October Book Of The Month
Cancer. The terminal diagnosis paralyzes Catriona. Both saved and imperiled, she must navigate a new, immortal life as mate to the Captain of the Seelie Palace Guard.
In obedience to the oracle’s command, Thelan abducts a human woman and takes her to the Deepwood where she is unmade and remade by ancient magic. Thus given his mate, he quickly finds himself enamored of her spirit, intelligence, and uncommon beauty. She arouses his passion and challenges both his control and authority at every turn. Thelan needs to win the heart and trust of this untraditional female whom he’s determined to keep and protect from those who covet control over the moon-born’s legendary influence.
Catriona resents the lack of choice. She also resents not knowing the rules that now govern her life in this realm of myth and impossibility. Forging her own path and upsetting ancient tradition, she befriends the mysterious archivist, learns to live in a sentient palace, talks to dragons, and discovers a puzzling attraction to cats. And she must come to terms with the handsome and powerful fae male who claims her as his own and stirs her blood like none other.
Gwenda was again ready with a tray of food when she woke.
“I need to get up,” Catriona insisted. “I need to figure out what happened.”
Gwenda, who had been nothing but caring thus far, assumed a stern expression and said, “My lord insisted you eat and eat you shall.”
Catriona struggled against the slippery silk sheets and found her strength quickly depleted. She sank defeated against the pillows and could not help the tears that trickled from her eyes.
“Go away. Please,” she begged.
Gwenda tilted her head as she pondered what to do. Should she obey her mistress’ request? Should she fetch the master and admit her inability to deal with his mate’s inexplicable distress?
“Do I not care well for you, my lady?” she asked, her voice beginning to tremble with the disturbing thought that maybe she would be punished for not alleviating her mistress’ distress. The captain had a reputation for being a demanding taskmaster.
“That’s not the problem.” A soggy sniff accompanied the denial.
Gwenda risked boldness: “I do not understand. You are the delight of the captain. You are given every luxury. Why are you not pleased?”
Catriona closed her eyes for several seconds, then struggled to sit up. The young woman aided her with gentle competence. She tried to explain: “I had a life. I was married to a good man. I had children and grandchildren. I had a job. My life was fulfilling and I looked forward to retirement if the cancer didn’t kill me first. Then one day after work, I was kidnapped, taken from all that was familiar. I remember pain, oh, God, the pain, but I was not conscious. I remember waking in unfamiliar surroundings beneath a man who used my body before I could even protest.”
“I can understand how the change must bewilder you,” Gwenda ventured with caution, “but why would you object to the captain’s touch? He is most handsome, as well as powerful. I have heard he generously rewards good service”
Catriona leaned her head back further against the soft pillows. “Because I did not choose this.” She lifted a hand, ran her gaze over the slender arm and noted the extra joint in each long finger, the ivory claws. She repeated, “I did not choose this.”
“You are exotic and rare,” Gwenda said and bravely offered a reassuring pat on her mistress’ shoulder. “Bards have already crafted ballads memorializing your transformation beneath the twin moons at the behest of the midnight and dawn swifts.”
Catriona sighed. “I don’t feel exotic and rare; I feel weird and … just weird.”
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I've also been working on another ghostwriting project, a YA science fiction novel that's been going on for over a year. The client and I average about two (sometimes three) chapters per month. Both of us think that this single immense manuscript will be split into a series of three or more books. Strangely enough, I don't find that my creative fatigue affects me with this story.
It's not because YA science fiction is my go-to genre, although the client and her teenage son seem to think I'm doing a good job with the story. (Her son is our "test reader" because he's the target age group for this book. Thus far, the developing story has kept his interest.)
I wonder if my continued lack of fatigue with this project stems from the regular phone calls with the client during which we discuss what happens next. Maybe it's because it's not my project, but someone else's, which engages that strong work ethic my parents instilled in all their children. I have an obligation to work on this because I was hired to do it.
Who knows? What I do know is that whatever factors serve to keep me engaged with this project do work. I just need to figure out how to identify them and replicate them for my personal projects.
In the meantime, a client for whom I edit has resumed production of content. I edited and formatted two small books for two new clients. And I edited and formatted a course workbook for another new client. It's wonderful to see the work coming in and I could use more, lots more. Incoming projects really improve my productivity and enthusiasm, because each new project is an adventure.
To that end, I am hoping that the exhortations from me and many others to use the COVID-related lockdowns and shelter-at-home orders have inspired many to use that time to write their stories. The countless hours of not going to work opened a lot of time for people to write the books, fiction or nonfiction, that they've always wanted to write. Months into this pandemic, many of those first-time authors will be finishing their manuscripts. Most will not know what to do next.
That's where I come in. There's a method to publishing madness, especially if the author wants to produce a book that meets professional standards for quality. I can help: consider me your adventure guide or navigator as you explore what seems to be uncharted territory.
If you're one of those people who has produced a manuscript, contact me to learn what comes next. We'll discuss your goals and ambitions for the project and figure the path that best suits you. Then we can get to work in making it real.
You know you want to.
October Book Of The Month: The Mighty Finn
Boy meets girl.
Author Charlotte Forsythe is determined not to be a victim again. Her Great Dane, Finn, makes sure of it. While vacationing with Finn in San Diego, Charlotte meets Navy SEAL Eric Outerbach. It doesn’t go well. Eric begs forgiveness.
Boy and girl become friends.
They make a long distance friendship work through texts and phone calls. The film rights to two of Charlotte’s books are sold and she heads back out to California to supervise the conversion of written content to the silver screen. And the friendship's not so long distance after all.
Boy and girl fall in love.
How could she not fall in love with a handsome, sexy warrior like Eric? How could he not love a woman as gentle and forgiving as Charlotte?
A guardian’s duty ends.
Finn is mighty, but old. It’s time to pass on the duties of love and protection to someone else.
I loved this story! It made me laugh and it made me cry. It was wonderful! I would highly recommend reading!
She ended their game a bit sooner than usual, hoisted the strap of the beach bag over her shoulder, and walked Finn a mile to the dog spa. She rather thought that a mile’s walk in the city always seemed to take longer than a mile’s walk in the country.
The spa’s personnel greeted Charlotte and her dog with polite, professional smiles until the spa’s owner came out to meet them personally. He squatted down and rubbed Finn’s ears. The dog moaned happily.
“We’ve got a bona fide hero in here today,” he told the pink-garbed employee who approached at his signal.
“Oh?” the young woman asked obligingly.
“Yes,” the owner said with a bright smile. “Finn here rescued his mistress from kidnappers. It was in national news.”
The young woman blinked with uncaring incomprehension. Then memory sparked and she exclaimed, “Oh! I remember now.”
Charlotte held her silence and felt uncomfortable.
“Ma’am, we’ll take good care of this brave guy, yes, we will,” the young woman crooned as she rubbed Finn’s broad head.
“Thank you for entrusting your precious friend to us,” the owner said, his voice ringing with sincerity as he slipped a temporary lead over Finn’s head. “Do you want to keep his collar and leash with you or leave them here?”
“I’ll leave them here, if that’s all right,” she answered.
He nodded and removed Finn’s collar, not bothering to unsnap the leash. He hung them on a peg behind the registration desk.
“Why don’t you return in two hours?” he suggested. “That will be enough time to make sure our hero’s properly groomed and has a little play time, too.”
“All right,” she answered. “Thank you.”
Charlotte gave her dog a reassuring pat and left him in the care of spa personnel.
Hefting the bulky beach tote, she walked to the café where she was scheduled to meet the rude SEAL and allow him to grovel for forgiveness. She arrived early, double-checked her notes to make sure she had the correct destination and time, and allowed herself to be seated at a table in a sunny, peaceful spot. Not caring to look as though she had been abandoned by her date, she pulled her e-reader from the tote and occupied herself.
The shadow cast by the man’s big body alerted her to his presence. She looked up and squinted.
“Hello,” she said politely, if not warmly.
“Hi,” he replied. As he seated himself, he apologized, “Sorry I’m late.”
He held out his hand; she ignored it. After a second, he let it drop back to his side. She hadn’t forgiven him yet.
“That’s all right. I’ve got a little while before I have to pick up Finn.”
“Finn. That’s an unusual name for a dog,” he commented as he seated himself so that his back was against the wall and he could command a wide view of the sidewalk. His eyes moved restlessly for a minute, scanning the crowd for potential danger.
“He was … unexpected,” Charlotte explained even as she quietly observed his automatic preparedness, the assumption of protective detail. She filed that away for future use in another novel. “The breeder apparently did not secure the kennel gates well enough and was surprised when the litter included a harlequin Great Dane. He claimed someone slipped her a Mickey Finn. So, the spotted dog became Finn.”
“I like that better than Mickey,” Eric commented. “Mickey has too many associations with a certain cartoon mouse.”
She smiled politely at him, but the smile did not reach her eyes. Eric signaled to the waiter for service.
“I Googled you,” he said quietly.
She nodded and said nothing.
“How I acted toward you was rude and inexcusable,” he apologized. “Considering your ordeal, I feel doubly ashamed. I really am sorry.”
“Thank you,” she said quietly and simply. She hoped he wouldn’t mention that again.
The waiter approached and they placed their orders.
“How long are you in San Diego?”
“I fly out Friday next week,” she said and turned her face toward the sun. “It’s beautiful here.”
“The weather’s very consistent,” he agreed.
“Not so much in Indiana,” she replied.
“You live in Olivia?”
She nodded and asked, “Did you grow up here in California?”
“No,” he replied. “I’m a Nebraska farm boy.”
Her eyes flicked over the broad shoulders and chest, the strong column of his neck, the square jaw, sculpted cheekbones, and glittering gray eyes.
“You’re a long way from the farm,” she commented. “I just don’t see you wearing overalls.”
“I never did,” he replied as the waiter set their drinks on the table.
She put her lips over the straw and took a sip of her sweetened iced tea, thinking, “Well, there goes another stereotype.” Eric’s eyes snapped to the sight and his imagination immediately segued to the thought of her pink lips wrapped around his dick. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
“So tell me about yourself,” Charlotte said, oblivious to his sudden discomfort. “Start with your name.”
Eric snorted and replied, “Yes, I suppose we could start with the basics.” He extended a hand across the table toward her and said, “I’m Eric Outerbach.”
Charlotte tilted her head and made the connection. That time she took his hand. He felt a zing of attraction at the skin-to-skin touch, which surprised him. He wondered if she felt it, too.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
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