If you’re here, then you know about the exciting Noble Authors Blog Tour that’s been underway for the last couple of weeks. I’m having a hell of a time visiting all the other blogs and meeting readers and fellow authors. I’ve also added a few books to my wish-list myself! lol And I want to thank everyone who came by to visit with my guests and leave comments. I’m very happy to see you all and make some new friends!
I thought I’d recap here the winners of copies of Healing the Mage and some swag to accompany it, so here goes:
From my guest post at Indigo Skye’s blog: Jean P
From my guest post at Sarah Ballance’s blog: Andrea I
From my guest post at JS Wayne’s blog: Lucy Felthouse
From my guest post at HC Brown’s blog: The Pick Pack
Congratulations ladies, I’ll be emailing you today or tomorrow with a copy of Healing the Mage.
On to other updates. On the writing front, not much has been going on – last week was an absolutely horrendous week for me and technology. First, my main home computer died. *sob* Actually, it’s not as bad as I first thought, it appears to be a pwoer problem, rather than anything else, so with fingers crossed, I am awaiting results on diagnostics. The stupid thing was acting sluggish so I shut it down, It never powered up again, and no matter where I took it, there was no power reaching the machine. So back to Sony it goes. The killer – this happened exactly ONE MONTH after my extended service contract expired – to the very day! So I have to pay – even though I’ve worked for Sony for 22 years, there’s no way to get it back under service contract, no assistance at all for me other than paying $150 just to send it in and get a diagnostic. Figures.
The morning after this happened, I get to work and the copy machine is down, so no copying, scanning or sending outside docs electronically through the network. Not five minutes later, the fax machine runs out of toner, though that was an easy fix. The next morning, my boss’s hard drive crashes, and that same day, my blog reset some settings. (I swear the blog did it all on its own!). To say I was nervous about getting on a plane last week was an understatement. I get nervous enough on my own, I didn’t need this adding to it.
Obviously, there were no issues with the flight. Had a wonderful time in Vegas, even though it was for work, I did manage to get some fun time in. Walked the strip and won enough money to keep playing for a few hours. And I managed to talk up my books to anyone and everyone who would listen – I played my author role rather than my Sony role whenever possible. Handed out a few cards and maybe I’ll get some new readers out of it.
Needless to say, my writing has stalled a bit. I can’t get comfortable writing on my work laptop, and it’s very distracting and aggravating. On the bright side, we’ve purchased a new laptop for the house, and it’s gorgeous. I may try my hand at using that this weekend, but again, we have another crazy busy schedule, so we’ll see how much actual time I have at my disposal. But I’m anxious to get my medieval finished – it needs lots of editing and revision, and I’ve been moving at a snail’s pace. Especially after I got scores back on a contest I entered with it.
Now to be totally honest, I only entered because the category was in danger of being eliminated for being short entries, and I would hate for that to have happened. So I didn’t expect anything, really. When I received the scores, I was floored to see I had scored so high with the first two judges: 109 and 104! Wow, I truly didn’t expect that. I was brought quickly down to earth by the third score – a 36! Obviously, I offended that judge – the story does contain plot threads that border on non-consensual activities. Then again, I tend to write heroes who overpower the heroine, and I know some people don’t like that. But 36? I have NEVER, EVER received such a low score, even when I was getting trashed by the judge. I really *really* must have offended her terribly. At least the other two scores told me I was doing something right.
So, in light of that, I thought I’d turn my attention to the other trouble I’ve been having with this manuscript – the title. Right now, I’m calling it Warrior’s Vengeance, but I really don’t like it. So, I’m going to hold another contest – I’ll give away a copy of either Healing the Mage or In The Devil’s Arms – winner’s choice. I’ll give a brief synopsis here, and whoever comes up with the best title, wins. Simple, eh? Sounds like it, though I’ll bet I’ll get some great titles and won’t be able to choose! lol
Here’s the summary of the story – as it’s written now.
Scotsman Ian MacCallum lost his wife and young son to a brutal attack by English soldiers two years earlier. Swearing revenge against the man who led the attack, The Earl of Montchester, called the Panther, Ian plans an attack on Montchester. During the final scouting mission, one of his men kidnaps a young woman. Ian saves the girl from a brutal rape, only to realize he holds captive the daughter of his enemy.
Marissa Langley determines to free herself from her captors, but unarmed and helpless, she cannot fight against the man who saved her from the rest of his men. When Ian sets out to seduce her, Marissa finds she doesn’t want to resist him, despite her determination to free herself. Ian keeps her bound, treats her badly, yet gives her pleasure she’s never known before. She realizes that she must sacrifice herself to save her family, but when Ian brings her back to his village and collars her as a slave, she vows to destroy him for what he’s done to her. Yet, little by little, Ian’s seduction wears away her resistance, until all she wants is to remain in his arms. And Ian finds he cannot bring himself to harm the daughter of his enemy; instead, she worms her way into his heart, forcing him to rethink his plans of revenge.
So there it is, as it stands now. Of course, not everything is known to either Marissa or Ian, but then again, that’s a big part of the story. For my critique partners familiar with The Panther, they’ll know what I mean! 😉 Okay, everyone, get those thinking caps on and help me come up with a title! :p
It’s been a crazy week – with the release of Healing the Mage and my prep for an upcoming business trip, I feel like I haven’t slept in about two weeks. But things have quieted down a little – as they usually do on Friday afternoon.
I thought I’d share an excerpt from Healing the Mage – in this scene, Lily has brought Aidan to her home, and the situation just keeps getting more complicated.
“What are you doing?” Devlin Marchand shouted.
Lily stood, stepping out of Aidan’s reach. She folded her arms, trying not to wince under the elder Marchand’s anger. The rolling pain curled through her, and she fought to keep from collapsing. Mon Dieu, how could he bear it?
“I am not trained to help him. And I will not be forced into it. I could make things worse.”
She kept her face expressionless, but the relief at the steadiness of her voice left her feeling weak. How the hell she managed to hold herself stiffly upright, she’d never know. Probably adrenaline, even as the rolling waves of discomfort grew. She used every ounce of her strength not to go to Aidan and hold him, to attempt to ease his agony.
Devlin sat beside Aidan and examined him. Lily glared at her brother as he stepped to her side. Anger overrode the worst of the phantom knives in her gut.
“What?” she asked.
“How can you turn your back on him? It’s obvious you can help him.”
She clenched her fists, both the fire and her aggravation growing, mixing together, feeding off each other. She latched onto the irritation, letting it overpower the churning of her stomach. She should have known better than to call Greg. He was too much like their parents, trying to force her into their preconceived ideas of what her life should be. What had she been thinking to summon him here?
“Oh, no, you don’t. I can’t help him. I gave up magic, remember? I don’t know the first thing about healing. It’s too dangerous for me to be involved.”
Greg lowered his voice. “You don’t always get to choose, Lily. Sometimes, you have to follow your destined path.”
Her head ached, and she rubbed her temples briefly. “This is not my destiny; it never was.”
“You have a gift and you’re wasting it. Here’s your chance to fix things. It’s clear to me you need to use your power; your empathy is very strong. You won’t be able to resist.”
“No. I won’t be used like this.”
“If you don’t give in, Lil, things could get worse. You have no idea what—”
“You’re right, I don’t. And I don’t want to know.”
“Enough!” Devlin’s shout silenced them “I need your help.”
“Can’t you take him to the hospital?” Lily asked. She didn’t want to look at Aidan, to see him suffering. She also couldn’t bear it if he touched her again. The things he made her feel scared her more than her healing abilities.
Devlin shook his head. “I can’t move him like this. And his condition is not . . . widely known.”
“So what are you saying?”
“Until I get someone to help, he needs to remain here.”
“Here? No, he can’t!”
“Ms. Prentiss, please. He can’t . . . look at him.” Devlin waved a hand at Aidan, who sat doubled over, groaning in pain. “I understand, believe me. If there were any other way . . . . You can help him.”
Lily twisted her hands together. The desperation in Devlin Marchand’s expression tugged at her. Combined with the echo of Aidan’s agony, her resolve crumbled further.
“I don’t know. I could hurt him worse than he already is.”
Devlin shook his head. “Nothing could be worse than it is now.” Another groan from Aidan drew his father’s attention. The older man tried to soothe his son.
“Hang on; she’ll be able to help you. Can you fight it at all?”
Aidan groaned again. “Do you . . . have . . . anymore . . . potions?”
“Nothing.” Devlin turned back to Lily. “Ms. Prentiss?”
Lily sighed. “How long will it take you to find someone to help him?”
“I can have him out of here first thing tomorrow morning.”
He had to spend the rest of the night? “How am I supposed to get any sleep? I have to work in the morning.”
“On Sunday?” Greg taunted.
If only she could direct the fire roaring through her to him. She may not have trained in Healing, but she could still land a nasty hex. Only the presence of Aidan’s father prevented her from singeing her brother’s eyebrows.
“Fine. He can stay. On the couch. I’ll be right in my bedroom, where I can hear him if he needs me.”
Marchand shook his head. “You need to sit with him. He needs your touch.”
“I can’t do that. I—”
Aidan’s harsh groan cut her off. Despite her resolve, she stepped closer, needing to stop the gnawing teeth ripping her apart. As soon as she moved within reach, he reached out and grabbed her again. She narrowed her eyes, wondering at his supposed weakness.
“Stay with me.” Did a hint of a smile play on his lips?
“This is ridiculous. I can’t sit up with you all night.”
“Then I’ll sleep in your bed with you.”
Aware of her brother stepping toward them, she continued to stare at Aidan as his eyes cleared, and he sat up straighter.
“You most certainly will not! You will sleep here. I’ll knock you out so you won’t feel anything.”
He grinned. The brilliant smile stole her breath. “We’ll both be more comfortable, and that way, you’ll be able to get some sleep too.”
No, she couldn’t let this happen. Even as she tried to deny his suggestion, the idea aroused an urgent excitement. And a healthy dose of dread. This time, her stomach twisted for a very different reason. “I don’t think so.”
“It really would be best. For your comfort, as well,” said Devlin. Before she could argue further, he took control of the situation. “Come on, I’ll help you move him.”
“Wait a minute!” Greg shouted. “They can’t sleep in the same bed.”
“He’s not in any shape to be a danger to her,” Devlin said.
“He’s in pain. Wounded animals are dangerous.”
“Are you calling my son an animal?”
Lily rolled her eyes. “Hold it!” She waited until she had the men’s full attention. “I can see there isn’t much choice right now. Look at him.”
“Lily, I absolutely forbid you to do this.”
Lily narrowed her eyes. Her brother couldn’t have picked a worse thing to say. “Do you, now? Well, it can’t be helped. The man is simply too weak to move, and we can’t exactly call an ambulance. I guess he’ll have to stay.”
Mon Dieu, what had she done? Before she could back out of her decision, Devlin helped Aidan down the hall. With Aidan’s vise-like grip on her arm, she had no choice but to follow. It didn’t take long before he reclined in her bed. She sat beside him. Seeing him there ignited a burning she knew would not be easily doused. His father and her brother watched them both, albeit with very different expressions, and her face flamed. While Devlin only seemed worried and exhausted, Greg’s gleaming gaze broadcast his suspicion. She scowled and turned to Aidan.
“You stay on your side, on top of the blankets, I’ll stay on mine. Underneath. You can hold my hand; that should be enough.”
Aidan nodded. She looked pointedly at Greg and Devlin. “You two can see yourselves out. Greg, deactivate the Portal when you’re done.”
“No, I’m staying,” he said. “I’ll sleep on the couch.”
The last thing she needed was her brother snooping around her home. While she appreciated his help, she knew it wouldn’t be long before he reported this whole disaster to their parents. The fewer details he had about her life, the better.
“Greg, it’s all right. You go ahead.”
“You sure? It’s not a problem for me to stay.”
“I’m sure. Just go.”
“All right. I’ll check in with you first thing in the morning.”
“As will I,” said Devlin. “I’ll see if I can get a trainer lined up, as well. Perhaps Tauzin.”
The two men left, and Lily listened carefully to hear the Portal deactivate, sealing off the possibility of unwanted visitors. The house grew quiet, and she turned to Aidan. The way he looked at her ignited fluttering in her gut. At the same time, a bolt of heat flared through her, settling with startling intensity in her core.
“Might as well get comfortable,” Aidan said.
Lily glared at him. He seemed to be enjoying this too much. But she couldn’t deny the way his intense stare made her heart pound.
“You’re going to have to let go of me so I can get in the bed. I’ll take your hand once I’ve settled.”
The hint of smile disappeared. He sucked in a deep breath, his jaw clenched, and he released his grip on her arm. A shudder passed over him, and he put his hand to his head. Lily’s heart thumped unevenly; she didn’t know what to make of the maelstrom of emotions slamming her like waves of a nor’easter on the shore. The gut twisting grew, and she quickly got into the bed, not caring she would have to sleep in her clothes. Her tank dress would be a wreck by morning. As soon as she settled under the blankets, she reached for Aidan’s hand. He stilled immediately, his fingers twining with hers. She met his gaze.
Something about lying here beside him seemed right. She swallowed the jagged lump in her throat and turned away. It was going to be a very long night.
Remember, I’m giving away copies this week, so be sure to leave a comment.
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!)
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!