Welcome back the lovely KD Grace to Friends Friday today!
As if by Magic!
As full of ghosts and witches and magic as my new paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising is, the real magic is that it got written at all, and that not only did it GET written, but it grew, as if by some strange mystical spell cast upon my keyboard, into the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy.
Body Temperature and Rising was my first attempt to write an erotic novel. Not only was it my first attempt, but it was an attempt to do it in one month. You heard right, one month! Three years ago, I decided to attempt an erotic novel for National Novel Writing Month, known to most of you as NaNoWriMo. The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to write a fifty-thousand word rough draft of a novel in a month. I already had a lot of other projects going on. It was not the ideal time to tackle a novel in a month. Plus the market I had in mind wasn’t looking for fifty-thousand word novels, it was looking for seventy-thousand word novels. This was a sure formula for more magic. This time it was a strange transformation spell.
As if by some evil twisted hocus pocus, for the whole NaNoWriMo month of November, three years ago, my husband’s loving, mild-mannered wife was transformed into the Evil Bitch from Hell. I don’t know how it happened. Maybe I accidentally ingested some magical herbs when I was eagerly biting off more than I could chew. But it happened. So for a whole month, my poor husband kept his head low, kept my coffee cup filled and tread lightly, hoping that eventually the spell of NaNoWriMo, turbo-charged, would be broken.
And sure enough, as soon as the seventy-two thousand words were finished, several days before the end of November, the spell was broken as though it had never happened. For two and a half years the manuscript languished, holding no magical sway over my everyday life. Perhaps the fairies had worked a binding spell to protect my poor husband. But in the meantime I wrote and sold The Initiation of Ms Holly followed fast and furious by The Pet Shop. Then one day about a year ago, I happened upon the dusty manuscript of what was then called ‘Love Spells,’ and I read it.
I had put the original manuscript aside because other projects had to be finished and because I didn’t think I could really do anything with it. VoilÃ , more magic. This time it was not in the form of the Evil Bitch, though I have often been tempted to use that epithet for my Muse. And this time it was definitely my Muse poking me in the ribs with her magical idea stick. I rewrote the first three chapters and a synopsis of the manuscript and sent it off to Xcite Boos. To my surprise they said yes.
Then there was the magic spell of self-doubt. I don’t know who cast that one, but I have a feeling I might have done it myself. I’d never written anything paranormal before and there’s an awful lot of good paranormal stuff out there. What was I thinking? For several weeks I wrung my hands and wondered how I was going to approach the task that seemed more daunting every time I thought about it. I had no idea how I was going to write this novel. It just didn’t seem to be working for me.
And then the real magic happened, the magic that nearly scared me to death and, at the same time, changed everything. I think it might have been someone casting an enlightenment spell on me, or maybe it was some of the spring lettuce and herbs I’d eaten from our veg patch. Whatever it was, one spring day while returning from a long walk, I realized the only way I could write the story the Muse had in mind was if I wrote it as a trilogy. But I didn’t WANT to write a trilogy. I didn’t even know if I COULD write a trilogy. My Muse wasn’t sympathetic. I proposed the trilogy, Xcite said yes and THEN, the magic really began, the GOOD magic. Once the decision was made to make the novel into a trilogy, I couldn’t move my fingers over the keyboard fast enough. Magic keyboard powder, I think, or maybe it was just the Muse poking me with her stick again.
Whatever it was, Body Temperature and Rising was finished and off to Xcite by September, with only a few magical appearances from the Evil Bitch, for which hubby was most grateful. The Muse is still poking me with her stick, my husband still keeps my coffee cup full, just in case, and book two, Riding the Ether, is well on its way … as if by magic …
‘And tell them what?’ Tim said stepping back. ‘We’re the only ones who know. We’re the only ones who can tell they’re dead. To anyone else Fiori and Sky look as real and alive as you and I do, as real as that Anderson bloke you let ploughed you. He must have been impressed, the way he fought me.’
This time the clench in her stomach was anger. ‘You son of a bitch!’ She shoved him with the flat of her hand and he yielded, perhaps too shocked to do anything else. She shoved him again. ‘What the hell business is it of yours who I let plough me anyway, and for your information, yeah, he liked it just fine. Like you care.’ She shoved him again, and the mare looked up from munching her breakfast. ‘Lest we forget that you ploughed Fiori. Oh that’s right, I forgot that was different. She wasn’t dead when you fucked her, so that makes it alright.’
She saw his face darken, and in her own mind’s eye, she saw the woman’s tragic death and for a split second she wished she hadn’t said anything, but damn it, he was such a bastard. ‘First you treat me like I don’t exist, then you go all big brother on me like I’m too delicate and soft-brained to take care of myself. Well I have news for you, Tim Meriwether, I was taking care of myself for a long time before you decided I needed looking after.’ She shoved again, and this time he grabbed her with such force that she felt the bones in her neck pop.
With her forward momentum, he stumbled over an uneven paving stone, lost his footing and went over backward into a manger full of fresh hay, pulling her on top of him.
Before she could shove and claw her way to her feet, He grabbed her around the waist and rolled, pinning her beneath the weight of his body. He gave her no time to think about it, but pulled her into a bruising kiss, forcing her lips apart, probing her hard pallet with his dexterous tongue, biting her lower lip before he came up fighting for the breath to speak. ‘I think about you a lot, Marie,’ His chest rose and fell in hungry gasps. ‘But I promise you, none of those thoughts were even remotely brotherly.’
She bucked underneath him and clawed at his shirt. ‘Then do something about it, damn it, and stop toying with me.’ Several buttons popped and flew across the stable floor. He forced her legs apart with his knee, moving it up to rub against the crotch of her jeans. She shoved his shirt open and arched up to him as he pushed her t-shirt up and manoeuvred and tugged, forcing her breasts free from her bra into his spayed hands and hungry lips. She fumbles with the fly of his jeans, sliding an anxious hand into his boxers. He huffed a breathless grunt, and the muscles low in his stomach tense as she closed her fingers around his engorged penis and began to stroke. He had just began the anxious efforts with her own fly when suddenly the stable door slammed shut, and the light bulb overhead exploded in a shower of fine glass plunging the two into total darkness.
Marie yelped, and Tim cursed. As they fought their way to their feet, the mare screamed, and they could hear her struggling. Tim vaulted over the manger’s edge seconds before Marie, calling back to her. ‘Get the door. Get it open.’ Struggling to secure her jeans with one hand, Marie felt her way along the perimeter of the stable toward the door. The relief was short-lived when her fingers closed around the handle, and it wouldn’t budge.
‘It’s locked,’ she shouted above the desperate cries of the mare. ‘What do you mean, it’s locked,’ Tim shouted back. ‘It doesn’t have a lock. It’ can’t be locked.’
‘I’m telling you it won’t open,’ she yelled back, feeling an icy chill blasting her from behind. With one final tug, the door gave and she tumbled backward on her ass. The sharp knife edge of light that shot through the darkness was blinding, like a flashbulb going off, leaving a deep bruised after image dancing in front of her face, an after image of Deacon.
She cried out and crab walked backward, as he stepped toward her, unfurling his bullwhip, in what seemed like endless slow motion.