Magic Matched: Motherhood

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In witching society, there is a strict hierarchy. Family covens are ruled by Mothers or Fathers who hold the bulk of their bloodline’s power and archaic rules are enforced, disregarding modern sentiments. Magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

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Christiana Davenold doesn’t want to be Mother, but her husband is pushing for her to be named heir. Milo just wants to protect his wife, and he believes the position of leadership would keep her, and their unborn child, safe from the challenges of her cousins.

But Mother Madeleine refuses to name a successor.

As the Davenolds gather in the hopes that they can heal their Mother from the dark magic attack that has left her weak and near death, Silviu Lovasz and Georgeanne Davenold find themselves at a turning point neither could have expected. Troublesome Family members, secret alliances and the unexpected arrival of Father Daniel Levy cause an emotional upheaval that will test them both.

Only love can see them through the danger, but in witching society, magic and politics are all that matter. The connection they’ve managed to forge will be tested as suspicion grows and trust is broken by the ultimate betrayal.

 

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~~Excerpt~~

Frustration heated the back of Silviu’s neck. “I’d hoped for a little more than a small moment, love.”

“Make an appointment,” she snapped. “Silviu, I have a lot going on right now. I appreciate you doing what you can to help my grandmother, but while she’s ill the Family problems come to me. I have a job to do and I can’t let everybody down.”

“They could solve most of these problems themselves.” He shook his head, irritation tightening his muscles. “They bring you silly things for no other reason than to occupy your time.”

She steered him to the right and opened an inconspicuous door. Inside wasn’t what he’d expected, until he reminded himself that the estate belonged to the secondary branch and wasn’t Madeleine’s primary residence. In New Hampshire, the Davenold Mother had a bright, opulent office, but the space he followed his betrothed into was dimly lit with a single, narrow window and filled with an overly large desk.

It was perfect.

“You have to understand how nervous they are.” Georgie’s tone turned mildly scolding, “Our Mother is ill with no cure we can find and the Family is frightened. I must provide them with the leader they need.”

Put that way, the Davenolds’ dependence on her made more sense. “You are the natural choice,” he conceded.

“Yes, and if I’m not available, the witches here are more likely to go to Suzette than Christiana. Most of the people running around here belong to the secondary branch. What did you need to talk to me about?”

There was no way he could tell her the truth. He knew she would reject him outright if she had even a hint of his plans. He would scare her off and offend her at the same time.

A flick of his fingers locked the door before he leapt on her. Silviu trapped Georgie against the desk and hauled her to his chest, his mouth coming down on hers before she could protest. He crushed her close, pressing his rigid dick to her belly and smoothing his hands down her back in a single, hard stroke.

He wondered if she could taste his desperation as he twisted his lips against hers and thrust his tongue into her mouth. If she could feel the thrum of his magic sliding over her, sinking into her, and if she would understand what it meant, if she understood what he was doing. He wondered if he cared what she thought as she went to her toes and moaned. Silviu pressed his advantage.

Her lack of magical knowledge was his saving grace and he fully intended to use it to the best of his ability while he still had the advantage. Before her suspicions became engaged. He gripped her hips and dragged her against his cock until Georgie was clinging to him for balance. He kneaded her ass and bit her lip.

She broke the kiss with a gasp. “Silver, I don’t have time—”

“Make time,” he growled, attacking her mouth again. He licked and rubbed, used the hard edge of his teeth against her soft curves and sucked her lower lip. “I need you, Georgie.”

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Magic Matched

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The game they’re playing turns treacherous

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A minefield of lies and betrayal

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adDelve into the emotions, dive into the erotic.

An extensive traveler who loves to incorporate various legends from around the world into her tales, Lola White likes to twist reality at its edges in her stories. She likes delving into the emotions of her characters, finding their strengths and weaknesses, and seeing (and showing) how they get themselves out of whatever trouble has found them—if they can.

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The Bane Moon

When I began my story about a witch with no magic, I pictured an event so rare, though naturally occurring, that it would have to be destiny, and have to speak of destiny. I chose a full moon, and called it a Bane Moon.

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In my Magic Matched series, Georgeanne Davenold is a Bane-born witch, born under the very rare Christmas full moon, but in the book, this corresponds with the winter solstice.

No, I didn’t get it wrong. I had decided to give my witches a combination of beliefs and customs that would set them up as the forerunner to the neo-pagan religions, traditions and lifestyles we still have around us today. But I also wanted my witches to have a greater, though subtle, influence through history.

 

Now, we celebrate the solstice, or the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere, typically on the 21st of December. But over the centuries, the calendar has gone through changes, science has advanced and timepieces have become more accurate. Back in the olden days, they were using sun-lit rocks, stars and seasonal cues, and it turned out the ancient pagans were pretty spot-on, all things considered.

The winter solstice, in ancient days, was celebrated on December 25th. (This is fairly simplistic, but trust me, okay?) In the general timeframe of what we now know is the shortest day of the year (northern hemisphere), the ancients celebrated with a wide variety of customs and rituals meant to bring people together during the darkest of days (literally!) and share a communal sense of optimism for brighter days to come. (Ahem, again, literally…) Examples include Yule and the Feast of Saturnalia.

So when the early Christians began making inroads, they saw a way to insert their own rituals and beliefs into the festivities, and voila! We got Christmas.

I think that’s pretty fascinating, but also really important. Think about how many cultures and religions all celebrate holidays around this time, and think about why. For me, it goes back to the need of being with friends and family in the darkest of days, sharing a communal sentiment about optimism, hope and love. This is the season where we gather together, we eat, drink and be merry (hopefully), knowing that the dark days are just about behind us, and soon the sun will shine bright and warm.

Twenty-three years ago, my witches had a full moon on Christmas. For Georgie, the moment of her birth set her destiny. Bane witches have no magic…or do they? Bane moons are very rare, after all, so who can say what magic she has or doesn’t have? She’s the key to unlocking Silviu’s ability, so maybe she’ll find a bit of her own somewhere in the mix.

This year, we have a full moon on Christmas. My wish for you, no matter what holiday you celebrate, is that, like Georgie, you can meet your destiny in the coming days, that you, too, have/find/accept the gifts you’ve been given and look forward to brighter days ahead.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a season filled with joy and love. And hope, because, for me, that’s the whole point.

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Witchy Inspiration

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I lived in Africa for several years, and ‘witchery’ is fairly common—as a belief, if not a practice. Being that I love the paranormal genre, I took notice, and when I set out to write Betrothed the idea of witches drew me in, especially because I had firsthand knowledge of how another culture viewed witchcraft.

But witches alone are not enough for a paranormal romance. I needed a romance, and that got me thinking…

My friend met her husband when she was fifteen, and the very first time she spoke to him, she knew she would marry him. No one thought her certainty would prove to be prophetic, but they’ve been together since then, defying the odds, and that made me wonder, too…

What if you knew who you would marry before you were even grown-up enough to understand what marriage was? How would knowing exactly who you were going to marry affect your life, especially if the two of you were very different—raised with different goals, ethics and expectations? And what happens when you grow from childhood innocence to adult challenges?

Betrothed, the first book of the Magic Matched series, grew from those questions. Silviu Lovasz and Georgeanne Davenold are the rarest of witches, which puts their lives in danger, and prompted their families to form an alliance that defies divisive coven politics.

Silviu is from a patriarchal coven, raised by his ruthless father and manipulative grandfather. He’s expected to use everything at his disposal to rise to the top of the witching hierarchy—including Georgeanne.

Georgeanne Davenold is a matriarchal witch. Unlike the Lovaszes, her family is influential and Georgie has been trained to excel at both politics, and family leadership. She expects to take over as the matriarch one day, and broaden her family’s influence even further through Silviu’s rule over the combined covens.

We all have goals and a desire to be successful in life, and for Silviu and Georgie, it would seem that their path was clear, predestined. But human beings are rarely simple, and these two witches are no exception.

Silviu and Georgie must face life beyond childhood. They have moved from the simple times where their innocence forged a bond that resulted in a ten-year separation, to adulthood, where politics breeds distrust and the division between the covens tests everyone’s loyalties. They must learn to open their hearts to each other in order to wield the magic that is rightfully theirs, and they must learn to trust each other in the face of lies and betrayal in order to achieve the power they’re so determined to win.

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Enter the Witching World: Betrothed

In witching society, magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

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Silviu and Georgeanne have been betrothed since Georgie’s birth. Their Families are determined to see the two witches combine their magic into a  force that will rule over all the covens. They are two witches of myth and legend, Magic Matches. Ten years ago, the pair broke all the rules, resulting in a separation that left Silviu hungry for reunion and Georgie distrustful of her betrothed.

 

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Neither Ileana Lovasz nor Eliasz Levy are looking for love. Humiliated by a string of broken betrothals, Ileana only wants freedom from her manipulative grandfather. Ambitious Eliasz simply wants an alliance with Ileana’s brother Silviu, a man rising through the witching ranks. That is, until the Lovasz woman arrives at his home and stirs up emotions he’d never thought to feel. Ileana embarks on a bold plan of seduction to tie Eliasz to her side, and her brother’s politics, but she never imagined the man would seduce her, in turn.

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Ileana, Eliasz, Silviu and Georgie must build an alliance that will help them all get what they want but, with too many lies and too many enemies, the game they’re playing turns deadly. When the two women come under attack, neither Silviu nor Eliasz knows which is the target. They only know they will protect the women their hearts have claimed as their own, even though that means defying the traditions of witching society, risking every goal they hold dear and confronting the dangerous members of their own families.

betrothed_800BETROTHED is Book 1 of the Magic Matched series-Silviu and Georgie’s first step toward lasting love and ultimate power in the dangerous world of witches.

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Editing comes with tears

betrothed_800Geez, where should I begin?

My paranormal erotic romance, Betrothed, was picked up by Totally Bound. Cue the happy dance, pound the drums, and pop an aspirin for the stupid grin contorting my face long enough to cause pain. My editor, Jennifer Douglas is amazing and insightful and ridiculously patient.

But I had to change the title of the series. When it comes to titles, my creativity takes a nose dive. But my previous title was too close to an already-published series by Totally Bound so I changed it to Magic Matched.

Whew, okay, we’ll put a check in that box.

First round of edits. Done, not terrible, causing no distress. (Because Jennifer is awesome.) But there were a few more areas of confusion which required more editing. My own misunderstanding of what Jennifer was asking necessitated a third round. All three rounds took less than a week and left me feeling excited, absolutely certain that Totally Bound was helping me release the very best book Betrothed could possibly be.

For the record, I still feel absolutely certain that Totally Bound is going to release the very best book Betrothed could be.

But there were tears.

Final edits came around and I was assured that it would be easy, that it primarily focused on grammar. Unfortunately, grammar includes word tense and certain inconsistencies between how we speak, and how we read what’s spoken. Suggestions were made and I found myself refusing to comply. Stubborn, frustrated, confused as to why certain things had to change, I turned to the internet to find out how much an editor expects an author to change. The search engine results varied, but generally, there is no answer to my question.

One thing was for sure, I didn’t want to be considered A Problem. I didn’t want to be stubborn, I didn’t want to create a stagnant book that fell short of my goals toward perfection, and I didn’t want to be one of those people who were sure they were right and the professionals had it wrong.

So, after reading many blogs written by editors and authors, I found one in particular that helped. I really wish I’d written her web address down, but I didn’t, because I didn’t expect to write this post (surprise!) If I find it again, I will let you know, because this author was a huge help to my sanity. (If you know it, please comment and share the knowledge.)

Basically, she said wherever an editor points something out, fix it unless there is a damn good reason for not fixing it. She said editors don’t necessarily know what they want, they only know that what you’ve given them doesn’t work. And reading that, the light bulb went on in my mulish head.

I had made a list of everything I didn’t want to change. There were roughly 80 places (for a 93,000 word novel of complicated plot) where the final line editors made a comment relating to capitalization or words changes, commas, etc. I initially refused to change 14. That kind of ratio may not sound like a big deal, but I knew it was. Keeping that many things that needed to change is ridiculously pig-headed. My goal was to change at least 95% of what they asked, because I knew they wouldn’t have asked if it wasn’t a problem.

Keeping in mind that what WAS there didn’t work, and the editors did a decent job of telling me why in their comments, I changed things to something I thought WOULD work. Most of the time, it was nothing like the suggestion made by the editor, but it still fit with their understanding of what was needed.

For me to refuse to change what needed changing smacked of laziness. I am the writer, I am the storyteller, I am the lassoer of words. I am the one lost in my own head, knowing already what I meant, and they are the ones hearing it fresh, and wondering what the hell I meant. They needed a change, and it’s my job to make sure that change reflects well on all of us. It’s my job to tell the story, and if I can tell a 93,000 word story about witches and politics, certainly I can find a few more to adjust clunky sentences, or scrap some to tighten a particular scene.

I just did it MY way, in a way that reflects my voice and my story and my intent. And that author whose blog I read gave me de facto permission to do so.

You’ll find lots of places where people give advice on saying no to your editor. If you’re traditionally published or published through a well-respected company who consistently puts out good work, trust your editor. If you’re self-publishing, research and investigate until you find an editor you trust. You should be working with an editor you trust, and once you get one, sincerely consider their advice.

I trust my editor. Like I said before, they are the professionals. How dare I think I know better?

So, here’s my advice: pick your battles and be creative. Find new ways to clarify and make sure the original is really important to you if you to keep it. Be prepared to defend why resistance is necessary. In the end, I kept two things, both were word changes in dialogue that, to me, showed something important about the character speaking. 2 out of 80. Much better.

My editor didn’t write back with a scathing email about my stubbornness, or how I didn’t do what they asked, in the way the asked it. I take that to mean that I make them predominantly happy in what I changed and how I changed it. I took out the things that didn’t work and replaced them with things that did. That was my job, my final contribution to my story. Final edits are done, and release is just a few months away.

Magic Matched: Betrothed

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In witching society, magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

But neither Ileana Lovasz nor Eliasz Levy are looking for love. Humiliated by a string of broken betrothals, Ileana only wants freedom from her manipulative grandfather. Eliasz simply wants an alliance with Ileana’s brother Silviu, a man rising through the witching ranks. That is, until the Lovasz woman arrives at his home and stirs up emotions he’d never thought to feel.

Silviu has bigger things on his mind than his sister’s marriage. Georgeanne Davenold, Silviu’s betrothed and the key to his rise in power, is back in his life after a ten year separation that left her distrustful of his intentions. Their union is a novelty, spanning the divide between Matriarchal and Patriarchal Families. Their union is also alarming, combining the influence and magic of two witches only heard of in myth and legend.

Ileana, Eliasz, Silviu and Georgie must build an alliance that will help them all get what they want but, with too many lies and too many enemies, the game they’re playing turns deadly. When the two women come under attack, neither Silviu nor Eliasz knows which is the target. They only know they will protect the women their hearts have claimed as their own, even though that means defying the traditions of witching society, risking every goal they hold dear and confronting the dangerous members of their own families.

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Excerpt:

“Georgeanne Davenold is now old enough for me to do exactly as I wish to her, without her Family’s interference.”

Vasile stared at his son for a long moment, leaving Silviu feeling weighed and measured, evaluated in a way he’d grown used to, years before. It still wasn’t easy to keep calm under the silver stare.

“Don’t lose your head, my boy. This isn’t some female to take without consideration.”

Silviu hefted a brow. “I’ve never had any complaints.”

Vasile scowled. “You put your damned heart on your sleeve and you’ll lose every advantage you’re likely to gain with that girl. She’s been molded in Madeleine’s image. Do not underestimate her.”

“That’s exactly what you want, Father. A woman as strong as Madeleine. Her entire life has been arranged by you for that very reason. She was always meant to be Madeleine’s second reign.”

“And your first, but she’s your weakness,” Vasile spat, abruptly leaning forward in his chair. One rigid finger drilled into his desktop, emphasizing his point. “I don’t know what the hell it is about her, but I could see it the moment you met. Do not jeopardize all we’ve worked toward for a female who will never allow you to be her weakness. She has her own agenda and, with the sole exception of that Beltane night, she’s never given us any reason to think she would be willing to put it aside to please you!”

Surprise held Silviu for a breathless moment, a hideous vulnerability sweeping over him at how easily his father had read him. He cleared his throat with effort. “We both want to lead the covens. What makes you think her agenda wouldn’t match mine, if properly explained to her?”

“You won’t win the heart of a matriarchal female,” Vasile countered. “You’re too…male, for any of them. So, don’t even bother to try.”

Silviu hid the fear spearing through him by slouching back in his chair, a deliberate insouciance that was all that ever truly fooled his father. “I know. It’s a political alliance, not a love match.”

Vasile lost some of the tension in his shoulders. “Only Georgeanne can unlock your full potential, only she can provide a conduit for all the magic that should rightfully be yours. Together, you could join the Families, power from both sides of the Schism. Just think! You will rule with your combined power over all the covens.”

“Just as you wanted, Father.”

With one last searching glance, Vasile shifted back in his chair, a crafty gleam sparkling in the depths of the eyes he finally turned on his daughter. “Eliasz wants you.”

“That’s ridiculous,” she scoffed. “He doesn’t even know me.”

Vasile shook his head. “There is no earthly reason why the powerful Levys would want to ally themselves with our Family except Eliasz’s lust. We aren’t politically relevant.”

“But that will change,” Silviu said.

“Yes, but no one in the Levy Family knows the extent of my plans.” Vasile raised a brow at Ileana. “You will do everything in your power to keep Eliasz’s attention and win his heart. Do you understand me?”

Ileana’s eyes went wide. “Throwing me into Eliasz’s bed, then?”

Vasile pointedly eyed the tiny skirt riding high on his daughter’s thighs. “Are you going to tell me you’re a virgin?”

“I won’t tell you anything on the matter at all, Father.” Ileana cocked her head. “What makes you think this time will be any different from before? Grandfather is going to find some reason to pull back from this alliance.”

Vasile’s hard face went rigid. A low growl ripped from his throat. “The old fool has no idea how much he’s cost this Family. He is the reason we have no power in the witching world, but so long as he wields the magic of our bloodline we have no weapon strong enough to bring him down.”

“We need this alliance,” Silviu said, turning to take Ileana’s cold fingers and squeezing gently. He tried to give her comfort, hope. For so long, they’d been each other’s support in the face of their Family’s machinations. “The Levys are no joke, Iley. This one will go through.”

“You can’t promise that,” she argued.

“We’ll do our best.” Vasile rapped his knuckles against his desktop. “But you’ll have to do your part, girl. Wrap that man around your finger. I know you can do it. You can be very charming when you put your mind to it. People naturally like you.”

“Convince him to elope with me, perhaps?”

“If need be, yes.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Silviu glanced at his sister, the sudden calmness in her voice sounding alarms in his skull. She only used that tone when she was about to challenge the archaic, patriarchal rules they were forced to live by.

Vasile seemed unaware as he moved on to his favorite subject—intrigue. “Now, as for the meeting with the Levys, I will expect very specific things from both of you.”

It was nearly the witching hour before they were given permission to leave their father’s presence, lectures and orders still ringing in Silviu’s ears. When he slipped out into the cold hallway, he shut the study door behind him carefully, calmly and with complete control.

Only then did he lean back against the wall, close his eyes and let a shudder born of too many emotions to fully contain roll through him. Tension and intrigue fell from his shoulders, making him feel half his weight, now that his father’s focused gaze was no longer resting on him.

“Now’s your chance, Silver,” Ileana whispered.

He nodded. “And yours. We will both be bolder than we’ve ever dared before.”

“I’ll give it everything I have,” she promised.

Dragging in a deep breath, gathering his cracking armor of calm around him once more, Silviu set off toward his bedroom, making his own plans for Georgeanne Davenold that had nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with pleasure.

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