Message From The Author

Shannon Drake

Book Title: THE AWAKENING
Genre: Vampire, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

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Author's Message

Heather Graham Rules the Night With Back-to-Back Paranormal Chillers

By Cindy Schwalb

She was evil. Gorgeous and evil, a succubus luring men to their doom." Heather Graham describes one mythic figure, an ancient demon called Lilith who appears in rabbinic legend as Adam's first wife, haunting man years before the Old Testament was written.

A seasoned investigator into early myth and legend, Graham can recount the myths of the lamia, female demons who frightened the ancient people of the Near East, attacking infants and drinking their blood. She can relate chilling facts about the real-life Transylvania Count Dracula, who inspired Bram Stoker's eponymous tale.

But it's not a passion for evil that delights this bestselling author or drives her popular Vampire series (written as Shannon Drake). Graham's creatures of the night comprise one side of the classic battle between good and evil, pitted against strong, ultimately triumphant heroines and heroes.

In THE AWAKENING, her October Drake release from Kensington, New Orleans musicians Megan O'Casey and Finn Douglas accept a lucrative commission to play in Megan's hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. The couple has just reconciled after a six-month split when a stranger claiming to
manage a new hotel contracts them. "From the moment Finn first heads north, he is marked [by evil], but blithely unaware," explains Graham. "As the two are lured into an evil neither can begin to imagine, they must both put faith in their love for one another and admit that there may be forces at work that neither is willing to see or accept." Readers following the series can look forward to the return of characters from previous
novels, but Graham says that "Megan and Finn must be the power themselves to save their own lives and souls."

She's also recently introduced the "other-worldly" to her Heather Graham Mira titles beginning with last month's Haunted, the first of several ghost books set for an annual fall release. The book features paranormal investigator Darcy Tremayne and Virginia estate owner Matt Stone. Stone hires Darcy's firm, Harrison Investigations, to explore the rumors of an unfriendly spirit at Melody House. Yet, he contends that ghosts do not exist.

"Do they?" This is what Graham questions in the novel. "There is simply too much we don't understand," she says. "Is it possible that there are things beyond our known capabilities of perceptions?" In Haunted, Darcy receives a "gift" to communicate with the world beyond after the traumatic death of a friend—her boss Adam Harrison's son. Facing this new sensory perception, Darcy learns how to use it to help others—even those such as Stone who scoff at her.

"If there is life after death, the realm of possibilities are endless. Truthfully, I don't know my own feelings [about being able
to connect with those in the afterlife]," admits Graham. With a mix of Stone's reservations and Darcy's personal experience, Graham could be described as a reluctant believer at heart.

She comes from an Irish Roman Catholic/Episcopal background—her Dublin-born mother's family were convinced that leprechauns, banshees and spirits exist. But it was following the death of her father that Graham questioned the limits of communication. "I was 20. I was devastated and miserable and hated everyone who had made it past his age. Certainly, I was a totally wretched child, leaving my mother
to deal with my loss as well as hers. But it went on and on—
I really wanted to die myself. Then I had a dream: I was with [my father], I knew he was dead, but he kept telling me that he was fine. We were driving around Arizona—where I'd never been—and he was impatient with my concern for him, telling me to pay attention to the wonderful new sights
I was seeing.

"After that, I began to heal, and sometimes I wonder if he had come back."

Later, when her father-in-law was in the hospital Graham believes she witnessed him perceiving something beyond our world. "I was alone with him when he went into a coma just an hour before he died," she says. "He sat up suddenly, stared across the room and saw something—I'd swear it a thousand times over. I jumped up to see what he saw. He fell back and never woke again. He was deeply religious, and I believe that he saw some entity, someone or something gentle and kind, come to bring him home." While skeptics and many in the scientific community say near-death visions result from brain malfunctioning, Graham's response is "I know it was more than that."

Whether these experiences have convinced Graham or not, she says that they have inspired her with a love for all that might exist. And writing fiction allows her to experiment with those possibilities.
With her "ghost" series to precede her Shannon Drake vampire novels each fall and a current bibliography of more than 100 novels and stories, Heather Graham is quickly amassing her own body of legends."

In addition to the 2004 September and October releases of her ghost and vampire series, next up for Heather Graham will be a Victorian romantic thriller, When We Touch, in January as Shannon Drake; the paperback version of Picture Me Dead in February; and Dead On The Dance floor, a contemporary Florida-set romantic suspense, in March.

To keep up with her, visit her online at http://www.eheathergraham.com/index.htm

Enjoy An Excerpt from Shannon Drake's The Awakening:

The fog below appeared to be blue. It seemed to spiral, puff, curl, and move like some living thing itself.

She wasn't afraid of fog… She felt the lightest touch against her nape. Fingers, lifting her hair, softly, gently. She closed
her eyes and smiled.

Finn had awakened. He was behind her.

That was his ritual. He would come to her. Stand in silence. Touch her hair, lift her hair, press his lips against the flesh of her nape. She felt him touch her, then. The hot moisture of his lips, the warm, arousing moisture of his breath. In seconds, his arms would come around her. He would tell her that he loved her. And being Finn, he would bring his hips hard against her while he held her, and probably whisper that if she were going to scream, he should see to it that she was screaming for all the right reasons, because the things he could do to her were just so good that she couldn't begin to help herself…

She felt his hands, sliding over her robe, beneath
it, touching her flesh…

His touch fell away. She thought she heard him
breathing… waiting. Waiting for her to turn into his
arms, melt into them as she always did.

"Finn… "

She spun around, ready to do just that.

He wasn't there.

She was alone on the balcony.

The breeze suddenly turned colder. The eerie blue fog was rising from the street, moving quickly, coming higher, as if it were eager to engulf her.

An Another Excerpt from Heather Graham's HAUNTED:

Darcy began to dream. Fear clutched the heart of her sleeping self, for from the moment she felt the coming of the Other, she sensed the anger, a fury that was deep and dangerous. And then… She was the Other, seeing, feeling, knowing everything he did.

He came in deep thought and silence that evening, angry, but not at all sure, in his conscious mind, just what he intended. In the darkness, he stared at the house, and reflected on all that had been, and all that might come to pass.

The house… the majestic house sat as always. Time did nothing but add to the drama that must exist in such a place, as he well knew.

She was there.

He knew that she was there.

And there were things that must be said. Things that must be cleared, or ended between them.

Still…

He stared at the house. And waited. He denied in his mind that he had come with any malice as to his intent.

His heart felt like stone. Seeds of ideas played deep down within his soul, truth and the physical essence of what must be banned from thought. What happened must happen.

At his sides, his hands flexed, eased and flexed again, as if slipping around the throat of the lover he knew to be inside.

Darcy awoke with a start, shaking. She had felt the past, as if it had entered into her. Felt not so much a person, but the fury and malevolence that had been part of a distant time.

She looked around the room.

Whatever had been with her, whatever remnant of emotion, was gone.

And yet… Something else was there. Something, someone, quiet, stealthy. Watching. Waiting…


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