To celebrate the release of The Duende and the Muse, my short Faery (fantasy) story from The Wild Rose Press, I’m giving away a PDF copy to a random commenter. I'll announce the winner tomorrow night at 9 p.m. (Eastern). Just share something about your muse – or duende, as the case may be. Does inspiration light upon you like a butterfly? Or strike like a bolt of lightning, sizzling along your nerve endings, burning your fingertips until they’re forced to pound it out on paper or a keyboard? Sometimes the best stories come out like that, jumping from our head to the page almost fully formed.
The Duende and The Muse was a little of both. It started as a lightning strike, and I tweaked it a bit later, after it had cooled off a bit.
And if you don’t win today, if you purchase it (or Seventh Heaven, my Vintage Rosette), you can enter The Wild Rose Press’ contest to win a Sony eReader. Details are here.
Here’s the excerpt:
Melinda is startled when she notices a dark figure leaning against a booth across the aisle. He stands out like a charcoal etching against the background of clouds—harsh outlines, jagged features. Menacing yet compelling. He smiles, and lightning flashes from his dazzling white teeth, zinging through her.
She’s never seen a muse like him, but he must be one—otherwise, he wouldn’t be here. He wouldn’t be stepping toward her with the intensity of a jaguar, a laserlight in his eye, teeth bared in a hungry smile.
This guy looks like a Vanity Fair ad—layered hair mussed just so, sandals with a jacket and jeans that fit really well. She runs her hand across her belly to quell the tiny pinpricks. She’s been so busy with work lately, she hasn’t met anyone new.
“Who’s that?” Her wings can’t beat fast enough to cool the heat rising from deep inside her.
Calliope turns to Euterpe. “Oh my. How did he get in here?”
Euterpe squints in his direction, then furrows her brow. “A duende. They’ll let anyone in these days.”
That explains it. She’s heard of them—said to be a combination of charm, magic, inspiration, fire, magnetism—and demon. Muses were warned at an early age not to take up with duendes. Tales of muse-duende liaisons were fraught with disaster and downfall—for the muse. Duendes managed to carry on unscathed, though their methods of inspiration could be deadly for their students. The thought vanishes quicker than a flicker of sunlight on water as he moves toward her and says hello in a voice whose timbre resounds within her.
“Hi.” She stares, entranced by his dark beauty.
His smile envelops her. “I’m Devon.”
She extends her hand. “I’m Melinda. So nice to meet you.” Fire sparks in her fingers as he takes her hand in his, then leans to kiss it. A tingling crawls up her arms and neck and into her head, where it scrambles her thoughts. His gaze lingers on her lips, and they quiver open like a rosebud blooming in sunlight.
His voice is like a hot wind in the desert. “The pleasure’s all mine.”
Oh, she doubts it.