Hey peeps, I joined up with 99 authors to offer books at 99 cents each at Amazon today—AND we’re giving away $990 worth of prizes. Sweeeeeeet!
These prices are available on Amazon only.
For a listing of books offered and to enter to win, click here!!
The Source of Magic is my 99-cent contribution. (It’s listed in the SF/Fantasy section.) Have it already? No worries—Amazon lets you e-gift to other people. :-)
There are many amazing authors and books included in this deal, and many genres represented. Go check it out!
Yes, I’ve probably earned that nickname. It’s not that I hate the holidays—it’s more like I’ve been indifferent to them. I’m self-employed, which just means I have freedom to work all the time. (No, it’s not always a good thing.) Weekends are often much like weekdays to me, and coming as I did from a small and not-that-religious family, holidays weren’t a big deal to me. So I wasn’t planning to do any of the usual rah-rah this time of year.
And then, pretty much by accident, I inherited a Christmas tree. Of sorts.
My neighbors were moving, and as they were doing their final cleanup, they asked if I wanted this sad little evergreen in a pot.
I have a black thumb, mind you, and cats that have always managed to eat and/or destroy plants, so it’s usually best if I stay away from green things. But the little tree reminds me of the pathetic one in the A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special. (Did you know you could buy a Charlie Brown tree at Amazon? Heehee!)
Anyway, to my great surprise, I told the neighbors I’d take the itty bitty evergreen.
I’m surrounded by full-grown ones up here on the mountain, so this little guy has a long way to go—but he gets to stay outside on my deck (which foils the cats) and I pretty much just need to water him every now and then. Or just let the snow fall on him. I figure he and I will do pretty well for a while, until he needs a bigger pot. At which point I’ll probably just find a good place to plant him.
My tree got me thinking about celebrations in my fantasy romance novels. The celebrations in those worlds are decidedly…well, non-religious. The gods and goddesses in my books tend to be benign, with a few key exceptions—although they pay more attention to mortal affairs than the mortals might think.
And one thing that even the gods can agree on is love.
Sword and Lute is my latest fantasy romance. It’s a novelette about how true love leads a musician who’s chasing her dreams to a dying god—and to their second chance at life. There are no holidays in it, save the one new lovers make for themselves. ;-) Ahem.
So here’s my question for you: What’s YOUR favorite kind of celebration?
I’m participating in Carrie Ann Ryan’s Alpha Male Blog Hop, so a lucky commenter from Dec. 14-17 will win a $5 gift card at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or Starbucks, winner’s choice—AND all commenters will be eligible for grand prizes like this:
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!
(International commenters: YES, you are eligible for Grand Prizes #1 & #2! Unfortunately, due to shipping costs, #3 is limited to those in the U.S.A.)
To be eligible for the Blog Hop’s grand prizes, you must include your email address IN THE COMMENT ITSELF so the overall Hop administrators can contact you. GOOD LUCK!
Click here to return to the main Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop site.
Waaay back in February (heh), I released Swords and Scimitars, a historical fantasy short story about the origins of the realm of Kad. (When the immortal twin brothers Kismet and Taso fought over an enchanted sword, tragedy ensued for them both. The guilt of the fight drove Kismet into the realm of Kad, where he became its first sultan and redeemed himself through love. If you don’t have Swords and Scimitars yet, it’s FREE at most ebook stores…)
Now it’s Taso’s turn! Sword and Lute is a 16,000-word novelette (think of that as a really long short story or a very short novel) about Taso’s awakening from stone—and his unlikely rescuer, the musician Amara. Sword and Lute is a true fantasy romance, complete with a sweet love scene. :-)
When a cursed sword slashed the god Taso, his immortality gushed into the grass along with his blood. He escaped death—barely—by transforming into stone. Centuries later, the aspiring musician Amara stumbles across the stone and inadvertently morphs Taso back into his dying body. To save him, she must sacrifice her precious lute and her life-long dream. But in return, she might find her heart’s desire…
Swords and Scimitars and Sword and Lute are the first two stories in the Alaia Chronicles: Legends series. (I consider them part of the Alaia Chronicles, but since they occur so much earlier, I’ve added “Legends” to distinguish them from the main timeline.)
Want a taste of Taso’s story? Here’s a wee excerpt for you:
“Lie down,” she said. “You lost too much blood.”
He gave her a mulish look.
She hastened over, put her hand on his chest and gently pushed him down to the earth. A mistake, because once he was down, he captured her wrist in his warm palm.
“Who are you, maiden fair?”
She shrugged, striving to keep her face composed. “You first. You’re the interesting one.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” His fingers softened their grip and caressed her skin. “Not at all.”
She gave a noncommittal smile, tugged her hand from his, and stepped away to tend the fire.
“My name is Taso,” he said at last into the silence. “And what is yours, milady?”
Her teeth clamped over her name, and then she flushed. Why should she keep it from him? It was simply a word.
But each piece he knew of her was leading to someplace larger. Deeper. Perilous.
“I’m Amara.” She sprinkled a few grains of precious salt over the meat and didn’t turn around.
“Amara,” he repeated, as if he liked the sound of it. Hells, she liked the sound of it when he said it in that mellow voice.
“This will need to cook a while, but I’m sure you’re hungry,” she said briskly, and knelt to rummage in her pack for the bread and cheese.
“Amara,” he spoke again, stopping her as easily as if he’d bespelled her. “Thank you. For your help. For your kindness to a stranger.”
She looked at him at last, and shivered. “Did I truly break a spell?”
“Why? How?” She rose and took a step closer to him. “Who are you?”
“I’m Taso.” He smiled, teasing her as firelight danced across his face.
She held still. “Are you a god?”
His chest rose with a long breath and he rolled his gaze up to the star-dusted sky. “I’m not sure.”
Right now Sword and Lute is just 99 cents!
- Amazon: http://amzn.to/VcdEjB
- Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/BN-Lute
- Kobo: http://bit.ly/Kobo-Lute
- Smashwords: http://bit.ly/SW-Lute (use coupon LM38S)
- All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/ARe-Lute
- Apple’s iTunes: D’oh, it’s on the way via a distributor, but might take a week or so. Keep your eye out for it here.
And more good news…
Kismet’s Kiss is now in production as an audiobook…and the narrator is AWESOME. We hope to have it out in January or February of 2013. And I hope that not long after that, the audiobook of The Source of Magic will also be published.
Want to check out what else I have available? Amazon has the scoop.
So what’s next?
I’m still writing The Soul of Magic, the sequel to Source and prequel to Kismet’s Kiss. Woohoo! 2013 is going to be a good year. :-)
Good news first:
If you like romance and cooking…or heck, at least romance and food…you should grab the anthology Eat, Read, Love: Romance and Recipes From the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood FOR FREE.
The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood is the group of 2009 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalists (of which I’m one, and I thank my lucky stars for it, because these ladies are AMAZING).
We’ve put together an anthology of recipes (everything from breakfast to desserts and beverages to condiments) inspired by our books. Two of mine are featured: “Sultana’s Rice” (Kismet’s Kiss) and “Eat These Fries” (Kiss That Frog).
Every recipe in the anthology comes with an excerpt from that Ruby Sister’s relevant story, too, so you can sample a lot of books in many romance genres. Sweeeeet!
Here’s where it’s already free (and we’re working to make it free everywhere):
Kobo: http://bit.ly/PwznRw (international!)
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/U2VhYk (international and multi-format!)
Okay, now some bad news.
As you might remember, The Source of Magic is being turned into an audiobook (whee!) by AudioLark. Unfortunately, there were apparently some issues with the original narrator. We were hoping to have the audiobook done by August, and then by the end of the year—but now a new narrator will need to record it, so we’re likely looking at early spring of 2013. I’m sad! But it’s still in process, so keep your fingers crossed, and I’ll keep you updated when I know more.
One more tidbit of good news (I like to leave things on an up note): Today I’m revising the final scenes of Sword and Lute (Taso and Amara’s story and the sequel to Swords and Scimitars) so I can get it into the editing phrase. Wahoo! Aaaaand here’s the cover:
Sword and Lute should (should should should) be up in November. Which is going to be a crazy month, because I’ll also be drafting (I hope) the rest of The Soul of Magic, Rokad and Qiara’s story (and the first chronological sighting of Kuramos from Kismet’s Kiss). I have a cover in progress for Soul, and it’s equally yummy—but I’ll wait to show it until after I’ve prettied it up. (<= tease!)
So that’s it for the moment. It’s a winter wonderland here today, and I hope you’re having as fantastic an autumn as I am. :-)
Here were the overall blog hop Grand Prize Winners:
Kindle Fire Winner:
$130 Amazon Gift Card:
Thanks to all the commenters and blog hop participants, and also to the administrators—especially Carrie Ann Ryan!
Let me get something out of the way right up front: I love me some alphas.
Or at least Writer Me loves me some alphas.
Person Me has a few reservations.
Lemme ‘splain. We’ll start with Writer Me.
My first published novel (Kismet’s Kiss, a two-time RWA Golden Heart ® finalist) features an alpha among alphas. Kuramos is the sultan of the desert realm of Kad. The descendent of gods and the protector of his people, he’s revered for his deeds and respected by his wives. (That’s right, I said wives—as the sultan, he has a harem.)
Kuramos takes his responsibilities to his realm, his people, and his family to heart. He’s a man who will never let you down once you’re under his protection. But being the sultan has forced him to bury his own needs so deep that it takes a strong woman—one who believes in nothing less than true love and monogamy!—to shake him to his core and make him realize all he’s missing, despite his wealth and palaces and power.
That’s the fantasy of the alpha in romance: that whoever this ultra-masculine man is, whatever his position in life, the love of a good woman is the one thing that can bring this fearless male to his knees.
Writer Me clearly adores not only alphas, but royal alpha men. (Kismet’s Kiss, The Source of Magic, Swords and Scimitars….) Even my one non-royal hero is a fireman (Flirting with the Fireman). Fireman Ben may not be a blueblood and he certainly has a sensitive side, but there aren’t many jobs more alpha than life vs. death.
Yep, Writer Me likes my heroes hot and powerful. But she also appreciates men who’ve grown up enough that they don’t need to constantly project their macho-ness (for example, the enchanted Frog Prince Alexander in Kiss That Frog: A Modern Fairy Tale).
Both Writer Me and Person Me enjoy the latter kind of man—one who knows that while a woman values feeling protected, she also wants to feel loved, comforted, and respected. Unlike in fantasy worlds, modern living in the real world means we can’t solve problems with magic, swords or threats. (In fact, Person Me very much appreciates the strong and caring beta male and has sworn off cocky alphas for some time to come, although Writer Me still loves to write ‘em. :-) )
It takes a wise man to know how to communicate. Fantasy alphas often try—at least at first—to do that through action. That’s nice and all, but in the modern world, a real man knows how to use words. For example, if that hot, powerful guy doesn’t understand the value of giving his woman comfort (and not just in bed!), there’s no point in keeping him.
Fortunately, even in fiction, many alpha heroes learn that words are worth as much as a well-executed sword strike. When they do, they appeal to readers’ hearts and heads.
To me, those are the best romance heroes of all.
So here’s my question for you: What do you enjoy in fictional heroes that you wouldn’t necessarily want around you in real life?
I’m participating in Carrie Ann Ryan’s Alpha Male Blog Hop today, so a lucky commenter from Oct. 19-22 will win a $10 gift card at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or Starbucks, winner’s choice—AND all commenters will be eligible for grand prizes like this:
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: An awesome Swag Pack of books and reader goodies!
To be eligible for the Blog Hop’s grand prizes, you must include your email address IN THE COMMENT ITSELF so the overall Hop administrators can contact you. GOOD LUCK!
Click here to return to the main Alpha Male Blog Hop site.
…Yes, indeed I am, and it’s a particular crossroads I know all too well. Some background:
I finished the first draft of the Sword and Lute novella—that’s Taso’s story, so it’s chronologically second in the entire Alaian timeline. (It comes just after—well, probably partly during—Kismet’s story.)
Anyway, the manuscript needs to sit a few days to give my eyes and brain a break, and then I’ll continue with revisions. The first half is in pretty good shape, but the second half is still rough. (I’d love to get it done and up this month, but we shall see.)
In the meantime, I opened up the files for The Soul of Magic. That’s Qiara and Rokad’s story, and it fits in between The Soul of Magic and Kismet’s Kiss.
Soul needs to accomplish many things: tell the love story between those two characters (two of my very favorites) as well as establish the future arc of the entire Alaia Chronicles series—all while setting up Kuramos (the sultan of the later Kismet’s Kiss) as an antagonist AND offering him a chance at redemption.
It’s a lot. And that’s one of the reasons I’ve struggled with this story for more than a decade.
I first started writing Soul in 2001 as my second novel. I was still such a newbie then, though, and much of what I’d learned by writing The Source of Magic I didn’t quite know how to apply to Soul.
I was trying to write Soul by the seat of my pants, rather than plotting it through, and I stumbled and fell. So I put it aside and worked on Kismet’s Kiss and on other stories that are still simmering on the burners. (Yep, there are a LOT of full burners in my Muse’s kitchen.)
Four or five years ago, after finishing Kismet’s Kiss, I picked up The Soul of Magic again. I had been envisioning Soul as a big novel—one at least as long as Kiss, for which I had to cut out an entire subplot just to squeeze it down to 106,000 words. I still remember all the threads from that larger plot of Soul, even though I could send a cruise ship through all the holes I never quite filled during the brainstorming. Something still didn’t feel right with it, so I put it back on the burner to simmer.
Within the last couple of years I’ve played with Soul a number of times. Part of me hugely resists writing such a long book again. It can be very difficult to make everything work, it takes months and a lot of patience, and meanwhile I’d wouldn’t be getting any other new stories out, which is tough on a writer’s finances.
And the long plot line I’d envisioned had quite a bit of darkness in it. After having lived through a very dark period of my own in the last few years, I haven’t been eager to put myself back there.
So I’ve toyed with shorter and lighter plot line. I think I have all its turning points worked out, and it would probably be amusing to write.
Unfortunately, the lessons I’d originally intended for each of my main characters are best shown in the longer, darker plot line. And those characters don’t seem to think that the shorter one can make things work. Or at least I can’t (yet?) see the path for that.
And so I’ve come back to this crossroads yet again. (Sometimes it feels like I’m stuck in Once Upon A Time‘s Infinite Forest. Where’s Rumpelstiltskin to save me?)
I’d really like to have Soul done and published by the end of the year. That would let me have a new book out by the holiday giving season, plus I’d finally (FINALLY!) have the timeline hole between Source and Kiss filled and would be able to label the full novels numerically, 1-3, according to their chronology. All of those reasons should be pushing me toward the lighter storyline, and yet, and yet…
On the good side, I’ve written four stories this year. They were all shorter works, and they helped me remember writing can be fun. Whichever trail I decide to follow for Soul, I just want to keep that fun part in mind!
I hope you’re enjoying your October and reading good books. :-)
My sorta, kinda true romantic short story.
Confession: I wish the good parts were real. :-)
Flirting with the Fireman is a sweet, 15-page/4500-word “first meet” tale based on a real-life incident I had right here in Colorado. It’s a contemporary romance with a bit of magic (of course!).
The cover was a lot of fun to make. Those of you with great memories may notice the similarities between it and Kiss That Frog. I wanted Fireman‘s image to be cute, light, and fun. Did I manage that?
And the story is a mere 99 cents everywhere (woohoo!), with one nice exception:
If you’re willing to write an HONEST review at your favorite online store (like Amazon, B&N or Apple) or reader site (like Goodreads or Shelfari), I’d be delighted to send you a copy for FREE. Email me and you’ll get it right away.
Or here are links to buy it for just 99 cents:
All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/QxsQUz
Apple’s iTunes: http://bit.ly/SwCA20 (yay, it got there quickly this time!)
Oh—in the back of Flirting with the Fireman, there’s a link to the Facebook post sharing the real incident on which this story is based. :-)
Thanks for reading, and remember that I welcome your messages and comments!
I hope you’re having a wonderful autumn. I’ll be back in a few weeks…with a new novella in my Alaia Chronicles fantasy romance series. Yippee!
Hello, dear blog readers! I have some updates to share with you. (Pssst…if you’re one of my newsletter subscribers and you read the issue that went out recently, you can skip this post ’cause you’re already caught up.)
A BLAST FROM THE PAST/SUBSCRIBER GOODIES
I recently ran across my first published stories (too fun!). One of them even tells of the origins of The Source of Magic. I’ll be offering at least one of the stories as an exclusive bonus to people who subscribe to my free e-newsletter. So if you want some goodies, subscribe. :-)
I’ve been trying to come up with a fun name for my wonderful group of fans and subscribers (and yes, that includes you!). I’ve been tossing some possibilities around:
- Tribe Alaia
- Alaian Alliance
- House of Alaia
- Alaian Guild
- Tribe Fantastique
Do you have a favorite, or even better, any suggestions? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or email me with ‘em.
STORIES ON THE WAY
I just finished the draft of a short, Earth-set light paranormal story with a hunky fireman! It’s based on an experience I had right here in Colorado. I’ll have it up for sale in September.
But wait, there’s more! (*insert cheesy infomercial music here*)
Sword and Lute, the novella sequel to Swords and Scimitars, is nearly done. This is the fantasy romance about the founders of the realm of Teganne—the lovely (and determined) musician Amara and Taso (the twin of immortal Kismet and turned to stone, poor guy, when last we saw him…). I plan to release Sword and Lute in September, too. Wahooo!
AAAAND, LAST BUT NOT LEAST
Yep, I’m having a…
Get yer goodies now.
I may be nuts (scratch that, I know I’m nuts, but let’s just roll with it), but for the next 48 hours ONLY, I’ve lowered the price of all my books to 99 cents (U.S.)—or even free. That’s right, you can get ALL my titles—including a short story, a novella, and two full-length novels—for just $2.97. Heck, that’s just half the cost of one new paperback. So hurry!
Share this post with them (to make it easy, there are social media buttons at the bottom) & tell ‘em they should read these stories. :-D * * *
Here are the links at Amazon and Smashwords (where you’ll need the listed Smashwords coupon to get the special price). I know some of you prefer other sites, and I’m so sorry I can’t officially offer the sale prices directly there—BUT Smashwords sells every format, so you can grab the right version there for ANY flavor of e-reading. Hooray!
(historical fantasy short story)
Smashwords: $0.99 with coupon GZ22H
(fantasy romance novella)
Smashwords: $0.99 with coupon ZU85F
Enjoy, peeps! Have fun and relish the remaining days of August. :-)
Hat tip to The Passive Voice for posting this:
The library is inhabited by spirits that come out of the pages at night.
That’s just how I always envisioned it. Books do take on a life of their own, don’t they?
May whatever you’re reading right now spur your imagination.