Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Guest - Shona Husk

Good morning! What a terrific week this has been! Good news on the publishing front for me and the weather improved a little from the sub-arctic temp's we had. I won't complain about that at all  On another 'can't complain' note...the lovely Danielle of Sourcebooks is offering one copy of Lord of the Hunt to one of our readers (US or Canada only) To enter the drawing, leave a comment and send me an email ( lynda@lyndakscott.com ) with Hunt in the Subject line and your name/address in the body of the email by Friday, January 17.

Enjoy the Shona Husk interview!

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How do you spend a typical writing day?
Shona: Writing! I do some admin first thing in the morning then I get words down or pages edited until lunch time. Over lunch I do a bit more admin work then it’s back to writing or editing until it’s time to pick up the kids. Somewhere in there I also so some kind of exercise which counteracts all the chocolate that I eat…I hope.

Have you ever experienced a paranormal event in your life?
Shona: No. I’ve never seen a ghost or kissed a Vampire.

What’s the one question you wish people would ask you when you tell them you’re a writer? How would you answer it?
Shona: People usually ask ‘where do you get your ideas?’ Getting the ideas isn’t the problem, nor is creating the new worlds. People should ask, ‘How do you decide which idea to turn into a book?’

And my answer would be: It depends…a little on the market, a little on what my publisher or agent wants and a little on what I feel like writing. Sometimes an idea rolls together really fast (I was plotting a new story and by the time I’d plotted book one I had three other books in the series). Sometimes it needs a little more thought and research. I’m afraid of running out of ideas, I’m afraid I won’t be able to write them all!

If you were doomed to spend the rest of your life on an island with only one book, one person, one food (coconuts and fish aside), and one object from the modern world (computer, deodorant, etc.), what would they be?
Shona: I need dark chocolate to survive (this is not optional or negotiable). The book would be Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr (I love that book, and the rest of the series). The person would have to be my hubby. And the object would be my toothbrush, I like clean teeth :).

What’s the sexiest feature on a man to you? And on a woman? Why?
Shona: I think a smile and a good attitude go a long way in both sexes. You could be the most beautiful person in the world but if you’re like poison it means nothing.

What’s your own sexiest feature?
Shona: err…asks hubby…I can’t repeat that answer. My smile or my eyes.

Do you have a favorite character out of all the ones you’ve written? If so, who is it and why is s/he your favorite?
Shona: My favorite character is usually the hero I’m writing about ;) There a few who really stand out though, Roan the Goblin King, Taryn from Lord of the Hunt and Thanatos from Tasting Thanatos (he was a very broken hero).

Describe your writing process.
Shona: I print out my plotting sheets (I have a five page document that I use for plotting) and start making notes about the plot the characters what I need to research further, timelines anything that comes to mind. It’s like guided brainstorming. Then I write a synopsis to see if it kind of hangs together like a story. If it does I make a more detailed outline that includes a one sentence description for each scene (sometimes more if the scene is clear in my mind and I don’t want to lose it). At this stage I shuffle things around and tweak things. Then I write. I never used to do the outline but I’ve found that it’s really helped streamline my writing. I write the first draft from beginning to end going back only to make notes to myself in places where I need to fix things. After that all the magic is in the edits.

Do you use current events to help create plots? If yes, describe some you've used. If no, describe how you get/create plot ideas.
Shona: Sometimes. The recent disease outbreaks (like SARS, Ebola, the resurgence of measles etc) I used as part of the failing magic of Annwyn as they tied in very well to what I was creating. Of course I escalated what was happening. I also researched ancient plagues so I could tie them into previous troubles in Annwyn. Whether the plot came first or the event triggered the plot point I couldn’t say. I read newspapers and nonfiction and all kinds of things, so I think that ideas are absorbed and spend months or years rolling around my head before they finally clump together in a story.

What draws you to write paranormal?
Shona: I love the world building and the idea that there is something other just out of reach in our world. That maybe there is magic and fairies and vampires if only we looked a little closer at what was going on around us. Children have this sense of wonder and imagination that somehow most adults lose. I want to have that sense of mystery and magic in my life—even if I have to create it :)

What one thing would you want your readers to remember from your book?
Shona: That if you want something badly enough you will find a way to make it happen...even if the Queen of Annwyn is blocking your path.


LORD OF THE HUNT BY SHONA HUSK – IN STORES JANUARY 2014


She Wasn’t Cut Out for His World...
The realm of the fairies might be unbelievably beautiful, but its people are notoriously treacherous. Raised among mortals, Taryn hoped to avoid her fairy heritage her whole life. But now she must cross over to Annwyn and appeal to the King to pardon her exiled parents, or they're sure to die. And to get to the King, she'll first have to face the Lord of the Hunt...

He Can't Imagine Life Without Her...
Verden, Lord of the Hunt, is sworn to serve to King. But the moment he sees Taryn, the attraction is instant and devastating. How can he not help the beautiful, brave young woman who refuses to bend to the will of the court? Yet the power in Annwyn is shifting, its magic failing. No matter how much he may love Taryn, the Hunter knows that abandoning his duty could bring down the mortal world forever...

Praise for the works of Shona Husk:
“Romantic and intriguing.” —Publishers Weekly
“Enthralling.” —Booklist
“A great fairy-tale feel...dark, fresh, and tantalizing.” —Anna's Book Blog

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Three time ARRA finalist Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back. Drawing on history and myth, she writes about heroes who are armed and dangerous but have a heart of gold—sometimes literally. She is the author of the Shadowlands Series and the Annwyn Series. You can find out more information about Shona and her edgy romances at http://www.shonahusk.com/ or follow her on Twitter, @ShonaHusk.

To Purchase Lord of the Hunt:


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-- Lynda Again
   Don't forget to send me an email to enter the drawing for a copy of Lord of the Hunt. Send it by Friday, January 17 so Wookie, my alien kitten, can choose the winner. Good luck!

Guest - K.M. Fawcett

Good morning, everyone! For those of us in the northern hemisphere, there are only 64 days till Spring! That's cause for celebration here in cold, snowy, did I mention COLD? Michigan! We've got a fire dancing in the fireplace, jar candles with delightful scents to add spots of warmth, comfy chairs and a scrumptious treat from K.M. to satisfy our taste for tea and to go with, I've got some white chocolate chip and raspberry scones. So sit back and enjoy as today's guest, K.M. Fawcett tells us all about using real life experiences in Sci-Fi Romance.  
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Using Real Life Experiences in Sci-Fi Romance

Thank you for having me back on Star-Crossed Romance! The last time I visited, I brought some jasmine green tea from Okinawa. This time I have a pot of amandine rose (which has an aroma of cinnamon and cookies) to share with you and your readers as we discuss using real life experiences in sci-fi romance.

In addition to imagination and research, writers draw from their life experiences to create believable stories. They may take traits or mannerisms from people they know to create a character. A vacation destination may inspire the setting for a new story. Family drama or a funny incident could spark an idea for a scene or plot.

What kind of life experiences could a sci-fi/ paranormal romance writer bring to a story set on another planet?

Unlike the characters in The Survival Race series, I’ve never been abducted by aliens (Captive). I’ve never been forced to compete and fight to the death in a survival race. And I’ve never had to spiritually heal a gorgeous Highland leader’s heart to prevent a war against a technologically advanced species (Fearless). However, tapping into my experience as a competitive runner and martial artist helped to lend credibility to my fictional world.

The survival race was created from an amalgamation of adventure races that I’ve competed in, including a 13-mile trail race through Allamuchy Mountain, mud runs, and the Warrior Dash. Then I took the competition one step further. Not only did the gladiators have to run and conquer obstacles (something I was familiar with), but they also had to use their wits, combat skills, and survival skills to fight alien creatures, a harsh arctic environment, and each other. Yes, the last gladiator alive wins!

While I’ve never had to fight for my life (thank God), my empty hand and weapons training in the martial arts helped me to write realistic fight scenes. I drew upon the thoughts, emotions, and physical stresses I’ve experienced when sparring in the dojo and then imagined the rest. That’s the beauty of writing fiction.

To be sure the fight choreography worked, I enlisted the help of my husband. He doesn’t think twice when asked to throw a punch or hold a knife to my throat. Oh…now might be a good time to mention my husband is also my sensei (karate teacher).

Though training in a controlled environment with hard rubber knives and sticks instead of swords isn’t the same as battling an alien ruler to save your loved ones, I believe it helped add authenticity to the action scenes in both Captive and Fearless.

Thank again, Lynda, for having me here today!

~K.M. Fawcett
website: www.kmfawcett.com


K.M. Fawcett writes sci-fi/ paranormal romances, and enjoys stories filled with adventure and strong, kick butt heroes and heroines. She holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in both Isshinryu Karate and in Ryukonkai (Okinawan weapons). She and her husband own Tenchi Isshinryu Karate Dojo in NJ. When not writing or working out at the dojo, K.M. is driving her two children to drum practice and ballet classes.


FEARLESS
TWO SOULS

Myia, a shaman-in-training, wants desperately to protect her peaceful village from the barbaric Highland invaders. To hone her powers of prophetic visions and healing, the village elders send Myia on a quest to heal the Highland leader's heart and stop a brewing war. Myia's mended many souls before, so this should be an effortless duty . . . until she meets the gorgeous, stubborn Highland warlord.

ONE DESIRE

Kedric, a gladiator who escaped enslavement, only wants to liberate the villagers from their common foe-a race that breeds humans for blood sport and genetic experiments. Fueled by his rage, Kedric is determined to take down the brutal enemy. So when a raven-haired beauty with a body made for sin tries to sabotage his mission, Kedric wants her gone. Yet no woman's touch has ever left Kedric more annoyed . . . and aroused. Kedric knows he should shun her soothing embrace-but he can't seem to stay away. As their passion grows, Kedric must decide between fighting his war or surrendering his rage-and his heart-for Myia's love.

Excerpt
Angry red streaks snaked through his aura. “What manner of trickery is this?”
“Get off of me, barbarian.” Name-calling? Really? Had her father taught her nothing?
“Barbarian? That’s funny coming from a savage.”
She gasped. “Savage? You’re the one on top of me.”
“As I recall, I wouldn’t be on top of you if I hadn’t needed to protect myself from your tricks.”
“I am a spiritual healer. I only wanted to repair your soul. You must release my people.”
“They’re free to go at any time. They choose to stay.”
His weight was crushing her, making breathing difficult, but she refused to let him see her discomfort. If she could calm herself enough, her spirit could reenter his, and she could try healing him again. This might be the only chance she got before he…What would he do to her?
She didn’t sense anything evil, vile, or malicious. Murder wasn’t present in his aura. The only thing she perceived was arousal. Typical male. Perhaps she could use that to her advantage.
There were three occasions when a person’s spirit was the most vulnerable: during sleep, during illness, and during sex—so she’d been told.
“You’ve invaded our peaceful village and took our people against their will. Forgive me for not believing you.” Her words were angrier than she wanted them to be. What happened to her shamanic training?
“Seems we have a lot in common, you and I.”
“We have nothing in common, barbarian.”
“Did you not invade my body against my will?”
“To heal your spirit.”
“So you say, savage.”
Would he stop calling her that? She was not a fierce, violent person. She was tranquil and at peace with the universe, dammit.
Well, at least she strove for peace.
“However,” he continued, “you needn’t concern yourself. My spirit requires no healing.”
“So say you. But our spirits have met, and yours told me it hid a deep wound. Let me back in. Let me into your body to heal you.”
His smirk surprised her. What could he possibly find so humorous?
“If anyone enters another’s body, it will be me.” His warm lips pressed against hers. As if to prove his point, his tongue coaxed hers to open for him.
She’d been kissed before, but not from a man so dangerous and commanding, or so good at it.
Well, she wasn’t about to waste the opportunity to do what she came here for, especially since nothing in his aura indicated malicious intent. His spirit simply sought to demonstrate his male dominance in a kiss. Nothing more. Ha. He’d learn who the dominant one was when she connected with his spirit again.
She opened her mouth and kissed him back. His pause indicated surprise. He’d obviously expected her to resist. When she didn’t let up, his jaw relaxed and his kiss deepened. She couldn’t deny the freedom her soul felt.
But she’d come to heal his heart, and as much as she would like to give in to the pleasure she was receiving, she needed to heal him first.
Again retreating to that tranquil place in her mind, her spirit gathered energy and flowed from her body into his. Her spirit didn’t get further than the impenetrable stone wall before it was thrown from his body again.
His lips were off hers, the weight of his body disappeared. The influx of warm night air came as a relief.
“Savage,” he boomed. “Stay out of my body.”
-- Lynda Again,
    Whoa! Great excerpt! And I so agree with your ideas on using real life to add to the reality of our worlds. Thanks for being with us today!

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Monday, January 06, 2014

Review - Lord of the Hunt by Shona Husk

Lord of the Hunt
Shona Husk
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
January 2014

Annwyn, the realm of the fairies is beautiful beyond compare but there are signs that it is failing. Why not? The fairies, even the King, are sublimely treacherous, willing to do anything to get what they want. And at the heart is the discord between the King and Queen. Soon, the King will be replaced or killed and all the fairies living in the mortal world will die.

Exiled to the mortal world, Chalmer needs the King's pardon before he can return to Annwyn. His wife, Arlea, who had willingly followed him sends their daughter, Taryn, to the fairy realm with the advice to 1) get close to the King, 2) watch your back 3) be careful making deals and, most importantly, 4) trust no one. But one glance at Verden, the Lord of the Hunt, has her wanting to trust him…and other, more sensual things.

Verden, Lord of the Hunt, is loyal to the King. But he knows that the elder fairy is close to the end of his rule and worries how it will affect Annwyn. The minute he sees the young, na├»ve fairy, Taryn, he feels a connection he has never felt before. He knows the kind of cruelty she might be subject to if she offends the wrong people and he hates the idea of seeing her used then abandoned by the treacherous fairies of Annwyn. He has to help, any way he can, but with the power shifting and the magic failing, his first duty is to the King and the realm.  He has to walk on the razor's edge between failing in his duty or failing to protect the woman he loves.

Lord of the Hunt is a sensuous read filled with fascinating characters and dangerous power plays. The plot is fresh and fast paced as well as steamy and provoking. Taryn is a great heroine who's bravery in facing the bizarre situations of Annwyn is admirable. Verden is a true hero who's fight to preserve the realm and help Taryn in her quest will attract all the readers. The reader is instantly transported to a different world by Ms Husk's wonderful descriptions. The emotion and relationship between Taryn and Verden grows, sometimes rapidly, but always with the danger of exposure and failure of Taryn's quest to get a pardon for her father.


This book is definitely worth a second read or even three reads. If you like fairies and dangerous romance, then you'll love Lord of the Hunt.