Happy Monday, Leaguers! Today, Cathy Clamp is here to dish on the latest release she wrote with C. T. Adams under the pen name Cat Adams. THE ISIS COLLAR comes out on March 13. Give her a big League welcome!
So what’s with all the Zombies, anyway?I know most of your regular League members, but the lovely Jaye Wells was the one to suggest I drop by today to talk about our upcoming release, THE ISIS COLLAR. “Our” meaning myself and C.T. Adams. I’m the Cat. She’s the Adams of Cat Adams. We’ve written a lot of books together, in the Tales of the Sazi and Thrall worlds, along with our new series, The Blood Singer but this one was freaking FUN to write because it’s about ZOMBIES!
First, our heroine Celia Graves is half vampire. Oh, sure, you say, like a thousand other heroines. But Celia is different. She doesn’t really want to be a vampire. She doesn’t want to be a siren (the other part of her heritage) and she really doesn’t like getting involved in all this crazy psycho stuff that keeps happening to her.
Like today, for example. A friend calls and wakes her up from a well-deserved sleep. Her friend is a clairvoyant—lots of those in Celia’s world. But this one, Dottie, is particularly good. She tells Celia that there’s a bomb at a grade school and Celia (and ONLY Celia) has to be the one to get the kids out. Well, right there you know there are problems, because that’s what cops do. That’s what principals do. It’s not what bodyguards-to-the-stars do.
Except, well . . . it’s Dottie. She’s over eighty and can be crotchety when she sees the future. So Celia goes. As you might guess, the principal says no, you can’t take the kids out. The cops say no. There’s no hint of any bomb. They escort her out. And then, naturally, is when all the crazy psycho stuff starts to happen. A tripwire spell goes off when she crosses over the threshhold. It slows time inside the building. If there really is a bomb, there’ll be maximum collateral damage because nobody can get away. Celia manages to get the authorities notified (you’ll love how!) and gets the kids out. Well, almost all of them anyway. She gets caught in the bomb blast with the last kid and has to dive out the window. Those reinforced windows are tough on the clothes and skin!
One of the benefits of being part vampire is you heal quick. Until this time, of course, when the crazy psycho stuff keeps happening. Not only does Celia not heal, she keeps getting worse. A bad limp, a nasty headache and growing bruises on her legs that none of the doctors can diagnose.
Do you know how difficult it is for doctors to diagnose things that are really old, or really rare? A hundred years ago, a halfway decent doctor could diagnose measles and mumps and shingles because they happened every day. But they don’t anymore, so the symptoms are tougher to figure out. A decent doctor in Panama could pick out a case of malaria at a hundred paces. An African doctor can spot a case of Ebola without hardly trying. But those sorts of diseases don’t really happen much in southern California. Not in today’s world, or Celia’s world. So nobody figures out that what she has is a rare disease related to leprosy that turns people into zombies, until it’s too late to help some of the people who were caught in the school.
What happens next and how does she figure it out? Well, that’s why you’ll need to pick up the book and read it, silly! But the FBI is involved, as is the Center for Disease Control, plus mages and demonic entities and lots of other cool stuff! Here, let me give you a taste of what you have in store:
I shook my head. “My leg’s been bothering me since the bomb in the school.”
Crap. I shouldn’t have said that. I could tell from his reaction that he didn’t know what I was talking about. How could he? I doubt it had made the papers back east. His eyes went wide, then narrowed suspiciously. “Bomb? School? What the hell, Celia.” He looked at my leg and sucked in a sharp breath. “What attacked you? That looks bad. Have you had a healer look at it?”
I looked down but only saw the denim of my jeans. “I’ve been to doctors and witch doctors. None of them can figure it out. What are you seeing that they haven’t? The latest one thinks there’s a spell on me but I don’t know if they’re connected.”
He knelt down next to my leg, moving one of the chairs out of the way in order to put both hands on my calf. Dr. Sloan walked in the door just then, followed by Rizzoli. His brows rose so high it looked like his bushy eyebrows were a toupee that I felt I had to explain. “It’s not what it looks like.”
Bruno didn’t even look up. “This is bad, Celie. I mean like killing you bad. What is this?”
“That’s a very good question, Mr. DeLuca,” Rizzoli interjected. “What do you think it is? None of our Bureau people have a clue.”
“Joh . . . Creede is working to unravel whatever’s attacking my aura around my head. Is the problem with the leg the same thing?”
Bruno shook his head. “I don’t know anything about auras. Not my specialty. But this is attacking your flesh. That I’m good at. It could well be the same. I’d have to compare notes with . . . John.”
“Hey, a witch with the Bureau, Gail Jones, said top mages like you can identify the caster. Any idea who to talk to about this mess?”
He looked at me, his eyes both surprised and suspicious. “This is a spell? Wow. I pegged it as some sort of magical bacterium. It doesn’t feel like a spell at all.”
Dr. Sloan nodded. “Oh, yes. The Center for Disease Control doesn’t talk about it much, especially not in public, but there is a magical branch of the organization for viruses that mutate and bacteria that can be magically transmitted to create plagues, changing from a magical event to something that can affect more than the original target.”
“Wow. That’s seriously scary. But one’s physiology and the other is . . . well, magic.”
Bruno let out an odd chuckle. “Magic is part of my physiology, Celie. If I caught something that backfired from a spell, it’s possible I could pass it on to family members. Even human ones. After that . . . well, it could take off. Like this has.” He motioned to my leg. “I think we need to call in the Center for Magical Disease Control to take a look at you. In fact, I’d like to look at your skin myself.”
I couldn’t help but smirk. “I’ll just bet you would.”
He didn’t smile in return and that made my stomach hurt. “I’ve got an ugly suspicion. But first I need to put you in a quarantine casting circle.” He looked at Dr. Sloan. “Could we use the lab for this? We might need the restraints.”
Suddenly I was less than excited about this idea. “What exactly do you think I’m going to do, Bruno?”
He paused and his face was set in stone to keep from showing me what he was really feeling. When he finally spoke it chilled my blood.
“Scream, Celia. If I’m right, I think you’re going to scream.”
If you’re intrigued (and you know you are) go out and buy THE ISIS COLLAR by Cat Adams right away! And if you’ve never heard of Celia Graves’ earlier adventures in BLOOD SONG, SIREN SONG and DEMON SONG, they’re on sale until the release of ISIS! It’s a really good sale, too: only $2.99 for a Kindle download. Heck, that’s three for the price of one! And if you’re a print fanatic, they’re also on sale at Amazon on a 4-for-3 special. But lots of other retailers have them on sale too, so go to our publisher’s website, scroll all the way to the bottom and choose your favorite store.