Tag Archive | romance

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.

COMING SOON!

*working title

Hear ye! Hear ye! A major announcement…

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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.

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.

Villains

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    

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY FANS!

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Wow, how time flies! It has been one full year since I started this blog. I’ve read and reviewed some great and not so great books. I’ve gotten to learn the ins and outs of the publishing and self publishing industry and met some great people along the way.

So what will 2014 bring us? Well, as you may have already seen I have pulled down the original renditions of Heroes and Hearts and Descendants of Quendaris. I’ve merged both stories and, after talking to some other writers and reviewers I’ve picked up a lot of great tips and insight that I am now using to revamp the new novel. I have spoken to a few publishers and agents who are interested in reading the finishing product and I hope to have it ready for submission by the Spring. In the meantime I will also be flexing my writing muscles via contests and short stories. It’s been years since I’ve actively picked up a pen and paper (hey I’m old school, I don’t write on computers;) but I feel confident that I’ve brushed away all the cobwebs and I’m now ready to throw down!

So keep watching this page for updates, stories, articles and of course feel free to fan or like or whatever my fan page.

Most romantic cities in America

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Recently Amazon put out a list of romantic cities based on sales of romance novels and relationship books. Not only is the list kind of a shock to most people but the cities named seem to be the antithesis of romance (hence the high rate of romance novel and relationship book purchases I guess). I mean of all the cities in Florida alone when I think of romance Orlando, Miami and Clearwater don’t exactly spring to mind. So, just in time for Valentine’s Day, here is my top 5 favorite romantic cities in America in no particular order.

1. St. Augustine, Florida

This is one of my most favorite places in the US. As the oldest city in the state (possibly even the country) St. Augustine has old world charm of cobblestoned streets, quaint shops, and great restaurants.

Visit the fabled Fountain of Youth or the local winery, San Sebastian. Take a historic tour via horse drawn carriage or ride across a beautiful sandy beach on horseback!

2. Seattle, Washington

Probably the one selection on Amazon’s list that I agree with. Located in a valley surrounded by beautiful snowcapped mountains, Seattle is ideally located for those who like to hike, go berry picking, swim, sail and like a bit of night life.

Pike Place Market is a must see but so is the sweet little Waterfall Garden in Pioneer Square. There are plenty of great places to stay in the city but if you want to snuggle by a cozy fire in the mountains head to the Salish Lodge and Spa in beautiful Snoqualmie.

3. Savannah, Georgia

You just can’t have a romantic city list without Savannah, the most beautiful city in Georgia. Visit old cathedrals, quaint markets, ride on an old fashioned riverboat and take part in the annual Valentine’s Day vow renewal ceremony.

4. Charleston, South Carolina

Again, no list would be complete without Charleston. History fanatics can stroll through plantations or take a pirate tour.

Culture buffs will enjoy the various wine, art and music festivals that occur throughout the year while foodies have their pick from an array of dining choices.

5. Poconos, Pennsylvania

Adventure seeking outdoorsy types will love it here. There’s skiing, tubing and snowboarding in winter and boating, rafting and horseback riding during the warmer months. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Poconos as it’s home to my favorite cheesetastic romantic getaway Caesar’s Cove Haven.

Flush with 70s style decor, heart shaped and champagne glass tubs and private swimming pools and starlight ceilings, this all inclusive romantic resort is great for a long weekend. You’ll feel like you’ve been there for a week.. in a good way!

Whatever your price range, whether you’re in a high priced resort or feeding each other strawberries and sparkling wine at home, your romantic adventure is what you and your significant other make of it.

 

Short Story Preview: Romancing Mrs. Claus

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Happy Holidays to all!

Well my novel is finished but I’m still having an issue with naming the thing. Usually I leave the title until the end hoping the flow of the story will inspire me but this time it’s just not working, maybe because it’s a hybrid, I don’t know. Anyway, I’ve also decided to try the traditional route to get the book published so I’m actively searching for literary agents to help smooth away any rough edges I missed and help get my book out there. So, if you know of (or are) any literary agents who’s not afraid to push the envelope and are genuinely interested in fantasy romance that doesn’t involve vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts etc. feel free to drop me a line!

In the meantime, I’m working on a few new projects and short stories to gather more readers and continue to hone my writing skills. Recently, a story idea jumped ahead of the cue with so much enthusiasm that I just had to give it my undivided attention. It’s a sweet romantic story about how Mrs. Claus feels unappreciated by her husband and is whisked off on an adventure by the suave and sexy Jack Frost. Can old St. Nick win his wife back? Here’s a sneak preview of my new short story: Romancing Mrs. Claus.

***

Damaris sighed as she stood in the back of the room, waving though she knew the gesture went unseen. Her husband rode off on his sleigh pulled by a team of reindeer and cheered on by a multitude of ecstatic workers. The din barely died down as the little men and women rushed off to have their own celebrations in the village, their work for the year now complete. Damaris had to smile. The elves worked diligently from dawn to dusk with smiles on their faces and a song in their hearts. Their only compensation was the smiles on the children’s faces Christmas morning and the stories Santa brought back with him after his long night of delivering gifts to the world’s recipients. Often Damaris wondered how much the man embellished and how much he kept to himself. She knew that while he thrived on delivering gifts to the world’s children, there were times when he entered a home to find a much older, curvier and scantily clad occupant waiting for him to arrive. Nikolai sure got a kick out of these occurrences the first few times they happened and, in his usual jovial manner, he would relay to his wife how he would tip his hat and respectfully decline the lady’s offer before leaving again. Sometimes the woman wouldn’t take the hint and Santa became adept at gingerly dropping gifts beneath the tree while being chased around it. While these adventures tickled her husband immensely, Damaris was not amused and after seeing how upset they made her, Nikolai had stopped telling her about them. This of course made matters worst for not knowing made her believe he was being accosted in practically every home he entered. Then of course she began to wonder when amusement turned to desire and how often he was receiving more than cookies and milk on these treks.

The portrayal of the magical couple made Damaris laugh. She never understood where the idea that they were an elderly couple came from, perhaps the fact Nikolai had been doing this for so long, but the fact of the matter was the jolly old man was simply a disguise he took on to satisfy convention. Old St. Nick was actually a big bear of a man standing nearly 6 foot tall with dark curly hair and a closely cropped mustache and beard. He did have a good heart, a deep belly laugh and the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen to date, at least that much the stories had gotten right. Damaris, on the other hand, was a slender woman whose head barely reached her husband’s shoulder so that she had to stand on tiptoe to kiss him. Her ebony hair flowed down to her waist and her eyes were, as Nikolai once said, as green as the Mediterranean before a storm. While she used to travel with him often when they first married, Damaris couldn’t actually remember the last time she had left the North Pole and was anxious to see this strange new world Nikolai described.

Damaris sighed again as she realized there was a lot that she and Nikolai used to do together. While he was still courteous and kind to her, she often felt more like a maid or housekeeper than a wife. She missed the feel of his arms around her, the electricity of his kisses, the smell of him. Each were so submerged in their duties that they barely spoke any more and often times, Damaris would fall into an empty bed at night and awaken alone in the morning. The warmth of the wrinkled sheets beside her was the only confirmation she had that her husband still slept by her side. It was a far cry from when they first met.

Damaris hailed from the thriving metropolis of Pompeii. Her father had owned and operated the largest hotel in the region, located on the edge of the city with sprawling views of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. He often boasted of the wealthy and important clientele the hotel attracted though they rarely seemed worth the hoopla to Damaris. If they weren’t incredibly rude, yelling at and hitting the staff, they were very stingy and constantly haggled prices down below the rate of even the worst hovels. Perhaps this was the reason their male guests insisted on taking liberties with the staff during their stay making it necessary for Damaris to intervene between a flustered employee and drunken official. She also had to face irate wives who accused the young woman of enticing these grabby men herself! It was often miserable work and on extra rough days, she would seek solace on her rooftop garden.

The day had been extraordinarily hot for the season and Damaris stood behind the reception desk brushing away the hair that had escaped her long braid when he walked in. She looked up as the doorway darkened and her breath caught in her throat. He practically filled the entire room by himself and Damaris shivered. She thanked the gods for the feast of Vulcanalia, without which they would have had a vacancy. If he was as hands on as most of their guests, she would have a hard time fighting him off. He was dressed oddly, wearing thick black boots instead of sandals. His tunic was made of material far too warm for the current climate with long sleeves and was closely cropped to the neck. He was incredibly pale compared to the olive complexion of the locals. Damaris tried to speak but only a squeak came out. She composed herself, cleared her throat and tried again.

“May I help you, sir?”

“Yes, I require a room for myself and my horse.” He replied, a thick accent colored his clipped rendition of her language.

Damaris swallowed a smile as she told him,

“I’m sorry sir, while we do have space in our stables for your horse, the hotel is full for the holiday.”

The man looked confused for a moment and Damaris wondered if he understood her. She opened her mouth again when he asked,

“Would it be possible to share the stable with my horse?”

Damaris barked a laugh before slapping a hand over her mouth.

“I’m sorry, sir, that’s not a request we’re used to hearing around here. I’m afraid Father wouldn’t approve.”

He leaned across the desk and winked.

“Perhaps you could tell him I’m the stableboy looking after a guest’s horse.”

“No one could believe that you were a stable boy.” Damaris giggled as she ran her eyes over the man’s large frame. “Besides, I make it a habit never to lie.”

He regarded her for several moments with sparkling eyes and smiled,

“Good girl, if only there were more women like you.”

She blushed deeply. Keep it together, she thought.

“I am sorry, but it really wouldn’t be seemly to have you bed down in the stables with the animals.”

He waved his hand, cutting her off.

“I assure you, Miss, the scent of an animal does not offend me and Quicksilver is one of my oldest and dearest friends. The truth of the matter is I am in desperate need of rest and there is no space anywhere in the region. If you wish, I will pay double the rate of your best room for the use of your stables for the night. That should appease your father, no?”

Damaris gasped and she shook her head.

“Oh no, I couldn’t ask you to do that!” She pursed her lips and continued. “Alright, come with me. I will deal with my father.”

She led him into the back corner of the stables where she watched him remove a large black saddle edged with gilded bells from his white horse.

“This area has just been cleaned and fresh hay laid down so there’ll be less fleas and vermin and you should be warm and comfortable, not that you’ll freeze in this heat,” she sighed, brushing loose strands of hair from her face again.

“Thank you very much, I appreciate your kindness, Miss…?”

“Damaris.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Damaris, I am Nikolai Klaus.” He replied, taking her hand and kissing it.

Damaris blushed again. Suddenly the ground rocked beneath her feet tossing her against him as he stumbled back against the wall. The animals inside the stable began to stomp and scream and the bells on Nikolai’s saddle jingled maddeningly as the building shook. After what seemed like an eternity, the shaking stopped and Damaris found herself pressed against her new guest, the feel of his breath on her cheek sent shivers through her. She pushed herself off him and straightened her tunic.

“Are you alright, Mr. Klaus?”

The man was visibly shaken but he nodded as he righted himself.

“What was that?”

“An earthquake. I must warn you, they’re fairly normal in this area, although they seem to be coming more frequently of late. That’s why this year’s Vulcanalia is extra special. The priests say the volcano god grows restless and we must send two willing brides this year to appease him.”

Nikolai started and asked, “Anyone I know?”

Damaris laughed,  “No, these women are beautiful, pure and goddess like. They have been bred specifically for this honor. No ordinary woman will suffice.”

Nikolai reached out and brushed loose strands from Damaris’ face. His fingers brushed her cheek and lingered for a moment. She gazed into his eyes, brilliant pools of blue, and her mouth went dry as her heart pounded in her chest.

“Well, I can’t say I’m not glad but I think the priests missed out on something.” he said, hoarsely.

Damaris took a step back, taking a shuddering breath, and as professionally as she was able replied,

“I must check on the staff and make sure everything is in order. Dinner is at 7.”

Nikolai nodded, a slow smile spread across his face that made Damaris’ heart flutter again and she turned and hurried out of the stable. She stopped outside the door of the hotel and gasped. Earthquakes were a part of life in Pompeii. Some said it was the price to pay for living in a beautiful location with abundant food and wine and pleasant weather more often than not. Still, the earthquakes were becoming more frequent and more violent in recent years and the government had been slow on repairs. Damaris knew from her staff that the poorer parts of town had yet to receive any help, the citizens having to rely on each other to rebuild and start over. The most recent quake managed to knock down a few buildings down the street and off in the distance she could see smoke rising and hear the screams of people rushing to put out fires and rescue those trapped in the rubble. High above the city, Mount Vesuvius had started smoking and terror gripped the girl in the pit of her stomach. She hoped the priests were right and that Vulcan would find this year’s sacrifice acceptable.

*****

While I know it’s far too late to catch anyone’s attention this year, I’m hoping the story will get picked up in a holiday romance compilation very soon 🙂 Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season!