Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Today you'll meet the last of the four main characters in FATHOM. This girl is another one of the mysterious teenagers that comes to Crescent Moon Bay during tourist season—Riley.

Played by Alexis Knapp, with short hair. (Doesn't she look dangerous?)

• Name: RILEY
• Has lived so many places, nowhere feels like home
• Should be a junior, but she is so done with school
• Favorite class: Really? None
• Best friend: Herself
• Hobbies: Practicing survival skills
• Favorite bands: No time for music
• Favorite drink: Coffee
• Social standing: In charge and everyone knows it
• Greatest joy: When people finally decide to do things her way
• Biggest nightmare: Being eaten by a sea monster

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Covers I Love

I love good artwork and I especially love good cover art.

So, I put together a collection of covers that recently caught my attention. These are covers that make me want to know more about the story, they raise my expectations and they seem to whisper that—if I would only take a few minutes, just read a few paragraphs—I would most certainly be hooked.

And I love to be hooked by good book.

What covers stand out to you and what do you look for when shopping for a book?

While making this collage, I realized, though was not surprised, that I choose books with similar color palettes. It doesn't surprise me for two reasons.

One: I know my favorite colors are in the turquoise/blue/green range.

Two: I know that turquoise is the color that appeals to women most. And I am a woman. Ahem. The red and the orange are across the color wheel from turquoise, so it's almost as if I ran to those covers as an antidote, for a splash of fire to quench my over-watered thirst.

I am definitely in the mood for a good book right now. I'd love to check out Rough Honey or The Madman's Daughter. Which of these books appeals to you?

Monday, October 29, 2012

My 10 Favorite Movies to Watch on Halloween

Quite possibly my favorite holiday, Halloween is spooky and creepy and filled with things that go bump in the night. It’s the perfect time for telling (or writing) ghost stories, for taking long walks at dusk, for burning candles when the sun goes down, and for watching movies that make you a tiny bit afraid to get up and go to bed at the end of the evening. When I was a teenager, there was a plethora of scary-but-not-super-scary movies, many of them featuring Vincent Price—an actor I fell in love with.

So, to help you get in the mood, here are my top Halloween movie picks:

1. LOST BOYS: A quiet Southern California town is plagued by vampires and brothers, Mike and Sam, must find a way to save their family. This movie combines all the teen angst found in moving to a new town, falling in love for the first time, trying to fit in with a wild crowd and, oh, yeah, trying to NOT turn into a vampire, even though you’ve already sipped vampire blood. Oops.

2. VAN HELSING: Hugh Jackman plays Van Helsing, a man with a secret so dark and deep that even doesn’t know what it is. His mission: to get rid of the evil creatures that have been tormenting and killing people around the world. Great fun, great monsters and great romance with Kate Beckingsale.

3. IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN: Okay, it’s a classic and we all need to watch something heart-warming from time to time. This cartoon brings back the spooky scariness found in being a childhood outcast, something most of us can relate to.

4. THE LAST MAN ON EARTH: Starring my favorite horror flick actor, Vincent Price, involves a scientist who is hunted by zombie-like plague victims. Most likely this movie was based on one of my favorite novellas, I Am Legend.

5. THE WIZARD OF OZ: Maybe nobody else thinks of this as a Halloween movie, but I definitely do. Those scenes in the castle where the Wicked Witch of the West gazes into her crystal ball and, then, in the forest where the flying monkeys attack are nothing but pure Halloween crack.

6. SALEM’S LOT: Based on the book by Stephen King, this story feels like it’s about real, honest-to-badness vampires. Shades of Nosferatu, the vampire in this movie is what all vampires should be—so creepy you want to run away screaming.

7. THE MASK OF THE RED DEATH: Vincent Price in one of my favorite roles, as Prince Prospero. The story takes place in medieval Europe, when a mysterious plague is sweeping across the countryside. Prospero offers sanctuary to a group of nobility and to an innocent and beautiful village maiden, but once they are inside his castle, sanctuary is the furthest thing from his mind.

8. THE HAUNTING (1963): Be afraid. Be very afraid. This is one of the creepiest movies I’ve ever seen. A group of people do a paranormal investigation on Hill House, spending the night. Be prepared for a rush of pure adrenaline, for this is a tale of psychological horror that builds and builds until even you want out of Hill House.

9. THE OTHERS: Another psychological horror, this movie was inspired by the novella, The Turn of the Screw. Nicole Kidman plays a mother, trying to protect her two children from a houseful of ghosts, or is she? The plot twists and turns as you learn more about this family and the ghosts who live in the house.

10. E.T.: This movie captures the wonder and magic often associated with both childhood and Halloween and adds in a surprise element. Instead of a monster, vampire, or werewolf, the scary-creature, new-best-friend is an alien who wants nothing more than to go home, just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Some very cool things

Sometimes I get caught up in working and writing and editing, and I forget to mention some of the very cool things going on. So here's some stuff, most of it relating to FATHOM, my newest release and my first YA novel.

1. For today and tomorrow only, FATHOM is discounted. You can purchase it on Amazon for 99¢. (YAY!!)

2. I'm currently working on the print version of FATHOM. I have the cover done and I'm almost finished with the interior pages. I'll be sure to let you know when it's finished. You can see the rough version of the cover below.

3. I have a number of guest posts and giveaways going on right now. Here are a few:

I SMELL SHEEP: Author interview and giveaway 3 e-book copies of FATHOM, plus a $25 gift certificate for Amazon.

BOOKS AND THINGS: Guest post titled, Walking on the Dark Side, where I give 10 reasons why people like to read scary stories. Also, there's a giveaway of 3 e-book copies of FATHOM.

URBAN FANTASY READER: Guest post titled, Is It Paranormal or Is It Fantasy? There's also a giveaway of 2 e-book copies of FATHOM.

Also, FATHOM is now available for KINDLE, NOOK AND KOBO. As I mentioned above, the print version will be available soon, too.

Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to read and review FATHOM!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Supernatural Underground Halloween Giveaway

On All Hallows Eve, the sky darkens, the wind blows, and everyone dons costumes, a futile attempt to disguise themselves from the supernatural creatures that are allowed to prowl the streets, one night a year. Ghosts, werewolves, vampires, shape shifters, mermaids and Selkies—these are the sort of creatures that make the rest of the world tremble. But here, well, that’s a different story.

Here, we invite the monsters inside. We open the door willingly. Monsters and ghosts and shape shifters get the best seat at our table. We sit, rapt, as they tell us their Halloween Tale of Woe. We lean forward, eager to find out what happens next.

Their stories are like candy to us.

And isn’t that what everyone freely gives away on Halloween—handfuls of delicious candy? That’s what we’re doing, right here, right now. The authors at Supernatural Underground are giving away candy this month.

We’re giving away a Supernatural Underground Halloween Book Prize Pack, filled with 24 books, all written by Supernatural Underground authors. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page.

The list of amazing books in this giveaway is below.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of these books are e-books, so the winner should have access to an e-reader.


The Body Finder and swag by Kimberly Derting

Nightspell by Leah Cypess

Ascension by Sable Grace

Afterlife + Fathom (e-book) by Merrie Destefano

A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer

Wrong Side of Hell + To Hell And Back (both e-books) by Juliana Stone

The Heir of Night, US edition by Helen Lowe

Dream of Asarlai trilogy (Secret Ones, Power Unbound, Rogue Gadda) in e-book by Nicole Murphy

Night Forbidden by Joss Ware

Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake

A Devil Named Desire by Terri Garey

Tatsania's Gift (e-book) by Kim Falconer

Darkness Becomes Her by Jaime Rush

Last Vamp Standing by Kristin Miller

Diamond Eyes by AA Bell

Wanted: Undead or Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks

One Grave at a Time + Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Diaries of an Urban Panther by Amanda Arista

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. Open internationally. Contest begins October 10 and ends October 31. Winner will be announced on November 1.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

25 Books to read when the winds howl and you’re home alone

Halloween is almost here and with it comes a desire to read books filled with spooky, otherworldly elements. I put together a list of my favorites, including some vampires and fairies and shape shifters, as well as other wonderfully creepy creatures. These are all books I’ve read and loved.

My list of recommended Halloween reading (and yes, some of my own books are on this list):

iDrakula by Bekka Black
iFrankestein by Bekka Black
Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett
Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Feast by Merrie Destefano

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Plague Carrier by Merrie Destefano
Tomorrow, When the World Began by John Marsden
Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Ironskin by Tina Connolly
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Fathom by Merrie Destefano

Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro
Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindgvist
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Xombies: Apocalypse Blues by Walter Greatshell
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Friday, September 28, 2012

How can I be two places at once?

The FATHOM Blog Tour officially begins today. YAY!!!

I'm two different places at once. (It's magic. Really.)

First, I'm at BookHounds, chatting about how my German shepherds "assist" me with the gardening. Ahem. AND we're giving away a copy of FATHOM.


Here's a snippet of my interview at BookHounds:

Question: What is the last thing you Googled?

Great question! I’m working on a blog post about one of the main characters in Fathom, my young adult novel that releases on October 1. This particular character, a seventeen-year-old girl named Riley, is extremely rebellious and has a full-sleeve tattoo. So I was searching for photos of full-sleeve Japanese tattoos to include in my post.

And then, simultaneously, I'm at The Book Pushers, where I've written a guest post titled, When Imaginary People Take Over. *shivers*


Here's a snippet of When Imaginary People Take Over:

Imaginary people shouldn’t influence your life. But if you’re a writer or reader, they definitely do. Case in point: Me. I was working on my second novel, Feast, when this character appeared out of nowhere. She wasn’t in my current novel, she wasn’t in anything I’d ever written before. I tried to ignore her but I just couldn’t, because
oh my gosh, did she ever have a voice and a story to tell.

I hope you'll stop by the Tour Stops!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fathom Blog Tour Dates

I just have to say that I am continually amazed and blessed by all the bloggers and reviewers who have agreed to be part of FATHOM's launch. I am incredibly honored to be surrounded by such an inspiring group of people.

Thank you all for being so wonderful as I prepare to indie publish my first YA novel. YOU ALL ROCK!!

So, here is the Fathom Blog Tour. Some of it consists of bloggers who have already or will review the book. Some of it consists of bloggers who will be posting guest posts or author interviews or other various promotional works of wonder. Some of these blogs will also be hosting giveaways (the giveaways are marked.)

I hope you will stop by and say, Hi!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Book Chatter Cath

Vampire Book Club

Lady Techies Book Musings

The Writer's Sword

Just Us Girls

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


SEPT. 27
I Am Alive Blog
Review of Fathom

SEPT. 28
Book Hounds
Author Interview

SEPT. 28
The Book Pushers
Guest Post: When Imaginary People Take Over

SEPT. 30
Becky’s Barmy Book Blog
Fathom Promo

OCT. 1
I Smell Sheep
Fathom Launch Party

Oct. 1
Midnyte Reader
Guest Post: The Magic of Halloween

OCT. 2
Books N Kisses
Guest Post: Romance is a lot like Chocolate

OCT. 4
My Bookish Ways
Guest Post: Creating a New Monster

OCT. 5
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Author Interview & Giveaway of 2 FATHOM e-books

OCT. 6
Saturday Spotlight
For What It’s Worth
Guest Post: Making Tough Decisions

OCT. 8
A Backwards Story
Review of Fathom

OCT. 8
Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog
Guest Post: Is it Paranormal or Is it Fantasy?
Also, giveaway of 2 FATHOM e-books:

OCT. 9
I Smell Sheep
Author Interview

OCT. 11
Book and Things
Guest Post: Walking on the Dark Side
Giveaway of 3 Fathom e-books

Oct. 17
Short & Sweet Reviews
Author Interview

Black N Gold Girl's Book Spot
Guest Post: The Scarier, The Better

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Literary Escapism

Good Choice Reading

The Travels of Sullivan McPig

Book Faery

Glitter in the Sun

Once Upon A Blog

Fiction Addict

My World...in Pages and Words

I Smell Sheep

Little Hyuts

Books are Wonderful Magic

Oh, For The Love of Books

The YA Bookworm

Bitten by Books

Dark Faerie Tales

All Things Books

Wayfaring Writer

The Compulsive Reader

Donna’s Blog Home

All Things Urban Fantasy

Once Upon A Bookcase

Short and Sweet Reviews

I’d So Rather Be Reading

Sweet Southern Home

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meet the characters from FATHOM

The winner of last week’s giveaway (4 YA ARCs) is…..
Melissa, from My World…in words and pages.
CONGRATS, MELISSA!! (Yay and round of applause.)

And, before I start this week's character introduction, I'd like to share another amazing review of FATHOM, this one written by Jo at the Vampire Book Club.

“Fathom had me feeling the entire emotional spectrum, I devoured it in a day. With a mixture of first love, a plot filled with emotional twist and a heart wrenching climax, I can only hope this is just beginning for Kira and Co. Fans of Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series will want to look out for this one!”

Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Jo!


Today you'll meet the last of the four main characters in FATHOM. This girl is another one of the mysterious teenagers that comes to Crescent Moon Bay during tourist season—Riley.

Played by Alexis Knapp, with short hair. (Doesn't she look dangerous?)

• Name: RILEY
• Has lived so many places, nowhere feels like home
• Should be a junior, but she is so done with school
• Favorite class: Really? None
• Best friend: Herself
• Hobbies: Practicing survival skills
• Favorite bands: No time for music
• Favorite drink: Coffee
• Social standing: In charge and everyone knows it
• Greatest joy: When people finally decide to do things her way
• Biggest nightmare: Being eaten by a sea monster

And now, the giveway...

I'm giving away something different this time, something to inspire you when you're reading or writing—an iTunes gift certificate for $15.00.

To be entered for the giveaway, you must:
1. Follow my blog
2. Post in the comment section below (be sure to include your email so I can contact the winner)
3. Share a link and comment about this giveaway, either on Twitter or Facebook or your blog. Be sure to let me know you did all three of these in your comment.

Contest ends midnight on Sunday, September 30, and I'll announce the winner next Monday—which is also the official release day for FATHOM.

Meanwhile, happy reading!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meet the Characters from FATHOM + a Contest

Before I start this week's character introduction, I'd like to share snippets of FATHOM reviews from GOODREADS:

"Wow! Every book Merrie Destefano writes is even better than the last. I loved the books she wrote before, but Fathom is unquestionably my favorite of her stories. The characters, plot, and world are all well-developed and they sucked me right in. I spent almost an entire day immersed in Fathom, and I didn't want to leave when it ended."—Becca

"Nothing is at it seems. There are surprises and twists everywhere. This book fits right in with Merrie Destefano's past books that tend to swim in their own lane. She has a great imagination and does a wonderful job with imagery and characterization."—Cheryl

And now, for the CHARACTER OF THE WEEK...

Today you'll meet one of the mysterious teenagers that comes to Crescent Moon Bay during tourist season—Caleb.

Played by Liam Hemsworth.

• Name: CALEB
• Lives in Duncarrig
• Not attending high school
• Favorite class: Not really a class, but enjoys studying other cultures and people
• Best friend: Ethan
• Hobbies: Swimming, hunting,
• Favorite bands: Celtic music
• Favorite drink: Water
• Social standing: A quiet leader in his circle of friends
• Greatest joy: Listening to legends
• Biggest nightmare: That he will have to go to war before fulfilling his dreams

Here's a snippet of text from when Kira first sees Caleb:

This guy was gorgeous and then some. Light brown hair streaked with blonde, skin paler than you’d expect for someone as athletic as he obviously was. I couldn’t tell what color his eyes were, but I had a feeling they were green or blue. Like mine.

My heartbeat sped up when he stared at the window display. Then he did something unusual—he lifted his gaze, as if he was trying to see through to the inside of the store. He looked around, first at the racks of postcards, then at the display of starfish and shells, then at the ceramic mugs painted with our store logo, until at last, he spotted me at the counter. Our eyes locked and his lips curved in a swoon-worthy grin.

And now, the giveway...

I'm giving away FOUR ARCs this time!

Here they are:
THE INFECTS by Sean Beaudoin
ZOM-B by Darren Shan
GETAWAY by List Brackmann

To be entered for the giveaway, you must:
1. Follow my blog
2. Post in the comment section below (be sure to include your email so I can contact the winner)
3. Share a link and comment about this giveaway, either on Twitter or Facebook or your blog. Be sure to let me know you did all three of these in your comment.

Contest ends midnight on Sunday, September 23, and I'll announce the winner next Monday.

Meanwhile, happy reading!

Winner of THE BLESSED ARC announced

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway of the THE BLESSED ARC by Tonya Hurley!

The winner was selected by Random.org and is:
[drumroll here]



I've already contacted her via email.

Thanks again to everyone and stay tuned--there will be another ARC contest starting on in a few minutes, when I reveal another character from FATHOM.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meet the characters from FATHOM

Every Monday for the next 3 weeks, I'll be introducing you to one of the characters from FATHOM. Plus, I'll have a giveaway.

This is the second week of Meet the Characters from Fathom. Today you'll meet Kira's best friend, Sean.

Played by Steven R. McQueen

• Lives next door to Kira in Crescent Moon Bay
• Age: 16
• Sophomore at Crescent Moon High School
• Favorite class: Science
• Best friend: Kira Callahan
• Hobbies: Football, track, swimming, baseball
• Favorite bands: The Foo Fighters,Yellowcard and Flyleaf
• Favorite drink: Sport drinks
• Social standing: Hangs out with the jocks, knows everyone, popular in his crowd
• Greatest joy: When Kira smiles
• Biggest nightmare: That Kira will get a boyfriend and no longer want to be best friends

Here's a snippet of text from Kira's POV:

A warm breeze teased the curtains beside my bed, stirred my hair.

Then I held my breath and opened the door to my room. With one hand I smoothed my dress as I walked around the corner, through the hallway and into the living room.

There he was. Standing by the front door.

Wearing tight jeans and a black shirt, his long hair messed up like he’d just taken a shower and forgotten to brush it. His eyes looked darker than usual. His mouth opened just a bit when I walked into the room.

“Wow,” Sean said, so soft that I don’t think he wanted me to hear.

I think my heart skipped a beat.

It might have been a perfect moment, if Dad and Gram hadn’t been there.

And now, the giveway...

I'm giving away an ARC of BLESSED by Tonya Hurley.

Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

From the author of the New York Times bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a captivating and haunting teen trilogy about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy—a boy who believes he is a saint. What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?

Meet Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is beyond belief.

Sounds cool, no?

To be entered for the giveaway, you must:
1. Follow my blog
2. Post in the comment section below (be sure to include your email so I can contact the winner)
3. Share a link and comment about this giveaway, either on Twitter or Facebook or your blog. Be sure to let me know you did all three of these in your comment.

Contest ends midnight on Friday, September 14, and I'll announce the winner on Saturday.

Meanwhile, happy reading!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Winner of SCARLET ARC announced

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway of the SCARLET ARC by Marissa Meyer!

The winner wqs selected by Random.org and is:
[drumroll here]



I'll contact her via email. However, if I don't hear back from her within three days, the ARC will be given to another winner.

Thanks again to everyone and stay tuned--there will be another ARC contest starting on Monday, when I reveal another character from FATHOM.

Friday, September 7, 2012


For the next three days—today, tomorrow and Sunday—my ebook anthology, WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT, is available for FREE DOWNLOADS. (Eeeeek!) I hope you get a chance to read it and, if so, that you enjoy it!

There's a very nice review of WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT, written by Marcy Weydemuller and posted on the Savvy Authors site HERE.

Here's a snippet of what Marcy says:

"Merrie Destefano is the author of the urban fantasy Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles and Feast: Harvest of Dreams. She brings a unique perspective to her writing that impacts plot, character, theme and setting in her multi-layered story world. However not only does she accomplish this in her novels, but also, in this collection put together for her fans, we see that she adeptly applies her style—her voice to shorter pieces as well.

For example in the short story In the Garden, Destefano weaves three distinct narratives through her POV character Francine; which include a memoir, a murder and an unobtrusive sub-text development of ethical choices. Although Francine holds the storyline, many other voices share the details and theme creating a chorus of layers that linger long past the end.

Her stories and flash fiction range across tone with humor, curiosity, danger, macabre, surprise and grief. Her settings include the house down the street, the otherworldly, and time-less. A flash fiction piece Sentimental Ending will inspire you to create a variety of endings that may or may not be reality."

And here's a free short story from WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT:


During the day, he slept amidst rubble and grass, hidden from view, partially because his skin was now the color of dirt. During the evenings, he would creep out, sometimes on all fours—until he knew it was safe. Then he would scamper about beneath the stars and a crescent moon, his limbs lean and his clothes ragged. We all did our best to ignore him. We called him the Perro Muchacho. Dog Boy. He ran with the wild dogs and that name seemed to fit him.

I watched him with a cautious eye, fearful of the magic that I knew trailed after him. It coiled like a snake in the shadows, dangerous, forbidden. He stole from my trash and I would chase him away. I’d toss small stones in his direction, careful not to come too close, although I know for certain that I struck him once. For after that he kept a distance from me.

His hair stuck out in thick tufts, never combed or washed. His shirt had lost its color and its sleeves were gone, and I often wondered if he shivered while he tried to sleep. One night, when he and his pack of stray dogs were off prowling through alleys and along the riverbed, I crept out to his hiding place. I found a few toys lying about—a ragged, lopsided rabbit, most of the stuffing gone; a small truck, the paint almost completely worn off. There, I left an old blanket. And a Bible. I doubted that he could read, but I knew that if he could walk on two legs, then he had a soul.

And there was no doubt in my mind that he needed saving.

I ran my fingers over my rosary as I hobbled back to my house, the stucco white as bone. A prayer whispered over my lips as I hailed one saint after another, searching for one that could save a creature like him. I tried and found none, so in the end, I merely repeated the same words over and over, as each bead slipped through my fingers.

Help him, please, help him, please.

Before the moon swallows the sky.

She was growing above me, even as I hunched over broken cobblestones. She was eating stars and growing more bloated with each and every bite. In a few days, she would be full.

I didn’t want to see what would happen then to Dog Boy. I didn’t want him to come to my house and scratch claws across the lattice on my windows. Didn’t want to hear the cries that would no longer sound human.

For some reason, when the moon has swallowed the sky, on that same day, the sun grows weak. He hides, as if terrified, behind mountain peaks and clouds. His face refuses to reflect in the river water. He turns into an old, weak man. His steps across the heavens falter, as if he could plummet from the sky and burn up the sea, turn the world into a land of mist and shadow.

That was how he looked today.

Meanwhile, I saw the boy, awake, playing in the long grass, his hair blowing in the wind, his cheeks ruddy, the dust stirring around him in a thick cloud. He ran from one edge of the wilderness to the other, no longer afraid to be seen. All around him, his furry companions loped, mouths open wide in toothy grins, paws jumping up and down. They whined and yipped, tails wagging.

They knew his secret.

He paused, when the wind grew calm, as the sun slid behind the church bell tower, and he looked at me. A smile creased his dirty face and he cocked his head. I realized then that he had made a sling and was carrying the Bible like a talisman. A strap of old cloth hung across one shoulder, then widened to form a pouch that draped in the crescent of his narrow back. When he moved, I could see the glint of gold-edged pages and the gnarled black crust of leather binding.

I wondered if he ever opened it. If he even looked at the pictures. You can tell a lot from the illustrations. The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, the exodus of Moses from Egypt, the ark of Noah with all the animals. Although, without the words or someone to tell him the stories--

He was just another beast.

Still I could see the spark of intelligence in his eyes. And despite his wild nature, there was no evil streak. Not like Jose, who beat his wife twice a week. Not like Manuel, who took his wages in tequila and let his children grow weak from hunger.

I knew all the secrets of this little village, was forced to listen to them every Sunday morning. Then grant forgiveness. My fingers ran over my rosary again, words familiar and sweet pursing my lips. I watched the boy then as he turned and dashed off into the nearby forest, knowing it was just as well.

If he disappeared, then none of us would see him when he turned.

And none of us, me especially, would be responsible.

• • • • •

A wind like fire blew through the hills, scorched the edge of our village the moment the moon revealed herself. Silver light spilled down narrow streets, turned everything and everyone white hot and still. All doors swung shut and curtains were drawn across open windows, a rabid hush of Hail Marys and Our Fathers murmured while chairs rocked and shoulders bowed.

I cracked my back door open, slipped outside without a sound, my bare feet padding over a dirt trail that led toward the wildwood and the river. Somewhere along the way, my rosary slipped from my fingers and tangled on the ground, but I did not stop. Every bone in my body ached as I moved, my muscles weary of this journey. I felt a tremor in my leg as I descended the river bank, as I moved closer to the rippling water. All I wanted was to immerse myself in the cool reflection of that damned, swollen moon. My robes fell away and I was waist deep in the sluggish current, fingers trailing behind me. Spasms wrenched my arms, twisted them back and forth and for a moment, I wondered if maybe this time I would fall headlong into the water and drown.

Part of me wished it to be true.

Death can be a good companion, if you are ready for him, when he comes.

My left foot slipped and I tumbled to my knees, up to my chin in blue-back water. That was when I heard him behind me. I turned my head and saw Dog Boy on the river bank, his head cocked as though he were afraid for me.

“Padre,” he said, his voice timid.

I waved a hand at him, wishing he would scoot away, deeper into the shadows where he belonged. He had changed, as I suspected he would, but it was amazing that he could still speak.

His arms and legs and back were covered in thick matted fur and his spine arched wide. Soon he would be down on all fours and his nose would grow long, his teeth jagged. But right now he was somewhere in between boy and wolf.

He took a step toward me, concern in his eyes. Behind him, his pack growled and howled. They knew me better than he did.

My own limbs snapped and cracked, my transition nothing like it was when I was younger. Every bit of it as if my bones were being ground into powder. Only the touch of the water on my flesh and the silver light of the moon seemed to offer any release from the pain. I stumbled back toward the shore, temporarily able to balance myself on two legs, although by the time I reached shallow water, I had fallen down on all four. Paws where hands had once been, a long snout instead of a nose.

A low growl sounded in my throat as Dog Boy approached.

He recognized me now, of course he did. My scent was like his own. He was the seed of my sin and part of me hoped that he had learned the secrets from the book I had given him. Right now I couldn’t remember what they were, only that they were very important.

Then I vaulted into a stiff run, paws grasping muddy river bank, pulling myself up toward the shelter of wooded shadow. Dog Boy recognized the look in my eyes just then, a moment too late perhaps. He turned and bounded away from me.

I stopped to howl at my mistress, the moon, at the same time, giving my son a head start.

Then I gave him chase that would last all night or longer if necessary, not stopping until one of us was dead. Part of me hoping that this would be my last hunt and that this child would be strong enough to finally end my curse.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sometimes I forget to mention something cool

Sometimes I forget to mention things—some very cool things. Like the fact that I have a young adult short story for sale on Amazon. I think this is the plight of the writer. We work so hard to write and produce a story that we often forget to even mention it. Argh!

Anyway, my apologies.

Here's my new baby...

A teenage runaway’s post-apocalyptic world comes tumbling down when she discovers a survivor in a field of dead bodies.

Condemned as a runaway and sentenced to work as a Cleaner, fifteen-year-old Anna now spends her days searching for valuables in a field of dead warriors. Her life goes from bad to worse, however, when she stumbles upon a plague carrier, a boy her age who could kill her entire camp with a single drop from the flask he carries around his neck.

Approximately 26 pages long, THE PLAGUE CARRIER is the first story in my new series set in a post-apocalyptic United States, where survivors are still recovering from a Civil War. East of the Mississippi, peace reigns and the people are free. But west of the Mississippi is a different story. There, the countryside is ravaged by erratic thunderstorms and tornadoes, and the inhabitants continue to battle one another using advanced forms of chemical warfare. There, anyone who breaks the law is sold into slavery, where he must serve in a labor camp until his sentence is fulfilled.

The short story is .99 on Amazon and a LINK TO THE BOOK IS HERE.

Reviews from Amazon Readers
"In typically flawless Merrie Destefano style, The Plague Carrier is at once evocative, engaging and terrifying."—Auburn McCanta, 5 stars

"While it was a short 27 pages, it was great! I could not put it down! It will leave you wanting more. I cannot wait to read more about Anna and William."—Allison D. Sautkus, 5 stars

And, here's the first chapter:


THE SUN WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OUT, shining and bright, on the day I ran away. It was going to help me run faster and longer, was going to light my way through our ruined city, all the way to the river and the train yard on the other side. My wet clothes were going to be dry by the time I climbed inside one of the cars bound for Indiana and I was going to sleep all night long, hidden in a pile of rags, behind large crates of fruit.

I don’t like to blame everything that’s happened on the weather, but if it hadn’t started raining, then I wouldn’t have gotten caught in that thick patch of river mud—

And I might have gotten away.

“Hurry up, Runner! Don’t stand there holding onto yer plate all day long. Field’s awaiting.”

Laughter barks around me as I finish my breakfast. It’s been a long time since anyone has called me by my given name—but I hear it whispered soon enough. Two men with sallow skin and long braided hair sneer as they pass me on their way to the field. One of them breathes, “Anna,” in my ear as his left hand lingers on my thigh. I shove him away. Behind me, the morning skies fill with a multitude of dark clouds, casting more shadow than light down on our camp. A hundred gray tents line the riverbank—the same river where the Chasers caught me, just last week—and all of the tent flaps are tied down in case the wind picks up again.

I pause, plate in hand as I glance up at the sky, wondering what it’s going to give us today. Ever since the Last War, everyone west of the Mississippi’s been tormented by lightning storms, demon winds and earthquakes. Sunshine comes like a fiery flash, straight out of nowhere and it always passes before you can enjoy it.

Never can count on a sunny day anymore.

Thanks to those Chasers and that blasted sun, today I’m heading into a war field, where I’m almost instantly surrounded by dead bodies, knee-deep in blood and gore, shovel in one hand, bucket in the other. A thick canvas apron covers me from neck to ankle and a plastic visor shields my face. Flies buzz from one carcass to the next while the other Cleaners are already grumbling that I’m taking too long, hunting for valuables.

“Get a move on there, dearie!”

“Just look for somethin’ shiny and hurry up—”

“Never shoulda taken that Runner, she doesn’t have a stomach for blood—”

I ignore them as I flip a body on its back, then run a gaze over it, looking for anything worth a coin or two.

Right about then, the sun creeps out like the sneaky devil it is, scaring away all the clouds, charming steam to rise up from the heath and turning the field to haze. I’ve learned that sometimes a sudden change in temperature can cause the dead bodies to shift and moan, and more than one Cleaner has let out a startled cry when that happens.

Not me.

I refuse to cry out. No matter how terrified I am.

Instead, I pretend I don’t hear the other Cleaners as they whisper spells of protection, all of us still working despite the puffs of steam that billow about. Hot sun on my back, sweat dripping down my face, the stench of my plastic visor blocking out the stench of death, I lean forward and rifle through another dead man’s pockets, his yellow eyes gazing to heaven, his open mouth spilling a gruel of spit and blood.
My fingers latch onto his.

I brush away the mud from his rough knuckles until my thumb rolls across something slippery—a ring, most likely. I tug it off, lift it into a patch of sunlight, and then smile when I see a gleam of gold mixed with ruby. With a soft clink, the ring is dropped into my bucket, where it rolls to a halt atop a shallow pile of silver bullets, ornate daggers and a handful of gold teeth. You have to be careful when it comes to sticking your fingers inside the mouths of these dead creatures—their jaws can snap shut if you’re not paying close attention. You can lose a finger or worse, you might catch their war plague.

Still, I’m not afraid to do the dirty work. That’s one of the reasons this band of Cleaners took me on.

That’s when I get a flash of brilliance and I suddenly realize this fellow must have been rich. So, I hunker down, rest my shovel on a nearby body and set the bucket on the ground.

In a heartbeat, I’m cutting open this dead guy’s tunic to discover three gold necklaces draped around his throat. Just as I’m slicing the seams in his jacket and pulling out an ivory tribal purse, I hear a faint groan to my right.
I stand up, blade ready.

There are two kinds of groans in a field like this: the ethereal groans of the dead and the kill-it-before-it-kills-you groans of the near-dead.

I’ve always preferred the groans of the dead. Unfortunately that’s not what I hear today. I run a hasty scan across the field, searching for movement. Puffs of steam rising, sun dancing behind a bank of clouds, a sea of arms and legs and shaved skulls surrounding me, I suddenly realize that all the other Cleaners have moved away.
They’re heading toward the river to wash up for our midday meal. I’ve been left standing alone in a field of dead mountain warriors.

And right now, one of these plague carriers is moaning back to life, twisting in the mud, trying to push its way free.

One hand on my knife, I yank a silver chain from beneath my apron, pull a dangling whistle to my lips. I’m ready to call the others back. That’s when I spot the creature, not ten feet away. The whistle stills, my mouth turns dry and a demon wind¬¬—the worst kind, since it heralds both death and danger to those who hear it—circles about me, turning my flesh to ice.

The whistle slides to my chest and I stand quiet, staring.

It’s just a boy, not much older than me, probably fifteen or sixteen. And he’s wearing a Runner brand on his left cheek—a big black X that says he’s left his home and his tribe, that he tried to make it on his own but failed. All the Western tribes use the same symbol. It’s how we keep track of our traitors and deserters.

“Boy,” I call a hoarse whisper in his direction, my blade still lifted and ready to use if necessary.

Instinctively, he glances up at me.

His eyes are clear. No sign of the yellow plague. But then why is he wearing the tunic and leggings of the mountain people? It’s a puzzle that confuses me. Their warriors always carry the plague. It’s the highlanders’ way of making sure they destroy their enemies.

So why is this boy free of the disease?

“Keep down,” I say, a tiny bit louder. “Wrap your scarf about your neck.”

It’s no guarantee that a tiny bit of fabric will protect him, but that’s all I can think of. He hasn’t been sprayed for nearly an hour with biochems, like I have. He may not make it out of this field alive, no matter what he does.

He crouches low, brown hair scuffing in that demon wind, cheeks turning pink from the sudden cold. One slow movement at a time, he crawls over the tangle of bodies, away from the Cleaner camp, toward the forest that stands at my back.

“Hurry!” I say, lifting my plastic visor to see him better. He’s moving faster than I expect and I now see sun-browned skin peeking out from rips in his tunic and thick black eyebrows bunched together in a frown. He pauses when he’s close enough to see me clearly, a shock of recognition in his eyes when he notices my cheek and the mark I bear like his.

I touch the brand with my fingers, wondering if the raw skin has darkened yet or if it’s still as red as the day the Chasers caught me.

“What are you doing here?” he asks. “Children shouldn’t be roaming through a killing field.”

It’s the first time he’s spoken and his voice startles me. He sounds more like a man than a boy.

I take a step backward, my foot thumping against a pile of bodies, my right hand remembering the knife and lifting it higher.

“I should be asking you the same thing.” I glance back toward my camp, wondering if anyone has seen him yet. “What’s a boy doing in a camp of dead men?”

Still on his hands and knees, he shrugs. “Runners go where they’re told.” He’s watching me like I’ve got a tell, like there’s some mystery inside me that he’ll be able to figure out if he stares long enough. He pulls himself to a shaky stand, never taking his eyes off mine. “Am I right?”

“You are,” I answer. “But right now, you better do as I say, if you want to live. Head toward that wood and be quick about it!” I point at the forest, still heavy with shadows even though the sun is nigh. “We’ll be burning this field in a few hours.”

His eyes—his beautiful gray eyes—flash with some dark emotion. He runs a fast gaze over me, head to foot, that makes a strange spark flutter in my gut.

“I can’t go.” He’s made a decision, I can see it in the resolute set of his jaw. “I can’t leave,” he says again. “My father is here somewhere—”

“Your father?”

He nods.

“Why would a Runner be in the same killing field as his own father? Haven’t your parents disowned you?”

“Of course, they have—I wouldn’t be wearing this brand otherwise. But my real father never even knew I was born. He’s here somewhere and I have to find him.”

“Boy, your real father’s dead if he was in this field. You know the mountain folk send their warriors out, never expecting them to return.”

“But I can’t leave him here to roast in a heathen fire. I have to take his body home and give him a proper burial. He’s a warrior and he deserves to rest in a grave with wreaths of flowers and choruses of song.” There’s a pleading in his gaze that’s softening my heart more than I like.

“You’re crazy! Your people will never let you back inside their city gates—”

He tugs a long cord from beneath his tunic, revealing a small flask. “They will let me in.”

I see the flask he holds and I freeze, unable to speak or move. I can’t even breathe.

“I’m the Plague Carrier—”

As soon as those words leave his mouth, I swing my visor down, then I turn and leap over the bodies behind me. In two bold jumps, I put a barrier of dead flesh between us, then I pause to brace my left arm over my chin, protecting that narrow gap between my neck and the visor.

“Stay back! Or I’ll call the others!” I yell in a muffled voice.

Already I’ve pulled out my whistle and I’m getting ready to blow it. Just last week I was running through hail and wind, along a riverbank choked with mud. I thought I was going to make it to the Eastern border. I thought I was going to be free.

Now, I’ve got a Plague Carrier, not five feet away from me and moving closer.

This monster could kill the entire camp with the virus he’s carrying in that flask around his neck. I try not to let him know how frightened I am. Meanwhile, all I can think is, from bad to worse, that’s the way my luck’s been going lately.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Books I’ve been waiting for

There are three books I’ve been waiting for and two of them release day. Yay!!

So, Happy Release Day to:

Releasing on September 4.
Ann Aguire's

This is the sequel to her young adult novel, Enclave—which I love, love, love. One problem I have with many young adult books is the world-building. There seem to be so many plot holes in the construction in some of these novels and I can’t bring myself to read past ten or fifteen. Not so with Ann Aguire’s books! Her books are so well-researched and constructed that everything falls into place perfectly. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book as original as Enclave, so I am eagerly awaiting Outpost!

Here’s the actual synopsis:
Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

Releasing on September 4.
Gwenda Bond's

Here’s a brief synopsis:
On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island's most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can't dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America's oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

Releasing on September 18.
Gretchen McNeil's

Here’s a brief synopsis of this amazing book:
Don't spread the word! Three-day weekend. House party. 
White Rock House on Henry Island. 
You do not want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, which involve their school's most eligible bachelor, T. J. Fletcher, and look forward to three glorious days of boys, bonding, and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly, people are dying, and with a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the rest of the world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn't scheduled to return for three days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?


Wow. Don't those books sound incredible? If you're looking for something to read, I highly recommend you check out these three novels.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Meet the characters from FATHOM

Every Monday for the next 4 weeks, I'll be introducing you to one of the characters from FATHOM. Plus, I'll have a giveaway.

First up, the main character of the book: Kira.

Played by an unknown breakout actress.

• Lives in a bungalow atop a cliff in Crescent Moon Bay
• Age: 16
• Sophomore at Crescent Moon High School
• Favorite class: English
• Best friend: Sean
• Second best friend: Brianna
• Hobbies: Swimming and writing down secrets in her journal
• Favorite bands: Kings of Leon, Paramore, Snow Patrol and The Killers
• Favorite drink: Coke
• Social standing: Never been kissed, never been asked to a party, never been popular
• Greatest joy: The ocean
• Biggest nightmare: That she will one day join her dead mother and sister by drowning in the Pacific

Here's a snippet of text from Kira's POV:

Gray skies gave way to blue, seagulls circled overhead, and almost everyone else in California was still asleep. But I was racing as if my life depended on it. The rest of the world faded away, from the seals that waited back on shore to the homework I hadn’t finished. Sand spun beneath my feet as I ran across the beach, waves curling and snapping as I approached. Hands over my head, I dove into the water.

He was just a step behind me, I could feel it.

And now, the giveway...


I'm giving away an ARC of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. This is just the type of book Kira would read, since she loves fairy tales and legends.

Here's a synopsis of Scarlet:

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

To be entered for the giveaway, you must:
1. Follow my blog
2. Post in the comment section below (be sure to include your email so I can contact the winner)
3. Share a link and comment about this giveaway, either on Twitter or Facebook or your blog. Be sure to let me know you did all three of these in your comment.

Contest ends Friday, September 7, and I'll announce the winner on Saturday.

Meanwhile, happy reading!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Another taste of FATHOM

Here's another quick snippet from FATHOM. Plus, stay tuned. Next week I'll be doing some book giveaways.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Thank You to Bloggers reviewing FATHOM

I just wanted to thank all the bloggers and book reviewers who have already agreed to either read FATHOM for review and/or let me write a guest post during the month of October. This is a list of the amazing blogs who will be taking part in the release of my first YA novel, FATHOM.

Blogs on the Tour

1. Literary Escapism
2. My Book Chatter
3. Good Choice Reading
4. The Travels of Sullivan McPig
5. Book Faery
6. My Bookish Ways
7. Glitter in the Sun
8. Once Upon A Blog
9. Fiction Addict
10. Vampire Book Club
11. Black N Gold Girl's Bookspot
12. My World...in pages and words
13. Books and Things
14. Lady Techies Book Musings
15. Just Us Girls
16. I Smell Sheep
17. Little Hyuts
18. Books are Wonderful Magic
19. Oh, For The Love of Books
20. Books N Kisses
21. The YA Bookworm
22. Bitten by Books
23. Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog
24. Dark Faerie Tales
25. All Things Books

Thanks SO much! You all rock!!

However, there's still time to be part of the tour. If you'd like to join, please check out the tour details HERE or leave a comment below with your email address and a link to your blog URL.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

And another quote from FATHOM

Another little teaser to wet your appetite. FATHOM releases on October 1. For more information, check out my website HERE. If you're a blogger who'd like to review FATHOM, there's info on the blog tour HERE.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Just for fun: A quote from FATHOM

This is just something for fun—something that can be shared online. I plan to pin it on my Fathom Pinterest board and thought I'd share it here first. Enjoy! More to come in the weeks preceding Fathom's October 1 launch.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cover and first chapter reveal for YA Novel, FATHOM

Sometimes it seems like the time between an author’s books can take soooo long. If you’ve ever wondered what we’re doing in those quiet times—when we don’t actually have a new book on the shelf—the answer is: We're writing another book.

I’ve actually written 2 books since my last novel, FEAST: Harvest of Dreams, was published. Both are YA novels and both are unique, quite different from one another.

The first is a paranormal fantasy and the second is a science fiction apocalyptic story.

I recently decided to indie publish the paranormal fantasy, which is called FATHOM, and those of you visiting my blog will get a taste of the book today. (YAY!!)

This full-length novel will release on Amazon Kindle on October 1. And if any of you are book bloggers who would like to review the book as part of my blog tour, please post a comment with your email address.

So, my big reveal….Here’s the cover:

Isn’t she gorgeous? And here’s the synopsis…


Everything is changing . . .

Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean in the driveway. Then somebody spikes her drink at the party and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister and mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.

And here’s the first chapter…


Chapter 1


I never believed in ghosts.

Until I saw one, face to face, when I was twelve.

It was the middle of the summer, one of those nights when the wind scratched tree branches against my window and the Pacific roared so loud I thought it was going to sweep me away. Something startled me awake, some shifting of our house, beam against beam, old wood crying out in the damp sea breeze.

Almost instantly a chill shiver ran down my arms.

I got out of bed, the wooden floor cool and welcome against my bare feet. I paused in the hallway, noticed the fragrance of freshly cut hawthorn in the air. I used to love that smell.

Not anymore.

Then I saw something in a pool of moonlight—spots of water on the floor.

Like tiny lakes. Each one perfectly formed and separate.

Watery footprints.

Leading toward my father’s door.

I couldn’t breathe or move. Part of me wanted to disappear. Another part of me hoped that maybe the past could be erased and rewritten.

That was when I saw her. My mother.

I have her photo on my nightstand—me, my sister and her—all in a huddle of green leaves. Her dark hair twined with Katie’s and my own like the three of us were one person. We were up in our tree house. My father must have taken that picture. And here she was right in front of me, tall and slender and silver in the pale moonlight, her long dark hair swirling in the muggy summer breeze, looking like a mermaid, her skin glistening as if she had just risen from her briny home.

Dark lips parted and a small gasp came out when she saw me.

It only lasted a moment, but in that amount of time I saw too much.

Her fingers stained with fresh blood, her eyes the color of the ocean, her skin so pale it looked as if she hadn’t been in the sun for years.

“Mom,” a whisper cry came from my lips.

She came nearer then, this wraith from the past, until she could press a slender finger against my lips. She shook her head. We both knew the rules. I grew up on the Celtic legends; they were all my family talked about during the long winter nights, when the fire crackled and spit and our bellies were full.

But for now, silence filled the hallway, just long enough for me to hear the air coming in and out of my mother’s mouth, as if she had run a great distance to get here. Perhaps the gates to the Underworld were farther away than I thought. Or perhaps she had climbed the great cliff our house sat upon, all the way up from the ocean floor, to get here. Finally—when neither of us could bear the quiet any longer and I’m sure both of us would have started weeping, when words would have gushed like streams from our mouths and we would have broken every rule that protected the living from the dead—at that point, she brushed past me down the narrow hallway, toward the back door.

I turned and watched her run, across the yard through the thicket of trees and overgrown thorny bushes, toward the cliff. The same path she took seven years ago.

The night she killed my sister and then threw her tiny body in the ocean.

The very same night that my mother killed herself.

I didn’t see the hawthorn branches until the next morning, arcing across every window and lintel that led to the outside. Tiny drops of blood spattered the woodwork, stained the Irish lace curtains. My grandmother cursed beneath her breath as she made breakfast—a sizzle of bacon, the fragrance of burned toast—the Gaelic words draĆ­ochta and mallacht dropping like hot stones. My father sat at the table, his eyes downcast and his face the color of a rainy day. But it wasn’t anger in his heart, not like Gram; no, I could tell that sorrow kept his eyes from meeting mine that morning.

I longed to tell him that I had seen her. She’s alive! I wanted to say, but that just wasn’t true. She was haunting us. She had almost spoken to me last night. Almost broke all the rules of heaven and hell and earth, and if we had talked to each other—

I glanced up at Gram, hoping that she couldn’t read my mind—I wondered about that at times.

If my mother and I had talked to each other, well, then I would be damned to a watery grave too. Just like her.

And so on that morning we all sat in the same heavy silence as the evening before. The only sounds, the bright song of the purple finch in the willow tree and Gram’s Gaelic curses.

One strange thing I will always remember about that day.

None of us took any of those hawthorn branches down. Nor did we wipe away any of the blood.

Every year after that, on Midsummer’s Eve, my father put the hawthorn branches up himself. He draped every window and door with rugged greenery, while Gram watched him with her hands on her hips, grumbling. She’d shake her head and tsk, saying he was going to wreck all the trees in the yard with his terrible pruning. And then, when he’d had enough of her complaining, he’d go off in a sulk and spend the evening at the local tavern.

While he was gone, Gram would get out her Irish whiskey.

She’d start by pouring a draft into her cup of coffee, but soon enough, it would be whiskey in her cup and she’d be adding a drop or two of coffee for flavor.

Songs would ring throughout the house, from floor to rafter. And then the stories would come. That was when I would slip out of my room, when the yard was full of green trees and dusky sky and the fairy light of a full moon. I would curl on the sofa with our cat and a book on my lap, pretending to read, but really I was just waiting for the stories to begin.

When my grandmother’s voice rose and fell, her tongue thick from liquor, I imagined that I saw my sister and my mother standing just outside the circle of light cast by our windows onto the lawn. They couldn’t come too close, I knew, not when the hawthorn boughs protected us. I imagined that they danced to Gram’s songs and that they wept at her stories.

Unfortunately, all the Irish legends end poorly. Someone falls in love with a vampiric Leanan Sidhe, or a banshee comes singing tales of woe, or a fairy steals your child, leaving a changeling in its place. Whichever way you looked at it, a human could never win the battle against the legendary creatures from my homeland.

Sometimes, when I curled beneath a blanket and stared out at a star-drenched sky, I wondered if that was why my ancestors left Ireland and came here, this small town on the California coast.

Maybe they all wanted to escape the danger. But it didn’t matter. Because, in the end, dark magic and twisted fate can catch up with you, no matter how far you move away.


So, lovely readers, what do you think? Would any of you like to review this on your blog or write a review for Amazon? Please let me know in the comment section below. And be sure to include your email address!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Plague Carrier + WoW: Tarnished by Karina Cooper

Today I'm combining two posts in one—the cover reveal for my new young adult post-apocalyptic story, THE PLAGUE CARRIER, plus a Waiting on Wednesday post about Karina Cooper's amazing new book, TARNISHED.


THE PLAGUE CARRIER tells the story of a teenage girl who runs away from home and the high price she has to pay—for in her post-apocalyptic world this is a crime against the state. She's sold into a labor camp, where she must search for valuables in a field of dead warriors. Her problems go from bad to worse, however, when she stumbles upon a plague carrier, a boy her age who could kill her entire camp with a single drop from the flask he carries around his neck.

This novelette of 26 pages is the first in a series of stories set in this post-apocalyptic world and it will release on Amazon Kindle within the next week.

Check back here for more information on the release of THE PLAGUE CARRIER!

Next, my Waiting on Wednesday selection for this week: TARNISHED, by Karina Cooper:

My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They've no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London's streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed my time as his—for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, I am learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see me cast from polite company . . . the other might just see me dead.

Link to purchase this book.

I started reading sample chapters of TARNISHED last night and I love it! Once again, Karina has created a unique world where reader feels completely immersed from page one. I've been waiting for this book for very long time, ever since I first found out she was working on a steampunk series. And I'm so excited that it's finally available for purchase.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A hearty thank you

Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent free giveaway of WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT! Many of you either downloaded the e-book or shared a link online. Because of you, my collection of short stories was #3 in the Free Kindle Fantasy Best Sellers list.


I heart you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Waiting for Midnight available for FREE download

I wanted to share some cool news today.

It’s been awhile since my most recent book—Feast: Harvest of Dreams—released, so I put together a compilation of science fiction and fantasy short stories. Titled WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT, the anthology is approximately 70 pages long, contains 16 speculative fiction short stories and normally costs $2.99 on Amazon.

Here comes the really good part:

For the next two days, WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT, is available for FREE KINDLE DOWNLOAD.


If you stop by and check out the Amazon page, I would greatly appreciate it if you would consider Liking the book, and possibly sharing it on Facebook, Twitter,or Pinterest, as well. There's a section for social media sharing on the right side of the page, just below where you purchase the book. And, of course, if you download the book, I’d love it if you would post an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

PLEASE NOTE: The book is only available for free download for two days: Monday, June 18 and Tuesday, June 19.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some cool reviews that I heart

Both FEAST and WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT have gotten some cool reviews recently. (Yay! And a big thanks to all you folks out there who take the time to review the books you read. You rock!)

Feast: Harvest of Dreams received a lovely review by So I Read This Book.

Here are a few snippets from that review:

This is a typical urban fantasy cover but this is not an urban fantasy.  Instead it's a lyrical, darkly magical tale that feels almost like a fairytale...Merrie Destefano has created a mythology that is fresh yet feels like some distant story you've heard long ago. There is a spooky quality to this book that is quite effective and the writing is evocative and at times, even lovely...

Destefano's Darklings are a bit creepy and, yet, enticing. I wouldn't call them sexy but there is something seductive about them all the same. They can change shape and wield magic plus they feed on the dreams of humans.  

What makes this tale stand out is the tone. There is a dreamy quality to this story that the best fairytales often have...Feast is an eerie, enchanting tale that is also a quick read.  It's a good book to snuggle up to on a crisp fall night.

And then I have some reviews of WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT, as well.

There's a very nice review of my ebook collection of short stories over at Mel's Random Reads.

Here's a snippet:

This is an intriguing collection of stories. There are some flash fictions which are very short but do tend to raise a question or two and leave you wondering. The longer stories though are more satisfying. My favourite is In The Garden which is a very different look at what happens in a garden and is a story I’ve been thinking about ever since. In fact I felt like that was a real strength of these stories – looking at something that was familiar but giving it a twist – like looking at the world in a mirror: everything is the same but reversed.

There are a couple of short stories set in the worlds Merrie has created in full length books which are interesting little insights into both world, but it’s not necessary to read the full length books to enjoy them. I was really intrigued by Letter For Home where in a short space of time Merrie has created an interesting science-fictional world in the vein of Blade Runner or the Culture novels and gave it some real emotional depth.

Merrie’s writing style is very lyrical and rich. It’s descriptive without labouring the point and full of detail. This anthology is a great sorbet between courses – refreshing, flavourful and palate cleaning!

Recommended for fans of Rachel Caine and Kelly Meding. 8 out of 10

And there was another cool review posted on Amazon by Becca. Here's a snippet of that one:

Waiting for Midnight by Merrie Destefano is my favorite collection of short stories that I've read. Each story was unique, was told well, and had a satisfying ending. The collection consists of six short stories, two stories told in three acts, and eight flash fiction stories.

"In the Garden" is probably my favorite story in Waiting for Midnight. It's told from an unusual point of view, but Merrie does an excellent job of getting the reader to identify with the main character. I was impressed with all the small details she thought of and the beauty and emotions she was able to evoke through her words. "In the Garden" explores life, death, and love from a new perspective, and it will really stick with you.

"Afterlife: Chasing Spring-Heeled Jack" is about Chaz from Merrie's book Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles. It takes place in a future world where people can download into new bodies when they die. The world is well developed, with its own slang, laws, and technology. Despite all the new concepts and terms, it's easy to follow what's happening and get sucked into this fascinating, dangerous world.

"Feast: Learning to Hunt" is about the character Ash from Merrie's book Feast: Harvest of Dreams. This story was another favorite of mine. I've found the Darklings from the book fascinating, so it was fun to be able to see more of their lives and how they work. In this story, Ash learns from his father how to hunt in seventeenth-century Amsterdam. The writing is beautiful and feels like the magic inherent in this story.

"Letters from Home" contains some of the most imaginative settings, characters, and situations in this collection. I loved all the unique ideas Merrie came up with for this story and she did a great job of describing everything and painting a clear picture in my mind. It's a touching story of how far a mother's love will go for her errant child.

"Waiting for Midnight" is a ghost story but not in the creepy sense. It has more of a wild, magical feel to it. It explores themes like passion and obsession and what comes of them. The imagery Merrie used in this story is lovely and vivid.

"Charlie Brown Doesn't Live Here Anymore" is the first of the stories told in three acts. It's a light-hearted, funny tale of a dog and a coyote shown from the animals' perspective.

Each of these stories is strong and draws the reader into its world and characters. They're filled with beauty, magic, and emotion, and they all feature relatable characters, intricate settings, and satisfying—or intriguing—endings. If you're looking for something that will immerse you in stories that capture your imagination, I recommend Waiting for Midnight.