I don’t do this often, as my main method of connecting with readers is mainly Instagram and Facebook. But today I felt the urge to show my readers a little extra attention by posting a brand new blog. Today, as a way to thank you for sticking around, I bring you not only the inspiration behind The Forest House but also a NEW, EXCLUSIVE excerpt no one has seen before.
The Forest House was born out of the need to find a new, fresh twist on the vampire genre. Don’t get me wrong. I FREAKING adore Twilight, A Shade of Vampire, and the old classic, Bram Stoker Dracula (my all-time favorite). But that said, there was a yearning within me to bring something new and unique to table. I started researching hidden vampire lore, folk legends, and finally, I discovered psychic vampirism. It introduced me to energy feeding, a notion that has been catching on for years. The more I learned about it, the more I realized that it could relate to my readers in a big way.
So, without bogging you down with needless explanation, I present to you the following excerpt taken directly from The Forest House. What is energy feeding and how will it affect Hera, Aethen, and the rest of their coven?
I sat at the kitchen table, feeling trapped. Aethen looked at me with worried interest, no doubt praying I’d buy his story about vampires. But wait, not the normal type of vampires: ones the fed on human energy. He insisted that in order to survive he had to feed on it, taking it in through tendrils extending out from his core. I shook my head, all of this too much to take. As I formulated a way to escape from this madness, I indulged his little fantasy a while longer. He spoke with ease, secure in the crazy words coming out of his mouth.
“We’re all part of the Ashar Family,” he continued, “the original psychic vampires–but we can go over our history soon enough. For now, what you need to know is that we each belong to one of the three caste systems: Warriors, Counselors, and Priests.” He slid a plate of bacon and pancakes in front of me. I couldn’t hide the hunger pains forming in my belly. Picking up a fork from the center of the table, I started eating.
“What do the castes do?” I asked, feigning more interest than I really felt. I was just buying time until I could plan my escape, lulling him into believing I bought into all this crap.
“Warriors—well, their job is pretty obvious. They’re our protectors, safeguarding our family from harm.” I took another bite of my food, wondering how long this cultish mentality had been going on. Centuries, Aethen had said last night. “Then there are Counselors who give and cycle energy amongst the castes. They’re the most sensual of our castes, and their energy receivers often develop a strong infatuation with them.” He finished eating and wiped his mouth with a napkin. He talked about all this with ease, as if this was normal breakfast conversation. He looked at me, which caused a bout of moths to swarm in my stomach. Something about those brilliant eyes unnerved me.
“Sensual how?” I asked and when he smirked and winked at me, I regretted my question. I looked down at my plate hoping the heat rushing to my face wouldn’t show. “So what caste do you belong in?” I asked.
“I’m a priest of the Ashar coven.” He leaned back in his chair. “Just like you.” I thought back to the night before when he told me I was responsible for starting the psychic vampiristic lineage. I hated how he pinned this crazy made-up world on me, as if I truly were the one to cause it all.
“What’s Ashar exactly?” I looked up at him, finding it hard to process everything.
“It’s our family name dating back to three hundred years ago,” he said.
“So you’re all related, then?” I emphasized you are. I didn’t want him thinking that I actually believed myself to be part of any of this.
“Not by blood,” someone answered.
I glanced over my shoulder and found Marina. Her long fiery red hair flared around her. As she strode past Aethen’s seat, she ran her hand through his short-cropped hair. She shot me a look, her emerald eyes looking at me carefully. Why did she seem to distrust me so much? Shouldn’t I be the leery one?
“Marina is right,” Aethen confirmed. “Over the centuries each member clustered into covens. The selection isn’t random, but it’s not based on heredity or bloodlines either. Once a psychic vampire Awakens, he or she is drawn to a particular household. That’s their true coven.”
I chuckled. “Right, so someone just wakes up and believes he’s a psycho-vampire?”
“Psychic,” he corrected.
“Whatever,” I rolled my eyes. “You just wake up like that?”
“Doesn’t happen overnight, but the process is called an Awakening,” he explained. I remembered his words from last night when he’d told me that soon I’d be Awakening and he’d help me through it. The guy was delusional. “It’s like puberty. It happens at different times for each individual, but there are some signs.” He leaned onto the table, crossing his arms in front of him. There was no doubt he believed every word coming out of his mouth.
“What signs?” I asked, unable to hide the incredulity in my voice.
“Depends on the castes. Warriors will start lashing out, their tempers growing hot due to their strong energy need. Counselors will deteriorate physically, losing massive amounts of weight and turning paler. Priests, our kind, usually have some mental instability that begins manifesting more frequently.”
The way I’d run out of Algebra class the day before—was that really only yesterday?– flashed through my mind. How I’d crumpled on the bathroom floor, my anxiety slicing me to shreds. I couldn’t deny that my attacks had been happening a lot more recently. But that couldn’t point to an Awakening. That was insane, I thought, while an uneasy feeling settled in my stomach. Was I starting to believe him?
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