Monday, 26 November 2012

New Release: Mark of the Gladiator

Happy November! Hope your month is going just lovely and you're getting all ready for your winter holiday of choice (or compulsion, I suppose).

After almost a year, it's finally release day for my new book Mark of the Gladiator, out from Riptide Publishing!

After an inconvenient display of mercy in the arena, the gladiator Anazâr is pulled from the sands and contracted to nobleman Lucius Marianus to train his new stable of female gladiators. His new charges are demoralized and untested, and they bear the marks of slavery and abuse. Anazâr has a scant four months to prepare them for the arena, and his new master demands perfection. 
Anazâr’s surprised by how eager he is to achieve it—far more eager than a man motivated by only self-preservation. Perhaps it’s because Marianus is truly remarkable: handsome, dignified, honorable, and seemingly as attracted to Anazâr as Anazâr is to him. 
But the rivalry between Marianus and his brother, Felix, sparks a murder conspiracy, with Anazâr and his gladiatrices caught in the middle. One brother might offer salvation . . . but which? And in a world where life is worth less than the pleasures of the crowd or the whims of a master, can there be any room for love? As a gladiator, Anazâr's defenses are near impenetrable. But as a man, he learns to his cost that no armor or shield can truly protect his heart.
Our blog tour kicked off yesterday at You Gotta Read Reviews with an excerpt from the novel, and continues today at Words of Wisdom from the Scarf Princess, where Violetta Vane interviews me, and at Well Read, where I interview her! For more tour details, check out the tour page. Just remember to leave a comment on as many posts as you can to be entered to win our entire Layers of the Underworld series, including Cruce de Caminos, The Druid Stone, and Galway Bound, all in an e-format of your choice!

And now, as is customary, here's my 5 facts about Mark of the Gladiator!

1. We had to ask for an extension on the collection deadline because my trip to Ireland fell right into the middle of our writing time! So for two weeks, I left the first draft to Violetta while I dashed about Dublin lookin' at bog mummies.

2. Rome is one of Violetta's favourite historical topics and she's a real nerd for it. Me, on the other hand . . . despite my history degree the only aspect of Rome I ever studied was their dealings in Great Britain. Oh, and I'm a huge fan of Starz's series, Spartacus. So writing was a wee bit of a learning curve for me!

3. My original pitch for our Roman story centred around the conflict between the Picts and Romans at the Antonine wall. It was Violetta (who isn't much of a fan of captor/captive stories the way I am) who suggested the gladiator . . . and more importantly gladiatrice angle. An ensemble cast of diverse powerful women? A love triangle between a gladiator, his master, and his master's brother? Oh yes please! I was hooked on her concept right from the start and now I wouldn't change a thing.

4. To write dialogue, Violetta and I used a couple of primary sources to get the feel for the way Romans talked and swore and threatened each other: Roman poetry in translation (which features heavily in the book, especially when it comes to poet Felix), and Pompeiian graffiti. My favourite of these? 
Floronius, privileged soldier of the 7th legion, was here. The women did not know of his presence. Only six women came to know, too few for such a stallion.
What a hero!

5.  If I was casting Mark of the Gladiator as a movie, my first choice for Anazâr would be Nick Tarabay. I love his size and rugged features! (He's also hella sexy.)

PS! If you're a Goodreads member, you can also enter to win a beautiful print copy of the book! Click here to enter!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Place Between Novels

It's so strange to finish writing a book. I just sent off Rear Entrance Video to my editor at Riptide, Sarah Frantz. When I'm writing a book, I live, breathe, eat and sleep that book. It's in my thoughts from morning 'til night, even when I'm not actively writing. So when it's sent off I feel kind of . . . purposeless. Lost. Empty.

There's this sense of exhaustion and closure, too, that makes me feel like "Welp, that's done, I've written a book, it's all over, back to my normal life now." Except this IS my life, and even when a book is finished, my work as an author is never finished. Well until I die, I guess, or make EL James-money and retire early to swim in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.

One project's done, time to start the next one, basically. Cut and run. Always on the move. Never look back. Etc.

So here's what's on my docket for winter 2012/2013:

Changeling, sequel to The Druid Stone (starring Michael!) with Violetta Vane. 19,000/90,000 words.
The Flesh Cartel Season 3 with Rachel Haimowitz0/80,000 words.
Rear Entrance Video #2 allllll by my~self. 0/65,000 words.

And you know . . . editing. And promotion. (BECAUSE HEY YOU GUYS, MARK OF THE GLADIATOR IS OUT THIS MONTH OMFG!) . . . etc.

Although I'm super psyched to do these sequels, and I feel privileged to even be writing a series of books in the first place when a year ago I'd never finished ANYTHING, I simultaneously kind of feel stalled on them all because it's not the same newness as beginning a completely fresh project. I'm not getting that same disconnect I'm used to where I completely switch gears from one book to the next. It's odd.

Here are a couple of things I *want* to write:

  • Post-apocalyptic, nuclear holocaust Fallout/Mad Max: The Road Warrior -type story with a broody loner vigilante/wanderer who begrudgingly takes another man into his protection and, well, y'know.
  • Historical starring 1950s actor/musician heartthrobs. You know, Marlon Brando, James Dean, all those glorious brooding maybe-bisexual hotties . . . um, fictionalized of course!
  • Tax cowboy: this started as a joke, but I kinda wanna do it anyway. A guy calls the IRS in Austin and falls in love with tax cowboy's sexy voice. (Um that's basically the whole plot.)
  • Established relationship short porn-y story involving a change room in a clothing store.
  • WHATEVER I can get Aleksandr Voinov to co-write with me already.
  • Some M/F!!??!?!?!?!!?
So anyway, that's what my next year's shaping up to look like! Of course, in between there I'll probably have a hundred other ideas that randomly catch my fancy, but aaaaanyway. I guess this is the part where you tell me what you most want me to write?

AND DON'T FORGET: two weeks. Mark of the Gladiator. It's out. You can win a Nook.