<![CDATA[Electa Graham - Electa's Blog]]>Sat, 20 Jan 2018 15:33:45 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Blood and Pack]]>Sat, 20 Jan 2018 19:39:22 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/blood-and-pack
It's been a long time since I put out a Cassandra Myles Witch Series book. I've already written the first draft and thought it might be fun to let you in on how I write a book. 
Blood and Pack was written during NaNoWriMo. The month of November thousands of writers try to write a whole book in one month. 50,000 words in 30 days. I managed to finish the 50,000 words on the 28th of November, but I only had 30,000 for the first draft of Blood and Pack and then did a really rough draft of the next book Blood and Love. The last in my series. 
Normally I write by the seat of my pants. Just start putting words on the page and see how things go. This time I outlined the whole book before I started writing it. It made the writing process so much easier and I hope it will make the editing process a little easier. 
I know what you're thinking, but its almost the end of the January. I finished writing a novelette for my other series. It's free and it has been doing well. Love to have some reviews but they will come. Lilin  is free on Amazon. So once I got Lilin edited and ready for the public, I was ready to edit Blood and Pack. 
It was hard getting back into Cass' head after being away so long but she's my first main character and I love her. After the first chapter I was back in business.
Now I'm going to edit the first chapter and I thought you might like to see how rough a chapter can be before it's edited, plus you get a tiny taste of the next Cass novel. I'll share the whole process of editing, sending my novel off to a professional editor, designing the cover, going over the final draft, sending it off to my beta readers, getting there opinions and tweaking it again
I'll let you in on how much work goes into writing a book. How the writing changes. How brutal the feedback can be from betas and my editor. The whole thing will be revealed. 
Here is the first chapter

Blood and Pack
 
My breath billowed about my head as I sat there waiting. The frigid airplane hanger was the only shelter for miles around. The only seat, a cold metal chair, usually reserved for town hall meetings in warmer climes, was freezing my ass off. The two men who had come out when we landed were gone and now it was just me and the pilot.
I was feeling sorry for myself. My inner dialogue went back and forth from blaming the whole thing on Lucius to knowing deep down that I was a grown ass adult that could have chosen to stay in Vancouver. I wasn’t a naughty child sent away to boarding school and the fact that I could have prevented my exile to this snow covered frigid land made me even more furious with myself.
The flight had been a nightmare. The first leg of the trip was a dream. Quintus had ordered his private jet to take me as far north as was possible, but I was far too angry to enjoy it. The second plane went from first class to being in the luggage hold. It was a prop plane. I’d been in roomier cars. I kept bumping elbows with the pilot. I flew quite a bit when I was Quintus’ assistant and it had never bothered me before, I thought I could handle any plane.
I was wrong. Feeling every tiny wind gust and seeing more detail of the ground than I cared to was terrifying. The last straw was when the pilot swore at his plane to “get in the fucking air”, I think I left my body for a minute. If I died in this rickety plane I was going to haunt Quintus and Lucius for the rest of their long lives.
I squeezed my eyes closed as we bounced and wobbled in the sky helped a little. Humming softly to myself drove away all the thoughts of plunging to my death. Under all the terror, anger and thoughts of becoming a witch pancake was Lucius. His stupid face kept swarming in my mind. I mentally punched his cowardly face from my mind.
He had sent me away to protect me. He thought I was some fragile toy that could be placed on a high shelf. Only bringing me down once all the nasty children had gone home. He had the luxury of time. He was already a thousand years old. He could wait thirty, forty years and not bat an eye. By then I’d be old, and my life would have been wasted.
I’d been a sucker. Even though he’d been the one who had taken away what we had I still wanted to please him. I was pathetic. He had asked for help from an ex lover to help him find Quintus, she was the one who almost killed me. He hadn’t reached out to me. He didn’t think I was capable of staying alive long enough to be of any good to anyone.
I had survived two psychotic fae queens, whole wolf pack., his insane vampire girlfriend, a fae intent on revenge, the murder of my parents in front of my very eyes, and in some ways the worst of all, the loss of my magic. I wasn’t porcelain. I was steel and I wasn’t going to let anyone encase me in bubble wrap.
Yet here I was in the middle of the great white north. All alone. On the run and hiding. Hiding in this freezing wind tunnel of a building. Once we landed he led me into the only hanger. I was told I could wait in the lounge. The lounge was four metal folding chairs and one of those giant spools you get industrial sized cable on. I was asked if I wanted a tea or coffee, but I just wanted to get out of there, so I declined politely.
Of all places to end up this was my worst nightmare. Another wolf pack in the middle of a giant Canadian forest. The last time I’d been kidnapped and taken against my will. This time I was going on my own, because I had listened to what others thought was best for me.
It hadn’t worked very well for me so far and even though it had taken me a long time to learn the lesson I finally had. I’d visit with Dominick and Killian since I was already here and expected, but after that I’d decide where and how I lived. I’d drifted for too long. I’d let the things I couldn’t help in my life rule the things I could help.
My parents died, and I lost my magic. I was grateful to Quintus for taking me in and giving me a purpose in my life, but that didn’t mean I owed him my whole life. I loved Lucius. We’d been through so much together, but that didn’t mean he had any claim on me and he certainly didn’t get to dictate my life.
He of all people should have seen me for who I’ve become. I wanted someone in my life who could see what I was capable, not telling me what I couldn’t do. I didn’t get a thousand years, I got eighty of I was lucky.
I fished out a pair of mittens and a scarf from my suitcase. I’d been spoiled by the mild weather Vancouver had for most of the year. I wasn’t used to this kind of cold. My butt felt like it had frozen to the folding chair. I could tell the pilot wanted to go home. He kept coming out and asking if I needed to use the phone.
Lost in my own drama I didn’t hear anyone approach. When she placed her hand on my shoulder I jumped slightly. Looking up I saw a woman in her mid forties, it was hard to tell. She had one of those ageless faces. She was stunning, with porcelain skin, dark straight black hair hanging down past her shoulders, perfect white teeth, framed by a set of luscious lips, topped off with warm honey brown eyes.
She was the first to speak. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to startle you.” Her voice was rich and deep. Sexy.
“It’s okay I startle easy.”
She held her hand out. “I’m Mairi, your ride today.”
I stood and shook her gloved hand. “Okay, thanks. I’m Cass. I thought maybe Killian or Dominick might come.”
“Oh they both volunteered, but I had to pick up supplies and you’ll see them soon enough. How was your flight?”
“It was a flight alright.”
Her laugh was warm. “I’ve had that flight a time or two. Its not pleasant.” She picked up one of my bags and I followed her outside.
A black jeep was parked outside the hanger. Old but looked well taken care of. I was shocked that we’d be driving. “We can drive there?”
“No, we’ll drive for a while. Get as close as we can and then we’ll go by snowmobile the rest of the way.”
“How long?” This journey was never going to end.
“About another six hours maybe? Depends on the conditions. We haven’t had snow for a while, so we should be in for an easy ride.”
We rode in silence for a while. The scenery was all the same. Pine trees and snow. The sky was bright and clear. I think I dozed off for a while. I woke to her talking to me.
“I’m sorry did I wake you?”
“No, its fine. I think I’m just a little jet lagged. I slept on the first leg of the journey but not the second.”
“I have a confession to make… I volunteered to pick you up because I was so curious.”
“About me? Why?”
“So many reasons Cass. One, you’re a witch and I’ve never met another witch except my mother.”
“I might be a disappointment then. I was without my magic for a long time. I don’t even feel like one anymore. I mean its starting to feel like a part of me again, but I think I still have a way to go.”
She cleared the windshield of salt and then continued. “Killian and Dom think a lot of you. You were the mate of a wolf. As a human that’s so very rare. This will be your second pack you’ve been to, that’s unheard of. You were there during the great massacre. I have so many questions.”
My head started to spin and then everything around me joined me for the ride. My stomach was not happy. I was going to be sick. “Pull over.” She looked at me like I was insane. “Pull the fuck over or I’m going to puke everywhere.” She slid the jeep onto the shoulder, I emptied what little was in my stomach onto the white and black snow.
Standing there trying to breathe and calm my stomach, I fought back tears. They had a name for it. Dominick’s pack had been wiped out by the dark queen of the fae, Mab and I had been the one who opened the door and let her out so she could do the deed.
It was so complicated. I was made to do it. It had saved the fae, but at the end of the day, a whole pack except for Dom was killed. I was the catalyst and being reminded of something I tried everyday to put in the back of my mind was not something I’d been prepared for.
I climbed back into the jeep and leaned back into the seat. She placed her hand on my knee and pulled back onto the highway. After a few minutes the tears came, and I couldn’t stop them. I was looking like a fool.
Mairi passed me a tissue and squeezed my knee before placing her hand back on the wheel. “I don’t blame you for what happened Cass. You were held against your will, blackmailed and forced to do what you did. It’s a great shame we carry around for how you were treated. The massacre was catastrophic, but it was in no way your fault.”
“I’m sorry for yelling. I was just caught off guard.”
“I could have been more delicate, but I don’t socialize much and that makes me a little blunt sometimes. I forget that most conversations are more of a dance and less of a sledge hammer. Bottom line you need to know that most of the wolves don’t blame you for what happened.”
“Most?”
Swerving to miss a dead raccoon in the road she turned to look at me. “Cass, there are assholes everywhere.”
I laughed and agreed. Yes, there certainly were. “Well tit for tat I have a question. What’s it like being the only witch in a whole pack of wolves. I know that you guys are basically magic in human, wolf form, but to use that magic is a different story. It must be lonely.”
“It has its upsides and downsides. Mostly I’m an outsider, but respected if that makes any sense. People have a hard time trusting things they don’t understand, but they don’t mind coming calling when they are in need. So, I fit in about as well as I want to.”
“My mom didn’t want me to have magic. She hated my powers.” I wasn’t sure why I’d blurted that out.
“I was lucky, my mom was a strong woman and she paved the way for me in a lot of ways. She was not the first wolf witch, but she was the first in many generations. It used to be common for a pack to have a witch. A human, who could do things that would protect us. She was considered sacred in a pack. Honored. Sometimes that would result in a pup or two.
“Then more and more humans started to inhabit our lands. Infringe on our territory. We had to become more secretive. Hide further and further away. We stopped trusting humans and then even the witches were seen as the enemy. By that time those of us who weren’t pure wolf were so interbred with the rest of the pack we were accepted, until the first witch was born. My mother was the first in memory. She was shunned, but her powers to heal were great and when a loved one is at death’s door even the most vehement hater will come calling.
“She became excepted as much as was possible. You know wolves better than most humans, we are stubborn and stuck in our ways.”
I smiled at her. “Maybe one or two of you fit that bill.”
“Ha, yes or a couple of hundred. So I’m respected and kept at a distance, but I’m fine with that. I’m not like the others. Most females are submissive. Its how things are, but my powers make me an alpha and that puts me on the outside too.”
“Have you ever thought of leaving?”
“No, that isn’t good for a wolf. Being without its kind is hard. I used to fantasize about it though. When I was young and wanted to be like everyone else, but living with humans would still make me an outsider.”
“I didn’t want to come here. I wanted to stay and live my life. Others felt I wouldn’t have a life if I stayed.” I don’t know why I told her that. Maybe because she was so open with me. I felt a connection with her.
“That’s a tough one. When you love someone, you want to protect them, but you have to be careful how you do it. You can’t destroy the very thing you love while trying to keep them safe. Only you can decide what’s right for you.”
“Yes, and my problem has been letting others decide for me, but that stops now.”
“Good. No man or woman should rule another. You have the right to live your life how you please, we only get one and we need to make sure we make the best of it.”
“I don’t like to make excuses for him, but I think Lucius forgets that we don’t all live to be 1000 and even a year is a long time to a human.”
“That’s likely true, but you know better Cass. Having said that, I’m glad you’re here. I’ve never had anyone I could talk shop to. You’ve went to school to become a witch. I’ve relied on passed down information from my mother and she was taught by no one. She learned through trial and error. I bet you could teach me a lot.”
“I’ll share with you anything I can, but I’m no expert I can assure you. How incredible your mom must have been. It must have been terrifying when her powers first manifested. For all my mother’s faults she always was there to explain what was happening.”
“My mother had a hard life and very few people looked out for her. It made her a hard woman, but she loved me. Still it killed her knowing the life I’d have, it’s why I never had a child of my own. I couldn’t make someone lead this life, it sounds harsh, but it would be cruel.”
The rest of the drive was quiet. The only noise was the constant shush from the slush on the road. The green and white of the scenery began to blend in and I wondered how it would feel to be in another wolf compound. I began to drift off again. I hadn’t ridden a snowmobile since I was young and as I remember even back then it was more hang on for dear life than fun. I hoped Mairi was a good driver.
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<![CDATA[Merry Christmas - Help me Make it a Happy New Year]]>Tue, 19 Dec 2017 16:36:45 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/merry-christmas-help-me-make-it-a-happy-new-year
I'm not going to lie the picture above is just for my amusement. Usually I try and match the picture with my post, but hello, he's wearing a little beard.

Since its closing in on 2018, I thought I'd do a round up of my year in writing and living. This year came in the like a victim of a bear mauling victim. It was bloodied, terrifying and hard to watch. My sales were down, I was having a hard time writing and my personal life wasn't exactly stellar.
By the summer things were looking slightly up. I made a trip to England. I was there for three weeks. It was an amazing vacation. I got to spend time with a very special person and being back in Richmond was a dream come true. I also got to go to the sea side when I visited Whitby. I was relaxed. 
Came home and was taught a lesson. Never go off your meds. Never go off your meds especially when you are going through a divorce. Never go off your meds when you have severe anxiety. I was a bit of a mess. No I was a total mess. I have GADS and I need my medication. When I came home it was like everything crashed on top of me. I was under an enormous weight. I finally went to the doctor. Took my lecture like a big girl and after about a month I finally started to feel okay. 
My anxiety has been the worst its ever been this year and even today I experience panic attacks at least a couple times a week, but that is what its like living with mental illness. You just have to find ways to deal with it. 
Now for my writing. I finally finished the second book in my Demon Hunter Series. It was hard for me to write the first part of the year but I got back on track in September. 
I am so proud of this book. It's my best one yet in my opinion and I love the cover. It was created by the talented Scott Kaelen. I am in love with Jael. She's tough and bad-ass. She has so many vices she doesn't bother to count them anymore, but she's also loyal and compassionate. Oh and sexy as fuck. She swears a lot too.
The next release I had was When Love Casts a Shadow, which I have on amazon for free. Yes you've read that right. FREE. It's a novella that fills us in on how Cass and Quintus met. Quintus a 2000 year old vampire comes to Cass' rescue when she loses her magic. It tells how he convinces her to come to Vancouver with him and why he falls in love with her.
I released this book for free to thank all my readers for being so patient waiting to read the next book in my Cassandra Myles Witch Series.

Next I did Nanowrimo this year. For those who don't know what that is, it's when an author tries to write a novel or 50,000 words in a month and that month is November. I was lucky and feeling very creative and I did the first draft for the last two books in my Cassandra Myles Witch Series. Blood and Pack and Blood and Love. I will work on both of those and hope to have the first one out in the spring. 

Maybe just the first and last line of the sign is relevant to what I'm about to say, but I think we can all agree the middle is pretty important too. 
I am not speaking just for myself. I'm speaking for most authors. We'd like you to know a few things. Things we don't blame you for not knowing. I didn't know before I was an author. I hope you consider this while reading your next book.
1) Please buy your books. Don't get them from pirate sites. I get that getting things for free is very tempting. Here is the thing eventually that will guarantee that your favorite author won't be able to afford to write those books anymore. 
2) That leads  us to my next point. Books are not free to put out. We need to pay to get covers done. Editing is expensive. Formatting. Advertising. etc. We are talking thousands maybe. We make about two dollars a book. That takes a long time to make back.
3) Most of us can barely afford a dinner out on what we make a month let alone support our families. The average income for an author is about 10,000 dollars. That is only even that high because there are a few who make insane amounts and they effect the average. 
Its not all doom and gloom. I love writing. I can't stop myself if I'm truthful. I love a good review. Hearing from readers makes my day. Here is how you can help. These are concrete things that will take you very little time. Leave a review if you enjoyed the book. It helps us. It really does. 
Word of mouth. Tell the people you know how much you loved book. Tell your facebook friends. Your twitter friends. Make sure they know that they can't live without this book. 
If you are really keen and you want to be the bestest readers/fans ever. Ask your favorite author what you can do. We would love to tell you and trust me we will be more grateful that you can imagine. I might even bake you a pie. 
2018 - who knows. Maybe it will be my best year yet xxx
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<![CDATA[When Love Casts a Shadow - A Quick Taste]]>Wed, 29 Nov 2017 19:58:21 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/when-love-casts-a-shadow-a-quick-tastePicture

When Love Casts a Shadow is the tale of how Quintus comes to the rescue of Cassandra after she loses her magic. It's the start of his love for her and we see why he feels the need to always be her protector. Free on amazon.



​Quintus fiddled with the cuffs on his shirt, his manicured fingernails plucked two errant pieces of lint and threw them to the floor, then smoothed out the wrinkles in his pants. He’d been repeating these little quirks for almost an hour. He was about to go talk to the pilot for the third time when, the plane had come to life and started to taxi down the runway.
He’d arrived at Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport almost two hours ago and had expected to be in the air immediately. It was a lesson that even the filthy rich take a back seat to other planes if they’re owned by vampires.
That wasn’t quite fair. The plane hadn’t been ready when he arrived and the fueling had taken time, not to mention scheduling a last minute flight path. His pilot was second to none and he knew exactly how to get his employer where he needed to go in as short a time as possible. He was just short tempered right now. He needed to be in Halifax.
Every minute that ticked by was an eternity. A sense of urgency growing every time he looked at his watch. He had been in the middle of a speech when the call had come in. He wasn’t expecting any important news, but instinct told him to take the call. He made a vague excuse and left the conference room.
The call had shocked him and then panic had set in. A mixture of emotions fought to tear apart his ever present unruffled demeanor. He was fearful he wouldn’t make it in time. He had to get to her first. Then anger that someone would do that to a girl so young and full of promise, took over and he had to struggle to control his power.
The serge of emotion almost brought him to his knees. For centuries he’d lived in a muted state. He enjoyed things, he had disappointments and triumphs, but passion was not part of his life. He experienced everything through a lens that kept him separate from the rest of the world. It kept him safe and it kept him sane and now all that was gone.
It was his duty to go to her, but that wasn’t why he had woken up after so many years. It didn’t take a psychiatrist to tell him why the thought of not reaching her in time filled him with horror. He identified with the girl. He knew exactly what she was going through and he needed to make sure she wasn’t alone any longer than she had to be.
Two thousand years ago Quintus was a powerful druid priest. Magic was as much a part of him as his heart and lungs. He felt it coursing through his veins, he could sense it in his every deed and breath. It connected him to nature and his fellow man. When it was taken away he was a puppet with the strings cut. He was severed from his life’s blood, he felt alone and discarded. It was a necessary sacrifice, but even after 2000 years the hole that magic left hadn’t healed, he just learned to live with the yearning.
Back then the fae still walked the earth. They were powerful ancient creatures and humans were still simple beings who knew little of their own world let alone the fae realm. The ancient race had powers beyond their imagining. The fae played god and the humans worshipped them. Their devotion brought them no reward. The fae were not benevolent creatures. Instead the ancient ones toyed with the humans, living playthings for beings who reveled in using them for their own entertainment.
They didn’t care how many died in their little games. It was clear that if they were left unchecked the fae would wipe out the human race, they had existed before humans and they would be alive long after they were gone. A child might regret breaking her favorite toy, but she doesn’t mourn for long, it is after all, only a toy.
Vampires are immune to the magic of the fae. It was they who decided something needed to be done. A cynic might say they had motives of their own to want the fae gone from the earth and they would be right. Vampires were survivors from the day they were created and they couldn’t allow their food to perish.
They came to Quintus, a druid priest. They needed his help if they were going to defeat the fae for good. Those who had magic were less susceptible to the fae, they were the only humans who stood a chance against the fae. A small band of humans and vampires fought to send them back into their own realm for good.
The fae put up a valiant fight, but in the end they didn’t have the one thing humans had on their side and that was shear numbers. It was bloody and many lost their lives on both sides, but when the tide turned to their favor it came to Quintus and his fellow priests to seal the door to the fae realm.
The deed would need to be done by the most potent druids. The door would have to be sealed and warded against the fae, who were magic incarnate. Quintus needed the help of every one of his brothers and sisters. The war had been brutal and bloody and they needed every last one to make sure the door could not be opened again. The ancient ones would never again walk the earth.
When the deed was done Anthena came to him. She was the first vampire, turned by the fae using dark magic and she hated the fae more than anyone. She came to him and asked if he would guard the door, not just in his short life, but become a vampire and guard the door as long as it existed. He had nothing against the dead ones, but he knew once he was turned his magic would be lost forevermore.
He had lost so much already. His family died in the war and many of his fellow druids perished too. To lose his magic too seemed unbearable, but the door needed to stay closed and he couldn’t let the sacrifices of those he loved be in vain. He would take the knowledge of the door with him through time. It would be his burden to ensure the fae never stepped foot outside of their realm again.
On the next night after it had been sealed he was turned by Anthena, she was the first and the strongest, she could pass on the most power. His hand goes to his neck as if he could still feel her teeth there. It was like having a limb cut off, only he was the limb. The pain was unbearable and the only thing that kept him alive was his task. For two millennia he built a giant network of spies and allies who would feed him information and watch the parts of the world he could not.
He didn’t just guard the door he also had to watch those who might have the power to open it. Not all the fae had been herded back into their realm. He hunted them relentlessly. It had taken a hundred years but sightings of the fae had stopped and he hoped they were gone from the earth.  
Every now and then a rumor would circulate that the old ones still walked this realm, but none had been seen for almost two millennia. He had done his job well and he had protected the door without faltering all this time.
It didn’t mean one or two hadn’t survived. Hidden away, biding their time. A hundred years to a fae can feel like just a flicker in time. Two thousand years biding your time and waiting meant very little to them. They remember the dinosaurs and it is rumored they remember a time when the earth did not exist. They were not immortal, but they were very close.
Quintus always kept an eye on any witch he felt had the potential to open the door. If push came to shove he would have to eliminate her. He would have no choice. It had been a blessing and a curse when the fae door disappeared, 400 years after being sealed.
He hoped it meant his worries were over, but fae magic was tricky and it could be anywhere. The bottom of the ocean or the top of a mountain. Until recent history there were many places man had never tread. That meant searching for it was not an option.
So many times he’d been tempted to let it go. Stop the vigilance. Disband his spies. Was he a fool for working so hard all these years when the door itself had not been seen in over a thousand years? Ironically if he still had his magic he’d know if the door was still in existence. The door held his magic and he’d have been able to find it anywhere on the earth.
Only two witches in all that time had the potential to open the door. They had come along after the door had been lost and he watched them as he watched all humans. He witnessed them find love, have children, grow old and die. It used to make him sad the passage of a human life and now he was numb to it.
He had to interact with humans, he was even fond of a few, but he kept them all at arms-length. It wasn’t hard. For most of his existence humans if they ever found out what he was saw him as a monster. Now any humanity he had clung to had fallen away long ago. He no longer could relate to them. That was until tonight when he received a message from one of his informants. There was another witch who not only had the potential to open the fae door, but rip it off its hinges.
During her final exam at the Atlantic Academy of Magical Arts Cassandra Myles ripped apart the fabric between here and the afterlife. Instead of the tiny pinprick hole that’s supposed to allow one soul through she tore a gaping wound, leading to a stampede of the departed flooding the school.
Something that was never thought to be possible. So few could let a soul through that tearing a gaping hole in the wall was never even a concern. A witch who could do that might be capable of opening the fae door. It didn’t help that for the past year he had been hearing whispers of the door resurfacing. Nothing he could pin down, but Quintus didn’t believe it was a coincidence.
In the past he would have someone watch the witch in question, but that wasn’t an option this time. She was too powerful and if the rumors were true the door may have known she had come into her power. Sitting somewhere remote and distant waiting patiently for the one witch who was capable of the deed. He was afraid someone might try and get to her before he could.
Of course all that paled when he heard they’d taken away her magic. She still technically had it, but the head mistress had demanded a geis be put on her. A lock that sealed away her magic. She could neither access it nor feel its presence.  It was a punishment for the hole she made in the wall, something that wasn’t her fault.
Contacting the dead was a dangerous gift and therefore it came with a clear set of rules. Cassandra had just lost her parents to a vampire attack. She never should have been asked to contact the other side. Her grief was too raw and it called to the soul she needed most, her father. That was another rule. Never contact a loved one.
When she was told to sever the connection she couldn’t and she ripped through the whole wall trying to keep her father with her. She was deemed dangerous and so they took away her magic. At least when he had lost his magic it had been his decision. She had no choice.
For so long Quintus had no connection to any human and in the instant he heard what had happened, he felt something for her. It was small and it felt strange. A kindred spirit was out there and he needed to get to her. His heart had not felt such things in centuries. He loved his son, but that love had been there since he had made him, a thousand years ago. This was something new and wonderful and when you were as old as he was, new was always something to cherish.
When he hung up the phone he called for his car and headed to the airport. Sending someone else was out of the question. He had this need to be there for her he couldn’t explain. No one else could connect with her the way he could. He knew how she felt, she was alone. The geis had cut her off from the world and a vampire had taken her family. So much loss for one so young.
The paperwork in front of him was largely ignored. Being the master vampire of Vancouver and Seattle was more than a full time job and there was never a time when he could say his work was finished, but his mind kept drifting back to the girl. Emotional pain was not something he had experience for a long time and now he was feeling it for her.
His source was in the hotel where she was staying. He was to make sure she didn’t leave and no one went up to her room. He wanted to get to her first. As soon as they landed he was in a limo heading towards the port city of Halifax. His cell phone rang.
“What is it Lucius?”
“Where are you? Adrien called and he said you ran out in the middle of talks. This is an important deal. If we can unite all the cities then we’ll have more power when we ask for more rights from the government.”
“I’m aware of how important the talks are, but sometimes things come up.”
“What kind of things?”
“One of the witches I’ve been watching is in a crisis and I need to handle it.”
“Your job is to make sure they don’t open the door; it’s not handling their lives. You should leave it and get back to the talks.”
“Your job as my second in command is to do as you’re told and support the things I feel need to be done, not telling me what to do.” He didn’t raise his voice. That wasn’t necessary. His one and only son knew better than to challenge him once he was pushed too far.
“Yes Sire. I’m sorry. Adrien was very upset, he felt you were making headway.”
“Adrien is a dreamer. No one was making headway in that meeting. It was chaos. No one was listening to anyone. I’ll return when I can. I can’t explain it; I feel this needs to be the one to handle it. She needs to be in our hands before she falls in with someone else.”
“I’ll talk to him and smooth things out.”
“I have no doubt you will.”
He slipped his phone back in his pocket. The meeting was a baby step towards getting more rights. Vampires had been out of the closet for quite some time, but they still didn’t have the rights all humans had. Most vampires felt it was time they had those rights and the meeting was to try and figure out how to get them.
Vampires weren’t designed to work together. For millennia they lived apart from society and each other to avoid detection. It made them territorial and the thought of cooperation for the greater good rarely happened. It had felt so important that he attend and try and shape how they moved forward and now he didn’t want to go back. He just wanted to take Cassandra home.
The city lights came on the horizon. He was close. Halifax was a beautiful city, but he avoided it if possible. He liked the city well enough but the master was a nightmare. He demanded any vampire who wanted to enter his city to ask permission first. Quintus refused to bow down to the arrogant little whelp.
This time was going to be no exception. He didn’t have time to deal with him. He hadn’t even bothered to show up for the conference. He knew he wasn’t going to be top dog there so he made some sort of excuse. It was too bad, Halifax had a certain feel to it that reminded him of home. He’d left for the new world a very long time ago, but every now and then he’d get a pang of homesickness.
He had time. Masters come and go. At 2000 years old he knew nothing was permanent. Everything changed and someday Cyrus would be gone.
They were now in the downtown and the hotel was coming up on the right. His source was in the lobby and as Quintus walked by he handed him the key card to enter her room. He would knock first but if there was no answer then he wouldn’t hesitate to enter. Just because his source said no one had entered, doesn’t mean they hadn’t.
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<![CDATA[The Devil You Know - Is Now Available]]>Sun, 15 Oct 2017 01:22:13 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/the-devil-you-know-is-now-available
Chapter 1 
The days had flown by since we left Cole’s home. I felt a little lighter having told him my secret, but Cole felt distant. He swore up and down that it had nothing to do with what I’d told him. I tried my best to believe him. Confessing that I’d killed my husband, who’d been possessed by a demon who’d killed my twin sons, was big. How could that not change things?
If being distant wasn’t bad enough, he was adding anger to the mix. It was like traveling with a petulant teenager. I’d kept my promise to Cain. He fixed things for the Kelpies, and in exchange, I let him take me on a date. This kicked Cole into over-protective father mode. I didn’t need a man in my life telling me what to. I’d lived by my own rules way too long to ever let anyone control my life, even if it was for my own good.
That isn’t to say I didn’t have a little guilt floating around in the old noggin. That date had changed things and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. So when Cole suggested we take on a job that involved neither demon hunting nor ghost patrol, I was skeptical, but if it meant I could keep busy and ignore Cain and my feelings, it was worth meeting with the guy.
The job involved a monk who owned the largest collection of religious relics on Earth. I was never a fan of any man of God. Their relics came a close second. Cole was hoping he might have a trinket or two that might keep Cain at bay, and I… well, I didn’t think anything on Earth could keep him away.
The monk was not what I expected, nor was his home. Time felt strange in this place, but my watch told me we’d arrived no more than an hour ago, even though it felt like he and Cole had been talking business for at least three days. I didn’t know why a monk would be such an expert in business or how he had enough money to own a home that made Cole’s beach house look quaint, but it made me distrust him.
Mr. Barlow sat tall and still in an ornately carved chair at the head of the table, both of which would have looked more at home in a castle than his modern home. Dressed head to toe in black silk, his trim physique and bald head made it hard to guess his age, but I figured early fifties.
His taut, wrinkle-free face turned, serious brown eyes narrowed and fixed on me like a rifle scope, while his mouth remained relaxed and amused. I was dressed in the most expensive thing I’d ever had on my body. Cole had picked it out—one more thing he was good at. The dress fit me like a glove and I’d never felt sexier. My partner looked like he’d walked off a magazine cover in one of his many tuxedos. Who knew there were different tuxedos for different occasions? I didn’t understand why we had to dress up for this man, but I assumed it was a rich thing.
There was more silverware surrounding the plates than I’d ever seen. I’d have to cheat by looking over at Cole to find out what fork to use. At least the red wine was flowing, and it was just enough to put me in the right mood to give this strange man a chance to state his case.
Never had I met a man whose name fit him more perfectly. Ambrose Barlow was now babbling on about his collection, telling us in detail how he acquired some of his favorite religious relics. Cole sat opposite me, looking at Mr. Barlow with rapt attention. I tried my best, but my mind wandered back to that night. I tried not to go there. I struggled every day not to relive the night I kept my promise and allowed Cain to take me away from the hotel, from my senses.
Shaking my mind free of those memories, I came back to the conversation. They were talking about people they both knew. There must be some sort of billionaires’ club somewhere the lowly millionaires aren’t allowed in.
“Cole, we’re being rude. I haven’t heard this lovely lady speak all night.” His eyes crawled from my chest to my eyes as he waited for my response.
I was grateful for the dim light; the old man had somehow made me blush. “It’s okay. I was just enjoying listening to the conversation.”
Cole leaned back in his chair, looking every bit the cover model for one of those bad boy billionaire books. “Jael and I would love to see your collection after dinner if you wouldn’t mind sharing it.”
“Mind? I have friends who avoid me because I usually insist on it.”
Cole laughed like it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard. I know I rolled my eyes; I have zero control over them.
I took another sip of wine. “Maybe we can talk about why you need our help.”
“Jael.” Cole reprimanded me with my name and he was going to pay for that when we left. His shirts were no longer going to be sorted by color and sleeve length when we got back to the hotel.
The monk waved his hand at my partner. “It’s fine, Cole. I should get to the point. You’re here about business, after all. This dinner is just a lovely distraction.”
Three servers came into the room carrying trays full of food, swirling around the table, taking things that had been used and arranging what was left. The food smelled amazing and the first bite of meat melted in my mouth.
They both looked at me like I’d farted, and Ambrose spoke. “I suppose we can dispense with grace for one night.”
My first faux pas of the night. I was sure there would be more. I wasn’t about to apologize, though. I don’t talk to God; we aren’t on speaking terms.
Mr. Barlow took a sip of Merlot and a bite of his lamb, then leaned back. “I’m going to do something I haven’t done in centuries. I’m going to tell you the story of how I came to be here and why I’m in need of your services. Mainly because I’ve vetted you quite thoroughly and I know you have enough experience that I’m confident my tale won’t seem as mad to you as it might to others.”
He took another bite of his meal, his napkin dabbing at the corner of his mouth. When he lowered his voice to draw us closer, Cole and I leaned in, and he started his tale. “I’ve been searching for something for centuries and I think I’ve finally located it. I need someone with your expertise to retrieve it for me and, when I’m done telling you my sad story, you’ll see why I need your help so desperately.”
Another sip of wine and he was ready to begin. “About 800 years ago, I was a Benedictine monk, living in a monastery in what is now the Czech Republic.” He paused, and when we didn’t walk out because we thought he was a mad man, he continued. “I wasn’t a good monk or even a good man. I made many mistakes and went against several of my vows. Most of my transgressions were due to my laziness. I wanted nothing more than to do nothing. My abbot hated me. Looking back, I can see why he did. We, as Benedictine monks, are supposed to use the time God has given us wisely. Sloth is not something that is taken lightly and I was always trying to get away from my chores. It wasn’t laziness that finally did me in, it was theft. I’d a feeling that my time at the monastery was coming to an end and I didn’t want to be kicked out with nothing to my name.
“I started squirreling away the few items of worth around the abbey. Keeping them in my room was stupid and I was caught. They were sick of me anyway. The abbot was so mad I thought he might have a fit and die. The old goat’s face reddened and his brow broke out in a sweat as spittle flew from his thin lips as he tried to form words. I thought for sure they were going to expel me. I was terrified. I had no money and the only clothes I owned were my robes. I vowed to do anything I could think of to get back in their good graces, but the abbot was set on punishing me.
“I’d pushed him too far. I didn’t commit a crime against my brothers, but against God. He told me that I could be as idle as I wanted to be for the rest of my sad life.” Ambrose let out a bitter laugh. “I was to be walled up in my room at the abbey and starved to death. Poetic justice, I suppose, but not how I wanted to die.
“I panicked. I could handle a quick death or being thrown out, but to be starved to death… My mind was racing, trying to find a way out. It had to be a big grand gesture and it had to be something the abbot couldn’t refuse.”
I was listening to Ambrose but watching Cole. He looked at the man in black like he was the messiah. It was creepy and fucking odd. I was going to have a talk with my partner when this evening was over.
“Our order was made up almost entirely of scribes. The abbot was proud of our order’s reputation. In a fit of insanity, I promised them a book that would contain all of human history. I’d work tirelessly until I’d completed it and he would see how this incident had changed me. I would create a work that would make our little abbey a place of pilgrimage. They said I would try and escape while writing it. My mind scrabbled to come up with something that would convince them that I could and would follow through.
“I told them I would write it in one night. It was mad, I know, and the abbot knew it was impossible, but I think he liked the idea of my humiliation when I failed yet again. I was only buying myself some time. I thought I could somehow escape, but they had me in a windowless room with a guard on my door. They knew I was a liar.
“Left alone in my small room, I was frantic. I’d bought myself time, nothing more. I was a talented scribe, but no one could do what I’d promised. I didn’t even start it. What would be the point? I knew little of the Bible and even less of the world. When midnight came, I panicked. I prayed to God over and over for help. I asked for forgiveness and I begged him to show me a sign. Nothing came.
“Never had I felt more alone. I lay in my bed. Desperation worked on my mind. Tendrils of hope spread through my brain like a virus. This hope was rooted in such a blasphemous idea, my body broke out in a cold sweat, my breath coming fast and shallow. I might not have been a good man, but I was raised to love and worship the Lord, not his betrayer. The thought of it struck fear in my heart, but so did dying alone from hunger and thirst.
“My voice failed me and it took a few tries to say the name. Tears streamed down my face as I begged for his help. There was no grand entrance; he didn’t need it. He was just simply there, and I don’t know what I expected, but his beauty hurt me. Lucifer was not some deformed evil creature as I’d been taught. He was … perfection. I wasn’t scared when he appeared before me. I just wanted to always be with him. He was light and beauty. He felt like love and acceptance and that was something I’d never felt before.”
Tears spilled down the monk’s face. He was there in that room again. His face turned to the sky, his eyes seeing things we couldn’t.
“It’s hard to explain, but it was the closest I’d ever felt to God. When his hand touched my cheek, I felt whole for the first time. I begged for his help. I begged him to take my soul. He was only too happy to oblige. In that moment with him there, I wanted nothing more than to spend eternity in his presence. That’s how he does it, you see. He doesn’t seduce you with promises and lies; he makes you beg to be with him despite all you know to be true.
          “The finished product was something no human could produce in a night, maybe not ever. It was beautiful and intricate. I couldn’t even lift it; the tome was so big. You may have heard of it. It is called the Codex Gigas or, more commonly, the Devil’s Bible.”
            A cheeky grin spread over his thin face. “It contains a very unflattering picture of the devil in it. My only contribution to the whole book. I drew it later when my head cleared and I realized what I’d done. My own small revenge and maybe my only true show of bravery.
“I called my brothers in, and while they loved the book, they were suspicious, as they had every right to be. It was the product of the Devil. Not just a desperate monk. They didn’t believe I’d done it, but what other explanation could there be? I’d been alone in the room.
“They took the book and left me alone. They were gone so long, I thought they might have decided to punish me anyway and I was already in my prison. I heard the chanting of morning prayers and I was still locked in. It wasn’t until afternoon prayers that they came back to my room with some soup and water. I was ravenous but couldn’t eat it. I wanted to know what they’d decided.
“They’d looked through the book and called it a miracle. I was not only not going to be punished, but I could stay. They thought God had guided my hand when I truly repented. I was celebrated and over time allowed more privileges, not less. I was happy for a few years.
“I lived with my brothers and, more importantly, worked with them, and I felt joy in that. It was my miracle, not the book. Then one day while cleaning the cross above the pulpit, I fell from the ladder. I was uninjured, but it scared me. One day I would die, and when I did, I wasn’t going to live with my Heavenly Father. I was going to Hell. The spell of Lucifer’s beauty had long been over and only the dread of him owning my soul remained.
“I began studying every ancient text I could. I questioned all the most senior monks. They saw it as a sign that I was becoming more and more devoted, and I was. I became known as Hermann the Hermit. I wasn’t walled in, but I studied every text I could, trying to find a way out of my deal. Then I decided to read the book that had saved and doomed me.
“I read every word until I reached the end. It was then that I found that there were pages missing. Something about just touching the frayed edges of what was left convinced me my answer lay in that missing velum. My fingers tingled as I counted the tattered edges of the lost pages. There were twelve in all. I went to the monk that oversaw the tome and I asked why my masterpiece had been tampered with. Yes, by now, I had almost convinced myself it was mine. He looked at me wide-eyed and sent me to the abbot.
“I was incensed that they had dared to alter my masterpiece. Even if I hadn’t written it, I sacrificed the ultimate to see it done. They’d altered it without even consulting me. The abbot was a formidable man, but I was not to be deterred. I raged at what had been done and, when I was finished, he looked sad. I was taken off guard. I expected to be reprimanded for my insolence.
“Taking my hand, he sat me down. His brown eyes were watery. I couldn’t believe he was on the verge of tears. He told me that my book was a miracle and it was something that would live on through the ages, but the pages that were missing contained knowledge that no human should ever have. It killed him to have to desecrate my work and he couldn’t bring himself to outright destroy them, so he’d them sent away. They were sure God had written it through me and, until a sign came from above, those pages had to be hidden.
“They sent them with the instructions to go to a monastery of their choice. Pick a monk and get him to do the same and never stop. Never bring them back here and never let anyone open the blessed cloth that they are bound in. If the day comes that such knowledge is needed, then God in his wisdom would make sure they surfaced and, until then, men such as us were not to be trusted with this knowledge.
“What was I to do? What was the chance that I would find those pages? They had had years to get as far away as possible or maybe as close as the nearest abbey. Wherever they were, I had nothing to lose. I set off immediately and I’ve been searching for my salvation and running from my damnation for over 800 years.
“I’m safe here from Lucifer and his son, from all of Hell’s denizens. They can’t enter this property. I’ve been running from them for centuries and I finally have a haven and no longer must run, but ironically, I’m now a prisoner. I’ve come full circle, even if my prison is a gilded one. If I step foot outside this property, my soul will be taken. I’ve no interest in chancing that.”
Ambrose leaned back and sipped his wine. The story had drained the color from his face and he looked more fragile than he had before. Cole looked to me and I raised my eyebrow. I wasn’t convinced this man was telling the truth. I wanted Cole to be the one to question him.
“How have you stayed safe all these years? How have you lived so long?”
“It took years. I stayed mainly in sanctified buildings. It wasn’t foolproof, but it helped. I was always on the move and I started to collect as many religious relics as I could. I won’t lie, though; not all the relics in this building are Christian. I wasn’t picky when it came to my life. In the end, it was the St. Benedictine medal and the cross he held when he died that keeps this place a safe zone for me. I saw it as a sign from God that it was a fellow brother who was my ultimate salvation. As far as living so long, I don’t know why. I can only guess that I will die when my soul is taken, either by God or the Devil.”
Those weren’t the questions I wanted asked, so I asked my own. “Why have you been searching all these years for something you can’t possibly be sure will help you, why ask us for help, and why now?”
“I like a woman who gets to the point. I can only say that in my bones, I believe it to be true and don’t think it’s the only egg in my basket, but it is the only one I haven’t been able to try. As for why now, I believe I’ve found them. I’ve sent two very trusted, capable people to check on it, but I haven’t heard from them for almost a week. I must assume they’re dead. They were onto something, and according to our last conversation, they were sure it was the pages. The place where I believe them to be has had increased paranormal activity, which as you know, can be a result of something occult and powerful sitting in one location for a long time.
“I also have a connection to them. I’ve been searching for the pages for a long time and I feel their pull. I feel like this is right. I’ve been close before. I’ve just missed them by hours or days, but I could always feel their presence. Then for centuries, I felt nothing. It was hidden somewhere and it was lost to me. Now it’s back. I could feel the moment the pages were found.
“I just had to find where. A few places in Europe had promise, but nothing was found. This is the last area they can be and they aren’t moving anymore. They want to be found. They’re in a small town called Richmond, North Yorkshire in the U.K. Now as to why you, I think that’s obvious. I think you are the only two who can complete the task.”
“If you’ve vetted us as closely as you say, then you know that going to the UK is not possible for me. You’ll know my name isn’t even Jael.”
“Anyone who has enough money and contacts can give you an identity that can pass muster. I have both those things.”
 I had a fake driver’s license, something that could pass a routine traffic stop, but a passport that would allow me to travel was another level altogether. “What exactly do you want us to do?”
“I want you to go to Richmond. Find those missing pages and bring them to me.”
“We hunt demons, Mr. Barlow. We don’t go on scavenger hunts.”
“Ah well, see; there you go. You bring me back the text I want and you can kill the biggest demon of them all.”
“Who are you talking about?”
“The text tells how to kill Lucifer. I get my soul back when he’s dead and then I can finally die in peace.”
I almost spit out my wine. “You can’t be serious?”
“You have the chance to kill the father of all demons, Jael. Isn’t that reason enough?” he chided.
“How do you know that’s the case? You’ve never seen it. Why would your brothers not want that information known?”
“I can only guess my brothers were against the dark magic it would take to complete the task or they saw Lucifer as a necessary evil. If everyone went to Heaven regardless of their crimes, the world would be a far worse place. I don’t believe that, but my brothers would have then.”
Killing Lucifer would solve a lot of my problems, but how often does something you need come to you in such a neat package? I didn’t know this man. Cole said he was a family friend, but that just made me question his family.
Cole leaned across the table. “Jael, this is the giant panda at the fair. This is the holy grail of demon hunting. If we help Ambrose, we win too.”
“I think maybe your brothers knew that killing Lucifer would throw Hell into chaos.”
“I thought you of all people would trust Cain to look after Hell in the event of his father’s passing.”
I looked at Cole. He shook his head, but if he hadn’t told this Mr. Barlow, then who had? Who else knew of my relationship with Cain? I doubted Cain was going door to door telling everyone about our date.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Ambrose stared at me as he placed his napkin on his plate and leaned back in his chair. “I know that Cain has contacted you and that you have had dealings with him. I was shocked that a hunter would do that, but as I say, with my past, I’m not one to judge.”
You could have fucking fooled me. The fucking asshole was giving me one huge smug grin. I gripped the butter knife in my hand. Smug smiles are very hard to pull off without lips.
Cole tried to diffuse the tension. “Maybe you could show us your collection while you give us the details of what you need us to do?”
Ambrose turned to Cole. “Of course. It would be my pleasure.”
 

 
 
 
 
 
Chapter 2 
Ambrose left us to walk alone in his collection rooms. The displays put most museums to shame. Glass cases, the perfect lighting on each piece. The only two pieces I wanted to see were missing. I wasn’t surprised he had the two relics that kept him safe somewhere else under lock and key.
I saw most of the relics as tools of my trade. Rosaries and crosses of all shapes and materials were the most common pieces. They ranged from solid gold to being carved from bone. Even the most powerful demons could be harmed by either, but no tool was foolproof. He had a large collection of bibles and religious texts. Some passages could exorcise a demon, but it was hard to get one to stay in place long enough to listen.
For me, fighting evil had been hit and miss. I was self-taught. For a long time, I thought I was alone in the war. It wasn’t until I’d been hunting for years that I’d met others like me. I’d yet to meet one I wanted to spend more than one night with, but each hunter taught me something new. Some it was more like what not to do, but I was better at my craft because of all of them.
It was Will who had made the biggest difference. My online personal researcher had helped me deal with a lot of bad mojo and he was my oldest friend. I still hadn’t heard from him. When we were in Washington State, I contacted him about Cain and now, weeks later, I still hadn’t heard back. I was worried but going back to Canada to check on him wasn’t an option.
Cole broke the silence. “I think we should do this. I know you’re skeptical, Jael, but what if it’s a way to kill Lucifer? Cain would be a much better leader in Hell than his father.”
I stopped browsing to look at Cole. I had a hard time coming up with a reply. “Since when do you have anything nice to say about Cain?”
“It isn’t a big compliment to say someone is slightly better than Lucifer.”
Cole viscerally hated Cain and now he wanted to give him the throne in Hell? I had to change the subject or I’d lose my mind. “I believe Ambrose’s story is possible. Selling a soul is something I’ve come across before, but even if his story is true, why should we help him? More importantly, how do we know that these pages do what he says?”
“I guess we don’t for sure. Ambrose doesn’t seem like a bad man. He donates to charities; he has one of his own that helps the homeless. I think the sin he committed is not something he should have to go to Hell for.”
“That’s another thing; how is a monk this rich? He can’t leave his home.”
Cole stiffened and shook his head. “Anyone can accumulate wealth given enough time. Being rich doesn’t make you a bad person.”
In my experience, it didn’t make you a good person either. “I know we take cases all the time without knowing what kind of person the client is, but those are always demon versus human, and in that case, human always wins, but we don’t know what the deal is here.”
His eyes narrowed and his right hand rubbed his clean-shaven chin. He wanted this and the fact that I was skeptical was frustrating him. “Going to the UK only means we check things out. We can tell him that’s all he’s paying for. We’re in charge of what we do once we’re there.”
“Why are you so hot to trot to take this on?”
“I’m not… it’s just that this guy has something that can keep Cain away from us. If we give him back his soul, he might give us the tools he uses to do that.”
“This whole thing is just so we might be able to keep Cain away? I’m getting a little sick of you not trusting my ability to resist him. I’ve told you why he could never tempt me into doing something I didn’t think was right.”
“I saw you when you came home, remember that.”
Fighting back tears, I turned my back on him. I’d been a mess when I’d come home from my date with Cain and throwing it in my face was low. “I asked you not to bring that up again. Cain is my problem, which means I get to deal with it the way I want.” He was like a dog with a bone. He wouldn’t stop going on about Cain and I was sick of it. He had no right telling me what to do.
Cole placed his hand on my shoulder and I flipped it off with a shrug. Fuck him. “I’m sorry. You’re right. It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s that I’m worried about you. I don’t want him harassing you. This is your decision as it always is, but I think we should take this on. If for no other reason, we get to travel and we get to do our job and get paid. Plus, we don’t have anything else on the books right now.”
It was my decision, but he was right: I’d accepted far sketchier jobs in the past. If these pages existed, I would see them first and be the one who made the decision to hand them over. Maybe I was being stubborn.
I turned back to face him. “Fine, but if this blows up, it’s on you, and if it turns out to be a good idea, I knew it all along.”
Cole smiled at me. “Of course.”
Ambrose cleared his throat as he came into the room. “Have we decided?”
“I think we have, but I want to know more about what we’re dealing with before we go.”
“Of course. I’ll make sure you have whatever you need for the trip and you’ll have my full support. No expense will be spared.”
“I want to know exactly why you think the pages are where they are and what happened to the people you sent to find them.”
Ambrose walked towards a case with a gold and silver rosary in it. Retrieving a white cloth from his pants pocket, he rid the glass of my hand print. A shiver ran down my back. He made sure there was no trace of me left before he answered my question.
“Richmond is a small town in Northern England. There once was an abbey there and though it’s in ruins now and was never Benedictine, I believe the pages were taken there centuries ago and forgotten. The abbey was closed for good in 1536. I believe that the pages were stashed there or in the church that sits beside it, and forgotten.
“It’s one of those things that seems obvious once you know, but I’d been searching all over the world. This was just one place that was a possibility. I believe when the pages were found, it may have been the first time they were taken out of the blessed cloth they’d been wrapped in. They called to me and I wanted more than anything to be the one who answered.
“The pages are powerful. They were written by Lucifer, but I believe it was God who controlled his hand to write those last pages. Think of that. God wrote these pages through his once favorite son.” As he spoke, his eyes were far off and glassy. His fingers moved as if he was touching the bits that had been left in the tome.
“As you know, certain relics of power attract the paranormal. Richmond has become a hub of such activity. There’ve been ghost sightings, men and women spouting the future. Animals have been found dead. Torn apart. I shudder to think what that might be. The Wiccans have claimed they’ve had increased power and the churches have been packed. People who haven’t been in years have been sitting in the pews.”
This guy liked to hear his own voice, but I wanted him to get to the point and answer my question. “What does that have to do with the tea in China?”
“People are searching for an explanation. They need the protection of the church. They need to know that the Lord will keep them safe.”
Made sense, I guess. “I agree something could be going on in that town, but there could be a number of causes. How long were your men in Richmond before they disappeared?”
“They were there for four days. The first three, they found out very little. They met a ghost or two, but nothing about my salvation.”
I really hoped I didn’t roll my eyes when he said that. This guy was just too churchy for me and he was making me drag this info out of him. “What happened on the fourth?”
“One met with the reverend at the church beside the abbey and the other met with the local coven. I never heard from either again, but both felt sure they were going to meet the person who had the pages.
“So either or neither could have killed them. My men were professional investigators, but not believers in the occult or the paranormal. It may have blinded them to a danger that they didn’t see until it was too late.”
“Why us?”
“I know Cole’s family. They’re honorable people. I also know your reputation and you’ve fought your share of demons and ghosts. I doubt anything you come across will take you by surprise. I should have come to a hunter first, but I was too eager to get back what was mine and now two good men are likely dead.”
He didn’t seem like he cared that someone died. I wondered how many people he’d sacrificed in the pursuit of his soul. Ambrose Barlow didn’t seem like he’d changed at all from the terrified monk who sold his soul. A little more polish and a lot more power, but he was still a scared little man willing to do anything to save his own hide. I was willing to put that aside, for now. The pages might do exactly what Barlow said or they might do something far worse. Either way, I wanted to see them first. This man wasn’t making any decision that might affect all mankind. He would always choose himself first.
“When do we leave?”
A smile burst upon the monk’s face, making him look ghoulish in the harsh light. “I can get you on the next flight. I had your documents drawn up, Jael. You’re now officially Jael Allen in the eyes of the world. No more worrying that you might be found.”
I could tell he wanted me to be happy or grateful or both. I was neither. He’d assumed we’d take the job. It made me want to walk away on principle. “I’ve been Jael Allen for a long time. I don’t need a passport to prove it.”
“Maybe not, but this isn’t just fake identification. You have a history that could pass any scrutiny. You could go home if you wanted.”
“Don’t act like you’re doing me a favor. You came to us. Don’t talk about my home. My life is none of your business.”
“Jael…”
Ambrose raised his hand. “No, Cole. It’s all right. I overstepped.” He tried to look repentant. I wasn’t buying it.
“We’ll need time to pack and get ready.”
“I’ve used the time we were dining and talking to get your bags packed and ready. Your passports and IDs are there as well. They include a credit card that you can use for anything you think you’ll need. I’ve given you each a cell phone. I want updates as often as possible.”
My hand balled into a fist and started to rise before Cole caught my wrist. This asshole had someone get our personal stuff from our hotel room and then packed it. I hated being pushed into things, even things I knew I should want. I counted to ten before speaking. “Your men who were in Richmond, did they go into the town asking about the pages or did they pretend to be doing something else?”
“I can’t say what they said for sure, but they weren’t the types who would go into a situation with some big convoluted story. I assume they went into town and looked around. I had a contact at the church. The reverend there was supposed to cooperate fully. He did, but he also might be the last person who saw my people alive.”
“Doesn’t sound like a very tight operation.”
“No, it wasn’t. My people had never come up against the supernatural before. They didn’t believe in it. I know that was a mistake and I should have used someone with more experience. I was just so eager. This time, I won’t have to worry about that.”
Against my better judgment, I was going to go. If for no other reason, a whole town was under siege from the paranormal. Whatever the cause of it, they needed someone to help them and if Ambrose Barlow was volunteering to fit the bill, so be it.
 
 
Yes I am a tease. I hope you enjoyed the first two chapters of The Devil You Know. Please let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy this snippet and rush out to preorder it on amazon. The Devil You Know.
US Amazon - The Devil You Know
Canada Amazon - The Devil You Know 
UK Amazon - The Devil You Know

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you.
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<![CDATA[Cover Reveal]]>Tue, 03 Oct 2017 10:55:01 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/cover-reveal
This is the new cover for Heaven's Key. Just a few tweaks. My cover designer Scott Kaelen wanted it to match the cover for the sequel to Heaven's Key. So without further ado, here is the cover for The Devil You Know...
The Devil You Know will be released on October 25, but it's available for preorder now. 
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<![CDATA[Keeping Up]]>Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:39:30 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/keeping-up
Most of the people in the know tell you to keep your personal life out of your professional website. I'm really not good at that. In fact if you read my blog you know it might be the thing I'm the worst at. Maybe that's okay though. Maybe me being me and putting all of what that is into my books is what makes them special. In the five years I've been publishing what I write I've been dissecting bits and pieces of myself and put them in my books. When someone says write what you know, I think that's partially what they mean. If you've felt it then its fair game to be in there.
In the last five years so much has changed for me and I've experienced so many intense things that letting them spill out onto the page, be it here or in my novels, was survival.  It wasn't something I was always aware I was doing. A defense mechanism that allowed me to survive some of the shitty things I was going through or just a reflection of who I was.
As I look back on the last five years, my writing was a neon sign of the state of my life. When I wrote my first book Blood and Loss, I was a happily? married woman, stay at home mom of two children. Life was less stressful, but not as fulfilling. My main character in that book is Cassandra Myles. Some have said she's too weak. They like their heroines strong and independent. (Actually a lot have said they like their heroin strong and independent, why they feel I need to know about their drug use I'm not sure.)
I see why I wrote her that way and I understand her more now than I did back then. Cass loses her family and her magic all in one week. She's broken. She saw her life unfold in a certain way and when fate walks in and shreds any chance of that happening, how is she supposed to act? 
I feel its a myth that we rise like a phoenix from the ashes. We don't. I didn't when I decided, for my own mental health, that I needed a divorce and all that entailed and all the changes that would mean. I didn't raise my sword and cleave those ties and walk away a warrior princess. Life isn't like that. 
Life is lived in moments and small victories and sometimes giant tragedies and they always happen overlapping each other so we experience life like a tempest tost. Cass makes a lot of mistakes and so did I. She learns from them and so did I. She also shows us that a hurt and damaged person sometimes is blinded by that and they don't fly into the sky breathing fire of vengeance, they crawl around on the ground at first. Feeling their way out of the pain. Gathering the bravery to reach out for help. Grasping any flotsam in the calming sea that will allow them to just breathe. During those respites is when we heal. 
The truth of it though is those brief moments don't last long enough. We fall back down and you scream to whoever will listen I'm doing the best I can. I promise. That is the only thing I can promise right now and the next time when the wind stops blowing and ocean is still, you heal a little more you feel even stronger. You evolve. You take back your power. You are stronger than you were. Cass does this. She starts by allowing others to help her, that isn't weak it's survival. She makes mistakes, she is flawed, but she does change.
Once you stand on your own and you look down at the person you were, you don't recognize them. Of course you don't they are still fresh and raw, they haven't been through the changes you have. They act differently, they move differently.
Two years of my own struggle and the years before they even began in earnest and I am not the same beast who started this journey. The only thing we have in common is we do the best we can. The fear of failure is greater, but the creature I've become is more capable of shouldering that burden.
I'm alone now. That doesn't mean I don't have amazing people in my life, people who helped me survive, who made sure I knew my worth, who told me things I didn't believe about me at the time, but I needed to hear. It means that I can stand on my own. Tomorrow I might fall again, but right this moment I feel like things might be okay. 
Am I my new heroine yet? No not even close. Jael is a warrior. She hunts demons and she stands on her own, because of her pain. She has her flaws, but they are hers and she owns every one. 
The fact that last year I had to write her, that in the middle of starting my fifth Cassandra novel she was screaming to be heard and put on paper doesn't surprise me. She didn't come from fairy tale land, she came from all those things I had to go through. I wrote what I knew and it is a privilege to know her.
Since this is a writing blog maybe I should wrap up this catharsis with some writing news. It will all come together I promise. 
So while I was going on this journey and realizing I needed to get a more reliable source of income (as tiny as it is), my writing has been sporadic. I talked about this in my last blog, but its no less true now. I wanted to have so much more done by now and I hate that I still don't have another Cass novel written. Every time someone asks when the next book will be out I cringe, because it will not be before 2018. I wish it could be, but it can't. Oh that feels good, Confession really is good for the soul, but if you haven't signed up for my newsletter yet then you can receive your very own FREE Cass novella. I did find time to do that and its a Cass/Quintus origin story.
Jael is back or will be by the middle of September. Her cover is done. The almost final draft has been to the editor and then given to my beta readers. They have given me some amazing feedback and I am using it all to make The Devil You Know my best novel yet and I think it is. Once I'm satisfied the manuscript will go back to my editor for a final polish and I hope I can get that all done before the middle of September. 
I've also written a first draft of a novelette that's a prequel to Heaven's Key. A little glimpse into Jael's life before she meets Cain and Cole. That will be free. It will be my way of saying thank-you for being so patient with me. I will polish that up while I start on Blood and Pack the next novel in the Cassandra Myles Witch Series. So things are getting back on track, slowly, but we are moving forward.
I thought it would be hard to go from writing Jael to Cass, but I think this blog has helped me get back into her head and love that sarcastic, sweet witch all over again. Plus I miss Killian and Dominick. Their friendship is something that was a surprise and  I love them too. 
Oh you thought I forgot about the bum pillow didn't you? Well I'm going to the UK for almost 3 weeks. I went last year and it was for me one of those times I got stronger. It was a calm peaceful place, where I got to heal and really relax. I fell in love with the town of Richmond in North Yorkshire so much I set The Devil You Know there. If my life were a novel then this will be my rest before the final battle. I get to spend time with a very special man, someone who I love with all my heart and who has been my flotsam through this whole experience.  
The butt pillow is because after a flight across the ocean, another to Northern England, a train ride and then a short bus ride my ass aches like a bitch. There is a solution for everything and sometimes it's just how you perceive the problem. This time the solution was a blow up pillow that will allow me a little more comfort than a coach airplane seat is capable of. If only all life's problems could be solved with a trip to the store. 
So that's me, my butt pillow, all the news about my writing and maybe, hopeful, soon ... for the first time this century, I'll be single again. 
The next blog will be much more upbeat I promise. The next blog should be my cover reveal for The Devil You Know so stay tuned ...


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<![CDATA[Writer's Guilt]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 13:33:00 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/writers-guilt
Psst over here, yeah you. I have something I need to tell you. I have a huge amount of guilt. I think a lot of writers have this kind of guilt, especially those who have series. I started a second series and while I would never regret starting the Demon Hunter series, because I love Heaven's Key and the soon to be released The Devil You Know, but I feel like I neglected my other series.
People have been asking when is the next Cass going to be released and I can't tell them because I don't know. I am starting a prequel to the series right now. I just wrote the first paragraph. Felt good, but when you come off of finishing an edit it also feels daunting. Blank page vs pages filled with finished material. I want to have it done already so I can get it out to you. 
It's going to be the story of Lena and Cass. We all get criticism when we write. You need to get a tough skin and take it in. Not all of it will be valid, but some of it will and you need to listen to improve. Some of the criticism I received about Blood and Loss is about a character that appeared in the first five chapters. People seemed to love her. I liked her but I didn't expect the reaction I got.
People were mad that she wasn't in the rest of the book. She is Cass' best friend when she's at the school of magical arts. Lena is a good friend to Cass, but Cass has some terrible things happen to her and she decides that everything to do with Halifax, including Lena was just too painful to revisit. 
People were angry that Cass never contacted her again. That she let that friend go. I thought it made sense, but enough people mentioned it that I had to think... were they right? I came to the conclusion that I can see their point of view. That it was a shitty thing for Cass to do, but people aren't perfect and they do shitty things sometimes. 
Even good people can make mistakes and Cass was one of those people. The other thing I learned was she must have struck a chord with people. Lena with her cookie monster blue Mohawk and her piercings and attitude made people like her a lot. 
So I am going to give her and Cass a novella of their own. Show them as friends. Give Lena a voice. I hope you like it and it makes you all forgive me for taking so long to get book 5 out. It's coming too. In the mean time if you are craving some of Cass' sass, then you can always pick up When Love Casts a Shadow for free when you sign up for my newsletter. click here eepurl.com/b7P_zf to get your free novella.
Okay so that's part one of my guilt. The next part is unfinished projects. I've been writing since I was a teenager. I've been publishing for 5 years. I also had an erotic side to my website that I took down, but it had a lot of material in it. My plan was to publish all the erotic short stories, the erotica novella I had on there, an erotic novel I wrote about 15 years ago. A fantasy novel I wrote and finished, but never edited, the novel I wrote with my writing partner and do the Cass prequel, book 5 and then get to book 3 of Demon Hunter. 
I think I need to make all this happen this year. I just need to clone myself. Maybe five clones should do it. I just ask for patience I'm going as fast as I can. 
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<![CDATA[May 01st, 2017]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 14:11:16 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/may-01st-2017
Whenever I finish a book it always makes me want to examine my life. I think it's because each book changes me a little. You pour a lot of yourself into your writing. You work hard and sometimes that hard work doesn't just pay off with a book, but an epiphany. Mine this time was something I already knew, but it shouted at me so I wouldn't forget. It told in a way that I knew I was on the right tract.
I've made a lot of changes in my life, scary changes. I left my husband and we are trying to sell our home. I will move to a new home, to a new life, but the limbo life is the hardest. The seeing a future that is terrifying and new on the horizon, yet still reliving the old life over and over, is a special kind of hell.
I've been wondering if it's because I haven't learned what I need to yet. Have I missed something? When you go through something like this the people who stand by you are special. The people who help you cope are precious, but sometimes that messes with the balance of the relationship. Live in crisis too long and people feel like they know better than you about your own life and they mean well and it's because they love you, but you just end up having someone else telling you what to do.
Sometimes they are totally right and yet you can't explain that you aren't there yet, or to do so might be a step too far. You hate this limbo, but there is a safeness. A familiarity that makes you able to deal with it. You know it isn't good for you, but it's what will keep you sane for the next little while.  All the while you are making progress. Baby steps maybe, but they still move you forward.
Look at me you want to scream. I'm not her anymore as you point the you of a year ago, two years ago. She was brave, but I'm smart. She started this thing, but I carried it forward. Through mud and jungle. I cut myself and fell, but I kept going. You think I stopped too many times, or should have taken another path but I took the path I needed to. 
I learned all the lessons and sometimes I had to learn them more than once, but I did and I am smarter. So I will continue to move forward and do all those things you think I should, I think I should, but it isn't a straight line. I see that now. It's a tangled maze, but I'm making my way. 
So this time, when I finished my book, The Devil You Know, I looked back and I can barely recognize the person who started this book. Change is good and scary. Life is hard, but it gives you rewards, close friends, a wonderful man and two children I would do anything for. The road made many fall to the side, but that is a gift too. Only the steady and true stayed and that earned them my love and loyalty no matter what.
Last night I got out my tarot cards. Hadn't read them in a long time. I picked two cards from the deck. Death and the Devil. It made me smile. Death is change. It's change that is coming whether you want it or not, but it is also a renewal. A cleansing of the old and bringing in the new. The Devil is something that you are bound to. An old habit, a relationship, a drug. It's a false imprisonment though, because all along you had the power to leave. To walk away. To break the chains that held you in place. The Devil whispers that you need him, that without him you will fail.
He lies. He tells you these things because he needs you. His power comes from your power. You give it freely and you can take it back.
The Devil You Know just became so much more meaningful. My intuition is back. I'm back and I'm ready. Look out world here I come. 

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<![CDATA[Ode to my Home]]>Thu, 09 Feb 2017 13:36:48 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/ode-to-my-homePicture
Why do I love it here so much? Why has this magical place allowed me to create 8 novels and hundreds of pounds of fruits and veggies? See for yourself. When I moved here from the city I never thought I could be capable of any of those things. I had never grown more than few tomatoes on the back deck and I had never finished a novel. 
My kids were 4 and 8 when we moved here. Now they are 11 and 15. The schools here are everything you'd want in a school. Teachers who care. Teachers who will go the extra mile. Never a problem with bullying or fights. I can say I love all their friends and all the new friends I've made since moving here. This isn't just a home to me, its a spring board for anything creative I've done since moving here. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and when we bought this place it was winter. We had no idea what a deal we had gotten. What secrets hid under the blanket of snow. What potential was waiting to be unveiled come spring. These were things that were here already. I would eventually clear a large piece of the land to create a garden big enough to more than supply a family of four with fruits and veggies for the year. The first thing we discovered was the enormous perennial garden in the middle of our driveway and strewn all over the property. One year I counted 350 peony flowers. My favorite flower, but just the tip of the iceberg.
Then we took some of the yard and we planted our own garden. Enough to make sure we would always have fruits and veggies for the year. I'm proud of everyone of our harvests.
Along with the hard work of the garden comes one of my favorite times. The harvest is an exciting time. You plant a seed and you hope that all your work will pay off and when it does its so exciting. It even comes with some special friends. 
I don't just love the summer here, although if you like the heat and sun it is an incredible place to be. There is a beautiful lake 2 minutes away. We go swimming there almost everyday during the summer. Now let me introduce you to the fall and winter. Fall is my favorite time to hike our woods and we have 40 acres of woods and trails. The best surprise when we were able to explore the woods was finding the small lake in the back. You can't swim in it it's too shallow but skating and cross country skiing can be done most of the winter.
The neighborhood isn't too shabby either. There is a farm just up the road where we get all our meat. Meeting all the animals and seeing how well they are treated and how good they taste is a privilege. My kids also snowboard all the time because the hill is only 10 minutes away. 
​We have this incredible property for sale not because we want to leave this place, but because sometimes things change and you need to move on we are letting it go. I hope whoever buys it enjoys it as much as we did. Its a place for people who loves the outdoors. My kids are better for growing up here and I hope the magic of this place will rub off on the next family to live here.
If you want to check out the inside of the house take a look here .
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<![CDATA[The Writer and the Course or Will I be Rich this time Next Year]]>Mon, 02 Jan 2017 23:11:20 GMThttp://electagraham.com/electas-blog/the-writer-and-the-course-or-will-i-be-rich-this-time-next-year
This is the first blog of many that detail my journey of trying to increase my sales and make a living doing my favorite thing in the world. Well my second favorite thing. My first go will be doing the course First 10,000 Readers.

Full disclosure. I watched the first video of the course (First 10,000 Readers) way before Christmas and planned to write this blog shortly after, but... blah presents blah cooking turkey blah blah wine and drum roll it's now the second of January. Good news though because I took notes. I love taking notes. I know it's nerdy, but I have always loved that, I can still write this blog with clarity. 
The course is huge.  The course covers everything you will need to take your book from zero to hero and according to the intro video each section is given in a step by step very detailed, even an idiot about these things like me could follow.
For your money you get to join a private facebook page where all students get to comment and ask for help if needed. I have been a part of it for almost a year and it really has helped. Morale and technical support abounds on that page.
You also get the Core Training, broken down into 6 modules, which in turn are broken down again so everything should be easy to follow. I will let you know as things progress. 
Module One 
Ruling the Retailers - this one sounds scary
Module Two
Drive endless traffic - this sounds more like it. I can get behind endless traffic.
Module Three
Convert traffic into subscribers - Who wouldn't love oodles of subscribers. Oodles of people to tell when you have a new release.
Module Four
Engage your audience - That seems important.
Module Five
The ultimate launch template - Yes I need this. If this module helps me with my next launch I will be one happy woman. 
Module Six
facebook - profit on autopilot. My two favorite words. 
Then there are bonus videos such as interviews with 6 very successful authors. Automate your mail chimp, etc etc hey buy the course if you want more info. No wait no follow my journey and then buy it or buy it and do it with me. Oh yes please. Please please. Buy it and do it with me, but let me know you are. If you don't then it's like you didn't even do it. Stay tuned for module one. Oh and the guy who does the videos is British and he has a seriously sexy accent.

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