Congratulations to S. E. Summa on her debut release. I was honored to receive an advanced copy. If you haven't read it already, you can read my review here. Or, you can purchase a copy here.
MUCH OF MADNESS is a Southern Gothic Horror story about loyalty, sacrifice, and maintaining hope no matter the odds.
Seraphina Pearce doesn’t know what’s more frustrating: her magic’s affinity for death, her best friend’s transformation into an albino Sin Eater, or that simply touching a guy she loves means someone’s headed to the morgue.
After a sin-eating job goes awry, she casts a risky spell and butts heads with a handsome stranger in order to win an infamous grimoire.
Marceau L’Argent is the last person she should confide in because the occult cat burglar has a mysterious past, and he’s made it no secret he also wants the grimoire. He recognizes her dark magic and offers his unique help as a rare curse breaker. If all that weren’t enough, Marceau causes butterflies in her stomach—a feeling she’d long thought dead.
Seraphina was only trying to break her curse—not piss off Death himself.
ABOUT S.E. SUMMA
S. E. Summa lives in Tennessee with her husband and a menagerie of spoiled pets. After her daughter left the nest, she rediscovered her love for writing. Growing up in Nashville, she always felt the city’s unique culture and landmarks would be the perfect setting for monsters to play.
A PRO member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), Shantele serves as the Volunteer and Membership Coordinator for her local chapter, the Music City Romance Writers (MCRW). She graduated magna cum laude with a BBA from Belmont University.
S. E. started The Debut Collective, a supportive online tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. The Debut Collective is publishing a series of five anthologies in June 2016.
She has multiple upcoming releases in 2016:
MUCH OF MADNESS, The Conexus Chronicles, Book #1 - February 29, 2016
MORE OF SIN, The Conexus Chronicles, Book #2 - TBD
Four short stories for following The Debut Collective anthologies releasing in June 2016: Act of Bravery, Underdog*, Insurrection/Hostile Takeover, and Secret Identity*.
*The Underdog & Secret Identity stories are tie-ins for The Conexus Chronicles and will feature characters from Much of Madness.
You can connect with her in the following ways:
Nora & Kettle
I snort, push my sleeves up, and lean back on my forearms. She watches me, her eyes on my bare skin, and I wonder what she’s thinking. “Dances. Really? What’s to miss?” My experience with dances was one forced event in the camps where we watched the grownups awkwardly shift in lines to scratchy music. It didn’t look very enjoyable.
She releases the button she’s been playing with and smirks. “Says someone who’s clearly never been to one.”
“How do you know that?” I say, raising an eyebrow and touching my chest, mock offended.
She laughs. It’s starlight in a jar. I blink slowly. “Oh, I can tell just by looking at you, the way you move. You,” she says, pointing at me accusingly. “Can’t dance.”
The candlelight twinkles like it’s chuckling at me. “I can dance,” I say, not sure why I’m lying to defend myself. I’ve never danced in my life.
I cough and stand nervously. I don’t know what to do with my hands, so I put them behind my back. She giggles. Touches me. Runs her fingers lightly down my arms until she finds my hands. She grasps my wrists and I gulp as she places one on the small dip between her hips and her ribs, extending the other out like the bow of a boat. Her hand in mine.
I follow her small steps and we wind in circles, avoiding the clumps of debris, painting patterns in the dust.
I stare at my socks and her narrow bare feet, listening to the swish of them across the dirt. “You know, this is pretty weird without music,” I mutter, looking up for a moment and suddenly losing my balance.
She exhales and brings us back to equilibrium. She starts humming softly. It’s a song I’ve heard before, but I pretend it’s the first time. Her voice is sweet, cracked and croaky, but in tune as she gazes at the ground and leads us up and down the back of the tunnel.
This moment is killing me. I don’t want it, but I do. Because I know it won’t be enough and it’s all I’ll get.
The end of the song is coming. It rises and rises and then softly peters out. We look at each other, understanding that something is changing between us, and we have to decide whether to let it. Please, let it.
She sings the last few bars. “And if you sing this melody, you’ll be pretending just like me. The world is mine. It can be yours, my friend. So why don’t you pretend?”
Her voice is like the dust of a comet’s tail. Full of a thousand things I don’t understand but want to.
She stops and starts to step away. She’s so fragile. Not on the outside. On the outside, her body is strong, tougher than it should have to be. It’s inside that’s very breakable. I’m scared to touch her, but I don’t want to avoid touching her because of what she’s been through. That seems worse.
So I do it, because I want to and I don’t think she doesn’t want me to. Her breath catches as I pull her closer. I just want to press my cheek to hers, feel her skin against mine. There is no music, just the rhythm of two barely functioning hearts trying to reach each other through miles of scar tissue.
She presses her ear to my chest and listens, then she pulls back to meet my eyes, her expression a mixture of confusion and comfort. She breathes out, her lips not wanting to close but not wanting to speak. She settles on a nervous smile and puts her arms around my neck. I inhale and look up at the ceiling, counting the stars I know are up there somewhere, and then rest my cheek in her hair.
I don’t know how she is here. I don’t know when she’ll disappear.
We sway back and forth, and it feels like we might break. That we will break if we step apart from each other.
I can’t let her go.
I think I love dancing.
I love pictures. Taking pictures. Looking at pictures. In both high school and college I took photography courses. This obviously explains why Instagram is becoming my favorite social media platform.
This month, missdahlelama issued a challenge to authors. It looks so fun! A way for readers to get to know me, and for me to get to know all the authors I fangirl over (yeah, there's a lot!)
If you want to follow me, you can find me at https://instagram.com/kar2b. I plan to participate every day, including Feb. 29, Leap Day, which will be a SURPRISE post! Hope to see you there.
Random thoughts and book news. Stop and visit awhile.