Interview with Author Jennifer Harlow + Giveaway

jenWhat’s a book blogger to do? Welcome today’s guest, Jennifer Harlow, of course! Jennifer is here to talk about her terrific new paranormal mystery/romance What’s a Witch to Do? (to see just how terrific, take a look at my review)

While you’re putting What’s a Witch to Do? on your to-do list, take a look at what Jennifer has to say about it.

Marlene: Jennifer, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Jennifer: I like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. Okay, not really. I hate getting wet. Um…I’m the Amazon Bestselling author of the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad series, I’m single, I live in Northern Virginia, and I spend my days thinking up ways to kill people. Just your typical gal.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Jennifer: I wake up, make the long five step trek to my desk, then spend ten minutes staring at the blank page before getting coffee for twenty more minutes of staring. Eventually the muse gets her ass to the office to help me (she’s in an abusive relationship with procrastination right now and really needs an intervention.) Really I have the main characters and the major plot points worked out years before I even pick up a pen, but sometimes those can change, so I’m both a pantser and planner. I think most writers are.

Marlene: All of your books so far are in the paranormal/urban fantasy/things that go bump in the night realm. Let’s face it, on your blog, you often say “welcome to the Darkside…” So what attracts you to that Darkside?

Jennifer: I don’t know where it comes from but I’ve always been drawn to horror and the paranormal. My grandmother was worried I’d go over to the “dark side,” as in become a feature on Deadly Women or something, but the darkness has always fascinated me. I like horror because it’s so dramatic like riding a roller coaster. You get to touch that darkness, that danger, but it can’t touch you back or hurt you. The paranormal is the unexplained, and we fear what we don’t understand. Plus with the paranormal you get to have a little magic in your life, even if it’s only in a book.

Whats a Witch to Do by Jennifer Harlow book coverMarlene: What can we expect of What’s a Witch to Do?

Jennifer: This one follows the most powerful witch in America who, on the busiest week of her life, finds out someone wants to kill her and take over her coven. There’s romance, humor, Southern hospitality, and plenty of suspense. Sales pitch over.

Marlene: In What’s a Witch to Do, Mona seems like a heroine for “the rest of us”. She’s not perfectly gorgeous, she’s not 22, she’s not a size 0, and her life is disorganized by a series of to-do lists that never quite get done. She’s wonderful! Was there a particular inspiration for Mona?

Jennifer: I often get asked if my character Bea from the F.R.E.A.K.S. is based off me. She’s far nicer, sweeter, and braver than me. If a horde of zombies was about to attack people I’d be running the other way, not picking up a machete to join in the fight. But Mona is the most like me. She has my former martyr syndrome, my overreaching grasp when it comes to all I commit to, my control freak tendencies, my intimacy issues, and my self-image problems. I think a lot of people, especially women, have the same quirks in being everything to everyone and weight static. Even my size 0 friends have the same static. I just wanted her to be a normal person in extraordinary circumstances. Even if she is the most powerful witch in America.

Marlene: Does your new Midnight Magic series tie into your F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad series?

Jennifer: It does. Some of the F.R.E.A.K.S. even make cameos. I wanted to expand this world to include people who are different but don’t go looking for trouble, it just finds them. Everyone shows up in everyone else’s books and events from the past play into all the books. I have a timeline above my desk to keep it all straight, like a web. Like Mona I just hope my reach doesn’t exceed my grasp.

Marlene: Will there be more Midnight Magic books? What is next on your schedule?

death takes a holidayJennifer: This year is very, very busy for me. Besides What’s A Witch To Do? I have a short story out in Kindle Single form about FREAK teleporter Nancy, the third F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad book Death Takes A Holiday out in August, and may self publish something else. Then this time next year the next in the Midnight Magic book will be out. Mona and Adam appear but really it’s Alpha Jason’s story about his rise to power. And right now I’m working on the third Magic book whose focus is Anna West, who I introduced in the second F.R.E.A.K.S. book To Catch A Vampire. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.

Marlene: What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?

Jennifer: The commute. Five steps and the boss doesn’t mind if I work in my pjs. I also like controlling people who have no recourse. Bea never calls me bossy when I micromanage her life. Fake people are so much better than real ones.

Marlene: Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask.

Jennifer: I am a huge, massive anglophile. I didn’t leave the house for a week when PBS began their all British all the time channel. I watch more British shows than American.

Marlene: Tell us the title of one book that you’ve faked reading.

Fifty Shades Darker. I kind of liked Fifty Shades of Grey, I read it in like three hours and wouldn’t read it again, but the second one was just soooooo boring and Ana’s passivity began to grate so I stopped after about fifty pages. I totally felt like kicking Christian Grey in the balls during those fifty pages. He’d probably get off on that though.

SoullessMarlene: What’s one book that you’ve bought just because of the cover?

Jennifer: Soulless by Gail Carriger. That is one of my favorite covers ever. It’s like art.

Marlene: And what is the book that you most want to read again for the first time?

Jennifer: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. It was the last book where I had to spend all night reading it because I couldn’t put it down. I’m dying for the show to begin again.

Marlene: Morning person or Night Owl?

Jennifer: I used to be a massive Night Owl, even as a child I wouldn’t fall asleep until after midnight, but then I joined the working world and had to become a morning person. Stupid adulthood.

17517376About Jennifer Harlow

Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills.

You can find Jennifer at her website, her blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.



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Interview with Author Theresa Meyers + Giveaway!

Theresa MeyersI’m very happy to welcome today’s special guest Theresa Meyers.  Theresa is the author of the action/adventure/steampunk/romance series, The Book of Legends. Each story in The Legend Chronicles has featured one of the handsome Jackson brothers, named after their father’s favorite guns, and destined to save the world. They’ve been marvelous fun! Check out my reviews of The Hunter (Colt Jackson), The Slayer (Winchester Jackson) and The Chosen (Remington Jackson) for glimpses into Ms. Meyers terrific creation.

And now, let’s hear from the author herself!

Marlene: Theresa, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Theresa: I’m the progeny of a mad (NASA) scientist and a tea-addicted bibliophile. My father worked at NASA during the space race, and now runs his own testing lab (NWAA Labs) out of the remains of defunct a nuclear power plant in Elma, WA, and my mother collected books, all kinds of books, her whole life, and was an elementary teacher. That gives you an idea of how I ended up with a curious mind (I love the research part of writing) and a passion for stories and books. It didn’t hurt that buying books was always considered an understandable expense and my mother turned our dining room into a library by lining the walls with bookshelves. My mother always read out loud to us, changing the voices for each character (something I still do whenever I read out loud even from my own books at conferences) and that made the stories pictures in my head. That’s how I see when I write. I’m a very visual person (likely because I’m dyslexic and the words didn’t make sense to me at the time anyway!) I’m also a perpetual multi-tasker. I’m a writer, a mom of two active young teens, work part-time as a school secretary at a junior high, and own a few acres including some fruit trees and a selection of roses and herbs, an old Arab gelding, a couple of fat, lazy cats and a mini-Aussie that require attention. I’m married to the guy who took me on my first real date to the Prom and suffered through my little brother sitting between us in the back seat of my parent’s car. I like my tea with milk and stevia, hate the flavor of coffee, and adore chocolate. On occasion I’ve been known to collect teapots and teddybears. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I can I keep up on Supernatural (the Dean girl in me is giddy about season 9!), Grimm, Once Upon a Time, The Vampire Diaries and Downton Abbey. I started writing when I was in 8th grade for the school newspaper, and began my first novel at 17. It wasn’t until I joined Romance Writers of America that I was able to get some focus and understanding about the industry and I wrote for 20 years (working as a public relations executive and owning a PR agency in the mean time) before I was published by Harlequin. I now write for three different publishers and have way more stories in my head than I can ever get down on paper.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Theresa: You know I wish I had a typical writing day. I just don’t. It’s write whenever, wherever, however I can. Sometimes it’s in a cheap spiral notebook in the car while I’m waiting to pick up the kids from football, basketball, dance, track, school club meetings or a friend’s house. Sometimes I’ll take rapid notes on EverNote on my phone for a piece of dialog when paper isn’t handy. Most often I’m writing on my desktop computer, but when that doesn’t work (or I know I’m seriously lagging behind in exercise) I’ll go to my laptop on the tread desk (which is a fancy way of saying a piece of the dining room table extension set over the arms of my treadmill). Normally with my day job I can get in about five pages a day on average. If I’m pushing hard on a deadline, I’ll write when I come home before the kids get home from school and after about 8 pm at night when dinner and homework is done. As for my method? I’m not actually a pantser or a plotter. I like to call myself a planter because I use my plotting board and scene sheets as kind of the trellis for my idea to grow on. I plant the idea and I know it’s going to grow like a vine from the bottom to the top of the trellis every time. But what I don’t know when I plant that idea is which way it’s going to twist and turn as it grows up the trellis. Sometimes it takes some unexpected directions just like the wisteria vine on my front porch!

The Chosen Theresa MeyersMarlene: What can we expect of The Chosen?

Theresa: A fun, kick-butt adventure set in the weird wild west complete with banditos, mechanical monstrosities, demons, Aztec bone warriors, a funky steampunk submarine, giant black jaguars, a love triangle between two brothers and the shape-shifting thief China McGee, and the mother of show-downs between The Chosen and archdemon Rathe and his Darkin hordes that culminates in a destructive force the world still remembers to this day. Sound good?

Marlene: So, is this it for The Book of Legends? Are you ever planning to come back to this steampunk world?

Theresa: I’m not certain. I sure would like to continue writing in this world, but part of that is up to my publishers. I have ideas for more stories set in this world that involve some of the extended family of the Jackson brothers we’ve yet to meet.

Marlene: What made you decide to have the three brothers’ stories overlap each other, to show the events from each brother’s perspective?

Theresa: Every writer tries to stretch him/herself. It’s a thing. We have to do more with each book. This was a stretching point for me. You know how it’s always kind of annoying when you find a good book and you think, yeah, but this is number two or three in the series I can’t read this until I read the others. I wanted to do something different with this trilogy. Could I write three books that took place simultaneously so it wouldn’t really matter, you’d still be in the same time in each story? Then when I started writing it and had to change perspectives and jump in the other brother’s point of view in the scene, wow, was that an eye-opener into the characters! Normally you don’t get to see the scene from another character’s perspective which I think added another layer on to their relationship as brothers.

Marlene: What do you think it means that you “put the steam in steampunk”?

Theresa: Well, since the quote came from Cherry Adair, and she writes some seriously hot stuff sometimes, I’d like to think it means that these are truly romances full of “steam” and not just in the mechanical sense!

Marlene: What were your inspirations for The Book of Legends series?

Theresa: Oddly enough, I came up with the idea for these boys off of their names. I was writing historical romance at the time (in the mid-90s) and I started playing with the idea of what if I had three brothers named after their father’s favorite guns? It kind of just spread from there, and I ended up with an entire extended family tree. The Jackson brothers just happen to be from the dark sheep branch of the prestigious European Hunter family that emigrated to America to escape the family’s disapproval. I knew one was just like their outlaw dad, one an attorney and one a law man (opposite of dad). And when I started thinking about how they held things together, well, that’s where the supernatural bit crept in on silent stealthy feet. But at the time no one was buying anything paranormal. So they patient sat on my computer waiting for an editor that would love my Jackson brothers as much as I did.

Marlene: And I noticed that all your books tend a bit toward the eerie and supernatural. What draws you toward the dark?

Theresa: I don’t know that it’s so much the dark as the paranormal. You see, I was raised with a mom who would do things like read the story of the shoemaker and the elves to me, then I’d hear these wee little voices outside my window. The next morning my room would be cleaned and my mother would say it was the elves in the stump in the back yard and I ought to make them some cookies and clothes like the shoemaker did as a thank you. She made it all seem so real that it wasn’t hard to get to a place where you begin to realize that just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not real. She was always making us aware of the world around us in a natural sense, and how magical life in general is, and I think that’s just kind of carried through into what I write. Besides, love is the greatest magic of all, don’t you think?

shadowlanderMarlene: What projects do you have planned for the future?

Theresa: Oh, honey, where do I begin? I’ve got four contemporary romances coming out with Entangled’s Bliss and Indulgence lines this year titled The Geek Billionaire Makeover, The Baby Mistake, You & Me…Again and Crossing the Line. Then I’m working on my Shadow Sisters series set with my alpa fae in the dark realms of Shadowland and Wyldwood. I’m also working on putting together a new series with a whole different slant on superheroes for Kensington as well as more vampire and werewolf books for Harlequin.

Marlene: What book would you most want to read again for the first time?

Theresa: Probably the entire Harry Potter series. I read them out loud to my kids when they first came out and we had such fun because I changed the voices for each character just like my mother had done for me. I have one really lovely memory of all of us as a family curled up in the king size bed while we read the last few chapters of the last book together because we all couldn’t wait to see how everything ended.

Marlene: On the other hand, tell us which book you’ve faked reading?

Theresa: Hummm. Hard one. I don’t know that I’ve ever faked reading a book. I like reading so much that if I have the slightest interest in it, it isn’t hard to just go grab the thing and start reading it for real!

Marlene: Tell me something that I wouldn’t know to ask. Just for fun.

Theresa: I make up soundtracks to my stories. It helps get me in the mood to write. Each book gets its own kind of theme song to kick off the sound track so I know which book I’m working on (as I’m usually working on two or three at a time between edits, writing and proposals). For The Chosen the theme song was Cowboy Casanova by Carrie Underwood. It just sounded like something China McGee would have been singing to herself in her head after meeting Remington Jackson.

Marlene: Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Theresa: Morning person, definitely. I’m that person who can roll out of bed, brush my teeth, slap my hair up into a ponytail and be ready to go. My family insists I’m way too perky. I insist they all take after their father who needs an extra half hour after the alarm goes off just to wake up. LOL.

bio_frontAbout Theresa Meyers

The progeny of a slightly mad NASA scientist and a tea-drinking bibliophile who turned the family dining room into a library, Theresa Meyers learned early the value of a questioning mind, books and a good china teapot. But it wasn’t until third grade that Theresa overcame her dyslexia and learned to read, going on to make words her lifes work. With a degree in Mass Communications she became first a journalist, then a public relations officer in both the corporate and agency realm. But by far the most challenging has been using her writing skills to pen paranormal and steampunk novels in the turret office of her Seattle-area Victorian home. Shes spent nearly a quarter of a century with the boy who took her to the Prom, drinks tea with milk and sugar, is an adamant fan of the television show Supernatural, and has an indecent love of hats.

You can find Theresa at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

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Interview with Author Nico Rosso + Giveaway

Rosso_Portrait_12V2-255x300My guest today is one of my favorite SFR authors. And, he’s also the husband of one of my favorite authors. So I was especially pleased when Entangled Publishing gave me the opportunity to interview Nico Rosso as part of the tour for their superhero romance anthology, Holding Out for a Hero. I did love Nico’s story (see my review for details), but I also adore the concept, so I hope we get lots more.

True confession, Nico and his wife Zoë Archer’s shared steampunk romance series, The Ether Chronicles was one of my 2012 favorites at Library Journal this year. Interviewing him was an absolute treat. So without further ado…

Marlene:  Welcome Nico! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Nico: -I’m a romance writer, married to a romance writer (Zoë Archer), and I’m trying to find some simplicity in life.  I think that’s why the romance genre is so appealing.  No matter what external threats you throw at the characters, or how damaged they’ve been in the past, it always comes down to the two of them finding themselves and each other at just the right time.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Nico: -I’m definitely a planner, so I like to have my outline in pretty good shape before I start in on pages.  Once the piece is humming, I’ll get up early (maybe around 6:30am) to take advantage of the morning calm.  From there I’ll break for meals.  If I’m lucky, I’ll get my day’s work done before lunch, but there are usually more words that need putting down in the afternoon. 

Marlene: What’s the story behind your switch from Hollywood to romance writer? Would it make a good romance novel? Or maybe a screenplay?

Nico: -It’s not a very dramatic story.  Through years of grinding, trying to make inroads, I discovered that the kinds of movies that inspired me in the first place weren’t being made anymore.  I decided that rather than trying to fight my way into something I no longer really liked, I had to find a place where new voices and ideas were welcome.  Through Zoë, I learned that romance was just that place.

nights of steelMarlene:  What’s it like co-creating a steampunk series with your spouse?

Nico: -It’s fantastic working on the Ether Chronicles with Zoë.  Because there’s such a range in the stories, we can be researching Scottish moors one minute, then figuring out how an ether rifle works the next.  We’re always discussing our projects with each other, anyway, so this was just a natural evolution.

Marlene: And how did you work out the writing territory in The Ether Chronicles? Pins in a dartboard? Knives at 20 paces?

Nico: -We knew early on that I’d be writing the Westerns and she’d handle everywhere else.  It suited our interests and kept things defined so there’d be no thumb wrestling over who got to tell which story.  The only time we take out the rubber knives is when we have to choreograph fight scenes (seriously, we do this).

holding out for a heroMarlene: What can we expect of Ironheart?

Nico: -I really wanted Ironheart to take me back to my early days of reading comic books in the ‘80s, so you’ll find a lot of gritty action and tough talking heroes.  But there’s also a very human story at the core.  Despite all their powers, both Vince “The Anvil” and Kara “SnapDragon” are vulnerable where their hearts are concerned, and it’s a difficult struggle for them to learn to trust again.

Marlene:  Will there be more books in the Heroes Guild?

Nico: -I’d love to explore more stories in the Heroes Guild.  It all depends on demand.  If the reader’s devour Ironheart and still want more (wink), I’ll deliver.

Marlene: All your writing is on the “way out there” side of the romance equation: steampunk, science fiction romance (YES!) and now superheroes. What drew you to that spark of the genre in particular?

Nico: -I think because I didn’t come to romance as a reader first, but as a writer, I found inspiration in other genres from my past, then drew them into the romance writing.

Marlene: Name one book that you’ve bought just because of the cover.

Nico: -I bought a 1957 edition of H. Rider Haggard’s She & King Solomon’s Mines because the cover was so simple and classic for these adventure stories.  A green hardcover cloth binding with a black rectangle telling you the author and titles.  It’s small, so it fits in the hand beautifully.  The kind of book you keep with you for train rides and rainy cafes.

Marlene: What is the one book that you most want to read again for the first time?

Nico: -Because I read them in high school and didn’t bring as much life experience to the works as they deserve, I’d like to rediscover Flannery O’Connor’s short stories.  Her use of overt and subtle imagery is amazing.

Marlene: You mentioned something in your blog about a new project. Have anything you want to share? Or can you tell us something about your not-so-secret upcoming projects?

Nico: -I’d love to share all the details, but unfortunately it’s just too early.  I can say that this new project isn’t like anything I’ve written in romance before.  Expect more of my actual voice in the piece.  It’s still a romance, but it’s definitely raw and raunchy. 

Marlene: Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask.

Nico: -I love to cook, and one of the greatest pleasures is to have time in the kitchen to bake bread.  It’s such a simple process, but not always easy.  Like a meditation, where you have to maintain focus.  And at the end, you have warm food to eat, uncomplicated and made from your own hands.

Marlene: Coffee or Tea?

Nico: -Coffee for when I want to break down walls.  Green tea for when I want to walk through them.

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Author Interview with Lacy Danes + Giveaway

My special guest today is Lacy Danes. She’s here to introduce her fascinating new series, Dragon’s Fate, along with the first book in that series, Waterfall. This series has a very cool concept, and not just because the first dragon is the water dragon. Her series is in an alternate Regency, with cursed dragons as heroes. Very yummy (see my review for more details).

But now, let’s hear it from Lacy!

Marlene: Hi Lacy! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Lacy: Hello and thank you for having me here today as I am promoting my novella Waterfall! I live in the Pacific North West with my amazing husband and three kids.  We have one dog and two beat fish.   I have a day job at a global company in the IT field.  Writing is my passion.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Lacy: I sit down with my coffee or tea.  The coop dog (our Havana Silk Dog) cuddles up next to me and I read through and edit what I wrote last. From there I start writing again.  I don’t plot or plan and when I have the story never followed the plan anyway.

Marlene: I noticed that you like to write on the hotter side of romance. What made you choose to write mostly on the more erotic side of the romance spectrum?

Lacy: I have always loved that heart pounding sensation I get when I would read a great steamy romance.  When Amazon first started they had this feature that let you know the steam level of a romance book.  I would always look for historical romance that rated above 8 on a 1-10 scale.  When I started writing I was very nervous to write those scenes. The wonderful Sasha White gave a class on how to write sex scenes and from then forward I have been confident.  Though I have to say I still get nervous when I know a sex scene is coming up in my story.  I want to make sure that the scene is just as amazing as the stories I read.

Marlene: The dragons in the Dragon’s Fate series seem like a combination of myths and tropes. What was your inspiration for the Dragon’s Fate series?

Lacy: I did research about dragons a few years back.  I did this as I was considering getting a dragon tattoo.  I have yet to get that tattoo but I was fascinated by dragons in each culture.  When I decided to write this story I wanted to make them different and so I used myth, culture, and fiction to create them.

Marlene: How does the world of Dragon’s Fate differ from our own history?

Lacy: Dragon’s Fate’s world is filled with wonder, fantasy, and magic.

Marlene: On your blog you have a page on “Historic Sex” devoted to sex words and phrases used before the 19th century. It’s absolutely fascinating (and hilarious). When did you start researching this and why? And what made you decide to post it?

Lacy: I stared researching when my writing ventured into the more steam side of romance. Sadly I could not find this information consolidated in one place.  Because of that, I decided I needed to put my research up for others to use too.  I am not perfect at it, I know there are words missing and maybe some that are questionable as to the age of their origin. But it is a good list.

Marlene: What projects do you have planned for the future? What is next on your schedule?

Lacy: I am currently working on the second story in the Dragon’s Fate series. Open FlameAfter Dragon’s Fate is complete, I have an unfinished WIP that I am going to dive into.

Marlene: If you could pick one book to read again for the first time, what would it be?

Lacy: A hard question. I have several that I go back to again and again.

Marlene: What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?

Lacy: I love editing.  Each pass I make through the story makes it come more and more to life.

Marlene: Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask?

Lacy: I have three tattoos.  Woodblock inspired flowers on my hip, an owl , and a moon and cherry blossoms on my back.

Marlene: Morning person or night owl?

Lacy: I am a night owl by nature, but my day job tries to make me a morning person. I work for a global company and have to be awake for 7:30 am meetings at times.

A Dragon’s Fate Novella, Book 1
Lacy Danes

Genre: Romance, Alternate Worlds, Paranormal, Steamy/Erotic

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Number of pages: 138
Word Count: 38K

Cover Artist: Kanaza

Book Description:

It’s easy to fall in love. Destiny requires tooth and claw.

Curses are designed to be cruel, but the one afflicting Jordan and his brothers is almost beyond bearing. A dragon born by blood magic, he is an immortal trapped in human form, with only one hope of finding his eternal mate. He must bite her—and pray she lives.

One dark night, he senses the wounded heartbeat of a woman in the shadows, begging him to end her life. Ever the gentleman, he chivalrously obliges her wish. Only to discover three days later that she lives. And has married another.

Celeste always dreamed of marrying for love, but the nightmare of living in her father’s home drives her to wed the Duke of Hudson. Yet on her wedding eve, she is compelled to follow a mysterious man who professes to know her secret. A man with curious blue scales on his muscular arms—whose shadowed eyes reflect a dangerous mix of destiny and desire…

Warning: This novel contains explicit sex, sex in water, four super-hot dragon brothers, and a curse born from magical power that has left them wondering who they are all their lives.

About Lacy Danes :Lacy Danes made a New Year’s resolution to write a hot, historical romance.A year and a half later, she achieved her goal. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where besides writing she enjoys playing cards, chasing her kids around, and savoring a great martini with the man of her dreams all while watching the world go by.Visit Lacy at her web site: | twitter | facebook 


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Interview with Jade Kerrion + Giveaway!

Today I’d like to welcome Jade Kerrion to Reading Reality. Jade is the author of the Double Helix series. I’ve already finished the first book in this science fiction series, Perfection Unleashed (review here) and let me tell you, it is a thrill-a-minute ride!

Marlene: Hi Jade! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Jade: In no particular order, I’m an author, a business executive, a wife, and a mother. All those roles demand impossible amounts of time that far exceed twenty four hours in a day, so on any day, I just juggle them, trying to keep all the balls up in the air. For the most part, it works.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Jade: Prime writing time takes place early in the morning or late at night when the family is asleep. That said, I’ll sneak in whatever time I can find during the day as well. For the most part, I am a planner. I tend to have notes as well as a sense of where the story is going to go. The plots, however, have been occasionally hijacked by uncooperative characters, and oddly, it tends to work out better that way.

Marlene: What made you choose to write science fiction? And why this particular branch of science fiction related to genetic manipulation and people’s reactions to it?

Jade: I grew up on science fiction. My first crush ever was on Luke Skywalker—I was only three at that time. In addition to Star Wars, I was a huge fan of the X-Men. The Double Helix series reflects much of that influence and leverages my own interest in the topic; at college I majored in biology and philosophy. Science is quietly making progress on the genetic front while we focus on far more distracting news, like the economy, a budget deficit, and wars. The genetic revolution will be upon us, faster than we know, and I don’t think we, as a country, or humanity as a whole, are prepared to address it.

Marlene: Where did your inspiration for the Double Helix series come from?

Jade: The X-Men, certainly, but I didn’t want the story to be just about mutants with super powers. Discrimination is frequently more subtle, and I think many of us have dealt with discrimination in one form or another. I wanted to write a story where almost everything is wreathed in shades of grey, and it’s really up to the reader to ask the questions, and find their own answers.

Marlene: What can we expect of the Double Helix series?

Jade: Many more roller-coaster twists and turns! The first three books of the series— Perfection Unleashed, Perfect Betrayal, and Perfect Weapon—are now available, as is the YA spin-off, When the Silence Ends. The focus of the story will start to shift from Danyael, the alpha empath and Galahad’s physical template, to Galahad himself as he defines his own humanity.

Marlene: What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?

Jade: Michelangelo once described his work as a sculptor as freeing the statue that exists within the block of marble. It’s less about creating than it is revealing the art that already exists. Writing is like that for me. The story exists in my head, and the process of writing isn’t about creating, it about revealing the story and sharing it with others.

Marlene: Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask.

Jade: I’m a dancer! I spent years in ballet class, and then in college, joined the modern dance company and spent 40+ hours dancing in preparation for our annual spring concert. Later in life, I switched to salsa (my husband is an incredible dancer.)

Marlene: What book do you wish you could read again for the first time?

Jade: David Eddings’ Belgariad series. Yes, I know it’s standard high fantasy, loaded with stereotypical characters, but darn, it was so much fun. I fell in love with the series immediately, and it would be amazing to read it again for the first time and recapture the sense of wonder.

Marlene: What words of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Jade: Be committed to excellence. This is true regardless of whether you’re going down the traditional route or self-publishing route. You want to put out something you’d be proud to stick your name (or pseudonym) on. Writing well takes time. You wouldn’t call someone an expert until he/she has put in thousands of hours of work (the typical range is 10,000 hours towards expertise.) Likewise, just publishing a book doesn’t make you a truly good writer. It takes time, practice, and dedication to the art.

Marlene: What projects do you have planned for the future? What is next on your schedule?

Jade: In February 2013, I’m releasing Earth-Sim. Let me share the blurb with you:

Have you ever wondered who’s really in charge of the world? If there’s a God, He seems accident-prone. How else can you explain the mass extinctions, global floods, and worldwide plagues? Are there days when you want to shout out to the uncaring sky, “Is there an intelligent, well-executed plan behind this mess?

Wonder no more. From Jade Kerrion, author of the award-winning Double Helix series, comes an occasionally whimsical, frequently irreverent romp through the history of Earth, as seen through the eyes of the two students and the android assigned to shape the future of the planet in Earth-Sim.

Seamlessly blending popular culture with history, science, and religion, this crash course in planetary management will charm and entertain as you attempt to decipher just how much is fact and what else is fiction. Either way, you finally have someone to blame for the shape our world is in.

I’m currently working on a new science fiction novel, tentatively titled City of Eternal Night. Yes, it is science fiction. It started out as a paranormal romance in my head, and as the plot expanded, it very clearly became science fiction. I can’t seem to get away from the genre…

Marlene: Now, can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Jade: A. My books are compelling and my characters addictive. My goal, as an author, is to wreck other people’s time management skills, and according to my readers, I’ve succeeded fairly well on that front.

B. My books have universal appeal. I’ve had lots of readers tell me, “I didn’t even like science fiction before I read your books, but I love them.” Well, that’s because I don’t write hard science fiction. You won’t have to know how a hyperdrive works. In most cases, you don’t even have to leave Earth behind. It’s about the characters and the challenges they face in defining themselves and defining their world.

C. Conflict and tension, physical and emotional. My books are loaded with them. 🙂

Marlene: Coffee or Tea?

Jade: Neither. Hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

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About Jade

Jade Kerrion, author of the award-winning science-fiction/dystopian series, Double Helix, first developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars. And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too? So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren’t their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they’re not.)Places to find Jade: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+

When the Silence Ends

When you choose your friends, you also choose your enemies.

Seventeen-year-old Dee wants nothing more than to help her twin brother, Dum, break free from the trauma in their childhood and speak again, but the only person who can help Dum is the alpha empath, Danyael Sabre, whom the U.S. government considers a terrorist and traitor.

The search for Danyael will lead Dee and Dum from the sheltered protection of the Mutant Affairs Council and into the violent, gang-controlled heart of Anacostia. Ensnared by Danyael’s complicated network of friends and enemies, Dee makes her stand in a political and social war that she is ill equipped to fight. What can one human, armed only with her wits and pepper spray, do against the super-powered mutants who dominate the Genetic Revolution?

America, nevertheless, is ripe for change. Exhausted by decades of belligerence between humans and their genetic derivatives, the clones, in vitros, and mutants, society is on the verge of falling apart or growing up. Which path will it choose, and can a mere human, her sassy attitude and smart mouth notwithstanding, light the way to a better future?

In her quest to help her brother become normal, Dee will learn what it means to be extraordinary. When the silence ends, the celebration of life, love, joy, and hope will inspire feet to dance and hearts to sing.

Interview with Sophie Barnes + Giveaway

Today I’d like to welcome Sophie Barnes.  Her latest book in The Summersbys series, The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda, is coming out on Tuesday.  I’ve reviewed the first two books in the series, Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure and There’s Something About Lady Mary here and here.

Marlene: Hello Sophie! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Sophie: Hello Marlene! Thank you so much for having me here today – I’m thrilled to be your guest =) I was born in Denmark and go back there once a year to visit my family, have an international upbringing and studied design before realizing that writing was what I really wanted to do. The characteristics that best describe me are probably (in no particular order): dreamer, artist, mother, wife, nature enthusiast and tranquil.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Sophie: Ha ha – I’ve been asked this before, but my answer has changed since then =) I’m a pantser turned planner and I truly feel as if that’s made a really positive impact on my writing (quietly hoping that nobody disagrees…lol). It’s certainly made it easier for me to get a feel for the overall book and work out plot issues before I write myself into a corner and have to waste precious time on re-writing a chapter or two. As for my typical day, I take the kids to school at 8:30 in the morning and return home as quickly as possible so I can get started on my writing. When there’s a deadline pending, I do little else but write, which means that household chores like vacuuming and ironing are put on hold (yes, there are many dust bunnies under our beds and couches =)). On average, I write between 2000 and 3500 words per day, and then of course there’s a lot of social networking as well, so I keep busy =) At 3:30 I pick up the kids from school and do very little work until they go to bed, after which I may do a bit more.

Marlene: Wow, you have had an incredible year! How does it feel to have four books (plus a short story) published in a single year?

Sophie: Exhausting! LOL – it feels wonderful, even though I haven’t quite gotten used to the idea yet after all this time. It’s still a bit surreal and I sometimes wind up telling myself, “You’re an author – you’re actually an AUTHOR!!!”

Marlene: And is there a story behind your seemingly overnight success? (There’s usually a TON of work behind becoming an “overnight” success).

Sophie: Yes, there is a TON of work involved, and to be honest, I’ve worked my fingertips to the bone this past year, but I wanted to make a mark and get my name out there, so I decided that the best way to go about it would be to publish as much as possible as quickly as possible and then do a lot of social networking. The titles have also helped I think (work of genius from my editor and marketing department), since they don’t fade in with the rest – they’re different and so are the covers.

Marlene: On your website, you say that you never thought you’d make a career out of writing. Would you like to tell us the story of what happened to make you change your mind?

Sophie: I believe there are a few key factors involved. First of all, I was living in Africa until a couple of years ago where my husband was working and I was staying at home. Being the creative sort that I am, I embarked on several projects just for the sake of doing something with my time. The kids were born, and they became my focus. Then one day, I walked into the local bookshop and picked up Julia Quinn’s book Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. I had no idea who Julia Quinn was, but decided to try out her book which promised to be entertaining. Not only could I not put it down once I started reading, but when I finished I thought, why not write a book like that – how hard can it possibly be? Well, I definitely underestimated the difficulty in writing a book, but I was determined and so I wrote How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back between naptimes, play sessions and while I waited for the kids to fall asleep in the evenings. At the end of the day, it’s all a question of how badly you want that dream of yours to come true =)

Marlene: And why did you choose to write Regency romances in particular? Was there any other part of the romance genre that caught your attention?

Sophie: I’ve always been a huge fan of historical fiction in general, and when I went through a phase in my teens where I decided to read only the classics, Jane Austen was my favorite. I love the film adaptations of her novels – there’s just something so utterly romantic about that whole era where etiquette ruled and the slightest misstep could lead to ruin. When I discovered that there was a whole genre dedicated to that period, I felt as though I’d stumbled upon a vast treasure =) That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy romances set in Victorian times or the occasional medieval one, but the Regency as grabbed my interest for now and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Marlene: Please give readers a little introduction to the Summersby family?

Alexandra, Ryan and William Summersby are the Earl of Moorland’s three children with Alexandra being the youngest and William the oldest. Raised by their military father after their mother’s untimely death, all three of them, including Alexandra, have been trained as soldiers and have carried out work for the Foreign Office. In There’s Something About Lady Mary, however, Ryan has chosen to abandon this line of work in favor of pursuing a medical career since he’s more intellectually inclined. The plot takes place a year after Alexandra rode to France on a secret mission to find her brother William who’d been accused of treason. Fast forward another year and we meet William once again. He’s the sort of person who always makes an attempt at looking at a situation rationally rather than acting on impulse like his sister. In The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda, he’s decided to take a wife and settle down. Being the level-headed character that he is, he’s picked his bride based on logic, only to find himself saying his vows to a woman who unexpectedly traps him.

Marlene: Will there be more books in this series? What is next on your schedule?

Sophie: There might be in an indirect sort of way – I have a few story ideas for Michael Ashford’s (Alexandra’s husband) sisters Cassandra and Caroline. This will have to wait however since I’m working on a different trilogy at the moment with entirely different characters.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Sophie: My writing is fast paced with a sense of humor and with a deliberate attempt to add interesting little facts so the reader may walk away feeling as though they actually learned something.

Marlene: What words of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Sophie: Don’t give up, no matter what anyone says. Write every day, even if you don’t feel inspired – once you get started, the words and ideas will come. Join RWA and read all the advice those monthly magazines have to offer and do not let that manuscript sit in a drawer for years on end just because you’re too afraid of what people might think. Finally and very importantly, don’t be a diva – treat everyone with kindness and respect, because truthfully, romance writers, editors and bloggers alike, are some of the loveliest, most helpful people you’re likely to meet.

Marlene: Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask.

Sophie: When I was fourteen I won a writing contest at school – nothing big or anything, but enough to surprise my friends. They couldn’t believe that I (for whom English is a second language) beat them (they were British). Perhaps I should have realized then that this was where my future lay, but I was stubborn and wanted to study design. Fun fact – I wrote that story on my way to school the morning it was due =)

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why that particular book?

Sophie: Tough question since there are so many! Right, I’m going to suggest Pride and Prejudice since that’s my favorite Austen book of all time.

Marlene: Coffee or tea?

Sophie: Coffee in the US and tea in Europe please =)

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I’ll be popping in throughout the day to chat with you and to answer any questions you might have.

If you’d like to follow my blog tour, I’ll be back tomorrow at Seduced by a Book for another interview.

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About Sophie

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian.She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.

Placed to find Sophie: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

There’s Something About Lady Mary

Mary Croyden lives a simple life . . . and she likes it. But when she inherits a title and a large sum of money, everything changes. Forced to navigate high society, Mary finds herself relying on the help of one man—Ryan Summersby. Determined not to lose her sense of self, she realizes that Ryan is the only person she can trust. But Mary’s hobbies are not exactly proper, and Ryan is starting to discover that this simple miss is not at all what he expected . . . but just might be exactly what he needs.


The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda

Lucy Blackwell is desperate, reckless, and maybe a little bit crazy. That’s the only possible explanation for tricking a man she doesn’t know into a dance, a kiss, and an engagement—all in the middle of the biggest ball of the year! But Lord William Summersby is the final piece of her grand plan, and she’ll do what it takes to make this marriage of convenience work—as long as it’s convenient for her. She just never counted on falling in love . . .

Interview with Author Cherry Adair + Giveaway

Today I’d like to give a warm welcome to Cherry Adair. Cherry is the author of the T-FLAC action/adventure romantic suspense series, and the latest book in her series is titled Ice Cold. I’ll tell you right now that the action (and the romance) in Ice Cold is plenty hot! Check out my review for more of the sizzle. And if you want a paperback copy of Ice Cold for yourself, you’ll have a shot at the end of the interview.

Meanwhile, here’s Cherry!

Marlene: Hi Cherry! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Cherry: I was born in Cape Town, South Africa. My mother was a well-known opera singer and actress, and  my father was a second rate magician who took one look at her up on stage and declared that he was going to marry her. They got married a couple of weeks later. I trained as an interior designer at the University of Cape Town, then came to America in my early twenties and opened my own interior design business in San Francisco. My husband came in to look for wallpaper (it was a Wednesday <g>). By Sunday we were engaged, two weeks later we were married. That was 30 plus years ago. I still refer to him as my first husband just to keep him on his toes. Lol.

I’ve always loved to write, and sold my first book –The Mercenary– in 1993. A couple of years later I sold my interior design business in San Francisco to write full time. I write three different worlds. T-FLAC, my counterterrorists, Cutter Cay, underwater treasure hunters, and Lodestone, in which a main character has a sixth sense after a near death experience, giving him the ability to see the GPS location of a lost object or person. Currently I’m writing book # 36.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Cherry: I’m a Night Owl. I come alive at about 10 P.M. and then fall into bed at about 6 or 7 A.M. As long as I get about 8 hours sleep it doesn’t matter when or how I manage them. When I’m on a deadline (which is most of the time) I sleep in four or five hour stretches, and write in-between.

I was a pantser until I sold my first book. Then I saw the error of my ways. My right brain gets annoyed when my left brain insists on logic. <g> Now I spend a week plotting and doing basic research before I even open a Word document and write Chapter One. Plotting well enables me to use my left, analytical brain before I jump into the story with both feet. Still, even when the book is well plotted, I loathe writing the first draft. It always feels as if I’m writing. One. Word. At. A. Time. Once that’s done, and I have what I need on the page, it takes a crowbar to get me away from the story as I layer and texture all the fun parts into it.

Marlene: What drew you to write romantic suspense?

Cherry: I’ve always enjoyed reading romantic suspense, and still do when I have the chance. But I consider what I write action adventure, more than romantic suspense. I love the running, chasing, shooting, wild monkey sex of action adventure. <g>

Marlene: And how do you research the military/adventure/suspense sides of the romantic suspense equation?

Cherry: I do a huge amount of research for all of my books. I do basic research before I start writing. I know what weapons my character uses, and the skills they’ll need as the story progresses. I always start with the plot, and what I need my characters to do, or what I want their experiences to be so they’re prepared for what I’m about to throw at them. There’s a lot of information to be had online, but my biggest resource is my little black book, where I keep contact information for all sorts of interesting people. People like nuclear physicists, tech people, bomb disposal experts, Navy SEALs, a famous biologist, a botanist, a lovely man who (allegedly lol) sells weapons to shady people. . .I even have some of his shady people in my black book. Lol I collect people’s skills like other women collect shoes (I collect shoes as well of course. <g>) I also have people listed by their language proficiency. (Foreign languages, not swearing. <g>) I have some pretty famous people between those pages, and some people whose number I call and the call is rerouted electronically in an awesome spy-way. I also have great contacts at some of the agencies, FBI, CIA etc. People love to talk about what they do (well, most of them). And I love, love libraries where I spend hours getting completely lost in research. Information is everywhere.

Marlene: For those newbies among us, could you give a quick intro to T-FLAC and the T-FLAC series?

Cherry: Terrorist Force Logistic Assault Command is a privately owned counterterrorist organization based in Montana. The idea was conceived on a very long, very smoky return flight from Italy many years ago. Eight T-FLAC, and six T-FLAC/Psi books, and two new series later, I’m back in the world of counterterrorists and hot sexy espionage with ICE COLD. I had SO much fun writing this book, it was like being back with old (incredibly sexy lol) friends.

Marlene: What can readers expect of Ice Cold?

Cherry: For those who have not read any of my books – let me sum them up quickly for you. Running-chasing-shooting-wild monkey sex-action-adventure. A little over the top-a lot sexy.

ICE COLD is the story of  two counterterrorist operatives. Cyber-geek Honey Winston and bomb ‘whisperer’, Rafael Navarro as they race across Europe in search of a bomber determined to bring the organization they work for to its knees.

ICE COLD is a cat and mouse game, with plenty of twists and turns. And while the story is running-chasing-shooting-falling-down-icy weather-hot sex-sexy-romantic action adventure, at the heart of it, it’s the story of two people learning each other and eventually falling in love.

Backcover copy for ICE COLD:
T-FLAC operative Rafael Navarro will never allow another woman to suffer the consequences of his dangerous life. But in a world where a terrorist can do more damage with a keyboard than a bomb, he needs the expert help of a cyber-geek. And fast.

Fellow operative, and cybercrimes specialist Honey Winston prefers computers to people. But when a serial bomber threatens the world’s financial infrastructure, she’s forced to work closely with Navarro, whose notorious skill in the bedroom is as legendary as his dexterity defusing bombs.

Honey and Rafael must fight sparks hot enough to melt their resolve, and push beyond fear itself, as they join forces in a bid to race the clock before a sinister and lethal bomber proves just how much they both have to lose.

T-FLAC is back, and the timer is counting down in the most pulse-pounding explosive op yet—

About Cherry
New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair’s innovative action-adventure novels have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike. With the creation of her kick butt counterterrorist group, T-FLAC, years before action adventure romances were popular, Cherry has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced novels. She loves to hear from readers.

Places to find Cherry: website | twitter | goodreads | faceboook

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Interview with Aubrie Dionne + Giveaway!

I’m always happy to host a fellow member of the SFR Brigade! My guest today is Aubrie Dionne, the author of the fantastic science fiction romance series A New Dawn. Aubrie is here to talk about the series, especially the final book in the series, Haven 6. (see review at Book Lovers Inc for more details)

This series has told a fascinating story of the last of the human race as it makes its way out among the stars, searching for a new home in colony ships on generations-long voyages. For the story of those ships, see Paradise 18 (reviewed here at Reading Reality), and Tundra 37 (reviewed at Book Lovers Inc.) Where it all began is told in A Hero Rising (review at BLI).

But now, here’s Aubrie to tell us about her writing journey. And if you want a copy of A New Dawn for your very own, take a look at the giveaway at the end.

Marlene: Hi Aubrie! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Aubrie: I’m a professional flutist by day and a writer by night. I make up stories to go along with the music that I play or teach, so the stories were always there in my mind ever since I started playing at age 9. Some of my flute students said I should start writing them down, and here I am today!

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Aubrie: I write before work, then a little after work. I used to be a panster, but now I have to submit a synopsis to my agent to get my work on her reading list in time. So, now I plot. It works much better for me, because I’ve already figured out the story and I don’t get writer’s block nearly as much.

Marlene: What is it about the fantastic and the futuristic that draws you to write in those worlds? Why do you make yourself go through the pain of creating a new world for each story instead of writing contemporary?

Aubrie: Contemporary always seemed harder for me. I had no glorious settings to hide behind, and I knew anything I wrote about had to be realistic. That ruled out a lot of stuff for me, because I have no idea how a lot of things in the real world work! Like a cop- what is their day like? Who knows? Or an archaeologist?  Sounds cool, but I really don’t know what they do day to day. So, when I finally decided to take the plunge and write contemporary, I wrote about something I knew a lot about: music. Then, I branched out from there!

Marlene: In your blog, you mention your love of science fiction, but what was your inspiration for the New Dawn series? Why a “human race diaspora” story in particular for the series?

Aubrie: That’s what I think is going to happen to Earth. I’m so worried we’ll use up our resources and pollute ourselves into a bind. I want to know that we have a back-up plan.

Marlene: You’ve written about the science fiction shows that inspired you, Star Trek, Star Wars and Firefly, but what about the authors? Who are the science fiction and fantasy writers that made you escape into their worlds?

Aubrie: I love Patricia McKillip. My favorite book of hers is Winter Rose. Every sentence is beautiful and poetic. I also grew up reading Tad William’s Memory Sorrow and Thorn trilogy over and over again. I loved the alternating points of view and the way the main character, Simon, grows up throughout the books starting as a scullion and turning into the next King.

Marlene: What can we expect of Haven 6?

Aubrie: Haven 6 is epic. I had to tie in all the loose threads from the previous three books in the series and make the entire series arc make sense. It was no easy task for me. I wanted it to be a satisfying conclusion for my readers.

Marlene: How does playing a flute combine with being an author? Or does it? Explain about the flute, please?

Aubrie: I think I answered this in the first question. But, let me add that the two careers go very well together because they are both so flexible. I teach 3-8 Mon- Thurs, 9-3 Friday, and 8:30-5 Saturdays. All the rest of the time I can spend writing if I need to.

Marlene: What was the first moment you know you wanted to write?

Aubrie: Probably in grade school. My very first poem was about how I was sad I’d never see a unicorn!

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why did you choose that book?

Aubrie: If you’re a writer, then you should read Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, and On Writing by Stephen King. If you’re a fantasy reader, then you should read Tad William’s Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Aubrie: They are adventurous, they give you a warm fuzzy feeling at the end, and I think it’s the perfect combination of romance and fantasy/sci fi. Not too technical, but not too steamy you’re embarrassed to read it out loud.

Marlene: Will there be more books in this series? What is next on your schedule?

Aubrie: This is the end of the series, sadly. But, I do have a YA spin off series called the Paradise Reclaimed series. The first book, Colonization, comes out November 7th– which I think is the day of this interview!

Marlene: Coffee or Tea?

Aubrie: Both! I need all the caffeine I can get!

Amen to the caffeine! And also, double for me on Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. That’s one that we kept on our keeper shelf, in hardcover, through all of our moves.  Thanks so much Aubrie, for the marvelous interview!

About Aubrie Dionne:
Aubrie grew up watching the original Star Wars movies over and over again until she could recite and reenact every single scene in her backyard. She also loved The Goonies, Star Trek the Next Generation-favorite character was Data by far- and Indiana Jones. But, her all time favorite movie was The Last Unicorn. She still wonders why the unicorn decided to change back to a unicorn in the end.

Aubrie wrote in her junior high yearbook that she wanted to be “A concert flutist” when she grew up. When she made that happen, she decided one career was not enough and embarked as a fantasy, sci fi author. Two careers seem to keep her busy. For now.

Her writings have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Hazard Cat, Moon Drenched Fables, A Fly in Amber, and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Entangled Publishing, Lyrical Press, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. She recently signed her YA sci fi novel with Inkspell Publishing titled: Colonization: Paradise Reclaimed, which will release in October 2012.

Places to find Aubrie: Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

Haven 6 by Aubrie Dionne

A product of an illegal pairing, Eridani is the only woman without a lifemate aboard the colonization ship, the Heritage, and she is determined her less than perfect DNA will not get in the way of finding love. As the ship nears it’s final destination of Haven 6 after five hundred years of travel, images of the surface show evidence of intelligent life on a planet that’s supposed to be uninhabited. Commander Grier assigns Eri to the exploratory team to spy on the alien society and return with information on how to defeat them.

When Eri’s team lands, tribes of humans attack and Eri is saved by Striver, the descendant of a colonist and a pirate from Old Earth’s colonization efforts in other parts of the galaxy. Striver helps Eri rescue her team and they are drawn to each other despite their different allegiances. While Striver battles with trusting Eri, Eri must decide whether to warn him and his people about the commander’s intentions, or follow orders and complete her mission.

Places to buy Haven 6:

Amazon | B&N

~~~~~~TOURWIDE Giveaway~~~~~~
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Interview with Samantha Kane + Giveaway

I’d like to welcome today’s guest, Samantha Kane. She’s here to talk about her first book in her new historical romance series for Loveswept, The Devil’s Thief. It’s a fun, frothy romance about stealing hearts (and pearls) from reformed rakes and the friends who set them up for their proper comeuppance. Take a look at my review for more details.

But here’s Samantha to tell us where she got the idea for her “Saint’s Devils”, and a few other things. Don’t forget to check out the giveaway at the end of the post!

Marlene: Hi Samantha! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Samantha: I’m 45, married for 16 years, and I have 3 kids ages 12, 9, and 6. I live in the South and I love it here. I love both the mountains and the beach. I like to knit, though I’m not very good at it. I did just finish a cute little stuffed animal for my son’s birthday. I’m moving next week and still have so much to pack! I’m actually moving the day my new book comes out. Because you can never have enough stress, right?

Marlene: Please describe a typical day of writing for us. Are you a planner or pantser?

Samantha: I’m a plotter. I used to be a pantser, for my first few books. I think you can tell the difference in my writing. I wanted to bring more depth to my stories and plotting has always been my weakness. Now I plot using screenwriting techniques, Act I, Act II, Act III, mid-point, climax etc. I plot each scene in the book, including point of view, and I outline character and romantic arcs. As for a typical day, I don’t have those. I write whenever I can, which may be morning, may be afternoon, may be evening. I do try to write in the morning before I go to the gym on days when I don’t have other commitments. Then lunch, writing, pick up kids, homework, dinner, writing.

Marlene: Why romance? Why not fantasy, or mystery, or science fiction? What is it about writing in the romance genre that drew you to writing in it in particular?

Samantha: I love the emotional investment in romance. I’ve written science fiction; it turned into science fiction romance. I’m sure whatever I write will have a romantic element. I just think adding romance to any plot increases the reader’s emotional investment in the stakes for the hero or heroine. It creates an intimacy between the reader and the story that’s lacking in other genres.

Marlene: What can we expect of The Devil’s Thief?

Samantha: Good things, I hope! This is a bit of a non-traditional Regency. There’s a lot of humor and action. Burglaries, fistfights, chases, criminals, and some pretty hot sex scenes. There’s a lot of interaction between the hero and his friends, other Devils who will be the heroes in future books in The Saint’s Devils series.

Marlene: And what about the rest of the series? Is there a story behind that most intriguing title, The Saint’s Devils?

Samantha: The Saint’s Devils is the nickname given by society to the heroes of the series. They are a group of rakes that have been friends since school. Their unofficial leader is Sir Hilary St. John, a Sherlock Holmes type character who was inspired by Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes. Sir Hilary helps the heroes solve a mystery involving their heroine in each book. Sir Hilary is mysterious, his past is shadowy and he is frequently engaged in secretive inquiries for mysterious clients. The second book in the series, Tempting a Devil, is Roger Templeton’s story. He’s the ne’er do well Devil, penniless, hilarious, and drunk more often than not in The Devil’s Thief. He’ll meet his match in an old friend from his childhood, Lady Harriet Mercer. No longer the tomboy Roger remembers from his youth, Harry is a gorgeous widow in need of help with a secret that could break Roger’s heart.

Marlene: The Devil’s Thief is your first title for Loveswept. How did you feel when you got the call that the book had been accepted?

Samantha: I was excited. I’d heard of Sue Grimshaw, my Loveswept editor, when she was the romance buyer for Borders, and I was eager to work with her. I think Loveswept fits my style of writing and I like the idea of being part of the beginning of the new Loveswept. My readership is digital, and Loveswept definitely fit me in that way, too.

Marlene: And how is The Devil’s Thief different (or similar) to your award-winning erotic romances?

Samantha: The Devil’s Thief is a very sensuous mainstream romance, so expect some scenes that don’t artfully fade to black. I think my readers will recognize the intense emotional and physical relationship that Alasdair and Julianna have. However, it is not erotic. And there’s more humor in this book than in my Brothers in Arms books. The camaraderie between the Devils is similar to the close relationships the men in my BIA books share, without any sexual overtones. I think the similarities most evident will be the fully drawn characters, both the main and the secondary characters, and the emotional element of the story.

Marlene: What projects do you have planned for the future? What is next on your schedule?

Samantha: I have a short Brothers in Arms story coming out this week, Love and War: The Beginning. It was originally written as a free read for my newsletter subscribers and I’m now making it available to everyone. I’m also working on the 3rd book in The Saint’s Devils series, which should be out next year. Within the next few months look for another Brothers in Arms novella and a full length Brothers in Arms next year.


Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

1. Because they love a good, old school romance.
2. Alpha males and clever heroines excite them.
3. They like humor and witty dialog in their romance.

Marlene: Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask?

Samantha: My favorite kind of music is country.

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why that particular book?

Samantha: I can’t think of one. I hesitate to recommend books to people who don’t ask. And I recommend different authors based on what kind of book people like to read. I tend to recommend authors rather than books. So I recommend JR Ward, Nalini Singh, Eloisa James, Rachel Gibson, Kristin Higgins.

Marlene: Morning person or night owl?

Samantha: Night owl, definitely. Then I pay for it in the mornings.

About Samantha
Reviewers have called Samantha Kane “an absolute marvel to read,” and “one of historical romance’s most erotic and sensuous authors.” Her books have been called “sinful,” “sensuous,” and “sizzling.” She is published in several romance genres including historical, contemporary and science fiction. Her erotic Regency-set historical romances have won awards, including Best Historical from RWA’s erotic romance chapter Passionate Ink, and the Historical CAPA (best book) award from The Romance Studio. She has a master’s degree in American History, and taught high school social studies for ten years before becoming a full time writer. Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children.
Places to find Samantha Website | Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter



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Interview with Cindy Spencer Pape

I’m so happy to welcome Cindy Spencer Pape to Reading Reality! I discovered Cindy’s work in an all-night reading binge, when I tore through five of her books all at once, and I’ve been scooping them up as fast as they come out ever since. If you’re a fan of either paranormal romance or steampunk, you can’t go wrong with her Urban Arcana or her Gaslight Chronicles. The Gaslight Chronicles combines steampunk with the incredible concept that the Knights of Round Table weren’t just real, but that their descendants are still around!

But today she’s here to talk about the latest entry in the Gaslight Chronicles, Moonlight & Mechanicals. A werewolf trying to resist his love for an engineer! How much more steampunk can you get? (I loved it, take a look at my review for details) But let’s hear what Cindy has to say.

Marlene: Hi Cindy! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Cindy: Let’s see, I live in Michigan with my husband of 27 years and two college-age sons. Two dogs, one iguana, and I’m still the only female in the house. My professional background is in wildlife education, but now I write full time.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing. Are you a planner or pantser?

Cindy: I’m not disciplined enough to really have a “typical” day. I get up. Usually I answer my email and play for a little bit on Facebook, plus do any promo I need to for the day. Then I write until dinner time, and sometimes into the evening. I take breaks for email, Facebook  food and Diet Coke though-out the day. I can write through just about any chaos, so the TV or XBox is often chattering right beyond my monitor and the dogs demand in and out often enough to keep me from sitting still for too long. As far as plotting, I’m somewhere in between. I have a general idea of where the plot is going to go, and I usually sell on a synopsis these days, so I have a plan, but the details always surprise me.

Marlene: The Gaslight Chronicles take place in a steampunk version of Victorian England. Would you like to provide readers with an introduction to your particular version of steampunk Victoriana?

Cindy: Okay. In the real world, in the 1830-40s, a man named Charles Babbage developed plans for what he called an “analytical engine.” Ada, Lady Lovelace a mathematician and daughter of Lord Byron, wrote the code that this machine would use, on punch cards, to operate. In real life, Babbage’s world fell apart and he never finished this machine. Modern scholars are convinced it might have worked. So in the Gaslight Chronicles, computers were invented in the 1840s, and a woman was the first coder. Lady Lovelace went on (in my world) to establish a college for women in the sciences at Oxford. Therefore, by the middle of the Gaslight books, we have university-educated engineers and doctors who are female. Also, this world has vampires, but they’re not sexy. They’re stinky and rotting and all they want to do is feed. The Order of the Round Table, descendants of the original knights, still exists, mainly to kill vampires and deal with other supernatural threats. Werewolves, on the other hand, are just people, including Liam, the hero of Moonlight. There are some hints that the Fae might be running around as well.

Marlene: Steampunk isn’t just about fiction, it also influences art and costume design. What do you think makes the concept of steampunk so appealing to so many people in so many forms?

Cindy: Well, for one thing, the clothes are incredibly cool. You can go full-on Victorian, or just wear a knockout top hat with your jeans. The genre as far as music, art, fashion, and fiction go is really limitless. As for the social aspect, I suspect it’s a case of lots of grownups who are little kids at heart to get together and play with cool stuff. At least that’s what I like about it.

Marlene: It was an absolutely brilliant idea, but what inspired you to blend the legends of the Knights of the Round Table with steampunk in your Gaslight Chronicles?

Cindy: I have to give credit to my husband for this one. We were sitting outside on the deck and I said, “I need a name for my organization of monster hunters in Victorian England. I described a little of what they do and he suggested the Order of the Round Table. I looked at my manuscript and realized I had already named characters MacKay (son of Kay) and Lake (du Lac). It was as if The Order had already taken shape before I even realized it.

Marlene: A lot of your books, whether they are historical or contemporary, steampunk or not, have at least some paranormal elements. What draws you to write about worlds where the “things that go bump in the night” really exist?

Cindy: Again, I think it comes back to the idea of stretching my imagination. I like my fiction to be an escape from reality, so I try to take it all the way.

Marlene: What can we expect of Moonlight & Mechanicals?

Cindy: Well, Wink is one of the most headstrong heroines I’ve ever written. She’s literally crawled her way up from the gutters and she’s not about to let anyone stand in her way. Liam has a bit of a stick up his bum about his own potential as a mate, so he’s going to do his best to hook Wink up with somebody “safe.” You’ll find a bit of Cyrano creeping into the story. And then there’s a maniac trying to take over England with his infernal inventions.

Marlene: You’ve published a number of titles with Ellora’s Cave, and now quite a few with Carina Press. From your perspective, what was different about the publishing experience with these two different publishers?

Cindy: The biggest difference is that Carina is a division of Harlequin. So although the Carina team has a very similar mind-set to other e-publishers, the mechanics of it, the contracts, the royalty checks, and the covers go through more layers of bureaucracy. On the other hand, I’ve gotten a better distribution through Carina, but I do love that Ellora’s Cave offers print. Really, I have good things to say about both publishers, but the experience isn’t at all the same.

Marlene: Will there be more books in this series? What is next on your schedule?

Cindy: The next Gaslight Chronicles book will be out next April and is a shorter novel called Cards and Caravans. Or in my head, it’s the Order goes to the circus. 🙂

Marlene: Will there be any more books in the Urban Arcana series? (please? whimper, whimper)

Cindy: Right now, there aren’t any planned, but I haven’t ruled it out entirely. There’s still Vin the demon who needs a story, and Maeve, the healer from Motor City Fae. I’m not sure if they go together or if they need two separate stories.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Cindy: I’m really bad at touting my own work, but I’ll give it a shot. I tend to write characters who are smart and use their brains as well as brawn to solve problems. People tell me there’s humor in there, although I don’t write intentionally funny. What I *do* write is a story meant to take you away from your day to day problems for a little while and transport you to where the good guys always win and get their HEA.

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why do you recommend that particular book?

Cindy: One of my books that very few people have read was my first sale, Curses. It’s set in a world fairly similar to Urban Arcana, although it’s in a small Michigan town. It was my first werewolf book, and remains one of my favorites.

Marlene: Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask?

Cindy: I was a grad student intern at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, once, a long, long time ago.

Marlene: Morning person or night owl?

Cindy: Night owl, all the way.

Cindy, you had me all the way back at “Diet Coke though-out the day,” just so you know. Thanks so much for giving us a little more insight into your world. Babbage’s Difference Engine made all the difference! That makes perfect sense.