I'm like one of those authors with a full ashtray of half-smoked cigarettes and a bottle of Grey Goose being emptied into the glass, every word pulled forcibly from my brain and typed painstakingly slow onto the page. Only ... I neither smoke nor drink vodka. I do however labor over every paragraph of a story. I think Michael Kanin said it best "I don't like writing, but I love to have written.", which is exactly why I keep doing it. It's such a kick-in-the-pants to go back and read a particularly witty peice of dialogue or beautiful descriptive passage and know that it's come from me.
And then, as if that wasn't bad enough, over the last two years, Mr. Nina and I have been going through a huge personal turmoil that has turned our lives completely upside down. (Read that as two jobs and a lot of unemployment.) Which of course means my muse couldn't seem to work her cranky butt into my chaotic schedule. Nope, the fickle wench has been on hiatus for a better part of that time, probably hanging poolside with a margarita and a couple of cabana boys. Lucky stiff. Every once in awhile I did manage to coax her out of her funk with LOTS of chocolate and wine and a hot shower or two (what is it about running water that gets her working again?) and managed to get out a few books ... including my most recent paranormal suspense, Shadows of Fire.
I worked and pushed and forced myself to put sentences together to fill the pages. My characters seemed to take great pleasure keeping their stories hidden from me. I didn’t know who they were or why they needed me to tell their story. Like a personal trainer, I pressed them and kept at them until finally they relented and told me about all their pain and hopes.
Three quarters of the way through, the villain let loose on a rampage that revealed all. Like he had to wait that long? Because that meant I needed to go back and explain it all to the other characters in the beginning chapters. LOTS of rewriting.
But let me tell you … it was worth it! I love this book and I hope you'll check it out.
A woman forced to live a life she didn’t choose …
Thirty years ago, a horrendous attack in the California mountains thrust chemistry student, ALEXANDRA FLANAGAN, into the secret world of vampires. Now, unable to stomach the thought of drinking blood from another person, she survives on a chemical blood wine. But there are some who secretly disapprove of her clandestine activities and will do anything to stop her.
A vampire of honor protecting humans …
Ancient vampire, REESE COLTON, is part of an elite military operation seeking out and eliminating rogue vampires. Undercover as a firefighter, he and his team have been called in to investigate the unusual number of fires covering up the murders of vampires living on Alex’s blood wine.
A murderer seeking revenge …
When chemistry ignites passion, Reese and Alex find themselves embroiled in an affair that catches them both unaware. With the number of fires escalating and evidence against Alex mounting, Reese isn’t sure whether to follow his heart or the clues as he seeks to find a murderer in the Shadows of Fire.
Stacking the boxes of blood wine, she took a moment to settle. Alex wasn’t sure when she’d become a damsel in need of saving, but the two vamps going all Neanderthal in the other room certainly believed her incapable of taking care of herself. She wasn’t sure if she was flattered or insulted.
Fortunately, both men had remained in their respective corners, where she’d left them. Their gazes intently followed her as she set the boxes on the floor next to the desk. Filling out the information on the clipboard, she handed it to Ronan to sign. Their little winery was as precise as any pharmacy. “I loaded in two extra bottles. But it’s all you have for the week. Don’t drink it all in one sitting.” Alex’s attempt at humor fell flat.
The corners of Ronan’s mouth lifted, but the pursed lips held no mirth. “If I find other vampires interested in weaning themselves onto the wine, how do they get on your list?”
“Just mention them to Glenn. We’ll find someone who’ll make sure they get what they need. Glenn trusts you not to tell anyone where it’s bottled.”
Ronan bent low, took her hand and brushed his lips feather-light across her knuckles. “‘Tis always a pleasure spending time with you, Alexandra.”
Neither of them missed the low growl emanating from Reese.
Ronan straightened. Smiling as he withdrew a bulging gold money clip from his pocket, he counted out some bills and threw them on her desk. Apparently, the gesture had been meant to goad Reese, not flatter her.
“I’m pleased you and Glenn trust me enough to allow me into your cellars.” Ronan scooped up the box with one arm and turned to Reese. “Do keep her safe from the unsavory vampires.”
“Don’t forget to bring back the bottles,” she called at Ronan’s retreating back. Alex ran damp palms down her jeans. The musty room had suddenly become stifling. She didn’t speak until Ronan’s footfalls receded up the stairs. “Seriously Reese, I’m fine being here by myself.”
He pushed from the wall, stalking toward her, his body an overwhelming presence sucking the breath from her lungs. “I have no doubt you can take care of yourself.” Reese stepped up to her, the wall of his chest brushing her breasts. She craned her neck, coming up against the hunger sparking in his eyes and turning them a deeper shade of emerald. The fresh scent of his cologne wrapped around her nose, melting her defenses.
“I have no desire to be your guardian, Alex.” Reese’s voice dropped to a sultry whisper that heated her blood and sent her heart racing. “Perhaps Josh was right and my interest in you hasn’t been as obvious as I thought I’d made it over the last several months.” His gaze roamed slow and hot down her face and neck to rest on her heaving chest before searing a leisurely path back to her mouth. “But I’m thinking your body has been aware.”
Alex searched his face, reading the intention only seconds before Reese’s mouth slanted over hers. The heat of the kiss obliterated any coherent thought and no matter how bad his timing, Alex couldn’t have pulled from Reese if she’d wanted to. His hand reached up to cup her neck, his thumb grazing her chin as he changed the angle and invited her to deepen the kiss. She opened for him, the silken heat of his tongue darting in to tangle with hers. His taste, warm and familiar, sent awareness skittering over her nerves. The man certainly knew how to weaken her resolve.
She broke the kiss, his hot breath washing over her face. “I have appointments. People are going to show up any minute.”
Reese’s gaze dropped to her mouth before leisurely dragging back to her eyes. A smile slid slowly over his full lips. “I suppose it wouldn’t do for the tavern owner to be found in a compromising position.” He stepped away from her. “An hour. Maybe two. It’s all I’m willing to wait. I’ve obviously been remiss in showing you exactly how good we are together.”
So how goes life in your corner of the world? Do you have ways to step back and regroup when everything around you is in chaos ... I'm all ears!