Snippet #2 – The Lady Wore High Heels

Welcome back, readers, to Snippet Month at The Violet Femmes. The NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference is next weekend, and in tandem with the conference, we’ll be announcing an exciting new contest in celebration of our first year together. So make sure you’ve subscribed to our blog, because this contest has a great prize, and you’ll want to enter as many times as you can!

Hugs,

Jaye

The following is a snippet from my YA work-in-progress.

Nadine is a young lady whose family is on the fringes of the Court in Renaissance France. She has just been chosen to be the companion of the new princess, Catherine de Medici, as she adjusts to her surroundings. The adjustment to palace life proves just as difficult for Nadine, who is used to helping out in the palace kitchens which her mother oversees. Added to her unease is the unexpected attraction she feels for the Prince’s right-hand-man, Gilles de Nantes.

A light knock sounded on the dressing room door. Nadine moved to answer it.

“No, Nadine, you stay. I will get it,” Maman ordered. Nadine took the opportunity of her mother’s inattention to snatch up the ribbon from the previous night, and tuck it in her bodice.

Maman opened the door to the house maid, Julée. “There is a man at the door, Madame. He says he is here to collect Mademoiselle Nadine.”

Julée followed Nadine and her mother as they made their way to the salon. Butterflies suddenly threatened to break free from Nadine’s stomach. They paused in the hall just outside the open doorway. Maman squeezed Nadine’s elbow and gave her a look of encouragement. “Breathe. And remember, I love you.”

“I love you, too, Maman.”

“Ready?”

Nadine nodded.

They rounded the corner into the salon. A man stood at the window, his back to them as they entered. As he turned, Nadine gasped.

“Monsieur de Nantes,” Maman said. She and Nadine curtseyed.

Gilles gave a slight bow in return. “Madame. I trust you are well?”

“Quite well, monsieur. Thank you.”

“And you, mademoiselle?” He cocked one eyebrow questioningly.

“Yes, thank you,” Nadine replied.

“Good! Shall we go?” Gilles motioned to the door.

“Surely you are not escorting my daughter on your own?” Maman interjected.

“She is in no danger from me, Madame,” Gilles replied. Nadine looked up at him, her eyes meeting his defiantly. So, she was not worth his time, was that it?

“Danger or no, it is not fitting,” Maman replied. “Please allow Nadine’s maid to accompany you.”

“Are you not fearful then, for the maid, Madame?” Gilles asked.

“Of course. However, I know my daughter. If you were to compromise her in any way, she would scream bloody murder. And if you were to accost the maid, well, you would have to fight my daughter off,” Maman warned.

“Ah, so that is the way of things, is it?” Gilles’ eyes twinkled in amusement. “Then let the maid come, and you have my solemn vow, no screams will be heard from the prince’s hall.”

Maman turned to Julée. “Keep an eye on this one,” she said softly. “He has the devil in him.”

“Yes, madame,” Jolée replied. “I will keep Mademoiselle Nadine safe from harm, I promise.”

“You are a good girl,” Maman said. She turned to Gilles. “I trust I will not hear of any nonsense.”

“You have my word, as the prince’s representative, that your daughter and her maid will be safe from me. Further, I will not allow anyone else to harm them, either.”

“I believe you. Now, go. Nadine, make me proud,” the comtesse said, kissing her daughter’s forehead.

Tears welled up in Nadine’s eyes. “I will, Maman.”

Gilles went to the door and turned. “Shall we? Prince Henri is waiting.”

Nadine blinked several times before looking up at him. “Of course,” she said, forcing a smile.

She fell into step slightly behind him, as was her station. Julée trailed after them, a few steps back. They made their way across the street and through the courtyard of the Louvre Palace. The black sky had turned to midnight blue. The stars winked their last as the sun began to rise on the horizon, bands of yellow to orange to green and aqua. A chaffinch, waking to the dawn, bobbed on the dried seed head of a flower in the Palace’s winter garden. Its happy song lifted Nadine’s spirits. Surely the dread she was feeling was misplaced.

“Monsieur? Can you tell me why the Prince wants to see me?” Nadine asked.

Gilles slowed so that she could draw even with him. “Mademoiselle Mystery, surely you know better than to ask that,” Gilles replied sardonically. His use of the moniker got her back up.

“Since you obviously do know my name now, I would appreciate if you would stop using that ridiculous one,” she huffed.

“Ah, but perhaps it has nothing to do with knowing your name. Perhaps I call you Mademoiselle Mystery, not because I don’t know your name, but because you are an enigma to me.”

“I can’t imagine you waste any of your precious time thinking about me, one way or the other,” Nadine replied.

“Can you not?” he asked, shooting her a sidelong glance. “Is it equally hard for you to imagine that I can reflect on anything, while performing one of my many required duties?”

“Certainly not. I only meant that I am sure there are other, more important things to occupy your thoughts than a girl of my position in the Court.”

“Well, in that you are wrong, I assure you. A girl with charms such as yours,” he looked down at her bodice, “would occupy the thoughts of any man who might be lucky enough to make your acquaintance,” Gilles replied.

Nadine turned her face away to hide the blush that burned her cheeks, and tried unsuccessfully to take offense at his bold actions. “I can see now that Maman was wise to insist on a chaperone.”

Gilles stopped short and turned, causing Nadine to stumble. He grabbed her arm to keep her from falling. “I assure you, mademoiselle,” he said softly. “You are in no danger from me. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If anything, I feel an uncommon urge to protect you.”

Nadine looked up, her eyes locking with his. “Protect me from what?” she asked.

“There are all kinds of dangers in the Court. I urge you to stay alert, know your place, and listen to what your instincts tell you,” Gilles advised.

Q&A: Ruth Seitelman, NJRW Conference Chair

This week, we are thrilled to welcome NJRW’s Conference Chair, Ruth Seitelman, to the blog. Ruth and her team have been working hard on making the prestigious Put Your Heart in a Book conference even better this year.

The conference is October 12-13 at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin, NJ, and speakers include Sabrina Jeffries, Heather Graham, and Susan Wiggs. Registration for the conference is open until September 30, 2012! Click here for more information.


VF: Hi, Ruth! Thank you for joining us this week.

RS: Thank you so much for letting me tell you and your readers about the upcoming NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference.

VF: What makes the Put Your Heart in a Book conference unique amongst other chapter conferences?

RS: Perhaps it’s our proximity to New York, still the center of the publishing world. Or maybe it’s over twenty-five years of building the conference. It certainly is the hard work of previous conference chairs. All have worked to create a quality and prestigious conference that is well know throughout the country as well as internationally. Last year we had speakers from as far away as Australia present workshops. I think our conference is unique because of its breadth of workshops, willingness to tackle new developments in our industry, and editor agents that attend and take pitches and socialize with the attendees.

VF: I’m excited that Lady Jane’s Salon will be hosting a special event before the Book Fair on Saturday. What else will be different about this year’s conference from previous years?

RS: I’m also excited Hope, Leanna, and Ron are bringing Lady Jane’s Salon to our conference. This is probably our biggest change as we begin to look at attracting more and more readers to our conference.

For authors who may not have access to professional photographers, Marti Corn will be available to take head shots. I understand her appointments are filling up fast.

We have two workshops, one from RT Magazine and the other from USA Today, that deal with media exposure past book reviews.

To add to the festivity, this year we will are introducing an Unleash Your Passion cocktail as well as a Lady Jane cocktail. Both will be available with and without alcohol.

VF: What is your best NJRW conference memory? (Mine is the firemen from last year’s cocktail party!)

RS: There isn’t much that could top last year’s firemen. They were certainly good sports. My best memory is about my first pitch ever. The editor asked me for my full. I still tingle when I think about it.

VF: Both NJRW and RWA have recently changed their definitions on published author status to make it more inclusive to self-pubbed authors. How is NJRW supporting and/or incorporating self-published authors at the conference this year?

RS: I applaud RWA with redefining the qualifications to be inclusive of self-pubbed authors. It is the way of the future. This year we have workshops on e-pub and self-pubbing as well as two round tables in our Pub Retreat. In addition, book fair participants will be able to sell their e-pubbed and/or self-pubbed books.

VF: Last year was my first PYHIAB conference, and I had such a wonderful time. What advice would you give to someone attending our conference for the first time?

RS: I would suggest that anyone attending for the first time go to Christine Bush’s first timer workshop. Christine has a great presentation that is easy to follow and gives you everything you need to know. On a personal note, come prepared with business cards and ready to make new friends.

VF: What is your biggest conference pet peeve?

RS: My feet hurt after standing and running around. I love my heels but don’t be surprised if you see me barefoot!

VF: Who is the one person you hope to spend five minutes with at the conference, should time allow?

RS: Ok, get a cup of coffee, this is a long story. I love historicals of any kind, fantasy, mysteries, adventure, and of course romance. One of my favorite authors is Tasha Alexander. She writes historical mysteries with a touch of adventure and romance. She is one of our speakers this year and I can’t wait to sit and talk to her.

VF: What is the first thing you look forward to doing once the conference is over?

RS: Letting my hair down (and taking my shoes off) at the after party! I always feel energized after the conference so I’m looking forward to tackling my writing with a vengeance. But that may have to wait. My daughter’s wedding is two weeks after the conference.

Thank you again to the Violet Femmes and their support of the NJRW conference. Only three weeks to go!

Thanks, Ruth! We know you’re swamped, so we really appreciate you taking time out to do this for the Femmes.

In addition to conference duties, Ruth also writes as Ruth A. Casie, and she has a smoking hot book out with Carina Press, KNIGHT OF RUNES:

England, 1605

When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he’s intrigued.

Rebeka is no ordinary seventeenth-century woman—she’s travelled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return home. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what’s killing Arik’s land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.

As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik’s household schemes to keep them apart, and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. To defeat him, Arik and Rebeka must combine their skills. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.

Here’s the link to buy Knight of Runes on Amazon, and please visit Ruth on her website at http://www.RuthACasie.com.

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