Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Something Wicked welcomes Mia Marlowe!

Thanks for having me on Something Wicked, Angie!

I know it seems odd for a historical author to visit a paranormal blog, but trust me, there’s a reason. You see, I’ve been dabbling with elements of the fantastical in my most recent release, Touch of a Thief, the first in the Touch of Seduction series from Kensington Brava.

Adding paranormal to a historical romance is a little tricky. If I get too outlandish, I run the risk of alienating historical readers. If my sparkle of magic is too tame, it won’t be enough to satisfy paranormal readers. My goal was to create a Victorian world with an undercurrent of magic real enough for readers to believe it might actually happen.

When I decided to write a heroine who supported her threadbare family by lifting jewels from members of the ton, I wanted to create a reason for it to be difficult for her, aside from a guilty conscience. So I gave my heroine, Viola, a special gift. When she touches gemstones, she receives visions of the previous owners’ lives and she often doesn’t want to know what the jewels have to say. If she gets too swept up in the gemstone’s voice, she suffers crippling headaches afterward. In my world, the scales have to balance. If Viola wants to use her gift, she must be prepared to pay the price.

Here’s an example of how Viola’s special ability works from Touch of a Thief. Lieutenant Greydon Quinn is determined to intercept a rare red diamond en route to the Royal Collection and return it to the Indian temple from which it was stolen. He set a trap for the Mayfair Jewel Thief and unexpectedly caught a young woman who might just steal his heart as well:

Greydon Quinn spread a kerchief on the bed and dumped the contents of the stocking onto it. A glowing rainbow of stones glittered up at Viola.

“You keep your jewels in an old stocking?”

He shrugged. “It seemed more secure than the wall safe with the likes of you prowling about London.”

She frowned down at the gemstones. It was an impressive pile of riches, but the resonance was off. “Some of these aren’t genuine.”

He cocked a brow at her and nodded. “Show me.”

She drew a deep breath and stretched out her hand. She’d do the pearls first. Their sibilant, watery voices were always easiest to bear. She picked up a gray pearl, a smoky iridescent orb. The low hum began inside her head.

Like a waving bed of kelp, the pearl spoke to her in wobbling, gentle tones. The words were garbled, and in no language she knew, but a quick vision of a wizened old gent with a purple turban and scarlet-dyed beard flashed across her mind. She dropped the pearl before the precious thing could show her any more.

It was unusual for her to receive a vision from a pearl. Perhaps it was because they were never as old as other gems. Perhaps the fragile substance resisted picking up imprints from its owners. Or perhaps pearls realized they too were mortal and didn’t want to carry someone else’s burden for the course of their stay on earth. Whatever secret this gray pearl bore, Viola didn’t want to know it.

“That pearl is real,” she said. “And very old. You’ll not find its mate. It will have to be used as a pendant.”

“How do you know that?”

“I just know.” How could she explain something she didn’t understand herself? She only knew she was different.
And people mistrust those who are different.

End of Excerpt

I also have a novella in the upcoming IMPROPER GENTLEMEN anthology. My hero, Aidan Danaher has a Celtic gift called “the Knack.” This allows him to plant a thought in another person’s mind. Think of it as a Jedi Mind Trick with buckets of Irish charm! You can read an excerpt from Improper Gentlemen at MiaMarlowe.com.

I'd love to give either a copy of Touch of a Thief or an ARC of Improper Gentlemen to a random commenter today. I'm always looking for good ideas for my next story. Here's my discussion question: If you could have any extrasensory or paranormal gift, what would it be? What would be a fair trade for using it?


lgm52 said...

I'd like to be able to know when there is disagreements coming among people...and do whatever to dissipate that so everyone would get along!

Traxy said...

Jedi mind tricks, now there's something ... :) It would be very useful, and I don't just mean for shady purposes like "you WILL give me a payrise" or to make people do what you want them to - unless you have kids, when I imagine that would be super useful! I guess you could class that as some kind of advanced telepathy? Telekinesis is another useful thing. Partially because then I could use a wand and say "Accio shoes!" and my shoes would actually come flying! :D

dishmastah (at) traxy.net

Maria said...

I would like the gift of clairvoyance - I would like to know what's going to happen in the future and as a trade off would be willing to suffer indigestion or a headache...or the gift of being able to read someone's true aura and know what kind of person they are up front - would be willing to suffer a toothache for that...lol


Blodeuedd said...

Welcome :)

I want to timetravel :D So the power to bend space and time. Oh do I have to help too? One should not mess with the flow of time...

if open internationally then I am in
blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

Janet Kay Gallagher said...

Hi Mia
I always wanted "the tweek the nose" and the house is perfect-Neat and Clean and Decorated to my taste.
Now I would want to touch someone and heal them totally without them knowing it was me. Just that they were healed. Not telling them "God gave me the power and he did this through me" would be so compelling and a burdon. That would be a good
balancer and protection.
In my book I will make someone find out and threaten my heorine
because they want her to use the power for their own benefit.
Wow I just found a new idea for my own book. YEA. Thanks.
I would like to win the book: TOUCH OF A THIEF

SandyG265 said...

I'd like to be able to touch an object and read it's history. A headache would be a fair trade.

sgiden at verizon.net

Na said...

I love this "touch of magic" in a historical Regency romance. I don't mind this undercurrent of the paranormal at all and embrace it. If I had an extrasensory or paranormal gift, I would the ability of emotional telepathy, being able to sense emotions. I wouldn't be able to control it beyond a human capability, but I think the ability to sense joy, distress, glee, other feelings and discern some degree of innocence or guilt will come in handy in solving problems.

catslady said...

I love the idea of a touch of paranormal in a historical story. I would want to have healing powers and I guess the trade off would have to be taking in some of the pain but only temporarily.


Diana Groe said...

LMG--Boy, does our world need you!

MiaMarlowe said...

Traxy--Telekinesis would be fun and think how you could amaze people with your flying shoes!

MiaMarlowe said...

Maria--You might be interested in the 3rd "Touch" book--Touch of a Scoundrel (July 2012). My hero sees the future, but he considers it a curse instead of a blessing because he's never found a way to change what's coming.

MiaMarlowe said...

Blodeuedd--Yes, all my giveaways are always international, so you're in the drawing.

Time travel intersts me too. Backward or Forward?

MiaMarlowe said...

Janet Kay--Yay for a new idea for a book! They're everywhere, aren't they?

MiaMarlowe said...

Sandy--My agent has a friend who has the gift of psychometry (the ability to glean info from an inanimate object.) I've personally never known anyone for whom "the rocks cry out" but it's an intrigueing idea.

MiaMarlowe said...

Na--What an interesting idea. Empathy would benefit a sleuth, but how to know what a person is feeling guilty about... there's the rub. A premise fraught with complications, just the way I like them!

MiaMarlowe said...

Catslady--I'm afraid I'm a bit of a tyrant to my characters. I let them take what they want, but they must pay for it. (insert maniacal laughter here!)

CrystalGB said...

I think it would be great to know when a person is being untruthful or deceptive.
Thank you for the great giveaway.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Mia,

Great post. My heroine in my YA can talk to dead people. While it might scare the pants off of me, I wouldn't mind having a little of that gift. So many things I'd love ask some of my loved ones who have passed on.

Stacie said...

Hello Mia!
I have the upper body strength of a kitten so I would love to be able to move things with my mind. Having the supernatural gift to move a physically stronger person than myself would be a great asset. Being able to protect myself would be the most important thing.

user1123 AT comcast DOT net

Sharon said...

It bothers me when there is no price to pay for magic in a book. Like you said, the scales have to balance. I am not so harsh on extrasensory gifts having a price, but I think it is a good decision. I love the concept for your book. I haven't read many historicals and the ones I have read were paranormal and enjoyable.

If I could pick a gift...I like the Jedi mind trick thing. It would be so easy to misuse that one so there must be a price. How about temporary loss of another sense, like sight or hearing...how long you lose that sense will depend on how far you bend someone else's mind to your will.

Thanks for the chance to win a book!!!

Sandy said...

I would love to be able to help those who need help by doing whatever it takes to help.

Angie Fox said...

Great to have you here, Mia! I'd like to be able to stop time, or at least pause it. Then I'd get even more reading done. ;)


Barbara E. said...

I'd really love to be able to teleport, it would be so handy not to worry about traffic, and to be able to instantly get anywhere I needed to go. I think a fair trade for using it would be severe head pain afterwards for an hour or so.

Diana Groe said...

Crystal--Sort of a human lie detector, huh? Very useful gift.

MiaMarlowe said...

Christie--Just got my copy of BORN AT MIDNIGHT and can't wait to dive into it!

MiaMarlowe said...

Stacie-Since Superman, extreme physical strength has been a prized super power. I'm a little surprised no one has wished to be able to fly. I'd love that and have dreamed of it often.

MiaMarlowe said...

Sharon--Ooo! Temporary blindness or deafness in exchange for exercizing a gift. That would lend itself to all sorts of complications, which I'm always looking for.

MiaMarlowe said...

Sandy--sounds like a very versatile gift to wish for--to be all things to all people!

MiaMarlowe said...

Angie--Brilliant! A time pauser would have the ability to make plenty of changes in the world around them without anyone else knowing it even happened.

MiaMarlowe said...

Barbara--Since most of my family lives quite a distance away, teleporting would be a wonderfully practical gift for me. How I'd love to be able to pop in and have coffee with my mom and dad each morning and be back at my computer in Boston by 9AM.

Chrisbails said...

This book looks great and would love to win it. I love the cover of this book.
I know I posted on goodreads my talent, and it would be: I would love to be a telepath- to know what others are thinking.