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.

 

 

 

 

Book of Angels Released Today!

Buy Book of Angels now from Evernight Teen

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Join Sera and the Night Angels as they continue their search for the Secrets to the Origins of Life.

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Almost Time for BOOK OF ANGELS!

Almost time to reveal the cover for Book of Angels, volume II in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES!!!

Here are all the titles…as of right now:

Key of Mystery

Book of Angels

Cave of Secrets

Land of Talismans

Throne of Desire

Door of Destiny

It’s getting intense, I can tell  you. I’ve pretty much finished Cave of Secrets and I am now working on Land of Talismans. Things are heating up in Oak Haven. Not mention underground…and across the world. And I’m in the perfect place to get inspired. Tropical paradise Costa Rica.

 

Book of Angels, Volume II in NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, and Editor’s Pick

Book of Angels is soon to be released and I am thrilled to announce that it is an Editor’s Pick with my fabulous editor, Melissa Hosack, Evernight Teen. Find your way deeper into the secrets of the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES with Volume II. Learn more about denizens. Do you know what they are?
“A denizen is a foreigner allowed certain rights in an adopted country.”

This is who the Night Angels are and who Sera and her brother Salem become. What, really, does it mean? How at home do you really feel you are in your world? Can you ever escape it for a better one? What is the price that you pay if you do?

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I was recently in Bolivia for two months, finishing up Volume III, Cave of Secrets. Amazing experience. I found a fantastic boxing gym and became obsessed with the colonial churches. I wrote my first travel essay, Writing and Fighting in Sucre, and it will be published in http://www.gonomad.com soon! I had interviews published in The Missing Slate, http://themissingslate.com/2016/05/18/an-interview-with-my-world-project-founder-karen-hunt, Fantasy Lit Magazine, and Talk Supe.

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Angels with Gold Wings in the Church of the Santa Clara Monastery

How could I not be inspired for NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES when images such as this angel in Santa Clara Convent and Church surrounded me?

The month of June found me back in Los Angeles to catch up with my kids and to teach some kick boxing classes. I celebrated July 4th with friends in Calabasas, on a hill overlooking the San Fernando Valley, where so much of NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES takes place.

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But traveling calls to me! I am in Costa Rica, on beautiful Lake Arenal, writing for three months. Who knows where this experience will lead me?

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Above is the view on my run in the little pueblo where I live, my neighborhood. This place is inspiring me as I start to write Volume IV, Land of Talismans.

These books mean so much to me. They are entertaining but they also have a message of unity and they ask the most fundamental questions that all humans want to answer, and yet we cannot find the answer to these questions no matter how hard we search.

Now, as I write this, the tropical rain beats down on the roof and the sound is intense. Lightening strikes and clouds roll across the lake as if preparing for battle. I love this planet with all its diverse beauty. This planet is fine, it is humanity that is messed up! I hope these books can influence a new generation to unite and fight against oppression in all its forms. Travel the world. Find your path. Learn from those who seem different–discover how you are really all the same and celebrate the wonder and artistic expression of your differences. Speak your truth. Stand up against fear and manipulation.

As I quote Alexander Pope at the beginning of Book of Angels, “Aspiring to be gods, angels fell; Aspiring to be angels, men rebel.”

Cemetario General, looking just like apartment buildings for the dead

Cemetario General, Sucre. Where we all end up eventually. Little apartment buildings for the dead. Except that Sera escapes this fate. And finds herself embroiled in a curse greater than death.

Walking on the Roof of San Filipe Neri Church at Sunset

Walking on the roof of San Filipe Nero Church, I found the answers to some of these questions…..which only led to more questions of a deeper nature. A beautiful journey. And not an easy one. But well worth it.

KEY OF MYSTERY featured in YA Insider’s Grand Opening Event

YA Insider’s Grand Opening Event

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This is a cool event happening for the entire month of May. Key of Mystery is one of the featured books. There are give-aways, quizzes and more. Check it out!

SEVEN THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT KEY OF MYSTERY

Seven Things You Should Know About Key of Mystery

Check Out my post on Talk Supe’s Blog!

WHAT IS NEXT FOR SERA IN BOOK OF ANGLES & CAVE OF SECRETS?

In the 1930s, geophysicist Schufelt became obsessed with the LIZARD CITY, referred to in a Hopi legend and said to exist beneath Los Angeles.

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Within the city lies a chamber with a tablet, upon which is written the Secrets of the Origins of Life. Whoever possesses the tablet will have the knowledge and power of God. The Los Angeles city council funded his search for the city. But just when Schufelt was about to reach his goal, he mysteriously disappeared.

Schufelt left behind a map. Both Sera and her enemy, Fabian Gore, have the map, and both are searching for the city. But Sera has a few aces up her sleeve.

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She has the coordinates left to her by her father.

D 35; N 1; E 500; D 15; W10; S 237

And she is led, by an unlikely source, to the Book of Angels, which can only be read by the one who will become the 7th Angel, who will then have the power to open the door to the chamber.

Then, there is a young boy from the inner city who has a special gift for navigating the tunnels, and who attaches himself to Sera.

When Gore concocts a daring plan to kidnap the boy, Sera and the Night Angels must protect him, or he be lost to them forever, imprisoned in Gore’s sinister drug rehab center high above the Malibu coast, a places of padded cells, restraints and horrific medical experiments.

YA INSIDER EVENT FEATURING KEY OF MYSTERY

Key of Mystery is featured in this event for the entire month of May

YA Insider is having a Grand Opening Party the entire month of May and Key of Mystery is a featured book. There will be prizes and giveaways. Make sure to check it out!