March 31st, 2010
Cover for Jeweled

Defined by magic. Ruled by desire.

In the Court of Edaeii, magic-imbued Evangeline is rewarded for her gift with a sapphire stone set in the perfect curves of her flesh. Her greatest rival in the royal court is the enigmatic Anatol, instilled with his own powers to manipulate illusion. He may better her in magic, but he is her absolute equal in a ferocious sexual energy begging for release.

They share something else—they’re both targets of low-born revolutionaries bent on over-throwing the palace of the privileged few. Rescued from the mobs by Gregorio, a brilliant insurgent, they’re given sanctuary. But in this warm refuge, Evangeline soon finds herself torn between the magic of one man she has always desired, and the excitingly new and radical moves of another. For her, there is only one choice.

Evangeline, Anatol and Gregorio come together as one to explore the possibilities of love beyond reason, and to indulge—for as long as they can survive—in pleasure without limits.

Now available for pre-order.

March 23rd, 2010
Writing is a Mysterious Process

Cross-posted from the Witchy Chicks blog

I’ve been writing since I was 21. That’s…uhm….well, let’s just say that’s about fifteen years now. 😉 It’s a long time, yet, even so, the writing process continues to amaze and mystify me.

Every writer has her own process and every writer goes at her own speed. Compared to many of my friends, I’m a fairly slow writer. My process is blocked often by the questions I seem to ask myself twenty five times a day. What happens next? Or I know what happens next, but how should it happen? Or What is this character feeling right now? Or What would this character do now? These questions rule my writing days. And for every book I’ve written (lots and lots) I have been a slow writer stopping to ask myself these questions at multiple times throughout the day.

Then came JADED.

JADED is the second book in a two-book series I’m writing for Berkley Heat. I finished the first book, JEWELED, at the end of 2009. JEWELED was a pretty difficult book for me to write mostly because of the heroine. In the beginning of the book she’s emotionally stunted because of the type of magick she wields. She’s also arrogant and self-centered. Evangeline is not very likable at first, but there are reasons for it.

In JEWELED, Evangeline grows and changes a lot from the beginning to the end. The book didn’t start to become easier for me to write until about mid to halfway through when she started to warm up and care about others besides herself. This was a really painstakingly slow book for me to write because of that, but I was very happy with it when I reached the end.

JADED follows the story of a female secondary character from JEWELED. Lilya also grows and changes a lot from the first page to the last. I tend to write heroines who do that. Women who start out damaged or powerless and who heal and/or find their power throughout the story. Lilya of JADED is no exception. She’s an incredibly damaged character to begin with, and she’s jaded (hence the title). She’s really no picnic to write.

Yet, JADED is flying for me. I have never had a book come so easily. I’ve never written a book this fast, either. I’ve been trying to figure out why this book is different from all the other books I’ve written and I just don’t know. But when I sit down to write these character’s stories (Lilya is not the only character, of course, this is romance…a ménage à trois romance at that) it’s just….flowing.

Not that I’m complaining. I’ll take it. 🙂

It’s just got me thinking about the writing process and how mysterious it is–where characters come from in the writer’s mind, and how the plot develops as a result of the author’s worldviews and opinions. Because even if the writer isn’t deliberately inserting her worldviews and opinions into the plot and characters, it’s happening anyway. It’s unavoidable. It might be subtle, but it’s there.

When I open up JADED, it’s almost like I’m just channeling for these characters. I’m merely a conduit. I always feel somewhat that way–as if the characters exist somewhere in my subconscious and all I need to do is open up a pathway to them and let them speak. But with JADED it’s especially strong.

And, why? I still have no idea. It remains a mystery.

March 11th, 2010
Bringing myself back to center

Living mindfully means to be completely in touch and aware of the present moment and what you’re doing in it. It’s awareness without judgment, accepting your current moment for exactly what it is. It means that, for example, when you eat, you’re only eating. You’re completely immersed in the process. You’re not gulping down your food, barely tasting it, while thinking of the twenty things you need to do before you go to bed. Mindfulness is about appreciating and living in every moment as it occurs. It’s the ultimate cure for the monkey mind.

And it’s not easy.

It’s a little like living in Vipassana meditation. In Vipassana, you sit, breathe deeply and still your mind. You’re reaching for peace of mind, an emptying out of thought, but when you have a thought, (and you will unless you’re a yogi), you don’t berate yourself for it. You note it by thinking, ‘thought’ and then let it go. Or if you have a pain in your leg, you think ‘pain’ and let it go. You never judge yourself for these distractions and you always bring yourself back to center.

Living mindfully has always reminded me of this type of meditation. It’s like meditation in the moment…every single moment.

I started down this path in my early twenties, over ten years now. My life has changed a lot since then. I have a career as a writer with deadlines (sometimes multiple deadlines) and promotion to do. I became a mother. My daughter has grown up and I now have to run her to preschool, playgroup, ballet (maybe gymnastics soon). I have an ailing grandmother to visit weekly, and a father and stepmother to visit weekly. A house to keep clean. Grocery shopping. Cooking. You know how it is.

My life is more than mindful, it’s simply FULL, sometimes to overflowing.

I’m not complaining. I’m incredibly lucky and wouldn’t have it any other way. And if I rarely have time to devote to my once religious formal sitting meditation practice, I have living mindfully–meditation all the time. One day I know my daughter will be older and I’ll have time to meditate again, but I’m not pushing for her to grow up. Instead I’m savoring her younger years and letting things be what they are.

That’s not to say I manage mindfulness all the time. Yeah, I wish. Sometimes I become overwhelmed, impatient, irritated and locked in that OMG-I-have-to-get-this-this-and-this-done stressful monkey brain place. But when that happens, I take a deep breath. I hear the sounds around me. I feel my feet in my shoes and my clothes against my skin. I smell the scent of whatever is there in that moment. I don’t judge myself for the distraction.

I simply bring myself back to center.

For me, it’s not just a stress reduction (and it is a great one), it’s a way of life. A method of living I strive for every day. It’s not easy, but it works for me.

February 22nd, 2010
Delicious Tease Contest

I’m over on Tracy Wolff’s blog today, giving away a copy of WICKED ENCHANTMENT. Stop on by for a chance to win.

I know I haven’t been blogging much. I’m under a couple pressing deadlines right now and when that happens I have to cut down on blogging a bit. I figure you all probably want books from me rather than blogs, anyway. 🙂

January 25th, 2010
Cover for Cruel Enchantment

I think the cover copy is going to change, but this is the cover art. WOW, I love it. Tony Mauro (the cover artist) is brilliant. If you like his covers, you should check out his artwork.

Cruel Enchantment is the second full-length novel in the Dark Magick series and will release in September.

January 11th, 2010
Twilight

Surprise! I have a book release today!

Twilight, previously a novella in the anthology And Lady Makes Three, is being released as a standalone today from Ellora’s Cave. Here is the cover, buy link, blurb and an excerpt.

Those who are not familiar with my Ellora’s Cave novellas should be warned they are *hot*. This one is a menage a trois romance and, be warned, there is contact between the two male characters. Also, this is an ebook, NOT paper.


Twilight, by Anya Bast


The dark, the light and one to merge them.


Nico and Dai have searched for years for the third member of their Sacred Triad. Their combined energy released in a sexual ritual will drag their reality back from the Encroaching Darkness, a mystical force that threatens their world.


Finally, Nico and Dai have found her.


But Twyla has been emotionally damaged by an event in her past and has lost her magick. It will take all of Nico and Dai’s deep love to help her overcome her fear and give her the sexual healing she desperately needs.

An Excerpt From: TWILIGHT

Chapter One

It was always impressive to see, thought Dai as he and Nico mounted the top of a hill and the fourth triad tower came into view below them.
The tower rose high above the weed- and briar-choked hedges that wreathed its base. The weeds were impossible to keep at bay these days, despite the fact that darkness had grown so much that it seemed like constant twilight, and even though it was high summer, it felt like late autumn. Even now, in the gloom of the Encroaching Darkness, that tower seemed to cast a shadow.

He snapped his horse’s reins and dug his heels into the beast’s sides. Beside him, Nico did the same. They headed their mounts down the slope and through the gateway that led into the tower courtyard.

A black-hooded monk took their mounts and another ushered Dai and Nico into the tower. A small fire burned in the hearth, barely managing to touch the chill in the cavernous room. The floor was of solid stone, but no rushes had been laid down. The High Mages of the Vedicinn and their monks rarely succumbed to the temptation of such luxuries. A single table stood in the austere chamber, covered with texts and loose papers. Dai knew well the Vedicinn still sought ways to stave off the Encroaching Darkness, even though they all knew well it was Dai, Nico and the third member of their Sacred Triad—wherever she was—who would mean the difference between triumph and defeat.

Dai and Nico were two-thirds of a sacred triad—one of seven. The other six triads had been formed years ago and they were all waiting for the seventh to be realized. In the eyes of their elders they were failing. For years they’d searched for the woman who would complete their circle of magick. Her inclusion would form the last part of the conduit that would allow the power of all the triads to flow out and purify the binding fabric of their reality, fine-tuning it to a higher level. The formation of their triad would push back the Encroaching Darkness.

A shrunken form rose from the chair beside the table. A gnarled hand extended. The other liver-spotted hand clutched a wooden staff. “Come,” said the fourth mage.

Dai and Nico walked forward and went down on their knees, touching their fingertips to their foreheads in the formal gesture of respect.

“Rise.”

They rose and felt the full weight of the Fourth’s gaze on them. He narrowed rheumy eyes at them. “Time is growing short,” said the fourth in a voice that sounded as though it’d been broken over old stones. Timeless. Weary.

He needed to say no more.

Nico cleared his throat. His long black hair was loose and a hank of it had fallen across a dark eye. Nico was beautiful, dark and intense. It was said he could seduce anyone—man or woman. Dai knew it to be true. “We have a trace on her magick. She may be in the northern part of Carraton, and we are traveling there directly after this meeting, High Mage.”

The fourth’s eyes narrowed further. “I thought you told me her magick had been completely transferred to you.”

“Not the entirety of it. She still has a thin thread left.”

They did not know much about the one they sought, save that she was female. All the triads were of both sexes—two females and a male, or two males and a female. They also knew that years ago, some event had made their third member relinquish most of her magick. They speculated that she’d been greatly, perhaps irreparably, psychically damaged due to that unknown trauma in her past. Whatever happened had forced the magick out of her body and, as the other two sides of the triad, Dai and Nico had been forced to absorb it.

“Why have you not sensed this thread before now?” the fourth asked suspiciously.

His temper piqued, Dai stepped forward. It was as if the fourth thought they’d deliberately been thwarting the formation of their own triad. Even when the extra magick they carried was a heavy burden all of the time—and a nearly uncontrollable force some of the time. “We have sensed it over the years, High Mage, but it always moved so erratically that by the time we reached the area of its emanation, it had shifted. Now it has settled and stayed constant. We believe she has finally set up a home. I would respectfully ask your leave to be on our way immediately.”

The fourth stared at Dai and he returned his gaze confidently. Dai’s name was an apt one since he was like the day—friendly and full of light—but also had a temper that could grow hot as the sun.

The fourth tested that temper now.

Tense moments passed. Finally, the fourth banged his staff on the floor. “I summoned you here to impress the fact upon you that the fate of our world lies in your hands. The Vedicinn grows desperate. They search for ways to engage the magick of the triads without yours, and that will be risky. Go,” the fourth barked. His face grew haggard-looking and he seemed suddenly even older than his already ancient age. “You had better find her this time.”

* * * * *

Twyla dug into the hard packed earth in effort to free a hansclep root. Her nail broke to the quick and, cursing, she snatched her hand to her mouth and fell back into a sitting position. Her wooden, hand shovel had split yesterday and she sorely missed it.

It was market day in Dandre Village tomorrow. She knew she’d have to brave a trip in to buy a new one. The last time she’d gone, she’d been hassled by a local farmer. Out here in the country, women traveling alone were always suspect. The farmer, Marsten had been his name, had followed her around. Perhaps he’d thought she was a pleasure woman for hire, Twyla didn’t know. All she knew was that he’d received a sharp elbow in the ribs for his trouble.

She cast around until she found a suitable branch and used it to dig. Finally the root came up. “Dinner!” she declared triumphantly to the forest at large. The root was an ugly bulbous purple mass at the moment, but cleaned up and boiled with the rest of her potatoes and an onion it would be quite delicious.

Cradling the root in her shirttails, she stood and made her way through the murky forest that she called home. She’d found a ramshackle house back in the depths of the woods. It had likely been abandoned for years and had needed many repairs. She’d set about fixing it up, and the project was nearly complete now. Smoke curled enticingly from the chimney in the distance and the thatched roof came into view. She still had things to do but it was becoming very cozy already.

Home.

She hadn’t had one of those in a very long time. She’d never had a permanent one. She and her mother had always been forced to move to different villages when she’d been growing up. Never staying in one place long enough for them to settle and make friends or have any kind of stable life.

And then one day… Twyla gave her head a sharp shake. No, that didn’t bear any thought at all. Better to let the past be the past.

She passed the woodpile and the hatchet she’d embedded in one of the stumps. She’d begun to line the walkway up to the door with some large, flat stones she’d found. It looked pretty that way, she thought. Yes, she planned to stay here for a while, forever if she could hold the place. She was so tired of moving.

Twyla pushed the door open and entered the snug house. It smelled of the drying herbs she’d hung from the rafters. She’d warmed some water over the fire so she could bathe. After she placed the root on the trestle table, she poured the warmed water into her hip tub. She loosed her hair from the knot on the top of her head and shook the length out. It was long, to her waist, and blood-red. She had no time or need for vanity in her life and, practically speaking, she should have hacked it off long ago. She fingered a tendril and eyed the knife on the table. Really, she should. It was constantly in her way and was so difficult to keep untangled. She closed her eyes as a memory overwhelmed her.

“Your hair is like rubies, darling,” her mother said as she ran a brush gently through it.

Twlya inhaled. Her mother always smelled of vanilla.

“You have such pretty hair. Promise me you’ll never cut it.”

She opened her eyes, let go of her hair and stripped off her filthy clothing.

The water was comforting and pleasant when she lowered herself down into it and picked up the chunk of soap. She might not want to acknowledge the event that had decorated her body with a crisscrossing of thin, white scars, but she couldn’t ignore them either. They traced over her breasts, her stomach, thighs and buttocks and served as an ever-constant reminder of the night she’d lost both her mother and her innocence forever. The wounds, caused by a mercilessly lashing whip, had long since healed. Of course, the far more severe wounds within her mind and her heart had never healed, and she doubted they ever would.

She finished bathing, toweled herself dry and slipped into her warm, woolen sleeping gown and slippers. After she’d prepared her stew and set it to cook over the fire, she curled up in a chair to watch the fire lick red and amber over the bottom of her cooking caldron. She considered buying a book at the market tomorrow. It was an expensive luxury, but she hadn’t had a new book in a very long time. Exhaustion and relaxation gradually stole over her body and soon she found it difficult to keep her eyes open.

When she awoke, early morning light filtered in through the windows and the fire had burned itself to ash. She stood and checked the caldron and found it cold, as was her cottage. Her breath showed in the crisp air. Twyla cursed under her breath as her stomach rumbled. She’d have to remake the fire for heat and for food.

She moved to pick up her kindling basket from beside the door when she saw a flash of movement outside her window. Murmuring voices met her ears. Two males. Dropping the basket, she picked up her sword that lay against the wall instead. Moving stealthily, she inched toward the door and opened it a crack.

At first, she saw nothing, then she glimpsed two men roaming around outside. One was blond and fair; the other had dark hair and eyes. They were both tall, and well built. She bit her bottom lip, assessing them. They’d be far superior to her in swordplay unless she could dodge and strike, not allowing either of them to corner her and lay their weight against her.

No…with two of them that was probably not an option.

January 7th, 2010
Music I’m listening to as I write the Dark Magick series

At the Writerspace chat last night (which was very well attended and was a total blast! Thank you!) someone asked me what music I listen to when I’m writing. I have a playlist for every book/series, but I rarely post it because….I don’t know why, really. So here is a small portion of what I’m listening to as I write the Dark Magick series.

BTW, for everyone waiting on a book from me (you are legion), I’m addressing the envelopes today and will have them in the mail ASAP.

Aqualung — Strange & Beautiful

Moby — Shot in the Back of the Head

U2 — If God Will Send His Angels

Apocalyptica — Cohkka

Angelzoom — Fairyland

My Morning Jacket — Gideon

Sirenia — Seven Sirens and a Silver Tear

Apocalyptica — I Don’t Care

Seether — Walk Away from the Sun

Black Light Burns — Cruel Melody

And many more. 🙂

January 6th, 2010
Chat Tonight!

I’m chatting tonight at Writerspace (9pm est) and would love to see you there!