Snippet from my new novel

Mystic Bonds
A Paranormal World Book One
CC Solomon
urban fantasy

The past year and a half I’ve been working on a new writing project. An apocalyptic  supernatural series that will be published by late winter/early spring. In my mind it is The Walking Dead meets True Blood.

In the meantime, here is an excerpt from the novel and I’m always open to beta readers so message me if you are interested. Thanks to those who have edited, read and provided feedback to me already. Live your best life folks and if there is any accomplishment that you want highlighted in the newsletter, please contact me!

Mystic Bonds

Five Page Excerpt…

Main Street, USA. Most towns had them. Located in the suburbs, it was a street with a mixture of quaint shops, offices, restaurants, and bars.

Charles turned down the street and parallel parked on the right side in the middle of the strip. The area looked desolate; a few storefront doors and windows were bashed in and broken. From what I could see behind the thick, dark-green plant overgrowth on the buildings, there were deep brownish red stains of varying sizes on a few of the store porches, streets, and sidewalks. Some of the building signs hung crooked or had long given up the fight and were now on the ground. The street in front of our car was cracked and broken up as if construction was breaking ground before everything went to hell, but no work trucks were in sight. The broken ground stopped right in front of where our car was parked but that wasn’t the disturbing part.

Charles opened the car door and frowned. “Phew, I’d ask what died out here but I can guess by the broken up skeleton parts.”

“Jesus,” I whispered, looking out the front car window.

I leaned towards the dashboard and squinted. In this world I’d seen this scene before. Pass the hole in the ground were skeletal parts covered in dirt, caked blood, and dried skin. There were torsos, unattached legs, arms, and skulls.

“Whatever jacked up the road, did a superman lift off, right there.” Charles got out of the truck and pointed to where the destruction to the pavement ended in front of us. “Because I don’t see the stores demolished beyond this broken up area. Whatever did that, if it were going into a building, it pretty much would have knocked it down. And same goes if it leaped on top of a building. So, it wasn’t a gargoyle.”

I got out of the truck, looking around. “This must have been done earlier on in the change for these bodies to be this decomposed. These poor people.” I let out a cough and covered my mouth and nose with a shirt I got from my backpack.

Charles nodded, surveying the area. “A place like this could have a lot of what we need, assuming no one else has wandered here.” He walked over to a clothing storefront that contained a bit of plant life around it and peered in. “I’m thinking the plant life was also a deterrent. It’s probably poisonous.”

Upon hearing that, I turned to Charles just in time to see a snake-like vine wrap around his ankle. “Don’t move, Charles,” I shouted. If he did, the vine would grow tighter. I’d seen plants strong enough to rip a limb out of a person’s socket.

Charles’ body stiffened. “There’s a man-eating plant around my ankle isn’t there?” he asked in a quiet voice.

“Possibly. Relax.” I moved a little closer and saw the vine tighten. I looked up at the clothing store and saw the second level was covered in moving, wiggly, deep-green leaves and vines. I hadn’t noticed the vines moving earlier and perhaps it purposefully hadn’t. Did I forget to mention that in the new world plant life was smart? “Son of a bitch,” I whispered.

“Any day now, Mina,” Charles stated through clench teeth.

I could throw magic over anything natural and, like it or not, even the supernatural was part of that now. I recalled how I first controlled the ten-foot monster dog that disrupted my cousin’s wedding when the world first went to hell. I’d controlled other inhuman things since then. I usually did so to get them to leave us alone and not eat or kill us. The lesser the lifeform, the easier it was to control. And less painful for me.

I threw my hands up and then balled them into fists; forcing my energy into the plants and envisioning them drying out, breaking off and dying. I’m not sure if I really needed the hand work but it helped me focus on what I was aiming my magic to do.

Tiny points of pain pricked my skin all over. Soon after that, the plant life started to change from a bright green to burnt brown, then it crumbled and broke apart. The vine around Charles’ ankle fell away and shriveled.

I let out a deep sigh and my minor pain went away.

Charles turned around to face me, eyes wide. “Took you long enough. Thanks, sis.”

I rolled my eyes again. “You know better than to run off like that.”

“I was still in eye range, mom. Plus, the plants didn’t look like they were moving. Just poisonous.”

“Well, clearly they were playing games.”

“I’ve never seen plants do that before.”

I looked down the street to my left. It was after twelve in the afternoon. Since it was early summer we still had a good amount of sun left but we had to watch our time carefully so that we wouldn’t be caught out in the dark.

“I think we should know by now that the only certainty around here is that everything is uncertain. All right, let’s search this place but stay on your toes.”

We searched every establishment together. It took a while but we were finding a gold mine here. A gory gold mine but a gold mine all the same. We tied some scarfs from a clothing store around our faces to help block out the stench of decaying, dead flesh and spoilt food, and went through the work of gathering supplies.

I focused on practical items. Jackets and gloves for later seasons and undergarments from the clothing stores, a first aid kit from a bar, some non-perishable food, lighters and a few more toiletries we were in need of for our day to day. We had to build our base all over again. There would be no going back to our old complex, it had been raided and destroyed by David and his gang months ago.

“I think we have enough time to hook up some lunch from one of those restaurants before the plants get to be dangerous and the sun goes down,” Charles surmised, eyeing a barbeque restaurant across the street.

I glared at him.

He shrugged. “What? I’m hungry. You can magically cook us up a meal and I can get this laptop working and search for a government town,” he stated, waving a silver laptop in the air.

While I tried to make a meal out of whatever I could gather in the kitchen of one of the restaurants, Charles made magic happen on the laptop and gained access to the very limited internet. Nowadays the internet was mostly a ghost town of sites that were abandoned. The only active sites were the informational ones, social media, and of course what was left of the government had an active site. The only way we even knew of the government’s resurgence was by searching the former White House website and Twitter page. From there, word spread from others who had the same idea.

“Okay, so there’s a government backed town in Hagerstown. A little under three hour’s drive. We go there first. See if they can help. If they can’t, we push on to Silver Spring,” Charles stated bringing his laptop over to me in the kitchen.

After lunch we were on our way back to the highway when we spotted trouble on the side of the road.

A man stood, pulling thin legs out of the ground in front of a tree-lined area off the main road. The legs the man held appeared to be female. The torso attached to the legs was halfway in the ground.

“What. The. Hell!” Charles exclaimed, slowing the car down as we passed them.

“Stop the car,” I ordered, straining past Charles to get a better look.

“Why?”

“Clearly, we need to help them. The woman is stuck in some, I don’t know, quick sand-like dirt or something.”

“What if it’s a trap? I mean, that guy looks like he’d swat us like flies. I’m not up for a fight. We have to focus on saving our friends.”

I looked to the man. He did look imposing, with a wide and muscular frame. Still, something was telling me to help. “What if it’s not a trap? And we’re looking for people to help us get our friends. Maybe they’ll help us if we help them, so stop the car!”

“This is how we got caught last time.” Charles came to an immediate stop in front of an opening to a shopping plaza and I jumped out. “Don’t be stupid, sis!”

Out of habit, I looked both ways before crossing the vacant street. I didn’t bother wasting time asking the man what happened. The situation looked pretty clear.

I raised both hands and focused on the ground around the now thighs of the female. She was getting swallowed up quickly and I was sure she wasn’t able to breathe. If this was a trap, it was a dangerous one.

 

Thanks for your support!

 

February Edition

I don’t know about you but I’m already counting down until Spring. This month I talk online dating, my new favorite beauty product, and my new section, Out the Box, which will cover anything from nightlife, blogs, books, and pop culture.

Feature

Online Dating Etiquette 101
After years of on and off usage of online dating and hearing stories from various people, I’ve put together some of my top etiquette when online/app dating to keep your karma shiny and your dating successful.

If you swipe then respond- Why waste the time winking/swiping/staring or whatever and then fail to communicate with that person? I know some use apps like Bumble or Tinder as a confidence booster but there are other places to go for that kind of need.

Don’t spend too much time texting/messaging- The goal is to meet people. If you are still messaging someone two weeks in without even a phone call, move on. The only reason this pen pal situation drags on is because the person is seeing someone else but wants you waiting in the wings, is catfishing you, is married, is wasting your time.

Don’t be a no show- Online dating shouldn’t make a person less courteous to others. You are still speaking with an actual person online so treat them with respect.

Keep the conversation going- This one is a common pet peeve. If a person writes to you and you respond, add something more than just a response to the question to add value. If all you are doing is answering the questions or just adding “and you?”, this is not a conversation. This is borderline interviewing and it shows disinterest in getting to know the other person.

Be honest- The truth is going to come out and if you’ve ever watched Catfish, no amount of a good personality is going to makeup for the lie. Use real, recent pictures with close ups and full body shots. Don’t fudge your height. Don’t lie about your age or job. Don’t hide that you are separated or have kids. I find that if you are real in your profile you have more confidence upon the first meeting because you’ve always presented the authentic you.

Limit your options- It can be overwhelming and almost like a game to keep swiping all day but if you spread yourself thin are you really able to make a connection (assuming that’s what you want)? Focus on a few people and put real effort in. If nothing works, then move on.

And of course, last but not least, have fun. When it starts to feel like work, take a break.

Product of the Month

I love a good blush if it helps to bring an enhancing pop to your face. I cringe whenever I see someone who just puts some pink on their cheeks and keeps it moving. Blush should add depth or accentuate your best, almost like contouring. This month I got Seraphine Botanicals Lychee and Gold blush. This pink blush has a light shimmer to it that gives a nice highlight and a lit from within look.

Out the Box

I’m a movie buff and avid reader, but I’m not one for the mushiness unless it’s laced in horror, science fiction, or fantasy. Since it’s February, I thought I’d recommend a couple of “out the box” romance books and movies.
If you like a bit of romance with your horror check out Warm Bodies. I found the story of a zombie falling in love with a girl (and not eating her) quite compelling despite how crazy the premise sounds.
If you like science fiction and romance check out the 2011 movie staring Ewan McGregor called Perfect Sense. Set in a world were a disease causes humankind to lose all their senses one by one, two people still manage to fall in love. Pulls the heartstrings and stuff.

For my readers, if you love urban fantasy (like I do) but still want some romance, check out the new series from Ilona Andrews (actually a husband and wife writing duo), Hidden Legacy. Set in a world where magic rules the day and the more you have of it, the higher in society you are. When two mages from different walks of life come together to track down a powerful bad guy, welp love and stuff happens.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Until next time!

My Top Places to Shop in Baltimore

And now we enter my final (for now) ode to Baltimore with SHOPPING! Ah, yes, nothing makes a Type A girl more cosmo than the love of shopping. In fact, since leaving Baltimore I miss my downtown shopping experiences. Don’t sleep on good ole Bmore, we have a great arts scene in all respects. Don’t believe me?  Check out the yearly Artscape.

But my favorite art (other than writing of course) is clothing design (well, looking at it). And I love a good boutique. I have fond memories of these spots and have been recommended several. Check them out if you are a shopping diva like moi. Read More

SATC Talk: Bay of Married Pigs: Can single women and married women be friends?

This is the third episode of the first season and is actually a question I wonder about. Now, I’m not talking about friends you already have who get married or become single. I’m talking about attracting new friends who are married if you are a single woman. And I mean meaningful friendships.

In this episode, Carrie has an awkward encounter with a friends husband while staying with them at their beach house. Zach Morris time out (yes I dated myself): What couple invites a single woman on vacation with them? Like even if my sister (my bestie) invited me out with her and her man on a fabulous destination: boo, I’ll pass unless you are inviting another (hot) eligible bachelor.

Ok, back to the regularly scheduled program. Also in this episode, Miranda’s boss tries to hook her up. She didn’t ask for help but there is obvious a percieved problem with seeing this single woman. And they decide that she must be a lesbian because that’s who they hook her up with.

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So I’ve met a few attached women in my life and, honestly, unless they are older and are more of a mentor to me, I really don’t have the same type of close friendships that I have with my single gals. This got me wondering why and I can only think of these “obstacles” to justify why I don’t make new married friends: Read More

SATC: Girl Code

I know this will come as a big surprise but I am a huge fan of Sex and the City. I will watch it all these years later and still find it totally relevant. So I wonder what a 30 something Carrie/Charlotte type o gal would say about some of her favorite episodes and how they applied to life 11 years after the series ended. So enter my series of posts called SATC Talk.

sex-and-the-city-season-1_71001357So watching the first season of SATC doesn’t get me the girlfriend vibe that the later seasons do but few fun series start with a bang and the first season still held many relatable messages and themes. One thing from the pilot episode I recall was the very ending when Samantha hooked up with the guy Charlotte had just finished having a very respectable date with (he wanted to hook up, she did not). I wasn’t clear if Samantha knew or not that he was Charlotte’s date but it got me thinking about girl codes. I have a few that I just assume all women know, let me know if you disagree or if I’m missing some. Read More

Where To Make Friends

So a Cosmo girl can’t be a gal about town if she has no pals to strut with. No matter your age or location, friends are key to a fulfilling life. However, unless you’ve kept your same crew from school, once you graduate it can be hard to make new friends. I had gals I was so close with in school but once we graduated we slowly went our separate ways. Some of this was due to moving, some due to a shared experience being the real bond holding us together.

So what is a girl to do when she’s ready to make her social mark on the world but does not want to do it alone? Read More

Has TV Ruined Dating?

Long ago, in a land not far, far away, there was this thing called courtship. Men asked you out in person, by letter or on the phone. They met you with flowers and took you to nice establishment that made you feel special. Women were chaste and gave the art of conversation. Plans were made, you saw each other again. The longer you courted the closer you became. Eventually you reached a commitment and things were good. It’s true, I tell ya, these things did happen. I read about them in books and stuff. And I vaguely remember experiencing this in high school. And sometimes, on rare occasions, I even still see these things happen, but then I rub my eyes and it’s gone. Perhaps just a dream.

Because now our courtship consist of back and forth texts, requests to “hang out” or “meet up” at some non set time (say 7 or 730ish) at some non set place (translation: no reservations) where food may or not be had (usually coffee or drinks will do). If you are really lucky… Read More

New Year, New- Better Me?

I suppose I have to write the obligatory new years post. I won’t be talking about any resolutions. If I didn’t do them before, I’m not going to do them now simply because a new year came around. The pressure of trying to achieve goals simply because it’s a new year doesn’t really add up to me. We say we’ll do something to change who we are and don’t have a real game plan or don’t like the work we have to do to change and end up dropping the idea. Why do we need to change? Why can’t a new year just bring out the same you just better? The idea that there must be a new you each year in itself sets you up with the dark feeling that you aren’t enough and that you’ve wasted yet another year. I say, forget about new year’s resolutions and just always aim to just be more of the best of what you already are.

Therefore, the one thing I will aim to do for for every day, is (Read More)

My Top Christmas Songs That Bring Good Cheer

Ok so I’m pretty unique in that I love Christmas (voice laced in sarcasm) but nothing makes me more happy besides spending time with family, eating yummy food and watching holiday movies than hearing a good Christmas tune. It just puts me in a festive mood. I can be scrubbing the floors and having a blast if I’m doing it while listening to a jingle melody. And it’s not just the music but the memories and feelings that come along with it.

So I asked myself, I said, “Cosmo Girl”, because that’s what I call myself, “If you had to pick, what would be your top five Christmas songs?” And so I present to you my holly, jolly, feeling the holidays top songs.

Read More