Today for “Feature Friday” let us welcome the awesome Charity Becker with Presence: Awakening the first book in the Presence Series.
We will have info about the book and author. Plus a great interview with Charity and a excerpt from the book.
Make sure to check everything out and go and give her some love and add her books to your TBR 😉
Happy Reading 🙂
Mina Jewel swears the boogeyman slaughtered her abusive stepfather. But as far as the quiet town of Port Orchard, Washington is concerned, Mina is a cold-blooded killer and Cadric Jaden had been a saint. After enduring nine years of psychiatric care and whispers of her guilt, Mina is hell-bent on clearing her name, exposing Cadric for the sadistic pedophile he really was, and uncovering the true identity of the strange being who saved her life…. See More Through a whirlwind of near-death experiences and sanity- shattering revelations, Mina discovers that Washington is a hotbed of supernatural activity, Cadric’s sinister plan didn’t die with him, and that she could hold the key to ending the suffering of millions. . . But first she has to survive.
“Mina, get up.”
The voice yanked me from my sleep, but I didn’t open my eyes. Opening my eyes would make it all real, make the punishments start again. Of course, I’d be punished no matter what I did; nothing I did was ever good enough. I was never good enough.
“Come on now,” the voice said, “open your eyes.”
My stomach cramped, waiting for the grabbing, hurting hands, but I cracked my eyelids, ready to face it because I had no other choice. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad this time. Maybe they’d get tired, or bored, or distracted by someone else for a change. Maybe.
“Welcome back to planet Earth.”
I turned toward the voice, squinting against the bright morning light. Gradually, a face came into focus. A smiling, kind face framed by soft black curls.
“Alice,” I whispered, and the memories hit me in a dizzying rush. I closed my eyes for a moment, basking in sweet relief. There were no more punishments, Cadric Jaden was really dead, and I. . . Well, I was here, safe at last. “I’m okay,” I said softly as the last bits of fear drained away.
“That’s debatable,” Alice said with a little chuckle. “Now, come on. Get up. We gotta go.”
I opened my eyes to see her still smiling, holding a hairbrush out for me to take.
Sitting up, I took the brush from Alice, then pulled it through my tangled curls. Static snapped with each stroke, and I cringed at the tingle against my neck. “Ugh,” I said, pulling the brush away from my long hair. “If I don’t shower first, I’ll be the only white girl on the second floor with an Afro.”
Alice folded her arms under her breasts, tipped her head to the side, and grinned. “Well, hurry it up, Sistah.”
“Why the hurry?” I raised an eyebrow. “What’s on the activity roster for today? Chess in the game-room? Square dancing? Maybe a little papier-mache?” I gave a mock shiver of excitement and dropped the brush onto my bed.
“Don’t be a dork.” Alice’s dark eyes twinkled with good humor. “Doc wants to see you in his office. . .″ she glanced at her watch. “Like, ten minutes ago.”
“Ah!” I said with a grin. “The truth comes out. Let me guess,” I wiggled my eyebrows up and down. “Anthony on the fourth floor keeping you from your nursing duties?”
Alice blushed and looked to the floor, a smile tugging the corners of her mouth.
“Don’t worry,” I said as I slid out of bed and moved toward my dresser. “Dr. Stevens won’t hear from me how you’ve been gallivanting around the surgery ward with the interns.”
“Good morning,” Dr. Stevens said with a crisp nod. The sudden movement sent his glasses sliding down his long nose, saved only by the red, allergy-swollen tip.
“Aw, no lecture on the importance of promptness, Doc?” I said with a little pout. I slumped down into the rigid leather chair across from the doctor’s.
“Not today.” He smiled pleasantly and folded his hands on his desk. “You’ve made amazing progress, Mina, and done far better than I could have hoped for in these nine years.”
“Did I miss the ′Make A Loony Feel Special Day’ memo?”
Dr. Stevens pushed his thick glasses back in place, ignoring my attempts to rattle him. He’d gotten good over the years, but I was determined to shake him today. I was about to try again when he cut me off with one raised hand.
“Now, I’m not saying we want you to leave us—”
My playfulness dropped like a boulder to the bottom of my stomach, and I sat up straight, gripping the arms of the chair. “You’re sending me away?”
“No, not sending away. I believe you’re ready for the next step in your recovery, to venture out on your own. Isn’t that exciting?”
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “I. . . I’m not ready.” The first wave of panic rolled my stomach around the boulder, squeezing it into a painful knot.
“In this phase of your rehabilitation, you’ll live your life the way it was meant to be lived, using all the skills we’ve taught you here at Divine Hope.” Dr. Stevens picked up a slip of paper from his desk, quickly looked it over, then held it out to me. “This man is willing to give you a job.”
I swallowed hard, staring at the doctor. “A job?” This wasn’t real. They wouldn’t just toss me out into the big wide world like this. I’d never had a job before, unless you counted working in the hospital library. But that was just busy work, something Dr. Stevens cooked up to keep me from pestering the hospital staff.
When I didn’t take the paper, the doctor stood and leaned across his desk to push it into my hands. I blinked once, then glanced at the paper. There was an address and Oliver Page written in neat block letters. My chest tightened around my pounding heart. It was real. They were throwing me away.
“But. . .” I looked up. “But, where will I live?” I asked, scrambling for something to say, something to keep me here just a little bit longer.
“As part of our rehabilitation program, we’ve secured an apartment for you a few blocks from your new job. Your landlord has many years of experience with ex-patients, so you’ll be in good hands. Each week you’ll come back here for your sessions, and you can always call if you need anything.” Dr. Stevens glanced down at my lap. “Just relax, Mina.”
I’d entwined my fingers so tightly around the paper that my knuckles were white and my fingertips had gone numb. I hadn’t even noticed my hands folded in my lap, my good girl posture, something I hadn’t done in years. I pulled my hands apart, flexing my fingers, leaving the paper crumpled in my lap. Quietly, I counted, concentrating on taking slow, steady breaths between each number.
“Good,” Dr. Stevens said softly. “Good. Now remember, you’re not a prisoner to Cadric anymore. You’ve earned your freedom.”
“Right,” I said, my skin prickling. “Freedom.”
Check out the rest of the series
How many hours a day do you write?
That depends on the day, how I’m feeling, and what other things I’ve got going on. Since I do editing, ghostwriting, work for video game companies, and do some freelance copywriting in addition to my novels, I feel like I’m writing all day long. If I had to give it an average, I’d say probably 8 + hours a day writing, not including emails, social media, and personal stuff. Thankfully, I type really fast!
How do you select the names of your characters?
An interesting tidbit about my characters is that I know every single one of them in my real life. EVERY one, even the bit parts or the people you only see a quick description of one time. They’re friends, family, acquaintances, people that have piqued my interest in some way. It’s not always good, and in fact, every villain in my stories is someone from my life who hurt me or a loved one in some way. So, it stands to reason I’d also choose names based on the people in question. Generally, I use their middle name as a starting point and adjust it from there. Some of the stranger names (like Zia, Teo, and Mr. Boad) are still people I know, but their names are anagrams for something personal. Sometimes an anagram won’t work, so I use abbreviations or the result of a name-code chart I created when I was ten.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I read every book review! I deal with negative reviews the same way I deal with positive ones: I thank the reviewer (if possible), and I take the time to appreciate and acknowledge their opinions. If the critical review points out a flaw, I take it to heart and consider the topic for future books. I don’t see a negative review as inherently BAD, but rather an opportunity to look at my writing from a new perspective. That’s not to say I don’t get my feelings hurt; I am human, after all. But I don’t let it affect me on a personal level. Logically, I know my books won’t be for everyone. It’s impossible to write a book that 100% of people will love 100% of the time! If someone is just being mean though, like a troll just out to be hurtful, I’ll ignore it. If a critical review only says “This book is shit” then it’s not really a review, is it? If they won’t take the time to explain why they think it’s shit, why should I take the time to care what they said? That said, I’ve never received a review like that, lol. I appreciate well-worded and thought out reviews, both positive and critical, and I listen when my readers talk.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A wolf or a tiger, depending on my mood. I love both equally, and each possesses traits that I connect with. I have a collection of plush wolves and tigers all over my house, and I even have a tattoo with a wolf paw print and a tiger paw print.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I wrote a letter to my dad when I was very young, and it said “I hate you!” Of course, I didn’t actually hate my dad; I loved him very much. But I was angry that I’d been caught being naughty and that I’d been disciplined for it. At 5 or 6 I didn’t have the capacity to understand it was my fault I was in trouble because I broke a rule. Anyway, I couldn’t bring myself to say the words out loud (because I knew in my heart I didn’t really hate him), but I could write it out and almost feel brave. But then he read it, and everything changed. I remember it vividly! I stood in my bedroom doorway, peeking down the hall as he picked it up and read it. He turned to face the hallway and I zipped back into my room before he could see me (though I’m sure he knew I was there). The next morning, there was a folded note taped to my bedroom door. I opened it up, and I saw it was my note, and my dad had added to it. He’d circled my poorly scrawled “I hate you!” and underneath, in his flowing, beautiful handwriting, he said, “And I will always love you.” That day, I realized that words were powerful, and that we should wield them with care. A hastily scribbled note of hate and cruelty can destroy a person as surely as a sweet love note can remind them they are adored, appreciated, and wanted . . . even when they’re being snotty little assholes who shot the BB gun without permission.
As a domestic violence survivor, Charity uses her past as fuel for her fiction, creating strong characters who overcome great odds to learn, grow, and evolve past their own pain. In her non-fiction, Charity is straight-forward and no-nonsense, giving the facts (and her opinions) with no apologies.
Bibliography:Presence: Awakening, Presence: Wolf Moon, Presence: Smoke and Fire, Presence: Into the Dark , Presence: August Heat, Beyond the Veil: Book One, Blyssfully Abnormal, Bird’s Town Presents: Chick Rebuilds, Brother Toad and the Giants, The Pit Monthly, the Don’t Sweat series, The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect by Gilligames (video game storyline), projects for Nekki (video games), and various ghost writing gigs.
Besides writing, Charity is also a professional editor, as well as an accomplished artist and musician. See her stuff at http://www.optycal.com or chat on Charity Becker’s Facebook.
All books are available for great prices at the Blysster Press store!