Monday, August 27, 2007

Okay...commence sneak peekage...

(The above is a temporary cover, but the final version won't change significantly. Isn't it cool?!)

Personal Demons is available for preorder on Amazon here!!

And to celebrate my preorder status, I'll be posting the entire first chapter here this week. One scene a day, today tomorrow and Wednesday.


(Note: This is an unedited excerpt. Final version may vary slightly.)

Chapter One

“Welcome back to Personal Demons,” Megan said into the microphone. “Our next caller is Regina. Hi, Regina, how can I slay your personal demons?”
The words tasted like shame. She and Richard had fought over that line, just as they’d fought over the massive publicity campaign he and the station orchestrated for the show.
Richard signed the paychecks, so Richard won. Never let it be said that good taste and actually helping people outweighed silly gimmicks in the media world.
“Regina? Are you there?”
"I'm scared." The rush of images accompanying that small, almost childish voice raised goosebumps on Megan's skin and drove all thoughts of Richard and tacky taglines from her mind. The pale, pointed face of a woman, limp blond hair tucked behind her ears. Blood poured over the vision, red and viscous. Gnarled six-toed feet stepped in the blood, leaving misshapen prints like chinks in a mirror.
Megan gasped, rocking back in her chair. What the hell was that? Instinctively she raised her psychic shields, only to drop them again. Regina was her client now, just like any other. She deserved everything Megan could give to help her.
Bill and Richard gestured at her from the booth, their faces reddening. Dead air was radio’s most mortal sin.
"Sorry, sorry. We had a minor technical problem. You said you're scared?"
"Yes." Regina sniffled. "I can't do it anymore. I can't take it anymore."
Now the initial terrifying flash had passed, Megan received more mundane pictures. A car, a bland pale green office cubicle looking like every other bland, pale green office cubicle. An attractive man, smiling down at her—at Regina. A boyfriend, maybe?
Megan forced her muscles to relax. "Why don’t you tell me what’s happening."
"It’s the voices. They talk to me all the time. When I'm awake, when I'm asleep…I hear them."
"Evil voices. They tell me to…to hurt myself. To hurt other people. And I don't do it, but I think I might. I have to make them stop."
"Have you spoken to anyone—"
Regina’s sobs shuddered through the phone line. "They won't go away, they won't leave me alone, and they say horrible things, and they want me to do horrible things, and I think if I were dead I wouldn't hear them anymore. I don't want to die. But I can't listen to them anymore either."
Regina didn’t feel organically disturbed to Megan, but mentally sound people did not hear voices. And none of this accounted for that scaly, misshapen foot or the cold panic it inspired.
"Regina, suicide is never the answer. Listen to me. You can be helped. We can find out why this is happening to you, and we can make those voices go away. Okay? You can be happy again. You're a good person, and you deserve to be happy, right?"
"I don't know. I don't think so. They told me I'm not, they told me they're with me because I'm bad."
"You're not bad." Megan sat up straighter in her chair and leaned forward, staring at the microphone as if Regina could somehow see her through it. "Not at all. I bet the people you work with don't think you're bad, do they?" The face of the man in the office flashed up again. "Maybe there's a few people there you can trust, who you can talk to?"
Regina blew her nose, which sounded wonderful on-air. "Maybe."
“Then here’s what I want you to do. I want you to think of those people, okay? Think about them, and think about your parents, and all the people who care about you. When you hear those voices telling you to hurt yourself, you think about them. And my engineer Bill is going to give you a different phone number to call, and the people on the other end of that call are going to help you, too. You don’t have to be scared anymore, all right?”
“Thank you,” Regina said.
“Good,” Megan replied, relieved. “Out time is up for this evening, but I want you to call me back here next week and tell me how you’re doing. Will you do that?”
“Yes. I’ll call you. Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome. You take care of yourself and call me next week.” Megan signaled Bill to transfer Regina back. He already had the list in his hands to give her the suicide hotline number. At least Regina had genuinely wanted help, unlike most of Megan’s other inaugural show callers. Three lonely hearts, one rebellious teen, a man who thought Elvis lived next door, and one pervert had not made for a stellar beginning.
Thirty seconds to the blessed moment Megan could go home and not come back for another week. “I want everyone listening now to pay attention. There is always a reason to live, no matter how you might feel right now. There are always people who care about you, people willing to listen and try to help you. If you think you don’t have anyone, you’re wrong, because you can call me, here on this show. I care, and I’ll listen. We’re out of time for tonight, but I’ll be back next week.”
Once more the music filled the studio. Bill gave her the thumbs up, but Richard leaned over him and pushed a button. “That was great.” Megan smiled, but he continued, “but you didn’t use the phrase. Don’t ever go to break or end the show without using the phrase. It’s the most important thing you’ll do on the air.”


Angie said...

Sounds intriguing already, although I want to smack Richard on the back of the head with a shovel or something. [wry smile] Definitely hoping he's not The Guy. [crossed fingers] But a psychic radio therapist isn't something I've ever heard of before and it sounds like she's going to have something evil and scaly to deal with pretty soon. (Other than Richard, that is. ;) )


Anonymous said...

What angie said. I like.

I also think the cover is excellent. -V95

Anonymous said...

You are a dialogue god.

And the cover is totally cute! (not sure that's what you were going for, but I love it!)

I just noticed you have an ebook on your MyLibrary cool!

Robyn said...

Is Richard a rat or is there something more to the phrase? Hmmm...

Fabulous cover. Congratulations.

writtenwyrdd said...

Nice opening! Looking forward to the rest.

December/Stacia said...

Thanks, everyone! I was/am very nervous posting this and about the reception it will get, so...

Ah-ha, Angie, that would be telling. But I think you'll figure it all out soon enough. Mostly. Oh, yes, Megan has a lot to deal with indeed.

Thanks, V95! Yep, we've decided to use the cover logo as a brand, so I'll be putting it on the SK site.

Lol, Seeley, hardly a god. Yes, the cover is very different from other Juno covers (it's on their homepage, if you want to look, down in the bottom row) so it looks a tad out of place with the other Juno books BUT I think in a bookstore it will stand out among the other UF books and fantasy books in general. Plus the logo is perfect for so many reasons. It blew me away.

Hmmm indeed, Robyn! Thank you!

The next scene will be up tomorrow, written, so...hope you like that one too! Thank you!

Mark said...

What's really awesome about that cover is how good it's going to look as a website design element. I'm jealous.

Anna J. Evans said...

I love the cover :). And of course the book. You can bet my copy will be preordered.


anna j evans

BernardL said...

Megan sounds more confident than the hook you posted to the Snark. I like your beginning a lot.

Gabriele C. said...

I think your Richard and my Cornelius Lentulus should meet. *grin*

Interesting start.

Sam said...

How cool is that? And I LOVE the cover!!

cyn said...

eeeeeeee! so exciting! i can't wait to have the book in my hands!

Camille Alexa said...

Cute, cute, cute cover, December!

December/Stacia said...

I know, Mark, I got really lucky there, didn't I?

Aaw, thanks Anna, it wouldn't be what it is without your help.

Yep, Bernard, she is...and this is no longer a hasty first draft rewrite of a different scene, which helps too. :-)

Lol Gabriele, I'm sure your Cornelius could kick Richard's butt. Thanks!

Thanks Sam! It's very exciting.

Lol, me either Cyn! Thanks! (And nice to see you!)

Thanks Camille! It's not finalized yet--I think they're still playing with the background.

Anonymous said...

Love the cover, and I would definitely read more. I probably won't preorder because I'd lose track of it in my account balancing, but I'll get it when it comes out!

Rebecca said...

very, very compelling December! and a GREAT cover. Looking forward to the next instalment. :)

December/Stacia said...

Okay, Michele (sniff) if you REALLY want to wait and be the last kid on the block to have it...hee. It's not released until April!

Thanks Rebecca! Tomorrow!

Scary Monster said...

The Monster sits, tapping he scaley foot, wondering what the next installment will bring.

Stay Stompy!

kis said...

Definitely looking forward to the next installment, December. And your cover artist deserves a big, wet, sloppy kiss that lasts about ten minutes. Or at least a fruit basket or something. Maybe a nice card...

December/Stacia said...

Thanks, SM! I put up the second, I hope you like it!

I'm not sure if the cover artist is a man or woman, kis, so I guess that would determine whether they get a makeout session or a fruit basket, lol. But yep, I'm happy. Thanks"