Please welcome my guest, C. Marie Bowen, to Discover Yourself. Be sure to leave a comment and you'll be entered in a drawing for a free eBook of Passage! You have until Thursday to leave a comment and the winner will be chosen on Friday.
Hello, Brenda, and thank you for having me as a guest. I’m excited to be here on Muse Monday.
I’m currently working on an edge of your seat, paranormal trilogy. Mix up a near-death experience with a past life, flavor with epic romance, and then stir in a few mouthwatering cowboys, add a dash hostile conflict, and you’ll have Passage—book one in The Soul of the Witch trilogy.
The story takes hold from the first chapter and heads straight into a soul splitting journey. I am in the last stage of editing book two, Prophecy, and cannot wait to have it released so I can latch onto the final piece of the story in book three, Paradox. My goal is to submit Paradox, to my publisher by the end of this year.
Soul of the Witch first began to take shape back in 1980. I had given birth to my oldest son and taken an extended maternity leave from work. Although the story had been fighting to get out of my head for years, this was the first time I put pen to paper. Literally. Back then, I used a pen and spiral notebooks labeled #1, #2, etc. I still have those spiral notebooks.
When I returned to work, I put the notebooks in the closet and let them sit for another nine years. In 1989, I gave birth to my second son, and again, my internal muse sparked. I pulled out the old notebooks, and with the help of a friend from work, put my handwritten words into a WANG word-processor. Of course, back then, there were no PC’s or word processing applications, and no way to preserve the digital work. But I finally had a printed copy of my story. Back into the closet it went, and life moved on.
Fast forward to August, 2012. Both boys had grown, finished college and moved on to pursue their lives. I found myself extremely unhappy at work. A large corporation had purchased the company I worked for and many of my long-time co-workers and friends had left or were let go. The new management wanted their own processes and people. The times, they were a-changing, and the pressure began to affect me physically. My hair began to fall out. I developed stress related nerve pain. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
Out of the blue, my wonderful husband suggested I take some time off and regroup. I couldn’t resign fast enough. After that, I made a list of everything I wanted to accomplish during my break from work; clean out the closets, paint the hallway, and rework the flowerbeds. In my closet, I found the box with my typed story, along with a bag of spiral notebooks. I quickly added another item to my TO-DO list. Publish the story.
The first order of business was to put the book into an actual Word document. As I began typing the story, my imagination took flight. The story took over and I was filled with enthusiasm. I became a different person, happier, with all my remembered friends from the closet arguing inside my head. But I knew I needed structure and direction. I joined RWA and enrolled in editing and writing classes. I eventually ran into a few like-minded writers who also worked on their first books and we formed a critique group. I discovered my fabulous, passionate epic had to be edited with extreme prejudice. I had written each precious character with their own point of view, and included all their character-building back stories. The original work was well over 150,000 words. Yikes!
During the long edit/re-edit process, I read about an open submission at a small publishing company, Prairie Rose Publications. They were asking for Western Halloween short stories for an anthology. I had a western character and paranormal was right up my alley. I retrieved one of the “cut” back-stories, reworked it into a short story, and submitted Hunter and Lily Graham to PRP. When the acceptance email came from the acquiring Editor, I had to have my husband read it again just to be sure I understood what the email said. They loved my story and my characters and wanted to include my short story in their Halloween anthology.
Since then, I have written two more short stories for PRP anthologies. All my tales have a paranormal twist, suspense and romance. I finally submitted Soul of the Witch, Book 1, Passage, to PRP at the end of last year, and it was accepted for publication. Passage, Soul of the Witch, Book 1 published on March 12, 2015.
I was thrilled to put a big CHECK beside Publish the story, although I have yet to paint the hallway.
Passage - blurb:
After a car accident, Courtney Veau has a “near death” experience, and returns to her past-life in the post-Civil War west. When she wakes in a present-day hospital, Courtney realizes she’s returned to her own hollow existence. Heartbroken, she knows she left behind not only a family she loves, but life with the man who shares her soul, a man she’ll love forever, Merril Shilo.
A carriage accident nearly takes beautiful Nichole Harris’s life, stealing her memories completely. Plagued by amnesia, she is confused by flashes of memory that are out of time with the world around her, and seem to belong to someone else. Only Nichole's own strong emotions remain to guide her—and as others try to take control of her life, she fights a desperate battle to survive. Merril Shilo is someone she should know, and though her memories fail her, she is stunned by her passion for him—and the remembered agony of a broken heart.
Merril Shilo is the love of Courtney’s life—no matter when that life might be. The memories and emotions of her life as ranch heiress Nichole Harris consume Courtney’s mind—and her heart. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach. She would give her life to return to her soul-mate, if she could only find the passage back to him.
Excerpt from Passage:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
“Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
“Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
“Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
“I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.
Amazon: Kindle Buy Link
Connect with C. Marie here: Website: www.cmariebowen.com