Today I am so pleased to welcome Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt to Joyfully Jay. Irene and Liv have come to talk to us about their latest release, Vespers, Hours of the Night Book 1. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Liv and Irene a big welcome!
Thanks very much for giving us a guest shot on your blog, Jay! We’re happy to be here and wanted to talk a little bit about what it was like to work with a writing partner….
So Vespers is the first novel Irene Preston and I have written together, and the first time either of us has worked with a co-writer. We started last summer with a vague story premise and the promise that we’d quit when it wasn’t fun anymore.
And the writing? Was a BLAST.
Seriously, so much fun. I’d write a couple thousand words, send them off to her, then wear out my refresh button waiting to see what she came up with. Maybe it’s because I’m an alto and used to singing harmony, but few things have inspired me as much as seeing our characters through her eyes.
It’s possible, however, that during the editing process, there were some moments of tension. By then, though, we were ten months in, so there was no turning back.
IF there was any tension…and tension might be too strong a word, really…it mostly came down to style differences. See, if the words on the page aren’t working, Irene is likely to make very precise, very careful adjustments to fix the scene. And me? I’m all,
Hey, was there a baby in that bathwater I just tossed?
In my mind, the words aren’t set in stone till the book is published…and even then I’d be willing to take another run at things. I’ll cut and paste and fiddle, introduce new plot threads, cut old ones, even change a character’s nature – like, I changed a guy from a pixie to an angel one time, because someone convinced me pixies don’t cut it as romantic heroes.
Note to self: Pixies aren’t sexy.
It’s possible that if Irene had known this about me, she might have been more careful before agreeing to write a trilogy, with a couple novellas thrown in for good measure. It’s also possible that now that she does know, we’ll be able to avoid conversations like this one….
Irene: Beta reader says this scene has problems.
Liv: Let’s add unicorns!
Irene: . . . .
Liv: No, seriously! They’ll be sparkly and fun!
Irene: . . . .
Liv: Um…so does that mean no unicorns?
Irene: Vampire story, sweetpea.
She now knows I’m the Queen of WTFery, and I now know she’s going to insist on changes that fit the characters and the story arc. (FYI, she’s usually right.) I can honestly say that Vespers is the best book I’ve been involved with, because of those possibly, somewhat, just a little bit tense moments. Irene and I pushed each other outside our comfort zones, and the story absolutely benefited.
I hope you give Vespers a try, and if you do, I hope you enjoy it. For all that it’s a paranormal romance about vampires and demons, it has a lot of heart. And while you’re reading, Irene and I are hard at work on our Christmas novella, Bonfire – Hours of the Night Book 1.5!
I continued my deliberations all the way to the house, stopping when I reached the second-floor landing. A muffled thump from the direction of Sara’s room brought me to a quick stop, sending a flash of tension through my gut. A well-modulated voice through the door. Short, punchy phrases.
“Draw. Move. Slice.”
Being accosted by a stranger at the scene of a bomb blast had disturbed me. Knowing Sara might be hurt filled me with terror. I had the door open before my mind formulated a plan, and well before my eyes could take in the scene.
Sara, stripped to the waist, his tawny brown skin damp with sweat, dark hair scattered over his chest. He clutched a blade in his right hand. His laptop sat open on the desk. His cheeks flamed, though I could not be sure whether the cause was embarrassment or exertion.
His voice cracked like an adolescent boy’s, and I struggled to make sense of things through a sea swell of relief.
“Mon Dieu.” I made to close the door.
“It’s okay.” He took a step in my direction. “I was just, um…” He glanced at the knife. “Practicing.”
I must have looked perplexed, because he continued without waiting for my response.
“YouTube.” His confident nod at the laptop distracted me more than the computer screen. “Watching videos on how to fight with a knife.” He tipped his head, staring up at me from under his bangs.
Relief allowed me to bark a laugh, though the flash of emotion across his face stifled me. I had not intended to embarrass him. “Well.” I wiped away my smile with an open palm. “I could perhaps”—I stopped, cleared my throat—“help you.”
“No, you don’t—”
“Bien sur. Ici.” I pointed across the room. “Show me what you have learned.”
“Come at me.”
I raised my arm in a mock-aggressive stance and lunged toward him.
“Like this.” With faltering steps, he avoided my thrust, slashing at my forearm. “And like this.”
If he had connected, he might well have succeeded in disarming me. “Good.” I gave him a look of encouragement. “Now, again.”
I struck, he swiped, I grabbed, he spun, and despite my intentions, he ended up pressed against me, his back to my front. His warm, salty, bare skin just inches from my lips. He stiffened. I froze.
Lord, I am not worthy…
I lurched away. “Pardonnez moi.”
To his credit, Sara laughed. He flipped the knife on the bed and followed it, lying propped on his elbows, knees spread wide enough to be an invitation. “Whatever, Mr. Dupont. I can keep going with YouTube.”
My cheeks felt uncharacteristically hot, and my heart, which had held steady throughout the night, now raced like a rabbit eluding a fox. “Nohea possesses the skills you need.” My voice broke on the word need. Gah. Seventy or eighty years had passed since I last felt so flustered.
“Sure.” Sara’s chuckle faded. “I’ll ask Nohea.”
“She is very well trained.” I wanted to leave before I could do any more damage.
Sara stopped me. “So did you find the demon activity?”
I paused with my hand on the door frame. “After a fashion.” I found myself relaying much of the event: the bomb, the scene in the market, and the offer. I left out the threat.
“You mean you think some ordinary guy is working with the demons?” Sara sat straighter, reaching for his laptop. “I don’t know why I think that sounds so crazy. I mean, a week ago I didn’t know vampires existed.”
He’d adapted to my life with gratifying speed, and admiration layered over the thicket of emotions he brought out in me.
His eyes narrowed. “Keep your thoughts to yourself, dude, unless you want to come over here and show me some real appreciation.”
How did he do this? At times his accurate guesses came dangerously close to reading my mind. Even though he had his laptop in his lap, I knew good and well where he’d have me begin. “Again, pardon me.” I took a step into the hall, for the first time wondering whether I’d be able to resist him if he made a deliberate play for my attentions. “It’s time for Lauds, and then I’ll contemplate ways of finding a human with enough power to control demons.”
“Wait.” Sara fiddled with his computer. “How do you get a demon to appear?”
“To control a demon, a man must be bold, intelligent, and spiritually powerful.” I sniffed, remembering the stink from the market. It smelled like shame. “The man I met tonight might be in league with the one we’re after, though it would take someone like Father Patrick to have the necessary skills.”
“Did you just accuse a priest of calling up demons?”
I laughed at his incredulous expression. “Maybe.”
“You’re a piece of work.” Sara shook his head. “I meant to ask whether it takes eye of newt or something, because we should maybe start with places you can buy supplies, you know?”
“I suppose. Nohea is more likely to know the details than I am.”
“There’s always the internet, too. I’ll dig around a little and make a list while you chant, then email it to you. What’s your email address?”
I gave it to him, and he laughed again. “AOL? Who the hell still uses AOL?”
And with that, I took my leave, curious what this bright, charismatic young man would come up with next.
The hunger outweighed my desire for him by only a feather.
Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…
The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.
Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…
The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.
Falling in love is hard at any age…
The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.
Vespers is a complete novel with no cliffhanger. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or read as the first book in the Hours of the Night series.
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.
Where to find Irene
About Liv Rancourt
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.
Where to find Liv
Liv and Irene have brought a $25 gift card and seven paranormal romance ebooks to give away along their tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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