Thanks for your understanding last week while I was in Vienna doing research for The Secret. I had a great, very productive trip which I’ll post more about later this week, along with some exciting release news about DESERT BOUND which comes out in 15 days. FIFTEEN DAYS! I hope you’re ready for Alex and Ted! I love that couple.
Until then, this should tide over readers looking for an Elemental fix. A new chapter of the Ben and Tenzin novella! By the way, I’m still taking suggestions for titles on this one. I can’t decide. So feel free to offer suggestions in the comments. If I pick your title, I’ll send you a copy of the novella when it’s published.
A short teaser from Chapter Three…
They walked through the market after the sun set, enjoying the smell of spices and cooking oil that filled the air. The night market in Ürümqi was a melange of faces, scents, and colors. Children ran about in brightly colored dresses and shirts. Stylish Uyghur women in intricately embroidered hijab surveyed wares with a critical eye. Caps and scarves. Bread and fruit. Everything was for sale in the market that night.
“You fit here,” he said, looking around.
“I fit where? China?” Tenzin asked.
“Here. In Xinjiang.”
It was true. He’d never been able to place Tenzin’s appearance. She was Asian, for certain, but didn’t have the typical features of the Han Chinese who dominated the Western view of China. Tibetan? Mongolian, maybe? He didn’t suppose those kind of labels existed in her human years.
Her complexion was pale, but much of that had to do with her vampiric nature. Her eyes were a cloudy grey, but that could have happened during her transformation however many thousand years before. There was no way of knowing what she’d looked like as a human, but she’d been turned in her late teens or early twenties. Of that, he was fairly sure.
And in Central Asia—with its fascinating mix of people—she did, somehow, fit.
Tenzin shook her head, lifting the corner of her mouth in a smile. A hint of her ever-present fangs peeked out. “I don’t fit anywhere, Ben.”
“Whatever, oh ancient and mysterious one.” He nudged her shoulder to head down an alley that smelled particularly savory. “You fit with me.”
Hey all! I loved what the excellent Colleen Vanderlinden did over on her blog today, so I’m totally copying her. I spent the weekend writing the next chapter in Ben and Tenzin’s novella in the Elemental world, but now I’m back in Irin-land. In fact, I’ll be headed to Vienna, Austria next week for a short research trip for THE SECRET. Vienna is a big setting in the book, but for right now, Ava and Malachi are back in one of my most favorite cities anywhere, Istanbul. Here’s a little peek at the first chapter of THE SECRET:
Malachi watched the traffic crawl by as they eased onto Ataturk Bridge, crossing the Golden Horn in the taxi Ava had flagged down outside the airport. She’d resisted telling anyone they were coming, still wary of any communication that would put them at risk. They’d flown from Frankfurt to Istanbul during the night, arriving just as the sun was rising over the city. It was rush hour, and the familiar shouts of drivers and vendors filled the air, along with the smell of the water.
He glanced at his mate, who was sitting quietly next to him. Her phone was out, but her leg rested against his in the back of the car.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Answering emails.” She tapped on the screen. “Checking… stuff.”
“Anything interesting?” Malachi might have lived longer, but in some ways, he was far more ignorant of the world at large. Ava was independent. She managed her own finances. Ran a business. He knew she had a home in California, but he didn’t think she’d been back for over a year.
“A few things from my mom. My agent. One from my financial adviser.”
“Are you still ridiculously rich?”
“Yes. Are you still okay with having a rich wife… mate? Whatever I am?”
He smiled. “Yes. It’s good that one of us knows something about money.”
Ava shook her head. “What did you do without me?”
“I don’t know.” His smile turned into a grin. “Honestly, don’t remember a thing.”
Have a great week, everyone!
Here’s the next chapter of Ben and Tenzin’s novella. This will be mostly from Ben’s point of view, though Tenzin’s will probably creep in a bit as I go. I can’t tell you how many chapters it will be yet. I’d planned seven, but I’m already going longer than I thought I would, so it’ll most likely be around ten or eleven.
And that’s about it! Here’s some pictures from Xinjiang, where the novella takes place.
Writing Irin is hard. There’s just no way around it. I love it. I deeply love this world. But it’s a difficult one. It’s was difficult to develop this mythology. It was difficult to go dark places with these characters. So there’s a part of me that loves writing this book, and there’s a part of me that dreads it. I hope you guys understand. I’m hoping I’ll be in a better place writing The Secret than I was with The Singer, which was very difficult to write because the characters were going through so much.
Anyway, here’s the teaser. I hope you guys enjoy. And here’s a link to the other one (which is a bit more lighthearted) that I put over on the FB page.
Some mornings Ava woke feeling as if she could drift away. She was smoke on those mornings. The thin fog that hung over the ocean in the moonlight. They clung to each other in sleep, no matter what had happened during the day or how distant they had felt.
Sometimes, she woke and he was watching her, frowning as if he was trying to remember.
The best mornings she woke and Malachi was the man he had been, light in his eyes and a teasing smile at the corner of his mouth. They made love on those mornings with playful passion. The joy of new lovers in familiar skin as they hid away in his grandparents’ house on the edge of the sea.
On those mornings, they didn’t speak of the other times he woke her. The hours when she cried in her sleep. Stifling screams. Weeping with remembered loss. In the bleak darkness of those nights they held each other desperately.
“I’m here,” he’d whisper. “Ava, I’m here.”
Once, she’d bitten his shoulder hard enough to break skin, and the taste of his blood lingered in her mouth for days.
He said it over and over again.
And in the mornings, she believed him.
But the nights always came. The dark angel walked with Ava in her dreams, and she woke crying, seeing his face dissolve into gold dust that rose in the damp air of the cistern where he had died.
“Ben Vecchio landed in the Urumqi Diwopu International Airport at ten in the morning not knowing what time it really was or what time it was supposed to be. Despite its vast territory, the entire People’s Republic of China was on one time zone. Beijing time. You might be in Yunan province, Xi’an, or the Tibetan plateau, but you were still on Beijing time.
He roused himself and, ignoring his sleeping seat mate, shoved his way into the aisle to grab his bag from the overhead bin. Personal space, he had quickly learned when he landed in Asia, was not a universal value. He stretched out his cramped legs and barely winced when the formidable grandmother in front of him knocked him on the jaw with her suitcase.
She said something to him in what he guessed was Uyghur. She said it again, scowling at his clueless look.
“I don’t understand you,” he told her in Mandarin, the language he’d been practicing for three years.
Three years and he was still struggling. For the perfectionist he’d become under the training of his adopted uncle, Giovanni Vecchio, it was unacceptable. Ben was hoping this trip would finally cement the language in his mind. Flip whatever switch was holding him back from true fluency.
The old woman gave him an odd look. She cocked her head and looked him up and down. Frowned again, then turned her back. Ben cautiously glanced around the plane, only to realize something astonishing.
He blended in. That’s why the old woman had given him a strange look. She had expected him to understand her.
Taking a deep—if exhausted—breath, the tension in his shoulders left, and Ben felt more relaxed than he had in days.”
And another very quick announcement, the paperback of Desert Bound is now up for preorder over on Amazon. It’ll be available to order in paperback from Barnes and Noble and all the usual suspects after release, but for preorders, I think Amazon is your only option. Just wanted to let you know!
Have a great Tuesday, and I’ll post a little later this week about Xinjiang, one of my favorite provinces in China and the primary setting for A Quick Trip to China.
They’re cutting into the wall in my upstairs bath, trying to find the leak that has driven me out of my office. (It’s hard to write when there’s a sawzall buzzing in the background.) So, for today, I’ll give you other words. Some of my favorites from Pablo Neruda. The Captain’s Verses. Translation from the Spanish by Donald D. Walsh.
I have scarcely left you
when you go in me, crystalline,
or uneasy, wounded by me
or overwhelmed with love, as when your eyes
close upon the gift of life
that without cease I give you.
we have found each other
thirsty and we have
drunk up all the water and the blood,
we found each other
and we bit each other
as fire bites,
leaving wounds in us.
But wait for me,
keep for me your sweetness.
I will give you too
Painting above from Vilhelm Melbye.
Prompted by the dearth of actual writing that has been my life lately, I will be publishing the next Elemental World novella in serial format over on the ElementalMysteries.com site. I was actually inspired by Meljean Brook, who is using the cattle prod of public humiliation to finish her novella Frozen (which can be found over HERE, if you want to check out awesome free stuff).
Anyway, I am having trouble sitting myself down in the chair to write, so I thought I’d do it this way. This is a short novella. It’s mainly fun and adventure. For those of you looking for THE ULTIMATE BEN AND TENZIN STORY this is not it. This is a quick story that will show where the two of them are in the overall Elemental World, and also give you a few hints at what their future series will be like.
When will their series be? I don’t know. When it feels like the right time to write it. If I try to force inspiration, it will turn out badly. That’s pretty much always the case. In THIS case, the story has already been thought up, outlined, and I just need some pressure to finish. So I figure a chapter a week for you guys is doable while I finish up the editing on DESERT BOUND and start the outlines for THE SECRET.
I juggle. It’s what I do.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the prologue to the new story! I’ll try to post every Tuesday. All the usual warnings apply. This is unedited. Straight from the brain-space. Yada yada yada. If you find a typo, don’t panic. If you DON’T find a typo… I’ll be shocked.
ALSO, if you haven’t been following Grace Draven’s serial novella, Radiance, you’re really missing out. It’s fantasy romance. Reeeeally excellent, like pretty much everything Grace writes. She called it a short story, but it’s something like sixteen chapters now, so… not so short.
And the last serial I’ll be directing you to is the second of Ilona Andrews’ Innkeeper Chronicles, Sweep in Peace. Really fun fantasy/scifi series that has a little bit of cross-over into her Edge series. Clean Sweep (buy links on her website) is the first and Sweep in Peace is the second one that they’re writing right now. Don’t miss either!
Through this weekend only, my stand-alone contemporary romance, The Genius and the Muse, is on sale at Amazon for only $0.99! Wanted to let you guys know.
If you haven’t read this one, let me try to explain why you should, even though it’s not my main genre. And why this book is so personal to me. It’s actually the first book I ever finished, though not the first one I published. And it’s a story very dear to my heart. If you’re not generally a romance reader, you might check it out anyway. Even though there’s not blood or guts or flying swords or anything.
It’s a story about love, yes. But it’s also about friendship. About how life can drag you down and make everything seem pretty hopeless at times, and about how the people who matter are the ones who stick around through that. It’s a story that came to me in a not-very-fun part of my life. In the end, it became a story about hope. Reconciliation. Meaning even through pain. It’s a life story, not just a love story.
“Flames, welding, ashes, phoenix. It all just seemed to go together.” He paused for a moment. “It reminds me that… sometimes things need to burn to get better. In life. In art. Beautiful things can come from ashes. And sometimes, the fire that looks like it’s destroying really just makes things stronger. That’s it, I guess.”
It’s a story about art, but you don’t have to be an artist to enjoy it. Because in the end, it’s also a story about finding your passion, whatever that may turn out to be. For me, that passion is writing. But it may be something very different for you.
Genius also has one of my very favorite characters ever. Javi is not your conventional romantic hero. He’s rough. He’s not particularly handsome. Definitely lacking in social graces, even though he has a big heart. In the end, he became one of my favorites. Because real love is often about finding what you need. Not what you think you want.
“Katie?” A deep voice, rough from sleep, answered her. She gaped, suddenly unsure of what she wanted to say.
Of course it’s Javi, you idiot.
Kate heard him take a breath and exhale. “Yeah?”
“Did I—did I wake you up?”
There was a pause. “Yeah, I guess so. I—” He cleared his throat. It worked a little bit, but his voice was still a rough growl that sent a shiver down her spine.
“I’ve been working for a few days.” She heard him release another deep breath. “Hmmm, what time is it?” he murmured.
Her heart rate picked up. She had woken him, and a picture of him lying bare-chested in bed leapt unbidden to her mind. She had only peeked at the intriguing tattoos that covered his thick muscles, but somehow in her mind’s eye, she saw his richly decorated chest and arms laying against a white background as he spoke to her.
“It’s… uh, it’s around eleven in the morning.” She swallowed and willed the image away. “On Thursday. I was just going to leave a message for you. I figured you’d be working.” She squirmed, still trying to erase the mental picture from her mind as he replied.
“Well, you’ve got me now. What did you want?”
“I—um, you know, just call me back when you get a cha—”
“I’m awake now, Kate,” he voice was clipped. “What do you need?”
You. She almost said it before thinking. Wait, what?
Hope I’ve tempted you enough to give The Genius and the Muse a chance! Like I said, it was my first book, so I’m sure the writing is rougher than my more recent books, but I still love the story. And I hope you do, too!
Have an amazing weekend! Elizabeth
How’s it going? It’s Wednesday. That’s right. Book hangover day. Did you all stay up too late last night reading that new release? Spend all your hard-earned cash on the million and one books that came out yesterday? I know I stayed up a little too late with Evernight, Kristen Callihan’s latest Darkest London book (which is great so far, by the way.)
So, probably not the best time to tell you that DESERT BOUND is available now for pre-order, right?
“Elizabeth, what are you doing? I just spent all my money on books YESTERDAY!”
I know, I know. but a few of you have already found it and I felt bad leaving the rest out. I’m a publicity nightmare. I should probably hire someone so I don’t do stupid stuff like this. Thank you for being forgiving.
So here it is! It’s up right now at Smashwords and Amazon. The other retailers should be online in the next couple of days.
Gonna go edit now. And then hopefully WRITE, because gah. I need to write.