Welcome to 2015


So this post is a long time coming. Part of the reason I’m such a bad blogger is because I never know what to write about. I do have some new book reviews coming, and have plans to host more authors as well, but with the holidays kicking everyone’s butts, time has flown by and here we are almost halfway through January. In any case, I thought I’d do a New Year’s type post, with a look ahead as to what’s coming, as far as me and my books are concerned.
I’ve already posted about Warrior’s Possession being released sometime this summer. Additionally, I’m hard at work on the next Magiste book, and this one takes us back to 13th century France. I’ve had to do quite a bit of research, since my main characters will be traveling to the New World, and that journey is way ahead of Columbus’. Most of the research has been along the lines of ships of the time, and the various Papal Inquisitions that took place during this time. The Spanish Inquisition that most are familiar with is still a couple hundred years away, but there were several others that came before. The Spanish Inquisition was by far the most far-reaching and long-lasting of them all, but the one started by Pope Innocent III was focused on the Cathars. The next pope continued the Inquisition, supported by King Louis IX, and it is during his reign that this book takes place. I’m having fun with the Marchand ancestors – they are quite the dark Enchanters, though the hero in this book, Henri Marchand, has some very conflicting feelings about that. He has his heroic side, such as rescuing the heroine, Chantal, but he also has his dark side, so it makes for lots of juicy emotional torment for him.
My Viking tale is also completed, and for now is being reviewed by a couple of agents. It’s another tale that I call true to the time, and there are scenes that can certainly make some folks uncomfortable, but hey, what’s a Gianna Simone book without a little questionable content, right? One agent in particular had requested revisions so I could resubmit and I did complete those and found she was absolutely right and it made the book so much better. I’m hoping one way or another to have some news about how Norseman’s Revenge is faring sometime in the spring.
On the personal side, I spent much of the fall traveling to various colleges with my daughter. She has applied to the top four on her list, and has already been accepted to her number one choice, the University of Scranton. Some days, I am dreading her leaving, and others I’m ready to take her out there right now! I suppose that’s typical of being the mother of a teenage girl, though I somehow managed to escape karma with her – she’s a really good, hardworking kid (I was a rotten teenager, rebellious and always in trouble). My son, on the other hand, while also a super kid, is going to more of a handful, I can tell already, but for now he’s only 10 and still loves his mommy. He’s become quite the hockey player this year – and his team just had a special event sponsored by the NJ Devils (I know, we’re NY Rangers fans, but the Devils sponsor a lot of NJ youth hockey events). They actually got to play on the ice at The Rock after the first period and he and all his teammates were thrilled beyond belief.
In other news, I am actively seeking a part time job – we need the money, though being unemployed does give us an edge when applying for college financial aid. But I need hours that will allow me to be home for the kids after school and still give me enough time to write, while bringing in some extra cash. The local bookstore didn’t want me, but since I’ve been out of retail for almost 30 years, I’m not surprised. 
So that’s the recap – stay tuned for more info on my books, some reviews and more. 
Happy 2015 – here’s hoping it’s happy, healthy and prosperous for everyone.

Happy News! Warrior’s Possession is coming in 2015!


I got word today that Warrior’s Possession has been accepted by Pink Flamingo Publications. This is the story of Gillian Marlowe and Royce Langley, and is a prequel to the first two Warrior’s books. A sort of “this is how it all began” story. 
This particular book is very dear to me. I first created Gillian and Royce way back in the early 1990’s, and it was my very first stab at writing a medieval-set book. When I first decided to redo the story, I pulled up the file and almost ran screaming from my desk! The story and the characters were still amazing, but the writing, well, that’s an animal of a completely different color. I knew this was going to take a lot of work, but once I dug in and started cleaning up, deleting and rearranging, everything came into clear focus and I realized that this was the way this book should have been written in the first place. The original story stood at about 120K words (eeek!), so before I could update in a realistic fashion, I had to cut. And cut. And cut. By the time I was done, I had removed nearly 90K words. Then it was time to write all the new juicy stuff that makes the book what it is now.
Yes, I’ve kinked it up (of course) and I drastically reworked the plot to make more sense. I’ve learned a hell of a lot about the craft of writing in the last 20+ years, and it really shows when I compare the two versions. I also added a bit more realism for the time – I’ve done so much more research since these two first popped into my head, I realized a lot was lacking. At one point, I even have the actual words spoken by a historical character in a scene. So keeping track of all that over the years really paid off.
Here’s a brief blurb about the story:
“Ordered by King Edward to wed Royce Langley, the Earl of Montchester, Gillian Marlowe feels as if she is being sacrificed. Tasked with ridding the border along Wales of rebels, Royce finds subterfuge and secrets everywhere, even with his beautiful wife. She tries his patience, defies his orders and places herself in danger. To keep her in line, he spanks her, binds her to his bed and uses sexual games to torment her. Discovering she enjoys it only confuses him. He’s sworn never to fall for a woman’s wiles, but his wife fascinates him and stirs a desire deeper than any he’s ever known. When he learns the traitor is a close friend, he and Gillian work together to crush the rebel leader and save each other at the same time.”
Some secondary characters from previous books also show up in Warrior’s Possession, and there are a couple of those who also have their own books. I hope to be doing rewrites for them soon, but it will likely be a few more months before I can give them serious consideration. Right now, I’m hard at work on the next Magiste book – a historical set in France – and thee next Viking tale is starting to take shape, outline-wise, as well.

I will post updates about Warrior’s Possession as I get them and as we get closer to release day. It’s been a long time coming, but I am very much looking forward to seeing Gillian and Royce in print!

NJRWA Put Your Heart in a Book Conference


Many of you know I usually attend the NJRWA conference every year, and this year was another good one. From the workshops to the awards to the parties to hanging out with friends, the bookfair and meeting new readers, everything was wonderful as always.
I was a little disappointed with the hotel service this year – they seemed a little unorganized, which I thought was unusual. Usually the Renaissance Marriott is in top form, from the preparedness of the hotel to the professionalism of the staff. There were a lot of other things going on this year as well which contributed to the moments of chaos – a couple of airline meetings (airline pilots, in uniform. I was enjoying the view! lol), a 50th birthday party and a wedding, which actually took place somewhere else, but they all stayed in the hotel. Made for some interesting sights. But we had a blast watching it all and partying together!
It was fun reconnecting with friends I don’t see often, and making new ones. And the highlight was when my local RWA Chapter’s very own Wendy S. Marcus took the Golden Leaf for Best Contemporary Series for Secrets of a Shy Socialite. Congratulations Wendy! You rock and it was fun sharing the win with you. Our other member finalist, Kat Attalla was robbed! lol I jest, of course, but China Blue is one of her best. I can imagine how hard it must be to judge the finalists since they are all among the best books of 2012-2013.
All in all, things went very well, and as always, my motivation and inspiration are at their highest levels when I return. I’ve been very productive the last few days, despite my little guy breaking his wrist and having to take him for x-rays and doctor appointments and the like. We have another today, and he may get a new cast – one his friends can sign. At least that’s what he’s hoping for. I never saw any kid so excited to be wearing a cast. I suspect it won’t last much longer.
In the meantime, I am prepping a dark and kinky vampire tale that has been languishing for an agent to take a look at. I’m also working on finishing up Warrior’s Possession. I should know better than to work on two books at a time, yet somehow that always seems to be just what happens. I figure I’ll ride the conference high as long as I can and get as much done as possible.
Also, for anyone who is interested, I kicked off a blog tour this week for the Bayou Magiste Chronicles. Watch my announcements on Twitter and Facebook to see where I am on any given day and come on by to check out some sexy excerpts and enter the contest. I’ll be giving away books, swag and other goodies!

The Latest and Greatest


Lots of news to share. First and  foremost, I can announce that my agreements with Noble Romance Publishing are terminated. I can’t say more, but it is over. Which I am glad for, as it’s been over a year since this mess started. It’s nice not to have the stress of that hanging over me anymore.
I also have some release news to share. Claimed by the Enchanter, the third in the Magiste Bayou Chronicles, will be out very soon. I don’t have links or anything yet, but I will be sharing as soon as it hits my hands. This book is the story of Regine Marchand and Cameron McIntyre. Reggie, as she calls herself, is a domme, and enjoys being in total control of every aspect in her life. Cameron is a dom as well, but he senses a submissive side to Reggie and wants to show her how pleasurable that can be. There are quite a few twists and turns in the story, as Reggie comes to learn many things about herself, and Cameron pushes her to her limits. At the same time, he helps her find out who really cursed her horse, putting her in danger. And as much as Reggie wants to resent Cameron, she finds herself falling for him, faster and deeper than she’d ever imagined.
Also on the horizon are releases for the revised and updated Magiste Bayou Chronicles. Both books, now called Claimed by the Devil and Claimed by the Mage, have been extensively re-edited and contain new content. I am very pleased with these updates and am looking forward to sharing them with you, along with the new covers.
I am also getting ready for the release of Warrior’s Wrath, though I’m not quite sure of the timeframe for that. Likely in the fall, though I’ll update as I get more news. (Update: I learned this morning that Warrior’s Wrath will be out in early 2014 Stay tuned for more details as we get closer) This is the story of Rowan Langley. He gets quite a rude awakening in the very beginning of the story, and when confronted with a slip of female thief, finds himself capable of things he’d never imagined before. It’s a good thing Aeron learns to crave Rowan’s torments.
With all of these books, keep an eye out here for more news and info, as well as giveaways and other fun sorts of things. I’ll be participating in a few events online and hopefully in person as well, in the coming months, and will share the details with you as I finalize them as well.
I will be at the NJRWA Put Your Heart in A Book Conference October 18-19, 2013, in Woodbridge NJ. I’ll be signing some of my books at the bookfair on the 19th. If you’re attending, or simply in the area, come find me.
On the homefront, I am still unemployed, and looking forward to school starting in a few weeks. While I’ve made significant progress and am closing in on the end for Warrior’s Possession, the third in the Warrior’s series, having the kids around during the day has made it difficult to maintain the pace I had going before the end of June. So I look forward to that. 
And now, I’m off to tend some household projects. One good thing about unemployment, is that slowly but surely, I will have the cleanest closets in town! 🙂

Updates and Other News


It’s been a crazy few weeks – what else is new? For those who know me well, the annual July 4th celebration went off with mostly no hitches and was a rousing success. I enjoyed catching up with those I don’t see often, but who are very dear to me. Wish I had the stamina to do it more often!
In any case, that’s not all the news I have to share. Warrior’s Wrath, book two in the Warrior’s trilogy, has been officially accepted by Pink Flamingo. I’m very excited about this story, as I once again get to revisit characters I have written before and adore. Warrior’s Wrath is about Rowan Langley, Marissa’s brother from Warrior’s Vengeance. Rowan discovers something about himself at the very beginning that makes him question who he really is and his anger at those who have betrayed him affects everything he does. When he encounters Aeron, a thief who stole his coin, he decides to take her as his slave for repayment of the debt. Yet when he learns Aeron is fleeing a murder charge, he finds himself feeling a very different set of emotions. Aeron, on the other hand, is irresistibly drawn to the man holding her captive, despite his harsh treatment. Throw in Rowan’s best friend, who takes a much kinder approach, and Aeron is caught up in their wicked ways and finds herself losing her heart to them.
I’m hard at work on book three in this trilogy too. Warrior’s Possession is more of a prequel to the previous two books, as it tells the story of Gillian and Royce Langley, two characters I brought to life nearly twenty years ago. I’ve re-written the book extensively, and have also come to discover that Royce’s already dominant personality is perfectly suited to the changes I’ve made. I can’t wait to finish that and send it off. I’ve really enjoyed writing in this time period and I definitely have plans to visit it again in the future.
Additionally, the third Marchand book, Regine’s story, has been accepted by Sizzler Editions. I am STILL lost as to a title for this one, but I’m sure I’ll figure one out well before the release. Regine is a domme, but encounters a man who makes her want to submit. It throws her whole sense of self into turmoil, but what fun it was to write her story and have her discover new things about herself. Being an Enchantress from a powerful magical family has given her a healthy dose of pride and confidence that is shaken in many ways, and reinforced in others. Cameron McIntyre is the perfect man for her, she just has to realize and accept it. It’s a fun ride, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading their story as much as I did writing it.
Summer vacation has taken its toll on productivity, but the routine is settling now, so I’m hoping to step up the pace again and get working on my Vikings tales. Researching these books has been the most I’ve done on these stories so far, but once Warrior’s Possession is complete, I should have enough to get started. Until I find other things that need clarification, as is usually the case. The toughest thing is getting the language/dialect down. I’m going to need to re-watch Vikings from the History Channel to remind myself of a few things. I don’t think I’m going to mind that!:)
Keep an eye out for further release information, and covers and the like – I’ll share all that the moment I have it!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes


A month into unemployment and I no longer feel like I’m simply on vacation. The transition wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be – though saying goodbye to the best boss I ever had and my other colleagues was difficult. The extra month of working did a lot for my self-esteem, that’s for sure. It was a reminder that I was a vital part of a successful business group who did things others couldn’t – and we were one of the leanest-staffed groups and operated in a super cost-effective manner. Sigh. All good things do come to an end.
In any case, I’ve spent the last month catching up on household chores that had long fallen by the wayside (cleaning and organizing closets, cabinets, etc.), being a SAHM and all the tasks and errands that go along with that.
And writing. I’m back in medieval England again. The intentions were to get started on my planned Viking books, but the third Warrior book, Warrior’s Possession, took over instead. My long-time critique partners know this book under a different title, and I never thought I’d ever attempt to get it out there again. But with the last two Warrior books, it made sense to go back and see how it all began.  And that’s when all the changes started. I knew I’d have to make some drastic revisions, but it seems I’d forgotten more about this book than I remembered. Not to mention finding a plot point that affected the other two books.
Gillian Marlowe is given in marriage by King Edward to one of his favorite earls. Royce Langley, known as The Panther, wants no part of marriage – he doesn’t trust women in general, but in order to subdue the Welsh rebellion for good, he has no choice. And the only way he can gain the estate is by marrying its daughter. Of course, discovering his bride is half-Welsh and is apparently keeping secrets, won’t make gaining these lands very easy on him.
In the book’s original incarnation, Royce was a much kinder hero. I’ve toughened him a bit, and given him some very naughty ideas on how to deal with his rebellious wife. Gillian, adept at using a longbow and an accomplished falconer, does not like having her freedom curtailed. Both find themselves attracted to the other, but neither wants to give in. Of course. 😉
Most women in the medieval era were, unfortunately, objects to be used by the men in their lives. But in actuality, there were some very powerful women who made their own choices and gained their own power. Eleanor of Aquitane, queen to two kings and the mother of two more, had political clout of her own and wielded it wisely.  Queen Margaret of Norway was not a woman to be dismissed, either – she united three Scandinavian kingdoms. There was Isabella, the wife of Edward II – she used her position to usurp her husband’s power and eventually have him murdered. And there were several other unmarried noblewomen who held land and could wield as much power as their male counterparts – depending, of course, on the benefits their holdings provided the king. Power was one thing, respect another, and the two didn’t always come together in a neatly wrapped package.
Gillian is cut from the same mold as some of those women – she will defend her home and her people, to the death if necessary, and fight for her own freedom. Of course, her husband doesn’t think she has the right to do so, so this naturally leads to some very interesting confrontations. And if you’re familiar with my other books, whether they be the Warrior books or others, you know how my heroes handle their women!
The difference in this book is, I think, that while Gillian was married off without her having any say in the matter, technically, she isn’t being held captive, at least in the typical sense. So even though she’s strong and capable, in a way, she is still trapped. Often, marriage or the convent were the only choices for many noblewomen, and once there, no way out. So amid the clutter of the contrived and drawn-out plot devices I’ve been deleting, a stronger Gillian has emerged, and in challenging her husband, she has created a fiery situation that neither may survive. Of course they will, if nothing else, all of my books have an HEA. They’re romances! It’s getting to that happy ending that’s the fun part!

In any case, some very powerful historical women  have helped me shape Gillian into the character she has now become. Even some more modern than just those from her time. Which women inspire you?