New Camelot’s Baker

All Delaney Durrow wanted to do was to protect her daughter from the underbelly of New Camelot. She and her husband dreamed of having a “normal” life in the middle-caste and they achieved it, just before he was assassinated. A month later, a very angry knight invades her home demanding she sign over the deed. He claims his mother illegally sold it to Hugh. She has nowhere else to go and refuses to budge. When the tournament champion holds her hostage, she offers a compromise: she will rent a room to him over the winter. In exchange, he is to do odd jobs and protect her and her daughter from a dangerous lover she had in the past. Hugh’s scheming brother has plans to take over the Durrow clan from his father. To do so, Eamon needs her and Anna with their sorceress abilities under his control.  Sir Finbar proves he is a knight of worth when he defends Delaney from her ex-lover’s machinations, but as their relationship grows more intimate, she wonders, who is going to defend her heart from him? Despite Sir Finbar’s skill in martial arts and lovemaking, sinister forces close in around Delaney, threatening hers and Anna’s lives. Too late, Delaney realizes things were not as they appeared to be. New Camelot's Baker

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The best muse for dialogue is my friends, especially those with extended families. I once had a complicated nerve wracking life. Right now, it’s complete without being cluttered with emotional debris. Comparing the two, I prefer to live a calm uncluttered life. However, boring doesn’t make for interesting fiction novels. So, I listen to my friends rant about their kids, grandkids, lovers, exes, neighbors, etc. You’d be amazed at what seemingly rational people can get themselves into, without hardly trying.

I understanding ranting. When life is kicking you in the butt and there is nothing, absolutely nothing you can do about it, you need a friend. Someone who has been there or is at least sympathetic to your plight. I’ve found the best place to listen to these rants is on the back of a horse. I love horses, always have. Mom says my first words were, “I want a pony.” I got my own when I was 35. It saved my life.

Tarnished Knight

The latest in the New Camelot series (Vol 13) is now out for purchase on Amazon and Createspace.

Laurel is an aberration. She is an Assassin who doesn’t want to kill. She thinks she knows where mythical gold was hidden when Morgan Le Fey released her wrath upon Arthur and Merlin 800 years ago. Laurel has bonded with a baby dragon and hopes to use Maeve to sniff out the    treasure. Traveling across terrain rife with raiding, Laurel opts to hire a surly knight for protection so she won’t have to kill anyone. Sir Donovan of Baltimore is between commissions and hasn’t two silvers to rub together. When the young Assassin approaches him, his first response is to say no to her request. He’s dealt with Assassins before. They’re not to be trusted. However, she is so young, so innocent looking. Because she’s carrying a baby in an osier basket, his conscious and dismal finances goad him to accept her proposal.

An encounter with a male water nymph reveals Laurel’s real age. She’s not a child, but a delectable female perfect for lovemaking. And that’s no human baby in the basket. It’s a dragon! When Danu’s spark of attraction hits her and Donovan, they resist the overwhelming desire that washes over them for neither likes the other. However, they have more in common than they realize. As their dangerous trek progresses, the attraction grows irresistible.nc-knight-wp Two waifs with surprising talents and a fey mongrel dog are rescued and join them on their westward march through dangerous territory to the top of Mount Carrauntoohill.

It will take all of them—human, fey, and beast—posing as a family to survive this quest for lost treasure.

The Missing Muse

Have you ever been typing along, the plot line rolling out freely, and lost your muse? Did she get into a snit and up and leave you with no forwarding address? Well mine did. However, I have to admit, she had a wee bit of justification.

I was halfway through developing my latest novel when my muse gave me a gimlet glare and said, I’ve had enough! The cause of her discontent was the arrival of Grandma. Granted, Grandma is 90 years old and suffers from mild dementia. She needed my help and I did not begrudge giving it to her. She was going through a rough period of health. Even though she lived next door, at this point in time, she required strict supervision in the taking of her meds and meals.

I have an eclectic variety of tastes as does my husband. We enjoy ethnic foods and variations on more traditional meals. However, Grandma only eats “real food” as she proclaimed when I served chicken-cheese quesadillas one night. That made my muse glower, but she got over it. Having to keep an immaculate house also got on the muse’s nerves. Now, I’m a good housekeeper, not a spit-spot one. It took extra effort to corral all those dust bunnies.

We all have our faults. My husband can give you a long list of mine. I always say, “Everyone is crazy. Some of us just hide it better.” Grandma doesn’t even try to hide her crazy. She insisted on a portable potty chair beside her bed. The bathroom door is two feet down the hall from her bedroom door. No problem. I acquiesced on the proviso that hubby-dear had to empty the pot every morning.

My muse packed her tote and left when the potty overturned in the middle of the night. Urine went everywhere on my oak hardwood floors. Hubby got Grandma settled back in bed and I grabbed towels and a soapy mop. For days I begged Muse to return to me. I was stuck inside the house with a woman who was living in pre-1950 and it was too hot outside to escape to the garden. Muse didn’t return my messages.

Eventually, Grandma’s health improved and she returned to the independence and privacy of her own home under our close supervision. However, Muse couldn’t be persuaded to return from her vacation. So what to do while my keyboard remained idle and my mind blank? I read. I dug out my old favorite paperbacks and read one a day as the temperatures soared into the 100’s. As I was reading, my subconscious was working. It was just barely in first gear, but it was turning over ideas for the next phase of my unfinished book.

Six months after she departed, Muse returned, toned and suntanned. The tap opened and the remainder of the plot poured out. I’ve just finished the draft of Tarnished Knight and will have it ready for beta review within the next two weeks. Grandma’s health improved. She’ll live to be a 100 or more.

Commonality of names

Don’t you hate it when you finish your draft and while you set it aside to cool for later reediting, you read a new book only to see your characters’ names in the text? Even worse, you read a scene that is eerily familiar to one of yours. That’s what happened to me in Sally the Whore, Book Eleven in the Tales of New Camelot. I suppose there are only a few pronounceable Gaelic names that don’t have a series of random vowels and consonants that one can use in pre-13th century medieval fiction. As for similar scenes, romantic encounters vary in fine detail, not in the general attraction. I’ve gotten over the similarities of my fairy tale to one of my favorite authors. Maybe I was channeling her. I hope you enjoy Sally the Whore as much as I did writing her story.

Sally the Wore

Sally the Wore

Freak snow storms and first drafts are the same.

Freak snow storms and first drafts are the same? Yep. My sunny oasis was visited by a front last weekend. Weathermen and women (so as not to be gender biased) reported lowering temps and 40 mile wind gusts. At 7:30 in the morning, Grandma called us and exclaimed, “Look out the window!” Big conglomerate flakes, the size of the cellulite in my thighs, were falling. Not here and there like our typical February flurries, but in a literal snow storm.

This was a little unique because the day before it was 70 degrees. Changing fall leaves were still on the trees. My flowers were still blooming. Note the past tense. The weight of the snow stripped the heavy leaves taking quite a few limbs with them. My poor wilted flowers bowed to the severity of the unexpected deluge to never self-propagate.

So here were are a week later, cleaning up the mess. When you have a freak snow storm (the earliest in our recorded history I might add) there is a lot of after action required. After the giddiness of the novelty, the childlike excitement of seeing Olaf sized flakes falling, after the bazillion photos are posted to Facebook, you have to take a look at the damage the unexpected white blanket left behind.
crepe myrtle

snow 2
The same is true in a first draft. You have to haul off the dead wood, fallen from its own weight. Remove superfluous scenes, extraneous conversations, and anything else that doesn’t move the action along. A first draft also requires a thorough raking. Just like I did after I chopped the flower stems down and hauled them off to the burn pile and covered the wounded with pine straw. You have to rake through the first draft looking for misused homonyms, misspellings, typos, wrong names, wrong time, logic errors, pacing, paging etc.
After a thorough critical examination of your work, you have to replace a lot of stuff. I replaced the carnage in my yard with spring bulbs. In your draft, you have to replace dull conversation with something that zings. Descriptions will need clearer resolution. Characters will require more depth. Situations will demand more intensity. After all the debris is hauled away and replaced with bold sentences, then you’re ready to give a farewell toast to the fall white miracle and the completion of your story.

Ireland in the Appalachias

I just got back from a four day motorcycle tour of the Georgia Appalachian Mountains. OMG what a beautiful time of year to experience nature’s paint palette. The tree leaves were in high color. Yellow, red and burgundy, were brilliantly displayed on a backdrop of Carolina blue. As we traversed sinuous roads, some of the scenery reminded me of southern Ireland. Occasionally, we’d pass a flat pasture of grazing cattle. Behind the critters would be the blue-grey peaks of the Appalachians. No wonder the hordes of Scotch-Irish descended into these ancient mountains in the 17th century. The rolling hills and blue peaks obviously called to their DNA. If you’re planning on going to the mountains to enjoy the fall, now is the time.

This area of Suches GA reminds me of Ireland.

This area of Suches GA reminds me of Ireland.