THE WINDFIRE SERIES

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Acting Advice from the Cast of SHERLOCK


DURING THE APPLE STORE (LONDON) Q/A AFTER THE THREE EPISODES OF SHERLOCK, SEASON 3, HAD SHOWN AROUND THE WORLD…

A young girl asked if they had any advice for young people who want to go into acting because that’s what she wanted to do…These were their replies…


Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) :

"Stick with it. Just consume culture. Know a little bit of what you’re apart of, but hold really true to who are and what you’ve got to offer because that’s the first thing, when you walk into a room. That’s how you appear to the world. You know and you can transform and shape shift and do all that stuff, but you have to know who you are to have a solid base for anything you can then prove you can become. I don’t know…what stage are you at, because that’s kind of the vital qualifier…? (Girl answers) Drama school, okay. (Girl says she has a recall audition). So you’re auditioning. Well, just get as many people that you can bear to see your audition piece…just be really bold and brave about it. Get it out there. Don’t be frightened of sharing that because that’s what you’re going to have to do when you’re in a room with two or three strangers who are going to evaluate your work. Just rehearse, keep practicing it...you’ve got a recall, so you’re doing really well. So just take that confidence and just keep going with it. I’m going to pass it over to these two now ‘cause I get mushy."



Martin Freeman (John Watson):

"Everything he just said is bullshit." (audience laughs)

"No, I’d probably concur with that. Yeah. I mean, good luck, it’s as insane and mad and joyous as you would hope it would be. You know, the whole thing is. You are your own judge…you have to be your own worst and best critic, I think. At the end of all the other advice and other feedback, you will get for however many years, it’s you who follows your own path, really. Work hard. You know, be on time, learn your lines, do all the stuff….all the one on one stuff, because that stuff is important, you know? And be nice, but not too nice."



Amanda Abbington (Mary Morstan) :

"And I’d say…remember to enjoy it…that’s ‘cause sometimes you forget. And also, you absolutely have the right to be there. Remember that, because sometimes you think you don’t…you’re a good actor, just work hard, remember to enjoy it, and you have a right to be there. And good luck. Really good luck."


Look at Martin's socks! LOL!
Tamsin adds...

As a certified teacher of drama, a director (film and stage), and a coach...I love these! I think my favorite quotes are:

* "Know who you are to have a solid base for anything you can then prove you can become." -Ben

* "Get as many people that you can bear to see your audition piece…just be really bold and brave about it. Get it out there. Don’t be frightened of sharing that because that’s what you’re going to have to do when you’re in a room with two or three strangers who are going to evaluate your work." -Ben

* "Be on time, learn your lines, do all the stuff…all the one on one stuff, because that stuff is important." - Martin

* "Work hard, remember to enjoy it, and you have a right to be there." -Amanda

Also...there was something Martin said that was too short to be a quote...but I thought that when he says to "follow your own path"...that actors really need to pay attention to that. Just like everyone does certain tasks differently (ie: ties shoes, loads a dishwasher, etc), every actor has to find their own way. So often actors think there is "one way" to where they want to take their career and I think that's bullshit. I think that just because so-n-so has a manager, you don't have to get one...nor do you HAVE TO go to LA to build up to do film. Your path is your path. Don't get bogged down in what you think you should or shouldn't do. No one is alike...so what you choose for your training/audition regiment/self rehearsal/memorization/prep time and so on...if it works for you it's right. Just cause the "famous actress" in your show gurgles salt water for 30 minutes before a show doesn't mean you have to. It's her process. Find yours. If it feels right, usually it is right. Unless, of course, its to sit naked centerstage and hum for 30 minutes...I think there are limits... ;) LOL!

SO be brave/bold...take chances...know yourself...and enjoy the journey.

Best, Tamsin    

Monday, March 17, 2014

Episode Three of SKYE, "The FAE", is LIVE! (new link)



Happy SKYE Day!

That's right! Episode Three is finally here! YAY! If you've not see Episodes One or Two (which I recommend you watch back to back since together they make one, 30 minute TV show episode w/o commercials added), you should do that first! Here are the links!

ENJOY!

Episode One, "Back to the Start"

Episode Two, "Welcome to my City"

.......and drum roll please.......

Episode Three, "The FAE"

And remember...you can always see all our videos at our SKYE OF THE DAMNED website and catch updates on our Facebook page!

Thanks so much! Enjoy!

Best,

Tamsin :)

P.S. And if you scroll down to the post below...you can catch the Prologue of the SKYE book I'm working on. The info in the Prologue isn't something that's been in the episodes so it's BRAND NEW...so kill a bit more time and scroll down to check it out! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Skye of the Damned will also be a book! (Here's a sample)


In honor of tomorrow being the release of Episode Three of SKYE, called "The FAE" (stay tuned here and on the website SkyeOfTheDamned.com as well as both SKYE's and my Facebook), I thought I'd announce that I have been working on the book version of the story and here is the Prologue to the book. It is information you don't have yet, if you are watching the online TV show...so ENJOY! (and remember...this is not professionally edited, so if you find an error...alas, that is the nature of the beast.)

xoxo

Tamsin :)
--------------------------------------

PROLOGUE

The snow fell in large, floating flakes while the wind swept them about Fiona’s head. An uncontrollable giggle escaped while catching them on her tongue as her stepfather ordered her to hurry along.

“Fee, quit dawdling. We need to get home. Santa’s coming tonight. He won’t stop by if you’re not in bed.”

“Oh, Da…I’m thirteen, I know darn well—”

“Shh! Don’t upset him with blasphemy!” he said, a grin on his face as put an arm around her shoulders.

“You think I don’t know mum sent us out to run errands and see a movie so she could wrap things?”

“Your mum wanted some alone time. Come on, we best be getting back.” He unlocked the sedan, opened the passenger side door, and closed it behind her once she was in.

Withe the cold seeping in, Fiona rubbed her hands together as she leaned forward to watch the snow falling in the parking lot lights. This was her first Christmas with the white stuff. Due to her adoptive father’s job, they moved around a lot. A year here, a year there, and often in the southern states of the U.S. However, this year was different, they were in New England, and there was beautiful snow falling for the holiday.

Her mother, a stunning woman with Fiona’s pale complexion and dark hair, claimed they came from a Gaelic ancestry. Hence why she called her adoptive father by the term, Da, versus Dad or Father. His real name was Jackson, but he’d been in her life since she was around the age of four, so she had always called him Da.

No one spoke of her biological father. All she knew about him was that he was a dangerous man wanted by the police somewhere on the east coast. That, and he had gone out to buy groceries when she was two years old and never come back. Stories had swirled about him and by the age of five, the rumor was he'd been kidnapped and killed by the mob. But the long and short of it was that he'd abaondoned her and her mom, so in her mind, he was never her Da. He was a worthless bastard. He didn’t count at all.

Plus, he was the other reason they moved around a lot, which she hated. If he was out there, her mother didn’t want him to find them, so if she ever thought they’d been somewhere too long, they left. Of course, Jackson’s job helped perpetuate that as well. It made it hard to make friends. In fact, Fiona had stopped trying. But maybe, if they stayed here long enough she would. With the thought of that, she smiled.

Jackson got into the car and turned the vehicle on. He adjusted the heat and looked at her. Reaching over, he ruffled her short, dark hair. “What’s that look for? Your baby blues look all starry eyed.”

“Oh, nothing,” she lied, looking back out the front windshield, worrying her lip between her teeth.

“Mmm-hmm…okay,” he said, obviously not believing her, and pulled out of the movie theater parking lot.

“I hope we stay here,” she said in a whisper, still watching the snow.

“I hope so, too, a stór,” he said, using the Gaelic words for “my darling.”

The drive home was a little far, as they lived about thirty minutes from the center shopping area of the town. However, their small house was only five minutes from the hospital, where her mother volunteered, and walking distance from the grocery store and her new school.

Jackson turned down their lonely back road, which was always quiet, but somehow the snow seemed to make it eerie as well. In this area of town, the houses were spaced far apart with a bunch of trees and brush between them. Most were decorated with colored lights and other Christmas items, which she loved. Their closest neighbor was across the street and even they were new and didn't bother them. Which was fine with Fiona. She was awkward with new people. She’d heard her mother complain to Jackson about it before. That the moving around wasn’t good for her. He’d remind her that it was safer this way and her mother had left it at that.

As they approached the house, the warm holiday feelings began to drain from her as a sense of dread crept into her core. Jackson pulled into their long driveway and Fiona suddenly knew something was wrong. Stepping out of the car, she got her first sign that supported her dread; the front door was open. Without shutting the car door, Fiona bolted toward the house. Barreling inside, she noted that the latch was broken and splinters of wood littered the inside floor.

“Mom!” she yelled as she stared into the pitch black of the house as she reached for the kitchen light switch.

Jackson stepped in, blocking her hand. “Don’t touch anything.” He pulled out his cell phone and dialed.

A ringing could be heard from somewhere inside the house, toward the living room. Before Jackson could stop her, Fiona ran toward it. The main living space was dark, save for the glow from the small Christmas tree in the corner. The little multicolored lights made it possible to see the room had been destroyed; side tables were turned over, the wooden coffee table was cracked in half, a chair lay on its side in pieces, and there were holes in walls. Then there was the blood.

Panic gripped Fiona’s heart, pounding so hard she felt her head begin to throb with each beat, every breath like jagged glass along her throat.

“Mom!” she tried to yell, but it came out more like a strangled cry. Fiona continued to look around the disaster as she heard her father speaking to a 911 attendant.

Following the blood, she walked around the back of the sofa, and there, laying motionless, was her mother.

The scream that ripped from her sounded unworldly as Fiona ran, dropping to her knees next to the her mother just as her Da came around the corner.

“Melly?” he said, panic alive in his voice. “Come away, Fiona!”

“No!” she yelled at him, tears streaming down her face.

“Help is on the way,” He paused and touched her cheek. “Melinda, can you hear me?” He said, his voice soft and broken.

Sirens in the distance became louder as Fiona began to understand that her mother’s life was ending. Each rise and fall of her chest seemed to take longer, her body shaking with the effort.

“The Paramedics are here, I’ll go get them,” her Da said, “Stay with her,” he said, and left.

Taking her hand, Fiona said, “Mom? Can you hear me? Mom?” When she didn’t respond, Fiona used a name she’d heard her Da call her every now and again, in private. “Melody? Can you hear me? Melody?”

Her mother’s eyes fluttered open, finding Fiona’s. With effort, her mother reached for the necklace she always wore, but it wasn’t there. Panic spread across her face. Fiona scanned the area and saw the pendant under the edge of the couch. Reaching out, she grasped it, and handed the pretty crystal to her mother.

Melody promptly handed it to her daughter. “Wear this. Always. Life or death. For me.”

Taking the blue quartz necklace, she said, “Mom…you’re not going to die. Help is here. Just hang on.

“Love you so much…” her mom said. “He did too. Remember that.”

“I love you, too. He, who?”

Paramedics were suddenly all around her.

“Sebastin…” was all she got out before Fiona was removed from her side.

“Who? No! I need to talk to her. Let me go! Mom? Mom!”

Placing the oxygen mask over her mother’s mouth, the Paramedics lifted her onto a gurney, stating she couldn’t be treated here, and needed a hospital immediately. Before Fiona could say or do anything, they whisked her mother away. Jackson followed right behind, leaving Fiona sitting on the couch, stunned, with a pendant in her hand. Finally finding her feet, she slipped the quartz into her jeans pocket, and ran to catch up with her Da.

She saw him next to her mum, holding her hand, leaning down to hear something she said, nodding at her, before they replaced her mask and hauled her into the ambulance. Tears streamed down his face as they pulled her from him, his hand falling by his side before he turned to look at Fiona. Their eyes met and even though she was young, she understood what had transpired between them.

“No! Mom!” she screamed out and ran for the ambulance, but her Da stopping her from reaching it. With arms and legs flailing, she screamed for her mother while he held her and the doors shut.

Once the ambulance pulled away, Jackson let her go, hand on her shoulders, eyes on hers. “Get in the car. We’re heading to the hospital. It’s not over yet. Come on.”

But Fiona knew the truth in her bones and sank to the ground in tears.

“Come on, Fee. We need to go. Can you walk?”

After a moment, she numbly nodded, wiping tears away with the back of her hand. Jackson helped her up and with an arm around her, led Fiona back to the car. Her door still stood open from when she’d run out only minutes ago. Was it minutes? It felt like hours.

Fiona brushed the snow from the seat and got in as Jackson started the car. Once she shut her door he backed out and they followed after the ambulance. Fiona could feel her bottom lip trembling as more tears slid down her face in silence as they drove. The snow, no longer pretty to her, slammed against the windshield, making it appear like the Millennium Falcon going to light speed.

If only they could go that fast, she thought. Then they’d beat the ambulance there and she could ask her mom who Sebastin was. Could it be her biological father? She'd only ever heard him called Cal. So why would she tell her someone named Sebastin loved her? She needed to know more.

Once at the hospital, the night seemed to pass in a blur of motion, voices, colors, and tears. Cops and doctors came and went. At one point, they even let her in to see her mother after surgery, but the prognosis wasn’t good, and they couldn’t stay for long. Either they needed to go home or they could sit in the waiting area until visiting hours began.

Understanding there was nothing else they could do, Jackson forced Fiona into the car and took them home, where more cops were waiting to ask them questions. Then, because they deemed her home a crime scene, they were forced to pack a few things and head to a motel for the night.

Laying there, in the dark, the only sound the rare car going by outside, Fiona knew her Da wasn’t sleeping either. Yet, she said nothing. What could she say? All the information from the past few hours ran through her head as if she was on a bumper car ride. One minute she’d slam into one topic and then she’d find herself contemplating another. From the words “home invasion gone wrong” to “crime of opportunity” to “comma” and “possibly dead by morning,” she just wanted to turn her brain off. Then she could sleep, forget, and dream of the Christmas morning she should’ve had.

It was around eight in the morning when she remembered her mother’s necklace. Slipping out of bed, she fetched it, and crept into the bathroom. Quietly shutting and locking the door behind her, she lay the pendant in the palm of her hand and noted that the stone still had some of her mother’s blood on it. Torn between the connection to that blood and the desire to wash it off, she stood there, staring at the blue quartz. The chain was missing, very likely somewhere in her house, lost in the struggle.

But who had she fought with? Why would they come into her house? Why had her mother said to wear this? Why did she see it as life or death? Or had she not been talking of the pendant at all?

Overwhelmed with questions that had no answers, Fiona set it on the counter, put the toilet seat down, and sat on it. Resting her chin on the counter to stare at the stone, as if it could clarify everything for her, she watched as the blood on the pendant glowed bright and then faded. Fiona blinked her eyes a few times and shook her head. She must’ve imagined it. Reaching for the pendant, she finally washed it clean.

Once it was dry again, she turned to leave the bathroom as she heard the phone in the main room ring; and she knew. Stepping out, she watched as her Da sat up, answered the phone, and fell apart.

The following days were full of the faces of people she didn’t know telling her how sorry they were. Some asked questions, others gave papers to her Da to sign. When all was said and done, and they were allowed back into their home, Jackson pulled her aside and sat her down.

“Fee…I need you to pack your things. Only take whatever will fit in your two suitcases and a box, as usual, and we are leaving.”

Her lungs felt tight in her chest. “But we just moved here!”

“I know. But right now we need help. I need help,” he clarified. “I need my family.”

“Your family? I thought you were an only child? Mom always said you were alone like her.”

“That’s not totally true. I have two brothers. We’re going to go live with them.”

“Where?”

“I can’t tell you right now.”

“What? Why not? That's not fair!”

“Fee...please. No one can know where we are going.”

“Not even me?"

"Once we're on the road."

Fiona sighed. "What if they find out more information on who killed Mom? They need to find us! You have to tell them where we’ll be.”

“They won’t find them.”

Anger flooded her being. “You don’t know that! Did you even love her?”

Two tears escaped before he regained control. “With everything that I am,” he answered, stroking Fiona’s hair.

He looked tired, she realized. More tired that she’d ever seen him. Had he even slept since that night? She barely had. But that wasn’t a reason to give up hope.

Petrified of the answer, Fiona asked, “Do you really think they’ll never know who did this?”

He took a moment and said, “I fear may never know. But you’re right, they might. I’ll make sure they have my cell number,” he said. “I promise. Now go pack. We leave in the morning.”

Knowing there was nothing she could win by arguing, she stomped up the stairs to her room, packed like routine had taught her, and cried herself to sleep. When she awoke, she found her things already taken down to the car and a wrapped Christmas present in their place. Tentatively, she opened it to find a new outfit.

Putting on the new sweater and black jeans, Fiona stuffed her pajamas into the box, shoved her feet into her tennis shoes, grabbed her purse, and with one last look at her room, left it behind, like all the rest.

“That blue sweater looks lovely on you. Your mum picked it out. Are you hungry?" Jackson asked her as she came down the stairs.

Fiona shook her head.

"Well, if you change your mind, we can stop for something on the way," he said, and awkward pause filling the air. "I know you're mad, Fee. And you can be pissed at me all you want. But this if for your safety."

"Whatever. Let's just go."

Jackson opened his mouth to say something but changed his mind and just nodded. "The car is in the garage and packed. Go get in, I'll be there in a second."

She grabbed her coat, determined to never speak to him again, and did as he asked. She kept her silence as they rode about town, visiting the bank, the crematorium, and her school. Only when he handed her a tiny Ziploc bag did she break her vow of silence.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a black satin cord. I thought you might want to string your mother’s pendant on it.”

Tears threatened to escape, but she swallowed them back. “How did you know?”

“She told me she gave it to you by the ambulance. I assume it’s packed in your things?”

Fiona nodded.

“Go ahead, get it out.”

“Now?”

“Sure. I want to see if it fits.”

Fiona sighed. “Fine. Whatever.” She undid her seatbelt and reached back into her make-up bag behind her seat. Pulling it out, she sat back down and strung it on the cord.

“Did she tell you to wear it?”

“Yes. She said to wear it always.”

“Then you should do as she said.”

"She wasn’t making any sense at the end, Da. How can a necklace be life or death?”

“I don't know, Punkin'. I think she might've just wanted to know part of her was always with you. Can you do that for her?”

Slipping it over her head, Fiona nodded.

He started the car. “Good.” Then, once they pulled onto the highway he said, “Open the glove box.”

Without a word, she did so. Inside she found a large manila envelope. She pulled it out, her brows nit together in question.

“Open it.”

She dumped the contents into her lap. There lay two envelopes, two passports, and a slip of paper with a green wax blob on it, a symbol pressed into it. Selecting one of the passports, she opened it to see her Da’s face and the name Jackson Reece. Opening the other, she saw it had her latest picture, but it had a different name on it.

Supremely unhappy, she complained, “Again? But why?”

“Your mother told me to.”

“Did my father kill her? Is that what she was saying? Are we still running from him?”

“No. But we can’t be sure that the press on this won’t lead him to you and she begged me to keep you safe. So we change your name, and mine, and we go live with my family. Nodding toward the passport, he said, "She always like that name best, and the last name is from her family, a piece of her, so to speak. My real last name is Reece. My brothers run a lumber and construction company in upstate New York. That’s where we are heading.”

“For how long?” she asked, tentatively.

“Hopefully, for the rest of our lives.”

Fiona felt her first ray of hope since the night she watched the snowflakes fall. “Really? No more moving for your job?”

Heavy traffic brought the car to a crawl and Jackson looked over at her. “No more moving as long as you can keep your new name and new back-story straight. Think you can do that?”

Forgetting her promise to hate him, she threw her arms around his shoulders and hugged him hard. “Thank you!”

“It’s on you, Fee…think you can do it?”

Letting go, she stared him in the eye, her face serious now. “I know I can.”

The traffic started to move and he looked at the road. “Good. Let’s use the drive to get our facts straight. Okay? And maybe get some McDonalds? That sound okay?"

Fiona had to admit, she was hungry, and he knew her weakness for junk food. "Yeah, that sounds okay."

"Good. So, let's start working on your story. What’s your name?”

“Skye MacKenna.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chapter One of "Duality of Surrender"


Seeing as that I've had people ask to read the begining of my romance novel, I thought I'd post the first chapter. Obviously it's not completely edited...but its a good start to the story, and introduces you to both characters: Courtney and Topher. I hope you like it! (Psst...I've been told by people who don't read romance that they like this story so...even if Romance isn't your "thing"...give it a read, see what you think.) And as always, feel free to comment about it below.

Thanks!

- Tamsin :)
----------------------------------

Dear Topher, my love,

Why have you not written me back? I am anxious to hear your response to my idea. I know you are a busy man, but seeing as our connection is more than other fans, I’m sure you will reply…I just hoped it would be sooner rather than later, as plane tickets are cheaper if we get them now. I’ve done so much to finally bring us together, I’m sure you appreciate that.

I go to all the cons, buy all the picture opportunities, and go to every movie premier. You've hugged me and told me I'm beautiful. We’ve spent so much time together, yet no response as to my request. I can only wait patiently for so long.

I await your reply.

Desperately yours,

Tamara



CHAPTER ONE

Courtney Behrent, which was the name most people knew her by, grunted while lifting her suitcase up onto a bed located in the fifth time zone in six weeks. Once in place, she flopped, face first next to it, her feet hanging off the side of the bed.

"Are ya dead then?"

"If I say yes will you cancel the reading for tomorrow afternoon?"

"No. I'll just have Callie read it."

Courtney turned her head to glare at Malcolm, between red curls that covered her face. "That's just cruel."

"To her or your adoring fans?"

"Yes,” Courtney said, wishing she could sleep for twelve hours.

She had spent the past month and a half attending conventions in the U.S. to promote her run away, bestseller, The Guardian of the Guild. However, this leg of the trip, which fell between conventions, was simply a reading in London to launch a new cover for the book here in the UK.

Inhaling the lightly floral scent of the comforter she’d face planted into, she sighed with exhaustion. If she were honest, Courtney would have to admit she was close to regretting her agreement to this trip. With no idea as to what time or day it was, she was punchy, cranky, and desired to be back at her apartment in New York.

Her Personal Assistant and friend, Malcolm, glided over to sit next to Courtney, hand on her calf. "Just think. We'll be home in a few days. Then you can hug the dog, sleep in your own bed, and see that hot man you've been talking to."

Courtney looked at him with a start, scooping hair out of her face. "Wait, what hot man?"

Feigning innocence, Malcolm placed an open palm on his chest. "Oh, sorry, that would be me, not you. How I ever could mix that up, I have no idea."

She playfully slapped his arm. "Love life dig noted, Mal. Now go away."

"Lack of love life dig, darling. It's been how long since Trent?"

"I have no idea."

"Liar."

Speaking more into the bedding than to him, she said, "One year, six months, and ten days if you wanna be a bitch about it."

He patted her ass in a brotherly way. "See? That's just unhealthy. You're a famous author now. Go get someone. Anyone, for God's sake. Before you have cobwebs down there."

Courtney laughed. "I'm not famous, Mal. I’m just getting started. I got lucky and this book took off like gangbusters. I never thought I’d really be in this place. Sure, I talked about it, but I really didn’t expect to get lucky enough. Hell, in my mind, I still feel like I’m the girl working at the medical lab, going to conventions on my vacation days."

"But you’re not. You finally write for a living and I predict you will be known worldwide. This UK contract is just the beginning of introducing you to the other side of the globe. Specifically to those who usually don’t pick up Young Adult Urban Fantasy.

“Now, let's blow off unpacking and go get a drink at that place we saw from the cab on our way here. It’s just down the street. I Googled it. It’s a snazzy, high-end club that appears to be frequented by celebs. British celebs. Mmmm…how yummy." This time he spanked her ass once with a bit of effort behind it, causing her to yelp. Standing, he added, "Put on something classy, and let's go."

"I don't wanna," Courtney whined, rubbing her ass.

"Yes you do. You love London. You love British men. Let’s find one!"

"I’m not going if you’re even thinking about trying to hook me up with one. Last time you tried, it was just embarrassing."

"You? Oh no, I meant me! I need a British man to play with." He laughed and headed to the door.

"What about that hot man you're talking to at home?"

"That's at home. I'm not there now, am I?"

"Whore."

"Prude."

“Love you.”

“I know.”

She paused and decided. “Fine, ok, one damn drink. Then I'm getting some sleep."

"Excellent! You won’t regret it! Knock on Room 524 when you're ready. It's just next door.”

"Ok."

"Don't you fall asleep!" He shouted back to her, shutting the door.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah..." she muttered as she stood, catching a glance at herself in the wall mirror and cringed.

Courtney unzipped her suitcase, noting the words on its tag: Alissa O’Brien. Lately she tended to forget that name, which she found funny since it was the one she grew up with. Yet, since she had been "hocking her wares" as a writer for so long using her pen name, Courtney Behrent almost felt more real than her birth name.

Opening the suitcase, she selected the item she always grabbed first: a picture of her black and white Cardigan Corgi, Trooper, named after one of her best friends back home in Michigan who’d helped her get him, Trooper Paul Butterfield. Ritualistically she hugged it and set the silver frame by the bed before picking out something to wear.

Facing the music, she stepped into the brightly lit bathroom to see how tired she looked after the long flight. Her skin seemed an extra shade of pale and there were bags under her dark green eyes. "Lovely. Why am I going out again? Oh yeah, cause I'm single, spend too much time by myself, my dog is the best man in my life, and Mal will harp on me like my Irish grandmother if I don't." She grabbed some concealer & attempted to correct what lack of sleep and multiple time zones had created.

She finished rubbing tinted moisturizer onto her face, snagged the next item, and spoke to her reflection as she applied minimal mascara. "Of course I'm single. I'm never in a city long enough to know anyone unless I'm home. Hell, even if I am, dating in New York is shit for women." She paused and put the makeup down. "Why am I even bothering? Screw this. I'm not in the mood.”

She barely attempted to tame the red curls, pulling them into a loose, low riding ponytail, got dressed, and headed out. When she knocked on Mal's door, she felt justified...until she saw the look on his face when he took in her outfit.

With one hand on his hip, and an eyebrow raised, he said, "What the hell are you wearing?"

"What I want to wear; comfy combat boots, shorts, a t-shirt, and my VF hoodie. It’s still misting outside. Gotta love London. Are you coming or not?"

“It’s not that kind of club, Court.” Mal sighed when he saw she wasn’t budging. "Fine. As long as you don't tell people I dressed you. This fashionista can't blemish her record." He shut the door. "Let's go."

Feeling vindicated, Courtney strode down the hall with him.

* * * *

"Are you out of you bloody mind?"

"According to you, always."

"Seriously, Topher, with the crazy fan mail you have been receiving, I don't want you going out."

Topher Matthews calmly perused his collection of elegant wristwatches. "What you want and what I do are completely different things, Bradley."

"As you often like to prove," Brad said under his breath as he inspected his short, thick, blonde hair in the mirror by him.

"I heard that. Now, the Rolex or the Patek?"

"Can you not just listen to me for once? Just once, Christopher?"

Topher's head snapped up, catching Brad’s eye in the mirror. "I don't go by that anymore, and you know why. Please refrain from it."

"Oh, for the love of God!" Brad started, turning around. But he stopped after seeing the look on Topher's face. "Fine. Go. Wear the bleeding Rolex for all I care. But I damn well am coming with you." Brad grabbed his jacket. "And call me Bradley again and I'll find every chance to say Christopher in public that I can. Wear a coat, its raining." He crossed to the door of Topher's elegant flat and with a hand on the doorknob, he sighed. "Shagging hell, where are we going?"

"Dstrkt." Topher whirled his black trench coat on over his new Hugo Boss suit, which he wore without a tie, and grinned as Brad cringed. "I already checked. Marisol isn't working tonight so don’t worry. He stopped and walked into the hallway. “Shan?” When there was no answer he raised his voice. “Shannon? We’re heading out.”

The door to his spare room opened and a pretty brunette stepped out. She wiped her hand on her jeans, depositing a green color onto them, while blowing a stray hair out of her face. “What are you goin’ on about now, Topher?”

He smiled at the look of his sister. She was splattered with paint and her long hair was twisted up and held in place with a chopstick she very likely found in his kitchen’s junk drawer. This was her norm, and he’d have her no other way. “How is it coming?”

“Along.”

“Can I see?” He playfully attempted to peer into the room, knowing she’d block him. When she did, he laughed. “I’ll take that as a no.”

“You know I never let you see.” She punched his arm lightly, her big brown eyes jovial. “Thanks again for letting me paint this here. I’d never surprise mum for her birthday if I tried to do this at home. She’s over way too often.”

“So we should be happy she doesn’t visit me here in the city, is that what you’re saying?”

“Yes. That and your spare room has room for my lights,” she said, absentmindedly scratching her right cheek, depositing more green there.

Saying not a word about the paint, he asked, “Are you going to crash here? You’re welcome to stay.”

“And deal with city traffic tomorrow morning? Bugger that. I’ll head back to my flat tonight, but thanks! I’ll probably be gone before you get back.”

“Then I’ll trust you to lock up.” He leaned down and kissed the top of her head, as it appeared to be the one spot without a smear of paint. “Don’t work too hard.”

“If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be me.”

“Too true. Love you, monster.”

“Love you, too. Brad, don’t let him get into any mischief.”

“Now you’re just trying to take my fun away,” Topher said with a wicked grin. “Come on, Brad, trouble calls!”

Shannon sighed, “Men,” then walked back into the spare room.

Brad opened the front door and headed into the hall. “And you’re sure Marisol isn’t there tonight?”

Topher followed him out, shutting the door behind him. “I called. You’re safe.”

"No one is safe from that woman.”

Topher adjusted his coat collar. “How a bloke can keep his man-card while running away from a woman is beyond me. Just face her, mate. She won't eat you whole."

"I wouldn't bet on that."

* * * *

Walking into the club, Courtney swallowed hard. Maybe she should’ve cared about her appearance more. It was very upscale and elaborate inside the English club. Turning back to Mal, she began to suggest they find a pub instead, but a sassy looking man approached them, giving Mal a once over.

“Hello, and welcome to Dstrkt, London. My name is Quinto, how may I assist you, sir? Are you meeting anyone?”

“No, we’re together.”

“With who? Her?”

“Yes.”

Quinto gave her the stink-eye. “She’s with you?”

“Do you hear that tone, Mal?” Courtney said before she could stop herself. “Look, Quinto, I don’t need to be dressed like I shop on Fifth Avenue to come have a drink in your establishment.”

“Excuse Ms. Behrent, she’s been on tour for two months and is rather exhausted,” Mal said, using the word “tour” to make her sound more important than she was. “I wanted her to see something other than a pub before we headed home to New York. Might you have anything available in the club?”

“Tour?”

“She’s an author.”

“Nothing he’d have read, I’m sure, Mal.”

“You don’t know that,” he said to her before turning to face the maître d'. “Anything you have available would be lovely. Thank you.”

Quinto’s glare at Courtney, softened. “I have room out on the back patio. Would that suffice?”

“Of course. Please, show the way.”

Once Quinto’s back was turned, Courtney flipped him off and lightly smacked Mal’s arm. “Excuse Ms. Behrent? Really, Mal?” she whispered, as they wandered through the establishment packed with men who wore suits the price of her entire wardrobe and women in fancy summer dresses paired with platform sandals. Seeing this, she added, “It’s not too late, we can go somewhere else.”

“No we cannot,” Mal whispered back, straightening his expensive tie, as Quinto led them across a black, glossy, zig-zag patterned floor, and past black rectangular iron poles that ran from floor to ceiling. There were scattered white high-backed couches with coffee tables for décor and white barstool chairs surrounding a curved black bar so shiny it looked wet.

Stepping through a wide opening with sparkling black, thick material slats hanging down to keep the A/C indoors, Courtney found herself in the most stunning covered patio she’d ever seen. The bar here started on the right, ran along the wall, curved and then continued along the back of the rectangular space. The décor here was black with purple and green to give it depth in the dark. Japanese lanterns in the two colors hung to give extra light to the small, round, inset, ceiling lights of a soft white glow.

“Look who is over at the bar,” Mal sing-songed quietly to her as they were led to wooden framed couch with purple cushions and green pillows.

Courtney glanced quickly. “Honey, Daniel Radcliff is straight. I’m so sorry to burst your bubble on that.”

“I so do not care, I just want to look.”

Laughter from Daniel’s group erupted as they took seats, Mal out-maneuvering her to sit where he could see the actor.

“Slick. That wasn’t obvious at all,” Courtney said dryly.

“Shush you, I’m enjoying the view.”

“Why am I here then?”

“Wing woman, darling. Wing. Woman.”

“Of course.”

“If you’d put on a dress―”

Courtney cut him off by making a gagging sound and took the drink menu Quinto handed them before excusing himself.

“And you wonder why some people think you’re a dyke.”

Courtney lifted the menu to cover her face and read. “What is the point of dressing like someone I’m not? A man would just be disappointed when he learned it was the only dress I own. Sure, I have skirts…but even those I save for professional engagements.” She watched four inch platforms walk past and added, “And I’d end up in the hospital if I wore those types of heels.” She shuddered.

Mal laughed. “You have a point. What do you want to drink? I think the Making Waves drink looks fantastic. You?”

“The Ka-Boom is more my style I think.”

“That’s a strong drink for someone who didn’t eat.”

"I'll only be having one, I'll be fine." Courtney saw a cocktail waitress coming their way and gave her a polite smile and wave.

Once they ordered, she and Mal chatted about her UK schedule as he kept an adoring eye on Mr. Radcliff. Being someone who enjoys things to be planned out, Courtney felt more settled after they discussed her itinerary for their time in England.

"I like this place. Good ambiance." Courtney crossed her legs, a combat booted foot hooking under the short table between her and Mal. As discretely as she could, she began to do one of the things she enjoyed best; people watching as she surveyed the people and the room.

“Writers are a nosy bunch, you know. I see you inspecting everything and taking stock in how the place feels. Will you kill some poor girl here?”

“Ummm…who had the Ka-Boom?” asked a different waitress asked, her nametag said Ella, and she was obviously attempting to hide the look of shock at Mal’s last sentence.

Courtney laughed deeply and raised her hand. “I’m the Ka-boom. And don’t worry, Ella, I’m a writer. I’m not actually going to kill anyone here.”

“Of course, ma’am.” Ella put their drinks down with a nervous smile and quickly left.

He leaned toward Courtney. “You should’ve just let her wonder.”

“That’s mean…but I probably should’ve.” With another laugh, she took a drink of the Ka-Boom. “Oh, this is amazing!”

"Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!” Mal said in his best Marvin the Martian impersonation.

Courtney laughed loudly again and took a drink as Quinto led two men onto the patio and past them to a couch to her right.

* * * *

The room was filled with no-names and known ones, plus, very likely famous names whose faces were not as recognizable. Topher followed Quinto into the club just in time to hear a smoky laugh that tingled his spine for no particular reason, coming from the patio.

"Your usual spot, Brad?" Quinto asked with a beaming smile.

Yet as Brad nodded, Topher placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder. "No, Quinto. I'd like to be out on the patio tonight, if that would be all right?"

"Yes, of course. But Mr. Matthews, I think that―"

"Wonderful. Please lead the way."

Without room to argue, Quinto nodded and led them outside, away from Topher's usual spot at the bar.

Eyes searching, Topher found the source of the unusually boisterous sound for Dstrkt, quickly. She was tiny for the sound made. So much so that he questioned if he'd pinpointed the noise correctly. Then she laughed again and he couldn't help but grin at how people turned toward the sound. Some in distain, some entertained, some clueless as usual.

The young woman had almond shaped eyes that slanted oh so slightly up on the outside and her hair was barely tamed flame. She wore little to no make-up, was dressed unlike anyone else there, and seemed not to care a wit: black combat boots, ripped tights, jean shorts, a black T-shirt, and a black zip up hoodie over it.

"What are you up to?" Brad whispered.

"Just a change."

Brad shrugged as he took a purple chair across from the green loveseat Topher sat on. "If you say so. Quinto, I'd like my usual. Topher?"

"Hm?"

"To drink? Your usual?"

"Of course, thank you, Quinto."

"Where's your head? Oh dear God, did you see Marisol?" Brad's head whipped about, scanning the room with utmost haste, causing Topher to chuckle.

"No, just thought this might prove a more interesting spot." Sparing a glance toward the goth-dressed ball of fire, he listened to her conversation with an attractive, well-dressed man who had the skin the color of dark roasted coffee with a touch of cream. That's when he noted her accent and realized she was American, piquing his interest even more.

Leaning back in his seat, he pulled out a cigarette, since they were on the patio, and hunted for a lighter.

* * * *

Smoke wafted toward Courtney's face and she coughed. Ugh. This was one of the things she hated about sitting outside. She desperately wished to move but anyone else could light up as well, and inside was full, so she grinned and bared it.

"Is that ok by you?"

Shit. She'd let her mind wander. "Sorry, I missed that. Will what be ok?"

"Really, Courtney? Can you not stay focused for five minutes? I said, we could go from the reading/signing tomorrow to your meeting at your British publisher, to lunch with your Agent, Jenna. She wishes to talk to you about something special."

"Can't she just use the phone like everyone else? Why did she come all the way to London?"

"No idea. She wouldn’t say. It was very cryptic. Even I have no idea what this is about."

"Fine. We can do that. As long as I get to go to see the Grundy’s before we leave. I’ve not seen Jan and Peter in over a year."

"Of course."

Smoke wafted over again and this time her mild asthma slapped at her, causing her to cough hard. "You'd think the Brits would have discovered the e-cigs before the Americans since they claim to be so ahead of us."

"It's just not as satisfying," came a beautiful, British man’s voice from her right. "If I'm going to misbehave, I should do it right."

Almost swallowing her tongue, she set her shoulders to confront who’d spoken to her. Turning, she found herself face to face with a handsome man with short black hair, well-defined cheekbones, and light blue eyes that had a lazy yet sharp look to them.

He seemed familiar but Courtney couldn't place him so she spoke frankly. "Satisfying? So causing asthma to flare up on people around you, polluting the air, and causing cancer in both yourself and those around you is satisfying. Good to know."

"Courtney―" Mal warned.

She put a hand up to cut him off and thought she say him cross himself. She'd been looking for a fight with someone, anyone, for days for no particular reason except for the fact that she was exhausted, homesick, exasperated with men, and tired of being on someone else's schedule. And here she was being handed one.

"It's all well and good if you wish to kill yourself, but the rest of us would like to live a long life where we can breathe, thank you very much."

The man inhaled on his cigarette and blew smoke up into the air, blowing rings at the end.

"Oh lovely, death by a talented mouth. Cause that makes it all ok."

"Ma’am, if you wanted to discuss my talented mouth all you had to do was ask..."

The blonde man, who had obviously come with the smoking gentleman, laughed and attempted to turn it into a cough when Courtney’s gaze nailed him like an icepick.

She heard Mal mutter, "You walked into that one."

Courtney flicked her icy glare to him for a brief second. She refused to back down or be embarrassed, though she was sure her cheeks were a bit pink. "Ha ha. And darlin', I'd not want anything to do with a mouth that tastes like an ashtray...no matter how talented the owner thinks it is."

Mal, looking a bit green, leaned over toward them. "Mr. Matthews, I'd like to apologize for Courtney's lack of tact. We'll just be going."

Mr. Matthews? Where had she heard that name before? It was on the tip if her tongue.

"Please, call me Topher. And no worries, she’s just speaking her mind. It's refreshing."

A string of swear words whipped through her head as she realized who she was being snarky with. Only one of the most well-known British actors out at the moment. His hair was different, which is why she'd not recognized him. He was known for brown curls he wore a touch long, so his current short, straight, black hair, caused him to look completely different.

Courtney downed the rest of her drink. "Mal, I am ready to―"

"Have another drink,” Topher said with a wink. “Ella, excellent timing as always. Courtney seems to be out of her drink. If you'd be so kind to get her another on my tab?"

With a nod, the waitress disappeared.

Courtney fumed. "I don't need another drink. I am going to head back to my room, where I can let you die of cancer in peace." She stood, but found a long leg propped on the low table, blocking her best route of escape.

"I'll put this out if you'll stay for the drink. Deal? Besides, I do not have a taste for the Ka-boom’s; it would be a waste of alcohol."

Courtney grinned. "Oh, I'm sure any of the women in here who would be happy to have you buy her a drink."

“Maybe, but I don’t want their company, I want yours.”

An involuntary stomach jump at this compliment took her off guard as Ella handed the drink directly to her versus setting it on the low table. Topher took a last hit on his cig and hovered it above the ashtray, raising an eyebrow at Courtney in challenge.

She had the power here now that she looked at it. She could cause him to put out a cigarette by just drinking a beverage bought for her. So she held his gaze just long enough to make it appear as if she may not comply, stepped back, sat, and took a drink.

Topher put out his cigarette, blowing the smoke out away from her. "There then. Now, tell me, Courtney...?"

"Behrent," Mal said before she could lie.

"Tell me, Miss Courtney Behrent, why are you so adamant against smoking?"

"Common sense."

He laughed. "Touché. Other than that, then."

"Why does there need to be another reason?"

He sipped his scotch and said, "Because, like your hair, you are on fire about it. It's not a passing issue. Which begs the question, is it real, by the way?"

"Of course my hate of smoking is real."

Topher genuinely laughed loudly. "No, firecracker, your hair color. Though, temperament as proof, I should have no wonder...unless it’s just you being a woman―"

"Because I'm a woman? Seriously? Screw you and your sexist attitude, Mr. Mathews." She drank of her drink heavily.

"No need to get your knickers in a twist, red...I was simply stating how women have a tendency to speak out more rashly about things they are passionate about. I do so love passion in a woman, don't you Brad?"

"Oh, how I do," his blond friend said, playing along.

"Maybe women near you just can't help but get pissed off," Courtney countered.

Topher leaned into her space, making her already elevated pulse, jump. He was so beautiful in person and his blue eyes were so intent on her, that she had to focus on settling her elevated heart rate.

"Or maybe," he said, "I just have you feeling passionate. I can see you're flushed, attracted, and pent up. I sincerely would like to help you out."

"Oh. My. God!” Courtney said, standing up, switching her drink to her left hand so she could motion at him with her right, as it was closest. “Did you just...as if I'd...with a man who obviously thinks so much if himself he can just ask me to bed and I'd go."

He stood as well, slowly, as if taking her in before his tall frame loomed over her, just barely into her personal space, making it slightly intimate. “I think the lady doth protest too much,” he said with a wink and a grin as he reached out and played with the ends of her hair at her shoulder.

Courtney placed her free palm on his chest to hold him back, or so she told herself, and drank more because, damn him, he was right. Yet, before she could retort, a group of young women advanced upon them. All of which were tall, Barbie-like, and they took over the small space before Courtney could collect herself.

"Is this whore giving you trouble, Topher? We could make sure she's removed."

"Bloody hell," Topher muttered, stepping away and taking a seat. "Victoria, this is none of your business. Please go play with your Daddy's money elsewhere." He crossed one leg over the other, shooing her with one hand, as he took a drink with the other, trying to look nonchalant. If not for a noticeable tightness around his eyes and mouth giving him away, he’d have pulled it off.

The closest young woman to her, the woman Courtney assumed to be Victoria, suddenly whipped her head back as if struck and screamed like a stuck pig, pointing at Courtney. "She punched me! Did you girls see that? She hit me! Bouncer!"

Courtney’s mouth dropped open for a second in shock before saying, "I didn't even touch you! What are you talking about?"

The young woman waved at something to Courtney's left. Turning, she saw Quinto and two enormous men, dressed in black, coming her way.

Mal moved close enough to protect Courtney from the approaching security, as people began to stare, and slid an arm between the girls and her. “I think it would be best if―”

"This whore punched me! I demand she be removed," Victoria said, holding her right cheek as if it pained her.

Courtney sighed. "You have quite an imagination, Blondie. Anyone other than your posse will tell them I didn't touch you. Besides, if I'd punched your right cheek, as we stand now, it would've had to be with my left hand. First off, I'm right handed. Secondly, I have a drink I my left. I'd have spilled my drink, and as you can see, I have not. It's all in the details. You really ought to learn to pay attention."

This evoked a squeal of rage from Victoria as she attempted to reach for Courtney, Mal being the only thing keeping them apart, as more people around them began to pull out smart phones.

Quinto looked to Topher, who still sat in his spot, looking frustrated. "Mr. Matthews, did you see Ms. Behrent strike this girl?"

"Sadly I did not. I was sitting and was blocked by Victoria’s flock of followers. But I bet it would've been excellent. God knows Victoria deserves it," he said, his tone like acid on his last sentence.

Victoria, with a hand on her supposed injury, said, "As a regular celebrity who spends a lot of money here, and draws business, who are you going to believe, me or this fashion travesty from America?"

Quinto didn't hesitate. He looked at Courtney and said, "Let's go, ma'am. You need to leave the establishment."

"What? I didn't hit anyone!"

Topher set his drink down and stood. "Quinto, this isn’t necessary. There's no proof she hit her. You know Victoria just likes a scene."

Quinto paused in his decision, as if reconsidering.

"Courtney, let’s just go," Mal suggested.

"If you don't toss her out," Victoria spat, "I'll take to social media like it’s my religion." When Topher opened his mouth, she added, "About all the secrets."

Courtney saw heated anger spread across Topher's face so she appealed to him. "Tell them I wouldn't have hit her and I had no reason to."

He held Victoria's eye for a moment, then, with a sort of resignation, he picked up his smokes. With a grimace, he lit a cigarette, and said to Courtney, "She did call you a whore...twice."

"You son of a bitch," Courtney said, almost privately, just before a guard grabbed her left arm. "Get your hands off me!"

Courtney pulled away as the bouncer let go, causing the contents of her drink to launch up, out, and into Topher's face, dousing his cigarette in the process, and causing Victoria and her fem-bots to lose it. Brad stepped up to get involved and a security guard grabbed her. Pulling her away, Courtney used a swift defensive move she'd learned from her research fight work and training, freeing herself from his hold. She dashed under his reaching arm and walked back for her purse.

Snatching it up, she made sure her steely stare slammed into Topher for a second, and then she spun to leave on her own. Once her back was to them all, Courtney heard Victoria call her a coward and a whore again. Knowing she was at just the right distance, she freed up her right hand, and with the swiftness of training, spun about, the back of her open hand stopping just inches before landing a blow to Victoria's right cheek.

Lowering her hand, the room went silent. "That's how I'd have hit you if I stooped to your level. Thing is, I just feel sorry for you." Courtney turned to let the guards take her, one on each arm and switched her focus to Topher. "I'm sorry about the drink." With a pause and a sly grin, she added, "Sorta."

He opened his mouth to say something, but the guards turned her away before she saw or heard what he said.

As they hauled her out, she laughed, and said to Mal, "Well, you wanted an exciting night with celebrities."

"Lovely. Just lovely, Court.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

First Chapter of Moon Over Manhattan


In honor of the announcement of the partnership between me and Inbeon Studios to create Moon Over Manhattan the comic/graphic novel, here is the opening of the book. Enjoy! -Tamsin :)

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Denika Petrovskii ripped a piece of her black tank top off and tied it around her upper thigh where it still bled. Seeing no further movement below, she sheathed her sword across her back and jogged across the hill towards her second in command, Cashus. With an under the breath oath, she picked up her second sword and looked out into the night, keen blue eyes scanning the shadows.

“Just surveillance, just bloody surveillance, is what you said. Why can’t anything be simple when you’re involved?” Cash said as he knelt to the ground to pick up his gun.

“Har har…come on, let’s see if we can round up any wounded stragglers who will talk, this op might not be totally blown if I can—” her eyes caught movement in the distance below. A dark figure was using the shadows to slink along without detection. He had a slight limp, which explained the slow, deliberate movement. Denika didn’t know how he’d gotten that far ahead of them but she wasn’t happy about it. “Speaking of, there’s one getting away,” she stated, tone thick with frustration as she pointed at the hobbling figure moving through the playground.

“Not for long.” Cash pulled a new clip from his back pocket and slammed it into the gun. Shoving his mess of blonde hair out of his eyes, he looked at Denika’s leg, “You still bleeding? Sure you can handle this boss? I mean, I’m sure I can do this without you if you need to sit this one out.” He stood, a wide grin filling his handsome face.

“Ha! Nice try. Now quit screwin’ with your gun and let’s go. That is, if you can keep up,” she added with a daring smirk on her face as she slid the second of her two swords into the secure back harness. Without waiting for his comment, she ran at full speed to the edge of the twenty-five foot hill and leapt into the air, landing squarely on her feet in the grass below. Without pause she ran in the direction of the hobbling man who may have the answers she needed.

Denika heard Cash followed suit, landing behind her only seconds later. After hurdling one seeding fence after another she reached the stretch of lawn leading up to the tall fence surrounding Heckscher Playground of Central Park.

“He’s heading up Umpire Rock!” Cash said to her mentally.

“No shit,” she replied mentally. Did he think his eyes were better than her’s? Arrogant ass.

Halfway to the fence a gun went off. Even using a silencer, her werewolf senses heard it and her trained reflexes saved her another wound. Twisting her left shoulder down and back as the bullet zipped past, she watch as it embedding itself in the tree behind her.

“Goddess!” Denika gasped and then saw something worse than a bullet. Two dark figures appeared out of nowhere behind her second in command. “Cash! Behind you!”

He whipped around, pulling his long sword out in the same move. She heard metal upon metal before she saw it. Reaching behind she started to pull out one of her swords to assist. Two steps into moving toward him, three more dark figures dropped from the tree branches above to stand between her and Cash. Two turned towards her and one headed for her Beta.

“At your seven, Cash!” she yelled out and then looked at the two large men in front of her. Denika knew she looked like easy pickings to these two due to her small stature. Smiling, she unsheathed the second sword from her back. They were in for a surprise. “I really have somewhere else to be. Can we schedule this for later?” They both drew swords. “Well, if you insist.”

Denika advanced on the two men with immense speed, a sword grasped firmly in each hand. Being ambidextrous had its benefits, and in seconds, both her swords collided with theirs and she was spinning about with them. Both of her swords were made of a lightweight silver-steel compound. This meant that no matter if her opponents were human or werewolf, a slice from her sword would cause a wound that wouldn’t heal right away. Much like her current leg wound. Question was, were they wielding steel or silver-steel?

Denika knew she needed to go after the primary target, not deal with these two. Not only that, but if Cash killed his attackers before she killed hers, she’d never hear the end of it. Cash wasn’t ambidextrous, but he was extremely strong and fast, so much in fact, that it almost evened them out talent wise.

Lightning fast, she blocked one man and then the other, glancing then over towards Cash for a split second to make sure he was all right. This gave one attacker the opening he needed and she felt a sword tip slice her exposed stomach and then an arm, bringing her full attention back to her own situation. Without looking, she could feel the wounds begin to heal immediately. This was the benefit of being both a werewolf and of royal blood. It also told her that the swords were strictly just steel.

Denika arced both swords on an inward then out, knocking her opponents steel out of her way so that with a swift change of balance she was able to arch, and flip backwards. Coming round, she kicked out, landing a boot in each of their faces. The two goons fell backwards, giving her the break she needed to head toward the primary target.

She bolted at full speed to the right, following the fence, hoping to get closer to the rocks. Problem was, they were still close on her heels; too close. As they gained on her, a slew of Russian curse words escaped her mouth. As strong, agile, and fast as Denika was for her height, when fighting her own kind it didn’t change the fact that her legs just weren’t long enough to outrun them without more of a lead.

Slowing down so they would be almost on top of her, she veered to a tree to her left, ran up it a few steps, and pushed off of it to flip her body up and over to land behind them. Once her feet hit the ground she didn’t hesitate to shove one sword through the back of the man on her right. He howled out in pain as the other man came at her from the left.

With the right sword stuck in her other attacker, Denika swung her left to block the second man’s sword, planting a swift kick to his midsection with both feet. The man flew backwards as she and the wounded man fell to the ground. She twisted the sword and pulled it out, causing blood and tissue to fly out of the hole in the man’s back. Denika turned to see her second attacker had found his feet and now rushed toward her.

“Goddess, I don’t have time for this!” she grunted while coming up to her knees.

Swinging both swords in a parallel motion, she pivoted out of his way at the last moment, smashing the swords into his knees. The man fell, twisting to attempt to smash his sword into her head. Denika lay back as the sword skimmed over her before he hit dirt, rolling a few times.

Jumping up, Denika grasped one of her swords with both hands and with one, swift, downward motion, severed his head from his body. With a loud exhale of relief, she turned to look for Cash.

He wasn’t more than twenty feet from her. One of his assailants was already dead on the ground while his second attacker had Cash in a chokehold. The man was easily fifty pounds heavier in muscle as well as a half-foot taller than Cash and if it had been anyone else, she’d have rushed to assist.

“Need some help?” Denika called out as she collected her other sword and ran toward him.

“Naw, I got this,” he choked out. “Stay back!”

“Well then, quit screwin’ around, we gotta go!” she yelled back, hiding a smile. Nothing spurned her Beta on like attitude.

“Do I look like I’m screwin’ this dude?” he grunted out, his hands on the man’s arm, trying to pull it from his throat.

“Well, from the right angle…” she joked.

“Oh, you’re funny. Hilarious even.”

“But really, we have things to do, so if you want help…”

He rolled his eyes, “Give me a second.”

With a guttural yell, he squatted and flipped the man over his head with a spin, causing the man to land face down in the dirt. Cash spun, grabbed his sword that was sticking out from the ground, and as the man got up to his knees Cash arced the sword, connecting with the man’s chin, slicing upwards on an angle until it exited the top of his head.

“See? All done,” he said as the man tipped over.

Denika sheathed her swords across her back. “‘Bout time! Let’s go!” Without waiting, she ran at the tall playground fence, planted her hands on the flat top of one of the posts, and flipped herself over, landing steadily inside the playground. Trusting that Cash would follow, she barreled forward, touching the device on her throat and saying, “We need clean up just outside Heckscher Playground.”

A voice came back in their earpieces, “We have a little bit of turbulence over here ourselves. I’ll call it in though.”

“Anything you guys can’t handle, Marlen?”

“We’re fine. Phin and Liam seem to be getting it under control. How many you got, boss?”

“Hell, four on the ground, possibly twice that on the rock?” she guessed.

“I’ll contact The Squad.”

Denika ran across the cement bridge that led from the playground to the large, mostly flat, rock. “Good. We’re at Umpire Rock trying to snag a straggler. Over-n-out.” Denika stopped and sniffed the air.

She could smell blood, and not just hers. It was close to her and seemed to go to the left. She motioned for Cash to go to the right. He shook his head and touched his nose as he pointed toward the trail she’d noticed. Obviously, he could smell the blood trail too and wanted to go that way.

She shook her head once and pointed for him to go to the right. He was pissed but as Beta, he didn’t have a choice but to obey the Alpha of the pack. Besides, he knew it was a better to come at the man from both sides. He turned and went around one way and she the other.

Pulling one sword out, Denika quietly and gracefully moved around the side of the rocks, staying as hidden as possible. The blood trail seemed to disappear once she was on the other side. Tucking her dark curls behind her ear to get them out of her eyes, she crouched down to get a better whiff.

The smell of blood stopped because, simply enough, so had the blood trail. Either he stopped to wrap the leg when they were fighting his fellow goons or he had jumped. If he’d cleared the rest of the rocks and picked up running wherever he landed she’d need to try and find where the blood trail picked up somewhere out there in the dark.

“Damn it, where is a blood sucker when you need one?” she whispered.

Werewolves could follow blood and scent easily, like a dog. However, a break in the trail made it hard to pick up unless you know which direction they headed, which she didn’t. A vampire, on the other hand, could follow the scent of the body’s essence itself as well as the heat trail they left behind.

The wind picked up and she put her nose in the air to sniff. Grinning, she mentally thanked Gaia for the wind as it helped her pick up his scent. Denika began to head in that direction, staying low to the ground and in the darker shadows when she spotted Cash, walking out into the open on the right side of the flat rock, his blonde hair catching the light. A shot rang out. She dropped to the ground but watched as Cash took a bullet to the shoulder, then to the thigh before he went down.

“Cash!” she screamed out and ran for him, staying low.

Another shot fired. It came from up in the trees somewhere out in front of them. They were sitting ducks on the rock. She had to re-maneuver their position. When she reached Cash, she saw he was bleeding badly, but trying to get up.

“Stay down!”

A gunshot fired off again. This time she rolled just in time, the bullet hitting the rocks near her knee, causing rock to spray her, cutting her here and there. “Damn!” Denika touched the device on her throat again. “Mayday mayday—we got shots fired at us at Umpire Rock. Beta has been shot, repeat, Beta shot! Need back-up!”

She sheathed her sword and got both her hands under Cash’s arms to pull him over to a huge crevice.

“Leave me here, go after him,” Cash said.

She pulled him a bit further. “I’m not leaving you here.”

“You called for help now go!”

“The hell I will!” she said, pulling him a few more feet to the side. A gunshot fired off, missing them again. “Jeez!”

“I’ll lay cover fire down for you—go!”

“Not till we pull those bullets out of you!” she said, and as random shots hit the rocks. Adrenaline kicked in and with one last pull she rolled all two hundred plus pounds of him into a large crevice and then jumped in after him, both now fully obscured from the sniper. Helping him sit up, his back against the rocks, Denika squatted next to him to check his wounds.

“I’m fine,” he grumbled.

“Fine my ass. Hold still.” she looked at his shoulder as panic pressed on her chest. With a quick realization that the shoulder bullet was out she took a deep breath. “This is a through and through.” She ripped off another piece of her black tank, just as she’d done for herself earlier, and tied it under his arm and around the shoulder tight.

“Ouch! Damn it, boss!”

“Gotta stop the bleeding. Must be silver rounds. Bastards.” Denika looked at his leg, ripped off another strip of material, and handed it to him. Any more wounds and she might as well take off her tank and fight in her bra, she thought first, then said, “I trust you can get that bullet out of your leg and tie this yourself?”

His green eyes flashed with irritation. “Of course I can! Now get where you can fire on this asshole.”

Denika wore two guns, one on each leg. She pulled the one from the right thigh harness and checked that it was loaded. “Cover me while I get to that tree.”

She scooted over to the edge of the crevice opening at the far side of rock, waited for him to fire a few rounds. As he lay down cover fire, Denika ran the twelve feet to the closest tree, which was directly across from the crevice.

Seeing a window of opportunity, Denika poked her head around and squeezed off a few shots herself before retaliating back behind the tree as a shower of silver bullets filled the air.

“Cash, you got those heat sensor shades?”

“Yes, ma’am, I do!”

“Toss ‘em here!”

He dug them out of his side pocket. “Ya know, last time you broke my pair.”

“Wa wa wa…toss ‘em here, big man.”

“I’ll use ‘em! I got a shot from here.”

“He’s too far to the left for you to have a clear shot. I’ve got a clean one from this angle and you know it. Now give ‘em here.”

Denika heard a grumble and then something landed on her foot. She bent down and felt them lying by her toe. She snatched them and slid them onto her face. Sticking her head around the tree again, bullets rained down on them.

“Son of a bitch, he’s got an automatic sniper rifle with silver bullets and a partial silencer! Who the hell is this guy?” Cash yelled over the gunfire.

“No idea, but silencer or no, if this keeps up someone will hear and alert the good ol’ NYPD and we can’t be havin’ that! I’m gonna end this. You ready to cover me?”

“Always.”

“On the count—one, two, three!”

Cash twisted himself about, slipping out just enough to see, and began to fire off a bunch of shots toward the tree, giving Denika the chance to step out from her protecting tree, take a firm stance, and aim a solid shot for the sniper without being fired upon.

Looking up into the trees she quickly spotted his heat signature, glowing at her from about thirty feet up in a tree to the left. She took aim, squeezed off a few rounds, and watched as the glowing body reacted to the bullet and fell from the tree. After the thud of body to ground, all was silent.

“Well done, boss!”

Denika let out a sigh of relief, leaned against the tree, and listened for a moment. She’d not wanted to kill him and secretly she hoped her usually perfect aim hadn’t been. She couldn’t question him if he was dead.

Since she heard nothing moving, Denika went over to Cash as she slid the glasses up on top of her head. “I’m going to go out for a look.” She looked down at his leg; it wasn’t wrapped yet and was bleeding all over the rocks. Taunting him with a grin she asked, “Do you need me to go get your mommy to pull that silver out for you?”

“Oh screw you. Been a bit busy, thank you very much.”

“Well, now you’re not. Get that silver out of there and wrap it up. I’ll be right back.” The longer the silver bullet was in his tissue the more it would hurt, the sicker he’d feel, and there was a larger chance it would do permanent damage.

His hand grabbed her ankle. “Where you goin’?”

“I need to see if he’s alive or not. I’ll be right back.”

“Wait for back up, boss.”

“He’s laying out where anyone can see him, Cash. I need to move him. Take care of your leg. That’s an order.” She stepped out of his hold and away from the rock’s protection.

“Damn it, Denika, get back here!”

She moved out into the open and saw no one else around but the shooter who lay unmoving on the cement path on the other side of the seeding fence that the tree he’d been in bumped up against. She sniffed the air and smelled no one but herself, Cash, and the guy from the tree. However, if someone approached from downwind she wouldn’t smell them. Because of this, she moved quickly to the man lying on the ground.

Denika hurdled a seeding fence, high tailed it across the grass, and over the next seeding fence to the cement path with a curse. This all would be easier if Central Park didn’t fence off their grass like it was an animal at the zoo to be stared at in wonder.

Denika crouched down and touched his neck. His pulse was slow and though injured, he was alive. Quickly she realized how many lampposts were in the area. With a grunt, she lifted the huge man to a sitting position, leaning his side against the fence.

As she finished, she noticed a couple, holding hands, walking towards them. Damn it! They must’ve been walking around the park. Who does that this late?” she thought.

Still in a squat, she slipped her gun behind her and turned to faced them. Relying on the glamour spell on her swords to work, Denika looked up at the couple with a smile. “He can’t hold his liquor even at his weight! He’ll be embarrassed tomorrow!” she laughed.

Without offering to help, they veered in the opposite direction and hustled out of the park. This didn’t surprise her. Humans may not see the danger of her world, but they could sometimes feel it. Once the humans were out of sight, Denika focused on her captive, more specifically she examined the leg and began to curse again. He didn’t have a leg wound. This wasn’t the man they had been chasing.

“Looking for me?”

She spun about. There sat a man, on the green bench, looking very relaxed. He had one leg crossed over the other like her dad use to do, his right arm draped along the back of the bench, and a gun in his left hand directly pointed at her head. This man had an injured leg. This was their guy.

Problem was he now wore a black ski mask. It had a mesh that covered the mouth and eyes as well, making it impossible to know who it was.

“Drop your gun,” his deep voice said, obviously modified by something in his mask.

“You first,” she said with a smile. He pulled the hammer back on the old revolver and she cursed in Russian under her breath, dropping her gun to the ground.

“Kick it away.”

Instead, she stood up. It was a better tactical advantage. “Who do you work for?”

He laughed. “Kick it!”

“Fine fine—” Denika said and kicked her gun across the path into the dirt of the kickball diamond.

He motioned for her to raise her hands so she did, lacing her fingers behind her neck. She figured if she could keep him talking, the rest of her team would be here in moments and they would take him down.

“You know, your friend here isn’t fatally wounded, you can still take him and go.”

The man turned his gun briefly and shot the man in the head. “Not anymore.” He turned his gun quickly back on Denika.

“You kill me and you’ll have the whole Order after your ass.”

“I wouldn’t bet on that.”

“Why? Who do you work for? I’ll pay you double what they are. We can make a deal.”

He coughed out a laugh and then stood as he said, “You talk a lot.”

A shot rang out and grazed the man’s arm. It would’ve hit him in the back if he’d not moved at the last minute.

“Tell me about it!” a voice said from behind the mystery man. It was Cash. He’d somehow gotten enough strength in his leg to totter out into the open, like the fool he was.

Cash fired two shots at the man but he dodged them both, his movements lighting quick. The third shot, however hit home as it embedded in the right side of his chest. Reeling backwards, he fired upon Cash, who ducked behind the sniper’s tree. Once he saw he’d missed, the man in the mask started to run towards Central Park West.

If he reached that road, he’d snag a cab and they’d lose him. She couldn’t let that happen. Denika headed towards her gun and stooped to pick it up when another shot rang out. She heard Cash yell out her name, but as she stood up she felt a bullet go through her chest. Another hit the left side of her head and she went down.

“Denika!” Cash yelled. Suddenly his face was above hers. “It’s just a grazing on your head—hang in there—I can hear Marlen coming with the team.” He touched his throat. “Mayday, Alpha down,” he choked out, his voice catching. “Alpha has been hit—Marlen get your ass over here now! Path by the kickball field.”

“Shit. On my way. Hang on!” came Marlen’s voice in their earpieces.

She could feel blood on her face and a warm sensation at her back that told her blood was pooling out under her onto the blacktop. She reached up to grab Cash’s glasses from the top of her head. “I didn’t break them this time,” Denika tried to grin.

He took the shades from her. “You crazy woman, I don’t care about the—”

She coughed and tasted blood as the pain finally hit her. She opened her mouth to wail but the pain was so encompassing, she found it stuck in her throat as a silent scream erupted from her, eyes wide as she curled in on herself.

Cash’s hand grasped her. “Hang in there Denika—just hang on!” He took her hands for her to squeeze, which she did until it all went dark.

ANNOUNCING: New Artist on board for Comic/Graphic Novel of Moon Over Manhattan


I'm SO excited to finally get to tell you all that I am partnering up with Inbeon Studios to turn my book, Moon Over Manhattan, into a comic book/graphic novel!

As you all know, just over a year ago, the graphic novel project for this book got put on hold when artist, Ana Catris from the UK, had to pull from the project due to getting a ton of acting work. Not a bad thing. I was SO happy for her! But I needed a new artist. So then I met Eric Hutchison when I was in Boston (for the spring Comic Con that never happened until summer), then he was near my booth at New York Comic Con, then he was right next to my table at the HBO thing...so I was like, this is meant to be, let's talk.

Come to find out, we have the same background on werewolves and so I sent Eric the first four chapters of the novel and he was excited to be involved...and I was like, "whew!" cause his work is fantastic!

That all said, as of last night's meeting, the ball is rolling and we're making announcements and posting our first pic...

Here it is, the first drawing of the main female role, Denika, in her human form and her four legged/wolf form!

Art by Eric Hutchison























I'm really in love with this. I hope you all will get more excited as we post more stuff on this project. Stay tuned here...or on my Facebook page, where you'll see stuff first, especially if you follow Inbeon Studios Facebook! They post great stuff a lot!

And before anyone asks, yes, Lauren Steinmeyer, who plays Skye in Skye of the Damned, is the model for this character. In fact, I wrote Moon Over Manhattan in 2010 and that's how/when I met Lauren...when an odd chain of events ended with her becoming the model for Denika. At the time I had no idea she was an amazing actress, or that I'd get asked to do a web series that she'd headline, or...that she'd become like a sister to me. Life is funny that way. :)

-Tamsin

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Back vs. Elevator Pitch


While I prepare for a writers conference this upcoming weekend, I am creating what are called Elevator Pitches. These are short blurbs about the book I wish to pitch to an agent/editor in person. I will do my best to memorize them, but I'll have note cards with me in case my nerves get the better of me. :)

I thought maybe it would help others if I showed you the differences between them. Below is the difference for my Urban Fantasy novel, Moon Over Manhattan. I'll post the difference for my Contemporary Romance as well. With that one, the change is more drastic.

Starting with MOON OVER MANHATTAN...

BOOK BACK (131 words)

The Hybrid War has ended. Peace has come to The Clandestine World. Or has it?

When your father is arrested for working with the Russian Mafia and your brother picks up where he left off, threatening to ruin the new life you've created, what do you do?

You lie.

Once the daughter of the Royal Family of Werewolves, who were banished from favor, Denika Petrovskii must find her own way, concealing who she really is. But when a friend of her father's appears with information of an attack on both the city of New York and the new King of the Clandestine World, she must decide to help or hide. Can she get involved without exposing who she really is, or will she be discovered, losing everything she's worked so hard for?

They thought the war was over.

They were wrong.

ELEVATOR PITCH (74 words)

Once the daughter of the Russian Royal Family of Werewolves, who were banished from favor, Denika Petrovskii has built a new life in New York, concealing her past. But when a friend of her father's proves her brother is behind an attack on the new King of the Clandestine World and the city, she must decide to help or hide. Can she get involved without being discovered and losing everything she's worked so hard for?

Now for DUALITY OF SURRENDER. Here's the difference:

BOOK BACK (171 words)

When newly discovered, Urban Fantasy author, Courtney Behrent causes a scene in an upscale club in London, involving the up-and-coming actor, Topher Matthews, she attracts the unwanted attention of both the media and Mr. Matthews. A relationship ignites but when a fan puts their lives on the line, she must decide if this is the kind of life she wants.

Rising British star, Topher Matthews, has put a wall between his fame and his troubled past with loyal friends and adoring fans who don't understand how unhappy he is. Then he meets Courtney and he is completely taken with her. Placing himself in her path, he must learn to surrender to her and his past in order to find the balance he needs.

Two people, slowly losing who they used to be, are swamped by the duality of their multiple personas. Can they save each other from self-destruction as well as from the physical threat of fans who wish to harm them for not being who they want them to be?

ELEVATOR PITCH (106 words)

Newly discovered author, Courtney Behrent, accidentally causes a scene in an upscale club in London, involving up-and-coming actor, Topher Matthews, a man who has put a wall up between his fame and his troubled past. Yet when he meets Courtney, Topher finds himself drawn to her, attracting a media frenzy and plunging her into a world she's not sure she wants to be a part of. Then, when a rabid fan puts their lives in danger, Courtney must decide to stay or go...and Topher must fight for what he wants, for once in his life, and break down his wall with full surrender.

---------------------------------------------------

First off, HUGE props to Leanna Hieber for helping me cut down my clunky, 300 word Book Back for Duality of Surrender. With two people's stories to portray on the back of a book, I was WAY too wordy. What she helped me do is much better.

Secondly, I'm proud to say the elevator pitch versions were on my own in a coffee shop yesterday. :) If I'd been asked to do this even two years ago, I'd have been lost on how to convey things in a short fashion. The first person to really help me with a pitch line was John Hartness (the man, the myth, the legend) and between him, Faith Hunter, and Leanna, I can say this isn't getting easy, not by a long shot, but I'm getting the hang of it!

Are you trying to write an elevator pitch? A tag line? A blurb for the back of your book? Are you stuck? It's okay! Just keep plugging away at it. Ask yourself what about the story is interesting to you and then ask yourself what is important for someone to know. It can't be everything! Find one or two things you feel define the events that occur and focus on those for starters. As I'm not an expert, thats the best advice I can give you. But, it helped me...maybe it'll help you.

Hope you all had a productive weekend!

Best,

Tamsin :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

From "IDENTITY" (peak #2)


Atlanta sat not moving an inch, without breathing, or making a single sound. Not even a beat of a heart. It was if she wasn’t even there. Her prey, only a few feet away, lazily wandered the forest. If she inhaled, the smell of flesh would fill her, more specifically though, the blood would call to her. The sound of its heartbeat pounded in her ears like a drum of an Indian tribe.

Thump thump...thump thump.

It would only be moments until it would be close enough to take. Embrace. Drink. Just the thought made her throat hot and dry. She swallowed. Only a few more seconds.

Thump thump…thump thump.

It was time. Atlanta leapt from her position in the tree, and landed in front of her prey.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

From "IDENTITY" (peak #1)



The Identity I See
Is No Where Me
The Me I Wish I Could Be
Why Can't I Figure Out
Who I Am All About
I See People Who Have It All Together
Or At Least That's What It Seems
But Who Am I
Not Just Someone You Pass By
But A Person With Normal Feeling and Ties
Behind The Smiles And The Lies.
Who Am I
I Am To Be Continued
Cause You Didn't Understand The Previews
Guess You Have To Wait
I've Haven't Set A Date
So I'll Be She
The Me I Wish You Didn't See
Because She Isn't Me
The Me I Wish I Could Be

-Anonymous

Friday, March 7, 2014

What IS Vampire Sickness in the WINDFIRE Series?

Vampire Sickness

vam•pire sick•ness [vam-pahyuh r sik-nis]

noun

When a newly made vampire looses their soul for up to two years. During this period, they have no Episodic Memory while the Semantic and Procedural Memory stay intact. All made vampires go through this stage to earn their immortality. If the soul is not recovered and returned to the person in those two years, the body will slowly disintegrate until final death.