Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Apr 19 2013, 12:40 am in Dragon shifters, Karilyn Bentley, paranormal romance, Suzanne Ferrell, Watchers
Suz: Grab a chair everyone and gather round. Today I have one of my favorite guests to visit the Lair, Karilyn Bentley. Karilyn is the author of the wonderful dragon-shifter books that I, (and I suspect Ermingarde, since I always find the pages a bit singed when she’s done with them), love to read. Today Karilyn is going to take us into the world of the Watchers, guardian warriors of the Draconi, in her newest book WARRIOR LOVER.
Hey Karilyn! Pull up a barstool and Sven will pour you your favorite drink.
Karilyn: Thank you Suz for inviting me to chat with you today! <Sits, bats eyelashes at Sven as he brings a margarita. Takes a sip.> What a yummy margarita! And I love the way you hand me that drink, Sven. You might have to bring me another one. And please tell Ermingarde hi for me. I do love dragons! Especially when they read my books! <g>
Suz: So we’re revisiting the world of the Draconi, only this time we’re going to learn more about the Watchers, in particular Enar and his woman Lily, whom we met in MAGICAL LOVER. You’ve made WARRIOR LOVER a parallel story timeline-wise to MAGICAL LOVER. Was that hard to do?
Karilyn: No, actually that made it easier to write since parts of the story were already written. I just had to change the viewpoint to either Enar or Lily and add in some extra scenes. The last bit of WL passes the timeline of ML.
Suz: What made you want to shift from the Draconi to the Watchers?
Karilyn: Enar took over the first draft of Magical Lover and I had to cut him out of several scenes, ML being Thoren’s book, not his. He protested, A LOT, so I wrote his own story to shut him up. <g>
As a Watcher, a guardian warrior of the Draconi, Enar has never fit in with his kind. When he sees Lily–the ideal Watcher’s woman–he instantly claims her, believing she will bring him the acceptance he craves. Falling in love with her was not part of his plan.
As her town’s outcast, Lily wants nothing more than to escape. When Enar locks a necklace around her throat and declares she belongs to him, she jumps at the chance to leave. Her excitement soon becomes trepidation when Enar won’t tell her what to expect in his world. But even her worry can’t overcome her growing attraction to him.
Soon Lily learns what life as a Watcher’s claim entails, and refuses to submit. To keep Lily, Enar must turn his back on everything he thought he wanted. Will he choose his people? Or the other half of his soul?
Suz: Don’t you just hate it when characters do that? Watchers have an unusual way to claim their women. Why did you build this into their world?
Karilyn: I needed a way to keep Lily close to Enar and what better way than to have him capture her? And instead of having him tie her up to keep her close, why not use a magical necklace that in essence does the same thing? It seemed to fit better in the fantasy land of Draconia.
Suz: Both Enar and Lily are outcasts in their societies, how does this affect their relationship?
Karilyn: It’s an unconscious part of their attraction to each other. They understand the motivations of the other, even if they don’t always agree with the outcome.
Suz: You’ve left the readers with some serious questions about the worlds of the Draconi and Watchers, will there be another book in this series?
Karilyn: Yes there will, thank you for asking! I’m currently writing DRAGON LOVER, the next book in the series. I’m a sloooooooowwwww writer, but am on track to finish it soon.
“You don’t mind leaving?”
All brawn, no brain obviously. Hadn’t she just said that downstairs?
“That’s right. I want to leave. You want to take me. It works out well for both of us. Now, how much can I take?”
“You do not feel a need to take your entire shop, do you?” A small wrinkle appeared between his brows.
“As you noticed earlier, there’s not much to take. I have clothes and personal items. A couple of bags, maybe.”
“One bag. Thoren travels light. Insists we do the same.” He glanced to the bed and back to her, grinning. “Besides, the less time you take packing, the more time we’ll have for pleasure.”
Lily’s whole body stiffened, as blood pounded in her ears. Oh, Goddess, not now. She hadn’t left the town. Now she’d never leave. He’d crush her before she could be free.
He took a swaggering step toward her, cupping her face in his hand. “Don’t be frightened. I won’t hurt you.”
Sure you won’t, look at the size of you.
Bending forward, he placed his lips against hers, pressing gently. And just like that, her nervousness vanished.
Karilyn’s question for readers: Would you rather cuddle up next to a shape-shifting dragon or a sword-carrying warrior? Leave your email address in your comment to be entered into a drawing to win a PDF copy of Warrior Lover.
Find Karilyn at:
Posted by Nancy Northcott Apr 18 2013, 11:38 am in Boom, Dee Davis, favorite books, favorite videos, Georgette Heyer, historical romance, Jessica Andersen, Nancy's blogs, Nora Roberts, paranormal romance, Patricia Rice, small town romance
Sorry about the late blog, everybody! My head was wrapped around a different day, but I’m here now and ready to roll.
There are certain books or videos I go to when I need to kick back, relax and read or watch something I know I’ll enjoy. Anything by Georgette Heyer makes that list, and I’ve built up a good collection of her books. If I want to see a smart, brave guy with a wicked sense of humor turn the tables on his snooty, condescending relatives, I go for The Unknown Ajax.
Or I might reach for Frederica (love the way the Merrivilles upend Alverstoke’s neatly ordered and self-centered life) or, if I want something a little darker, Regency Buck (is the hero really a hero? Or is he a villain in disguise), or, if I’m the mood for clashing swords, The Conqueror (can an invading Norman knight win the heart of a Saxon maid while his liege tries to win the country?).
Those are my top four favorites of hers.
In the clashing swords video department, with a touch of mystical fantasy thrown in, is The Thirteenth Warrior, starring Antonio Banderas. Our frequent guest Gerri Russell recommended this movie to me. I love the Viking elements and the evolution of Banderas’ character from scholar to warrior. And, of course, the thirteen warriors risking themselves to protect a kingdom from bear cult marauders has a lot of appeal.
My all-time favorite ever book is To Kill A Mockingbird. I was so disappointed that the museum in Monroeville, AL, was closed when we were in that area last summer. But it’s not a comfortable choice. It’s a thought-provoking book, a beautifully written book, with justice served at the end, but it’s sad, too.
Books or movies with a heavy eew factor also don’t make the list. Eew moments are not relaxing. Sagas also don’t qualify for me. So the LOTR trilogy, book or film, doesn’t qualify as a comfort choice. Now, there are some eew moments in The Thirteenth Warrior, I have to admit. Sword fight are not, er, tidy. But the rest of the movie outweighs the eew factor, so maybe it’s better to say the eew has to be outweighed by the fun stuff
Boom, on the other hand, why, that’s very cathartic. Hence the presence of SWAT on my comfort list and my video shelf. It has lots and lots of boom and stars Colin Farrell as the sympathetic hero (Farrell’s character, Jim Street, played by the late Robert Urich, was my favorite of the TV SWAT guys).
Samuel L. Jackson is the tough mentor, Jeremy Renner is the sleazy bad guy, and Michelle Rodriguez is great as the kick-butt female cop. Maybe we should qualify this, though, by saying that the boom cannot be accompanied by the spurting blood and graphic depictions of injuries that some action films love to linger over.
If I want romantic suspense, I reach for Dee Davis or Cindy Gerard. I love Dee’s A-Tac series and Cindy’s Black Ops, Inc. I’m so sorry to see A-Tac about to wind up. But one of the joys of owning a book is the ability to read it again. Pictured at right is Double Danger, the latest release in the A-Tac series.
Anything by Patricia Rice qualifies for the list. One of my favorites is Merely Magic, the book that introduced the Malcolm and Ives families. I loved the interplay of the siblings, the Georgian setting, and the mysterious man who threads his way through the series until he takes center stage in the final book.
Another favorite by Patricia Rice is an oldie, Denim and Lace. It’s a western and opens with the heroine shooting the hero. It has romance and boom! What’s not to love?
For superb writing, excellent performances, and a balance of comedy and drama, you can’t beat early Boston Legal. If I’m in the mood for something like that, I might watch an entire disc at a sitting. All three of us loved this show.
For paranormal romance with a fabulous arc, hot romance and plenty of boom, I’ll take Jessica Andersen’s Nightkeepers. Now that the series is complete, I can go from book 1 to book 7, secure in the knowledge that I’ll be happy when I get to the end.
It’s hard to pick a favorite book in that series. The first, Night Keepers, is a wonderful setup for the entire series. But I also love the fourth, Demon Keepers, for the geek-to-hero transformation of Lucius. Choices, choices.
As our regulars know, I grew up in a small town and have one in my Protectors mage series. So it probably isn’t surprising that I have a weakness for books set in small towns. One I’ve read many times is Nora Roberts’ Northern Lights. I love escaping to the little town of Lunacy, Alaska, and seeing the hero, Nate Burke, come back from personal tragedy in his new job as its top cop.
I don’t like the oversize paperback format (the picture at right is not distorted but proportioned for that format), but that’s not a problem on an e-reader, which is how I usually read it. Yet the book stays on my keeper shelf because, hey, never know when the power might go out.
I do like the Alaska setting. One of my guilty pleasures is Alaska State Troopers on NatGeo. I’m not sure why, except the setting. I don’t watch any other police reality shows. Except I did like Police, Camera, Action! out of the UK, which was shown on TLC for a while. And, hmm, also not set where I live.
Anyway, getting back to the topic, I also love Nora’s Chesapeake series and her Sign of Seven trilogy. And, of course, Chasing Fire, which is not set in a small town, as these others are, but features the small, close-knit community of the Missoula Smokejumpers.
These are some of my favorite go-to books and videos. What are yours? Do you go for pure romance or suspense? Do you want some magic or some book thrown in?
I’ll give one commenter today a choice of a Protector or Renegade ARC. The winner can also opt for a download instead of an ARC if downloads are available in the winner’s home area.
And tonight I’ll post my winner and Jennifer McQuiston’s from last month. I just realized I hadn’t done that. The announcement will be in the comments and will go up as a booty post.
If you haven’t already clicked “like” on my Facebook page and inclined to, you can find it here.
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 5 2013, 12:03 am in Allegiance Sworn, Alliance Forged, Anna Campbell, Australia, Australian Authors, Australian Romance Readers Association Awards, Bandita Booty, fantasy romance, Kylie Short, Light Blade Series, paranormal romance, series, Vengeance Born
I’m always delighted to welcome Aussie author Kylie Griffin back to the lair. Today’s she’s here to tell us about the next instalment in her wonderful Light Blade series, ALLEGIANCE SWORN.
RT Book Reviews gave ALLEGIANCE SWORN a great review, saying, “The third outing in Griffin’s rousing Light Blade series provides readers with a breathtakingly strong and dedicated heroine willing to fight and sacrifice for her people. Griffin keeps the tension running high as the world she created heads ever closer to war.”
Here’s the blurb:
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a demon leader seeks to unify the races…
SHE’S THE ENEMY HE CAN’T RESIST.
With the alliance of the humans and the half-blood Na’Chi forged, the demon Na’Reish prepare for war by seizing human blood-slaves. Captured during a rescue mission-gone-wrong, Light Blade warrior Arek Barial finds himself claimed by a Na’Reishi female who offers him an unexpected choice.
Raised in the elite ranks of a society she abhors, Imhara Kaal lives a dangerous double life as a Na’Reish Clan-leader and an advocate for a caste-free life that honors the Old Ways. Openly rebelling against the Na’Reish would mean her death, unless she can find an emissary willing to present her petition to the human Blade council.
But Arek isn’t about to blindly follow a demon—despite the intense attraction growing between them. And while hatred for the Na’Reish is all he has ever known, Arek must learn to trust Imhara, or risk the destruction of all three races…
You can find out more about Kylie and her books on her website: http://kyliegriffin.com
Kylie, congratulations on the release of ALLEGIANCE SWORN. Can you tell us about this story?
ALLEGIANCE SWORN is the third book in the Light Blade series and one I was very excited to write as it features Arek, a rather deliciously tormented (yes, I do like torturing my heroes), secondary character, and one of my Light Blade warriors, who appeared in both VENGEANCE BORN (#1) and ALLIANCE FORGED (#2).
At the end of ALLIANCE FORGED Arek was wounded and captured by demon-slavers. In ALLEGIANCE SWORN he’s claimed by Imhara, a demon Clan leader.
He’s sworn to die fighting before allowing her to enslave him but then discovers she’s been living a double-life; that her Clan don’t enslave humans and accept half-bloods. And more significantly, they have one goal in common – to kill Na’Reish leader Savyr, the demon who murdered their families and destroyed their lives.
I had a LOT of fun making Arek face his greatest fears in this book but what surprised me the most was the way a couple of plot threads within the story ended – I intended the story to finish with the characters achieving certain goals but they refused to take that path and led me down another!
Lives being threatened, fighting, the death of a major character – all of this was supposed to occur, and it did, but not in the manner I expected and it brought about an entirely different conclusion to the story.
What were the inspirations behind this book?
Two ideas inspired ALLEGIANCE SWORN.
The first was Arek, the hero, and his hatred for all things demon. Throughout the series and of all the characters he’s probably had the toughest time. He’s found out he has a demon half sister. His grandfather not only tried to kill her but he kept the secret that demons and humans once lived harmoniously together and then betrayed the human race by leading a rebellion to keep the war between them going.
In ALLEGIANCE SWORN, Arek is confronted by the truth that his whole life and every decision and action he’s made has been based on a lie, one fostered by his grandfather’s deception.
And having been captured by demon-slavers at the end of ALLIANCE FORGED, he now faces one of his greatest fears – being the blood-slave of Imhara Kaal, his new owner. Anyone who’s already read the series will know Arek prefers death over serving as a blood-slave, so you can imagine the conflict this is going to create!
The idea of a double agent gave me the plot thread for Imhara Kaal, the heroine, in ALLEGIANCE SWORN. Unlike other demons, Imhara and her people have create a utopia of sorts where human, demon, and half breeds live peacefully and equally in the Old Ways but they’ve had to sacrifice a lot to remain undiscovered. Living a double-life and adopting two separate lifestyles was essential for their survival.
But it puts Imhara and Arek at odds right from the get go because she had to portray her alter-ego in order to claim him as her slave. You can image how well that went down with Arek, and trying to convince him of her other persona is nigh impossible.I loved being able to throw these two opposing personalities together and watching the sparks fly!
Ooh, sounds delicious. I love enemies into lovers stories. What’s coming up next for Kylie Griffin?
Besides a manic blog tour to promote ALLEGIANCE SWORN (and the mass market version of VENGEANCE BORN which was also released on April 2nd)? Well, I have a few plans I’m juggling. I’d like to write books #4 and #5 in the Light Blade series but that depends on whether the book-gods smile on a new contract.
I’m also keen to write a new post-apocalyptic romance, one that’s been mulling in the back my mind for a few years now. A change of genre would be refreshing and I’m quite excited about this one as I’m venturing into new territory. It’s rather more erotic in tone than I anticipated.
Delish! You’re now three books into your Light Blade series. Would you like to share your thoughts on writing a series? Has everything continued as you expected or were there some surprises with writing linked books?
As a fantasy reader from way back – I think I read my first book in this genre at age 10 – I love the scope a series allows me as far as world building and developing an over arching story line. While each story is complete within itself, I love being able to play with the external plot, dropping hints, showcasing certain events that will one day impact the timeline further on in the series. And looking back readers will see this and, hopefully, appreciate the depth and growth of the series.
There were some surprises along the way when I wrote the series. A couple of characters I intended to be only background figures decided they wanted a story of their own and as a result they’ve taken more prominent roles in the stories than I anticipated.
One of these characters was Zaune, one of the half-blood scouts. He appeared in VENGEANCE BORN then he popped up in ALLIANCE FORGED and again in ALLEGIANCE SWORN. Over time he’s become quite a strong character in my mind, so much so I have a book planned for him.
Another shock in this series came when I wrote ALLEGIANCE SWORN, I’d planned the death of a major character but as I wove various plot threads together, the story of Arek and Imhara began to stall. No matter the direction I wanted them to go – the scenes, their dialogue, their actions, the revelations I wanted to hint at, or uncover or confront, the action I saw taking place – they point blank refused to walk the path I wanted them to take.
Turns out I was trying to force a scenario that would have given the story a too easy solution, too convenient an ending to the thread I was trying to tell. Robbing the characters of conflict also meant swindling readers out of the emotional roller coaster ride that came with the conflict. So in the end, I ignored the voice inside my head and listened to my characters.
Did the story thread have a “happily ever after”? It depends on your point of view. Happily ever afters do occur but sometimes not in the way we anticipate or expect and this was definitely the case for Arek, Imhara and me. What exactly did the HEA involve…well, you’re going to have to read ALLEGIANCE SWORN to find out the details!
Kylie, congratulations on winning favorite futuristic, sci-fi or fantasy romance of 2012 at the recent Australian Romance Readers Association awards. I was absolutely delighted to accept your award on your behalf! Could you tell us a little about how you felt about receiving this award?
Thanks, Anna, for the congrats and accepting the ARRA award on my behalf!
I was away on a writers’ retreat the weekend of the ARRA convention with some writing buddies. We were following the awards dinner via Twitter on the night. Some of the books and authors nominated were MY favourite reads for 2012 – so to have gone head to head to them was an achievement in itself.
Seeing as I don’t own a mobile phone (yes, I know, I’m one of the rare few) I was relying on my friends to announce the results. When they read out my name, I honestly thought they were pulling my leg and kidding around but when I saw the same tweet on four phones I had to accept the win was fair dinkum!
I’m sure I looked like a stunned mullet. I know I see-sawed between incredulous laughter and shocked crying. I think I did a bit of both!
Honestly, it’s a very humbling experience to know there are readers who voted ALLIANCE FORGED as their favorite read for 2012, and I’m ever so grateful! The ARRA award now sits on proud display on a shelf in the lounge room!
What do you like to read when you’re not writing dramatic and adventurous romance?
Paranormal romance is my first port of call when I pick up a book to read – some of my favourite authors span the gamut of sub-genres and include Nalini Singh, Denise Rossetti, Joss Ware, Joey W.Hill, Bec McMaster and Kylie Scott!
I’m also partial to science fiction and fantasy authors like Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, and Rowena Corey Daniells. But outside these genres I enjoy reading Maya Banks, Debbie Macomber, Jo Davis, and our own, Anna Campbell! (Anna says, why, thank you!)
I’m fairly selective, basing my choices more on the connection I feel with the author’s characters and their writing than the particular genre. I’m sure Anna won’t mind me using her as an example, but she’s one of two historical romance authors I read. I don’t usually indulge in this genre but I really enjoy her books because of her engaging characters and rich style of writing.
My nonfiction section of my library revolve around subjects likes names for babies, weapons, self-defence, herbal medicines, ancient cultures, myths & legends, and craft books like patchworking, photography, calligraphy and Lonely Planet Guides for travelling.
And my favourite place for reading these books – my garden! I have a couple of lovely spots where I can sit back, relax with a book and more often than not be interrupted by the wildlife that like to visit during the day.
Anna, thanks for having me here in the Lair – I always enjoyed my time here interacting with your readers. Knowing this, I’d love to ask them a question, if that’s all right.
I’ve just revealed Arek’s greatest fear – becoming a blood-slave to the Na’Reish demons – now I want to know – What’s your greatest fear? Is there anyone brave enough to answer this question? How about I dangle a signed copy of ALLEGIANCE SWORN Light Blade #3 as incentive to participate? Go on, I dare you! Face your fear, just like Arek does in ALLEGIANCE SWORN!
Thanks for that great interview, Kylie! And best of luck with ALLEGIANCE SWORN. It sounds like a corker. Get commenting, people. I’m sure you all want to win the signed copy of Kylie’s new book!
Posted by Nancy Northcott Feb 12 2013, 12:37 am in paranormal romance, Patricia Rice, Trouble With Air and Magic
I’m delighted to welcome New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Rice back to the Lair. I’ve loved her books about the Malcolm and Ives families, and she’ll chat with us today about the latest in that series, Trouble with Air and Magic. She’ll also brief us on upcoming developments in her other series.
Welcome, Pat! Who are the Malcolm and Ives families?
The Malcolms are a family of females with various psychic gifts. The Ives are a family of scientific, logical males. Explosions happen when the two families are combined!
Where did readers first meet them?
In my Georgian historical romances, the Magic series, currently being reissued by Sourcebooks.
How does Merely Magic relate to Trouble with Air and Magic?
Hardly at all <G>. Obviously, my Georgian couples had children. Those children traveled far and wide, but at the time I wrote the historical series, the rights were tied up and I couldn’t write about them. So I began plotting contemporary stories for their descendants. In TROUBLE, my protagonists are both descendants of these families. My heroine comes from a Chinese branch that recognizes their psychic abilities. My hero comes from a scientific branch that scoffs at woo-woo but once they realize psychic abilities exist, realize they might have a touch of the same. And both branches are being jeopardized by an unknown person who is interested in their abilities, but possibly not for the power of good.
Please tell us a bit about Trouble With Air and Magic and, if you like, share an excerpt.
Don’t ask me to reduce all those pages to a few paragraphs, please! Here’s the official blurb:
Dorothea Franklin’s life is sliding toward disaster just as surely as her house is crumbling into the Pacific. Her unusual talent for feng shui can’t bring harmony to her invalid father or prevent her brother from dying in an experimental helicopter crash. Or has he?
She turns to computer genius Conan Oswin, whose brother also reportedly died that day. When Dorothea informs Conan that she didn’t feel the vibrations of her brother’s death, he wants to dismiss her illogic… but his instinct for trouble is already on full alert. His attraction to her is almost as distracting as her nonsense about chi and harmony — nonsense that plants doubts about the deadly crash. If only she would quit twisting his head with temptation, he might be able to save their brothers and her life.
And here’s a brief excerpt:
Standing in the downpour that inundated the coast, Dorothea Jai-Li Franklin watched another piece of her garden crash into the Pacific. A yew swayed at an angle over the cliff before it, too, descended in a mudslide to the roaring surf.
Once the house followed the yard, all trace of her mother would be gone. Until his helicopter disappeared, she’d had her brother to remind her of their heritage, but now Bo, too was lost to her.
Pulling the hood of her billowing rain cape over her hair, she let the wind and rain gust around her. A raindrop slid down her nose, and she wiped it while watching the crumbling cliff. Tilting and swaying, the pepper tree looked to be the next victim of the mudslide. Perhaps, if she got rid of the evidence at last…
Holding her temples, concentrating, she located the earth’s energy and shoved at the weakening tree roots with her mind.
Before she could completely grasp the tree’s chi, an irritatingly self-confident voice crawled up her spine, breaking her concentration.
“Shouldn’t you be retreating to safer grounds?”
Dorrie scrambled to hold the tree with her mind before it revealed its roots. But she had tilted it to an angle she couldn’t correct.
Cursing, she didn’t turn around until she could analyze the intruder’s vibrations and knew whether to welcome him or be wary.
She shivered at the visceral effect of a man she couldn’t see.
Sexy was her first response to his energy. But that could just be her hormones appreciating the resonance of his voice. His overconfidence could be a hazard, and his lack of sensitivity had destroyed her concentration. She was prepared to be irritated.
Mostly, she was terrified of what he would see as the rain ravaged her garden.
As he approached, she sensed the earth force shifting from left to right. Most people produced straightforward energy. Was he pacing back and forth?
The stranger’s chi possessed a creative, intriguing layer of energy. Like her brother, he exhibited no-nonsense technical vibrations.
She detected nothing overtly dangerous. Powerful, yes, but curiosity seemed to be his driving force.
“There goes ten thousand in dirt,” the newcomer commented, apparently determined to be tactless. He stood beside her and watched a clump of sod slide away.
Dorrie turned, half expecting to see a policeman condemning the property.
Instead, she met the dark gaze of a sun-bronzed surfer. She barely reached his shoulder. With heels, she might look him in the…nose.
Quite a formidable nose, she observed, fighting a twitch of her lips. “And you are?”
Instead of answering, he was looking over her shoulder. “Is that a skull?”
Succumbing to fatalism, Dorrie watched the pepper tree give up its fight and tumble into the ocean. In a single fading ray of sunlight, glimpses of filthy white could be seen mixed with the roots. He must have amazingly good eyesight.
“You want to go out there and find out?” she asked defiantly.
“You’re not curious?”
“Not curious enough to send a policeman out on that crumbling cliff to look for old graveyards.”
Okay, now I’m curious about the skull! You’ve written other paranormal romances and urban fantasy. What draws you to the magical elements in stories?
First, I do believe there are stranger things in this world than we understand or are willing to accept. I like exploring these ideas with my characters. Secondly, magical elements add new conflicts and unique problems for the couples to deal with. Why worry over money or status when you can fight about hunting for trouble with your sense of smell or ability to shift energy?
You’ve recently reissued some of your older novels. What has that experience been like?
I’m in awe. I’m in love with digital reissues. I have whole new libraries that I’m buying for little or nothing and can carry around in my e-reader . I’m earning money on books that haven’t sat on a bookstore shelf in decades. The only downside is that I have to re-read all those old books and realize how little I knew about craft in those days! Of course, the upside is that I can now edit and tighten those old books for today’s readers. And now I’m learning to put together print books so the books can actually sit on shelves again! Next stop…audio!
And of course we finally got Michael’s book, The English Heiress, in ebook format! What’s next for you?
Sourcebooks is still reissuing the Magic series, the next one will be out in April. My Jamie Quaid persona will have a new book at the end of June from Pocket–DAMN HIM TO HELL. Nick’s book in the Rebellious Sons series, THE NOTORIOUS ATHERTON, will be out in July. There’s more happening behind the scenes, but it’s too early to know how it will all work out. I have a newsletter that comes out maybe twice a year with updates, if you sign up for it at http://patriciarice.com/newsletter.htm
Woot! Not only another Jamie Quaid but another Rebellious Sons book. Yay!
For more info on Pat and her books, you can also check out her website. She’s giving a copy of Trouble With Air and Magic to one commenter today. While trying to organize books, I discovered I had an extra, never-read copy of her wonderful Volcano, so I’m giving that the same commenter.
So tell us, do you have a go-to genre when you have time to kick back with a book? Do you reach first for historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, or paranormal (either historical or contemporary), or romantic suspense? Or do you dive into whatever first comes to hand? Why?
Posted by Anna Campbell Dec 7 2012, 12:03 am in 12 Bandita Days of Christmas, Ancient Rome, Anna Campbell, Archangel's Mercy, Australian Author, Bandita Booty, Betrayed, Bloodlust Denied, Captive, Christina Ashcroft, Christina Phillips, Ellora's Cave, erotic romance, Forbidden, historical romance, paranormal romance, Roman Romance, Tainted
I always love hosting a personal friend in the lair. Today’s guest Christina Ashcroft and I met way back in 2004, well before either of us was a published author, at the Romantic Novelists Association conference at Leicester in the U.K.
Christina, originally from England, now lives in beautiful Western Australia and we’ve been lucky enough to meet up since at various Romance Writers of Australia conferences (although not as often as I’d like! Perth is a long way from the east coast where most of the conferences are held).
I’ve long been a fan of Christina’s hot, dramatic, passionate books set in Roman Britain written under the Christina Phillips name. I’m delighted now to introduce her as Christina Ashcroft, a new star of paranormal romance, with her debut Archangel Of Mercy. Here’s the blurb:
When Aurora Robinson attempts to open a rift between dimensions to embrace her true heritage, an arrogant Archangel is the only one who can save her from the jaws of hell. And while she owes Gabriel her life, she’s determined not to fall at his feet-despite the desire she feels whenever they’re together.
After his wings were brutally destroyed millennia ago, Gabriel has no compassion for humans like those who ruined him and betrayed the ones he loved. But when he inexplicably finds himself defying ancient protocols to rescue a woman from a fate worse than death, he is shocked by the searing attraction he feels for a mortal.
As the ancient forces that seek to punish Aurora for her actions close in, Gabriel offers the tempting woman protection at his private sanctuary. But as they both succumb to their desires, they discover an even deeper connection-one that threatens to consume them.
You can find out more about Christina’s dual writing personalities at her websites:
Christina, absolutely lovely to have you in the lair! Congratulations on the release of the first book in the Archangel series, Archangel Of Mercy, which is out from Berkley Heat this month. Can you tell us about this story?
Hi Anna, thank you so much for having me back in the lair! It’s always so much fun in here!
I’d love to tell you about my gorgeous Archangel, Gabriel. He’s one of the Fallen, but not in quite the way you might expect. He and his fellow Archangels used Earth as their playground millennia ago, and of course some of them fell in love with mortals. But the consequences of what happened in the past haunt Gabe today and he protects his shattered heart and guilt riddled soul behind a tough façade.
Aurora is a typical girl-next-door—except she has a unique heritage, and by trying to discover her roots and help her mother she unleashes an ancient force who are determined to punish her for her actions. As a consequence of this she is the catalyst that causes an Archangel to fall from the heavens… and into her arms.
What were the inspirations behind this book?
Ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by the Mayan prophecies that December 2012 marks the End of the World. The mathematical precision of their calendars are mind boggling and their ancient knowledge of the heavens phenomenal. As I got older I discovered the Mayans hadn’t discovered this knowledge themselves. It was handed down to them from a far more ancient civilization. And suppose this knowledge had been handed down previously from an even more ancient race of people?
I’ve also always loved the myths and legends that surround Atlantis. But what if that wasn’t merely a legend? What if a lost continent had once existed and been home to a technologically advanced civilization that rivals our own today?
It was only when I began to uncover the distant, mist shrouded past of the Archangel Gabriel that I began to understand the immortal he was today, and that was when he finally opened up enough to let me share his story.
Can you tell us about the Archangel series as a whole?
Each book is a stand alone romance between the Archangel and his heroine, so although it doesn’t matter if the books aren’t read as a series it would give a richer understanding of the world and background if the books are read in order. There is a thread that runs through the books that involve the ancient (and rather nasty) alien species, the Guardians.
What can we expect from the second book?
The second book, Archangel Of Death, is Azrael’s story. At the end of Archangel Of Mercy Azrael is horrified that Gabe has fallen again. He can’t understand why any Archangel would want to put themselves through that kind of torture because all too soon mortals die. And when they do, a part of the Archangel’s heart dies too.
Well, who could resist that kind of attitude? I knew straight away that Azrael was going to be my next unwilling hero! And who better for his heroine than someone from a race he has always despised and done everything within his power to eliminate?
Rowan is a dhampir and Azrael truly doesn’t stand a chance from the moment they meet. Because Rowan is nothing like the dhampirs Azrael fought nine hundred years ago when he saved the life of a legendary phoenix. In fact Rowan is nothing like any woman he has ever met. I loved writing this book and can’t wait until it hits the shelves!
As you know, I’m a huge fan of your sexy Christina Phillips historicals set in ancient Britain which involve forbidden love between the locals and the Roman invaders. You can imagine how thrilled I am to hear that books 3 and 4 in this series will soon be out. Can you tell us what’s going on with your Romans and Druids?
Thanks Anna, I was absolutely delighted when Ellora’s Cave picked up the next books in the series, Betrayed and Tainted.
Betrayed is Tacitus and Nimue’s story. Nimue, an acolyte of the moon goddess, appeared right at the very end of the second book, Captive, and she immediately fascinated me. While trying to protect the Briton queen she is captured by her bitterest enemy, but soon discovers the Roman tribune who’s enslaved her is far from the brutal barbarian she imagined. As for Tacitus, he’s never met a woman like Nimue before and has trouble accepting that this beautiful, ethereal woman could possibly be a warrior—let alone one of Rome’s deadliest enemies. I had a lot of fun tying these two up in knots!
In Tainted I mixed things up a bit, and have a Roman noblewoman, Antonia, who falls for tough Celt warrior, Gawain. Antonia’s had a hell of a life with her brutal former husband, and arrives in Britannia determined to make a new start without the complication of a man telling her what to do. Then she meets Gawain, and makes the decision to embark on a brief liaison. Gawain, of course, is more than happy to accommodate her since he doesn’t do commitment and is trying to stir rebellion against the Roman Legions. But as I’m an evil author and love torturing my hero and heroine, nothing goes according to their plans and they fall in love. Rome is not amused!
I also notice that we’ve got a novella called Bloodlust Denied coming up from you soon. Wow, I’ll be wallowing in delicious Christina Phillips/Ashcroft lusciousness. Can you tell us about this novella?
I’ve always wanted to write a lush Regency Romance and a few years ago an idea came to me of a tortured Regency duke who had lost the only woman he had ever loved many years before. Well, once I started thinking more about the story I realised this was no ordinary duke and he hadn’t lost his beloved a handful of years ago. No, my twisted imagination turned my sexy duke into a very bad ass vampire indeed, and any sense of morality he had once possessed had died along with his wife over two thousand years before. In Bloodlust Denied Alexius meets Morana and despite himself is fascinated by the way she shows no fear of him. Unfortunately for Alexius, Morana is no ordinary human either – she’s a Maiden of Death, pledged to rid the world of vampires.
Thanks, Christina! Wow, lots happening with you.
I have a copy of ARCHANGEL OF MERCY and some gorgeous swag to give away to one lucky commenter. The contest is open internationally to wherever The Book Depository delivers. Just leave a comment on the post or, since it’s nearly Christmas (or The End of Days if we’re going with the Mayans!) let me know who you would love to find stuffed in your stocking on 25th December (or, alternatively, who would you love to find brandishing awesome weapons in order to fight the Apocalypse!)
Be sure to come back to the Lair on December 13 when we kick off the annual 12 BANDITA DAYS OF CHRISTMAS! Prizes and recipes every day!! Roosters. Starbucks goodies. Books. Dragons. Books. Cookies. Godiva. Books!! (By Banditas and friends like Dianna Love, Miranda Neville, Annie West, Sabrina Jeffries, Liz Carlyle, JD Tyler, Deb Marlowe, Marquita Valentine, Addison Fox, Lydia Dare and many more!) You know you want the cookies, for sure, so come home to the Lair for the Holidays! Who knows, you might win something, and you’ll be guaranteed to have fun!!
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Dec 4 2012, 12:38 am in 12 Bandita Days of Christmas, Alpha Males, Alpha Pack, Black Magic, Black Moon, guest blogger, JD Tyler, paranormal romance, Shapeshifters, Suzanne Ferrell
Waving madly at you from the Lair’s cabana bar!
Hey Bandit Buddies, we’re over here.
As you approach you see Suz and her good friend JD Tyler noshing on some steak bruschetta and sipping on mojitos.
Suz: JD and I have been talking about BLACK MOON, her third full length book in the Alpha Pack series. Pull up a chair and join in!
Suz: JD, you once told me that if Criss Angel and Adam Lambert had a child it would be Kalen. That was a very graphic visual description and I immediately went, “whoa, bad boy to the mega degree!” So, exactly how did you come up with his character in the scheme of the Alpha Pack world?
JD: I love this question, because I enjoy talking about how Kalen came to be. I recently told USA Today’s Happy Ever After that some characters are created, and some simply stroll from the shadows and take your breath away. Sorcerer/Necromancer/panther shifter Kalen Black from BLACK MOON was like that for me—I didn’t sit down and painstakingly outline his character. When the Alpha Pack team was watching the old cemetery, a young man emerged from the darkness wearing an old, battered leather duster, raven hair falling around his face, surveying the area with kohl-rimmed green eyes that reflected far too much sorrow. And in that moment, I knew I had met a rare, signature character that readers would love and who would define my series for the duration.
Suz: Did you always intend for him to be the misfit in the pack and a linchpin for either their future or their demise? (BTW readers, isn’t that a YUMMY cover?)
JD: From the second Kalen walked into that cemetery, I know he would be a critical character. Until then, I had no idea. The best characters are like that, I think—they simply grab you and refuse to let go!
Suz: In BLACK MAGIC, the e-book novella, you introduced your readers to the burgeoning relationship between Kalen and Mackenzie. How did that affect how you approached their story in Black Moon?
JD: In BLACK MAGIC, Kalen and Mackenzie come together in passion after narrowly escaping an attack by a Sluagh. That night holds repercussions that reach far into BLACK MOON in several ways. One, it leaves Mac with a secret she’s not sure she can share, considering the man she’s falling for dumped her, seemingly without a backward glance. Two, he handed over something very important to Mac in order to protect her, leaving him vulnerable when BLACK MOON begins. The stage has been set for a huge battle, and heartbreak before things get better…
Suz: Kalen had a very rough life even before he was on the streets. Without giving away anything, how did you see Kalen’s struggle in this book?
JD: Kalen’s rough home life growing up, with only his grandmother as his rock, was essential to his emotional development as a grown man struggling to find his place. He finally lands in the Alpha Pack, starts to fall in love with Mackenzie, but even then, with the love and stability he’s always longed for within his grasp, he can’t trust that it’s real.
In BLACK MOON, Kalen is mentally struggling against being seduced to the side of evil by the Unseelie King Malik, and those were among the hardest scenes I’ve ever written. Kalen is a good man losing the battle for his mind, a man who’s never had love and wants it so desperately. He’s fighting against accepting a twisted form of love from a force who’s sweet-talking him, saying all the right things. Now he’ll have to find that core of inner strength that’s always been there, and use it to save everyone he loves.
Suz: Nick is a very interesting character. He’s not only the pack’s leader, he’s also a PreCog. Can you tell the readers what that means and how he deals with his “gift”.
JD: Nick Westfall is the commander of the Alpha Pack, a PreCog (meaning he can sometimes see the future) and a rare born white wolf. He’s very mysterious, outwardly strong yet dealing with several lifetimes of inner agony. He carries the secret of a tragic past, and nobody knows that Nick is actually more than two hundred years old. His gift as a PreCog is more of a burden, and he rarely interferes with the future even when it holds something bad—he interfered once, with horrifying results. He tries to guide without imposing his will when he gets visions, and that’s a razor’s edge for him to tread.
Eventually, Nick’s past will be revealed when it comes back to haunt him…
Suz: So what’s next in the Alpha Pack world?
JD: BLACK MOON releases today, Tuesday, December 4, and I’m so excited! Here’s the blurb:
A group of former Navy SEALS, the Alpha Pack is a top-secret team of wolf shifters with Psy powers combating the greatest dangers in the world. But sometime those dangers are more intimate than they bargained for…
Ever since he saved Dr. Mackenzie Grant’s life, panther shifter and sorcerer Kalen Black has had trouble keeping the beautiful doctor out of his thoughts, and his heart. The brush with death awakened an intense passion between them—one that for the first time had the notorious loner letting down his guard.
With the Alpha Pack battling an evil Fae who is slowly gaining control over Kalen’s mind, Kalen can no longer trust his own actions, and he breaks off his affair with Mackenzie in order to keep her safe. But when Mackenzie learns that she is carrying Kalen’s child, no amount of danger will keep her away from the man she loves. To be with his mate and unborn child, Kalen will have to unleash the full fury of his power, and risk destroying them all…
JD: Next up in the series is HUNTER’S HEART, the 4th installment in the Alpha Pack series. (Due to be released in late summer/fall 2013) This is Ryon Hunter’s story, and while I don’t have back cover copy yet to share, I can tell readers that 1) A big secret will be revealed involving the Alpha Pack, regarding a question posed back in PRIMAL LAW and 2) this is a “predator” story. It explores the question—what if one of Malik’s and Dr. Gene Bowman’s test subjects, an innocent human man, was an experiment gone wrong and accidentally got unleashed on the world when the labs were destroyed? Can Ryon, Ryon’s mate Daria, and the Pack save this man inside the creature? They’d better hope so. Because the most dangerous predator is the one you can’t see coming…
In spring of 2013, my Sugarland Blue series that centers on the Sugarland, Tennessee Police Department (written as Jo Davis) launches with the novella ARMED AND DANGEROUS in April. The next month, in May 2013 is the first book, SWORN TO PROTECT. Both the novella and full-length book feature the popular Detective Shane Ford, who first appeared in my Firefighters of Station Five series!
After that, I have two more books under contract—the 5th Alpha Pack book, character and story to be announced, and the 2nd Sugarland Blue book, tentative title HOT PURSUIT (could change). HOT PURSUIT is slated to be Detective Taylor Kayne’s story. Taylor is Shane’s partner in Homicide.
So dear readers, do you like Bad Boys as your heroes? What about Bad Boys attracts you to them? Who is your favorite romance Bad Boy and why?
JD is giving away a signed copy of BLACK MOON to a lucky commenter
Be sure to come back to the Lair on December 13 when we kick off the annual 12 BANDITA DAYS OF CHRISTMAS! Prizes and recipes every day!! Roosters. Starbucks goodies. Books. Dragons. Books. Cookies. Godiva. Books!! (By Banditas and friends like Sabrina Jeffries, Liz Carlyle, JD Tyler, Deb Marlowe, Addison Fox and many more!) You know you want the cookies, for sure, so come home to the Lair for the Holidays! Who knows, you might win something, and you’ll be guaranteed to have fun!!
Posted by Nancy Northcott Nov 8 2012, 12:16 am in Bear Claw Crime Lab, Jessica Andersen, Nancy's blogs, Nightkeepers, paranormal romance, Spellfire
Today is an exciting day and also a sad one. Having Jessica Andersen in the Lair is always a pleasure, but she’s here to talk about Spellfire, the last book in the her wonderful Nightkeepers paranormal romance series. I love these books, as many of you know, and while I’ll be glad to see the Nightkeepers triumph (at least, I hope they will!), I’ll miss knowing there’s another book ahead. Spellfire is a Romantic Times Top Pick, with a 4.5-star rating, so the series is ending on a high note.
Welcome, Jessica! How did you feel when you turned in the manuscript for Spellfire, knowing it was the last Nightkeepers book?
Sad. Drained. Giddy. In dire need of a pool boy bearing a scorpion bowl … yet elated at the same time, because I’m really, proud of this series and how it came around to (in my opinion, anyway) a really satisfying conclusion.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing these books since 2006 (the launch book, Nightkeepers, came out in June of 2008). So much has happened, both in the world at large and in my own small corner of it, that it boggles the mind. Not the least that the first book acknowledged my fiancé, the last book is dedicated to my amazing husband, and they’re most definitely not the same guy!
I’m love how this last book of the series brings it home. And whenever I get sad, knowing I won’t be writing another Nightkeeper book, I look over at my shelf. It helps knowing that I can visit them any time, both on the page and in my head. That’s the awesome thing about books!
I know I’ll be visiting them on the page again. Please tell us a bit about Spellfire.
This is Rabbit and Myrinne’s story … It had to be, really, because even though Rabbit wasn’t in the original outline, the eight-book series wound up not just being about the Nightkeepers’ war to save mankind from the 2012 doomsday, but also about Rabbit growing up (and blowing stuff up).
He started out as a snotty teenager who just appeared out of nowhere in one of the first few scenes, and tried his darnedest to steal every book along the way. Now he’s all grown up (and then some, rwor!), and his love of self-destruction has the potential for some very big consequences.
As for Myrinne … well, I know lots of readers aren’t so sure about her as Rabbit’s heroine (I wasn’t either, until I got to know her better), but she’s come a long way, too, baby. She’s finally got the magic and power she’s always wanted, only to find that it comes with responsibilities she never even dreamed of. And where the Nightkeepers are almost always stronger together than apart, it seems impossible to believe that she and Rabbit can put the pieces of their relationship back together before the end date … or that they should even try.
What has writing the Nightkeepers you learned about writing a series?
Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Okay, not really, because there’s nothing simple or stupid about these books. However, I did learn the importance of focusing the camera lens on the moments that are most important to the main characters of the current book. Yes, everyone’s lives are marching forward as time passes, and yes, it’s important for me to know what’s going on in the other characters’ lives, but in books as long and complex as the Nightkeeper books, it can’t all fit on the page.
Also in terms of simplifying, I’m currently working on a trio of books that are set in the same story world as each other, but don’t really have overarching plot connections. Partly it’s because that’s the way these books are writing, and partly it’s because I want readers to pick up one of these new books having never read the prior ones, and be able to dive right in. Which isn’t necessarily true for the Nightkeepers.
While writing this series, you’ve also written the terrific Bear Claw Crime Lab books. How did you juggle these projects so successfully?
Aw, thanks for saying I’ve been successful at it! It was a struggle sometimes, I’ll admit, especially given that I alternated writing the two series.
Usually I would stop in the middle of writing a Nightkeeper book to write the outline and first three chapters of a Bear Claw book, submit that for approval to Harlequin, finish up the Nightkeeper first draft, submit that to NAL, write the rest of the Bear Claw book, and submit it just in time to do the first round of revisions on the Nightkeeper book. It was crazy!
I think I’ve said it here before, but I’ll say it again: Fonts are my friend. I always wrote the Nightkeepers in Times New Roman and the Bear Claw books in Courier New. It was a visual cue that helped tell my brain whether I was writing a paranormal or a romantic suspense. That, as much as anything, helped me keep things straight!
That’s a cool idea! Does not having another Nightkeepers book ahead feel strange?
Everything feels strange right now, but in a good way. After years of writing four to six books a year while also running a small horse farm and freelancing as a science editor—and basically sleeping six hours a night and never taking a day off—I’ve dropped back to writing two books a year, doing a bit more editing, living in a great little house with my hubby and a couple of cats, and taking nights and weekends off to mountain bike and do family stuff. Which is just …weird. But good weird, you know?
As for writing-weird, yes and no. It’s strange not to be in the Nightkeepers’ world anymore, but at the same time, I’m in such a different mental space than I was when I started writing these books. The writing I’m doing now is better for who I am now, if that makes any sense.
Besides, if and when I feel the urge to cause some literary mayhem, Mayan-style, the new opportunities in e- and self-publishing might give me an outlet to write, say, the stories of Patience and Brandt’s twin boys, all grown up in a near-future storyline …
Is there anything in particular you would like readers to take away from this series?
This is definitely one of those ‘you can see the author in the stories’ deals, as each of the books deals, in one way or another, with the concepts of being an outsider and finding your place in your community, family, and/or relationship.
It’s something I’ve struggled with most of my life, and something I think lots of us can relate to. I can’t say that I’ve come up with any great take-home on the topic, but if my last few years are anything to go by, I can say this: huge, tremendous, die-for-you love—the kind that we write about and read about—exists, even for an outsider. And you don’t have to be a magic user to find it.
What are you working on now?
Ahh, that’s the question, isn’t it? Well, I guess I can ‘fess up now, because there’s an excerpt of the new book at the end of SPELLFIRE.
I am … wait for it … going West! Yep, writing as Jesse Hayworth, I’m going to be doing contemporary Western romances about a Wyoming cattle station-turned-dude ranch, the three-generation family that runs the place, and the guests that come through. The first book, SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE, is in production for a June release from Signet.
Although it’s a departure from the Nightkeepers and Intrigues, I think some of the same voice comes through in the strong heroes and heroines. In this case, though, they’re working on their own little corners of the world rather than trying to save the whole thing.
Thanks as always for the opportunity to celebrate the new release with the Banditas!
For more about Jessica and her work, visit her website.
Jessica is giving away a copy of Spellfire to one commenter today. So tell us, what series have you enjoyed, and what did you find satisfying about their conclusions? If you read westerns, either contemporary or historical, which ones do you like, and why?
Posted by Susan Sey Jun 29 2012, 12:29 am in interviews, paranormal romance, sci fi, Susan Sey, tamara hogan, urban fantasy
Hello, Bandita Buddies! Today, for your reading pleasure, I’ve brought you Tamara Hogan. I first met Tammy in our local RWA chapter where we were both aspiring writers, nervously clutching our manuscripts and our dreams. Tammy sold the first three books of her Underbelly Chronicles to Sourcebooks following a Golden Heart final in 2009, & I’ve been gobbling them up ever since. She’s here today to talk to us about the second book in the series, CHASE ME.
Susan Sey: Hi, Tammy, and welcome! Give us the set up for your latest release in the Underbelly Chronicles, CHASE ME. This is Gabe and Lorin’s story, isn’t it? Both of whom we met in book one, TASTE ME?
Tamara Hogan: Millennia ago, when their ship crashed to Earth, hopelessly marooning them, extra-planetary species of all types settled secretly into our world, quietly going about their business with humans none the wiser. Self–ruling and careful to stay below the radar, their secret is almost exposed when Valkyrie Lorin Schlessinger makes a stunning archaeological discovery while on a dig in northern Minnesota. Her professional nemesis, werewolf geologist Gabe Lupinsky, is quickly dispatched to perform some damage control. Though they were both dating other people at the time, Lorin and Gabe shared a scene – and some sparks – in TASTE ME. Half a year later, away from the constraints of the office, neither is attached, and…well, you know what they say: What happens in Isabella stays in Isabella. Except when it doesn’t.
SS: I love it that your books are set in our beloved Minnesota! And northern Minnesota to boot! Isabella! Love that town. And speaking of setting, tell us about this world you’ve created with the Underbelly Chronicles. What particularly appeals to you about this particular take on sci-fi/urban fantasy?
TH: I’m a complete hoor for science—cosmology, theoretical physics, archaeology, computer hacking, astrophysics, science fiction and science fact. I can’t remember a time when space did not fascinate me: the ungodly distance. The long time horizons. How cute Mr. Spock was. I’ve long thought that sheer math supported the possibility that humanity isn’t the only intelligent life in the universe. As the character Ellie Arroway says in the movie Contact, “If it’s just us, it seems like an awful waste of space.”
So I got to wondering, what if the answer to one of our era’s defining existential questions—are we alone?—has already been answered, and humanity simply doesn’t know it yet?
SS: Oooooh, chills! That question alone could lead to hundreds of books! Tell us about how you answered it.
TH: In this series I crafted a backstory where a ship of extra-planetary beings—just going about their business, and en route to somewhere else—crashed here thousands of years ago. Their descendants have been sharing the planet with us ever since, with humanity being none the wiser. On the ship were a number of species who evolved on adjacent branches of humanity’s family tree, with some strengths and abilities that are not magical by any means, but which provided distinct survival advantages on their planets of origin.
In the world that I’ve created, incubi and succubi secrete luscious pheromones maximizing their sexual attractiveness, and must absorb emotional energy—particularly sexual energy— for sustenance. Sirens amplify emotional energy with their voices. The Valkyrie have hyperactive adrenal systems which makes them vicious fighters and aggressive lovers. Werewolves, the only shape shifters in my world, typically have amazing scenting abilities and a high level of visual acuity, but are starting to exhibit some genetic frailties as a species due to inbreeding. Faeries have stunning empathic abilities, and my vampires, allergic to Earth’s UV rays, drink blood for its hemoglobin, which has healing properties.
I also wanted to suggest that all is not necessarily well environment-wise on other planets. CHASE ME’s villain, the vampire Beddoe, is horrified to find that the locals use water—rare, precious water—to wash their bodies. Such wasteful use is a crime punishable by death on his homeworld.
SS: See, this is what makes me love your world-building! You do it in such an organic way. Same goes for the paranormal aspect of your work. The way you use the supernatural elements of the story to underscore the really human elements of the romance is fascinating. For example, Gabe’s failing vision feeds his insecurity about whether he’s an adequate match for Lorin, while Lorin herself struggles with whether her raging attraction to Gabe is love or just her Valkyrie appetites in action. Can you talk a little bit about how that works? Did you deliberately write it that way, or did it happen more organically?
TH: Crafting Lorin and Gabe with these specific character attributes was deliberate, but I never dared imagine how well these choices might drive the conflict, and pull together thematically. One of the things I wanted to try with CHASE ME was to flip the traditional paranormal/UF gender tropes upside down. It’s Lorin, the heroine, who’s the rough and tumble, sexually aggressive alpha badass, and Gabe, the hero, who’s more cautious and deliberate, who’s protective of his feelings, and who, ultimately, is not at all satisfied with the strictly sexual relationship Lorin proposes. I also wanted to explore the concept of masculinity and strength through the lens of a man who had chronic health problems. Let me reassure readers that Gabe is plenty alpha when the situation calls for it! ;-)
SS: Mmmmmmm. Yes. Yes, he is. Having read CHASE ME, I can attest to this personally. :-) And while I adore your heroes, I truly love your way with a villain. What can you tell us about the villain of CHASE ME?
TH: Ah, the sophisticated vampire Beddoe, wheeler and dealer, captain of the intergalactic pleasure cruiser TonTon. When the ship is underway, his word is law—but his boss, Lorcan, has an extremely long reach, having placed at least one spy on his bridge. He’s almost saved enough money to buy this remote mudball of a planet and its precious water outright when a homing beacon from the long-lost Arkapaedis unexpectedly pops on the planet’s surface, threatening to bring scientists, bounty hunters and all manner of profiteers swarming to the quadrant. Before it blips again, he has to shut it down, once and for all. The scene when Beddoe walks into a northern Minnesota dive bar looking for information while the locals watch the Stanley Cup was my favorite to write. What a blast to see this familiar setting through completely alien (ha!) eyes…
SS: I loved that scene. So what’s next for you? Another Underbelly book, or are you branching out?
TH: I’m just finishing the manuscript for the third book in the Underbelly Chronicles series. TEMPT ME, Bailey and Rafe’s story, is slated for publication in July 2013. Book 1, TASTE ME, is getting some love on the contest circuit, having recently been named a WisRWA Write Touch and PRISM paranormal finalist.
For anyone going to the Romance Writers of America conference in Anaheim in late July, Susan and I are doing a workshop called “Superbad: How Unleashing Your Villain Can Unlock Your Story” which— fair warning— will NOT be recorded due to its interactive nature. (And yeah, because there’s outside chance the language might get a little, erm, spicy.)
SS: Because we’re naughty like that. :-) I’ve had to clean up my language since I had kids, & I tend to cut loose when I’m on vacation. I’ll apologize in advance.
TH: If you’re there, please say “hi!”
Question for readers: Do you think humanity is the sole intelligent life in the universe? Why or why not?
Today, Sourcebooks is giving away paperback copies of CHASE ME to two lucky commenters! (Sorry, U.S. and Canadian street addresses only.)
Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she’s not telecommuting as a quality and process engineer for a global networking company, she enjoys writing edgy urban fantasy romance with a sci-fi twist. A voracious reader with an unapologetic television addiction, Tammy is forever on the lookout for the perfect black boots. Shopping, anyone?
Tammy’s first book, TASTE ME, won a Daphne du Maurier Award for Mystery and Suspense, and was also nominated for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart® Award.
For more on Tamara and the Underbelly Chronicles, check her out on:
Her website, Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads
CHASE ME Buy Links:
(Amz | BN | Sourcebooks | Powell’s | BAM | Sony | Kobo | iBooks)
Read an excerpt!
Posted by Joan Kayse Apr 13 2012, 12:35 am in birthdays, Joan Kayse, paranormal romance
Yup, today is my birthday! Feel free to bring the presents of yourselves and a birthday cake or too wouldn’t be amiss.
It’s my birthday and I’ll blog if I want to, blog if I want to…. Today is just going to be a free flow post of things I’ve been thinking about this past week as I approach…um, my next year in age.
Tradition. Last weekend I attended Easter Vigil Mass. This is the service where the Catholic church accepts new members. A handful of people of various ages were baptized. Four of them were kids whose nationality was Hispanic. Those four kids wore beautiful white dresses/suits. The boys had an elaborately embrodiered arm band on. The girls? Oh, my. They were so pretty! Long white dresses, with crinolines, lace gloves, a matching shawl and flowered headband. It was so nice to see the occasion accorded their best. Yes, I was humbled by the simple white slacks and blue top I had on. Which brings me to my next observation.
Clothes. Really designers? Really? I went shopping on that Saturday eager to find a nice dress or skirt to wear to Easter services. I found some styles I liked but the colors! The prints!! Ugh, ugh and ugh!!!! The one dress I did find they didn’t carry in my size (and it wasn’t Easter colored) but I did like it. Why? Because it was a “retro” style. A style that was in when I was a teenager in the 70′s. (Uh, uh, uh,…you all put down those pencils!! Don’t try to do the math.) A simple short sleeve shirt colloard dress with a slightly flared skirt. Sigh.
Pets. I admit it. I admit it right here, right now in The Lair. I used to “make fun” of pet parents. Not true ridicule but I just didn’t get their devotion to their pets. Not to the degree that they lay on the floor while their sick pups lay on the couch just to be by them. The missing of them on vacation to the point of pouting.
I get it now.
Oh, I’d started to change early on when Cricket was only 2 months old. She had an episode of low blood sugar. She was in a stupor and I had to treat her with corn syrup. She rebounded back but….I slept with her on the couch that night to monitor her. Then, left both the kittehs for a week for the first time two years ago. Yes, every duck, bird, dog, fish, topiary at DisneyWorld reminded me of my baby cats. The yearning I felt for them, the concern and worry that they were missing me too about did me in. My only salvation was Creme Brule.
The depth of my total conversion happened Tuesday. Took Grayson in for an issue and his treatment for it required him to stay for about 4 hours. “Go out and do your errands,” the vet said. Um, ok. My gut churned the whole time. Returned to pick him up and had to wait for over 20 min. (the vet was dealing with an emergency). I thought I would jump out of my skin! I was this close to barreling into the back to get my baby. Explained to the tech this was my first time leaving one of them. She laughed and said “What if he’d had to stay overnight?”. Um….then I’d be on a pallet next to him the whole time.
I get it now, people. I SO get it.
Friends. I am so blessed. I have the best friends in the world. And each friend brings some unique gift to me that helps me through life. A handful REALLY get the uniqueness that is Joanie…warts and all and still they love me. Can’t discount that enough.
Writing. I love crafting stories. I want to write gut wrenching ones, fun ones, heart bursting romantical ones. I want to write like Suzanne Collins (yes, I want a multi-movie deal). I want the world to share these with me. I want it. Bad.
So that’s about it for this 2012 Birthday Meandering. What about you all? What have you been contiplating lately? Share some of your blessings with us. Oh, and here…have a balloon