**REVIEW** ~ A Labyrinth of Love and Roses (Touchstone Series #4), by Beth Barany

Sweet and Magical Romance

This is the perfect read for today, the first of May, when the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane is traditionally celebrated. Can Lili and Brett, the heroine and hero of this romance set aside their personal goals to come together and acknowledge their true destiny?

Labyrinth

Book Blurb

From award-winning novelist, Beth Barany, comes another magical tale of romance and adventure — a sweet, Hallmark-like tale.

What if what you wanted got in the way of your destiny?

French MBA grad Lili Grenault needs to succeed at her last pitch meeting to fund her international green tech business. But her grandmother tells her to drop everything, find her one true love, and embrace her magical legacy by Beltane, in one week, or chaos and failure in her life will ensue.

San Francisco investor Brett Barnaby wants to find his great-grandfather’s gravesite in Amiens, France, one of the primary battle sites of World War I. Family legend says that purpose, greater mission, and perhaps even untold riches, will be unlocked when he finds that grave. But his search in Amiens brings up fear, anger, and dire warnings about some wild Green Man. He turns to local Lily Grenault for help.

Can these two independent freethinkers work together to prevent chaos from triumphing and find love in time in the labyrinth of roses?

Goodreads

My Review

A Sweet and Magical Contemporary Fairy Tale ~ ***** (5 Stars)

A Labyrinth of Love and Roses is a quick uplifting romantic read. Set in Amiens, France, where the veil between the human world and the one of ancient earth magic that protects the world is thin. Lili is unexpectedly drawn into this world when her grandmother informs her that at Beltane she needs to embrace her destiny and find and join with her 0ne true love, to prevent chaos ensuing in her own life and to that of the planet.

The reluctant Lily, intent on securing funding for her business, goes clubbing and encounters an American, the drop-dead gorgeous Brett. In return for helping Brett solve a family mystery, he helps her with her business pitch, whilst striving to keep his hands off her as he does not want to mix business with pleasure.

Yet as Beltane approaches, elemental magic awakens, and as Lili and Brett journey into the countryside surrounding Amiens, they are drawn together, even as they attempt to pursue their separate paths. Yet will they deny their destiny and love before it is too late?

This delightful read is a magical one, invoking ancient myths and legends, such as the Green Man. It also involves themes inherent in fairy tales: a quest; acknowledging our destiny; finding our one true love and a trial of sorts. Brett and Lili are destined to be together and I enjoyed how the author described their journey to their HEA.

If you are looking for a novella which merges the myths and legends of the past with contemporary romance, then this is the perfect read for you,

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon US:    Amazon UK

Goodreads:   Site:   Twitter:   Facebook

 

**BLOG TOUR** – Starry Knight, by Nina Mason (includes excerpt, trailer and giveaway)

Blog_Tour_Banner (2)

 

Today, we are featuring Starry Knight by Nina Mason, the author of The Queen of Swords and Devil in Duke’s Clothing, among other books. Starry Knight is Ms. Mason’s fifth novel and the first in a new erotic paranormal/urban fantasy series titled The Knights of Avalon. The series–which combines paranormal and occult elements with Celtic and Arthurian legend–tells the story of four “knights” under the spell of the evil faery queen Morgan Le Fay.

StarryKnight_Revision_v2 (2)

Buy it now!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PEOIYZ0

Can these star-crossed lovers bridge two worlds? 

British aristocrat Vanessa Bentley has beauty, fame, and fortune, but she gets no respect for her decision to become a paranormal investigator. Determined to prove the naysayers wrong, Vanessa ventures to the misty moors of Caithness, Scotland. There stands the immense Castle Barrogill, where a vampire is rumored to be stalking the dungeons—a vampire Vanessa is determined to find. She’ll just have to get past the resident shape-shifter…

Callum Lyon is the gorgeous reclusive astrologer and faery knight who guards the castle. For free-spirited Vanessa, seducing him proves to be easy. After all, he was once a breeding drone to a Queen. But astrologically, their differences are harder to overcome. Will Vanessa’s mission—and Callum’s secrets—be more than their burgeoning love can take? Or will flesh—and blood—win over the ghosts that haunt them both? ….

Here’s where you can find the trailer on Youtube:

 

Here’s an excerpt:

In this scene, the hero, a centuries-old faery knight whose life has been devoid of romance, is doing his best to woo Lady Vanessa, a free-spirited “poor little rich girl” and paranormal investigator who, unbeknownst to him, is using sex to gain access to his castle. He’s spent the day showing her around Caithness and, in the midst of a sunset stroll on the beach, has suggested they take shelter from the wind in a nearby cave.

Callum got to his feet, took Vanessa’s hand, and pulled her across the dunes toward the cliffs. She couldn’t see the entrance to the cave until he swept back a curtain of vines. She followed him through the narrow entrance, holding tightly to his hand. The interior was cool, dark, and smelled a bit fishy, but not offensively so.

Stepping in front of her, he put a hand on her chin and lifted her gaze to his. The spark between them was palpable and she longed for him to kiss her. She licked her lips invitingly, hoping he’d take the hint.

“You’re very bonny, mo dearbadan-de,” he said softly, seductively, as he brushed back a wayward strand of her hair.

“What did you just call me?”

“My butterfly,” he said, “in Gaelic.”

She put her arms around his neck and offered him her mouth. He accepted, nibbling and flicking his tongue against her lips. She pulled the band from his ponytail, freeing his windblown mane. As it tumbled around his shoulders, she wove her fingers among its silky strands, pressing his mouth harder against hers.

When he offered his tongue, she greeted it with her own. He moaned—a deep, needful sound that dumped accelerant on her desire. She thrust her hips against him, finding him as aroused as she was. He pushed back, grinding against her as he walked her backward toward the wall of the cave. As her back met rough rock, warm fingers came under her blouse, climbed her ribs, and pushed under her bra. As he teased her nipples, something deep in her core turned all soft and molten.

She was air, he fire, and right now, she wanted his light and heat, wanted him to consume her in a crackling blaze.

He broke out of the kiss, moved his mouth to her ear, and nibbled the lobe. She grew weak in the knees as his tongue traced the sensitive inner folds.

“Why do you run away from love, mo dearbadan-de?” he whispered huskily. “Do you see it as a trap?”

“More a fraud than a trap.”

“And sex isn’t?”

“With sex, you know what you’re getting.”

“And when it’s over, you’ve got nothing.”

“How is love different?”

“I don’t know,” he said, “having never felt it.”

“We’re alike in that,” she said, “but from what I’ve observed, it’s a mirage people only chase because they feel incomplete within themselves.”

Taking her face between his hands, he trained her in his riveting gaze. “Do you truly believe that?”

“Yes.”

He let her go, turned his back, and stepped away. For the longest time, he stood there, just out of reach, saying nothing. Then, as suddenly as he’d turned his back, he rounded on her with eyes like yellow coals. “Tell me, Madame Butterfly. Who made you feel so unlovable?”

The question impaled her like a red-hot spike. Damn him for asking it, for digging so deep, for skewering her with his probe. She suddenly felt ridiculous, like some poor little rich girl. She’d been born into wealth and privilege. What right did she have to be unhappy? So what if her parents didn’t love her or she had no true friends.

Boo-fucking-hoo. Get over yourself.

What right did she have to wallow in self-pity when children were starving, people were dying of Ebola, and the planet was being raped on a daily basis? She deserved no compassion, despite the searing wound she did her best to ignore.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said in a voice that sounded faint and faraway under the blood-thunder in her ears.

“No? Then why have you closed your heart?”

Defiance bubbled in her heart like hot tar. Damn him for trying to get past the battlements she’d spent years erecting hurt by hurt and brick by brick. If anything, she should build her walls higher where this bedeviling baron was concerned, not let him wear them down like rain.

“Did you bring me in here to psychoanalyze me?”

“No,” he whispered, the heat of his breath caressing, soothing. His hand glided purposefully down her body and pushed between her legs. As he stimulated her through her knickers, she threw back her head and expelled a soft sigh—of pleasure and relief. A rapacious lover, she was equal to. A probing one, not so much.

As he stroked her through the satin crotch of her knickers, desire fluttered in her abdomen like an injured bird. He’d struck too close to home. She’d didn’t feel loveable because she’d never felt loved. Not for one single, solitary moment of her entire privileged life. She’d had a chain of nannies who believed children should be seen but not heard before being packed off to boarding school where she was treated with equal detachment. Her parents, in short, had hired others to raise her—no, make that train her. In their eyes, she was a hunk of clay to be molded, not a human being to be nurtured. How disappointed they must have been when they got an outspoken nonconformist in place of the pretty marionette they’d paid for.

Callum’s finger came inside her knickers and began to circle her clitoris, smothering her bitterness in the syrup of pleasure. The orgasm charged and retreated, charged and retreated, and then finally exploded in a heavenly cascade.

Setting his hands on the wall on either side of her head, he docked his forehead against hers and said, “I’d rather chase the mirage than die alone without hope in the desert.”

meme

Here’s a little more about the series from the author:

The Knights of Avalon, the four-part erotic PNR/UF series Starry Knight launches, was born of a simple idea: to write a series incorporating different forms of divination. From that kernel grew the far more complex world of the series. The “knights” of Avalon, the enchanted otherworld isle featured in Arthurian and Celtic legend, were Scottish noblemen who, after falling in battle, were taken by the fairies to serve as breeding drones to their queen. Each of the four books in the series tells the story of a particular knight and the heroine whose love saves him from his unhappy existence.

Each knight grapples with a different relationship with Morgan Le Fay, the cruel and selfish queen of Avalon. Callum Lyon, the hero of Starry Knight (book one), is free of Morgan’s influence, having escaped enslavement after faking his own death. Leith MacQuill, the hero of Dark and Stormy Knight (book two), was expelled from Avalon after the queen discovered his amour with one of her scouts. In book three, which I’ve yet to write, Axel Lochlann, a rune-casting Scot of Viking descent, guards the portal between Hitherworld (our realm) and Thitherworld (the otherworldly realm). The fourth knight, Finn MacKnight, doesn’t know what he is or that he’s destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy telling of the queen’s overthrow by a “natural-born” drone. Because of this prophecy, Morgan kills all the male children she bears and punishes the knights who father them

Avalonian knights are vampire-like, but not vampires per se. Members of the Unseelie Fae, they drink blood and can assume the form of any creature they choose, but generally take the form of a particular animal to hunt. Callum’s preferred form is a lion, Leith’s is a Kellas Cat, Axel’s is a gyrfalcon, and Finn’s is a jaguar.

Astrology is the new-age element featured in Starry Knight (hence the name). Callum, the court astrologer to King James IV, fell in battle in 1513, after warning the king the stars did not favor the invasion of England. Ignoring Callum’s advice proved costly to the king and his astrologer.

In modern times, Callum lives in the northernmost county of Scotland as a reclusive political astrologer. The heroine, a free-spirited English aristocrat named Vanessa Bentley, comes to Caithness with the goal of getting inside Barrogill Castle. She’s just finished her training as a paranormal investigator and the London paparazzi have been giving her a hard time. Legend has it a vampire lives at Callum’s castle, so she decides to seduce the gorgeous, golden-haired baron to gain entry to his otherwise inaccessible abode. Needless to say, both get a lot more than hot sex (but also plenty of that!) from the bargain they strike.

Tarot cards, voodoo, ghosts, and the more traditional form of vampire also play roles in the plot. I hope readers enjoy Starry Knight and the rest of the series as much as I have enjoyed writing it! 

ghostsmeme

Here’s a little more about the author:

Nina Mason, author (2)

Nina Mason is a hopeful romantic with strong affinities for history, mythology, and the metaphysical. She strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. She has four books out at present and three more on the way. Her current releases are, in order of publication: The Queen of Swords, a darkly erotic Scottish paranormal romance/urban fantasy; The Tin Man, a political thriller; and Devil in Duke’s Clothing and The Duke’s Bedeviled Bride, the first two installments in an erotic historical series titled Royal Pains. Book three of Royal Pains will be released in October. Starry Knight is the first book in a four-part paranormal romance series titled The Knights of Avalon. The series combines Arthurian legend, Celtic mythology, and Scottish history to tell the story of four mortals taken by the faeries after falling in battle. The Knights of Avalon are the breeding drones of the legendary sorceress Morgan Le Fay. Book Two, Dark and Stormy Knight, will be released in January 2016. The series is being published by Lyrical/Kensington.

Here are Ms. Mason’s social-media links:

Author website: http://ninamasonauthor.com

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ninamasonromance

Twitter handle: @NinaMasonAuthor

Goodreads page: http://goodreads.com/ninamasonauthor

Blog: http://ninamasonromance.blogspot.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ninamason165

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/ninamasonauthor

Here’s the link to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a signed copy of STARRY KNIGHT and other great prizes:

A Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW of *Primary Fault* ~ Book #1 in The Schattenreich Series, by Sharon Kae Reamer

A Suspenseful Blend of Science, Romance and the Supernatural!

PP Cover.3838236-Primary Fault CVR UBC-ps4NEWBCT-FIN-12X18-06141Book Blurb

Caitlin Schwarzbach has left home. For good.

Separated from her beloved brother Gus at age seven, Caitlin exchanges small-town Texas for Cologne, Germany to be with him. But upon her arrival, a man resembling her brother attempts to kidnap her.

At a university reception, Caitlin feels intimidated by one of her brother’s former colleagues, only to have the conversation interrupted by a dangerously attractive man, Hagen von der Lahn. She learns her seismologist brother Gus has included her in a research project with the amateur archeologist and stylish aristocrat. When Gus is called away to his institute by an earthquake, the deranged Gus doppelgänger again tries to drag her away. Hagen rescues Caitlin and secures her in his castle near the Rhine.

Gus vanishes, sought by the Cologne police for multiple sexual assaults. As Hagen and Caitlin begin the investigation into her brother’s disappearance, her feelings for Hagen grow. But before she can follow up on a promising lead, a blow to the head lands Caitlin in the hospital. An unwanted visitor appears by her bed; someone she feared since childhood, the being she thinks of as Death. His appearance can only mean one thing: her brother is in mortal danger.

A novel of supernatural suspense, Primary Fault is a delightful mixture of science meets magic set amidst a backdrop of Celto-Germanic Otherworld.

My Review

Absorbing and Original Fantasy Romance

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this clever and original read which merges mythology and magic with a heady mixture of romance, science and suspense. It is full of mystery and secrets with a complex plot and superbly well drawn characters, which drew me inform the off. Primary Fault (awarded a B.R.A.G. medallion*) is book #1 in the Schattenreich Series by Sharon Kae Reamer. Other books in the series include Shaky Ground #2, Double Couple #3 and Shadow Zone #4 is to be released soon.

After her life in the USA turns sour following the death of her mother, her own long recovery after a road accident and being dumped by her boyfriend, Caitlin Schwazbach travels to Germany, where she hopes to make a permanent home alongside her brother Gus, a renowned seismologist. Rather than the peace she craves, Caitlin walks into a nightmare scenario: she herself is assaulted by a mysterious man, who bears a striking resemblance to Gus and Gus disappears, suspected of a series of heinous crimes, deeds she knows that the brother she loved would never commit.

Caitlin’s own life is full of danger as she seeks to find Gus and prove his innocence. At the same time she falls for the handsome and mysterious Hagen, a business partner of her brother and a rich and renowned aristocratic playboy, whose actions towards her blow hot and cold. Her problems do not stop there as she experiences strange dizzy spells and visions which seem to be increasing in intensity. She is particularly terrified by the appearance of the figure she refers to as Death. Caitlin must unearth who is out to discredit/destroy her brother whilst protecting both her heart and her sanity.

We are treated to many forays into the Schattenreich, the shadowy ‘otherworld,’ where the author draws on a rich combination of both Celtic and Germanic mythology. I found this aspect of the novel truly fascinating as it added dark and mysterious depths to an already thrilling and suspenseful read.

Caitlin is mature enough to be a confident woman, not afraid to act on her own despite the possible dangers and she also has an air of vulnerability about her. I found that I was rooting for her from the off. I applauded her determination to get to the bottom of finding out who is trying to discredit her brother and why and above all secure his safety. The power struggles at her brother’s institute mask something far darker and dangerous than she can ever begin to understand. Caitlin finds that she has to rely on the help of Hagen, whom she feels is well out of her league. Hagen, a character whom I adored,  is a strong, sexy and powerful hero with a mysterious past and a connection to Caitlin which this instalment only hints at. I cannot wait to find out more!

There are many characters in this book aside from the main ones, some who straddle both the human world and the world beyond into which the book increasingly refers. They all have an important role to play in the evolving tale, and a number of different players are pulling different strings for reasons that we only begin to comprehend in this book. In terms of the romance the book ends on a Happy For Now but there are still many unanswered questions and I am impatient to read the next book in the series, Shaky Ground.

I recommend this book to readers who like strong heroines and heroes, with lashings of suspense and a plot which draws on myth and magic.

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

* Book Readers Appreciation Group

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US  Amazon CA  Amazon AU

Kobo  B&N  iTunes  All Romance

Connect with the Author

Author’s Blog

Facebook

 

 

*BOOK LAUNCH BLOG TOUR ~ THE QUEEN OF SWORDS: A PARANORMAL TALE OF UNDYING LOVE, by Nina Mason*

blog tour banner

We are SUPER excited to be participating in the Blog Tour launching Nina Mason’s SIZZLING paranormal release The Queen of Swords! This post is jam packed full of information on the book and includes the book blurb, my personal review, excerpt and trailer, author interview and a fantastic giveaway!

THE QUEEN OF SWORDS: A PARANORMAL TALE OF UNDYING LOVE

Queen of Swords Cover_finalAuthor: Nina Mason
Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing
Heat level: sizzling
Formats: Kindle and paperback
Where to buy:
Kindle: http://smarturl.it/queenofswords (or http://smarturl.it/queenofswordsUK)
Paperback: http://smarturl.it/queenofswordspb

 

Blurb:

When Graham Logan, a Scottish earl turned vampire by a dark wizard’s curse, draws the Queen of Swords, he knows he’s about to meet the love of his life. For the third time. But surrendering his heart will mean risking her life…or making her what he is. Neither of which his morals will permit him to do. Graham, who believes he lost his soul to the curse, rages at God: Why give her back only to take her again?

Cat Fingal, the third incarnation of Graham’s twin flame, won’t let him escape so easily. As soon as they meet, she feels she knows him and begins having past-life flashbacks. A white witch, she casts a spell to summon him, wanting answers and to fill the void she’s felt all her life.
Graham has other problems, too. Like the seductress who wants him for herself and the dark wizard who cursed him and killed his beloved the first two times.

Will he find a way to save her this time around? Or will she save him?

My Review

Simply Spellbinding!

This book is such a deliciously dark and sexy read! If you love Paranormal Romances and Urban Fantasies I strongly suspect that you will feel this way too. The Queen of Swords draws on elements of vampire lore, Fae and Celtic mythology, Witchcraft and Tarot in a spellbinding tale full of action, suspense and lovemaking scenes which sizzle off the page!

The hero Graham, a vampire, is a real hottie and I wished I knew the summoning spell to bring him to my side as the heroine does! Turned against his will, he mourns the loss of his humanity and also the loss of his love, whom his maker has cruelly taken away from him on two occasions already. He has a fascinating tale to tell of his life which we learn of through a series of flashbacks. I liked how once Graham realises that Cat is his soul mate he seeks to protect her by putting as much distance between them as possible. The fact that he is unwilling to turn her into a vampire so that they can be together makes this book very different to many other vampire romances.

I LOVED how Cat goes against his wishes and uses her own substantial powers as a Witch to summon him to her for answers! The attraction between them is undeniable and she realises that he is her destined other half and without him she will be incomplete. Cat, a trifle bookish, is essentially a strong woman and I enjoyed how her character grows as she seeks to save Graham’s soul, which he believes is beyond redemption. However, what future do the couple have when Graham is hell bent on maintaining distance, a jealous lover is on the loose and Graham’s nemesis has returned, putting their future and lives in jeopardy?

The sexual tension and lovemaking scenes between the couple are passionate and intense and leave little to the imagination. There is also plenty of emotion and humour. I found the couple’s relationship very believable and realistic and enjoyed the moments of conflict between them as they seek to resolve the dilemmas thrust in their way and the tension they experience in rediscovering each other, for after all Cat is a modern woman and Graham a man first alive in Regency times!

It is clear that the author has carried out a substantial amount of research into vampire lore, Celtic mythology and history and the Tarot. The scenes describing the various spells carried out by Cat and the magic carried out by others is also very authentic, all of which added to my enjoyment of the book. A number of scenes pay homage to Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The secondary characters in the novel are also well drawn and portrayed and I sincerely hope that the author decides to share Avery and Benedict’s tale with us in the future. Scenes of a homoerotic nature occur in the book as do those involving torture, however, these do not dominate the plot and form an important element to the storyline.

I recommend The  Queen of Swords to lovers of Paranormal romance and Urban fantasy who enjoy a hotter read than normal, with an entertaining and well researched plot and strong and engaging characters.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Excerpt

the promise

12th May. Visited Caitriona tonight for the first time since becoming a monster. She slept, unaware of my presence, & for a time, I was content simply to observe. As the hours passed, I began to wonder what might happen if she awoke to find me in her room. Would she think me a wraith? Would she think it a dream? Desiring to know, & to get closer, I sat down on the corner of the bed, alert for any stirrings. Seeing none, I crawled up the bed until I reached her side. Still she did not stir. Ever so carefully, I set my head upon the pillow next to hers. She slept on. Drinking in her scent, I felt contentment for the first time since fate & Fitzgerald tore us apart. I closed my eyes & must have drifted off, because next I knew, her arm fell across my chest. Startled awake, I found her blinking at me in disbelief.

I lay there, still as death, waiting for her to react. Her hand moved up my chest to my face. She dragged her fingers across my jaw, pressed them against my lips, touched the end of my nose, my eyebrows, my forehead. As she combed back my hair, she whispered: “This must be a dream. But you feel so real, so alive. I don’t ken how such a thing is possible; nor do I care. I only pray I shall never awaken.”

I kept still. I could hear her heartbeat, smell her blood, but her blood was not what I craved. She set her head on my chest & started to sob.

“Am I dreaming?” she asked, soft & low.

“Aye.”

She raised herself up, came over me & pressed her mouth against mine.

“Can we make love in my dream?”

“Aye.”

When it was over, I collapsed beside her, feeling so elated, so profoundly moved, I very nearly wept.

She set her head against my chest. “Will you promise me something?”

“Anything, m’aingael.”

“Always come to me like this in my dreams.”

Trailer embed code:

 Giveaway

Click on the link below and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win AN AUTOGRAPHED PAPERBACK OF THE QUEEN OF SWORDS!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT NINA MASON, AUTHOR

Nina Mason, authorNina Mason is a hopeful romantic with strong affinities for history, mythology, and the metaphysical. She strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. Three of her books will be published in 2014: The Queen of Swords, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance; The Knight of Wands, book one in the Knights of Avalon Series; and The Tin Man, a political thriller about the dangers posed by media monopolies. She is currently at work on Book Two of the Knights of Avalon series and is itching to get back to a book she started a while back about a merman who falls for an oil company spokeswoman after a phantom tanker capsizes on the coast of the Hebrides islands. When not writing, Nina works as a communications consultant, doll maker, and home stager. Born and raised in Southern California, she now lives in Woodstock, Georgia, with her husband, teenage daughter, two rescue cats, and a Westie named Robert.

Social-Media Links:

Website: http://ninamasonauthor.com
Blog: http://ninamasonromance.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ninamasonromance
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ninamasonauthor (@ninamasonauthor)
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ninamasonauthor
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ninamasonauthor
Google+: https://plus.google.com/105622637668245901733/posts

Interview with the author:

Q. Tell us about your book.
A. The Queen of Swords tells the story of a bookish white witch who returns every century to reunite with her earthbound soul mate. He’s a Scottish earl turned vampire by a dark wizard’s curse back in the Regency era on the eve of their wedding. She came back once before in the Edwardian era only to be killed by his maker in the same manner as before. He believes he has no soul, so can’t understand why she keeps coming back. She believes he does have a soul and that she comes back to free him from the curse. The story follows their journey as they try to work out who’s right and how they can stop history from repeating.

Q. After this, what’s your next project?
A. My current work-in-progress is book two in The Knights of Avalon series. After that, I haven’t decided. Probably another paranormal romance/urban fantasy. I’ve got a stalled manuscript about an oil company spokeswoman who gets involved with a merman during an oil spill in the Hebrides. Might get back to that one, or write one featuring Benedict and Avery, the secondary couple in The Queen of Swords. I’d also like to maybe write a sequel to The Tin Man, my political thriller releasing in August. It tells of two journalists thrown together to solve a series of murders tied to a global conspiracy to take over the media.

Q. What inspires you to write what you do?
A. All of my paranormal stories are inspired by my love of the history and mythology of Scotland, my interest in the unknowable, and my belief in the redemptive power of love.

Q. When did you start writing?
A. About as soon as I could write the alphabet. When I was a kid, I won an essay contest sponsored by the local library (I was an avid reader and always did the summer reading challenge). Back in the days of typewriters, I wrote a romance novel about a couple of ballet dancers, but never did anything with it. Didn’t try my hand at fiction again until five or six years ago, when I started what is now The Queen of Swords.

Q. What inspired you to write the book?
A. I started the first draft after reading Twilight. While I liked the saga, I also found myself frustrated by the lack of sex and Edward’s lack of history. In literature, vampires originally personified uncaged sexuality, so a chaste vampire seemed counter-intuitive to me. Plus, I felt writing an immortal creature provided fantastic opportunities to build an interesting backstory. What had he/she seen and experienced over the centuries? How was he/she affected by it? My immortal characters all have a history tied to the world and what they’ve seen and experienced has colored them in some way.

Q. Are you a careful planner or do you let the story guide you?
A. I do a bit of both. I work out the characters and their motivations, setting, and where I want the story to go. I also tend to do index cards for each scene or major plot point from start to finish. Once I begin to write, it can go completely off the rails, depending on where the characters want to take it. As long as they’re reaching the touchstones, I let them do what they want. If they go too far off track, I either re-plot the novel or rein them in, depending on which direction seems better at the time.

Q. Who is your favorite among your characters?
A. I love them all, of course. Graham, the hero in The Queen of Swords, is both noble and funny. Callum, the hero in The Knight of Wands, is a good-hearted romantic. Leith, the hero of my WIP, is a bit on the dark side, but still well-intentioned. If pressed to pick just one, I’d have to go with Alex Buchanan, the journalist hero in The Tin Man. He’s very complex and has lots of demons to overcome, but also is a really good guy.