Thursday, April 25, 2013

Set ‘em up

Whiskey slid down my throat, caustic, welcome. Another followed. If I kept drinking, I wouldn’t have to process Nate expressing gratitude for my magic. And I surely wouldn’t answer with a smile so big it would be like asking him to shoot me.

“Aren’t we an intimate little group of killers.” Jim matched my alcohol intake, to little effect.

Nate gave the smile I hid. “Doesn’t count if they aren’t human.”

“Ever stop to think about the monsters who might seek to avenge those deaths?”

“We have now.” I nodded to Nate. “And he’s the roadmap to take them out.”


Stage Five: Acceptance

By Colleen Foley

Seated at Jimmy’s ancient kitchen table, I poured another shot, pondered Seth’s newest revelation, and tried not to scratch at my magically induced “ink”.

Brother and uncle sat silently, watching warily, as if I might simply decide to shoot one or both. Didn’t blame them, really. My mood had been caustic at best lately.

“OK, the marks are protecting me from a more “intimate” relationship with this hive. And thanks for that, by the way.”

I poured three shots, passed them around.

“So, if the hive’s all about YOU then why dog my ass, and can we avenge that? Now?”


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Ezra was ill-suited to righting wrongs, preferring prevention. Alas, humanity had been designed to falter, flail, fail. He could not save them all, so he studiously ignored the masses.

But Sarah had called out, old words in a new tongue, screamed in desperation, her curse compelling him to action.

The thug spat caustic threats to intimidate, useless against the already fallen. Ezra took joy in removing the villain’s soul, an intimate act of ultimate violation.

No one was meant to see, but half-dead Sarah watched intently. “Momma always said beware avenging angels.”

He held out his hand.

She took it.

Monday, April 22, 2013


She arrived on the tide,
his Irish bride,
with her too-bright hair
and her soft green eyes
alight with love.

Her gloved hand paused on the door
of his coach and four, as she skipped
the creaky step as though she knew
it made the sound of dead things.

I’ll wager he never told her
how that came to be,
the things he’d done to me
not so long ago
when I was pretty.

She will learn, tonight,
of his unnatural appetite
for terrible tangles
of flesh and fear.

His desire satisfied,
she will fly from him.

Straight to me.

Apparently, this never posted, though it was written well over a year ago.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Riding the Storm Out

It’s unwise to push Nate. I’d done so repeatedly, out of dire need. He had trouble accepting that.

I kept quiet, letting his antique rock music wash over me. Magic built, sliding through my body like a sentient thing. The markings acted as loci, power pooling, sparking pins and needles, only sharper. I hadn’t asked for my “gift.” I’d been impressed into service with no one to lead me.

Nate broke silence first. “Why does my shoulder itch?”

“Best guess? The hive is trying to gain control. The tattoo prevents them.”


I hid my smile, because it really was.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I didn't win, but I still won

My book, Split Shift, did not make the semi-final round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, alas.  However, the silver lining is pretty darned good, because here is the review of my complete manuscript from Publisher's Weekly:

Jenny Ambruster makes a living selling supplies to campers and other tourists in what outsiders think is simply a scenic mountain town. In reality it’s home to numerous shapeshifters. Chief among them are Jenny’s oldest and closest friend, Elijah Makepeace, the leader of the bears, and Russell Wolf, leader of the wolves, whose first entrance into Jenny’s store sets in motion a chain of events showing Jenny that she knows less about herself and love than she thought. Her slow realization that she has feelings for both Elijah and Russell only complicates matters when her hidden birth legacy makes her a target of dark witches who want her dead. She’s forced into becoming the leader of the shapeshifters when those witches bring war down on all of them. The fantasy elements are lightly woven, feeling like a natural part of the background, and the story is primarily of Jenny’s self-discovery -- both personal as well as supernatural. There is action and plenty of danger along with large doses of supernatural happenings, but the human crises, characterizations of the relationship triangle, and crisp dialogue will attract readers beyond those interested in the shapeshifters.

I will have to figure out a way to use part of that in my query letters, which I plan to start sending out in the next two weeks.

I had thought I would be terribly upset at not moving forward, but while it was a bit of a let down, it was in no way crushing. My book made it pretty far for a shape-shifter novel, especially considering how many times I've heard that the trope is dead.* The other reason I'm not upset is that the contest was simply one avenue to explore publication.  I will look for an agent for this book (and the two others I have written in a different series, if the agent shows an interest). If that doesn't work out, I will consider self-publishing, though I'm not sure I want to learn how to run yet another business. One way or another, I'll make sure the stories get out into the world.

Happily, Danielle Fifer**, my critique partner, did make the cut! If you enjoy your thrillers with humor and light romantic elements, check out the first couple chapters of The Great Wall.  Yes, it's set in China (mostly), and it is made of awesome. Please read it and leave her a review, as those are taken into consideration for the final judging round.

* Not to put too fine a point on it, but shape-shifter novels are never actually about werewolves (or bears, etc.) but rather about the animal nature of humans and how they manifest those instincts in relationships and social situations. Also possibly about the fantasy of remaining young and/or immune to disease, depending on how the mythology is laid out. They could also be seen as a way to allow a feminist reader to accept the notion of an alpha male being both irritating and hot at the same time, but I think that's a shallow reading.

**The blog is under her other pen name. She's the queen of funny snark.


By Colleen Foley

“Have I failed to impress you with how …disturbing, all of this has become!”

Seth shook his head, eyes wide, then gasped as I released him and began to pace like a mad man.

“Your daddy issues have become a locus for fucking me over and I’m done. So, here’s how this goes. We are finding my car. We’re going to Jimmy’s. I am going to drink myself almost non-sentient, and then you are going to tell me everything. Because I’m seriously hating this shit and it’s the only way I’m not going to kill you.”

”Are we clear, brother?


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Mechanic

Slipping inside her, I knew I’d never feel anything finer. She was almost too old for intrusion, but someone had found the charity to make her relevant, even appealing.

A quick jack, and I knew all her secrets – plus those of the last guy. His imprint remained after he’d trampled her. She was torn up inside, just like his last ride.

Bodies would come next.

“I’ll make this right, Sugar.” Immersed, I tapped the ignition to get her pistons moving. Fossil fuel pumped in time with my blood: hot, eager, needy.

Sugar would be restored. Her previous passenger would not.

Monday, April 08, 2013

One Step Back

Nate swung again, piston-fast and with a similar hiss.

I sidestepped, pointing down. “Could you not let angst trample common sense beside an open portal to a place we can only hope is as nice as Hell?”

He nudged the pieces of Carlos into the slowly closing hole. “So, whose father sent that thing?”

“We’d best pray it wasn’t his, since Satan is way out of my weight class.”

“Couldn’t mean your father, because he’s dead, right?”

“I thought so, but Sybil intimated I could be wrong.”

For charity, he stepped away from the still smoking circle before he attacked.


Monday, April 01, 2013

No Good Deed

Huh. Nate’s ancestry contains Vikings. He went full berserker, then dropped his kill at my feet. A grunt indicated I could be next. And there I was, tapped out magically and physically.

My “handbook” doesn’t cover the turbulence life-altering enchantments might inspire. Only a fool would be stupid enough to brand spells into flesh, then slough them off onto an unbalanced warrior.

Swallowing hurt, talking more. “The ink is protective.”

“Remove it.”

“Can’t,” I rasped. “Your blood is still tainted. Tattoo keeps you from becoming a zombie slave.”

He glared.

“At least I made it pretty.”

I ducked. Too late.