Posted by Cassondra Murray Sep 8 2013, 11:30 pm in Bandit Booty, Cassondra, dianna Love, Lexi George
Bandit Booty winners for Cassondra’s August guests are as follows..
From Lexi George’s blog, a signed copy of Demon Hunting In a Dive Bar goes to three winners…
From Dianna Love’s Slye Temp Cover Reveal blog, the winners are…
Last Chance To Run–Jane
Nowhere Safe—Pat Cochran
Honeymoon To Die For--Dianna (aka Hrdwkdmom)
Y’all email me at Cassondra AT AuthorDiannaLove.com to let me know your snail mail info
Posted by Cassondra Murray Aug 7 2013, 1:30 am in Cassondra, Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's blogs, humor, Lexi George, paranormal romance
Today I saved a human female from certain death at the hands of a demon.
I am disquieted by my actions. I am Dalvahni, an immortal demon hunter. ’Tis our sole purpose to hunt down and return rogue demons to The Pit, thus saving the universe and those weaker than ourselves from degradation and destruction at the hands of the djegrali.
Saving the human female from the demon was a violation of the Dalvahni Creed. I saved her nonetheless—I could not seem to stop myself…
I first met our guest at a reader event in St. Augustine, Florida. I didn’t get to attend her ten-minute reading, but everywhere I went for the whole rest of the conference, all I heard was how absolutely screaming funny she was. I had to get her first book, then I devoured the others like a woman starved, and of course I had to bring her to the lair.
Sven is mixing drinks, the Gladiators and Hockey Hunks are passing around glasses and trays, so grab your favorite treat and find a spot where you can see. Our guest has brought a few of her heroes with her today, so please give a famous Bandit welcome to Lexi George and her Dalvahni Demon Hunters.
Cassondra: Lexi, I’m so pleased that you could visit today.
Lexi: *lifts her glass of Cabernet* Thrilled to be in the lair, Cassondra! Thanks for inviting me.
Cassondra: *swirls the Cabernet in her own glass* Tell us a little about yourself. When did you first start reading romance?
Lexi: I discovered romance in the seventh grade, when I found The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer in my local library, and I was hooked. Read everything I could find by her, and it grew from there. I love it all, romantic suspense, contemporary, historical, and, of course, paranormal. Funny, sexy, heart pounding, droll: I am a romance junkie. I don’t do sad, though, and don’t make me suffer through too much angst. I’m a criminal appellate lawyer, which means I read grim all day long, so when I sit down and open a book I want to escape to a happy place.
Cassondra: Oh, good grief. I don’t blame you for not wanting the angst. But..*glances at he extra big,hunky, badass guys standing around the edge of the room–NOT the gladiators or hockey hunks we normally have in the lair* …uhm… it looks like the Dalvahni Demon Hunters are ready and willing to deal with any angst on your behalf..ahem….moving on…
First, let me tell you that I love your website because it gives a hint of the personality you put into your writing. If readers want a taste of the town and its characters, they should check out Ten Things To Do If You’re In Hannah But I learned from your bio that the Muse deserted you in law school. To quote you, “The Muse hated law school.” You said it took fifteen years to return. Will you tell us about when you first began to write again—what was that like for you, and how did you decide on romance?
Lexi: I fancied myself a poet in high school and college and then law school sucked my creative juices dry. I wasn’t until my first child was a toddler that the urge to write returned, and I haven’t stopped since. I’m largely self-taught. Didn’t have a clue about genre or word count or POV; just wrote and wrote for the sheer joy of it. My first book was a fantasy romance. It never sold (100 rejections; yeow!), so I decided to try my hand at a paranormal romance, and that’s how Demon Hunting in Dixie came to be.
Cassondra: You kept going after 100 rejections. That’s seriously impressive. Tell us a little about the town you grew up in. Is your story world of Hannah, Alabama, based on that?
Lexi: Hannah is actually based on two towns, the small South Alabama town I grew up in and Wetumpka, the place I now call home. There’s a lot of charm in a small town, a slower pace of life (some would call stagnant), and a sense of ease and comfort that comes with familiarity. I borrowed the river, hills, and crater from Wetumpka and plunked them down in South Alabama: total creative license. Anyone who’s ever been south of Montgomery can tell you it’s flat as a flitter. Great farmland, but the closest you’ll get to a hillock is an ant bed.
Cassondra: The first story, Demon Hunting in Dixie, is Brand and Addy’s story. Addy is in the park and sees a demon about to attack him, shouts a warning and helps to save his life, but in turn, she is attacked. She wakes up on her own couch and he is there.
“You should rest. I have repaired the damage to your organs from the djegrali blade. You will live, but I fear some of the poison is still in your system.”
Addy shot off the couch like she’d been bitten. The sword-carrying, creature-of-darkness-fighting dude from the park gazed down at her without expression. In the semidarkness he’d been handsome. In the bright light of her living room he was devastating, a god, a wet dream on steroids. Tall and powerfully built, with wide shoulders and a broad chest that tapered down to a lean waist and hips, he was the most handsome man Addy had ever seen. His long, muscular legs were encased in tight-fitting black breeches, and he carried a sword in a sheath across his back. He was also a stranger, a very big stranger, and he stood in her living room.
“Who the hell are you?”
“I am Brand.” He spoke without inflection. “I am a Dalvahni warrior. I hunt the djegrali.”
Cassondra: I love the world of the Dalvahni Demon Hunters. Can you tell us where you got this idea, and how you developed it?
“This I cannot allow. “ All heads turn to Brand, the tall, dark-haired Dalvahni warrior who has stepped out of the corner by the door. He glowers at the chairs at the front of the room where Cassondra and Lexi are seated. Gladiators and Hockey Hunks take a step forward, all focused on Brand.”
Cassondra: Brand, it’s okay. We’re not asking Lexi to give away any of the Dalvahni secrets. I swear.*Brand squints at me, then relaxes and steps back. Gladiators and hockey hunks breathe a collective sigh of relief. Ansgar, the Dalvahni warrior who reminds me of Legolas from Lord Of The Rings, raises his eyebrow at Brand. Ansgar doesn’t even bother to hide his smirk. Brand catches Ansgar’s eye and his forehead wrinkles into a more intense frown.*
Cassondra: Jeez…The testosterone is so thick in here you could cut it with a dull knife.
Now, Lexi..back to the question about the origins of the Dalvahni…
Lexi: *takes a sip of her wine as she glances around the room to check on her guys* When I finally got a clue that my fantasy romance was going nowhere, I was in a real slump. There was a writing exercise online offering feedback on the first chapter of a paranormal romance, and I decided to try it. I sat down in my office with a couple of co-workers and knocked around ideas. I’m a big fan of Janet Evanovich and I decided to write about demon hunters in the Deep South.
Frankly, when I started the first book, it was as a lark and I didn’t give much thought to world building. I was simply trying to regain my writing mojo. The first book was total fun and pretty much wrote itself. (Can’t say the same about the others!) The world building came later, after I was published. I’ve always liked alpha males, superheroes, and Regency bucks, and the Dal are a little of all three. And I love the juxtaposition of my no-nonsense, humorless warriors with the zaniness that is the Deep South. Just because you speak the language down here doesn’t mean you always get it, as the Dal soon learn.
Brand and Addy:
“The demon has marked you. He will return. He will be unable to resist.”
“Oh, great, so now I’m irresistible. Just my luck he’s the wrong kind of guy. Don’t worry, I’ve got a thirty-eight, and like any good Southern girl I know how to use it, so you can leave.” She waved her hand toward the door again. “I’ll be fine. If this demon fellow shows up, I’ll blow his raggedy butt to kingdom come.”
The corner of his lips twitched, and for a moment she thought he might smile.
“You cannot kill a djegrali with a mortal weapon.”
“I’ll rush out first thing tomorrow morning and get me one of those flamey sword things, I promise.”
Again with the lip twitch. “That will not be necessary. I will protect you.”
“Oh, no, you won’t!” Addy straightened with an effort. Her chest still hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. “I’d never be able to explain you to my mama.”
“This mama you speak of, she is the female vessel who bore you?”
“Yeah, but I wouldn’t call her a vessel to her face, if I were you.”
“You fear her?”
Addy rolled her eyes. “Are you kidding? The woman scares the crap out of me. Thirty-two hours of labor, and don’t you ever forget it,” she mimicked. “You owe me. Big time.”
Cassondra: The stuff that makes your stories so blessedly funny is the secondary characters –the parents and friends, the iconic figures in the town. How is the way you paint your town and characters influenced by your own observations growing up?
Lexi: Gosh, I think writers are influenced by EVERYTHING. Certainly, growing up in a small town has shaped my writing. I was a shy, gangly teenager with big feet and self esteem issues, and that’s shaped my writing, too. And I’m the middle child, always striving for attention. We lived way out in the country and I didn’t have friends to play with, so I spent a lot of time alone with only my imagination for company. It all comes out in my writing, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Being a writer means being naked in public.
Cassondra: Why paranormal?
Lexi: I love magic! My other favorite genre is fantasy, and I’m a big LOTR and Harry Potter nerd, so paranormal was a perfect fit for me. With magic, the possibilities are endless. Take the fairy kitten in book one, for instance. The kitten appeared just as Brand and Addy were about to go into the Sweet Shop for a bit to eat. Now, you can’t take a kitten in a restaurant. That would be a health code violation, but Addy wasn’t about to let me leave that poor kitty on the sidewalk. I mean, what if he got squashed? So I came up with the idea that the Dalvahni have interdimensional hidey holes, sort of a Rubbermaid vortex where they keep things safe. As a writer, magic gives me another way to write myself out of a tree.
And it also kept Addy happy. You don’t want to mess with Addy Corwin.
Cassondra: Rubbermaid vortex. I love it! And WAY cheaper than Tupperware. Just sayin’.
I love the way you have Hannah set up. Tell us about the river and the meteor. That meteor looks like it will be critical to the upcoming stories.
Lexi: The Devil River winds around Hannah, full of treacherous currents and quiet backwater pools. To the locals, the river is a source of income stemming from the fishing and white water rapids industries, but the Devil hides secrets from the norms. There are ghosts on the river and a giant catfish named Gilbert big enough to swallow a boat whole, and a dive bar that caters only to shifters and demonoids.
Cassondra: *interrupts* The dive bar–and the demonoids–are the focus of book three?
Lexi: Right. Anyhow, the crater was formed a bazillion years ago when a meteor slammed into Behr County, folding the earth into gentle hills. The meteor thinned the veil between dimensions and is the source of magic in Hannah. The crater attracts supernatural critters of all kinds, including sexy demon hunters and their age-old enemies, the demonic djegrali. Anyone with the least bit of magical ability finds their powers enhanced by the meteor. Anything and everything can happen in Hannah thanks to that fallen star.
Cassondra: Are any of these landmarks taken from places you’ve actually seen or visited?
Lexi: The Sweet Shop is a real restaurant in my childhood home, and the Greater Fair was the town’s nicest clothing store for women. The Trammel Bridge and Sardine Creek are also real places, taken from the area where I grew up. We used to ride out to Sardine Bridge to party when I was a teenager. There was no ghost, though, just a lot of beer drinking and rednecking around on the sand dunes. I got caught skinny dipping in the creek once, but that’s another story.
I went to the University of Alabama, both undergraduate and law school, so many of the names I use for things are names related to Alabama football; Behr County, Paulsberg, Namath Springs, Newsome Correctional Facility, to name a few. It’s a nod and a wink to my alma mater.
Cassondra: I’m guessing a lot of Alabama fans will be giving you a high five, right through the computer screen.
Have people always told you that you’re funny? Did you start out to write funny? Or did it just happen?
Lexi: Middle child, remember? My older siblings were much more glamorous, so I had to do something to stand out. My father had a wonderful sense of humor, and I like to think I get mine from him. Oddly enough, Demon Hunting in Dixie didn’t start out screwball. I even had a serious name for it: Dark Encounter. But, it quickly became evident that this book was going to be something else. Almost from the first page, the funny came out. It was a big surprise to me.
Cassondra: Here’s a sample:
From Demon Hunting In Dixie:
Addy has gone to the funeral home to deliver flowers (she’s a florist). Shep, Addy’s brother, runs the funeral home. Addy’s mom is there too. Dwight Farris should be dead, in the casket, but his body is missing. His widow, Shirley, has just figured this out. And Dwight’s mistress, Bessie Mae Brown, has just arrived on scene.
“What have you done with my husband, you Jezebel?” Shirley’s shrill voice recalled Addy to the nightmare.
“Me?” Bessie Mae’s heavily mascaraed eyes widened. “What are you talking about?”
People in the hall heard the commotion and wandered into the room. A low, murmuring buzz began and grew as folks noticed the empty satin-lined box.
Shirley pointed a fat finger toward the casket. “I’m talking about the fact that my husband is missing. I want to know what you did with him.”
Bessie Mae teetered across the room on her four-inch heels. “Sugar Scrotum,” she cried. She flung herself on top of the metal box. “What have they done with you?”
Sugar Scrotum. Eww.
“Please, Ms. Brown.” Addy hurried over to the wailing woman. “This is highly inappropriate, not to mention downright tacky.”
She put her arms around Bessie Mae and tried to peel her off the casket.
“No!” Bessie Mae screeched and hung on tighter, kicking her purple heels. “I won’t go.” Not until somebody tells me what happened to my sugar.”
“Oh, Lord have mercy, Jesus,” Shep groaned, relapsing. “What else?”
“I can’t take any more.” Addy’s mother toddled over to a chair. “Somebody tell me when it’s over.”
Shirley waved her pocketbook. “I got your sugar right here, Bessie Mae Brown,” she quavered in her Aunt Bea voice, “or at least the only part you ever cared about.”
A shiver of dread shot down Addy’s spine. She let go of Bessie Mae-the damn woman was stuck like a tick to the casket, anyway–and turned to look at Mrs. Farris.
“Uh oh,” she said when she saw the triumphant gleam in the widow’s china-blue eyes.
Bessie Mae must have had a premonition too, because she unsuckered herself from the casket and turned around. “What have you done, Shirley?” she hiccupped.
Mrs. Farris opened her pocketbook and pulled out a ziplock baggie. Some kind of watery fluid smeared the inside of the see-through plastic. Formaldehyde, maybe. Addy tried not to think about the particulars of her brother’s work. At rest in the bottom of the bag like an abandoned hotdog was Dwight Farris’s one-eyed monster. Or, at least Addy hoped it was Old Man Farris’s one-eyed monster. She’d never met this particular monster…until now, thank goodness. As Addy stared, she could have sworn the thing winked at her.
“Your sugar’s not here, and even if we find him, he won’t be the same, “Shirley said. “What’s more, you won’t be diddling my husband in the afterlife. Nobody will, ’cause I got his winky right here. This winky is finally all mine, and it’s going to stay that a-way. I’m going to have it buried with me. I’m going to hold it in my cold dead hand. I’m taking this winky with me through the Pearly Gates. Not even Saint Peter’s prying this cold dead winky out of my hand. But maybe–if Dwight asks me real nice, mind you–I might let him have his winky back in the hereafter. But only on special occasions and only if he plays tiddley winks with me, and nobody else.”
Cassondra: We love call stories here in the lair. Tell us about your path to publication?
Lexi: You already know part of it. I was really down because I’d spent three years trying to get someone to look at that first book, without success. It took me a year to write Demon Hunting in Dixie, and I was pretty optimistic, because it had done well in the contest circuit. In January of 2010, I started querying agents with high hopes . . . only to have them dashed. The rejections I got back were that light paranormal didn’t sell, that the book wasn’t dark enough.
I was devastated. I was on the Southern Magic (chapter of RWA) loop whining about the rejections when Carla Swafford, a fellow writer and Southern Magic member, sent me an email suggesting I check an interview with Kensington editor Megan Records. In her interview, Megan commented that she got lots of dark stuff but not much funny anymore and she’d like to!!!
I queried Megan, she asked for the full, and a few weeks later I sold! Wheee!!!!
Cassondra: Woot! I’m so thrilled that you did, because I laugh out loud at the funny parts of your books, then I sigh and cry as the heroes and heroines lose their hearts to love.
I’m interested in what made Lexi George a serious attorney who also writes crazy-funny romance…I know you grew up with a judge as a daddy. But what got you interested in law? Did you always plan to follow your dad’s path?
Lexi: I never ever thought about becoming a lawyer until my senior year in college. I was about to graduate with a degree in public relations and no idea what to do with it. I was petrified and my only thought was how to avoid reality. Knew I didn’t have the curriculum to go to medical school, but I’m good in English and history. Went home and asked Daddy what he thought about me going to law school and he was tickled pink. Law school was a big awakening for me. It was the first time I ever struggled in school, and I was terrified of failure. Trial by fire.
Cassondra: Even more pertinent, how do you juggle a high-pressure career like law—oh and kids too– and still manage to write books?
Lexi: I have a wonderful job where I can manage my workload, so that helps. And I write every chance I get. I’m a glacier slow writer, though, and the stress is a killer!
Cassondra: In the last book, Demon Hunting In A Dive Bar, we find out that there is a much, MUCH bigger threat in Hannah than just a small outbreak of demons, and I’m honestly a little worried about Brand, Ansgar, Conall and the other Dalvahni. This also suggests more books coming up. What’s next on the agenda for the Dalvahni and Hannah?
Lexi: I’m working on book 4 right now, Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb. It’s a fish out of water tale about a rich debutante who comes to Hannah to unload the family business and ends up staying. Think Elle Woods from Legally Blonde trying to run a timber mill. There’s a flesh eating witch and a hulked-out demonoid and a magical car. And those pesky demons are around, so there’ll be lots of work for the Dalvahni to do.
There are three more books in the works, Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb, which I’ve already mentioned, Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex, and Demon Hunting with a Southern Sheriff. Y’all come to Hannah, and be sure and stop by the Sweet Shop Café and Grill. Miss Vi makes a chocolate pie that’ll make you want to slap ʾyo mama!
Cassondra: And just so y’all know, the Dalvahni guys don’t get drunk on alcohol. They get drunk on chocolate!
Okay Bandits and Buddies,
Do you like romantic comedies in books or movies?
Do you read paranormal romance?
What’s the furthest south you’ve ever been–in the US or in any other country?
Lexi is giving away THREE copies of Demon Hunting In A Dive Bar. This is Conall’s story. He’s the leader of the Dalvahni, and the biggest baddest badass of them all. And it takes a kick-butt heroine to make him realize that love is a really good thing.
Y’all gather round the bar, order your favorite drink and stuff yourselves with Sven’s goodies, then leave a comment or ask Lexi a question to be entered for the drawing.
Posted by Cassondra Murray Jul 12 2013, 3:07 am in Black Ops, Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's blogs, contemporary romance, dianna Love, Friendships, Jill Shalvis, Lexi George, series, Story worlds, teams
I’ve recently been devouring a lot of contemporary romance series, both paranormal and…well..not…and I was thinking yesterday about why I’m so taken with those books.
I’ve read a bunch of different series books by different authors, but in particular, I’ve just about foundered myself on the Lucky Harbor, Animal Magnetism and Sky High Air series by Jill Shalvis.
These are not what I write. They’re actually the opposite of what I’m working on now. They’re not particularly big plots. There is no big world threat. With a few notable exceptions, they’re not dark or overbearingly angsty, even when there is a suspense threat or the characters have something bad–like abuse– in their pasts.
Yet despite all the things that are “not typically me” about Jill Shalvis books, I slurp up her series like an alcoholic guzzles smooth, top-shelf Bourbon.
Way more than I oughta drink.
I have threatened to take the books to a testing lab, to find out if maybe she’s impregnated the pages with crack cocaine, because I finish one, then immediately go looking for the next.
So after considering this for a while, I think I’ve figured it out.
It’s the relationships.
No, not the romance. Of course, I want to see that romance be born and develop and mature and I want to see the couple get their HEA. But even if her characters have a certain zing that is her distinctive way of writing, the truth is, I can get the romance from a bazillion books on the market. That’s not the reason I constantly reach for her books over so many others.
I choose those books because of the friends of the heroes and heroines. The relationships that exist between the characters. The communities of people in which Shalvis sets her characters. She’s brilliant at making those communities come to life, but particularly, she hits her stride with trilogies of friends, and in particular, male friends.
In the first three Lucky Harbor books it was Jax, Ford and Sawyer, who (if I remember right) are not actually related but best friends from the same small town.
In Animal Magnetism it was Brady, Dell and Adam. Dell and Adam are actual brothers, and were together with Brady in a foster home.
In Sky High Air, Noah, Shayne and Brody met when they were all in trouble at school, and bonded over a love of planes and the allure of flying.
The men in each of these trilogies know one another in that way that says, “I’ll call you an asshole to your face, but nobody else better mess with you or I’ll pound them into the dirt.”
It is a bond that goes deep, and lasts a lifetime.
I live with a man who was once a Special Forces soldier, and almost all of his buddies are either still in the military, are military contractors, or work for the security of our country in other ways.
But even before I met him, I’d spent most of my life working in male-dominated fields, with mostly men, sometimes to the point that I was almost…almost…one of them. They never completely forgot I was female, or that there was a female among them, and they would never get as raunchy with me there as they would when it was all males, but they trusted me to not go all girly or get them in trouble, and they didn’t hold back much.
I know how men behave toward one another when (almost) no women are around. Shalvis’s friendships in these books read as real to me. And it is those relationships that suck me into her story worlds and won’t let me go.
Lexi George, who’ll be my guest next month, also builds a camaraderie between her heroes, but she does an especially brilliant job with the women in her books-the heroines who break the stoic, emotionless facades of the hunky Dalvahni Demon Hunters. In the first book we meet Addie Corwin and Evie Douglas, best friends forever, and it’s often “them against the world.”
The first book is Addie’s but the way Lexi builds the friendship and the caring for Addie’s friend, Evie, is masterful. I couldn’t wait for Evie’s book, and because I already loved her, it was even more satisfying.
The friendships—and sometimes the angst–between these women make the stories rich and full.
As I do my final rewrite on my own first release, I’m striving to create the kind of real-feeling friendships and relationships that make me fall so in love with series like the ones I’ve mentioned—the ones I love to read. Many authors do it well, but some are just masters of this craft.
Suzanne Brockmann first won me to her SEALs—this was years ago– back when she was writing for Harlequin/Silhouette–by so clearly showing the brotherhood that exists between these elite warriors. Okay, yes, I’ll be honest…she got the weapons right, which is a big deal for me, and that was the first time I gave a fist pump of any kind to a romance novel, but that’s a whole nuther story.
Anyway, that’s the original cover on the left, of the first Brockmann book I ever read. Prince Joe. It’s still on my keeper shelf as one of the best books ever.
Most recently my amazing friend, Dianna Love, has sealed my devotion to the Slye Temp Black Ops teams by the way she develops the friendships between the operatives. They don’t always like each other, but even when they don’t want to, they care about the other members of the team. It’s never more evident than in her latest release, Book 3 of the Slye Temp series, Honeymoon to Die For.
And that right there—illustrated so powerfully in her latest book–is the crux of it for me. That book is Ryder and Bianca’s story. But the role of the other operatives—the role of the team—in this novel, is a major part of why I love it so much.
There is something powerful about bruised, battered hearts finding love that brings them closer to whole.
When they also find a group of people who support them—a community—it wraps the story in a way that binds me to the characters. Makes me want to live in that world.
Makes me go to the Kindle store and immediately hit “Buy” for the next book in the series.
Makes me yell “NOOOOOOOOO” when I reach THE END and the next one isn’t released yet.
I fall so in love with the other team members that when Dianna says, “I may make XXX’s book a novella,” I go “NOOOOOOOO! I love him! He has to have a full book!!!!”
She just laughs at me.
But my heart is invested. And with each book where the familiar friends play a role, I become more and more invested in each character’s happy ending.
I want that for my own books.
Yes, of course, I want to hook you, the reader, and yes, I want you to wait eagerly for the next book in the series. But the real dream, for me, is that I will be able to write the story world so that you’ll want to return over and over again. So that it’s so real to you that you begin to believe it is a real place. That those characters walk and breathe the same as you do, and that they are having their happy endings-and that their friends are going to get happy endings too.
So help me, Bandits and Buddies.
Most readers I know love series. Do you?
I want to know who does wonderful “friends” in books. What author does amazing groups of friends, or teams of people with relationships so real that you believe those characters actually walk on the earth in flesh and blood?
Which authors build the best story world—communities of people like Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor, where we, as readers, worry—even between books–about the nosey little old ladies who post inappropriate and should-be-private things on the Lucky Harbor facebook page?
Which story worlds do you live in when you lie down to sleep at night, and wake up thinking about them in the morning?
Who are your favorite series writers, and what are your favorite series built around groups of friends or a team of people?
And what is it, exactly, that makes them seem so real to you?
Posted by Anna Campbell May 29 2011, 3:00 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Demon Hunting in Dixie, Lexi George
by Anna Campbell
Thanks, everyone, for a fabulous day in the lair yesterday. You certainly gave Lexi and her debut book a great Southern welcome.
Lexi very generously offered our commenters TWO copies of DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE. The winners are:
Congratulations, girls. Please email Lexi on lexigeorge56 @ gmail.com (no spaces) with your snail mail details and she’ll get your prize off to you. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell May 27 2011, 4:02 am in debut, Demon Hunting in Dixie, Lexi George, paranormal romance, So I Married a Demon Slayer
by Anna Campbell
We love debut authors here in the lair and I’m delighted to introduce a very talented new author who I met for an uproarious lunch a couple of RWAs ago (she’s a friend of Louisa’s – should be recommendation enough, huh?). Lexi’s huge fun in person so I wasn’t remotely surprised when I heard she’d translated that funny, snarky humor into a three-book deal with Kensington Brava.
You can find out more about Lexi at her website: www.lexigeorge.com
Here’s the blurb for DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE which is out this month:
A warrior, a demon, and the girl next door…
Looking For Trouble…
Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, ‘cause she’s not looking for a man. Mama’s wrong. Addy has looked. There’s just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown. Until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior from—well, not from around here, that’s for sure. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he’s from another dimension.
Addy couldn’t care less where he’s from. He’s gorgeous. Serious muscles. Disturbing green eyes. Brand really gets her going. Too bad he’s a whack job. Says he’s come to rescue her from a demon. Puh-lease. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quite streets of Hannah. Her mortal enemy Meredith, otherwise known as the Death Starr, breaks out in a severe and inexplicable case of butt boils. Addy might not know what’s going on, but she definitely wants a certain sexy demon hunter by her side when it all goes down…
So without more ado, here’s Lexi!
Lexi, welcome to the Bandits and huge congratulations on the release of your debut paranormal romance DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE. Can you tell us about this story?
Small town florist Addy Corwin is out running with her dog one night when she is attacked and left for dead. She is saved by Brand Dalvahni, six-foot-four inches of hard-muscled yummy. Opposites attract and, from the start, Addy is irresistibly drawn to Brand. Says he’s an immortal demon hunter and that he’s come to rescue Addy from the rogue demon that marked her.
Demons and demon hunters in boring little Hannah, Alabama? Pul-leeze!
But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quiet streets of Hannah. Woo woo is one thing, but what really has Addy rattled is her reaction to Brand. She goes into hormonal meltdown every time the handsome warrior comes near. And that’s not her only problem. Addy’s encounter with the demon has changed her, giving her powers of her own, not to mention a startling new hair-do.
Her cosmetological troubles are nothing compared to the extreme make-over Brand gets when he meets Addy, the one female in ten thousand years who can make him forget that he’s a warrior and remember he’s a man. While Brand struggles to protect Addy from the evil creature on her trail, a demon of a different sort stalks the unsuspecting warrior: Addy’s matchmaking mama.
Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE. The scene opens in Addy’s living room where she awakes, dizzy and confused, on her couch after being attacked by a demon. Surely she imagined the whole thing? To her surprise and astonishment, the supernaturally gorgeous guy from the woods is real. And he’s in her house! She tells him to leave and he refuses. Says he’s there to protect her from the djegrali—his word for ‘demon’. Addy thinks he’s a total babe. Too bad he’s a whack job.
Addy stepped away from the couch and her knees buckled.
One moment Brand was across the room, his shoulder against the wall, the picture of aloof boredom, and the next she was in his arms. She closed her eyes and swallowed a sigh as she was lifted against his hard chest. The man sure had muscles, she’d give him that.
“You will recline, at once.” His tone was stern.
Okay, muscles and a few control issues.
She opened her eyes as he lowered her to the couch, and saw a grimace of pain flash across his features. It was the first expression of any kind she’d seen on his face, unless you counted the lip twitch thing. The man could give a marble statue lessons in being stoic.
She caught his arm as he started to rise. “That thing hurt you!”
He stilled, his gaze on her fingers wrapped around his wrist. “You are mistaken. The djegrali did not injure me. It is your touch that disturbs me.”
Addy stiffened and drew back.“Well, excuse the hell out of me.”
He caught her by the hand. “You misunderstand. You do not repulse me.”
He knelt down beside her. He put his fingers under her chin and tilted her face with gentle fingers. Addy stifled a gasp. Who was this guy? The merest touch from him and her breasts tingled and she felt all hot and wobbly inside. What was the matter with her?
“Look at me,” he commanded.
Sweet Sister Ruth, he had a voice was like whiskey and smoke. She shivered and raised her eyes to his. He stroked her cheek with his thumb, a rapt expression on his face. His thumb drifted lower to brush her bottom lip. “You must be patient with me, Adara Jean Corwin. The Dalvahni do not experience emotion. It would be superfluous. We exist for one purpose and one purpose alone: to hunt the djegrali. For ten thousand years, that has been my objective, until now.”
“Ten thousand years, huh?” With an effort, she squelched the sudden urge to scrape the pad of his thumb with her teeth. No doubt about it, she was in hormonal meltdown. “Sounds boring. You need to get a new hobby, expand your horizons.”
“Earth is but one of the realms where the Dalvahni hunt the djegrali.”
Oh, brother, too bad. He was paying a visit to schizoid-land again.
Then the impact of his words percolated through the fog of lust that set her brain and her body on fire.
“Hey, wait a minute, I didn’t tell you my name!”
“The animal you call Dooley informed me of many things, including how to find this dwelling.”
“You don’t say? Funny, she’s never said a thing to me in four years.”
He put his hand on her shoulder as she tried to sit up.“You will not rise,” he said with annoying calm.
“Oh, yeah? That’s what you think, bub.”
She pushed at his arm, an exercise in futility. The man was built like the proverbial brick outhouse.
His hand slid over her abdomen and down her running shorts to her legs.His hand felt hot against her bare skin.
“Dooley, come here,” he said.
The dog rose and trotted over to the couch.
Brand traced an intricate pattern with his fingers along the skin of her inner thigh. Addy began to shake. What was happening to her? This was so unlike her. All her life she’d struggled to rein in her reckless nature, the wild streak that made her mama wring her hands in despair. Self-control was her hard-earned mantra. Think first and feel later. But this guy . . . this guy really got her going, made her want to throw caution to the wind. She wanted to arch her hips against his hand, a stranger’s hand.
“Speak, Dooley,” Brand said with his gaze on Addy’s face.
“DOOLEY LOVE ADDY. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE,” the Lab said in the growly voice of a three-pack-a-day smoker. Flinging up a back paw, she scratched her ear. “CAN DOOLEY HAVE CHICKEN LEG IN COLD BOX? CAN DOOLEY?” Her head snapped around. “OH, LOOK, A BUG!”
There was a long moment of silence as Addy gaped at her dog in shock. Slowly, she raised her eyes to Brand’s.
“Who are you?”
A slight crease appeared between Brand’s brows. The expression in his eyes grew puzzled.
“Until tonight, I thought I knew.”
Lowering his dark head, he kissed her.
Whiskey and smoke, huh? Works for me! You’ve got a novella, “The Bride Wore Demon Dust”, in what looks like a really fun anthology called SO I MARRIED A DEMON SLAYER that comes out in August. Please give us the lowdown on this story.
“The Bride Wore Demon Dust” is the story of a runaway bride. Bunny Raines is the librarian in the small town of Hannah—the town that is the setting of the first book. The story opens at a quaint church on a river. It is Bunny’s wedding day and she is blissfully happy to be marrying the man of her dreams—Rafe Dalvahni, six foot four inches of hard muscled, masculine yummy. To Bunny’s horror and dismay, she discovers—after she’s married!—that her boring little hometown is infested with demons, and her husband is an immortal demon slayer. The ‘mugger’ he saved her from the night they met was a demon, and Rafe saved her from certain death by giving her part of his essence.
Not only is she married to a total stranger, she’s changed species! Worse, she’s pregnant . . . although she hasn’t told Rafe about the baby yet.
Distraught and confused, Bunny flees the wedding and Rafe goes after her. Unfortunately, so does the demon that tried to kill her. Having marked her, the demon is irresistibly drawn to her, especially now that she’s a powerful Dalvahni and a worthy receptacle for the demon.
Sounds great! Here in the lair, we love call stories. Will you please share yours?
I’ve been writing for more than 16 years. My first two books were part of a romantic fantasy series. I knew nothing about fiction writing. Never took a class or read a book on writing, just started writing and loved it. So, I’m self-taught. I joined a writer’s group about five years ago and that was a tremendous help. Getting feed-back and constructive criticism is essential, in my opinion. You can’t write in a vacuum, not if you want to get published. There are rules and you have to learn about them before you can break them.
Around the same time that I joined the writer’s group, I started the querying rounds on the first book of the romantic fantasy that I’d been working on for more than ten years. I got rejected. Big time. Something like a hundred ‘no thanks.’ Discouraged, I decided to try my hand at a paranormal romance. The book took a year to write and the result was DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE, my debut book with Kensington. The book was a total surprise. When I started writing it, I thought it was going to be dark. But it quickly morphed into something else. This snarky voice came out of me that I never knew existed. It was amazing and liberating.
I had done well on the contest circuit while writing the book and I was jazzed. This is it, I thought. This is the one that will make it! In January 2010, I started querying and received a flurry of requests for partials and fulls from agents. I was excited and hopeful . . . and then the rejections started pouring in. Light paranormal doesn’t sell, was the consensus. I was devastated. Another series dead in the water.
I went on my romance writer’s loop and whined and a woman I barely knew at the time sent me an email. There was an interview of Megan Records on line that I needed to check out, she said, and then I needed to query her. I had never thought about querying an editor—too focused on getting an agent. I read the interview and Megan said she saw a lot of dark paranormal. No surprise there, that’s what the agents had said was selling. But then Megan said something that made me sit up and take notice. I don’t see much funny anymore, but I’d like to.
I sent Megan a query letter, referencing her interview and said, I write funny! She sent me back an email and asked for the full. This was in February of 2010.
On March 11, 2010, I was on my way to the doctor for a recheck because I had broken by foot in two places in February. I fell off my shoe. It’s a talent, I know. Anyway, a friend was driving me and my sad, casted foot to the doctor when my cell phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it, because it was an out-of-state call. I figured it was a wrong number or one of those Nigerian bank schemes. I answered the phone and, boy, am I ever glad I did! It was Megan Records calling to offer me a three-book deal! Good thing I wasn’t driving. I would have wrecked the car!
Great story! What’s next for Lexi George?
I am hard at work on book two of the demon hunter series, tentatively entitled DEMON HUNTING IN THE DEEP SOUTH. The deadline on book two is in June and it will be out next year. After that, it’s on to book three, DEMON HUNTING IN A DIVE BAR.
If the series does well, I have three more demon hunter books in mind.
Because my spies have been following you for years, I know you’re an enthusiastic amateur thespian. How do you think your acting experience feeds into your writing?
I think anything creative, whether it be dancing, painting, acting, quilting, etc., gets your juices flowing. I started out writing poetry in elementary, but the words dried up when I went to law school. The thing that freed my inner muse was scrap booking! I started scrap booking when my kids were little. Tapping into my creative side opened me up to other possibilities within myself and, from there, I turned to writing. Acting does the same thing. Being creative fills you with joy, connects you to the divine, and spills over to other things in a positive way.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read, read, read, and WRITE! Writing is a craft and it’s a muscle that gets stronger with exercise. Try to write something every day, whether it’s a letter, blog, a short story, an essay, poetry—whatever. Check out some of the wonderful craft books on writing out there. Stephen King’s ON WRITING is an excellent one. Take advantage of the internet. There is a wealth of knowledge available at your fingertips on everything from structure and plot to POV and dialogue tags. Join a writer’s group or start one of your own. Even if you don’t all write the same thing, it is exciting to be around other writers, and you will learn from one another. Brain storming with other writers is great. A writers’ group will also teach you to give and accept constructive criticism.
Also, be ready to face rejection. It is part of the process. It sucks. It stings. It hurts. It knocks your feet out from under you and throws you into a spiral of self doubt. Give yourself a day to pout and sing the “I Suck” song, then shake it off and get back on the horse. Remember that writing is subjective. You cannot write a book that will please everyone. Write the book you want to read. Name an author, classic or otherwise, that everybody loves universally. You can’t, because people have different tastes. You are going to be rejected on the road to being published. After you get published, guess what? You face rejection again! There will be reviewers that love you and those that hate you, as I am already finding out. You will work with editors who want you to revise your manuscript. You may submit a proposal on your next fabulous series idea and get rejected on that too. But, don’t give up. If you give up, you will lose. Believe in yourself and persevere.Writing is not for wimps.
Lexi, do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandit Buddies?
I’d really love to hear about YOUR creative outlet. Writing, scrap booking, painting, sculpting, photography, cooking? What gets you inner muse going?
Lexi is very generously giving away TWO copies of DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE today to commenters so good luck, people!