My Life + Working Notes – February 17, 2014

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00013]It’s the long weekend — well, the tail end of it.  Mark and I have spent the weekend being creatively productive.

I just finished the first draft of Wait, which Beloved Bloody Time fans should be pleased about, as it is the long history of Tally and Lee before the events of Bannockburn Binding.  The book will be out on March 7, 2014, but here’s a snippet:

La Maestranza, Seville, Spain, 1898

She caught Christian’s eye and drew his attention, even though she was doing nothing more exotic than gently waving her fan.  She wasn’t flirting behind the lace, or even smiling.  She was sitting quite still upon her chair, one pale hand curled over the balustrade, the other fanning her face, as she stared down at the bull fighting below.

She was in the next box, separated from him by a waist-high wooden barrier.  Her honey-blonde hair had first caught his attention.  Then he noticed the green satin dress she was wearing, with its intricate black embroidery worked all over the bodice and skirt.  It was not the passionate Flamenco style that every other woman here wore.  Her skin was very fair, compared to the other maidens sitting in the box, with their olive complexions.

When everyone called out “Olé!” she did not.

The smell of sawdust and sand in the ring below, plus sweat and the acidic stench of bulls and blood wafted over them as a tiny breeze stirred the warm air.  Christian swallowed, hiding his reaction to the blood.  It was not human blood, but it was hot and thick and enticing.  Humans would not notice the aromas, not this far above the arena, and they would be repelled if they did.

Then he saw the blonde close her eyes and lift her chin, as if she was sampling the air.  Her fan moved vigorously.  Surprised, Christian leaned across the few inches that separated them.  “You can smell the bulls from this far away, madam?”  His Spanish was quite fluent after a year of polishing.

She turned and her gaze swept over him.  “I beg your pardon?” she said in English.  Her eyes were a most intriguing brown color.  But while the color spoke of softness, her gaze was direct and unwavering, which was unusual for a maid.

“There is nothing to pardon you for,” he replied smoothly, reverting to English, too.  “How did you know I spoke English?”

“Your accent.  It is almost British.”  She turned back to watch the action below, apparently dismissing him.

In the year he had been training in Seville, Christian had not met a single non-Spanish person.  That was to be expected, as he had stayed within the school’s grounds, concentrating on the work of improving his sword skills, and everyone in the school was Spanish.  As the first non-European to be allowed to train in La Verdadera Destreza style of fencing, he was considered to be an oddity and very much inferior to the other students.  He’d had to work hard to prove this was not true.

So now it was a delight to meet someone like himself, a stranger to Seville.  He leaned forward again.  “I asked how it was you could smell the bulls from so far away.  We are in the upper tiers, after all.”

She turned to look at him once more.  “Who are you?” she asked, her voice icy.   Her gaze flickered over the wooden chairs he and his fellow students sat upon, which were plain and uncomfortable compared to the padded and upholstered chairs her box held.  Christian had been granted a rare day of leisure, as it was the time of Feria de abril de Sevilla – the Seville April Fair.  Out of curiosity, he had decided to attend this day’s events at the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla.  His chair was situated in a small box reserved for the school.  Five of the students were using the other chairs.

Christian got to his feet and gave the lady a short bow.  “I am—”

“You are introducing yourself?” she asked, horrified.

“There is no one else here to do the honor,” he pointed out.

“I do not speak with strangers,” she said stiffly and turned back to watch the fighting, presenting the back of her shoulder, and a view of the clear line of her jaw and a pink, delicate ear, before her hair swept up into a convoluted arrangement at the back of her head.  There was a small earring dangling from her ear.  Something green.  It was modest compared to the large circles the Spanish women wore.

Christian sat down again, mentally winded.  He had never been so firmly rebuffed in his life.

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Wait must now go through the full production process, that includes editing, formatting, etc — but as you can see, the cover is already done!  It’s another beautiful cover from Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs.

In the meantime, I’m rolling right over into the fourth book in the Beloved Bloody Time series, which at the moment, is untitled.  I can tell you that it features sexy Spartan security chief, Brenden, which I know many of you have been looking forward to.

Gabriel really steps up his game in this one, too.

It’s going to be another brick-sized tome – at the heavy end of 400 pages at least — as there are a lot of characters and storylines to juggle, now.

I’d be spoiling it to tell you any more though!

Have a great Family Day, if you’re in Alberta!

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