Her romances aren’t for the faint of heart. Just a word of warning. 😉 But man oh man, can she tell a romance. Joey Hill is guestblogging today and one of the commenters will get a signed copy of either The Vampire Queen’s Servant or The Mark of the Vampire Queen.
Entering is easy…just comment or ask a question. From those who participate, their name will go into the drawing one time and I’ll draw one winner’s name…reader gets their choice of the two offered prizes.
Below is the blurb for Joey’s latest, The Mark of the Vampire Queen
When he becomes Lady Lyssa’s full servant, Jacob crosses the threshold into a darker relationship with her than he’s known before. His time as a vampire hunter certainly hadn’t prepared him to embrace a world where humans are sexual commodities, but he adapted. Now he finds the integrity of his soul challenged as he serves his Mistress’s needs as fully as he services her desires.
The vampire world believes human servants are inferior, a vital source for their varying appetites. Jacob knows a human servant is far more than that. His Mistress needs a warrior, a friend and a lover. A man who will serve her in all ways, even if he has to betray the priceless treasure of her love.
And now, onto to Joey’s guest blog…
A ROMANCE PLOT ISN’T A STRAIGHT LINE
At the moment, “Let it Whip” is bouncing around in the empty space between my ears, with the result that my body is bouncing with it. Fortunately, that image of erratically jumping notes gave me the idea for a blog topic. Plot and romance. Or rather, plot and love stories. Romance is a catchier marketing term, but if we do our job right, we’re writing love stories. A love story is a relationship. And the relationship has a beginning, or development phase, which evolves into a spiraling seesaw of learning about one another and ever-deepening feelings. At some point, two beings make that final step toward true commitment, willing to spend a life on that spiraling seesaw together.
When you write most genres, there’s a straight line between plot point A to plot point Z. Some deviation, certainly, but not a lot of latitude for it. However, a relationship isn’t a straight line, and that’s why I love writing love stories. I’m going to credit Nora Roberts for this. As I lost patience with the “misunderstanding” romance–where the characters never really get to know or enjoy one another until the very end–I discovered Mrs. Roberts. In her books, while the characters usually did have some significant emotional roadblock, there were a plethora of scenes devoted primarily to them falling in love, in the myriad ways we all fall in love – with romantic and fun memories, some painful ones, as well as turning points and revelations about ourselves and the other person. Until finally, their separate lives slowly align, and they walk hand-in-hand right past The End, toward the next book of their lives, committed to one another.
Reaching that alignment is the plot, but an author can follow it like a toddler let loose with a crayon. You can even leave the paper entirely and come back to it, so your characters can explore the waterfall they’ve found along a deer trail, attend the carnival that’s come to town or decide to take a spontaneous overnight drive through the desert and wake up to a brilliant sunset over the ocean, while lying on the hood of the car and sharing the last lukewarm soda.
My latest book, Mark of the Vampire Queen, is the sequel to Vampire Queen’s Servant. Initially it was one book, but since it was paranormal and did have a fairly complicated plot related to vampire society, it grew to encompass two books. That’s because it doesn’t matter if there are a greater number of outside factors impacting the relationship, the romance can’t be sacrificed. There has to be sufficient room for it to remain the main story. So Jacob deals with a complex world of vampire politics that force him into the role of a sexual submissive, challenging his ability to protect his lady in the way he knows he must. And Lyssa walks a dangerous tightrope to safeguard the territory and vampires under her protection. But while all that is going on, their relationship evolves. They are given time to find their love, not just through the trials, but through leisure time. For example, here’s a little snippet, where Jacob, tuning up Lyssa’s Mercedes, has been trying to extract a kitten hiding in the undercarriage…
“What are you doing under there?”
Speak of the devil. Or perhaps—at least for the moment—an angel. Tilting his head, Jacob saw a pair of pretty bare feet planted on either side of his left leg. At the same moment, his fingers brushed his goal. An unhappy mewl greeted his triumph.
“Come here, little mite. Sshh…it’s okay.” He managed to hold onto the squirming thing, only because it was too young to be strong, and the mouth too tiny to do any damage. “Can you tell Bran to go sit a few feet away, my lady?”
She bade the dog move back and he heard the dog chuff, pad away as Jacob wriggled out from beneath, holding the tiny kitten to his chest to keep it from streaking away.
“How on earth did that get here?”
“Without the dogs eating her, on top of that. She’s not more than about eight weeks old. Mother probably got hit by a car and the kittens scattered.”
As he came out, his lady changed her stance so she was straddling his waist, standing above him, her brow raised. She was holding her strappy high-heeled sandals in one hand and wore a tailored suit with a short skirt, suggesting she was heading out on one of her business errands.
Now she stepped to his side so she could squat beside him.
*Now see, you little rat, if not for you I could have run my hands up those beautiful legs and…*
“Think again.” His vampire mistress picked up his thoughts easily enough. “Not with that grease all over you.” Reaching out, she touched the kitten with a finger. The animal was cowering under the cup of his hands, quivering so she appeared to be a faceless ball of matted, oily fur. “Oh, goodness, what are we going to do with you? The dogs won’t tolerate you, that’s for certain.”
“I thought I could take her over to Elijah’s. He’s had to take his grandson in. Even if his son or the kid’s mother comes back to get him, he could likely use some company.”
Lyssa raised a brow. “You’ve been male bonding.”
Jacob gave a mock shudder. “You make it sound so sordid.”
Smiling, she came down to him, catching his lips in a kiss, stroking her fingers through his hair. “How do you know it’s a she?”
Too late, he couldn’t cover the thought that came into his mind. With a smothered laugh, she gave him a sharp nip.
“Men tend to be pains in the ass, too, Jacob. Quite frequently. In fact, they’re probably the main reason women don’t always have a sweet disposition.”
“I bow to your great wisdom, my lady.”
“Only because you know I could stomp on your groin with my heel.”
“There’s that sweet disposition showing itself now.”
He grunted as she drew blood this time, but the tip of her tongue flicked at it, took it off his lip, her green eyes meeting his, glowing with sensual intent. His body stirred. If he hadn’t spent so much time retrieving the feline, he would have let her toddle back under the car and see if he couldn’t coax his lady into getting dirty.
I love these types of segues – In Vampire Queen’s Servant, there’s a great scene where Lyssa disguises herself and they spend an evening at a mall, window shopping together. I have characters who have enjoyed a tennis match, attended a Renaissance Faire, planned a tea party for a little girl’s birthday party, gone shopping at a classy erotica shop, watched a film festival, etc… One more snippet, from the aforementioned Renaissance Faire, where Jacob and Lyssa are looking at a booth where rings are being sold.
As she looked at the designs, he reached out to touch one he liked. A simple and delicate thing with a sapphire center stone. The stone rested in a fairy’s lap, her tiny metal-etched hand resting atop it. She lay reclined in the clasp of her lover who appeared to be human. The sinuous intertwining of their bodies made up the top half of the band and the setting for the stone.
Lyssa pressed closer to his shoulder, examining it. “It’s quite deft, isn’t it?”
He nodded, glanced at the jeweler. “How much?”
To him, it was expensive. He knew to Lyssa it was a paltry sum. The night he’d met her she’d been wearing a necklace the equal of which he’d only seen on movie stars and fashion models. So he wasn’t sure what made him nod and dig the money out of his pocket. It constituted about a week of the salary he accepted from Lyssa.
“For an admirer of yours?” she asked in a neutral tone. Jacob lifted his shoulder in an uncomfortable shrug. “A token, my lady. You may keep it or gift it, if it’s not to your liking. I just…” He’d never given her a gift, and today he wanted to do so. “I thought it would please you.”
She was giving him that arch look she did so well, and he wouldn’t be baited. She’d never struck him as the type who wanted slavish devotion, preferring Bran’s dignified and unquestionable loyalty to slobbering affection. But she knew full well how much Jacob felt when it came to her, so it would do no good to hide it. He couldn’t bear her laughing at him, though. So he shrugged and began to pocket the ring. “I’ll give it to someone else, and not trouble you.”
Clasping his wrist, she stopped him. Extended her left hand. “Let’s see if it fits.”
Nodding, he tried her middle finger first. The ring was too tight. “If you’d prefer the right hand, my lady, we can put it—”
“I prefer the left hand, Jacob.”
He thought her dark green eyes could rearrange all the shadows of his soul into the shape of herself. “After all” —her voice was soft as their gazes held— “you did promise me forever, didn’t you?”
She put his heart in his throat so easily he wondered she didn’t just pull it out completely. If she didn’t, he was sure he’d choke on it one day. When he slid the ring over her ring finger it fit perfectly, snugly at the base as it should.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I hope you’ll have time and opportunity to enjoy your own spiraling seesaw of learning and deepening love for another. Thanks for letting me visit.
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