Today I am so pleased to welcome Lissa Kasey to Joyfully Jay. Lissa has come to talk to us about her new release, Ascendance (the fourth book in her Dominion series). Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
A Day in the Life of an Author
It’s a glamorous life—being an author. It all begins at 6:30 am when I get up, drink coffee and stare uncomprehendingly at Facebook. Mornings are for quiet contemplation over coffee, not plot lines, reviews, or upcoming releases. At 7:20 I’m in the shower, out ten minutes later and off two work in another ten. Not a glorious place filled with creative minds and flowing stories, but to process bankruptcy documents.
After nine I message my best friend, number one fan, and beta to ask: I don’t think I’m going to make the assistant the bad guy. Too predictable. Who do you think it should be?
She tells me it should be someone obvious, but not too obvious. Yah think? I meditate over it during my half an hour yoga class at lunch. But something else is on my mind. How long can I put off the sex of my main two characters?
The bankruptcy paperwork beckons, and a legal assistant demands my action on several cases. The afternoon passes in a daze and I think, maybe I’ve got it figured out. I can put off the sex. The assistant won’t be a bad guy and the accident I’ve been trying to plan all day for my rockstar has finally been chosen, right down to the creepy monkey toy sitting on the backseat of his limo.
4:30! Time to escape. The sun is shining—though it’s bitterly cold—and I have ideas. Only in my personal inbox is a cover design approval request, final edits from my beta, second edits on the book with the major publisher, questions from the audiobook coordinator, and an email from a blogger reminding me a post is way past due. Oh and there’s a book that’s supposed to be coming out like tomorrow.
But wait, let me work on the new one instead of the blog post, or the other book that is already written. I need to find out what happens next. What’s for dinner? How about popcorn? Maybe a banana. No time to cook. Stuff to do. Worlds to create. Dominion 4 is ready for rerelease. Are you guys ready for it?
I nodded to him, headed up to my room, and stripped out of my clothes to shift. Unlike most other non-new-moon shifts, this one went fast and almost painlessly. On four paws, I stretched, letting my brain and body reacquaint themselves to the lynx I became. The house smelled of cleaner, which made me sneeze a few times before I headed downstairs. I could have gone out the back door in the kitchen, but didn’t know how far Caleb had gotten in his manicuring of the lawn, so I played it safe by going out the front to avoid getting in his way.
The freshly clipped grass gave off the aroma of home. I jumped around the yard, enjoying the soft grass and heavenly perfume of earth. Following the path around the house led me to the still mostly untouched back and allowed me to revel in life, and I jumped into the overgrowth. I picked up a trail halfway back of something familiar, yet unfamiliar, and followed it to a slew of trees, through the thick brush, and up to the top of a willow tree. Nestled in the crook of the branches above, a black-and-white ringtail twitched.
The creature glanced at me with giant dark purple eyes, wary but unmoving. I could have chased him away, claimed the tree as my own, or even swiped at him with one of my large paws, but he looked so lonely and lost, I let him be. Leaping free of the tree, I bounced in the grass, chased a few mice, and batted at the couple of large spiders who weren’t smart enough to seek cover.
The ringtail came down and briefly played with me, pouncing my way before bounding back and climbing a tree. I kept my claws in each time I landed on his tail. His little clicks and grunts made me laugh, which sounded like snorting in my lynx form. We ran in circles for a bit, probably looking, for all intents and purposes, like new puppies chasing their tails.
He raced around the yard at a speed I couldn’t match, mostly because of his smaller size. When he popped out of the grass and nipped at my belly, I jumped, landing next to the black fence. On the other side of the fence, a brown wall stood like it could keep the overgrown earth out. I wondered briefly where the walls went and why humans did such things to keep the earth penned in or out.
The ringtail snuck through the metal bars and walked in the space between the fences. For a while we moved together, jumping over or pushing through overgrown areas, avoiding thorns and thistles, batting at smaller creatures. Centipedes were still my favorites, even though they tasted awful. Once we met another metal gate, the ringtail stopped and bounded back as if trying to get me to follow. Instead, I squeezed through the metal slats, feeling a slight magic resistance for a few seconds before it popped me free. Then I followed a little worn path that led into the forest behind the house. Something called me. Some sort of disruption in the earth said it needed me. I was strong. I could help. Save them. I briefly wondered: Save who?
Clicks and chirps of protest faded off into the distance while I ventured forward. The path didn’t smell of humans, only of animals, rabbits, deer, and a few larger predators like bears, coyotes, and mountain lions. I could outrun most of them, so I kept my ears focused and eyes sharp.
A ladybug landed right in my path. I paused, waited for it to move, and when it didn’t, I pounced. Only it flew several feet away, taunting me. A small growl escaped my lips, and I pounced again. It wove away into a briar patch. If I could have frowned as a cat, I probably would have. Instead, I stared into the thorny bush, wondering if it was worth a few scratches to chase the little thing further.
A few minutes passed, and I just waited. Then in a flurry, almost like a bird coming at me, the bug flew up out of the bush, into my face. I swatted at it with both paws, but it buzzed around like I couldn’t hit it if I tried. Finally, it landed on my nose. Even in cat form I wasn’t lost enough to slap myself in the face.
We stared at each other, cat to bug, bug to cat, a contest of wills. Who would move first? I waited. The night was long enough for me to sit for a while, and I was the predator here. He moved slowly, walking up the short bridge of my nose, making my eyes cross and bringing on a sneeze that shook him off.
Damn. Where’d he go? I peered around, trying to catch a glimpse of the bright colors, a little sad to have the game over so soon. A whir of buzzing flying by had me spinning to the right. The bright spotted wings darted into the distance, and I was off running after it. The bug led me over fallen logs, around sharp bushes, and to the rushing waves of a large stream. The water was warm enough to play in, so I let my new little friend go and chased fish, frogs, and crawfish for a while.
My spotted red friend came back a time or two to dart at me, trying to get me to follow. I finally gave up on the play when he dive-bombed my ear and made it itch. After a good bit of scratching away the tickle with my back paw, I followed the little bug out of the stream, back into the woods, through a maze of trees, and to a clearing. Then he vanished as if he’d never been there into a massive briar bush jutting out from a big rock. Even after waiting a few minutes, the bug didn’t return. I blinked a few times and looked around, but still couldn’t find him again.
In fact, the entire area seemed to be void of life. Nothing grew other than the briar batches. No trees, weeds, or even grass. The area was brown and cracked in spots like it hadn’t had the proper water or nutrients in years.
In the center was a structure of some kind. Circular, with stones on the edges, nothing grew in it. Yet the stones radiated a creepy glow. Stepping closer made my skin tingle as though there were ants crawling all over me. I put my paw on the edge of the ring and immediately saw flashes of human things bloody and dying. Their screams pierced my brain like a stream of bullets, causing pain and fear. I yowled and jumped away, shaking my head until the image cleared, and moved to a safe distance around the space. The earth told me this place was very wrong. It begged me to fix it, but I couldn’t fathom how. My cat brain recognized it as broken, but in the back of my mind, I could feel the world evil.
A light flicked on, and a man sat in the middle of the circle, a glowing tube in his hand. His hair was dark, face hidden in shadows, but he smelled familiar. He got to his feet, approached the edge of the circle, then stopped when I bounced farther away. He leaned against one of the giant stones, then slowly sat beside it, just outside the ring.
“Didn’t take you long at all to find this. We all had bets going. Some said you’d never find it. I knew you would. You’re a lot like your father was, Seiran Rou. Such untarnished power. The Dominion is clueless about what power truly is. There aren’t five levels of power. There are hundreds. And you are at the very top.” He stretched. “It calls to you, doesn’t it? Begs for help. The earth is a very vocal element.”
I watched the man, wondering how he knew my name, but since he wasn’t moving closer, I let him go on. I knew he wasn’t my earthman, but he was similar to him somehow.
“Won’t you change and speak to me?” He pulled off his coat, tossing it away from him. “For your modesty, perhaps?”
Changing would make me vulnerable. No paws to run on, claws to fight with, or teeth to defend my life. Yet something about him drew me forward. He knew my father. My stunted little brain said that was important. I needed to know. The shift took only a few seconds, and then I pulled the jacket around me, keeping far enough away that I would hopefully have time to change back and run if needed.
The fog cleared away quickly enough. “Max?”
He smiled. “So much like your father. He’d completely forget who he was in his cat form. It’s harder to keep the human side of yourself when your power is so high. Tell me, Seiran, do you recognize the ring now?”
My heart skipped a beat while I processed it again, this time as a human and as a witch. A faerie ring. That was the only possible explanation. All the studying I did in college meant nothing in that moment. This very item was supposed to be something of myth. Yet the power pulsed so hard it made my skin crawl in not a good way.
“I can tell from your expression you know what it is.”
“It’s evil,” I told him. The images of death still lingered inside my head, tainting something in me I hadn’t known was still pure. I felt like I had taken part in the rituals, killed people, fed on their power. Even at this distance, the pulse of energy made my skin crawl. Darkness. If darkness could have life and movement, this was it. And it wanted to devour everything, including me.
“True. It wasn’t always so. Faeries, like humans, are a mixture of good and evil. Creatures of conscience. Though they are more aligned with the earth than most humans could ever hope to be. The ring has been corrupted by those who’ve used it to gain power.”
“Including yourself.” He had been sitting in the middle of the awful thing. How could he not feel the ichor clinging to every piece of his being?
“I suppose.” He shrugged. “When you’re as old as I am, you’ll do a lot to feel anything. Love, anger, pain, pleasure, it’s all a balance that humans experience so easily. Time, however, wears away the emotions of any creature, dulls us to the very things that once made us feel. This circle has been misused, but the memories make me alive again. It is a nice change from the numbness that has taken over my life.”
Four months of people trying to kill Seiran Rou and his vampire lover Gabe Santini has put a strain on their relationship. Seiran is overwhelmed by his upcoming graduation as the first male to ever come from the magic studies program, and something is off with Gabe. He’s more closed off, fast to anger, and spending a lot of time with Sam—who happens to look a lot like Seiran. It’s all too much to handle. Seiran just wants to get away.
When he inherits his late father’s house in California, it’s the perfect opportunity to escape. But he soon discovers the legacy of his father’s family holds many terrifying secrets—including a blood-soaked fairy ring.
Seiran fears his power might not all be natural. Some of it may even be stolen. When the evil of the past begins to overwhelm him, he has to turn to the one man he’s been avoiding. But even his bond with Gabe may not be able to keep the earth from claiming him forever.
Lissa Kasey is more than just romance. She specializes in depth characters, detailed world building, and twisting plots to keep you clinging to your book reader. All stories have a side of romance, emotionally messed up protagonists and feature LGBTGA spectrum characters facing real world problems no matter how fictional the story.
What an intriguing excerpt! Thanks so much for sharing it.
Thanks, Kareni! 🙂
I love this series, and I’m more than ready. 🙂
Oh yes me too! I just got a copy of Ascendance and can’t wait to start!
Thanks for having me, Jay!
You are welcome! Thanks for sharing more about the book with us!