FIRST OFFICIAL: Copy of Genie Knows Best in my hands!

“They” say a picture is worth a thousand words…

Genie Knows Best, November 2011

 

This one, to me, is worth almost 200,000. That’s how many I had to write to get this thing in my hands.

Why so many? Well, this is The Book That Tried To Kill Me ™, aka: TBTTTKM-2 ™ (kudos to my friend Lisa Brackmann for coining that phrase; hers is the original TBTTTKM.)

I’d written Genie Knows Best and turned it in a few days before my deadline. (yay, me!) Unfortunately, it turned out that my editor didn’t like it. At all. Now, normally, there are a few points we need to change/clarify/fix and I do some revisions and the book is ready. But this one, for various reasons, didn’t work for her. So it was Back To The Drawing Board. Ugh. Can I just say that again? Ugh.

I had to start over. Had to come up with a different spin on the story, a different spin on the world, and a new way of doing things. The only things I kept from the original book were the main characters’ names, the love scenes, the basic idea for the world, and the ending. I love this ending; I truly do.

So, okay, maybe we’re talking 150,000 words.

Was this what I wanted to do? No way. Was it what I had to do? Yep. Am I satisfied with the result? I am. It’s a whole other story about the same characters, whom I love. Kal is an alpha male in a beta role, or maybe even a gamma one. I had fun trying to contain him within The Service he’s been in for four thousand years with the end in sight for him. Samantha Blaine was someone I wanted to help. All she wants is someone to love her for her (and not her inheritance/bank account) and to find herself being used at every turn… well, she deserved a happy ending, too. As did I. :) Honestly, I was never so happy as when I turned this new story in because it’s one thing to write a book under contract and know that it’s going to go into production; it’s quite another to write that book only to have to completely re-write it.

I haven’t really spoken about this bummer of a year writing this book because, of course, you want to put your best foot forward in the marketplace. “Sure, I write books and they all go on to win awards!” is a good image, but the reality is, writing and publication are hard work–and this is why you need an editor. Mine could have tried to fix the original version up with me, but who knows what the result would have been since she had such an adverse reaction to it. She wasn’t “feeling” it, and therefore, she couldn’t get excited about it. Trust me, you want your editor excited about your work.

So, I pulled up my big girl panties, took a deep breath, and started off on story #2 for this couple. And, like I said, I love the result. It’s a fun story, a lot of action with the largest cast of characters I’ve ever written. I had a blast writing the fight scenes (try orchestrating a fight scene with centaurs, trolls, leprechauns, dragons, and gnomes and keeping all those body parts straight!), and loved creating Harv’s lair that was inspired by Riley’s comment in National Treasure, “Who wants to go down the creepy tunnel inside the tomb first?” And, of course, I got to spend more time with Kal and Samantha and learned more about them, what made them tick. That journey is always fun, so I really can’t complain (though I did, loudly) about having to spend so much time with them.

And I recently turned in Leave It To Genie and am waiting for my editor to read it. You can bet (and the leprechauns in Genie Knows Best already are…) that I’m waiting with baited breath.

Now these ARCs go out to the reviewers and I have another reason to wait with baited breath to see if this version of Kal and Samantha’s story is as well received as Eden and Matt’s was (starred review in Publishers Weekly). That’s this business: hurry up and write, revise, and wait. :)

FIRST OFFICIAL: Sighting of Genie Knows Best on Amazon!

I had no idea it was going to be up for pre-order today. To say I’m thrilled is definitely an understatement. This book was a labor of love and I’m so excited for it to hit the shelves.

I’m also excited because I figured out how to do an Amazon page of my books, grouping all of them together. A lot of authors have started doing this – Amazon actually gives us a kickback, which, in this world of shrinking advances and print runs, really helps. Thanks to whomever ordered a Kindle copy of In Over Her Head through my Amazon store.

And thanks, once again, to the incredibly talented Anne Cain for the AWESOME cover! I incorporated Samantha’s cover outfit into the story because I liked what Anne came up with better than my original idea. :)

FIRST OFFICIAL: Look at I Dream of Genies

The ARCs are here! The ARCs are here!

That’s Advanced Reading Copies. I have a few authors lined up to read the story for quotes, so my publicist sent me a few copies to send out.

Of course I had to hold the ARCs in my hot little hands, and, okay, maybe I snuggled with them a little, but they’re now all off to their respective readers.

I have to say, this STILL hasn’t lost its thrill after the 4th book!

And a special shout out to Kate Douglas for her awesome quote that my publisher put on the cover of the ARC:

“Filled with laughs, action, and an asolutely magical romance, this book is one for the keeper shelf.”

~Kate Douglas, best-selling author of Wolf Tales and The Demon Slayers

FIRST OFFICIAL: Look at Genie Knows Best

Now that Genie Knows Best is with the beta readers and most of the copy edits have been finished on I Dream of Genies, and the house has been SCRUBBED from top to bottom, eleventy-million loads of laundry done, too much food has been bought, and all the bills have been paid, I figured it was time to post the amazingly gorgeous cover for Genie Knows Best. Thanks, again, to Anne Cain, artiste extraordinaire. She captures my world so beautifully!

For now, the blurb is:

Kal, the only genie ever to remove the gold bracelets that bind genies into The Service, has been on the run for over two thousand years, but when Samantha Blaine finds his lantern in a Moroccan bazaar, he’s got to get it back: whoever owns the lantern, owns him.

Finding out what a doormat she was for her soon-to-be fiancé was enough incentive for Samantha Blaine to break off the relationship and head off on a voyage of self discovery in Casablanca. And there’s no way she’s giving up the treasure she found to some guy, no matter how hot he is.

But when a shady antiques dealer breaks into her hotel room, Samantha has to take Kal up on his offer of help, but she’s adamant about it being on her terms.

The thing is, those terms just might include Kal and the words happily-ever-after.

Pinch me! I must be dreaming – of genies!

It’s official! The cover is here!

What’s funny is, the cover is done and I have yet to get edits from my editor. It’s always a nerve-wracking time between handing the story in and waiting for edits. All sorts of questions pop up: Did I do it again? Does it work? Is the emotional story there as much as the action/adventure one or vice-versa? Does she like it? Will readers? Does it suck? Do I? Can I really do this? Who do I think I am to think I can do this? What if everyone hates it? What if I let everyone down – my readers, my editor, the Marketing Department, the Sales department, the buyers, Anne Cain the talented artist because the story can’t possibly match up to the beautiful cover she created?

I know; I go through this with every book and yet they still get published and end up on shelves, and people buy them and they email me about which one they liked the best or wonder if I’ll continue the series, and my editor wants more, and somehow these 4″x6″ congolomerations with pretty covers end up on my bookshelf with my name on them…

Self-doubt? Who, me? Surely you jest. :)

All that angst aside, I have to thank Anne Cain for once again capturing my world in a way I never could. The cover is beautiful and huge shout-out again to Jill Barnett for her generosity and all-around wonderfulness for the support for this newbie. And, as always, to Deb Werksman who will take the words I gave her and come up with ways to make them better.

FIRST OFFICIAL: Second Contract

I know, the title is a bit cumbersome, but it IS my first official second contract: I’ve agenie bottle charmccepted an offer for three more books from my publisher, Sourcebooks/Casablanca.

Nolamp earrings, it’s not a continuation of the Mer series (yet), but a new one. Think I Dream of Jeannie meets Indiana Jones.  (And, yes, I’ve already bought the charms you see on these pages for my celebration!)

 

 

Here are the working* titles and blurbs for the series:

 

 I Dream of Genies

     When Eden, a genie sentenced to her bottle for killing her previous master, suddenly finds herself freed 1400 years early, she knows it’s only a matter of time before Faruq, vizier to the High Master, tracks her down. Being magical, that shouldn’t be a problem, however, she A) lost her bottle and whoever controls that control her, B) wears the gold bracelets that act like homing devices, letting Faruq easily know exactly where she is and C) has lost her ability to perform magic so now things start happening and appearing when they shouldn’t.

     Matt Ewing, rescuer extraordinaire of lost cats and damsels in distress, offers to help her out—until she ruins his business, steals his cat, and puts him at the mercy of spurned-suitor Faruq.

     Throw in a cat with an agenda, and a chase through the magical city in the Sahara, and Eden and Matt must outwit Faruq to escape with their freedom, their  lives, and their love.

 

Genie Knows Best

      Kal, the only genie ever to remove the gold bracelets that bind genies into Service, has been on the run for over a thousand years, but when Samantha Blaine finds his lamp in a Moroccan bazaar, he’s got to get it back: whoever owns the lamp, owns him.

     Samantha Blaine was planning to come to Casablanca on her honeymoon, but when she caught her fiancé cheating on her, she decided to make it a honeymoon trip for one—and maybe finally take a good long look at her doormat tendencies, so no way is she giving up the treasure she found to some guy no matter how charming he is.

     But when a shady antiques dealer breaks into her hotel room, Sam has to take Kal up on his offer of help, but she’s adamant about it being on her terms.

     The thing is, those terms just might include Kal and the words happily-ever-after.

 

Leave It To Genie

     Zane Harrison opens an old trunk in the attic of his family’s ancestral home to find Vana. The genie. A famously inept genie as it turns out—which explains so much about why his great-great-grandfather was rumored to have been crazy.

     Vana never quite finished her genie training and, never really took to the idea of being in The Service, but she does get that she did a number on the Harrison repuration. Now that she’s out and about, it’s time to fix that.

     If only she could figure out how.

     And if only a new vizier hadn’t shown up to put that genie back where she belonged.

     Except, to Vana, where she belongs isn’t in a bottle or the magical city of the Sahara, or maybe even The Service at all. No, Vana’s convinced that the one place she does belong is in Zane’s arms.

 

Look for I Dream of Genies in Fall, 2010!

*titles subject to change

First Official: Look at Wild Blue Under

At the Sourcebooks signing during the RWA National Conference this year, we didn’t have a lot of copies of In Over Her Head (trWildBlueUnderCVR.inddy 5) to sign and give away. Now, this was actually a good thing because In Over Her Head  has gone into a second printing. BUT it meant people wouldn’t get my books – except that I found out that ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) for Wild Blue Under were available.

It was the first time I got to hold that book in my hands and let me tell you, it was just as sweet as the first time I held In Over Her Head. The magic doesn’t go away.

So now that the ARCs are out and about in the review community, as well as with about 18 readers who got in my line early, I’ve posted an excerpt from the story on my website and here for you to see.

Wild Blue Under back cover copy:

Rod Tritone is all set to take over the Mer kingdom when his father retires, until the ruling council tells him he has to marry first. The council gives him legs for the duration of his mission, as well as his future queen’s address and phone number.

She’s Valerie Dumere, the daughter of a Mer father and a human mother who raised her in landlocked Kansas. When devastatingly handsome Rod Tritone shows up and tries to tell her about the kingdom under the sea, not only does she think he’s crazy, she’s determined that’s the last place she’d ever want to go.

Then a vicious squad of seagulls tries to stop the Mer Prince from inheriting his throne and Val finds out about her true nature. Now she has to make the choice of a lifetime—stay on land, or follow Rod to his underwater world…

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      “Rod,” Valerie asked during a lull of “Do you see?”s. “Will you please tell me what’s going on? Why there’s an albatross after us? Where we’re headed? Why we’re headed? Why I’m in a car with a prince?”

          Rod swung his gaze from the window. He exhaled, his chest expanding in a way guaranteed to make her forget her own name, not to mention the questions she’d asked him.

          But she wasn’t going to allow herself to be distracted. Good looks and charm—and a crown—only got someone so far. Right now she needed to know she wasn’t heading toward some hostage situation or international incident.

          And why. Why her? All she wanted was to collect the inheritance so she could save her store.

          “This won’t be easy for you to understand, Valerie.”

          “Tell me something I don’t know.”

          “He’s got a lot to tell you that you don’t know,” said the talking seagull with what she would swear was sarcasm, as he ran from one side of the backseat to the other, beak skyward, “but now’s not exactly the right time for it. Albatross, remember? Just go east.”

          “I remember, Livingston. That doesn’t necessarily mean I believe it. Besides, I have more important concerns on my mind.”

          “Nothing’s more important than this right now, trust me.”

          A talking bird? She was supposed to trust a talking bird?

          “Valerie,” Rod, a voice of reason, answered. “There’s a lot you need to know, but most of it you won’t believe without proof. When we get to our destination, I promise to explain everything.”

          “Does this have anything to do with my inheritance, or was that all a story to get me to come on this mission for God-knows-whatever reason?” She should have taken a closer look at those papers.

          “Indirectly, yes, it does have to do with the inheritance,” Rod answered.

          “Indirectly? How indirect are we talking?”

          “Direct enough that if this albatross succeeds,” quipped Livingston, “you won’t be able to touch the inheritance. My guess is you won’t be able to touch much of anything.”

          Words she did not find comforting.

          “What if I don’t want to go to this mysterious destination of yours?” she bluffed. She was going, but only to get her inheritance. She hadn’t signed on for albatrosses, and surely she didn’t need Rod with her to claim the inheritance.     “You can just tell me the lawyer’s name and I’ll contact him myself. I’m perfectly capable of getting to New Jersey without you guys. Then you can take your albatross wherever it is you want to go and none of this will affect me.”

“No can do, Valerie,” the bird said through tight lips—er, beak. Which was an interesting ability.

“Sure I can—”

“Valerie, he’s right.” Rod touched her arm again. “Once we get to the beach, The Council will administer your inheritance. It’s all been spelled out. So you’re along for the ride.”

As long as she wasn’t being taken for one…

Wait a minute.

“The beach? You mean the beach town where they’re going to meet us, right? Not the actual beach?”

“No, our rendezvous point is on the beach behind my brother’s home. He has… facilities there for such a meeting. Is that a problem?”

For her? Yes. Big one. “Okay, what’s going on? This isn’t funny. I’ve got taxes to worry about and you guys are taking me on a wild-goose chase.”

“Al-ba-tross, Valerie. Not a goose,” Livingston said from the backseat. “Albatross are bigger. More cunning.”

Someone’s trying to be cunning. What—are you guys working for the developer? I’ve already told him I’m not selling. Is this the next tactic? Trying to make me late with the taxes by getting me out of town?”

“Valerie, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Rod said, all insulted.

She was insulted. “Look, I don’t like being made a fool of. I’ll find some way to come up with the tax money. I’m not selling to him, especially after he’s pulled this, and that’s final. You and your trained bird can tell your boss to take a hike. I’m turning this car around right now so you two can go find some other patsy to play your prank on.”

“Prank?” Rod almost growled the word as he grabbed the steering wheel. “I am not playing a prank on you, Valerie. I don’t play pranks. I came here to tell you about your inheritance and bring you to it.”

“On the beach.”

“Yes.”

“See? That’s where this falls apart, Rod.” She wrenched the wheel out of his grasp and turned them back the way they’d come, jamming the stick shift into the correct gear. “Even with the seagull, I was onboard with this whole thing, but next time, you should do your homework before you try something like this.”

“Something like what? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Fine. Here’s the problem with this scenario.” She jerked her head to face him. “I can’t go to the beach.”

“Why not? It’s not that hard to get to.”

The sarcasm came from the bird, so she threw it right back at him. “Because, Livingston, I’m allergic to the ocean. Deathly allergic.”

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Pre-order Wild Blue Under at:  Amazon.com or Borders.com

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