Prologue 5: Oren, Torina, Micah & Loren

With the release of Heart of the Raven looming, it’s time to meet the characters! But why just read a stale bio, when you can have a flash-fiction introduction? These take place the day before Heart of the Raven begins. Think of them as mini prologues. They will not appear in the book and this is the only place you can read them. Enjoy!


January 10th
An old farmhouse
Somewhere in Northern Missouri

The house was old, empty and abandoned. With no electricity and no water. Truthfully, it was no worse than some of the dens Oren and his war coven had stayed in, but he’d been busy then, planning, arranging. He’d been occupied. Now all he had to do was sit and wait.

Oren stiffened as the sound of a car drew closer. He searched for a weapon and, finding nothing in the empty room, dropped into a defensive stance. The note Jorick left at the old den had been too obvious. The Executioners were coming.

The motor cut off and car doors opened. Oren narrowed his eyes and reached out with his mind to find three of them. He pressed further against their mental walls and one of them gave way. It was Loren. Through the teen’s thoughts he could see his companions: the bald, tattooed Micah and his own redheaded sister, Torina.

Oren relaxed. So the note had worked the way Jorick planned. Of course. Everything always worked the way Jorick planned it to.

His irritation disappeared when the door opened and Micah came through it, stomping dirty snow from his boots. Loren followed, and Torina inched her way in behind them, frowning and shaking the muck from her expensive heeled shoes.

Micah’s eyes landed on Oren and he bellowed, “Well look what we found, skulking in the middle of bum fuck nowhere.”

Torina was instantly animated. She pushed past her companions and stormed towards him, her manicured hands in fists. “Where the hell have you been? We thought you were dead!”

“Perhaps it would be better if I was,” Oren muttered, more from habit than conviction. He could see the tears that gathered in the corners of his sister’s eyes and thought about what Jorick had said.

“… Jesslynn is dead, your children are dead, but your sister is alive. If you don’t want to live for yourself then live for her. The time has come for you to pick yourself up from the ashes and start over. You have wallowed enough! Mourn Jesslynn, miss her, long for her even, but do not waste both my time and Torina’s by following her to the grave. Remember what you have left and be grateful for it!”

She raised a hand as though to slap him. Her fingers trembled and then she dropped her hand and shouted, “Don’t you ever do that again or I’ll kill you myself!”

She straightened her shoulders and spun away from him. Her eyes moved around the dark, empty rooms and she shuddered, “I’ve put up with some lousy dens, but this is ridiculous! The war is over! You can’t expect me to keep living in these rat holes! I’m used to better!”

“Who’s a spoiled princess?” Micah asked and snorted. She glared at him and he laughed. “We could go stay at pipsqueak’s house.”

Loren shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”

Oren debated on whether to include them in his plans or not. He’d planned to take Torina with him, but the other two… Why not? Who else was there? His previous coven, the one he’d managed for years with his wife, was disbanded and scattered. Those that weren’t dead had no intention of returning, and those who were couldn’t. Loren and Micah were idiots to be sure, but they were idiots who’d gleefully joined in the fight, even when those he relied on were less enthusiastic.

He cleared his throat loudly. “Actually, we have some where to go.”


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Cut Scene


Scissors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am in the rewriting/rereading stage of Heart of the Raven and have added some new scenes. Of course, whenever I do that bits get deleted. Most of the time it’s just a few sentences and I can work the good ones in after a fashion, but I had to cut a chunk  between Micah and Katelina that just won’t fit anymore. However Micah is convinced that since he’s so clever (his words, not mine) that it’s worth sharing. We’ll see if you agree.

Micah spied Katelina suddenly and spun towards her. “Lunch! Where the fuck is that fruity prick?”

“I don’t know.”

He stormed towards her, shaking his fist. “You better not be protecting that son of a bitch after what he did to Loren!”

She was irritated enough and that did it. “Fuck you, Micah. The last time I saw him he was in Thadimus’ office trying to get his money back.”

Micah came to a stop and towered over her. “You knew he was here and didn’t fucking tell me?”

“Sorry, I had other things on my mind!”

“Maybe I should sign up to join the list of people you’re fucking so you’d remember!”

She punched him in the stomach and he flinched backwards in surprise. “I’m not fucking a list of people, you ass! And even if I was, you’d never be on it!”

He recovered with a snicker. “Of course not, Princess, I’ve got better taste.” He turned away and stormed towards the nearest building.

So now I have to ask: was Micah right? Was this cut scene worth the time it took me to post it? Or should it have just stayed in the dustbin?signature for white

And if you’re dying for more Heart of the Raven action, you can read the first unfinalized chapter via Vicki Hudson’s First Look  as well as the first chapters of other WIPS!

Interview with Kateesha


Hello! My name is Verchiel and I’m from Joleene Naylor’s Amaranthine series. Using state of the art-mumbo-jumbo-author magic crap, Jo usually has Katelina interview other authors’ characters but now we’re finally interviewing fellow Amaranthians. Even better, the questions come from you, the readers!

There was quite a debate about who should do this interview. I think Katelina would have been a fun choice, but no one else agreed. Then there was gloomy boots Jorick but… anyway, I volunteered, so here I am! Yay!

Verchiel: Why was there a discussion? Because, today we are interviewing Kateesha! *bum bum*

Kateesha:  Verchiel. Well, it has been awhile. Thank you for that… introduction.

V: Aw, come on, it was pretty good. Would you prefer something about being the dark queen of the night, with eyes that sparkle with menace and power?

K: Yes, well. What have you been doing?

V: Ah, tut tut. This interview is about you, my dear. So let’s see what our discerning readers want to know, shall we? This comes from Juli, “You obviously are/were a woman of great power. What are some of the challenges you faced on your journey?”

K: My biggest challenge has always been the ignorance of men. And I don’t mean “men” as in humans, or “men” as in mankind, but rather men as in the male of the species. Their superior attitudes towards women have been, and remain to be, the biggest bane of my existence. Over the centuries I have met thousands whom I could crush with the merest effort and yet they believe themselves above me because I am a woman! And a “woman of color”, as they once called it, no less. One of my greatest amusements has always been to make them squirm! To grind them under my heel and then ask “who is superior now?”

V: You know not ALL men are like that. “Blinks eyes innocently*.

K: *laughs* No, my pet. You always did know your place. *chucks him under the chin* And what is next?

V: Here’s one from Donna. (hello, Donna!) “I think you’ve got a real attitude – want to tell us why?”

K: Ah! What a question! It is an attitude of superiority, nothing more. Next.

V: Mmm-hmmm. Ah. Juli says, “*I believe that I read that you had worked in a brothel.* If that’s correct, how did you end up in a place like that? What happened?”

K: *smile disappears* Someone has been telling stories, have they? Well! *lifts head* Yes, perhaps I was in such a place, long ago. Though brothel isn’t the word they used for it, but the definition is… similar.

V: That’s not much of an answer. Where was it and how did you end up there?

K: The Ottoman Empire is as good a name for it as another, and how does any woman end up in such a place? I was taken of course, or sold by my… biological father. It’s hard to say which, for each man has his own story that absolves him from guilt and blames another. I was not the only one taken from faraway lands in the night to be dressed like a queen and used like a whore as some exotic plaything to those foreigners who could afford the “delights of the East”. Next question.

V: Really? That’s it? After all the hours our amazing author spent researching the history of prostitution in the Ottoman Empire, that’s it?

K: What more do you want? Next question!

V: Fine, fine.  Here’s the last one from Juli, “Did you have difficulty, after you were first turned, overcoming your human past?”

K: No. I was quite ready to let it go and move on to something better; a life of power. Take a starved, beaten child and hand them the whip. Do they cringe and cry, or do they turn on their oppressors?

V: Lovely visuals there, sweet one.

K: Well, I haven’t heard that name in a long time. You’re getting nostalgic.

V: Oh, just buttering you up before the next question. *smiles innocently*  From Donna, “I also think you really want Jorick, so you must feel totally upset that he isn’t interested, right?”

K: Hmph. And who says he isn’t interested. I can read his thoughts, you know.

V: *coughs* So can I…

K: And?

V: Oh, nothing. I was just saying.

K: Are you trying to imply something?

V: Only that ol’ Jorick seems pretty happy with Kately-

K: Does he indeed? Let me tell you of a time long before your dear little friend was born, shall I? Jorick was not always so prim and proper! His high ideals of morality are a recent addition to his personality. I have been with our dear Jorick, more times then you can count. I have tasted his skin and his blood and I have feasted on his deepest, most inner thoughts, something which that petty, pathetic creature he now calls his consort will never know! So which of us is more qualified to say what our Jorick does or does not like?

V: You know, that’s something I admire about you. You just won’t admit defeat. And for our last question from Sue, “do you have any regrets?”

K: Oh yes, there are things I regret. Allowing that ridiculous human to live is one.  Malick is another.

V: Malick?

K: Yes. I gave him too much loyalty. I should have known that in the end he was a man like any other. I should have gouged out his heart early on and then Jorick and I would have been freed of him. Had we never come to this accursed ‘New World’ things would have been very different.

V: Speaking of Malick, there is an unofficial question from Bonnie. You know, she thinks that you and Malick… well, you know….

K: *Laughs* She wants to know if I and Malick were lovers? Mmm. Perhaps. And then again, perhaps not.

V: That’s not very specific.

K: And it is not an official question, is it? Do you have anymore?

V: Nope, that’s it. I was really surprised, I thought for sure they’d bombard you with questions about me!

K: Why would they?

V: Well, since you turned me and all that. But I guess no one thought about it, or else they like me being mysterious.

K: You’re hardly mysterious. Strange, perhaps, but mysterious? No.

V: You wound me! *clutches heart* But alas we are out of questions, and so ends our interview series! Next week Katelina will interview a character from a different author and then… Well, I don’t know. If you guys want anyone interviewed then I suggest you appeal to our illustrious author and perhaps she’ll do it.

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Interview with Loren


Hello! My name is Micah and I’m from Joleene Naylor’s Amaranthine series. Using state of the art-mumbo-jumbo-author magic crap, Jo usually has Katelina interview other authors’ characters but now we’re finally interviewing fellow Amaranthians. Even better, the questions come from you, the readers!

Micah: I’d say I was filling in for Katelina, but frankly she hasn’t done most of these damned things. That Executioner twit with the red hair has probably done half of them.

Loren: And I did it last week!

M: My point. Anyway, today I’m interviewing this pipsqueak named Loren who has no taste in super heroes, by the way.

L: Yes I do! X-men rules!

M: Fuggedaboutit. Hulk would pound their sissy faces in. But enough of that. We got some new questions for you. Eh, let’s start with Sharon’s, “What does he want out of life (or undead life) now? Where does he see himself in 10, 50, 100 years?”

L: Yeah, just start with the hardest one, thanks! Hmmm. I don’t know. I never really thought about it. I guess I’ve just been kinda floating around, waiting for something to, I don’t know, drop from the sky or something. Wow. I need to think about that.

M: Don’t think too hard, huh? Okay, we’ll move on for now. From Sue, who, by the way, also comments that she really likes you-

L: Really? You mean I have a fan?

M: Yeah, evidently. Anyway, she asks, “Does it bother you that you’ll be a teen forever?”

L:  Nah. If you’ve ever played video games you’ll know that it’s always the teenagers who save the world. And it means I can scope out more chicks. Old dudes like this guy look creepy checking out a seventeen year old, but I can get away with it, and older ladies love young guys.

M: Really? Like you know anything about that shit.

L: I’ve had girlfriends! I had one chick stalk me in fact, so there.

M: Yeah, yeah. Sue also asks, “Do the big boy vampires treat you as a lesser vamp?”

L: Eh, not really. Well, Jorick does sometimes, but it’s not just me. He kinda treats everyone he likes that way – like they’re little kids and he’s their dad.

M: Well hell, you are a little kid. You’re like what? Twenty?

L: I’m over thirty!

M: Oh, excuse me, ancient one. *snickers*. Ah, I been there. I used to be the new kid on the block, and don’t think they didn’t all remind me.  You just gotta start hanging out with someone younger. But we got more questions. This one’s from Donna – I like her. She’s got good taste in characters. You shoulda seen her comment last week.

L: *rolls eyes* I did.

M: Hey, I didn’t say anything about you havin’ a fan, huh? Now where was I? Oh, yeah, “You seem to always get stuck baby-sitting Katelina. Does that make you feel like the lesser of the group?

L: Nah, I don’t mind it most of the time. I mean someone’s gotta keep an eye on her, you know? It makes me the last line of defense. Like if something happened to Jorick or whatever then I’d be all that was left. So it’s actually kind of a big thing. I think it means he trusts me – not just for that, but not to do anything to her. He doesn’t just leave her with anyone.

M: He sent her with me.

L: Only because I was there. He wouldn’t let you spend time alone with her. Especially not after all that stuff you said last week about making her into a real vampire.

M: Yeah, well, offer still stands. Speaking of Katelina, Sue wants to know, “Do you wish you could have a girl friend like Katelina some day? Would you care if she was human or not?” Fuck, I hope it’s a less annoying one that Lunch!

L: *looks uncomfortable* Well, um, yeah, I guess. I mean, sure, a girlfriend would be cool. And nah, I don’t care if they’re human or not. Maybe it’s better that way. Then it makes you the stronger one, you know? You get to be all manly and save her and stuff.

M: You’re just a little soppy-sappy romantic, aren’t you? Here’s another feely question. This one’s from Donna again, “do you still miss your parents? You lost them at so young an age.”

L:  Yeah, sometimes. If they hadn’t gotten killed then things woulda been really different, you know? I think about that sometimes. Ashton never would have started hanging out with Jessie and those guys, so he never would have been a vampire, so he never would have had to turn me…

M: And you’d have never met me. Depressing idea, huh? Well, Sharon wants to know, “What do hate about life as a vampire?”

L: The no sunlight thing blows, especially in the summer. I grew up on the beach; you know, swimming and the whole nine yards, and now I can’t go out in the daytime. Sure, I can do it at night, but it’s not the same thing. Also the food. I’d kill for a twinkie, dude! Or some mustard flavored pretzels.

M: Mustard and pretzels? Are you kidding me? Is that a real thing?

L:  Yeah. You get them out of vending machines.

M: Yuck! The only place mustard belongs is on a fuckin’ hot dog. Seriously, you modern people!

L: You sound like Jorick.

M: You didn’t just compare me to that prick, did you? Coz if you did…

L: What? Huh? You’ll ask me another question. *snickers* Our author told you that you had to be good or she’d pull the plug on the interview, so I’m not scared.

M: Oh yeah, hide behind the author. You wait ‘til this is over. Last question from Donna, “Who frightens you more – Micah or Jorick?” I can answer that one: Me, coz I’m a scary sumbitch.

L: Nah. Not really. I think Jorick’s scarier.

M: What the hell? First you compare me to him and now you’re saying he’s scarier?

L:  Sorry, but he is. You’re all noise, but he’s quiet. Your kind just punches someone in the nose and walks off. His kind takes a machine gun to the post office.

M: Yeah, he is kinda nuts, I guess. But I’m still scarier. All right, and here’s the last question of the interview and it’s from Barb, “You wanted to fight in Oren’s war so badly, do you still think this was such a good idea? Would you have waited?” Hell yeah it was a good idea!

L: I dunno. Jorick was kinda right about some things-

M: What the hell?

L: It was a lot… gorier than I thought it was gonna be. Watching it on TV is one thing, you know? But actually being in the middle of it with blood flying and people screaming…

M: You’re killing someone for cryin’ out loud. Of course it’s gonna be gory!

L: Yeah, I know. I guess… I dunno. I mean, I was there for Ashton when they… when Jessie and them killed him but… It’s kinda different when you’re doing it yourself. I don’t regret it, well, except for what happened there at the end. *looks at Micah* Are we allowed to do spoilers out of the newest book?

M: I dunno. Our “esteemed” author didn’t say nothin’ to me about it. But if you’re worried about it then just leave it at that.

L:  I just don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I hate when someone tells you the end of the book ahead of time.

M: Okay, okay. Well, I guess that’s it-

*POOF* the amazing author enters*

Jo: We have one last question.

M: No we don’t.  *waves paper* I asked them all.

Jo: Juli was a late entry. Here *hands Micah new paper* now be good or I’ll kill you off.

*POOF* the amazing author disappears*

M: What the fuck? Oh well, I like Juli, so I guess. I was kinda wondering why she hadn’t asked you anything. “Do you ever think about what you want to do with your future? You’ve got unlimited time on your hands, what are some of the things you’d like do?” Hah! Looks like you’re not getting out of this one!

L: I don’t know. It would be kinda cool to learn to play the guitar. We could make a vampire band.

M: That’s been done. Ever hear of Lestat?

L: Yeah, but he sang vampire music. We could just do regular music. I’m just saying, it’s something. I’d also like to get the top score in every game I own. How cool would that be? They’d all have LorIzTheShiz in the top spot. That’s my user name-

M: And you think Jorick’s nuts. Okay, enough of this. Next week is the last of these interviews, and someone will be interviewing Kateesha.

L: Not me! She scares the crap out of me!

M: Ah, she ain’t that scary, but I don’t feel like doing it, either. I can’t imagine Lunch handling it, all things considered.

L: *snickers* That would be kinda funny.

M: yeah, it would, wouldn’t it? My money is on Jorick or the redhead. Either way, we’re outta here. Come on pipsqueak, I’m gonna show you who really is the scariest mo’ fo’ around here.

If you’d like to leave questions for Kateesha, please check out this blog and leave them in the comments section. Thanks!


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Interview with Maureen Rogers

Hello! My name is Katelina, and welcome to Weekend Character Interviews. Using state of the art-mumbo-jumbo author magic, Jo has temporarily bent the laws of fictional space and time to allow various literary universes to converge long enough for me to ask different characters a few questions. Since I spend a lot of time in the Amaranthine series quizzing vampires on what they’re doing, where they’re going and why, Jo thought I would be the perfect interviewer. 

Today we have Maureen Rogers from Mark Mackey’s Maureen: A Vampire Tale.

Maureen: A Vampire Tale

Katelina: Hello, Maureen, and welcome! Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Maureen: Sure, Maureen Rogers, eighteen, believe it or not, I’m five foot nine, completely unmanageable jet black hair, a body to kill for.

Loren: *suddenly appears – as if summoned by something Maureen said* Well hello there.

K: Did you need something, Loren?

L: Well, it’s just you’re interviewing a vampire and all, and since Jorick’s busy I thought someone should keep an eye on… things. *winks at Maureen*

K: Uh-huh. And it has nothing to do with that “body to kill for” line, right?

L: No, of course not!

K: *rolls eyes* Anyway, where were we. Oh, right. You were telling us about yourself.

M: My best friend is Wendy Listers, she’s obsessed about vampires, and has fantasy dreams about them

L: Really?

K: You’ve been down that road before, remember? Jorick had to chase them off.

L: Yeah, but they were crazy.

K: Moving on. *looks back to Maureen* So, is Maureen: A Vampire Tale you’re only book?

M: I’m also in a short story in The Comet: An Alison Duncan Tale and Other Stories

K: sounds like you’re pretty busy! How would you say that you evolve or change during the course of your story?

M: Tough one. I started off as a super smart, gorgeous geek, and ended up a blood craving vampire hell-bent on revenge.

K: Okay, that’s a pretty big change.

L: Yeah, it is. I remember when I got changed and-

K: Loren, I’m not interviewing you. Chat Maureen up on your own time. *back to Maureen* I imagine that’s probably going to figure pretty prominently in the events that changed your life and shaped your personality, huh?

M: Yeah, My violent death ranks number one.

K: I could see that. DO you think your life would have been better if you hadn’t been turned into a vampire?

M: No, and this issue will be shown in a future book.

K: That sounds interesting. I always like to see what would have been, you know?

L: Yeah, me too! So-

K: As I was saying-

L: Aw, come on, let me ask some questions at least. I’ve got one! A real one! *turns to Maureen* So, do you have a boyfriend – or a girlfriend *waggles brows*?

M: My precious Peter, he’s my heart and soul, but Miriam’s a close second. It’s sort of unconventional, what with the whole werewolf thing.

A Very Emo Werewolf

Kevin Lavner via Flickr

M: Figuring out this whole vampire thing.

L: So is this Peter like, a vampire, too or-

K: *talking over him* So do you have an arch nemesis or enemy, or is your author nicer than that?

M: Hands down it would be Chelsea Chaseford.

K: Ah. I suspected as much. I’ve met a few of Mark Mackey’s characters before and he seems to be especially evil to them. If you could say something to him, what would it be?

M: Thanks for giving birth to me, to Miriam, a werewolf who was created back then as well, and to the individual who eventually would become Michael Argus, and be responsible for my becoming a vampire – all of which was in a now-lost- forever short story entitled Maureen, that Mark wrote while he was attending Northeastern Illinois University. All his other characters were an afterthought.

K: So, do you think you’re his favorite character? Does he like you better than, say, Elizabeth Duncan?

M: I used my vampire powers to probe in Mark’s mind, and as I came into existence a few years before her, yes, I am.

K: Wow. This is what he does to his favorites? I’m just saying.

L: Our author isn’t any better.

K: No joke. And it looks like we’re almost out of time. If you could say one thing to your readers, Maureen, what would it be?

M: Value life, for you never know when it can be taken away from you.

K: And with that excellent advice I want to say thanks a lot for stopping by and-

L: you know, if you and that Peter ever split up, or you just feel like a change for a night-

The Comet

K: Loren! My God, you’re all hormones! Go away! As I was saying, you can find more of Maureen in Maureen a Vampire Tale and in The Comet: An Alison Duncan Tale and Other Stories.


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And a special thanks to Mark Mackey for playing along!

If you’re an author and would like your character(s) to be interviewed by me, then check out this very cool page that has all the details:

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