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Friday, April 22, 2011

Guest Blogger: Anita Clenney

I’m Anita Clenney, paranormal romantic suspense author. First, let me thank Lady Scribes for graciously having me stop by. This is an awesome blog, as you all know, so I’m honored to be here. Since my debut novel just came out, I thought I would talk about how I went from stay at home mom to stay at home mom and author. I was busy before…whew! I’m swamped now. So, about five and a half years ago, I went on this insane reading jaunt. I couldn’t get enough to read. And somewhere along the line it occurred to me that I wanted to do this. I wanted to write a story my way. About this time, my daughter was in preschool, getting ready for kindergarten the following year. My husband and I had an agreement that I would go back to work when the youngest started kindergarten. I was terrified of going back into the workplace. So I figured it was now or never. I would write that book. I had NO CLUE PEOPLE…I thought if I wrote a great book someone would buy it. Well, we all know how that goes. Anyway, I started writing, I learned, I made lots of mistakes, learned some more, I persevered, and here I am…a published author. So perseverance and a fear of going back to work paid off. Oh, did I say that out loud? I meant perseverance paid off.


Awaken the Highland Warrior is the first in my series. Scottish warrior, Faelan Connor is part of a secret clan charged by Michael the Archangel with protecting the earth from evil. Because of his prowess at destroying demons, Faelan is sent to America to capture the demon responsible for stirring up the strife and hatred that will culminate in the Civil War. But Faelan is betrayed and locked in a time vault that was created to stop time, imprisoning a demon until Judgment. With Faelan’s failure, hundreds of thousands die, as his distraught clan searches for the missing key that will open the time vault. But the key is nowhere to be found, and eventually Faelan’s story fades into a myth. For 150 years Faelan sleeps.


Bree Kirkland is no ordinary historian. Her specialty is the Civil War, but she feels like Indiana Jones, obsessed with lost treasure, myths and legends. Haunted by longings she can’t describe, she immerses herself in history, seeking hidden treasure, both written and real, but after a lifetime of disappointments and mishaps, she’s determined to settle down to an ordinary, boring life. That’s before she finds a treasure map in her great, great grandmother’s attic. Bree promises herself one more treasure hunt, and then she’ll stop. The map leads to the graveyard behind her house, where she finds an elaborate chest hidden inside the old crypt she had always been drawn to as a child. When she opens the chest, Bree discovers something far more shocking than hidden treasure, and there’s no returning to her normal life.


I had so much fun writing this book, and I only hope readers will enjoy it as much. I’ll give away one autographed copy to a commenter.




Sneak Peek of Awaken the Highland Warrior
Bree’s fingers tightened around the metal disk as she ran through the graveyard, zigzagging past leaning headstones. Her lantern swayed, throwing shadows on the crypt looming before her, its stone walls the color of bones. Thick vines crept over it, sealing in cracks left by time, while gnarled branches from the twisted oak hovered like outstretched arms. Protecting… or threatening?

An owl screeched overhead as she scurried up the crumbling steps, wishing night hadn’t fallen, when shadows twisted into monsters and spirits came out to play. The burial vault lay open near the back of the crypt, waiting. Blood rushed past her ears, a sound like all the angels’ wings beating in unison. She moved closer and peered at the chest inside. It was ornate, made of metal and wood, with green gemstones embedded in each corner. It looked ancient, like it belonged in a museum or a pyramid, or perhaps Solomon’s Temple. The beauty of it struck her again, as it had when she’d first discovered it.

She set the lantern on the edge of the burial vault and studied the markings on the chest. Swirls and shapes like writing shifted in the amber glow. Stretching out a finger, she touched the surface. Warm? She yanked her hand back and hit the lantern. It crashed to the floor, throwing the top of the crypt into darkness. Dropping to her knees, she scrambled for the light. A sound cut through the silence, scraping, like fingernails against stone. She grabbed the lantern, not daring to blink, then remembered the wind outside and the claw-like branches of the old tree.

She placed the lantern securely on the vault cover she’d pushed onto the alcove and unfolded her hand. The metal disk she held was three inches in diameter and appeared to be made from the same metal as the chest, not silver, not gold. One side had deep grooves; the other was etched with symbols. With trembling fingers, she lined up the disk with the matching grooves on top of the chest and pushed. There was a series of clicks as the notched edges retracted.

A voice rushed through her head. What lies within cannot be, until time has passed with the key.

Bree whirled, but she was alone. Only stone walls stood watch, their secrets hidden for centuries. It was sleep deprivation, not ghosts.

She pulled in a slow, steadying breath and tried to turn the disk. Nothing. Again, this time counterclockwise, and it began to move under her hand. She jerked her fingers back. A loud pop sounded and colors flashed… blue, orange, and green, swirling for seconds, and then they were gone. Great, hallucinations to go with the voices in her head.

Her body trembled as she gripped the lid. This was it. All her dreams held on a single pinpoint of time. If this ended up another wild goose chase, she was done. No more treasure hunts, no more mysteries, no more playing Indiana Jones. She’d settle down to a nice, ordinary, boring life. She counted.

One.

Two.

Three.

She heaved open the chest.

Terror clawed its way to her throat, killing her scream.

The man inhaled one harsh breath and his eyes flew open, locking on Bree. A battle cry worthy of Braveheart echoed off the walls. Bree jumped back as metal flashed and a rush of air kissed her face. Petrified, she watched him crawl out of the burial vault, a wicked-looking dagger in his hand. Her scream tore loose as she turned and fled.

Fingers grazed her shoulder, and she glanced back. The last thing she saw before her feet tangled with the shovel was the dead man reaching for her.

Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel--lasted half a day)…she realized she'd missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. You can learn more about her writing at www.anitaclenney.com

50 comments:

  1. Anita,
    Your book sounds wonderful! I can't wait to buy it. I am also a stay at home writer/mom who wanted to write books and did not want to go back into the nine-to-five working world, so I completely related to how you got started. It was nice to read of your success. I wish you all the best!

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  2. Hi Julie. Thanks so much. I don't know why I was so intimidated about going back to work. Staying home with the kids is much harder. :) If you get a chance to read the book, let me know what you think.

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  3. Anita,

    This sounds amazing. I love the mix of history with contemporary. I don't know how either you or Julie write with kids at home. Mine have been off for spring break this week, so I didn't have my usual two days of uninterrupted writing time.

    Thanks for being our guest today. Best wishes!

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  4. Hi Samantha! Thank you, Lady Scribes for having me here today. I love mixing stories up. I like a surprise. My kids have been home since yesterday. I haven't gotten as much done, and I'm on deadline for copy edits.

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  5. Congrats on your debut book, Anita! I can't wait to read your story. It sounds wonderful!!!

    jenalang@live.com

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  6. Hi Jena. Thanks so much. The book was so much fun. I loved seeing the heroes reaction to the modern world. And to the modern heroine.

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  7. Congratulations!! Looking forward to reading your new book!

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  8. Hi Kathy. Thanks for commenting. One of my writer friends just emailed that she got hers in the mail today, so I'm pretty excited. It's finally here, after all the waiting. It should be in store any day now.

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  9. Hi Anita! Can't wait to get my hands on your book-- it looks like the start of a great series! Congrats :)

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  10. This sounds like my kind of read!

    Congratulations on your new release!

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  11. Great excerpt, Anita. And don't include me in the drawing for the free book since mine arrived in the mail yesterday. Yay!!!

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  12. Anita, I don't have kids, but I definitely know how you feel about not wanting to get back into the work force. It's a good reminder that no matter how hard writing is, it's still the better option!

    Congrats again on your debut. :)

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  13. Wow. This sounds like a great book. I love the story already. Congratulations on the debut.

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  14. This excerpt hooks me every time! I love the premise of this book and can't wait to read what happens next. You know you kill me every time you cut that scene, Anita! haha

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  15. This sounds like an amazing book! Congratulations on being published, and I look forward to reading your story.

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  16. Hi Kimberly, I hope this is a great start. I'm getting great reviews, so I'm very excited.

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  17. Renee, thanks for coming by. If you do get a chance to check out the book, let me know what you think.

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  18. Hey Liz. I'm so excited that you got the book. I ordered one too. I just had to. It's probably at the post office now.

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  19. Good point Donna. What other job would allow me to go around with my hair looking like I've been electrocuted?

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  20. Hi Vicky, thanks so much. It was a really fun story. It really is the story of my heart. Of course I love the others too, like a Mama loves her babies. :)

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  21. Hi Renee (Vincent). I'm so glad to hear it hooks you. My agent just told the same thing. Sorry I got you with a cliffhanger. I love cliffhangers. There's a LOT going on after that.

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  22. Oh Anita! I would love to have this book! Angels and highlanders...sigh...Be still my heart. And what a great story concept!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  23. Thanks Danielle! The whole thing started with a dream. I know that's almost a cliche, but it's true. I'm glad I had the dream because I would hate not to know these characters. They feel so real.

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  24. Hi Lizzie. Well you've made my day. :) Thank you! It is a fun story. Sparks fly when you have a chivalrous 19th century warrior stuck in the 21st century with a modern woman who thinks he's the one who needs rescuing. Thanks for stopping by.

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  25. Think I've said it before - worth saying again... this sounds so good and the cover is so smoking hot! Best wishes

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  26. I am glad you decided to write. Your story concept sounds quite interesting and must be delighting your readers. Best of luck with lots of sales. :)

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  27. Ah, thank you Clancy. I never get tired of hearing it :)

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  28. Paisley, that's a sweet thing to say. At the moment, my head hurts and my shoulders are hard as rocks from behind hunched over the computer rushing to get out the copy edits on the second book, and I'm questioning if becoming a writer was smart. Ah yes it was. I love it, stiff shoulders and all.

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  29. This book sounds great! Living in Virginia, the Civil War is something we grow up with, so having a romance intertwined with the history - and a Highlander, yum! - sounds amazing. Can't wait to read it.

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  30. Hi Tara. And this is the anniversary of the Civil War. You know I live really close to several Civil War battlefields. It's strange that people come here to visit the sites, but they're almost in my backyard and I never go.

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  31. Wow, Anita, what an exciting excerpt! After reading it my heart is literally pounding. I look forward to reading the entire story! By the way, I'm impressed with your time management skills. :-) Congratulations on your debut novel!

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  32. Congratulations, by the way for the accolades you have received so far on this intriguing book! If the excerpt is anything to judge by we will be enthralled throughout this journey. I have heard of "to die for" but.... Many happy returns on the others in this series and best of luck to whomever wins your signed book! :0)

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  33. Kathy, thanks so much. I do love suspense and cliffhangers. I have to admit, though, my time management sucks. You should see the mess I have to clean up in my house. I've been on the computer all day. :)

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  34. Sheila, thanks so much for stopping by. I'm pleased with the reviews. Now, I just hope they keep coming in.:)

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  35. Great excerpt, Anita. The cover is very nice.;)

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  36. OMG, I think my heart skipped three beats with that last line. LOL! Sounds like a real keeper. I'd like to read it, as soon as I can uncurl my toes. *grin*

    Sara

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  37. Hi Anita!!

    Your book sounds sooooooooooooooo great, and I know I've said it before but I LOVE the cover!

    And I must tell you, your story sounds almost identical to my own, other than I am NOT published YET!

    I am the stay at home mom of 3 boys, well really two, since my oldest is almost 20. Shew, I hate saying that it makes me feel so old!

    My husband and I also agreed that I would go back to work when my youngest started in school full time.

    He started kindergarten last year, and unfortunately I suffered a bout of vertigo that refuses to go away, and so I couldn't.

    So now I am once again TRYING to focus on my writing!!

    Congratulations to you for your perserverence!!!

    Loved the excerpt!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing!!

    Andrea
    atsnider@verizon.net

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  38. I love the detail, Anita--makes me feel I'm there with her, hoping and fearing for something exciting to happen!

    M

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  39. Thanks Brinda! I'm so glad you like it.

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  40. Sara, that's exactly the reaction I want :)

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  41. Marilyn, thanks for the comment. I really wanted a lot of suspense and tension in the opening.

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  42. Sorry I had to check out for a while. Had to make a quick run to Walmart. Ha! There's nothing quick about a trip to Walmart. So it's technically tomorrow when I'm posting this. Probably no one will even see it. I think I'm talking to myself.But if not...Thanks for having me today Lady Scribes. It was so much fun. The winner of the signed book will be notified. Thanks for the comments everyone.

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  43. Am I too late to try for the book? Sounds great!

    rmjamuse at msn dot com

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  44. Dang I hope I'm not too late for the giveaway. This book sounds amazing!

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  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  46. Sorry, about the deletion before. I didn't realize my daughter was signed in. (Hence the picture of Justin Bieber and Usher, and the name Miley, oh that would be Miley Cyrus)

    So to the two Michelles...the lovely ladies at Lady Scribes are choosing the winner, so I don't know if it's too late. Hopefully you'll get a shot. Thanks for coming by.

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  47. Hi Anita,
    I think I already tweeted you that I loved Awaken The Highland Warrior. I literally didn't want to put it down. I liked all the characters. I won't say who & why here to avoid spoilers. When Embrace The Highland Warrior comes out I wouldn't mind paying a little extra to get an autograph, if that would be possible. I'm looking forward to more Bree & Faelan!

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  48. Hi Anita,

    Congratulations! I am just starting to travel your path, only I'm joining it from a little further down the road in life. I know I must be making mistakes but have no clue what they are yet. Any advice?

    And it's tough to write when I spend so much time reading. I can't decide which I enjoy more! I'm looking forward to reading ATHW.

    - Alida

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