All through September, on Mondays, I’ll be sharing short excerpts from Ghost Phoenix, until publication on October 7th. You can preorder at Amazon at the link or click “Want to Read” on Goodreads.

Today, for the first post, I’m sharing Marian and Richard’s initial reactions to each other. Marian demonstrates her phantom ability while Richard demonstrates his ability to turn heads. 🙂

Marian:

Marian walked to the back of her desk to face the window. She held out her arms, as if to absorb the sun, and he watched, rapt, as she become, clothes and all, intangible. It all happened in seconds, until he could see the outline of her but he could also see right through her.

She floated several feet into the air. Oddly, she seemed to have more curls in her hair in this state. She slipped through the window and outside. He rose, fascinated, and walked closer. She hung in midair just outside the window, light streaming through her, looking like an angel captured in stained glass. He drew in his breath.

In the blink of an eye, she passed back through the window, into the office, and an ordinary mortal stood before him once more.
The healing ability that kept him from aging was subtle. Telepathic ability was similarly quiet. He had fought a firestarter to the death a few hundred years ago. That had been a spectacular battle.

But he had never seen any ability to match the sheer awesomeness of Marian Doyle becoming one with the light.

Richard:

It was early on a weekday morning. Bryant Park, an oasis of calm in the midst of the midtown skyscrapers, was nearly deserted. The restaurant was closed, the carousel silent and the public tables and chairs almost completely empty.

Richard chose a table in the middle of the park and pulled out a chair for her. “Thank you. I seem to be thanking you a lot today.”

“You are quite welcome for all of it.” He folded himself into the chair. The sunlight streaming in from behind them caught the blond bleached into his hair by the sun and wind. No wonder he wanted to take a walk.

He needed to be outdoors, not inside a stuffy office. His tanned face contained some age lines, primarily around his eyes. If he were an ordinary person, she would have guessed his age between thirty and forty.

Richard Genet wasn’t ordinary. He stretched his long legs out in front of him and relaxed into the wire mesh chair.

“You spend a great deal of time outdoors?” she asked.

“Yes. I live in California, near the ocean.” He would fit right in with the movie stars.

“Do you surf?”

“Every day. Do you?”

She shook her head. “I’ve never tried.”

“Not a particular interest, or do you hate it?”

“It’s never come up.” I would learn if you agreed to teach me, she thought. He must look gorgeous in
a wetsuit, on a surfboard, about to take a wave, the sun and wind at his back.

Thank God she hadn’t said that out loud.

Releases 10/7/2014

Yes, in my head, the hero of Ghost Phoenix looked liked this in his original time period

He is pretty, isn’t he? For those who don’t recognize him, that’s Tom (Loki) Hiddleston in “The Hollow Crown” Shakespeare series. More specifically, that’s him playing Henry V in Henry V.

Ghost Phoenix‘s hero, Richard Genet (aka Prince Richard, Duke of York), is a close cousin to Henry V of England. So he could totally look like this, right?

Right!

And that’s part of the big sale news I have for everyone. Over the next twelve months, I’m going to release FOUR books.

The already mentioned The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, a romantic steampunk detective story, on April 29th.

And then…

Ghost Phoenix, out on October 7 this year.

Richard Genet is the hero, an immortal prince disgusted with his immortal court and currently mellowing out as a surfer dude. Marian Doyle is the heroine, the latest in a long line of Doyles blessed with the ability to walk through walls. Together, they go on a quest to heal Richard’s dying Queen and instead become embroiled in the clash between the Phoenix Institute and an unknown and very dangerous enemy.

Ghosts of Christmas Past, due out November 25th this year.

Charlton City Police Detective. Aloysius James and Noir are back fighting crime. After meeting and defeating the mad scientist who tortured Noir aka Lucy in Luminous, the couple finds their relationship at a crossroads during the Christmas season. A murder at a local museum doesn’t help, nor does the fact that one of Lucy’s new friends is the main suspect. It’s going to take a little inspiration by Charles Dickens to solve the crime and keep them together. Oh, and some pie.

Phoenix Inheritance  due March 3, 2015.

After taking a trip across half of Europe in Ghost Phoenix, I thought it was time to pull the series back to something more personal. This book’s hero is Daz Montoya, the head of the Phoenix Institute F-team and the man who taught Alec Farley about honor. Daz is determined to get back with the mother of his son but their nasty break-up plus their son’s insistence that he can telepathically talk to animals is causing some serious problems with Daz’s romantic plan. Throw in one nasty snowstorm, an arrogant cat, and two search-and-rescue dogs and…well, this may turn out to be my most personal story yet.

All except Curse are part of the Phoenix Institute superhero romance series, which already includes Phoenix Rising, Phoenix Legacy and Luminous.

And, yes, I did a ton of writing last year. Hope to match that this year and have news of more sales down the line to tell you all about!

 

Last week, I was asked a question about the one book that influenced my life. I had trouble narrowing it to just one.

So I started thinking about all the books I’ll  hold close to my heart and will have in my collection until I die.

And I made a list.  🙂

1. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley.

This is the first book I remember carrying around with me constantly.

My favorites passages are Alec’s first ride aboard the Black on the deserted island, Alec’s midnight ride on a real racetrack that becomes almost surreal, and, most especially, the climatic match race between The Black, Cyclone and Sun Raider.

When I needed a name for my superhero, I called him Alec. His last name isn’t a coincidence either. 🙂

2. Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

When I was twelve, I got a subscription to the SF Book Club and got to choose five free books. This was included, along with a couple of Edgar Rice Burroughs books and Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber. I like Zelazny’s work a lot but it was this collection I read until the pages fell out. It still has orange stains from the Cheetos I ate while reading.

The book is likely a little dated now but the dragons in this series are still the best.

3. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

I know some people think the narrative moves slow at the beginning but I was hooked right away with the descriptions of Bilbo’s birthday party. I just adore Tolkien’s narrative voice, rambling and all.

By the time Strider showed up in Bree, I was hopelessly in love with the story. Eowyn’s battle against the King of the Nazghul remains my favorite scene though Gandalf’s confrontation on the bridge in Moria is a close second.

4. DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke

I love any number of superhero stories but if I had to pick one story that distilled everything I love about superheroes, this would be it.

5. The Sherlock Homes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

I’m the proud owner not only of the classic William S. Baring-Gould Annotated Sherlock Holmes but also of a new annotated edition published a couple of years ago. These stories are everything I love about mysteries and I’ve yet to find a detective I like more than Holmes.

But it’s Watson who really makes the stories to me. He’s flawed but intelligent and kind and adds the human touch that the stories need. The new movie with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law didn’t impress me much but it got Watson right, a big point in their favor.

6. Tell Me Lies by Jennifer Crusie

I normally steer away from contemporary stories–they’re too close to reality for me. But this is the book that really turned me on to romance stories. It’s sad, it’s funny, and everyone in it is so real. It’s a beautiful book.

7. The Plantagenet Chronicles by Thomas Costain

I think this four-volume set came through a mail-order book club too. It starts with Henry II and ends with the death of Richard III, the last of the English Plantagenet kings. It’s more of a collection of anecdotes spliced together than it is a linear history. Costain is a great storyteller.

And I’m still with him that Richard III may have been innocent of his nephews’ murder and that Richard II was a really lousy king. One of these days, I’m going to write the William Marshall story inspired by Costain.

8. Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is the book that brought me back to SF after years of avoiding it because of cardboard characters. I’d been mostly reading fantasy until a friend insisted on read this. It’s now one of the most dog-eared books in my collection.

Aral. :sigh:

It’s…well, ostensibly it’s about a woman from a very liberal culture who falls in love with a man from a planet and a culture isolated for thousands of years from the rest of galactic civilization.

But that’s like saying the Sopranos is about mobsters. It’s true but there’s so much MORE.

9. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

The first novel in a series so good that other Arthurian fiction writers use it as a basis for their stories. Young Merlin is a bastard child in a court that would rather see him dead but his Gift of Sight ultimately protects him long enough to find his father, the Roman heir of Britain.

There is magic in these pages.

10. Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair

My latest obsession. Adrenaline-fueled romantic SF with a pace that would please Robert Heinlein. It’s just sheer fun to read.

So what are your favorites?