Author Interview: Olivia Starke

Peeps, please join me in welcoming Olivia Starke to the blog. Olivia is a fellow Decadent author and has the EXTREME GOOD TASTE to be obsessed with Steven Moffat. A lass after my own heart, that’s for sure!

So, Olivia, please take it away!
Olivia Starke Dreaming in Blue Decadent Publishing 1NS

Cassandra Dean: Congratulations on the release of DREAMING IN BLUE! Would you tell us a little about it?

Olivia Starke: DREAMING IN BLUE is my second addition to Decadent Publishing’s popular 1Night Stand series. I wanted to make my heroine unique in that she faces life in a different way than many people. She’s been blind since childhood, but it hasn’t slowed her down. She’s accomplished, and remains positive despite her inability to see. I wanted readers to see a strong woman who let nothing get in the way of her life’s goals.

My hero suffered heartbreaking loss after a house fire. He’s scarred both physically and emotionally, and he’s carried it too long. When he’s paired with Sierra, he doesn’t know what to expect. If she’ll react negatively to his past and how he now looks because of it.

It may seem cliché to pair a blind woman with a scarred hero, but there’s an unexpected twist in there that Madame Evangeline, owner of 1Night Stand, had planned all along 😉

CD: What inspired you to write DREAMING IN BLUE?

OS: Both the book and the movie Patch of Blue. A wonderful story of a blind white girl who falls in love with a black man in the 60s, I encourage everyone to at least watch the movie starring Sidney Poitier and Shelly Winters. Their story is pretty heartbreaking, and I wanted write one where my heroine has a happy ending. My storyline is very different, but the struggle remains for my heroine and hero to find their happily ever after.

CD: You write super hot paranormal romance. How do you go about writing in this genre?

OS: Though DREAMING IN BLUE doesn’t have the paranormal element, I did work in a big surprise. Perhaps it’s got a little magic after all, that’s what Madame Evangeline is all about 😉 But most my work is paranormal, because I love the world building behind it. You aren’t constrained by day to day life and the laws governing it. I can be who I want to be, and write whatever my wacky mind can conceive. I’ve always had an active imagination, my imaginary friends when I was a kid were a Sabertooth Tiger and a big black horse. They followed me every morning to school, running alongside the bus, then back home in the afternoon.

In Junior High I wrote a romance about a Pegasus and Unicorn. Falling into the supernatural realm of romance came naturally.

CD: What did you find easiest/most difficult about writing paranormal romance?

OS: I have an analytical mind, so if my vampires can’t spend much time in sunlight, I have to know the science of why. Then explain it so readers will understand. I can’t just throw it out there and expect others to suspend belief on my say so. But this is part of the joy for me, too. Letting my geek flag fly. I’ve got a current series contracted through Beachwalk Press titled Project Terminal. Lots of fun with the undead and deadly viruses, and letting my science geek out to play.

CD: Do you have plans to write a book in any other another genre?

OS: I do write Contemporary, and have plans for more. I have a Young Adult 3 book series in the works, but don’t expect it finished any time soon. It’s a huge project with a LOT of world building needed. A bit Steampunk, sci-fi, and contemporary. Oi, lots going on.

CD: What is your writing process?

OS: Usually ten to twelve hour stretches with some food in between. I do this for days at a time until my Writing Drones scream for mercy. My Muse is a hard mistress.

CD: What do you believe to be the most important factor in portraying a believable romantic relationship?

OS: You have to have the ups and downs in real life relationships. And you have to have the hero and heroine’s voices separate, when I’m reading I want to know the POV I’m in right off the bat. This is my current challenge, to make unique voices within my characters.

CD: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

OS: Never settle for less than you deserve. It’s my mantra now, and what got me out of my last dead in job.

CD: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

OS: Never stop writing. Write, write, write. And your work is usually worse in your own eyes than it is in another’s, so have confidence in yourself.

CD: Who is your greatest writing influence?

OS: My critique buddies (shout out to Stephanie Beck!) they keep me honest and pushing for more in my work.

CD: What do you enjoy reading?

OS: I love reading non-fiction plus paranormal and Regency romance. And the classics!

CD: What’s your favourite television show? Favourite movie?

OS: OH GOD don’t get me started on my Fangirl fixations! Most favorite show hands down DOCTOR WHO. I live for the show and how MOFFAT!!! will emotionally manipulate us with it. I’m in love with Matt Smith, the actor who plays the current Doctor. All men are compared to the tall, gangly British actor with unconventional looks.

I also fangirl over Supernatural, love me some Winchesters and Castiel 😉 I also got a fan group started on Facebook for the SyFy show Lost Girl called Lost Girl Fangroup (original I know, but I’m lousy with titles :p) Look it up if you’d like added.

Movies wise, I’m a mess. I love Jurassic Park II (don’t judge the science geek!) Hidalgo, and Labrynth.

CD: If you were stranded in middle of a Paranormal event (with romantic undertones, of course!), what three things would you wish were with you?

OS: Well if the movies have taught me anything, a good pair of running shoes, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and a cellphone with GPS.

CD: Where can readers find you?

OS: My website, Facebook and Twitter
Olivia Starke Dreaming in Blue Decadent Publishing 1NS

Blind since childhood, Sierra is satisfied with her success as a relationship therapist. Contacting 1Night Stand is an outlet for her physical needs, or so she tells herself. When she meets Daniel, the chemistry is definitely there, but a single parent with a child has the terrifying potential to disrupt her orderly life.

After losing his wife in a fire three years before that left him terribly scarred, Daniel has focused on raising his young daughter and little else. Meeting Sierra through 1Night Stand is a way to step back into the world. And he definitely can’t deny the instant attraction.

Madame Evangeline has a sweet surprise for them as they discover one another…


~ Excerpt ~

“So tell me, what do you see outside?” A fresh rush of desire burned through her. She wanted to extend this moment, the wait its own form of foreplay.

“The lake, with some geese and ducks.”

“You see more than that.”

“Hmm, the moon is out, full and silver. The water reflects it, and the birds swimming on the lake look almost ghostly. Dark trees outline the bank to the north.”

He gently tugged her against his solid body. His lips brushed the outer rim of her ear. “A mated pair of white swans swims close by.”

Hot breath fanned her earlobe and she melted into his arms. A hand stroked down, settling against her lower back. She tipped her head up, anticipating the pressure of his lips against hers. His knuckle nudged beneath her chin.

He removed her sunglasses. “I want to see your brown eyes.”

Her breathing grew shallow, making her lightheaded.

“You’re so beautiful, sweetheart.”

His mouth touched hers and the world fell away.

Guest author: C R Moss #guestauthor

Hi peeps!

Today, we have C R Moss stopping by the blog, telling us all about her new release, LOVERS AND THE FIEND. Take it away, CR!
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Cassandra Dean: Congratulations on the release of LOVERS AND THE FIEND! Would you tell us a little about it?
C R Moss: This is a story in Evernight Publishing’s Naughty Fairy Tale line. The characters, Jack and Kristina, appeared in my short story – Chasing Miss Kringle – that’s in an Evernight Publishing anthology – Stockings and Suspenders. This is the first of a handful of stories I have planned for the NFT line that revolve around the world started in CMK and Lovers. You don’t have to read the anthology story to read Lovers, but it’d be nice if you did. 😉 This story is based off of the tale Beauty and the Beast.

CD: What inspired you to write LOVERS AND THE FIEND?
CRM: As for why I wanted to write LOVERS AND THE FIEND, I wanted to submit something to the Naughty Fairy Tale line and thought that the characters and their jobs that were mentioned in Chasing Miss Kringle would make good material for longer stories.

CD: What did you find easiest/most difficult about writing LOVERS AND THE FIEND?
CRM: The story part flowed pretty easily. It was the more intimate scenes that were a bit more tricky for me.

CD: You write westerns, just like me! How do you go about writing in this genre?
CRM: I write in this particular genre with my writing partner. We draw upon the rugged area outside of the city limits and our love of strong heroes. Doesn’t hurt that I used to ride and had a love of westerns and such when I was younger.

CD: You also write in other genres. Do you find it difficult switching between them?
CRM: Nope. I like to explore different genres when I write. It keeps me open to whatever the characters may want for a particular story.

CD: What is your writing process?
CRM: First thing I normally do is check email, then I’ll do Triberr and check Facebook. Next I’ll get to my writing projects. When I’m working on a story, I’ll reread and do editing on the parts I haven’t edited yet to catch myself up. I’ll make the font a color other than black to keep track of what I’ve already gone through. Then I’ll write the new material. If I’m starting a new project, I do an information dump and outline as much of the story that’s in my head first thing. Then I work off the outline, fleshing out all the ideas and stuff as per above. But then, when I’m really focused on a project, I tend to just plough through it and focus only on getting it done…staying up late writing, getting up early and getting back to the story, eating when I think I can get away from my desk without ruining the flow… The house and social life suffers, but I’m a slave to my art. 🙂

CD: What do you believe to be the most important factor in portraying a believable romantic relationship?
CRM: Making the characters as real as possible and being true and honest and as close to real life as possible.

CD: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
CRM: Plan your work and work your plan.

CD: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
CRM: Plant butt in chair and write. (Granted, I’m not always good at taking that advice…)

CD: Who is your greatest writing influence?
CRM: The early works of Stephen King, like The Shining, Pet Sematary, Carrie and Christine, turned me on to writing and started me on writing horror and then in the early 90’s I read Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor which started me on romances and romance writing. Terri Valentine was a big influence, too, since she was my mentor.

CD: What do you enjoy reading?
CRM: Anything really. I have an eclectic taste. 🙂

CD: What’s your favourite television show? Favourite movie?
CRM: This is a tough one. When it comes to television, it depends upon where we’re at in the year. At the beginning of the year it was American Horror Story: Asylum. Now it’s Spartacus: War of the Damned. Eventually it’ll be Breaking Bad and Mad Men. I’m into Being Human as well. As for movies, depends upon the genre because I don’t have an all-time favourite.

CD: If you were stranded in the middle of the prairie with only a cowboy to keep you warm, what three things would you wish were with you?
CRM: A Gerber Multi-Plier 400 Tool; a plastic tarp; wax covered matches.

CD: Where can readers find you?
CRM: Find C.R. Moss here ~

13_02_18_LATF 200x300

Ex-cop turned private investigator, Jack Vorst, learns his elf girlfriend Kristina has been missing for a few days after being invited to an underground vampire club. He, too, is summoned to visit club Hexenringe and is taken captive.

Jack finds Kristina bound and gagged in a human sized bird cage. They’re both thrust into a kinky world at the hands of Kol, the club owner. Kol, a vampiric beast, shifts into human form to be with Jack and Kristina and needs them to remember their pasts and to love him so he can return to what he used to be.

Can Kol make the pair fall in love with him despite his current situation and the fact he’s keeping them captive or will they leave, making it too late for him to change all their fates?

Warning: ménage a trios, M/M, bondage, anal sex, sex toys, public exhibition

~ Excerpt ~

A peek into the beginning of the story…

Chapter One

I have your woman. A nice piece of ass she is, too. She tells me you’re not bad yourself. I would love for you to join us later. A car will be waiting for you outside your office at noon today where my assistant will fill you in on some details. If you know what’s good for you and your gal, you’ll take advantage of this invitation. See you soon. ~ Kol Ainmire

Jack Vorst’s temper went full tilt within a second. His blood pounded hard through his head and body. He’d told Kristina to be careful when she went out on her cases, but it seemed she still had gotten herself in trouble. Not good.

“Vic! Get in here!” Trying to check and rein in his anger before he popped a vessel, Jack grabbed the letter he’d found on his desk while going through a stack of mail and a couple of case files. The paper crinkled within his one clenched hand, and the envelope it’d come in bunched up in his other.

He kept his gaze downcast, ground his teeth. No sense in looking at the tan colored walls that were littered with stenciling in his office and be more irritated than he already was. The design and colors reminded him of the Native American beaded belts people sold at roadside stands.

Vic’s wife, Malory, who worked in the adjoining office suites, loved her southwestern motifs. All the rooms for both divisions of the business were decorated to represent Arizona and New Mexico. The decorating style with too many colors and crazy patterns made his head swim, gave him a headache. He hated headaches.

Staring at the crumpled papers in his hands, he sighed. Truth be told, Kristina’s whereabouts and her lack of checking in for several days only concerned him a little. She was able to take care of herself, and he trusted her. He loved her, wanted her to be safe, so of course he worried some. But being an elf gave her an advantage that mere humans didn’t have­—the ability to escape situations by simply disappearing and reappearing elsewhere.

Except this time.


Guest Author: Cate Masters #giveaway

Hi peeps!

Today, we have author Cate Masters visiting the blog, chatting with us about her release, A MIDWEST SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Check out the interview below, and there’s a GIVEAWAY at the end!
A Midwest Summer Night's Dream by Cate Masters

Cassandra Dean: Congratulations on the release of A MIDWEST SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM! Would you tell us a little about it?
Thanks so much Cassandra! I’m excited that Book Strand released it last April. It’s a Western historical with a nod to one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
CD: What inspired you to write A MIDWEST SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM?
Westerns were some of my favorite shows while growing up – Bonanza, The Rifleman, The Virginian and The Lone Ranger. A few years ago, I read about Jim Bridger, a mountain man who explored the Wild West before much of it was settled. Though illiterate, he loved Shakespeare and recited passages in mining camps and to Native American tribes. Many stories have already been written about Jim Bridger, but the notion of a mountain man loving Shakespeare stayed with me. So I created Jebediah Greene, who’s also a tribute to one of my ancestors, Peter LeVert, who was a fur trapper in the 1800s. Greene is the Anglicized version of his last name, and was my grandmother’s maiden name.
CD: Oh wow, that’s so cool! What do you find easiest/most difficult about writing Westerns historicals?
The answer to both is – the research. I’m a bit of a research addict, and can get carried away with it. I absolutely love it, and I love bringing history to life with vibrant characters and unusual settings. But writing historicals in general is a bit more difficult than other genres because the details must be accurate and authentic to give the right atmosphere. Oh yeah, and a hot cowboy is fun to write, lol.
CD: Yes, Hot Cowboys are fun to write! You write lots of different genres. How do you juggle them all?
Hm, maybe it also goes back to my childhood. In addition to Westerns, I also was a huge fan of shows like The Monkees and Dark Shadows, so it seems natural for me to write contemporaries and paranormal/fantasies.
Any story idea that hits me hard enough to make me excited, I simply follow it to see where it goes. Sometimes it crosses genres, sometimes mashes them. I don’t think of stories as any particular genre while writing. I just aim to make the story as good as I can!
CD: Do you have plans to write a book in any genre you haven’t written in before?
I’d love to write a steampunk story! I have a vague idea in mind for one but it’s way down on the currently overcrowded WIP list, lol.
CD: Ah, the overcrowded WIP list. I know it well 🙂 What is your writing process?
It depends on the story. Sometimes just a name will spark a story to build around it. Usually I do begin with a vague plot in mind, and sometimes I will create a draft outline, but I’m mostly a pantser and let the characters lead me where they will. They’re very stubborn when I resist! 
CD: What do you believe to be the most important factor in portraying a believable romantic relationship?
For me, the characters have to feel real, and readers have to care about them. Oh wait, that’s two, sorry. 🙂 But they’re equal in importance.
CD: No probs, Cate! What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My Dad always told me, Stop dreaming your life away. Excellent advice as far as real life goes, but for writing, it definitely comes in handy, lol.
CD: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
To keep writing. Simple but true, because the more you write, the better you write.
CD: Totally agree with that! Who is your greatest writing influence?
Oh, a toughie. I don’t think I could pinpoint any one writer. I love so many, and the list keeps growing all the time.
CD: What do you enjoy reading?
Pretty much anything. I have three bookcases in my house overloaded with poetry books, short story anthologies, literary, fantasy, sci-fi, stories of magic and real life, you name it. Which also explains my eclectic writing!
CD: What’s your favourite television show? Favourite movie?
I’m usually not big on television, but Grimm has me absolutely hooked. It’s the one show I make a point to watch, though at this writing it’s in between seasons and I’m waiting eagerly for the new one to begin.
Movie, wow – I can’t pick only one. It changes as new movies are released, lol. The one that put me in awe in the past few years was Avatar – the theme, the world-building, the characters, the premise kept me intrigued long after I stopped watching, so I’d watch again later. (But no, I wasn’t one of those people who wanted to live in that world.) 🙂
CD: If you were stranded in the wild, wild West, what three things would you wish were with you?
Ha! Oh, what a great question. A horse would be a must-have, I suppose (I’ve always wanted one!). I absolutely hate guns, but I imagine those would also be handy. And I’d have to have a multi-talented cowboy like Jeb, who’s intelligent, resourceful, multilingual, and easy on the eyes!
CD: Where can readers find you?
They can catch up to me here:
My Blog ~ Blog for readers ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

A Midwest Summer Night's Dream by Cate Masters

Open sky, Shakespeare, solitude. All Jebediah Greene needs. Alone since his teens, he’s never known loneliness, until he leaves Winona Young in California. Worse, he fears she’ll trap herself in a loveless marriage of convenience. After acting as her guide to San Francisco, how far will Jeb go to win her heart?

Reading provides escape for Winona Young. Usually. Fleeing Philadelphia, she learns her distant suitor isn’t who he seemed. Neither is her mountain man guide, in a good way. Intelligent, but mule-headed, Jeb’s impossible to speak to, in any language. Winona falls in love with the stunning beauty of the wilderness, with the simple ways of the Osage people, and with Jeb. But books can’t teach her how to tame a mountain man.

~Excerpt ~

Curses flew through Jeb’s head all day, but he cut them off before they reached his tongue. Stubborn woman. She’d cornered him like a fox in a hen house. Her chances were slim, but not impossible.
The mere thought of riding beside her, wind rifling through her hair… Oh, what a pickle. He sure could use the cash, but the strain of avoiding her might do him in. He’d have to ride upwind so as not to catch her lilac scent, or the constant erection hitting the saddle might kill him.

When she approached him that night as he relaxed on the porch swing, her sheepish expression said it all. “No luck?”

“Not yet. But I’ll find one soon. When I do, will you be my guide?”

Time to try a different tack. “What makes you think I’m trustworthy? I might be the kind of man who takes advantage of a lady in such a situation.”

“You are trustworthy. Mrs. Wilson said so. I have implicit faith in her good opinion of you.”

Why had he introduced the two women? Dealing with a single woman didn’t present a problem, not usually, but get two or more together, and damned if trouble didn’t brew in the kitchen right along with the coffee.

At his silence, she folded her arms, and stole glances at him. Never a good sign. He could see the spokes of her brain working behind those dark eyes.

“Perhaps you don’t have the gumption necessary for such an assignment.” She tilted her head, exposing her gracefully arched neck.

His mouth watered, longing to taste it. A laugh burst from him. “Gumption?” He scratched his chin. “Or perhaps my foresight is keener than yours, Miss Young. Do you have any idea what such a trip entails?”

“If you’re worried I can’t keep up with you—”

“You can’t keep up, you can’t pitch in. You can’t even cook, can you?”

She glanced away. “Well, I—”

“If I shoot a rabbit for dinner, how would you prepare it?”

She winced. “A rabbit?”

“A saddle can get mighty uncomfortable after an hour. What would you do after three hours? Or five?” The image of her rubbing her sore rear stirred him. Mighty tempting to offer to rub it for her. His voice cracked as he said, “If you want to be in San Francisco sooner than the coach, we’d have to make good time. Six, seven, maybe eight hours’ riding every day. And if we get caught in a storm, or held up somehow, we’d have to make up the time.”

Her jaw set hard, her lips pressed into a thin line.

“I’m sorry, Miss Young. You are not cut out for that kind of hardship.” Nor was he built to resist such temptation, the kind that carried a long-term sentence. Not that he wouldn’t enjoy carrying it out; yes, just thinking of sharing a bedroll with her heated his insides and turned his brain to mush. Another strike against such a trip; he might lead them in circles, staring at her rather than the path ahead.

She stepped closer, her eyes ablaze. “You think I don’t know hardship? You’re wrong, Mr. Greene. No, not the kind you face in your travels. I would think those hardships would be easier to bear than…” She looked away with glazed eyes. “Forgive me.”

Her sudden fury gave him pause, and aroused his curiosity. She had mettle in her bones, a steel reserve of strength in her sinewy frame. He had no doubt she’d experienced something terrible, terrible enough to make her leave her home. Her stubbornness might fade in the face of the long trail.

“I mean no disrespect.”

“Your kind never do.”

“Ma’am, believe it or not, I am not ignorant of the rules of civilization. I am well able to prevent myself from committing social blunders.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be unkind. My nerves have been on edge since we left Philadelphia. A woman traveling alone can’t take too many precautions.”

“I don’t expect you’d encounter many willing to take up the challenge of threatening you, ma’am.” He regretted his words when he saw how she flinched under their sting. He wished her no harm, but everything she said provoked him in some way.

I’ll give an ebook of A Midwest Summer Night’s Dream to a commenter who shares what they love most about Westerns. Please leave your email address so I can contact you.

Thanks so much for having me as a guest, Cassandra! It’s been a pleasure.

CD: Thanks for stopping by, Cate! Make sure you check out A MIDWEST SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, peeps!

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home for the past 20 years, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart.

Most days, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company.
Look for her at, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

# The small print: Comment before midnight on 20 January 2013 (Australian Central Standard Time) to be entered to win an ebook of A Midwest Summer Night’s Dream by Cate Masters. Winner will be selected via, with winner’s name posted on this blog within three days of the close of the giveaway. Cate will also contact the winner by e-mail; the winner will be required to reply with their postal address so Cate can send the prize to them.
Only one entry per ISP address. Entrants must be over 18 years of age. By entering, you agree Cassandra and Cate can use your name when announcing the winner if you should win. If potential prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. International entries are welcome. No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Void where prohibited by law.

Author Interview: Joanne Renaud

Hey peeps!

Today we have author Joanne Renaud on the blog, chatting about her new release, A QUESTION OF TIME. Make sure you read all the way to the end, peeps, for there is A Giveaway 🙂
A Question of Time by Joanne Renaud
Cassandra Dean: Congratulations on the release of A QUESTION OF TIME! Would you tell us a little about it?
Joanne Renaud: Thanks, Cassandra! It’s about a sci-fi author, Celia—I guess you’d call her a Successful Nerdy Everywoman—who still grieves for her beloved high school English teacher, Alan Forrest, who died in a tragic car accident back in 1989. During a car accident of her own, she’s mysteriously flung back in time to the late ‘80s, where she has the chance to meet Alan for the first time as an adult. Attraction sparks between them—but Celia struggles with the impulse to save his life, as well her tenuous grip on time itself.

CD: What inspired you to write A QUESTION OF TIME?
JR: A couple of years ago, I was mired in the middle of one of my huge historical novels, when I had the overwhelming urge to write something quick and contemporary. I thought, “aha! I know the late ‘80s, as I lived through them!” I also wanted to write time travel, as I have always been obsessed with time travel stories since I was a kid.

In A QUESTION OF TIME, Celia comes back to her old hometown, searching for a book that Alan recommended to her when she was fifteen. I based this on something that happened to me when I was a kid. My fifth grade teacher (a woman) recommended a fun, pulpy SF novel to me in 1985. I found it, read it quickly, and enjoyed it greatly—but I remember NOTHING about it. Except perhaps a vague idea of the cover, which was airbrushed and had lots of shiny spacesuits and rocks. I used to think that the only way I could find this book again, was to time travel back to my own library, and look in the paperback section. This little tiny embryonic idea—where I imagined my modern, 2010-era self wandering around a library in the 1980s– grew into what became A QUESTION OF TIME.

CD: A QUESTION OF TIME is a time travel romance. How do you go about writing in this genre?
JR: Very carefully! My influences tend to be more on the SF side of things, I think—I love authors like Tanith Lee, Connie Willis, Charlie Jane Anders, and Ted Chiang. On the romance side of things, I love Jude Deveraux’s A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR, which is epic timey-wimey romance at its best.
Personally, I don’t like to use the usual time travel ‘fantasy’ method of time travel, though I don’t use time machines or gizmos either. I can’t say too much, but I’ll explain the method of time travel more in the sequel, which I’m writing right now.

CD: Do you have plans to write a book in any other another genre?
JR: I have a few ideas for a few fantasy/fairy tale/romance crossovers, but let’s see if they actually get written. My brain births more plot bunnies than I can actually keep up with.

CD: What is your writing process?
JR: Man, I wish I knew. I write in a frenzy sometimes, trying to get something out of my head; sometimes I write in pained dribs and drabs. Usually I outline stories to death, though I have been known to be a pantser. It’s hard for me to say.

CD: What do you believe to be the most important factor in portraying a believable romantic relationship?
JR: I think mutual respect and an ability to be friends is very important. Years ago, I tried writing the standard romance novel love/hate relationship, but I found it difficult and tiring. Once I started imagining a hero and heroine as friends, it made things much easier. This is why I love beta heroes; I don’t have to deal with the usual “alpha asshole” nonsense.

CD: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
JR: “To thine own self be true”? “Don’t take any wooden nickels”? I’m not sure, honestly.

CD: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
JR: In the words of the late Susan Garrett, “butt in chair.” Or: “Get it done.” Yup. Yup. YUP. Nothing I can add to that, really.

CD: Who is your greatest writing influence?
JR: Tanith Lee (in her less purple moments). Gillian Bradshaw. L. Sprague de Camp. Sylvia Baumgarten (aka Louisa Rawlings and Sylvia Halliday). Kathleen Duey, Lois Duncan and Mary Stewart. Lesser known noir authors like Katherine Tomlinson. Jacqueline Susann (should I be admitting this?)

Joanne RenaudCD: What do you enjoy reading?
JR: Romance, SF, fantasy, occasionally some YA (though usually the older titles at this point—the new wave of YA is leaving me a bit cold). Undefinable cross-genre work is usually my favorite, though. “Slipstream” is probably my favorite genre name ever.

CD: What’s your favourite television show? Favourite movie?
JR: Well, you know how much I love “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”! I also love “Game of Thrones,” “Burn Notice,” and “Quantum Leap,” as well as new shows like “Revenge,” “Nikita,” and “Continuum,” the hottest dystopian time travel show to hit the small screen since “Journeyman.” Like Alan Sepinwall says, we really do live in a Golden Age of TV, and it’s wonderful to behold.

CD: You also create wonderful illustrations. Would you tell us a little about this side of your life?
JR: I’ve been a commercial artist forever, though I didn’t start doing illustration professionally per se until 2005-2006. As they say, practice makes perfect—I look at my early work now and I cringe! I work usually in children’s or educational publishing, though I also do editorial, promotional and concept work. I love historical costume, and I often get hired because of my knowledge in this field.

CD: If you were stranded in the 1980s, what three things would you wish were with you?
JR: I would definitely want to have a few grand in 1980s currency on hand, so I can invest in companies like Apple; I would also want something like “Gray’s Sports Almanac” (the MacGuffin from Back to the Future II) to make savvy bets as to increase my wealth. I think I’d also want my Macbook and a power cord. I wouldn’t be able to chat, surf the web or download anything, but it would be nice to have Office on hand. Going back to the paleolithic word processing programs from MS-DOS days would drive me nuts.

I would enjoy jumping onto a Commodore and playing old Sierra games like King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry though…

CD: Where can readers find you?
JR: My main portfolio site is I used to have a blog attached to it, but it is down due to technical problems. My other sites are my deviantART page and my Tumblr.

My Facebook page is here and my Twitter is here.

A Question of Time by Joanne Renaud

Years later, successful author Celia Cavalotti is still mourning the death of her favorite teacher, who died in a car crash in 1989. But when a car accident of her own hurtles her back in time to the week of his death, she has a chance to change the future.

Finding herself in the 1980s is a shock to the extremely modern Celia– but even more shocking is seeing her dead English teacher, Alan Forrest, alive and well before her very eyes. Alan is far more handsome than she remembers, and she can’t resist the urge to flirt. After all, they have so much in common, like writing and a shared love of science fiction. Celia knows she’s falling in love with him– but can she use this opportunity to prevent his tragic death? What is happening to her? And why can’t she seem to stay in one place and time?

~ Excerpt ~

As she walked into the library, her eyes wide, she could feel her gloom and lassitude quickly dissipating. In fact, her pulse sped up as if she’d just downed several shots of espresso. It was just a library, but Celia felt as amazed as if she were entering Rivendell. It looked just as she remembered it, although it had seemed like a veritable palace of books when she was little. Now it seemed rather ordinary. But compared to many of the cramped brownstone libraries in Manhattan, it was spacious. It was quite modern for the time, having only been built in the late ‘70s. There were large skylights, aqua-blue decorative girders, deep windowed alcoves filled with aqua-upholstered chairs, and carpets where little pink rectangles floated in a sea of gray.

Somewhat dazed, she wandered about, looking at the people sitting around quietly reading. Wow, her subconscious was quite detailed. She saw a boy with a quiff as tall as Rick Astley’s, in a hideously blue leaf-print camp shirt, a black kid with unlaced high-tops, wearing a gold Africa chain and a baseball cap turned sideways, and a girl with big blonde hair and dressed in a garish orange and yellow Benetton ensemble.

So… the late ‘80s or the early ‘90s, by the look of everyone. The very sight made her want to rub her chin and say, “Fascinating, Captain,” in her best Spock imitation. But again she restrained herself. The girl with the big hair did give her an odd glance, her eyes skimming over her boots.

Celia also noticed the bins of records, the VHS tapes in clamshell cases up in front near the new books, the ancient card catalog collecting dust off to the side, while people browsed the brand-new computer VAC terminals for catalog information. As she walked by, she observed the green type flickering against the black screens.

Interesting. I dream that I go back in time to… what is this? 1988? 1989? 1990? Goddamnit, I’m a science fiction writer. You’d think my imagination would be more… imaginative. Where are the laser guns? The faster-than-light spaceships? Bizarre aliens in Bedouin robes riding lizard horses? Instead of that… I have women in high-waisted mom jeans reading magazines with Barbara Bush on the cover. Clearly, my imagination sucks.

She glanced at an open copy of the Washington Post, lying on a nearby table. Saturday, June 10, 1989, it said. Well, that settled it. One of the headlines read, “Soviet Jet Fighter Pilot Defects to the United States.” Heh, the Soviets. She smirked, remembering when the Soviet Union actually existed.

Alan and Celia from A Question of Time by Joanne RenaudBut wait a second. Celia frowned. What was she doing, actually reading in a dream? She didn’t think that was possible—or at least, not possible for her. She used to have nightmares where she was stuck in a room, about to die unless she actually read this manual that would allow her to free herself. And of course she could never do it. The text would get all blurry, and although she’d try to escape, she’d feel like she was stuck in a tub of molasses, and just as she knew she was about to die—

She would always wake up. But here she was, reading without a hitch.

Just to check herself, Celia reread the headline, but it was still the same. She shook her head. This was clearly a highly unusual dream.

Well, if there was nothing stopping her from reading, then she might as well head over to her usual hangout. She made a beeline to the science fiction and fantasy paperbacks, all shelved on white industrial shelves, right near the biographies. Leaning down, she peered at the books, wondering how detailed her subconscious would get. Would there be any modern authors, like JK Rowling or Stephenie Meyer?

Nope. It was all books, written 1989 and before. Isaac Asimov, Harry Harrison, David Eddings, Robert Silverberg, Rose Estes, Simon Hawke, Alan Dean Foster, and a pile of Dragonlance novels. There was nothing photo-shopped on the covers; it was either delightfully fussy (or hideous) paintings, airbrushed or painted traditionally. Not only that, but these books were clearly new; the paper was still white. They didn’t have the yellowed, dusty look of books from a used bookstore. Man, this is sure an astonishing glimpse into the utter banality of my subconscious.

But wait a second. She snapped her fingers. Maybe her subconscious was trying to tell her something. Shouldn’t the book Mr. Forrest had recommended be here?

She examined the spines of the books more carefully—bingo. She pulled out a fat paperback depicting a sultry brunette in a gold spacesuit against a rocky moonscape, a blond man glowering at her in the background. In a bold font, the title read: Medra.

She flipped through the pages excitedly. She remembered now. The woman on the cover, who called herself Medra, was a mysterious psychic off-worlder who’d come to this isolated war-torn colony on the edge of the Galactic Republic. The blond man was the head of the rebels, and he didn’t know whether she was a spy or not—and he had to fight his growing attraction to her, while violence grew and the localized rebellion increasingly destabilized the region.

“Awesome,” she breathed. She’d been looking for this book for so long—and here it was, in her hot little hands! God, she couldn’t wait to read it. It felt like Christmas or something—

“That’s a great book,” a voice said behind her.

She was so startled she almost jumped. Whirling around, a bespectacled young man stood behind her.

Could it be? As her eyes grew huge, the blood drained from her face. “Uh, miss,” he said, clearly concerned. “Is everything all right?” “I—uh—yeah, sorry. I’m all right,” she managed to say, but still continued to stare. He was hardly as fashionable as the metrosexuals and neo-preppies back in New York. With his gray corduroy sports coat, pressed blue shirt, and belted brown high-cut trousers, he looked very much like a teacher from twenty-one years ago. He wore his dark blond hair mid-length and feathered, in a left side part; and he had a serious, earnest sort of face, narrow, but with a firm jaw, defined chin, and a long, straight nose.

But the most noticeable thing about him was his glasses. His huge brown-tinted plastic frames seemed to cover half his face. They looked ridiculous, but they somehow intensified his eyes, which were very blue.

It was him. It was definitely him. Mr. Forrest. Her knees weakened.

Joanne is giving away an ebook copy of A QUESTION OF TIME. Comment below, leave your email address and you’ll go in the running!
# The small print: Comment before midnight on 24 December 2012 (Australian Central Standard Time) to be entered to win an ebook copy of A QUESTION OF TIME by Joanne Renaude. Winner will be selected via, with winner’s name posted on this blog within three days of the close of the giveaway. Joanne will also contact the winner by e-mail.
Only one entry per ISP address. Entrants must be over 18 years of age. By entering, you agree Cassandra and Joanne can use your name when announcing the winner if you should win. If potential prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. International entries are welcome. No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Void where prohibited by law.

Welcome to the blog Sorcha Mowbray! #blogtour

Peeps, today we have Sorcha Mowbray visiting the blog! Please join me in wishing her a very warm welcome, as we settle in to read all about her new release, LOVE REDEEMED!

Cassandra Dean: Congratulations on the release of LOVE REDEEMED! Would you tell us a little about it?
Sorcha Mowbray: Well, LOVE REDEEMED is book two in The Market series. It is about a high class prostitute who meets a handsome merchant on the street and is unexpectedly treated as a lady. Enjoying the novelty of such deference, she conceals that she is a prostitute. The merchant has been trying to work up the nerve to introduce himself to the beautiful woman he has seen on Bond Street and finally does. He is taken with her and loses his heart quite handily. Then she disappears and he must find and convince her that their love is enough to carry them through. (Read the official blurb and an excerpt at the end of the interview.)

CD: What inspired you to write LOVE REDEEMED?
SM: I love the idea of historical romance that doesn’t center on the nobility. I wanted to write a prostitute who gets a happy ending and since I was writing a series set in a brothel it was the perfect opportunity.

CD: LOVE REDEEMED is part of your Market series. How did the series come about?
SM: Well, I had this idea for two masked lovers who were intimate but yet wouldn’t know each other across a ball room. I needed a premise that would put them in masks in a believable setting. That was the genesis of LOVE REVEALED that was when I created The Market, the brothel where the series centers. From there the other two stories developed on their own.

CD: Would you tell us a little about the first book in the series, LOVE REVEALED?
SM: LOVE REVEALED is a story of a lord and a lady who have unusual sexual proclivities. He’s a dominant and she is a submissive. Under the guise of anonymity—the masks—they meet. However, they also know each other in their everyday lives. When the two worlds collide they must discover if their sexual relationship can blossom into more.

CD: What do you find easiest/most difficult about writing historical erotic romance?
SM: In the first book, it was working in the BDSM elements. It existed, just not in such a well-defined form as today. In all the books I’d say the clothing. For the love of God those people wore more clothing than you could shake a stick at! Getting them naked is tough work without boring the crap out of the reader. 🙂

CD: You write historical erotic romance and contemporary western erotic romance. How do you go about writing in these genres?
SM: It’s not much different. I get a germ of an idea and I start mapping out a story. Then I write it and find out where the journey really goes. The only difference lies in the things I research. Oh, and the language I guess. But I’ve read historical for so long I often use words in everyday language that makes people go, huh? Like arse. LOL! I say that one a lot. And as far as western, well I grew up down south so that’s not much of a stretch.

CD: Do you have plans to write a book in any other another genre?
SM: Yes! I am working on an erotic science fiction/post-apocalyptic story. Mostly plotting, but I have one scene written. We’ll see if I actually keep it.

CD: What is your writing process?
SM: Well, like I said above, I get an idea. Some key element that appeals to me and I start rolling it around in my head. This often happens on the weekends when I lay in bed half asleep and half awake. You know that in between state? Then I usually get up, get coffee moving, and sit down to draft a quick outline. From the outline I work up an initial blurb and maybe some character sketches. Then, either right away or maybe later if I need to set it on a back burner, I will draft a synopsis depending on how long the story is. If it’s meant to be short I might skip this step. Once I have a synopsis I do any research I know I need to do and then I start writing. As I write I may find my synopsis/outline changes and even my character sketches. Cause as I write, things develop more fully for me. I sometimes learn things about my characters I didn’t know going in.

CD: What do you believe to be the most important factor in portraying a believable romantic relationship?
SM: Chemistry and balance. The hero and heroine (or whatever variation of that you are writing) have to have chemistry. They have to complement each other and sometimes they have to conflict, cause that’s how it is in real life. If it is all hunky dory right from the get go or all piss and vinegar then the reader won’t buy into the relationship.

CD: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
SM: Put your butt in the seat and write. It’s how you get published and one you’re published it’s how you keep reader’s interest. It’s your best marketing tool.

CD: Who is your greatest writing influence?
SM: I think most authors that I read offer something worth admiring. Not all, but most. Whether it’s their story telling, sentence structure, plot weaving, characterization, grammar, or pacing. Or maybe how well they handle a particular topic. So I’d have to say there are a lot of little influences as opposed to one big one. Maya Banks, Cherise Sinclair, and Lorelei James are three authors I really enjoy reading and I like to think have improved my writing in some way.

CD: What do you enjoy reading?
SM: All kinds of romance and some urban fantasy. I don’t really vary my reading much outside of the genre. I know what I like.

CD: What’s your favourite television show? Favourite movie?
SM: Blue Bloods is probably my favorite TV show right now. Movie? Gone With The Wind. Seriously, I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it. Grease might be a close runner up.

CD: What do you find the absolute bestest about writing the smexy times type of books? 😉
SM: It’s sex. Are you kidding? It’s all great!

CD: If you were stranded in The Market, what three things would you wish were with you?
SM: Modern day condoms, a pair of thong undies, and modern day lube.

CD: Where can readers find you?
SM: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pintrest | GoodReads | Kindlegraph
Sorcha Mowbray Love Redeemed Market Series Decadent Publishing

At each stop of the blog tour Sorcha will give away a copy of LOVE REVEALED (Book 1) of the series. At the end of the 11 day tour a grand prize of a $25 All Romance eBook (ARe) store gift card and one copy of her back list will be given away to one lucky winner.
Rules (Cause you know there have to be rules!)
1. Winners of the individual blog stops will not be eligible to win the grand prize
2. One comment per stop will be eligible for the drawings (so be sure to answer Sorcha’s questions!)
3. The contest is open internationally
4. Commenters must include an email so they can be contacted
5. Any prize not claimed within 48hrs will be subject to forfeiture and a new winner drawn

Love Redeemed

(Book 2, The Market Series)

Brennan Whitling wants for nothing but the love of a good woman. He has a close family, good friends, and a successful textiles import business. But, a beautiful and elusive young woman he has only seen from afar haunts him. Until a chance meeting leads to far more than dinner.

Serena Freemont has only ever known the life of a prostitute. When an invitation to dinner by a handsome gentleman provides her an opportunity to experience life as a young lady, it’s too tempting to pass up. Much like the man issuing it. After a night of passion she must disappear or face his reaction when the truth is revealed.

To find happiness Serena must shed her past long enough to realize she is worthy of a future. To win her heart, Brennan must show her the redemptive power of love.

Available 27 November 2012 from all good ebook stores!


~ Excerpt ~

“Are you all right, Miss?”

For a moment, for this moment, she was a normal young woman experiencing the attentions of a handsome young man. Heat crept up her cheeks as he held her hatbox out, and the burning had nothing to do with the sun. “I-I— Yes, I am. Thank you.” His blue-gray eyes seemed to bore into her.

“I am so glad. I was sure you were a goner there for a moment.” He flashed a brilliant grin liquefying Serena’s insides instantly. “Please let me introduce myself. I’m Mr. Brennan Whitling of Whitling Textiles Importers and Wholesalers.”

“How do you do, Mr. Whitling?” Serena allowed her lips to curve up ever so slightly. “I am Miss Serena Freemont.”

“It is a pleasure. Might I interest you and your”—he glanced around the bustling street as his grin faded in confusion— “chaperone in a cup of tea?”

A wave of horror swept over Serena. Chaperone? Harlots did not require one of those. “Oh, Aunt Henrietta is in the bookstore, and I fear she will be in there a very long time. I am certain she won’t notice if we slip off for a quick spot of tea.”

“Excellent! There is a lovely little shop just up the street.” A beautiful smile spread across his face, causing her pulse to quicken.

He escorted her up the block where they stopped at a quaint little teashop. They settled in at a table and ordered a pot of tea.

“What has you on Bond Street today, Mr. Whitling?” They sat in semi privacy at the back of the shop.

“Oh, I was visiting some of my customers and taking new orders. I am very glad I was there to help you, and by virtue of said assistance make your acquaintance.” Did his already deep voice grow huskier? Their tea service arrived, dispelling the moment.

“As am I. Landing on my backside in the middle of the street would have been rather embarrassing. But in truth, thank you for your assistance today, and now the tea.” She lifted her freshly prepared cup to her lips and took a dainty sip from the delicate china. Through lowered lashes, she watched his graceful movements as he prepared his own.

“It is my pleasure on both accounts. You seem familiar to me. Have we met somewhere before? A ball perhaps?”

Sorcha Mowbray is a

© foaloce –

mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.

She is a long time lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!


Welcome to the blog Alexa Bourne! #guest #author #interview

Peeps, today we have Alexa Bourne visiting the blog, telling us all about her wonderful IPN series and her upcoming release, FRACTURED PARADISE!

Let’s get to it, shall we?
Fractrued Paradise by Alexa Bourne
Cassandra Dean: Congratulations on the upcoming release of FRACTURED PARADISE! Would you tell us a little about it?
Alexa Bourne: FRACTURED PARADISE is set to release on November 6th from Decadent PUblishing. Rachel Grant, an American lass with too much passion for life and not enough common sense, crushes the dreams of Aidan Camden, an English widower clinging to distorted memories of his late wife. But when someone threatens the lass’s efforts, can Rachel and Aidan set aside their differences long enough to protect the cottage they both want and to keep Rachel safe?

CD: What inspired you to write FRACTURED PARADISE?
AB: Actually, the original story was A LOT different, and I wrote it to help me deal with my English grandmother’s death in 2003. When I started writing for Decadent Publishing, I decided to pull it out, revise it, and use it as a way to celebrate my British heritage.

Her Highland Champion by Alexa BourneCD: I see this book is part of the IPN series. Tell us more!
AB: I’m so excited about the IPN series! IPN stands for International Protective Network, which is my fictional bodyguard company I first introduced in my 1st book, Her Highland Champion. The company has offices in Edinburgh and Boston. They specialize in protecting people who have nowhere else to go for help. In each of my novellas, one of the main characters works for the IPN. To learn more about the organization, you can visit the IPN History page on my website.

CD: What do you find easiest/most difficult about writing a series?
AB: The easiest and most difficult aspect is actually the same-creating my own fictional business. I get to choose where it is, what kind of jobs they take, what kind of building they’re in, the background for the company’s birth. BUT these details can also be the most difficult because every single aspect has to be covered- how the organization began, who works there, which countries they work in, etc. Basically, I have to keep in mind everything that I would need if I were creating a real business, from how they are funded, to what the offices look like, to who does all the paperwork. I like the challenge of figuring out every single detail, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming too. I have to write everything down in my IPN Bible & hope I never lose it!

CD: Do you have plans to write a book in any other another genre?
AB: I’m actually waiting to hear back from my publisher on a contemporary romance submission AND I’m currently hard at work writing my very first historical romance.

CD: What is your writing process?
AB: I write the rough draft on paper. I don’t plot/plan ahead of time. I usually have one scene idea or one character in my head and I just write. It’s during this rough drafting where I learn the plot and all about the characters. I usually go through 4-6 drafts depending on the story and its size. As I get closer to being finished with the book, I spend more time on the computer.

CD: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
AB: Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

CD: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
AB: If you want it badly enough, don’t give up.

CD: Who is your greatest writing influence?
AB: Stephen J. Cannell was. He created many of the TV shows I was hooked on as a child, shows that had suspense and the good guys always winning. I wrote a lot of fan fiction (when I didn’t know it was fan fiction), which helped me decide to pursue publication.

CD: What do you enjoy reading?
AB: I love reading romantic suspense, of course, but I also love historicals, thrillers, inspirationals, classics, non-fiction such as biographies, recounts of historical events, true life stories. I read some paranormal stories, but I’m very picky about which ones I read.

CD: What’s your favourite television show? Favourite movie?
AB: My favorite movies are the 3 Bourne movies with Matt Damon. If I had to choose just one of them I’d go with The Bourne Identity. Talk about a tortured hero! As for TV, I love Leverage. It reminds me of my favorite TV show from when I was a kid, The A-Team.

CD: You’ve been involved in NaNoWriMo several times. Would you share a little about your experiences?
AB: I love doing NaNoWriMo! The first year, I wasn’t sure I would be able to write 50,000 words in one month, but I did. Afte that, I refused to fail. Last year was very difficult for me because I had things going on in my “real world” and I honestly didn’t think I’d finish. But my friends and family kept saying, “You’ll do it.” I figured if they had faith in me I couldn’t let them down.

CD: If you were stranded in the middle of a wind-swept and heather-strewn Scotland, what three things would you wish were with you?
AB: A hot Scotsman in a kilt, a great Scotch whisky, and a blanket!

Alexa BourneCD: Where can readers find you?
AB: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Almost Daily Blog

Thanks so much for this opportunity!

CD: And thanks for stoppying by, Alexa! It was super fun times, and we’re now all going to rush out and purchase you books, aren’t we peeps?

Peeps? Where are you??

Oh. Purchasing Alexa’s books, right?? ;p
Fractrued Paradise by Alexa Bourne

Technical analyst Rachel Grant arrives in Sunderland intent on tidying up her grandmother’s cottage, but the disaster she discovers requires more than a gentle sweep of a dust rag. Determined to please the most important person in her life, she trades her computer keyboard for a hammer and nails to make the repairs. She doesn’t count on the chilly reception from the locals who want to claim Nan’s home as their own.

Tour guide Aidan Camden wants to buy the cottage. He’s determined to acquire the property no matter how attractive he finds the current occupant. However, when tragedy strikes, throwing them both into a tailspin, he discovers he wants more than the house. He longs for the sexy American as well. Can Aidan put his own ghosts to rest in time to save the woman who’s claimed his heart?


“A bit of a disappointment, I expect.” A rich, deep voice with a twinge of an English accent drifted from behind her.

She whirled around. Her hair whipped against her cheeks and made her wish for the hundredth time today she hadn’t packed all her hair clips.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

The stranger paused beside the edge of the clearing, and her heart stuttered. Although no one would mistake him for a Hollywood leading man, this guy could command attention by stepping into a room. Or onto an island.

“That’s okay. You didn’t.” She permitted her gaze to wander over him.

He kept his hands stuffed into the front pockets of faded jeans. The wind tore at his gray long-sleeved shirt, outlining the contours of a well-defined chest. Unruly light brown hair touched his collar. High cheekbones accented his deep-set eyes. Not friendly eyes, but no threat lay behind them either, at least none she could uncover.

He pulled a hand from his pocket and held it out. “Aidan Camden of Dawson Tours, your neighbor from across the water.” He tipped his head toward the way he’d come. Camden. His name sounded familiar, but why? She shook his hand with a hint of hesitation. “Rachel Grant.”

His fingers warmed her skin, his grip strong and confident. Awareness trailed along her arm. Then again, it could be the accent that made her skin tingle. British accents never failed to stir her emotions.

A trace of a smile danced on his lips. “Aye, the American.”

Huh. “You know of me?”

A low rumble of laughter slipped from his mouth, the sound relaxing her from deep within. “Word travels fast here. I saw you paddling your way out.”

Paddling? No, he’d seen her fighting with the oars. Until today, she’d never set foot on a boat, much less held an oar. But she would consider swimming across the Atlantic Ocean if it would make Nan happy.
“Tell me, Mr. Camden, are you in the habit of following foreigners?”

“No, lass, but you’re all the talk of the Roker area. The mighty Grant descendant, come to see about selling the family cottage.”


Welcome Karyn Gerrard to the blog! #guest #author

Peeps, please join me in welcoming Karyn Gerrard to the blog. Karyn has a brand new book out, MY VAMPIRE COVER MODEL, and she’s here to tell us all about it. So settle in with a large, possibly alcoholic beverage and enjoy, peeps.

My Vampire Cover Model by Karyn Gerrard Decadent Publishing

Cassandra Dean: Congratulations on the release of MY VAMPIRE COVER MODEL! Would you tell us a little about it?

Karyn Gerrard: Sure! It’s a novella, a paranormal/contemporary/erotic romance. Here is the blurb:

Life changed for Deanna Brooks the night she attended a book signing for her aunt’s best-selling paranormal romance series. There she met Burney ‘The Cover God’ Sheridan. The model for the series’ fictional vampire hero, Burn is beyond handsome and has an overabundance of Irish charm. He’s too good to be true.

Burn Sheridan, a man with scores of past lives, has a secret: he is a vampire. Meeting Deanna is agony because for the first time in over two hundred years, Burn experiences the rarest of vampiric needs—the mate-of-the-soul connection. Keeping people at a distance has been Burn’s existence for centuries, but Deanna makes his pledge of staying detached impossible.

Many obstacles lie ahead and the biggest of all may be Burn himself. Can Deanna and Burn overcome them and find lasting love?

CD: What inspired you to write MY VAMPIRE COVER MODEL?

KG: I noticed all the pictures being posted on Facebook of hot cover model Paul Marron on a tour with New York Times Best selling paranormal author, Kresley Cole. They were plugging the Book ‘Lothaire’ of which Paul is on the cover. My mind began to plot. What if the cover model in question really was—a vampire? It was amazing how it all clicked into place. I had it written in no time! Pure fantasy, but lots of fun to write. And Cover Models are the best inspiration! (see pic of Paul Marron to the right *sigh*)

CD: What do you find easiest/most difficult about writing paranormal romance?

The easiest is the heroes, I love delving into their tortured pasts. All my paranormal heroes have them. I enjoy that aspect more than the gory side of Paranormal. I also enjoy creating my own paranormal world and mythology. That is half the fun for me.

The most difficult is trying to remember all the aspects of the world I created! Also, I am not really much of a romance suspense reader or writer, so trying to layer in suspenseful plot points into a paranormal is very challenging for me.
CD: You’ve written books that are paranormal romance and straight contemporaries. Why have you chosen to write in these genres?

KG: I like to write in genres I like to read myself. I also have a couple of historical releases coming up. I find mixing it up keeps the writing fresh to me and keeps the ‘fun factor’ alive. I always said, once this stops being fun to me, I will no longer do it.
CD: Do you have plans to write a book in any other another genres?

KG: Yes! I have a Historical coming out in November with Silver Publishing, KNIGHT OF CHRISTMAS, and my free read with Evernight Pub THE RIDING CROP is a historical. Also have a short story for Decadent’s The Edge Line that is a historical coming sometime in December, THE BLIND CUPID. Am working on a historical erotic romance that is a prequel of sorts to THE BLIND CUPID! Also have a completed historical western to edit.

Looks like I will be sticking pretty much with Contemps, Paranormal and Historicals for now.  However, another upcoming release, THE HERO SANDWICH with Breathless Press (Nov 9) co-written with my bud and crit partner, Gayl Taylor, has F/M/F ménage and cougar themes, a first for me! Also I stuck my toe in the BDSM waters with THE RIDING CROP and THE BLIND CUPID. Though both are light BDSM, it certainly is something I may explore in a longer narrative down the road.

CD: What is your writing process?

KG: Good question! Not sure I have one. I put on a full pot of Earl Grey tea, my comfy-slouchy clothes, usually music is playing in the background. From movie soundtracks, classical, current hard rock to 60’s-80’s. I find music a great accompaniment to writing. Doesn’t distract me at all. I am a pantser, I have a vague idea for plot and ending in mind and just sit down and type and see where the characters take me.

CD: What do you believe to be the most important factor in portraying a believable romantic relationship?

KG: Emotion. A deep connection that goes beyond the physical, but sizzles with heat as well. A couple of reviewers have called my stories ‘hot and sweet’, like a cup of hot chocolate. I think it fits.

Everyone has their own opinion what is erotic or erotica, I put myself in the ‘Erotic Romance’ category. I’m all about the emotion. Hot sex spices things up, but it is not the main thrust (no pun intended!) of my books. Also believable situations and conversations between the hero and heroine.

We remember the thrill of falling in love, the intense feelings and the off-the-chart physical yearnings. We as readers and writers for that matter can relive it through a romance novel.

Romance encompasses the ups and downs of obtaining that one true love. We are swept away into the adventure, larger than life heroes (and okay, heroines), drama and always that happily ever after.

CD: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

KG: Be true to yourself, your family and friends and you can never go wrong.

CD: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

KG: Never give up. Keep writing. Write what you love. Get the story down first, then go back and edit. Don’t take any rejection personally (easy to say, I know) Jump back in the trenches.
CD: Who is your greatest writing influence?

KG: I would have to say every romance author I have ever read. Everyone influences me. Though I will pick one. The first romance novel I read was Simply Magic from Mary Balogh. The book still impacts me to this day. If I can ever reach even half of the emotion in anything I write as Mary has in this book, I will be a happy camper.
CD: What do you enjoy reading?

KG: A voracious reader, I only started reading romance about six years ago and started writing it at least three years ago. Imagine my shock at having a life-long dream come true. Being published. Goes to show it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.

Besides romance, also enjoy non-fiction, and certain biographies. I have just purchased some Michael Connelly books at a second hand book store, so I am going to give suspense a whirl.
CD: What’s your favourite television show? Favourite movie?

KG: Oh wow, I have so many and my lists change constantly. I will name a few. Love classic movies, so Casablanca is up there. Love Goodfellas and The Godfather, too.

For TV, love Justified and am watching BBC’s Sherlock at the moment and loving it. Also Game of Thrones.
CD: You have a book review site, The Romanorum. Would you tell us a little about this?

KG: I started out as a reviewer, also reviewed for The Season before I was published. Now that I am published, sadly, my review time has been slashed considerably. Also don’t seem to have the time to visit the blogs I used to! I am writing shorter reviews (also putting them at Goodreads) and am going to use The Romanorum (Latin for The Romance) to showcase authors and books more.

My opinion on reviews is I don’t post anything under 2 stars. (out of 5) I’m not going to savage a book, there is enough nastiness in the world. I held that opinion before I was published, but now that I am, I feel even more strongly about it. A writer pours their heart and soul and sweat into a book, I’m not going to publicly shred it. I think a little respect goes a long way.
CD: If you were stranded in a land that looked suspiciously like the cover of a paranormal romance series, what three things would you wish were with you?

KG: Oh Lord, this question stumped me big time. I guess I would want kick-ass, knee-high heroine boots. Sexy under things for my tryst with shirtless, hunky paranormal hero on the cover. For some reason, I would want a whip. Not sure why…*snort*

CD: Where can readers find you?

My Vampire Cover Model by Karyn Gerrard Decadent Publishing

Now available at
Amazon ~ All Romance eBooks ~ Bookstrand ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo



Deanna tapped her sandaled foot in annoyance. She didn’t want to bother with the guy, but Janice insisted, bouncing on the balls of her feet in excitement as they advanced toward the table.

As they moved closer, the model’s masculinity became more potent. She could hear the slight lilt to his deep voice as he answered the ladies questions. His eyes crinkled sexily when he smiled. His teeth were perfectly shaped and a brilliant white.

Deanna glanced at her aunt’s table a few times, hoping to catch her eye, but Carol was busy working her crowd. While Deanna enjoyed an historical romance she’d never quite taken to the paranormal genre. Aunt Carol always mailed her advance copies, but she usually wound up giving them to Janice. She should’ve given the books a chance. Judging from the crowd, paranormal romance seemed popular. There was a steady stream of women coming and going.

Janice clutched her arm. “We’re next!”

Oh, yippie-friggin’-yay. Janice stood next to Burn. Damn, he is tall. A few inches under six-six, anyway, Deanna observed. Janice babbled nonsensical chatter while the model smiled, nodded, and signed a couple of her paperbacks.

Janice put her arm around the man’s trim waist. “Take our picture, Dean!”

Deanna raised the camera and looked up just as Burn’s searing gaze swept over her like a roll of white heat. God, his eyes had turned from black to silver again. Those special magic contacts were amazing. Holding out the camera, she clicked and hoped Janice was in the frame because she couldn’t tear her eyes away from “Sizzle” or “Burn” or whatever his name was. Deanna clicked another for good measure.

Janice took the camera and shoved her toward the leather-clad hunk. Her mouth went dry, and her insides fluttered. For God’s sake, he was only a model. Why was she so flustered?

She stepped next to him and glanced up. Oh hell yeah, very tall. He towered over her by at least a foot. His arm stretched out to clasp her shoulder, and he brought her in tight against his side. Solid, rock-hard muscle. Her insides began to churn in arousal.

“What’s your name, darlin’?”

She couldn’t speak. Deanna was like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, sitting on Santa’s lap. Duh…uh. No words came out.

“Her name is Deanna, but I call her Dean!” Janice sang out.

Burn gently squeezed her shoulder, and it almost brought her to her knees, his touch was so intoxicating.

“Dean. I like that,” he purred.

Dear God. His voice, was he Irish? The tone sounded low, sexy, and rumbled deep in his impressive chest, sending shock waves through her entire body.

Then the unthinkable happened. A wash of scent covered her. Deanna could taste it in her mouth, and feel it on her skin. Was the overpowering aroma his cologne? Some guys liked to drown themselves with those tacky body sprays. Burn must have marinated himself in the swill.

Deanna wheezed and her throat closed up. Her hand clasped her throat. Trying to breathe through her nose was unsuccessful. The only thing she smelled was his spicy, musky, overpowering scent. Her eyes watered and her body trembled furiously.

“Are you all right, love?”

Deanna fell to her knees, fighting for every breath. Strong arms encircled her and carried her from the sales floor through to a door marked Staff Only.

Living in a small town in a corner of Ontario, Canada, Karyn Gerrard wiles away her spare time writing, reviewing and reading romance. As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose here in this wilderness paradise, she assumes everything is golden. Originally from the east coast of Canada, she loves to set some of her stories in the Maritime Provinces~

Happily married for a long time to her own hero, a teacher that braves everything that is thrown at him. His encouragement keeps her moving forward.


Welcome to the blog Kylie from Octavia and Vicky!

Hi peeps,

Please join me today in welcoming Kylie from Octavia and Vicky to the blog! Kylie is a dear friend of mine, and has the most delightful blog about Early Childhood Learning, Technology and…Well, I’ll let her explain, shall I? 😀

Cassandra Dean: Would you tell us a bit about yourself and your blog?

OctaviaandVicky.comKylie: Hello! I’m Kylie, a mother to two year old ‘Pebble’, with another bub on the way. I’m also an early childhood educator who loves playing, cooking and using as many geek-tech tools as possible along the way.

CD: Why the name Octavia and Vicky?

K: Octavia and Vicky is named after a story I wrote when I was five years old. It is about a spider named Octavia and her young friend, Vicky.

CD: What made you decide to take up blogging?

K: I’ve dabbled with blogging for years, way back in the days of Geocities! I had a health and life style blog, a personal “everything and anything” blog and then a pregnancy/baby blog. I just love techy stuff and I have always loved writing. Blogging was a natural choice for me.

CD: What is the philosophy behind your blog?

K: I share quick, easy and fun ideas for families to play, make, do, cook and eat. I write about things that I enjoy and find useful, and hope that others find it useful too.

CD: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

K: Do the best you can with what you’ve got at the time, and, Keep it simple, stupid (I’m not always good at following that advice!)

CD: What’s the best piece of blogging advice you’ve ever received?

K: Stay true to your voice and be consistent.

CD: Who is your greatest blogging influence?

K: I am finding it so hard to keep on top of reading blogs, I just skim the surface of the big blogging pond and try and see it all. I have hundreds of blogs in my RSS feed and they each hold a special place in my heart. I was so lucky to meet many of my blogging idols and friends at a conference in Sydney this year, which really added to the connections made through blogging. And yes, I am totally fence sitting and not picking any favs.

CD: What do you enjoy reading (besides my books, of course ;p)?

K: I’m definitely spending a lot more time reading social media than books. Does that count? When I do read a book it might be anything from a thriller, mystery, romance, drama, comedy. It’s the writing that I enjoy more than the genre.

CD: What’s your favourite television show? Favourite movie?

K: You are asking very hard questions, young lady! My favourite TV just recently has been Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey. My strongest television influence is YOU, as you point me in the direction of all the best stuff to watch. (CD: It’s my pleasure, Kylie! It’s so nice to have someone to share my obsessions with… :D) My favourite movie… that is very tricky. I’ll just say The Princess Bride because it’s the first thing that came to mind… but I have many, many favourites.

CD: If you were stranded where the wild things are, or perhaps where the dish ran to with with the spoon, what three things would you like to have with you?

K: My camera (my phone would be great too – along with free wifi!). Pen and paper. A picnic lunch to share with the cat, the cow and the little dog.

CD: Where can readers find you?

K: <- click it!

Thanks so much for visiting, Kylie! Peeps, check out her blog – you won’t regret it 😀