A KISS IN THE WIND – One Year Celebration and Giveaway!

March 27, 2013

Song of the day: What Have You Done by Within Temptation (theme song to A KISS IN THE WIND)

This week marks the one year anniversary of the release of A KISS IN THE WIND, the second in the Romancing the Pirate series. I’ve enjoyed success over the year and excited by the continuing sales.

ChampagneAnd so to celebrate, I am giving away an e-copy of the book.

There are two chances to win.

1. Comment on this blog post.

2. Join my mailing list here at my website.

Easy peasy!

So let’s get this party started.

For those of you who have read the book, you have my gratitude. And I offer you a little known fact. A KISS IN THE WIND was written with an epilogue. My publisher had decided not to add it. But I couldn’t just let it go. Ooooh no! Sure, there was a happily ever after. But I had more to tell. More important nuggets for the reader. And so, if you have read the book, click this link to read the rest of the story. *SPOILER* If you haven’t read the book, I’d advise skipping the epilogue. Just sayin’.

For kicks and grins, I thought I’d give a taste of the book. You know, to entice you.

The Blurb:

Marisol Castellan is in trouble–again. Against her pirate father’s orders, she snuck off their ship to intercept a message meant for a rival captain, one that offers a clue to the whereabouts of her estranged brother Monte.

Pirate captain Blade Tyburn is not pleased to find the letter he’s been waiting for is missing. He’s even less pleased when he discovers the thief is a raven-haired beauty who bewitches his senses and muddles his thinking. The note gives the location of a silver-laden ship that’ll make his fortune; Blade must find it, and if that means bringing Marisol along on the voyage, so be it.

Marisol believes Monte sails on the very ship Blade is to meet and strikes a deal with the handsome rogue. If he will give her passage to her brother, she will give him the exact location he needs. And both will get more than they expected…

One of my favorite steamy exchanges:

“We need to talk.”

“Talk?” Her brow lifted in what he decided was ridicule. “ Shouldn’t you be topside looking for the enemy ship you let slip away?”

The time long since passed for her to end her biting words. “I understand your thirst for revenge, but you will hold sway your spiteful tongue. I will have no more of it.”

“Then I suggest you take your leave for I have nothing else to offer.”

Her words brought him close, irresistible like honey to a bee. “Oh?”

She stiffened, realizing too late the delicious challenge she presented him. “That’s right,” she said.

“This I know to be a lie.” He put his hand on the door and she pressed her back against the wall. “I can think of many things you can offer me.”

An excerpt:

Kiss largePuerto Plata, Hispaniola, 1726

“Crazy wench. Let go!”

Marisol tightened her grip on the coarse barrel of the pistol poised a mere inch from her face. Death’s diseased aroma wafted over her with the depraved wretch’s breath. A frenzy of alarm pumped through her veins, fueling new untapped strength. “Bloody hell, I will!”

She struggled with him, unwilling to release his gun and reach for her own weapon. She pushed and pulled with the ruffian in a gruesome dance of sorts, a ballet amid the squalid dregs and wet filth of the dark alley. Their curses and grunts chased the shrouded silence back up the stone walls. No passerby would take notice, no more than they would a cheap strumpet and her jack.

Marisol slipped on the slick cobblestones and, losing her balance, brought the vile man down with her.

The pistol went off. An unforgiving percussion echoed down the alley.

He landed on top of her, knocking the wind from her lungs. Sharp pain sliced through her back with the force of the fall. A moment passed, then another.

The man’s weight crushed against her. She gulped shallow, tainted breaths in the pocket of air between his shirt collar and sweaty neck. I must get free. Marisol thrashed beneath the cur. Fear urging her on, she pressed against his chest and shoved him off, rolling him to his back. She scuttled to her knees. But he didn’t move, didn’t get up to finish her off.

What have I done?

Marisol dropped the gun. Blood on her hands trickled down between shaky fingers. She stared at them, turning her hands over to see the crooked red pathways on her skin. Even in the shadows, the deep color glistened. Slowly, she curled her fingers into fists, resting them on her knees, and looked down at the dead man before her. The blood from his chest wound filtered through his tunic, spreading down his side. Spent gunpowder still singed her nose.

Numb emotions lingered beneath her breastbone. She willed herself not to think of him as a man who might be mourned by someone who loved him, a mother, or a wife with children. Would they be waiting for him? Wondering when he would return home?

No. No pity would be spared for the likes of him, a paltry criminal. Had Alain taught her nothing about survival? Warm your rum with the blood of another, for if the bastard gets the chance, your course will be run and the devil will have you.

She would not let the compassion seize her heart. Leave that for the weak-minded.

Marisol took one quick glance around the darkened back street. She wiped the blood against her lap then reached into the dead man’s coat, searching his pockets. She pulled out a pouch containing silver coins, three of them. Marisol forced a smile. How fortunate. Something for her troubles. She stuffed the pouch into the folds of her dress.

Continuing her search, her hand grazed across paper in another pocket. She smiled again as she picked up and read the letter for which she’d been searching. The missive was cryptic but given more time she would be able to decipher it. With any luck, it would reveal the information she so desperately sought, information that could lead her to her missing brother. She would do anything to find Monte. Marisol glanced down at the corpse. Perhaps she had become too desperate. Foolish man. You really should’ve been more careful.

The book trailer:

Fun Fact:

The pirate ship Rissa featured in most of the books in the Romancing the Pirate series is modeled after the notorious Black Beard’s ship Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Buy links:

Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible

Thanks for being a special part of my world!

Don’t forget to either leave a comment or join my mailing list for your chance to win an eBook of A KISS IN THE WIND.

*Congratulations to winner Kimberly Rocha!*


Innuendo – What Are You Suggesting?

August 22, 2012

Song of the Day: Afterlife by Avenged Sevenfold (one of my favorites)

I’m a master at many tongues. Well, no, not really. I’m pretty fluent in English, though. Thank goodness, as it’s my native language. I got “Southern” down right well, too. But I’m also pretty good at innuendo.

Innuendo finds its way in my everyday speech. It’s what we bona fide flirts, and obliviously some of the Hump Day Kick Start followers, do.  And, honestly, when used properly, makes any conversation with friends good for a laugh.

It comes as no surprise that innuendo finds its way into my writing, too. Here’s a snippet of one of my favorite exchanges in my pirate romance A KISS IN THE WIND.

I’ll show you my dinghy if you’ll show me yours.

“I harbor much more than bitterness, sweet lady.” Blade closed the gap between them. “Would you care to find out just what I harbor? Or where?”

His crude remark did not appall Marisol like she imagined he intended. Living among a ship full of scum counting down the days until they would make the next port so that they could prig a cheap blouse, she had heard it all.

“I’m uninterested in the docking habits of a draughty dinghy.”

 His deep laugh lengthened the cut of his dimples. “’Tis a shame, I’d say. Wherever I drop anchor, my man-o’-war is usually well received in berth.”

Here’s another favorite dance of innuendo from THE SIREN’S SONG.

“I won’t change my mind,” Drake said. “For your safety, I won’t.”

Gilly’s hands fell away and her eyes dipped to his bandolier. He sensed a

Wouldn’t want anyone to go into a Hump Day Kick Start withdrawal

change within her. Her sadness, it seemed to evaporate, or perhaps shift into something resembling determination. She ran a finger over the leather straps holding one of his flintlocks close to his chest.

“Well Captain Drake, at least give me a few more hours. I’ve a quarry to pursue.”

He smiled in spite of himself. Yes, determination, a hunter stalking prey. She’d come a long way from the timid mouse he fished out of the sea.

“I’m prepared to do battle.” She pinned him with an impassioned grin.

“Battle will be risky,” he said, gazing at her mouth. “Your blood will race, your heart will pound, and you will be left sweaty and breathless. Though the outcome may leave you rich, you will yearn for more, and more I cannot give.”

“We shall see.” She hooked her finger under the brace and tugged. He willingly let her lead him to the edge of the bed. “Should my strategy fail, the loss will be worth the pursuit.”

“This I won’t deny.”

Oh, those pirates. Such bad boys.

What’s your favorite innuendo scene? It can be from a book, a manuscript, a movie, a song, doesn’t matter. I’d love to hear it.


A KISS IN THE WIND – Release Par-Tay!

March 28, 2012

Break open the bottle of rum! Today is the official release party for my inaugural Carina Press pirate historical romance, A KISS IN THE WIND.

And to celebrate, I’m sharing the BOOTY! Adventure, a wee bit ‘o sport, ‘n treasure awaits.

  • Read an excerpt here.
  • Take a quiz and get an authentic pirate name.
  • Ask me a question about pirates or
  • Dunk A Wench by trying to stump me with pirate trivia.
  • Above all,  leave a comment for a chance to score a copy of A KISS IN THE WIND or a pair of skull and crossbones earrings.

A Kiss in the Wind Blurb:

Marisol Castellan is in trouble–again. Against her pirate father’s orders, she snuck off their ship to intercept a message meant for a rival captain, one that offers a clue to the whereabouts of her estranged brother Monte.

Pirate captain Blade Tyburn is not pleased to find the letter he’s been waiting for is missing. He’s even less pleased when he discovers the thief is a raven-haired beauty who bewitches his senses and muddles his thinking. The note gives the location of a silver-laden ship that’ll make his fortune; Blade must find it, and if that means bringing Marisol along on the voyage, so be it.

Marisol believes Monte sails on the very ship Blade is to meet and strikes a deal with the handsome rogue. If he will give her passage to her brother, she will give him the exact location he needs. And both will get more than they expected…

One of my favorite lines in the book:

“You have stolen not one, but several items that belong to me. You wounded one of my men. And…” Blade stepped in close to Marisol, close enough that her breath fell on his face. “You tried to kill me. I don’t believe you are in a position to argue.”

“Maim you.”

“What?”

The tips of her lips curved up into an impish grin. “I tried to maim you.”

What a devil of a woman. Cloaked in beauty, she was wicked. Wicked and deceptive and, oh so close to finding herself naked beneath him. He groaned inwardly. He wanted her, despite the urge to strangle her. And that peeved him.

More favorite lines:

“Blazes.” Henri grumbled, grunting from the effort of climbing the ladder with his lame leg. At the top, he paused long enough to scowl at the offending steps. He toddled over. “What’s gotten into the lass? She came flyin’ down the ladder an’ nearly plowed me down. You go an’ make her mad, Tyburn?”

“What makes you think that?”

“She was sayin’ somethin’ ‘bout a capt’n needin’ to grow some ballocks.”

And yet another favorite:

Blade had taught Marisol many new things. He had more to offer, no doubt. His company, his imminence, the trust she placed in him, it was like a strong bottle of the finest liquor. Too much of him and she could become drunk, a

slobbering, moon-eyed drunk. Hear, Hear! To a plentiful cup of Tyburn.

Click HERE for your copy of A KISS IN THE WIND.

*And for a special treat, you can HEAR A SAMPLE of the book as well.  It’s also available in audio form through Audible. How cool is that?

Don’t forget to leave a comment! You could win a copy of A KISS IN THE WIND or the skull and crossbones earrings.

Update! Winners! Melanie Macek is the winner of a copy of A Kiss In The Wind. Susan Muller is the winner of the skull and crossbones earrings. Congrats, ladies. And thanks for your support!


MuseTracks Link of the Week – Pirate Fun

March 27, 2012

Continuing my rise to pirate domination and with my upcoming release of A KISS IN THE WIND, the second book in my Romancing the pirate series, I give you the official Talk Like A Pirate website.

http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html

This fun site not only promotes Talk Like a Pirate day (which is September 19th) but it also offers fun games, pirate booty, links, booty, education, songs, and much more. You can even learn the best pirate pick-up lines! (Been checking out this website for years – lol)

Enjoy!

Coming March 26th!


Surrender the Booty – Pirate High Seas Tactics

March 21, 2012

Song of the Day: Save Yourself by Stabbing Westward

Click to pre-order your copy!

In A Kiss in the Wind (release date March 26th!), pirate captain Blade Tyburn engages in not one, but two sea battles. Really, what’s a pirate adventure without some live action?  However, did you know that pirates often avoided going into battle?

Sure, pirates are known for their pillaging, plundering and rioting. But when chasing down ships under sail, pirates preferred tactical strategy over a blood-fest.

Once the pirates spotted a potential prize, they shadowed the quarry, following them for hours, and sometimes even days. They did this to determine several things—what country the ship sailed under, where the ship was headed, how fast could she sail, and was the vessel well-armed.  How did they determine all this? By being bad ass, of course.  These men made it their business to be experienced in the seas they prowled, became knowledgeable of the trade routes, and by having rats, er, informants staked along in ports.

Armed with this intelligence, the pirate crew voted on whether they wanted to take the ship or let her pass.  Should they decide a ship was a worthy prize, they still didn’t attack. Engaging in battle was the last thing they wanted. What good was a prize if she was damaged, or worse, sinking? And no one wanted to die, right? Pirates relied on the elements of speed, surprise, and gotchas!

First, they might show their colors, meaning hoisting their jolly roger. If that didn’t get the knees a-knockin’, they’d fire a single warning shot across the ship’s bow. You’d think that would be enough. Unfortunately there were some stubborn fools. So pirates would resort to vapouring techniques meant to terrorize victims into surrendering. Fierce shouts and fearsome threats, lively battle music, and brandishing weapons were usually quire effective. Giving up the goods spared lives. But those who resisted, well, they were shown no quarter.

If you were encountered by a pirate ship, when would you surrender? Or would you fight until the death?

Me? I’d probably try to use my feminine wiles to outsmart them. LOL!


The Superstitious Minds of Pirates

March 14, 2012

Song of the Day: Cue the Twilight Zone theme music.

Click cover to pre-order your copy!

In my Romancing the Pirates series, I mention superstitions often. Superstitions fascinate me. The oddity of these beliefs, how they originated, and the stories linked to them. And because superstition was so prevalent with sailors and pirates, naturally I incorporated bits of maritime myths in my books.

Like all sea dogs worth their salt, most of my characters are highly superstitious. One recurring belief tale after tale was that women on board were bad luck. By the antics and trouble that befall the crew time and again, I tend to agree.

In A Kiss in the Wind (shameless plug: release date March 26th!), there are several events surrounding superstition that has the crew all skittish and affright. One such event involves seagulls flying overhead while our fearless pirate captain comes upon a ghost ship. Seagulls and albatross were believed to carry the souls of dead sailors. Killing one of these birds was considered very bad luck. Stand down animal lovers, no birds were harmed in the making of Kiss. But these birds did fly above the masts in groups of three—a sure omen of death.

Squawk!

Some of the superstitions I slipped into the story but said nothing of the beliefs surrounding them. Flowers are considered unlucky to have on board as they could be used for a funeral wreath. Therefore, many sailors believed flowers on a ship also meant someone would die on the voyage. In Blood and Treasure, I deliberately used flowers as a representation and foreshadowing symbolism.

Here are a few fun lesser known beliefs:

  • No whistling on board – stirs up the wind bringing storms.
  • Naked women on board were considered lucky – as they shamed the seas into being calm (think figureheads) I know, this is a direct conflict to not having women on board. Pfftth–men.
  • Don’t set sail on Fridays – Christ was crucified on that day.
  • A shark following a ship was a death omen. (Na-na-na-na-na-na-ahhhh! Jaws!)
  • A bell ringing by itself surely meant someone was about to die. (Sheesh, choppy waters must be a bitch)
  • Wine poured on the deck would bring good luck. (Just think of all the poor sailors’ tongues with splinters in them.)
  • Rats leaving a ship meant the ship is doomed.
  • Black cats were considered good luck.
  • A silver coin placed under the masthead would ensure a good voyage. (Kind of like a bribe, I’d say.)
  • Avoid redheads.
  • An anchor tattoo will keep a man fallen overboard from drifting away from the ship.
  • Gold earrings keep a sailor from drowning; it also ensured payment across the River Styx. (Boy, sailors sure are into bribery.)
  • A baby boy born on a ship was good luck; it is suggested that a boy born on the gun deck is referred to as a “son of a gun”.
  • Never say pig – it’s bad luck and brings strong winds; it’s also bad luck to mention say rabbit, hare, or fox (the captain’s name in Blood And Treasure is Fox – tee hee)

    Red skies at night, sailor's delight; red skies at morn, sailor be warned

  • Don’t disrespect the sea – never throw a stone overboard.
  • Bananas were bad luck, having bananas on board caused ship to disappear.
  • A stolen piece of wood linked into the keel will cause the ship to sail faster. (Because no one wants to be caught stealing.)

There are loads more mariner superstitions. Can you name another?


MuseTracks Link of the Week – Pirate Fun

March 13, 2012

In honor of my upcoming release, A Kiss in the Wind, let’s have some pirate fun, shall we?

This week’s link is a handy English to Pirate text translator.

Now ’tis easier than ever (assumin’ ye’ve tried) to squawk ‘n message on ye favorite social media sites whatever be on ye mind.

http://postlikeapirate.com/

Heartly enjoy!


Edits, Drama, and the Murder of an Epilogue

November 9, 2011

Song of the Day: Rolling in the Deep by Adele

Edits. Love ‘em or hate ‘em?

I think most of us have heard of revision hell. Conversely, we all know that someone who so rock, their editors have nothing to refine. So when my time came to be professionally edited, I had no idea what to expect.

The past few weeks I’ve been working on rounds of edits with my editor (I never get tired of saying that – my editor). Denise is fan – flipping – tabulous. And thus far, I’ve enjoyed the editing experience.

I look pretty good as a brunette.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not strolling through a field of poppies, barefoot and fancy free. I’m not one of those authors who so rock. No, I completely short circuit over doing revisions on a deadline and I’m convinced that Murphy’s Law requires that life heads into upheaval at the same time. Let’s face it, 14 days or less for revisions translates to 14 hours or less for this mom of a rambunctious toddler and ever-dramatic preteen.

I'm not being overly dramatic, am I?

Add in the momentary lapse of sanity with shameless sobbing, fist-pumping, and foot-stomping when I had to delete my entire epilogue. My epilogue that ties everything in a neat, pretty bow. My epilogue that hints to what’s to come in the next book. My epilogue that so rocked! Noooooooooo…

Other than that, I’ve been lucky, or maybe I just fake it well. My edits overall have been rather painless.

Action, adventure, romance. Check

Good grammar. Check.

No plot holes. Check.

Flowing sentence structure and pleasing cadence. Check.

Clear logistics. Check.

Drool-worthy libertine pirate with insatiable appetite. Check.

Tee Hee

My editor (giggle, snort, giggle) encouraged me to dive deeper into character motivation and helped pull the ropes tighter in my writing. Together, we spit-shined my novel squeaky clean. God love her, she found my amorous scenes hot and well written, and even asked that I add another. Gladly. Can’t have too much lovin’ to make your toes curl.

That woman’s got an eagle eye, too, picking out repetitive verbiage and phrases. Apparently, I have an affinity for certain words. They magically appear over and over in my book, this despite that I am usually very cautious about repetition. Still a few slipped past. Damn you CPs! *shakes fists*

Listen up, authors. She says she literally sees the following phrase, or variations

Even the dog is narrowing his eyes.

of, in every single manuscript that crosses her desk. She narrowed her eyes. Confession. I did this five times in the novel. Five! Everyone was narrowing their eyes. Ugh.

I’m not unique. Every author does this. We’re so wrapped up in conveying thoughts, emotions, and actions just right, we simply do not notice we’ve been repetitive. In an 80-100K book, it’s easy to overlook the same phrase or word.

Just when I thought we were finished, the copy editor sends it back. Writing historical fiction has its own challenge by way of proper words usage, terminology, and dialect. I have done extensive, exhaustive research on words, trying my best to avoid anachronistic terms. Imagine my surprise when the CE sent my novel back full of flagged words. *sigh* It’s times like these I wonder how I made it this far.

So how do we avoid these pitfalls? Get a good editor. Employ awesome critique partners. Besides that? Well, reading aloud works. Doing a ‘Find’ in Microsoft Word for any word you favor or think you’ve used more than once will help, as well. Do your research. And just be vigilant. No one is perfect. That’s why we have a team of peeps saving our asses.

Dear epilogue, you will be missed.

Now, please. A moment of silence for my dearly departed epilogue.

How about you? Do you have any favorite words that sneak into your manuscripts time and again? How about editing? How has the editing process worked for you? I’d love to hear from you.