About the Series:
Dream of Darkness
(Rise of Light Series Book 1)
Tired of moving yet again, Cat McLean finds herself in the town of Valleyview when her dad is transferred to a new job. Along with her older sister Vanessa, she must find a way to fit into another new school for what feels like the millionth time. And if that wasn’t enough to deal with, shortly after their move, Cat and Vanessa are involved in a near-fatal car accident. Waking to find that she has the ability to see auras and to heal others, Cat is horrified to also discover an ancient evil that means to destroy her new home. Cat must join forces with her sister and a new friend to defeat it, or die in the attempt. Will she learn how to harness her new powers before the darkness comes for them? Or will she succumb to the darkness she fears?
Excerpt from Dream of Darkness
The girls finished lunch without any attention from other students, other than an occasional glance. As they walked back to the office, Cat tried to avoid catching anyone’s eye, wishing again that she was more outgoing or had a thicker skin. Vanessa stopped abruptly and Cat had to pull up short to avoid running into her.
“How’s the first day working out?”
A boy Cat didn’t know smiled at them and she felt herself color involuntarily.
“So far so good!” Vanessa chirped.
The boy flashed another smile, and be damned if his hair didn’t appear to ripple when he moved. He looked like a movie star, with his dark blond hair, dimples and grey eyes. He was probably about six feet tall, slightly taller than Cat, and well built. He looked directly at Cat, giving another blinding, toothy smile.
“We haven’t met, but I guess you must be Catherine. It’s not every day we get new students. I’m Declan Boyer. I’m in History with your sister.”
Cat found herself feeling uncomfortable, but not because of his good looks. A weird, cold, and empty sensation washed over her. It felt completely out of place in the bright hallway, standing next to a guy who could be a homecoming hero.
“Hey, nice to meet you, too. It’s Cat. Um, people call me Cat, generally.” She managed to croak out her reply, wincing at how dumb she must sound.
Vanessa immediately noticed she was off and came to her rescue.
“Hey, Declan, do you know who we’d talk to about a track or running team? Cat was on the team back home before we moved and wants to try out here.”
He nodded. “Of course! You want to talk to Ms. Fisk. She’s the Art and Music teacher, but doubles as the cross-country coach. There aren’t a lot of teachers here, I mean, the school only has 300 students from grade nine to twelve, so a lot of the teachers double as coaches.” He looked at his watch. “I have a few minutes, I’d be happy to take you to her office.”
Cat followed behind Vanessa and Declan, trying to figure out what felt so off. It was more than her usual discomfort with new people. This felt bigger and she knew she needed to listen to the feeling. It reminded her of the time she’d gone swimming with Vanessa and some of the neighbourhood kids. She’d refused to jump off the dock into the water when she was dared, walking out instead because of a weird feeling she’d had telling her not to do it. The next kid who’d jumped had hit a broken board and torn their leg badly. She had the same cold, dark feeling now that she’d had while wading in the water that day. Something about this beautiful guy made her as scared as she’d been back then.
“And here you go!” said Declan, bowing and waving his arm as though producing a rabbit out of a hat. “Ms. Fisk, in person.”
A short and powerfully built Asian woman in her mid-forties smiled at him.
“Oh, Declan, always the charmer!” she said, as she fluttered and preened at his attention.
Declan smiled suavely, turning back to Cat. “I hope you find what you need. I’m on my way to a quick drama club meeting before lunch is over.”
Vanessa straightened up, looking interested in something for the first time. Declan noticed and extended the invite to her.
“We’re planning the show for the annual spring review. It’s going to be a big one this year. We could use more players, if you’re interested in joining us.”
Vanessa looked at Cat with excitement. “Do you want to come?”
Cat shook her head. “You go ahead. I’ll be busy here for awhile. I’ll meet you outside after school, at the parking lot doors.”
Vanessa smiled and gave a quick ‘see ya’ wave, before turning and following Declan down the hall without looking back.
Cat watched them walk away, still feeling an odd sense of unease, turning to see Ms. Fisk watching Declan walk away fondly. Ms. Fisk switched her attention to Cat, giving her a friendly once over.
“So, what brings you here today? Are you a budding artiste, looking for extra work perhaps? A musician? What can I help you with today, my dear?”
Cat smiled, finding the friendly warmth from the teacher relaxing after the oddness that had come with meeting Declan.
“Sorry, no. I’m not the artist in my family. But I’d heard you were the person to talk to about a cross-country or distance running club? I was on the track and cross-country team at my last school. I’d like to continue here, unless I missed try-outs, or whatever.” Cat felt calm asking this teacher, warming to her open and attentive face.
Ms. Fisk smiled, regretfully. “Well, the track team is done until spring, but we do have cross-country into November, depending on weather. It isn’t a very large group, so there’s no need for try-outs. I can introduce you to the other students at the next practice on Wednesday and you can consider yourself officially a part of the team now, if you want. The last actual meet is in a couple of weeks.”
Cat took down the rest of the information on a corner of a notebook, promising to be at the practice. Maybe she’d get a chance to talk to someone outside of class in an environment she was comfortable in. Feeling more optimistic than before, Cat checked her schedule and headed to her next class, English. Apparently they were learning Shakespeare, according to the titles on her book list. She sighed again, and prayed to whoever listened to high school students. Please spare me from a group read along…
What people are saying:
The plot of H. M. Gooden’s novel is fun, but the best part of the book is the relationship between the two sisters. There’s a little jealousy and a period of great guilt, but mostly there’s love and support shared between both girls. When Gooden throws in Evelyn, a mutual friend with powers of her own, the picture is complete and the girls are ready to take on the evil threatening their world.
Steve Lindahl — Author of Under a Warped Cross, Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul
“Dream of Darkness” by H.M. Gooden is a YA (and up) fantasy with elements of both the paranormal and the faerie world. Two teenage sisters-Cat and Vanessa discover they have powers and must learn to use them quickly when a dark menace threatens their new hometown. A delightful tale of friendship, sisterly love and good triumphing over evil. I’d heard a bit about this book and author and wanted to give it a go. The “out-of-body” experience in the hospital is described so eloquently and passionately that it alone is worth the price of admission. I wasn’t disappointed.
David W. Thompson — Author of Sister Witch and His Father’s Blood
The Stone Dragon
(Rise of Light Series Book 2)
Cat has finally settled into her new town and is happy with her life just the way it is. Until the day that her friend Evelyn shows up on her front step, with a recurring nightmare that began after they defeated Declan. A dark stranger surrounded by fire and destruction tortures her every night, and in order to help her, Cat must discover the truth about the dark man and his origins. This time, they must face a much older evil on new ground. With the addition of a new ally, the girls will stand against the darkness together. Will they be victorious, or will they fall to his power the way so many others have?
What people are saying:
This book is the second of the series. I found it very easy and fun to read, and the story is a real page-turner. Anyone with an imagination and a wee glimmer of intellect will really enjoy this.
Harold Lamont — Amazon Review
As an avid YA fantasy reader, I’ve always enjoyed strong female protagonists with relatable challenges and intriguing plot twists. Gooden delivers in her second installment in this series where her prose pulls you into the world of young teenage characters who are just starting back at school after a lazy summer break, hoping for a reprieve after facing the evil Declan at the end of their previous year. New dreams and visions foretell that they need to focus on improving the control of their powers together and prepare for a new enemy.
The characters are all likable and remind me of old friends from my high school days (if only we had powers). Looking forward to the next book!
Jessica Goeller — Amazon Review
A compelling and suspenseful read from start to finish. I enjoyed every aspect of these characters and the insightful plot. will definitely read this author again!
Melissa Franckowiak — Goodreads Review
The Phoenix and The Witch
(Rise of Light Series Book 3)
Fresh from their triumph against Dub in San Francisco, the girls are content to return to their normal lives, unaware that their fight against the darkness is not over.
Although they succeeded in destroying their previous adversaries, another threat has risen in a far away country. This time, they must travel to Edinburgh to confront the darkest of all evils.
As the conclusion to this trilogy, this adventure will set the course for everything in their lives and they will learn that even their friends may not be what they seem.
Will they succeed in fighting back the dark or will they be left irrevocably changed?
What people are saying:
The Phoenix and the Witch is another fun story involving our favorite characters Cat and her best friend, Evelyn. This time their adventure takes them across the pond to England and Scotland. Not only does this adventure open their eyes to the magic all around them, it also brings them closer together to face another challenge against the darkness. Their personal magic is stronger than ever, allowing them to feel confident in their ability to win this epic battle, yet the fear of failure looms as the days pass. I especially liked how the girls all get along so well, wanting to help one another in life, love, and magic. This is a really great YA adventure with fun elements of magic, transformation, and cooperation.
Amy B — Amazon Review
Just when I thought this series couldn’t get any better, H.M. Gooden brings more to the table in the form of a new character, Zahara…strong, loving and amazing! The girls must again face a new evil while joining together not only as friends, but joining their powers. Surprises and trials are around every corner and the character development is outstanding. These are a group of girls that you wish were your best friends, by your side as you face the trials in your life. Never wavering, they have each others backs and don’t back down from the challenges that they are destined to face.
Amanda — Amazon Review
Dragons are Forever
(Rise of Light Series Book 4)
Mai has everything. Friends, a job, and a loving boyfriend. But just when life is perfect, he pops the question. Suddenly, everything changes. Once Jake declares his undying love, their journey of discovery begins. Swept up in a sea of adventure, Mai will travel to Norway to meet the most dreaded creatures in the world-the inlaws. Along the way, Mai will battle all manner of supernatural creatures to get to the altar, only to find that this is just the beginning. Life as she knows it will never be the same.
What people are saying:
Great book I enjoyed reading the story of water dragons and I would like to see what happens next in their adventure I won’t give to much away but I am curious about the children.
Jerry Connellysr — Amazon Review
The story has lots of action and adventure in the early part and ends more focused on family. I liked the sweetness to the relationship between them. They have a genuine bond and respect one another. Her meeting his family starts them on a new path.
It is well written and the author lets both of them narrate part of the story which I prefer. The other characters are well developed too and add to the richness of the story.
L Levine — Amazon Review
This is such a great book! I would suggest reading the rise of light series so you have a little bit more background. Jake and Mai’s story of love adventure and friendship is so sweet. Watching them grow as a family and havong outings will keep you entertained and wanting more. Can’t wait to see whats in store for the rest of the girls and the family!
Allie Eggers — Amazon Review
The Raven and The Witch Hunter
(Rise of Light Series Book 5)
Vanessa lives a charmed life as the rising star in a hit new TV series. She has family and friends that love her, as well as the secret perk of having air magic and being able to turn into a raven and fly away if things get stressful. But when her best friend moves away and a mysterious woman enters her life warning her of impending danger, her perfect life takes an unexpected turn. Not only is Vanessa confronted with the very real threat of someone trying to kill her, but her own emotions will become inexplicably tangled. What is it about this Witch Hunter that breaks every rule Vanessa has for herself? And what the heck is she supposed to do about it?
What people are saying:
This was a very touching story in what seems to be a potentially great series. You can’t go wrong with romance when it is done like this. The healing that happens in this story while again saving people is amazing. Love to read more with Vanessa and Emma Jane.
Coneja — Amazon Review
What a fun book! Ms. Gooden has added an exciting and romantic new addition to her magical series. Though Vanessa isn’t my favourite character, I truly enjoyed her interaction with Emma Jane. The subject matter was covered with delicacy and correctness. Not to say the action, mystery, and a bit of a cliff-hanger ending didn’t blow me away. Honestly an excellent book and a quick read. ‘The Raven and The Witch Hunter’ keeps you on the edge of your seat and leaves you wanting more! Cheers to the next book in the series!
Fairestsky — Amazon Review
I really loved this book. The story is imaginative and I can’t wait to see if Vanessa and Emma find any other bad “girls” to catch while they figure out if there is a solution to their problem. And what a problem!
Meg Gruber — Amazon Review
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
I’ve always loved reading, and when I was in school I would start these horrible novels. I never considered writing a short story; it was always a horrible romance that morphed into a story where my main character had magic powers. When I went to university I dabbled with a few creative writing projects on the side as electives, but writing was left behind by my 6th year and I delved into the full time world of medicine.
It wasn’t until after my last child was born when I was up one night, at 1 or 2 or 3 am, the house was quiet and I was alone that I wondered if that was it. Was that the rest of my life? Work and kids and repeat ad nauseam?I was restless and trying to figure out what I was supposed to do that would enrich me and make me feel complete.
I had always wanted to write a book and I said well, it is time to do that now. I’m finished school, I’m finished having kids, and if I don’t start right this minute I’ll be another person still saying “one day” on my death bed- and I didn’t want that to happen.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
I would love to write all day long. I’ve done that, once or twice when my husband has blessed me by telling me to leave and write. In that case, it’s usually a Starbucks somewhere nearby. Otherwise lately most of my writing is in my car on my way to and from work. I dictate my first draft, which I find wonderful, because I can talk almost as fast as my brain moves.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
From everywhere. My first book sprang from a recurring stress- dream I used to have in my teens. But I take my ideas from my kids, work, things that strike me as funny or bizarre, people I see in Walmart, anything and anyone is fair game.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
It’s a little bit of both. My first book was definitely one that carried me away, but now I will loosely plot out where I want the story to go. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to dictate nearly as easily.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I write what could be best considered ya paranormal, although the series I’m working on currently is a second world high fantasy YA. I’m drawn to the YA/NA genre because there is so much potential here. We are all in a state of becoming in our teens and early twenties, and learn so much about who we are during that time. Of course, when you add magic and the occasional romance in, you not only have the usual character development you’d expect from the young adult years but you have stories that I love.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
Haha! My dream cast are all too old now, but if I could grab any teens from the 80s and 90s and 2000s I would have picked a teen Lisa Bonet for Evelyn, Marie Kondo for Mai (I know, not an actress technically) or Lucy Liu as a teenager. A teenage Katherine Zeta Jones for Vanessa, Lindsay Lohan as Cat (as the redhead, Mean Girls era) and Zahara would be Parminder Nagra from Bend it like Beckham.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read as much as I can, although writing has definitely cut that back to a few books a week. I love JK Rowling, have read most Stephen King novels (unless they are too scary!) James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Sherilyn Kenyon, Richelle Mead, Cassandra Clare, and too many others to name
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
My bedside table has about 75 books on it and I’m no longer allowed to go into a bookstore (self imposed!) I have been watching Marie Kondo and this year is about decluttering my house and life, so I need to read and keep or get rid of. I can’t get rid of a book I’ve never read due to the possibilities 😉 I just finished a great ARC for a book called Shattered Echoes – I’d never heard of the author before and I may have to add them to my favourites list. I love finding new people to read! I’m also reading a Jayne Castle book, Siren song, and SJ Maas a Court of Thorns and Roses, as I’m sadly behind in her stuff and I know she’s huge in the genre right now.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
I really can’t pick just one favorite, but there is a book that has stuck in my head for almost twenty years called Beggars in Spain. It was written by Nancy Kress and it is more sci-fi fantasy, but the genetics are frightening in the potential. What gets me the most is that although none of what she talked about in the book was possible then, it IS now…. and I wonder….
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
Stop thinking. Write. Write every day, even if it’s a journal, a blog, or a short story. The more words you write the easier it will become until it’s a habit and as much a part of you as anything else you do. If you need a deadline or goal, sign up for the next nanowrimo wherever you are- it’s an online organization to help you get there, and it’s free. They have camps in April and July, and then the original Nanowrimo is in November.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
You can reach me at the following:
Facebook Group Page: www.facebook.com/groups/981341802029808
Amazon Page: www.amazon.com/H.-M.-Gooden/e/B078JXQZQR
About the Author:
H.M. Gooden has been scribbling on everything since she first learned how to hold a pencil. While often told that her handwriting was atrocious, she persisted, and upon discovering computers and learning how to type, she realized that she was no longer limited by her (admittedly) messy writing.
Unfortunately, life and work and family have conspired to make it only possible to write in the wee hours or at coffee shops, so most of her love of reading and writing are indulged at times when only vampires and insomniacs abound.
Beginning in October of 2017, her love of writing and the characters in the world she has created burst into public view in her first book, Dream of Darkness, which follows the adventures of a group of girls fighting evil with abilities that H. M. Gooden would love to have. As a result, 4 am has become even busier trying to find out what will happen to her paranormal buddies in the future, and book six, seven and eight are in the works.