Happy Mardi Gras!

It’s Mardi Gras! I’ve never experienced it, though I did get a tiny (very tiny) taste of it when I was in New Orleans for St. Patrick’s Day many years ago. That was quite an experience on its own (yes there were plenty of beads and the like!), so I can imagine how overwhelming (and exhausting) Mardi Gras can be.  And in the spirit of the day, I thought I’d share a little about why I love Louisiana, and New Orleans so much.
Part of it is the rich history. The Louisiana Purchase was a huge step toward the growth of the United States of course. The port of New Orleans was a hotbed of political contention for years. It was where the United States defeated the British once and for all.
Jean Lafitte had a huge base of operations there, though he ultimately moved to Barataria. He was one of my favorite kinds of people. Not only a pirate, or a privateer as he preferred to be called, but he was both a villain and a hero, the latter for his part in defending New Orleans during the War of 1812. 
 Okay, enough with history lesson. Exploring the surrounding area is always lots of fun. The restored plantation houses that run along the Mississippi River are phenomenal. We toured several of them and it was such a thrill to immerse ourselves in the past. It felt like we walked with the original residents as we peered into the elegantly appointed rooms. There were aspects of the Antebellum way of life that still hold a very romantic feel today.
What I like particularly about the area is the magical, supernatural feel. Not just New Orleans, but deep in the bayous, where all sorts of dangers lurk, and not just alligators and other predators. There is definitely magic in the air, in the very essence of the land. The people who did settle brought all sorts of beliefs with them and they melded perfectly with the atmosphere. Maybe because the natural mysticism of the land enhanced the ability to practice their brand of magic. I love pondering the possibilities.
I set the Bayou Magiste series in the New Orleans area for just that reason. The original Magiste settlers recognized the power found there and how it could be used to their advantage. It made sense to build their new society in that area. In fact, I patterned the Whispering Winds plantation after Oak Alley, possibly the most famous of all the plantations still in existence. The fame comes not only from the oaks that name the place, but the fact that it’s been in several movies. I have a beautiful artist proof print of Oak Alley in my dining room, and I find myself looking at it a lot. It inspire me. Maybe I should move it to my office.
So, in keeping with the festivities of the day, Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Release Monday!

Healing the Mage is here! I’m very excited about the release – I had so much fun writing Lily and Aidan’s story.  It’s available at Noble Romance Publishing now!
When I first started writing this book, the words poured out of me, I finished the first draft in a little over a month.  Of course, as always is the case, the story changed drastically from that first draft.
Both Lily and Aidan were mentioned in passing in In The Devil’s Arms. I didn’t have any specific plans for taking them any further, until the day Aidan’s predicament with becoming a Mage revealed itself to me. I had no clear idea for the story, but starting writing anyway. Before I knew it, I had the poor guy in excruciating, insanity-causing pain with no idea how to get him out of it. Thankfully, Lily tapped me on the shoulder and the rest fell into place. Not that she was happy about it, but Aidan finally convinced her magic doesn’t have to be bad.
There’s a lot of magic in Healing the Mage – the magic the characters use in their daily lives, and the magic of two people falling in love. Which is the core of all of my books – who can resist the miraculous feeling of falling in love with the one person who completes you? Of course, when you have a stubborn, demanding dom and a reluctant sub, sometimes the magic can seem like a curse.
Here’s a little more about the story:
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?
I hope you’ll enjoy reading Healing the Mage as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate its release, I’m giving away two copies this week. Leave a comment and share the magical moment when you realized your true love was The One. My moment occurred at a Bruce Springsteen concert in 1984. I still have not met anyone who can match my passion for Bruce’s music, it’s magical on its own. The way the man writes lyrics always amazes me, even when my DH and I are singing along to a song we’ve already sung a thousand times before. Twenty-six years later, we’re still going to Bruce concerts and blasting The Boss’ music throughout the house, much to the dismay of our children!