Author: Bernard Lee DeLeo
Genre: YA/ Paranormal
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: October 18th 2011
Source: Free Review Copy For A Blog Tour
The FBI blackmailed Storm Crandall; but only after Storm hacked their database. At sixteen, she’s under cover at a high school, looking for clues involving five missing girls. Besides computer skills, Storm has game in the magic department. A sect of the Temple of Set soon finds out power comes in many guises. With two FBI agents posing as her parents in the city of Warren, Ohio, Storm finds love, allies, and tragedy in her hunt for answers. By fulfilling her end of the bargain, Storm can buy her way out of spending the days until her eighteenth birthday in a juvenile detention facility.
The FBI agents discover their young charge can do more than type fast. Their first encounter with the creature behind the disappearances shows the agents they need Storm for far more than information gathering as a high school spy. With Storm’s FBI handlers shadowing her every movement and conversation, small breakthroughs in the case come to light. Three girls from the high school visit Perkins Park at night where the disappearances had happened, playing a dangerous game of dare. Two of the girls, Nancy Alverson and Chris Vasquez, leave their friend Carol Wangden alone in the park after an argument. They walk to the local Burger King only blocks away, hoping for a ride from Logan Stanfield. Finding Storm there with Tracy Washington, they explain the game they had been playing. Logan drives to the park with Storm and Tracy to find Carol. Agents Dixon and Holloway, listening in, head for the park too. Logan holds off the monster they find chasing down Carol long enough for Storm to cast an impromptu invocation which disperses the demon in front her companions.
Teaming up with the enigmatic Logan, Storm begins unraveling a horror no one anticipated. When the case morphs from serial kidnapping into a supernatural witch hunt, Storm and her friends, under the guidance of the FBI agents, scramble to stay alive while tracking down monsters both human and inhuman.
“Oh my God!” Tracy screamed from the backseat. “What the hell is that?!”
Logan and Storm, glanced in the direction Tracy was pointing as Logan drove the car along Mahoning Avenue fronting the park. They saw a clearly terrified Carol running out of the adjacent sparsely wooded area with some kind of billowing blackness slouching after her. Logan jammed on the brakes of his Pontiac, reaching under the seat, and coming up with a tape handled two foot long lead pipe.
“Stay here!” Logan ordered, exiting the car at a dead run.
Storm ignored him and went out the passenger side at the same pace. Tracy called out after Storm to no avail. She immediately decided the back seat of Logan’s small, two door Pontiac Grand Am was not the place to be. By the time she scrambled over the front seat and out the passenger side door, Carol had fallen and was scrambling on all fours, making heart rending little screams in between gasps for air. Tracy ran after her friends as the opaque cloud drew near Carol. Tracy heard a car screech to a halt behind her, and glanced back to see Ted and Janet clamber out of their Honda.
“What the…” Janet managed to exclaim before simply shutting up and following Ted, who had not paused for even a second before running after the convergence before them.
A gnarled, slimy blackish limb snaked out of the darkness, reaching for Carol, who let out an ear piercing scream of pure terror. Logan swung at a dead run, connecting full force with the thing extending from the cloud. A hideous cracking sound as if fifty powder dry branches had snapped at once blotted out all sound for a split second before a howl of agony and rage echoed out from the cloud. The blackness rolled back suddenly as Logan halted to face it, between it and Carol. Appearing to grow upwards, snapping wisps of fragmented nightmare lunged out of the cloud as Logan swung the lead pipe in short concerted strokes. Storm, controlling her breathing with difficulty, ran up beside Logan, her arms raised over her head, palms outward.
“EVOCATIO VALCYRIARUM, CONTUBERNALIA GLADIARIA,” Storm shouted out in commanding voice, repeating it over and over, as a torrent of wind driven debris hurtled into the darkness, driving it back.
With a final shriek of rage, the thing dissipated into the air, as Tracy reached her friends. The silence following the disappearance of the black cloud hung in the air so thickly it felt almost as if it were a tangible substance. Logan gripped the lead pipe with both hands, his chest heaving, looking down at Storm in disbelief. Storm stood still in place, her arms upraised to the night sky, a slight breeze blowing her white blonde hair back from her face. Eyes closed, and hands clenched in fists now instead of palms outward, Storm smiled a tight, thin lipped smile of satisfaction.
Hi Bernard ! I would like to thank you for joining us today. It is a pleasure having you stop by Read Between The Lines.
I was born in Warren, Ohio in 1950, so I’ve been around a while. In the summer after our 1968 graduation, two buddies and I drove my 1962 Renault to California. Starting in San Francisco, we worked our way down the coast to Mexico. We painted apartments for travel money. I still have a snapshot of the Haight-Asbury street sign from our visit to the very strange city by the Bay, during the so called ‘summer of love’. The only thing stranger was the three rubes from Ohio stumbling through the ‘Head’ shops and psychedelic scene. I joined the United States Navy when we returned at the end of summer, and served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger for three years as an Interior Communications Tech. Through two cruises to Vietnam, the Ranger ported in a variety of countries, including Japan, Hong Kong-China, and The Philippines. The Ranger acted as a backdrop for my first real writing. I kept a humorous, detailed journal of our second cruise overseas from beginning to end.
After my discharge, I traveled down to Florida during the 1973 spring break to see the famous college scene, which was nowhere near the wildness I had been expecting. Anyone standing around on the street for more than a few minutes got moved along by police threatening vagrancy charges. I then needed to fix the drive-line u-joints on my old 1964 Olds F85. An Exxon gas station owner in Baton Rouge, La allowed me to work on it in his garage and offered me a job. I took it because I wanted to see the Mardi Gras next in New Orleans. I ended up working for him from February until June for $1.25 an hour, and lived in an old man’s junkyard next door for twelve dollars a week. Since I was working 60 to 70 hour weeks, money was no problem. My next eye opener was the wonderful Mardi Gras, which turned out to be a violent, dangerous place to be in.
I concluded my travels by driving back to California in 1974, where I earned an AA Degree in General Ed and Automotive Tech at Chabot College in Hayward. While working at the Auto Repair Shop I now own, Nilson Brothers Garage, I completed my BA Degree in English in case I ever got hurt in auto repair and wrote my first novel. I married my wife of thirty-five years, who grew up a block away from me in Ohio, and raised two kids. I still play basketball on weekends and scuba dive. I also backpack into the Caribou Wilderness with a few guys I’ve known a long time whenever we get the chance.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
At Chabot College to fill out my last minute registration, I took a Creative Writing course from a no nonsense professor named Conley. He is the reason I’m a writer. We had to read our stories out loud in class which was my first lesson – if you can’t read your own writing without stumbling, your readers will certainly have difficulty. I read a story I wrote from a dog’s point of view. During the critique phase, one of my classmates remarked that I couldn’t write a story from a dog’s point of view. Professor Conley said, “he just did.” He taught me writing fiction has no limits, and I was hooked.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Edgar Rice Burroughs without doubt. I devoured every book of his I could get my hands on. Tarzan, Mars, Venus, Pellucidar – he took me all over the universe, into the jungles, and to the core of the earth, with larger than life heroes I couldn’t get enough of. Later, Robert E Howard, Ian Fleming, Donald Hamilton, John D MacDonald and eventually Stephen King and Dean Koontz added many layers to my thoughts on writing.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting published?
In the middle seventies I bought a Writer’s Digest, and began sending out my two novels. In those days you had to send out the hard copy of your manuscript with return postage. I was in the middle of raising kids so I had to be prudent about where I queried them. I didn’t complete my third novel until 1999. My next lesson was that the Internet provided a much easier vehicle for querying, but I found out conservative themed pulp fiction was not in favor with agents or publishers. I self-published my next five novels: AMERICAN SURVIVAL, AMERICAN MUTANT, SOTELLO, CASSERINE, and PEACE. I sold them in the small comic book hobby shop I built onto my repair shop to recoup the publishing costs. Many of my biggest writing fans are also my auto repair customers. Finally, in 2009 with my finished manuscripts piling up, I signed two contracts with E-book publishers for my writer/assassin novel COLD BLOODED with Wild Child Publishing, and an erotic/paranormal novel under a pen-name – Lee Whitney: LANCELOT through Double Dragon's Erotic Line, Carnel Desires Publishing. Wild Child Publishing did not get COLD BLOODED released for nearly three years.
The writing credits did nothing for my querying agents for representation. When Amazon, and other outlets began making self-publishing relatively cost free, I began self-publishing my other novels, MONSTER, ARCHANGEL, and of course, STORM. I have five other novels finished I will be offering with my marketing partner RJ Parker Publishing/Author. Our first offering was my novel HARD CASE in May of this year. The next ones will be THE PROTECTORS, LAYLA, DEMON, and DEMON INC, followed by the third book in my YA novel trilogy starring my paranormal pup - Demon, which I will be working on soon.
I queried over fifty agents for HARD CASE and STORM to no avail. I believed in them, as I do the rest of my manuscripts. I’m a little long in the tooth to wait for some agent breakthrough. I’ve decided the self-publishing route is the one for me.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
That’s a tough one. The third chapter titled The Monster, where they confront the entity responsible for five teen disappearances is a favorite of mine. It is the first time Storm realizes her full potential and power when she disperses the demon. Until then, she had thought the small occurrences in her magic dabbling had been flukes. When she turns back the demon entity, she feels the power within her.
Do you work with an outline or just write?
I have writing friends that have complete story boards with post it notes in regimented order under each chapter, complete with scenes, and complete character descriptions. My first thought when I read the how-to of such a method is gee, that’s a thorough, and disciplined way of writing. My second thought is if I did it, I’d never write again. My method is more like the movie ‘Finding Forrester’ with Sean Connery where his character counsels the young writer wannabe to simply write until you’re finished. I do keep a separate characters’ database for the novel as I create them.
Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?
Anything can be going on around me when I write. I can be on a flight, train, or on the couch with the TV blaring for whoever’s with me watching it. I don’t need silence or uninterrupted hours or special music playing softly in my ear. The writing takes me to a special place in my head. The only ritual I have is starting my notebook computer. If you start getting superstitious when writing, a nice big cement and steel writer’s block is just around the corner. I guarantee it.
What is one book that you think everyone should read?
I’m sorry, but there is no such thing, at least in my realm of writing. A writer with passion for the work, churning out characters, events, humor, violence, and romance cannot please everyone.
What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day?
Without doubt writing, reading, and the ever present editing.
Favorite book and/or movie are you looking forward to this year?
I’m really looking forward to the next Chess/Terrible novel by my friend Stacia Kane – CHASING MAGIC. I’m completely hooked on that series. Also Dean Koontz’s new Brother Odd book - ODD APOCALYPSE. In movies, MIB 3.
Just For Fun
Spontaneity or Planning Ahead?
Planning ahead, except in my writing.
Shoes or Barefoot?
Shoes. If you’re barefoot, your actions will all be tentative, because you can’t keep your mind off the next step.
Print or E~book?
E-book. The Kindle is an incredible writer’s tool. I can make my new supposedly fully edited manuscript into mobi form for my Kindle Fire, and then read it just as a reader buying it on Amazon. I can then bookmark and highlight any revisions I need to make for final publishing in comfort.
Mac or PC?
PC, but not because I’m politically correct.
Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook, because I keep in touch with family spread out all over the country with pictures and movies. I am on Twitter, but seldom use it.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Vanilla with chocolate coating.
Coffee or Tea?
Red or Yellow (LOL) Plain or Peanut MM's?
I can’t eat them anymore since they made them into characters on the commercials. It’s just… disturbing.
This Story was written well. It was definitely suspenseful. Our journey is with Storm Crandall a hacking teenage witch. Which sounds awesome wished I was a witch ;). This story has all the elements to be a fantastic story great description, and awesome characters. Which I really enjoyed the story just seemed to be slow in spots. And I felt disconnected during parts of the book but overall it was a enjoyable read and I look forward to reading some of Bernard's other work.
Storm is a teenage hacking witch. When she was caught hacking she was enlisted by the FBI to go under cover to help them figure out why students keep disappearing from Perkins Park. While undercover she meets new friends though they are full of chaos are loyal to the need she even finds love along the way. If you are looking to read something completely unique then you should check out this story.
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