Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Yeah... promo

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Book Blast virtual tour for me on October 14th, a week after the book comes out.

So if you want to host me (just the book info, not an interview or requirement for a review--though either of those would be GREAT), get in touch with them at the above link.

I'll be giving away $25 Amazon or B&N gift card to a blog host and another to those who enter on the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Also check out Donna Del Oro, my critique partner's, blog tour throughout November.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bonus excerpt! Dom and Cédric act like adolescents!

When I first wrote The Indispensable Wife, not only was it called On the Run as a lame stopgap title, but there were about a hundred flashbacks. Bits of story and backstory came to me all over the place and I wrote them all down. I cut almost all of them out, eventually.

This particular scene comes right after the flashback at the end of Chapter One where Aurore announces she has "found" Michel with whom she used to play. She tells Dominique she doesn't want to be his sister, but they could get married. She's about seven. He's twelve and horrified, of course. I deliberately put the flashback at the end of the chapter when Aurore and Dom are physically at their lowest and it acts as a sort of fever dream for both of them.

Since this scene repeated much of the one before and I was overloaded on flashbacks, I had to cut it. I've never stopped liking it, though, for the interaction between Dom and Cédric, who are like brothers, even though Cédric swears he has enough brothers. 

As Dom and Aurore's relationship frayed, so did Dom's relationship with the rest of her family. At times, it's not clear if he misses Aurore or Cédric more. But here, they're just kids, dealing with the blowback of family drama.

Dominique covered his mouth and looked away, his shoulders shaking. He wiped away tears of laughter and turned back to Cédric to see his friend doing the same.
Cédric blinked his eyes rapidly. “It would have hurt her feelings, to hear us. Girls are impossible to understand. Both your father and mine said that it doesn't get easier when they get older.”
Dominique nodded again, and grinned at Cédric. “But just think. If I married her, you would be my brother.”
Cédric rolled his eyes. “Mon Dieu! Don't I have enough trouble with the brothers I have already?”
Dominique frowned in disappointment, but Cédric punched him on the arm and they shoved each other back and forth a few times. Cédric's father, the baron, strode into the room and both boys jumped to their feet, the bench screeching on the floor as they shoved it back with their knees.
“Papa, Aurore has just gone upstairs to look for you. She was quite cross no one told her that Michel was here and not dead,” said Cédric.
“Was she?” asked the baron, pausing, distracted for a moment from whatever was on his mind.
“Yes, sir. She said she cried and cried,” said Dominique, feeling the need to defend the chubby little girl.
The baron nodded and went to the staircase.
Dominique grabbed the bench and yanked it back in and sat, Cédric dropping down beside him and nearly toppling off backwards, as he wasn't ready when the bench hit the back of his knees.
Dominique counted months on his fingers. Aurore said the baronesse was as big as a house, but she shouldn’t be as big as all that after just a few months, should she? He cleared his throat. “Your mother returned from court just a few days before you came here, didn't she? Seven months ago?”
“Be quiet.” Cédric turned his back slightly.
“I am not trying to...” said Dominique.
“Shut up,” said Cédric, leaning over his letter and jabbing his quill into the pot of ink that sat between them.
“It could be a large baby, you know,” he said. He had no idea if that was true. He knew nothing about pregnancy.
Cédric shielded his face and set the tip of his pen to the paper, but lifted it immediately. He watched as a drop of ink fell and then jabbed the pen back into the ink. He picked up a bit of blotting paper and touched the corner to the blot, watching the ink intently as it soaked up. Dominique watched the ink as well, not sure of what to say.
Finally, he looked down at his own paper, at his own attempt at a letter to his grand-père, a landed gentleman near Nantes. He had been writing in solidarity with Cédric, because their tutor told him to compose a letter for his mother to send back with his family. He reached for his own quill, flicking Cédric's out of the way. He replaced it without writing anything, either.
“I'm sorry,” Dominique said softly.
“Do you have any bastard brothers and sisters?” said Cédric, glaring at him.
“I don't know. My father said once that it was his great regret that le bon Dieu did not give him more children, but who knows? He might be lying or he wasn’t counting bastards. He was drunk at the time.” Dominique shrugged.
“My father has a bastard. I don't know who, maybe someone in Paris. He hasn't acknowledged the boy. None of us are supposed to know, but I heard my mother shouting about it. She said she would never let him back in her bed,” said Cédric.
They were silent for a while longer.
“She said that the estate was already too small to divide among three boys and to give Aurore a dowry. I am to inherit the main portion, of course, Henri is destined for the church, and Jean-Louis will be bought a commission and will inherit a small property,” said Cédric.
Dominique nodded because he knew all this almost as well as he knew his own future holdings.
“And the bastard boy... Maman will not tolerate seeing him. My parents have hardly spoken in years. They go up to the court separately, Maman keeps to herself when she is home. She hardly even sees us,” said Cédric, dragging his finger across the few lines he had already written. The ink had long since dried and nothing was smeared, though Dominique was sure that Cédric would not care if it were. “Papa still speaks with us, at least. Listens to us. Spoils Aurore, of course. She is the baby and the only girl.”
“Maybe when you're grown up, you can find the boy and do something for him,” said Dominique, shrugging.
“'Sorry you had to grow up poor and alone and despised, but voilà, have a horse,'” said Cédric, gesturing grandly.
“He might have a high-born mother. Or maybe he has a father who will raise him as his own,” said Dominique.
Cédric shrugged. “Before today, I would have felt as though I were betraying Maman.” The specter of the evidence of the baronesse’s unfaithfulness hung over them. Seven months and she was as big as a house?
Their tutor strode into the room and smacked them both on the back of the head. The boys hunched over their papers and began to write again.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

OOOOH! Pretty!

I'm fighting off a migraine. Yesterday, I went to my RWA chapter meeting all doped up on ibuprofen, rocking a touch of aphasia. (Aphasia is when you can't think of words. I have enough trouble with speaking when I don't have a headache. I posted on Facebook: "Bleeding like a stuck pig." Obviously, I was also having trouble with mixed metaphors.) I came home and lay down for several hours with an ice pack on my head and neck.

I ended up reading all of Weir's The Martian in one afternoon and evening. SO GOOD. Absolutely nothing to do with the 17th century or my own writing (except that I would have put in a whole lot more about the astronaut's human relations and despair. I mean, he's on Mars by himself, thinking he's abandoned. There should be a lot more despair and introspection and thinking about friends and loves and so on.).

I also started reading a book about Louis XIV's Versailles, which is more to do with Book 3, on which I've just finished an editing pass and which could use some more detail about how people lived there.

And this showed up in my Facebook today:

The Wallace Collection is a smallish museum in London.

Have I mentioned I used to live in London? We were in the extremely unfashionable end of the West End. That's the fair/middling/sometimes bad part of town even further west than Notting Hill, Holland Park, and Kensington Palace. Anyway, I was busy living on a modest budget and having babies, so didn't get to see as many cultural things as I would have liked or travel as much as I wanted. Also, I wasn't quite as into the 17th century as I am right now. But someday, I will get back to London and go see this museum.

They have been doing a series of videos and blogs and such in memorial of the 300th anniversary of Louis XIV's death. Follow them on Facebook.

The above cabinet and detail were by André-Charles Boulle, who made some fancy marquetry for the king, his relatives, his court, and lots of other fancy people. Well, he and his workers. He was an artist in that style. Can you imagine having bronze inlay all over and carved cherubs holding up your dresser?

And right now, I'm dallying with the decorative/functional arts in the time of Louis XIV. Jean-Louis de Cantière, one of Aurore's older brothers (the army officer one) in The Indispensable Wife, (out on October 7th. Links to where to buy at top right of this page. Sorry, I have to keep mentioning that.) is married to the only child of a furniture factory owner. He married a fortune, but married down, as they say. When he gets his own love story in 1668 (The Honorable Officer), his wife has passed away and it looks like someone is trying to kidnap or kill his daughter. The wife's wallflower cousin is the primary parent to the little girl and she runs off to seek aid and protection from a war zone.

And not too many spoilers later, let's just say that someone's got to turn the factory around and make it profitable in a time when this sort of amazing marquetry and baroque swirls and elegance are the style among the really rich.

In book 3 of the Châteaux and Shadows series, Emmanuel visits the factory ten years later.

I've started a novella about another of the brothers, the one who's handling all the finances while someone else handles the artistry and elegance. It will be book 3.5 (per the current style of labeling the short stories between the stories) and it needs... Well, I need to figure out what the plot is. A major event is Henri's debilitating back pain, but in the tiny bit I've done, it's already dipping into the looming Huguenot Protestant crisis, issues of religion, issues of homosexuality.... It might have to be a whole novel.

But before I get very far with it, I'm going to have to increase my understanding of Louis XIV style furnishings. And what would the up and coming furniture dealer be making? Not the ones who sold chairs to the king, but the ones who sold to the baron's widowed aunt for her country house.

And right now, I'm off to edit Book 2, The Honorable Officer. That should be out within the next few months, too.

Monday, September 21, 2015


I am feeling pressed for time these days. Some is other pressures in my life (helloooo homeschooled teenager!), but right now I have two weeks until my BOOK IS COMING OUT! SQUEEEEEE! And so much else to do! *Links at bottom. I do have other things to say.

I am doing a pre-critique partner, pre-submission edit of Book 3, Emmanuel's book (I need to think of a title). All of you will know by reading Indispensable Wife that Manu is the annoying, cranky teenage brother who doesn't do as he's told--with disastrous consequences. Intentionally vague to prevent spoilers... Anyway, he has grown up (nicely!) 12 years later and is still a bit of a cranky adolescent on the inside, but he knows loyalty and how to protect himself and others now, but prefers being alone. And then Catherine, his mom's impoverished companion, gets foisted on him and they both find the other first.

And then my editor sent the edits for Book 2, The Honorable Officer, so I have to get into those ASAP. This is Jean-Louis, the second brother who is an army officer and intensely loyal and heroic and sympathetic to his troops. His wife died after being an awful person and his in-laws are raising his toddler daughter. And then the late wife's cousin who is the one actually acting as a parent to the girl, shy and mostly blind, shows up in a freaking war zone, claiming someone is trying to kidnap or kill his daughter.

To be honest? Honorable Officer is my favorite book of the series so far, with Emmanuel a close second. I shouldn't say that with the first book just coming out! The first book took years of edits and massive cuts of back story and flashbacks and all kinds of stuff. I dearly love Aurore and Dom, but man, they gave me a lot of trouble. They just had too much history between them, from childhood, to early marriage, to the inciting incidents of mercenaries taking over the castle and someone shooting at Dom. (Note to authors: knowing where the story should start is half the battle).

So I'm scrambling to get through Emmanuel, worried about Jean-Louis, and thinking I need to figure out how to do promo, which I know nothing about. (Speaking of deleted scenes, I need to find some to post...)

And my teenage homeschooled kid is pushing back HARD about math homework, of which there is far too much in this actual class he's taking two days a week (from someone else! I was going to rejoice, but it means me nagging about homework.).

* Here are all the links for pre-order. NOTE that you can pre-order paperback copies ($14.99) now. While my cover is beautiful and everyone should have ME on their bookshelf...ebooks are $4.99.

The Wild Rose Press for the paperback (ebook not yet order-able at Wild Rose)
(By the way, there's an excerpt at this link)
Amazon (paperback)

It's available in ebook from:

I'll be selling and signing copies at my local RWA meeting in October, in case anyone wants a signed paperback for a slight discount and is in or near Sacramento, CA on that day....uh, Saturday late in October. The week before Halloween. I'll be in costume.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cell phone Google searches in the past month

Many of these are things I looked up for Homeschool Boy, either when we weren't at home or because one of us thought of something. Some are for writing. Some are because....I needed to know.

What do you search for?

Aristotle picture
Also Spake Zarathustra
Archimedes screw
Best slow cooker General Tso chicken
Democritus picture
Dictionary rifle
General Tso’s chicken ketchup
Horse gestation
How long is Last of the Mohicans
How recover deleted memos back on Android
I was so much older then lyrics
Kate Curran
Library hours
Lunge line training
Lunge Longe line
Poverty line California 2014
Reporters killed
Story problems
Shar violin rental
What are roof shingles made of
What is the Spanish word for mountain
Yogurtland sweet treat

It will be up as paperback on Amazon in the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Living in the Moment. Soccer Season is Here!

I'd like to say I'm inspired to write battle scenes by watching my daughter's team play soccer.

Or maybe I should have blinding flashes of insight about discipline and dropping people to the floor when my son does karate.

And maybe I should know the mystic ways of inspirational and patient teachers when I homeschool my son.

But most of all, I read books or do on-paper editing work during soccer practice (I'm not social enough to sustain a conversation with the other moms for more than a few minutes) and spend the games wincing (privately) and cheering (loudly). The girls are 6- and 7-year-olds. They aren't quite as bad about running in a cluster as younger kids, but it's still their strategy.

And karate practice means either I go run errands and come back in an hour or I sit down with my laptop and work. Or I bring a book. Eight years of karate classes later and...yeah, I look up sometimes. I watch close to the end of the cycle, when the class is doing the moves right.

And teaching? Let's just say I have not achieved Being Inspirational. Today I yelled. Does that count? He did do the assignment eventually. He even did it decently well. I don't think he did the math, though.

I like to be present for all those important moments of my kids' lives. But the practices? Really? Someone out there will judge me and say, "YES, REALLY!" Which is fine with me. Part of enlightenment is letting judgment roll off, right? And finding your own path? But while some people announce that their children are their whole world, I say my children are my biggest priority.

Part of raising children is to let them develop their own identities. And to see that others have their own identities and it's OK. Even moms get to have things that interest them other than soccer practice. I refuse to subsume myself to the point that I only take interest in what my kids are doing. That's not to say that I don't take any interest in what they're doing. How many hours of Minecraft monologue have I listened to? And paid attention to what a kid has to say about school/friend/books/random thoughts?

When I am reading or writing, I am feeding my soul (or trying to anyway, depending on how good the work I'm reading or writing is).

When I appreciate my kids' games and karate moves, I am feeding my soul with satisfaction about how hard they worked.

They are learning to feed their own souls.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

On reading, writing, and editing with background noise

As I sit here, trying to edit and/or trying to come up with some sort of stuff I can use as promo, my darling fifteen-year-old son is listening to a podcast and playing Minecraft. I am quite sensitive to outside noise and it's driving me CRAZY.

Oh, now he's on a YouTube video. They're opening a couple of 17th century chests, which is slightly relevant to my writing. They've been opened many times in the last 300 years, but the chests themselves are a treasure. The first one's keyhole is hidden and there's a separate lock box in the false bottom that they don't have the key to. It's heavy wood with lots of metal, but they didn't mention if anyone tried to x-ray the box.

The second one also has the hidden keyhole. It has coins in it! The coins are from the early 70s. BUMMER.

Oh, wait, I'm writing a blog post. AUGH!

It's funny, though; I generally can go to a public spot, like a coffee shop, and not get distracted too much in spite of the constant noise. Sometimes the music yanks me out of my head, but even then, I can get back in the groove.

I think it's mostly because I know that most of the sounds aren't relevant to me. None of the sounds are my kids needing something. None of the sounds are my children arguing.

It might also be because there's such a wall of noise that it becomes white noise. When I get bored or the new! awesome! hard! wooden! chairs in Starbucks start making my bum hurt, I am more easily distracted.

Just the other day, I was in a Starbucks for about 2 1/2 hours and by the end I was about ready to get up and go over and ask the one woman in a group of three to just talk more softly please. Her friends were quiet, but her voice echoed inside my ears. And then two older gentlemen came in and one was SO LOUD.

But as I said, by then my behind ached and I'd been working for a long time, so everything distracted me. And then it was almost time to go. So I went.

Also at home, I know there are chores to be done. Today, I keep looking out my front window and seeing my ancient Corolla and remembering that the battery of my other car died (I think a certain young daughter left the dome light on overnight Fri-Sat), and we still have to roll it out of the garage and use the Corolla's shiny new battery to jump the other one. Since I'll then have to run the engine for a while to recharge the battery, I will do it when I'm about to go somewhere anyway. Like to Starbucks. To write. While my husband leads my kids and a couple of their friends on a Dungeons and Dragons adventure.

We're all about those geeks, y'all.

Tips on shutting out the world to get your work done appreciated. Commiseration on loud family members also appreciated. And discussion of all things geeky.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hey, I need reviews


Come sign up for my Rafflecopter giveaway! I'm giving away five copies of The Indispensable Wife (in ebook form) and requesting reviews in return.

You get one entry each for visiting my Facebook page and  following me on Twitter. I thought you got a fee one for just showing up and registering with Rafflecopter, but I did something wrong, maybe?

I have the ebook in Mobi, Epub, and PDF formats.

The giveaway ends on 9/12 at midnight...uh... Eastern US time? Look, this is my first rafflecopter. I'm totally a newbie. I promise a minimum of five copies will go out, not including one to my mom.

Immediately Aurore, dressed in peasant homespun like a dull sparrow in a flock of exotic birds, flew out of the door. She cried, “Dominique!” and threw herself into his arms. He took a step back at the impact and held her lush little body tightly against his own, his gloved hands grasping at the laces that crisscrossed her back.
She started chattering almost immediately. “Did you see the king, too? He said he would talk to you. Did he tell you? I am sure he did, if you are here and the Coucher is over. I am so relieved, so pleased. Oh, Dominique, we will get our home back, chéri.”
Dominique was unable to reply. Her leap had knocked the wind out of him, and the only thing he could think to do was to kiss her. Right there in a hallway of the Palais de Vincennes, with aristocratic peers mincing past on high-heeled shoes and servants pretending to not notice, he kissed his wife, his life and soul, the way he had wanted to since the moment he saw her standing on a little stage in a square in some tiny village north of Paris.
He came to himself a short while later, when he stumbled as he turned to press Aurore against a wall. He set her down and took a small step back as she opened her eyes drowsily to smile at him in the way she had when they were first married.
“So this is what the aristocracy is coming to, then?” said a sharp voice behind him.
Dominique turned quickly, shoving Aurore behind him, his hand automatically reaching for the knife which he did not have; Cédric’s valet had complained that it spoiled the line of his waistcoat.
Henri wrinkled his nose. “It’s a good thing our brother had your back, you know. All this kissing would drive anyone to violence.”

The part where I have to self-promote

The Indispensable Wife is still out there!
The Wild Rose Press PAPERBACK

And in ebook:

The Wild Rose Press
Barnes & Noble
Amazon UK 
Google Play

And even though it's all in English, it is available elsewhere:

Amazon France

Amazon Germany 


He’ll do anything to save his daughter, even fall in love.

France, 1668
Hélène de Bonnefoi’s spirit has been squashed by the ever-critical aunt and uncle who raised her. Serving as her niece's nanny and stand-in mother saved her from the convent and gave her purpose even after the girl’s mother died. When suspicious accidents threaten the toddler, Hélène overcomes her debilitating shyness to seek the help of the one man who should put the child's safety ahead of all other concerns, her father, the colonel.

Jean-Louis, Colonel de Cantière, has spent his life proving his worth, integrity, and honor within his family when he was a child and in Louis XIV’s army as an adult. When his daughter’s aunt appears in his camp during a siege, claiming someone is trying to kill the girl, his loyalty to king, regiment, and family are sorely tested.

Hélène must convince Jean-Louis that the threat is real. But the true danger is to the heart of a shy young woman who has always loved her cousin’s husband from afar and to the colonel’s desire to resist complicated emotions.