Friday, September 13, 2013

September News

I was busy in August, but a lot of it was ‘busywork.’ I did finish Her Dark Star, part of the Nightstar series, but it came out really long, because one of the characters turned out a lot more complex than I’d ever imagined! It was wonderful to write, but very angsty.
I also finished writing my additions to Tom Jones. Oh, I am so sorry to say goodbye to Tom, Sophia and all their friends! Writing in the style of another author, especially one as great as Henry Fielding, was a great challenge that I hope I completed at least adequately. I had to absorb his vocabulary, his way of expressing himself, and I did a list of the words he preferred to use, to help me when I wrote. One of his favourites was “passion.” Nice! He also used hugely long sentences, so I did a few, but writing them takes a special technique, because you can forget what you’re saying by the time you get to the end!
And I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I took a class on css and using divs instead of tables. I know, I still don’t understand quite why, but the best part of the class for me was how to turn a photoshop design into a website. It makes for a much more flexible design, and doing “slices” means the site is easier to load. One of the hardest things was putting in the scrollbar so the page scrolled internally. I was so proud of what I did that I put the site up. I’d love you to visit and tell me what you think, because the more it’s tested, the better it will be. I’ve checked it on my phone, computer, laptop and tablet, but I don’t have an ithing, so I can’t check it on one of those, although friends have done a bit of checking for me. Most of all I want to show it off. It was a hard course, but I rarely give in, so I kept going through the pain barrier and finally got there! I might get rid of the scrollbar, and make the page a repeating one, but you only get the nice man once. That’s the next stage, but I really needed to get on with writing. I like to rest a book between writing and editing, so the course gave me a good break.
August is my birthday month. It was also the month that we took our family holiday, to Rome. It was fabulous, but very, very hot, and I learned how to cope. Visit the nice, air conditioned museums by day, and then tour the monuments at night.
This is me and my son’s partner, enjoying cocktails!

More writing – I’m currently writing the first of the new series for Loose-Id. It’s back to vampires for me, but with a twist. The stories are set in the world of Department 57, but it’s a different aspect of life for Talents. This is concerned with the Thorndykes, the people who run threatened Talents to safety, in the Talented equivalent of the underground railroad. The hero of this first book was once a Regency rake, and enjoys holding wild parties that remind him of that time. I always wanted to combine my love of history with my love of the paranormal romance, and this is my chance.

September sees the release of a book I’m very proud of. “Fascinating Rhythm” is a book in the Nightstar series, about the members of a rock band facing global success and finding it’s not all roses.
In this one we learn about the drummer, Hunter Ostrander. I say “we” learn because it’s a learning process for me, too. As I write I learn more about the characters and sometimes I have to stop to find out more. As I did when writing the last in the series, “Her Dark Star,” about the manager of the band. Hunter has a deaf mother who is involved in the deaf separatist movement, and is a politician in Sweden. Her protégée, Sabina, is a Finnish beauty who was rendered deaf after a bacterial infection at age ten. When she has the opportunity of an operation to restore her hearing, it could mean the end of her career, but she wants to hear Hunter. He needs to reconcile with his mother, who refused to take an interest in his career.
Here’s the (gorgeous) cover, back cover description and an excerpt. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a lot of people like this book!

Is change always for the better?
Book 4 in the Nightstar series
Playing drums for Murder City Ravens is Hunter's dream. Then, back in his home country of Sweden, he encounters another dream, one he'd thought he'd lost. Sabina.
Turning deaf as a child opened doors for Icelandic beauty Sabina. Now, given the opportunity of another chance with a man she never stopped loving, and a risky operation that could restore her hearing, she is forced to choose. The deaf community she belongs to won't accept a hearing member, but she wants to hear Murder City Ravens play.

Sabina stood on the pavement and stared up at the huge front of the Lydmar hotel. It was one of the tall, white buildings, coolly classical, that gave Stockholm so much of its character, situated in the center of the city overlooking the broad expanse of the Norrström River. She’d never been inside. As was true of most local residents, hotels meant little to her.
Sabina didn’t belong here. As she walked through the glass doors and into the main body of the hotel, she wished she did. Someone had designed this place with an eye to style. The foyer didn’t feel soulless, and when Hunter touched her elbow to guide her to the restaurant, she felt almost comfortable, which she rarely did in the presence of luxury and expense. Strange. Perhaps it was because she was with him. No. That wasn’t possible. Just that she was exploring a part of Stockholm that she’d not visited before. On her days off, she sometimes came to this district to visit the museum, so it wasn’t as if she didn’t know it at all.
She hadn’t expected a hotel restaurant to contain a wall of bookshelves, neither had she expected sofas and comfortable chairs framing the tables. The maître d’ took them to their table without delay, a place set to one side of the restaurant, not in the full light. Then she understood. Hunter had become a local celebrity.
She waited until the maître d’ left them with their menus before she ventured to speak. She was sitting with her back to the restaurant and most of the sources of light. Frowning, she concentrated on his lips so as not to miss a word. “Did you know I was in Stockholm?” A faint hope, but not one she had any faith in, that he’d come back to see her as well as to visit his mother.
“I didn’t know. Emmelie never mentioned it.” He met her gaze, his own dark from the shadows, and maybe something else? No, she couldn’t think like that. Then his face lightened and he smiled. It was like the sun coming out. “But I’m glad.” He glanced around. “It’s too dark here, isn’t it?”
He beckoned the waiter and had a quiet word with him. Hunter switched from English to Swedish with the ease of someone supremely comfortable in both languages. She wondered if he had an accent of any kind. She’d love to hear it. They always spoke English together, even used ASL or SEE when they signed, dating right back to the days they’d first met.
The waiter took them to another table near a window where the light still filtered in from outside. It was only seven thirty; it wouldn’t get dark for another couple of hours. She could see him much better here. How thoughtful of him to notice and have the table changed. “Thank you,” she said.
He smiled. “I want you to enjoy the meal. Have you decided what you want to eat?”
“Scallops and steak,” she said. She’d barely glanced at the menu. “They’re famous for it here.”
He raised a brow. She remembered those eyebrows, browner than his hair, matching his lashes and the hair on his body. No, not going there. Her mind raced on, as if it had a will of its own, ignoring her commands. Six years ago, he’d had a beautiful body, only a light sprinkling of hair on his chest, his shoulders already strongly developed from playing his percussion instruments. Then, he’d considered a career as a classical percussionist but his mother had shown no interest when he’d told her. “What do I care?” she’d said. “I can’t hear any of it. Choose what you like best to do.”
Nobody except Sabina had seen his hurt, because he’d covered it with insouciance, shrugged and left the room. That was when Sabina had gone to him. Just before he left.
One thing she had to know, had wondered for all this time. “Why didn’t you write to me after you left?”
He blinked, eyes wide, and touched his finger to her lips in a gesture that left her utterly shaken. She sat back out of his reach and stared at him, unwilling to miss a single word.
He signed his answer. “This is a quiet place and you were a little loud there.” Flushing, she closed her eyes before opening them again when she thought she’d regained her composure. He was waiting for her. This time he used his vocal cords, but in English.
“Let’s talk about other things over dinner.”
Was he trying to avoid talking to her about the things that had caused her so much pain? Probably, especially if she’d shouted her question.
She thought her appetite had gone, but the scallops proved her wrong. Every bit as delicately flavored and tender as the reviews had promised. A tiny sliver of black truffle lay over the top and she saved it for last. She glanced up from time to time, her habit in case she was missing his words, but he knew how to communicate with the deaf. He’d touch her hand or tap the table where she could see it if he wanted to speak to her.
He smiled when she glanced up. “You have a lovely accent, you know that?”
She shook her head. “I thought I spoke English clearly.”
“It is clear, but slightly accented.” He stared at her, his eyes unreadable. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking and she’d studied body language closely enough that she could usually tell.
“Are they playing music?”
He smiled. “Quietly. A classical piece. Do you know Chopin’s nocturnes?”
Tears sprang to her eyes and because he was watching her so closely, he saw them. He touched her hand. No more, just that. She took care to keep her voice down, regulating the strength of the vibrations in her throat. “My mother used to play them when I was little. I remember a mood rather than the notes.”
“I’m sorry. I was trying to give you a sense of what’s going on. I should have known better.” He broke visual contact, turning his attention to his food.
He shouldn’t feel bad about saying that. “You were right. How were you to know? The memories are good.”
A smile flickered across his lips, gone as soon as it had arrived, and he looked up again. “Thank you. I didn’t deserve that. It’s just that music means, well, a lot to me. I always notice when it’s playing.”
“Did it always mean so much?”
A simple but devastating answer. To love music so much and grow up in a silent household—what torture he must have undergone. “When you were a child, you must have felt so alone.”
He shrugged. “I found friends. I went to a hearing school. It was okay.”
He’d clammed up. She’d find out no more from him now, but he’d opened his mind a crack and given her a glimpse of the inner man. The hint only made her hungry for more. She needed a reason for the way he’d hurt her when he’d walked away and she knew the answer couldn’t be simple. Turning his back on their affair after one night was one thing, but he’d also repudiated their friendship and that had been the hardest to bear.
You can read more about the Nightstar series here:
Fascinating Rhythm is out on September 11th from Ellora’s Cave: