Swashbuckling tale coming soon


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Betrayed by king and country, the life of a nobleman is a distant memory for Captain Stone. All the man needed in life was wine, wenches and song between skirmishes with sovereign ships, which resulted in riches and many soiled britches, to inconvenience England. That is until he met his alluring new captive.

Magdelena de Monterroso had expected to be swept away on her wedding night in a pair of big strong arms. What she didn’t expect was those arms to belong to pirates raiding the lands of her new husband! Enslaved aboard the Devil’s Pride, Magdelena refuses to give her captors the satisfaction of seeing her fear. However, she finds the pirates, led by the smoldering Captain Stone, are not the vicious bloodthirsty mob she took them for and soon the young bride’s urgency to return to San Sebastian is fueled by something altogether different.


*working title


Hear ye! Hear ye! A major announcement…


Conquest of a Queen, the very first book of my Courtships of Quendaris series is published at last! It was a long and hard journey and I look forward to writing more adventures featuring Isabel, Nancy, Prince Alaric and the rest of the crew. The ebook is now available on Smashwords and is coming soon to a bookstore near you. In the meantime, you can buy it in print here.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m stepping away from the realm of Baelcrest for a bit but I’ll be back with more adventures soon. Stay tuned for news about my next book already in progress.

Independence Day update

Greetings and salutations!

First, Happy Ramadan to my Muslim readers, Happy Canada Day to all you Canucks out there and Happy Independence Day my fellow Americans!

It’s been a hectic few weeks for me here in the Sunshine State but I’m happy to say I finally finished the revisions to Conquest of a Queen. I’m working through the publishing process now and hope to have it available for sale in your local retail outlet via Smashwords very soon.

I’m already hard at work on my next project and will post about that very soon. In the meantime, have a safe and dry weekend everyone.

Theme music

Today Pitch Slammers will be tossing out songs that go with the theme of their books, characters, scenes etc. I’ll be jumping into the fray with songs for Conquest of a Queen.

Main Characters

Isabel Kendra – Power Inside Me by Richard Marx

Isabel has always prided herself on being a strong, independent woman but her adventures in Baelcrest show her exactly how much strength she really has. Even in moments of fear and doubt, Isabel constantly struggles to come out ahead. Failure is not an option.


Leticia Kendra, Mirror Mage and mother to Isabel – Fighter by Christina Aguilera

Leticia went through Hell and back since her husband disappeared but rather than collapse under the strain of it all, the woman rose above it and became a shining example of strength to her growing daughter.


Alaric, Prince of Lothiari – Hero by Nickelback

Every bit the fairy tale prince, Alaric is ready to ride to the rescue of a damsel in distress and do battle with the forces of evil. However, when he finds Isabel is usually able to get herself out of danger he doesn’t know what to do with himself. When he finds himself falling for the strange woman, he questions if he could ever be worthy of her.


Ilythia, Dowager Empress of Lothiari – You Gotta Be by Desiree

The Dowager Empress has lived through war, the loss of her beloved and not just running a kingdom but heading the Crystal Palace Alliance as well as raising a future king. Throughout it all, this graceful elderly woman has remained poised and strong even during moments of fear and uncertainty. I think this song falls in line with a belief system she would pass on to her children and grandchildren.


Nancy Harrington/Valeska, Queen of Rune – She’s Country by Jason Aldean

Having idolized her brash pillar of a father, Nancy relies on her Texas upbringing to take the enemy by storm and get back the kingdom her family had lost. 


Iskander, King of Shayn’del – Something Inside So Strong by Labi Siffre

Iskander puts the needs of his people before himself. He is duty bound to do the right thing but when he thinks he must step down because of an injury, he discovers what’s necessary to become a true leader.


Secondary Characters

Lennox, Man at Arms – Indestructible by Disturbed

Prince Alaric’s right hand man and defender of the kingdom of Lothiari, Lennox takes his duties very seriously. He will fight to the death for his kingdom, his friends and the woman he loves.


Nerissa, Princess Regent of Rune – Bad Mama Jama by Carl Carlton

This princess has been holding down the fort from a very young age and no matter how many times she’s knocked down she just doesn’t know the meaning of staying down. Nerissa does what she has to do and drives men wild while she does it.


Lavinia, Princess of Abiloth – Let the Bodies Hit the Floor by Drowning Pool

This petite poised beauty is a tiny bit upset about her life in Abiloth.



Phaedra, sorceress – Lady Evil by Black Sabbath

Crossing paths with this sorceress is a bad idea. Even when she’s cordial and smiles she’s most assuredly planning your death. 


Rakad, Lord of the Underworld – Death, Death by Voltaire

The Lord of the Underworld is incredibly dark and snarky. His very gaze make those he comes for tremble until they pee. He doesn’t really give a damn about anyone or anything and his favorite part of the job is screwing with people’s heads.


Torquil, King of the Goblins – Evil Fantasies by Judas Priest

This song is the embodiment of the dark and twisted mind of the Goblin King.


Writing playlist

And now l bring you a playlist of songs I listen to that inspire me while I’m writing. In general I typically listen to classical and new age instrumental music to open my brain and get the creative juices flowing. However, when I want to focus on love scenes, fighting or the mindset of a villain, I change things up a bit.

General inspiration

I love listening to light and gentle music that won’t exactly put you to sleep.

Love scenes

When I’m writing about my characters doing the horizontal mambo and scenes leading up to it, I tend to lean towards funky rhythmic songs with smooth beats and sultry sounds.

Battle scenes

When my characters are locked in battle or chewing each other out, I like to write with some adventurous music in the background.


When it comes to writing my villains I tend to lean towards the darker synthy sounds of New Wave/New Goth/Goth Core/Dark Wave or whatever the hell else they’re calling it now

Pitch Slam Manuscript Music

Greetings and salutations!

This week you will see many posts and tweets from me regarding my novel, Conquest of a Queen, for a contest called Pitch Slam. With any luck these efforts will land me some representation. *waves frantically* Hullooo judges! Anyway, today participants have been asked to blog about music that would accompany their manuscripts. Like say, our babies were brought to the big screen so here is the soundtrack I would choose for Conquest of a Queen. I don’t want to give too much of the story away so if you don’t mind, I’ll have to be a bit vague in places. Pasta banana, folks!

Opening Music – I’m a Believer by Smash Mouth

Picture if you will, a young woman in chef whites meeting with a bunch of suits, calling out commands in a busy commercial kitchen, then rolling up in a yellow jeep into the driveway of a house as the sun sets


Isabel has dinner at her mom’s – Animal by Bitman & Roban

Poor Isabel cringes as her mom’s latest fix up attempts to put the moves on her before she escapes into the kitchen to fight with her mother.


Isabel enters her ransacked house – Lizard at school by James Horner

Lightning flashes and thunder rumbles announcing a coming storm. The power is off and Isabel discovers that her home has been broken into.


Fight scene between Isabel and Rakad – Invasion by Alan Silvestri

Isabel encounters a large formidable looking man who wants her to come with him. Isabel has another idea.


Leticia tells Isabel about her father – Breathe Me by Sia

Isabel learns the truth about her parents’ identities


The Coronation Ball – Dances from Terpsichore: Courante

Pretty people in pretty outfits congregate in a magical setting


The palace is attacked – Tilt by Thomas Newman

The Goblins are coming! The Goblins are coming!


Dragon flight – Night wind by David Arkenstone

Picture yourself soaring through the clouds courtesy of a fleet of dragons


The Temple of Nerys Island – Whisper by Kitaro

Magic and mystery abounds


The prophecy – Teardrop by Massive Attack

The Oracle’s words fill Isabel’s mind with visions of impending doom


The Eagle Lord’s party – Water Music Suite #1 in F 

Elegant but unusual scene with people who resemble… birds?


Battle over the amulet – Buster Voodoo by Rodrigo y Gabriela

Isabel and friends have overstayed their welcome and their host insists on taking a trinket that isn’t his.


Isabel in the forest – I Still Believe by The Call

Isabel has a mission but has no idea how to accomplish it. She discovers a wish can be a powerful thing in Baelcrest.


Battle with the Shumi king – Sons De Po by Dazkarieh

Isabel throws down with a powerful enemy.


Activating the Silver Fleet/Journey to the Shumkarja Outlands – Rotation by Herb Albert


Shumi ceremony – Marco Polo by Loreena McKennitt

Isabel becomes a queen


Isabel and Alaric love scene – Semilla Negra by Marlango


Goblin attack and escape/Battlefront – Ebla by ES Posthumus


Nancy and Iskander in the woods – Dice by Finley Quaye


Bath scene – Think Twice by Groove Armada

Nancy and Iskander get chummy while she helps him shave


Nancy and Iskander love scene – God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton


The scrying ring – The Mystic’s Dream by Loreena McKennitt

The gods bestow a gift on Nancy that allows her to see her birth parents in their final moments.


A Traitor in their midst/Confrontation – Broken by Depeche Mode


Rescue/Mirror Mage fight/Isabel battles the sorceress – Neckbrace by Ratatat


Confession – How Deep is Your Love by The Bird and The Bee

Isabel and Alaric have a final confrontation


Closing – Music Cannons by Youth Lagoon    

The Adventures of the Pitmad Virgin

The other day I was introduced to a concept called PitMad. It’s things like this that truly make me feel my age even though I’m only in my mid-30s. PitMad, I thought, what the hell is that? Well, it’s an event that happens twice a year on Twitter where writers pitch their novels to interested publishers and literary agents in 140 characters or less including the phrase #pitmad.

I never understood the point of Twitter and never really learned how to use it. I mean I have a Twitter account but it usually sits in the corner mumbling while nursing a glass of whiskey. There were so many things about this concept that frightened me. First there’s the whole learning how to use a new social media aspect that can be pretty jarring. Since Facebook, which I use religiously, appears to be slowly turning itself into Twitter with its own use of hashtags, the ability to post on both forums at the same time and their recent facelift that’s had everyone screaming in recent weeks, I discovered Twitter wasn’t as difficult to use as I’d thought. So that was one hurdle down.

My relationship w/Twitter


Then there was the more daunting task of writing that perfect pitch to get people interested again in less than 140 characters. For those of you who don’t understand just how short 140 characters actually is, check this out:

This is the name of my book. It is about this, set in this time period and the characters do this. The story is in this genre 5left #pitmad

See that? That is 140 characters. So the object of Pitmad and campaigns like it is, again, to make your novel appealing enough to get an inquiry from a literary agent or publisher. Not only that but because Twitter won’t post duplicate postings, you can’t just constantly post the same great over and over again. This means you need to come up with several decent pitches. At first I thought, oh hell, I can’t do that! Then I realized you’d better be able to do it because if you can’t figure out at least 10 different ways to show your creativity to entice someone enough to want to represent you or peddle your product, you don’t need to be writing!

So I did some research since I never experienced a Pitmad type of event before and found the following tips helped.

The following are abbreviated hashtags recognized by the literary community. They also attract agents and publishers who are interested only in certain genres and who don’t feel like wading through thousands of tweets that don’t pertain to them.

#YA = Young Adult
#MG = Middle Grade
#A = Adult
#NA = New Adult
#PB = Picture Book
#CB = Chapter Book
#NF = Non-fiction

Before tweeting make absolutely sure your manuscript is completely finished. Many times writers will tweet a pitch for a work in progress and when contacted, disappointment abounds for 9 times out of 10 these people are only interested in a finished product and now the aspiring writer has wasted an opportunity. Also, be sure to proofread your finished manuscript for typos, grammar and spelling errors. If your manuscript isn’t polished upon submission, it makes you look like the amateur you are and provides a lot of extra work that many agents and publishers may not want to do.

Don’t bombard the twitter verse with your pitches. Yes, with the hundreds of tweets marching past your feed, there’s the fear that yours will get swallowed up if you don’t. However, this is considered bad form and can be downright annoying. People searching for writers will find you via your hashtags and often times will scan the tweets once the event is over and the smoke has cleared. Your best bet is to tweet your pitch twice an hour and at less congested times. I noticed activity jumped on the hour, half and quarter hours so I chose to tweet during odd minutes like 2:17 or 4:49.

Also, while taking part in these pitch events you’re going to see a LOT of good tweets that you will like. Whatever you do, DON’T FAVORITE THEM! When an agent or publisher see a pitch they like they signal the writer by favoriting that pitch. The writer should then follow up by checking the submission preferences of said agent or publisher if the person didn’t already make that indication in a tweet. So when you, as a reader or another writer, favorite a tweet you get some aspiring hopeful jumping around, screaming, doing cartwheels etc. because ZOMG SOMEBODY WANTS TO REPRESENT ME only to find it was just some random Twittererer (Tweety?) who liked your pitch. Once the campaign is over, feel free to go back and favorite it otherwise, as one writer it happened to wrote, don’t give someone an unnecessary heart attack.

A publisher wants to read my baby!

If you are lucky enough to get a legitimate favorite and that person didn’t tweet what their submission preferences or guidelines are, look up their agency to get that information. Then send an email with the subject PitMad Request: TITLE. Whatever you do, don’t send an unsolicited query unless of course an agent or publisher tweets that you can do so. Before doing this though, research the agent or publisher who contacted you. You want to make sure that #1 the person is legitimate since there are a lot of vanity presses masquerading as agents and publishers. You also want to know that the person you’re contacting can actually represent you and is interested in your genre.

I’m happy to say that on this, my very first pitmad experience, I was pinged by four different agents and publishers. While this put me on cloud nine for the rest of the day, upon further review I realized two of them just wouldn’t have made a good fit and would be a waste of both mine time and theirs to send a submission. The other two seemed to be more up my alley though so I contacted them. It’s times like this that I’m thankful for my 10 years as a military spouse for I am now well-versed in the game “Hurry up and wait.” The average wait time in the industry is two months.

So, as I wait to hear a yay or nay by Mid May (hey, that totally rhymes;) I shall busy myself with other things. I am currently working on a work of fiction focusing on the mother/daughter relationship under my new nom de plume, Vera Colon. Once I turned my attention to a new body of work the sequel to my manuscript, Conquest of a Queen, decided to speak up so I have also started writing that one. With my brain actively engaged I am also torturing my body while helping my husband train for the cycling trials of the upcoming Wounded Warrior Games. I recently discovered I could ride 13 miles without dropping dead. Go me!

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed popping my pitch party cherry with the PitMad party and, should I not actually get a bite this time, I look forward to taking part in many more events like this.