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Archive for the ‘Paranormal romance’ Category

People often ask where I get the idea for a particular story and how I develop it. And that can vary from one to the next. Sometimes it will start with a dream or recurring dream. Sometimes a random “what if” thought.

One of my books started with a song and a “what if” moment.

One which is in the works was an idea my husband had.

Now, I have tried to outline and get all the bits worked out ahead of time, but it doesn’t work for me. My characters have minds of their own and take off on wild tangents, leaving me in the dust.

My characters talk to me, in their own unique ways and choose their own path.

If you are a “seat of the pants” writer, you probably know what I mean. If you aren’t…

Imagine you are conducting a musical ensemble. You have the music there in front of you. You know how you will guide these musicians to have the sound you want. It will be marvelous.

And then, all of a sudden, the whole ensemble decides to take Beethoven for a romp through Bourbon Street blues. Or Bach into death metal. You have completely lost control.

I’ll be writing along, thinking I know where I’m going, and all of a sudden they’re doing something else.

“What are you doing?” I ask. “I didn’t say you could go there.”

They just smile and shake their heads.

“Phfft… Right. We’re trying to tell our story here. Do try to keep up.”

Yeah. Sort of like that. With attitude.

I normally don’t have trouble getting my characters to talk to me. But I do have times when I wish they would shut up for a while.

Like at 2 am when I want to sleep and they want to write. They can be completely unreasonable. Especially when they gang up on me.

I’ll have characters from two different books, two different series, vying for my attention.

Would you take turns? Please?

And then there are the stories which want to be told right now. It doesn’t matter that I’m working on three other ones. I have to begin this one, too.

Case in point–the one under the working title Unwilling Soulmates. Would not leave me alone, so I promised that as soon as I finished Lady Calloway, I would at least begin on their story.

So I did. I chose names, got the opening scene in my head and began to write. But every time I tried to write his name, I tried to type something else and gave up for the day. Later, when I was drifting off to sleep, another bit of the scene came to mind, using a different name than the one I’d chosen.

It seems his name is Trevor, not Stewart, and he would like it changed.

So we now have Trevor and Theresa, tapping their toes impatiently and waiting for me to take up the story again.

That’s how my weekend is shaping up. What are your plans?

You can find my books on Amazon, Smashwords, or at any major bookseller. With two series and a stand alone, there is plenty to choose from.

Don’t forget to check out the podcast at Anchor.

And as always…

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

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After the last bit of chill, Mother Nature has chosen to go straight into summer. We’re supposed to have temperatures up in the 90’s this weekends, with night time lows warmer than our daytime highs were just over a week ago.

But the tomatoes are looking good and enjoying the sunshine, even if I’m uncomfortable with all the temperature shifts. All in all, a good time to stay indoors and get with the writing!

What have you been working on lately?

I’ve finished the first draft and read through of Lady Calloway and gone back to Scotch and Soulmates and Old Flame to make the corrections I made on the Kindle.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot read a manuscript properly on my computer monitor. But what I’ve found works a lot better is to save it out as a mobi file –I use Calibre to help with that–and upload it to my Kindle Fire. That way it’s more like reading a book without going through reams of paper and cartons of toner.

I haven’t figured out a way to make the changes to it on the Kindle, so I highlight the sections where I’ve found problems or bits I want to rewrite. Once I’ve finished the read through, I take the Kindle to my desk, open the book and the manuscript on the computer, and work my way through.

Yes, it is a little cumbersome, but whatever works. Right?

With the three of those moved out of the way for a bit, I’ve revisited the unfinished WIP for the Esperance series. The next one to publish will be Too Many Talents, Book 4, followed by Ben of Blackstone’s Forge, Book 5. The one I’ve pulled back out of the “to be finished” folder is Gregor Thayne–Heir of Rowan.

Way back in Viviane, First Lady, we meet Gregor’s father, Lord Kinsey of Clan Rowan. His was the deciding vote in the trial in Clan Belfort. In this book we meet his son and heir, who is a bit of a rogue. Earlier in life, Gregor decided he’d had enough and refused to be the clan heir. Taking off for the far side of the clan, he took his mother’s surname and became a city guard.

Eventually, he and his father came to an agreement and he returned to his duties as heir. But he retained the last name Thayne as a final show of rebellion.

But he was not a happy man when his father announced the marriage arrangement he’d made with another first Lord, pledging him to a woman he’d never met.

How will this all turn out? Your guess is as good as mine at this point. My characters tend to have minds of their own and go off on tangents I’d never imagined.

Watch for Too Many Talents later this year. And who knows? There may be something else from Sultonna Nadine as well.

Haven’t read the Esperance Series? You can find in on Amazon or at Smashwords!

And as always…

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

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I love fresh spices and the flavors seem a little brighter if you grind them right before using them. I love to do this with coriander, cumin, cardamom and peppercorns.

And most of the time this works out well.

Except with peppercorns.

For some reason I tend to forget that the grinder produces a fine, powdery dust which billows out of the grinder if you open it too soon. You need to give it a few seconds to settle. Otherwise…

Yes. You get a nose full of pepper dust and think you’re going to die from sneezing. And coughing. And grab a fresh box of tissues, because you’re gonna have a runny nose for an hour.

But the pepper is ground, I’ve nearly recovered, and the steaks are ready for the grill Now as soon as the grill is ready, it can all go out to the grill master–my guy who is home for the weekend–and I can ready everything else for dinner while he works his magic.

Got any weekend plans?

I’ll take some time this weekend and do some more editing on Lady Calloway. I must cut it down by at least 15,000 words. (sigh) I really kind of envy those people who need to bulk up their word count. Me and short stories? Doesn’t happen, unless you consider short around 75,000 words.

Yeah. Really.

If you’re looking for something to read, go check out my books on Smashwords or Amazon. I may go over to Smashwords later and see about some sales for the weekend…

Prefer paperbacks?

Dante’s Angel is now available in print from Amazon!

Have a great weekend.

Watch out for the peppercorns!

And as always.

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

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Happy Mothers Day tag close up among a bouquet of flowers over a white wood background

I know. Mother’s Day isn’t until Sunday. However, I normally write on Friday before the weekend gets too hectic.

What are your plans for Mother’s Day?

When I was growing up, we normally had a bunch of friends over–families from church with all the mothers, fathers, and kids. My dad would do a big chicken BBQ and each family brought a side or dessert. Mom and I usually made a big batch of potato salad.

Come on. We ALWAYS made a big batch of potato salad. What’s the point of potato salad unless there is some left over to sneak out of the fridge later? And the few times we tried, we still wound up with the big yellow bowl full, plus about two servings which wouldn’t fit…

It was a beautiful time up around the Great Lakes. While winter has finally paased, and the weather has warmed, the summer swelter hasn’t yet arrived, Hay fields are growing toward mowing season, spring flowers are popping up everywhere. It is truly a beautiful place. And the spring flowers didn’t bother my mother as much when we picked bouquets. The golden rod and wild flowers in the fall about did her in, so they had to sit outside on the cistern lid, in front of the kitchen window.

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

And perhaps your mother likes to read…

I’m getting into a book our daughter bought for me–the complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I know. I’m weird.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and a Happy Mother’s Day!

And Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

Beautiful tulips on white wooden background

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It’s the first day of May today. I believe spring may be here to stay this time, even though it did get down into the high 40’s last night. I think they’re predicting a high today of around 85.

So what’s happening in your world today? I’m thinking about taking my walk early to avoid the heat this afternoon. I’ve never gotten along well with heat, so I try to do all my outside work early in the morning before the sun gets too high in the sky.

I’ve nearly wrapped up Lady Calloway. Yes, I know, but life has a way of getting complicated. And after this one is wrapped, I really need to get finished with a half-finished book in the Esperance series. This one will come after Ben of Blackstone’s Forge, which will be Book 5 in the series and is in a second round of edits.

Gregor is the heir of Clan Rowan. In his younger days, angry with his father, he left the family home and went to the other side of the clan to join the guard. To further distance himself, he took his mother’s maiden name. When he and his father finally reconciled, he agreed to come back and take up his place once again, but chose to keep his mother’s family name. Gregor Thayne–Heir of Rowan brings in a new cast of characters to join those already in the series.

And Ben of Blackstone’s Forge? This is another story inset into the story, a vignette of Ben Blackstone, son of the local blacksmith. Now a journeyman smith, working on becoming a master, Ben inherited his father’s Talent with iron. Though his father keeps hinting it’s time for him to marry, the one girl he’d always thought would be his seems out of reach. Tired of waiting for him to come around, his father arranges a marriage for him. Can he and his new wife find a happily ever after?

Watch for Too Many Talents later this year. And wish me luck on wrapping Lady Calloway and finishing Gregor Thayne.

Have a wonderful month of May.

And as always…

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

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…to a world full of mischief, magic, and romance.

Come to Esperance!

You won’t need a passport or airline tickets. No need for a Covid test. All you need is a comfy chair, something delightful to drink, and maybe a fireplace.

And of course, a book. Or an e-book. Either way, it won’t cost much. But such a world you’ll find.

Discovered by the seekers when Earth began to expand into the universe, the colony was just getting on its feet when tragedy struck. They were cut off from their home world without warning while facing a pandemic which was wiping out the population.

After weathering this time of trouble, the survivors fell into a world of chaos and confusion. It became a world of every man for himself and damn the consequences.

Out of this tribulation, people with special abilities emerged. Descendants of the seekers who had come with them, they developed strong psychic abilities. Eventually they were able to enforce the rule of law back onto the population and divided the lands into clans. Each clan was ruled by one of these psychically talented First Lords.

Our first story begins several hundred years after this time of confusion, in Clan Brannach, which is ruled by First Lord Jareth. A widowed ruler with no heir, he has no heart for finding another wife, until he meets Viviane from a neighboring clan.

But will he win her heart before the two of them start a clan war?

The story continues in Book 2, where we learn more about Talents and the problems they can cause.

Book 3 is inset into the main story line, following the tale of another girl from the neighboring clan, of her struggles, and of finding the possibility of love. With a little more psychic magic involved, there are some surprises along the way.

So, beginning with Jareth, First Lord, continuing with Viviane, First Lady, and moving on to Morgan–The Pixie and the Green Man, the wonders of this world unfold. Next up will be Too Many Talents, continuing Viviane’s story and bringing in Connell, of Clan Belfort, the new heir to the clan.

All these books are available on Amazon, Smashwords, and most major booksellers.

So take a break. Take a vacation. Come with me to a simpler, more magical time and place.

Come to Esperance.

And as always…

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

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Here it is Friday again, and here I am back at my desk, getting ready to do some writing.

But what do I have on the table once Lady Calloway is out of the way?

Several things come to mind… The first one is the first book I ever wrote, which I call Mistaken Identity, which will be from Sultonna Nadine. It is no where near to being ready to publish, and my editor is going to have a job. As it was the first, there is a lot to weed out, but once it’s ready, it will be a great story.

This is another book which came to me in a dream and wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it down. And as I wrote each bit down, another bit would show up. Putting the pieces together was the trick, since the bits weren’t necessarily in order.

Where does this piece belong?

How did we get here in the first place.

And where do we go from here?

In this story we have a young woman, who is a martial artist as well as a piano instructor who is mistaken for someone she’s not. Taken to a world hostile to her own, she finds she will be forced to stay and put to work as a servant wherever the state chooses.

But what they decide will risk her life, as well as the lives of others, in a bid to save both their worlds.

The next one that comes to mind is Whiskey Jug Genie, a book from Sultonna Nadine. It will be ready much faster and is more about magic than romance, though there is a bit of romance mixed in. Set in London, this features a young apothecary owner who finds an old whiskey jug while touring the American Southeast. Imagine his surprise when he opens it up and a red-neck genie appears.

That’s when the trouble begins. It seems anyone with sufficient magical ability can sense his presence, and someone is determined to steal the jug and the genie.

From Esperance, after Too Many Talents, we will have Ben of Blackstone’s Forge. The girl Ben has always thought would be his suddenly turns an icily cold shoulder to him when he comes back from completely his training for Journeyman and nobody can tell him why. But his father wants to see him married, and her father needs for her to marry so her sisters can make plans for their futures. So the two men arrange a marriage for the two of them, turning their world upside down.

And from Gambler’s Folly, we’ll be meeting the characters in Old Flame. They first met thirty years ago at university and haven’t spoken since graduation. Her world is in the East, near the Cherokee National Forest. He’s from Texas, but has based his business out of Northern California. Meeting just before they both catch the shuttle for Gambler’s Folly, a spark which had been missing between them at uni begins to blossom. And it turns out they share a common enemy.

So, that’s what’s happening in this writer’s life. If you have any questions about what I’m working on or something I’ve written, drop me a line in the comments.

In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend.

And as always

Don’tForget

…to Share the Romance…

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We’ve talked about Esperance and Lady Calloway, but what’s up next for Gambler’s Folly?

Old Flame

They were friends in university thirty years ago, though they never dated. They were simply friends with no strings, no desires beyond that. His family had money to burn while she struggled to make ends meet.

Who would guess that thirty years down the road, with him single and her a widow, they would meet on their way to Gambler’s Folly?

And who would have guessed an attraction, which had been absent in their university days, would suddenly blossom?

Meet Kort Behrens, multi-millionaire tycoon. His family made it big in electronics with the development of a new drive for interstellar shuttles, along with other inventions and developments along the way. After two failed marriages, he’s decided not to risk any more entanglements. Women only wanted to be with him for the money and prestige.

Elizabeth’s husband died four years ago and she has secluded herself in her little mountain home seeing only her Reiki clients and any neighbors who stop by. She has her cat, Puzzle, for company and hasn’t even considered dating, let alone remarrying.

During an altercation in the hotel the night before her flight to Houston to catch the shuttle, a voice from her past intercedes on her behalf. Warm strong hands on her shoulders comfort her as he deals with the situation. But she was not prepared to see her old friend, Kort, alive and in person. And since she rarely listened to the news or paid much attention to the society rags, she didn’t realize that the young man she’d known at uni was the powerful bachelor billionaire in today’s world.

Neither was Kort prepared for their meeting, or for the feelings he developed during their flight to Gambler’s Folly. But he is determined to show her a good time on one of his favorite worlds. If nothing else, he could help her come back out and learn to live again.

Old Flame hasn’t made it to the editor yet, but how about a brief excerpt?

OLD FLAME

Gambler’s Folly Book 4

Checking her reflection in the mirror, she decided she didn’t look bad for a woman of her age. Her hair was beginning to gray a little, but it didn’t show too much in her blond hair. With a final tug at the skirt of her black dress, she slipped on pumps and took the lift to the third floor dining room. She preferred a table which wasn’t out in the open, so it took her a minute to get situated. Once seated, she took a deep breath and began to peruse the menu. 

“Excuse me, Mrs. Murphy?”

Staring up at the stranger, she said, “I’m Elizabeth Murphy, yes.”

“It’s about time we met,” the man sneered.

“I don’t know you,” she answered. “What do you want?”

“You may not know me, but you have received several letters from my boss concerning a debt of $10,000. We haven’t received your payment yet.”

“You’re with them? I’ve written back and explained everything to your boss. I don’t know what the debt is for, and I can’t get the money to pay it.”

“May I remind you of a trust your late husband set up for you that you can borrow money against?” the man asked.

“How do you know about that? There is nothing I can do. Go and talk to the attorney who administers the trust. If your claim is legitimate, I’m sure he’ll do what’s right.”

“Mrs. Murphy, it isn’t wise to anger the people I work for. I suggest you find a way to get the money and pay us what you owe.”

“Look,” she said, beginning to panic. “I don’t know who you are, or who your boss is, but I’ve never owed anyone that kind of money in my life. And I can’t imagine Joe did either.”

“Mrs. Murphy,” he began again.

“No! Go away. Go talk to the attorney, but leave me alone.”

Her whole attention had been on the man across the table, but she suddenly felt warm, strong hands on her shoulders.

“Listen, friend,” a deep and vaguely familiar voice said. “You have the lady’s answer. Anything more from you is harassment. Call it a night.”

“This is none of your business. It’s a private affair. Go away.”

“Your private affair became my business when you shouted it across the dining room. You are bullying this poor woman, who I understand has lost her husband. Say good night.”

“Listen, buddy, I don’t know who you think you are, but I can make big trouble for you,” the man threatened.

One of the hands lifted from her shoulder and she heard the man behind her speak into his com.

“Security? Behrens here. I need to have someone escorted off the property from the third floor dining room. I’ve sent a photo.”

“You can’t do that!” the man across the table shouted.

“I think you’ll find I can,” he answered as his hand returned to her shoulder. Liz felt so much safer with him here.

Almost immediately, two security guards from the hotel came down and took the man into custody.

“Anything else, sir?” one of them asked.

“No, thank you. He was making a nuisance of himself and upsetting this lady. We were going to have dinner.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you.”

As they took the man away, Liz felt drained and slumped into her chair. The hands left her shoulders, and the man came around to kneel in front of her.

“I’m sorry your stay here has been marred,” he said and then stopped abruptly, looking startled. “Liz? I mean, are you Elizabeth Stockton?”

Looking up into dazzling blue eyes that could belong to nobody else, she asked, “Kort? Is that you?”

“Yes. Liz, what are you doing in my neck of the woods?”

For some unknown reason, she sprang out of her chair and threw her arms around him. Tears she’d held back began to trickle down her face.

“Hey, it’s all right. I’ve got you. You’re going to mess up your makeup,” he told her softly.

Forcing herself to give him some space, she dabbed at the tears with the handkerchief he offered.

“I’m Elizabeth Murphy now. Our kids sent me tickets for my birthday, so I could come visit them.”

“How many kids do you have?” he asked.

“Two, a son and a daughter. Our daughter has two sons, who are eight and ten. What about you?”

“No. I married right after university, but it didn’t work out. A few years later, I tried again, and it lasted less than a year. I’ve been a bachelor most of the time since we last saw each other.”

“That’s a shame,” Liz said. “You were always such a sweet guy.”

With a hearty laugh, which was as delightful and sincere as she remembered, he said, “I know quite a few people who would disagree with you. Would you join me for dinner? We could catch up on old times.”

Seated comfortably at his table, she picked up the menu and began to look for something relatively inexpensive. She knew it was included in her holiday package, but she hated to waste money, even if it wasn’t coming out of her wallet..

“Liz, get whatever you like. It’s on me tonight,” Kort told her.

“Oh, no. I couldn’t,” she insisted. “Anyway, I’m sure you’ve got better things to do with your money.”

“Not really. I have loads of the stuff. Why not enjoy it?”

“Seriously? What do you do for a living?”

The look he gave her was part amusement and part surprise before he asked, “Do you watch the news?”

“Yes. Well, not watch. I listen to the news while I putter. Why?”

And then her mind put the facts together and she began to sputter.

“Oh! You’re that Kort Behrens–the billionaire who is always on TV?”

“Right in one,” he said with a smile. “How many Kort Behrens do you know?”

“Oh, Kort, or Mr. Behrens, you must have better things to do than entertain me. I’ll go order something from room service. Thank you for your help and everything,” she said as she began to push her chair away from the table.

“Liz, sit down. Please,” he insisted firmly. “I may be wealthy, but I love to visit with old friends. People who knew me before the media splashed my life all over the world.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. “I don’t even know how to talk to you. I can’t believe the Kort Behrens I knew became one of the wealthiest people on Earth.”

“Sit down. Forget the money. I’m Kort, Liz, the guy who almost lost you over a balcony one night.”

“Oh my gosh! I’d almost forgotten that dance.”

“It wasn’t one of my better moments,” he said.

“Nice save, though,” she added.

“Thank you.”

They talked over dinner and wine before he suggested a walk around the gardens. She had forgotten how big the man was. He towered over her. If he was anything like he’d been at university, there was no fat concealed under his three piece suit. It was all washboard muscle. It was a good thing he had such a mild mannered way.

“Are you headed back east tomorrow?” he asked her.

“It’s sort of funny, considering I don’t travel much, but I’m not. I’m headed to Houston.”

“What’s in Houston?”

“The kids bought me a vacation package—transportation and four weeks of vacation on Gambler’s Folly.”

“Five o’clock shuttle?” he asked with a curious look.

“Yes, as a matter of fact. Why?”

“This is quite a coincidence. I’m booked on the same shuttle.”

“To Gambler’s Folly? You’re kidding,” she said in amazement.

“What flight are you on tomorrow morning?” he asked.

“I’m on the ten o’clock Delta flight. Why?”

“I can call and have your money refunded if you’d rather fly with me. There are fewer lines and hassles when you fly corporate.”

“Seriously? Won’t I be in your way?”

“Not at all. Once I get to Gambler’s Folly I’ll have a couple things to check on for business, but for the rest of the time, I’m on vacation. Just plain old rest and relaxation.”

“I don’t know, Kort,” she said, hesitantly.

“Say yes, Liz. It’ll be fun.”

“If you’re sure,” she told him, not sure why she was agreeing.

“Perfect! I’ll have my driver get your luggage in the morning. We need to leave by nine-thirty, which will get us into Houston early enough to have a late lunch before we go on to the Spaceport. Do you have all your paperwork ready?”

“Yes, Kate and I made sure of that before she left the hotel.”

They chatted all the way back to the hotel, where they were besieged by people with cameras.

“Is this a new girlfriend, Mr. Behrens?” one of the reporters asked.

“No, Liz is an old flame from my university days. Say hello, Liz,” he said with a smile.

“Hello,” she managed as Kort turned away from the reporters and entered the hotel.

“Sorry about that. I hadn’t expected them so soon. I’m glad we’ll be off planet tomorrow night. By the time we get back, they’ll have something else to talk about, hopefully.”

“I hope so. I never thought about reporters,” she said, still a little shaken. “Old flame?”

He grinned widely at her expression, winked at her, and put his arm around her shoulders. When they got to her room, he looked deeply into her eyes for a moment.

 “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said before he pressed a warm, gentle kiss to her cheek. “Sweet dreams, Liz.”

It may be just a little while before this is ready to be published, but it is in the process.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

And as always

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance.

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I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t expecting below freezing temperatures this time of year down here in the American Southeast. Last week we had highs around 80 degrees outside with night time temperatures in the 50’s. So yesterday’s high in the low 50’s followed by below freezing temperatures was a shock to my system.

And then there were the tomato plants we set out, thinking warm weather had arrived. I managed to get them dug back out of the garden, put into pots, and back in the greenhouse before the chill hit. With any luck they’ll survive all the disruption.

So what am I doing as far as writing?

LADY CALLOWAY

I’ve finally figured out how to wrap it up, which has been my hold up on this particular project. The lady is being quite obstinate about cooperating with me.

Not that her husband is any better.

However, with a little luck, Lady Calloway should be finished by the end of next week. Unless she decides to pull another stunt I’m not expecting.

In the meantime, my editor is looking over the next book in the Esperance series–Too Many Talents. This story picks up right after Viviane, First Lady, continuing Viviane’s story and bringing in the new heir of Clan Belfort–a little boy of almost 11, who is not necessarily happy about it.

While it seems having paranormal Talents would be fun, getting a handle on them can be quite a pain. Just ask Viviane and Connell.

Want a bit of a peek?

TOO MANY TALENTS

Viviane–First Lady of Clan Brannach

“Viviane, Duncan is worried about you and has me worried, too.”  

“Worried? Whatever for?” she asked.

“I know how you feel about your Talents, but hiding from them isn’t the answer. And neither is running away and pretending they don’t exist. Duncan and I feel the loss of control you are experiencing is coming from something besides the porting aspect of your Talents.”

“I don’t know what you mean, Jareth,” she answered sharply.

 “Yes, you do, Viviane. Since we’ve been home you’ve been resisting your Talents, and fighting them, especially during training. They will win in the end. In the meantime your control will get worse and worse, until it is manifesting more unpredictably, even when you’re not working with it. With the strengths you have, you will hurt someone, while trying to deny your heritage.”

“But Jareth…”

“Your Talents have to be trained,” he stated emphatically. “There is no escape from it. You have to let go of your fears and put your entire will into your training. It’s the only way to gain control before you do irreparable harm.”

“I don’t want these Talents, Jareth! I never have! Why won’t they go away and leave me alone?”

“We may never know the answer as to why they developed, but since they have, you must treat them responsibly. You wouldn’t hand a child a live blade and expect him to use it properly, would you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Your Talents are exponentially more dangerous than the deadliest blade ever forged. Just as it would be irresponsible to hand a child a sword and let him run through the house with it, chasing the staff, and playing guard, it is ever so much more dangerous to have you, with so much untrained Talent, manifesting uncontrolled.”

Connell, Heir of Belfort

“But Mom, why do I have to go live with Grandpa? I want to stay here with you,” Connell complained for the hundredth time.

“You know why, young man,” his mother scolded. “And as soon as your father and I can take care of everything here, we’ll join you.”

“But how long will that be?” he asked, rolling his blue eyes at her. “I don’t know why we have to go anyway. I don’t want to be First Lord.”

“Now that is enough. We don’t have time for this. You’re ten years old and you know better.”

“I’m almost eleven,” he countered.

“Then start acting like it,” his mother snapped, exasperation beginning to show.

“But what about all my friends? I won’t have any friends there,” he continued.

“I’m sure you’ll make new friends.”

“But I like my old ones.”

“Connell, find something to do besides complain, or I’ll find something for you to do.”

“Fine!”

The little boy of almost eleven spun on his heel and ran out the door. Arriving at his favorite spot by the stream, he dropped down onto a large gray boulder and fought back the tears. No, he would not cry. Selecting a flat stone from the bank, he skipped it expertly across the water.

He wasn’t sure how long he’d been there before he heard someone behind him.

“Connell? Can I sit with you?”

Great! The voice could only be little Nell. She was all right for a girl, but, well, she was a girl. And she was always trying to help him with whatever he was doing. Two years younger than he was, they’d grown up together in the village, and he’d always liked her, even though she could be annoying.

“I guess. Sure,” he answered with a sigh.

He turned to give the little blonde, blue-eyed girl a hand so she wouldn’t slip on the bank. Once seated on the rock bench, she smoothed her flowered frock down over her knees.

“What are you doing down here? I thought you guys were moving.”

“Mom’s mad and told me to find something to do. So I came down to skip stones.”

“I could never do that. Can you show me?”

Even if she was a girl, Nell took his mind away from his problems. They skipped stones until the light began to fade.

“We should probably go back, Nell,” he told the little girl. “Mom was mad before I came down here. If I’m too late getting back, it won’t help anything.”

“Will I see you before you go, Connell?” she asked.

“I guess. We’ll be here a few days yet, and anyway, I’ll come back sometimes.”

“Can I still be your friend when you’re First Lord?”

“Of course. Why couldn’t you?”

“I don’t know. I just wondered. Thanks, Connell.”

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I mean the one in the world of Lord Sir Richard Lemarnier. The one on the Northwestern coast of what we call the USA, in an alternate reality.

Let me tell you about this world. Grab a cuppa and join me!

The world of Richard and Anne-Marie is a world of magic. Most people are born under two different elements of magic. One corresponds with the year in which they are born. The other from the month. Most people have very little ability and can’t actually train to use them effectively.

But for those who can, they are a boon to society. Crops are grown with the aid of people who can control water and earth to nurture plants. Ships are guided and protected by those with control over wind or water. Suspects are questioned by those trained to use their abilities with spirit.

Those who are adepts use magic to bind contracts, blood oaths, and vows. Priests having abilities with heaven and spirit bind marriages using the elements of creation in the presence of heaven. Vows or oaths bound with blood carry their own penalty when broken.

Richard Lemarnier is Master of the Fleet for his family’s shipping firm, as well as the owner since his father died. In this capacity, he controls wind and water to help shape the weather when necessary to help his ships out at sea. With a little ability inherited from his mother, he has a bit of telepathy to use as well.

Imagine seeing the various air currents as slightly different colors or textures and being able to manipulate them. You could create a small breeze or a raging storm, depending on how much power you had to call on. And the same with water. You can speak to it and bend it to your will, shift the currents or calm the waves. With control over both wind and water, you could create a storm or calm one.

Richard had fallen for Anne-Marie and asked her to marry him, but she kept putting hiim off. Not refusing, exactly, but not accepting either. So when she asks him to come with her back to her home kingdom for the fall festivals, he figures it would be a good time and place to ask once more.

But after too much wine and excitement, things get out of hand at the feast, leaving them bound not only by marriage vows but by a blood oath, as well as an oath of fealty from Anne-Marie to Richard. He is bound to be her husband and protector, and her loyalty is sworn to Richard. Onlh an adept of at least the rank of Baron can unbind the spells.

Anne-Marie had no intention of marrying Richard. But how can she escape now, with all the spells binding them together?

And who is trying to destroy Richard’s company? Anyone with the kind of power this enemy shows should have been bond by the guild oath, forbidding them to do harm with their abilities.

What will it take for Richard to win his lady’s heart and keep his company safe from attack on the high seas? And are the two related?

Read MASTER OF THE FLEET this weekend!

How about a snippet?

Those in the wedding party removed their shoes to stand on earth. With hands raised, eyes to the heavens, the priest began to intone the opening words of the marriage oath.

“In the presence of God, I call upon heaven and earth, water and fire, wind and spirit, to witness the union of Lord Sir Richard LeMarnier and Anne-Marie Desplaines…”

They made it through the ceremony without complications. He used the ring he’d bought for their betrothal for her wedding ring. She used his signet ring for his. These represented Earth. Candles lit during the ceremony represented fire, the couple was sprinkled with water, and the kiss represented an exchange of spirit. As the ceremony continued under the stars, the evening breeze swept around them, caressing them and adding its seal to the union. Arcane symbols bound their vows to each of the elements.

Bound by God and the six elements of creation, their human representatives bearing witness and completing the perfect ring of seven, the marriage was sealed by the priest, and recorded.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

And please…

Don’t Forget...

…to Share the Romance…

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