Michelle Picard Today at Kink, Romance, and Writing!

Michelle Picard, author of Surviving Eden, joins me today... Check after the interview for a blurb and an excerpt from the story.

G.G.:Tell me about the Quirky Ladies. What's it like having a support group like that? Being able to celebrate each other's successes? Helping each other? How did your group form?

M: Finding the Quirky Ladies is one of the best pieces of luck I ever received. I met the other ladies at my local Romance Writers’ chapter. We each wrote different sub-genres of romance and needed the extra critiquing support. But what we found when we started meeting was a way to support each other on a larger level. We cheer each other on, bemoan each others’ real life struggles and mundane arch enemies, get silly, brainstorm stories, and celebrate each others successes. We love to head out to our favorite sushi restaurant and toast away with quirky-tinis and lots of laughter. There is nothing better than support from both fellow writers and girlfriends and I have both in the Quirky Ladies.

G.G.: Why do you think the demon/ angel lover has grown to be such a popular trope in modern romance?

M: Like many dualities, it reflects everyone’s struggle with the good and bad within themselves and their lives. We have so many choices to make in our modern world, it’s almost overwhelming that we have to commit when there is no one truth that reflects the perfect path.

G.G.: Why did you decide to use that trope in your own story? 

M: I identified my hero as a man in personal conflict from the beginning. I wanted him at war inside himself regarding his self-worth and identity. This trope lays that war on the table and highlights it perfectly. And I think contrast of any type heightens tension. Stories are sexier to me with tension. The angel/demon trope is instinctively understood in our culture, so readers grasp that conflict immediately.

G.G.: How do you think you handle it differently than other writers? 

M: Neither my angels nor my demons are typical. Yes, there are wings for the angels, but their own sense of moral superiority do them in and make them just as flawed as my demons. Additionally, my demons are no monstrosities, but instead reflect a very amoral position. By the way, no horns. My demons are beautifully, sexily humanoid appearing. They have their own code of behavior and their own set of standards; it is simply separate from a common understanding of good. What was the most fun (and a bit of a spoiler, so close your eyes if you need to) is to create a common origin between these races, with the race split magically after an internal civil war threatened the destroy them. Yin/Yang. At one point my heroine describes how frustrating it is for the angels to have such a complete and utter lack of sense of humor, and the demons blessed with an annoying overabundance of it. I could play with extremes in character personalities and set up situations where these two peoples need to work together.

G.G.: What did it feel like when you made your first sale? Do you get the same rush with every acceptance? 

M: Interestingly, I get numb first before the rush. It’s always hard to believe when I sell a book. Granted, by that time I’m in love with the story and KNOW it needs a home, but the rush comes a few days later. The same process is repeated again and again for each book I sell. Luckily, I think my husband gets the rush on my behalf right away, and that is very sweet.

G.G.: And -- sorry if this is old hat by now -- what can your readers expect next from you? Your newsletter mentioned "Recasting Eden"... How's that going? 

M: Recasting Eden has a long way to go, but the story sits in my mind every day and I know Rachel and Gabriel (my heroine and hero) are eager to work on their issues together. Well, Rachel is a bit more anxious about it, and she’s been having lots of strange dreams, but she’s a busy woman who needs to save the planet so she finds way to distract herself from her anxiety. Folks can look forward to more developments in the lives of secondary characters like Tarn, Sebastian, Christian and Solinthe in the third book. Stay tuned. I’m trying to work it all out.

G.G.: Anything else you'd like to add? 

M: Just my thanks for having me here at Kink, Romance and Writing. I love this story, and hope your readers will check it out. Rachel is a complex character who will be growing with each book, and I look forward to finding out myself where she’ll end up by the finish.

Web address: http://michellepicard.com
Blog address:
http://michellepicardsblog.wordpress.com  http://thequirkyladies.com
Any other links: My awesome new book trailer video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wJIWrDTxrI

Blurb for Surviving Eden

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?

And an Excerpt... Enjoy!

Walking through the lush beauty of the Garden of Eden was meant to be inspiring, stimulating, a damned orgiastic delight for the eyes. This morning it was only annoying. Mostly because I was late for my first official diplomatic visit to the vampire realm, and fuming because the path through the garden refused to cooperate and lead us to the appropriate portal.

But the garden, its exotic sentience plucking at my mind, riffling through my thoughts and twittering its opinions--always a spine-tingling sensation--preferred to shift its dimensions and keep the elusive portal far from me and my companion. I would have questioned its motive, but I doubted it practiced anything but an amusing propensity for stirring trouble.

The Eden I strode through wasn’t anywhere on twenty-first century mortal maps of earth; more like a parallel realm snapped out of normal space, disconnected long ago by the goddess who created us all. Same as the home realms of all of the seven Kesayim peoples. Unfortunately, the garden had never recovered from its upset over the separation and tended to become testy at the oddest times. Oh yeah, PMS had nothing on this paradise when it got in a snit.

And now I had to negotiate its moody walkways and get to my destination or else. Without all the Kesayim races stable, including the vampires, I had no chance of uniting them to prevent the literal destruction of our world.

I walked faster. 

What’s a little deterioration of the balance of magic on the planet, Rachel? End game, that’s what. So get your butt in gear and figure out what to do about the vampires. Christian’s counting on you. Or do you want to see him murdered too?

My heart rate skyrocketed with the last thought. I so didn’t have time for the garden right now.   

On top of the furious pace I set as I stormed down the dirt-covered pathways winding through forest and meadow, I had Tarn, my fae guardsman, still harping at me about my limited escort. His long legs and graceful stride were more than a match for my own. His waist-length white-gold hair, braided down his back, trailed him as he followed me and left no visual impediment to his hard, toned body. Tarn was of the fae’s warrior caste, and he wore his position with every powerful movement, a counterpoint to the more delicate beauty of his face with its milky complexion and deep blue eyes.

As a rule I loved the irreverent fool, but he damned near pushed his limit today with his uncharacteristic doomsday warning that started from first light, when I’d stepped outside my suite in Eden’s Court. His usual caramel tones had flowed to burnt sugar instead. “My lady, if you will not contact Gabriel and ask him to join us for your own safety as we visit the vampires, at least do so for my welfare,” he repeated yet again. “He will tear me up into countless number of little pieces when he discovers only one guard accompanied you.”

I glared at the fae, his scrollwork-covered sword already drawn with his concern, before continuing down the path. I snarled, “Tarn, if you don’t shut up about Gabriel, I’ll be the one tearing you into countless pieces.”

The morning was not shaping up as I’d hoped and the reminder that my lover no longer held his position by my side as constant companion and protector did nothing to improve my mood. I was irritated with Gabriel anyway. I couldn’t figure out the why of it, I just was. “If you don’t remember, Gabriel’s no longer part of the guard and has no say whatsoever about my choice of escort. Anyway, he’s stuck in another bamboo up the fingernails, walking over hot coals negotiation between the angels and the demons today. He does not need any distractions.” No matter how much I want him here, too, I carefully kept to myself.

We dodged a grouping of new bushes popping up in the middle of our path and diverted down a new lane to our side. The garden cackled.

“But my lady...Rachel, if we just--”

I rounded on him, stopping in place with a sudden movement born of anxiety-edged irritation, causing him to skid to a halt to avoid ramming into me. “You know, this shit really gets to me. I’m supposed to be the Mother Heir, the exalted leader of the seven magical races of the Kesayim, all their powers rolled into one complete package. I’m the ruler of Eden’s Court and half the time I’m read the riot act by my own guard, my court seneschal, and the council of representatives, all of whom are supposed to answer to me. Me, remember? The crazy woman in charge of this nuthouse. I say who goes with me to visit the vampires.”

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