The prize is a $20 Amazon gift card. Go read. I discuss things like why my Mom is my hero and why no one should use my writing method as that way lies madness…
Wed 22 May 2013
Sat 20 Apr 2013
Romance Writers of America® – New England Chapter Present!
2013 Annual Book Fair for Literacy – Open to the Public 3:30‐5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013 Burlington Marriott, Burlington, MA
I’ll be signing copies of Phoenix Rising and (possibly) GeekMom! Please come by and say “hi,” and no purchase required! Love to meet some of you. The emblem below is not an official emblem of the book signing. I just thought it was appropriate. So maybe it’s my emblem for coming week.
This is a joint signing, with writers far more well-known than myself <g>, so come by and take a look!
Julia Quinn, Zoe Archer, Caroline Linden, Marie Force
Donna Alward, Amy Atwell, Liberty Blake, Terri Brisbin, Megan Caldwell, Jamie Cat Callan, Lisa Carlisle, Ashlyn Chase, Loretta Chase, Nina Clark, Colleen Connally, Kady Cross, Kate Cross, Anna DeStefano, Marissa Doyle, Ella Drake, Cara Elliott, Megan Frampton, Rozsa Gaston, Lena Goldfinch, Pepper Goodrich, Sammie Grace, Lisa Verge Higgins, Hannah Howell, Christina James, Corrina Lawson, Kate Locke, Sarah MacLean, Meg Maguire, Wendy S. Marcus, Lesley Mathews, Cara McKenna, KJ Montgomery, Laura Moore, Victoria Morgan, Miranda Neville, Cathryn Parry ,Judy Phillips, Stephanie Queen, Tiffany Reisz, Teresa Noelle Roberts, Jordan K. Rose, Nico Rosso, Karen Stivali, Frances Stockton, Barbara Wallace, Penny Watson, Samantha Wayland
Sponsored by NEC RWA in partnership with The Book Oasis in Stoneham, MA. A portion of all proceeds are donated to the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation. For more information, go to: http://www.necrwa.org/
All trademarks, registered trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners.
Thu 18 Apr 2013
My first experience with Superman! I can’t imagine where I ever got the idea being a reporter is cool…:)
Tue 19 Feb 2013
This is great news for me for many reasons. And now I’m going to plead to you to give the book a chance at the lower price and why you should.
It’s my first very sale and thus, it holds an incredibly special place in my heart. It’s a book with a premise so unusual I had been told it would never sell at all. And it’s inspired by two disparate but favorite stories of mine, Birds of Prey from DC Comics (writers Chuck Dixon & Gail Simone) and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan SF series.
The unusual premise?
The Roman Empire of this tenth century stretches from Russia in the East to a new continent in the West. But a new continent brings new threats to their rule. The Roman garrison in Seneca, located in modern-day New York, lacks the supplies and men needed to defeat an alliance of native Mahicans and immigrant Vikings.
Dinah, a former slave trained in espionage, had hoped Seneca would be the start of a new life. Instead, she’d pulled back into war. If Seneca is to survive, Dinah must reconcile her allegiance to Rome with her chance to create her own destiny in the New World with Gerhard, the Viking Chief.
Yes, I put Romans in North America, after extending their Empire an additional 500 years. This idea has been rolling around in my head every since I was a teenager and read S.P. Somtow’s Aquila series, in which a Sioux chief continually outwitted a Roman governor. A new Aquila story was one of the joys of getting Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in the mailbox when I was growing up.
And..Vikings? Well, they had been in the New World even in reality. I just moved them south a little bit.
Why? Because there are a fascinating contrast. Romans are a very patriarchal, rigid society, and Vikings were far more democratic and equal between the genders than is generally realized. Add to that the matriarchal society of the Native Americans, who had mixed with my wandering Viking raiders, and the cultural contrasts and conflicts offered a huge canvas for me as a writer.
And it’s a nice parallel to Britain around 500 A.D. as the leftover Romans, invading Saxons, and Celtic tribes vied for supremacy. Yes, it occurred to me I could riff on the Arthurian myth in some ways.
But that’s just the background. It’s the character of Dinah who I adore and who sometimes breaks my heart.
Dinah was named after Dinah Laurel Lance (Black Canary) of DC Comics, because I loved her mix of strength and connection to family. My Dinah begins the book lost and alone. She’s escaped slavery to create a new life for herself but she hasn’t truly escaped the past, as she pins her hopes on belonging to the man who helped her escape, Tabor, the local Roman commander. But Tabor is her patron, not her love, and Dinah soon finds out to truly belong somewhere, she had to reject the society she hoped to join.
Dinah is physically brave but emotionally terrified because she’s never had a true home and wants one so badly.
Then there’s Gerhard, the sometimes sullen Viking chief who decides Dinah was sent by his gods to be with him. He has good reasons for thinking the gods have done exactly this but he’s patient enough to let events play out and prove to Dinah that he’s right. Or maybe that’s just his excuse for falling in love with her after she spies on his camp. Gerhard is somewhat of a mystery to me. He never gets a point of view and I’m sure he likes it that way.
That’s where Bujold’s stories come in because another idea behind this was “What if two Aral Vorkosigans existed in the same place but on opposite sides?” And that’s where the Roman Tabor and the Viking Gerhard come in. Enemies? Allies? Can they trust each other?
Dinah and Gerhard’s love story was a joy to write because neither of them rely on words. It’s all actions and when they commit, it’s solid and unyielding, even if it takes time and fightings through a literal army for each other to cement that commitment.
Also, I got to write a big old-fashioned medieval battle with Romans, Vikings and Native Americans involved, made some stuff blow up, delved a bit into ancient steampunk with the somewhat more advanced Roman technology, and there’s a moment near the end that surprised and delighted me, a calvary arriving just in time thing that I didn’t even know was coming and I love every time I re-read it. Oh, and there is a somewhat R/X rated fertility ritual scene that I should either warn or encourage you to read.
So, those are all the reasons why I love the story.
I cannot guarantee you’ll love reading it–I actually hate making a book sales pitch saying “it’s awesome, you’ll love it,” because reader taste is so very individual. But I hope you’ll give it a try, especially for $2.99. I feel such dedication to these characters and I would love to see them reach a wider audience because they deserve it.
Oh, and I have two upcoming comic stories set in the Seneca universe. One will be out in May, features Tabor, and takes place after the events of the book. You can see the first page below! So the Seneca-verse lives and will continue to live, either in novel or comic form. (The second book is Eagle of Seneca, details on my book page on this site.)
The second comic story is a prequel to the book and details how Dinah & Tabor ended up exiled from Europe and in the new world. No stuff blowing up there but I did manage a pitched battle and a little bit of nasty knife-work. I can’t wait to see the pages on that.
Wed 2 Jan 2013
Most of the time, I’m flailing about, trying to do multiple projects at once, juggling my kids, things that need doing around the house, and finding a small sliver of time to relax.
Making resolutions exhaust me because they tend to loom as yet more things that Must.Be.Done.
Instead, today, I’m going to take a look back and remind myself that I actually accomplished stuff in 2012 and that if I just keep my head down and cheerfully slog my way to greatness, this list next year will also remind me that, hey, I did stuff!
1. Cross that off the bucket list.
I wrote and had a comic story published, “The Promise,”a dream I’ve had since the first time I picked up a comic. This one was a long time coming, about four days, but so worth it that when I received the pages from my artist, the awesomely talented Cassandra James, I cried.
2. GeekMom the blog and book.
I never expected to be the author of a non-fiction book. I knew I loved blogging, so I was thrilled to be added in as a contributor to the GeekDad blog on Wired.Com. And spinning off GeekMom with my three co-editors, Kathy Ceceri, Natania Barron and Jenny Williams was a labor of love to give a voice to those who I felt strongly needed one.
So, yeah, this year, GeekMom accepted a contract to provide content to Wired.com, joining the GeekDad site!
And a book that we put together at crunch time, Geek Mom: Projects, Tips & Adventures for Moms and Their 21st Century Families, was published in October by Potter Craft of Random House Publishing. (more…)
Tue 18 Dec 2012
It will be the second All-Women’s issue of The Gathering Anthology from Greyhaven comics. And, no, not co-writing or anything with Gail, just taking pages in the same book.
My story is yet another short tale from my alternate history Seneca series. It has its origins in a short tale I wrote as part of an exercise years ago on the just cherry writers yahoo loop. Essentially, it’s a character study of Tabor, the Roman commander of Seneca.
The art is by the lovely Romina Santana. I especially love the borders. It’s a four-page story in total.
Tabor is the one character in the Seneca series who never gets a point of view but he keeps haunting my thoughts. So, since I thought it would be fun, I present the short story that the comic is based on. (And Tabor haunts my thoughts so much that my next tale will feature him and Dinah, in the untold story of how they both ended up in Seneca.)
Tabor rapped on the door, applying too much force for a polite knock. As he intended, the door swung open, and the ropes holding the door together creaked against the wood frame.
Gladys rushed the few feet from the cooking area to the door. Her hand went to her mouth in shock. “Lord Tabor, I didn’t expect you…”
He took advantage of her discomfiture to walk through the doorway, forcing her to step backward. Her face was a mixture of awe and apprehension and her hands rubbed her deerskin dress, flicking off dust that was not there.
Tabor let the door swing shut behind him and watched Gladys, to see how fast she would collect herself. The inside of the home was as modest as the outside, built along the lines of a long house favored by the People, a style adopted by many of the poorer Romans of Seneca.
So, Gladys was not doing this to enrich herself. A misguided compassion? A need to feel important? It would be important to determine which.
The woman straightened and pushed a stringy hair away from her face. “I’m honored, Lord. What may I do for you?”
Her gaze shifted from him to the shelves above her wooden dining table. “May I get you something? Something to warm you?”
Tabor brushed snow off the cloak that was flung over his shoulders. “A seat by the fire will do, thank you.”
Gladys pulled a stool from under her table, trying to shield the shelving with her body. The rumor was true, Tabor decided. He would have to be careful to not give away himself.
She took his cloak from him and hung it on a hook, all the while sucking on her lower lip, perhaps biting down words she wanted to say. Courtesy, of course, demanded that she wait for him. And he intended to make her wait.
He settled himself on the stool, legs out in front of him, crossed at the ankles. He let the heat from the fire chase away the chill before turning away from the flames to Gladys.
“What may I do for you, lord?” she said.
“You know why I am here.” Let her hang herself.
She rubbed her hands together. “I don’t understand what I do has to do with you?”
He snapped to attention, knocking over the stool as he did so. “I am the one responsible for the safety of Seneca. Safety which you endanger.” He advanced a step and she shrunk back, as if trying to blend in with the wall. He was terrifying her. Good, because what she was doing terrified him.
“What you are doing is unauthorized.”
She pushed herself away from the wall, causing small bits of soil to fall to the floorboards. “I am helping. And I cannot see how providing medicine to those who are ill is wrong.” She jerked her chin up, defiance warring with fear.
“You are a fool if you cannot see what is wrong.” He crossed his arms. “There is a reason I do not allow unauthorized trading with the People.”
“Because you wish to have all the wealth to yourself.” She pointed a long finger at him.
He smiled. This was better, far better. He much preferred her angry than afraid. “No. Because the balance between Seneca and the People is…” He walked over and put a hand on the edge of her shelf, where she presumably kept her ill-gotten medications, “…precarious. You may think your trading for medicine only helps those who are sick. But if the People do not trust us. That is why the trade is regulated.” He picked up a ceramic jar, curled his hands around the base. “If you cheat them, they will complain. It could tip us back into war.”
He tossed the jar up into the air. She gasped, would have run forward to catch it. But he put out one arm to prevent her, and caught it with his other. She whimpered and he placed the jar on the table.
“No more,” he said.
“I need to-”
“Stop this.” He gestured with his hand, taking in the whole of her small home. “I could have sent the garrison soldiers in here, ruined your home, confiscated your medicine, left you with nothing.”
She moved past him, snatched the jar and held it to her. “And what do you leave me with now?”
“Your health. And the promise of your trading being authorized, if you will let me take your supply to my physician, to verify that it does help and not hurt.” He took a deep breath and spread his hands in front of him. “You must give it all to me.”
Her fingers gripped the jar, almost to the point of breaking it. “That is your offer?”
“No, that is my order. And the next one will be to take what you have by force.”
“And what is this?” Her shoulders hunched forward, her arms went around the jar even more, as if trying to conceal or cover it completely.
“It is myself, as Lord of Seneca, asking for your trust, and for your word to follow my law. If you cannot do that, then your unauthorized trading could be a fatal offense.” He stepped forward, placing both hands on her shoulders, careful to offer comfort, not violence. “I have kept Seneca safe while its’ children
grow. Trust me that I have your best interests at heart.” Trust me, so I do not have to hurt you. And so I do not have to confess all to you.
Gladys shuddered, but uncoiled herself from the jar. Her fingers slid free as he took it.
She stood in silence as he put his cloak back on. He walked past her, took another jar from the shelf, the match to the one he already possessed.
He nodded to her. “I will send word if you may continue.” He turned to leave.
“Your wife is very ill, is she not?”
Tabor shook his shoulders, so his cloak fell around him. “Yes. She is.”
Gladys clasped her hands together, fingernails digging into her skin. “Then why did you not simply ask?”
“Because what you are doing is very dangerous.” He turned again to leave, thought better of it, and turned back to face her. “And because to ask is not my way.”
Tue 4 Dec 2012
I’m doing one of those fun blog hop things where you can read cool posts by other romance authors. We’re all answering the following questions. You can find the full list over at the lovely Dee Egan’s post at Slip Into Something Victorian. (Very cool post, go read!)
I choose to answer the questions about my work in progress, Ghost Phoenix, the third Phoenix Institute full-length novel. Well, it’s not there yet. Working on it. But I have the big climatic action scene in mind. And I know where the sex happens. So there’s that.
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is the third story in my superhero romance series, the Phoenix Institute, from Samhain Publishing. So I have the basic plot idea of “superheroes fight bad guy, fall in love,” but each book has to be a little bit different. The first book, Phoenix Rising, inspired by the X-Men, had a fire starter and a telepath.
The second story, Luminous, inspired by my love of Gotham City, had a cop and a woman who was invisible, and the latest book, Phoenix Legacy, has a hero who can heal practically any injury on the warpath against those who are misusing his genetic material. That was more inspired by my love of black ops/spies.
For Ghost Phoenix, my hero is an immortal English prince and the heroine can walk through walls. Naming the ultimate antagonist is a bit of a spoiler, so I’ll hold off on that.
Basically, I threw what I loved about English history and superheroes in a mixing bowl and pressed ‘stir.’
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Richard, the hero, is tall, imperious and charismatic. I’m thinking maybe the 30-year-old Lawrence of Arabia era Peter O’Toole. As for the heroine, she’s straight-laced and careful, so maybe Stana Katic of Castle.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
He’s an immortal prince without a country, she’s trying to live up to the family phantom gift. Together, they fight someone who wants to drown the world in fire. (Oops. Two sentences.)
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Repped by an agent.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft took two months, the polished draft took about four months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I tend to write out of the box stuff so I don’t have a good comparison other than maybe something like Marvel’s The Avengers. But I hear Suze Brockmann is doing a series about a special group of psy ops heroes. Similar premise to my Phoenix Institute, though a much different execution.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The whole series is informed with my love of superhero comics with a dash of Thomas Costain’s The Plantagenet Saga and I admit I gained some inspiration from Jayne Anne Krentz Arcane Society series. Plus, X-Men.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My stories tend to happen over the course of a single week or two, so the pacing is very fast. And, of course, I will find creative uses for the superpowers while fighting the bad guys and maybe even during sex.
Mon 26 Nov 2012
So I did this awesome podcast with Kate Kotler, the Comix Chix! It’s up on GeekNation and I talk about the GeekMom book and other stuff.
Tue 13 Nov 2012
Official release day celebration!
A man too dangerous to live. A woman whose survival depends on forgiving him.
The Phoenix Institute, Book 2
Philip Drake is immortal by virtue of a psychic power that heals all but the worst injuries. He’s needed every bit of it as a black ops agent, a life so violent that the line between pain and pleasure is tangled up in his head.
When he walks away from the CIA, the last thing he expects is to discover someone stole his DNA to create a race of super-healers. And that the expectant mother is a woman from his past who’d consider it her pleasure to spit on his grave.
One moment, Delilah Sefton is listening to a seriously hot, seriously deranged man giving her some half-baked explanation as to why she’s pregnant with no memory of how she got that way. The next, armed men swarm into her bar, and she and Mr. Sexy-Crazy are on the run.
Safety at the Phoenix Institute is only temporary, but it’s long enough to put the pieces together. A madman plans to steal her son in a plot to take over the world. And to stop him, she must learn to trust the baby’s father—a man she blames for her greatest loss.
Warning: This novel contains fast cars (that are driven), numerous guns (that are shot), a hero who prefers pain over love, and a heroine determined to fight for those she loves.
And excerpt for you! I like this one because it shows the contrast between Philip Drake and Alec, the hero of Phoenix Rising:
As he dressed, he strapped on his ankle holster and slipped a knife into his jacket to go along with the Sig Sauer nestling in his waist holster. The lightweight jacket would conceal that well enough. He gathered up a small pocketful of tech toys, including several micro-bugs. Alec was right to want the place bugged.
He took a look at where he’d jammed the shard into his palm. The shower had washed off the blood, and the wound had fully healed already.
Pain and the rush of healing after it were all that had made him feel alive in the last few months. He’d always had a high tolerance for pain and had known that tolerance sometimes slid into pleasure. But now it was as if he needed that rush. Even his careless one-night stands had been unsatisfying unless the sex had been rough. Beth would have much to say about that, if she knew. He had no plans to tell her.
Philip drove the Charger with Alec providing directions, but he didn’t need them. He knew that area. The lab was located next to a rundown area in Passaic, just over the town line in an industrial zone of warehouses, offices and laboratories. It was accessible via the highway but Philip planned a less obvious route. Just in case, again. He didn’t know who could be watching, but that was the point. One never knew.
When he explained this to Alec, the boy shook his head. “Appreciate the security lesson, Drake, but that seems extreme.”
“You need lessons in extreme.” The firestarter was powerful, smart and he wanted to do the right thing. He’d changed the name of the Resource—which he’d inherited from his adoptive father Richard Lansing—to the Phoenix Institute to signal a new start for the place that had effectively held him captive all his life.Alec intended to find and help children like him use their power responsibly. It was an excellent, noble goal. But Alec had been raised in a vacuum, essentially isolated from the rest of the world. It made him more than naive on a few subjects.
“Someone is using your DNA to create a race of superbabies, and you think taking an undocumented driving route is extreme? Not to mention the CIA might be monitoring me or you. Whoever kept this genetics lab running after Lansing’s death could be doing the same. And there’s still the matter of those watchers out there from an unknown source that you sensed on the container ship job. Aside from the one mention in Lansing’s notes, there’s no other information. Which tells me Lansing knew something but thought it was too volatile to write down. That’s never good.”
He paused to let the words sink in. Alec shifted in his seat, clearly uncomfortable.
“If you want to survive to do all this good you talk about, then you have to assume enemies are watching. All the time.”
Alec stared at the car’s dashboard for a while instead of replying. Perhaps the young man was considering what he’d just been told. Or, given his sheltered upbringing, he was checking out the car. Alec loved cars.“I hate having to think that way.”
“If you want to live long enough to accomplish your aims, you’re going to have to learn.” And you damn well better learn enough to keep my daughter safe.
Alec nodded. “What if my kid is out there, Drake? Not a situation I’ve been trained to handle.”
Philip realized that the boy was truly looking for advice this time. Like it or not, Alec was a permanent part of Beth’s life. Which meant the question should be answered rather than ignored. No one had told him giving advice to a man sleeping with his daughter was part of fatherhood when he’d volunteered.
But here he was.
Onto the contest! We’ll try something different this time and instead of asking about books or characters, I wanted to talk about cars, in honor of Philip’s 1967 Dodge Charger. (My brother once owned one just like it so hopefully I have all the dashboard controls right or he’ll kill me….)
To enter, let me know your favorite classic car in the comments below.
CONTEST CLOSES AT MIDNIGHT, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH. YOU MUST MAKE SURE TO LEAVE AN EMAIL SO I CAN REACH YOU.