New Cover

Release day for Healing the Mage is rapidly approaching. I thought I’d share the cover – another amazing job by Fiona Jayde.

I really think it captures Lily and Aidan so beautifully, and it’s hot as hell, isn’t it? For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Healing the Mage is the next book set in the Magiste world of New Orleans. You may recognize his name from In the Devil’s Arms, though he didn’t make an appearance, he is Devlin’s son. The same with Lily – she is Helene’s goddaughter, and only mentioned in passing, But these two had been wrangling for their own story since they came into existence, and now it’s here. Here’s the blurb (a special thanks to Shoshanna Evers for your help with this!)

Lily Prentiss wishes she could ignore her inborn healing magic so she can live life on her terms, not follow the path her Magiste family chose for her. But when she stumbles across Aidan Marchand in the excruciating throes of evolving into a Mage, her touch is all that stops his pain and she can no longer deny her powers. When the sexy Dom seduces her into willing submission, she finds she doesn’t want to resist and actually enjoys giving up control.
Aidan has more to worry about than just his rapidly maturing powers – his business partner is blackmailing him into funding a venture that involves kidnapping young girls both magical and mortal, and selling them as sex slaves. Even as Lily’s touch eases Aidan’s pain, he knows staying with her puts her in danger from his enemies. But the gift of her sexual submission helps him even more than her healing magic…so how can he let her go?
Healing the Mage will be available from Noble Romance Publishing on February 28, 2011. Stop back here – I’ll be posting a couple of excerpts and giving away a copy or two!

Winners!

I put the kids to work this morning – my son was so excited – until he realized the prizes weren’t for him! Once I explained it all to him, though, he thought it was pretty cool. And we have two winners!

Congratulations to Caffey – you’ve won the Amazon gift card. Keep an eye on your email – not sure how long it takes, but it should show up today.

And Congratulations to Caridad Pineiro – you’ve won the Bath & Body Works Spa Basket. I’ll need an address to send it to, you can email me at giannasimone @ optonline.net (No spaces)

Enjoy ladies!

And I hope you all had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day

The day to celebrate love and lovers is almost upon us once again! Amid the candy hearts and cards being exchanged and given to show our love for another, is a man who was beheaded for his beliefs and his aid to young martyred Christians. Being a student of Catholic school, while we did celebrate V-Day amongst ourselves, technically, the day was not officially recognized, and the nuns who taught us went out of their way to remind us of who the man behind the holiday was.

There are conflicting reports to his origin, but most agree he was a priest who was martyred in 269 AD. His crimes consisted of marrying Christian couples in the Roman Empire, and aiding other young Christians being persecuted during Claudius II’s reign. He was jailed and condemned to death. Supposedly, at first, they tried to stone and beat him to death, when it didn’t work as expected, he was beheaded. The date of his execution – you guessed it! February 14. It wasn’t until 496 that the date of his death was marked as the celebration of his martyrdom by the Pope at the time (I should know that, Sr. Maureen would be so disappointed in me). There is some dispute as to when his day of remembrance became associated with romantic love, but I tend to believe it was the Middle Ages when the day to celebrate romantic love truly became forever linked with him. Perhaps because he did marry Christian couples, although I also recall learning at some point that the origins of the rituals of Valentine’s Day come from cultures such as Ancient Greek and Roman societies. But I could be wrong, it was a long time ago when I heard that.

In any case, oddly, Valentine’s Day is not a big day for me. I know, I write romance novels, that day should be a highlight of my year. But it just isn’t. Way back when I was still a starry eyed young girl who thought a handsome knight would sweep me off to a life of pampering, luxury and utter adoration, I exchanged Valentines with my boyfriends, and swore undying love. Of course, I know better now, and looking back on some of those boyfriends, I am extremely glad that undying love only lasted a few weeks, or months, at best! And some of those special Valentine’s Days turned out to be pretty lousy no matter what plans I made. But these days, it’s usually just like any other day, it’s very rare to have anything special planned in our house. Priorities are making sure the kids have a fun day – usually includes a gift of some sort, making sure they wear red for their class parties, and of course, preparing their Valentines to share with their classes and friends. But after a full day of working outside my home, then coming home and working several more hours at my real (read: Mom) job, I’m just happy to get an hour or so to myself. Alone. With no kids, or a husband, needing me for something – which usually turns out to be something they can generally handle themselves – no laundry or dirty dishes to tend to, no toys to be picked up and the like. Though a box of chocolates would be nice. But I don’t need a holiday to indulge in that!

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day tradition? Do you have special plans this year? Was there a particular Valentine’s Day that was especially memorable for you – either good or bad? Share it here – two lucky commenters will win either a $25 Amazon gift certificate or a gift basket from Bath & Body Works! I’ll announce the winners next Tuesday.

What A Difference A Year Makes

Literally. At this time last year, I was in the throes of a very emotional roller-coaster ride in my pursuit of publication. For close to twenty years, I’ve been a member of RWA and my local chapter, as well as other organizations and chapters. I’ve taken classes, attended conferences, pitched my manuscripts in various venues, and done all I could to improve my craft. I wrote at least seven 100K+ word manuscripts. My writing improved, I developed some wonderful friendships, and I basically enjoyed the process, as frustrating as it could be at times. I’ve always prided myself on a thick skin, and welcomed comments, both good and bad, with eagerness. After all, every suggestion or comment to my work could only improve it, right?

Last year, it all came crashing down. Many of my critique partners know that last summer, when it all came to a head, was probably the very worst time for me, in all my years of writing for publication. Suddenly, there were no good things to hear, only bad, and some of it was truly scathing or harsh. Even after pitches and requests for partials and sometimes full manuscripts, my submissions either vanished into the ether, and my follow-up emails went ignored, or I was dismissed with haste. I was at the point where I almost gave up writing altogether, for other reasons as well as the rejections. I took steps to make a clean break – big steps. I disengaged from various writers’ loops, unfollowed a lot of people on Twitter, and cut myself off from the writing world. When Healing the Mage placed dead last in Passionate Ink’s Stroke of Midnight contest, it seemed to be the final confirmation of the new path I was about to embark upon – one without writing in my life. Two very dear friends, and fantastic critique partners, Janet Walters and Kathy Attalla, were critical in talking me back from the ledge, and encouraged me not to give up. I had publishers on my list I really wanted to submit to, but after the beating I had taken up to that point, I was really afraid to chance it again at that time. After all, when more than one editor sends you standard one-line form rejections (this happened several times after glowing comments and very eager requests for the full), and another tells you not to submit to them again, and still others just ignore you outright, it kind of throws you off course and tarnishes the dream. And I guess I’d hit my limit for how much rejection I could take.

Of course, that all changed when Noble Romance Publishing contracted In The Devil’s Arms. I’d long had Noble on my list of targeted publishers, but my ego and confidence in my writing skills had taken such a blow, I almost didn’t submit. Obviously, I am glad Janet and Kathy were there for the push I needed, and we all know how it turned out! 🙂

So here I am after a rough year, and as eager to write as I was way back when I first started. As my critique partners know, I cut my teeth on historicals, particularly medieval. And last November, I decided to go back to that time period and wrote the first draft of an erotic medieval tale, one that involves capture-fantasy, and features BDSM and ménage elements. Now I am in the middle of revising and polishing, and enjoying the tale as I do so. After I finished it, I pretty much put it aside to get through the holidays and finish up my revisions on Healing the Mage, so the story is feeling rather new to me again, Of course, there are some plot holes to fix, and plenty of typos to correct, and as I am working to fix those, I am realizing that I don’t think I could ever not write. Somehow, some way, whether it be fan fiction, or my own little fantasies, I would write.

I’m not sure what brought all of this to my head in the last few days. But I’ve been thinking the last few days about how close I came to throwing it all away and how very glad I am that I didn’t. Thanks to some friends who knew better than I did, even if at that particular moment, I didn’t want to listen. Thanks guys!