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Friday, July 29, 2011

My guest, Heather Marie Adkins, tells about her multi-genre debut book, The Temple

Today, I'm welcoming Heather Marie Adkins, telling about her multi-genre debut book, The Temple. As she says, it's a Paranormal Mystery with a lot of occult and a little bit of romance. Sounds interesting!

 Multi-Genre: Insert Ideas, Press “Puree”       

            Indie publishing is really a take-the-bull-by-the-horns world.  We get to create our own book covers.  We advertise and promote our own work on our own terms.  But, the most important reason, in my humble opinion, to join the indie movement is because we don’t have to conform to the industry’s standards.
            There isn’t a platform available for an author trying to promote a Sci-Fi Paranormal Romance Thriller.  Or a Speculative Steampunk with a dash of Horror.   Even the idea of a New York Times bestselling author telling their publisher they’d like to try their hand at a Spacecowboy Romance Adventure would raise eyebrows.
            Traditional publishing has put too much emphasis on literary fiction and not enough on genre fiction.  Mike Cooley says it best on his blog; indie publishing has allowed authors the chance to make their dreams happen even if their book doesn’t fit with the rest of the market.  Many multi-genre authors are out there actually seeing sales from their “non-industry conforming” works.  With the rise of these authors, I think we will see a shift in readers trying new things.
            The fact of the matter is, I most certainly do not fit in a single genre.
            My debut novel is a Paranormal Mystery with a lot of occult and a little bit of romance.  It is, as one reviewer so elegantly put it, “an engrossing murder mystery with paranormal elements, romance, vivid descriptions and lots of humor.”  And that’s just my first book of many.
            I like to think of myself as a “something for everybody” writer.  My next novel is a Fantasy/Romance, and the one following that is a Chick Lit with some erotic themes.   You don’t like fantasy?  Wait around a couple months--I have something else up my sleeve.  
            Where do I get this vivacious need to cross genres?  Probably from what I read, just like any other writer. 
            I’m a bit of a book snob.  I don’t like mainstream fiction.  I’ve never read Stieg Larsson or any of the Oprah picks.  If it’s featured on Good Morning America, chances are I’m not going to touch it with a ten-foot pole.  If the majority of my country is screaming its praises, I turn my nose up and buy another unknown.  I chalk it up to my buck-the-system approach to life in general.
            I was like that before I ever joined this wonderful world of indie craziness.  Because of my snobbery, I mixed and matched among urban fantasy, historical romance, science fiction, and all points between.  I love Lynn Kurland and her fresh take on romance using time travel and ghosts.  Anything magical registers on my radar because I’m a believer in magic, so I devoured books by Victoria Laurie.  I also took to reading cozy mysteries, particularly ones with themes like Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles novels and Jennie Bentley’s Do-It-Yourself Home Repair mysteries. 
            In my quest to find stuff people weren’t screaming about, I found a lot I liked, and very little I didn’t.  So when I’m crafting a story, and I’ve got the plot in my head, more often than not I'm going to build my own ideas from the mash of genres I enjoy reading to create the pieces I love writing.  The end result tends to look like several things that went into a blender and came out a whole new monster.
            It makes me love writing.

The Temple Blurb:
Vale Avari has a mysterious past and a laundry list of super-powers, but that’s nothing compared to what she finds upon moving from small town U.S.A to jolly-good England.
A chance dart throw lands her in Quicksilver, an off-the-map place with a big problem – people are dying, and word is, it’s supernatural.
At her new place of employment, a temple dedicated to the ancient Mother Goddess, Vale learns something even more shocking – women guards are disappearing at an alarmingly patterned rate; women who possess special gifts like her own.
Supernatural powers aside, Vale isn’t ready to believe in the Wild Hunt as the culprit, and she’s determined to prove the deaths are acts of human violence.
Plagued by a brute with a history of domestic violence and lusting after a dark-eyed man with a secret, Vale has a limited amount of time to discover the killer before he strikes again. In the process, she’ll learn things aren’t always what they seem and the supernatural might not be so extraordinary after all.
The Hunt could ride for her.

Praise for The Temple:
“an engrossing murder mystery with paranormal elements, romance, vivid descriptions and lots of humor that made it even more interesting...I had trouble putting down this story.”
“Paranormal romance for people who don't read romance novels.”
“Very surprised by the twists I didn't see coming. Great book, and I look forward to reading more from this author.”

The Temple Links:
Author Bio:
Heather Adkins is an independent fiction novelist and avid bibliophile with the library to prove it.  She is the author of paranormal mystery "The Temple", as well as the upcoming novels "Abigail" and "Constant State of Disaster".  Her current projects include a horror novel with a ghostly protagonist, a collection of paranormal romance short stories, and the first in a new witchcraft series.  A practicing Witch, Heather lives in North Central Kentucky with a house full of animals and the love of her life--all of whom drive her crazy.  She can be found daily (mostly) at

My Links:

The Temple Excerpt:

             I woke to darkness and cat fur weighing heavily on my head.  Addie purred lovingly in my ear, her claws kneading my scalp in ecstasy.  Mumbling incoherent curses at her, I pushed myself up on my elbows, cackling evilly as she slid from me with an angry growl.
            The sun was gone outside, but it was only twenty minutes before my alarm was set to go off at nine. I slid to a sitting position, gathering my comforter up around my shoulders while I waited for something resembling life to return to my body.
            I padded downstairs rubbing sleep from my eyes with Addie on my heels.  The little red light was blinking on my answering machine.  The phone must have died after I talked to my sister.  I hit the play button and started pulling out things to make coffee. 
            “Vale, it’s Mom.  You got some mail here, I just wanted to double check your address before I posted it.”
            “Yeah, right, you just wanted a reason to call,” I muttered, leaning over my four-cup coffee maker and inhaling the heady aroma of caffeine.
            “Hello, my dear, it’s Edward.  I was calling to see how your first night passed.  Give me a ring.”
            The first sip is always painful yet orgasmic, as it burns my tongue and brings my body to attention.  I dumped a cup of kitty crunchies into Addie’s bowl and received her patented Look of Death.  “You had wet stuff this morning,” I complained at her, which earned me a plaintive yowl and claws in my arm.  If she weren’t the cutest little ball of fluff, I might one day launch her through a window.
            My thoughts were on the Wild Hunt theory as I shampooed my hair.  I wasn’t buying a supernatural explanation for something that was surely not.  I made a mental note to call and set up an appointment with the Detective in charge of the case.
            Ashamed, I chose my outfit with care, knowing in a few short hours I’d be seeing Brett again.  Black bootleg jeans that looked great on my butt and a maroon fitted tee, topped off with a knee length button-up sweater and high heeled ankle boots.  Items that passed for “nice” in my sadly non-girly wardrobe. 
            With about fifteen minutes to spare, I sat down on the edge of my bed and hit the remote, my TV blasting to life.  I scanned through a few channels, finding nothing but bad British comedy and cooking shows.  I missed the clockwork comfort of the ten o’clock news, especially knowing a girl had died and nobody was making a fuss.
            Addie followed me to the door, her puffy tail swishing in exasperation.  Her big yellow eyes accused me of neglect.  “I’ll be back before the sun comes up,” I told her, bending down to pet her.  She turned on her heel, giving me a picturesque view of her behind and no doubt as to how she felt about me leaving.

            I was right on time to the Temple.  Jordan met me at the door with a sneer, passing the key ring to me.  “I see you survived your first night,” he said in his hoity-toity voice.  “What with your ignorance of our nightly terrors, I imagined you wouldn’t take me seriously.”
            “Imagined or hoped?”  I retorted, brushing past him into the cool air of the great room.   Maybe a little too hard, I thought evilly, watching him rub his shoulder gingerly after I hit him.  There is much to be said for super strength.
            “The torches have been acting up again.  Don’t bother lighting them, they’ll just go out.”  Stepping out the door, he held out his hand, palm up, and cleared his throat.  “It’s already eleven.  Next time, consider coming in a few minutes early.”
            Dropping my keys into his hand, I smiled sweetly.  “The shift starts at eleven.  Eat shit and die.”  I slammed the door and pulled the locks, snickering to myself, already planning ways to annoy him in the future.  One of my biggest pet peeves has always been chauvinistic men.  It runs in my family.
            The Temple seemed darker than usual, the only lights being the three spotlighted goddesses.  I clicked across the floor in my high heels and stopped at Cerridwen, staring up into her knowing eyes.  “Goddess.  Good to see you.”  I nodded at her, and was startled when it looked like she winked back.  Looking around, I found one lone torch flickering as the culprit.
            “If that one is still lit, what the hell is he talking about?”  Using the long handled grill lighter, I lit a couple of the back wall torches, making a stop in the corner to light another stick of jasmine incense.  The fire light brought about another dimension to the Temple, making it feel more sacred and homier.
            I checked my email in the computer room, watching a couple funny videos Macy sent via YouTube.  They were the very popular roommates playing tricks on one another type things.  Good for a laugh.  At ten ‘til twelve, I hit the cameras and made my way to the outer door to check the locks and close the tower.  I noticed that three of the five torches I’d lit were extinguished and pushing thin wisps of smoke through the air, despite that there was no noticeable breeze inside.
            I posted up on Cerridwen as I’d done the night before, tucking my legs beneath me and wrapping my sweater around closer to my body.  As the wind picked up and howled outside, it grew colder around me, and I noticed with confusion that I could see my breath in the air.  I help up a hand, blowing on it, and shivered.
            It must have dropped several degrees in a matter of minutes, and I had a sneaky suspicion I knew what was happening.  Bracing myself for the shock that would come, no matter how prepared I was, I waited.
            She formed from the shadows, mist pulling together into a semi-transparent form.  It wasn’t my first ghost, I’d seen too many in my lifetime to find it in anyway strange that an almost two thousand year old temple had spirits.  It wasn’t two years ago I’d run into an old lady haunting Wal-Mart. 
Her hair reached her hips in amber colored waves, a fringe of bangs framing a sweet, heart shaped face with big blue eyes and a bow shaped mouth.  She’d died in a holey pair of light washed jeans and a long sleeved shirt the color of her eyes, one crescent of flat tummy peeking beneath.  When I smiled at her, she stared back in confusion.
            “You can see me?”  Her voice came across strong, causing her legs to waver out of existence for a split second.  It takes a lot of energy to pull a spirit together, or so I’ve been told.  They put too much effort into exerting some part of their “body” and it causes discrepancies in others.
            “I’m Vale.  I can see you.” 
            When she ventured forward after a moment, I could almost see her legs move, but she floated well above the floor.
            We stared silently for a minute, her eyes studying my face.  “You must be new.  Why can you see me and the others can not?”
            Her voice had a vaguely Northern European accent.  I wanted to know who she was, but I figured the nice thing to do would be answer her questions first, lest she disappear.  “Yeah, I’m new.  I started yesterday.”  I paused, listening to a mournful howl from the outside.  It had to be really loud for me to hear it so easily through the thick, stone walls of the temple.  As it faded, I went on, “I can see you because it’s kind of my thing.”
            “Oh, it is one of your powers!  I worked here once.”  She lowered into a sitting position beside me, the bottom half of her body vanishing from sight.  “I could lift ten times my body weight and run a mile in ten seconds.  What else can you do, besides see dead people?  You feel special, like you have a purpose here.”
            I put her age around my own, with an unusual childlike enthusiasm.  I wondered what the hell she meant by saying I was special.  “Quite a few things actually.  I’m sort of an all purpose gal.  What’s your name?”
            “When did you die?”  Confusion passed across her face, and she wavered unsteadily.  “Focus on me,” I told her, catching her eye and willing her to hold her form.
            “I do not remember.  It was 1999 last I can remember.”
            “Ten years ago,” I told her thoughtfully.  “What happened?”
            She shrugged, her hair waving around as if it were corporeal.  “I do not know.  When I try to remember, it is too fuzzy.  I was here, in the Temple, when it happened.  I know that is truth.”
            Interesting.  I opened my mouth to question her further, but she began to fade.  “Come back as soon as you can,” I told her quickly, and she nodded somberly at me before disappearing.  Slowly, the atmosphere around me went back to normal and the goose bumps faded. 

~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. She is the author of the novel, TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE, the first in a trilogy. Part two, TORTUGA TREASURE is contracted for release in January, 2012. Look for her first of an epic fantasy romance series, SEEKING A SCRIBE: ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGEND ONE, to be available late autumn.



Heather Marie said...

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to post at your blog, Marsha :)