Chapter Eight: To Prove Them Wrong
“Strangers were all around him now, giving him orders, trying to push him out of the room. Dimas paid them no mind.” (page 112)
The keys are in my hand. The door is firmly closed. All that’s left to be done is to turn the lock and walk away.
Hellesgate’s long goodbye is almost complete.
It’s been a long journey these men and their friends and family have been upon. I hope I leave them better off than I found them eighteen months ago. For despite all the trials and tribulations I have forced them to go through, they did find each other. I, for one, would be glad to face blizzards, wars, earthquakes and betrayals if it meant finding the one true mate to my soul.
And to you, their loyal fans, I hope my words have left you satisfied and glad to have known a New York real estate mogul by the name of Matthew and a wounded war hero by the name of Cane.
Before I turn the key one last time and lock away Hellesgate into our memories, I do have an announcement I hope excites you as much as it does me.
I have just sold my first f/m historical romance!
For longtime followers to this blog, you know that it has been a goal of mine to break into that market. I adore diving into history to pick out times and events seeded for romance. I find it a challenge to mold my modern day take on relationships to the customs and standards of a long vanished world. My latent art historical love is tickled at the prospects of what may be to come.
Fear not, however. I am hardly abandoning the m/m romance genre. As I announced in yesterday’s blog, I have just signed on to do a Christmas novel with Ravenous Romance. I plan on continuing in both lines for as long as the publishing gods allow.
I do hope you will follow me to this new step in my career; in fact, I am counting on it. Your support and your loyalty to my 13 (so far) novels I feel was a major part in my being offered a contract. My fan base is superb. With all my heart, I thank you for that.
And even if historical romance is not your “thing,” I hope you will send any wandering historical romance junkies my way.
To Steal the Sunrise, a novella set in ancient Sumer, should be released before the end of the year. I will, of course, keep you updated. Expect preview blogging for both the novella and Miracle on Lombard Street in the coming weeks.
The key now slips into the lock. I turn it and with a smile I walk away from Hellesgate.
Until next time…
Chapter Nine: A Single Word Upon His Lips
““Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” his mind pleaded with him. But what has been seen cannot be unseen.” (page 119)
Chapter Six: The Religion of Mall Santas
“He toed the tile with his shoe. In slow, deliberate swipes he searched the floor for cracks, for hairline fractures slick with the remains of his last coherent thoughts.” (page 97)
The day after.
I want to thank you all for making A Torch Kept’s release day a success! It was awesome. Thank you!
Still got my mind.
That’s always a plus on the day after. Have you ever woke up with nothing but an echo of the alarm clock clanking around between your ears?
Yeah, not pleasant.
Especially when you don’t own an alarm clock.
*hums a little “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”*
On a day when the blog is entitled “The Religion of Mall Santas,” I thought it would be the perfect time to announce that my 14th novel for Ravenous Romance will be… a Christmas story!
Yes, Chloe does the guy in the big red suit… well, uh, you know what I mean.
Great. That’s one big check on the “naughty” side of the tote-board for me. I really don’t need any help on that side of things. My naughtiness is all fleshed out, thank you very much. Hello. Smut writer here.
As it’s becoming readily apparent that I am still hung-over from yesterday’s festivities and delusional breaks, I’m going to end all our suffering by ending this blog a little early today.
For your patience, however, I will leave you with a small parting gift…
The title of my 14th novel will be Miracle on Lombard Street. Yep, I’m hitting the streets of Frisco with this one, babe. All new characters, all new storyline! What a merry rush it will be! The deadline for the manuscript is November 25, so expect a mid-December release, my friends.
Until tomorrow (when another HUGE announcement will be made), I wish you all a little early “Fa-la-la-la-la!”
Chapter Seven: When All is Well
“Her footsteps were small, fragile against the hard hospital floors. There was no sense of certainty about her movements. From the way she held her elbows tight against her sides, to the hesitant downward tilt of her chin, (the woman) slipped through the long, solemn corridors with the presence of a banished wraith.” (page 105)
Click to buy!
Chapter Four: A Woman Named Loring
“Buried? For some reason he cringed at that word. His bad feeling about all of this was just getting worse.” (page 53)
Release Day! The foreplay has come to its end. All the soft nuzzles of lips upon nipples, all those sweet kisses on the best of those unmentionables have now disappeared. What remains between us this day is the climax.
Let the thunderous waves of pleasure come, let ecstasy rock the boat you lay upon.
Lay all of your defenses down.
Give in to the hot rush that wants to devour you.
Scream as the orgasm takes hold of your soul and shatters it. Relish the devastation, suck it dry.
And know that tonight, tomorrow, for all time to come I am here to bring you more…
Bet you never had a “Please buy my book” quite like that, huh?
*tosses her salesman’s hat to the floor and kicks it out of sight*
Now back to the blog…
Anybody want to take my shift in my brain today? Seriously. I am bone tired of being so… weird. And I can’t even be weird in a cute and snuggly way. No, I have to be weird in the “Jeez, I hope it’s not catching” way.
Take yesterday as an example.
I spent most of the morning and all the early afternoon literally revving myself up to go to the Fed Ex place (a place I’m very unfamiliar with). There was a very important contract I needed to mail to a new publishing house (details to follow in the next days). Well, by the time I got up the nerve to actually go I had wasted the majority of the day worrying about it. Yeah, dumb, I know. Believe me, I know.
Did I go to the Fed Ex place? Yes. Did I get it mailed? No. After a “comedy” of nervous errors, I was told (while holding on to 2 completed forms and a big envelope I had just bought) that they couldn’t mail the contract to a PO Box.
Yeah, I know this kind of stuff happens all the time to everybody. Fortunately though, for everybody’s sanity, everybody isn’t operating with my brain set.
So, I dragged my pitiful self back home, curled up on the couch and called my Mommy. September 19th was officially shot to h-e-double hockey sticks and I’d gotten zero accomplished… except, of course, for the knotted up stomach and the exhaustion-laced nausea.
Yep, sometimes I wish with all my soul that somebody else was Chloe Stowe and I was a woman named Loring.
Until tomorrow and the afterglow…
P.S. *nudge, nudge* “A Woman Named Loring” is one of the title chapters of the day. Got it? Good. Even I get lost sometimes following my line of thinking.
Chapter Five: Home Away from Home
“His eyes popped open and a world of harsh, electric light swallowed him. Trapped in an ice cold fire he couldn’t understand, Cane began to struggle.” (page 65)
Chapter Two: The Postman Always Knocks
“Bloated and brown, the Mississippi River lay out before them like a giant, mud-covered slug too baked by the relentless sun to do much more than twitch in the thick September air.” (page 23)
Good morning, world!
Day Two of Hellesgate’s Long Goodbye arrives bookended with two chapter titles that are admittedly “blah.” I’m disappointed in them, now that I look back at the mundane phrases. Where was my imagination? Where was the zing? The melodrama? The gloating storm of yesterday?
*drums her fingers pensively on her chin*
Sometimes my creative juices are as elusive as toddlers in a heated game of hide and go seek. I corner them between the sofa and the book case only to have them scamper away between my legs… ok, whoever snuck a Freud into my head while I wasn’t looking please remove the doctor immediately.
I might frighten dear Sigmund.
Alright, where were we? Oh yes, the blahs. Every writer gets them. Every certifiable crazy person risks drowning in them. Literally. I’m talking the whole wet and cold world pushing and shoving to rush inside of you, wanting to flood you with its oceans and seas, its swimming pools and bathtubs holding only an inch of water. I’m talking long, dull moments where fighting and gasping for the air you so desperately need and want ironically becomes suicidal…
*stops, takes a deep, deep breath just for assurance, and then smiles cunningly*
Are the writing blahs that bad? Is losing that creative thread really so damning?
Of course not.
A person can drown in depression. A writer will never drown in a blah.
It’s all relative…
Ok, what joker put Einstein in my head?... Fair warning: No way in hell am I doing physics here, Albert. No freaking way.
Until tomorrow, when hopefully all PhD’s will have been thrown out with that inch of bathwater…
Chapter Three: The Seventh Floor
“Matthew groaned and firmly removed the hand from his dick. “We get tagged for public gay sex in Memphis and we’re never going to hear the end of it from Bingham.” (page 50)
Coming Thursday, September 20!
Prologue: The Storm Gloats as the Dead Man Sleeps
“The candlelight was failing.” (page 1)
And so it begins… and ends.
No, no, nobody rush to dial 9-1-1. My mental “irregularities” have not taken me to that point. I am talking storylines here, folks. I’m talking characters who have been living inside of my head for over a year and a half. I am talking Hellesgate, Kansas closing up its shop windows and everybody going back home.
My thirteenth novel, A Torch Kept, concluding the Hellesgate Series will be released this Thursday, September 20 by Ravenous Romance. It is the fifth installment of the first series I have ever written. Talk about bittersweet…
*kicks herself in the butt*
My THIRTEENTH novel!! Wow, ok, just wow! Who’d have thunk it? Certainly not my ninth grade English teacher. Hah! Stick that in your ear, Mr. James.
*slaps herself hard on the side of the head and checks that the meds have been taken on schedule*
Getting back to business… May I please welcome you to Day One of Hellesgate’s Long Goodbye. In short, we’re calling this puppy ATK (A Torch Kept) Day 1. Yes, this is a twitter-ification. Ahh, I wonder what Mr. James has to say about Twitter-ese? I can hear his teeth grinding right now. Hee-hee.
*checks warning labels on meds for “bitter-laced childhood regression”*
Moving quickly on… For anybody new to this little venture I have dubbed preview blogging, here’s what you can expect in the next five days. Every day you’ll get a blog entry complete with 2 chapter titles and 2 tiny excerpts from each chapter of A Torch Kept (out this Thursday, did I mention?). Along with these juicy tidbits, my blog of the day’s subject matter will be based on that days titles or excerpts. Got it? If not, don’t sweat it. Just follow along and you’ll get the swing of things real soon.
Hardcore fans might notice that I’m doubling up on the titles and excerpts this time around. Well, release day kind of happened a lot quicker than I had thought, so, yes, I’ve essentially been caught with my pants down… Yes, appropriate for a smut writer, I know.
No worries, though. You will still get your fill of author trivia, hysteria, manic thoughts and chicanery. Our ride might be short this time, my friends, but damn will it be bumpy!
To start things off with a roar, I am proud to present to you the back cover blurb to my THIRTEENTH novel, A Torch Kept…
Six years have passed since a lone house burning on the Kansas horizon brought Matthew Archer into Cane Summerfield’s life. The love of the New York real estate mogul and the wounded Iraqi War hero has steadily burned brighter with each passing year, enveloping marriage, parenthood, tragedy and triumph.
Nothing, however, had prepared the lovers for Memphis.
The last Archer brother has been found.
Matthew and Cane travel to Tennessee, hoping to finally reunite their fractured family. But Fate has other plans.
The final story of the Hellesgate Series has been written. Endings are had, beginnings made. Who will survive the storm that is life?
It is said that a torch kept alight through a storm will burn forever. Is love such a fire when death is the night?
Intense, huh? Got you circling Thursday on your calendar with a big red pen, right? This one is super good, ladies and gentlemen. You’re going to love it.
And never fear, just because Hellesgate might be shuttering its doors and windows doesn’t mean Chloe Stowe is cutting a trail. I am thrilled to announce that I have just signed with Ravenous to write my 14th novel… a novel which you’ll get the name and a sneak peek of at the end of ATK Days.
Yes, that’s right, Mr. James, my 14th novel… Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Until tomorrow, when hopefully clearer heads will prevail…
Chapter One: The Riot of Silence
“Dimas Cabral slept. The dreams, as always, came quickly and vibrantly. Being a strange cocktail of memory, fantasy, and something much more, Dimas never tried to understand them. He simply imbibed them hungrily, hoping to wake hours later punch-drunk with the taste of Alanyo on his lips.” (page 14)
“Voices carried little here. The thick humid air weighed them down, made them heavy and leaden. Words would fall from lips to the floor, lying there breathless until they died and were forgotten.” (page 119)
The last day of The Forsaken Blogs has arrived. The end of my blogging events are always bittersweet to me. The end means I can finally put to bed one novel and move on to the next. In this instance, the next novel for Ravenous Romance will be A Torch Kept, due date August 15. So, please look for me when the blustery September winds start blowing your way.
I adore the ending to The Torch Forsaken. The last scene tickles my literary bones to their warm, soft marrow. I was three-quarters through the book when the ending came to me in a flash of inspiration that left my toes curling and my heart wonderfully aflutter.
I love those author-y moments. While I’m sure Hemingway and Poe are rightfully looking down their noses at my efforts most times, in these moments even they must nod to themselves and agree, “Yes, she’s right. Those moments do feel damned good.” And any time you’ve got ghost masters agreeing with you is a special, spectral thing. *grins*
So, the beginning of summer nears. What does this glorious season hold in wait for you? I hope only good, inspiring things.
My summer will see my mother having major surgery. Prognosis is outstanding but still… well, you know… we’re talking me, the proverbial worry wart. So, please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I will give you all a drive-by blog when all is said and done. I thank you so much for caring.
On behalf of Dimas and Alanyo and all the characters in their sweet, torturous love story, I wish you sunny skies of freedom and calm minds of peace.
Until next time, my dear readers…
“If Dimas had then fallen to pieces in the shower, pouring out through his tears years of hurt and relieving one moment of unfathomable pain, he saw no reason to tell these nice people anything about it.”
Do you see what I see? That’s a very dangerous question for a mentally indisposed person to ask of the world.
Think about it. You’re sitting there on your couch staring at a pack of elephants in your den. You ask the world at large, “Do you see what I see?” The world at large replies, “Yeah, you need to dust that fireplace.”
It’s disturbing. It’s discomforting. It’s a sinking feeling to hear stark affirmation that yes indeed you are a loon.
Sometimes it’s better not to ask the question. Sometimes it’s better to just keep your mouth shut and pray that the pachyderms don’t mow you down while you crunch through a can of Pringles.
It’s a common misunderstanding that the secretiveness of many people suffering from mental illness has to do mainly with their wanting to avoid embarrassment. A lot of the time, I think, it’s about not wanting to be confronted with the truth. It’s that fear of realizing just how sick you are that keeps many of us from opening up about our illness.
Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just a case of not wanting to see the forest for the trees, or, in our case, the fireplace for the elephants.
So, you’ll please excuse the potato chips on my den’s floor. My elephants always leave crumbs.
Until tomorrow, the last of The Forsaken Blogs…
“As he’d stepped out of the tiny inn’s front door, Dimas had looked all around him. A bittersweet feeling of amazement filled him. For the first time in his adult life he could go anywhere in the world he wanted.” (page 84)
Yesterday I was fending off self-doubt gremlins from my back door, and today I’m welcoming Goblin Gaillardias to my front door.
It’s a crazy, crazy life in Chloe’s world. Welcome aboard.
After a morning spent at the nursery picking out flowers for my tiny front yard, I have returned to blog at you. With Release Day for The Torch Forsaken now sitting firmly in the rearview mirror, I can take a deep, though heavily medicated, breath and relax… at least that’s the plan… the gremlins might have other ideas.
It’s amazing what memories latch onto.
For Dimas, the taste of candied oranges brings with it a lone Christmas from long, long ago.
For me, the taste of a cold cream soda takes me back to those precious summer evenings in the Rocky Mountains.
Ok. Truth time. How many of you out there thought that my memory would be a bad one? An incident stinking of mental illness, panic and bone-chilling fear?
Yep. Thought so.
Surprisingly, it’s very rare that a scent or a taste or a sound carries with it the memory of a panic attack for me. Although I can clearly remember each and every one of my attacks over the last twenty years, they rarely come rushing back to me, catching me off-guard.
Those memories are with me always, every day, sometimes every minute. As the years have passed, the majority of the attacks have slipped into the shadows of my daily world. In fact, maybe they have become my shadows? The dark, cold proof that I am finally able to live outside in the sun?
Hmm… I’ll have to think about that. Maybe consult with a gremlin or two out back, or one of the newbie goblins out front.
It’s a crazy, crazy life.
“Mentally, Heitor Alvin was a creature of rage who walked a fine line between blind, mindless obedience to Musaazi Gomes and a simmering, long-held desire to kill everyone around him.” (page 77)
Perhaps it is appropriate that one of the “evil incarnates” of this story raises his ugly head on Release Day? Heitor Alvin, the bearer of all bad things in The Torch Forsaken, arrives on this blog’s doorstep just as all the gremlins of my self-doubt come barging in the back door.
Yep. It’s Release Day. The day when mental angst (of my own screwed up brain’s making) battles for dominance over an author’s giddiness that her work has finally reached her readers.
Heitor fits right in with the general madness of the afternoon.
Bad guys. I love writing bad guys, especially the really vile ones that have no redeeming values whatsoever. It’s a nice change of pace to not have to dig around in a character’s head, scrounging around for good bits to explain away all the bad bits.
Heitor Alvin is one of my baddest, bad guys.
I hope you’ll despise him as much as I do.
I must confess that I despise my self-doubt gremlins just about as much as I loathe Heitor. Unfortunately, the pen is not mightier than the sword when it comes to imaginary scoundrels with long memories and sharp teeth.
Hey, I’d even take a few of the little critter’s scars if anybody other than me could see them. Proof is always nice when a girl is claiming mad gremlins.
Well, while this author shoves a piano up against her back door, I hope all you dear readers will introduce yourselves to Heitor, Dimas, Alanyo and my little love story.
“Debt bondage was the term the media and the professors in the universities called it. Forced labor was what God and the men “chained” to the fields by paper and debt knew it to be.” (page 48)
With the dirt of an unexpected travel day scraped off of me, I return a day late but not a dollar short. I have big news to share…
The Torch Forsaken, my 12th novel and namesake of this blog, will be released tomorrow, May 22nd. Pardon me as I giggle and shiver in nervous excitement. I really love this book and I hope you all will too. So, please, help me spread the word. I’d hate for Dimas and Alanyo to feel slighted tomorrow. Haven’t they suffered enough? *grins*
Speaking of their suffering, the research that was necessary to bring my two Brazilian cane workers to literary life was incredibly enlightening and sadly inspiring.
Guilt always tickles me uncomfortably behind the knees when I find romantic inspiration from stories that really are tragic. The suffering of these workers is real and, worse yet, is current. It’s happening as you read.
Is it alright for an author to make a few dollars off of their suffering?
I don’t know.
I worry that it’s not, that’s it’s some kind of exploitation or usery. I worry that I’m making light of their situation by dressing a romance in their real life woes.
But right when I’m ready to turn back, I realize that perhaps bringing their situation to light, even in the relative fluffiness of romantic fiction, I might in fact be helping them. If I didn’t know about the cane workers’ sufferings in South America, I can only assume that at least one of my readers didn’t know either.
There must be knowledge and then acknowledgement of a problem before it can be solved. I truly pray that my silly little story will spread a little of that needed knowledge around.
Delusions of grandeur? Perhaps, but I’m a pro at delusions, so why not?
What do you think?
As you read my story tomorrow (Note: positive thinking on this hopeful author’s part), I hope you’ll find that I didn’t trivialize in any way the living tragedy which is debt bondage. Again, please let me know your thoughts on how I did.
Until tomorrow (Release Day!!!)…