No, really. Maybe it's not actually wicked. Definitely naughty, though.
Yipperdoo, the fourth and final book in the Russian Love series is available for pre-order. Check out these pre-order links:
Rescued from domestic abuse, Bratva princess Inessa recuperates from the latest beating in the home of Giovanni Maglione, the mafia captain of Cleveland. Learning that her husband double-crossed the Chinese triad, and they want their pound of flesh--and they're happy to take it out of Inessa--her parents ask Giovanni to marry their newly widowed daughter. The Chinese triad will be looking for a Russian mobster's wife, not the wife of an Italian mobster. Inessa agrees to this marriage of convenience which, of course, isn't so convenient. The ruse fails, which forces Giovanni into a violent and bloody mob war, because he protects what's his... and Inessa is most definitely his.
And here's a teaser excerpted from the book:
They walked in thoughtful silence for a little while longer until Inessa mentioned this issue that had been weighing upon her conscience: “I really am grateful for your letting me impose upon your hospitality for so long, but I really am doing well enough to go back home.”
“You can’t,” Giovanni said, his voice stern and cool.
“What do you mean I can’t?”
“Your husband was involved in things he should not have been,” Giovanni hedged.
“The Chinese Triad.”
Giovanni gave her part of the story: “He was not particularly successful in his dealings with them and they seek recompense.”
“What does that have to do with me? I wasn’t involved in his business. Ruslan forbade me anything like that.” Ruslan had forbidden her almost everything.
“The Triad doesn’t care. They see you as collateral.”
“O, Bozhe,” Inessa murmured with renewed horror, which made her babble. “I’ll sell the house, all my jewelry to pay them back. I’ll get a job and send them payments, everything I earn.”
Giovanni took her gloved hand in his and gave it a little squeeze. “It’s about more than money, Inessa. Ruslan double-crossed them and more. They lost face. Now they’re determined to restore their honor and get revenge.”
“They’ve launched a vendetta.”
“Sì, and it will not be complete until they’ve annihilated you, Ruslan’s family, your family, and recovered their funds.”
“And that’s why Mama and Papa won’t discuss my moving back home. They hope the Triad won’t think to look for me here.”
He nodded, though he suspected the Triad would not be so easily fooled. “And that’s why they have also asked me to marry you. The Triad won’t be seeking a Mrs. Maglione.”
Inessa gaped in horrified surprise. “They can’t expect you to do that!”
“Maksim and Olivia do not expect any such thing, but they did ask… and I find I am not entirely averse to the idea.”
Now on to the next book. The problem is I've got too many from which to choose and not enough time to devote to all of them. My immediate choices are a sequel to The Dragon Wore a Kilt, a sequel to Pure Iron, and a sequel to Daughter of the Twin Moons. I've also got over two dozen other manuscript started. Some, of course, are further along than others. Thus far, nothing's really caught fire, so I've got to tinker with one and then another and then yet another until something sparks in the old brain and launches the creative rocket.
I haven't abandoned my other books. This week, Daughter of the Twin Moons and The Falcon of Imenotash are featured in the following three blogs: Russian Lullaby and Ulfbehrt's Legacy are forthcoming, but I'm not sure when. And I have entered The Falcon of Imenotash in the 2017 contest held by Authors Talk About It.
Further good news: I finally have a review for By Water Reborn. Yes, it's a 5-star review, which makes my heart go pitter-patter with joy. I ask that anyone who reads my work to please leave a review. It's become trite, but reviews really do make a huge difference for authors. If you liked (or loved) the book, then let me and other Amazon shoppers know. If you didn't like the book, then tell us why. I do take constructive criticism into consideration when writing.
Meanwhile, I'm working on five other books I've been hired to ghostwrite. Since these are works for other people, I can't divulge details other than to iterate that I'm busy, very busy.
Also, I decided to retire from 4-H. With the graduation and looming departure of my youngest child for basic training, I no longer have an invested interest in the llama and alpaca program. Therefore, I sold the herd. Now we're down to our old rescue llama, Booboo, and two boarders, plus the 32-year-old Morgan and the 18-year-old pony. I'm also looking to rehome the pony with a good family that will put her to work and give her the attention she deserves. With the herd reduction and a good-sized second cutting of hay, we won't need to buy hay this fall. I still need to get bedding for stalls, though.
The countdown to Imaginarium has begun. I'll be there. Will you?
First, let me admit to my technological deficit: I don't have a smartphone. I almost never use a cell phone at all. The cell phone I do have doesn't take photos... or, if it does, then I don't know how to use it like that. So, second, let me confess that I forgot my camera.
Sorry folks, I have no pictures.
I attended GenCon 50 yesterday. This massive gaming convention is held in Indianapolis, IN, attracts 65,000 attendees, and boggles the mind with the sheer multitude of games (card games, board, games, role playing games, etc.). I attended on Saturday in the company of my youngest brother Robert and his wife Jenny.
This scouting mission pretty much involved a full day ambling up and down aisles in the main vendor room. We started at one end and slowly worked our way to the other. Of particular interest, of course, were the artists and authors exhibiting their wares. I did find a print that fell into the "must have" category and bought that. Now I have to have it framed. I found another painting that also called to me, but I resisted. One was sufficient.
Overall, the talent of the artists and illustrators impressed me, even if they're work didn't suit my tastes. I can recognize the excellence of talent and skill when I see it, even if I don't particularly like it. When I took a look at the books being promoted (and sold), my editor's hat immediately activated. I spoke with several of those authors, trying to get a sense of whether participation at next year's event--assuming I could even get accepted as a vendor--would be justified. While the personal promotion is good marketing, the ROI has to justify the expense incurred.
Of particular mention, I reconnected with S. A. McClure, whom I met at ConGlomeration in April. I hope she does well at the event.
The event featured some big name authors, primarily Margaret Weiss, Mercedes Lackey, and Charlaine Harris. I remember reading Lackey's Herald Mage series back in the 1980s. I never read Weiss' Dragonlance Chronicles, but she's practically a legend in the fantasy genre. Harris is also a stunning success with her books having been adapted to HBO's True Blood series. There were others on-site Saturday for book signing events, but I can't remember who.
It's encouraging to see women authors being promoted and recognized for their work. If there's one thing I appreciate about the fantasy and paranormal genres, it's that acceptance of women are accepted as equal partners and contenders.
My sister-in-law Jenny crafts chain maille jewelry and spoke with several of the chain maille vendors with the aim of showing at events to promote and sell her jewelry. Upon arriving home, we talked about participating at smaller events together. Her chain maille jewelry complements my fantasy and paranormal work, don't you think? There's comfort in a smaller event: let's face it, GenCon is overwhelming.
Yeah, it sounds like I'm talking myself out of next year's event. And I probably am. The venue ain't cheap, with the cost of a tabletop display area, five days of parking in downtown Indy, mileage, and the cost of the stock I'd have to purchase for inventory. But smaller events... that seems to be a better match for me. Regardless, I'll be keeping an eye out for smaller events in western Ohio, northern Kentucky, and eastern Indiana--something within a 3-hour drive of home. Cities at the outer limits of my travel distance include Louisville and Lexington, KY; Columbus, Lima, and Cincinnati, OH; and Indianapolis, IN. If you hear of anything where an author might be welcome, let me know.
I will be exhibiting at Imaginarium on October 6-8 in Louisville, KY.
And, just in case you didn't see the Facebook and Twitter posts, check out Holly Bargo's author interview on the Ink & Magick website. The interview aired on August 18.
I recently received a question from a reader asking about continuing the Russian Love series or spinning off a new series based on characters introduced in Russian Dawn and Russian Pride (the latter to be released on September 30). My answer: No. At least not now. I want to quit the series while it still interests me, because if I get bored with it, then so will my readers. And that's not good.
Other authors have made that mistake. A reader can tell when the author has written the book by rote because it merely rehashes similar story lines from earlier books in the series. The heroes and heroines all begin looking and sounding the same. The plots run the same tired course. There's comfort in the familiar, but it can get boring, too.
I have, though, noticed that my plots--especially the paranormal and fantasy plots--bear many similarities. Truly, there's nothing new under the sun. I heard from an English professor decades ago that literature encompasses only 36 distinct plots: all else is a variation on those plots. Another professor stated that great literature focused on two things: sex and death. He had a good point. There's actually been research on this, with the results being "there are “six core trajectories which form the building blocks of complex narratives”. These are: “rags to riches” (a story that follows a rise in happiness), “tragedy”, or “riches to rags” (one that follows a fall in happiness), “man in a hole” (fall–rise), “Icarus” (rise–fall), “Cinderella” (rise–fall–rise), and “Oedipus” (fall–rise–fall). The most successful – here defined as the most downloaded – types of story, they find, are Cinderella, Oedipus, two sequential man in a hole arcs, and Cinderella with a tragic ending." This falls in line with the "simple shapes" of literature asserted by legendary author Kurt Vonnegut.
Over the weekend, I read a horribly written short story (part of a collection of stories that I did not finish because the writing did not improve) and began reading a novel that both relied on the old "hero kidnaps the heroine" theme. There's nothing wrong with using a tried and true plot; it's how the author uses it that matters. As stated before and especially with regard to romantic fiction, we read to enjoy the journey, not the ending.
That being said, I probably won't veer too far off course with my stories, as I like the comfort of the familiar. It's satisfying. However, I don't want to grow bored with the execution of the familiar plot: I want to keep it fresh and interesting.
That's where ghostwriting has an influence. Because I write stories based on other people's ideas and plot outlines--hey, I've got to earn a living--I sometimes find myself struck by one of those proverbial "light bulb" moments when something in the client's documents grabs my notice and sparks an idea, a new twist that I can manipulate to make my own. It happens with songs, movies, and other books I read. Inspiration comes from a multitude of sources.
So, next on the project list will probably be the sequel to Daughter of the Twin Moons. I haven't started writing it yet, but the characters have begun speaking to me, which usually indicates that they're ready for their own story.