There is a lot going on here. There will be some cosmetic changes to the blog in the not-too-distant future. There will also be some content changes. In talking with a friend yesterday, I was reminded that I don’t have to just talk about writing, romance, or my books here. There are a lot of things I could cover. And so I will start doing that. It will also help to generate more regular blog posts.
Speaking of busy-busy, there have been some life occurrences that have kept me from sharing with you. One is the passing of my Granny. She was my dad’s mom. It was expected, but that honestly does not make it any easier. There was also a health scare for my dad. All that is settled now. I think.
In the midst of all that, though, I forgot to tell you that Kiernan’s Curse is available on Nook. So there are now three ways you can get hold of this very sexy Irishman: Print, Nook, and Kindle.
Let me know what you think of it.
I will post more later.
I have been proofing the files for Kiernan’s Curse: Book One of the Maguire Men over the holiday. It is done and resubmitted for final review.
Tomorrow, I plan to have it up for sale. Meanwhile, enjoy the prologue:
703 CE–Beinn, Ireland
Kiernan stormed into the antechamber of his rooms. The door slammed behind him.
“Your Grace?” Donal, his manservant, stood when he entered.
“Send a messenger to O’Kelley,” he demanded, handing over a crumpled, sealed scroll.
The manservant took the scroll. He tried to smooth out the wrinkles as he left.
Kiernan paced. His cape flowed behind him and swirled around his ankles. It nearly tripped him. He worked to unfasten the closure. He growled and ripped it from the material. One of the maids will fix it. Or Aine.
The cape fell to the floor, puddling at his feet. He stepped over it and resumed pacing.
He finally stopped in front of the fireplace. The large framed mirror showed the open door behind him leading into the bedchamber.
“Where is Aine?” he demanded when the manservant reappeared. Donal had been with the family as long as Kiernan could remember.
Donal frowned. “I don’t know, Your Grace.”
“I told her to wait here.” She caused this entire situation. Never trust a woman, his father had told him, they are to be controlled, not confided in. He had not listened.
“She’s not here. I thought she went with you.”
“To a Council meeting? That is no place for a woman!”
“Agreed, Your Grace. But she left soon after you did.”
Kiernan fisted his hands. He started pacing again. He never beat his servants or women, unlike others in his position, but this tested his patience.
Someone knocked on the servants’ entrance. The manservant answered it and led a maid to Kiernan.
“What?” he snapped.
Kiernan stopped pacing and looked directly at the frightened woman. Zaira. One of Aine’s maids.
Zaira held her hands tightly in front of her to keep them from shaking. “We have found Lady Aine,” she finally said. She seemed to find it easier to speak when he stood still.
“Where is she?” Kiernan asked. Despite his anger with Aine, he did not wish to frighten the maid any more. “Bring her to me.”
Zaira shook her head. “We— I cannot do that, Your Grace.”
Kiernan raised an eyebrow but waited.
“She… she… is d-d-….”
“There’s no other way to say it. She is dead, Your Grace,” Donal said quietly. “She jumped from the west tower.”
The highest tower in the keep. Kiernan started to sit, unaware there was nothing to sit on.
Donal helped him to a chair first.
“You can go,” he told the maid. Everything came to him as though from a distance.
She ran from the room.
“Do you know what happened?” he asked the manservant.
“Nay, Your Grace. Only that she broke her neck in the fall.”
“Gods, Aine! Why?” Kiernan’s voice cracked.
Over the next few days, the duke confined himself to his rooms. Too many people asked too many questions. Questions he had no answers for. Questions he asked himself.
Had he driven her to the tower?
Had he killed her with his anger?
Was he responsible?
Why had she done it?
Why had she not waited until he returned?
Why did she refuse to listen to him?
He had too many questions with no answers. Questions yielded more questions.
When he did not ask questions, he lost himself in memories.
Aine sat by his side, watching the play set before them. The legend of Brigid laying out a blanket of flowers. The celebration of Imbolc. She smiled and clasped his hand with her small one. He raised it and kissed the back of her hand softly, properly before returning his attention to the play.
At midday on the third day, Donal entered through the servants’ door. “Your Grace?” he asked.
Kiernan sat in a chair in the darkened room, staring into the empty fireplace. The fire had gone out during the night and no one had yet come to clean the hearth. He turned. “What?”
“We need to finish your preparations,” the manservant replied, finding the flint and lighting the candles in their bronze sconces.
Kiernan squinted against the light. “There is nothing to complete.”
“My apologies, Your Grace, but I disagree. You need to shave. You need to bathe. You need food. You need sleep.”
“How can I sleep without Aine? I cannot soothe my conscience. This is my fault.”
“I don’t know, but you must. The funeral pyre is tomorrow. They have delayed it as long as they can out of respect for you. But it must happen.”
“‘Tis too soon.”
“It has been too long.”
“I will not.”
“Then you leave me no choice, Your Grace. I’ll send the High Druid in to see you.”
Kiernan ignored Donal as he left. Memories overtook him again.
He supported himself over her, trailing kisses up her jaw, nibbling her ear. He felt her suck in her breath. She tried to return his kisses, but he moved on, down her neck to her collarbone. He paid particular attention to her breasts, licking, kissing, and coaxing her nipples erect. He worked down her midsection to the juncture of her thighs…
“I never told him.” A voice brought him back to the present.
The manservant returned with not only the High Druid but the healer as well.
“He needs to know,” the healer protested.
“Nay,” Donal disagreed.
“What?” Kiernan demanded. He glared at the trio.
“Nothing, Your Grace,” the manservant replied, giving a quick look to the healer.
“My lord, you must rest,” the healer said, looking into Kiernan’s eyes.
“That is not possible,” the duke replied.
“And eat,” Donal prompted.
“I cannot.” Another tray of food lay untouched on the table at his elbow.
“You are still among the living,” the Druid interjected. “’Tis natural to mourn, but I will not allow you to do so at the expense of your own well-being.”
“My well-being?” Kiernan asked. He jumped out of his chair. “My well-being? My wife is dead and you tell me I have to eat, I have to rest. I have to…to bathe—” He glared at Donal. “—when all I want is to either die with her or have her with me?”
“Do not talk to me about what is natural, old man! There is nothing natural about this. ’Tis my fault Aine is—”
“Nay,” the Druid interrupted.
“Aye,” Kiernan insisted. “Had I not been angry with her—”
“Aine had demons of her own. It had nothing to do with you.”
“Demons? You sound like one of the people of the New Religion. Aine had no demons.”
Despite his protests, the next morning, Kiernan woke and dressed for the funeral pyre. A representative of Aine’s family attended but he paid them little attention, the same as he did to anyone else.
Villagers and residents of the keep attended. Aine had been well liked.
More than I knew.
The High Druid spoke very little. Too soon, the pyre’s flames licked the sky, reaching toward the rising sun.
Aine’s spirit rode on wisps of smoke, released to Tir Na n’Og. The thought held no comfort for Kiernan. He remained quiet and stoic throughout. He had yelled at the gods once more the night before. His eyes felt raw and rough as the hewn rock walls of the castle.
Upon his return to the keep, Kiernan secluded himself in his rooms again. He agreed to take meals, but no visitors.
“Damn you, I said I wished to be alone,” he said when the manservant entered with the healer mid-morning.
“My apologies, Your Grace,” the healer replied. “I insisted.”
“What do you want?”
“There is something you must know. Of Aine.”
“She had sworn me to secrecy. I respected her wishes. She carried your child, Your Grace.”
Kiernan snapped to attention. “Out,” he whispered.
The healer appeared not to hear. “She was not far along, though ’tis difficult to say exactly how—”
“I understand your reaction.”
Kiernan stormed across the room to his weapon’s rack and removed his sword from its scabbard. “You understand nothing. I said ‘get out!’”
Both the healer and the manservant left.
Kiernan replaced the sword and stood by the window slit, leaning his head on the cold stone of the wall beside it.
Let the gardens die, too. He closed the shutters tight so he would not have to see them.
He stayed to himself for a fortnight. When he returned among the people, he had changed. He sent Aine’s maids away and sealed the west tower.
Do you ever start something with good intentions and then let it fall by the wayside? Be honest now.
Yes. That is what I have done. I’ve been busy writing and promoting and editing and I neglected the blog. So here’s to revitalization.
In the meantime, I’m trying to come up with some good head shots without spending a load that I don’t have and nursing a new book through the process of publication. I hope to announce that KIERNAN’S CURSE is available for sale on Saturday. We’ll see how that goes, but that is definitely the plan.
What’s that? You want a sneak peek at the cover? I think we can manage that. I love this cover thanks to the great people at SelfPubBookCovers.com.
What is the title) of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was visiting family in California and saw a desert lily. My great-aunt Eva said the seeds were poisonous and three local boys at a school had been hospitalized because they had eaten the seeds on a dare. The idea started from that, although the desert lily and the seeds never made it into the finished manuscript.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Good question. I think Paige could be played by Reese Witherspoon if she had red, curly hair. I’m having a hard time thinking of someone who could play Ricky, but maybe Channing Tatum.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Antiquities poachers send Native American arts enthusiast Paige Davis a priceless artifact, never counting on her going straight to the police–and detective Richard Travis–when she finds out it’s stolen.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I decided to self-publish this one for various reasons.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Start to finish, about 2 months. I try to do a fast first draft and just get the bones of the story down, then go in and flesh it out later.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Once upon a time I would have been able to tell you that. I’ve read some Harlequin and Silhouette titles along similar veins.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My great-aunt Eva. I wish she could have lived to see the publication.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I use a lot of pop culture references in the book, like McDonalds,Diet Pepsi, Corona, Days Inn, and music from the 1980s.
And now tag five awesome authors …
My alter-ego, Jen Nipps (for the Twitter book)Vickey Malone Kennedy
Once upon a time, which was really only a couple years ago, I started a short story for a contest. Now, this particular contest required that you use certain words in the beginning paragraph of a short story. It was to be printed on one side of an index card with a title and pen name on the other side.
I didn’t win, but I liked the premise of the story. I held on to it and worked on it. I thought it was done. I even entered it into a couple contests and sent it out to some magazines.
It didn’t go anywhere.
I let it sit on my computer, thinking it was finished and there was nothing more to be done to it. Then I started a class that requires an hour of writing in the morning, before anything else is to be done. I started working on that short story again.
Now I really do think the story is done. It might need more edits–in fact, I’m sure of that–but the story itself is done. I like it! But it sure makes it difficult to get my mind wrapped around the day job.