Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Savage Heart" - Excerpt from my historical romance

I've been inspired to work on the sequel to my historical romance, Indian Summer. I got the idea when I was subbing on Thursday. As I waited for my class, I sat down with a notebook and pen and scribbled a few pages. Over the last two days, I've worked on finishing that passage and connecting it to the prior text. I couldn't remember exactly where I'd left off, so I picked up a little later and went back to fill in the gap. I'm pleased with the results so far. I liked it so well, I decided to share it with my readers.

A little background: A character in Indian Summer, Sailfish, a Native Floridian, rescues Gabriella from grave danger. He falls in love with her, not realizing that she's engaged to his blood brother, Manuel. I had several readers ask me when Sailfish was going to get his own girl, so I decided to write Savage Heart.

The year is 1740. There continues to be trouble between the British and the Spanish as they struggle for supremacy over the New World. A band of renegade Indians, working for the British, raid an outlying homestead, killing all the inhabitants but one. A young woman, Meli Chasseure, escapes but is wounded by a Florida panther. Sailfish saves her life, bandages her up and takes her to St. Augustine. Of course, they fall in love and plan to marry.

Defying the norm, Governor Deza allows Sailfish to sleep in Meli's room with the understanding that nothing will happen under his roof. He allows this because Meli is plagued by nightmares of her family's brutal slaying. They uphold the governor's trust until two nights before their wedding, when it goes further than just kissing. Not all the way, but far enough to make Sailfish extremely upset when she puts on the brakes. He leaves, furious and frustrated. Meli cries herself to sleep. This scene takes place the following morning. (Wink is her kitten.)

Meli awoke with the sun, yawning and stretching happily. Sailfish lay curled up beside her, one long arm draped over her protectively. As if she'd designated herself chaperon, Wink lay between them, forcing a modest distance.
Sailfish stirred in his sleep, rolling over on his back. Clad in his loin cloth, the lines of his bronze body enticed Meli's hungry eyes. She wanted to touch him, run her fingers over the taut, corded muscles, but she didn't dare. Her fingers tingled with desire, but she kept her hands to herself. They had come too close the night before to breaking their promise to Ferdinand. In fact, she hadn't expected to wake with Sailfish beside her.
She snuggled deeper under the covers, laying her cheek on her hands to keep from betraying the trust they shared. They would be married soon and she'd be able to fondle him as much as she liked. Only another night must pass and they would be wed.
Wink yawned and stretched every part of her furry little body. Her tail tickled Sailfish's ear. Reacting like a warrior, he groped for his weapon, not finding it. He grabbed the hapless kitten in one huge hand. The cat shrieked, clawing desperately as his palm closed around her belly, cursing loudly. The noise was alarming of angry cat and angrier Indian.
Meli jumped up, grasping his arm so he wouldn't strangle her kitten. Laughing hard, she foiled his attempt at cat killing, taking the hapless feline from him gently. She did her best to calm both cat and human.
"Gads! What was that?" Sailfish rubbed vigorously at his ear.
"Wink's tail. I'm so sorry," she giggled. "She's used to sleeping with just me." She kissed the kitten who struggled to get down. "Are you alright?" She set Wink on the floor, reaching for his hand.
"I'm fine! She startled me. I'm used to sleeping outside. Sometimes animals come up, attracted by body heat. Not a good way to wake up!"
"I'm sorry, my love." She touched one of the scratches on his hand. "We need to bathe that."
"It's merely a scratch," he replied sulkily.
"Quit being the big, strong warrior. She's an outdoor cat. Who knows where she's been?"
Taking a washcloth, she dampened it in the water basin and rubbed a little soap on it. Sailfish hissed as the soap got in the wound.
"My herbs would hurt less."
"Perhaps, but this is here. You'll be fine." She finished cleaning and drying the scratches, delivering a light kiss before letting go.
"Thank you," he said, less sulky. "It's good to have you look after me."
"It's my job," she murmured. "I can't wait to be your wife."
"Nor I to have you...."
He leaned forward, long fingers twining in her hair. His kiss tingled against her lips briefly. Suddenly, a furry cannon ball landed between them. Wink– taking her job as chaperon seriously once more.
"Your cat hates me."
"No, she doesn't. But you can't expect her to be very happy with you at the moment. After all, you did try to choke her."
"She stuck her tail in my ear! Had I been awake, I wouldn't have reacted so abruptly."
"Apologize," Meli said, holding the kitten nearly in his face.
Sailfish gazed solemnly into the kitten's eyes and spoke a long phrase in his native tongue. When he'd finished, Wink touched his lips with her paw.
"That was so beautiful," Meli sighed. "What did you say?"
Sailfish switched to French so she could understand. "Little sister, I beg your pardon for the way I behaved. You took me by surprise. Please forgive me and don't keep me from Meli anymore. I only wanted a morning kiss."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pick Five Words

I belong to a small writing group that meets on Wednesdays from 12:30 - 2:00. We meet at the local Council on Aging building and I'm the youngest person there. I think the average age (not including me) is probably 70. One member is 94!

The way it works is we get a weekly prompt and we write something about it. We read these aloud to the group, laughing and enjoying one another's work. After that, we pass a bag of words around and each pick five random words from the bag. Once we have them, we compose a paragraph or sentence using the words we've chosen. We get some pretty crazy results. 

I attended another writing group a couple years ago and they did something similar. Instead of five, they chose ten words. We were given 15 minutes to write a short piece using all 10 words. The following is what I wrote. My 10 words were: 10 words drawn were: nightmare, explode, toe, pocket, sharp, young, surrounded, either, return, pull. See if you can spot them below.

 Amanda Sharp walked down the street in her fancy, new red shoes. They cost a bundle, but the young woman was determined to look her best at her job interview. With a special spring in her step, she rounded the corner and ran into a man. Knocked back a step, she stumbled. He caught her by the elbows, setting her on her feet once more.
"What a nightmare!" Amanda thought. "Now I'll be late for my appointment."
The man apologized and pulled the door open for her. He was really quite handsome. Distracted by his good looks, she didn't pay careful attention to where she was going. She caught the pocket of her jacket on the door. It swung shut, hitting her big toe. Her foot exploded with pain and she cursed inadvertently.
Worried that she was seriously hurt, the man helped her to a chair. Once he was assured she was alright, he excused himself.
"I apologize, but I have an appointment in five minutes. Are you sure you're okay?"
Amanda, who was now surrounded by everyone in the office, told him she was fine.
"I'll check on you later," he promised. "I'll return after my appointment."
Amanda examined her beautiful new shoes after the man left. They were scuffed and dirty. Fortunately, they had taken the impact, protecting her foot, or she would have seriously injured her toe.
Distressed, she almost didn't hear when the receptionist called her name.
"Oh, that's me," she said. "Sorry."
Walking into the office, a familiar face greeted her. The man she'd collided with stepped forward with a smile.
"Either you need to be more careful or I do," he said with a grin. "Congratulations. You're hired."

I liked this so well, I decided to write a novel using this as the beginning. It's at 22,700 words and growing!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dellani Interviews Dellani

I interview other people all the time. Today, I decided to interview myself. I sent myself the questions I generally reserve for others and was surprised at how I responded. Which just goes to show that not only am I full of surprises, I am, quite possibly, suffering from some horrible dis-associative disorder. As I post this, I think I might have done this before. Doesn't matter since not everyone read them.

When did you start writing?
I was telling stories even as a child. I didn't start to write them down until I got into elementary school. One of my first formal works was a myth "How We Got Hair". I remember absolutely nothing about it but the title. When in high school, I wrote lots of short stories and humorous essays. In college, I branched out into plays. I didn't attempt my first novel until I was teaching high school many years later. It's not finished yet, but it has potential! My first finished and published novel is "Indian Summer", an historical adventure/ romance set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739.

What gave you the idea for your first book?

My very first, as yet to be finished, novel, "How Many Miles to Avalon" was inspired by a board game I developed for my gifted students. The idea for "Indian Summer" came to me when I was a chaperone on a field trip with my eldest son. I wandered around St. Augustine thinking how many amazing stories the oldest city on the East Coast had to tell.

What genre do you write?
I write mostly romance. I also have a sci-fi series that could be called futuristic romance. I also write a crime/ romance blend that gets your pulse racing for more reasons than one!

What do you do to keep yourself focused?
Me focused? Not gonna happen. I try, but life is full of distractions. I think I have a slight ADD problem which makes it even harder to concentrate. I keep music playing all the time and that helps me ignore many distractions.

Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects?
I'm a multiple project girl. I get stuck on one story or the muse takes a powder, and I move on to something else. I rarely suffer from writer's block as a result.

What is your writing process?
When I get an idea, I sit down as soon as possible and start at the beginning. I try to find a strong starting sentence and work from there. I don't really outline, though I do jot down notes—like names, ages, hair color, eye color, etc. If I don't, I have the hero gazing into the heroine's beautiful brown eyes on page 10 and into her bottomless blue ones on page 66.

I write chronologically. I've tried writing scenes and stringing them together, but that doesn't work well for me. I did write one story in reverse once. I wrote one section which became the end, wrote a middle and moved on to a beginning. That's extremely rare for me.

How do you find your voice?
This was hard for me when I first started writing. Gabriella, heroine of "Indian Summer", very much wanted to tell her own story. Since she was capable of doing that, I allowed it. She did a great job. I originally chose to write as journal entries but that was far too limiting. Instead, I let her speak her own way and the voice found me. I do that all the time now with great results.

Do you know your ending before you begin?
I very rarely know the ending when I begin. I like the exploration process. I might have a goal in mind, but it doesn't get there often. I enjoy the ride.

What is your latest release?
My latest release is "Lone Wolf", the first in my sci-fi series.

What other books do you have published?
I currently have two novels in print. The first is "Indian Summer", the second is "Lone Wolf".

Where are your books available?
Both books are available through Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Bring on the Bad Boys!

I married a good boy. He's kind, loving, supportive, sweet -- all the good things my mama told me to look for in a man. He says that until he met me, every woman he dated left him for a 'bad boy'. I don't know how true it is, cause he tends to exaggerate, but that got me curious. Which do women prefer, the good boy or the bad?

As an author who writes romance novels, I have to say, "Give it up for the bad
boys!" Yes, some of my heroes are the sweet, kind, supportive guys who've been pushed around, trashed and crapped on by nearly every woman they've ever dated - until they meet the woman of their dreams. These are wonderful men, the kind of guy that every nice girl should marry. They'll treat her right, take care of her, love her, nurture her and give her the greatest sex in the world. Yeah, Mr. Dream Date!

However, sometimes the good guy needs to be more than a little bit bad. The hero of my sci-fi series, Wil VanLipsig, is bad as they come. He's a womanizing warrior, a sexy assassin, lethally handsome, wickedly seductive. He is all the bad things your mama warned you about rolled into one deadly gorgeous, seriously jacked, chiseled, sculpted implement of dire destruction -- and I love him.

Wil has his tender side and fights to help the weak and oppressed. He lives by a rigid code of ethics, though many find his self-inflicted guidelines confusing. He is honorable, though it is honor by his definition of the word. In short, he is a contradiction in nearly every aspect of his life - which is one thing that makes him so incredibly irresistible.

What I want to know is this. As authors or readers, which do you prefer? Be honest. Given the choice between a gorgeous, sexy, hunk of lovable, adorable, sweet, compromising man or a dangerously sexy, handsome, cold-hearted killer, which do you want to read about? Does it depend on the situation? Does it depend on the heroine? What, to you, makes the irresistible man? So the men won't feel left out, tell us about the ideal woman.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Welcome Back, My Friends!

That puts me in mind of the song by Emerson, Lake and Palmer - "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends...." In a way, promoting ourselves IS a show. Please feel free to post your book links below. I also encourage my other guests to check out one another's sites.

Joyous Passover, to All and Happy Easter, Everyone! ~ Dellani

Sunday, April 01, 2012

"Shakazhan" Book Two in my Sci-Fi Series

I'm currently editing the second book in my sci-fi series, "Shakazhan" (sha-kaz-AHN). I came across a scene I've loved ever since I wrote it. It was the first scene that ever made me cry.

Emmelia Spenser is the Chairman of the Board of the Galactic Mining Guild. Hers is a lonely life with only one true friend, her second in command, Sslyvenia Louttice, a sentient insectoid who looks like a giant praying mantis. In Lone Wolf, she's visited by Captain Ben Drexel of the Galactic Marines. The handsome, dashing captain protects her and they fall in love. Unfortunately, duty calls him away on an extended trip with no return date in sight.

Through a mutual friend, he's able to send word to her. This is the scene where she shows her friend, Sslyvenia, the message from Ben.

 Ssylvenia walked into Emmelia Spenser's office on Aolani, wondering why her friend sat in the dark. Instead of turning on a light, her superior eyesight saved her from a few painful bumps on furniture concealed by shadows.
"Emme," she chittered. Her translator's toneless metallic voice couldn't convey the deep concern of the speaker. "Emme, it's not like you to sit here in the dark like this. Let me turn on the light for you."
"No, Sissy, I want to be in the dark. I keep hoping that it will get easier if I sit here awhile."
"Why, whatever is wrong, Emme? I've never seen you like this!"
Emme's hand fumbled over the console, hitting a coded sequence. "This just came from Chairman Aisulov's office. He said he was asked to send this to me today." She choked back a sob.
The Tri-D image flickered and then solidified before her. Ben's handsome face, with his piercing dark eyes, smiled at her in a way that melted her soul. Reaching out a hand, he touched what would've been the screen of his Tri-D recorder, holding his fingers for her to touch.
"Hello, Emme, it's been far too long." He sighed, turning away from her, his strongly chiseled profile highlighted by the console light. "A lot has happened between Aolani and here. I guess you're wondering where here is. I'm sitting in a sentient ship orbiting Shakazhan. We're about to go explore its surface. Pretty unbelievable, huh?" He laughed sardonically, hanging his head a little, then glancing up at her, his chin down. Did she imagine a tear in his eye?
"I miss you, Emme. By God, you're the most amazing woman I've ever met. I can feel your skin, satin smooth. I can taste you. It's kind of funny, you know? An old soldier like me, so toughened by combat, and I'd give up everything I've in this life, to be back there with you right now.
"Emme, every man knows he might not come back from a battle. There are no guarantees, but I make this promise to you before God, if I live through this, I'm leaving the Marines, and I'm coming back for you. If you've found a better man than me, I'll understand. It's not like I've been there for you."
Squaring his shoulders, he looked full into the Tri-D, his dark eyes bottomless, like swirling black holes, drawing her inexorably forward. His familiar smile flashed across his face.
"I love you, Chairman Emmelia Spenser. Keep the Dracos Ale warm for me, because I'll come back for you." He touched the screen. This time, her hand rose of its own accord, touching the air in front of her. Tears washed away her carefully applied makeup, dark rivulets of mascara cascading onto her desk.
"Oh, Sissy, why did I ever let him go? He's got to come back. there's no better man." Sobbing hysterically, the usually composed Chairman Spenser became for that short time, the frightened and insecure Emme who had always been too tall, too full breasted, too bright and too self possessed for any man to love her.
The Tri-D flickered off, leaving them in complete darkness. Sissy couldn't cry, but she could feel sorrow and compassion for her friend. Putting her spindly, brittle arms around Emme, she held her gently to her shiny, armored body, crooning softly as if she sang to a child. Gradually Emme's sobs ceased and she slowly pulled herself together.
How like Ben to remember that today was the anniversary of their first meeting, the first time they'd made love. That had changed them both, somehow. She knew in her heart, she'd never be the same Emmelia Spenser, but that was alright.

Emma, Dangerous by Dellani Oakes – Part 7

Emma's in the hospital for the night, and Sam's allowed to stay with her. He asks Rosalee not to let her parents see her, unless she...