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Character Interview: Electra Crippen from Chris Karlsen’s Historical Romance ‘In Time For You’

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Electra Crippen from Chris Karlsen’s new historical/time travel romance, In Time For You. Electra is a 27 year old chef living in Gloucester, England.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Electra. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I felt Chris portrayed me fairly. There were surprises in store for me that neither of us saw coming at the start of the story. I enjoyed the opportunity to explore how a modern woman might adjust to the medieval world if she’s to survive.

In Time for YouXXDo you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I wouldn’t do anything differently.

I think the story showcased various aspects of my character. The author allowed me depth, which meant I had moments of ill temper and fear and moments of joy and passion.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m very logical. I know I have a skillset and I need to keep my wits about me and to make myself useful. I know when survival means adjusting.

Worse trait?

Impatience and a sarcastic tongue.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Scarlett Johannson. I think she’s lovely. We both are pale and have red hair. Of course, the comparison stops there but I still would like her to play me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes, Roger Marchand. He’s French. I adored him from the first time I met him. He loves me enough to have risked his life and traveled through time to find me.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When Edward of Woodstock, (The Black Prince) whisks me away to Wales to travel with his party.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t want to be Dr. Oliver Gordon. He’s a theoretical physicist, which the medieval people know nothing of. They just think he’s an English traitor who is consorting with the French enemy. He’s thrown into the dungeon and there’s a good chance he’ll be hung as a spy.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I think it is poignant but true to the storyline. Any other ending would’ve been less emotional as it wouldn’t have been as strong a stand for my sister Emily to take. She is a powerful character in the story as well as me and her love interest is a strong hero. The ending served everybody in the best way possible.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d like to meet with the Black Prince again. He’s such a charmer and I promised him I’d name my restaurant for him. But you must bring Roger along as well. The Prince did enjoy Roger’s jousting abilities.

Thank you for this interview, Electra. I hope we’ll see more of you in the future!

About the Author

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Chris Karlsen is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. The daughter of a history professor and a mother who was a voracious reader, she grew up with a love of history and books.

Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she’d read about and that fascinated her. Her travels have taken her Europe, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States. She most frequently visited England and France, where several of her books are set.

After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and he latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.

She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.

My website is: http://chriskarlsen.com/

My FB page: https://www.facebook.com/chriskarlsenwriter

My Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/chriskarlsen/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005HYTQQI

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4822048.Chris_Karlsen

ABOUT THE BOOK

While horseback riding in the English countryside, sisters Electra and Emily Crippen find themselves trapped in a tear in time. Thrown back to 1357 England and caught by a local noble, they are in a place that is home but as frightening and unfamiliar as an alien world would be. With no idea how the tear in time came about, the one thing they do know is: they must stay together and stay near to where the event took place in hopes of discovering the way back to their modern life. That certain need to stay together is the first certainty taken from them when one sister is forced to remain in England and one is sent miles away to Wales by royal order.

There is one other hope for help the sisters don’t know exists. It’s Electra’s lover, Roger Marchand. A time traveler himself, he never told her of his past. When he realizes what has happened to the sisters, he enlists the help of a scientist friend to help him open the suspected passageway through time. Any effort to save Electra and Emily will likely cost him his life. This was the time Roger came from, a time when his country, France, was at war with England. If he is discovered on English soil while searching for the sisters, he will either be killed or taken prisoner of war. Any risk is worth saving the life of the woman he loves.

Amazon B&N / Kobo Smashwords 

Book Review: ‘Stolen Dreams’ by Christine Amsden


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I can’t believe this is the last book in the Cassie Scot new adult paranormal mystery series! I really have enjoyed this series a lot.

If you’re new to the series, I advise you to pick up the books in order:

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective  
Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot #2) 
Mind Games (Cassie Scot #3)
Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot #4)

In this the final installment, talented author Christine Amsden brings the infamous Scot vs. Blackwood family feud to a close, but not without filling her story with enough intrigue, mystery, twists and surprises to keep you thinking about the characters for a long time.

And this is, really, the biggest draw in these stories, the characters, especially Cassie and Evan. Cassie has been such a likable protagonist throughout the series, smart and strong and opinionated, yet caring and warm-hearted. Evan –yes, arrogant, condescending and overprotective Evan — has also been the perfect hero. They were school sweethearts…until Evan’s father stole her powers from her and gave them to Evan, thus starting a conflict between them that brought them to the depths of despair, especially for Cassie.

There are many subplots in this book, but the main problem happens when Cassie’s father is killed and she and her family think that Evan’s dad is the one responsible. The primary storyline has to do with finding out if this is true or not and, if not, then who, in fact, is responsible.

There are many surprises in Stolen Dreams, and I enjoyed all of them. Fans of romance will especially enjoy the focus on Cassie and Evan’s relationship. I loved the ending. In sum, this was a wonderful series, and the author delivered a satisfying closure. I wonder what she will come up next? I’m certainly going to be on the lookout for her future books.

My review was previously published in Blogcritics Magazine. 

Book Review & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway : ‘Mind Games,’ by Christine Amsden

MindGames_medMind Games is the much awaited third installment in the new adult mystery series, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Talented author Christine Amsden keeps delivering a great story filled with interesting characters, romance, mystery, and the paranormal, lots of it.

In this episode, Cassie still doesn’t know why Evan broke her heart two months ago, and the mystery gnaws at her big time. She decides to keep busy and make herself useful at the sheriff’s department. She also meets charismatic mind mage Matthew Blair…much to Evan’s distaste. At the same time, Eagle Rock is teeming with hate from the religious community, a reaction to the recent murder of a much-esteemed pastor’s wife by what the people believe was a sorcerer. The town is about to snap, with tensions between the magical and non-magical communities.

And in the center of all this, is Matthew, whom Cassie finds irresistible. But can she trust him? According to Evan, no way. But then, Evan isn’t the most objective person when it comes to Cassie. Evan and Cassie have a history, as well as a secret connection, that keeps them bound in spite of themselves.

Will Cassie discover the real culprit or culprits behind the pastor’s wife’s murder, as well as the real face behind the anti-magical propaganda and demonstrations? Most importantly, will she wake up and see Matthew for who he really is…and find the courage to face Evan for what he did to her—when she finds out?

I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed this instalment! There’s something about Cassie’s voice that makes her really likable. She has a good heart and is witty, too. But best of all, she is just an ordinary girl next door trying to do her best in spite of everything that happens around her—which is usually pretty remarkable, as is often the case in paranormal stories.

Her relationship with Evan keeps evolving organically and there’s a major revelation in this book about their connection and the secret behind their rival families. Matthew is a great addition to this episode, adding tension with his charismatic personality and inciting sparks of jealousy from Evan. The conflict between the religious and the magical communities is also well done.

Mind Games kept me reading late into the night, wondering what would happen next. If you haven’t read any books in this series before, I urge you to pick up book one first, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. The books are best read in order. You won’t be disappointed.

Purchase links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Connect with the author on the web: 

Website / Newsletter / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Google+

My review was originally published on Blogcritics

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*The giveaway begins on April 15, 2014 at midnight and ends on July 16, 2014 at midnight.

Book Review: ‘Secrets and Lies’ by Christine Amsden


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Secrets and Lies is the second installment in the Cassie Scot new adult paranormal mystery series. Though there’s a bit of backstory in this novel, it’s preferable to read the books in order, if only to find out from the beginning who Cassie is, how she got started as a detective and, especially, how her romance with Evan evolved. Also to understand the animosity between their families.

In Secrets and Lies, two girls have gone missing from a summer camp and although the local police have already started investigating, Cassie is hired by a family member of the girls to help in the case. Evan, always wanting to protect Cassie, joins her in the investigation.

Because Evan saved Cassie’s life in book 1, Cassie believes she owes him and finds it difficult to deny him what he wants.  This makes life both frustrating and thrilling for Cassie, who is not only an independent, smart, 21-year old sleuth, but she’s also powerfully attracted to him and prone to succumb to his charms…but who can resist a charismatic, handsome warlock?

As the two begin to investigate, it becomes increasingly obvious that magic is involved, and that the girls might still be alive. At the same time, there seems to be a “ghost” or “invisible person” robbing banks in town. Are the robberies and the girls’ disappearance connected in some way? Adding further tension to the mystery is the ongoing war between Cassie and her parents, who betrayed and disowned her in book 1, as well as the unending feud between Cassie’s and Evan’s families, who totally loath each other. This, of course, puts pressure on the young couple, who are not only in lust but also in love.

As Cassie closes in on the villains, tormenting issues about her mother resurface. On her mother’s deathbed, Cassie must make a decision that could forever distance her from her mother or could possibly reunite them — or at least ease some of the tension in the family and improve their relationship. The book isn’t titled Secrets and Lies for nothing, as there are plenty of these in the story, not to mention enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read. First of all, what I love most about Cassie is her voice. She is very likable and sympathetic, with just the right amount of good qualities and flaws. She’s smart, independent, witty, sensitive, and has a good heart. Amsden does an excellent job with her character’s interiority.

The second aspect of this novel I enjoyed the most is the romance between Cassie and Evan. It’s just the right amount, without veering the plot away from the mystery. It also has its fair share of tension, as we never know how it’s going to end up for these two. The author keeps us guessing in this roller-coaster of a love story.

The pace flows fairly quickly, as this author doesn’t use too much exposition or description. Action and dialogue propel the story forward. The paranormal aspect adds fun and spice to the story without getting overwhelming, and I enjoyed all the magic 101.

The ending left me breathless with a mega-revelation that will have a major impact on the relationship between Cassie and Evan. Having read both books in the series, this is my favorite, and I can’t wait to see what Amsden will come up with in her next installment, soon to come out in 2014. Fans of paranormal mysteries will relish this one!

Find out more on Amazon and B&N.

Visit Christine Amsden’s website.

Originally published in Blogcritics.

Book News: STONEWISER fantasy trilogy FREE on Kindle TODAY through September 2nd

Here it is, Folks!

Dora Machado’s entire Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy, published by Mermaid Press, FREE on Kindle.

WHEN?  Starting today, from Saturday August 31 to Monday September 2

To get your free download NOW from the Kindle store, click on each title below. It’s as simple as that!

stonewiser-theheartofthestone-156x240Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone 


Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for best Debut Novel

Finalist for 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Award for SFF

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9780979968242 (2)Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone

Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Gold Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

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9780979968259Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone

Winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Silver Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

For those of you audio book lovers, the first book in the series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone is now available from Audible. Be sure to check it out!

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Dora Tapestry 1 June 2013 (480x640)About Dora Machado

Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel,The Curse Giver, from Twilight Times Books, available July 2013. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue.

After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind’s adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats. Visit her atwww.DoraMachado.com.

Character Interview: Rakan’dzor from Dina von Lowenkraft’s YA Fantasy Dragon Fire

We’re thrilled to have here today Rakan from Dina von Lowenkraft’s debut YA Fantasy, Dragon Fire.  Rakan is a teenage shapeshifting dragon living between Ngari, Tibet and Tromso, Norway.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Dragon Fire coverThank you so for this interview, Rakan. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

I think it is a fair account, and although I would like to change some of my actions in the book, they are what happened. If I knew what I know now, I would have reacted differently.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I think Dina understood my inner conflicts and portrayed them with fairness. I would have preferred to have had her clue me in to a few things earlier on, though. And I don’t think she needed to let Anna suffer as much as she did.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My ability to control my emotions and to maintain the calm I need to fight.

Worse trait? 

My inability to control my emotions around Anna. I forget everything when we are together. Even when it puts us both in danger.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I’m afraid I don’t watch a lot of human movies, but it would have to be a Tibetan. Perhaps a Khampa, they are taller than some of the others – as I am. Although, I really don’t see how a human can portray my dragon form – so you might have to let me play myself for that!

Do you have a love interest in the book?

My life revolves around Anna. I can no longer imagine it without her – even if the book starts before we met.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

From quite early on actually. There were too many factors that were beyond my control, from my sister’s reckless behavior, to my inability to concentrate around Anna. And then all of my questions about who – or what – June actually was… It was only when I understood and accepted what I would have to sacrifice to stop all the fighting, that I came into that inner place of calm that would allow me to change the course of history.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Kariaksuq. She was manipulated from the beginning and was forced to do many things that she felt was wrong. Even when I made mistakes, they were my choices, and I believed that what I was doing was right. Kariaksuq never had that freedom and her life was torture.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Frustrated. Happy. Excited. Devastated. Hopeful. And a bit terrified about how things will play out in the future. I guess the feeling I have looking back on it now is determined.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it? 

Give me time with Anna. Even just a few weeks. I need her. I love her. And if I must die, promise me first that Anna and the earth will be safe. I won’t let myself die until you do.

Thank you for this interview, Rakan. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I certainly hope so – because it will mean I will be with Anna. Or it had better mean that. Can I add something to my previous answer? Dina, be forewarned that if you write a second book and I can’t have time with Anna, I will make your life miserable.

Is that a threat, Rakan?

*Rakan flashes a devastatingly handsome smile* I’m a dragon. I take care of my own.

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ABOUT DRAGON FIRE

Some choices are hard to live with.

But some choices will kill you. 

When seventeen-year-old Anna first meets Rakan in her hometown north of the Arctic Circle, she is attracted to his pulsing energy. Unaware that he is a shapeshifting dragon, Anna is drawn into a murderous cycle of revenge that pits Rakan and his clan against her best friend June. 

Torn between his forbidden relationship with Anna, punishable by death, and restoring his family’s honor by killing June, Rakan must decide what is right. And what is worth living – or dying – for.

Genre: YA Fantasy

Author: Dina von Lowenkraft

Website: www.dinavonlowenkraft.com 

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Purchase on AMAZON

Read a sample chapter 

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Dina von LowenkraftBorn in the US, Dina von Lowenkraft has lived on 4 continents, worked as a graphic artist for television and as a consultant in the fashion industry. Somewhere between New York and Paris she picked up an MBA and a black belt. Dina is currently the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Belgium, where she lives with her husband, two children and three horses.

Dina loves to create intricate worlds filled with conflict and passion. She builds her own myths while exploring issues of belonging, racism and the search for truth… after all, how can you find true love if you don’t know who you are and what you believe in? Dina’s key to developing characters is to figure out what they would be willing to die for. And then pushing them to that limit.

Site: www.dinavonlowenkraft.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dina-von-Lowenkraft/551209381555837

Twitter: https://twitter.com/vonlowenkraft

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/vonlowenkraft/

Book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18282428-dragon-fire

Goodreads Author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7123641.Dina_von_Lowenkraft

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Dina-von-Lowenkraft/e/B00ED2IZYY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Character Interview: Jalenia, from The Curse Giver, a fantasy novel by Dora Machado

We’re thrilled to have here today Jalenia, from Dora Machado’s new fantasy novel, The Curse Giver. Jalenia is an ageless curse giver who usually keeps her name and whereabouts secret, but generally operates in the Kingdom and the Free Territories that comprise the Land of the Thousand Gods along the great river Nerpes. She’s very mysterious, so don’t expect to learn a lot from her and beware: Whatever you do, you don’t really want her to turn her attention to you.

CurseGiver_Front Cover FinalIt is a pleasure to have you with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you, I think. I don’t do interviews often. More like never. But you seem like an interesting character yourself and I’m currently looking for work. Who knows? Maybe you or one of your readers needs a curse cast?

Thank you so much for this interview, Jalenia.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Fairly portrayed? I don’t think so. Creatures like us are never fairly portrayed. We are secretive, devious and mysterious by nature. We don’t like the spotlight. We believe in wickedness over goodness. We enjoy doing evil. We have to cast curses to exist, and yet people fear us because we do our job so well. Face it, villains never get fair press.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I’m afraid she might have painted me weak on a couple of occasions, but overall, I think Dora didn’t mince words. I mean, I like being evil, and she got that, oh, yes, she wrote me just the way I am. She didn’t make excuses for me. She didn’t make me good, or friendly, or even caring, thank the gods. So what if the readers may loathe me? So what if I cursed the Lord of Laonia?

Face it. The Lord of Laonia’s father did me wrong. He deserved to be cursed. He and his entire line deserved to suffer, all the way to the last of his sons, Bren, whose story is told in The Curse Giver. He was a fighter, that one. He wasn’t willing to lay down his sword and wait for my curse to kill him like any reasonable man might have done. His sense of duty was as impressive as his endurance.  I really enjoyed stringing him along. He waged a good fight. You must understand. I relish what I do and I enjoy a worthy opponent every so often. Heroes like Bren are hard to come by in my business. Fear usually neutralizes the cursed. Not Bren. He refused to be neutralized. He made it interesting for me.

As to that remedy mixer, Lusielle, well, she had it coming. She thought maybe she was going to be able to defeat me with her potions, to heal the curse from the very man that was trying to kill her in order to survive and save his people from the destruction. Little did she know about how foul and terrible her death would be in the hands of the man she tried to heal. Little did she know about the terrible secret that the Lord of Laonia kept from her until the very end.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m powerful, more powerful than any other curse giver that has ever existed. I’ve got good blood lines, excellent training, and I’ve lived a long time, which means I have the skills and expertise to cast a virulent curse. I can command the elements, travel swiftly through astonishing means, change my appearance almost at will and kill the strongest man with but a twist of my wrist. I’m persistent, oh yes, tenacious like the Goddess herself. And I’m a planner. My curses are impregnable, carefully crafted to address contingencies, anticipate disruptions, and ensure my victim’s demise. Finally, I’m merciless, selfish and wicked beyond redemption. These are the traits that make me the most powerful curse giver in the realms.

Worse trait?

I don’t have a worst trait. I consider myself the perfect curse giver. Shudder when you hear my name.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I doubt there’s anyone in my world capable of playing me. Don’t you understand? I can be anybody. I could even be you.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Love? Yuck. There’s enough of that from Bren and Lusielle in the story. Those two fought off the attraction growing between them almost as hard as they fought their enemies and me. I never understood. What did Lusielle see in the bitter, wretched lord fated to die by my hand?

Lusielle was a powerful healer, I understand that, but why would she want to heal the very man who was destined to kill her? I mean, what kind of madness fuels that type of compassion? I never did figure all of that out.

If you ask me, love is a pretty disgusting ailment. It makes the heart weak and the mind feeble. Lust, on the other hand, is a bit more interesting, something that perhaps I might consider to ease my boredom from time to time. There’s this creature that I had to work closely with there at the end the story, a traveler of the dark realms like myself, a soul chaser who claims the souls of the cursed when I’m done with them. To satisfy a fit of lust, he wouldn’t be bad. But love? Please.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Nervous? Me? Ha.

I’ll admit that Lusielle gave me a few surprises along the way. She ended up being stronger, more skilled and resilient that I had anticipated. Perhaps I should have taken care of her early on, when I killed her mother. Lusielle’s wits turned out to be more impressive than most, certainly more impressive than the cursed Lord of Laonia.

He was all brawn, wrath and desperation, easy to tease, mock and mislead, until he found Lusielle and, together, they tried to defeat my curse. Fools. She gave him hope. Hope is another disgusting emotion, a dangerous delusion. Have I told you how much I relish tearing people’s hopes to shreds? It’s extraordinarily fun. You ought to try it sometime. But I’m getting off point. You need to know: Regardless of how the story ended, my curse prevailed and that’s the true measure of my power and strength.

If you had to trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t want to be Brennus, Lord of Laonia, because if I were him, I wouldn’t have him to torture, would I? Also, I treasured the man’s hatred for me. Like I said in the book, loathing, hatred and revulsion are thrilling, satisfying emotions worth living with and for. I cherished the Lord of Laonia as my enemy because he refused to forget and forgive. He knew that I was dangerous and would always remain so. He was a creature after my own heart and I will forever relish the scent of his scarred soul.

How do you feel about the ending of the book, without giving too much away?

Doomed and damned are the souls of the cursed. Useless are their struggles.  I’m the curse giver and you, you will always be my prey.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

Embrace the wickedness within and you will find me; relish it and you will understand me.

Thank you for this interview, curse giver Jalenia.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Perhaps if The Soul Chaser has a story to tell, I’ll be in it, for cursed souls rarely live for long and the soul chaser must come.

Purchase The Curse Giver on AMAZON

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Dora Tapestry 2 June 2013 (480x640)Dora Machado is the award winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books July 2013. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats.

To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website atwww.doramachado.com or contact her at Dora@doramachado.com.

Subscribe to her blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/, sign up for her newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php and follow her onFacebook and Twitter.

Character Interview: Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s Rowena and the Dark Lord

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s new fantasy novel, Rowena and the Dark Lord, book 2 in the Land’s End series.  Cedric is a 35 year old Earl, master mage, and ruler of Huel in Land’s End.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Cedric.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

Damn right, I want to set things straight. They have me portrayed as the villain, the Dark Lord. That is utter nonsense.

Rowena_and_the_Dark_Lord_Front_Cover (1)I am the Earl of Huel. And yes, I am a powerful mage. Rowena is my wife. Everything I do is to protect her and our unborn child. How can that be villainous?

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? 

I should be the hero in this book! Twice, I have rescued Rowena from certain death, and have killed the villains who dared to kidnap her. Yes, one was my worthless brother, a fool who would have risked her life among depraved men. The other was the King, an abusive tyrant who struck Rowena in front of the whole court. Of course I had to kill him. So why I am considered the villain?

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

I never give up. It’s to the death. And I have never lost a battle yet.

Worse trait?

My weakness for Rowena. We are destined to be together, whether she believes it or not. She is my heaven, and without her I am in hell.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be? 

That fellow who plays Eric in True Blood…Alexander Skarsgard. He is strong. He looks like me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Rowena, of course. Our telepathic bond becomes stronger with each passing day. Soon, we will not be separated.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

When I had to leave my body and take on another. It was the first time I had done that. Luckily, I chose well. Ha! Wait until you read the sex scene that results from my invading another body. Rowena will feel the lust of two men for her…

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

Why would I want to be anyone else? There is no need. I cannot be killed. Yes, you heard me right. I cannot be killed.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? 

Pah! This is not the ending that should be. I will be back in book three to make it right.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

She has no choice. She must write another book. My power will influence her. I am a powerful mage, you see.

Thank you for this interview, Cedric of Huel.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Look for me in Rowena and the Viking Warlord, book 3 in the Land’s Ends series, coming in fall 2013.  The battle begins…

about the book

Dark magic…dark passions….

When Rowena is abducted from Arizona and taken back to medieval Land’s End, one thing is clear: she must learn to control her powers of magic. It isn’t easy being a modern girl in an archaic land, and when Rowena accidently conjures up a Roman Legion in mid-battle, Land’s End is on the brink of a war that could jeopardize everything and everyone she loves.

The stakes are raised when the Dark Lord reappears and traps Rowena in a cyclone of lust and passion. Once again, she is torn between the man she loves and the mage who fires her desire.

Purchase the book on Amazon.

Currently #2 Timetravel in Canada!  Top 100 in US!

about the author

Campbell-author-400Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.

Melodie got her start writing comedy (stand-up and columns.)  In1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference.  She has over 200 publications including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories and 4 novels. Her fifth novel, a mob caper entitled The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books) will be released Oct. 1. She has won 6 awards for fiction, and was a finalist for both the 2012 Derringer and Arthur Ellis Awards.

Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Her humour column ‘Bad Girl’ appears inThe Sage.

Find Melodie on the web:

www.melodiecampbell.com

www.funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.com

Facebook: MelodieCampbellAuthor

Twitter: @MelodieCampbell

Book Review: Chasing Victory by Joanne Jaytanie

Chasing Victory is a delightful debut novel by first-time author Joanne Jaytanie.

Our beautiful protagonist, Victory Winters, is a veterinarian and geneticist specializing in molecular biology for Claremont Research in Poulsbo, Washington. She also has a special innate ability she keeps secret: she has almost a telepathic gift to communicate with animals. As head of her department, she’s currently researching canine DNA and its potential benefits to humans.

Then one day, Victory receives a cryptic call from Jeffrey, an old friend and colleague who she hasn’t seen or spoken to in 5 years. Like her, he’s also a veterinarian and geneticist working for a competitor company, Biotec. Jeffrey insists he needs her help and asks her to meet him in a picnic spot. But, to her horror, once there she secretly witnesses his murder.

Soon after, she’s approached by a representative of Biotec with an offer to work for them. They claim that Jeffrey is working overseas, and they want her to take his place. Though she doesn’t trust them, she decides to play along in order to investigate her friend’s murder. But things go unexpectedly wrong when instead she’s kidnapped to a secluded island and forced to do research, injecting humans with wolf DNA. Unbeknown to Victory at first, the madman CEO wants to create the perfect invincible army.

Thus, Victory is soon pulled into a vortex of intrigue, blackmail and murder. Together with the hero, Tristan Farraday, a naval officer who also has telepathic abilities and who is sent undercover to investigate Biotec’s experiments, Victory must find a way to stop the company from carrying out their horrific plans and to get out of the island alive.

This was a fun, light, entertaining read! They story is compelling and the hero and heroine sympathetic. Victory is intelligent, yet caring and sensitive. Tristan is the perfect combination, not too alpha, not too soft. The action moves at a pretty quick pace, and there’s a lot of action and romantic suspense to keep readers turning pages. One thing I especially enjoyed about this story is that the love between Victory and Tristan develops gradually and organically. I certainly look forward to reading more works from this author. Recommended for fans of paranormal romance!

Visit the author’s website: http://www.joannejaytanie.com/

Purchase from Amazon.

An Interview with Paranormal Romance Author Shiela Stewart

Shiela Stewart has been writing for the better part of twenty years, pouring her heart out in words, living a fantasy through the characters she creates. It has always been a dream of hers to have her work published, a dream she has finally seen come to life.

When not writing, she is busy working on a website for organization she belongs to, tending to her three children, and spending time with the love of her life, William.

Shiela has a deep affection for animals and it’s evident in the five cats, one dog, eight fish, and three turtles she owns. Aside from writing, she enjoys sketching, painting, singing, and dancing, as well as stargazing, astronomy, and astrology. Her favorite time of the day is sunset.

You can visit her website at www.shielasbooks.ca.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Shiela. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

Thank you so much for having me here today!

I am a multi published author whose first book, Kidnapped, was published in the winter of two thousand and seven followed by my second novel, Secrets of the Dead which came out in the summer of two thousand and seven. Discovery in Passion, book one in the Passion series was published in November of two thousand and seven, Escape in Passion followed in January of two thousand and eight and book three, Mercy in Passion was released in March of two thousand and eight. Finally, my current release, Seducing the Darkness, book one in the Darkness series was released on July 1st.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My very first book was titled, Too Young Too Evil and was never published. Why, you ask? Too raw. I wrote it when I was thirteen.

It was a story of a young girl who delves into black magic and finds herself becoming obsessed with it to the point of killing off her family.

It was very dark and definitely not a romance. It was a good story and if it probably would make a great scary movie and the more I think about it, the more I want to revise it. LOL Who knows, it could be a block buster someday. Ah…I live in a dream. LOL

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

Oh, there are too many to count. I have a box of rejections. But that was before I knew the proper way to submit a novel to a publisher. I’ve learned so much in the year and a half since Kidnapped first came out.
I was so frustrated and jaded at the whole process that I was about to give up on writing. Then I decided to try one more time. I entered Awaken the Demon, a novel that has yet to be published, in the Starlight contest held by Linden Bay Romance. Though I didn’t win, I was one of the last three finalists.

It was enough of a boost for me to consider submitting something else. I searched through my many manuscripts, trying to decide which one to submit. You see, I’d handwritten over fifty novels at that point, all waiting for a publisher to give them a home. I decided to submit Kidnapped, a comedy and the senior editor at Linden Bay Romance sent it back to me with suggestions on how to fix it up. She continued to guide me while I rewrote the book and then much to my surprise and delight, I was given a contract for the book and haven’t looked back since.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

With the first few rejections I took it in stride. I figured the book I had sent just wasn’t to their liking. But when more kept rolling in I started to doubt myself. Was I good enough to become and author? All the rejections told me I wasn’t. It’s hard to take when you keep getting rejected. You pour your heart out into your story, spend hours crafting it, building your characters only to have someone tell you, “It just isn’t right for their company” It really hits the heart.

I nearly gave up. I figured I just didn’t have what to took to be an author. And even thought I felt defeated, I couldn’t stop writing. The stories kept pouring out. And there was always that little voice inside my head that said, “Just one more time”

I’m glad I listened J

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Linden Bay Romance published my very first book and I’ve stuck with them—or they’ve stuck with me—ever since. I had so many files on Publishers that it was beginning to make my head spin. Then one day as I was browsing over a newsletter from a writers group I belonged to, I saw the word, “Contest” It intrigued me enough to read on. It was an invitation to Linden Bay’s Starlight Contest, open to all non-authors. The winner would receive a contract with Linen Bay Romance for the publication of their book. The little voice inside my head said, “One more time” and so I looked into the company, researched what style of romance they liked and submitted one of my stories. I held my breath and waited. I was one of three finalists which gave me a huge boost and even though I didn’t win, I was given a full detailed roprt on why my story wasn’t chosen. It was enough for me to feel like I just might be able to do this after all.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Oh, I was beside myself with joy. LOL I read the letter, stared at it for a few minutes then started yelling, “I did it. I finally did it” My children thought I’d lost my mind. LOL

I’d been married for twenty years at the time, was a stay at home mom pouring my heart into giving my children everything they needed and more but seeing that contract…well, I felt like I had finally accomplished something in my life. This was solely mine. I created it, I worked hard for it and I achieved it. And that was the greatest feeling in the world. J

I didn’t graduate from high school and I never went to University. So achieving my goal of becoming an author meant a lot.

Two days later my hubby and I went out for a nice dinner alone which is a rarity in of itself. J

I also received a wonderful chest filled with goodies from my youngest sister along with a card that said just how proud she was of me. It moved me to tears.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

Oh Lord! I went overboard. LOL

I contacted a printing company and had five hundred mouse pads and fridge magnets made up with my book cover and info. I still have a great deal of them. LOL

I’d done a lot of research and had been instructed to have items to give away to readers who participate in my contests. Well, I had no idea how much I would need. That’s one of the first pieces of advice I give to new authors. Don’t go overboard on promo items. LOL

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I am overjoyed with Publishers I am with now. The gals at Linden Bay are phenomenal and so easy to work with and very understanding. They are quick in responding to questions or problems and they’ve been so helpful to me while I learn everything there is to learn about being an author.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I’ve had five books published since my first book a year and a half ago. Not bad, I think at least, for someone with no education and no clue to what she was doing. LOL Plus, I’ve signed contracts for four more books which are part of a series.

Seducing the Darkness comes out on July 1st

Desiring the Darkness: September
Embracing the Darkness: November
Charming the Darkness: January 2009
Penetrating the Darkness: March 2009

I’m pretty proud of myself for accomplishing what I have so far.

I’ve learned so much since my first book was published. When I first began, editing took months and there were rewrites that needed to be done as well. Now, editing is a piece of cake. But with each book there is always something new to learn and like with any job, you never stop learning.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I definitely could have done more research into creative writing, and learned more about how to write and create a good story. That was my biggest problem was I had no idea the proper etiquette in writing.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

I find that since I’ve been published, new things come up everyday that thrill me! For instance, my first book, Kidnapped, reached number one most recommended read on Ebook mall and stayed there for several days before dropping to number two. Having any of my books hit number one on anything is pretty darn exciting!

And the week after I had my very first book signing for Kidnapped, it hit the number one best sellers list for trade paperback romance at McNally Robinson’s Book store! I’m still giddy about that and it also makes me nervous. I have a book signing coming up at the end of July for all three of my passion books. They have a lot to live up to if they want to beat out Kidnapped. LOL

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

Once upon a time not so long ago I aspired to become a counselor. I wanted to help abused or neglected or troubled children. I’ve always been a good listening, and I love trying to help people overcome obstacles and who better to start with than children. But I put that dream on the back burner to raise my children and by the time they were all in school, I was too chicken t go back to school myself. LOL

I think things worked out just fine for me. J

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Oh no, I wouldn’t give up what I have now for anything. My heart and soul belongs to writing. It’s who I am, what I am. If I couldn’t write I really do believe I would lose my mind. I have to create, and long before I ever considered becoming published I wrote simply for me. If I’d never been published I know I would still be writing just for myself. What a joy it is for me now, though, to know I bring happiness to those that read my work!

How do you see yourself in ten years?

A little greyer in the hair, more wrinkles and probably wearing glasses because I’ve noticed my eyesight is fading. LOL

Seriously, I see myself sitting right where I am, my fingers clicking away on the keyboard creating yet another story of love, suspense or fantasy and loving every minute of it.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Never, ever, give up on your dreams! Even if the rejections come at you in buckets, keep plugging on. Just because one editor didn’t like your book, doesn’t mean the next one will feel the same. And never stop learning your craft. Research publishers; find out what they look for in a book. Join writing groups and have other writers look at your work and give you input. That is very important! I don’t know what I ever did without my Critique partner. She is a treasure!

But most of all, love what you do!

ATTENTION: This interview is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion. As a special promotion for Shiela Stewart’s book, DISCOVERY IN PASSION – BOOK 1 IN THE PASSION SERIES, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away one FREE virtual book tour or $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky person who comments on Shiela’s blog stops during his virtual book tour in July. Leave a comment below to have a chance to win one of these prizes! For more stops on Shiela’s book tour, visit www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com.

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