Monday, August 29, 2011

Guest - Ashlyn Chase

Good morning all! We've got Ashlyn Chase visiting us today. I took the opportunity to ask her some 'interview' style questions so we could learn more about her. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. Oh, and Sourcebooks is offering a giveaway of Ashlyn's latest, The Vampire Next Door, to two lucky Star-Crossed Romance readers. Check out the -- Lynda Again section to see how you can win.

I've got a review of The Vampire Next Door posted. You can read it here.
Ashlyn Chase Interview

SCR: If you were doomed to spend the rest of your life on an island with only one book, one person, one food (coconuts and fish aside), and one object from the modern world (computer, deodorant, etc.), what would they be?
AC: A Course in Miracles, my husband, chocolate, and a flush toilet.

SCR: What’s the sexiest feature on a man to you? And on a woman? Why?
AC: I love a nice butt—or anyone. Who knows why? I just do.

SCR: What’s your own sexiest feature?
AC: Not my butt, that’s for sure! LOL Maybe my hands. They’re soft and I know how to use them.

SCR: Do you have a favorite character out of all the ones you’ve written? If so, who is it and why is s/he your favorite?
AC: Maybe Randy from Being Randy. He’s irrepressible. He gets in trouble by being his honest self, but you can’t keep him down.

SCR: What would constitute your own personal happily ever after?
AC: Me going before my husband. I dread to think what I’d do without my computer geek, money manager, handyman, and awesome lover.


Room for Rent: Normal need not apply
This old Boston brownstone is not known for quiet living… first the shapeshifter meets his nurse, then the werewolf falls for his sassy lawyer, but now the vampire is looking for love with a witch who’s afraid of the dark… and you thought your neighbors had issues!

Undead Sly is content playing vigilante vampire, keeping the neighborhood safe from human criminals, until Morgaine moves in upstairs. Suddenly he finds himself weak with desire, which isn’t a good place for a vampire to be. And Morgaine isn’t exactly without her own issues—will the two of them be able to get past their deepest fears before their chance at “normal” slips away?

Multi-published author Ashlyn Chase specializes in characters who reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. She has worked as a psychiatric nurse, for the Red Cross, and has a degree in behavioral sciences. The first two books in the Strange Neighbors series are Strange Neighbors and The Werewolf Upstairs, which are both available now! She lives with her true-life hero husband in beautiful New Hampshire. For more information, please visit

-- Lynda Again
    As I said above, Sourcebooks is offering a copy of The Vampire Next Door to two of our readers. All you have to do is leave a comment for Ashlyn AND include your email addy. If you don't want to post your e-addy, you can send your entry to me at just put Vampire in the subject line.
   You'll need to do this by Friday, Sept 2 at which point I'll put all the names in the prize box and have Wookie, my alien kitten, select the winner.

Good luck and have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review - The Vampire Next Door

The Vampire Next Door
Ashlyn Chase
Sourcebooks, Inc, Casablanca
August 2011

This third Ashlyn Chase book brings us two more unusual and quirky residents of the apartment building where the series began.

Sylvestro 'Sly' Flores, the vampire who lives in the basement (and the late father of Merry the first 'victim' of the love shack apartment on the first floor) rushes to the defense of a woman being attacked. When he bites her attacker though, his fang hits the heavy gold metal necklace...except it isn't gold, it's gold overlay on silver. Vampires are allergic to silver. It hurts like crazy and to make matters worse, it leaves Sly with a lisp. The only thing he can think to do is to ask Morgaine Marlowe, the witch upstairs, the one who's afraid of the dark and afraid of the outdoors. 

When he sees her, however, he's surprised to see her previously black hair turned blonde and her goth dress softened with plum and purple colors. The makeover Morgaine received in the second book lets Sly see her as more than just the friendly witch he's known for several years. She's actually a pretty and charming woman. His daughter, Merry, notices his sudden interest in Morgaine and offers him the 'love shack' apartment.

But Sly is too proud to take charity. If he's going to use that apartment, he wants to pay for it. Unfortunately, his 'career' as vigilante vampire doesn't come with a salary so he's left trying to figure out how he can earn money. Morgaine's cousin, Gwyneth, suggests making moonshine in Sly's old vampire lair in the basement. Morgaine, wanting to find a 'cure' for Sly's vampirism remembers a vampire she knew several years earlier who sold a vampire wine that mimicked a cure.

Before they can check this out more, though, Sly's vampire-maker, Vorigan Malvant, finds Sly. Malvant, the evil vampire who forced Sly to accept being turned, wants Sly as his lover. Sly wants nothing to do with that but he's not strong enough to fight his maker so he, Morgaine and Gwyneth set about finding out where Malvant lives.

As the story continues, Morgaine and Sly fall in love. Even though there's the de rigour 'animal-monkey' sex, their love affair is more on the sweet and gentle side. As Morgaine works to help Sly, she fights her various fears, sometimes overcoming them, sometimes falling on her butt when she fails.

In this book, we have two new characters appear; Merman Jules Vernon and Dragon Lily Chou. Lily needs sex to keep from sneezing fire and Jules offers to help her out. We don't see a romance develop however. There's a bit more than a simple connection when Gwyneth discovers that Nathan, the shapeshifter, has a crush on her. Since this isn't their story, we don't see much of their developing love but they do make a cute couple.

While this is supposed to be another comedic story, the humor didn't hit me that strongly.  Because the plot is so thin and the love affair between Sly and Morgaine doesn't have any real conflict in it, it appears the author is relying on a little slapstick action for humor. Unfortunately, for me, the slapstick doesn't equate to laugh-out-loud humor, but more a twitch-of-the-lips humor.

According to the Acknowledgements, the author took pains to make sure she had the Wicca details correct. I wish she'd done the same for the 'hillbilly' Southern dialect. I have roots in the South and Gwyneth's dialect drove me to distraction with the 'y'alls ' peppered in every other sentence. For the record, 'y'all' is used to refer to more than one person, not a singular person as Gwyneth often uses it. That said, her country-style aphorisms were kind of cute if a bit outlandish.

All in all, The Vampire Next Door is an amusing read. If you've read Strange Neighbors and The Werewolf Upstairs, you'll want to read The Vampire Next Door.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Guest - Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Good morning all! Today's guest is Linda Thomas-Sundstrom is an author with books and novellas out from Kensington Brava, Dorchester, and Harlequin Nocturne. Her current series for Nocturne, under the heading of "Vampire Moons" consists of Vampire Lover, Golden Vampire, and the newest novella  Night Born.

She's offering a giveaway of one of her books so read to the Lynda Again section to see how to win. Enjoy!


Kiss Them or Kill Them?
Paranormal Romance vs Urban Fantasy, with Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Hello Star Crossed Romance readers. I'm Linda, a die-hard paranormal fan with SF/F/P in my genes. So, I feel right at home here.

Today's chat is about a subject I get asked about all the time at conferences where I'm asked to speak. This is the question:

What is the difference between paranormal romance and urban fantasy?

Well, actually, they don't even ponder the question until I bring it up. Ha.

Thus far, I've discussed the subject at the Romance Writers of America conferences, Romantic Times Booklovers conferences, Comic-con International (twice), CondorCon, Conjecture, and several Southern California Writers conferences . . . in hopes of getting that question out in the open.

Why? Because there are differences between paranormal romance and urban fantasy that put the books on different shelves in a store, but there also are many similarities that readers of both genres don't know about, and therefore might be missing a lot of great reading experiences.

I'm on the trail to open hard-core urban fantasy folks up to a book spine that says "paranormal romance."

Briefly, here's my take.

*Paranormal romance can utilize the same urban, dark city feel as urban fantasy.
*Paranormal romance can be urban fantasy with a happy/satisfying ending.
*Paranormal romance focuses on one relationship, and follows it through to that satisfying end. One couple, one book. If there is a series, it has to detail the same challenges for another couple.
*Paranormal romance cover art usually deviates from the darker urban fantasy covers because publishers know that by putting a male and a female on the cover of romances, that type of cover will attract their readers.

I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Nocturne imprint. Dark, sexy paranormals that have the same, sometimes gritty, storylines about werewolves, hunters, vampires, immortals, etc, but must, by definition, focus on the development of one relationship at a time. In my series for Nocturne, I have used a lot of the same characters in second and third books, but only as secondary characters to the plot and relationship development of another couple.

And at big venues like Comic-con, where my panel this year with Patricia Briggs, Nancy Holder, and Christine Cody saw 2,500 attendees, and my fellow presenters mostly had dark blue or grey urban fantasy covers showing kick-ass women holding swords and axes, with bare midriffs covered with intricate tattoos (the current and easily identifiable sign of an urban fantasy story),  my current Vampire Moons series for Nocturne was just as easily identifiable with a sexy male and female holding each other.

Still, the stories beneath those covers, for the most part, had very similar characteristics.

*Urban fantasy doesn't have to contain romance at all, though a lot of readers like it when they do.
*Urban fantasy, in not requiring a satisfying relationship conclusion in a single book, can stick with a main character over and over in a series. Or the main character can kill off his/her partner, or watch him/her die by another's hand.
*Urban fantasy can be exactly like a paranormal romance in all instances.

In other words, there are two shelves to be hit for dark, sexy tales of intrigue, magic, the supernatural, and romance. And though publishers make it somewhat easy to quickly identify their style for readers with current cover art, the old saying is true that you can't always tell a book by its cover.

The immortals in my Vampire Moons series for Nocturne have long, complicated histories. In this year's Golden Vampire, the main character, found in the present time, is actually a Blood Knight, who, along with six other Blood Knights once sat at the famous Round Table. These Knights were unearthly beautiful and undefeated in battle because they were unearthly. The book is dense and expressive on my characters' behalf. Dark, sexy, meaty stuff that could just as easily have had a sexy female with tattoos on the cover, and been on the UF shelf.

So. That's a very brief listing of the things my Kiss Them or Kill Them discussions are about.

And what fun it is to get feedback and questions from readers on the subject. What fun it is to chat with like-minded people who, as I do, just plain enjoy the supernatural world that writers can create, and always, always come back for more.

Love comments. Please say hi.
You can also find me at


Night Born

Love and hate, vampire and slayer—opposites too closely connected for their own good?

After her mother is nearly killed, slayer-in-waiting Danika Douglas vows to destroy the vampire she believes is responsible—Alexander Kent. An experienced vampire older than sin itself, Alexander possesses dark good looks and a strong sensual allure.

Danika knows a slayer and her target are chained together by fate, compelled to find each other. Yet she never expected them to share such a powerful attraction, leaving Danika torn between revenge and desire….

Excerpt from Night Born:

"I've found you, you son of a bitch." Danika Douglas hadn't stopped to think about whether touching a priceless painting might be committing museum sacrilege, or a crime. She'd been too immersed in the moment to care.  
Here he was again. The same face she'd found in a Baroque period painting two days before. Exactly the same face.         
Same wide brow and prominent, aristocratic features. Same penetrating blue eyes beneath the tangle of dark hair — here, seen only in profile, and in dashes of color and shadings, but the likeness was exact, give or take the hair style and clothes. She had just won the bloodsucker lottery. A telltale tingle of excitement flushed her cheeks and neck with heat. Shivers of apprehension chilled her back. It was always the same dichotomy of heat and cold clashing when her assumptions were correct. She might not yet have inherited her mother's ability to track the vampire in this painting with a Slayer's DNA-based, biologically built-in GPS system, but those powers were agonizingly inching toward her.          
She felt him now, as if she had found him for real, and in person. Her gut reaction to his image was strong. His presence in the Renoir was like an icy breath on the back of her neck. She could almost smell him, beyond the aged oils of the artwork and the polished marble museum floors.
He smelled like . . . leather. Like doom. 
Buy Links:

Barnes and Noble:

All Romance E Books

Vampire Lover (The first in the series)

Kelsie Connor is looking for a big headline to jumpstart her career as a journalist--like proving the existence of vampires and werewolves. She's always felt that Others exist, though she's never met one herself. So on the night of the Blood Moon, Kelsie goes looking for a werewolf...but meets a vampire instead. A vampire who makes her blood run hot and makes her feel things she never imagined a body could feel.

Hayden Flann had been secretly watching Kelsie for some time, drawn to her by a powerful bloodlust and equally strong sexual attraction. But Hayden recognizes that he and Kelsie are connected by more than passion. Little does she know that Hayden is not just her lover--he's also her enemy, born to seduce her before he kills her....



-- Lynda Again,
Linda is giving away a free download of one of her stories from Amazon to ONE lucky commenter. 

Here's how to enter:
1) The commenter must leave a comment by noon EST Tuesday, Aug 23 and 
2) must include her/his email addy in the comment.

Good luck and have a Blessed Day!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Guest - Lisa Kessler

Good morning all! Today's guest is Lisa Kessler. Her bio is almost as interesting as her post ;-)

Lisa's Bio: I have always loved to make up stories. My first published work was The Wonders of Unicorn Creek in 6th grade. The 9 page epic was published by my tiny elementary school. Since then I've published short stories in anthologies like: Dead Souls, Ladies of Horror 2009, Hell Hath No Fury, and magazines like: Sinisteria, Horrorfind, Twilight Times, The Writers Hood, Savage Night, The Murder Hole, Behold and Shadowkeepzine.
 My story ”Immortal Beloved” was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award, and my story “The Third King” won second place in Behold’s short story contest.
I’ve completed the first two novels in my Night Trilogy, and the first two novels in my new Moon Series.
I’m thrilled to announce that Entangled Publishing has contracted my entire Night Walker series!!! The first book will be released August 5, 2011!!!

Lisa has given us a thought-provoking, and fascinating blog on music. Enjoy.


Music and Immortals

Hi everyone –

Thank you Lynda for inviting me to the blog today!

They say music is timeless.  Classical music has lived on for centuries, long after the one who composed the notes on the parchment.  Operas are still performed today without microphone and amplification, so when you walk into an opera house to see Carmen or the Marriage of Figaro, you are seeing the production the same way audiences had watched it since the 1700’s.

I’ve always imagined that would be encouraging for an immortal.

Can you imagine the world changing around you, while you remain unchanged?  I would think immortality would be cool for the first lifetime, but what about after the second or third?  Would you ache for familiar things?

Music is not only timeless, but it also evokes memories.  I can hear Almost Paradise and I instantly feel like I’m back in high school at my prom. 

What would it be like for an immortal?

In Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, Lestat plays the violin with such accuracy and frenzied precision that it awakens the Queen of the Damned.  So the music not only affected Lestat, but also the oldest vampire who hadn’t moved in over a thousand years.

In my new novel, Night Walker, the hero, Calisto plays the piano with a passion and precise intonation that could only be achieved by lifetimes of practice.  He uses the piano to pour out emotions he can’t share with anyone in the world, because no one knows who or what he truly is.

Here’s a short excerpt of Calisto pouring his heart into his music…

When the soft purr of her car’s engine faded into the distance, Calisto went downstairs and sat down at his grand piano. Playing was one of the few activities of late that helped ease the loneliness plaguing him. The music surrounded him in a calming embrace, like a child wrapped in his mother’s arms. Over the years, he had become a virtuoso, a product of having centuries to practice. In that time, he had memorized countless masterpieces by Chopin, Mozart, and Beethoven, but right now Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” poured from his soul, through his fingertips, making the grand piano ring with emotion. The music spoke words he couldn’t recite, and he played with fervor and accuracy only an immortal being could achieve.
Tonight the piano sang, not with the bitter ache of emptiness but with hope and the promise of love. Passion built in the melody, and in his mind he saw her eyes shining as he bent to kiss her lips. He closed his eyes as he played, envisioning her body pressed against his, her warm skin enticing him to hold her tighter. At the final cadence, his hands remained frozen over the keys, suspending the final chord as it echoed through his empty house. When silence crept around him, Calisto rose from the keyboard and made his way to the secret chamber buried deep within the cliff of his beachfront home. He would find her again.
Tomorrow night he would search for Kate Bradley. For the first time in decades, he was anxious for another night.

Music can become their link to the past, as well as a comfort in the future. 

Since music seems like a perfect match for an immortal, I’ve often searched out Vampire musicals, and surprisingly there aren’t very many.  I wish I could have seen Elton John’s Lestat: The Musical, but it didn’t stay on Broadway for long.

I have a friend in England who has devoted the past few years to developing Dracula for a musical stage production.  He even has a cast recording out...  and this year Frank Wildhorn, the composer behind Jekyll & Hyde also released a studio recording of Dracula the Musical...  Check out the romance of “Loving you Keeps me Alive”.

So what are your thoughts on the connection between music and immortals?  And did any of you ever get to see Elton John’s Lestat on Broadway?  I’d love to hear from you! 


Night Walker Blurb:
He gave up his soul for a second chance to love her…

Two and a half centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance to love her, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life.

She’s haunted by dreams of her own death…
After catching her fiance with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she’s drawn to him in ways she doesn’t understand.

They’ve waited in the shadows for centuries…
Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he’s ever loved again.

Night Walker - Available now!
Across the Veil - Available now!


-- Lynda Again
What do you think? Is this a fascinating post? Leave a comment for Lisa and let her know your thoughts.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Guest - Kathryne Kennedy

Good morning, all! Today's guest is Kathryne Kennedy, perhaps one of the best fantasy romance writers I've read. Kathryne is answering some interview questions I posed to her. Hope you enjoy!

Oh, and if you like fantasy romance, her publisher, Sourcebooks, is offering a giveaway of Kathryne's latest, The Lady of the Storm, for two Star-Crossed readers. Check out how to enter the drawing below. And you'll want to check out my review of The Lady of the Storm.

Kathryne Kennedy Interview  

In my quest to bring Star-Crossed Romance readers interesting posts from SF/F/P romance authors, I sometimes like to do interviews. It always surprises me how much we authors have in common, lol, even though we come from different backgrounds. If I didn't ask a question that really arouses your curiosity, make sure you ask it in a comment. If you do,  leave your email addy with the question AND if you enter the drawing (instructions below), you'll get an extra chance to win.

LKS: I'm a HEA addict and romance is just about the only genre where you're guaranteed a Happy Ever After. What draws you to romance?
KK: They are character-driven stories. There is always a heroine I can relate to. They enable me to recapture that first rush of excitement/mystery/vulnerability when falling in love.

LKS: When I began writing, I started with pure SF or Fantasy. Have you ever written outside the romance genre?
KK: I have published several short science fiction/fantasy stories, but most of them had an element of romance to them. It’s just something that comes naturally to my writing. So although I’ll continue to write books heavy in fantasy, I doubt if I will ever write anything that lacks a romantic element.

LKS: This is a question I was asked when I visited another blog and I thought it was really interesting. So I'm asking it here: What’s your earliest childhood memory?
KK: That’s a difficult one. I think my earliest was when I was about four or five years old, and our babysitter in Okinawa put salt on a cut I had, cause she said it would clean it out and stop the bleeding. I think I remember it because it hurt so badly!

LKS: If you could pick anyone in the world to be the cover model(s) on your latest release, who would it be?
KK: Johnny Depp. For me, he’s the most beautiful man alive, and would certainly make a perfect elven lord…if he dyed his hair ivory, that is.

LKS: Johnny Depp is such a versatile actor, I can see him as one of your elven lords very easily. I think actors and writers have that versatility in common and it's probably due to the things that interest us. What’s your favorite hobby outside of writing?
KK: Honestly, I don’t have one right now. Between my writing and some health issues with me and my family, I just haven’t had the time. I still treat myself to shopping now and then. Does that count as a hobby?

LKS: LOL, yes, if you're female, shopping absolutely counts as a hobby! What’s the one question you wish people would ask you when you tell them you’re a writer? 
KK: Where they can buy my books. :) And of course, I would tell them to visit my website,!

Thank you very much for having me here today, ladies! It’s such a pleasure to answer such interesting questions! I’m looking forward to meeting your readers and responding to the comments! I’d love to know some of your own earliest memories, and how young you were when they happened. I found that question so thought provoking!


Giles is bound to protect her...
In a kingdom viciously ruled by warlike elven lords, village blacksmith Giles Beaumont reluctantly swears to protect the half-elf, half-human Cecily Sutton, never dreaming that he will fall under her enchanting spell.

But duty soon turns to desire...
When Cecily's father disappears, Cecily and Giles set out to find him. But, as their journey unfolds, duty is quickly replaced by desire—and the search for Cecily's father leads to a magical destiny that could end the rule of the elven lords forever...

“Fantastical creatures, magical spells, lengthy quests, angst, and passion will satisfy readers looking for a romance plot in a well-developed fantasy setting.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Kennedy’s exquisite world building and terrific plotting make this a must-read.”
—Booklist Starred Review

Kathryne Kennedy is an acclaimed, best-selling, award-winning author of magical romances. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives with her wonderful family in Arizona, where she is working on the next book in The Elven Lords series, The Lord of Illusion (February 2012).

-- Lynda Again,
I want to thank Kathryne for being with us today and I want to point out that The Lady of the Storm is the second of her fabulous series. I read the first, The Fire Lord's Lover, and reviewed it here.
Now, I did mention that Sourcebooks is offering a copy of The Lady of the Storm to two of our readers. Here's how to enter:

1) Send me an email with Lady in the subject line.
2) In the body, put your snail mail address.
3) Answer this question - Who does Kathryne think would make a good cover model for her Elven Lord books?

Make sure you send this by Friday, August 12 so I can put your name in the prize box and have Wookie, my alien kitten, select the winner.

WANT AN EXTRA CHANCE TO WIN? Send me the email outlined above (you have to do this if you want to be in the drawing at all). For the extra chance, leave a question or comment for Kathryne and tag it with your email addy (use the same email addy you used to send your address/answer). I'll put your name in the prize box twice to increase your chances of winning. 

Good luck and have a Blessed Day!

Review - The Lady of the Storm

The Lady Of The Storm
Kathryne Kennedy
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
August 2011

Cecily Sutton, the half breed daughter of the Elven Lord Dewhame, has secretly loved Giles Beaumont, the village blacksmith, for most of her life. But Giles doesn't know she's alive...or so she thinks until her village is attacked by Lord Dewhame's soldiers. Suddenly Giles is there, swinging an enchanted sword, and claiming to have been her protector all along. According to him, the village was protected by a warding spell cast by her step-father, a spell that's now been broken.

Cecily doesn't know what to think. All she knows is that her previously peaceful village is at war with invaders and that Giles wants to take her away as soon as possible. She doesn't want to leave her mother or her sweet little cottage near the sea or the life she's planned with one of the village boys. But suddenly she finds her mother dead, her cottage half burned and the magic that's always laid dormant in her veins rising furiously to her call.

Giles, brought to the village by Cecily's step-father, has been secretly protecting her for years. He knows she has far more magic than he does and he knows she's referred to as the Rebellion's best hope to defeat the Elven Lords. He's watched her secretly as she's swam naked in the sea and watched her grow from a gangly girl into a beautiful woman with the faceted eyes of the Elven Lords. He knows that her step-father is right – Cecily isn't meant for a man like him.  She's meant for someone much higher up than a simple spy for the Rebellion who has posed as a blacksmith. It's his duty to protect her and deliver her to someone who can decide what her role, and his, will be now that the village is no longer safe.

Thus begins their travel to London. Once they get there, Cecily refuses to be a tool for the Rebellion. She wants to find her step-father who has been missing so long. Giles, at first eager to be freed of his responsibility as Cecily's protector, insists on accompanying her when she's given that dangerous assignment. Cecily can't understand why he stays with her when he could be haring off after more adventure and dangerous assignments for the Rebellion. Neither can Giles. He tells himself it's just habit but the thought of never seeing her again is hard to accept. And he wants to help her find her step-father.

As they travel, their love grows until neither can deny it. Their relationship is sweet and passionate as they learn to trust, then love, each other. It's a tale where both Cecily and Giles come to understand who they are and what's important to each of them. Will they be able to stay together? Or will the evil Elven Lords and the Rebellion keep them apart?

While this is a second book in the series, it's important to know that it will stand alone quite nicely...although you'll probably want to get the first book, The Firelord's Lover (another fantastic book).

Kathryne Kennedy has done an excellent job of describing the setting and creating a villainous group of beings that are simply malicious or insane or both. She has a deft hand combining fantasy with historical story and romance so seamlessly that the reader is never jarred out of the special world she's created. For those who love fantasy romance, Kathryne Kennedy is a MUST read.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Mundania Press offers Birthday discount 29%

Hi all,
I just discovered that, in honor of its 9th birthday, Mundania Press is offering a 29% discount on all ebooks, print books and gift certificates at checkout. All you do is enter the coupon code NINE.

So if you've been putting off buying a copy of Heartstone (ebook or print) now's your chance!

Eric d'Ebrur is out of time. He must find the legendary Heartstone and fulfill the ancient Gar'Ja bond he shares with the Stonebearer. But when he finds her, he discovers that love can be more dangerous than the Gawan threat. Eric can defeat the mind-controlling Gawan but will it cost him the woman he loves? 
After terrifying episodes of hypersensitivity, Keriam Norton thinks she's losing her mind. When handsome shapeshifter Eric d'Ebrur saves her from the monstrous Gawan, she's sure of it. But insane or not, she'll find the Heartstone and, if she's lucky, a love to last a lifetime.

Wookie says it's a great book and a great bargain. She also points out that you should buy it because then I can give her more salmon and tuna, plus you'll be saving 29% off the cover price. Alien kittens are pretty sly, lol.

Heartstone is available at the link below

Monday, August 01, 2011

Wookie says 'Follow Me!'

I was sitting here, trying to find some of the short stories I'd written a few years back. You see, I started out as a short story writer. Yep and not only that but I wrote Science Fiction or Fantasy with Romantic Elements. Not Romance, just Romantic Elements. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that. Lots of writers have gone that way (I like to think I was the vanguard, lol, but we didn't call it that back then.)

And that made me wonder: Does a genre become validated when it has a name?

Wookie arrived at just about the same time this question came to mind. Wookie, as you know, is my alien kitten who doubles as my muse and writing partner. She keeps me grounded with her short, one-line answers.

"Mrrpp?" usually means 'Are you kidding me?' Which was the answer to the validation question ie. No, Romantic Elements did not need a name to be validated. That's the gospel according to Wookie...and I'm glad to hear it since I'm putting together a collection of my short fiction. Now comes the question - should I combine the urban fantasy types with the SF types with the horror types? Decisions, decisions.

Wookie usually just gives me the old feline stink eye when I waffle around like that, lol. So I'll conclude by giving you an excerpt from Altered Destiny (available for the Kindle and Nook)

Altered Destiny Excerpt

Some disturbance, some primal hormonal instinct, sizzled over her skin.  She knew, without turning, Devyn stood behind her.  Her breath quickened and grew shallow at the same time and she ordered herself to stop it.  Not that it did any good.

“I should move the cooler into your room, aye?  For these late night feedings.”  Devyn, in his long blue robe, joined her.  He flicked a switch and the kitchen brightened.  “The drapes are drawn so it’s safe to have a wee bit of light.”

She didn’t know what to say.  Didn’t know if she should berate him or apologize.  Instead, she bit into the cold potato.

“Ach.”  Devyn wrestled the plate from her and put it into the counter-top oven.  “Nae need to eat it cold, lass.”

He pressed the controls.  The oven hummed loudly.

He slanted a brief look at her while he filled the teapot.  “Ye’re in luck, ya ken.  Morag cooked for us.  She doesna do that so offen any more.”

Liane popped the rest of the potato in her mouth while Devyn fussed with the teapot, then pulled silverware from a drawer.  She shifted as he reached into an overhead cupboard and retrieved two cups.  “She’s been like a mother to me.”

Liane realized suddenly that his brogue deepened when he spoke to her or Morag, as if he felt comfortable in their presence.  And why not?  Morag doted on him while Liane was just a gowky woman he didn’t want and probably planned to get rid of as soon as possible.  After all, he and Earvin were competing for the same woman, weren’t they?  Men were such idiots.

“Fetch the cream, if ya will.”

She debated it but, as an act of rebellion, it didn’t hit the mark.  Setting the bottle on the counter, she studied him.  His green eyes darted toward her and his jaw twitched as if he was going to speak.  Instead, he sighed, turned to open a drawer and pulled out a cloth napkin that he put next to the silverware on the counter.  

“Morag’s an opinionated woman.”  He leaned back against the counter, folded his arms over his broad chest and studied his toes.  “And fierce as a dragon protecting its nest.”

Liane had to agree with that assessment.

“You’re a good bit like her.”  He thought, then added,  “Ye’re bonnier, though.”

There was something intimate about being in a kitchen with a bare-footed man.  His feet were long and angular, the toes dusted with red-gold hair.  When he crossed one ankle over the other, his robe parted for a second to reveal a muscular calf with slightly darker auburn hair.  Deep brackets on either side of his sensuous mouth could be lines of fatigue.  Weariness. 

She broke her silence.  “Don’t flirt.”

“Who said I was flirtin’?” 

The teapot whistled.  Devyn pulled it from the heat.  After opening a canister, he dropped spoonfuls of shredded tea leaves into the water.  The timer dinged.  He took a towel and retrieved the plate.  Putting it beside the silverware, he said, “Go ahead.  Eat, lass.  The tea will need a few moments more.” 

Liane didn’t need an engraved invitation.  Circling the counter, she hooked a foot in a stool and sat.  She felt safer with the counter between them.  Less apt to make a fool of herself.  Studiously, she cut a bite of meat.

After a minute, he poured the tea.  “Sugar?  Cream?”

“No.  Can I ask you a question?”

He sent a swift look in her direction.  “Aye.”

“Lord Gabriel said you work for them.  Doing what?”

He seemed to take an extra long time to add two lumps of sugar to his cup.  “I do what a Bard must do.”

The burr slid away from his voice. She imagined she could see him withdrawing, see him erecting a wall between them.  She swallowed a bite of carrot.  “Which is what?”

“Teach the history, the law.  Make sure the holders are kept informed.”  One shoulder lifted and fell.  Cradling his cup, he leaned against the sink.  “We record marriages, deaths, births.  Distribution of goods and property.”

She spent a moment eating while she thought.  “What else?”

“Perform.  We sing and play for our suppers and sometimes a place to sleep.”  His smile flashed briefly.  “It’s a fair trade.”

“And everyone’s happy?”

His eyes narrowed.  His nostrils flared slightly.  “Why not?  The Qui’arel have been very generous to us.”

“They steal your children.”  At his lifted brow, she added, “Well, not yours, exactly.”

“I’m grateful to have that clear.  I’ve nae children and nae desire for them.”  He’d been staring into his cup but now lifted his eyes, raising them slowly and speculatively.  His mouth broadened into a wolfish grin that brought her hormones to sizzling alert.  “Though I might be persuaded...”

The words dangled in the air, absorbing the oxygen and leaving her breathless.  Devyn put his cup down and slowly leaned his elbows on the counter across from her.  His robe gaped at the neck to reveal auburn-red chest hair and the steady pulse of his heartbeat.  Deep in her abdomen, a curious fluttery, tingly, mind-boggling warmth caused her blood to pound.

He took her hand, rubbing his thumb over her palm, and sending rills of sensation streaking up her arm.  His green eyes sought hers.  “Who are you, Annie?”