Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gracie's False Starts-Em Petrova's ENCOMPASSED

Gracie’s False Starts

By Em Petrova

Every writer’s nightmare is to start a book, only to find it’s all wrong and you have to trash it. Imagine doing that four times. Yeah. That’s right. My latest ménage a trios, Encompassed, had a rough start.

My heroine Gracie was pretty solidly formed in my head, and she appears in the first three books of the Immortal Series as a minor player. I thought I knew her inside and out. Then her name was changed in Book One-RUNES, and my vision of her altered slightly. Funnily enough, she was originally Elle. But Elle morphed into a brand new heroine and starred not in a paranormal book, but a contemporary spanking story known as WILDER *grin*.

This left me floundering a little more. Who was Gracie? She’s a young and impulsive immortal, but she’s growing, learning, and evolving into a smart and savvy vixen. I dug into the second version of her story and found her getting a little slutty with no real purpose. Sure, it happens to the best of us.

So I sent her on a road trip alone, where she sets out to conquer her virginity. Soooo not a good idea. Can you say delete? I don’t even have a copy of that piss-poor excuse for a story on my hard drive!

Finally I let the story marinate for a bit. What did I find? That Gracie’s story doesn’t begin with Gracie, but the couple she falls for, Dante and Maria. I needed to firmly root the reader in their story before Gracie could enter the picture. The entire writing process was an eye-opener. I learned not every tale goes down the same way. Some give you fits and you have to tackle them from a different angle.

The most important thing I learned when writing Encompassed, though, was to never give up. Gracie demanded her story be told, and I’m thrilled to have accommodated her and revealed her strengths and faults in a glowing light. I hope you’ll enjoy an excerpt, which is also the opening chapter.

Blurb: After hundreds of immortal years together, ship captain Dante and Mayan Princess Maria’s union has grown a bit stale. Bonded through a phenomenon known as the Calling, they share a loving and deep relationship. But as they watch their newly bonded immortal friends enjoy the spark that centuries have taken away from them, they seek to find it once more.

When immortal Gracie joins their midst, it’s impossible for Dante not to notice her fresh glow. Maria begins to struggle with deeper feelings for her friend, even as her body stirs with want. And Gracie’s pent-up passions are centered upon the two people who are closest to her—Dante and Maria.

Journeying to Central America where Dante and Maria’s love story began, the race is on to find true happiness before Gracie is torn from them by the Calling and bound to someone else. Will the compass of Gracie’s heart points her in the right direction?


The golden threads of dawn spread across the sky, weaving through the violet shadows and sparking on the distant horizon. As the first beams filtered through the glass cupola and shone upon Maria, she stirred. For half an hour, she’d been lying awake in anticipation of this event. To an ancient Mayan, worship of the sun was an important daily ritual. To royalty, it meant the difference between death and prosperity.

Although after five hundred years on earth, she no longer believed in such superstitions. Going through the motions gave her comfort. It also linked her to the strange world in which she lived as an immortal.

She slipped her legs over the side of the plush king-sized bed where her immortal mate Dante still lay sleeping, careful not to disturb him. After spending most of his life as a ship’s captain, he was a light sleeper, accustomed to bunking in swinging hammocks and prepared to leap up at the first sign of danger.

As she padded across the carpet to the metal staircase leading up to the cupola, he gave a soft moan.

Sleep, darling. Her words transmitted telepathically through their mind link, which was born from their bond.

In the dimness, she saw the crease between his dark brows ease, and a smile stretched her lips. For a long minute, she stared at him. Even in repose he was dashing—an olive-skinned Spaniard who had sailed into her life and swept her away. Her heart had belonged to him from the very first sighting, although it had taken more than seventy years for the phenomenon known as The Calling to link them as mates.

The warm glow of the sun trickled through the glass walls and fell over her. From years of habit, she looked down automatically at the immortal tattoos gracing her biceps. The inky blue lines that marked her as an immortal seemed to come to life in the sun. The jaguar images leapt and undulated. But it was just a trick of the eye, she knew. In the old days, she had once believed it to be a sign of something unexpected to come.

Quietly, she ascended the staircase. Each step drew her closer to the cupola, which was a glass-walled structure planted on the peak of the roof. When Dante had ordered this special sanctuary for her built, tears of joy had tumbled down her cheeks. Though he wasn’t Mayan and didn’t worship the way she did, he understood her customs and appreciated her need to hold onto her roots.

She reached the top and stood in a pool of light. The four glass walls revealed views of each direction on the compass—north, south, east and west. A ribbon of light sat on the horizon, brighter in the east. With a small shiver of delight, she went to kneel on a red woven rug in the center of the space and tilted her head up to the sky.

The glass ceiling gave her an unobstructed view of the sky, where one tiny star still winked down at her. A sliver of moon dangled overhead, and she couldn’t help but smile at its sight. Years ago, under such a moon, Dante had found her after her soul had Called to his. He’d stepped out of the thick jungle and swept her into his arms. She’d walked away with him, abandoning her origins, and never looked back.

But at times like these, she missed her homeland greatly. All of her people might be gone, but the ruins were there still, and she could visit them if she was so inclined. On a day like today—the start of the summer solstice—she longed for others who would celebrate with her.

Leaning forward until her nose touched the rug, she bowed to the sun god. Then straightening, she opened a small chest beside her and withdrew a handful of objects—a silver and emerald ornament to be worn around the neck of a princess, the short, colorful feather of a bird believed to have mystical powers, and a rock sliver hammered into a jagged sun shape.

One by one she dropped them into a patterned pottery bowl and whispered a word in her native tongue that meant “I’m here.”

The sun answered by surging higher into the sky, bringing heat with it. It cut through the glass and warmed her naked limbs. The jaguars on her arms danced as a dew of moisture formed on the slope of her breasts and the flat plane of her belly. Her bronzed skin turned to molten gold.

All shadow fled from the space, leaving only her and the offering of ornaments. Typically only priests were allowed to perform such ceremonies as this. In her time she had simply been the daughter of a leader, but when she was accidentally knocked out of one of the boats, her mortal life had started to slip away. Luckily, the medicine man of the village shared his immortal blood with her and resurrected her as an immortal too. After that, she’d become revered across the land and allowed to act as priestess. Her favorite rite was this: the sun ceremony.

Taking up a small blade she carried with her everywhere, she aimed the lethal point at the tip of her middle finger and nicked it. Blood welled at once. Before the droplet could run, she held it over the bowl and added her blood to the offering.

The sun lifted higher, the heat strengthening until rivulets of perspiration ran down her sides, her belly, and over her mound to wet her glossy black pubic hair. To the sun god, she gave the gifts of her precious objects, her blood and sweat. In return, she would be reborn to a new solstice.

With five centuries behind her, she couldn’t help but pray for something fresh. The tedium of day to day living was wearing on her. There didn’t seem to be anything new to explore. She and Dante had traveled the world several times over and seen all the wonders. They’d shared almost every experience known to man, and she couldn’t help but long for a spark of their old passion. The passion they’d shared when he’d walked out of the jungle, cupped his hands under her ass and taken her against a tree while delivering scalding kisses and sharing their blood, binding them forever.

Let this dawn start anew.

In the ring of hot sun, she glided to her feet and lifted her arms to the sides, hoping the sun god or any other spiritual guide out there might hear her plea. That she and Dante might find a new adventure to embark upon.

Buy Encompassed:

Em Petrova

~where words mean so much more~

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mnjcarter said...

It's great that you got an entirely different book written out of one of your attempted characters. So, do you feel it made up for the next 2 versions you threw out? Just wondering. I have the upmost respect for authors, because I now realize after reading many author interviews the time and effort that goes into the books that I love to read.

Debby said...

Wow, four times. Glad you kept at it. IT sounds great to me
debby236 at gmail dot com