Friday, 30 January 2015

The Sinclair Selkie - Read an Excerpt and Pre-order...



I discovered the Greek and Roman myths at a young age - preteen, as I recall. When I'd devoured every one I could grab from the library [it helped that my parents had given me the permanent loan of their library cards, which gave me access to the grownups' sections in a separate room], I started hunting down the myths and legends of other cultures. Those of the Celtic races soon became my absolute favourites.

I played in their pools in Dark Waters, and returned to them in my ongoing Melusine's Cats series, and now in my latest release, The Sinclair Selkie, due to be released from Fireborn Publishing on February 20th. The cover art is by the Very Talented Jess Buffett


Available now on pre-order from Fireborn Publishing, across the Amazon sites, Coffeetime Romance, and Kobo.

Fireborn Pre-Order/Buy Link HERE

Amazon US HERE

Coffeetime Romance HERE 

Kobo HERE



~ * ~

Folk singer Donal MacCraith is touring the Scottish Western Isles, documenting traditional songs and investigating his family history. He meets Niall MacLachlan in Stornoway and Niall invites himself along. He has a secret and an agenda of his own. Meeting Donal is the chance he needs to complete it.

American Donal MacCraith is on a road trip along the western coast of Scotland and the Western Isles. His family roots are there, but his main reasons for the extended vacation are the songs and legends. He's a folk-singer, come to collect some new old material. In Stornoway he meets the Shielingers and Niall MacLachlan. Donal is attracted to Niall, but doesn't act on it, unable to guess if the man is gay or not. When he continues his exploration of Lewis in his rented motorhome, making for the small crofting community his grandmother left as a young woman, he finds Niall waiting for him on the road just outside the town. Donal invites him along, and Niall leaps at the chance.

Once out on the road, Niall makes a play for Donal, and they begin a casual no-strings relationship, though Donal senses Niall has an agenda of his own. Donal knows their fling won't last, but that suits him at first. Later, though, he begins to want something more, even though he has the feeling Niall is using him. He's right, and it's the clue in the old stories of the Sinclair Selkie Donal's grandmother had told him. That clue will lead Donal to the startling truth behind the legend, and they'll both be faced with life-changing choices.

Excerpt

"Stick around, Donal MacCraith. You fit in just right."
That was all the invitation Donal needed, and for the rest of the evening he stayed with the Shielingers, taking over Niall's bodhran when it was put aside for the tin whistle. Then, after the last song had been sung, the last beers ordered, Fergus pinned Donal in a corner.
"That song you sang," he said without preamble. "'The Sinclair Selkie'. I know the family legend, of course, but that song is a new one to me, and my mam is a Sinclair of Lewis. Did you write it?"
"What legend would that be?" Niall asked, pushing in between Fergus and Donal.
"No," Donal said over Niall's question. "It was one my gran passed down to me." During and after his parents' acrimonious divorce, Mairi and his grandfather Colum had been the mainstay of his teenage years. It was from them he learned Gaelic as well as the Scottish songs and legends, and inherited the talent to perform them. "She was a Sinclair before she married a MacCraith and she got it from her gran."
"From Lewis?"
"Yeah. Her family has a croft on the western side of the island, not far from Mhangurstadh."
Fergus nodded, his ready smile widening to a grin. "My granny came from Mhangurstadh. Hey, that'll make us kin! And Creagliath is between Mhangurstadh and the sea. That's the name of the Sinclair's keep, or what's left of it, though I'm thinking you know that."
"I know the names." Donal chuckled. "And I'm going to be visiting the place. Gran wants lots of photos, and I have to find her sisters and say hello. She gave me directions to find their old home as well, to see if it's still standing, and maybe still lived in."
"I doubt it will be, on either count," Fergus replied. "Though a few of the old places have been bought up by mainlanders and outlanders and modernized for summer homes."
"What legend?" Niall raised his voice. "You've never said anything about it before." There was a slight edge to his words and his gaze remained fastened on Donal.
"Oh, God," Pat groaned. "You've done it now! Our Niall's searching for old songs as well, only he's more specific. He's fixated on the seal-folk. He's only been with us a week, but if I had a pound for every time I've heard him ask--"
"Shut up." Fergus grinned. "It's the legend of the Sinclair Selkie, like in the song, only it's a mite darker. God, I haven't thought about it for years." He settled himself comfortably on the piano stool, and with the ease of a born storyteller, he launched into the tale. "Robert Sinclair was one of the many bastard sons of Ferghal Macauley, got on Agnes Sinclair when Ferghal was visiting Orkney some twenty and five years previously." Around them, the pub's remaining customers grew quiet, obviously listening. "Now, it so happened that young Robert was staying a while with his uncle, James Macauley, and Robert liked nothing more than riding out and exploring his uncle's lands. He was returning from one such adventure at dusk, when he heard a lassie singing down by the shore. Her voice was so sweet and pure it drew him down to the sea's edge.
"There he saw a young woman sitting among the boulders, combing out her long, long black hair in the light of the setting sun, and her beauty nigh on stopped the breath in his lungs. He immediately fell in love with her and decided she would be his, no matter what may be. When he rode closer, he saw that not only was she naked under the cloak of her hair, but a rich fur mantle lay beside her on the rocks.
"She was a selkie." He paused for dramatic effect and took a swig of beer.
"Then the young Sinclair did what any man would. He snatched up the sealskin in one arm, the lassie in the other, and carried her away to his uncle's keep. James gave him land near the sea, and that's where Robert raised Creagliath, so's his bride would be close to the waters she loved so much.
"Now," Fergus continued, "this is where the legend parts from the song. If you're expecting this tale to end with her bearing his children until she finds where he has hid her sealskin, then takes it back and abandons him and her bairns for the sea, then you'll be wrong. She never did find it, so she was bound to him until the end of his days. Even his passing did not free her, for though he was dead and buried, he'd told no one where he'd hidden that mantle, not even his eldest son nor his favorite daughter.
"In time, she grew old and faded from the living world, forever bereft of the sea and her selkie kindred, and her half-human sons and daughters could not console her. Where her body lies, no one knows, but it is said her spirit still weeps among the ruins of that once tall keep, as she searches endlessly for her lost sealskin.
"And that, my friends, is the legend of the Sinclair Selkie." He flourished a bow to acknowledge the spontaneous applause from his audience. "Is that how your folks remember it, Donal?"
"Pretty much." He smiled, and didn't mention that his gran knew another ending.




Thursday, 29 January 2015

Housekeeping...

Otherwise known as remembering to update the pages on my website...

The Arriving Soon page needs an update, as do the Work In Progress and the Writing As Chris Power pages. I've been monkeying around in Createspace, so I'll have a few more paperback covers to show off as well.

Then there are the new covers the wonderfully talented Meredith Russell has created for some of my WiPs, and the few I've done myself. I've been clutching them to me for a while now, but as the stories are mostly just outlines, I haven't displayed them. Yet. 

The story nearest completion, if halfway through can be labelled thus, is the second in my Melusine's Cats series - Tawny. It's another beaut from Meredith, but I'll keep him under wraps until I can update the WiP page properly.

Well, that's the meagre amount of news I have so far, and as I can't bring myself to post a blog without pictures, here's a spectacular sunset from the footbridge near my home...



 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Guest Author - Lisa Worrall



Today my Guest Author is Lisa Worrall. Every good author has a distinctive voice, and Lisa is no exception, as anyone who is familiar with her work can testify. Her latest release is FOLLOW MY LEAD.

Blurb: 

Hell hath no fury like a boyfriend scorned as sitcom star and comedian, CJ Edwards, finds out when his ex releases a sex tape he hadn't even known was being filmed. Not to mention the headlines on every newstand accusing CJ of being an abusive alcoholic. His career in tatters, CJ's agent manages to get CJ a spot on the Christmas special of Dancing with Stars in Your Eyes. Seeing it as a chance to possibly redeem himself, CJ accepts.


Lucien Moreau has been a dance professional on Dancing with Stars in Your Eyes for three years, and he loves it. Until the powers that be decide, in view of new marriage equality laws, the show's Christmas special will include a gay couple. Finding out he is being partnered with CJ Edwards hits him like a fist to the gut. Six months ago his brother and sister-in-law were killed in an accident when their car was hit by a drunk driver. How the hell is he supposed to teach a man, not unlike the one who destroyed his family, to dance?

Excerpt:
“What is wrong with you? No, no way. I’m not doing it. Nuh-uh, niet, nein, non, and not in a million fucking years!”
“So that’s a no then?”
“Funny is not your strong point, Matthew. Leave it to the professionals.”
“Well, when I find one, I’ll be sure to do just that.”
CJ Edwards stopped pacing in front of the fireplace in his living room and glared at his agent, Matt Davis, who lounged against the plump cushions of CJ’s red leather couch. Although Matt had been his friend as well as his agent for almost eight years, CJ had to resist the urge to slap his face and that smug fucking look on it, right off his head. The bastard thinks I’m gonna cave! Well, he can fucking whistle. I ain’t doing it!
“Stow the hairy eyeball, Edwards,” Matt drawled. “We both know that stopped working on me a long time ago.”
“Fuck off,” CJ bit back childishly.
“I’d love to, but you keep paying me,” Matt replied. “Look, dude, I love you, you know that, but this is all we’ve got. No comedy store appearances, no club openings, no sitcom renewal.” He tapped his points off on his fingers and CJ winced with each one. “That sex tape cost us big and no one wants to touch us. This is the only thing that’s crossed my desk for almost a year. The fee is enough for you not to have to sell the beach house, and it’ll give you the opportunity to redeem yourself. Let the public see the real you.”
“I think they’ve seen enough of the real me.”
“You’re being an ass, CJ. You need this.” Matt ran his hand through his dark hair. “It’s five weeks out of your life. Four weeks initial training, then three nights on the show. It’s a one off special, not a full season. It’ll be over before you know it.” CJ glared at him. “Look, I’d tell you to swallow your pride, but after the number Mario did on you, there ain’t a helluva lot left. For God’s sake, man. If you ever want the chance to salvage even the slightest bit of a career, this is it!”
“The token homo in Dancing with Stars in Our Eyes is going to save my career?” CJ yelled at Matt in frustration. “You can’t seriously believe that!”
“I believe it’s better than sitting on your ass all day complaining about how unfair life is!”
“Matt.” CJ’s shoulders slumped, the fight leaving him. “Please don’t make me do this.” He didn’t miss the twitch of Matt’s lips. Bastard!
“I can’t make you do anything.”
“Liar.” CJ sighed heavily and all but threw himself down on the other couch opposite Matt. “Alright, alright,” he huffed. “I’ll do it. But if I end up coming off even worse, I will kill you.”
“Goes without saying.” Matt grinned widely and pulled his cell out of his pocket, already tapping out numbers. “You won’t regret this, buddy. Hey, Linda? It’s Matt Davis. Yes, CJ will be very happy to join the cast of Dancing with Christmas Stars in Our Eyes. Yes…”
 Dancing with Christmas Stars in Our Eyes? Seriously? CJ picked up a cushion and covered his face with it. What the fuck am I doing?

Buy Links:
All Romance eBooks HERE
Amazon HERE and across the other Amazon sites


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Meet Kelly Clemmons!

In reality, Kelly Clemmons is the writing team of Lorraine and Crys. Lorraine lives about eight miles from me - Crys is a bit farther away in the USA. Here, to tickle your fancies, are TWO excerpts. One from their first book, No Good Deed, the other from their current WiP. So let the Q&A begin...

No Good Deed - available across Amazon's sites
Amazon UK Buy Link HERE
All Romance eBooks HERE

To get us started can you tell me a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
We are currently editing Beautiful Deception

Beautiful Deception is a vampyre tale set in Victorian England. The story features Christian DeLaCroix, an enigmatic actor with a dark secret, and Jacob Doone, owner of the Salisbury bookstore, Literati. Jacob travels to London in search of his missing twin, Joshua. Jacob's only lead is a mysterious note written on a theatre bill for Dr Faustous, where Christian portrays Mephistopheles.

Here is an unedited excerpt from Beautiful Deception
Chapter Four

Appointment with the Devil

Jacob regretted missing the first half of the show the previous evening. What a waste. He stood along with the rest of the theatre to applaud the fantastic production, in particular, the acting abilities of the man he was to meet in just a few minutes.

When the curtains dropped for the final time, Jacob took his seat. He sipped a glass of champagne while the theatre emptied. Is this where Joshua had sat to watch the show, while sipping expensive wine and eating canap├ęs?

 “Mr Doone, please follow me.” Jacob jumped too preoccupied with his musings to hear Walter approach.  Walter continued politely. “Mr DeLaCroix is waiting.”

Jacob picked up his coat from the back of the chair. “I have never seen so compelling a performance” Jacob offered as they descended the stairs.

“It’s Mr Christian, pardon, Mr DeLaCroix,” Walter corrected himself. “Everyone comes to see him.” He weaved his way through the last of the cast and crew.

 “I whole heartedly agree.” Jacob moved against the wall to allow two half-dressed actors to pass. Jacob blushed, unused to nudity. Flustered, he continued “How… how long has he played the role?”

“He says since Mr Marlowe wrote the play in 1592, but he likes to tease.” 

“Unless…” Jacob paused for dramatic effect. “He has a time travel machine hidden in his basement.”

 “A time machine?” Walter removed his cap and scratched his head, then continued down the corridor. He stopped in front of a door with a caricature of the devil.  “This is it.” Walter knocked.

A deep masculine voice called out, “Enter.”

Walter opened the door and stepped aside. “Sir, Mr Doone.”

“Thank you, Walter.”

“Yes sir.” Walter stepped to one side allowing Jacob to enter, then closed the door behind himself.

Mesmerized by the man before him, Jacob found it impossible to be objective in his assessment. Stray locks of glossy brown hair fell forward over his forehead and azure blue eyes that seemed to see into the very depths of Jacob’s soul. A cleft chin, dimples and a generous full pink mouth rounded out the handsome face. Jacob’s gaze stalled at the unbuttoned black shirt, the exposed v of creamy skin over a well-defined chest. Jacob swallowed and hastily looked up.

Christian DeLaCroix stood and extended his hand, the man was over six feet tall. “Behold, is it Adonis or Narcissus who stands before me? You are a most handsome man, Mr Doone. Your card said you had a matter of a private nature. What would you ask of the devil?”

What is coming up from you in the next year? Anything you want to tease us with?
Well… We have quite a few stories on our hard drives that need editing. Shape shifters, vampires, time travelers. Beautiful Deception will be offered first, followed by a fantastic timetravel/historical story, set in England and the USA.

What does your family think about your writing? How, if they do, do they support you in your writing endeavors.
 Lorraine- It’s funny, but I was nervous about telling my mom. I shouldn’t have been, mom was so excited, and she said she wanted to read our book. So then I had to confess the focus of the story was two men. Mom brushed it off saying “I want to read it and I want you both to sign my copy when it’s in print.” When the cover was revealed mom had dad, who’s a photographer, print off several A2 copies, one we sent to Crys, and the other two were framed. One hangs in mom’s house and the other is over my desk. So yes, moms proud of Crys and me.

What's the thing you wish you could hire someone else to do or wish you didn't have to do as a writer?
Editing! It’s a necessary evil and yes, when the process is finally over we both agree the story is better.

Which of your own characters would you like to meet in real life, and what would you do?
Naturally, Connor, imagine travelling to the twilight realm, visiting the crystal cave, or perhaps sitting down to a Fae banquet. And Scott who goes through so many changes to find true happiness. Who could fail to love the Giant black Schnauzer, Luger, who now has a touch of the Fae about him?

And from Beautiful Deception, Christian DeLaCroix, actor extraordinaire and Jacob Doone, owner of the market place book shop, Literati.

Then there’s Ash and his little thief Ethan, but that’s another story.

What's your writing process? Pantser or plotter, or a mix?
Our writing is a total mix. Once an idea takes shape we attempt to outline our key points. Once we start writing everything goes out the window. With two distinct voices and visions, everything is a collaboration, give and take. We are constantly taking detours, adding and changing. The majority of our writing is done when we meet up daily on messenger and skype. Lorraine's one rule, our story must have a happy ending, everything before is fair game.

Where do you get your inspiration for a book? How do you get your ideas?
Crys - Most of our inspiration comes out of the blue. I am passionate about history, fantasy, anything mystical, or supernatural. Lorraine is a bit more grounded with her feet flat on the floor. Using elements from those genres give us a leeway when writing. Honestly, the sky is the limit. 

Do you prefer to think of yourself as a hero/heroine or villain/villainess and why?
Crys - Definitely think of myself as a villainess. I possess too many faults and flaws to see myself any other way. It's my Scorpio nature. I'm quick to hold a grudge when wronged, am unforgiving, and never forget. I've even been known to make a voodoo doll or two.

An excerpt from No Good Deed.
“What would you pay for one perfect night with me, your every desire fulfilled?” Connor braced himself for Scott's response, his stomach churning. Now that the words were out of his mouth, he couldn’t take them back.

Scott’s face transformed into a cold, hard mask. “Tell me, Connor. Are you curious, or is this a business proposition? Some side-line you have going to supplement your wages? You had me fooled. Is this all a game to you?” Scott’s grasp tightened painfully around Connor’s forearms as Scott shoved him back, holding him at arm’s length. The verbal assault continued. ”I heard the rumours about you, but I was prepared to overlook them, to give you a chance. And what do you do first opportunity you get? You proposition me. You’re nothing more than a fucking tease. You'd fit right in at the Midnight Agency.” 

Connor gasped. “I have never…“ Connor's anger boiled over and he wrenched himself free. “You dare judge me? You're no fucking saint. You’re the expert on whores. And as for rumours, I’ve heard more than my share about you, from your father, no less. He delighted in telling me of your exploits and conquests. Your father takes what he wants. You pay for what you want. I can neither take nor pay. I am left to bargain with what I have.” 

Shocked at the outburst, Scott crossed his arms and leant against the black granite worktop. He stared at Connor, a puzzled expression on his face, as if he was trying to work out where the outburst came from. Scott’s tone softened, and he cocked his head to one side. “What do you really want, Connor? I feel like I’m always one step behind with you, as if I’m missing some vital piece of information. There are moments when I think I’ve seen the real you, and in those rare instances, I like what I see. Then this other version rears its ugly head and takes me by surprise.” 

“I want what is mine!” Connor snarled and thumped his chest. “The land we visited today belongs to my people. It’s their birth right. I know for a fact your father has already drawn up plans, everything has been approved. All he has to do is say the word, and what is left of my world will be destroyed.” All the fight drained out of him at the enormity of what he revealed sank in. Connor cast a glance at Scott's confused face before he continued. “The land. It means nothing to you. And yes, I will do anything you want, sacrifice everything," Connor confessed in anguish. "I do not take this lightly. My word binds me tighter than any legal contract.” 

“Marry me.” 

“Wha…?” Connor stared in open-mouthed shock. Whatever he expected sure as hell wasn’t a proposal. To give his body for a night was one thing, but marriage? Connor reached back, grasping the counter to steady himself. He took a deep breath. He'd been ensnared in his own trap. A million thoughts raced through his mind, but at the foremost was the land. 

“You asked my price, that’s it. I told you in the car, I want a normal life and someone special to share it with. I think you do, too. Wouldn’t you like a real place to call your own, Connor? You can’t enjoy coming home to an empty apartment any more than I do. You can deny it all you want, but you know there’s something between us.” Scott closed the distance between them. “If I’m honest, I’ve been drawn to you from the moment I laid eyes on you in my office. At first I thought it was infatuation,” Scott shrugged, “or good old-fashioned lust, but it’s more than that. Whatever it is, it feels right, and I want a chance to explore it. I want a partner for life, not a one night stand.” Scott caught Connor’s hand and rubbed his thumb over the knuckles. “The ball’s in your court, Connor.”