The winner of the first book in the contest is Janice. I'll be emailing her soon.
The book to be given away today is The Warrior of Bast an alternate world fantasy romance taking place in an ancient Egypt. The first chapter is posted so you can read if you like. I do hope you'll plan to stay around and see what the site has to offer in the future.
The Warrior of Bast by Janet Lane Walters
Tira has always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, but circumstances and finances have kept her from becoming an archeologist. Her dream of seeing her older sister drug free is shattered by Luci’s murder by a drug dealer. Tira must run to be safe from the killer. A crumpled flyer offers an escape…The answer is in your stars.
Tira flees her pursuers and reaches a brownstone where two elderly women cast her horoscope. She is offered refuge but must undertake a dangerous quest. She will be unable to speak of her world, or anything alien to the culture she enters and… she will remain there forever.
Kashe is the unloved middle son of the nomarch of Mero. He reminds his father of the Nubian slave ancestor the nomarch wishes to forget. Though Kashe wants to become a warrior of Horu, his father has other plans. A desire for power drives the nomarch. To see his eldest son, Pian, as pharaoh, the nomarch plots with the priests of Aken Re.
Since the rebellion twenty years ago the Two Lands has been without a ruler. By making Kashe the leader of the priests' army the nomarch will have his desire satisfied. The arrival of a sacred hawk with an amulet naming Kashe as chosen by Horu thwarts the devious plans. The hawk also delivers a scroll speaking of three who will come from afar and that Kashe must aid one of these, whom he soon discovers is Tira.
The pair sets out on the quest for the symbols; the flail, the crook and the double crown. Tira learns this Egypt has many differences from the Egypt she has studied. They must face nearly insurmountable challenges as they pursue their sacred quest.
Now for the interview. Known the Gianna Simone for a long time and she's been a member of my critique group for some time.
1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?
Primarily paranormal – various types, though I've written others as well. I've found I tend to prefer stories with those elements, vampires, witches, time travel. I've set them in fictional cities, real cities, modern times, and the past. And I also have stories set in various times that have no paranormal elements at all, though it's been some time since I've written a story without. The piece I'm working on for NaNoWriMo is a straight medieval, no otherworldly elements at all. Though I sort of have a ghostly encounter for my hero towards the end.
2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
It definitely chose me – I've always been drawn to paranormal beings and happenings. I love a good ghost story, and as my critique partners, including you, Janet, know, I love vampires and witches.
3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?
Well, I'd like to write something in a science fiction type setting, I even have the beginnings of one, but it's not a genre I generally read, so I'm not as comfortable with some of the elements that belong in the genre.
4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?
Lots of things – primarily romance fiction. I’ve been leaning toward the erotic authors and titles more and more, but I will always read my long-time favorite authors. I loved the Harry Potter series so much, I find myself re-reading that, and sometimes even some of the books my 14 year old daughter is reading for English class. I also read fan fiction, though it's been a while since I read anything new in that area. If I do read fics, I stick to authors I know are good (and there are a lot of amazing writers out there in the fan fiction world that are as good as any published writer I've read). You have to be careful with fan fiction – something that sounds intriguing can make you want to burn your eyes out with acid once you read it.
5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,
I hate this part! I love to talk about myself, lol, but when asked point blank, I never seem to know what to say! I’m proud of being a born and bred Jersey girl, but don’t ask me about any of those idiots on TV. I, and no one I know, is anything like them. I have two wonderful kids, and also work a full time day job, which seriously cuts into writing time.
As for how long I’ve been writing – as long as I can remember. I have very clear memories of writing short stories for extra credit in fourth grade. The teacher would give writing prompts – she’d cut out magazine pictures and staple them to paper, and we could write a story about it. I wrote all the time, and a lot of what I wrote was fan fiction, which I didn’t know it was called at the time. In my freshman year in high school, I wrote my first complete novel, which, in looking back, was a romance as well. My English teacher, Sr. Maureen read it for me and urged me to try and publish it, but I was too afraid to try. So I continued in my own little world, until I wrote a fan letter to Brenda Joyce I think. Her book “The Conqueror” really got to me, the hero was a real jerk, and treated the heroine so horribly, but I loved it. She wrote me back and urged me to find RWA. That was almost 20 years ago, and I’ve been at it ever since. Well, with a couple of lulls thanks to a couple of kids showing up!
6. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I can’t say for sure. Devlin Marchand holds a top spot, but I love Cole from Texas Tempest, Royce Langley from Heart of the Panther, and Adrian duLac from The Taste of Magic. Someday Cole’s and Royce’s will get out there.
7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?
The funny thing is most of my heroes are inspired by villains! So the villains in my story have to be really really evil or insane and crazy. I’ve always liked the “bad boys” as it were – one of my favorite villains of all time is Hans Gruber in Die Hard. So suave and sexy – and downright evil. But creating villains in my own work is hard – I basically try and make them be someone who keeps the hero or heroine from getting what they want. Or they're someone that wants something of the hero/heroine's and does everything he/she can to obtain it.
8. What are you working on now?
Right now I am wrapping up my NaNoWriMo story – the sexy medieval I'm at the moment calling Passion's Vengeance. Then it's on to revisions, and I'm also working on revisions for the sequel to In The Devil's Arms. I hope to be done with both of them by January sometime, then I may go back to the sci-fi-ish piece I started. But I have another idea for a story set in the Magiste world in New Orleans.
9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?
In The Devil's Arms came to me because, as I mentioned earlier, I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter books, and I wanted to write something in a magical world. So I just started tossing around ideas and characters, and they started to come to life in my head. Once I could visualize them, the story came into play. Of course, very few people know this, but when I sat down to write it, I just wanted to write what I felt like writing, and the damn thing took on a life of its own. The first final version was over 300K words! The characters just took me over and their story kept going. Of course, I've removed so many of the subplots, and can reuse them for other stories with new characters
10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.
In The Devil's Arms takes place in New Orleans, among the Magiste people, a magical society that lives side by side with ordinary, everyday humans. The Magiste helped settle New Orleans in my world. Someday I may go back and write a story about the original Marchands who settled there several hundred years ago.
Here's the opening:
Devlin stared at his father. The older man couldn’t be serious.
"Devlin, you must complete the task." Maximilian Marchand’s angry voice rang out in the room as he came out from behind the massive oak desk. "This Saturday evening. DeGarza has an event planned, and it is imperative Helene Gaudet be present."
Devlin shook his head. He couldn’t do it, couldn’t turn her over to DeGarza, the psychotic fool his father blindly followed. "No, he’s wrong. She’s not . . . . .
"And why is that, young Marchand?"
The voice behind him slid over Devlin like ice, chilling his soul. His stomach churned. "Sir, she’s not as powerful as you think; she’s merely a Creole, born of the Bayou."
Would the lie work? While not as strong or gifted as a Sorceress, Helene's
magical talents bordered on amazing. An Enchantress possessing such robust powers, while not rare, did not go unnoticed. The Tribunal who ruled the Magiste community kept a very close watch on all of its citizens and their level of magical skill.
"Yes, but her powers are quite strong for someone so young." DeGarza
approached, his height imposing, his narrow face cold and hard. "Her youth alone makes her magic so much more potent. It’s a shame for it to be wasted on Swamp Sludge."
DeGarza stopped right before Devlin. Devlin forced himself not to react to the vile name the man used to describe Helene. The effort to remain calm could possibly the most difficult thing Devlin had ever done since being forced to serve this madman. But he couldn’t obey this order. The idea of Helene at the mercy of a monster such as DeGarza sickened him, more than his own fear of the Sorcerer.
"You want her, don’t you? For yourself."
The knowing look on the evil man’s face spurred a panic Devlin hadn’t felt in years. He held his tongue. Yes, he wanted Helene Gaudet, had wanted her ever since he’d seen her last year at the Mardi Gras ball, escorted by one of his classmates. He wanted her to submit to him, wanted to play with her luscious body and make her scream his name with passion and pleasure. He’d never told anyone.
"If I claimed her, sir, I could control her. She would be bound to serve you." He prayed his promise would be enough to convince the insane, power-hungry sorcerer to back off.