Thursday, March 5, 2015

Guest Post and Giveaway: Dead Wish by Megan Tayte

I am excited today to be bringing you a special guest post from debut author Megan Tayte and her book, Death Wish

Released: February 7, 2015 by Heaven Afire

Series: Book One in the Cerulean Series

Book Description:


The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint? 

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense. 

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need. 

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power. 

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death. 

To believe the impossible. 

About the Author:

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. 'Write, Megan,' her grandmother advised. So that's what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Megan writes the kinds of books she loves to read: young-adult paranormal romance fiction. Young adult, because it's the time of life that most embodies freedom and discovery and first love. Paranormal, because she's always believed that there are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. And romance, because she's a misty-eyed dreamer who lives for those 'life is so breathtakingly beautiful' moments.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood's county, Nottingham. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a paleontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible. 

Guest Post:

Five inspirations for the Ceruleans

I’m not one of those writers who has a bolt-from-the-blue epiphany, and goes from clueless to having a perfectly rounded book concept, all ready to go, in an instant. Instead, I find inspiration from many different sources, and over a period of time (during which I may appear a little distracted to those around me) many, many ideas gel together into one story.
For the Ceruleans, my YA paranormal romance series, there were too many inspirations to list, but today I’ll share with you five of the main ones:

1. A ‘Holy cow!’ moment at the top of a clifftop folly: While on holiday in Devon, my husband my son and I climbed to the top of an ancient, crumbling folly balancing precariously on a cliff. The view over the sea and the city of Plymouth was spectacular, and with an almighty attack of vertigo making me giddy, I clung tight to the stone wall and thought – this is The Place for a first kiss: on top of the world and a step from death.

2. A chunk of brilliant blue crystal: One of my son’s favourite outings at the weekend is to our local natural history museum, and in the ‘rock room’ there we came across chalcanthite – a mineral in a really startling shade of blue. After we got home, that colour haunted me.

3. A stirring playlist: ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Florence and the Machine. ‘Kiss Me’ by Ed Sheeran. ‘Take Me to Church’ by Hozier. ‘One Day Like This’ by Elbow. ‘Wherever You Will Go’ by The Calling. ‘Iris’ by the Goo Goo Dolls. ‘Madness’ by Muse. ‘How to Be Dead’ by Snow Patrol. All the emotion in those songs speaks to me – and then I have to put it somewhere, so it ends up in words on a page.

4. Clamouring questions: Is having a supernatural power all it’s cracked up to be? If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint? Would you in fact ultimately want your gift, and the responsibility it brings? Is the only way to make a difference and be loved, be special, to be more than human? 

5. A whole heap of personal experience: With losing people I love, with staring death in the face, with going it alone, with falling in love, with fighting for that love… and with being Not Quite the Coolest Kid on the Block, like my heroine, Scarlett.


Waves everywhere, swirling, surging, seething – a raging melange of foam and salt and inky water biting at me, pulling at me, thrusting upon me a solitary invitation:

As I fought to remain on the flimsy polystyrene surfboard that seemed more bucking bronco than wave rider, I thought: That’s how easy it is – you just let go. Just release the grip on this world that in recent months had seemed so much an effort, and sink into the blue, beneath the waves, where chaos and fury turned to quiet and calm. Like she did.

Was drowning as they claim? I wondered. The easiest way to die – peaceful? How would it feel to give up all the dragging myself through the day, all the struggle to evade the aching void inside? A relief?
Another wave rose me up and slammed me down with breathtaking power. Its force stirred me. You could say a lot of things about Scarlett Blake – she’s a loner, she’s a wallflower, she’s a menace in the kitchen – but no way was ‘she’s a quitter’ on the list of character flaws.
‘Screw you!’ I shouted through the spray.
Funny, sounded like someone shouted back. But who else would be out in this tumultuous sea at six a.m. on a summer’s morning? Solitude was the entire point of hauling myself out of bed in the still-dark and picking my way down the cliff path to the beach just in time to see the horizon light up with the first burnt-orange glow of the rising sun. No one to see me make a damn fool of myself on my first surfing attempt.
‘Trying… yourself killed?’
Definitely a voice. Male. Angry.
Scanning the surroundings for the source proved difficult while lying stomach-to-board. On an upward surge I got a glimpse of the Devonshire cliffs that fringed the cove, all dark, jutting rocks topped by bushes of gorse, and then a flash of the beach. On a downward plummet there was nothing but eye-burning, throat-choking seawater.
‘Forward… next wave!’
The voice was closer now. There was an edge to it beyond the anger. Something raw.
My eyes picked out a black form between the waves. Someone on a surfboard, paddling it expertly seaward. I took one hand off the board to push sticky tendrils of hair from my eyes. Rookie mistake. Turned out holding on one-handed was impossible. The board shot upwards, out of my feeble grip, and then it was just me and Old Man Sea.
Kicking frantically, I tried to keep my head above the surface, but the waves were burying me, one after the other, only a second or two to come up for air before the next one hit. Far away now were thoughts of letting go – I was fighting furiously for life. Never in my seventeen years had I been so desperate. But my legs were tingling with effort, and I knew it was just a matter of time.
When the final wave broke me all I could think was, Sienna. With her name on my lips I inhaled a lungful of water and I sank…

… for all of a second before something grabbed the back of my t-shirt and hauled me upward. Coughing and spluttering, I emerged from the blue and was pulled roughly onto a board, my leg shoved over so that I straddled it. I had the fleeting thought that this board was much sleeker and more substantial looking than the one I’d just lost before my rescuer settled pretty much on top of me and started paddling toward the shore.
With him in command, we crested waves and glided down the other side with apparent ease, though I seemed unable to match the rhythm of our motion and kept taking in great gulps of brine. Over the sound of the waves and the wind and the splash of powerful arms cutting into the water to propel us along, I picked out low, irate grumblings.
‘… idiot tourists… total waste of… all we need… another bloody drama…’

Finally, we reached the shallow waters and he slid off the board and pulled me off to walk to the beach. But my legs didn’t seem willing to respond to basic instructions like ‘walk’ or even ‘stand’ and breathing between wrenching gasps had become a challenge, so he threw an arm around me and half-carried, half-walked me, dragging his board with his spare hand.
Ten steps up the beach he let me down onto the sand.
‘Head down,’ he commanded. ‘Between your legs. Cough it out.’
I did as I was told. Liquid spilled out of me with each retching cough, and the cool air I gulped in burned my throat. I fought the panic, I fought the pain, focusing instead on the shells and stones strewn around. Finally, breathing won out.
‘You okay?’
I was reluctant to look up. For starters, I knew I must look a mess – long hair plastered to my head rat-tail style, face flushed and salt-burned, eyes teary and bloodshot. And then there was the fact that this guy, whoever he was, had just saved my life, and was evidently pretty mad about having had to do so.
‘Hey, you okay?’
I lifted my head slowly. Took in broad thighs clad in black neoprene; hands reaching out, palms raised; a wide, muscular chest; a striking face – rugged, square jaw, full lips, ruddy cheeks, Grecian nose bearing a thin scar across the bridge, thick black lashes framing eyes… oh, his eyes.
I opened my mouth, tried to speak, but I was paralysed by his gaze. All at once I was home in the cottage, tucked up beneath the blue patchwork quilt of my childhood; I was watching my grandmother remove vanilla-scented fairy cakes from her powder-blue Aga; I was running through a meadow of sky-blue forget-me-nots with my sister – free, exhilarated, happy. The memories took my breath away. I felt the familiar burn in my tear ducts.
His eyebrows pulled together and he placed a hand on my trembling knee.
‘Are. You. Okay?’ he said with exaggerated care, as if he were speaking to an elderly lady having a turn at a bus stop.
I blinked, cleared my throat and managed a husky, ‘Yes. Th-thank you.’
Concern melted into exasperation.
‘What’s the deal,’ he demanded, ‘out there on your own, clearly no idea what you’re doing, children’s play surfboard… you got a death wish or something?’
I cringed. I’d known the board was short, but I’d thought it was me-sized – at five foot three, what use was some enormous board?
‘I’m sorry.’
‘You would’ve been sorry if I hadn’t seen you.’
‘I just wanted to get a feel for it. I didn’t realise it was so rough out there.’
‘Rough? That’s not rough. Not even optimum surfing weather. Piece of cake for someone who actually knows how to surf…’
He paused when he saw a tear escape my eye and roll traitorously down my cheek. Furrowed his brow, combed his fingers roughly through dark hair that was drying fast in the breeze.
‘Listen, I didn’t mean to…’
I brushed the tear away furiously. Enough with the vulnerability.

‘Right, well, thank you…’
‘Luke. My name’s Luke.’ The stress lines in his face smoothed out and his lips curved. Like this, smiling and relaxed, his scrutiny was a touch less unsettling. ‘And you are…?’
‘Thank you, Luke, for your, um, help, but I’m sure you’ve better things to do, so I’ll just be…’
Before he could protest, I launched myself to my feet. He instinctively rose with me, and my water-fogged mind registered belatedly that my rescuer was a giant of a guy – my head was at the level of his chest. As I looked up to take in his stature I staggered slightly and he reached out to right me, but I stepped backwards. I didn’t need his kindness.
He looked awkward, unsure of himself, as he towered over me. ‘Hey, will you be okay?’
‘Yes, yes, I’m fine. I’ll just head home.’
‘You live close?’
I pointed vaguely west. ‘Yes, not far.’
‘Up there?’ He looked puzzled, and then interest sparked in his eyes. ‘You mean the Blake place?’

Busted. Of course being vague was pointless. My grandparents’ ramshackle cottage on the western cliff was the only building up there.
I made a noncommittal mnnnhnnn noise, but Luke was not to be deterred.

‘But that place has been empty since…’
He was looking at me now with such scrutiny that I took a further step back. I saw the cogs turning in his mind as he took in the classic green Blake eyes and then compared her – short, spiky red hair, eternally crimson lips, tall and impossibly slender – with me – petite and curvy, hair more blond than auburn reaching to the base of my spine and a pallor worthy of a vampire. His eyes widened.

‘Scarlett? Scarlett Blake!’
There was shock in his tone, and then sympathy.

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  1. I love know what songs inspire an author because I usually have music playing while I read. The music really brings out the mood of the story.

    1. I totally agree with you, music really can bring a whole new element to a story.

  2. That is so awesome that the author admitted that the ideas didn't just pop into her head. And I loved that she was inspired by so many elements! That's just amazing!
    Thanks for sharing, Ali! :)

  3. I happen to have a soft spot for the Not Quite the Coolest Kids on the Block - they're my favorite:) That would definitely describe me as well, and it's always nice to really relate to a character. Also, LOVE Take Me to Church! Now it's going to be stuck in my head all day:)

    1. Have you heard Ed Sheeran's cover in the Live Lounge? I listen to it WAY too often: xx

  4. Thanks Megan for the great introduction to your new series.
    Great guest post!

  5. This is why I am not a writer. None of the things she mentioned would've crossed my mind as I gaze into say, a blue crystal/rock. Nature, probably, but I'd be more in awe of God's creation than anything. I AM better at reading LOL

  6. I have to go look up that blue stone now because I am curious. I like that a towering rock helped inspire this one. Sounds like an interesting read.

    1. It does sound really interesting, I agree Heidi. :)

  7. Thanks for sharing! I love that inspiration came from so many places. I find I get inspired by songs a lot too.

    1. It fun to see what inspires authors isn't it? :D Thanks for stopping by!!

  8. chalcanthite is a communication stone so having been by it helped with the creation of the book, likely in a variety of ways. It also helps with like procrastination things, or pushing you to do something you may have been thinking of doing, but wasn't sure yet. I'm a crystal healer in training (getting certified) so I know a tad bit. It is a BEAUTIFUL color.
    This book sounds good!

  9. Thanks for sharing, I always love reading the author's inspirations for writing. Lovely excerpt too!

  10. Whew that would be some spot for a first kiss. Might make my palms sweat though. lol

  11. Oh that's a beautiful place to have your first kiss. Also, I love the way you described it: "on top of the world and a step from death".

    1. That was a fabulous line wasn't it? Thanks so much for stopping by Joy!

  12. That's some great inspiration. The 5th is sad, but that's life. The book sounds interesting. I'd probably go sinner. ;)

  13. congrats to Megan on her new release! This looks and sounds fantastic :) thanks for such a fun post!

  14. It sounds like a nice book and I really like the cover. A new one to me! thanks for the post and the excerpt.

  15. Thank you for the comments. I didn't know that about chalcanthite - explains a lot! Megan xxx

  16. Love reading about inspirations. Great excerpt too.

  17. fun excerpt lol read it on my phone going to add it to my TBR list!

  18. I love how you get your inspiration and curious about the blue stone. Fantastic guest post and excerpt

  19. Fantastic guest post! I loved how the author pointed out what activities or things inspire us. Usually we get it from the most unexpected of places. Mine usually happens in the bathroom XDD

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. LOL you would be surprised how many people say that. :)

  20. Well, being human is okay, I guess, but I would love to be able to fly - Imma be an angel, when I die. Hope that didn't come out as morbid. ANYWAY, nice post :D

  21. The cover of this book is amazing. Underwater shots like that really intrigue me because who knows what's hiding in those waters... Could be anything... I'm intrigued just by that cover ;)

    Cucie @ Cucie reads