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Review Spotlight by Twinkles57 Reply

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From Amazon.com

Mesmerizing, Enchanted…., February 24, 2014, By Twinkles57

This review is from: The Witch’s Dream: The Demon in the Details (Knights of Black Swan, Book 2) (Kindle Edition)

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

Ask Victoria! Reply

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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.

I believe the thing I found most captivating about the story was Snow White’s indomitable optimism.

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.

Ask Victoria! Reply

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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!”

Black Swan Emotion Quotient? SURVEY SAYS… 1

My most emotional writing moments…

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.

What was your MOST emotional moment in the whole Knights of Black Swan series? (laughter, tears, shock, etc.)

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.

THE TOP NINE RESPONSES…

9. Elora finding out she was pregnant. (Book 1)

Yvette Nakita Clark When ram and Elora find out they are pregnant! I mean come on a baby ram? That would make any woman cry!

8. Spaz on the intercom. (Book 5)

Teri Brittin laughter … Spaz over the PA system 🙂  I was rolling

7. Storm waiting at the wall for Litha. (Book 2)

Laurie Johnson When Storm goes everyday and sits at the wall waiting for Litha to return. Broke my heart to see this tough alpha going through all that emotional turmoil!

6 CREATION: Prologue to A Tale of Two Kingdoms. (Book 6)

Anna Salamatin Jaw dropping moment…”Creation” when I realized what the project really was and that Dr.Pierce had set up the misfit group of seven to fail!  It was a true.  W.T.F? Moment for me. I actually had to go back and read that whole thing again.

5. Sol’s death. (Book 5)

Anna-Marie Coomber My best part was how Rosie was born,  I laughed out loud at that.  My biggest sheck was when Sol died I cried my eyes out.

Ann Ellis I really thought the fighting scenes at the academy in “Gathering Storm” were funny, tense and sad. Also when everyone got the news that Sol was dead was a tear jerker for me.

4. The trainees being honored for heroism. (Book 5)

Terry McHone There were incredible highs and devastating lows, but when Elora decided to honor her trainees for their courage and their willingness to die for her and she asked Kris to say something… that was it. He could not find the words and for that moment I felt so bad for him, until all the trainees leapt out to surround him. There was that next gen of knights already formed, and i cried.

Mountain Crew Book 5, when the boys get recognition for what they did!

3. Elora leaving Storm for Ram. (Book 1)

Randy Abend When Elora kisses Storm at the airport and realizes she loves Ram and has to travel to Rammel and the finally meet at Rams home, and she questions herself, but Ram knows what to do. So awesome.

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

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Debera A. Smith OK, so this is really harder than I thought. There are so many that as soon as I think of one I thinks of others. I laughed hysterically ove the toothpick scene and Storm waiting by the wall for Litha tore at my heart. But, I think I am going with the whole story line from when Elora tells Storm she can’t go with him that she loves Ram. Through her making the long trip to him and her fear when she    finds the cottage empty. Right up and through the love scene when Ram finally arrives and has to convince her again to stay.I think I held my breath the first time I read it until they were finally in bed!! And with that story line I laughed and cried and even both at once. SO, that is it!!

2.  Storm missing Rosie’s childhood. (Book 5)

Shanna Rankin Mine was when Storm was in the different dimension and couldn’t get back. I balled my eyes out cause he was missing out on seeing Rosie grow up and all those special moments.

Nelta Baldwin Mathias In GS when Deliverance loses Storm and he misses out on Rosie’s growing up….all I could think about was how he had wanted to teach her to ride a bike….broke my heart..

Diane Nix When Litha realized how much of their child’s development that Storm would miss while he was in another dimension.  Not only is it hard to lose your mate, worse when you know your mate is out there, wanting to get back, and your child has to grow up without a parent.

1. Elora giving birth in the wolves’ dolmen den. (Book 3)

Gemma Hopgood  My most emotional moment was when Elora was Trying to defend herself against the assassins sent from her own dimension to kill her, whilst heavily pregnant. She was taken in by the wolves who looked after her and the coming baby as she laboured without Ram, battered & bleeding from the fight, emotionally and physically drained from the labour so far thinking that he would not be able to find her! Believing she and the baby would die. The moment he found her and their hands touched I was in floods of tears! Softy I know!!

Tara L Cribb Absolutely hands down when Elora is fighting the assasins and the Wolves defend her and she gives birth to Helm injured and hurt. I was ugly crying and could not stop reading.

Rose Holub I think my favorite part was in A Summoner’s Tale when Elora goes into labor.What she goes through & who she is with is one of the most moving parts of the whole series to me. I have a profound love of wolves so that part of the story (& what led up to it) is very moving for me.

Pam James When Elora was Having Helm with the wolves protecting her. I was crying so hard. Then the Black Swan Knights came to rescue her. So Very emotional! (in A Summoners Tale)

Kriss Mosconi It has to be Elora having the baby in the wolves den by herself. Hurt and in pain then going into labor. Talk about edge of your seat.

RESULTS:

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.

In a class by itself.

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TOOTHPICK SCENE…

I admit to being clueless the first time a fan asked for a photo with me and a toothpick. LOL – Victoria

Cheryl Lewis Fennimore I think the toothpick scene has to be my all time favorite.  I wanted to stand up and cheer “Hell Yeah Elora; give ’em wood for me too!”

Eleanor Allen-Jenkins Laughter – Bakka’s uncontrollable laughter & taking notes when Elora killed a vampire with a toothpick!

Karin Vaughan Sedor I agree with Eleanor Allen-Jenkins as to the toothpick scene. I could just see them all standing there while Baka explained the whole event. That made me laugh so hard bout peed my pants.
 

p.s. Somebody always has to be different…

Fawn Phillips I think we all agree that these books have such a wide array of emotions that you feel as you read them. For me tho, one silly little part really stuck with me in Moonlight. A scene that had me rereading and laughing just because: “As to whether or not I’m here willingly…” She cocked her hip, put her hand there, and used a bored monotone to say, “Help. I’ve been kidnapped by a werewolf and there’s no escape.”

Rebecca Stigers The fight at Jefferson Unit when the Z team ignored Elora made me so mad I wanted to kick them and then I got happy when the young Vamp’s locked them in the pen that Blackie use to stay in! Now that made it all better!

Patricia Smith How about when Ram needed a paper bag to breathe in when Elora met Baka for the first time! ….snickers…Big bad man of B Team! Lol That was classic!!

Shannon Cutrer Armstrong When Storm proposes to Litha at Kay and Kindra’s wedding and he wants to get married right now!  I was was crying tears of joy.

Bobbi Kinion A Tale of Two Kingdoms when Duff and Aelsong are forced to stay away from each other and then finally being able to be with each other only to be ripped apart again just because of a war between their kind was so heart wrenching.

Mich Burr I was an emotional wreck whilst reading what happens to baka and how he was changed and the things he did 😦
 

Tina Talkington When I realized I was reading a ‘romance’ novel….and actually enjoying it…getting into the characters and breathlessly waiting for the next chapter.

 

Review Spotlight by M. Bui 1

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From Amazon.co.uk

Couldn’t put it down, 20 Sep 2012, By M. Bui

This review is from: My Familiar Stranger: The Vampire Hunters (Knights of Black Swan, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

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

 

 

Ask Victoria! 3

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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.

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Valentines COVER REVEAL – Black Swan #7 18

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Cover Reveal for BLACK SWAN #7.

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 sure?”

“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.

“Start talking.”

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.”