Title: Milayna’s Angel
Series: The Milayna Series, Book 2
Author: Michelle K. Pickett
Published: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: YAm Paranormal Romance
Content Warning: Adult language and violence
Age Recommendation: 16+
~ Synopsis ~
Now that the battle with Hell’s angel, Azazel, has ended, you’d think eighteen-year-old Milayna’s life would take a turn for the better. After all, what could be worse than having the angel of Hell trying to steal your soul? Plenty. Abaddon, the demon of destruction, is angry that Azazel failed to convert Milayna before her demi-angel powers matured. Now she’s untouchable… or so she thinks. It seems even in Hell, there are loopholes.
Not only is her life in danger, but her love life is crumbling, too. Just when Milayna and fellow demi-angel Chay get comfortable on their little cloud of bliss, Xavier comes to town. He’s one angel that’s as hot as the very embers of Hell, and he has his sights set on Milayna.
Now she has the demon of destruction out to kill her, Xavier out to steal her heart, and she still has to take final exams before she can graduate high school.
Sometimes life sucks, even if you are half angel.
~ About the Author ~
Michelle is the bestselling author of the young adult novel “PODs.” She was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, but now lives in a sleepy suburb outside Houston with her extremely supportive husband, three school-aged children, a 125 pound “lap dog,” and a very snooty cat.
Red Bull or Monster Khaos are her coffee of choice, and she can’t write without peanut butter M&Ms and a hoodie. A hopeful romantic; she loves a swoon-worthy ending that will give her butterflies for days. She writes across genres in the young adult and new adult age groups. She loves to hear from her readers.
Michelle signed her new young adult contemporary novel— Unspeakable, with Clean Teen Publishing in 2014.
Michelle is joining us today to talk about her writing and her new novel!
1) Describe your relationship with a good book.
I have a love/hate relationship with my favorite books. I love them because they are just, so awesome. But, at the same time, I hate them, for two reasons. First, they ruin me for other books. I judge all the books I read against my favorites. And second, I hate them because they sit on my books shelf (or Kindle) and call to me. I usually read my top five books once a year, or so. So not only do I judge books based against my favorites… my favorites take up my time, leaving me a small window to read other things.
Now, if you asked my kids to answer this question, they would have told you I’m nutso about books. Which, they’re probably right on some level. I do have rules: Don’t bend the corners of a page… use a bookmark, Don’t bend the spine… it breaks it… don’t just toss a book aside… put it in the bookcase so it doesn’t get dirty or have a glass of Kool-Aid dumped on it… and so it goes.
2) When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of
I’ve always written, even as a child. But I never finished anything (with the exception of the story I wrote about Fred Flintstone when I was six or seven). I really started getting serious about my writing in College. I completed my first novel in 2010. It is titled “Concilium” and is an adult urban fantasy. It was published in 2011 by MuseItUp Publishing. I’m pretty proud of that.
3) Please describe your work ethic as an author.
You know, I’ve answered this question, then erased my answer, wrote another, and then erased that one. I could tell you about what hours I keep, my time-management, how I outline, and so on. And maybe that’s what this question is meant to ask. But when I read it, I immediately thought of one thing: It doesn’t matter how I work, or where. What matters is I use my own ideas, my own words, and my own moral compass.
4) How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?
I am so incredibly blessed to have a family that not only supports my writing, but will help alleviate day to day chores to free up my time to write. I’m a stay at home mom/writer. Which translates into I’m a mom who writes whenever I can find a second. But my kids are old enough to be (mostly) self-sufficient. I just need to be around to make sure they don’t glue each other to the toilet seats or draw a mustache on someone’s face while they sleep.
So my mom/work duties are fairly balanced. But, at the end of the day, writing is always second to my family. I try not to work after four pm. My kids are getting home from school then, we have homework to do, friends will be over, dinner needs to be cooked, and all the other fun stuff that comes with a household with four kids. But sometimes work runs into family duties, and my family always steps up and helps. Like tonight, my daughter cooked dinner so I could finish up something I was working on (and she didn’t want what I was planning to cook—ha-ha).
5) Why did you write this book?
I wanted to write an angel story, and I wanted her to have some sort of physic ability. I also wanted to write a book that featured a strong heroine. Milayna isn’t perfect. In fact, when she found out what she was and what her job entailed, she had a bit of a bratty spell. But I think this made her real. I mean, she’d just had her whole world turned upside down, most adults would be cranky about that. But, if fit in the third criteria I had for this book, a character that has real feelings. She didn’t wake up with her new powers and just shrug, unconcerned. No, Milayna got a tad upset.
So, I wanted to write an angel, who had physic abilities, and a strong heroine that shows real feelings. And so, Milayna was born.
6) What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?
Honestly, I do better when I don’t write from experience. LOL! My life is so incredibly boring. There’s no way I could get enough good information to even begin to write a book. Occasionally my kids will do or say something that will spark an idea, or end up in a book, but mostly I write solely from my overly active imagination.
7) What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?
I hope I’m still writing, and it’d be awesome if people actually wanted to read what I write. I try not to think into the future when it comes to my job. It’s an industry that changes over night. So I try to do the best job I can—in the now. Anything that happens in my future as an author is golden. But, I wouldn’t mind landing on the USA Today or NYT bestsellers list.
In my life, if you were to take away the “author” variable, you’d only find family left. In five years, our son will be nineteen, our twins fifteen, and our oldest twenty-nine (OH MY GOSH!), and Larry and I will have been married thirty-two years. I can’t even wrap my mind around that. I feel old just reading it! LOL! If we are all happy, healthy, and loved… my life will be perfect.
8) Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.
I’m just as comfortable with a group of live people as I am with my group of fictional characters.
Thank you for hosting me today! I enjoyed being here!
~ Excerpt ~
He smiled and leaned back. Putting the car into drive, he pulled slowly out of the parking lot. “You wanna get a milkshake?”
“You have to ask?”
His lips twitched. “I guess not.”
Chay’s uncle owned a small ice cream shop in town. According to Chay, he had the best milkshakes in South Bay. According to Uncle Stewart, he had the best milkshakes in the entire state of Michigan. I agreed with them both.
“Hey, you two! The usual?” Uncle asked when we walked into the small shop, the bells jingling above us.
“Yes, please.” I hopped on a stool at the counter.
“Two chocolate milkshakes, extra whipped cream, and three cherries… because I love ya,” Uncle said with a wink.
“We love you, too, Uncle Stewart.” I smiled. He was a nice man and happened to be angel. According to him, we were all family—angels and demi-angels. I guess we were.
The chimes tinkled over the door when two women walked in. When I made eye contact with one woman, a tall, willowy redhead, an image of her face flashed behind my eyes, followed by piercing screams. The sound of screaming and the sight of her pale face disappeared as soon as we lost eye contact.
“That’s new,” I mumbled.
“What?” Chay’s voice startled me, and I flinched. I hadn’t realized I’d said anything out loud.
“Um, not sure yet.” I got up and walked behind the counter. Uncle was just walking to the front from the storage area in the back of the store. “Can I do it?”
“Wait on them? Sure, but why?” Uncle looked at the women over my shoulder. “They friends of yours?”
“No… I just… I’m not sure really. I can’t explain it.”
“Darlin’, there isn’t much in our lives that can be explained. Go on before they change their minds and go to Dairy Queen instead.”
I laughed and walked to the women waiting to order. Chay caught my eye, raising a brow in question. I shrugged. I had no idea what I was doing. I just had the urge to wait on the women. I was betting it had something to do with the mini-vision I had when they walked in. Once a vision started, it took on a life of its own. There was very little I, or any other demi-angel, could do to fight it. When we were meant to step in, we had the overpowering urge to do so. It was almost as if our actions weren’t our own any longer. We were at the mercy of our visions.
The pretty redhead looked up, and I stumbled backward. Her face, mangled and distorted, like I was seeing her through a broken circus mirror, flashed over and over again in my mind. The images of her grotesquely misshapen face bounced through my vision, keeping time with the unending screams that filled my ears.
The screech of a chair against the tile floor drew her attention, and she broke eye contact with me to look over her shoulder.
I saw Chay walk toward the back of the shop. He pushed through the swinging door and rounded the corner to stand beside me. “I’ll take care of this. Why don’t you help Uncle? I heard him call you.”
“Oh, sure, thanks.” I smiled at the ladies, searching out the redhead’s green eyes. As soon as our gazes met, the image of her face sprang to life in my brain, her head whipping side to side violently. Her mouth opened and closed, but this time, no sound came. The vision was silent, just a jumble of disjointed images.
Taking a big step backward, I turned away. I sagged with my back to the wall as soon as I rounded the corner.
I jumped at the sound of Uncle’s voice. “Yes.”
“The redhead.” I peeked around the corner.
“I can’t tell yet.”
Nodding, he stood beside me. “Yeah, that’s frustrating, not being able to force the vision to give us the info we need.” He sighed and scratched the back of his head. “Can’t force it though.”
There was nothing I could do but wait for it to finish telling me what I needed to know to do my job—protect the human.
I listened as Chay took their orders. One ordered a vanilla cone.
How boring. A whole ice cream shop full of sweet treats and she picks vanilla? Wait, focus, that’s not important now. The vision. What is it telling me?
The second lady, her voice soft and melodious, ordered a sundae. It was the redheaded woman. As soon as she started speaking, the vision smashed through my consciousness.
Her face shook violently from side to side to up and down. The screaming was back. It wasn’t the redheaded woman screaming, though.
It was the woman with her that screamed. The redhead’s face, misshapen and pale, whipped around, her hair flowing wildly around her head. Then it stopped. The screaming quieted, and the movement of the grossly misshapen head stilled. For a brief second, I thought the vision was over… until I saw her lying on the gleaming tile floor of the ice cream shop. Her face was deathly pale, her hair and lips stark red against her unnaturally white skin. But it wasn’t hair. I struggled to see. It was as though I was looking down at her from the ceiling, but the floor sank farther and farther from me every second that ticked by. I was running out of time.
“Would you like cherries on your sundae?” I heard Chay ask.
Cherries! It’s not hair; it’s long, intertwining lines of cherries surrounding her!
I grabbed a hand towel and turned the corner. “I’m so sorry,” I said, leaning over the toppings station, the hand towel covering the full bin of cherries. “We’re out of cherries.”
“I thought I saw some?” the woman said.
“Oh, you must have seen these.” I picked the bin of strawberries up and angled it toward her. “We ran out of cherries yesterday.” I lowered my voice. “I was supposed to get more but it completely slipped my mind. Please don’t tell my boss. I really need this job,” I whispered.
She smiled. “You know, you’re right, it was the strawberries I saw. No cherries for me, thank you. I’ll have extra strawberries, though.” She winked at me.
The next vision was one of her sitting at a table by the front window of the shop, eating her sundae topped with extra strawberries and talking with her friend. Slowly, it dissolved from view.
Keeping the towel over the bin of cherries, I lifted it and carried it to the back of the shop. I set it down on the metal prep table that ran the length of the room, the metal bin clanging against the tabletop. One hand on either side of the bin of cherries, my arms stretched out in front of me, I bowed my head and closed my eyes, taking deep breaths to calm my racing heart.
“Laid it on a little thick there, don’t cha think? ‘Please don’t tell my boss or he might fire me,’” Uncle mimicked in a high-pitched voice.
I smiled, not opening my eyes. “I had to make sure she didn’t fuss over the disappearing cherries. And I don’t sound like that.” I laughed.
“Tsk, you did good, Milayna.” He patted my shoulder.
“What was with the cherries?” Chay murmured close to my ear, his breath moving my hair and tickling my neck.
“She would have choked on them,” I told him.
“You okay?” Chay pulled me into his arms.
“I’m good. Remind me to order strawberries from now on, though.”
I jumped at Uncle’s roar of laughter. His round belly jiggled in time with his chortles, making him look like Santa Claus. If Santa were an angel. He wasn’t.
That night, the hobgoblins returned. They stared at me through the kitchen window while I loaded dishes into the dishwasher. When I finished, I wiped my hands on a dishcloth and walked outside.
“What?” I snapped.
“He’s here.” Friendly’s usual bubbly behavior was subdued.
“The one who will kill you,” Scarface said with a deformed smile.
~ Giveaway ~