Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blog Tour & Guest Post - Wystan by Allison Merritt

Please welcome Allison Merritt to my home away from home today. Be sure to read her special guest blog and excerpt below.

Why Paranormal in the Old West?
by Allison Merritt
I got my start reading westerns when I was a teenager. Louis L'Amour is my favorite western author. That man could write magic into his scenes. When reading a L'Amour, you're right there in the Old West with the characters.

For a long time, I was a western purist. I knew other people wrote about weird things happening in westerns. There's a horrible movie you might remember called Wild, Wild West. I'm still trying to figure out what kind of blackmail was used to get the actors to be in that movie. I was horrified by the rule bending that kept the movie from being a true western. The Verne-esque quality of the original TV show didn't do much for me either. I think the idea of the US being a simpler place was what appealed to me.

And then in 2003, I saw The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and I fell in love with the idea of "weird" things in the Victorian era. It was several years before I'd start writing steampunk romance though. As I got into that, the weirder, the better.

Wystan was the first solid character I had in mind for The Heckmasters series. I found the name on a tombstone at a mall kiosk (of all places--so weird) and I knew that anyone walking around with that last name was going to be a serious badass. A seriously hot demon-slaying badass. Not only that, but a hot, demon-slaying badass who's at odds with his own demon heritage and the sacrifices he's made to keep a world he doesn't necessarily like safe. Add in his two brothers--one who wants to be human more than anything, and the other who's a natural-born slayer, but is the most likely to go rogue demon and kill them all. Then toss in a schoolteacher who's on the run from something worse than cranky Wystan, her sassy little sister, and a lust demon possessed ex-whore just to make it interesting.

I toyed with the idea of connecting the Heckmasters with my steampunk series, but I decided to go all-out paranormal instead of incorporating strange technology this time.

I learned a long time ago that never say never is a good rule to follow. I never thought I'd stray from straight-laced historicals and fall into the seductive arms of paranormal historical romance. I never thought I'd write one of my own. But the Heckmasters have taught me to be a little more open-minded.

Sure, the series is weird. Sure, it doesn't follow many rules of Victorian or western conventions, but it was awfully fun to work on and I've seldom had more fun creating characters.

We all like tried and true, but I'm glad I reached out beyond the norm to write a paranormal historical romance. I hope you all like Wystan and Rhia's story too.





About the Book:

Title: Wystan (The Heckmasters)

Length: 228 pages

Pubisher: Samhain Publishing

Publication date: October 21, 2014



Her search for safety lands her in a totally new kind of danger.


The Heckmasters, Book 1


Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.


Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff.


The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.


With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.


Warning: Contains a take-no-prisoners sheriff, a woman who can’t outrun her supernatural secrets, and a dusty town where hope is as thin as dust in the wind. Author recommends keeping a glass of cool spring water at your elbow while reading.



            Something changed in the air the moment the wagon crossed the town’s border. Too

early to be a supply train, and there was no way in hell it was visitors. Berner didn’t host

town fairs, theatre troupes, peddlers, or bible thumpers.

            Wystan Heckmaster slapped his battered Stetson on his head, collected the keys to the

jail, then stepped out the door. The first thing he saw was a pretty woman with hair the color

of maple sugar—a rich brownish-blonde. The frown on her face spoke volumes, and the air

around her pronounced trouble. She made a straight path for him.

            “Mr. Heckmaster. Or should I call you Sheriff? Or Mayor? I need to discuss the ad in

the Lancaster County Republican with you. Someone placed an ad, but your brother tells me

there is no school here. I’m sure there has to be a mistake. There’s only one Berner in New

Mexico Territory. I’m very capable at reading maps. If I wasn’t, I would be ashamed to call

myself a teacher.”

            He doubted she had taken more than two or three breaths during the speech. If she

made talking in rambling paragraphs a habit, no wonder she looked so peaked.

            “Teacher?” He glanced along the street, but it was deserted as usual. “Lady, we don’t

have a school here. Certainly no need of a teacher.”

            Her hands balled into fists that settled on her hips. The dress she wore was patched—

the egg yolk yellow faded into something even more disgusting. It had little flowers dotting

the material, but they looked as worn as her scuffed black boots.

            “Then what was the purpose of placing an ad in the Lancaster County Republican?”

She spoke with the fierceness of a mama bear warning predators away from her cubs.

            Wystan reached into his shirt pocket and drew out a toothpick.

            “I didn’t place any ad in any Lancaster County anything.” He looked past her, expecting

Eban to saunter up the street. Eban had to be the brother she’d referred to since Tell was still

on the trail.

            “Someone did,” she insisted. She fished a crumpled and much-folded piece of newsprint

out of the pocket hidden by the folds of her skirt. “See? Right here it says, ‘School teacher

wanted for spring term at Berner Schoolhouse. Wages paid based on experience. Room and

board provided. Apply in person at City Hall, Berner, New Mexico Territory.’ I’m sure my

eyes don’t deceive me.”

            Wystan stared at the clipping, then back at the woman. A galaxy of freckles spattered

across her nose and cheekbones, making her look younger than her eyes said she was. Full

figured and sure as shittin’ a grown woman. The wariness and worry darkening her hazel

eyes gave her away as one with a lot of trouble on her plate.

            “I can read.”

            She pulled the ad away from his face, folded it, and returned it to her pocket. “Where

would you suggest I look for an explanation, Mr. Heckmaster?”

            Fussy little thing. “I assure you that no one in this town did. There’s been a mistake.

Sorry to inconvenience you, Miss Schoolteacher. Now turn around and head home.”

            A flush colored her cheeks. “I can’t head home! I have no home to return to. My little

sister and my friend are waiting at the doctor’s office for me to straighten this mess out. The

ad says that room and board will be provided. I’d expected to move into a room, sir.”

            “You left them with Eban?” That explained his absence.

            “Beryl is ill, Sheriff. This is the first town we’ve seen in days and it was past time for her

to get some attention.” Despair crept into her voice.

            Wystan shifted his weight and transferred the toothpick to the other side of his mouth.

            “Eban’s not exactly trained in human medicine.”

            The woman’s mouth opened into an O. She shook her head and seemed to regain her

senses. “He’s a veterinarian? He seemed certain he could help Beryl.”

            Wystan cleared his throat. “Sure, animal doctor. I’m sorry for your misfortune, lady,

but as you can see, Berner’s about run into the ground. There’s nothing here for you or your

friend. Might be best to move along.”

            She seemed to deflate. “Move along.” Her lips moved, softly forming the words, but it

was as though she didn’t comprehend them. “We’ll move along, right down the trail into the

next town where there won’t be any teaching jobs either. Sylvie, Beryl, and I will starve to

death on the side of the road with no one in the world to care.”


Buy links:





About the Author:

A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.


Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.


Social media links:

Blog – http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com

Facebook – http://facebook.com/allisonmwrites

Twitter – http://twitter.com/allison_merritt

G+ - http://gplus.to/allisonmerritt

Goodreads – http://goodreads.com/AllisonMWrites

Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/allisonmwrites/



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1 comment:

Allison Merritt said...

Thanks for having me today, Ashley!

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