Guest Author: Nathalie Gray

Nathalie GrayToday, I am excited to welcome Nathalie Gray, author of the fabulous story The Demon’s Secret within the new Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2.

What happens to our secrets when we die? What if they can harvested by denizens of hell, and sold in exchange for
something else? The Demon’s Secret is the quest of a man, cursed for millennia, to regain his soul. Secrets are his ticket out of hell. Too bad another is after the same soul, one who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Follow these two hunters battle it out in the streets of Montreal as they fight demonic spawns, rogue angels, and their attraction for each other.

Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2, plus there’s a sneak peak to The Demon’s Secret.
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I have a fixation. Let me show you it.

No really. Show me a movie or have me read a book, and the first character who usually jumps at me is either the villain, or the anti-hero. For example, we recently rented the DVD series of Lost. Who did I zero in right away? Jack, the good doctor? Nope. Locke, the zen leader? Guess again. Sawyer. Yup, the con man, the liar and selfish jerk. Why? In real life, I’d kick his butt. But in a movie or a book, it’s the first character I notice. Also the first I want to “fix”. Are you like that? You read a book, then the tortured anti-hero comes around and no matter how good and just the main hero is, all I want is more word count about that not-quite-evil, misunderstood guy brooding in the corner. What’s wrong with me?! Is it a woman thing? We need to fix them? They’re sexier because they’re the ones usually wearing the black leather pants? Is it the scowl? The squinty eyes? The aura of doom? We fall in love with “bad boys” (because “bad men” isn’t as sexy, another imponderable) all the time. Men want to be those anti-hero characters with the dark good looks and mysterious past. Women want to… Well, we want to do *things* to these haunted studmuffins.

It’s the same with my own books. I don’t think I ever created a hero who had no issues, who couldn’t be called anti-hero, and who didn’t do a bad thing when the circumstances called for them. In my latest story, The Demon’s Secret, part of The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2, Cain is such an anti-hero. He has a dark, violent past, and was cursed for millennia because of what he did. He kills, he hunts the dying to steal bits of their soul, he works for a demon, and has no soul of his own. Yet, there’s a kernel of good in him. The potential to be a better man, the will and hope that maybe someday he’ll get a break from fate, and escape his curse. Then another soul hunter crashes into his life (and into him, literally). As much as he’s taciturn and brooding, she’s funny and light-hearted, but just as dangerous. Then everything changes for Cain. Suddenly, he gives a damn.

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Impulse PowerMother, spouse, older sister, writer, ex-soldier, high school drop-out, dog owner (or dog owned), half couch potato, half intermittent jogger, wannabe renovator and avid reader who watches too much television, sinks too much money in clothes, likes animals more than humans, recycles, wore braces, never downloads copyrighted stuff, was a nerd without the grades, has a belly laugh that turns heads in theatres, can’t stand bullying, is mother hawk more than mother hen, votes even if candidates aren’t that great and thinks formal education is highly overrated (probably because she has none).

Visit Nat at www.nathaliegray.com or browse her cover artist portfolio at www.kanaxa.com
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Want to purchase Nathalie’s novels?

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Paranormal Romance2Thank you Nathalie for visiting Literary Escapism.

Contest Time! Nathalie has graciously offered to give away a copy of the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2.  All you have to do is answer this one question: Who are some of your favorite anti-heroes?

As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):

  • +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
  • +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
  • +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
  • +10 Purchase any of Nathalie’s novels (listed above) or any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.

There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until November 16th, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer and the List Randomizer.

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Excerpt from The Demon’s Secret

An older woman in a corner booth caught his attention. So he wouldn’t drink alone that night.

Cain slipped into the booth. “Sister.”

“You look like shit,” she said in rapid-fire sign language. The gold cross resting on her mint-green cardigan gleamed when she raised her hand, three fingers extended. “Eat something.”

The bartender came over and set an open bottle of Canadian rye whisky and a pair of thick-bottom tumblers. With a dip of his chin for the woman, he returned to his bar.

The first swallow scorched Cain’s already raw throat all the way down then spread in a nice warm wave in his belly. He inhaled deeply, was about to take another when the bartender returned, this time with a plate of smoked meat sandwich and fries.

Out of habit, Cain thanked the man, remembering too late, as always, that not many would remember him two seconds after talking to him. It’d taken him centuries to get used to it, of not existing except to those he’d rather not, of people looking through him as if he wasn’t there right in front of them. The in-between state had its pluses—especially with gunfights. Ha. Yet the solitude had been crushing at first. Then he’d become accustomed to the shroud that seemed to cover him, used it to his advantage. Those like him who didn’t belong on the mortal plane, who’d had their turn and left, were no longer part of the equation. Like ghosts.

He wondered why the Sister could though. She’d accosted him a few years ago as he walked across a park. It’d been so long since he’d spoken to someone that he’d temporarily forgotten what it felt like for a person to look straight at him. A real, living person. The dying could see him all right. But she hadn’t been dying—and still wasn’t—neither was she a demon, spawn or angel—that he could tell, anyway. Angels had always been sneaky. She must have been a lunatic then. Not that he’d ever tell Sister Evangeline to her face. The woman ran a men’s mission near the old port, and no one willingly messed with her, not even the mayor. The thought made him smile. An old door creaking from disuse.

“I didn’t even know you had them,” Sister Evangeline said. A mocking lift to her mouth rounded her ample cheek.

“Had what?” Cain bit into the sandwich. Juices triggered by the meat and hot mustard forced him to focus on the meal and not the conversation. He wolfed the thing down in four bites.

Teeth. I didn’t know you had teeth. Never saw them.” She stole a fry from his plate.

“It doesn’t bother you he thinks you’re talking to yourself?” Cain nodded in the bartender’s direction. The man seemed oblivious to Evangline’s gestures as he watched a snowy little TV screen set on a soccer game.

“He can think whatever he wants.” Still holding the fry, she managed to sign at the same time. “It’s you I worry about. I swear to God, you look worse every time I see you. Are you sick?”

Cain pushed the plate away. He wasn’t hungry anymore. But he was still thirsty, so he poured them both a second glass.

She grimaced. “Fine, be the mysterious jerk. If you think it makes you look cool, think again, mon garçon.” Only Evangeline would ever call him a boy. He was older than she was, by a few millennia, too. He’d lived through the Great Flood and listened live on the radio as the Hindenburg burned.

He caught her looking down at his chest and realized the butt of his Luger stuck out of his coat. With his elbow, he surreptitiously slipped the holster back a bit. His forearm throbbed like a neglected wound quickly infecting. He had to get to work.

“Remind me again what you do for a living?” Her eyebrows moved as much as her hands when she talked.

He stood, slipped money from his pants pocket and placed it on the table, drained another glass that didn’t burn half as much as the first two. “I never told you what I do for a living, Sister.”

“Do you know your scripture?”

“What makes you think I’m Catholic?”

She smiled. “You wear guilt and shame like a pair of well worn gloves. So, do you?”

“You know what they say about curiosity. ‘But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt’.”

Sister Evangeline’s French-Irish temper came out in explosive hand signals almost too fast to follow. Cain had always thought the sign word for “asshole” was funny as hell. A reversed version of the symbol for “OK”.

Grinning, he left the seething woman to finish the fries.

_____________________________________SparksThank you Laura for visiting Literary Escapism.

Contest Time! Laura has graciously offered to give away three copies of Sparks.  All you have to do is answer this one question: What magical places in the real world have you written or read about? Are there some that inhabit larger amounts of real estate in your head than others, places that are absolutely unforgettable?

As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):

  • +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
  • +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
  • +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
  • +10 Purchase any of Laura’s novels (listed above) or any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.

There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until October 26th, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer and the List Randomizer.

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

12 Comments

  1. that was a most awesome snippet! I love your idea for this story. Too bad it is only a short story. I think I might like to learn a *lot about Cain ;)

    My favorite anti-hero is whoever I am reading at the moment . I do like Trent from The Hallows by Kim Harrison and Ian from J. Frost’s Night Huntress novels then there is all the Blackdagger Brotherhood guys . I can’t pick a favorite!

    http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/sharon.stogner

    2 points for me

  2. I really liked Sawyer on Lost, too, but it was a work in progress, not an immediate thing. I also like Jack Sparrow – I think he’s a perfect example of an anti-hero, especially since you never know, throughout the movie, whose side he’s on or if he’s good or bad. Even by the end of the third movie, you still wonder…But he’s such a charmer and so fun to watch, that you cheer him on, either way!

    Margay

  3. I’ve always had a lot of love for Roy Batty of Bladerunner fame. Sure, he was evil and murderous, but he DID have a really good reason for being so. And the nobility of his mercy at the end of the film? One of the finest moments in the movies, IMO.

    And, of course, I’ve had a long-time crush on Kerr Avon from Blake’s 7. Self-serving, sarcastic and completely untrustworthy. Yum!

    Love the exerpt, love kanaxa’s designs, and I’m off to to follow the site on Facebook.

  4. the first heroes I thought about where those by Anne Stuart – they have their secrest and aren’t nice, helpful or charming, but rather dark and dangerous, but despite everything I can’t get enough of them…

  5. My favorite anti-heroes are Stacia Kane’s Terrible, Jennifer Estep’s Finnegan Lane, and Carrie Vaughn’s Cormac.

    +1 follower on facebook and twitter (@sara_UFblog)

  6. I liked Lilith Saintcrow’s Japh from the Dante Valentine series. He was very mysterious and at times I wasn’t too sure if he was a hero!

    Did I understand the anti-hero part right here? ;)

    Second answer would be Terrible as well! Saw that in the previous posts and agree!

  7. I have join the other ladies in calling out Terrible from Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts as one of my favorite anti-heroes. He’s supposed to be the bad guy — I mean, the guy is an enforcer for a drug lord — and he’s certainly not traditionally handsome, but Terrible is amazing.

    I’m a follower on Twitter (@vampbookclub). (And I’m going to check out more of Nathalie’s books now….)

  8. One of my favourite anti heroes has to be Gully Foyle from Alfred Bester’s The Stars my Destination.

    I liked both him and the book so much I spent almost thirty years trying to find my own copy of the book. Luckily for me my daughter finally found a used copy in time for my birthday this year and gifted it to me :D

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