Warrior’s Wrath is Out Today!

Warrior’s Wrath is here! The sequel to Warrior’s Vengeance, Warrior’s Wrath is a dark tale of seduction and domination. You’ve seen the blurb and cover before, but I’m going to share it again, and an excerpt as well.

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

Here’s a taste of the story:
Aeron crouched against the wall, hoping the shadows and the stack of livestock crates hid her well enough. Her breath came in heavy gasps, due to her panicked dash through the village streets. She’d narrowly escaped capture twice already this week. Would the finely dressed nobleman giving chase finally end the months of sheer survival?
She had to get free of this town, and move on. Toward Shrewsbury. Once there, and she found her brother, all would be well. The nightmare of the last months would remain with her always, but she had learned well how to care for herself and tend to her needs. She’d become an adept pickpocket, working in tight bustling crowds so none knew what she was about.
Until this week. This was the third time she’d been seen. Why had she been drawn to the man with the fine cloak?
The crunch of a footstep sounded. Close. Too close. Another step, and another as her pursuer neared. 
She held her breath, and willed her body to complete stillness. Another step, but this time further away. Aeron waited several minutes before daring to shiver in the cold, worried even that slight movement would draw notice. Was he gone? She didn’t dare leave her hiding spot for a long time, afraid he lay in wait for her. But after what seemed much longer than she could bear, she finally eased her stiff body out from behind the pile of crates. She gingerly stretched, then pulled the pouch she’d lifted out from under her cloak. She smiled.
Heavy enough that she could buy some food at the market before the vendors closed their stalls and still have enough leftover toward her goal. Once she had a meal, she would venture into the woods again, to her secret place. She must figure a better way to earn enough coin to get to Shrewsbury.
She hurried to the market, where she arrived just in time to purchase a loaf of bread, a meat pie, and some ale. Her purchases safely wrapped within her cloak, she made her way to the edge of the city. Few paid her any notice, and she preferred it that way. She patted the dagger in her pocket, and took comfort in knowing another rested in the garter at her thigh. It had come in handy to defend herself against drunken and randy men who thought they had the right to touch her. As if she’d let any man touch her. Nay, she would decide who she’d allow to do so, and so far, had not yet met any who stood against her standards.
But tonight had convinced her that her luck quickly ran out. In the months since her parents and sisters had died, she’d survived, with skill and good fortune. If she didn’t find a way to Shrewsbury soon, that good fortune would fail. She might find herself reduced to begging or selling her body. Neither choice suited her. Her skills as a seamstress were passable at best, but she knew fabrics well. Surely in a city as big as Shrewsbury, she could find work with a draper. First she had to get there.
She shivered and pulled her thin cloak around her as she trudged through the trees. How she longed to be back in her warm home, her parents and sisters around her. The days spent cataloging and selling their fine fabrics to the tailors of those noble and those not, the nights in camaraderie as they prepared for her older sister’s wedding, ran through her thoughts haphazardly, bringing the sting of tears. But they were gone now, lost to the flames that had taken their small shop and their home in a matter of minutes, thanks to the inventory of fine fabrics stored within.
She wiped away the tears. She couldn’t afford to waste any more time mourning. Too often, dwelling on the loss had only served to get her into trouble. With the pouch she’d lifted today, she could almost afford an escort to Shrewsbury. When she settled into her tiny hut, she would count the coin. Tomorrow would bring new opportunities, mayhap just the one she needed.
She finally neared her tiny camp, hidden in a thick grove and came up short. Two horses were tethered to trees close to her shelter. Too close. She looked around, but saw no one. Surely the horses’ owners were nearby. She hesitantly neared the animals.
From the looks of the saddles and gear, these were knights’ destriers. Then she noticed the smaller pack horse also tied with them. Who traveled through here and had stopped so close to her shelter?
With cautious steps, she moved nearer and realized no one lingered in the area. Had they abandoned the animals, then? An idea sprang into her thoughts. Had her prayers to find a way to Shrewsbury been answered? If the knights weren’t nearby, perhaps… Nay, she could be hanged for even thinking of it.
Still, on an animal such as one of the fine steeds, she could make the trip in a fortnight. Perhaps less. She walked all over the area, searching and listening, but found no one. Senseless, and yet, mayhap this was divine intervention. She walked back to the animals. She stroked the silky neck of the black steed closest to her. The giant animal snorted and stamped his foot, before turning his head to butt his nose against her chest. Aeron giggled.
She gave another look around the area. No sign of another soul. Had they wandered off and gotten lost? Her chance had come and she had to take it. She reached for the reins of the black. A hand clamped on her wrist.
“What have we here?”
“What have you found, Rowan?”
“A thief. The very one who lifted my coin today in the village. And now she looks to be stealing my horse.”
Aeron gulped and tugged on her arm, but the knight’s grip was simply too strong to break. She stared up into his dark angry eyes, and recognized him as the man who had followed her into the alley. 
God’s teeth, what mess had she gotten herself into now?
Rowan stared at the slip of a girl cowering before him. When she’d lifted his coin earlier, he’d thought her no more than a child, but now he realized, ‘twas a young woman. A comely woman at that. He jerked her to him, wondering why, although he possessed a healthy dose of anger for her thievery, he found himself drawn to the pale blue of her eyes. In the fading daylight, he could still make out the color, and the shape of her cheek and jaw. The full lips that pressed together as she tried once more to tug free.
“Stealing a knight’s mount is a hanging offense,” said Gerard as he came to stand beside Rowan.
“Aye. But I think I have a better idea.”
Her throat moved when she gulped and licked her lips. He found himself wondering what those lips tasted like and realized his idea would work far better to his advantage.
“Please, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to –”
“Silence.” Rowan drew her nearer. “Gerard, fetch me the rope from my pack.”
“Nay, don’t hang me! I’ll do anything you ask.” With her free hand, she offered the small sack she carried. “It’s all I have, some bread and meat, and what’s left of the coin I took from you. I… I’ll find some way to repay you the rest.”

Rowan shook his head, leering at her. Why did the sight of her fear stir him in many ways? He rather liked the thought of her willing to do anything he asked in recompense for her thievery. He knew just how she would pay. Would she agree? He cared not. She had stolen from him and he would be repaid.
“I have already decided.”
Gerard handed him the rope and Rowan let it uncoil. With quick motions, he grabbed her other wrist, and quickly bound them with the rope. She let out a frightened cry, and a twinge of remorse tugged at him. He pushed it aside. Withdrawing his dagger, he sliced through the rope, leaving a fair amount to trail from her bound hands. He tugged and she stumbled against him.
“You will serve me until I determine your debt is paid.”
Gerard let out a hearty laugh. “Rowan, surely you’re not going to keep this wench all to yourself?”
“Nay, Ger, I will share. She looks to be able to handle the both of us.”
The girl looked from Rowan, to Gerard and back again. The fading light revealed the horror in her eyes as she realized their intent. She shook her head and tried to pull away.
“Nay, I will die before you rape me!”
“‘Twill not be rape. You owe me coin, and for the offense of attempting to steal my horse. Don’t worry, girl, you’ll like it. Gerard and I know well how to please a woman, and we’ll teach you how to please us.”
“She’ll certainly make the rest of our journey less tedious,” Gerard commented. He reached out to stroke her fair hair, and she jerked away.
Rowan tugged on the rope binding her. “You are not to refuse. If you do, you will be punished.”
“You sick beast! How dare you! I will see you jailed for this!”
“And shall I tell the sheriff how you stole from me? I suspect you have many other victims who’d like to see you pay. You’ll be hanged for sure.”
She continued to shake her head, but said no more.
“You have a choice, wench. Service to us, or I bring you to the village sheriff and let him deal with you.”
He watched her closely as she debated her options. Would the foolish girl choose to die over providing him and Gerard with much needed companionship? After several long moments, she slowly nodded.
“Aye, I will repay you as you asked.”
“Be sure. Any refusal will see you severely punished.”
She lifted her chin. “I will survive whatever you choose to do to me.”
“We shall see. Come. Gerard and I are hungry. You will prepare the fowl we caught for our dinner.”
He tugged her back toward where they had made a small camp. Rowan silently pointed to the ducks Gerard had caught. He gave her a little shove toward them and she sank to her knees to begin plucking the feathers. Rowan sat nearby, leaning against a tree to watch her as she worked. After starting a fire, Gerard hunkered down beside him.
“She’s comely, with that pale hair and eyes,” his friend commented.
Rowan nodded. His journey near its end, he suddenly found himself distracted by the girl. He couldn’t afford to be careless, not when he was this close to learning where he came from. His goal of finding his father’s family might truly be attained. But with the presence of this thieving girl, his urgency seemed to have faded. Why? He scowled when she looked up just before spitting the first bird and placing it over the fire.
She made quick work of the second duck and soon the aroma of the meat filled the air. Rowan’s stomach grumbled. She glanced at him, then again at Gerard. Rowan stood and walked over to her, picking up the rope. He tugged, urging her to stand.
The wench was taller than he had first thought, her head nearly reaching his chin. He lifted her face and stared into her eyes, glowing from the firelight. Fear and anger mingled in their depths, and he held back a grin. She possessed a fire that would certainly make the rest of his journey enjoyable.
“What is your name?”
She hesitated but a moment. “Aeron.”
“Very well, Aeron, you will help set up our tent.”
She shook her head. He scowled and yanked on the rope, causing her to fall against him.
“Already you refuse my orders?”
Her cry spurred a moment of remorse, one he quickly pushed aside.
“Then what do you mean by refusing?”
“I… I have a shelter. Over there, in those trees.”
He turned to where she pointed. He glanced back at her. “Show me. Gerard, watch our dinner doesn’t burn.”
She led him through the thick stand of trees to a tiny grove within. Sure enough, some planks of wood and an assortment of fabrics had been strung together to form a crude sort of cabin. While the shelter would save them the time of erecting their tent, he found himself wishing for the comfort of his own abode.
He realized she watched him with a strange hopefulness, and although she’d said nothing, he found himself understanding her silent message.
“You fashioned this yourself?” he asked.
The note of pride in her voice almost drew a smile. Rowan held it back.
“Very well, we shall use this before we depart in the morn.”
“Depart? But… where will you take me?”
“I journey to Wales. My travels are nearly done, as the people I seek reside just over the border. You will come until I am satisfied you have repaid your debt.”
“But… I cannot go back there!”
He studied her, her fright so strong it scented the air with bitterness. This fear overpowered the fear she held for him. Why?
“You are from Wales, then?”
She nodded, her breath coming in short gasps.
“Why can’t you go back?”
“Nay, ‘tis not your affair. Surely there must be some way for me to repay you before you reach Wales.”
He shook his head. He found himself with a strange urge to never let her go, no matter what she claimed. She would accompany him and Gerard. While they would certainly enjoy the use of her body during the cold nights, she would also provide an extra set of sturdy hands to help with various needed tasks. The little thief would be his slave until he saw fit to release or mayhap even sell her. The coldness with which he reached his decision briefly surprised him until he recalled the nature of his true heritage. Still, he would protect what was his.
You can buy Warrior’s Wrath through Pink Flaming Publications, here: http://www.pinkflamingo.com/products/Warrior%27s-Wrath-%252d-ebook.html  It’s available in both ebook and print. I also have some fun events coming up, contests and parties and blog tours. As I get more details, I’ll pass them along.

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!

Counting Down

At the end of this month, I officially become unemployed. I’ve talked about it before, and while there are still some lingering mixed emotions, for the most part, I’m ready to be done and out of here. My employer extended my position for one more month before it transitions to California, so I could finish up fiscal year end programs and tasks. Unfortunately, IT never got the word, and they shut off my network account. I still can’t get back into many of the systems I need to complete the tasks I stayed on for. It’s been frustrating, but on the plus side, it’s given me a few weeks where I was able to work on and wrap up two of my manuscripts.
I got good news about one this morning- the third book in my Marchand BDSM romance series has been accepted by Sizzler Editions. Sadly, I still don’t have a title, but I have a few ideas (and if anyone has any suggestions, I’ll take them! lol) It’s an equestrian eventing set tale, which is why coming up with a title has been a bit tricky – horses, BDSM – wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea! 😀  I don’t have any further information yet, but will be sharing as I get it.
I also wrapped up Warrior’s Wrath and sent that off to Pink Flamingo, though now I’m in a bit of a panic because I think I left something out of a scene, but I’m not looking. I figure my editor will point it out if I did and since there’s nothing I can do about it at the moment, no use making myself sick over it unless I really have to.
I’ve also been spending the last several days revising The Night Club – my next vampire romance. This book has been in the works for a very long time. I first wrote it shortly after I finished The Taste of Magic, in 2003! Various events conspired to knock me out of the writing game for a bit – the unexpected pregnancy with my son and his infant and toddler years, specifically. Babies take a brutal toll on the creative juices. Thankfully, we’re done with those days.
In any case, when I got back to writing, I took a huge detour from that book and tried something new. Some of you know I tested myself by writing a very popular Harry Potter fan fiction (Dramione, anyone?). It got such a good response that the darn thing took on a life of its own and really helped my confidence (I will advise you don’t go looking for it, it’s been removed from all the sites where it once appeared).  From there, the Marchand series was born. One thing led to another, and I wrote Warrior’s Vengeance, which was another book I started back in my early days. Since my goals and genres changed drastically, I didn’t give the vampire book a second thought.
Until I re-released The Taste of Magic. It did very well, so I dusted off The Night Club and decided to revise it. Turns out, this baby needs a whole lot of re-writing. Not only was it written back when my voice was significantly different, there are a lot of issues with the writing in general. Too much passive voice, more telling than I’d prefer, and plotlines that go off in all sorts of directions. I’ve been deleting a lot of things, streamlining the plot and cutting down on the word count. It’s still over 90K at this point, but I suspect it’ll wrap up around 80-85K when all is said and done.
Once that’s complete, I’ll be starting my next series, which I talked about before – Vikings! I have plots for two books. The History Channel show has inspired me so much, and last week’s episode was particularly awesome! Hail Earl Ragnar!  lol  I’m inspired, motivated and excited to get started. And with the next several months of actually having time to write, I’m salivating waiting for May to come!

Changing of the Seasons

Not really a complete change though – technically the cooler fall weather and the leaves turning won’t really start for a few more weeks around here. But summer vacation is ending, school is starting in a few days, so to me that signals the change. And I’m hoping it will bring a little more order to our little corner of the world.
It’s been a busy and eventful summer. On the home front, I can now honestly say I can’t wait for my daughter to get her driver’s license. The chauffeuring gets old fast, and somehow she had somewhere to go nearly every night. Much easier when her friends come over here, but that brings its own set of dilemmas. At least now, I can say no to Tuesday night guests and not be made to feel like I’m the evil stepmother in Snow White!
I turned a lot of my focus toward revising my next vampire story, The Night Club. It’s just about finished – I’m still doing some final revisions and adding a couple new scenes and just trying to get everything clean and logical. Which got me thinking ahead to my next vampire book. I actually began sketching it out. Just jotting down some ideas of what I think should happen, no real writing. Yet. You may remember Josh and Sophie from The Taste of Magic – well, they have their own tale to tell. So I started my spreadsheet for their story.
In the midst of that, I also began the sequel to Warrior’s Vengeance. Rowan Langley is the hero in Warrior’s Wrath, and if you read WV, you know him as Marissa’s brother. He learns a few things about himself that turn him very angry and bitter. This doesn’t bode well for the heroine, Aeron, a Welsh woman who steals from him. I’m having lots of fun getting this first draft down, and hopefully will complete it quickly. At the rate I’m going, there’s actually a good chance of that.
I’m also doing some minor work on the sequel to Prince of the Universe. I had lost my fire for that story a couple months ago, but it’s back. Christina and Reygar’s story is a bit more difficult to pinpoint. I’m focusing on world building at this point, and making my usual lists – these are of various cultural customs and societal norms. With each one that becomes clear, the trouble between the Aldarran and “Earth Woman” gets stronger. This book will be set entirely on the planet of Aldarra – and civilization on that planet is very different from Earth’s.
Lots of irons in the fire, which is kind of crazy, considering the insanity and chaos of the rest of my life. But my mind just works that way – I suppose because I’m a Gemini and there are way more than two of me in here! 😀 Each part of me wants to be focused on something, so to appease them all, I spend a little time on each planned book, at least so when I finish the two I’m neck deep in, I’ll have at least two more to get to work on. The madness keeps me focused – I get 2 to 2 ½ hours a night to write, so I’ve been trying to use it wisely. With school starting, I may even gain another hour – no more kids staying up late because they don’t have to get up in the morning! It’s really hard to concentrate on medieval England when Mario’s in the background trying to save the Princess!

Reviews – Taking the Bitter with the Sweet

When a book releases, reviews usually follow. Sometimes quickly, sometimes not so quick. I found a lovely review for In the Devil’s Arms a good year after it was released. So these things do take time.
I’ve had a couple of recent releases in the last few months, and I’ve sent them off with a fingers-crossed silent prayer that whoever reads them loves them. I’ve been lucky for the most part – most of my reviews that came from review sites and blogs have, overall, been very good.  I know not everyone will love my books, and I usually have a pretty thick skin. I love the feedback, even it it’s not as good as I’d hoped.
Prince of the Universe was my first stab at sci-fi. Generally, I’m not a big fan of the genre, a few movies here and there, and an occasional book by a favorite author are about it. But the idea came to me, and I ran with it. I had a blast writing the story. It was a lot of fun, although I did have to do a bit of double-checking on certain things that had to be accurate. The rest, I kind of went with what I envisioned in my head when the first pieces of the story came together. I loved Merry, and wanted to give her the happy ending she deserved after what she’d endured. Same for Vega, even though he was a pompous, arrogant fool at times, he genuinely cared for Merry.  He needed her as much as she needed him.
Apparently, though, I bored the reviewer. Ugh! Bored? Gah, that’s like the kiss of death for a book. I’ve had people trash my characters, my plotlines, even my writing talent. But no one ever said they were bored before. This was new. I sulked for a bit, and lost all desire to continue working on the outline for PotU’s sequel. Logically, I know the book just wasn’t for that reader. It happens, and everyone’s opinion is important. And the review was not done in a mean-spirited way. It was honest. I appreciate that. It’s been some time now, the sting has softened a bit, but the worry remains that people will read that review and steer clear. It happens, and I can’t dwell on it. I have decided I will go ahead and write the sequel. This book will take place entirely on the planet Aldarra, and I’m liking how the plot and conflict are coming together.
My other recent release, Warrior’s Vengeance, was a title I had lots of worries for. I’ve mentioned before the reactions to this book have been extreme, no middle ground. My hero, Ian, can be cruel, and doesn’t always treat the heroine, Marissa, very well. But I wrote this book knowing I was keeping it in sync with events and the people of the times. Of course, I’ve had a few things brought to my attention that I never thought of as I was writing the book, but that’s okay. I kind of expected to be beaten down by readers and reviewers for some of the content, anyway, so those complaints were almost minor. They also spurred a couple of “D’oh!” moments. Haven’t heard the term “bodice-ripper” in a while, but I’ll admit, I liked hearing it. 🙂 

I have a plan for a sequel to this book too, and there are ideas for more books set in 12th/13th century England and Scotland, bringing in some of the paranormal elements I like so much to play with. I truly enjoy that time period, the location, so I want to explore more of the people. I will definitely be producing some more “bodice-rippers” in a similar vein and can only hope they do as well.
Anyway, it seems I needn’t have worried too much about this book – this story resonated with the reviewer. It touched others as well – one reader admitted she had a hard time with the story. I get that – it’s not a light, fluffy story by any stretch of the imagination. But she was honest, and straightforward in her review, and rated the book very highly. I got her point, and it was a pleasure to discuss that with her a little. You can’t ask for more. 
Now, the general rule is, don’t respond to reviews. But I always think it’s nice, when a reader says my story touched her deeply in some way, that I should at least thank her. And it often leads to new experiences I might not otherwise have had. I like to think my instincts are good, and while I don’t often respond to a review, there are those that warrant it, and I’m always glad I did afterward.

Don’t get me wrong – there are a few places I avoid getting in too deep reading reviews. When a reviewer reports my work is poorly written and needs editing, then lists Fifty Shades as one of her Top 10 All Time Favorites, well, I can’t take that reviewer too seriously. Sorry for anyone who’s a fan of those books – I am not. I tried, I really tried, but that’s a topic for another blog post.

In any case, seeing the reactions to Warrior’s Vengeance was a huge bright spot in a gloomy last couple of weeks, which sadly, look to be getting gloomier. I have some thoughts on that, but I don’t know if I’m inclined to share them here yet. I’ve been holding off and taking a wait-and-see approach, but I think that time has come to an end. In the meantime, I’m just trying to keep up with getting two books done – one revised, and one new. And trying not to think too far ahead.

Warrior’s Vengeance – Available Today!

Today is release day for Warrior’s Vengeance. I’m very excited about this book – my CP’s know the trials and tribulations I went through. Lol 
This book is grittier and a bit darker in tone than other titles, It’s what I like best about it – I didn’t hold anything back (okay, maybe a little – gotta save something for another book, right?) and let Marissa and Ian go at it! I had fun with most of it, other times I was left a bit drained. Mostly I had a blast writing the book, though. I’ve mentioned before about the extreme reactions I’ve received. While the positive reactions were awesome, the negatives spurred me to think about using a warning for those who might not be comfortable with some of the scenes, and I’ve done so in a few places. Having said all that, I must also say publishing it is certainly the best validation. 😀
Aside from the sexual content, another reason I enjoyed writing Warrior’s Vengeance is because of its time period. I am a big fan of that time – I’ve written two other books that take place during the reign of Edward I, and I consider them the prequels to Warrior’s Vengeance. I’m considering rewriting them, and I have a basic outline for a sequel, with the main character one of the minor ones from Warrior’s Vengeance.
Back on point, romances from the period beginning with 1066 and the Norman invasion through about the time when Robert The Bruce defeated the English take up quite a lot of space on my bookshelves. I’ve read historical romance of all times – the entire range from pre-Viking England to the glory days of the American West (which is probably favorite #2 – how can anyone not drool over hot cowboys?), but always, my heart is drawn to this time, particularly the later Plantagenet years. I also have an extensive library of non-fiction about the period, which makes DH insane when I start pulling them out to research something! For some reason, all the romance books I read that took place in that period always seemed to draw me deeper into them, and I could picture everything so vividly, I was enraptured until the end, and at that point, probably a little disappointed it was over!
A couple of favorites are of course Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Wolf and the Dove. I can still see the scene where Aislynn is sure she’s lost her son, and she’s crying to Wulfgar. It still brings tears to my eyes. The Conqueror by Brenda Joyce. Rolfe is positively abominable to Ceidre but you can’t help rooting for them, even during some of the most torturous interactions and events. Johanna Lindsey wrote some marvelous ones, and all the Catherine Coulter’s Song series books in the house are rather weathered!
Anyway, here are the cover and blurb for Warrior’s Vengeance, and the link as well, for those who are interested in checking it out. It will be on Amazon as well, I’ll keep you posted. For those of you who enjoy this type of gritty sexual tale, I hope you like this book too! Leave a comment about some of your favorite historical romances, and I’ll reward a random commenter with a copy.

Near the Scottish border during the reign of Edward I, Marissa Langley, daughter of a powerful English earl is captured by a band of marauding Scotsmen. Completely at their mercy, she is desperate to escape. When the leader of the group saves her from certain rape, she believes she will be freed.
But Ian MacCallum is no savior. He takes her for his own, seduces her then makes her a submissive. Her collar and chains are part of his vengeance on her father—the man Ian claims is responsible for the death of his beloved wife and son.
But her immediate death is not Ian’s plan. He subjects her to daily suffering and punishments and goes so far as sharing her with another clansman. Yet, her spirit will not be broken. He finds himself drawn to that core of strength within her; finding it most exquisite as it cannot be violated.
When danger from within his clan threatens her, Ian protects her, discovering at the same time that he does not want to lose her, ever.
Marissa makes her own discovery: she comes to crave Ian’s torturous touch. When she learns the source of his hatred, she is certain he is wrong. Her father would not commit atrocities. She waits for the moment when she can escape and prove her father’s innocence. But that would mean leaving Ian when she is no longer sure she wants to be free.
Includes: Bondage, collars, spanking, multiple partners and so much more!

Title Trouble

Another month gone by, so I guess it’s time for another post. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about – there’s a lot going on, as usual. But then it hit me. One of the most important aspects of a book is the title. It’s what the reader sees first. It should be intriguing, and make the reader want to look closer at the book, and it should also hint at what the book is about. At the very least, I think it should give a clue to the general theme or setting of the story.
And I am in a big title dilemma right now, which ironically enough, helped me with this post.
I am about 2/3 of the way through the next book in the Marchand series and I still have not been able to come up with a title for this one. I’ve set it in the equestrian field, and of course, like the other books in the series, the sexual relationship between the characters involves lots of BDSM fun.  I want something that gets at both of those factors, but many of the ideas that sprung up were just too… weird, icky, or plain old silly. Seriously, anything with the word “Riding” just came out so wrong! So I’m putting the task aside again until I have no choice to deal with it. I know, I’m a chicken, right? I should face this bump in the road head on and tackle it into submission. But I’d rather write the book at this point, and I’m hoping something will pop into my head before I get to end.
My sci-fi erotic romance, Prince of the Universe, will be out in a few weeks. That was a title I had no trouble coming up with. The theme song from the Highlander movies and TV show, as performed by Queen, always seemed to pop into my head from the moment I first started writing the book. After all, Vega is a prince, and he has traveled across the universe. It fit, perfectly, in my opinion. And as a nod to my love of all things Highlander, I couldn’t resist.
Warrior’s Vengeance was another title that came to me fairly easily. The funny thing is, when I first created these characters, way back in the late 90’s, I wasn’t writing anything remotely erotic. Sensual and hot, but without the intense, sexually charged (and kinky) love scenes. There were love scenes, and they were hot, but I don’t think anyone would consider them erotic by today’s standards. The book was originally called Passion’s Vengeance, which kind of sucked, but I was way worse with titles back then. I’ve learned a bit since. Worst of all, hero and heroine didn’t even come face to face until somewhere around chapter five! When I decided to dip my toe back into the medieval pool, I tossed everything I’d ever written about Marissa and Ian and started from scratch. The original title was always in the back of my mind, but once the story changed – drastically – the title just reworked itself. And I liked it.
The Taste of Magic was thought up by the book’s original publisher. I won’t even share the working title, it really, really sucked. (Not sure if I meant that pun or not! lol). But it does what it should do – tells you a little of what the book is about. It is one of my personal faves – maybe because someone else came up with it! 😀
The vampire book I’m revising, The Night Club, was a fairly easy title to come up with. A large part of the book is set in a nightclub, and of course, even though my vamps can function in daylight, nighttime is the real playground for the bloodsuckers. I’m also really excited about this book, another one I started way back when. I’ve made drastic changes to it, and hope to be getting that one on the submission rounds. The characters, while they have a sensual and steamy relationship, are pretty much vanilla, so this book is authored by my other alter-ego, Gina Rosavin.
How does everyone else come up with their titles? Is it easy, hard, somewhere in between? What titles have you found interesting – the ones that stick in your head, even if it’s been years since you read the book. What books have you read, simply because of the title? I’m curious. And open to any suggestions 🙂
* Yes, I changed the post title. Guess the issue isn’t just limited to book titles!

This Week’s Update

A lot’s happened in the last few weeks, much of it writing-related, some of it not. The timing couldn’t be better either, as my day job has a shutdown this coming week, and the best part of that is my kids will be in school most days! So I get to work on various writing-related tasks, as well as catch up on a couple things around here I just haven’t been able to squeeze in, despite the fast-reaching-desperate need to get them done. But I made progress on some cleanups for Warrior’s Vengeance, and I got a lot of new stuff written for the current Marchand book I’m working on.
But the biggest news of the week is that Prince of the Universe, my first stab at a sci-fi, has been contracted by Renaissance Ebooks Sizzler Editions! I am super excited about this, because as much as I love this story, and these characters, I really don’t know a lot about sci-fi. Seriously. I never even saw the first three episodes of Star Wars (which, BTW, I can’t help thinking of as the second three, since the others I saw in the 70’s and 80’s were the FIRST THREE I saw. Still come first in my head). That’s how bad it is.
Here’s the thing – one of my favorite TV shows EVER is “The Universe” on the History Channel, followed closely (really, really closely) by “Through the Wormhole” on the Science Channel. The idea of other worlds out there fascinates me, and I do find it hard to believe that we are truly alone in this vast universe. So I watch those shows as much as I can (marathons are like a drug overdose! lol), and my writer’s imagination goes to work after that.
I was able to incorporate some of what I’ve learned into this book, the rest – I kind of just winged it. Prince Vega, of the Planet Aldarra, is a human-like person who lands in Fair Ridge, PA, home of Meredith (Merry) Alexander, who just so happens to have had a really bad previous encounter with another Aldarran. There are a lot of reasons Merry fears Vega, but her compassionate heart can’t completely abandon him. Even though she wants and decides to let him fend for himself, she can’t cut him off, and once she makes her first move to help him, she’s doomed. But Vega isn’t like the other, and proves it, sometimes in a very arrogant and I’m-better-than-you-cause-I’m-royalty kind of way.
These two were fun to write – Merry, while she possesses a very legitimate fear of Vega, still has backbone and won’t completely back down. She’s funny, not afraid to speak her mind, and that compassionate heart of hers makes her a sucker for someone in need of help. Vega was a bit more complicated. He’s a prince, in line to a throne, he’s a warrior, and he has the capability of transforming into a hybrid man/feline creature with incredible amounts of strength and power.  Yet, he just wants to share his life with someone, just like anyone else. His goal to be king requires he have heirs. The Earth woman confounds him, but he can’t resist her. His perception of too many softer feelings for her is that it could weaken him, make him vulnerable. But he also discovers the motivation such feelings give him. Not that he ever loses that arrogant edge – he wouldn’t be one of my heroes if he did!
Anyway, as I get more details, I will share them – such as a release date, a cover, and all the fun stuff. This week – getting down to editing. Part of me is dreading it a bit, the process is sure to induce quite a few groans and head-shakes, with thoughts of “What was I thinking?” but it’ll be fun to work with these two again.

Warrior’s Vengeance

As we near the end of another year, I’ve found that I’ve made significant progress on wrapping up two manuscripts, starting a third and writing a couple of short stories. Not as bad as I thought when I consider how much valuable writing time was sacrificed over the year. One of the books I finished this year is a medieval-set erotic romance, Warrior’s Vengeance. This story was a tricky one to write, and to be honest, at times it left me drained. Involving the kidnapping and forced seduction of the heroine, Marissa Langley, the tale skates along, and sometimes seems to cross, the lines of consent.
To be honest, the hero, Ian McCallum, does not treat Marissa nicely. Yet, to be fair, he harbors one hell of a grudge – she is the daughter of his enemy, a man whose warriors raped and murdered Ian’s wife, murdered his small son, and basically decimated his village and clan. Kidnapping Marissa and forcing her to be his slave is justified, in his mind. Marissa, on the other hand, cannot believe her father could do such things. Truth is, back in 1307, that’s exactly what men like her father did. They were ruthless, murdering and raping innocents, and generally not caring who got caught in the crossfire of their wars. Kind of similar to how things work in various parts of the world today. Certainly there were honorable men who sought to protect those who could not protect themselves, but even those men were merciless when it came to meting out the justice they felt was deserved. Ian is a man much like Marissa’s father. One who employs brutal justice, and seeks revenge. Those goals held powerful sway on the men of that time, just as much as their lust for power and money.
But there is a difference in Ian. He feels guilt, true remorse over some of his ill-treatment of Marissa. Not that his guilt will turn him from his avowed path of vengeance – he will still do what he believes he needs to – but he does have regrets. Marissa, after learning what Ian’s suffered, understands what drives him, what compels him to behave as he does toward her. She is, after all, a woman of the time. She happens to have been raised alongside one of her brothers, can handle a sword as well as any man, and knows what drives the men in her life, even if she believes them to be more honorable than is claimed by their enemies.
I’ve had very mixed reactions to this story from the various places it’s been sent. Contests, editors, and some critique partners. There is no middle ground with this story – it’s either loved, or reviled. I consider it to be forced seduction, and there were those who agreed. Then there were those who disagreed. Strongly, in some cases. I had an absolutely lovely rejection from an editor who explained exactly why she had issues with the content. One of the nicest rejections I ever received. And I understood her point, and why she felt the way she did.  In the contests I entered, overwhelmingly, the story was received very well. I did have an angry judge harshly reprimand me for the content, but others were salivating for more.  Perhaps because it was historical, and set in that brutal era, they were able to put aside the requirements of today’s society for complete, clear-as-day consent. Perhaps it’s just a fantasy they like to read about. Either way, they wanted more. With those reactions, I was torn as to what I wanted to do with the book. I could make drastic changes, but I wasn’t sure I was up to that. Or I could see if I could find a publisher who wanted edgier, more raw stories. I decided I’d start with the latter option, and go from there.
Well, Warrior’s Vengeance has found a home, and a bit quicker than I anticipated. Pink Flamingo Publications has accepted it for release sometime in the spring or summer of 2012. I have no other details at this point, but I’m just thrilled that Ian and Marissa’s story will be available for readers who like a good, old-fashioned “bodice ripper.”  Stay tuned – as I get more information, I’ll share it here.