14 June 2008

Sequel, Sweet Sequel

Normally I'm kind of the mother hen of the BtV blog. I distribute blankies, refresh the drinks, leave mints on the pillows at night. That sort of thing. I've been a bit MIA for the past few weeks, though. I've been writing.

Yes, you may all pick your jaws up off the floor now. I'll wait. :)

Beaudry's Ghost finally, finally has its sequel. I just turned it in to my editor yesterday. Yeah, that would be Friday the 13th. That's as good a deadline as any, isn't it?

This book has been too long in coming. I knew I wanted - needed - to write Troy's story, the brother of the heroine in Beaudry's Ghost. Readers were demanding it. But I was at a bit of a loss. A ghost romance is a tricky thing in which the author dances a razor thin edge. When you're dealing with a relationship between a living person and a spirit, readers are only willing to suspend disbelief so far.

I'd turned myself inside out making Beaudry exciting, compelling, romantic - and believable. I was out of ideas for Troy, who was the secondary ghost character in that book. How to write another one that I felt carried on the Beaudry legacy, one that readers will happily go along with me on that ride and think "Yeah, that could happen."

There was only one thing I could do: Trust the characters and let them tell me their story.

My newest baby has taken its first steps out of the nest - to my editor's desk. Now it's nail-biting time. I'm too close to it; I have no perspective. This past week I've swung wildly from absolutely loving this story, to staring at it in despair, sure that a drunken monkey could have written it better. Every author hits that wall during the birthing process.

Now without further ado, I'd like to share a short, unedited excerpt from the sequel to Beaudry's Ghost, working title "Dark Side of Light". Enjoy!

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Copyright 2008 Carolan Ivey, All Rights Reserved.

He’d never stayed in a materialized state for this long. The strain tore at him, threatened to separate the layers of his energy field and send them flying off into space like water rings from a dropped stone.

It had taken every atom of his strength to make the 3,000-mile spatial jump, on top of staying solid long enough to rescue the woman from the flooded cave. He’d intended to bring her all the way to the top of the cliff, leave her there to be found, and be on his way about finding John.

But the effort had cost him.

Troy glanced down at the face of the woman in his arms, grit his teeth and held on. If he lost control of his energy and faltered, she would die.

His superb sense of balance, an asset in life and still now in the afterlife, didn’t fail him now as he crouched on the narrow rock ledge, braced so the woman’s body wouldn’t slide off into the roiling sea that pounded at them, seemingly from all sides. Rain slapped them from above, and the wind and waves clawed at them from everywhere else.

Risking precious balance, he used one hand to gently unwind her long, matted black hair from around his arm and away from her face. Her lips were blue and slack, her eyes partially open and dull. He lowered his face to hers, checking for breath. Nothing. He let her head roll to one side and slid his fingers to the pulse point on her neck. If any life throbbed there, he couldn’t feel it for the vibrations of wind and storm.

“Oh, no you don’t. Don’t do this to me, lady...” He tilted her head back, filled his chest with air and covered her mouth with his.

He blew once, then swayed, dizzy, feeling his grip on his materialized state slipping dangerously with the extra effort it took to breathe for her. He clenched his jaw, tilted his head back and growled deep in his chest, willing his form to stay together, just a little longer. Just until help arrived. He’d seen two people poke their heads over the cliff edge above them, so he knew it wouldn’t be long.

“Not yet,” he muttered, using the vibration of his voice to send binding messages throughout his energy field, reminding it that no matter what the laws of physics said, he was in charge, here. Never mind the fact that before now he’d only managed to stay solid for a few minutes at a time, and only in dire emergencies. The last time he’d done it was for the lives of his sister and Beaudry, and for his effort he’d earned a bullet in his shoulder to keep company with the gaping hole he carried around in his chest.

He lowered his mouth and breathed for her again, turning his head to feel her automatic exhale, this time accompanied by a gush of water.

Yes! Another breath into her lungs. Were her lips slightly warmer? He left his own there for a second or two longer than necessary, testing. A faint green color flickered in front of his eyes, like the brief flash of a hummingbird, there and gone. He tore his mouth away from hers and looked up to see what kind of strange lightning this could be, then he ducked and pressed her body tightly to his as a heavy wave broke over them. The water lifted them both off the ledge, and only by sheer will did he manage to bring them back onto the ledge safely. How much higher was the tide going to rise?

He shook water from his face, pressed the woman’s body firmly between himself and the cliff wall, and bent his head to hers once again. She had to start breathing on her own soon. He couldn’t keep this up.

A movement off to his right snagged his attention. A glowing figure, winged and silent, stood on a nearby ledge, observing, not moving. Her guardian angel, clearly. He spared the being a two-second glare, then lost patience.

“Hey! Aren’t you going to do anything, here?”

The guardian’s expression grew thoughtful, then regretful. But it didn’t move, either to help or to hinder.

“Thanks a bunch,” Troy growled, and ignored the creature, turning back to the task at hand.

Breeeeeeathe...

Without thinking what he was doing, he willed life into her. Closed his eyes and focused his energy inside her body, targeting her lungs, her barely fluttering heart.

This time, he felt her jaw move under his mouth, and her body flex in his arms. The weird pale green lightning flickered around them again. Her first strong heartbeat resounded like a bell throughout his being, her first voluntary breath sucking in what he’d given her.

Then, before he could lift his mouth from hers, she breathed into him.

Troy nearly lost his balance, and flung out one arm to find a fingertip hold on the rock. Her breath filled his mouth, his chest, and even with his eyes closed he saw the faint green flickers of light strengthen, steady, intensify into a solid glow greener than any brilliant shade Ireland had to offer on its best day. Heat rushed through him, and it took him a moment to register the fact that he felt it at all.

As a ghost, normal physical sensations were foreign to him. Now every drop of rain hitting his skin felt like a needle. And his wounds, normally painless, were now screaming him.

He tore his mouth away and stared down at her. Her eyelids trembled, opened, light grey irises expanding as her pupils focused on his face. The fiery light burned in their depths. Even with their mouths now separated, her strengthening heartbeat echoed through his being, rushing around him as if he were a child enveloped in her womb.

What the hell is happening to me?

If he were anywhere else but perched on a narrow ledge, an inch from losing her to the maw of the sea, he would have done a quick about face and put as much space and time between them as possible. But stay he did, her life force growing stronger and flowing like a river under his hands, into him, through him, and back to her. She seemed to be studying him, her mouth moving slightly as if trying to form words. But if she made any sound, it was swallowed by sea and storm. Then her eyes slid closed and her head rolled to nestle against his chest, fitting perfectly under his chin.

Troy swallowed, trying not to breathe in any more of the living energy that still enveloped them both. Something about it was as seductive as it was disturbing, and all his instincts screamed to get outside it and look at it from an objective distance before deciding what to do about it, if anything at all.

He took her cold hands, intending to tuck them inside her coat, when he caught sight of the diamond sparkling on her left ring finger.

She belongs to someone. Absurdly, the thought felt like a sucker punch to his solar plexus.

He looked up, and finally, finally, he saw two people rappelling down the cliff, red-and-black jumpsuits making ripping sounds in the wind, a metal litter dangling between them.

“Take her first,” he yelled above the crashing tide as the rescuers reached them.

Their reply was lost in the noise, but they quickly assessed the situation and expertly relieved him of his burden.

The instant body separated from his, he felt himself dissolving, the last of his strength leaving as the green light faded. One of the rescuers cried out in alarm, but could do nothing as Troy’s grip on the rock slipped, and the icy grey sea closed over his head.

Copyright 2008 Carolan Ivey, All Rights Reserved

www.carolanivey.com
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