Friday, June 25, 2010

Sandra Sookoo - Paranormal with a Twist

Thanks for having me on your blog today. I’m so happy to talk about my two recent releases!

The first one is a paranormal romance called ROCKET’S RED GLARE and is themed around the Fourth of July. With this book, I wanted to include my love of cooking with the paranormal. Cooking can be a very sensual thing if you use it right and so can the paranormal. What I came up with was a food critic vampire meeting again with the woman he ditched at the altar years before. She’s also a chef.

If you’re interested in my other books, please drop by my website at

Rocket’s Red Glare blurb and excerpt

Blurb: Their second chance at love could be deadly.

Jamison Rocket is a food critic who rarely gives a 5-star rating. His palate for food is flawless. Trouble is, he’s a vampire, and even though he enjoys his job, he’s been haunted by memories of the love he left behind ten years ago—the woman he can’t forget.

Meredith Kirby works as a sous chef in a brand new bistro. She’s given the chance of a lifetime to prepare a meal for a renowned food critic and seizes the opportunity. The meal is a success. As the critic arrives in the kitchen to meet her, Meredith’s pride sours into confusion when the critic ends up being, Jamison Rocket—the man who ditched her at the altar and stole her heart.

Neither one has been able to forget the love they once shared. Over the Fourth of July weekend, their romance is rekindled into an inferno they once thought impossible. Though the need for acceptance burns bright within Jamison, it’s Meredith who’ll ultimately need to decide which ingredients she’ll need in order to whip up a happy ending and add fireworks to her own life.


Excited whispers floated through the dining room and spilled over into the kitchen. High energy crackled among the staff as aprons were tied and chef’s jackets were donned. Silverware clattered. China clinked. Pots and pans jangled together. All this activity provided the soundtrack for the night’s performance.

Meredith Kirby’s day had deteriorated in one-hour increments. She couldn’t check her email or pay the bills that loomed due because the internet was down for some inexplicable reason. Next came a ninety minute jaunt at the local DMV where the quest to renew a driver’s license took on horror movie qualities. After they’d jacked up the photo on the retake, she was so annoyed, it looked like she was about to kill someone.

Maybe she was.

Last, but not least, after being home for all of twenty minutes because she’d forgotten the dry cleaning she needed to drop off, when she attempted to start her car to come into work, nothing happened. A sick, death gurgle which resulted in a call to the local emergency auto assistance place and “I’m so sorry for your loss” looks from the mechanic at the garage where it was delivered.

Just another day in the life of Meredith Kirby. Was it a case of bad luck? Not likely. Maybe the Fates had a vendetta against her for some reason. Maybe she’d ticked someone off in a past life. Whatever it was, Meredith wished it would move on.

Now, on the single most important night of her life to date, the head chef of Algernon was tossing her cookies in the restroom down the hall, a by-product of the worst case of morning-noon-and-night sickness Meredith had ever witnessed. And they had a dining room full of first time guests.

On opening night.

The bustle in the stainless steel kitchen ebbed and flowed around her in a complicated dance of frenetic energy. As much as she loved cooking, Meredith admitted that her nerves were frazzled beyond the norm tonight. Steam swirled above bubbling pots, waiting for pasta orders while the savory aromas of cream sauces blended with the earthier smells of grilling meat.


Deciding to take a quick peek at the diners she’d have the pleasure of cooking for, Meredith cracked open the connecting door. With one innocent sweep of the room, her world wheeled then crashed and burned in a blaze worthy of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

What the hell was he doing here? Her insides clenched with remembered hurts and new resentments as she stared.

She narrowed her eyes. The dark-haired man who’d just entered the restaurant was Jamison Rocket. The man who’d walked out of her life ten years before. Bile rose in her throat as she recalled the haunted look in his eyes as he told her he needed to leave. It was the same look her mother had when she abandoned a fourteen-year-old Meredith.
* * * * *
Jamison Rocket gently pushed open the glass door to Algernon, a brand new bistro-style café. Immediately, tempting aromas assailed his nostrils: roasting meats, savory vegetables and a subtle undertone of caramelized sugar, no doubt from some sort of confection.
Typical fare and in what would most likely be a boring, uninspired meal, but then, if the food let him down, there were other ways of getting his required nourishment.

As the door swung shut behind him on silent hinges, the soft buzz of conversation surrounded him, punctuated by the delicate chime of crystal and a metallic clink as silverware scraped against china plates. A couple of black-clad waiters shot past, the white of their Parisian-style aprons contrasting with the somberness of the attire.

Before he’d gotten three steps into the ridiculously small foyer, Jamison was greeted by an older gentleman, distinguished by the gray at his temples and the lines of seriousness crisscrossing his face.

“I assume you have a reservation this evening?”

Jamison’s lips twitched at the highbrow treatment. “I do, indeed. Jamison Rocket.”
The man’s whole demeanor changed, typical of anyone in the restaurant industry upon hearing his name. “Follow me, please. We’ve set aside the best table in the house and please indicate your favorite wine as the bottle will be a gift this evening.”

Of course it would. Little “on the house” gifts filled his guest bedroom. As if those freebie offerings would sway his opinion on the eateries he visited. He didn’t exactly consider them income, but had a hard time convincing the IRS that they weren’t. One couldn’t spend a bottle of wine or gift basket of jam like currency, but then, if it weren’t for the perks, he wouldn’t be in such high demand. Silly mortals. If only they knew their offerings had no affect on the outcome and in this case, his pen was mightier than the sword. Jamison focused his gaze on the man’s stiff shoulders as they navigated through intimate round tables covered with black linen.

“Here we are, sir.”

“Thank you.” He waved off the man’s assistance and pulled out his chair. “I’d like a bottle of Merlot, please.” Dismissing the host as soon as he sat down, Jamison glanced around the smallish dining room. Probably no more than fifteen or twenty tables cluttered the rustic, cobblestoned floor. Lights dimmed, soothing music tinkling in the background, the soft flicker of votive candles on the tables all created an atmosphere of calm.

Jamison nodded. The place was packed and chances were, as the evening dragged on, there’d be a waiting list. Algernon passed the first test. A crowded eatery was a happy eatery. Now, the challenge would come in the food itself. A tiny part of him hoped the start-up would succeed, but the practical man he was knew it would be an uphill battle. This economy didn’t lend itself well to yet another restaurant in an already saturated area.
But that wasn’t his problem. He couldn’t let empathetic feelings for an underdog cloud his judgment. He was a food critic. If the food passed his palate favorably, they’d be lucky. If not, he’d have no regrets when he left the establishment with a less-than-glowing review in his pocket.

Strictly business. That was all.

A bark of mirthless laughter passed his lips. Nothing in life was that easy. Being a food critic was definitely not all he was. The funny thing? Only a handful of people knew the truth.

He wanted to keep it that way.

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The second book that released June 7th is my first paranormal mystery, except this one has a twist at the end. I decided since I liked reading mysteries, I’d try my hand at one but put my own spin on it. It’s a “locked house” mystery and I hope you like it.

Dead Ruby Slippers
Excerpt from Chapter 1

Blurb: Dancing may be hard…but no one expected it to be murder.

When sexy tap dancer Abigail Carlton, a.k.a. Ruby Slippers, is found dead and arranged in an artistic fashion on her coffee table, it’s up to Special Agent Quentin Banks to solve her murder.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Not only is Quentin a FBI career man, he doubles as an officer for the Institute of Magical Instruction…and the dancer’s death has super natural energy written all over it.

Quentin must find who murdered Abigail, and he only has 24 hours to do it before it’s taken over by his superiors.


He wished investigating murder was easy because it certainly wasn’t fun.

Special Agent Quentin Banks glanced at the white, waxy skin of the high-end housewife and wondered yet again what would possess someone to kill. What sort of zeal motivated a person to pull the trigger? To snuff out a life?

Sighing, he gestured to the forensics team to start the investigation. At least this was a cut-and-dry case. She had been bored, the husband came home and found her with the gardener, killed her in a fit of rage. Eventually, they’d catch up to the man and track him down.

At least magic wasn’t involved. That paperwork alone could take days.


Quentin swung around to see a young cop standing in the doorway of the palatial entryway, the motion sensor lights creating macabre shadows on his gaunt face. The rookie had followed him around for the bulk of the night. Quentin didn’t have the strength or the interest to be a mentor.
“What is it?”

“Will you return to the scene this evening? We should have prelim results by then.”

“No, I’m going home. Haven’t been there much in the last two months.” Quentin winced when the rookie’s hopeful expression crashed into disappointment. Well, the pup would just have to find a new role model. “Fax any pertinent information to Sarah.”

“Will do, sir.”

With slumped shoulders, Quentin flung himself behind the wheel of his black Dodge Charger then navigated out of the ritzy neighborhood, the vehicle’s headlights illuminating the wrought iron gate of the exclusive community. Did having a big house, expensive cars and wealth make a life complete?

An image of the dead woman flashed in his mind. Maybe not.

Twenty minutes later, Quentin sailed into downtown Indianapolis and pulled cleanly into the lot of his condominium building. As soon as he parked and exited the car, his cellphone rang.

“Banks.” The word was sharp and short.

“Now is that the proper way to greet your overworked, underpaid secretary?”

A grin curled his lips as he walked across the lot. “You’re not just my secretary, Sarah.” It was true. She had worked for him for at least ten years, maybe more. Through all of his moves around the country, she remained the one constant. “You’re my right-hand woman, my moral compass.”

“You can prove it to me by bringing me flowers next time you’re in the office.”

He made a mental note. “What do you need?” Quentin slipped through the exterior door to the high-rise and pushed the button for the elevator.

“Oh, besides your six-foot, two-inch, one hundred eighty pounds of pure molten, muscled heat?”

Quentin knew the tips of his ears turned red at her blatant flirting. Even though she was old enough to be his mother, she had the power to make him feel like a geeky freshman in high school again. “Sarah, please.” He stepped in the elevator when it arrived, grateful the car was empty.

“Please what, baby?” Her thick Southern accent sounded more exaggerated than usual. This struck him as funny because Sarah grew up in central Ohio and only recently moved to Virginia.
She had never been to his local office in Indianapolis. “Please let me run my fingers through that thick chocolate hair? Or how about charmin’ me with those baby blues?” She huffed into the silence that followed. “All right. You’re not in the mood for my little jokes today.”

“You know how it is after I’ve finished a case.” He exited the elevator and walked past three condos until he reached his. “What’s the problem?” He slid his key in the lock and turned the knob.

“Oh, no problem, just a notice from the League.”

Stifling a sigh, Quentin closed the door and tossed his key ring onto a low table in the entryway. The Magical Enforcement League was his real job. The FBI gig was only a cover, albeit an interesting one. “What now?” In his capacity as an enforcement officer, Quentin’s job entailed keeping a check on practitioners of magic. If they got out of hand with their power or attempted to use their magic for personal gains, it was his responsibility to issue citations. If the warnings went unheeded, he had the authority to revoke their magic license or, in a worst-case scenario, drain their powers.

“The usual. The League wants to remind its officers it will be closed for two days in observance of the Founder’s Day celebration. If you should be called out on a case within the next forty-eight hours, you’ll be without backup for awhile. They also remind you to use whatever method you see fit in solvin’ a case.”

“Great.” He rifled through the basket in his entryway. Once a week, the woman who cleaned his place collected his mail for him. Nothing caught his eye so he moved into the living area. Quentin purposefully kept his condo streamlined, clean and aloof. No personal effects, no cheery mementos of happier times and no photographs. Nothing gave away a hint of his personality or mindset. He preferred it that way. Less hassle. Less mess. “Anything on the docket then?”

“Not a thing, honey, unless you wanna come down and keep an old girl company durin’ the slow hours.”

Quentin rolled his eyes. “Not today. I figured I’d spend some time at home.”

“At your depressin’ condo? At least adopt a dog.”

He heard her fingers race over her keyboard, the simple act making him grin because it meant she was busy working a case. “A dog? I don’t even have a plant. Don’t have the time between both jobs.”

She clicked her tongue. “You work too much. What you need is a good woman to take your mind off things, soften you up. You’re starting to get prickly around the edges.”

“You know why I can’t date.” He moved into the kitchen and grabbed a cold bottle of beer from the fridge. “How would I explain the double life?”

“Who says you need to? What if you find a woman who’s got a secret too?”

“Don’t you have anything better to do than poke around in my personal issues?” Quentin dropped into a black leather recliner in the living room then frowned at the chrome-and-glass coffee table. Nothing in his home could be construed as a memento. He didn’t want to be reminded of what he’d lost. “Not that I don’t appreciate your enthusiasm.” He grunted with satisfaction as the first sip of liquid coated his throat. The simple things in life were best.

“Now, stud muffin, don’t get your boxers in a bunch. I’m only lookin’ out for you.”

Another sigh. “When I find a woman that interests me, you’ll be the first to know, all right?”
He rubbed a hand over his face. “Call me if there’s a change in the case load. Until then, I’m gonna sleep in my own bed for the next couple days.”

“You wouldn’t have to sleep alone if you would hurry up and find a girlfriend. Maybe you’d crack a smile every once in a while too. It won’t kill you.”

“Good night, Sarah.”

“’Night, sugar.”

Quentin snapped his phone shut and took another pull on his beer. He had to hand it to his secretary. She certainly made life a bit less lonely. Remote in hand, he clicked through the TV channels. He quirked an eyebrow as a commercial’s colorful images flitted across the screen.

“For three nights only, don’t miss your chance to see the incomparable Ruby Slippers perform on stage! Tickets on sale now!” At the close of the blurb, a slender blonde did a sliding sort of step, a pair of ruby red tap shoes on her tiny feet.

“Not in this lifetime.” With a frown, Special Agent Banks switched off the TV and stared morosely at the darkened skyline.

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Lindsay Townsend said...

Super excerpts, Sandra! I love the way you add in the cooking to the romance! Lots of luck with your latest releases!

Celia Yeary said...

SANDRA--welcome to HEA! Only you, my dear, could write stories like this. Who would have ever thought of such plots? Your humor and wit was razor sharp! I congratulate you on your novels and success! Celia

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Lindsay :-) Cooking and writing are my life lol

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Celia! I do try :-)

Bekki Lynn said...

I think anytime you mix cooking with romance, you open up a whole world of wonderful concoctions. Adding a splash of paranormal gives it a whole new flavor. [corny, huh - come by it natually]

I love your excerpts. The stories sound fun and lively.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Bekki! :-)

Savanna Kougar said...

Sandra, delicious and deadly. I especially loved your ROCKET'S RED GLARE excerpt. And, what a wit-perfect title.

Keep on riding the success train!

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Savanna! :-)