Archive | May 2013

Edge Walkers – Play List

Edge Walkers_200x300Edge Walkers is one of those books with a soundtrack — I spent hours listening to Sarah Mclachlan, Nine Inch Nails, Adam Lambert, Evanescence, Coldplay and K.D. Lang (yeah, quite the mix). My trick with writing and songs is to play the song so often that it becomes white-noise. Somehow this shuts off the editor so you can get to a different place with the story.

Here’s the play list for the book:

Building a Mystery, Sarah Mclachlan
Answer, Sarah Mclachlan
Hallelujah, K.D. Lang
Breath No More, Evanescence
Whisper, Evanescence
Mad World, Adam Lambert
The Day the World Went Away, Nine Inch Nails
The Persistence of Loss, Nine Inch Nails
Fix You, Coldplay

Now I need to go build a play list for a historical romance–that’s a whole lot harder to find.

FROM REVIEWS:

There was no insta love in this story. Instead it was slow and was built up over the course of the story. It was nice to see them get to understand each other better and come to trust one another as they slowly fell in love. — The Romance Reviews

EXCERPT

He was barefoot, his feet grubby and dusted.
The face seemed younger than the muscle on a body that looked honed as if he’d been working on sharpening it. But the eyes could pass for as old as these stones and held something that looked about as ruined. With his face half in shadows he almost could be one of the angels who should have been on stained glass here, and maybe he’d stepped out from the shattering.
Or could be he was one of the ones who’d fallen because of great sin.
He stepped closer and went down to one knee, genuflecting, she thought for the absurd fragment of a second, but his head didn’t bow. And now his eyes were at the same level as her.
He put his hand out, palm up. “It’s okay. You’ll feel disoriented and confused for a time. That’s normal.”
“Normal?” The question sputtered out. “What does this place have to do with anything normal?”
God, it felt good to get a coherent sentence out. It surged some strength into her arms and legs, make her stop shaking like an EM needle over graphite-laden shears. She uncurled her fists and her body, pushed up against the pillar and back to her feet. He rose as well, his eyes tracking her as she stood, his hand falling back to his side again. He was only a few inches taller than she was. Most guys weren’t.
“Just where am I? Who are you? How’d I get here? Where’s the rest of my staff?” Ah, good–coherent questions. Or they would be if her teeth weren’t chattering. She could hear the lack of control in herself, and she dragged down another breath that left her entire body aching. Putting back her shoulders, she thought of how the Old Man would have been yelling at her at this point to ‘buck up.’ Thank god he wasn’t here to see her, but on the other hand she could have used him–and a few more military types.
She’d have to make do with what she had.
Now if she could remember what had happened goddammit.
“What happened to me?” she asked. “What happened to my team?”
The guy turned away, angled his body from her last question as if he wanted to walk from it but couldn’t. She stared at the profile of a straight nose and strong chin, at angles made sharp by what looked like existence living. And she knew with insight so sharp it jolted whose blood covered her hands, splattered her clothes.
“Oh God,” she said, dragging the words from hiding. Eyes stinging, she gulped a breath through her mouth–no, no, no! She repeated the word in her head, but she knew the truth. Knew it bone deep.
Oh, God! Not Thompson. He had a baby due in three weeks. And Chand–had he been spared because he was out sneaking a cigarette? She couldn’t remember, but Chand didn’t think anyone knew about his habit, even though he took breaks every two hours and came back with tobacco acrid on his clothes. And what about Zeigler, or the new tech whose name she couldn’t remember? Eyes stinging, she swallowed hard, gulped down another aching breath.
Well, she’d just mapped something new–grief and terror could fracture in you like a vibrant sunset with the edges of darkness falling fast.
Some part of her catalogued the adrenal burst pouring through her–elevated pulse and quickened breath to oxygenate the blood, trembling to loosen muscles. She thought about the Tai-Bo she’d taken up last year to try and fight off the pounds that came from working too hard and not eating right. The fad was already past, but she’d always been off any normal trend–and it fit well with the self-defense her father had taught her as if he’d intended her for a military career.
Straightening, she made her next question very clear, dropping each word like a stone into water six times. “What did you do to them?”
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Every Book Has Two Stories

TheCardrosRubyThere are two stories for every book–the story in the pages, and the story behind the pages. For The Cardros Ruby, it’s story is a long one, but I’ll shorten it up.

Back in the day I’d written a story–this one–and it was good enough to final in RWA’s Golden Heart for Best Regency. That delighted me, and I went to Hawaii (and I doubt RWA will ever have a conference there again, since most of us really wanted to be on the beach and not in conference rooms). The book didn’t win, but a good friend (made at the conference), won and went on to sell–this book didn’t sell.

Now there are always many reasons why a book might not sell, even a very good book. Back then the choices were traditional Regency publishing with strict word counts of under 70K, and Historical Regency romance, but those were going hot, and have since even gone hotter. This book didn’t fit either marketing category–it’s a long traditional Regency (with a bit of a mystery in it, but not enough to make it a mystery). So it was a book without a marketing category–that used to be death for any book.  It was doomed to a shoebox life.

These days, thank heavens, it’s a different world. So…an edit later, a read through by others, and a cover, and it’s now finally out in the world.

The Cardros Ruby is–I hope–a bit of a throwback to the days when novels could be novels–when a romance could have some action, some history, some mystery, and just be a great read. Hopefully, it’s all that.

A Man with a Dark Past…

After leaving home years ago amid scandal, Captain Desford Cardros has returned home to mend his wounds, and settle an old score with his brother. But he is drawn to a beautiful woman whose brother is the target of mysterious accidents. Now Cardros must choose between repayment for past wrongs, or a love that could be his salvation.

A Lady Whose Future is Uncertain…

Helena Seaford is ready to do anything to protect her only brother, even trust a scoundrel. But will she hold to her an upbringing that intends her to be a lord’s wife, or will passion lead her into scandal?

 A Deadly Secret to Hide…

As a killing frost holds everyone prisoner in the Yorkshire country, a fragile alliance will be tested by old secrets and lies. Ultimately, the truth may be found in the story of what did happen to the Cardros Ruby five years ago?

EXCERPT

Cardros had a dislike for being of use. Army life had taught him that always meant doing something stupid and generally dangerous. Over the years, he had learned to salute and say, “Yes, sir,” and do as he thought best given the circumstances. He had not, however, learned to master his dammed curiosity. It tugged on him now, pulled like a cat with yarn to unravel. He knew he would do better to ignore it. “My dear girl, my reputation precedes me, as your aunt has said, so you must know I’m no gentleman.”

Her eyebrow quirked high again, and her mouth twitched as if she might have something to say, but she bit back the words. She had a light dusting of freckles across her nose—very unfashionable—and they no longer stood out on too-pale skin. She stared at him for a moment, her gaze direct, leaving him uneasy, feeling as if she could see through to his thoughts, to the old hurts that he took care to hide from the world. But that was only a fancy, for she pokered up again with proper manners.

“I presume too much on your time. Of course, despite aiding Havelock, you have no real interest in our troubles.”

He let out a breath. If she had pressed, he would have resisted, but this sudden capitulation—this retreat—left him with the ingrained desire to pursue. A withdrawal needed to be followed. However, he kept his tone flippant—he wanted his options left open.

“Will it help if I say I do find my interest in you growing by the minute? Probably not such a good thing for you, but shall we take that drink and see what develops?”

Crossing the room to the decanters, his stride stiff and shortened, he wondered what she thought of his limp. Damaged goods, no doubt. Less than a full man. She said nothing, however, of his injury and asked instead, “Did you happen to see my brother’s accident?”

“I didn’t, but I should think his horse slipped in the mud. Now, you owe me an answer—why on earth did my mother drag you here? I assume she must be in residence and did so, for I can’t imagine why else you’d be visiting. It’s a dull place in the best of weather.”

He poured brandy for himself, almost poured her wine, but thought better of it, so a splash of brandy to steady her nerves as well. He brought the glasses back, put them on a side table where the sharp aroma wove into the room along with the comfort of wood smoke. He settled himself on the couch next to her, and thought she looked to be carrying on an internal debate.

She sat with her hands tightly intertwined, her eyes downcast, and a frown tugging her brows flat on her forehead.

He almost reached out to smooth the lines forming, but he wasn’t quite certain of his ground yet. Always best to scout the area before choosing to engage in a skirmish. Stretching out his bad leg, he took up his brandy and sipped. Ah, good to see Ian hadn’t drunk the cellars dry of the good French cognac. The golden liquid warmed his insides like a Guy Fawkes bonfire. He couldn’t let such drink go to waste.

Picking up the second glass, he nudged her arm with it. She glanced at it as if he was offering poison.

“You may trust me on one thing—this will help,” he said.

She took the glass with a challenge in her eyes, and tossed it back as if it were water. “My grandmother raised my brother and I, and she’s Scottish. We know how to drink.”

“Well, in that case…” he rose, refilled both glasses and came back. Clinking glasses with her, he offered a toast, “To mending old wounds, and making new ones.”