Friday, July 06, 2007

The Lady Despair by Jennifer Cloud


Jennifer Cloud, was born in Asheville, North Carolina where she met her husband who encouraged her to write after finding a partial manuscript.

She now resides in Florida with her husband and two daughters. She writes romantic suspense, paranormals, and some fantasy. Visit her website at

Jenn loves to hear from readers. Email her at:



Loti has a gift and a curse. During times of danger she can touch a
person and make them feel the guilt from every sin they've ever
committed. Lately she's been in a lot of danger. Someone knows about
Loti and wants her dead.

Detective Troy Gordon is put on a case to investigate a forced
suicide. He can't believe the astonishing claims, until he sees Loti
in action. Now he has to protect a woman that frightens him and find a
way to love a lady he's afraid to touch.


I am called "Despair." Sounds melodramatic, doesn't it? Sure my legal name is Loti Black. That's what I go by in my professional life, but it doesn't change who and what I am.

Don't believe me? I wasn't convinced of it either. I was your normal depressing teenager, wearing black, and touting the meaninglessness of the world around me. Even my dark moods didn't garner much attention. My parents didn't know what was wrong with me. No one knew until they found me in the bathtub with the razor marks covering my skin, small red streamlets leaving me for the water. I did a number on myself. Twenty-seven cuts marked my body, filling the tub with blood and still they found a way to save me. Ain't modern medicine a wonder?

By the time I turned sixteen, I started to realize the differences between myself and the other girls at high school. They were concerned with dates, boys, and occasionally grades. My extracurricular activity was a morbid curiosity about death and a crazier fascination with life.

There was more to it. I couldn't stand touching people. Whenever I did, a sickness seemed to envelop them and although I had never been crazy about the talk of auras, that had to be what I felt. Their energies, their strangeness, tried to come into me until one day I learned how to send it back.

Tiffany. That was my first victim's name. I'll never forget the moments leading up to her tears. She hugged me, although she secretly hated everything about me. I could feel her hate, her deceit entering my hands, coating my body. That anxiousness hit, circling my stomach and throbbing in my head. All at once, I could not stand her touch and tried to repel her. The darkness swelled in me and I pushed her back with it.

There was no way for me to understand the damage I'd done to that high school girl. Nothing like that had ever happened before, but it felt good for a split second before her tears. I liked the power, the sensation that some part of my life was in my control. That was when I became afraid.

I had done more than push away a snotty girl. Tiffany looked lifeless, bawling like a baby while she dropped to the floor. She killed herself the next day, hung herself using one of her designer belts she always bragged about.

It took two more years before I was fully able to control it. Not to worry. I can shake hands. You'll think my hands are cold but there shouldn't be any tears. I've also found a career as a coroner, so that limits the contact I have with people, living people at least. It's okay if the dead get depressed, although I have used them to practice on. They can't very well die again.

I learned later that even trying to harness my power caused blood to spill, but you'll understand that later. Any part of me touching the darkness will turn lethal for me eventually. The sick truth of it, I will kill myself again and without trying.

Why am I telling you all this? I suppose it's so you'll understand my story. I don't expect your pity. I'm beyond that now. When people look at me strangely, I understand that their primitive side senses something wrong with me, even when I appear normal. They secretly want to run, but instead they smile and say some inane greeting. Most hate me and never realize why.

Maybe I'm just hoping someone understands. That's all. I don't need your forgiveness for what I've done. In the eyes of God and man, I've committed some terrible crimes. A few I'm even ashamed of, but only a few considering I was saving my life at the time. I'm still alive though, still coming in contact with people. I am still Despair and this is my story.


Why did you become a writer?
I love inventing stories. There is no greater thrill than creating characters and experiencing their journey.

Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I've always wanted to write. I remember telling my 5th grade teacher that I would be a writer.

What do you love about being an author?
The journey. I never know what's going to happen.

Is there anything you dislike?
Writing a synopsis is the worst thing.

How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I have two children so my personal life comes first. I write whenever I have a spare moment.

How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
I start with a scene or a person. Sometimes a book unfolds. There are other occasions when the story dies on the tenth page. The characters shape the plot. I never know how a story is going to turn out or where the characters will take me.

What genre(s) do you write?
Suspense and paranormals

Why do you write the stories that you write?
I enjoy action and never knowing what's going to happen next. A story may be have a supernatural occurrence or a gun fight. Those are also the type of stories I prefer reading.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Many characters are based on people I observe when I'm doing errands. I watch people and those odd habits they have. There are times when I invent stories around them and see where it takes me when I get back home and to my PC.

Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
Oh, it's so hard to choose. I would have to say Rose from The Black Rose. She's tough, talented, and discovers that her family doesn't define who she is.

What would you want readers to take away from your books?
I just want to entertain the reader for a bit. I want readers to experience a world that helps theirs become a little more interesting.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Read. Too many beginning writers don't read. I don't understand how you can strive for a writing career without appreciating all the aspects of it.

What are you reading right now?
Lee Child The Killing Floor

If you could be anyone or anything that you wanted, who or what would you be?
A more successful writer.I think that's every writer's dream. I want to write better books and entertain more readers.


5 hearts: "This is a spine-chilling tale that readers will be hard pressed to put down until the last word is savored. Jennifer Cloud gives her readers a story that they will be thinking about long after its read. It’s the kind of story that wraps itself around you and penetrates your very being. Her characters leap from the pages, the plot twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing and Ms. Cloud has added just a tiny dash of humor to lighten up, what would otherwise be, a very dark and dismal story. The romance between Loti and Troy is sweet and lends the story its lighter tone. All in all a very well rounded story, which this reviewer thoroughly enjoyed and looks forward to more from this talented author."
- Valerie, Love Romances and More

The Lady Despair by Jennifer Cloud
ISBN - 1-934329-61-4
Release Date: May 5, 2007
Genre: French Quarter - Paranormal / Suspense
Heat: Dark
Word Count: 79,098
$5.99 from Mardi Gras Publishing

Purchase The Lady Despair by Jennifer Cloud HERE!!

posted by Rachelle
at 4:21 PM