Unsung Heroes

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 photo WoundedAngelFinal_zpsa39f4128.jpg“Sorry I can’t stay, I have to meet up with my psychologist.”

When I heard those words come out of my mouth, I started to correct myself.  After all, Patti’s my friend, not my psychologist.  But when the person I was speaking to nodded in understanding, I had to laugh.  If you knew me, you’d have no problem believing I’m in the care of someone in the mental health profession.  Putting it politely, my personality is high energy, but I like Patti’s take on it.  According to her, I’m “the good kind of crazy.” :D

Patti and I met on the ice.  I was teaching, and she wanted to be taught.  After a getting-to-know-you discussion, I learned she was a psychologist working with recently returned veterans, and figure skating was just the positive kick she needed at the end of a stressful day.  As time went on, I came to realize just how much Patti needed outside distractions in order to cope with the work she and others like her have chosen to do.

Obviously she can never give details about what she’s working on, and I never ask.  But when she arrives for a lesson looking pale and distracted, I pretty much know she’s visited someone else’s battlefield.  She never allows it to eat away at her, though, and usually by the end of the lesson she’s back to her usual bouncy self.  Thanks to Patti, I have a new appreciation for all the unsung heroes who choose to be the initial support network for returning troops.

I’m also grateful for the tremendous amount of help she gave when I was researching the third book in The Earth Angels series, WOUNDED ANGEL. I had these main characters, Nate and Ella, who were badly damaged by the violence of their respective pasts.  I needed to show in an authentic way that these characters had been made all the stronger for it, as those pasts have prepared them for the demon-tainted hell they’re about to be plunged into.  Thanks to my friend (who was kind enough to “dumb down” PSTD for me), Nate and Ella’s evolution into kick-ass, world-saving heroes is complete.

QUESTION: Who is your favorite tortured hero/heroine, and why?

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BLURB:

Book three of The Earth Angels

A descendant of the Angel of Vengeance, Nate da Luca was gifted with an uncanny ability to find things. It made his job as a detective a breeze–until he learned the hard way that some things should remain hidden. After that, his powers vanished, along with his belief in himself. Which is going to make tracking down Gabriella Littlefield for his latest client a challenge.

Personal trainer Ella Little paid a hefty price for her life–now all she wants is to live it in peace. Then a sexy hulk of a man turns up in her gym, reigniting desires she thought she’d left behind along with her real name and hair color.

Desires she can’t deny even after she discovers Nate’s no stranger to her dark past.

Before he can convince her the attraction is mutual, Nate’s going to have to earn Ella’s trust. But a demon is playing for keeps in the world of humans, using Ella as bait, and the last thing they have is time…

Go back to the beginning with Nobody’s Angel, available now!

63,000 words

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About Stacy Gail: A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail began writing stories in between events to pass the time. By the age of fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a figure skating coach who was also a published romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from steampunk to cyberpunk, contemporary to paranormal at night, both dreams have come true.

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What’s in a (Character’s) Name?

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As an adoptive mom, I didn’t get to name my children; at ages 4 and 7, my darlings already had names when they joined our family. Good thing for me I get to create plenty of names for characters!  Sometimes I put a lot of research into names, choosing them based  on their etymology and past usage in literature and history. But sometimes the sound of something strikes me and I can’t call a character anything else. I almost always check a name’s meaning to make sure it doesn’t clash with the character’s personality.

Click the image to find out more about How Beauty Loved the Beast

For The Tales of the Underlight, coming up with Jolie’s name was easy. She comes from Houston, Texas—right near the Louisiana border. Her family moved to Texas out of Acadiana (southern Louisiana), so her name reflects the French influence of that area. Beauty and the Beast is a French fairy tale, after all! Jolie means “beautiful,” and Benoit (pronounced Ben-wah in her family’s case) is a French surname that means “blessed.” I like the way Jolie Benoit sounds, and it makes sense for the character. I had also thought the last name a rarity…and then a fellow Carina author and I had a laugh when we discovered the heroine of her book releasing the same day as my series opener How Beauty Met the Beast (the amazing Undercover Professor—if you like contemporary romance, check it out!) was also named Benoit. What a wild coincidence!

Naming hero Wesley Haukon, or “Hauk” as everyone calls him, was a little more complicated. Since he is Heathen and worships the Norse gods, I decided to pull from Scandinavian names instead of French for him. Though Hauk is a working class hero, his last name is an Americanization of Håkon, from Norwegian royalty, and means “noble son,” a reference to his status as the prince of the tale. It also allowed me to use the nickname “Hauk.” As he is our beast, I wanted to use an animal-related name just as I used the word “beautiful” for the beauty of the tale. Plus he has a phoenix tattoo to represent him rising from the ashes of the fire that scarred him, so I liked the idea of using a bird instead of a more traditional furry beast. (Hauk is the opposite of furry, after all, as his burn scarring doesn’t allow hair to grow!) His first name has a far simpler origin. I paid tribute to one of my favorite movie heroes of all time—farm boy Wesley from The Princess Bride.

What are some of your favorite names? Does the meaning of a name matter to you, or is the sound of it more important?

Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin then found her own Happily Ever After with a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Jax loves meeting new people, so if you see her out and about say hello! She’s always happy to raise a glass with her readers (or anyone else) to toast courage, adventure and love.

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You might be a Type A if

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You might be a Type A if…

 The Brazen Amazon released on May 6th. The hero—Zach Hanson—is a cross between Stephen Jobs and Ryan Gosling. Stephen Jobs in intellect and ambition. Ryan Gosling in looks. One of the traits I assigned to Zach hit close to home. I made him a Type A personality—a proclivity I share.

 What is a Type A personality? It’s the name given to a temperament that many people share which forces them to constantly strive to do more, to be more. I’d venture to guess that a very high percentage of successful people are Type A.

 Writers, in particular, seem to display many of the Type A traits. Just to test that theory, let me borrow from Jeff Foxworthy’s well-known “You might be a redneck if…” to show “You might be a Type A if…”

 If you walk and talk rapidly, you might be a Type A.

 If you constantly do more than one thing at a time…texting or watching TV while eating, for example…you might be a Type A. (Be honest, if there’s nothing to do while eating breakfast, do you read the back of the cereal box?)

 

 If you suffer from road rage, often yelling or making sarcastic comments about other people’s lack of  photo computer_zps6b20b921.jpgdriving skills, you might be a Type A.

 If you tend to finish things like exams before other people, you might be a Type A.

 If you show up to appointments or turn in projects on deadline early, you might be a Type A.

 If you get impatient when you have to wait, especially when that waiting is in a slow-moving line, you might be a Type A.

 If you “talk with your hands,” you might be a Type A.

 photo e0bd76d3-e327-4b6c-b499-68135da26221_zps131e76d3.jpg

 And if you feel “lost” when you have nothing to do, you might be a Type A.

 Did any of those sound familiar? Hit a little too close for your comfort? Being a Type A isn’t a BAD thing. But we—and I say we because I exhibit every single trait I listed—should be aware that keeping such a high level of activity and stress can take a toll. The most important word that should be introduced into our vocabulary is “relax.”

 Why? Because repeated exposure to high stress isn’t good for a person—either physically or psychologically. A person can only push herself so long before her engine runs out of gas. So be kind to yourself if you’re a Type A. Learn to enjoy your success, and take some time to stop and smell the proverbial roses.

 In The Brazen Amazon, Zach Hanson is the prototype for this personality. He’s a technology whiz who is constantly looking forward to his next innovation, seldom taking the time to enjoy what he’s already achieved. When Gina Himmel—the Air Amazon—literally jumps into his life, Zach will discover that there is life beyond his techno world.

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About the Author: Sandy lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of thirty years and is a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoy spending time at the two Indiana racetracks.

The Alliance of the Amazons urban fantasy series from Carina Press premiered with book 1, The Reluctant Amazon, which was named a USA Today Recommended Read. Book 2, The Impetuous Amazon, has been an All Romance Ebooks Bestseller. The Brazen Amazon, book 3, debuted May 6, 2013. The series concludes with The Volatile Amazon in September.

 

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The Brazen Amazon Blurb: Zach Hanson is a tech wizard, capable of creating and improving gadgets—including remote nuclear warhead launchers. But he’s always known that he’s destined for something more, something greater, something…supernatural.

Powerful Air Amazon Gina Himmel is one of four sisters called to protect the world from those who would do it harm. Demigods in league with an Ancient have been taking over the bodies of leaders in the military and technological sectors, and Gina is sent to San Francisco to watch over Zach.

Under Gina’s protection, Zach is introduced to a world of ancient deities, rogue gods and the bold, brazen Amazons who keep humanity safe. Amidst the whirlwind of battle, Zach and Gina discover a love that could give them the power to save the world…or destroy it.

Sympathy for the Devil: Fallen Angel Heroes in Romance

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GIVEAWAY ALERT!

Why do I love fallen angels? At first blush, my fascination with these unconventional heroes seems unlikely. These once-divine beings, their bright beauty forever marred by their plummet from grace into darkness, seem better suited to villainy than romance. That’s why I think I love them—because they’re the ultimate bad boys. Their choice to fall, to reign in Hell rather than serve in Heaven, suggests a profound and bitter disillusionment with their former Paradise that makes me burn to discover what has happened to these tarnished angels to transform the infinite love in their hearts to inconsolable rage.
Fallen angels arrive on the scene with a backstory few mortal heroes can rival. A fallen angel’s very essence is a fatal flaw, a fissure of the soul so profound that this weakness has destroyed him. To me, his dark and tragic history betrays a unique and powerful need for salvation that only the heroine’s love can supply.

My fascination with this midnight of the soul and the themes of salvation, damnation, forgiveness and the redemptive power of love led to The Magick Trilogy, my maiden voyage into the world of Tudor paranormal romance. In my series debut Magick by Moonrise, Lord Beltran Nemesto is a Blade of God, a Church Inquisitor with a ruthless reputation for hunting down suspect witches and heretics. Unknown to Beltran, he’s a fallen angel, sentenced by God to a mortal life, where he must learn the hard lessons of mercy and compassion or lose his divinity forever. Yet he appears doomed to repeat the same mistakes that jeopardize his immortality—until he meets gentle healer Rhiannon le Fay, the Faerie ambassador to the Tudor court—the very woman he’s been ordered by the Church to interrogate and condemn.

Beltran begins his journey to redemption with his forbidden passion for this ethereal, unconventional, utterly unsuitable beauty—a heroine who fits my brooding, damaged hero to perfection. When Tudor England and the Faerie kingdom collide, only love can save them.

Beltran and Rhiannon’s story holds a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy their journey as much as I have.

What do you think about the emerging trend of angels and demons in romance? Do you find these paranormal creatures sexy, intriguing or unnerving? I’d love to hear your views and any recommendations you might share on books, movies, and TV shows that explore this fascinating trend.

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Magick by Moonrise, please leave a comment and include your email address.
Click here to purchase Magick by Moonrise:

http://www.amazon.com/Magick-Moonrise-The-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00APEYAO8/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362459701&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Magick+by+Moonrise+Laura+Navarre

Bio for Laura Navarre:
In her other life, Laura Navarre is a diplomat who’s lived in Russia and works on weapons of mass destruction issues. In the line of duty, she’s been trapped in an elevator in a nuclear power plant and has stalked the corridors of facilities churning out nerve agent and other apocalyptic weapons. In this capacity, she meets many of the world’s most dangerous men.

Inspired by the sinister realities of her real life, Laura writes dark medieval and Renaissance romance spiked with political intrigue. Although Laura is a multi-published, award-winning author, MAGICK BY MOONRISE is her first historical paranormal romance. MAGICK won the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) Award for Romance in 2012.

Laura holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, an M.A. in National Security Policy from The George Washington University and a B.A. in International Relations from Michigan State. Living in Seattle with her screenwriter husband and two Siberian cats, she divides her time between her writing career and other adventures for U.S. government clients.
Connect with Laura at:
www.Facebook.com/LauraNavarreAuthor
www.Twitter.com/LauraNavarre

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4013449.Laura_Navarre

www.LauraNavarre.com

Defining Sexy

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HA cover Hunger Awakened

 

If someone did a study of the heroes of romances, the physical characteristics that make the hero sexy are somewhat standard. How many can you name? Strong jaw. Piercing eyes. Defined abs. That little cut on the lower abdomen that makes so many women drool…

But in real life, women’s definition of sexy can vary quite a bit. One of my best friends, for example, has an automatic thing for bald-headed men—and this was before being bald was in vogue. My other best friend stops in her tracks for a man with dark eyes. Me? I have a thing for scars. Not necessarily disfigurement, but more like the kind that bisects an eyebrow or one that looks like an artificial cleft on the chin. If you can’t get on board with that one, how about this…I also have a thing for gingers. (Just go with it, okay?)

The heroine of Hunger Awakened, discovers that she has an unusual chose d’affection. Take a look.

She’d thought his eyes had gone from beautiful to incomparable, but words failed her at trying to categorize them right now. They were a crystalline blue, while silver and pearl swirled through its sea. His pupils had elongated, the darkness a slice that seemed out of place.

“I’m wrong.” Sebastian’s voice contained raw emotion. “This…” His wings repositioned.

Jesus. He had wings.

“I know. We’ll figure out what’s going on.” She spoke with a false confidence that she clung to. “How are you feeling otherwise? Any pain? Faintness?”

He rose to his feet without her assistance, and the stomach that contracted painfully before released just a fraction. She wanted to inspect his back, to study his new appendages, but if he was on the brink of destruction, that had to be their priority.

As she stood next to him, all of her senses became hyperaware. While her stomach might have been put at ease, the rest of her body went taut at the looming presence of Sebastian in this new form. He had always been gorgeous, no doubt. The transformation, however, had given him a new strength. More definition. A devastating beauty.

The sharp angles of his face became slashes of bone and shadow. When he’d spoken, the teeth he kept well hidden were longer. More lethal looking.

And those dangerous eyes. They gave her delightful shivers.

“I hurt everywhere.” His gaze was disconcerting. “And nowhere. I’m hungry too.”

Alice took a slow step closer, keeping her hands outstretched and nonthreatening. Not like she could ever do him any harm, but the underlying skittishness in Bast needed reassuring. “Let me take a look at you,” she said. “Maybe I can help a little.”

“You think it’s wise?”

She smiled. Not only was he still nude, he was sporting an impressive erection. “I’ll take my chances.”

He remained rooted, indecision spread across his expression. “I don’t know who I am anymore. What I am.”

“You are still the man who protected me from a blood-thirsty vampire and a dangerous werewolf. I believe you are the man who vowed to protect me from any and all dangers. You’re also the man who kisses me until I can’t think straight anymore.” She paused, licking her lips. “Finally, you’re the man who promised me sexual oblivion. Remember that?”

It probably wasn’t appropriate to bring up his promise, but it was hard to think straight with the sign of his arousal so blatant.

“Like this? You would have me still?”

Alice took another step forward. She wrapped her arms around him, astonished by his new definition. Cautiously turned on. “You’ve got wings now, honey. It’s kind of hot.”

That seemed to startle a chuckle out of him.

What about you? What “questionable” physical characteristic gets your motor revving? I’ll pick one random commenter to receive a ebook copy of Hunger Aroused, the first book in this series, on March 10th because I’m certain you’ll already have your copy of Hunger Awakened by then because it’s available now at Carina AMZ |  B&N | Kobo | Audible | ARe. (By the way, did you know there’s a free between-the-books short on my web site, featuring characters from both Hunger Aroused and Hunger Awakened? Come on over and see!)

Dee Carney is an award-winning, best-selling author of sweetheart vampires and terrifying chefs, husband/wife reconnections and take-no-shit women. Read more on her web site, www.deecarney.com.

War Stories from My Family

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Click to see the description and for purchase links.
Wesley “Hauk” Haukon, the hero from How Beauty Saved the Beast, is a war veteran from Afghanistan who came home a burn survivor with an amputated limb and burn scars covering most of his skin. Though fortunately no one in my family was severely injured, I am the proud daughter and granddaughter of veterans—my father from Vietnam, and my grandfather from WWII. Like many veteran families, we have our war stories passed around, some of derring-do, some funny, some sad, but all part of the unique lives of soldiers. Here are a few of my favorites  from my father. And check the Harlequin main blog tomorrow (Wednesday) for stories from my grandfather!

  1. Like everyone with a bit of adventure in them, my father has a few scars on his arms from his wild youth. When I was a kid, I was convinced they were bullet wounds from his days in the jungle. When I finally got up the courage to ask, he laughed and said, “Jenny” (my family calls me Jenny), “the worst injury I got in the war was one night when I threw my hands up in the air to emphasize a point and stuck one in a metal fan.”
  2. My father was stationed in the jungle just outside of Saigon, and his life was stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. In a boring stretch, he and some friends started a water fight with the base’s fire extinguishers. The next day the mess hall got bombed…and burned to the ground because they had nothing to put the fire out with. Oops!
  3. Dad was an Army helicopter pilot. Part of his job was flying soldiers into the jungle for missions. Usually the drop offs would be no big deal; they’d land the helicopter, the guys would get out, and Dad would fly away. But if they saw pineapple plants, the soldiers would pick some for Dad to take back to base so that everybody could enjoy fresh pineapple along with their mess hall, er, food.  One time they landed in a pineapple field. Dad was so excited he repeatedly yelled at the soldiers to, “Throw me some pineapples!” What he didn’t realize, because the rotors were so loud, was that they’d landed in an ambush and were being shot at. Bullets were flying, the guys were looking at my dad like he’d lost his mind…and Dad was yelling about fruit.
  4. My dad is a friendly, adventurous, laughing sort of guy. He’s got a big heart, but he doesn’t do serious moments often. Once though, he told me a story about the war without any jokes. He said that flying was hard. He dropped guys off, never knowing whom he’d pick up. He knew with each mission that if the Viet Cong could shoot him, the helicopter would go down and make their job a lot easier. Sometimes it made him wonder why he did this. Then… he was picking up a wounded soldier off a battlefield. Men hauled the guy into the back of the helicopter, and Dad checked behind him to make sure everyone was secure before takeoff. The wounded soldier gave him a look that said the pilot was an angel, come down from the sky to save him. At that look, Dad knew at least part of his job was worth the pain of living in a war zone. He made sure wounded men came home.

Do you have any stories to share? Feel free to honor service members you know by telling us their tales in the comments.

Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin then found her own Happily Ever After with a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Jax loves meeting new people, so if you see her out and about say hello! She’s always happy to raise a glass with her readers (or anyone else) to toast courage, adventure and love.

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It’s the end of the world as we know it…

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If you believe the theories, tomorrow, December 21, 2012, is the Mayan Armageddon (and not the good one with Aerosmith tunes and Ben Affleck). Way to ruin my birthday, Mesoamerican Long Count calendar!

Personally, though, I think we’ll all be here come December 22. We better, as I have theater tickets for Saturday and a hard time pronouncing the word “apocalypse.” While I’m not prepared for end times in the stockpile a bunker way, I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two about surviving in a post-apocalyptic world from reading many a book set in the aftermath of doomsday.

But what if “your” world ceased to exist before you were ever born? This question provides the backdrop for Eleri Stone’s Twilight of the Gods series. Although those around them are living in Earth as we know it, there are people for whom the apocalypse has long been a reality. In Demon Crossings, readers were introduced to the denizens of Ragnarok, Iowa, folks who can trace more than bloodlines to mythological times. They’re the descendants of the ancient Norse gods, a people who found refuge on Earth when their own world, Asgard, was destroyed.

What little magic remains in Asgard leaks through fault lines between worlds…but so do demon threats. Imagine being charged with protecting the lives of your own people as well as those of the unsuspecting humans around you. It’s a duty and a burden shouldered by the heroes and heroines who, while never having experienced the old way of life, are stilled ruled by it. But let’s face it, if I was starting over after the destruction of this world, Aiden and his hunt are people I’d want guarding my back!

That tension between duty and the old clan ways and modern, earthly desires is one of the things that make this series so fun to edit—and read. And a conflict that takes center stage in book two, coming in June 2013. Hopefully you’re all still around to enjoy it!

What traditions/customs from our current culture would you want to see make it through to a post-apocalyptic world? What fictional character would you want at your side if you had to go into survival mode?

Creating a Modern Beast

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Eighties television and vodka are a potent combination.

Let me back up. My little sister and I have a long history of staying up way too late and watching television reruns. It started back as kids when we’d watch Nick at Nite during summer vacations and nosh on popcorn dripping with butter and snowed in salt. Anybody else remember Mr. Ed and The Patty Duke Show? As teens it was Wings and Quantum Leap on USA, always accompanied by root beer and baby carrots. Don’t judge; you know you’ve eaten stranger things. So have I, but we’re not going there.

Now that my sister and I are adults and, to our sadness, live in different states, it’s harder to find time to indulge in our old habit. The last time we did have the chance, we popped in that old Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton Beauty and the Beast. Instead of the tried and true root beer and carrots, we elected to invent our own cocktails. The evening began with Ron Perlman on the screen and vodka, club soda and an assortment of berries and herbs on the counter. It ended with two drunken women, a lyrical rewrite of Peggy Lee’s “You Give Me Fever” in beastly Ron Perlman’s honor… and the idea for Wesley “Hauk” Haukon, the hero for How Beauty Met the Beast, book one of the Tales of the Underlight. (Book two, How Beauty Saved the Beast, releases in February, and the final book, How Beauty Loved the Beast, releases in May.)

Does anybody else remember Ron Perlman as Vincent? His voice is incredible, the kind that could read me a phone book and I’d be happy. But the makeup job, while beautifully done, always left me feeling… well, my sister summed it up best when we saw the first episode. Somebody asks Vincent why he looks the way he does. He answers, “I have an idea,” but fails to explain it. My sister scrunched up her face and said, “What? That your mom made it with a lion?” Ahem. Yeah. Vincent is sweet, innocent and platonically devoted to his beauty in a way that mimics courtly knights of Arthurian romance. And he looks like a lion. (I couldn’t find an image of him to share without a copyright issue, but you can see a picture on Wikipedia.)

As much as I love Ron Perlman’s manimal, the kind of beast I want to curl up with at night has less of a mane and more of an edge. I want a trained fighter who has a libido—a frustrated one. A bad boy with leather and a motorcycle who remembers what it was like to be a normal man and must deal with the curse of his transformation. I’m also not a fan of cuddly or rakishly scarred “beasts”; in my opinion that attractiveness misses the heart of the story. Hauk’s appearance is the result of horrific burn scarring from a fire he barely lived through while serving with the Rangers in Afghanistan. Jolie, the beauty of the story, first sees him when he’s fighting, and he terrifies her with his looks and his ferocity. The scarring’s impact on both Jolie’s ability to realize she loves Hauk and Hauk’s ability to accept love is hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever written.

No matter what the incarnation, Beauty and the Beast is a story about finding the person behind the facade and falling in love in the least expected place. It reminds us that each one of us has so much more inside than a mirror can reveal. Whether your personal beast-crush leans toward a motorcycle-riding anarchist with war wounds, an arrogant, animated prince under a curse or “a mythic, noble man-beast” (as IMDB refers to Vincent) of indeterminate origins, I hope you enjoy this version of How Beauty Met the Beast.

In case you need your own inspiration, here’s the winning cocktail from that night with my sister:

In a tall glass, muddle strawberries and mint
Add a shot (or two) of chilled vodka and stir
Add a few cubes of ice
Top off with club soda

Because I’m sure there’s another TV reruns night in my future, what is your most inspiring cocktail recipe for my sister and me to try?

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My sister (in blue) and I (in orange) vs. the ancient shark jaws at the Smithsonian. I'd show you a picture of us behaving like proper adults but I, uh, don't have one.

Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin then found her own Happily Ever After with a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Jax loves meeting new people, so if you see her out and about say hello! She’s always happy to raise a glass with her readers (or anyone else) to toast courage, adventure and love.

Jax can be found on:

Discovering Fire

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The beginnings of relationships are always tricky. You’re perpetually distracted by thoughts of your new partner, wondering what they’re doing, longing for their company, their companionship, their touch.

Little things feel like massive gulfs between you. Distance. Jobs or school. The strain of reinforcing the tense alliance between the living and unliving. Disagreements. Street ambushes. Jealousy. Vengeful vampires whose entire existence centers around the motto “this time it’s personal”.

Running in the Dark CoverAt least, these are the issues boiling around Sydney Kildare and Malcolm Kelly in Running in the Dark as they build their fledgling relationship. Conflict can drive a tentative couple apart. Or it can be the spark around which they flame, growing stronger and closer as they bond together against outside forces and start to understand how they might fit together.

Sydney has trust issues. Mal has a lot of secrets. She’s hot-blooded. He drinks blood. She moves at a hundred miles an hour. He’s metaphorically chained in place.

Hang on, readers. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

About the Author: Regan Summers lives in Anchorage, AK with her husband and alien-monkey hybrid of a child. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy in which things heat up and blow up, sometimes at an alarming rate. Her Night Runner series, including Don’t Bite the Messenger and Running in the Dark, are available wherever e-books are sold.

 

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A Reason to Believe

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 Being haunted is a fascinating thing.

I don’t mean by a ghost, necessarily.  It could be a scene from a movie, or a section from a novel.  It could even be the lyrics of a song, or a sweet memory.  Sometimes I think we’re all haunted by something, whether it’s childhood memories or a lost love.  And in some cases, I really do believe it might just be… by a ghost.

I grew up with a healthy respect for the paranormal.  When I was a kid, we had something going on in our house. A Poltergeist, I guess you’d call it.  Things that go bump in the night.  Pictures would lift and fall off the walls but the nail would remain, things would disappear from one place and turn up someplace else later. There were whispers in empty rooms, or a whiff of cigar smoke when no one was smoking. Nothing huge or overt like having a ghost materialize, just enough that couldn’t be easily explained.

But I’m not sure I ever really understood being ‘haunted’ until a character named Matthew Bennett came to life in my head.  Matt had been whispering through my thoughts for about five years, but his voice got loud enough about two years ago that I just couldn’t ignore him any longer.

In my new novel, ‘A Reason to Believe’, Matt is a police detective who is still recovering from the tragic death of his lover, a man who was his partner in both life and his work.  He’s hanging on, functioning, but he’s haunted by what was, and what might have been.  Then he’s called out on a missing child case early on Christmas morning, and being haunted takes on a whole new meaning.  Little Abigail Reynolds appears to him and leads him down to her parent’s basement.  Thinking he’s found the child alive, he really isn’t prepared for the shock of finding her body, instead.

Writing this was both a labor of love and an occasional pain in my butt.  Matt isn’t particularly happy in the beginning, and I wanted to find the balance between his understandable sadness and the reader feeling like he needs extensive therapy.  And when he’s introduced, Matt’s unexpected and startling new love interest, psychic Kiernan Fitzpatrick, is a man brimming with life and joy and energy, but he couldn’t seem so peppy and obnoxious that Matt would want to smack him.  I found it to be a delicate dance these characters performed: Matt taciturn but attracted in spite of himself, Kiernan filled with an infectious sense of humor and an uncomplicated delight in life that pulled Matt along, even with his reservations about what Kiernan does and what he believes.  Kiernan could reintroduce Matt to love if he’d let him, but Matt is understandably hesitant to risk his heart again.

Add to that the mystery surrounding the murder of little Abby, and this was one of the most complex plots I’ve ever cooked up.  I wrote myself into corners and fought the urge to pound my head into my keyboard so many times I can’t even tell you.  Finally, my agent Saritza said, ‘stop limiting yourself with the tangible.  This is a ghost story, right? Chase the intangibles!’

I think it was the advice  that finally made ‘A Reason to Believe’ come together. Then Editor Deb Nemeth came on board, helping me trim and tighten a very long manuscript to one I believe now thrums with tension.  I’ll never be able to thank her enough.

A Reason to Believe is the result. I’ve never written anything that felt as ‘real’ to me, which is interesting considering it’s a ghost story.

But then, who said ghosts aren’t real?

So, what haunts you?

 

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“Copland’s writing is sharp, heartfelt and thoroughly entertaining.”

Bestselling Author Josh Lanyon

A Reason To Believe

Detective Matthew Bennett doesn’t believe in ghosts.

So when the spirit of a murdered child leads him to her body, he’s shaken to the core—and taken off the case. Unable to explain his vision, or to let go of the investigation, Matthew turns to renowned medium Kiernan Fitzpatrick. Though he has doubts about Kiernan’s claims to communicate with the dead, Matt is nevertheless drawn to the handsome  psychic, who awakens feelings he thought were long-buried.

Haunted by the lingering spirit of the little girl, Kiernan is compelled to aid in the search for her killer. The chance to get closer to the enigmatic Matt is an unexpected bonus. Although Kiernan’s been betrayed by people who turned out to be more interested in his fame than in himself, with Matt he’s willing to risk his heart. As the two men grow closer, Kiernan helps Matt rediscover that life offers no guarantees—but love offers a reason to believe…

 

 

Diana Copland’s first brush with writing the paranormal began when she was twelve and she combined the most overwrought elements of Jane Eyre and the television soap ‘Dark Shadows’ for a creative writing assignment. The result earned her an ‘A’, mostly, she thinks, because the teacher couldn’t believe she had the nerve to turn it in! She now lives in Spokane, Washington with her daughter and their demanding, obnoxious, incredibly spoiled cats.

You can contact Diana and read more about her writing at her webpage, Diana Copland.com, her blog, Diana on Live Journal, and her twitter, @dianacopland. She’d love to talk with you!