Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Touched by Death" by T. L. Martin

Touched by Death
by T. L. Martin

Touched by Death by T. L. Martin

T. L. Martin's Touched by Death is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

What if Death was more tempting than you had ever imagined?
With Grams’s recent passing and a boyfriend who cares more about his next drink than her, Lou Adaire only wants to run. To start over somewhere new - maybe in a town where her family has history.
But when a storm sends Lou’s truck plunging into Tuttle Creek Lake, she discovers exactly what it’s like to fight for your life. To gasp for air only to have your lungs fill with icy water. To die.
What comes next changes everything.
Dark eyes. Consuming presence.
Death. As vague as a dream yet as intense as the lightning flashing above her still heart.
Everything about him calls out to her, tugging at her with the warm vibration of his pull. He’s supposed to take her; they both know it. She wants him to.
When she wakes in the hospital in a new town, she can’t forget what she saw ... That impossible sensation of him breathing life back into her, a strong beat playing in her chest and a flutter running down her spine.
Trying to move on with her life in a foreign place is hard enough, but when he comes back for more - his burning touch against her skin, his consuming presence weaving in and out of her life, and his own scars running far deeper than hers - Lou begins to realize there’s more to Death, and to the sleepy Kansas town, than she ever expected to find.
Lou lived. But what if she’s not the only one in need of saving?
Note to readers: This book contains some profanity, sex, and some scenes featuring child abuse.

My sweater chafes my shoulder blade, and I wince as it irritates the raw, tender skin. I hadn’t thought much about the injury since leaving the hospital, having had other things to focus on—or focus on avoiding—but now the memory resurfaces in my mind: rain smacking against the windshield, trees and darkness spinning around me, the booming crack of my window breaking, and shards of glass flying at me.
I pull my sweater off. Eyes closed, I reach an arm across my chest and over my shoulder, tracing the tips of my fingers along the thick, three-inch cut that hasn’t quite scarred yet. It’s smooth beneath the stitches. Too smooth, and it feels foreign; a piece of my body I don’t recognize. I’ve always thought scars were meant to represent strength; all this one does is remind me that I shouldn’t be alive right now.
That I’m lost.
My eyelids flutter open, and my breath catches at the sudden touch of strong, warm fingers moving over my own. A slow, gentle stroke glides over the wound, but it’s not from me. It can’t be. My hand is stuck, frozen in place over my shoulder blade as though not daring to move. The mirror before me proves I’m alone in the bathroom, and yet, I feel it again, the same presence I felt several nights ago. Heat radiates behind my body as though someone is standing right there.
Another stroke caresses the wound, and it’s even lighter this time, like a feather brushing over me. The feeling of skin against skin is as real as anything. I can almost hear my heartbeat pounding within my chest. The fingers move past my wound, never breaking contact with my skin, and slowly trail upward, toward my neck. Though the texture feels strong and almost rough, the touch itself is impossibly gentle, treating me like something fragile.
No matter how loud my mind screams to fight it, my muscles are relaxing like jelly under the heavy sensation. My uplifted arm drops helplessly to my side. The warm touch strokes the side of my neck, wandering up further still until it’s almost in my hair. It’s light enough to send a shiver to my toes, and my eyelids start to close on their own, my head rolling slightly forward.
The presence behind me inches closer, and I hear breaths again. Just like the other night, they’re deep and controlled, right by my ear.
I have no idea what’s happening to me. Half of me is struck with a pang of fear, unease over the impossible experience. Yet the other half can’t help but be soothed by the calming tingles running through the length of me. There’s a trust I can’t explain, like a gentle, unspoken lullaby, and I know I’m safe. The heat, the masculine touch, the warm breaths soft as a whisper that rise and fall at the nape of my neck. I don’t want to think at all right now. I just want to feel.
The caress slides back down the right side of my neck, almost skimming along my collarbone, when it stops. Draws back. I hear a hitch in the breathing, a tremble for a fleeting moment, the smallest hint of the effort it takes to pull back. Then the touch returns, but only to my scar, traveling down the length of it with incredible slowness, taking its time. As though savoring every moment of contact with me, in a way I’ve never experienced. A sigh pours from my lips, and when my head falls back, it’s caught by the solid warmth behind me. It’s real enough that I could swear I’m pressed up against the presence right now, a presence that sure as hell feels like a man—tall, strong, sturdy. The feeling is so vivid I find myself thinking in terms of him instead of it. 
A shake breaks his steady breathing again, another warm tremble in my ear, and I feel the tightness of his body rise and fall with each breath.
I’m letting myself go, relaxing every part of me until the only thing keeping me upright is his body, and as I do, the hard curves of muscle tense against my back.
Something in the air changes, and the presence behind me wavers. It’s completely solid one moment, and in the next it’s fluid, as though nothing more than a strong breeze props me up. Soon it’s not even a breeze, just a puff of air, and I’m grabbing the edge of the counter with both hands to keep from tumbling backward.
My legs wobble, struggling to support the rest of me. When I catch sight of my reflection now, my face is flushed. I let out a loud exhale when I remember how to breathe and command myself to get a grip. I’m still feeling like a sloshy puddle when I slip my sweater back on over my head and drag myself to the front door of my room, unlocking it and yanking it open.
I need fresh air like a drug right now, and I can’t stumble down the stairs fast enough. I hear Claire’s bubbly greeting when I fly past the front desk, but I don’t stop until I’m standing on the sidewalk, bending forward with my hands on my knees and soaking up the crisp winter breeze.
What the hell is happening? This can’t just be in my head. I know I’ve been a little off since Grams’s passing, but there’s no way I’d be able to dream up something so freaking real.
It was here. He was here.
Whoever he is.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"This book ruined me ... the plot extraordinary ... I was left shocked and surprised all the way through ... beautiful and heart-wrenching all at the same time ... This is a paranormal romance that will be with me for a while." ~ Author Samantha Armstrong
"Touched by Death was so much more than I ever expected ... It was so beautifully written, that I was sucked completely into the story from page one ... mysterious, slightly angsty, and sometimes just devastatingly beautiful ... with some of the most captivating writing I've read." ~ Author Danielle Lori
"... pulling you in with a mixture of stellar description and a vocal character who is not only relatable but also hilarious ... The mystery in this story unfolds flawlessly ... the star of this book is definitely the romance ... an amazing romance that has become one of my favorite stories. If you love mystery and stomach butterflies, this book is for you. If you love a good story, this book is for you." ~ Author Sarah Collingwood

Interview With the Author
T. L. Martin joins me today to discuss her new book, Touched by Death.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
There’s some sensitive content (and explicit content), so I’d recommend it to readers 18+.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I saw this movie called In Your Eyes on Netflix (I love Netflix), and there was something that really struck me about the connection the two main characters had. Is was both surreal and addictive. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
During this same time, I had been searching for a romance novel with Death (aka the Grim Reaper) as the Hero, and I couldn’t find one anywhere. I’m a writer, yes, but first I’m a reader, and man, was I craving a romance with Death as the lead! (I never said I was a "normal" reader ...) So of course I did what any writer would do and decided to write the book myself ;)
I couldn’t tell you exactly how it happened, but these two concepts began to blend together, and the next thing I knew, it had taken on a life of its own.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Hmm, for me this is a fine line, because my characters usually come with a lot of baggage, and so do my ideas. I have a hard time separating the two, they’re so connected from the start. That being said, my characters are the ones who drive the story, rather than the plot. I can start writing with one concept in mind, but once the characters’ voices gain momentum, it always ends up somewhere else by the end.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I don’t think there was any one scene that was particularly harder than the rest, but the biggest thing for me was nailing the character development in a well-rounded fashion. Almost every character in Touched by Death goes through their own journey from the start of the story to the end, and they’re each very important to me. So I wanted to make sure I got the balance right for everyone.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it makes them think, makes them smile, makes them laugh, cry, and sigh. I hope they close the book with a friend inside the pages and emotions tangling with their heart.
Beautiful! How long did it take you to write this book?
I don’t get a chance to write every day (no matter how much I wish I did!), and when I do get the time it’s in the middle of the night. But, overall, this one took me about 6-7 months from writing the first word to getting that final draft to my editor.
What is your writing routine?
Get all the kids to sleep by around 9:00pm, then (with my son wrapped in one arm and my laptop in the other) work until my eyes start shutting down. Of course, by "work" I mean: write a little, do some pleasure reading, check social media, write some more, daydream, check YouTube for new music videos, yell at myself to get back to work, and write a little more. Mind you, that’s on my good days ...
Haha. How did you get your book published?
I self-published. Actually, I did submit it to a few agents early on, when I was still going back and forth on which route I wanted to take (traditional or indie). Within 24 hours of submitting, however, I decided to move forward with self-publishing. It wasn’t until I was well into the self-publishing process that an agent responded with interest in my book, but by then Touched by Death was already fast-approaching its already announced release date.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
First, finish writing your first book. I know it seems obvious, but it’s not always the case. Then decide which route you’d like to pursue: traditional or indie. Regardless of which you choose, remember two things: 1) This is your work. Make sure it’s something you’re truly proud of before pursuing either route. 2) This is your work. Your sweat, your tears, your heart (if you’re doing it right). And no one can take that away from you.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
One thing or another with my family (kids, husband, cats). Ideally, I’ll have a book in my hand, too.
Of course! What does your family think of your writing?
None of the other adults in my family read (I know, what are they?!), but they’re very supportive, and for that I’m thankful.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I adored my childhood. There are things I realize now that I’m older, such as my parents’ struggles in having to work so much to support me and my sisters, and how they divorced while we were very young, and how often my father had to leave the state for his job, but none of these factors entered into my mind as a child. I was happy, and I’m so grateful for the loving life I was given.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Absolutely. I was that girl in second grade who spent every second of the class’s library time sniffing new books or getting lost in the pages.
Me, too! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written, but I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer until after I was grown and married. I think in my mind, writing has always been a natural part of me, much in the same way eating and sleeping are. It was never this separate thing I had to (or could) become in and of itself.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes. I’ve always been more of an observer than a participant, and while that contributed to some socially awkward years in my teenaged days, it only enhanced my ability as a writer. In fact, there were many little things I thought made me different, even if I was usually able to blend in enough for my introverted nature to go unnoticed, and each of them played a big role in shaping me as a writer.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
If you’d asked me that question when publishing my first book, I’d have had a very different answer for you. Today (and with Touched by Death), my biggest inspirations are authors like Mia Sheridan, Brittainy C. Cherry, and Pam Godwin.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do, and it’s my favorite thing about being an author. The most popular thing I’ll get is a reader thanking me for writing, and for being such seemingly simple words, those move me the most.
Fantastic. What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Now that I’ve dipped my toes into adult romance with Touched by Death, I can’t see myself writing anything else. So you can expect a lot more within that genre (from contemporary to paranormal to dark romances).
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your future projects.

Book Playlist
View the author's book playlist here or below.

About the Author
T. L. Martin
Author of romance and paranormal, T. L. Martin is also a wife, mother of three, homebody, animal lover, and hug enthusiast. She resides with her family in Southern California.
T. L.'s novels tend to involve the things she enjoys most as a reader: relatable and flawed protagonists, unexpected twists, slow burn romances, and a lively cast of secondary characters. (Being that she writes both young adult and new adult titles, please check individual book descriptions for any content warnings.)
T. L. is presently branching out into new adult contemporary romance!