Hi, everyone! I’m thrilled to be here, blogging at You Gotta Read Guest Blog.
Before I get to my bit of shameless self promoting, I thought that I would answer two questions a lot of authors are asked:
1. Why do I write? Because I love to read.
2. What kind of stories do I write? Ones I would love to read.
Reading and writing go hand in hand. I don’t think it’s possible to be a great writer if you aren’t an avid reader.
From increasing your vocabulary to studying other authors’ techniques and phrasing, reading is necessary. I would even venture to say that it is as important as promoting because reading is learning and you can never stop learning or perfecting your craft.
Lately, I’ve been reading and rereading fantasy novels. So it should be no surprise that my new release is a fantasy romance novel. It also has a great deal of historical aspects to it.
In fact, Woman of Honor started out as a historical romance novel, set in the Middle Ages. I have always romanticized the time period. Knights, chivalry, what woman hasn’t fantasized about being rescued by a knight in shining armor?
I did a ton of research, learning about the knighting process, the weapons, the armor and tucked those nuggets into the story. I learned that there had actually been real female knights in the Middle Ages, a few women had saved their town from an attack and had been granted many rights usually only reserved for men. And so a story idea grew about a young girl who wanted to be a knight in her own right, using those women as her heroines. Christopher, the older brother of Aislinn, the protagonist, wanted, practically demanded a speaking role. The only problem? He was dead. Another character inserted himself into the book, a Shadow Warrior (think ninja) when a pirate would have been much more believable for the time period. And so, Woman of Honor shifted genre from historical to fantasy. I did include the historical aspects, feeling that they added a wonderful textural aspect to the piece.
Woman of Honor tells the story of Aislinn, a young girl who wishes to take her fallen brother’s place as knight. As she strives to accomplish that goal, her heart is stolen by none other than the crowned prince, Caelan. They begin a love affair that they know cannot last. Her journey, her struggles, her triumphs and failures breathes fresh life into a medieval fantasy world.
You can reach me at my website: www.NicoleZoltack.com or email me at Nicole.Zoltack@gmail.com. I’ve already started on the sequel to Woman of Honor entitled Knight of Glory which will be available from Desert Breeze Publishing March 2010. Here is an excerpt from Woman of Honor when the two lovers begin their affair:
Caelan looked down at their hands, turning hers over so his fingertips could brush her palm. A shiver ran down Aislinn’s spine and her cheeks bloomed hot. She knew the effect of his touch had to be evident to him, but felt no embarrassment because it was clear that he was not unaffected. Caelan drew in a long, deep breath and folded his hand over hers.
"I have been trying to save myself."
"From what?" Aislinn bit her lower lip to stop herself from speaking further. All she'd done was ask him questions.
"Aislinn," he said softly, and his eyes slid for a moment to look at the bookshelf where they had kissed. "Do you remember our kiss?"
She blushed. "Yes. Of course."
"I wanted you very badly then. But you weren't ready to be with me or anyone else."
He leaned a little closer so their faces were only inches apart. In this part of the library, the way they sat, no one would see them unless they intentionally approached the table. It was late and the library was nearly empty, so Aislinn doubted they would need to explain to anyone why the crown prince and would-be lady knight sat so close together.
"Are you ready now, Aislinn?"
Aislinn closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. She thought about Catherina, about how much she loved the little girl, about how cruel the world had been to the child. She thought about her parents, about how happy they were, about the love they shared. And she thought about all the times she’d spent with Caelan since coming to the castle. She'd despised him once, but now she couldn't picture her days without him. She smiled when he came into a room, and she looked forward to dinner just so they could talk. Her heart nearly broke whenever she thought of all the times he'd been hurt, or could have died. Not because he was the prince and would someday rule the kingdom, but because he was Caelan.
She opened her eyes to find him still watching her, waiting for her answer.
"Yes," she whispered.
Caelan smiled, but the smile didn’t quite reach his sapphire eyes. He raised his hand and laid the back of his fingers against her cheek. His skin was warm and Aislinn leaned into the touch. Caelan turned his hand and laid his palm against her cheek, his thumb brushing her lip. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the soft, gentle touch.
"Nothing will save me now," he said softly — so softly she almost didn't hear him — before he moved closer and touched his lips to hers.
Woman of Honor, Desert Breeze Publishing
One Touch, One Glance, Freya’s Bower