Monday, January 18, 2010

Guest - Cindy Spencer Pape

Good morning everyone! Today's guest is Cindy Spencer Pape, the author of over thirty popular books and novellas in paranormal, historical, and contemporary romance. According to The Romance Studio, her plots are “full of twist and turns that keep the reader poised at the edge of their seat.” Joyfully Reviewed said, her “colorful characters and plot building surprises kept me spellbound,” and Romantic Times Magazine says her “characters are appealing, and passionate sex leads to a satisfying romance.”

Cindy firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in southern Michigan with him and two teenage sons, along with an ever-changing menagerie of pets. Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator, though now she is lucky enough to write full-time. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the three male humans who share her household. For more about Cindy and her books, you can find her on her website, or her blog,

Cindy is offering a downloaded copy of one of her books to one lucky reader so read all the way to the Lynda Again section to see how you can be the winner.
Man vs. Monster

Somewhere in the last decade or so, vampires stopped being scary. In fact, sometimes they even sparkle. Modern fiction, particularly paranormal romance and prime-time television, have taken many of the monsters of historical legend and turned them into romantic heroes and heroines. Vampires, werewolves, demons and dragons, you can walk through the romance section in any bookstore and find stories featuring each of these and more. More interesting still, almost each author creates a slightly new spin on the legend, keeping some elements, replacing others. So some vampires burn to death in the sunlight, while others only get sunburnt badly, and others, yes, sparkle. Some kill without a conscience, while others are simply people with a very specialized diet. Heck, some can even eat regular food, while others can get pregnant and have babies. You’ve come a long way, vamp-boy.

Werewolves mythologies, like vampires, go back thousands of years, and many cultures, all over the world, had their own ideas on the subject. Modern authors (including yours truly!) have had a field day with these, too. Do werewolves live in packs, or are they solitary? Are they forced to change only on the full moon, or is their shape-shifting under their conscious control? Can the ability/curse be passed by a bite, or are baby werewolves born to werewolf parents? And what about other were-creatures? Jaguars, lions, tigers, even birds, snakes and dragons. They’re all out there on the bookshelves, just waiting for us to discover them.

Would Bram Stoker roll over in his grave if he read a book by Stephanie Myer or would he smile, knowing his work has become such a component of modern culture that hundreds of new authors are working frantically to create a new spin on these enduring legends? As an author, my preference would be the latter. To come back to Earth after a century and find out that people were still talking about my books? That’s pretty much a writer’s ultimate dream, though I do know other authors who would be upset by having their creations “altered.”

Me? I’m as guilty as any other author of plundering the ancient legends. My favorite thing to do is mix it up. Why just have a werewolf falling for another werewolf, when you can have more fun tossing him together with a hereditary witch or a shy vampire? (Curses and Exploring Ari, respectively.) How about a demon and an elf? Or even two elves? (Three for All) and then there are dragons...happy sigh. Gotta love those dragons. I’ve only just begun to explore all the fun an author can have with those.

So what is it about these former monsters that keep readers coming back for more, even now that they’re not as scary as they were on the Late Late Show? I have a few ideas. To start with, let’s face it, romance novels are about fantasy. Even those with no paranormal elements are a bit idealized, a way to escape from the harsh realities of life. While I firmly believe in happily ever after, even in real life, it’s not exactly ever after, is it? We all know life is short. In paranormal romance, the happily-ever-after can literally be forever. That’s an awfully powerful fantasy. Also, we’re looking at heroes with pretty much unlimited strength, wisdom, and machismo. Sigh. That’s kinda yummy too, isn’t it? In many cases, the heroine is also powerful, if not at the beginning of the book than by the end. So the female reader gets to feel empowered and drool over a hot immortal. That’s just a win-win situation!

So while my most recent release is Awakening Augusta, a straight historical romance at Ellora’s Cave, (link: I’ve by no means given up on my love of all things paranormal. You can watch for Dani’s Demons (female vampire and two hunky demons) coming soon from Ellora’s Cave, and Motor City Fae (yep, elves in Detroit) coming later this year from the brand-new Carina Press. As for what’s after that? Who knows? There’s a lot more mythology left to mess with!


Djinni and the Geek

Geek Love #2

By Cindy Spencer Pape

Available in ebook and print from Ellora’s Cave:

ISBN: 9781419959202

Buy Link:

Review: “Fans of steamy love scenes will not be disappointed in the least since Anissa and David have great chemistry together. Cindy Spencer Pape has written one appealing genie tale that should leave you with a smile on your face knowing that a geek has finally found a wonderful love with a woman both beautiful inside and out.”~~Katie from Romance Junkies

Professor David Garvaglia is nobody’s idea of a hero. Is he? When David opens an antique box and finds a sexy Djinni in his bed, his desire for her is almost as powerful as his determination to set her free. Anissa has spent centuries as a prisoner of the box and has dreamed of the day some handsome master would release her. The scruffy computer geek isn’t what she expected, but everything about him turns her on.

While David and Anissa explore their explosive passion, he helps her adjust to the twenty-first century. Complicating things is an evil wizard who wants Anissa for his own. Between scorching sex in his faculty office and hacking government computers, David does everything he can to keep her safe—and satisfied.


David shook his head. Today had just been too damn long, and he didn’t want to think about anything any more. He snagged a beer from the selection in the fridge and walked toward the stairs, turning lights out on his way. Good beer was his one indulgence, his one way of admitting to himself that he’d made it in the world. He’d never be a wine connoisseur or a gourmet chef, but he could appreciate the difference between an ale and a lambic.

Finally, he shrugged. Whatever was going on, the gods would reveal it in their own sweet time. He set the bottle on the milk crate beside the bed and picked up the box. With a silent prayer to every god of fools and lunatics, he gently brushed his thumb over the carved flowers on the lower left-hand corner of the box’s top. He moved his callused digits over the delicate inlay and paused when he felt a tiny electrical jolt from the ring. He brushed back against a flower in the upper left-hand corner. Yep, there was the tingle. He could almost feel Anissa’s warm sweet breath and hear her sultry voice in his ear cheering him on.

With just the tip of his thumb, he exerted pressure on each petal, one at a time. With an almost inaudible click, the third petal depressed. A heartbeat later, the box gave another, slightly louder click, and a seam appeared, dividing the box into two uneven halves, following the flow of the pattern rather than a straight line. It resembled a rectangular Easter egg cracking open slowly from the inside.

His hands were big; they almost engulfed the box as he palmed each of the halves gently trying to separate them. He tested a couple of different motions, finally discovering that if he rotated the halves counter-clockwise, the tingle returned to his fingertips. That must be it, then. He twisted slowly, not wanting to accidentally break whatever treasure was inside. When he finally felt the mechanism give, he expected the box to come apart in his hands dropping whatever it contained onto the comforter covering his lap.

Instead, he heard a loud whoosh, as if someone had just launched a missile in the room. The box was hot; it singed his fingertips till he dropped it to the floor beside the bed. Then he coughed as he inhaled a cloud of lavender-colored, licorice-scented smoke. He closed his eyes against the sting of the wispy tendrils. A second later, he opened them again. The burning sensation and the lavender cloud were gone, but the licorice scent remained.

And there was a woman kneeling on the comforter at the foot of David’s bed. Her face was down on her knees in a position of full obeisance, but the curly black hair that fell all around her to puddle on the comforter was a dead giveaway. Dave knew who he’d see when she lifted her gaze. He tried to speak, but couldn’t get the words to leave his throat. He stared in rapt fascination as she spoke without lifting her head.

“How may I serve you, oh master?” Her voice was soft and husky—pure distilled sex. Exactly as it had been in his dreams. Dave’s body throbbed just thinking about the possibilities. Maybe he was still dreaming, because here she was in his bed.

Then she looked up and saw him, and all the color drained from her lovely face. Her tilted violet eyes widened and her hand covered her mouth as she shrieked.

“Who are you and what have you done to my hero?”


-- Lynda Again LOL, Don't you love the last line of that excerpt? Okay, getting back to business.

Cindy has generously offered one lucky reader a free download of their choice of any of her books (can be reviewed at To become eligible to win one of Cindy's books, you must leave a comment and email her with the book of your choice by noon Friday January 22. She'll announce the winner here on Star-Crossed so be sure to check back.

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Pauline B Jones said...

Hi, Cindy! Now you've got me thinking, not easy to do early on a Monday morning! I think you're right and maybe its a big of that beauty and the beast thing, too?

great blog and excerpt! Congrats on the new release!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

A holiday Monday here in the US, too, Pauline. My kids aren't even up yet. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks very much to Lynda for being such a gracious hostess today!

Shayla Kersten said...

Great excerpt! I adore the last line and the fact the hero isn't portrayed as a major alpha! Most real alpha heroes are betas who step up when the situation demands it. Nice to see a geek get the girl!

Amber Skyze said...

Love that last line, Cindy! :)

Great excerpt and blog.

Molly Daniels said...

LOVED this book:) I think it was the first one I'd ever read of yours, Cindy:)

Destiny Blaine said...

Great excerpt, Cindy. Have a great day blogging, ladies.


Anonymous said...

I think sometimes our Alpha hero's should have flaws. It makes them real. For we all know there is no such thing as a perfect man or woman. I like that you keep your stories as real as you can which is what makes them believable,fun, and hard to put down.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Shayla, I am sooo with you on that. That's exactly what David is--happy to be a beta until he's needed, then he's alpha all the way. And yeah, Neecy, he definitely has flaws!

Amber, Molly, Destiny, thank you all so very much for stopping by!

Stephani Hecht said...

Cindy, I know I already told you this, but I just love that cover. It's by far one of the best I've ever seen.

I really enjoyed the blog. As someone who likes to "mix it up" too, I appreciate how much fun it is to take old myths and add new twists to them.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Outstanding blog, Cindy. I love and fear monsters! I guess as readers, we kind of want both. My ancestors grew up in the shadow of Prince Dracul's castle and I heard such legends when I was a little kid! Wishing you many sales!

Mona Risk said...

Cindy what a great presentation of vampires, monsters, witches... You could convince any one- even me- of reading or writing paranormal. Lovely excerpt.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Steph--I love this cover too--it's one of my all-time favorites! And you can certainly mix your mytholgies with the best of them! Mona, thank you so much--you're one of my favorite contemporary authors, but it's nice to know even you can be tempted to dabble in the paranormal. Julia, how cool about having your ancestors tell you stories about Dracul. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

As someone whose books follow my own vampire mythology, I have to agree, the more the better! I love seeing those old legends spring to new life through someone's imagination. And, yes, I am still a fan of Bram Stoker!

Lynne Roberts said...

We had a discussion at my house just the other day on what vampires could and couldn't do and why certain myths were probably beneficial to vampires. I love the way some authors have given his or her own twist to the legend. Long live imagination!

Great post and wonderful excerpt!

Marianne Evans said...

Great post, Cindy! Part of the fun and magic of writing is putting lore and legend on its ear and spinning it wildly. Bravo! :-)

mamasand2 said...

Great post and excerpt, Cindy. I am intrigued by the feel of this story.
I have to admit that you are a new author for me, since I only discovered ebooks and their publishers a couple of years ago.

I'll be watching for more about your books now.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cindy,
Great excerpts. You are certainly prolific. Where do you get the time?


Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Anonymous,Lynne, Marianne, thanks so much! Margaret, I just keep writing! and Sandie, glad you found me! Hope you enjoy some of my work.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Nice cover! I love a hero with flaws. It makes them so more lovable. :)

Loved the post!

annalisa said...

Enjoyed your blog and loved the excerpt! The last line made me smile. :)

Anny Cook said...

As you know...vampires are dear to my heart. Excellent discussion of the genre.

And yeah...write faster!

Regina Carlysle said...

Such a great post, Cindy! I have to say I agree with your assessment. Readers love paranormal because they take us away to a place where all things are possible.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Thanks to Karen and Annalisa for stopping by, and to Anny and Reg, who have to read all my stuff in advance, and still put up with me!

Ava March said...

Great blog, Cindy! As someone who has just started dipping her toes in the paranormal waters, I find it so interesting to think about all the different variations on the various myths. Gives an author a wonderful sense of freedom to follow their own rules, versus having to follow a strict set. And it's so cool the way big bad monsters can become yummy heroes in romance novels ;) Everything that makes them bad, makes them so very good *g*

Fran Lee said...

Aw, you know we all love you, Cindy! You are the best! Thanks for brightening many of my days with your wonderful books!

Barbara Monajem said...

LOL. What a great excerpt! I'm so glad I stopped by.

I like my heroes and heroines to be all sorts of so-called monsters, and I'm glad so many authors are making their own rules these days.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Thank you, Fran! What a nice thing to say. And Barbara, I'm glad you stopped by too!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Ava, your comment was hiding! Thanks so much. I'm very curious to see what you come up with in paranormal!

ddurance said...

Yep, romance novels are total fantasy. That's why I love them though. I think we all secretly hope that there are men like that in the world; strong alphas with just enough of a sensitive side. lol

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

ddurance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bronwyn Green said...

Great post, Cindy - though I do admit, I prefer that vampires not sparkle. ;)

Genella deGrey said...

Woot - Cindy! Look at you go!
Take me away with a great historical paranormal or supernatural any day!

Emme Toaye said...

Love the way you left everyone hanging over the cliff of fantasy peeping tom come hitherery (just made that word up). Can't wait to see what happens next because I know it's gonna be a whopper, until next time my lucky "Vampsace" gown and I are off to post on my blog.

Stacy Stew said...

Geek gets girl? Cool.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Again, thanks to Lynda for inviting me, and to all of you for the fantastic outpouring of support!

The winner is Lynne Roberts! Lynne, contact me at with which book you'd like and your preferred format.

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks Cindy for being with us! You've made my role very easy this week. And congrats to Lynne on her win. I know you'll love Cindy's books!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!