This post marks the beginning of my very first virtual book tour. Fellow author Christina OW was kind enough to host my launching guest blog. As such, I thought it appropriate to reflect on all the steps leading to Warlock Pawn’s publication.
Step 1: Lots of reading. I’m a devout fan of Nalini Singh, Kresley Cole, Julia Quinn and Judith McNaught. I’ll buy any book with their names on the cover.
Step 2: Lots of writing. Like any profession, it takes experience to create a good product. There are more written words languishing in my computer than there are published.
Step 3: Lots of denial. I tried NOT being a writer for over ten years. Deciding to become a romance author is one of the most illogical things I’ve ever done. I don’t regret it.
Step 4: Lots of research. Offering your manuscript to a publisher isn’t easy. I spent weeks on the internet coming up with a short list of places that would be a good fit.
Step 5: Lots of submissions. There’s no harm in asking, but it takes a great deal of time and effort.
Step 6: Rejections and Realizations. I have a decent collection of emails saying “no” in creative and not so creative ways. I trunked my first two complete manuscripts (for very good reason).
Step 7: First yes. Tower in the Woods will always have a special place in my heart.
Step 9: First encounter with an editor. All the colors on my marked up manuscript made it clear just how much room I had for improvement.
Step 10: First sale. NovelRank doesn’t register your book until at least one person pays for it. I have a sinking suspicion this sale was to my mother.
Step 11: Starting all over again. Being a glutton for punishment, I wrote something very different from my first one.
An erotic journey filled with deception and suspense, Warlock’s Pawn is my second published work and the first book in my Captive Fates series. My hero is a warrior who uses magic as his weapon, and my heroine is a fey foreseer determined to alter her kingdom’s destiny. Amidst a fantasy desert setting, they first fall in lust and then in love with each other.
I’ve included a sneak peak below. Come visit my website (www.taraquan.com) for more about my writing. I’m also on Twitter (https://twitter.com/LaylaTarar) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/taraquanauthor).
Foreseeing the warlock’s destiny, Alia saves the man her sister plotted to kill. He returns five years later to conquer her city. A pawn in a battle for desert waters, Alia resigns herself to a political marriage and an empty bed. But when Duncan demands more than just her name, she chances losing her heart along with her freedom.
Determined to reclaim her kingdom, Anora parlays her body to remain at Duncan’s side. From within the Helicon court she spins her web, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Alia is all that stands between her and the throne. Her sister must cease to breathe before the warlock’s affection wanes.
A master tactician, Duncan has no qualms making Anora his courtesan and Alia his queen. But it is Alia’s eyes that haunt his dreams, and she soon becomes his only weakness. With the perils that haunt the Helicon court, caring for the fey is absolute folly. A warlock’s love is a fatal curse, and Alia’s death will be his undoing.
Content Notes: Intense Heat/Edgy Erotic Romance, Anal Play/Intercourse, Light BDSM Practices or Play, Ménage
Gripping her chin with his thumb and forefinger, Duncan tilted her delicate face up for better scrutiny. “Those fey eyes do not lie. Even with your face covered, you are as much a symbol of Dionian power as Anora. Those in the city may not bow at your feet for fear of retribution, but they know you are their princess all the same.”
Anger flashed, turning the purple pools a darker shade. “I serve them, warlock, as a disciple of the goddess. I mend bones and brew elixirs. I provide those with need the knowledge they seek. Dionians respect the temple because it is they we serve, and they see me as one among the many who help tend their wounds. Very few know what the color of my eyes mean.”
As his mind mulled over changes to strategy, he could not suppress a triumphant smile. “Then you are a more useful pawn than I first believed. When your bloodline is revealed, you will have already earned your people’s loyalty. Alia. It is a name I shall never forget.”
For reasons he could not understand, Duncan was reluctant to release her. Nonetheless, he laid her on the cold shifting sand and rose. An arduous path awaited him, and he was eager to begin the conquest he should never have attempted to avoid. Helicon needed the waters this kingdom possessed. What he failed to acquire through marriage, he would now have to take by force.
Surprising him, Alia lifted her hand in an unmistakable gesture. “You need power to return to your lands,” she observed as their gazes met. “Take what your body demands.”
“You will be weakened beyond awareness,” he warned even as he crouched by her side. His newfound conscience and practicality warred as Duncan scrutinized her small form. She was half his weight, and standing, her head would not reach the center of his chest. She was young, her power untrained, and she was too weak to make such an offer. “You have but a trickle of magic left. If you allow me to drain your life force, the act will forever tie your mind to mine.”
Her eyes were those of one who had often faced a destiny not of her choosing. “The link goes both ways. Accept what neither of us can change. You cannot wait for the sun to rise, for the princess will not be satisfied without your body. Soldiers will arrive at dawn, and the ravine takes days to traverse. Just promise you will leave me safe inside the temple’s walls. I will be cared for while you spend the next half decade coating the sands in blood.”
He took her hand and felt the uneven rhythm of her pulse. She knew what was being offered and where this choice would lead. There was a reason his kind risked their lives to possess the fey. He overlooked caution in his courtship of Anora because she was the only fey princess he believed existed. With their blood came indescribable power, enough magic to transport him back to his lands. Only a warlock could take a fey’s power at will, and that very nature had once pitched the two races in a war that led to the near-extinction of both. Worshiped by humans as demigods, very few of either bloodline still lived.
“What do you ask? What is the payment you demand for saving the life of the Ruler of Helicon?” he questioned as he bent his head to her proffered wrist and brushed his lips against her palm.
“I ask that you be merciful,” she said as he drew in her life force, and pure white magic seeped through his body to undo all that Anora’s poison had wrought. With the bond came an understanding of words that need not be spoken, of a request made by a being who knew too well how this war would end.
Once he was sated, Duncan released the fey’s hand and gazed upon her pale unconscious form. He bent to press his lips against her cheek before fastening on the veil.
“The Dionian court will pay for its crime, and one day you will belong to me,” he whispered as he lifted the feather-light body into his arms. “But the people you protect will be safe under my rule. To that you have my vow.”