Sunday, 1 November 2009

Keta and Tara: Joaquin's Realm

Tara Nichols and Keta Diablo, co-authoring a series of Angel and Demon novels under the name of JOAQUIN, finaled in Stella Cameron’s prestigious Scarlet Boa contest with their PARANORMAL entry. We are thrilled to have placed in the final ten among over 148 entries. The voting will continue through October 31st and the winning entry will be read by an editor from MIRA publishing.

The book, currently under the working title, The Fall of the Black Phoenix, is coming along nicely. It features zombies, werewolves, vampires, and most of all angels and demons. We’re making our characters walk a tightrope of suspense, action, adventure, and sizzling erotic scenarios as they do battle in the urban gutters of Vancouver, the heavens and beyond!

Here is a small taste:

Ayr stepped into the winter night as another clap of thunder split the air. Strange, he thought, looking up at star-filled sky. Deep in the heart of winter, a thin layer of frost clung to the hardwoods and pines, and rain-laden clouds loomed overhead, poised on the brink of unleashing a torrent upon his head.

Lifting his face to the sky, Ayr closed his eyes and willed his body to leave the ground. He rose up, his wings a transparent shimmer, a latent memory of what they were when he graced the heavens. In spite of his earthly presence, the celestial extensions never failed him. They had always served as a pseudo-conduit, opening his mind to the evil forces at work. From out of the dark came a roll of thunder, so loud it shook the stars.

A far-off shriek shattered his concentration, startling him. His powerful body careened left and for a moment threatened his symmetrical balance. Gathering his wits, he focused on the direction of the blood-curdling scream. The malevolent energy he'd sensed earlier seeped into his pores. He struggled to block out the interference and allowed his mind to lead him toward the ill-fated source.

Banking south, he cupped his wings, lowered his head and prepared to land. A barrier rose before him—an invisible barricade with the strength and force of impregnable armor. With steeled determination, he pushed onward and landed at the mouth of a wide, litter-riddled back alley.

The stench of refuse and blood spiraled up his nose and, something else― an intoxicating mixture of red patchouli and bold, pale musk.

The scent of a woman surely made in heaven.

Shadows shifted in the alley; one, a stunning beauty, the woman whose fragrance he'd devoured moments ago, and oh, God, the other, Lazarus, his young protégé. The warrior-woman held his limp body by the lapels of his jacket, her emerald eyes fixed on his bloodless face. His friend's eyes were open, the pupils rolled back in his head. The image reminded him of a scene from Night of the Living Dead. Laz' chest rose and fell with shallow breaths, so miniscule a human would have thought him deceased.

Ayr knew he should do something . . . like kill the bitch, but why did his feet feel nailed to the cold ground? Transfixed by some unknown force he watched as the woman covered Lazarus' mouth with hers. Ayr knew the act was not that of a wanton lover, nor did her actions spawn from a personal vendetta against Laz. Her cold eyes lacked lust or desire, discounting necrophilia. This was the work of a professional, a cold-hearted, highly skilled killer.

She lowered her mouth, covered his lips with hers and sucked in her cheeks. The magnificent green eyes closed and her chest heaved inward. A cold chill snaked down Ayr's spine, and not from the frosty air. With a sudden jerk of her neck, her head arched back and a trail of pale blue smoke spewed from her lips. Another shudder shook Ayr as he drew his gaze to Lazarus. The man's body convulsed and a garbled choke slipped from his throat. Like a sunflower caught up in an ice-storm his flaccid body sagged.

The woman released her hold on his jacket and Ayr waited for the sound of his body to hit the hard ground. He hadn't counted on what happened next. Laz' physical being turned to dust before his eyes; a handful of gray soot that blew away in a cold, bitter wind. The red-haired beauty watched the matter take flight then made the sign of the cross.

A jolt of lightning jerked Ayr from his trance-like state. “Soul Thief,” he whispered and prepared for battle.

If you’d like to follow our progress, stop by our blog:

And we now have a cozy little corner over at the Coffee Time Romance forums:

Keeping with the festive season:

~Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you ever had a ghostly encounter and tell us about it?

Keta ~I absolutely believe in spirits. When I was four, we lived in a house that was about a hundred years old. I was terrified to sleep alone in the back bedroom off the kitchen and insisted a little man sat in a corner between the coving and the ceiling. I still remember him, and liken him to a faery-like being. At the time my mom insisted there was no one in the room, and I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see him. Psychologists maintain animals and children can see ghosts/spirits because they haven’t read about them or know nothing about them.

Tara ~ Spirits? Yes. I can’t really explain why though. I feel that I have good intuition and I make sure to listen to it, so when I find myself in a situation that makes the hair rise up off my skin, I listen to it. I haven’t seen any aspirations appear, nor heard any inexplicable thumps and bumps in the middle of the night, but I have felt things. The farm house where I grew up seemed to be a hotspot for creepy feelings, but only after I left that home did I hear the stories about the things other people have seen and felt. Both of my parents told me about a time when they heard the door slam in the kitchen despite the fact that it was locked, and heavy footsteps stomping down the basement stairs. My cousin finally told me she didn’t want to go to a certain part of the forest anymore because she felt we were being watched, and I had terrible insomnia because of ghastly nightmares that seemed to come from no where. Then there’s that feeling that someone dressed all in black, wielding a frighteningly large knife was chasing me down the hall. I swear I managed twenty steps in two leaps. Even though I’ve never SEEN anything, I’m convinced.

~ If you could be any paranormal creature, what would it be and why?

Keta ~A time-walker or traveler for sure. I love history and have so many questions about what happened back when. I’d love to see some of these eras first-hand.

Tara ~ I have always wanted to fly so let’s go with winged vampires.

~ What’s your favorite part of your current project, The Fall of the Black Phoenix?

Keta ~ My favorite part of all my writing projects is watching the hero and heroine fall in love. In *romance* there's always angst and conflict among the main characters. Watching them evolve from perhaps enemies (hint) to lovers fascinates me. They stumble, they back-peddle, they roil against these unwanted, yet incredible feelings, but in the end what conquers all?


For me, the journey is oh, so sweet and thrilling!

Tara ~ There’s a hot sex scene in the middle that has stayed with me, but I have to say Keta has written a stellar prologue!


Tara S Nichols said...

Thank-you so much for hosting us Lindsay! Today is an exciting day for Keta and I, as our story is in the final running of the Scarlet Boa contest and the winner will be announced tonight. Even if we don't win, I'm extremely pleased over all.
Working with Keta has been a delight.

-I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween! My son dressed up as a ghost but decided he was a SEAGULL the moment he stepped out the door. ooh scary.

Keta Diablo said...

Thank you so much Lindsay! Tara is right, co-authoring has been a great experience. What one mind doesn't think of the other does. It's also intriguing to see how other authors portray characters and plots.

Lovely blog, and thanks so much for having us!

See you on Joaquin's Realm.

Namaste, Keta

Kaye Manro said...

This sounds like a fantastic story. Good luck to you both. I hope you do win. But even so, this sounds like a winner of a paranormal!

Lindsay Townsend said...

Wonderful excerpt, Keta and Tara - very atmospheric. The idea of a soul thief is chilling.

Congratulations on being short-listed! I hope you win! From your excerpt your story is fantastic!

I'm delighted to have you both at the pink blog. I'm glad for you, too, that you have found working together to be so productive. That's excellent.

Interesting interview, too. No wonder you both have an empathy and fascination with the paranormal, given your experiences.

Fingers crossed for you for the Scarlet Boa contest!!!

Tara S Nichols said...

Thank you Kaye and Lindsay. Here's hoping!

Savanna Kougar said...

Keta and Tara ~ compelling and scary-beautiful excerpt.
Congrats on being in the final running of the Scarlet Boa contest.
Best o' luck!

Tara S Nichols said...

Thanks Savanna, and it's all going down right right. Bites nails...

LK Hunsaker said...

I find the concept of co-authoring intriguing and can't imagine doing it. Did you have creative skirmishes about the story?

Congrats on doing so well in the contest!

Tara S Nichols said...

No skirmishes yet. We keep checking in, patting each other on the back, and remind one another where we left off and who's dead or alive.
lol. It's fun. It's kind of like reading a book with a friend. They tell you what they just read, then you tell them. You never really know WHAT is going to happen!

Thanks for the congrats and the comments.