Coming next week! So excited. I’ve been writing urban fantasy for myself for over a decade. Finally, I’m releasing something to hopeful readers.
In early spring I’ll be debuting my first in the urban fantasy series, Mystic Bonds: A Paranormal World Novel. Here’s the summary on what it’s about and Chapter one from the novel. Look out for the cover reveal coming soon! I hope you enjoy!
Mage Amina Langston thought surviving the supernatural apocalypse, which killed fifty percent of humankind and changed most of the surviving population into paranormal beings, were the biggest challenges in her life. That is, until she and her brother go on the run from non-gifted humans who want to steal their magical blood to make a power-giving serum. Now she’s in search of a handsome stranger who keeps appearing in her dreams and a secret paranormal city to help free those still held in captivity for their blood.
During her journey, Amina befriends several other magical beings also searching for the mysterious town, including a sexy were-jackal who distracts her from locating the man of her proverbial dreams. However, when the group finds the city, it’s filled with dangerous magic and a barbaric were-pack. Facing these new troubles, will Amina take down her human pursuers and save the other paranormals she left behind or end up in greater peril?
I wasn’t sure where I was. It was dark. Night time. I was outside in a small park surrounded by streets, sidewalks, rowhomes, and what looked like a couple of mom-and-pop restaurants and bars. I was in a neighborhood. Perhaps in the city. What city, I couldn’t be sure. Nothing unique to identify my surroundings popped out in the dark.
I sat down on a bench at the perimeter of the park under a lamp post. I looked ahead across the grassy field at a red, neon “Open” sign on the front of a bar sandwiched between houses. Music played off in the distance.
There was life around me. I could feel it, like a minor static on the skin. However, no one was outside and I heard no buzz of human chatter. I couldn’t tell how late it was. It was certainly too late to be sitting outside alone. Yet, I didn’t get up.
It was summer, I think, by the feel of thick heat on my skin and the way I was dressed. I had on an all-white, A-line, spaghetti strapped dress that stopped at my knees. On my feet, I wore simple light-brown colored sandals that matched closely to my skin tone. My dark, brown hair was out in its natural curly state, grazing my shoulders.
I looked like bait for a predator.
A distant roar, like the sound of a lion, got me to my feet. I spun around trying to locate the origin of the noise but had no such luck. This was a city; the roar of a lion didn’t match the surrounding. Then again, neither did me standing out in the dark.
“It’s just someone’s TV playing too loudly,” I muttered, wrapping my arms around myself. I wasn’t cold but I was certainly creeped out.
I was being naive, borderline stupid. Why was I out here? Could I be waiting for someone? Why didn’t I know?
I listened for the animal call again, yet heard nothing but the music from the bar across the street.
I sat back down carefully; my bottom on the edge of the bench. The music was comforting. Odd noises didn’t sound so bad when you had the base line of an old, 90s-era song playing along with it.
Or so I told myself.
Something electric suddenly pricked the air around me. Goosebumps peppered my arms and made the fine hairs stand up. I heard a shuffling behind me to my left but didn’t turn around, too afraid to see the source of what I assumed was the animal roar. The sound grew closer. Footsteps or paws crunched grass. A shadow appeared on the sidewalk where my bench and I rested under the street light. It was human shaped.
“Mind if I sit next to you?” The voice was deep, male, soothing, and familiar.
I looked to my left at the source of the voice. A few steps in front of me now stood a man, perhaps in his late twenties, although age worked differently nowadays so one never really knew how old another person was exactly. He had a pleasant smile on his face and kind, light-brown eyes, honey-colored skin, and short, wavy, black, hair faded close to his scalp. He wore dark jeans and an untucked, white button-down shirt that covered his just shy of 6-foot, athletic frame. On his feet were black and white Converse that gave him a boy-next door appeal. He was very attractive and his smile, with full lips and the world’s nicest white teeth, made his face almost glow.
He smiled like he knew me, like he had all the answers and was excited to tell them to me. Ease settled in.
“Uh, yeah, sure. I’m sorry, do I know you?” I asked.
He sat down beside me.
I could smell his cologne. Like sandalwood and summer rain on grass with a tinge of something sweet. It was intoxicating.
He didn’t answer, just tilted his head as if studying me. “I’m not sure. I feel like I’ve seen you somewhere before. Are you in business school?”
I shook my head. “Law school.”
He nodded slowly. “Platinum Gym, maybe? I go there a lot.”
I tried not to look him up and down but it was evident from how his clothes laid on his body that he was fit.
However, I had no gym membership of any kind. I shook my head.
He squinted his eyes. “Dating app?”
I cracked a smile. “Now that’s entirely possible.”
He stretched his hand out to me. “My name is Phillip Leal,” he said. “I’m sure I must have swiped up for you. Well, back when that kind of thing existed.”
I chuckled, shaking his hand. His hand was warm and surprisingly soft. “I’m Amina. Langston,” I replied.
“Ah, Amina, Amina, yes, that name sounds familiar,” he called out, slapping his forehead lightly. “Beautiful name for a beautiful woman.”
There was just a charm oozing from him unaided by even words. I’m sure I blushed and was thankful it was dark and that my almond coloring was deep enough to hide it.
“So, what brings you out in the park, looking like bait, along with me?” I asked.
“Would you run if I told you I didn’t know? Sometimes things get fuzzy here for me.”
“You aren’t the only one. Maybe both of us got hit on the head.”
Phillip turned away and leaned back on the bench, staring up at the night sky. “Let’s help each other then. Do you live in the area?”
Did I? I didn’t know for sure but the park felt familiar. “Yeah, I think so. Where are you from?”
He smiled again. “I’m from Philly but originally from the Dominican Republic. Came here when I was five.”
Two places crossed off my list of where in the world was Amina. “So, we know who we are just not where or why we’re here.”
He gave me a lazy smile that made my stomach twist. I felt like a 13-year-old with her first crush. It was those damn eyes. They seemed to connect with me, showing a genuine interest that made me feel…beautiful. “How—”
He was cut off by another roar, still distant but just as distressing. It didn’t sound quite like a lion like I first thought. A bear? I looked at Phillip. “Please tell me you heard that. Hey, do you think maybe there’s a zoo around here?”
“It’s not from the zoo but nothing can hurt us here.” His voice was soft and fell over me like a protective blanket. “I remember, I remember,” he whispered more to himself than me.
I sat back on the bench. Nothing made sense. Here I was in the dark with a stranger and not bothered by some random, scary, animal noises. Maybe I was drugged and didn’t know it.
“I know it all seems crazy but it’ll make sense soon, it always does. You just have to remember.” Phillip sat up straight. “I don’t always remember. At least not at first. I have to keep talking and then everything starts falling into place. I just need to ask questions. How’s your brother?”
Clearly, I was losing my mind as well because I didn’t recall telling him about my family. If we were close enough for him to know about Charles, then why couldn’t I remember him? Who was this guy?
I squinted my eyes again and turned; fully facing Phillip. “I’m so confused. Have we talked before? I just don’t remember.” Statement of the night.
His smile left and his eyes went serious. “You have a brother named Charles. He’s got powers too.”
I moved to the edge of the bench again. Was he crazy? Was I crazy? Nothing he was saying was registering. “Right, but how—”
“Did I know any of that? Because we’ve met before. You always forget until the very end. Which I can understand. I used to forget too. I don’t know why I started remembering.” He grabbed my hand in his and looked into my eyes; seemingly searching them. “Listen to me, Amina. I need you to remember me from now on. This is important. I’m Phillip Leal. It’s important that we stay connected. I couldn’t figure out how to get you to remember before, but I think I know now. I’m Phillip Leal. Remember my name.”
The ground shook and another roar bellowed with it. The shake was not strong and only lasted a second but it was enough to disturb me. “Was that an earthquake? And what is making that noise? We shouldn’t be out here,” I shouted, wanting to get up and run to safety. Home. Wherever that was. Why couldn’t I remember where home was?
Phillip leaned close to me and whispered words in my ear that I didn’t understand. It wasn’t Spanish.
“What did you say?” I asked as he leaned back.
“It’s a spell that I hope works. You’ll remember me next time. You’ll remember everything we talk about when I see you again,” he replied.
I didn’t respond. I didn’t know exactly what to say. I was sitting in a vacant park, at night, with a handsome but incredibly odd stranger, weird things kept happening, and I seemed to be the only one concerned about them.
“I’m so confused.” I replied.
A soft smile crossed his lips. “I know and I’m sorry. I know you so well now and you still look at me like a stranger.”
“I wish I could remember you. You seem like someone I’d really like to get to know.” I leaned towards him. “Maybe inside, where it’s safe? Then you can tell me what the hell is going on.”
He sighed and looked around into the darkness of the park. “It’s not safe anywhere. They want the gifts you have…”
I frowned. “Who’s ‘they?’ What gifts?”
He looked up at the sky again and I followed suit. There were no stars out but the moon was full, giving some light to accompany the street lamps. “I thought I’d get through it but it’s not happening.”
“Phillip, I have no idea what you are talking about.” I touched his shoulder. “You gotta help me here.”
He looked down at me. “You’ll die if you stay where you are. You have to find a way to get out. And when you do, don’t go alone. Never be alone. When you see the others, bring them with you.”
Before I could ask him further questions, the streetlights flickered and I heard an unsettling flapping of large wings from above. For me to hear the wings flapping I knew it was something larger than a bird but what? I looked up at the sky, searching, and saw nothing but the moon. A loud bird’s screech thundered in my ears. I jumped up and turned around, looking into the darkness.
Phillip remained still.
“What the hell was that?” I yelled at him as if he had the answers.
Phillip stood up and sighed. “They’re coming. I gave you some help. When you can, run.”
I stopped searching around for the invisible bird thing and looked back at him. “What help? Run where?”
“To me.” His brown eyes softened as he said that and I was touched with an emotion I couldn’t place.
I grabbed his hands. “We need to get inside; something’s out here. There’s a bar across the street where we can talk.”
“I have to go, Amina.” He brought my right hand up to his lips and kissed it softly. “And you have to wake up.”
“Wake up? Huh? Where are you going?”
The roar came again, along with the bird screech.
This was too much. “The hell!” I shouted in frustration. “We gotta get out of here!” I yanked at his hand but he didn’t budge. “Come on, Phillip. I don’t want to stick around to find out whatever is making those noises.”
“I’m near D.C. in—”
My eyes opened to a dark room. I heard footsteps circling around me.
“Wake up, Sleeping Beauty,” said a female voice. Curtains were pulled and sunlight spread through the room.
I squinted, closing one eye against the bright rays.
My eyes still had a thin glaze of sleep over them and I blinked it away to see my surroundings clearer.
“Did you sleep well?” The mystery voice asked.
I looked around the pale green room, filled with generic light wooden furniture. I was on a full-sized hospital bed under white sheets. Across from the foot of the bed was a small, flat-screened TV mounted to the wall. Off to the left of the TV was a door cracked open, revealing a bit of tiled floor. It was probably a bathroom. I turned my head to the window on my right. It was a bright sunny day. I could see tops of vivid green trees, so I knew I was a couple of floors up in a building.
“How do you feel?” said the voice, coming now from my left.
I turned my head and found a woman standing in front of me; she was white and in her early 50s with graying red hair and bright green eyes, with laugh lines at the corners giving away her regular pleasant disposition. I knew her all too well.
She was checking what I assumed were my vitals on a machine next to me. She then looked at the IV bag hanging off a hook; my right arm was stuck with the attached needle.
I opened my mouth to speak, lips dry and cracked. My throat felt like it was on fire and my head felt like someone kept flicking me with their fingers in the middle of my forehead. “Like crap,” I croaked.
“Let me get you some water, honey,” she said, and poured me a glass of water from a pitcher on the side table. “If I had some sliced lemon that’d be even better.”
I sat up slowly, still feeling weak, and took the glass. “That’d give this place a real spa-like feel,” I replied, through sips of water.
Joanie scoffed. “Hardly.” She sighed and put her hands on her slender hips. “Hopefully they leave you alone today. You need to get your strength back.”
I rolled my eyes. “For what, them to come back again the next day? I’d be better with them just finishing me off.”
Joanie sucked her teeth. “Don’t you talk like that, honey. There’s always a better day coming. And you’ve got your brother here. You aren’t alone.”
They want the gifts you have.
Why had that popped in my head just now?
Suddenly, images of a handsome black man with kind eyes popped into my mind.
It was all a dream. One that I finally remembered.
“Feel up to going to breakfast? I can get a wheelchair if you need help. I think it would do you some good to get out of this room. See folk. See Charles.”
I gave a deep sigh and tossed the sheets aside. I swung my sock-covered feet to the side of the bed, scooted to the edge and stood up. My legs buckled but I leaned onto my IV pole and waited until I had my balance again.
“You need the wheelchair, darlin’?” Joanie asked, holding me up by the right arm.
I quickly shook my head.
When you can, run.
I needed my legs. “Just need to fully wake up.”
Joanie nodded. “Take a shower, get dressed. Then we can walk over to the cafeteria. I’ll be waiting outside.”
When you can, run.
I needed my energy. I was breaking out of here. =”fa
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!
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.
“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!
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
Want more information on blogging, female empowerment and more? Check out the following events in the DMV, I’ll be there with swag and prizes!
A Woman’s Worth Conference- http://www.awwconference.com/ March 28, 2014
Blogger week- http://bloggerweek.com/ May 1-2
And don’t forget to check my blog on dating, travel and style www.typeacosmogirl.wordpress.com
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
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
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)
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.
- All I Want For Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey- I wish I had her voice, pre- Nick Cannon. Every time I hear this song I have to bob my head. And of course it brings back memories of my favorite romance movie (and that’s a short list since I don’t like that sappy stuff), Love Actually (really sweet movie, dude from The Walking Dead is in it).[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY]