Garden of Serenity

In this crazy world of publishing it’s getting harder and harder to know which way to turn. There’s confusion over which road to take or even whether we should stop, take a look around and maybe change direction completely.

Yeeeeah, that’s kind of where I’m at.

Eight years ago, at the end of December, my first book was published. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Liquid Silver Books had taken a chance on an unknown author, held her hand through editing and cover design and released this book:

 
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So I was challenged to find 7 words, 7 sentences or 7 paragraphs of sexiness from one of my books. Since I’m totally smitten with Brenimyn, the hero in my romantic suspense novel, GARDEN OF SERENITY, I thought I’d share a scene and give you a sense of this sexy man.

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Patience. That’s what was required of him. But damn, he’d been treading water a hell of a long time while he waited for destiny to change the course of his life.

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This week I’m jumping into the fourth book in the Darynda Jones “Grave” series, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet. I love this series. Why? One word … characters. Ms. Jones has created a cast of characters that I have completely fallen in love with and can’t wait to see what happens next in their lives. Of course creating memorable characters that readers fall in love with is the goal of every writer who puts fingers to keyboard. Anyway, this got me thinking about characters over the years that were so strong/handsome/kick-ass that I still think about them. In no particular order …

1. Meggie Cleary (The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough) This feisty redhead knew what she wanted and went after it even when it wasn’t proper. When she couldn’t have the man she loved, she tried her darnedest to love the man she was with.

2. Burke Basile (Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown) – This gruff detective is sure he just wants revenge. In typical Brown storytelling of course he finds love is much sweeter.

3. Ayla (The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel) – Wow, what can be said about this heroine. She just keeps on keeping on. Surviving in the wild, she learns to communicate with animals. She names her horse “Whinnie”, not the name … the sound.

4. Nell Channing (Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts) – She is from the first in the “Three Sister’s Island” trilogy. I love these witches, but this first sister doesn’t know she’s a witch and that’s why I think I love her all the more.

5. Charles Wallace (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle) – A boy who travels through time and space… what’s not to love?

6. Charlie Gordon (Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes) – This character just breaks my heart. A mentally disabled man that is given a cure and becomes a genius. But when it begins to slip away it’s heartbreaking to watch him decline.

7. Charlie Davidson (First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones) – Not only is she a detective … but the Grim Reaper. Yeah, who would have thought that the Grim Reaper could be one hell of a heroine. But there you have it!

8. Kristin Bjorson (Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey) – Another kick-ass heroine that you can’t help but loving. Kidnapped from Earth and transported to another planet, she steps up to help lead a ragtag band of victims to create a new settlement. Of course she finds the alien of her dreams in Zainal.

9. Eliza Flyte (The Horsemaster’s Daughter by Susan Wiggs) – Fiercely independent, she lives alone on an island. When a plantation owner brings a wounded horse to her to heal, it seems more than one heart mends.

10. Brenimyn (Garden of Serenity by Nina Pierce) – Oh come on, you’ve gotta give me one! LOL! Bren is the hero from the first novel that I published. I think he’s so memorable because I rolled all my favorite heroes into this one hunky guy.

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So there are a few of mine. What about you? What characters can you just not get out of your head … or heart?

Welcome to our NEW YEAR’S blog hop. There are lots of participating authors with all kinds of prizes available. Please be sure to click the link at the bottom of this post to travel to the next post. Even if you start here, all of the blogs for the NEW YEAR’S BLOG HOP have links to the next author. HAVE FUN!!

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As we’re ringing in another new year with lots of “firsts” ahead of us, I thought I’d share with you some of the first lines in my books. Every author knows that we have one line, one paragraph and if we’re lucky–one page to grab you, the reader and keep you turning pages. I can spend days tweaking and reworking the beginning of my stories. When you look at them individually what do you think? Does the line make you want to keep reading or not so much?

Yeeeeah, I so totally added a picture of the hero from each of the books … what fun is a blog hop without a little eye candy? *vbg* 😉

1. Jahara Khateri’s life was over. As she stared out the windows of the crowded helo-train, she knew nothing could change the course of her life. She felt the hollow reality as obvious as the barren expanse of the desert stretching between her and the horizon.

GARDEN OF SERENITY *

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2. Nicholas Gradin III splashed three more finger of thirty-year-old scotch into the crystal tumbler sitting on the antique desk, not bothering to add ice. He didn’t need some watered-down version of liquid courage. At this moment, he needed straight up, balls-to-the-walls confidence that everything would work out in his favor.

*  GRAPES OF RAPTURE *

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3. Margaret Callaghan hid her heartache behind dark sunglasses and the Starbuck’s double-double mocha latte she carried like a shield. The steaming coffee hadn’t helped dislodge the hot coal of despair burning her throat or soothe the quiver of her bottom lip. Mercifully, the front receptionist’s desk of Summit Rehabilitation and Wellness Clinic was empty at this hour of the morning, giving her hope that she just might be able to reach her office and pull herself together before anyone could question her misery.

IN HIS EYES

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4. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”
How could this have happened to someone so young? Julie Tilling dabbed at the tears ruining the makeup she’d meticulously applied to her rounded cheeks. She stared at the coffin suspended eerily over the marred earth of the cemetery, not sure what to make of this farce.

BLIND HER WITH BLISS *

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5. Sara Lancaster had definitely made the wrong decision. Less than twenty-four hours ago she was sure this weekend was just what she needed. Eight hours ago, excitement had fluttered in her stomach as she’d left Boston, overjoyed to accept the invitation. Hell, just two hours ago she’d been giddy with anticipation as she’d collected her bags at the Key West airport and caught a taxi to the boat landing. But her tiny apartment and the bungalow where she currently stood weren’t merely thousands of miles apart—a whole world separated the comfortable life she’d finally made for herself and the fantasy she was standing in.

* RECLAIMED IN ECSTASTY (Coming February 2015) *

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6. It wasn’t much of a noise, just an inconsequential thump in the night that was enough to rouse Professor Paul Morgan from his dreamless slumber. Still cradled in the gentle arms of sleep, his blood thick with sleeping medication, he wasn’t sure if he’d simply imagined the sound. But when another muffled bang was followed by a whoosh of air—he had no doubt the commotion coming from the first floor had nothing to do with his mischievous tabby, Zeus.

* SHADOWS OF FIRE *

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7. Jayda Kynslan sauntered into the Whip and Bull Tavern, wanting only two things—a cold beer and a hot guy. The first, she hoped would ease the heavy ache in her chest. The second she hoped would replace the images of the jackass who’d broken her heart.

* BONDED SOULS *

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8. Meghan Tilling’s body quaked with fear and the bone-chilling thirty-eight degrees of the cooler where she was trapped. She pressed her forehead against the icy metal of the door, her palm caressing its pebbled surface, trying to fight the panic lurking like a sinister shadow and threatening to overwhelm her in despair. How ironic that the annoyance of driving in a Maine snowstorm had kept her at Tilling Gardens and Plants, the business she co-owned with her two sisters. Finishing the shop’s holiday arrangements and festive decorations had seemed a better alternative to a white-knuckled drive home in the heart of a nor’easter. Except now, instead of being stranded in a ditch on the side of the road with a chance of being rescued, she was going to freeze to death alone in the walk-in cooler that was the lifeblood of her business.

* CHEAT HER WITH CHARM *

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9. Jesus. Even though Jonathon Brierton wasn’t particularly religious he prayed for Divine intervention. Not that he wanted any lightning strikes or halos of light illuminating the shadowed corner of the club where he’d hidden himself, but a little more help in the patience department would certainly go a long way at the moment. It went against his baser nature to sit back and wait rather than walking over and convincing the copper-haired beauty leaning over the railing across the way to put on his collar and join him in one of the private dungeons below.

* BOUND IN ECSTASY (Coming January 2015) *

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10. Lilly D’Angelo wasn’t expecting a trip down memory lane when she sauntered into the dingy tavern, but the acrid stench and gruff hum of the Friday night crowd carried her back to one of the seedier establishments on Chicago’s south side nonetheless. Except for the clientele, the owner had managed to replicate nearly every detail right down to the blue haze of cigarette smoke and the soft crooning of a jazz band on the corner stage. Pushing the sour thoughts of home from her mind and focusing on the job at hand, Lilly morphed her features into her sexiest vixen pout and moved gracefully toward the long bar on the other side of the room. Her voluptuous breasts, spilling temptingly from her silk blouse, led the way. The eyes watching her leather-clad ass sashay around the battered tables were clustered on various life forms—none of them human. Yeeeeeah, definitely not Chicago. Hell, this wasn’t even Earth for goodness’ sake.

* A TOUCH OF LILLY (An All Romance Ebook BESTSELLER!) *

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11. Deirdre Tilling slammed the spade into the soil. Her booted foot thumped down on its metal edge, driving it deeper and transferring her frustration to the wounded earth. She’d been working the flowerbeds around her farmhouse since noon. And though the sun stretched the shadows of the maples long across her lawn, painting their leaves a deeper crimson, the hours of heavy labor hadn’t helped ease the pain of loneliness.

* DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE *

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12. She raced through the shadows, her claws digging deep in the damp forest floor. Lush ferns of summer slapped at her muzzle but didn’t slow her speed. The scent of rabbit rode on the night air laced with the honeyed aroma of silky lupine. Jayda Kynslan tamped down the urge to hunt. Time had become her enemy. Her attention needed to stay focused on more important quarry.

* BONDED BY NEED *

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****  THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED  ****

So, what do you think? Any of  those “firsts” catch your eye? Leave a comment on this thread telling me how much you loved one of the lines (*g*) or enjoyed the eye candy or a special “first” you’re anticipating in 2015.

One person who comments on this post between now and SUNDAY, JANUARY 4 at 6:00 pm, EST will be chosen at random to win a “NINA PIERCE GIFT PACK”, including a signed book and some other fun swag. (Shipping to US and Canadian residence only. An international winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card in lieu of gift pack.)

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Check out PAIGE TYLER’S blog to continue our New Year’s hop!

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I LOVE this story. It was many years percolating before it became a published novel. Here are some of my favorite lines from GARDEN OF SERENITY.

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1. Jahara Khateri’s life was over. As she stared out the windows of the crowded helo-train, she knew nothing could change the course of her life. She felt the hollow reality as obvious as the barren expanse of the desert stretching between her and the horizon.

2. Gabriella Bresilee settled her bony frame in one of the chairs across from Jahara. The yellow suit she wore covered every inch of her alabaster skin, save for her face, hands and feet. Tucking stray wisps of auburn hair back into the braided bun at the top of her head, Gabriella’s mouth curved in a predatory grimace.

3. Brenimyn’s hand engulfed hers and he leaned in close, the warmth of his breath stroking her cheek. “My dear, I was not in your head. You crawled into mine somewhere around the barn scene with Nazaret and the replay of our lovemaking.” He nipped the bottom lip of her gaping mouth. “Which, I might add, has been a pleasant vision while we rode.”

NudeCoupleSmall4. To the women before him, he was nothing more than a stud. Stupid, beastly and—inhuman. Oh, if only they knew what he could do, they wouldn’t think themselves so superior, now would they?

5. The anger riding on his words pushed her away. “I…I’m not sure. I haven’t had time to process this. I need…” Her voice fell away. She had no idea what she needed.
“What, Jahara? You need what?” Brenimyn pressed his palm between her breasts, the contact buzzing through her, quickening her pulse. “The truth you seek is right here. Feel it. Feel me.”

6. Mikalyn would never, as long as she lived, forget the ultimate powers of healing she witnessed the day before. The light poured forth from Jahara, radiating from her heart down her arms, to her hands, buried deep in Lukiam’s arm. Jahara’s upper body glowed with a brilliance pouring into Lukiam until the unconscious man became luminescent with the healing power flowing out of Jahara. It had been only minutes they’d been joined in that halo of light, but the vision of it would be seared in Mykilai’s mind forever.

7. “Brenimyn’s the one for me. I wasn’t looking, but there he is. There’s always been something missing.” Jahara pressed a palm to her heart. “With Bren, my heart is whole.”

WomanSmall8. A picture of Jahara standing in front of the government building filled the wall monitor. Brenimyn’s heart nearly stopped at the image of her. She looked lost. He knew he couldn’t have saved her from that moment, but guilt knotted his gut. He hadn’t told her how things would go today. The vision his sister had shared with Brenimyn made him the scapegoat. No one had known how the Government would accomplish it, but he was here only to pave the way for the true warrior. The battle was Jahara’s to win or lose. He was never meant to stand at her side while she fought.

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