Ready or Not! 2013, Here We Go!

IMG_0794The old year is on the way out and the new year is approaching at light speed.  Where has the time gone?  I don’t know about you, but this is one holiday that always gets me thinking. As the old year fades, what do we take away from 2012?

2012 has been a year of amazing firsts for me.
  • I signed my first book contract (Highland Healer) in March.
  • My first book cover arrived in April.  Isn’t it great?!?!?HighlandHealer_7077_750
  • I spent the summer working through revisions and galleys with my fabulous first editor.
  • Highland Healer went live first on Amazon in October.
  • It hit it’s first Amazon’s bestseller list within 2 weeks.
  • It hit #1 in several categories during its November free days, number #11 overall.
  • And it rebounded onto the paid Kindle bestseller lists within a day of coming off the free lists and into the top 500 paid Kindle books.

It’s hard to say goodbye to any of those firsts, but they’re part of my professional history now, along with the past year.  Thanks to my readers, my debut book is off to a great start!

IMG_0651And then there are those new beginnings.  We love our clean slates, don’t we?  Fresh starts.  The chance to embark, unencumbered by last year’s thinking, on new adventures.  Branching paths that lead – where?  We can’t wait to find out.

At least that’s how it always seems to me.
Like a fireworks burst frozen in glass - Dale Chihuly exhibit, Seattle

Like a fireworks burst frozen in glass – Dale Chihuly exhibit, Seattle

In 2013, I’ll be here, giving my keyboard a workout, letting my thoughts wander and my imagination run free – within the constraints of whatever outline I’ve devised for my current work-in-progress.

I’ll also be attending several conferences which always provide inspiration.  There have been unanticipated benefits to every conference I’ve attended, so I’m looking forward to the ones coming up in 2013.

And of course, I’m hoping to see another book in print, and another finished and ready to go.  Time will tell!

As you contemplate the coming year, what are you hoping for?  Anticipating?  Expecting?  What path will you tread on your way to your goals, your dreams?

Let’s make 2013 the best year yet!

Six Sentence Sunday #8

In honor of the waning year, I’ve chosen a selection from Highland Healer when Aileana says goodbye to the life she left behind and faces the life ahead of her.

Enjoy this week’s Six Sentence Sunday!

Shivering, she remembered that castles had dungeons. Surely, he couldn’t mean to throw her in the dungeon, could he?

Then she recalled how Toran had described it.

A home like any other.

Longing warred with anxiety and fatigue.  Longing won.

To see other authors contributing to Six Sentence Sunday, just click here.

Today is the last day that Highland Healer is on sale on Amazon Kindle.  Don’t miss it!  Click here!  

Six Sentence Sunday #7

Today, I’m continuing to share a bit of  the opening scene of book 2 in my Highland Talents series, which I’m calling Highland Seer.  This is Donal MacNabb’s book.  He’s known for being stubborn, skeptical, practical, occasionally outspoken, and fiercely loyal.  When Donal finally meets his match, it’s a contest to see which of his flaws will destroy any chance at happiness they might have.  How does she win the love and loyalty he gives so rarely?

Enjoy this week’s Six Sentence Sunday!

The lads watched Donal approach, wide-eyed and ruddy with fear.  The old men waited warily, swords brandished, to see what he would do.

He stopped several yards away from the wagons, hands out, palms open.  “Are ye well, then?” he called out.

“Nay,” came the piping response from one of the younger lads.  “Fergus is bleedin’.”

To see other authors contributing to Six Sentence Sunday, just click here.

Highland Seer is not available yet.  But Highland Healer is on sale on Amazon Kindle until 4 January.  Don’t miss it!  Click here!  

Six Sentence Sunday #6

Today, I’m continuing to share a bit of  the opening scene of book 2 in my Highland Talents series, which I’m calling Highland Seer.  This is Donal MacNabb’s book.  He’s known for being stubborn, skeptical, practical, occasionally outspoken, and fiercely loyal.  When Donal finally meets his match, it’s a contest to see which of his flaws will destroy any chance at happiness they might have.  How does she win the love and loyalty he gives so rarely?

Enjoy this week’s Six Sentence Sunday!

The racket grew louder as they approached, deepening into men’s hoarse shouts pierced by the terrified cries of  – children?  Donal spurred his mount forward.  The rest of his men kept pace, stealth forgotten as they rode hard through the trees.

When they reached the source of the noise, Donal took in the scene with a glance.  Horsemen charged in a loose circle around three wagons loaded with wooden casks and manned by boys and old men.  The normally placid highland cattle hitched to the wagons tossed their heads, their horns threatening to disembowel any horse that came too close.

To see other authors contributing to Six Sentence Sunday, just click here.

Highland Seer is not available yet.  But Highland Healer is on sale on Amazon Kindle until 4 January.  Don’t miss it!  Click here!  

The Next Big Thing: Willa Blair’s Blog Stop

Welcome to my “stop” on The Next Big Thing blog hop. And thanks to Linda Carroll-Bradd for tagging me to participate.  In turn, I’ve asked Kathryn Knight, Chris Redding, Mageela Troche and Bess McBride to participate, and they’ll be posting next week, beginning Dec 10.

“The Next Big Thing” is a question and answer discussion blog in which we discuss…yes! the next big thing we’re working on, or a recent release.  In my case, Highland Healer.

My Debut Book is a Bestseller!

  • Where did the idea come from for the book?  I saw the first scene like a movie clip – a big man being brought into a tent on a rough stretcher, a woman watching and waiting to assess his condition.  The rest of the book followed from that.  Initially, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be – historical, fantasy, science fiction or something else.  But as I wrote that first scene, it quickly became clear to me that the story took place in the highlands of Scotland in the past.  Then it was a matter of finding the perfect time in Scottish history, which took a lot of research.
  • What genre does your book fall under? Highland Healer is a Scottish Historical Romance with a Paranormal twist.  It won the 2011 Washington Romance Writers’ Marlene contest in the Paranormal category.
  • Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  Honestly, I have no idea.  In my imagination, the characters have their own faces and personalities, and I’ve never tried to find a “real world” analog for them.   I’d love for you to suggest some!  It would be fun to find out how my readers see them.
  • What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   After Toran Lathan escapes with healer Aileana Shaw from the army where she was a captive and the invader lays siege to the Lathan keep to get her back, Aileana uses all her abilities to protect herself and those she loves while Toran fights to keep her.
  • Where can we get your book? Click on the cover above to link to Amazon Kindle. Highland Healer is  on sale there until its official release date on Jan 4.  After that, it will be available at full price from The Wild Rose Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, other e-formats and in print.
  • How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? My first draft took a decade. I was a pantzer at the time, and still working my day job, so the energy to be creative and write was in short supply.  When I started the second book of this series, I first outlined each chapter and its scenes.  That book took less than a year to write – a huge improvement for me.
  • Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I’ve always written – stories, articles for the school newspaper, something for the school literary journal.  A few novels that I started as a child are tucked away in a drawer – they’re written in pencil!  This book grew over a long period of time out of that initial scene, and like most debut books, a lot of twists and turns in story structure, plot, characters and setting happened before it all come together.
  • What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Highland Healer is not your usual historical romance.  I always loved reading science fiction and fantasy, especially if the stories included psi talents.  So now, traces of psi talents have a way of  showing up in most of the stories I write, whether the story setting is past, present or future.  Add to that my fascination with how relationships develop, and I think you’ll find my books are captivating, sexy and satisfying to read.

EXCERPT:

Despite his threats a few moments before, she had sensed no real animosity in him. She’d been treated well since arriving at the Aerie. Her dream of a home, with people who cared about her, perhaps a family of her own, rose unbidden to her mind, and with it came a familiar lump in her throat. She was tired, she thought, to let that longing overwhelm her now. She folded her arms under her breasts and kept her eyes on the flames. She heard Toran move from the door to stand behind her. She tensed as his hands came to rest on her shoulders. He turned her gently, but irresistibly, to face him.

“What should I do with so beautiful, so valuable, a prize?” he murmured, almost to himself.

His deep blue gaze ensnared Aileana as completely as his hands. She knew she should be outraged at being called a prize. He’d done it before, on the way here. Did he truly see her that way? She refused to be chattel any longer, she told herself, and would not allow him to treat her so. But she found she could not summon her ire. One of his hands left her shoulder and he lightly touched her cheek, then slowly slid his fingers down her throat to her collarbone. There, he hesitated, and Aileana held her breath until he moved the hand back to her shoulder.

His simple touch sent shivers dancing and nearly undid her.

Thank you all so much for visiting with me today. Don’t forget to check in with Kathryn KnightChris ReddingMageela Troche and Bess McBride next week on December 10th for their “Next Big Thing.”

Six Sentence Sunday #5

Today, I’m sharing the opening paragraph of book 2 in my Highland Talents series, which I’m calling Highland Seer.  This is Donal MacNabb’s book.  He’s known for being stubborn, skeptical, practical, occasionally outspoken, and fiercely loyal.  When Donal finally meets his match, it’s a contest to see which of his flaws will destroy any chance at happiness they might have.  How does she win the love and loyalty he gives so rarely?

Enjoy this week’s Six Sentence Sunday!

Donal McNabb of Clan Lathan held up his left hand and closed his fingers into a fist.  The six men following him reined their mounts to a stop.  He glanced at Jamie Lathan and saw him nod.  Aye, he heard it, too.  The breeze carried banshee shrieking and the rough clatter of horses hooves on rocky ground.  Still at a distance, but ahead.

To see other authors contributing to Six Sentence Sunday, just click here.

Highland Seer is not available yet.  But Highland Healer is on sale on Amazon Kindle until 4 January.  Don’t miss it!  Click here!