Saturday, December 17, 2005

Let's talk series...

Jeri Smith-Ready brought up an excellent writing point when she posted about having difficulty writing the second book in her LUNA series. It got me thinking ("A dangerous thing." "I know..."). Book #2 in a series is damn hard to write, and it's damn hard to find good ones, too. I've done it twice, and am almost ready to add a third 2nd book in a series (now that's confusing sounding) to my resume with the middle book in my YA contract. I'm not particularly looking forward to it. Here's the problem: the 2nd book needs to be able to stand alone, so the author must give enough info about the first book to fill in the new reader whilst not pissing off/boring someone who has already read book one. See - it's damn hard to do. I struggled hard with this writing Brighid's Quest. I wanted the book to stand alone - and from the reviews and readers' comments I think I managed that - but I did have to pay homage to Elphame's Choice. Of course what was more difficult was writing Divine by Choice - the sequel to my first book, Goddess by Mistake (which is going to be re-released under the title Divine by Mistake in September), because when I wrote GbM I didn't have a clue I was going to end up writing a sequel...let alone the 5 books I've sold to LUNA set in that world. Sigh. I can tell you that today I would have done several things different in GbM and made my life much easier later on...

So - what sequels have you found that are as good - and maybe better - than the first book? What jumps out at me first is Anne McCaffrey's classic Dragon Quest, which I loved even more than the first fabulous Pern book, Dragon Flight. I also adored Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' second Hawk book Snakecharm. Oddly enough, Diana Gabaldon's second Outlander book was just okay, but the third kicked ass.

What do you guys think?

Friday, December 09, 2005


Check out the amazing review of Brighid's Quest posted by my favorite Smart Bitch, Sarah @ Here's a sneak peek: (and feel free to go to the site and chime in on the discussion!)

Brighid's Quest by PC Cast
Dude. She's half a horse!
Title: Brighid's QuestAuthor: PC Cast Publication Info: Luna Books 2005, ISBN: 0373802420Genre: Science Fiction/FantasyTrashy Books Grade: A-

I took Brighid’s Quest with me to the hospital when I was induced, but I didn’t remember a page of what I read due to the wonders of labor, and the even deeper wonders of post-episiotomy percocet. Mmm. Percocet. But it is a testament to PC Cast’s writing that what fuzzy details I did remember, I wanted to get back to and reread as soon as I returned to my somewhat-normal self. I usually do not reread the opening pages of books if they prove to be forgettable. Brighid’s Quest is not forgettable in the least. It’s marvelous.

Brighid is a centaur, which, for the mythologically uninitiated, means her back end is a horse. She’s human from the waist up, equine from the waist down. And according to the descriptions and passing comments from other characters, either half of her is pretty hot. She is the Huntress for Clan MacCallan, which means she is the official hunter providing game for the clan’s keep. Brighid is fiercely protective of her clan, her position within the clan, and her friends, specifically the clan Chieftan, Elphame, last seen in the prequel to this book, Elphame’s Choice. Brighid left the Centaur Plains to escape the Machiavellian machinations of her mother, High Shaman of the Dhianna Herd. Brighid was expected, as eldest daughter, to follow her mother into the position of High Shaman after her mother’s death, but the increasingly militant and anti-human beliefs of her herd, coupled with the cruelty and abuses of power committed by her mother and brother, led Brighid to find her own life outside of her home and family.
That’s more than enough for a story, right? But wait! There’s more!
"More, more, more!"
Brighid has become an essential part of the Clan MacCallan. As Huntress, she holds a position of respect within the clan, and as close friend of the Chieftan commands her own share of personal respect as well. It doesn’t hurt that, as I mentioned, half-horse or not, she’s pretty hot.
The Clan MacCallan has been left in a state of upheaval by the events told in Elphame’s Choice, and as this book begins, Elphame’s brother Cuchulainn has journeyed to the Wastelands to bring back the New Fomorians, a group of half-demon, half-human hybrid people whose lives were saved by Elphame. Elphame is worried for her brother, who is in deep mourning for his lost love, killed by one of the half-demon Fomorians. Brighid volunteers to journey to the Wastelands to accompany Cuchulainn as he leads the New Fomorians back to the clan castle in Partholon.
When Brighid arrives in the Wastelands to meet the hybrid New Fomorians, she finds that Cuchulainn is a fragment of his former self, and realizes that part of her assignment, though unspoken, is to lead Cuchulainn back to himself as she and Cu lead the New Fomorians back to Partholon to be a part of the Clan MacCallan.
And that is more than enough for a story, right? But wait! There’s more!
Brighid must also learn to embrace the part of herself that is her mother’s daughter, that is, the part of her that is a High Shaman and has a connection to the spirit realm. Having rejected her herd and her responsibility to follow her mother into the position of High Shaman, Brighid has also rejected the spirit world and tries to resist the signs, messages, and premonitions she receives. Unfortunately, resisting one’s destiny is not easily done.
Brighid’s Quest hinges neatly into two halves: Part One is the tale of Brighid’s first quest: leading the New Fomorians into Partholon with Cuchulainn, and realizing how she alone can help Cuchulainn heal himself from the grief that has literally fragmented his soul. Part Two is the tale of Brighid’s second quest, as she realizes her destiny and tries to find a balance between her new life in Clan MacCallan, and her destiny as High Shaman of the Dhianna Herd.
The unifying element to these two halves is Cuchulainn, the hero of the story. PC Cast has set up quite a challenge for herself, in that it is very difficult to make a hero out of a grieving man who has just lost his love. Often the lost love is too good to be believed, shallow, one-dimensional, or revealed to be evil. Brenna is none of these, and, to make matters more challenging, was a friend of Brighid, who is mourning her loss along with Cuchulainn. But on the journey from the Wastelands to Partholon, which parallels Cuchulainn’s journey back to himself, Brighid and Cuchulainn realize they have feelings for one another, and both must struggle with their attraction as well as their guilt over betraying Brenna’s memory. And all of this emotional acknowledgement has to be managed without turning the reader off entirely, especially readers who are coming from the prequel and who “know” Brenna.
The other challenge is that Brighid, by virtue of being a centaur, well, to be blunt, she’s half a horse! I read this book the first week home from the hospital, bit by bit between feedings, rocking, and figuring out a baby’s nap schedule, and it was really freaking difficult to put the book down and go tend to anything else. Not only is this a wonderfully told story, but dude, she’s half a horse and there’s some serious attraction between Brighid and Cuchulainn, who’s a human, i.e. not half a horse. The possible logistics of the love scene were dinner discussion between Hubby and myself, because, did I mention, she’s half horse?!
I won’t spoil the answer as to how the happy-happy happens, don’t worry.
Brighid’s Quest contained some of my very favorite romantic elements: an emotionally wounded hero who is afraid of risking his heart a second time; heroine who can heal him, though at great personal cost; and a journey that has to bridge two very different cultures - that last one happens multiple times in multiple combinations, between the New Formorians, the Clan humans, the centaurs, the spirit realm, and the Goddess Epona, the ruling deity over the entire group. But even as I frothed at the mouth (ha) to find out how Brighid and Cuchulainn would find happiness and how the New Fomorians would find a way to live with the distrustful human Clan members, I had to ask myself: is this a romance, or is this a hybrid itself?
While there are strong romantic elements to the story, I would have to argue that it is not a romance entirely. It’s more of a hybrid between romance, fantasy, and, if we readers were members of the Clan MacCallan, an epic tale as well.
My one disappointment with the story is something of a spoiler, so as usual, if you don’t want to know, you know what not to do. Cuchulainn spends chapters struggling with his grief, his feelings of guilt over Brenna’s death, and then further feelings of guilt over his growing regard for Brighid. But when it comes time for him to admit that he cares for Brighid, and that he can choose a future with her, he arrives quickly at a state of acceptance over his feelings and his intentions toward Brighid. For someone who struggled emotionally through the entire first part of the novel, Cuchulainn admitted his attraction to Brighid and acted upon it a little too fast for me, not only because I thought he would have to struggle with it a bit more (and not just because, hello, she’s half a horse!) but also because the shift in his feelings for Brighid and vice versa mark the hinge between parts 1 and 2 of this book, and I felt the transition went too quickly. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there wasn’t quite enough angst for an already angst-filled character.
The most telling sign of my fondness for this book is that I keep stalling as I write this because my copy is sitting next to me, and if I pick it up to check a plot point or the spelling of a name, I start reading again, even though I finished the book a little over a week ago. I don’t even skim the pages; I start reading it in detail like I’ve never seen the words before. Brighid’s Quest is definitely a combination of several different and equally strong genres, but it also manages to be a hardy example of each one. I could recommend it to readers of romance, or readers of fantasy, with no hesitation.
Unless they want to borrow my copy. Ha. Mine.
"Was it good for you?"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Oh, baby! Just got the cover for the MYSTERIA Anthology. The release date is July 2006, and I can not wait! I love this anthology, and I love the three other talented authors who are in it with me: MaryJanice Davidson, Susan Grant, and Gena Showalter. Here's a teaser:
Hunky werewolves, delicious demons and, drop-dead sexy witches all have the same address…


Hundreds of years ago, in the mountains of Colorado (just close enough to Denver for great shoe shopping), the small town of Mysteria was “accidentally” founded by a random act of demonic kindness. Over time, it has become a veritable magnet for the supernatural—a place where magic has quietly coexisted with the mundane world.

It’s a town like any other town, where the high school’s Fighting Fairies give fans something to cheer about, where everyone knows your name—if not exactly what you are—at the local bar, and where the wishing well actually lives up to its name.

Strange occurrences happen every day, but now the ladies of Mysteria are about to unleash a tempest of seduction that will have tongues wagging for centuries to come…

The women of Mysteria…

Charlene Houtenan is the voluptuous local realtor, who knows a hot property when she sees one. And when a new werewolf appears in town, she’s going to make a move he can’t resist.

See her seal the deal in New York Times bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson’s “Alone Wolf.”

Harmony Faithfull is the new minister in town. She’s having a crisis of faith—in herself—until she finds a buck-naked man in her garden, a former demon who unleashes the devil inside her.

Watch her find heaven in national bestselling author Susan Grant’s “Mortal in Mysteria.”

Candice Cox may be Mysteria High’s sexiest teacher, but after five husbands, she’s burnt out on romance. Until a former student—a drool-worthy werewolf—makes her howl at the moon…

Get hot for teacher in “Candy Cox and the Big Bad (Were) Wolf” by P.C. Cast.

Genevieve Tawdry is a witch with a bad case of unrequited love for the owner of the local bar. But is his sudden change of heart the result of a love potion—or a literally breathtaking passion?

Belly up to the bar in “The Witches of Mysteria and the Dead Who Love Them” by Gena Showalter.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

1st YA ms almost finished!

Okay, I'm very excited to report that the 1st book in our (as in my daughter and me) YA series is almost finished! Naturally, I won't even be able to take a breath before I move on to the 2nd one, which has to be finished by January 15 - may God(dess) help me. are some name-that-character winners:

Jess!! You won with Erik for the love interest (well, one of them) for our fabulous heroine. His whole name is Erik Night.

Jana!! You won with Damien for one of our major secondary characters - one of our heroine's best friends (he's an adorable gay guy you'll love).

So ladies, email me privately with your addresses and when the book comes out I owe you each an autographed copy and a goddess necklace. Congrats!!