Monday, August 18, 2014

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Forget Me Not by Shawn Martin

UFI welcomes Shawn Martin Author of Forget Me Not. Thanks for Joining us!!

The Dark
Shawn Martin
An annoying question has followed me around most of my life: Are you afraid of the dark? To keep from seeming like a total wimp, I've always answered that haunting question with my head held high and a resounding No. But I'm not sure I was ever really honest with myself.

So, what is darkness? Some people say darkness is the absence of light, when there are no photons reflecting off an object and the eyeball has nothing to see. Wham, bam... you have darkness. I say darkness isn't an absence. Darkness is a presence. Darkness is a thing.

Darkness looms. It is the color of night. It shades the storm clouds. Darkness is the blanket the monster wears in your closet. It's the quiet in the night. It sets the stage for your dreams and nightmares. Darkness makes your heart race faster, especially when the wind blows.

Darkness is indeed a thing, robbing you of one of your five senses, leaving you vulnerable. Vulnerable to the predators who see and sense you as prey. Sure, you can rely on and even hone the other four senses. But let's face it, a heightened sense of smell or taste doesn't even come close to making up for your loss of sight. You're vulnerable and scared, and it's all because of the dark. The mind believes that physical beasts or ethereal demons are chasing your body, hungering for your flesh and soul. So yeah, the darkness scares you. At least it should. Until you surrender yourself to the night, accept your fate, and embrace mortality.

In Chapter 1 of Forget Me Not, Aileen McCormick admits she'd once been afraid of the dark, but she can't remember exactly when that was. Between you (the reader) and me (the author), it was before she had fallen in love with Addison Wake, a phantom who is both shadow and flesh, who has been cursed for eternity. Living a little closer to the darkness makes a person fear it less and less, I suppose. At least that was the case for Aileen.

By the way, when night comes and darkness storms in like the four horsemen, the stars do little to comfort a tortured soul. Pity, really.

So, as the sun goes down tonight and the darkness wraps its arms around you, ask yourself if you are afraid. Or have you surrendered yourself to the night, accepted your fate, and embraced mortality. Aileen did, but it will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Shawn Martin calls Springfield, Missouri, home. After graduating from Missouri State University with majors in Economics and Political Science, he bounced around the Midwest only to end up right where he started.

His day (and night) job is being a firefighter. Aside from rescuing cats in trees and removing burnt pot roasts from ovens, he spends his time finding the hardest way to do the simplest of things. The rest of his time is spent weaving words into another installment in the Shadowflesh Series. Visit for a look into the author and his work.

Find Shawn and his books

Forget Me Not 
Shadow Flesh #2
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Ever since Addison came back to Aileen, her have been brighter and life is sweeter. Until a mysterious man slips a spellbinding cameo around her neck, a cameo that strangles memories. Aileen is left with not the faintest notion who Addison is.

Addison, a three hundred year old fugitive from the netherworld taking the form of Shadowflesh, recognizes the cameo and the curse cast upon his unsuspecting love. But he knows breaking the curse, which may bring back her memories, will cost Aileen her life. To love her means to let her go.

But Aileen can't take her eyes off the stranger who keeps ignoring her. The stranger who pushes her into the arms of another.

Geoff, who has waited oh, so long for Aileen, tries to sweep her off her feet at the Christmas masquerade ball. But a serendipitous moment lands Aileen back together with Addison. One passionate kiss later, she knows beyond a shadow of doubt that she loves Addison, the icy stranger with smoky blue eyes.

Remembering comes at too high a price though. Aileen must run for her life with the curse only a breath away.

Excerpt From 
 Chapter 1 
I couldn’t remember the last time I had been afraid of the dark. It seemed like a lifetime ago, when shadows and demons consumed me at night, when the end of the world was but a breath away. That was all before I met Addison.

From the very moment I literally fell into his arms, I had fallen hopelessly in love with him. Hopelessly, carelessly, eternally in love with him. And he loved me back.

Addison Wake had become my entire life, my reason for living. I breathed in his love and exhaled his name. My heart beat a passionate rhythm to which only he marched. He danced into my dreams, stealing me away into the stars at the witching hour. Since he had come back to me we had been inseparable.

The last amber leaves of autumn waved goodbye to the worst and best year of my life. The year I lost my home, my friends, everything I thought I needed to live. The year I discovered a grandmother I hardly knew. The year I found new friends. The year I fell in love.

The calendar gloated that Christmas was less than a month away, but who cared? I looked forward to the first day of winter. Or rather the longest night of the year. Ever since finding out Santa was just a figment of my parents’ imagination, I didn’t have much use for the yuletide. But I had always loved that long and wonderful night. Addison had already set a date for that night, promising to take me to an air show in the day and onto the rooftop at night to teach me the constellations.

It was kind of embarrassing, but I had never really learned the stars. Sure, I could spot the Big Dipper and hardly ever mistook the moon for a comet. But that was the extent of my celestial knowledge. Most of my time had been spent looking down rather than up, and I regretted that. Just one more regret in the long list I had been working on in my seventeen years. But all that was changing, and Addison was helping me one regret at a time.

To say I appreciated everything he had done for me would be an understatement. He taught me how to drive a stick. He trusted me with his deepest, darkest secrets. He saved my life. He fell in love with me, maybe even more than I had fallen in love with him. If that was possible.

Mere words could do no justice for how I felt about Addison. But that didn’t stop me from trying to tell him, or show him. I poured my heart out into haiku almost daily. I swirled his initials into the thighs of my worn jeans in three colors of permanent ink. I learned to say “I love you” in twenty-one languages.

My most recent declaration of love cost me an entire paycheck. I purchased a star. Not the Hollywood kind starlets walked across in stilettos. An actual star, in outer space, where no man has boldly gone before.

Bonnie Fay and Nicola had completely different reactions when I confessed what I had done. Bonnie Fay wrinkled her nose and squinted at me, forcing the kind of smile that told me I was lame. “Sounds kinda hokey,” she had said in her southern drawl. “Sugar, if you’re gonna tease him with something he can’t have, don’t let it be a star.”

Nicola, the polar opposite to everything calm and conforming, had a completely different reaction. She ached a sigh, crossed her hands over her heart, and fell backwards onto my bed. “That is just so…” She took a breath and clicked the heals of her combat boots. I prayed she’d say something other than “hokey.” “So… romantic.” Then she wiped away a hint of her sentimentality before it had the chance to smear her dark eye make-up. She had spent too long applying deadly Goth to have it ruined by a girly tear.

Yes, I bought my boyfriend a star. It was a little star – I didn’t make that much money – cleverly hidden in the Scorpius constellation. The website informed me the little speck could be seen near the horizon using a telescope the size of a small skyscraper. But the heavenly body, now and forever known as “Addison Wake,” was indeed there. It was my gift to him, a little piece of eternity that would smile down upon us every night until the stars all went out.

Okay, it was a little hokey.

But what could I have given to Addison Wake? He wasn’t exactly like the other boys at Redcliff High. To be perfectly clear, he was nothing at all like anyone on this mortal world. Addison was a phantom, a fugitive from the netherworld, casually walking among the living as shadowflesh. He willed his dark, mysterious ether into the tall, lean embodiment of perfection. An immortal soul, yet vulnerable shadowflesh.

And no, I didn’t need my head examined… or maybe I did.

Addison was completely wrong for me, completely wrong for any living, breathing girl who had a fondness for staying alive. The more I knew we shouldn’t be together, the more I was drawn to him. Like a knot, the harder a person tried to pull it apart the tighter it got.

To show my love for Addison, I had to think of something as unique, something as ageless as he. Haiku hadn’t cut it. And it wasn’t like I could burn him a CD of my favorite music and expect it to mean anything in a year, or a decade, or a century. But a star, it would be forever.

And when that long and wonderful night finally came and Addison showed me the constellations, I would surprise him with his star, pointing to the part of the sky where the tiny speck was supposed to be.

I had no idea how he would react. Maybe he’d shrug or look at me as if I had lost my mind. Or maybe he’d arch one eyebrow higher than the other over his smoky blue eyes and kiss me. It would be cold, December nights get that way, so he would undoubtedly drape his leather flight jacket over my shoulders and wrap me in his strong arms, and I would kiss him back like I had never kissed him before, like I would never kiss him again. And perhaps that would be the night. The night.

I no longer feared the darkness. As a matter of fact, I looked forward it. The longest, darkest night of the year waited for me, and that should have been my happily ever after. But fate can be a funny, cruel thing.

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