Category Archives: dead locked

Sample Sunday Walk ‘n Talk With Immie & Bast

This is a new snippet from my mystery novel, Dead Locked, a slower scene featuring Sebastian and Imogen discussing an important event that’s just occurred. This is one of the first scenes where we really see them interact and get a feel for their relationship. The ebook version (various formats including Kindle and Nook) of Dead Locked is completely free from Smashwords until July 31, 2011. If you want more of Imogen and Sebastian, check out my short story Bast & Immie, which is free all the time from Smashwords and other retailers like Barnes & Noble. Enjoy!

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Sebastian and Imogen strolled back to her cottage that night, passing through the downtown of Whitesea after having fish ‘n chips at a shingled restaurant on the water. Sebastian had been quiet the whole time, his statuesque face stiff while he drifted in his own world, despite Imogen’s repeated attempts to ignite conversation. She finally surrendered, absorbing the pastel pinks and purples that now blushed in the early evening. They escaped the bustling main street, still brimming with couples climbing into Jags and Priuses, and families strapping in their heavy-eyed little ones in silver minivans and black SUVs. Shop owners flipped their signs over from “Open” to “Closed.”

They walked around the corner of Main Street onto Harbour Way, where Imogen lived. It never failed to turn instantly quiet once she turned that corner, regardless of the stream of people turning, crossing, parking, walking, eating, shopping, and running on Main Street.

“You looked good on the news,” he said suddenly, a smile pulling at the corners of his lips.

Imogen had forgotten about Sebastian for a second and turned to look at him. He had put on a black button-down short sleeve shirt and a pair of dark jeans for their date. His arms hung out of the sleeves, making him look lankier than he was. Imogen thought for the hundredth time how badly she wanted to take him shopping.

“Is that what you’ve been thinking about this whole time?” she said, bumping into him teasingly. “Did you see the rock thrower?”

“Uh…no. But they showed Mackenzie placating the journalists after we left.” Sebastian frowned. “He’s not happy. I have a feeling we’ll hear more about that later when no one’s watching.” Sebastian narrowed his already narrow eyes. “Actually, I lied. They interviewed the rock thrower.” He grinned suddenly, the wicked expression he wore only occasionally that Imogen liked and yet feared. “The rock thrower certainly liked you. He mentioned you in his interview.”

“By name?”

“Hair color,” he said and grinned again.

Imogen scrunched her nose, unsure of whether to be flattered or insulted.

“Watch what you say or I’ll call him to have Isaac Crewe haunt you,” she said.

“Let’em. I’d like to ask the guy a few questions.”

Imogen had to agree with him there.

“I wish he had just left a note somewhere that says ‘the treasure is at blah blah blah’ so we didn’t have all these random people ruining our fun.”

“A note with the treasure’s address would keep people away? That’s interesting.”

Imogen pinched his arm.

“You know what I mean. We would find the note and hand over the treasure to a museum before anyone else could get to it.”

“We?” Sebastian said sarcastically.

“Fine. You. You would find the treasure and turn it over to a museum.”

Sebastian chuckled. Imogen pinched him again, but secretly liked that he was teasing her. At least he was in a good mood for a change with all the stress they’d been under.

“More than likely the note would read, ‘There is no treasure. Go home.'”

“The pirates had to do something with their loot.”

“Yeah, spend it.” Sebastian grinned. “They were wanted criminals. They didn’t open up bank accounts.”

“Exactly why they would need to hide it.”

“You watch too many movies.”

Imogen stuck out her tongue. “So logical. It’s no fun.”

“The truth can be fun.” His arm tensed a little under her hands, his voice getting crispy around the edges.

Imogen bit her tongue. Sometimes her teasing hit a little too hard.

“There were battles at sea for one,” he said proudly. “And they had all kinds of cool tricks to seize their prey.”

“Like taking out the sails?” Imogen gripped his arm, hoping to smooth over her words.

“And sailing under the guise of merchant vessels.” Sebastian half-smiled. “You’re placating me.”

She shrugged, playing with a loose string on his black sleeve.

“I do like the truth…to some extent. But real pirates weren’t glorious. They were just criminals like we have today who hurt people. I just like the idea of a little more to it than that. That’s all.”

Sebastian grazed her apple cheek with his lips. She leaned her head on his shoulder, and watched as the sun said goodbye with its last blaze of orange on the horizon.

Imogen Interviews Philippa

I’ve posted character interviews before so that’s nothing new. But I thought recently, ‘What if one character interviewed another? That would be interesting!’ So that’s exactly what’s happening today. Imogen Bell, heroine of Dead Locked, traveled back in time over 800 years and across the Atlantic to have a chat with Philippa, heroine of my forthcoming novel, The Jester’s Apprentice. Let’s look in and see what she had to say!

Imogen: This is so exciting! I’m in England! And it’s 1197! What’s that smell?

Philippa: Grazing animals more than likely. You don’t have them in 2011?

Imogen: Somewhere, I’m sure. But not near where I live.

Philippa: How do you survive then?

Imogen: Oh, markets. Packaged meat. That sort of thing.

Philippa: Packaged meat? What’s that?

Imogen: It’s…hey, I’m supposed to interview you!

Philippa: Apologies. Please, ask away.

Imogen: First, what’s your story?

Philippa: Basically, after I’ve remarried a rather mysterious man, a sort of legend (some believe more of a myth) called the Jester reappears causing more rumors than trouble it seems. But when he starts making social calls on me offering insight into my husband’s past, I realize the Jester may be responsible for more than just gossip. And my husband and even my own family may not be quite what I imagined.

Imogen: Sounds exciting! So tell me more about this ‘mysterious man’ you married.

Philippa: I’m not sure what to say without giving away too much. But Edric has his own connection to the Jester and the past and present sort of collide as a result.

Imogen: Hmm…are you noticing a pattern here? I mean, doesn’t my story have a similar ‘past/present collision’ thing?

Philippa: I can’t say. I don’t have access to many books.

Imogen: 1197. Right. Well, anyway, what will you do to celebrate the release of your book? A, uh, feast, banquet, ball?

Philippa: Oh, a feast definitely! I love a good feast. I can smell the roast boar already!

Imogen: Sounds…yummy. To wrap this up, and give a little nod to Monty Python, what’s your favorite color?

Philippa: Purple!

Imogen: Good choice! I won’t eject you from this interview.

Philippa: …

Imogen: And it’s still 1197! OK, then. We’re done here. Next time I’ll bring Bast. He’d love this whole time traveling thing. Except we might need to visit the coast.

Philippa: Of course! We’ll prepare a wonderful feast for you!

Imogen: Great! I think. Well, till next time! Bye everyone!

Philippa: Ciao!

Imogen: ???

>Dead Locked In Print! & A New Short Story

>I feel like I’ve been talking about it long enough, but the final stage in getting Dead Locked out in the world is done. The print edition is now available at! If you’re curious what the story’s all about, you can sample the first chapter on the little BookBuzzr widget on my sidebar, read a short excerpt on my website, or download a free sample on Smashwords. Also, the ‘Look Inside the Book’ feature on Amazon will be available soon!

Speaking of Dead Locked, I just released a lighthearted short story about the two main characters. “Bast & Immie” is available as a free download at Smashwords (which supports Kindle and several other popular e-readers). If you’d like a quick, happy read that’s all about the romance, check it out today!

If you’d like to keep up with what’s new or coming without hopping from site to site, join my new email newsletter. I’ll shoot something out about once a month with the latest info so you won’t miss a beat. And when you signup, you can download the ebook edition of Dead Locked for half the price. Aside from just news, I plan to include blurbs and tips useful to writers.

Despite the incredibly cold and snowy winter we’re having, exciting things are afoot! I’m planning to release the first teasers of my upcoming novel, The Jester’s Apprentice, later this month! And I’m working on a serialized story, Decode, that I will publish weekly right here on amy & the pen. Stay tuned!

>Photos From the Holliston Library Local Author Day

>This is a little later than intended, but I’m finally posting a few photos from the local author day I participated in at the Holliston Library on January 22. The event had a good turn out of authors and readers. I enjoyed talking shop with fellow writers and getting to introduce my book to the community. The Holliston Patch featured the event, including a little about Dead Locked!

My little setup at the library. I scrambled to get some samples together and it worked out pretty well.

A wide view of the event thanks to my sister. Children’s book author and my table mate Josephine Tam Ho is talking in the foreground.

This one came out blurry but I still like it! Fantasy author Clifford Bowyer is standing next to me.
Thanks to the library’s director, Leslie McDonnell!

>New Naming Resource & Other Updates

>Tired of some of my usual character naming resources, I went on the hunt for a new website this month. I found one that has a few handy tools for expecting parents and authors alike! Babycenter’s name finder may not be that special, but click on “Sibling Names” or “Suggested Names” next to any name for an interactive tour of complementary and alternative names. (Am I using the word “name” too much?) If your character has siblings or you’re just searching for that perfect moniker, try this tool. It’s awesome!

In other news, Dead Locked is now available as an ebook in several different stores. Here is the current list:
Diesel eBook Store
Barnes & Noble

And it’s coming to print soon!

As a final note, check out the Eyecandy Blogfest going on this Saturday at Rambles & Randomness. I’ve got my pic lined up and I can’t wait to see what everyone else posts!

>Interview With Isaac Crewe From Dead Locked!

>Even though Captain Isaac Crewe only makes a cameo in Dead Locked, his story affects Imogen Bell and her colleagues deeply. And because he’s a pirate, I figured he’s the perfect person to interview for Pirate Week!

Thanks for joining us!
My pleasure really.

Let’s start with how you got into piracy in the first place.
Like most good pirates, I started as an innocent sailor on a merchant vessel. Sea life is grueling and harsh with little reward when you’re on the lower rungs. Eventually, pirates attacked our ship and I was taken hostage. After weighing the life aboard a pirate ship versus a merchant ship, or any other kind really, I chose to stay. And within a short time, I became the captain of my own ship.

You must be good at what you do. And what exactly is that?
I overtake ships carrying gold, silver, jewels, or other precious items and plunder them. It’s fun.

And rewarding apparently. Enough to balance out a life at sea?
Oh, a life at sea is still rough and not every person is cut out for it. The difference between sailing on a merchant ship (or for the Royal Navy) and sailing as a pirate is equality. We divide our loot relatively evenly so everyone makes out very well, especially with large takeovers. And we welcome anyone as a pirate regardless of race or ethnicity. The more of an outcast you are, the better.

You’re compensated for losses I understand?
Yes. Life as a pirate comes with plenty of combat and danger. Most of us lose something eventually – a leg, an arm, an eye. But you’re paid equal to the loss, if that’s any consolation.

What types of ships are popular prey?
Ships traveling from the East carry great spoils. But pirates also favor slave ships because of the amount of money they have on board after they’ve finished trading.

So enough of the technical stuff. I hear you scored a giant, shiny rock in one of your escapades and gave it to your girlfriend. Is that true?
If you don’t know than I certainly don’t. Besides, wouldn’t my answer give too much away about the storyline?

Oh, fine. I’ll ask something non-spoilerish. How did you meet Georgiana?
I met her by chance when my ship made port in Newport. I was a young sailor, she was the daughter of a ship captain. I wrote to her after we left and the next time we had a chance to see each other, I had turned pirate.

And Georgiana didn’t mind this or you just didn’t tell her?
No, she knew. I never said it directly in my letters, but I think she guessed at some point. Then when I told her for the first time in person, she looked very serious and said, ‘I suppose it’s too late to worry about it’ and that was that.

You give my heroine, Imogen Bell, a lot of trouble. Do you have anything to say about that?
Give my apologies to Mistress Bell. But since we live 300 years apart from each other, I had little control over what would happen. However, even if I had known, being that I’m a pirate, I doubt I would have changed my course.

Good to know. Any last words for our readers?
Beware of pirate ships disguised as innocent merchant vessels. And when you do face capture, save yourself and your crew, and surrender.

Duly noted, Captain Crewe. Just two more days left of Pirate Week! Stay tuned!