I am so Excited!!! I was obsessed with this author when she was writing her demon trappers series, so when I saw her name, I didn’t care if it was a book about broccoli (I hate broccoli) I HAD TO HAVE IT! 🙂 Ps, it’s not about broccoli hahahahaha 🙂 So, now I need to show you all the goodies!
Tangled Souls Tour
Wiccan Gavenia Kingsgrave’s psychic gift, the ability to talk to the dead, comes with strings attached. As a Shepherd, she escorts them into the hereafter, but not all the souls want to cross over, and some can be downright vicious. When her latest case involves a heart-breaking hit-and-run victim, Gavenia is stressed to the max. The last thing she needs is a no-nonsense private detective on her tail, even if he is a handsome Irishman.
Former homicide detective Douglas O’Fallon possesses his own psychic gift, one he’s denied for years. Hired by a wealthy client to prove that Gavenia’s a con artist, he is skeptical of the witch’s claims she can speak to the dead. If he finds her gift is genuine, then he will be forced to accept his own. When their two cases intersect, opposites attract. But will they be able to set their differences aside long enough to outwit their foes – both the living and the dead?
In the midst of deep sorrow came a joyful giggle. A little boy, no more than four, gleefully captured raindrops sheeting off his parents’ black umbrella. Blissfully unaware of the solemnity of the occasion, he toyed with the water running through his chubby fingers, grinning in childish wonder. Douglas O’Fallon winked in response. He’d been about that age when his mother died. It had rained the day of her funeral, too. A parental hand tapped the child’s shoulder and the boy turned away, their moment of shared innocence interrupted.
As he watched the gray deluge shroud the mourners, O’Fallon thought of his grandmother. Now in her nineties, Gran claimed that when it rained, the angels wept. If that was true, copious celestial tears cascaded in unrelenting torrents. In many ways, O’Fallon found that reassuring. If the angelic host felt the need to acknowledge the loss of a single soul, even one as troubled as young Benjamin Callendar, every death had significance.
O’Fallon moved his gaze toward the funeral tent. It was packed with relatives, the family in the front row, as close as one could be to the hereafter without making the journey. The closed oak coffin lay draped in a blanket of flowers, a photograph of the deceased nestled among the blooms.
Despite the heavy rain, the resonant voice of Father Avery Elliot carried across the open ground. It was at odds with the voice O’Fallon knew from the squad room. Avery the homicide detective, Avery the priest—a man pulled in two directions. For twenty years after he quit his studies at the seminary, law enforcement had held him in thrall. Avery’s sudden departure from the force had stunned many, but not his partner. He’d had been a good homicide detective. He made a better priest.
“Over the course of the last few days, we’ve sat vigil for Benjamin and celebrated the funeral mass in his honor,” Avery said. “Now we return his body to the earth from which it came.” He paused and then continued in a thicker voice. “Each of us carries a divine spark deep within our breast. Benjamin’s spark glowed brighter than most and it will remain with us even as he dwells with the angels.”
As Avery made the sign of the cross, he intoned, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” He took a deep breath. “The family invites you to come forward and say farewell to their son, their brother, their beloved Benjamin.”
Mourners filed tentatively toward the coffin. One young girl carried a tiny stuffed penguin, her face glistening with tears as she placed it next to the photograph with a quaking hand. O’Fallon looked away, memories crowding him. He’d put a small toy in his mother’s coffin and a model airplane in his father’s. Too many times he’d sat in that front row.
As time passed, the mourners departed, taking with them their grief and tears. The rain continued, though at a slower pace, for even the angels could not grieve forever.
O’Fallon folded his umbrella and leaned it against a tent pole.
“Avery,” he said in a muted voice. His friend acknowledged his presence with a slight nod. The priest looked fit, his tanned face accented by graying sideburns and the white clerical collar.
“Thank you for coming,” Avery replied.
O’Fallon held his silence; his friend would talk when he was ready. As he waited, he studied the framed photograph of the deceased. Benjamin Callendar wore a reserved expression; he had soft, powder-blue eyes and dark-brown hair. A former altar boy, he’d hung himself on the eve of his twenty-first birthday.
The smell of damp, fresh-turned earth struck O’Fallon’s nose, followed by cigarette smoke. He hunted for the source of the latter and found two cemetery workers a short distance away, waiting in their truck. One smoked while the other tapped his hands on the steering wheel in time to a song on the radio.
Once the rain let up, Benjamin Callendar would go to ground.
“Did you ever meet Ben?” Avery asked, gesturing toward the photograph.
“No. I saw him at mass a couple of times. He seemed like a polite kid.”
“He was. Polite and overly sensitive.” The priest sat on a folding chair. “You read the police report?”
“It’s a straightforward suicide, from what I could tell. The only thing that seemed odd was he went downtown to do it. Was he in the habit of hanging around Skid Row?”
A quick shake of the head.
“This isn’t my usual sort of case,” O’Fallon added.
Avery studied him for a moment. A deep frown creased the priest’s forehead. “Ben’s rosary is missing. It was his great-grandmother’s, and the family desperately wants it found.”
“They’re hiring me just to find a rosary?” O’Fallon asked.
“Yes.” More hesitation, and then, “Actually, I’m hiring you.”
O’Fallon felt there was more. “Any PI can do that. Why me?”
“The family wants to know why Ben killed himself.”
“You’d be more likely to know that than I would.” Avery’s sudden pained expression caught O’Fallon’s notice. “You do know, don’t you?”
Avery nodded solemnly. “I heard it in confession.”
“Damn,” O’Fallon swore. Most wouldn’t curse in front of a priest, but he and Avery had too many years down the same road to worry about the minor infractions.
“I failed the boy, Doug. I didn’t see it coming. I never should have let him leave the church that day.”
“If you’re seeking absolution, you’d best go to the bishop. That’s not in my purview,” O’Fallon said bluntly.
The priest winced as if he’d been slapped, then surged to his feet in a swift motion. “I don’t expect absolution,” he growled. “And I don’t need your condescending tone, either.”
O’Fallon blinked in astonishment and backed away a couple steps. “Okay; I’m sorry. Just tell me what you want me to do,” he replied, unsettled by his friend’s unusual outburst.
Avery’s anger evaporated and he sank onto the chair. “Ben was having some serious difficulties.”
That seemed obvious, given that the boy had committed suicide, but O’Fallon held his tongue in deference to his friend’s grief. He reflexively reached for his pen and notebook, tugging them out of his suit-coat pocket. “That’s not much. Is that all you can give me?”
“That’s all. The rest I heard in the confessional.”
“And it’s off-limits,” O’Fallon said, scribbling a couple of notes. He looked up. “The police report didn’t mention a suicide note. Did he leave one with the family?” Avery shook his head. “Any way you can narrow this down for me?”
“Then what do you want, besides the rosary?”
There was a lengthy pause, as if the priest was weighing every word.
“I want to know if he was delusional. He believed something strange was happening to him, and it drove him to his death. That’s why I need your gift.”
“Is this one sanctioned by the church?” O’Fallon asked.
The priest shook his head. “The bishop doesn’t know about this, and I’d prefer it remain that way.”
O’Fallon examined his former partner’s face, hunting for clues as to why Avery was playing this so close to the vest, but no answers emerged. He thought to ask about his fee but decided against it: Avery would see that he was paid, one way or another. O’Fallon replaced the pen and notebook in his pocket and took his place near the head of the coffin, preparing himself.
Some called his psychic ability a gift. His gran called it a blessed curse.
“You’re blessed because the gift comes from God himself,” she’d said in her lilting Irish accent. “And you’re cursed because there are things that no man should ever see.”
Puzzled, he’d asked her, “But is it God or the devil who works through me when I have these visions? How do I know the difference?”
“You won’t,” she’d said, and made the sign of the cross.
Closing his eyes, O’Fallon placed his hand on the coffin, the wood cool and damp under his palm. The heady scent of roses enveloped him. A young man’s soft voice filled his mind, and he recognized the words, prayers particular to their faith. Slowly, an immense sense of sadness washed through him, smothering him like a thick cloud. He took a deep breath to steady himself.
Iron will had propelled Benjamin Callendar to take his life, as if he’d had no other choice. A prickle of unease seeped through O’Fallon’s palm.
Why? he asked. No answer came forth.
O’Fallon turned to face his old friend. “What if I find he wasn’t delusional?” he asked in a low voice.
Avery moved his dark eyes toward the casket and the gaping hole that awaited it. “Then may God help us both.”
* * *
Given the trendy Bel Air address, the man standing near the rain-streaked window was younger than Gavenia Kingsgrave had expected.
In the world of international finance, Gregory Alliford was a mere fledgling.
“Sir, it’s Miss Kingsgrave,” the mocha-hued housekeeper announced in a heavily accented voice. When her employer did not reply the domestic left the study, quietly closing the door. Alliford gave no indication that he’d heard her.
As Gavenia waited, her eyes lit upon a large photograph on the wall above the marble mantel. Framed in finest walnut, it was a family tableau—Alliford, his wife, and their son, Bradley. The silence tore at her, and Gavenia took a tentative step forward using her cane for support.
“Mr. Alliford?” she said in a lowered voice, not wishing to startle the man. He turned with an embarrassed expression, as if he’d just realized he had a visitor. His tanned face was unshaven, with dark circles under bloodshot eyes, his expensive shirt wrinkled. She stepped forward and they solemnly shook hands. His were cool to the touch. She smelled liquor on his breath, though it was just past eleven in the morning.
“Ms. Kingsgrave. Thank you for coming.” He gestured toward an expensive tan leather chair near the sofa. “Please make yourself comfortable.”
As she sat, she noticed another picture, on an end table—Gregory Alliford and his son playing with a small black puppy. The little boy’s smile was infectious.
“That was on his sixth birthday. I got him a dog,” Alliford explained. He hesitated and then looked down at his hands where they sat in his lap. “It was only two months ago. . . .”
Gavenia cleared her throat. “How can I help you?”
“I called because I don’t know what else to do. I thought of talking to our priest, but I don’t think he’d understand.”
“No doubt he can help you in other ways,” she replied gently.
Alliford shook his head. “No, I don’t think so.” He sighed. “I thought it was just me, but my housekeeper, she’s . . .” He trailed off.
“It happens sometimes.”
Alliford cleared his throat. “Janet refused to be here today. She’s staying with her mother in Palm Springs. We separated right after Bradley’s birthday, and it was hard on him.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. It usually works better if both parents are present.” Gavenia paused a moment and then shifted tone. “Please, tell me more about your son.”
She waited as the father returned to his post at the window, where raindrops pummeled against the glass with increasing intensity. A low growl of thunder echoed through the room, rattling the crystal in the wet bar.
Alliford began to shake, knotting the curtains in his fists, clutching the fabric until his knuckles bleached white.
“God help me, I don’t know what to do anymore,” he said, his voice quaking. Tears tumbled down his face as he struggled to maintain control. Gavenia rose from the chair, sensing his imminent collapse. “I can’t take it any longer. Promise you’ll help us.”
Alliford fell into her arms, weeping uncontrollably. As she held him, her eyes tracked to the little boy’s face in the picture above the mantel.
* * *
Gavenia placed her palm on the gaily painted nameplate that proudly proclaimed bradley’s room. She traced each letter with her index finger. Through the closed door she heard the characteristic sounds of a child at play. After a deep breath, she knocked and entered.
Gavenia’s eyes swept the space and found it typical for a child of Bradley’s age. The walls were festooned with clowns sporting big crimson noses, scrambling out of old jalopies and toting brightly colored umbrellas. A row of small teddy bears stood guard along a high shelf. Large paper stars hung from the ceiling on thin nylon threads, gently moving in the air above the twin bed.
“Bradley?” she called. The child was no longer playing, but curled up in a corner, his arms around a big brown teddy bear, observing her with wide, luminous eyes. With blond hair and brown eyes, Bradley was a carbon copy of his father. His jean cuffs were frayed, and one tennis shoe needed tying.
When he shrank backward as she approached, Gavenia maneuvered herself to the carpeted floor in an effort to appear less threatening. The movement made her wince at the discomfort in her left thigh. Placing the cane at her side, she tucked her long dress around her legs. All the while the child remained silent.
She closed her eyes and took a series of calming breaths. The faint scent of bubble gum caught her nose, and she smiled at that. When she opened her eyes, Bradley had not moved.
“I’m Gavenia.” He did not reply, but peered around her as if expecting someone else. “Do you know what I am?” He seemed to think for a time and then gave her a barely perceptible nod. “I’m here to help you.”
He straightened up and shouted, “I want Merlin!”
That puzzled her. Mr. Alliford hadn’t mentioned someone named by that name. Gavenia searched around the room, wondering if one of the stuffed animals was named after the legendary wizard and the little boy couldn’t see it from his place on the floor.
“Is he one of your bears?” she asked, pointing upward. The furry creatures were dressed in various outfits—one was a priest, another a ballplayer, a third an astronaut. She particularly liked that one. There didn’t appear to be a magician.
“Merlin!” the little boy called, his voice sharp and high-pitched, evidence of his growing agitation.
The answer came to her in a flash, and she sighed in relief. “He’s your dog.”
The little boy nodded and then sank even farther into the stuffed animal, as if he could take on its skin.
“I didn’t see him downstairs.”
“Mama doesn’t like him inside.”
“He chews stuff.”
Gavenia chuckled. The image of a black puppy came into her mind, one with a lolling pink tongue and boundless energy. She could see the little boy and the dog rolling in the grass, squeals of laughter coming from the youngster as they played together.
“You really like him, don’t you?”
The little boy loosened his grip on the bear and nodded.
“I’ll ask about him. I’m sure he wants to see you.”
“He isn’t like me, is he?”
Gavenia hesitated, caught off guard by the innocent question. She closed her eyes for a second and let the impressions engulf her. “No, he isn’t. Do you know what happened?”
The little boy nodded. “I got hurt.”
Her heart tightened in anguish.
Leave it to a child to make death sound so simple.
Gavenia took a shuddering breath and fought for control. She had to help this innocent soul understand that something better awaited him on the other side.
“It’s time for you to go home, to go see your grandmother.”
Bradley’s eyes widened. “Nana?”
“She is waiting for you,” Gavenia said in a reassuring tone.
The little boy thought and then shook his head.
“Your grandmother misses you,” she said.
“No!” he snapped, the force of his voice echoing in her mind. “I want to see Merlin!”
In the distance, beyond the misty veil, Gavenia could see Bradley’s grandmother waiting for him, but the boy was oblivious to her loving presence, too anchored in the temporal plane. He had to make the final journey of his own volition.
Gavenia had only one choice. “I will find Merlin, and then you can go be with your nana.”
The little boy blinked through fresh tears and nodded solemnly, as if they’d sealed a sacred pact. Then he gave the bear another intense hug and dissolved into nothingness, leaving Gavenia and the dancing clowns behind.
Well, I was obsessed with her young adult series, guess I’ll just have to be obsessed with her adult series too 🙂 I’m pretty excited about this one. You get lots from this book, lots of mystery, paranormal, a little romance with a side of fun and adventure! 🙂 I will say that it took a little bit in the beginning, but you have to read back grounds and settings and learn the characters you are reading about when a new book or series starts, so I didn’t mind at all. Then, there’s things happening that you forgot you were supposed to be doing something else over an hour ago 🙂 So, are you read for some fun?
Gavenia, aka Gav to me, is a nedium of sorts. She can see and speak to dead people. She helps them find their way to cross over to the “other” side when they get stuck here after death. It starts with a small boy who died getting stuck, and things get a little out of control in just a short time. I loved her character, as all she wants to do is be left alone from those skeptics so she can help those spirits who really need her. She has a very optimistic outlook on life and though she has some negative things going on, she tries not to let it bring her down.
On the other side is Doug O’Fallon, ex cop turned PI who is hired to track Gav. He has his own little gift that he refuses to acknowledge and wants nothing more that to devalue Gav so he doesn’t have to confront his own fears. With Gav being a proud wiccan and Doug being a proud Catholic, it’s taken a very interesting turn, without being a religious book. Doug and Gav have a real adventure ahead of them when things are getting crazy!!
The writing is excellent, as I expected, but I didn’t expect this story. It’s a fun paranormal romance that will have you thinking hard, and cheering harder. It was a great adventure, with some lovely twists, I just hope that even though this reads like a stand alone and ties up lovely, there’s a little room left to continue- AND I REALLY WANT MORE!!! I really hope this continues soon too! 4.5 PSYCHIC ASPIRING PAWS!
WELCOME! First, tell me a little about your book and why you wanted to write this particular story….
Most of it was the desire to tell the story about two psychics and how they adjust to those “gifts”. Also, since Gavenia and O’Fallon are a bit older than most romance hero and heroines, I thought it would be nice to show that people still find love in their 40’s and beyond.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
I just woke up one morning and started writing. I just had to. Kind of weird, but that’s how this all started.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not usually, at least when it comes to events in my own life as my day-to-day existence is pretty quiet compared to my characters. As to whether I’ve based any of my characters on real people, there are two folks in my Demon Trappers Series that fit the bill: Chris Jackson (a fellow author) and Ayden (a close personal friend). In Tangled Souls all the characters are out of my own imagination.
I LOVE that series! Now I’m going to have to reread it to see who those characters might resemble 🙂 How do you choose when/which characters die in your books?
I don’t. The story does. I’ll be writing along and then go “Uh oh,” and one of my favourite characters doesn’t make it to the next chapter. That’s always a shock for me (and my readers.)
LOL!! Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Elizabeth May (who is the cover model on my UK Demon Trappers books) just had a new book debut entitled The Falconer. I read an early version of this book and it rocked. She’s a very talented young lady.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
I admire a number of writers, including Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, Suzanne Johnson, Kevin Hearne and Anne Perry.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No. I’m really happy the way it fell out. Of course, I’ve had ten years to muss with the story so I better have gotten it right by this point. LOL
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Trying to make the next book better. When you’re a new writer, you usually make great strides with each story. At this stage of my career it’s more like baby steps, finessing this or that. It’s always a great challenge to top the last book I’ve written.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre? My followers love author’s opinions!
I’m currently reading Suzanne Johnson’s New Orleans Sentinel series. It’s urban fantasy and I’m loving it.
HEHEHE Don’t you LOVE her…. PS, Jake is mine! LOL Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
Since I published Tangled Souls myself, I hired a cover artist and gave her some basic notion of what Gavenia looked like and the overall story so she could come up with what is a truly hauntingly beautiful cover.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
Considering what I do my characters, even the minor ones, it’s best I just be me or I’d be in deep trouble. But if I had to choose a character in Tangled Souls, I think Viv (Gavenia’s friend) is cool. She just runs her magical supply business and is a nice lady. That’s good enough for me.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for reading my books, guys!!! You’re the best.
We love you right back!!!! Thank you so much for coming over and hanging out! You let me know, as you are always welcome over, if you ever want to stop on in!
Jana Oliver has the perfect job—she listens to the voices in her head and then writes their stories. Her latest creation, BRIAR ROSE, is a dark steampunk retelling of Sleeping Beauty, complete with Hoodoo, a vengeful Civil War ghost, and metal magic (Sept. 2013 Macmillan Children’s Books). In Jana’s young adult DEMON TRAPPERSSeries, Riley Blackthorne, Atlanta’s first girl Demon Trapper, takes on a host of Hellspawn and their diabolical masters. This award-winning series has spread across the globe, with editions in ten countries. Jana’s foray into time travel and alternate history resulted in the Time Rovers Series. Set in 1888 London, the series deftly blends time travel, shape-shifters and Jack the Ripper. The trilogy received twelve awards, including the Prism Award for Time Travel and the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense. When she’s not daydreaming, she can be found savoring a growing collection of single malt scotch and old books. Visitors are always welcome at her website: http://www.JanaOliver.com
Tangled Souls by Jana Oliver is now on tour!
Check out all the great stops and join the special International giveaway running here
and on each tour stop!
Tangled Souls Tour schedule:
a grand prize of an Anam Cara (Soul Friend) stainless steel cuff + a printed copy of Tangled Souls; 2 printed copies of Tangled Souls; 2 Ebook copies of Tangled Souls.
GO HERE TO ENTER!!!
I wish you all good luck in that giveaway! It’s a wonderful giveaway! I need to say thank you to Ms Oliver and the wonderful ladies at Dark World Books for all your awesomeness!! 🙂 Happy reading and later gators!