Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guest Author Amanda Steiger

Welcome to the blog and thanks for taking time to chat with us. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Dark Geist.

Dark Geist is my latest release from Liquid Silver Books. It’s a dark, gritty, fast-paced paranormal romance about a young telepath and a five hundred year old demigod who join forces to track down a vicious serial killer. It’s also the first novel-length m/m romance I’ve published.

Here’s the blurb:

After centuries of walking among humans undetected, the Children—immortal descendants of gods and goddesses—are disappearing. Smoky Striggs wants to get to the bottom of this mystery, but even with the brains he inherited from his ancestor, Athena, he can’t turn up any clues.

Then he overhears a psychic distress call from Felix, a gentle-natured young telepath who uses his powers to locate serial killers for the government. For months, Felix has been tracking a killer named Violet Haze. As Smoky learns more, he begins to suspect that Haze is connected to the Children’s disappearances. The only way to find answers is to capture her, and for that, he’ll need Felix’s help.

Soon Smoky is falling for his new friend, who reminds him of his dead lover from another century. Same red hair, same gorgeous blue eyes, same burning desire to help those in need, no matter the cost to himself. But Smoky’s sworn off mortals. They just don’t live long enough, and when they die, the heartbreak is too much.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been writing my entire life. Even when I was a little kid, I used to scribble down my story ideas in crayon. Telling stories is what I was born to do, and it’s great fun.

What gives you inspiration and draws you to this genre?

I’m inspired by lots of things, but I find that I draw a lot of inspiration from movies, TV shows and books. Seeing the fruits of other people’s creativity makes me want to be creative.

I’ve always loved the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal fiction. I like to explore worlds outside of everyday reality and ask “what if?” Almost everything I write has some element of romance in it, as well, because I love the passion and intensity of a good love story. Also, because romance is uplifting, more than any other genre. Even the darker romances leave you feeling emotionally satisfied at the end.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what music?

I usually write to silence, because it allows me to focus my whole mind on what I’m writing, but occasionally I find music helpful for setting a mood. Sometimes soft, melancholy piano, sometimes upbeat dance music—whatever fits the scene I’m working on.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

In real life, I’m rather quiet and shy.

Where can your readers learn more about you?

My books are available from Liquid Silver Books, Changeling Press, Torquere Press, and New Concepts Publishing. I also have a blog, Beyond Reality (http://thelastvisibledog.wordpress.com/).

What are you writing now?

I’m working on a science fiction novel, and also a paranormal romance called A Stranger Inside, which involves superheroes, supervillains, and a girl who has to learn how to control the demon inside her.

Do you have an excerpt from your Dark Geist that you’d like to share?

Here’s an excerpt from Dark Geist:

Fleecy, wet gray clouds blanketed the sky, and rain shellacked the pavement. A light mist settled onto Felix’s clothes and hair. He pulled up his hood and paused at the juncture between two streets. Normally he would keep walking: the El stop was just a half-mile ahead. But for some reason, he had an urge to turn left. From the corner of his eye, he glimpsed something bright and blue flitting through the air—a butterfly?—but when he turned his head, it was gone. He blinked. Trick of the light, he thought.
He resumed walking along his normal route. He needed to get home and rest his aching head…but something tugged the edge of his mind, like a hand pulling his own. The farther he walked, the harder it tugged. Felix touched his brow. He’d never felt anything like this. It wasn’t just the whisper of intuition. The word compulsion seemed more apt.
At last, giving in, he turned and followed the tugging sensation. Again, he glimpsed a luminous blue butterfly wheeling through the air. An instant later, it vanished. Frowning, he stared at the spot where it had been.
“I’m this way,” a voice said.
Felix gave a start and turned—the voice had spoken right next to his ear—but there was no one there. His pulse thrummed below his jaw. Just the thoughts of some passer-by, he told himself. Yet this voice was different from the countless others that filled his head whenever he went out; clearer, more real. Could it be? Was it him, the one who’d spoken to Felix earlier? No. No, he couldn’t allow himself to think that. Had to keep a grip…
“Don’t be afraid,” said the voice. “Come. This way.” For an instant, the words seemed to hang in the air like a wisp of smoke, then dissolved.
Felix kept walking, past an empty playground with a broken swing, past a record store with a panting sheepdog chained outside, past a little gift shop with porcelain baby dolls staring out of its window. Another butterfly flitted past his eyes. He reached out and closed his fingers around it, but it was like grasping fog. When he opened his hand, the butterfly wasn’t there.
He glimpsed it again, wheeling through the air a little farther ahead. The butterfly swooped low, drawing his gaze downward.
A lanky young man sat on a blanket on the sidewalk, dark, straight hair hanging around his face, a cigarette jutting from one corner of his mouth as he played a meandering tune on his guitar. He wore ragged jeans, the knees faded white and ripped, and a long-sleeved jacket, patched at the elbows and bleached by time to a pale gray. A battered coffee can sat in front of him, a handful of coins and a few singles on the bottom. The butterfly landed on his shoulder and vanished.
Felix opened his mouth, then shut it. What would he say? Excuse me, sir, was that your voice talking in my head? The guy would think he was crazy.
The man glanced up, plucked the cigarette from his mouth and blew a puff of smoke. He smiled, revealing a chipped front tooth. “Hi.”
Felix’s heartbeat quickened. It was that voice, he thought. The same voice that had spoken to him back in his apartment; that warm, husky tenor. Or did he just desperately want to believe it was the same? Maybe his imagination was playing tricks on him. God, he didn’t know what was real anymore. “Um…hi.” Felix bit his lower lip and glanced up at the gray sky. “It’s awfully cold,” he blurted out—mostly because he couldn’t think of anything else to say. “Are you okay in just a jacket?”
The man blew another puff of smoke into the air and placed the cigarette between his lips again. “I don’t mind this type of weather. A cold, wet day makes you appreciate warmth.”
Felix rubbed the back of his neck. “That’s true.”
The man kept plucking his guitar-strings, idly picking out a tune. Felix stood and listened. Something about the music cleared his thoughts, banished the fog from between his ears. The world seemed a shade brighter, sounds sharper and crisper. Absent-mindedly, he fished a few crumpled bills from his wallet and dropped them into the can. “What are you playing? It’s beautiful.”
The man glanced up and smiled again. He had high cheekbones, thin, dark brows and warm hazel eyes. “I’m just tuning it.”
“Oh.” Felix fidgeted, embarrassed. “Guess that shows how much I know about music.”
The musician put out the end of his cigarette between a thumb and forefinger—didn’t that hurt?—and stuffed it into his pocket. “Music isn’t meant to be understood,” he said, “it’s meant to be felt.”
Felix found himself watching the musician’s hands: long fingers, the tips shiny with calluses. A thin white scar ran across his knuckles. There was something almost hypnotic about the graceful way they waltzed across the strings.
“You like my hands?” he asked, gentle amusement in his voice.
“Huh? Oh. Sorry.” Warmth rose into Felix’s cheeks. “I didn’t mean to stare.”
The musician chuckled. “It’s okay. Want to hang around? If you have a few minutes, I’ll play you a real song. Or we could go get some coffee.”
“My treat. You look like you could use something warm to drink. And you can stare at my hands some more if you like.”
Felix’s flush grew hotter. “I wasn’t really. I was watching you play, that’s all.” I can’t hear his thoughts. The realization stunned him. He’d met people with noisy minds and people with quiet minds, but never someone whose mind was completely silent. He looked into those half-lidded eyes—tilted upward at the corners, like the eyes of a cat—and whispered, “Who are you?”
“Name’s Smoky. Smoky Striggs.”

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