Give a warm welcome to Laura C. Cantu, author of Betwixters: Once Upon A Time, Betwixters Book One !
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cauldron, a bat wing Chocolate Chip or Pumpkin or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Laura C. Cantu and Betwixters: Once Upon A Time. Did I tell you Laura has a monster of a true tale too? Make sure you read all the way to the end!
“The old man’s breath came out in puffs of white clouds as he raced through the frigid night air. Wind snaked through rustling branches and caused the forest canopy to sway as if the trees were made of rubber. His muscles burned, but that didn’t slow him down. A portal had opened somewhere nearby, he could feel it in his bones. All he had to do was find it and kill whatever had traveled through it. He hoped it was that faerie he had met in his dreams. What was her name again? Neb? Neev? No, that wasn’t it. He stopped running and plunged his hand into his pocket. “Neevya,” he whispered. “That were her name.” Somehow, he knew she was the cause of all the trouble he sensed coming his way. He had felt it approaching for months—a huge black, storm-like premonition that roiled with deception and danger. It was a storm he was set on thwarting, even if it meant unleashing the chondour he had trapped in his dungeon. He pulled his hand out of his pocket and inspected a small iron trap. “If she comes through these here parts, this ought take care of ‘er.” He stooped, placed the trap on the ground, and covered it with a dry, dead leaf.
An ominous howl echoed in the distance. It was a cry that made him cringe. He’d heard it before, about eight years ago, and he knew death was sure to follow. As much as he had tried, he’d never figured out where it came from or what manner of creature had made it. But there was one thing he did know for sure; a common wolf didn’t make that kind of sound. He started to run toward the howl to investigate, but abruptly stopped to cast a faerie attracting spell over his snare and to make sure his trap was set just right.
The howl came again, this time louder. He glanced over his shoulder and rushed toward it.”
Meeting a Monster – A True Story
When I was younger, a group of newly acquired friends and I tried to think of something eerie to do on Halloween night. Little did we know, that we would see something truly terrifying that would change our lives forever.
Like many teenagers, we decided that visiting a cemetery was just about the perfect way to give ourselves a good scare. I had just moved to town, and my new friends insisted that there was a glowing tombstone in an old, run down graveyard off a gravel road about thirty miles outside of town. So, we piled in a small, two-door car and drove, excited about the prospects of having some good ghost stories to tell on the way.
The road we were driving on was a narrow, two-lane service road with lots of potholes, hills, and curves. The locals had spread rumors that “devil-worshipers” often held ceremonies along that road, and one of the girls, who was sitting in the back seat, seemed to be enjoying herself as she recounted the spooky stories. She spoke of how the Satanists skinned animals alive, and how there were strange sightings in the area. Her last story was about the glowing gravestone; she claimed it was cursed.
We drove farther and farther from town, well over thirty miles, and I fidgeted in my seat. I was beginning to have second thoughts about going so far out into the night, especially since I hadn’t let my mother know where I was going. Back then, we didn’t have mobile phones. If something unexpected or dreadful happened, there would’ve been no one around to help, and my mother wouldn’t have even known where to look.
I shook my head, trying to shake off my growing apprehension as silence suddenly fell over the car like a soft, suffocating blanket. I cleared my throat to speak up but thought better of it. I didn’t want to be the one who chickened out and insist on turning back.
The car’s headlights pierced the darkness of the night and bugs thumped into the windshield as we continued to drive along. That’s when it happened.
The car came to a screeching halt.
There, in the middle of the road, sat a coyote. The driver of the car, a sixteen-year-old girl with short curly hair named Angie (her name has been changed to protect her identity), honked at the coyote. To our amazement, it didn’t move. Instead, it lazily looked in our direction as if it had nothing better to do than sit in the middle of the road, blocking our way.
She honked again.
The coyote blinked. The lights of the car reflected on its retina, causing its eyes to glow a dull shade of red.
When it did not budge this time, Angie yelled and honked again, but this time she held her hand down so that the horn blared into the night air.
It was then that the coyote stood on its two hind legs and turned toward us, a tall looming monster with sharp teeth and penetrating eyes.
Angie’s hand slid from the steering wheel as we all sat in amazement at this towering beast. It seemed to be looking us over, mulling over what it would do next. Was he contemplating eating us?
I couldn’t find my voice. All I could do was sit there, slack-jawed and bewildered.
Just when I thought we were going to have to flee for our lives, the creature turned and ran away, its movements akin to that of a running human.
Everyone in the car finally found their voices to scream! Angie whipped a U-turn, and we hightailed it back to town.
Even today, over twenty years later, the vision of that creature is still clearly etched upon my memory. That was the day I began questioning how magical and mysterious our world truly is – Laura C. Cantu.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Betwixters: Once Upon A TIme, Laura C. Cantu, Middle-grade fantasy by firstname.lastname@example.org with 2 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Judy Meadows, author of Escape From Behruz released on April 21, 2017! NOW on sale for 99 cents! What a buy.
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Judy and Escape From Behruz.
First of all what inspired this particular story?
I love secret baby stories. A woman’s emotions revolving around childbirth—finding out she’s pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, caring for the new baby—are about as elemental and intense as it gets. And a man’s emotions—finding out he’s going to be a father, watching his partner’s belly grow, feeling the baby move, sharing in labor and birth, getting to know his new baby–are equally intense and elemental. For a woman to intentionally withhold the information that a man is going to be or has become a father is a huge betrayal.
And it’s good material for a story.
What can ruin a secret baby story for me is if the heroine’s motivation for withholding the information is weak (which it often is: i.e. “he would be mad at me”). So…I set out to write a secret baby story that had an unimpeachable motivation for keeping the secret. No one who knows her story will fault this heroine for keeping her secret. (Of course the hero does blame her, but not for long, not when he understands what her reasons were.)
That was the germ that sparked the plot. What could happen that would make it impossible for a woman to let the man she loves know about her pregnancy?
The story is set in a fictional country in the Middle East (located between Iran and Afghanistan). The locale also strongly influenced the plot. I chose the Middle East because I traveled in Iran and Afghanistan in the 70’s and lived in Iran for a year—all before the area was besieged by political turmoil and war. I loved the area and the people. I knew what it was like to be an American woman traveling there. So I made my heroine an American woman and plopped her down in that area.
What secret do you use to blast through writer’s block?
I read! I can open my favorite book on writing, The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Maass, to just about any page, and I’ll be inspired. Good fiction writing, any genre, inspires me. Writing by Rosamunde Pilcher, C.S. Lewis, and Vanessa James all somehow infiltrate my brain with their rhythms and sentence structure and make my writing more fluid.
Did you tell friends and family that you were writing a book? Or did it take a while to come out and tell friends and family you were a writer?
“Coming out” is an apt analogy for what it’s like to tell friends you’re writing a romance novel. I started by telling peripheral people (like someone I met while vacationing in Mexico, someone I was never going to see again). But there came a time when the only explanation for my lack of availability (What was I doing with my time?) was the truth. I’d written a successful nonfiction book by then (Touching Bellies, Touching Lives, about midwives in Mexico) so that helped a little, but what helped the most was joining my local chapter of Romance Writers of America. Being with women who took their craft seriously and supported each other and learned from each other was what gave me the perspective I needed to be proud of the work myself.
What do you want your readers to take away from your books?
First and foremost: intense emotional satisfaction. I want them to really care about the characters and really share in the joy the characters feel when they get their happily-ever-after ending.
Secondly (this wasn’t my intention when I started writing about Behruz but I see it as a possible bonus effect), I hope reading my stories will help readers see past stereotypes about the Middle East. The characters are real people with real puppies and real quirks, talents and dreams.
Do you find it easier to write from a male or female point of view? Why?
Female! I would write from purely the female point of view, but publishers nowadays prefer a balance between the male and female points of view, so I’ve tackled that. I find I can get to know my hero and his motivation by looking at the heroine through his eyes. Why is he attracted to her? What does he long to have happen with her? How does he experience the pain of setbacks? How does it feel to love so deeply? Starting with that, he comes to life for me.
Okay, tell us a little about the story.
Rashid will escort Olivia and the baby through the mountains to Iran in order to escape the violence in Behruz, but he won’t let Olivia near his heart. Not again. Not after the way she trampled it two years ago.
Olivia accepts his help, but she has no interest in his heart. She’s never forgiven him for abandoning her when she needed him most. Still, she has to be careful. He mustn’t learn that the baby the world thinks is heir to the Behruzi throne is actually her son. And Rashid’s.
Can they make it through the trek, sharing a tent each night, without giving in to the attraction that has always drawn them together? Can Olivia hold in the secret that could destroy her?
Ohhh, sounds intriguing. Do you have a sneak peek from the book for us?
Walking toward the tent of her “husband,” Olivia felt like a bride. The mantle framed her face and fell down her back like a bride’s veil, and the long skirt swayed with every step. Rashid stood in front of the tent talking to Saddiq. He was wearing a long shirt and a wool vest like those worn by the other men. He was holding up a rifle, sighting along the barrel. He said something to Saddiq and handed him the rifle; then he turned and saw the procession of women approaching. Time stopped for several heartbeats when his eyes fell on Olivia. He seemed to straighten up, to become taller, and everything about him became very still.
She met his gaze boldly. The petticoats swished around her legs when she walked. She felt the swing of her arms, the sway of her hips, even the slight bounce of her breasts. All the women stood behind her, waiting for Rashid’s reaction.
“Spin around again like you did for us in the tent,” Fatima whispered to Olivia.
Rashid’s nomad clothes made him look primitive and very male. His eyes were intent on her, like the eyes of an animal watching its prey. He was motionless except for a slight quivering of his nostrils.
Olivia lifted her arms slowly, and the women stepped back away from her. Then she began the pirouette. She moved as if in a trance. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. But still the skirt rose, its colors blurring as she spun, and she felt dizzy and flushed when she stopped. She gave Rashid a smile that came from some new knowledge.
“You are a temptress,” he said in English. His eyes were dark pools that beckoned her to tempt and be tempted.
“The ladies are waiting to see what you think of their handiwork.”
He stepped toward her and reached his hand up to touch her face at her temple. Then he slid it down until it cupped the nape of her neck. A shiver of response rippled through her, but she didn’t move.
“She is very beautiful,” he said in Farsi. “The costume is perfect. She is perfect.” He kissed her lightly on the lips. The speculations and remarks of the nomads hushed. A crow cawed in the distance, and then it was silent too. She was mesmerized. She felt possessed.
About the Author:
I grew up and went to college in Minnesota but now live in a small town in Oregon with my husband Jim. I love to travel, read, hang out at the beach, cook, and play with grandchildren. I’ve always loved cats, but sadly find myself catless at the moment. Our 19-year-old Simba and 17-year-old Tinker Bell both died last year.
I worked as a systems analyst for IBM when I finished college. When I retired from that field, my husband and I bought a farm in northern California. We grew apples, Asian pears, and raspberries for ten years before retiring again, this time to Oregon.
When our only child was a senior in high school, we adopted a 10-year-old girl from a Russian orphanage. I spent two weeks in Moscow finalizing the adoption and then came home to start the parenting thing for a second time.
When our Russian daughter was settled into the family, I trained to become a doula and volunteered to help Spanish speaking women in labor at the hospital across the street from our home. Soon I was very busy. After a few years of doing pro bono work, I made a website and began to work as a doula professionally.
During 20 years of working as a doula, I’ve helped 460 women in labor. My second romance novel, Midwife in Behruz (sequel to Escape from Behruz) features a midwife and uses my experience with childbirth. I’ve just finished Midwife in Behruz and am beginning to plot the final book in what will be a trilogy of stories set in Behruz.
It was wonderful having you with us today. What an interesting life you’ve led Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with the 99 cent sale on Escape From Behruz.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Adventures, Behruz, Contemporary, Judy Meadows, Romance by email@example.com with 33 comments.
I’m so excited to reveal the cover for author Tena Stetler’s A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance, third book in the Demon’s Witch Series. Isn’t it just fantastic? Yes, I know Amazon beat me to it. Darn it!
A little about A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance:
Stefan is a Native American vampire, former assassin for the Vampire Council. In a twist of fate, he now DJ’s the midnight shift for a small radio station in Whitefish, Montana, on the edge of Glacier National Park where his secret is safe until…
Born in Ireland, Brandy now works as a park ranger and trail guide in the park. During a full moon, Stefan and Brandy’s paths cross in a near physical collision on a trail. Their attraction is immediate and undeniable, almost as if fate demanded it.
Their union was foretold long ago in Irish folk tales where vampires and gryphons, warlocks and demons, witches and faeries must work together for the good of man and magic kind. Is a trip to Ireland the key to unraveling secrets and returning the magic? And even more importantly, will their love survive the trip?
A sneak peek between the pages of A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance.
It was nearly midnight when he cut across the Sun Road to another trailhead, so intent on his goal that he nearly collided with an attractive young woman. He skidded to a stop, spraying gravel, rocks, and small twigs down the road in front of him. A pinecone dislodged and bounced along the road past her. Tall and slender, she had miles of fiery-red hair that hung down her back in a cascade of curls. Intense emerald eyes stared back at him as he attempted to regain his composure, not to mention balance. What the hell was she doing here at this time of night?
“Whoa.” She stepped lightly to the side to avoid the flying debris. “You really should watch where you’re going, especially at that speed.” Her voice scolded, but the smile on her lips teased. “Someone could get hurt.”
Thanks for stopping by to share my excitement for the cover to A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance! Please make Authors’ Secrets a regular stop for award winning, best selling authors! Don’t forget there’s only 74 days left for Christmas shopping!
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged A Vampire's Unlikely Alliance, Christmas, fantasy, Halloween, Holidays, Ireland, magic, Paranormal, Romance, Shapeshifters, Tena Stetler, Vampire, Witches by firstname.lastname@example.org with 4 comments.
About the Author:
S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.
About the Author:
I have always loved to read and writing is just a natural extension of this for me. Growing up I loved to extend the stories of my favorite books and TV shows just to see where the characters went. I’ve been happily married for over twenty-five years to an awesome man and have two great kids. Now that the kids are out of the house, at least most of the time, I’ve found I have the time to write again. USA Today Bestselling Author.
About the Author:
When NY Times/USA Today bestselling author and Air Force veteran Susan Grant isn’t driving an 18-wheeler (a 747 jumbo jet) she loves writing romantic, action-packed stories featuring gutsy woman and honorable men. Flying to exotic places and trying every kind of food imaginable helps Susan bring her sci-fi worlds alive for readers. She is a winner of the prestigious RITA award for her book Contact, an alien abduction sci-fi romance.
About the Author:
Michelle Howard like many authors dreamed of writing since reading her first romance novel many years ago. She loves paranormal and contemporary romances and is a fan of the classic romances by Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood. I love to hear from fans so please reach out to me. If the mood hits you, leave a review.
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Cara Bristol writes steamy science fiction romance with an emphasis on the characters and their romance, with a little humor, heat, and danger added for fun. She is the author of three science fiction romance series: sexy cyborg Cy-Ops Scifi Romance series, the dark erotic Breeder series, and the new humorous Alien Mate series. She likes to say that she writes science fiction for readers who don’t like sci-fi. Cara lives in Missouri with her alpha hero, her husband, and Hannah, her cat and writing supervisor.
About the Author:
Best Selling Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance author, as well as the “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
About the Author:
Pauline doesn’t love reality so she writes books. She tends to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla (they were born the same year) through her characters lives, mixing peril and humor into her romance, but she always delivers a happy ending.
About the Author:
Laurie A. Green is a three-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist, an award-winning author, and a science fiction romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which is now over 1,000 members strong.
She confesses to being an Andromeda Galaxy groupie and would someday love to own a vacation home on Mars or Titan. She’s enthused to be a part of this wonderful anthology mash-up of two of her favorite things–pets and space.
Her family includes her husband, David, five dogs, three cats and several horses, all who reside on a ranch in beautiful New Mexico. A former military budget director and reserve state trooper, she now spends her time writing, networking, researching, enjoying the Southwestern lifestyle and, naturally, stargazing and daydreaming about other worlds.
About the Author:
Multi published author of Sci-Fi Rom and Urban Fantasy.
Sabine grew up consuming Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance novels (there was a brief bodice ripper period, but we won’t go into that).
She wanted to be an astronaut and travel the stars. She ended up an Electrical Engineer and Cultural Anthropologist. She’s a geek with heart.
Seriously disappointed we’ve yet to establish so much as a moon base, she’s encouraged by the recent developments by superstars such as Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, among others.
She’s a travel addict, beach-loving, stargazing disruptor. Her heroines are kickass and her stories action packed.
About the Author:
Jessica E. Subject is the author of science fiction romance, mostly alien romances, ranging from sweet to super hot. Sometimes she dabbles in paranormal and contemporary as well, bringing to life a wide variety of characters. In her stories, you can not only meet a sexy alien or two, but also clones and androids. You may be transported to a dystopian world where rebels are fighting to live and love, or to another planet for a romantic rendezvous.
When Jessica is not reading, writing, or doing dreaded housework, she likes to go to fitness class and walk her Great Pyrenees/Retriever her family adopted from the local animal shelter.
Jessica lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two energetic children. And she loves to hear from her readers.
About the Author:
Carol Van Natta is an independent author of science fiction and fantasy, including Overload Flux, Minder Rising, Pico’s Crush, and Jumper’s Hope, the first four books a space opera series; In Graves Below (Magic, NM), a paranormal romance; and Hooray for Holopticon, a retro science fiction comedy. She shares her Fort Collins, CO home with a sometime mad scientist and various cats. Any violations of the laws of physics in her books is the fault of the cats, not the mad scientist.
About the Author:
Alexis Glynn Latner writes science fiction and fantasy romantic adventure. Her science fiction novel Hurricane Moon was published by Pyr in 2007 and again by Avendis Press in 2014 with the sequels Downfall Tide in 2015, Star Crossing in 2016, and Helldive coming in late 2017. Her science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery stories have appeared in the magazines Analog and Amazing and in various online, print and e-book anthologies. She works at the Fondren Library at Rice University in Houston and teaches creative writing through Rice’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. For real life adventure and the romance of flight, she is a sailplane pilot.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged fantasy, Historical Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction Romance by email@example.com with no comments yet.