Blog Tour for The Bloodline War (The Community # 1): Author Interview & Giveaway

Are you looking for a new Paranormal Romance series? Tracy Tappan has released the first novel in her Community series, and it looks intriguing. Read on to learn more about this first installment and the author, herself as she shares her experiences with creating the series.  You can also visit Tappan’s website to enter a giveaway offered during this tour.

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The Bloodline War (The Community Series # 1) by Tracy Tappan

Publication Date: December 2013

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Adult Fiction

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Beneath the streets of San Diego, California, a unique race of human beings called Vârcolac lives on the brink of extinction. Desperate to save their dying people, a brotherhood of warriors deploys to the surface to steal genetically superior women for a repopulation program.

A car accident changes everything…

A computer hacked hospital blood test confirms that Dr. Toni Parthen carries a gene that’s the key to salvation for a unique race of human beings. Abducted to a secret, underground community, Toni is asked to do the unthinkable: procreate with a man from a race called Vârcolac—a species that must consume the blood of other humans to survive. Then bizarre turns dangerous, because a new, mysterious enemy also wants her special DNA, and Toni finds herself in the middle of an all-out war to possess her.

Destined to be alone…

It’s the job of Jaċken Brun, leader of the Warrior Class, to keep the captured women safe from a demonic race of humans who rule a neighboring part of their underground world. His challenges multiply when Toni inflames the women into mutiny, and then there’s his biggest problem…his growing desire for the infuriating woman herself. Afflicted with a dark genetic makeup, Jaċken can never be with a woman. Until Toni uses her scientific ingenuity to find a way for her and Jaċken to be together. But then the new enemy faction unearths Toni and drags her to their hidden lair, where they’ll inflict an unspeakable cruelty on her to gain access to her valuable genes.

It will take every warrior skill Jaċken owns to save the woman he loves, but only if he can find her in time….

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Spotlight & Author Interview for The Lightbearers

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The Lightbearers by Nora M. Garcia

Book Description

THE LIGHTBEARERS is the story of an ancient Egyptian King and Queen, Akhenaton and Nefertiti, who have been reincarnating together for the past 3300 years. They have been entrusted with the mission of The Lightbearers, whose responsibility is to be guardians of the human race and to enlighten any whose path they cross. Through reincarnation, during each of their lifetimes, they strive to overcome violence, greed and injustice and in each lifetime they leave pockets of individuals with whom they have shared their secrets of life and death. They have also been ascribed with the powers of telepathy, astral projection and psycho kinesis. They are highly evolved and highly enlightened.Discovery of their innate mystical powers is facilitated by the assistance of an alien being who introduces them to the mission of the Lightbearer. Through a series of flashbacks two of their previous lifetimes are revealed beginning in Ancient Egypt and including 17th century France where they switched genders.The story unfolds in the 21st century where Jean Crystal, Nefertiti’s incarnate, has been kidnapped by Dr. Natas, whose plan for world domination has been temporarily disrupted by Jean and her husband George, Akhenaten’s incarnate. Jean and George have discovered a secret about Dr. Natas experimental school, a school completely computerized and robotized.

Jean is held captive on a laboratory table by a motion sensitive laser directed toward her central nervous system. Not realizing this, upon awakening from a narcotic sleep induced by the doctor, she attempts to move and is suddenly wracked by a mind numbing pain. The more she moves the more pain she receives. By astrally projecting herself she is able to overcome the pain and investigate her circumstances. George has already been assassinated and while awaiting her own demise, George pays Jean a visit in the lab, assuring her of their eternal vow to each other. Jean is very shortly, thereafter, assassinated. Upon the joyful reunion of their spirits on Petite Terre, a tiny island just off the Normandy Province of France, Jean and George plan their return. While it is possible to determine their gender and the time in which they return, they cannot predetermine their identities. They must pick a place, a time and a signal by which they can find and identify each other in their subsequent lifetime. In this particular lifetime, their favorite song was “Imagine” by John Lennon and so on the first Monday of October, 2024 at 12 noon, they decide to meet outside the computer science building on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. She will find him sitting under a tree near the building with a guitar strumming “Imagine”.

Their reunion takes place 20 years later, albeit not without a hitch. Together they set out to rescue the United States from Dr. Natas’s well-placed plans, he has already begun to execute.

 

An Interview with Nora 

Where did the inspiration behind The Lightbearers come from?

I would have to say it’s a combination of my belief in reincarnation, my faith in the spiritual world and my fascination with ancient Egypt.  They all came together one evening and it was as though someone was piping something into my ear.  Oddly enough, the end came first, it was just a seed of an idea, two weeks later, the middle and the beginning came, again as seeds of an idea and it took off from there.

I had a very other wordly experience in the NY Public Library when I began my research.  I was walking through the Egyptian section and there was no one else around when suddenly a book fell off the shelf and landed at my feet.  It was the story of Akhenaten, about whom I eventually created a fantasy.  He was light years ahead of his time as was Nefertiti, his wife, and they became my inspiration.

 How would you compare writing this book with anything you have previously written?

I also write feature films and the process is very different as you have to pack a lot in with very few words compared to what you can express in a book.

 How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

Many years ago, I read a book that I thought would make a wonderful movie and decided to adapt the book to a screenplay.  I did not reach out to the author until I finished it I wanted to see if I could see it through and I did. Unfortunately, the author himself was also a screenplay writer and was in the process of trying to market  the script.  He was very complimentary to me and encouraged me to continue writing.  It was at that point that I decided I would have to write a book.

How do you organise your writing time? 

I have to work around my day job, so I write mostly in the evenings and on the weekend

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow? 

I have an office in my apartment  where I can write.  It’s not the ideal situation, but it works.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know. 

I am able to tap into my dreaming mind to reveal to me solutions to writing challenges when I cannot  make something work.  If I meditate on it and ask my dreaming mind to reveal a solution, it usually provides me with one.  I’ve also experienced out of body experiences where I projected myself astrally.  You see I really believe that if we tapped into our minds on a higher plane, we are all capable of astral projection, telepathy and psycho-kinesis.

*****

About the Author

NoraBorn, raised and educated in New York City, Nora now makes her home in Southern California where, recently divorced, she enjoys a successful career in the media business.  When Nora first began researching The Lightbearers, she went to the New York Public Library and immediately headed for the Egyptian section.  While walking down the empty aisles a book suddenly fell off the shelf and landed at her feet.  It turned out to be Akhenaten’s biography; Nora was immediately captivated with his story and hence the creation of a fantasy about Akhenatena and Nefertiti.

Purchase from Amazon by clicking on the cover

Spotlight & Author Guest Blog for Glitter of Diamonds

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Murder Will Out Mysteries

Ebook format

April 2013

Glitter of Diamonds by J.A. Menzies

Book Description

After Stasey Simon, an outspoken and defiant sports talk-show host, asks on-air for a volunteer to knock some sense into the home team’s temperamental new pitcher, police detectives Paul Manziuk and Jacqueline Ryan have to scramble to stop a murderer swinging a lethal bat.

Suspects include Ted Benedetto, Stasey’s young, longsuffering producer; Iain Foley, a former athlete who couldn’t quite make the NHL, but is the prime time talk show host; Ginny Loveday, girl-next-door turned sports reporter; Kyle Schmidt, Ginny’s rival from the other big newspaper, and a would-be novelist who hates his job but loves the regular pay check.

And then you have the Toronto Matrix baseball team, from the mysterious owner to several key players, including the temperamental new pitcher, Ricardo (Rico) Velasquez and his wife Alita; the newly-demoted pitcher, Armando Santana, fleet shortstop Ferdinand Ortes, and the team’s rock-solid catcher, Jonas Newland.

Add Pat Davies, Rico’s agent, and sparkplug Eva McPherson, a Marilyn Monroe wannabe who enjoys having a ballplayer on her arm, and you have all the ingredients for an unusual murder.

As the crime threatens to escalate into an international incident, Manziuk draws on his own knowledge of baseball while Ryan tries to understand a game she’s never watched.

Read an Excerpt

Manziuk picked up the phone. “Yeah? …. Oh, that’s just great! I don’t have the report done for the last one. You know, I think I’m overdue for a few days R & R. … I’m going on a cruise with Woody when the doctor says he’s fit enough to travel, and you won’t be able to call me in the middle of the ocean. … Who’s available for secondary?”

Ryan took a couple of steps so she could stare at the picture on Manziuk’s wall. It showed a serene valley with a tiny mouse just visible in the grass, and in the sky an eagle searching for prey. Ryan bit her bottom lip.

“Yeah, I guess.” There was a long pause. “Okay, I’ll take care of it.” Manziuk hung up. “They’ve got a body.”

Ryan continued to stare at the picture as if fascinated. “Oh?” she asked, her voice implying it was no concern of hers.

“I guess nobody told whoever did it that I was tired and needed a rest.”

“I guess.” She moved toward the door. “Well, good luck.”

“I’ll need a secondary.”

She turned to look at him.

“You doing anything?” He was looking directly at her, his eyes measuring.

She put one hand on the doorknob. “You want to take along a female who can’t keep quiet?”

He shrugged. “At least it doesn’t get boring with you around.”

She put her free hand on her hip. “I’m not sure my blood pressure can stand working with you.”

He kept his eyes on her. “If you do your own job instead of trying to do mine as well, I won’t have to yell at you more than once a day.”

“Thanks a lot.” She shifted her weight to the balls of her feet. “You just need to pay more attention to what I say. You aren’t the only one who can think, you know.”

He stood up. “Are you planning to talk all day, or are you going to back me up here?”

Her jaw set, she faced him. “Just tell me one thing. Do you want a partner or a secretary?”

“Why would I need a secretary?”

She released the door and took a step toward him. “You don’t need a secretary.”

“I didn’t think so.” He stepped from behind his desk, grabbed his hat, and pushed past her to lead the way out of the office. “You a baseball fan?” he asked over his shoulder.

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Some baseball player’s been found dead at the stadium. In the bullpen.”

She had to run to keep up. “Murdered?”

“Looks like it.”

As they hurried through the silent outer office, she made a quick detour to grab her purse. Lunging into the elevator as the door was closing, she asked, “Did you say they found the body in a bullpen? Why on earth would they have cattle at a baseball game?”

The elevator started its downward journey.

“Exactly how much do you know about baseball?” Manziuk asked.

She looked at the pocket on his suit jacket. “Well, nothing.”

He sighed. “The bullpen is where relief pitchers warm up.”

“Relief pitchers?”

“The game starts with a pitcher who can work a number of innings—ideally throw the ball a hundred or more times. If he gets tired, or if he’s getting hit a lot, they bring in another pitcher. That one’s called a relief pitcher. When there’s any chance that the starting pitcher might need to be replaced, the relief pitcher gets up to throw in the bullpen. If they don’t warm up properly before they pitch, they get arm problems.”

“Why on earth do they call it a bullpen?”

“I have no idea.”

About the Author

J. A. Menzies large photoJ. A. Menzies is the alter ego of award-winning Canadian author and speaker N. J. Lindquist.

An avid mystery reader since her pre-teens, while visiting a Japanese garden with her husband and young children she was struck by the discovery of a perfect place for a body. The result was Shaded Light, a contemporary mystery in the Golden Age style. Reviewers, including Publishers Weekly, compared the book to the best of Agatha Christie.

A life-long baseball fan, she set her second mystery, Glitter of Diamonds, in the world of professional baseball and the media that surrounds it. In one of the many positive reviews, Library Journal called her a “master of plotting.”

She is a member of a number of organizations for writers, including Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and The Writers Union of Canada.

Author Links

Website: http://jamenzies.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JAMenziesAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JAMenziesAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JAMenziesauthor

*****

If you wanted something more like a blog from me…

From J. A. Menzies

Even though I grew up in a small town in the prairies of Canada, I enjoyed watching baseball from the first time my dad took me to see our town’s local team play a game against a team from another small town half an hour away.

When I saw the New York Yankees and other professional teams on TV, I immediately fell in love.

So when I made a list of things I knew, and therefore could write about (they do say write what you know), baseball was most definitely on that list.

Now, over the years, I’ve read numerous of books about baseball, from Jimmy Breslin and Bill Veeck’s Can’t Anybody Here Play this Game? to the more recent biography of Lefty Gomez, (Lefty: An American Odyssey, by Vernona Gomez  and Lawrence Goldstone), and Dirk Hayhurst’s provocative Out of My League, but there was no way I could write a non-fiction book. Outside of some mandatory games in phys ed in which I got stuck in the outfield (where in one memorable game I was stung by a bee), and some pick-up games in my neighbourhood, where I got chosen last, I’ve never played the game. Truth is, I didn’t have the reflexes for it, in spite of the hours and hours I spent throwing a ball against the side of our house and catching it.

But over the years, I’d also found some novels about baseball, from the classic The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop to the baseball mysteries of Alison Gordon and Troy Soos.

And there I stopped. Because I’ve loved mysteries even longer than I’ve loved baseball. So it was clear to me that I had to write a baseball mystery.

The result, Glitter of Diamonds is my entry into the world of baseball fiction. It’s a mystery first, a baseball story second. It’s a bit on the light-hearted side, and kind of complex, the way I like my mysteries. And my baseball games, come to think of it.

Since millions of people buy tickets to baseball games every year in North America, and even more people watch the games on TV, I’m hoping a bunch of those fans also like mysteries.

Click on the Book Cover to Purchase on Amazon

 

Review of Starlight City

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Starlight City by Radford Lee

Book Description

When Black and his team are sent to investigate a foreign ship orbiting near the Harmonica space port, they’re killed onboard by a humanoid weapon built in the image of a beautiful woman. Several years later, Black is reborn through a miracle of science on an unfamiliar planet called Neon. He’s mysteriously set free and flees to Starlight City…

Book Review

This was a great science fiction novel that introduces readers to a futuristic world where we can see the effects of major scientific breakthroughs on a society that still retains some semblance of our lives today.

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The protagonist is Black. When the story opens, Black is in Starlight City on the planet Neon. Right away it is easy to see Black isn’t a normal human. He wears sunglasses all of the time to hide his unusual yellow- colored eyes that may draw unwanted attention to him. When he gets injured, we learn that his limbs can regenerate. His body has been altered by someone, but he has no memory of it.

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Lee does a great job in his vivid depiction of Starlight City controlled by Administrator Nahzier who is heavily involved in scientific human experimentation.  So far, Nahzier has created an army of quasi-humans called Alpha Humans who are blend of human and robot.

Their brains have been “reformatted;” in actuality, they have been brainwashed  to follow the Nahzier’s mandates.

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They are portrayed as “human killing machines” sent to patrol the city in order to keep citizens “safe.”  They serve under Nahzier’s rule and follow his commands.  I couldn’t help but associate the name Nahzier to “Nazi.” Was this intentional? Hmm…

Griff Hurst is one of these quasi-humans ,and his story describes the process of how he was changed. Griffin died as a result of a government sanctioned virus unleashed upon its citizens.  He was taken to Nahir’s laboratory and resurrected in a robotic body.  Griffin no longer exists, but Griff does.  Whereas, some science fiction writers avoid discussing the afterlife, Lee brings up the existence of a human soul and how it factors in to experimentation on the human body.

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I found this concept fascinating and one that I consider when reading science fiction.

Griff is different from other Alpha Humans. He has retained his human memories, and he has a conscience. He is disgusted by his new purpose of killing on command, and he refuses to allow Nahzier to manipulate others for the so-called greater good of society.  Citizens are afraid of the Alpha Humans and see them as “heartless humanoids.”  I found Griff to be symbolic of how it’s really impossible to completely change a human. When you throw in a soul and human emotions, they interfere with a total reprogramming of the human mind.

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As a result, Griff turns rogue and escapes Nahzier’s control. He joins Black and a group of misfits who work together to create an army to overthrow the Nahzier’s Regime. Because of the super abilities of the Alpha Humans, this is a daunting task. However, Griff knows the secret of how to cause these quasi-humans to malfunction.

As the story progresses, Black learns the truth of behind his kidnapping, experimentation, and escape.  Black is now a “prized specimen,” and Nahzier desperately wants him back because of his future potential for creating immortality.  Even at the end of the book, however, I was not completely clear on how Black is unique after undergoing scientific experimentation.  I hope his changes will be expanded upon and clarified in future books.

The plot does not follow a sequential time pattern. Journal entries by Griff’s father, renowned scientist Dr. Hurst, flashbacks from Griff and the back stories of other members of the rebel group provide greater depth and insight into the dynamics of Starlight City’s insulated world.

The journey eventually brings Black back to Earth where his story actually begins.

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The conclusion left me to infer that the story would continue. Even though Black was the protagonist, I was drawn to Griff’s character; he played such a major role in the book, and I wish he had been the leading character instead.  Griff’s relationship with the Alpha Human Jada is one I hope will continue to develop in future books.  There were minor grammatical errors strewn throughout the story, and it could benefit by one more round of proofreading. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this read and look forward to future books by Radford Lee.

I received a copy of this book from the author to provide an honest review.

Rating

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About the Author

Radford Lee

Radford Lee is a writing tutor and also teaches college composition courses. He has worked as a volunteer tutor for an afterschool Student Fellowship program where he also conducted a Creative Writing workshop for local community students. He hopes to continue building students’ reading and literacy skills and to cultivate talented young writers. Radford lives with his beautiful family in Ohio.

 

Find out more about Radford Lee and Starlight City in his interview for Sun Mountain Reviews

When and why did you begin to write?

I’ve always marveled at sci-fi films like Star Wars, and storylines in some of my favorite video games especially got my imagination going. But I first felt inclined to actually write fiction as a senior in high school after reading Watchers by Dean Koontz. I liked how he blended sci-fi elements in the storyline without overdoing it, as well as the suspense he was able to create on practically every page. I started to get this crazy idea that I could create something just as cool.

What attracts you to write in the Science Fiction genre?

There’s a lot I love about the genre; the most attractive aspect might be the ability to create an entire world from scratch. As the writer, I can also create all the rules, (as long as they’re fairly logical), beings, and can even make up words as long as I don’t take it too far. I guess as an artist, I just love to create, and Science Fiction gives me a vast canvas to let my imagination run amuck.

What inspired you to write Starlight City?

It’s hard to say exactly. I think the impulse to create a web of storylines around Black, the central character, was influenced by reading David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. The techno-dystopian setting of the city and some of the story concepts were partially inspired by Japanese anime films like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost In The Shell, which could possibly have inspiring roots in films like Blade Runner. As I’ve mentioned, though, some of my favorite video game narratives are a big part of my inspiration. The most influential by far are games in the Final Fantasy series, which I think have the most complex and intriguing storylines with the most interesting characters. In retrospect, I think the world of Starlight City resembles that of Final Fantasy 7 in certain ways.

Briefly describe the fictional world you have created:

This story takes place mostly on the planet Neon in Starlight City, a vast, futuristic metropolis powered by gravity and wrapped in a sterilized bubble called the “Ether Shield.” The city is populated by humans, quasi-humans, and robots. Starlight City is run on citizen law enforcement according to district and patrolled by fully armored Citizen Guards. Much of the action also takes place in “the Forests” surrounding the city. These Forests were created (or altered) by Nahzir’s Life Bomb, a nuclear-scale explosion that spontaneously creates an atmosphere and rapidly evolving life forms. The Forests are beautiful, exotic, and dangerous—inhabited by deadly mutants and contaminated by volatile microorganisms.

Which character in Starlight City is your favorite?

I think my favorite character is probably Griff. Though he’s often the least expressive character, he seems to have the deepest internal conflict, and his actions and decisions have the biggest impact on the story’s events. In my first draft of this novel, Griff was actually the central character. He was the first character I had in mind for this story.

What have been the most enjoyable and challenging experiences for you in writing this book? One fun and challenging aspect was creating a futuristic world that was believable for the reader without letting technobabble drain the life out of the story. Coming up with semi-plausible explanations for certain science fantasy elements, like converting gravity into an unlimited energy source, required lots of inspiration from random “what if” conversations with friends.  Still, the most challenging experience by far was coming up with an ending that would leave readers expecting the next offering but still provide some closure to the story. I’m still not quite sure how well I pulled that one off.

Which scene was the most difficult to write?

I’d have to say the hardest scene to write was the one where the main conflict between Black’s side and Nahzir’s Regime reaches its peak. There’s a preliminary battle in the chapter before it, and I didn’t want to overdo it with fighting scenes. I did quite a bit of surgery on this section, cutting it down to the essential parts and ended up pretty satisfied with the end result.

What ideas/concepts do you want readers to take with them after they read Starlight City?

I’d like readers to see the importance of comraderie and friendship shared among these “misfit” characters. They’re brought together by unlikely circumstances but form a bond and come to trust one another, and this is what allows them to stand against impossible odds. I also think readers should grasp the idea that science and spirituality can be connected. Science can attempt to explain phenomena beyond the physical realm rather than denying that such phenomena exists. Finally, readers should see that even in a world so technologically advanced as Starlight City, scientific achievement should never be valued above the souls of humanity.

What did you learn from writing this book?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that as a writer, you must absolutely love what you’re writing. There has to be a high level of excitement about the world and the characters you create which will force you to keep scribbling in the notepad, or sitting in front of the computer screen. The writer has to be addicted to the story and must keep coming back to fine-tune it. Most importantly, you have to love what you’re doing enough to ignore the people who think you’re wasting your time. This can be tough, as these are probably people who love you and think they have your best interest at heart. It’s important not to let outside pressures stop you from realizing and perfecting your vision as a writer.

Have any other authors had a significant influence on your writing?

As a reader, I tend to jump from author to author in search of a good book rather than reading through his/her entire archive. I’m definitely influenced by the classic works of Sci-Fi giants like Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Asimov, George Orwell and Ray Bradbury. Samuel R. Delaney is another Sci-Fi author I’ve enjoyed. I’ve already mentioned David Mitchell’s work, which certainly inspired me in terms of style and story structure. Besides these, I also admire much of Jonathan Lethem’s speculative works, and aspire to be as effortlessly entertaining as Kurt Vonnegut. I must add that I’ve long been inspired by some of the Harlem Renaissance writers, particularly Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

What are your current projects?

Right now, I’m working on a theatrical audiobook of Starlight City, which should be completed before the end of this summer. I’m also drafting out ideas for both a prequel and a sequel to the novel, which I hope to release sometime around the fall of 2014.

What is the one piece of technology you can’t live without?

A lot of writers might say their computers, but I’d have to say my iPod, or anything I can use to listen to music. I simply love listening to music and even use it to write sometimes. It often helps me create the mood for a certain scene and get my ideas flowing.

 

Cover Reveal, Author Interview & Giveaway for Reclaim My Heart

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Reclaim My Heart by Donna Fasano

Reclaim My Heart

Format: Paperback and eBook

Publisher: Hard Knocks Books

ISBN: 978-1939000200

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Book Description

Sixteen years ago, Tyne Whitlock cut all ties to her past and left town under the shameful shadow of a teenage pregnancy. Now her fifteen-year-old son is in trouble with the law and she is desperate for help. But reaching out to high-powered attorney Lucas Silver Hawk will tear open the heart-wrenching past in ways Tyne never imagined.

Forced to return to the Delaware Indian community where Lucas was raised, Tyne and Lucas are tempted by the heated passion that consumed them as teens. Tyne rediscovers all the reasons she found this man irresistible, but there are scandalous secrets waiting to be revealed, disgraceful choices made in the past that cannot be denied. Love is a powerful force that could heal them both—if the truth doesn’t rip them apart.

*****

Excerpt from Reclaim My Heart

From Chapter 2

“Oh, wait. There’s someone here to see you.”

He frowned. “I don’t have time today.”

“I know, I know.” Martha looked apologetic. “I tried to explain that your schedule is packed, but she insisted on waiting—”

“She?”

Martha glanced down at a pad on her desktop. “A Ms. Whitlock. Tyne Whitlock.”

Lucas stared. Blinked. Then he reached up and tugged at his tie, wondering who the hell shut off the room’s air supply.

“She’s waiting in your office. I tried to tell her your schedule was full, but…” Concern sharpened Martha’s tone. “Are you all right? She said she knew you. That you were old friends. That she’d only take a minute of your time. Should I not have let her in?”

Martha droned on and he watched her lips move, but he didn’t hear a word of what she said. A blind-sided punch wouldn’t have stunned him more than hearing that name. He lifted his hand and nodded at Martha to let her know everything was okay even though he had no idea if it was or not, then he turned and headed down the corridor.

“Don’t forget Larry and Nate. They’re waiting!”

Martha’s warning sounded like a distant echo.

Tyne. Here. In this building. In his office.

What had it been? Twelve, thirteen… no. Sixteen years. He scrubbed his fingers across his jaw.

He turned the corner and came to an abrupt halt. At the end of the corridor, the door of his office stood ajar. He saw Tyne’s perfect profile as she sat in a straight-backed chair staring at something out of his line of view.

In an instant, Lucas was catapulted into the past.

Darkness surrounded them like a cloak. Tyne’s soft sobs tore at his heart. Of all the girls he’d dated—and there had been more than a few—only she brought out in him a fierce compulsion to protect.

He swiped away her tears, the dark color of his thumb a stark contrast against her creamy white skin.

“I don’t understand them, Lucas. I never will.”

“Don’t worry,” he crooned. “It’s going to be all right. Trust me, babe. They can’t keep us apart. You’ll be eighteen soon too. We can do what we want then. Go wherever we want.”

He cradled her, his back supported by the massive pin oak. And when she stopped crying, she pulled away from him and gazed into his eyes. Her sweet face wrenched his heart and caused heat to spark his desire. Never had he wanted a girl the way he wanted Tyne. Raw need coursed through him.

She cradled his face between her palms and drew him to her. Her lips were hot against his. The kiss grew hungry, their breathing labored.

“Our love will last forever,” she whispered against his mouth.

He heard the question in her quavery tone, responded to her need for reassurance.

“Forever,” he groaned, tugging her down onto the mossy ground.

Lucas tilted his head to stare at the carpet in front of his shoes and gulped in the artificially-cooled air as he dragged his way out of the past. The grip he had on his attaché case made his hand throb almost as much as the memory had caused his groin to go all achy and needful.

Of course, their love hadn’t lasted forever.

He was within steps of the door when Tyne glanced in his direction. Nuances of various emotions passed across her face. And it was a striking face, Lucas couldn’t deny it. The years had refined her features—

She stood, smoothing her palms across the fabric of her skirt.

—and ripened her body. Her eyes were the same vivid blue he remembered, and her white-blond hair was still long and straight. He could easily recall the silky feel of it brushing against his bare chest. As teens, he’d thought of them as the perfect juxtaposition: she, all sunshine and light, he, dark like the night.

He forced his gaze back onto her face.

“Tyne.” He entered his office, puzzled by the strain in his voice. What really confused him was the fact that he couldn’t seem to get his tongue to form anything more.

“Hi, Lucas. It’s been a long time.” Her lush mouth pressed into a nervous smile, and his gut tensed.

He wanted to smile back. He truly did. With every fiber of his being. To let her know that he’d survived the sprawling interim since they’d parted just as well as she obviously had. But he couldn’t smile. Couldn’t speak. Couldn’t think.

*****

Author Interview

What attracted you to writing in the first place?

I came to writing from my love of reading. While growing up, I lost myself in books in order to escape an unhappy childhood.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

Romance. I wrote for Harlequin for 20 years, writing sweet romance (as Donna Clayton) and women’s fiction/contemporary romance (under my own name). I have self-published some of my back-list Harlequin books. The Merry-Go-Round was never published by a traditional publisher, so I guess that would be my first indie-published book. Reclaim My Heart is the second of my front-list indie-published titles.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

I think authors who face a lot of pain and anguish seem to write stories with great depth, with honesty and compassion. It could be that dealing with trauma brings out the best (or worst) in people. I believe that losing my mother at such a young age had a huge impact on me not just as a writer but as a human being. I became, I don’t know, more maternal towards my family, my friends, heck, towards everyone I meet… more giving of myself. I’m not sure. But I know that the loss could have made me bitter and angry. I’m just so grateful that the exact opposite seems to describe me.

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

My mind is always on the alert. I take ideas from everything I see, hear, read, experience. I have been known to take a snippet of conversation overheard in an elevator and turn it into a book (Return of the Runaway Bride), or from a location (His Wife for a While), or from a person I met (Taking Love in Stride). So be careful! If you interact with me, you might end up in one of my novels.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

I have visited so many beautiful places. The South of France, the rolling mountains of Italy, the Mediterranean Sea, the cobbled streets of Brussels, the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, beautiful Morro Bay, California, and I spend lots of time in Ocean City, Maryland. I obviously can’t pick a favorite. Besides, there are so many places waiting to be seen!

What was your favorite part of this book to write? Which part was the hardest?

I really enjoyed writing the love scenes. In my sweet romances, all the ‘spice’ takes place behind closed doors. So this was very fun. And which part was hardest? The “kitchen love scene” (naughty pun intended!).

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

I wanted to be a teacher. My aunt attended college and earned her teaching degree. I always idolized her.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

Teacher. I love kids, and I often include them in my stories. I always say that children are very honest and outspoken. Kids inject a great deal of fun into a book.

If you could live inside the world of a book, which book would you choose?

Pride and Prejudice. Love that Mr. Darcy!

Give your fans three fun facts that they may not already know about you.

I love to cook! (I often post recipes on my blog.)

My reading tastes are crazy-eclectic. I read anything and everything.

I’m a little on the chubby side.

Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?

Depends. If we’re talking ice cream, then vanilla… and I love mine topped with sliced banana and warm caramel sauce. If we’re talking cake, then chocolate, and don’t forget the fudge frosting. If we’re talking milkshakes, then strawberry. Wow, now I’m hungry.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

I put my heart and soul into this Reclaim My Heart, and I think it shows… in the characters and in the story.

So what’s next for you as an author? Any last words?

I’m thinking of writing a book that revolves around three friends in different stages of marriage, but I’m not sure yet. I’ve worked very hard on Reclaim My Heart and I’m going to take a few days off. Then I’ll get back to work!

I want to thank you for hosting me, and I want to thank your followers for taking the time to read about Reclaim My Heart.

*****

About the Author

Donna FasanoDonna Fasano is a three time winner of the HOLT Medallion, a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award winner for Best Single Title, a Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, and a Golden Heart finalist. Her books have sold over 3.6 million copies worldwide and have been published in nearly two dozen languages. Her books have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List numerous times, climbing as high as #17.

What others are saying about Donna’s books:

“…complex, funny, and realistic…” ~Wilmington News Journal

“Excellent!” ~Bookreview.com

“Could not help myself from reading excerpts to my husband and friends. This book is well written, the characters are real, everyday folks. It is very easy to identify with them. Donna Fasano is a talented author.” ~Elizabeth M. Caldwell on Amazon

“…a fast paced riotous look at family life today. Donna Fasano is right on target!” ~Donna Zapf, SingleTitles.com

Author Links

Follow Donna Fasano at  Website  |  Facebook   |  @DonnaFaz  |  GoodReads  |  Pinterest |   Shelfari

*****

Buy Links

Amazon Kindle : Reclaim My Heart

Nook Store: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1115279807?ean=2940016699684

Kobo Store: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Reclaim-My-Heart/book-YMUjpTKW90W7AncolaFDoQ/page1.html

*****

Giveaway

Click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter the Giveaway 

Grand Prize winner has their choice of 3 titles from Donna’s Backlist in format of choice (eBook, Paperback or Audio-Book)
Second place winner has their choice of 3 titles in eBook format from her backlist and
Third place winner has  a choice of 1 eBook title from backlist .


 a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can Follow the Rest of Tour by clicking here

Good Luck!

To post a comment, please click on the green Leave A Comment link located at the bottom of the post after the tags.

Interview & Giveaway for Order of the Black Swan Set (Books 1-3) by Victoria Danann

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Victoria Dannan has expanded her Book Tour for Moonlight: The Big Bad Wolf  (Book 4 of the Order of The Black Swan series)

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To see the book promotion for the Order of the Black Swan, Books 1-3, complete with book trailers for each book, please click on my earlier post: Book Promotion: Order of the Black Swan

Learn more about Book 4 in the Order of the Black Swan series by clicking on my earlier post that includes an excerpt from the book along with my review: Spotlight and Review of Moonlight: The Big Bad Wolf

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Victoria Danann’s Self-Interview

Hey. If Rembrandt and Van Gogh can go self-portraits, I can do a self-interview. I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah. Well. You’re not Van Gogh.” You’re right, of course. But doing three blogs around the release of three books in the space of ten months has created the answers to a whole lot interview questions.

On occasion I interview other authors. I always ask if there was a question they always wanted to be asked and had never had been and, if so, what was it? That was part one of what led me here. The second part is character interviews. When I do character interviews – let’s face it – I’m interviewing my own imagination.

Soooooo, why not just ask myself the question I’d like to answer. The following is a sampling of some of my favorite all-time blog tour questions followed by one of the one questions I’ve never been asked, but would like to answer. (There are a lot.)

PART ONE: THE BOOKS

1. Do you feel that you can relate to one character in “this book” more than any other? And why?

No. I don’t relate to one more than another, but I love Rammel Hawking the most. And he knows it. He uses it  to his advantage to manipulate me all the time.

One person recently told me that, if action figures of my characters ever come out, she wants to place a preorder for Ram. I have to agree with her. Because this saga has a lot of balls in the air (pun not intended, I swear). Ram is on the zigzag path of a hero’s journey in a classical sense. Add to that the fact that he’s drop dead sex and a one-woman elf and, really, what more could you want?

2. Many people feel the PNR genre is on the way out. Do you agree? Are there any changes you’d make to stay on the cutting edge of this genre? Will you change genres?

I think that will be true if more authors don’t stop the vamp-by-number, more-weres-the-better rehash and try for something different.

Before I started writing I spent two full years reading every PNR that had enjoyed any success to find out what had already been done, then set out to create something new. I get a lot of feedback that starts by saying, “I                 don’t really know what genre to put this in…”  I love comments like, “She explodes stereotypes.”

Also, I’m writing true Paranormal Romance. It’s not paranormal suspense or paranormal mystery or paranormal  thriller with a love interest back story. The romance is the main plot for me. And romance is never going to be on  the way out.

3. As writers, we are bombarded with ideas every minute of every day. What’s the idea behind this series and   how did it come about?

I read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein when I was about twelve-years-old and have always been  fascinated by the concept of other worlds that are similar, but not identical.  I combined that with my formal                 academic education in Paranormal Psychology, the fact that I always got along super well with boys, and voila.

PART TWO: WRITING

1. Do you write full time?

Snort.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

If people “decide”, they’re not really writers. My working theory is that, if you watch children carefully, they will show you who they really are by the time they are eight or nine. At that age I had two stacks of legal pads on my bed. One I used to sketch glamorous evening wear. The other I used to write my own Bobbsey Twins novels. I did spend a few years as a designer of glam dresses and was copied by the biggest names in the business. I had a big following in the Northeast, South America, and Europe and still see some of my dresses show up in the movies. So I checked that off the list and did it until I was done. Now I’m writing.

3. Have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it?  Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?

The answer is yes, but the someone was one of the characters. My Familiar Stranger started out to be a different story. My heroine was supposed to end up with the character of my choice. I was about 80% finished when another one of the guys (characters) started insisting that he was the one who should get the girl! I let him make his case and finally had to agree, but it caused a lot of overhaul.

Since then I have done a poll on Facebook asking fans who they wanted to end up with the girl and the big majority agreed with my character. It was him all along.

4. What unique factor do you think you bring to the book/story market?

First, I waited to start writing until I was old enough to really have something to say.  Secondly, one of the  comments I hear most often is that people enjoy the chronicle style of ongoing story. I call it a serial saga. If I                 were not an Indie, it never would have happened because it doesn’t fit the commercial “formula” of how to pie chart a paranormal romance. (Yes. I made a verb out of the phrase “pie chart”.)

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part of writing is slogging through the emotion. I know that, if I’m crying so hard I can hardly see the  PC screen, I’ve gotten it right, but it’s also very emotionally draining and it ruins my looks for half a day.                 Conversely, if I’m lying in bed at night reading my own book and laugh out loud, I know I got that right as well.

6. Who were your major influences?

Stephen King, Anne Rice, my tenth grade literature teacher without whom I might never have read Julius   Caesar, MacBeth, Random Harvest, or Lord Jim, my seventh grade English teacher without whom I never                 would have read the entire works of William Saroyan, my father who bought me the Scribner Collection which  included all the classics appropriate for young readers. (I learned to love the art of story AND the art of Maxfield                 Parrish who illustrated the covers.)

7. Do you have any advice for any other aspiring writers out there?

Yes. Writers are born, not made. Run as hard and fast as you can from a course on “creative writing” classes because nothing will kill your own embryonic art or creativity faster.

PART THREE: PERSONAL

1. What are 5 fun/interesting facts about you?

I play bridge. I like going to movies in the daytime by myself (though I rarely get to). I teach magickal arts online.  I worked for the airlines when I was very young and have traveled a lot. I speak canine. (Bonus #6. I do all my

own graphics work: covers, ads, book trailers, etc.)

2.  What is the most inspiring quote you have ever heard?

a. This actually relates to how busy I am. It’s a motto used as my email signature on personal mail. THE QUOTE: “It’s better to burn out, than fade away.” – Rock of Ages, Def Leppard. Some people have wrongly attributed this to Kurt Cobain. Sorry. No. Others have said it wasn’t Def Leppard, it was Neil Young, “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away,” – My, My, Hey, Hey. Also wrong. Neil Young used an extra “to”. Big difference you see.

b. Winston Churchill is reported to have given a commencement address in which he simply took the podium and said, “Never give up,” nine times.

3. What’s your favorite book?

Memnoch the Devil, Anne Rice. Also high up on the list: The Gate to Women’s Country by Sherri S Tepper and Good Omens  by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. HOWEVER, I wouldn’t recommend any of these to someone unless I knew that they were students of religious studies or, in the case of Gate, feminism.

4. Greatest joy?

Reviews.

5. Greatest aggravation?

Reviews.

Now, about A Summoner’s Tale… If you haven’t read Books One and Two, I hope you will do so before you read Book Three. Black Swan is a serial saga meaning that each book is actually a chapter installment in an ongoing story. This particular installment involved characters that were introduced in the first book.

If you read by Kindle, you will find A Summoner’s Tale available at Amazon after release. If you another e-reader, you can still get the book in the form of an anthology that will be available in electronic format everywhere. The Order of the Black Swan Collected Tales, Books 1-3. $6.99 for all 330,000 words. This is a dream come true for me because readers will experience the first three books as conceived as one story.

*****

Giveaway

Click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter the Order of the Black Swan Giveaway

You have a chance to win one of 7 E-copies of THE BLACK SWAN SET, Books 1-3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*****

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To post a comment or start a discussion, click the small green  “Leave a comment”  link located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Celebrate with SMR: 2 Months & 200+ Followers (Giveaway of Culture Shock)

Sun Mountain Reviews Celebrates Two Months & 200+ Followers

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I started Sun Mountain Reviews in March because I am so passionate about reading. This love led me to major in English and teach writing and literature classes for a number of years. For me, going to work was playtime because I was able to share my passion with others and delight in the stimulating discussions I had with  students and colleagues.  Since I  enjoy reading books from all genres, I wanted a place where I could express my thoughts about the books I’ve read and a space where I could be creative by adding in a variety of multimedia to complement the books and support my reviews.  Thus, Sun Mountain Reviews was born. I really didn’t have any idea that I would gain so many followers in such a short amount of time.  This was just a creative outlet for me, but now with such loyal followers, I am even more motivated to continue reading and writing to share my reading experiences with you!

In order to help me celebrate, I have partnered with author Jeanette Pekala who has graciously provided 10 ebooks of her first book in the new series Culture Shock (Culture Shock #1).  At the end of this post, you will find a link to enter the Giveaway.  Thank you Jeanette!

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Culture Shock (Culture Shock #1)

By: Jeanette Pekala

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Book Description

CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.

Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend’s death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she’s in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don’t add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea.

You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. The must dodge zombie assassins, shift shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpertrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Espeically when Macy has the sneaking suspiciion that these dreams are reality…

*****

Excerpts from Culture Shock

Excerpt #1

There were two guys and one girl. The girl had severely long red wavy hair and flawless fair skin. She was supermodel skinny. Heroin-addict supermodel skinny. Her back was to me so I couldn’t get a good look at her face.

The first boy was sitting next to her. His back also to me, but when I first caught them spying, I noticed something peculiar about this boy. He was wearing a black hoodie, with the drawstrings tied so tight, the hood was covering nearly his whole face. He had dark aviator glasses on and gloves. Seriously, it’s like ninety-something degrees outside. Why on earth would you wear gloves? His skin, what was showing of it anyways, was even paler than the girl’s.

Excerpt #2

We found a spot over by the water free of sawgrass. It was a beautiful view. On the back end of the lake was a dense forest. It was dark just beyond the first set of trees. That was the only end of the lake that had remained uninhabited. There was a syrupy mist rising slowly off the surface of the water. It was creepy, but romantic in a sinister way. The sights, sounds, and smells all mingled together to create a scene an artist would love to capture with the stroke of his brush.

 *****

Author Interview

Readers interviewed Jeanette Pekala about her debut novel, Culture Shock. Here is what they came up with.

Tasha: How close are Jeanette and the main character? Even though it’s fiction, do you have anything in common with her? Can we get to know you by understanding the main character?

There does happen to be a little Jeanette in the main character, Macy Holmes. I like to think of her as a mixture of me and my sister. She’s silly and quirky like me but very much the fashionista diva like my sister.

Marie Ann: Did your family feel neglected when you were writing your book?

Well, my hubby doesn’t care because when I’m writing, I’m not nagging him so he can pretty much play video games all night long when I’m in a writing groove.

Nicki: What inspires you to write?

Life is what inspires me. It’s the ultimate muse—from relationships to nature and history. I pull inspiration from the deep love I have for my husband and pour that into the feelings of my characters when they’re high on love, but pull from other’s heartbreak to recreate the devastation in the souls of the characters I write. Nature inspires me—from old gnarled trees to vibrant wildflowers. It’s magical. If you’ve read Culture Shock you know I’m a history buff especially when it comes to architecture. The majestic old homes in north central Florida, so different from the city where I grew up, have inspired the fictional town of Bougainvillea where Culture Shock takes place.

Nicki: Why did you or what led you to write Culture Shock?

I awoke from a horrific nightmare one night with the taste of fear in my mouth, shaking for my life very much the same way Macy, the MC does in the book. It was a nightmare that felt so real it took me quite a few minutes to calm down afterward. After I regained my composure, a light bulb went on, Ah-ha (snap fingers) that would be a great concept for a book. I pulled out a notepad and jotted down the nightmare with a green dried out marker at 3am (it was all I could find). That’s how Culture Shock was born.

Nicki: Are you working on any current projects?

Yes, I’m currently working on Shock Wave, the second book in the Culture Shock Series. It should be released in the fall if all goes according to plan.

Arie: What is the primary focus or point of your book? Does your book strive to accomplish something intellectual, social, geopolitical, metaphysical, cultural, societal, emotional, relational, or recreational?

Wow! Good question. The primary focus of my book is entertainment. It’s definitely a light-hearted, nothing too deep though you will find plenty of humor and gore. Macy does go through an emotional journey where she tries to break out of her shell to become a confident young woman.

Cristiane: What made you write a mystery thriller? And who is the blue-print for the heroine, Macy?

I mentioned before why I wrote it. I previously had 2 failed attempts at writing novels so for weeks I was thinking, what could I write??? I need a new concept! Something that’s not overdone, or maybe something that’s popular, but with a new twist? Nothing came of my brainstorming until I had that nightmare. Culture Shock starts out slow at first, but picks up the pace and will have you staying up late into the wee hours to figure out who did what and what happens next…

 *****

About the Author

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After finishing her degree in Sociology from the University of Florida, Jeanette Pekala had no idea what she wanted to do with her life.

While her husband was deployed overseas, she focused on what she loved to do, write, where she has finally found an outlet for her overactive imagination.

She lives a not so normal life just a wee bit north of Bougainvillea where she resides with her husband and two children working on Shock Wave, book 2 in the Culture Shock Series.

*****

Contact Links

Email: jdpekala@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeanettePekalaAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomlifeandliterature

Blog: http://adventuresoflifeandliterature.blogspot.com/

Website: http://jeanettepekala.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanettePekala

Buy Links

 Amazon: Culture Shock (Culture Shock Series) (ebook) / Culture Shock (Culture Shock Series) (Volume 1) (book)

Createspace Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/4205224

Barnes & Noble (Nook) Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/culture-shock-jeanette-pekala/1114839472?ean=2940016355870

*****

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Click on the link below for a chance to win one of ten ebook copies of Culture Shock (Culture Shock #1)

Giveaway ends, Friday, May 31st

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

Thank You to all those who have helped Sun Mountain Reviews to grow!

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To post a comment, please click on the green Leave a Comment link following the tags at the bottom of this post.

Spotlight and Author Interview for Screaming Spires (The Cavaliers Book 2)

Screaming Spires Two Week Tour Banner

Screaming Spires (The Cavaliers #2) by Georgiana Derwent

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00033]Series: The Cavaliers

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Vampire

Publisher: Self-Published

Format: Ebook, paperback

Length: approx 100,000 words

Publication Date: April 12, 2013

Book Description

A Tale of the Posh, the Privileged and the Paranormal…

The Cavaliers are the most elite society at Oxford University – rich, powerful, and beautiful. No one realises that they are no ordinary students, but a group of aristocratic vampires from the English Civil War. For four hundred years they have groomed the most promising students to run the government, police, and finance in the way the vampires wish, granting them eternal life in return for absolute obedience.

In her first year at Oxford University, Harriet French became inextricably tied to the Cavaliers. Now Harriet’s back at Oxford for her second year. Armed with a vampire boyfriend, some great friends and the truth, she’s expecting an easier time.  She’s wrong.  Her best friend is now a vampire and the Cavalier who turned her to save her life is facing death for the one good deed he’s ever done. Just when it seems that things can’t get any worse, the Cavaliers’ ancient enemies decide to strike at the heart of the society and they’ve got Harriet in their sights. 

Screaming Spires continues the story of an ancient vampire conspiracy and the ordinary girl caught in its web begun in Oxford Blood.

*****

Book Excerpt

“Dance with me,” someone said suddenly, taking hold of her hands in a way that left no room for argument.

With a sinking feeling, Harriet recognised George’s voice. She forced herself to stay calm as she looked up at him, pristine in his tailcoat and Cavalier bowtie.

“Dance with you? Are you insane? You killed my cousin. You kept my necklace hidden for weeks. You mesmerised me whilst they drained Caroline. If I had the strength, I’d kill you.”

George smiled and shook his head. “No you wouldn’t,” he said firmly, leading her onto the dancefloor.

Before Harriet had a chance to take stock of the situation, they were in the middle of the marquee. She moved to the music as though she had no control over her body, allowing herself to be alternately spun around by George and pulled into him.

“So don’t I get a thank you then?” he whispered after a particularly vigorous twirl.

“I don’t know how you have the nerve even to speak to me, never mind to ask for my thanks.”

“I gave you what you wanted,” he said, pulling her closer. “I gave you your best friend back. If I’d asked you beforehand, what would you have said? Let her die or change her?”

Harriet was finding it difficult to concentrate on the conversation. The marquee was hot and full of people; the music was loud; the dancing was too vigorous. She needed to sit somewhere cool by herself and get her thoughts in order. Instead, George’s deep green eyes were boring into her, his cool hands were gripping hers, and it was becoming harder by the minute to remember all the terrible things he’d done. Harder still to push him away.

*****

Interview with Georgiana Derwent

Sun Mountain Reviews is pleased to have the opportunity to learn more about Georgiana and the Cavalier Series

Tell us about yourself and your Cavalier series:

I’m in my mid-twenties. Much like my heroine, I grew up in the north of England then studied History at Oxford University. Nowadays, I’m a qualified lawyer and work for the British government, so writing makes a nice relaxing break from work. I live in London with my fiancé, Frederick, who’s just the sort of posh English boy that my book romanticises and that Americans tend to love! We’re getting married, back in Oxford, next year.

(Congratulations on the upcoming wedding!)

The Cavaliers is a three part series, each book corresponding, Harry Potter style, to one year of the heroine’s life at university. So far there’s Oxford Blood and Screaming Spires, and I’m currently working on Ivory Terrors. I’ll try my very hardest not to write another Cavaliers book after that, as one of my pet hates is series that get dragged out beyond what was originally planned for them.

The basic plot is that Britain is run by a secret society of vampires, The Cavaliers. They have a special branch of the society at Oxford University and each year, recruit some of the most promising students, turn them into vampires and then get them top jobs to maintain The Cavaliers’ hold on the country. They are what I like to think of as “proper vampires.” They can’t come out during the day, they have to drink human blood, they aren’t afraid to kill and they love to seduce people. The main focus of the book is about a female student at Oxford who becomes entangled with the Cavaliers partly due to falling in love with one of them and partly through family connections.

How did you come up with the idea for creating the series? What was your inspiration?

I’ve loved vampire books ever since my teens and always wanted to write one. It always used to make me laugh how in a lot of vampire and other paranormal novels, you get the character of the mother who is completely clueless about what’s going on. I thought it would be fun to have a mother who actually knows more than the heroine, and who, rather than trying to stop her going out with the mysterious, dangerous bad boy, is actually desperately trying to set her up with him. I actually wrote a very vague outline for a book like this when I was about seventeen, but then I went to university and never had the time to really write it.

As soon as I started at Oxford University, I fell in love with the place. The buildings were beautiful, the history was inspiring and there were some amazing people there. It was all so strange and so different from my previous life that I honestly feel that if there’d turned out the be vampires there, it wouldn’t have thrown me that much!

I desperately wanted to write a book about an ordinary girl who goes to Oxford, and just after graduation, I started writing a really literary “I’m totally going to enter this for a Pulitzer” type novel set at Oxford about education and class and gender, and then about two chapters in, I realised that wasn’t a writing style that I was entirely comfortable with and that writing it was boring me. So I decided to resurrect my old vampire mother plot and merge the two. I mixed in some of my favourite periods of history, and there it was: The Cavaliers.

Briefly describe your protagonist, Harriet French and her personality:

On the face of it, Harriet’s a fairly normal girl. She lives in the north of England with her aunt, uncle and two younger cousins, her father having died and her mother walked out when she was a baby. She gets into Oxford University, which is one of her lifelong dreams, and decides to completely embrace every aspect of it – the educational, the social, the extra-curricular and the romantic.

Harriet’s quite confident and ambitious. Yes, she wants to meet a great boyfriend, but she also wants to do well in exams, to succeed in students politics and to support her friends. She’s definitely not a weak character. That said, Oxford is so different to anything she’s known before, and so outside of her comfort zone, that sometimes she doesn’t know quite how to react to things. In one chapter, for instance, she goes off with a guy (who’s a vampire) despite everyone warning her not  to, and gets bitten. When she’s rescued by another vampire, who she has a massive crush on, he tries to explain to her about vampires, but she thinks that the two of them have ganged up on her to play a complicated practical joke.

Most of the time though, she’s extremely calm. I can’t stand heroines who are crying and shouting all the time – Harriet tends to take most things in her stride.

Finally, it turns out that her mother is an extremely powerful vampire. The two of them have a very close but very fraught relationship, and the mother/daughter dynamic is nearly as important to the book as the romantic relationships.

Oh, and one more thing. She likes pretty dresses and champagne. I mean, she really likes them. It’s a bit of a standing joke for people who’ve read the books.

What are the most enjoyable and challenging experiences for you in writing this series?

I think the most enjoyable thing was being able to really indulge in some nostalgia for my days at Oxford University. It was amazing what funny little memories came back whenever I started to write. I also love writing scenes where characters are having really dramatic, emotional conversations (sometimes I think I should write screenplays instead of novels, because dialogue is definitely my favourite thing to write) and scenes that fill in the history and the backstory.

I think the two challenges were trying to do something new with vampires when there are so many vampire books available, and striking the right balance between making the vampires evil enough that they are interesting to read about and aren’t just basically super-attractive humans, without making them so brutal that they can’t possibly work as love interests.

What was the hardest scene for you to write in Screaming Spires?

Technically, either George’s trial or the scene where Augustine explains his life story and the history of the Treasures, because they were pretty complicated parts of the plot where I had to get a lot of important points across without drowning readers in too much information.

Emotionally, (a bit of a spoiler this one!) definitely the scene where Harriet breaks up with Tom. I felt like I’d invested huge amounts in that relationship over the course of two books and I kept wanting to change the storyline, but it really is necessary to make the book work.

What authors have had a significant influence on your writing?

I always think of The Cavaliers as basically two stories.

Half of it is pure paranormal romance, and that’s pretty directly influenced by LJ Smith. Her Vampire Diaries books were the first vampire novels I ever read and pretty much still my favourites.

The other half is a sort of coming of age tale about a normal girl suddenly finding herself surrounding by old buildings, strange traditions and rich people. That aspect draws a lot from my own student experiences, but is also influenced by a book called Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, about a girl at an elite New England boarding school.

Finally, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Material is one of my favourite series ever, and although it’s had less of a direct influence than the other two books, I think it’s influenced me both by helping me to think of Oxford as a magical setting and in the character of Adelaide, who owes a certain debt to Pullman’s Mrs Coulter.

What do you usually like to read when you aren’t writing?

My tastes are pretty varied. I read about fifty percent what I guess you could call “genre fiction” – paranormal, fantasy, historical etc and about fifty percent contemporary literary stuff. I always say that I like genre books that don’t forget about prose and literary books that don’t forget about plot. Two books I’ve loved recently are Days of Blood and Starlight, and Bring up the Bodies.

As well as the three books I already mentioned in the Influences question, some of my all time favourites are: Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell, A Song of Ice and Fire – George RR Martin, The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood, American Gods – Neil Gaiman, Prep – Curtis Sittenfeld, What a Carve Up – Jonathan Coe, The Dark is Rising series – Susan Cooper, Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett

What are your current projects?

I’m currently about halfway through the third and final book in The Cavaliers Trilogy: Ivory Terrors. I’m hoping to publish it by the end of the year. I’m trying to stay focused on getting that finished, but I’ve got lots of ideas for new, unconnected books. My next book after Ivory Terrors will probably be called the Separation of Powers – I’ve got it roughly plotted out and it’s sort of a fantasy, about a woman plotting to take over the country to avenge her brother’s murder, by seducing the lord who killed him.

Thank you for the Interview!

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About the Author

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Georgiana Derwent read History at Oxford University. Aside from the vampires, The Cavaliers Series is an exaggerated but fairly accurate portrayal of her time there. She now works in London and lives with her fiancé. He’s been very supportive throughout the writing of her books, mainly because he likes to claim that all the most attractive characters are based on him.

Georgiana fell in love with vampire novels after reading The Vampire Diaries back in 2000. At the time it was a struggle to find any similar paranormal romances, a situation that it’s fair to say seems to have been rectified in the last few years. She now loves paranormal series, fantasy novels, and modern literary works in roughly equal measure.

Ever since her teens, she wanted to write a vampire series. Ever since going to Oxford she wanted to write a book about her experiences there. During a dull few months between finishing university and starting her graduate job, she had the idea of combining the two and The Cavaliers Series was born.

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 Oxford Blood (The Cavaliers: Book One) (Ebook)

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Book Description for Oxford Blood

A 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist.

The Paranormal Romance Guild say – “Georgiana Derwent has managed to merge the world of Oxford University, with its rich history and very British traditions with a totally entertaining and plausible vampire story. This is going to be a favourite series.”

A Tale of the Posh, the Privileged and the Paranormal…

The Cavaliers are the most elite society at Oxford University – rich, powerful, and beautiful. No one realises that they are no ordinary students, but a group of aristocratic vampires from the English Civil War. For four hundred years they have groomed the most promising students to run the government, police, and finance in the way the vampires wish, granting them eternal life in return for absolute obedience.

When Harriet French arrives at Oxford University from her working class northern state school, she’s prepared for a culture shock, but not to become embroiled in the Cavaliers’ scheming and bloodlust. Harriet thought she’d be busy enough juggling her demanding tutor, new friends, and the murky world of student politics. But now, she must find the rebel vampire who is killing off the members, stop the Cavaliers from orchestrating a massacre of the year’s most beautiful and successful students, and defy the Society to be with the man of her dreams.

Oxford Blood is a British, adult, paranormal romance. It’s a tale with vampires that aren’t afraid to kill and a heroine who’s not afraid of sex or her own ambition.

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Screaming Spires (The Cavaliers: Book Two) (Ebook)

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