|Good to go at the RARE book signing!|
|Watching horse races on ANZAC Day - and possibly betting a little.|
|Good to go at the RARE book signing!|
|Watching horse races on ANZAC Day - and possibly betting a little.|
Twenty years ago, Martin Gallagher stole the Ferox Cor, and now he’s dead.
Vincent Fairchild, a witch with little power beyond his charm, is tasked with finding that dangerous magical object. He’s already been pruned from the family tree because “nice” people don’t have magic. If he fails to return with the Ferox Cor, he’ll lose his place with the Witches’ Council, leaving him very much alone.
Vincent travels to the West Point Lighthouse, where he finds things are different than he expects them to be. Gallagher didn’t use the Ferox Cor to enrich himself, and Gallagher’s son is not a child. In fact, Rafe Gallagher might be the most powerful witch Vincent has ever met. Powerful, adult, and incredibly handsome.
Martin will return on Hallowe’en, when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, unless Rafe and his mother destroy the Ferox Cor. If they fail, a great evil may be unleashed on the world, but helping them puts Vincent’s future at risk. There's a way forward, but to find it, he must look to his heart.
Such a simple sentence, but it represents SOOO much work! LOL. I'd promised to get The Novella From Hell to her by the end of the month (of February) and over the weekend it dawned on my that the end of the month was NOW. I was about seven thousand words shy of where I wanted it to be, and the thing needed a solid edit before anyone - let alone an editor - could read it.
When I'm drafting, I'm likely to do thinks like change a side character's gender, decide I want to cut Character X and use their name for Character Y, change the point of view (POV) from first to 3rd (or the reverse - either way is not recommended) or make sundry other major modifications.
Once I changed a book from m/f to m/m after I couldn't get past the first chapter of the m/f version. (The m/m version is Aqua Follies, which worked out pretty darned well, if I do say so myself.)
Basically, during that first draft, anything is fair game. I throw a bunch of words at a document and see what sticks. Creating the first draft is fun, because I get to see where the story is going to go, but I really love the editing process. Once I can see the bones of the story, then I can make it pretty.
There is a method to my madness. When the first draft is complete, I'll do a re-read, leaving comment bubbles and highlighting the things I need to fix. I'll sometimes leave the last chapter undone, because the process of cleaning things up might show me how the story actually ends. If it's a full novel (or a novella where I have the time lol) I'll make an excel workbook with a page for the story calendar, a page for the outline, and a third page for the punch list.
The calendar is pretty self-explanatory and the punch list is something I create toward the end, to show me what still needs work. For the outline, I track the chapter number, the word count, the POV (if there's more than one), first line, last line, a chapter/scene summary, the plot threads it hits, the romance arc, and any notes.
Here's a screen shot of my first couple chapters of The Lighthouse Keeper, coming to you sometime this spring.
We could not be more opposite, and tbh editing our shared projects can get a little tense.
We've survived six books (and counting), so we're making it work. It's been good for me to learn someone else's process, and I think she's learned from me, too - even if she does want to wring my neck a lot of the time.
At any rate, this weekend required a fairly streamlined approach to getting The Novella From Hell ready for the editor. Saturday I wrote 1100 words, Sunday I wrote 5000 (!!!) words, Monday was a wash because Life, and yesterday I sat down at the computer at 0630 and sent the email to my editor about 5:30 pm. It was a looooong day, but I'm pretty happy with the outcome.
Until she gets back to me with all the stuff I need to fix.
But hey, it's editing, so I'll have fun!
|Flash fic prompts: this city street, a busker, and a key...|
So this time last year, the Small but Mighty MM Romance Group page on FB had a flash fiction challenge. The organizer invited group members to post pictures plus three word prompts, and we were all invited to choose one and write a short piece. It was a lot of fun! I liked the shortie I came up with, and even though some of you might have read it already, I wanted to post it over here on the blog. I hope you enjoy it!! And happy Valentine's Day!!
Valentine’s Day in Paris, and the rain matched my mood. The French limited the celebration to lovers – no tacky paper cards for everyone at school or gags for the gang at work – so I got nothing from no one. Yeah, I’d been abandoned in the city of love and the rain-slicked streets made me feel right at home.
I’d staked out a spot under a café’s awning in the Place du Tertre, a hat on the ground at my feet. Wearing my hair in a ponytail let the damp send shivers down my neck. The rain chased away most of the tourists, so the hat was empty, but the artists whose booths lined the square were happy enough to have me serenade them.
Keeping a mandolin in tune while playing outside, with or without the rain, had its challenges. I paused between songs, plucking the pairs of strings to find the offender. Twisted the peg, my gaze on the wet cobbles. Plucked again. Twisted.
A single strum told me I’d restored order. My fingers found the strings, as if they’d made an independent decision regarding what to play next. I took a quick look around. A man leaned against the nearby wrought iron streetlamp. His posture was relaxed, but his gaze was sharp, and aimed directly at me.
I played the opening chords of Scarborough Fair, choosing the tune made famous by Simon and Garfunkel, rather than one of the older, less familiar melodies. The man smiled, nodding in time. The lyrics tell the story of a series of impossible tasks that must be performed to win true love, although most people only know the list of herbs that make up the refrain.
I finished the verse that asks for an acre of land and the man on the light pole raised a finger. He was taller than me, and darker, with a ball cap shading his face. Still, the heat of his gaze took the edge of the cool damp air.
He began a new tune, though the melody still fit the chords I played. He sang The Elfin Knight, an even older folk ballad than Scarborough Fair.
Instead of parsley and sage, the refrain repeated blow, blow, blow, wind blow. I adjusted my strum, adding more drone to suite the earlier mode, hoping the wind wouldn't take it as an invitation. For the next verse, I joined him on the melody, guessing which set of lyrics he’d use.
That ol’ degree in music history came in handy every now and then.
With me holding down the tune, the stranger found a counter-melody, weaving his voice around mine in a way that raised the hairs on my back of my neck. Our lyrics weren’t a perfect match, but I’d spent hours rehearsing with ensembles who hadn’t gelled nearly as well as me and some guy on the street.
We finished another verse, and I wanted to test us both. I paused my hands and, with a teasing grin, said, “the Battle of Evermore”. The Led Zeppelin song was showy and popular, and the stranger returned my smile.
I shortened the finger picking introduction to get us to the vocals and jumped into the verse. Four lines in, the vocal line shifted to a higher register, often performed by a second singer. I nodded at him and the stranger came in, his pure tenor both a delight and a challenge.
After Led Zeppelin, I tried Tam Lin, figuring if he knew The Elfin Knight he’d know this. He did and he harmonized, verse after verse, the overtones created by our blend evidence of our perfect tuning.
How is this happening? The twining of our voices felt like a seduction. We’d drawn a small crowd, despite the rain, and God knows me and my ne’er do well ex- had never sounded so good.
Rather than get derailed by the guy who’d left me broke and busking in Paris, I shut my mind down and just played. Greensleeves, as much a classic as Scarborough Fair. Gaudete, because it’s always Christmas somewhere. Sumer is icumen in, a bouncy Medieval round.
“Wait,” the man said after the last cuckoo’s call faded. “Play Belle qui tiens ma vie.”
Beautiful one who holds my life.
Slower than the others, the song he’d suggested was a pavane, a courtly dance. Though only known by history nerds and SCA types, the lyrics were unashamedly romantic.
Your beauty and your grace
And your divine ways
Have melted the ice
Which was freezing my bones
And have filled my heart
With a loving ardour.
While the song might have been a declaration of courtly love, something in the man’s expression gave the words added layers of meaning. His tone was an invitation, and while my dick thought that was a fine idea, the rest of me was gun-shy.
I stopped after the third verse, the heat in the harmony becoming too personal for a public square. I didn’t even know his name, but right then he could have talked me into anything.
“What?” he asked, one brow raised as if he sensed my discomfort and found it amusing.
“Uh…” I gestured at my hat, now holding a few francs and some coins. “I can buy us both a drink.”
His smile broadened. “Another time, perhaps, but thank you for the music.”
He bowed from the waist, as anachronistic as the songs we’d been singing. His smile held mischief, but his eyes were full of promise.
And me? I was cock blocked in the extreme.
The rain picked up, chasing away the crowd. I packed up my mandolin and pocketed the cash. I wasn’t in the mood for a solo visit to a café, so I found a market and treated myself to a baguette, cheese, and a bottle of wine. All the while, my nerves thrummed with leftover excitement.
Since my ex- had left, I’d had to downsize. Rather than a decent two bedroom flat, I had a small studio, the kind that rented by the week. The place had once been a fancy home, but it had been carved up long enough ago that each apartment came with an antique metal key.
A key that was no longer in my pocket.
Standing in the mildewy hallway, I set my parcels on the floor and patted myself down. Nope, the key wasn’t in any of my jacket pockets, and it hadn’t magically traveled to my pants. What the fucking hell had I done with it?
“Hello Damon. Looking for something?”
The question startled me so bad I hopped. “What?”
The guy from the Place stood a few feet away, dangling my key between his thumb and his index finger. “If I had to guess, I’d say this is what you're after.”
Questions tumbled out of my mouth on a single breath. “How’d you know my name and where’d you get that and who are you and what the fuck is going on?”
His grin widened. “I’m Leo Dubois, Bard of the Danaan sidhe, and I borrowed your key so I’d have a reason to see you again.” He closed the distance between us. “And as to what’s going on, I hope we do more of this.”
Leaning forward, he brushed a kiss over my lips. Up close, he smelled like fresh air and clean pine forest, and, acting on instinct, I grabbed his jacket and hauled him in.
Our second kiss was longer and deeper and hotter than anything in recent memory. The blend in our voices was nothing compared to the way our spirits melded together. When we finally eased apart, I stood with my forehead resting against his chin.
“You still didn’t tell me how you knew my name.” I should have been embarrassed by how breathless I sounded, but Leo’s answering laugh wrapped me in reassurance.
“Invite me in, and we’ll talk. I feel we have much to discuss.”
I blinked, suddenly aware that we were two men kissing in a semi-public place. Not the smartest thing ever, so I fitted the key into the lock.
I had questions and hopefully he’d have answers, but either way, my dick was first in line for satisfaction. This Valentine’s Day had taken a mighty unexpected turn, and, almost vibrating with excitement, I invited him in.
|My sweet Ed the dog, may he RIP|
To say I've been inconsistent with this blog is fairly hilarious - one post every other year makes you invisible, not inconsistent. I'm feeling the itch, though, so one of my New Years Resolutions is to blog more regularly. I manage once a month on the Scribes, but now I want to double that.
That's right. You can look forward to twice a month blog posts on liv-rancourt.blogspot.com!