Today the twelfth installment of author Kerrelyn Sparks' Love at Stake series, Wanted: Undead or Alive, hits shelves. To get readers ready for another foray into the author's awesome paranormal world, RT's Morgan, interviews Sparks about her unique take on vampire lore, including vampire fusion cuisine and the special synthetic blood that has altered what it means to be a creature of the night. The author also discusses her warrior heroes and shares a look at the difficult sacrifices they must make before they get their HEAs.
Paranormal fiction abounds with unusual creatures, but recently we’ve been seeing heroes and heroines whose lineages push the boundaries of our imaginations. That’s right, we’re ready to declare that it’s the season of hybrids! These characters may have a foot in two worlds (and sometimes more) but still deserve their own happily ever afters. Take a look at which hybrids are making our hearts race this month and find out what we think would be the best — and worst — parts of their puzzling heritage.
Character: Caliban “Cal” Leandros
Heritage: Human and Auphe*
Author: Rob Thurman
Series: Cal Leandros
New Release: Doubletake
*Auphe are murderous fiends that predate humans on the evolutionary chain. They seek to exterminate humans, Cal’s birth was the result of their genetic experimentation.
Veteran author Amanda Stevens is gearing up for the second in her Graveyard Queen series, The Kingdom. The author captured our imagination with the series starter, The Restorer, which is a contemporary series with a Gothic feel. This is due in no small part to Stevens' unusual heroine, Amelia, a professional cemetery restoration expert (who got her job in a most unusual way). In today's interview with RT's Morgan, we get a special look at the series' unique heroine, the deliciously dark and emotionally damaged hero Devlin and how the pair interacts with the vampire-like ghosts that surround them!
Last year author Isabel Cooper wowed readers with her debut novel No Proper Lady. This paranormal historical romance, which won RT's September 2011 Seal of Excellence, set itself apart from other stories by incorporating an innovative time tavel element. The author, who is about to release her much-anticipated series second, Lessons After Dark, joins us to talk about what she's learned between books one and two, which she jokingly calls, "Lessons after my Debut." And make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win this new book before it's in stores!
1. There’s more to a story — even in a romance — than two people.
This is something I learned while working on No Proper Lady. Eleanor, the hero’s younger sister, was originally more of a motivating force than anything else. Simon needed a reason to be angry at Reynell, angry enough that he’d be willing to work for the possible death and certain magical screwing-with of his former best friend. What reason would be good enough? Well, messing with his little sister seems pretty solid. Okay, then!
Except, as I wrote the book, I found that Eleanor needed to have more and more of a role in it, that writing her with Simon and Joan (the heroine, from the future) brought out aspects of them — and aspects of the story — that might not have come out otherwise, and that she was interesting in her own right. I liked writing about her, and I liked how she had her own agenda and character arc. Likewise, Gillespie, though he only appears in one scene, was a lot of fun.
So, in my latest book, Lessons After Dark, I have a whole host of secondary characters. The romance between Olivia and Gareth takes center stage, of course, but the rest of Englefield’s population gets a fair amount of time too. Their agendas and issues play a large role, both in establishing Englefield as the “weird” school for “gifted" children (aka children with supernatural abilities) it’s becoming, and in showing the characters, and the development of Olivia and Gareth as they get closer.
Meljean Brook has created one of my favorite steampunk series with the Iron Seas. And in no small part that's because this series is accessible to both genre fans and readers who don’t normally go for stories set in this re-imagined Victorian era. Brook's series started with The Iron Duke, which won the October 2010 RT Seal of Excellence. The story was followed by November 2011’s RT Top Pick! Heart of Steel. And now the author has just announced that the series third, Riveted will be available this Fall.
This upcoming story's heroine is Annika Fridasdottor, an airship engineer. But that’s not all she does, according to the author Annika’s engineering skills are also put to work “in a troll’s belly.” Oh just, you know, working in a troll’s belly ... Right, RIGHT?!? And although it is unclear if this "troll" is of the animal or mechanical variety, I think we can all safely assume that Annika is going to be a fairly kick-butt heroine. A quick glance at her on the book cover makes it clear that this heroine does not put up with much horsing around. She’s got a guarded look on her face, like she’s ready to cause some serious damage with her ... okay, so I’m not quite sure what that is in her hand, but whether it’s a rapier, a jumper cable (or something that I simply have no knowledge of because I prefer to leave the fighting to my heroines), I do know that it’s not an object I’d want to have her use against me!
Seanan McGuire introduces readers to the feisty Verity Price in the clever new series starter Discount Armageddon. As this cryptozoologist and competitive ballroom dancer tries to juggle her family legacy and passion, she stumbles onto a mystery that is bigger than she ever could have imagined — and Verity has a BIG imagination. Will the new man in her life, Dominic de Luca, be an ally in unraveling this mystery or is his interference going to undo all of the good that Verity has done during her stay in New York City?
Morgan: This book has so many great one-liners that I could literally fill up this entire Dish with just quirky sayings that are used.
Whitney: You know Morgan, I was just thinking that author Seanan McGuire is certainly a clever, clever lady!
Morgan: And she does a great job giving her heroine Verity the gift of gab, too.
Whitney: Which is just one of the reasons that I am going to say, whether you are a long time Urban Fantasy fan, have never tried one before or don’t normally read books in this genre, you have to try Discount Armageddon.
We are excited to announce that the incomparable author Anne Rice will be joining us for the 2012 RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago!
Rice began her writing career in 1976 with Interview with the Vampire and has since written thirty-three additional novels under this name as well as the erotica pen names Anne Rampling and A.N. Roquelaure. The author has also had several of her works adapted into graphic novel format. In total, during the last three and a half decades, Rice has sold nearly 100 million copies of her books.
Thea Harrison exploded onto the paranormal romance scene in 2011 with her Elder Races series. And during the last several months the author has consistently treated readers to novels that go above and beyond the Vampire/Werewolf stereotype with her universe full of Wyr shifters. Since series starter Dragon Bound, Harrison has released three additional full-length novels and one novella — all featuring different unexpected creatures. Today we take a metaphorical ride through the Wyrlife Preserve that is Harrison’s body of work thus far, just in time for the release of the fourth novel in the Elder Races series, Oracle’s Moon. So please keep your hands and legs inside the moving blog post, and do not feed the animals!
Pauline Baird Jones recently released the finale to her Project Universe science fiction romance series, Kicking Ashe. Ashe is part of the Time Service, ensuring the safety of time and space. But when she gets sucked into a time tsunami, she is spit out onto an archaic planet where she encounters Vidor Shan, a man from her past who needs her help to escape danger.
Overall, Kicking Ashe is a fun, fast-paced read with plenty of action. And thanks to Ashe’s nanite, Lurch, a spunky companion who exisits inside of Ashe’s body, readers will also get some laugh-out-loud moments when it lets loose with some very strong opinions. But Lurch is more than just a snarky second conscience; he also monitors Ashe’s vitals, lets her know where in time she is and provides much-needed assistance. (How’s that for keeping your best friend close?)
Lurch is so well written that it got me thinking about other fictional companions. Everyone knows that sidekicks can be essential in a good science fiction story, typically adding comedic relief. If you like reading about Lurch, here are a few other tales that include sidekicks that live inside or on the hero's or heroine’s body.