Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When the Monsters Are All Too Human by Guest Blogger Tess St. John

Continuing our Halloween series this week is the terrific Tess St. John! In her books, the bad guys do despicable things to her heroines, so I wondered, "What actually scares Tess?"

When Suzan asked me to blog about “Books that give you chills” I couldn’t wait!!!

I didn’t read as a kid (not even required reading, don’t ask how I passed in school, I got by with what I learned in lectures), but I went to the movies all the time. HOWEVER, scary movies were not my thing. I spent all of HALLOWEEN (the original, yes, I’m that old…don’t go there) and JAWS sitting on the floor with my fingers in my ears humming to myself. I won’t even discuss THE SHINING or I’ll have nightmares tonight.

And while I might be totally frightened with movies, I found books were a different story.

After I married, my husband traveled a lot and would leave books behind after he’d read them. That’s when I discovered how much I enjoyed reading scary books. And Dean Koontz was one of my favorites. The first book I read of his was WATCHERS—From a top secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose—OMG, I can still visualize the monster holding the Mickey Mouse cartoon he and the dog used to watch together, while begging the hero to kill him. **goosebumps**

And his book STRANGERS—THEY WERE STRANGERS. A handful of people. From different backgrounds, living in different towns and cities across America, they had nothing in common - except fear. THEY WERE VICTIMS. Cold and stark, an unknown terror gripped their dreams and turned their days into living nightmares. THEY WERE CHOSEN. And they could not escape. Deep in the heart of a sprawling desert, a dark memory called out to them drawing them to the Tranquility Motel - where the terrifying truth was waiting—I’m not sure how many of you have read it, but I still have the words “the moon” go through my mind every once in a while and feel a shiver race through my body!

And I’ll never forget the first time I read Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. That first scene where the man is dying and positioning his body to be found as a clue, WOW. I still feel a bit of a tremor thinking of it.

I’m in awe of writers who have written something so visually and emotionally compelling, that I can remember the scenes decades later!

I thought when I started writing I would write thrillers, but found I didn’t have that jagged edge talent. But I do write Romantic Suspense, and I hope I raise a few hairs on people’s necks every once in a while!

Here’s an excerpt from my latest release, EYES OF JADE:

Eve peeked from under the jacket Jake held over them. Something was familiar about the guy on the motorcycle. Cloaked in black, the only color on the rider was a rainbow helmet. She’d seen that helmet before. When he reached inside his jacket, panic pulsed through her. This was a scene from Legally Mine.

“He’s got a detonator!” she screamed.

“Her car!” Stewart yelled.

Jake grabbed her shoulders and shoved her toward the building, away from her car.

A sonic boom exploded and shook the ground.

She tripped and lost her footing, landing on her hands and knees. Like a rag doll, her palms skidded out from under her, scraping the rough wet bricks. She turned her face, just as her cheek smashed to the pathway.

A body instantly covered hers—knocking the air from her lungs.

Heat assaulted her like an unharnessed furnace.

Gray smoke engulfed the air.

A car engine roared to life and peeled out—no doubt chasing the motorcycle.

Eve wished for a way to melt into the blood-red bricks.

Jake jumped up, seized her arm, and hauled her to her knees. “Can you walk?”

Stewart gripped her other arm and the two men lifted and carried her toward the street. Her feet hit the ground every once in a while, but she wasn’t using them. Her palms stung, and her head and cheek throbbed. The ringing in her ears resembled the bells used to wrap a day of shooting—except the ringing wouldn’t stop.

The men hustled her to one of the cars still waiting on the street. Agents surrounded the vehicle with their weapons drawn. One held the back door open, while Jake helped her inside and slid in beside her.

Stewart shot into the driver’s seat and sped off.

She glanced back at the inferno. A sickening déjà vu struck her as she remembered the same scene from Legally Mine. Her voice was nothing more than a coughing whisper. “My movies are coming back to haunt me.”

“Don’t.” Jake nodded toward the front of the car. “Don’t look back. Only forward.”

She twisted toward the front seat. Bullets. Explosions. Her life had become an action/adventure movie. Not one she wanted the starring role in, but it seemed she had no choice. She didn’t realize she was trembling until Jake cradled her hands in his. His touch a comfort she desperately needed. Rocking back and forth in her seat, her body jerked every so often.

Don’t look back. Only forward.

Easy for him to say. He hadn’t been shot at and almost blown up.


Yes, he had.

But this was a life he’d chosen, signed up for. He promised not to let anything happen to her. She hoped he’d be able to keep that vow.

“Get down,” Stewart yelled.

Jake shoved her upper body to the seat and crouched over her.

The back window shattered.

She bit her lip to keep from screaming.

Stewart turned corner after corner and sped through the streets.

Flattened on the leather, facing the front seat, Jake’s now familiar body protected hers. Eve caught a whiff of his citrus cologne. Considering how close they’d been this morning, she was surprised she hadn’t noticed his subtle, clean scent earlier.

She tried to think of anything besides the motion sickness plaguing her. And the fact they were being chased. But she was too terrified for rational thought.

I want to thank Suzan for having me today, what a blast!

You can find out more about me and my books at my website.

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