My thanks to Sue for letting me share the news of my newest book today. It’s a real pleasure to be here!
It’s always gratifying to discover readers are interested in the lives of secondary characters as well as those of the “stars” of my stories. After I published my second Riverbend novel, Finding Hunter, I began receiving a lot of questions about Gabe Angelino, the trucker who brought Hunter home. It appears Willow wasn’t the only one who thought he might be a real angel instead of just a good man. Even after I published book three, That Darkest Place, the interest in Gabe was still widespread. At every local event—book signings, eco tours, slide show presentations—someone invariably asks about that mysterious trucker.
Talk about writing on the wall! This message was written large enough that even someone with eyes as old as mine could read it. It was a topic which wasn’t going to go away, so I decided I better do something about it. But what? I already have two active series out there, and can only write so many books a year. I considered the idea for a while, then the lightbulb went off! Maybe a standalone novella would be a way to tell Gabe’s story without falling too far behind on my series.
The more I considered the plan, the more I liked it. Something short and speedy sounded good, so I fixed a cup of Earl Grey tea (where do you think Willow gets that from?), sat down at the computer, and opened up a Word document. And then I stared at the blank screen.
The first questions I needed to answer were the ones everyone kept asking me—was Gabe Angelino really an angel? Or was he just a nice guy?
Hmmm. I pondered. I drank more Earl Grey, and then pondered a bit longer. After an hour or two of this, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Was Gabe an angel? No. Was he just a nice guy? No. Was his name even Gabe Angelino? No. He was going to be something different. Unique. And hopefully, a man who would both make people smile and speak to their hearts.
An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.
The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.
When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.
It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?
To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.
Read an excerpt from Chapter 7:
“The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
Charlie Daniels Band
Two Event-Filled Weeks Later,
On a Park Bench in Mid-Town Atlanta,
One Way-Too-Cold January Afternoon.
JAKE KNEW ONE true thing—if the devil really was looking for a few souls he could steal, Atlanta made a mighty fine hunting ground. In the two weeks since his arrival, he’d seen miseries and meanness of every kind written on the faces of rich and poor, black and white, male and female.
It wasn’t that there were no decent, honest, or God-fearing people in Georgia’s capital. It was a matter of sheer numbers. In a city with a metro area population of over five and a half a million, even a small percentage of lost souls added up to a huge number of humans in peril.
He’d been busy every minute since he’d arrived, reaching out to those he recognized were in need. He even managed to get through to some of them, but he was only one person. Oh. Maybe he really couldn’t refer to himself as a person these days. Another question for Azrael. But by any description, there was just one of him, and he could only reach so many souls a day.
Jake had been so overwhelmed by how many people needed him, he hadn’t even realized how long he’d stayed in one place. It was way past time to get back on the road, but it felt wrong to walk away when he could see how many people were in danger. Their anguish reverberated down to his bones. Sometimes, the pain of someone truly on the brink would wake him at night and send him racing into the dark, trying to locate them before it was too late.
It was like a freakin’ bat signal hovered over the city twenty-four hours a day.
If only he had some help. Yeah, that’s what this whole deal needed. More emissaries, covering a wider range.
“That was my original plan, you know.”
Jake jumped a foot off the bench. “Geez, Azrael! You want me to have a heart attack and die on the spot?”
Azrael lifted an eyebrow.
“Okay, I know I can’t die again, at least not here. But I hate when you do that. Look! You made me drop my coffee on the ground.”
“This is not a problem of mine.”
In for a penny, in for a pound. “And that’s another thing. You really should work on your slang. Idiom. Whatever you want to call it. No one would say ‘This is not a problem of mine.’ They’d say ‘Not my problem.’”
Azrael’s brow wrinkled. “Is it not the same thing? A problem I do not have?”
“Technically, yes, but when you say it all wrong, it weirds me out.”
“Weirds you out? This means it feels weird to you?”
“Feelings are usually thought of as being internal. Why would it not weird you in?”
Jake groaned, executing a face palm worthy of Jean-Luc Picard. “Arrggh. I give up. I don’t know how to . . . wait. Are you . . . are you laughing at me?”
“Me? Laughing at you?”
“You are! I can’t believe it! You pop up beside me out of thin air, scare me half to death, talk like some sort of grammarian from the Middle Ages, and then you laugh at me?”
“When you put it like that, it does seem a bit unfair, I suppose, but you are so very easy, sometimes.”
“When the heck did you develop a sense of humor? And by the way, at least I understand the basic function of a contraction. You should try one now and then. It might keep you from sounding like you have a stick . . . oh. Umm . . . never mind.”
Azrael’s eyes flashed an icier shade of blue. “I beg your pardon?”
Jake reminded himself he wasn’t talking to some punk wise-ass wandering the streets of Atlanta looking for trouble. This was Azrael of the flaming sword, his warrior angel of a boss. Not to mention the person—or being—who brought him back to life. The angel deserved some respect.
“What I really meant was, I’m glad to see you.”
Azrael’s smile returned. “It is good to see you, too, Jake. I had a feeling you wanted my counsel.”
“As a matter of fact, there are some things I’ve been wondering about. Can we talk?
Find and follow Marcia
About the author
Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, two big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream. Three and a half years and six novels later, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!
Marcia Meara’s books are available via Amazon in print and for Kindle
Click the images or titles to visit Amazon.
Marcia Meara, author of Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, has set Book One of her Wake-Robin Ridge series amid the haunting beauty of the North Carolina mountains, where ghosts walk, ancient legends abound, and things still go bump in the night.
“A PHONE RINGING AT 2:00 A.M. never means anything good. Calls at 2:00 A.M. are bad news. Someone has died. Someone is hurt. Or someone needs help.”
On a bitter cold January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Now, nearly 50 years later, librarian Sarah Gray has quit her job and moved into the same cabin, hoping the peace and quiet of her woodland retreat will allow her to concentrate on writing her first novel. Instead she finds herself distracted by her only neighbor, the enigmatic and reclusive MacKenzie Cole, who lives on top of the mountain with his Irish wolfhound as his sole companion.
As their tentative friendship grows, Sarah learns the truth about the heartbreaking secret causing Mac to hide from the world. But before the two can sort out their feelings for each other, they find themselves plunged into a night of terror neither could have anticipated. Now they must unravel the horrifying events of a murder committed decades earlier. In doing so, they discover that the only thing stronger than a hatred that will not die is a heart willing to sacrifice everything for another.
“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”
The remote mountain wilderness of North Carolina swallowed up the ten-year-old boy as he made his way down from the primitive camp where his grandparents had kept him hidden all his life. His dying grandmother, gifted with the Sight, set him on a quest to find the Good People, and though he is filled with fear and wary of civilization, Rabbit is determined to keep his promise to her. When he crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, neither their lives nor his, are ever the same again.
The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power light up the darkness, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him. His dangerous and bittersweet journey will touch you in unexpected ways, and once you’ve let Rabbit into your heart, you’ll never forget him.
“. . . he felt the wet slide of the dog’s burning hot tongue on his face, and the scrape of its razor sharp teeth against the top of his head. A white-hot agony of crushing pain followed, as the jaws began to close.”
The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.
But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him. Even MacKenzie Cole and his adopted son, Rabbit, find themselves pulled into danger.
When Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac and Rabbit to help him solve a twenty-year-old cold case, Rabbit’s visions of a little girl lost set them on a path that soon collides with that of a desperate man being slowly driven mad by guilt.
As Rabbit’s gift of the Sight grows ever more powerful, his commitment to those who seek justice grows as well, even when their pleas come from beyond the grave.
Marcia Meara, author of the popular Wake-Robin Ridge books, sets her second series in the sleepy little town of Riverbend, Florida, where the hungry creatures swimming in the dark waters of the St. Johns River aren’t nearly as dangerous as those walking along the quiet neighborhood streets.
Wildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted, and the St. Johns River of central Florida drew him like a magnet. EcoTour boat owner Maggie Devlin knew all the river’s secrets, including the deadliest ones found in the swamps. But neither Maggie nor Gunn was prepared for the danger that would come after them on two legs.
On a quest to make history photographing the rarest birds of them all, Gunnar hires the fiery, no-nonsense Maggie to canoe him into the most remote wetland areas in the state. He was unprepared for how much he would enjoy both the trips and Maggie’s company. He soon realizes he wants more than she’s able to give, but before he can win her over, they make a grisly discovery that changes everything, and turns the quiet little town of Riverbend upside down. A serial killer is on the prowl among them.
Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
~ Traveling Man ~
Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality since he was a child, crippling him in ways invisible to those unable to see past his quiet exterior. In a sleepy Florida town known for its eccentric inhabitants, he’s always been a mystery to most.
Only one person sees beyond Hunter’s quirky facade. Willow Greene, the new age herbalist who owns the local candle and potpourri shop, has secretly loved him since they were in high school. When, sixteen years later, she discovers Hunter has loved her just as long, Willow hopes her dreams are finally coming true.
Willow soon learns that Hunter fears happiness at her side isn’t in the cards for him. With her natural optimism and courage, she almost convinces him he’s wrong—that they can really have that life together they both long for—but even Willow can’t stop what Hunter knows is coming.
One by one, his worst nightmares become reality, culminating in an unthinkable tragedy, which devastates everyone it touches. Willow’s battle begins in earnest as Hunter is plunged into a bleak, guilt-ridden despair, threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself.
Finding Hunter is the story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again, and one woman’s unshakeable faith in him and the power of their love.
“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”
The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.
As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.
Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”
Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?
Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.
Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love is a collection of contemporary poetry about exactly that–life and love. The first part of the book features poems about the magic a young boy discovers while camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The second part of the book has a sampling of poetry about love, life and death, autumn, and dreams coming true.