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Tuesday, May 10, 2011


All commenters on this guest blog are entered into a drawing for one of two copies of Awaken the Highland Warrior; US and Canadian addresses only please. Make sure you include your email address either in your comment or your public profile.

In my mind, I have a perfect writing schedule. It begins with getting a good night’s sleep, then after the kids are on the bus, I write for a few hours, break for lunch, exercise, check email and do some promotion until the kids come home. In reality, I usually stay up too late writing, and after I get the kids on the bus, I have to take a nap. When I get up and start again, I’m tempted by the emails flashing me, and before I know it, I’m off into Twitterworld, or catching up on loops and commenting on a blog. Some days I write twenty hours, other days I don’t write at all, so you can see that my schedule doesn’t exist. I don’t think that’s necessarily good. I think I need more structure, but it does prove a point. All writers aren’t alike. Your journey as a writer may be far different than mine. And that’s okay. The important thing is that we make time to put an awesome story on the page.

As far as essentials, I do all my writing on the computer, even editing. I do like to have a Diet Coke or Pepsi at hand, and I have notepads for thoughts that zing at me at the most unexpected moments. And I’m surrounded by laundry, hopefully clean, but usually not. Did I mention that my computer is in the laundry room? It has its conveniences. I can use the washer and dryer surface for overflow desk space if I need to spread out notebooks, etc. And I’m close to the kitchen for snack runs or if I need to check on dinner, which if the family is lucky I remembered to prepare. Otherwise, it’s a pizza kind of night.

My new release, Awaken the Highland Warrior, is about a secret society of warriors that has existed since the beginning of time. Charged by Michael the Archangel with protecting the earth from evil, these warriors fight in secret, as do the demons they battle. Highlander, Faelan Connor is the most powerful warrior of his time. Because of his prowess at destroying demons, Faelan is sent to America to capture the demon responsible for stirring up the strife and hatred that will culminate in the Civil War. But Faelan is betrayed and locked in a time vault that was created to stop time, imprisoning a demon until Judgment. With Faelan’s failure, hundreds of thousands die as his distraught clan searches for the missing key that will open the time vault. But the key is nowhere to be found, and eventually everyone who knows Faelan’s story dies, leaving him nothing more than a myth. For 150 years Faelan sleeps.

Bree Kirkland is no ordinary historian. Her specialty is the Civil War, but her peers accuse her of being more like Indiana Jones, obsessed with lost treasure, myths and legends. Haunted by longings she can’t describe, she immerses herself in history, seeking hidden treasure, both written and real, but after a lifetime of disappointments and mishaps, she determines to settle down to an ordinary, boring life. When she finds a treasure map in her great, great grandmother’s attic, Bree promises herself one more treasure hunt, and then she’ll stop. The map leads to the graveyard behind her house, where she finds an elaborate chest hidden inside the old crypt that she’d been so drawn to as a child. She opens the chest and discovers something far more compelling than hidden treasure, and there’s no returning to her normal life.

Faelan and Bree have an instant connection, and for a good reason, as we’ll later see. But they’re also one step away from a fight. Faelan is can’t believe how bold and reckless Bree is. In his time, women stayed at home and kept the home fires burning. They didn’t go rushing out into danger without a care in the world, or refuse to let a warrior offer his protection. If he could drive that bloody thing she called a car, he’d throw her over his shoulder and get her out of here before the demon who locked him up comes looking for him. And she’s downright nosy. She needs answers like other people need air. If he isn’t careful, she’ll uncover every secret his clan has bled and died to protect.

Bree is ready to stick Faelan back in a time vault. He’s either kissing her or ordering her around, and she’s tired of it. Maybe not the kissing, but the chauvinistic part has to go. This isn’t the 19th century. Women are independent and strong and perfectly capable of rescuing a man. Even a big, bad warrior who’s over a century and a half old. And if it turns out that he didn’t really need rescuing after all, he should at least appreciate the gesture and not come close to bursting a blood vessel in anger.
Excerpt from Awaken the Highland Warrior

Bree’s fingers tightened around the metal disk as she ran through the graveyard, zigzagging past leaning headstones. Her lantern swayed, throwing shadows on the crypt looming before her, its stone walls the color of bones. Thick vines crept over it, sealing in cracks left by time, while gnarled branches from the twisted oak hovered like outstretched arms. Protecting… or threatening?

An owl screeched overhead as she scurried up the crumbling steps, wishing night hadn’t fallen, when shadows twisted into monsters and spirits came out to play. The burial vault lay open near the back of the crypt, waiting. Blood rushed past her ears, a sound like all the angels’ wings beating in unison. She moved closer and peered at the chest inside. It was ornate, made of metal and wood, with green gemstones embedded in each corner. It looked ancient, like it belonged in a museum or a pyramid, or perhaps Solomon’s Temple. The beauty of it struck her again, as it had when she’d first discovered it.

She set the lantern on the edge of the burial vault and studied the markings on the chest. Swirls and shapes like writing shifted in the amber glow. Stretching out a finger, she touched the surface. Warm? She yanked her hand back and hit the lantern. It crashed to the floor, throwing the top of the crypt into darkness. Dropping to her knees, she scrambled for the light. A sound cut through the silence, scraping, like fingernails against stone. She grabbed the lantern, not daring to blink, then remembered the wind outside and the claw-like branches of the old tree.

She placed the lantern securely on the vault cover she’d pushed onto the alcove and unfolded her hand. The metal disk she held was three inches in diameter and appeared to be made from the same metal as the chest, not silver, not gold. One side had deep grooves; the other was etched with symbols. With trembling fingers, she lined up the disk with the matching grooves on top of the chest and pushed. There was a series of clicks as the notched edges retracted.

A voice rushed through her head. What lies within cannot be, until time has passed with the key.

Bree whirled, but she was alone. Only stone walls stood watch, their secrets hidden for centuries. It was sleep deprivation, not ghosts.

She pulled in a slow, steadying breath and tried to turn the disk. Nothing. Again, this time counterclockwise, and it began to move under her hand. She jerked her fingers back. A loud pop sounded and colors flashed… blue, orange, and green, swirling for seconds, and then they were gone. Great, hallucinations to go with the voices in her head.

Her body trembled as she gripped the lid. This was it. All her dreams held on a single pinpoint of time. If this ended up another wild goose chase, she was done. No more treasure hunts, no more mysteries, no more playing Indiana Jones. She’d settle down to a nice, ordinary, boring life. She counted. One. Two. Three.

She heaved open the chest. Terror clawed its way to her throat, killing her scream.

The man inhaled one harsh breath and his eyes flew open, locking on Bree. A battle cry worthy of Braveheart echoed off the walls. Bree jumped back as metal flashed and a rush of air kissed her face. Petrified, she watched him crawl out of the burial vault, a wicked-looking dagger in his hand. Her scream tore loose as she turned and fled.

Fingers grazed her shoulder, and she glanced back. The last thing she saw before her feet tangled with the shovel was the dead man reaching for her.
© Anita Clenney, Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2011

Anita Clenney writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Before giving herself over to the writing bug, she worked in a pickle factory, at a preschool, booked shows for Aztec Fire Dancers, and was a secretary, executive assistant, and a realtor. She lives with her husband and two children in suburban Virginia where she is working on her next book, Embrace the Highland Warrior, which will be in stores in November 2011. For more information, please visit and


Maria said...

Highland Warrior sounds great! Congrats on the release. The cover is yummy.

I think writers are like everyone else...we have good intentions of getting certain things done and then get distracted by email and social

Thanks for the excerpt!


Anita Clenney said...

Hi Maria. Thanks so much. I think all writers struggle with this. Thanks for stopping by.

Jena Lang said...

Anita, Your book sounds so great. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Social networking sites are fun, but can be big time suckers. I try to meet my word count goals before I check emails or get on Twitter and FB.

Jena Lang said...

I forgot to include me email. It's

Thanks for the giveaway!

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Jena. Thanks for stopping by. I need to limit myself or I'll never get this third book done.

Mindy said...

Hi Anita :)
I'm not a writer but I know how easy it is to fall into the e-mail and social network groups.
I work 3rd shift at an MR state institution and have gone so far as to use a kitchen bell timer for 30 minutes on line.
I LOVE the excerpt for Awaken The Highland Warrior, the warrior crawling out of the tomb ROCKS!
and I hve to laugh at poor Bree's reaction to the "dead" warrior coming back to life.


Anita Clenney said...

Hi Mindy. I think this is a problem for everyone. We all need timers. :) THANK YOU so much for the kind words on Awaken. I love the story, I can't help it. I just hope readers do. I've heard from several in the past week who are raving about it. that just thrills me.

Marilyn said...

Love what I have seen of your writing style, Anita. I, too, am a pantster and write like one.


Neecy said...

Hi Anita,
It's hard to be your own PR and juggle it all around our writing and family. I've met many wonderful people through networking, and it can be addicting. It's hard to find a balance.