Saturday, January 10, 2015

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.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

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!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Mid-October Update

October has sure turned out to be a very busy month! Along with the college admissions/visit journey we've been on at home, there's been a lot of fun things going on in the writing life.

For starters, my fellow HVRWA members and I participated in a Wine & Sign event at Palaia Vineyards in Highland Mills, NY. That was Saturday, October 4, and despite the gloomy weather, we had a fantastic turnout, and everyone sold books - we had something for everyone who came by that day. It was so much fun, we've decided to look into doing similar events in other area wineries, so keep an eye out for details as we plan.

Here's the whole crew just prior to the start of the event:

Our Fearless Leader, HVRWA Chapter President Elf Ahearn:

And some of our other prolific members:

The biggest October event was the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book conference. I attend this every year, and it is always a great time. I think all my fellow attendees had just as much fun as I did. It really was a fabulous time – a good chunk of my local RWA chapter attended, which always makes it more fun, because we all know how to trigger each others' silly spots! We all know what couple of words will set one of us off into a tizzy of delirious laughter.

The thrill of being a finalist in the Golden Leaf this year added to the excitement. Alas, neither I, nor my fellow finalist, critique partner and friend, Elizabeth Shore, took home the coveted award. Still, as they say, it was an honor to be nominated. But I really do mean that – having my book chosen as one of the best in the category says a lot, and tells me I'm doing something right.

Special thanks to Tara Andrews who managed to get a shot of this:

Truly, though, as always, this conference is a wonderful experience, on so many levels. I posted last year that the hotel services were very strangely a little under par – this year, they were on the mark (or above it) every time, so that was great. I've been to this hotel many times over the last 20 or so years, so last year was truly an anomaly. Though I must be honest - $9 for a glass of wine was a bit much. A lot much. Even when I was working FT, I learned a long time ago how to work around that, but this year, it was on the outrageous side.

So what did I like? Everything! The PAN retreat, the Editors Panel, the workshops – everything offered was just what I needed, whether I knew it going in or not. I gained some really valuable info, which has me re-arranging a few things.

I also got to meet several people in person who I'd only previously met online. Yeah, there's a bit of fangirl in me. I doubt it will ever go away completely!

I made some good connections, discovered some new opportunities, and learned a few techniques (some that will make life a whole lot more manageable, if I do them right). So stay tuned, I hope to be able to be sharing some upcoming events – I promise they'll be a ton of fun!

One event on the horizon that I can share now is that a few of my critique partners and I are participating in a Book Talk at the Washington Township, NJ library on November 20. We'll be talking about our books, writing craft and the romance fiction industry, holding a Q&A, plus we'll be signing our books. I'll have more specific details about that later on, with links and how you can get in on the fun!

October is also a big birthday/anniversary month in our house, too, and it reminds me of how truly blessed I am to have such a wonderful family, fantastic friends and a rich full life in general. I am truly thankful for that.