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Friday, November 2, 2012

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

No, I'm not selling real estate, although I spent twenty-one years in the business, I'm talking today about where we as authors/writers locate our stories.

Scene of French Quarter--Photo Courtesy Cynthia Arsuaga


My husband, Mike, and I returned from New Orleans on Monday from the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club Halloween Ball and Undead Con. This was the second year we've attended. At the last minute, we were asked to sit in on an author panel with Sherrilyn Kenyon! We met new fans, sold some books and made new friends along with reacquainting with old ones.

New Orleans Cemetery--Photo Courtesy Cynthia Arsuaga
My husband is from New Orleans and every time we go back, he likes to take me to places I haven’t been. Old hat for him, but for me inspiring. This time we went to the cemeteries and were rather cool. The mausoleums are interesting, especially the very old ones. The grave sites gave me more inspiration for adding details to a story I’m writing located in New Orleans. A paranormal. Vampires. A secret society. Voodoo. A ménage.

Do you tend to place your stories where you live, have lived or want to visit?

My answer is, of course! Mike and I co-authored two books taking place in New Orleans and we’re working on the third in the series which will occur at Mardi Gras. The Shifter Tales revolves around the story of Drake Martin, former assassin turned private investigator, and shape-shifter—a Yorkshire terrier. Yeah, it sounds weird, but he is a sexy shifter. At least, that’s what I think as well as everyone who has read and reviewed the story. But, back to New Orleans. We put quite a few sights into the books and plan to do so in the future. In a way, I’m hoping by reading those stories using the Big Easy as the backdrop will bring interest back to the city since the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. With that in mind, may have to do a story because of the recent destruction by Hurricane Sandy. Hmm, that’s an idea and inspiration!

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt (never seen before) from the first book in the series, Top Dog—Shifter Tales 1. Until next month, ENJOY!

Drake Martin is a unique shape shifter. Instead of transforming into a ferocious animal, he morphs into an eight pound Yorkshire terrier. Six year old Kady Hartley rescued him from an animal shelter. As "Precious" he was her "bestest friend" for twelve years, leaving when she started college. Ten years later they cross paths. He’s a PI; she’s FBI. Continuing to keep his abilities secret from her, he follows Kady as she pursues a case. Accompany them on an odyssey to New Orleans investigating human traffickers and watch the fur fly. To protect Kady, Drake remains in the shadows. For her sake he puts aside his loner life and accepts protection and assistance of the local shifter pack under its leader, the Sufi. The pack and Drake soon discover they have a common cause, leading to a bloody confrontation with the Russian human traffickers.

During the adventure, will Drake and Kady rekindle their loving friendship or will it become much more?

Oh boy!

EXCERPT:

This is one of the funny scenes where Kady (Drake’s love interest) doesn’t know his real identity and he has to keep morphing back and forth to keep that secret. Drake is given access to her apartment in order to install surveillance equipment while she’s at work. The property manager knows about the “dog” and is in the opening part of the scene until Kady comes back unexpectedly and Drake has to come up with a story.

Mid-morning the next day, Mr. Bowman let me into Kady‘s apartment. Certainly wouldn‘t do for anyone to know I had a key. Earlier I informed her about the deal I‘d made. Installation of the camera required access to her apartment.

“Where‘s the dog?” he asked, noticing Precious‘ absence.

“He likes to hide, I guess.”

“Not much of a watchdog, is he?”

Walking him to the door, I said “No, he doesn‘t seem to be.”

Standing in the tub with camera and tools in a leather belt, I began. An hour later found me still drilling the pilot holes for the cameras bracket screws. The sill had a steel plate. I broke two bits drilling three of the six holes. Sweating and cursing the foul fates bedeviling the project, I didn‘t hear the front door open. It wasn‘t until a voice tinged with alarm, cried out from the living room, 

“Where‘s Precious?”

Kady!

“He‘s around somewhere,” I answered in a normal tone, belied by a frantically racing brain. “He was just here keeping me company.”

By then she was in the other bedroom searching with rising alarm. I stripped down and just before morphing shouted, “I found him. I‘m sending him out now.”

Kady‘s face lit up with a relieved smile showing two pearly white rows of even teeth as I pranced through the door stopping for appropriate stroking. “Don‘t scare me like that, you little dickens.”

I nuzzled her, wedging a black triangular snout into the space between arm and breast. She giggled. “Don‘t be so fresh.” Directing attention to the bathroom, she shouted, “I‘m taking my little guy for a walk.”

Ignoring the lack of response, she allowed me to lead her outside. Anxiety over the prospects of exposure made a naturally hyper terrier demeanor shift to overdrive, facilitating completion of the purpose for the walk.

While we strolled along the path, I wondered if I needed more drill bits. Did Mr. Bowman have a supply I could tap? Soon enough we climbed the stairs onto the covered, open air breezeway.

“I‘m back,” Kady announced throwing open the door and unsnapping the choker leash which thankfully had no collar. I scooted into the bathroom where Drake was supposed to be working and morphed back, turning in horror to see Kady entering the bedroom with an eye set on the bathroom to inspect my work.

“Don‘t come in,” I said, standing naked with head and one shoulder showing from behind the door.

Staring frankly at the bronze colored sinewy ball joint, she asked, “Why not?”

“It‘s warm in here so I stripped down, and my tools are scattered all over. I‘ll be out in a sec.”

“Is Precious in there?”

“Yes, he is. The little stinker won‘t let me go anywhere without following.”

“That means he likes you.”

“I guess I‘m in then.”

“More than you know,” she muttered under her breath, inaudible to human ears but not mine.

Watching her walk to the kitchen, I warmed inside. Preparing a lunch salad, she offered to share the trove only dieters or rabbits would appreciate, mentioning at least twice she frequently came home for lunch. I knew better, of course. The natural aversion to strangers roaming free through your residence brought her, or I dared to hope, it because she wanted to see me. Either way, I declined the salad. The wet dog food from earlier and Linda‘s stale thermos coffee conspired to make a cold, sour lump in my stomach.

“The job‘s done. You‘re all set,” I said as she finished the salad.

“Good.” We walked to the door. Opening it, she said, “I have to say goodbye to the Little Dude.”

My heart froze. “Oh, don‘t disturb him. He was sleeping so peacefully on your lounge chair.” I chose what she knew was the little guy‘s favorite spot to nap.

Doubtfully she agreed as I applied gentle pressure guiding us through the open doorway. After locking the door, she turned to me. “That was very nice what you‘re doing for Mr. Bowman.”

Peering down at the blue eyes rolled up toward mine, I knew the moment had arrived. “Would you like to go to dinner tonight?”

A triangular sparkle of white teeth and pink lips joined the indigo gaze. “I‘d love to.”

“I‘ll pick you up from work?”

Kady frowned. “No, I have to feed and walk Precious first.”

Oh boy!

“I have an idea. My day is on the light side. If it‘s okay with you, I‘ll get here at say five, get Mr. Bowman to let me in, and take care of the little guy.” My mouth still refused to utter the word Precious.

“You would do that? How wonderful.”

So much for worrying about a stranger rummaging through her apartment. I guess asking her out moved me into a more trustworthy category.

When the yellow Beetle whipped into its parking place that night, the pretty owner found me waiting. “Drake,” the driver said, “I didn‘t expect you here in the parking lot.”

“My car is over in guest parking. It was easier to wait here.”

“I want to look in on Precious. I haven‘t seen him all day.”

I took her elbow. “Time is short. We have a reservation at Pinchon‘s for six.”

Subtly resisting my effort to guide her in the direction of my car, she asked, “You fed and walked him?”

“Done.” I resumed urging her to the car.

“What about water? Did you freshen it up and fluff his bedding and fill the kibbles bowl?”

“Done, done, and done. Let‘s go.”

“Okay, I guess.” She said doubtfully.


Cynthia Arsuaga
 Erotic Romance Author

8 comments:

Tina Donahue said...

I love New Orleans. Have been there many, many time (all pre Katrina). It has such an historic feel.

Congrats on your newest release - sounds awesome. :)

Molly Daniels said...

ROFL! I'm reading this book right now, and that scene had me laughing! Looking forward to the second half of the book! (according to kindle, I'm 50% of the way through it)

Adele Dubois said...

I've never been to New Orleans, but enjoy reading books and seeing movies set in that city. The con you attended sounds like lots of fun. Best of luck with your release!

~Adele

jean hart stewart said...

Love your humour. Hard to see how you've going to resolve this but am sure you will. Love the Ann Rice stories that are centered around New Orleans....

Polly McCrillis said...

Laissez les bon temps roule! I LOVE N'awlins. I'm a Loyola and Tulane grad and worked in NO for several years after graduating. (Not the easiest place to maintain a good GPA, what with all the nightlife distractions!) But there isn't another city like it in the U.S. of A, a country all its own, complete with unique cuisine and music.

Your story sounds like a blast,Cynthia. Great excerpt. Congratulations!

Polly McCrillis said...

Laissez les bon temps roule! I LOVE N'awlins. I'm a Loyola and Tulane grad and worked in NO for several years after graduating. (Not the easiest place to maintain a good GPA, what with all the nightlife distractions!) But there isn't another city like it in the U.S. of A, a country all its own, complete with unique cuisine and music.

Your story sounds like a blast,Cynthia. Great excerpt. Congratulations!

Paris said...

Congratulations on your new release! The book sounds wonderful. What is it about that city that's so inspiring!

Sandy said...

I love that the hero shifts into a small dog. You caught me there. It sounds like fun. Some of my favorite stories make me laugh out loud.

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