• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

We have Best Selling @CynthiaEden at the Swamp w/giveaway! #pararom #darkrom #giveaway

We’ve managed to snag another great writer in one of our UNWARY TRAVELER TRAPS we sprinkled through out the Swamp. Today’s catch of the day: CYNTHIA EDEN, Mistress of Award Winning Sexy Paranormal Romance and Dark Romantic Suspense.  Not only is she a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller, but Cynthia is also a two-time finalist for the RITA® award (she was a finalist both in the romantic suspense category and in the paranormal romance category). Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over forty novels and novellas, so I know you might recognize some of her series titles (Angel of Darkness, Mine to Take, Deadly Fear, Die For Me, Bound by Blood, and Burn For Me).

Not only did we manage to convince her (with large amounts of chocolate and elusive sightings of werewolves) to come answer a few questions, she even offered to give one lucky commenter their choice of either a PRINT COPY or DIGITAL COPY of  ONCE BITTEN, TWICE BURNED. (It’s an awesome read!) All you have to do is leave us a comment with a one word description of the one person you know best…you! Don’t forget your email or we won’t be able to share the wonderfulness of Cynthia’s writing!

In case you’re feeling shy and need a little encouragement, here’s a pretty pic and something to whet your reading taste buds:

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 ONCE BITTEN, TWICE BURNED

Ryder Duncan keeps his secrets. With a twisted scientist starving him in a 10 x 12 cell, it’s not easy to conceal the abilities that set him apart from other vampires, or his plans for escape. But survival–and revenge–are worth waiting for. Until the so-called doctor tempts his appetites with something special: a woman, with a soft Southern accent and a scent like flowers. Sabine.

Sabine Acadia didn’t volunteer to be dinner. She was kidnapped and tossed into the cage of a monster. A monster with fierce green eyes, a body that speaks of ruthless power–but a touch gentle as a caress. Ryder knows things about her, secrets Sabine needs to learn fast. Because while they might soon escape this prison, she’s fighting an urge to set all her desires free. . .

Buy links:        Amazon              B&N

Ready to meet Cynthia? Hang on tight, here we go…

 

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

 I planned to be a magician—the best magician EVER!!!!!! My mom had to sit through countless magic shows as I tried to perfect my craft. The milk didn’t always disappear into the rolled up newspaper (the way it was supposed to do!) and, instead, we often ended up with a wet floor.

 –As long as the rabbit made it out alive, I think you can call it a success!

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

 They would probably say I was obsessive, compulsive, crazy, and given to watching far too many fanfic YouTube videos of ONCE UPON A TIME, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, and CASTLE…

–And what’s wrong with that? Oh! Look, new episode of CASTLE is on…be right back.

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior). Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

Jayne Ann Krentz totally reduced me to this behavior. I’ve adored her work for years, and when I had a chance to get her autograph at the last RWA conference, I rambled like a mad woman.

 –Okay, so you won’t be too stunned if this tongue tied mess tracks you down at RT then right? Right?

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know: what was your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

Oh, I definitely have a first novel—actually, I think I have the first five novels stashed some place. I’ve got a truly terrible Harlequin series book that I wrote for their long ago “Yours Truly” line (and when I say this book is horrible—I mean I had NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING!). I wrote that book almost 20 years ago, and I will never, ever show it to another person again.

I also wrote a YA book back then—more in the line with RL Stine/Christopher Pike. Kids were getting scared/there was a supernatural baddie after them…oh, good times!!

–Okay, so I have my own horrific YA novel that is never allowed to come into the light, nope, not ever. I refuse.

 

What is the best advice you can share with others?

Write—and write some more! Never give up on your dreams. If you love writing, then sit in that chair and get your hands on the keyboard. Write when you’re happy. Write when you’re sad. Write when you don’t even think you can pull the words out of your mind. Because the more you write…well, the easier it becomes.

 –I’m holding you to that last part. I’m at the end of my fifth book right now and she and I are not getting along. Okay, that may be a tad harsh, she’s fine, the writer, well, that wench needs some help…

And now we pepper her with our fast and furious, bullet list…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Fists!

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Little Red Riding Hood

-Why do I get the impression you’re cheering the wolf on?

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

OTHERWISE ENGAGED by Amanda Quick, HER PERFECT MATE by Paige Tyler, and THE SKIN COLLECTOR by Jeffery Deaver.

Greatest one liner of all time?

As you wish.

-One of the best depositories of one liners ever!

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Geeky disdain.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A rock with text across it that says, “Cavers do it in the dark.”

Favorite supernatural creature?

Werewolf

 

Much love and thanks to Cynthia for taking time out of her busy schedule to visit with us. If you happen to be attending Romantic Times BookLovers Convention in New Orleans  next week, look for Cynthia amongst the glittery crowd! (Me too, if you want to say “hi”!)

Want to add the rest of Cynthia’s titles to your TBR? You can catch them or her here:

Where to find Cynthia:

Website: www.cynthiaeden.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/cynthiaeden

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cynthiaedenfanpage

 

A visit w/@sbredstone and a peek at his dark paranormal mystery A SINISTER OBSESSION #giveaway

Welcome back! Don’t mind the mess, I’m in the midst of edits and final word counts. (Haphazardly stacking piles of paper and multi-colored pens into a teetering pile).  Oh, and a little dash of research before we begin our preparations for our travels to the Big Easy in May. (Shoving a couple of books under a couch cushion).

Today’s guest is the perceptively diabolical S.B. Redstone and he’s bringing along his dark, paranormal mystery, A SINISTER OBSESSION, along. His timing is impeccable considering my latest string of reading titles. I’ll share only because I have the excuse that I’m an author and this is research. I just finished up with Dr. Stout’s THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR (which really doesn’t make you want to meet your neighbors) and I’m getting ready to start with John Douglas’s MIND HUNTER, which is all about the FBI’s Serial Crime Unit. 

It’s RESEARCH, people (and kind of fun!).

But, enough on my quest for criminal motivation, let’s talk to someone who’s created a terrifyingly fantastic read for all you readers looking for a great novel weaving mystery, suspense, and dark fiction, with a paranormal female detective, a combative 1940’s style romantic relationship between detectives, a hot social topic viewed from a humanistic perspective, complete with an elusive killer whose narcissistic obsession leads to heartless murders and a diabolical scheme to achieve personal happiness. Yep, it’s all here in A SINISTER OBSESSION published by Black Opal Books.

I bet you want your own copy, uh? Well, here’s how you can enter for a chance to win your very own e-copy of A SINISTER OBSESSION. Click on this Rafflecopter link and/or share with us in our comment section what fascinates you about your favorite villain and you could be our winner. Don’t forget to add your email so we can connect with you! Will make our announcement on Tuesday, Mar. 25th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My enthralled crowd, I give you S.B. Redstone!

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I wanted to be Superman. As a child, I watched this superhero on television and I wanted to fly, leap over tall buildings , be the strongest person on Earth, help people, and beat up all the bullies that were annoying me! And—I wouldn’t have to take anymore crap from my parents, teachers, and grownups. Even now at my age, I still wish to be Superman, and save the world from human folly, but instead for a career, I helped people as a School Psychologist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

–I was more of the Wolverine type–claws, growls, snarls…   

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Detective Sergeant Aubrey McKenzie – “Don’t piss off this bitch!”

–Nice…=0)

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

Rory McIlroy, the young professional golfer, replied to a question during a television interview. He was asked if he was intimidated by the more experienced golfers? He answered honestly. He was a professional golfer. If he didn’t think he could beat everyone, he wouldn’t be on the PGA tour. That’s my attitude. Not wishing to appear arrogant, I am a professional writer. I don’t give any thought to famous authors or who sold more books than me, which is just about everyone right now. I know I write well. They write well. I know my stories are interesting and have merit. So do they. Hopefully, the only difference between us; they just started before me. The better than 4 star reviews for A Sinister Obsession attest to storytelling skills. If all my reviewers worked at Simon and Schuster, my books would be piled up at the front door of Barnes and Noble. If or when I meet a famous writer, I’d probably ask if they played golf. With that said, I’ll share a time when I was intimidated by previous writers. Not fiction writers, but eminent personality theorists: Freud, Jung, and Ellis. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I was formulating a different view of human nature and relationships, which placed our natures in the natural world. While sharing my thoughts with colleagues, they encouraged me to write a book. A bolt of anxiety hit me. I said, “Who would care what an obscure therapist in Plainview Long Island thinks?” My colleague looked at me and said, “Everyone!” I wrote Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning with a great deal of trepidation published by New Horizon Press Books, Steven B. Rosenstein, LCSW, MS.

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?  Inquiring minds want to know: what was  your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

How did you know? I was a teenager when I was writing poetry. I don’t know why I chose that creative form as I was a terrible writer. Most of my interest was in sports and old movies. But I enjoyed doing it. Showed a few people and they  liked it. I think I can blame my creative desires on an old friend who was an excellent artist. I was envious of his talents and I wanted to be just as creative. I will admit to being a highly competitive person. Nothing I do doesn’t involve some form of competition, even if the completion is with myself. My first novel I wrote, when I didn’t know how to make two adjacent sentences coherent, was a horror novel. I sent it out to agents. Rejected! I put it away, and every year or two, edited it again and again. Recently, its main characters screamed at me to send out queries to independent publishers. I hope they’re right!  

–Ahh, teenage poetry, the perfect outlet for angst… 

We all have favorite characters, either main or secondary, and there are always bits and pieces of them we don’t share with our readers, but keep close to our hearts.  Choose your favorite from your cast of characters and tell us a couple of things that you haven’t shared in your books/writing.

There are few secrets that I haven’t shared with the readers about my characters. If I think it goes down on paper. I don’t hold back. Like it or not, the character gets revealed. For Detective McKenzie, she likes to physically hurt those she hates. That’s who she is. I could have made her less reactive and aggressive, but she wouldn’t have accepted that. I didn’t share with my readers that she’d like to bullet in the heart of most of the criminals she captures. There’s another character I dare not name to ruin the mystery, but he is really far more despicable than I made him. I didn’t want to tarnish every aspect of his personality, so the readers wouldn’t hate him as much as I do.

–I think a great many writers won’t share everything about their character with their readers, but if you do it right, you’re readers manage to uncover it all between the lines.

What’s some of the funniest/sweetest/strangest things you’ve heard from your readers?

A reader said, reacting to a murder scene, “I’ll never look at a knitting needle the same way again!”

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys.  Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting).  Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

I’ve never hit a snag on a story and had to give it up because I write the entire story in my head, for months, before I ever think of having it appear on a computer screen. If it doesn’t have a great beginning, middle, and end with fascinating characters, I give it up. Ninety percent of my stories bite the dust. However, here’s a masochistic moment. A bit different that your question but the situation left me devastated. Many years ago, I saw the movie Amadeus. I thought it would interesting to write a screenplay about Beethoven, who had an even greater difficult life, but no one had done before. I did months of research. Wrote the screenplay, which took we nearly a year with the little free time I had. Just when I finished it, and was thinking about what to do with it, my wife comes over, and says gently, “Immortal Beloved, is coming to the big screen. Oh, noooooo! Here’s my advice to writers. Never write a screenplay about a famous person!

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

Young adult. I’d have no clue how they think. What they think about. I can’t watch their movies or their television shows. What they think is funny has me staring blankly at walls. I don’t understand paying hundreds of dollars for jeans with tattered holes.  They’re a great generation, but not my generation, and if I dared create characters of that age, they’d sound like old people with braces on!

Share if you dare, one of your favorite research experiences. Did you join a ghost hunters group? Did you step outside your comfort zone and into the wild world of your characters?

My favorite research experience wasn’t very exciting. In my horror novel, President Kennedy, is a background character. I went to the library and read every biography on him. I expected to read about his presidency and policy and couldn’t believe I was reading about the secret life of a sex addict. He had an insatiable appetite for sex. His long list of women included Marilyn Monroe, a Soviet spy, and prostitutes in the White House. Now my novel about a succubus seeking world domination, through demonic possession, during a sexual encounter had the powerful punch I was seeking!

–It’s amazing what you discover about public figures if you dig deep enough. 

You all ready for our BULLET LIST? Alright, SB, it’s all yours… 

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Fists – I can’t really hurt anyone.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Peter Pan – Flying would be fun!

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

Only two, but they’ve been by my bed for over a year.

Crazy Horse, The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz

No Easy Way by Mark Owen

Greatest one liner of all time?

“Here’s looking at you kid!” the movie, Casablanca

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism – I love one up-man-ship.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A paperclip with a plastic yellow heart on it. I have no idea where it came from. 

Favorite supernatural creature?

Succubus

Much thanks to SB for coming and spending time with us, we always love meeting new writers and getting a small peek into what  makes them tick!

A Sinister Obsession can be purchased at Amazon and all booksellers in kindle and paperback formats.

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Amazon  http://goo.gl/TkWAe6

A psychopathic killer on a quest leaves behind a string of brutal murders, and to find the Who, the police must first discover the Why

Detective Aubrey McKenzie has been assigned to investigate the murders. A lovely, fabulously wealthy, dark-haired Scot, whose iron will was forged in the inferno of human tragedy, Aubrey is stymied by the lack of solid clues. Now she must rely on her paranormal ability to apprehend the killer—an ability that has been invaluable in her police work but has made a disaster of her social life. Fate teams Aubrey with Detective Joshua Diamond, a handsome, talented, and compassionate man who is more than happy eating a greasy bacon-cheeseburger and wearing clothes that should have been thrown out with the trash. In a race against time, Aubrey and Joshua must overcome their vast differences—and their attraction for each other—and discover the identity of this elusive killer, and the quest this fiend is on, before more lives are destroyed.

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Bio

I write under the name S. B. Redstone. I began my career, after graduating from Hunter College, as a caseworker for the New York City Department of Social Services, Protective Services, investigating the horrors of the abuse and neglect of children. After attaining master’s degrees in Social Work and School Psychology, and then completing a post-graduate education in Psychoanalytic Therapy, I became a School Psychologist in the New York City Department of Education and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in his private therapy practice on Long Island. treating adults, adolescents, children, and couples. Always striving to improve his understanding of human nature, I researched and then wrote a personal improvement book, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning, which offers remarkable insights into behavior, societal institutions, and relationships. I have written articles on the web concerning human nature, relationships and the abuses of societal institutions, given lectures, and appeared on radio shows.                                                                             

Always having a vivid imagination and a desire to write fiction, I developed my writing skills by becoming a successful writer of short stories, all of which have been published on the web and in print. As an expert in the field of human psychology, I have been able to develop realistic characters from the dark side of human nature where my villains don’t aspire for happiness through personal achievement, but rather from their demented narcissistic schemes. Many of my characters have been taken from my clinical experiences. I have two additional novels seeking publication. I am a member of the International Thriller Writers Org and Romance Writers of America.

I can be found at http://sbredstoneauthor.com and at Goodreads, Shelfari, and Bloglovin. 

Come visit w/Nationally Best Selling Deborah Cooke and join our #giveaway! #Dragonfire #UF #PNR #romance

Good morning Swamp Folks! How are we doing this fine spring morning? Did you all make it past Dreamer’s SnapDragons? *wincing* Yeah, seems the seedlings got mixed with the Venus FlyTraps, hence the sharp teeth on those little puppies.

Well, now that you’re all settled in, get ready, because today we welcome the Nationally Best Selling Mistress of the hunky men of her Dragonfire series–Deborah Cooke . You may also recognize her as Claire Delacroix, the NY Times Best Selling authoress.

And because Deborah is such awesome sauce, she’s going to do a giveaway right here!

So in the comments, share with us a piece of life advice you found helpful or not so helpful and you could be our lucky winner of:

A SIGNED TRADE PAPERBACK OF THE DRAGON LEGION COLLECTION!

Dragonfire is a paranormal romance series featuring dragon shape shifter heroes on quest to save humanity 

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Don’t forget to include your email so we can reach out and gift you! (winner announced on 3/19/14)

Without further ado, I give you Deborah…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

Well, maybe this is backwards, but I always wanted to be a writer. I was an avid reader as a kid and just loved books. I also loved making up stories. Now we’d call it fan fiction, but I used to continue the stories of characters I’d met in books. The idea that I could be someone who wrote books, who was responsible for putting stories out into the world, was just a thrilling possibility. I was told, though, that being a writer wasn’t a practical way to make a living, that I should write as a hobby and find a “real” job instead. Well, writing books isn’t a practical way to make a living, but if it’s what you want to do, “real” jobs are just too boring to endure. I had real jobs for a while and ended up scribbling books on the side. I had to follow my bliss, and I did. Even before I sold my first book, I quit my real job and I’ve never looked back. It’s been challenging sometimes but so rewarding that you take the challenges in stride.

–I did the same thing for books and movies, generally creating my own character, because, well, because I’m a writer.  I also heard the same thing about writing not being a “real” job. *snort* Shows what they know.  I’ve got a plan where the day job goes bye-bye, but we’re not quite there yet. Soon, though *rubbing hangs together*

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

I expect my characters would be frustrated with me for not writing more quickly. They’d accuse me of being easily distracted by shiny new ideas, which isn’t entirely unfair. Shiny new ideas are exciting! The fact is that I’m pretty prolific, but I still have too many ideas to write them all as quickly as even I’d like. I also have a tendency to create secondary characters who want to steal the book so they can have their own stories told. I make them wait, even though they’re interesting, and they don’t like it. The line of characters wanting their particular book written forms to the right, and my office tends to be pretty crowded. So long as no one fictional does injury to anyone else fictional, I’m okay with the crowd. I doubt they feel the same way – and really, if I was waiting on an HEA, I’d be impatient too. This also explains why I talk when I’m writing, but I’m not really talking to myself (although it looks like it): I’m calming the crowd. =0)

–Yep, have to watch for others listening in, they start to consider us “unbalanced”.  Explaining it, seems to make it worse!

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?  Inquiring minds want to know: what was  your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

I made many first attempts at writing, and took creative writing classes in high school. The first full length book that I completed is the proverbial one under the bed. It’s a paranormal romantic suspense set in Venice. I loved that story to bits and revised it many (many!) times. I really didn’t have the skill to do a good job with such a complicated hybrid genre book then. I submitted it to many publishers and agents, but in 1990, there was no market for that kind of book. There still might not be a market for it, but over the years, it’s haunted me and I now have a better plan of how to write it. I might rewrite it one of these days. We’ll see. For now, those characters have joined the line in my office.

–So I’m going to ask, do you have one of those paper ticket dispensers, like a deli? “Please take a number and we will serve you as soon as we can.” =0)

What’s some of the funniest/sweetest/strangest things you’ve heard from your readers?

I’m always honoured to hear from readers. There’s something so private about the act of writing that it’s frequently a bit startling to realize that other people are actually reading my books. Of course, that’s the point of publishing them, but still, it’s very exciting to hear from a reader. The sweetest thing someone can say is “I loved your book X.” Wow! That never fails to give me a thrill. Meeting readers in person is also a treat. One of the most exciting changes for writers is the development of the internet and the opportunity it gives of interacting with readers, through blogs, emails or other social media. It’s so much fun to have that immediacy and even to be able to correspond.

–Well, let me be another one, I love, love your Dragon series (and I know Snarky is just almost speechless that you’re visiting).

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

It wasn’t given to me specifically, but is from the writings of Joseph Campbell: Follow your bliss. You have to do what makes you happy, regardless of whether other people (or even you) think it’s a sensible choice. Another saying I just love comes from Julia Cameron and the Artist’s Way: Leap and the net will appear. That’s about trusting your instincts and following your heart (as well as your bliss). We know more than we believe we do, and need to be reminded to trust in ourselves and our own instincts.

–Instincts, we have ’em for a resin =0)

Time for our favorite things, our bullet list…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Whatever suits the character. =0)

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

I love so many, but would choose Beauty and the Beast.

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

My TBR pile is very scary. It fills an entire bookshelf in my office. On my nightstand, though, are Agatha Christie: The Mousetrap and other plays (I admit I’ve been on a bit of an AC binge this fall.)
Margo Lanagan: The Brides of Rollrock Island (This is just lovely. I’m trying to ready slowly and savour.)
Ursula K. Leguin: Voices (Recommended by a friend who reads a ton more fantasy than me. I love UKL’s work, though, and am looking forward to diving in.)

Greatest one liner of all time?

“I know.”  Hans Solo en route to his inevitable demise, right after Princess Leia cries “Hans! I love you!”

–Ah yes, Star Wars, greatest space soap opera EVER!

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Oh, I like wry humor. The deadpanned one-liner is my fave.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Hmm. There’s the usual clutter of books, music dvd’s, computer parts, notebooks, file folders and knitting in various stages of completion.

Favorite supernatural creature?

Dragons, of course. (Shape-shifting dragons that can become hunky heroes are even better.)

–LOL!

Much thanks to Deborah for taking time out of her very busy schedule to be with us! Don’t forget to leave your comment and email below. 

Need more…

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Bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels. She writes as herself, Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix, and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ bestselling author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books.

Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012.

Currently, she’s writing the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances as Deborah Cooke, and the True Love Brides series of medieval romances (with fantasy elements) as Claire Delacroix.

The current Dragonfire release is The Dragon Legion Collection, which includes three paranormal romance novellas. You can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/deborah-cooke-books/dragonfire/the-dragons-legion-novellas/

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The current True Love Brides release is The Highlander’s Curse, which is a paranormal Scottish medieval romance. You can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/the-true-love-brides/the-highlanders-curse

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Deborah has also republished a trilogy of urban fantasy romances featuring fallen angel heroes and set in a dystopian future called the Prometheus Project. There’s a new fourth book in the series called Abyss and you can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/the-prometheus-project/abyss/

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Find Deborah at these locations:

Deborah’s website and blog is http://deborahcooke.com

Deborah is on Facebook as herself:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage
and also as Claire Delacroix:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Deborah is on Goodreads as Claire:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12694.Claire_Delacroix

It’s @MonaKarel, The Best In Show for Paranormal Romance, and she has a gift for you! #giveaway #pararom

(Pushing aside mountains of unpacked moving boxes, piles of crushed wrapping paper, and carefully stepping over discarded packing tape) Excuse the mess as we finish tidying up the new Swamp Shack. You’d think I’d have things a bit more together, but when the rampaging, over-sized iguana squashed our old shack, we were hard pressed to find a suitable replacement.

(Waving a hand) Nevermind that, you’re not here to listen to my tales of moving woe. Today, we have the lovely creative genius behind the awesome MY KILLER, MY LOVE and TEACH ME TO FORGET—Mona Karel. She even brought those gorgeous Faerie Hounds of hers.

Stick around and tell us what was your first occupational aspiration was and you could win an e-copy of her MY KILLER, MY LOVE–a heart pounding story of the unearthly guardian, Mykhael and the intriguing survivor, Kendra, as they face down evil while discovering their own, beautiful connection. Might as well let someone new fall in love with Mykhael, and she thought that would be better than genuine, high desert tumble weeds… Remember, we need your email to ensure you get your copy.

For now, I give you, Lady Mona…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I absolutely knew I was going to be an Olympic equestrian, from the time I read Pat Smythe’s book Jump For Joy. Never mind that I only rode horses once a week, and no one in my family had the least idea how to support such a goal. When the high school yearbook staff asked what I planned to do with my life, I stated categorically I would ride jumping horses. Well, we can all dream, can’t we?

–I’m going to guess you also read BLACK BEAUTY and did you happen to have all the Black Stallion novels? Not that I would know anything about that or being a prize winning jockey….

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know: what was your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

I was such a fan of gothic romance for a while, and I wrote a full gothic novel, set in a manor house in Scotland. Complete with a white nightgown in the gallery scene. That would have to be when I was about sixteen since it was before my father did a tour of duty in Japan. All the ‘excess’ was tossed out, including my Beatles fan fiction (shaking my head in wonder) where we were in a plane crash and marooned on a desert island. My lead character, who bore a sad resemblance to me, helped save the day while the rest of the females sat around and whined. Back in civilization, Paul showed up one day to declare unremitting love. Hey, gimme a break, I think I was fifteen.

–Mmmm, Paul always was the pretty one…

The first ‘real’ novel might still have a chance at resurrection since I’ve ended up using one of the male characters in another book. The female protagonist rides jumping horses. As an aside, isn’t it more fun to call her the heroine?

Growing up, what was your favorite book, comic, game or movie and did you create a character/player that might resemble you?

Man From U.N.C.L.E. absolutely. I had it bad for Illya Kuryakin (not so much Napoleon Solo until I learned years later that Robert Vaughn had Scottish Deerhounds) That fascination carried forward when Dr. Mallard showed up on NCIS.

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior). Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I actually did meet some of my favorite writers when I helped the Programs chair for Orange County. At that time I was pretty cool about it all, even when it was Elizabeth Lowell or Eileen Dreyer. Now I think I’d be a fluttering fool if I met Patricia Briggs or Jim Butcher. I had no problem with one of my very favorite authors I met through dogs long before I knew she had written Dun’s Lady Jess. Dogs are a great leveler.

–Then you and your hounds can come rescue me when I fall into a drooling mass at the feet of Patricia Briggs…as for Jim, he at least, didn’t mind the drool…

And now, for our favorite list–The Bullet List…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Hand Grenades or Stink Bombs

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Oh gaaa, that one’s difficult. I wasn’t a fan of happily ever after especially not after I learned the story behind the story of so many fairy tales. Like those nursery songs: “A Tisket a Tasket…Ashes Ashes All Fall Down.” Yikes. There was the modern fairy tale that canned and frozen prepared meals are every bit as good as fresh. No, wait, that’s more of a horror story. Hmmm. Probably the swan one, where the sister couldn’t speak until she’d saved her eleven brothers from a curse. Let me see…oh, never mind that one’s also pretty stupid.

But wait, there’s the Town Musicians of Bremen. No vapid virginal heroine, no evil stepmother, no waiting to be rescued by the prince. Yup, liked that one. Which reminds me of a favorite line…

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

On the Kindle actually. I’m indulging in Kodiak Unchained, one of Doranna Durgin’s Sentinel stories. What a fascinating take on shifters and unrelenting enmity, and yes she also wrote Dun’s Lady Jess. Greta Van Der Rol has asked me to do a beta read on her sequel to Morgan’s Return, great space opera and such an honor. I’d be saying Eileen Dreyer and her Drake’s Rakes except I’ve read them until I could quote them waiting for the next one.

Greatest one liner of all time?

‘No more kitchen scraps for the widows and orphans’ Favorite villain, one of my favorite actors.

But also, from Pretty Woman: “What happens after the Prince rescues the Princess?” “She rescues him right back.” Gurrrl power!

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism, all too often misunderstood, go figure.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Actually I moved the writing set up to a high counter in the large main room. It was a way to stay connected to my life: the high desert, the dogs, the wind blowing tumbleweeds into the fences. From the point of view of ‘ordinary’ people most everything would be strange. Probably the silver serving spoon that used to have a lovely ceramic dragon handle. Now it’s just a stub. I was trying to figure out the hallmarks on the back…

Favorite supernatural creature?

Obviously I love Mykhael Alastor, from My Killer My Love. And his brother Gabriel who redeems himself by helping rescue a lovely plus size woman while falling madly in love with her. But someone else’s, hmmm. It would be cheating to mention one of the writers I’ve already named, wouldn’t it?

Now, if it was Science Fiction, then Andromeda‘s captain, and also the hot guy with the dreads…Tyr Anasazi. But you’re looking for supernatural creatures, not characters. Well, of course, it would be dragons. Except they exist, we just can’t quite see them.

You want to know about the ‘real’ me or the writer me?

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Mona Karel is the writing alter ego of Monica Stoner, who moved around a lot with her Navy family and continued that nomadic existence for a while on her own. Her first two books: the paranormal romance My Killer My Love and contemporary romance Teach Me To Forget, are published by Black Opal Books. She’s madly typing away on her next stories, in between doing battle with rapacious tumbleweeds and playing with her herd of Salukis.

Biddy BOB FD and Me

My Killer My Love is available through the usual sources:

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AMAZON BARNES AND NOBLE

Teach Me To Forget as well:

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AMAZON BARNES AND NOBLE

Both titles available through my publisher, Black Opal Books

It’s all about NYT, USA Today Best Selling Rom Suspense Authoress, @KayleaCross! #romsusp #giveaway

Gather ’round the campfire, kiddos, today we have the pleasure of talking with NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author, Kaylea Cross. She’s agreed to spend some time answering a few of our questions. 

Keep your voices down, there may be a few…ummm…men in greasepaint armed with some serious weapons looking for her. We promised she’d return unharmed, but they’re a cautious bunch.

Kaylea has some seriously exciting series out there–two of my favs, Titanium Security Series and Bagram Special Ops Series, only because I haven’t picked up the others yet. If you like Maya Banks, Christy Reece and Cindy Gerard, you have to add Kaylea to your reading list.

And to help with that, Kaylea has agreed to give one lucky commenter a free e-copy of IGNITED, the first book in the Titanium Security Series.  Just share some of your favorite Romantic Suspense authors in the comments.  Don’t forget to include your email with your comment.

Okay, since Eerie’s signaling me frantically, we’ll get this show on the road. 

My fellow conspirators, I give you Kaylea…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

Always an author. Always. For my 5th birthday I ask for and received an old-fashioned typewriter. I vividly remember sitting down and hacking away at the keys on a story that night. I didn’t start my first novel until much, much later though!

–Me too, well, and a judge and a vet, and a journalist…My typewriter sat at the kitchen table. My parents were pretty great about the fact it took up a permanent residence. I have 250 pages of a YA fantasy under lock and key.  It’s been banished. 

We all have favorite characters, either main or secondary, and there are always bits and pieces of them we don’t share with our readers, but keep close to our hearts.  Choose your favorite from your cast of characters and tell us a couple of things that you haven’t shared in your books/writing.

Oh, hands down that’s Luke Hutchinson, from my first suspense series. He’s the love of my writing life and no hero will ever match him (I’m loyal like that). I guess the biggest thing I didn’t really dwell on for him is that there’s still a lot of darkness inside him that he struggles with.

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I’d have to say JR Ward or Suzanne Brockmann, because I absolutely adore their writing and their characters. Though I will admit I’m pretty shy and my knees were wobbling pretty good when I attended an air show to interview some flight crews two summers ago. There I was, surrounded by a wall of men wearing flight suits as I went through my list of questions with them. I did NOT tell them I was researching a romance novel, however, since in my experience that’s the kiss of death as far as credibility is concerned. (Hey, it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!)

–I’m with you on JR and Suzanne. They’re awesome character creators. Kudos to you on the flight crew interviews, I’m not sure I could have done anything remotely similar without stuttering (all hail the blogverse, where I can type without stumbling over my words!)

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?  Inquiring minds want to know: what was  your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

Well, this year I managed to publish the first book I ever wrote (a Civil War romance called The Vacant Chair), BUT, I had to rewrite it a couple of times and then I hired a freelance editor to go through it with a fine-tooth comb. It definitely is near and dear to my heart, though it’s far outside of the romantic suspense genre I’m known for.

–A historical? Wow, I’m thoroughly impressed. Historical’s scare me because of how accurate you have to be on your world building.

What is the best advice you can share with others?

Don’t give up, and don’t compare yourself/your work to others. Your process and voice will be unique to everyone else’s. Find what works for you and stick to that.

–Hear, hear!

Share if you dare, one of your favorite research experiences. Did you join a ghost hunters group? Did you step outside your comfort zone and into the wild world of your characters?

Aww, only one? Okay. I’m absolutely freaking terrified of flying (it’s a long story with a good reason behind it!), but for my Bagram Special Ops series I interviewed several helicopter pilots, flight instructors and even a Navy vet who survived a crash so I could get the details right. Then I went up in a helo five times to get the feel for the aircraft and the basics of the controls/mechanics. Best part was, I lived to tell the tale!

–It was well worth it, because I love that series. Your world building was awesome. I’m not much of a flyer either, but it’s more a heights thing than flying…

Now for our fun bullet list. Ready? Aim. Fire…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Guns! All my heroes are adept with firearms of all sorts.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Beauty and the Beast. I love that theme of redemption, and seeing past the physical to what’s inside.

–Love Beauty…even before Disney made a movie out of it =0)

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

Uncommon Pleasure, by Anne Calhoun
American Sniper, by the late Chris Kyle
SEAL Team Six, by Harold Wasdin

–I’ve got Wasdin’s and Kyle’s on my TBR too. They’re compelling reads.

Greatest one liner of all time?

“Nothing like a good piece of ass.” (From Steel Magnolias)

–*snort*

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Southern sweetness all the way!

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

My late 18 ½ year old cat’s ashes and a little Ziploc of his fur. *sniffle*

((hugs))

Favorite supernatural creature?

Dragons.

—Oooohhhh, Snarky’s going to love you!

Big, huge Thank You to Kaylea for making time to drop in. Before we let her go, don’t forget to share with us your favorite Romantic Suspense author (with your email) for a chance to win an e-copy of IGNITED:

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When her father is murdered by a Taliban cell in the tribal regions of Pakistan, Khalia Patterson reluctantly steps into his shoes to carry on the legacy of Fair Start Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to furthering the education of girls. There she meets Hunter Phillips, the ex-SEAL and head of her Titanium security team, and quickly learns that coming to Pakistan might prove to be a deadly decision.
Battling demons of his own, Hunter grudgingly leads Khalia’s protective detail  as a favor to his boss. From their first meeting it’s clear she’s going to be trouble, and that the cell that killed her father is hell bent on taking her out as well. Keeping her alive is one of the toughest assignments he’s ever faced, yet through one harrowing situation after another she continually impresses him with her strength and inner courage. Even though he fights his feelings for her, it’s a losing battle. And when the job is over, he doesn’t know how he’ll let her go.
Buy Links:

Come find Kaylea Cross…

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NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her family. You can find Kaylea through her website, Twitter, Facebook,and her blog.

Visit the Wildly, Wonderful Mind of Julia Joseph in the paranormal worlds of THE BROKEN #giveaway #paranormal #supernatural #suspense

Welcome, my lovelies. It so nice to have you all back for another inquisition. I almost feel like I should be twirling a waxed mustache at this point.
So today’s guest is the lovely and talented wrangler of words, Julia Joseph. Her debut novel, THE BROKEN, is available now, which  means you don’t have to wait when you’re finished here to get more of Julia.
We feel Julia should feel right at home in the Swamp as the voices in her head blend rather well with ours.

She’s even going to give one lucky commenter a copy of her novel, all you have to do is share the one spot in the world you’ve always wanted to go and your email, and it could be you!

Don’t believe me? Fine, then we’ll just let Julia have the stage and you can form your own opinions….

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Rose would be Denial with a side of Neurotic and a helping of Powerful.  Ouriel could be called Strength with a large dose of Cranky.  Miriam is Kick Ass Soldier mixed with Perfection.  Genevieve, bless her heart, would have to be Beauty Overwhelmed by Her Own Power.

–Perhaps they should be handled with care? Or maybe lead line gloves? Sounds as if the side effects could be…errr…rather messy…

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

OMG!  This woman is a nutcase and WE ARE TRAPPED IN HER HEAD.  Someone—dear God, ANYONE—get us out of here.  Please!  (Actually, this chick is totally okay.  Sort of.  But, if we’re all that crap she said about us up there, then she’s Brains smothered in Crazy sauce.  Just sayin’.

–Eerie assures me that Crazy Sauce it actually quite delicious….

We all have favorite characters, either main or secondary, and there are always bits and pieces of them we don’t share with our readers, but keep close to our hearts.  Choose your favorite from your cast of characters and tell us a couple of things that you haven’t shared in your books/writing.

Ishmael, everybody’s favorite ancient Warrior-slash-kinda-sorta-angel-slash-father-figure-guy is actually the girls’ great (times 20) grandfather.  He was married to Joan of Arc, they had a daughter, and the sisters are their great-grand-progeny.  To save myself a lot of verbal and genetic tap dancing, I leave this bit out.  (When you read the book, you’ll understand why.)

–*spreading out really long family tree chart* I think I’ve got that…

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

Authors like Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts, J. K. Rowling, and Jim Butcher would melt me into a stuttering mess.  (I’m kind of embarrassed that list isn’t more scholarly.  I have a degree in English Lit, for goodness’ sake!)  The encounter would only be worth relating because of the probable loss of control over my bodily functions.  Really.  It wouldn’t be pretty.  At the very least, I’d develop diarrhea of the mouth as I did when I met Aaron Douglas (the actor who played Chief Tyrol in Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica) and threaten to kiss them (again, as I did—never mind).  On a side note, I recently met Darynda Jones and Deanna Raybourn.  I had no idea who they were, so I behaved in a completely appropriate manner.  (I’m so ashamed.

–Well, I can tell you from personal experience, Jim Butcher is quite understanding of drool and gibberish. Nora Roberts may back up a little, but she’s rather polite about not getting spit on her shoes.  Years ago, I got to attend one of Nora Roberts’ signings in Oregon and she was quite nice, even as I stuttered out my name while my hubby had to pry the book she was signing out of my hands.  Got luck enough to meet Jim at a signing in Scottsdale a few years back and he was hilarious, so far out of my funny league, I could only stand there in silent adoration. 

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys.  Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting).  Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

Agh!  I’d almost finished The Broken when a good friend (and critique-er) of mine told me that it moved too quickly in the beginning.  My characters fell in love way too fast.  I hadn’t planned it that way but skipped ahead of my own brief outline because it’d seemed the thing to do at the time.  I knew she was right, but I hated going back and rewriting.  I ended up putting in three extra chapters and hated every moment of it.  Those 15,000 words took me three years to write.  (I do NOT pout.  Seriously, I don’t.  Okay, maybe I do.  A little.

–So I guess if I complain about rewriting the first third of HUNTED BY THE PAST, three separate times in four months, you’d just kick me uh?

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

Murder mysteries.  Ugh.  I can’t imagine how organized a person must be to keep all those little clues lined up and in order for an entire book.  I can’t even find my car keys half the time

–We have car keys? Where? There’s a car that goes with them? Seriously? How did I miss that?

Share if you dare, one of your favorite research experiences. Did you join a ghost hunters group? Did you step outside your comfort zone and into the wild world of your characters?

My favorite research experience was traveling to the Middle East on a biblical history tour.  I didn’t know I was going to use that knowledge in my writing yet, but it grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go.  But the best part of the entire experience was getting to walk the land of my mother’s family.  The moment I stepped foot in Lebanon, it was as if all the voices of my ancestors rushed to greet me.  The warm wind blowing in from the Mediterranean became their sweet spirits wrapping me in a welcoming embrace.  I felt them in my bones, and it was divine.  (The memory totally just gave me goosebumps!)

—Ooooohhh, I’m kind of jealous….but love the pic…

Julia's pic

Okay, Julia, time for our bullet list. Is your vest on? Face shield down? Good…here we go….

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

All of the above.  I take Tae Kwon Do, and I’ve got my own Ruger 9mm.

–I bring forth the Krav Maga, and am currently shopping Sig and Ruger.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Disney?  I’ve abandoned my early ‘90s love affairs and switched allegiances to Brave and Frozen.

–We’ll accept Brave….

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

First Grave on the Left—Darynda Jones
Biblical Literacy—Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Ender’s Game—Orson Scott Card

Greatest one liner of all time?

Mine?  “Yeah, sure…then again, I’m confused by my own shoelaces, so don’t quote me.”
Film?  “It’s a banded, bulbous, snarflatt.”

–*snort*

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Geeky disdain.  (Always go for the geek!)

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A movie poster I ordered my m-i-l for Christmas.  It was supposed to be the DVD.  (I’m a smart person, I swear!)

Favorite supernatural creature?

Angels.

–Those wings tend to help offset the horns, I found…

Much love and thanks go to Julia for spending time with and indulging our curiosity. Time to turn our spotlight on you, our lovely audience. I want to know, if you could go anywhere in the world, where would we find you? Leave your answer and email in the comments below and one of you could be lucky enough to get a copy of Julia’s THE BROKEN.

Can’t wait? Then, go check out THE BROKEN.

Broken

Born into a family of Guardians—extraordinarily gifted humans who fight demons to protect mortal souls—seventeen year old Rose Kazin shows no signs of being blessed with the supernatural talents her family has used for generations to fight demons.  When she and her father figure, an age old celestial Warrior, are horribly wounded in an ambush, Rose awakens to find a younger Warrior, Ouriel, has volunteered to stand in as her protector.  She rails against his presence, but Ouriel seems interested in only one thing—teaching Rose how to protect herself from the demons she was never supposed to fight.

Get yours:   AMAZON     BARNES AND NOBLE

Julia Joseph taught Theatre for nine years in Texas middle and high schools, where she wrote and produced three original plays for her students.  In 2011, Julia left teaching to devote all of her energy to her own children and to writing a novel.  She earned her B. A. in English Literature and Language with a focus in Drama from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. 

Julia spends most of her free time reading, writing, and chauffeuring her kids between activities.  She lives happily with her husband and two children wherever the Army happens to station them.

 

You can find me at:

www.juliajoseph.net

http://www.juliajosephauthor.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/juliajosephauthor

Come meet #NYT’s most awesome #RomanticSuspense Authoress @CindyGerard and her edgy, sexy men…. #giveaway #RomSus #THEWAYHOME #BOI #ONEEYEDJACKS

Okay everyone, breathe with me as I try not to hyperventilate from my squees of delight. Today I’m so honored to host the most awesome Cindy Gerard.  If you haven’t discovered her, you must add her to your TBR piles. Not only does she have the fantastic Black Ops, Inc. Series, but her latest group of hotties belong to the One Eyed Jacks. You don’t want to miss out on these great romantic suspense titles!  

And because of how truly fantastic she is, Cindy will be giving away THREE e-book copies of her title WHEN SOMEBODY LOVES YOU to our wonderful audience of commenters! All you have to do is leave a comment here (or over at 7 Evil Dwarves site) sharing your favorite heart pounding moment ( a proposal, your first trip to a haunted house, an interview, first day at school/work), whatever got your pulse rate up!  Will announce our winners on both sites on Nov. 15th!

Put your hands together for Ms. Cindy Gerard!

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If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each? Your guests don’t have to be alive and if you really want to make it fun, you can use favorite fictional characters. 

I would really love to have dinner with all the BOI characters – especially Johnny Reed – and from the One Eyed Jacks series, Mike Primetime Brown.  These guys make me laugh.  And the question I would have for them is:  What do you think of cougars???  :o)

–*giggle*, let me know what their answer is, I might have to stop by at an opportune moment!

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I was sure I would be a nurse or a veterinarian or an actress, or a singer, or wait … a playwrite.  As you can see, I wanted the whole ball of wax. 

–been there and so cool to see it happen all over again with the boys in my home…

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Warning: anyone tampering with this man (men) are subject to getting caught in the middle of dangerous situations, apt to lose their heart, and will never be the same again.

–sign me up!

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

Oh dear.  I’m almost afraid to explore that one.  Hopefully they’d say I’m kind and patient and generous but I suspect they’d say I’m bossy, impatient and determined to have my own way.

–yeah, but our characters would get bored if we were nice to them…

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

There are many who could prompt an “I’m not worthy” moment.  Lee Child would be one.  LaVryle Spencer would be another.  I would imagine I’d pretty much stand there, starry eyed and stiff as a post, willing some pearl of wisdom to come out of my mouth but stuck, instead with a tongue tied hello.  I suck at hero worship.

–does this mean if I get a chance to meet you in actual person, you’ll forgive me for not being able to provide some witty repartee beyond “Errrppp!”?

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys.  Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting).  Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

Frankly, it’s rare that I don’t hit a snag and I always feel battered and bruised when I finish a book.  There are days when I feel like I’m crawling over broken glass naked just to get a scene right.  I think all authors experience it.  Unfortunately, I think it’s also called: The Creative Process.  It’s unavoidable.  Let’s face it.  If it was easy, anyone could do it. 

–*wipes forehead free of sweat* So guess it doesn’t ever go away, uh? Oh well…

Share one uniquely strange experience you’ve had that remains crystal clear to this day.

A few years ago I visited the Korean War monument in D.C.  I’ve never had such an experience as the sense of reality, pain, cold, and fear that our military men had in that battle field depiction.  The statues were larger than life yet so lifelike in expression I literally felt all of those things as well as the loss they experienced.  Very chilling and very moving.  I stood and cried like a baby.

—I did the same at Pearl Harbor a few years back, so I get it. So hard to stand in the midst of such history and not be impacted…

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

Be kind to people

What is the best advice you can share with others? 

Be kind to people

—  :0)

Share if you dare, one of your favorite research experiences. Did you join a ghost hunters group? Did you step outside your comfort zone and into the wild world of your characters?

I jumped off a 40 foot cliff into the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon so I could experience what it might feel like if you were running for your life and ran out of room.  And no, I’d never do it again. :o)

–Ok, you win this one, Cindy. No way will I ever be able to top that. I get dizzy at the top of buildings, much less the Grand Canyon…

Now our favorite part–our BULLET LIST…

Blades, guns, fists or feet? 

Food.  It’s a great weapon J

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time? 

Rapunzel

Greatest one liner of all time? 

“Did you ever feel like the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?”  Old lonesome George Gobel

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain? 

Sarcastic Witticism.  For sure :o)

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

 A 90 gallon fresh water aquarium.

Favorite supernatural creature?

I’m holding out for the Lac Ness Monster to be real.

Want a peek into THE WAY HOME! I know you do, so here you go…

the way home9781476735207

THE WAY HOME – EXCERPT

PROLOGUE

Afghanistan – July

It wasn’t the memory he would have chosen – not when he couldn’t even remember his own name – but he knew that he used to have nightmares about vampires.  Hiding under his bed and in dark closets.  Swooping down on their Dracula wings, sinking their fangs into his neck and sucking out his blood.

How ironic, then, that he’d become a vampire of sorts: a creature who lived in the night, hid from the light, and sucked sustenance as though it were blood from a young Afghani woman who despised him but wouldn’t let him die.  She brought him food, water and medicine.  And opiates that she liberally laced in all three.

He watched her now through an opiate induced haze,  physically incapacitated and totally dependent on her. He knew that her name was Rabia and that shecould ill afford the things she brought for him. He also knew that if he were caught while she harbored the escaped American soldier a horde of Taliban warlords were searching for, not only would he be tortured, interrogated and finally executed, so would she.

So he didn’t know why she continued to help him, but he had no option but to accept it.  Just as he had no choice but to believe what she’d told him in heavily accented English about who he was … because he didn’t remember.  He didn’t remember being an American soldier, or what had happened to him, or how he’d escaped from the Taliban and ended up here.

The panic and anguish that stalked him whenever the opiates wore off were as huge and dark as the cave where she hid him. So he gladly relinquished both to the apathy induced by the poppy. Apathy was painless. Apathy made it tolerable to know that weeks, maybe months of his life were gone. His memories … gone.

Only the vampire dreams remained of who he’d been. And only the woman kept him alive.

He studied her now as she prepared his meal in the dim light of an oil lamp, in a silence that embodied their uneasy and unnatural bond as shifting shadows danced along the curved rock wall and dust swept into the cave on a wind that never quit blowing. He knew scattered words in Pashtu but didn’t know why he knew them. She had a passing command of English but rarely chose to use it. More irony that she represented the one constant in a life that had been reduced to pain, fear and the vertigo that crippled him even more than the opiates.  And he didn’t know whether to thank her for keeping him alive, or hate her.

Moving his head slowly to avoid triggering another vertigo attack, he pulled the ragged blanket around him against the chill of the cave floor.

Because he was too weak to feed himself, he watched her eyes as she offered spoonfuls of lukewarm soup.  He couldn’t see her features beneath the dark scarf she wore over her head and wrapped around her neck to cover her face. He could only see those eyes, onyx black, winter cold and void of any emotion but weary disdain.

It had been the same thing every day for twenty-three days. He’d used a small pebble to scratch a mark on the rock wall every day since he’d regained consciousness.  She would appear wearing dark, baggy trousers beneath an encompassing scarf or burqa that covered her from head to knees completely hiding her body beneath yards of coarse, draping cotton.  The scent of the summer heat and the scorch of the sun that she brought with her were reminders that a world existed outside this cave.  A world that wasn’t dank and dark and cold.  A world that was hostile and foreign and where, she assured him, he was not safe.

For twenty-three days she had been the only soul he’d seen and she had yet to look him directly in the eye.  He wouldn’t recognize her if he saw her on the street.  Not that he would ever leave here. If the pain and the vertigo didn’t keep him flat on his back, the ankle shackle that chained him to the rock wall would. And then there was the poppy.  Who knew how deeply he’d been dragged down that rabbit hole?

Some days – the lucid ones, when he couldn’t fight the fear – he would lie here shivering and wish for death.  When pain ripped through his head, when the dizziness became so crippling it reduced him to lying rigidly still, hugging the rock floor in a desperate and futile attempt to stop the nausea, that’s when despair crushed him. And he would beg her to let him die.

Always, she refused.  She continued to risk all to make certain he stayed alive and he had no idea why.

He knew only that every time she appeared on quiet feet and condemning silence, he felt both shame and gratitude because she hadn’t forgotten him … the way he’d forgotten everything but the need to leave this place that even God had forsaken and find his way back home.

If only he knew where home was.

CHAPTER 1

Northern Minnesota – July

Today, of all days, Jess Albert needed routine. Most days she got it. Shop keeping wasn’t exactly a glamorous, high profile or lucrative occupation. In fact, every day was pretty much a repeat of the day before and the day before that. Little mini ground hogs days stacked up like cord wood one on top of the other.  All that was about to change, however, to the tune of the old bell fixed above the Crossroads General Store’s front door.

“Until tomorrow my little lotus blossom.  Dream of me.”

Jess grinned as one of her regulars, Boots England, delivered his standard good bye, tucked his newspaper under his arm and limped toward the door on his recently replaced knee.

“One of these days Marcia’s going to show up with a shovel and bash one of us over the head if you keep flirting with me like that.”

“Ah, but what’s life without a little danger?”  He wiggled his bushy white eye brows, blew her a kiss and let himself outside on a hot rush of July air to get in his Saab and drive the four miles back to his lakeside cabin for his afternoon nap and his wife of almost fifty years.

The bell above the store’s front door dinged softly behind the irrepressible old flirt, sounding the same as it had since Jess’s father had first set up shop almost fifty years ago. Jess loved the sound of that bell. It was comforting and comfortable, the bedrock of her childhood, as ingrained in her psyche as the scent of sunscreen, bug spray and the cherry nut ice cream she’d already scooped gallons of this summer.

She’d spent her youth playing on the scarred pine floors, eventually working behind the counter and after burning out as an ER trauma nurse, finally taking over the store when her parents had retired and moved to Arizona three years ago. So yeah, she loved the sound of that old bell. She especially loved it because every time it rang it meant business which was good because her quarterly taxes were due soon and, as always, she was a little short on cash.

She also loved it because it meant she had another customer to help keep her mind off the fact that this particular day would be a tough one to get through. She glanced at the framed 8 X 10 photo of her and J.R. that hung on the wall behind the cash register. Suntanned and smiling, their whole lives ahead of them.  And then it wasn’t.  At least it wasn’t for J.R.

He would have been thirty-five today. If he’d been home and not deployed, she would have baked him a cake and some of his buddies on the base would have stopped by and they would have drank a little beer.

But the last birthday J.R. celebrated had been thousands of miles from home.  He’d been thirty-two.  Eight months later, he’d been dead.

“Too late to add these to the bill?”

She looked up at the young father making some last minute purchases before he and his son headed out onto the lake for a week of camping and fishing.  He’d added a map and two black ball caps with Lake Kabetogama embroidered across the bill in red to their growing stack of supplies.

“Not a problem.” She gave him a bright smile and harnessed her attention back to the business at hand.  “Anything else?”

The Crossroads Store was a North woods version of a Wal-mart – on a much smaller and less state of the art scale.  The store had been supplying locals and travelers alike for over eighty years.  You needed boots?  Whiskey?  Bait?  Groceries?  DVD rentals?  Anything you could think of the Crossroads provided.

“Yeah, throw in half a dozen C batteries and we’ll call it good, right, son?”

The boy looked to be around ten with flashing brown eyes and buzz cut blond hair.  He was the image of his father and antsy to start their grand ‘just guys’ adventure.

“Do you think we’ll see a bear?” Equal measures of hope and trepidation peppered the boy’s question.

“It’s a good possibility,” she said, feeding his excitement.  “Last DNR count, over a hundred and fifty black bears called Lake Kabetogama and this part of Voyagers National Park home. Where’re you camping?”

The dad dug into his breast pocket and quickly checked his camping permit. “Blue Fin Bay.”

“Ah.  Then there’s a pretty good chance you might spot one.”

The boy’s eyes grew as big as bobbers.

She couldn’t help but laugh as she continued ringing up their sale.  “Make sure to police your camp site every day and store your food in the bear proof lockers the park service provides.  You’ll be fine.”

The bell rang again in the background.  Jess glanced up from the cash register in time to see a pair of broad shoulders and the back of a baseball cap disappear down the center aisle toward the live bait tanks.

It was a sight she saw dozens of times a day during the summer season.  Another fisherman burning with fishing fever, hoping to get lucky and needing some bait.  Since she was on her own for a while until Kayla Burke, her mainstay summer help, got back from a bank run, she left the newcomer alone to figure out what he wanted while she finished ringing up twenty gallons of gas, a mocha cappuccino, a root beer and the rest of the groceries for the father and son campers.  She gave them directions to Wooden Frog Landing where they could put their boat in and wished them good luck.  Once they’d headed out the door, she decided she’d better check on Mr. Ball Cap.

Wiping her hands on a paper towel and heading out from behind the counter, she nearly tripped over Bear, her twelve week old Labrador pup. The dog was a mass of sleek, glossy black fur, big clumsy feet, and happily thumping tail.  Still fully spent from their run early this morning, Bear had ‘assumed the position’ and napped soundly by her feet.

“No, don’t get up.” She grinned at the oblivious dog and headed down a row of shelves stocked neatly with everything from canned goods to marshmallows to fishing lures, and walked toward the last place she’d seen the top of the ball cap disappear.

“Sorry for the wait.  What can I get you?”

“Not sure.  What do I need to catch the big ones?”

The voice stopped her cold.  And routine, mundane and comfortable shifted to excitement and chaos in one long, heavy heartbeat.  It didn’t matter that the row of stocked shelves hid him.  She knew exactly who was back there.

Tyler Brown.

Holy, holy cow. 

Talk about a blind side.  It had been a year ago February since she’d met this man and exchanged a very few words him.  No way should she have remembered the timber and the pitch of his voice so clearly after … what?  Eighteen months?  Yet she was one hundred percent certain it was him before she hesitantly made the final turn to face him.

“Surprise.”  He smiled, hopeful and expectant and even a little shy.  Coupled with his very large, very striking, and very unexpected presence, it set off a handspring of emotions in her stomach.

“Yeah,” she finally managed, along with a return smile that felt as forced as it felt necessary.  “You could definitely say this is a surprise.  Hello, Ty.”

She started to extend her hand, thought better of it and stuffed it into the back pocket of her shorts.  “Wow.  You’re a long way from home.”

A very long way.  Not merely a long way from Florida.  A long way from his life.  A heck of a long way from a cold winter night when he’d swooped in and out of her life like the storm he’d blown in on. And now here he was, back again.  One of the men who had been in the thick of a dangerous rescue.  A man who had made enough of an initial impression on her that she’d opened up her gun safe to him and three other virtual strangers based on his word alone.

Unable to stop herself, she started at Tyler Brown who looked nothing like J.R. but who she suspected was like him in every other way.  Every way but one.  Ty Brown was alive. J.R. wasn’t.  Her husband had died thousands of miles from home, fighting a war she’d never quite understood, hadn’t truly sanctioned and that she hadn’t been able to keep him from fighting.  Looking at Ty – who’d made her think of J.R. the first time she’d seen him – unsettled her as much as it confused her.  And yes, unfortunately, excited her.

Yup. Her day had gone from mundane to totally bonkers to the tune of a bell above the door.

“So.”  He looked expectant when she stood there. Guess he finally decided one of them needed to say something and since he’d brought this game into play, she was fine with it being him. “Thought I’d do some fishing.”

Florida was no longer surrounded by an ocean full of fish?

Because he had this little ‘if you buy that, I’ve got some farm land in the Sahara desert I’d love to sell you’ smile, she avoided the obvious questions like: What was he really doing here?  And the most damaging one: Why did it seem to matter so much?

“Early July’s not the best time of year.”  Two could play this game. “But I’m told fishing started to pick up a bit this week.”  She pasted on her shopkeeper smile and pretended her world hadn’t been tipped on end.  “You want live bait?”

His grinned, looking both thoughtful and amused, like he knew that she knew he hadn’t come all this way to fish but was willing to play it that way until she got used to the idea. “Live bait.  Yeah, sure.  Why not?  Live bait would be good.”

She moved behind the bubbling minnow tanks, hoping she didn’t appear as off balanced as she felt.  “Got a sale on flathead chubs.”

That spurred a soft chuckle.  “My lucky day.”

She could not look at him because for God sake, live bait had not brought him back to Kabetogama.  Neither had fishing but she wasn’t ready to process that yet.  Head down, she started scooping up minnows.  “Couple dozen do you?”

“I don’t know.  Will a couple dozen do me?”

He was laughing at her now … not unkindly but like he found her entertaining which meant he saw right through her.

Lord, she hoped he didn’t have her figured out.  Or maybe she did.  Then he could tell her exactly what was going on in her head because she didn’t have one solid clue.  Well, maybe one.  There hadn’t been a man in her life since J.R.  And there’d never been a man who triggered the physical reactions this man had at first sight all those months ago.  Reactions he triggered again today.

It had both unsettled and puzzled her that she had experienced such an instant and strong physical reaction to Ty Brown on that very brief first meeting.  But she’d chalked it up to a cold, isolating storm, the threat of imminent danger and a lot of long lonely nights alone in her bed.

But then he’d disappeared from her life as quickly as he’d come in to it.  Which had been good.  Which had been fine.  She’d actually been relieved when he hadn’t called even though he’d said he would – at least that’s what she’d told herself several times since.  She didn’t want to get involved with anyone.  She especially didn’t want to get involved with a man like Tyler Brown who was just like J.R.  Special Ops soldiers, whether active duty or retired, were always warriors.  They would always be the man leading the charge, putting themselves in danger, living for the adrenaline rush and dying for God and country and the guy next to him in the trenches.

She’d lived with that man.  She’d loved and tried to understand that man.  But neither love nor understanding had been enough to keep him home, keep him happy, or keep him alive.

CAN’T WAIT AND WANT TO GET IT NOW? GOOD, LET US LINK YOU…

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Don’t forget to share your best pulse pounding moment for your chance at a copy of WHEN SOMEBODY LOVES YOU!

12 Days of Halloween w/ @Danielle_Monsch, #STONE GUARDIAN and #ToysForTots #miniiPadgiveaway #giveaway #Pararom

Today I have a very awesome friend stopping by, Danielle Monsch, the genius behind Entwined Realms’ STONE GUARDIAN, and she’s giving away an iPad Mini while helping out Toys for Tots (talk about multi-tasking). So come with me through the twelve days of Halloween and find out how you can win and help out at the same time!

12 Days of Halloween

From about mid-October until Christmas was always a magical and much anticipated time when I was young.

Probably not an uncommon statement from a kid. My mom should have been a party planner, because our house was always decked out for the season. We were the house that people do that double-take with, because looking only once wasn’t enough to take it all in.

Mom’s favorite holiday was Halloween. Since I’m a fantasy/paranormal writer, it’s safe to say that rubbed off on me, and with kids of my own, I enjoy Halloween in a completely new way, with my kids excitement about dressing up and their enjoyment in the *fun* scares.

While her favorite might have been Halloween, Mom excelled in overall holiday planning. My mom was a generous lady. She never liked cooking, but she loved to bake the holiday pies and cookies and other goodies that come with the season, and everyone who knew us came away during the holiday season with loads of culinary delights. If you ask me to name my favorite food ever, it would have to be Mom’s pumpkin pie.

It’s probably because this time was usually so joyous that one memory sits there, lumpy and misshapen and not a fit with the rest.

Don’t ask me how old I was, but I came down the stairs one night – going to get some water I think – and Mom was on the couch, staring at the Christmas tree. The packages weren’t under the tree yet, which was odd since Mom tended to put them under as soon as the tree went up (Mom is not a last minute shopper – in fact, I’m pretty sure her shopping is done in July.) Now I haven’t believed in Santa ever, so it was no question in my mind about who presents come from.

What set this memory in my mind so sharply was my mother’s face the few moments before she realized I was in the room. At the time I didn’t have the words or the emotional knowledge to name what emotions were in play. All I knew was it wasn’t good.

Several years later we were talking, and in the way of conversations everywhere, somehow that night came up, and I asked Mom what was going on.

She confided that when I saw her, the reality of our situation was none of us kids were going to get Christmas presents. It had been a bad year with lots of doctor bills and not as much work as they hoped to get. Maybe they would be able to get a practical clothing item, but certainly nothing beyond that. Then she told me that a couple days after I saw her that night, her uncle heard about our situation. Without her or my dad asking, he went out and got presents for us kids and told her that it was his early Christmas gift to her and he would not accept any money or repayment.

Mom told me she cried while she wrapped them. She told me it was the best gift she’d ever gotten.

While my childhood would never fit in a Dickinson narrative, there were a few years there where we did with minimal, so hearing after-the-fact that no presents was a possibility didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was the lurch in my chest at the thought of it as a near reality. That didn’t make sense – after all, we were several years past by then, and I was a grown person who understood economic realities.

That lurch, though, was real. And as time has marched on, I think I understand the reason for it, just like now that I’m a mother I understand the look on my mother’s face that night. The holidays were a safe and sacred time. The rest of the year – okay, it’s life, and life happened. But in my memory, the holidays were apart from that, not touched with the ickiness that could happen at other times.

If I didn’t get presents that year, I think that safety and warmth that the holidays (or the thought of) always caused would have disappeared. I wouldn’t have had that protective bubble anymore that helped get me through bad times, and the loss of that would have been a greater tragedy than not getting a doll under the tree.

So while Toys for Tots was not responsible for me getting presents that year, I recognize in a deep and personal way the very good work they are doing.

Toys for Tots is my favorite holiday charity. There are many excellent charities I celebrate and give to, but this time of year my thoughts and my wishes are for the kids who are not in the best circumstances and are in danger of not having a gift under their own tree. It’s not the material item that matters (though it’s always nice to get a great gift, right?) What I never want them to lose is that safe warmth that should categorize the holidays, a warmth that sometimes might be the only thing that gets them through the rest of the year.

Which leads me to the 12 Days of Halloween!

12 Days of Halloween is my (and many other excellent authors) way of having a great time and celebrating the beginning of this wondrous time of year – with giveaways and gifts and raising money for Toys for Tots!

What is involved?

First! My novel Stone Guardian (http://www.daniellemonsch.com/dani/books/stone-guardian/) is on a very special sale. From now until Halloween, it is half-off with part of the proceeds going to Toys for Tots! So you get a book for cheaper than usual, and a chunk of the money will be going to an amazing cause! Huzzah!

StoneGuardian800

And on the other side, I’ll be sharing lots of giveaways! Ebooks (donated by many generous authors) gift cards, swag sets, a Coach (!) bag, and finally…

An iPad Mini!

apple-ipad-mini-2

Yes, you read that right – an iPad mini with a special Entwined Realms designed cover set is the grand prize.

So if you are interested, please keep up with me at twitter (www.twitter.com/Danielle_Monsch) facebook (www.facebook.com/DanielleMonschAuthor) or my blog (RomanticGeekGirl.com) with all the ways to win.

Let’s celebrate the beginning to this great time of year, have a great party, maybe win some stuff, and most important of all – support Toys for Tots and make sure they can help a lot of kids this year!

AuthorHeadshotBorn to the pothole ridden streets of Pittsburgh, PA, Danielle started writing in a time long ago, a time when there were not enough vampire stories to read and she had to write her own to fill the void. Yes, such a time of darkness did indeed exist.

Danielle writes stories full of fantastical goodness and plenty of action, but always with lots of romance (and a bit of woo-hoo!) mixed in. Vampires and Werewolves and Demons and Angels, Sword & Sorcery, Fairy Tales, Updated Mythologies and the like – if it’s out of the ordinary, it’s fair game for her stories. 

When not writing, Danielle reads comic books and watches cartoons (though she says she reads manga and watches anime, because saying it in a different language makes all the difference.) She listens to music, plays D&D, follows XKCD, watches movies with the Rifftrax on, and is mom to two amazing little girls and wife to her favorite guy in the world.

Two guests in one: NYT @christyreece and @ellagracebooks Visit the Swamp bearing gifts! #giveaway #suspense #Wildefire #romance #MIDNIGHTLIES

Hello my lovelies, guess who I found wandering around Smokey’s place? New York Times Bestselling author Christy Reece, or as some of know her, Ella Grace. A rose by any other name and all that aside, we’re in for a treat. She’s giving away a signed, yep SIGNED, copy of her latest release MIDNIGHT LIES, the second book in her Wildefire Series. 

A word weaver of romantic suspense, Christy’s titles will keep you turning pages long after you should’ve gone to bed. When she appeared out of the wilds of the Swamp, I knew immediately we had to have her over. Since cooking isn’t high on my list, it’s a good thing Smokey’s place tends to lure the unwary with savory aromas, otherwise I may have lost her.

Along with a plate of potato salad and ribs, we handed her our menu of questions. We had to promise her real pecan pie. Shhh…don’t tell her, but I sent Mischievous to “pick” one up from Dreamer’s place. With two little angelets flying around, maybe she won’t miss it…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why? 

Oh so many things! First I wanted to be a psychiatrist because I loved listening to other people’s problems. I was also very opinionated and always knew exactly what they should do. Then, I wanted to be a nurse because… Okay, shameful confession, I watched a lot of General Hospital when I was a kid and was convinced I could meet a handsome doctor like Rick Springfield. Then I wanted to be a princess because, well…they had everything–they were beautiful and all they had to do each day was look pretty and the handsome and oh so charming prince would come and sweep them off their feet.

Nothing shameful about GH, come on! Luke and Laura….best story line!

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys.  Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting).  Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? Were you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

This happens to me with almost every book. I head in a direction that I think the story should go and end up wasting valuable time because I’m forcing the story instead of allowing my characters to lead me. I usually find where I’ve gone off track before I go too far. However, I think my very worst and perhaps best experience was when I wrote an entire book and sent it to my editor, all the while telling myself it was a good book even though I knew it had some major flaws. She confirmed my fears. So I scrapped the book, came up with a new idea and wrote a brand new book. Same characters but completely different plot. My editor loved it and I was so grateful that she believed in me and allowed me to get it right. To this day, that book is one of my favorites.

Thank you for sharing this, Christy, it makes me hopeful because *lowering voice* I was 2 chapters from the end of my WIP and realized where I wanted it to go and where it should go were two very different things. So I had to go back and rewrite and finally it’s coming together right….You’d think I’d learn to listen to my characters but sometimes they go places I’m just not ready for…

What’s some of the funniest/sweetest/strangest things you’ve heard from your readers?

One reader wrote to me that her Thanksgiving dinner was ruined and her entire family was angry with her because she got immersed in one of my books and allowed dinner to burn.

Another time, LAST CHANCE, one of my Last Chance Rescue books, was a Cosmopolitan Red Hot Read. I didn’t know it at the time, but those excerpts are heavily edited. A reader who discovered my books through the magazine feature emailed me and questioned the sexual position of my hero. It was not anatomically possible for him to be doing what he was doing. The email was hilarious as she asked me to explain how such a thing was possible. Needless to say I couldn’t.

You know, I’ve tried that excuse with my family, but they just don’t get it…food vs. book, the book’s going to win every time.

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

Post apocalyptic stories. I like dark and gritty storylines but the sheer lack of amenities would be a serious hindrance to my characters’ happiness. And mine too.

Understandable, the whole lack of a hot shower would be a real bummer, plus no iPod or Kindle? Truly the end of the world 

 

Now for our favorite set of questions, the bullet list. How’s Christy’s aim? 

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

All of the above!

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Beauty and the Beast

Mine too!

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

LOL I have about 50 on the floor but I’ll grab three: Debra Webb’s Obsession, Bella Andre’s From This Moment On, and Sharon Sala’s Don’t Cry For Me

Ooohh, Sharon Sala, love her!

Greatest one liner of all time?

“You rush a miracle, you get rotten miracles.” Miracle Max from The Princess Bride

A true sage that Max… 

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

 Sigh…Gotta go with Southern sweetness. Must come from all that sweet tea and pecan pie I consumed as a kid.

Speaking of which, I think that pie’s ready….

 Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

 A rubber chicken in a bikini

Umm, you’re going to have to send me a  picture of that one because…yeah…WOW! 

Favorite supernatural creature?

 Hmm. Torn between ghost and vampire. 

Much love and thanks to Christy for stopping by! Now it’s your turn to share, leave us your greatest one liner of all time and you could be one the winner of a signed copy of MIDNIGHT LIES.  (US residents only, Sorry my global peeps, you can get a copy but it won’t be signed.)  Don’t forget to leave your email so we can contact you if you win!

Want to see what you’re getting? Here it is…

MIDNIGHT LIES, the second book in the Wildefire series, released September 24.

Midnight_Lies

IT’S ALWAYS HOTTER AT MIDNIGHT.

The winds of fate have blown cruelly on a family that once had it all: money, power, prestige. The lives of three beautiful daughters were forever changed when, on a sultry night in Midnight, Alabama, a murder-suicide shattered the Wilde family. The girls grew up to live separate lives but now have returned home, each to face a danger no one can see coming.

Former homecoming queen Samantha surprised everyone by going into law enforcement, but beneath her tough façade lies a wary heart. The tragedy that struck her family is an ever-present reminder that nothing is ever as it seems. When the man she loves, Quinn Braddock, a doctor and Iraq war veteran, is accused of murder, Samantha assumes the worst. Brokenhearted, her confidence shattered, she returns to Midnight. Though exonerated, Quinn still feels the sting of Samantha’s doubt, but he can’t forget his feelings for her and follows her. Soon after his arrival, a shocking murder terrifies the town, and once again, Quinn is under suspicion. This time, Samantha will not turn her back on the man she loves—even if it means walking into a killer’s trap.

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Want to connect with Christy? You can here…

Ella Grace is a writer of steamy southern suspense, wife, mother to multiple fur-kids and one reclusive turtle. She loves to write, read, cook the occasional meal, go to the movies and travel when she can. She’s thrilled to be writing a series based in her home state of Alabama.

Ella Grace is the pen name for NYT Bestselling Author Christy Reece.

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Time to dip your toes into something steamy and meet #Erotica author @kallypsomasters! #giveaway #romance #rescueme

Welcome back my loyal Swamp followers. Did you all make it through the whirlwind of new authors and add layers to your To Be Read piles?

You did? Great!

We’re not quite done yet, my friends. Today we have to leave the kids with Dreamer to take some well deserved Adult Time and walk the edge of our desires with the wonderfully lovely and fantastic Erotica author, Kallypso Masters.  We managed to waylay her on  her way to Authors After Dark where she and some of our past guests like Jennifer Estep, and Lynn Rush will all be appearing! If you can make it, you MUST GO!

Now I realize we’re stepping outside our comfort zone a bit here, but what’s life without a few heart-pounding moments?  Besides, for those who haven’t tried this particular genre, Kally’s Rescue Me series is a great introduction. Her characters are so real they’ll reach out, rope you into their world and make it so you don’t ever want to leave.

Without further ado, I present Kallypso Masters!

Thanks so much for having me here, Jami and friends! I am knee-deep in alligators right now and love to answer questions, so I opted to choose some of your very unique questions and answer them, hoping to reveal something new to some of my long-term fans, as well as have some new readers discover me and my books.

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Wounded, but not broken.

—and oh so real, I have to add!

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

IF I turned it over? Master Adam has often commandeered my keyboard. One of my favorite times was when he came to speak to my readers about how to survive the holidays about the time his book, Nobody’s Hero, was released, Christmas 2011. (Read Master Adam’s message here!)

Hmmm, I think Adam would say…

Oh, Sir. Good morning! Um, yes, Sir. You most certainly can have the keyboard.

*Kally gets up to get dressed for breakfast*

Adam here. You want to know what I’d say about Kally? She doesn’t realize what a great talent she has at capturing stories, even from the most reluctant people, like Marc and me, and getting at what makes them tick. She doesn’t write sugary-sweet fantasy romances with gazillionaires and virgins. Okay, sometimes she tells a virgin’s story, well, she was a virgin until… Anyway, Kally focuses on true-to-life people and tells it like it is for so many of my brothers and sisters who have served their country. We aren’t rich. We’re sometimes fucked up. But she can make even the most fucked up of them all, me, come across as a hero, which takes a lot of talent and perseverance.

I appreciate how she spends hours and hours talking with and writing to people in the lifestyle and in the military to make sure she gets her facts straight. And that she won’t release a book early for a quick buck. When you get the book, you know she’s satisfied with it, which can take some doing. Yeah, sometimes she can overthink things and needs to learn to trust when she’s nailed the story, even with its imperfections, and let it go. But her attention to detail and that she brings in a team of people to help make her books the best they can be, are both admirable. I’ve learned in the Corps and beyond that none of us can do it alone.

And Kally genuinely cares about her readers, her family, and those who have been sucker-punched by life, as many of you already know. She keeps many of her engagements with readers private, but enough comes out when readers share with others that you know she cares. One of my Navy brothers and a fellow rope enthusiast, Kinbaku Gardener, recently described her in her discussion group on Facebook as “the salt of the earth,” and I think that pretty much sums Kally up. No pretense, no filters—just a woman who’s got her own healing to do, but wants to share that journey with others and help them get there, too. When you meet her face to face for the first time, you know you’ve found a new friend.

—*politely nodding* I have to agree since I found myself sharing things with her, I hadn’t shared with very many…

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

Well, once upon a time, it would have been Cherise Sinclair. Hers was my first erotic romance and first BDSM romance I ever read, and I followed her for a couple years before deciding to pursue writing in this genre myself. Imagine my reaction when she e-mailed me a couple months before my first book came out (after I’d engaged with her on Facebook for only a few weeks) and she said, “I can’t wait to read your book.” I totally screamed out loud (and, yes, my heart raced, I was tongue-tied, and my knees shook).

I’ve been fortunate to have met her twice now. The first time was at my hotel in San Francisco last year when she picked me up to go to a BDSM club for a lecture. I was nervous, but she put me at ease right away. I think she may have even been more nervous than I was, but she’s not as extroverted as I am. This past May (a year after our first encounter), she and I shared a room while attending a leather celebration for research. I now consider my idol a friend. But I still idolize her books!

–I love Cherise’s books! I discovered hers after yours.

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?  Inquiring minds want to know: what was your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

I have at least 8 full or partial manuscripts that I kept and that are stashed away, including a short story from high school. The first thing I ever sold was a short story I wrote as a sophomore and sold to my 8th-grader sister for her English class. The teacher wanted to submit it to an anthology, but she quickly got shy and said, “Oh, no. I don’t want to do that!” She never confessed that it wasn’t her work. (I think I made $2.50—sure beat what I got for babysitting and dish washing at the time.) Most of these 8 manuscripts will remain hidden, although I did pull one out and sent it to one of my editors who lives the lifestyle and asked her to just beta read (not edit) it and tell me if it could be salvaged as a stand-alone novella or short novel. But I’d only put it out if it was of the same quality as the Rescue Me books—and I’m not sure that could be achieved without a lot of work. I don’t want to waste time fixing old books. I want to keep writing new ones using the skills I’ve learned in the process of writing new books.

–I’m with you, some of my older ideas are fun, but the amount of work and revamping required *shudder*, yea no, I think I’ll pass…

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys.  Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting).  Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

I’m a pantser of the truest sense. (And in English classes in high school and college, I always wrote the outline after the paper.) To me, writing a book to an outline would just be too boring. I love the surprises and blindsides my characters present me with as I write. Usually I discover things just the way my readers do—as the story unfolds.

The one that left me most bloodied (SPOILER ALERT!!!) was in Nobody’s Angel. I’d written the book two years before, then decided to join the indie publishing revolution and publish it. It needed a lot of work and my editors helped me fix the original version—twice. Then Master Marc came to me one morning three weeks before the book was to be published and said, “I don’t want to share anymore.” Um, but Sir, this is a ménage and you ALWAYS shared before. “Angelina’s different. Mine.” So, I had three weeks to dump 55,000 words and write 85,000 new ones, only keeping about 35,000 words of the original. I kept the story in tact up to the sofa scene. (Good thing—that’s a fan-favorite threesome scene). But it was there that Marc began to realize Angelina was unlike any woman before her. She was truly THE ONE.

Mind you, I still have issues with this book—and Marc—but I hope readers will understand that he is very much a work in progress. I discovered (another BAM moment) why Marc is the way he is while writing Nobody’s Perfect. At that point, I realized he needed (and was finally ready) for a book to help him face things that have shaped who he is, but that did so on a subconscious level. I think that mirrors real life. We having coping mechanisms born of past hurts, and continue to screw up without understanding why, until it no longer works for us and we make a conscious decision to change our behaviors if we don’t want to remain lonely and disconnected from others, as Marc has been his entire life. I think after the revelations about Marc in the upcoming Somebody’s Angel (Rescue Me #5, due out in September) readers will be able to connect with Marc in a new way. I know he surprised me—yet again.

–*trying not to jump up and down in excitement* I soooo can’t wait for Somebody’s Angel…

Now for everyone’s favorite! Our bullet list, ready…set…go!

  • Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Feet (as in feet running away—I’m not very confrontational)

  • Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Sleeping Beauty—because so many of us remain asleep most of our lives, until that one special person wakes us up. For some of us, it’s a true love who awakens us. For others, it’s a friend, even a book, that gets us to see ourselves and our lives in a new way. But I also love how the fairies and other forces in Sleeping Beauty help the awakening along. We can’t always get through life alone.

  •  Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

Most of my print books now are research ones. “Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns” is on my nightstand—research for BDSM elements in my books. “Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families” is on my desk. And I can’t give you the third title, because it would give away an important secret from Somebody’s Angel that I want readers to discover on their own.

  • Greatest one liner of all time?

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (Second favorite of mine—“What the fuck are you doing in my bed?” *Snark*)

  • Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism

  • Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Just found my son’s sketchbook on the desk I recently commandeered as my own. Um, he is quite talented at capturing sensual nudes, but seeing the use of the Triskelion (BDSM) emblem in a couple of the sketches. I guess that explains the police-grade handcuffs we found under the bed after he moved out.

  • Favorite supernatural creature?

Unicorns—so graceful, but able to get their point across when need be.

–Nicely put!

Now that you’ve had a chance to meet with Kally, read on for more….

new masters BandNnew nobody's angel only BandNnew nobody's hero cover BandNnew nobody's perfect BandN

 

USA Today bestselling author Kallypso Masters writes emotional, realistic Romance novels with dominant men and the women who bring them to their knees. She also has brought many readers to their knees—having them experience the stories right along with her characters in the Rescue Me series. Kally knows that Happily Ever After takes maintenance, so her couples don’t solve all their problems and disappear at “the end” of their Romance, but will continue to work on real issues in their relationships in later books in the series. Kally also loves showing how there is never anyone so wounded that he or she can’t find true love. Readers often write to tell her how the books have changed their lives or their perceptions of what matters in life.

Kally’s four e-book titles are available in three trade paperbacks (the first two books combined into one volume), as well. Next up will be the e-book edition of Somebody’s Angel, due out in September 2013.

Because so much of the above focuses on Master Adam, and that’s the first non-free book in the series that needs to be read in order (because Adam makes progress in his relationship in every book in the series), here’s more about Nobody’s Hero:

NOBODY’S HERO is the continuing romantic journey of Adam and Karla, which began in MASTERS AT ARMS and continued in NOBODY’S ANGEL, which ended in a dramatic cliffhanger that sets up the opening scene of NOBODY’S HERO.

Retired Marine Master Sergeant Adam Montague has battled through four combat zones, but now finds himself running from Karla Paxton, who has declared war on his heart. With a twenty-five-year age difference, he feels he should be her guardian and protector, not her lover. But Karla’s knack for turning up in his bed at inopportune times is killing his resolve to do the right thing. Karla isn’t a little girl anymore—something his body reminds him of every chance it gets.

But their age difference is only part of the problem. Fifty-year-old Adam has been a guardian and protector for lost and vulnerable souls most of his life, but a secret he has run from for more than three decades has kept him emotionally unable to admit he can love anyone. Will she be able to lower his guard long enough to break down the defenses around his heart and help him put the ghosts from his past to rest? In her all-out war to get Adam to surrender his heart, can the strong-willed Goth singer offer herself as his submissive—and at what cost to herself?

SPECIFIC ADULT CONTENT WARNING: This book contains very erotic scenes that include BDSM (bondage-discipline-domination-submission-sadism-masochism-master-slave)—but these ALWAYS will be safe, sane, and consensual (SSC) acts told in a more realistic approach to the BDSM genre. Includes rough sex, Shibari (rope bondage and suspension), anal play, cunnilingus, fellatio, flogging, nipple bondage and torture, sex toys, and intensely erotic “vanilla” sexual acts. Epic novel length of approximately 140,000 words.

For links to all of Kally’s books, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords, and All Romance eBooks, go to http://kallypsomasters.blogspot.com/p/books-by-kallypso-masters.html.

If you’ve read the first four books and want to join Kally’s secret Facebook group Rescue Me Series Open Discussion, please send a friend request to Karla Montague and she will open the door for you, but you can only get there from here:  https://www.facebook.com/karla.montague.1. Must be 18 to join.

And if you’d like to find Rescue Me and Kallypso Masters merchandise, such as t-shirts and aprons inspired by a scene in Nobody’s Angel that read: “Master Marc can put me in culinary bondage anytime” OR a beaded evil stick similar to the one used in Nobody’s Perfect, as well as signed paperbacks, check out my Kally Swag Store. With each order, you will receive a bag filled with free swag items, as well, including a 3-inch pin-back button that reads “I’m a Masters Brat,” two purple pens, bookmarks, and trading cards. Kally ships internationally. To browse my shop, go to http://kallypsomasters.com/kally_swag.

Kally will give away one e-book in the series (the first two are free, so choose from Nobody’s Hero, Nobody’s Perfect, or the upcoming Somebody’s Angel) AND a culinary bondage t-shirt (sizes Small to 4XL avail.) or apron from her Kally Swag Store, plus the swag bag from the store mentioned above.

apron closeup

Your options, should you choose to use them, are to leave a comment for Kally or click on the link below to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway.  Will announce out winner on Tuesday, Aug. 6th, so check back!

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY CLICK HERE!

 

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