Thursday, August 30, 2012

Upcoming Releases

I recently turned in two short novella length pieces to my great publisher, Amber Quill.  They will be released in October and November in the Amber Allure GLBT line. Each will be part of a PAX collection and both have fantasy and magical themes.

The first will be out on October 17 barring unforseen issues, and is titled The Sorcerer's Apprentice. It is perhaps slightly inspired by the famous classical music tone poem of the same name but of courss features gay romance and quite a different twist on the apprentice's ineptitude and development. The second, for a mid-November release, is a 'fractured fairy tale' titled Hanson and Graber: The Price of Magic. It is humorous for the most part, more than a little tongue-in-cheek but not as totally whacky as Tom Fleet's Incredible Machine! (I have to admit that one got carried away LOL.)

They are both under contract now but not edited and I will hold off a bit on posting the excerpts until I have the final mss in hand and cover art. No use showing off my mistakes! Thank goodness I have a woonderful and eagle-eyed editor who finds and helps me fix all those boo-boos.

Now I am finally getting back to another tale for my Thin Green Line series, this one tentatively titled Druid in Drag for the opening scene in which one hero crashes a drug-baron's orgiastic party as a gorgeous woman. He hasn't really  been a cross-dresser but decides it is kind of fun.... The other hero, well, he's an alien but not a little green man or three eyed or anything--but I'll save that for later!

Of course there will be more doggie tails--er tales. I have got to feature my newest family canine soon; we think he is Dachshund and Cavalier King Charles spaniel mix and adorable but quite the little rascal, too. Then I discovered a breed previously unknown to me called Eurasier or Eurasian. My beloved Alanna from long ago who we thought was Chow and wolf mix looks just like some of them! They're a  fairly new breed, mixing Chow and Spitz and are supposed to throw back to some of the ancient direct wolf-descended dogs of early humans. Hmmm, that triggers some what if ideas too!!

Speaking of that, I want to get back to my long postponed Horse Clans series with one story on how the shifting gift was won by a young prehistoric woman who saved a mare and foal from wolves and thus pleased the goddess Epona. And a modern set tale about a country band of horse-shifting friends descended from the DeJean/Johns clan introduced in Nellie's Rogue Stallion and Colette's Savage Stallion. (This one came to me as a result of an ad for some figurines with dragons as rock musicians! I loved it and said wait, why not horse shifters who would have to be country musicians???) So look for Appy Jack and his buds maybe late next year! That may take more than one story even...

You can see I am not resting on my laurels or anything like that despite a bit of a dip in production this past several months due to my move --hopefully the final one!!--and some other busy-ness and issues that cropped up to get my muse to the point she needed light duty only for a time. We're back and rearing to go!!

Here's a few pix from my new high desert home. And I am lovin' it!
The back of the house--now have climbing roses on those trellises. In the second, I built the 'saguaro' bird feeder and the bird bath was a gift. (That's the garage/shop behind them) And the sunset glow on the Sacramento mountains is just awesome. We have fabulous sunsets here and I am a huge sunset freak! You can learn more about all this at my other blog deirdre-fourds. That's the one where I talk about everything except my/our (can't leave Gwynn out!)  writing!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to Tomorrow, PG-13 excerpt

Back to Tomorrow by Gwynn Morgan  ISBN 1-59279-182-4 (p)

Here is the current cover. The lightning bolt in the background came from a photograph I took and talked about earlier on my fourds blog! It's "the spirit of Huachuca" or where the thunder walks. BTW Huachuca is an ancient Native American word and is pronounced Wa-CHOO-ka

Librarian Emily Dennison has always loved history, but catapulted into 1889 Tombstone, she finds life far from the idyll she imagined. Meeting Zach Tremaine, a newspaperman from Philadelphia, she gets involved in his quest to rescue his younger sister from her abusive paramour, gambler Jake McEuen. This leads to more adventure than Emily ever thought possible. Eventually she has to confess to Zach that she is from far away, not in distance but in time. Fearful of being torn back to 2000, but missing her modern conveniences, she hardly dares to love him though she aches to.

Zach isn’t quite sure what to make of Emily, so different from any woman he has ever known but so sweet and spunky that she wins his admiration and soon his heart. Just when he thinks he has convinced her they belong together, a bolt of lightning tears her away. Or was it Joker Jake McEuen, seeking revenge?  Can Zach live long enough to search until he finds her? Can she get back to tomorrow in time to save him from McEuen’s murderous rage?


April 24, 2000
Hardwick, Vermont
"The postman just came, Em. Run out and see what we have today, would you? I can't leave off stirring this fudge yet."
Aunt Faith's cheerful voice cut through Emily's gloomy thoughts. Leaving the window, which looked out into the rainy afternoon, she moved to obey. Her heart wasn't in the small task, nor in anything she could imagine doing. Pausing on the back porch to tug on overshoes and a mackinaw, Emily grabbed an old umbrella and forged out toward the mailbox that stood beside the highway some fifty yards from the house. Driven by a biting wind, icy raindrops stung her cheeks, as if nature wept with her. Six months, and so little has changed. It almost feels as if time is standing still.
Although most of the mail seemed to be addressed to Faith Dennison's business, Maple Leaf Confections, the last item, a thick brown envelope, bore Emily's name. Moisture smudged the return address, but the handwriting looked like that of her friend, Carol Hodges.
Emily hurried back to the house, curiosity over what she had received temporarily overcoming her depression. Almost anything would be welcome if it took her thoughts away from the ache of loss and the pressing issue of what she should do with the rest of her life.
She'd come here to Aunt Faith's last fall after leaving New Hampshire, stayed to help with the rush of business prior to the holidays, and somehow hadn't managed to move on. She kept delaying just one more day, unable to find a new direction for her life.
Carol was now nearly seven months pregnant--as Emily herself might have been, had the planned wedding taken place last October. They were still best friends, four years past their two-year stint as roommates and their college graduation. Carol had sympathized with Emily's loss through several long phone calls, but that offered no clue as to what she might have sent.
While Faith went through her mail, Emily carefully pulled the heavy tape off the flap to unseal the envelope. She upended it, gave the envelope a slight shake. A single sheet of paper filled with Carol's scrawling handwriting and a small, leather bound book slipped out into her waiting hand. Emily quickly scanned the scribbled lines, the erratic sizes and shapes of the letters reflecting Carol's volatile personality.
Tom and I found this fabulous old trunk in Tombstone that we thought would make a wonderful toy box for Junior. In the process of cleaning it up, we discovered this little book in one corner. Remembering how you love old tomes, I decided to send it to you right now. Maybe reading will while away some otherwise dreary hours.
Please think about coming out to Fort Huachuca for a visit. Spring in Arizona is lovely and I'd so enjoy your company while I wait the last few weeks before this rowdy child makes his appearance. All I can do now is sit and talk, but then, I was always good at that, wasn't I?
Emily smiled, recalling their many late-night conversations, sometimes one or both falling asleep in mid-word, too drowsy to go on. She could use a dose of her bubbly friend's enthusiasm now. Maybe she'd accept the invitation.
She turned her attention to the little book. Holding it gently, she absorbed the aura of age, let her senses appreciate its special value. The soft binding of red leather was cracked and worn, marred in spots by traces of mildew, but basically still intact. The book exuded a musty scent, which she found vaguely comforting. Old books had always fascinated her. The odor brought to mind only pleasant memories.
As she held it, the book fell open to reveal hand-scribed lines, the ink faded to a sepia tone but still clear. The writer had a neat, elegant hand, the delicate copperplate penmanship of a bygone era.
April 24, 1889. Arrived in Tombstone. To actually see a place of such notoriety triggers a thousand fantasies. I can scarcely wait to begin my explorations, although my primary purpose in coming here must take precedence. The place is not wholly as I expected, being both more rustic and more cosmopolitan. The country around is stark and empty, miles of ragged, pale hills and scraggly bushes too small to be counted as trees. One wonders how anything can live in such an inhospitable environment, but local people assure me the desert teems with life. Other than some birds and a few lizards, however, I have seen little so far."
For a moment the book, the cozy room, and all else faded. In its place, the described landscape appeared, vivid in every detail. The harsh glare of midday sun burned Emily's skin and made her squint. She wrinkled her nose at the sulfurous dust on the creosote-scented breeze, which carried the muffled sound of distant gunshots.
Afterwards Emily decided she must have seen a postcard or a photograph, perhaps something Carol had sent when she and her husband first arrived at Fort Huachuca. The fort was only twenty some miles from Tombstone. No other way could she explain the curious vision, hallucination, or whatever it was. When she came out of the odd trance, her aunt was peering at her with an expression of concern.
"Em? Are you all right, dear? You looked so peculiar for a moment. You haven't received more bad news, have you?"
"Oh no, nothing like that. It's a note from Carol, my old roomie, you remember? She and her husband bought an antique trunk in Tombstone to make a toy box for the baby. They found this diary or journal in it, which she's sent to me."
Still feeling slightly dizzy and displaced, Emily shook her head. This was the strangest sensation she'd ever experienced. She snapped the book closed, deciding not to look at it any more until later. A curious paradox of wishes warred inside her. She wanted to put the small tome away and never see it again, but also to sit down at once and read straight through.
Since her aunt still looked worried, Emily continued. "Carol invited me out to visit. Her baby's due in June, and she sounds as if she's running out of patience. Her doctor has prescribed rest, staying off her feet as much as possible until she gives birth. I expect that's a real trial for her. She's always so full of energy and activity."
Faith set her mail aside and resumed her work. "Why don't you? It would be a nice change of scenery and a break before you decide what to do next. I know life is dreary here right now, and that can't help pull you out of your grief."
Although Faith seemed to address her remarks to the bowl of fudge she spread onto a baking sheet to harden for cutting, Emily heard the sincere concern in her aunt's words. Inhaling deeply to absorb the rich, sweet scent of the warm candy, Emily hoped the aroma would dispel the lingering sting of acrid desert air.
Belated, Emily remembered to reply. "Perhaps I will. There isn't much more I can do here to help out, really. In all honesty, you have everything down to a gnat's eyebrow. Except for doing the books, when I try to help, I only wind up being in the way."
"It's an old lady's habit, Em. I'm too used to working alone to adjust now. Not that I don't enjoy your company, but life's too slow and quiet here for you. You're used to the bustle of a college town, your library, friends around, and young folks. Twenty-six is far too young to settle into an old maid's quiet routine."
This time Faith's keen gaze sought Emily's, as if demanding her attention. "You really ought to go. Call your friend tonight and start making plans."

A bit about Back to Tomorrow

Hello, Gwynn here today. I wanted to share some background about my time travel tale, Back to Tomorrow. I suppose it came about because I watched a Hallmark movie titled, as I recall, The Letter. Anyway it was a story about a young man in present time who communicates with a young woman during the Civil War through an old desk and letters until he finally ends up living part of the past. It did not have a real romance style happy ending but there was a ray of hope that the 1860s woman was reborn in a present day descendant. As a total die-hard romance fan, I was not quite satisfied but the idea of reaching across time via the written word held an irresistible appeal.  Pretty soon I began to play with some what ifs

The picture here is the original cover which I had done by a talented friend with the Poser software--although the Amber Quill version's cover is much more artistic and commercial, I have a soft spot for this one which I basically planned myself. It is on a mug and mouse pad I got when it first came out under the original publisher. Sadly that was short lived and I am thankful again that Amber Quill took in  my orphan!

When I wrote this book, most of it in a burst of activity in about six-eight weeks in the summer of 2000, I was living "twenty miles west of Tombstone" as I explained when I talked about The Man in Black. I really did want to do a Tombstone tale but not one on the notorious Earps, Holiday and Clantons et. al. That had been, IMHO, done to death and then some. Probably dug up and done to death again! I was like "Yech, no way." So I definitely did my own thing here. The only historical character that appears is Nellie Cashman and I took some liberties with the time she was there according to what I could find out on her--she didn't rate two percent of the verbiage the gunfighters and such have garnered but she was a remarkable lady and I was glad to honor her..

Last week I attended for the first time a meeting of a local writers group--some published and more aspiring. I had carried along a couple of books to 'prove' my boast that I had published ten novels and since reading something to the group is a rule apparently, I read the prologue of this tale. Everyone wanted more so I guess it went over okay!

As always, I tried to make the setting totally vivid and real, and since I am familiar with the whole area in which the book is set, that wasn't hard to do. I know the scent of rain-wet creosote and mesquite, the ferocity of the frequent thunder storms, the heat baking down on the white hills, and the red canyon going up from the San Pedro valley side to reach Bisbee. I especially loved both Emily and Zach and the fact I made Zach not a miner or gambler or gunslick but an eastern man who loved to write! I also tried to be authentic in the way people talked, acted and thought in 1889! I am fussy about historical accuracy and although I know I make an error now and then, I do try to be authentic.  I may throw a book across the room when I find a character speaking or acting in a manner totally inappropriate to the era of the tale! I hope no one will find anything like that in this book!

New cover, buy info and excerpt in the next post!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Deadline Demon

Yep, it's something we writers have to deal with now and then. Maybe we procrastinated a little too much feeling that date was far in the future and of course we had plenty of time to get the next project done. Ooops, all of a sudden that pitchfork carrying demon is right there goosing us in the backside and we're burning midnight oil to get the job done. That's me recently. I actually was committed to two projects that needed to be done by September 1 at the latest. All of a sudden it was August and neither was done. Oh stuff!!

Well, one has been submitted and the other is taking shape. They are both tales in the fantasy or paranormal vein, and one will probably be coming out in October, maybe even both. Once I have cover art and a firm release date, I will be telling you about them both.

For now, I would turn the time and keyboard over to Gwynn to fill you in on another of her stories but unfortunately we both use the same fingers and keyboard so that is a bit iffy. Soon though! She's itching to tell you about her Tombstone time travel Back to Tomorrow and a couple of her other books so you can expect that soon.

I'm actually caught up since I had told you about Rez Dogs and Scooter Trash about the time it came out and that was my latest release. By the way, it got a really nice review on sensual that I was just told about a day or two ago. Elise gave it a 4.5 rating and said, "The story is told with just enough action to keep it moving and the right touch of tenderness and love.... the perfect story for when you want something fast and satisfying." She liked both the heroes and the setting, too! To read it all go to

See you soon, either Gwynn or me, with more stories behind the story, excerpts, great cover art and news!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Farm Girl's Dragon--Excerpt, PG-13

The Farm Girl's Dragon by Deirdre O'Dare

Yerna Yatskievych left her humble beginings on a poor farm to become one of the few female knights in Draconia. . Soon finding herself in the younger prince’s guard, her  role is both wonderful and challenging. Of course he is far above her reach but a girl has to dream sometimes…

For Hazwell the Disposable the trappings and perks of royalty  hold little appeal. He wonders what will become of him when that brother becomes king. With Prince Max away, a few duties fall to him, revealing a life he will never have more than a tempting taste of. His young guard’s hesitant request to be relieved of a problem start a chain of events with incinerating consequences. Then treachery and mischance bring about huge changes.

With this couragous young knight at his side, he dares to reach and strive farther than he had ever dreamed , even to claiming an ancient family power and rising to incredible heights.


Draconia, Draconisla
Late Spring
Yerna hunkered down to fasten the stiff buckles of her shining new spurs. The metal twinkled in the slanting sun of early morning. Her heart skittered at the thought of the future. Today she'd be dubbed Sera Yatskievych, Knight of the Draconian Empire. Of the twenty-seven squires who'd be knighted today, only three were women, including her.
It had been a struggle, without a doubt, but the six-year effort was now behind her. Of the original group of forty-six recruits, five women and fourteen men had flunked out. Yerna felt more pity than contempt for them, but a bit of both. Maybe she had a little more motivation than most and the benefit of the strength and stamina gained in the first fifteen years of her life.
The eldest of a family of seven, with the only two boys born late in the sequence, she'd taken on the tasks normally given to sons in the family. Finally, the two boys were big enough to do her work between them. That's when she'd left. A troop of knights had come through the area seeking recruits for the king's guard. Tall and sturdy, Yerna had jumped at the chance, although it was a route few farm daughters took.
She straightened from her crouch, making sure every line of her crisp, new breeches and tunic fell into place. Then she settled the metal cap on her head, buckled the yet-empty scabbard at her waist and went out to join her squad. For the special ceremony, they had spent two long days marching to Draconia, the capital, from their training camp in the hinterlands.
Next time they journeyed it would be to duty stations, and she would be mounted in proper knightly style. The coins comprising her reward for excellence in several combat disciplines, along with the gain from a few careful wagers, clinked softly in the hidden pouch inside her tunic. More than enough to buy a decent horse later today.
Although it was hard not to crane her neck and gawk like the bumpkin she really was at the sights of the city, she kept eyes front and stared fixedly at the back of the young man marching in front of her. They had formed into ranks of three for the march to the grand palace and their knighting. Rumor had it Prince Hazwell himself would be taking part.
Second son and nicknamed The Disposable, Haz was still royal, still respected and still inspired awe among the common folk--like Yerna. For a moment, her thoughts drifted. Of course, none of her family would be here to witness her change in status. She doubted they even cared.
But for her, it meant much. No more slopping hogs, milking cows, mucking byres or enduring the lash of her father's tongue and the frequent blows given when things did not go well. Byromyr Yatskievych was neither a patient man nor a fortunate one.
Things often went badly on the farm. He had more luck producing children than anything else. His first wife Morna had given him three daughters and a stillborn lad, whose difficult birth resulted in her decline and final death. Lerma, his second, had added two sons and two more daughters to the mix. He cursed the misfortune that the order and gender of his children was not reversed. With strong young sons early in life, things would surely have gone better for him.
Until she left, Yerna received the brunt of his displeasure, even while doing the bulk of the work. But no father would dare hit a royal knight--not that he would ever have such opportunity. She planned never to go home.
The troop made a sharp quartering turn and came to a halt in the stone paved yard in front of the palace. Flags whipped overhead in the stiff spring breeze and a small band began to play. At their commander's yell, the twenty-seven knights-to-be snapped to rigid attention. Peering past the shoulder of the man in front of her, Yerna saw the prince and his entourage emerge from the massive formal doors of the palace. They descended the wide staircase to the level of the courtyard and crossed it to stop before the group.
When he stepped to the fore, the first thing she noticed was the prince's height. He towered almost a head above the knights and courtiers surrounding him. He wore a uniform not unlike theirs, although of much finer cloth and more elaborate decoration. Several medals hung from colorful ribbons around his neck. They were not the ordinary valor-in-battle medals, though. She'd learned to recognize them all as part of her training. Of course, a prince probably merited a bit of flash just by virtue of his royalty.
The ceremony passed in a blur. She vaguely heard the command to reform into a single long line and obeyed. The band played. There were speeches to which she gave little attention and finally, the most important part began. In the row of twenty-seven, she was ninth. She watched out of the corner of her eyes as the prince strode to the first candidate. The young man knelt, bowing before the status of the crown for which the prince stood proxy today.
Prince Hazwell drew his sword, tapped the young man on each shoulder and intoned the ritual words. "I dub thee Ser Bronkowski. Arise, knight of the realm."
All at once, the prince stood before her. Her legs went rubbery. It was good she was required to kneel for she would have had trouble standing steady. Her gaze fell to the prince's gleaming boots, the golden spurs, again similar to those she wore now, but more ornate. She fought waves of dizziness, dreading the vision of shaming herself by falling to the ground. The shining blade touched her right shoulder and then her left. One firm thump and then another. She shut her eyes and took a deep breath.
"I dub thee Sera Yatskievych. Arise, knight of the realm."
Yerna wasn't quite sure how she managed to stiffen her legs and her spine to get up, but she did it. Once standing, she saw the prince's medals, hanging right in front of her face. To find a focus, she fixed her gaze on them, struggling to read the ornate script. Although girls in her village received little schooling, she had been driven to learn to read, write, and do basic arithmetic. Even while she labored though the steps from page to squire and now knight, she continued to work on those skills as well.
Her breath leaked out in a slow sigh as the prince stepped along to the next candidate. His proximity had affected her more than she'd expected. He had a powerful aura, something more than simply the unearned grandeur of being a royal personage. After he moved on, she turned her thoughts back to herself.
I'm a knight! By all the gods, I did it. What comes next for me?
She realized she'd given very little thought to the actual business of being a knight. Beyond purchasing her horse and gear, she really had no idea where to go or what might be asked of her. Knights were soldiers of sorts. That much she knew. Soldiering meant duty stations, fighting perhaps, maybe even training young pages and squires as she had been trained. Vistas unfolded in her imagination, possibilities both exciting and daunting.
Aye, what comes next?

Time for another tale

I've been busy with an aging dog who's not doing too well and some other projects recently but it's time to tell you about another release. This one came out in February this year and goes back to the hetero-erotica  side which I've been neglectful of for a time due to the popularity of the gay romance stories. But I will never stop righting plain old he and she romances, I swear!

This one was a lot of fun to write. I've been a dragon fan for a long time, especially those created by Anne McCaffery for her Pern series which I read avidly for a number of years. Both her dragons and her people were wonderful!! I'd been a bit abashed about trying to do anything with a dragon in it but when several of us decided to try a dragon shifter PAX (special themed collection of five tales sold as a discounted package by Amber Quill) I had to give it a try. Certainly there was a bit of every dragon tale I ever read in the back of my mind as well as a nod to other fantasy and paranormal adventure stories. I was a very avid reader in those genres for years  and a lot from them linger in my subconscious I know.

The Farm Girl's Dragon owes a good bit to Elizabeth Moon's series about the pig farmer's daughter (please do not ask me to give the name--I cannot hope to spell it right!) who becomes a knight but it's my own tale with my own twists and stamp on every line! Of course no author can work in a vacuum but even given the synopsis for a book I doubt if any two writers would come up with the exact same story. We bring our past and prejudices , our hobby horses and passions into anything we create.

I grew up with traditional fairy tales and loved the romanticism but always felt a bit miffed that the heroine was painted as fragile and ever in need of rescue. What if, I said, it is the prince who needs a knight to protect and assist him? Well, my prince Haz wasn't a weakling or coward at all, but knights are always good to have in your corner when there is a fight, an unfair one at that! But Haz  also had an unknown secret weapon!

I had one reviewer who felt the plot was all wrong and no crown prince would ever seek to get rid of a younger sibling as a possible threat or rival! As a student of history (BA and MA if it matters!) I beg to disagree. Many noble or royal younger sons who were popular and perhaps from a different mother-line have been deemed a threat by the heir apparent and dealt with accordingly. I stand by my plot with no apologies! Someday I will write A Surfeit of Princes which takes some of the theme of The Lion in Winter about Henry and Eleanor of Aquitaine and their sons and replays it in a mystical world where magic prevails.

Anyway, this story is part fairy tale, part gentle spoof and intended to be just a fun and mostly light hearted read. I hope most of my readers find that in its lines. I really liked the cover and have a fondness for both Haz and Yerna, his girl-knight! Maybe you will too!