Cover Reveal! Warrior’s Wrath

I’m so happy to share the gorgeous cover for my upcoming release, Warrior’s Wrath. I’ve spoken of this book before, it’s the second medieval in the Warrior’s series, about strong and dominating men from the 13th and 14th centuries, and the women they (try to) tame. I’m currently close to finishing the third book in the series, which is actually a re-written version of the very first medieval book I ever wrote (might have mentioned that before too). And yes, there are more to come! 😉

In any case, Warrior’s Wrath is scheduled to be released on January 31, 2014, from Pink Flamingo Publications. Here’s the cover – isn’t she beautiful?

Here’s the preliminary blurb:

In 14th century England, a long-kept secret upends Rowan Langley’s life. His anger sends him on a quest to discover the truth behind the lies he’s been told. Determined to avoid such betrayal again, he trusts no one and lets his wrath guide him and keep others from getting close, except fellow knight Gerard, his only ally.
Aeron Dawkyns is running for her life – fleeing Wales and a false charge of murder. Forced to live in the street and pickpocket to save enough money to travel to England where her brother can help her, she steals coin from Rowan. Though she at first escapes capture, her luck runs out when Rowan catches her attempting to steal his horse. He offers her a choice – sexual slavery to himself and Gerard, or be handed over to the sheriff to be hanged. To stay alive, she agrees to Rowan’s deal, never expecting the torment she will endure.
As the days pass, Aeron finds serving a bitter and angry Rowan has dark pleasures of its own, pleasures she soon learns to crave. For the first time in months, she feels safe, despite the wicked and torturous games the two knights play with her body. But when Rowan insists on dragging her back into Wales, she fears that safety will be utterly destroyed at the end of a hangman’s noose.
When Rowan learns of Aeron’s plight, he vows to help hunt down those who have falsely charged her. He promises to protect her, and keep her, using the debt she still owes as his reason. But how can he keep her safe when he fears he is no better than the brutal enemy who wants her hanged? He has come to crave his slave’s touch, as much as he craves her heart and never wants to let her go.
Staying with Rowan becomes Aeron’s heart’s desire – but could very well mean the end of her life.
Includes: Bondage, spanking, multiple partners and anal sex
As we get closer to release day, I will share more info, and watch for some upcoming events I have planned around that time.

What to Include and How Much?

I write a lot of different genres, and some of my favorite ones are the ones where I make up worlds of my own. I can do or have anything happen in these worlds. I can toss the rules out the window. I also love to write stories that take place in the past. The medieval era is one of my favorite times and I can toss a few rules out when dabbling in the past as well.
But there are times when research is essential, no matter where or when the tale takes place. For instance, the Bayou Magiste Chronicles all take place in an alternate version of modern-day New Orleans and the surrounding area. Since the location is real, I need to make sure I am up to speed on the modern culture, the history of the city and the general flavor of the area. In the Warrior’s books, the research needs to be a bit more in-depth. Since there are real historical figures as supporting characters in these books, the facts need to be accurate.
Over the years, I’ve learned how to sprinkle the realism in with the fantasy. When I first started writing in the medieval era many eons ago, I was anxious to show how much I knew about the period, so I crammed in so many details around every event in the book that the darn thing ended up well over 120K words! I read and bought every book I could get my hands on about the area I was writing about, the people I was including and the general way of life of the time. I have a lovely library of books about the Middle Ages up to Elizabethan times.
Then the internet dawned and everything changed. For one thing, it was easier to buy all those research books online. For another, websites dedicated to every possible person, place and time popped up all over. I didn’t have to go to the book store or pore through mountains of books to find the fact I knew I had but couldn’t remember where I got it from. And I didn’t have to wait until the next day when I was writing after midnight and needed a critical piece of information. Of course, this created a whole new distraction.
It’s so easy to get caught up in research – the books were bad enough. I could spend hours reading through them, highlighting and flagging pages with places to refer back to later on. But the internet… I could spend DAYS clicking on links and uncovering new details and off I go to another site, then another, then another. Next thing you know, two hours of valuable writing time is gone. Oh, but wait, there’s one more place I need to look… poof! Another three hours gone.
I finally had to stop. I came up with a way to keep my focus on the story – mark the place in the book where I needed to confirm something and move on. Finish the scene, chapter, whatever it was that needed to get done. Then, and only then, look up the fact(s) that needed clarification. They can be added in or adjusted during revisions and future edits.
The other dilemma is determining how many of the facts to include. Too much and it’s overkill, not enough, and you can’t tell 1284 England from modern day U.S. Striking that balance can be difficult – it’s so easy to get caught up in adding everything you know. Setting the stage is one thing, piling mountains of monotonous details will send that stage crashing right down.
It’s the same thing with the BDSM aspects. When writing paranormal or historical BDSM-themed books, today’s standards and protocols don’t always apply. There are no such things as safewords in medieval Scotland and Wales (not that I’ve found, anyway and believe me, I looked!), but there sure as hell is bondage and spanking, multiple partners and the like. On other planets, where the culture revolves around submissive women and dominating men, again, the general rules don’t apply. That doesn’t mean there aren’t certain guidelines or standards to apply, they’re just different from what us Earthlings know.
Creating all these different situations requires a different kind of research – brainstorming. I am a firm believer that plotting and planning is research, just as much as looking something up in a book or online. A basic knowledge of our own world is enough to start the creation of another, but the details of that world still need to be spelled out clearly. Which circles right back around again to how much should be included? You want the reader to get a real visual for your world, whether it’s a time long ago, or a place on a distant planet, but you don’t want to bog it down with too many details.
Striking the balance is something I’ve learned to do much better these days, though, with each book, when I get to the final edits, I always find something in there that I have way over-killed, or even under-killed! Usually, it’s the former – I am a bit too wordy for my own good. And like all writers, every word is near and dear to me, cutting them out is like picking yourself with a needle. Over and over and over again.
I have learned to be ruthless – while some information is fascinating, and usually spurs the hunger to learn even more, sometimes it’s best just to address whatever facts there are lightly. The key, I think, is to let the characters, by their words and actions, reflect the historical data such as the laws and culture of the time, or inter-planetary customs in a galaxy far away, or even when two people, one magical, one not, interact.
At least, that’s the goal. I like to think I’ve gotten better at reducing the fat, and getting right to the meat of the story. Now if I could do that with myself! lol