Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Character Interview: Cole Courtland from Circle of Dreams

Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?
My twin sister and I grew up deep in the Montana wilderness. Our mother was human and our father was a shape shifting wolf, who was also a brutal alcoholic. We grew up in his pack and were half-breed outcasts, which only made him more violent. When we were three my mother figured out a way to escape. With two shape shifting, cub children, she made her way across the country with no money and no resources. We relied on the kindness of strangers until my mom could get a job. She’d trained as a nurse so was able to get per diem nursing jobs here and there. We moved just about every year until we were in our early teens to make sure he never found us.
Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you'd rather be doing?
Now I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and my twin sister and I run a private investigation firm where we mainly investigate cases with a paranormal twist. In addition to being part wolf, we both have other psychic abilities. When we were in college we met three other people who were like us and the five of us went into business together after we graduated. Our clientele is often highly secretive and want results without needing to know too much about how we got them. There isn’t anything I’d rather be doing. I was born for this.
What's going on in your life right now?
One of our key informants was found dead. His body was deflated, drained of every ounce of fluid. His was only one in a long string of murders along the west coast of the US with this profile. This one is a personal case for all of us on the team.
Is there someone special in your life?
How did you meet? What's his/her family like?
I met Bri through the course of my investigation into these murders. Once we got into the case, there were paranormal phenomena that pulled me into Bri’s world in a dangerous way.
Bri’s family is another matter altogether. My family has certainly had their challenges, but my sister and I are incredibly close to our mother. We’ve been through hell and back together and those kind of experiences cemented our relationships long ago. Bri lost her parents when she was five, both of them, and then went to live with her wealthy and eccentric adoptive father. Growing up was lonely for her. The truth about her past and her family are part of what puts both of us at risk.
What's keeping you two apart?
Did I mention Bri’s family? It’s not only that her adoptive father doesn’t like me much in the beginning, but Bri has a strong sense of protecting those she loves even if it means she has to go to extreme measures to do so. It’s part of what I love about her, and part of what makes her so elusive.
What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?
All I ask is that Bri give me a chance and if what we have to face doesn’t kill us, I think we’ll make it.
Any last comments?
Circle of Dreams will introduce you to the world of the Quytel. I learn about who and why they are, right along with you. They are a race of people born with psychic abilities and branded with a genetic marker. Three Judges, three Seekers, seven Warriors and a Commander make a Quytel Circle. The seven Circles are bound to specific geographic territories on Earth. Through near immortality, powerful psychic abilities, and an unbreakable bond that ties them together, they are the servants of justice on Earth. This is the first book in the Quytel Series. I hope you enjoy our story!

Book blurb
Leader of an elite psychic team, Cole Courtland is a shape-shifting wolf with a deep connection to the power of the Earth. His investigation of a string of mysterious murders throws him into the dangerous world of the Quytel and leads him straight to Brianna Doherty’s door. Bri is plagued by vicious nightmares of death and pain that leave her wondering about her own history. When her home is under siege, an enigmatic stranger appears out of nowhere to save her. Thrown together in a tangle of desire and danger, they are pulled deeper into the secretive world of the Quytel, an ancient order charged with maintaining the balance of psychic and paranormal power on earth. Staying one step ahead of those who would destroy them, they struggle to unravel the truth of Bri’s past and her family legacy. As her relationship with Cole grows stronger, the reality of who Bri is threatens to tear them apart.

Chapter 1

               Struggling against the confines of the damp bedsheets, which had become wrapped around her long legs during her fitful sleep, Brianna Doherty kicked them off in frustration. The clock on her nightstand read two-thirty. She groaned. Another sleepless night.
               She tossed on her robe as she made her way to the bathroom. Splashing cold water on her face, she assessed her reflection in the mirror. Her mouth creased into a deliberate grimace. Her large green eyes, slightly bloodshot, stared out at her from a flushed face. Hands shaking, she pulled her long mess of blond hair into a ponytail and took a deep breath in an attempt to steady her racing pulse.
               Oh, Bri. Get ahold of yourself, she thought. The nightmare hadn’t visited her yet tonight, but she could feel the aching deep in her subconscious. It was only a matter of time. She snapped off the light reluctantly and made her way through the dimly lit room back to her bed.
               “Damn!” she bit out through gritted teeth, as she stubbed her toe on the large wooden trunk at the foot of her bed . . . again. She needed to move the damn thing into another room, but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. It had been her mother’s chest and contained the few items she had to remember her by. Inside were several photographs of her parents, a hand-knitted blanket, her mother’s favorite scarf, and a few trinkets she’d been able to collect before she was taken from the house.
               Flopping on her back, Bri pushed down the thoughts of her long-dead parents and touched lightly on the nightmare. She tried to think of it as a dream. It had less power that way, but it still frightened her to the core. As a reporter, she’d seen and heard countless horrific and terrifying stories, her scientific mind picking them apart and examining details until the puzzle made sense. The work usually didn’t get to her, but this did. It felt personal. Bone-chilling. Terrifying. It made her want to scream until she lost her mind.
               The nightmare had started a few weeks ago, and she was sick of it. For just one night she wanted peace, to rest without dreaming, to wake refreshed and unafraid. She knew that this meant allowing the dream to come without fighting it. And tonight she would do that—but on her terms.
               A week earlier, Bri had started diligently researching lucid dreaming—the ability to be consciously aware during a dream. She figured it was the only way she could get to the bottom of what the nightmare was trying to tell her. There was no doubt left in her mind that there was a reason this had started.
               According to her research, she needed an object to focus on while she was in the dream, and she’d chosen an old coin that had been in her mother’s things. The image of small horse on one side and what looked like a deity on the other were smooth and worn. Grabbing the object from her nightstand, she laid back, her fluffy pillow not nearly as comforting as it usually was. The coin was cool in the palm of her hand, and her fist curled tightly around it. The uneven metal edges bit into flesh. Closing her eyes, she tried to deepen her shallow breathing. Her heartbeat quickened with apprehension.
               The nightmare rushed in with frightening clarity, and she was helpless against it. Paralyzed. Flashes of light filled her mind and senses. Pain ripped through every fiber of her being. She could hear her own scream, high-pitched, blood curdling, and only in her mind. She couldn’t breathe through the panic rising in the back of her throat. She tried to swallow through the constriction and nearly choked. Losing her concentration, Bri was swept into the nightmarish world of overwhelming pain and insidious fear.
About the Author I love romance, magic, and the poetry of words. Even as a child I wanted to be a writer. When I was eleven, a friend and I wrote a little book of short stories about mermaids that we illustrated ourselves. It was quite a thriller, as you might imagine. When I was a teenager I loved to read poetry and fantasize about being a writer, but I had no idea what to write. In college I finally took a creative writing class and embarked on my first romance story…somehow it turned into a murder mystery which freaked me out a little and I put writing on hold for about ten years. But that little voice in the back of my mind wouldn’t let me forget my dream of writing, although at the time it felt more like a nagging urge.
Starting my first novel was rough going. It took a while to wrangle myself into a writing schedule and build enough confidence to trust the story and my characters, but when I hit my stride it was a thing of beauty. As words poured onto the page it seemed that other aspects of my life settled, as if I’d been waiting for this energetic outlet all along. Embarking on this strange journey of writing has led me into other worlds and on wild adventures. It took many editors, professional and several conversations with friends and family, and a particularly memorable bit of coaxing from a dear friend, before I felt ready to share my stories. And here I am! I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I’ve loved writing them.

Out now from the Sunray Press: http://www.janemorrissey.com/circle-of-dreams-out-now/

Author links, webpages, fan pages, and book trailers.

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