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Collaborating Muses; Or...Switzerland!

Weekly-ish Update:
Collaborating Muses

I just got back from 10 days in Switzerland with a writing friend who I’d never met before.

Let me say, that is NOT like me. 

But I decided mixing up the patterns of my life–and my muse–might be in order.  And it wasn’t as if it was totally a blind date.  We’ve been collaborating on a screenplay for DEFIANT for over a year now, exchanging extremely lo-o-o-ong emails where we plotted and re-plotted, scripted and re-scripted and generally argued collaborated, rewriting the storyline, honing it to make it work for film.

So, basically, we had an online marriage for a long time before we met in person.

I mean, if you can give up your story to someone, have them hack away and hand it back, bruised and battered, and listen to them say, “It’s better now, see??” and you don’t want to kill yourself, or them, you know you’re onto something.

So, we took a  chance, and planned to spend 10 days together in a foreign land, no family around.

It was AWESOME. We wrote like manics, and plotted like fools, said “no, no, no, no,” to each other a hundred times, and “omg, YES!” two hundred.  It was invigorating and exciting and fun!

I’m working on the screenplay now that I’m back, and already losing the sharp edge of driving focus her contributions gave me.  But I’m committed to getting it back, and making this story work for film. 

Also, I know as soon as I send her my over-blather, she’ll hack away at it, leaving it once again bloody and battered. #sorelieved

I feel like I have my own personal hatchetwoman.  It’s nice to have a knife-wielder you can trust.

Full disclosure: I have a lot to learn.

Do you have any friendships where you know you make each other better, even when–maybe because–it’s sometimes hard to handle?

Hope your summer is starting off with good things, and if you need it, your own personal hatchetwoman..or whatever you need!

Weekly-ish Update:April 28

Here we calmly are, the lot of us, approaching May at a measured, sedate pace– MAY?? It’s almost May??

Writing

Writing on the contemporaries.  I have So Many Words written, but keep having to re-walk a tense line between romance & plot.  I want to write a BIG book, but then again…I don’t.   My ‘big’ plots are what slow me down in my historicals, so they’re what I’m trying to pare down in my contemporaries.  But I’m a stubborn vegetable, and hard to pare.

A New Motto

If you gaze to the right –> (you probably didn’t even notice that picture until now, right??) this is my new motto for writing this story, and all the coming ones, ’til I nail this essential element of the craft: simplicity.

 

Secret Projects

Working with a couple writer friends on secret projects. Will update as I’m able! 

(What kind of an ‘update’ is that??  Shun me. Shun me hard.)

 

Print Proofs

Working on the print proof of King’s Warrior, reading the story entirely different because it’s 3-d, held open on on my lap with a glossy cover and paper pages.  I don’t know why it’s such a different experience, but it truly is. Do you find that to be true too?

Nothing Good or Interesting

I have nothing else good or productive or even vaguely interesting to report on. Did kids’ baseball & helped with homework, had a sick kid home from school for a day, made dinners, occasionally showered, drank vodka…blah blah.  All the usual. You??

Hope your last week was awesome, and your coming one is even awesomer!

Let me know if you like my…motto.

Weekly-ish Update-April 7

I had a little moment of panic when I saw my last Friday post had been on March 31. “March??” I thought.  “Aw hell, you mean I haven’t posted since March?”

Yep, Kris, that’s right, you slacker. March. i.e. last week.

Shaking Up The Muse

I’ve been trying to shake up the muse, who keeps wanting to write big old plots rather than honed-in-like-a-laser-beam romances.

I tried dictating.  I tried through a mic, which was incredibly unsettling, to watch the words try to appear, after a huge delay, on the screen, as I was saying them.

So then I set up an entirely internal system, where I dictate to a digital recorder, download the mp3 files to a software program, that runs yet another software program, and the dictation happens software-to-software. 

 

Dictation Results

Much better results, distraction-wise. As far as output…? Here’s a sample

The line I dictated, which had some ‘administrative’ type instructions for myself, ran something like, “She was standing by the window, in a wash of spring sunshine–remember to use the original typed paragraph for this intro–when Brian de Lisle walked in. He smiled at her, tray of food in hand, and kicked the door shut behind him.”

What did it transcribe for me?

–> “Next field decrease her organs store Foster handler for two Mesa County pointe shoes undercover with some bubbles it was a finders crisis.
So are shine.” He said <–

Close. So close. Should speed things right up. 💩

 

Short Story

I’m writing a short story, to use as bonus material for an anthology I’m going to be part of in the summer.  The anthology will include three other historical authors, and we’re going to use existing stories, but include little ‘extras,’ as a way to reach new readers & cross-promote our work.

My bonus contribution is a short story that connects to Defiant.  A paragraph of the short story is above. As is the word-vomit hallucination of a transcription.

 

Contemporary Romances

Dare: I’ve written about 110K on DARE, my sexy contemporary romance  follow-up to SPIN, featuring Finn & Janey Mac, but it’s all circling the romance.  So I’m rejecting all this nonsense, and will keep hammering away.  My goal here is another 50K super sexy story.

Out of His System: About 20K in, and we see, again, the too-much-plot problem.  Curse this story.

Untitled Christmas Novella: DONE!  But it’s in a super rough state, right down to the fact that there are still a lot of incomplete sentences. But at least this shows me I can still actually write.

 

Recent Reads

I finished J.A. Huss’s Anarchy Missing: Alpha Case. Super fun!! Sex and violence and love and crazy shit. So. Much. Fun.

Then I started in on a re-read of Lord of Scoundrels by Lorette Chase.  Because…shaking up the muse.

Hope your week was everything you needed it to be, and your coming weekend is everything you want it to be!

Friday Excerpt! King's Warrior

Instead of an update on the anti-productivity of my week, I thought an excerpt was in order. Read on if you’ve ever wondered if it’s worth it to fight back..

The answer is yes! A resounding yes. Especially if you have an Irish outlaw at your side. 🔥 A word of warning, though: you have to pick your outlaws carefully, and at first, it might seem like you’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake…

King’s Warrior

♥♥♥

She’d never done such a thing before. Never defied, never fought back. It quite stirred the blood.

She felt ten feet tall— no, twelve. Surely her heart was larger now too—it was certainly beating harder than she ever recalled. She felt flushed and hot and full of energy and vigor. Like some wild thing, fierce and unrestrained.

It was…wonderful.

She spun to the knight, who was examining his sword. “I do thank you, sir,” she breathed, her eyes shining.

As if just recalling her, he jerked his head up, then strode over with such intense focus she took a step back. But her heart was still hammering with excitement and power, and she did not feel fear.

He drew up in front of her and cupped her cheek with a gloved hand, then tipped her face up to the dim light of fire and oil lamps.

“Are you hurt?” he asked in a gruff voice.

“No. No, I am quite well, thank-you,” she said politely.

A smile flickering across his face. “Den scoth.”

“And you?” she stammered.

Another flicker of amusement, this time in his eyes. “I am well, thank-you.”

Their eyes were close, so close she could see his were as dark as the rest of him, so deep a shade of brown they were almost black. Their mouths were closer even than their eyes, and their whispered conversation was being held at such close quarters, she felt his breath gust over her lips with every word. Hers skidded across his too, until the air between their mouths became a small heated geyser of the warrior’s breath and her own.

“I’ve never fought off soldiers before,” she said in a whisper.

“One would never know it.”

She smiled, recklessly happy. “I did rather well, did I not?”

“You were magnificent,” he drawled, a low male sound, and the hand cupping her cheek tightened ever so slightly.

Then, proof she’d turned entirely to a wild creature, she grinned into those hard, enigmatic eyes and said in an exultant whisper, “We did it.”

This time, amusement appeared as a full-on, darkly handsome smile. “Enjoyed that, did you? I’ll have to see if I can’t find us a tavern brawl later.”

She laughed, and his gaze dropped to her mouth. He was still cupping her face in his powerful, shockingly gentle hand. For seconds—three, four, five—he simply stared at her mouth, and all that had been fluttery and flushed in her became a veritable river of fast-moving heat and desire.

He is going to kiss me.

The thought made a wash of chills rise through her body as if she was a vessel being filled, then he brushed the calloused pad of his thumb across the corner of her mouth. “Your lip, lass. ’Tis cut.”

As if in a trance, she lifted her fingertip to the corner of her mouth and felt the smallest of cuts. Her fingertips came away with a spot of blood.

“Does it hurt?” he asked.

“Oh no,” she whispered.

His thumb still rested at the corner of her mouth as his gaze made the slow climb to her eyes, and her head tipped back the barest inch.

Oh, yes, he was going to kiss her. And she was going to let him.

♥♥♥

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New Cover-Claiming Her

Got a new cover for Claiming Her!

 

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo |

GooglePlay

  Why a new cover?, you may ask.

The model shot on the original  was gorgeous, and I adored it. But the cover itself wasn’t getting any attention. So a facelift was in order. I still have the rights to the original image, and because I love it so much, maybe one day I’ll see if I can make it work!

In the meantime…maybe you would like a little excerpt from Claiming Her, since we’re revisiting it today?

♥♥♥

Excerpt:

…The clerk’s voice droned on in Latin, and the Irish Hound was replying—in Latin—then the clerk read the terms aloud in French, and then in English, to ensure no confusion—oh, there was nothing but confusion—while Walter’s grim, furious, yet vaguely triumphant face glared at her.

She had done precisely what she’d told him not to do: seriously underestimated Aodh Mac Con.

The pen in her hand shook slightly. She could not catch her breath. Everyone stared. Silence spread through the hall. A boot shuffled, leather creaked, a burning log shifted, then fell into hot ash in the hearth. All she had to do was sign her name.

If she signed, she was doomed.

Traitor. Treason.

Dead woman.

A drop of bright red ink hung, suspended, at the tip of the pen in her hand. Aodh’s name was already on the page, scrawled in gorgeous, bold, educated letters, large enough to be read in Windsor.

He was afraid of nothing. This castle, this rebellion, Katarina—he claimed it all.

Trembling, she looked up into his eyes.

“Aodh,” she whispered. It slipped out helplessly.

He went into motion. “Leave us,” he ordered, taking the pen from her hand.

And once again, the people in the hall dispersed like pebbles running down a hill. His clerk and hers, the witnesses and soldiers, everyone turned and left, until she and Aodh were once again alone.

Shaking, she stood, head down, staring at the ground, braced for his fury. That is what men did, vent their fury. It would be over soon enough. He circled her once; she watched his boots make the circuit around her body.

“What is it?” he asked while behind her.

She inhaled, shook her head, looked at the papers, the signatures, then her gaze dropped to his sword. Everything about this was a conquest.

“I…cannot,” she whispered.

He’d followed her glance at his sword, and with a swift sweep of his hands, he unbuckled it and let it fall to the ground. It clattered in a heap. He stepped over it and came nearer.

“Why are you saying no?”

“Because I would lose everything.”

“Och, lass, you’ve already lost everything. All you can do now is gain.”

She gave a broken laugh. “That is no good answer.”

His gaze roved over her face, then he took the last, natural step and drew up before her. “Listen to me.”

“No.” She could not listen to his low, resonate persuasions, spoken in that dark Irish lilt, the one that tempted as if it were touch.

He curled a finger beneath her chin and tipped her face up. “You cannot think it would have gone well for you when Bertrand of Bridge arrived? The queen’s interrogator?”

She gasped. “Wh-what do you know of it?”

“In England, they are calling you a traitor. A priest-lover. An unwed dye-witch.”

Shock made her hands fly to his chest. Fear curled them into fists, bunching his tunic. “No.”

“Aye. So now, maybe, it is not so mad an idea to have something standing between you and England.”

“Oh no,” she whispered as he slid his fingers to the back of her neck and guided her closer, against the towering length of him, until they were touching from knees to stomach.

“I swear to you, Katy,” he said in a low rasp. “I will protect you.”

Confusion washed through her, an amalgam of shifting emotions. Protect her? When he was the danger, England her salvation?

Protect her? No one protected Katarina. She was the protector, of Rardove, of the people within, of the queen’s rights in Ireland.

But that this warlord had offered…

Their mouths were so close she could feel his breath on her. She wanted his breath.

“Now, Katy, let me show you the truth of us,” he said, and bent his head.

She leaned back against the table before her knees buckled, her neck arching as he touched his lips to the base of her throat. A wash of chills rained down her body so potent she almost did not notice the wide palm now skimming down her waist. She was far too focused on the other hand that had plunged into her hair, fingers splayed. He fisted his hand and tugged her head back. The pressure was hard and exquisite, the pleasure undeniable. Unstoppable.

The breath burst from her, a loud, stuttered gasp in the silent, echoing room.

Head bent, he worked his way up the line of her throat and chin, his tongue and teeth an assault of carnal skill and, wasting no time on preludes or introduction, when he reached the summit of her mouth, he simply claimed her. Slanted his mouth over hers, completed his conquest of Rardove by sliding his tongue between her already-parted lips, and deconstructed every notion she’d ever had of who she was, and what passion meant.

Showing her what he meant by their ‘truth.’

♥♥♥

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo |

GooglePlay

Have fun in there!

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