We’re kicking off day two of the Noble Romance Authors Blog Tour! Please welcome Gianna Simone, author of HEALING THE MAGE. You won’t want to miss the excerpt following the interview, and while you’re here don’t forget to comment for your chance to win some great prizes, including that $100 grand prize from EDEN FANTASYS!
Gianna, it’s great to have you here! Looking back to the beginning of your writing career, what was the plot of the first story you wrote? Whatever happened to the manuscript?
It was about four young women working toward their goal of the Olympics in equestrian events. I was fourteen when I wrote it. My freshman English teacher, Sr. Maureen, read it and encouraged me to publish it. I never did. I still have the five subject spiral bound notebook it was written in. I even wrote the last Christmas-themed chapters in red and green ink!
Aw, man, I’d love to read that! I’ve had horses most of my life – I think you’re speaking my language. ;c) How do you feel about your first published book? Do you feel you’ve improved since it hit the shelves?
I loved my first published book – I wrote it under a different pen name, never imagining at the time I would make such a sharp change in my style of writing. As for whether I’ve improved, I’d say yes and no. I’ve changed genres in the respect that what I write is erotic romance, whereas that book was a fairly tame story. So I’ve definitely changed my style and voice in some ways. But there are some mistakes I still make, and no matter how many times I look for them, I completely miss them until someone else hits me over the head with it.
Oh my goodness. I SO know what you mean! Thinking back over all the sexy scenes you’ve created between characters, which one would you most like to experience for yourself? Why?
That’s a tough one. I’ve definitely used experience in some scenes, others are pure fantasy. One of my favorites is one that didn’t make it into any finished version of any book I’ve written, but it took place in a gazebo. I’m still waiting for the right story to come along where that scene fits. I have one book I’m working on it may fit with, but I’m not far enough into it yet to be sure.
Oooh, that sounds tempting. You’ll have to come back and let us know when the scene makes the cut! Which of your releases most reflects who you are as a writer? What gives it that distinction?
I’d have to say In The Devil’s Arms holds a particular fondness for me. I started that at a time I was doubting my abilities and decided to just sit and write what I wanted to read and write. I ignored rules and just let the story go on – I hate to even say this, but when the very first draft of that was complete, it was over 300K words! Literally three books. When I decided to ready it for the submission rounds, I had to figure out what the hell to do with it! I ended up stripping strip away all of the subplots that were completely unrelated to the main plot, which was Helene’s inability to have children and the origins of the curse that caused her infertility. Getting it down to that took some serious blood, sweat and tears – literally! Not to mention countless sleepless nights. However, I do have those leftover plot ideas that, with a little rework, can make for a completely new story.
WOW. I don’t think I’ve written 300 total pages in my life. I’m amazed at the dedication it took to see that one through, and those ready-made scenes and plots are sure to come in handy. ;c) Which of your characters reigns as your favorite? Why, and where do readers find this character?
Adrian duLac, the vampire (anti)hero of The Taste of Magic, my first published book. I call him an anti-hero because he’s selfish and not always a nice guy. But he’s blindsided by love and is willing to make some changes. J You can’t find him anywhere at the moment, though I may look into making him available again in the future in some way.
There you go, teasing us again! If you could change one thing about your writing career and accomplishments, what would it be?
That I didn’t let so many distractions get in the way along the journey. But children and a full-time day job will do that. Not that my kids and family aren’t worth every second of it, I just wish I could have juggled it all a bit more wisely. I’m still learning, still more disorganized than anyone should be, and perpetually behind on so many things. Maybe, someday, I’ll figure out a way to balance it. Or not.
I’m with you 100% on that one. Finding balance is hard (even for me, and it’s my last name! LOL.) Let’s take a look at HEALING THE MAGE. How did the idea come about? How long did it take you to write the story after the plot first came to you?
I was heavy into revisions for In the Devil’s Arms based on rejections I’d received, when I decided to take a break. I was taking an online class about witchcraft and witches, and one assignment was to write an opening scene. I had two unseen but mentioned characters from In the Devil’s Arms that gave me a spark of an idea, and with that, I wrote about two pages worth, no planning, or ideas past those two pages, just something that was fresh. Then, once I started that, I couldn’t stop. I had 99% of the first draft finished in about a month. Of course, working on revisions for that and In The Devil’s Arms at the same time slowed my progress as far as having a truly finished version. And right up until the bitter end, the plot had some issues, but thankfully we managed to work that all out.
Did you face any specific roadblocks as you wrote it, or did the words come easily?
About half and half. The first draft came real easy, it was the revisions that were tough. I had a lot of things happening that after a while didn’t work and had to come out, then I had to re-plot to fill those spaces. And sometimes, it felt forced, so I had to take a step back and let it stew until I had figured a way to smooth it out. And even then, it still wasn’t right. It took quite a few days and nights of going back and forth to get all those issues worked out.
Don’t you love how it’s all worth it … eventually? LOL. But what a great final product! What made you decide to submit this story to Noble?
Primarily, because it was the sequel to In the Devil’s Arms, and I felt it belonged in the same house, Noble was always my first choice. Plus, I really enjoyed my experience in bringing In the Devil’s Arms to publication, and looked forward to working with Jill and everyone there again.
Great experiences seem to run rampant around there, LOL. What is your favorite part about HEALING THE MAGE?
I just love the scene where Lily finds Aidan in the park and touches him, and his pain just fades away. That was the very first image of the story I had, her kneeling over him in the park in front of the statue of Andrew Jackson. That’s still the image that stays with me, whenever I think of them.
How beautiful! What do readers most often comment about in HEALING THE MAGE?
Hmmm, haven’t heard much yet, it’s only been out a couple of weeks. I have heard that it’s a hot read, and smoking. So I like that! lol
Wow, who can resist that? Definitely awesome to an author’s ears! Here’s the blurb for HEALING THE MAGE.
Lily Prentiss wishes she could ignore her inborn healing magic so she can live life on her terms, not follow the path her Magiste family chose for her. But when she stumbles across Aidan Marchand in the excruciating throes of evolving into a Mage, her touch is all that stops his pain and she can no longer deny her powers. When the sexy Dom seduces her into willing submission, she finds she doesn’t want to resist and actually enjoys giving up control.
Aidan has more to worry about than just his rapidly maturing powers – his business partner is blackmailing him into funding a venture that involves kidnapping young girls both magical and mortal, and selling them as sex slaves. Even as Lily’s touch eases Aidan’s pain, he knows staying with her puts her in danger from his enemies. But the gift of her sexual submission helps him even more than her healing magic…so how can he let her go?
Ready for more? Grab an eyeful of this unforgettable excerpt from HEALING THE MAGE!
Aidan didn’t want to relinquish the blessed darkness of unconsciousness. Wakefulness meant pain. Only the oblivion blocked the vicious twisting and tearing at his insides. He fought the awareness pulling him up through the hazy peace, without success. He opened his eyes, trying to focus on the voices. He could barely see, blinded by the sensation of a dagger twisting in his spine. Dear God, would this ever end? All his strength centered on not releasing the building scream.
“Where am I?” Somehow, he managed to force the words out between his clenched teeth.
Soft hands on his shoulders soothed him, making the pain recede. Relief softened the tension in his muscles. His eyesight returned. A face, three faces, blurred into his unfocused vision, slowly melding into one, worried dark eyes studying him anxiously. He knew her, remembered her.
Of course, the park. No, that wasn’t it, something more. Something familiar about her teased the edges of his awareness, some hint of safety. Her scent surrounded him, clean and sweet, and left him wanting to get still closer, to bury his face in her lush, chestnut mane and hold her tight while he made her call his name with passion. What the fuck?
He forced himself to concentrate. How did he know her? A recollection of her kneeling over him on the ground came into focus. He’d been heading home from the disastrous party and confrontation with Orvano when the first wave of fire struck, sending him to his knees, his stomach squeezed and twisted by an unseen fist. He’d recognized the signs, knew what it meant. His time had run out. Since the diagnosis of his Mage powers two months earlier, he’d been anticipating the process of the magic’s release. Just his luck the first stage would kick in late at night while he’d been out alone, angry and not thinking clearly. The headache that had been building should have been his first clue. Why had he disregarded it? Because his partner’s horrifying plans obliterated thought of anything else, leaving Aidan careless and unaware.
“I . . . I brought you home,” she said. “You were suffering.”
“Phone my father.” Aidan needed to be at Whispering Winds, where he could take some pain potions and perhaps a sleeping draught as well. He had a lot to do, first and foremost extricating himself from Orvano’s greedy plans. But until he rid himself of this pain, he couldn’t do anything.
“I need the number.” She stood then, removing her touch, and the fire returned in full force, scorching every fiber of his body. He groaned and reached for her, catching her arm. Immediately, the blistering flames flickered and faded, and he heaved a grateful breath.
The connection to her became clear, even with the throbbing rendering his thoughts a hazy mess. He had to maintain contact with her to keep the worst of the agony at bay. Definitely Magiste, and a Healer, but she’d said she had no training. The strength of her magic awed him. Few healers had such potent, natural skills. The clarity of his thoughts on this subject baffled him, considering everything else remained anything but clear.
“I have to get the phone.” She stared at him, confusion in her pale face. Her uncertainty had to equal his own puzzlement.
He shook his head, but then stilled when the hammering in his skull grew more brutal. “I have to touch you. Summon it.”
She said nothing and continued to stare. He imagined himself drowning in her dark gaze. Nothing made sense, and his only lucid thoughts focused on her.
A phone appeared in front of her. White spots danced at the periphery of his vision, and the handset seemed to float in the air. A few seconds passed before he realized the phone was actually gripped by a hand. Aidan refocused, though the tunnel he looked through made it hard to see much. Finally, his gaze landed on the face of his former schoolmate. Greg Prentiss. Immediately, Aidan knew. Greg’s little sister. That much was obvious, the resemblance to her there in the eyes, the line of the jaw, the high cheekbones. But why did he feel he recognized her? Something more sustained the strange connection flowing between them. What was her name? Why couldn’t he remember, and what caused this tenuous bond? The answers eluded him.
“Lily, call his father.” Greg’s voice seemed a distant echo, but Aidan heard her name as clearly as if the other man had shouted it out loud.
Lily. His gaze locked with hers, and through the fading sensation of his stomach being sliced open, a thread of awareness took hold. Beneath his hand, the skin of her bare arm offered warmth and comfort. The contact was the only thing keeping him from being consumed. Yet, more than magical power lay under her inherent healing capabilities. Much more. This heat grew from something different, and made him want to grab her and taste her and bury himself deep in her body.
He squeezed his eyes shut. Where the fuck had that come from? In the middle of this disaster, his clearest thoughts dwelled on fucking her. Great timing. As soon as he could get past the pounding in his head and think clearly again, he would examine it more closely. For now, he had to concentrate on the energy ripping him apart. Touching her kept the worst of it at bay; the longer he held onto her, the more the pain receded. He had to maintain the contact to maintain his sanity. If only his freaking libido would take the hint.
She reached with her free hand to take the phone, but never stopped staring at him. He recognized the awareness in her gaze, knew she felt the undercurrent running between them by the way she kept trying to look away. Her gaze returned to his again and again before darting in another direction. He wanted to kiss away the lines of worry in her forehead, hold her close and . . . . The urge to laugh at the absurdity came over him out of nowhere. Here he felt like he hovered on death’s door, yet his dick found a way to be heard, relentlessly, amid the cacophony rioting through him.
“I need the number.” Her voice, strong and clear, resounded through the murky pain, soothing him further. He took a deep breath and gave her the plantation’s phone number.
“Mr. Marchand? This is Lily Prentiss. . . . Yes . . . I . . . your son is here.” Still those dark eyes pierced him, her concern and anxiety flowing into him. His discomfort rolled back a little bit more. “Yes . . . St. Charles Avenue, in the Warehouse District.”
Aidan stored her address, knowing he would be back when the process had ended and he stabilized. The insistent need rearing its head in the midst of the jumble of pain and confusion would not be denied. Truthfully, he didn’t want to deny it. What was the matter with him? He shouldn’t be thinking of this now. Now, he had to focus on surviving. Lily handed the phone back to her brother.
“Your father will be here in a minute. Do you want to get more comfortable?”
“What?” He could barely think, but his attention zeroed in on her lips. The urge to devour her sweet, full mouth grew almost as strong as the distress still thumping through him.
“You’re still on the floor. Let me help you up. Greg, would you get a glass of water?”
Her other hand rested on his now, and the pain diminished further. Did she even realize her strength? He shifted, releasing his tight hold, allowing her to slide her hands under his arms and ease him up. He panted with the exertion, the hours of battering his insides had endured having weakened him. Yet, her hands moving over his shoulders, guiding him to his feet, continued to stir him in ways he’d never been aroused before. He could actually smell her essence, the sweet, musky aroma intoxicating him. How could he want her so fiercely while mind-numbing agony shredded his intestines? Because her touch eased the pain and awakened everything else. This reaction wasn’t something he’d come across in his research into Il Relache, not that he’d had much of a chance to delve deeply into the details of the process. Somehow, though, he knew more than his unleashing powers caused this hunger, this yearning, which continued to grow as her hands moved over him, helping him.
Gianna, thanks so much for joining us today as part of the Noble Romance Authors Blog Tour. I’ve had a blast chatting with you! Readers, don’t forget to comment for a chance to win mega prizes, including that $100 gift certificate to EDEN FANTASYS! After you comment, simply click the tour button below and you’ll be whisked to the next stop on the tour for yet another chance to win. J.S. Wayne is hanging out with Cherie De Sues and there’s just no telling what those two are up to. You won’t want to miss it!