Playing with Fire

Evil is knowing better, but willingly doing worse. Philip Zimbardo 

Temptations. Who doesn’t have them? Some people feel an uncontrollable urge to devour a dozen Oreos at two o’clock in the morning, and in my home…mint, chocolate-chip ice cream vanishes all by itself, plus the desire for McDonald’s crispy, perfectly salted French fries can blow any diet into a dark abyss if the craving is not controlled. But, face it—none of these temptations, even if succumbed to, will result in anything too atrocious, other than tighter fitting jeans, which is bad enough.

Consider yourself quite fortunate if your temptations are simply a bit of overkill in the donut department, (guilty!) or your love of cars meant you spent too much on custom floor mats, because for Jake Cottrell, protagonist in The Twelfth Paladin, playing with fire…temptations of the wicked kind, may cost him his soul. Jake easily falls into a decadent realm filled with lust, murder, and revenge.

Check out the book trailer!  The Twelfth Paladin at YouTube

Also, heat up your summer with a little mischief of your own…enter the Goodreads Book Giveaway!  June 27-July 27 (2011)

The Twelfth Paladin from Melange Books

In The Twelfth Paladin, good against evil battles as angels, demons, and a temptress extraordinaire, named Rachel Darnell, vie for the soul of Jake Cottrell. Jake foolishly dares Hell to burn him. Hell agrees.

Scarred with angelfire by a rebellious angel, named Micah, Jake Cottrell is sanctioned to become the twelfth paladin in Micah’s supernatural unit of slayers. However, regret abounds as Micah is banished and ordered to protect what he now despises…a human he believes is unworthy of such an honor. Never fear, Jake is a seeker of mischief who soars on a blistering blacktop to escape the wrath of Hell while he transforms into the twelfth paladin. 

Excerpt from Chapter Two

Setup: Jake Cottrell and an old, high school buddy, Davis Travis, have gone to a local carnival in Clearview Oregon. Davis knows Jasmine well and asks her to do a reading for Jake…

Jasmine’s dark green eyes intensified making me feel vulnerable, like my skin was nothing more than clear, plastic wrap. Her crystal ball glowed bluer as pure white light shot out from the top of it. The warm light split up into thousands of hair-like strands, which proceeded to wrap themselves around my stinging flesh. A satisfying, but overwhelming aroma gobbled up the carnival smell once present.

I couldn’t speak, felt immobile in every physical aspect, yet my mind burned. Things about my ridiculous childhood appeared throughout my mind much like a movie. Tender moments shared with Tony were especially heartfelt to see, like the day he showed us our new home. After that, I remembered when my mother left us, and our life mirrored the underworld. Sadness just about asphyxiated me. Out of nowhere, the sorrow left as I relived the surreal accident at the Motocross Track. For a second, I was dead and descending into Hell.

At last, relief came to me as Jasmine released her hands from mine. As fast as a lightning bolt, the white light retracted back into her crystal ball. “My, my, Jake Cottrell,” she said while patting her lovely chest.

“What did you see? Am I going to win a lottery or something?” Standing up to leave, I acted like nothing had happened.

Jasmine came to me and then placed her delicate hand on my right shoulder. A half-smile disappeared when she leaned in to whisper, “Surely you will fall into darkness, before you willingly bathe in the glory of the light. All in due time, Jake Cottrell.”

Faster than Tony could empty a bottle of whiskey, goose bumps consumed my skin. “Stop it. How did you know I dreamed that?”

Inches from my face, Jasmine ran her black nails along my jaw. “You’ve been scarred with angelfire. Your right shoulder I believe? A war is going on, but you won’t accept you’re the twelfth one, will you?” She laughed, dancing about the tent looking more like a medieval witch than a modern-day carnival gypsy. “I hope you’re ready for the ride of your life…because it’s coming.” Jasmine spun around faster as the candles flared and her cackle grew more intense.

“Angelfire, ride of my life, and the twelfth what? Oh, forget it. You’re nuts. Come on, Davis!”

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A seeker of mischief, Jake ends up on a blistering blacktop headed straight for Hell where he must fight for everyone he loves and for his soul. Can he beat the odds and win? Find out in The Twelfth Paladin. Pick up your copy at Melange Books, and soon at Amazon, Borders, and Barnes&Noble, plus other outlets too.

Consider your temptations. What tactics have you’ve taken to keep them at bay? Mostly everyone who knows me…understands perfectly well if any kind of pastry is nearby, I’m going to confiscate it. I cannot resist baked goods, so I try (almost always) to avoid that section of a supermarket. Share your thoughts, ask a question, or leave your favorite strategy for beating temptations.

Thanks for visiting the Noracast!

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A Ranger’s Tale: Review

Set in the fantasy world of Tallenmere, the high elf Caliphany Aranea longs to explore the world and escape from her controlling father. Her dreams are fulfilled when she meets ranger and ship captain Galadin Trudeaux. But, when secrets from the past bring tragedy to those she loves, Caliphany must fight to hold on to the life she’s always wanted.

A Ranger’s Tale is set in the fantasy world of Tallenmere, where high elf Caliphany Aranea boldly defies her controlling father…who is the most powerful mage in the kingdom. Caliphany’s well to do life was carved out for her including a marriage and a lifetime dedication to her magic, and many citizens in Tallenmere would think it crazy to desire anything beyond what her father had planned. With her strong will and a heart for adventure, Caliphany breaks away from Tallenmere’s traditions to instigate a series of events that change her life, and the lives of others on her path of discovery. She is a very likable character, as is Galadin Trudeaux, even though he has a shady past. Secrets, revenge, and escape from both real and internal prisons are all accounted for in this wildly enjoyable tale.

The way grief, regret, and guilt affect A Ranger Tale’s characters make the story easy to relate to, and this is why I had a terrible time waiting to see the outcome of the story, but I did not read the last page first! I behaved myself…and read the pages in order, but it was super difficult to do. When you start reading this wonderful tale, make sure to give yourself time to dive in…because you will not want to put it down. This book is first in a series, so I’m thrilled to know the exploits of her characters will continue in Tallenmere. I can hardly wait to see what will happen next…

A Ranger’s Tale is set in a whimsical world, where magic is the norm for the Aranea family, but the feisty romance between Caliphany and Galadin, plus the real life issues Caliphany and Galadin face keep the story from becoming too fantastical. Ms. Parker did a fabulous job of weaving magic into an otherworldly realm that still felt accessible for this mere human. If you crave adventure, need to escape Mundaneville…and love a good romance, pick up your copy of A Ranger’s Tale.

A Ranger’s Tale is available many places, including Melange Books and Amazon!

The Twelfth Paladin: Jake Cottrell

Many moons have come and gone since I lasted posted, but I’ve been in Hell. Seriously…

Yes! I’ve spent the last few months with Jake Cottrell…the protagonist in The Twelfth Paladin, and let me tell you, he got himself into all kinds of trouble, but he’d have it no other way! Take a minute, or two, and get to know the reluctant hero behind the madness in my new supernatural/thriller, The Twelfth Paladin, coming soon from Melange Books.

Check out the book trailer… The Twelfth Paladin

Nora: So, Jake…thanks for taking time out of your busy life to visit the Noracast. I imagine this is pretty lame compared to your supernatural adventure, though, huh?

Jake: Hell, no! I can use a breather, although it will be a short one. It’s not like Micah gives us rookie paladins any time off. Wickedness would like that too much…

Nora: Yep, I totally get what you’re saying. Now, real quick, sum up what your story, The Twelfth Paladin, is about.

Jake: Okay, sure. This story involves an angel and demons, my father…Tony Cottrell, plus murder and mayhem get a stab at ruining my chance at redemption too. For better or worse, I’m the kind of guy who can never get enough smack-downs. You know…an amazing feeling of floating so high, a freaking rush like no other, that you need a smack from the hand of God to bring you down. Well, that’s what my buddies and I chase after in Clearview, Oregon, but those awesome smack-downs are found in the midst of dangerous situations, like racing, bungee jumping…oh, anything that gets the adrenaline pumping. Since walking on the dark side was hazardous to my health, naturally, I had to risk everything and dive deep into chaos. I actually dared Hell to burn me. Hell agreed.

Nora: Are you insane?

Jake: More than you know.

Nora: Uh-huh…yes, you are. Never mind that for now. What’s your connection to Davis Travers?

Jake: Oh, man, he’s one nasty fellow. Looks like an angel, speaks like a saint…and so rich he tossed temptations in front of me too good to resist! We go all the way back to high school. Just wait until your readers learn about his twisted acts of deceit. I hate that guy.

Nora: Sounds like it. And Rachel Darnell?

Jake: Hum, let me think for a second. She’s, um…too hot for words, really. Rachel is the epitome of Hell on earth, so freaking beautiful and treacherous. Yes, a bad combo, I know—yet, I had to have her.

Nora: Why is it wickedness desired you, was hungry for your soul?

Jake: Well, Nora, because I didn’t care one iota about my soul, and lived for the day. Every day was a party, an excuse to wreak havoc, wherever and whenever, the hell I wanted. Motocross, my buddies, and hanging out at this local bar, Zeke’s, were what I did best. Consequences for my actions? I never even considered them, until I made the biggest mistake of my life. Yeah, I hope to only pay for that during this lifetime. We shall see…

Nora: So, you’re a seeker of mischief?

Jake: Absolutely, love it.  It’s a wonder my dad, Tony…didn’t pack my bags and kick me out long ago. I guess he let me stay with him since my self-indulgent, totally useless mother, Elizabeth, left us both. I was like five years old. Okay, time for me go. I’ve a bad feeling.

Nora: Really?

Jake: Yes! Don’t you feel the heat-wave contaminated with mangled whispers of regret, and the smell of pestilence spoiling the air? Devils are everywhere.

Nora: Yikes! Well, then…get to it, and do what you do.

Jake: My pleasure.

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The Twelfth Paladin:

Scarred with angelfire by a rebellious angel named Micah, Jake Cottrell is sanctioned to become the twelfth paladin in Micah’s supernatural unit of slayers. However, regret abounds as Micah is banished from his command and ordered to protect what he now despises…a human he believes is unworthy of such an honor.

Jake slips far away from righteousness, outwardly proving Micah’s judgment, by replying to a wicked email from next@hell.net. Forever a seeker of mischief, Jake dares hell to burn him. Hell agrees. Davis Travers thickens the plot by introducing Jake to Rachel Darnell. A temptress extraordinaire, she erupts from Hell to steal Jake’s soul. After a steamy seduction from the dark side, Jake is left spellbound.

With his soul dangling between Heaven and Hell, Jake soars on a blistering blacktop to escape the wrath of Hell as he fights for redemption while transforming into the twelfth paladin. Feel the heat as you grab your precious soul and go for a virtual roller coaster ride into Hell and back.

TEMPTATIONS

As you can see, Jake has issues with temptations. What gets to you…something that you want to resist, but causes you frustration? Is it your favorite dessert, a desire to live life on the edge, a relentless need to buy things, or is a special person driving you crazy? For me…it’s those warm, glazed donuts screaming for me to devour them as I hurry past the bakery in Kroger. Oh, to be sure, I’m taking a few perfectly baked victims home tonight…

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