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Interview with author JA Armitage #DarkLegends

 

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Two of Clubs by J.A. Armitage

@armitageauthor

Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author

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Fifty-two weeks, four royal families, one war.

Week one – January 1st – January 7th

Rose (The Two of Clubs) is the youngest of all the Royals of Vanatus, and she has a lot to prove. Born a princess, but with the heart of a warrior, she struggles to keep her two lives separate. By day, a perfect princess, but in the dark of night, she slips out to practice being all she ever wanted to be, a warrior like her brothers. When a dragon kidnaps some children from the royal castle, she must act quickly, but the snap decision sets off a chain of events that lead to the first war in the history of Vanatus, spelling disaster for both her and her family.

Follow the lives and loves of the fifty-two members of The Houses of Club, Heart, Diamond and Spade in real time as they struggle to maintain peace in the world of Vanatus.

This is a New Adult fantasy series set over the course of one whole year. This particular book is the first in the series and is set over the first week from New Year’s Day to 7th January from the eyes of Rose Club. Each book in the series will be shown through the eyes of a different character, all within the world of Vanatus. Each book can be read as a standalone book (no cliffhangers), but the overall arc of the war will play in the background throughout.

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J.A. Armitage

Featured Book: Two of Clubs

Hi, I’m so excited to be amongst some amazing authors in this box set. It’s like finding myself at a party with Tori Amos providing the music, Jamie Oliver cooking the food, Stephen Fry sat at one side and Jack Black on the other.

How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing? I first hit the publish button in January 2014 but I’d spent a whole year writing my first book before that. Nowadays I write much more quickly but back then it was a slow process. It probably didn’t help that I was single parenting two very young children and being a surrogate for a friend. It was a lonely time so I wrote when the kids went to bed. My life is pretty great now and I’ve brought my writing with me into the good times.

How did you come up with this storyline? I’ve always loved fantasy so it was a no brainer that I’d write fantasy sooner or later. This particular story came to me as more of a concept than a story later. It occurred to me that there are 52 weeks in a year and 52 cards in a pack. One card for each week. I then thought that it would be pretty cool to write a story about the cards. In my book the cards are Royals. This book follows the Two of Clubs as she accidentally starts a war between the four ruling families, The Clubs, The Hearts, The Diamonds and The Spades. Each book is written as a different member of each family. Each book is a stand alone but they follow the arc of the war as it unfolds. Each book has seven chapters – one for each day of the week. Eventually, I hope to have 365 chapters over 52 books!

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? I love writing. I wasn’t much of a writer as a child but I was a voracious reader. I read to escape reality. I write for the same reason but I get to chose what direction the characters go in. The worst part for me is the lack of time. I want to write more and more and more!

What inspires you to write? Nothing inspires me to write as such. I just have stories rattling around in my head all the time, fighting to get out!

How did you conduct your research for The Two of Clubs (War and Suits book1)? 30 years of reading other author’s work. As it’s a fantasy, I’ve made up a lot of stuff. You’ll meet new creatures and new food and new customs amongst other things.

What are 3 of your favorite quotes from The Two of Club? Thinking about it…

This is my favourite bit: ~ “She’s a Heart!” I stated the obvious, knowing that Tarragon was fully aware that she was a Heart, and that was more than likely the reason he’d bedded her in the first place. ~ “Isn’t this whole party thing to get the clans together so we can cooperate and live in a peaceful land? This is why we all come together at this time of year.” He gave that leisurely grin that women of all races seemed to fall for. It wasn’t going to work on me, though. I was mad! ~ “Yes, but I don’t think that you are supposed to come together quite so literally!” “Or quite so many times,” grinned Tarragon.

More Favorites from Two of Clubs: The Heart District is awesome in a steampunky kind of way – I’m not saying any more – You’ll just have to read it.

What would your friends say is your best quality? I don’t give up. Actually, that’s what I say my best quality is. My friends would probably say my best quality is bringing them cake and wine! (If you can call that a quality!)

Are reader reviews important to you? My reviews keep me going. It’s amazing just how much some nice words from a complete stranger can pick me up for the rest of the day. They inspire me to keep going.

What do you do when you don’t write? I’m a graphic designer and wedding photographer as well as a mother. I also renovate houses. My favourite hobby is sleep lol!

Tell us about your other books? I have a Paranormal Romance series called Guardians of The Light which begins with a girl in a locked room. Her biggest problem isn’t the door, it’s what lies beyond. Talking of locked doors, my next series (The Labyrinthians) features plenty of them in the form of an underground maze with danger lurking around every corner. Finally, I’ve started a Cozy Mystery series (Murder at The Bite Cafe) which I hope to write book 2 in next year once I’ve written the first twelve of The Clubs stories.

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be? I love getting emails oh and I’ve crush on Jack Black…shhh, don’t tell everyone! Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the book. If you sign up to my mailing list, I’ll let you know about an exclusive competition I’ll be running throughout the whole series of War and Suits books. author-bio1 j-armitage1

Born in a small town, J. Armitage longed for adventure and travel. Age 20 she moved to Dublin, then to San Diego, then Sydney and back to California where she did a brief stint working at Universal Studios being a minder to Sponge Bob.

Once back in Britain she got married, had babies and decided to write about the adventure she was now missing out on. She works full time, is a mum to three kids and has had a surrogate baby. She has skydived twice (and survived), climbed Kilimanjaro and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. She has also worked as a professional clown and banana picker amongst other jobs. Somehow she finds time to write. J. Amitage’s second book, Infinite Spring, was nominated for a iFestival of Reading Award. Socail Links.jpg

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How About a Box Set to Celebrate Boxing Day? #books #DarkLegends #sale

Boxing day – it’s the perfect time to buy a box set to load on your new kindle or gadget.

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Author Joan Reeves has a selection of box sets on her blog today. Check them out before the prices change…

Go here to see the box set market and Celebrate Boxing Day

Interview with Demelza Carlton #DarkLegends

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Ocean’s Gift by Demelza Carlton

@DemelzaCarlton

Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author

 

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You’ll never look at mermaids the same way again.

Mermaids don’t fall in love with humans. For centuries it has been so…

But Sirena is different. She lost her first love to sharks and a storm, cursing the islands that stole him from her.

Times have changed and she must swim ashore once more, to the islands she once cursed. Gone are the boats powered by sail and steam – jet boats with GPS are now the order of the day.

Enter Joe, the deckhand on the Dolphin. A handy man to have around when the lights go out. He’ll fix your generator and have the lights back on in no time, no worries. But can he seduce a siren?

Or will she swim away before he can uncover her secret?

A book about lobsters, beer and boobs, on some cursed islands off the coast of Western Australia. At least, that’s how Joe tells it.

For Sirena, it’s a very different story.

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Demelza Carlton

Featured Book: Ocean’s Gift

Hiya, and thanks for having me. I’m a little nervous, but I shall do my best not to stammer too much.

Welcome, Demelza! It always amazes me when writers say that; they have such a command of the English language and are such magic wordsmiths! How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing? I’ve been writing for over 20 years, but I’ve only been published for four of them. Ah…come to writing or come to writing something I intended to publish? Because the first book I wrote was actually the third book I published, and there’s a reason for that. Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer…no, the whole Nightmares Trilogy, is very dark. Psychological thriller type dark. It was based on a series of recurring nightmares I had during the trial of two notorious serial killers in my home town. While I won’t go into the gory details, they kidnapped and tortured women before they killed them and disposed of the bodies. The only reason they were caught is because when they were about to kill one of the girls, she managed to escape and get help. That’s where the similarity ends, though, because my serial killers are subject to a much darker kind of justice than the Australian legal system. I thought the whole thing – which was just the one book then, not a trilogy at all – was too dark to publish or even show anyone, but I was talking to some other authors on the site Wattpad, who expressed a desire to read some of it. They’d tell me if it was too dark, they said. So…I posted the first few chapters. And within a matter of days, those chapters had over ten thousand reads. So I posted a few more…and a few more…until in the end I posted the whole book on Wattpad, and the website staff offered to feature it to their (then) ten million readers. I think it had more than two and a half million reads or something – a very popular book. So, I went from believing it was too dark to release, to publishing the first book…and two more in the trilogy as it stands now. But if you’re asking about why I published my first book…that’s Ocean’s Gift, a light comedy urban fantasy.

How did you come up with this storyline? Ah….that’s kind of a funny story, really. I did my Masters research on shipwrecks at several remote islands off the West Australian coast, and as I was writing up my dissertation, I came across one shipwreck that just didn’t make sense. During a cyclone in the 1920s, a fishing boat broke free of its moorings with the two-man crew still aboard. One man managed to swim ashore, but the other couldn’t swim, so he disappeared in the waves when the boat sank. Everyone thought he drowned, but his body wasn’t found…until more than three weeks later, when it washed up miles from where the boat went down, in the complete opposite direction to the ocean currents. Stranger still, the man was recognizable – which meant his corpse hadn’t been floating at sea for all those weeks – and he’d done some first aid to his broken leg. There was nowhere the man could have been all that time except in the ocean, because if he’d washed up on the island, someone would have seen him and helped him. So how could a man survive for three weeks at sea, do first aid on himself, and yet drown within sight of land? No matter how much research I did, I couldn’t solve the mystery, so I wrote "mermaids did it" in my report and left it at that. When I did the final proofread of my report, I burst out laughing when I saw that bit, because it was still there. I quickly deleted it, submitted my dissertation, and decided to celebrate with a glass of wine. Wine in hand, I decided to search mermaid myths on the internet. Was it actually possible? I was amazed to find heaps of mermaid stories from all over the Indian Ocean, and of course I also dug out my copy of Hans Christian Anderson’s tales to read the fairytale I remembered. Put the two together with my miracle man, and I had a story. What if the reason mermaids went ashore was a biological imperative – they needed human men in order to breed – but instead of saving the man like the prince in Anderson’s tale, what if my Indian Ocean mermaid accidentally lost him to the waves? She’d be heartbroken, not wanting to return to the place she lost the man for a very long time. And a very long time later, she did come ashore again, at the same islands, investigating an environmental issue. Right at the same time as a brand new deckhand starts work on a lobster fishing vessel at the islands – a deckhand who’s very interested in the woman who lives in the fishing shack next door to his. And he just happens to have the same first name as the man she lost to the waves…

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? The best part is getting lost in the story. I love the research and working with new characters in amazing places and seeing just what they can come up with to make their story special. The worst bit…is when the characters are so real to me that they hijack my head, the story and anything else they can get their imaginary hands on. So when I was writing Joe Fisher, the deckhand who’s in love with the woman he doesn’t know is a mermaid, and I walked past a reflective window while I was wearing a low-cut top, the thought that popped into my head was a very clear, "Ooh, boobs!" I’ll never forget that moment, because it was like Joe Fisher was alive in my head…and perving on me.

What inspires you to write? Anything and everything, especially when my characters won’t shut up. I swear they’re either having a party in my head or starting World War III. At least, I think it’s war. It might be a particularly violent orgy, which is entirely possible, as Lucifer features in several of my books and he gets quite vocal. I honestly don’t know.

How did you conduct your research for Ocean’s Gift? Ah…well, I used my Masters research, but part of that included site visits to the islands where the book is set. I’ve stayed in those shacks, walked the jetty, been out on the fishing boats…and visited Giuseppe’s grave, and the site where his boat sank.

What are 3 of your favorite quotes from Ocean’s Gift? Oh hell…that’s a hard one. ~ When Joe Fisher has a few too many drinks and then tries to drive his dinghy back to the island in the dark: "I checked out of Hotel Consciousness. At least I got to dream of Vanessa naked."

~ Ah…this is an introduction to what Joe did for a living before he signed on as a deckhand, constructing remote mining camps with his offsider, Dean: "While we worked, we lived rough. We were the last people who actually camped there. We slept in swags and cooked outside, in the beam of the spotlights on the top of the car, which was a ute. There was one ute to two men, and I shared mine with Dean the plumber. Dean was full of shit, so it seemed natural that he was a plumber. Still, he was a better cook than me and a good mate, too."

~ Dean calls Joe while they’re both between assignments, asking for his help on his uncle’s fishing boat: “Look, he needs someone as soon as possible. How soon can you get up here?” Dean’s in Geraldton, then. “I could finish up at the end of the week and fly up on Sunday,” I told him reluctantly. “Cool, I’ll get my cousin to sort out your flights and he’ll meet you out on the islands. You can see how it goes the first week and if it works out you get paid to go fishing for the rest of your holidays. Seeya.” He hung up. Shit. What’ve I got myself into? Knowing Dean, this was going to be a disaster. Oh well, next trip I can always get back at him by putting huge spiders in his swag. He’s terrified of them, but he always forgets to zip his swag up properly. And he screams like a girl when he finds them, too. What’s the worst that can happen? A week on a free fishing charter and possibly getting paid to fish for weeks after it. And if it didn’t work out, the next three months of seeing Dean do a high-pitched jig every night when he found spiders in his swag. Hell, there wasn’t a downside that I could see. I started writing down a list of things to pack.

Are reader reviews important to you? Of course! Without reader reviews, nobody would ever know how good a book is. If you enjoyed it, leave a review!

What do you do when you don’t write? Honestly? Probably researching my next book. It might not have been my intention when I stepped onto the whale watching boat/jetty over a volcanic lake/the walkway into a million-year-old cave or waded into the water with my dive gear, always with my camera in hand, but by the time I get home, I usually have a new story idea in my head – or something I’d like to include in an existing book. I should tell you about the snorkelling trip where I spent around an hour chasing this shark around so I could get a picture of it. I never did get a good one. I’ll have to try again sometime.

Tell us about your other books? Are you sure? I have almost thirty of them now.

Ocean’s Gift has two other books in the series – Ocean’s Infiltrator, and a prequel about Belinda called Water and Fire. I realised after I wrote these that there’s ninety years missing in Vanessa’s tale, so I started writing what I thought was a single book called Turbulence and Triumph. Ha. Now, that’s the name of a series of seven books to date, all of which take place in the 1920s and 1930s, starting with Ocean’s Justice. My Mel Goes to Hell series is about an angel sent in as a temp to the office from Hell. Quite literally, as the CEO is the devil himself and Mel’s supposed to find out his plans while she’s working there. But the devil falls for the angel – and falls hard – which makes her job a lot more challenging. My Nightmares Trilogy I’ve already mentioned, but an odd spinoff from that is my Romance Island Resort series. You see, the girl was in a band, and because of what happened to her, she managed to garner some media attention, and once the lead singer’s interview went viral, the band just sort of took off. Five years later, that lead singer, Jay Felix, is one of the hottest rock stars in the world, with more money than he knows what to do with, and the band breaks up. He buys Romance Island Resort, a luxury celebrity resort off the West Australian coast, and proceeds to look for love…inspired by the resort’s library of romance books. But what works for most romance heroes always seems to go wrong for him, even if he does get the girl in the end. Just not the way he intended. Yes, I have other projects in the works…but that’s all I can talk about for now.

Thank you so much for joining us and sharing a little of yourself with our readers and fans. We’ll be looking for you on the ‘Bestseller Lists’! Thank you so much for having me – and letting me chew your ear off about my books.

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demelza-carlton1Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below. Sensationalist spin? No – Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all. Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world. The Ocean’s Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by the Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.

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Interview with author H. J. Lawson #DarkLegends #vampire

 


 H.J. Lawson

Featured Book: New Order

Hello…

Hello, Hayley, welcome. So happy to have you here today, so let’s get started. How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?
I’ve been writing for two and a half years. I had a story in my head and just couldn’t get it out of my head. Since that day I’ve had more ideas everyday.

How did you come up with this storyline? 
I liked the idea of a new twist on a vampire story, one in which the vampires aren’t the really enemy, but the government is. 

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? 
Best is getting lost in a world, researching new ideas. Worst is all the ideas! I really have too many, I could write a new book every day if I had time.

What inspires you to write?
Readers, I love reading reviews and reading how they enjoyed the adventure that I took them on.

How did you conduct your research for New Order?
I research locations, characters, and vampires. 

What would your friends say is your best quality?
That I never give up.

Are reader reviews important to you?
That’s why writers write, to entertainment readers.

What do you do when you don’t write?
I work as a designer, and in my free time  hang out with family and like watching movies.
Tell us about your other books? I’ve got a fun adventure time travel series, science fiction, thriller, I have a book for everyone.

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be?
I’m hoping one day my dreams will come true and I will be a full time author living in Spain, enjoying time with my family.

Thank you so much for sharing a little piece of yourself with our readers and fans. We loved having you here today.
Happy reading.
Thank you
Hayley

 

 
H;J. Lawson is an English author who currently resides in New York. When she’s not writing, she spends her time watching movies and hanging out with her family. She is the author of the following young adult books: The War Kids Series and The Sanction Series.

 


 

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A Little Magic with Michelle Picard

I’d like to welcome author, Michelle Picard to my blog today. She’s talking about her new release, Surviving Eden and giving us a little magic!

Michelle PicardI’m happy to be here today at Taste of Kiwi to talk about my newest release, Surviving Eden, and a bit about one of my favorite subjects being a fantasy romance writer – magic. Surviving Eden is the second in my Eden’s Court series, and the books hinge on the following question: What if a modern woman suddenly learns she is heir to the throne of a magical realm hidden in our world and is the most powerful magical being on the planet? That’s my heroine Rachel. She discovers she’s the leader of seven contentious magical races, which include angels, demons, witches, dragons, faeries, shapeshifters and vampires.

As I began the series, I sought for a driving reason for these paranormal races to come together with a singular purpose. I was tired of stories populating their pages with a combination of these species, but no explanation for their joint existence. The first step was creating a shared creation myth. My solution? A goddess forged these groups to work together as protector races for her precious humanity, but they’ve been lax on the job and fallen into a pattern of isolation.

If my creations had a common origin, then the source of their power must have a common source. I’d placed the majority of my action in this contemporary Earth-set fantasy in an imaginary Eden, my own version of the center of creation where the goddess did her work. I created my heroine to have all the powers of the seven races she ruled. So how did she get the magic? Once I realized how pivotal a role I wanted the garden to play, the next leap was easy. Deciding that the magic comes from the soil itself. Like effervescent bubbles in a carbonated soda, magic streams up and into the body, translated out into the particular powers of the races based on how they were each designed by the goddess. It turns out that magic is a limited resource, buried in the core of our Earth, and the ecosystem has been thrown out of balance, the power slowly diminishing. My Eden series explores the mystery of why this is happening and what normally replenishes it even as Rachel is discovering she can channel the greatest stream of this energy and is scared to death by her powers. Magic in my world building is pivotal to holding the fiber of our planet together. If it disappears, Earth dies. No big consequences there, huh? Just the end of the world as we know it. In Ruling Eden, the first of the series and a recent PRISM finalist, the ticking clock is begun during which Rachel must race to solve this problem before the final BOOM.

The struggle to solve this problem continues in Surviving Eden, as Rachel settles into her new relationships, battles her own internal hang-ups about her sexy angel/demon lover Gabriel, and solves the problem of human vampire hunters targeting the vampires who she now calls her own.

I hope you’ve found my version of magic intriguing. To me, the most important part of solid fantasy world building is consistency and fresh approaches. I aimed to add both to my books. I’ve included an excerpt below that gives you a taste of the magic and the way Rachel discovers the hard facts about that power. It occurs when Rachel is trying to avoid Gabriel, and has retreated into the garden for alone time.

Surviving EdenExcerpt:

My voice whispered out into the falling dark of the garden, calling to the earth with a seductive note I’d not used previously. Eager words of welcome tripped over my lips. The earth responded.

Different this time, no rushing whirl of energy shot up into me from below with vacuum and heat. I panicked, as, instead, a piece of me was violently sucked down into the ground, rushing through grass and dirt and rock to disperse outward into the layers of the planet resting underneath Eden. I joined the earth, burrowing like some giant overeager earthworm. Roots of plants and trees brushed against me, their tendrils bursting full with water and nutrients, all brimming with joyous life force.

The earth embraced me, sought to balance out the overwhelming presence of my female energy by reaching toward the males it sensed in the garden above. I finally understood why the use of my magic caused such intense arousal in the men standing close to me. The planet tried to balance female and male energies in every energy transaction. My magical essence was so much more powerful, the earth compensated by tapping into the men. The arousal was a side effect of that tap. Nice to get a grip on the mechanics.

No way I’d screw up my plan to avoid Gabriel with a stray bolt of lust giving him a clue to my location. A simple thought allowed me to bar the earth from tapping into him or Jet, forcing the probing reach for male energy out further to unsuspecting men elsewhere. With a silent apology to said strangers, I pushed further through the soil, ever downward to enter the tiny pores of rock barriers, passed through molten lava, closer to the slow beat of the heart of earth’s core.

There, frozen in wonder, I tasted the raw magic, the undiluted source of Everything.

Whatever allowed me to watch the process, as I was pretty sure my actual eyes had been left aboveground with my actual body, I observed a minute trickle of magic seeping downward through the layers of rock to settle in the potent stew of energy. This was the decaying essence of mortal remains, slowly, inexorably drifting downward to congregate in the breathtaking ball of power directly beneath me to feed the planet’s magic. The trickle was slow, too slow and after a moment, I felt a sense of wrongness around the core.

Power flowed upward and outward from the core, drawn to the call of other Kesayim above as they commanded their magic to their will and demanded the earth respond. Problem was the drain was faster than the trickle down from mortals. The potency of the magic in mortal remains had been diluted somehow and amounted to a whole lot of nothing. The drain by the Kesayim was greater than the supply and the battery for the planet was on the verge of failure.

The first side effect would be a series of stutters as the heart of the planet weakened. Then, as each stutter grew longer, the beat would stop altogether, thrown into arrest, flat-lining. When the magic dried up, the Kesayim would be powerless and as time passed the bedrock of the planet would crumble apart.

Cataclysms coming like falling dominoes, the tectonic plates would pull themselves apart or crush themselves against one another in rapid speed. We’d be destroyed. Everything would be destroyed.

Visit my website at www.michellepicard.com if you’d like to learn more about my books, click on my links to contact me, or read an additional excerpt from Surviving Eden or one from Ruling Eden.

Purchase Surviving Eden

Have a magical day.

Michelle

Surviving Eden Blog Tour

Writer Tip: Maria Zannini

Go to the source: Want to know how it feels to sit in a Mercedes Benz, or the smell of a horse, or the sound of a forest?

Go to the source.

Window shop at a high end car dealer, visit a horse veterinarian or enlist the help of horsey friends. The woods are not silent. Spend a night–or at least several hours hiking.

Nothing beats the real thing in order to describe it well. While some of us can’t go up in space, we can simulate the experience by spending a few minutes in a cramped metal shed or the cockpit of an airplane. Writing about the past? Turn off all the lights in your house and fetch water out of a rain barrel.

Now submerse yourself in the experience. As you transport yourself, you’ll transport your readers.

Visit Maria Zannini’s blog.
Purchase Touch Of Fire • Samhain Publishing