There’s still time to visit the participating blogs and leave a comment and your contact email on that day’s post. Be sure to visit every blog on the list and comment today to increase your chances of winning the grand prize: a $100 Gift Card to EdenFantasys.com (an adult toy store), and a 10-book bundle of ebooks.
Every author is offering additional prizes on their blogs. My offering is an ebook copy of Loving Leonardo – An unusual polyamorous, bi, Victorian love story with a touch of interactive art history. This part one in a two-book story.
Loving Leonardo — The Quest comes out soon.
Scroll down for a peek at part two.
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So, over the past few days I’ve introduced you to my current novels. I hope you’ve enjoyed my book trailers and little peeks into each story. For news on what’s happening next, I invite you to subscribe to my blog. My entire author’s journey is in here. You never know what you might find!
And here’s what’s next:
Loving Leonardo — The Quest
Nicolas, Ellie, and Luca take in their first night in Paris.
With Leonardo da Vinci’s book of love poems and sketches safe in their possession, lovers Nicolas, Ellie, and Luca discover the book harbors a secret – carefully disguised declarations of love from Leonardo to his long-time lover Salai. The trio begins a quest to follow the book’s clues to other hidden messages of love tucked into well-known da Vinci masterpieces now scattered across Europe. Their quest is cut short however, when a tragic turn of events reveals a terrible truth – Count Bruno lives and is bent upon revenge.
We left the theater an hour later. What a mistake that had been. While the play was entertaining and the theme interesting enough with its occult undertones, the ending had left a bad taste in my mouth. After finding their treasure, Axël the hero and his heroine Sara fall in love then decide their dream is far too magnificent to be fulfilled in the unimaginative reality of their lives. With no dream to live for, they killed themselves as the sun rose and the curtain fell.
Apparently unfazed, my companions discussed the story at length as we walked back to the hotel. I couldn’t help but draw a parallel to our lives though I was certain the dark thoughts were mine alone. It didn’t help that we passed a mortician’s window with the latest embalming on display as a macabre advertisement to the skill to be had there. Beside the door a glass frame filled with memento mori photographs. In general, I found the practice of posing the dead in life-like attitudes a disturbing one. Especially the staring facsimile eyes painted upon closed lids.
Seeking a distraction from my thoughts, I used the tip of Eiffel’s tower as a guide and led us across the street and down an alley. We passed a beribboned one-man music show reminiscent of a May Day mummer, a raucous game of Three-card Monte taking place on an upturned dustbin, and Luca received a blatant sexual proposition by a ponce seeking work for his whore. Turning the corner, we chanced upon two women, one either quite old or quite world-worn. Both were obviously Roma dressed as they were in colorful rustic clothing one might see on country folk. The younger of the two rocked a baby. The elder told us in heavily-accented English that her tarot cards held a message for Luca and me specifically.
Unused to Gypsies that peddled their wares across Europe, Ellie was enchanted by the idea. She tugged on my sleeve and encouraged a card reading. Luca shrugged and I found myself placing a coin on the scarf-covered folding table.
The elder’s smile revealed several missing teeth. She shuffled her worn cards and said, “The cards speak to you first, Englishman.” These she handed to me and I cut the deck into three piles as directed. I realized then, that this deck of cards was not only quite old, it was hand-painted. Restacking them into her hand, she dealt three cards – the three of cups, the six of swords and the Tower in reverse. I looked at the woman expectantly.
I felt Ellie’s eyes on me and I squeezed the hand she rested on my arm.
“Well madam, what do the cards say?”
“The cards call for caution, Englishman.” She tapped the three of cups with a gnarled finger. “You’ve gained fortune in love. But this card is your past.”
Ellie looped her arm through mine. I could feel her thoughts. As far as she and I were concerned, it was our present and future.
The old woman tapped the six of swords. “Your trip will be postponed and sadly there is nothing to be done for it.” She stared at the cards a moment then tsked. She shook her head and tapped the last. “The card sees imprisonment.”
Ellie looked at me with wide skeptical eyes that danced with mirth, the smile tugging at the corners of her lips as she tried to keep a straight face. Luca slapped me on the back in humor, and said, “You’d best watch yourself Nicolas.”
I chuckled, but inside my unsettled mind absorbed it.
She gathered the cards again and shuffled them. After Luca cut the deck into three piles, she laid them out as before. The first was the two of cups. “Your recent past shows harmony, man of Venice.” Luca nodded, apparently missing the fact the woman knew where he was from. I didn’t miss it. There was nothing in his accent that I was aware of that hinted a particular region of Italy. She set the next card beside the first. It was the eight of wands. “There is jealousy in your life now,” she told him.
He looked at me and then at Ellie. There was no jealousy between us. Proof again these mystic pastimes were nothing more than parlor games. The last card was the king of cups. She looked up into his face and for the first time I realized she had a glass eye that didn’t quite follow the other. The real eye looked him up and down, and the perusal made me very uncomfortable. I couldn’t say why that was, even if I’d been asked. She suddenly scooped up the cards and declared the reading completed.
Luca chuckled. “Madam, you’ve not read my last card.”
The baby fussed. The older woman turned to the younger and said something in a language I did not recognize but possessed rounded syllables found in the Latin languages, Romanian perhaps. The young woman nodded and replied, then bared her breast to suckle her babe. The old woman turned back to us. “The king of cups tells of a powerful man…” The younger woman said something that effectively stopped the elder mid-sentence.
How strange. We looked at one another. Ellie dug into her reticule and set a coin on the table. “I’d like my fortune read too, if you please.”
The old woman shook her head.
“Why not? I’ll pay…”
Chuckling, Luca set another coin on the cloth. Obviously deliberating, the old woman stared at the coins and pursed her lips. In the end, the prospect of more money won out. She shuffled the cards and set the deck on the table. Her one eye moved from person to person at last settling on Ellie. She told her, “One card only, lady.”
Ellie turned over the single card and set it on the scarf. The lovers in reverse. The old woman said, “Separation,” and quickly scooped up the deck and scarf and snapped the folding table closed. The card reading was officially over.
“Wait, what does that mean?” Ellie asked obviously confused.
I hooked my arm in hers and said, “It means nothing my dear, it’s merely a game.”
The gypsy cackled. “A mistake many make.”
I tugged Ellie away. “Come love, let’s see about our dinner.”
The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo book 2
Still working on the blurb. Here’s what I have so far:
After revealing his true nature as an ageless shape-shifting shaman to Livie, Ash is overjoyed to find she accepts him as he is. But within his new-found happiness lurks an ancient enemy, with a new terrible power and the singular intention of taking all Ash holds dear. Certain his lover and friends would be safer on the reservation, Ash sends them north and plans to meet his adversary head on. Eli’s hatred was set in motion nearly 3000 years before, and now two magical shaman face an inevitable confrontation.
Winston’s tail thumped on the floor a moment before the screen door opened with a squeak.
Knowing all the sounds in the house, especially those made by her husband and sons, Mayweather announced from the kitchen, “Jo is here.”
Coming around the corner at the mention of his name, Jo kissed his mother’s cheek before grabbing for a hot biscuit. “Good Morning Ma.”
“Ssst,” she hissed her disapproval at him and playfully slapped his hand. “Where did you leave your manners today, maji?”
Jo laughed. He loved that she still called him a little devil. “I am a bachelor, Ma. The only time I eat good food is at home!”
She grinned. “I made extra for you to take back to the station. None of you boys eat well.”
“Jo needs a good wife, Auntie May,” Cora commented matter-of-factly.
Jo spun around, and quick as a shot gave Cora a squeeze that lifted her off the floor, making Winston bark playfully. Jo told her, “I need a nice waabiingwe girl like you. Maybe Livie, hey? Did you bring her with you?” He peeked over the top of her head hopefully.
With her red hair, Livie certainly was a pale girl. John said Jo’s crush on Livie was obvious, and seeing that hopeful look in his eye, Cora knew it was true. But unfortunately for Jo, Livie’s heart was now occupied. When they’d been in the bookstore waiting on John to have his talk with the shape-shifting dog — Livie had confessed falling head-over-heels for Ash. Ash was the dog. Not in a million years did she see that coming. Despite no proof in this bizarre set of circumstances, Cora responded to Jo honestly. “I’m afraid Livie’s heart has been stolen away, just like mine was, by a wily Indian.”
Disappointment flickered in his eyes. “She’s seeing a red man?” At her nod, he grabbed her and made her squeal. “Then maybe I’ll have to steal you from John!” Lifting her, he made to run out the door. The women laughed and seeing opportunity for fun, Winston ran to get his ball.
John came into the kitchen followed by his uncle. He said, “Are you trying to steal my wife again, Jo?”
“Yeah, you’re too citified. Cora needs a wilder Indian. What do you say Cora? Wanna see my wigwam? Ow! Hey Ma! I was just kidding!”
“Do not be rude.” Mayweather spun her dish towel again, an action akin to recoiling a whip. She loved Cora too much to let her cheeky son innocently insult her. Having grown up on tales of the Indian schools, you never knew what white folks took seriously. While her nephew’s sweet-natured wife was different than most, with scant few exceptions, in her experience mostly they were a breed apart.
John chuckled, “Smack him again for me, Auntie!”
“Put her down, maji. Go get some jam from the cellar, please.”
“Yes ma’am. Come on Winston, you can look for mice down there.” The dog, happily wagging his tail, followed him out.
Abbie laughed. His wife steered her boys with a dish towel as accurate as a mule driver’s whip. After his sister-in-law Rosa’s long illness and death, and the tragic mistake that killed his brother Hank, he’d raised John and his Fay as his own beside his three boys. With his twin sons at college and Fay away completing her internship, the house was far too quiet. He took the oven mitt and lifted the large steaming coffee boiler from the stove. “Grab some cups. I want to hear Johnny’s story.”
Twenty minutes later, Jo exclaimed, “John, you are shitting me!” No sooner did the words come out of his mouth than did he feel his mother’s ire. He quickly said, “Sorry, ladies.” Mayweather shook her head at him and pushed the biscuits and jam his way, as if to say, fill your mouth, do not speak with it.
“It’s true,” John continued, “I saw him change right before my eyes. One minute he’s a wolfish-looking dog, the next he’s a naked man on my floor. It blew my mind.” He shook his head. “Absolutely blew my mind.” He relayed much of his conversation with Ash, adding he’d taken him to the Wal-Mart.
Abbie asked, “And you are certain this Midewi is Ashkewheteasu?”
“He confirmed it. He was amazing, Uncle. So confident and sure of who and what he is. I was in awe.”
Mayweather put her fingers to her lips in wonder. “And he calls you friend. My goodness John, such an honor.”
John nodded. “It is, Auntie. It’s a great honor to help him.”
“So he knows about the legend now?” Abbie asked. “He is okay with that?”
“I told it to him. I’m not as good as Old Edgar, but I remembered enough details. He said much of it was true.”
Abbie smiled. He’d always believed the old stories had literal truth in them.
John ran a hand across his face. “But there’s so much he needs in our world, I don’t know where to begin. I bought him clothes and shoes, sure. But what now? What do I do now? He’s going to need help.”
This was huge. Jo’s mind filled with legalities. Ash would need I.D., for starters. He suddenly remembered there was more to this story. He looked at John. “What about the Spider? Does he know the Spider is coming?”
“He knows. That’s why he sent us up here, where we’ll be safe while he handles the Spider. He wants to bring Livie too.”
Understanding filled Jo. He looked at Cora with wide eyes. “Ashkewheteasu is Livie’s new beau?”
Halting the conversation with his hand, John cut in, “We don’t know if she’s okay with that yet. But even if she’s not, Ash said she’s still in danger. Spider wants to take everything from him. All that will matter to Spider is Ash’s feelings for Livie. Not whether she returns them.”
A wave of unease washed over Jo. This wasn’t good. This wasn’t good at all.
Abbie said, “Ash is going to need papers. He cannot just come into this time and not have them.”
Cora said. “You’re right, Uncle. You never know what might come up and he has no way to explain who he is that won’t make him sound crazy and get him locked up or worse.”
Mayweather shook her head. “Maybe you could convince him that he should live here, Johnny. You know the laws are different on the rez.”
John nodded. “Yes they are, Auntie. But no. He made it clear to me that he plans to stay in my area.”
Considering his cousin’s words, Jo let out a long breath. “He should be here with his people. You know we would welcome him with open arms. There is so much he could teach us and so much we could learn—”
John interrupted, “Jo, he’s an elder. The elder. It’s not for me to tell him anything. I can suggest, but that’s all I can do.”
Cora said, “He wants to stay near Livie, Jo. He’s in love with her and last night she told me she’s in love with him.”
The words gave Jo a pang. “But what kind of life can he offer her? From all you’ve said, he doesn’t have even basic knowledge about the world we live in.”
John knew where Jo’s apprehension was coming from and he felt bad for it. From what Cora had said, Livie was clearly head-over-heels for Ash. If last night went well and she wasn’t freaked out by the truth of him, then she wouldn’t be opposed to Ash’s affection. “I don’t think this is something we need to worry about. His mind is amazing. In just the few hours we talked last night, his understanding and comprehension grew right before my eyes. He told me the ability to learn all situations quickly was part of the Manitou’s gift. If we help him, it won’t take him long to assimilate. I have no problem offering him a place in the clinic if he likes. From what Cora and Livie tell me, he’s remarkable with animals, too. ”
Cora agreed. “He is. I’ve never seen anxious animals calm so quickly.”
Feeling that there might be a stable future for Livie, Jo nodded. “Okay. I’ll see what the tribal council thinks about forging documents. There are enough babies born on the rez with two birthdays — the actual birth date and the legal date on the paperwork. How much different can it be?”
“Three thousand years, give or take.”
Not realizing the age of the legends Ash was a part of, they all looked at John in wide-eyed surprise. Jo laughed. “Oh, boy. Well, they’ll either think I’m crazy or you are!”
Abbie said, “You do know the tribal elders will want to meet him first, hey?”
John nodded. “Like Auntie said, helping Ash is a great honor. They should meet him.”
😀 I’m aiming for late January – February release dates for the final installments of both stories. Aiming…
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