Splinters of Me
First up, thanks to Melissa Schroeder (as well as a very happy, belated birthday to her as well!) for having me as a guest today. I had planned a blog about my latest release that was unavoidably detained when the publisher decided to shutter its doors last month. That left me in a bit of a pickle, so I threw the question out there about what people would like to know if they could ask me a question and I received a windfall of so many that I’ll have some great guest blogs in the future (at least that’s the game plan).
So for today, the question comes from Chandra Ryan on Twitter:
“Do you ever put little pieces of yourself, or others you know, in your stories?”
I have two answers for this question; the first is I rarely put myself into my stories, because writing is as much an escape for me as I hope reading my stories will be for you. That said, one of my first novels Prime Evil (not currently available) features heroine Chance Monroe and a lot of Chance’s snarky attitude comes from yours truly.
She will literally say what I am thinking, so that makes writing her both fun and challenging, because just how politically incorrect can I be before it’s intrusive for the reader. I like to think I have a nice mix.
As for the second answer, well here comes the confession.
Of course, I put people I know in my books. Life is the most fascinating classroom I’ve ever attended. I love to sit and watch people whether we are at a conference, a restaurant, a party or just kicking it at Starbuck’s for coffee. Many a one liner has made the leap from conversation with me to a story I was working on.
I’ve even cast friends in roles, not necessarily their looks, but sometimes their attitudes. They don’t always stay the same, most times the character grows beyond that initial inspiration, which is as it should be.
Recently I’ve been working on a series of shorts for Decadent Publishing’s 1Night Stand series (by the way, there are some truly wonderful and charming stories in these shorts if you haven’t checked them out). Anyway, my series of shorts are subtitled Always a Marine and yes, they focus on a lot of Marines and I had so much fun writing these stories.
During a conversation with a friend of mine about them, she mentioned that the services often have fun by making an acronym out of their branch of the service. Case in point, the Marines are “My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment” - well I couldn’t resist. In one of my upcoming stories, the hero and heroine are enjoying a night out and get to know you session when she mentions she loves cruises. His response? “My Ass Rode In enough Navy Equipment.”
So yes, Chandra, I definitely borrow from real life because that helps me keep it real with my characters. Fortunately, my life is populated with zany, wonderful people who keep me entertained and maintain a loving tolerance for my penchant of “…oh, I have to write that down…”
Next month, I have a release coming out from Siren-Bookstrand entitled Cassandra’s Dilemma, the first in the Forbidden Legacy trilogy. The book was actually inspired by a conversation, but that’s a story for another day. I thought I would treat any readers who hung around to a sneak peek of that tale. Be sure to leave your thoughts, I’ve got a ten-dollar Amazon gift card for one lucky commentator.
Excerpt From Cassandra’s Dilemma, February 2012
Cassie faded away from the conversation, divorced from her own body. It was better to not feel the icy burn crawling through her veins. She floated between one moment and the next.
Appropriate since she was Underhill.
“Truce?” Helcyon’s voice whispered along her consciousness like the gentlest of caresses.
“Peace.” The agent’s voice moved closer. “Did it mark her?”
“I see blood. I thought we moved her away before it could.”
“It was there for her.”
“Why were you there, Elf ?”
“Why were you there, Wizard?”
“Mine as well. Her leg… See the mark—poison in the blood.”
“What the hell was it?”
“It doesn’t matter now. We must get it out. You draw the poison. I will ease the pain.”
Cassie drifted along, listening to their odd conversation. Warm fingers cupped her cheek. The scent of vanilla and soft spices tickled her nose. Opening her eyes took extreme effort, but she managed to drag her eyelids open.
Helcyon’s face was just centimeters from her own. She looked into eyes the color of the deep, green forest. She’d thought his eyes were black, but they were dark, like the woods at night, filled with mystery and promise. The scent of vanilla mingled with pine, loam, and rich earth. She inhaled deeply, sighing at the heady combination. His breath whispered across her face. Her lips parted in anticipation. The soft velvet of his lips rushed across her mouth, capturing the gasp of pain she released as jagged ice and fire ripped through her leg.
The fingers on her cheek caressed away the tears. Her mouth parted under the tentative probing of his tongue. Pain faded away, leaving only the sensations of his lips moving on hers. Languorous heat spread through her body, leaving her limp. She whimpered a soft sound as he pulled away, but his finger stroked across her lips. “Sleep, Cassandra. Sleep.”
Robbed of the effort to fight the compulsion, Cassie slept. Somewhere beyond the thick wraps of satin and silk muffling the world she heard a snort of derision.
About Heather Long
Heather Long is a full time writer, mother, friend and student. She can often be found at 4 a.m. hiding in her garage with a cup of coffee and a new story idea unfolding on her laptop. Her Fevered Hearts series launched in October 2011 with Marshal of Hel Dorado and the second book, Brave are the Lonely, will release in March 2012. You can keep up with these and all of Heather’s upcoming releases via her website, Facebook page and occasionally, Twitter although she swears she’s pretty bad at remembering to Tweet even when she reads them.