Saturday, November 10, 2012

Populating My World, by Beth Ciotta

As an author of romantic adventures, my books naturally focus on the hero and heroine of the story and their emotional journey on their way to a happily-ever-after. Indeed, Tucker Gentry (aka The Sky Cowboy) and Amelia Darcy commanded my attention as they constantly challenged one another in ways that made my head spin! Not to mention Tuck’s complicated past, Amelia’s secret agenda, and a passionate attraction that sizzled from their initial run in (literally).

That said, as much as I adore my derring-do twosome, I got a particular and wondrous thrill out of populating their world with a quirky and varied cast of secondary characters. Some of my favorite scenes were when Amelia knocks heads with Axel O’Donnell, the airship’s engineer. I especially loved the mentor-like friendship between Tuck and Doc Blue, and the trouble brewing between them broke my heart. I hated the villain of the piece and had a small crush on the wicked sky pirate.

By the time I finished writing HER SKY COWBOY, I felt as if I had a relationship with each and every character, an emotional connection to the people that populated the alternate Victorian world. I’m so glad I’m not saying goodbye forever, just until the next installment of the Glorious Victorious Darcys. Because, yes, many of these colorful characters will pop in to the subsequent adventures!

To give a taste of Tuck and Amelia’s vibrant world, follows an exclusive excerpt.  For a chance to win a copy of HER SKY COWBOY, leave a comment naming the character that captures your interest most… er, aside from Tuck! Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Enjoy!


Excerpt from HER SKY COWBOY….

     “Said it before and I’ll say it again: A woman on board is bad luck.”

     Tuck pushed aside his plate of food, his appetite slim as a bed slat, and frowned across the table at Axel. “Near as I recollect, that’s the sixth time you’ve mentioned that superstitious crock since we sat down to eat.”

     “Yeah, Ax,” Eli groused as he peppered his stew. “Give it a rest.”

     The big man who’d escorted Concetta to the safety of a village had returned three hours ago, his normally jovial mood unusually prickly. Eli had yet to shake his irritation. Then again, Tuck thought, Concetta had been as thorny as a bramble, and now Ax was bitchin’ up a dust storm.

     “Thing is,” Tuck went on, “that’s a sailor’s myth. We’re not at sea. We’re in air. We’re not sailors; we’re skymen.”

     “But this here is a ship.”

     “A flying ship,” Eli clarified.

     “Mark my words,” Axel said while tossing a handful of salt over his hunched shoulder, “we’re in for some rough weather, thanks to her.”

     “Not that I’m siding with Axel,” Doc said, “but Miss Darcy could prove a distraction for the crew. Considering our cargo, we need to be extra vigilant.”

     Tuck couldn’t argue with that. Amelia was distracting for a whole lot of reasons.

     “All that sass irritates my bowels,” Axel added, then drank deeply from his iron mug.

     “That sass might be what makes her a tolerable guest,” Eli said. “Least she’s not fragile.”

     “That’s for sure and certain,” Doc remarked.

     “Still think you’re funnin’,” Axel said as he tore off a chunk of brown bread. “That piece of metal was wedged deep. She didn’t whine? Or give you hell when you did your mendin’?”

     “Not once. No crying either. Nor would she allow me to numb the pain. As I’ve stated before.”

     Four times exactly, to Tuck’s recollection.

     “Impressive,” said Eli.

     To say the least. For the second time in a day, Tuck had been stunned by Amelia’s courage and stubborn determination. He’d been the one to buckle. When he’d seen her
blinking back tears, the sweat on her brow, the greenish tint of that creamy white skin, he’d given Birdman a silent order to put her under. Proficient in the Chinese art of acupressure, Birdman had used a mere tap to render her unconscious, putting both Amelia and the men out of their misery.

     Watching her suffer in unnecessary pain hadn’t been easy.

     “Much obliged,” Doc had said, then attacked his work
with steadier hands.

     That had been hours ago. Presently, Amelia was sleeping in Tuck’s cabin. In his bed. He tried not to dwell on that. Or the vision of her fine bare legs as he’d peeled off those trousers so that Doc could dress the wound. Ridding her of that corset had almost robbed him of his good sense and manner. She’d been clad only in that low- cut blouse and those brief bloomers. All that skin. The lean curve of her thighs and calves. The generous swell of her breasts. Distraction be damned— Amelia Darcy was fast becoming an obsession.

     “She’ll rally, right, Doc?” Eli asked.

     “She’ll rally.”

     Tuck agreed, but again held silent. He didn’t want to talk or think about Amelia Darcy. Superstition had nothing to do with it. His gut warned of a large dollop of trouble, and
his gut was always right.

Amelia Darcy has no interest in marrying well. Her heart belongs to the sky and the dirigibles of brass and steel that swoop over Victorian England. But when her father, an eccentric inventor, dies, the Darcy siblings are left with scrap metal—and not a penny to their names. Their only hope to save the family name and fortune is to embark on a contest to discover an invention of historical importance in honor of Queen Victoria.

Armed with only her father’s stories of a forgotten da Vinci workshop, a mechanically enhanced falcon, and an Italian cook, Amelia takes flight for Florence, Italy. But her quest is altered when her kitecycle crashes into the air ship of ex–Air Marshal—and scandalous dime novel hero—Tucker Gentry.

Challenged by political unrest, a devious sky pirate, and their own sizzling attraction, Amelia and Tuck are dragged into an international conspiracy that could change the course of history…again.

Learn more about Beth here:
Beth’s Website:


Kelli Jo said...

Ooh, grouchy Axel!! "All that sass irritates my bowels". I think he'll bring some interesting conversations to the "table", so to speak. Doc will be interesting, too. But Axel caught my attention!

Anonymous said...

"All that sass irritates my bowels." Hysterically funny! I can't wait to meet all these characters, especially Alex!

Sooooo excited for this book's release!

Elle J Rossi said...

This book is fantastic! I loved each and every one of these characters! You need to clone yourself so all of them can get their own books.

Anonymous said...

I was intrigued with all of your characters, Beth. But, I have to say, Doc.

Congrats on your new release. This has been a fun week with you.

Barbara E. said...

I'm so looking forward to reading Her Sky Cowboy. The character I'm intrigued with is Amelia Darcy, but I think Axel is going to be a fun character too. :D

Fedora said...

Ooh, awesome intro and excerpt, Beth! I'm excited about this new release and series! Can't wait to pick it up!

Fedora said...

Oh, and most intriguing character? All of them--from the excerpt, aside from Tuck, I always know characters named "Doc" have got a story to tell... :)