.” She was right. Thankfully, Matthias saw the truth in my memories, and turned me instead of killing me. Though sometimes I wish he had killed me.

6.    What secrets are you keeping?

I would rather not answer that.

7.    Did you leave anyone special behind when you became a vampire?

No. There were plenty of attractive women around, but none interested me. They did not have what I was looking for.

8.    Which was?

Passion, intelligence, a desire for adventure, a kind heart, and a beautiful soul. Someone who challenges me. It is not that the women I was around had none of these features. I just did not find that one soul that called to me. But I know she is out there, somewhere.

9.    Did you have any special skills as a human?

I am an expert swordsman, I can speak three languages, and I was quite agile before this happened. My mother gave me the nickname Swift as a child.

10.  If you could have one wish, what would it be?

To be human again. As I said, I did not ask to become a vampire, and to me, this life is a curse. I will watch everyone I have ever cared for leave this world, while I remain to suffer the loss.

11. What are your feelings on religion?

I used to have faith in the gods, but now I am not so sure they exist. Why would they allow beings such as myself to roam the world, free of their control?

12. Do you have any fears?

I have never been comfortable in tight spaces.

13. What flaws do you have?

Well…I hold grudges. Once you have made me angry, do not expect me to forgive you quickly.

14. What do you hope to see in the future?

I do not have the gift of seeing the future, but I do hope to have a family again, perhaps find my true mate. I do not know if I can cope with an eternity alone.