Friday, January 15, 2016

LINKED by Judy Serrano Excerpt & Interview

About the Book:

Author: Judy Serrano
Publisher: 6K Publishing
Pages: 273
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Daphne Foster is a substitute teacher stuck in an English class, waiting for that dreaded parent-teacher conference. With much preparation and anxiety, she encounters the unforgettable Charlie Cross. His charm and good looks, win her over but rumors of his involvement with organized crime make his continued disappearances disturbing.
In walks Heathcliff Vanderpool, creating a love triangle of unusual sorts. Unknown to Daphne, Heathcliff and Charlie are old friends: Older than she could have imagined. With Charlie away on business, Daphne and Heathcliff discover a passion between them lying beneath the surface. As their souls link, pulling away from Charlie becomes next to impossible. Will his involvement in organized crime consume them both before she’s able to get free? When you become “linked,” the choice may not be your own.

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Book Excerpt:
The blood was pulsating through my veins and when I looked down, my hands were shaking. All that schooling and relentless training still did not prepare me for what was coming next. What would I say, and how would they react? All the uncertainty was driving me mad. Sometimes I doubted my very own motives. I took this job out of necessity, not out of a passion for my craft, and with every passing day, I grew just a little more disheartened.
I am a substitute teacher and this is my very first parent-teacher conference. Sometimes the meager pay that I bring home for this incredulous journey hardly seems worth it. I earned my degree, got my certification, and couldn’t find a job as a teacher. So, the principal promised me a teaching position if I would just do this one last thing… be a long-term sub for a high school English class. This has not been my finest hour. The teacher I replaced had already made a mess of things and the students were failing left and right. One of the moms called and demanded to know why her little Michael was failing. Maybe if he did his homework… is of course what I wanted to say, but now I have to face her and tell her why little Michael is my least favorite student in the class.
I got all my papers together and sat back down at my desk when Michael walked through my door. “Michael,” I started. “What are you doing here?”
Just then a very handsome man walked in behind him. He was about 5ft. 10, blond and blue-eyed, wearing faded jeans and a button-down, powder blue sports shirt. When he smiled, my knees went weak and I’m sure my face flushed. “I’m Charles Cross,” he said, putting out his hand to shake mine. “My friends call me Charlie.” He smiled. “You look surprised. We do have an appointment today, don’t we? I hope I didn’t get the date wrong.”
“I’m sorry, I was expecting Michael’s mother,” I told him. “And yes, we have an appointment. I’m Daphne Foster.”
“She was unavailable,” he continued. “So now I guess you’re stuck with me.” He pushed Michael ahead of him so that he would move farther into the room. I’m sure my face was still red.
“I don’t mind,” I told him. Little did he know that my insides were doing somersaults.  “Please, sit down.” I motioned to the two chairs that I had strategically positioned in front of my desk.
“I understand that you’re not even really a teacher,” was his icebreaker.
“I’m certified,” I replied, trying not to sound too defensive. “I have just been unable to find a full-time position. But I assure you, Mr. Cross, I am more than qualified to teach your son’s class.”
“Good to know,” he answered, sitting back and starting to relax. “Michael is generally a good student,” he continued. “But he appears to be carrying a 60 in your class. Tell me what you think the problem is so that I can help him fix it.”
Michael was staring down at the floor with his baseball cap on backwards. I’m sure if he was standing up, we’d both be able to see his boxer shorts, peeking out beneath his sagging pants. “For starters,” I bravely began, “he can lose the baseball cap.” Michael sneered at me. “He’s not allowed to have it on during school hours, yet he always walks through the door with it on his head. This is a continuous waste of my valuable time, since we seem to need to argue about its importance, daily.” Charlie laughed, which frustrated me a bit. “He hasn’t turned in one homework assignment since I’ve been here, and he is very disruptive during class.”
“Well, Miss Foster,” he responded in a condescending tone, “sounds to me like you have a problem with my son.”
“Mr. Cross,” I replied, trying to conceal the agitation in my voice,  “you are the one with the problem.” He sat up, giving me his full attention. I must admit that I began to feel my blood pressure rise. “I suggest that you get a handle on this boy before I fail him and do not underestimate me, because I will do it.”
“Miss Foster, do you know who I am?” he asked. Michael smiled at this point and looked me square in the eyes.
“I don’t care if you’re Obama’s long lost son. He doesn’t do his work, he fails… pretty simple, really.”
He stood up and motioned for his son to stand. “I suspect that you will change your mind.”
I stood up at that point and put out my hand. “Thank you for coming in to see me, Mr. Cross… Michael.”
“Daphne.” My name glided off his tongue like music. “Such a beautiful name.” He shook my hand. “The pleasure was all mine.”

About the Author
Judy Serrano holds a Master of Arts in English from Texas A&M University, Commerce. She is the owner of Make Cents Editing Service, and was an adjunct professor at a local college. Currently she teaches high school English and is a freelance writer for certain on-line publications. Judy also writes romantic suspense and paranormal romance novels. She is the author of The Easter’s Lilly Series, The Linked Seriesand Ivy Vines, Visions.

Although originally form New York, Judy resides in Texas with her husband, four boys, four dogs and now two cats. She sings and plays guitar when she has time and enjoys singing with her very musical family in church when she is able.
Her latest book is the paranormal romance, LINKED.
For More Information

Where are you from?
I am originally from New York, but I have resided in Texas for the past 15 years.

Tell us your latest news?

I have a new book coming out in my Easter’s Lilly series in a few weeks. Linked isn’t a new book but book two of the series recently came out. First Blood, is an exciting continuation to the series, breathing life into the dead souls of vampire darkness.

When and why did you begin writing?

Funny you should ask that. I wrote my first novel when I was 12 years old. Of course it was not of the same caliber that I write now, but I have always been a writer at heart. I have been journalizing since I could hold a pencil, and have always written as a kind of release. Now I write because I have to. If I didn’t write, my characters would keep me up at night, screaming in my head, begging me to come out and play. That’s the truth.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself to be a writer when my first book was published. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing your own work in print. Awesome.

What inspired you to write your first book?

It started out as something that I had hoped to be autobiographical. My characters are truly stronger than I am, and they take on a life of their own. Before I knew what was happening, my girl was married to the mob, living in a mansion, dripping in diamonds, and involved in a love triangle. I eventually fell in love with my own characters and wrote three books in a six month period. A professor of mine, when I was doing my undergrad work, convinced me to look for a publisher. So glad I did.

Do you have a specific writing style?
So far, I’d say I do. I write in the first person and my stories are driven by dialogue. I also have a simple writing style as to include people who may not be avid readers. Some of my biggest fans, didn’t read at all until one of my books fell into their hands. That is a satisfying feeling. I try to write in a way that makes the reader feel as though they are in the head of the protagonist.

How did you come up with the title?

Linked is a unique vampire novel. Instead of the usual story where a vampire is trying to turn a human, Linked features humans turning vampires into humans. The human and the vampire share one soul and become “linked.” When they are “linked” the vampire begins to take on human qualities. So, that is where the title came from.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Love conquers all!

How much of the book is realistic?

Well, Linked is a book about vampires, so nothing on that front. However, the love triangle, meaningful friendships, and life’s highs and lows, are all pretty relatable.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

This book starts out with the main character being a substitute teacher, and at the time that was what I was doing. Are any of my characters based on real people? Of course not. That would be a terrible thing to do. (smile)

What books have most influenced your life most?
Twilight was a huge influence on my writing. I was writing my first novel when this book came out, and all the girls in my undergrad classes were reading the series. I had to know what all the fuss was about and picked up the first book. I was hooked and read them all as soon as I could. I think that may have influenced my simple, young adult writing style.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I really don’t have an author that I would consider to be a mentor. Probably Maya Banks and her KGI series would come the closest. Her books encouraged the anticipation that I always have present in my novels. I love a good romantic suspense.

What book are you reading now?

Funny you should ask. I am reading Darkest Before Dawn (KGI Series) by Maya Banks. Love that girl’s alpha men.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Not yet, but I am a high school English teacher so my reading time is few and far between. When I finish reading this book, I am going to head for The Giver by Lois Lowry. I am seeking a young adult book for my students. However, once the summer hits, I will certainly try out some books by fresh authors.

What are your current projects?

I have a new book that I am working on right now that has a few familiar faces, but should stand on its own. Also, book 6 of The Easter’s Lilly Series, The Last Fall, should be out in a week or so. I just can’t get enough of those bad boys.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

I have a small group of readers who started reading my books when I first put out Easter’s Lilly. Word of mouth has certainly been my friend. I am very blessed to have them in my corner.
What would you like my readers to know?
I write my books so that my readers can live the fantasy through the eyes of my protagonist. I would love for them to visit my website and check out my books.

Also, please feel free to stop by my Facebook page and “like” it while you are there. This way you can stay informed on exciting events and new releases coming your way!

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