Tag Archive | Crimson Romance

Angela Smith and “Fatal Snag”

Interview With Angela Smith

Susana: What inspired you to start writing?

Angela: Mostly, the fact I felt I was going to go crazy if I didn’t write. Too many voices in my head wouldn’t leave me alone. I checked out a ‘how-to-write’ novel in high school and saw my mom’s name on the checkout card (when checkout cards existed and nothing was digital). That was close after her death and later I learned she’d wanted to write. Made me realize I can’t put off my dream. I had a lot of inspiration as a child: an aunt who wrote poetry who helped inspire me, a grandmother who wanted to write, and lots of people to swap books to read. Reading books made me want to write even more.

Susana: How long have you been writing?

Angela: For most of my life, although I have been writing seriously for about thirteen years.

Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Angela(2)Angela: Don’t ever ever give up. Don’t doubt yourself. Never stop learning. And don’t always listen to the advice, i.e. like only writing what will sell. Write what it is in your heart because if you don’t love it, you can’t expect anyone else to love it.

Susana: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Angela: Yes. Usually, I’ll start reading a lot or go back over my scenes in editing mode and determine why I got the block. I usually only get writer’s block when I’m writing something my character doesn’t want me to write and I’m not letting them tell their story the way they want to. Or when I don’t really feel like writing but force myself to write. Sometimes I recognize I do need breaks, as long as I don’t take too many and too long.

Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Angela: The characters usually come first, although I will occasionally have a niggling of a plot idea. It’s a tiny idea that I can plant but that won’t grow until my characters are created.

Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Angela: I’m both, but it depends on the story. I’ll usually try to plot a bit before a story, and then pant my way through it until I stop and plot a bit more. Some stories get more plotting than others, and some I am more a pantser.

Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Angela: The hero, Chayton Chambers, discovers he has a half-sister. This creates some emotional conflict for him on many levels as he works through some issues with his past.

Susana: Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?

Angela: I’m finishing up my 3rd book in this particular (stand-alone) series and have started a new story that is kind of on the backburner at the moment while I finish this one.

Susana: What are you reading now?

Angela: I’m reading some books I received for review that have to do with marketing for authors. I just finished reading Divergent, but sadly I haven’t made much time for reading with all my edits going on.

Susana: What author or authors have most influenced your writing?

Angela: Several longtime romantic suspense authors who have been writing for years and I’ve read mostly everything they’ve written, including Sandra Brown, Karen Robards, and Lisa Gardner. I admire them for sticking around and continuing to publish well-written novels, and I have tried to learn from reading their work and many others.

Susana: What is your work schedule like when writing?

Angela: I work full time, so unfortunately I have to write around my day job. I get up early and write but most of my writing is done in the evenings.

Susana: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Angela: A published author.

Susana: What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Angela: Favorite food, huh? That’s a hard one. Since coffee isn’t a food, I’d probably choose avocado. I love avocado. Strangely enough, about 5 years ago I hated avocado! Or salad! I could almost eat salad at every meal. My least favorite would have to be liver. Yuck.

Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Angela: I published two romantic suspense novels about seven years ago under a pseudonym, but I gave writing up for a bit and the rights were reverted back to me. I let my career get in the way for way too long, but I hope to republish them soon.

Susana: Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?
Sandra Brown. Her stories are awesome and I love how she creates these perfect imperfect characters. She’s such a nice, charming and talented person. I love how she writes one book a year (well as I writer I love it, as I reader I always wish there was more) and I look forward to every summer when I know her new release will be out.

Susana: What would we find under your bed?

Angela: A plastic container full of cards I’ve saved, two suitcases, a shotgun, and a container full of lingerie.

Susana: If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming project, where would you mostly likely want to go? Why?

Angela: I’ve always wanted to visit a true Irish pub. Most of the other places I’d want to go, I’d just take a road trip because I hate to fly. I’d rather travel 24 hours in a car than get on a plane.

Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Angela: I love Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Susana: Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, would you consider straying outside your genre?

Angela: I have dallied in inspirational and YA, and maybe one day I will consider pursuing those. But for now, I stick with romantic suspense.

Susana: What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

Angela: I’d like to re-publish the two stories I had published years ago, and I’d like to be on a bestseller list.

Susana: When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer

Angela: When I was 18 years old, I sat down and wrote a novel, submitted it to Harlequin and a few other people (it wasn’t near as easy to submit back then as it is now), but I gave up after a while. It was years later, between 2001-2002 when my husband and I were catching up on episodes of Smallville and I loved the romantic entanglements between those characters that I realized it was time for me to stop fighting and ignoring these voices in my head. It took another five years to complete and get published, and then like a fool I gave it up again. Needless to say, I have learned and grown so much and will never give it up again. Even working full time (at the same job!) I know now I will not let that stop me.

Susana: Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?

Angela: My call came via email, so I was sitting down at my computer to check email when I got the offer. My husband was the first to hear the good news.

Susana: Who gave you the writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

Angela: My aunt Billie, who isn’t a writer, told me to write and not give up on my dream and do not let what others might say or do stop me. I used to have a really hard time with that in my younger days. Not because I was afraid of what someone thought of me, but because of my career.

Susana: Describe the “perfect hero.” What about the “perfect hero” for you?

Angela: My husband is the perfect hero for me, of course, for many reasons. That being said, I’ll never forget the movie with Jason Statham (although I have forgotten the title) where he is running after a bad guy and this bad guy is being violent, pushing people down, etc, and Jason Statham grabs a woman before she falls, gently sets her on her feet, and continues his pursuit. I always thought that was so cool and it made me think of the characters I write. A man who will help someone, even if it does prevent him from getting to his goal. There are a lot of traits to heroes that isn’t just like what the world has made us believe. A hero doesn’t have to save the world. Small, everyday occurrences can make a hero out of someone.

Susana: What are favorite pastimes?

Angela: I have a lot of hobbies, including playing drums, gardening, hen-keeping, crafts, and just being outside. We love to travel and see new things, do wine tours, and Jeeping in the mountains. I’m not what you’d call an adventurer, (i.e. I wouldn’t sky-dive) but I do love do new things and visit new places.

Susana: What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Angela: My big adventures are on a smaller scale than most big adventures, especially my character’s adventures. I’d say climbing Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica or Jeeping in Moab were my biggest adventures to date.

Susana: What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?

Angela: Keurig Coffee. Although I do love the taste of campfire coffee, it takes too long to brew, and I love the taste and convenience of my Keurig!

Susana: Describe the ideal romantic evening.

Fatal Snag CoverAngela: The ideal romantic evening usually consists of my husband and me staying in at home. He would do all the cooking! A nice dinner and glass of wine, followed by conversation and even some game playing (no, not that kind, although I wouldn’t count that out, LOL). I don’t need a lot of fancy romance. I’m more of a simple girl. Although ideally, a surprise with thousands of candles and the perfect atmosphere and my husband going out of his way to plan something crazy isn’t a bad thought.  Or a cozy cabin in the mountains with a fireplace and hot chocolate!

About Fatal Snag

Hollywood fashion consultant Naomi Fisher is happy to use her obsessive-compulsive planning to assist with her cousin’s wedding, but her history with the sexy and sullen Chayton Chambers, the groom’s brother, terrifies her. When the groom is kidnapped at his own wedding, Chayton and Naomi rush to find an important relic to satisfy the ransom before her cousin becomes a widow before a bride. Naomi trades garters for guns as survival, and love becomes a deadly game impossible to resist. 

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Excerpt

Surprise flashed through his brain, but he narrowed his eyes before it had a chance to erupt on his face. He edged closer. In her heels, her nose usually touched his chin, but now the top of her head came under his chin. Her breath curled around his cheek, exerting an agitated pull on his hormones that left him shaky and hesitant. He camouflaged that hesitation with cockiness and confidence.

She inched her nose higher. He leaned down to look at her, his face a fingerbreadth from hers. “Maybe that’s your problem,” he grumbled. “Maybe you can’t get over the fact that I never tried to kiss you.”

He closed in on her, pinning her against the wall as he settled his hands on the wall near her head. She couldn’t move with him so near and he made a point to trap her.

He remained that way for several seconds, staring into blue eyes of defiance as they breathed in each other’s breath. His pulse hinged precariously close to plunging overboard and disrupting his steady poise, but for now he held on.

Then he kissed her. Hard. Briefly. Fervidly. Heat traversed from his toes, agitating his shaky thighs and roosting in his loins only to explode behind his eyes.

She deepened the kiss, a slight brush of her tongue against his. He held on another brief moment then dropped his hands and backed away before his point became futile. Swiping a hand across his mouth, he pinned her with a hard gaze. “Is that better?”

“I’m not here to ask your forgiveness.”

About the Author

During her senior year in high school, Angela Smith was dubbed most likely to write a novel, and that has been her dream ever since her mother read Brer Rabbit to her and her sister so often that they were able to recite it back to each other before actually learning to read. She’s always enjoyed stories about the adventure of love, and getting involved in the legal field developed her love of suspense. A certified paralegal, work gives her perfect fodder for her romantic suspense stories. When not caring for her small farm or spending time with her husband of two decades, she enjoys creating, reading, and dreaming of the places she’ll visit one day.

Angela Smith LOVES talking to readers. Here’s how you can contact her:

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Andrea Cooper: “The Garnet Dagger” and “Viking Fire”

Since The Garnet Dagger is written from Brock’s point of view, we have Celeste here today to answer a few questions that readers might not know.

Andrea: What did you think of Brock when you first saw him?

Celeste: Magical. He took my breath away. I felt compassion for him, which is why I healed him as soon as Father Morgan left. I could not leave him in pain and in such a weakened state. His dark hair hid his face, but I knew he wasn’t human—I healed him anyway even though at the time I didn’t know what darkness clouded his green eyes. I could have taken the dagger and left him there, but I felt such kindness for him that I couldn’t leave him to the whims of Father Morgan. His sarcasm, even while being tortured, made me feel proud even though I didn’t know him. I’d seen too many cower and whimper over the years that his words were refreshing.

garnetAndrea: Why didn’t you give the garnet dagger back to Brock?

Celeste: Well, he gave it to me. First, he didn’t say I couldn’t keep it. (She dusts off imaginary lint from her shirt, then looks up), Besides it belonged to me. Sort of.  It’s hard to explain, but it was as if someone broke off a piece of my soul and fused it into the dagger. I also knew in anyone else’s hands, it would bring ruin. In Brock’s it would either cause him to leave me or if he used it against me it would destroy him. If the Warloc took it, he would bring his reign of evil. Later, I offered to give it back, but Brock said I could keep it.

Andrea: Some say you have Brock wrapped around your finger.

Celeste: What? That’s insane. If that were true, he would have listened when I told him not to kill the Bergone. That would have saved us a lot of trouble. I also told him to leave once he confessed about what he thought the garnet dagger was for, yet he hung around and then followed me.

Andrea: When did you know Brock was the one?

Celeste: I knew before he did—or rather before he could admit it to himself.

Andrea: What did you do after you left Brock in the woods?

Celeste: Despite what happened to my aunt, I needed to see for myself if she was still alive or not. No doubt my aunt’s magic had blasted not only the Bergone, but herself and home as well. I had to be sure. I was careful in case the Warloc had laid a trap back there, but it was as I feared, she was dead.

I journeyed to a nearby village of my aunt’s friend and fellow witch. She wasn’t as experienced as my aunt, but I had no one left. The Warloc had killed everyone I was close to. For weeks I mourned my aunt and tried to forget about Brock. Then I studied her magic and practiced for the battle to come. I journeyed to the Warloc’s lands two days before Nivel and Brock arrived.

Andrea: What is your greatest regret?

Celeste: Sigh, there are too many. I guess it would be not telling Brock what I felt when I touched the dagger. Maybe he would have listened and still come up with the same conclusion that he did, maybe not. But I was too new at trusting others to take that chance at the time.

Andrea: What is a misconception readers may have of you?

Celeste: That I know all the answers. I don’t. Sometimes I just wing it and hope for the best. My instinct usually leads me on the right path. It’s only when I second guess that soft voice inside me that things go wrong.

Celeste: That I’m not kind. I am. It’s just whenever you’ve gone through years watching your kindness used as a weapon against so many innocent people for years, you learn to guard your feelings from others. I hope that by my actions; even if they are not understood at the time, show my intentions. I have only done what I have done to save mankind and Brock—even from themselves.

Andrea: What would be a romantic evening with you and Brock?

Celeste: That we would be able to make love all night, he doesn’t need sleep you know, and cuddle as we watched the sunrise. We wouldn’t have to go anywhere or have anyone, like Nivel, with us. We would be alone for an entire day. I get so tired of traveling and fighting the villain. I just want a night off with my love. To smell his musky pine scent and feel his hands on my body and kiss his full lips. To explore every inch of him with my hands and my lips. Taste him with my tongue and mouth.

Which reminds me…are we done here?

Andrea nods and Celeste leaves the room. Closing the door, she leaps into Brock’s arms and gives him a big kiss.

Interview With Andrea Cooper

authorWhat inspired you to start writing?

I wrote poems when I was fourteen until my senior year of high school. For novels, ironically, it was reading a historical romance that wasn’t logical in my opinion. The hero, a Viking, for no reason I could fathom just gave up his beliefs for the heroine. I thought I could write a better story, so I tried. However, I’ve always been a story-teller.  Earliest memory I have was in first grade, I was the kid my friends came to at recess and asked what we were going to play – or rather what plot and characters we were going to act out.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing novels since my late twenties. Of course this was when I had a full-time job and a child so condensed down, it probably equals five years total writing time. But I’ve been making up stories and characters longer than I can remember.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Read. Read the authors you love, read authors you hate – but understand why. Read writing manuals, take classes, join a critique group. Most importantly, if you have passion for writing do not let anyone discourage you—just keep trying. If you are a real writer, then you’ll write regardless if you are published are not because you can do nothing else.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last three years, I don’t suffer from writer’s block; I suffer from lack of time and sleep. The only time I’ve writer’s block is when I have to write nonfiction then I’d rather do anything else 😉

What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Depends on the story.  For Viking Fire, my historical romance, it was the plot. What would happen if a feisty highborn Irish lass was forced to marry her enemy—a Viking? For The Garnet Dagger it was the character. Everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human…but what if the victim is Elvin?

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mostly a pantser. First I come up with an idea, character, or a situation. Then I brainstorm and start thinking ‘What If’ questions. I do not plot per se, I have a general idea of where the story is going to go, and sometimes the ending will change slightly. I enjoy it when characters take over and guide me. However, if they get us lost, I pull out the dreaded outline and map out where we’ve been and where we’re going. Hopefully since there are surprises for me that come up when I write, it will be a surprise for the reader as well.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Elva in Viking Fire starts off as only the handmaid in the story, or she was when I first started writing this novel. As her character unfolded as she tries to help Kaireen and Bram, so too did it unfold when I was writing. I had no idea of her secret (despite hints she gave me) until she let lose her hair – literally.

Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?

I am working on revisions of the second book in The Garnet Dagger trilogy. Another historical romance set during 16th Century Japan, and two Viking romances one which I need to finish and the other edit.

What are you reading now?

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward. I’ve never heard of her until recently on Goodreads so I wanted to see what everyone’s excitement was about. It took forever to get this book from the library.

What author or authors have most influenced your writing?

There are many, but I’ll name just a few: Terry Goodkind, Anne Bishop, Julie Garwood, Yasmine Galenorn, Kim Harrison, PC Cast, and Christine Feehan.

What is your work schedule like when writing?

I have a four year old and a nine month old, so my writing schedule is when the baby is sleeping and the other one is engrossed in playing—or after they’ve both gone to sleep.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Despite always making up stories and characters, I wanted to be a teacher. However, I think my belief was it would be a perfect class of kids who would love to learn and listen…and that’s not reality. I’m happy with my life now and am ecstatic about being a published author.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Mexican is my favorite food—or rather TexMex. I love spicy foods and cheese.  And chocolate, got have that in there too. Least favorite? Catfish or Tilapia—I like any other fish out there except those two.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

That I am one of those writers who had a drawer full of novels before I published my first one. I have eight completed novels, two have been published, and five others in various stages.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?

There are many, but if I had to pick one, it would be Terry Goodkind. I fell in love with his Sword of Truth series and it inspired me to try my hand at writing a fantasy story, which became a paranormal romance, The Garnet Dagger and my first published novel.

What would we find under your bed?

Hopefully nothing. I banished the boogie man to the closet years ago, that’s why I always sleep with it closed 😉 It’s also good feng shui to have nothing under your bed, so it doesn’t hurt to follow that advice J

If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming project, where would you mostly likely want to go? Why?

Scotland. My ancestry on my mother’s side is Scottish. I would love to touch the old stones that make up the McLaughlin castle ruins and know my ancestors once lived there. It’s also a quick ride from there to England, Wales, Ireland, and France—so it would be like several trips at one time 😉

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Yes, I love Robert Frost’s quote: “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader; no tears for the writer, no tears for the reader.” To me it means letting the characters come to life rather than playing dictator.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, would you consider straying outside your genre?

Currently, I write in paranormal (with a historical setting) and historical romance. I’ve tried to write a contemporary novel, but I don’t enjoy reading those much. It’s difficult to do, in my opinion, because things can become dated very quickly. I’ve thought about writing YA as that is one of the genre’s I do enjoy reading besides historical, paranormal, and fantasy.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I would like to write more and have three books published next year. Thankfully I already have them written, but am chipping away at edits.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

After I read a historical novel, that wasn’t logical to me, I thought I could write a better story. However, it wasn’t until after I wrote my second historical novel that I knew I wanted to be a writer. I’ve always been a storyteller and have made up characters and plot since early childhood and have never stopped.

Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?

I was at home with my three year old and one month old when I got “the call.” I was so excited that I didn’t believe it at first. My husband was the first one I told.

Who gave you the writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

The best writing advice I received was from an Elementary teacher. She said to read the last sentence on the last page of your writing first. Then read the sentence before that and so on. It’s hard to do, but excellent for editing.

Describe the “perfect hero.” What about the “perfect hero” for you?

The perfect hero is compassionate without being wimpy, intelligent without being cruel, brave without being reckless, and passionate without being compromising. It’s hard to find that balance.

The perfect hero for me is my husband. Especially when he watches the kids and cooks breakfast while letting me snooze on the weekend.

What are favorite pastimes?

Besides writing? I love to read. I don’t have nearly as much time as I would like. I also used to play video games (hack & slash, dungeon crawlers)…in fact I have the latest Diablo on my computer but with two kids under the age of four, I haven’t played in months.

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Having my daughter. Even though I had two boys before her, she has been completely different from them.

What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?

Though I love my dishwasher and microwave, I’d have to say my laptop. If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be  able to write or check all the social media out there and would lose my mind much sooner than anything else.

Describe the ideal romantic evening.

Both kids in bed by 8pm and a babysitter at the house while my husband and I go have dinner and watch a movie. I know it’s not romantic to some, but if you have kids, you know it’s amazing to be able to chew your food and have a conversation and then just to snuggle with your honey while watching a good movie without someone calling “mom is the sun awake or asleep?”

About The Garnet Dagger

Everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human…but what if the victim is Elvin?

Forbidden to cross the Elvin barrier into human lands, Brock cannot sate his curiosity. Cursed by a vampyre bite that forces him to feed on the life-essence of others, he is unable to touch another without taking their life. Chained by prophesy, he must find a witch, pierce her heart, and draw her blood for his cure.

Celeste must escape the monks who have held her prisoner for years. Her magic has been kept dormant by her captors. An ancient powerful Warloc craves her powers. If he succeeds in devouring her magic, she and his world will die.

When Brock falls in love with Celeste before realizing her demise is his cure, will love triumph over his desire to be healed? Will he risk everything to save her from a Warloc, an oath breaker, who also wants her dead?

The Garnet Dagger Excerpt

I’ve known death. For over half a millennia, I escorted many to death at the end of my sword. In the eyes of the dying, I watched it shroud them. Foolishly, I thought many more eras would pass before death came for me. It came so swiftly that I could not run; I could not escape. At a village, dressed in human clothes, I took in everything. By observing for eons, I understood and spoke their language. The world of mankind fascinated me. Their hobbled homes burrowed into the ground.

Rocks crunched on top one another with thatched roofs woven from straw. Never had I seen a home or inn that was higher than three levels, as if they were afraid of the sky. I delayed my return to my people as I watched human jugglers bounce torches and knifes. It was autumn equinox and the festivities would continue well into the night. Children laughed as they chased each other. A trail of leaves from their costumes twirled after them. It was dark when I reached the forest. Since I was already late, I hiked uphill to a shortcut rather than take the long path back home. I didn’t need to alert any of my kind near the barrier at this hour. Liana would wonder why I was late.

Tonight was the two month anniversary of our hand twining ceremony. One more month as was custom, and then we’d be wed. A gasp rustled through the trees. The roots shot a warning through to me with stifled caution. Adjusting my pack, I continued on instead of changing back into my Elvin clothes. After I passed the border which kept humans from entering our land, then I’d change. In the distance, I heard a groan. Curious, I spun in the direction of the sound. The autumn wind breezed through my worn human clothes, chilling me. But someone needed help. I turned in the direction of the sounds. Whatever made the noise should be a few yards ahead.

I hiked slower than my normal speed, so as not to startle whatever human called out. My leather boots crunched upon dried, diseased leaves and bark. Horrified, I glanced up. Branches twisted around each other to suffocating. Lifeless limbs cracked in the wind. Flesh of the trees sloughed off in layers, exposing its bones. Gashes hollowed out chunks of warmth. Fragments of leaves clung to finger tips, marking sepulchers of the dying trees. Trees mourned with wails like splitting wood, and I brought my hands over my ears. I must flee before I became infected, they told me. Flee before the stain of this defilement creeps into you, they warned. Trees spoke to my kind, always had. Yet these trees were in such agony of death that I could not breathe. Felt as though my lungs had folded in on themselves, like a moth unable to break loose from its cocoon.

Nothing I could do for them, and if I lingered too long, whatever disease gnawed upon them may choke me. Where would I go if I carried something so foul as to devour trees from the inside out? I’d never return to Tamlon if I brought this infection with me. I drew away, but a movement at the base of a decaying tree to my right caught me. My night vision picked up the sight of a human. His sallow face seemed to glow in the moonlight. Poking out from rags lay his arms and legs, which resembled skin stretched over sticks. So cadaverous was his face, I’d have thought him dead if he hadn’t moved.

“Please,” he said and his voice sounded like cicada’s vibrations, “help me.”

“What ails you in this troubled place?” I wondered if my voice, foreign to my ears in speaking the human’s language, revealed my nature.

“I am lost.” His dark eyes crinkled around the corners. “Without strength to rise. If you would but assist me up, I’ll be on my way.”

I’d never touched a human on purpose before. Was it that that gave me pause, or dread that stilled my heart? My feet itched to flee. As soon as I helped him, then I’d leave. I gritted my teeth and reached a hand down.

His gnarled fingers snapped on my arm, making me wince. Jerking me forward, his face contorted. Surprised by his strength, I fell beside him. Blackness curled around me. Teeth, fangs, broke through the skin on my neck. Then I knew him for what he was, a vampyre.

The Garnet Dagger Book Trailer  http://youtu.be/ISi0u9LoseM

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About Viking Fire

In 856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

Viking Fire Excerpt

Viking_fireIreland 856 CE

“I renounce Father for this.” Kaireen threw the elderberry gown. Dressed only in her leine, she glared at the new gown on the stone floor.

“Shame on you and your children for speaking such.” Her handmaid, Elva, gathered the damask and then dusted off the rushes. “It’s a wonder one of the clim has not scolded you from your hearth for such talk.” She wore her white hair twisted in a chignon, underneath a linen head cloth. Strands of white hair poked out the sides of her covering.

“No, curse Father for a fool.” She plopped on her bed and a goose feather floated away. With a huff, she leaned against the oak headboard. Red curtains puffed like a robin’s chest around oak poles supporting her wooden canopy.

Her bare feet brushed against the stone floor. Why was she not born plain like her two older sisters? Already they had married and expected their second bairns by spring. Well, at least so far she had enjoyed twenty years of freedom. Neither of her sisters had had matrimonial dreams of love matches. Both were arranged marriages.

“You know your da arranged a marriage within a season.” Elva smirked.

Kaireen shook her head. “To another land holder,” and waved a hand in disgust, “not t-this heathen. Twice they raided our land in the last month alone. Many a raid has come from them. Now father wants me as wife to one of them?” She clenched her fists. “No, I will not marry this Viking.”

Elva smiled, reminding Kaireen of the rumors of her handmaid’s uncanny foresight.

Whispers of Elva making strange things happen and often blamed as the cause of Kaireen’s stubborn refusal to behave as a laird’s daughter should.

“You’ve not seen him yet.” Elva wiggled her brows.

“So?” Kaireen shrugged. “I would like to never see him.”

“Well then, would you not like to know if you have a handsome husband or not?” She waited for her response, but Kaireen scowled at her. Elva chuckled. “I would rather get a good look at him now than the morning after.

Kaireen’s ears heated. “I am not marrying.” She shook her head for emphasis. “So there will be no morning, nor night, nor wedding.”

“If he is handsome, I may fight you for him.” Elva smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes.

“Welcome to him either way.” Kaireen laughed.

Viking Fire Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/bpk2ZMGwJik

Crimson Romance ebooks | Amazon | B&N |Google Books

About the Author

Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn’t until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.

What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).

Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.

She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndreaRCooper.author

Twitter: @AndreaRCooper

Website: www.AndreaRCooper.com

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18104475-viking-fire

 

“Passionfruit & Poetry” by Téa Cooper

Author Photo_TéaCooper_smallThanks for hosting me today Susana.

Everyone always asks where did you get the inspiration for your story. Sometimes that can be very hard to answer – a dream, an idea, an overheard conversation, a million snippets from you-can’t-remember-where

Passionfruit & Poetry is one of those stories where the answer is really easy but it has a bit of backstory so I thought I’d share!

I live just outside a tiny little village called Wollombi. I like to say it is a time-warp village. Nothing much has changed since the early nineteenth century and it is unashamedly the inspiration for my historical romances. However living in such a delightful place does have its disadvantages and one of them is shopping. You can get a great cappuccino, have a fantastic Italian meal, buy a newspaper and a bottle of milk but the ordinary everyday necessities of life are a bit harder to come by and require a 30km (twenty miles about) drive to the nearest supermarket. It’s not my favourite occupation so I have to be bribed.

Cessnock, the local ‘town’ has a great cake shop and my bribe, after I’ve hit the supermarket, is a ‘treat’ and a coffee. They make the most excellent cakes and pies and other naughtinesses. That is inspiration point number one.

Inspiration point number two is my passion for old black and white movies and I freely admit there is nothing even remotely original about my choice. Casablanca rates right up there, probably in first, second and even third place. I think I can probably quote the entire script.

If you add Rick’s line “of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world she walks into mine,” to the cake shop in Cessnock you can actually come up with the plot behind Passionfruit & Poetry.

So, with apologies to Murray Bennett and Joan Allison, who wrote the original play Everyone Comes to Rick’s on which the film is based, the blurb for Passionfruit & Poetry ought to read… “Of all the milk bars, in all the country towns, in all of Australia he walked into hers.”

And there you have it!

Inspiration strikes at the strangest time and in the strangest places.

About Passionfruit & Poetry

PassionfruitandPoetry_TeaCooper_200x300When Xander Fitzgerald, darling photographer of the Sydney fashion scene, takes a shot of Jeanie Baker his ISO settings hit red alert and no one’s life is ever the same again.

Jeanie believes she is content–a small town girl happy running the Café Cinématique with her grandmother but with Xander’s arrival her life takes an unexpected turn and she finds herself unwillingly thrown into the limelight.

For a girl with few ambitions Jeanie’s new life is at once both terrifying and strangely liberating and in Xander’s company she blossoms into a woman she hardly recognizes. But the sophisticated life of Sydney is full of smoke and mirrors and when her past comes back to haunt her all she wants is to head home, back to passionfruit pie and her grandmother’s warm hug.

Xander discovers he can’t have his cake and eat it too. He has to make some serious decisions but is he prepared to give away everything he has worked for to win the woman he first glimpsed through the lens of his camera?

Amazon

Excerpt

Copyright 2013, Téa Cooper

All rights reserved, Crimson Romance.

With a steadying breath, Jeanie walked up, hand outstretched and a tight smile plastered on her face. “Good morning, Mr. Fitzgerald.”

He turned and a gasp of surprise froze in her throat. Colored contacts. It had to be—his eyes were exactly the same navy as his shirt. Definitely contacts. Somehow her hand ended up in his—she glanced down at it and something jumped inside her, then she jerked her hand back as he started to speak.

“Good morning, you must be Jeanie. Your grandmother was just telling me about the lovely little business she’s been running here for longer than I can believe.”

Forcing her lips back into a smile Jeanie studied the navy-eyed smooth talker, trying to ignore the coy titters emanating from the direction of her grandmother. On closer inspection he wasn’t as young as she’d thought, which was probably why Gran was making such a fool of herself. Once a man turned thirty, he was fair game in Gran’s book—any younger and she deemed it cradle snatching.

Fine lines radiated out from the corners of his eyes and the non-designer stubble on his chin gave him an almost negligent air, as though he’d been in a bit of a hurry to leave the house, and the creased linen shirt only added to it.

She cleared her throat and beat down the flush on her cheeks. “We don’t get many complaints. Gran’s the talented one. I just make the coffee and clear the tables.”

His vivid gaze roamed backward and forward across her face and a shot of something as potent as the brandy Gran put in her Christmas cakes raced through her. Her toes tingled. She lifted her hand to her face and brushed her hair away from her forehead. Perhaps they’d need the fans on with all these extra people around. It was very warm in the café.

“Have we met before?” he asked.

Susana Says: So much more than a Cinderella story…5/5 stars

Jeanie and her grandmother Norma are barely managing to eke out a living from the café they run in a rural Australian village. It’s not much, but they have each other, and Jeanie feels safe and secure, out of the limelight.

SusanaSays3Until a famous photographer comes to town for a photography shoot…and suddenly Jeanie’s spirited away to the bright lights of Sydney, where she discovers depths she never knew she possessed. The new Jeanie emerges from her cocoon as a beautiful, desirable butterfly, and slowly but surely the fears of the past disappear with the ugly trappings of her former prison.

Inspired by Marilyn Monroe and Ms. Cooper’s passion for old movies, this is the story of a lovely young woman whose size-fourteen curves and unpleasant childhood memories have given her a feeling of unworthiness and a compulsion to huddle in the background so as not to call attention to herself. Xander is the photographer who manages to free her from her prison, but could he be playing some cruel game with her? Will Jeanie have the courage to face her fears and risk everything to win the love of her life?

Any book that has me laughing or crying all the way through it is bound to be a winner. With Passionfruit & Poetry it was tears, although they became happy tears as the book came to an end. This story will resonate with any reader who knows what it’s like to go through school chubbier than the other kids her age.

I loved the characters of Jeanie and her eccentric grandmother, and Xander, from what I knew of him, was a very special man as well. I only wish I knew more about Xander’s life and what made him such a perceptive, honorable, and worthy hero. Most of all, however, I wonder if there are any more around where he came from. (Seems to me there are too many guys around like Billy Westward, unfortunately.)

Passionfruit & Poetry is Ms. Cooper’s fourth romance novel, with a fifth, a historical, due in July. Based on this one and Tree Change, which I read earlier, I would not hesitate to designate her a great new talent on the romance horizon.

About the Author

Téa writes contemporary and historical romance featuring strong-minded women and irresistible Australian men.  She has written three contemporary Australia romances—Tree Change, The Protea Boys and Passionfruit & Poetry. Her love for old movies and all things ‘retro’ inspired Passionfruit & Poetry–and, in all honesty, the most disgustingly delicious passionfruit and lemon tarts made by her local patisserie.

To keep up with all of Téa’s news visit her website www.teacooperauthor.com where you will find links to her blog and social media pages.

Previous posts by Téa on Susana’s Morning Room:

Tree Change, a contemporary Australian romance

The Protea Boysa contemporary Australian romance

Lily’s Leapa historical romance set in Australia

Interview With Elke Feuer, Author of “For the Love of Jazz”

Today my guest is Elke Feuer, whose debut novel, For the Love of Jazz, was recently published by Crimson Romance. Welcome to Susana’s Parlour, Elke!

Elke Feuer - Author PhotoHi Susana! Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Never give up and don’t listen to naysayers who don’t believe in your dream.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I usually have one or more stories floating around in my head so I don’t have a problem with writer’s block. (Put away those rotten tomatoes.) What I do suffer from is story block, where I hit a roadblock in the story (plot holes, or characters who don’t want to talk). I deal with it by reviewing the synopsis, ask what if questions and/or do character interrogations. If those don’t work, I read a book and then come back to it.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

William and Lola, two ghosts in the story, try to help my main characters solve the mystery by taking over their bodies. They also ramp up the sexual tension between the h/h through their connections to each other.  I love these ghosts! They pushed their way into the story, but definitely made it better.

Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?

Yes, the title of my current WIP is Deadly Bloodlines and its book 1 in a 3 book series that’s set in Grand Cayman where I live. It’s about the daughter of a serial killer who returns home and is forced to confront secrets she kept hidden for twenty years when a copycat killer immerges.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading two books at the moment. Enchanted by Nikki Jefford and Delirious by Lauren Oliver.  Both YA novels.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

I have a sarcastic sense of humor that I don’t let it out when I interact online. It jumps out and bites you when we’re face to face. J

Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?

Yes, Nora Roberts. I admire her drive and sustainability. I’m striving for everything she’s accomplished: bestselling books, setting up writing charities, and having my books turned into movies, just to name a few.  I have a ribbon I wear to conferences that says “Move over Nora”.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

“Writers write.” Simple, but so important.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, would you consider straying outside your genre?

I starting writing contemporary, historical romance, and time travel novels, and recently branched into romantic suspense. My latest novel is bordering on a thriller. I never say never when it comes to genres as all types of story ideas jump into my head (along with characters) and I feel it’s my duty to tell them and not be limited by something as trivial as genre.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

Oh, there’s so many, but my main one is to self-publish a writing help book that’s bubbling in the back of my brain. Grand Cayman has a large writing community, however there’s very little connectivity. I’d love to organize events where writers can connect with each other and help budding writers, and published authors can connect with the community. It’s small, but very supportive.

Who gave you the writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

Kelly L. Stone who said in her book Time To Write “If something is important to you, you make time for it.” It reminds me that I have to work my schedule around writing and not the other way around.

Book Cover - FTLOJAbout For the Love of Jazz

Restoration architect Josie Fagan takes on a project with lawyer and senator’s son, Patrick Pullman. It’s the perfect match. She needs his endorsement to save her business and he wants to restore his ancestral Chicago home. Love wasn’t part of her plan. Neither was being asked to stay at his home, haunted by ghosts, or discovering she has a claim to his home—which she adores. When she finds out his family may be responsible for her aunt’s disappearance fifty years ago, it’s a race to unearth the truth before she loses not only her business and her heart, but her life.

Patrick can’t deny his attraction to Josie and is willing to take a chance on love since his broken engagement a year earlier. Things become complicated when he learns of their family connection and her claim to the home he loves. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, or that his family is involved in her aunt’s disappearance, so insists they work together. But, when he starts seeing his uncle’s ghost, and threats are made on her life, he’s forced to confront the possibility his family could be responsible.

Excerpt

CHICAGO 1959

Please meet me, it’s important! Lola pulls her knee length coat closer to her petite frame and suppresses the tickle of fear at the base of her spine. It’s late, but she can’t ignore her friend’s urgent request.

Cool night air rustling through the leaves is the only noise. Visitors to the park are gone, leaving behind dark empty walkways and overflowing garbage bins. Crunching leaves and strange noises in the black distant start her heart racing. This is a bad idea.

She sees her friend coming in the distance and smiles in welcome and relief. As they draw closer, there is no smile in return. Normally cool but inviting eyes shine with malice. Lola’s eyes widen in surprise when a gun is pointed at her. Before she can scream the sting and burning of flesh seize her as bullets from the outstretched gun enter her shoulder once, twice. She falls to her knees.

Her eyes fill with horror as reality sets in. “Why?”

Silent hate glares from behind the barrel of the gun and another bullet fires, this time hitting her leg.

“Help!” she screams. Her gaze shifts frantically down lonely sidewalks. No one is coming. It crushes her like the pain tearing her apart.

Another shot fires and hits her other leg and Lola knows she is meant to suffer first. She raises her hand in a frail attempt to stop the bullets. It doesn’t make a different. The gun fires again and blood pools around her and the icy ground beneath her fingertips.

Hot tears spill as she thinks of William. If she’d listened to her intuition, she could be spooned against him instead of dying in the dirt like an animal abandoned by its owner.

She doesn’t want to die and leave him or the happiness she’d found. She screams until her lungs burn with the sensation they’ll burst from the strain.

Anger boils the blood still running through her veins. She longs to take the gun and shoot back. Have them feel her pain. To feel the agony of regret: words left unspoken, unshared kisses and things left undone and fear of the unknown that lies in the darkness swirling in the distance, and the anguish of the unanswered question. Why?

She remembers the offered friendship, smiles and the laughter they shared. It was all a lie! Heartache crushes her, dulling the pain of her physical wounds. “This isn’t over,” she vows, even as life begins to drain from her weak frame.

“You’re over,” he spat back at her.

Images of the moment she met William, their first kiss, and their lovemaking flickers like a movie before her closed eyes. She won’t share the rest of this life with him, bear his children, or grow old with him, but she takes comfort in knowing she’ll see him again, love him again and no one will take it away. She clings to the hope she can wait for William until they are together again. Yes, she will wait. Silent calm seeps in as her life slips away.

Contact Info

http://elkefeuer.com/

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Elke-Feuer/185367964831994

https://twitter.com/ElkeFeuer

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6550227.Elke_Feuer

Available at

Amazon.us

iBookstore

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

eBooks.com

About the Author

Elke lives in Grand Cayman with her husband and two kids. Reading, spending time with her family, traveling, and meeting people is her joy. Writing is her passion.

She stumbled into writing suspense, and to her surprise found she enjoyed it, along with writing about serial killers. Elke is fascinated by them, and what motivates them to kill. She writes time travel, historical, and contemporary novels to even out her dark side.

Guest Author: PM Kavanaugh

Today my I’m delighted to introduce my good friend and fellow MVRWA member, PM Kavanaugh, author of Die Run Hide, published by Crimson Romance. Welcome, PM!

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Susana.

While many people think “paranormal” means vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, fairies, or a combination thereof, the paranormal aspect of my novel, Die Run Hide, is that it is set in the future—2055, to be precise—and the only non-humans in it are droids and ‘bots (short for robots!)

I really liked the idea of writing a story that takes place in the “near future,” far enough from today to let my imagination run free in speculating what might be new and different from our present day world, but close enough to include familiar objects and foods and settings and physical traits. I didn’t want to have to invent an entirely new world, where everything my characters saw, tasted, smelled and spoke was unlike anything we know today. I made myself crazy enough over questions such as, “Will people still drink coffee in 2055?” (Yes! Whew!) “Will T-shirts still be around?” (Yes again!) “Will cars fly?” (No, though auto-navigation or hands-free driving will be an option.) “Will people still fall in love?” (Of course….falling in love is a time-tested human characteristic and my book is a romance!)

Still, for me, a big part of the fun of writing a story that take place 50 years from now is exploring the question, “What will the world be like then?”

Here are some of my thoughts and imaginings for the year 2055:

  • Cuba is the last remaining communist nation on Earth. All other nations have gone the way of capitalism.
  • In the post-September 11 era, a group of countries agree to fund a super-secret network of agencies that take on counterterrorist missions too politically sensitive or geographically dispersed to be handled by any one country. This network is called U.N.I.T., short for United Nations Intelligence Trust. Sort of like a United Nations of counterterrorist activity.
  • The United States government runs a collection of federal orphanages, in which promising U.N.I.T. recruits are screened. The other recruiting ground for U.N.I.T. candidates are prisons, where carefully selected inmates sentenced to life are given the chance to leave prison and join the agency.
  • Handheld lasers have replaced bullet-firing guns as the preferred form of firearm for terrorists, counterterrorists, cops and criminals.
  • Chicago Midway is a defunct, boarded-up complex of buildings owned by a super-wealthy businessman who uses one of the former terminals as a secret bomb-making factory.
  • California is split into two independent states, called California North and California South. Kind of like North Dakota and South Dakota or Virginia and West Virginia. Only neither of the “Californias” wanted to give up starting the name of their state with the word, California. Hence, the geographic designation comes at the end.
  • A special gel known as “Numb It” instantly soothes away aches and pains on contact with skin. (Don’t you want some?)
  • Energy pellets are the new energy bars…and the food of necessity for operatives on the run.

Do you ever wonder what the world will be like in the future? What does your imaginary future world look, smell, taste and sound like? Do people still fall in love and get their happily ever after?

Die Run Hide_cvr.inddDie Run Hide

Follow orders or die. Anika Washington knows the rules laid down by the counterterrorist agency that owns her. When she aborts a mission in order to spare a young girl, she’s given an ultimatum: take on a new mission that requires betraying her fellow operative, and lover, or forfeit her own life.

After discovering that her lover, Gianni, has chosen another, Anika accepts the mission. In the aftermath, she learns that Gianni was faithful to her and she’d been tricked into thinking otherwise. The knowledge comes too late and she’s almost killed in an agency double-cross.

Now she must run—battling time, former enemies and the agency itself to stay alive and save the man she loves.

Die Run Hide Excerpt

The diamond stud vibrated in Anika’s ear. She slid her fingers through her hair in a rhythmic move and touched the comm device. Over the thumping bass of the band, she heard the go-ahead to leave the party and ascend to the rooftop. With a well-aimed thrust of one hip, she knocked her dance partner into a gyrating mix of arms and legs. Then she strode off the floor, filled an oversized glass from the champagne fountain and slipped out of the room.

In the dim stairwell, she hiked up her glittering dress, snagged her painful four-inch heels in one hand and sprinted up the steps. The heavy bass receded into the background. She held the glass away from her, careful not to spill the liquid. She wished she could drink some of it. Hell, she wished she could drink all of it and go back for more.

Instead, she told herself to stay focused on the mission as she had dozens of times before. The rest would take care of itself.

So why did her insides feel like balled up razor wire?

On the roof, she hurried over to the utilities closet. Her eyes swept the area before she keyed in the code and removed the parts of the P-16. Another sweep, then she bent to her task assembling the old-style rifle. She tested the balance, the feel of the trigger, the scope. Everything was in order. Everything was as it should be.

Except that once she sighted the target and fired, the life she had known for the past three years would be over. She would have crossed the line. No going back. Even though she had agreed to do it, she wondered now if she had made the right decision.

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Author photo_PM KavanaughsmAbout the Author

A writer of thrillers spiked with romance, PM Kavanaugh has always loved intrigue, danger and adventure, especially when observed at a safe distance from her own life. She shares her home, dreams and some of her plotting dilemmas with her clever-enough-to-be-a-spy husband and her talkative office cat, Max.