A gift—or curse—gives Titus McGinty the unwanted ability to talk to ghosts. When he starts seeing the same few apparitions repeatedly, appearing with similar gruesome injuries, he begins to wonder what they want from him.
Detective Charlie Hale has a serial killer on his hands. On the loose for weeks, the Queen City Slayer has left the police nothing to go on, no forensic evidence other than what he wants found. The city is running out of time.
The crisis brings Titus and Charlie together—Titus stumbles upon a body and finds himself a suspect. Their budding romance is tested as they are sucked into a web of underground laboratories, restive spirits, and religious fanaticism. They’ll have to work together to find the identity of the killer before he takes his next victim…Titus.
Pages or Words: 102,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Romance, Thriller
About the author:
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and young son, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJKHogan
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24677760-shadows-fall
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Cover Artist: J.K. Hogan
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Oh, I’m so much a pantser, it’s scary. I have to write linearly, no jumping from scene to scene for me! Lately I’ve been bothered by my lack of efficiency, so I’ve been trying really hard to come up with a workable outline when I start a story. I usually only get about halfway through the outline before the story goes off the rails and does what it wants.
Are you tempted to write in other genres?
That’s a good question. I started out writing m/f paranormal romance, and while my books were really well received, the market is so saturated that anyone who isn’t a big name (or doesn’t happen to get lucky and be ‘discovered’) just gets buried with the masses.
I read a lot of m/m but I never set out to write it until a story just popped into my head. Being in the smaller pond of a niche genre is a lot more gratifying for me, because it feels like a lot more people are finding and reading my books, which is of course what I want.
I do have a dream of one day writing a mainstream thriller but I love romance so much, I know it would creep in. That’s where Shadows Fall comes in. You’ve got the romance, but it’s surrounded by the suspense. I had a lot of fun writing it.
Do you read reviews? How do you deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly?
I shouldn’t, but I do. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to read a negative review, but unless the person just said my book is crap and gave no reasoning, I can handle it. Everyone’s opinion is valid, and I can take those criticisms and learn from them. Besides, every review, good or bad, is a person that read my book. Can’t beat that!
I usually “like” all my reviews on goodreads, but I don’t respond unless I’m just blown away by how well someone “got” my book. I don’t want to make anyone feel self-conscious.
As awesome as ARC reviews and blog tours are, the best kind of review is the kind where someone just picked up my book on their own and chose to write a review. I’m always humbled by anyone talking about my work—good, bad, or in between.
How do you fit in writing in such a busy life?
Oh my, it can be a challenge. Right now, I’m a stay-at-home mom to a two year old handful of a boy, graphic artist & cover designer (like Shadows Fall’s cover anyone?), and wife. We have two dogs, a cat, and a foster kitten that I bottle-raised from infancy when she was abandoned (by the time this interview hits, she’ll be settled at her new forever home on a farm). Life is full.
My son is very active, and gets jealous of my work, but he’s also a really good sleeper. I squeeze in work whenever I can, during naps and after bedtime. I use the time in the car driving him various places to conceptualize and plot whatever scene is next in line. It’s a challenge and every day is completely different, but I wouldn’t change it. J
Do you have a favourite book that you've written?
I don’t mean for this to be a shameless plug, but I’m pretty sure Shadows Fall is my favorite. I’m so proud of all of my books, but I think this may be my best work. I’ve never really tackled mystery or suspense because I didn’t think I would have a knack for such complex plot devices. Somehow, I pulled it off though. At least I think so. You guys tell me!
Do you find the sex scenes easy or hard to write?
They’re a little bit of both. The hardest part is coming up with new scenarios without making them too farfetched. I have writer friends who absolutely hate writing sex scenes (you know who you are!) but I love them. Not that romance is all about sex, but it’s pretty much the one thing that we get to do that writers in other genres don’t for the most part. I love the idea of bringing out in the open all the things our grandmothers would never dare speak of aloud. It’s part of helping get rid of the “taboo” of sex, especially gay sex, when it’s really a natural and essential part of relationships and romance.
Is there a couple or character from another book you would love to have appear in one of your stories?
I’d love to do a character swap with any of my writer friends. That would be so fun! I’ve never done any kind of collaboration. Off the top of my head, I’d say Carter Quinn’s Noah & Avery (shameless plug: his latest book about them just came out a couple of weeks ago, Into the Light, cover designed by moi!) or Charlie Cochet’s Dex & Sloane, or any of Cardeno C.’s characters.
Is there a character in any of your books that you didn't plan on—a character who forced their way into the story?
Definitely Rich from Love and the Real Boy. He was meant to be the homophobic antagonist in I Survived Seattle, and I didn’t plan on going any further with him, but I kept getting flashes of his backstory and I was compelled to show everyone why he was such an asshole. It was crazy to want to give this irredeemable character his own happy ending, but his book has actually been more successful than the first one. The next book in the series will be out in September.
Which of the characters in your books did you have the most fun writing?
OMG, I have to say Patrick from Love and the Real Boy simply because of this one scene. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had writing a scene was the big family rugby game. Rich’s love interest, Patrick O’Dowd has a giant Irish immigrant family, and Rich gets tossed into the middle of a rugby game with them and some of the (also Irish) neighbors. It was extremely difficult in that I knew nothing of rugby before writing the scene and some of the stupid questions I asked became Rich’s in the book—“It’s just like football without the pads, right?” Thanks Carter Quinn and my husband’s coworker Adam for schooling me on rugby! And many nights of watching All Blacks games on youtube.
It was also hard because I basically had over fourteen characters participating in the scene—talk about writer’s whiplash—but it was so much fun. I cracked myself up the whole time with the boys’ banter and trash talk. Poor Rich.
Coincidentally, this is the excerpt I used for the 2014 Supporting Author anthology from GRL.
Are your friends and family supportive of your writing?
My husband has been extremely supportive and encouraging from day one. I couldn’t ask for a better partner. We’re both very outspoken about gay rights and marriage equality, so he’s never had an issue with what I write which is wonderful.
My family wasn’t exactly thrilled when I switched to m/m, but they do tell people that I write and what I write when asked, which is saying something for being on the conservative side. I could have it a lot worse, so I’m grateful.
My friends have been cheering me own from the start and they’re all so proud, even the ones I don’t get to see much. They’ve kept me going.
What are you working on next?
I’ve got Unbreak Broken, the third book in the Coming About series, going into editing, gearing up for a September release. For those of you who’ve been waiting for Rory’s story, this is it!
My current WIP is something very different for me. It will end with a romance, but it mainly follows two men who end up in a behavioral health center for very different reasons. It’s very cerebral and dense to write, so I have to take lots of breaks. J
Speaking of breaks, in between working on that, I’ve been drawing an m/m webcomic (a paranormal shifter story) called Icarus Rising, which can be found here: http://icarusrising.smackjeeves.com/
I’m not sure how far I’m going to go with it, but it’s a fun hobby for times when I’m too tired to do anything else!
I always hated walking home alone at night on the deserted city streets. But I couldn’t ask my employees to do something I was scared to do myself, so I’d taken the late shift. In the dark, the wandering dead became nothing but sliding shadows and hissing whispers. The phrase 'jumping at shadows' is apt, because there were things in the shadows.
Those things slithered around me, feeling much more insidious in the murky stillness of the nighttime city. Hands in my pockets, I gripped my four inch pocket knife that I always carried. Fat lot of good it would do me against mule, but there was a killer on the loose after all.
It was ill-advised, but I still blasted my music inside my headphones. I didn't want to hear what the spirits had to say in gloam. I mostly kept my eyes glued to the sidewalk in front of me--don't stand out, don't make eye contact, make yourself invisible—but I cast glances all around my periphery to keep aware of my surroundings.
A tall, skinny man approached, heading toward me on the opposite side of the sidewalk. He wore dark jeans and a black hoodie with the hood pulled up, casting his face in shadow. I found that odd, as it was one of those warm, humid nights the Southern springtime was famous for. His dark eyes glittered at me from the empty void where his face should be, obviously a trick of the poor lighting.
As he passed me, he clipped my shoulder, throwing me off balance. I wanted to turn around and yell, but self-preservation intervened. I could probably take him in hand-to-hand, but he could be packing for all I knew. I put my head down and kept walking.
I yelped when a spirit appeared in front of me—unlike what movies and television showed, they didn’t usually just pop up. He was a young man, probably about my age, with pale skin, black hair, and eyes so blue they seemed otherworldly… and he was gorgeous. I blinked, hoping he’d disappear. No such luck.
He turned his head towards the building beside us that was being renovated, the entrance to which was blocked off with caution tape. Stretching out his left arm, he pointed to it, and I could see bone-deep gouges in his wrist and forearm. He glanced at me again. Look.
“Not tonight, okay?” I mumbled, trying to step around him. In the blink of an eye, he disappeared and rematerialized right in front of me. See!
“No,” I said, getting angry. I walked straight through him. Usually when I passed through a spirit, I just felt a slick, oily cold sliding through my body—but this burned like a vat of acid had been dumped over me. I screamed and fell to my knees.
He appeared in front of me again. As I looked up at him, still reeling from the pain, it occurred to me how new he must be. When a mulo first left its body, it still maintained some measure of its humanity. It was able to take and maintain a corporeal form more easily than the older spirits, and the ability faded with each day since its passing.
He pointed again and this time, his eyes took on a pleading quality. I could practically feel his anguish.
Struggling to my feet, I brushed myself off and sighed. “Fine, I’ll look. But then you need to leave me the hell alone. I ducked under the caution tape strung across the doorless entry of the run-down building. It was almost pitch black inside, but I got a vague sense of sawhorses and scaffolds. Tip-toeing for some inconceivable reason, I made my way into some kind of vestibule or foyer. I didn’t notice anything that this mulo would be so desperate for me to see, but I couldn’t really see much at all.
My foot hit something solid and I was afraid to go any further into the dark. Who knew what kind of hazards were strewn about the construction site. I dug out my iPhone and swiped it to turn on the flashlight app. A bright light shone out of the camera flash and illuminated the dusty room in front of me—and the man lying all too still on the floor.
I screamed for the second time in five minutes, stumbled back against a plastic-draped scaffolding and dropped my phone. I assumed it landed screen up, because the room was suddenly plunged back into darkness. With my skin crawling, I felt around on the floor for the hard case. Instead, I grabbed a cold leg.
“Holy God!” I shouted, scrambling backwards and sideways until my back hit a wall. My pulse pounded and my head was spinning with the urge to pass the fuck out, either from fright or hyperventilation. My muscles were on lockdown, frozen into that gray area between fight-or-flight, but I knew I had to find my phone so I could get the hell out of there.
And the body… I’d have to call someone. I poked around with the toe of my shoe, carefully avoiding the area of blackness where I thought the body was. Finally I felt the phone. I dragged it across the floor with my foot until I was able to pick it up. Everything was illuminated once again. “Oh thank God,” I said.
But once there was light, I could see him again. His head was turned to face away from me, but I knew that it was the guy from outside. Obviously he’d wanted me to find his body. It was laid out like a sacrifice, arms stretched out to reveal the deep cuts on his arms. I shivered. My brain was finally catching up to the situation, and I realized it was entirely possible that the killer could still be here.
I quickly got to my feet and lurched toward the dim light pooling at the doorway. As soon as I was out of there, I pressed my back up against the cool façade of the building and panted to catch my breath. I see the dead all the time, but I’d never actually seen a dead body before. I wasn’t sure what to do; the only thing I could think was call Charlie.
With shaking hands, I pulled up his number on my phone—I may have entered it from the business card he gave me after chasing Jay out of the shop. I pressed send and he picked up on the first ring.
“Titus.” My voice was shaking and I was embarrassingly close to tears. “I need help.”
“Tell me where you are and I’ll be right there.”
I rattled off my general location, already soothed by the sound of his voice, the confidence in it. “Please hurry,” I said.
“Stay put, I’m on my way.”
Sales Links: http://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-romance/shadows-fall/#.VV86jflVikp
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