Thursday, November 10, 2011

Magic Thursday: Kilts and Kisses with Astrid Cooper


A semi-naked man, dressed in a kilt, strides through the mist, his dark cloak flapping around him…

What comment would Jung make of this archetype? Even more telling, what would he make of the creator of this image?

Because image it was.

With heart hammering, I woke up from this vivid dream. Who is this man? What does he want? Why is he so worried? He told me his name was “Connal”. And Connal would not be denied. He wanted his story told. Forget the other work-in-progress!

 Immediately after breakfast, I sat down at the keyboard and began writing. Six weeks later and 120,000 words, I had my answers -- and more besides.

There followed 9 months of polishing and layering: my futuristic romance. CRYSTAL DREAMS was finished. 

Nearly 18 months later, and after numerous NY rejects, a small press Australian publisher took up the book in 1998. I was at Griffin Press to see the first copy roll off the presses – literally hot off the presses. From there, the book was nominated for various awards, including short-listed finalist for the inaugural RWA’s R.B.O.T.Y Award (1999). Soon after publication, it hit the Dymocks Adelaide bookshop best-seller list: it was the first romance ever to reach the top ten listing. The following year, it again got into the top ten listing. 


But just when I thought I might be heading towards the “big time”, fate had other ideas. My publisher went bankrupt, my agent was arrested for embezzlement, my father-in-law drowned and my father was diagnosed with cancer (my husband had died of it in 1995). Numerous other family accidents, illnesses and death all conspired to see my writing diverted for many years. I won’t say “died”, but it did come close, if not for the support of romance writer friends. (Thank you, RWA!)

So, last year, when my current publisher asked if I had the rights back for Crystal Dreams and would I consider signing a contract with her? -- I jumped at the chance. The book never really had the chance it deserved and I am pleased to let it have a fresh new look.

Readers have unanimously said that it is the characters that make this story un-putdownable. (Thank you for that!) I have to agree that Connal and Liandra are special… I hope readers will think so, too!


Crystal Dreams …

The fate of worlds hangs on a kiss.

Forced off-world to find his missing clansman, Caledonian Chieftain, Connal MacArran risks all when he onfronts Liandra Tavor – the alien witch. His simple plan goes horribly wrong from the moment they dream-share on Liandra’s crystal bed. A secret kept for over 700 years, and a lost kinsman are the least of his worries as he and Liandra face powerful enemies intent on destroying them, but the danger is nothing compared to forbidden desires and a love destined to burn brighter than a supernova. Can Connal and Liandra overcome their differences to face an enemy intent on enslaving the galaxy? The fate of worlds hangs on a kiss…


Excerpt:

(explanation: Liandra was walking to her apartment in the Castle, when she is distraced by the sound of weapons clashing and men laughing. In shocked fascination she watches the men—Connal among them. Connal sees her lingering in the shadows and demands answers…)

“How long have you been watching me?”

She raised her chin. “What makes you think you are so important that I’d waste my time watching barbarians trying to kill one another with swords?”
Connal grinned. “Oh aye? This is our exercise. A sport. Men enjoy such.”
“Only you could consider it a sport.”
“And women enjoy watching it, too, judging by the look of you. Am I correct?”
“No,” Liandra said, indignantly.
“Then what were you doing standing there open-mouthed, if not enjoying? What I saw on your face demands clarification.”
“There’s a difference between observing and enjoying.”
He raised a disbelieving brow. “Truly? One day you must explain such distinctions.”
“A barbarian could not grasp the subtleties between the two.”
Connal grinned. Curling a finger under her chin, he raised her face. “I am not a barbarian, Liandra. Have I not proven that to you, yet?”

His voice had taken on that husky, seductive timbre, and as always at its sound, she felt her body pulse. Her heart thudded against her ribs. So close, Connal’s naked chest, his flushed skin glistening with perspiration, instead of feeling disgust at such a disheveled state, her nerve endings spiraled into her core, tightening and warming.

Her eyes lifted to a safer height. Or so she thought. His hair was tied back severely from his face, yet tendrils had escaped to curl against his brow and cheeks, giving him a roguish appearance. A barbarian rogue—that was what he was. Liandra smiled.
“I like not that smile of yours. It bodes ill for any man. And me in particular, I think.” Laughing gently, he stepped closer.

Liandra swallowed against the tight dryness in her throat as his musky male scent washed over.


I have a copy of Crystal Dreams to give away to one lucky commenter. Winner announced Wednesday. 
~Astrid


9 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story with us Astrid, and thank you for sharing the exerpt *wildly fans self*. I have never been too keen on men in kilts stories but I think you have just changed my mind :-)

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  2. You had me at "A semi-naked man, dressed in a kilt"...

    What a journey you have been through, I applaud your tenacity to over come the unfortunate events life throws at you. And here's wishing you the best for success of Crystal Dreams!

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  3. Hope to get the chance to read this story. From what has been provided for us to feast our eyes on above, it's already gotten me intrigued and yearning to know more!

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  4. I'm with Lizzielvr on this one - I was hooked from semi-naked man, dressed in a kilt.

    I have to say I feel privileged to have read this book when it was originally printed and thought it was wonderful.

    So glad it is having a rebirth, with Jimmy Thomas on the cover no doubt. :)

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  5. This is not my genre - I have only ever been attracted to the intellectual side of men. However, your personal story is fascinating, and worthy of much sympathy. Congratulations on getting this out despite the hurdles.

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  6. I am so happy to see this release! It caught my eye on the coming soon list, but I had no idea that it had such a history attached.
    Kudos to you for perseverence and yah for the book out at last!
    Best of luck with it....again. :)

    Frances

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  7. Dear Frances, Rosanne, Eleni, Serix, Lizzi and Peta
    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my blog. I appreciate it very much! I often wonder why I do keep going, and I guess the answer is I've come too far TO give up. I think every author has that tenacity - writing and publishing is not an easy business. Rosanne: the hero has brains as well as beauty. ! The kilt thing was the impetus for this story. And the cover model when the publisher found the picture, well - I had to have it, little knowing that he is now on approx. 2020 covers!

    Talk about exposure! (evil grin).

    Thanks, again, for posting comments.

    Best wishes, Astrid.

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  8. Wow! What a journey for Crystal Dreams. Good on you for persistence, Astrid.

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  9. Wow. I'd heard of the title Crystal Dreams before but I didn't know the
    strength of Connal's sex appeal. He sounds ALL MAN! Astrid, thanx for
    sharing the incredible challenges you've faced. It is a tribute to you
    that you've achieved so much - and I know your story will help others
    navigate through the choppy waters of life. All the best with the relaunch
    of your novel!"

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