This is a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my romance backlist titles in ebook format. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.
Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 4 Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen
Algie’s eyes blazed. “How are you resisting me?”
“Never mind, just do as I said. Fix Jek to look more human.”
Human? She shook her head. That annoying buzzing sound must be affecting her brain.
However, it didn’t affect her instincts. An inner voice hammered at her to leave. She backed away, but at a simple nod from Algie, the door slammed shut from an invisible force.
“You’re not going anywhere until I find out how you’re blocking me. Jek, seize her.”
The big man’s beefy hand clamped onto her arm.
“Let me go.” Nira fought to elbow him in the gut, but his strength overwhelmed her. He hauled her toward the treatment table. “Stop, or I’ll scream.” Panic laced her voice.
The woman’s sinister chuckle chilled her blood. “Go ahead. No one will hear you.”
Does Nira have reason to panic under these circumstances?
This is a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebook titles. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. Go to my Contest page to see more opportunities.
Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 3 Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen
“Jek is a test subject to see if you suit us for employment.” Algie’s brow wrinkled. “See if you can make him look more normal.”
Nira stifled a nervous cough. Aren’t those huge cauliflower ears prosthetics? “Uh, I’m not sure I—”
“Just use those makeup supplies.” Algie pointed to the counter. “Shadowing, for example, can de-emphasize certain features. You’ll know what to do.”
The blonde sauntered closer. Her porcelain features were so refined, she could have been a model. She leaned inward, her ocean blue eyes shining brightly, her rosy lips parting as though about to confide a secret. Nira couldn’t drag her gaze away. Her nostrils picked up a floral scent that held her spellbound.
It seemed so natural when Algie placed a palm on her arm like an old friend.
No. Nira sprang back, the buzzing sound in her head increasing to painful decibels.
Should Nira flee this place as quickly as possible?
This is a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my ebook romance backlist titles. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.
Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 2 Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen
Her thoughts scattered when the inner door burst open, and an attractive blonde smiled at her. “Come in, Miss Larsen. My name is Algie Morar. I understand you’re applying for a position as a makeup artist?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
Nira followed her into a corridor marked by closed doors on either side. At the far end, the hallway opened into a large room from which low male voices rumbled in a strange guttural tongue. A curtain made of fabric strips obstructed the view.
The woman halted and opened a door, gesturing silently for Nira to enter. But instead of facing a desk and chairs as she expected for an interview, she spied a treatment table, a sink, and a console like in a doctor’s office. A supply of cosmetics laid spread out on the counter: brushes, eye pencils, powders, and other familiar tools.
“Wait here.” Algie turned on her heel and left Nira alone. A moment later, she returned with a burly man in tow.
Nira’s mouth fell open. The stocky fellow had oversized ears, a long bulbous nose, and abnormally large hands and feet. His small beady eyes glared at her from beneath bushy brows. He wore a workman’s clothes, stained trousers and a plaid shirt.
Today begins a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. I hope you’ll follow along and leave a comment. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my ebook backlist titles. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. September also offers you a chance to win more prizes. Go to my Contest page to see all your opportunities.
Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 1 Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen
“Hi, I’m Nira Larsen, here for an interview,” she told the receptionist, whose solemn stare and black attire would have suited the funeral home she’d visited earlier.
“Please be seated until you are summoned.” The woman’s blunt-cut dark hair swung as she pressed a button on her console to announce Nira’s arrival.
Nira glanced at the small waiting area with its threadbare carpet, row of vinyl seats, and musty odor. Why was no one else here? And why did this place appear so seedy, with peeling paint and grime-coated windows? Maybe she didn’t want to work for people who treated their applicants with such disrespect.
Nonetheless, she’d like to land a position at Drift World. On her budget, she couldn’t afford a ticket to the role-playing adult theme park, but getting a job there would solve that problem. Plus she needed the money for other reasons.
She took a seat, an odd buzzing in her ears. It had started when she walked into the place. But even weirder had been the way the theme park’s temporary employment office appeared to materialize out of thin air.
The address specified on the classified ad had taken her next to a popular café on Orlando’s International Drive. Maybe she was just tired after her last two disastrous interviews, but she could have sworn this log cabin hadn’t been in the parking lot when she’d arrived.
What would you think if you were applying for a job at this place?
If you’re looking for some new reads, or are just curious about what I’m reading these days, take a look below. Usually I read more than one book at a time. Currently I’m reading the next C.S. Harris historical mystery, another Alex Rider installment, and a historical romance. How many books do you have going at one time?
SCORPIA by Anthony Horowitz (Teen Spy Fiction)
Fourteen-year-old British agent Alex Rider is ostensibly on vacation in Italy but he’s really following a clue as to how his father died. When he learns the truth, he joins the criminal organization known as Scorpia. He knows they’re trained assassins, but he’s unaware of their terrifying plan to murder millions of London schoolchildren with a secret weapon.
Bent on personal revenge, Alex returns to England with only one mission: kill the person who shot his father. It’s none other than his former MI6 boss, Mrs. Jones. But then his plans start to go awry, and he ends up fighting for his home turf once again. Scorpia isn’t an organization to be thwarted, though, and they’ve made contingencies in case he betrays them.
This story is another exciting adventure in the rousing Alex Rider series, who’s like a junior James Bond fighting evil on a global scale. The fast-paced action will have you turning pages and rushing out to get the sequel. Pure escapist entertainment!
HOW TO PROPOSE TO A PRINCE by Kathryn Caskie (Historical Romance) Elizabeth Royle is convinced she’s destined to marry a prince, so when she meets a man claiming to be Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, she knows it’s Fate. Little does she realize that her handsome prince is a decoy. His cousin, Lord Whitevale, is actually the prince, and Sumner—the real Marquess of Whitevale—is posing as the royal to draw assassins away.
Elizabeth falls in love with a man whose duty supposedly dictates he wed Princess Charlotte, possibly her half-sister. She despairs when Sumner seems to care for her but keeps getting pulled away for affairs of state. Should she believe her senses or what others are telling her about his need for a political match? She can’t compete against a royal princess.
Her association with the prince proves dangerous when a sniper shoots at them. But even though he isn’t meant for her, Elizabeth seeks to protect him. She has to have faith that he’ll find a way back to her as promised.
Secret identity stories are always engaging. Although the reader knows what’s going on, the anticipation is high for when Elizabeth learns the truth. Will she feel betrayed, or will she believe Sumner’s declarations when he says she’s the one who captured his heart?
LOUISA AND THE COUNTRY BACHELOR by Anna Maclean (Historical Mystery) This is the second Louisa May Alcott mystery where we read about Louisa’s life as a young woman before she became a famous author. Louisa and her family are vacationing with cousins in New Hampshire. Their rural village suffers a tragedy when a young laborer is found dead, pushed down a ravine. His sister believes one of the shopkeepers killed him so as to buy their piece of land by the railroad track, but Louisa isn’t so easily convinced. Their neighbors harbor secrets, and all isn’t what it seems in this sleepy little town. The questions build as she investigates, especially when the local sheriff suspects her close friend of being the murderer. To prove his innocence, Louisa probes into people’s lives, not realizing she’s putting her own safety at stake. Another delightful installment in a charming series.
NORWAY TO HIDE by Maddy Hunter (Mystery) This entry in Maddy Hunter’s Passport to Peril series is just as amusing as the other stories in her repertoire. You’ll smile as you read about the antics of tour guide Emily Andrews and her senior citizens on their trip to Scandinavia. The Iowan group is dismayed to be thrown in with a bunch of Floridians, even more so when a guest turns up dead. What secrets is this troupe hiding that they’d kill to keep quiet? Norway to Hide is a humorous tale that will have you chuckling and guessing until the final clue.
WHAT ANGELS FEAR by C.S. Harris (Historical Mystery) This first title in the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series will hook you and reel you in. Accused of a heinous rape/murder, Viscount Devlin flees the authorities and takes refuge in 1811 London where he seeks to clear his name. With various allies to help him, he unravels a scheme involving French spies, political intrigue, blackmail, and greed. Evocative setting details will have you believing you’re in fog-shrouded London as you follow the hero’s adventures into disreputable alleyways and slummy inns as he searches for the killer before the man strikes again. Devlin can’t even trust his own family who harbors damaging secrets. At stake is the life of a woman he once loved and who loves him still. Can he unmask the villain, save the Regency, and avoid the hangman’s noose? Once you read this book, you’ll want to find more stories in Harris’s engaging series.
DEBUT AUTHOR ANGELA RENEE visits us today with a discussion on World Building.
I’m an avid reader. Read just about every genre, but my favorite genres are fantasy and sci-fi with a good dose of romance thrown in there, which explains why my debut novel, You Are Mine, is a sci-fi romance. I love reading the world the author creates and I love creating worlds. But you still must be careful.
I was reading my favorite fantasy novel, Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward, which made me completely change this post. I had planned to write about how fantastic You Are Mine, is… No not really. I’m kidding. I had planned on submitting a post about the excitement and expectations of a debut author.
Back to the book I was re-reading for the umpteenth time. The important part is the lesson I learned about world building. I love the world Eve Forward built just as much as I love the cast of characters and the plot she dropped them into. She made rules and didn’t break them. I know there are those out there who say, “Rules are made to be broken,” but that doesn’t work in fiction. And this is more than just other worldly genres such as fantasy and sci-fi. In mainstream and contemporary genres, authors use artistic license combined with “reality” to set up the world rules. If a rule is broken, there needs to be a legitimate reason and then it’s not actually breaking the rule but giving a broader understanding of the rules.
I’m an experienced reader of forty years and am just tipping into this published author thing, so I am a much better reader than author and whenever my reading buddies and I are discussing books, we rarely bring up the world the novel is built in itself. The only time it comes up is if the author breaks some rule of the world. Hmmm, interesting. Without proper world building, your novel will not be realistic (fiction realistic not real realistic. LOL). World building is under appreciated. As a reader, I love sinking into the author’s fictional world, no matter what the genre. So while this post was supposed to be about my novel, it has turned out to be more of a thank you to the great world builders out there. THANK YOU!
Now I can’t go without saying something about You Are Mine. I hope the world I built in this sci-fi romance meets your expectations. I know the thought of sci-fi romance may be foreign to many of you. Don’t be scared to try something new. Have fun with it.
You Are Mine: In the hundreds of special assignments Erica Morgan has worked, there was nothing that prepared her for waking one morning on an alien spaceship. More surprisingly, her captor and adversary, the leader of this mission, is the one man who could make her want to leave her home planet and embrace a different life.
D’Jarus Commodore doesn’t want a wife, but his planet is slowly dying, and their salvation lies in the people of Earth. As leader of Darien, he chooses to make a sacrifice and be the first to marry a terran. His captive bride, Erica, is like no other being he has ever met. At first sight he knows he must have her, but for obvious reasons—he did kidnap her after all—she resists him every step of the way.
NY Times bestselling author Tami Hoag was the guest speaker at the Florida Romance Writers August 11th meeting. Tami began by describing how different things were in the publishing world when she started out at this career. She wrote in longhand and typed up her pages. Then she sold the second book she’d written and the computer age dawned. In those days, computers were expensive, unusual to own, and not justified in her mind until her career blossomed.
Tami Hoag and FRW President Rose Lawson Tami, Rose, and Nancy J. Cohen (center)
“I always wanted to be a writer”, Tami said, but she admitted that in those days, she didn’t read romance. She was a self-confessed “book snob” with preconceived notions about the romance genre. But then a friend at an event gave her a historical romance by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and on the way home, Tami’s car broke down. She had nothing else to read and started the book. That hooked her, and she went on to become an avid romance fan.
Still, she wanted to write but wasn’t sure where to start. She’d been learning about the business through Romantic Times Magazine and didn’t know any other writers in the area. After researching the markets on her own, she realized she could write comedy and chose Bantam Loveswept as her target. She liked them because they didn’t pigeonhole their authors. They allowed their writers to push the boundaries within category romance. Tami acquired an agent and got published writing romantic comedies. She joined RWA and eventually crossed over into suspense.
My camera battery is about to die; hence the discoloration.
Why does she like to write dark stories now? Her interest in psychology compels her to write edge-of-your-seat thrillers. “Character is the heart of everything.” Psychology and the dynamics between characters are the driving force behind these tales. “Crime is the structure for human interaction.” Also, readers must care about the characters. She begins her stories with a crime and then focuses on the investigators. The cops are the linchpins who can see all sides of a case and who can delve into the psyches of the other characters. Tami admits she’s a pantser rather than a plotter, and she never outlines. Does she ever face a hurdle? Sometimes she’ll write a character into a corner, but she views this as an opportunity, not a blockade.
Tami has another occupation, and that’s what keeps her sane. She’s into horse dressage or “horse dancing”, as some people call it. Both this field and writing require strict discipline. She enters show competitions during the winter. Whenever deadlines are getting to her, she tells herself to “go to the barn.” Being with her horses frees up her subconscious. She compares being on a horse and centered on what she’s doing to meditation. “It’s essential to my creative process.”
Chatting before the meeting FRW Board/Past and Present
Does writing get any easier? Her answer is negative, not even after so many books. As for the current state of publishing, “It’s a fear-driven business.” The market is terrible, and there’s competition from other media. You won’t find the same optimism that we found in the eighties. Back then, publishers said, “there are so many readers, we want content!” Now they say, “there are so many readers and we want content, but we have no money to pay you.” The prevailing climate is one of fear and desperation. On the good side, more opportunities exist for new writers to break in.
Regarding research, Tami started out with a hands-on approach, where she consulted cops and FBI personnel, but by now she pretty much has a handle on the procedures. Movies? A two-part miniseries was done on her book in 1997 but nothing since. She’s had a lot of film options but they haven’t led anywhere.
What’s next for her? The Ninth Girl brings back homicide cops from Minneapolis who appeared in a previous story. Pressured by her publisher to write an ebook, she penned a novella that acts as a prequel. Normally, Tami says, “I’m not known for brevity. I don’t write short stories.” As for her novels, she has ideas “stacked up on the runway.” While friends of hers are writing to double their capacity, Tami believes you have to fight for time to enjoy life. And although she likes to challenge herself and grow as a writer, Tami still manages to be surprised when she achieves something new.
After the morning meeting adjourned, a bunch of members took Tami to lunch at The Field Irish Pub in Davie.
My husband and I had just eaten there the night before, so I didn’t go. It’s a neat place with entertainment on weekends.
Hummus Appetizer Here’s a toast to you!
Tami Hoag asked her Facebook friends the following question. They voted for number one. What would you say?
Would you rather (1) wait for a really good book by your favorite author, or (2) have your favorite author produce more books at a faster rate but knowing that might lessen the quality?
Florida Romance Writers is proud to host NY Times bestselling author Tami Hoag at the August 11, 2012 meeting. The twenty-seven year writing veteran will share her vast knowledge of the ever-changing world of publishing, with Q&A to follow.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel
1825 Griffin Road
Dania, FL 33004
DIRECTIONS: I-95 to Griffin Road exit (Exit 26). Go east on Griffin and make a right at the first light into the Sheraton parking area.
Self-parking is free of charge if you mention you are with FRW.
Program Tami Hoag #1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag has fifteen consecutive NY Times bestsellers to her credit, including Deeper Than the Dead, Secrets to the Grave, and Prior Bad Acts. Hoag has more than 35 million books in print, published in more than twenty languages worldwide. Her first thriller, Night Sins, was made into a two-part mini-series in 1997, and continues to air frequently on cable networks more than a decade later. Born in Iowa, raised in Minnesota, Hoag left the frigid north for warmer climes in 1998. An avid competitive equestrian in the Olympic discipline of dressage, she currently lives in Florida, where she competes her horses on the prestigious winter show circuit.
Jenna Thomas stormed into my head the moment I started thinking of a premise to a superhero-themed novella. Why superhero? I’d heard of a submission call that excited me like nothing else had in a long time. Rushing to my computer, I swept aside the current WIP I’d been labouring over and let the words pour out on the new. Pretty soon, I had my first pivotal scene; how my heroine came by her abilities; the setting – and then I hit a brick wall. Jenna dug her toes in and point-blank refused to be cast as a superhero. No matter how much I tried to manipulate her, or how much pleading and whining was involved, I couldn’t get her to budge. There was no way on earth she was going to be flying around saving people left, right and centre. Jenna shunned the limelight, preferring to keep her distance from the general public as much as humanly possible.
“Fine then,” I finally snapped, throwing my hands up in surrender. “Show me who you really are then and why I should write your story.” As I sat at my computer sulking over the fact I wasn’t going to be writing a fantastic superhero story after all, she revealed her story to me and I was captivated.
Jenna’s family originated from Hiroshima, Japan. They’d lived quiet, ordinary lives until that fateful day of August 6th 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped over their city, changing everyone’s lives forever. After the initial horror had passed, it became apparent a new one was on the horizon – radiation poisoning – and Jenna’s family fled to New Zealand. Trekking halfway around the world, they thought they’d escaped the repercussions of the war – but the radiation from the fall-out had affected them after all. It sank deep into their molecular structure and changed their DNA forever.
For most of the family, it presented itself as cancer, killing them off one by one. But for a select few, it brought strange abilities instead. For a long time, Jenna was sure she’d been dealt the dud-hand – and then she met Nick – and for the first time, she thought she might have had it wrong.
Although the horror of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were well before my time and in a different part of the world, I remember seeing the black and white photos described in a scene of Affinity as a young girl and they haunted me. I didn’t know how much until I met Jenna, and I could see them in my mind’s eye as clearly as the first time I gazed at them in shocked fascination.
But along with those feelings of distress and sorrow, I experienced equal ones of awe and inspiration. Amongst the awful photos were occasional ones of hope and beauty. The people of Japan affected by this terrible event were undoubtedly angry at what had been done to them, but I never saw hatred in their eyes. Maybe it was because they were sick of the fighting – or more likely they were just too devastated. Whatever it was, it affected me personally and Jenna’s story is a result of that long-ago memory.
Maybe we can’t all have special abilities like Jenna does, but what we do all have at our core is the ability to empathize and care for one another. We have the capacity to forgive atrocities and get on with life – and that to me is an incredible ability worthy of any superhero, don’t you think? J
Like the heroines in my stories, I married my own gorgeous hero and have been blessed with a school-aged son and a toddler-aged daughter. I’m passionately involved with the charitable organization, “Greyhounds as Pets” after falling in love and adopting my own ex-racing greyhound, and became the Area Coordinator for my region. Perhaps, in the back of my mind was the old adage of owners looking like their dogs, but sadly, my legs don’t seem to have got any longer and my waist hasn’t shrunk to minuscule proportions, but on a good note, at least my nose isn’t any longer! I’m a member of Romance Writers of New Zealand and live in the beautiful coastal town of Nelson at the top of the South Island, the sun capital of the country.
In the wrong hands, Jenna Thomas’s legacy could be a curse—in her mind it already is.
As a child, a routine x-ray awakened an abnormality in Jenna’s DNA giving her the ability to “call” creatures and take on their attributes. Labeled a freak since then, Jenna’s learned to keep everyone at a distance. But all that changes the day she saves a young boy from drowning, and the story goes viral.
Nick Hawke, an off-duty policeman, witnesses part of the drama. Captivated by Jenna’s exotic beauty, he decides to investigate, not sure what to believe. Jenna puts his cynicism to the test—even as the attraction between them grows.
As word of her extraordinary rescue spreads, a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to control Jenna’s abilities draws near. With her feelings for Nick putting him in danger too, can Jenna risk everything to protect them both?
I finished the second book in my paranormal trilogy at 444 pages. This comes as a great relief but with one downside. It leaves me mentally floating in a void. I want to take a break and catch up on all the household chores left by the wayside the last few months, but my mind needs an anchor. That’s usually a WIP. It’s what I wake up eager to work on every day, a purpose, a calling if you will. But before I begin writing again, I need to develop the characters and the plot for the next story. Sometimes, this takes a while, because the characters have to brew in my head and the plot needs time to gel. I can tackle these stacks of papers in my office in the meantime, free of a daily writing schedule.
With vacant time, I can also turn to my final backlist book that needs conversion to digital format. It needs quite a bit of revision, not only sentence tightening, but adding a glossary and fixing paragraphs where I jump POVs. This task is likely to take me several months. Keeper of the Rings is 521 pages, a long book. But those characters are haunting me. A new generation of readers are waiting to discover Leena and Taurin’s story. And I’d like to bring it to them. So I am working on this revision, while also spending time cleaning the office. It’s a good time for a break with the holidays approaching, vacations coming, and relatives soon to visit.
Or I may zero in on a target book depending on my agent’s advice. Part of me wants to lounge around for a few months and part of me doesn’t. Can a writer ever be happy? We’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. We can’t wait to finish a book and have time to relax but then our mind stretches for a new challenge.