Rachel Leigh Smith and I have been friends for a while now. I’m pretty sure it’s been a bit longer than the decade she admits to below. Anyway, last summer, when Rachel released her first book, My Name is A’yen, I ran right to my computer to buy it. I consumed her story with lightning speed, enjoying every minute of it. When she announced the upcoming release of the sequel, The King’s Mistress, I jumped at the chance to do a quick review of the book for her, thus earning me a preview copy of it, as well as the chance to have Rachel swing by my blog to sit a spell, to talk about hobbies, writing, her new book, and where these things coincide. Rachel’s guest post is below. You only have to put up with me for a moment longer. I promise. In King’s Mistress the story of Fae and A’yen continues. New challenges are thrown in their way, both emotional and physical, including an unplanned separation, and a new villain or two, as well as at least one notable surprise, which I’d say more about, but I don’t want to give anything away. The King’s Mistress is as nicely crafted as her first book, and just as hard to put down. Get it. Read it. Meanwhile, I’ll be here waiting for the next installment.
I’ve known Laura for at least a decade now, probably longer. We met on a cross-stitch message board, and when Facebook came along our friendship transferred to Facebook. I knew Laura back before she was a knitting designer. Now I’m feeling old…
Since I met Laura on a cross-stitch board, obviously I do counted cross-stitch. I can’t draw to save my life, but I can paint with thread. Counted cross-stitch is my favorite hobby, my favorite way to relax in the evenings, and a great way to let my brain chew over plot or character problems in my writing.
I also knit and crochet. For knitting I don’t really have any finishes, but I do have an almost finished sock. I’m on the toe decreases. With crocheting, I love pineapple doilies, I’ve made a three-quarter sleeve shrug for myself, and lots of gifts.
My grandmothers taught me to crochet and do counted cross-stitch. I taught myself to knit about eight years ago. But cross-stitch is what I always come back to. It’s my first love. I already have more charts acquired than I can stitch in a lifetime, but I don’t care. Part of the joy is having options and dreaming big.
Creative hobbies are an important part of my life, and it always shows up in my writing too. The first novel I wrote was a historical romance, and the heroine did embroidery and tatting. In My Name Is A’yen, A’yen told me he’s an artist.
Yes, he told me. You see, he’s real to me. As real as my parents and siblings. He’s a fully realized character living in my head and he’s become an important part of my life. Where I paint with thread, A’yen paints with watercolors.
I’ve always been envious of people who can draw and paint. I wish I could, so I could draw my characters exactly the way I see them. But alas, I can’t even draw a decent stick figure. I can color like a boss, though.
Throughout My Name Is A’yen, drawing is an important release for A’yen. He doesn’t get much of a chance to draw or paint in The King’s Mistress, though, because of everything going on. But he misses it, and he longs for the time to sit back with paper and pencil and draw the things he’s seeing. In particular he wants to paint his bodyguard’s eyes because of their unique indigo color. A real challenge for his paintbrush, as he puts it.
Throughout the A’yen’s Legacy series, hobbies continue to play a role in rounding out my characters. The hero of book four plays piano. The hero of books five and six grows orchids. I haven’t done much exploring of needle crafts, though, which is something I’d like to do. Haven’t found the right heroine for it yet I guess.
I’ve included a couple of pictures of my projects. Choosing what to send Laura was hard. My Chatelaine White Nights in St. Petersburg was an easy choice. It’s what I’m working on now and I’m almost done with it! This is the most expensive project I’ve ever done, or ever will do. But totally worth it. The fabric is 36 inches square. Yes, 36 inches.
Chatelaine White Nights in St. Petersburg
I also love mermaids, and the mermaid is Mirabilia’s Queen Mermaid. My first ever finish on linen. She hangs above my desk. Isn’t she gorgeous?
Mirabilia’s Queen Mermaid
I’d love to hear about your creative hobbies in the comments. Please share! Maybe I’ll see one I want to use in a future character.
The King’s Mistress
A’yen’s Legacy, Book Two
Release Date: January 20, 2015
Genre: Paranormal/Sci-Fi Romance
Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks, All Romance Ebooks
Freedom has a cost. Can A’yen pay it without losing his soul?
Liberation of the enslaved Lokmane begins with the king. A’yen and Fae agree to visit the Hidden, a group of escaped Lokmane, to protect his identity while the Shadows make their move with emancipation acts. But he’s not prepared for the prejudice rampant in the Hidden, or their lack of patience for him. And his new linked bodyguard is unstable to the point A’yen fears for the young man’s sanity.
Upon returning to Titan, A’yen is kidnapped and taken to the largest breeding farm in the galaxy. This time he’ll be himself even if it kills him. His resolve to unite his people grows as he wonders if he’ll live long enough to do it.
With A’yen kidnapped, Fae returns to the Lokmane homeworld seeking the final pieces of what happened two thousand years ago when they were conquered and enslaved. Getting as far away from her father as possible is the only way to keep her from disappearing too.
Separated by light years, A’yen and Fae have to stand alone and fight for their right to live in freedom. No matter the cost.
A’yen’s body stiffened, though he tried to relax to keep the burning from coming back to the point he wanted to rip his skin off. Pure, unadulterated evil moved about the house.
He held still on the bed, breathing deep, trying to get a sense of who it might be. Damn stupid pain kept him so cloudy nothing of his telepathic field worked. He missed it. A man’s voice filtered through the closed door. Not close enough to make out the words. Who would come here?
The male voice disappeared and Fae sounded like she held to her sanity by a single thread. She needed him. Now. He pulled his arms under his chest and pushed up from the bed. The room tilted. He grabbed the headboard with one hand, leaned forward, breathed deep again.
Something he’d never felt before crept into his muscles. A warmth, from outside himself. Not from Na’var either. The pain didn’t lessen, but he could move now. Slow, with deliberate care. He kept one hand on the bed, then the wall, moving toward a pair of shorts on the rocking chair. Whoever was out there didn’t need to see him without clothes.
The warmth remained, infusing him with enough strength to get the shorts on, make it to the hall and follow the voices to the living room. Pain accompanied him with every step, and if not for Fae’s need pulling him forward he’d go back to bed.
“Farran, how can you even think of keeping him? Males are more dangerous than you can imagine. I will not have you living here with someone capable of slitting your throat and running away.” Her father. His father-in-law. President of the Breeder’s Association board of directors.
“I’m thirty-two-years-old, Daddy. I think I can decide for myself how I’m going to live.”
A’yen stopped, leaning on the wall in an attempt to slow his breathing. She stood in the middle of the room, her back to him, hands clenched at her sides. Trembling.
“I’ve indulged you long enough. It’s time to come home and take your place. Without this male slave who’s obviously messed with your mind.”
He squared his shoulders and walked the last five feet into the living room. Stopped in the doorway. Leaned against it to hold himself up. “This male slave happens to be her husband and will not tolerate you talking to her in such a manner.”
Fae turned by degrees to face him. She tried to glare at him, but eyes reflecting unshed tears said she’d never been more thankful to see him. More fingers of warmth moved through his body. He crossed to her, folded her in his arms, stared at Benai Hart. She pressed into the safety of his embrace, her trembling forcing the pain to the back of his mind.
“Do you not know who I am?”
“I do. I bow to no one.”
Buy The King’s Mistress by Rachel Leigh Smith online at these fine establishments:
Rachel Leigh Smith writes romance for the hero lover. She lives in central Louisiana with her family and a half-crazed calico. When not writing, which isn’t often, she’s hanging with her family, doing counted cross-stitch, or yakking about life, the universe, and everything with her besties. There may also be Netflix binging . . .
She blogs sporadically, can be found on Twitter, and hangs out on Facebook. You can sign up for her newsletter here. She’s an active member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade and Romance Writers of America. Her books can been found on Goodreads, and Amazon.