It’s a fairly long interview but I start with talking about my geeky self. And why my getting angry led to writing and then selling Dinah of Seneca.

She asks good questions. 🙂 Also, there’s even a photo of me. That I kinda like.

Make with the clicky!

 

When you sign books at the annual Romance Writers of America Literacy Signing, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you won’t be the center of attention unless you’re a New York Times bestselling author.

It’s 500 authors or so in one huge convention room for two hours.

It’s loud and the lines to buy books are long and intense. So my goal for the night was to basically chat up the friends that came by to say “hi” and sell a book or two of Dinah of Seneca.

The night exceeded my expectations.

Highlights:

1. An incredibly nice woman named Gabriela who sought out *me* amongst the whole slew of author to say hello, get information on how to buy Freya’s Gift for her Kindle and buy Dinah of Seneca. Thanks, Gabriela, you are awesomesauce.

2. The best t-shirt of the night: “Lead me not into temptation…especially into bookstores.”

3. My friend Jill, who I want to be when I grew up, took a photo of me before the signing and it came out nice! A photo of me that I like. 🙂 Once she gets it uploaded, I’ll add it to this post. It’s got my official sign and everything. Heh.

4. I realized that sitting is a lot less stressful than walking around buying books. There’s no pressure. Plus, nice RWA volunteers bring you free water.

5. Writing personal notes when signing books is fun. Squee!

6. I was going to head down to the signing with a cleverly disguised rum & coke. My roommates talked me out of it, even though I pointed out it would take the edge off my nerves. 🙂

Then I got down to the signing and found bestselling author Eileen Dreyer sipping a glass of white wine. Clearly, I had the right instinct on this. 🙂

7. An entire family came to see the author sitting next to me. This reader had driven forty-five with her husband and two little kids to meet her favorite writer and get her books signed, which was just so cool. She had the cutest little boy who I provided with Hershey kisses when he seemed to get bored. He has such a polite “thank you.”

In short, I sold a few books, chatted with a lot of friends, met a bunch of very cool readers, and a good time was had by all.  And RWA raised over $62,000 for literacy charities.

This morning, I went to a breakfast sponsored by the publisher of Freya’s Gift, Samhain, and met a couple of SF romance/writers readers. I told one of Samhain’s representatives that they should do graphic novels. She said “Troublemaker!” (In a nice way.)

This afternoon is a keynote luncheon with speaker Nora Roberts, and then workshops, including one by Lee Child and Suze Brockmann, and then it’s a dinner with friends at the cool Italian place in the resort.

Friday, I have to pitch. Always fun. 🙂

Note: We’re in Orlando, on Disney property. I hit the Land of Mouse Tuesday, including the Tower of Terror, but I’ll probably write about that on my personal blog & for Geek Dad.

Just something very short. And it’s not even erotic. I know, bummer. 🙂

***************

“The problem belongs with you, as chief’s wife. If you wish to lead us, then lead us.” Gerhard turned the full intensity of his gaze on her. “Find a way. Or else we will be planting bodies in the ground instead of seeds this spring.”

******************

Men. Always expecting us to solve the big problems. 🙂

I was being obsessive earlier and double-checking all my hyperlinks and I discovered that the Freya’s Gift links under the “Books” tab wasn’t working any longer.

Samhain did something on their website and cyber-moved me. Heh. It’s corrected now but I wanted to apologize who anyone who clicked on the wrong link and got the Samhain site but also a ‘not found’ message.

I should be back tomorrow with another snippet from Dinah of Seneca. (And I have to pester The Wild Rose Press and make sure they have me up on their site now that my release date is less than sixty days away.)

At least, I hope to have a snippet.

The minions are quite restless today. I may have to bribe them into silence.

For those of you who have read Freya’s Gift and were intrigued enough to click over to my website, I thought I’d put up a short excerpt from Dinah of Seneca, which is a novel-length sequel set in the same universe.  This book is coming out at the end of May from The Wild Rose Press. (If you click on the tag to the right side, you’ll see the cover and the blurb.)

Gerhard from Freya’s Gift is the hero of the book but Sif also has a nice role in it, which includes one of my very favorite scenes but I can’t post that because it’s a huge spoiler.

Instead, I pulled out how Dinah meets Gerhard and how the cougars from the earlier story come into play.

To set this up, Dinah has been spying on the Viking camp for the Roman commander. (The Romans don’t show up in Freya’s Gift because they weren’t important and would have been distracting. 🙂

*******

Gerhard released her hair and knelt down to her. His hand reached out to her. She flinched, expecting a blow. But instead, he grabbed the belt knife at her waist and snatched it out of its sheath with ease. She bit back an objection. She should not have taken her favorite knife on this insane mission.

He held the knife up to the firelight and studied it, tilting his head in curiosity. He said something in his language. She shook her head, let the shivers take her body and the tears flow down her cheeks. She shrank back from the spear. I am small and not dangerous and most definitely not a Roman spy.

“Why are you here?” Gerhard said, in Latin. Her eyes widened. A Viking, speaking Latin? “Why are you here?” Gerhard waved his hand  and the spear moved away from her throat. She swallowed and curled into herself. “I, I, I’m sorry, I was hungry and I spied your fires and I tried to find some food. My master does not feed me properly.” She licked her lips, willing herself into a state that matched her words. Panic was not hard,  she was halfway there already. “I’m sorry, I become  lost so I hid behind the shields. I never meant harm, never meant harm.” She raised her head, so Gerhard  got a full look at her tear-stained face in the torchlight.

Gerhard took a breath in and let it out. He smelled like pine needles. He pointed the knife at her. “This is not the knife of a slave. It is too well-balanced, and it is Roman steel.” He traced the ivory carving on the hilt. “And this is intricate work. It captures one of Freya’s cats well.”

Freya? Who are Freya and her cats? “I stole it 1t from my master before I left,” she said. Idiot. She  should have bought a non-descript weapon, a basic Legionary belt knife, not a long-ago gift for a job well done. Sentiment will get you killed. Another one of Gracchus’ sayings.

“So you are twice a thief?” Gerhard asked.

“I have stolen nothing from you.”

“Yet.” He tilted his head, almost smiling. “You are saying you reached the center of our camp by accident? Interesting, since I know you followed me.”

So Gerhard had been playing with her. Cruel Viking. And very smart. “I did, I thought with you being the leader, you might help. But I got scared and hid.”

(more…)

25 days and counting!! Woot.

Available March 23 from Samhain Publishing.

Here’s the official blurb, complete with warning about the sex. 🙂

Because, while it is a story of love after loss, it’s also erotica.

*********************

Saving her people could mean losing her man.
In the months since an unexplained sickness wiped out most of their women, Sif and Ragnor have managed to hold their people together. Yet nothing can overcome the tribe’s overwhelming grief, and their future as leaders—and as a couple—is at a dangerous crossroads.

A series of sensual omens convinces Sif that a fertility ritual to honor the goddess, Freya, is the only path to healing, but it requires a sacrifice. One Sif is more than willing to make—but puts Ragnor’s heart in the middle of an emotional tug of war. He would give his life for his people, but share Sif’s body with his greatest rival? The goddess asks too much.

Refuse, and Ragnor will fail his duty and doom the tribe to violent destruction from within. Accept, and their trust could be rewarded with renewal for their people and themselves. Or shatter a love already stretched to the breaking point.

Warning: This title contains m/m/f sex, gay sex, anal sex, double penetration and good, clean fun with two hot Vikings and an ancient spring.

Good morning. I missed last week because I got distracted by the Mad Men post. 🙂

Before the snippet, I wanted to announce that the publication date of Freya’s Gift has been moved to March 23 because of some reworking of Samhain’s website. Just a week delay.

It will now be released the same day as my essay in the Chicken Soup for the Soul–Thanks, Mom book.

Well, hey, they both do concern mothers. 🙂

This part is from the beginning of the fertility ritual. But just the beginning, so it’s work safe.

*********************************************

Freya, help me.

Gerhard dropped her hand, only to put his arm around her waist, steadying her but also bringing her closer to him. His arm enclosed her back, sending that strange second skin enclosing her humming. She licked her lips, her whole body awakening to the touch. Ragnor followed Gerhard’s example and she was enclosed by both of them. She bit back a moan, almost turning to watery clay in their hands.

Her breathing grew faster, her face hotter, the lights in the sky more intense. No longer could she tell which hand was Ragnor’s and which hand was Gerhard’s. They seemed as one, all the same person, her body ready to reach out and absorb both of them.

The arms around her tightened.

“Sif,” Ragnor whispered. “Are you well?”

“More than well.”

He kissed her cheek, the soft brush of his lips setting her face as aflame as the bonfire in front of them. Vaguely, she realized that both men had moved behind her, their shoulders touching, to better support her. Ah, now, if they would just touch her… If she could strip off her clothes, fall to the ground with their bodies entwined with hers…

“To the spring.”

Gunnhilda’s voice again. Sif shook her head, wondering what exactly had been in that cup. And had she given the men the same? If so, why did they seem able to stand on their own?

The walk seemed less of a walk than floating above the ground. Colors kept flashing in front of Sif’s eyes. The noises of birds flapping overheard and animals rustling in the brush felt amplified and strange. Her feet seemed to not feel the soil and grass under them. The hands that connected her to both men seemed to burn, almost scald.

They took the new path created to the spring and reached it in what seemed like no time at all. They stood, bathed in moonlight so bright that Sif squinted against the glare. It even reflected off the water, which seemed to double the glow. Imagination? Or some blessing from Freya?

Gunnhilda bowed to them, said one last blessing and retreated with the torch, leaving them alone before the goddess.

It’s the same cover for the most part but the font has been changed at the bottom to a more modern one, possible to keep the focus on the cover itself rather than the words.

Freya's Gift, the very final cover. 🙂

March 16.

Not much more than a month away. 🙂

And the final blurb:

Sif and Ragnor have held their people together after an unexplained sickness killed most of the women in their tribe, but both know that their future as leaders and their life together have reached a dangerous crossroads.

A sexual ritual for the fertility goddess Freya might provide healing but it requires that Sif give herself to her husband and another man. Ragnor loathes the idea of sharing Sif with his greatest rival but if he doesn’t submit to the will of the goddess, he fails in his duty to protect his people.

If they refuse, their tribe could destroy itself.  If they accept,  they could destroy their love. Only by trusting in Freya can they renew themselves and their people.

Coming March 16 from Samhain Publishing.

I repeat that each time because all the marketers say repetition is necessary. 🙂

I’ve been thinking about the story and how I sometimes stumble when trying to describe it. Yes, it’s erotica and I’m not shy about that but I also think that, deep down, it’s a story of faith: faith in whatever one calls higher powers and faith in each other.

I’ve been choosing bits and pieces that might make some sense out of context and also have the flavor of the story.

Here’s a little bit of Sif with Gunnhilda, the priestess of sorts for the tribe.

*****************************************************************

“Some say that Ragnor’s reluctance to kill Leif makes him weak.” Was Gunnhilda one of those?

“Then they are looking for an excuse, something to complain about,” Gunnhilda said sharply. “I didn’t think Ragnor would be a good leader, but he is. It was a miracle how he managed to get us all here in winter, then set up the village during the time we were in the caves. But even he has limits. There’s been too much bad luck.”

“I think Freya is showing me a way,” Sif said. “I fear I will have to do more than plant squash, however. Plant something else, I think. Or be planted.”

Gunnhilda snorted. “It’s good you married Ragnor. You and Gerhard would have killed each other by now. Too much bluntness in both of you.” She sighed. “What other signs have you seen, besides Mykle and the others, and the cougar that saved Ragnor?”

Sif told of her discovery of the spring, of leading Ragnor to it and the appearance of the three cats after their lovemaking.

“Three?” Gunnhilda dropped the rake.

Sif nodded.

“That is…”

“Yes.”

“Three. That is a new number for Freya. You must worship there again, as you did with Ragnor. But when you go back, there must be three of you.”

Sif paled. Confirmation of her own fear. “You think I should do what Bera did?”

Gunnhilda shook her head. “Freya asks for a sacrifice, not wantonness. It must be as a ritual before the goddess.”

We went through a couple of minor cover variations before settling on this one.

I like this because it intrigues me about what the women might be thinking and I especially love the design and the earth tones, which goes nicely with the Dinah of Seneca cover. That was a happy coincidence, given that they’re with two different publishers.

Available March 16 in ebook form from Samhain Publishing.

My first published fiction.

::snoopy dance::