Find My Website at www.anngimpel.com



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

One of Those Rare Introspective Moments

When I was tagged by my good friend, fellow paranormal romance author, Pam Moran, to take part in the blog equivalent of a chain letter, I groaned. Seriously groaned. My first thought was I don't have time for this, but I really like her and she needed my help, so I agreed. As these things often turn out, I'm glad I did. It's rare for me to take a step back and think about my writing. I'm usually too busy writing the next book, or editing the ones I have contracts on. Here's a shout out to Pam. Thank you!!

The questions I'll be answering are:

1. What am I working on writing?
My current project is a book that emerged from the month I recently spent in Antarctica. I just got back on April 1st, so the trip is very fresh in my mind. It was one of those life-changing experiences and I fell in love with the wild, remote grandeur of the South Atlantic, the Antarctic Peninsula, and South Georgia Island. The book, Icy Passage, is done and in the hands of the last of three beta readers. It's slightly over 100K words. Because the easiest way to describe it is with my blurb, here it is:
Fresh out of residency, Dr. Kayna Quan opts for a tour in Antarctica. Money is short, so she hires on as medical officer aboard a Russian research vessel heading for McMurdo Station. Primed for almost anything, she plays her paranormal ability close to the vest. Being odd man out in a world where most don’t believe in magic makes her wary and feisty.
Brynn McMichaels has been stationed on remote South Georgia Island for two years working as a research biologist. Missing human contact, he’s eager for a change. When cultures of the single-celled organism, archaea, overgrow their bins in his lab and begin shifting into another form, he worries he’s losing his mind and talks with scientists at McMurdo, who can’t wait to get their hands on his mutant cells. In a burst of uncharacteristic spontaneity, Brynn joins the ship that’s transporting his cultures, but he plans to catch the first plane out of McMurdo to rejoin civilization.

Attraction sparks, hot and powerful, between Brynn and Kayna, but her disclosure about her magic is a tough nut to crack. Amid uncertainties, they join forces to puzzle over his cultures, an odd disease aboard the ship, and escalating international tensions that may keep them from docking at McMurdo. Caught up in a race against time, an elusive secret taunts them, but if they can’t trust each other, the world they know has no chance.
2.  How does my writing differ from other books in my genres?
That's a tough question to answer, but I think the primary difference is that my books cross genres. They have romantic elements, but are also urban fantasy or science fiction. Take Icy Passage as an example. It's an urban fantasy/romance, but with a science fiction overlay. Another difference might be that most of my books draw on mythology. Sometimes Greco-Roman, sometimes Celtic, sometimes Norse. I researched Chinese mythology for Icy Passage, which was a new venue for me.
3.  How does my writing process work?
Most of my books begin with a scene that comes to me. It's generally compelling enough that it pushes me to sit down and write. I have a rather intrusive muse. She even tracked me down in the South Atlantic after I'd been aboard a ship for over a week and kicked me good and hard in the backside. You guessed it, I began writing again. I had about half of Witches Rule completed for Taliesin Publishing when I returned. The other book I started writing on the Antarctica trip was Icy Passage. I decided to just jot a few things down and a couple thousand words later, I forced myself to quit and return to Witches Rule.
When I'm home, I aim for at least one chapter a day (3000-3500 words). There are days I write double that and sometimes more if the story has me in thrall. I'm a "pantser" rather than a "plotter." Over time, that's worked better for me as my craft has improved. It still takes me about three rounds of self-edits once I'm done, plus the back-and-forth editing I do while writing, though, to ensure everything holds together and there aren't any dangling plot threads. I do make notes of things to remind myself if I see something that needs fixing, and I keep storyboards so it's easy to check back on a character's hair or eye color.
My bottom line is I love writing. It's an altered state of consciousness where I can drop into a parallel universe and live the story along with my characters. I can't imagine a better avocation and I feel lucky to have stumbled into it.
What I want to do next is introduce another phenomenal author, my good friend, Anita Cox.
Anita has been writing general fiction, under her given name, for nearly a decade. In 2012 she strapped on a new name for a new genre and dove head first into writing erotica. Anita Cox's erotic debut series Dirty White Candy was picked up by Liquid Silver Books in 2013, but this wasn't her beginning. Under her given name she has written crime fiction (some with paranormal elements,) paranormal romance and suspense novels.
In 2014, she became a Director for the Erotic Author's Guild. Her altruistic nature found its purpose, assisting other erotic authors with issues specific to the genre. With a busy home life, Anita manages to ferret out enough time for each hat she must wear, though secretly, she wants to shut the world out and just write.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blood and Magic: A Surefire Binding for Darn Near Anything







Blood and Magic
Ann Gimpel
Taliesin Publishing
Available from:

Amazon
B&N


Can Luke conquer his past and claim the only woman he's ever loved?

Blurb:
Magic didn’t just find Luke Caulfield. It chased him down, bludgeoned him, and has been dogging him ever since. Some lessons are harder than others. Luke survives by embracing danger and upping the ante to give it one better. An enforcer for the Coven, a large, established group of witches, his latest assignment is playing bodyguard to the daughter of Coven leaders.
Abigail Ruskin is chaperoning a spoiled twelve-year-old from New York to her parents’ home in Utah Territory when Luke gets on their stagecoach in Colorado. A powerful witch herself, Abigail senses Luke’s magic, but he’s so overwhelmingly male, she shies away from contact. Stuck between the petulant child and Luke’s raw sexual energy, Abigail can’t wait for the trip to end.

Wraiths, wolves, and humans with dark magick attack. Unpleasant truths surface about the child and Abigail’s well-ordered world crashes around her. Luke’s so attracted to Abigail, she’s almost all he can think about, but he’s leery too. In over his head, he summons enforcer backup. Will they help him save the woman he’s falling in love with, or demand her immediate execution?
 

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Excerpt:
  …It wasn’t Luke but a long, drawn-out shriek that brought Abigail thumping back to consciousness, her heart hammering triple time in her chest. Eyes wide and staring against the darkness, she warded herself just in time. Strong magic battered her. She tried to sense Luke, but that was the problem with wards. They protected by forming an impenetrable barrier and corralled her magic inside.

Whatever was pummeling her seemed to have given up. She risked chinking enough of a hole in her warding to send a tendril of magic outward because she needed information. When it came, it terrified her so badly, her heart stuttered. Dark things surrounded them: wraiths, mad wolves—those who’d been turned to serve the other side—and humans who’d sold their immortal souls for forbidden knowledge. Had the girl rallied them? How could she possibly be that powerful? Luke didn’t seem to be anywhere. Abigail hoped he’d concealed himself out of harm’s way, because the two of them couldn’t make the slightest dent in the dark horde outside. The stagecoach rocked and she realized someone was climbing onto the roof. Throat so dry she could barely breathe, she mended her warding.

The books. That’s what they want… Let them haul the miserable things out of here. She knew she should risk heaven and hell to keep such knowledge out of dark hands, but Abigail didn’t see how throwing her life away would alter the outcome. She heard voices speaking the Satanic tongue, and then dragging sounds as someone transferred the trunk to the ground. Luke shouldn’t have bothered to put it back up top, she thought grimly.

What had the Girauds been doing with such arcane tomes in the first place? She supposed there was the slightest chance they’d been protecting them from falling into the wrong hands. Yes, by all means, let’s give Coven members the benefit of the doubt. Except it was a struggle, and she didn’t know who the hell to trust anymore.

She waited until it was absolutely still outside, and a tentative scan told her the dark host she’d sensed earlier had moved on, before loosing her wards. The minute she did, she felt Luke’s energy. He pulled open one of the coach doors. “I scared up a couple of horses from a nearby farm. We need to go after those books—and the girl.”

She fought down the protest that rose to her lips, but it slid out anyway. “There aren’t enough of us.”

“Fixed that problem too.” He smiled grimly. “I can ward you if you want to stay here, but if you’re coming we need to get moving. Don’t want to let the trail get too cold.” From the smirk in his voice, she knew he was being sarcastic.

She sent her magic spiraling outward and felt the books pulsing with evil. No way that path would ever get cold. “Why couldn’t I feel them this strongly before? I know the trunk had to have been spelled, but still…”

“The trunk was spelled, and by someone with magic to burn. It’s over in those trees. I guess Carolyn’s minions were in a hurry and didn’t have a wagon.”

Abigail felt like a rube. The book trunk had already been packed and sealed when she’d picked Carolyn up in New York. She’d never even thought to examine it. “Did you see Carolyn?”

“Yup.” His upper lip curled into a sneer. “Caught a glimpse of her riding a mad wolf.”

“Do you suppose there’s some way we could separate her from Goody Osborne?” Abigail bit her lip nervously.

Luke shook his head. “Even if we could—and I don’t think it’s possible—there are too many unknowns. Her parents might have been turned. If that happened, the kid could have embraced evil before it entered her body. By the time we sorted all that out, the dark would have had one too many chances to kill us.”

Abigail winced at the unvarnished truth in his words. Any residual doubts she held about the necessity of destroying the girl melted away. “Yes,” she said through clenched teeth. “I’m coming with you.”

Luke boosted her onto one of the horses. She pulled her skirts out of the way. It was a normal saddle and this was scarcely a time for modesty. Luke vaulted onto his horse, kneeing it, and they took off up the Overland Stage Road at close to a full gallop. “We’re making too much noise,” she sent.

“Doesn’t matter. They’ll expect us to come after them.”

She clung to the horse with her legs, enjoying the feel of not having to ride sidesaddle. Luke’s horse was larger, faster, and soon pulled so far ahead she could barely see him. She kneed her horse, urging it to greater speed, but the animal shied, and then reared. Abigail struggled for balance and called magic to calm the spooked animal. Something sprang at her and knocked her to the ground. She sent killing magic to stop its heart, before realizing what it was. Panting, she crawled out from under a black and gray mad wolf with blood dribbling from its nostrils, and glanced warily about. Were there more of them?

Carolyn stepped from the shadows. It looked as if she was alone, but Abigail suspected otherwise. “What do you want?”

“Simple enough. I plan to use you to get rid of Breana Giraud—and others.” A sneer twisted the girl’s features into something unpleasant. “You think people don’t know you’re part of Coven government?”

Abigail set her mouth in a hard line. “Fine. So the other side knows about me. Question is, who are you really?”

“Don’t you recognize me?” Carolyn stepped closer and turned her face from side to side as if posing for a photographer. “I gave you my name, but I am far more than that.”

She’s arrogant. Perhaps I can use that in some way. Abigail spread her hands in a placating gesture. “Because I’m used to seeing you as Carolyn Giraud, I’m not certain who you are.” She paused for emphasis. “I’d like you to tell me.”

“Certainly.” A feral grin made the child look like something out of a nightmare. “It is always better to know who your adversary is.” Her voice became soft and silky. “I have access to magic you would kill for. You may not know it, but you’d like to work for us.” She laughed, but it sounded more like broken glass shattering against itself, than a twelve-year-old girl’s mirth. “We have real power, not that paltry tripe the Coven settles for.”

Abigail waited. When Carolyn didn’t say anything else, she said, “I’m listening…and considering your offer. Life is always better than the alternative.”

“Ha! They said you couldn’t be turned, but I told them they were wrong. I am The Promised, resurrected out of legend. Goody Osborne was but a start, and this little girl is merely a convenience.” Something like an outraged squawk followed the words, but Goody silenced Carolyn almost immediately. “What I really want is you, Abigail Ruskin.”

Shit! She couldn’t be The Promised… “You mean the Dark Messiah?” Abigail scrunched up her face and held her breath, hoping against hope she’d gotten it wrong.

“The same.” A supercilious expression etched into the girl’s features. “At least the other side has heard of me. Warms my black, black heart.”

“The books—?” Abigail hunted for a connection while she rode herd on terror that threatened to immobilize her, and clouded her judgment. If ever she needed a clear head, it was now, but her mind raced feverishly.

“They weren’t doing the girl’s parents any good moldering away in that underground chamber. I’d actually been searching for them for years.” She flashed a sly smile. “They used to be mine…”