One of the most exciting times during the publication process is receiving an actual release date for my next book. The other most exciting time is receiving a cover. Those two things make it all seem real. Imminent. All over again, I get an almost uncontrollable urge to yell "I'm going to be published!".
Sometimes I don't control that urge.
This week I'm celebrating both those things. It's a double whammy.
I love the cover from Maria Fanning. It's very close to the story.
And the release date: Warrior Pledge will be released by Dreamspinner Press on 3 October.
As soon as the blurb is finalised, I'll share that as well.
When I plot a book, I'll often write the sentence 'blow stuff up' in the plan. I never, ever write 'feel something'. That might be one of the reasons I often get told my characters lack emotional depth in my first drafts. I wish I could just learn to write the emotion in the first time. It's not as if I don't know it's a problem. Why can't I learn how to do it?
The easy answer is probably that I'd rather write about something blowing up. Emotions are hard.
So it's time for me to analyse exactly what is needed to show emotion in writing and see if I can do it logically. These are things I know I'm supposed to do, but don't always remember to do them because I get absorbed with what's happening in the story.
Perhaps, when I'm plotting, I should also identify where I need to layer in the emotional depth. I could make another list! :)
Bert Cooper’s life used to be great, until his sister turned out to be a traitor. Now Bert feels the whole pack looks on him with doubt and suspicion. To prove his loyalty, he volunteers to be the first ambassador at Fey Court, gathering information to finally solve the Leader Murders and punish those plotting against the Council and community. At least, that was the plan….
When Bert meets Sir William Matthew Sims, Court Interrogator, and one hell of a sexy man, life becomes a balancing act. And when the Fey King is assassinated, things become really messy.
Pack politics, fey politics, treason, suspicions of treason…. Bert has to choose between being ruled by his fears or standing up for what—and who—he believes in. And it might just break his heart.
Pages or Words: 234 pages, 82,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Mystery, Parnormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Wolf Shifters
Excerpt from A King and a Pawn by Liv Olteano:
“Would you take me in as a trophy, Bert?” he asked, smiling oddly, a sort of indulgent look in his eyes.
I wasn’t going to outsmart him, that was for sure. Luckily I didn’t think I had to.
“I wouldn’t be taking you in at all. You and your kids would simply accompany me. I’m sure you can find something of value to offer me so I’ll be willing to go that way. And then you’d find something of value to offer Weiss and the Council to give you guys, say, political asylum?”
“You’ve thought of everything, haven’t you?”
I shrugged. “I’m sure you did. I don’t think you’re a fool, Will. I’m sure you’re not, in fact. So I’m giving you the courtesy of not treating you as one. A courtesy I hope you’ll give me too.”
“Implying that I have not so far?” he asked, stepping toward me again.
My pulse spiked. “I wasn’t implying that at all.”
We were face-to-face, a step apart at most. My mind stuttered over the few stray thoughts I managed to recognize. It was unusual someone’s presence would affect me this much, this soon. Was he that special? Was our chemistry that special? Or was he using some sort of spell on me? I didn’t think that was beneath him. Magic wasn’t beneath any magic-wielding fey, just like changing into a wolf wasn’t beneath me as werewolf. It was a natural part of who we were. I just wasn’t that used to his natural part, and the very idea made me smile.
“What could I offer you that you’d like to have?” he asked as his breath touched my face with every word he uttered.
“Oh, I could think of several things,” I replied.
He leaned toward me. His lips brushed against mine now when he spoke. “I could think of several things I’d like to offer you as well.”
I gulped. Shit, I couldn’t think with my dick. Not now at least. I so wanted to. It would be so easy to whisper it sweetly: “Fuck my brains out and I’ll be on your side.” But I wasn’t here for shits and giggles, so I couldn’t. There was no reason I couldn’t hope I’d get a fuck out of the situation somewhere down the line. The more time we spent together, the better chance of that happening. That was pretty solid motivation to spin things in a way that would benefit us all in the end. There. I wasn’t doing this for my selfish fuck-greedy self but for the greater good. I was a fucking humanitarian, feyitarian, whateveritarian.
“I’ll only ask for one small thing for myself,” I whispered softly.
He brushed his lips against mine. The touch sent little fiery thrills down my nerve endings, from the skin of my lips right to the pulsing muscle of my heart. I felt his breath hitch at the contact, and the idea it might affect him almost as much as it was affecting me sent a shiver down my spine. We could have been faking it, both of us. This was a negotiation of sorts, and now was the time to bring on our top game. But I felt it in my gut that this connection was real, that it wasn’t bullshit for either one of us. I just knew it in the pit of my stomach. I wondered if he knew it too, as clearly as I did right in that instant.
His scent didn’t assault my senses since he’d been hanging out in my personal space for a while now. My senses were bathed in his scent already. But I could feel the pounding of his heart as I deepened the kiss; I could feel his muscles clench and unwind with sensual tension while my body sang with it. Fuck me sideways, I wanted him right now. I wanted him so bad it almost gutted me. The feel of him languidly moving his tongue against mine made my blood turn into liquid fire, scalding my insides and bringing up my body temperature to heights I didn’t think I’d felt before after just kissing. Everything in my body screamed, This. This is it. This is what you’ve been waiting for, for so fucking long!
“What do you want?” he asked after he pulled back, his forehead leaning against mine.
Fuck, fuck it, fuck! “I want all the information you can get from the Archives on a certain topic.”
Buy the book: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7849
Amazon US - https://amzn.com/B01GD3CFBO
UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GD3CFBO
ARe - https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-akingandapawn-2048682-145.html
BN - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-king-and-a-pawn-liv-olteano/1123855463
GooglePlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Liv_Olteano_A_King_and_a_Pawn?id=gLA8DAAAQBAJ&hl=en
iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-king-and-a-pawn/id1118279966
kobo - https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-king-and-a-pawn
Meet the author:
Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.
She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?
Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/LiviaOlteano/
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30232294-a-king-and-a-pawn
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG
Tour Dates & Stops:
Parker Williams, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Happily Ever Chapter, Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, The Jena Wade, The Dark Arts, Book Lovers 4Ever, Velvet Panic, Charley Descoteaux, Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly, Oh My Shelves
Bayou Book Junkie, A.M. Leibowitz, BFD Book Blog, Full Moon Dreaming, My Fiction Nook, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Havan Fellows, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, EE Montgomery, Gay Media Reviews, Kirsty Loves Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, V's Reads
I’m on retreat this weekend. If you’re anything like my family, you’ll be saying ‘again?’. If you’re like my writing friends, you’ll be saying ‘again?’, but with a very different inflection.
There are six of us this weekend. We’re staying in a little place near Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. We’re on the top of the mountain with a magnificent view and totally exposed to whatever the weather wants to throw at us. Last night it was a huge windstorm. We sat in the living room with the fire going, toasty warm, while all around us the wind howled and twigs and branches slapped and crashed. It went on through the night, gaining in intensity, until, suddenly, it stopped. That was about 2.00am.
At 3.30am the possum came home. I woke to scrambling and thumping in the ceiling above my head. I count myself lucky that the possum doesn’t seem to have access to the whole ceiling so didn’t go running all over the place.
I finally got to sleep around 4.00am, only to wake before 7.00am with the sun streaming in my uncurtained windows. The courtyard is filled with leaves, half a tree came down in the neighbour’s yard and all the mandarins fell of the tree in the front yard. Luckily, where we parked the cars seems to have been protected, so there’s no damage there.
Oddly, after spending all night editing, and with the prospect of more writing this morning, I’m not feeling tired at all. That might change after a few hours.
Last night was really productive. I finished the line edits on Warrior Pledge - just the global edits to do before Tuesday. I also critiqued a chapter for a friend. Today I'll be working on character profiles, plot and first chapter of the sequel to Warrior Pledge.
Things come along in life and pass you by. Sometimes it feels so real it tears you apart, or fills you with unbearable joy. Sometimes you're so numb from everything bombarding you, none of it feels quite real. And then it's gone. It becomes the past, when you haven't had time to become accustomed to it being the present.
The last few weeks have felt a bit like that.
Twelve months ago, we welcomed a new member to our family. A week later, we lost someone dear to us: our father and father-in-law, the thread that held the families together. We lurched between joy and grief, but I can't help feeling the gorgeous little baby who joined us helped to soften the blow of loss.
Every day he brings joy to our lives, and everything else falls in behind that. His presence in our lives has muted the losses we've felt.
A few months ago when a dear friend's father died in his sleep (himself a friend of more than twenty years), I was distraught, inconsolable... until I hugged a tiny little boy whose first reaction when he sees me is to smile, grab a handful of my hair and hug me hard.
It doesn't mean we miss our loved ones less. The ache of loss still grips us. Each day brings with it a new realisation that Al is gone, and now Frank is gone too. We won't see them again, or talk to them, or see them smile.
But watching a new life unfold, watching a little boy discover the world around him, where everything is new and interesting and wonderful, helps us remember the joys we experienced with those who are gone. He helps us remember that life is good.
Meet Artemis. He lives in a volcano and that glorious purple changes colour with the heat. Artemis is quickly taking over my mind.
I worked out last night that I've been editing or rewriting since before Christmas. That's six full months where, while I might have written new words, there were no new ideas. No new worlds. No new characters or problems to solve.
A few days ago, I wrote the first words for a brand new story. It's a sequel to Warrior Pledge which is coming out with Dreamspinner Press in November. I took the first scene to my critique group last night, knowing it was still unfinished, unpolished.
They read it, put it down, said "I love it". I picked up my pen and waited. I didn't have to wait long. The questions came thick and fast:
Everything is nebulous, like shifting fog under streetlights.
It's been so long since I began a new story, I'd forgotten what a complete buzz it is. The whole world is there for me to discover. Yes, Warrior Pledge is set in the same world, but it's set in the middle--the desert and the Aylmer Mountains. This one is going to be set to the south and north of that. New ground. I have a lot of work to do and I want to get started, already becoming impatient with parts of my real life because they're taking me away from it.
It's a good thing I have a writers' retreat in a couple of weeks and another two weeks after that I can block out for writing. July is Camp NaNo too, so that's another intense writing time. Let's see how much I can write before August...
Image from: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Purple-Dragon-90438073. I bought a copy of the print just so I could use it here. It's going to look great in my office.
It's that moment when you look at the map you created and you think: I wonder who lives there.
It's that moment when you make a change in a manuscript and think: where will he go after this?
Then it becomes an avalanche:
I'm late with this week's post because I was on a deadline for edits on Warrior Pledge and trying to do them in the middle of a massive four-day headache. As I was editing and referring to the map I'd painted, my brain kept throwing all those questions up.
I have three books in various stages of completion, with plans to finish and submit them all by the end of the year.
So what do I do?
I start plotting a new story.
What else do you do when you're time poor and under pressure, but start a new project.
So, to make up for being tardy this week, I thought I'd leave you with a teaser from the new book that has no name and no focus, just two characters who have to find their way to each other. The character's name will also change: it's just a place-card at the moment.
Temis draped himself over the crest of the volcano. His forelegs hung comfortably over the uppermost rock while his hindlegs rested sturdily on rocks, propping him in exactly the right position. His tail swished slowly side to side in the warm air rising from below and his wings twitched where they sat folded against the spines that ran down the center of his back. He rested his chin on the rock and stared at the sky.
The two moons, Makai and Nayeli, would come together this night and fight for supremacy. He knew Nayeli would win. She was larger and brighter and closer to the Isles than Makai could ever hope to be. But Makai never gave up. Every thousand years he’d try once more to be the most powerful and for a few seconds, it would seem like he could win. Then Nayeli would move in front of him, swallow him whole and spit him out the other side. Temis knew Makai would regain his strength but in those first seconds when Nayeli rejected him, he seemed ragged and dull, ready to concede defeat. He wouldn’t, though. By the next night he’d have moved farther from Nayeli and would be as bright and beautiful as he always was, his face a calming motley of cream and brown.
Shortly before the first time, his mother told him Makai would bring love to him. Then she’d flown north as was her destiny. He had waited but his mother never returned, and no one came for him. Decades later, he decided it must have been because he’d been too young. The next battle would be the one.
The second time Makai and Nayeli battled, Temis had sat eager and watchful, sure it would happen then. He was an adult, with wards of his own to watch over and protect. But again, Makai limped away and left no one to watch over Temis as he watched over his wards.
This would be the third battle Temis witnessed and he held no hope he would be granted love. He had traveled far in the intervening years, returning a mere fifty years before. There were no others of his kind left in the land. Even his mother had been reduced to blue ice in the wastelands far to the north. His destiny was to live, adored and worshiped by his wards as much as he was feared by them, but alone.
A dragon is about to find out what happens when a cat discovers his cave of shiny treasures.
After nine years, Pib is finally free from his contract with the newly wed prince. Slipping out in the middle of the night to avoid getting stuck in another contract, Pib shifts into his cat and makes his way home to the little village he foolishly left, hoping his best friend Wil still lives there.
Dray is bored. His services as a princess-guarding dragon are no longer needed and even his gold and jewels are unable to cheer him up. His mood changes quickly when he catches someone in his treasure cave, and it starts a series of events that change his life forever.
When the two finally meet, sparks fly, but Dray will have to move quickly if he’s to save his cat after Pib gets kidnapped.
Part of a series? If yes, can it be read as a standalone? Yes and yes
Series Title: Twisted Fairy Tales
Number in Series: #1
Publisher: Rainbow Ninja Press
Early Download at Rainbow Ninja Press – 27th May
Third Party Pre Order – 3rd June
General Release – 10th June
Word Count: 21,699
Rainbow Ninja Press
Rainbow Ninja Press – EU Customers
Categories: M/M Romance, Gay Fiction, Paranormal, Humor
Pib snuck into the darkened room, tiptoeing quietly so as not to wake the newly crowned prince Geraint and his princess. Looking around, he both thanked and cursed his shifter senses. While he was grateful he could see inside the room, the smell of sex throughout the air was something he could have done without.
Reaching the desk on the far side of the room, he paused and glanced at the couple. Once he was satisfied they were still asleep, he eased open the cover and found what he was after—his freedom. After nine long years as the bastard’s slave, the letter freeing him from servitude almost brought tears to his eyes. Carefully folding it and placing it in his inside pocket, Pib gently shut the desk and tiptoed back toward the bedroom door, leaving the room as silently as he’d entered.
He knew there was only a limited window of opportunity for him to make his escape. Even though the pompous bastard had made a production of signing the form and granting him his freedom, Pib knew it was all for show. If he didn’t escape now, Geraint would get him alone and force him to sign another contract and then make some sort of bogus announcement about how Pib wanted to stay.
Pib snorted, unable to help himself. Luckily there was no one else around the castle at this time of the night, though even if there was, Pib didn’t care. He was leaving, and no one was going to stop him. Anyone who tried would have a close encounter with his knife, or his claws, he wasn’t picky.
“Hey, Pib, where are you off to in the middle of the night?” asked the guard at the front door of the castle. Pib never bothered learning their names or getting friendly with them, especially since Geraint could force him to kill any of them at a moment’s notice. He’d learned that it didn’t pay for him to form any attachments with those surrounding Geraint.
“Getting an early start on my retirement,” Pib replied, smirking at the man while he continued to stroll toward the exit.
“Sorry, Pib, but I have to check. Do you have a signed letter from Prince Geraint?” The guard shifted from foot to foot, showing his unease.
Pib stopped in front of him and forced a smile. “Of course,” he said, carefully extracting the letter and handing it over to the guard.
He waited, watching the guard closely as he read the letter. One wrong move and Pib was going to gut him. Nothing could happen to that letter.
“Looks good,” the guard said, handing the letter back to Pib. “It’ll sure be different without you around, but all the best. And, uh, don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope I don’t see you again.”
Returning the letter to his pocket, Pib looked up and smiled a real smile at the man. He wanted to laugh when the guard’s face paled as he caught sight of Pib’s canines, but restrained himself. “Don’t worry, I hope never to see you again either.”
With that, Pib walked out of the castle and made his way through the sleeping village. Pulling his hood up, he used the dark material to blend into the surroundings. He wasn’t taking any chances that Geraint wouldn’t wake up any moment and send guards running after him. After all, Pib was practically friends with all of the skeletons in Geraint’s closet.
Pib reached the edge of the village and paused. After nine long years, he was finally free of Geraint, his orders, and most importantly, his shackle. The magical cuff that had decorated his right ankle for nine years had been removed after Geraint had signed his release. The cuff was the only thing ensuring Pib’s obedience, and finally, it was gone.
Taking a deep breath, Pib stepped over the invisible boundary line and felt the remaining enchantments shatter and disappear, leaving him standing as his true self for the first time in years. Reaching inside, he called out his inner cat to come out and play, and in seconds, his clothes disappeared and he was standing on all fours in his serval form. Stretching, he threw one last glance back at the castle and the village before slinking away into the trees, using the natural camouflage to shield him as he made his way toward the start of his new life.
I'd really like to spend every weekend in a secluded house, doing nothing but writing and talking about writing. The retreat last weekend was fantastic.
The program overview:
Just having the time away from everything that usually grabs so much of your attention is marvelous. Being with others who are focused on writing too, is inspiring. It's reaffirming to be able to discuss the most realistic way for someone to react to a hit-and-run without others thinking we're callous. Staying in a place with a magnificent view and that feels separated from the rest of the world, reinforces the idea that there's nothing else more important to do but write. The photo shows only part of the view we woke up to every morning. We could see right around from the ocean and The Gold Coast, to Brisbane, to the mountains.
What did I accomplish?
E E Montgomery
About writing, life, and random thoughts.