Redemption Audiobook Release And Interview With Narrator Laurel Schroeder

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Redemption audiobook is now live!


I thought this would be a perfect time to have Laurel Schroeder, narrator of all four Alchemy books, over for a little insight into her profession.

Donna: What made you decide to get into narration?
Laurel: I recently got my MFA in Acting, and have been acting in theatre, film, and voiceover since I was 14. Narration is a perfect use of the skills I’ve developed as an actor, and it combines two of my very favorite things — acting and books! I’ve always loved reading, so it’s a joy being able to share stories with listeners through narration.
Donna: Do you think your acting background helps?
Laurel: I think it definitely does. One of my favorite parts of narrating a novel is creating the different characters in the book. For me, it’s a really interesting process of finding a character’s vocal register, their tempo, and their personality. Once I really “get” the characters, it becomes very easy to shift back and forth between their different voices.
Donna: Do you have a genre preference?
Laurel: I’m always up for trying something new, but the genres I’ve worked in the most so far have been fiction/fantasy, mystery/thriller, and romance. Those are the genres that I’d be most interested in listening to myself, so it makes sense that those are the ones I’m drawn to narrating.
Donna: What advice would you give a newcomer to the business?
Laurel: Be persistent, be passionate, and be humble. And listen, listen, listen! Listen to great narrators, figure out why you like them so much, and then steal from the best! 
Rapid fire questions:
Black and white or shades of grey? Shades of grey
Beachfront hotel or mountain cabin? Beachfront hotel
Shoes or barefoot? Barefoot
Cats or dogs? Dogs
Spring or fall? Spring

Laurel is currently working on the second book in a pirate adventure series, called The Devil’s Tide. You can find out more about that series and what else she’s been up to here: 

Or check out more about the current series she’s working on here:



Karma, First Chapter


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Karma will be released on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and iBooks on July 10th.


Chapter One


People say karma’s a bitch.

Personally, I really don’t think I’m that bad, as long as you haven’t done anything wrong that is. Seriously, it’s not like I asked for this job. I wasn’t even in my right mind when I agreed to the position. I thought it would mean I could stay on Earth. I did, just not how I’d hoped.

Like all contracts, it’s the fine print that screws you, not the big fat text that offers you all the good stuff. As a lawyer, I’d spent years warning people about the fine print and now look at me. Stuck.

If I could just go back to that day, the moment when I made my first mistake and agreed. Unfortunately, of all the things I can do, time travel isn’t one of them.

After I’m done here and my trial period has run its course, I’ll go back into the system and get reborn. They say I won’t have any memory of this, but I can’t imagine forgetting the day I died.


I couldn’t look away from my body, lying lifeless and dirty, blonde hair fanned out around the face. My face. I wasn’t moving, not even a smidgen.

In contrast, the chest of the body I was in felt like a broken accordion with a leak, flailing to get enough air in.

I fought through the fog, which clung to my thoughts, trying to piece the scene together from fragmented memories. I’d wanted a couple of days alone after my fight with Charlie, my fiancé, so I decided to visit a friend from law school who lived in Virginia. The last thing I remembered was looking out the window at the expanse of forest rolling by as the train sped along. We’d crossed into South Carolina a while ago and I knew I’d be home within the hour.

No, there was something else I remembered. A screeching sound, right before I flew from my seat, and then the sounds of screams around me. And not just raised voices, but the kind that are formed only from pure terror. They don’t sound human, and there isn’t an actor or actress alive who could fake them. These are the type, if you’re unlucky enough, you only hear in real life and in situations that are usually deadly. It’s the kind of sound that leaves a permanent bookmark in your mind.

I looked down at my hands, the ones that belonged to the body I occupied, not the mangled ones on the ground, covered in a mixture of dirt and blood. They looked solid enough but somehow different, and there was my body on the grass, my blue dress torn and shredded, my pink polished fingernails, chipped and ragged. I knelt down and pushed the few strands of hair away from my…its eyes. My black shoe lay about ten feet away. I must have lost it during the fall.

I looked down at my feet. Where did these tan sandals come from? And these pants? These weren’t my things. Nothing was right. Maybe that wasn’t my body?

I moved my fingers to its chin and turned it toward me, revealing my full face, then yanked back quickly. I stumbled in my effort to put some distance between us, even though I couldn’t seem to look away.

I heard sirens in the distance, a lot of them, all combining to form the sound of dread. One siren could be anything. This many always meant something bad.

But I’d already known that.

I forced myself to look up and take in the scene. I’d been thrown thirty or so feet from the wreck. The streamlined train now resembled a shape closer to a discarded straw wrapper. There were more bodies laid out around its perimeter and a few people, dazed and limping around, not far from the wreck.

“Hello?” I screamed but no one turned toward me. Maybe they were in shock?

“They can’t hear you.”

I was startled by the nasally male voice coming from right beside me. I heard him clear his throat before he spoke again.

“Your human body is dead, Camilla. We don’t have much time and there are decisions to be made.” His pen tapped, tapped, tapped on the clip board he was holding and I clenched my hands to stop myself from ripping the makeshift drum from his fidgeting hands so I could think clearly. I felt agitated and raw.

“Am I having a psychotic break from reality?” I asked as I turned to look at him. He was small of stature and wore Coke-bottle black framed glasses. He looked down at his digital watch and then back at me, with barely restrained impatience. I knew the expression well; I was usually the one wearing it.

“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to give you the short version. You seem to be routed for express, so there simply isn’t enough time to get into all the nitty gritty contract details—”

“I’m dead?”

“That body is, yes. You can choose to move on or—”

“Move on?” What was this strange little man speaking of? He was as odd as the situation, with bright red hair jutting this way and that from untamed cowlicks.

Maybe I was already in the hospital and under heavy medication.

“Yes, heaven, hell, perhaps somewhere in between. It isn’t my department so I’m not privy to those details, or what happens after this point, just that there is something. So, you can stay on here or move on.”

I reached out a hand and grabbed his arm. Solid. He looked down at where I touched him with unconcealed distaste at the contact but didn’t comment. I didn’t let go, just squeezed tighter. He felt like he was really here.

“Who are you? Are you an angel or something?” Maybe I was really dead. This isn’t what I’d expected though. Where were the bright lights and people to welcome me? And his delivery needed some work.

“I told you, I have nothing to do with that. I’m not an angel. I’m Harold.”

“If you aren’t an angel, what are you?”

“I run the agency Unknown Forces of the Universe.”

“And why would I want to remain here, as a ghost, working for you, whatever it is you are?” This was too bizarre to be real. No pearly gates or Grandma and Grandpa welcoming me, just a strange little red haired man? I had to be lying in a coma somewhere, drugged to the gills. I was hoping I was, because if this was death, a lot of people, including me, were going to be seriously disappointed.

He clucked his tongue as if having to explain all this was a bother. “No, not as a ghost. With a normal body. Why? Because I’m going to offer you a chance to make this world a better place. To fix the wrongs of the universe. This is quite a huge opportunity. I only recruit once or twice a decade and I can’t remember the last time a human got the opportunity.”

“I don’t like this dream. This is why I didn’t take the pain pills when I got hurt last summer. They gave me the worst nightmares ever.”

“This is not a dream.”

“How do I know that?” I probably shouldn’t argue with him, but it was my nature. This was a dream. I should just change it. Couldn’t I do that? If I was making this up, I was in control.

“Look at that.” He motioned to my body like I hadn’t noticed it or been staring already. “That is your dead human form.”

“No, that’s just a double of me made up by my mind.” It had to be.

“Do you remember the pain?”

I shuddered as I thought of it. When the train screeched to a halt and I went flying through the air, right before everything went black, there had been a moment of pure agony, the kind that made you forget your name, your life, just made you wish for death, nothingness.

“If it was a dream, you would have woken. The human mind can’t handle the idea of its own death, even in a dream. Do you understand me? You would’ve woken. Technically, you are dead. At least your mortal frame is.”

He was right. If I were dreaming, I should’ve woken. I couldn’t escape the logic.

I was dead.

I dropped to the ground, losing the strength in my new legs.


“Now, will you work for me?”

“I don’t want to be dead. I don’t want to fix anything.”

I just wanted to crawl back into my body and go on with my life. I wanted to get married next week, instead of being put in the ground. I wanted Charlie to wrap his arms around me as I told him how sorry I was. He needed to know I hadn’t meant any of it. He’d been acting strange lately and I’d lost patience with him. I wanted to go to court on Monday and dazzle the jury with the defense I’d been working on for the last month.

I didn’t want to move on. I wasn’t finished!

“Before you choose, it also means possibly finding your murderer.”


“The train was tampered with.”

I’d loved my life, my family, Charles, everything. I was twenty-seven years old with a brilliant career ahead of me and someone had just stolen what would’ve been the best times of my life. I’d never be a judge or have kids. I didn’t have any siblings. Who would take care of my parents as they aged?

Anger churned and welled up inside of me, growing into something I’d never experienced before. Pure rage.

Then rage answered the question. For the first time in my life, I let anger control me. And if I were to be honest, desperation as well. It wasn’t my time, not yet, not now, and if I had to claw my way back in, I would.

“Yes, I will.”

“Would you like some more details?” Harold asked, pushing up the glasses that had started to slide down his long thin nose.

“You said I’d have a body? I won’t be a ghost, right?”


“Just tell me where I sign.”

He held out his clipboard with an x marking the spot. “We need to leave now. Your current form is already in the process of becoming corporeal and this isn’t a good place for the transition.”

I watched as the lights of the police cars and fire engines started to glow in the distance, and I was sure that seeing my body bagged was something that would haunt me.

“I’ve got some details to handle first.” I didn’t know what I was going to do. How was I going to explain this to Charlie? I felt at my pockets for my car keys and then I remembered they were on my other body.

“No.” Harold’s thin hand manacled my wrist, as I made a move toward it. “We need to leave now.”

“I need to get my things.” I tried to yank my wrist free and realized he was deceptively strong.

“They aren’t your things. They belong to the mortal crust lying there.” His eyes shifted to where the crumpled lifeless form lay and then back to me.

I nodded. It didn’t matter as I remembered my car was miles from here. I had a spare set at home anyway and I didn’t want to touch that body again if I didn’t have to.

I walked along behind him as the numbness set in. I felt as if I were mentally drowning and nothing made sense. I followed, not from any real desire to but because it was the easiest path while I tried to get a handle on everything. I was fairly certain if I were still alive, this would have been diagnosed as clinical shock.

We walked through the wooded area until we reached a road where a stretch Mercedes waited. A man got out of the driver’s seat to hold the door open for me and, like a zombie, I moved my leaden legs forward and crawled inside.

I leaned back against the leather and thought, what am I doing?

“You’re going to feel strangely for a few days while your soul gets acclimated to losing its mortal wrapping.”

My hands, that didn’t look like mine, started to shake. “I’m really dead.”

“You aren’t dead.”

“The body lying in the field would prove you wrong.”

“Your former body is dead, not you. Well, not exactly. It’s sort of a gray area.” He let out an audible sigh as he shook his head. “This is going to take some work.”

“Where are we going?” I needed to get to Charlie. I needed my parents. I had to tell them I was okay before the police scared them. The idea of them having to ID my body…No, I’d get to them first.

“You can’t speak to them.”

“How do you know what I want to do?” I swung back to the little man I was disliking more every moment.

Harold looked at me, stone faced. “The reports on you said you had a fairly high intellect. Must I really explain this to you?” He looked at me for more than a few seconds and then rolled his eyes. “What else could you possibly need to do? I always forget how troublesome the transition is. Even if you could talk to them, they wouldn’t understand.”

“I’ll make them understand.” My voice didn’t leave room for debate. There was nothing he could say that was going to stop me. Annoying little man.

“Can’t say I didn’t try.” He went back to looking through his folder. I ignored his curious response to look at the landscape. I needed to get my bearings.

“Where are we going?”

“I thought it best to take you to your new residence first.”

“I don’t need a new home. I have one with Charlie.”

“The body that died had one. You can’t use it anymore.” He spoke slowly, with great emphasis on each word.

“Where is this new place?”


“No. I’m not leaving South Carolina.” Or not for long. Even if he forced the issue, I’d walk back if I had to.

Again I heard him sigh and then he mumble something about transfers before he finally said, “Fine.” He leaned forward slightly and yelled to the driver who he called Hank. “Looks like it’s to be Murrell’s Inlet.”

The driver nodded his head.

“You’re fortunate I believe in having options. Going to have to file more paperwork now.” He shuffled through the small stack on his lap.

I didn’t care. I’d be right where I needed to be. Beyond that, nothing mattered. I’d figure out the rest after I got to Charlie and my parents.

Harold settled back and then reached into a briefcase I hadn’t noticed before.

“Here.” He shoved a cell phone with a charger into my hand along with a key. “This is to your new apartment and a work phone. I’m already programmed in, as well as some of the other contacts you’ll need.”

I took the key, not bothering to tell him I didn’t need a place to stay again. It didn’t matter what he said. I was going home.

Before I even started strategizing about how I was going to get away from Harold, we were pulling into a driveway and I was getting kicked out of the car.

“Go in and lock the door. I’ll send somebody by in an hour, if you’re still there.” The door slammed in my face and the tires squealed, leaving dark tracks.

I had been officially dead for almost an hour and, in all the times I’d contemplated what happened in the afterlife, there’d never been a bossy little redhead who abandoned me in the middle of a beachfront condo parking lot.



New Book

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People say karma's a...well, you know. Personally, I don't think I'm that bad. 
It's not like I wanted this job. I wasn't even in my right mind when I accepted 
it. Now, I'm surrounded by crazy coworkers like Lady Luck, who's a bit of a tramp, 
and Murphy's Law, who's a bumbling oaf. 
But the worst is Fate. He's got a problem with transfers like myself, and I have to see him constantly. 
It's unavoidable. We're hunting the same man, my murderer.


Racquel Kechagias The Fire Of The Soul Blog Tour

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Last_Ashes_(Final_Draft)Donna: Can you tell us a little bit about your new book? And what genre would you classify them?


 Racquel: I would classify my books as Paranormal Romance/Dark Fantasy. I say this for two reasons. The first is that there is a lot of romance in the story. The second reason is that there are a lot of dark themes in the books; including sexual abuse, rape and torture to name a few. There is one scene in particular in ‘Last Ashes’ that I was conscious and hesitant about including in the books. I won’t leave any spoilers but I’ll say this, the Mer-folk have no sympathy or empathy for any ‘Land-walker’ and those who help them suffer because of it.


What can I say about my new book? Honestly if I could sum it down to one word it would be ‘intense’. There is endless action. There are situations where we see Anna struggling to be more, to do more than she’s ever thought she was capable of. We see the same of some of our favorites and not so favorite characters and even the new characters. One of the biggest things to happen in this book is that we get two see two characters, who were only mentioned before, in action. So yea it’s intense!


 Donna: Where do you get most of your inspiration from?


Racquel: I honestly can’t say where I’ve gotten the inspiration for this novel. Music helps with the inspiration process. I listen to a lot of instrumental music, the type that you hear in trailers and movies. They have the ability to set a particular mood. I love ‘Two Steps from Hell’ and their newest album ‘Miracles’ especially the songs ‘Miracles’ and ‘Compass’ have set the mood for the romantic scenes that Anna has in ‘Last Ashes’.


A lot of my inspiration for the characters come from people that I’ve known in my life or from pieces of myself throughout my life. I think the character that I connect the most with would be Christian. Yes, a lot of the time he is a heartless bastard but there are a few moments where I feel the readers will sympathize with him, in those rare moments where he is, as Anna calls him, human. And his humanity is shown through his emotions, which is something that is mostly kept in the dark, emotions that in his eyes are a sign of weakness. The ironic thing is that in those moments he is weak. Ultimately ‘sympathy for the devil’ is a powerful theme in the series.


 Donna: What writers had the biggest influence on your writing?


 Racquel: There are a lot of authors that I love and so many of them have an influence on my writing. There’s no limit to how many people can inspire and influence a person’s writing style. However for the purpose of this question, I’ll name 6 that have had an influence on my writing. Not surprisingly they all write in the ‘YA Fantasy’ genre. They are as follows; Richelle Mead, Maria V. Snyder, Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins, Rachel Cain and J. K. Rowling. I think their biggest inspiration for me is that they all have their unique styles with fascinating tales to tell. Which is ultimately what I hope to be able to do.


Donna: What is your all time favorite quote by someone else?


Racquel: I have been tossing and turning between quotes as I can’t decide which is my favorite. So if you don’t mind I’ll quote two. The first is a quote that inspires me every time I read it, it’s from Albert Einstein “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” The second is from one of my favorite movies, “V for Vendetta” (bear with me it is a little long).


Evey Hammond: Who are you?


V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask.


Evey Hammond: Well I can see that.


V: Of course you can. I’m not questioning your powers of observation; I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.


Evey Hammond: Oh. Right.


V: But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona.


V: Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.


[carves "V" into poster on wall]


V: The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.


V: [giggles]


V: Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.




Donna: What about a favorite line of your own?


Racquel: Now that’s a little bit more tricky. There’s so much that I’ve written that it’s hard to zone in on one line in particular. Even if I break it down to this series alone, having written over 200,000 words it’s still hard to pick a favorite line. However, having said this I think my favorite line out of ‘The Fire of the Soul’ series so far is said by Loana, the original Phoenix. “If you do this. If you take away this one person away from me, I swear that there will be a reckoning,” I say, my words are a vow, a promise I intend to keep. To me it’s one of the most bone chilling lines in the series. There are of course others but this line is the one that starts it all. It’s Loana’s threat that has caused everything that has happened so far in the Underworld to happen. It is Loana’s threat that is the beginning of the end.

 Donna: What was the last book you read? (don’t say mine even if it was. Looks like a set up,lol)

 Racquel: The last novel I read was “The Fiery Heart” by Richelle Mead. I was rereading her “Bloodlines” Series before the next book in the series comes out. It’s one of my favorite series that I’m reading at the moment and Richelle is one of my ‘go-to’ authors. No matter what she writes, I’ve loved every novel that has come from her.

Donna: What do you think makes a hot Alpha-Male?

Racquel: What makes a hot ‘Alpha-Male’ to me is four characteristics. He can look like anything, act like anything but he has to have these characteristics. The first is strength; not just physical strength but emotional, spiritual, mental strength as well. The second is Empathy; there is something undeniably attractive about a man who can empathize not just with his equal but with his enemy as well. The third is he is dominate/has leadership skills. The fourth is that he isn’t egotistic, he’s got to be down to earth, humble.

 Donna: What was your favorite part to write for ‘Last Ashes’?

Racquel: I think my favorite parts were the chapters 20 and 23. Those two chapters push Anna to her limits and she’s forced to do things she never thought she would be capable of doing. It shows how far she is willing to go to save the people she loves.

 Donna: What was the hardest part for you to write for ‘Last Ashes’?

Racquel: Without doubt there were three parts that were the hardest for me to write and unsurprisingly they both involved Christian. I have sympathy for my little devil and I knew that although he was acting true to his nature, his nature could have been entirely different if he had a different father. Those scenes show his dark nature and the readers will feel how deep his hatred for the world runs.

About Racquel:

Natural_MeRacquel Kechagias was born in Sydney, Australia in 1991. She is the oldest of seven children and although they drive her a little mad she loves them to bits. Racquel spent her childhood nose deep in a book, preferring their company to that offered by the outside world. At the age of 8 she had grown past the children’s section of the literary world and began to grow up with company of the greats such as Shelly, Stoker, King, Tolkien and Poe. From that moment she was inspired by the intricate worlds. She longed to share the knowledge and passion that it took those authors to create their worlds and from that moment on her life was transformed. Racquel Kechagias is the author ‘Last Ashes’ the second book in the ‘Fire of the Soul’ series.



Author Links

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I’m Alive!


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Just wanted to stop by and give everyone an update. First off, I am alive! I’ve just been deep in the writing cave.

So what’s been going on? Let’s see, Laurel Schroeder has been busy narrating Redemption. Hopefully, she’ll have that completed this July. I’ll have some more promo codes when that releases and I’ll post that here.

I’ve been busy writing, which I already shared. I’ve been sort of closed mouthed about what I’ve been working on but I’m beyond excited about it. It’s urban fantasy because that is my true love. There’s a hot Alpha male, because we all know I like a nice dose of romance in there. It’s heavy on sarcasm. It’s really different, and I’m hoping in a good way.

I’ll have the cover and blurb up in the beginning of July, so stop back!

And to the readers waiting for the second Obsidian, please don’t yell at me too much! I know you’ve been waiting a long time but I don’t always have control over the stories that want to be written. Just know that I appreciate you all and I’m not doing it on purpose or because I don’t care.


Read, White & Blue

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RWB Banner

Welcome to our 2014 Read, White & Blue event! This event is designed to show our love and appreciation for the US troops and everything they do to keep us safe and protected. The list of participants below have all donated their books and/or money to help bring this event to life; for that we offer a sincere and heartfelt “THANK YOU.” The money donated has been spent to purchase the grand prize offered below with the remainder of the money to be donated directly to the Semper Fi Fund.


Participating Authors: Ger Tysk, Karen-Anne Stewart, Denise Alicea, Kim Headlee, Terah Edun, Meghan Riley, E. Michael Helms, Patti Tingen, Katy Regnery, Kat Latham, Cheyanne Young, Donna Augustine, Marcus Matherne, Laura Howard, Jonathan Patrick, Brad Van Tighem, Laila Ibrahim, Aven Ellis


Participating Bloggers: Ashley LaMar, Jennifer Smeth, Chrissy Fletcher, Dianne Bylo, Joely Bogan, Kathy Arguelles, Jennifer Beach, Brenda Priddy, Michelle Bowles, Tamara Welch, Wesley Hoffman, Tiffany Marie

Semper Fi Fund

About the Semper Fi Fund
“The Semper Fi Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and its program America’s Fund, are set up to provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. We direct urgently needed resources to post 9/11 service members, who meet our criteria for assistance, from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserves.”

The grand prize for the 2014 Read, White & Blue event will be an “All You Need to Read” kit which includes: a Kindle and donated eBooks, a set of custom coffee mugs, a comfy cozy blanket, and a $20 Starbucks gift card.


Other prizes will be given away during the month long Facebook event.  Join the Facebook event at!/events/225078581021967/

The giveaway will be open for entries on May 1st at 12:01 am and will close on May 31st at 11:59pm.  The giveaway is open to US only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Keepers/Alchemy Series Book Bundle

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Categories: My Books

The Alchemy Series four pack book bundle will be out next week.

While I’m here, I’ve had some inquiries about whether there will be more stories set in this world. Yes, there will, but I just can’t say when. They will most likely have cameos of Jo and Cormac, but they won’t be the leads…I think. I’ve learned to not give definites anymore, since I never know what the muse will show up with tomorrow.


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