Category Archives: Sleight of Hand

So Much Magic…

Since I have just returned to dry land after seven days on an Alaskan Cruise, I am now an expert on all the magical (and non-magical) aspects of cruises.

We’ll start with the non-magical. There are three. The coffee, to me, was the most important. The coffee on a cruise is just…coffee. It is what it is and you either make do or you actively dislike it and make yourself miserable.

But then you see something like this and suddenly coffee is no longer important because the world is magical. It just is.

Juneau moonlight

Juneau magic

The second non-magic thing about cruises is the toilets. As we found out the morning after we set sail when an entire section of toilets on our side of the boat stopped flushing because somebody threw a tissue in one. It didn’t take long to resolve, but until then, you had to go potty elsewhere. But then you look out the window at 10 p.m. and see something like this:

Sitka Midnight Sun

Midnight (almost) sun magic

Side Note: That’s a container ship on the right. One of those enormous things that dwarfs everything—or at least I used to think so.

The only other thing that I didn’t find magical on the cruise was the size of the shower. Tiny. Closet-sized. Impossible to shave your legs while showering. But then you approach British Columbia after a cool, gray day at sea and this sight greets you:

British Columbia magic

Sunlight magic

Of course with all this magic around me, I was amazingly productive. Seriously. I finished another pass through Movie Magic (coming October 31), and then I got an idea for a magical romance set on a cruise ship and started outlining and making notes…and writing. I say this a little sheepishly because I know it’ll be a couple years before I get this one out. My next magic book, which I plan to write during National Novel Writing Month this year, will tie in to Movie Magic and is tentatively titled Hollywood Magic. (You’ll meet Carole, the heroine, in Movie Magic.) So what the heck am I doing writing Magic at Sea now? Talk about getting the cart before the horse.

In case you’re curious, Magic at Sea will tie in with the adventures of Lady Lydia and Tony Hawke from Escape Magic. I had a lot of complaints about that book. It was my only attempt at a novella in this series, and evidently it didn’t work for a lot of people who wanted more about this particularly passionate couple. So, even though I feel I told their story pretty well (especially for a 99 cent novella), I’m going to pick it up a little more in this one.

But you’ll have to wait. Because before that can happen, I have Timeless, the last book of my Synchronicity series to get through (January 2018?), then Hollywood Magic (October 31, 2018). And then I’ll get to Magic at Sea. And you’ll meet Frankie, Lady Lydia’s protege, and her as-yet unnamed hero.

And just in case you think I’ve forgotten that magic can be found on land as well as at sea, here’s a little bit of heavenly magic perfection I found in Seattle:

Seattle rose

Seattle rose magic

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Sleight of Hand, Writing

Cover Reveal: Movie Magic!

Anyone want to see a magic trick? Ta-daa!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

Okay, not so much a magic trick, but I sort of feel like this entire book is magic. It started out as something totally different. It was a book called Pirate Magic. Yeah, I know. Goofy. Although maybe not! I might actually write that one someday! Anyway, I digress. That was back in 2014. I had an idea set in Beaufort, N.C., and it was all about pirate cosplayers and it was a lot of fun. But it had too many problems, so then I started writing Movie Magic in 2015 and I set part of it in Beaufort and put some of my pirate cosplayers into this book…and it was a mess.

So obviously I abandoned the whole concept. Went off and wrote and published the first two books of Synchronicity and never looked back…

…Until this summer. I published Time Being in June and turned to the third book of Synchronicity. But, although Timeless is written and waiting for editing, I couldn’t get into it. And I can’t stand to NOT have some sort of writing project going on, so I picked up Movie Magic, and I fell in love with the characters all over again and I edited and rewrote like a madman for a couple of weeks and bam! It was done, the story was told.

I then formatted and edited again and then I called on the fabulous Farah Evers for a cover. For this one, I had such a definite idea of what I wanted, it took no time at all for her to come up with the beautiful cover you see above.

So now what? I have the book. I have the cover. But I always try to release my magic books on October 31, the anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death. So I guess I’m just going to have to start pulling out some magic tricks to entertain you guys for three months!

Stay tuned!

Comments Off on Cover Reveal: Movie Magic!

Filed under Movie Magic, Sleight of Hand, Writing

Coming soon…

Cover Reveal Movie Magic-page0001

Comments Off on Coming soon…

July 30, 2017 · 12:17 pm

Magic in the Wings…

I seem to always have about three novels in the works these days. So after Time Being‘s release in June, I took a couple weeks off and then I picked up one of my previous projects, a Sleight of Hand novel I wrote way back in 2014 during NaNoWriMo.

If you’ve ever completed a National Novel Writing Month novel, you know what you tend to end up with. It’s usually a huge mess. This one, in particular was a bit of a mess to begin with because I’d taken two ideas, Pirate Magic and an untitled novel about a children’s magician, and thrown them in together. The result couldn’t be pretty, right?

Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I’d first thought. I actually enjoyed unraveling the knots I’d tied my plot into and filling in the holes. I really fell in love with my characters all over again. If you’ve read Island Magic, you’ll recognize Sabrina Parker, the tough and talented special effects expert who helped magician Ian Logan fake a plane crash on a remote tropical island. And Walt Bryson, children’s magician, makes a perfect love interest for the intrepid Ms. Parker.

It’s a match made in the stars—Hollywood stars, that is!

Anyway, here’s the blurb, which may change a bit before I’m done. I’m always tweaking these things, right up until I’m ready to publish it. I’m hoping to have this one out by October. It still needs another copy-editing run-through and maybe even a little light editing, but for the most part the story is done, and here it is:

Lights…camera…magic!

Sabrina Parker has spent her professional life creating unbelievable stunts and magical effects for movies and stage magicians. Now she needs a magician to help her bring a very special movie to life. Her search leads her to the very unlikely stage of Walt Bryson, host of a long-running children’s television show in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Walt isn’t terribly happy about taking Hollywood’s call. He’s never sought the same notoriety as his Ian Logan and Andre Hawke. But there’s something about the beautiful, levelheaded Ms. Parker, and when he reads her screenplay, he knows he wants to work with her. For the first time in years, he’s willing to put tragedy behind him and make real magic.

 

Can Walt and Sabrina use love as their guide or will their past mistakes haunt their future?

Comments Off on Magic in the Wings…

Filed under Movie Magic, Sleight of Hand, Writing

Sleight of Hand Continues: A brief intro to Rachel and Logan from Island Magic!

In just thirteen days, the magic starts again! Island Magic, the third novel in my Sleight of Hand series, releases on October 31. I’m a little excited about this, and not just because the covers (designed by the amazing Farah Evers), look great together:

CloseUpMagicEbookRevEscape MagicEbookIsland Magic eBook

For those who don’t know, I started the Sleight of Hand series a couple of years ago with the release of Close Up Magic. Close Up Magic tells the story of handsome and successful magician Andre Hawke and Stacey Matthews, the scandal reporter looking for a scoop of gossip about Andre and his drug-addicted brother, Tony. Needless to say, attraction leads to passion which leads to complications, and, finally, a satisfyingly magical conclusion. I continued the series a year later with the novella Escape Magic, the story of a cleaner and stronger Tony, who finds himself challenged by an old friend, the inimitable escape magician Lady Lydia. I called this my “anti-50 Shades” bondage romance because, well, Lydia is an escape magician. Makes sense she’d be into that kind of thing, though she’s such a strong heroine, she’s more than capable of turning the tables on any partner who might try it with her.

Island Magic is a bit of a departure for me in that it doesn’t involve a practicing magician. The hero, Ian Logan, retired from the magical life after the death of his wife, which he blames himself for. He’s happy in his retirement until Rachel Duvall, his wife’s best friend, arrives at his island resort, freshly divorced and evidently determined to party her way down a self-destructive path of men, drugs and drink. Logan wants to help her, but first he has to deal with his own attraction to the sexy goddess he barely recognizes.

Rachel is the single most unlikely heroine I’ve ever written, but I absolutely love her. It was hard to get her just right. The things she does aren’t things I could ever imagine doing, so at first I had a hard time relating to her. I had to achieve a balance in her personality that somehow made her worth redeeming, and it was very difficult! Have a look at this excerpt to get a taste of what Rachel appears to be at the beginning of the book:

Three floors down from Rachel’s window handsome, tanned men dressed in white moved around the pool, setting up chairs, sweeping away small bits of trash, piling clean white towels on bamboo stands. Rachel watched their smooth movements with all the admiration she would feel for a ballet. They were coordinated, efficient, pleasant to observe.

They reminded her a little of the cast members she’d seen at Disney World when she was last there. The memory brought a jab of pain sharp enough to penetrate the morning fog. She’d been so full of hope then. So sure it wouldn’t be the last time she believed in magic.

The bedsheets rustled and a tousled dark head emerged. The handsome college kid grinned at her, teeth white against his olive skin. Where was he from again? Spain? She struggled to remember at least that much. His name was out of the question. She never remembered names. How old was he, anyway? She hoped at least twenty-one. She didn’t want to think she’d spent a passionate night in the arms of anyone technically young enough to be her son. He’s still too young for a thirtysomething divorcee. Her years weighed on her for a second before she shook them off impatiently.

He held out a hand. “Come back to bed.”

The invitation was eloquently stated and absurdly inviting to have been uttered by someone so young. However old he was, he certainly had experience in the area of making love. And he had the face and body of a fallen angel. Curly, jet-black hair, brown eyes, lush lips. His bare skin smooth and his muscles rock hard… She shook herself out of the memory, making her voice cold on purpose. “You need to go.”

He laughed and rolled over onto his back, stretching. “You don’t mean that, mi reyna.”

My Queen. Spanish. She’d at least remembered that right. Rachel felt ludicrously relieved, which firmed up her determination. She needed to get this kid, ah hell, this boy out of her room before she fell back into bed with him. Drunk sex was one thing—the only thing she could afford. Making love sober the morning after was another. She turned away. “It’s late. I have things to do.”

He was silent. She’d hurt him. She closed her eyes. It was better this way. If he fell into the dark hole of her heart, he’d never survive it. She turned, finding his clothes in a pile on the floor. She picked them up and tossed them to him. “Here you go. You’ve got a room here, right? Go take a shower.” She let herself smile gently at him. “Look, I don’t mean to hurt you. Last night was…mmm.” She laughed a little. “You’re very good. But you’re barely old enough for me. Take my advice and stick with girls for now. Give yourself another ten years before you try with a woman my age. At least by then you’ll be interesting.”

I think you get the idea that Rachel has a long way to go from here. Fortunately, she has Logan to help her on the journey, and he’s a hero who’s more than up to the task. Don’t believe me? Here’s a little excerpt to introduce you:

Logan held the burning cigarette between his thumb and forefinger, even though he wasn’t a smoker. He could go days without smoking and never even think about it. Smoking, like most everything else in his life, was an affectation.

Except this place. This is real. Isla Foriscura, his little haven in the middle of the Caribbean, was the only thing real about him anymore. The rest was illusion. The lustful looks of the women, the nights he spent drinking a little too much trying to forget, the mornings when he could very easily have stayed in bed. None of that was real.

She was real. Rachel. She was really here, but it wasn’t really her. He frowned at the cigarette, aware that the others had finished the job he’d started with them, but not ready to move yet. He turned the problem of Rachel over and over in his mind. I stopped believing in magic a long time ago.

That wasn’t the Rachel he remembered, not that he knew her except for Nora’s description: beautiful, carefree, loving and loveable. She’d sent him an invitation to her wedding a few years ago, but he hadn’t gone. He’d sent her a lovely crystal vase instead with a card wishing her well. Who was the guy? Keith? Ken? It didn’t matter. Obviously he was out of the picture and he’d taken most of the woman Nora had loved with him.

What happened to you, Rachel?

And then there was this day. His birthday. Nora always made a big deal out of birthdays. Probably why Logan hadn’t celebrated his since her death. He looked down at the cigarette in his fingers and wound it through them, watching it with interest as it moved, seemingly of its own accord, although he knew it was little flexes of the muscles he’d developed over his years performing sleight of hand magic tricks.

Tricks. The word gave him a sour taste in his mouth. It was all tricks. He tossed the cigarette on the tiles and stepped on it as he stood. He could sit there all day brooding or he could get up and live. He’d always known those were his choices, and he’d chosen life a long time before.

Intrigued yet? In case you’re wondering, Tony, Stacey, Andre and Lady Lydia all make appearances in Island Magic, and you find out where their paths have led them. So if you want to catch up on the story before Island Magic‘s official release on October 31 in print and on Kindle, you can find their books on Amazon. Both are available for the bargain price of 99 cents! Island Magic is available for pre-order for $2.99 for Kindle now.

2 Comments

Filed under Island Magic, Sleight of Hand

Quick Update: What I haven’t done.

You know that moment when you’ve been up all night with your kid who has the tummy bug and you’ve got a splitting headache and all you want is to take a shower and go to bed, but you’re still waiting to see if the Gatorade and pretzels are going to stay down this time?

Yeah. That’s me. Right now.

So I chose this moment to update you on what’s going on in my life. And maybe give you an excerpt from Saturday Love cause I really want more people to go out and give that book some love! It deserves it.

I’ve been staying busy, which technically means out of trouble. My kids’ school libraries are up and running and almost fully staffed by volunteers. I love moms who love books and kids! I’m writing somewhat furiously on Island Magic. This one’s like a maze. I keep hitting roadblocks and having to go back to the beginning. But I’ve got a good feeling about the current track I’m on. And I’ve been doing some other fun stuff like working on a fundraiser for the kids’ school, keeping up with their various practices, etc.

What I haven’t done (and that’s always what haunts us, isn’t it?) is be consistent with my marketing for Saturday Love. As I mentioned before, it really is a good book. And even if you haven’t read Ducks in a Row, Saturday Love is pretty much a standalone novel. So anyway, rather than bore you further with my regrets, here’s a taste before I leave you alone:

Will hesitated inside the front door. He glanced down the hall, knowing his mother waited in the kitchen. His brother and sister paused with him and Will looked at Lisa. “Can you give us a minute?”

Lisa opened her mouth to object, but Patrick jerked his head at the kitchen. “Tell Mom we’ll be there in a minute.” She frowned at him, but flounced down the hallway after a second’s hesitation. Patrick sighed and looked at his brother. “Don’t ask me.”

“I just want to know if she’s okay.” Will heard the note of desperation in his voice and saw it reflected in his brother’s eyes. “Jesus, I feel like a fucking addict.” He turned away.
A moment of silence passed, then Patrick spoke. “She’s fine. I saw her the other night.”

“Did she speak to you?” Will stood with his shoulders hunched, holding onto the old wooden banister that he’d slid down as a child. He could feel a slight nick in the wood beneath his fingers and remembered how it had happened. He’d been playing with one of his father’s knives from the kitchen, pretending to be in a swordfight with an invisible adversary. He’d never intended for the banister to take a hit, but it had. Will remembered how angry his father had been. He wondered how angry he’d be now.

Patrick didn’t seem to notice his brother’s preoccupation. “No. I don’t think she saw me. She was with her husband.”

Will closed his eyes, pain and relief warring in him. I’m glad she and Neil worked things out. It’s the right thing. But God it hurts to think of her in his arms.
Then again, it always had. How in the hell did I manage to fall in love with a married woman? Especially one who was still in love with her husband?

Comments Off on Quick Update: What I haven’t done.

Filed under Island Magic, Saturday Love, Sleight of Hand, Thoughts

I finally got it right! (Preview excerpt from ISLAND MAGIC)

I’m so excited! After working on Island Magic for at least the past six months, rewriting and then rewriting again when I hit wordblocks (ha, see what I did there with roadblock/wordblock?), I think I finally got it right! I have a really good feeling about this particular iteration of my latest in the Sleight of Hand series. At times I’ve even had to wonder why am I tearing my hair out over this story? Maybe it just doesn’t want to be written. But I do think it does want to be told. I just had to find the right way to tell it. And today, I hit on it. And because I’m so confident I’ve got it right and so excited about what I think the changes are going to do to my story, I’m going to give you a little preview!

The first few paragraphs of ISLAND MAGIC:

Even Logan didn’t expect magic that night, but when he thought about it later, that was the night the real magic started.

Night fell slowly in the Caribbean, and when it came, it was complete. Especially in the little bar on the beach that Logan loved. Even the tiki torches only spread small radii of flickering glow around their poles. The rest was dark, secret, a haven for those who would rather not be seen.

From his oasis behind the thatch-roofed bar, he watched the patrons of the resort milling around, coming in from the dark beach, usually hand-in-hand with someone else. Occasionally a group of young men would collide with a group of young women and soon they would pair off and head into dark corners. All Logan had to do was make their drinks and chat. No interference required on his part. He was like a voyeuristic benefactor, watching them leave his bar with nothing but good feelings.

He spotted Rachel in the bar, but he lost sight of her in a crowd of college kids. He frowned, craning his neck. It certainly had looked like Rachel. Nora’s best friend, the maid of honor at his wedding to a woman who was now dead. But what would Rachel be doing there? And why wouldn’t she have told him she was coming?

He recognized the long, luxurious hair and the lovely features, even though they had a hard edge he wasn’t used to seeing. And what was up with the slinky dress? Rachel had always seemed so strait-laced he’d figured she would be a suburban soccer mom by now, though he’d lost touch with her years before. This was no soccer mom. This wasn’t even the beautiful, gentle woman Nora had known in the years after their marriage.

As he spied, she sat at a table not far from the bar. She was alone, but everything about her said she had no intention of remaining that way. Logan noticed several men glancing her way. He couldn’t blame them. Her raven hair fell over one bare shoulder, her sleeveless red sundress setting off her tan. He couldn’t take his eyes off her, and he shouldn’t be looking at Rachel that way. Not Nora’s best friend. Never mind that Nora died eight years ago, his self-imposed exile hadn’t been long enough. He needed more.

When the waitress delivered her order for a frozen margarita with salt, Logan intercepted it from Ramon. “Sorry, man.” He grinned at his friend. “I’m gonna deliver this one personally.”

Ramon gave him a mock growl. “Earn me a good tip if you’re gonna pull rank on me, amigo.”

Logan flashed him a smile and vaulted the bar neatly, landing on the other side to appreciative looks from a group of young women. He saluted them, picked up the margarita and crossed to the table. “Your margarita, señorita.”

She raised beautiful dark eyes to meet his. God, he’d always known she was beautiful, sexy, desirable, but the raw sensuality in that gaze left him breathless. She smiled, playing along as if she had no idea who he was. “Muchas gracias, señor. To what do I owe the special delivery?”

He glanced left and right, then sat across from her, leaning over the table as if to keep their conversation covert. “Between you and me, I’ve been told I’m overly concerned with our guests’ satisfaction.”

The curve of her lips deepened and he knew she’d sensed a double entendre in his words. He wanted to laugh but didn’t give in to the impulse. He’d spent so many years on stage, his career so dependent on reading his audience, yet he couldn’t seem to see Rachel’s carefully guarded exterior anymore. It intrigued him enough so he stepped over a boundary he hadn’t crossed in years.

Leaning over the table, he beckoned her closer. When she obliged, her expression highly amused, he let his lips brush her ear. “Do you believe in magic?”

Comments Off on I finally got it right! (Preview excerpt from ISLAND MAGIC)

Filed under Editing, Island Magic, Sleight of Hand, Writing