Another tale from the Deadwood town…

Mary Jane part two of the house pic

Copyright © 2015 Karli Rush

If you haven’t had the chance to read The House  then, here’s your chance… book 1 is free this weekend only!  Amazon link

Deadwood Diner –  part 1 

Words have no power to impress the mind

Without the exquisite horror of their reality.

 

– Edgar Allen Poe

I step off the Greyhound bus and the moment my black military issued boots hit the ground, I breathe in the late autumn air. I roll my stiff shoulders back and rub out the cramped soreness from my aching neck, fifteen months in Iraq and I’m finally just an hour and a half away from home. Back, from my extensive journey, my latest military stint and it’s almost hard to believe. It’s too good to be true that I can actually feel the good ol’ country like I did back when I was younger, before I enlisted and now, I need this break. I’ve dedicated everything to my one ambitious goal, and raised my rank to Sergeant first class with ten years of hard ballbusting work. Deployed more times than I can even count and now, it’s time to relax.

Joining the Army was something I’d set my ever-lovin’ sights on since I was a boy. My grandfather and my father were both die-hard U.S. Army soldiers, and they both strictly ingrained in me ‘Be All You Can Be’ from day one. Living in a town like Waynesville, there’s not a whole lot of options, for anyone really, nearest college is, here, in Deadwood. Random managed gas stations and remodeled churches sprout up more or less on every block. I never saw myself growin’ up to be someone wiping windshields and pumping gas as a lifelong career, and I certainly never thought I’d walk a saintly path to wear the fine untarnished shoes of a preacher. At one point in my high school years I had thought long and hard about going to college here, like so many others, but like I said, to serve my country was deep-seated in me, in my soul well before I could even utter the words ‘Affirmative’.

I swing my Army green duffel bag over my right shoulder and take in the old timey diner. A few cars scatter here and there along the dimly lit parking lot. A bright neon green sign hangs bravely and boldly outside –Open— inviting anyone and everyone inside. I’m expecting a buddy of mine to meet me here tonight. I’ll hitch a ride with him to Waynesville. Funny how a hometown can give you the comforts of family, friends, and familiarity. But, in this small town there is no familiarity, it’s always felt like that song by the Eagles, ‘You can check out any time you like—but, you can never leave…’  My eyes graze over the red faded pickup and unfamiliar cars I realize my buddy is not here. Not yet, anyway.

Traveling down here on the back of the bus, I watched and took note of the town signs that would pass by, reading the population stats on each one. But this town, Deadwood, didn’t have a population status. I glance around and straighten the cap on my head debating. I sure could use a bite to eat, maybe, just maybe, the food here doesn’t taste anything like Army grub. I find myself striding quickly toward the diner, my stomach grumbling, knowing soon, it’s fixin to sample some good ol’ home-cooking. A homey robust smell of deep-fried foods and handmade pies breathes about as I near the doors. Above the brilliant neon green sign flickers eerily the name of the diner. The words Ma and Pa’s looks burnt out and shadowed by the rustic metal overhang. Almost like someone wanted to hide it.

An elderly man carrying a red and white checkered take-out bag hums by me, he throws a wordless nod my way and I return the gesture. I hold the door making sure no one else is accompanying him. His demeanor has me at ease with the place, light on his feet and grinning like he’s carrying the next winning lottery ticket. Makes me want to tell the waitress ‘I’ll have whatever he’s having’ and motion toward him. I take a seat at a vintage styled barstool.

“What will it be, sugar?” the waitress asks shoving a pair of black horned rimmed glasses along the bridge of her narrow nose. She matches the theme of the diner with her pinned up hairdo and old-school bold red lips.

“I’ll take a cup of coffee, ma’am,” I reply receiving the one page menu from her.

“Comin’ right up,” she spouts with a flirty smile and spins off in the other direction. The rise of lively chatter hovers in the midst of the late-night patrons, it isn’t bothersome, a laugh or a turn from a newspaper now and again. The sun has been down for hours now, and I get the feeling that most of these people in here are regulars. A weighty middle-aged man sits at the far end of the counter his judging eyes meet mine, he shifts his view to his plate like I would walk over and abduct his nightly addiction. I drift my own eyes easily away when I hear the jukebox on the other side start to play.

“You like Creedence Clearwater Revival?” a man, in a pair of dingy overalls sitting beside me asks. He scratches at the graying whiskers camouflaging his thin mouth, the fork drops from his hand as he pushes his empty plate away.

“I’ve heard a few of their songs,” I reply mildly, withholding my own childhood memories for my dad’s love of CCR. Listening to their songs repetitively one learns a few songs by heart naturally. But one song I knew to leave him alone was ‘Bridge Over Trouble Water’ by Simon and Garfunkel, never knew what stirred the multitude of emotions in him whenever that particular song played because he wasn’t the type of man to show emotions. I drift off to the memory peering around the corner of the crinkly wallpapered dining room, a bottle of booze sitting on the table as the vinyl seventy-eight record spins on the turntable. Being so young at the time I had no grasp on the lyrics, what they meant, why he listened to it, or what meaning behind it had held for him. I snap out of my past and glance over to the guy in the overalls as he taps the counter with his calloused large hands.

“This song here…” He thumbs toward the old jukebox and says, “…was her song, my wife’s name was Mary Lou. She could cook the best daggum pecan pies, I swear!” He slaps the palm of his hand down and grins the biggest grin.

“It’s a good one,” I respond, watching amused with the look on his aging face. His bushy eyebrows scrunch together as his grin gets even bigger. He reminds me of the actor John Goodman, just older. And I catch the reference in tenses when he spoke of his wife. I don’t ask, it’s none of my business but it tells me why he’s here, eating at a late night diner, alone.

“So… what’s the special?” I ask pointing at the substandard budget menu. The perky waitress flips the coffee cup around and sits it upright on the tiny saucer and begins to pour my coffee.

“All of it’s good,” the man in overalls sitting next to me offers. He quirks his head to the side and adds, “Maybe not my Mary Lou’s but it’s worth its while.”

“All right then, I’ll have the cheeseburger, fries and a glass of ice water too.”

“You want the fixin’s?” the waitress quizzes while she jots down my order.

“Yeah.”

“You better save some room for our house special, Lemon meringue pie, ya hear?”

“Yes, ma’am.” I hand her the tissue thin menu back and pick up my coffee cup. Testing it before I take a sip. It’s not scalding hot, but it’s damn sure strong. I cough a little, tryin’ to soothe the harsh stale taste down. I edge the coffee back to its saucer as she struts toward the kitchen area hollering out my order.

“Walk a cow through the garden, on a rail, and one on the city.” She clamps her ticket on the order wheel and winks back at me. And then she busies herself setting up another table across from us on the side of the counter.

“So, you home on leave or somethin’?” the man asks and drags his fingers around the wiry whiskers along his beardy mouth. He pulls his large sizeable hand out from underneath his other stout arm and extends it toward me. “Name’s Raymond Thomson, but everyone around here calls me, Ray.”

I grip his hand firmly with my right hand and find myself surprised when I realize his grip isn’t like steel. It’s a considerate handshake, not tryin’ to prove anything.

“Nice to meet you, Ray. I’m Jason Knight,” I give him a small salute and add, “I guess you could say I’m between duty stations right now.”

A noticeable twinkle in his mousy eyes shimmer like a new dawn’s day as he says, “How long you been in the Army?”

“I joined as soon as I graduated high school, so… it’s been about ten years. You know what they say, stick with what you love doing,” I explain as the gum-smackin’ waitress plops my plate of food in front of me.

“You needing anything else, sugar?”

I scratch the side of my temple and glance over the palatable food and shake my head. “No, ma’am, I think that’s it.” I peer up and inadvertently meet hers. They’re soft, but kinda drained like she’s had a few hard years workin’ over-time. With her out-of-date specs it conceals somewhat the heavy lines underneath her whiskey colored eyes. Matter of fact, no one in this diner looks inexperienced in life by any means.

“You have family here or close by?” Ray wrangles out as he fumbles with some change in the center of his oversize palm.

“I do, some cousins and an aunt up in Waynesville. I grew up there, so, it’s still home to me,” I remark adding a shake of salt to the home fries and dump a hefty glob of Heinz ketchup on them. He slides a dull simple quarter across the space between us and nods toward the silent jukebox.

“On me, it’s my small way of sayin’ thanks for you putting your life out there for the sake of our beautiful country.” He pats my upper arm like a gentle giant and the second I move my perplexed gaze from the coin, he shoves it inside my hand. Urging me to accept his offer. I hop off the barstool without a fuss and leave my plate, my stomach complaining with each boot pounding step. I reach the marbelized plastic jukebox and stand, reading the list of songs. I stare back over my shoulder strangely, he wasn’t kidding about likin’ CCR because there wasn’t one song listed that wasn’t sung by Creedence. I shrug and slip the quarter in and press the button for ‘Bad Moon Rising’.

I’m not sure why I picked it, I liked it well enough, and it was listed at the top. I guess I just wanted to appease the man so I could hurry the hell up and eat. He taps his brown clad foot in time with the beat and grins approvingly. The song only lasts for a couple of minutes and then two more songs roll out, two that I didn’t pick. ‘Run through the Jungle’ belts out right after ‘Hello Mary Lou’, I keep my eyes downward and focus on my burger.

“I bet you’ve seen your fair share of…” Ray starts to grumble out but his prying words drop away as soon as a young woman stumbles inside the diner.

To be continued…

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The end is near…

David's bike

David’s motorcycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon, very soon, I will publish my last book in the series. The Crescent Bound series, and with the amazing, incredible talent from Inkstain Interior Book Designing we shall have it (hopefully) in our hands this Halloween.  Which book you may ask? Ice Bound, the inside look from Marc’s point of view of Crescent Bound. Long awaited answers will be revealed, a new depth to Marc that some may not have known about, and where they all end up after seven years. This story was extremely difficult for me to write. During my writing process our oldest son had some major health  concerns.  We tackled the worst of the storms and I hope  everyone can understand my reasons for delaying the release of Ice Bound.

Now, for some insight into this particular story…

Naomi

Naomi

 

Naomi – the rogue witch will be part of the story but not as prominent  as she was in Crescent Bound. My intention wasn’t to fully duplicate Crescent Bound, and to truly bring you Marc’s story. Besides you’ve already read Crescent Bound and it unravels everything in it. Yes, there will be magick, the elements, and entirely new scenes in Ice Bound.

David

David

 

Marc

Marc

 

 

 

Alyssa Worthington

Alyssa

 

Ready to follow Marc and Alyssa into their witchy magical world one more time?

Take Over

Paranormal Romance & Authors That Rock pic

 

 

It’s been quite a hectic time lately, for some that may already know this, I’ve had an unexpected  family emergency arise. Of course this has slowed my writing projects down. Ice Bound (book 5 in the Crescent Bound series) will be out a little later this summer than I had planned. Along with a few other titles I’m currently working on, so, hang in there we’ll have more supernatural tales coming soon. Since I will be hiding in my writer’s cave the next few weeks, I wanted to share that I’ll be Taking Over a page – Paranormal Romance & Authors That Rock’s  page to be exact all day this coming Saturday, May 24th. Stop by, and share with your friends, it’s a great page and I’ll have some free stuff, answer any questions anyone has and mainly have some fun! I hope to see ya there!!!

New Release by Laken Cane!!!

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Rune Alexander wants to get through her days doing her job, which is protecting the humans against the myriad of supernatural creatures, known as Others, who exist uneasily in a human’s world. But she is unstable and damaged. She realizes how broken she is even as she continues to submit to the unspeakable things her lover does to her, craving desperately the strange peace she finds in the aftermath.

When she discovers things are not as they seem and a faceless human is torturing the supernatural groups in her city, she and her crew must break the rules and begin to protect the Others from the humans.

But as the darkness inside her becomes stronger and she ends up on the wrong side of a battle she must not lose, who will save Rune from herself?

Sounds good, Huh? Well I am proud to announce that I have an amazing opportunity to read this, and I am extremely excited!!! Oh, before I forget and dive into reading, here is the buy link – just click on the pic below.

Buy here on amazon

If you want to learn more about Laken Cane then check out her Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/Shiv-Crew-Rune-Alexander-ebook/dp/B00EUBZS9I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377707194&sr=1-1

And you can follow her on Twitter!

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The Next Big Thing – Interview with Tessa Stokes – Author of – Devon Ruthin and A Vampire in Love (Volume one of The Ruthin Trilogy)

Hello everyone!  Today, we have another amazing author, Tessa Stokes with us.  Tessa has several novels under her belt covering Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy as well as Young Adult genres.  Book one of “The Ruthin Trilogy” is “Devon Ruthin and A Vampire in Love” which is an Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance combination.

 Tessa, thank you for taking your time to share with everyone a little about yourself and your work.

 To get things started, Tessa, writing under the genres of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, which require building an entire world around your characters.  Can you tell us what it took to create the world of Devon Ruthin?

 That’s a really good question and has made me think about what I did do. I remember getting the idea for the book after visiting a medieval market town in the south west of England. It has a Norman abbey with some extraordinarily old tombs and effigies in there and I just started thinking about this character who could live in a town like that hidden amongst everyone else. Suddenly I had a whole crowd of characters in my head. They are the ancient beings in the story and then along comes Bliss and who does she meet? Well my gorgeous character Devon and then the story just went wild. I don’t know how I built the world it just came out of my head onto the computer. That’s how I write most times. A character suddenly speaks to me and we’re off and writing madly.

 I am sure when Devon spoke to you that you realized “vampires” are a very hot commodity today, there are many books out there to choose from.  What is it about your vampires that you want everyone to know which may set them apart from other authors?

 I wish I could say something more convincing but I think my vampires are such characters they are identifiable. You know them. There’s Greta hiding her lust for Drew and yet being in love with Pearl. Pearl that cool as an iced coffee, sharp as a knife vampire who is the epitome of a powerful person gone wrong. As she says herself, ‘she’s the least trustworthy person she knows’. The young vampire woman who loves Drew and searches his pockets for signs he has another lover. The vampire community live with what they are in various ways. Drew uses it to his full advantage and he’s a bad boy vampire with a weird past and a weirder future, if you continue to read the Trilogy. His companions are supposed to be funny sometimes. They do Drew’s bidding out of some misplaced loyalty in volume one but they start to question that in volume two and in their sudden realization that Drew is no longer as dangerous as he was they become more confident and have opinions. Jake who suddenly wants a window painted with seaweed patterns. The fun elements are to offset the darkness of Drew who in volume one is a consummate killer and the strange echo of darkness surrounding the ancient magical beings.

 I agree that character personalities is core to a successful book, and speaking of success, ever since the Beatles, Americans have been crazy for anything British.  How do you think being from the UK may give you an advantage over other authors?

 I don’t actually think that. It never entered my head and now you’ve asked I can’t see it being an advantage. The scenes I paint in my books are of English places and the voices are quite English, but I hope that the emotional content is universal, and that’s what is important to me that everyone actually gets the characters, engages with them and the story.

 I agree, emotional content is definitely universal, take Devon for example, he is a true romantic at heart, no matter his background.  When you were creating him, how hard was it to bring a Vampire over to the side of love and still not lose the Vampire in him?

 Interesting question. Not hard at all. I think he moved towards love when he saw his own kind (vampires) turning against each other. It primed him to question them and their way of life, including his own. Of course that element of his move to love was facilitated by my creation of the community of ancient magical beings. They incidentally are loosely based on people in the ancient world.

 How wonderfully creative.  Now Devon’s love interest is Bliss and she is a doll, her sweetness and vulnerability resonates from the pages.  Was it hard to bring her out of her comfort zone when writing the book?

 Bliss was sick to death of her life when she drove off on holiday and I have met one or two real people who like her take that leap of faith into change. I’ve met an awful lot of single women who live their life alone because somehow they never meet anyone. There’s no reason for them not to be loved and yet they are not.

 There is no Devon for them and they might change their job and location but still life does not give them love. Bliss is a character in a story and so she gets it.

 Bliss however is not quite finished. In volume three which I am currently writing we discover the real reason she was called Bliss, and what really happened when her mother died in that car crash. Bliss is what you say, but she has some deeper aspects not yet revealed. She’s devoted to Devon and he to her, and that will never change. When she goes after Devon in volume one it’s supposed to give you a clue that she has some deeper things going on. She was vulnerable but now Devon loves her and she will fight for him, for his survival, to protect him.

 I am impressed that you delve into the world of the lonely romantic when writing your book.  I am sure it captures those hearts out there that are searching for love, giving them hope to not stop in their quest. 

 Now to go into the dark side of the paranormal.  Would you like to comment on the bad guys in the book?  I see a raw and untamed side and want to know more about it, please share with us your dark side.

 My own dark side? I just see the world from the angle of someone who has traveled and lived in many different places and situations. I’ve worked in some eye-opening jobs in that I have seen and dealt with all segments of society, and as Greta said, “seen some things and done more”. LOL

 I like to make my ‘bad guys’ not completely overtly bad. As myself, I despise violence and yet the vampire bad guys can’t help what they do. It’s in their nature. I wanted to give clues to some of them being inherently more prone to unpleasant behavior. They use each other, they lie and cheat, they have a core of cruelty that they are just born with. Then there are the bad guys who just end up that way because life just never gives them one break and so stealing, cheating, being outside of society is just their way of life. Their spirit gets broken and they think ‘what the Hell’.

 Again, you have built layers to these characters that will cause a reader to absorb them fully and then, the reader will have a new found appreciation for each one.  Depth in writing is so important in romance for me anyway.

 Tessa, I love your passion for writing and would you please take a moment and let everyone know what other wonderful novels you have available, also what is the next big thing?

 I have the second volume of  The Ruthin trilogy available, Drew Ruthin and the Blood of changes. That book is my favorite out of the two right now because Drew just took over there and went on a journey that I never expected to be able to ‘see’ as an author. He was helped out by the emergence of Balthazar Crane. Now he is an interesting character because he enabled me to make inroads into the psyche of the ancient magical beings with ease. The second volume is also more erotic than the first volume because the love stories are more intense.

I have a standalone novel ‘Stone Kisses’ available on kindle.

It’s modern urban fantasy, a true romance, a little erotic and very endearing. I re-read it recently when I was preparing the second edition and actually fell back in love with the story. (smiles)

Stella is a young woman living alone, working at her graphic design business, and has not had a man in her life for a long time and feels very lonely.

It’s summer and she looks around her, sees only couples, and she ends up longing for love or at least kisses.

Some distance away, Apollo and Mercury live reasonably peacefully on the outskirts of town. These two gods are left over from ancient times. They have a game they play and Stella our heroine gets caught up in it.

Stella is working hard to pay her mortgage when she becomes entangled in the game.

She is in her garden and looks back at her house, she sees it needs painting but unable to afford this she decides to buy flowers for her garden to brighten it up.

In a garden center buying flowers, Stella meets Justin. He is beautiful, strong, and attracted to her. He decides to pursue her.

She also finds a garden statue she would like, a statue of Mercury the winged messenger.

Justin knows she wants the statue and he gifts it to her.

Let the game begin.

  ***

I’m working on the third volume in The Ruthin Trilogy right now. The Ruthin Pact: Volume three in The Ruthin Trilogy.

I also write a YA urban fantasy The Seven Spell Saga, and I am working on the seventh and therefor last book in that series too.

I have another standalone that is a couple of chapters in but on hold for the time being as I really do want to finish the Ruthin’s story.

Awesome, and thank you so much for being here today!

Tessa Stokes banner interview

Tessa has lived in many places in the world because of her work, but currently resides in the United Kingdom where she was born.

She writes character driven stories, which are a genre blend of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and real life. Her books are heavily romantic. Tessa likes to write erotic and paranormal romance as well as contemporary fantasy as she says this gives her more scope for happy endings, which she thinks we all crave. Tessa has always been writing something, academic curriculum, advertising copy, fiction, presently she writes paranormal romance/urban fantasy romance, and blogs. Tessa loves to wander around the ancient places, historical sites, and ruined castles of the UK where she often finds inspiration.

Would you like to know more?  Links are made for clicking, so…

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ruthin-Trilogy/160213177399394

http://the-ruthin-trilogy.blogspot.com/

http://tess-three-in-the-morning.blogspot.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Seven-Spell-saga/138580806204048

Click on the images below to purchase Tessa’s Available Work.