Leah here: As I mentioned the other day, and as Heather mentions below, Heather and I met (very) briefly in New York ten days ago and didn’t get anywhere near the time I would have liked to have had to talk with her. (We’ll have to co-ordinate our schedules better next time, Heather 😉 ) So when she contacted me and asked if I was still hosting guest bloggers, I said sure. And I realized I’d missed hosting new friends and old on the blog, so there will be more guest bloggers featured here in the future. In the meantime, help me welcome Heather … and like my post on Saturday, this one pays you to take the time to read and to comment...
Loving Las Vegas
First off, let me say a big thank you to the beautiful and talented Leah Braemel who is hosting my visit today. I was tickled that I got to meet her, albeit very briefly, during RWA Nationals in New York a couple of weeks ago. The funny part was, we were at the same dinner, but I wasn’t sure who she was until at the end when she introduced herself and I was like “Oh!” Ah well, hopefully the next time Ms. Braemel and I are in the same place, we will have more to chat about than a passing ‘oh!’
Viva Las Vegas
Yesterday, Sapphire Blue Publishing released my latest novella in the Spells, Slots and Sirens: Stories of the Arcana Royale. The Royale actually got its start as the Arcana Cabana, a name I loved in the film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (you might remember it as the magic shop that Balthazar owned when he met Dave). Either way, when Lisa Pietsch, K.F. Zuzulo and I were tossing ideas back and forth for a second anthology to follow up last January’s Seven Souls a Leaping.
The question we faced was where did we take the story?
Why to Vegas of course!
Vegas, of course, is a city of magic, mystery, shows, glitz, glamour and life. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But what if what’s happening in Vegas is a casino and hotel that caters directly to the supernatural beings? As the idea came to life, I remembered a lyric from Elvis Presley’s Night Life: “You can’t be a quitter when you’re caught up in the glitter of the night life.”
It’s a really great song and it’s not as popular as his Viva Las Vegas, but it really talked to the idea percolating in my head. Who were the people in the Casino? What about the showgirls?
So many films about Vegas use footage from the 1950s when the migration to the desert oasis boomed. The Second World War was over, the Rat Pack was making the rounds and I knew this was the time that my heroine arrived in Las Vegas, a pit stop on her way to Hollywood, but a pit stop that would trap her for nearly six decades after a gambling mistake.
So I named my heroine after a really lovely lady I know and sent her back to the 50s to get trapped, time drifting pass like so much ephemera until the day Jeannie meets her hero in the form of Malcolm.
Let It Ride
I needed Malcolm to be strong enough to take on the establishment and honorable enough to want to do it for a lady. He also needed to be compelling enough to puncture sixty years of malaise filling our leading lady’s life. So I went the vampire route, for the elegance and the age and a man who becomes anything his family needs him to be for the heroic part.
Malcolm is a really great guy, fun, funny and more than a little dangerous. But the magic just exploded when Malcolm first lays eyes on Jeannie during her stage show.
No amount of plotting can prepare a reader for that one magic moment when chemistry clicks between the characters and the story takes on a life of its own. Soul Girls is a really special piece to me, because I let it ride and that story took me on a wild, romantic journey where the stakes are passion, love and freedom.
Check out the first chapter of Soul Girls over at my website and don’t miss out on Howl and Dissolve, two more great stories set in the Arcana Royale where anything can happen and anything goes, but remember – don’t piss off the Overseers or you may find yourself serving up your soul to the showgirls!
So what would Vegas be without a little wager? No fun, so in honor of the release of Spells, Slots and Sirens: Stories of the Arcana Royale, I am giving away one copy of SSS and one copy of Seven Souls a Leaping to one lucky commentator who answers this question:
What game would you be willing to risk it all on if it meant saving the love of your life?
About Heather Long:
Heather Long lives in North Texas with her husband, daughter and their menagerie of animals. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.