Ellie and I have been friends for several years. We met in a critiquing group, and she was always encouraging me with kindness and honesty. Ellie's a nice lady. She really is, and I am so happy to see this particular book be published because I saw parts of it in the early days.
So, without further ado, here's the talented, generous, and all around nice gal, Ellie Heller.
Hi David! Thanks so much for letting me come and hang out. Nice, comfy couch you've got here. Ooh, and lots of rings from too hot mugs on the coffee table. You get a lot of great visitors here.
My story, A Matter of Fate – which David saw a couple of different iterations of – came out April 22. It's about a full elf woman, Mona, who finds out her best friend has a death spell on her and her job guarding both elves and mortals from misused magic is a lot more complicated than she was told. Totally doesn't help that her mentor/boss is mysteriously silent on it all. To top everything off, she meets her sexy shifter mate. He's a distraction from work she will not succumb to, no matter how much he says he's fighting the attraction too.
A question I often get is where I got the idea for the story. And I typically respond that this story is an outcropping from another novel I wrote set in the same 'world'. Then expend on how my first effort, filled with backstory, long descriptive passages of how magic worked, and detailed dialog on non relevant topics will never see the light of day.
But then I thought, why not share the very first germination of the story? I know if I read my response, I'd be curious about the never-to-see-light-of-day novel.
So here you go, the very first bit I ever wrote in the world that I created for A Matter of Fate. This very first draft is quite a bit different than even the later completed version – this has more of a chic-lit feel, I even titled it Elves in Suburbia (which I still love as a title!). Oh, and this character isn't Mona, it's someone else entirely. Needless to say this is rough, no copy editor's been through this bit.
The change of tone of the radio announcers dragged me out of my slumber. I was on the Lazy boy, working on a sun renewal session in the feeble late afternoon sun. As I became more awake the gist of the catastrophe filtered through the remnants of my dreams.
“We are receiving reports that one of the Erie Shore wind turbines has collapsed onto the Route Five freeway causing major damage.”
The rest did not sink in right away. My first sleepy thought was 'too far away to use to hide my leaving'. I really needed to shake the ever-annoying Agent Hynson and disappear soon.
As I listened more, the extent of the damage and the potential lives lost became clearer. I truly felt guilty about my first reaction. Yes, I know, there is a common misperception that elves do not have feelings. All hooey. It is part of a female elf's nature to help people, it really is; I just had other, pressing things on my not quite awake mind. The dreams that had been holding me down in my slumber contributed to my urgency to leave.
I paced and awaited more reports, even going so far as to turn on the television, which I simply deplore but accept as a necessity. The tone became more frantic as reporters hit the scene. Severe weather hampered the rescue effort. A plan formulated in my mind. I still had my Red Cross badge from helping during Katrina, I could be there in forty five minutes if I cut a few corners. I would help, which I fully planned to do anyway, my energies were thrumming in reaction, and at the same time assuage my guilt for my uncharitable first thought. Once done, I could use the event to disappear. Everyone would benefit, the best type of plan.
An emergency bag was packed; I only needed to add seasonal accoutrements and my spare Russian army snowsuit. As soon as I was done, I made two phone calls. The first was to Randal. He and his crew would empty the place and hold everything until I told them where to forward it. I could have had him do it before I left and taken the dimensional warp bags myself, but I didn’t want to wait. Plus I’d have to unload everything at the other end without help, always a bit tricky when you couldn't tell the size of what would come out.
The second call was to my dear old thorn in the side Hynson. I’d picked up the habit of calling him to let him know when I flitted off somewhere and thus lessen the annoyance he caused in my life. Neighbors and coworkers do not look kindly upon being pulled out of their daily lives and questioned regarding my whereabouts. Sometimes for hours. Okay only once did that happen, when I went to help during Katrina, which is outside of my region. Not that Hynson would take my word on where I’d gone. He’d still check, but at other end, and not disrupt my home life. It was an uneasy, if complacent, truce.
On his voice mail I duly recorded I was going to the turbine collapse site and I expected to be there for the next day or two. I didn’t add when I planned to be back home, since I didn’t want to lie to him. Not that I can’t, another elfin myth which is full of hot air, it is just so much easier to omit information.
I do admit, I found I could not keep up the tone and quickly switched to third person, so there isn't much written in that style, fun as it is for me to read now.
As I wrote more and developed the world and magic system and how the groups interacted, well, it's just too much to keep in, and even more to edit out. Instead I stepped sideways and wrote about the same events from a different point of view.
Just for kicks, here's the same 'scene' in A Matter of Fate:
With no way for her to get off the overpass in time, she needed the protection her car afforded. Counting seconds, as if she had a clue when the blade would hit, she hurried back to her car as fast as she dared on the slippery slope, worried she wouldn’t make it in time. As she climbed in, the road shuddered, rocking the chassis. She turned off the engine.
The sound of nails scraping a blackboard magnified a hundredfold shrieked out as the tip ground against the concrete. Covering her ears, Mona leaned into the steering wheel.
The barren stretch of road where the skyway leveled out imploded under the impact. The concrete tumbled, and the cars rose and fell as the skyway buckled.
The car ahead of Mona was hit by the car in front of it as the sedan slid back. Mona sat back up and crossed her arms in front of her face a moment before her airbag exploded.
Fuck, that hurt.
The car swayed along with the overpass, but her section remained aloft. As the jostling slowed, the airbag deflated and she could see again.
The blade stuck straight up in the dusk tinted sky, the road on either side gone.
If she hadn’t sent the Jeep careening across the road, and there hadn’t already been a snarl-up, more cars would have been on the collapsed section.
So very different, and not just because of the change from first person to third, the person is there, not just hearing about it on the radio. Action, baby!
Now, I admit I often struggle quite a bit with where to start the story. This is the only instance, though, where the struggle wasn't just where to start, but with whom to start and where in the story line I should be. I hope I've gotten it right. Only time will tell.
A Matter of Fate was released by Crimson Romance on April 22 and is available from Amazon,
Someone is setting death-spells targeting mortals and elf blood alike. With her mentor out of commission, it’s up to half-trained Warder Mona Lisa Kubrek to stop the magic. Despite being told repeatedly her job is to nullify spells and not go after the source, too many people are at risk for her to not track the spell-caster down. Even meeting a sexy half-elf shifter won’t distract her from her goal.
Except Cart Dupree is fully trained and has the team to search for the evildoer, so she’d be stupid to not use his expertise. Stupid is something she can’t afford to be, not with her enemy’s henchmen after her. Later she’ll deal with Cart and his questions about her special abilities and the non-standard training her mentor has given her. Right now, they need to unravel where the magician is, and who he is, before he builds enough power to decimate them all.
First, though, they need to stay alive.
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
Where all I can be found:
Goodreads author page http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5762572.Ellie_Heller
Many, many thanks to David for letting me come ramble!