Did you ever want to sit down and talk to/with your favorite characters? We actually do quite a bit! :) Make sure you drop by here when we say we have a "Character Interview", because our adventures out to meet and chat with some of those characters have been something you don't want to miss... You can also read author provided character profiles here on Character's Corner:
LITERAL ADDICTION is thrilled to have the wonderful Claire Ashgrove (and guests!) with us today to celebrate the release of her new New Adult Paranormal, Before the Storm, which was just dropped on 4/21/14.
Building on a background of fantasy game design, a fascination with history, and a lifetime love of books, Award-Winning Author Claire Ashgrove brings to life action-filled passionate journeys of the heart. Her paranormal series, the CURSE OF THE TEMPLARS, marries the history of the Knights of Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy—a must-read for speculative fiction fans. For romance fans, she also writes as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire and historical romance as Sophia Garrett.
In her non-writing time, she owns and operates Finish The Story, a full-scale editing house co-fpunded with Byran Thomas Schmidt. She lives in Missouri and enjoys cooking, studying ancient civilizations, and spending downtime with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs.
As mentioned, I’m here today to help Claire promote and celebrate Before the Storm. For those of you just now hearing about it, here’s everything you need to know…
Before the Storm
Add to your GoodReads Shelf
Buy in PRINT from: Amazon
Halle Rhoads has a terrifying gift--she can kill with the fury of the storm.
She should have known that kind of power wouldn't go unnoticed. Thrust into a world full of dark magic with a handsome stranger who claims he can teach her, she struggles to master her abilities and stumbles onto a dangerous truth. She's a windwalker, the chosen vessel of the ancient dragons who once ruled the world. Many will stop at nothing to possess the power in her blood, should they discover her secret. With necromancers hunting her and Halle's closest allies guarding secrets, mastering her magic becomes a matter of necessity.
But accepting her destiny is altogether different. For doing so means she must sacrifice everything.
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION’s Pack Alpha – Chelle:
*Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review
--Actual rating 4.5 Skulls
What a fabulous book!
Before the Storm was set in a carefully thought out world rife with potential and primed for growth and development. It contained characters that were instantly captivating, and who earned your respect (or disgust) instantly. The action and adventure throughout the book will have you on the edge of your seat, and there were surprises around every corner. Take all that and add in a love story that was both sweet and believable, and you have a definite winner.
I highly recommend Before the Storm to fans of New Adult and Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, and I am hoping against hope that this is just the first in a wonderful new series from Claire Ashgrove.
Oh, and here’s the next part of the progressive snippet that’s being shared for this Book Blast Hop. Check it out….
Read previous portion of Chapter 1 at Lola’s Reviews
Chapter One (Continued...)
Before I could savor the power that thrummed around me, a force like a moving locomotive slammed into my back. The air rushed from my lungs, making it impossible to brace myself against imminent impact.
I hit the ground chest-first.
Strong fingers locked around my ankle. “I said…stop,” Kale managed between labored breaths.
Him! Just who the hell did he think he was?
Dragging in a short gasp of air, I twisted to look down the length of my body at the hand that trapped me in place. As my furious gaze locked on the back of his bronzed knuckles, lightning split the sky. It arced over Allen’s gabled rooftop, spidered through the skeleton branches of deciduous trees, and slammed into the moist earth a breath away from Kale’s right shoulder.
The explosion of thunder split the sky, so powerful it reverberated inside me like cannons firing at close range in an underground cave. And yet, I didn’t hear it. Whatever force it was that kept me safe amid a deadly tornado years ago had wrapped itself around me, preventing the wash of heat from touching my skin and the intensely bright flash from blinding my eyes.
Not so Kale. His body jerked a good three feet sideways from where the bolt connected with the ground and immediately began convulsing.
“Oh shit!” I scrambled to my knees and lunged across the short distance separating us. Heaving against his shoulder, I tried to push his face out of the debris-covered ground and roll him onto his side. “Shit, I’m sorry!”
Come on. Don’t die on me.
Man, this guy was heavier than he looked. I shoved again and finally succeeded into rolling him onto his left shoulder. His tight body and locked muscles fought against the pressure of my body as I braced him in place with my hip. The arm he lay on punched a steady rhythm into the air.
Damn, damn, damn!
“Hey, Kale.” I set a hand on his shoulder, uncertain what to do or how to help. His mouth was doing this chewing thing, and his eyes had rolled back into his head. Wasn’t there some sort of risk of swallowing one’s tongue? Or was that just an old wives tale?
What if he stopped breathing or his heart stopped? Was that possible? Could he die right here?
Hop on 4/26 to read more at Book Lover’s Life!
Sounds good, yes!? It soooo was. You really need to check it out!
For the rest of today though, how about I let you ‘sit in’ on my meet and greet with Halle and Kale, the hero and heroine of Before the Storm?
CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH...
HALLE RHOADS AND KALE NORWOOD:
[After some searching, begging, pleading, and yes, bartering away everything I could think of to get a meeting with Halle and Kale, I was finally given the green light for our interview. To make the meeting mean so much more, Halle and Kale agreed to take me to the Tolvenar caves for our meet and greet.]
[Because I’m just a norm, I couldn’t see the caves or the area immediately surrounding them, so I agreed to meet Halle and Kale in a clearing just outside of the forest in Oklahoma so they could take me ‘through the veil’, so to speak.]
[I rented a car and drove to the area that they had described to me in the email. It was just opposite some radio tower lights in the distance, but for the most part, was in the middle of freaking nowhere. It’s a good thing I actually enjoy communing with nature…]
[I was a little early, so about ½ hour later I heard crunching in the trees. A minute or two later, a good-looking couple stepped out into the clearing holding hands. The girl was tall for a female, probably around 5’9” with long brown hair and an air of being somewhat closed off. The guy was gorgeous, about 6’2”, with dirty blonde hair, and obviously powerful.]
[I stepped forward to greet the pair.]
Chelle: Hi guys! As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I’m Michelle from LITERAL ADDICTION, but everyone calls me Chelle. *shakes hands with both Halle and Kale*
Halle: *Gives a polite nod, her smile looking a bit uncomfortable*
Kale: *grin warm and welcoming* Nice to meet you Chelle. Thanks for coming all this way.
[After the introductions we started walking a ways into the woods. All of a sudden, when I looked up I could no longer see the lights from the radio towers, nor could I see anything else that made me think we were even anywhere near the same place we started. Toto, we were certainly not in Kansas…er Oklahoma…anymore.]
Chelle: Wow, that was incredible. We must have passed the barrier huh!? I didn’t feel anything more than a slight tingle.
Halle: *chuckles* Kinda odd, huh? Just creeps up on you. You’d never realize it if you weren’t looking for it.
Kale: *Resting one hand on the small of Halle’s back, he guides her ahead of him, then motions for me to continue on as well* You wouldn’t get through if you weren’t with us. It would route you around, more or less. C’mon, this way. The camarilla isn’t far.
Halle: *cuts a glance to Kale and mutters* You’re sure Beth isn’t around?
Kale: *brief frown* I’m sure.” *His friendly smile returning, he nods toward a rocky outcrop* It’s just ahead.
[Soon we came to the caves and entered. About ten feet into the cool stone tunnel we encountered a bend. The ground slanted beneath my feet, letting me know that we were going down into the earth, but the pitch was easy and the hard-packed earth was smooth. The deeper we walked, the colder it got. It was a good thing I had remembered to bring a sweater.]
[As we walked, a curious light illuminated several feet ahead. Faint turquoise, eye-catching violet, and a pink that was somewhere between neon and pastel shimmered against the smooth stone walls. As we walked further, I was literally stopped in my tracks at the sight before me. Illuminated against a recessed portion of smooth stone, those vibrant colors morphed into a work of art – elaborate, intricate designs that overlapped and intertwined with one another until they were all one big collage. I couldn’t hold back my gasp, and Halle chuckled.]
Halle: *flashes a conspiratorial grin* Magic crayons. Here, watch this. *She dips her index finger into a swathe of violet light and moves her hand across the wall. The colors follow, transforming into a hill-shaped pattern*
[Before I can give it a try, or even ask, a pair of voices drift down the corridor—male and female.]
Kale: *glances towards the voices, his frown returns, and he lets out a sigh* We better not go further. I’m not in the mood to deal with her.
Halle: Ugh, Kale. *punches him lightly in the bicep* You were supposed to sidetrack her.
Kale: Yeah well. *The look he gives her is pointed* SOMEONE sidetracked ME this morning.
Halle: Oh. *Blushing, she drops her gaze to her boots.* Right then. Let’s get this show on the road.
[There were some large boulders in the room set up like benches and we each took a seat upon them.]
Chelle: Thank you both so much for sharing this with me. It’s incredible!
Halle: *laughs* Incredible? You’ve heard about the demons right? My uncle? The crazy bi—
Kale: *cuts her off by setting his heel on her foot—hard enough to make her wince* I think she gets the picture. So what’s first, Chelle?
Chelle: Well, I suppose I should actually ask you guys some questions for my readers instead of just staring like an awestruck fool, huh!? *chuckles* Halle, when did you first realize that you weren’t just a norm?
Halle: Um. I was fourteen when it really hit me. Until then, I’d felt an affinity to storms, always seemed to know when they were brewing. But that night, I willed a tornado to hit my house, and to my delight, it did.
Chelle: Kale, you had a radically different upbringing, having always known what you are, what others are, etc. Do you sometimes wish you could just shut it all off?
Kale: *nods* Yeah, sometimes it would be nice. War aside, I’d like to have one day where I could wake up and do…nothing. Have a gym membership, maybe, instead of combat training.
Chelle: Kale, you have a great burden on your shoulders, being expected to take over leadership of the Camarilla and to guide the Tolvenar. What is that like?
Kale: *shrugs and leans back against the wall* It’s really not that much of a burden. I’m not doing it, end of subject. I’m not the right person to lead the camarilla. Someday they’ll realize the truth of it. Until then, I’m training warriors.
Halle: *shoots him a displeased frown, but sets her hand on his thigh supportively*
Chelle: And Halle, now that you know more about the world you were born into, what has hit you the hardest?
Halle: The hardest? There’s so many secrets, Chelle. My mom, I suppose. Knowing she’s been alive and no one ever told me.
Chelle: Besides the obvious *winks*, what’s been the best part about training together?
[The tension slips completely from the room, both Halle and Kale more clearly more comfortable. They both laugh, share an intimate glance, and turn mischievous grins on me.
Halle: I get to kick his ass when he’s pissed me off.
Kale: *scoffs* You wish. *turns to me* Her determination can be inspiring. And we get to really understand and anticipate what the other might try, which makes it far easier if we end up in battle together. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how to support them.
Halle: Spoken like a true General. *rolls her eyes, but her nature is obviously teasing* Can you get any more technical? Just tell her it’s fun. We work hard, I frustrate the hell out of you. And then we relax with the duck.
[I compose myself from a bout of giggles and clear my throat.]
Chelle: You both have some rather interesting – and dare I say messed up – family dynamics. How have you fought against letting those things define you and/or steer you in the wrong directions? Or has it been part of the reason why you do what you do day-to-day?
Kale: *nudges Halle* I think this one’s for you.
Halle: *snorts* Messed up is one way to put it. For me, though, they are why I’m here. It’s an interesting position—wanting to protect my family, while fighting my family at the same time. My uncle’s a dirtbag. I won’t quit until he’s dead.
Chelle: And you Kale?
Halle: He’s doing that deflecting thing.
Kale: Am not. That’s your trick. You know I was born into this, Chelle, so my family is part of my day-to-day. I fight to protect them. As for all the other…stuff… I pretty much ignore it. People are going to do what they do.
Halle: *mumbles beneath her breath* Especially psycho stepmothers.
Chelle: O.K, fun ‘couple’ question… off the top of your head, what’s your favorite thing about the other?
Kale: *sits up and answers without hesitation* Her strength and determination. She never quits.
Halle: *Despite a furious blush, Halle nudges him in the ribs with her elbow before addressing me* He cooks. And it’s really good.
Chelle: The cooking? *laughs* Biggest pet peeve about each other?
Halle: Oh, my gosh, the man’s head is as hard as nails
Kale: *blinks* Me? I’m not the stubborn one. You are like a mule.
Halle: *folds her arms over her chest* Am not.
Kale: *gives me a pointed look* See?
Chelle: Most embarrassing pet name? *smiles*
Halle: *wrinkles her nose* Princess. I just call him Kale.
Chelle: Halle, what about Kale are you the most proud of?
Halle: Proud of? *She squirms in her seat* Man, this is stuff I don’t even talk about with myself. It’s like thumbscrews. *She shifts again* I guess the way he follows his own convictions and doesn’t let anyone sway him. Next please.
Chelle: Kale, what’s up next, and how are you feeling about it?
Kale: *sighs heavily* Well, she’s got a lot to learn still. I’ve accepted she’s a windwalker. Doesn’t mean I like it. But I won’t hinder her, and I’ll do what I can to support.
Halle: *With a faint smile, Halle slips her hand into his*
Chelle: Is there anything that either of you would like me to make sure and tell my readers when I get home?
Halle: *nods* Yeah. I need supporters in the hate-the-psycho-stepmother camp. Tell them to check our story out and if they have any suggestions, I’m all ears.
Kale: *Groaning, he just shakes his head*
Chelle: *blushes* Would the two of you tell Marcus ‘hi’ for me? I was sort of hoping he might be around today, but I didn’t count on it.
Halle: *quick to nod* Sure thing. You won’t find him here though. Enemies and all that. I on the other hand, suffer no such animosity.
Chelle: You guys have been awesome. Thank you so much for doing this with and for me, I really appreciate it!
Kale: *stands and dusts off his jeans* You’re most welcome. Maybe next time we can cover some more ground.
Halle: *looks up with raised eyebrows* Maybe next time you can get rid of Beth and we can introduce Chelle to Tufty.
Kale: *doesn’t answer. Rather, pulls her up out of her seat and kisses her soundly* Hush.
Chelle: *ducks head* I don’t mean to be an ungrateful guest, but dude, I’m starving! *laughs as my stomach rumbles audibly* Do you think we can grab a bite before you guys lead me back to the car?
Halle: *embarrassment vanishes as she gives me a bug-eyed stare* Here? Are you out of your mind? Rice cakes…granola… *She shakes her head adamantly* Go back to Applegate. Check out the Frost Club. They have to die for chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Beats granola any day.
Kale: *cocks his head* Chocolate raspberry cheesecake?
Halle: Chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake. *Her smile widens* And burgers.
Kale: Oh, man. I’m in. Come on, Chelle!
Remaining Book Blast Tour Schedule & Agenda:
4/20 – Under the Covers (Meet Halle Rhoads)
4/21 – Book Passion for Life (Melanie Interviews Claire)
4/21 – Reading Between the Wines (Meet Kale Norwood)
4/22 – Wicked Lil Pixie (Meet Marcus Wintergrave)
4/23 – Got Fiction (Heather Interviews Claire)
4/24 – Lola’s Reviews (Meet Spring)
4/25 – Literal Addiction (Meet and Greet with Halle and Kale)
4/26 – Book Lover’s Life (Meet Gerard Norwood)
For the duration of the Before the Storm Blog Hop, Claire will be giving away, daily, one digital copy of anything on her backlist to one random commentor. The Rafflecopter Giveaway for the Blog Hop is for a $15.00 Amazon / Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate, and a full digital set of her series, The Curse of the Templars. Be sure to comment and enter the Rafflecopter both!
She has several other opportunities over the next two weeks to win more prizes, too. To see the other release-gala events, check out the Before the Storm Tour Schedule!
Hello everyone! LITERAL ADDICTION is very pleased to welcome Kerry Schafer back to our site today, along with some special guests!
Kerry Schafer lives in Colville, Washington, with her family, which includes two cats, a rescue fish, and a preternaturally large black dog. A self-styled perpetual student, she earned an RN from Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta; a BA in English (Honours) from York University in Toronto, Ontario; and an M.Ed. in counseling psychology from Washington State University.
Kerry is the proud creator of THE BETWEEN series, which was launched on 1/29/13 with Between. Book #2, Wakeworld, was just released on 1/28/14.
We’re here today to help Kerry promote and celebrate the release of the new book, but for those who aren’t familiar with Kerry and her work, here are the synopses, buy links, and our reviews to catch you up…
THE BETWEEN Book #1
Add to your GoodReads Shelf
*Read LITERAL ADDICTION’s 4 Skull Review HERE
Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.
All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.
And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…
THE BETWEEN Book #2
Add to your GoodReads Shelf
Vivian Maylor is trying to hold it together. But her attempts to build a life with the man she loves seem doomed by the dragon inside her yearning to break free. Vivian is a dreamshifter, the last line of defense between reality and the dreamworld, and the only one of her kind.
Weston Jennings also believes he is the only one of his kind. He fears his powers as a dreamshifter, and resists learning to control them. After suffering a tragic loss, Weston heads deep into the woods of the Pacific Northwest to embrace a safe life of solitude. But when a terrible mistake leads to an innocent’s death, his guilt drives him to his former home, where he encounters what he never thought he would find: another shifter.
Now Vivian and Weston must work together to defeat a new threat to the dreamworld.
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Chelle
*ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
I said in my review of Between, book #1 of the series, that this was an Urban Fantasy unlike anything I had experienced before, and one that I wanted to get lost in again. When I got word that Wakeworld was available, I was excited to dive in.
Wakeworld picks up right where Between left off, but I think if you were coming into this book as a first time reader you could catch on easily enough...
Kerry broadened the scope of The Between series by introducing yet another dimension, some supe groups we hadn't encountered yet, and a really nasty new antagonist. She also brought in another hero, and his story allowed Vivian's story to evolve some more as well.
Between felt very much like your favorite childhood fairytales turned on their head. Wakeworld felt less like that, but did stick to embracing the higher fantasy elements that I loved from book #1, and even took those to another level with the introduction of the new creatures, the continuing evolution of Vivian's dragon side, and more.
Like the first of the series, the book doesn't start out like a bullet, it ramps up nicely and once it hits the plateau, all bets are off and it's an edge of your seat thrill ride until the end, whereupon you'll be wishing for the next immediately.
The characters and world building of THE BETWEEN are fabulous, and the second book of the series made each stronger. Readers that enjoy their Urban Fantasy with some dragons and high fantasy elements, as well as a slightly ethereal edge will likely find Between and Wakewold enjoyable, especially if you're not looking for instant HEA's for your protagonists. :)
Now that I’ve sufficiently caught you up and have you all adding more books to your TBR and scoping out your favorite book seller to see how and where you can get Between and Wakeworld, how about we get to the heart of today’s Event? I had a chance to sit down to talk with Vivian and Poe, and even got to say hello to Zee! Check it out…
INTERVIEW WITH THE CAST OF THE BETWEEN:
Hello my Literal Addicts, I have a special treat for you today. I had the extreme pleasure of sitting down to talk with Vivian Maylor, one of the world’s last Dream Shifters. Take a peek at the transcript of our meeting…
I pulled up to A to Zee books and parallel parked in front of the quaint building. It was a wonderful place to conduct an interview, but part of me hoped Vivian would take me to the Between or Dreamworld just for a bit.
I walked up to the front door and entered, the tiny bell above the door giving a cheerful little jingle. The store was amazing. Books from floor to ceiling giving that warm, comforting ambience only bookstores can give, and intermingled with the luscious scent of old and new tomes, a subtle lavender and vanilla scent from the candle in the corner. Hanging sculptures and wind chimes hung from the ceiling, catching the light as they twisted and turned.
I didn’t immediately see anyone, so I walked up to the counter and rang the little bell there. In just a minute, a very pretty redhead came from the back room followed closely by, yes…the largest (and cutest!) penguin I had ever seen. O.K, the ONLY penguin I had ever seen.
Chelle: Vivian! *walks over to shake hands* I’m Chelle from LITERAL ADDICTION, it is so nice to finally meet you.
Vivian: *shakes hands with a firm grip, but winces a little as though this hurts and puts one hand to her chest* Sorry – war injury. Thanks for stopping by. Can I get you a cup of coffee? Poe, let the lady in.
Poe stood directly in front of me, staring up out of shiny black eyes. He didn't move on request and Vivian picked him up and carried him. We walked back to the little table and chairs set up towards the back of the store. I took a seat while she fetched us each a mug of coffee. Poe planted himself directly in front of me. I couldn't help staring at him – he didn't look like any penguin I'd ever seen.
Chelle: I am so sorry, I don’t mean to be staring *turns slightly* Poe, please forgive me, it’s just a bit of a shock to see you in person, and you’re just so darn cute! *laughs*
Vivian: *Poe's feathers ruffle and Vivian laughs* I'm not sure he likes to be thought of as cute. More fierce and intrepid. He did save my life, you know, more than once. And he's forever walking through doors I'd prefer not to even have opened.
The penguin crawled up a short bookshelf to our right, and took up vigil amidst some crystals and knickknacks. It was obvious why Vivian had named him Poe, there he was ever sitting, never flitting…
Chelle: Forgive me. Again. *laughs* But I’m not sure where to start with the interview. There is just so much I want to ask you! Let’s start with the basics. What was it like when you first found out that you were a Dreamshifter?
Vivian: I was totally lost for awhile. Couldn't get my mind around the whole thing. When I was a little kid I think I knew, but I'd talked myself around to believing it was all a dream, and that my mother was totally insane with her ramblings about Wakeworld and Dreamworld. Quite a reality shift for me, and there wasn't time to sit around and think about it.
Chelle: *motions to the pendant of a dreamcatcher and penguin hanging from Vivian’s neck* Are the pendants strictly for protection, or do they serve another purpose in the Between or Dreamworld? And why do you think that the totems are what they are – birds? Is there a rhyme or reason why a certain one is attached to a Dreamshifter, for example, did you have a particular affinity for penguins before you knew about your history?
Vivian: Protection? I wish. All the pendant really does is help to anchor me in what we call reality. I know I'm in a Dreamworld when the pendant is missing, not in Wakeworld or the Between. It helps to keep things straight. *Poe scoots down off his shelf and hops up on the couch to sit by Vivian and she rests one hand on his head* I'm not at all sure the pendants always have been birds. I think my grandfather's might have been a cat. But they are always creatures who are connected to the mysteries, who can shift between realities with ease. I did have a stuffed penguin as a child. Poe looks a lot like him.
Chelle: So, you got the double whammy of having sorcerer background as well as Dreamshifter lineage. *glances to the scale markings just peeking out from the neckline of Vivian’s t-shirt* I’m a little awed at ALL of your gifts, but being able to shift into a dragon has to be a bit of a rush. Can you tell me a little bit about what it’s like when you make the transition, and the differences you note when in alternate form – besides the obvious of course. *laughs*
Vivian: Not so fun at all, really, when you think about it. Zee is a dragon slayer, you know, so it's a bit of an issue between us. Besides that, I find shifting a little frightening – all that raw power – and I'm afraid it will get away from me and I'll eat somebody or something. I did almost roast Weston one time. In dragon form everything is all sharp angles, nothing is soft. The colors are brighter, the smells are – textured. Like the difference between two and three dimensions. But flight – now that is a glorious and wonderful thing.
As Vivian talked about being a dragon, her eyes – already an unnerving clear amber, something like hawk eyes – started to glow, and the scale pattern spread up her neck to her jaw line. It was a little freaky and for a minute I had second thoughts about how smart it was to be up close and personal with a dragon shifter. But then Poe nudged up against her and she took a deep breath and was purely Vivian again.
Chelle: *a little breathless* Were you ever a reader of fantasy? Your time in Surmise had to have been like walking through the pages of one of those books. What was that all like for you over there – being reunited with your mother, finding out that there are alternate versions of ourselves on the other side, etc?
Vivian: I have always read fantasy. I always felt like something was missing, or that some magic was waiting just around a corner, maybe because all along I was meant to be in the Between, or in Dreamworld. So I immersed myself in fantasy books looking for that experience. When it really happened to me, though – that was different. Not like a book at all. Scary, and overwhelming. I was a little frozen for awhile there – couldn't make good decisions or do anything useful. It was all just – too much. You know?
Chelle: I can imagine! Was it a relief to find out that you weren’t the last of your kind? And did you ever ask Weston why he didn’t name his Raven? I’m thinking “Moore” would have been cute. *laughs*
Vivian: *Vivian laughs* I'll suggest that, next time I see him. Seriously though, Weston had convinced himself he hated the raven. Last thing in the world he wanted to do was name it – he just wanted it to go away. As for being the last of the Dreamshifters – technically I still am. Weston doesn't really want anything to do with the whole thing.
Chelle: You and Zee have a relationship that literally transcends dimensions. You’ve danced around the finality of it for a while, but do you think that you guys will try to work on things and take what you have to the next level?
Vivian: That's sort of personal. I'm not sure I want to answer.
A man walked out of the back room and stopped to look me over. He was tall, and even through a casual fitting t-shirt I could see serious muscles going on. Long dark hair to his shoulders, half healed scars on one cheek, and these eyes you could get lost in…
He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but a leather sword belt was slung over his hips and his right hand rested on the hilt. His tone was easy enough but there was an intensity in the way he stood there that made me glad I had an invite.
Vivian: *her eyes lock with his and there's no doubt how they feel about each other* Zee, this is Chelle. I'm pretty sure she's not secretly evil or harboring hidden powers.
Zee's eyes scanned the store – doors, windows, all of the shelves, before he relaxed a little and came to sit beside Vivian on the couch, close, but not quite touching. Poe waddled over for a head scratching. I could pretty much feel the tension buzzing between Vivian and Zee.
Chelle: *clearing her throat* So, Vivian - do you think you’ll continue working at the hospital, or are your responsibilities as a Dreamshifter and your upcoming work to protect The Forever too much for you to continue? Though those ‘jobs’ don’t pay the bills do they…
Vivian: I loved my job as an ER doc, and maybe someday I can get back to it. Right now I just don't have time. Plus, I'd always have to be explaining about my eyes and the scales, which is a hassle
Chelle: But what about finances?
Vivian: *shrugs and exchanges a glance with Zee* We've got the bookstore here and my grandfather's cabin. He left me some money, enough to pay the bills. And there's always food to be found in Dreamworld, and even in the Between.
Zee: We're hunter-gatherers of a sort. It works.
Chelle: Gotcha. *glancing at Poe* I have to ask, how do you know what he’s thinking? Don’t you just wish you could cast a spell and allow him to just talk to you? And how in the world do you explain walking around here with a penguin? *laughs*
Vivian: We do get strange looks if we take him out in public. We don't do that much - I'm worried somebody will try to steal him or something. I'm actually glad he doesn't talk – he'd be lecturing me all the time. Penguin stares of disapproval are bad enough
Chelle: I asked about Weston’s raven earlier, but how IS Weston? Have you seen him lately?
Vivian: Weston is Weston. He's a survivor.
Chelle: What’s up next for the Maylor crew?
Vivian: *a moment of silence and another look exchanged between her and Zee. His jaw tightens. She clears her throat * We're off in a few minutes, actually, just stopped back here for some supplies. We've got to stop Aidan from destroying all of the Dreamworlds. Somehow I'm going to have to get the Sorcieri to give up some secrets so we can get into the Forever. So if you'll forgive us, we really do need to be going.
Chelle: *with a glint in my eye* Before you go - do you have a Dreamsphere that I can see, and what are the chances you can take me into the Between just for a bit?
Vivian: Unfortunately, no. The ones we had were all lost, one way or another, and besides they're not safe right now. If you were in one of the Dreamsphere dreams and that sphere died – I'm not sure what would happen to you.
Chelle: The Between then? Please?
Zee: It's not safe. The Between isn't Disneyland. There are a lot of things in there that will kill you.
Vivian: And it's very unstable right now. What with the dying Dreamworlds and all, it's even more dangerous than usual.
Chelle: I understand the risks. Still – just for a minute at least?
Vivian and Zee exchanged another long glance. Talk about people who can hold a conversation with their eyes - those two were pros. After a minute, Vivian closed her eyes. She looked like she was meditating or something. And then, just like that, a door materialized in the middle of one of the book shelves. It was just an ordinary looking green door with a brass handle. Ordinary if it hadn't just appeared, anyway.
Poe waddled over to it immediately. If he'd had ears they would have been perked up – he reminded me of a dog who knows he's going out for a walk. Zee loosened the sword in its sheathe.
Vivian: You sure about this, Chelle?
I nodded, swallowing hard. I was both nervous and excited. Vivian stepped forward and opened the door. It was a strange sensation. There I was, standing in a bookstore, and through the door was the oldest, mossiest, most over grown forest I could possibly imagine. Three paths wound away into the distance, none of them straight, all overgrown with vines. Poe hopped through the door immediately and waddled off on the path to the right.
Vivian: *follows Poe* Wait! You don't know what's out there…
Zee: After you. *he gestures toward the door with his left hand and draws the sword with his right *
With Zee right behind me, I stepped through the door. The air felt different, old somehow, and I could smell trees and decaying leaves and something else, a sharp acid scent that was unfamiliar. Vivian and Poe passed out of sight around a bend. Behind me the door was still open.
Zee: Go back now, or go forward. The choice is yours…
As you can tell I got back safely. J So, how about I give away winner’s choice of book from THE BETWEEN series to celebrate?
Again, because I want to give some of my mobile users who can't access Rafflecopter a chance for a bit, share about the new release (Wakeworld), the series as a whole, or Kerry on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, etc and comment HERE with the URL to your post and your email address for a chance to win. We'll check the posts and pick a random winner at the end of the Event.
Good luck, and as always… HAPPY READING!
Hello everyone! We are thrilled to be promoting for author Emma Jane Holloway again today!
About the Author“Ever since childhood, Emma Jane Holloway refused to accept that history was nothing but facts prisoned behind the closed door of time. Why waste a perfectly good playground coloring within the timelines? Accordingly, her novels are filled with whimsical impossibilities and the occasional eye-blinking impertinence—but always in the service of grand adventure.
Struggling between the practical and the artistic—a family tradition, along with ghosts and a belief in the curative powers of shortbread—Emma Jane has a degree in literature and job in finance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest in a house crammed with books, musical instruments, and half-finished sewing projects. In the meantime, she’s published articles, essays, short stories, and enough novels to build a fort for her stuffed hedgehog.”
Emma is the proud creator of the BASKERVILLE AFFAIR series!
For those of you not yet familiar with Emma’s books, here is everything you need to know to get all caught up…
A Study in Silks
BASKERVILLE AFFAIR Book #1
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Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London’s high society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse.
In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?
But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.
A Study in Darkness
BASKERVILLE AFFAIR Book #2
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When a bomb goes off at 221B Baker Street, Evelina Cooper is thrown into her Uncle Sherlock’s world of mystery and murder. But just when she thought it was safe to return to the ballroom, old, new, and even dead enemies are clamoring for a place on her dance card.
Before Evelina’s even unpacked her gowns for a country house party, an indiscretion puts her in the power of the ruthless Gold King, who recruits her as his spy. He knows her disreputable past and exiles her to the rank alleyways of Whitechapel with orders to unmask his foe.
As danger mounts, Evelina struggles between hiding her illegal magic and succumbing to the darker aspects of her power. One path keeps her secure; the other keeps her alive. For rebellion is brewing, a sorcerer wants her soul, and no one can protect her in the hunting ground of Jack the Ripper.
A Study in Ashes
BASKERVILLE AFFAIR Book #3
JUST RELEASED 12/31/13!
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As part of her devil’s bargain with the industrial steam barons, Evelina Cooper is finally enrolled in the Ladies’ College of London. However, she’s attending as the Gold King’s pet magician, in handcuffs and forbidden contact with even her closest relation, the detective Sherlock Holmes.
Not even Niccolo, the dashing pirate captain, and his sentient airship can save her. But Evelina’s problems are only part of a larger war. The Baskerville Affair is finally coming to light, and the rebels are making their move to wrest power from the barons and restore it to Queen Victoria. Missing heirs and nightmare hounds are the order of the day—or at least that’s what Dr. Watson is telling the press.
But their plans are doomed unless Evelina escapes to unite her magic with the rebels’ machines—and even then her powers aren’t what they used to be. A sorcerer has awakened a dark hunger in Evelina’s soul, and only he can keep her from endangering them all. The only problem is…he’s dead.
Interests piqued? They should be!! I am thoroughly enjoying this series, and can’t wait to find the time to get lost in it some more. Make sure you add them to your TBR lists, but for the rest of today, I have a special treat for you. I had the opportunity to sit down to chat with Evelina Cooper, heroine extraordinaire of THE BASKERVILLE AFFAIR series. Check it out!!
CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH EVELINA COOPER (and guests):
**Tiny spoiler alert** There are some things in here that could give away the final outcome of some of Emma Jane’s free reads. Nothing earth shattering, but if you don’t want to know, don’t read this!
Today’s meet and greet is a little bit different. I mean how many times do you think I’d actually have the chance to visit London proper in the time of Steam Baron dictatorship and clockwork craziness? The hardest part for me, sorta, was trying to find something to wear. I mean I know Carla and I did this once before in London proper above the drift with Cherry St. Clair, but somehow, this meant a little more to me. I knew that Evelina Cooper couldn’t give a good goddamn what I was wearing, but I did…
After finding just the right gown, not too formal, not too casual, I set out to find 221B Baker Street where Evelina now lived with her uncle Sherlock. Yes THAT Sherlock (you see why I’m excited!!?).
Arriving exactly 5 minutes early, I rang the bell and was greeted by a polite, middle-aged woman who appeared to be the housekeeper. She introduced herself as Mrs. Hudson and led me into the townhouse to a living area that spoke volumes of the man who resided there.
There was a table littered with scientific equipment in one corner, a chaotic desk littered with paper next to the equipment, a fireplace with a large bear skin rug in front of it, a settee and pipe rack on one side of the fireplace, a basket chair on the other side, and a table and chairs facing the street that I entered from. It was all very cozy, in a frenzied sort of way.
I took a seat where I could, and waited for my hostess.
Evelina came strolling in, a train case in one hand and a smile on her face. Her gorgeous dark hair was cascading down her back in beautiful waves, her blue eyes glittered with amusement, and the green day gown she was wearing was the perfect color to compliment her perfect porcelain skin.
Chelle: Hi Evelina, thank you so very much for meeting with me today. My readers will be thrilled to learn some more about you!
Evelina: About me? Good gracious, you mean you aren’t here to see my uncle about a case?
Chelle: I suppose I should formally introduce myself huh!? I’m Michelle from LITERAL ADDICTION, though everyone calls me Chelle.
Evelina: Oh, yes, of course! Pardon me, I’m afraid my mind was quite occupied with a trifle I’m constructing in the workshop. I’m delighted to make your acquaintance.
She greeted me warmly and then took a seat across from where I had perched.
Mrs. Hudson arrived right then with a gorgeous tea service and the spicy aroma of the tea was making my mouth water. Evelina and I helped ourselves to a couple of cups and then I settled in for the interview.
Chelle: You had quite the childhood huh!? Can you tell us a little bit about being with Ploughman’s Circus? What did you do as a performer? What was it like?
Evelina: Life with the circus is both harder and easier than you might expect. These days, travel is done by railroad—what an improvement!—but performers are expected to do three shows a day and move around constantly during tenting season, which is from April to November. It’s a demanding way of living.
My father actually ran away from the circus to join the army. I think he still had a bit of the showman about him, because he was promoted in the field to captain for conspicuous bravery. Later, he convinced my mother to elope with him—he must have been dashing in uniform and talked a very good line. I’m sorry I never got to know him.
Of course, after he was killed, my poor mother was in disgrace and couldn’t go home. She’d married beneath her and without permission, and her parents would not take her back. So, we ended up living with my father’s family at Ploughman’s. Some years later, my mother died of a fever.
After that, my Gran Cooper raised me. She was the fortune teller and sold amulets and love spells. It was a good childhood with a lot of affection, even though Ploughman’s is a small circus and money was very tight. I began training to rope walk and do routines on the trapeze, but I had only just started to perform in public when my Grandmamma Holmes arrived unexpectedly. She plucked me from the circus and sent me to the Wollaston Academy for Young Ladies. And there you have my life story to date!
Chelle: When did your interest in Clockwork start? [glances at train case] And did you by any chance bring Mouse and Bird to talk with us a bit? [bounces a bit excitedly]
Evelina: My Grandfather Cooper fixed all the mechanical devices at the circus—the calliope and the clockwork figurines—and showed me what he knew. At the same time, my Gran taught me how to use magic. You see, many circus families, including the Coopers, inherit the ability to work spells and talk to nature spirits, also known as devas. I got the idea of combining the two talents and the rest was … well Mouse and Bird can and do speak for themselves. Relentlessly. [opens train case and peers inside] Hello?
A mechanical bird about four inches long flutters from the train case, followed by a small clockwork mouse. Even though they are made of metal, they move with the grace of living beings.
Evelina: Chelle, may I introduce Mouse and Bird.
[Both creatures preen and bow.]
Mouse: Delighted, fair lady, to meet a member of the press.
Mouse: Giddy with pleasure.
Bird: [Hops to the top of the train case and down again, obviously excited.] Do we get our pictures taken?
Mouse: [Putting paws on hips] Of course not, you ambulatory omelet. What good will we be on the job if we’ve got our faces all over the morning paper? We’re spies, remember?
Bird: Then why are we being interviewed?
Mouse: All the best spies have clandestine interviews. One has to whet the public appetite from time to time, dropping bons-bons of gossip about the nation’s celebrities. It’s the done thing.
Bird: [Fluffs with irritation.] Why? This makes no sense to me.
Mouse: A spy is only as good as his information. A crumb to public curiosity is an earnest of what we might do if truly pushed to wield our power.
Bird: Our power? I think you’ve been reading too many thrillers. Seriously, what kind of hideous information do you think we have?
Mouse: [sniffs] The incident in the gazebo at midnight.
Bird: What, that Mr. Holmes was using the landlady’s geraniums as an ashtray?
Mouse: No, the other thing. [whiskers twitching with irritation]
Bird: The one involving the Society for the Proliferation of Impertinent Events?
Mouse: Not those buffoons.
Bird: The Italian soprano?
Mouse: Heavens, no.
Bird: [gasps] You don’t mean . . .
Evelina: [Scoops up the two creatures and stuffing them unceremoniously back in the train case.] I think we’ve heard enough from those two. They do run on sometimes.
Chelle: But that was just getting interesting! What secret was Bird about to tell?
Evelina: [Slams the lid shut and sets the teapot on top of it. Sounds of frustrated banging emerge from the case. Evelina smiles sweetly.] Do you have other questions for me?
Chelle: So now that you’re done with Wollaston and have been presented to the Queen, what are your thoughts on the Season?
Evelina: I expect the Season will be filled with dancing and parties for those who can attend. But that’s not for me. There’s a bit of fallout from a case that I shared with my uncle—it ended in a rather upsetting fashion. I’ve been warned to leave London for a while.
Chelle: Your heart was a little torn in two directions - the golden boy Tobias Roth, and the dark and mysterious Nick [no last name]. I know the heart wants what the heart wants, but is it hard for you to know that you probably can’t have either?
Evelina: [shakes head sadly] There’s no easy answer to that! Tobias is brilliant and you have to admit he’s lovely to look at. Plus, we share a love of mechanics. But he’s Lord Bancroft’s heir. His father would never allow a marriage so far beneath their family name.
And Nick—I thought there might have been a future for us once, but our magic isn’t compatible. Every time we get close, the devas go wild. It’s like a dozen poltergeists tearing everything apart. And of course, the use of magic is punishable by death or a stint at Her Majesty’s Laboratories as a test subject. It’s impossible for Nick and I to keep our talents hidden when furniture is flying across the room. People notice that sort of thing.
I will always love both of them, but marrying either one would be a disaster—and I don’t want to be with anyone else. I think it’s up to me to make a future for myself.
Chelle: O.K, seriously, what’s it like to be Sherlock Holmes’ niece? [smiles]
Evelina: It’s interesting. [laughs ruefully] He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, so it can be a bit, um, humbling sometimes. But we don’t try to change each other and he’s always been there when I really need him. It’s a bit like having a willful cat around, but one who leaves a lot of pipe smoke and newspapers behind.
Chelle: What are you going to do about Dr. Symeon Magnus? He seems to have his eye on you, and from what I’ve seen and heard, he’s a little scary! [shudders]
Evelina: Dr. Magnus is a sorcerer versed in death magic. He keeps telling me he wants to continue my magical education from where Gran Cooper left off, but my answer is a very firm No thank you!
Chelle: You are learning a lot from your uncle I’m sure, but you most certainly have your own style of investigating. How do you plan things out, etc when you have a mystery to solve? You did very well with the zombie debacle at the Wollaston Academy.
Evelina: [Cautiously lifts the teapot off the train case and refills their teacups] Uncle Sherlock is always talking about his methods, and I do try to use some of those. However, a young lady doesn’t have the freedom of movement that he does, so I created Mouse and Bird to gather information on my behalf. To borrow a modern phrase, you could say that I’m still on a learning curve, but I’m starting to develop some skills.
Chelle: What do you think the future is for London with the Steam Barons controlling each and every little piece and their streetkeepers making it virtually impossible to do anything they don’t know about?
Evelina: [sinks back in chair with a sigh] There is a lot of grumbling among the citizens of London, both the rich and poor. You can’t make the cost of living impossibly high and take away every alternative people have without protests. If the steam barons keep it up, they’re going to have a full-scale rebellion on their hands. I’ve heard the name Baskerville associated with a resistance movement, so I think it’s already begun. They’re very mysterious, though. No one has any idea who is behind it.
Chelle: So, yes, let’s gossip a bit about your best friend. [giggles] How are you feeling about Imogen and her new beau?
Evelina: I am delighted for Imogen. I don’t know Bucky Penner as well as she does—obviously!—but he makes her happy in the way she deserves. The only difficulty is that, while he has money, education, and manners, he’s a commoner. Imogen’s father would much rather marry her off to someone who is a lord. I see trouble ahead for those two.
Chelle: What’s next for you? You’ve moved in with Sherlock, you’re still working on melding your magic and your machines, your dating prospects are slightly out of reach currently – no offense intended – are you still focused on going to University?
Evelina: Yes, absolutely. I’ve told you a little bit about my family—the magical circus side and the rational, scientific side. I believe getting an education is my best chance to reconcile these two halves of myself. After all what is magic but science we don’t yet understand?
Who knows what I might accomplish? The steam barons would love to get their hands on the secret of driving machines with magic, and I’ve already done that with Mouse and Bird. I wonder how far they’d go to get that secret?
Chelle: I wish you all the best. [glances at clockwork watch] Wow, look at the time! I certainly don’t want to take up your whole afternoon. Thank you so very much for sitting down with me today, and letting me get some information to share with my readers about the wonderful Miss Evelina Cooper. If the Baskerville Affair ever comes to pass, I would certainly like to sit down with you again and pick your brilliant brain.
Evelina: Thank you so much, Chelle, for calling on me. Please do come back again!
I said my goodbyes and Evelina led me back to the door herself, waving off Mrs. Hudson who wished to do it for her. She gave me a sweet smile and wishes for safe travels home and I left to find my carriage.
Comment on this post and you’ll be entered into a draw for a copy of one book from The Baskerville Affair trilogy – your choice of title and format. Giveaway is international.
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Good luck, and as always… HAPPY READING!
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