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~~~~~~
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Naughty & Nice Blog Hop

On Friday I asked if you wanted to be “wicked”. Today, the question is whether you want to be Naughty & Nice!

It’s not really my question. Romance at Random is hosting this Naughty & Nice Blog Hop to celebrate their new release, Naughty & Nice, which features holiday stories (hence the title) by Ruthie Knox, Molly O’Keefe and Stefanie Sloane.

Here’s a list of the very, very nice prizes that Romance @ Random is giving away for this hop!

Prizes – R@R is giving away (must be 18 or older to participate):
· 15 Net Galley Preview copy winners of Naughty & Nice +
· 5 About Last Night by Ruthie Knox paper giveaways (US only) +
· Grand Prize of $15 Gift Certificate to eRetailer of choice!!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here’s the complete list of hop sites. Hop around to increase your chances to win!

Interview with Author Shiela Stewart + Giveaway

I’d like to welcome Shiela Stewart to Reading Reality today. Shiela is the author of The Naughty Angel, a title in one of my own personal naughty delights, the 1Night Stand series from Decadent Publishing. Shiela’s here to tell us about her devilishly decadent new book (review here), share our mutual love of J.D. Robb’s In Death series, (Wow!) and explain why she adores Halloween.

Take it away Shiela!

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

Shiela: I’ve been married for 27 years to a wonderfully supportive man who has stuck with me through the good and the bad.  If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today as an author. He pushed me to get my work published and for that I am forever grateful. We have three grown children, 17, 20 and 24 who always keep me on my toes. I love to write, which is obvious, but aside from that I love to create in other forms such as drawing, painting and knitting. I have a wicked sense of humor and love to scare people. My children are never safe. I’m not sure if I should be proud or annoyed that they inherited my sense of humor. LOL

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

Shiela: Often my ideas come from my dreams. I have very vivid dreams that are quite in-depth.

My typical writing day begins after I’ve cleaned my house, showered and returned emails. I put on dance music—a must have for me—grab a class of iced tea and get started. I don’t have a desk or an office. I prefer to write in my living room seated on the loveseat.

Marlene: I’ve noticed that a lot of your books are paranormal romance, including The Naughty Angel. What draws you to write about the “things that go bump in the night”?

Shiela: Having lived in a haunted house plays a big part in that. Aside from that it would be having an older brother who thought it was hilarious to hide under my bed and when I went to get ready to go to sleep he would reach out and grab my foot. He also loved putting his glow in the dark skull head in my closet. I guess it’s just in my blood because even as a small girl I was intrigued by scary stories. Halloween was and still is my favorite holiday. 🙂

Marlene: Where did your inspiration for this book come from? An angel and a demon, that’s an unusual combination for a love story!

Shiela: And precisely why I wanted to write it. It’s not a typical love story. Good and bad, Heaven and Hell. Such complete opposites.  I always like to throw a curve in my stories and what better way than bringing a demon and an angel together. It stemmed from seeing an episode of Supernatural where an angel surprisingly kisses a demon.

Marlene: Was writing a story for the 1Night Stand series different from your usual writing style?

Shiela: The Naughty Angel is the second book on the 1Night Series that I’ve written. The first was Taste of Humanity. It was more difficult in that I tend to write longer works that range from 20,000 words to over a 100,000 words. Condensing everything I want to say into fewer than 10,000 is a bit of a challenge for me. But what is life without challenges. 🙂

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

Shiela: Right now I’m editing a series I wrote a while back, and sharing chapters of it on my blog That’s What She Said. It’s a story of a woman who has the ability to see and speak to the dead (Shocker, it’s another paranormal lol) She’s visited by a deceased little girl seeking help in finding her killer. It turns out she isn’t the only victim and Samantha is suddenly bombarded by several more young victims. While searching for a killer, she becomes attracted to a married man in the midst of a nasty divorce.

I post two chapters a week on Monday and Friday. Curious, check it out.

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

Shiela: I like to give the readers an escape from the real world by sharing a glimpse into a fantasy I’ve created.

I create likeable realistic characters that draw the readers in and make them feel like they can relate to them.

And lastly–nothing more needs to be said for this one other than, my vampires don’t sparkle.

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

Shiela: Every one of my titles of course. LOL Aside from my books I recommend anyone who loves a good mystery with romance to check out JD Robb’s In Death Series.
For those who want a steaming erotic novel check out any title by Faith Bicknell Brow.
And for those who like Non-Fiction I recommend Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony by Jeff Ashton.

Marlene: After reading your journey to becoming a writer, I was wondering if you had any words of advice that you would want to give to aspiring authors?

Shiela: Never give up. Don’t let rejections bring you down and never stop learning and perfecting your craft.  There are plenty of groups out there where you can get your work looked at and critiqued for free. I strongly suggest finding someone to look at your work before submitting it to a publisher. But also be cautious in who you have looking at your work. If the person has nothing but negative things to say, find someone else. There is nothing more discouraging than hearing someone rip your work apart and not give you any positive feedback.

Marlene: Before I let you go, would you like to tell us a little bit about your artistic hobby?

Shiela: I love to draw. My specialty is faces. I find faces so interesting, how each one is so different.  I also love to draw nudes and animals. I find the art of drawing very relaxing.  If you’d like to check out my drawings go to my artwork page in my website.

Marlene: One last question: Coffee or Tea?

Shiela: Coffee.

From living in a haunted house to writing paranormal romances, that’s one fantastic journey. Thank you so much, Shiela, for sharing a bit of it with us.

~~~~~Tourwide Giveaway~~~~~

And speaking of sharing, 5 winners will get to share the deliciously naughty fun of The Naughty Angel by winning an ebook copy of the book. Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Author Heather Long + Giveaway

As a lover of science fiction romance (over at Book Lovers Inc. I’m The Rocket Lover because of it!) I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome Heather Long to Reading Reality today. She’s here to talk about her fantastic  (see review) new SFR superhero romance from Carina Press, Yesterday’s Heroes.

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

Heather: I live in Texas and nearly every animal I have is a stray or a rescue. I’m a freelance writer and copyeditor, I am a mom, a quilter, a reader, and a friend. But at the heart of all of these things, I’m an author. I’ve always written, and when I was little, my grandmother used to read me Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts. I’m always working on my next project, and I fall a little bit in love with every hero I write.

Marlene: Yesterday’s Heroes is a little bit science fiction, a little bit time-travel, and a lot superhero romance. What inspired you to come up with this mix of genres for Yesterday’s Heroes?

Heather: The In Death series. The X-Men. The Teen Titans. The Avengers. Batman. Terminator. Time Cop. Star Trek.  Changing the past is a provocative challenge, never mind the inherent paradox that exists when you travel into your past. If you recall from H.G. Wells The Time Machine — the reason he could never save his wife is that saving her would have negated the creation of the time machine itself. So these elements create a tapestry of conflict–internal and external — that I just couldn’t leave alone.

Marlene: What did it feel like when you got the call from Carina Press that they were publishing Yesterday’s Heroes?

Heather: I actually wrote about that call for an anthology, because I was in a changing room trying on bras when I got the phone call. I was over the moon thrilled and almost speechless, which never happens to me. It was an awesome feeling.

Marlene: Were you thinking of any particular superheroes when you put together the mix of powers that make up the Boomers?

Heather: Not exactly–I took elements that I enjoyed from different variations on different superheroes over the years — the elements that made me reach for those comic books over and over. Most of the Boomers then introduced themselves to me one at a time.

Marlene: Who are your favorite superhero movies or TV shows?

Heather: The Avengers blew me away when that came out – in fact, I have been over the moon with all the Marvel products in the last few years. As a writer and a fan, it’s amazing to see how well they’ve folded the worlds together with each film and then Whedon’s Avengers just knocked it out of the park. I watched Smallville for the entirety of its ten year run and prior to that I watched Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and even the Superboy series in the late 1980s. I enjoy Nolan’s Batman – even if I think they went far too dark and at the same time I wanted to see more with the internal mythology of that series.

Marlene: Who first introduced you to the love of reading?

Heather: My grandmother. She read for years and she used to read to me from Harlequins when she was little.

Marlene: Who influenced your decision to become a writer?

Heather: I’ve wanted to write since I fully grasped reading, so it would have to be my grandmother.

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

Heather: Read Yesterday’s Heroes — it’s one of the best books I’ve ever written – and I can’t wait to spend more time in this world.

Marlene: Will there be more books about the Boomers? Can you tell us a little about your upcoming projects?

Heather: I hope there are more Boomers — fingers crossed! Also coming is The Lady is a Thief, the third and final installment in the Fortunate Buddha trilogy, Micah & Mrs. Miller, book three of the Fevered Hearts series and No Regrets, No Surrender which is the full length follow up to Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here (Always a Marine series).

Marlene: Morning person or night owl?

Heather: Morning person!

Somebody please tell Carina Press I want more Boomers. Right now! In the meantime, I’ll just have to indulge my guilty little addiction for 1Night Stand books, now that I know Heather’s written a whole series of them. Thanks Heather!


As part of her blog tour, Heather is offering ten copies of Yesterday’s Heroes and one copy of Marshal of Hel Dorado.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post: Author Jacqueline M. Battisti on True Names + Giveaway

Today is special! I get to host Jacqueline Battisti for her very first guest post ever. I’ll confess that I jumped at the chance to be part of the tour for The Guardian of Bastet, Ms. Battisti’s debut novel, because even from the blurb it looked like an a scrumptious combination of the paranormal and urban fantasy. And I was not disappointed. (See my review for details)

Without further ado, take it away, Jacqueline…

Hello. This is my first guest blog post and I am so excited to be doing this. My name is Jacqueline M. Battisti and I am the author of The Guardian of Bastet. I am a stay-at-home mother with young children who also writes when time and the children allow. I have always loved romance, fantasy and paranormal books, devouring them as soon as I could find them at the book store. I even collect a few authors that are my absolute favorites and reread their books when I’m stuck and need a break from my own musings. They inspire me to keep going.

The Guardian of Bastet has evolved over time with many incarnations. My main character, Trinity Morrigan-Caine was originally named Misty. But after a few chapters, the image she projected in my head said, snarky stripper. It took me a while to discover my character’s true name. Trinity. Like the trinity of Mother, Maid and Crone of womanhood. She is a cat shifter, a witch and then the Guardian of Bastet. Three roles she must grow into and accept just like her name.

The Guardian of Bastet is the beginning of Trinity’s story. Here is the official blurb:

Cat-shifter Trinity Morrigan-Caine has discovered a demon is killing supernaturals. Magically challenged, she has every intention of letting handsome Alpha werewolf Gordon Barnes handle it. But after a dying vampire gifts Trinity a mystical amulet, she is drawn into the fray as the legendary Guardian of Bastet, a warrior born when the need arises.

Though Trinity initially rejects the role, she warms to the idea when Gordon agrees to train her—and their passion for each other grows as he teaches her to embrace her animal instincts.

As she begins to accept her destiny and believe in her growing powers, Trinity realizes the danger is even closer to home than she ever imagined—and she and Gordon are going to have to face the demon in a fight to the death…

I am currently working on the sequel to The Guardian of Bastet. It was the reason I left a couple of loose ends in this one. I’m just as excited to see where Trinity’s escapades lead. I hope you are too after reading The Guardian of Bastet.

This reader is overjoyed to know that there will be a sequel to Guardian. I want to see more of Trinity’s world, and find out Trinity’s circle adjusts to her being the Guardian instead of the family magical dud. Her new life is certainly going to be interesting. “May you live in interesting times” kind of interesting, that is. It should make for more terrific reading.

**~~~~~**TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY**~~~~~**

In celebration of the release of her new book, Jacqueline is giving away 5 copies of The Guardian of Bastet (EPUB or PDF)


3 Pewter Egyptian Bastet Cat Pendants (The Goddess Bastet has a very important role in The Guardian of Bastet

(Contest open to North American shipping addresses only)

Please fill out the Rafflecopter to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Author Jane Kindred on Angels, Demons and Overlords + Giveaway

Today’s extremely special guest at Reading Reality is Jane Kindred, the author of the dark (and decadently marvelous) epic fantasy tale of angels, demons and heavenly court politics about The House of Arkhangel’sk. I had the pleasure of reviewing the first book in the trilogy, The Fallen Queen, over at Book Lovers Inc. and my review of the book two, The Midnight Court, is here. Jane also wrote an amazing guest post “A Few Select Shades of Black and Blue” (about the current BDSM bandwagon and demon sex in particular) over at Book Lovers Inc.

Now, let’s get to those questions…

Marlene: Before I get into the really tough questions, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself? Your bio says you started writing in the wayback of a Plymouth Fury? Is there a story in there?

Jane: Didn’t everybody have a wayback growing up? Er…I guess I’m showing my age. For those who don’t know, it was the rear-facing third row of seats in the back of a station wagon. (And a station wagon was a car that forced you to go on family vacations, and played 8-track tapes.) Ours happened to be a Plymouth Fury, which is the same model as the car Christine. Just sayin’. I spent a lot of my adolescence writing love stories and fantasies on the way to and from church…and during church. Which may explain why I ended up writing about angels and demons having sex.

Marlene: Who or what were your inspirations for The House of Arkhangel’sk?

Jane: Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia—or rather, the fictionalized version of her—was the inspiration for the basic idea behind the series, and then I stuck my Anastasia in the middle of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair was another influence; I’ve always loved the idea of a prince enchanted by a wicked queen. And for Belphagor’s character, the germ of him started with an episode of Firefly called “The Message,” about a small-time con man who ended up gambling his own body.

Marlene: Were you seriously into Russian history before you started on the series? And how much research goes into each book to make the historic parallels?

Jane: No, I wasn’t into it at all before the idea came to me, although I’d always wanted to learn Russian, which I did (sort of) as part of my research. The research for the historic parallels was mostly done in one big chunk when I took a Russian Culture class and then read several books on Russian history and the Romanovs. Most of that stayed in my head. (The story of the Romanovs, particularly; it feels like it happened to people I knew.) I still refer back to those sources while writing the other books in the series, and I’m now completely obsessed with Russia.

Marlene: What do you say to readers and reviewers who might see the relationship between the demons Belphagor and Vasily as jumping on the current BDSM bandwagon?

Jane: I haven’t read the book that seems to have caused so many people to imagine BDSM is something that was recently invented. Plenty of books containing BDSM elements have been published since long before the current trend. I can’t imagine why anyone would jump on any kind of publishing bandwagon, anyway, given the speed at which traditional books are published. By the time you write something you think is “in,” it’s not, so it’s never a good idea to write to trends. I started writing The House of Arkhangel’sk in early 2006 and finished the first draft of the trilogy in 2009. Took another year to polish it and find an agent, then another five months before it was sold, and the first book came out seven months later. I’d have to have been extremely prescient to have timed my first novel to be released just before the rest of the world “discovered” BDSM in order to capitalize on it.

Marlene: People usually equate being on “the side of the angels” with goodness. But your angels aren’t necessarily good. And your demons aren’t necessarily evil. How would you define the difference?

Jane: Essentially, my angels are the celestial nobility, while the demons are the peasant class. I decided to use the idea of this class system to reflect conditions in pre-revolutionary Russia. Since no one in that equation is all good or all bad, neither are my characters.

Marlene: Now that they’ve been teased a bit by the first few questions, can you tell readers what they can expect of The Fallen Queen and The Midnight Court?

Jane: They’re epic fantasy on the darker side with a little bit of urban fantasy thrown in. Add an angelic imperial family, a wicked fairy queen, murder, mayhem, love, two naughty leather demons (“leather,” incidentally, is code for BDSM, for those who don’t know), and some dirty Russian words, and there you have it. Oh, plus a bizarre game of dice and cards that nobody could ever possibly win, except my tattooed demon scoundrel.

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

Jane: Belphagor, Vasily, and more Belphagor. 😉

Marlene: Turning the tables a bit, what book do you think everyone should read, and why that book?

Jane: The Princess Bride, because it’s the best romantic fantasy ever, and because there’s even more Fezzik and Inigo than in the movie.

Marlene: What are your upcoming projects? What comes next in the House of Arkhangel’sk?

Jane: The Armies of Heaven. And after that…I’m currently working on a second Arkhangel’sk trilogy, and I have another series that began with my novella, The Devil’s Garden, that I hope to find a home for someday soon.

Marlene: What do your two feline overlords think of all this? Do they interfere much with your writing? What are their names?

Jane: The photo I’ve included answers most of that. The one in the photo is Neo. He thinks he owns my lap. The other is Urd, an extremely round calico who demands hourly pettings. I feed these little overlords four times a day (first and second breakfast, first and second dinner—I have to divide up their meals into separate courses). If I didn’t, I’d have no peace.

Marlene: And for anyone else who happens to be going, where and when will you be at Dragon*Con next month?

Jane: I don’t have any particular plans. I’m not on any panels and haven’t looked at the schedule yet to see what I want to attend, but anything Joss Whedon or Star Trek related, and I’m there.

Anything Joss Whedon or Star Trek related sounds like a perfectly good plan to me…assuming that any of our feline overlords let us out of our houses!


Are you teased? Good! If you are just itching to start reading The House of Arkhangel’sk, or if you’ve read The Fallen Queen and can’t wait for The Midnight Court, the Rafflecopter is waiting. The lucky winner will get their choice of an ebook copy either The Fallen Queen or The Midnight Court.

What are you waiting for?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Small Blogs Big Giveaways Blog Hop


small blogs big giveaways romance edition july giveaway

The biggest international giveaway online – 12 winners total!


How to win the books!
Winners will be able to choose from the big stash of prizes, it’s one BIG giveaway! You only need to enter it once via the rafflecopter tool (through any of the participating hosts. It’s different from a giveaway hop, where each blog hosts their own giveaway).
For each host you visit and fill out the form, you’ll receive one entry! For this giveaway there will be 7 winners, one for each giftcard + 5 more winners choose at least 5 books from the prize list!

Organized by: Reading Romances


Reading Reality
I am a book addict…and proud of it
The Book Tart
Sara Daniel Romance Author
Carolyn Hughey/K. T. Roberts

Featured Authors:
Hannah Fielding, Eden Connor, Amber Kallyn, Elaine Cantrell , J.T. Geissinger, Gayl Taylor, Carrie Pulkinen, Victoria Vane, Ann Montclair, Michelle Styles, Kate Hewitt , Nicola Marsh, Gina Ardito, Regan Black and Christy Hayes!

Follow the event on twitter or facebook!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sharing My Favorite Book Giveaway Hop

Sharing My Favorite Read Giveaway Hop is being hosted by Reading Romances!

I never can pick just one.

As part of the Share My Favorite Read Giveaway Hop, I was supposed to pick my favorite book, and share it.

My one and only? That’s my husband’s place in my life.

When it comes to books, not remotely possible to choose.

Favorites of different types, absolutely!

After all, I love steak and I love chocolate. But is one better than the other? Is one better than the other for what? There is nothing in the universe like chocolate. Maybe sex.

But chocolate does not take the place of an excellent filet mignon. It’s what you have after an excellent filet mignon. Or after a perfectly grilled hamburger. It depends on what I’m in the mood for.

So for flavors of favorites, let’s see what Marlene has in her stacks of books. This blog hop is organized by my friend Nat at Reading Romances, so the requirement was that all the books be romances.

No problem! There are plenty of flavors of romances. I did sneak one in where the opinion varies. I think of it as having a romantic undertone. Your mileage may vary.

(I want a drumroll in here. Consider it understood)

My favorite time-travel romance, of course, is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. If you are looking for the explanation, read my Lovestruck post.

Science fiction romance has always been a favorite, since the first dragon flew over Pern. But when it comes to authors that I recommend to people now for SFR, Two names come to mind. Well, three really, because two of them write together.

Linnea Sinclair’s Games of Command is still one of my favorite single-title SFR books. Either that or her Accidental Goddess. Everything is there, space travel, other worlds, kick-ass heroine, cyborgs, rebel alliance, evil empire. love story, the works.


If you like space opera sagas with mercantile empires and yummy love stories, you can’t go wrong with Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe. Start with either Local Custom or Agent of Change. I started with Local Custom, and it really brought the SFR elements to the fore.

And my sneaker. By now, readers have figured out that I’m a sucker for Sherlock Holmes books. If the current number of  Holmes projects is any indication, I’m not the only one. Not only is Robert Downey, Jr. playing the great detective on the big screen (not his best role, I much prefer him as Iron Man), but there are not one, but two 21st century adaptations. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have captured the essentials of Holmes and Watson in the BBC’s Sherlock, and CBS is about to bring out Elementary, with Holmes and Dr. Joan Watson in modern-day Los Angeles.

Laurie R. King re-imagined Sherlock Holmes an entirely different way. In 1915, retired at 54, on the Sussex Downs, keeping bees, bored and suicidal. With Sherlock Holmes, bored and suicidal tended to go hand in hand. Or needle in arm. But in Ms. King’s version, someone tripped over Holmes with her nose in a copy of Virgil. A 15-year-old girl in need of rescuing. A female version of himself, born with the century. Mary Russell becomes his apprentice. She gives him a reason not to be bored. Eventually, very, very eventually, she becomes his wife. The first book, the story of her apprenticeship, is fittingly titled The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

This giveaway hop is all about Sharing Favorite Books, so this is how I’m going to share my favorite books with you. There’s a Rafflecopter below here. In it there’s a question. The question asks you to share your favorite book.

The lucky winner of the giveaway here at Reading Reality will get to choose from my favorite books. Any one of the books listed above, or any title I’ve given an A, A- or A+ Rating (under $10) since I started blogging. I want to share a book or ebook with you, so this is a US/International giveaway, as long as you can receive from Amazon or Book Depository or Baen Ebooks in the case of the Liaden Universe books)

Don’t forget to visit all the other hoppers! Everyone has lots of cool favorites to share and giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hop and enter the other giveaways!


Guest Post: Author Ruthie Knox is Hearing Voices + Giveaway

Reading Reality has a very special guest today. It’s Ruthie Knox, the author of February’s marvelous contemporary romance Ride With Me and her utterly delicious new, just-in-time-to-celebrate-the-Jubilee, set-in-London About Last Night.

Because so much of the fun of About Last Night (and it is scrumptious fun, see the review here) is in the heroine’s talks with herself (Good Cath’s attempts to suppress Bad Cath, read the book!) I asked Ruthie to give us some insight into successfully writing characters who have a LOT of internal dialogue.

Take it away, Ruthie!

Hearing Voices: On Internal Dialogue

A good friend recently mentioned to me how much she despises it when people use the term “internal dialogue.” We have only the one brain, after all. It’s not as though we carry conversations in our own heads, complete with quotation marks and speech tags, right? So anything internal has to be “monologue,” not “dialogue.”

Except . . . hmm.

Sometimes I do talk to myself inside my head as if there are two miniature versions of me in there, yammering at each other. In fact, sometimes when I’m hiking, I actually speak one side of the conversation out loud, while the other one talks back to me silently.

Crazy, or just human? Let’s hope the latter, because the heroine of my new release, About Last Night, definitely has a fair bit of internal dialogue going on. Her name is Cath, and she has a checkered past, but she’s reformed.

Sort of.


At times of stress — which I give her in spades — poor Cath tends to find herself torn between her old identity (“Bad Cath”) and her reformed one (“Good Cath,” a.k.a “New Cath”), and the two of them duke it out in her head.

Take this scene, for example, where Cath has just eaten a bacon sandwich in the kitchen of the stranger whose bed she slept in the night before…

Maybe it was the hangover, but it was the best sandwich she’d ever had. Or maybe it was City. He moved around his tiny kitchen like he knew what he was doing, and he’d fussed over the sandwich for a long time.

Beyond asking her how she liked her tea, though, he didn’t say a word, and that was fine with Cath. She wasn’t sure what social script applied when you’d passed out on someone, woken up in their bed, and then immediately thereafter come very close to mating with them on a table. The best strategy would no doubt have been flight, but she’d needed the sandwich.

The food gave her necessary fuel, and it also provided time to regroup. Bad Cath and Good Cath were duking it out in her head, and she was having trouble keeping her wires from crossing.

Good Cath was screechy, slightly hysterical: What do you think you’re doing? Sex on a table with a stranger? You don’t do that anymore! Hell, you didn’t even do that before. Knock it off. Put your clothes on. Go home. It’s still possible to turn this into a blip! It’s not too late, but you’re cutting it close, missy.

Bad Cath, by contrast, practically purred with lust: That man can kiss, Mary Catherine. What could it hurt to do it again? You’re already here. You made your mistake. What’s the big deal if you make it a little bigger? And speaking of big, did you notice the way City felt pressing between your legs? Yeah. That. You’re going to walk out on that? Don’t kid a kidder, babe.

What could she do but feed her stomach and try to drown out the voices?

Plus, it wasn’t like she could simply flee the scene. She was only half dressed. At least she knew where her clothes were now. She’d spotted them drying on a rack in the corner as soon as she walked into the kitchen. City must have put them through the wash for her, but he, like so many of his backward countrymen, didn’t have a dryer.

He could deny being nice all day long, but the guy was definitely a Boy Scout. A Boy Scout who kissed like a Hell’s Angel. Not that she’d ever kissed a Hell’s Angel. And not that anyone had ever kissed her quite like City just had. Zero to sixty in three-point-four seconds. The man knew how to ring her bell.

But she was done with the bell ringing, right? Right. New Cath didn’t sleep with strange men on studio tables. New Cath said, “Thanks a bunch,” got dressed, and clomped on home.

Do that, New Cath instructed. Do that right now.

Of course, she doesn’t do it. Where would be the fun in that? She stays, and she sleeps with him (which turns out to have been a very good bad idea), and then she flees — only to find herself face-to-face with him on the train and embroiled in yet another internal dilemma.

She and City were over and done with, but he seemed to have missed the memo. Or he’d read it, then shredded it.

So send him another copy.

She didn’t want to. She knew she should, but she so didn’t want to. “You’re just trying to get me back into bed with you.”

Nev’s mouth curled up at the corners, and he lowered his voice, leaning closer. “Of course I’m trying to get you back into bed with me. I loved having you in my bed. I’d like to chain you to my bed.” He trailed a finger down her bare arm, leaving a trail of sighing nerve endings. “But I’d also like to have lunch with you.”

Desperate to maintain her resolve, Cath gestured toward a woman at the other end of the car. “Isn’t Portia there more your type?” Tall, blond, and refined, the woman was dressed for the office in a pencil skirt and an expensive-looking white silk blouse. Cath, by contrast, wore a cheap black sleeveless top and pants from Zara. Her fingernails were bitten to the quick, her hair hopelessly wispy. He didn’t want her. She was a mess.

Nev glanced over at the woman and then looked back at Cath, his smile widening as his eyes traveled the length of her body. “I know what I want, Mary Catherine.”

Her nipples drew tight, and she felt a rush of moisture soak her panties. Stupid, traitorous body.

“I can’t,” she insisted.

“Dinner then.”

“I mean, I can’t go out with you.”

“Ah.” Concern furrowed his forehead, and Cath tried not to find it adorable. She failed. “Is there someone else?”


“Good.” He smiled again, and she smiled back before she could catch herself. She needed to remember to watch out for sneak attacks. Nev tilted his head, considering her. “What then, you don’t fancy me?”

Tell him you don’t. Tell him you don’t fancy him one bit.

She gave him the same slow once-over he’d just given her. “What’s not to fancy?”

New Cath threw up her hands, disgusted with the whole situation.

Isn’t she cute? And slightly psychotic?

It was tremendous fun to write a heroine who’s such a mess, but it also required some torturous, angsty writing days. Because I don’t think anyone gets as divided and messed up in the head as Our Lovely Cath without some serious trauma in her background, and Cath is no exception.

Ultimately, what About Last Night is all about is watching Cath find love, and unfolding all the ways in which learning to trust — opening herself to feel — forces her to come to terms with her past and find the forgiveness that lets her be neither Old Cath nor New Cath, but simply Cath.

What about you — do you ever have internal dialogue, or are you strictly a monologue sort of person? Confession time!

About Last Night, coming from Loveswept (Random House), June 11, 2012! 

Sure, opposites attract, but in this sexy, smart, eBook original romance from Ruthie Knox, they positively combust! When a buttoned-up banker falls for a bad girl, “about last night” is just the beginning.
Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.

Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine—even her name turns him on—with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.

When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?

If you’re teased enough about the debate between Good Cath and Bad Cath, About Last Night will be available on June 11 from Amazon, B&N, and everywhere. Goodreads is already starting to rack up reviews.

If you want to follow Ruthie, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, her website.

**~~**About That Giveaway**~~**

One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a digital preview copy of About Last Night. Winners will pick up their copy through NetGalley. Good luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway