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Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Book that Almost Didn’t Happen:

On June 7, 2010 Carina Press, the new digital-first imprint of Harlequin, opened its virtual doors. One of the launch books was Motor City Fae, by Cindy Spencer Pape. Since this is far from my first book, you might not think I’m excited about this one, but I am, and let me tell you why.

In early 2005, I’d been writing and submitting for about five years. After a big pile of rejections, I was getting tired of the whole thing. Still, I had this book in my head, about elves and other paranormal beings based in my hometown, Detroit. So I started plugging away, deciding this would be my last big shot. If it didn’t sell, I’d bag the whole writing thing and find something else to do with my time. I got started and realized I loved this story—the plot, the characters, the setting—everything about it was great!

That summer, my life went to hell. My mother died, after a long illness, but without a lot of warning. Three weeks later, my brother passed away at the age of 53, due to lingering complications from a car accident many years earlier. Funny how I didn’t have time to write much that summer. By the time I got back to my computer, along about January of 2006, I discovered there was too much grief still associated with the book. Much as I loved the story, I couldn’t bring myself to work on it. Instead, I went back and polished up a few books I’d already finished and submitted.

By spring, I’d given myself a new ultimatum. By now I had three books that were freshly polished. I’d exhausted my venues with each of them for traditional publishing, but I hadn’t looked at digital-first. I decided it was time. I submitted one each to three different publishers: Triskelion, The Wild Rose Press, and Cerridwen Press/Ellora’s Cave.

Imagine my surprise when all three sold. Suddenly I didn’t have one publisher, I had three. I got busy writing sequels. I sold more stories, most paranormal, many of them more and more erotic, and somewhere along the way I managed to finish that not-but-not-erotic book about Elves in Detroit. Only thing was, it wasn’t a good fit for any of my publishers.

Then along came Carina Press. The day they opened their doors, I sent in my submission. A while later I got a lovely email from Angela James offering to contract my book. After discussions with my editor, we came up with the name Urban Arcana for the series—because of course she wanted to see stories for each of the other characters.

Keep reading for a snippet of Motor City Fae, the book that almost didn’t happen. Read to the very end to find out how to enter to win a $20.00 gift certificate.

Happy Reading!

Motor City Fae
Book I of Urban Arcana
By Cindy Spencer Pape
Coming June 2010 from Carina Press
Detroit artist Meagan Kelly has had a strong sixth sense all her life, but that doesn’t mean the gorgeous stranger’s crazy story—that she’s a half-elf, half human heiress—is true. But Meagan can’t deny the evidence of her own eyes—he’s Fae. A tall, blond, handsome, pointy-eared elf—and a man she just can’t get enough of.
Ric Thornhill’s assignment just got a lot more complicated. The more time he spends with Meagan, the harder it is to see her as a political tool to prevent an all-out war between humans and Fae.
Now Meagan’s in a race to master her newly released powers in time to prevent the conflict, convince a jealous Queen not to strip Ric of his powers, and find out if she can build a life that straddles two worlds.

Suburban Detroit was a truly odd place.

Ric Thornhill’s vintage Jaguar convertible roared down Woodward Avenue, a wide car-clogged boulevard lined with all manner of businesses from elegant boutiques to seedy liquor stores. To his right loomed an enormous stone church that could have been in medieval Europe. On the left was a strip mall with a Chinese restaurant, a nail salon and a paycheck advance center.

Find Emery of Rose’s long-lost daughter before the next Seelie Council meeting, or live out a miserable human lifespan as a powerless mortal. That was the geas that his boss, the elven queen, had cast on Ric. In other words, find the girl or die. His death sentence would simply take forty or fifty years to be carried out. The geas was a result of telling Her Majesty off the last time she’d sent him on a fool’s errand. One would think he’d have learned by now to keep his mouth shut. The sad part was that on this job, he’d have done his best anyway. The fate of both realms could hang in the balance if he didn’t.

In over eight centuries of existence, he’d been in plenty of sticky situations, but none as bad as this. He’d started the search in New York, where Emery had died. No luck there. He’d also tried Windsor, Ontario, the hometown of Emery’s human wife. Nothing. Two other agents of the queen had mysteriously disappeared or been killed and now Ric was the only one left. And he was here in Detroit on nothing more than a hunch held by one of Emery’s cousins. Aidan Greene believed his missing relative was somewhere nearby. Now Ric only had five days remaining and he’d gotten nowhere but here, which wasn’t good.

The place was dismal and depressing—hot, gray and muggy on this August afternoon and the five-o’clock Friday traffic royally sucked. Ric had spent the last week checking out every new-age shop, so-called psychic and alternative club in the area—every place he could think of that a half-Fae would be drawn to. If his mediocre scrying skills hadn’t led him to the right place this time, he was probably toast. He was supposed to be at a certain corner in Royal Oak at a certain time. Yeah, he had lots of info to go on.

He accelerated through a yellow light, cranked up the volume on his stereo and settled his black Ray-Ban sunglasses on his nose despite the overcast day. What the hell, might as well go down in style.
* * * * *
If you enjoyed the excerpt, by all means watch for more. I’ll be visiting blogs all month! Also, I’m running a contest. All you have to do is pop over to my website, go to the “contact Cindy” page, and tell me which blog you saw me on and answer the question of the day. At the end of June, I’ll be giving away a $20.00 gift card to your choice of Borders, B&N, or Amazon. You can enter once for each blog stop.

Today’s question: Name the heroine of Motor City Fae.
Now here’s where you can find me on the web.


Amber Skyze said...

There's an example why you continue pursuing your dreams! Congrats on all the success.

I've been eyeing Carina Press since they announced they were looking for submissions, but have yet polished the book I want to send.


Carol L. said...

Loved this excerpt Cindy. Ihave to read it now to find out what happens between Ric and Meagan. Congrats on your success and the release of Motor City Fae.
Carol L.

Tina Donahue said...

What a wonderful story of persistance and success. Good for you, Cindy!

Katalina Leon said...

Beautiful story Cindy. It makes me wonder if your mother and brother were actually looking out for you and wanted this special book to go to Carina Press-love works beyond time and space...

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Kat--that made me smile. My brother? Probably. He's the reason there's a secondary gay romance in many of my books. My mom? She'd be saying, "I hate that woo-woo crap. Write some more westerns."

Carol, Amber, and Tina, thanks so much!

April Ash said...

We're glad you didn't stop writing and pursued your dream...congrats on the new book and your many releases!

jean hart stewart said...

Gret excerpt. I submitted to Carina a long time ago but haven't heard from them. Am about to give up on them....Jean

Paris said...

I'm so glad you didn't give up! I love your books and can't imagine not being able to read your wonderful stories.

Congratulations on your first release with Carina Press!

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