Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Q & A with Vanessa M. Knight!





1. Tell us about your newest release.

 
Second Time's the Charm is a romance novel with a sprinkling of suspense.  It follows Allison Southby as her life turns upside down after the unexplained death of her boss and mentor.  If losing him wasn't bad enough, her mentor's youngest, the prodigal son has usurped the promotion she was promised. His other son, Adam Byrnes habitually rips out her heart and bats at it like a cat with catnip. Her best bet is to avoid the two men.


Unfortunately, the will is very clear. Adam and his brother acquired control of their father's company. Barring any fundamental career change, (McDonald's is always hiring!), avoidance isn't an option.
She just needs to get through the next few days.  Hopefully, the men will get bored and go back to their lives, leaving her to run the company - leaving her alone.  Just a few days, she can handle a few days…
Unfortunately, nothing ever goes as planned.  Will Adam and Allison solve the mystery surrounding his father's death?  Will they go their separate ways, or is the second time the charm? 

2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?

 
There are so many scenes I like, but if I had to choose one, I love the hockey game scene.  It has it all - cute kid, hockey and alcohol.  And you can't forget the sexual tension.  It's just fun from puck drop to finish.

3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

 
This one is hard.  I've always written in some form or fashion.  When I was in high school, I started writing short stories.  They weren't great, but they were my beginning.  It wasn't until I was married with child, that I started to really get into writing.   I joined Romance Writers of America and took classes on writing.  And Bam here I am.

4. What is a typical writing day like?

 
A typical day?  I don't really have a typical day.  I work full-time and spend my nights and weekends writing.  It's my release.  It's how I relax.  I love living through my characters highs and lows.  I love seeing where the characters take me.


5. Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?

 
I don't know if this is a quirk, but I tend to over plan every aspect of the book.  I have graphs and timelines and pictures and maps of everything from their home to their wardrobe.  Some call it overkill, I call it fun.

6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned as a published author?

 
I think the biggest surprise was how much work followed the "call".  I thought I would get the "you're being published call" and all would be right with the world.  I'd sit back and bask in the publishing glow.  But there were edits and more edits, blog tours to set up, blogs to write, author goodies to produce.  And did I mention edits?  So many rounds of edits.  It's been exciting and new.  It's been crazy.  And I love every single minute of it.

7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

 
My love of reading came from a young age.  I loved Judy Blume as a kid, and then I moved to teen romances, Sweet Dreams and Cheerleaders.  When I got older I loved Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julie James and Kristan Higgins.  I found the more I read the more ideas passed through my head.  A few years ago I started writing them down and have been turning them into novels ever since.  

8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?

 
Wonderful.  Awesome.  My family has been fantastic.  They've supported me through insane deadlines and inconvenient bouts of writing inspiration.  They're so proud.  It's adorable since I couldn't have done anything without them.

9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

 
I love reading when I have a few minutes to spare.  I also love scrapbooking with friends.  There's nothing better than a weekend away with the girls, going over memories and drinking.  Well, maybe a night in watching movies and hanging with my husband and son.

10. Can you tell us about what's coming up next for you writing wise?

 
I'm working on the next book in this series, including Allison's sister Brook and the sexy Chicago detective, Joe Perretti. 

11. How can readers connect with you online?

 
I love hearing from readers.  I can be reached through either one of the options below.
Website: www.vanessamknight.com
Facebook:   www.facebook.com/vanessamknightauthor
Twitter: @VanessaMKnight


 Buy Links:

 Learn more by visiting her website:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Q & A with Brantwijn Serrah!




1.  Tell us about your newest release.
Goblin Fires marks the start of my second romantic series. Where The Books of Blood and Fire series is darker and more dramatic, Goblin Fires and its sequels are a little more upbeat, a little more "traditional" in the ways of romance novels. These books, which will be called The Chronicles of the Four Courts, are set in a world of faeries and fae very much based off the sort of faeries you'd find in The Dresden Files. I've tried to expand the faerie world, though, adding the existence of two more courts and making "Knights" a family unto themselves.



2.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
I did a lot of research into fae mythology in Europe, especially Celtic European mythology, for these stories. I think what I found most surprising is the unbelievable proliferation of water faeries out there!  It's not as though each culture has one, maybe two brands of water spirit in their legends... it seems like there are three or four versions of mermaids, water nymphs, sea hags and even frogmen for just about any major mythos! It started to be a problem because I eventually started having to avoid water spirits!  I must admit though, I was a tad disappointed I didn't find an excuse to use the rusalki somewhere... they will probably show up in one of the later books.

3.  Do you have any interesting or quirks or rituals?
Tattoos.  I have a tattoo commemorating each of my major writing projects, and I've made a deal with myself that I can only get a new tattoo when one of my projects actually gets published. Right now I have a cross on my left shoulder commemorating my first novel I ever finished; an arrangement of Norse runes on my hip for a supernatural fantasy series I almost had picked up; and a two-edged axe with pink petals around it on my ankle to commemorate the success of Lotus Petals.  For Goblin Fires, I've been toying with a tiger lily and raven feather design to go on my wrist, though this time I'm running into trouble with how I would hide the tattoo at work.

A problem I'm running into with this tradition is that eventually I'm going to want to stop getting tattoos! After Goblin Fires I think I might switch to piercings... the next major book I have in mind might be the perfect one to celebrate with some... creative new body jewelry...

4.  What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
Goblin Fires has a very special story behind it, in regards to the influence of authors and friends.  In November of 2012 I went to a book signing for Jim Butcher's new release, Cold Days. When it was my turn to meet him, I told him how much his books inspired me—really, no matter what I'm writing, if I get stuck or frustrated or even bored with my own work, a few chapters of The Dresden Files never fails to recharge my creative batteries! When I said so, Jim came back by saying to me that I had to keep writing, had to keep putting my work out there, and he believed I would make it.  Hearing that from one of my favorite authors gave me a whole new sort of encouragement.

Cold Days, incidentally, almost literally launched me into writing Goblin Fires.  When I put Cold Days down, I had to write something very deeply fae and faerie-related, with a desperately passionate love story.  I never really imagined it being publishable, to be honest... I intended to write it mostly for my friends, but I didn't expect to see it through to where it is now.   Amazing what one positive, encouraging moment can lead to.

5.  What does your family think about your career as a published author?
My mom keeps asking for copies of my books to put on her bookshelf. When I remind her she might not want to display graphic lesbian erotica in her living room where she meets with her church friends, she laughs and says no one will guess by the titles what my books are about.  Of course, the only book I have to give her in hard copy format is The Big Book of Orgasm. So, there goes that little bit of protection...

6.  Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I am a gamer and an artist.  When I'm not writing I am either playing a video game or board games with my friends, or I'm working on illustration or digital artwork for my own pleasure. I also like tabletop RP like D&D.

7.  Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
Both Lotus Petals and Goblin Fires have sequels, so those are primary focus at the moment. I've also got some short stories—called Flirts—that I'd like to get in edits with Breathless Press, and finally I have a novel I'm dying to write, featuring a Master/slave relationship and some adventurous BDSM.  I have to manage a balancing act, here, as you might guess.

8.  How can readers connect with you online?
 I'm on Twitter, of course, as @brantwijn, and they are always welcome to visit my blog at www.brantwijn.blogspot.com.  I'm also on Facebook and G+, as well as Pinterest. And I love, love, love comments on my work!



Blurb:

A Fae Knight's life belongs to the Monarchies. For Reagan, a life is a small price to pay for the princess she loves.

 From the moment she laid eyes on sweet Ceri, Reagan knew she would be lost forever. A Sidhe Royal, though, could never return such feelings for a War-Child...
As the daughter of the Fae Goddess of War, Reagan was sworn into service to the Sidhe monarchies before she was born. Her contract forever binds her to the beautiful goblin princess, Ceridwen. When an unseen enemy threatens the Fae Courts, Ceridwen is caught in the attack, and Reagan must fight to the ends of the earth to save her. But will this battle tear her away from her princess forever?




Excerpt:


We came out on the other side of the park, across from the Terrace, in time to see the three Princesses and Erin emerge from the restaurant patio, bright with conversation. There were flittering butterflies—or at least, what mortals would take to be butterflies—drifting playfully around them. Pixies, three of them: one dusky lavender, one a pale coral orange, and one pristine white.
It happened in a perfect storm of a moment. Ceri distracted me, my head perhaps too busy with all Finn had said. She captivated me, such a joy to behold, and in the beautiful noonday sun all the pretty kindness of her face radiated, brimming with unspeakable serenity. She walked between Nina and Neri, laughing at something Nina told her. Erin and Puca scampered ahead, the latter bounding and barking at the coral-colored pixie with seamless dog-like excitement.
We had no reason to expect danger. I brushed at the snowflake-white pixie, who flew up very close to tug prankishly at my hair, trying to shoo it away as I watched the girls enter the street at the light change.
Then—almost too late—I realized the little creature wasn't trying to play with me.
It wanted to get my attention.
That's when my hackles raised and my spine stiffened. I sensed it—a brief split-second warning, a flutter of heat in my stomach: my portent of ill to come. Finn noticed me react and in turn he lunged to be ready. I saw it first, though, coming up the street too fast, swerving between lanes, and heedless of the light: an old, rusted, ugly car, something enormous and boat-like, full of dents.
Careening straight for the Ladies.
We moved quickly. I have said I am no hand at magic but this is why: as the adrenaline rushed through my limbs, I surrendered to a surge of unearthly power. I launched myself into the street like a charging beast, lunging violently through the knot of strolling pedestrians, and avoiding collision with wildly preternatural speed. Finn, even bigger and broader than I, danced through the started people with the precision of a practiced gymnast.
Erin stumbled, caught off guard as she saw us rushing at her; at the same time a blue truck waiting to turn noticed the oncoming sedan and sped up to get out of the way.
I grabbed the handmaiden and swept her to one side, bringing my hand down on the truck's bumper hard enough to dent it as I forced it to a stop. A second vehicle, a utility SUV leaving the park, saw the rust-bucket coming and swerved to the right to avoid being hit; Finn squared himself in front of it, seizing the grill in both hands before it could barrel through the crosswalk. I bounded up over the hood of the truck and managed to grab Nina and Ceridwen out of the way of the oncoming car.
Neri, though, froze, caught in an instant of paralyzing shock. The rust-bucket screeched, desperately trying to squeal to a stop... and instead going into a skid.



About the author:


They say you should never meet your heroes, but Brantwijn Serrah says otherwise. At a Los Angeles book signing in 2012, Brantwijn met one of her all-time favorite authors of urban fantasy, Jim Butcher, who couldn't have been kinder or more encouraging to her as an aspiring novelist herself. As it turned out, the book he signed for her that night gave her the first spark of inspiration for Goblin Fires, the story of a goblin Knight hopelessly in love with her princess.
When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.
In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.