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EXCERPT FROM BROKEN
by Traci L. Slatton (Parvati Press, 2014)

I am walking home in a cold dark night that follows a frigid winter of snowy, hopeless, dark nights. I am hurrying to arrive before the midnight curfew. It has been a little over eight months since the Germans marched in, and I am used to the curfew and restrictions, the bullying and the bureaucracy, the heavy, ominous feeling of being about to do something egregious for which I will be caught and cruelly punished. After a few moments, I grow aware of footsteps keeping pace with mine, like an acoustic shadow. I can feel a presence, a mind, a few minds, at my back. I am being followed.

I walk into La Coupole, to the bar. It is crowded with Germans, some in uniform, many not; they sit at tables with members of French society who are willing to socialize with them, and they stand around the bar, offering cigarettes and wine to French women. There is a band playing Beethoven, Wagner, and Bach.

“May I buy you champagne, Mademoiselle?” asks a young officer in very bad French. He is tall and broad-shouldered and blond of course, wearing the uniform of the Schutzstaffel.

“No, she is leaving,” says another soldier, tall and as slim as an adolescent. It is young Fritz, the guard from Knochen’s office, which is now at rue des Saussaies. Fritz is accompanied by another boyish German.

The first soldier chides him cheerfully in German, but Fritz shakes his head. He takes my arm, positioning himself between me and the back of the restaurant, blocking a specific line of sight. “He is here,” Fritz whispers into my ear. He angles his shoulder down, and I peer over it to see Knochen at a table with several conservative members of the French upper crust. They are jolly and well lubricated.

A strangled sound escapes me of its own volition.

Fritz jostles me ahead of him and out the door. His friend follows us and calls to him. Fritz leaves me and goes to speak to the other boy, leaning close, nearlycheek to cheek, and patting his shoulder. The other boy frowns but returns to the restaurant. Fritz rejoins me, and his young face is completely bland and unexpressive, like a doll’s ceramic head.

“Why is he here, just to amuse himself?” I ask breathlessly.

“No.He has a deeper motivation, as always. There is endless politicking about who will police Paris, the army or the Party,” Fritz tells me. “He has come up with a strategy whereby he frequents the Parisian salons and socializes with receptive members of the French elite. He is cultured you know, so they like him. He insinuates himself into their lives as a means of gaining information and control. He hopes to rise above the other would-be police chiefs that way.”

“I’m glad he didn’t see me.”

Fritz nods. “Are you going home? Shall I walk you there? It’s close to curfew, but no one will hassle you if you’re with me.”

“Thank you.” I don’t tell him that I was being followed. “You’ve been kind to me, Fritz. I am grateful.”

“I would hate for my sister to meet someone like Knochen,” he says, his baby face souring, as if he had sucked something tart and spoiled.

“Where is your sister?” I tilt my head in the direction of my street.

He nods and his face clears. “She is in our hometown, Amberg. In Bavaria. We have a small farm, and she helps our mother work it. I did, too, until I joined the army.”

“Your father isn’t around?”

“Died ten years ago. He was injured at Verdun and was never good afterward.” Fritz shrugs.

“I’m sorry.”

“He would have hated this, after his service to the Fatherland, what Hitler has done to Germany,” he confides in a low voice. He looks around to make sure we are alone on the street. It is an executable offense to speak aloud what he does. But he is heard only by the posters urging the French to volunteer for work in Germany.

“There must be many Germans who feel that way,” I answer, just as softly. I gesture for us to walk up rue du Montparnasse….

“They tell us to feel no pity for Jews. They tell us to feel no human mercy,” Fritz says in a voice of quiet anger. “I think such commands are inhuman. My father was the gentlest man I ever met. He showed pity and mercy for everyone, even for animals on our farm. He once nursed one of our horses for three days without sleeping through a bad bout of colic. When the depression took everything from everyone, he gave food to people who needed it. He used to read to me about Saint Francis who told us to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord showed mercy to tax collectors, prostitutes, and Samaritans. As He was tortured and crucified, He said, ‘Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.’ If we’re supposed to be like Him, doesn’t that mean we’re supposed to show mercy to everyone, too?”

I stop and slowly turn to face Fritz. “Yes. Jesus of Nazareth embodied mercy.”

“So why do the clergy watch Jews being led away, and say, ‘There go the Christ killers’?” Fritz bursts out, louder than he anticipated. He cranes his head around again, making sure we are alone. “They know, everyone knows, what is being done to Jews! And it will only get worse.”

 
 
SYNOPSIS
 
Power is pornographic.
Can love sustain light when the forces of evil close in?
Paris, 1939-1942. A fallen angel is trapped in the web of German Occupation. The deadly noose of Nazi control grows ever tighter, ensnaring her and two of her lovers, a bullfighter and a musician working in the fledgling Resistance. Can she save them and the Jewish widow and her child that she has come to love, or will betrayal take them all?
  Purchase BROKEN
 
The Author
Traci’s  Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Traci L. Slatton is a graduate of Yale and Columbia, and the award-winning, internationally published

author of books of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. She is also the founder of Parvati Press, an independent press which was recently recognized by the IRS as a

501(c ) (3) not-for-profit corporation.

She lives in Manhattan and her love for Renaissance Italy inspired her historical novel IMMORTAL, which was published around the world and achieved bestseller status in Italy, Russia, and Brazil. BROKEN tells the sensual, heart-rending story of a fallen angel in occupied Paris from 1939-1942. Her novel THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR is a contemporary romp through the art history byways of vampire lore. Her novelFALLEN is the first of the acclaimed romantic After Series set during the end times. Its sequel COLD LIGHT and Book 3 FAR SHORE further the dystopian tale. The quirky, bittersweet sci fi love story THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE seeks to answer the question: What worlds would you move for your soulmate?

DANCING IN THE TABERNACLE is her first book of poetry; PIERCING TIME & SPACE is a non-fiction look at the meeting of science and spirit. THE ART OF LIFE is a photo-essay of sculpture history and philosophy written with her husband Sabin Howard, whose work is also showcased.

 
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laurieLaury Falter is a bestselling author of young adult romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She has three series out: the Guardian Trilogy, the Residue Series, and the Apocalypse Chronicles.

Website: http://www.lauryfalter.com

Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/LauryFalter

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Laury-Falter/196033543803745

Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/lauryfalter

Q: Welcome to The Dark Phantom Review, Laury! Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Fallen. What was your inspiration for it?

A: In January 2009, Joyce Durham lost her battle to colon cancer. I am good friends with her daughter, Erika, who was then faced with the very difficult task of learning how to deal with the loss of her mother. Witnessing her struggle and that of the Durham family, I wished there was someone who could visit with those who had passed over to the other side and bring back messages to the living, reassuring them that all was fine with their loved one. And from it, Magdalene Tanner was born.

I went on to write FALLEN in just under two months, releasing it in March 2009.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: She visits the afterlife when she falls asleep, and she’s fully cognizant while doing it. She talks to others on the other side, passes through spirit’s realms, and trains to fight her enemies who are here on earth.

fallenQ: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I wrote after work (I worked in marketing before becoming a full-time novelist) and on the weekends, typically for several hours at a stretch. Three hours could pass and it would feel like twenty minutes. I finished Fallen in less than two months. It poured from me, directly onto the page. The only bump I faced was that I couldn’t write fast enough. My sister, who insisted I write the novel, continually pestered me for the next segment before it was done. And I thank her as often as I can for being such a pest.

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I walk. Regularly throughout the day, I’ll leave my novel and walk around the building, the block, etc. This always clears my mind and when my mind is clear the narrative that I’m stuck on comes to me in a rush. It’s a good rush.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: Never. I might have too much going on in my life (moving or a buildup of chores) that keeps me from focusing, but I’m never nervous about writing. It’s a release for me, a movie in my mind, so it is more of a vacation than anything else.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: I write, hard, for two to three months straight, never leaving my office darkened with blinds and drapes other than for sleep, food, and unavoidable necessities. During that time, sadly, I am void of family and friends. I live with my characters. But when the novel is finished, I open the doors, emerge into the sunlight, and rapidly fill up my calendar with visits to family and friends.

Q: How do you define success?

A: A healthy balance between all major parts of your life (social, romantic, financial, spiritual, etc) . In short, if you wake up with a fresh, invigorated expectation that the day will be a good one, you’re on the right path.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: Ignore them. Do what you want to do. It’s your life.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: He must have been having a bad day. Sure, writing can be challenging if you aren’t in the mood or have too many other responsibilities competing for your attention or you simply can’t get your head wrapped around the plot or a particular character. But to consider it painful sounds a bit melodramatic. My advice to him would be to grab a glass of wine, sip, and let it come to him.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: Nearly all of my young adult fantasy romance novels have been bestsellers on Amazon. Hopefully, you enjoy this genre and decide to give them a try. If you do, I hope you enjoy them!

About the Book

Fallen

Guardian Trilogy

Book 1

Laury Falter

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance

Publisher: Audeamus LLC

Date of Publication: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-9855110-3-6

 ASIN: B00280MFEY

Number of pages: 274 pages

Amazon

Fallen – the first book in the Guardian Trilogy…

Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger.

As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived.

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I am a new author with two published books to my credit. The Last Degree (DIP Publishing) was released last month. The book was inspired by my obsession with conspiracy theory. I am a Christian who believes in doomsday prophecy. I also believe there is a shadowy government that is running the world behind the proverbial curtain. The prime suspects are the Bilderbergs, Freemasons, Illuminati, Bohemian Club, and/or Club of Rome. Conspiracy theorists hold that the elite will reveal themselves once they organize the world under one government. This theory is called New World Order, and my novel links it to biblical prophecy. Crazy, right? I’m not alone. Some are much more serious about this line of thinking, going as far as constructing underground living quarters, preparing for the end.

My second book, Halo of the Damned, will be released on February 7th. Once again religion inspired me. This book isn’t as serious, but research still plays into the plot. I stumbled upon an article about the Yezidi religion many years ago. Part of their religion is about angel worshipping, particularly Malak Tawas, the peacock. This angel is known as Satan in the West. I mixed the obscure religion with my own cynical views of the advertising industry and turned it into a novel.

About the books:

The Last Degree: Secret societies plan for the first phase of New World Order. The novel is dedicated to all Birthers, Truthers, 2012ers, Tribulationists, and/or conspiracy advocates that question the inner circle of the elite.

Halo of the Damned: A fallen angel uses the advertising industry to gather souls for Satan.

Author’s Bio:

Dina Rae is a new author that is here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her research on the Yezidi religion and love of art inspired her story telling for Halo of the Damned.

Her other novel, The Last Degree, is a fictionalized account of the Freemason’s role in the New World Order. Dina’s grandfather was the Most Worshipful of his lodge. The subject has always held a personal interest.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is an avid reader, tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on conspiracy theories.

Link to author’s website or blog: dinarae.co
Twitter: @HalooftheDamned
Link to excerpt: dinarae.co
Link to purchase page: EternalPress.biz for Halo of the Damned and http://www.amazon.com/Last-Degree-Dina-Rae/dp/1937182053/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328143707&sr=8-1, dippub.com, Barnesandnoble.com for The Last Degree

Watch the trailer for Halo of the Damned

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My special guest today is Lauren Kate, author of Fallen. Kate grew up in Dallas, sent to school in Atlanta, and started writing in New York. She's also the author of The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove. She's currently working on the sequel to Fallen, Torment. Kate was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions.

Thanks so much for the interview, Lauren! Tell us, what was your inspiration for Fallen?

I got the idea for Fallen from a line in Genesis that describes a group of angels who were cast out of heaven for falling in love with mortal women. I started thinking about what it would be like to be a normal girl–suddenly the object of an angel's affection. What kind of baggage would an angel have? What would her very over-protective parents think? From there, this whole world unfurled in my head. Fallen angels, demons, reincarnation, and the war in heaven were all battling for a piece of the action.

I found the atmosphere in the book deliciously dark. How conscious do you have to be of language to create such an effect?

Thank you! It took me until the second draft of Fallen to realize that the setting was really another character in the story. At times, I struggled with those descriptions—like, how many times can I use the word “humid?”—but then, once I started to see how integral Savannah and Sword and Cross were to Luce’s storyline, I started to have more fun with it. Torment is set in an entirely different place, but I like to think the setting is just as relevant and important, and just as much fun.

Did you plot the story in advance or did the story and characters develop as you wrote?

I surprised myself by meticulously plotting out Fallen before I wrote it. Character descriptions, paragraph long synopses for each chapter, “big” endings, the whole deal. The outline (along with a few chapters) was shared with writer-friends, agents and/or editors at very early stages. And because the story was larger and more complicated than I’d first realized, I actually did revisions on the outline. Way more plotting than I’d ever done before.

At the end of plotting, when I was ready to plunge into the story, it was comforting to sit down every day and know I had to write a chapter where x happened, followed by y, and then z. But sometimes, it was also uninspiring. Suddenly, Y bored me, and Z felt really predictable. But it was in the outline, which fit together like a puzzle! What to do? Eventually, I realized there were days when I would have to loosen my leash from my outlines, to let the story adapt and change organically as I went along. This was a very good decision, and I think the book is stronger because of both my plotting and my plot-straying.

Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?

I love Arriane. The crazy ones are always the most fun, aren’t they? She is crazy, but she’s also smart and loyal and funny and will be very important to Luce over the course of the series.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this novel?

This is the first time I’ve written any kind of series and it was very, very different from my experience writing my first novel, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove. Because Luce’s story is so far-reaching and will take so long to tell, the challenge of the first book was doing all the work setting up the world of these characters. There were so many rules to invent, so many back-stories to keep straight, and so many plot twists to withhold from the reader for later books! All of that was a challenge, but I *think* it paid off for me as a writer. Because so much is already in place, Torment has been vastly easier to write than Fallen.

Did you keep a disciplined schedule? How long did it take you to write it?

I’ve become a strange sort of writing machine this year. It’s bizarre. In the past it’s taken me six years to get one draft of a novel out. I wrote Fallen in two months. Then, after my editor looked at it and gave me some suggestions, I spent another month revising it. That’s also been the case for Torment. There’s something about the urgency of Luce’s story that gets into me, and it all sort of tumbles out. It’s clumsy and at times agonizing, uninspiring work, but I do so much work in between the first and second draft that I’ve started to realize it’s okay. I have to get it all out first, and then I go back in later and make everything better—make the story more like what it wants to be.

Please share with my readers a bit about your road to publication. Was it easy or difficult?

Both! At first it was very difficult, and then it got a lot easier. I’ve been writing stories since high school, sending them out with hopes of publication since college. I published a story online here and there, never with much consequence. I moved on to write two novels that do nothing but gather e-dust on my hard drive, and I definitely had moments where I thought it just was never going to happen. Then I started writing The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove. It was the first time I had a clear idea for a full story arc in my mind before I started writing, and I think that was an important shift for me. Because, um, the book actually went somewhere. After that, I hooked up with my former boss who is now working as an agent and we started talking about Fallen. I wrote about five chapters of the book and he helped me structure a proposal for the rest of the series. I left it in his hands and hoped for the best—and we couldn’t have done any better than the folks we ended up with at Delacorte. They’re a dream team.

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Sometimes staying in a scene long enough to do it justice is a challenge for me. Especially with the Fallen series, when I know so much about the exciting things coming up in later parts of the novel, I’m so eager to get there that I sometimes forget to take my time and really make the most of every moment I’m writing about. My editor and agent are always telling me “Slow down!” “Give up the goods!” This happens a lot with the steamier scenes in the novel. Sometimes I try to skip over them or write around them because I keep thinking about my grandmother reading them or something. But when I force myself to sit down and stay a while, to write about that kiss for three whole pages and really ‘go there,’ it makes all the difference in the world.

What is the single most important tip of advice you’d give new writers?

Live your life as curious person. Try to see the entire world as your muse. Ask questions. Dismiss nothing. Eavesdrop. Always eavesdrop. You’ll have more fun, learn all the time, and when the time comes to sit down and write, you’ll have a whole lineup of stories, just waiting to be told.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

“Finish your novel. Just so that you know you can.” It sounds like the most obvious thing to say, but I was about to give up on a bad novel I wrote in college. The friend who gave me this advice said it so gravely that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I wrote the rest of that awful book, and when the time came to start another one, a better one, I already knew I could do it.

When is the second book in the series coming out?

We don’t have an exact date yet, but sometime in October of this year! I’m so excited about this book. I hope it’s worth the wait.

Thanks for the great interview, Lauren, and good luck with the series!

Watch the trailer!

 

 

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