Today I am so pleased to welcome T. Strange to Joyfully Jay. T. has come to talk to us about her latest release, Rattling Chains. She has also brought along a great prize pack to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
While we were editing the first sequel to Rattling Chains, my wife (I’m very lucky to have a spouse who helps me so much with my writing!) pointed out how important hands are to Harlan (which I of course already knew and had done completely on purpose heh).
It makes sense that they would be a point of focus for Harlan: he’s extremely shy and has social anxiety, so he’s not comfortable making eye contact (he gets that from me). Hands are much less nerve-racking to watch, and can tell you almost as much about what someone is thinking and feeling.
Harlan also spends a lot of time thinking about his own hands. He can shift his perspective, allowing him to physically touch ghosts, but it comes with a price—the icy coldness of the spirits has left him with nerve damage, especially in his left hand (the more powerful hand) and it only gets worse with every ghost he interacts with. Every time he touches a ghost, he’s afraid he’ll finally permanently lose feeling in his hand, or at least his fingers.
This is based very loosely on personal experience. While I was writing Rattling Chains, I cut my left pinkie while I was slicing a bagel for my wife. It wasn’t very large or deep, but I must have damaged a nerve. It was almost completely numb for a while, and I would get weird twinges while it healed. Whenever something touched it, it tended to spasm, sometimes making my whole hand uncurl. It certainly gave me some hands-on (pardon the pun) sympathy and inspiration for Harlan’s plight!
As well, one of Harlan’s nervous habits is nibbling his index finger. When I first started writing him, I kept finding myself doing it, which was weird and annoying, because it’s not something I’d ever done before he came into my life! Luckily, we’ve reached an equilibrium—he does it on the page and leaves me out of it.
Finally, the cover of Rattling Chains features a hand, and it was a little spooky the first time I saw it! It looks very much like my hand, and my fingers naturally fall into the exact same position when I hold my hand that way.
If you enjoy the PsyCop series by Jordan Castillo Price or SPECTR by Jordan L. Hawk, check out Rattling Chains!
Ignoring the ghost’s words, Harlan pressed on. “You don’t belong here, not anymore. You have to move on.”
That seemed to deflate the old man. He shifted from foot to slippered foot, looking down at the alley’s gravel that was dimly visible even through his feet. “Weren’t exactly the most church-goin’ man,” he mumbled, almost apologetically.
Harlan reached out and touched Peter’s forearm with the middle three fingers of his left hand, doing the special blink that allowed him to physically interact with ghosts. “I don’t think that matters so much.” He tried to make himself look as wise and all-knowing as possible. “Were you a good man?”
Peter shot Harlan a brief, wide-eyed look, then laughed. “’Spose I was,” he allowed, slowly shaking his head. “You’re pretty new to bein’ an angel, huh?”
“I’m not a—yes. I’m…still in training.”
Harlan saw movement out of the corner of his eye—not Peter. Hamilton was looking at him with an expression of something between concern and bewilderment. He could only imagine how odd these conversations must sound from Hamilton’s perspective, hearing only Harlan’s side.
Peter nodded again, then offered Harlan his hand.
Surprised, Harlan took it, trying not to wince at the bone-biting cold, pins-and-needles feeling of touching bare ghost ‘skin’. It didn’t make sense, but their clothing was always a little warmer.
“Takes a big man to admit he’s not very good at his job…yet. You’ll get there. I’m sure. You can call me Pete, and…I’ll go with you.”
Harlan pushed aside the urge to inform Pete that he was just fine at his job—good, even, at least some days. Pete was cooperating. That was the important thing.
Releasing Harlan’s hand, Pete asked, “What do I have to do?” His voice was quavering and uncertain now.
“Just turn around.”
There was a kind of door or portal behind Pete, waiting patiently for him to enter.
Shooting Harlan a deeply suspicious look, as though he expected someone to squirt water in his face when he turned, Pete slowly shuffled around. He gasped, clutching his chest. Harlan almost jumped, ready to administer CPR—not that he knew it—or…something…when he heard Pete whisper, “It’s beautiful.”
Harlan closed his eyes in relief. He wouldn’t have to reach through this time and risk adding even more nerve damage to his left hand. Pete would step through on his own.
“Will I…?” Pete cleared his throat, swallowed, Adam’s apple bobbing. “Will my…?”
Harlan had known real, future-telling, mind-reading psychics at the Centre. He wasn’t one, and he rarely, if ever, felt confident in what he said. Sometimes, though, in moments like this, he found utter conviction and clarity.
“Yes,” he said, in a voice so certain he hardly recognized it as his own. “Yes, she’ll be there. They all will.”
Pete shot Harlan a brief, red-eyed look, squared his shoulders, clenched his liver-spotted fists and stepped through, disappearing into his afterlife.
Ghosts are popping up where they shouldn’t. Harlan, a ghost janitor for the police, suspects there’s a serial killer on the loose—but no one believes him.
Harlan Brand is a medium who was abandoned at the Centre, a school for the psychically gifted, by his parents. He grew up lonely but safe from the ghosts that terrorized his childhood.
But now, at twenty-one, he’s out in the real world. He works as a ghost janitor for the Toronto Police Service, cleaning up after crimes and hauntings in the Greater Toronto Area. Adding to the anxiety of leaving the ghost-warded safety of his school, the cop assigned as his partner seems to hate him, he’s having confusing feelings for a BDSM club owner who brings out his deepest fantasies, and ghosts are popping up where they shouldn’t.
Using the ghosts as clues, Harlan begins to suspect there’s a serial killer loose, but no one believes him. Harlan will stop at nothing to discover who—or what—is preying on his city.
T. Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.
T. has brought a great prize pack, including a book, swag, and BDSM toys, to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Just follow the link below to enter
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