Inferno Cover Reveal and Teasers!

In just a few weeks, the fourth and final installment of the SKALS series will be done. While I’ll miss the characters and journey dearly, I’m looking forward to starting new projects and seeing what the future will bring. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the messages, love, and support you’ve shared with me. This has been one crazy ride, and I know the path hasn’t always been easy. (I guess that’s my way of apologizing for my sick and twisted imagination. 😉 ) Thanks for toughing it out and sticking with me.  Never, in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined all of the amazing people I would meet. That, for me, has honestly been the BEST part.

Best wishes and much LOVE!~

Adri

InfernoBook

Inferno-Preview

Hardcover Book MockUp

 

 

InfTeaser

Legacy

Inferno Teaser

 

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Edge of Obsession (SKALS #3) Cover Reveal

Sooo….I think it’s time for a little cover reveal and blurb. The 3rd installment in the SKALS Series is almost here!

~ Coming 8-30-2013 ~

~ Coming 8-30-2013 ~

Sebastian Baas is at a crossroads. After a near brush with death left them both reeling, he is determined to rebuild the life he’s created with Taylor. He burns for revenge, but settling that score won’t be easy. Betrayal runs rampant behind the scenes of the lethal SKALS organization. His life was traded for secrets. Greed and ambition have rocked his team to its core and, once that web of deceit starts to unravel, Sebastian is no longer certain where he can turn.

Marx is coming down hard. One by one, his teammates are starting to shatter. Cases run cold and the dreaded reconditioning cells grow full. New threats are emerging and, this time, they are powerful enough to bring SKALS and the men behind it crashing to their knees.

As the pressures at work increase, Sebastian finds himself locked in a bitter struggle—trapped between self and duty, survival or love. No longer able to ride the fine line between the two, he has to make a decision once and for all: lose what’s left of his humanity or find a way to save himself and the people he loves.

Either way, Sebastian and Taylor are about to begin the fight of their life. Take SKALS or leave it: once that decision is made, there is no turning back…

Before I go, I just wanted to say thank you! I feel like I can’t say that enough, or even find a way that’s adequate, but seriously…thank you so much for the comments, love,  and support you’ve been sending my way.  I couldn’t do this with out you! And even if I could, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun!

Rock on and have a fantastic week!

~Much Love~

Adri

Release Day! Bound by Vengeance (SKALS #2)

After weeks of endless stress, revisions, and far too many sleepless nights, the second book in the SKALS series is done! (Hence the reason for my prolonged blog silence.)

BBV-small

I just want to take a quick moment to say thank you. Thank you to anyone who ever bought one of my books. Thank you for reading. Thank you for the reviews, e-mails, or comments you send my way on various forums. It doesn’t get any better than that. Readers truly are the heart and soul of anything a writer does. You make us  feel good, and you let us know what we can do better–or at least strive to achieve next go around.

Rather than bore you with details, I thought I’d share an interview and review from one said reader. It gives some insight into both books and the characters, along with the concept behind SKALS (Special Kill and Leverage Squad) & other things you might not know. She posed some very tough questions! I’d love to say more, but I’m exhausted and drained…but in a totally good way. Totally good.

http://intoxicatingreads.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/debut-blog-review-of-skals-2-bound-by-vengeance-interview-with-the-author-adriana-noir/

~Much love and happy haunting

Adri

Sinister Kisses Release ~ AKA New Year, New Me

At the end of 2012, I realized I needed a change. I was stuck, stalled, my creative mind and spirit dulled. It was time for me to recharge. I think all writers go through this from time to time. As people, we are ever growing, ever changing, and ever learning. Or at least we should be. Rather than sit back on my laurels and whine and bemoan my situation, I took charge–and surrendered all in the same breath. I followed my passion, and from that passion, a new novel was born. I hate to say it, but this is the most fun and  I’ve had writing in years:

Sinister Kisses

After a chance encounter in the woods leaves her shaken and reeling, the last thing Taylor McAvay wanted to do was accept an invitation to dinner. Then again, after seeing what Sebastian Baas was capable of, she felt she had little choice. The guy did just save her life, and the feel of his partner’s assault rifle pressed against her cheek still lingered in her mind.

What she discovers surprises her. Beneath the armor and fatigues, is a smart, attentive, and sophisticated man. Unable to resist, Taylor finds herself drawn in by the Special Agent’s charm. Everything about Sebastian, from his imposing presence to his hypnotic eyes, pulls her under his spell. When a drive by shooting leaves her apartment riddled with bullets, she falls under his command as well—not to mention the shadow of a lethal, underground organization known as SKALS.

Her lover has a dark and dangerous side he tries to keep hidden, but when a series of events sends their lives spiraling out of control, she realizes there is much more to him than meets the eye. His moods can be dizzying—his temper, terrifying. And when she fails to meet his expectations, the discipline she faces is a startling contrast to the pleasure he gives. Whether she wants to leave or not doesn’t matter. Taylor soon learns, when it comes to Sebastian and SKALS, there is no escape.

**DISCLAIMER** This is a dark erotic thriller with a heavy emphasis on plot. It contains elements of Dominance and discipline with dubious consent, psychological conditioning, and mental manipulation. There’s also gunfire, violence, and things that blow up. If any of this offends you, this is not the book for you.

And now a brief Q & A:

 

What the heck? I thought you were a horror or fantasy writer.

If you’ve ever read any of my bios, all I can say is you were warned. *laughs* I love dabbling in a wide variety of genres. I’ve written everything from angsty romance, erotica, horror, to drama. One of my biggest fears about publishing was being boxed in to one area for the rest of my life. While I love horror, sometimes, I need a break. I need to switch gears and recharge. While still dark in many ways, Sinister Kisses explores a different kind of darkness. Plus, it was hella fun to write!

Why not use a different name for the new series?

Simply put, I didn’t want to. I work hard on every single thing I put out there. It’s still the same blood, sweat, and tears going into the book. It’s still the same spirit. It’s still the same brand. (It’s dark. It’s angsty. It’s still about conflicted characters trying to find their way in this world and survive) In short, it’s still me. I’m just exploring and sharing a different aspect of myself. If that alienates anybody, I’m sorry. I truly am. I love you all, but that’s just the way it is. I also like to give my readers credit. They’re smart people. I KNOW they are capable of reading a description and deciding if a particular book would interest them or not.

Why isn’t Sinister Kisses through your previous publisher?

Good question. I have some very valid reasons, but it is not something I will discuss.

What does SKALS stand for?

It’s a standing joke between Mara McBain and I that it does not stand for Spanking Kink And Lots of Sex, though it could! It actually stands for Special Kill And Leverage Squad—a concept that’s revealed more thoroughly as the book progresses. It’s also explored in more depth in the second book, which will be released sometime in May.

And for those of you who have read my work or stumbled across me on the web and are asking “What the heck is wrong with you?” That is a long story and an even longer list of things–but feel free to kick back, grab a drink, and enjoy the ride. 😉

And that, my friends, sums it all up. I hope that you are all doing well and that 2013 is bringing you one step closer to achieving your dreams. Keep banging it out. Keep following that unique inner beat.

~Best wishes always~

Adri

Monolaith

Make them pay. Make them all pay.

The raspy voice carried through the attic, drowning out all other sound. Holly Denton shook her head and covered her ears. Her face contorted into a pained grimace as the whisper echoed around her. Huddled on the dull floorboards, knees drawn to her chin, she rocked among the cobwebs and cardboard boxes. Dust particles swirled in the confined space, dancing through a narrow moonlit beam. They made her nose itch and clung to her damp face.

Fresh tears cleared a path down her grime-covered cheeks when the first screams pierced the silence. Holly jumped at the sound, her shoulders hunching in a defensive cringe. Her teeth sank deep into her lower lip to keep from crying out. If she did, they would find her, and like always, they would blame her for things she didn’t do.

The staff always treated her as if she were a leper, and the children weren’t much better. She always got blamed when something went wrong, or someone got hurt, even when it wasn’t her fault. Sometimes it was, though. Like when Sally Peters fell out of the tree and broke her arm. Holly hadn’t pushed her, but she had wanted her to fall, and deep down, she supposed that was the same thing.

The attic grew hotter, the air stifling. Small beads of sweat formed along the child’s brow. She crouched in the corner and rocked faster. Acrid smoke rose through the floorboards and an ominous amber light flickered below. Terrified, she let the first sob burst free.

Keening wails pierced the night, the noise sharp and unending. She could hear the sound of feet pounding against linoleum, the noise roiling like rolling thunder through the orphanage. Holly’s own fear mounted to unsurpassed heights as she clamped her hands against her ears in a futile effort to make it stop. It didn’t stop though, and the attic gave birth to worse terrors.

The rough, wooden planks grew hot beneath her bare feet, making her toes curl. Pain made her eyes flare. It was then that she noticed the shadowy figure perched on the cedar chest. Her eyes burned, watering from the thick plumes surrounding her. Certain her mind was playing tricks, Holly blinked. Once, twice … but the figure remained.

Dim, yellowed eyes peered back at her through the tainted haze. The creature, no bigger than a six-year old child, sat poised in a gargoyle stance. Sallow grey skin, as thin as parchment, stretched taut over gaunt limbs. It remained motionless, watching and waiting, its serpentine gaze filled with predatory cunning.

Holly screamed, her lungs filling with the noxious cloud crowding the attic. Hitting her hands and knees, the child coughed and wretched in a violent fit. Back bowed, she managed to suck in a few ragged gulps of toxic air. It made her head spin and the dismal gray haze grew thicker.

A quiet rustle carried over the sound of her heart hammering in her ears. Turning her head, she watched in horror as the creature unfurled its wings with a stretch. A delicate spider web of veins ran through the thin flaps of skin, illuminated by the eerie light oozing through the floor. Riveted with unspeakable fear, Holly’s gaze traced the outline of each wiry bone, much thinner and smaller than her own. An animalistic whimper tore from her throat. In a desperate bid for comfort, her fingers sought the familiar circle of the pendant dangling from her neck.

Her grandmother had given her the jewel on her seventh birthday, along with a warning that made Holly’s inside quiver like jell-o. “This will protect you against the Monolaith, child. Wear it and keep it safe. He watches you and waits for the day he can make you his.”

Mother! I will not have you filling my daughter’s head with such filth!”

“It’s not filth, Doreen; it’s true! This thing has haunted our family for generations. You know it and I know it.” Her grandmother’s voice dropped to a low whisper, one not meant for Holly’s straining ears. “It wants your daughter, Doreen. She’s the chosen one, the one born beneath the ninth moon.”

Holly shook herself free of the memories and took a step back.

The beast settled back on its haunches, its wings flattening against its emaciated body. Thin lips pulled back in a chilling spectacle of a smile to reveal unending rows of jagged teeth. Holly reared back and pressed deeper into the corner. Strangled noises worked their way from her throat, a mixture of pain and helplessness as the planks underfoot grew hotter.

Only I can save you now, child.

Startled, Holly searched for the source of the voice. It sounded from everywhere and nowhere all at once. The figure regarded her with a knowing gaze, its eyes unblinking. It dismounted from its perch, its feet hitting the floor with a soft thud.

Her grip on the necklace tightened.

It is like before, yes?

Dim recollection settled over her, diluted memories of past nightmares . . . of the shadowy form soaring alongside the car the night her parents died. She remembered watching it with an odd mixture of wonderment and fear, her head craning at a painful angle when it eventually looped out of view. Mere seconds after it had disappeared from her sight, the tires screeched, her parents screamed and, as the car rolled, her world shattered.

For the first time in months, she recalled the grated whispers that had sounded against her ear as something pulled her from the gnarled metal prison of the car. Broken glass and blood surrounded her like macabre jewels, fractured reflections of diamonds and rubies. The pain was unbearable and her terror immense as she lay there, screaming in anguish for her mother or her father. They lay immobile, not breathing, not speaking, blind to her suffering as Holly plead for help.

That was when the cool, leathery fingers curled around her arms. Something whispered against her ear, its breath reeking of damp earth and mildew: Embrace me, Holly. Accept me and I will save you, for I am yours, and you are mine.

Scared, wounded, and alone, she had.

Unable to draw any oxygen from the oppressive air, Holly’s head started to spin. Sirens sounded in the distance, a faint chorus above the screams and sobs echoing from every direction. The orphanage shuddered; the attic pitched and swayed. Everything started to fade into an enveloping black haze.

I am your fate. I am your destiny. Come, embrace me. No time remains.

Common sense warred with the instinct for survival. A long moment passed before Holly managed a weak but acquiescent nod. Her blonde head bowed in an attempt to avoid making further eye contact with the creature. She heard the rustling though as it neared, a sound like burnt paper being crumpled into the wind. She smelled the sickening sweet stench of her own roasting flesh mingle with its fetid breath. Pain and fear enveloped her … and then, Holly felt no more.

~ † † † ~ † † † ~ 

Blinding white lights and a symphony of beeping machines greeted Holly upon waking. She squinted against the invasive glare, her face wrinkling from the harsh antiseptic odor permeating the room. Long, clear tubes dangled from a metal stand. They wormed needles under her skin and crept up her nose to release a cool stream of air. Soothed by her ability to breathe and the lack of pain, she let her cheek settle against the crisp pillow and closed her eyes. Once again, the creature had kept its word.

She stirred sometime the next day, disturbed by the zipping sound of opening blinds. Dazed, Holly propped herself up on one elbow and shielded her eyes from the sun with the other.

“Good morning, sunshine. I’m glad to see you are awake. There for a moment, I almost lost you.”

The soothing voice washed over her, striking chords of familiarity she could not place. Smiling, Holly greeted the handsome man with raven curls. She stared unabashed into his pale green eyes, mesmerized by their hypnotic pull. He broke the spell with a disarming smile and crossed the room in long strides.

“Who are you?”

“No one of importance, Holly. At least not yet.”

Confused, she dropped back against the pillow. “How do you know my name?”

She closed her eyes, her head pressing into his touch as he ruffled her hair. The orphanage, the fire, it all felt like a bad dream. She had some recollection of huddling near the lower stairwell, hazy beams sweeping through the darkness, shouting, and the feeling of strong arms carrying her to safety.

Holly’s cobalt gaze studied the stranger, searching for any features that might trigger her memory. “Are you the one who saved me from the fire?”

“All in good time, sweet child.” He lifted her hand in his and his fingers pressed something cold against her open palm. “I believe you lost this.”

She stared at the pendant, a flood of gratitude surging through her. Her fingertips traced a reverent path over the knots surrounding the polished circle of agate. The precious heirloom was the only thing besides blurred memories that Holly had left of her parents and family. Tears welled in her eyes and she clutched the necklace tight in her fist.

“Thank you, sir.”

“You’re quite welcome, my dear. Now, you need to get some rest.” He seemed to sense her sorrow, for his lips pulled into an empathetic smile. “Don’t worry, angel. We’ll see each other again.”

Holly’s golden brow furrowed. “How can you be sure?”

His hands spread in an opening gesture. Eyes as hard and cool as granite remained riveted to the necklace in her hands. “Fate. I’m a strong believer in destiny, Holly. When the time is right, we shall meet again.”

He turned and headed for the door. Not wanting to be alone, she couldn’t resist one more question. “How will I know how to find you if I don’t even know your name?”

The man paused. “You know all you need to know, Holly. My name is not important.”

His voice became a raspy whisper. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled and stood on end as his head craned with slow deliberation. He smiled at her, revealing rows of jagged teeth.

“I am the Monolaith. I am the eternal nightmare from which you cannot awake. We are together as one. I am your fate. I am your destiny.”

The chilling mantra crashed into her, jarring her from the false security of her world. Somewhere in the distance, emergency alarms sounded. There in the room, Holly heard the faint rustle associated with death and destruction. The Monolaith had come again, determined to claim his captive bride. He would never stop, and as her grandmother warned, she would never be free. Fear cinched Holly’s heart into a knot. The Monolaith pressed closer. Its cracked lips stretched into a feral grin. She smelled the creature’s putrid stench, felt its searing breath roll across her skin . . . and screamed.

WC~ 1868
                                      © Copyright 2010 Adriana Noir

Editors: Satan or Savior?

Some of you may have noticed I’m not haunting my usual stomping grounds as much as I used to. The reason for that is simple. I’ve been up to my ears in editing!

Editors are always a hot topic among writers. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen or heard someone complain, I’d be sitting pretty by now on millionaire’s row. We’ve all heard the long list of gripes ranging from “they don’t get my story” to “they nitpick every little thing.” You hear horror stories about these people, and somewhere in the back of your mind the fear starts to grow. You wonder what sort of monsters wait lurking around the bend. Images of hideous beasts with hooked talons for fingers start cropping up left and right. Then…the day comes when you learn your story is going to be passed along to…*gasp*…an editor.

*cue creepy music*

The nightmares start, lingering well into the daylight hours. You toss and turn, wondering how your precious baby will fare at the hands of such a murderous stranger. You cringe, thinking about the blood bath certain to follow. Days pass. You lose weight, hair, and any quick glimpse in a mirror makes you wonder if perhaps you suddenly aren’t half raccoon.

These are all the things I’d expected. The day my publisher called to tell me my edits were waiting in my inbox, I almost got sick. I’d just finished eating dinner, and I was certain that spaghetti was going to come back up as I clicked the link with trembling hands. I shook like a junky going through major withdraws.

Then, a funny thing happened. I started reading through the long list of comments. After a minute, some of the tension started to ebb. Eventually I sagged with open relief. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected!

Don’t get me wrong. My book was not perfect. Far from. But, my editor posed a lot of questions. She made me think even more about the how and why behind the story. She pointed out things that I thought were clear as I was writing…but in hindsight, to readers, perhaps not so much. Not to mention a few things that made me burst into a fit of laughter.

Example: “Such a pretty girl,” it leered, the words spoken backwards in a guttural nuance.

The depraved growl made my blood run cold. As if to prove its point, the dresser swung out from the wall and crashed against my legs, pinning me as Ava’s shirt crept higher. A red wheal erupted across her abdomen.

My editor’s comment: “It’s proving Ava is pretty by hurling dressers at Seir?”

Oops! LOL See what I mean? I knew what I was trying to convey here, but THAT was NOT it! Maybe it would have made sense to a lot of readers, as is. But, I am guessing the vast majority (especially you more analytical and writerly types) would have been scratching their heads and laughing at my blunder. *blush*

Good call, editor! Good call.

Reading through the list of edits, I realized certain things. I have a strong tendency to cling to certain words or phrases. Lyrical beauty only goes so far when if you are beating people over the head with the same thing over and over again! There were places where the whys and hows of my mythos were not explained enough. There were places where my prose became a little too purple. Thankfully, I only had an occasional missing word or typo. Truth be told, I still felt bad…but not for me. For my poor editor who had to point out every single last one of these flaws. Flaws that I thought I’d buffered out over the course of two revisions. Boy was I wrong!

And damn am I glad I didn’t decide to go at this on my own. (I obviously didn’t know as much as I thought I did!)

A lot of editors get a bad rep. Maybe some of them earn that badge. I really don’t know. I can only speak from my own personal experience here, but I love mine. Tanya was efficient and nothing if not thorough. Though there were a lot of comments or questions…they all made sense. I knew halfway through, this was going to make a HUGE difference in my story. One that I would be proud of once all the extra hours of work were done. (Dear God, do I wish they were done!)

In fact, I called my publisher the next day, gushed over my editor like a giddy schoolgirl, and practically begged for the same person to do my sequel once it’s done. You cannot imagine my relief when she laughed and told me “that was the plan.”

I’ve heard of others who were not so fortunate, and left feeling resentful after their experience. I recently read a blog where an author was stunned that her editor wanted a pivotal part of her story removed. I have a friend who relies on his editor to weed through, as he puts it, his “endless pages of shit” (which really, reading his work, I find it hard to believe he produces anything of the sort…) But maybe that is the point. Perhaps his editor is just really good at their job. And maybe he is really good at his, right down to being able to set his ego aside when all is said and done and go with the flow.

I’m new to this whole publishing an entire book thing. The experience is vastly different from the ones I’ve had with my short stories. (Maybe I just have that arena a bit more down pat.) But it is not one I would change for anything. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and thus had a chance to grow. I can see both weaknesses and strengths, thanks to the time and effort a stranger has poured into my work.

That, to me, is priceless.

So what are your thoughts on editors? Have your experiences been good or bad? Are editors Satan or Savior when it comes to you and your writing?

I, for one, wouldn’t dare brave this world without one!

~Best wishes and happy haunting!~

Falling Stars…

For this edition of telling it like it is Tuesday, I’m sitting on my front porch, watching the dark clouds and rain roll in. Listening to the wind rustle the trees, I can’t help but think of the winds of change sweeping across other aspects of my life as well. This month has been a rollercoaster ride. It’s charging ahead full speed and showing no signs of slowing down.

I can’t say I’ve always dreamed of being published. When I was little, I was haunted by dark, repetitive dreams. I think they skewered my desires. I can still remember the feeling of roaming through those darkened tunnels, looking at the shrouded figures hanging overhead. I sensed danger, yes, but there was a stronger sense of being home. Strange, eh?

So instead of dreaming about publishing, as many writers claim they did from the time they could talk, I had a more twisted vision of the future. I wasn’t a frilly child who yearned to be a princess or a magical fairy. I wanted to be something as dark and beautiful as the sleeping shadows in my dreams. Sure, I went through the phase of thinking it would be nice to be a teacher or a marine biologist. I even went through a phase where I wanted to play with Shamu. (I kind of still do.) But, it wasn’t until I was “published” in school that something started to tick. (Back then, it was still a distant, muffled noise.)

As a teen, I read . . . a LOT. I’d devour anything I could get my hands on. From my mom’s old bodice rippers (damn, I miss those things!) to Stephen King, nothing was off limits. Then something happened. I started to think. I started branching off into my own plots and immersing my mind in the worlds I created. I discovered fantasies.

I can honestly say, it wasn’t until I was twenty that the idea of being a writer truly stuck. By then, I couldn’t pull myself away from the places and characters now crowding my head. It was an escape, a way to experience anything I wanted . . . be anywhere I wanted, and all of this was just a few pen strokes away.

Yes, I started out writing everything longhand and still have the bump to prove it.

My first computer was a blessing. I could edit, polish, and revise without having to scrap and rewrite entire pieces of paper. Long story short, I was in love. But . . . I still had a long way to go. I spent eight long years learning the ins and outs, formulating my own voice and style, and taking in every bit of advice that I could. Some of it hurt. Some of it stung, and something left me just plain frustrated. Despite it all, I didn’t give up.

In 2009, I was published. The whole thing was really surreal. You always hear how an editor won’t come knocking on your door. They won’t find you, but that is exactly what happened. One stumbled across my story on Writing.com and asked for permission to use it. I can’t explain the high, but damn was I hooked.

A few more followed, along with various wins and awards along the way. Still, I was hungry for more. I was no longer content to just see my name listed alongside others. I wanted my own spot. My own line. I wanted to simply be ME.

I started and stopped numerous projects until Requiem was born. In the summer of 2010, Seir surged to life. He was a demanding, insistent muse, unlike any other I’d ever encountered. At the time, the whole concept of fallen angels and demons had not yet started to clobber the mainstream. Vampires reigned supreme (mostly those of the sparkling and kind variety *wince*)

Ours was a beautiful relationship from the start. Given my own fondness for things dark and cruel, I couldn’t help but fall in love with his biting sarcasm and, at times, dour outlook of the world. We worked well. We played well, and within a year, Requiem was done.

I’m waiting to get the edits back from my editor, and I can’t wait to unleash him upon the world. I think my beloved muse is unlike anything it’s ever seen.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy a brief glimpse into his mind and what makes him tick here on Pen of the Damned. http://penofthedamned.com/

It’s been a long and arduous journey, but my dreams are coming true . . . and soon, very soon, I’ll find myself exactly where I want to be.

~Best wishes and happy haunting~

Adriana