We are delighted to welcome back the super-talented Monica Burns to The Romance Dish! Monica's new series, The Order of the Sicari, is garnering mounds of praise all over the 'net. The first, Assassin's Honor, released in June and was reviewed here by Andrea. The second (and latest) book, Assassin's Heart, releases September 7th! So, without further ado, please give Monica a warm welcome!
First a big thanks to all the gals at the Romance Dish for letting me guest blog in celebration of my newest release Assassin’s Heart. It’s always such a pleasure to talk different dishes of romance. *smile* Any chance I get to talk romance and the words of it, I get excited. Take this beautiful piece of prose.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy (Hamlet by Shakespeare).”
What I take away from Shakespeare’s words is that as human beings, we don’t have all the answers to what makes the cosmos run. Perhaps that very thought explains my fascination with the spiritual and the supernatural. Seriously, there aren’t many 12-year-olds who are running around reading Edgar Cayce and asking questions that made my father (due to his traditionally conservative dogma) uncomfortable. Then there are the fascinating discoveries being made almost daily about physics on the sub-atomic level that lend credence to the notion that something larger than ourselves was at work when we were developed oh so many years ago. Now don’t panic, this post isn’t going to delve into spiritual matters. And I won’t pull Steven Hawkings out of the hat to lecture you with. I’m just gearing up from my example of past lives.
I’ve got two pictures here. The first one is me at the age of 14 in my aunt’s wedding. This is probably the best picture that has ever been taken of me. I love the wide-eye look on my face. But what I love the most is that when I look at this picture I feel timeless. Now I want you to look at the two figures in the other jpg. Do you notice anything interesting? Go ahead, look at them both, I’ll wait.
Look pretty similar don’t we. Well, I’m not going to give you the exact year that my picture was taken, but mid-70s should suffice. The other one?? Well it’s a close-up of a portrait done in 1878 by Sir John Millais of the two Princes Edward and Richard who were allegedly murdered by their uncle, who took the throne of England as Richard III (Shakespeare anyone?).
What I like to point out about these two pictures when I show them to people is that either somewhere in the past there are genetics that point to these portrait models being related to me or they’re an example of one of the past lives I believe I’ve lived. About 20 years ago, I found an Italian painting of a Madonna that I bore a striking resemblance to. Makes me think that some of my past lives over the last several hundred years was as an artist model, not any pay in that!
So what, Monica, does all this have to do with your upcoming release, Assassin’s Heart? Well, the photos are a way of getting you to think about the possibilities of past lives, because that concept is a major factor in the story of Lysander and Phaedra. These two characters shared a past life in ancient Rome, and it plays a major role in resolving their issues in the present, while depicting how the Sicari came into being.
Back before I’d fully conceptualized the series, I wrote a five-page scene of a Roman General and his wife. The two were very much in love, and their story was one I really wanted to tell, but I didn’t know how. At least, I didn’t know how until Lysander came barreling into my head. I fell in love with him from the get-go, and I think he has become and will remain my favorite hero of all those I’ve written. Something about Lysander has touched me, and I think perhaps it’s his resistance to the unbelievable, and how he comes full circle in his beliefs and understanding of what’s happening around him.
I think part of a good story line is bringing characters from point A to point B showing a growth in some area of their lives. Lysander does that. He starts out as a cynic, and with Phaedra’s love and belief in him, he comes full circle to achieve the destiny he was born to. One of my favorite lines from the movie, Return of the Mummy, is when Brandon Fraser sees the tattoo on his arm on the wall of the Scorpion King’s tomb, as his gaze skims the drawing on the wall, he says, “Okay, now I’m a believer.” Lysander has that same type of ah ha moment, and by the end of the story, he’s a believer as well.
Assassin’s Heart is also about second chances. It’s about getting a re-do to either makeup for something we failed to do in the distant past or to experience a love of a lifetime one more time. As for me, well, I’m a firm believer. I’ve seen too many “coincidences” in my life to think they’re coincidence. I’m all about second chances.
So what are you? A believer who wants a second chance? A skeptic who doesn’t believe we get second chances?
Monica's publisher, Berkley, is giving away a copy of Assassin's Heart to one lucky commenter!
Contest Rules: Drawing is open to residents in US and Canada. Void where prohibited. Shipping/handling fees for shipment of book outside the US is responsibility of winner. International winners may pay the required postage via PayPal. To ensure as many readers as possible have a chance to win a copy of the book, Monica awards only one book per reader, per household.
To find out more about Monica and her books, please visit her website at: http://www.monicaburns.com/index.htm or her blog at: http://monicaburns.blogspot.com/