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Archive for August, 2019

Nemrut Dagi, Turkey ~ Inspiration for Star-Crossed with Scarlett

Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

Back in the early 1990s, Mr. Munro and I did an overland trip from England to Kathmandu. The trip proper started once we reached Turkey. It was my first visit to Turkey, the country where the west and east meet, and I loved the food, the beaches, the history, and the people we met.

We traveled around the Western coast, hitting the gorgeous beaches and then drove up the east coast of Turkey.

I’d never heard of Nemrut Dagi before, and to be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with our game plan once we arrived. We had to get up early to see the sunrise. I’d been promised a brilliant show before, and each time I’ve regretted the early start to get to the top of a mountain/hill to be in the perfect position to enjoy this magical time. The sunrise has never lived up to my expectations.

Mountains near Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

So, a little about Nemrut Dagi before I get back to the sunrise. You’ll find it in the Eastern Taurus mountains, and it’s a man-made funerary mound. The late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) made the mound, which consists of stone chips. The king had the structure constructed for his own use. Huge limestone statues face outward from terraces, and guardian animal statues stand at each end. Some of the giant heads have toppled while others stand in their original positions.

As I mentioned, I had no expectations of our visit, but I loved the weathered heads that stand taller than a person. I enjoyed wandering around the site. We were lucky because there were only a few of us—our group of eight in fact.

Heads at Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

Nemrut Dagi

Photos of some of the enormous heads at Nemrut Dagi. Note – it was still pre-dawn when the bottom photo was taken.

I remember feeling the cold, but for once the sunrise was pretty, the sky a wash of pink and pale blue. This time, the person who informed me a pre-sunrise slog up a mountain was a good thing was entirely right. Nemrut Dagi has remained as a bright memory, and when I started writing Star-Crossed with Scarlett, it was the perfect inspiration to add to the action and adventure of my plot.

Funerary Mound and statues

This is a shot of the burial mound and some of the statues (parts of them).

Sunrise at Nemrut Dagi

Sunrise at Nemrut Dagi

Two pics taken during sunrise. Of all the sunrises I’ve seen, this was my favorite!

Star-Crossed with Scarlett My memories of Nemrut Dagi inspired part of the plot for Star-Crossed with Scarlett, a paranormal, action-adventure romance. I don’t want to say too much. Spoilers, you know!

Interview with paranormal author Shai August

Interview with Shai August

Today, I’m excited to welcome Shai August to my blog. Shai August is a country girl with a big imagination, more than a touch of wanderlust and a never-ending desire to live in both an RV traveling the world and a library. Her love language is words of affirmations followed by books, bacon, and bourbon.

Shai August, AuthorShe’s a born and bred Louisiana native but is currently doing an impression of a yellow rose of Texas. She is fluent in English, sarcasm and memes. Her goal is to write fast paced, character driven paranormal fiction featuring women of color.

Shai, hello and welcome to my corner of the world! Please tell us a little about yourself and what draws you to write paranormal romance.

Thank you for having me! Really not much to tell, I’m rather boring in the typical work, eat, sleep, and read cycle of life but at some point, in the last few years my imagination outgrew my head and I had to start telling stories or go crazy.

I can’t pinpoint to you when I fell in love with the paranormal but being from Louisiana, there has always been an overlay of stories of witches, voodoo and the rougarou or loup garoux to power my daydreams and these were the types of books and shows I found myself drawn to the most.

Then as a teenager I fell heavily into Harlequin romances devouring them by the dozens.

Plus, I’m a complete sucker for love and lust at first sight romances and writing paranormal romance has allowed me to combine my loves of complex world building of fantasy, the romance of Harlequin with supernatural elements.

Shifters are my favorites when it comes to paranormal romance. Tell us a little about the shifters in your The Rare and the Unknown world. How did you come up with the idea for your shifter world?

Who hasn’t fallen in book love with a sexy werewolf or dragon? Shifters are my favorite too, but I’ll never turn down a sexy Gandulf (hint never Google ‘sexy Gandulf’). I created my Rare and Unknown world because I wanted, no needed shifters and the women they chased to be more reflective of me and my tastes.

When I was planning my first book, I made a conscious decision to make my shifters people of color and that opened up a world of diversity of characters and more importantly, the diversity of mythology and the expanded animal kingdom to pull from… I’ve got shifters of all shapes and sizes, the traditional werewolves, lions, bears and dragons but also elephants, hippos, huma, and more.

What sort of research did you do during the writing of your The Rare and the Unknown series?

My birthday is in August (hence the Shai August) and I’ve told everyone to give me books on zoology and mythology – no matter the origin Greek, Persian, Brazilian, First Nations, African nations, give them all to me because I’ve attempted to pull aspects of each mythos and stitch them into what I hope will be a quilt of a thousand stories that make up The Rare and The Unknown universe.

Tell us about your daily writing routine. Do you have any tips for other writers who might be having a difficult time keeping their butt in front of their computer?

I’m a 5am writer and I try to also be a 5pm writer, too. I focus hard and use the Pomodoro Technique which is time management technique that breaks down work tasks into intervals of work then break then work, etc. It has been tremendously helpful in making me stay in the seat longer and training myself to write longer.

There is even a Pomodoro Chrome extension that will block websites like Pinterest and Facebook which is my constant distraction.

It also helps to decide what you’re going to write before you put your butt in the chair.

Your bio mentions you have wanderlust. What country is at the top of your must-visit list and why?

There are so many! Can I do a top five instead of just one? Great Britain followed closely by China with Samoa/American Samoa, New Zealand and Australia bringing up the rear but don’t think I don’t want to hit every country on the planet!

There is an eight-month long world cruise that if I ever win the lottery is my very first purchase.

What is the best place for readers to learn more about you and your upcoming paranormal romances?

I’m terrible at this but my website is still a work in progress, months and months after I published my first book. I do have a private Facebook group for my fans, it’s called The Rare and Unknowns and I’m there way too much. They can also sign up for my newsletter but I’m all over the web as Shai August.

The Shifter Bachelor, a paranormal shifter romance

Imani has always wanted to be just member of her herd but with her overbearing matriarch mother and grandmother; she’s never been given much of a chance. When Imani accepts a job several states away from the rest of her family the only thing on her mind is proving that she can be independent and more than just a breeder for the Herd.

Ansel is under constant pressure to mate and have children, many, many children as his shifter race is on the verge of extinction. So much pressure, that his mother is hosting an open competition to meet and mate the sexy Alpha.

After meeting Imani, Ansel is convinced that the only woman he wants to mate with is Imani.

Unfortunately, more than single shifter ladies are after Ansel and these other people have plans for Ansel that could prove deadly. Will Ansel and Imani find love before the danger catches up to them?

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