Category Archives: Introductions

Hello again

So, I’m struggling to get back in the game of writing. School just kicked my ass, and it was only two semesters. I’ve had to take the semester off (Banse and I are moving), and frankly I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford to return. What’s more, I’m not certain I even want to return at this point – it was that stressful.

During that time, I moved away from romance for a while to work on a cozy mystery series that I’m working on. It’s a slow project because I don’t want it to be like others I’ve read (i.e. bad). While it simmers in the back of my brain, I return to another idea that has been simmering – a paranormal set in Victorian England.

I hadn’t intended it to be, but it quickly turned from straight paranormal to paranormal romance. It even connected itself with a series that I’m working on for my (eventual) return to Channillo. No spoilers on that yet, but I look forward to getting it out. I’m currently planning it as a 12-piece installment, with one new short story featured each month. I believe that I could use each installment piece as a starting point for a full length novel set in the same series – the short as an introduction to the characters of the full, as it were.

Of course, as we all know, I’m absolute shit with both planning/plotting and follow-through. Never you mind outlining, however loosely. And I wasn’t sure I’d have something to share with you this week so I thought I’d write about the possibilities of applying the Hero’s Journey to the romance, but damn it, Colleen Gleason already did it with this article.

Do you know what else she did? I mean, other than writing all those delicious books of hers? She inspired me, with that same article, to very loosely outline that paranormal romance I’ve been mulling over. There’s some kinks to work out, of course, but I have the bare bones. That’s rather exciting for me.

So, here’s my plan for you: just a few posts a week while I get back in the swing of things. I’d love to tell you I have a specific plan, but those don’t work for me. Today, I’m sharing the name of my newest protagonist: Miss Jacqueline Dunhurst, daughter of Victor Dunhurst, a filthy rich shipping baron with a questionable past.

I don’t have a picture of her yet, though I do have a good idea of her personality. I’ll be back to share a snippet soon.

Sarah

An idea popped into my head the other day, and I snatched at the chance to write it. I’ve no plot so far beyond the very basics. Since plotting/planning does not always work for me, I’m going to pants it as far as I can before doing any actual planning. Let’s call this the discovery stage as the characters are still revealing themselves to me.

I did not intend for this to happen, but I have found myself with characters whose names start with S. Who does that? LOL. Me.

First, let me introduce Sarah Grace Patterson. Sarah Grace Patterson  She is 23, and has never been married. She has never even left London. As far as she is concerned, she is firmly on the shelf. But, with her younger cousin having a Come Out this year, she has agreed to act as chaperone.

Now, let me introduce Stratford Clarion, ninth Duke of Westerfell. Montgomery Clift as Inspiration for Stratford Clarion, Ninth Duke of Westerfell Now this fine gentleman here was born to a bookshop owner and the daughter of a duke. He joined the military at 18, and he is now 33. Unfortunately for him, his wastrel cousin died in a duel with no offspring, and he had to leave the military. Before leaving, he was elevated as far as Major. He has scars from his time in the army, both visible and not.

Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. I went old school for that one, and I think it really works.

So, it is Tuesday. Here’s my Tidbit. Do enjoy. Is there something you do not like? Let me know.

Near the entrance to the ballroom, Stratford leaned heavily on an ebony cane, careful to keep the pain from his face. Felton said it was not quite the done thing, and who knew better than the third son of the Duke of Whittenslay? He tuned out the inane chatter of Greymoore and the others – this polite nonsense grated. Had they nothing of substance to offer?

His gaze took in the joviality of the guests and their finery. These were not his people, and well he knew it. He spotted several men in uniform, but not a single familiar face. No, these were the officers whose money ensured their safety. Or, they were men hired to wear the uniform, to gain cachet for the hostess. The majority of his men had not returned from Portugal, after all.

That was the old, however, and this, he realized with a shudder, was the new.

The Fourth Wall

I guess you’ve heard the news by now that I have put Midnight Garnets to the side – for the time being. We need some space. We aren’t breaking up per se, but we sure as hell aren’t hanging out right now. Like Ross, I found someone new. Oh wait. No, they were on an actual break. I just said we didn’t break up. Well. This is awkward.

Anyway, I am playing around with a Fairy Tale right now. In my usual fashion, I am ignoring all the rules and twisting things around. I believe they call that a Fractured Fairy Tale. I call it Laura being Laura.

Why am I doing this? Because I can?? Oh, still not a good enough reason. OK. Because I am playing with the 3rd Person Omniscient POV. Think I explained that one already. Whatevs.

And let us be honest with each other – Fairy Tales are made for a 3rd Omni POV. They scream for it. But that narrator becomes a new character, takes on a life of their own. They have to – in order to have an authentic voice, that is. So I wondered – how do you get to know the narrator of your story? Do you fill out a character questionnaire?

I recently watched Mirror, Mirror. I am a Snow White junkie, and this was a good fix. I L-O-V-E-D it. For reals. If you’ve seen it, you know that the Evil Stepmother is the Narrator. If you haven’t – oops, spoilers.

Well, I’m not writing Snow White. So, who should narrate this tale? I don’t know, but I like her already. Here’s a tiny tidbit of what I’ve written so far:

The night before her twenty-first birthday, Olivia fell into bed, visions of a different future dancing through her head. She dreamt of soaring through the clouds, high above amber fields and green pastures. She dreamt, as one may do, of a life in which she was free of the shackles of her sightlessness. Of a life in which she did not bump into furniture spitefully moved in the middle of the night. A life where she had purpose. One where she was not just that “poor blind child,” abandoned and unwanted. Unworthy. Unloved.

The dreams were all the same. From the safety of her tiny bed, tucked away under the eaves of the attic, Olivia swept aside the walls of her prison, escaping into the air on iridescent wings. In these dreams, she drank in all the colors reality denied her as her travels took her to the farthest reaches of the Empire.

Her dreams on this night were no different. She was at peace, and hoped the dream would never end. Unfortunately for Olivia, everyone must wake up – even sleepy Aurora broke free of her dreams. But that is another story, is it not?

For Olivia, the illusions built by her slumbering imagination were shattered by the shriek of another great beast roaming the night skies. One moment, she was wafting through a cloud, the next she had bolted upright, a dazzling flash of light obscuring her vision. She rubbed the sleep from the corner of her eyes, expecting the light to fade to the familiar darkness.

It did not. Instead, the light remained, growing brighter with each beat of her heart. Olivia knew she must still be dreaming. Her chest tightened as she fought for control of her frozen mind.

She screwed her eyes shut, just as she had so many times before, pinching at the skin of her forearm. She knew that if she could just wake up, all would be right again. The light faded as darkness crept in, but her mind would not be comforted.

The darkness is gone, it screamed. Olivia pulled her knees to her chest, burying her face in the crevice. A bead of sweat trickled down her back. She knew, in the way one just knows these things, that this brilliant light could mean only one thing: she could see. After twenty long years of darkness, she could finally see.

She gave voice to a small yelp of excitement. She could see – the one thing she wished for more than any other thing had finally come true while she slept. And she knew something else, knew it with a clarity typically reserved for day-after regrets: nothing good would come of this revelation.

Stuck to the feather tick mattress of her cot, Olivia rocked slightly, hands clenched together under bare legs. She cursed, relishing every unladylike word that tumbled from her lips. She gave in to the terror of the moment, mourning the loss of the familiar – exactly as would you or I.

What Is She Thinking?

I had to put the historical romance to the side because… Well, to be quite honest – I’ve never been to England and I’m not sure why I want to write this. While I love reading Regency (and other English set) Romance, I kind of want my romances to be more “local”…

That, plus that week I had to take off while I was sick really did a number on me, and I’m just not able to get my head back in it – not right now anyway.

So what am I working on? Well, I had that dragon fantasy thing I was doing for the contest. Except now, I cannot find the contest link. But I am having FUN exploring 3rd Omni, and trying to create a fantasy world that is still a little more English than local (no queens and kings in Illinois, folks – sorry). I never thought I would write fantasy, but when I first learned of Gaslamp Fantasy, I fell in love.

So, this is what I’ve been working on lately. This is my serial project. I’m aiming for pieces that are 10,000 words each – ones that I can then package as larger pieces for selling, perhaps? Who knows.

A great while ago, when the world was full of wonders, dragons roamed the earth. When the humans became humans and shifters, the dragons adapted. When humans and shifters became humans, shifters, and vampires, the dragons retreated. Abandoning their great cities, fortresses, and castles to the humans, they escaped back to the impenetrable forests, mountains, and oceans from whence they came.

The humans moved in to the abandoned territories, savagely protecting what they claimed was theirs by right, by birth. Vampires were sent to hunt in the dead of night, shifters by light of the sun. The mighty beasts dwindled. Too soon, only a handful remained. When the Great Mother passed into Eternal Night, she foretold of a future in which dragons no longer have to hide. One in which the healing waters of Hydros mingle with the rebirthing flames of Hephaestus to bring forth a new generation.

These few remaining dragons soon abandoned their forests, mountains, and ocean floors for the cold mountainous regions known as Devil’s Back. There, they lost hope, relinquished their fleeting humanity – to await the birth of the prophesied child. Craving the touch of man, the lone water dragon slipped away one night. Nine months later, she birthed a daughter of fire, blind at birth. The choice is presented: abandon the crippled girl to the humans, or they could both die outcast and alone. Unable to condemn her child to death, or relinquish the company of dragons, Emmaline abandons her only daughter to the Children of Prometheus, hoping she will learn empathy, love, and kindness. Hoping that she will save them all.

That daughter is now twenty-one, and this is her story.

Tidbits and Introductions

It’s Tidbit Tuesday over here in laura-land, which is totally real, and not at all made up. In any way what-so-ever. Swear.

*Ahem*

Tidbit Tuesday, you say. Sounds fascinating? Tell you more? Why, of course I will.

Each Tuesday, several of my writer friends and I share a tidbit of our writing with each other in a private group. Then, I will share that barest of bits with you. Well, a tid more than the barest bits. I save the barest for #1LineWed and #FirstLineFriday over on Twitter.

Last week I shared a bit from my current work-in-progress. Today, I give you something from an upcoming work. One where Eloise finally Gets What Is Coming To Her, and Lissandra gets her very own Happy Ever After.

Enjoy!

Lady Lissandra Phillips swallowed the lump welling up in her throat, and walked into her grandfather’s study. No, not her grandfather’s any longer. Lord Richard’s. The man Eloise had once planned to marry. She prayed this plan worked.

It had to.

“Ah, cousin Lissandra. Come in. Take a seat. I’ll be with you in a few moments.” The new duke waved a hand dismissively in her direction, never looking up from his stack of papers.

Thirty minutes later, Lissandra stood up, thankful for the patience four years of solitude have given her. Quietly, she walked to the wall of books, choosing one to read.

An hour later, she had read no further than page five, but Richard was finally done with his stack of papers.

“Tell me, cousin Lissandra – have you come to gloat over your new fortune?” Richard poured himself a drink, then walked over to sit across from Lissandra.

“Stop calling me cousin. Are we even actually related, Richard?” Lissandra set her book down, looking this stranger in the eye.

“Course not. Does it matter?”

It did. Her entire plan hinged on there being no actual relation between them.

Book Two, Isobel’s story

Lately, I have started working on plotting and planning for the next book in the series which features Isobel, the younger of the 2nd set of twins. Odd that I’m doing the first book on the younger of the older twins and the 2nd on the younger of the younger twins…Heh. Of course, this is only the order in which I am writing them 🙂

Anyway, as I wrap up a scene from Book 1 I am doing a bit of work on Book 2. Tonight, I whipped up this little scenario which serves as both the hook and the meet. I have to be honest – I think this is really good. I hope you do as well.

Stepping into the crowded Fitz-Patrick ballroom, Lady Isobel Sellinger immediately noticed the conversation coming to a halt. She stood there, suspended in the eternal moment of humiliation, fighting the tears threatening to break free.

Unfortunately for Isobel, eternity only lasted about 20 seconds. And the room was once more awash in conversation, this time accompanied by pointed looks in her direction. Steeling her spine, she moved from the doorway to the side of her friend, Freddy, ignoring the whispers and the glares. She could not allow doubts to sway her from this mission – no doubts, no fears.

“You dare come here, Lady Isobel? And without a chaperone, I see,” hissed Freddy, grabbing her arm cruelly to drag her to the floor as a waltz started up.

“I had to come, Freddy. You know I had no other choice!” whispered Isobel, matching the anger of his accusation.

“That’s Lord Fredric to you, Lady Isobel. Let there be no informalities betwixt us.” Freddy was snarling, no longer the friend of yesterday. No, this stranger was no one she knew.

“Freddy – you can’t mean that,” she begged, once more fighting the tears.

And then, her world came to a crashing halt.

Lord Fredric gave her a pitying look before dropping her hands and stepping away from her. Eyes burning with the threat of tears, she stepped toward him.

“Please do not make more of a spectacle of yourself, Lady Isobel. It is unseemly,” he said, every inch the aristocrat.

“But Fre – I mean, Lord Fredric,” she cried.

“No, my lady. No more lies, no more denials,” was his response, slightly louder than polite.

“What? What are you talking about, Freddy?”

“No my lady. No, I will not stand idly by and allow you to pawn another man’s child off as mine. How dare you ask such a thing of me?” He asked, this time loud enough that his voice carried across the crowded ballroom, ensuring everyone was watching as he turned away from Lady Isobel and walked across the floor.

The weight of their stares became too much, and she crumpled inward. Barely able to breath, Lady Isobel made her way through the crowd, hunched over, face down to avoid the glee of their faces. Once outside, the dam broke and her tears finally fell. Finding the Sellinger coach, she did the only thing she knew to do.

“Take me to the station. I wish to go home.”

 

Is Every Bad Guy (Girl) a villain?

No.

At least, not in my opinion. Just as every villain is not exclusively bad, not ever bad person is a villain.

Again, this is just my opinion. Perhaps your opinion is different?

I am thinking about this because I have a character in my book that is purely a bitch. And yes, I mean she is mean-spirited, petty, jealous, and frankly, just plain mean. So far, she has not learned that actions and words have consequences. She is the only child of a fairly prominent and old family. And a shifter to boot. She is also just plain fun to write.

She isn’t the villain of the current project, although she is the catalyst that sets the ball rolling for the next book. I am toying with a redemption story for her. We do love a good redemption story, right? But it isn’t very realistic, is it? I mean – let’s be realistic here. There are tons of nasty people in the world who live their entire lives as a nasty person without ever being “redeemed” or becoming a better person. Yet they still find love and happiness. You know, at least their own version of it.

So I suppose Lady Eloise could have her own story without ever being redeemed. Now that sounds like a challenge. As writers – we know she will only get a story if she wants it.

As things stand right now she is having fun being a bitch and stirring the pot as much as possible. Here is a little taste of her cattiness:

 

Not bothering to knock, Lady Eloise swept into the grand room that she would occupy before year’s end. “Well, this is just hideous. I cannot wait until I am Mistress of this home, and can change the furnishings to better suit my delicate nature,” she said out loud, startling Helena who was lounging on a couch in front of the large bed.

“Why yes, you may come in Lady Eloise. How kind of you to stop by and wish me a good rest.”

“Are you mad, peasant? I wish you no such thing. In fact, I would dearly like it if you were to find yourself at the bottom of the ocean. I do not know what you think to accomplish here, but Duncan will not be swayed by your loose ways for long,” stated Lady Eloise, coming to rest in a chair near the fireplace.

“My apologies, but my what?” Putting her book down, Helena spared her a momentary glance before looking away.

“Don’t bother with the charade of a proper little virgin. I know you for the slut you really are. Did you think to seduce my fiance while I was here, under the same roof?”

“You cannot be serious, my lady. Come, where is your audience? Are they hiding in my dressing room?” Jumping up, Helena moved toward the large bathroom, clearly expecting to find people hiding there, anticipating her newest degradation at the hands of Lady Eloise.

“Oh no, this is between you and I. There does not appear to be an immediate need to let your lack of morals become public knowledge. At least, not yet.” Lady Eloise lounged in the chair, entirely at ease despite the grotesque colors of the room. Soon, this would all be hers and she already felt comfortable.

“You are delusional if you believe I am sleeping with that neanderthal you seem so attached to, Lady Eloise.”

“And you are a simpleton if you think I believe your denials. Just remember this, Duncan and I will be announcing our engagement soon. We’ve been intimate for quite some time. If you thought to warm his bed after inveigling an invitation to my intimate little party, well… You will not do so.”

Across the room, the peasant stared at her before snorting indelicately. “You really are delusional, Lady Eloise. Such a shame. Do try to keep the madness in reign. I’ve heard awful things about the conditions of the madhouses in Lower London.”

Eloise wanted to scream with rage; she wanted to swipe this dirty little peasant out of existence. Oh, she wanted revenge for this… Standing up leisurely, not allowing her emotions to gain control of her actions, she said only, “Let me make myself clear, peasant. Duncan is mine. If you do not stay away from him, I will make you pay.”

Exiting the room as quickly as she had entered, Lady Eloise quickly found the room of Lord Milne. She knocked, but did not wait for a response. Entering, she found the older gentleman enjoying a brandy with Therese.

“I do apologize for interrupting your little tryst – or whatever this is. Milne, I want you to arrange a meeting with Collins for me.”

“You cannot be serious dear girl. He will never agree to meeting with you!” Lord Milne proclaimed.

“Tell him if he does not agree to meet me at Kirke’s temple here on the estate tomorrow night, that I will tell everyone he and I have been meeting in secret for the last two years. I will force his hand only if he makes me.” Threatened Lady Eloise before slipping to the room she was forced to share with Lissandra.

 

Teasers

If you follow the blog, you know that I’m considering some changes to the way my story flows, especially concerning the world in which my story takes place. While I am not starting over completely, I am reworking what I already have. Today, I reworked the prologue, which involved some of the new rules of my alternate reality. Because of this, I am sharing the old prologue with you. I do hope you enjoy!

With this prologue, I will introduce to you the character of Lady Eleanor Hadleigh, Countess of Hadleigh. Widow of Lord Arthur Samuel Fisher, the Earl of Hadleigh. Some of the addresses are wrong in this part, but that’s what editing is for, eh?

 

Hadleigh Manor

Hadleigh, Suffolk, Britain

23 September, 1799

 

“I truly am sorry my lady, but you must see that this request is highly unusual,” the lawyer stated as he shifted nervously in the worn leather chair in front of the earl’s massive oak desk. His dirty, graying hair fell over eyes widened in shock at the thought of working for the person in front of him.

“Yes, perhaps it is. Nevertheless, it will be done. Whether you help me, or whether another lawyer helps resolve this issue; well, it matters very little to me. The Rigsby Firm has earned a lot of money from this family, but that does not mean I am forced to continue this relationship. I will get my way in this.” Seated behind the desk that had been her husband’s, the dowager Countess of Hadleigh set her icy gaze upon the older gentleman, knowing he would soon look away. She had perfected that glare at the knees of her father, one of the most feared dukes in the land; mimicry was just one of those innate abilities she had always had.

“But they are bastards, your grace. And all girls,” the last bit was said with a shudder, as if the innocent children had asked for either condition. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, John Rigsby wished he could inhale them, erase them from the very air. The air that now crackled with anger.

“Ah yes, there is that, they are bastards, John, and female bastards at that. Neither of which matter in the slightest. Those children are in danger. Will you be helping me, or no?” This was asked as the dowager countess gracefully stood up, the bulge of her stomach not hindering her in anyway.

“From the information I have received, the only danger to those children is you,” John Rigsby was not sure what suddenly gave him the nerve to speak so rudely to the woman ushering him from her home, but his spine was suddenly erect, and he looked her straight in the eye.

Not so much as a blink. Not a twinge. There was absolutely nothing in the amber eyes staring at him. No embarrassment, no anger; no emotion of any kind.

“Your information is flawed, Mr. Rigsby. Archibald Wilkins will be here Tuesday next. If you do not wish to sully your hands by working for a female, then consider our relationship severed as of now. If however, you wish to continue working for the Hadleigh family, bring me the papers and those children tomorrow morning.” With that command, Eleanor Hadleigh swept from the room, nodding an indication to show the attorney out to a passing footman.

 

Sunday Writing Prompt, Week 4

I know. Technically it’s like week 5. But I totally skipped a week. I’m not feeling it today, either. And let me tell you something up front. While I am dedicated to this book, I have chosen to live my life with the rule of, “If I don’t want to do it, then I won’t”, with the obvious exception of requirements – work, taxes, bills… If I have to force myself to write, even in the guise of “practice” or “perfection” then it clearly isn’t going to happen. I’ll be miserable and that will translate into the work.

So, you’ve been warned. I have the best of intentions. Especially in regards to this blog, but there are times when I just won’t. Take today, for example. My writing prompts stash is growing. I selected three to work with today. Yet, you’ll be getting none of them. Instead, today’s prompt was a flash of, “let’s write the opening from Harald’s perspective!” What better way to introduce him than this? So, I present unto you:

Sweat beaded at the bow of Elixabeth’s mouth, collecting and dropping; collecting and dropping. He could see the beads forming and falling, even from across the crowded ceremonial hall. His potion was powerful enough to hinder even the innate ability to hide her nerves with a glamour, but his eyesight was sharper than an eagle’s. He would have seen those beads of sweat regardless; he was looking for them, after all.

Next to her, his Nikita stood tall and proud, calm in the face of this challenge. Her glamour, weak and useless just the day before, proved unbreakable today. Not even he could penetrate the mask of serenity. Perhaps there was no glamour. Perhaps she was actually calm. The girl knew she would succeed where the other was even now failing. She knew he would not fail her, he never had.

Hands trembling so bad the ceremonial blood sloshed over the side of the Initiation Chalice, Elixabeth once more raised her hands in the air, speaking the incantation in a voice weakened by her nerves, though it had rung strong and clear just moments before. Her voice mattered little. Without the potion, should could have thought the words and the Fire would have erupted from the Chalice, creating a burst of Sun above her head, crowning her the next heir to the Summer Court. Instead, that burst flamed above the amber colored head of his Nikita. With the potion, however, nothing happened; just as wanted. Just moments before, his Nikita had performed the same feat with no effort, and had been rewarded, just as wanted.

But that drop of blood, it worried him; pulled at his mind. Glancing around the hall, it appeared no one else had noticed that one, tiny, drop. The room, quiet but moments before started to buzz with talk. Some spoke of the shock a failed Initiation caused; something that had not occurred in all of their long history, while others whispered loudly of the maiden next to their Princess. This girl, no better than a servant, whom they had chosen to ignore for so long. This girl claiming royal parentage, asking for her rightful place as eldest daughter of the Summer Court. This girl who looked just like the King’s twin sister, his elder by just minutes. She had disappeared long before this girl was born, taken by the Mortal Realm, but the resemblance was uncanny. King Jamus could not deny that she was his bastard daughter, born of a lustful interlude just weeks before his marriage to Queen Annen, the woman to his left.

And still, his mind brought him back to that drop of blood. Without the ability to use her glamour, that drop should still have been visible to the naked eye, a rich maroon against her pale skin, yet it was not for he had seen it quickly absorb into the top of her hand – right into the mark of her totem animal, the snow leopard, tattooed upon her hand at the culmination of her sixteenth birthday celebration. Impossible! Not with his potion; certainly not without it. The Summer Court would not, and often could not, work with blood magics. Only one able to control the dark matter of the gods could harness the powerful blood magics, and he himself had slain the last of those capable a millennium before.

To his left, King Jamus shifted angrily upon his throne. With furrowed brow, and thunderous eyes, he could only watch as the daughter of his heart failed him. Had he noticed that bit of blood, or that it had disappeared? If so, it would ruin all of his plans. And that just could not be allowed. It was time to take a more active role in the game at hand.