#8Sunday: From the Goddess’s Curse…when she regains consciousness…

Welcome Sunday hoppers! It’s that time again–Weekend Writing Warriors. I’m continuing with my fantasy romance The Goddess’s Curse. If you’ll remember from last week, Garat kidnapped an unconscious Reena. The princess finally awakens…

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]Gone were familiar accoutrements and luxuries. Instead of finely woven fabric,  a furry animal hide covered her, and, supporting her head, was hard flesh covered by a thick mat of…of, hair. A man’s chest.

She bolted upright with a shriek.

The Lahon sprang up without a sound.

“Help!” She tried to scramble from the bed, but he hooked an arm around her waist. “Let me go!

 

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | All Romance

Kobo | Apple iTunes | Scribd

The Blurb

Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate. Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Reena, the Sharona queen’s daughter, jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.

Garat, leader of the Lahon, has only hatred for the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to avenge his son’s death by driving the Sharona from their homeland to take what the Lahon need. When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.

But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lies in the palace in time to save her life?

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A week in the crazy life of an author, part 3

Writer's FrustrationWriting takes precedence over everything. My daily writing goal is 1,500 words per day, six days a week. I always strive to do more, and often I do.  On the seventh day, I write my blogs for the week.

However, this schedule goes out the window when a new book is published. The weeks before, during, and after a book release are nothing short of crazy-making. I kept a diary the week before the launch of The Goddess’s Curse, my new fantasy/sci-fi romance, to chronicle what my work life is like.

I am usually at the computer by 5 or 5:30 a.m. and work until about 4 or 5 p.m seven days a week – but with breaks in between. I have a tacit agreement with my husband that I will quit work by 4 or 5 p.m., so if I have a middle-of-the day appointment that cuts into my work time, I can’t play catch-up in the evening. However, if there is something urgent, I’ll make an exception.

The week I chronicled coincided with the change to Daylight Savings Time and  the start of physical therapy for a torn rotator cuff. I live an average of 45 minutes from anything in town, so any errands or appointment cost me an hour and half in drive time, plus the time required to complete the errand itself.

Read part 1 

Read part 2

Thursday March 12

TPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]hree days til launch. My goal is to write some more on Rod and Cane 6 since I’m not expecting to receive the formats to The Goddess’s Curse until tomorrow. However, when I check email first thing in the morning, I see that the formatter has sent me all the ebook and print formats (despite the fact that my last instruction was that I’d look it over again this morning). So much for writing. Everything shifts.

I review the formats, note a few changes and email the formatter to make the changes. I pre-load the mobi version onto Amazon with the plan of clicking publish Saturday morning so that the book will be live by Sunday. Timing is by-guess-and-by-golly. I’ve had books go live in 4 hours, and I’ve had them take 24. Usually it’s 6-8.

I load and click publish on Barnes & Noble and All Romance because I want them available on launch day too. BN typically takes longer than Amazon.  I recognize that I am too Amazon-dependent, and it is not good to have all (or most) of my eggs in one basket, so I recently decided to expand my distribution. I’ve heard that Smashwords is a pain-in-ass to use, and I don’t want to hassle it, so I open a Draft2Digital account, and upload my book on D2D to be distributed to Kobo, Apple, and Scribd. D2D is completely new me, yet the entire process from opening the account to uploading all my book information takes less than 10 minutes. There is zero learning curve. I am very impressed with D2D, and contrast them with ARe, where it took me 45 minutes to do what should have taken 10 because ARe kept deleting my previously inputted data.

After getting all my books readied for launch, I go to Creatspace to create a template for the print wrap (cover) of the paperback version of The Goddess’s Curse. The cover artist “needs” a template. The cover artist of Naughty Words for Nice Writers did everything for me (love her!), but this one wants me to provide the template. I click all around on Createspace searching for the template generator, but can’t find it. Finally I go to the Createspace Community and run a search. Fortunately some helpful souls who ran into the same problem posted the link. Once I find the template generator, the template is a snap to create. Time to find it: 15-20 minutes. Time to create the template: less than a minute.

I email the template and other needed information to the cover artist.

Now that I have the formatted ebooks, I send Advance Review Copies to my Street Team and to a handful of reviewers who are waiting for them.

I decide I want to change nearly everything in my New Release Newsletter that I already have written, so I do that. By now, it’s noon. I’ve been at the computer since 5:30 a.m. (with an hour break for breakfast/shower). I take a half hour break for lunch. I read a friend’s book while I eat, and I catch a mistake in the first chapter that I’m pretty sure she’d want to know about. After lunch, I email her, then I write my release day blog, and my Weekend Writing Warrior’s blog. I decide to post the first chapters of all my books on my blog on a special page. I don’t have time to do all the books, but I create a new page for The Goddess’s Curse and upload chapter one. I want to exercise, but I’m running out of time. At 1:40, my husband and I go for 20-minute walk. Not as much as I want, but it’s better than nothing. At 2 p.m. I leave for my 3 p.m. physical therapy appointment. Afterwards, I pick up my income taxes from the accountant. I get home at 5 p.m. I check email. The Goddess’s Curse is LIVE on Kobo, Apple, Scribd, ARe, and BN. At 5:30, I call it good, and quit to cook dinner.

Friday, March 13

NaughtyWords200x300Two days til the official launch. I’m at the computer at 5:15 a.m. With The Goddess’s Curse already live on so many sites, I create bitly links so I can track how many clicks I get on each link, and I update my release day blogs, my new Chapter One page, and my newsletter. The only thing left to add are the Amazon links. I proofread the newsletter, catch a few boo-boos, and tweak the release contest info. I also make a few announcements of the BN launch on Facebook, Google +, and Tsu. I buy four thesauruses on Amazon, including my own, in hopes of getting Naughty Words linked as “also boughts.” I got an email about advertising on the website for the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together I’m attending in June. I can buy a book cover ad that will run (rotate with other ads) on the site all year for $80. Problem? The ads are 144 x 144 pixels –square! Book covers are rectangular. For half an hour, I play around with Naughty Words and The Goddess’s Curse, cropping and resizing, but can’t get something that works, that doesn’t cut either my name or the title off the cover. I decide I’m going to have to pass on the opportunity.

I  answer email, check all the usual things. I’ve been at the computer 2.5 hours; it’s now 7:45. I take a shower, have breakfast, and head back to the computer by 8:30. I write yesterday’s diary and today’s to this point. It’s 9:15 am. NOW, I’m going to work on Rod and Cane 6. I write until 12:15, with a half hour break in between to talk to my husband and brush the cat. I log 2K, a good amount considering my daily goal is 1.5 K, but I’m short for the week because I didn’t write for three days. I take a half hour social media break then quit for lunch at 12:45. I resume at 1:15 and write until 3 p.m. I end the day’s writing session with a respectable 3k overall. Woot! With most everything done for the release and a good writing day under my belt, I feel pretty good. I decide to reward myself by knocking off early and reading for a while.

Saturday, March 14

One day til launch of The Goddess’s Curse! I’ve been awake since 4 a.m., so I get up at 5 and hit the computer. First order of the day: click publish on Amazon.  I’m in a quandary when to do this. If I click publish now, and Amazon approves the book quickly, it will launch too soon. If I wait until later in the day, and Amazon lags, the book won’t be available tomorrow morning. I play around on the computer doing all the usual stuff and click publish at 6 a.m.

Then I start writing Rod and Cane 6. I get a 1K done, and I break for a shower, breakfast, and pick up a few things around the house. Then I’m back at the computer. I open an account and upload The Goddess’s Curse to Review Alley, add it to Goodreads (should have done this sooner), and update the blurb for Breeder on Amazon. (When Breeder landed in the Amazon dungeon last October, my publisher changed the blurb to just a couple of innocuous sentences. With a new SFR coming out, I figured Breeder needed a catchier blurb).  At 11 a.m., I check my Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard to see if The Goddess’s Curse is live yet. I don’t want it to be, and it’s not, but I’m disappointed.

Back to writing. I put in another hour, then I break for a 45 minute lunch. I don’t feel like writing anymore, and I want to call it quits, but my husband is gone for day and I don’t want to squander the alone time. I keep plugging away, and by 1:30, I’ve logged 2.2K for the day and I ‘ve reached the end of the chapter. As I consider what comes next, I realize I have one chapter left before I write the chapter with the “dark moment.” I’m in the home stretch! It kind of snuck up on me. But I don’t feel like writing anymore. It’s Saturday, for goodness sake. I’ll have a busy day tomorrow when the book launches. I decide to grant myself the afternoon off. I go for a 45 minute walk, but my mind plots out the next chapter and a half of Rod and Cane 6 . As soon as I get home at 2:30, I rush to my desk and write it  down before I forget. I check the status of The Goddess’s Curse on Amazon. Oh. My. God. It’s live! I update all my links on my blog posts, update my newsletter, email the buy links to the hosts of my book tour for the coming week, and make a couple of “pre-release” announcements on Facebook.

And that was the week before launch. The real work is yet to come.

By the Numbers

  • Estimated time  working (writing or promoting) during the week: 44.5 hours
  • Time spent away on errands, appointments, social engagements: 15.5 hours
  • Word count for the week: 8.2 K
  • Word count the previous week (when not in prelaunch mode): 12.5 K
  • Word count the week OF the release (full launch mode): 5.4 K

A word from our sponsors!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the women are forced to mate. Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Sharona Princess Reena jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.

Garat, leader of the Lahon, hates the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to exact revenge by driving the Sharona from their homeland and taking what the Lahon need. When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.

But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lives in the palace in time to save her life?

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | All Romance

Kobo | Apple iTunes | Scribd

NaughtyWords600x900If you’ve struggled to find the right tone for your romantic sex scene, stared at the computer for 15 minutes trying to come up with the perfect verb, become stymied because some terms are too crude while others are too flowery, or found yourself reusing the same words over and over, Naughty Words for Nice Writers, A Sexual and Spanking Thesaurus can help you break through those barriers.

Naughty Words for Nice Writers is packed with more than 1,200 usable, functional synonyms geared for romance, erotic romance, and erotica.

With an emphasis on verbs, this guide will help you “show” the intimacy between your characters rather than tell it. Whether you’re writing a “fade to black” scene or a graphic and explicit one, Naughty Words for Nice Writers will give you the words.

Get Naughty Words in paperback, ebook, and PDF (for your laptop/tablet) 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance (pdf)

Patricia Green will be here with info about business plans for authors on April 6! To be notified, “subscribe to my posts.” The signup is located in the sidebar, under the picture of Naughty Words, and above the comment listing.

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A week in the crazy life of an author, part 2

Writer's FrustrationWriting takes precedence over everything. My daily writing goal is 1,500 words per day, six days a week. I always strive to do more, and often I do.  On the seventh day, I write my blogs for the week.

However, this schedule goes out the window when a new book is published. The weeks before, during, and after a book release are nothing short of crazy-making. I kept a diary the week before the launch of The Goddess’s Curse, my new fantasy/sci-fi romance, to chronicle what my work life is like.

I am usually at the computer by 5 or 5:30 a.m. and work until about 4 or 5 p.m seven days a week – but with breaks in between. I have a tacit agreement with my husband that I will quit work by 4 or 5 p.m., so if I have a middle-of-the day appointment that cuts into my work time, I can’t play catch-up in the evening. However, if there is something urgent, I’ll make an exception.

The week I chronicled coincided with the change to Daylight Savings Time and  the start of physical therapy for a torn rotator cuff. I live an average of 45 minutes from anything in town, so any errands or appointment cost me an hour and half in drive time, plus the time required to complete the errand itself.

Read part 1 here

Tuesday, March 10

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]I’m at the computer at 6 a.m. I do my usual morning routine: check/answer email, check my stats, my blog & Facebook. When I get done, I figure I have 40 minutes to write before I have to have breakfast and take a shower so I can be out of the bathroom when the housekeeper comes at 8:30 a.m. In the 40 minutes, I read over yesterday’s work on Rod and Cane 6, make some edits and write 350 words. Today is a special day because I am having lunch with a friend/neighbor. We haven’t gotten together in six months and have been talking about doing lunch for a couple of months and last week we finally scheduled it for today. I head to take a shower and realize I don’t have any clean pants – not the ones I want to wear anyway, so I throw a load of laundry in the machine, take my shower, and throw on some old clothes. We’re also out of milk. My husband likes to clear out when the housekeeper leaves, so I ask him if he’ll go the bank to make a deposit and stop at the store and get some milk. He agrees.

I also caution him, “whatever you do, don’t tell my mom I’m having lunch with Carole.” (Refer to Part 1 for the reason).

The housekeeper arrives at 8:20, and I head to my office and write an additional 1650 words, bringing my daily total to 2K. I quit at 10:45 to change my clothes, put on makeup. I take out some frozen salmon to thaw for dinner. The housekeeper and I both depart at 11:30.  I have a good lunch with my friend. We have a lot of catching up to do. I give her a couple of postcards of my latest books. I get home around 2-ish, talk to my husband for 15 minutes, then head into my office check email. I do an interview for a guest blog for The Goddess’s Curse and email it off. I pay some bills, and record those transactions that are tax deductible. At 4 p.m., I write this day’s diary. At 4:30 p.m., I take a half hour break and play a game on my Kindle. At 5 p.m. I start dinner: salmon, basmati rice and broccoli.  I’m done working for the day.

Wednesday, March 11

I hit the computer at 5:30 a.m., so I’m getting back to my normal start time. I usually begin my day at 5 a.m., but Daylight Savings Time has thrown me off my schedule. I check my email. I’ve received the line edits to The Goddess’s Curse (yay!). I answer an email, check Facebook, my blog, and Triberr, and then get to work on the edits. After completing them, I send The Goddess’s Curse to my Kindle to proofread it one more time. Mid-morning I take a break to shower & have breakfast, then finish up reading. Around noon, I send the proofed version off to the formatter.

Today is my monthly neighborhood ladies’ lunch, but because I took time off yesterday to have lunch with Carole, and we are out of nearly everything (groceries), I skip the lunch, grab a bite at home, and go grocery shopping. I get back at 2:30, and my husband I go for a daily walk, which we haven’t done in while due to bad weather. But it’s warm and beautiful out, so today we have no excuse. I get back at 3:30 p.m. I put chicken in a marinade for dinner and answer some personal email. At 5:15, I call it quits. I’m not happy that I didn’t get to write today, but I did do the most important thing—finished the edits to The Goddess’s Curse. The release is in four days.

Part 3 coming on Friday, March 27

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A week in the crazy life of an author, part 1

Writer's FrustrationWriting takes precedence over everything. My daily writing goal is 1,500 words per day, six days a week. I always strive to do more, and often I do.  On the seventh day, I write my blogs for the week.

However, this schedule goes out the window when a new book is published. The weeks before, during, and after a book release are nothing short of crazy-making. I kept a diary the week before the launch of The Goddess’s Curse, my new fantasy/sci-fi romance, to chronicle what my work life is like.

I am usually at the computer by 5 or 5:30 a.m. and work until about 4 or 5 p.m seven days a week – but with breaks in between. I have a tacit agreement with my husband that I will quit work by 4 or 5 p.m., so if I have a middle-of-the day appointment that cuts into my work time, I can’t play catch-up in the evening. However, if there is something urgent, I’ll make an exception.

The week I chronicled coincided with the change to Daylight Savings Time and  the start of physical therapy for a torn rotator cuff. I live an average of 45 minutes from anything in town, so any errands or appointment cost me an hour and half in drive time, plus the time required to complete the errand itself.

 Sunday, March 8

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]I’m starting to worry. The Goddess’s Curse is supposed to launch next Sunday, March 15, but I’m still waiting on round two of edits from my editor. The Goddess’s Curse then has to go through copy editing/proofing/formatting before it can release. It’s still possible to make the deadline, but it’s going to be tight. If I reschedule the release, I’ll have to reschedule my virtual book tour, involving more than a dozen authors and bloggers. I email my editor for an update, and email the first hosts of my blog tour to let them know I may need to reschedule.

An author I know had asked me for a non-promo guest blog so she could focus on her writing (ha ha ha ha), but she’s a friend, so I accommodate her, and pull a blog from 2011. I update it a little and send it off.

After yesterday’s writing session of 1,800 words on Rod and Cane 6, I’d hit a mini roadblock, and I wasn’t sure how to get from point A to point B. The solution comes to me while I’m in the shower, and I’m dying to write it, but I have to work on blogs for the week, and get started on The Goddess’s Curse promo. I feel like everything is backing up.

NaughtyWords600x900I write and schedule three blogs for the week, visit twenty Weekend Writing Warrior blogs and comment on fifteen of them. I complete that in the morning. I’m supposed to meet my mom (who lives 45 minutes away) in the afternoon for some mother/daughter time. She wants to shop for a new dining table. We get into a little tiff on the phone when I suggest we meet at the store rather than me pick her up to save time. “Why do you have to keep writing so many books,” she says. “I never should have moved here.” “You have time to go to California” (a nephew’s wedding at the end of the month that’s been on the calendar for a year). I cave and pick her up, we go shopping, and she buys her table. She’s happy. I come home, finish up my blogs, then make dinner.

After dinner, I check email. I got the edits from my editor, so I spend a hour or so doing the easy fixes, leaving the ones that tax my brain for the morning. My editor assures me I can meet the release date for the ebook—but the print version will have to be delayed.

Losing an hour with Daylight Savings Time didn’t help my schedule today.

Monday, March 9

I’m at my computer by 6 a.m. I check email, check my book stats, and finish the edits for The Goddess’s Curse. I realize I must have been really tired last night because what seemed challenging then, seems pretty straightforward now. Besides the edits, I add the front matter and back matter, and send it back to my editor. At 8:30 a.m. I have breakfast, spend a little time talking to my husband, and take a shower. I ask him if he’ll make dinner tonight. He agrees.

I head back to the computer by 10 a.m. From the latest edited version of The Goddess’s Curse, I extract the excerpts for my spotlight blog tour posts. I compile and email my posts to the first five blog stop hosts, leaving a note to myself that they still need buy links when I get them. At 11:30 a.m., I get the idea for this blog, and write it up to this point. I do that, then I fill out the form to get an IBSN for the print version of The Goddess’s Curse, and email the number to my editor. I break for a 20-minute lunch at 12:30, then hit the computer again to knock out 1K on Rod and Cane 6. At 2:30, I have to leave for my physical therapy appointment. I get home at 6 p.m, have dinner, watch a little TV, call my mom, then retire and read for a while.

Wednesday: Part 2 of A week in the crazy life of an author

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#8Sunday: From the Goddess’s Curse…he fools himself

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors in which authors present an eight-sentence excerpt from a work. Mine is from The Goddess’s Curse, my new fantasy/sci-fi release. In this scene, hero Garat has kidnapped heroine Reena. She has been injured (not by him) and when he brings her back to his setttlement, she’s still unconscious. He calls in the  medicine man.

“Can you save her?”

Meloni lowered her to a reclining position again. “I don’t know yet.”

He wanted a “yes,” a “this isn’t as bad as it seems,” or a “let her sleep it off.” Uncertainty from a healer who channeled the Goddess’s own power? Not a positive sign.

He paced, too keyed up to remain still. If she died, he would lose his bargaining chip.

Find The Goddess’s Curse at these sites:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | All Romance

Kobo | Apple iTunes | Scribd

The Goddess’s Curse Blurb

Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate.

Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Reena, the Sharona queen’s daughter, jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.

Garat, leader of the Lahon, has only hatred for the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to avenge his son’s death by driving the Sharona from their homeland to take what the Lahon need.

When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.

But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lies in the palace in time to save her life?

Check out the other participants of Weekend Writing Warriors. There’s a variety of genres. Click on the logo:

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Win a $25 Amz gift card in The Goddess’s Curse reader contest

If you’re going to read The Goddess’s Curse anyway, why not enter the Goddess Reader Drawing contest for a $25 Amazon gift card?

Here’s how to enter:

  • Post your honest review of The Goddess Curse on Amazon by March 31, 2015.
  • Email a link of the review to carabristol50 (at) yahoo (dot) com. Put “I read the Goddess” in the subject line.
  • The winner will be selected by random drawing and announced on April 6, 2015.
  • To gain addition entries and chances to win, post your review on Barnes & Noble, ARe, Kobo, Apple, Scribd, and/or Goodreads. Each review gives you one extra chance to win. But remember: Amazon is the qualifier and you must email me a link to each review.

Direct links to The Goddess’s Curse:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | All Romance

Kobo | Apple iTunes | Scribd

Goodreads

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate.

Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Reena, the Sharona queen’s daughter, jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.

Garat, leader of the Lahon, has only hatred for the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to avenge his son’s death by driving the Sharona from their homeland to take what the Lahon need.

When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.

But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lies in the palace in time to save her life?

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Sex addiction: at the mercy of libidinal fever…

Wary of each other, men and women live apart until the women are stricken by libidinal fever. Their mating crystal turns a deep cyan and they seek out the barbarians they fear. The men, overcome by the women’s pheromones, are unable to resist the lure. Some call libidinal fever, “the Goddess’s curse.”

Libidinal fever from the woman’s perspective…mini excerpts from The Goddess’s Curse, an erotic fantasy romance novel…

 “I have noticed the transformation of your crystal…you must prepare yourself for the hunt.”

“Can you in all honesty say you are not suffering the effects of libidinal fever? The mental distraction? The physical preoccupation? How many times do you engage in self-abuse each day?”

“The Lahon are animals. They are rough and hairy. They grunt and they sweat. Their man smell is disgusting.”

“The law of Sharona requires all able women to beget a daughter—and preferably two.”

While her cousin rued the Goddess’s curse, as she called it, Reena was fascinated. She’d heard whispers of increased tingling and sensation in one’s womanhood and breasts, of a physical and emotional yearning that would not cease until one engaged in violent debasement with a barbarian.

“I would take your place if I could,” Reena offered. She would gladly accept a grunting, perspiring, odiferous barbarian over death any day.

“What if the Lahon are not overcome by my libidinal essence, and I am captured?”

“Those are stories spread by women who would shirk their duty.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]The Goddess’s Curse

Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate.

Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Reena, the Sharona queen’s daughter, jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.

Garat, leader of the Lahon, has only hatred for the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to avenge his son’s death by driving the Sharona from their homeland to take what the Lahon need.

When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.

But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lies in the palace in time to save her life?

Find The Goddess’s Curse at these sites:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | All Romance

Kobo | Apple iTunes | Scribd

 

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The princess is dying….will kidnapping her save her or be the end?

The Goddess’s Curse is an epic battle of the sexes. Women and men live apart, uniting only briefly to mate. Princess Reena is dying of mysterious illness. When she’s kidnapped by a barbarian seeking revenge and he discovers the reason for her illness, will he do what it takes to save her?

The Goddess’s Curse

By Cara Bristol

Chapter One

Under a caress of sunlight, Reena floated in the pond, grateful to have escaped the watchful eyes of servants, advisers, and bodyguards. Well, most of them. She cracked an eyelid. Yep. Carinda was still there, keeping a firm grip on her electrical impulse disruptor and a steady gaze on the perimeter. Her bodyguard’s caution and devotion were admirable—but unnecessary. No danger could penetrate the protected grotto.

Reena rolled over and dove deep. Tiny fish scattered. She touched the sandy bed then Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]swam along the bottom until the need for air forced her upward again. She broke the surface and flung her hair out of her eyes.

Hip deep in the water, Carinda splashed toward her. “Oh my Goddess. You scared me to death.” The big burly guard looked like an oversized drowned rodent. Reena would have laughed except for Carinda’s contorted, stricken expression. She didn’t want to scare anybody; she only needed solitude. “You worry unnecessarily. I have been swimming since I was a little girl.”

I can barely float, Princess,” Carinda replied. “Anything could have happened. I feared you were drowning.”

“I apologize. I shouldn’t have frightened you. Why don’t you return to the palace and get some dry clothes?”

Carinda shook her head. “No, I won’t desert you.”

“You’re not deserting me. You’ll be right back.” Please, give me a moment to myself. No attendants, no servants, no guards. “I’ll be safe. Promise.” She flashed her most beguiling smile.

“No, Princess.”

“I am not asking.” Treading water, Reena compressed her lips in frustration. “I command you to return to the palace.”

Carinda bit her lip then shook her head. “I’m sorry, Princess, the queen’s wishes supersede yours. I have been ordered not to leave you alone, in case…something befalls you.” Her hurt expression turned questioning. “I don’t know how you got out of the palace without anyone seeing you.” She stopped speaking, probably willing Reena to fill the silence with an explanation.

The bodyguard would have a long wait. The existence of the secret passage would go with Reena to her grave. She hadn’t shared that information with anyone, not even with her cousin Honna, her closest ally.

Reena lifted her chin, and Carinda conceded the battle. “It was fortunate I spotted you while patrolling the grounds.”

Unfortunate. Reena refused to feel guilty. “Please go to the palace. I won’t be long.”

“You are not well.” Carinda held her ground.

“I’ll stay with her.” Honna stepped from the path onto the beach.

Having her cousin nearby didn’t qualify as being alone, but Reena much preferred her presence to the guard’s. Despite a seven-year age gap, they were best friends, as close as sisters.

“If anyone can take of me, she can,” Reena argued. She owed her continuing life to her cousin. The Goddess had gifted Honna with a natural talent for the healing arts, which she had honed by intensive training. If not for her, Reena would have already died. Once, she would have become Shara, but her mysterious illness cast doubt she would live long enough to ascend the throne currently held by her mother, Ellynna.

Carinda waded out of the pool. Dripping and shivering, she planted both feet on the bank.

“If you catch a chill in those wet clothes, then how will you protect me?” Reena called.

Carinda’s resolute expression wavered. “What if there are invaders? Barbarians who would catch a woman alone? The Lajon.”

“At the very center of the palace gardens? Unlikely,” Honna scoffed. “They would have to scale the perimeter wall, neutralize our guards, storm the palace, and then choose the right path to this bathing pool.”

And if barbarians did achieve the near-impossible and breach their defenses, a lone bodyguard would be no match for them. Pointing that out would cause worrywart Carinda to freak.

“I suppose you’re right,” she conceded, wrinkles of doubt lining her forehead.

Reena swam toward shore until her feet could touch the bottom and then stood. Water lapped at her shoulders.

“Go,” Honna said. “Everything will be fine.”

“Very well. I will be back posthaste.” After one last reluctant, lingering look, Carinda hurried down the garden path and disappeared.

Reena expelled her breath. “I thought she’d never leave. Thank you.”

“She cares about you. As we all do.”

“She hovers, like she expects me to drop at any moment. She treats me like I am a doddering village elder instead of a woman of twenty-two years.” She omitted that she’d sneaked out of the palace, and Carinda had happened upon her by chance. No need to worry Honna.

“You must be stronger today to have walked this far and to have swum.”

“I do feel better.”

“You took the herbs on schedule then? I used a stronger strain. They must be working.”

“Yes.” Reena pursed her lips and lied. “They are.” So bitter, the herbs gagged her. The foul taste clung to her tongue for hours. She’d skipped yesterday’s morning and evening doses. It wasn’t like it mattered. Honna believed the herbal remedy had slowed the disease’s progression, but Reena knew otherwise. Her weight and strength continued to melt away, and she’d begun suffering strong abdominal cramps.

This morning, she’d awakened with an appetite and had been able to eat a bit of fruit and some bread. Not wanting to spoil her enjoyment of the meal by filling her mouth with the bitter herb taste, she’d omitted her first dose of this day, too.

“Good.” Honna beamed.

She worries so much about me. Reena dropped her gaze and prayed for forgiveness of her falsehoods.

Her cousin opened her medical pouch. “Let’s keep it working with another dose.”

Reena stifled a groan. No way out of this one. Not with Honna standing there, mixing a pinch of coarse powder ground from dried leaves and berries into a flask with some water. “Here.” Her cousin held out the vial, and she had to wade closer to accept it.

The sleeve of her cousin’s robe slipped to reveal her mating crystal. Not fully saturated, but definitely blue. Reena widened her eyes. “You never said a word…”

Honna’s amulet had changed to cyan the first time seven years ago, and already she had borne two children. Both male, but she could keep trying until she got a female. Now that the color signaled the onset libidinal fever, she would have another opportunity to try for a daughter. A chance Reena would never have. She peeked at her own mating crystal. Clear as ever. It was wrong to envy her cousin, but, sometimes, she couldn’t help it. To hold a babe, even a male one…

You are ungrateful. Be thankful you have recuperated enough to enjoy this beautiful day.

“I did not want to rub it in your face that I am in season again when you have yet to experience it,” Honna said.

“That’s silly.” Reena shook her head. “You shouldn’t hesitate to share your good fortune with me. It gives me pleasure to live through you since I have not been blessed in such a manner.”

Honna smoothed her thumb over her gem as if she could erase the color. “Blessing? Or curse?”

“Honna!” Reena glanced over her shoulder. “That’s blasphemy.”

To her relief, her cousin looked chagrined. “Perhaps curse is too strong. Let’s say I would surrender the dubious pleasure of mating for a calm mind. Although I’m in the early stage of libidinal fever, it distracts me, disturbs my sleep, and forces me to work harder to focus.” A slight smile touched her lips and she motioned. “Now…quit stalling. Drink up.”

Reena held her nose and downed the noxious concoction. Shuddering, she handed back the empty flask. “I wish something could be done to make that more palatable.” Her tongue seemed to be coated with the stuff.

“Its potency is greatest at full strength.”

Her mutinous stomach rebelled, and Reena pressed a hand to her abdomen, praying for the vile herb to stay down. If she vomited, Honna would mix another draught. Accommodating on so many other matters, her cousin was a stickler when it came to health.

Honna pointed to a large boulder. “I’ll wait over there. Finish your swim.”

“Why don’t you join me? The water is glorious,” Reena invited. “Perhaps it’s because I haven’t been out of the palace in so long, but the pool seems larger.” At one side, leafy branches poked out of the water. She could have sworn the plants had once been rooted on the dry bank, but maybe her memory was hazy.

“It has,” Honna said. “All of our pools and streams have swelled over their banks.” She motioned for Reena to swim.

“Please? Join me? We haven’t done anything for fun in a long time. It will be like it used to be.” Having desired to be alone at first, now she wished for company to relive the days when she hadn’t a care in the world. Before responsibilities then illness had taken over her life, she and her cousin used to swim together all the time. As children, they’d received lessons; Honna was a stronger swimmer than Reena even.

“Not today.” Honna shooed her deeper. “Hurry—before she comes back.” She took a seat on the boulder.

Reena dove into the water with a splash. She could hold her breath for many minutes—far longer than Carinda would have been comfortable with. It would have been impossible to enjoy herself with the bodyguard hovering as if she would expire at any moment. True, she was going to die, but it wouldn’t be today. She glided beneath the surface, grateful and happy that she felt well enough to swim and could enjoy the pool.

The first cramp grabbed her in the deepest part of the pool. She doubled over, expelling the air from her chest, and then sucked in a mouthful of water on the inhale. Agony exploded in her lungs.

Don’t panic. Trying to ignore the pain, she shot upward. She broke the surface, coughing and gasping. “Honna!” Another excruciating spasm hit and knotted her stomach. “Honna! Help!” she cried, scissoring her arms and legs to tread water. The boulder was vacant.Where is my cousin?

Her gaze darted over the sandy beach. There! Her cousin stood off to the side.

“Help me, Honna!” Her cousin seemed to stare right at her but made no move to enter the water. Stabbed by white-hot darts, muscles twisted, and Reena went under. Liquid filled her mouth, her nose. Flailing arms and legs, she sank to the bottom, holding her breath while her lungs threatened to burst.

I’m going to die.

Let go, death tempted. No more sickness. No more bitter herbs. No more.

No!

Reena kicked to the surface. “Honna!” she screamed, using the last reserves of energy. She had enough time to suck in a breath before the next cramp dragged her under.

Please, Goddess, not like this…not like this…

Find The Goddess’s Curse at these sites:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | All Romance

Kobo | Apple iTunes | Scribd

The Goddess’s Curse Blurb

Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate.

Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Reena, the Sharona queen’s daughter, jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.

Garat, leader of the Lahon, has only hatred for the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to avenge his son’s death by driving the Sharona from their homeland to take what the Lahon need.

When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.

But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lies in the palace in time to save her life?

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The Goddess’s Curse Release Day! #Fantasy #romance #SFR

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]

The Goddess’s Curse has been released! Yes, book one of the Heartmates fantasy/sci-fi Romance series is available in ebook formats here:

Amazon |Amazon UKBarnes & Noble | All Romance

Apple iTunes | Kobo | Scribd

In addition, The Goddess’s Curse will be available SOON in paperback on Amazon & BN. The best way to find out about future availability is to subscribe to my new release newsletter–you’ll only get an email when I have book release info–no other reason.

Try The Goddess’s Curse before you buy. To read chapter one for free, click here.

The Goddess’s Curse Blurb.

Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate.

Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Reena, the Sharona queen’s daughter, jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.

Garat, leader of the Lahon, has only hatred for the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to avenge his son’s death by driving the Sharona from their homeland to take what the Lahon need.

When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.

But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lies in the palace in time to save her life?

Goddess Reader Drawing!

If you’re going to read The Goddess’s Curse anyway, why not enter the Goddess Reader Drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card? All you have to do is post a review (good, bad or ugly) on Amazon by March 31, 2015. Then email a link of your review to carabristol50 (at) yahoo (dot ) com. Put “I Read the Goddess!” in the subject line. And you’re entered. The winner will be selected by random drawing and announced on April 6.

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#8Sunday: From The Goddess’s Curse, the abduction…

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. If you’ve been following my excerpts from The Goddess’s Curse, well, today is Release Day! You’re not limited to eight sentences anymore. You can read the whole thing!

Amazon | Amazon UKBarnes & Noble | All Romance

Kobo | Apple iTunes | Scribd

Soon, The Goddess’s Curse will be available in PAPERBACK. Watch my blog or subscribe to my newsletter for notification.

To celebrate the release, I have a contest for Goddess readers to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Get the details on my official release day blog.

Now for the excerpt:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]If you remember from last week,  whe Garat comes to after being knocked out, he finds a naked, unconscious woman lying on the ground next to him.

For today’s excerpt, I don’t need eight sentences, only six:

Grasping her twig of an arm, he tugged her to a sitting position; her head lolled forward. One good sign: her crystal was clear, so she wouldn’t cause an uproar by enrapturing multiple males. How she had incited his lust was better left for examination another time.

He removed his mail and pulled off his tunic. After he dressed her in the long shirt, he re-donned his chest guard then slung her slight form over his shoulder. Conscience heavier than his burden, he headed for home.

 The Goddess’s Curse blurb

Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate.

Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Reena, the Sharona queen’s daughter, jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.

Garat, leader of the Lahon, has only hatred for the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to avenge his son’s death by driving the Sharona from their homeland to take what the Lahon need.

When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.

But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lies in the palace in time to save her life?

Please check out some of the other authors of Weekend Writing Warriors. There’s a variety of everything; romance, suspense, sci-f, fantasy, even poetry. Click on the logo:

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