There's now a new place to find me! Moonlight Romance Authors is a new blog with a nice cross section of authors from all walks of the genre. Stop on over and see what we've got to say.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Well, I went away for Thanksgiving, and returned with a new edition to the family.
Shmuckers the rat.
I know what you're thinking. A rat? Yes. Are you insane? Possibly, but hear me out.
I love any and all animals, with one significant exception. I call it the legless exception. If it moves on land and doesn't have legs, I don't like it. Snakes, worms, snakes and worms...I'm deathly afraid of them. My sister and her husband have a pet snake, a ball-nose python named Dino who is, according to them, an idiot. Two weeks ago they put a rat in his cage to feed him. When I was there for Thanksgiving, the rat was alive and well, living in the cage with the snake. In fact, at one point he was sleeping ON the snake. My sister finally started feeding it cat food so it wouldn't starve.
Yes, it's well past time for Dino to eat.
Apparently, he has done this in the past. He won't eat rats that have black or brown spots on them.
He's a racist snake.
My brother in law stated that in another day or two he'd have to take the rat outside and let it go. That or let it be eaten. Me? I couldn't stand any of those options. So this morning I went to the pet store, bought the supplies, and when I drove back home this afternoon it was with Shmuckers the rat packed up in the front seat.
The cats are quite naturally curious, but so far they're taking it in stride.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
There are lots of reasons why the Muse stalls out from time to time. Writer's block, of course, which every author faces is the most commonly cited reason. More often than not for me, though, it's so-called "external factors," like law school stress, life stress, publishing stress. Those are what in turn lead to writer's block. I've had a bit of all three over the last two months or so, and because of that there's been little to no progress on Reckless Liaisons, much to my dismay.
But, I'm pleased to say, the Muse is back. Some of the external stress factors have been resolved, and the ideas are back. I haven't actually written anything yet, but Sebastian is rattling his cage in my mind, bombarding me with what he wants me to let him do.
To get back into the flow of the manuscript, I've been reading back over the chapters I wrote. And, forgive my moment of arrogance/self-confidence:
This book is good.
Really. Aside from an apparent love affair with adverbs in chapter 2, I keep impressing myself with both the story and the writing. Ideas spark from the oddest things. It could be the flash of an image in a movie (which led to Svetkavista), a dream with a bit of dialog and a snippet of a scene (Leading Her to Heaven), a what if question (Unspeakable). Reckless Liaisons started with one line: Sebastian never expected to see an unconscious woman slung across a horse running through his garden. It evolved, became something a bit more sophisticated, but the premise stands. And thus we meet our hero, and our story begins to take shape.
Here's an excerpt from Reckless Liaisons. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Sebastian Cade had seen many things in his two and thirty years. A massive black stallion trotting across the gardens of his estate with an unconscious figure slung across its back was not something he’d ever expected to witness.
Sitting behind the large oak desk in his study, sipping brandy and attempting to chase away the headache that had formed after a seemingly endless day of reviewing accounts and answering correspondence, he had glanced up at the rush of movement in his peripheral vision, highlighted by the light pouring from the kitchen on the opposite side of the manor. He shook his head and looked a second time, expecting the strange vision to have disappeared. But no, there it was again; the horse slowed, lowering his head, and began to nibble with enthusiasm on the perfectly manicured bushes hedging the northernmost garden path. The rider, who had been slumped against the animal’s wide neck, slid forward at the loss of support and toppled, face first, unceremoniously to the ground. Though dressed as a man, he deduced the rider was female from the tangled mass of long black hair, blended almost seamlessly with the nighttime darkness. Her mount seemed unconcerned – after a brief shake of its head in her direction, he returned to his grazing.
“Bloody hell,” Sebastian muttered, rising to his feet and moving to the door of his study. He supposed the situation required investigation. He was exhausted, and in a rather foul mood after seeing how much money his younger brother had spent on gambling last month, but he couldn’t very well leave a comatose girl sprawled in the midst of his roses.
“Milord.” One of the maids met him in the hall. She was new, had only been in his employ a week, and he had yet to learn her name. “Yer not going to believe this,” she said.
“There’s a girl in my garden.”
“Aye, milord. Did ye see ‘er too, then? I’d stepped out o’ the kitchen t’ fetch some wood an’ there she was. We couldn’t find William, so Mrs. Holland said to fetch ye post haste.”
“Tell Mrs. Holland not to fret, I’m going to investigate.”
“She also said to tell ye to be careful, Yer Grace.” The young girl handed him her lantern with a coy smile.
He grinned in spite of himself, rubbed a hand across his face, and took the lantern. His scar throbbed, as it often did when he was frustrated. “Do tell Mrs. Holland that I can take care of a small slip of a girl perfectly fine, especially one that is unconscious.” The older woman who served as his head of household had been his nurse maid as a child, and was the closest he’d had to a mother growing up, his own having died giving birth to Sebastian’s brother. She’d been wildly protective of him in his youth and little had changed now about her opinion of his ability to care for himself.
With a final nod to the serving girl, he turned and headed for the back door of the manor, then out into the gardens and towards the crumpled heap that was barely visible in the milky blackness. The large black stallion lifted its head and snorted at his approach. It was an impressive animal – ridiculously large for such a small girl, clearly bred for racing. He’d have it cared for, as soon as he saw to its rider.
“Well,” Sebastian murmured, crouching down to brush thick black hair from the girl’s – no, woman’s – face, “this makes things interesting.”
She was indeed a woman, he realized as he set down the lantern. Gripping her shoulders, he gently turned her onto her back and a pair of deliciously full breasts swayed into view beneath the torn fragments of her shirt, snared by the rose bush’s thorns. The rest of her figure was slender and girlish but the swell of enticing porcelain flesh which rose and fell with each ragged unsteady breath proved his damsel in distress was certainly not a child. Her clothing was crude, simple tan breeches and the now soiled, torn shirt, but on her feet were dainty women’s slippers embroidered with green and gold. It was almost humorous and had the circumstances been different he surely would have laughed. Her skin was pale and flawless, not the tone or texture of a servant or peasant girl. What the devil was a woman such as her doing face down in his garden dressed as a stable hand, let alone riding unaccompanied across the English countryside?
His eyes came to rest on her face, tilted to the side and resting against one slender shoulder. Fine, sculpted brows arched above eyes protected by lashes so long and full they brushed the apples of her cheeks in a graceful fan. He wondered what color her eyes were, and hoped, irrationally, they would be blue. High cheekbones and a tiny button nose gave way to a full pouty mouth and small chin which lent her face a heart-like shape. Turning her chin, he surveyed the left side of her face, and discovered the source of her unconsciousness. A vivid, purple bruise marred her pale skin, just above her left temple, and a jagged cut had leaked blood down her cheek, now crusted to a dull brown.
Skimming his hands along her form, Sebastian performed a cursory check for broken bones and was relieved to find none. He stood and lifted her into his arms, surprised at how light she felt cradled against his chest.
Mrs. Holland waited for him at the door, worrying her bottom lip and wringing her hands together.
“I need water and bandages,” he ordered. “And clothes. I believe my sister has some night gowns in her old room. Someone locate my wayward valet and have him tend to the horse.”
“Shall I send for the doctor, your Grace?”
“Not yet.” With a shake of his head he started for the back staircase. “Help me tend to the wound, and then we’ll decide how bad it is.”
“Who is she?”
Sebastian paused and again shook his head, glancing down at the bundle in his arms. In the warm light of the kitchen she looked even more beautiful than his initial assessment had deduced, lips slightly parted, the ugly mess on the left side of her face the only indication something was out of sorts. Her chest rose and fell in a gentle rhythm, drawing his attention lower, back to her breasts once more. An angel? He bit back a laugh. Where had such an absurd thought come from? It reminded him of the things he’d once said to… Don’t. “I’ve no idea.”
Thursday, November 15, 2007
1. Remember the scene from that otherwise awful mutilation of a film, The Queen of the Damned, wherein Stuart Townsend as Lestat plays the violin with a pair of gypsies on the beach? Brishen's character was inspired by that one little, memorable, scene.
2. Learn about a new culture. The Rom, more commonly known as gypsies, are complex, fascinating people. Find out why they're not what you think.
3. Like historicals but tired of Regencies and Scottish heros? (You better not be!) Explore something a little different! Set in 1760's Hungary, Svetkavista offers all the fun of an historical novel with none of the cliches.
4. Do you like music? Of course you do. Svetkavista is filled with it, the soulful sounds of the gypsy violin woven through the pages in a way that will make you want to rush to iTunes and buy yourself some Bartok. Which you should do anyway.
5. Kelly from AORAOG reviews called Svetkavista "sensuous, heartfelt, and truly beautiful...one of the best romance reads of the year" in 2006. Julianna from TwoLips "couldn't stop reading it and really didn't want it to end." Caro from Coffee Time Romance calls it "absolutely stunning." Cathie at Euro Reviews found it "extraodrinary" and "unique." Find out why. Do you really want to miss out on that?
6. Learn how to curse like a gypsy. They do it better than sailors.
7. Discover the book that put Kayleigh on the map. Initially published in July 2006, Svetkavista is Kayleigh's first published full-length novel. The buzz was immediate. Hop on the bandwagon and say you knew Kayleigh way back when.
8. Show your support for the new publisher everyone is talking about. You've heard about Tease Publishing, the new, women-run, exclusive publisher that is already developing a name for itself with its quality books, gorgeous covers, and creative marketing strategy. Show your support and satisfy your curiosity.
9. #1 Bestselling author and 2007 EPPIE winner Emma Wildes loved it. You love Emma. Therefore, you will love it too.
10. It's a KJ book. So you know it's gonna get hot.
11. Do you like coffee? How about coffee on the go? Keep your eyes peeled here for how to get your own FREE travel mug, just by answering a question or two.
12. Anyone who emails Kayleigh their receipt of purchase (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 30th will receive a press packet from me filled with fun goodies.
13. The first 25 people to email (email@example.com) their receipts of purchase will be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of Svetkavista in print when it is released February 15th of next year.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Print: Coming February 15, 2008
Trapped within a life where she has always been an outsider, Karina dutifully follows the wishes of her father by day, and secretly pursues her dreams by night. Raised within the strict, patriarchal society of the Rom at a time when discrimination and fear are at their peak, she is forced to hide both her love of music and her passion for those who encourage her dreams.
She seeks comfort in the arms of her dearest friend and mentor, who shows her that love and lust rarely confine themselves to the ill-conceived notions of normalcy.
When a lie, spoken in a moment of desperation, threatens to shatter everything Karina holds dear, she must choose between those she loves and her own reputation. Will the truth set her free or destroy her? Does she have the courage to follow her own heart?
If you are looking for a lyrical voice, superb characters that draw you in, and fascinating out of the ordinary historical adventure with an erotic twist, I cannot recommend Kayleigh Jamison enough.
-Emma Wildes, #1 bestselling author and 2007 Eppie winner
Ms. Jamison has penned an absolutely stunning and adventure tale that drew me in from page one, to the point that I forgot everything but the story unfolding before me.
-Caro, Coffee Time Romance, 5 cups
Svetkavista…is a wonderful novel of love and revenge…grabbed me at the start and wouldn’t let go.”
-Amelia, Joyfully Reviewed
Rarely does a novel come along with the ability to capture passion and pain, honesty and love so completely. Sensuous, heartfelt and truly beautiful, Svetkavista is one of the best romance reads of the year.
-Kelly, AORAOG Reviews
…a riveting story; I couldn’t stop reading it and really didn’t want it to end.
-Julianne, TwoLips Reviews, 4 stars
Wow, just one extraordinary, unique story!
-Cathie, Euro Reviews, 5 stars
The night air was damp and cool on her bare arms as she approached the flickering light of the bonfire, a distant beacon lighting her way across the field. A gentle breeze was blowing off the waters of the
She was Romani, a gypsy, like her mother, and her mother’s mother before her. Her family wandered the land, living outside of society, on the fringe. Some called them vagabonds and vagrants, others called them thieves and heathens, but they were none of these things. They simply…were. Their way of life was misunderstood, their values misconstrued. The nomadic people were viewed with distrust and distain all across
The noose was tightening around Rom across the
Karina’s family was comprised of Argintari—silversmiths by trade. According to tradition, and law, she was expected to marry Argintari, and raise her children to be the same, if she ever married at all. But Karina’s dream was to be Lăutari. She would wait until mashkari rat, long after her family was asleep, and she would sneak across the camp to where the Lăutari stayed up until the early light of dawn, laughing and playing the lavúta, the flyèta, and the tambal. And then Karina would dance, twirling in frantic circles, skirts flaring, bracelets clinking until she was breathless and giggling.
Karina’s father despised the Lăutari. Music was an important part of Rom life, but he viewed the musicians and dancers as lower-class, without any useful, material skills. They were fanciful, frivolous, and at times downright promiscuous. Tales were reaching
Not so for Karina. Her father called her impractical and foolish, but the Lăutari with whom she spoke in secret called her gifted. She would hum and sing to herself when she was alone, repeating the melodies she’d heard the night before, and would feel her hips start to sway instinctively. It was as if the music overcame her when she danced. She no longer thought, or worried, about anything. She let the song wash over her, closed her eyes, and gave in to the rhythm.
Karina did not have the look of a traditional Roma. Her dark blonde hair and pale skin were evidence that at least one of her ancestors had been gajè, non-Roma. Her sisters used to tell her that her eyes were too close together, her nose too aquiline, and her lips too thin—they said she looked like a hawk that had caught a sick mouse for its meal. Neither her two sisters, nor her brother, all younger than she, shared her gajè characteristics, and they had teased her about it their entire lives. It was a forbidden subject in the presence of her parents, and the one time Karina had broached the topic with her father he’d told her that God had not chosen to be kind to her, in more ways than one. The answer had frightened her so deeply that she’d never asked again.
The music drifted to her across the plain as she drew closer to her destination; the delicate clink of the bells within the tambal, and the deep, sonorous melody of the lavùta. Brishen had the violin tonight, she could tell even from this distance—no one else played quite like him. His flesh seemed to meld with the black, polished fingerboard, to fuse with the catgut strings stretched taut across the bridge. The instrument was an extension of his body—wood of his flesh, of his blood. When he played, he owned the music; he was the music.
The other musicians called him an angel. Karina thought he was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen when he was playing. When he wasn’t, well, that was another matter. Though Karina did not have much interaction with him other than to dance to his music, she’d heard the stories of his arrogance, his insolence, and his frightful temper. He was the epitome of the Lăutari stereotype. In fact, he was precisely the reason her father forbade her from associating with the musicians and dancers of their tribe.
Sometimes, she thought she saw Brishen watching her through slitted eyes as he played. Often, she was certain that she could feel his eyes on her back as she danced or moved about the camp. But each time she turned to face him, his attention was elsewhere.
Finally, she reached the small clearing where a bonfire had been set, the wet grass pressed down by the trample of horses and boots to create a circular stage. Wooden crates had been unloaded from the wagons and placed on the ground as makeshift chairs. Brishen stood atop one of them, violin tucked under his chin, eyes closed, lips slightly parted, body swaying to the rhythm of his song. His shoulder-length hair, rich brown in color, was tied loosely at the nape of his neck with a slip of twine. He had a strong, masculine jaw, angular cheekbones, and a light brown complexion that had been dramatically darkened by the sun’s rays. He was tall and broad-shouldered—larger in stature than most of the other Lăutari men in the tribe—but the violin suited him perfectly, nonetheless.
It was a traditional gypsy dirge that he played, one normally accompanied by a female voice, but no one dared sing. Not when Brishen was playing. The melody began slow, the horse-tail bow drawing across the G and D strings in a leisurely glissando that transitioned into a grating, dissonant chord. He held the notes, drawing them out, tormenting his audience with the unsavory sound before sliding his ring finger up a half-step, reconciling the note with harmony once more. Karina swore she saw him smirk, but his eyes never opened; his expression never changed.
Without warning, the mournful tone disappeared as Brishen’s tempo increased. He played faster with each passing bar until all traces of the mulengi djilia had disappeared, transforming into a fast-paced cante jondo. His fingers danced across the strings, his right arm a blur as he moved the bow in frenzied, staccato strokes. Several members of the informal audience began to clap in time. A few were inspired to stand and dance.
Karina caught sight of her friend, Papusza, on the other side of the clearing, and picked her way through the crowd. Papusza was two years older than Karina, and had been married for nearly ten years before her husband was killed by the Hungarian militia, several months ago. He had resisted them when they’d tried to take away his son. His body had been hung from the gallows in Pressburg as a warning to other Rom, and Papusza’s son was taken anyway.
“Karina, we weren’t certain we’d see you tonight,” Papusza commented, approaching her with a grin. She embraced the younger girl with one arm, and offered up a flask of liquor with the other.
“But we’re glad for it,” one of the older men interjected from his crate, not far away. “Papusza’s dancing isn’t half as entertaining as yers.”
“And your singing, Uncle, is about the worst thing I’ve ever heard!” the tiny woman shot back, but she was still smiling, and so was her tormentor. Her name meant “doll” in Romany, and it suited her perfectly. She had long, raven-colored hair that framed her face in tight corkscrew curls, offsetting full, red lips that reminded Karina of a heart when she pursed them together.
Karina smiled broadly and accepted the proffered flask, taking a tentative swig of the rich, brown liquid before passing it to Papusza’s uncle, Vesh.
“How long have ye been associating with us, shebari, and ye still can’t hold yer liquor?” he grunted, downing a considerable portion.
“If Dat suspects I’ve been to see you, Kako, he’ll have my head,” she explained, shaking her head at his offer of a second draught.
“Li' ha' eer, Karina, we need to find you a husband so that you won’t have to be so frightened of your father anymore!” Papusza exclaimed, earning a sharp glance of reprieval from her uncle. A woman had no place saying such things, certainly not in mixed company.
Karina blushed and dropped her gaze. Papusza was constantly talking about arranging a suitable marriage for her, and the subject was a sore one.
Much to her family’s dismay, Karina was čhaj, unmarried, despite her age. Her younger sisters had married at twelve and thirteen, and her brother took a wife at fifteen. She was now twenty-three, and still under her parents’ care. None of the young Argintari men of her tribe had ever expressed an interest in her hand, and her father had not, to her knowledge, done much in the way of finding her a husband either. Her family blamed her misfortune on prikàza, a form of karmic backlash. Cosmic bad luck. But, in many ways, her unmarried status was fortunate. It kept her safe from the harsh legislation of the Empress.
“Dosta!” Vesh said, raising his hands firmly above his head. “Leave her alone, Papusza, and let her dance. She doesn’t come here for yer scheming.”
The two women smiled at each other, and Karina nodded her head slightly in the direction of the fire, where several women were already dancing, the gold and silver of their jewelry flashing in the reflective light of the flames.
The music’s frenetic pace began to subside; the song winding down, growing softer, fading to a piano, then to a pianissimo, and then…to nothing. Brishen froze, eyes closed, bow poised in midair, fingers curled around the neck of the violin. The crowd paused also, turning to acknowledge him, waiting anxiously for his next song. The performer seemed to savor the temporary silence before lowering the instrument to his side, cradling it under his arm. Then he raised his bow and pointed it directly at Karina, singling her out amongst the dozen or so women that watched him.
“Bring me the rakia!” he bellowed, and his voice was deep and melodious, much like the sound of his violin.
For a moment she simply gaped at him; in part because he’d singled her out, and in part because to give orders to a woman not your daughter or wife was just not permitted.
“Here,” Papusza said, pressing the flask of brandy into her hand and giving her a nudge on the shoulder with the other.
“No, Papusza!” she hissed, digging her heels into the mud.
“Just take him the drink, girl,” an anonymous voice yelled. “Or else we’ll not hear another song tonight!”
Karina bit her lip, drawing blood, and closed her fingers around the neck of the flask, shooting her friend a dismayed look before stepping forward. She kept her gaze lowered, studying the ground, and stopped in front of the crate upon which Brishen stood. She raised the flask above her head, waiting for him to take it from her.
Strong fingers closed over her hand and she looked up, startled at the brazenness. Brishen bent down and brought his face close to hers.
“Chindilan?” he asked softly. Are you weary?
She shook her head slightly and mumbled, “No.”
“Then dance for me.” He winked and raised the flask to his lips. “And I’ll play for you.”
“I’ll dance,” she said curtly, suddenly angered by his arrogance.
“For me?” he pressed.
“No, it won’t be for you.”
“I think it will be,” he replied with a grin, before straightening and tossing the flask of liquor into the crowd.
Svketavista, © 2006, Kayleigh M. Jamison
Friday, November 09, 2007
In the last week I've heard from three different readers personally telling me how much they have enjoyed "A Scandalous Arrangement," and my other work. This makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I know some authors are too busy to respond to comments or don't care what readers think. I am not one such author.
I love hearing from readers because
I am an attention whore I like knowing that I have some. As a general rule, we authors have large, fragile egos. I try to give other authors feedback when I have enjoyed their work, since I know how important it is to me.
So, next time you read a book and you like it (one of mine, perhaps? ;)) drop the author a note and tell them so! We don't bite, and you will probably make his or her day.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Yes, I admit I'm in a crappy mood. So this is going to be a passive aggressive bitching Thursday Thirteen. Deal.
3. People who can't voice their opinions
4. People who complain constantly about a situation and then, when given an opportunity to voice their distaste to the very object of their suffering, back down. Goes to #3.
5. Dishonesty. Goes to #3 and 4 as well.
6. Bad table manners.
7. Clueless drivers.
8. Tom Cruise. I didn't like him before he went off his rocker, and I sure as hell don't now.
9. Divas. You know the ones.
10. When people stand over my shoulder. Or, when someone stands in the doorway watching television rather than just sitting down on the sofa.
11. People who have personal, intimate conversations on their cell phones in public. I'm really sorry you were abused as a child, random lady, but I don't see why I've got to hear about. (Yes, when I worked retail I actually heard that one - twice)
12. Passive Aggressive behavior. Except, of course, when I do it. Then it's fine.
13. People who drive the wrong way down one-way lanes in the grocery store parking lot. Seriously, there are big ass arrows telling you which way to go. How hard can it be?
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Cocktail Reviews had a chance to check out A Rose Of Any Colour Book Two and Lovely Butterfly gave "A Scandalous Arrangement" 4 Flutes!
Anna has been sent to work for a madam. Given the new name of Rose, she is thrust into a whole new way of life. Lily, another girl, has been instructed to get Rose prepared for her first night. An amusing exchange about the removal of pubic hair and the fact that two women could pleasure one another made me smile, for Rose is shocked by Lily’s blasé approach to what she does for a living, and Lily obviously doesn’t see what she does as anything but normal. Hilarious.
Rose is put on display for the gentlemen that visit Madame’s establishment. Uncomfortable and out of her depth, Rose is surprised when one of society’s prominent males, Vere Fane, selects her. He ‘purchases’ her, and Rose is sent to his home, where she is to become his submissive. Though shocked by this turn of events, events out of her control, Rose learns that her predicament isn’t quite as alarming as she first thought. That feelings and emotions that she has kept hidden are encouraged to run free. At last, Rose is able to be the real Rose.
I enjoyed A Scandalous Arrangement because it shows the character arc of Rose very well, that she literally blooms from a bud into a beautiful flower.