Catherine Spangler ~ Touched by Darkness

After reading Susan Mallery’s great post, I’ve got to ask, “How in the heck do you find easy books to write, Susan? Please—puh-leez—tell me.” I know there are authors for whom the words just flow, hot and heavy. I know there are authors who can produce forty pages a day. I do not fall into this category. I’m a tooth-pulling author, as my good friend and critique sister, Linda Castillo, likes to say: “Writing is like having a tooth pulled . . . slowly . . . and without anesthetic.” Yep that’s me, the toothless wonder, slugging back wine and chocolate to ease the pain.

Ah, but when all the frustration and struggle pays off with characters who have somehow come to life and a story that flows well, I tend to block out the pain and suffering. It’s kind of like having a baby. In a moment of weakness, you forget about the difficult labor and decide to have another one. Of course, by the time labor rolls around again, it’s too late for regrets .

When I sit down to pull a tooth—uh, I mean to write—the stories that spring forth reach all the way back to childhood. I’ve always loved fairy tales. Those are the first stories I remember having read to me when I was a child. And they were the ones I picked when I got to choose. My favorites were those where the princess and her prince overcame great odds and lived happily ever after. Well, gee, maybe that’s why I write romances. I want to explore the relationship between the P/P (that’s old speak for prince/princess, AKA hero/heroine), and I definitely want that happy ending.

Back to the childhood—I went from Cinderella to a fascination with the paranormal and metaphysical. I discovered Edgar Cayce when I was eleven and became obsessed (I think it was soul recognition—his readings resonated for me). I read everything I could about him and his psychic readings. With Cayce, I discovered Atlantis. I went on to read everything I could find about Atlantis. I even became somewhat an expert in Cayce circles, giving a detailed talk on Cayce’s Atlantian readings at a conference. That talk is on my webpage at http://www.catherinespangler.com/. I believe my fascination with Cayce and Atlantis are where the seeds for Touched by Darkness, the first book in my Sentinel series, were sown.

My first two books, which were SF romances, were based on Atlantis. They never sold, and I abandoned the Atlantian theme. My third book, Shielder, did sell, and I wrote a five-book SF romance series. All the while, Atlantis continued to simmer in my psyche. When I was ready to switch gears with a new publisher and move away from SFR, the idea for reincarnated Atlantian souls immediately surfaced. It was still a tooth pull, but a pretty quick one.

The premise for the series: The Sentinels are good reincarnated Atlantians who are coming to Earth (in physical bodies) to track down Belians—who are the bad Atlantians also returning to Earth, and who are causing death and destruction (think serial killers, gang lords, mafia types). The old battle of good versus evil that destroyed Atlantis thousands of years ago has resumed. Both sides are evenly matched and both are in mortal bodies, and can be killed. But the Sentinels have a weapon to aid in the battle: human conductors who have psychic abilities that enable them to enhance the Sentinels’ tracking powers. Sentinels and conductors are always opposite sex and the conduction raises sexual energies, which makes things interesting—and very sensual.

In Touched by Darkness, Dr. Kara Cantrell is a conductor who saw her Sentinel lover murdered seven years ago. She fled to the small town of Zorro, Texas, pregnant from that union. She’s tried to put the past behind her and raise her son like a normal child—except he’s not. He’s a Sentinel, with growing powers. An evil Belian begins stalking the citizens of Zorro. Their only hope is Damien Morgan, a tall, dark and dangerous Sentinel who is determined to get Kara to conduct for him, as well as mentor her child. Kara resists until she realizes she has no choice, if she wants her son Alex safe. Then she finds she faces an even greater threat: the mutual attraction between her and Damien. Her challenge becomes saving her son without losing herself—and discovering if she can overcome the pain of the past to love again.

Hmmm. I really didn’t need that tooth. And I think Touched by Darkness has all the elements I love in stories—mysticism, paranormal elements, hunky prince, spunky princess, romance, emotion, steamy sex, *and* Atlantis.

I hope you’ll check it out. During the month of January, I’m giving away a pink quartz crystal Sentinel pendant. It’s wire-wrapped in sterling silver, and designed like the pendants worn by the Sentinels. Please drop by my site and sign up for the contest. There are also excerpts from Touched by Darkness and other upcoming projects.

Book two of the series, Touched by Fire, will be published in October 2007. I also have a novella, Street Corners & Halos coming out in the Demon’s Delight anthology in March 2007. That’s a story about a vampire who also happens to be a prostitute, and the angel sent to save her. There go two more teeth . . . .

Wishing you a fabulous 2007!

~ Catherine