Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Guest - Zrinka Jelic


Good morning, all! We have author Zrinka Jelic visiting today to tell us why she chose to write paranormal. Should be fascinating! She's got a giveaway so make sure you follow her instructions PLUS leave a way for her to contact you in case your name is drawn. Good luck!

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Thank you for hosting me on your blog today, Lynda. It’s always exciting and such pleasure to reach out to new audience. Just for stopping by I will randomly pick one person who leaves me a comment. The gift is an e-copy of one of my two books, winner’s choice.

For this blog stop, I’ve decided to ramble about why I write paranormal. In my debut novel “Bonded by Crimson” paranormal theme is mild, comparing to some books where the unnatural is too heavy. I find it bogs down the plot and usually the paranormal world is not fully developed. I chose the paranormal mostly because I love to resurrect the old legends or tragic love stories and give the characters the chance to love each other. Just to see what their love would be like had it not been forbidden. Was their initial attraction an infatuation? Would it last or dwindle away? And since the people in those stories are long dead, the only way to bring them back to life is to make them immortal. Or reincarnated, in different bodies but with the same souls.

The hero in “Bonded by Crimson” is a half breed. His transformation to vampire didn’t complete and he’s give best of both worlds. He is not able to make minions, but he can recognize a vampire in the crowd. Though he prefers the company of mortals, there’re times when vamps do come in handy.

The heroine is human, but she has sensitivity to paranormal world. She tries to deny it, but can’t hide from it. I can’t disclose all the details of how the hero got into her head and persuaded her to write his story because that will be detailed in the prequel I’m working on now.

One other thing you’ll find in my books is the setting. I love to take the reader to all expenses paid trip to Croatia. I grew up playing hide and seek on the remains of the ancient Roman Forum, or a game of tag, running through the narrow mediaeval streets, paved by the hands of people who lived there centuries ago. Kids today still enjoy this without a second thought. The kind of freedom children in North America don’t get to experience anymore. As soon as I learned how to swim, I spent entire days of summer on the beach. We all knew when the sun dipped it’s time to go home for supper. And that was it. There were no 24/7 TV program, no internet, no video games and lo and behold we’re still alive. But, I wouldn’t trade that childhood for what kids have today.

You will find all these things incorporated in my books. I love to reminisce on the time long gone that will not come back.

About Zrinka: Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get. “Alas,” Jelic says, with a grin. “Some rain must fall in everyone’s life.”


Love isn’t in the cards for Kate. After her short failed marriage she’s trying to rebuild her life and finds herself nursing the three lovely boys of Mr. Zrin. A man, whose idea of fatherhood is non-existent. Her efforts to bring the best out of this reluctant father are mysteriously supported by a being she cannot grasp. It takes a trip to her hometown in Croatia and an evening full of coffee-reading with her old friend to find out that there’s an earthbound spirit attached to Kate.

For the past six years, Matthias Zrin has been trying to follow his dead wife’s urging to change his ways and become the father she always wanted him to be. Not an easy task for a three centuries old immortal. His search for the ultimate nanny ends when Kate Rokov stumbles to his home and into his arms. The immediate attraction he feels for Kate sets him off. He isn’t prepared to let go of the love he harboured for one woman for over three hundred years. But when Kate offers him her loving smile, everything he clung to in the past begins to tumble and break down on him.  

Excerpt: He claimed to be immortal, but that was ridiculous...wasn’t it?

Kate’s heart hammered. The experience seemed so real. A low moan escaped her and she bit her lip. Soon warmth surged through her, causing her body to go limp. Her legs gave way underneath her, but Matthias—or whoever this man claimed to be now—wrapped his arm around her waist. His sweet, musky scent clung to her. Ecstasy filled her and she felt as if she hovered in the air. If he intended to kill her like this, she could imagine no better way to die. A voice echoed through her mind, speaking of undying love in centuries old Croatian.

“Wake up,” he whispered close to her ear, his strong arms still locked around her.

“I don’t want to.” Her head wobbled, exuberant with sheer happiness, a kind she had never experienced before.

“You must.” He stroked her hair with tender fingers. “Wake up now.”

“No. I want to stay like this. Forever.” She focused on his handsome face staring at her through her haze.
His smooth cheek brushed against hers. “Me too, but you must wake.”

The fog lifted and his image appeared, clearly now. She blinked once. Twice. What had happened? She pushed away from him and flattened her back against the wall.

“You, you—”

“You,” he said, pointing at her, “asked for proof.”

Where to get “Bonded by Crimson”




Also look for my second book titled “Treasured Chest” a historical pirate’s romance with action/adventure on high seas. Here’s the blurb.

The last thing Captain Sirena expected to find on a desolate island was...him!

When Carmen Ventura takes up her post as commander of the Strega, she becomes the new Captain Sirena, the legendary pirate most people think is just a myth created to scare children. Her first quest is to search for the “treasured chest” hidden by her predecessor. But before she can even begin the hunt, she runs into Marko Lucin, captain of the Levant and Carmen’s most insane adventure yet.

How can the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen be a bloody pirate?

Never one to pass up an adventure, especially where pretty women are concerned, Marko finds his ultimate challenge in Carmen. Not only does he fall for her courage, spunk, and intelligence, but the lady pirate can also help him get what he wants—the famous treasure everyone whispers about. His only problem—how long can he play the charming captain before she discovers his true intentions?

Where to get “Treasured Chest”








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-- Lynda Again,
    Wow, what great covers, Zrinka! And the books sound fascinating! I think all the Star-Crossed Romance readers will agree.

    Don't forget to leave a comment and a way for Zrinka to contact you (e-addy is great) or make sure you check back to see if you've been selected.

     Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Guest - Terry Spear

Good morning! It's a typical February here in Michigan - cold, dreary, cloudy, warm, bright, snowy, rainy. You name it, that's what it will be in five minutes. Which makes having a Terry Spear book to read a very good thing! Terry is offering a copy of her book to one lucky commenter. Answer her question (and make sure you leave your email addy so she can contact you) to enter her drawing. Good luck!

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Was it a Wolf? Or a Regular Guy?
By Terry Spear

Can you imagine being financially set, and then some swindler takes all of your savings? That you’ve built up for years?

That’s what happens when Guthrie MacNeill has it on good authority to invest some of the clans’ money in a rip-off investor’s scheme. He’s not the only one. The man has ruined many big-time investors.

Not only is he a big crook, he’s a wolf—gray werewolf. And Duncan MacNeill is out to get him and return the money to the pack.

One of the things Scots were known for was hospitality. If someone wanted lodging for the night, their home was open to you. Historically. With the clan being a werewolf pack, the pack isn’t quite that willing to allow outsiders to stay within the castle walls.

You see, in a paranormal world, the rules aren’t always the same as what everyone else lives by. A crook like Silverman would go to prison, if he was only a human. But a werewolf can’t go to prison. Orange jumpsuits don’t work well on wolves.

It’s fun combining a paranormal world with a real one. I took all the excursions on Grand Cayman Island that Duncan and Shelley did. When I visited there, I had no idea someday it would become the playground of a couple of werewolves, or that they would face danger, run as wolves there—I can’t even imagine having run into a couple of wolves on the beach or snorkeling with them!

They did all the normal touristy things like even shop in a boutique.

Yet they don’t see things exactly like we do. The forest is closed at night, but do they care? Why does she want to return at night? To see the moonlight stretched across the fronds of a palm tree. A tree that has special meaning.

Oh, yeah, we might think it’s cool, but to the wolf in her, it means something even more.

Can you imagine if you could smell emotions on someone? We can, we just don’t realize it. But animals recognize it and use these smells to keep them safe or to learn if another is interested in them.

We smell the more pungent odors—the ocean, fish…but the wolves… Now they smell the intrigue, or fear, or anger emanating off another. And this will color their world differently from ours. We have to rely on somebody’s body language, voice. The wolves will too, but they also identify emotions from smell.

We visit an ocean paradise, and we do breathe in these new smells, enjoying them, adding to our experience there. And the wolves do, too. Only they can smell so much more. Like when he smells a whiff of she-wolf at the airport, and he’s instantly looking for her.

Such is the way of wolves…and in this case, hot and sexy werewolves.

So remember, the next time you take a trip somewhere and you think that the couple across from you at the restaurant are just like you…think again. They might just love to run beneath the full moon at night, and howl their contentment.

Have you ever been somewhere that you might have run into a werewolf or two?

Thanks to Lynda for having me here today!

One lucky commenter who answers my question, or asks about my world or future stories, will be entered in a chance to win. Contest open to US or Canada addresses only. No PO Boxes. Thanks! Terry


A HOWL FOR A HIGHLANDER BY TERRY SPEAR – IN STORES FEBRUARY 2013

A Highland Wolf on a Mission...
Duncan MacNeill is hell-bent on catching the thief who's stolen the clan's fortune and run off to Grand Cayman Island. Duncan has rarely left his homeland and he couldn't care less about an island paradise. He never expected to find a beautiful distraction who will show him just how appealing paradise can be...

Meets a Dangerous Distraction...
Lone wolf and botanist Shelley Campbell headed to the island to study the old growth forests. She didn't count on meeting a handsome Highlander who can't keep his paws off her.

Praise for Terry Spear:
"Intense and swoon-inducing...The chemistry is steamy."—USA Today Happy Ever After

"Fascinating characters and an exciting, action packed plot."—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

"Intriguing...The queen of werewolf drama Terry Spear provides a powerful take of love and war."—Midwest Book Review

"Highlanders and werewolves. Be still my heart!"—The Good, the Bad, and the Unread

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bestselling and award-winning author Terry Spear has written a couple of dozen paranormal romance novels and two medieval Highland historical romances. Her first werewolf romance, Heart of the Wolf, was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and her subsequent titles have garnered high praise and hit the USA Today bestseller list. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on her next werewolf romance and continuing her new series about shapeshifting jaguars. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear .

Purchase A Howl for a Highlander:

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-- Lynda Again,
    If you'd like to see my review of A Howl for a Highlander, I have it posted here.
    Don't forget to answer Terry's question to enter her drawing!

    Have a Blessed Day!

Review - A Howl for a Highlander by Terry Spear

A Howl for a Highlander
Terry Spear
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
February 2013


Scottish Wolf Duncan MacNeill is on a mission to save his family from fiscal ruin. The MacNeills have been swindled of their fortune by Salisbury Silverman. The pack is depending on Duncan to get their money back. When he arrives at the beautiful Cayman Islands to search for Salisbury, he scents a female wolf shifter. And she's lovely in every way even if she is American. Duncan can't afford to be distracted by the beautiful she-wolf but when he discovers that his reservations were lost, he ends up sharing a beachfront house with the lady.

Shelley Campbell, a university professor and botanist, was planning to study the forests of the Cayman Islands until she discovers that her funds have been embezzled from the university. Even though she's intrigued by the handsome Scottish wolf, she's leery about having him too close. She doesn't want to be claimed, mated and taken away from her job and family by some stranger even if he's a gorgeous and charming Highland Wolf.

Then they discover that they're after the same crook…and, worse, that the crook has his eye on Shelley.

A Howl for a Highlander has it all - steamy love scenes, surprising twists of humor, an intriguing plot, thrilling action and characters you'd love to meet…especially the alpha wolf types in kilts. Duncan isn't the alpha of his pack but, nevertheless, he is an alpha at heart. He's a warrior, more used to swinging a sword or a fist than understanding a woman…but he quickly learns to temper his possessive overprotectiveness with an endearing tenderness for Shelley.

Shelley is independent, smart and passionate about her work, her family and…Duncan. She's no pushover though and stands up for herself when she has to. She doesn't take careless chances though. She reasons her way through problems and when muscle is needed, she's willing to let the males step up. What is really interesting is that Shelley becomes protective and possessive about Duncan too as the story evolves. That these two are meant for each other is apparent from the beginning even if it takes them a bit longer to come to that realization.

I also have to commend Ms. Spear on her research for this book. The descriptions are clear and precise and will put you right on the beach or in the depths of the Cayman forest or swimming in the warm Caribbean ocean.  

A Howl for a Highlander is a fantastic read. You don't want to miss it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pre-Lent Celebrations


Thought I'd get us in the mood for Lent :-) Not that I'm Catholic (I'm not but my dh is) but the way we humans celebrate holidays or religious events with food fascinates me. So I did a bit of research...

From Wikipedia: Shrove Tuesday is a term commonly known in English-speaking countries associated with the United Kingdom and its Anglican traditions, especially Canada, Ireland, Australia[1], New Zealand, and parts of the United States[2] for the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian season of fasting and prayer called Lent.

The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and doing penance. During the week before Lent, sometimes called Shrovetide in English, Christians were expected to go to confession in preparation for the penitential season of turning to God. Shrove Tuesday was the last day before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and noted in histories dating back to 1000 AD. The popular celebratory aspect of the day had developed long before the Protestant Reformation, and was associated with releasing high spirits before the somber season of Lent. It is analogous to the continuing Carnival tradition associated with Mardi Gras (and its various names in different countries) that continued separately in European Catholic countries.

In the United States, the term "Shrove Tuesday" is less widely known outside of people who observe the liturgical traditions of the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic Churches. Because of the increase in many immigrant populations and traditions since the 19th century, and the rise of highly publicized festivals, Mardi Gras has become more familiar as the designation for that day.

In the United Kingdom and many other countries, the day is often known simply as Pancake Day. Making and eating such foods was considered a last feast with ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.



A Festy cock is a Scottish dish made of a ball of finely ground meal, wetted and patted, rolled into a pancake shape, then roasted in the hot ashes from a mill kiln. This was a dish to be eaten at Shrovetide

For German American populations, such as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, it is known as Fastnacht Day (also spelled Fasnacht, Fausnacht, Fauschnaut, or Fosnacht). The Fastnacht is made from fried potato dough and served with dark corn syrup. In John Updike's novel Rabbit, Run, the main character remembers a Fosnacht Day tradition in which the last person to rise from the table would be teased by the other family members and called a Fosnacht.


In Hawaii, this day is also known as Malasada Day, which dates back to the days of the sugar plantations of the 1800s. The resident Catholic Portuguese workers used up butter and sugar prior to Lent by making large batches of malasada, a fried dough.



In Iceland the day is known as Sprengidagur (Bursting Day) and is marked by eating salt meat and peas.


In Lithuania the day is called Užgavėnės. People eat pancakes (blynai) and Lithuanian-style doughnuts called spurgos.






In heavily Polish Catholic areas of the United States, such as Chicago and the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, Pączki Day is celebrated with pączki eating contests, music and other Polish food. (The custard is my favorite :-) I allow myself one on Fat Tuesday (with a calorie count at 420 for these luscious treats you know why.))



In Sweden, the day is marked by eating a traditional pastry, called semla or
fastlagsbulle, a sweet bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream. Originally, the pastry was only eaten on this day. It was sometimes served in a bowl of hot milk. Eventually the tradition evolved to eating the bun on each Tuesday of Lent leading up to Easter. After the Reformation, the Protestant Swedes no longer observed a "strict" Lent with fasting ritual.

Clearly, we have very few holidays that aren't associated with eating so go forth and sample all the world's delicacies but keep your hands off the custard paczki -- that one's mine! :-)

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-- Lynda Again

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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Guest - Amber Belldene


Good morning! We have an intriguing guest today. Author Amber Belldene is an Episcopal minister and a Romance Author. Today, she's blogging about our favorite subject - the paranormal genre. She's also offering a giveaway so make sure you follow her instructions to enter the drawing. 

Enjoy and Good luck!

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A Fang by any other Name

One of my favorite things about writing in the paranormal genre is the way all the romance tropes become fresh—enemies to lovers, a baby on the door step, and my favorite: star crossed lovers.   Romeo and Juliet, kept apart by family rivalry, become a human and a vampire, a succubus and a demon slayer, a werewolf and a werepanther (I haven’t read this one, but it must be out there—the whole cats and dogs thing would be so fun!).

J.R. Ward does a great job with this in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series—vampires are forbidden to interact with humans and must erase the memories of those they encounter.  Except, sometimes the erasing doesn’t quite stick.  My favorite BD brother is Vishous (sorry if you get tired of hearing this about me, I’m seriously hung up on him).  When he erases himself from Jane’s mind, she suffers terrible grief without knowing why.  It’s tragic on the scale of young Romeo and Juliet in the crypt.  Another one of my favorite, dark vampire worlds is Sarah Reinke’s Brethren Series. She created a frightening vampire culture that ruthlessly punishes anyone that rejects violence or dabbles with humans.   

In my novel Blood Vine, there is plenty of “star-crossed” tension between the human heroine Zoey and vampire hero Andre, there’s even some between gay and straight characters, but the primary tension is the series is between vampires and the Hunters sworn to exterminate them. 

Human Pedro and Hunter Lucas have great chemistry, which gets turned on its head when Pedro becomes a vampire.  Vampires repulse Lucas, and yet he can’t help but care for Pedro.  There’s a lot more to their relationship, and I don’t want to give away its complexity, which gets even more hot and thorny in the upcoming sequel Blood Entangled.  But exploring the internal and external conflicts between the characters  was one of my favorite parts of writing Blood Vine.  First there’s the “can I love him?” question, and then there is the “what will it cost me to love him?” part. 

            "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” Juliet tells Romeo.   And the same trope can work in pretty much any story.  The challenge with making it fresh in paranormal rests mostly on building a unique world.  Is it intricate enough to spawn varied conflicts?  Or will every set of characters play out the same drama book after book?  I confess there are many series I abandoned when book three turned out to be the same as books one and two. 

            What authors build the best worlds? Who can turn a familiar trope into something thrilling and fresh? I’ll name one more—Gail Carriger’s world in the Soulless series is so brilliant, and continues to unfold seamlessly via plot and character, in every book. 

  I’d love to hear your favorites!  Please share—and anyone who leaves the name of their favorite paranormal author in the comment will be entered in a giveaway to win a copy of Blood Vine


Blood Vine

Bites are an inconvenient bliss, exiled vampires are wasting away, and the fate of their kind depends on the perfect PR campaign. 

When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one-night stand she can’t forget. After her husband’s suicide, Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again. But can she walk away from the intriguing winemaker a second time?



Driven from Croatia by his ancient foes, vampire Andre Maras has finally made a blood-like wine to cure his fellow refugees. Now he needs Zoey’s PR expertise to reach them. After his wife’s death, Andre has a vow of his own—never to risk another painful blood bond. And one taste of the tempting Zoey would bind him to her eternally.

Bio

Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book.  As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.

Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion.  She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths.  Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that longing.  She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.  

Check out my blog for excerpts starring Andre and Zoey.  Today, I decided to share Pedro and Lucas’s first meeting:

Pedro had only seen the yellow-eyed hottie that one time—strolling into the tasting room while he manned the counter. Lucas’s whisky-colored eyes were intriguing, so Pedro made a show of scanning his lean, powerful body.

Lucas returned the look, and the flirtation began. “How long have you worked here?”

“Oh, I don’t. Just helping today. I’m the assistant winemaker.”

Dark brows arched over golden eyes. “Really?  Well, you make amazing wine. It’s a favorite of mine.”
A sincere compliment or a come on?  Pedro didn’t care. It made him warm all over. “Thanks. What do you do?”

“I work in public relations. My brother has a firm.”

That was good luck—Andre had a sudden need for P.R. help. “Have any wineries as clients?”

“A few. Why?”

He slid a legal pad across the bar, and tapped it with a pencil. “We need some P.R. Give me the details, and I’ll pass them along to the winemaker.”  With Lucas standing nearby, Pedro called Andre. “Hey, boss. I’ve got a lead for you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Call Ethan Bennett at Bennett Public Relations. They might be a good fit for your branding project.”
“Really?”  The old guy sounded almost hopeful. “Give me the number. I’ll call right now.”

Pedro read it off.

When he ended the call, he found Lucas watching him.

Lucas tipped the last taste of his wine down his throat, his Adam’s apple bobbing before he said, “Did you study winemaking in California?”

“No, in Argentina. I went to university there.”

Lucas winked. “Me encanta Buenos Aires.”

This guy made Pedro’s head spin and his knees weak, like he’d downed a whole bottle of wine himself. “Si? Yo tambien. Verdad, es un ciudad muy spectacular.”  He poured a little more wine into the man’s glass, brushing his fingers where they held the stem.




Connect with Amber:

Buy Blood Vine

Monday, February 04, 2013

Guest - Cheryl Brooks 9 Lives Book Blogger Hop

Good morning! We have the delightful Cheryl Brooks visiting us today. But first I have to let you know that we're part of the 9 Lives Book Blogger Hop in honor of her 9th book, WILDCAT, in this fabulous series. Here at Star-Crossed Romance, we're celebrating WARRIOR, book #2. (Click on the titles to see my reviews) Check below to see how you can enter the drawing for a free copy of Warrior!







1.       Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
CB: Ideas come from everywhere. Some are related to specific events and experiences while others are the culmination of being on the planet for fifty-plus years. I glean information from friends, family, books, movies, magazines, the Internet, and from eavesdropping on the occasional conversation.

2.       What do you like to do when you're not writing?
CB: I recently resigned my nursing position to allow more time for my writing, and I continue to enjoy music, cooking, and gardening. I’m down to two horses, both of whom are enjoying their retirement. I don’t ride much anymore, but I still like to hang out at the barn.

3.       What does your family think of your writing?
CB: Although they seldom read my work, they’re very supportive. However, it took speaking at the Indianapolis Star Trek convention to get my husband and eldest son to attend a writing-related event!

4.       Tell us a little bit about the Cat Star Chronicles, and what made book 2, Warrior, special to you!
CB: Back when I first began writing, there was science fiction and there was romance. I combined the two and came up with this series. Also, I wanted strong, independent heroines rather than simpering misses, and preferred likable heroes to arrogant alpha males. Warrior was special because I was able to incorporate my interest in animals and herbal medicine into the story.

5.       What do you think makes a good story?
CB: The characters come first. If you don’t care what happens to the characters, there’s no point in reading about them. An imaginative plot is essential, but it has to be believable within the context of the genre. Nothing will yank me out of a story quicker than something I consider to be impossible.

6.       What do you enjoy most about writing?
CB: I enjoy giving free rein to my imagination, but most of all, I love it when the pieces fall into place, even though I didn’t plan it that way.

7.       What do you enjoy most about life?
CB: Family, friends, nature, and tea.

8.       Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
CB: I start with an idea for the meeting between hero and heroine, give them a mystery to solve or send them on a quest, and then let the story play out. The happily ever after is a given. Discovering what occurs between the first scene and the last is the fun part.

9.       What have you learned from writing the Cat Star Chronicles Series?
CB: I’ve learned to be a better writer and a more observant human being.

10.   If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
CB: I would tell myself to join the Romance Writers of America (the national organization and my local Indiana chapter) much sooner. I’m a better writer today because of what I’ve learned from them.

11.   What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
CB: I want readers to feel the emotions—the laughter and the tears, as well as the passion.

12.   Would you leave us with a short excerpt from the 9th book in the series, Wildcat?
CB: This scene from Chapter 14 gives an overview of the tragedy at the heart of the series.

Jerden took a deep breath and blew it out slowly as though trying to control his temper or some other emotion. “I thought we’d gotten past this. Look, I can understand you being nervous, but please, just stay here and talk to me—about anything. I only want to be with you and hold you if you’ll let me. You make me feel whole again.” He paused, frowning. “In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt whole—or grounded. Not for a very long time. I’ve been… adrift.”

His gaze met hers; the glow from his vertical pupils was more apparent in the dim indoor light. He looked so alien with his upswept brows and pointed ears, and yet his expression was so intensely human.

“You left your homeworld by choice. Mine was blown to bits along with all of my family. I haven’t had a real home since.” His eyes swept the room. “Nothing like this. It’s no wonder I wound up in a brothel on Rhylos. And then Audrey was murdered because of what I am. I’m sorry if it sounds selfish, but I need you, Sara. Most of all, I need you to understand.”

She could’ve sworn there were tears in his eyes—or were those her own tears clouding her vision? Nodding, she sank down in the chair he’d offered, her gaze locked on his. “Go ahead. I’m listening.”

He blinked, and yes, there really were tears. She could see them glistening at the corners of his eyes. “Our enemies had been very thorough. There was no way off the planet. We could see the asteroid heading straight for our world, and there wasn’t a damned thing we could do to stop it.

“Then a ship landed, and my parents made sure I got on it. I was five years old and the only child they had left. I was screaming my head off when they handed me over. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t come with me. There wasn’t room for them—I realized that later, but at the time…”

He paused, shaking his head. “Then the ship lifted off and left orbit just before the asteroid hit. Some of us were only babies, but the rest of us were watching the viewscreen and saw it happen.” His voice dropped to a whisper. “Our entire planet was gone in a matter of seconds. I’ll never forget the screams of those children until my dying day.”

He brushed away the tears. “Later on, we were told that Rutger Grekkor, the husband of our rescuer, was responsible for the war against our kind. Amelyana had taken a Zetithian lover, and Grekkor, a very rich, powerful, and insanely jealous man, had retaliated by attempting to kill all of us. She stole one of his ships and did what she could to save as many children as possible.

“We spent the next twenty-five years in space, waiting until she deemed it safe to land. It wasn’t until Grekkor was killed and the bounty was no longer being paid on any survivors that we came to Terra Minor. Grekkor’s assets were then divided among the remaining Zetithians. We went from penniless to rich almost overnight.

“Some of us settled here. My friends Tarq and Onca and I decided to pool our funds and open a brothel on Rhylos. We’d been trapped on that ship for so long… I guess we were all a little nuts. Anyway, we made a fortune, but then Audrey was killed—and you know what that did to me. I came here to live and try to forget and maybe get back to normal.” He sighed. “I’m not quite there yet—if I even know what normal is. Anyway, that’s my story. When you’re ready to tell yours, I’ll be here to listen.”

Sara sat gazing at him, trying to imagine the depths of his pain. The darkness in her own past was nothing compared to what had happened to him. Nothing, and yet she still couldn’t find the words to tell him about it. She had never been able to speak of it—to anyone.

As if he read her thoughts, he went on, “And don’t be thinking that what happened to you seems trifling compared to my history. Nothing hurt me. Not directly. I suffered no injuries—emotional trauma, yes, but nothing physical. I believe it was different for you, and therefore even more devastating—more critical to your life and who you are. When you do decide to tell me, don’t make light of it, Sara, and don’t compare your pain to mine or anyone else’s. Believe me, it won’t do any good. All that matters is how it affected you.”

The only time Sara had initiated physical contact with a man was when Jerden had been lying unconscious in her bed. If she was ever going to do it with a conscious man, the time was now. Getting to her feet, she held out her arms.

And he walked right into them.


Follow Along the 9 Lives Book Blogger Hop!
Each blog will feature a different book in the Cat Star Chronicles series, culminating on Cheryl’s blog with a giveaway extravaganza!

2/1 Night Owl Reviews: SLAVE
2/4 Star-Crossed Romance: WARRIOR
2/12 Romance at Random: OUTCAST
2/13 Fresh Fiction: FUGITIVE
2/27 Love Romance Passion: WILDCAT
2/28 Cheryl Brooks Erotic Blogspot: Grand Prize Giveaway!
Friendly Warning-Cheryl’s blog is NOT for the faint of heart—she didn’t call it erotic for nothing! J

WILDCAT BY CHERYL BROOKS – IN STORES FEBRUARY 2013
BOOK 9 IN THE CAT STAR CHRONICLES

Only One Woman Can Tame Him…
When horse breeder Sara Shield encounters Jerden Morokovitz riding naked and bareback, she's stunned by the magnificence of both man and stallion. But Sara came to Terra Minor hoping to get away from men.

If She Can Give Up Her Fear...
The murder of Jerden's lover by a deranged woman has left this former star attraction of the Zetithian Palace brothel shattered in mind and body. Jerden is sure that Sara can heal his anguish—but not unless he can find the key to her heart.

Praise for Wildcat:
“Scorching hot... a book that keeps you turning pages...” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Brooks gives Jerden and Sara over two hundred pages to become real, believable, and important to the reader before their relationship evolves into a highly erotic sexual one.” —Booklist

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cheryl Brooks is the award-winning romance writer of the very sexy sci-fi romance series, The Cat Star Chronicles. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and lives with her husband, two sons, five cats, two horses, and one dog in Indiana. The tenth book in the Cat Star Chronicles, Rascal, will be in stores in 2014! For more information, please visit http://cherylbrooksonline.com/ or follow her on Twitter: @CherylCatMaster.

To Purchase Wildcat:
Sourcebooks


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-- Lynda Again,
    Here's a link to the first Cheryl Brooks guest post from way back then. I can tell you now...I'm looking forward to the next book in this series but I see I have to wait until 2014! Ah well.
    For Star-Crossed Romance readers...leave a comment AND send me an email ( Lynda@Lyndakscott.com )with Warrior in the subject line, and your name and address in the body. I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, pick the winners (we'll have two lucky readers!) on Friday. She's going to be in catnip heaven, lol.
    
   Have a Blessed Day!.