I released Honeymoon Bite this week. So proud and happy with this new character in a new series for me: Marcus Monteleone, a golden vampire from Tuscany.
Of course, as he always does, Jimmy Thomas is the nicest thing about my cover. As we speak, I'm working on the second book in this series and should have it done early 2012.
So, why not start 2012 out right, and take a bite out of your TBR pile as well as your favorite lover? Pick up a copy of Honeymoon Bite, and enjoy the meal.
One of the other things I'm thankful for is that she appreciates coming home. Home looks different now. It couldn't warm a mother's heart more.
Dinner was a long affair with good food and good talk. Grace looked once or twice to the head table to catch a glimpse of Eric, Gertrude or his parents. Soon, both couples were circulating around the room, stopping at one table or another to speak briefly with each group.
Watching them, Chastity cocked an eye at Grace, and spoke softly. “All society knows Gertrude is wildly jealous of her husband. She keeps an eagle eye on any attractive woman who comes within shouting distance of him.” Grace looked appalled. “It’s amazing you have gotten this close. Beware of her fangs!”
Before Grace could respond, the Schuylers were nearing the table. She thought of excusing herself to head to the powder room and then decided that would be too obvious a snub. Instead, she gathered her wits and prepared for another encounter with Gertrude and her barbs.
“Dancing will start in the main ballroom in a short while,” said Gertrude. “I hope you will find this new orchestra appealing.” Gertrude put a good face on things, having sheathed her slings and arrows
“But first, we’ll have some carolers from Epiphany School serenade us and sing us into the ballroom,” added Eric, just as the sound of “Deck the Halls” resounded from the entry.
The grandeur of the dining room had impressed Grace with its flocked and silvered wallpaper hung above cherry wainscoting, drapery of fine silk and delicate crystal chandeliers. The ballroom nearly took her breath away.
“I had the same reaction when I first saw this room,” whispered Chastity. “It makes me think of Cinderella and her prince.”
The highly polished floor of intricate parquet spread out before them. Immense fireplaces sat in the east and west walls of the room, each big enough to fit a foursome for a game of whist. Silver and gold garlands hung throughout the room and reflected the light from chandeliers and wall sconces. Several chandeliers tinkled in a breeze from the opened doors on the south side of the room. A Christmas tree, easily twenty feet tall, glittered in one corner. Hand painted ornaments retold the Christmas story while star-held-candles sat on the tree’s branches.
“I think I have died and gone to heaven,” Grace whispered to Chastity as they moved across the vast room. Their little dinner group stayed together with the men making places for the ladies on the brocaded settees and tiny chairs along one wall.
The Epiphany choristers gathered near the tree and ended their performance with a medley of traditional carols and then slipped out the side doors and were gone in a flash. From an overhead gallery, a large orchestra immediately began a waltz to entice dancers. Both Schuyler couples moved onto the dance floor and met with applause as they dipped and twirled about the room. In moments, the floor was full of couples, young and old, slim or stout, all showing their enjoyment in smiles and trills of laughter.
Grace’s dance card was soon filled with the promise of a long evening. She was glad for the lessons at Mrs. Thompson’s Dance Academy that she had begged from her father. At times, she scarcely learned her partner’s name before she was whisked away by the next. When a break in the music came, she found Chastity locking arms and leading her to the balcony. A maid stood at each door to offer wraps to the women who sought to take the air. All along the terrace, men and women were resting from their exertions on the dance floor and chatting or flirting with their companions.
“Good, here come Ralphie and Bob Warren with drinks for us,” said Chastity
As the foursome downed the cool champagne punch, Gertrude and Eric came out on the balcony. Eric had his arm about his wife’s shoulders and was talking to her with deep concentration. Grace felt a knot form in her stomach as she watched them. Gradually, they forfeited their privacy as guests vied for their attention with compliments and congratulations on the fine party.
Chastity nudged her, “A penny for your thoughts.”
She was saved from answering when a drum roll called the dancers back inside to find Santa and his elves gathered near the tree. With many a “ho, ho, ho,” Santa began calling ladies to his side. To each he gave a gift, carefully wrapped in silver and gold foil. When Grace’s turn came, she approached and recognized “Santa” as Eric’s father.
“And are you having a good time, m’dear?”
“Yes, Santa and I have been a good girl all year.”
Santa beamed. “That’s what I wanted to hear. Now, here’s your reward. Enjoy!”
On returning to her friends, Grace opened the slim envelope to find a membership card for the Museum of Art resting inside. She looked up to find Eric watching her from across the room. She nodded her thanks, and saw by his answering smile that the gift had been his doing. Beside her, Chastity found a silver pen in her gift box.
“I wonder how Santa knew of my poetry attempts!”
The evening whirled on with surprise after surprise. The season’s opera diva made an appearance and sang her famed aria. Teddy Roosevelt, so recently back from Cuba, rumbled in after midnight, in good time for the light buffet. A duo of flamenco dancers entertained, their lightning steps and graceful maneuvers putting the audience to swaying. Jugglers dressed as court jesters kept balls flying.
By four in the morning, Grace was sure she couldn’t drink more champagne, dance another dance or eat another morsel. She knew from Chastity that the Schuylers would serve breakfast at six for the diehards who remained. She intended to be in her bed by then. Taking leave of her friends and refusing offers of an escort back to The Lily Hotel for Ladies, Grace made her way to the entry where she asked for her things and her ride home.
Grace slept in late on Christmas morning, her head full of memories and dreams. She kept to her room most of the day, thinking back to Christmases past and drawing her visions of Albany, the store, the apartment and the town. At two o’clock, over a fresh cup of tea, she drew a random mark that evolved into the outline of a man’s head. It took shape and became her father’s image. Not a picture of his last days, but from her childhood when health and hope were still his. She caught his essence in the finished work, as her tears swelled to the surface.
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from BY GRACE. Watch for its publication in the coming year as Grace flees NYC in fear for her life and makes her way West.
Arletta Dawdy writes from Northern California but her heart is in the 19th century American West. When immersed in the stories of strong, independent women, she has been known to get lost in their adventures. Arletta's social work background lends itself to character analysis and develpment. Her extensive travels in the Southwest add believeability to her settings. Watch for Huachuca Woman and By Grace in spring 2012.
So pleased to announce Underworld Lover is out now. It is the second book in my Guardians series, about a dark angel who falls in love with a human woman whose soul he cannot claim. Jimmy Thomas, the international cover model who has graced some 2000 romance novel covers, is the perfect Joshua Brandon, the hero. My thanks to Kendra Egert for the beautiful cover artwork.
When I was writing Book 1, Heavenly Lover, Josh was the villain. But I must admit, I sort of fell in love with him while writing his character. He was a very bad boy in Book 1, but I knew inside he had a heart of gold, and that's what comes out in Book 2. And though this story is finished, I'm not done with him yet. More about that later.
His character starts out smarting from his first failure to claim a human soul. My premise for the series is this: Heaven isn't 100% perfect by design. The Underworld isn't 100% evil by accident. The Underworld is a place where things happen by chaos, where the Director is elected, and everyone cheats. Nobody really wants the job, and all prior Directors have never followed the rules, set in dusty ledgers no one has opened for centuries.
In this chaotic mix of sensual pleasures and “do your own thing” philosophy, as long as souls are being claimed and the Underworld is growing, dark angels are happy and left free. This goes a long way to convince humans to end their lives and join the Underworld ranks.
But a new Director has been elected, who wants this position and has a dark agenda. He sees the legendary and extremely popular Joshua Brandon as being a threat to his consolidation of power. So, the Underworld has taken on an oppressive atmosphere. Dark angels with black oily wings are being created again, with the gift of fire breathing, and a war with Heaven is brewing.
In the midst of it all, Josh finds he has fallen in love with a human woman. Just happens to be that the new Director wants her too.
I like to write about a character's higher calling. Love heals in the gardens of the heart, is a theme throughout all my books. My premise is that once the character meets the love of their life, their life changes. These changes set in motion battles of lust, passion, redemption and sacrifice. My dark angels have to go to meetings, similar to 12-step programs.
It has been a wonderful journey, first dreaming about these characters and then putting them down on paper. I hope the readers embrace my twisted sense of good and evil, and suspend disbelief just enough to be entertained.
After all, reality is a story too.
Excerpt, Underworld Lover:
I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me. I'd love to hear.
Santa Rosa, California
There are a lot of Indie authors who have a backlist of published works they now own the rights for. Their Indie success is due in part to this backlist, and the fan base they accumulated over sometimes many years. I am glad that they have been able to benefit from all that past work.
But what makes Tina so unusual is that she is unagented, and unsigned with a publishing house. No backlist. She writes a darned good book. And continues to do so.
So when Tina does something, I pay attention. Just looking at what she has done in 18 months gives me hope. And the secret seems to be to write a lot of good books and get them out there for the public to enjoy.
Here's her new marketing idea:
She is having a drawing for a new Kindle Fire. In less than 2 days, she has added almost 500 new followers to her Facebook Fanpage.
There are a lot of things I want for Christmas. Getting a Kindle Fire would be one of them. But I honestly have to say the greatest gift for me during the holidays is the knowledge that some of my friends are having huge success in their publishing journey. Because if they can do it, so can I.
I hope we all win, in more ways than I can count.
I'm uploading my new release, the second book in my Guardian Angel series, Underworld Lover. As usual, my friend, Tina Folsom, is helping me with the technical aspects of making sure it is done correctly, and looks great. I've had feedback that my books are the best formatted readers have seen. Makes me happy.
I'll announce when it's up and ready for sale. But just had to share the cover. Jimmy Thomas is perfect (again–I mean when isn't he?).
Here's the blurb:
Joshua Brandon, a legendary and powerful rogue dark angel, meets a human woman whose soul he cannot take, and finds something he has not experienced before: love. At the same time, a new director comes to power in the Underworld, who asks for a test of Josh's loyalty by delivering this very woman to him.
Melanie Worthington is back among the living, after reeling from the suicide of a close friend. She has no idea she is to become the pawn between two powerful dark angels, one who would command her as his personal concubine, and the other who would set her free.
Will their love survive the battle between the two dark angels, or will Joshua risk his own immortal life to protect the woman he loves?
Today we welcome author Emlyn Chand, celebrating the release of her new book, Farsighted.
Loved this trailer and the blurb. See if you don't agree this is such an interesting premise. No wonder it is an award-winner.
Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can't. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider.
Alex Kosmitoras's life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.
Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival–an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.
“Did Dad tell you? A new tenant moved into the old pharmacy next door.”
“Really?” I ask, not letting on I already know. If I feign ignorance, Mom’ll divulge all the details. “What is it?”
“It’s a psychic shop,” Her voice crackles with excitement like a fire that’s just beginning to burn. “The All-Seeing Miss Teak. Isn’t that cute? Miss Teak, Mystic. Ha, I wonder if that’s her real name.”
I laugh. “That is funny. Never had a psychic in town before. What’s she like?”
“Oh, she’s very friendly. Why don’t you go over and say ‘hi.’ I’m sure she’d like to meet you.”
“Okay, I think I will.” I’m incredibly intrigued, because first off, it’s a psychic shop—how weird is that?—and second, its presence made Dad super uncomfortable—also very cool. I waste no time heading next door to check out the scene.
As I step cautiously into the new shop, a recording of soft, instrumental music greets me. I can make out chimes and a string instrument I don’t recognize but for some reason reminds me of snake charmers. The smell of incense fills my nostrils, which explains the burning I detected earlier.
“Hello?” I call out into the otherwise quiet room.
Nobody answers. I walk in deeper, sweeping my cane out in front of me in a metronome fashion. This place is new to me, so I need to be especially careful while moving around.
Thump! Despite my precautions, I stub my toe on something hard, big, and made of wood. Just my luck to stub the same toe twice in one day. I reach down to press my fingers into my throbbing foot to alleviate some of the pain. Something teeters before rolling off of the chest and across the floor; the sound it makes indicates a curved path. Suddenly, the object stops. Somebody’s stopped it.
“Hello?” I call again.
“Hello,” a deep, feminine voice responds, placing more emphasis on the first syllable than the second.
“I- I’m sorry I knocked that thing over. I didn’t mean to…” I hope she’s not angry. Probably not a good idea to get on a psychic’s bad side.
“That wasn’t just a thing, it’s a crystal ball,” she says as she walks over, sending my blood pulsing through my veins. I sense her looking at me for a moment before she places the ball back on top of the chest.
“Can it see the future?” I ask, allowing my curiosity to outweigh my uneasiness.
“No.” After a pause lasting several beats, she continues. “But I can see the future sometimes when I look into it.”
“Oh, okay.” I tighten my hand around my cane and turn to leave. It may not be the most polite thing to do, but all of this hocus-pocus stuff is freaking me out more than I would’ve guessed.
The psychic lady speaks again, stopping me cold. “Don’t run away, Alex Kosmitoras.” She must’ve spoken to Mom earlier today. That must be how she knows my name.
“I’m not running away,” I say meekly. “I’m just going back over to Sweet Blossoms.”
“Don’t run away,” she repeats—this time she speaks louder and with more energy. “Don’t run away from your abilities. They are gifts.”
“What?” I ask in confusion. What abilities is she talking about?
“You already know. Watch. Listen. Be open to your gifts.”
I turn to face Miss Teak, but find she’s already gone, returning to wherever she was before I got there.
Is it safe to leave? I trail my fingers across the wooden box I ran into earlier; a thick coat of dust clings to the tips as I pull away. If this shop just opened, why is it already so dirty? I wipe my hands over my shirt to get the gritty substance off. Shivers rock my whole body. Something about this place is wrong, and I’m not sticking around to figure out what. Tapping my cane along the floor, I’m able to find the exit without knocking into anything else.
Alex Kosmitoras might not have a magic wand or vampiric strength and speed, but he is a totally swoon-worthy hero that any mom would be proud to let her daughter date. — Melissa Luznicky Garrett, author of Turning Point
You don't have to be psychic to know that Farsighted is going to take the world by storm. Vampires are so last year. — Kimberly Kinrade, author of Forbidden Mind
An epic battle of good versus evil that moves at breakneck speed to a stunning and totally unexpected conclusion. — Terri Giuliano Long, author of In Leah's Wake
Is Alex blind? Yes. Bullied? Yes. A victim? Absolutely not! Emlyn Chand expertly tackles high school bullying, making Farsighted both an entertaining and an educational read. — Kevin Carey-Infante, Author of Bani's Dilemma
There's nothing blurry about Farsighted. With keen insight, Emlyn Chand creates complex characters that pop off the page. — Lauren Clark, author of Stay Tuned
Psychic or not, you'll never see the end for this one coming! Emlyn Chand is pioneering “the next big thing” for YA. — Emily Reese, author of Second Death
*Winner of the Alternative Booker Award, 2011
*Winner of the WritersType First Chapter Competition, September 2011
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb.
Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!
My son won a motorcycle by buying a raffle ticket recently, benefitting the Calistoga Fire Department. This was a totally unexpected windfall for him, and was such a cool machine – set up for doing all the off-road stuff guys like to do. 2-wheel drive. It looks like tons of fun.
He asked his mama to tag along, and of course I couldn't resist a visit to the Calistoga Fire Department for a little research. Firemen are a class act, in my opinion. No wonder why so many romance writers like to use them as hunky heroes in their stories. These guys didn't disappoint. And the timing was perfect, in that I had hosted Dating 911 author Kathleen Grieve, on Wednesday.
They have a museum of sorts out front with not only a vintage truck with all its equipment, but old resuscitators, and a medical triage setup nearly 100 years old. I have never seen such a spotless station house.
I'm sure I'm not the only romance writer they have spoken to, or posed with for pictures. I told them about my writing sprints with Bella Andre in Sonoma, and what happens when the local fire crew enters Starbucks. We are like worse than high schoolers. Our fingers speed up and we blush a lot and just say ridiculous things I hope no one else notices.
It's not just the uniform, but the symbol of being the hero, rescuing people from distress, that women love. They are quiet and respectful, like my SEAL friends.
We loaded up the bike, thanked them, posed for pictures, bought a red Calistoga Fire Department T-shirt, stopped at Buster's on the way out for a coffee with an add shot, and played funky music all the way over the hill to Santa Rosa. It was a good day and a nice chance to spend some time with my son – who still, at 35, likes to be with his mama!
Thanks to all the firefighters out there for all that they do to protect us. So we can have a carefree afternoon, enjoying the beautiful countryside, and the warmth of family. That's what life is all about.