Sunday, May 29, 2011

Interview with Tori Minard, Author of Temple of the Heart

Hey everyone. Welcome to our interview with Tori Minard. Tori is here to talk to us about her book, Temple of the Heart, a paranormal romance. She has also agreed to give copies of her book to 5 lucky commenters. Don't forget to put your email address in your comment. Now, for the interview...
What inspired the storyline of Temple of the Heart? 
A few years ago I heard the story of a Chinese lady of the court who refused to leave a burning building because it was simply unthinkable that a lady of her station would appear in public. She chose to die in a fire rather than be sullied, I guess you’d say, by being in the public eye. That fascinated me, and I wanted to write about it. But I wanted to put it in a fantasy setting, so I chose Atlantis because it’s kind of like a blank slate. Since no-one knows much about it, you can make up anything you like.
Another thing that inspired me was a story I heard about the Kumari girls in Hindu culture. These are little girls who are dedicated to the goddess Durga and said to embody her. The Royal Kumari lives in a temple in Kathmandu and rarely goes outside. When she reaches puberty, the goddess is said to leave her body and she reverts to ordinary status.
I wondered what it would be like to be so sheltered and controlled. What would the world look like to a young woman like that? And what if something happened to force her out of the temple, where she’d have to deal with ordinary life?
I wanted to make it a romance, so I decided to have a man help my heroine escape the fire. And I figured as long as I was making her accept help from someone forbidden to her (males are forbidden to these priestesses), I’d make it someone super-forbidden – a vampire.

Tell us a little about Niko.
Niko is from Dacia, which is an ancient term for a part of the world that includes modern Romania. He’s from the birthplace of vampirism. He comes from a primitive tribal people, and he decides to become a vampire in order to get their strength because he wants to take revenge on a man who’s abused his family. But things go wrong, and Niko has to live with a terrible sense of guilt. He isolates himself from both humans and vampires.
Niko is lonely. But he refuses to play the political games the other vampires in Atlantis play, so he keeps to himself.
Is Laila chosen to be a priestess because she’s a princess?
Sort of, in a roundabout way. Her parents had a special reason to send her to the temple, which you learn near the end of the book. But once she’s there, she’s treated like all the other girls who come there. They all become priestesses.
Why is it forbidden for a priestess of Desou to look upon the world?
Because all of them are wives of the god Desou. They are cloistered and protected because they belong to him. Everything they do in the temple is supposed to honor and strengthen Desou.  If they look on the world outside, it will dirty them.
Does your book take place near a big city or a world of its own?
It takes place on Atlantis, a fabled island in the Atlantic Ocean. I made up the culture because very little is known about Atlantis. And of course lots of people think it never really existed. The story starts in the main city, called Atlantiri, and then goes into the countryside.
Will Temple of the Heart have a sequel?
I’m not sure yet whether I’ll set another whole novel in Atlantis, but I am planning to write one that spans Atlantis and the modern world. It’s going to be the start of a new series I’m doing about vampires.

What’s the most enjoyable part of writing for you?
That’s a tough question to answer, because I enjoy so many parts of it. I love coming up with new ideas, and I also love it when the story just flows and all I have to do is try to type fast enough to keep up.
How many stories have you written?
I don’t know. I’ve lost a lot of my early stuff because I started young. Currently I have seven titles for sale, five as Tori Minard and two under my erotica pen name, Tessa Tremaine.
Are you currently working on any new projects?
Yes. I have two novels in progress set in my Amaki world, Dragon Moon and Blood Moon. They follow the first novel I released, which is called The Heart Moon. When I finish those, I’m going to start on the vampire series, which I’m really excited about.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I’m a bellydancer.
Where can readers purchase your book?
You can find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.
Where can readers connect with you on the web?
I’m at http://www.toriminardwrites.wordpress.com
Can you share an excerpt from Temple of the Heart?
Niko saw the fire from a mile away, where he sat by the river eating fried fish and pickled onions wrapped in a thin piece of griddle bread.  It wasn’t any of his business if buildings burned in Atlantiri.  He was an outsider here, and the Atlanteans never lost an opportunity to remind him of it. 
Flames speared up into the night sky over Temple Hill, and smoke rose to hide the stars from his view.  That was a tremendous fire.  It must have been burning for some time, but he hadn’t noticed it in his rush to get some food. 
He’d gone too long without blood.  Soon he’d have to drink, whether he wanted to or not.  In the meantime, he had a ravenous appetite that overrode most other interests and made it difficult to focus his mind unless he’d just eaten. 
He finished his meal and handed the tin plate back to the vendor.  An acrid, smoky odor drifted on the evening breeze, blotting out the usual stench of the streets.  His stomach churned, slightly queasy in spite of the food. 
One of the temples must be on fire.  They’d kicked him out of the Temple of Desou earlier in the night, when he’d gone to make offerings.  His piercing had given him away, and Atlanteans did not tolerate vampires in their sacred enclosures. 
Which temple was burning?  There were a great many in Atlantiri, more scattered across the countryside.  Maybe it was the one he’d visited.  In his mind’s eye, he could still see the girl in the window, her painted face half hidden by long unbound hair.  He would be willing to bet that she wasn’t supposed to be peering out of attic windows at the public street, since the priestesses of Desou were completely sequestered. 
There had been something about her, about the way she had looked at him, that had made it difficult for him to leave.  Even after the guard had ordered him to go.  Had she gotten out of the attic?  Niko pictured her with her hair on fire and clenched his hands. 
He grabbed the arm of an old man passing by.  “Which temple is burning?” 
The fellow quirked his brows.  “Temple of Desou, I believe.” 
They’d probably gotten all the priestesses out already.  She was safe.  She had to be.  The priestesses of Desou were among the most holy people in Atlantis. 
Then he heard a thin, faraway scream from the Temple, so faint it was probably inaudible to human ears.  He couldn’t ignore that. 
Niko released the man and broke into a run, keeping to the shadows to avoid drawing attention to himself.  Street lamps were sparse except in the best neighborhoods, which this was emphatically not, but he’d rather no-one notice how fast he could move. 
He rounded a corner.  Flames roared out of the windows of the Temple of Desou, consuming the roof and half the walls.  Lines of citizens passed buckets of water to douse the blaze, each bucket like a thimbleful tossed on a bonfire.  
Ridiculous.  They’d never put it out that way. 
“Are there any more buckets?” he said to the last man in one of the lines. 
The fellow glanced at him, then did a double-take with wide eyes.  “You’re a vampire.” 
Niko sighed.  “Yes, I’m a vampire.  Are there any more buckets?” 
“We don’t want help from your kind.” 
“Have you rescued the priestesses?” 
The man glared at him.  “They’re none of your concern.  Get out, vampire.” 
He turned without another word.  If the Atlanteans didn’t want his help, then it wasn’t his problem.  Their precious temple could burn to the ground, for all he cared.  As long as the girl is safe.  Although why he cared at all about her was more than he could explain. 
A shrill scream rose above the growling of the fire.  The hair on Niko’s body stood straight up.  More shrieks followed.  The thimbles of water continued, passing up and down the lines without a pause.  There were people trapped inside, and no-one on the bucket brigades seemed to notice.  
Niko grabbed a woman’s arm.  “There’s someone trapped in there.” 
“The priestesses.” 
“How many got out?” 
She stared at him blankly.  “None.” 
“What do you mean, none?” he said, his voice rising. 
“You’re a vampire.”  She shrank away from him. 
He wanted to shake her.  “Why hasn’t anyone gotten the priestesses out?” 
“They’re not allowed out of the temple.” 
Niko’s mouth dropped open.  They were allowing the women to burn to death inside that temple because of some prissy social custom?  He looked up at the conflagration.  The acrid stench of burning hair floated to his nostrils, along with bits of ash. 
He remembered that smell.  His heart went bang-bang-bang in his chest.  Sweat broke out all over him, and a thin trail of ice slithered down inside his belly.  It was happening again, and people were dying.  Because of him. 
How could it be your fault?  You were never inside the place. 
He had to get the priestesses out.  By now, the fire had devoured over half the compound and invaded the rest.  Whoever was still inside had very little time before escape became impossible. 
While he stood gaping at the woman on the fire line, another man came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders.  “Vampires aren’t allowed on sacred ground,” he said. 
“I just want to help.” 
“We don’t want you.” 
He pointed at the building.  “Women are burning to death in there.  Don’t you care?  What’s wrong with you people?” 
“Get out of the temple district, defiler, or we’ll have the city guard on you.” 
Niko threw up his hands.  “Fine.  Let them burn.” 
He spun on his heel and walked away along the right side of the compound.  They’re not my people.  Why should I care what happens to a flock of cosseted Atlantean priestesses?  He’d come here to study at the University, not to rescue ladies in distress.  And even at school, he was forced to hide himself away from the other students, listening to lectures in special balconies where he was separated from the decent people. 
Atlantis had a law that all vampires had to present themselves for registration upon landing on the island.  If they stayed past six months, they were required to have a facial piercing that labeled them for easy identification by any citizen.  Niko had received his two years ago, and his life had turned to garbage overnight.  
This morning, before going to sleep for the day, he’d come to a decision.  Leave Atlantis.  There was no longer any point in continuing to fight the Atlanteans’ determination to block him at every turn.  He couldn’t go home, being what he was, but anyplace had to be better than this. 
All of Atlantis could burn, as far as he was concerned. 
So why was he turning to the left along the cramped alley that bordered the back of the temple compound?  Leave now.  Go back to the hostel.  Go anywhere.  Don’t get involved.  But he remembered a little house on fire, the roof caved in, people lost.  The temple girl’s face appeared in his mind like a vision.  He kept walking. 
Halfway down the alley, Niko heard the sound of banging on wood.  Sobs.  He peered into the shadows along the bottom of the stucco wall and found a basement window with a piercework screen.  There were fingers wrapped around the open spaces in the wood.  Women’s fingers.
*
We'd like to thank Tori for stopping by and chatting with us about her book. Be sure to listen in this Wednesday when we interview her live on Blog Talk Radio, 3:30pm PST. The link to our channel is here. Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win Temple of the Heart. Thanks everyone!

Winner Announcement & More

Hey everyone! Are you enjoying Blog Tour de Troops? If not, make sure you get on over to Indie Book Collective's blog and particpate in the tour. Not only do you get a free eBook for every blog you comment on, but a soldier gets one too. Every comment counts, so even if the book beeing given away is not your typical genre, comment anyway so a soldier can get it. Don't worry if you've missed the first two days. You can comment until the tour is over.

We want to annouce the winner for the latest eBook giveaway with Kiki Howell! This week's lucky winner is Book Savvy Babe! Congratulations! We will forward your information to Kiki so she can get your prize to you!

Join us later today when we interview Tori Minard about her paranormal romance Temple of the Heart. Until then, go enjoy Blog Tour de Troops!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stepping Out of the Shadows... Guest Post by Julia Kavan

I grew up reading and listening to ghost stories – so I guess it was natural that when I started writing seriously I would try my hand at horror and tales of the supernatural. I also sought out real life mysteries and accounts of paranormal phenomena – spontaneous human combustion, demons, vampires...vengeful ghosts and poltergeists. The idea of encountering any of these things in the cold light of day (well, not vampires, obviously!) is what provides the inspiration for the stories I write. I am also intrigued by the workings of the human mind – the tricks it plays on us, and its ability to create the fantasies both wonderful and terrible that play out in our sleep. Dreams and nightmares will always have a place in my stories.
Tales of ‘monsters’ do not scare me, and blood, guts and gore either leave me cold or feeling queasy. And it’s the scare factor I look for, along with the feeling that this really could happen. I also like to be tricked or seduced into reading something I’d really rather not, but the writing is so enticing you just have to read on...
I always enjoyed writing as a child, often reading out my work at school events - at least until teenage awkwardness kicked in! I was then more than happy to watch others bring my words to life – and it was at that point I really started to consider the audience, and started writing with a view to affecting how they felt and thought.
I have been working on a novel for quite some time, however life tends to get in the way every now and then and I’ve also taken the odd detour. I’ve taught creative writing for ten years and have also written four television screenplays.  My first short story, Dreaming, Not Sleeping , was epublished earlier this year, and I am on the brink of completing the novel, While Yet A Boy I Sought For Ghosts – a more gentle supernatural mystery.
While Yet A Boy... is more of a traditional ghost story, with mysteries to be solved and tragedies to be played out. I set the story in the area where I grew up in England, and local landmarks make an appearance. The wonderful Ely Cathedral with its surrounding buildings is a central landmark in the story, and we spend some time in the forests of Norfolk and Suffolk. But it is the ghosts I love the most – evil, flawed, vulnerable and vengeful – they prove a real challenge for forensic artist, Nick Colton, as he tries to lay his own, personal ghost to rest.  I hope these spirits get to see the light of day very soon.
~ * ~
Born in the University city of Cambridge, England, Julia Kavan has spent most of her life living in Cambridgeshire - atmospheric and the perfect inspiration for ghost stories.

She has taught creative writing classes for the last ten years, whilst writing screenplays, tackling a novel and experimenting with short stories.

A true Scorpio, her tastes definitely err towards the dark side. She devoured horror stories as a teenager, including James Herbert and Stephen King in her list of favorite authors, moving on to Clive Barker and Peter Straub. As a child she would watch anything that even vaguely looked as if it may be scary... so perhaps it is only natural that this is the area her writing tends to wander into - even if she don't always intend it to! 


You can find Julia on TwitterFacebook, and her Website

Purchase Dreaming, Not Sleeping at the following links:



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Interview with Kiki Howell, Author of Irreconcilable Differences

Today is our interview with the talented Kiki Howell, author a captivating paranormal/fantasy romance, Irreconcilable Differences. Want to win a copy of her book? Leave us a comment with your email address and you will be automatically entered into the contest.

How did you come up with the storyline for Irreconcilable Differences?
Actually, it was a combination of things. First, a friend told me I should look at these books of her husband’s about the Dungeons and Dragons game. She thought all the descriptions of paranormal creatures might spark a story idea. Guess she was right. When I read about sorcerer’s and wizards not getting along due to the differences in their magic, the idea of writing a paranormal story on stereotypes, a romance between two people from opposing backgrounds started forming in my mind. Somewhere along the line, I came got the urge to add magical battles and family secrets.

Are the characters named after, or based on people you know/famous people/etc?
No. Names just kind of hit me, most often. They pop into my head and sound right for the character’s personality, like in this story. Other times I go through baby name books online, searching by meaning, until something strikes me.

Why are Sorcerers and Wizards enemies?
In this story, sorcerers have innate powers they come into at a certain age. They come wild, and a sorcerer has to learn to control them. Often their magic comes faster and is stronger. A wizard on the other hand is born with the capacity for power and through eduction and spells, from an early age, brings them into being. While slower in coming, the spells are more specific. Thus a sorcerer’s ends up the body guard for wizards hired to break a binding spell.

What interested you about the paranormal/fantasy genre?
I have always loved what was beyond reality. I think from an early age I read to escape, typical Pisces! LOL I read and write to enter a different world, one more fantastic than the one I sometimes feel like a trapped outsider in ;)

Have you written strictly in this genre or have you explored others?
I have explored other genres a little. I do like the challenge of writing magical realism, sticking to reality and Wiccan teachings, which I have done quite a bit of. Recently though, I have written a couple of more chick lit, contemporary stories: an erotic romance of a sexual journey between a man and a wife and a romantic comedy.

How did you find your voice for Irreconcilable Differences?
I had to get fiesty and fighty! LOL Actually I had a lot of fun with that. At times too much fun, as critque partners had me fix places where my hero got too arrogant and they wanted to slap him or where my heroine got too bitchy.

Who do you feel is the stronger or maybe braver of the two character, Myleana or Aaron?
Definitely Aaron. He is the one who has had the hard life, and learns and loses a lot in the story. Myleana has her own confidence and strengths to go after what she wants, but her life had been easy until meeting Aaron.

Is anything in your book based on fact, or experience? If so, could you/would you share it?
While there is no specific scene that is based in real life, the lessons learned about quick judgements of others and getting past stereotypes to compassion are things I feel very strongly about.

If you had to let any other author currently writing take over your characters and write with them... who do you feel would be the most faithful to them?
Guess I would have to pick favorite authors that I read, not know, who never let me down with their stories like Teresa Medeiros, Hannah Howell or Annette Blair.

Are you currently working on any other projects?
I actually just finished up several. I just wrote the first in a series of stories which take place in Salem, MA after going there last summer. I am waiting to hear the verdict to the houses I subbed it to! I don’t get much writing time in the summer with two boys out of school and living in a lake community.

Where can readers purchase your books?
Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, Fictionwise, All Romance Ebooks, etc. Each store name is linked to my author page there.

Where can readers connect with you on the web?

Can you share an excerpt from your book?
“You may go in now,” the uptight and nervous creature beside him said while still
wiping away at his wool coat.
Aaron did as he said, but stopped up short just inside the opening. He could not
yet see into the cave, as the neck of it angled around, but he could feel the residue of the pain of the earth. The place had been formed by explosions just as he had thought.
A sorcerer such as himself did not need a dowsing rod to know how tragically the
mystical force field of the land had been disrupted by man here. Both positive and negative energy accosted him. It was the ground’s way of whispering the past to him.
Aaron was surprised the walls were not visibly weeping.
The cave in its short life had housed much and now moaned out its misery to
those who knew how to listen. It was a viable and living thing searching for compassion to its plight. He touched the wall letting his fingers move over it in a gentle caress.
Pressure built in his skull, pounding like tiny hammers in time with the tap of an
expensive but now scuffed leather boot.
“David? Is that you? Aren’t you coming in?” The sound of the voice which floated
around the odd bend of the wall sounded like a siren’s song. It called him in. His breath hitched. He moved forward cutting off David with a rigid step. Only when he made the turn and saw her for the first time did he tense against the tiny spasms of his muscles.
He became sentient of his body’s needs, of not only his urges as a man but of the
much-ignored void left in him by his lonely existence. The later he usually was able to deny, even to himself.
Never had he been forced to endure such a reaction to any woman before. Aaron
found himself unorthodoxly inquisitive of such a complete and utter stranger. Before he even began to look down over the perfection of her generous curves, he was taken aback by the power she emanated. He didn’t know how long she had been working in here, but for a wizard there was an inordinate amount of magic. Gentle and loving, but powerful and all-encompassing at the same time, its spirit dripped from everything inside this tortured place. What the hell has she been working on?
A nudge by a boney elbow brought him back.
“Aaron, can you say ‘hi’ to Myleana?”
“Aaron? Hi,” she said stepping with great hesitation toward him. Green eyes
which glistened with various hues looked into his. He felt like every hurt, every demon he had ever battled, could be eased away by the magic in her gaze. Focus!
“Hi.” It was the only word that came out. He puzzled at the odd pinch of his
cheeks realizing too late he was smiling. Something he rarely did.
“Hi.” The scrunch of her brow battled with the smile on her face. The slant of her head confirmed she was leery of him. “He seems to be coming back around, David.”
“Aaron, is there something wrong?” The other man’s icy voice chilled him awake.

~ * ~


A big thank you to Kiki Howell for taking time out to chat with us today. She will be our guest on Blog Talk Radio this Wednesday at 3:30 pm PST. Go to our show channel and set yourself a reminder for the day of the show.

Now's your chance to win a copy of Irreconcilable Differences. Leave a comment with your email address in the preferred format of: parayournormalteam (at) gmail (dot) com and you are entered. Thanks for stopping by to read the interview. We hope you'll listen to Wednesday's live interview to learn more about Kiki and her book. See you on the stream~

Winner Announcement

Hey Everyone! Glad to see we're all still alive and kicking. We wanted to announce the winner of the eBook giveaway for Sculpting a Demon by Lisa Fox.

This week's winner is Florentine! Congratulations! We will forward your info to Lisa so she can get your prize to you.

Be sure to check back later today for our newest interview and eBook giveaway! Until then, enjoy a good book.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

World Building for Paranormal Romance Novels - Guest Post by Regan Black

The rules and details in world building for paranormal romance novels can be as wild or tame as the themes and stories themselves. It's one of the most tantalizing things about writing - and reading - paranormal romance novels. 

Werewolves in one book can have a  completely different origin than another author's werewolves, and yet the reader can enjoy both stories equally. World building is absolutely key to invite the reader into the story and keep them engaged with your character's adventure. It can be subtle twists on a known skyline, or a whole new landscape as foreign to readers as the moon's surface.


When my first full length paranormal romance novel came about, it planted itself in Chicago, a city I love, in the year 2096. Setting the book in the future set my imagination loose. I enjoyed taking certain liberties with Chicago landmarks and what parts of the city survived and what parts morphed into something new.

Looking at where we were then (2005) I built my world anticipating where current trends might lead. I never really believed the American government would outlaw refined sugar and regular coffee, but I could totally see a defense department that fed soldiers a battle enhancing formula disguised as vitamins. Of course recently the culinary capital of New York City has been battling those who would legislaste salt content in restaurant food...

While world building for my 2096 I started with a few key details and let the story and characters spin out from there, adding more layers and details with each revision. I can't abide a morning without coffee and knowing I'm not the only one, naturally a coffee smuggling ring showed up in my books.

Of course, world building for paranormal romance means more than landscape and backdrop. A fully developed world includes rules applied by the author and broken only with good reason (and/or proper physics). If you have a world where vampires can enjoy garlic, you can't slip up and make it a repellant during a key battle. By the same token, your vampire may be allergic to garlic like I'm allergic to pine pollen. So what his comrades find innocuous, he finds appalling, but for a whole different reason - a reason with comedic potential.

If you're writing a political thriller, you probably won't care about coffee, or garlic (unless a state dinner leads to offensive breath during a critical moment on the dance floor). Instead you'll emphasize other critical details that show the reader the worldview, moods, and intrigues your characters are venturing through.

World building for a paranormal romance novel is as personal and unique as the author crafting the novel. What matters to me, what I choose to emphasize in the story, will differ from your story. That's fantastic news for creative authors willing and able to write characters and creatures who push the envelope of humanity and imagination.


Live the adventure!

Regan

~ * ~


Bio: Regan Black writes action-packed stories with a paranormal twist so readers can savor a fantastic escape from the daily routine. Visit ReganBlack.com to preview her latest release, Tracking Shadows, and join the conversation anytime on Twitter @ReganBlack or Facebook Regan Black, Author

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Join the Stream!

Want to get your promos on the @ParaYourNormal stream? #Awesome! Here's how to make it happen~

We would love to RT all our followers that ask, but we have such a large following, it would be impossible for us to do this.

However, you can become a member of the “Join the ParaYouNormal stream club.” #Sorry, no special badges, buttons, or plaques, but you can get your promos out onto our stream.

How does it work?
It’s easy as 123.  You write 3 content tweets that are of value to our members (paranormal/urban fantasy/sci-fi/fantasy info, books your reading, related movies, trivia, etc).  These can NOT have links in them.  

However it is totally fine for your content tweet to say ".@yourhandle here. Have you read the latest book in the House of Night series? I recommend that you read Awakened." That is an example of an excellent ‘content’ tweet.

For every 3 content tweets you provide, you can submit 1 promo tweet.  So if you want 5 promo tweets to go out, you would need to submit 15 content tweets.  If you would like more info about content vs promo tweets, sign up for our sister stream, @IndieBookIBC social media workshop for writers where they go over all of these terms. We also have a style sheet we send out once you sign up that explains it in depth.

Of course all tweets are subject to review and may be rejected if found inappropriate for the stream or simply not helpful (again, our style sheet explains this in depth).

Also keep in mind that we are laid in for several weeks in advance so your tweets will be loaded in as slots become available which could be up to a month later.

Questions?  Just email us at parayournormalteam (at) gmail (dot) com!

Hope to see you on the stream!!!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Interview with Lisa Fox, Author of Sculpting a Demon

Hey everyone! Today we are chatting with Lisa Fox, author of Sculpting a Demon, a sultry paranormal romance. Lisa is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave a comment with your email address.
 ~
How did you come up with the storyline to Sculpting a Demon?
I saw an open call for submissions for a themed series from Ellora’s Cave called Art of Love. The stories had to feature the visual arts, sculpting, painting and the like. So, I got to thinking and Sculpting a Demon was born.
You’re characters have unique names. How did you come up with them?
Thanks! Actually, I was struggling with the names at first and I asked my very good friend to help. She came up with the name Arien. I don’t know how she did it, but when she suggested it, I knew it was the one.
Your protagonist likes to sculpt. Do you share that same passion?
LOL. No, not at all. My sculpting career began and ended with the lumpy, awkward, unusable ashtray I made in the second grade.
What interested you most about writing?
Telling a story. Being able to share my imagination with other people. And, hopefully, entertaining them a bit.
How long have you been writing?
I don’t remember a time when I have not been writing. Forever. For as long as I’ve able to form a sentence.
How do you balance everyday life with writing?
I have no real life so it isn’t that hard. I work and work and work whether it is at the day job dungeon or at my home computer.
What do you like most about writing in the paranormal / urban fantasy romance genre?
I’m really just a little goth girl at heart so I love, love, LOVE writing and thinking about vampires and angels and demons and werewolves and all those other very sexy paranormal creatures.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
The entire reason I moved to San Francisco was because I totally, utterly love the Beats and I wanted to walk in their footsteps. It was just too bad that I was thirty years too late!
Do you have any projects you are currently working on?
Millions! Seriously. I’ve got a vampire short I’ve been meaning to work on and a pirate story I pick and put down and pick up…you know how it goes. There is also a longer, darker vampire novel that has been bouncing around in my head for some time. If only there were more hours in the day! I could maybe finish them all.
Where can readers purchase your book?
Where can readers connect with you on the web?
I am everywhere!

Can you share an excerpt from your book?
Yes! You can read the official excerpt right here: http://www.jasminejade.com/productspecs/9781419928314.htm

~

Thanks so much to Lisa for stopping by to chat with us. Join us Wednesday at 3:30pm PST when we interview her live on Blog Talk Radio. Leave a comment so you can be entered into the contest to win Sculpting a Demon.

Don't foget to sign up for our newsletter to find out about upcoming interviews and guest post. We'll see you soon.

Winner Announcement

Hello everyone. We would like to announce the winner of the eBook giveaway with Scott Nicholson. A special thank you to everyone who left us a comment. We hope you enjoyed the interview as much as we did. Now, for the winners.

Congratulations to Great Minds Think Aloud, Erin, and Renee Rearden. Scott will be notified of the winners and will be in contact with you regarding your prize.

Be sure to join us later when we chat with Lisa Fox, author of Sculpting a Demon. Also, if you haven't yet, sign up for our newsletter and find out about upcoming post, contest, and more! See you soon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Interview and eBook Giveaway with Author Scott Nicholson

Hi everyone. We have an Amazon bestselling author joining us today. Welcome Scott Nicholson, author of Liquid Fear. We are excited to chat with Scott about his latest book. He is also giving away a copy of three of his eBooks, Duncan the Punkin, October Girls, and Speed Dating with the Dead. If you would like a chance to win one of these book, please leave your email address in your comment in the following format: parayournormalteam (at) gmail (dot) com

Now, for the interview...

Where did you draw inspiration for liquid fear?
I’d been researching the moral questions of using pharmaceuticals to “enhance” people—not just to alter mood but to conduct the emotional equivalent of plastic surgery. The president’s bioethics council filed a big report and that was the basis for some ideology, but what frightened me the most was a government having a new “tool” to use on its citizens that they might not ever know about. What if you had a secret drug that could make you agree with everything the government did, or weakened any will you had, or stunted any challenging thought or memory?

Which character did you enjoy writing most?
I always like the bad guys because they get to do things I don’t have the nerve to try but probably, secretly, want to. I’m a bad boy like Roland, though, but with a good heart. Since I’m working on the sequel, I get to revisit these guys—except for those who died, of course…

Is writing a conscious choice for you, or isn’t it something that just happens?
Hmm, I don’t know. I have been creating since the cradle, so it feels like a natural part of me. That said, writing is hard work—doodling in a coloring book is “creative” but doesn’t truly seek to communicate. Meeting a reader halfway is a big responsibility that one should take seriously by giving your best.

How long have you been writing?
Like I said, always. I’ve been an artist, musician, writer, and occasional actor forever. I’ve been in rock bands and underground presses and won awards and sometimes you get paid in beer and sometimes you make some money, but it’s all part of the same energy. I’m still the kid in sixth grade who was sneaking my Super Peanut comic strip around the class to impress the girls and get a little attention.

Aside from Liquid Fear, how many other books have you written?
I haven’t counted lately but probably around 30 or more. Some are collections and some are comics, and the word “book” is getting rapidly outdated anyway.

Are they all traditionally published, or have you indie published as well?
Six were in the Big Leagues, three in small press, and the rest are self-published. The self-published ones have done far, far better and reached many more readers, which is the real goal.

Do you have any new projects you’re working on?
I am writing the Liquid Fear sequel, Chronic Fear, which I plan to publish in late June. I am writing a YA vampire novel Night School with HT Night and JR Rain, and putting together another children’s book.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I love organic gardening. Writing is just the means for me to spend more time in the garden.

In which genre you would be least inclined to write?
Probably pure romance, though I feel like I am one of the few male romantic suspense writers. I love Sandra Brown and Mary Higgins Clark and old Barbara Michaels. Heck, I read Nancy Drew when I was young. I always have a romantic element in my books. Leaving out love, or the pathetic reach for it, would be as unreal as having characters who didn’t cuss or have any spiritual position.

Where can readers find your books?
Mostly on e-reading devices—you should be able to find me on pretty much everything that clicks, except network TV. There are some paper versions available through Amazon and used booksellers, and of course I am in the cheap quarter-a-copy dumps in America’s finest thrift shops.

Where can readers connect with you on the web?
Anywhere that clicks. Just try “hauntedcomputer” and you’ll find me. Another Scott Nicholson got all the “Scott Nicholson” frontier on the web, and he’s not me, so I went with Haunted Computer from an old Ray Bradbury poem.

Can you share an excerpt of you book?
Liquid Fear—available for 99 cents at Amazon, BN.com, and Smashwords 
   CHAPTER ONE
 
   The rain fell like dead bullets.
   David Dunn blinked against the drops. Darkness slathered both sides of his eyelids and the air smelled of burnt motor oil. The silvery salvo of precipitation swept over the expanse of a lighted billboard.
   “Need a lawyer?” read the emblazoned pitch, followed by an alphabet soup of advertising copy that swam in David’s vision. The sign was upside down.
   No.
   He was flat on his back, looking up, his clothes soaked. He couldn’t lift his head. The rain beat tiny tattoos on his face, pooling and racing down in tracks as warm as blood. The surface beneath him was hard and cold. He let his head tilt toward the right and he saw a cluster of distant lights.
   Buildings. A town.
   But which town?
   And, the bigger question, who was he this time?
   He tested his fingers. None were broken, though the knuckles were sore. Maybe he’d been in a fight. Or mugged and left to leak fluids onto the pavement.
   Dunn. David Dunn.
   That was his name. The one he’d been born with, not the name they’d given him. Whoever “they” were.
   He focused on the billboard. It featured a bland, stern face. No doubt the attorney of record, one desperate to cash in on the misfortunes of others.
   Injured in a car crash? Worker compensation claims? Product liability lawsuit? The bottom of the ad heralded a toll-free number.
   David wondered if he owned a cell phone. He usually didn’t, but sometimes they gave him one, slipped it into his jacket pocket with prepaid minutes.
   Prepaid minutes. That was a laugh. “Pay as you go” was the name of this game.
   The rain must have pounded him for a while, because he lay in a puddle. And it was summer because he wasn’t shivering. A car horn blared, probably 50 feet away, and tires spat white noise across the wet asphalt.
   They were coming for him again. They were always coming for him. Or else they already had him.
   He moved his lips, mouthing the words “Need a lawyer?”
   The car hissed onward, weaving in the gloom, its twin taillights like the eyes of a retreating dragon.
   With a groan, he rolled onto his side, cheek chafing against crumbled tar. He wore no hat. A wristwatch adorned his left wrist and he snaked his arm near his face. The LED numerals flickered red.
   11:37. Nearly noon or nearly midnight, it was all the same.
   Unless it was time for the next dose.
   The rain spattered and drummed around him in staccato fusillade. Constant war, the Earth versus the sky. Us versus them. David Dunn against himself.
   A nudge to his back.
   He didn’t have the strength to fight them this time. No running left in those freighted legs. No direction safe. All avenues took him back to the Research Triangle Park in the heart of North Carolina.
   Home—the place of no escape.
   He closed his eyes and flopped to one side, hoping they would make it quick this time.
   “Home, home on the range,” he sang.
   The nudge again, this time to his shoulder. “Hey, get up.”
   Swim, swim, swim. His head went nowhere. He tried to smile, his last act of will, his final defiance. But his lips were the cold, limp corpses of twin snakes.
   “Are you okay?”
   A woman. But which one?
   “I think I need a lawyer,” he said, though he wasn’t sure his mouth moved.
   Hands explored him, angled his head from side to side. The fingers were strong and sure.
   “Can you move your arms and legs?” the woman said.
   He nodded, or at least dipped his chin.
   “We have to get out of here.”
   Here. Out. She must be new to the program. There was no “out” and everywhere was here. The universe was their lab, the world their maze, and the cheese was the disease.
   The cheese was the disease. Probably a nursery rhyme in there somewhere, a modern retelling of “Hickory Dickory Dock.” Maybe he had a new song.
   David licked his lips and they tasted of chemicals. Rain in the city got scarier every day. Why did they even bother with the program anymore?
   Civilization would accomplish the mission, given time. But time was money and money was energy and energy was power. Maze opening onto maze, forever and ever, amen.
   She tugged at the collar of his jacket, sopping his head into the puddle like a biscuit into weak gravy. “Sit up, David.”
   She knew his name. They were getting smarter, all right. Changing the flavor of the cheese. He dared not open his eyes, but he couldn’t resist.
   He could never resist.
   He blinked and squinted through the jewels of water on his eyelashes. Her face was a fuzzy pale moon and her naked body was glistening. He blinked again. Squinted. Focused. Which one would it be?
   Her. Who else?
   He clawed at the concrete, digging to bury himself alive in the wet, filthy soil of the city. Back to the nothingness of the womb. A tomb of cool, welcoming clay, not of hot, harboring flesh.
   He had rolled and scrabbled about five feet across the abrasive surface when she called again. “David.”
   The word was an echo of childhood scolding. He wanted to cover his ears, but that would slow his crawling escape. The buildings slid into focus now, the lawyer gazing down from the billboard with poisonous solicitude.
   Against the foggy sheen of silver-gray that lay across the night air, the windows of a waffle house projected a beacon of cigarette smoke, cholesterol, and safety in numbers. His soaked jacket pressed against his back, water streaming from his hair. It was long, past his collar, in a style and length he hadn’t worn in years. Not since college, which was the last stretch of his life he clearly recalled.
   He crawled toward the smell of fryer oil and coffee. A bare foot appeared beneath his chin, the burgundy nail polish chipped, a raw scar along the arch.
   “David, it’s me.”
   Craning the cinder-block weight of his head, his gaze went up the plump calf and higher. Did he know that skin? Or was all skin a stranger, even the skin he now wore as David Dunn?
   “You don’t remember me, do you?” The words fell from above, as brittle and bracing as the rain.
   Of course he remembered her. His eyes traveled higher, to the dark patch of hair between her legs, then up to her belly where the blood ran in a thick rivulet.
   He couldn’t bear to see her face, which was haunted by the ghost of all abandoned fears. Traffic hissed in the distance, like rows of long reptiles entwining in venomous ecstasy.
   He raised himself to his knees, head spinning, distant buildings the ancient cliffs of an alien planet.
   Waffle house. Its squares of smeared yellow light promised some sort of security. Normality. Greasy reality. But first he had to get past her.
   “They’re coming for us.” She reached her hand toward him, fingers pale and slick as maggots.
   His stomach lurched. Dry, acidic air rushed up and abraded his throat. He had nothing to vomit. The hand touched his shoulder, and David found himself reaching up to her, surrendering. His arm was like a roll of sodden newspapers.
   They’ll get you anyway. They always get you.
   Or maybe they had you from the start.
   She helped him to his feet and he swayed, blinking against the rain. Car headlights swept over them. Two giant shadows loomed on the brick wall at his back.
   Eyes everywhere.
   He jerked free of the woman’s grasp and ran blindly away from the swollen and indistinct shapes. His legs were damp ropes but still he fled.
   Rubber squealed on pavement, the shriek of a hungry leopard. Car doors opened, rain ticked off the metal roof, and the engine mewled.
   “David!” the woman screamed.
   They had her, but David didn’t care. That was exactly what they would expect: for him to play hero again.
   He hadn’t saved her last time, and Susan was going to die again, but it wasn’t his fault.
   He plunged toward the dark, wet wedge between buildings, willing his legs forward. His heart knocked mallets against his temples. Sharp-toothed things would be waiting in the darkness, but they would be the lesser of two thousand evils.
   A kinder, gentler evisceration, because those monsters would do it from the outside in.
   Not from the inside out, like the people from the car would.
   Her shriek rose against the oppressive sky and shoe soles spanked the asphalt.
   “Stop!” someone shouted. Were they really dumb enough to think he’d obey them at this point? After all they’d done to him, all they had taught him?
   After what they had made him become?
   He ran into the alley, assaulted by the odors of rot, bum piss, and motor oil. A chain-link fence, ripped and curling away from its support posts, blocked his escape.
   David clutched the links, praying for the strength to climb. He dug the tip of one shoe into the fence and launched himself up. He slipped and hung like a crucifixion victim for three seconds, time for one deep breath before collapsing.
   He lay with his face against the fence, the links imprinting blue geometry against his cheek. He listened, waiting.
   Rain, tick tick tick.
   No footsteps, no shouts. No car engine.
   They had taken her. And spared him.
   No. That’s just what they wanted him to think. That he was safe, so the next game would be even more disturbing.
   Or maybe they wanted him to cower, to doubt, to face his monsters alone.
   With them, you could never be sure.
   Fear was their tool and his drug.
   He whimpered for his next pill and the blissful fog of amnesia.
   This was who he was.
   Whoever he was.
   He kissed the rain and it kissed back. 
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Scott Nicholson is author of 20 books, including Disintegration, The Skull Ring, Speed Dating with the Dead, and The Red Church. He’s also written the children’s books If I Were Your Monster and Duncan the Punkin. Visit him at Haunted Computer

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We'd like to thank Scott for stopping by to chat with us. He will also be our guest on Blog Talk Radio this Wednesday, May 11th at 3:30pm PST. Our channel link is here. Make sure you stop in and listen. If you would like to ask Scott a question, feel free to call in at 619-639-4626, or you can leave a comment on our Blog Talk wall as well as @ us on Twitter on the day of the show.

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