Black Rook (Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1) by Kelly Meade : Spotlight, Chapter 1 Excerpt, Author Interview & Giveaway

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Book Blurb & Info

Black Rook
Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1
By Kelly Meade

She never saw this coming…

Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.

Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn’t sure he’s capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn’t expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father’s real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.

Cornerstone Run is a paranormal romance trilogy, set in a world of hidden loup garou, their mystical Magi enemies, and the occasional vampire. The small, reclusive town of Cornerstone, Pennsylvania, houses an almost entirely loup garou population—one of only thirteen towns around the country that serve as a sanctuary for their nonhuman inhabitants, where the loup garou are free to be themselves. When a neighboring sanctuary town is attacked by a vicious, unknown enemy, the three sons of Cornerstone’s Alpha must stand together to protect their people—and the women who steal their hearts.

Available July 15th from Intermix
ISBN 9780698165441

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Cornerstone Run Trilogy

Black Rook: July 15, 2014

Gray Bishop: October 21, 2014

White Knight: January 1, 2015

Book Excerpt

Chapter 1

Brynn Atwood observed the entrance to McQueen’s Auction House, as she had done for the past few minutes while she gathered the courage she needed to leave the safety of her rental car. A steady stream of vehicles entered the parking lot and ejected browsers and buyers, all eager to view today’s auction and visit with acquaintances seen only during these once-a-week sales. Not Brynn. She was certainly the only person who’d showed up today intending to prevent a murder.

Walking alone into a town populated with and run by loup garou wasn’t the smartest thing she had ever done in her twenty-four years, but it certainly counted as the bravest. If she managed to achieve her goal, even her father would have to admit to her courage and to the validity of her visions. He didn’t trust in her seer ability, nor did he believe that her vision of him being murdered by a loup garou would come true.

“Surely you know I would never put myself into a situation that would result in such a calamitous outcome,” her father, Archimedes Atwood, had said the previous day. And as with every chilly encounter between them in the last few months, he’d spoken with the impatience of a strict teacher correcting a belligerent child. “Perhaps some of your visions have come true on occasion, but do not use me to distract attention from your own disgrace. I have no more time for this nonsense.”

Her visions were always nonsense.

Archimedes was a Prime Magus in the Congress of Magi, one of four, as well as a powerful practitioner of elemental magic. He’d never hidden his disappointment over Brynn’s uncontrollable precognitive powers—powers he had yet to acknowledge were real—or her inability to one day claim his spot on the Congress. She was too weak, a failure as a Magus. She couldn’t even manage to keep her job as a Congress tutor for more than two years. All she had left were her infrequent visions, in whatever time or manner they chose to come.

And worse yet, he had all but accused her of fabricating this vision and the need to save him in order to make up for the shame she’d brought to their name when she was fired. She didn’t want the vision to be true. She wanted her father alive for many years to come.

She would figure out how to save him on her own. She would prove her value.

Brynn climbed out of her car and surveyed the quickly filling parking lot. In any new situation, her best first step was to observe her surroundings, study others, and discover the way to best fit in. She had never before attended a public auction of any sort; she knew only that antiques and other goods were bid upon and purchased, sometimes at outrageous prices. Some patrons walked into the building carrying their own boxes, clearly expecting to purchase items. Others entered carrying only cups of coffee or soda, or small children.

The variety of patrons surprised her: young and old, scruffy and well-kempt, couples and singles and large groups, and families. Some drove up with pickups and vans; some parked expensive cars in the narrow, crowded lot. Everyone seemed at ease.

I must stick out like a smoking vampire in daylight.

Standing there like a fool would only garner her unwanted attention. Subtlety was the route to accomplishing her task. Brynn forced her feet to carry her forward, past other vehicles, toward the main entrance. Everyone seemed to be entering the large, barnlike building through those glass double doors. A few people came back to the parking lot from the side of the building, which indicated a back entrance/exit, as well. She’d tried to find blueprints of the layout before her arrival, but getting any sort of in-depth information on Cornerstone, Pennsylvania, was next to impossible.

The town had a small population of six hundred forty-one residents, and Brynn could guess that about ten percent were human. Cornerstone was founded by a run of loup garou nearly two centuries ago, and was one of a dozen similar safe havens around the country. Much like the Congress of Magi and a few surviving nests of vampires, loup garou runs required secrecy and anonymity to survive in the modern world. The weekly auctions at McQueen’s brought outside income to the town without the interference of tourism or industry, and it kept them from appearing too insular to the outside world.

Her father stubbornly refused to have any faith in her abilities, but Brynn’s visions of the future came true without fail, and the most recent had led her here to McQueen’s Auction House. Led her to the loup garou she’d seen standing over her father’s broken body. The man her careful research told her was named Rook McQueen.

The boy, she corrected.

As a general rule, her people did not trust technology. The Magi trusted tradition and magic above all else. Growing up an only child with few friends, Brynn spent hundreds of hours on her computer—a gift awarded by her father on her twelfth birthday, as a means to keep her mind occupied beyond the limited resources of their home’s physical library. Only weeks before, she had spoken to him of her first vision. In the middle of reading a book, she had seen a clear image of a baby bird falling from a nest. It disturbed her so much that she’d fled into the backyard in time to see it happen. She scooped the tiny robin up and climbed the tree where she spotted the nest, returning the lost baby to its siblings.

She was so proud when she told her father about it that night—not only the bird, but the premonition. Her very first display of a Magus power. “Manifestations of a child’s overactive imagination,” he had scoffed. “Do not bother me with these small things, daughter.”

The computer became her gateway to the outside world, a link to knowledge far beyond the borders of her home in Chestnut Hill. And like the young sleuths in the slim novels she’d loved so much, Brynn taught herself how to research and investigate—skills that had served her well these last few days as she raced to identify her father’s killer.

One of three sons of Thomas McQueen, the auction house’s owner, Rook was two years younger than herself, a recent college graduate, and the former lead singer of a popular local rock band—not exactly the portrait of a killer, loup garou or otherwise. And yet the brief glimpse of him in her vision, skin marked with tattoos, human teeth bared, and hands covered in her father’s blood, showed him capable of violence, as all loup garou inevitably were.

She would not allow her father to become Rook McQueen’s victim. Archimedes Atwood was too important, not only to herself but to the Congress of Magi. The Magi were small in number, and they relied on their leaders to protect them from their enemies, including the volatile, deadly loup garou. And as an elemental Magi, he was among the most powerful. Few others shared his ability to manipulate fire. Their people needed him, so Brynn needed to protect him. She had to find a way to prevent her father’s murder before it occurred.

The biggest blank in her research was Rook’s relationship to the run’s Alpha. Brynn had no access to the Congress’s files on the loup garou, and she couldn’t directly ask her father for the name of Cornerstone’s Alpha—her father had no idea she’d identified his would-be assassin, or that she was in central Pennsylvania doing reconnaissance on said assassin, instead of at the family home wallowing in her professional disgrace.

A random loup killing her father carried a very different meaning than a loup from within the higher ranks of the run’s Alpha family—the latter could easily be considered an act of war against the Congress of Magi. A foolishly begun war, as the Magi and loup had maintained an uneasy peace for the last sixty years.

Concentrate, foolish girl, before you get yourself killed. This isn’t one of your novels, this is real.

Brynn smoothed her palms down the front of her green t-shirt and tugged at the hem. She stopped, recognizing the nervous gesture, a habit from the two years she’d worked as a Congress tutor, which required skirts and blouses and high heels. The t-shirt, denim shorts, and Keds combination she’d chosen for today’s mission had been partly for comfort in the August heat and partly to blend in. The final piece of her costume was the Magus pendant hidden behind the t-shirt, which would act as a sensory mirror and hide her natural scent—any loup sniffing her for signs of “other” would smell a common human female, instead of a Magus. The auction attracted dozens of human buyers, but the people who ran it and worked there were still loup. The pendant was her only real protection against their sense of smell.

The stolen pendant, you fool. Plucking it from her father’s office had nearly given her fits, and her father would be apoplectic when he discovered it was missing—yet another reason to finish her task and return home posthaste. Maybe, just maybe, she could prevent this vision from coming true. She had to try.

Nerves twisted her stomach into a tight ball that nearly squeezed the air from her lungs. The thump of music and drone of voices greeted her as Brynn pushed open the door and stepped inside McQueen’s Auction House.

Avesta, protect me, your loyal daughter.

Plea to the Magi’s patron sent, Brynn forced her anxiety into the background and paid closer attention to her surroundings. The entrance was spacious, with a short hallway and a brightly painted “Restrooms” sign on her immediate right. On the left was a bulletin board covered in layers of posters and flyers advertising yard sales and on-site auctions. Past it was a roped-off stairwell going up to parts unknown. A handsome young man in cowboy boots and a matching leather hat leaned near the stairwell, sipping from a Styrofoam cup, as though he lived solely to hold up that particular wall.

His intent gaze landed on her, and she didn’t have to search for the copper flecks in his brown eyes to know he was loup garou. Brynn’s insides froze, but she forced out a calm, flirty smile. She knew she was attractive enough to gather a few second glances, and he was what she might hesitantly call beautiful—if a man could be considered so—with a slim nose and perfectly symmetrical features. However beautiful, this man was also her enemy. His body was fit, impeccably toned, and even at ease he thrummed with the power of his caged beast. He also wasn’t Rook McQueen, so although he was quite pleasant to look at, he did not hold her interest.

He tilted his head in a friendly gesture, then winked. Brynn blushed and ducked her head, a reaction she did not have to fake. Male attention of any sort nowadays left her insides squirrely, a sense of bitter panic residing where her confidence had once dwelled. She also needed to remain inconspicuous while here, and flirting with a local cowboy was not the way to stay alive.

Brynn followed an elderly couple out into the main room. She slipped over to her left, out of the flow of traffic, and absorbed the scene of orderly chaos. An elevated pair of cash registers stood near the entrance, with lines on each side. The customers in line traded personal information for a large index card with a number written in black marker. Cards in hand, the customers went to one of many places in the cavernous room.

Dozens of tables of merchandise were set up along the perimeter of the room, three rows deep, and at the center of it all was a dais, two stools, and a microphone. Directly behind the dais was a long row of antique furniture and four glass cases. Rows of mismatched chairs covered the rest of the floor space, facing the dais. At least half the chairs were marked by either sitting bodies or empty boxes waiting for their owners. In the far back of the room, close to Brynn’s position, was a food counter advertising sandwiches and chips and cold sodas, and it produced the bitter scent of over-brewed coffee. Opposite Brynn was another set of propped-open double doors, and a steady stream of people moved in and out of a second room that seemed crowded with boxes.

Someone jostled past on a waft of coffee-scented air, alerting Brynn to the competing odors in the room. The food counter fought with the tang of human body odor, as well as the musty stink of old paper and leather. A damp smell, like rain, hung over everything else, reminding her that even though she was surrounded by human beings, nonhumans also mingled. Every loup in the room posed a threat to her safety.

Brynn walked along the back wall, out of the heavier flow of people, alert for her prey. She spotted three other men who set off her loup alarms. Each wore a black t-shirt and jeans, just like the man outside in the cowboy boots.

McQueen employees. They must be.

One of them lingered near the dais, chatting with an older woman in a purple caftan, giving her his full attention while still managing to observe the room. He had a strong facial resemblance to the loup in the entrance, and a stronger resemblance to the photo she’d found of Rook. Each could easily be one of Rook’s two brothers. Brynn swallowed hard, mouth dry. If two of the three McQueen brothers worked here, maybe Rook did, as well. He could appear at any moment.

Your brother may one day murder my father.

The thought saddened her. Rook wasn’t just a potential murderer. He was also a brother and a son, and his family would miss him if he were gone. They would also fight to protect him the moment they considered her a threat.

You can’t think about that now, foolish girl.

Brynn inhaled a steadying breath. She palmed her right hand in her left, the fingers of her left hand smoothing over the gold band of the ring she wore on her right index finger. The top of the ring appeared to be a piece of costume jewelry, a blue gem the size of a nickel. A blue gem filled with a paralytic poison, developed decades ago to specifically target the loup garou’s nervous system. One tap of the ring would send a dose of poison down the ring’s band to her hand, and one firm handshake with any loup would put enough on his skin to kill him within an hour. No one would suspect such an innocuous item to be a deadly weapon, which was exactly the reason she’d stolen it from her father’s study.

As a small child, she had once overheard him boasting to another Magus of using the ring to drug an unsuspecting loup garou, and they were none the wiser. She had thought this made her father particularly clever, and the moment had stayed with her. Brynn Atwood might walk alone into a loup sanctuary town, but she wouldn’t walk in unarmed.

She had a single dose of the antidote hidden in her car in case she accidentally poisoned someone—no sense in leaving that to chance. She might be willing to kill to protect her father and she would defend herself if attacked, but she would not hurt an innocent loup.

If loup could be considered innocent. Her father would scoff at the notion.

She had considered her plan a dozen different ways before engaging. She didn’t rush blindly ahead. She rarely undertook any sort of action without having first clearly considered the potential outcomes. The only action guaranteeing her vision never came true was her removing Rook from the equation. Murdering him first. That was, however, a last resort action that almost guaranteed her own death at loup garou hands, as well as bringing the full power of her father’s anger down on their run.

She preferred the plan where she observed, gathered information, possibly discovered who the run Alpha was so she could introduce herself, and then took steps to prevent her vision that left all involved happy and healthy—her father especially.

Awareness prickled up her spine just as a male voice said, “You look a bit lost, miss.”

Brynn turned, not terribly surprised to find the cowboy from the entrance watching her. The cup was gone, but he still wore the silly leather hat, which cast a shadow over his eyes. It didn’t hide his beauty, though.


“I was supposed to meet someone here, but I don’t see them yet,” she said, the rehearsed lie falling easily from her lips.

“That explains it, then.” His tone was light, his voice lyrical and calming, but it still held a hint of danger. And challenge.

“Explains what?”

“Why you looked like you were casing the place.”

She laughed without forcing it, finding actual humor in the comment. “Do you often have problems with armed robbers staging stickups here?”

“No, but we’ve caught a few thieves over the years, trying to break in and steal items before they go up for sale.”

“Are you saying I look like a thief?”

“You just looked a little lost, that’s all. This your first time here?”

“It’s that obvious?”

He lifted his left shoulder in a shrug. “My father owns the place, and I’ve worked for him since I was a kid. I know all of the regulars, and most of the semi-regulars. New faces are easy to spot, especially faces as pretty as yours.”

Two things solidified for Brynn then: this man was definitely one of the McQueen brothers, and he was definitely flirting with her. Inbred disgust at the loup’s attention seized her, and she barely managed to stall a physical reaction.

He jumped, then his hand went to his jeans pocket. Brynn’s rising alarm calmed when he whipped out a vibrating cell phone and checked a message. “Damn,” he said as he tucked the phone away again. “Work calls.”

“Don’t let me keep you.”

“I hope your friend shows soon. In the meantime, take a look around. We’ve got a lot of great stuff today.”

“Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

He eased past her and walked straight up the center aisle of chairs to the dais, directly to the other man she suspected of being a McQueen. She watched them from the corner of her eye, but the other man gestured at the furniture behind the dais. They didn’t seem to be talking about her. She’d just had a conversation with her target’s brother and no one suspected a thing.

Don’t get cocky. Things could still go badly in a moment’s time.

She pushed away the voice of reason. A little more confident now, Brynn gave herself permission to look around. It was her first auction, after all. She wandered to the other side of the room, as much to make a show of belonging as to check out some of the items for sale. She’d always assumed auctions were full of dirty antiques and shiny glass baubles, but the table nearest her was covered with books. Boxes and boxes of books—hardcovers, paperbacks, textbooks, in all genres and on all subjects. The reams of knowledge in those boxes made her chest ache for the satisfaction she used to get from teaching.

Until last month, when she was fired from her tutor position and found herself with zero standing among her people, and with no hope for her future.

Maybe after this you’ll find a new calling as a Congress investigator.

Smiling at the ridiculous notion, she picked up a thick copy of the annotated works of Homer and smoothed back the torn corner of its dust jacket. Nostalgia for school and learning settled heavily in her chest, so heavily it tried to force up tears. She’d briefly considered returning to school and earning a new degree, since history and education hadn’t served her very well. Briefly. If the Alpha reacted badly to her presence in his town, or Rook took issue with her allegations, she’d never get the chance to reconsider her education more thoroughly.

She’d never get the chance to do a lot of things. Her father once said that loup justice was swift and merciless.

She put the book down and pinched the bridge of her nose, damming the tears and steeling her nerves. She would not cry, not here in public. Not when she needed to accomplish a job that required her full attention.

A flash of movement caught her attention, and Brynn turned her head toward the entrance. Her gaze drifted up. Above the entrance, probably accessible from that roped-off staircase, was a large window and a room behind. Two men stood at the window, talking and gesturing, in what looked like an office. Probably the manager’s office, which gave him a bird’s-eye view of his business.

The shorter of the two men captured and held her attention. Hints of a tattoo peeked out from beneath the sleeve of his black t-shirt. Metal glinted in his right earlobe, and another tattoo—or possibly the same—crept down his ear to his neck and disappeared into the collar of his shirt.

Even in profile, Brynn knew him. Fear and rage collided in a storm of cold and heat, and she clenched her hands into tight fists.

Rook McQueen. Her father’s future killer.

Blood rushed hot in her veins, and her heart thumped harder. He wasn’t just a face in a vision any longer. He was real.

“Ma’am?” The strange male voice alarmed Brynn into spinning around too fast. Her elbow clipped the voice owner in the chest and he grunted. Brynn’s stomach bottomed out. The man from the front of the room, her second McQueen brother suspect, frowned darkly, and she saw her own death there.

“I’m so sorry,” Brynn said. “Are you all right?”

“Fine. I’m sorry to bother you, but do you drive a white Dodge Neon?”

She blinked at the odd question about her rental car. “Yes, I do.”

“Someone reported that they backed into your car. You may want to come with me and exchange insurance information.”

“Oh for Av—God’s sake.” Brynn mentally slapped herself for the near slip. Using “Avesta’s sake” in the presence of a loup garou was as obvious as wearing a t-shirt that said “Yes, I’m a Magus Spy. Kill Me.”

“Small lot, so it happens once in a while,” the man said. Up close, she better saw the resemblance to the cowboy-wannabe in his narrow nose and hooded eyes. However, the slight roundness in his cheekbones and higher forehead showed a more pronounced similarity to Rook. And he was definitely older than the other two. “The auction doesn’t start for another forty minutes, if you’re worried about missing something.”

“No, it’s fine,” Brynn said, even though it wasn’t. The coincidence unnerved her, but she had no choice except to see how this played out.

He stepped to the side. “After you.”

She walked to the end of the row of chairs and made her way back toward the auction house entrance, keenly aware of her shadow’s presence, and that she’d just turned her back on one of her people’s greatest enemies.


Hi Kelly,

Thank you so much for sitting down with Toot's for an interview. If you don't mind, I have some questions for you about your new Trilogy, Cornerstone Run, your new book, Black Rook, and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.

So first off, your newest book is part of your Trilogy, Cornerstone Run. Let's talk about the Trilogy as a whole....

In your own words, what is the Cornerstone Run Trilogy about? 

The one word answer to that question is "family." But since that's kind of vague, I'll give you the multi-word answer, too. Cornerstone Run is about three loup garou brothers and the women who steal their hearts. Bishop, Knight and Rook McQueen are the sons of their town's Alpha, and each of them has a unique position within the run (aka the pack). Their positions and responsibilities often come into direct conflict with the woman their beast (their animal side) has claimed to be his mate. And falling in love while dealing with a new, deadly enemy is never easy….

What inspired the Trilogy? 

I knew I wanted to stay within the paranormal realm, and I wanted to write an enclosed trilogy with a definite ending. I also wanted to play a bit more with romance, since it's rarely the active focus of my other books (written as Kelly Meding). A couple of years ago I'd gone to an auction with my dad up in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and my mind began to wander quite a lot. I started wondering what it would be like if a family of werewolves owned the auction house, instead of humans. That idea stayed in the back of my mind for a long time, and when I was searching for a new project idea, it all fell together. So in my series, the McQueens own and run an auction house, which is the main source of outside income for their small town of Cornerstone, PA.

What are some of the elements of the world you created? 

In the world of Cornerstone Run, wolf shifters are called loup garou, and they live in small, enclosed sanctuary towns with their own kind to protect their secret from humans. Only thirteen sanctuary towns exist across the country, with small pockets of feral loup (loup who refuse to live by the rules of the Alphas and are ostracized) who occasionally make trouble. Vampires are nearly extinct and their greatest enemy is a secret society of magic users called Magi. Humans don't know loup, vampires and Magi exist, and all of the species work hard to make sure they never find out.

If you had to pick one thing, what is your favorite thing about the world you’ve created for your Trilogy? 

My favorite thing is that a loup garou's strength and role in the run is determined by the color of his or her beast. Black Wolves are about twenty-five percent of the population. They are the largest, strongest, and fiercest of all the Wolves. They are the protectors and enforcers, and most of the time, the Alpha is a Black Wolf. Gray Wolves are the largest slice of the population. They are the common Wolves, still strong and fierce fighters, but less so than the Black. White Wolves are the rarest, making up roughly one in five hundred births. White Wolves are the empaths of the run. Every run has at least one, and they possess the unique ability to influence the emotions of other loup. The existence of White Wolves is what keeps most sanctuary towns sane and generally free from outbursts of violence. As you can probably guess by the trilogy titles (Black Rook, Gray Bishop, White Knight) each of the McQueen brothers is a different colored Wolf.

Can you tell us a bit about the newest book in the Trilogy, Black Rook? 

Black Rook begins the trilogy and sets the stage for the trilogy arc. Brynn Atwood is a Magus with an ineffective precognitive ability and very little status among the Magi people. When she has a vision of a loup garou man standing over her father's bloody corpse, she identifies him as Rook McQueen, son of the Cornerstone Alpha. She infiltrates the town, determined to stop her father's murder, but she's found out and Rook convinces her that he's no murderer. Neither of them expect the sparks that fly between them—or the unexpected attack by a new, deadly enemy that puts Rook's family directly in harm's way.

How did you come up with the title of your newest book in the Trilogy and can you tell us its significance?

As I mentioned above, the significance comes from Rook's name and his Wolf color. He's a protector and, despite being the youngest of three, by loup law he is allowed to become Alpha over his eldest brother Bishop (who is Gray). It's a choice that Rook must wrestle with for the entire novel—especially once he meets Brynn. His people will never accept an Alpha who is in love with a Magus.

How does the new book, Black Rook, fit into the Trilogy? 

It begins the trilogy, and it lays the foundation for events that will carry across all three books.
What genre would you say Black Rook is and what sets your book apart for fans of the genre? 

It's paranormal romance. Hopefully my books are set apart because I've done something a little bit different with wolf shifters. They aren't the chest-beating, woman-claiming, super-jealous Alpha male type that is more often seen in werewolves.

What was your favorite scene to write in Black Rook? 

There are so many! I truly loved writing any scenes between the brothers. They are each so different, and they play off each other in a variety of ways. And this books was unusual for me in that the main characters have a stable parent figure in their father, Alpha Thomas McQueen. Most of the time the brothers are very formal with their father, because he is also their Alpha. But one of my favorite scenes happens about halfway through the novel. Something bad has happened, and the family is dealing with the consequences. There is a moment where Rook and Knight are alone with their father, and everything is brought down to an extremely intimate, personal level. I really loved writing it.

What was the hardest scene to write for Black Rook? 

The sex scene (come on, this is paranormal romance, that isn't a spoiler). They are always difficult for me. They need to be sensual and emotional, without sounding like a technical manual and that can be hard to manage.

What is your favorite line or quote from Black Rook? 

I'm not telling you who says it, but it's near the climax of the novel, and it's a big moment for the character.

" "She'll hold this town hostage and drive us insane with fear, never knowing who's going to die next. She'll pick people off and leave them in pieces as a warning until the entire run hates me for hiding behind them. I can't live with that, not when I can save all of you. I'm just one man." "


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated and what made you decide to pursue it as a career? 

I've been interested in writing since I was a teenager. I've always loved creating stories, and for a while I wanted to pursue a career in film. I took film and screenwriting courses in college, and it was when a produced screenwriter told me that he believed I had the talent to make it as a writer that I seriously considered it as a career path. In college I rediscovered my love of prose writing through fanfiction, so I shifted my focus back to novels.

What inspires you to put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard? 

My sanity. Despite the stress that often comes with the business aspect of publishing, the creative aspect of writing is my stress relief. It's my happy place. Plus, you know, rent and stuff.

What are some of the elements in/of your writing process? 

I don’t know that I really have a process. I sit down, sometimes I reread a bit of what I wrote during the previous session, and then I go. I don't have rituals or special writing places. Butt-In-Chair, Fingers-On-Keyboard works for me.

Are you a Plotter or a Panster? 

I'm a little bit of both. I will often outline a few chapters ahead, write those chapters, then figure out where to go next. Sometimes I have an idea of how it will end, sometimes not. With Cornerstone Run, however, I had all three books plotted about before I put the trilogy on submission. Part of the reason was that I wanted editors to know that I knew what I was doing and where the story was going. The rest of the reason was that I wanted to know that I knew what I was doing and where the story was going. Some points have changed as I've moved into writing the third book, but the overall arc has remained intact.

Have you released anything under a different pen name, and if so, is there any difference between them? 

Yes, I have two urban fantasy series (Dreg City and MetaWars), as well as a couple of anthology stories published as Kelly Meding. The main difference is that my Meding stories are much more specifically UF, while Meade writes more squarely in the realm of paranormal romance (HEA's for the win!).

What's next for you? 

Honestly? I'm not entirely sure. Meade doesn't have anything new lined up once the third book is completed. As Meding, I hope to write and self-publish the sixth Dreg City book, as well as a new UF world that folks got a tease of in the Carniepunk anthology.

Is there anything you’d like to add or say to your fans? 

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for reading my books. There really isn't much else to say.

Personal questions......

Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but out of all your amazing characters, who is your favorite and why?

Oh good lord….um…for Kelly Meade, the answer is definitely Knight McQueen. He bears so much for so many people, and his heart is so huge. Definitely Knight. For Kelly Meding, it's so much harder to choose. Evy Stone (Dreg City) will always have a huge part of my heart. She's been through so much, and she's never lost who she is at her core.

Are there any of your stories or characters that hold a special place in your heart? 

My novel Tempest meant a lot to me. The hero, Ethan Swift, is a favorite character of mine, and I was so happy to be able to tell his story and give him someone to love. And there really aren't enough gay superhero novels out there.

If the book or Trilogy had to have a theme song, what would it be? 

"You Are My Joy" Reindeer Section

Lastly, What 5 things do fans not know about you and 5 they don't know about the Trilogy? 

Five Things About Me: 
1) My favorite chocolate is white chocolate, even though it's not really chocolate. 
2) I haven't read Harry Potter or Twilight. 
3) I still have a few boxes of Cadbury's Crème Eggs stashed away from Easter. 
4) I named my cat Anya (known on Twitter at Kitteh) after Anya/Anyanka from "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer." 
5) I can play the "M*A*S*H" TV show theme song on the piano (and that's all I can play on the piano).

Five Things About My Trilogy:
1) I was watching a movie with a main character named Rook, and I thought that was a cool name, so I started thinking of other chess pieces that made cool names. Thus Rook, Knight and Bishop were born. 
2) Chess-themed names needed an appropriate last name, thus McQueen was born. 
3) The layout of the McQueen Auction House is modeled after that same auction house in Lebanon, PA. 
4) Dr. Mike is a man in this series, but he's named after the main character from "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman." 
5) Brynn Atwood is modeled after Spanish actress Andrea Duro.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking time to answer some questions. Congratulations on the new book and I can't wait for everyone to read it!

Author Info

Raised on a steady diet of Star Wars, Freddy Krueger and “Fear Street” novels, Kelly Meade developed a love for all things paranormal at a very young age. The stealthy adolescent theft of a tattered paperback from her grandmother’s collection of Harlequins sparked an interest in romance that has continued to this day.

Black Rook is the first novel in her Cornerstone Run series, a paranormal romance trilogy from Berkley Intermix that also includes Gray Bishop and White Knight. It follows three loup garou brothers who will do anything to protect their town, their family, and the secret of their existence—and maybe fall in love in the process.

Writing as Kelly Meding, Three Days to Dead is the first book in her Dreg City urban fantasy series. The series follows Evangeline Stone, a paranormal hunter who is resurrected into the body of a stranger and has only three days to solve her own murder and stop a war between the city’s goblins and vampires. Additional books in the series, As Lie the Dead, Another Kind of Dead, and Wrong Side of Dead, are available in both digital format and mass market paperback from Bantam. Book five, Requiem for the Dead, is available digitally through all platforms.

Trance begins the story of the grown-up children of the world’s slaughtered superheroes who receive their superpowers back after a mysterious fifteen-year absence, and who now face not only a fearful public, but also a vengeful villain who wants all of them dead. Trance and Changeling are available now in both digital format and mass market paperback from Pocket Books. Tempest and Chimera are available in digital format only via Pocket Star. All four MetaWars books can also be purchased as a digital bundle.



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Tour Info

Tour Schedule

July 01 - [Insert Clever Quip Here]

July 01 - Pure Textuality

July 01 - SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews

July 02 - Rage, Sex, and Teddy Bears

July 02 - Wild Wordy Women

July 03 - Booked and Loaded

July 04 - MM Jaye Writes

July 04 - Toot's Book Reviews

July 07 - Geeks in High School

July 08 - Rhi Reading

July 09 - The Book Nympho

July 10 - Angel's Guilty Pleasures

July 11 - Mad Hatter Reads

July 11 - Wendy Dawn's Wicked World

July 14 - Romancing the Dark Side

July 14 - Wicked Women Book Blog

July 15 - I Smell Sheep

July 15 - Rantings of a Reading Addict

July 16 - Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks

July 17 - Rabid Reads

July 18 - BookSkater

July 18 - Addicted 2 Heroines

July 21 - Paranormal Haven

July 22 – All Things Urban Fantasy

July 22 - Gizmo's Reviews

July 22 - Totally Addicted to Reading

July 23 - Deal Sharing Aunt

July 24 - Book Lovin' Mamas

July 25 - Between Dreams and Reality

July 28 - I Feel the Need, the Need to Read

July 28 - Platypire Reviews

July 29 - Indie Author How-To

July 30 - WTF Are You Reading?

July 30 - Jami Gray's Blog

July 31 - Tez Says

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