Sunday, May 29, 2016

Before the Pages--Bonds of the Runes

I suppose there are as many reasons why a writer will create a specific book as there are books and writers! This particular one has a lot of background.

I had not been a fan of fantasy until my late husband introduced me to Tolkien when we were going together. Of course I fell in love with the Lord of the Rings and then went on to read many of the authors that were popular then and some that are still around and writing. From there I also got into Science Fiction.  Near the same period, my husband and I became very interested in the early Celtic peoples and their myths, legends, spiritual practices and such. I knew my ancestry was mainly Irish and Welsh and Jim's was Scots. We were soon reading all sorts of scholarly books on these peoples, listening to the Celtic revival music that burst onto the scene  about the same time and becoming major Celtophiles. I saw the LOTR movies, of course, and was not too disturbed with the way the elves were portrayed. They might not have been exactly as I envisioned but close enough.

Although I did not try to write in the F&SF genres for a long time, more and more of it began to creep into my fiction. A previous publisher encouraged authors to select themes and write stories based on them which came out in groups of five.  One of those themes was friends to lovers. For that I wrote Beyond the Shadows (this will be re-released later this summer) and before I quite knew what had happened, I was writing what I came to call rural fantasy.  You are all familiar with Urban Fantasy, tales set in our contemporary world but with a difference--some kind of other worldly, paranormal or mythical elements are part of that world. I am not a city person and very rarely set a story in a city so my first efforts in this direction became rural fantasy, happening in the more remote or wild areas. In time this evolved into a loose and continuing series.

From Beyond the Shadows, the idea of a Paranormal Operations Unit of the real U.S. Border Patrol began to take shape. In the second tale of the series, Wings of Love (currently under revision) I introduced Clay Chiles, the head of this new organization. He was a very peripheral character in Wings but even then, I began to sense he needed his own story. Clay is very loosely based on a real person, a dear friend and co-worker, who would not recognize himself should he ever accidentally read this tale! No, he was not gay! There are many other bits and pieces of course; the eyes and a bit of the early life are all I actually used.

Once I got this pair in my head--or maybe out of it?-- things began to evolve. I "met" Arondel, and he let me know at once that he was Elven. Wow! From then on, both he and Clay came out of the mists and began to tell me their story.  I freely admit that elements of the tale came from many places, mostly my reading in the F&SF genres. Still, they emerged in  new or modified forms from what they had been in those books, many read thirty or more years ago.

Oh, the first setting in San Antonio came from my trip to that city to attend an EPIC conference. EPIC is the electronic publishing's professional organization. I loved the canals and went on an evening cruise which was wonderful! I knew I would have to use it in a story, at least a bit, and so it came to be. I may go there again either in fiction or reality someday.

From all this, Runes of Revelation and Runes of Redemption came to be.  Although they were initially published separately and some months apart, they really are one story. Many things are not answered or resolved in Revelation only to come out in Redemption. When I had a chance to revise and reissue these two stories, my new publisher, editor and I decided to put them into one package.  Bonds of the Runes tells the whole story. There is some new material and it is hotter!! I am sure Aron and Clay will appear in cameo roles in future stories in this loose series,  but essentially they have reached their HEA and at least I am satisfied that they will remain a couple throughout this life and probably in future lives as well! I hope readers will also gain this confidence, That is what romance is all about and I *always* write romance, no matter what the other genre of a piece may be!

My next release from Changeling will be a kind of prequel to the Thin Green Line series (I will explain that title in a future post) even though that was not my initial plan for the story! It is titled Jumping Jack Flash and will be a kick-off tale in the Set in Stone group that you will be reading from Changeling for the next year! Yes, there are fantasy elements in Jack too!  More I will not give away just yet.., It is due out in July.  When I have a cover and a final edit, I'll share some on it. Meanwhile enjoy Bonds of the Runes! It is available now at Changeling and will soon be at all the major ebook venues.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Whoa, time got away from me! Bonds of the Runes is all but here!

Somehow I had gotten the mistaken notion into my mind that Bonds of the Runes was to be released early in June. No, it is May 27!!! And I am hardly ready. Still I want to get this news out everywhere I can, as quickly as possible.  I want all my old readers to know that Deirdre O'Dare is baaaccckkk!!
Here is the cover and the buy link info for Bonds of the Runes,
On the cover I think the artist interpreted Clay and Aron very well and the  somewhat cartoon quality works very well for fantasy, paranormal and other 'different' genre stories!
A few of you may have read Runes of Revelation and/or Runes of Redemption. Still you might find it worth your time to try Bonds because there are quite a few small changes and a good deal more heat in the new package here!  For one thing the significance of the runes is brought out more. It is still vintage Deirdre, though,  and you can look forward to more tales, both some reissued old ones and some new ones currently in progress about the Paranormal Operations Unit of the Border Patrol in my version of rural fantasy. That's urban fantasy outside of the city!

Bonds of the Runes (Duet) by Deirdre  O'DareBonds of the Runes (Duet)

by Deirdre O'Dare $4.99/Sale Price: $3.99
Two Elven warriors face overwhelming odds to save Earth and their love.
Genre(s): Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, New Releases, Romance
Theme(s): Magic, Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures, Men and Women in Uniform, Gay
Length: Collection
Page Count: 136
All New Releases 15% off at 2nd Edition and Box Sets 20% off.

And here is an excerpt to get you into the mood. This is near the end of chapter one where Clay and Aron have met and talked for the first time and they are both trying to come to terms with the instant spark of arousal and attraction they have felt.

When Aron reached across the table and laid his long-fingered hand atop Clay’s, a jolt of strange energy flashed through him, akin to an electric shock. His heart sped up and his cock twitched. It wasn’t quite wholly sexual, but certainly a bit of that was there. He wanted to draw back and yet he couldn’t.
“You need to trust, to believe, cousin. You are one of us. You have powers, such as the ability to sense others who have them, do you not? And I’d wager you’ve got others as well. Things you’ve kept hidden and been almost ashamed to acknowledge, no?”
“Grandma and Grandpa said all that stuff came from Satan. I learned to hide it from them and others until it got to be a habit. I grew up in Bible Belt, USA, Aron. Anything unusual was suspect. We may have quit burning witches, but the distrust and fear is still strong.”
Aron pressed his hand and then drew back. “I know. I’ve been coming back to Earth for centuries and I’ve seen these things. I can give you a few days to think on this, but only a few. The danger is too close, growing too fast. We must be ready to act very soon.”
Clay found himself nodding as he fought the feeling of bereavement when Aron broke the touch. Besides the excitement and energy, he had found comfort in their brief connection.
“I know that much, have known it for some time. I have about three dozen special agents now, men and women I trust completely, but the invaders are coming in faster, with more new tricks and weapons. They’re becoming harder to find. It seems they’re learning to blend in with humanity and pretend to be normal. I’m worried. Hell, I’m scared shitless. If you’re willing and able to help and bring others, I can’t turn you away.”
Aron stood. “Well and good. I’ll be back in a few of your days. Go on about your business. I’m not trying to take over this effort or make decisions for you. That’s not my job. Your President and other high officials entrusted it to you. I’m sure they had good reason.”
This stranger was about to leave, at least for now. Clay sensed this even before Aron stood. At this knowledge, a strange emptiness began to grow in him. He needed, wanted…no, that wasn’t right but still, it was there.  Clay rose  and took a hesitant step around the table, holding out his arms.
Aron took the cue and came to him. They embraced for a few seconds, just long enough for Clay to feel as if he had suddenly come home. In a few short moments, this stranger who claimed he was an ancient Elf felt like kinfolk, a partner, even a lover. That frightened him, but also somehow felt too true to dismiss.
* * *
Aron let himself out as quietly as he had entered and skimmed down the long stairs to the river’s edge. He should have blinked out while he was still in Clay’s home, where no one would see him vanish, but he’d been distracted. The minute they touched, even before, a peculiar heat had flashed through him, an awareness like he seldom experienced. The Wanderer didn’t have time for attachments, not even  casual, quick ones.
Despite that knowing, for a few seconds he visualized Clay, naked in his arms, mouths fusing in a searing kiss. Cocks stiff and eager, reaching, seeking, as they fell to the green grass of another world, tangled in each other’s arms. They merged  in a blaze of demanding need, lust but more than lust—a mating of spirits and bodies at once.  How, why when he’d never known a union like that? Yet the vision seemed almost like a true clairvoyance. It left him aroused, aware, scared and yet eager. That would happen, perhaps not now but soon. 
“Be careful,” Miradel had said, “but expect good.” Secrets and acceptance and change… 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Details of The Mule Man

Okay, first posting although it will be other places soon also but I promised!! Here is the cover and I really do like it! The book will be released by JMS Books on June 18. I'll get a link to the proper page up well before that date which is just a month in the future.

Next is the blurb and a short excerpt to kind of whet your appetite. Later I will post some of the background and history behind this story. Yes, it has been published before but is out of pint now and I wanted it to be available when a brand new spin-off comes out in July, A Mule for a Princess

Blurb: Orr Loveless is exactly where he knows he belongs, rescuing and training mules. Despite their reputation, which he feels is undeserved, he knows they are smart, sure footed and great mounts for trail riding and outdoor adventures. He has no tolerance for anyone who mistreats them or any other animals but he can’t always give such folks the “what for” they deserve. The only thing he lacks is a human partner to share the work and the fun and he knows his lifestyle is not likely to attract one.
Jase Keller has been drawn back to New Mexico where his forgotten roots have remained. His high finance job is about to destroy him and he desperately needs a big change of pace for this vacation. Once he gets a taste of adventure, it’s the opposite of the farm boy seeing the city for the first time.  Jase has now seen another life and it’s the one he wants. But how do you persuade a stubborn mule man? Perhaps by showing him that he need be “loveless” no longer!

                 Orr glanced back now and then to see how his guest fared. The four pack mules trundled along behind him, well used to the routine. He knew Horatio was offended to be carrying a mere pack instead of leading the way with Orr on his back. That was necessary because the big mule was the strongest one in Orr’s string and ideal for carrying the heavy load of feed. Behind him came Rojo, a stocky red john mule. Dull and steady, he was not one of Orr’s favorite mounts and usually ended up in the pack string.
Next came gray Lulu, who still had a few rough edges. He didn’t  know much about  her background, but  figured she’d  had more than her share of harsh treatment. In time he felt she’d get over being so spooky. Penny was last, carrying the lightest load. He knew she was still too young to have to bear very much weight. She was not ready yet to carry a rider in rough country all day, either. Still, she seemed to be holding up well, and her sweet disposition, despite the abuse she’d received, had already won her a favored place with him.
Katie kept up a steady pace at the rear. Jase, however, slumped in the saddle. Orr could see the pain and weariness on his face as well as his posture. Oh-oh. Maybe I got a little too ambitious for him. Being gym-athletic isn’t the same as being a regular saddle- wise cowboy or mule man. He’s going to be one hurting puppy tonight.
If he could, Orr would have stopped right there and  made camp. That wasn’t possible. Both the mules and their riders would need water, and it was still several miles to the spring in a pleasant little valley that was one of Orr’s favorite campsites. The place had some trees edging the meadow that were just right for picketing the mules, a nice level place to pitch the tent, and a good stone fire pit he’d used many times. Another hour would see them there. Jase would just have to tough it out. Still, he edged off the trail and beckoned the other man to come up alongside.
“How you doing? Is ole Katie giving you a good ride?”
Jase made an obvious effort to straighten his back and pull his shoulders out of a slump as he reined in beside Orr. “Oh, I’m doing fine, and she’s a great mule for sure. Never stumbled once. You were right about her taking everything in stride on that trail. Even when there were a few kinda nervy spots, she never missed a step.  I did like you said and just left it to her.”
Orr  looked the  other  man over,  noted  how  he  shifted  in the saddle, taking first one cheek and then the other off the leather and stretching one leg at a time. “You’re gonna be kinda stiff, I reckon. I probably should’ve made the first day a little shorter. Could have, if I’d taken a different trail, but this is one of my favorites. In hunting season, there’s a lot of game up this way, too. Can you make it about an hour more?”
Jase nodded. “Oh yeah, I’m okay.”
Orr knew the other man was lying through his teeth. Still, he had to admire the stubborn gumption he showed.
“Okay, it’s not that far, really. The mules will smell the water  in another mile or two and pick up their pace. They know the area pretty well, except Penny. This is her first trip. Bet she’ll  remember next time. Mules are smart that way.”
They reached the campsite about an hour later. Just as  Orr knew they would, the mules had picked up their pace to  their fastest walk about a mile out. A glance back told him Jase clung grimly to the saddle horn and alternated between bouncing a few steps on his ass to trying to stand in the stirrups. Even if Orr had adjusted them carefully so he could, Jase was clearly not that familiar with the easiest way to sit a saddle. Orr smiled with a grim twist. He’ll learn.
Orr allowed the mules just a few sips of water from the stream because they were still too warm to drink a lot. Then they walked directly to the cable strung between two big pine trees that served as a picket line. They lined up from left to right without any direction in the order they were traveling. Katie took the last place, stopped and stood quietly. Orr got down and began to tie each  mule in its place as he watched Jase out of the corner of his eye.
The other man grimaced, shifted experimentally and finally swung his right leg up and over Katie’s rump. Before his right foot quite hit the ground, his left slipped from the stirrup. Both feet hit, and his knees buckled. Although he made a frantic grab for the saddle horn, missed and then tried for the stirrup, he could not catch himself in time. He sprawled to the ground, falling more than halfway under Katie’s belly.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cover coming

I have the initial proof of my cover for The Mule Man. By tomorrow I should be able to share it!! It's good, too!!
Cover for Bonds of the Runes coming any day now also. Can't wait. Watch this space!!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Correction and Update!

Mostly good news. First as I already mentioned, Bonds of the Runes will be released by Changeling in May! The tentative date is May 29. This might possibly slip into early June but it is pretty much on track. I loved the two stories in this bundled pair, Runes of Revelation and Runes of Redemption as they were originally written and released some months apart. This new format has them together where they can be read in a close continuity. There are some new steamy additions and I also made sure the rune aspect was tied into the tale, as I had not fully done in the originals. I'm still waiting for a cover but I am sure it will be available soon. Half the edits are done and we're very pleased with progress thus far.

On Jumping Jack Flash it is now slipped to late July or August, which is fine with me since it is still a work in progress although the first draft is nearly done. As most of my stories do, this one has taken off on some unexpected and unforeseen twists but I think my readeres will enjoy it. I found there were ties from it, although it is set in the early 1970s, to the ongoing loose series, The Thin Green Line of which Runes and several other tales are part. What fun! Jack is one of the most unique characters to emerge in one of my stories while Doug is almost too ordinary but then there are depths to him you won't expect that appear nearer the end of the tale. Characters are supposed to grow as part of a story and it's been fun to watch this happen. More on this one as a firm schedule and the final version emerge!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...I always wanted to use that! Anyway, an old and a new pair of ranch set stories that are loosely connected have been contracted by JMS Books. I am really excited about this since JMS is almost an heir or spin-off from Amber Quill and a lot of the AQ authors will be there. Even Trace Zaber, one of AQ's owners and cover artist extraordinaire is there but so far not doing covers. He is actually going to be my editor, at least for now. Some of you may recall the story, The Mule Man,  It was released well over a year ago. It's going to be available again with a  new cover but little else changed come June. Then in July, a spin-off story, A Mule for a Princess will be out. This is a brand new tale and one I had all kinds of fun with. It's almost a present day fairy tale and some things probably happen too easily and painlessly so I'll be asking readers to suspend a little bit of disbelief and just enjoy it. And I think they will. I also think the covers will be eye-catching and  I am eager to show them off. You'll get first peek!

You may ask why mules? Well, in a prior lifetime--at least it seems that way--I was involved for several years with an enterprise focused on training and selling saddle mules and came to be very fond of the long eared equine cousins. Like Orr, my first hero in The  Mule Man, I think they are misunderstood and stereotyped in a most unfair fashion. So I decided to give them a break and let some of them be the secondary heroes in a couple of adventurous stories. Who knows, there may be mules and horses in some future tales also and more ranches. In fact I am almost sure of it, and of course many more "canine cupids" since those have always been my best sellers. Stay tuned for possible news on that front soon.