Paranormal YA Fantasy
For Kaeden Parish, life in Solace has always followed certain rules—everything makes sense, everything can be planned for, and everything is as it seems. Unfortunately, the secret harbored by his gorgeous, albeit guarded girlfriend is about to shatter all of that.
After a successful attack on his life opens his eyes to a world of war, shadows, and supernatural creatures—a world he didn’t plan for—Kaeden finds himself resembling the sort of monster he has always feared. As he desperately struggles to resist a new temptation, danger draws ever nearer, threatening the ones he loves most. A prophecy tells of a final battle and great destruction, and Kaeden must decide which side he is on, a choice that could mean the end of the world.
In Book 1 of the Solace Series, P.K. Gallagher pulls readers into a realm where good and evil are at war, and the outcome of it all rests on one young man’s decision to either go and live…or stay and die.
This is where the story of Parish begins.
Despite writing stories that take place almost exclusively in New England, speculative young adult fiction author P. K. Gallagher has lived in the suburbs of the south her entire life. It is to this that she attributes her love of the fantastic and the supernatural—writing such things was her only escape from the monotony of Suburbia. Gallagher graduated from Florida A&M University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a fervent desire to never set foot inside a newsroom again.
She currently lives in Atlanta and divides her time between working a day job, finishing her works in progress, and perfecting her plans for world domination.
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P.K.Gallagher – Cerberus Excerpt #7: Salvation
Luke didn’t have a heart anymore, but if he did, he was certain it would be ready to explode from exertion as he pushed himself as fast as he could without the aid of a fully functioning sympathetic nervous system to release helpful hormones like adrenaline and norepinephrine.
The derelict buildings and cracked walls of the old business district flew past him, but only slightly faster than they had when he’d run as a human. It was only thanks to his superior knowledge of this area, with its stale overpowering odor and concealed-by-rubble walkways, that the others had not yet overtaken him with their flight and superior speed.
He could hear them, though, hear the beating of their wings in the night air, the thundering of their claws and shoes on pavement, the chorus of their enraged screams for blood; he could hear it all like it was right behind him. He was usually grateful that Salvation left him some of the positive aspects of being a dryyd like the hearing and night vision, but with his adrenal gland inhibited and his ears registering nothing but the sounds of his impending doom, he couldn’t help but feel that it was currently suppressing all the wrong things.
He could smell them now, and though the previous night’s clash had diminished their numbers considerably, it was like being chased by a thunderstorm, and he knew that this one would leave nothing of Luke Gardner in its wake. Salvation kept the terror from consuming him, but he could feel it clawing for purchase in his psyche. He ignored it. It wouldn’t do for him to let brain activity triggered by emotion override the effects of the drug. A homicidal rage was not conducive to escape.
If he could just find—There!
About twenty yards ahead was the manhole he was looking for. As long as he could make it there, he’d be alright. He knew those sewers well, having used them for months to get from the east side of town to the west side of town when it was too dangerous to go above ground. The putrid water would help hide his scent. He could lose them in the labyrinth. He might even have time to call the vampires for help again. Maybe someone would answer this time. He just had to get there.
A screech sounded above him, louder than he’d anticipated. He looked up to see a lone dryyd coming at him from a different direction than the others. They must be sounding an alarm like last night, he thought, distantly worried. Joy.
He dove forward as it bomb-rushed him, only just able to evade the claws aimed at his head. Its momentum carried it into the ground, and it hit the pavement hard, rolling for a few moments before it could regain its footing. Despite the required recovery time, its reaction time was faster than Luke’s, and he’d not gone a few yards before she’d righted herself.
“Sarah!” he said, recognizing the dryyd. “Sarah, please.”
“Keep my name out of your mouth, traitor!” she hissed, her white eyes filled with loathing as she sprang at him. He managed to evade her swat at his head, and the blow caught his shoulder. He was bleeding, but the pain was distant at best thanks to Salvation.
“Sarah, they’re trying to help us. They helped me.”
“Lies!” she screamed, running at him. He tried to dodge but wasn’t fast enough, hitting the ground hard as she tackled him. Her fingers wrapped tightly around his throat, and while he didn’t need to breathe, it felt like if she increased the pressure of her hands any more, she would only have to twist his head sideways to remove it completely. “You’re more than just a traitor,” she spat. “You’re a fool, too.”
“S-Sarah… Sarah, please…” he struggled to say, pawing at her with arms not nearly strong enough to throw her off. The sound of him saying her name only seemed to anger her further, and she squeezed harder, threatening to crush his trachea altogether. A yell tried to tear its way out of his throat from the pain, but it died beneath Sarah’s fist.
His hand scrabbled against his side, trying to find his pocket and the small plastic case therein. Finding it, he clumsily pulled it out and opened it, grabbing the needle inside. Then, just as his tendons began to give way, he stabbed the needle into her neck, injecting the full dose.
She shrieked, but the sound died just a second later as she tumbled off of him, hitting the ground with a heavy thud. Luke scrambled away from her to run the last few yards to the manhole without looking back. He didn’t need to watch her skin go from sapphire to gray or see her twitching and foaming at the mouth as he knew she must be. That dose of Salvation was much too high for a dryyd who’d never had it. Having been at the receiving end of a dose that was only slightly too high, he could only guess how terrifying what she was about to go through would be. He didn’t think it would kill her, though.
Arriving at his destination, he yanked the covering off of the hole and dropped down inside, the rancid perfume smelling sweetly like safety.
He landed on one of the walkways suspended above the water, but immediately jumped into the murky knee-high liquid. It was hardly sanitary and would slow him down, but he needed to use all the tricks he could to evade the dryyds who were hot on his heels. If he could just put some distance between them and himself, he was sure he could lose them long enough for the vampires to come for him.
He had only taken his third turn however when he heard them. A loud splashing sound was repeated over and over as dryyd after dryyd leapt in after him. The terror was scratching at the barrier created by Salvation again; he hadn’t covered nearly enough ground yet.
What’s your story? How did you get into writing?
Even before I was a writer, I was a storyteller. It wasn’t always a good thing because it would occasionally manifest itself in the form of lying. I would lie for no reason other than that I didn’t think the truth was interesting enough. Eventually, I found other outlets. I loved playing pretend as a child and when no one was around, I pretended by myself, writing out the adventures I wished I was having. As I got older and read more and wrote more, my stories got better and better, and… Well, here I am.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I have a friend whom I love to death—he’s awesome, and I treasure every minute we spend together. That said, he is quite possible the least supportive of my writing of all the people I know. Seriously, Darth Vader would find his lack of faith disturbing. My friend has made it no secret that he thinks I’m going to end up poor and working as an elementary school English teacher, he is quick to reel off some statistical data that suggests my book will fail, and he is all for my getting a degree in a tech-related field and writing only as a hobby.
My advice to aspiring authors is to stalwartly ignore people like this. If you think writing is worth it, then it is. If you’re willing to put in the effort to get your book in the hands of readers, then do. This is your life, your dream, and no one can tell you what to do with either. Tell naysayers, “Thanks for the input, but I want to give this a shot anyway,” or, if you don’t particularly like the person, a “butt out” will work, too.
Just don’t give up on writing because of something someone else has said because I can tell you now, if you are truly a writer at heart, then missing out on this—this process, this opportunity, this experience of having people read your work—will be the biggest regret of your life. It’s just not worth it.
What has been the most challenging part of publishing or marketing your book?
I’d have to say the IRL legwork. I’m a pretty introverted person, and even though I think Cerberus is good and that a lot of people will like it, I always feel like one of those door-to-door insurance salespeople when I ask people to read my book. The thing is, most people don’t mind and are genuinely interested once I get around to telling them about it, but getting to that point takes getting out of my comfort zone, which was very hard at first.
What has been your favorite part?
Probably this tour, actually. Despite being an introvert, I love talking to people about my work, and even more than that, I like it when they actually care to listen. It’s great having that, and this tour creates a forum where I can reach out to readers without feeling like one of those people who knock on your door and ask if you have a few minutes to talk about the Lord, Jesus Christ (not that I mind those people; they’re as sweet as can be, bless their hearts).
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Christopher Paolini
What gave you the idea for your current work?
This piece started off as an exercise in character development (Kaeden’s) and grew from there. I had this guy for whom everything was just going wrong, and I found myself wondering why. And as I worked on him more and more, I got to thinking about the different ways people react to stress and the places they place blame when things don’t go their way. I started thinking about how we get caught up in our own petty problems that we miss the big ones that threaten everyone, and eventually, I got this: Cerberus.
If you could be any character in the book, which one would you be?
Oh wow, that’s a tough one, mostly because I put all my characters through hell (occasionally literally), and I really wouldn’t want to be in any of their shoes. I guess I’d want to be Kaeden’s little sister Natalie. She’s smart, resourceful, fiercely devoted to her family, and even though she’s human, she doesn’t let that stop her from trying to do what she feels is right. She’s a fun character, and I look forward to showing her off a little more in Receptica.
What other books have you written and/or are working on for the future?
I’ve only written a single full-length novel other than Cerberus, and it’s pretty awful (governments giving teenagers guns for no adequately justified reason is one of many problems with it), so it won’t be seeing the light of day any time soon. However, I’m currently working on Receptica, the sequel to Cerberus and a book called Quoth the Raven, the start of another arc in the Solace series. These should be much better.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
What’s your favorite supernatural creature?
Oh, I’ve got to go with vampires there. There’s just this suaveness to them that I love, and you can do so much with them in terms of examining humanity and the line between good and evil.