Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest - Tamara Hogan

Good morning all! We've got Tamara Hogan visiting today. Tamara is the author of Taste Me and of the book I've just reviewed, Chase Me. If you haven't read these books yet, I urge you to get them. They're a unique and wildly imaginative take on urban fantasy. Sourcebooks is offering a giveaway of one book to one of our readers so make sure you check out details on how to enter.

Enjoy!
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How I came up with the Underbelly Series

Believe it or not, I got the idea for this series at a Motley Crue show.

All these middle-aged women were flashing their middle-aged boobs at middle-aged drummer Tommy Lee, and frankly I was…boggling. The loincloth-wearing Mr. Lee, clearly enjoying himself immensely, seemed to have an almost mythological power over these women. I thought to myself, “Do they think he's half-incubus or something?"

POW.  Faster than you can say “Shout at the Devil,” my thoughts were flying. The next morning I woke up early, went to a local coffee shop, and started building the Underbelly Chronicles world, where humanity unknowingly shares the planet with sex demons, vampires, sirens, faeries, Valkyrie, werewolves, and other creatures of myth.

What if Tommy Lee was an incubus or sex demon? My first world-building task was the origin question. If I was going to create a world where incubi and other mythological creatures were real—and I was—how did they get here? How did they come to exist in the first place? I knew I had to find a “logical” explanation, or I wouldn't be satisfied with the set-up.

Logic. Mr. Spock. ALIENS. Aliens were the answer—or rather, creatures of extra-planetary origin, to be precise. As a science geek and a longtime science fiction fan, I have long thought that the math supported the theory of the existence of intelligent life away from Earth, so it didn’t take me long to envision the bare bones of a scenario where a spaceship carrying paranormal creatures, en route to… somewhere else, crashed here several thousand years ago. Hopelessly marooned, the survivors leveraged ancient human stories and myths...or did they create them? The series, set in present-day Minneapolis, follows the lives and loves of the survivors’ descendants, exploring the challenges they’re experiencing trying to stay under humanity’s radar in these days of burgeoning technology.

Using human mythology as a jumping off point, I crafted the various paranormal species’ physical traits, abilities and characteristics with an eye towards maximizing internal and external conflict. What were their strengths and weaknesses? In the world that I've created, incubi and succubi secrete luscious pheromones maximizing their sexual attractiveness, and must absorb emotional energy—particularly sexual energy— for sustenance. Sirens amplify emotional energy with their voices. The Valkyrie have hyperactive adrenal systems which makes them vicious fighters and aggressive lovers. Werewolves, the only shape shifters in my world, have amazing scenting abilities and a high level of visual acuity, but are starting to exhibit some genetic frailties as a species due to inbreeding. Faeries have stunning empathic abilities, and my vampires, allergic to Earth's UV rays, drink blood for its hemoglobin, which has healing properties. 

So, the paranormal species inhabiting my series’ world have some unusual abilities, characteristics, and susceptibilities—when assessed by Earth-bound humans—only because these species evolved somewhere else, on adjacent branches of humanity’s family tree, on worlds where these characteristics gave them a survival advantage. There’s nothing mystical or magical about it. And having been here on Earth for nearly three thousand years, their evolution has taken an unexpected turn.

Because they’ve mated. With us.  

Where do I see this series going? Given my characters’ extra-planetary origins…the sky’s the limit! ;-)


CHASE ME Buy Links:  (Amz | BN | Sourcebooks | Powell’s | BAM)

Link to excerpt: here. (feel free to post the link, or to copy and paste the excerpt text in its entirety) 

CHASE ME BY TAMARA HOGAN – IN STORES JUNE 2012

THE SECRETS SHE'S UNCOVERING WILL BE HIS TO KEEP...
Centuries ago, when their ship crashed to Earth, paranormals of all types settled secretly into our world, quietly going about their business with humans none the wiser. Self–ruling and careful to stay below the radar, all is threatened when Valkyrie archaeologist Lorin Schlessinger and her werewolf geologist partner Gabe Lupinsky inadvertently draw evil attention to Earth and its treasured natural resources.

As the threat intensifies, Lorin and Gabe struggle to contain the chaos they've unleashed, and to resist their explosive mutual attraction...


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she's not telecommuting as a quality and process engineer for a global networking company, she enjoys writing edgy urban fantasy romance with a sci-fi twist. A feral reader with an unapologetic television addiction, Tammy is forever on the lookout for the perfect black boots. Her debut, Taste Me, was a 2009 Daphne Paranormal Winner and 2009 Golden Heart Finalist.  For more information, please visit http://www.tamarahogan.com/ or follow her on Twitter, @TamaraHogan1.

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-- Lynda Again
    That was a great post, wasn't it? 
    To enter the drawing, leave a comment AND send me an email Lynda@LyndaKScott.com with the words Chase Me in the subject line and your snail mail address in the body of the email. Make sure you get your entry in by Friday because on Saturday I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, select a winner.
   
     Have a great day!

Review - Chase Me


Chase Me
Tamara Hogan
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
June 2012


They've been here for centuries, passing as normal humans. They've been cautious allowing only a select few to know who and what they are. But now Valkyrie archaeologist Lorin Schlessinger has discovered an artifact that might be from the crash landing of their ancient ship. When it accidentally opens, those in authority want to keep  tabs on the site and Lorin has already proven that she can't be bothered with mere paperwork. So they put werewolf geologist Gabe Lupinsky in charge.

What they don't bargain on is the explosive attraction Gabe and Lorin share. Gabe knows that he doesn't have a future with the Valkyrie second, not with his family's physical problems and certainly not with the werewolf leaders preference for racial purity.

When Lorin realizes Gabe has been put in charge of her operation she's incensed. But she soon discovers that the handsome werewolf is her match in stubborn tenacity. And more than her match in passion. What starts as scratching a mutual, irresistible itch slowly becomes something more.

Interwoven with an outstanding love story is a thread of mystery and danger that neither Gabe nor Lorin realizes. The artifacts have given off a signal that goes into space and is received by someone who wants to gain wealth for finding the lost ship. And he uses one of Lorin's student archeologists to gather more information.

I loved Taste Me and though this isn't quite as heavy an urban fantasy as Taste Me, Chase Me is a marvelous love story that gives an even deeper view of the paranormal creatures that co-inhabit Earth. Even tempered and level headed Gabe is a perfect counterfoil to the hot headed, excitable Valkyrie Lorin. They complement each other emotionally and physically. Their love story is both wildly passionate and warmly tender.

I can't wait to read the next in this series. I highly recommend it. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

In between relaxing and barbecuing today, take a moment to remember those who served in our Armed Forces - past, present and future. They're the reason we can be safe now and always.


Review - The Danger That Is Damion


The Danger That Is Damion
Lisa Renee Jones
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
May 2012

When the story begins, Lara is on a mission to kill a man to keep him out of the Renegades hands. But when Lara gets the chance she can't pull the trigger. Not with the man's family right there. And not when she's plagues by debilitating headaches. Unfortunately, somehow she's identified as a danger by one hot Renegade assigned to ensure the safety of the man she was to assassinate.

Damion Browne's quick scan of the poolside stops when he sees the sexy bikini-clad brunette. His job is to protect the scientist from Adam Rain and his Zodius soldiers. But as soon as the man and his family head inside, Damion follows his instinct to follow the brunette…who is just about to shoot the scientist. Her fighting ability surprises him because she has moves and strength nearly akin to his own. Thinking she might be a Zodius Lifebond, he takes her to a secret house for questioning.

But Lara doesn't bear the Lifebond mark and for that, Damion is very glad. His attraction to the spirited warrior woman is enough to make him want to claim her as his…even though she has some serious issues with Renegades and Zodius both.

Lara wants to trust Damion but with her shattered and piecemeal memories, she can't even trust herself let alone a man she's considered an enemy up until now. As her memories return bit by bit, she comes to realize who the true villain is. And , this time, it's not the Renegades or the Zodius.

Lara was a mystery, not just to Damion, but to me and I had a difficult time at first figuring out who she was and what she wanted. But as the story progressed and I discovered what had been done to her, I really began to like her. Damion, on the other hand, is a hot, hunky, hero right from the get-go. Both had the ability to make me snicker with some of their wise cracks but even better, Damion can make a girl swoon with some of his more tender moments.

Every time I read one of these books, I always think this is the best one yet. And when the next new one comes out, I think the exact same thing. I might be a tad predictable but these books aren't. THE DANGER THAT IS DAMION is fast-paced and action packed from the first page to the last. Even more, the plot twists and turns are even more creative, something that can be rare when the books begin piling up. Ms. Jones manages to keep these stories fresh and exciting.

Great reading! I highly recommend it and all the other books in the series.

Review - Kiss of the Goblin Prince


Kiss of the Goblin Prince
Shona Husk
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
May 2012

From the moment they meet at her friend's wedding, Dai and Amanda feel a connection to each other. But they each have enough emotional baggage to hinder a romance and a possible future.

Dai, no longer a goblin, still has issues with his self-image. He has horrifying nightmares from both his ancient life before becoming trapped in the Shadowlands and from his terrifying time living there. Dai's journey back to humanity is further complicated by his use of the magic he's learned throughout his life (to attempt to break his and his brother, Roan's, curse) and the fact that his body is covered by magical runes and scars. He fears, among all the other things, that no woman would want to see his body.

Widowed Amanda is a cautious woman. With a 7 year old, severely asthmatic daughter she is leery about bringing in a new man or upsetting circumstances. But seeing the happiness of her best friend after her marriage, Amanda comes to long for something more in her own life.

Their romance grows in cautious little steps, which Dai sees as growing golden threads of connection between them. Some might not like the scant sex scenes, but for me this was a logical outcome of these two cautious and fearful people. When they finally came together, it was much more romantic, more meaningful for the characters and for this reader.

It isn't often that both the character development and the plot ring true and move logically, but Ms Husk has accomplished that. I mourned with both Amanda and Dai on the loss of Flynn and cheered when Dai rescued Meryn from the Shadowlands.

Kiss of the Goblin Prince is the second in Ms Husk's Shadowland series but it stands along very nicely. I had not previously read The Goblin Kind but I plan to now. I also plan to see the next book in the series which I believe will be Meryn's story. This is great summer reading. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

4th Annual U.S. Military Wives Contest—Open for Entries!


4th Annual U.S. Military Wives Contest—Open for Entries!

Description: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1f6467dxJZk/T6hSyfuqcBI/AAAAAAAAA_0/BuABPVNgdW4/s320/Military+Wives+pic.jpgFor the past couple of years, as a special thank you to our service members and their families, I have held a contest just for Military Wives. It turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience. I had the privilege of meeting several incredible women and their beautiful families. It's so easy to forget that there are real people who are deeply affected by the conflicts overseas. Hearing the personal stories of these families helped me remember that our troops are husbands, fathers, brothers and sons who are immensely loved and sorely missed.
This contest will run from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend but start sending those entries in now!

Who is eligible? Wives of any U.S. military service member may enter. Retired or active-duty.

How do you enter? Send an email to info@novelromance.net with a picture of you and your family member in uniform. Tell us a bit about what branch he serves in, where you've been stationed, challenges and so forth. We want to hear your story! Please put "4th Annual Military Families Contest" in the subject line.

Once a week, beginning Memorial Day weekend, I will pick one entrant to be highlighted on my blog. These weekly entrants are semi-finalists. Labor Day weekend I will select three winners.

Second Prize: A $25 Amazon Gift Card, Signed copies of Unleashed andUntouched

First Prize: A $50 Amazon Gift Card, and signed copies of Unleashed andUntouched

Grand Prize: A $100 Amazon Gift card and signed copies of Unleashed andUntouched

For more information about the contest and Sara Humphreys, please visithttp://sarahumphreys.com/ and follow Sara on Twitter, @AuthorSara.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sara Humphreys has been attracted to the fantasies of science fiction, paranormal, and romance since her adolescence when she had a mad crush on Captain Kirk. An actress and public speaker, Sara lives in Bronxville, New York with her husband, who is very considerate of her double life, and four amazing boys. For more information about the contest and Sara Humphreys, please visit http://sarahumphreys.com/
  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest - Linda Thomas-Sundstrom


Good morning all! Hope you're having a fine, bright day. Grab your favorite cup of morning brew, toast, croissant or bagel and take a moment to enjoy today's guest post. 

PS - Linda is offering a giveaway so make sure you read on to find the details!

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Building a World within a World – with Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Hello Star-Crossed Romancers . . .

I'm Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, currently writing for the Nocturne paranormal imprint, here to wave, say hello, and connect with like-minded folks who read and write paranormal tales. What a club we are, eh?
Today's brief post is about one aspect of world building in a paranormal story. World building within this world. Our world. Showcasing what might either move among us, or in the shadows, on the fringes of our world.

I'm going to mention how I do this, and something about how my world within a world works.
When writing and creating paranormal stories, I prefer keeping to the ground I walk on. This is my "style." Familiar and recognizable surroundings is the goal. In all of my paranormal romances, from all three publishers, my characters walk this same earth with me, mostly in the present time. But of course, many of those characters in the recognizable world are tweaked.

The good creatures (non-mortals) might stroll the sidewalks, and I'd never know unless they wanted me to. The bad guys are much worse than anything imaginable in the news today, because again, they're here, among us, and they’re supernatural criminals.

In this way, using familiar surroundings, the world-building only has to happen in relation to the creatures/beings in the story, and how they relate/react in known surroundings. So, my main characters might be ER doctors (Wolf Trap), Cops (Red Wolf), District Attorneys (Blackout), or immortal Blood Knights evolved from the time of the Round Table (Golden Vampire & Guardian of the Night), but these main characters have to blend in with the mortal population somehow, keep their secrets from the rest of us, and make their unique twist on their genetics work here in the world their creator (me) lives and breathes in.

The most effective way to showcase this kind of world within a world is through conflict.

Here are just a few of those conflicts (there are always more than one in a good, suspenseful story, right?):

Familiar surroundings vs creatures/beings that may have to adapt.

Mortals vs other kinds of beings.

One supernatural species vs another.

Good vs evil.

Secrets vs exposure.

Relationships - where one person is mortal, and the other is not. Or one is a vampire and one a werewolf, etc.

A plot line that makes it both tough and dangerous for Otherworldy secrets to be withheld in our world, with a leak of those secrets to one or more people, due to an event at the center of the plot.

      Discrepancies in cast status within a species.

I think you'll agree that there is nothing better (juicier) than several of these conflicts, or all of them, in one story. The trick is to integrate them in a seamless way that draws us all in from the opening paragraph and keeps us hanging on to the end.

The possibilities are endless.

Example:
In my first novella for Nocturne, "Blackout," I use Miami as my familiar surroundings, with its heat, sounds and smells. Okay. You get this picture already. No more has to be said.

On top of that, I add the supernatural. A deputy district attorney on his way home from a club, hurrying on a dark side street and noting the full moon overhead. The full moon is another layer of conflict because Dylan Landau, already late in ditching the public, is going to change shape before he makes it back to his apartment.

He has to be alone, of course, to do the shape-shift, since most of Miami is mortal, and has no idea there are actually, in reality, Lycans. So, I add a police car heading his way on that narrow side street = big trouble.
Then I make the cop car veer off and hit the curb. (What?) And a female cop falls out of the car, tearing at her clothes and looking sick. Next conflict: how can Dylan help? He's a good guy, but if he steps into the light, he'll change shape. A cop would see him in his werewolf form.

Worse yet, if he manages to rescue this female cop and get her into the shadows, where he is safe from the moon, she might, after seeing his monstrous shape, then recognize him in his mortal shape, from possibly seeing him in court.

Okay. Are those images clear? Do you see how the conflict can be ongoing? That's part of chapter one… and I pile up more and more conflict in this story until it's over. A swift ride, a sneak peek, into the paranormal world within this world.

My new full Nocturne, "Guardian of the Night," comes out May 22nd. This time it's an immortal Blood Knight from the Round Table days, discovered in the current century, in a forest in France, by an American woman searching for her missing sister. Can you already note the conflicts that might arise in this story from just that small bit of information? Can you see that forest in France? Yes!

If you're a writer, or a reader, you have probably noted conflict as being necessary to any genre. In the paranormal world, it's truly crucial. Hopefully, just this little bit of an explanation of how I use it might help to reinforce how it can work. I sure hope so. It has worked for me!

*Do you have anything to add?

*Do you have a favorite book that uses conflict to world-build?

*Have you read my work? (*blush on*)

If you have questions, or just want to wave, please do. I'm here today to connect with you, and hopefully make some new friends.

You can also find me, and what I'm doing on my web site:



Cheers for now-

*** oh, and one luck commenter will receive a download of my *lighter* side books. Do you feel lucky today?

Linda

"Guardian of the Night" by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Harlequin Nocturne – May 22, 2012

The Guardian. An immortal with incredible strength, created centuries ago to protect the purity of the vampire bloodline and fight those who would abuse its power.

As one of the seven Blood Knights, Mason LanVal spent lifetimes honoring his vows without wavering. That all changed the night he found Faith.

Faith James will do anything to save her missing sister. Even if it means risking her own life. She sought Mason for help. Instead she found more questions, and the key to unlocking her own latent powers. Her pull on Mason is twice damned. Yet he can't tear himself away.

With just one kiss, the blood gift Mason gives Faith sets in motion an all-consuming desire that is forbidden to indulge, but impossible to ignore....

Bio:
Linda Thomas-Sundstrom is an award-winning author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy for Kensington, Dorchester, and Harlequin's Nocturne imprint. She's a teacher by day, a writer by night, and swears she has "paranormal" in her genes.

Books by Nocturne: Blackout, Wolf Bait, Red Wolf, Wolf Trap, Moon Marked, Vampire Lover, Night Born, Golden Vampire, Guardian of the Night. Upcoming: Holiday with a Vampire (November 2012), Immortal Obsession (2013), Ghost Wulf (2013)

Linda's light paranormal side: Barbie and the Beast, Veronica and the Vampire.

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-- Lynda Again,
   What a great post! Remember, Linda has a giveaway for you so make sure you leave a comment.

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, May 21, 2012


I'm wracking my mind for a topic for a blog post with the SyFy Channel on in the background and Wookie, my alien kitten, lounging in her bed in front of the window. Suddenly, she looks up and chirrups which I take to mean 'Hey, Hooman, wats dat on TV?' I glance over and what do I see? Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in a third MIB trailer! And this one involves time travel (looks pretty cool too). I start wondering when it will hit the big screen when Wookie gives me the stink eye.

I realize what she was trying to do...She was telling me to bring up one of my older blog posts (time travel? LOL, yeah, maybe.) So I thought you might enjoy seeing this post originally on Savvy Authors. 

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Hi all, I'm Lynda and I'm a writing craft book junkie.

I peruse all the books at B&N or my smaller local bookstores to see if I can find that one teensy secret to creating outstanding characters, or wonderful plots, or using description, or witty dialogue, or even books on naming your characters. I've bought loads of them, enough to make my bookshelves groan and gasp.

Then my alien kitten, Wookie, who doubles as my muse, writing partner, inspiration, and general keeper, eyed my collection and muttered 'mrrfft'. In case you don't speak Feline, 'mrrfft' means 'Just go ahead and write.' It might also mean 'You wasted money on this when you could be buying me jewelry or expensive food?' 

She has a point. Not about the jewelry or fancy food, mind you, but about just writing. Writing is an acquired skill where you learn by doing. That isn't to say that reading a book about any one of the many craft areas isn't a good thing. It absolutely is.  Even better is to pick up a book by your favorite author, read it for pleasure, and then deconstruct it to learn how that author created her characters or plot or dialogue, etc.

When I mentioned this to Wookie, her eyes lit up and her ears tilted forward. She said, 'Chrrppt?' which in kitten lingo means 'Destruction? I like destruction. I will help.'

Sometimes we have communication problems.

After I explained the difference (and watched her go into one of her famous limp-bodied naps), I had to rub her cheek (never, ever, poke the Feline Queen of the Universe or you will regret it) to wake her up. Once I had her attention, I admitted it was sort of like destruction since the best way to do this is to use colored markers to highlight the areas of the book you're studying, ie red for characterization, yellow for plot...or whatever colors you want to assign. Marking up the book is kind of like destroying it so make sure you have one copy to keep all nice and pristine to read just for the pleasure of reading it.

Now, Wookie looked pretty impressed for a minute. Then she gave me the stink eye and asked 'brrrppprr?' I had to consult the Alien Cat dictionary for this one. It means, as close as I can tell, 'Pretty colors. Now what?'

Well, I explain, what I do is to take all the lines that I colored for characterization and put them on a separate piece of paper. Then I try to identify WHY I thought this was such a great line for characterization. And I'll do the same for plot or action or dialogue or whatever. Doing this gives me both an insight into what the author was trying to convey and what I felt the first time I read it. Combining technique with emotion is a great way to learn. And an even better way to write.

At this point, Wookie sashayed around my chair and purred, 'mrrowrr.' I'm pretty sure she meant 'Good job, grasshopper. Now go write something with ME in it.'

So I did.
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-- Hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane ;-)

Wookie also says I should remind you that I have books available (I think she worries that she might run out of noms or treats, lol) so here's the current list.

Heartstone
By Lynda K. Scott
Mundania Press
Science Fantasy Romance

Eric d'Ebrur is out of time. He must fine 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.

Available in print and ebook format
Buy Links: Mundania Press (use MP10 at checkout for 10% discount)

 
 

Altered Destiny
by Lynda K Scott
Science Fantasy Romance
Available in ebook formats

Stranded on an alternate Earth, architect and Jill-of-all-trades, Liane Gautier-MacGregor must find her way back to her homeworld before she's enslaved...or falls in love with a man who is the exact duplicate of her ex-husband.

Devyn MacGregor's alter ego as the Reiver Lord is the only way he can fight the Qui'arel and their nefarious Bride Bounty, a tax paid with human females...until he meets the oddly familiar woman who claims he is her husband. And who sets in motion the rebellion that will either free his countrymen or destroy them.


Buy Links:



Great Escapes-Valentine's Day
By Lynda K. Scott and Linda Wisdom 
Coliloquy

A woman goes to Great Escapes B&B to soothe a broken heart and thanks to the ministrations of an invisible lover discovers her true self. She has no idea that the man in the adjacent suite is on a sensual journey that has him ready to move on to look for the woman who's right for him.



Have a Blessed Dat!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest - Marsha A. Moore


Good morning all! I hope you're all having a splendid day. Today's guest, author Marsha A. Moore, is talking about one of my favorite subjects - Dragons as she explains the different types in the world of Dragonspeir. Enjoy!
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Creating Dragon Characters of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends
by Marsha A. Moore

Since I have a dragon on the cover of Seeking a Scribe, you’d expect those magical creatures to play a major role. Dragon lovers will not be disappointed. I love dragons and have included many types, ages, and sizes. Variety was a feature I consciously incorporated while planning these fantastical creatures. I’d like to share a brief description of the most common ones found in this first legend.

Like all fantasies, the battle between good and evil is a key theme that must be addressed. The dragons in my fantasy world of Dragonspeir are either members of the good Alliance, governed by the golden Imperial Dragon and his High Council, or the Dark Realm, led by the Black Dragon.

Alliance Dragons:
Gold dragons are born leaders, being lawful, just and good. Their intelligence exceeds the other types, and their wisdom is sought after. Being good-natured, they help those who are kind and fair. The Imperial Leader helps train and guide my heroine, Lyra, along her quest. Golds are the most powerful and largest in size. The breath weapon of gold dragons is a cone of fire. Although they are cautious about entering a fight and dislike killing, once engaged, they will pour their entire being into the battle.

Physically, gold dragons are spectacular. Two prominent horns point backwards along their heads. The most obvious feature is probably the tentacle whiskers that sprout from the bottom of the gold dragon's jaw, giving the appearance of a sort of beard in both males and females.

Like his father before him, the present Imperial Dragon will serve the Alliance until either he dies or steps down.  Similar to most golds, he keeps his Alliance headquarters in a grand network of caves set in the rock plateau. His overlooks the Steppe of Ora, the wide plain which divides good and evil in Dragonspeir. His lair includes an elaborate gathering hall, a vast library, guest quarters, and his own personal chambers with cases of magical instruments and a glass-walled observatory to consult the stars. As one of the four Alliance Guardians, his area of expertise is magic powered by the air element, including mystical astronomy studies of the skies.

Blue dragons are the sentries to the Imperial Dragon. They love spending hours soaring and are excellent trackers. Squadrons of them patrol the Alliance. They are lawful and obedient, with strong moral character. They are a brilliant cobalt blue, bearing a single horn. Their eyes are smooth and glossy, without pupils, which makes for an hypnotic appearance.

Although slightly smaller than golds, they are quicker to strike in battles with their lightning bolt breath.

Bronze dragons are duty-bound and honorable to a fault. Physically, the bronze dragon is quite fierce in appearance, despite its good nature. While most of its body is a reflective copper color, the wings are often tipped with green.

There are two breath weapons these dragons employ. They either use a bolt of lightning or a repulsion gas, which is so putrid that it forces everything away. Always in line with the Alliance, the bronze dragon is a deadly combatant, roasting enemies with bursts of lightning or ripping them open with its clawed forelegs.

Good thing for Lyra, the bronze dragon named Yasqu, who she raised from a hatchling, hasn’t learned about repulsion gas yet!

Dark Realm Dragons:
Black dragons, like the leader of the Dark Realm, always seek to lair in deep dark caves. Although small, they are vile, evil-tempered, and abusive. Their hearts are as dark as their slimy scales. They are obsessed with death and take comfort in the sickening-sweet aroma of drowned, rotting carcasses. The Black Dragon leader prefers his drake servants leave the prey they bring him in pools within his personal cave. The victims float for days or weeks before he eats them.

The dark leader, like all black dragons, is grim and skeletal. His eyes lie deep in their sockets between two great horns that curve forward and down. The flesh of his face is partially deteriorated or burnt from his acidic drool.  His method of attack is spitting caustic acid. My heroine and hero, Lyra and Cullen, learn too well what that feels like!

As allies to the Black Dragon, green dragons live alone in dense forests. Although short dragons, they have nasty, belligerent tempers. They delight in torturing their captives. The head of a green is covered in hornlets. They reek of chlorine since their chosen breath weapon is hurling clouds of toxic chlorine gas.

Numerous types of drakes are the soldiers and scouts of the Dark Realm. Fire and magma drakes attack with burning flames, while the evil ice drakes freeze victims with contact.

This was only a quick summary of many of the good and evil dragons in my Enchanted Bookstore Legends. There are others I enjoy just as much, like the little three-foot long pseudodragon, Noba, who is the wizard’s familiar to Cullen Drake, the Imperial Sorcerer of the Alliance. Read more about Noba and all the dragons in Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One.


Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One by Marsha A. Moore
Genre: Fantasy romance

Lyra McCauley is a writer and loves fantasy novels, but until she opens a selection from bookstore owner Cullen Drake, she has no idea he’s a wizard character who lives a double life inside that volume…or the story’s magic will compel her from the edge of depression to adventure, danger, and love.

His gift to Lyra, the Book of Dragonspeir, was actually her copy, misplaced years ago. Lost in her pain following divorce and death, she fails to recognize him as her childhood playmate from the fantasyland. Friendship builds anew. Attraction sparks. But Lyra doubts whether a wizard is capable of love. She’s torn—should she protect her fragile heart or risk new love?

Opening the book’s cover, she confronts a quest: save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge, fearing Cullen will perish if evil wins. Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power…and time is running out.


Author Links:

Excerpt:
Chapter One: Licorice Memories
The smell of anise greeted Lyra as she opened the door to Drake’s bookstore. It took her back to happy childhood memories. Licorice-shoe-string-rewards for following her parents’ requests to stay on the dock while they secured the family’s pleasure boat to its trailer. The aroma brought a fleeting remembrance of times long gone, a treasure now that her folks had recently passed. At ease with the familiar scent, she settled into browsing through rows of antique bookcases
.
The shop owner stuck his head around a set of shelves. “Do you like tea?”

“Yes, I do.” Before she could finish speaking, he disappeared. “Is that the wonderful smell?” she called out.

Kitchenware clinked in the back room. Receiving no answer, Lyra followed the noises, scanning collections as she walked. This bookshop appeared established, but surely she would have remembered it from her last visit to the Lake Huron village five years ago. Books were her passion, especially fantasy. She paused in front of that section and studied its titles.

The owner appeared, holding a pewter tray with a teapot, two cups, sugar jar, spoons, and napkins, which he laid on the corner of an old library table. She watched him carefully pour the tea and hand her a cup. He was about her age, mid thirties or a bit older, and handsome. His medium brown hair, peppered with gray at the temples, grazed his shoulders in wavy layers, and his beard was trimmed into a neat goatee. He wore long shorts, a knit golf shirt, and sandals—typical casual attire for this island resort community.

She set down her bag from the drugstore and accepted his offer with a smile. “Thanks. My name’s Lyra.” She blew across the hot surface of the tea to cool it and then inhaled the anise-scented steam. She closed her eyes to fully enjoy the memory. “Ah!”

“Afternoons of boating and licorice with your parents? Right?” he asked.

Her mouth dropped open. How did he know that?

He slurped from his cup. “Go ahead, take a sip. My folks gave me the same reward for taking my kid sister along on bicycle rides.”

Forgetting all about the tea, she asked, “How do you know my childhood memory?”

“Taste it.” His lips curled into a sly grin as he took another gulp.

She cautiously took a tiny sip, just enough to wet her lips and the tip of her tongue.  The flavor flooded her mouth, and her mind swam with wonderful memories. The taste transformed into that of gigantic popcorn balls the sheriff’s wife down the street made for Halloween trick-or-treaters, accompanied by images of Lyra’s costume—a red, fringed gypsy skirt borrowed from Mom. Next came a pumpkin flavor and vision of holding a cold piece of “punky-pie” in her five-year-old hand. Another swallow returned her experience back to anise. “What is this? How did you know?”

“Let me introduce myself.” His grin spread into a smile as his eyes met hers. He took a step closer. “I’m Cullen, Cullen Drake, and I know many things. What I don’t know is what sort of books you like to read.”

His keen interest caused heat to rise in her cheeks. “Well, actually I have several favorites, all fantasy and magical realism. You have a number of authors I like in this section.” She turned to refer to the shelves behind her, but found non-fiction hunting guides instead. “This case held classic fantasy a moment ago!”

Cullen put down his cup. “It moved. It’s over here, and I have just what you want.” He slid an old-fashioned library ladder along its track, set the locking device, and climbed straight up to the top shelf.

Lyra followed, walking between four comfortable leather club chairs grouped on a Persian rug. A portrait of a young girl and a man wearing a cloak caught her attention. Something seemed familiar in the child’s smile.

The noise of books sliding on shelves distracted her. She moved to the base of his ladder and glanced up. The ceiling of embossed tin panels decorated with Victorian teardrop chandeliers and paper Chinese dragons made a unique combination, to be sure.

But Lyra was more curious about the strange happenings in the store and its owner.  He was certainly odd, although not the bookish, geeky sort who usually ran bookshops she frequented. He had an athletic frame and strong legs.

“Can’t find it!” he exclaimed and quickly descended. His brow furrowed, he dusted off his hands on his shorts. “I’ve got to find that volume for you. If you don’t mind me saying, there’s a sadness about you. The book will make you happier than you’ve been since those days of licorice shoe strings.”

“After magical tea and shifting bookcases, I almost believe you.” She laughed to cover her concerns. Even four months after it was final, she worried that the loneliness she felt after her divorce blazed like a beacon on her forehead. But, Cullen knew so much—it startled her…actually, intrigued her. Her ex didn’t ever see inside her, didn’t want to. This man read her as though he knew her. Did he? He seemed so familiar.

“Once I find that book, I promise, you’ll be pleased.” He stroked his goatee. “Hmm. Where did I last see it?” The twinkle in his gray-blue eyes captivated Lyra. “Will you be here for the week? I can look for it and call you later.”

“I’m staying the rest of the summer with my elderly Aunt Jean. She owns a lovely cottage at the end of Walnut overlooking Lake Huron. I thought I’d keep her company and give her time away from her nurse during my teaching break. While I’m here, I plan to write my novel.”

“Great! You’re a writer? What do you teach?”

“Yes, and I teach American Literature at Southern University in Florida. Seems like you already would’ve known that since you jumped into my childhood memories,” she stammered, attempting some humor. Taking a long draught of the tea, her mind filled with memories of her pet dachshund wiggling next to her, displacing a row of dolls. Another part of her past he knew—impossible! Her forehead beaded with sweat.

“No, only thoughts associated with a lot of emotion, like the happiness of snuggling with your dog.”

“How?” she exclaimed, shaking her head. “I don’t understand.” Her mind swam, trying to grasp what happened. She desperately needed some fresh air. With trembling hands she set the cup down.

“I realize it must seem odd, but the book I’m looking for will help explain.” He leaned closer with a smile that somehow reassured her. “This is Saturday. If you can come by next Wednesday morning, I think I should have it for you by then…if you’d like.” He paused and looked into her eyes, waiting for a reply.

“Yes…I’m curious.” In spite of the confusion, she found herself agreeing. “Wednesday will work.”

“Fine. Let me take down your number in case I can’t find it.” He walked to the counter and located a notepad and pen. She dictated her number and full name, which he repeated, “Lyra McCauley, a lovely Celtic name for a pretty lady.”

“I think I need to go now. Thanks for the tea.” With shaking fingers, she collected her shopping bag and headed toward the door.

He escorted her out and offered his hand to shake, the corners of his goatee lifting into an inviting grin. “Enjoy the rest of your weekend.”

Lyra smiled and looked into his eyes, trying to discern his unusual clairvoyant gift. “You too.” The initial touch, of his palm against hers, sent electrical shivers along her arm. She jerked, yet didn’t let go, fascinated by the strong emotions flashing through her mind—attraction, excitement, and acceptance. After an awkwardly long pause, she dropped his hand, half-stumbled over the threshold into the sunshine, and took a long, deep breath.

She ambled to an outdoor cafĂ© a couple blocks farther down Tenth Street, while her mind buzzed with questions. How did he know those things about her? She dropped onto a seat at an empty table, shaded by an umbrella. He was fascinating and frightening at the same time…and familiar. Her divorce and loss of her parents left her lonely. He intrigued her.

“May I get you something to drink while you look over the menu?” The waitress interrupted with a bright young voice, a college student working a summer job.

Startled back to reality, Lyra murmured, “Just water, please.” Alone in a crowd of lunch goers, her thoughts returned to the bookstore and many unanswered questions.

The waitress placed a glass of water in front of her.

She almost hated to drink and remove the sweet aftertaste of anise from her tongue.

Author Bio:
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Her creativity also spills into watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transforming into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Crazy about cycling, she usually passes the 1,000 mile mark yearly. She is learning kayaking and already addicted. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and that spiritual quest helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at new stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!

Coming Release:
The follow-up to this book, Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two, will release soon—May 29th. Here is a brief description of what to expect as the battle between good and evil continues.

Lyra McCauley receives an alarming letter from the coroner who evaluated her deceased aunt, originally thought to have died of cancer. The news causes Lyra to take leave from her job and travel from sunny Tampa to the frozen island community in northern Michigan. Questioning whether Dragonspeir magic was responsible for her aunt’s death, she resolves to learn the truth and accepts the Imperial Dragon’s appointment into the Alliance sorcery training.

Additionally, becoming proficient in magic craft is the only way she can bridge the gap between her mortal human world and her lover’s. Cullen, a 220-year-old wizard, is dependent upon his Dragonspeir magic for immortality. He is her only family now; she cannot lose him.

Evil forces block her and try to steal her inherited scribal aura. Riding a stealth dragon, a cloaked rider pursues Lyra. Both the Alliance and Dark Realm alchemists lay tricks and traps. Her aura equals that of the first and most powerful Scribe, but will Lyra’s novice training allow her to discover the truth? Will she be able to be with Cullen, or will the Dark Realm keep them apart?

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-- Lynda Again,
    Wow, this series sounds terrific, doesn't it? Of course, with dragons, how could it go wrong?

   Have a Blessed Day!






Monday, May 07, 2012

Guest - Jordan K. Rose

Good morning all! Today's guest is Jordan K. Rose. Jordan is like many of us, with a huge variety of interests and skills. You can get the details in her bio below. Right now, join me in welcoming Jordan to Star-Crossed Romance!


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How’d you think of that?

Lynda, thanks so much for having me. I’m looking forward to getting to know some of your bog followers.

Write what you know. Be sure to research every aspect so you build a thoughtful world with no gaps. Make sure your story is different from what’s already out there. End with a happily ever after or happy for now.

So much advice. So many rules. What’s a new writer to do? Listen, follow a little bit of anything that seems like it will work and then do your own thing.

The next question you hear is where did that idea come from.

It’s a good question with a fairly elusive answer. Every book starts with an idea or a scene or a character that comes to the writer but nailing down the origin of the entire book’s concept is often challenging for writers. In my case the final product came from several places.

Firstly, I’ve been a vampire fan since I was a teenager and after an eight-week stint of reading seventeen vampire books I was completely submerged in the vampire idea. This happened at Christmastime so the Christmas party scene and another scene (subsequently cut from the book) at a shopping mall came to me first.

Somehow out of nowhere the concept of the heroine, Lucia, being reincarnated came to me. I’m fairly certain she just told me she was repeatedly reincarnated to find Vittorio, her vampire husband. It would have been lovely, if she’d told me everything!

That was really all I had for the first couple years. I wrote their adventure and knew something was missing, but what? I couldn’t figure it out. The last part of my story was crucial and yet unknown.

I was at RWA National in Florida at the FFnP Dinner with Ella Drake, Jax Cassidy, and Chudney where they sat with me, brainstorming. They had all sorts of ideas, but nothing that really hit home. However, the ideas were churning, round and round. When I got home from conference, it hit me. Finally.

Lucia is repeatedly reincarnated to find Vittorio not simply because she loves him, but more because she’s a divine vampire slayer, a Pharo of Redemption, sent to kill him and bring his soul to The Light.

Ah-ha! In three short months I re-wrote the entire book, weaving in all the intricacies of this new layer of conflict.

Building my world was easier for me than for sci-fi writers. My story unfolds in modern day New England with memories of a lifetime in 1600s Italy. The one portion of the world I did have to build was The Abyss, sort of a purgatory like place souls must cross through in order to get to The Light.

My influence for this was a recurrent nightmare I had as a kid. I dreamt of a black place where the concept of depth and distance or really any spatial relationships was non-existent. At times it felt like the blackness was closing in and at other times it felt infinitely huge. It was an abyss, perfect for my story.

The idea of vampires having damned souls and someone being sent to help them return to The Light comes from my Catholic upbringing. Could there be anything worse than an eternity in hell? Personally, I don’t think so.

Everyday life, from dreams to religion to festivities to helpful colleagues influences every decision a writer makes. It’s just remembering to be open to the influences and willing to receive the messages, then figure out what to do with them!

Tell me about the books you’ve read where the concepts or worlds most intrigued you. What was so interesting and why?



Perpetual Light

Fate is cruel. Especially when the one you’ve sworn to love for all eternity, the very soul who changed your destiny is the last person you should trust.

After more than three hundred years of running, Lucia Dicomano must make a choice.

Forced to take her place as a Pharo of Redemption, the divine slayer needs to master her forgotten powers. Lucia turns to Vittorio, the one vampire she’s failed to deliver from eternal damnation. But overcoming smoldering remnants of love, lust and anger aren’t their only obstacles.

Samuel, who may know Lucia better than she knows herself, hunts her with a fervor stoked by a thousand years of vengeful hatred. His plan—capture and enslave the weakened Pharo then take control of her elusive power. 

Can Lucia trust Vittorio long enough to reclaim her powers? Or will she have no choice but to kill him and battle Samuel alone?


About Jordan

After trying her hand at many, many things- from crafting and art classes to cooking and sewing classes to running her own handbag business, Jordan finally figured out how to channel her creativity. With an active imagination and a little encouragement from her husband she sat down and began to write, each night clicking away at the keys with her black Labrador, Dino curled up under the desk.

A few short years later she’s entered the publishing arena with no plans to ever turn back.

Jordan’s a member of Rhode Island Romance Writers, as well as RWA National, and the New England (NEC), Connecticut, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FFnP) Chapters.

Her first book, Perpetual Light, is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and All Romance Ebooks from Crescent Moon Press.





Find Jordan on her website at www.jordankrose.com
Follow her tweets on https://twitter.com/#!/jordankrose 
Friend her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jordankrose

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-- Lynda Again
    Interesting concept for a book. Sounds like another one to put on my TBB list.

    Hope you all have a Blessed Day!