Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Excerpt to my upcoming Bite

Been a busy summer. I've been catching up on several projects, including doing edits for Courage of the Wolf, my Nocturne Bite out in December. That story is about a powerful immortal justice guardian who must convince a traumatized Draicon werewolf to find the courage to fight the demon that killed her family.

Also out in December is Christmas with a Vampire. Hmmm, if you spend Christmas with a vampire, does that mean your holidays will suck?

Heh.

This weekend I'll be at Moonlight and Magnolias, attending a workshop given by the amazing Michael Hauge. My Nocturne Immortal Wolf is also a finalist in the Maggie awards.

In the meantime, here's an excerpt from Courage of the Wolf. Hope you enjoy!

Courage of the Wolf, copyright 2010 by Bonnie Vanak


Courage of the Wolf by Bonnie Vanak

Chapter 1

Just another day in a tropical paradise filled with demons.

Right.

If only it was just a typical day and not the very one he’d been dreading..

Ambling backwards on the roadside, Michael Anderson scanned Florida’s Alligator Alley for a silver Lexus. As always, Sabrina Kelly was late. The Draicon werewolf would be late for her own funeral.

The thought sobered him.

Minutes later, Michael pushed a hand through his long, ragged hair as Sabrina’s car pulled off the road. He breathed in her scent of fresh lavender as the Draicon werewolf hurried toward him.

Dressed in a pink sweater set and a floral skirt, she looked like spring. Cut razor straight, her black hair swung just below her jawline. Wide, sea-green eyes shone with intelligence.

When she threw herself into his arms, he hugged back, feeling a lump rise in his throat. The vision came to him again. Blood. Death. Sorrow.

Michael set her back down on her feet. As much as he wanted to use his powers as an Immortal Justice Guardian to direct destiny, he could not. Punishment would be severe if he broke Guardian laws. He’d already broken a big one to buy Sabrina time.

Years ago, when he was still a Draicon werewolf, he’d made a promise to keep her safe. The burning need to protect her had never stopped. It wasn’t love, but a fierce admiration of her strong spirit and honoring the deep friendship they’d shared in the past.

“Why did you want me to pick you up on this road? Forget how to dematerialize?” she asked.

He shrugged. “I like walking. And I thought it would be nice to ride with you in the Lexus to your grandparents’ anniversary party.”

“You knew I was taking the Lexus and not the Expedition? Oh, of course, you know everything.” She shook her head. “Even what type of underwear I have on.”

“I don’t know everything.”

When she turned, he flicked his fingers. A microburst of air sent the fabric swirling upward.

“White lace,” he noted with a grin. “Very nice.”

“Michael!” she scolded him with a smile.

A faint blush raced across her cheeks. It was like watching the sun chase away the night. Enchanted, he watched her moisten her pink lips. What would her petal-soft mouth feel like beneath his as he took her, hard and fast?

He swallowed hard at the startling, sexual thought. Sabrina was off-limits.

He was a Phoenix, an Immortal Justice Guardian who’d died and been reborn to his powers. Michael patrolled the earth, doling out justice and destroying predators of paranormal creatures.

He’d succeeded at his job until a year ago, when the Hellfire demon Ambrosis slaughtered Sabrina’s parents and five siblings as Sabrina tried to save them. Her family had been heading to visit her grandparents when the demon attacked them as they took a brief respite from driving.

If he could, he’d die to keep her safe. But he couldn’t die again. Sabrina had to face her own demon. Guardian laws demanded he must not interfere.

“Let’s go,” he muttered.

The sun sinking toward the horizon warned they were running out of time.

Inside the car, his senses drank in her scent as if he were still a Draicon werewolf. Trees, palms and scrub brush passed in a blur as the car sped toward Florida’s west coast.

“Michael, you’re the only friend who still bothers with me. Thank you,” Sabrina told him.

“I’m not just your friend, Brie. I’ve watched over you since I became a Justice Guardian. You’ve shut yourself off from the world.”

She blinked hard. “If not for you, I’d never have done this. I can’t bear the memories.”

White showed on her knuckles as her fingers tightened on the steering wheel. “All I can recall is fighting. Pain, and then nothing. Nothing except waking up to see my family was dead.”

“You still don’t remember what happened to you?”

“It’s a blur, except I have the scar to remind me. I have nightmares about Ambrosis, and this voice keeps telling me I must have the courage to face him again. But ever since I lost my family, I’m terrified of something else happening.”

Michael looked away. “You should pay attention to your dreams. Often, they contain messages.”

She inhaled deeply. “Dreams are just dreams. Let’s not talk about it. It’s hard enough for me to drive on this road again. I haven’t been this way since Ambrosis killed my family.”

A fist of guilt slammed into his guts. He stared out the passenger’s side window.

I’m sorry, Brie, but I must do this. It’s my duty as a Justice Guardian.

Familiar landmarks appeared on the roadside. Sabrina’s hands shook. “This is the place. If I’d never insisted on Dad stopping so we could hunt in the swamp, they’d still be alive. I’m going to speed up .…”

“Pull over,” he told her.

“Here?”

“Now.”

Blood drained from her face, but she steered the Lexus onto the narrow shoulder.

“Stay here,” he ordered, hating her fear, smelling it like burnt wood.

He got out. Clouds the color of lead hung low in the gathering dusk. He breathed in the fertile scent of dank earth. The task before him lay on his wide shoulders like twin weights. A haunting loneliness gripped him.

He hated this part of the job.

In the canal paralleling the Alley, an alligator swam by in silence, its eyes peeking through the dark brown water in cool indifference.

Michael vaulted over the chain link fence, and walked a path through cypress and pine trees until he reached a tree island surrounded by shallow swamp water. At the northwest side, he touched the earth where a great battle had raged. Sorrow squeezed his insides.

From his backpack, he withdrew a single white gardenia, the blossom fresh and preserved by magick. He laid it on the ground where the blood of Sabrina’s family had been spilled.

A mocking crow cackled overhead. Michael fisted his hands as he walked to a small pool. No animals ever drank from this vile water — the home of Ambrosis. Michael had imprisoned him here after the battle that claimed Sabrina’s family.

Hellfire demons were attracted to paranormal beings possessing enormous integrity, strength and courage. They siphoned off those qualities for energy then killed the victim.

Beneath his palm, the dark water rippled. His immortal senses “saw” Ambrosis. With his index finger, Michael traced a sacred pattern in the muck below the shallow water. The ground vibrated.

An eerie, haunting scream rent the air. Disturbed by the sound, a great blue heron resting in a nearby cypress tree flew off.

The face of Sabrina’s nightmares appeared in the pool. Nasty laughter echoed through the swamp. The demon vanished below the water.

It was done, consequences be as they may. His duty as a Guardian was fulfilled.

“Forgive me, Brie,” Michael whispered.

He stood, dusting off his hands on his jeans. Shouldering his pack, he headed toward Sabrina’s car, but not before the earth gave a mighty shudder and the demon’s triumphant roar echoed through the silent clearing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Next . . .

from Emily Bryan . . .

A writer, like any type of performer, is only as good as her last offering. Which is why as soon as we write "the end" on one project, we're brainstorming the next one. Writing is like a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger you become. So I thought it might be interesting to kick off a series of posts about what all the Chatelaines are working on right now.

When we started this blog, we were all Dorchester authors. Now we represent other publishers as well. I'm writing for Kensington now under a new pen name, Mia Marlowe. My debut title, TOUCH OF A THIEF, will hit the shelves next May. (Blowing kisses to Jennifer Ashley for her fabulous cover quote for it!)

After Thief, I'll be in an anthology in July 2011 with Diane Whiteside and Maggie Robinson called IMPROPER GENTLEMEN, which was incredibly fun to write! Once you give your hero license to be outrageous, tons of naughty fun ensues.

Now, I'm brainstorming the second book in a 3-book contract, TOUCH OF A ROGUE. The reason the word 'touch' recurrs in my title is that at least one of my characters possesses a psychometric gift. In TOUCH OF A THIEF, my heroine receives visions when she handles gems. It's a bit of an occupational hazard for her since she's a jewel thief. In Rogue, my hero will have the ability to glean information from innanimate objects, in his case, tempered or worked metal. While my heroine in Thief avoided her gift when she could, my hero will grasp his with both hands.

A man takes power where it is offered.

I'm having a great time getting to know my new hero, figuring out what drives him, what he cares passionately about, and what he'll have to give up in order to win the heroine. She's also percolating in the background now and she's going to have to be an incredibly strong woman to challenge and inspire my new Alpha.

This part of writing is playtime. The world of the story is fluid, the characters unformed. Anything can happen.

And I'll make sure it does.

My Mia Marlowe historicals include a sparkle of magic. How do you feel about mixing genres, stirring in a bit of paranormal along with a sense of history in your romances? If you're a writer, what are you working on now?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!


TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY is September 19th! What? You've never heard of it? Never mind. There's still time for you to bone up on some pirate lingo so you'll fit right in.

Ahoy! ~ "Hello!"

Avast! ~ "Hey!" "Stop!" "No way!"

Aye ~ "Yes, I most heartily agree."

Aye aye! ~ "Absolutely, I'll see to it as soon as I finish my nap."

Arrr ~ Can mean "yes," "I'm happy." or "Great beer!" Not to be confused with "Aarg!" (which is the sound you make when you accidentally sit on the sharp pointy end of an anchor!)

Beauty ~ Pirate word for a wench, always preceded by 'me,' as in "Why are ye walkin' away, me beauty?"

Bilge rat ~ A first rate insult, as in "Belay that racket, ye smarmy bilge rat." The bilge is the lowest deck of the ship, usually filled with slimy water. Of course, if someone made me stay in the bilge, I'd make a racket too!

Grog ~ Watered rum. Since water onboard was stored in slimy wooden barrels, it was usually anything but fresh. Grog helped kill the rancid taste. And several thousand brain cells.

Hornpipe ~ A single reed flute and the wild dance usually done to its music. Not to be confused with the pirate pick up line, "No, me beauty, that's not a hornpipe in me pocket. I really am happy to see ye!"

Keelhaul ~ A really horrible way to spend an afternoon. Pirates who violated one of the articles (rules they all voted on and agreed to before the voyage began) might be punished by being tied to a rope that ran under the keel of the ship. The offender was shoved into the water on one side of the ship, dragged against the barnacled-covered hull and hauled out on the other. Rinse, and repeat.

Lubber ~ An insulting word for a landsman. No one wants to be a lubber.

Smartly ~ To do something quickly. As in "Nip over to the bookstore smartly and claim your copy of PLEASURING THE PIRATE before they're all gone!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

FREE on Kindle--Two Chatelaines Books


For a limited time, one of my older books, Penelope & Prince Charming is free on Kindle from Amazon. It begins the Nvengaria series (historical with paranormal touches). If you or anyone you know has wanted to try this series, you can now for FREE! I think this runs until the end of the month.

Also up this week, FREE, is one of the Immortals books by JOY NASH: Immortals: The Crossing This is the sixth book of the series, but is a standalone about the character Mac.

Full URLs: http://www.amazon.com/Penelope-Prince-Charming-ebook/dp/B002L4F49K/ref=pd_ts_kinc-f_4?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text
and
http://www.amazon.com/Immortals-The-Crossing-ebook/dp/B001HL0F60/ref=pd_ts_kinc-f_9?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text



Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dragon*Con 2010


Some pics from Dragon*Con 2010 - what a blast it was!!


Enjoy!!


Spartan Warriors from 300 - hot hot HOT!
Where can I get me one of those???


This Sirius Black was definitely one of the best costumes I saw!


Dr. Who


Kingdom Hearts villains


Netherworld float in the D*Con parade


Not sure what these characters are from, but they were awesome!



Straight from Nowhere, Kansas - Courage the Cowardly Dog!
I miss that cartoon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Total Fan Girl



One of the best things that can happen to a writer is having fans come up to you and tell you how much they love your work and that it touched their heart. Especially when they get breathless and flustered because they soo wanted to meet you in person and tell you themselves. It always inspires me.

However this weekend I got to be the total fan girl when Diana Gabaldon came to my home town for our annual Bookmarks festival. The great thing about Diana is she's very approachable. When I first started writing, (after being inspired my her first three books in the Outlander series) I emailed her for advice on getting published. And she emailed me back (something I always do with my fans) She was very encouraging and congratulated me when I told her I got a contract. When I discovered she was coming to town I emailed her again. I got to meet her at a talk she gave and she remember me. Woot! And notice how she's holding up my bookmark.

So I had a total fan girl, you inspired me, I love your books moment. And got an autographed bookplate to boot.

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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