The Joys of Travel

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In my DRACIM series, travel by air isn’t exactly the norm. All of my characters live in a post World War III planet alongside dragons, and the lack of tech or dragon plane escorts make the commercial airline industry virtually non-existent. But what fun is a world without the chance to experience new cultures? I had to add at least a little foreign flavor!

Back in 2010–2012, I had the opportunity to live in Bangalore, India. As someone who’d barely traveled outside of her birth country, moving a couple of continents away was simultaneously exciting and frightening. But I am oh-so-glad I did. Bangalore, much like New York City, is filled with people from all over the world. I was lucky enough to live in an apartment complex with families from almost every state in India, and they were happy to teach me some of their local customs, including the fantastic Onam celebration below. Look at these beautiful saris!

In Dancing with Dragons, the heroine, Carol, has an opportunity to visit India. Unfortunately, she isn’t in the country under the best of circumstances, and the hero, Daniel, can’t afford to give her much time for sightseeing. However, I felt it was important for her to feel at least a little bit of the excitement I had upon seeing a foreign country for the first time. Especially one as diverse and colorful as India.

It was actually kind of nice to know what a first-time visitor to India would feel like, and I really enjoyed writing the scenes based in Bangalore. And while Carol probably wouldn’t agree, I always kinda hoped I’d catch a glimpse of a dragon flying outside my plane window! (I’m sad to say, that never happened.)

Carol had more important things to worry about during her stay in India, but while I was there, I posted my experiences to a personal blog. If India is on your bucket list, or you want to see how I handled expatriate life, you’re more than welcome to take a look.

But if genetically mutated dragons are more your style, I invite you to visit my author website at lorendac.com. I’m running a contest through the month of March to celebrate the release of Carol and Daniel’s story. Stop by for a chance to win a dragon flavored t-shirt, awesome dragon-centric books, and a Kindle Fire to read them on.

So now it’s your turn. Where is the coolest place on Earth? Tell me about your travel plans/dreams/experiences in the comments below. Or, come find me on Twitter @Lorendac or Facebook. I’d love to chat! Namaste!

 

Slam Dance with the Devil – Are Rock-and-Roll Legends True?

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Rock & roll has spawned a lot of legends. Rock stars have to be larger than life in order to fill the stage and get their music heard. We’ve all heard stories of the wild parties, wrecked hotel rooms, and bizarre contract riders (only green M&Ms allowed). But what about the other legends, the unsubstantiated rumors that surround some stars?

What if I told you some rock stars were really demons who fed on the energy of the audience? Would that change the way you thought of rocker Kent Gaol’s late night bacchanals? He’s the hero of the second Demon Rock book, Slam Dance with the Devil, and his legends go back much further than private investigator Nona Harris could imagine.

All those wild rock stars you hear about? Some of them really are demons, sustained by the energy pouring off the audience…

Wild, destructive and immortal, rocker Kent Gaol has given up the search for his Muse—a demon’s one true source of inspiration, his forever partner. After losing the one woman he thought might be his, he’s convinced she doesn’t exist.

Hard-as-nails private investigator Nona Harris has been hired by a mysterious client to track Kent. She knows nothing of his truths, until one night when Kent tricks her on stage during one of his concerts. Amazingly, she not only senses the energy around the demons, she feeds from it…and it turns her on.

Kent never expected Nona’s response to be so intense, nor that she could enter his world and so thoroughly rock it. This is beyond a tumultuous love affair—this is a sexual and emotional bond that will change them both forever. A bond strong enough that now Nona’s shady client wants them both dead…

When I was younger, we didn’t have the Internet, so rock star tall tales were spread by word of mouth. Here are some I remember, and some I’ve read about. Are they true?

  • Phil Collins secretly witnessed a man standing by and not helping as someone drowned. Then, years later, Phil got the man front row tickets to one of his concerts and played “In the Air” directly to him, indicating he knew what he’d done.
  • David Bowie’s eyes were two different colors because he dropped liquid LSD into one of them.
  • One of the male members of the Thompson Twins assaulted the female member, so she burned his house down.
  • Elvis Presley faked his death. Years later there was even a TV special hosted by Bill Bixby investigating the evidence.
  • Paul McCartney had died. Clues such as references to “the eggman” and “walrus” in songs as well as his position on album covers were seen as unmistakable clues.
  • Blues musician Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.

To find out the answer on the last one, we might ask Kent Gaol. In one of his past incarnations he was also a blues man. A heartbreak from those days has been shaking his life for years and threatens to destroy the growing attraction between Kent and Nona as their worlds are slammed together.

So what are some of the rock and roll legends and fables you’ve heard? Give us some of the lore in the comments and one person will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon gift card (for rock and roll – of course).

Thanks for stopping by. You can find Slam Dance with the Devil here.
And if you want to keep the conversation going, you can find me on:
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NicoRosso.com

Big Bad Wolf?

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Close your eyes for a minute. No, wait, don’t, because you’re reading my blog post and one presumes you want to keep doing so.

Pretend to close your eyes for a moment while reading this blog post and whisper to yourself, “Werewolf hero.”

What kind of image does that conjure?

A hot, sexy bad boy in leather, riding a motorcycle when he can’t run free in the forest? A gruff and hyper-masculine pack alpha determined to keep his people safe and in line? A borderline vicious anti-hero trying to control his literal inner demon? Somebody big and strong and scary enough to make anybody weak at the knees?

What about a nerdy scientist more interested in the biology and magic of the shifting process than howling at the moon and finding a mate?

I know, right? But even in wolf world, it seems like it would take all kinds. You need your alphas and your brooders and your sexy bad boys. But why wouldn’t wolves be scientists and dreamers and artists and, heck, grocers and accountants and nice male nurses (like in the SyFy TV show Being Human)?

They can…in my shifter world.

Marcus Delgado is a werewolf and a scientist. He’s a sexy scientist, of course, at least according to witch-in-hiding Katie Zhang, whom he encounters in the beginning of WITCH INTERRUPTED, my second book with Carina. It’s a paranormal romance set in the same world as PACK AND COVEN, where the speculative elements include wolves (shapeshifting) and witches (magic).

In fact, Marcus, because of certain events in his past, is obsessively curious about why witches change permanently into werewolves when they—spoiler alert for PACK AND COVEN!—have sex with one. However, wolves can never change into witches or obtain the magical powers and longevity of witches. Marcus is determined to find out why, and he decides Katie is the perfect person to assist him…whether she wants to or not.

The intelligence, focus and dedication of a less traditional hero like Marcus made him a very appealing character to write about and hopefully one for readers to meet. So many of the characters who tend to linger with me aren’t necessarily the alphas and the swashbuckling heroes. The clever, background characters, the scientists, the tech gals, the ones without bulging muscles and multiple guns and overriding need to control whatever disaster is going on around them—I remember those characters, too. I love watching them blossom when the story centers on them instead of the obvious alphas.

They’re complicated, layered, and surprising. And they’re smart. I just adore smart!

TV examples include: Simon Tam from Firefly; both Willow and Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1; Monroe and Rosalie in Grimm; and Chuck Bartowski from Chuck and his predecessor, Jake from Jake 2.0.

There are countless examples of these types of characters in literature and cinema, usually relegated to sidekicks or secondary characters. As an author, I get to make them the protagonists and find out what really makes them tick.

Who are your favorite brainy badasses and nerdy but awesome characters in books and TV?

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Purchase WITCH INTERRUPTED at Carina Press.

About Jody Wallace:

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Starting Over

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I started Reaper’s Touch about three years ago. Some stories you have to work for every word but Reaper’s Touch was easy. Wild West meets bio-plague apocalypse. Cowboys vs. Zombies. The world was interesting, the characters came to me fully formed and whispering in my ear, and the story seemed to practically write itself. So why did it take so long to get here?

After I finished Reaper’s Touch, I jumped right into the second story. It’s a big world and I wanted to explore all of it. But as I started writing that second book, I became dissatisfied with the first. I hadn’t set everything up well enough to support a series. I’d made the story too small, the world too confined. I’d done a disservice to characters I’d come to love.

A new first scene came to me and it was much better than the one I had. From there, I kept going until I had a completely new story. It was a lot longer than the original and a whole heck of a lot better.

It’s funny because starting over is a theme in the book too. For Abby, being a Ranger is the only life she’s ever known and there’s no way out as far as she can see. But she wants better. And that’s the opportunity she’s presented with when she meets Jake. Better. Even though it’s a risk. Even though there are no guarantees that everything’s going to turn out okay. Even though she has to turn her back on the familiar and safe. She reaches for better too.

So, three years. I’m so incredibly excited that Reaper’s Touch is finally out! Have you ever felt like you were waiting for something forever?

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nullAbby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers—humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers—a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing—until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.

Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.

Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure—or lose the border, and each other, forever.

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nullA lifelong fan of fantasy, Eleri started reading romance as an adult and was instantly captivated by the strong female protagonists and character-driven storylines. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction and they all end with a happy-ever-after.

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That Was Your Favorite Part? Really?

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FIRST TO BURN, Book 1 of The Immortal Vikings

A soldier with secrets. Immortal Viking Wulf Wardsen once battled alongside Beowulf, and now serves in Afghanistan. He trusts the mortal men on his elite special operations team to protect his secret, until an explosion lands him in a place more dangerous to him than a battlefield: a medevac helicopter.

A doctor with questions. Army captain Theresa Chiesa follows the rules and expects the same from others, even special forces hotshots like Sergeant Wardsen. She’s determined to discover the secret behind his supernaturally fast healing, and she won’t allow his sexy smile to distract her.

An enemy with nothing to lose. Even as Theresa’s investigation threatens to expose him, Wulf wants nothing more than to build a future with her. But the Viking relic that might reverse his immortality is being hunted by another–an ancient enemy who won’t hesitate to hurt Theresa to strike back at Wulf.

Reading is one of the last solitary personal spaces. Although more and more of us interact about books on social media, the way a book remains a unique experience for each reader was brought home to me when I asked my friend/beta reader Mary and my editor Jeff to help me choose a memorable scene from First to Burn to submit as an exclusive excerpt at a book review site.

Jeff listed the motorcycle chase in Rome, the sewer escape and the sauna love scene. Mary jumped on the cookies-and-movie scene and “the scene where Wulf finds out about his brother.” My short list contained the designer-boot shopping scene, evading the nosy photographer and the other cookie scene, where Theresa finds out that her mother’s care package can cause unexpected trouble:

“Delicious.” His slow, deep voice returned, cueing her to look down.

Her mother hadn’t put cookies on top. Black lace peeked out of pink packing tissue. Jet beads caught the sun and winked at her from ribbon trim that connected two scalloped bra cups. She shoved the offending object deeper. Her jaw hurt from the pressure of gritting her teeth, but nothing she could say, nothing, would make this go away. She should shut up. Right now.

“If you decide to take her advice…” His smile lifted one side of his mouth.

What was he talking about? She followed his gaze to a sticky note that’d transferred from the tissue paper to her forearm. Not for your roommates! Share these with a nice boy. Written in her mother’s distinctive slanted loops.

She needed to escape before she surpassed her record for embarrassment, set the day she broke her holster in pre-deployment training at Fort Benning, and her Beretta slipped down inside her pant leg. Two more minutes and she’d blurt out that story. That would impress a Special Forces stud.

“Here.” She reached deep, felt plastic and tugged out a bag of chocolate espresso swirls.

Mary is well-acquainted with Mr. Richland’s baking expertise, so I know why we both thought of the scenes with cookies. I was surprised she also flashed on the creepy scene where Wulf arrives at his brother’s deserted house and finds graphic evidence of their enemy’s retribution, because I had no idea it was one of her favorite scenes. Even after being roommates at the end of the grunge era and sharing hundreds of books with each other, talking about specifics taught me something new about my friend. She likes scary more than cute. (Although apparently not more than cookies.)

My editor preferred the sauna love scene over the first love scene, which is my favorite. The sauna fits my hero’s lifestyle, because he’s an immortal Viking, but I don’t personally enjoy tiny over-heated rooms. Even if Wulf gives Theresa a much better appreciation for the benefits of steam and cedar benches, I’m not a sauna type, so that scene never came to my mind.

Try the same game. Find someone–book group, friend, family–who’s read the same book recently and ask what three scenes she remembers best or would recommend as an excerpt. Any overlap with your list? Any complete surprises?

Anna lives with her quietly funny husband and two less-quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. She is a former army officer who now fills her days with imaginary friends and lots of coffee. Her new paranormal romantic suspense series is inspired by the Beowulf epic, and she also writes military romances, grocery lists and opinionated reviews of children’s books.

Anna would love to connect with readers at Facebook or Goodreads.
Visit AnnaRichland.com for a longer excerpt from First to Burn and a sneak peek at Anna’s next book from Carina Press.

Quicksilver Dreams, Book #1 of the Dreamwalker series: The Road to Being Published

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Holy $*%t they want to buy my book! 

I quite freaked my husband out with my happy dance listening to the message left on my cellphone that fateful Friday when Quicksilver Dreams was first bought; he couldn’t tell if I was extremely upset or extremely excited. The funny thing was, I happened to have had that week off for spring break, and had had my peaceful writing time violated over and over again by a barrage of telemarketing calls. When the phone rang yet again that afternoon, I saw the number on the display screen of our house phone, didn’t recognize it, and deliberately ignored it with a frustrated groan. Almost immediately, my cellphone rang with the same number. Again, didn’t recognize it and wasn’t in the mood to have someone try to sell me anything. But then… my phone “dinged”, letting me know I had a message.

A message? No one leaves me a message on my cell phone. Hardly anyone else even has the number. Who could that be? By this point, I was distracted and curious enough to stop my work and listen to it. I didn’t need to get much farther than the caller’s first statement, letting me know it was Angela James from Carina Press, before I was grinning so wide it hurt. No one calls you to say they aren’t interested in your work. Right? And so began the excitement of dancing around the house and waking my husband from his very sound, luxurious afternoon nap that had him blinking owlishly, trying to figure out what exactly was wrong with me.

Nothing was wrong. In fact, everything was quite right. I was so pleased that Quicksilver Dreams had made an impact, it felt like one of those great validating moments in my life. I’d spent the last year and some working on the book, and really enjoying the “what if” process, letting the story take me from Hollywood, California, to Te`re, another planet where there was an ongoing war between two nations, then back to Venice Beach, California. Taylor Lane, my badass female lead, really came to life for me. She was fun and funny, light and snarky, with a dash of kick-your-ass thrown in, but at the end of the day, she had a deep streak of vulnerability that she’d really worked hard to protect. She felt real to me, and when I got an email from my editor for the first time relaying what was most appreciated about the novel, I was reassured that she and Ryder had seemed real for the acquisition team as well. Added to that, I loved the idea of having something really extraordinary happen to a character who’d only ever thought she was ordinary.

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My name is Taylor, and damn but my life changed overnight. One moment I was just a regular girl working two jobs to pay my bills, and next thing you know, I’m uncovering secret metal disks at my boss’s house. Now I’m reading minds, dream-walking and being saved from bad guys by Mr. Dark and Brooding.

That would be Ryder Langston, my new next-door neighbor. He’s sex on legs but he’s also a secret agent from another world—no joke. I believe him now because he dragged me back here “for my protection” after he discovered someone was trying to assassinate me on Earth. It isn’t working out so well.

There’s a war going on, one that’s been fought for generations. Ryder’s having trust issues (not that it’s stopping us from falling into bed), and it turns out I’m connected here, if you know what I mean. The target on my back finally makes sense, but there’s nowhere left to hide…

 

Here’s some food for thought: Given the chance to travel instantly to another planet that had Earth-like features, would you go? I’d love to hear your thoughts. It’s a corny question, but a fun one to explore.

Thanks so much for spending your time with me.  I hope to hear from you on one of my media sites listed below.

Click on Quicksilver Dreams for purchase.

Short bio

Danube Adele wrote her first romance at the age of seven when she penned the sweet story of her dogs falling in love and having puppies together.  She’s been dreaming up romantic tales ever since.  A lifetime resident of southern California, she spends time playing at the beach, camping in Joshua Tree National Park, and hiking Mammoth Mountain.

You can find Danube Adele at Twitter, Facebook, and on her Website.

Character Interview ~ The Guardian’s Witch

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Ah, there you are and just in time. Thank you for coming; I knew you wouldn’t want to miss this. We’ve pulled a real coup. Let me give you a little background before they begin. Our investigative reporter is about to hold an interview the hero, Lord Alex, and heroine, Lady Lisbeth, of Ruth A. Casie’s new book, The Guardian’s Witch. I see they are about to begin. I’ll fill you in on their story when the interview is over.

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Reporter: (Facing the audience) Welcome and good afternoon. Today’s quests are Lord Alex Stelton, the exceptional knight who put his life on the line for the woman he loves. Also here is his extraordinary wife, Lady Lisbeth. She too was willing to risk it all–to save the man she loves.

Alex Stelton is the seventh son of Lord and Lady Stelton. Alex’s father is also a seventh son, an oddity that arises in the Stelton family from time to time. Lady Lisbeth and her younger sister, Laura survive their parents Lord and Lady Reynolds who were lost to us in a terrible carriage accident and their brother, Richard. Richard died valiantly on the Welsh battlefield.

(Turning to his guests) Thank you both for taking time to talk to us today. The first question I have is for Lord Alex.

Alex: Please, call me Alex.

Reporter: Certainly. Alex, what was your first impression of Lisbeth?

Alex: I’m embarrassed to tell you.

Lisbeth: He avoided me for weeks.

Alex: (Taking Lisbeth’s hand.) That’s not quite correct. You made it perfectly clear that you wanted no part of me. As a matter of fact I got a very clear impression that you would’ve been quite happy if I had disappeared like the others the king sent to protect you.

Lisbeth: Well, what did you expect? You came marching into Glen Kirk all proud and self-important just like all the others.

Alex: (Raising an eyebrow to his wife.) Did I now?

Lisbeth: (A bit contrite.) Well, maybe not exactly like them. (She pulls her hand away from his and faces him.) How was I to know?

Reporter: (Cough.) How did this disagreement start?

Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me for weeks.

Reporter: I beg your pardon. What didn’t Alex tell you for weeks? (Looking at Alex the reporter noticed him squirm, just a bit.)

Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me we were married.

Reporter: Married? I don’t understand?

Alex: Wait a minute, Love. You didn’t exactly make it easy.

Lisbeth: Love— (She shot Alex a glance that could turn him into a pillar of salt.)

Alex: (Alex faced the reporter) I won a bet with King James. If I held Lisbeth’s Glen Kirk Castle safe for one year it would be mine. Having an estate of my own has been a goal of mine for some time.

Lisbeth: (Foot tapping.)

Alex: (Rakes his hand through his hair.) After meeting my part of the bargain, I went to London to collect my winnings and ended proxy wed to Lady Lisbeth by order of the king.

Reporter: He what? And you didn’t tell her for weeks?

Lisbeth: (Folding her arms in front of her glaring at Alex.) Exactly.

Reporter: Perhaps we should move on. Lisbeth, I understand you come from a long line of healers and that you are quite gifted. My sources tell me you’ve used that gift to save Alex more than once.

Lisbeth: (A humbled look crosses her face.) Yes, I work hard to keep the people I love safe.

Reporter: (Shows Lisbeth a charm.) I understand you place these charms in the trees around Glen Kirk.

Alex: (Takes the charms from the interviewer.) My wife has a notion that the pretty bits shine and distract. (He gave the reporter a cold stare.)

Reporter: I understand there are rumors that your wife… uses incantations—

Alex: (Stands dragging Lisbeth with him.) This interview is over.

Reporter: (Obviously upset.) I’m sorry m’lord. I meant no disrespect to your wife or you. But sir, your wife’s special talents are common knowledge far and wide. It is to be honored sir, not reviled as some may think.

Alex: I clearly told your man that those questions were not to be asked.

Reporter: M’lord, Alex, this woman was ready to risk everything for you. She was in the midst of conjuring up the true criminal responsible for the treason for which you were accused. She was using her magic in front of the king and his court, all to protect you. Surely you know what a grave risk she was taking.

Alex: Don’t you think I know that. (Alex took his wife in his arms.) I cringe each time I think of how close she came to being judged a witch and the consequences that would have been metered out.

Lisbeth: Alex, (she pulls gently away from his embrace) come sit down. No harm was meant, surely you know that. (She pats his arm.)

Alex: (Regaining his composure.) I will not dwell on it, Lisbeth. I will protect you always.

Lisbeth: Yes, Alex. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But all here know who and what I am. There is no longer a need to hide that I am a witch.

Reporter: We have a little more time. Alex, I understand that your wife is very talented. Her dreams of the future appear to come true.

Alex: (He looks at his wife and does all he can to contain his smile.) My wife has many talents. Her dreams are–exceptional.

Lisbeth: Shhh Alex.(She leans close to him.) No one else will understand.

Alex: (Totally forgetting the reporter for the moment.) You call me into your dreams and we… Faith, (A smoldering look passes between them and he rakes his hand through his hair.) I want to spend the rest of my life in your dreams…

Reporter: Well, thank you both very much. (Pulling on his shirt collar.) Is it warm in here? (The reporter turns to the audience) You can find out more about Lord Alex and Lady Lisbeth in The Guardian’s Witch by Ruth A. Casie now available for their Nook or Kobo or Kindle.

I hope you enjoyed the interview. Here’s a brief overview and trailer for The Guardian’s Witch.

England, 1290

Lord Alex Stelton can’t resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it’s his. Desperate for land of his own, he’ll do anything to win the estate—even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.

Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she’d never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.

Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can’t get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they’ll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.

Do you have any questions for Lord Alex or Lady Lisbeth?

Ruth photo Ruth.jpg

Ruth A. Casie has always had stories in her head.  Encouraged by family and friends this ballroom dancing, Sudoku playing, aspiring gourmet has given way to her inner muse writing historical fantasy. Now, rather than write marketing and communications for corporate America, she writes historical fantasies about strong men and empowered women and how they cope with unexpected challenges. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures. For more information, please visit www.RuthACasie.com, on her Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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.

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 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.