THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND

THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND: death of a Juggalette in the SFV

Much of the inspiration for the real side of life in the Night Angels Chronicles came from my experiences raising children as a single mother on the mean streets of Los Angeles suburbia. I write essays on the topic and this is the latest one, published in NAILED magazine. It’s a tragic story, about a friend of my son’s.

There’s the fun side of writing Urban Fantasy, the magical world a writer can create where anything is possible. For me, I’m enjoying my vampires and denizens, the angels and demons, the Lizard City beneath Los Angeles , the Key of Mystery and the tablet upon which is written the Secrets to the Origins of Life. It’s been especially fun to build the history of the Night Angels, going back to the Pharaohs of Egypt and the Ottoman Empire.

And then there’s a real side of Urban Fantasy. For me, I’ve chosen to peel back the façade of a suburb and see what’s really underneath. As a single mother, raising kids on the mean streets of Los Angeles suburbia, I’ve had first-hand experience of this. As the co-founder of a creative writing program for incarcerated youth, I’ve heard so many horrible stories of injustice. I’ve made friends with my students, now going back over twenty years, encouraging them through their struggles. And I always did my best as my kids were growing up to be there for the young people of my neighborhood who were struggling with addiction and gangs.

NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES is a blend of these two worlds–the fantastical and the often more horrific reality. This essay shows what really happens, and how, sadly, parents and community leaders most often don’t want to acknowledge the truth of what our children face every day when they walk out the door and into the world. I hope to do my part to change that blind mentality.

CAVE OF SECRETS release January 27th

Get ready for Cave of Secrets, the third volume in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES.

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A demon force is taking over Oak Haven and people are dying in horrific ways. Somewhere beneath the city of Los Angeles lies the hidden chamber and the Secrets to the Origins of Life. If only Sera can find it, maybe she can stop the violence. She needs her dad to help her and she’s certain he’s still alive. But in order to find him, Sera must make a pact with her nemesis, Fabian Gore.

Peter, the Night Angels, has vowed to love and protect Sera, but even he can’t help her in this task. Nor can Jimmy, the human whom she knows she can trust. Only the “girl with the crazy eyes” can lead Sera to her father. Without her dad and the secrets he holds, Sera doesn’t think she can go any further.

Sneak Peek from Cave of Secrets:

Where was Gus? Once I entered the thick bushes I paused and listened. How silent it was. How heavy and still. Stifling. Oppressive.

“Gus?”

Why didn’t he answer?

And then I heard it. A scream. A horrible, agonizing scream, cutting through the stillness and ending as suddenly as it had begun.

I ran, allowing my denizen senses to guide me. I could feel it stronger than ever. The oppression, the evil. Now I saw a trail of blood before me. A body had been dragged here, plowing a path through the underbrush.

It looked like Gus had almost made it to the place where the foliage had ended. Only a few feet further and he would have jumped the wall and been back in civilization, walking on the sidewalk near the road to the market.

But Gus wasn’t ever going to the market again. Or anywhere. Perhaps whatever had attacked him had first chased him down this pathway. Perhaps while we had called to him, Gus had been running for his life, all his energy intent on getting away, none left over to cry for help.

And then that final scream of pain and terror.

I followed the path of blood through the broken underbrush, up the hill, knowing what I would find at the end.

In a little open area, beneath an old oak tree, its roots spreading like writhing snakes along the ground, I found a scene of carnage. A broken, twisted body, arms and legs at impossible angles. Face in the dirt, a lake of blood seeping into the thirsty soil.

Salem was kneeling by the body, reaching a hand toward it.

“Don’t touch it,” I said, kneeling beside him.

I was aware of Jimmy coming up from behind, breathing hard.

Salem turned the body over anyway.

“No,” he said, pulling away.

Gus’s throat had been torn out, his chest, his stomach, a gaping, glistening hole, his insides gutted. He lay there, eyes staring sightlessly up at the burning sky, mouth stretched wide across his teeth in a frozen grimace of excruciating pain.

“God help us,” breathed Jimmy.

All my nightmares came alive in that moment. The image of the monster Gore on the plateau, teeth and claws dripping blood. He had done this to a coyote–gutted it. And then there was our family lawyer, Mr. Meriwether. I had almost forgotten about the poor man. The same thing had happened to him.

Gore–it must be Gore! I turned away from the body and stared at Salem. He was looking down at Gus with hated and contempt. No pity, no remorse.

An icy river flowed down my spine. Could it have been my own brother? Salem’s gaze shifted to me and he read my questioning expression. His eyes went wide with disbelief. He shook his head and mouthed, No!

Others were crashing through the bushes. Soon the entire group, including Stanton, was gathered around the body. And then pandemonium broke out as the reality of what lay before them sank in. Students who had, only moments before, thought they tough threw up. They screamed, losing complete control of themselves.

Tray, Jimmy, Inez and Scooter were upset like the others but in a different way. They were silent. Horror struck. And they were stronger. They had seen more and suspected what types of creatures might have done this.

Alex was a blubbering, broken mess. This wasn’t what he had signed on for when he joined Gus’s gang. He screeched like a frightened mouse when Salem happened to glance at him and then clapped a hand over his mouth to stop the sound. He would never accuse Salem to his face, never have the nerve. But Salem and I both knew what he and everyone else was thinking–that Salem had done this.

 

 

 

 

NIGHT OWL REVIEWS Author Interview

Author Interview Night Owl Reviews

Check out this sort and sweet interview in Night Owl Reviews.

BOOK OF ANGELS is Inspired by Illuminated Manuscripts

WHO IS PETER HERGOVICH?

Check out this guest post on “A Young Adult Dreamer” blog. There is also a giveaway!

In Book of Angels, Sera has her first encounter with the Queen, who is imprisoned in the Life Box in Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert. Sera must travel to the monastery with Peter and Blanca to check on the Queen.

The excerpt in this blog post tells about Sera’s encounter with the Queen.

BOOK OF ANGELS Review

Review With Love for Books

Here is the first review of Book of Angels, by Suze Lavender:

Ever since Sera found her father’s mysterious key her life has been turbulent. It’s the only thing he left her and she’s guarding it with her life. The Night Angels manage to save her when nobody else could, but there is a price. Sera is no longer a regular teenage girl with friend and boyfriend problems. Now, she has responsibilities, she has to learn how to control her impulses and she’s only just started her mission to find out what the key can do.

Sera’s nemesis is in control of her brother Salem. Sera finds out they’re now on opposite sides of the same battle, but there are also issues they have to work on together. An ancient Queen wants to escape and someone’s helping her. She should remain confined, because if she’s being freed, there will be chaos and destruction. Sera is no longer powerless but she doesn’t know the extent of what she can do. There’s so much she has no knowledge of and she needs to acquire it quickly, because there’s a lot at stake and she can’t afford to lose.

Book of Angels is a gripping book about a girl who has to grow up fast to be able to keep track of everything that is going on around her. Sera is somehow at the center of it. Both friends and allies are after her key. It’s a powerful instrument that should never be in the wrong hands. Sera is its keeper and she’s taking this task seriously. I loved her protective attitude. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind, she’s resourceful and she’s determined. She’s a fantastic tough heroine and I loved how interesting K. H. Mezek makes the situations she finds herself in.

K. H. Mezek’s writing flows easily. Her story is based on ancient history and I loved the way she writes about it. I really liked the direction she’s chosen for Sera in this second book. The world building is amazing too and I loved that the story is set in different countries. Sera slowly gathers wisdom and I enjoyed witnessing that process. There’s still plenty of action in this book, but there are more subtle battles that are being fought as well. I loved that combination. I think this series is fabulous and can’t wait to read the next book.

Who Are the Night Angels? Marek Tells His Story

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In Book of Angels, readers find out more about who the Night Angels really are…and their terrible histories.

Here Marek tells his story to Sera, after a lesson in sword-fighting. It isn’t a pretty tale, be prepared…. The images it brings to mind are horrific. But the stories need to be told…the truth must be revealed.

MAREK’S TALE:

Marek drew close to me, so that I saw the fine sheen of sweat on his brow, still fresh from our practice. As usual, his expression was neutral but his eyes were cold and hard, the look I had seen in Peter’s eyes so many times when he remembered his past and the humans who had inhabited it.

“One night I overheard my master’s drunken conversation with his wife. The next morning he was going to send me to the Coptic priests at Abu Gerbe to be castrated.”

I shook my head and took a step back. This was something I had not seen in my Turning. What I had seen was bad enough. I didn’t want to find out more.

But Marek stepped forward, almost daring me to try and escape. I was against the wall and he was in front of me. I didn’t try to get away. What would be the point?

“His plan was to sell me to the Ottomans. It was against the Ottoman’s faith to make eunuchs. But the Christians had no such qualms. Do you know how they would do it?”

I shook my head.

“The priests chained the boy to a table and sliced off his penis and testicles. Then, for the healing process, they stuck bamboo catheters into the genital area, dug a hole in the sand, and buried the child up to his neck. The survival rate was ten percent. Naturally those who survived fetched a large price.”

I was revolted. I had heard of female genital mutilation. But this was something I did not know. And why should I? It wasn’t necessary to know every horrible detail of what had happened down through history!

“So…the Ottomans wouldn’t make eunuchs but they had no problem buying them?” I asked.

Marek still didn’t look angry. Only amused, and always in complete control. I wondered what it took to make Marek truly angry. I never wanted to find out.

“Humans are nothing if not hypocritical. They can justify the most horrific and obscene behavior by telling themselves lies over and over until they believe them.”

I had to admit that this was true. I’d discovered it the hard way, after my dad’s death, when the carefully preserved façade of lies hiding the true nature of Oak Haven was torn away.

“I slit the throat of my master while he slept in a drunken stupor.  It was my first killing. I ran away. I was quickly captured by a group of traders and brought to the Sultan’s court anyway. But at least I had escape castration. The Sultan was far crueler than my first master but he was of a superior intelligence. He took a liking to me and made sure I was taught history, art, poetry and philosophy. For that I am grateful.”

Marek now took a step back and I breathed easier, feeling my muscles relax slightly. When would I ever really relax, every again, I wondered?

I was too stunned by his story to say anything. We picked up our swords and walked toward the small door in the courtyard. Marek grinned sideways at me. “I see how kids in your culture pierce and tattoo themselves. Some put rings through their noses–willingly! It’s very funny to me.”

I felt grateful he didn’t expect some response from me about his terrible story. What response could I possibly give? It was all so horrible.

 

 

BOOK OF ANGELS COVER DETAIL

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Sharing this beautiful cover detail from Book of Angels. As an artist myself, I have great respect and awe for the artist, Jay Aheer. She puts her soul into her work! She definitely has captures my vision for Key of Mystery and Book of Angels.

Book of Angels for sale at Evernight Teen

INTERVIEW AND GIVE-AWAY!

Reviews by Crystal, KH Mezek Interview

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An Illuminated Manuscript; an ancient city beneath Los Angeles, built 5,000 years ago by the Lizard People; a Queen imprisoned in the Life Box in St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert; a castle in Slovenia; a medieval church hiding a dangerous mystery. Find out what happens to Sera in BOOK OF ANGELS, volume two of the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, as she continues her quest to find the tablet upon which is written the SECRETS TO THE ORIGINS OF LIFE.

Buy Book of Angels at Evernight Teen

Buy Book of Angels on Amazon

Introducing Author Christine Potter!

This is the first time I am hosting an author of my website. I’m very excited to introduce to you Christine Potter, author of Time Runs Away With Her and the soon-to-be published sequel, In Her Own Time.

Christine and I found out we had something in common: a love of travel. Christine carries that love into her time travel trilogy. Bean, a 1790’s folk singer, gets to time travel and it’s pretty awesome to follow her adventures. I’m intrigued by Christine’s traveling life as well and wonder what her husband does for a living and I would sure like to find out more about that haunted house! Below is a little peek into the wonderful world of author, Christine Potter. 

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SEQUELS, TIME TRAVEL, AND WRITING ON THE ROAD

I am a former homebody married to a man who lives and breathes travel. I’m also a writer of YA Paranormal fiction–and a poet. (Being a poet is kind of like playing Pokémon G; you wander around trying to catch all the poems before they jam up the cosmos. Dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.)

My favorite place to write both fiction and poems is in my cozy study in my own haunted (for real) house in New York State. But because of my husband, I have learned to write on the road. I have written in Berlin, in Edinburgh, in Nova Scotia, and squinting into the laptop in the front seat of our car somewhere in the wilds of the American West–with Ken driving, of course.

And the YA fiction I write is also about traveling…in time. It’s way interesting. And you don’t have to worry about reservations and hotels–or airport security. Or passports . The main character in my YA time travel series, Time Runs Away With Her, sure doesn’t. But Bean Donohue doesn’t always get to choose where she gets to travel, either. Or where. And that makes for all kinds of issues with her social life. So maybe it’s a wash.

Bean’s sixteen, a folk-rock musician, and mostly lives in 1970–but she gets zapped back to the 19th century, the 1940’s and the early 1960’s. And explores the dark side of the American Revolution in the Trilogy’s second book, In Her Own Time. In Her Own Time is coming out on Evernight Teen any day now, and I am dancing a jog in my seat waiting for that to happen.

I am writing this blog entry on the road now. Here’s what I have learned about writing on the road: it is impossible to write with your husband blaring some stupid show on the giant TV at the foot of your hotel bed. Especially if the stupid show is about Scottish guys building log homes with chainsaws. You need, as Virginia Woolf said, a room of your own. That requires renting a cottage which–good news–can cost less than staying in hotels, since you’ll take advantage of the local markets and cook your own food. More good news: cooking while traveling is the quickest way out of the tourist bubble I know.

You’ll eat more vegetables, because you’ll hit the local green markets and the docks, a great way to take the measure of any place. For example, on Canada’s Prince Edward Island, they sell oysters at the dock by the pound, not by the piece. You can get a couple of dozen oysters for what two Starbucks coffees cost in New York. Of course, you have to open the oysters, but you can train your husband to do that. That way he won’t turn on the TV because he will be busy in the kitchen and you can write in the quiet living room. A win-win.

The little house we checked out of in Kingsburg, Nova Scotia, was within sound of the sea with spectacular views. It had an airy loft with a desk; possibly the best place I have ever written away from home, except for the time I got stuck in Washington State after a writing workshop because of hurricane Sandy. I was traveling alone that time, and ended up coming back to New York on Amtrak.

If you can swing a room on a long-distance train, you’ll get your own personal assistant, who will carry your luggage and bring you food and drink, and be very impressed that you are a writer. I had an amazing cow-girl looking attendant taking care of me from Seattle to Chicago. I loved her. She kept slipping me free sparkling wine, which I used as a carrot on a stick for getting work done.

At dinner in a train’s dining car, you share dinner with folks you’ve never met before, which is weird at first, but then it’s great. People tend to tell you their life stories, and since you’ll most likely never see them again…hey, free material! I wrote like a fiend on the train.

I also did some very good writing on here Prince Edward Island last time, in the living room of a house owned by Lucy Maud Montgomery’s (Anne of Green Gables) family. I was staying there when I got the first book of the Time Runs Away with Her series accepted by Evernight Teen. I went and saw Lucy Maud’s grave the day of the acceptance and told her thanks. I was again a little jealous of my main character, Bean. How great would it have been to have caught a glimpse of Ms. Montgomery writing, instead? Bean would have!

I think it’s important to keep moving-both in space and time. The great thing about the past is that it’s always there for you to play with. Did I mention In Her Own Time is coming out any day now? Meanwhile, here’s a link for buying Time Runs Away With Her, a featured book on Evernight Teen just now. Happy trails!

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Christine Potter is the author of Time Runs Away With Her and In Her Own Time, YA Paranormal romances set in the year 1970, about sixteen year old Bean Donohue. Bean can slide out of her own time period and see things that happened decades or centuries ago. Being a time traveler when all you really set out to do is play your guitar and maybe get a boyfriend can complicate life! Christine is also a poet with work in many small literary magazines and two poetry collections: Zero Degrees At First Light and Sheltering In Place.

Buy Time Runs Away With Her on Amazon

Buy Time Runs Away With Her on Evernight Teen