Please welcome Ranae Rose, author of Haunted Passions. Be sure to join us on BlogTalkRadio this Wednesday at 3:30 PM PDT because we'll be chatting with her live then!
What can you tell us about you that we wouldn’t already know from your other interviews?
Since this is a paranormal-themed site, I’ll tell you something about me that I usually don’t have a good reason to mention: I have an obsession with paranormal, cryptozoological and extraterrestrial documentaries. I love those things. I don’t usually watch TV, but if I can spare the time, I can pass hours in complete bliss lying on the couch and learning about things like ghosts, Nessie and moth man. No amount of teasing has been able to cure me of this habit, and I will happily own up to my dorky love of all things mysterious.
Speed Answer Challenge:
Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate! Mmm…
Favorite color: Purple
Astrological sign: Scorpio
Favorite season: Fall
Sports car or All Terrain Vehicle: Sports car… I’m a good driver (of cars), but I’m not to be trusted with an all-terrain vehicle. Last time I rode one at a speed of more than a few miles per hour, I destroyed it and tumbled down a mountain in the process, breaking my wrist. I prefer a horse, which, unlike a motorized ride, can think for itself, and hopefully will have enough sense not to crash into a bank if I direct it to.
Watch TV or Go for a hike: Go for a hike! Who knows, I might even sight Sasquatch (a dorky dream of mine)… LOL!
Favorite animal: Horse, though I’m also a dog-lover.
Tell us a bit about your book.
Haunted Passions is my own unique version of the Sleepy Hollow legend. In my Sleepy Hollow, Brom and John (that’s what I call my ‘Ichabod’ character, who is significantly sexier in my world than in the original Legend of Sleepy Hollow) are lovers instead of rivals, and are both enamored with Katrina Van Tassel – it’s a historical M/M/F ménage a trois. They face the headless horseman, along with other problems, together.
What inspired Haunted Passions? And what’s the driving force behind the rest of the series?
This might sound a little strange, but it was a song that inspired Haunted Passions – ‘Closure’, by Chevelle. I guess that for me, inspiration can be just about anything. And I’ve always loved The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Though the paranormal aspects of the story are prominent – and I’m told chilling – the characters’ love for each other is what truly drives the series.
What is it about the paranormal that fascinates you?
Everything. I love a sense of mystery, a feeling that the world is bigger and deeper and stranger than most people like to pretend it is. I’m a strong believer in the paranormal in real life, though in my stories, it’s exaggerated or embellished. (I mean, of course I’ve never encountered any headless horsemen, werewolves, vampires or banshees in reality, though I’ve written about all those things.)
What draws you to steamy romance?
When it comes to reading and writing, I’m most drawn to the relationships between characters – especially romantic ones. With steamy books, which don’t skip out on intimate scenes, I’m not missing out on emotionally powerful content (aka, sex). Plus, why would I not want to know what goes on between two (or three!) sexy characters? ;)
What can you tell us about the rest of the series?
The other Sleepy Hollow book, Whiskey Dreams, tells the story of how Brom and John (both Revolutionary War veterans), originally fell in love – by the time Haunted Passions happens, they’ve already been in a relationship for several months. As you can imagine, it was not easy for two men to be together at that period in history. Whiskey Dreams is also currently free at major ebook retailers such as Amazon, the Apple ibooks store, Smashwords, etc… So if you’re curious about the series, you can begin it risk-free. ;)
Where can readers purchase your book?
Haunted Passions and Whiskey Dreams are currently available from most major ebook retailers, including Amazon, Smashwords and the Apple ibooks store. And again, Whiskey Dreams is free at all those places. Here are some links for Haunted Passions:
Apple ibook Store
May we read an excerpt from the book and can you provide it here?
Of course. Here’s the very beginning of Haunted Passions – as is probably made evident by the opening, it’s an emotionally-charged read:
John had never thought that his heart could be ripped out by just a few simple words, and yet, that was exactly how he felt. “We’ll be announcing our engagement tonight…” Brom’s voice echoed in his memory. “I wanted to let you know myself.”
“God damn you, Brom,” John said, wiping dampness from his forehead with his sleeve. The curse was a distraction, a failed manifestation of some emotion he didn’t know how to express – he didn’t really mean it. A part of him broiled with anger, but it was a small part; mostly, he felt dreadfully sick. He pressed a hand to his stomach, conscious of the leaden weight that had settled there when Brom had laid his hand on his shoulder, just before he’d delivered the news.
John had known that something was wrong as soon as Brom had touched him. Brom’s touch had been tense, his hand stiff and awkward as it closed ineffectually on John’s shoulder. Brom Bones had never touched anyone like that before, and likely never would again. He was a man who always knew what he wanted, a man who laid hands on a body with confidence, already sure of what he intended to do. John knew that, perhaps better than anyone. But Brom’s hand had nearly slipped off of John’s shoulder as he’d told him of his engagement to Katrina. “God damn you…” John rasped, his stomach contracting around its burden as he touched his shoulder, seeking some trace of heat, some proof that Brom’s fingers had really rested there so recently.
There was none. Only the rough fabric of his coat and the autumn chill that hung in the air and had worked its way into every stitch of his clothing, every fiber of his being. He felt as if he were already dead. Soon, he would be.
He drew a pistol from beneath his coat, caressing the barrel. There was promise in every inch of the cold steel – the promise of oblivion. It called to him, the temptation carried on the biting night breeze. He glanced over his shoulder, promising himself that it would be for the last time. His heart jolted and sped at the sight of the large farmhouse looming in the distance, its windows glowing with candlelight. The spry, shadowy forms of dancers darted back and forth behind the glass. Everyone was making merry, celebrating a good harvest, and perhaps Brom and Katrina’s engagement – had they announced it yet?
No. He wouldn’t dwell on it any longer – not the engagement, anyway. Brom and Katrina themselves, however, were different matters altogether. He turned resolutely, forcing himself to face the dark forest that stretched at the edge of the Van Tassel farmlands. Under any other circumstances, the sight of it at this time of night would have sent a chill down his spine. But what did it matter now? If there were wild beasts afoot, they could do no greater harm to him than his own hand, and if there were spirits lurking… Well, he was about to join them.
Squeezing his eyes shut, he committed his thoughts to Brom. The man’s face formed perfectly in front of his mind’s eye, complete with the oh-so-familiar strong jaw, dark eyes and even darker hair. It curled a bit at his temples and at the nape of his neck. And it felt like silk, slid easily between one’s fingers, like sweet spring grass after the rain… John inhaled, smelling not the autumn night, but the spring afternoon during which he’d first met Brom seven months ago. The memory was a double-edged sword, sweet and bitter at once. His entire body tingled, hot despite his thin clothing and the bitter wind. “Brom…” The man’s name was a whisper on his lips and was quickly swallowed up by a rushing breeze that tore several locks of his hair loose from their ribbon and whipped them across his face. They tickled his mouth, teasing, like the memory of Brom’s lips.
Katrina had lovely lips, as well. A mouth like a rosebud, in fact, and cheeks that were just as pink. He’d tasted those perfect lips just once, and had perhaps taken the experience too seriously. A wry bark of a laugh escaped him, and his thoughts spiraled rapidly toward the dark place inside him that Brom had opened up with his words. Struggling for control over his unruly emotions, he thought of Katrina’s eyes. Blue and sparkling, they were more brilliant than the brightest summer sky. Framed with golden ringlets, her face was just as perfect as Brom’s. Picturing them together was both the most beautiful and most excruciating thing he could imagine. Shoving the image from his mind, he thought finally of himself.
Though his eyes were still closed, he had no trouble seeing himself as he was: a slender figure against the dark wilderness, clad in threadbare clothes that whipped around him as a particularly violent gust of wind howled by, causing the hair on the back of his neck to stand up. He was young, and more than a little afraid of death, when he really thought about it. If anyone had been there with him, they probably would have been able to see that, would have been able to read his face like a book. But he was alone, and morbidly aware of that fact. Another vicious breeze tore his ribbon loose and carried it away. His hair flew with it, each strand stinging his face. He relished the petty pain for what little distraction it provided from his greater suffering.
The wind stilled, leaving him alone with the knowledge of all his inadequacies. He hadn’t decided to take his own life because he was angry with Brom or Katrina. In all honesty, he wished them well. He was going to end his existence because he wasn’t worthy of a man like Brom, or a woman like Katrina. When he’d found out that his chances – however flimsy they’d been in the first place – of ever having lasting happiness with either of them were nonexistent, he’d realized that they were all he really cared about. At some point since he’d arrived in Sleepy Hollow, his world had shifted on its axis and begun to revolve around Brom and Katrina, his two secret loves. And now his world was over. Swallowing the last of his inhibitions, he pressed the barrel of the gun firmly to the side of his head. “Christ – Brom, Katrina… I love you both, but neither of you will ever belong to me, and it’s more than I can bear.”
His heart beat hard and fast, his pulse thrumming in his ears so that he almost didn’t hear the faint sound of hoofbeats coming from somewhere in the distance. Was someone riding through the wood, about to discover him? He didn’t have time to wonder who it might be – not if he was going to pull this off before being seen and losing his nerve. He squeezed the trigger and something rushed unseen out of the darkness and gripped his arm so hard he thought the bones would snap.
The explosive boom of the discharging pistol threw him off balance, and he fell, ears ringing. All the breath was knocked out of him when he hit the ground, and the earth seemed to sway and pitch beneath him, like a ship on a storm-tossed sea. The pressure was still there on his arm – could it be the angel of death?
“God damn it, John!” A deep voice growled from above, shockingly familiar. “What do you think you’re doing?”
It never occurred to John to answer. Instead, he lay flat on his back, staring up at the huge figure looming against the night sky. A clunk rang out loud and clear as Brom threw the pistol, and it bounced off of a tree, falling uselessly to the ground.
As a little breath worked its way back into John’s lungs, it became clear that he hadn’t, in fact, succeeded in shooting himself. The knowledge that he’d failed in even that simple endeavor was infuriating. He ground his teeth as Brom crouched over him, leering.
Brom’s breath buffeted John’s face in hot blasts that cut straight through the cold air.
“You look like a madman,” John said, meeting Brom’s narrowed eyes.
Brom snorted and seized John by his arms, jerking him into a sitting position. “You have a lot of nerve, saying that to me.”
John could feel his flesh bruising beneath Brom’s grip, but he said nothing. He couldn’t speak – there seemed to be a blockage of some sort in his throat. He wanted to shout at Brom, to tell him that he had a lot of fucking nerve, interfering like that. But he couldn’t, so he just breathed, letting the cold air chill his insides, which had rapidly begun to heat as soon as he’d heard Brom’s voice.
“John!” The third voice was something like the sound of a bell, and it cut through John’s heart, stopping it as effectively as a bullet.
Where can your readers connect with you on the web?
My website, where you can find anything and everything about all of my books, including excerpts, is: www.ranaerose.com or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest!