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Kristine Grayson

Book Title: THOROUGHLY KISSED
Genre: General Fantasy, Fantasy

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Once upon a fairy tale...

Fantasy author Kristine Grayson turns some traditional tales into unconventional romance!

by Tara Gelsomino

Were you one of those children who always wondered what happened to the prince and the maiden after the words The End? Kristine Grayson was, and shes crafted a series of magical, fantastical romances that follow the adventures of a modern-day Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty. The twist? The famed duo dont exactly find happiness together; in fact they cant stand each other.

Grayson, who is a prolific and accomplished SF/fantasy writer with approximately 40 books under her belt, made her first venture into romance in February 2000 with Utterly Charming (Zebra Books). That story begins when attorney Nora Barr is approached by a mysterious man named Aethelstan who has a strange request: he needs her to hide a woman named Emma, whos been asleep in a glass coffin for 990 years, from a witch for 10 years. If Aethelstan manages to keep possession of the coffin for that time, his sleeping beauty will awake. Needing the money, Nora acquiesces and despite falling for Aethelstan herself, she keeps the woman hidden. But when Emma wakes up its not all wine and roses. Shes none too thrilled at being the rope for the tug-of-war between two witches. Not to mention shes just wasted 1000 years asleep, her prince charmings fallen for a new princess, and now she must deal with this very new, very strange world. Sleeping Beauty, to put it plainly, is pissed.

However, she does get her own romance this month in THOROUGHLY KISSED. Its another decade later and Sleeping Beauty (aka Emma Lost),
has changed considerably. Kristine explains, Emma was simply pitiful at the end of Utterly Charming. The last thing shed experienced was 10th-century England, so she needed that time to adapt. Now shes smart and savvy.

Emmas living a normal life in Wisconsin as a history professor, when some very odd things begin to happen. First, the office furniture belonging to her new, highly irritable boss disappears in the middle of an argument theyre having. Then her cat Darnell turns into a lion and starts speaking to her! Emma has come into the magical powers she wasnt supposed to get until age 50. Since shes only 30, and still getting used to this world, shes not too happy to have to take on the complicated years of training that mages must undergo. But a meeting with the Fates (a very zany sequence reminiscent of the Mad Hatters tea party in Alice in Wonderland) turns up that little detail of a 1000-year time lapse, and Emma becomes resigned to the idea that she must go back to Aethelstan in Seattle to train her.

However, she needs an escort to make sure her magic doesnt get too out of control and her only choice is that cranky new boss, the ironically named Michael Found whos already wondering about these magical powers hes witnessed. After a persuasive Dickens-style visit from the Ghost of Christmas future, Found agrees to her request. What ensues is a fun-filled, out-of-this-world road trip that includes stops at the Battle of Little Bighorn (complete with a ghostly re-enactment) as well as a mouth-wateringly imaginative dream sequence featuring a restaurant run by no less than 50 premier chefs.

Unconventional? Certainly, but thats par for the course for Kristine, who also writes under the names Kristine Kathryn Rusch (SF/fantasy) and Kris Nelscott (mystery). Many popular authors today, such as Tami Hoag or Tess Gerritson, got their roots in romance then crossed over, but Kristine went about things a bit differently. Actually, I always wanted to be a historical romance writer. I was a history major in college, but I felt daunted by the idea of doing the research and getting everything right for a historical romance, so I decided to make up my own history instead and thats how I fell into the fantasy world. And fall she did. Since 1981, Kristine has written countless short stories, several Star Wars, X-Men and Star Trek novels (the latter with her husband Dean Wesley Smith), and two original epic fantasy sagas, The Fey, and The Black Throne. But for anxious readers ready to consume her backlist, Kris warns her SF/fantasy books are very different, and sometimes violent.

She is also the former editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and co-founder, with her husband, of Pulphouse Publishing, a mystery and SF press. As Kris Nelscott, she recently signed a contract with St. Martins Press for two more noirish mystery novels in her 1960s-set series featuring African-American PI Smokey Dalton, following A Dangerous Road (July 00) and this Augusts release, SMOKE-FILLED ROOMS. The third will be released in Summer 2002.

Also in 2002, Zebra will release COMPLETELY SMITTEN, a Beauty-and-the-Beast themed romance starring Aethelstans friend Sancho (aka Merlin). Then in 2003, the manic Fates will get a book all of their own to wreak their magical havoc. Kris also hopes to someday try her hand at that historical romance thats eluded her all these years, and has no plans on leaving the genre. [Writing romance is] just so much fun. When I write deep, dark fiction, I dont often get to sit at my computer screen and giggle, and with these I do, so I love that.

Sounds completely smitten to us.

Fans can write Kristine in care of Zebra Books, 850 Third Avenue, NY, NY 10022-6222 or e-mail kkr5@excite.com.


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