Thursday, November 01, 2007
The Taming of Jaelle’n by Deirdre O'Dare
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Deirdre O'Dare, who also writes milder (roughly PG-13 rated) romance as Gwynn Morgan, has loved reading and writing since early childhood. Writing came naturally to Deirdre/Gwynn who scribed her first simple verse at age eight. An avid reader, she devoured hundreds of books while growing up and later as an adult. Somewhere along the way she found romance and then romance with more explicit and detailed love scenes. “Ah ha,” said she, “I think I have found my niche!” In the last decade after leaving her "day job" as a civilian employee of the U. S. Army, she finally settled into romantic fiction writing as a second career. Deirdre has a number of shorts and novellas out now, all published by Amber Heat, www.amberquill.com/AmberHeat to include recent best sellers Doggone Love, Armed and Amorous and The Maltese Terror. Two print anthologies, Daring Dreams and Daring Delights are currently available. She has a website, www.deirdreodare.com and pages at Coffee Time and Books We Love (in the spice section). Her newsgroup is firstname.lastname@example.org
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I have been a very avid reader since I was about five. My dad did some writing, mostly for men's outdoor sports magazines, so I thought writing was fairly 'normal' and began to dabble with it myself while still very young, I wrote my first verses when I was eight and stories at about ten. My serious writing has been mostly since I retired from my 'day job' though.
I had several fave authors as a teenager and they also played a big role in my wanting to do it too.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
Letting those characters out of my head and helping them tell their tales is perhaps the most fun. It is as close to divinity as we humans can get to create a world and people it and then play with their lives and the power of that is sometimes almost awesome. Then when someone reads one of your books and tells you how much they enjoyed it or it helped them through a rough spot, that is such a gift! I thnk I probably dislike the need to be your own press agent and promo person the most. I am not a natural salesman and this is always a struggle for me. But the writing part I love!
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I've been single almost four years now since my husband passed away so I only have to take care of myself and my two dogs. I admit that household chores do get short shrift at times
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
Usually one of the main characters emerges first and starts 'talking' to me. I see this person in a scene or setting and then it just grows in layers as the plot takes shape and other people come on stage to take their roles. I always say the characters tell me their story and it really feels that way. I just transcribe what they are telling me and I do get surprised at times when things happen I did not anticipate. I do not outline or lay out the whole plot because then it would feel 'dead' and I could not write with any enthusiasm. Oh, I have a general idea where we are going but the twists and turns just happen.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I write women's fiction which I call "romantic adventure' since there is a love story and another co-plot which may be suspense, intrigue, action/adventure, or some other form of external conflict. I write both the 'regular' romance that is about PG-13 level of sensuality and then erotic romance which may be R, NC-17 or close to XXX. But the basic story lines do not differ that much; the more explicit stories just have characters that are not shy and don't mind sharing the intimate details of their life. From early teens on I always wanted a love story to be part of the books I read so when I started writing it was natural that a love story was part of just about every effort of mine. I began to write the more erotic/explicit tales to get unblocked after my husband passed away. He was a writer too and we collaborated quite a bit on things. I had to go in new directions and learn new methods when I began to write totally alone.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
Probably that you will be rich and famuos as soon as you sign a contract for a book! Even the hugely successful authors--Grisham, King, Roberts, --you name them-- do not make what the pro athletes, movie and rock stars, etc. make and the rest of us--well, we may supplement another source of income or barely squeak by if we are relying on what we make with our writing. I think also that many people do not realize the discipline and sheer work involved in writing a full length novel of say 80,000 words or more! It is literally hours just to get the first draft done and then you have to edit and revise and cut some of your precious golden words because in reality they suck
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I think most writers' characters are composites of different people they have seen and known with some imagination thrown in. I've written a few heroes especially that were inspired by people I had known but they were greatly fictionalized in the process of writing the story. A few are totally imaginary but most have at least a bit of a real person or two because this makes them more realistic and believable. They are not cardboard cutouts or comic book figures.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
Oh my that is a hard one! I always love the one or ones I am working with at any particular point in time the best. But to pick a favorite is like asking a mother of a big brood which child she loves the most! They are all different and all special in different ways, I strongly identify with several of my heroines and fell in love with almost all my heroes! I have nine novels published now and about fifteen shorter pieces, stories and novellas, so that is a lot of people to think about! They are all friends and shared the best and worst of their lives with me, after all!
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
Well, my first novel, Powerful Medicine, features modern Native American characters so if I was going to have it filmed I would want Adam Beech to play the hero, Ben Yazzie. Weird coincidence, when Adam was in the movie Wind Talkers, that was the name of his character also! But I wrote this book long before the movie came out, In another novel, The Man In Black, I would probably cast Sam Elliot as the hero although he is older now than when I wrote that one
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
A belief that happily ever after can happen for common ordinary people--beause I rarely write about the rich and famous jet setter types--and you do not have to be a gorgeous Barbie doll woman to find true love. The world is so full of tragedy and grim tidings these days that I try to keep my stories from being too dark and to guarantee a happy ending every time!
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
I would say don't start unless you are sure you are in it for the long haul. A few people sell their first book right off but most of us collect a lot of rejections and have to keep plugging along for quite awhile before we make that first sale and even then it is not smooth sailing all the way. You also need to have a support team in place, preferably your significant other and family but lacking that, a circle of girlfriends who also like to read and write and will understand what you are doing and why. Otherwise it is unbearably lonely and no one to cry on their shoulder on those bad days when editors and agents refuse you and the characters are not talking to you and so on!
Who are your favorite authors?
Again I have way too many to list. I read a wide range of things and have a favorite or two in many genres. I love Tony Hillerman and Margaret Coel's Native American mysteries; Joseph Wambaugh writes great realistic cop stories, W.E.B. Griffin writes wonderful recent history tales, Anne McCaffery and C.J. Cherryh are my F&SF faves, and in romance there is a bunch! No names because I am sure to forget someone and would hate to do that! The one author who was my greatest inspiration long ago was Anya Seton who wrote wonderul historical novels that just came alive for me.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished The Immortals series of four books--paranormal urban fantasy romance and quite good. Now I am starting Perfidia by Elspeth McKendrick (Morag McKendrick Pippen) who writes wonderful well-reserched tales of the last century. This one is set in WW II time mainly in Germany. On my notebook computer I have a couple of the recent Amber PAX collections from Amber Quill, great fun hot stories that keep me inspired to write more of the same! Adrianna Dane, Caitlyn Willows, Lyndi Lamont, M.L. Rhodes, Isabella Jordan, Brit Blaise and several others are names that appear in my collection very often. They write very hot but also very absorbing and exciting stories with a strong plot as well as the sizzling scenes. That is what I enjoy reading!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Taken captive and sold into slavery, Princess Jaelle’n has to make some swift adjustments in her attitude to survive. She is bought by a gorgeous but arrogant man who vows he can make her and a score of other female captives into prime pleasure slaves in one phase of the moon! Although she is determined to fight his efforts at taming and training her with all her hatred and will, his virile mastery proves irresistible. She eventually must succumb to the overwhelming attraction and lets herself start to love Aguilar only to learn she’ll be sold again…. In spite of this new heartbreak, can she use her newly developed skills to tame a new master? Set in an exotic world just a bit like ours may once have been, The Taming of Jaelle’n explores the fascinating physical and emotional byplay between two strong characters and the question of who will ultimately tame whom.
Jaelle’n walked erect, keeping her spine very straight. She stared rigidly ahead, but saw little. She refused to reveal her fear, her growing sense of dejection. Gazing into the distance with an unseeing stare, she pretending she wore one of her beautiful gossamer robes of arachensilk instead of a skimpy tunic of dingy gauze. Instead of the collar and wristlets of dull iron linking her to the coffle, she imagined she wore the massive gold toque and bracelets that she'd been allowed to wear for state occasions as Princess Royale of Cymrydda.
The women on the chain stumbled to a halt. Third back, Jaelle’n glanced around to discover they had come to an open square in the city. So this is the infamous Challabah, the slave market of Challabadur where once a ten-day, the finest of captives were sold to the highest bidders. In rich Challabadur, even in the whole prosperous kingdom of Dar-Islah, such bids could be high indeed. Even in distant Cymrydda, she had heard of the Challabah.
For one such as her, with the flame red hair and pale skin of her people, a wealthy Challabadan merchant or noble might pay ten thousand gold rajans, or so she had heard. There was hardly that much wealth in the whole land of her people. The Cymryddi had been late entering the wealth-building trade with the spice and jewel lands to the east, having little enough of value to offer save their valiant warriors, beautiful women, and a few head of fine horses. The royal treasury lacked sufficient wealth to pay her ransom, even if her father should somehow learn where she was.
Reality hit her with the power of a wild boar's charge. She was linked in a coffle with a score of other women, exotic captives from a dozen lands. And like the rest, she would be sold into slavery ere this day was over. She, Jaelle’n, Princess Royale of the Cymryddi, would be sold. Enslaved! No more than the kine and steeds of the wealthy, not a person but a possession!
Sick rage boiled inside her, anger at those who had betrayed instead of protecting her, choking fear of what was to come. She still held her head high, but that small act of defiance cost her almost more than she had left to give. For forty weary days she had marched all day, slept the short nights on hard, cold ground, and eaten only what scraps the slavers deigned to toss to their captives. Some of the women had fought and snatched food from one another. Jaelle’n refused to stoop to such behavior, but that too had its cost. Her portions had oft been the least.
As a group, the women sank to the ground, most too weary to stand, too dejected to pretend. Jaelle’n could not continue to stand, bearing the bulk of the chain's weight, but she did not fall gracelessly as they did. She folded her legs and sat back on her heels, the short tunic drawn down to cover as much of her as it would. Where most looked dully at the cobbles beneath them, she continued to gaze around the square.
Although the sale would not begin until the sun had crossed the zenith, potential buyers had already begun to gather. Another coffle was led into the square from the opposite side, this one a group of males, strong muscular men who would be bought to serve as workers and warriors. The rusty hue of one's hair hinted that he might share her blood, but he showed little pride, less intelligence and no interest. She dismissed him and the others at once.
A prickle between her shoulder blades began, gradually growing almost unbearable. She could not reach to scratch her back without bending into an awkward contortion. What was causing the awful sensation? Has a bug crawled off one of the others, perhaps one of the three filthy wild creatures from the inner reaches of Gandessa? Did it now embed itself in the tender skin on my back? She almost shuddered at the idea, until she realized she had not felt anything work its way up to reach that spot.
Finally she had to turn and glance behind her to see if one of the other women bespelled her out of malice. They knew of her royal status and had mocked her for it without mercy. But no, they all slumped, eyes to the ground, the picture of abject surrender. If one of them was working magick, she hid it well.
As she started to turn back, her gaze was drawn to a man who stood at the far side of the round platform in the middle of the square. He stood, feet apart, the picture of masculine confidence. His dark eyes riveted to her in a very measuring stare. Then he smiled, lifting one jet eyebrow with an arrogant little twitch.
Oh, he is magnificent! The thought came before she could suppress it. She tossed her head and turned quickly away, but his image lingered as if burned into her eyes. Her people were tall. Cymryddi women frequently stood taller than men of the southern races and the Cymryddi men towering like giants, but this man was the equal of any Cymryddi warrior, even the towering Bodanan, champion of her father's famed troops.
The stranger's wide shoulders spoke of a warrior's strength, his lean waist and long muscled legs of an athlete's prowess and grace. His raven-black hair hung almost to his shoulders in rich waves and his eyes made her think of two polished chips of ebony set in the weathered ivory-amber of his face.
Her skin--when not burned scarlet by the harsh southern sun--was barely tinted with the faintest blush of tawny rose, scarcely darker than the snow, the fleecy white clouds. Most of the southern peoples were some shade of brown, from tan to mahogany, but the strange man was neither. His skin showed a rare golden color, almost the same hue as her father's prized golden stallion, the like of which had never been seen in Cymrydda before Ard Righ Calumcille took him as tribute .
Who was he and what did he want? She could still feel the pressure of his gaze boring into her back. What if he were a potential buyer? She shivered slightly, awed by the fanciful idea that the golden man might purchase her. No, I’ll not even think of such a thing. Surely something will save me ere that occurs.
At first, the coffle had settled in the shade of one row of the tall buildings, which edged the square on all sides, but as the sun rose, it moved to beat down upon them. Now the blazing orb shone straight down into the square. The surrounding whitewashed walls threw back the heat and light, intensifying the force of both. Moisture trickled down Jaelle’n's body beneath the thin tunic, causing the cloth to stick to her skin. Thirst burned her throat and hunger gnawed in her belly. She had never known such misery in all her eighteen summers.
Behind her one of the swart barbarian girls began to moan, a low keening howl like the voice of a wolf, coming from deep in her chest. One of the slavers had stayed to guard them while the others went to arrange for the sale or seek their pleasure in the alehouses and bordellos. This one, called Churd by his fellows, now strode over and gave the howling woman a hard kick in the ribs. She doubled over, falling abruptly silent, and clutched her body as well as her chained arms would allow.
Sharp footsteps echoed on the stones, drawing closer. Jaelle’n turned to look, unable to restrain her curiosity. The golden man approached the slaver.
"Fool, what will your leader say if you damage the merchandise? Injured slaves do not bring the best prices. I had thought to purchase the lot, but if you have broken the ribs of that one, I will not take her."
The slaver sank to his knees, groveling. "Your pardon, Lord. Her wailing grated so that I erred in the degree of her punishment. I beg forgiveness, but I think she is not truly injured. She and her two sisters are given to whining and feigning hurts they do not have. They are exotic but will be difficult to train."
The golden man smiled. It was the smile of an ice-bear, a dire wolf. His mobile lips drew back from clean white teeth in a wicked taunt. "I will have no trouble. Within a moon cycle each of these women can be prime pleasure-slaves. But I will buy them only if they are healthy and free of scars. My healers will examine each of them before I bid one rajan. My house has a reputation to uphold and I will not see it sullied by flawed merchandise. Keep that in mind, scatling."
He walked on past, glancing down at each woman in the coffle as he went. He paused a moment beside Jaelle’n and again looked at her keenly. She felt his gaze but refused to look back at him. He was too arrogant, too overbearing! The very idea--that he would purchase her and make her into a pleasure-slave in a single moon cycle. Ha, I will claw his eyes out, knee him in his male parts, bite and scratch and snarl like a wildcat before I will be treated so!
"Take a trip to the rich and complex world where Jaelle’n and Aguilar live. Ms. O’Dare has created a believable, yet mysterious world filled with both the commonplace and the unexpected (ancient beings and magic being but two). There is just enough background given so that you are not lost, but enough is left to your imagination to ensure an enjoyable read.
Jaelle’n is a spoiled young princess who is thrust into a situation she was not expecting at all. As new situations are thrust upon her, she first fights, and then accepts the outcome with a newfound poise. Aguilar is 100% pure prime male who introduces a willing Jaelle’n to the pleasures of the flesh. I use this phrase deliberately as the language not as explicit as some of the other books, but this phrasing does fit with the tone and style of the book. Explicit or not, this was an enjoyable read focusing on the emotional growth of a woman torn from all that is familiar. I look forward to seeing more from Ms. O’Dare."
-- Michelle Naumann, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
"A princess finds her destiny and love when she's captured and made a pleasure slave in this charming story. Jaelle'n, Princess Royale of Cymrydda, is now one of the chained women waiting to be sold in a slave market. With her flaming red hair and pale skin, she's exotic and likely to bring a good price. Though determined not to show her fear, she knows she will not escape. Her new master turns out be Aquilar, an athletic, handsome man who buys many of the women.
Aquilar becomes Jaelle'n's personal trainer for pleasing men. When she's trained, and it's time for her to be sold, Jaelle'n has lost her heart to him. Can she do nothing to keep his attention? While this story isn't original in plot, the surroundings are well described. Humor is used well, and both Aquilar and Jaelle'n are interesting characters."
-- Page Traynor, Romantic Times
The Taming of Jaelle’n by Deirdre O'Dare
Release Date: May 2005
$6.00 from Amberquill.com
Purchase The Taming of Jaelle’n by Deirdre O'Dare HERE!!!