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Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Chat with Nancy Gideon



This past Monday, my friend Nancy Gideon got quite a birthday present—the release of her eighth book in the By Moonlight series, Prince of Shadows. I couldn’t let her go off and chat with other bloggers and not visit me, could I? She’s taking a momentary breather from her exhausting (for me it would be exhausting) tour to answer my questions about Cale and Kendra Terriot.



Welcome, Nancy. Put your feet up and let’s dish about Prince of Shadows. I want you (and my readers) to know that I devoured your book yesterday. I started out thinking I’d just read enough to ask half-way intelligent questions. I couldn’t put it down. I even ignored the edits for One Red Shoe to finish reading. (Shh. Don’t tell my editor.)

What was the hardest part of writing Prince of Shadows?

Cutting out 125 pages to make word count!  Prince of Shadows was another creative rule breaker.  I wasn’t ready to start writing it but certain scenes keep taunting me so I told myself to go ahead and put them down. What’s the harm?  And suddenly I had 150 pages – in the middle of the book! That’s not how I do things! So I had to plot in from page 1 and page end to meet in the middle. The hardest part was letting it go.  The Terriots were new territory and ideas were spinning out of control.


Yikes. Cutting 125 pages? I can't even imagine.

Normally, your heroines are independent strong women, as you mentioned in your blog (http://nancygideon.blogspot.com/2013/05/meet-kendra-terriot-from-prince-of.html) I remember Kendra from a previous book and thought she was a whiney wimp. (Note to readers: I really changed my mind about Kendra before the middle of chapter one.) What particular difficulties did you encounter writing what readers perceived as a frail heroine?


I knew there was a brave soul in Kendra struggling to get out.  I like to write about dramatic character metamorphosis and hers was going from tragically damaged and smothered by those who loved her to taking charge of her own fate.  She needed a push to start that growth spurt so bam, pull the security rug out from under her in Chapter 1 and push her out of the nest.  Trying those fledgling wings got her into troubles that made me want to slap her but they were consistent with her background.  The hard part was finding that balance between sympathetic and TSTL (too stupid to live).


You definitely found the balance. Usually, your stories in the By Moonlight and Shadows series take place in New Orleans. Why did you establish this clan in Nevada?


World expansion.  I’d already seeded the plot with rival clans in Memphis and Reno, and frankly, I’d taken my New Orleans characters as far as I could in their story arc without going back to the beginning with Max and Charlotte.  So the alternative was to step outside their story and follow one of the cameo characters to a new arena – the home of the warrior Terriot clan from which they control the southwest territories of Las Vegas and Reno.  And it was great developing that fresh location and other side of the coin storyline.  I LOVE Tahoe and it gave me the remote, wilderness atmosphere where these dangerous thugs could conceivably exist.


The premise of Prince of Shadows is that Kendra must choose between eight brothers for her husband—and consequently become the queen of the clan. That’s a lot of power for a timid young woman. What keeps her grounded?


Ah, but in the Terriot world, women have no power, so because Kendra appears so malleable – and her family has important sentimental clan ties – it was completely a political move to pick her as a tool.  Problem with that logic is as Kendra grows in self-confidence, she becomes exactly what the Terriot king fears – a threat to his control. What keeps her grounded is her faith that Cale will become the kind of ruler their clan needs.

                                                             
The dying head of the clan killed her family. A normal reaction would be to exact revenge on his sons. Without spoilers, what prevents her? Fear?


That’s not who she is.  It isn’t her family’s way to meet violence with more of the same against those she sees as being manipulated by their tyrannical leader/father.  Now to want to seek justice for her family against Bram Terriot . . . that’s something else altogether!


Every girl dreams about her Mr. Perfect. What qualities did Kendra’s dream guy have?


She thinks those qualities are imbued in her noble, self-sacrificing cousin Silas MacCreedy, from Hunter of Shadows: strength, honor, compassion, wisdom.  But after spending some up close and personal time with Cale, her Terriot prince, those important must haves begin to change.


Even timid girls know what they will not tolerate in a future spouse. What are Kendra’s?


Cruelty and violence.  She’s seen enough of that and fears that’s what Cale’s world is founded upon.  Betrayal is another deal breaker.  She’d trusted him – loved him – when they were younger and his actions shattered her belief in him.  He’s got a lot to make up for!


Let’s talk about Cale. A guy who knows how to strut his stuff. Wild, rowdy, and crazy in love. Why hasn’t he put the moves on Kendra all these years?


Kendra’s family was considered traitors to his clan.  In order to protect her, he was forced to step away from where his heart led – for the time being.  But once he’s got the crown, he can claim the more important prize – Kendra for his queen. That’s been his one and only goal.


Why does she appeal to him?


He’s loved her through the innocent eyes of youth and to him, she represents everything that’s decent and moral and good – all the things that have been torn away from him over the years.  They’ve shared a secret passion and a devastating trauma that damaged both of them. He sees her as his salvation.  She brings out all the good in him that he’s had to suppress in order for them both to survive.


You wrote on your blog that you always fall in love with your heroes. What makes Cale different from the others you’ve written?


You know I like my heroes tortured, conflicted and complicated, and Cale is all that.  But where Max Savoie, my other favorite shape shifter, is withdrawn and dangerously simmering, Cale is flashy and in your face with a something to prove, don’t get in my way arrogance.  But beneath that brash, aggressive surface is a deep well of darkness, determination and regret.  Unlike Max, he’s not lost.  He knows exactly what he wants and will do anything to have it.


What quality does he have that will make Kendra fall in love with him?


You mean fall in love with him again. They have that Romeo & Juliet thing going on.  He’s the prince who could be king with the ability to rule through respect instead of fear. She’s the only one he’s let see his goodness and desire for a better future for his clan.  He knows her fears and her strengths, and unlike his other brothers, wants her for herself, not for the crown that comes with her.


What about Cale’s brothers? Will they have their own stories?


The Twelve of the House of Terriot started out as brutal thugs, pitbulls in rhinestone collars who did whatever they wanted, took whatever they wanted because they could. But as Cale’s rise to power has them viewing one another as family instead of threats, I really started to like some of them. Silent Turow, slick Colin, fiery Rico, innocent Kip -  yep, I could make heroes out of that material! I’ve even been considering what types of heroines would suit them best.


So now that you’re in Nevada, what’s the plan?


A storm’s coming from the North that will bring rival clan leaders together in New Orleans to discuss a truce. But being from Michigan, you know what unpredictable turns unstable weather can take.  I’m looking forward to riding it out. 

Considering the storms this week, you bet I know how unpredictable weather can be. Now, you can't leave without giving us an excerpt from Prince of Shadows.

An excerpt from Prince of Shadows

She was right. He was a beast. He’d had to be, to win this chance to have her. He’d have to show her he could be other things, too. Good things, noble things, admirable things. Protector, mate, friend. And lover, not just the throw-her-down-to-sink-a-claim-and-carry-off-a-crown the rest of them were interested in. He was interested in that, but only as a secondary goal, far removed from the one that would have her looking at him as she had when they were young. Who needed to see the stars when that glimpse of heaven was in her eyes?

 Tomorrow he’d have another chance to breach that gap between them . . . that yawning open grave filled with the bodies of her loved ones. Just how, he didn’t know, short of falling to his knees to proclaim the truth. I have loved you all my life and will never be any kind of man without you.

He stood in the shadowed doorway. Before him was everything he’d ever wanted, there for the taking, but for the first time in a long time, he was afraid to make a move.

A blush of moonlight filtered down from the skylight to bathe Kendra’s sleeping form in a tender halo. So beautiful that it hurt to look upon her while dark, urgent thoughts prowled. His gaze adored the relaxed innocence of her features, the way her fair hair rippled across the pillow like silk. No protective bulk of fleece tonight. Something silky and shimmering detailed the contours of her graceful shape. 

 His soft exhale of longing was tempered by the fisting of hands that still shook. He couldn’t keep himself away any longer. His need had intensified into an agony of desire and regret. Her scent drew him inexorably where he shouldn’t go, where he couldn’t trust himself to be. Close enough to be a threat to her. Because promises had yet to be sealed with a bond.

She stirred in her sleep, murmuring softly, rolling onto her back. That slippery gown whispered across her breasts and hips the way his hands yearned to. He watched her take unhurried breaths, unaware of how harsh and forceful his own had become.

Take her!
It was the way his family did things. Swift, purposeful action, necessarily brutal, to take and hold what was theirs. His queen, beside him. His heirs, inside her.

That dizzying heat returned, scalding his brain, flaming through his body in a shuddering rush. An inferno of raw determination. 

She’s yours by her own vow. Claim her!She shifted within that seductive wrap of silk, and all he could think of was tearing it off her, feeling the warmth of her body, exulting in the glorious relief of joining with her beautiful spirit.

Staining it. Bruising it. Crushing it along with her trust and any love she might ever have felt for him.

“Cale?”

The cool touch of her voice pierced through the pounding rage of his intentions. He faded back into shadow, silently withholding his presence from her until she settled back to sleep.

Readers can find Prince of Shadows at:




To read more about this book, check out Nancy's blog for her itinerary as she visits other blogs and shares more. http://nancygideon.blogspot.com/2013/05/happy-holiday-release-day-and-birthday.html 

Nancy can be found at: 




Twitter: @NancyGideon

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sci-fi Romance Chat part 2

Join me over at Jessica Subject's Backward Momentum today, where we continue our chat from last Thursday about science fiction romance. http://backwardmomentum.blogspot.ca/2013/05/part-2-of-my-chat-with-sfr-author-diane.html



Meanwhile, on this Memorial Day, please remember those who have served our country--and continue to do so--so that we may enjoy the freedoms that so many in other countries do not. Thank you for your service!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Sampler - Three's a Crowd by Melissa Keir


 
Three’s a Crowd by Melissa Keir


Blurb:
For Lissa, the second time at love was a charm but in marriage, three’s a crowd.

Single mother Lissa Vincent found her soul mate in her best friend’s ex-husband. Alex Hunter couldn’t believe his fortune when his ex-wife told him her best friend was available. After divorce, finding love again could be a challenge but it appeared Alex and Lissa had gotten lucky. Yet as they start their lives as newlyweds, Alex and Lissa don’t realize just how difficult it might be to blend a family.

When Alex’s ex new marriage begins to unravel, she sets her sights again on Alex. Does Alex still have feelings for the mother of his child? Will Lissa keep her best friend or lose her husband?

Fairytales promise a happily-ever-after. But what really happens after the after.

EXCERPT:


Sipping a glass of ice water while I waited, I looked forward to seeing Chloe. We’d been co-workers and friends for years. 

When Chloe walks in, I watch as all the men’s heads turn to stare as she approached our table. Her beauty always drew gazes and left me feeling like a weed planted next to a stunning flower.
After Chloe and I make a bit of small talk and order, I ask the question I’ve been dying to ask since I ended our phone call. 

“What is going on, Chloe? What can I do to help?”

“Mike’s quit his job at the college and decided to open his own catering business and the stress of having no money coming in is taking its toll on us. All we do is fight. I can’t stand that I have no say in how our money is spent. Would you believe he bought a delivery truck for his business but hasn’t even gotten the brakes fixed on my car?”

“I’m sorry, Chloe. What does Mike say when you talk to him about this?”

“He really doesn’t understand. He has stars in his eyes about what the future holds and can’t see what’s happening right in front of his face. My salary is the only thing paying the bills. With the way Mike’s spending money, it’s going out as fast as it’s coming in. You know, Lissa. You’re so lucky to have Alex. He’s a wonderful provider. What I wouldn’t give to have him back in my life.”

Ouch. Chloe’s words hurt. I knew Alex was a wonderful husband, but he was mine now. Was she really indicating she wanted him back?

“Alex is a fabulous husband, father, and friend. I’m lucky to be his wife.” Needing to establish my territory, I made sure to point out Alex was mine.

“Yes, he is. I’d give anything to have him back. Just to make it clear, if you ever hurt him or let him go, I’m going to be right there to pick up the pieces. After all, we have a child together. We’ll always be in each other’s lives.”

“Well, Alex is very happy and I’ll do anything to keep him that way.”

The rest of lunch passed in a blur. I couldn’t keep my mind off her ultimatum. Maybe Chloe was just reacting to all the problems in her own marriage by lashing out at me. I was willing to give her the benefit of doubt. However, all I wanted to do was to escape the original lunch from hell and get home to Alex to reassure myself of his love. For me.



Buy Links:







Bio:  
As a writer, Melissa likes to keep current on topics of interest in the world of writing.  She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America and EPIC.  Melissa is always interested in improving her writing through classes and seminars.  She also believes in helping other authors and features authors and their books on her blog.

Melissa doesn’t believe in down time.  She’s always keeping busy.  Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a book reviewer, an editor for a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature “happy endings” and is often found plotting her next story.

This is what readers are saying about Melissa’s books:





Amazon 5 star review for Second Time’s the Charm- “Such a sweet and heart warming story. As I read it, and the details unfolded, I was engrossed to see if that I thought was going to happen, would really happen.” – Lacey Wolfe, Romance Author.



Barnes and Nobel 5 star review for Protecting His Wolfe- Great read. I couldn't put it down. I really liked the characters, especially Betsie and the Pigg brothers. A love story with suspense and surprise.” – Anonymous

Melissa loves hearing from readers!

http://www.facebook.com/melissaakeir
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelissaKeir (fan page)