Thursday, October 3, 2013

Leila Gaskin

Guest Post and Excerpt by Leila Gaskin

Hi Cloey, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. My debut novel, Hot Flashes, is about a woman named Ella Hixson. She is in her mid-forties and has a normal life. She has worked hard to provide for herself and her elderly mother. The love of her life is her pit bull – Ronan. Normal is her life, but she craves more. She dreams of dragons flying in the sky and adventure.

Seeing Hot Flashes in print is a dream come true. I’ve always been a scribbler. I have files full of scraps of paper, napkins, and receipts with snippets of story ideas. I guess it would be fair to say my lifetime goal is to tell all those stories. Now that we are in the age of the smartphone, I tend to record my ideas. The voice to text options have improved so much in the last couple of years that it makes documenting ideas easier when I’m not in an environment where I can jot something down.

My journey to Hot Flashes is one of personal empowerment. It took me a long time to actually have the confidence to put my stories on paper (or really on my computer), then to submit for publication. My first story was a zombie tale titled Day Seven. I published a few other short stories and realized that Ella’s story needed to be completed. I’d been messing with it for a while, but hadn’t finished it.

Just completing the process has been rewarding. My advice to someone who wanted to get published it would be the following:
  1. Ass In Chair – Nora Roberts gave this gem in the 2009 RWA conference.

  2. Learn your craft – This is a lifelong process. The only way to become a better story teller is to learn more at every opportunity.

  3. Find a critique group – Find a group that you can trust to give you honest, egoless feedback. I’ve experienced groups that weren’t a good fit and suffered for it. A good group will make you a better writer.

  4. Fall in love with every story you write – You have to love what you write. It can be a volatile relationship, one where you totally hate the story in the moment and that’s okay. After all the editing and rewriting is done (and you will do both until your brain leaks out your ears), if you can read your story and still love it then others will love your story.
I hope, as you read Hot Flashes, you laugh, maybe cry, and enjoy the story of Ella Hixson.
Bright Skies!

Upstairs, chaos ruled; Nathan lay across the thrashing, shimmering form of their guest. Kaie sat at the foot of the bed hissing. Ella dashed across the room to the other side of the bed, grabbing an arm and a leg. She struggled to help keep the man still. His scorching skin made Ella want to pull her hands back, but her touch seemed to sooth the man. A golden web of scales covering his body glowed brightly.

Her touch should not have had any effect on the man. Nathan had called her on a hunch.

“Ella, I need you to trust me.”

“Like I haven’t already?” Nathan reached across and grasped Ella’s head, she stared into his swirling silver eyes. For the first time, she noticed that he had a slit pupil like the man on the bed. Her eyes widened with alarm as she tried to free her head from his grasp. Nathan tightened his hold.

“Učit se!” Nathan commanded.

Visions of places she had never been filled the crevices of Ella’s mind. She screamed with the weight of the knowledge and language forced into her mind. Nathan let go, and she collapsed like a rag doll at the foot of the bed.

Her ‘self’ struggled to maintain its dominate place in her psyche as she tried to catalogue and comprehend the new information. Ella flinched from the helping hand Nathan extended. She rose to her feet and faced him. A burning flush swept through her body. She struggled to form a coherent thought. “Trust you?” Ella spat. “What the hell did you do to me?”

“What was necessary so you could help,” Nathan replied without remorse.

“You violated my mind!”

Nathan waved off Ella’s histrionics.

“I gave you the knowledge needed to help me care for our guest and deal with matters of the House.” Looking at the man on the bed, he added, “Your training time table has been accelerated.”

Ella was enraged at being dismissed. “I don’t care! You went into my mind uninvited! That constitutes violation!” Ella jumped to her feet, her body tense and ready to strike at something or someone. “What, you were going to go over inter-dimensional vortexes next week? I don’t care what you’re trying to justify!”

Nathan lost his patience. “I need you to think beyond yourself! You said you’d heard his language before. Where?”

The question was more of a statement.

Ella’s eyes narrowed at Nathan’s tone. “I told you, in a dream.”

The scene from the foyer crashed into Ella’s memory; this time she understood the language with perfect clarity.

“Where am I?” Gasped the man. “Do you know Mellanei?”

Nathan stiffened as the man grasped his arm. “I know her. She is no longer here.”

“No! I must find her! Warn her!” The man arched in agony.

“Warn her about what?” Nathan held the man still as Ella covered him. In an effort to keep the man conscious, Nathan gave him a hard shake. “Tell me!”

Hot Flashes
The Drakkon Volume 1
Leila Gaskin

Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN: 978-0615871851
Smashwords: 9781301209422

Cover Artist: Tatiana Vila

Book Description:

Dragons do not exist.” Ella Hixson shrieked as the mythical beasts dive from the sky shredding her car with their impressively long talons and sending her careening across the road in an attempt to avoid the being flambéed. Escaping her car, she grasps the car door in order to prevent herself from tumbling down the slippery embankment. Pouring rain soaks Ella’s interview suit and her dress shoes as she searches the sky for the attacking beasts to find nothing but clouds heavy with their payload of rain.

Hallucinations, relationship destroying fights with her only surviving relative-her mother, and, thanks to a bodaciously bosomed, bottle-blond, jobless, Ella needs the universe to cut her a break.

Be careful what you wish for.

Circumstances conspire and Ella’s mundane existence evaporates when she discovers she is Drakkon, the hidden heir to an ancient dynasty, and she has an enemy who would see all the Drakkon race enslaved or dead.

No more ordinary days for Ella as she learns what it is to be Drakkon, tries to save a world she knows nothing about, and still be home in time to feed her dog.

About the Author:

Born on a dark and stormy night on the other side of the world from Richmond, VA, Leila Gaskin began a life full of imaginative wanderings. Inspired by her journey, Leila takes inspiration from the places she’s lived. She is the author of several short stories ranging from horror, speculative fiction, and science fiction. HOT FLASHES is her debut novel.

With her dog as her co-pilot and the cat as the navigator, Leila explores her world and tells her stories.

Twitter: @leilagaskin

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