Today, help me welcome author and fellow blogger, Melissa Barker-Simpson. I hope you enjoy reading about here and her books and that you take a look at her novels.
It’s lovely to be invited to Corina’s place to visit with you all. I’ve been blogging for two years now, and I’ve met some incredible people along the way. It’s a vital online community and, as a writer, it feels like my second home! There is so much to learn, so much to share and experience.
I’ve been writing since Junior School, which in the US I believe is classed as Elementary (first grade). I loved nothing more than creating new worlds and sharing my adventures with others. When I left school and went to college, I spent less time writing, and more time studying. I couldn’t decide on a career and so, after leaving full time education I held a number of jobs. Although I couldn’t seem to make anything stick, I did have a passion for language, which led to my interest in British Sign Language (BSL). I eventually became an interpreter, and have been interpreting for ten years now.
It’s a job I particularly enjoy because I get to explore different settings; police, theatre, community, education, medicine. It’s a lot of fun and, though it can be challenging at times, the variety suits my fickle nature! BSL is a beautiful, visual language, with a rich and complex grammatical structure, one that never ceases to amaze.
One of my most important roles in life though, is being a mother. I have two teenage daughters, who are a great source of joy.
I didn’t begin seriously writing again until 2005, a year after I lost my father. It was a really difficult time, and I escaped my grief by remembering the stories I shared with him in my youth. The characters never really went away, even when life got too busy, so when I let them back in, it became impossible to deny the part of myself I had supressed for so long.
There are a number of things I could talk about when it comes to my writing journey. I recently published The Fallen, which is my ninth novel, and the first in a series. It seems I have a penchant for writing series, and thanks to my busy mind, I’m unable to concentrate on one project at once.
My work is always character driven, and Maddison, the protagonist from The Fallen has her hooks in me at the moment. When I sit down to write, whether it is a short-story, or my next work in progress, she invariably muscles her way in!
It’s the reason that, as well as working on my latest novel in the Morgan and Fairchild series, I decided to venture into serialised fiction. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I love the idea of creating monthly episodes like a television series, and pulling those together to create a season. There are different ways to approach serialised writing, but I aim to have an overarching theme while solving individual story arcs during each episode.
The Collective is an offshoot of the Fractured series, so readers will be familiar with some of the characters. I’m sure Maddison will make an appearance or two. It is a lot of fun developing this group of supernatural creatures, and to explore more of the world I created.
At the beginning of this month I published The Contract, prequel to the Fractured, as an introduction. One of the main players is a god, Orion Reece, and he seems to be a popular character. So I decided to share a scene with you from The Fallen, which incorporates Maddison and Orion.
*Background: Maddison Wood is a hunter, and a witch. Her instincts draw her to the city; trouble is coming and she wants to meet it head on. Donovan is her partner in crime. She rescued him from a particularly brutal clan of demons, and now owns his contract.*
“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” Maddison groaned, hackles rising.
She didn’t look Donovan’s way, her eyes were glued to the street, to the ball of light which glowed like a beacon of tightly controlled power. “Orion Reece,” she said through clenched teeth.
‘Am I supposed to know who that is?’ Donovan asked, his voice a deep rumble inside her mind.
She could feel his eyes on her, but she didn’t turn.
When Orion appeared, he did so with none of the arrogance she had come to expect, and, for some reason, the lack of drama unnerved her more than his presence. He was a god, one who enjoyed flaunting his superiority every chance he got. The pale blonde hair, hanging to his shoulders like fine silk, still shone as a testament to his power, and yet alarm bells were ringing in Maddison’s head. Something was definitely wrong with the picture.
“To what do we owe the pleasure?” she asked, her voice and gaze steady. She would not give him an inch.
“Come now, Woody.” His dark eyes flashed, the gold at the outer edges drawing her in. “You can do better than that.”
‘Woody?’ Donovan asked through their connection.
‘Long story,’ Maddison replied. She took a step towards Orion, delighted when Donovan followed suit.
“We haven’t been introduced,” Donovan said, extending his hand.
Orion threw back his head and laughed. “My dear boy, if you want to know more about me, all you have to do is ask.”
As a hympe, Donovan had a unique gift. It was empathy based, so if he opened himself up to the connection, he could learn anything through touch.
“I’ll forgive the discourtesy,” Orion continued. “Because I have you at a disadvantage.” His eyes grew cold. “I’m the reason your current owner stumbled upon your sorry excuse for a-”
“Nobody owns him,” Maddison said, stepping between them. “And you’re not the only reason he’s free.”
Orion raised his hand, eyes flashing with challenge. Maddison’s hair slithered towards him, the long braid dancing in the cool night air, like he was a regular snake charmer.
“Is that so?” he asked.
Maddison shot magic into the wayward locks and regained the advantage. She knew Orion used the trick to test her, to steal her control. Given that her hair was her weapon of choice, it was an effective reprimand.
‘What’s he talking about?’ Donovan asked.
‘He sent me to the Firmani Caves, or at least set it up so I would be in the right place at the right time.’
Donovan’s shudder was involuntary. The Firmani Caves were home to the Nrikabat demons, the original proprietors of his contract – those responsible for his torture and abuse.
“How did you know?” Donovan asked, staring wide-eyed at Orion. “Why would you care?”
“I don’t.” Orion’s tone was bored. “But I owed your father a favour.”
‘Don’t listen to him,’ Maddison said, touching Donovan with her mind. ‘Even if he’s telling the truth, he will use the information against you. I’ll find another way to learn his secrets.’
She turned her attention to Orion. Everything about him was designed to entice – the tall, sculptured body, strong jaw, sinful mouth; he was quite a package. “Can we just get this over with? Why don’t you tell us what you want?”
“Oh, how you wound me,” he said, placing a hand over his heart. “Can’t I have the simple desire to visit with an old friend?”
He was stalling, she realised. Taunting them purposely, perhaps hoping they would lose the trail. She could almost feel her instincts curling up in her gut, retreating into silence. “If you’re here to shoot the breeze, we can do that as we walk,” she said, starting to move past him.
Orion sidestepped, putting himself in her path. His strong jaw was set, lips pressed into a hard line. “You need to get as far away from here as possible,” he said, his voice low and urgent.
She blinked, genuinely surprised by the concern in his dark eyes. “Something’s coming, isn’t it?”
There was a long beat of silence. “You don’t want to get tangled up in this, Maddy.” He squinted, assessing her reaction. “Don’t force my hand.”
Donovan moved so he was shoulder to shoulder with Maddison. “That sounds like a threat.”
She almost smiled. Donovan had no idea who he was dealing with; either that or he had a death wish. Orion could squash him like a bug; though, granted, Donovan hadn’t been crushed yet.
“If he was going to do something, he’d have done it already,” she said. “He either can’t interfere, or the focused use of his power will give him away.” That was it. She knew it as soon as the words left her mouth. Why there had been no fanfare when he arrived, why the light of his power was subdued. “It’s big, isn’t it?” she said, more to herself than Orion, because she knew he wouldn’t answer.
I hope you enjoyed the snippet. Thanks again to Corina for inviting me, and to you all for reading.
Twitter handle: @mbarkersimpson