Monday, September 23, 2013

Guest - Ashlyn Chase

Good morning! Join me on the cozy couch and assorted comfy chairs as I welcome author Ashlyn Chase. Ashlyn has a new book out 'How To Date A Dragon' that you'll love. Check my review  here. Plus, her publicist is giving away 1 copy of the book preceding this one - Flirting Under A Full Moon.  Leave a comment with your email addy, so I can contact you, by Friday to be entered in the drawing.

Now...for the interview!

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1.            How do you know when you’ve hit your zone?
AC: When the words just flow. The characters are talking to each other and I can barely keep up with them. (I’m not a fast typist.)

2.            Do you have a daily writing ritual?
AC: I answer email first. Then check Facebook. I try not to get sucked into social media so I can get writing by at least 9 a.m. Most of the time, I’m successful.

3.            Are you superstitious about your work? Explain a bit about that. I’m curious!
AC: Hmmm…sort of. I don’t like anyone to see my first draft before my critique partner does. That’s not really superstitious. She catches the really stupid boo boos and keeps the egg off my face.

4.            Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a hybrid?
AC: Definite hybrid. I usually write about 3 chapters without much plotting. I just want to know what the characters are like and how they need to grow organically. Then I plot more conflicts, and eventually get them to grow to the point where they can succeed in their quest, whatever it may be.

5.            Do you prefer to write novellas, short stories, or full-length books? Which do you prefer to reading?
AC: I like fast paced stories, so I’m actually a novella girl. I can write short novels without much trouble, but you have no idea how I sweat the big stuff! Trying to keep up that pace for 350 pages is crazy.

6.            Who have been your greatest influences? Your biggest obstacles (you don’t need to name names, just generalizing is fine)? How have you seen these shape you as a writer?
AC: My mother was one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. One of her favorite sayings (and she had a lot of them) was “Nothing ventured; nothing gained.” She instilled a sense of adventure and courage that has helped me overcome some outrageous misfortune. My biggest obstacles without naming names? Anyone who tried to hurt my self-esteem. Unfortunately there are a lot of people in this world who think they’re doing you a favor by “taking you down a peg.” A kind word of advice would work better than a nasty remark, but very few people seem to understand that. 

7.            When you feel a moment of indecision or self-doubt, what have you found to be the best method or trick to get out of that nasty funk?
AC: Doing something nice for someone else. I’ve had some seriously low ‘funks’ to get out of, and something as simple as bringing flowers to someone not expecting them helps me as much as them.

8.            If you write paranormal or thriller, have you ever scared yourself? Was it late at night? What happened!? (Hey, once I scared myself so badly, I had to stay awake most of the night!)
AC: I don’t read or write thrillers for a reason. I’m pretty sensitive. My husband has learned not to lurk around corners and jump out at me. I’ve fainted! I write light paranormals and include a lot of humor. I have made myself cry, however. I hate to break up my lovers, but sometimes it has to happen for them to grow past a hang-up, etc.  

9.            What is your favorite part about developing your characters? Why?
AC: As you can probably tell from my previous answers, I love to see them grow. I always give them some flaw to overcome. It makes them “human,” even if they aren’t.

10.          For series writers, pick a first book to one of your series. When did you get that hunch that told you these characters would continue on in another book or that their story wasn’t entirely done? Did you choose the same main characters or did you explore some supporting characters’ lives?
AC: Strange Neighbors was my first real series. I had a sequel or two starring secondary characters in my erotic romances, but my mainstream novels include a whole cast of interesting characters. I’ve had fans write and beg me to write a book for their favorite secondary characters. I’m usually working on their story as they speak! We seem to have the same favorites. When Strange Neighbors ended, I wrote a spin-off series. (The one coming out now.) There are visits from some of the Strange Neighbors gang so we can check in and see how they’re doing.

11.          Have you been published in small press, big press, as an indie, or a combination? Why did you make this decision? If you chose indie, what was the ‘turning point’ for you?
AC: I started publishing with small presses. Now I’m with the big guys, and I feel very fortunate to have landed these contracts. They’ve introduced me to a whole new group of readers by putting my books on the shelves at stores like Barnes and Noble. I have an self-published title coming out in the future. No release date yet, but we’re hoping for some time around Christmas 2013. Yes, I said ‘we.’ It’s 3 related stories by Dalton Diaz (with whom I have 2 published stories already) and our headliner is the incomparable, bestseller, Michele Bardsley! She wrote books like “I’m the Vampire. That’s Why” and “Because your Vampire Said So.” We’re planning to deliver a fun and flirty hot paranormal anthology starring three Greek Gods.

12.          Tell me about your book, How to Date a Dragon. Why did you write this particular story? Was it simmering peacefully on the back burner or did it startle you like a kitchen flash fire?
AC: LOL. Funny you should mention fire. One of my biggest fans has become a dear friend. She has “a thing” for firemen. So, I wrote a story for her and channeled her sense of humor into my heroine. It was one of the easiest books to write. It flowed, had awesome characters, and I was able to check my research with her firefighter boyfriend. I loved my editor’s comment. She said, “You nailed it!”


HOW TO DATE A DRAGON BY ASHLYN CHASE – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2013

Let the Sparks Fly…
Bliss Russo thought nothing exciting ever happened in her life. Until her building caught on fire and she had to be carried out of the flames in the arms of a gorgeous fireman. Sure, her apartment is now in shambles and she'll have to start her huge work project completely from scratch. But at least her love life is finally looking up...if only she can find her red-hot rescuer again.

Dragon shapeshifter Drake Cameron is the last of his clan, and the loneliness is starting to claw at him. He's met only one woman who might be able to stand the shock of his true nature. After all, she barely batted an eyelash when her home burned down. And feeling her curves against him was just as hot as the inferno. Just when he thinks he'll never track her down, she walks into his firehouse—with no idea what she's about to get herself into...

“[Ashlyn Chase] entertains with a voice that makes reading her stories pure pleasure. It’s like spending time with your favorite friends. Reviewer Top Pick” —Night Owl Reviews on How to Date a Dragon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an Almond Joy bar.  A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a satisfying experience. 

She holds a degree in behavioral sciences, worked as a psychiatric RN for several years and spent a few more years working for the American Red Cross.  She credits her sense of humor to her former careers since comedy helped preserve whatever was left of her sanity.  She is a multi-published, award-winning author of humorous erotic and paranormal romances, represented by the Seymour Agency.


She lives in beautiful New Hampshire with her true-life hero husband who’d look like Hugh Jackman if you dyed his hair, and they’re owned by a spoiled brat cat.  For more information, please visit www.ashlynchase.com, follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/GoddessAsh, and like her on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshlynChase.

To Purchase How To Date a Dragon:

Review - How To Date A Dragon by Ashlyn Chase

How To Date A Dragon
Ashlyn Chase
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
September 2012


How To Date A Dragon is the 2nd book in the `Flirting With Fangs' series. How To Date A Dragon stands alone quite nicely but I'd recommend reading the first book in the series just because that's the kind of OC person I am. Flirting Under A Full Moon, the first book, is being offered as a giveaway this week on Star-Crossed Romance.


Bliss Russo has just returned from a destination wedding and falls asleep fully dressed as soon as she reaches the comfort of her apartment. She's determined to catch up on her rest so she can continue working on her greeting card competition entries. But when her apartment catches fire and the next thing she knows she's stumbling down the hallway and headbutts fireman, Drake Cameron. He gets her safely outside before she remembers her laptop and the competition and her designs and implores him to rescue the laptop too.

Drake, the last dragon shifter in Boston, maybe the entire eastern part of the US, knows he shouldn't try to save a laptop. But the look in the lovely girl's face has him going back inside the inferno. When he comes back out, the kiss she gives him is boggling. Right up until his boss reams him out for risking his life, again, by going back inside a burning building.

It takes a while for Drake to reconnect with Bliss. He hadn't caught her name or a way to contact her. But that kiss underscored the state of his love life...empty. He tries a dating service with rather horrendous results. 

I have to admit I loved Drake. He's a dragon. He's hot. And he's got some vulnerability that keeps him from being a total alpha jerk. But Bliss...not so much. She just didn't make a lot of sense to me regarding her computer back ups or her attitude toward her mother. That's probably just me (having worked on computers FOREVER, lol). Still, the story was lively, the passion hot and the read entertaining. What more can you ask for? Definitely a great read for a cool, Fall day.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Guest - Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Good morning! Grab a seat and help yourself to some caramel flavored Roobios tea and chocolate cookies. We've got one of our favorite authors visiting today - Linda Thomas-Sundstrom. So sit back and enjoy!

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PARANORMAL FOREPLAY . . . It’s what we crave.

Hi everyone - I'm Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales for Kensington Brava, Dorchester, Amazon Montlake, and Harlequin Nocturne . . . and I'm here to chat briefly with you about "paranormal foreplay" in the books we love. I'd be really interested to hear your take on this, as I confess my own thoughts on the matter.

Paranormal:
What's so freaking cool about the romance in it?
What is it about a paranormal or fantasy story that turns you on, as a reader?

I have my own ideas, of course. The first one revolves around the phrase "Forbidden fruit." The "guys" we, as um... good girls... aren't supposed to give the time of day to, yet curl up with at night with when the lights are low and we have time to indulge in our bookish fantasies. You know what I mean. “Others.” These guys are still leading the best-seller lists all over the place, and for good reason. They can tantalize with their eyes, they have bodies to die for, and most of them have traits we somehow can relate to, even if we aren’t “Other.”

Foreplay
The second concept is a major one on many levels. "Foreplay.” And not necessarily the meaning of the word that initially comes to your mind. Because much more than just jumping into bed happens in a well-written novel when a vampire or a werewolf or one of the long-lost Fey seduces a woman properly. In a well-written paranormal (or any other genre, for that matter) foreplay equals seduction. And who doesn’t prefer a long seduction to a quickie? A slow build of literary foreplay carries readers through the book as a lead-up to a great and satisfying culmination of two souls finally merging.

This kind of “foreplay” concept is crucial in writing any kind of romance.
Most of those "guys" of whatever species we prefer, are of the tall, dark, and dangerous persuasion. So what makes one character stand out over others? What makes one story stand out above others? What keeps us turning the pages?

Here’s the answer: It’s the way an author crafts the seduction of the characters through words on the pages.

The way a vampire seduces. The process of a good alpha Were seduction. Dangerous, sure, but oh-so-sensual. So sexy. So very special if it’s drawn out and done well. Here, foreplay means the sighting, the chase, the intimate and immediate knowledge of another being “the one,” and then having to convince another character of it through actions, plot, dialogue, and sexual tension.

Whether you’re writing or reading, try to notice the story in terms of this take on “foreplay,” and see if this rings true in the books you love. I’m pretty sure you’ll find that it does.

I write both dark paranormals (Wolf Moons series, Vampire Moons series. etc) and light paranormals (Barbie and the Beast, Veronica and the Vampire), and have found that as a writer, paying strict attention to the concept of “foreplay” in terms of character seduction mixed with action and dialogue helps to pace a novel or novella, no matter the intensity level of the story. Paying strict attention to how the seduction is molded is an absolute necessity, just as that other kind of foreplay is. (wink)

Just me:
I keep this concept fresh for myself by playing with the further concepts of dark vs. light. Writing both dark and lighthearted PNR stories keeps my toes, expands my love of the genre, and helps me stay sane (though some might say I’m already over the edge – LOL). I usually write a dark and a light story at the same time, and switch back and forth. And so far, my Muse likes to sing. I’m working on my 17th book now and am loving every minute of it.

In summation: For a paranormal story to really grip me and suck me in, I, as a reader and writer, need to be seduced by the words on the page, and seduced by the characters on those pages. I want to feel the foreplay right along with them. Don’t you?

Writing: I’m working on two new novels for Harlequin Nocturne right now, and am releasing a new series of urban fantasy novellas under the heading of Dark vs, Light. Urban fantasy has different rules. The story itself can seduce, rather than the characters. Yum. A blissful rearranging of above. The first urban fantasy is out now, as of September 1, and titled “Trapped in Stone.” Here’s a brief blurb of the kind of thing that rocks my creativity:

“Trapped In Stone” – The forces of Dark and Light are fighting for the soul of one man op top of Notre Dame Cathedral, and the woman who loves him has vowed to change his fate.

I’ve attached a sneak peek snippet of “Trapped In Stone” below.
Please wave and leave a comment. One lucky response will receive a book from my backlist. PRIZES for being… well… you. And chatting with . . . Moi.

Happy September 4th to you all.
Cheers from
Linda

Trapped in Stone
Tristan hadn’t seen this coming. Not this part. The winged devil with the blood-colored eyes must have been a diversion. A good one, Tristan thought as he was broadsided by a body that hurtled in his direction with the speed and force of a runaway boulder.

The fact that he and Izzy had fallen for the black devil’s antics was a kink in the plans, but he couldn’t concentrate on that now. Izzy had transformed right in front of his eyes, and he knew this was the true Izzy, at last.

She was glorious, sublime, wild, and outrageously seductive.

She had wings.

Row after row of iridescent, jet black feathers the same color as her sleek, waist-length hair formed fascinating patterns across a huge wingspan. In stunning contrast, her pale skin was completely colorless. The whitest of white. Nearly transparent.

In brief glimpses of her face, Tristan saw features that were extremely thin, with sharp cheekbones and deep-set eyes. Her skin was luminous. Her dark hair flew around her like an aura, like some kind of living shadow. Dangerous, yes. Magnificent for sure. In reality, Izzy was as perfect as all of her former disguises, only more so by a factor of ten.

Buy Link: Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Stone-Dark-Light-ebook/dp/B00EWSHN88/ref=la_B002BMBNS8_1_25?


The second in the series releases in November, and is a much quirkier. “Hot Holiday” – The Dark Side has put a hit out on Santa Claus, and send a Recruiter named Wanda to do the deed. But Wanda has to get past Santa’s unexpectedly hot heavenly bodyguard.








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-- Lynda Again
    Great post! And I love the concepts behind these books! Okay, readers, do you agree with Linda about foreplay? Let us know!