With everything going on in the world right now, from school shootings to the blatant rejection of social and scientific progress by a particular political party, as a Romance author I believe now more than ever love is something we desperately need to cling to.
I wrote Taken by the Dragon God for a plethora of reasons, the most important being to celebrate cultural differences and explore characters of color in ways we don’t typically get to see them. American media paints both Black women and Asian men in not so positive ways. From negative stereotypes, body-shaming and flat out racism; we need diversity in character types just as much as the characters themselves. Taken challenges racial stereotypes in the most thrilling way, making the characters human first and POC second.
Taken by the Dragon God is the first in the Dragon God series and follows a Nigerian Historian and archaeologist Risa Vance as she and her team travel rural China in search of the remains of an ancient Tang Dynasty princess. When she survives a car crash that is fatal for her colleagues, Risa is left to fend for herself. But, little does she know, a sip from an midnight Well will be her saving grace.
Xiao is capable and strong, but the laws that govern his kind are precise in what they expect from him. He is expected to claim a Mate, a human woman who survives the fire from the Black well, or he will lose his kingdom to his power-hungry sister forever. He may not have all the time in the world to woo his potential Mate, but he is a fearsome lover and protector of anyone he calls his own.
These characters are meant to be more than just fillers to meet some racial quota. They are real. They are whole. They are people who live, learn, love, make mistakes and most importantly remain true to themselves in the face of any adversity. This project is one that is dear to my heart and to my cause as an author of color dedicated to bringing you authenticity, diversity, and most of all love.
I look forward to your feedback!
If you want to check out the first book in the Dragon God series, check it out exclusively on Amazon.
On a quiet residential street in this small town sits an old white frame house. On a dark evening, the absence of lights and sounds are the first indication to visitors that this house is different from the other homes that surround it. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice her doors and windows are tightly closed and covered. An outhouse in the backyard suggests that this house does not occupy a place in the 21st century but somehow belongs in another era or another story. A weather-beaten sign warns rather than welcomes. This is the “Murder House”.
The Villisca axe murders occurred between the evening of June 9, 1912, and early morning of June 10, 1912, in the town of Villisca in southwestern Iowa. The six members of the Moore family and two house guests were found bludgeoned in the Moore residence. All eight victims, including six children, had severe head wounds from an axe. A lengthy investigation yielded several suspects, one of whom was tried twice. The first trial ended in a hung jury and the second in an acquittal. The crime remains unsolved.
If you haven’t gotten your hands on Genesis: The Awakening yet I highly recommend you stop what you’re doing (yes, that includes reading this blog post) and snatch that thing up!
For those of you who have read Genesis, you’ll know that the Villisca Axe Murder house in Villisca Iowa is central to the plot of the story. A murderer is on the loose in the small collegiate town where our heroes Victoria Bouchard and Grim Reaper Kaizer Dresden reside, and if Kaizer doesn’t move quickly to eliminate the threat, the powerful immortals who cursed him to live on earth will be beating down his door looking for answers.
Despite all the interference from Archdemons and nosy siblings, Kaizer and Victoria are eventually led back to the Axe Murder house where a demon has set up camp, using the souls of the damned victims as bait. As they leap through a portal into the nightmarish realm the demon calls home, our genius heroine speculates that perhaps the original axe weilder was really a servant of the devil all along.
If you don’t know much about the axe murders, here are FIVE secret facts that they won’t tell you in history books.
5: Villisca (Wallisca) is a Native American word which means “evil spirit.”
According to “The Dictionary of Iowa Place Names” Villisca got its name from the Sac and Fox Indian word “waliska,” meaning evil spirit. White settlers of the region mistook the name for meaning “Beautiful View” or “Pretty Place”. When they discovered their mistake, they were quick to cover it up. But there’s no doubt the name left a dark stain on the town, mostly due to the brutal murders that followed.
4: The main suspect was a Reverend.
The Rev. Lyn George Jacklin Kelly, the only man tried for the eight Villisca axe murders of 1912 and a preacher with a well-documented reputation for deviant sexual behavior, served as minister at the Carroll Presbyterian Church for nearly a year following the internationally notorious slayings, as southern Iowa officials
focused on other suspects.
To be sure, the nearly century-old still-unsolved southern Iowa murder spree is one of the creepiest, compelling episodes in the history of the state, and the fact that more Iowans, particularly in the western part of the state, don’t know about this case is evidence of a breakdown in the teaching of Iowa history.
3: The murder weapon is on display.
You can view the head of the actual axe used in the murders if you visit the Axe Murder house in Iowa today. You can also book investigations and overnight stays at the house, for a fee…if you’re brave enough.
2: There were neighbors sleeping next door when the Moores and Stillengers were killed.
Mary Peckham, the Moores’ neighbor, became concerned after she noticed that the Moore family had not come out to do their morning chores. Peckham knocked on the Moores’ door. When nobody answered, she tried to open the door and discovered that it was locked. Peckham let the Moores’ chickens out and called Ross Moore, Josiah Moore’s brother. Like Peckham, Moore received no response when he knocked on the door and shouted. He unlocked the front door with his copy of the house key. While Peckham stood on the porch, Moore went into the parlor and opened the guest bedroom door, where he found Ina and Lena Stillinger’s bodies on the bed. Moore immediately told Peckham to call Hank Horton, Villisca’s primary peace officer who arrived shortly thereafter. Horton’s search of the house revealed that the entire Moore family and the two Stillinger girls had been bludgeoned to death. The murder weapon, an axe belonging to Josiah, was found in the guest room where the Stillinger sisters were found.
Mary slept peacefully in her bed the night before. Most historian’s find this often overlooked fact extremely strange. In the quiet early 1900’s, it’d be almost impossible to not hear a single sound when eight people are being brutally murdered.
1: Reverend Kelly confessed to the crimes but was not indicted.
One major reason students of the case today and prosecutors in 1917, including then Attorney General Horace Havner, believed Kelly to be the killer is an obvious one: He confessed to the crimes in a signed statement, saying God called him from the Villisca preacher’s house to commit the murders.
“I was lying in bed at the home of Reverend Ewing on the night of the murders and heard a voice say, `Rise, Peter, slay and eat,’” Kelly told investigators, according to Marshall’s book.
In his confession Kelly also would say: “I thought I was the grandson of God. I am ready to do it again.”
At one point Kelly told his interrogators, according to court documents, that “I killed the children upstairs first and the children downstairs last. I knew God wanted me to do it this way. `Slay utterly’ came to my mind, and I picked up the axe, went into the house and killed them.”
What do YOU think happened all those years ago? Let me know your theories! And don’t forget, you can read my take on the Villisca Axe Murder’s in Genesis: The Awakening!
I have a secret to confess. I’ve been working on a project for about six months now, steadily hacking away at it in secrecy. But, no more! I’m ready to share Winterborn with you in all its greatness and imperfection!
Winterborn was a project I started as a way to get back to my Paranormal Romance roots, so to speak. Growing up, I was enamored with Vampires, Werewolves, and Witches, the quintessential staple of Paranormal and fantasy literature. It’s been years since I’ve written about any of them and I thought it was high time that I featured them in my work. Thus, a dinky little five-thousand-word short story was birthed and promptly forgotten about. That is, until I realized the little nagging feeling I felt at the back of my brain wasn’t going to go away until I stared my characters in the face and said: “Okay, the hell do you want from me?”
Enter Winterborn’s main characters, Edna, Byron, and Seth. Old school names for an old school story and a plot rife with elements I haven’t touched for years. This blog post will serve as an introduction to the characters and plotline of a story that is not yet completed but is quickly cementing itself as one of my favorite books not yet written.
Edna Deveaux Ersland:
The great granddaughter of Evelyn Deveaux, a Haitian Mambo (Voodoo
priestess) who brought black magic to the French Creole after migrating from Haiti in the midst of the Haitian-French Revolution and slave uprising started by Toussaint Louverture. She is the subject of a “Final Destination” style generational curse that’s actively trying to kill her. Head over heels for Byron Lee since they were kids, she’s dedicated to keeping the newly transformed wolf out of trouble, even when he’s more of a danger to himself than anyone else. Edna, although an adult at twenty-three, is a classic teenager dying to escape from a controlling parent. Having no real concept of time and being an Ancient, Seth quite literally treats her like a child, which is almost entirely to blame for her rebellion and her constant need to test the boundaries of their parent-child relationship. Part of her wants to see how far she can push the Vampire, the rest of her enjoys the danger it brings because she knows without a doubt that he would A, never hurt her, and B, he’ll always be there to have her back.
In a Nutshell: Edna is an extraordinarily powerful young woman in love with a man both her controlling father-figure and the world want dead. Having the power to keep him alive isn’t the issue, it’s fighting off her own demons that will determine their survival.
Byron Lee Wallace:
Byron is the literal boy next door. He grew up in Warwick Rhode Island beside the Ersland Manor and moved back recently after his alcoholic father was murdered by Ioan Sharks. This move comes years after the drunken brute beat
his sickly mother to death. Because of his hard, strictly religious, upbringing, Byron has always longed for a normal life (white picket fence, the whole nine yards), a prospect that was stolen from him permanently when he was attacked, bitten, and subsequently transformed into a Lycan. He was found one night by his childhood friend and crush Edna, clinging to the shreds of his humanity after accidentally mauling a young woman to death, and she’s been taking care of him ever since. He openly returns the witch’s feelings but, after several mishaps where he’s accidentally scratched and even bitten her, he tries to keep his distance. Much to her dismay. Byron lives in a perpetual whirlwind of guilt, self-pity, and self-deprecation because he blames himself not only for the woman he killed the night of his transformation but for the murders and missing persons cropping up all over town. He still has a very human mindset and has not yet completely transitioned into the realm of the supernatural. Where death, missing persons, and magic are an everyday occurrence for everyone else, he still sees things through the eyes (and morals) of a mortal. He’s a welpling, a literal puppy who’s still in the midst of learning to control his transformations and will be forced to grow up very, very soon.
In a Nutshell: Byron takes being a good person to an entirely new level, but he’s soon to realize that being a good guy and staying alive doesn’t always fall in line. Watch him grow into a formidable force as he realizes that protecting his mate means more to him than his father’s religon ever could.
Seth is a very old Vampire. So old that his personal history is lost to antiquity. (Okay, let’s cut the crap, Seth is Dracula. Literally, the OG Vampire himself. But that’s just between you and me.) Rumor has it, he met Evelyn during the French Revolution and aided her escape to the American South. No one really knows the relationship they shared, but Seth took it upon himself to watch her cursed
family after her unfortunate passing. Some suspect that the two were lovers and her dealings in black magic allowed her to give birth to Seth’s children, thus creating the curse that has now all but wiped them out. The master Vampire has lovingly admitted to having been reduced to a “Housewife with fangs” and it is noted by Lenora Bulwer (a Huntress and agent of the Vatican) that bringing him out of “retirement” would be extremely bad for anyone who crossed his path. Lenora hints at his power and at the fact that he was born Vlad Dracul, the former ruler of Wallachia in what is now modern day Romania. Why he abandoned his life after his suspected death in 1476 is up for debate and is purely speculation. After Edna returns home covered in unexplained cuts and bruises he discovers her illicit relationship with Byron and contracts Lenora into hunting and killing the wolf. He is extremely protective over the last of Evelyn’s brood (and possibly the last of his living bloodline) and will stop at nothing to keep Edna alive. He also could or could not be responsible for all the disappearances in Rhode Island and has a fondness for burning beautiful houses to the ground.
In a Nutshell: Seth is daddy, by all meanings of the word, and someone you’ll want to keep your eye on. He loves his child, takes care of all who are indentured to him, and rains merciless hell on anyone who even thinks to abuse those he loves.
Stay tuned for more about Winterborn, including more character introductions, the Antagonists, Supporting Cast, and MUCH much more!
Cursed with enhanced mental abilities and consistently degrading eyesight, VICTORIA BOUCHARD is a walking medical phenomenon most talented neuroscientists could never hope to unravel. As she struggles to cope with the news of her impending blindness, she learns of a deranged serial killer deemed by the FBI as the ‘Ghoul Butcher’ who’s rapidly making his way towards her humble University in the heart of Rural Iowa.
With police on a manhunt and the locals in a frenzy, her visual health is suddenly the least of her worries. On the other hand, her lover and best friend KAIZER DRESDENis determined to keep his distance from the case as it unfolds.
As a Grim Reaper, stripped of his powers and exiled from his home world to serve out a three hundred year sentence on Earth; he knows he would be the prime suspect in the eyes of the immortals who banished him. But with the seemingly unstoppable Ghoul cutting a swath right for them, he and Victoria have no choice but to take matters into their own hands and investigate the murders in order to protect his new found home.
Genesis: The Awakening is a fantasy epic, over fourhundred pages of action, romance, and a kickass heroine who flourishes in the face of adversity. Diverse and multicultural, Genesis breaks stereotypes and casts a unique light on the fantasy genre.
What advanced readers are saying:
“…one of the best I’ve ever read. Couldn’t put it down.”–Lindsay S.
“…a story that will stay with you a long time. The characters have purpose and by the time you get into the thick of it, you have a purpose too. You have to see the battle to the end.”–Jerrica A.
“…a terrifyingly immersive experience. I have never screamed at a book like characters in a movie before.”–Brook J.
“…there’s finally a heroine that looks like me and the entire story isn’t just a written kung-fu flick.”–Soo Young K.
Coming this Christmas season to all major platforms AND print!
Most of you probably know that I’m hard at work making the sequel to Bad Grades happen. Bad Intentions is barely five chapters in and it’s already shaping up to be one of my favorite stories I’ve written this year.
In the wake of Claire and Daniel’s story, Jung In is off to Syracuse New York to investigate Paragon Genetic Solutions and potentially free the psychics he met during his ten-year captivity. Disguising himself as Henri Kang, med student from Korea, he goes undercover as a Neurology student and enters a residency program at a hospital co-owned by Dr. Edward Chang himself. It’s at this hospital that he meets Neurologist Alice Morgan, a beautiful, curvy, doctor with more confidence and attitude than the law should allow.
With her backstory still being developed at this point only two things are clear; she’s more than likely an incredibly powerful psychic, and she absolutely cannot stand Jung In. Having been hurt before she’s pretty mean on purpose, both due to the fact that she doesn’t want to do the residency and she wants to keep her heart protected just in case she starts to fall in love, but the genius Jung In has already recognized that and is using it against her. He knows that, the more he catches her off guard with his flirting, the closer he can get to her. Now, he’s extremely attracted to her and has already confessed that to himself AND to Daniel, but he also knows that getting close to her could mean finding the information he needs to free those psychics. Which is still his goal, despite having a perpetual hardon for Dr. Morgan.
It’s interesting watching this story and its characters develop, especially the budding romance between the emotionally stunted Jung In and the emotionally reclusive Alice. She has her fair share of past trauma, but it’s nothing compared to the torture he faced while living as Chang’s personal psychic slave. The more I listen to them banter, the more I feel like I’m watching an old school Tekken or Mortal Kombat match. Either fight or kiss each other already!
And of course I didn’t have this problem with Daniel and Claire because it was clear from the jump that Daniel would stop at NOTHING to have Claire by his side. He knew he was in love with her before I did! And I created them!
If you haven’t read Bad Grades yet, I implore you to do so. You really won’t want to miss all the action and romance that led up to Jung In being freed and him finally getting his own chance at happiness. I’m so stoked that I chose him to be the focal point of Bad Intentions. I mean, Daniel can’t have all the fun, can he?
Grab Bad Grades on Amazon and jump into this story! At the price of just 99cents, what do you have to lose?
There he was, again, unable to keep his eyes off of her. And, although part of him knew that it made her uncomfortable, he couldn’t bring himself to stop. Dark brown eyes met his briefly before she turned her gaze on the rest of the room, trying her best to ignore him and failing horribly. But, she’d looked at him. He’d held her attention for more than a second, and the thought of it alone made him feel like he was floating.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” Professor Lanh said, quoting Aristotle as she leaned against her heavy, oak wood desk. She was in the middle of yet another lecture that, despite his rapidly decreasing grade point average, he couldn’t bring himself to pay attention to. Was it his fault that he was much more interested in the woman herself? In the thick, wild curls she wore barely contained in a bun at the base of her neck? In the rise of her full bosom and the curve of her hips? The fact that she’d called his flirting pitiful still stung, but he could understand why she’d lash out at him in the way she did. He’d been nothing but a butthead since the term started. He deserved her ire but, dammit, he couldn’t get her off of his mind. It wasn’t often that he felt attracted to someone physically and mentally. Sure, there were plenty of women his age on campus who would gladly return his advances, but there was something about Professor Claire Lanh that made his chest tighten and his lungs seize. And he was desperate to find out exactly what.
Thickly rimmed, black-framed glasses sat on the end of her button nose, a dark contrast against the dusky red that colored her golden, freckled cheeks. Obviously of mixed heritage, she was a rare beauty that hid her natural charm behind a brick wall of disinterest and feigned bitterness. Daniel sat forward in his seat to get a better look at her, his brain unable to register the words she spoke, but picking up every subtle move of her fingertips, every bat of her long, dark lashes. Dressed in a baggy, beige sweater, knee-length skirt, and oxfords, she looked every bit as boring and pretentious as she pretended to be. He found it odd that such an obviously sensual woman did everything she could to hide her body from his gaze. And gaze he did. As often as possible.
“Which means, what?” someone asked from behind him, pulling him out of his thoughts. He reached for the textbook he hadn’t opened the entire length of class, absently thumbing through it to hide the fact that he really wasn’t paying attention. He’d almost forgotten they weren’t alone, that forty other students surrounded them in distraction and interference. The Professor shifted with unease, adjusting her glasses more out of habit than necessity.
“Which means that absolutely none of you should be failing my class. Philosophy is the study of the nature of knowledge, reality, and existence. It isn’t a math course, there is no one set way to do things; philosophy is discussion and thought. It’s the reasoning behind everything we say or do. So long as you just keep talking about it, studying it should be a habit and you should all excel,” she explained. The class groaned and he smirked behind his book. He’d never met someone so passionate about teaching, especially something as boring as philosophy, but every word she spoke on the topic was as if it would be her last. He wished for what felt like the hundredth time that he could delve into her mind, pick up her thoughts and devour all the thoughts and intricacies that made her unique. But he couldn’t. And that was what made her so infinitely fascinating.
“Or, it just means this class is fucking stu–!”
“–pendous,” Daniel cut him off, turning in his seat to stare up at him. If he remembered correctly, his name was Jarred something-or-other. They shared a criminal law class. “Just like our Professor here. That’s what you were going to say, right?”
“Whatever, Daniel, you do this shit every day and get a kick out of it,” he snorted. Daniel returned his playful look with a smile, watching his eyes flicker like dead pixels before fizzling out. The color drained from the man’s face when they locked gazes, his mouth going slack as gibberish bubbled forth.
“You were saying?” he asked. Jarred shook his head to clear it. He didn’t speak again, just gathered up his things and bolted for the door. Daniel turned in his seat to smirk at the Professor who looked just as confused as the rest of her class.
“Well,” she cleared her throat, “I guess I should let the rest of you go, too. It is getting rather late.”
“About freaking time,” someone grumbled from the back of the room. His classmates gathered their things and bolted from the room like rats freed from a cage. Daniel stayed behind, once again, watching her gather a stack of papers and head through a side door into her office. He grabbed his bag and followed.
“I enjoyed your lecture today, Professor,” he said once they were alone.
“Is that so?” she asked, stuffing her papers into an oversized canvas bag before turning to face him. “Forgive me if I don’t believe you. Now, I have some things to finish up so perhaps–”
“Oh, I’m not going anywhere,” he said, smirking to himself when she glared up at him. “I spoke to Professor Cole again. She explained just how deep you are in the hole and urged me to help you with whatever I can. I know I’m not the best at philosophy but, I’m sure we can work something out in exchange for a passing grade. I’d even take a C minus if it means I’ll pass,” he told her. The Professor continued to glare up at him but it was obvious by the look in her eyes that she was weighing her options. On one hand, Professor Cole was very vague about what she needed help with but, through deductive reasoning, he could tell it must have been important. She was a new teacher at St. Lucia and he was well aware of how tough the school was on new faculty. From daily performance reports to monthly evaluations–it was hell. But, to be perfectly honest, regardless of his grade, he would have helped her anyway if it meant he got to spend even a minute of extra time with her.
“You tried this yesterday, didn’t you? What I told you then still applies. I don’t need your help,” she said pointedly. Daniel heaved a martyred sigh.
“Professor, if I have to chain myself to your desk in protest, leaving you to deal with me tired, hungry and smelling like God knows what every single day until I graduate, I’m not going to leave you alone until you accept my help. Seriously, save yourself the headache,” he said. Claire glared up at him. He was serious. He was freaking serious and she could see it in his eyes. He was just the type of jerk to deliver on his promise and if she didn’t give in she’d never be rid of him. But it was such a difficult situation! The logical part of her brain demanded she turn him down, that she insist he find someone else to bother. But, after having been yelled at by Dean Hughes yet again that morning, she couldn’t help but see the brat as her knight in shining armor. She needed his help but she knew it would kill her to take him up on his offer. What the heck could she do?
“And there’s nothing I can say to change your mind?”
“Short of a restraining order? No, not really. You see, Professor, here’s the thing, you need the help, I need the grade. Why not work together?”
“I don’t know? Why not do your classwork?” she retorted, folding her arms over her chest. Daniel shrugged a shoulder.
“Done,” he said and she gawked.
“I’m serious. I’ll do my classwork. I’ll stop interrupting your lectures and teasing you during class. But you have to let me help out with whatever you need. Deal?” he asked, a tad bit more enthusiastically than he’d hoped. He didn’t want it to be obvious that he wanted this more than anything. He wanted the chance to get to know her, to explore her brain the regular way, without use of his…abilities. He just had to get inside that head of hers, no matter what it took.
“Well…” She took a deep breath and hesitated a full twenty-seconds before agreeing. She didn’t look too happy but, even she couldn’t really deny she was in over her head, even if she wanted to. Her office was a total wreck, filled with messy stacks of paper, books, class brochures and a months worth of Starbucks cups. She could pretend she didn’t need him, but the proof was in the proverbial pudding. “Fine. So long as you stop acting like an idiot in my class. When would you have time to help out?”
“I’m usually free after class, but for you–”
“No,” she cut him off. Daniel raised a brow down at her. “If this is going to work out you have to stop this stupid flirtation game. Do you know what would happen to me if Dean Hughes even suspected I was attempting to come on to you? Do you even know what the policy is here? I would lose my job. And with my already less than stellar reputation, I’d probably never work in academics again,” she said then gave him a pointed look. There was fear in her eyes. A fear he really didn’t understand. She would lose her job, so what? It was just a job, right? “So, stop it. No more pretending to flirt.” If only she would acknowledge the fact that he wasn’t pretending. Daniel regarded her for several long seconds. He was attracted to her, that was a fact he couldn’t deny and, even though he had ulterior motives for taking the position, would he really be able to simply pretend those feelings didn’t exist? He may not have fallen head over heels the moment he laid eyes on her, but surely she felt even an ounce of what he did?
“Deal. I’ll stop…messing with you. Is that good enough?” he asked. Claire frowned, not understanding the ire in his voice.
“Fine. So long as you adhere to those rules we can work together after day classes have ended.”
“Great. What do you have for me?” he asked.
“Why don’t you head home for today?
“But you just said I can help–!”
“Look around you, Mr. Kang, there’s literally nothing you can do until I get this mess at least partially sorted out,” she cut him off, her arms rising and falling against her sides in frustration. “We’d just get lost in here and need a rescue team. You can help me out tomorrow, alright?” Daniel gave her an indecisive look, heaving another sigh before finally caving in.
“Fine,” she replied, watching the corners of his mouth turn upwards into a devious grin.
“See you tomorrow, then, Professor,” he said, his grin growing brighter as he tugged his bag higher on his shoulders and turned to leave. Claire sighed, the sound of the classroom door closing marking his departure, leaving her in silence.
“What the hell did I just get myself into?”