Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Little Bit of What I Love by Lucy Felthouse

Thanks to Judith for having me here today to share a little bit about my novella, Love Through Time, which was just released as part of Noble Romance's Timeless Desire collection.

The background of my story is simple – the theme was chosen for us. "Timeless desire" was to be out theme to interpret as we wished. I scratched my head for a while trying to come up with something that I was happy with, and wanted to write. Once I had the idea, though, there was no stopping me. Because, you see, after then I simply went on to write a little bit of what I love.

I love country houses, libraries and books. I spend lots of my weekends going around visiting country houses and admiring their interiors and exteriors. I see a lot of their libraries, some more impressive than others, and more houses still which have bookshelves here, there and everywhere.

When I came up with the idea for Love Through Time I immediately knew that I wanted to set it in a country house. Preferably in a library. Which is how the idea of making the main character, Emily, a book conservator came about. That way, she could be working with books in a library, inside a country house. 

Right there, you have three things that I love, all rolled into one story!

The house in the story, Westbury Manor, doesn't really exist. It's an amalgamation of different houses. I've basically chosen my favourite features from many houses and put them together to make a suitable setting for my novella. The library, however, is based on a real place, with some tweaks to make it work better within my story.

It was great fun to write about these places in Love Through Time, and set the action within places that I'm enthusiastic about and love to visit. It's stories like this that make being a writer so much fun! I hope that you'll read the story and be mentally transported to the setting, seeing what I've seen, and exactly why I'm so enthusiastic about it.

Happy reading!



Blurb:

Westbury Manor is a stately home with a fascinating past, and when book conservator Emily Stone starts uncovering it, she's startled by what she finds . . . .

Emily arrives at Westbury Manor with a job to do. She's to clean and conserve all of the books in their impressive library, preserving them for future generations. Not long into her stay at the house, she bumps into the night guard, George. She'd expected an old, balding guy with a comb over, so the hunky chap she actually meets is a very pleasant surprise. The introductions complete, George leaves Emily in peace to get on with her job. But when a falling photograph sets off a chain reaction of ghostly events, Emily and George are thrown together in order to find out who—or what—is causing them. Their investigation uncovers a tragic past, a lost love, and a stunning secret.


Excerpt:

Emily received some strange looks and frowns from the people she passed as she walked across the graveled drive toward the front entrance of Westbury Hall. She could appreciate their confusion. It was closing time for the stately home, and the last of the visitors were being politely ushered out of the building, yet she was heading inside. She'd been invited. She had a job to do.

An elderly lady stood in the porch, smiling and nodding as she held the door open for those departing the hall. Most of them seemed in no hurry to leave, stopping to make comments to the woman at the door, thanking her for a lovely visit and so on. Emily waited patiently to the side, allowing the patrons to leave before attempting to enter. When the staff member—most likely a volunteer, Emily thought—caught sight of her, she gave her a polite nod of acknowledgment.

Finally, the last of Westbury Hall's visitors moved out, leaving Emily free to enter. Climbing the single, stone step to the threshold, she took the hand already offered her.

Shaking Emily's hand with a surprising firmness, the woman said, "You must be Miss Stone." Her smart appearance and the intelligence in her eyes indicated that despite her age, she was far from past it. "I'm Mrs. Thompson, house supervisor."

"I am," Emily replied, dropping her hand back to her side, "but please, call me Emily. It's lovely to meet you. So, house supervisor? Do you live on site?"

Indicating Emily should step inside the entrance hall, Mrs. Thompson proceeded to close and lock the porch and front doors of the house, securing them in.

"I do," the older woman said, turning back to face Emily, "I have rooms in a separate building just off the back of this one. So you needn't worry about me disturbing you."

"Oh no," Emily said, worried she'd inadvertently rubbed Mrs. Thompson the wrong way. "I didn't mean that. I was just curious. You're more than welcome to see me at work, Mrs. Thompson; although, I'm afraid you won't see anything terribly exciting."

Mrs. Thompson smiled now, the warmth reaching her eyes. Emily sighed silently with relief. She'd yet to see the extent of the work she had to do, but she'd been told it was no easy task, so she could be here for some time. The last thing she needed was to upset any of the staff.

"Oh, you'd be surprised, my dear. This is a fascinating old place. Of course, all these old houses have history, but Westbury Hall's is particularly rich."

Emily smiled. The woman's enthusiasm was infectious. "Well then," she replied, "I can't wait to learn more about it. I hope you'll feed me full of historical tidbits while I'm here?"

Mrs. Thompson gave an enigmatic smile. Then, startling Emily somewhat, she turned smartly on her heel and walked deeper into the house. "Come, my dear, I won't hold you up any longer. I'll show you to the library, where you'll soon start uncovering Westbury's illustrious history for yourself."

*****

Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story - so she did. It went down a storm and she's never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance, Summerhouse Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour and Seducing the Myth. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

KevaD - A Dance with Bogie and Bacall


Hello, Judith, and thank you very much for hosting me here today.

And thank you, the readers, for dropping by and seeing what we're up to.

I'm KevaD, and I write in a variety of genres, from romance to comedy to horror.
"A Dance with Bogie and Bacall" is an innocent tale of two people stumbling through life, and the ghost bent on bringing them together.

Blurb:

Radio DJ Scott Kincaid's first caller of the night is a lady who died forty-nine years ago. The second wants to knock his head off. And he thought falling in love would be easy.

Maureen and Frank Johnson shared the kind of romance most people believe only exists in movies. Until a ballroom fire took Maureen's life.

Franci Johnson grew up hearing her grandparents' love story a thousand times and wishes to find the kind of undying love Frank and Maureen had once upon a time.

DJ Scott Kincaid just wants the ghost following him to go away. But Maureen thinks the hunky DJ might be just the answer to her granddaughter's dreams.


"A Dance with Bogie and Bacall" came about purely by accident, or serendipity. Not really sure which.

I'd turned on some music while contemplating a love story for the Noble Romance Publishing Timeless Desire Line. On came Bertie Higgins's Key Largo, and that was all she wrote. Or in my case, that was the inspiration for what I wrote. I called up the video on Youtube and played it over, and over, and over, and over… Until my wife begged me to stop. Then I turned the volume down, hit replay, and continued writing.

In all fairness, the only similarity between my story and Bertie's song is the inclusion of Bogie and Bacall. In my story, the duo make a film appearance as the ghost tries to create a romantic moment sure to bring the two young hearts of our hero and heroine together. Chalk up another failure, and implement Plan Q.

However, "A Dance with Bogie and Bacall" isn't all flowers and candy. Life and love never is.
Here's what two readers have said already:

"I adore A Dance with Bogie and Bacall! You owe me a box of Kleenex!" – author Debbie Vaughan
"Hey, Man, COULD NOT put that book down....Very good...Loved it.." – reader Margie Snyder Heitz

I hope you will too.
Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to click the logo to go to your next stop on the tour.

David Kentner/KevaD

Excerpt:

Frank propped his elbow on the iron railing at the edge of the dance floor and absently watched yet another Humphrey Bogart lookalike attired as film noire detective Sam Spade arrogantly strut across the ballroom, through the forest of faux palm trees and potted plants with crepe paper leaves. Ribbons of gray tobacco smoke broke and swirled in his wake. The hard, leather heels of his polished shoes clicked a beat on the floorboards. At a rickety, corner table barely illuminated under the flickering flame of a sconce gas lamp, a Rick Blaine copy in the character's patented white tux and black tie rose from a wooden folding chair and grasped Sam's extended hand. An obvious Vivian Sternwood Rutledge in full aqua gown uncharacteristically scurried across the floor until she stood at Sam's side where she ran her hand over the back of his black suit coat. A glint of a too long pocket watch gold chain flashed in the dim, orange light. A subtle nod to Rick's left, and Sam turned his shoulders to take the hand of a seated Nora Temple resplendently sensuous in a black dress with plunging neckline that tickled the top of the fleshy V of her very noticeable, ample cleavage.
"You're staring," whispered Frank's own duplicated Nora into his right ear. "Not that she doesn't have a lot to stare at."
"She forgot the necklace. When Lauren Bacall played Nora, she wore a necklace with that dress in Key Largo. A silver one that clung to the base of her throat and accentuated the graceful turns of her head. Lauren Bacall isn't only the most beautiful actress to ever grace the silver screen, she makes the clothing and accoutrements she wears stunning"—he shifted his gaze and lost himself in his wife's glistening green eyes—"just like you do."
A quickly raised hand pinched his jaw at the chin. "Franklin Johnson, you are such a liar." Maureen's glossy red lips curled at the corners. "But a sweet one." She pushed his face left. "She's wearing the necklace."
He coughed a hairball of embarrassment. Oops.
Maureen pulled his face back to hers. In heels, she stood nearly as tall as he did
and leaned in as if to offer up a kiss but stopped a heated breath short. "You want to gawk at a woman's chest, gawk at your wife's."
Frank glanced down. Maureen had captured the top of her black silk, body-clinging dress between thumb and forefinger allowing a full view of her diminutive, unclad breasts and perked, pink nipples.
His groin stirred immediately within his Rick Blaine white tuxedo trousers. "You hussy," he heaved out in a thick rasp. "Where is your brassiere? Some new moral descent didn't happen when we left the 50s behind us." Heat scorched his ears. How had he not noticed before this? His breath caught. God, she was beautiful.
"Built-in cups just firm enough to hold me in place." She chuckled at his discomfort and released the cloth, then slipped her arms beneath his jacket and around his torso. Inching in to him, she only stopped when the hardened beads atop her bosom pressed through his shirt and against his chest.
"Mmm," he moaned. Her mouth found his ear. Little nips tugged at the lobe. He stroked the sides of her body under the cool silk. The temperature of her skin headed for sweltering, the silken material warmed. Sweat beaded under his arms and between his thighs. She pressed into his thickening erection, which snapped to full attention under a tidal wave of arousal.
He allowed himself the publicly displayed pleasure of sliding his hands to the top of her buttocks, tracing the indentation with his little fingers. Nuzzling her soft throat, he whispered, "I want to make love to you right now. Let's get out of here."
The six-piece band comprised of three strings, the leader's clarinet, one sax, and a trombone returned from break to the small stage at the end of the long room, and oozed into a slow, soft rendition of As Time Goes By. Humphrey Bogarts and Lauren Bacalls of all sizes, shapes, and costumes materialized from the shadows of the gas lamps resurrected for this annual event celebrating Bogart's life and death. The past's mimes took to the dance floor under tiny squares of haunting light from the mirrored orb of the Harvest Moon Ballroom.
"No." Maureen grabbed his hand and yanked him into the throng of couples on
the dance floor. "Bogie and Bacall wouldn't let a night like this go to waste . . . and neither will we." Her left hand snaked its way to the small of his back, her right took his left in a pretense of submitting to his "lead." She opted for a closed box foxtrot with her body trying to merge with his, their steps no more than foot-length shuffles.
"Besides, you haven't given me my anniversary orchid yet. Ten years today, Franklin Johnson. And though I love you more than ever, and have borne you three children, you will give me my orchid."
All the blood in him fell to his feet. The room swayed, but not to the music. The mirrored ball spun in a prismatic dervish. A ghostly orchid, fragile and pulsing its matte colors, swirled in and out of his vision.
"Frank? Frank! Are you all right?"
Movement. His. Somehow he moved across the floor—the orchid just beyond his grasp led the way.
"Sit down." The voice from an unseen well belonged to Maureen.
He did as instructed.
"I'll get you some water. I'll be right back."
The orchid hung motionless in the air. He reached out his open palm. The flower settled onto his skin. A smile parted his lips. The orchid was as beautiful as Maureen. A faint heat emanated from the flower's core. He brought the bloom closer. Flames engulfed the petals, burned his hand. Reflexively he dropped the small ball of fire onto the table where it disintegrated into black dust and disappeared.
"Drink this."
The chilled rim of a glass touched his lips. Iced water trickled between them. He gratefully swallowed the mouthful, filtering out the ice cubes with his teeth, and then gulped down the entire glassful of water.
"Come on, pal." A man's voice. Hands under his arms lifted Frank from the chair. "You just need to lie down a few minutes. A little too much bubbly, eh?"
"Our tenth anniversary," Maureen said. "We had some champagne earlier, but I didn't think he'd had that much. My husband isn't a drinker normally. Only on special
occasions."
Frank flopped his head back, watching the dark ceiling boards skip past. He tried to count them, but they moved too quickly as the men on either side of him half carried him from the ballroom. Then his feet scuffed their way up a stairway and into a small room. A lamp clicked on. Light under an emerald shade flooded a cluttered desktop. He was lowered onto a leather couch that squeaked his arrival.
Maureen appeared in front of him and helped him out of his jacket. She loosened his bowtie and unbuttoned his collar. Cool air sprinkled his exposed throat.
"I'll have a pitcher of water sent up. Stay as long as you want. Not the first time a guest needed that couch to sleep it off." Two shadows stepped through the doorway into the hall.
"He's not drunk," Maureen said in a huff. She wiped his face with her open hand. "Are you okay, honey? You scared me there for a minute."
Little by little, Maureen's face came into focus. Lines of worry wrinkled her brow. Still, the creases somehow looked damn good on her. Age would meet its match in this gorgeous woman. Frank grinned. "Yeah. Better now. Just got a little dizzy. I guess I should stay away from champagne that comes in six-packs. I'm fine. Let's get out of here." He placed his hands on the cushions and pushed in an attempt to stand.
Maureen countered with her hands on his shoulders. "You stay right there, Mister, until I'm sure you're all right."
He tilted his head and kissed her wrist. "I'm okay. Honest. Let's go home." Something inside him rolled over. An urge, a need of some kind. A desire to leave this place.
"We will, Frank." Maureen guided him downward and placed a throw pillow under his head. "But I want you to rest for a few minutes. For me? Please?" She lifted his feet onto the couch. His shoes thumped on the floor. Cool air swarmed over his stocking feet, delivering a sense of comfort in its rush. Her hands went to his waist. His belt came undone, then his trousers unbuttoned.
Tension ebbed under Maureen's care. Wrapped in her love, he was as safe as she
was in his. He swept away the orchid as a momentary quirk in the thick tobacco smoke. "Too much champagne, celebration, dancing, and too much confined heat from the packed house crowd. That's all that happened. Nothing to be concerned with. I'm fine. And I still want to make love to you."
She arched a brow and ran the tip of her tongue across her red lips. Subtly moving her hips from side to side, she gripped the zipper of his pants and slowly tugged it down; each metal link clicked surrender to Frank's private lap dancer. A not unfamiliar game in their bedroom. But they certainly weren't in their bedroom. His interest and erection swelled.
Ten years of marriage, and Maureen could still turn him on in an instant.
"Are you trying to seduce me, madam? I am a married man, you know." He waggled his left hand back and forth. "I have a ring and everything."
Maureen narrowed her eyes, and huskily whispered, "It's the everything I'm after." She ran a finger over the cylindrical shape of engorged flesh under his cotton briefs. "Bogie and Bacall wouldn't waste an opportunity like this."
A grin of desire spread across Frank's face. "And neither will we."


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Story Behind The Story: J.S. Wayne’s “Angels”


First, I’d like to thank Judith for letting me come over and trash the place. (Sorry about the half-naked women curled up under the piano and the thong dangling from the light fixture. Erm . . . uh . . . yeah.)
I’ve been talking a lot about “Ancient Magic” lately, so I wanted to reverse gears for a moment and discuss the story behind the “Angels” series.

It starts back in my early twenties, when I began to get interested in comparative religion. At the time, I’d found myself confronted with some very weird things I couldn’t fully get my head around, and being the curious and scientific sort, I started looking for some answers to the questions these strange experiences had left me with. But every answer I found seemed to lead to another question, which could only be answered by looking deeper in another direction.

I covered a lot of very strange territory during this time, ranging from serial killers to Akkadian fertility rites to the hierarchies of angels and demons. Then I took this esoteric knowledge and filed it away, but didn’t do anything much with it (that I’ll admit to in a public forum!). And it sat in my mind and waited for the time I could utilize it.


Now, fast forward to October of 2010. While seeking inspiration for something to write just to kill some time and keep the mental gears lubricated in preparation for NaNoWriMo ’10, I stumbled across a contest on Writing.com I’d entered once before and won. It had been several months since I’d entered this contest, partly because of real-life obligations and schedules and partly to make sure other people got a fair chance to enter, so I hadn’t bothered with it. But on a gray, foggy, drizzly morning, I started thinking about an erotic paranormal romance story.

This was a huge deviation from my normal writing, because I was all about urban fantasy and paranormal horror. Sex was fine, even a hint of romance if it happened to serve the story, but I couldn’t see myself actually writing a “true” romantic story complete with a happily ever after. As such, it posed a unique challenge for me.

But what to write about? Vampires? Meh: too many shades of Twilight lately, and besides, I’d already done vampires for my last entry. Werewolves? Same problem. But what else could I write about that had a chance of being sexy and still dance on that slightly forbidden line I love to walk so much?

I pondered the problem while driving down to the convenience store in our one-horse town. (Actually, this is an unfair assertion regarding where I was living at the time: The horse population was approximately two thirds of the human population. Add in the other quadruped residents and the humans were solidly outnumbered!) I plugged in my MP3 player, hit “Random,” and settled in for the drive.

The song that came on was Melissa Etheridge’s “Angels Would Fall.” I’ve always liked this song, and found myself singing along. By the time I arrived at the C-store to take care of my Mountain Dew addiction, the germ of an idea had begun to form. I paid for my liter of corrosive, probably carcinogenic go juice, hurried home, and started listening to the song again. And again. And again.

The dreary fog of the day, the chill in the air, and the song all conspired to unlock some door in my mind behind which all that knowledge I’d amassed waited. In four hours, I’d completed the first draft of “Angels Would Fall” and submitted it for the contest.

That story became my first contracted story with Noble Romance, and I settled into being an erotic romance author. Soon, though, my inner editor attacked me with a follow-up story. The suggestion was that while I’d more or less tied up the story in a neat little bow, it needed something more. Perhaps taking a look at how other beings of Moradiel’s stature would view his defection from the Host was in order, to fully bring home the gravity of the situation. This idea quickly became “Angel of the Morning,” my second “Angels” tale, and I submitted it in March.

In short order, I had a contract for that, and I went about my business, trying to work on a few other story ideas that had presented themselves. But the angels kept circling and wheeling in my mind, and I started to write another short story. This one was initially supposed to be entitled “Angel of Harlem.”

And here’s where I ran into trouble.

No matter how I tried, I couldn’t make the story cohesive and self-contained. All the elements were there, but there were just too many potential threads I’d leave dangling if I tried to force everything I wanted and needed to include in <10k words. So, I fired off an email to Bryl Tyne, my editor at Noble, asking him what he thought about it (admittedly, in a tone of, shall we say, slight panic). I explained the problem and told him that I’d pretty much have to write a novel to get everything in I wanted.

He said, “Go for it!” Three weeks later, Angels Cry was completed, and two weeks later, after the beta readers had their way with it and I did a quick rewrite, I sent it off for submission. It released on September 12th, and remains my favorite romance work so far.

So now you know the tale behind the stories. I hope y’all enjoy them!

Thanks again to Judith for letting me come play today. Keep watching the tour for more fun tidbits from your favorite authors!

Until next time,

Best,

J.S. Wayne

Find me on Twitter: @jswayne702
Catch up with me on Facebook: Author.JSWayne
Check out my blog: jswayne.wordpress.com
And see my available work at www.nobleromance.com/authors/155

 



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Britta Adams - An Evening At Starlight


An Evening at the Starlight is a story I wrote for the Noble Romance Timeless Desire Blog Tour. With such a theme, I knew I'd have to tap my sentimentality and so I did.

I've been a non-professional genealogist for many years and in that time, I've uncovered some incredible stories within my own family tree. One involved my great-Uncle Roy, who died in a flood in 1945, leaving behind a young wife and four small children.

Though I never met Roy, I did meet his wife, Dorothy, many years later, in 1997. She was a frail woman of 82 at the time and we enjoyed several afternoons talking about Roy and the hard-scrabble life they'd shared for all too few years.

"I told him not to go," she said, when I asked her about the day of the flood. "It had been raining for hours and the creek had flooded its banks. He went to work anyway and on the way, he and another man stopped to help a family trying to get some of their things out of the house, as the foundation was shaky."

Aunt Dorothy cried when she told me how the whole house shifted and came off its foundation, sending Roy downstream, where he was found several hours later. "I told him not to go," she said over and over, as tears streamed down her face.

The entire time, she held a tiny photograph of her, Roy, and their oldest daughter, the only image she'd ever had of the man she still loved, some fifty-two years after his death. "He was so kind, so loving. He loved to kiss."

That story has stayed with me and became the one I loosely based An Evening at the Starlight on.
Starlight tells the story of Royal and Doe. A young man comes into the Starlight, a 1940's bar, marital troubles on his mind. Bud, the bar keep, hears him out and then relates the story, in the hopes that John can understand the deeper meaning behind the words.

Being a huge fan of noir, I do hope the reader feels that vibe.

When it came time to title the story, I discussed it with my husband and he said, "An Evening at the Starlight." It fit beautifully and lent to the '40s feel of the piece.

One last bit of trivia. The woman in the frame on the cover is actually my mother. Her name was Gladys Isabelle Sweener Martinson and a lovely woman she was. She was Roy's niece and knew him well when she was a child.

She loved to dance, as did Doe. Mom died in 1999 at the age of 70 and she is truly missed. I thought it quite fitting that she be the image of Doe for the story. I think she'd have like that very much.

Here's the blurb for An Evening at the Starlight:



John has a hard time forgiving and forgetting, and his wife Christie’s tired of trying.

Doe and Royal’s love story reaches through the years and gives hope to a young man who’s lost hope in his relationship.  An Evening at the Starlight and a tale of a once in a lifetime love that wouldn’t die might be exactly what John needs to move past the hurt and cherish the love he has.

Click here to read an excerpt and to purchase An Evening at the Starlight.

Find Brita at any of these places:
Email address: britaaddams@gmail.com
Website/Blog
Twitter: @britaaddams

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jess Anastasi - The Story Behind The Story


To talk about my Timeless Desire novella, Savior, I need to go right back to the start of my Sanctuary Series.


Savior is set in the Sanctuary universe, five hundred years in the future where an apocalyptic war between angels and demons is tearing the universe apart. Humans are dying by the thousands, getting caught in the crossfire when battles destroy entire planets. There is one angel who wants the war to end, who wants humans to survive. Archangel Michael is one powerful being. And he has the will and the way to change things for the better.

Honestly, when I sat down to write Sanctuary, a 30,000 word novella, I didn't have some grand scheme in mind as to where the overall story was heading. All I knew was that I wanted to write about angels and demons. And I wanted to do something totally out-there different with them… so why not set it five hundred years in the future and have them flying around the known universe in spaceships?

It wasn't until I was well into writing Sanctuary that I realized Archangel Michael was the pivotal character, the master behind the scenes, making sure things got done. And as I worked on Sanctuary, other ideas started coming to me for sequels. The notion of Michael's grand plan and the climax that will eventually happen were revealed to me gradually. But now (luckily) I have a very clear picture of where everything is headed, the final battle, I suppose you could say.


Cadmiel, the Angel of Destiny and hero of Savior, appeared briefly in Sanctuary and I knew even back then that he would have to get his own story at some point. There was something dark in his background I couldn't see at the time.

Fast forward a year after Sanctuary was published (over two years after I’d written it) and Noble Romance Publishing's Timeless Desire blog tour came up. I thought the easiest thing to do would be write a book connected to the Sanctuary Series, and when I thought about the "time" theme, Cadmiel popped into my head and suddenly I could see his whole story. It just fit so perfectly.

So that's the story behind the story of how Cadmiel's book, Savior came about.

Blurb:

Cadmiel, the Angel of Destiny, knows better than anyone does what a bitch fate can be. Five hundred years ago, the only woman he ever loved was killed, shredding his soul and leaving a void in place of his heart.
Now Archangel Michael comes to him with a shocking and forbidden proposal. He wants Cadmiel to travel back in time and save Emilyn. Though Cadmiel wishes beyond all reasoning to do as the archangel asks, messing with time goes against his own beliefs and the very foundations of angel lore. But Michael doesn't give Cadmiel a choice and thrusts him through time and space, back to 2012.

The first time Emilyn saw the gorgeous man, she was affected on a level she couldn't comprehend. Cadmiel isn't like any other guy she's ever met, and he makes her wish love at first sight were true. But there are forces at work she never dreamed real. In the space of a day, she goes from normal, every-day college student, to a pawn in an apocalyptic war between angels and demons.

Emilyn's very life is in Cadmiel's hands. Will he risk the future of the entire universe to save her, or let her die and destroy himself in the process?

www.jessanastasi.com / www.jessanastasi.blogspot.com 
Singularity - available 17th October 2011 from Noble Romance Publishing
Savior - available 3rd of October, a Timeless Desire novella and Sanctuary spin-off
Read the first two books in the series! Sanctuary ...and... Severance - available now from Noble Romance Publishing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Noble Author Sarah Ballance Familiar Light

I'll be blunt: writing a novella scares me to death. Creating characters readers will care about in just 10k words is one thing. Developing a solid plot that can be resolved in such a short space is yet another. Put them together and you've got … well, me in a panic.


The concept of FAMILIAR LIGHT started with the "Timeless Desire" blog tour theme. One angle I use often in writing is former lovers reuniting, so the theme was very much in my comfort zone. In this story, my main characters actually parted on good terms: after a hometown summer romance, Laney leaves for college and promises Bridger she will return the following spring. As it tends to do, life got in the way. Years later—out of college and into the real world—she realizes she misses what they had, so she goes back to him.


Bridger doesn't welcome her with open arms, and as an author, I wanted that bit of rejection there. In a way, it keeps it real. What are the odds he sat there waiting for her all those years? Nil! And in fact, as the blurb says, he "tangled a lot of sheets" in the process of NOT waiting, LOL, so there's definitely some bitterness there. I really enjoyed the dynamics of that particular scene! (You can see what happened when they meet again in the excerpt below).


Then, of course, comes the twist.


The challenge I had with FAMILIAR LIGHT was creating the suspense aspect—not because it was required, but because I love romantic suspense and am apparently a glutton for punishment. (Yeah, seriously. Sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking, LOL.) Putting together a suspense plot that can be resolved for these characters in just 10k words was not the easiest of tasks, but fortunately I have a secret weapon: my husband.


Yep, my guy—who has never read a romance book in his life—happens to be fantastic for plotting, so this was the part I dragged him in. I had a basic idea of what I wanted (not a bit of which I can divulge here, LOL) and he helped me fill in the details. Within a couple of hours, I had a plot. Leaving details aside, I can say this: although they got off to a bad start, my characters didn't have a chance to dance around their emotions. The intensity of what they went through and the very real chance they had of losing one another permanently brought clarity to what they wanted . . . and fast.


As for the title, at one point during the process of writing I had an old song from the 80s in my head. Singing under my breath as I wrote, I got the words wrong and came up with "familiar light" where it should have been "different light." And I thought, wow. Epic book title moment! Between the lighthouse—which is centric to the story—and the theme, I had a winner: FAMILIAR LIGHT.


Thank you so much for reading along. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!


Author Links WEB http://www.sarahballance.com/ BLOG http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/ AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003WKYEJI GOODREADS http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4103362.Sarah_Ballance



Blurb

Seven years of longing comes down to just one night.

Laney Kent returns to Barrier Shoals hoping to reunite with her first love, Bridger. She anticipates his reception might be chilly, but what she doesn't expect is to become the victim of a deadly obsession … or that this night with Bridger could be her last.

Bridger Jansen tangled a lot of sheets trying to forget about Laney, but his heart knew what the rest of him refused to admit: he could love no one else. He's determined not to forgive her for leaving him without explanation, but when he fails to protect her from a viscous attack, the person he can't forgive just might be himself. BUY LINK: https://www.nobleromance.com/Authors/97/Sarah-Ballance


FAMILIAR LIGHT Excerpt


"Can I help you?" The gruff question trickled through the cavernous space like water leaking through pipes. He seemed to materialize from the shadows as he strode toward her, the rise of heat from the concrete floor keeping him just out of focus.

But her heart knew.

She swallowed a hard knob of regret. "Bridger?"

He couldn't have heard her—not with the way she clung to his name, as if saying it out loud would be to lose another piece of him. But his step faltered, and the recognition in that interrupted cadence brought the burn of tears to her eyes.

No regrets.

She stood, trembling, as the fifty feet between them dwindled to ten. When he was close enough for her to make out the stubble lining his jaw, his legs stopped moving, but his gaze tore over her. The impassioned glare was without direction, a harsh reflection of the hard lines edging his face. The warm brown eyes she remembered were now a bitter shade of espresso.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

The words, tense with fury, sent her backpedaling against the concrete wall. Too late, she realized she no longer knew this man. They were kids when they'd parted ways, too naïve to realize they'd never keep those breathless promises. At least she'd been that way. His tone suggested otherwise.

They were alone in the deeply shadowed belly of Barrier Shoals Light. And for the first time within those walls, Laney tasted fear.

"Was I supposed to wait for you?" he asked.

Seven years had passed since her weak-kneed promise to return to him. She didn't have an answer for that.
He took another step, boxing her against the curvature of the rock. He stood close—so close, she had to tip her head to meet his eyes.

And she summoned courage to do it.

"Was I?" he asked, his voice softer now. He leaned closer. The stifling heat morphed into sexual innuendo, his skin slick with sweat, daring her to touch.

She was one careless thought away from taking him up on that unspoken suggestion. Her fingers itched to claw through his hair, to draw him closer until the distance between them evaporated. Memories of frantically grasping for purchase against the stone wall besieged her, curling fear into boundless adrenaline.

"Did you?"

Her words coaxed a slow grin from his sensual mouth. "Was I supposed to?"