Sunday, July 24, 2016

In the Devil's Arms - New Cover Reveal

I am so excited tonight - I've got the new cover for "In the Devil's Arms" to show off! I mentioned some major changes to The Magiste Chronicles last time around, and this is the first one I have to share.
Isn't it gorgeous? Created by the lovely and talented Winter Bayne, it perfectly captures Devlin and Helene, as well as the feel of the story. I really, really love this cover. In fact, I love it so much, I spend way too much time staring at it! lol

Here's the blurb, and a little sneak peek to hold you until I have firm pre-order and release dates:

Helene Gaudet finds the perfect Dom in an internet chat room. When they agree to meet, Helene realizes why he knows her so well – he's Devlin Marchand, the man who, years ago, handed her over to a dark sorcerer – to be killed.

She wants to forget the past, including badly impaired magical powers and an ex-husband who cursed her, leaving her infertile. At first fearful of Devlin's intentions, she finds her passion for him is so intense after each encounter, she can't bring herself to leave.

Devlin's guilt over past betrayals grows when they learn the curse dogging Helene was created by the trove of magic by his very own family. Devlin fears for their tentative relationship.

Will he be able to keep his vow to heal her, in every way possible, or will their enemies succeed in tearing them apart?

And here's that promised excerpt, the night when Helene comes face to face with her internet Dom, and it is most definitely not who she expects: 

Returning the mirror to her purse, she took a deep breath. This could turn out to be the biggest thrill, or the biggest mistake of her life. A quick pat to the inner chest pocket of the coat assured her the amulet rested safely inside. Keeping it concealed gave her an edge, should the situation turn dangerous. While Magiste and Mortal citizens usually co-existed peacefully, there were plenty of Mortals who feared and loathed anything related to the Magiste community. Her amulet assured of the ability to make a quick escape, even cast a quick memory spell, if necessary, ensuring no one remembered she had been here at all.

Lifting her chin, she took the last few steps toward the door, still wondering how he'd gotten her to agree to this.

Upon stepping inside, she blinked several times, her vision slowly adjusting to the dimly lit d├ęcor, which was sorely in need of update and repair. Why had he wanted to meet here? The dull rust-colored walls, and sconces that looked to be from the Dark Ages gave the bar an ominous aura. She suppressed a shudder to think of just how much dirt the muted lighting concealed.

Willing her racing heart to calm, she made her way to the bar, taking careful note of the occupants. The place was practically deserted, and her wariness spiked. Two old men sat at the bar, pausing in their conversation when she walked across the room. One other man, turned away, sat huddled at the opposite end. Judging from his position, he looked like he'd had too much to drink. Frowning, she returned to perusing the small room, the bartender the only other person present.

Warning bells went off, but she remained calm. A burst of energy speared her, the risk, the danger, adding to the cacophony of emotions. She squared her shoulders. She wouldn't back down now. If any true danger presented itself, she had several ways to make a quick escape.

While her one year of Enforcer Training had ended badly, she'd learned several techniques to combat her weakened powers. If only she'd been able to utilize them when Rafe had... she forced the thought aside. How could she possibly be thinking of her ex-husband now?

She forced thoughts of failed marriage and her ensuing reclusiveness out of her head and lifted her chin. She glanced at her watch. Right on time. She approached the bar.

"Can I get you anything, miss?" The bartender hadn't moved from his position in front of the taps.

"White wine, please." She slipped a few bills from her purse. She needed the drink to steady her nerves. And bolster her courage.

The bartender placed the glass before her. She left a tip and took the glass to the corner table, just as Dragonslayer had instructed. She would give him ten minutes to show, no more. With careful movements, she slid into the booth, grimacing as her legs came in contact with the cracked vinyl covering, sharp against her skin. She had to be crazy. She sipped her wine and drummed her fingers on the table. A shadow fell over her.

"Waiting for someone, Gaudet?"

She knew that voice. She turned, her heart slamming into her throat to meet glittering silvery eyes and a self-satisfied smirk. No! Impossible! What the hell was he doing in this bar? Tonight? Now? His voice echoed in her head. Her throat tightened. It couldn't be. Ridiculous. There was no way he could be ... she refused to allow the thought to finish.

The shock of seeing him ignited a knee-trembling panic; she gave a silent prayer of thanks for being already seated. Forcing herself to stay calm, she responded to his question, hoping to present an aloof picture.

"Marchand. This is the last place I would have expected to find you."

She straightened her spine, proud of the steadiness of her voice, even if her insides squirmed like jelly. Mon Dieu, even after all these years, he looked so damn hot. He had grown from an attractive boy to a devastatingly handsome man; broad shoulders and a powerfully solid chest clad in a silky white shirt tapered to narrow hips and muscular thighs encased in black denim. His large hands rested on his hips, the casual stance belying the tightly leashed power she sensed just beneath the surface. The image of her fantasy captor sprang to mind and his current self replaced her remembered image. She swallowed, but couldn't dislodge the lump in her throat.

"Usually I wouldn't be caught dead in a dump like this, but circumstances required it."

His eyes gleamed in the dim light, and for a moment, her fantasies thrust into her consciousness, fantasies where he moved above her and ... No! She wouldn't go there. She held his gaze steadily, hoping she put enough ice into her expression to make clear she wanted him to leave.

Seemingly unfazed by her scowl, he waved a hand, indicating she should move over and let him in.

She shook her head and looked away. "I'm meeting someone, Marchand." Hopefully, he would realize he'd been dismissed. She wanted him gone before Dragonslayer showed up.

Her stomach rolled over. The ridiculous notion she'd forced aside resurfaced. Denial rose, sharp and jagged, the pieces of the puzzle coming together despite her attempt to refute it. Her gaze once more snapped to his, realization of the truth leaving her too shocked to resist when he pushed in beside her. Jamming her against the wall. Trapping her. His body, enticingly warm, pressed hard against her. She tried to ignore the heat rushing through her, the tremor of excitement barely held in check by apprehension. Recollection of the way he'd made her come while on the phone last week worked against her resolve to ignore her body's reaction.

"So tell me, Submissive Goddess, why are you here?"

"Batard!" She picked up her wineglass, intending to empty it in his face, but his hand on her wrist stilled the motion.

"Don't." His eyes hardened to steel, his tone heavy with warning.

"You are still the same rodent you always were. Why couldn't you just leave me alone?"

He leaned in close, his fingers tightening further on her wrist. The touch roused sensations far more delightful than she cared to admit, the reality of facing him in the flesh after all these years of fantasy scattering her thoughts. She needed to stay sharp, but focus eluded her.

"You don't really want me to leave you alone."

He smiled, the lazy curve of his lips jolting her heart to skip a beat.

"And I'm going to torment you, my little goddess. If you think the other night was intense, wait until you see what I have planned for you tonight."

She swallowed a gasp, flashes of their phone episode coming at her with blinding speed. She reached into her coat. Panic stole her breath when her fingers encountered an empty pocket. Her amulet had vanished! How the hell had he disarmed her? She didn't want to waste time figuring it out; she had to get out of here.

"Give it back, you loathsome prick."

"Now, now, no need for name calling."

"I'll do worse than that!"

His lips quirked again, sending her anger spiking. Her hands itched with the urge to slap the smile from his face. She turned toward the bar, but when she called for the bartender, her voice failed. Horror that Marchand had silenced her chilled her blood. How?

"I don't have to be loud enough for you to hear me cast, sweetheart."

Had he used a mind-reading spell as well? She needed to concentrate, maintain her barriers and keep him from entering her thoughts. Doing so grew complicated, with his face so close to hers and her amulet out of her reach. Without the pendant, defending herself against his magic would be difficult, if not impossible. His warm breath fanned her cheek and she suppressed a shiver. He smelled of mint and musk, and if he had been anybody else, she might just turn her face into his neck and inhale deeply.

Before she realized it, he captured her mouth. She responded, despite her attempt to fight the delight he stirred. His lips, soft and full, meandered over hers, and her resolve to resist melted as her mouth melted against his. He kept kissing her in that languid manner and her heart pounded. Oh God, already her wits had crumbled, her entire body ablaze from just a simple kiss. Her nipples strained against their lace covering. He drew away.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Magiste Chronicles: Coming Soon - Again!

I've spoken briefly about the fact that the rights to "The Bayou Magiste Chronicles," my erotic paranormal romance series, have reverted back to me. I'm very excited about this because, although I haven't hit NY Times best-selling financial status yet, self-publishing has turned out very well for me, at least so far – knock wood! Having these books back in my hands to re-release is, well, thrilling!

I've learned a lot since I first started on this venture last year, and, no question, still have tons more to learn. One of the reasons I'm so excited about having this series back in my hands is that I am applying what I've learned so far, and the process is becoming much easier with each book I release.

I'm making some changes to the series. These changes include the actual series name, as well as the titles for each of the books. I decided on one of those changes almost immediately – the series is now called simply "The Magiste Chronicles."

Featuring a race of people with magical abilities, The Magiste Chronicles were heavily inspired by my love of the Harry Potter series. In fact, part of these books, particularly Book 1, are drawn heavily on a Harry Potter fan fiction I wrote many years ago. That story came to me on a whim, and bugged me until I finally started writing it. It took on a life of its own – what was meant to be a five or six chapter experiment turned into a 300K word, 39 chapter saga, with about as many different sub-plots as you can imagine. When I finally wrote the last chapter, I realized what a wealth of plot, characters and love scenes I had to work with. I busted my ass rewriting it to fit the new world and society I created, but it was truly a labor of love. And now I am doing it all over again, though the process of rewriting is much easier this time around.

Technically. this will be the third release for Books 1 and 2, and as mentioned, I am reworking them. In fact, both books are being extensively rewritten and revised. I'm fixing a few things that have always bugged me and making other corrections and revisions that are desperately needed. Book 1 was first released way back in 2010, by a now-thankfully-defunct publisher, with Book 2 released in March of 2011 by the same publisher. Dealing with that company was a learning experience in itself, and while it was torture at the time, now I'm glad for it. What I learned in that experience has worked well in my favor.

I've always been very fond of the original title for Book 1, but felt that in order to distance the books from that nightmare, the titles needed to be changed. "In the Devil's Arms" became "Claimed by the Devil" and Book 2, "Healing the Mage," became "Claimed by the Mage." The third book, released for the first time in 2013, was "Claimed by the Enchanter."

In mulling over the possibilities at my disposal with this latest reversion, I thought back to how much I loved Book 1's original title. Once again, "In the Devil's Arms" is now the title of Book 1. The other titles fell perfectly into place – Book 2 is now "In the Mage's Arms," and Book 3 is "In the Enchanter's Arms."

I have also hired a fantastic cover artist, Winter Bayne, to do the new covers for these books. While we are still tweaking and such, I am so excited by what she's done so far and can hardly wait to share these beauties. They are simply gorgeous – for now you'll just have to take my word for it.  ;-)

Stay tuned, I will have more information as we get closer to the re-launch of the series – that should be sometime this fall, and I'm also planning some exciting giveaways and other fun ways to celebrate.

Monday, June 20, 2016

It's My Birthday - and YOU can Score Some Gifts!

I'm a little late in posting this due to some personal matters requiring my attention. Read on to see some of what's going on – and how you can score some gifts!

It's the official first day of Summer, and even better, it's my birthday today! The year I was born, June 20 actually fell the day before Father's Day, so my arrival was a gift for my dad, who  became a dad for the first time that year, (No, I am absolutely NOT going to give a clue as to when that occurred! LOL!).  Another factoid – my younger sister was born the day before Dad's birthday, so we were both "presents."

Being that I was born right as Summer began, it also makes sense that is my favorite season. There are a few reasons for that – as a kid, a big one was the fact that my birthday always coincided with the last few days of school. Think about it, what are the two most important days in any kid's life? Birthday and the last day of school! There were some years that the last day actually fell on my birthday – does it get any better than that? Lol

A while ago, I realized another factor played into my love of Summer. It's something I've paid more attention to over the last few years, (though of course there are always exceptions) and it's that people's favorite season tends to be the one they were born in. Sort of makes sense to me. I always say I'm going to look more deeply into a possible link, because I think I can use that theory in some way, shape or form in some upcoming book (well, at least on the ever-growing list of the ideas, anyway).  But it could play heavily into many of my books, especially the paranormal, though even the historical settings of my books could use the idea as an added layer to the world and characters.

Of course, the excitement over my birthday is a lot different now. I don't mind. It's still awesome to be the recipient of good wishes and such. But the fact is, it's not as big a deal as it used to be. The world and all the obligations keep turning, and work and responsibilities still need attention. Now, however, what I really find interesting about my birthday is all the different people who share it, or the events that took place on that day.

Errol Flynn 1909 - Actor
Olympia Dukakis 1931 - Actress
Danny Aiello (Daniel Louis "Danny" Aiello, Jr.) 1933 - Actor
Brian Wilson 1942 – Musician, Beach Boys
Bob Vila 1946 - Television host ("This Old House")
Tina Sinatra 1948 - Producer, actress, second daughter of Frank Sinatra
Lionel Richie 1949 - Singer, musician
John Goodman 1952 - Actor
Michael Anthony 1954 – Musician, Van Halen
John Taylor 1960 – Musician, Duran Duran
Nicole Kidman 1967 - Actress

That's some fine company to be in! And check out a few notable events from this day:

1782 - The US Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States.
1791 - King Louis XVI of France was captured while attempting to flee the country
1793 - Eli Whitney applied for a cotton gin patent. He received the patent on March 14.
1837 - Queen Victoria ascended the British throne.
1863 – West Virginia became the 35th state to join the US.
1910 - Fanny Brice debuted in the New York production of the "Ziegfeld Follies".
1947 - Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was murdered in Beverly Hills, on order of mob associates angered over the costs of his project, the Flamingo resort in Las Vegas.
1948 - "Toast of the Town" debuted on CBS, hosted by Ed Sullivan.

There's a lot more, but those were just some fun facts I stumbled across, while researching for various books.

And, as much as I do love Summer, there are pitfalls – the sorts of things that never occurred to me as kid. Would not have been in the universe of my imagination back then! lol The biggest problem - productivity falls way down. While there's Summer camp, it includes all sorts of extra activities – or at least driving to those activities. Family vacation is way more than its week or so away – never mind the pre-planning. Vacation is bookended by laundry and shopping and packing and unpacking. The next thing you know, it's time to bring DD back to college and prep the Little Guy for middle school. It goes fast – way too fast, if you ask me.

So what I plan with this post is to give some of you a chance to slow down the craziness of Summer – curl up with a good book, on me! That's right, for my birthday, I'm giving away presents – two people who comment will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon gift card, a copy of any of my titles, and some fun goodies to go along with it.

So tell me, what's your favorite part of Summer?