Good morning everyone and happy Friday! I'd like to give a warm welcome to author Dale Mayer who is stopping by today with the first book in her Psychic Visions series, Tuesday's Child.
Thanks so much for inviting me to join you here today! I’m speaking on the research I do for my books. There are several elements to my romantic suspense books - the police procedurals, the psychic elements and the mind and actions of the serial killer.
The one I love researching the most is the psychic elements. I’ve long been a fan of paranormal subjects and have read extensively over the years. I enjoy learning about the different skills or talents, that fact that they can come into a person’s life at any time, sometimes due to injuries or severe trauma of some kind. There is so much scope here that it also allows me the freedom to take license with what can and can’t happen. I have several friends who are mediums or who practice telekinetics and they are great sources of ideas and research websites. Books from the library used to be a great place to pick up new information but my local library is small and can’t compete with the information that shows up on the Internet almost daily.
The same can be said for the mind of a serial killer. My fascination with this field started decades ago while I was studying psychology. I do subscribe to several newsletters that help to keep me updated in current treatments and thoughts on criminal behaviour. I also like to stay current with criminal cases in the courts as well. Makes for macabre but interesting reading!
Police procedural information can be found on many websites, but as my adult romantic suspense series is set in the Portland, Oregon area, I do haunt their websites. It’s a great way to understand how their members work, the size of the teams, the different types of departments, etc.
Below is an excerpt that shows a particularly strong psychic experience the character is going through.
Lying in bed that night, Sam couldn’t sleep, her overwrought mind refused to let up. The tantalizing possibility that she was meant to do something with this gift worried the frayed edges of her mind. Depressed and unsettled she fell into a fitful sleep, her dreams dark and disjointed pieces of past visions.
Screams jarred her from a deep sleep. Confusion turned to fear when Sam realized the horrific sounds were coming from her own mouth. Even worse, she had no idea where she was.
Terror overwhelmed her. Her fingers spasmed in a death grip around a strange steering wheel as the car she drove careened further out of control. Still trying to toss off the remnants of sleep, Sam yanked hard on the wheel in a futile attempt to turn it. The mid-sized car plowed through a steel barricade to hang suspended in midair before plummeting to the rocks below. Screams ripped from her throat and she reefed on the useless steering wheel, helpless to stop the deadly impact. Her foot pounded on useless brakes. The front grill of the car crumpled and metal buckled upward. The car smashed into the first of the rocks below, snapping her forward into the windshield. Agonizing pain shattered her spine. Grinding metal, exploding glass and continuous crunching sounds filled the air as first the bumper flew off, then the rear window shattered outward. Twisted metal ripped and groaned, flying to land beside the crash site. The car tumbled, smashed on a huge rock, careened to the left and flipped end over end before coming to a hard landing on its wheels at the bottom of the cliff.
Then utter silence.
Sam trembled. Shock and pain pulsed through her veins even as her blood dripped out one beat at a time onto the shredded seat beside her. God, she didn’t want to die.
She wanted to live. Please, dear God.
Blood streamed over her face, her spine…where a shearing heat set off continuous stabbing pain. The steering wheel jammed into her ribs. The front dash had crumpled into a mess of twisted steel and plastic, the famous Mercedes emblem now hung drunk in mid air over the remains of the once beautiful cream leather seats.
Sam couldn’t feel her right arm. And wished she couldn’t feel her left. She closed her eyes, willing away the image of bone shards that had sliced through her sweater, a few loose strands of wool clinging to the ends. Heart wrenching sobs poured from her throat, tears coated her cheeks. She was alone. And dying.
A brilliant flash of light engulfed the car as the fuel from the pierced gas line flashed into flames. Heat seared her lungs and scorched her hair, the strands melting against the inside of her car window. Panicked, she screamed as flames licked at her feet, burning, and cooking the flesh right off her bones.
Agony. Pain. Terror.
A voice whispered through the blackness of her mind, so odd, so different it caught her attention. She strained to hear the words.
“Let go. It’s time to let go.”
Sam stared through the flames, stunned. Let go of what? She couldn’t hear over the roaring fire and could barely see, but knowing that someone was there stirred her survival instinct, and she started fighting against the seatbelt jammed at her side. She was saved. Just another minute and they’d open the door and pull her free. She’d be fine.
“Please hurry,” she cried out.
“Let go. You don’t need to be in there. Let it all go, and come with me.”
She peered through the golden orange windshield to see a strange male face peering at her through the flames.
“Come with me.”
“I want to, damn it. Can’t you see I’m trapped?” she screamed, her vocals crisping in the heat.
“Release yourself. Come with me. Say yes.”
The pain hit a crescendo. She twisted against it, hearing her spine splinter. The car seat melted into her skin. So much pain, she couldn’t breathe. Blackness crowded into her mind, blessed quiet, soothing darkness. She reached for it.
“Let it go. You don’t need to go through this. Hurry.”
She started. Why wasn’t he opening the door or getting others to help? He should be trying to save her. Shouldn’t he? Sam, so confused and so tired, she could barely feel the pain overtaking her body. Where had he gone? She tried to concentrate. His face was now only a vague outline that rippled with the heat waves. A soft smile played at the corner of his mouth. The flames burned around him, weird as they centered him in the warm glow. She wanted to be with him. To live.
“Here, take my hand.”
Dazed and on the brink of death, Sam focused on the hand reaching for her. She struggled to raise the charred piece of flesh that had been her arm and reached out to grasp his.
She was free.
Overwhelmed, cries of relief escaped. She turned to hug her savior, her head just reaching his shoulder. He stood beside her, the same radiant beaming look on his face. His blond hair glowed, and he had the brightest teeth. She sighed. This beautiful man pointed to her right arm. Confused, Sam glanced down at her burned arm, realizing she could feel none of her injuries. Just like her other one, her broken arm had miraculously healed – whole, smooth and soft. Her skin hadn’t looked this good in ten years.
She spun around to find a massive fireball below. What the hell? She had to be dead. But instead of the horror or shock, she expected to feel, she felt good. In fact, she felt great. She turned to the ever-smiling stranger.
“Let’s go sweetheart.”
Sam didn’t know why he’d called her that, but she bloomed under his loving gaze. Honestly, she was so damned grateful to be out of the car, she let him get away with it.
Holding hands, they floated higher into the cloudless blue sky. Then when the crash site below had become a tiny speck, Sam felt a hard flick on her arm and the words, “Thanks, but I can take it from here.”
And she woke up.
6:05 am, June 16th
Stunned and disoriented, Sam lay rigid in bed. The sense of loss overwhelmed her. He was gone. She needed his gentle warmth. He made her feel loved and cared for. Bereft, hot tears welled at the corner of her eyes. She didn't want to be back here in her own body. She wanted to be that other woman. That lucky woman.
Sam stopped in shock. That woman was dead! How lucky could she be? She'd be fine now, happy and at peace...with that man at her side. Lucky to be so loved.
And who the hell was he?
Sam couldn't believe her vision. Even now, instead of being overwhelmed with shock and pain, she felt uplifted.
Mystified, she questioned the difference this time. Not the death itself, that part unfortunately, had been normal, right down to the excruciating pain. But afterwards...? She didn't know who the man had been or what he might have been to the victim, but he'd cared about her. She wished she'd had her wits about her to talk to him at the time. Now it was too late.
There'd been one other major difference in this vision.
Always before, Sam had been forced to endure the horror of what one human being could inflict on another. This had been her first accident. Or was it?
What's the chance someone killed her to make it appear like an accident?
Sam narrowed her eyes, thinking. Given her relationship to violence - and there's no doubt the woman had died a violent death, but had there been foul play involved? Sam replayed the video locked into her psyche. The brakes hadn't responded, neither had her steering wheel - then they weren't built for flying. Suspicion remained. Intuitively, she felt more was involved. But could she prove it? No. She did know the woman had not been sleeping at the wheel or drunk. Living her last moments had given Sam clarity into the woman's mental state. There hadn't been any drugged or hallucination type of sensation.
Her car had to have been sabotaged. Sam snorted and threw back the blankets. So what? Just because she 'thought' foul play had been involved didn't mean it had been. Or that she could convince the police of it.
Grabbing up her journal, she wrote down as many details from this vision as she could. A process she went through every time. It took a bit to enter this one. The impressions about the man were so clear, so poignant she had to write it down. Finally, she was done. Closing the book, she put it beside her bed, ready for the next time. She stared at it for a long moment. If anyone found her journals...she glanced over at the box beside her suitcase...they'd be used as evidence against her.
She had to question what her role was this time. She hadn't been able to help the poor woman. If she had a 'gift' then she wanted, no needed, to use it to make a difference. And had yet to do so. The idea, the concept...to help the victim find justice tantalized her. And then again, attempting to help these women meant working with the police. Bile immediately bubbled up in her stomach.
Sam leaned over, tugging on clean jeans and a t-shirt while deep in thought. Making a quick decision, she reached for the card on her night table, punching in the number on her cell phone before she had a chance to change her mind.
Fear caught her sideways. Words refused to come out.
"Hello. Who is this?"
The sharp demanding tone made her wince. She glanced at the clock on the stove and grimaced. He'd been asleep.
"God damn it, answer me." Anger reached through the phone to squeeze her vocal cords.
Samantha rushed into speech. "It's me. Huh, hmmm, Samantha Blair."
"Samantha," he said enunciating the words slow and clear as if trying to place her.
"You came out to my place at the lake to ask me some questions yesterday." Sam started to explain.
"Oh. That Samantha." The anger shifted down to a growl.
She could almost see him shift into gear.
"What can I do for you?"
"Umm." Now that she had him on the phone, she didn't quite know what to say. "I know that some of the stuff that I told you might have been a little difficult to believe." She paused, not quite knowing where to go from here.
"Maybe," he answered, huskiness clouding his voice as if still groggy from sleep. It did funny things to her stomach.
She focused on his answer, his wariness. Determinedly, she forged ahead. "I saw an accident happen this morning. I thought if you could verify these details, you might have more faith in the other information I gave you."
Oh God, why had she called him? She chewed on her bottom lip. What madness possessed her to call? She glanced out the window. It was just starting to get light outside.
"What kind of car accident?" His voice sounded brisker, more alert.
"A woman drove over the cliff and crashed onto the rocks below." She hesitated for a moment then rushed into speech. "The thing is...this time I recognized the spot. She drove off at Emerson point."
"Emerson point?" Now she had his attention. He was all business now.
Feeling reassured, she continued. "Yes. She went through the guardrail. The car landed on its wheels before exploding."
"Hmmm. Timeframe?" He cleared his throat.
That husky sound made her stomach do a slow tumble. Sam struggled to consider his question. But images of him leaning against the head of his bed, running a hand through his ruffled hair, the blankets resting low on his hips made her swallow and close her eyes. What had he asked? Oh yeah, it had been something about timeframe. Had the accident been in real time? She cleared her throat. "I think around six this morning."
She hated the apologetic tone in her voice. "I woke as it happened. All I can say is that I think it played out in real time."
More digestive silence.
"Right. Make of car, color, and license plate. Anything specific that you can tell me."
"I experienced her death the same as always. So, I couldn't see the license plate because I was in effect, driving the car. She drove a dark colored Mercedes. I don't know the model."
"How did you know the type of car then?"
"Because I could see the logo inside the car."
Sam could hear the scratching of pen on paper. She waited.
"Right. Anything else?"
"Her name was Louise." Sam's voice hitched and stopped, surprised. Where had that come from? The name danced though her head. It felt right.
She took a deep breath, knowing this could be the point where he suspended belief. "And I think she was murdered."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dale Mayer is a prolific multi-published writer. She's best known for Tuesday's Child, her romantic suspense novel that was one of the final four in the Kensington Brava/Romantic Times contest this last year. Besides her romantic suspense/thrillers, Dale also writes paranormal romance and crossover young adult books in several different genres. To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series in ebook format.
To find out more about Dale and her books, visit her at http://www.dalemayer.com. Or connect with her online with Twitter at www.twitter.com/dalemayer and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dalemayer.author
Dale would like to give away one digital copy of Tuesday's Child to one reader! To enter, just leave a comment on this post and then fill out the rafflecopter below!