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Behind The Scenes: Writing King's Warrior

Thought it might be fun to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes at the writing of King’s Warrior, which just released last week. 

His plan was heartless, ruthless, and simple. Until he met her.

My plan for this story was simple, too.  (Not so much ruthless, but then I’m not an Irish warrior….)

I wanted to write a story where the hero exploits the heroine while appearing to help her, a story that would set up the new series I was starting, Renegade Lords.

I originally wrote King’s Warrior (originally titled The King’s Outlaw) for an anthology with three other author friends, Eliza Knight, Vonda Sinclair, and Jennifer Haymore, Captured by a Celtic Warrior (out of print now).  It was terrific working with these ladies, and if you haven’t checked out their stories, do!

The theme for our Captured anthology was, perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘captured.’  All the stories were also going to have a jeweled dagger running through them.  The same jeweled dagger. And yet, the stories were going to span hundreds of years.

Since my story was appearing first in the anthology, I  knew I wanted to set up a compelling, exciting ‘story’ for the dagger that the other authors were going to be working with.  But I also had to keep the storyline relatively tight, because these were all novellas—no sprawling 400 pg epics here!  And of course, it had to be über-sexy. All within a ‘captured’ theme.

I wrote and wrote, but kept writing around the story, until I wrote what is now the opening scene with Tadhg, the Irish hero of our story. He’s on the docks in a grubby little French seaport, trying to get out of town before he’s captured by the villain, and, boom, the story took off.

I really loved the challenge of this story, and when it came together, it came together fast and tight. Really fun!

But that was only half of it. Because as I wrote, the story morphed and grew (of course!) and kept getting longer. This hero had a backstory, a big one, with complicated relationships that were going to yanked brought back to the forefront and tested.

Clearly this was not a novella.  And so not all of it could make it into the anthology version. But I knew Tadhg (pronounced /tie-g/) needed to have his story told.  As did Magdalena, his simple, innocent heroine, who, Tadhg is about to find out, has the heart of a lion.

King’s Warrior is their story, in a full, single title release, with loads of adventure and scorching hot passion.

Travel to medieval France & England and get a taste of the Holy Lands with King Richard the Lionheart. Visit a sea town shrouded in darkness and corruption, sneak into hidden caves, and get snowbound in a firelit cottage with no one but a dangerous outlaw and the way he’s looking at you, firelight glinting in his eye… (Yes, there is snowbound-ness!)

I hope you love it.  Let me know; I love to hear from readers!

Have fun in there! 

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Availability Update: Claiming Her

Claiming Her is now available at Google Play!

 

So happy I can now offer my Google Play reader peeps the story!

What happens when a big bad warrior hero intent on conquering everything in his path comes up against a strong-willed heroine who has no intention of being conquered?

A seriously scorching hot romance, that’s what!

Go see!

 

If you prefer other vendors, here are your links!

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo

 

 

 

 

Release Day! King's Warrior

King’s Warrior is all yours!

“‘Knight and Day’ set in the Middle Ages!”

Amazon | iBook | Kobo | B&N | GooglePlay

(Some vendors are taking awhile to get the book up. I’ll update when they go live.)

 If you’re in the mood for a big bad Irish warrior with questionable intentions, a rollicking, non-stop, scorching hot medieval adventure, here’s your fix.

King’s Warrior, your one-stop, did-they-just-have-sex-against-a-wall historical romance thriller.

Just what you wanted on a grey Tuesday in February, yes?? 

France, 1193. Tadhg O’Malley is a wanted man.  (pronounced /tie-g/) Outlawed & on the run, he’s got very little to lose. Except his contraband, which can win a kingdom for whoever gets it first. But that innocent merchant standing on the quay?  She means nothing.  Nothing except his only way out.

Magdalena is a proper merchant who abides by all the rules, all the times.  Even the unfair ones. Especially the unfair ones. She knows better than to get mixed up with dark-eyed strangers. But when one saves her one night, she’s utterly and inadvisedly charmed.

But she’s about to discover the true consequences of joining up with outlaws: they might do anything. Anything at all.

Including drag her into a terrifying, exhilarating adventure of a lifetime.

King’s Warrior is out in the wilds, so go hunt it down.  Tadhg is waiting for you.

Amazon | iBook | Kobo | B&N Nook | GooglePlay

(Some vendors are taking awhile to get the book up. I’ll update when they go live!)

Want an excerpt?  Of course you do!

♥♥♥♥

…Voices broke out from the other end of the quay. They turned. The reeve’s assistant was coming back along the quay with an even more officious-looking man in his wake. On their heels stalked several armed men.

Goddammit.

“Mother Mary,” she said in a desperate whisper. “What more can go awry?”

Tadhg shared the query.

There was nothing for it. He made his decision in a heartbeat. Sliding his hands up her arms, he spun her and almost flung her up against the side of the nearest building, then reached up and tore off her headdress.

“Good heavens,” she cried, her hands flying up to capture the silky veil, but he’d already pulled it off and was tugging off her distinctive cloak next.

“Mon Dieu,” she gasped, grappling for the cloak, but he fisted it together with the veil, down by his hip, then stretched out his other hand and planted it on the wall beside her head, blocking her face from the interlopers hurrying down the quay.

“Kiss me,” he ordered.

Her shocked face stared up at him. “I b-beg your pardon?”

“Kiss me, then run.”

“What?”

“If you kiss me, you’re a whore. If you stand there staring, you’re a merchant with a pouch of stolen buttons in her hand.”

A second’s pause, then she pushed up on her toes and pressed her lips to his.

Dizziness and heat swooped in like hunting birds for Magdalena, dispelling sense and reason and anything else that might have been of use to her at the moment. She had barely touched her lips to his when he descended without mercy, his mouth hard and slanting. There was no prelude, no warning, no kindness or care, no quarter given. She was a whore and he was having her.

He played the ruse exceptionally well.

He plowed her mouth open with teeth and tongue, explored the depths of her mouth with sinful abandon. She could do nothing but cling to him, her hands around his neck, her head forced back, her spine cupped, her body…thrilling.

Madness. Madness, all.

The hand not holding her cloak and wimple closed around her hip and began to tug up her skirts. She made a feeble attempt to stop him, but his grip grew fierce, and he yanked the gown, dragging it up the side of her leg until she felt cool air on her shin and calf.

Her head spun as if she’d been twirled like a top. Picked up by a bird and sent flying.

Her knees grew weak, but she did not break the kiss. She could not. He’d become a field of energy, the way a metal was pulled toward iron, or how one drop of water clung to another. She was affixed to his kiss, to his chest, which she’d somehow pressed up against, to his shoulders, which she’d somehow wrapped her arms around, to his tongue, which was tangled with hers, his hot male breath, his cunning male hand, his hard knee now making all manner of incursions between her thighs, and she, she, reveling in it.

Then—it might have been an hour, or five seconds—he pulled away, took his heat and his kiss and his hard hands and that soaring sensation, took it all away and broke the kiss.

For a second, his head hung beside hers. “What is your name?” he asked softly.

Her name? What was her name? “M-Magdalena.”

He repeated it, “Magdalena,” so it became a hot, accented breath of her name, then he slid his hands down to her elbows and pushed her away. She stood wavering, bereft, panting against the haberdasher’s wall.

“Run,” he said.

 She stared. “I—”

He gave her a little push. “Run.”

♥♥♥♥

Don’t worry, he’s going to find her later, and make her pay for being a trusting soul.

And then, she’s going to steal the one thing he never knew he had: a heart.

Seriously, go get it!

Amazon | iBook | Kobo | B&N Nook | GooglePlay

(Will update vendor list when all sites go live)

Weekly-ish Wrap-up: February 24

Here we are, Friday. Hope your week was great!  Mine was crazy!

Deadline Met!

Don’t know what it is about a deadline that’s so potent for the creative process. Definitely some of it is the total immersion in story, the way you get to hold everything else at bay–making dinners, being polite, eating–because now you have a legit excuse to do reject anything that gets in the way of writing. 

But there’s more to it.  I’m convinced my muse likes to stand back, pixie-arms crossed, smiling as she watches me flail at the computer, then wafts in at random (and usually late) hours, to whisper in my ear, “Silly, it goes like this…and then this…and then this,” and it all becomes clear. 

One thing I do know: there’s no way I write stories. I discover them.  Because when I’m writing the wrong story, nothing works.  Then the pixie shows up and whooom.

King’s Warrior Coming Tuesday!

Yay!!  I’m so excited about this launch of the Renegade Lords series, in KING’S WARRIOR.

This started as a long novella (under the title The King’s Outlaw) in an anthology early last year.  As I wrote, I realized no way was this story complete (see above, about the fickle, obstinate muse).  Also, the anthology was all novellas, so I had to keep it short.

But I committed to write the whole thing one day. This is it!

It used to be 37K words. It’s now over 80K.  And it’s a big, scorching hot, historical romance thriller!! 

An Irish warrior on the run.

A simple woman caught up on a thrilling adventure of kings and counts and perilous secrets. 

Hot passionate sex against a wall (and other places).  Secret caves with outlaws and glittering treasure. A snowbound hut–yes, there is snowboundness I tell you!

  Can’t wait to share it with you! See you Tussday!

Who’s in the mood for a scorching hot historical romance thriller???

 

 

Weekly-ish Wrap-up: Feb 10

The past couple weeks have been filled with productive but unexciting events of me with my head down, writing. This will undoubtedly result in die-hard readers of this blog turning to one another, if they could turn to one another, and muttering, “Why are we standing here peering through this window when all she’s doing is cursing at a computer screen?”  A fair question.

Rebranding Continues

The rebranding of the historicals continues apace.  And when I saw ‘rebranding,’ I  mean “branding for the first time ever.”  (Full disclosure: you’re in the presence of the worst marketer ever born.)  A couple covers and titles are being revamped, and the entire Renegades & Outlaws series is being renamed, along w/ a new logo.

Gee, I wonder what the new series title is…?  🤔  Okay, actually, I know.   Anyone want to take a guess, comment section is below!

I’ll announce & post pictures when all is done.

King’s Warrior (formerly The King’s Outlaw) off to edits!

Closing in on release date of Feb 28th…. 

You can check it out at Amazon & iBooks and soon, on GooglePlay!  The old title remains on booksellers for now, until the new cover is finished.

Knighting ceremony & Medieval Custard Pie

In the ‘If It’s Medieval, It Counts’ department…at my children’s school, they’ve been studying the middle ages, which includes a “Knight’s Challenge.” This involves the kids setting personal goals related to physical and character improvement (including a 3 hour stint of silence one day!)  and working it on for a month. They also had to do community activity, some service to others.

It’s all wrapped up now, and they’re ready for the solemn occasion of a knighting ceremony & feast to follow!  :rubs hands together:  The kids each make a medieval dish and the parents eat it all.

My child committed to making & bringing apple crisps, which involved very expensive saffron threads (!!) and a deep frying experience none of us will ever forget. Think ‘traumatic.’  It was difficult not to say “I told you so,” but I resisted.

A hasty conference ensued, and the new menu item is a Custard Pie.  Should be easier. And filled with more fat, so it’s a win-win.

A 15th c recipe for fruit daryoles (custard pie) which is NOT the one we used. And aren’t you glad romance writers don’t write in authentic period language??

 

If you’re interested, here’s the amount-adjusted recipe we’re using (God save us, I helped do the math to reduce the original recipe from 2 pies to 1. Will check in after and let you know how it went):

Ingredients FOR ONE PIE

• 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
• 1/4 cup blanched almonds
• ½ c + 1/8 cup cold water
• ½ cup half-and-half cream
• ½ pinch saffron powder
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 ½ eggs
• 3/8 cup white sugar (= 6 TBSP ?)
• ½ teaspoon rose water (NOTE: we may skip because I already bought saffron threads)
• Add all ingredients to list

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Press pie crusts into the bottom and up the sides of two 9 inch pie pans. Prick with a fork all over to keep them from bubbling up. Bake pie crusts for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until set but not browned. Set aside to cool.

Make an almond milk by placing almonds in the container of a food processor. Process until finely ground, then add water, and pulse just to blend. 

Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then strain through a cheesecloth. Measure out 1 cup of the almond milk, and mix with half and half. Stir in the saffron and cinnamon, and set aside.

Place the eggs and sugar in a saucepan, and mix until well blended. Place the pan over low heat, and gradually stir in the almond milk mixture and cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken.

When the mixture is thick enough to evenly coat the back of a metal spoon, stir in rose water and remove from heat. Pour into the cooled pie shells.

Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center is set, but the top is not browned. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until serving.