Archive for November 20th, 2009

The war between good and evil has raged for millennia, but now evil is
winning, and The Marked Souls are caught in the middle…

After an accident left her near death, Sera Littlejohn is struggling to
piece her life together again.  But when a violet-eyed stranger reveals a supernatural battle veiled in the shadows, Sera is tempted to the edge of madness by a dangerous desire.

Ferris Archer takes Sera under his wing now that she is talyan, possessed by a repentant demon with hellish powers.  Archer and his league of warriors have long risked their demon-shattered souls to stop darker spirits from wreaking havoc.  But they’ve never fought beside a female talya before, and never in all his centuries has Archer found a woman who captivates him like Sera.

With the balance shifting between good and evil, passion and possession, Sera and Archer must defy the darkness‹and dare to embrace a love that will mark them forever…




Dreams, destiny and self-delusion


I had originally written a post for my appearance here at Novel Thoughts about my never-ending adoration of dark heroes, but after my experiences last week, I’ve been musing on the fine line between dreams and madness.


See, I just returned home from a week-long stock book signing tour in Chicago for my debut urban fantasy romance, SEDUCED BY SHADOWS.  (If you live within 25 miles of Chicago, every copy of the book I could find contains a bookmark and a custom temporary tattoo based on an inside joke in the story.)  I had the chance to meet a bunch of booksellers, the members of a book club, and random readers too, which was fabulous fun.  I talked to some of them about how long I’d been writing, how I’ve always known I wanted to be an author, and how getting to sign my book—finally!—must be a dream come true.


And when I put all those answers together, I realized how FREAKIN’ PSYCHOTIC I must sound!


They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation of different results.  Well, sadly, that is also the definition of achieving your dreams.


Many people—dare we say most?—won’t achieve their dreams on the first attempt.  I’ve been writing since I was a wee young thing and seriously pursuing publication for more than a decade.  I racked up almost a hundred “no”s before I finally got to a “yes.”  But my dream still isn’t over.


Because my dream isn’t just to write, but to be read.  Last week, I drove around to all the Chicago bookstores, tucking that dream in between the pages of my books and abandoning them on the shelves in the hopes that some unknown reader will stumble upon one, take it home, and love the story as much as I did.


Sometimes I think I’m as crazy as my characters.


SEDUCED BY SHADOWS is the first book of The Marked Souls.  In the series, the heroes are possessed by repentant demons, seeking their redemption by fighting against the forces of darkness.  I imagined that the talyan—the alpha males warriors—were fated to be possessed because of their “penance trigger.”  The penance trigger was a moment in their past that echoed through the years, a psychic wound from which they never quite recovered, that made them vulnerable to the demons.


The newly possessed heroine of SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, Sera, gets the explanation from the hero, Ferris Archer:

“When I had the vision of the demon, it said I’d called it.” She fixed her gaze on her hands wrapped around the coffee cup. “It said I was lonely. It said it loved me. How desperate is that?”

Love. The word exploded in an empty place in him, as if that powder had burned to the end of the line. He clamped down until the echo died. “Desperate on the demon’s part? Or yours?” When she glared at him, he shrugged. “It makes a bargain to fill what’s missing in us and then takes what it needs.”

“But why me?” She wilted a bit. “Seems a little conceited to think I’ve had any more tribulations than the next guy.”

“Haven’t you?” He waited while she considered. “But it’s not about the quantity of your suffering. It’s the quality. Demons are quite the connoisseurs of pain.”

She grimaced. “Me too lately, I guess.”

“Exactly. When the demon crosses over, it seeks a matching target, a soul that resonates with its energy. Somewhere in your past is a penance trigger. It defines the headwaters of an invisible fault line in your soul, cutting a path right to the moment when the demon breaks your life in two.”

“A penance trigger?” Some memory brought a hazy glitter to the corner of her eye. “So it was because of me.”

The tear never fell, but his muscles tightened as if reacting to a mortal threat. He held himself still with effort. He wouldn’t reach for her again. “Whatever it was doesn’t necessarily make you guilty, Sera. It just made you vulnerable.”

Despite his soft tone, her instant focus pinned him. Her narrowed eyes left no room for tears. “I still can’t believe any of this. I should have my head examined.”

“You mean your soul.”



After last week, I’ve come to think maybe all of us have some version of a penance trigger, a moment—often insignificant at the time—that puts a hairline crack in the rest of our days until it finally blows wide open.


For me, it was the PTA Reflections grade school writing contest.  I won the contest and got a gift certificate for a free book.  Well, obviously, there was no going back, not after getting a free book.  I was forever more doomed to be a writer. 


Like my heroes, destined to fight evil for eternity, I was destined  to put words on paper.  So calling my book on the shelf (and that sure seemed to take an eternity) a dream come true isn’t quite right.  Because the dream continues.  And as mad as it sounds, I hope I won’t ever wake up.


Jessa Slade’s first book, SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, is available now at most bookstores and online.  Chapter 1 is available at her website http://jessaslade.com. Book 2 of The Marked Souls, FORGED OF SHADOWS, will be out June 2010.  Read a free short story introducing the world of The Marked Souls at http://www.tinyurl.com/MarkedSoulsPrequel.


Do you have a penance trigger in your life, a moment—good or bad—that threads through your days?  How has that influenced your waking dreams?


Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of SEDUCED BY SHADOWS along with the temporary tattoo and a pair of Possession In Pearl earrings, freshwater pearl sticks that look like they might have something dreaming inside them.



Many thanks to Jessa for being our guest today. For more info on what she has coming up, visit her website here.

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