I'm playing around with a few new book ideas. In an effort to "pick the right one" I am asking for reader feedback. Here is the very rough, first draft of an opening to a story with the working title Fairy Tale Nymph.
“Amira Declan,” the stern voice of Stephan, my assigned lover, called to me. I groaned. No matter how far I ran, and I was in another world, I still heard his voice in my mind, calling me back.
“Ahhh!” I threw the book on to the floor.
Patrice, the intern assigned to help me at the circulation desk, giggled. “That one doesn’t want to be checked back in, does it?”
Her wide eyes, twinkled blue laughter at me. Then she tilted her head up a notch and the twinkles were hidden behind thick frames.
“Glasses are the worst,” I announced, picking up the book. Patrice pushed her’s up her nose. “They do too good a job hiding your eyes.”
Shrugging slightly, like the way one does if they’ve been teased about their glasses a bit too much in the past, Patrice told me that they were fine. “I like to see and read too much to give them up.”
“What about contacts?”
A nasty look flashed across her face. “Not all of us can wear contacts, Amira.”
It took me a moment to place the irritation. “Ah, right.” Humans routinely thought my purple colored irises were the result of contacts. It was better that they think this than know the truth.
The truth being that nymphs have purple eyes. It’s a sign of our magic. A magic I longed to use here but had to do only sparingly to avoid detection.
For, as long as Stephan was calling to me, he had not found me.
“How about drinks tonight?” I asked Patrice as we were closing up the library. It was an early fall six. The sun hovered at the edge of the horizon, casting it’s red and orange rays through the trees. Trees that no longer rustled with fresh, young leaves. Now, with the encroaching cold that crept into your bones, the leaves were crinkly and browned.
Patrice tucked the scarf around her neck, doing her best not to eye me. “Drink? I’m not much into drinking.”
Her eyes were stopped on my unbuttoned coat. I refused to close the lapels. Instead I stretched my neck and threw my arms wide. “Oh, come on. Winter will be here and we’ll be stuck shuffling through icky, wet melting snow to do anything. Let’s enjoy the night.”
The smile, genuine and radiating pure delight in my behavior surprised me. Patrice was an extremely pretty human. Her curves were in all the right places, if not precisely to the current societal standard. The light blonde hair, nearly white, was unusual for an adult. If the human men would see her fairly glow the way I did, they would be after her like moths to a flame.
It was too bad so many of the human males were stupid. I snorted. Patrice flinched.
Holding out a hand to stop her from leaving, I told her, “I was thinking that men are stupid.”
Her shoulders relaxed, sliding lower on her frame, allowing her neck to peek out about that infernal knitted scarf she insisted on wearing.
“Well that’s true.” Grabbing my hand, one of the only times she had ever touched me, she said, “Come on. I know a place down the street we can walk to.”
“The Peacock?” I stared at a dark brown door sandwiched between chipped brick walls that showed a large degree of missing mortar. “This place looks ready to fall down.”
It was also teaming with pheromones. Male pheromones. The kind that remind me what I truly am, what I was born for: pleasure of an intense physical kind.
“Trust me, it’s totally different inside.” Patrice pushed the door open, leading the way into a bar lit by low LEDs. The mode was not the cattle hustle that I had come to associate with most bars in the area.
This place fairly throbbed with a sense of much more than a one-night stand. People who came here knew each other.
“Hey, Patrice!” The bartender called to her. “I got your favorite in. Come grab a seat.”
I sniffed the air. The beer and pheromones had hidden it. That quiet scent of a community. This place was filled with families!
Nerves feeling drawn toward their breaking points, I followed Patrice to a spot at the bar. “Hey, Nick! This is Amira. She works at the library with me.”
Nick, the bartender, flashed me a smile and held out his hand. “Nice to meet you.”
Shaking his, doing my best to keep my reactions to this bar that was not normal at bay, I replied, “Like wise.”
“So, Nick’s my brother. He owns the bar,” Patrice announced.
Nick nodded and sent a wave toward someone behind us. “Whatever you’re drinking, I’ve got you covered.”
I pointed at Patrice. “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Nick snorted. “You’ll be rethinking that.”
“Milk and Irish cream.” Now I was the one shaking my head. “Your drink of choice is milk with Irish cream?”
Patrice grinned, the smile showing off all of her amazingness. “I’m a bookworm at heart.”
I sniffed, turning my nose up at her. “You’re more than that.”
The smile wavered, her lips flattening for a brief moment, before she said, “I’m going to take that as a compliment.”
“Good. I meant it that way.”
I’d been in this little town for barely a month. While it was a good place to hide, the longer I was here, the more people I met. Meeting people always led to trouble for me.
“Here’s my boyfriend.”
A guy who would be cursed with pre-mature balding and not know how to carrying himself because of it walked up. “Patti.” He bussed her cheek, barely noticing that she wished to be kissed.
His eyes were fixed on me. On my open coat. “Who’s this?”
Patrice sent a frown my way. It was happening. “Jim, this is Amira, my colleague at the library.”
Jim moved too close for a hand shake. “Hey there.”
I stepped away, leaving my drink on the bar. “Patrice, I’ve got to get going. Thanks for showing me this place. See you tomorrow?”
Patrice glanced at Jim, who was scowling at me and my refusal to accept him. “Yeah. Tomorrow.”
I waved at Nick when I reached the door. Nodding toward his sister, I got Nick to head toward them. Patrice had her hand on Jim’s arm, clearly trying to keep him from leaving.
I slipped out the door hoping Jim wouldn’t be the ass I knew he was. For Patrice’s sake, not for his.
I heard the grunting sound of him, hurrying after me all too soon. “Damn. I really hate human males,” I muttered. My mind challenged me, reminding that I hated being controlled by anyone, even my own kind, even more.
Jim was pounding down the sidewalk, headed straight toward me. I had to decide fast how to deal with him. Kill him outright or simply scare and harm? Both were risky, on more than one level.
As his extra fleshy hand reached for me, I whipped around, sending my bent knee directly into his engorged crotch. He crumpled with a whimpered hiss of pain.
I paced around his collapsed body. “You’re such a loser.” The words snapped from me, fueling a rage that had less to do with him and everything to do with Stephan.
“Patrice is better than you will ever deserve and you, you pathetic whelp of a man, are too stupid to see anything over than her boobs.”
I leveled a foot into his backside, making sure it contacted his testiciles. “Human males are such frail mates for their women. Your bodies decay so fast.”
“What are you jabbering on about, you stupid bi…”
Jim’s mouth filled with blood. This may have been a result of my foot striking him in the face.
I leaned down close to him. His eyes, yet again because he really personified idiocy, fixated on my clevage. “What’s your favorite fairy tale?”
He licked his lips. “The snow queen,” he panted, the noise grossing me out. I felt pity for Patrice that this wastrel was probably the best she had ever had.
Closing my eyes, I pulled the anger and disappointment into me, let it flow through my veins. “I’ll make sure Patrice doesn’t miss you for long.”
The word froze along with his heart at a single touch. “Winter came early for you, Jim.”
My skin was on fire. Using magic, the sign of my people, created an aching need for a pyhscial fulfillment. The kind I had reveled in with Stephan.
“I feel you,” his voice sounded in my head.
“I know,” I whispered back into the darkness enveloping the street and my path back to the library.
Most humans think of magic as something that builds up and is released. It isn’t. Magic, the kind that nymphs possess, grows stronger and more demanding with each use. It never disapates.
Every use of magic requires a physical release to keep it from consuming you. It’s why nymphs are mated for life at our birth. Since we’re born straight from the water in adult form, we learn to use and control our magic together.
The bond is incredibly intense. Breaking away from Stephan and our realm had taken more magic than any nymph had previously tried to hold within them.
I had used ten human males in a matter of hours to decrease the internal potency. To this day I thanked this world for frat houses and beer.
That’s where I needed to go. A place that sold beer. But not back to the Peacock. I paused in mid-step.
Or maybe going back would solve two problems.
“He followed you, didn’t he?” Patrice was on me the second I crossed the threshold. Anger, embarrassment, and an ego wound too deep to heal blazed from her.
I nodded. “He did. I cracked his nuts for you.”
She stopped in sudden shock, her expression caught between that moment when you meant to yell but need to laugh. Her cheeks softened, the lips twisting upwards in the slightest bit. “You did?”
I took my coat off, draping it on a hook near the door. Straightening my outfit, I replied, “Yeah, I did. I think you should officially break up with him.”
Her lips, pursed. “I think I already did. Though…”
“If I hadn’t come back, you’d be hating me now.”
I got a firm nod. “Yeah.”
I waved my hand toward the bar. “Well, I’m a little ramped up and could use another drink. What you say about us celebrating your newly single state?”
We sat at the bar. This time I ordered a double shot of tequila for both of us.
Three double shots later, I leaned toward Patrice, using her presence to keep my ass on the stool. “We’re going to find you a great guy,” I promised her.
“Damn right we are!”
We tossed back the shots, screamed as the fire blazed a trail down our throats, and slammed the shot glasses on to the bar.
“You two are having way too much fun,” Nick smiled at me, adding a wink and a thank you when Patrice looked away.
“We’re just getting started,” I told him, holding up the shot he’d just filled before downing it and demanding another.
A soft male voice, one that rung earnest and kind, asked, “Can I buy you a drink?”
I looked to my left only to realize he was asking Patrice. “Yes, you can,” I told him, pushing Patrice off the stool and into his arms.
His eyes gleamed with happiness, excited over his good luck. He was perfect for Patrice.
She looked nervously at me. I whispered, “He’s the one. Go.”
And, as if I were the parent, she did. They were holding hands and talking up a storm at a nearby table less than five minutes later.
“You need to find someone too,” his voice sounded inside me. I wanted him inside me in a very different way. He laughed. “You’re the one who put this distance between us.”
I groaned. “Can I help?” a preppy blonde who probably went to the college in town asked.
I looked him up and down like a lolly pop I couldn’t wait to suck on. Smiling, “Yes, I think you can.”
The preppy blonde was good for a single hand job in the alley. “These men are not worthy of you,” Stephan’s voice taunted me.
“It took the edge off,” I groused back at him.
“Barely. I’m still rock hard.”
Into my mind flared the sight of him holding himself and stroking in front of a mirror. “Find another.”
I growled in lust. “I plan to.”
For the third year in a row, I spent the last weekend in April up in Milwaukee, WI avoiding rain and sleet at the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon.
If you've never heard of this beauty of an event, you are seriously missing out. This is 60 romance authors of multiple genres coming together in one spot to interact with readers. And, let me tell you, these introverted authors are crazy fun-loving peeps.
Here's the breakdown of those smiling faces above (according to the website which is subject to change even at the last moment):
Unfortunately for you, I opted to thoroughly enjoy the event rather than document it with my phone. The good news is that there are a lot of pictures of the event floating on the internet and social media. I have liberally borrowed to present the pictures in this post...
How my email list grew:
Where I was when I signed up for Instafreebie:
When I initially signed up for Instafreebie:
Then I joined a group of 35 authors to cross promote:
From 2 readers to 1,500 in less than a month!
I was over the moon with these results. Completely thrilled. I did lose subscribers when they unsubscribed from my welcome letter. My unsubscribe rate was 7%. I was still quite happy because I knew that my book might be seen and read by 1,700+ people.
And that's the most important thing: eyes on your book. Potential readers who may become fans after reading my first book and be interested to read the second.
So, that's the beauty of Instafreebie.
I'm still working through the data and preparing for a second launch. I'll keep you posted on that after I see how the first week goes. Release day is December 8th for my second book, Forfeiting Adam.
In the mean time, have a great week. Enjoy the process. It's slow going for me right now but I'm learning and hopeful for the future as I get better at running this business.
The majority of links on this blog are Amazon Associate links.