TCO is super excited to have Parker Williams here talking about his new book The Spirit Key, a book that is outside of his “normal genre”. That being said, I don’t know if I would even agree that Parker has a “normal genre”. He has written all over the map within lgbt books, as well as hitting some of more difficult and challenging points. I’m excited to read this one, even though it might be out of my “normal genre” of reading. It’ll be interesting to see where he takes this one. So, check out his guest post on writing outside that genre, the “grab you and keep you” excerpt, and the great giveaway as well! Thanks for stopping by Parker!
When he was eight years old, Scott Fogel died. Paramedics revived him, but he came back changed. Ghosts and spirits tormented Scott for over a decade until, thinking he was going mad, he did the only thing he could.
He ran—leaving behind his best friend, Tim Jennesee.
Scott’s had five normal, ghost-free years in Chicago, when the spirit of Tim’s mother comes to him and begs him to go home because Tim’s in trouble and needs him.
He isn’t prepared for what he finds when he goes home—a taller and sexier Tim, but a Tim who hasn’t forgiven Scott for abandoning him… a Tim whose body is no longer his own. The ghost of a serial murderer has attached itself to Tim, and it’s whispering dark and evil things. It wants Tim to kill, and it’s becoming harder for Tim to resist. To free the man who has always meant so much to him, Scott must unravel the mystery of the destiny he shares with Tim.
Book Length: 74,439 words
Book Categories: Ghosts/spirits/paranormal
Author Name: Parker Williams
Book Name: The Spirit Key
Part of a series? If yes, can this book be read as a standalone? This is book one of Lock and Key.
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Stepping outside of your usual genre
I know a lot of people hate it when an author does something they haven’t done before. They’ve got expectations of what a book will be when they hear an author is writing something, and then they get nervous that it won’t be as good or might be too different. But the thing is, as authors, we need to step outside the lines once in a while so that we can take our writing in a different direction.
I’ve done paranormal before, but they were books about shifters (my favorite type of stories). Then one night I had a dream about a ghost story. It was pretty vivid, and when I woke in the morning, I remembered most of the details and sat down to write it. That’s where Spirit Key came from.
In my not-overly-long career, I’ve done suspense (Haven’s Creed and Haven’s War), shifters (Protector of the Alpha and Scent of the Heart (and a quick thank you to Mary Phillips Wallace for that title!), BDSM (four of the Collars & Cuffs books, plus the three of Secrets with K.C. Wells). Each time, people wondered if a book would be as good as a romance. I’m not sure if they agree, but I think they turned out pretty well.
No one wants to get in a rut, and sometimes an author will have an idea that rides them hard, and has to be put to paper. The three books of the Links in the Chain series are kind of like that. This is my first solo attempt at doing a romance series. Lincoln was first, and then came Galen (Lincoln’s brother), and finally will be two characters you’ve yet to meet, but are related in a way. (True story: When I decided to write Stained Hearts, one of the character decided he was related to someone in Lincoln’s story, so my two books became three. Silly characters never follow the script.)
Anyway, back to the point of this post. Stepping outside your usual genre helps, I think, keep authors from getting into a rut. That is, if they want to try something different. Some people are perfectly happy—and totally skilled—at doing strictly romance. More power to them. Me? I get a story idea, and I’m going where the wind takes me.
I hope that people who come along for the ride are satisfied with my efforts. The Spirit Key will be, I hope, the first in a series. I’ve started the second book, and already killed a few people. As LM Somerton said, “Evil author.”
Thank you so much for having me and also for hosting my tour! 🙂
WHAT MEMORY stands out most in your mind from when you were a kid? For many of my friends, it was getting a good grade on a test they were sure they’d fail, making a catch during a football game, or finding out the person they were crushing on liked them back. For others, it was more physical, like their first kiss or having sex for the first time.
For me, the one that topped that list was in the summer of 2002. The memory? Me dying. Well, almost dying. I mean, technically, I was dead for twenty-seven minutes, at least according to the paramedics and doctors.
See, I had gone down to the quarry with my brother and some of his friends. I was eight at the time, and to be invited to go along with the “big kids” was a heady thing.
Okay, fine. My mom told them they had to take me, but they weren’t supposed to let me know.
That’s not the point of the story, however. Still, between us, when your brother tells you that Mom said he had to take you and that you ruined his day by dying? That kind of sticks with you.
Anyway. The whole week had been hotter than hell—upper nineties, heat index topping a hundred, with no breeze at all. What made it worse was the humidity. Everyone complained their clothes stuck to them, and we all would have given anything for a bit of cool air. Those were the days you wanted to do nothing more than stretch out in front of the air conditioner and fantasize about being in the arctic.
Of course, those are also the times that drive Mom mad, like when we’re there, whining about how hot it is, and my brother announces he’s going swimming with his friends, and she tells him to take me along to the quarry with him.
Fine. I’m a little hostile over that memory, but in my defense, I died, so I think I have a right to be a tad grumpy.
There were a few old trees that stretched out over a pit of water. In the seventies, the place had been used to mine rocks that were crushed to use in gardens and the like. When the company that owned it shut down, it left a huge hole in the ground. Over time, it filled with water, which attracted kids from all over, wanting to swim. That was our destination for the day.
By the time we got there, all of our T-shirts had soaked with sweat. I distinctly remember looking at Cole Turner and seeing wisps of dark hair on his chest and wondering to myself what it would look like once he took his shirt off. I wasn’t sure why that thought flitted through my head, but it was gone just as quickly, because I saw Tim Jennesee sitting on a rock, taking off his shoes.
He turned and smiled at me, waving like a freak. I took off running. Tim had been my best friend forever—which at the time was probably a few months, but in my eight-year-old mind, that qualified as a really long time—and seeing him there was a surprise. Normally he preferred to stay inside and play on the computer, indulging in game worlds like the Sims. Later he graduated to MMORPGs like EverQuest, with the promise that one day he would be creating them instead of playing someone else’s.
I got to where he sat and took my spot at his side. He nudged me with his shoulder. “I didn’t know you were going to be here!”
“Ryan asked me to come along.” See? I thought my brother was all cool and stuff. Shows how much I knew.
“Really? My mom said I had to get out of the house. I figured I’d come swimming for a while. I tried to call, but—”
“We were already on our way here.”
I hadn’t thought to call him, and I felt bad… for about three seconds. I was with Tim and the day had gotten a thousand times better. His dark hair shone in the sun, and his brown eyes sparkled. Being with him was enough to make me smile, and having him there with me made the day perfect.
Okay, here’s where things go to shit, so you’ll have to indulge me a bit. I don’t often discuss my death with people, because they ask all kinds of inane questions, and I’m so over that shit.
There was a big tree that stretched out over the watery pit. Someone had climbed it, tied off a rope, then knotted it at the other end. See, the idea was to grab hold, push off, and soar out into the nothingness, then arc high in the sky before letting go and plunging into the water, sinking, then rising once again until you broke the surface, then rushed to have another turn.
Doesn’t that sound idyllic? Like a Norman Rockwell painting or something?
Yeah, you’d think that.
It was my turn. I’d hedged about it all day, because I hated the idea of being so high in the air and falling. Ryan openly mocked me, and his friends teased me to no end. When Tim got up and announced he was going to do it, well, that raised the bar right there. How could my best friend do it, while I was too chicken?
Wrapping his hands around the rope, Tim ran and leaped off the edge, soaring into the air with a loud cry. Then, as he reached the apex of the arc, he let go. For a moment everything stopped, as he rose a little higher, then hung in the air before he dropped like a stone, laughing all the way.
When he broke the surface of the water a few seconds later, my heart started beating again.
“So, nerdy Tim can do it, but little Scotty is too much of a baby.”
It’s funny how you don’t remember how much of an ass your brother was when you were a kid, isn’t it?
“I’m not a baby!”
“Then prove it, chicken.”
I stormed over to the rope and took hold of it. I glanced down into the murky pit, and my heart stuttered once more.
“Come on, Scott. It’s fun!”
Tim came jogging over, water sluicing down his chest, his hair matted to his forehead. Weirdly, that stray thought about Cole? Yeah, so over it. Now it was Tim that I was staring at.
I was going to make Tim proud of me. I didn’t understand why, but thinking of him running over and hugging me, telling me how great I’d done? It became the only thought in my head at the moment.
I turned back and set myself, ready to do it. One quick glance at Tim, who nodded at me, and I rushed to the edge, jumped, and flew.
It was amazing. One second gravity has been conquered, and you’re flying up, up, up. Then you remember that everyone is gravity’s bitch, and you’re jerked back down. I hit the water, flush with pride over having done it.
When I flapped my arms to go back to the surface, though, that was when shit got real.
I couldn’t move my foot. Something had wrapped around it and held me below the surface. In my mind, a shark had grabbed me and was dragging me down. I struggled, trying to swim up, and my lungs burned.
You have to know, at this time, my mind had refused to believe I was going to die. It kept screaming for me to fight, to do whatever the hell I had to in order to get back to the surface. And I fought as hard as I could. Only….
At one point, I thought I’d gotten free, and my struggles to swim back to the surface intensified. I pushed hard against the water, trying to get up, back into the sun, but then I knew I was still stuck, and I had no more breath in my lungs.
I remember opening my mouth to scream for Tim to help me, but the murky water rushed in, and I choked, which led to more water being drawn into my body. Everything sort of went hazy and then shifted to black.
Parker Williams began to write as a teen, but never showed his work to anyone. As he grew older, he drifted away from writing, but his love of the written word moved him to reading. A chance encounter with an author changed the course of his life as she encouraged him to never give up on a dream. With the help of some amazing friends, he rediscovered the joy of writing, thanks to a community of writers who have become his family.
Parker firmly believes in love, but is also of the opinion that anything worth having requires work and sacrifice (plus a little hurt and angst, too). The course of love is never a smooth one, and happily-ever-after always has a price tag.