RELEASE DAY: Into the Lyons’ Den

 INTO THE LYONS’ DEN was released by Champagne today (Click cover to buy). The story is a paranormal shapeshifter novella about an abandoned, street-smart cat who makes a home for herself at an elegant Atlanta hotel until she’s lured back to Lyons’ Den where her host discovers that his Kitten has grown claws. Check out the blurb and excerpt below:

~~~

     Wealthy recluse Anthony Lyons offers a mint to lure Marie Maxwell, Atlanta’s most sought-after event planner, to coordinate a wedding and reception for a “very special couple” on his isolated estate in the mountains of North Carolina. 

     Despite her sophisticated veneer, Marie’s a tough street-smart orphan without a past.  Adopted by the owners of the elegant Hotel Maxwell, she’s been raised in the business.  Known for her uncanny ability to “make things go right,” Marie accepts the challenge of planning a wedding for 200 guests in 10 days.

     Marie soon discovers that an absent bride and groom is the least of her problems.  Her arrogant and exasperating employer displays far too much interest in her and her personal life, especially her lost years. Confronted with a mysterious stalker, two thwarted murder attempts, and dark shadows from her shrouded past, she finds an ally in an amorous feline of some unknown species.  But who’s got it in for her?  And what’s with Anthony and all the cats?

~~~

     Marie Maxwell’s internal warning system went on high alert. Someone was stalking her. That was particularly offensive since she was used to being the predator, not the prey. She sniffed the air, then inhaled deeply. Something peculiar, yet familiar. Dangerous.

     “Good evening.”

      Damn! No one could get that close without me knowing it. She spun around to find herself nose to chest with the most gorgeous male she’d ever seen. He was golden, from his close-cut hair to those oh-so-inviting eyes and that luscious tan. Her own ash blonde hair and blue eyes paled in comparison.

     “Pardon me if I startled you.”

     His voice was liquid gold, a baritone for sure. The black Armani tux was a perfect fit, hinting at a kick-ass body. His chiseled features, down to that cleft chin, would be the envy of a male model. He held himself with the assurance that came with power and wealth. He could be thirty, or even forty. Usually, she would be drooling but something about him set off alarms. Best to put some distance between them.

     “I am Anthony Lyons.” He offered his hand. “And you are …?”

     “Hired help. If you will excuse me, sir, I am needed elsewhere.” She bolted from her observation post behind one of the hotel’s palms, then forced herself to a sedate stroll through the dining area surrounding the dance floor. Her elegant black suit and discreet ear-clip set her apart from the guests swirling around her in designer formals and glittering jewels.

     A shortcut behind some props took her to a service area where she could monitor the event’s progress undisturbed. The bride and groom were on their way to Hawaii and the reception was winding down. A popular DJ blasted dance music for the post-reception partying. The couple’s parents relaxed at a table with drinks in hand and smiles on their faces. She breathed a sigh of relief but something wasn’t quite right and that set her on edge.

Available from Champagne Books –  http://champagnebooks.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=593  ($2.99)

BTW, this afternoon I’m visiting the Book Brew at The Coffee Thoughts Blog at Coffee Time Romance. Books. We’re discussing Second Chances at Love. I’ll offer up blurbs and excerpts of His Obsession & His Desire (Books 1 and 2 of The Montclair Chronicles from Siren BookStrand), give a bit of backstory, and give away a digital ebook of His Desire. Visit The Coffee Thoughts Blog at http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/ 

Next week, A Final Salute to the Olympics    Rita Bay

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

I haven’t posted since the first week in June but sometimes life gets in the way. My writing career was interrupted by a death in the family, a rat bastard burglarizing and trashing my mama’s house, and the difficult decision to make permanent a joining of households – all while living for the last month in an internet dead zone.

Everything should be back to normal in the next few weeks but I couldn’t wait to catch everyone up on everything. My debut Regency Historical Romance His Obsession, Book 1 of the Montclair Chronicles, was released in April by Siren BookStrand. It was on the Mainstream bestseller list for two months. I was recently notified that His Obsession received a 5-Cup Review from Coffee Time Romance AND was awarded Reviewer Cherokee’s “Coffee Time Reviewer’s Recommend”  Award for the month. His Desire, Book 2 of the Montclair Chronicles, was released the end of May and is on the BookStrand Mainstream bestseller list.

Into the Lyon’s Den, a paranormal shapeshifter novella, is scheduled for release by Champagne Books in August. Champagne also contracted to publish The Aegis in April, 2013. The Aegis is the first novella in Light Warrior series in which a race of immortal Light Warriors and their shield-bearing lifemates defends mankind from the evil vampires who happen to be their kin.

Today I’m blogging at The Writer’s Vineyard about “A Window into the Paranormal World” which suggests elements of world building for paranormal stories. Check it out at http://thewritersvineyard.com/ . Next week, my first Paranormal Hunk in History. Rita Bay

HIS DESIRE RELEASE (MF, Sensual, Regency Historical Romance)

His Desire (released this week) and His Obsession, Books 1 & 2 of the Montclair Chronicles are #1 and #2 in the Top 10 of BookStrand’s Mainstream Top Sellers today. Buy or read an excerpt of His Desire (on sale for $3.59 thru June 6th) and His Obsession at http://www.bookstrand.com/node/834699.

 William Montclair, the only child and heir of the Earl and Countess of Ashford (Robbie and Emmy from His Obsession) has always done his duty. When Will returns home after the war with Napoleon, he is determined to find a wife who will bear the children he needs and accept what he has to offer—marriage without love.

 Georgiana Janson, an impoverished soldier’s widow with a young daughter, worked as a nurse in the field hospital where she and met and fell in love with William Montclair. On their return to London Will sets her up nicely, but she realizes that she can’t accept what Will offers—love without marriage.

 When her circumstances change, Georgi must decide what she wants in her life. Too late, Will discovers what he needs most in his. Despite interfering relatives and answering a call to war, Will mounts his own campaign to court and win the love of his life.

 In His Desire, Robbie and Emmy (young Emmy was kidnapped and sold into slavery in a harem in the pirate Republic of Bou Regreg in His Obsession) are determined that their son will not ruin his life by marrying without love. Tariq (the former harem master) is as loyal as ever to Emmy and Will but maybe a bit distracted.  The villains, and there are several, are really the nasty sort. Check out both at http://www.bookstrand.com/node/834699.   BTW, check out my blog today on “You Can Tell a Book By It’s Cover” at the Writers Vineyard http://thewritersvineyard.com/        Next Week, French Heroic Hunks in History         Rita Bay at ritabay.com

The Making of a Book and its Cover

After a book has been written, accepted by a publisher and contracts signed, it could be months or more than a year before a book is published. Depending on the size of the publisher, as few as a half-dozen or as many as 100+ books can be released in a month. The e-publishers can have a shorter to market time because they can omit the print prep and distribution that print pubs must take into account.

After a manuscript has been accepted for publication, it is placed in a queue and assigned an editor. The editor will complete a comprehensive edit, including story content and grammar/punctuation using the publisher’s house style sheet and/or a generally accepted manual (as in Chicago Manual of Style). Both of my publishers use Track Changes in Word  for editing. The manuscript is returned to the author to accept/reject/discuss the changes. A second edit is completed and returned to the author. After the author has completed editing the manuscript for the second time and returned it to the publisher, the ARCs are prepared for one last proof. I have been blessed with two incredible, patient editors.

At some point, the author will receive a Cover Questionnaire which asks for descriptions of the main characters, the period, and other pertinent info which might be useful to the cover artist. Depending on the publisher, the author can make suggestions about the cover content. The cover is a combination of  art, posed photos, and stock photos. The final cover is the publisher’s call. From recent experience, that first cover is when the reality of being published hits.

Robert Montclair, the hero in His Obsession, is tall but not bulky, a champion fencer. Some authors display pictures of their characters as they write. When I needed to select a picture to serve as a model for the artist, I chose Carter Oosterhouse, the TV host/carpenter. I love Jinger Heaston’s (Siren BookStrand) cover for His Obsession (Cover pictured on right). She catches their moods and the emotional distance between them perfectly. 

Throughout May, Regency Rakes.  Rita Bay

Moonday’s Literary Heroic Hunk: Tariq the Tuareg

Meet Tariq the Tuareg (or the Gorgeous or the Mysterious) the harem master who saved, Emmy, the heroine in my debut historical novel HIS OBSESSION, from sale in the slave markets of Bou Regreg.  Or at least the pic of how I pictured him.

The Tuareg are a nomadic Berber people who inhabit the Saharan regions of North Africa. Tuareg is an Arabic term meaning abandoned by God. The Tuareg who consider themselves white (though some are very dark) call themselves Imohag, the free men. Since ancient times the Tuareg used the trade routes to transport salt and spices, and slaves.

The men are known for wearing a dark blue veil that covers their head, neck, and face which they begin wearing when they are young adults. (Notice the blue dye faded onto Tariq’s face.) They’re called the Blue Men of  the Sahara or Men of the Veil. Unlike most north African tribes, they are matrilineal. The origin of the nomadic Tuareg , where they came from or when they arrived in the Sahara is unknown. That is until I remembered where I had seen that distinctive facial structure.

Check out a pic of  Tuareg men against the death mask paintings of 2,000-year-old mummies (and a reconstruction from a skull) from the Fayyum Oasis in Hawara in an ancient Egypt cemetery.

 

The mummies are believed to be descendents of the elite Greek soldiers who helped Alexander the Great conquer Egypt in the 3rd century BC, then served Ptolemy, the first Greek pharaoh.  

See more pics and read excerpt of  Tariq and Emmy’s first meeting at ritabay.com. Next week, the Anatomy of a Cover and a Request for Reader Critiques.  Rita Bay

Moonday Heroic Hunks: The Harem & Orientalism

This month I’m celebrating the publication of my debut novel, HIS OBSESSION, from Siren BookStrand (http://www.bookstrand.com/his-obsession). The novel relates the adventures of Emeliese Alexander, a student at an elite Parisian finishing school, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pirate Republic of Bou Regreg (Rabat which is in what is now Morocco was the capital.) Devastated by Robert Montclair’s betrayal and doomed to live in a pirate’s harem, she created a life for herself and her unborn child, until her rescue. 

 The paintings of Rudolph Ernst were an inspiration for the descriptions of the harem where Emmy lived.  Ernst was a prominent painter in the Orientalist School of the 19th century which portrayed the rich, foreign, and somewhat salacious culture of the Ottoman Empire and North Africa. Unlike most artists, Ernst – a Vienna native who lived in Paris – traveled extensively in the area and painted from personal observations. Many of his paintings were portraits of real inhabitants of the area. It is doubtful that Ernst would have been allowed into the harems that he painted. This painting, the Favorite with the subtitle of Girl and Man, depicts a master with a concubine/slave. The man is painted much taller and in a superior, powerful stance unlike the girl who is smaller, younger and submissive. This month at ritabay.com features the Barbary pirates, their victims, their homes and harems. Today, there’s another Ernst painting in addition to the one featured here.  Next week, more Orientalist paintings, Rita Bay

 

HIS OBSESSION Available Now

Two and one-half years ago the Sizzlers of Southern Sizzle Romance united to pursue our path to publication together. Tomorrow, with the publication of His Obsession, we will meet our goal.  All seven of us are in print, an achievement to celebrate. Check out our titles on the right. The  blurb and a short excerpt  for His Obsession with buy info is below.

In 1788 when Emeliese Alexander, a student at an elite Parisian finishing school, boarded a yacht bound for England, she never imagined she would be kidnapped and sold into slavery. Devastated by Robert Montclair’s betrayal and doomed to live in a pirate’s harem in the Republic of Bou Regreg, Emmy vows to create a life for herself and her unborn child – whatever the price.

EXCERPT:

Off the coast of France, 1788

     Emmy’s skin crawled. She opened her eyes to find her captor staring at her, his eyes traveling up and down her body, assessing her like the merchants examined the cargoes of her family’s ships when they came into port.

     “You are a beautiful girl, all golden. Small for my taste, perhaps, but perfect. Some men find that very desirable. My son does have good taste in his women.”

     “You are Robbie’s father?” A silly question. He had just said that, but she was still a bit groggy. She must put her fear aside and gather her wits, then discover his intentions. His men had thought nothing of murdering Jacque. Was he toying with her before she met the same fate or worse?

     “I admit my guilt.” He saluted her with his snifter. “Jonathan Montclair, the seventeenth Earl of Ashford, at your service.”

     “Robbie is from a noble family?” Robbie had introduced himself as Robert Montclair, he had never mentioned that his family was noble. The English nobility were very particular about who their offspring could and could not marry. She would almost certainly fall into the “could nots,” and Robbie knew why.

     The earl cocked a brow. “Baron Montclair. The heir. He did not tell you? I thought you were a fortune hunter looking for a wealthy protector.”

     “No, I am a student at Madame Foret’s Academy for Young Ladies. I am not looking for anyone. I will return home to my family next year.” At least, that had been her intention until she had met Robbie. Her future was neither bright nor secure now. The man was evil or insane or both. And he controlled her fate.

Read more/preorder/buy: http://www.bookstrand.com/his-obsession    

Scheduled for release April 10th, Preorder available now  (M/F, R)

(eBook $3.99, on sale for $3.59 through April 17)     Until next week, Rita Bay

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