There’s never been anything like it. An INCREDIBLE lineup of your favorite Vampire Romance authors gathered together for an intensive schedule of reader chat and book discounts.
4:00 pm EDT – 9:30 pm EDT
Mesmerizing, Enchanted…., February 24, 2014, By Twinkles57
Second in the series of Knights Of The Black Swan. Following beautifully with the flow of the story, not a beat has been missed. Storm deals with rejection and a broken heart. Elora and Ram explore the love they have for one another. Kay and Katrina are planning the wedding. There are new players on the scene, bringing lots of twists and turns. You will not want to miss this! I laughed and cried as this motley crew faced danger and suspense on every corner. I’m now headed to book three!! I can’t wait!
Thank you for the review Twinkles57! We appreciate it! – Sarah
Elizabeth Quincy Nix asks: What are the most important literary influences on your writing?
Dear Elizabeth –
Let me begin with a rant.
In the not too distant past this was THE question to be asked of an author (in my opinion). However, what is forming on the horizon is a tragic need to ask a different question altogether and that is… DO. YOU. READ? I believe that a writer should read at least fifty books for every one we write and we should be careful to insure that we are exercising and maintaining a healthy vocabulary by not making that a diet of contemporary fiction. At least some of those books should be classical or acclaimed literature.
End of rant.
To answer your question, we are a mass of collective experiences. Perhaps every book I’ve ever read that was memorable has influenced my writing in some way. Some of that influence is no doubt retained on a subconscious level, but there are a few greats whose names come to mind.
If I had to name one work as THE greatest thing ever written, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that would be a play entitled Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (perhaps). I have loved it and every great send off – like West Side Story – and looked forward to being able to incorporate the idea into my series, which is why the war between the elves and fae was introduced in Book 1, My Familiar Stranger.
As a three-year-old I wanted to hear Snow White every night.
She was cast out of her home and thrown into a world that was completely unfamiliar, but she quickly found people to love/care for and a way to be happy in her new life. (Come to think of it…. Hmmmm.)
In mid childhood I read all the Bobbsey Twins books by Laura Lee Hope and must give her credit because my first works were Bobbsey Twins novels that would be called fan fiction today.
When I was around ten, my dad bought me the Scribner Classics. It was a beautiful collection of books illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. I loved the stories, but they were written by men for boys. All except for The Arabian Nights. One of the tales – “The Talking Bird, The Singing Tree, and the Golden Water” – was about a princess who set out on an adventure to save her brothers. Finally. Given the state of modern day Persia, it is so ironic that such a feminist story originated from that ancient culture.
I spent time with science fiction as an adolescent. I learned to appreciate the Ray Bradbury’s short stories and I learned to resent Robert A Heinlein. What I got from science fiction was more the flavor of possibility – the unknown, than a particular author.
In my late twenties I returned to fiction just as Stephen King, who is my age, began to gain popularity. I was captivated by Salem’s Lot and entranced by Christine.
I spent the next several decades with non-fiction, which I highly recommend to young authors. You need something to write about.
When I returned to pleasure reading, I read everything Anne Rice wrote and always wished I had written Memnoch the Devil.
Five years ago, or so, I read A Hunger Like No Other, by Kresley Cole and realized that horror and romance could be successfully married if approached with humor and an understanding of what we really need that’s not possible in reality. I devoured the rest of the Immortals After Dark series and went on to read a lot of other paranormal romance, but nothing else rocked me until the Fever Series (first five books) by Karen Marie Moning. The series was complete when I found it so I was able to read it as one story and loved the concept.
There you have it. Credit where it’s due. Thanks Grimm Bros., Laura, Sheherazade, Ray, Uncle Stevie, Anne, Kresley, Karen, and, sigh, Will.
Patricia Smith asks: Are any of your characters in your books reminiscent of anybody in your life?
Not really – although who knows what shadows lurk deep in the subconscious mind of woman?
I do sometimes use real life events. As far as I’m concerned, anything friends and family members do is fair game. Here are a couple of examples.
1.) In My Familiar Stranger, when Elora comes back to the table at Serendipity and finds Ram hamming it up for a bunch of little girls with two long French fries hanging from his nostrils? That was my husband and one of those little girls was ours. Only in real life there was nothing funny about it. I was mortified.
2.) In Gathering Storm, when Elora finds out that Rosie regularly disappears (literally) while Glen is babysitting and says, “That is not okay, Glen!” I stole that phrase from one of my daughters who frequently says to one of her youngsters, “That is NOT okay!”
Perhaps it won’t surprise you that many of them conform to your most emotional reading moments.
There have been three times that I have cried so hard, when writing, that I couldn’t see the PC screen and had to take breaks to get through the scene. 1. Elora’s dolmen labor. 2. Kris Falcon getting a medal. 3. When Storm sees Rosie on a San Francisco street corner and says, “I missed it.”
The sexiest moments I ever wrote were both in My Familiar Stranger. 1. Elora: If you bite me, I will stake you. Baka: If I bite you, I’ll stake myself. 2. Ram tries to draw Elora back into the New Forest cottage. He rubs the collar of her sweater between his fingers and says, “Soft.”
There have been a few times that I have made myself laugh. Baka’s enjoyment of the alley scene wherein he blabs about Elora taking out a vamp with a toothpick. Another not mentioned here, at Derry when Kay has tried to cover up a blunder and tells his sister that his reference to Baka as a vampire is an inside joke. Baka says, “Indeed. Nothing says funny like vampire.”
This was the question as posed on author and fan page on Facebook.
Can’t tell you how much fun I had reading the responses. There were nearly seventy answers in all. Here are the results. I have included a smattering of comments. If yours isn’t here, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t great. We just got a lot.
9. Elora finding out she was pregnant. (Book 1)
8. Spaz on the intercom. (Book 5)
7. Storm waiting at the wall for Litha. (Book 2)
6 CREATION: Prologue to A Tale of Two Kingdoms. (Book 6)
5. Sol’s death. (Book 5)
4. The trainees being honored for heroism. (Book 5)
3. Elora leaving Storm for Ram. (Book 1)
Lindsay Thompson I was so shocked when Elora left with Storm, at first and then realized it was Ram she was meant to be with.
The most emotional for me was when Elora told Ram she wasn’t picking him. I think I died inside! – Sarah, Assistant to Victoria
2. Storm missing Rosie’s childhood. (Book 5)
A. Gathering Storm is the most emotional book. Four out of the top nine answers came from events in Book 5.
B. When reporting emotion, you chose crying over laughter or surprise. Seven out of the top nine answers referred to tear spillage.
C. The #1 event received TWICE as many votes as #2. In other words, it won by a landslide.
Couldn’t put it down, 20 Sep 2012, By M. Bui
Paranormal books aren’t my usual reads. I’ve read them before, but usually stick to chicklit or historical romances. I got this book on a whim because the blurb sounded interesting and I read the rave reviews. I was not disappointed. I started it one evening and had to force myself to stop reading in order to go to bed. I couldn’t wait to get home the next evening to read what had happened next.
I usually skim books. And yes, like Harry, I will quite often read the end when I am halfway through just to make sure the book is worth reading. Not so with this book. I read every minute detail and even re-read. The writing style is so easy to read and descriptive.
Yes, there is a romance element, but the new world that’s been created in this story and the depth of characters draw you in. You become invested in them and want to know how things turn out. The storyline too, is interesting. I’m not big on violence even in books, but they added to the story. I just loved it.
Can’t wait for the next one!
Thank you for the review M. Bui! We appreciate it! – Sarah
Question from Janine Fromherz Diller: Where do you write? Do you have a spot in your house? Is it anywhere that inspires?
Thank you for asking, Janine.
Right now my space is on the second story where I can look out at the upper branches of trees. I say right now because we are building a house on a small piece of property that is heavily treed and backs up to a lake. In the new house, my room will be on the ground floor where I can see both lake and trees and it will also combine my writing and music rooms. At present my music room is just below the space you see here, where I write.
I can’t say that I get inspiration from my environment, but I can tell you that, as a double Libra, I HAVE to have aesthetics that are pleasing to me and a reasonable amount of order. But more than anything else, I require quiet. I’m hyperaware of my surroundings, which is usually manageable but can be a handicap in certain modern constructs – like school.
Thom Hartmann has a theory regarding ADD, that when we evolved as hunter/gatherer culture, there would be one person in the tribe who would be aware of the tiniest change in atmosphere, the smallest sound, something in peripheral vision, any little thing out of the ordinary that could potentially be a danger to the group. In our distant past these traits were highly valued. Today we’re more likely to be regarded as problems. My parents were told that I should be put in a closet with a flashlight to do homework. That was probably true.
Even taking care to have a quiet place to write, the tiniest stimulus that might go unnoticed by someone else, can break or overwhelm my concentration. That’s why my writing space is not a traditional desk, but an actual reception unit that I bought from a second hand office furniture supply. Being surrounded by my “desk” probably makes me feel protected subconsciously and I’m sure it helps with focus.
We haven’t broken ground yet, but we have the plans. I’ll keep you posted.
I promised an announcement with the cover reveal and here it is.
As some of you know, I had toyed with the idea of doing a series of novellas this Spring, but they had their own idea. Raif and Mercy wanted to be part of Sol’s book. So the next release will be a full length novel and it will be #7 in the Knights of Black Swan serial.
Target date for release is May 1st. Expect another announcement when the release date is firm.
Here’s a brief excerpt.
Kay gave Storm an amused look. “In some ways this feels more familiar than watching TV with my wife. ”
They were separating from Ram and Rev, going opposite ways in an alley. Storm looked back over his shoulder at Ram and Rev walking away. On a whim he called out, “Sol!”
Without hesitation, Rev turned and said, “Yeah?” The four of them stood frozen, Storm and Rev staring at each other, Kay and Ram looking back and forth between the two.
Let it never be said that Ram didn’t know how to handle a situation delicately. “What the fuck, Stormy?”
“You know, that’s a good question, Ram. And well put.” Storm didn’t take his eyes off Rev. “Something you want to tell us.”
Rev pursed his lips before growling. “No.”
“You gone hard of hearing?”
Storm’s gaze was a concentrated challenge, pinning Rev in place, but he moved in close enough for quiet conversation.
“How about clueing us in, brother,” Kay was as calm as the eye of a hurricane as he nudged Storm. “What’s going on here?”
“Has it seemed to you that there are things about the new Sovereign that seem familiar? Eerily so?”
“Like what?” Ram asked as he eyed Rev from top to bottom.
“Oh, like the fact that he smokes the same brand of Turkish cigars that Sol used to smoke. And lights them with an old school fluid lighter. Then he puts the lighter down in front of him and turns it around and around the same way Sol used to.” Kay turned his attention toward Rev and began regarding him with increased interest. “How about the way he screws up his mouth when he’s aggravated or the way he steeples his fingers when he’s making a decision?”
Rev lifted his chin in defiance and narrowed his eyes at Storm. “And let’s not forget the fact that he took a bead on Farnsworth about thirty seconds after arriving Jefferson Unit. Doesn’t it strike you as a little strange that he handles Sol’s job like he knows what he’s doing? No. Not like he knows what he’s doing. Like he’s done it before!”
Ram eased around in front of Rev so that the three veteran members of B Team appeared united as the inquisitors they had just become. They stood in a dimly lit alley with accusation hanging in the air, waiting for Rev to answer.
“Your imagination’s just got the better of you, Sir Storm.”
“There! Right there. I never met another knight who called me Sir Storm. But Sol did.” Storm glanced at Kay. “All the time. Called me Mr. Storm when I was a kid. Switched to Sir Storm when I was inducted.” He stepped closer to Rev. “When I called Sol’s name, you turned around like you’d been answering to that name your whole life.”
Ram and Kay were giving Rev looks that said the questions weren’t going to go away just by staring Storm down. Finally Rev replied with the cool of an iceberg. “So what are you saying? Exactly? That I’m a body snatcher?”
“What I’m doing right now is asking questions.”
“I don’t have answers for you.”
“Is that because you don’t have an answer or because you can’t answer?” Rev gave nothing away. Storm blinked twice rapidly. “Well, then there’s no harm in sharing this with Simon and the Council.”
“NO!” Rev’s answer was a little too forceful and a little too quick.
Rev blew out a breath and looked around at the alley. “Let’s go sit down somewhere private.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I’ll buy a round of drinks and tell you a story. Not about me mind you. A story about a guy I heard of.”