Tuesday, June 30, 2015
What Kind of Shifter Are You?
Hello All! And thank you so much to VampChix for having me. I’m here promoting my latest paranormal romance release, Sarai’s Fortune (Shadowcat Nation #2).
My heroine in this tale, is Sarai Bouchard, a mountain lion shifter. Her protector is Zac Montclair, a polar bear shifter. I am fascinated by the idea of a human with the ability to shift into another form. And, let’s be honest, some of those forms are cooler than others. A falcon might be cooler than say a moose or a squirrel.
I thought it would be fun to introduce some of the shifters that will be included in the Shadowcat Nation series of books – including a goofy quiz for you to take at the end that lets you find out which kind of shifter you would be!
Mountain lions are loners, very stealthy, excellent hunters, and athletic. They have one of the widest ranges of any land animal living in deserts, mountains, forests, jungles, and snow.
Polar bears are the largest land animal in existence today. They are strong, fast, smart, and stealthy. They have incredible stamina and can swim nonstop for a week.. They are highly aggressive.
Wolves are pack animals living in tight-knit family groups that exercise a specific heirarchy. They are excellent hunters, have a strong sense of smell, and typically mate for life.
Falcons (specifically the peregrine falcon) are the fastest animals on the planet. They have incredible
sight, are great hunters, and can be found from the Arctic Tundra to tropical rain forests.
Crocodiles are super predators with the strongest bite of any creature. They can leap their full body out of the water to snatch prey out of the air when they want.
Mustangs are wild horses in the American plains descended from horses brought over by the Spanish hundreds of years ago. Native Americans learned to use them for warfare, hunting, and travel because of their strength, speed, and stamina.
Take the quiz and find out what kind of Shadowcat Nation shifter you are! Share in the comments. I’d love to hear.
“How about you try that out on a man who moves and reacts.”
Sarai spun on her heel to find Zac standing behind her. He was wearing running pants and a tight tank top, which meant she didn’t need to use her imagination to picture the muscles of his arms and chest.
They were on display. Her own personal show. Sarai swallowed.
Then she computed what he’d said. How was she going to get out of this? The truth was she couldn’t spar. Her visions messed her up. But that was a secret she had no intention of sharing with three people.
“Not really a good idea.”
He stared at her for a long moment. Then he glanced over her shoulder at George and Scott who’d stopped to listen. “I’ve got this, fellas. Why don’t you go back up to the apartment?”
There was no doubt in her mind that was a command, not a suggestion. Clearly the guys thought so too. She watched them leave the room with wide eyes.
As the door closed behind them, Zac’s hands landed on her shoulders, turning her to face them.
“Okay, kuluk. It’s just you and me now. What are you not saying?”
Sarai had never felt this vulnerable in her life. Or this scared. This man got to her in a way no one else ever had. How was she supposed to resist that?
“Why is this so important to you?”
He moved his hands from her shoulders to frame her face, his fingers threading through the dark blond strands of her hair. “Keeping you safe is important to me. I need to know how much you can defend yourself if you have to. It will help me determine just what I need to prepare for. No surprises. Okay?”
Sarai took a deep breath. He couldn’t have meant it that way. Just the thought of being important to this big, strong man connected with the frightened, lonely little girl who’d spent her life just trying to survive. But she couldn’t think that way. She had to leave him, and that knowledge made her want to cry.
Seeing her hesitation, he brushed her cheeks softly with the pads of his thumbs. “Let me help you with this burden,” he murmured softly, his voice a hypnotic, deep rumble.
Sarai bit her lip. Sharing this with him really wasn’t that big a deal. She knew she could trust him.
On a deep inhale, she gave a tiny nod and started talking before she could change her mind.
He gave her one of those rare little half-smiles, making her suddenly very glad she had agreed to capitulate. Thankfully, he released her and stepped back, giving her room to breathe.
Monday, June 15, 2015
P. N. Elrod, author of the Vampire Files, the Jonathan Barrett series, and I, STRAHD, collaborated with Nigel Bennett, La Croix of FOREVER KNIGHT, on a vampire novel, KEEPER OF THE KING (1997). In the first chapter, Dark Ages knight Richard D'Orleans, a Duke's third son with no prospects in life but to win his fortune and reputation with his sword, has reached his thirties, making him an "old man" by the standards of his vocation. He falls in a tournament, defeated by a younger knight, and in his despair encounters the mysterious, seductive Lady Sabra. A priestess of the Goddess and a child of the Hound of Annwyn, Sabra chooses Richard for a unique destiny. She converts him into a vampire, appointing him the champion of Arthur, the once and future king. Richard becomes the keeper of the king and the Lady's lance of the lake (yes, he's Sir Lancelot).
Chapter Two skips to present-day Toronto, where the man now called Richard Dun still serves the Crown in his own way. Working as a private security consultant, he sometimes assists the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on sensitive cases. He gets called in to investigate a professional assassin known as Charon, suspected of plotting to murder the Prime Minister. After Richard's bloody killing of one of the minor villains, he travels to visit Sabra, currently living in isolation as "great mother of the night" in the northern forests among a Native community, whose shaman knows of her and Richard's true nature. At the request of his "mother and lover," he transforms the shaman's daughter. Sabra then reveals the sad truth she has hidden from him—vampires are not literally immortal. Her own time is running out, transmutation into a beast of Annwyn foreshadowing her imminent death. Only one thing might save her, a drink from the Cauldron of Cerridwen, otherwise known as the Grail. The novel's story interweaves his quest for the Grail, the assassination plot, and a missing manuscript possessed by the man he killed and sought by a female investigator from Lloyd's of London. Naturally, the plotlines come together in the end, and the Grail proves to have surprising effects.
Unlike Jonathan Barrett and Jack Fleming, Richard doesn't fall into suspended animation by day. He can walk in sunlight as long as he dresses for protection against it. He shares with them the typical vampiric gift of hypnosis and uses it to lull his victims, on whom he feeds without killing. Like Elrod's other vampires, he prefers to take blood from women at the height of passion. As a fairly well-adjusted vampire should, he has kept up with the times; benefiting from the wealth of centuries, he drives a Jaguar (he owns several, in fact). While definitely a good guy, he is far from harmless, as the outbreak of his "beast" in the killing frenzy illustrates. And although superhuman, he has weaknesses. He hates flying almost to the point of phobia, for instance. And although he can recover from injuries that would be lethal to a normal man, they hurt as much as they would have before his transformation.
Richard is a strong, appealing character, who stars in one sequel, HIS FATHER'S SON (2001). He also appears—or an alternate-world version of him, not explicitly identified but recognizable to readers of the Richard Dun novels—in Elrod's new steampunk occult mystery, THE HANGED MAN. As a treat for FOREVER KNIGHT fans, the depiction of the character on the cover of THE KEEPER OF THE KING and HIS FATHER'S SON is modeled on Nigel Bennett.
Margaret L. CarterCarter's Crypt
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Read the Rulers of Darkness Series
Dorian Vlakhos is no ordinary aristocrat. He is a vampire king, who will do anything to save his clan from complete annihilation, before an ancient curse can claim his immortal life.
Penniless and orphaned, Victoria Kingston has nothing to bring to a marriage, yet she must shackle an unsuspecting gentleman into marriage by the end of the month or forfeit her rights as guardian of her younger sister. With the help of her dearest friend, Victoria begins her hunt, and vows to stay far away from the dark, mysterious, Dorian Vlakhos.
After meeting the beautifully innocent Miss Kingston, Dorian had to have her. He would do absolutely anything to make Victoria his. One sweet stolen kiss would bring them together while a force, more powerful than any vampire, would bind them for all eternity, but treachery, war, and death rule Dorian’s dark world and Victoria would be fortunate to survive.
Dimitri Arsov, the last remaining pure vampire, was thought to be dead for the past four hundreds years. Now, he is back and has a score to settle with the traitor that had tried to kill him centuries ago. But as he waits for his prey to blindly step into his carefully laid trap, his overwhelming hunger for blood is triggered when he saves a beautiful art historian.
Kerstyn Ingmar’s life was normal and straight up boring until the night she is rescued by the dangerously sexy, powerfully mesmerizing, Dimitri. Unable to resist his diamond blue eyes and intense kisses, she is drawn into his world of darkness and closer to her impending doom.
While their desire consumes them, Dimitri is haunted by images of a bloody and deadly future. As his enemies draw near, he must find a way to save his mate from her destiny before fate destroys them both.
Consumed by madness and tormented by dark memories of blood and death, Hadrian Lucretius, King of the Validus Clan, has returned after living in self-imposed exile for nearly three hundred and fifty years.
To maintain peace with the vampires, Eva Maldonado is offered as a sacrifice to the crazed vampire king by her father, the alpha of the Silveria Shifter Pack. Hadrian’s reputation is both legendary and lethal; he is ruthless, bloodthirsty, lusty, and soulless. When Eva arrives at the ancient fortress high in the Carpathian Mountains, she is shocked to find a ravaged man with dark burning eyes filled with loneliness and dangerous desire.
Would she be his lover…or his prey? His savior…or his victim? Would Hadrian lure her into madness or would their perilous passion be their redemption?
Black Knight, Falcon Kenwrec is powerful, relentless, and fiercely loyal, his only allegiance – to his king. But he is torn between duty and desire when the war between the vampire clans and the Red Order hunters escalates and the enemy captures the one woman he longs to claim as his own, Sonya Rebane, Queen of the Voidukas Clan. Falcon will risk everything to save her, even if it means forsaking his king.
After weeks of imprisonment, Sonya is stunned when the chivalrous knight that she has secretly loved from afar appears outside her cell. As they fight and struggle to elude their enemies, they must battle their overwhelming attraction for each other and their love that is forbidden.
As every perilous moment draws them closer together, every smoldering kiss drives them to the brink of a passionate destruction. Will they be able to resist temptation? Or will their love be their ruin?
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015
DINNER AT DEVIANT'S PALACE (1985), by Tim Powers, is even weirder than his epic historical novel THE STRESS OF HER REGARD (and considering the silicon-based vampire species in that novel, that's saying something). He sets DINNER... in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, a generation after nuclear bombs devastated civilization. It comes across as a dark, dangerous place, with futuristic slang to set the tone. As the main medium of exchange, the economy bases its currency on a type of high-proof brandy. Poisonous levels of radiation linger in some areas. Mutants, marauders, and "trashmen" (makeshift cyborgs assembled from miscellaneous scraps) prowl the blasted wastelands. Deranged women called "pocalocas" dance in the streets of the city. The action centers around a private club, Deviant's Palace, notorious for drugs and perversions, and a mysterious cult run by a man named Norton Jaybush. Middle-aged, hard-boiled musician Greg Rivas, a retired "redemption" agent, gets hired by the wealthy father of his first girlfriend, Urania, to rescue her from Jaybush and his "Jaybirds." As for vampirism, the novel includes energy draining, a reddish-brown powdered drug called Blood (derived from guess what), and translucent, floating, bloodsucking monsters something like balloons or jellyfish, called "hemogoblins," which take on vaguely human shape when fully fed.
In search of Urania, Rivas tries to go undercover in Jaybush's cult. He's sidetracked by several harrowing encounters but finally makes his way to the Holy City. Fortunately, he knows ways to accept the "sacrament," a literally electrifying touch that engenders an experience labeled "merging with the Lord," without suffering its full effects. Some worshipers who endure this process too many times become the "far-gone," their individuality irretrievably lost. Subjected to an accidental overdose of Blood at one point, Rivas links with the mind of a far-gone and gets flooded by the memories of Jaybush himself. Rivas ultimately discovers the connections among Deviant's Palace, the cult, and Blood and learns the origin and nature of hemogoblins and the truth about Jaybush. It's not too much of a spoiler to reveal that the "Lord," despite his outward appearance, isn't remotely human; he's one of the most repellent alien vampires I've ever encountered. At the climactic dinner with Jaybush and Urania, Rivas manages to render the villain powerless without being able to destroy him. Rivas succeeds in his quest but doesn't win a happy ending for himself. Instead, he takes on a lifelong burden.
DINNER AT DEVIANT'S PALACE has one drawback as an SF horror novel. In its surrealistic future California, where everything is strange and threats lurk almost everywhere, it's hard to tell we should accept as "normal" for the setting and what's paranormal. Everything is scary—and as madly creative as you'd expect from Tim Powers.
Margaret L. CarterCarter's Crypt
Monday, May 11, 2015
Monday, May 4, 2015
Who doesn't love Star Wars? When I was about 3 years old there was a phase when I would only answer to the name Princess Leia and my outfit of the day was a flowing white shirt belonging to my grandmother with one of her belts around my waist. On the really good days she would even do my hair in the classic Leia side buns. Later, I switched to the action figures, dolls, and even some Underoos (which are making a strong comeback), and no matter my age I remain a Star Wars nerd to this day.
Monday, April 27, 2015
So here's what I was reading this month (no ratings since they haven't been published yet):
Falling For Her Husband
A Matter of Sin
Escaping Reality- Lisa Renee Jones (Yes, it was as amazing as I had hoped!)
The Silenced- Heather Graham (I love the Krewe of Hunters!)
Knight on Ocean Lane
The Wrong Hero
Plus, my monthly Harlequin Desire series, which featured some excellent choices this month:
The Billionaire's Daddy Test
Seduced by the Spare Heir
Pregnant by the Cowboy CEO
Lone Star Baby Bombshell
Claiming His Secret Son
A Royal Amnesia Scandal
I highly recommend that you give these titles a try, and if you haven't already...get a subscription to RT or stop by the website. Hands down the best way to keep track of what's new in the world of romance.
Since I was able to finish my deadline early I picked up a few books off my TBR pile. Yay! The first book was The Shadows by J.R. Ward and let's just say that it had been awhile since a booked completely wrecked me so I must have been long overdue. At times, I wasn't even aware I was crying until giant tears hit the page, and at other points I just sobbed like my heart was being ripped away. Only Ward can create characters that are so truly alive with a vividness that makes their heartache and pain feel just as real as their love. The BDB are forces unto themselves and each person in her world has a history with so much depth that a reader can't help feeling connected somehow. Every emotion feels so very real and picking up one of her books guarantees you the best kind of reading roller coaster ride, complete with the sexiest alpha men surrounded by the brightest strong women, plenty of ass kicking action, and the sweetest demonstrations of love and family. Nothing is ever easy and it's impossible to predict exactly what will happen in each book...I love every single minute!
Next up on my reading list is The Liar by Nora Roberts, my beloved go-to author when I want a beautiful romance that will leave me feeling refreshed and smiling when I'm done.
After those I plan on Beauty's Kingsdom by Anne Rice, a sentimental choice since once upon a time Flyboy bought me the original trilogy (long before erotica and retelling fairy tales became popular) and I'm curious to see if Rice can recapture the magic and allure after all these years.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
One of these days I'm gonna get to one of these conventions, especially since I've been reviewing for them for a couple of years now, and the more I hear the more jelly I get about missing out. Not flattering, but true all the same. So many books and authors all in one place! It's almost too much to hope for!
My other drawback to attending, besides trying to leave town during the school year, is that I am incredibly shy around strangers which makes talking to authors an awkward experience all around. Seriously, it's quite an overwhelming idea for me which is probably why I blog and review, if you think about it. I get to talk with people about books without managing the crowded rooms that come with book signings and conventions. I would just hate to embarrass myself by going all fangirl or not knowing what to say. Anyways...I'll get over it because I really, really want to go!
The 2015 Convention is only a few weeks away and I would love to hear from anyone that plans on attending. Feel free to share your expert tips or talk about the authors you're most looking forward to.
All the deets can be found here.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Here's an interesting article from my local paper about the relationship between the rise in population and the many endangered species on our planet, and the creative way they've chosen to get that message out on college campuses. Hint: involves sustainable condoms.
For more information about how you can get involved or to find events in your local area, click here.