What Am I Working On - Thursdays With The Author
Exclusive Sneak Peeks!
Boy, you guys are in for a treat today! ;)
I recently did my first newspaper interview and one of the questions I was asked was what I'm currently working on. The interviewer seemed a bit surprised to hear that I had a lot of irons in the fire when it came to works-in-process. She asked me how I keep them all organized, how I find the time to write so many things, how I made a deadline if I had multiple projects taking up my focus, how do I stay inspired while writing so many different things at once?
Well the first answer is my organization skills are sadly lacking. You could ask any of my family members and get plenty of proof, my life is a mess! When I open my laptop, there's at least 3 manuscripts already open, from different genres of fiction, that I hop back and forth from. The ones where the 'deadline' is approaching, are always open, and I try to add something to them every day. Even if it's only 50 words, that's better than nothing. I have my writing folder divided into different things. There's a folder for The Irish Treasures Saga, including sub-folders for each book in the series. There's a folder for Dark Mountains. There's a folder for a historical romance I'm working on, a contemporary beach romance, another romance centered on a up and coming country singer. There's a folder for my Children's series and another for guest blog posts that I've written. That's about as far as my organization goes.
The second answer touched on finding the time to write. As a wife, mom and a writer that currently has another day-job, the time is pretty limited. Luckily for me, all my daycare kids like to take naps right after lunch which means an hour, maybe a bit more, of complete quiet (minus the snoring) that I can sit with my laptop and write. There's usually an hour, maybe less, each night, after my kids go to sleep but before I do, to write. Then there's more time on the weekend. When writing isn't your day job, you have to use the time you get, no matter how small, to write something.
The third answer concerned deadlines. I don't technically have any, just a vague inclination of when I'd like things done, or to be published. I put a 6-9 month space between publishing the books of The Irish Treasures Saga. I have no idea if I'll be able to actually accomplish that goal but that's the great thing about self-publishing. The freedom to be flexible, to change your mind, to go another direction. Deadlines aren't an agent or publishing house breathing down my neck, an editor telling me they want my manuscript finished by a certain date. Deadlines are merely a goal I can strive for and not worry if I don't meet them.
The fourth answer was probably the easiest. Inspiration. I can't pinpoint exactly what inspires me. It could be a picture I see while browsing through a magazine. It could be a snippet of conversation I hear. It could be a small piece of my own life. It's anything and everything. That's probably WHY I write so many different things. I write when I'm inspired. Even if it's only a very broad story line, I write it down and come back to it later. I don't write to churn out a new novel every 6 months. I don't write to make money or garner fame. I write because I love to write. I write because I need to: to tell a story, to create a new world, to provide an escape from reality. Writing feels like breathing to me. If I can't do it, I will suffocate. So when some idea hits me, even just a snippet of something that could be a whole story, I start writing it down. Even if I have other works that I wanted done sooner. I have to write what I'm inspired to write. It may take me years to finish it. And that's fine. I'd rather take my time and write something good, then add a bunch of fluff just to get it done sooner. It took a total of 9 years to write, edit and ultimately self-publish my first novel, Dark Mountains. And I couldn't be happier with it.
So back to what I'm currently working on! The Irish Treasures Saga is at the top of the list. Book 1, Irish Strength, was released at the end of 2013 and my goal is to have Book 2, Irish Heart, released in June of this year. The 3rd book, Irish Sight, is set for the end of 2014 and the 4th book, Irish Truth, is set for June 2015. I'm also working on a yet-unnamed historical romance set in the late 1800's England. Another project is an also unnamed contemporary romance with a beach setting. I also have a Children's picture book series called Zoo Adventures, with three finished stories so far. I can throw in another contemporary romance, tentatively called Sweet Melody, into the mix. I have some ideas for other things as well but those are the ones that are either done, or at least have a good start.
So here's the treat I suggested at the beginning of this post. Below, I will be posting snippets from some of the stories I just listed above. Anyone that reads this blog will be some of the VERY FIRST people to read any of these excerpts! So I hope you enjoy them! :)
Irish Heart - Irish Treasures Saga - Book 2
Dermot walked into the clinic before lunch and was relieved that the waiting room was empty. Not even bothering to stop at the counter, he walked through the doors and headed straight to his sister’s office. She was sitting at her desk, burping her newest baby.
“How’s the little man doing today?” he asked, getting a slobbery squeal in response.
“Just finished his lunch, actually,” Becca told him.
“I’ll burp him for you,” Dermot offered, holding out his hands. Becca laid the towel on his least injured shoulder and gently passed him the gurgling baby.
“Hey there, Dillon. Are you happy to see your Uncle Dermot?” he asked, getting another squeal.
“What brings you to the office today?” Becca asked as she stacked the pile of charts on her desk. “Are you feeling all right?”
“Pain pills are working, if that’s what you’re asking,” he answered as he patted Dillon’s back.
“Are you in a lot of pain then?” she asked.
“Nothing I haven’t felt before,” he answered but sighed at the look she gave him. “No, ‘tis fine. I was just hoping you’d look me over and make sure I’m healing well enough.” As if on cue, Dillon spit up, missing the towel and hitting Dermot’s shoulder. Becca wrinkled her nose in sympathy but Dermot just laughed. “That a boy,” he chuckled.
“Well you had to take your shirt off anyway,” Becca giggled as she took Dillon and set him in his portable crib. Dermot took his shirt off, wincing as the damaged muscles cramped in response.
“Stitches and staples look fine,” Becca murmured as she probed and prodded Dermot’s upper body. “As long as you don’t over-exert yourself, you shouldn’t tear anything. That means no chopping firewood,” she scolded, wagging a finger at him.
“I have to chop firewood, Becca,” he complained. “Do you want me to freeze my arse off?”
“Maybe you’ll freeze off some of your temper,” she retorted. “I’ve asked Ian to come over and chop some for you since he’s right down the lane.” Dermot groaned, not looking forward to any encounters with Brigid’s brother.
“None of the wounds look infected. Are you taking your antibiotics?” Dermot nodded as she continued to examine him. “I want to check them out every other day, just to be on the safe side. These are deep,” she commented, checking the gashes across his shoulder and chest. “Did they use internal stitches?”
“About a hundred,” Dermot answered as she prodded the muscle.
“This’ll be sore for a while,” she murmured. “You know, Brigid’s got a poultice that would help this heal faster and cleaner. As your physician, I would recommend you going to see her about it.”
“And as my sister?” Dermot asked softly. She sighed and smiled at how quick her brother was.
“You need to talk to her, Dermot.”
“I’ve tried,” he groaned. “I guess I still haven’t learned how to say the right thing.”
“Aww, poor baby,” Becca cooed with sarcasm. “Dermot, you’re almost thirty years old. Pull your head out of your arse grow up.”
“Jaysus, Becca. I came for healing, not new wounds.”
“Sorry,” she apologized, giving him a quick kiss on his forehead. “You’re just so stubborn sometimes.”
“What are brothers for?” he asked, standing up to stretch and wincing as his muscles pulled. “When I saw her this morning, she was pretty shocked when she finally looked at me. Why didn’t you tell her about the explosion?”
“You asked me not to say anything to her.”
“I didn’t think you’d actually do as I asked!” Dermot sighed, as his sister gently patted his shoulder.
“It wasn’t easy, Dermot. She’s my best friend and it’s... difficult to keep things from her,” she paused, chewing on her lip. “She can sense when someone is hiding something.” Just then, the office door swung open and Brigid walked in with a box of jars.
“Hey Becca, I’ve brought those liniments you asked for,” she stopped suddenly when she realized Becca wasn’t alone. “Oh, I’m sorry...” she trailed off when she saw who it was. Her mind instantly focused on the fresh and gruesome lesions on his body. She saw the crosshatches of stitches and staples; the black and purple bruises and felt the bile rising in her throat.
Her face went pale when she realized that the gashes she had seen on his face earlier that morning was nothing compared to the injuries to the rest of his body. She jerked back her powers when they instinctively welled up.
“I’m sorry, Becca,” she whispered. “I should’ve left these at the counter.”
“Tis fine,” Becca answered, seeing how Brigid was reacting to Dermot’s injuries. “I have a few questions about them anyway. Dermot, why don’t you put your shirt on while I talk with Brigid.” Dermot nodded, noticing Brigid looked like she was going to be sick. He carefully put his shirt on while they spoke and watched as Brigid bent over the box, pointing out different jars. He quickly recovered from staring at her bum when the two women turned around.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then,” Brigid said, as she backed towards the door. Her face had more color now and her voice was once again steady.
“Aye, tomorrow.” Becca waved and waited until she heard the clinic doors swing shut before turning to her brother. “Go after her,” she commanded.
“Go after her, you bloody amadán.”
“Why would I go after her? She’s so mad she looked like she was going to hurl!”
“She was going to hurl!” Becca yelled. “She’s a healer, you stupid, stupid arse! Seeing your injuries and knowing you wouldn’t let her heal them was literally making her ill.” Dermot’s eyes widened as his sister’s words sunk in. “She can’t change what she is, Dermot. Even for you,” she whispered, laying a hand on her his injured cheek. “Now go after her.”
Irish Sight- Irish Treasures Saga - Book 3
Breandán guided the boat to the dock with practiced ease.
“I’ll get the line,” his father called from the port bow.
“Aye,” He smiled and eased back on the throttle, letting the boat’s momentum carry it to the dock. His father stepped onto the wood planks without missing a beat and quickly tied the rope to the post.
“Tis a shame Sean and Sophie are still at school,” his dad mused as he looked at their catch lying in the aft storage bay. “Could’a used the help.”
“It’s not too bad,” he answered, killing the engine. “We can handle it.”
They worked in tandem for the next few hours, unloading the fish, cleaning them and putting them in the ice chests to take to the village market.
“I’ll be off then,” his father slapped him on the back with a smile. “Good job today, son.”
“You too, Da.” He chuckled, waving off his father as he got in the truck to drive to the village. He turned and grabbed the hose and began to spray off the cleaning table and boat. He sensed his mother walking down the path before he saw her.
“I’ll just be another minute, Mum,” he shouted as he shut the hose off and stripped off his rain gear. “We had quite a catch today. A hundred Cod,” He lost his smile when he turned to his mother. Her eyes were red rimmed from crying. “What’s wrong?” He ran to her, checking her over for injury.
“Let’s go sit,” she murmured, pointing to the bench at the end of the dock. Colin had built it for her years ago, when Breandán was small and had first started going out on the boat with his father. She would sit and watch for them until they pulled back into the cove.
“Are you alright?” He sat beside her as her hands fidgeted in her pockets.
“I’ve some things to tell you,” she began, her voice shaky.
“You aren’t sick, are you?” he interrupted.
“No, dear,” she answered, giving him a weak smile. “It’s about you, not me.”
“What’s the matter?” He felt chills going down his spine and shivered. His mother reached into her shirt pocket and pulled out the amulet she normally wore around her neck. He’d never seen her take it off.
“Do you remember what I told you when you asked about this?” she whispered as the agate shimmered in the sunlight.
“You told me it was a symbol of the Gemini, the twin, and that you wore it for the sister you lost long ago.”
“Aye,” she murmured, flipping the amulet over and showing him the name etched in the back. “Deirdre was my twin, just two minutes older. We shared a link that I can’t even begin to explain to you. I could hear her speak in my head from miles away with no trouble. We could feel each other’s hurts.”
“What happened to her?” he asked softly.
“She died, a week after you were born.” His mother sighed, slipping the amulet back over her head. “I have a letter for you,” she whispered as she reached into her pocket. “She wrote it to you the day you were born.”
“Why would she write me a letter?” he asked as he took the yellowed paper with trembling hands. She looked out to the sea and took a deep breath before answering.
“Because, Breandán,” she sighed, tears filling her eyes. “She was your mother.”
Irish Truth - Irish Treasures Saga - Book 4
“So what’s going on?” Dermot asked, stealing a piece of bacon from Breandán’s plate. Breandán made a half-hearted attempt to stab him with his fork but Dermot was too quick.
“Ian was just telling me about coming home to find a certain gypsy beauty naked in his shower,” Breandán answered through a mouth full of eggs.
“No shit?” Max, speared a sausage from the plate.
“No shit,” Ian replied dryly.
“Not the best way to greet a guest,” Quinn commented before tossing another potato in his mouth.
“I didn’t know I had a guest,” Ian muttered, giving up on trying to protect his plate and sliding it to the middle of the table.
“That must’ve been a sight,” Dermot chuckled. “She was in the shower?”
“Aye,” Ian answered, making them all chuckle. “And she threw open the curtain, naked as the day she was born.” The men whistled. “Aye, whistle all you want,” Ian chided. “So there she is, dripping wet, gloriously naked and lecturing me for being there.”
“So you just let her stand there, naked?” Quinn asked.
“Of course not,” Ian answered. “I gave her a towel. Then she proceeded to tell me that we could both stay in the house, together.”
“So what are you doing here, mate?” Dermot asked.
“Ha ha,” Ian growled. “She’s very forward for a woman.” Breandán snorted.
“It’s not funny,” Ian growled.
“Sure it is,” Breandán answered. “I’ve met Erin before. She can be a blunt little thing.”
“Blunt is not the word I would use to describe her.” Ian muttered.
“No, naked would be better!” Max snorted, making everyone but Ian laugh.
“Brigid was going to call you,” Dermot spoke after tearing off a chunk of bacon. “But she didn’t think you’d be home anytime soon.”
“That was the other thing we were talking about,” Breandán added, still trying to protect his plate.
“Why did you come home?” Dermot asked, getting up to grab the coffee pot. “You don’t come home unless...”
“Something’s wrong, I know.” Ian muttered and held his cup out for a refill.
“What happened?” Quinn asked. “It wasn’t something here so it had to have been something in Shannon.”
Jamie backed out of the kitchen, his arms loaded with plates. He set them on the table and everyone started grabbing all at once. Jamie chuckled and pulled up a chair next to Max.
“I was going to ask him that last night,” he laughed, grabbing some toast slathered in butter. “But he was too sloshed to get three words straight before nine.”
“And paying for it this morning,” Ian muttered, holding his cup up in salute.
“Are you going to tell us what happened?” Quinn asked. Ian sighed and abandoned the food. He’d suddenly lost his appetite.
“They’re transferring Patrick Flattery to a psychiatric hospital.” Ian whispered.
“What?” Quinn and Jamie nearly choked on their food as they shouted.
“Who the hell is Patrick Flattery?” Max asked, still eating.
“Is he that sick bastard that murdered a bunch of women seven years ago?” Breandán asked, seeing Ian grow pale.
“Wasn’t that your first big case as a barrister, Ian?” Dermot murmured.
“Aye,” Ian answered. “Patrick Joyce Flattery was tried and convicted for the rape, torture, and murder of five women. He was finally sentenced after six years of delays and appeals.”
“Why didn’t they fry the bastard?” Max asked, setting down his food. His appetite was gone as well.
“The death penalty was abolished in 1990.” Quinn whispered. “Though in this case, I wish it hadn’t been.”
“I thought they gave him a life sentence?” Jamie whispered. His usually ruddy face had turned a shade of green.
“He still is.” Ian sighed. “They had a hearing yesterday to argue that he was mentally unfit and needed care at a psychiatric institution. He won.”
“How?” Quinn whispered.
“They wouldn’t let me argue the case.” Ian answered, his head pounding. “I didn’t even know he had appealed for a judge’s decision. They thought I was too personally invested and let another partner handle it.”
“That’s bollocks,” Jamie growled.
“There’s nothing I can do now,” Ian answered. “The judge’s rule is final.”
“There isn’t enough security at a hospital for someone like that,” Quinn’s eyes had darkened.
“I know,” Ian hung his head. “Even the maximum security prison had me doubting, but it’s out of my hands now.”
“Why were you so invested that they wouldn’t let you argue?” Breandán asked. Ian looked up, his eyes full of unshed tears.
“Because Patrick Flattery raped and killed the woman that was to be my wife.”
Untitled Historical Romance
“That drunken peacock,” Vic muttered as he walked the colt in the courtyard. “A perfect run ruined by a spoiled heir.” The horse nickered in response and Vic snorted, giving him a pat on the neck.
“Such is our lot in life,” William’s voice, full of humor, called from the stable entrance. “But I will agree, it was a perfect run.”
“Aye, it was, wasn’t it?” Vic smiled, his anger dissolving. “He’s a bit stiff on the landing but with more practice I think he’ll overcome it.”
“Oh, aye,” William agreed, joining him. “You’re filthy now from taking that spill. Why don’t you head down to the river and wash up. I’ll finish cooling him off. Your tutor comes in an hour’s time.” Vic groaned but handed the reins to his father’s outstretched hand.
“I don’t see why I must be tutored, Da,” he complained. “It’s not like I need an education to train horses.” William scowled before sighing and giving him a smile.
“Your mother, bless her soul, would turn in her grave if you didn’t have a proper education.” Vic sobered immediately. His mother had died giving birth to him but he felt the need to please her. Even from beyond the grave. “Now go wash up and hurry back.” Vic nodded to his father and jogged out of the courtyard.
Vic sat on a large boulder near the stream, rinsing the mud off his arms. He really wanted to strip off and jump in but there was too great a chance that someone would see. He took a deep breath, as much as the cloth wrapped around his chest would allow and scrubbed at his arm. He’d taken his cap off, letting his hair, tied in a loose bow, free. Most boys kept their hair short and trimmed, but Vic never did what other boys his age usually would. He didn’t muck stalls without his shirt. He didn’t relieve himself in the bushes outside the stable. He certainly didn’t joke about women the way the other stable boys did.
A branch snapped behind him and he whirled around but a strong hand had grabbed his hair before he could fully turn.
“Get your bloody hands off me!” he cried out, the back of his scalp stinging with pain.
“That’s no way to speak to your betters,” the voice behind him growled, making him freeze. Marcus Maybourne, the next Earl of Chester, pulled again at Vic’s hair. The heir to the earldom wrapped his other hand around Vic’s waist, pulling him close. “What are you doing down here alone?” Vic swallowed, fear making a giant lump in his throat.
“My Lord,” his voice squeaked out and he cleared his throat. “I just came down to wash up before my lessons.”
“Yes, you were quite dirty,” the lord exhaled the word in Vic’s ear, causing him to shudder.
“Aye, my Lord,” Victor answered, trying to pull away. The lord held fast and Vic could feel something hard pressed against the small of his back. Whatever it was, Vic instinctively knew it was bad news. “I’ll just be off now, my Lord.”
“You may call me, Marcus, when we are alone” he murmured, his lips close to Vic’s ear. “It shall be permitted under the circumstances.” Vic held back the bile in his throat. The young lord smelled like whiskey and vomit.
“The circumstances, my Lord?”
“Yes. I left London quite unexpectedly and was unable to bring my entertainment with me. So I need a replacement.” Something wet slid against Vic’s ear and he jumped but the lord’s arms held him tight. “And you, Vic, shall be perfect as a replacement.”
“Perfect for what?” Vic struggled but the man was stronger than he looked.
“Ah, an innocent,” the lord’s voice pitched with excitement. His breath turned raspy. “It’s been a while since I’ve had such a new and unused play thing.” Vic stopped fighting as his heart slammed in his chest. He’d heard the stable hands talk. They had whispered that the young lord had unnatural tastes.
“Let me go you scurvy dog!” Vic bucked in his arms, knowing he needed to escape.
“Oh I don’t think so,” The lord laughed and shoved Vic to the rock he’d been sitting on earlier. His stomach hit the edge, knocking the breath from his lungs. “I might have to make you my regular entertainment for my visits to the country.” Vict felt his breeches being pulled at and he reared up. The back of his head hit the lord in the face and he stumbled back, his nose bleeding. Vic backed away in shock. The lord wiped his sleeve across his nose and got to his feet. He had a murderous gleam in his eye and something else that Vic could not place. “You’ll pay for that, boy,” Marcus growled. “I can play rough too.”
His hand shot out before Vic could duck and the back-handed slap sent him sprawling to the ground. Before he could crawl away, the lord was on top of him, tearing at his shirt.
“No!” Vic screamed, his voice high and loud. “Leave me be!” Suddenly Marcus’ hands stilled with a sharp gasp. Vic’s torn shirt had revealed cloth bindings, wrapped tightly around his chest.
“What is this?” The lord reached a hand down, easily ripping the binding. He pushed the cloth away, revealing firm breasts with rosy nipples. Vic screamed again, struggling to pull the scraps of cloth back in place. Marcus grabbed Vic roughly between the legs and the scream came again. “A woman?” he laughed as Vic started sobbing. “Isn’t that interesting?” He reached up to undo Vic’s breeches. “It makes no difference to me.” Marcus suddenly screamed in pain, falling to the ground beside Vic. William, brandishing a stiff riding crop, struck him again and again until the lord was quiet on the ground. Vic still lay on the rock, sobbing as she tried to keep her shirt closed.
“Victoria?” Her father removed his jacket and wrapped it around her shaking shoulders before pulling her into his arms. “I’m so sorry, child.” She sobbed in his arms, unable to answer. “Jaysus, I think I’ve killed him.” Victoria stiffened and peered under her father’s arm. The lord was still, blood seeping from multiple parts of his body. The vicious gash across his cheek showed the bone beneath the skin.
“He...” Victoria’s voice shook with her body as she shivered uncontrollably. “He was going to rape me.” She looked in her father’s face; it had turned white. “It mattered not if I was a boy or a girl.”
“Ah, Tori,” her father sighed, pulling her close again. “I tried to keep you safe from the horrors of this world. Your mother would have seen to it better.”
“Is he dead?” She squeaked the last word.
“If we’re lucky, aye,” William spat at the still form. “But sick and evil men are never easily rid of.” Victoria shuddered and William pulled her off the rock. “We must leave now, Tori, before he’s found.”
“Leave?” Victoria’s head was spinning.
“Aye.” William answered, his face paling. “I’ll hang for this, I will. Doesn’t matter that I was defending my own child.”