Monday, April 28, 2014

Colony Drive-Verse Flash Fiction Series: Romancing Elena

This is the beginning of a three-part flashfiction series taking place within the Stories from Colony Drive Universe. This was an experiment of sorts since I enjoy playing around with my little universes. Romancing Elena takes place sometime between Dusk to Dawn and the forthcoming The Twisting House (the first story in this series of short stories is the free ebook, The Cemetery by the Lake).
This is not the fully edited version and I'll place it on Smashwords likely as a free download when all is said and done. But like I did with the first draft of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1), I'll have alot of fun experimenting a little with this in the meantime. Hope you enjoy. :)






Romancing Elena

Part 1

Elena shut the door to her apartment, relieved to be surrounded by quiet.
She had seen Craig with his new wife, apparantely just having returned from their honeymoon in Venice. Jane seemed nice enough, if a little young. Elena stalked across the sitting area of her studio apartment and flopped onto the couch. She was surprised at how affected she was upon seeing a newly married Craig and Jane at the poetry slam that evening. It wasn't as though she didn't know they would be there, for she knew Craig liked his poetry slams and obviously, Jane did as well. Elena had been sitting in a booth with a bunch of her girlfriends and spotted Craig and Jane at a table with Jane's friend, Trina and some guy she guessed to be Trina's date.
She leaned her head back, sighing. “Why am I bothered so much by his being married?” she wondered aloud. We ended our relationship two years ago...
As English and Writing majors at Wilkes University, Craig and Elena had met during their sophomore year and started dating toward the end. After two and a half years together, Craig had proposed to her. All seemed to be going well until the night she had a moment of weakness and ended up cheating on Craig with another man. Guilt had racked her and she ended up telling him; she recalled how her heart had palpitated as she watched his face reacting to the news. He did not speak to her over the next two days, and she left him alone, figuring that he needed time to maul it over. When all was said and done, Craig decided to call their relationship off. She was devasted, though she wasn't surprised. Based on his reaction, she had seen it coming.
Eventually, she did move on and began dating other guys, though nothing that lasted very long. Craig had remained single, and according to friends, wasn't interested in persuing any other relationships. Then mention of a girl named Jane entered the gossip among their circle. Jane, who was not only an undergraduate, but also a freshman. Elena remembered her surprise at the news, thinking it was just a short term phase, she hadn't expected it to last longer than maybe a month, if that. But that was not the case. Anytime she saw the two together, there seemed to be a closeness there that was never there when she and Craig were together. Something almost mystical...
Elena shook her head at the thought. "Mystical?" she snorted. "Where the hell did that come from?"
She removed her jacket and crossed over to her sleeping area and began changing out of her clothes, exchanging club attire for a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Her second floor window was opened, letting in the midsummer night breeze. Elena had shut off her phone, as she knew her girlfriends would be calling to scold her for skipping out on them so early. She had given them the age-old excuse of not feeling well, but her friends knew better. Of course, none of them would understand how Craig's being married would suddenly affect her. She couldn't even understand it herself. It was ancient history...
Elena crossed the room with her balled up jeans and tank top to her full laundry hamper. She stared down into the pile of neglected dirty clothes. The building was quiet and empty, and she was willing to bet that at least one washer-dryer would be available down in the laundry area.
"Why not? The night is shot, anyway. May as well be somewhat productive..."
Taking up her basket and laundry soap, she slipped on a pair of flip flops, stepped out into the hall, and headed into the stairwell down to the laundry room. As expected, the building was practically deserted with only the muffled sounds of televisions coming through the walls from some of the rooms. Elena reached the laundry room basement. As she went to flick on the light, something slammed into her, causing her to drop her basket.
"Shit," she exclaimed.
"I do beg your pardon, my lady," a deep voice told her.
Startled, Elena looked up into a pair of soft, dark eyes on a chiseled face. Together, they knelt to retrieve her scattered clothing, and she felt heat rushing to her face as his hand grazed a pair of her red, lacy panties. A brief smile crossed his lips as she snatched them away.
"Those are...interesting undergarments," he said.
Elena recovered and rolled her eyes, shoving the underwear deep into the pile of clothes. "Thank you, but if you'll excuse me I have laundry to do." She cringed at how lame that sounded.
The young man chuckled. "Very well," he said. "Although, I cannot help but notice you seeming out of sorts this eve."
Elena stared at him What was with this guy? And why was he speaking as though he were from another century? He walked toward her, in an almost slow, hypnotic fashion. He softly brushed back strands of her dirty blonde hair. She wanted to resist, but found herself unable to.
"There is redemption, you know," he said, his voice beautiful and smooth.
Elena could feel herself falling into an almost trance-like state. She was attracted to this dark and handsome stranger. She had never seen him in the building until this night.
"What do you mean?" she uttered out.
His lips turned up into a small smile. "Destiny always has its way."
She started questioning him again, but before she could say another word, his mouth was on hers and she found herself completely taken. Elena could feel the air around her shifting, but she was so caught up in the stranger's embrace she hardly noticed the laundry room disappear around her. 

To Be Continued...




******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sneak Peek: Sacred Atonement (The Birthrite Series, #1.5) Novella Excerpt

Hey all,

As I work on the edits for the first two books in The Birthrite Series, I bring you an excerpt from the spin off novella about Jimmy and Linda that takes place after the events in Descent and prior to those in Kindred (book 2).

Sacred Atonement will be released either around or at the same time as Descent this early summer. Unlike Descent, Sacred Atonement has less Horror and Dark Fantasy themes and falls more into the Paranormal Romance category, though it does aid in carrying the story, and more information that carries into Kindred is found out in this novella as well.

I will also add that if you do not want ANY spoilers at all before beginning the series, then don't read this excerpt (though this excerpt does not contain any huge, major spoilers, just teensy tiny ones...and if you were reading along as I posted the first draft of Descent, you have a pretty good idea of the events leading in already). Otherwise, read after the jump. :)


Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Trilogy Corrupted Me as a Youth...and I'm Glad it Did :D

Those of us born in the 1980s I think had it pretty good. We got all the good Nickelodeon shows (You Can't Do That On Television, Are You Afraid of the Dark, All That, Roundhouse, all the cool Euro-anime-esque cartoon shows like Spartakus), Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, Rainbow Brite, books like Wait Til Helen Comes and Dollhouse Murders. All those were awesome and at the risk of sounding uber condescending, I feel for the kids who grew up without all that we 80s and 90s kids got. But what really stands out for me was a summer night before I started second grade.

On that night, my parents went out for the evening and of course (since I was seven and my sisters were five and three) our baby-sitter came over to watch us. It was a beautiful night and we were sitting outside at around dusk. I forget what I was doing that had me so distracted, but I hardly noticed my baby-sitter go to get something out from her bag. Next thing I know, I hear this high-pitched almost witch-like voice from behind me say "Hi, little girl..."

I turn around, and this is what I saw staring back at me:





Totally true story: my baby-sitter thought it would be funny to sneak up behind me with a certain book open to the very page with the above photo. Yes, it was the very first book in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Trilogy.




After my seven-year-old self jumped about six feet in the air, I did become very intrigued with the book, especially as she began to read some of the stories aloud. From that point on, I wanted her to bring the book all the time, and when the second and third books came out, oh you better believe I was all over those.

That seemingly passe evening from my childhood actually would go on to have more of an impact on me than I think even I knew at the moment (and it was also a reading of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at school later that Halloween that also sealed my tastes). From that point on, I was a fan of dark fiction and horror, and the Scary Stories series would also be among those works that would go on to shape how I write my own stories.

Yes, I very much thank my baby-sitter, Alvin Schwartz, and Stephen Gammell.

With that said, I guess I also pose the question of what was it really that intrigued not only myself, but other kids who grew up with these books. Even as adults, many of us still love them and still are freaked out by Stephen Gammell's illustrations. Oh, those illustrations...like this one:


 NOTE: The sadist in me really wanted to post the illustration from the story The Thing, but that particular drawing still REALLY freaks me out. If you don't know what I'm talking about and are feeling brave, google Scary Stories to tell in the Dark, The Thing and you will see what I mean.

To be honest, I really can't pinpoint one specific reason as to why those stories stay with me, even to this day. Several things about these books continue to intrigue me and influence my own writing:

-One aspect IS the illustrations. I mean, come on. Even the stories that weren't really that scary were given gruesome visuals that made them so. And Gammell's drawings are so wonderfully macabre and detailed that one can almost feel the terror and unease experienced by those in the story.

- Another is the pure simplicity of the stories. In fact, the stories aren't even that long. Some are actually only a page long. But when the stories get going, they really get going and pack a lot within a mere couple pages.

- Much of the stories are based in urban legend and folklore. I love folklore.

- The stories embrace the unknown and acknowledge that some things don't always end happily. I'm sure some might disagree with me on this, but I do feel this is an important lesson for kids to be taught. Not all my stories end happily, and even those that do have some sort of unresolve (at least for the most part). Then there's the unknown; you really don't know what's out there, or who the person sitting next to you on the bus or subway is. Or the person passing you by on the street (as per The Walk: "...and the man looked at my uncle, and my uncle looked at the man...")...

The more I think about it, the more I really can acknowledge how these stories have shaped my own writing and storytelling. In fact, my short stories series, Stories from Colony Drive is named for the street I grew up on. The street on which my baby-sitter sneaked up on me with one of Stephen Gammell's brilliant illustrations in front of her face.

The stories kept me up at night, I'm not going to lie about that. I would sometimes lay in bed wondering if the creepy lady from The Dream was going to come out of my closet:


Yes, THIS creepy lady!

But what they also did was stir my imagination, and really get me thinking outside the box and start to challenge myself as a writer and a creative from a young age. It was the reason I began writing stories and wondering about the world around me. It was the beginning of me becoming someone who questions things and isn't afraid to.
Now, I look back on that fateful evening on Colony Drive with great fondness and I am thankful to my baby-sitter for getting the idea to scare the ever living crap out of me.

And, thanks to Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell for awakening my and probably many others' imaginations. You guys rocked it. :)










******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords 
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website
Tiffany's Official Blog
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound


Giveaway of "Dusk to Dawn"

Hey all,

Before my big exciting blogpost today (and before I put the final mixes on "The Cemetery by the Lake" audiobook version), I'm announcing a giveaway of my newest ebook, "Dusk to Dawn."

From today until Saturday, May 9 (two weeks), "Dusk to Dawn" will be free on Smashwords with a coupon code.

To utilize it, simply go to the Dusk to Dawn Smashwords Page, click the 'Buy' button, and then use the following coupon code upon checking out:

XW45M

The coupon code will be valid for two weeks until Saturday, May 9.

So take advantage now, and I just may do such a giveaway with future releases as well.

And, don't forget, The Cemetery by the Lake Ebook  is always free at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and iTunes. :)


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords 
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website
Tiffany's Official Blog
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Two Behind the Scenes Videos and What's Coming Next on the Blog :)

Hey all,

Here are a couple (very short) behind the scenes videos from a recent photo shoot (in a cemetery) and from my recording of the audio book for The Cemetery by the Lake which should be released next week on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.




And coming up in a new blogpost is something I'm sure anyone who grew up in the 1980s and/or 90s would probably remember. So stay tuned this Thusday! :)

And if you haven't yet, check out the first draft intro paragraph of my new short story (and follow up to Cemetery and Dusk to Dawn), The Twisting House


So I'll be back Thursday with a new blogpost. I think you all will enjoy this one. :)




******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords 
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website
Tiffany's Official Blog
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Saturday, April 19, 2014

New Short Story to Follow Up The Cemetery by the Lake and Dusk to Dawn...

A small preview of my forthcoming short, The Twisting House.

:)



******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords 
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website
Tiffany's Official Blog
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound



Friday, April 18, 2014

Three Book Reviews: Sunken Park, The Dark Priesthood: The Confessions of Malevolence, and The Selkie Secret

A couple Sundays ago, I recommended two books from my bookshelf: Sara Brooke's Sunken Park and Sai Marie Johnson's The Selkie Secret.
Having interviewed the two women in question and did a cover reveal for Sunken Park prior to its release, I decided the next course of action would be to review the books. So here goes. The reviews for Sunken Park by Sarah Brooke, and The Selkie Secret and The Dart Priesthood by Sai Marie Johnson. :)






Sunken Park is the latest effort by Horror Author, Sarah Brooke and let me tell you, as short as it is, it takes you for a ride.
In the beginning, we meet a group of four college students (Brett, Carrie, Anita, and Roy) out on a road trip but at a bit of loss when it comes to their final destination. The come across an old but appealing looking brochure for Sunken Park, a retreat deep in the wilderness. It looks like a cheap and peaceful good time, so the four decide to take a chance.
Upon their arrival, odd things begin to happen almost immediately, and the four quickly find themselves in a fight for their lives.

I will say that for a short novel, Sunken Park really gives you one hell of a ride, and it was one of those stories where at the end of each chapter, I was left wanting to know what happens next ("just one more chapter..."). Without giving too much away, this story is full of spooks and unexpected twists and is easily a five star rating for me. There were a couple grammar issues (hey, I edit books so I can't help noticing stuff like that), however, the story itself was so intriguing and the characters so well-illustrated that it actually doesn't really hurt the reading experience (at least in my opinion). Plus, those issues were very few and far between, and sometimes even with the best editors small things can slip through the cracks.

I did say once that Kransen House was so far my favorite Sara Brooke effort, and so far I think that is still true. However, Sunken Park follows at a very close second.

If you are looking for a relatively quick, fast-paced, and page-turning read (and are a fan of books like Stephen King's IT and The Shining), definitely pick up Sunken Park.




Next on the list is Sai Marie Johnson's The Selkie Secret (A Vanna MacAllister Adventure). Sai Marie Johnson is one of those writers who has a very unique way with weaving words together to tell a story. I was drawn to The Selkie Secret mainly because I am deeply intrigued by pretty much anything nautical and ocean mythology.
The story tells of a young girl named Vanna MacAllister, the daughter of two Scottish immigrants an a rather unusual family tree which pretty much turns her life and plans for the future upside down.

The Selkie Secret is a short read but does pack a good story (I believe it is the first in a series). The characters and story-line kept me interested, and while the ending is a little bit of a cliff-hanger (it is not without tragedy), there is still a sense of completeness to at least this particular part of the story. Overall, it left me wanting there to be another book. :)

 This book is a nice one to read if you are looking to escape from the real world for a little bit. There is sweetness and alot of heart to it, and I do hope she releases a follow up soon. :)







The Dark Priesthood: The Confessions of Malevolence was my introduction to Sai Marie Johnson's works. Now this one falls more into the Paranormal/Erotica genres (I would liken it to maybe Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty Trilogy or Poppy Z. Brite). It tells the story of a young girl in 18th Century New Orleans who, one night, has a rather unwelcomed (or maybe welcomed, however you want to see it:) ) visitor. She finds herself placed in position of queen in the Malevolent Order and 200 years later, she finds herself being under threat of being overthrown by her sister and her son (of course, all in the midst of some very intense extracirriculars...it is erotica, after all).

As far as this one goes, I started to enjoy this alot more once I passed the beginning. Not that the beginning wasn't enjoyable, but (and this is just a personal thing, you can take it or leave it) I would have liked to have seen a little more of a build up to Deviaun's 'change' and maybe get to know who she was a bit more before her transformation. Other than that, I found the story to be an enjoyable read, especially if you enjoy Paranormal Gothic Erotica. Ms. Johnson creates some really cool and interesting characters, each with a name that defines their personality, gifts, and place in the Order. She also doesn't hold back during the erotic scenes either.

This one is also the first in the series, and if you are looking for something more off the beaten path that is of the more dark, erotic nature, I'd say pick this one up. :)

Check out my recent interviews with Sara Brooke and Sai Marie Johnson if you haven't yet.

Also, check out Sunken Park on Smashwords and Amazon

The Selkie Secret on Smashwords and Amazon

The Dark Priesthood: The Confessions of Malevolence on Smashwords and Amazon




******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords 
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website
Tiffany's Official Blog
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound







My Stories Are Available Now on Amazon Kindle

Alright, folks.

For those who were waiting for my stories to be available at Amazon Kindle, the link to The Cemetery by the Lake on Amazon is below (and Dusk to Dawn should be following it shortly). Like I said in a previous post, Amazon wouldn't let me offer it for free in the submissions process. So until I (hopefully) figure it out (maybe pick the brains of some authors who do offer a story or two of theirs for free on that site) it is listed on Amazon as being 0.99. If you don't mind paying that, I do apologize and I appreciate it. BUT, Smashwords does have a Kindle friendly format, and it is free there (I added the link to the Smashwords page under the amazon link) as well as at Barnes & Noble and iTunes. Thanks guys!

The Cemetery by the Lake on Amazon Kindle

The Cemetery by the Lake FREE on Smashwords


With that said, a couple new book reviews coming later. :)

And Dusk to Dawn is now available at iTunes 
:)


******

My short story, "The Cemetery by the Lake" is now available at Smashwords as a FREE download. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords
The Cemetery by the Lake at Smashwords
Dusk to Dawn at Smashwords
and Barnes and Noble NOOK

My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website

Support your local bookstores: Search Indiebound to see what may be in your area. 

The Cemetery by the Lake on Amazon Kindle

Ok. So while my short story The Cemetery by the Lake should be available on Amazon Kindle today (Friday), it unfortunately is priced at 0.99 (I say unfortunately because it's supposed to be a free ebook and is everywhere else) until I can figure out how to offer it for free (it wouldn't let me do it in the submission process). If you don't mind paying the 0.99, I am sorry and I do appreciate it. :) However, it IS still free on Smashwords, NOOK, and iTunes/Apple and I will try to see about making it free on Amazon as promised. :)

Thanks guys! :)


******

My short story, "The Cemetery by the Lake" is now available at Smashwords as a FREE download. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords
The Cemetery by the Lake at Smashwords
Dusk to Dawn at Smashwords
and Barnes and Noble NOOK

My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website

Support your local bookstores: Search Indiebound to see what may be in your area. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Audiobooks in the Future :)

So, I've been considering doing audiobooks for some of my works and after some research, I've found that there is a way to upload to amazon and audible without a 'middle-man' of sorts.

The first will be The Cemetery by the Lake followed by Dusk to Dawn.

I do plan to do one for each book in the Birthrite Series, but since those books will be longer, I will have to give more thought to the production process of that one than for the shorts.

And I plan to do the narrations since a.) I have access to professional equipment to record it on
                                                        b.) I know my own schedule and when I can get it done instead of relying on someone else to do it.
                                                        c.) I do have experience with narrating stuff
                                                        d.) I wrote the stories, so I know how I want them told


I will post samples at my Soundcloud page when they are finished. :)

I am really excited about doing this and I believe it will allow those who aren't necessarily into sitting down and reading words on a page an opportunity to experience the stories.

Coming tomorrow (Friday): A couple book reviews of works from Sara Brooke and Sai Marie Johnson. :)


******

My short story, "The Cemetery by the Lake" is now available at Smashwords as a FREE download. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords
The Cemetery by the Lake at Smashwords
Dusk to Dawn at Smashwords
and Barnes and Noble NOOK

My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website

Support your local bookstores: Search Indiebound to see what may be in your area. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dusk to Dawn is Here and You Guys Are the First to Know! :)

Hey all,

I'm excited to announce that my new short, Dusk to Dawn is now available at Smashwords and will soon be available at other retailers as well. :) The horrors of the food industry awaits you...






Along the side of a dark highway, the Dusk to Dawn Diner awaits your arrival

Somewhere between Interstate 80 and 309 in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Trina, Lisa, and Kevin respond to a Help Wanted sign on the door of the Dusk to Dawn Diner. The diner lives up to its name, only open from dusk to dawn.
One night, Kevin's attention is drawn to the padlocked room said to be used for storage after hearing strange noises behind the door. What begins as an ordinary night of work unravels into a night of terror. A night in which some may not make it out alive.

Dusk to Dawn is part of a series of connected short stories that take place primarily in Northeastern Pennsylvania. 


Dusk to Dawn (A Short Story) at Smashwords

Thanks alot and hope you enjoy. :)


******

My short story, "The Cemetery by the Lake" is now available at Smashwords as a FREE download. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords
The Cemetery by the Lake at Smashwords
Dusk to Dawn at Smashwords
and Barnes and Noble NOOK

My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website

Support your local bookstores: Search Indiebound to see what may be in your area. 

"Dusk to Dawn"...

...will be uploaded to Smashwords tonight and definitely available tomorrow. Sorry it's taking a few more days. I'm still getting the hand of this whole self-publishing books thing! :)

Also, as I was doing the final edit, I began to get new ideas about making "Dusk to Dawn" and "The Cemetery by the Lake" part of a series of connected short stories that take place in the Northeastern Pennsylvania area. What was meant to only be an 'Easter egg' began taking shape into something more and now it's growing into yet another monstrosity (though not quite the monstrosity the Birthrite Series is). I do find myself wanting to revisit Craig and Jane (of "Cemetery") again in the future...

So yes, the story will be uploaded to Smashwords tonight and fully released tomorrow.

Thanks for your patience as I continue trying to become fully technologically savvy at this. :)


******

My short story, "The Cemetery by the Lake" is now available at Smashwords as a FREE download. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords
The Cemetery by the Lake at Smashwords
and Barnes and Noble NOOK

My music is also available at CDBaby
Tiffany on IMDb
Official Website
The Birthrite Series Website

Support your local bookstores: Search Indiebound to see what may be in your area. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Dusk to Dawn" Final Draft Sample

Here is an excerpt before it is released on Smashwords tomorrow. :)




Dusk to Dawn
The diner sat on the edge of the woods along a highway, somewhere between Interstate 80 and 309. Every so often, the occasional local would wander in after a heavy night of drinking, but the main cliental consisted of travelers passing through. No one really knew how long it had been in existence, as it seemed to appear along the road out of nowhere. But such details are typically of little importance to the all night traveler seeking temporary refuge from the open road.
The diner lived up to its name, open from dusk to dawn; a rather unusual business model, but Dusk to Dawn Diner managed to maintain enough cliental to not only remain in business, but even place a Help Wanted sign in one of the front windows. A sign three individuals responded to. Three people with no prior knowledge of the others’ existence until the night they started training together.
Trina, Lisa, and Kevin began their shifts, working the same three nights a week shortly after the spring equinox. All three were interviewed and hired by the owner, Hazel. The woman appeared around fifty years of age, and the new employees were far from blown away by her social skills (or lack of). But as long as Hazel did not prove difficult to work for, the three decided they could handle her aloofness. After all, each intended to only stay until the end of the summer.
Each new hire had a specific purpose for answering the Help Wanted ad. Kevin worked construction near Wilkes-Barre, and while it made him a pretty descent living, he had a goal of making the final payments on his motorcycle as quickly as possible in order to afford a down payment on a house. Lisa was a single mother in need of extra income. Her plan was to move herself and her young daughter from her mother’s house and into an apartment complex in Mountaintop by the start of autumn. Then there was Trina, a History major at King’s College who intended to work a couple nights during the week while putting the extra money away for after she graduated.
The three were introduced to one another on the night of their first shift. Kevin was trained in the kitchen by a middle aged man who called himself Derek, while a red haired girl by the name of Anna worked with Trina behind the bar. Lisa was trained as a night waitress by a heavy-set woman named Amy. They worked with their trainers for much of that first week, with Hazel and the assistant manager, Cheryl, popping in every so often. But once training was over, Derek, Anna, and Amy were never seen again, save for having their names on the schedule. There was also no scheduling flexibility, and while Kevin, Lisa, and Trina didn’t mind always working the same three shifts with one another, they did find the lack of swing shifts--especially for a dining establishment--to be a little odd, even if it was never questioned openly. If it weren’t for seeing other employee names on the schedule, one may have been left with the impression that none other than the three new ones and two managers existed.
On this Monday night, one week prior to the first day of summer, the three arrived for work at around seven in the evening to make preparations for opening the diner at 8:00. Hazel was already seated at her desk in the back office as Trina, Kevin, and Lisa punched in. The owner supposedly lived close by and therefore traveled on foot to work. As usual, she barely greeted the three employees.
That previous weekend, Trina had attended the wedding of her college roommate, Jane and was recounting details of the simple, but elegant, event to her two co-workers. “Her husband, Craig, took her to Venice on their honeymoon,” she said while preparing the first batches of coffee.
“Is she going to finish her last two years of school?” Kevin asked, peering out from the servers window.
Trina nodded. “Yeah, but she’ll be moving into his apartment, of course, so I’ve lost my roommate. I’m happy for her, though. It also isn’t like she’s moving across country since his apartment is close to our campus. He is a great guy, and they were practically living together before anyway.”
Lisa sighed and slid onto a barstool. “Must be nice. Craig wouldn’t happen to have a brother, would he?”
“Actually, he has two,” Trina replied. “And I do believe one is single. At least as of Jane and Craig’s wedding.”
Lisa tapped her waitress notepad on the bar’s surface. “Maybe put in a good word for me? Then after that, we should find Kevin a girl.”
“Hell no,” Kevin retorted. “I’m still getting over the last psycho!”
Trina grinned. “Come on, Kev. Just a date.”
“No!”
The trio ceased their conversation as Hazel wordlessly hurried to unlock the front entrance, grim-faced as ever and hardly acknowledging anyone before retreating back into the office. Kevin, Trina, and Lisa exchanged glances as the bell on the door jingled at the entry of two customers.
Lisa spun off the barstool and went to greet the truck drivers while Trina finished making fresh decaf.
Kevin crossed over to the back freezer for hamburger meat. He retrieved the frozen animal flesh, pausing at the site of the storage room. The door was always padlocked, and only management was permitted entry. It was said to store equipment and never opened anytime Kevin, Trina, and Lisa worked. Normally, Kevin never gave it much thought, but tonight he felt drawn to give it a longer glance this time. As he eyed the door, a soft thumping from inside the room made him jolt backward. Chills rose up on his arms as it was heard a second time. Something probably just fell over…
“Kevin.”
He whirled around to see Hazel’s head sticking out from the office. Her dark eyes were on him, fixed and staring.
“Don’t you have customers out there?” she asked.
“Yeah…sorry,” he stammered. “Um, I think I heard something fall over in the storage room.”
There was a slight shift in the manager’s eyes before she said, “I’ll check it out. You go take care of your customers.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said dryly, and headed back to the kitchen.
When he arrived, an order slip was stuck to the service window, courtesy of Lisa. Kevin snatched it up, reading it over. Sure enough, the men wanted burgers. “Did I call that or what,” he muttered.

More coming with its release tomorrow. :)