It’s Release Day! And Hellesgate, Kansas is jumping. It’s rocking. Heck, Hellesgate would be filling up the sky with bottle rockets if the place didn’t have a long, sundry history with any word with “fire” in it.
Me? I’m sick to my stomach, have heart palpitations galore and keep getting lost in delusions of colossal failure. The pink elephant in the corner that keeps smiling at me I’m pretty sure isn’t supposed to be there and the voices in my head are spitting and calling each other ninnies. Yep, it’s release day and if I can’t be sedated through this, I’m more than happy to share some of its madness with you.
Just to be clear, before any frantic phone calls to the mental health officials are made, the pink elephant and the ninnying voices are only colorful exaggerations of the muted chaos currently tripping through my mind.
My nerves have never been ho-hum or hum-drum. There has always been a bright and blinding array of moods and colors to my anxiety. For instance, today is a fervent, jumpy kind of nervousness. My mind is pinging around my skull like some kind of freaking pinball desperate to find all the bumpers, be they one blaring success or “You f***ing suck!”
This kind of nervousness is easier to handle than most. It’s by no means pleasant but it is doable with the proper medication and the proper walls to bang my messed up head against. Also aiding in today’s mental health color scheme is the fact that I just signed the contract for the next two novels in the Hellesgate Series. Knowing that Matthew and Cane have enough interest backing them up to sustain books 4 and 5 is a huge appeasement to my pink elephant… you know, the one not sitting in my corner.
Before I start freaking out my readers and see the pity vote reflected in my book sales numbers, why don’t I leave you all to your own lives? One last request before I release you: please, help me spread the word about today’s release. Tweet, facebook, whisper “Shafts of Torchlight, Shafts of Torchlight” incessantly to your cubicle mate. Any help would be greatly appreciated on that front. Thanks.
I’m off to put the meat on the bones of my tenth novel for Ravenous: Stripped Asset
. It should be released in early February so I will see you again real soon with more previews and more ugly truths. Thank you again for reading my words both here in my blog and in my novels. Never doubt for a moment that you guys feed my sanity. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Until next time…
Tomorrow is the big day! Can you feel the excitement building? Is your heart warming up to a skip? Is the tension in your loins growing?... Now, anybody who thinks I’m referring to the Iowa Caucuses here needs a lot more mental assistance than I do. *smirks*
Shafts of Torchlight releases tomorrow and this much ballyhooed (by me, at least) blogging event will come to an end. Laughter and tears would be appropriate here. I’ll leave it to you which emotion to attach to which event. Any celebratory confetti at the ending of this blog I will bravely ignore and will go merrily on my delusional way.
So before giddiness erupts tomorrow, I figure we’ve got time for one more peek into my skewed mind and its accompanying screwed up life.
It’s a word that describes a lot of what happens when mental illness worms its way into your life. It eats its way through the strings that connect you to friends, until they become frayed, tattered and finally broken. You’re left feeling isolated, completely cut off from the life you once had. Some of these relationships, the strongest ones, can be salvaged. New strings can be formed, better ones that will weather any storm of nature or mind.
Other relationships are lost. It’s a slow, damning process that leaves an aching spot in your heart. A disconnect happens. Their lives go on, more or less, as planned. Weddings are had. Children are born. Career goals are met and exceeded… while your life stutters to a belly crawl. Yes, you still have goals and dreams but they are no longer the ones you shared with those friends. Your goals and dreams become inconceivable to them, while theirs become literally unattainable to you.
Disconnect: An irreparable shift in the foundations that the friendship was built upon. It’s a sad, painful ending to something that had one time been beautiful and strong.
Rat’s teeth on string… It’s mental illness in all its jaundiced glory.
Ok, enough of my fussing and definitely enough of the vermin. Today I choose to celebrate the accomplishment of my new goals and my new dreams. My ninth novel will be published tomorrow. I am so proud of that that I’m actually bursting at the seams. And while I can’t share that with certain lost friends, I can share it with you. I thank you for that.
Now, for the promised reveal of Book #5 of the Hellesgate Series which should be released in early September, 2012…
A Torch Kept by Chloe Stowe
There’s a lot of action, angst and some severe romance awaiting Matthew and Cane in this series. I sincerely hope you will follow along with their continuing story tomorrow. It’s going to be a bumpy but glorious ride, folks, but what else would you expect with Chloe Stowe at the wheel?
Until tomorrow, when this current blogging adventure rolls to its conclusion…
“Fourteen?” You may be mouthing in horror. If you’re wondering what the heck you got yourself into when you started a preview blogging event with Chloe Stowe, just know I’m wondering the same thing. Yes, we’re well into delving into the teenage years of this fest and things might start getting a little dicey from here on out. Just fair warning, folks.
A good example is today’s post. While posted in the brand spanking new year of 2012, it was written square on the coattails of dusty old 2011. If I’ve somehow managed to stumble out of bed and got my morning fingers to work well enough to actually post this before orange juice and meds, you are in fact reading “old” Chloe, last year’s version. Already feeling nostalgic, huh? *grins*
Here, of course, would be the perfect place to do New Year’s Resolutions.
I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.
While the whole reading world sighs in disappointment, let me explain to those who haven’t just abandoned me forever.
I do “resolutions” every day. I think most of us do.
I resolve every morning to actually dare to get out from under the safe covers and step bare feet into a world that has the potential of terrifying me to the core every half second or two.
I resolve every day to feed myself, even though the thoughts of putting food into my system and risking making myself violently ill has banished my appetite into the oblivion twenty odd years ago.
I resolve not to hate myself just because I can’t support myself fully independently with a 9-5 job that would put to use all those years of private school and college my parents shelled out their hard-earned money for. I resolve not to hate myself for being a burden, both financially and emotionally to my family (that’s the hardest one, people).
I resolve to seek out the sun and play in its warmth for as long as God and the beast of panic will allow. I resolve to stay out dancing in the sun way past those very same voices calling me back in.
I resolve to share my madness, be it utter or silly, with those willing to listen, willing to read, willing to care. I resolve to try every day to assure someone like me that they are not alone.
See? By twilight I’m as sick and tired of resolutions as you are of mine right now. *grins*
Now, since we are officially out of chapters of Shafts of Torchlight to preview before Tuesday’s big release day, as promised, I am thrilled to announce to the world the title of Book #4 of the Hellesgate Series, which should be released in early May…
The Torch Forsaken by Chloe Stowe
I hope everyone is duly “Wow!”-ing. I sort of am because I really do love this title and the title to Book #5 which will be revealed tomorrow. Please, let me know what you think!
As there are sure to be hangovers needing to be nursed or Christmas trees that sadly must be taken down, I will let you my dear readers get back to your New Year’s.
First off, on this last day of 2011, I just want to say “Wow!” Yes, it lacks originality and flair but it does express how awed I am by the response to yesterday’s blog… and cover, let’s not forget that sizzling cover. *grins naughtily*
Secondly, I vow to you NOT to participate in the “year in review” nonsense every news station parades out this time of the year. I hate that. We lived it, folks. And the bad stuff, well, I for one don’t want to re-live it again for jollies; and the good stuff I already carry with me 24/7. So humongous waste of time in my estimation. Go find some real news and get back to me then… Ok, rant is now officially over. We can now all return to romantic smut and chronic mental illness. Yes, I do know how to party on New Year’s Eve.
Thirdly, it is my sad duty to report that today is the last of the chapter sneak peeks for Shafts of Torchlight. We have indeed reached the last chapter. It is a sad day in Hellesgate.
Fourthly, if that’s actually a word and my spellcheck says that it is, I would like to announce that on Sunday and Monday I will reveal to you the titles to Books #4 and #5 of the Hellesgate Series. Try to restrain yourself from somersaulting in pure unadulterated excitement. We don’t need any ER visits on the night that big glowy ball drops. *smiles*
In lieu of a fifthly (which really kind of weirds me out), I give you your last chapter sneak peek of Shafts of Torchlight…
Chapter Twelve: By Choice
“Did you ever ask?” Cane snapped before Matthew had the chance.
“No. There was no need. It was already done.” (page 149)
So, does everybody have a clear picture as to what’s going to happen with Matthew and Cane in their newest adventure? I doubt it. The ending surprised even me.
To update all curious blog-readers, my search for novel titles is slowly leading me into the realms of insanity. Quick trip, let me tell you. Sometimes I’d just like to take my brain out of my head and give it a good shaking. But screaming “What the freaking f**k?” to myself and my mischievous gray matter really doesn’t accomplish a thing. I know. I tried. My doctor upped my meds after that one.
The new website is getting closer to making its debut. I think I’ve actually got a couple of pages up at chloestowe.com but heck if I know. I’ll keep you updated.
Tomorrow’s blog will be either really early or really late. I’m hoping for early but the Fates are already whispering in my ear, “Oh, girl, it’s going to be so late.” I apologize in advance. Fear not, however, I will announce its posting to every corner of the internet like I always do. Yes, I get off on heralding.
Well, I will leave you now to enjoy the last few hours of 2011. Be careful, be smart and most of all be happy!
Until tomorrow (next year, folks!)…
Coming January 3rd, 2012!
It’s cover time! Yes, after twelve long days of putting up with my hype and my woes and my questionable taste in all things humor, you finally get a peek at the cover for Shafts of Torchlight. Are you excited? Is everyone rushing to their computers with sweaty palms and irregular heartbeats… or is that just me? *grins*
To accompany your eye candy, here is Chapter Eleven’s tease of the day…
Chapter Eleven: DiMaggio and Boss Tweed
“There was no turning back, however. Cane could only go forward.” (page 134)
January 3rd is only a few days away, everybody. Have you all reviewed Torched (Book #1) and Blow Torch (Book #2) like all good students of romantic smut series should do? I’d offer you my own cheat sheets to the novels but my chicken scratch is not safe for man nor beast. If you would like a little refresher on all things Hellesgate please see Day Eight’s blog for a look back to the characters of our small little Kansas town.
Whew! This promoting myself every day is something so foreign to me that it sends all my screwy brain circuits out for a dizzying spin. Whenever I get done publishing these daily masterpieces of egotism, I have to spend the next hour or so picking up the marbles scattered messily around my computer. Thankfully when it seems that I’ve actually lost track of a spent marble or two, God provides me with nice, shiny, new ones for me to scuff up the next day. It’s always nice when you realize that God’s got your back.
I think I’ll be needing some more divine intervention as I’m struggling with novel titles and building my first website at my recently purchased domain of chloestowe.com. Yesterday, I spent hours (yes, actually hours, folks) trying to come up with titles for my next batch of novels for Ravenous. I obsess. I know, I know, no surprise there. But I do try to keep it under some kind of control. I didn’t wake up every hour last night running titles through my head so I’ll count that as a success.
As for the website, well, I’m a perfectionist. You’re jaws are dropping, aren’t they? Yep, I’ve got a mania for every situation, folks. Anyhow, I will keep you updated on that marble-losing venture as well.
I will leave you now to go drool over my new cover. I’ve already shorted out two keyboards this morning myself, so be safe but stay horny… yeah, I can’t believe I said that either. I guess I lost a marble under the couch yesterday.
Day Ten breaks with a sad little sigh…There are no more reindeer games to play.
Yesterday I was so caught up in my gremlins that I forgot that my WWII reindeer were missing - and if that sentence doesn’t prove my mental peculiarities to my naysayers nothing ever will. *chuckles*
“Naysayers?” you might ask.
Yes, naysayers. Those people who scoff at my nerves, patting me on the head and telling me “just breathe and you’ll get over it. Everybody gets nervous. You’ve just got to get over it.”
I try to explain my condition to them again, even drag out a few medical records as show and tell material.
Another pat on my head, as they try to commiserate, “I used to get nervous too before a big test or a project. Just push yourself through it, Chloe, and you’ll be fine. You’ve got to try not to worry so much.”
After the twentieth to the thirtieth time at trying to explain myself (and swatting their damned hand off of my head by the fifth go-through), I admit defeat. I have to. I despise giving up and have spent most of the last twenty years fighting it tooth and nail, but beating my head against a brick wall won’t get me anything but some fresh symptoms of concussion.
Naysayers. They’re hard to turn. And the failure of not getting them to understand stings and stings and stings. And what’s worse is that the stinger they leave embedded within me breeds doubt… doubt that I’m not trying hard enough… that I’m just weak… that I’m just a big baby… that I’m a failure of a human being.
Sometimes it literally takes me months to recover.
Maybe I am weak? But I don’t think so. I hope by writing this blog I’m able to prove to a few of the naysayers and the latent naysayer in the back of my own head that I am strong.. sick but damned strong.
Whether you view me as weak or strong or just plain loony, here is your next chapter preview…
Chapter Nine: A Howl of Lost Wind
“He saw nothing. Nothing but white and cold and rock and water. Nothing that was going to help his husband survive the night.” (page 111)
I’m still missing my reindeer. *sighs*
It was fun dabbling in a little bit of historical romance. It’s a genre I’d love to explore, particularly exploring m/m relationships throughout the many varied time periods of human history. Of course, there would have to be a little willing suspension of disbelief but when isn’t there in historical romance? Anyhow, if you’re interested in seeing a Chloe Stowe take on the historical genre please drop a quick note to my publisher (www.ravenousromance). If there’s enough demand, there will be supply.
Or at least I hope so. *grins*
Until tomorrow where I promise there will be nary a naysayer…
As release day for book #3 of the Hellesgate Series nears (tomorrow, folks!) and the last reindeer of our WWII love games has arrived, I’d like to take a few moments to re-introduce you to Shafts of Torchlight’s locale, a crazy little place called Hellesgate…
Hellesgate is a little town of about 500 citizens in southwestern Kansas. It has a post office, a small store, a gas station, a granary and a row of neat tiny houses running up Main Street. At first glance, Mayberry comes to mind, but fair warning: there are no Opie’s here.
Bingham Daughtry is an old, old man who runs the post office. He was a sniper in the Korean War and never got out of the habit of calling his gun his best friend. He’s famous for his hard lemonade and the senility he flirts with daily. He is a loyal man who says what’s on his mind and who defends the few he calls his friends with vigor and when necessary with violence.
The Eastons, Iona and Elwood, run an apple orchard on the outskirts of town. Iona babies her apple trees and her husband with an equal but fierce passion. While the couple were never blessed with children of their own, they were blessed with Cane, their nephew. Having raised him since he was a baby, they consider Cane their own and would gladly defend him with their lives.
May Shaw is an eccentric girl. A beautiful woman in her twenties, she is as slight as a thistle and as winsome as the prairie wind. She loves Cane Summerfield with a passion which frequently crosses over into the obsessive. Her stalking tendencies have mellowed some through the years but her incendiary love of Cane has not.
Jefferson Shaw is May’s brother. With all the passion with which May loves Cane, Jefferson hates him with equal fire. Convinced that Cane has somehow wronged his sister, Jefferson has vowed to destroy Cane’s life… that is if he ever sobers up enough to figure out how.
This is Hellesgate, Kansas. It is an environment rich with love, hate and fire. It is the bed in which Cane Summerfield and Matthew Archer’s love was sparked and their family was born. I hope you will drop by for a visit tomorrow and be sure to bring your friends and enemies – after all, there’s something for everybody (be it murder, mayhem or momentous love) in Hellesgate, Kansas.
However, Matthew and Cane’s love and adventures are by no means limited to Kansas. Denver, Colorado plays a crucial role in Shafts of Torchlight, a backdrop to a dangerous night in which lives are threatened and love is tested…
Chapter Seven: Sleet in Denver
“Standing there alone at a frosted window Matthew missed the brush of arm against his arm, the tickle of breath against his neck, the sound of his own voice tangled in the sound of his husband’s.” (page 85)
Well, I believe I have flapped my jaws enough for today. Tomorrow I’ll give you a recap of the histories of Matthew and Cane and their little girl, Sahara. Until then, I leave you with the final reindeer of our WWII games…
I imagine Blitzen to be…
An assassin. He is a man who is sent in as a war’s last resort. He must blend in, get lost among the maddening crowd… until the final shot can be had. He trusts no one but his own gun. While he once hated his role as reaper, he views it now as a mission of mercy. The atrocities of the war have changed him, hardened him. In the mirror, Blitzen no longer recognizes himself. Who he will be after the war, if there is an “after the war” for him, only God knows. Until then his crosshairs are set on only one man… a man who is responsible for hundreds of deaths or so the intelligence alleges. When the truth of his target’s actions come to light, will it be enough to convince Blitzen to betray his own orders to save one good man’s life? Or will his own heart feel the cold death of his own assassin’s bullet?
Until tomorrow (Release Day!!!)…
Chloe Stowe and her Hellesgate homies.
Tossing and turning, turning and tossing… that’s all I did last night and all I have to say about that is: Phooey. (Ladies and gents you have just witnessed the first time Chloe Stowe has ever used that word in her entire life. Yes, my phooey cherry has officially been popped. Was it good for you?)
Moving quickly on…
I need to write. I mean, I’ve taken the last few days off so that I could throw my beloved nephew a Tree-Trimming Party, which went splendidly last night, but cooking and decorating and general merry-making just doesn’t beat my squirrelly grey matter into submission. I’ve found that my warped brain cells are a lot like a gaggle of two-year olds on a sugar-high. I’ve got to just let them go run themselves rampant until they collapse exhausted in a corner somewhere, at which point I can finally get some sleep.
So today I am joyously diving back into my novel-making, hoping for a night free from tossing and turning and phooeys.
And to get the romantic smut train rolling, here is your next sneak peek…
Chapter Three: A Bisexual Man
“Matthew grinned. He loved when Cane got all G.I. Joe with him. It set off all of Matthew’s fight, flight or fuck responses, responses that always ended in fuck.” (page 49)
And to further stroke my imagination, here is your WWII reindeer game of the day!
I imagine Vixen to be…
A wolf in sheep’s clothing. His loyalties can be bought, his allegiance sold to the highest bidder. He is a man who truly only fights for himself. Having been betrayed by everyone in his young life, he vows to return the favor to the whole world. But is there a man out there who can earn his trust and gain his undying love? And if there is such a man will he survive the war or simply become the latest cruel twist of Vixen’s fate?
That’s it for today, folks. My gaggle of two year olds are heading for the kitchen and the knives, so I’m off to prevent bloodshed.
Good morning one and all. I hope Day Two has found you festively bedecked in both mind and spirit. If not allow me the pleasure of festooning you with holiday cheer and sleigh bells in the snow… or I could just get to the smut and allow any further festooning to be done by your own hand. *winks*
Chapter One: Slow and Dirty Kisses on Cocoa Flavored Lips
“The closet was dark. Cane had intentionally left the overhead light off when he had shoved a lost-looking, quickly fraying Matthew into the tiny room. He had thought that the less distractions the better, not realizing that Matthew was looking for a fight. The fact that the fight Matthew chose was with their hanging wardrobe had Cane wanting to bang his head repeatedly on their tie rack.” (page 15)
Whew! Now don’t we all feel better now that we’ve got a little romance/sex in the closet under our belts? I know it always loosens up these crazy bones of mine. Insanity is always better when you’re flexible.
Today is a shaky day. One of those days when my orange juice arrives at my mouth shaken not stirred. My elbows and knees are as weak as lemmings and my thoughts are bouncing and zinging around my head like kernels of corn in a popcorn maker. It’s real fun in Stowe-land this morning and all I want to do is to crawl under a ton of covers and take a long winter’s nap…
Sometimes mental illness is crap, folks.
So you’ll excuse me if today’s blog is a little jumpy and short. Fear not, however, you will still get your reindeer game of the day! I would never leave your imaginations hanging. *smiles*
I imagine Dancer to be…
A spy. In the dance halls of Vienna, he spins war widows around the parquet floors, offering both a shoulder and an ear to their woes. With their husbands away to the front, the women are hungry for warmth, companionship and illicit love. Dancer offers it all to them… in return for a secret shared here and there. Dancer’s male lover awaits him stateside. Will the young spy return to his old love or will a new Viennese heart waltz our hero away?
Well, that’s it for today. I wish you an afternoon of sturdy elbows and knees and little or no popcorn-ing grey matter.
Welcome one and all to the Shafts of Torchlight Preview Event, an 8 day blogging extravaganza that is part sneak peek, part mental illness expose and part “laugh until you cry” or “cry until you laugh” madness brought to you by Chloe Stowe.
As keen holiday aficionados may have already guessed, this event has latched onto Santa’s eight tiny reindeer as its titling theme. Original? Not very, but I think it should be fun. A little dash of holiday magic is always welcome in my world.
Shall we get right to it then?
It’s Christmas night in Hellesgate, Kansas and all the world is bright.
Former New York real estate mogul Matthew Archer and injured war hero Cane Summerfield are enjoying their first holiday season together with their adopted daughter, Sahara. While the men had endured many hardships on their paths to discovering one another, their lives had finally grown peaceful while their love had only grown more vibrant…
But when you have everything, you have everything to lose.
An estranged family member with a heart of ice, a buried past that lives in a murderer’s hungry gaze, memories born of sweet violence and delicious pain… all must be met and overcome for Matthew and Cane to keep the lives and the love for which they have fought so fiercely.
However… when the path is darkest, it takes only the smallest shafts of light to lead a man home again.
As always, every day you will get a chapter title and a tiny little excerpt from that chapter. Be careful, sometimes I like to lead you astray with my choice of excerpts. I’ve got to leave some surprises for the actual novel, after all. *evil mad scientist laugh… or, in this case, mad novelist laugh*
Prologue: A Guileless Voyeur
“Rain slapped the window. The reflection of the Eiffel Tower in the glass lost all definition melting into just a stain of orange light.
“Please,” a man’s voice broke with the lightning.” (page 1)
Shafts of Torchlight was a joy to write. It was like slipping into your favorite pair of pajamas and sharing a glass of wine with an old, treasured friend. It is the third book in the Hellesgate Series, a series of novels that follow the ever-deepening relationship between former New York real estate shark Matthew Archer and Iraq War veteran Cane Summerfield. Shafts of Torchlight follows Torched and Blow Torch.
This series really resonates deeply within me as the character Cane suffers from PTSD. His battles are often a reflection of some of my mine (particularly his fight with panic attacks). I love the idea that the former soldier is able to find breathtaking love with another. Maybe this whole series is my guilty pleasure? I don’t know, but I don’t think I’ll apologize even if it is.
Two more novels in the Hellesgate Series are already in the pipeline so expect Matthew and Cane to follow you well into the new year!
This go-around I’m adding a little something extra to each of these blog posts. As I’ve chosen Santa’s 8 reindeer as my title them, I thought it was only fair to give each reindeer a little time in the romantic smut limelight. So, as I’m not too up on the ins and outs of reindeer sex, I decided to make each of the little fellas’ names a codename for a World War II soldier / spy / combatant, you get the picture. Yes, I am boldly stroking my historical romance tendencies with this, but it’s actually turned out really well and the seed of a novel has been planted in this heavily medicated brain of mine. Scary, I know.
So without further adieu or nonsense, here’s your first WWII reindeer game.
I imagine Dasher to be…
A brave WWII soldier who has been dropped behind enemy lines to set up a line of communications with resistance fighters. Finally, after a week of breathless escapes from the enemy, he manages to set up an old-fashioned telegraph network. The dots and dashes of morse code soon fill the wires. The resistance will survive but will our young Dasher?...
Keep a careful eye on each of these guys because their stories just might begin to interweave.
Now, I will let you get back to your holiday madness as my madness is calling me to pop a few Prozac. I hope you enjoyed!