Thursday, February 19, 2009

CIRCLE OF WOLVES

Today is the release day for my seventh book with the folks at Jasmine-Jade Enterprises. As Elyssa Edwards I've released two novellas, a Quickie and a novel with Ellora's Cave. Writing under my real name, JacquƩline Roth, I've released two previous novels with Cerridwen Press.


Today's release is special. I started writing a story called "In the Company of Wolves" over four years ago. I started writing in the fanfiction genre and it was wonderful to hone my skills. In fact, I use it with my students when teaching narrative writing. It lets me focus in on specific skills such as character development, plotting, pacing, word choices, etc. Wolves was the first time I really believed I could create a fully original and complex world of my own.
I need to say a quick thank you to Chris and Steve, who believed Wolves was more than a romance. Eddie and Curtis who provided tacticle support. The Circle of Crones and the Staff at eMuse who have always been an anchor of support.


Now Evan Forester and Kira Gregoravitch are being introduced to the world. And some characters who will be back with their own tales to tell later have come along for the ride. I hope you enjoy their story.


Circle of Wolves


War. His world stands on the precipice and he is the best chance to stop it? All his life his secret has been protected by his family and friends. They’ve all protected him from those who would have seen him tagged and caged like an animal. Or worse, exterminated. Now that very secret makes the earth mage Evan Forester the perfect choice for this mission. Find the Wolves and convince them to form an alliance with the mage world. But what he finds among the Wolves is more than he ever dreamed possible for himself. The very nature he is forced to subdue and hide, they would welcome and celebrate. Even more, among these people he finds the one his soul calls “mate”. Still the awful truth remains, if the alliance fails, he will be forced to choose between the place he calls home and the one woman he loves and who loves all that he is, wolf and man.



Excerpt:

“You don’t often see one of your kind who’s one of them. They’re usually smart enough to stay away from us. Looks like you’re a slow learner who didn’t learn his lesson the first time.”

Evan saw no need to prevaricate. “As I was only a bit more than a toddler at the time, perhaps you are correct. I didn’t learn my lesson.” He looked at the dark eyed man. “My name is…”

“Yeah, we know what your name is Evan Forester.” Alexi motioned to his companions to sit. “If you’d planned on keeping it a secret I must say you did a poor job of it. You must have told half of Europe your name.” Karl arrived with drinks.

Alexi placed one in front of Evan and smiled. “Now, you have my undivided attention. What exactly do you want, Evan Forester? Why are you looking for us?”

Evan pushed the drink aside. “I wasn’t aware I was looking for you. But then, I don’t know who you are.”

The brown eyes narrowed again and then reopened as he shrugged carelessly, “Alexi Gregoravitch.” No hand was offered but Evan hadn’t been expecting it to be. Gregoravitch. It was the name he was looking for. He had found the heart of the “family”.

The man before him was acting the stereotypical wolf-man, internalizing behaviors of the wolf into his actions. His eyes challenged Evan for dominance, his posture pressing his advantage and trying to force Evan into a more submissive role. Evan let him—to a point. If he challenged this man, he could end up back at square one. If he drew back too far, he might be deemed unworthy of any respect and that could be outright dangerous.

“I see. Then you’re not who I’m looking for. I have a message to deliver but not to you.” Evan picked up his cup and drained the last of the now cold liquid.

Alexi’s smile didn’t waver but his eyes darkened. “No kidding. Let me guess. You expect to deliver this message to Stanislav Gregoravitch personally?”

“That is my intent.”

Alexi laughed out loud. “Do you really think the Alpha of all Wolves would allow your kind to even enter his presence?”

“Why not?”

“Because of what you are, you idiot.” The humor was now gone. Alexi was looking at him down his aristocratic nose. “No curse wolf would be allowed beyond the gate, let alone in my father’s presence. No, my little friend, you’re not getting near him.”

“Curse wolf?”

Alexi laughed at him again. Evan felt his patience slipping. He was used to snips and jibes that were meant to be good-natured but often came out cutting and harsh. Years of friendship with Marcus McClendon, the circle’s fire mage who had all the spark and danger of his element, had taught him to deal with that. But the lack of concern for feelings, the true and utter disregard for how his words would be received, made this man’s comments different. He was speaking to him as if he was talking to a lower form of life. The way members of the conclave spoke about the dark creatures they believed they had the right to contain or destroy upon the slightest whim.

“You don’t know what a curse wolf is?” His companions were guffawing. When Evan ignored him, Alexi pushed one of the glasses toward him again. “Come now. Drink with us and maybe I’ll see what I can do.”

Evan knew there was no intention in this wolf-man to help him at all. Perhaps, though, he could get more information out of him. Evan picked up the glass hoping there’d been enough time for the Babel Potion to enter his blood before this alcohol hit his system. He watched the other men slam back the contents of the glass and followed suit.

And began to gag. Sputtering he tried to ignore the uproar of laughter coming from the other men. Great, Evan, he thought, that was smooth.

“Sorry,” Alexi’s eyes glinted wickedly, “should have warned you. Karl makes this stuff in the back room. It’s not exactly safe for human consumption.” The eyes narrowed. “But then that’s not really a problem for some of us is it.”

Evan wasn’t sure he heard correctly. What ever this stuff was he had just voluntarily poisoned himself with was churning in his stomach. Alexi pushed a second glass toward him and gave him his most charming smile. “Go on. The second one isn’t as bad. You might want to take this one more slowly, though.”

Unable to believe his own stupidity, Evan lifted the glass and swallowed. He didn’t gag this time or choke. Outwardly anyway. He put the empty glass down. “Look Alexi,” he saw the other man’s eyes widen and his mouth compress tightly. He had said something wrong but wasn’t sure what it was.

“That’s Mr. Gregoravitch to you, pup-eater,” growled one of the other men. His light eyes seemed lifeless and cold as they glared at Evan.

“It’s all right, Ivan,” Alexi’s smile was back. “I don’t think he understands the reality of things. Perhaps we simply need to explain a few things to him.”

“If by that you mean to beat me senseless hoping I’ll absorb the information from your fists, I assure you it won’t work and it might prove more difficult than you are imagining at the moment. It would be much more effective if one of you just told me what you’re talking about. What is a curse wolf? What do you mean my kind? And what is a pup-eater?” Evan felt the effects of the drink warming his veins.

Alexi laughed and shoved another drink in front of him. “I think we shall have a long talk, my new little friend.”

5 comments:

Kelly Kirch said...

Congratulations, Jae! Good to see this one hit light especially noting how important it was to your writing.

Good cover too. May you have many sales.

Molly Daniels said...

Happy Release Day, Jae! Sounds great:)

Anny Cook said...

Hey, Jae! I'm up to chapter five and had to stop to go to bed. ;( But tomorrow is Saturday so yay! More time to read! Congrats on your release!

Jenny Beans said...

I just posted a blog and tweeted this. This story still touches a place in all our hearts because of its origins. I'm so happy to see it in print!!

Sandra Cox said...

Wishing you many sales, Jae. Sounds like a great read.