Thank you very much Wendi for hosting me today as part of my multi-stop blog tour announcing my newest release, Surviving Eden. My name is Michelle Picard and Surviving Eden is the second in my Eden’s Court series that began with Ruling Eden last fall. Ruling Eden recently took a second place final in the PRISM awards this summer, for which I’m thrilled. Both books are available in e and print formats with links to purchase at my publisher’s website, www.crescentmoonpress.com. Paperback copies are available both at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Kindle downloads are currently available and Nook downloads will be available shortly. Perhaps even as we speak.
The premise of the series? What if a modern woman suddenly learns she is heir to the throne of a magical realm hidden in our world and is the most powerful magical being on the planet?
So let me throw you the blurb for Surviving Eden and then move on to discuss the important topic of location, location, and location. Or, in other words, why in the world I chose to set my books in Eden (with a little Boston thrown in for good measure). Where is Eden anyway? Don’t worry; it’s not in Bean Town.
Rachel Rieh wields enough magic to make a goddess jealous, or so she learned three weeks ago when she thought she was an ordinary, reclusive, and short-tempered gal from Boston. In this second story of Eden’s Court, Rachel, now the new ruler of the Kesayim, (angels, demons, dragons, faeries, vampires, shapeshifters and witches – the goddess-created protectors of mankind) finds herself faced with the task of stopping vampire hunters from annihilating the vampire race. Her lover, Gabriel, half-angel, half-demon, stands by her side to help if she can escape her obsession with protecting him at all cost.
Earth is already on the verge of destruction within six months because magic is out of balance. The new threat to the vampires destabilizes the situation more. In her race to save the vampires, Rachel meets Lillith, goddess- creator of all Kesayim and humans, and the one with the all the answers to Rachel’s problems. But is the cold-hearted goddess who is intent on changing Rachel into her image the greater threat to Rachel and everyone she loves?
Now, on to the discussion of location. Like buying a house, a story needs the perfect location to unfold its full potential. I’ve been a sucker for traditional fantasy since I was a girl, but am a more recent convert to the urban fantasy genre. So I wanted to find a way to reflect a bit of both in my location. In addition, I needed to find a common ground, literally, to host seven different paranormal humanoid species and represent their joint origins.
Why not play with the mythology of Eden as the center of creation and float this realm on modern day Earth, tethering it to the mundane world as if it was a balloon with Eden floating in the ether? Add magical portals that whisk you between ordinary Earth and this otherworldly realm and I was good to go. Eden is a traditional garden, but it is sentient and expands and contracts to any size imaginable. Yet inside it stands a modern embassy complex with residents hip to the modern world coming together to preserve diplomatic relations between the species. There’s even an underground bar with bands playing the latest modern fusion rock.
This hybrid location fit the bill for a modern heroine who swears freely, has anger issues, but loves deeply and loyally. She has to learn to use her tremendous magical power in this new exotic locale, but her modern day hang-ups pop as true in the setting because I’ve kept contemporary elements.
Finally, the rich background of Eden allowed wonderful opportunities for playing with the common source of magic I developed. The Earth and its soil is literally the source of that magic and the imagery of digging deep into the verdant gardens to loose that magic was a wonderful idea with which to play. Any good fantasy world has to have a consistent magical system and the characters must play by the rules of that system for a reader to have the best quality visit to that story world. Not only did my magical system need to be consistent within itself, but it also had to explain the diverse magic of the seven paranormal races. It was a challenge, but handcrafting the location of my stories helped tremendously in making this magic hang together.
I hope you’ll stop by and check out Eden, my heroine Rachel and my hero Gabriel. I encourage readers to send me feedback about my stories. I’d love to hear what everyone thinks about this location. Did it work for you? Don’t be afraid to speak up. Send comments to email@example.com or visit my blog at www.michellepicardsblog.wordpress.com and leave a comment on one of my posts.
Thanks again Wendi for hosting me and I wish everyone a sweet and creative adventure today. Please visit me at www.michellepicard.com to learn more about my books.
Rachel Rieh wields enough magic to make a goddess jealous, or so she learned three
weeks ago when she thought she was an ordinary, reclusive, and short-tempered gal from Boston. In this second story of Eden’s Court, Rachel, now the new ruler of the Kesayim,(angels, demons, dragons, faeries, vampires, shapeshifters and witches¾the goddess-created protectors of mortalkind) finds herself faced with the task of stopping vampire hunters from annihilating the vampire race. Her lover, Gabriel, half-angel, half-demon,stands by her side to help if she can escape her obsession with protecting him at all cost.
Earth is already on the verge of destruction within six months because magic is out of balance. The new threat to the vampires destabilizes the situation more. In her race to save the vampires, Rachel meets Lilith, goddess, creator of all Kesayim and humans, and the one with all the answers to Rachel’s problems. But is the cold-hearted goddess intent on changing Rachel into her image the greater threat to Rachel and everyone she loves?
Moonlight filtered through the windows of my bedroom, softly draping Gabriel’s naked body as he lay next to me on his stomach. His thoughts seemed to be somewhere else entirely. I loved how the pale light played along his flawless limbs, his smoothly muscled body. The silken sheets teased my already sensitive skin. I let my thoughts drift away from my gnawing guilt as I avoided discussion about my date with Colin. As Gabriel relaxed by my side, his aura glowed bright with his pleasure.
I’d given up on trying to shut-off my perception of auras. The dizzying visuals superimposed over everyone’s bodies were now becoming familiar, natural. Gabriel’s included the outline of a pair of wings jutting from his back. Their ghostly image had been present even before he manifested those wings for the first time during his battle with Michael in council.
Tonight was no exception. With downy feathers tucked magically away inside his body, a trick he alone of his angel counterparts could accomplish, his aura reflected their shining outline. The shadow wings were almost as lovely as the real thing.
I couldn’t resist running my fingers down the raised skin on both sides of his back while I lay beside him, my head supported by elbow and hand. I’d convinced myself Gabriel felt shy about the wings. I’d only seen them twice, including the time they manifested. But his hesitation to show them to me hurt. Perhaps he didn’t fully trust me. I dismissed that thought as ludicrous, but it still nagged at me.
My light tracing of the soft, barely perceptible tissue ridges sent pleasant tingles into my hand. His body tensed under the movement of my fingers and I felt his discomfort in the contact. Disappointed with his response, I stilled my fingertips.
“I won’t touch them if you don’t want me to,” I whispered into the hushed night of the room, holding my breath for his reply.
After a moment he relaxed, as if he’d fought through his initial hesitation to some decision. “Please continue,” he said, voice sleepy. “It feels good.”
I smoothed the ridges once again, delighting in the tiny shocks sparking into me. Gabriel’s voice bounced out into the moon-touched room, filling the space with its rich tones, surprising me with its serious intent. “When I was a child I fell asleep most every night dreaming of wings. I hated being born without them.” He paused. “The dream died long ago and I never thought to gain them. Yet… Here I am.”
My breath hitched hearing the pain of the memory in his cautious words. He sounded surprised to be speaking them. Guilt flooded through me for forcing him to expose himself to this hurtful past. Every day he walked into that negotiation room to manage the talks between the angels and demons. It was one thing for me to insist on facing my own memories head-on; another to see someone I loved forced into the same.
Gabriel caught my eyes before I could glance away. “I recognize that look on your face,” he chided. “You are blaming yourself, again.”
I kept my gaze on the window, the shadows of the garden just outside, wishing I could hide the waiver in my voice. “Don’t badmouth a little good old-fashioned guilt.” I tried to joke away his point-on comment. I swallowed past the lump in my throat and the will to give my smart-mouth rein died a sudden death. “My decision puts you in that room with them everyday.” I removed my hands from him, unable to continue my caress.
He shifted on his side, reaching his hand to cradle my face. “Being in that room may be frustrating, but it is valuable to me as well. I feel less need to run from them.”
My indignation surged on his behalf. I wanted to insist that he never ran, but hadn’t I accused him of the same weeks ago? My words had been to the effect that he’d bought into their crap about being an abomination. I’d wanted this experience for him--a chance to put to rest the ghosts that haunted him. I just hadn’t counted on how witnessing his pain during the process would shred my heart.
He smiled as if he’d recognized the play of thoughts and emotions running across my face and valued them. “I did run, in my own way. But being forced to watch the angels and demons confront their issues, I feel less like I am some shameful secret that must be denied.”
“I’m sorry this hurts you,” I blurted, my words choking me. I hated how out of control my emotions became with him. I valued my control.
His voice roughened with irritation. “You never forced me into the room. It was my choice, if you remember.”
“Do not make less of what I do by claiming responsibility for that choice. I survived hundreds of years making my own decisions before you were even born.”
Gabriel’s tone made my hackles rise for just a moment before I remembered his pain. He had a point, but I wasn’t about to give up on blaming myself in this matter. Call me masochistically stubborn.
His momentary anger dissolved, shifting into an all too different mood. His fingers moved in a caress of my cheek. He was a master at distracting me when he wanted and I’d sullenly noted before how most of the time this was a good thing. “Besides,” his voice lazed, “I need your mind focused elsewhere. It has always been my fantasy to make love to a woman with wings wrapped around us, brushing along our bodies.”
My mouth quirked up as my nipples tightened. “Any woman in particular, or will you just put out a personal ad? Wanted: female with wing fetish. Only those already butt naked need apply.” His chuckle tightened all things lower on me and I shifted on the bed, anticipation licking my skin.