Tag Archives: author interview

Kylie Chan, Author of DEMON CHILD, on Magic, Martial Arts, Romance, #Writing a Long Series, Living in Hong Kong, and More (#Giveaway)

The author interview I was supposed to have posted Tuesday is here! It was worth the wait. Kylie Chan, bestselling author of Demon Child, discusses her characters, their relationship, and what it’s like to write a long, successful book series. She also talks about the Sidhe, or Shining Folk, who are featured in her latest novel, what it was like to live in Hong Kong, and her four favorite things about her current abode: Brisbane, Australia. She’s giving away ten print copies of Demon Child (Rafflecopter form below). Welcome, Kylie!

Kylie Chan, Demon Child, fantasy, romance, magic, martial arts, demons,

Author Interview: Kylie Chan

Your first book, WHITE TIGER, came out in 2006. Since then you’ve released seven other novels in the series, including your latest, DEMON CHILD. You’ve also written a prequel graphic novel and a couple of shorts.

That’s a lot of stories! How do you keep the series fresh and exciting?

Yes it is! It’s been a tremendous journey for me – WHITE TIGER was the first novel I’d ever written. I keep it fresh by raising the stakes. I’m enjoying myself by making things seem a little better and then take it up a notch and make everything terrible again. My characters are suffering. It’s great fun.

Did you know you when you first started writing WHITE TIGER that it would turn into a nine book series? How did the structure of the series develop? Any advice for writers who want to write a long series?

I planned for a three book series – Xuan Wu’s departure, his return, and the big final battle in three volumes. When I was halfway through enough words for a second novel and still not up to the departure bit, I realized that I had more than three books – way more than three books, and started changing the plan to three sets of three.

For writers planning to write a long series I’d suggest that they make each novel readable by itself, but still fit together into something greater. I’d do that in future if I could, so that people aren’t forced to start at the beginning with – admittedly – my weakest work.

Can DEMON CHILD be read on its own? If not, do readers need to start with WHITE TIGER?

As I said, if you want to read the series it would absolutely be best to start from WHITE TIGER. DEMON CHILD is the eighth book in a complex saga and if you try to read it alone you will probably enjoy it, but not as much as if you started at the beginning.

Your stories feature magic, martial arts, and romance.

It’s all good stuff. It’s pure escapism. Sometimes when I’m told by a man in the supermarket to ‘smile, you’ll look prettier’ or the staff at the post office call me ‘darling’ and ‘sweetheart’ in a terribly condescending way I just want to kick heads. This is my way of channeling that aggression!

[Jill: Lol. Yeah, it’s been awhile but I can remember times in my life when I thought, “Is that a compliment or a cut? Do I want to bloody their nose or just say ‘thank you?’” I always opted for being polite, but I’ve also had a lot of dental work done on my back molars. :-D ]

How would John describe Emma? How would Emma describe John?

Both of them would describe each other as infuriating. As one of the biggest gods in Chinese Heaven, John is accustomed to being immediately and unquestioningly obeyed by everybody around him, and Emma’s constant second-guessing and outright disagreements sometimes drive him nuts. Emma finds John’s expectation that everybody will immediately obey him similarly annoying, and sometimes disagrees with him just to see his face when he’s exasperated with her. It never descends into full-on arguments because he’s such a big softie, though.

How has their relationship changed over the course of eight novels?

It was absolutely love at first sight, but the balance of power between them has always been uneven and that’s led some serious relationship issues. It started out very inequitable – he was the employer and she was an employee. She was more willful and disobedient than he was used to, however, and he loved that. Through the books, she’s grown until they consider themselves equal in will and intelligence by the end of the second series. In this final trilogy, he’s regained his full ancient god powers and once again is much more than she is – but he turns to her when he needs a second opinion or someone to back him up when the Jade Emperor is bullying him. When they’re alone all of the ‘who’s more powerful’ business is ignored and they see themselves as equals, even if the rest of Heaven doesn’t. In the book I’m working on now, she throws him out of meetings more than once because people are so awestruck and terrified by him that it’s interfering with their ability to get things done.

How did Emma react when she found out she has demon blood?

It was a huge ‘I told you so’ for her. All along she’s suspected that she’s a demon, and that John’s been in denial about it. When the truth came out about her demon nature, she was completely unsurprised. She has something of a yell at him about it in ‘Demon Child’.

Tell us more about the Sidhe or Shining Folk.

It’s easy to do some light research into Celtic mythology and come back with a theme that’s full of nature-loving Druids, gallant fae and sparkly unicorns. I delved deeper into the original nature of the Druids as recounted by Julius Caesar when he fought the Celts and found a completely different type of theology. The real Druids were a bloodthirsty bunch who basically got off on torture and human sacrifice and collected their enemy’s heads as trophies. I really enjoyed including this into my own venture into the West. The Sidhe in my stories are noble, caring, and gone – they deserted the world just when they were most needed, in a passive-aggressive act of penitence that really helped nobody. I have to admit that I still managed to throw in a unicorn just because.

[Love it. Everyone could use more unicorns in their lives. :-D ]

Without giving anything away, tell us about a scene from DEMON CHILD involving magic, martial arts, or both.

Both magic and martial arts are threaded through the book and an intrinsic part of it. The first chapter has a great deal of both – without either Emma or John being involved. Katie, Number Three Daughter of the White Tiger, goes into Russia to investigate a villa owned by a demon posing as a Russian gangster. She has to use her unique abilities to defend both herself and her squad, and finds prisoners used as lab rats and a new, disturbing type of demon.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

That’s a very long list. I started reading science fiction and fantasy in the 1970’s. My go-to comfort books are Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga, Nalini Singh’s angel series (I’m really enjoying the power plays and politics) and Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series. Jim Butcher gets a shout out, as well as Benedict Jacka’s Alex Verus series and Nora Jemisin’s remarkable fantasies. I adored Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan books.

If your books were made into movies, who would play Emma? John? Who would direct?

Goodness, I have no idea. I don’t generally look around for actors, that’s Hollywood’s business. It’s not really something I do – when Queenie Chan did the illustrations for Small Shen we designed the characters exactly as they were in my head, so any real-life actor or actress will never match the images I have already created.

What was your favorite thing about living in Hong Kong?

Having a full-time live-in domestic helper. Edwina was part of the family, and when she left us to get married in Australia she arranged for her sister Dahlia to come look after us, because she didn’t trust anyone else. Both lovely women are now married and have settled down to raise families of their own and I am so glad I had a chance to help them start out. Having a live-in helper meant that I could work full-time without having to worry about the kids being cared for at all. It was incredibly liberating and really helped my IT career.

Least favorite?

The crowds. If we went down to the mall on a Sunday it would be like the pre-Christmas sales anywhere else. There would be so many people at the mall that there’d be a queue to enter the car park and you’d have to wait at least two hours to find a seat at yum cha. Migraine-inducing.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Brisbane?

Two things: the wonderful mild subtropical weather, and the fantastic supportive literary community. I have made friends with a magnificent group of fellow writers who regularly go out of their way to help each other. Oh, three things: the great beaches close by as well. Four things: the city’s skyline next to the lovely river, and the South Bank parklands. Okay, I’ll stop there.

Least favorite?

The forty-degree-plus weeks in summer where it’s just way too hot to even go outside. A small price to pay for all the other benefits of living in this lovely city.

More About Demon Child

Australian bestseller Kylie Chan returns with a new, fast-paced adventure of magic, martial arts, and romance.

This trilogy follows the story of John Chen and Emma Donohoe. They have just found out that Emma has Demon blood. The Sidhe – or Shining folk, who defeated the Western Shen a thousand years ago – are prepared to do battle against the Western Shen to retain their dominance.

Emma’s allegiance is torn: to fight for her kind, the Western demons she is descended from, or to stand alongside her beloved Xuan Wu.

Available at HarperCollins

Add it to Your Goodreads Shelf

Kylie Chan

Kylie Chan

More About Kylie

Kylie Chan is the bestselling author of the Dark Heavens and Journey to Wudang trilogies. She married a Hong Kong national in a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony.

Kylie has studied Kung Fu and Tai Chi and is a senior belt in both forms. She has also made an intensive study of Buddhist and Taoist philosophy and has brought all of these interests together into her storytelling.

She lived in Hong Kong for many years and now lives in Brisbane, Australia.

The Giveaway

As part of her blog tour, Kylie is giving away ten print copies of Demon Child. (U.S. only). To enter, click here for the Rafflecopter form. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. 18 or older. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Thanks for the great Q&A, Kylie! I enjoyed reading your answers. Good luck with your tour and best wishes for Demon Child!

Kylie Chan, Demon Child, fantasy, romance, magic, martial arts, demons


Celia Breslin: Vampires, Love, Mayhem *and* The Best Ever Holiday Caramel Candy Recipe

Today’s post is an interview with urban fantasy/paranormal romance author Celia Breslin. She talks about her vampire series, writing habits, favorite books and authors, and she shares her favorite caramel recipe — perfect for eating while reading! :-)

Celia Breslin, Destiny, vampires, urban fantasy, paranormal romance

CELIA’S TRANQUILLI BLOODLINE SERIES

Give us a 20-word summary for your latest release.

How about three words?  Vampires, love, mayhem.

Okay, just kidding.  Here are 20 words for DESTINY, book 2 in the Tranquilli Bloodline Series:  Carina must open her new club, repair her relationship, and save her friends from death by vampire. Sometimes destiny sucks.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why is he/she your favorite?

All my Tranquilli Bloodline characters hold a piece of my heart. But I hope Carina and crew will forgive me if I confess her mentor Jonas is my favorite. An ancient vampire originally from England, Jonas embodies extreme violence in a pretty package.  He’s a man of few words, dark and moody, fiercely loyal and violently protective of those few people he loves (such as Carina). I adore him so much that I gave him his own short story, VAMPIRE CODE.

WRITING HABITS

How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you?

My Irish grandmother started it with her stories of the Fae, including one tale of her encounter with a Banshee in her root cellar. Imagination fueled, I wrote a lot of fairy tales as a kid.

Do you choose a title first or write the book then choose the title?

Title first, though the title is derived from the subject matter of the book, so that’s a little bit like asking, ‘What comes first, chicken or egg?’

Do you decide on character traits before writing the whole book or as you go along?

As my work is character driven, I develop character profiles prior to writing the whole story. I have detailed questionnaires on all major characters. Of course, they still manage to surprise me while I’m writing their stories.

Do you have another job in addition to writing?

Mom, cat wrangler, line and content editor, slush pile reader, Joss Whedon fan. Oh wait, that last one isn’t actually a job, ha.

FAVORITE BOOKS AND AUTHORS

What is your favorite book and why?

I have so many favorites in varying genres. In urban fantasy/paranormal romance, I adore these series:  J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood; Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark; Amber Belldene’s Blood Vine; and Larissa Ione’s Demonica and Lords of Deliverance.

Favorite author?

So many great authors in the world! In urban fantasy/paranormal romance: J.R. Ward, Kresley Cole, Amber Belldene, Tricia Skinner, Laura Kaye, Larissa Ione, and more!

OTHER FAVORITES

Favorite format: e-book, hardback, or paperback?

All of the above.  I read a lot of eBooks, but there’s something quite satisfying about holding your own print book, or a print book by another author you love.

Favorite color?

Black and red. (I’m not a vampire. Really, I’m not, LOL.)

Favorite singer/group?

Depends on my mood. When I’m writing vampires, I often gravitate toward industrial and techno/electro, so NIN, The Prodigy, Bass Kittens, Meat Beat Manifesto, etc.

Favorite food?

Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Japanese, Chinese…ok, now I’m hungry! :-)

Favorite holiday treat?

Without question, my grandmother’s caramels. The recipe is below so you can make them too!  Warning: they’re sooooo good that you’ll want to make them year round.

WHAT’S NEXT

What’s in your writing future? More books in this genre or…?

Yes, more books in the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres.  For urban fantasy, Carina’s adventures continue in ORIGINS, Book 3 in the Tranquilli Bloodline Series.  For paranormal romance, my wolf shifters in DIAMOND MOON will release in summer 2015 from Decadent Publishing. A second wolf shifter story is in progress.

 The Best Ever Holiday Caramel Candy, aka Grandma Eddie’s Caramels

  • 1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups white Karo Syrup
  • 1 stick of butter (1/4 lb.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Mix together the first three ingredients (milk, sugar, syrup) in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large heavy kettle, pour in the mixture and bring to a boil. Stir continuously while mixture boils until it reaches the temperature of 245 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer (can take up to 25 minutes). Note: If mixture overcooks, candy gets too hard. Once the 245 degree temperature is reached, remove kettle from stove. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, then pour mixture onto a large buttered cookie sheet or flat pan.

For more holiday treats, visit my blog today! (E-books and e-gift card up for grabs! Giveaway ends 12/23/14).

Happy holidays!

Celia

More About Destiny

In HAVEN, San Francisco nightclub owner Carina Tranquilli survives a vicious attack by her vampire family’s longtime archenemies. Several weeks later, as she struggles with PTSD and survivor’s guilt, supervillain Dixon resurfaces and kidnaps two of her best friends. To save them, Carina must comply with the evil bastard’s unusual demands. The kicker? She must tell no one what she is up to.

Meanwhile, she has a new dance club to open for the preternatural community, a fated soul mate acting secretive and distant, and a sexy, new, undead friend who’d love to take Alexander’s place in her heart and bed.

Blackmailed, betrayed, tempted…sometimes destiny has a wicked sense of humor.

Where to find it:

Celia Breslin, Haven, vampire romance, urban fantasy, paranormal romance

Celia Breslin

More About Celia

Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for vampires, werewolves, and the Fae. When not writing, you’ll find her exercising, reading a good book or indulging her addiction to Joss Whedon’s TV shows and movies.

Thank you, Celia, for the interview and the caramel recipe!

… how’s everyone doing? How’s your December going? Mine has been busy, which is why I’ve been quiet lately. December is just one of those months when everything sneaks up on you, you know? :-D

I have one more guest blogger in my “Writers Who Create Other Things” series and then I’ll likely take time off from blogging until after the New Year. But I have some fun stuff planned for 2015 so stay tuned!


Book Series: How Many Books Is Enough?

To B4 or Not To B4, that is my question…

Yesterday Lynda from Books Direct posted her interview of me.  We talked about what my family thinks of my writing, my upcoming short story “Dream, Interrupted” (featuring new heroine Corelei Neverest; she was tons of fun to write), and how darn difficult it was to write the ending to White Heart of Justice.

Why was it so hard?

Well, because White Heart of Justice may be the last Noon Onyx book. As I mention in the interview, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to make sure the ending was emotionally satisfying for those who have followed the series so far – which was challenging considering where I’d left things at the end of Fiery Edge of Steel and the fact that, originally, I’d roughly plotted a total of seven books in the series. (Go ahead, you can say it, what sane writer plots that far ahead of her own career?!)

So, after a mild (dare I admit, significant) panic attack, I got down to business and wrote the ending to WHOJ. That ending changed countless times. I’m not sure what readers will think of it. Early feedback has been wonderful but no one (including me) has really addressed whether this is THE END.

The only thing I know for certain is that I’ll likely self-publish any future books in the series. And self-publishing a book the way I’d want to (with quality editing and a fantastic cover artist/designer) wouldn’t be cheap.

The final decision is mine. Creatively, I have to want to do it. And financially I’ll have to decide whether or not I’m comfortable with the risk and investment of moving forward with a Noon Onyx B4 instead of some other equally awesome but different project.

So I’m curious…

READERS: After you finish White Heart of Justice, let me know whether you’d be interested in reading another Noon novel. I feel the ending is satisfactory enough for us all to walk away happy… and yet… as I said during yesterday’s interview, it’s hard to say goodbye. Halja is a fascinating world and Noon is an interesting, strong character to write about.

WRITERS: Have any of you continued a traditionally published series on your own? How’d that work out for you?

Ok, enough already with the serious talk!!!

Today, I’m over at Magic and Mayhem with a really fun guest blog:

Top 5 Cool Things

You Can Do with a Sword

and

Why Heroes & Heroines Can’t Do Without Them

You gotta come check it out. I actually mention WHOJ only once (to point out its inclusion on the Goodreads “It’s All About The Swords!” list). If you love swords, the post is a MUST READ. :-D

In addition to my Super Serious questions above, I also want to know:

What’s your favorite book cover with a sword on it? Have any examples of cool things you can do with a sword?

Lemme know your answers over at Magic and Mayhem!

Thanks for following, everyone! I’m loving all the tweets!!!


6 #NewAdult Fantasy Authors, 5 Questions, 2 Possible Prizes, 1 Week Only!

A year ago, I hosted a guest blog series that featured New Adult authors. At the time, New Adult fiction was generating some provocative headlines. The category’s had time to mature. I’ve been following it with interest. So have others. I figured now might be a good time to do a follow-up series. But this year, my NA series is going to be a little bit different.

First, most of the posts will be in a Q&A format.

Second, I’ve added some new authors to the mix. This way we’ll continue to hear different perspectives on the topics that are discussed.

Third, as a thank you to all of the participants (both the authors and any commenters), I’m offering a free book (winner’s choice from among the books featured in the series; format and delivery method will vary depending on winner’s choice) and a $10 eGift Certificate to the bookstore of winner’s choice.

The first post will be tomorrow and will feature two authors and two books. Similar posts will follow on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, I’ll announce the winners.

I’d love to hear from as many of you as possible. I’m going to be drawing the winners randomly. Each day that you comment gives you a chance to win. (Commenting during all three days will give you three chances to win both prizes).

What are we going to be talking about?

Among other things, whether or not the term “New Adult” has become synonymous with “college romance.” (Participating authors had different answers to this and I want to hear yours!)

Another thing we’re going to be discussing is some specific advice for a writer who left a question for me here in the comments last month. (A big shout out and thank you to Fairytale Feminista, whose question served as partial inspiration for this Q&A series!)

Stay tuned… Until tomorrow… Take care and have a great Monday, everyone!


Susannah Scott, Author of Luck of the Dragon, on great covers, writing for Entangled, and living in the Ozarks

Paranormal romance author Susannah Scott is my guest today. She’s doing a one day blitz tour to introduce her book, Luck of the Dragon, to new readers. She’s giving away a $25 Amazon gift card as part of her tour (giveaway links are below). Of course, we hope the winner uses it to buy books. :-D Welcome, Susannah!

Susannah Scott, Luck of the Dragon, paranormal romance, dragons, Vegas

Author Interview

Susannah Scott

Thank you so much Jill for having me on your site today! Your book, Fiery Edge of Steel, looks awesome! *just went to Amazon and bought it* I have to say, I am a fearful flyer, you go lady, flying around the countryside and ENJOYING it! My heroines are a lot braver than I am.

Many thanks, Susannah! That was really nice of you. As far as the flying goes, ya know, most of the time, it’s pretty tame. My kids and I have fallen asleep (like we do in the car) many times. Other times, I get to catch up on my reading. Which brings me to the good stuff! I’m really excited to have you here. Your cover caught my eye and the back cover copy sounded intriguing so I thought it would be fun to ask you about Luck of the Dragon… and more!

Jill: Dragon shape-shifter/casino owner Alec Gerald is the hero of LUCK OF THE DRAGON. Can you tell us more about him? How old is he? Has he always lived in Las Vegas?

Susannah: LUCK OF THE DRAGON is the first book in the Las Vegas Dragons series. Alec, my uber hot, Joe Manganiello-looking hero owns a ritzy Las Vegas casino, which provides a hidden-in-plain-sight sanctuary for his dragon-shifting people. Alec is in his late twenties to early thirties. He has been in Vegas for a few years, buying up casinos, and flipping them. The Crown Jewel is his “crowning” achievement because it secretly harbors his people. When Lucy comes along, trying to steal from him, she throws all his careful plans into disarray.

 Jill: Your heroine Luciana de Luca is an expert on gemstones. Does she have a favorite gemstone and if so, why?

Susannah: Lucy loves all gems. For her they represent portable wealth, something she values because of her impoverished childhood. Her brother’s gambling debts are the catalyst behind her trying to steal from Alec. Lucy was a joy to write, she is strong, and smart and sassy, but she is also conflicted because of her brother. Lucy and Alec’s conflicting goals, and powerful chemistry, create some great banter and a satisfying HEA.

Jill: What sort of research did you do before starting to write? I read on your website that this is the first of a “Las Vegas Dragons” series. Why did you choose Las Vegas as the setting for your stories?

Susannah: I did quite a bit of research on gemology and I went to Vegas baby! Two really fun activities that probably should not be considered “work.” Vegas is the perfect location for my dragons, because they can hide in plain sight. I also really like the imagery, the foil of the condensed opulence against the harsh desert. It gives the place a feel of being out-of-time, that reality is truly pushed away to the edge of the green-watered lawns, so that anything–even dragons–are possible.

Jill: I love that… “so that anything–even dragons–are possible.” I love your cover too. It’s very eye-catching. How much of a role did you play in cover design? Can you tell us about the cover process at Entangled?

Susannah: I love my cover too! I can’t take any credit for it, the artists at Entangled Publishing came up with the design. They hit it out of the park the first time.

Jill: Entangled’s Covet imprint publishes contemporary paranormal romances featuring alpha heroes. Can you tell us what factors influenced your decision to submit there and/or what it’s like to write for them?

Susannah: I love dragons and I love to write, but when first started writing I wasn’t very good, so I started taking a ton of classes. At the end of an intensive editing class with Liz Pelletier, (the grand Pooh-Bah of Entangled Publishing), she gently “passed” on acquiring my super-duper, epic, fantasy romance. I asked her what she would like in the dragon variety. She said, “something fun, and contemporary, and sexy.” Viola, Luck of the Dragon began to form in my head. I submitted the completed manuscript to her within a few months.

 Jill: A few months? Go you! Can you give us a short excerpt from Luck of the Dragon with a brief set-up?

Susannah: Alec and Lucy have some really great arguments. This one in Alec’s office is one of my favorites:

Alec opened the door to face 130 pounds of fury.

“I am a respected professional and you are manhandling me and treating me like a criminal!” Luciana yelled at him.

Alec handed her the drink and sat in a deep-seated leather chair. The chair sighed with ease when he leaned back. He crossed his ankle at his knee and took a sip. “Luciana—”

“Oh, please, all my captors call me Lucy.” She glared at him. “You sound like a priest hearing confession when you call me Luciana.”

“Well, we can’t have that.” Alec chuckled and sipped his own drink, the taste of mellow corn mash and oak barrels tingling over his tongue. Alcohol did not affect dragons in the way it affected the feeble humans. He drank the bourbon purely because he liked the taste.

“Does this have something in it?” Luciana held the drink to the light.

“I wouldn’t harm you.” Alec took a second sip of his drink, and it fired down his throat to his belly in a pleasing trail.

Lucy set her drink on his desk, untouched. “I’m not the trusting sort.”

Alec gave her what he hoped was a charming look. “You can trust me. I can help you.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Lucy said in a voice used to stopping cabs.

“Fine, don’t trust me, but I need you to start your appraisal tomorrow,” Alec said in a voice used to calling stretch limos.

Lucy’s face flushed. Her collarbones rose and fell under her pale skin in elegant lines.

He wanted to kiss her, to see if the zing of electricity was a fluke, or if the fates had gone mad and paired him with a human mate.

She might bite him.

He might like it.

Jill: Great excerpt. Love those last two lines. :-D Okay, last question. Your bio says you live in the Ozarks. I’ve never been, but it seems like a fascinating area. What’s your favorite thing about living there?

Susannah Scott in the Ozarks

Susannah Scott in the Ozarks

Susannah: My absolute favorite thing is to go to one of the many spring fed rivers we have in this area. We have three young boys, and my very best days have been spent in a chair beside the water, watching them catch critters, while my husband fishes and I enjoy a good book and margarita. By the way, we perfected our margarita recipe this summer: 2 parts Patron Tequila to 1 part mix, with half a fresh lime squeezed in each serving. Yum. Really strong and a little pricey, but so worth it!

Jill: That is a great picture! Looks like you two were having fun. Get ’em out adventuring early, I say! I love margaritas too. Will have to try your recipe!

Susannah: Thank you again for having me and giving me a chance to connect with your readers!

More About Luck of the Dragon

Luciana de Luca has a PhD in sass and gemology—and a problem. Her twin brother’s gambling debts have gotten out of hand, and a mob enforcer is blackmailing her to rob the latest, greatest mega-casino on the Strip. Although Lucy has worked her whole life to get away from her family’s grifter past, to save her brother, she dons three-inch heels and a sluts-r-us dress and struts into Alec’s Gerald’s casino, determined to put her long-forgotten thieving ways to the test again.

Alec Gerald, a shape-shifting dragon, has built the Crown Jewel casino to provide sanctuary for his people amongst the flash and awe of Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the sexy little thief trying to rob his gem exhibit turns out to be his mate, and he must woo her before he loses his dragon form forever. With enemies in every corner, and the all-important mating ceremony looming, Alec and Lucy must learn to trust each other, before time runs out for Alec and the rest of the dragons.

Where to buy:

More About Susannah

Susannah Scott, Paranormal Romance, author

Susannah Scott

Susannah lives in the Missouri Ozarks and is the lone female in a very loud household of males ranging in age from 4 to 40. While she jokes that the extreme levels of testosterone inspired her to write romance, it is really the love of creating an excellent story, and the occasional dreams of twenty-foot dragons, that wake her and send her to the laptop before the chaos of daily life ensues. Susannah loves to hear from her readers at the following social media locations:

Links to Enter to Win $25 Amazon Gift Certificate

Luck of the Dragon Banner SEPT9

So how about you? Have you been to the Ozarks or Las Vegas? What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done with your kids? Yourself? Do you like books about dragons? Do you think Susannah’s cover is as eye-catching as I do? Thanks for a great interview, Susannah!


If Fiery Edge of Steel was made into a movie, who would I cast as Noon Onyx?

I’ve never answered the question of who I would cast as the lead characters in the Noon Onyx books if the books were made into movies. Mostly, it was due to the fact that no one actress came immediately to mind. But another reason is that I was reluctant to limit the character’s interpretation in that way. Books and movies are very different storytelling mediums. One of the amazing things about books is that readers can fill in the gaps of the story with their own imaginations. Part of me felt like if I said who I thought would make a great Noon, that’s who people would always visualize. But that’s ridiculous. And SO NOT FUN!

EJ over at From the Shadows asked me “the casting question” and this time, I had to answer it. So if you’re wondering who I would cast as Noon, Ari, and newcomer Rafe Sinclair, then check out today’s interview by clicking here. I talk about other stuff too, like when I started writing, what brought me to the paranormal genre, which supernatural talent I would want for my own, and why people will like Fiery Edge of Steel. And, of course, there’s a giveaway! Come comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Fiery Edge of Steel!

If you’ve read Dark Light of Day, I’d love to hear *your* thoughts on who would make a great Noon and Ari. Or you can tell me what you think of my choices and whether you’ve seen any of the MOVIES I reference. :-D

Hope to see you there! Have a great Wednesday!

One of the neatest things about Release Day: Friends sending you pictures of their recently delivered copies! Thanks, Dianne, for texting me this pic!!

One of the neatest things about Release Day: Friends sending you pictures of their recently delivered copies! Thanks, Dianne, for texting me this pic!!


Author Interview: Damien Walters Grintalis, Author of “Ink”

For my last post in the 2012 Fall Into Winter Darkness Book Blast, I interviewed Damien Walters Grintalis, author of the upcoming horror novel INK, which is being released on December 4, 2012 from Samhain Publishing. When I first heard the premise of INK, it immediately intrigued me and I pre-ordered it. I asked if Damien would be willing to answer a few questions while we wait for its release. Happily, she agreed. Along with sharing a bit about INK, she also discusses what it’s like to be an Associate Editor for “Electric Velocipede” and a staff writer for “BookLifeNow.” Welcome, Damien!

Horror Novel INK

INK’s release day is 12-4-12

Jill Archer: Your bio says that you were influenced early on by the movie ALIEN and Stephen King’s THE SHINING. If you’d been 11 in 2012, which movies or books might have influenced you in the same way?

Damien Walters Grintalis: I suspect I’d be influenced by the YA dystopian and zombie literature, like Suzanne Collins’ THE HUNGER GAMES and Jonathan Maberry’s ROT & RUIN. As far as movies, I’m not certain there’s anything that would have quite the same impact as ALIEN.

JA: Your bio also says you hate spiders (me too, although I try to remember Charlotte before reaching for my shoe or a rolled up magazine). Are there any insects you do like?

DWG: I like cicadas, praying mantises, moths, butterflies, fireflies, and ladybugs. Ants, too, as long as they’re not traipsing about in my kitchen.

JA: INK, your debut horror novel, features the protagonist Jason and his ‘fearsome griffin’ tattoo. Why did you choose a griffin as the creature for the tattoo? Is there a picture of Jason’s tattoo in the book or anywhere online – or do you leave that up to the reader’s imagination?

DWG: I wanted something mythical as opposed to real, and I also wanted something that could be monstrous. The combination of talons, wings, and claws was absolutely perfect in my mind.

There are no pictures of the tattoo, and, while I don’t give a head to toe filling in every line and feather description of the griffin, I think I describe it in such a way that a reader will be able to imagine it clearly. At least I hope so.

JA: Since I was curious about what Jason’s griffin tattoo looked like, Damien shared a small excerpt:

The creature, its feathers and fur done in shades of amber, gold and tawny brown, looked ready to spring up from his skin. Its beak and claws were pale but tipped with dark, its eyes a piercing green, and the massive chest leaned forward and up—regal, haughty, and proud.

JA: Do you have a tattoo? If not, did writing INK make you consider getting one? (Or, if you have one, did writing the story make you think about having it removed?)

DWG: I have several tattoos. Some predate the writing of INK, others have come after.  At one point, I was thinking about adding a griffin tattoo, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. I don’t believe in monsters, at least not inhuman monsters, and I trust my tattoo artist, but perhaps fate should best not be tempted.

JA: What was the inspiration for INK? What compelled you to write the story?

DWG: I was on my way out of a tattoo shop in Fells Point (in Baltimore) when I had an idea for what I thought would be a short story: Unsuspecting man gets tattoos and they come to life and tear him apart. But when I sat down to write it, a very different story started to emerge and it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was a novel, not a short story.

JA: What sort of research did you do in order to write INK?

DWG: I had to look up a few things about the Washington Monument and the street names for a graveyard mentioned in the book, but that’s it. I’m more of a ‘make it up as I go along’ sort of writer.

JA: Who are some of your favorite authors? / Which authors have inspired you or influenced your work?

DWG: Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Joyce Carol Oates have been my biggest influences. I am in awe of their character development, their plotting, and their craftsmanship.

JA: You are an Associate Editor of the Hugo Award winning speculative fiction magazine, Electric Velocipede and a staff writer for BookLifeNow. Can you tell us a little bit about each and your work there?

DWG: Electric Velocipede is a Hugo Award-winning speculative fiction magazine edited by John Klima. He founded the magazine in 2001 and has published short fiction by many notable writers, including Catherynne M. Valente, Jeffrey Ford, Rachel Swirsky, Jeff VanderMeer, Aliete de Bodard, and Jay Lake. In 2001, the magazine made the switch from print to online, and that’s when I joined the team.

I do a lot of things in the background, everything from proofreading to gathering contributor bios to setting up the story posts, and I’ve recently started copyediting as well. Being part of a magazine from the inside has been a wonderful experience.

Booklife, penned by Jeff VanderMeer, is an “essential reference [that] reflects on methods for being focused, productive, and savvy in the craft of writing.” The book was accompanied by the website, which expanded on the topics even more.  Earlier this year, Jeff handed the reins of the website, BookLifeNow, to Caroline Ratajski, who then assembled a team of industry folks to help out. Because we bring our own experiences and advice to the table, we post on a variety of writing and publishing topics from many different viewpoints. My most recent BLN post was Writing When You’re Broken.

JA: What is your favorite horror movie?

DWG: Without a doubt, ALIEN. THE EXORCIST runs a close second.

JA: Did you dress up for Halloween this year? If so, what was your costume?

DWG: I did not, although I joked that since I wore yoga pants and a t-shirt, I was dressed as a writer.

JA: What’s next for you?

DWG: My agent and I are working on final edits to another novel called Paper Tigers, a story about a heavily disfigured young woman and a haunted photo album that promises the illusion of physical perfection, a promise which comes with a great price.

I’ve recently finished the first draft of another novel, and I have yet another waiting in the wings for edits. I also write a lot of short fiction and have several stories in various states of undress.

JA: Thank you for answering these questions and sharing a bit more about INK with us. Best wishes for your release!

More About “Ink”

A tattoo can be a work of art…or a curse.

The fearsome griffin inked on Jason’s arm looks real enough to climb off and take flight. Jason thinks his new tattoo is perfect. Until he wakes up one night to find his arm temporarily ink free. Until he finds a brick wall where the tattoo shop should be.

As Jason’s world spins out of control, he comes to realize a truth as sharp as the griffin’s talons. The tattoo is alive, it’s hungry, and if Jason tries to kill it, he’ll die. The artist will remove it for a price, but he’s not interested in money or Jason’s soul. He wants something far worse…

  • Ink can be pre-ordered here.
  • For Damien Walters Grintalis’ website, click here.

So readers and writers, what about you? Do you find the premise of INK as intriguing as I do? Do you have any tattoos? If so, what’s the story behind them? If not, are you thinking about getting one? If your tattoo artist could create anything you wanted (and would work for free), what tattoo would you choose? Have a terrific weekend, everyone!


3 Unconventional Heroines for Your Un-Princesses (and Misc. Updates)

These have all been out for a while, but I thought I’d share three of my family’s favorite picture books with you. GREAT FOR ALL AGES, BUT ESPECIALLY FOR YOUNG UN-PRINCESSES! Each of these stories also has some great character inspirations for last-minute Halloween costumes!

Cinderella Skeleton

Let us know if you decide to dress up as Cinderella Skeleton, Prince Charnel, or stepsisters Gristlene and Bony-Jane!

Why we love Cinderella Skeleton: Why?! Well because she’s “everything a ghoul should be” of course! :-D Don’t take my word for it. Here’s a few more wonderful lines from author Robert D. San Souci:

Her build was long and lean and lank;
Her dankish hair hung down in hanks;
Her nails were yellow; her teeth were green—
The ghastliest haunt you've ever seen.
Foulest in the land was she.

Bonus: David Catrow’s gorgeous pictures! It’s a wonderfully macabre, colorfully detailed reinterpretation of the Cinderella story.

Violet the Pilot

Let us know if you or your daughter dresses up as Violet the Pilot (or her dog Orville!)

Why we love Violet: What’s not to like about a girl who reads Popular Science, has a dog named “Orville” and who rescues a bunch of Boy Scouts?

Bonus: Getting to see all of Violet’s various flying contraptions. Among them: the Tub-bubbler, the Pogo Plane, and the Wing-a-ma-jig.  Violet’s inventive and inspiring!

The Paper Bag Princess

Do a Google Images search for “Paper Bag Princess” and you’ll see lots of other neat costumes that people have made based on this character.

Why we love the Elizabeth: Sure, Elizabeth’s beautiful, has “expensive princess clothes” and is going to marry a prince, but fairly early on she loses most of what she holds dear. Her new best friend is the titular paper bag and we get to see that Elizabeth is as beautifully strong as her new dress is not.

Bonus: Elizabeth’s last lines to Prince Ronald (oft-quoted in our house).

Have you read any of these books? If so, which is your favorite?

Book Signing Update

This Saturday I’m doing my last in-person event for Dark Light of Day. I’m signing books at a multi-author event featuring Nora Roberts, who is signing the third book in the InnBoonsBoro Trilogy, The Perfect Hope. The book signing is in Boonsboro, Maryland at Turn the Page bookstore from 12:00-2:00. For more information (including a list of the other authors who are attending), please click here. If you live in the area, I’d love to see you there!

Blog Tour Update

Yesterday, I was at Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews. Laurie interviewed me and I shared what my family thinks of Dark Light of Day, whether my husband reads my work or not, and how I’ve responded to negative and mixed reviews. If you have a chance, stop by!

Carving Pumpkins Update

Carving pumpkins; Halloween

This pattern reminded me of the Sleepy Hollow tree…

Halloween pumpkin

Carved pumpkins

Every year my cat (under the table) tells me he wants to go as Jiji, the black cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service. Unfortunately, he’s an indoor cat.

Are you carving pumpkins this year? What will your pumpkins look like?

Frankenstorm / Superstorm Sandy Update

Superstorm Sandy

Pre-Sandy: I told them umbrellas would turn inside out. They improvised. :-)

Gusts of nearly 50 mph. Lost power for a while and though there was a swarm of no less than a dozen BGE trucks outside our house at one point, we were up and running yesterday having lost nothing more than a window screen. Today, school is cancelled for the third day, we are in a “brownout” with limited power and have no internet. (I’m posting this using a cellular hotspot). How is everyone else? I hope everyone is safe and that you suffered minimal flooding and wind damage. My thoughts are with everyone in NYC, New Jersey, and elsewhere where the impact was much worse than it was here. Gotta put in a pitch to donate to the Red Cross or your favorite disaster relief charity if you haven’t already!

Best wishes for Halloween! Here’s to hoping that Mother Nature will be much kinder to us for Thanksgiving.


The Calm Before the Storm

I’m over at Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess today. Jody asked me how the digital revolution has affected my career as an author and I share my thoughts on the importance of book bloggers and review sites in the future landscape of publishing. The interview with Jody is one of the last handful of posts I’ll be doing for the DLOD blog tour. There will be a few more interviews and my last few posts will be me discussing DLOD’s settings, man’s endless fascination (some might even say obsession) with fire, and then a wrap up “Tales from the Cyber Road” post, which will have my reactions to the blog tour, etc.

Tomorrow, I’m hosting another guest blogger and next week I’ll probably do a Halloween post or two — and possibly even a FRANKENSTORM post! Geesh! I was kidding with my earlier Snowtober posts from last year, but apparently snow in October this year is not entirely out of the question. I hope anyone living in the Northeast is ready. (Although if you have kids, I’m betting you already have enough batteries to get you through three apocalypses. One itty, bitty hurricane is not going to put a dent in your pile of C’s and AA’s).

Regarding the possible RH Penguin merger, I’ll just quote Samuel L. Jackson from Jurassic Park, “Hold onto your butts.” :-/

I hope, despite all the “unsettling” news of impending storms, etc., that everyone is able to have a nice weekend.


Next Big Thing: Noon Onyx Book #2

Noon Onyx Book #2You may think this post is a hoot, because it’s about my second book – and I’m still promoting my first! The truth is my agent, Lois Winston, who is also a writer (she writes the Anastasia Pollack crafting mystery series), tagged me in this online author’s Q&A game.  And how could I say no to her? ;-)

In all seriousness though, I thought it would be fun mid-DLOD blog tour, to give everyone a sneak peek at the next book in the series. I also get to tag a few other wonderful authors who have some cool things lined up in their writer pipelines, which they can tell everyone about next week. Those authors are listed below after my Noon Onyx Book #2 Sneak Peek.

Next Big Thing Q&A

What is your working title of your book?

Noon Onyx Book #2 :-D

Where did the idea come from for the book?

As with the first book in the series (Dark Light of Day) my inspirations for Book #2 came from myriad sources: a French imposter case, a story from the 1990 Tales from the Darkside movie, creepy folklore, and two children’s songs about the unlikeliest of topics — death.

What genre does your book fall under?

The Noon Onyx series is fantasy. That said, there are elements of all sorts of other genres present in the series: mystery, romance, legal fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, even new adult.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I always demur on this question because it would be much more interesting to hear reader’s thoughts on this. If you’ve read Dark Light of Day and stumble across this post at any point in the future, feel free to answer this question in the comments. I’d love to know what *you* think!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

New assignment, new adventures, and new adversaries. (Later this fall, I’ll have a new cover, new title, and new blurb to share.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m represented by the person who tagged me for this post, Lois Winston.

I’m currently under contract with Ace to write the first three books in the Noon Onyx series.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Probably a year in total. My “first drafts” are a lot more than working drafts. I spend the most time on the first draft stage of writing.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Uh… next question, please… [“Unique” and “different” are two words that seem to come up a lot with respect to Dark Light of Day].

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In Noon’s second story, I wanted to explore the themes of knowledge, duty, love, and betrayal.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I’ve shared elsewhere that Noon Onyx Book #2 will have some characters who return, some who are new, and that Noon will get her first field assignment. I’ll also add that I became fascinated with the idea of divination tools and I like how that played out.

If you enjoyed this sneak peek of Noon Onyx book #2, you can add it to your Goodreads shelf by clicking here.

Or “like it” or pre-order it by clicking here.

May 28, 2013 is the anticipated release date. Okay, that’s it on book #2 for a while…

Other Authors with “Next Big Things”

Next week, these authors will post about the Next Big Things they’re working on:

Brinda Berry: Brinda is the YA author of The Whispering Woods series, which includes The Waiting Booth (“A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal….”) and Whisper of Memory (“Weapons training and winter formals… a deadly combination”). She’s also the President of the Diamond State Romance Authors and she hosts the Social Media Savvy with Sanity Series at Gloria Richard’s blog. Look for Brinda’s Next Big Thing post here.

Alex Hughes: Alex is the author of Clean, a dystopian thriller (“In a dark future Atlanta, a disgraced telepath must stop a serial killer who murders with the mind. Can our hero stay on the wagon long enough to lead the police to the killer?”). For her Next Big Thing post click here (link will go live on 10/25/12).

Amy Raby: Amy is a fantasy romance author whose novel Assassin’s Gambit will be out in April 2013 from Signet Eclipse. I’m hoping Amy will tell us more about it with her Next Big Thing post: click here (link should be live on 10/22/12). She also does a “History for the Fantasy Buff” blog series, which is terrific.

Readers, thanks for letting us share our Next Big Thing with you!


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