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All posts for the month October, 2015

Release Day – Love Reawakened

Published October 29, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

It’s release day, it’s release day (sing it with me). As you may have guessed I’m a little bit excited 🙂 Love Reawakened is a story close to my heart. I know some people have gone, ‘zombies, really?’ and since I’m probably the biggest horror wuss you’re ever likely to meet, then I do see their point. Like most of my stories though, I had very little choice in how it went down lol! The characters spoke to me, and that was that, I just couldn’t ignore them. You try getting any peace with a smart-ass witch and a rather drool-worthy necromancer knocking around in your head – and that’s before you start throwing in magic, zombies, some secondary characters who seem to insist on taking over every scene (yes, Carisa and Deacan will be got to eventually!) and my zombie cat called Mittens. (hey, he doesn’t shed anymore, maybe it’ll catch on) I’ve really loved getting to live in their world for a bit – and there’ll be more stories from there coming – and I just hope you do too.

Cemetery in a foggy full moon nightBlurb

For Emma Strachan, raising zombies is all in a day’s work. A girl has to pay the bills somehow! But when what should be a simple raising goes horribly wrong, Emma is forced to ask for help from the one man she swore never to see again.

Garret is used to being a loner, as a necromancer he works best that way and frankly, with the dangers he faces every day, it’s easier not to have to look out for anyone else. When Emma shows up on his doorstep desperate for help, he vows to ignore the raging attraction between them – after all a pretty, fun-loving witch has no place in his world.

Can Emma and Garret put aside old resentments in order to try and defeat a zombie unlike anything they have seen before? When the dust settles, can they count on any future between them?

Buy Links (will update with Nook and iBooks when they go live)

Also don’t forget I’m having a Release Day Party over on Facebook. There’ll be fun, games, giveaways and some awesome other authors taking part. I’d love you to come join in 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/events/1500862333570037/1512255099097427/

Promo 4

Love Reawakened Prequel (Free Read) – Part Five

Published October 28, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

Happy Hump Day, as they call it 🙂 Since it’s release day tomorrow I’ll be dancing round the place like a crazy person, so I thought I should get you your Thursday Free Read installment a day early. I really hope you’re enjoying the Love Reawakened prequel, I’m hoping to have it properly edited and put up as a complete story soon – but in the meantime, you get it here first! And, don’t forget Emma and Garret’s big adventure goes live tomorrow 🙂

sexy witchEmma was rapidly starting to lose her buzz. Was it too much to ask to be able to dance on her own without half a dozen jerks insisting that she must need company? This one seemed particularly persistent.

“I’m sorry, I’m really not interested” She tried more firmly, and this time turned her back on him. Surely that would give the hint?

Instead she felt rough hands on her butt. Seriously? She whirled round, sparks flying from her fingers and singeing the air around them both. The asshat took an unsteady step back, his hands waving in the air as though trying to swat a fly.

“What the fuck?” One of the sparks caught his hand and he snatched it back to his chest, staring at it confusion and then rising anger. “Goddamn bitch burned me.”

He stepped forward again, face contorted with drunken rage. Emma took a deep breath, called up her magic, and then the guy was suddenly on his ass in the middle of the dance floor. She blinked. Okay, that hadn’t been her.

Then Garret was taking her arm and moving to the other side of the polished wooden floor. He turned her away from the small group gathered around the floored guy, and began moving them to the music. She stared up at him in surprise, unsure what to say.

“I thought you didn’t want to dance.”

He sighed. “I didn’t, but you obviously can’t stay out of trouble.”

“Me? I was only sticking up for myself, and you seem to be the one putting people on the floor.”

He grunted. “I didn’t say he deserved it, and you were… inciting.”

Emma grinned. “I was what? How exactly?”

His hands waved around randomly. “Hips, twirling… ness. Look, are you wanting to dance or not?”

A grin was spreading across her face, but she simply nodded and let him pull her into his arms. For someone who claimed they didn’t dance he moved well, and as the music switched to a slower song she wrapped her arms around his neck and let her body sway in time with his. The world around them seemed to drift away as she relaxed against him, resting her head on his chest, hearing his heartbeat under her ear. Breathing in, she let his scent surround her; a unique blend of sandalwood and musk, with an underlying thread that was just sweat and skin and male. Every hard muscle seemed to mould against her… oooh, including a certain extra hard part of his anatomy that seemed to be pressing against her stomach. Things were definitely looking up – literally! A sly grin crossed her face as she deliberately rubbed against him.

His breath exhaled on a hiss as he stiffly moved back from her. Frowning slightly, she tilted back her head to look up at him. His deep brown eyes burned into her, she could see the banked desire there. Rising up on tiptoe, she did what she’d wanted to do since pretty much the first moment she’d seen him, half-concussed in a graveyard, and kissed him.

His lips were shockingly soft, and fire seemed to spark between them at the touch. Pressing against him, she deepened it, a whimper rising up in her throat as he met her thrust with his own, their tongues tangling as she felt heat sliding over her body and pooling in her belly and lower. Fuck, she’d never got this hot off a simple kiss before, and she needed more. Moaning she tangled her hands in his hair, her leg sliding up to hook over his hip, desperately trying to rock her against his hardness. She was dimly aware of wolf whistles breaking out behind her.

“Get a fucking room!” Someone shouted.

Garret stiffened a second before he abruptly pulled back from her. She felt the loss of warmth like a physical blow. She tried to pull herself together, managing a weak smile.

“Well, I dunno about you, but that doesn’t sound like such a bad suggestion. I know I have one, am sure you do too…”

He simply stared at her for a long moment, and she shivered as the warmth seemed to bleed out of his eyes.

“It’s late and you’ve had a lot to drink. I’ll drive you home.”

Lovely, talk about frostbite here.

“You’ve been drinking as well,” she mumbled. “I can just get a taxi.”

“I’ve only had two, I’ve fine to drive. Let’s get your coat.”

Emma nodded reluctantly. Had she just imagined that he’d been affected too? Either way, he definitely didn’t seem to be now. Yay for awkwardness.

 

penta witchGarret glanced across at the stiff form in the passenger seat. She’d barely said a word since they’d left the bar, apart from directions, and the tension in the small car was like a physical presence. What the hell had got into him back there? He liked his relationships light and casual, as far away from complicated as possible. Getting involved with someone like Emma screamed out complications at every turn. Not only was she young and currently his student, but she had a light and innocence that shone out of her. For fucks sake, she couldn’t even stand to watch a raising! Someone like that had no place anywhere near the kind of world he lived in. This awkwardness was not good though, especially when they still had to work together.

“It’s over there, on the right.” Her voice was tight.

He slowly pulled in and cut the engine. He needed to fix this somehow.

“Emma…” Her bright green gaze pinned him and he suddenly lost all focus for what he’d been about to say. Concentrate.

“Look, I’m really sorry.”

“For what?” She snapped. “For kissing me back in the first place, or shoving me away like I’m fucking contagious?”

“Erm,” there was no right answer to this, was there? “Both, I guess?”

She continued to glare at him and he fumbled for something better.

“Look, you’re a great person, but you’re my student and it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between us.”

She snorted, “For fuck’s sake, it’s not like I’m a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl. We’re both adults. I can decide to sleep with whoever I like, and it’s nothing to do with anyone else.”

“I just don’t want things to be awkward between us.”

“It would have to mean something to be awkward, so don’t flatter yourself. I was horny, that’s all. Don’t worry, I’ll find someone else to deal with it.”

An image of the dickwad back at the bar with his hands all over her rose up in his head. Like hell she would. All his good intentions disappeared in a surging rage of possessiveness unlike anything he’d never known before. A growl rose up and before he’d even realized what he was doing, he was dragging her across the seat and crushing her lips with his.

Author Interview with McKayla Schutt

Published October 27, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

Two days to release day – squee! If that wasn’t enough to make me smile, I’m joined here today by the lovely McKayla Schutt, who is dropping in for a brew and a gossip – not to mention some juicy details on her fab werewolves series, Imprinted.

McKayla Shutt 1Thanks for much for being here, McKayla. So, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself.

Hello, my name is McKayla Schutt and I write paranormal romance. Werewolves are my focus, they call to me when I sleep and sometimes when I day dream. I currently have one series in hard copy and all three parts in ebook form. I like to read, write and spend time with my two beautiful kids, Alex and Kate. I have been married to Branden for 3 almost 4 years. I have three big dogs O’Ryan, my lab who is my cuddle bug, Arizona, my Saint Bernard who thinks she is a tinny lap dog, and Zoey the youngest who likes to rough house with Alex.

Sounds like a lovely, if slightly chaotic, household J Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?

I think that would be when my dad found a manuscript that I had been working on, read it and told me that he really liked it. Before I just wrote for fun to help keep me from going crazy.

Yup, I’m with you on that one, I always tell people how much weirder I would be if I couldn’t at least get some of stories out! Do you have a particular writing routine, or any special rituals?

HAHA. I have two kids under the age of 4 so getting a routine would be insane for me. When I get a window to sit and write I take it. I used to type all my stories for the first draft but my daughter kept waking up once I started typing so I now hand write them once more.

Lol, sounds like a juggling act. Tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.

I currently write in the Paranormal Romance genre. I have always liked reading about vampires and werewolves so I decided that maybe I should write about werewolves and I have been in love with them ever since.

They do just sneak under the skin, don’t they? 😉 Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?

I really like Decadent Kane with her trouble with the elves series. I like how she uses details without boring you to death.

Oooh, good choice! I love her elves as well, plus her elfing swearwords always make me smile. What five things could you never do without?

Pepsi, books, my kids are number one, oreos, and my husband. 😉

Hehe, is it oreos and husband in that order? 😉 (I need my writing cookies too!) Tell us a bit about your new release.

Imprinted The Series is a love story about a woman, Kindra, who is just trying to find her place in the world and a werewolf, Judden, who wants peace between his pack and the pack north of him.

Sounds interesting. Where did your inspiration for it come from?

It started off in a dream of mine when Kindra ran into Judden. I wrote it as a part of a Story a Day in May challenge and it continued that summer.

*sighs* I never seem to have dreams that fun. What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?

I got to experiment a little with world building which I hadn’t done much before then.

What was the hardest part about writing it?

Editing is my biggest struggle. I am horrible with grammar and sometimes re-writing a scene is hard because part of me feels like it’s not my scene to change.

I feel your pain! I have huge respect for all my editors who seem to effortlessly pick up the ten millions things I’ve missed. Who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)

Kindra would have to be my favorite, she is sassy and independent.

A gal after all our hearts then! So, just in case we’re not all convinced already, tell us why we should run out and buy it right now?

Because it is an awesome story filled with love and twists and turns. Even some naughtiness if you like that stuff.

*coughs* What us? 😉 Thanks so much for joining us to chat today McKayla.

If you’re now dying to get your hands on a copy of Imprinted: The Series, here are the details.

McKayla ShuttBlurb:

A bond between a werewolf and another (human, werewolf, witch, vampire and more) that can’t be broken. If the bond isn’t completed, the werewolf will lose the ability to shift. If one tries to break the bond, it is painful for both involved.

A woman who has been lost in her search to find where she belongs may find what she has been looking for in Laramie, Wyoming. When Kindra comes to visit her twin sister, Heather, all she wanted was to have a little bit of fun, but what she got was an imprint bond with a werewolf she just met. This may just be the place she was looking for all this time, but will she fit in with the pack of werewolves?

A werewolf studying at the University of Wyoming bumps into a woman who seems lost. Desperate for a little companionship and a distraction, Judden invites her over for a little party his brother is throwing that night. Everything changes the moment his hand touches hers, and the lightning courses through his body, telling him that he imprinted. Not wanting to lose his wolf side forever, he quickly mates with her. Now as he gets to know her, he realizes that she is the perfect woman. The only problem he now faces is keeping her safe as the Casper pack north of Laramie wants war. All Judden wants is peace and to keep his new mate out of harm’s way.

Will the love they share conquer the problems they face, or will the threat of a war tear them apart? Find out in Imprinted: The Series.

You can buy it here:

Createspace

Amazon US

Or you can buy the individual books in ebook format here:

Book One: www.amazon.com/dp/B00T4Y60JS
Book Two: www.amazon.com/dp/B00WFG2CWG
Book Three: www.amazon.com/dp/B0125ZRX6Q

If you want to follow McKayla, you can find her on social media here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/McKaylaSchutt

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McKaylaSchut

Blog: https://mckaylaschutt.wordpress.com/

Take care x

Monday Catch Up

Published October 26, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

Blue-Moon-over-Edinburgh-Castle-e1438359642194-300x201Well, it might be Monday again (they do seem to come round quick!) but at least it’s Halloween week so we can get away with lots of fun and spookiness. Hope your Halloween costumes on coming along – I’m horribly disorganised this year, but shall be working on it this week! The clocks have gone back over here at weekend (I know you peeps over the pond are clinging on to summertime for another week lol!) so it was a bit of a shock to be coming home from work in the dark and the cold – though it was made better by the most gorgeous golden full moon. I could definitely see myself having been a moon worshipper in a former life 🙂

I also have a new release on Thursday (squee!) so am getting excited now and looking forward to the Release Day Party on facebook. If you haven’t joined up yet the link is here

There’s going to be fun, games, giveaways and there’s some fab other authors getting involved.

Halloween Blog Hop LogoSpeaking of giveaways I’m joining in the Halloween Book Hop over on facebook (a big welcome to those who might be visiting here through that link) and there are prizes to be won. The link with all the details is here, and you get an additional entry for following this blog.

https://www.facebook.com/Shelli-Rosewarne-364962230246715/

Hope you’re all having a fab start to the week x

Love Reawakened Prequel (Free Read) – Part Four

Published October 25, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

Hope you’re having a fun weekend! The clocks have gone back here last night, so an extra hour – which I may need to recover after cocktail pitchers last night! Today, I’m sharing the next part of my free prequel to Love Reawakened. (Again,this isn’t fully edited yet so please excuse any mistakes) Hope you enjoy 🙂

6683.NECROMANCER01Emma shivered as she stood in the cold cemetery. Really, whoever said being a witch was going to be glamorous? Right now, she’d settle for warm and indoors. Her eyes settled on the tall figure in front of her. Maybe warm, indoors and with some company? His broad shoulders flexed as he made intricate movements in the air. She hadn’t quite realized the amount of power he possessed. It filled the air all around her, strumming through the ground and sending shivers through her. Normally magic warmed her, but death magic was weirdly cold, sending a chill seeping into her bones.

She forced herself to concentrate on what he was doing. This was a police investigation and two officers stood stiffly to attention on the other side of the grave. It was an important raising, hopefully it would bring a murderer to justice.

Her eyes went back to Garret, concentrating on his movements, on the words he chanted. Pure necromancy, such as he performed, had some subtle differences from the way witchcraft was used to raise, but many of the basic elements were the same and she could follow what he was doing at least. She could feel the pressure in the air as he drew the circle together, a moment before the ground before his feet boiled and bubbled, and a figure rose out of the churned earth.

Emma was barely aware of Garret droning the ritual words, of the police officer stepping forward and asking various questions. All she could do was stare at the corpse. The man was dead, yet standing in front of her. He was short, had probably been stocky in life but already the muscle was wasting away, giving him a scrawny, slightly saggy look that was a little un-nerving. His dark hair was still quite thick, but his face was drawn, his eyes sunken and the deep brown colour dull and glassy. He was there and yet not. She could see him walking a few steps around, answering the policeman’s questions, and yet he was robotic, stiff, like an animated puppet with someone pulling the strings. With Garret pulling the strings. She looked at the necromancer. He seemed perfectly calm, unbothered by being in the middle of a graveyard having a conversation with a corpse. But then, this was commonplace for him, wasn’t it. Maybe he did it everyday.

Bile rose up and she forced it back down. She couldn’t do this. There was no way she would be able to control someone who had once been a living, breathing person like that. What possible right did she have? She needed to get out of here. Turning on her heel, she half-ran, half-stumbled away from the grave, away from the talking corpse, and most of all, away from the man who had brought him back to life. At the end of the cemetery, she sank onto a bench, her legs shaking. Tears filled her eyes. She didn’t belong here, what kind of witch couldn’t even look at a zombie without having a panic attack. She was never going to be able to do this, and she might as well give up the whole thing. Get a normal job, wait tables or some such crap. God, she was an idiot to think she’d had any chance of being something special.

She didn’t know long how she sat there, but the sound of footsteps made her slowly raise her head out of her hands. Garret was stood in front of her, his deep brown gaze boring into her.

“There wasn’t a lot of assisting happening back there,” he commented. “Want to tell me what happened?”

Her vision blurred again. Great, now he was disappointed in her as well. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I just…”

What was she supposed to say? That she was a failure, an idiot, that she’d been stupid to think she could ever do this in the first place?

“I’m sorry,” was all she could manage to repeat.

His gaze softened slightly and he held his hand out to her. “Come on.”

She simply stared at it, blinking back her tears. “Where are we going?”

“You look like you need a drink. Or maybe six.”

She took his hand, letting him pull her to her feet. Couldn’t argue with that.

***

e357bcbdf3612bebf7cd279e7f997beaGarret leaned his hip against the side of the bar, his lips twitching as he watched her down another shot. For a little thing she sure could put them away. Her eyes met his and a smile spread across her face.

“You’re slacking. What’s up, can the big, bad necromancer not keep up with an itty bitty girl.”

She staggered slightly on the last words, and he quickly reached out, grasping her round the waist and supporting her against him. Her skin was warm and he could feel her soft curves leaning into him. Not a good idea. He grabbed his beer with his free hand, gulping it down. Maybe that would cool him down. Her head tilted up at him, her green eyes sparkling.

“You trying to cop a feel, sweetie? Don’t worry, I’m not exactly complaining.”

Garret sputtered on his beer. “No!” When she mock pouted at him, he found himself stuttering. “Not that you’re not… but we’re… look, I think maybe you’ve had enough.”

What the hell was wrong with him? He never got fucking tongue-tied around women, let alone little slips of girls where he was certainly not going to take advantage of a student/teacher relationship.

She was still grinning up at him. “I’m fine. I want to dance.”

Yeah, like that was a good idea when she was nearly falling over just propping up the bar! She was already heading towards the dance-floor though, half-dragging him behind her. Er, hell no!

He stopped dead, her body jerking back into him when she refused to let go of her death-grip on his wrist.

“I don’t dance.” He told her firmly.

For a moment she studied him, head tilted to one side. Then she shrugged and released his wrist. He was surprised at the pang of loss her touch caused.

“Your loss,” she laughed. “I’ll catch you later. Or if you actually want to stop being such a grouch and have some fun, come find me.”

Before he could answer she had turned, her hips blatantly swaying as she made her way to almost the dead-centre of the dance floor. Taking a few steps backwards, he leaned back against the bar, bringing the beer to his lips as he watched her. Arms raised, she twisted and twirled, her hips rolling to the music. The thin t-shirt rose up, baring the skin of her mid-drift and her hair swirled around her like a dark red cloud. It took all of about thirty seconds before she had drawn the eye of pretty much every guy in the room. He watched as the first one approached her. Her smile was light as she shook her head, but the first guy had barely stepped away before another one was there. He drained his bottle and slammed it back on the bar harder than needed. For fuck’s sake! He was definitely gonna regret this but he couldn’t leave her to the wolves.

My Sexy Saturday – 24/10/15

Published October 24, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

It’s finally weekend. Looking forward to going out tonight for a friend’s leaving-do, should be a fun night (though going to miss her as she’s heading abroad). In the meantime though, I’m joining in the My Sexy Saturday blog hop, and since I’m getting really excited about my new release, Love Reawakened, coming out on Thursday, this week’s excerpt is from that. Hope you enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out the other great excerpts here: http://mysexysaturday.blogspot.co.uk/

Cemetery in a foggy full moon night“Yeah, and it’s been just awful for you hasn’t it, having to put up with gorgeous women jumping you!”

“Well, I don’t know if you quite jumped me, but I suppose since I was almost incapacitated at the time….”

Emma’s face flamed and anger surged through her. “You know damn well I wasn’t talking about me. That woman was all over you, and I didn’t see you exactly complaining about it!”

His eyes widened. “This is about Carisa? That’s what you’re upset about?” He started laughing, and Emma lost the last vestige of her control. Wrenching her arm free, she slammed her fist into his uninjured arm, causing a surprised grunt, and turned on her heel.

“You are a jackass, and I’m going to bed!”

She took two steps before he grasped her again, whirling her around. His lips came down on hers, fierce and demanding, and to her disgust, it took less than ten seconds before she’d stopped struggling and opened her mouth for him. Christ, what was wrong with her? She was furious, but all he had to do was touch her and she went up in flames. His tongue plunged deep, possessive, and his arm around her waist crushed her closer. Giving up, she kissed him back just as fiercely, her hand sliding in his hair and her nails digging into his back through his t-shirt. When he pulled back a few inches, they were both breathing heavily.

He met her gaze, his voice low. “I have absolutely no interest in Carisa. I kissed her because it was what she wanted for the information, no other reason. The only woman I have any interest in getting jumped by is the one in front of me now.”

Guest Author – Brantwijn Serrah on Writing Diversity

Published October 23, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

Well, I don’t know about you, but it’s been a long week so yay for Friday. Especially when I have the lovely Brantwijn Serrah visiting 🙂 She’s going to talk about an interesting, and very relevant subject; that of diversity in writing. Take it away, Brantwijn.

I recently “lurked” my way through an intense debate over diversity in the Harry Potter books series, and one commenter passionately declared her crusade to intentionally include all under-represented groups in her own books.

Now, I should note I have my personal doubts about any story which pursues diversity out of such a sense of self-importance, a sense of “Look how socially and politically correct I am!”  But I agree with the value of diversity awareness in one’s work. Internet fandoms and content creators share and celebrate representations of honest, diverse characters and plotlies, and recognize the lack of it in our mainstream media by contrast.

Diversity is a tricky thing. Of course, all things poetic and intrinsically human are. As authors, it may be tempting to halt our process and insert a “token” racial or cultural archetype for brownie points, but that’s not the right way to do this diversity thing.

In my book Satin and Steel, the character of Feste is a gay man (well, a gay undead vampire, but that’s beside the point). This is who he has always been to me. Once upon a time I tried to pair him with a female, but it didn’t fit. It just didn’t feel right.

While writing the manuscript, though, I assumed the fact of his orientation needed to be plainly stated. Originally a scene between him and the main character included an outing—not to either of the characters but wholly for the reader’s benefit—to be sure no one would be in doubt he was gay.

Except that didn’t work either. In fact, it felt bad. Like making a spectacle or spotlight of him in an unnatural and obtrusive way. So, for this book at least, Feste’s orientation remained unstated.

Diversity is not white-washing all things to contribute to an already overbearing focus on straight, Caucasian male perspective. But it’s also not “tokenism”. Including—or outing—a character purely for the credit in doing so makes for bad writing. Diversity in fiction best exists the same way as diversity in life: it simply is, naturally. It’s everywhere, in every historical period and every geographic locale, in some form or another.

I think the secret to writing diverse characters in a genuine and truthful way is to first develop a personal interest, awareness, and respect for the multitude of perspectives outside your own. One of the reasons it’s so easy for authors to neglect diversity is a simple, and probably unintentional, ignorance. We experience life through only one set of eyes: our own. It takes acknowledgment of the limits in that singular point of view, to appreciate the worthiness of others’ experiences.

The media I grew up with was always dictated by, directed by, and delivered by predominantly white society. That my earliest creative endeavors were also dominated by straight white characters never seemed out of place until I came to recognize my own limited exposure.

When I read through the argument regarding Harry Potter, I reflexively considered my own work and whether or not I had inadvertently neglected diverse representation myself. In a surprising turn, I realized though I’d never directly focused on including representations of cultures, genders, and orientations other than my own, they’d evidently occurred on their own.  Lotus Petals was born when I sought to learn more about the culture of geisha and, subsequently, the history of Japan; the character of Vivienne in Satin and Steel was when an African-American friend told me about the gens de couleur libres and the Haitian Revolution, and the first seeds of a story were sewn. My Lady in Chains trilogy will include a transgender man who almost certainly owes his existence to the many open-minded and willing members of the LGBTQ community who are happy to share their thoughts, experiences, and histories with and as people of non-binary gender. I never exactly set out to write anything markedly diverse; the stories and characters introduced themselves to me once I’d learned more about their roles and experiences. The more I learn, too, the more I find I want these characters, these viewpoints, these values, to be part of my world. I can’t pretend I have it all down, either. But I know the entire concept definitely speaks to me, and I look forward to more inclusion in future works.

My advice, and encouragement, to all authors is to continue broadening your personal horizons on issues of diversity. Race, gender, orientation, ability and culture should flow naturally in any story…but they won’t, if they aren’t in your thoughts and on your mind first.

Thanks so much for sharing your insights. It’s certainly can be a controversial topic, and I think it’s an interesting point that it can sometimes be overthought. If characters are created simply to fulfill an obligation towards diversity, or forced into a certain mould for the sake of it then I can see how they simply won’t ring true with the reader.

Brantwijn also has a shiny new release out, Satin and Steel, which if you’ve been lucky enough to catch her previous books is the second one in the Blood and Fire series.

Satin and Steel coverBlurb:

They say love ruined her. It’s time to prove them wrong.
Half a century ago, Rhiannon lost the woman she loved. Since then, unlife has held little meaning for her, and she’s fallen from grace among the vampire nation. She once swore to throw herself into the sun the day Aijyn died…but it turns out she’s no good at keeping promises.
Sometimes the best cure for heartache is surrender. There’s a demon in London with new promises: darkness to run in, pleasures to hunt, rules to break. Sent to track down a dangerous traitor, Rhiannon is caught up in a game of murder and treachery between three warring races…and the sinful, seductive shadow-walker who could be her redemption, or her ultimate undoing.

If you’re now dying to get your mitts on a copy (and I know I am!), you can find the buy links here:

Champagne Books

Amazon US

Barnes and Noble

If you want to follow Brantwijn, and keep up-to-date on all her new releases, you can find her on social media at the following links:

Brantwijn’s Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/qf2bzwk
Foreplay and Fangs blog: http://brantwijn.blogspot.com/?zx=6ba3380c7201b326
Foreplay and Fangs on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/q2cmnep
Find Brantwijn on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6952482.Brantwijn_Serrah
Say hi to her on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Brantwijn

Satin and Steel Blog Tour (2)

Thanks so much to Brantwijn for chatting with me today, if you want to chat the rest of her blog tour the dates are above. Hope everyone has a great Friday x

Love Reawakend Prequel (Free Read) – Part Three

Published October 22, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

It’s creeping towards weekend, and creeping towards release day for me as well. Only a week left to go! I’m definitely getting excited, and I’m hoping to share that with the next installment of my free read prequel. If you missed the first parts you can find them here: Part One  Part Two 

Really hope you enjoy! 🙂

witch-fantasy_00408573Emma slowly came back to consciousness. Her head hurt, she definitely wasn’t in her own bed and she was now getting a weird sense of déjà vu. She cautiously opened her eyes – please don’t let there be gravestones everywhere, please! To her relief she at least seemed to be in a bedroom, though she’d been right, it wasn’t hers. The neutral walls, plain furniture and dark sheets were completely unfamiliar. Where the hell was she?

“Hello?” She managed to call out. Fuck, her throat hurt too. This was not turning into a good day.

“Good morning, sleeping beauty.” The low voice shot through her, and her eyes scanned the room, settling on a tall figure rising from a chair in the corner.

Okay, the day might be looking up. Her brow scrunched up as things started to come back to her.

“You were in the graveyard, you carried me… wait, I wasn’t dreaming?”

He shook his head. “Sorry, sweetheart. How are you feeling now?”

Emma ignored the question, her mind racing. Fuck, it hadn’t been a dream. Her face burned as she remembered fuzzily telling him how cute he was. Urgh, she was never going to live this down!

“I’m sorry, for erm… stuff I said. I was a little out of it.”

He grinned at her, and she couldn’t help notice how his eyes lit up, and little crinkles appeared at the corners. God, she was staring again!

“Hey, anything said under a concussion can’t be held against you.” He winked at her. “And besides, you at least had the good taste to prefer me to my brother. Otherwise you might have something to apologise for.”

Emma closed her eyes as heat seared her face. Shit, there were two people who’d seen her embarrass herself utterly.

“Emma.” His voice was soft, rolling over her name, and her eyes flew open, shooting to him. His gaze was warm. “You honestly have nothing to feel embarrassed about. I was flattered such a beautiful woman thought I was… ‘cute’ to use your words.”

She groaned again, but he made her feel a little better.

“Now, how are you feeling?”

She sat up slowly. “Not too bad. My head kinda hurts, and my ankle, but I’ll live.”

He stepped up next to the bed, his fingers were light as they probed the lump on her head, but it still made her winch.

“You have a nasty bump, and your ankle is sprained. It could have been a lot worse though.”

Emma nodded slowly. “I know. I guess it was lucky you and your brother showed up.”

For a moment anger flashed across his face. “It was damn lucky. God knows what that incompetent teacher of yours was thinking.”

“It was my own fault,” Emma sighed. “I wasn’t sure on one of the symbols and I should have checked.”

“She should have been watching you, that’s her job.” He paused. “Well, it was.”

Her brow creased in confusion. “What do you mean ‘was’. Oh God, you haven’t got her fired. I said it was my fault!”

Shit, she couldn’t be responsible for that. The other students would curse her to high heaven, not to mention poor May might not be one of her favourite teachers, but she had a family to support. Her hand was suddenly taken in a warm grasp.

“Calm down, honey, she’s not fired. She’s just not going to be teaching you necromancy anymore.”

The heat of his palm was traveling up her arm, and it was hard to concentrate on anything else. What did he mean? She was seriously not getting kicked out of the class – okay, so it might not be her strong point, but she would work harder. She was going to get this, damn it.

“Well, I want a new teacher for it then.” She told him firmly.

He grinned at her, his thumb rubbing across the back of her palm, sending tingles shooting through her. “That’s already been arranged.”

She blinked up at him. “Really? Who?”

His grin grew broader. “Me, of course.”

 

39340Garret bit back a smile as the book sailed through the air, narrowly missing his head.

“We might need to work on your aim as well,” he mildly commented.

“If I was aiming for you, then I would have damn well hit you. Not that it would have made a dent in your thick head anyway!”

Hands on her hips, she glared at him. Her face was flushed, her eyes spitting green fire. Damn, she was adorable when she was pissed. Probably not the best time to tell her that though – not with so many throwable things within reach.

“You need to calm down,” he told her. “You’re letting your emotions get the better of you. Some aspects of witchcraft you can get away with that, but necromancy requires a calm centre. There’s no place for emotion among the dead.”

“Well, I can see why you like them as much then.” She snapped at him.

He couldn’t help the laugh that escaped him then. She was coming along nicely, whether she realized it or not, but patience was not something the little witch seemed to have any reserves of.

“Yes, the dead are frequently preferable to the living. No talking back, no attitude problem, no throwing things.” He grinned at her. “They tend not to be quite as much fun though.”

Her brow scrunched at him, as though she was trying to decide whether he was making fun of her or not.

“I have a raising tonight. I was going to ask if you wanted to come and assist me, since you’ve been doing much better, but if you’re going to throw things…”

For a long moment she stared at him, and he could see the struggle behind her eyes. Then she sighed and the anger seemed to seep out of her. “I would really like to see it done properly.”

He grinned at her. “Great, it’s a date.”

“A what?” Her voice went up an octave.

He laughed at the shock on her face. “Don’t say I don’t know how to show a girl a good time. But in the meantime… back to work.”

“Slave-driver,” she muttered under her breath.

“What was that?”

“Nothing! I didn’t say a word.” The smile she shot him was positively angelic. Yup, he was probably in trouble here.

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Walker Wednesday – 21/10/15

Published October 21, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

It’s Wednesday, we’re half way through the week (yay) which means it must be time for some more zombie facts.

350px-Creatures-Voodoo_priestessSince I have a voodoo priestess in my own novel, I ended up doing a lot of research into the religion, the rites and beliefs, especially concentrating on the original Vodou, which originated in the Caribbean and was brought to Europe with the West African slaves. Vodouisants believe in a single supreme God called Bondye, but since he is supreme and therefore beyond the reach of mere mortals, they pray to lesser entities called loa, who can intercede. These loa or spirits are all associated with different areas, and they are considered to be distinct beings with their own personalities, likes and dislikes. The vodou practitioners will try to serve them by special rituals, songs and dances, as well as providing personalised gifts and items for each loa.

baron_samedi_by_chronoperates-d5tdnpu

One of the most famous loa is Baron Samedi, the loa of the dead. He is usually shown with a top hat, sunglasses and frequently smoking a cigar, with a glass of rum in hand. The Baron is considered somewhat notorious (which is quite impressive for a spirit being!) with his outrageous behaviour, swearing, drinking, smoking and womanising – despite being married to another loa, Maman Brigitte. The Baron is usually found in the invisible world of the vodou spirits, at the crossroads of the living and the dead. He is the one who meets a persons soul after they die and leads them to the underworld. Since he is the only one who can accept a soul into the realm of the dead, he is also considered the loa of resurrection and is called upon for healing and help by those who are ill or close to death.

Baron Samedi’s powers are especially strong when it comes to breaking curses or stopping black magic. He can also ensure that corpses stay in the ground and can’t be brought back as a zombie. He will generally ask for something in return though, and like all the loa he can be capricious and the price can depend on his mood. It could be a simple gift, such as food, cigars or drink, a small gesture of respect like wearing certain clothes or bringing a sacred object. On the other hand he could ask for a complex vodou ceremony for him to cross into this world.

princess-and-the-frog-2-hd-1

Baron Samedi has been an enduring figure and influence throughout literature, film and even music right up the present day – in films as diverse as James Bond Live and Let Die and Disney’s Princess and the Frog, in tv shows such as Supernatural, Mighty Boosch and Heroes, and even in video games like World of Warcraft and Saints Row.

Spiritofjazz

Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s facts. Take care x

Author Interview with Nicole Winters

Published October 20, 2015 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

Today, I’m very excited to have the lovely Nicole Winters dropping by to answer my nosey questions and talk about her new release, The Jock and the Fat Chick. It’s a humourous and heart-warming YA novel, looking at the joys of high school (we all remember those right?)

nicoleHi Nicole, thanks for much for being here. So, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself.

I live in Toronto, Canada. I like YA and horror books, horror movies, and watching motorcycle road racing.

Hmm, you’re talking to the world’s biggest horror wuss here, so I’ll take your word for it 😉 Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?

I really enjoyed movies growing up, so when I was a student at the University of Toronto, I joined Hart House’s New Filmmaker’s Club. There were roughly thirty of us at our first meeting, sitting at this huge Harry Potter dining hall style table. The other students were vying for the director’s position in the club, so while they chatted, I used the time to write my first ten-minute short film. When I finished, something just hit me. It was like a horrible cliché; it felt as if the clouds parted and a ray of sun shone down upon me. I just knew storytelling was what I wanted to do.

I remember well that wonderful eye-opening moment when it just clicks for you! Do you have a particular writing routine, or any special rituals?

Other than brewing a cup of tea with a splash of milk, I have no special rituals.

A low maintenance gal then lol? Tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.

When I was twelve, I was assigned THE OUTSIDERS and from page one I was drawn into the dark world of teens without parents who struggled to survive in a harsh reality with unbending rules. I’d read it in one day, a pretty big feat for a reluctant reader. I owe a lot to S.E. Hinton for turning me into a life-long lover of stories. I think I write in the contemporary genre because I have a wish to connect with readers the same way she did with me.

It’s a lovely wish, and I’m sure you’ll achieve it. Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?

I can’t thank S.E. Hinton enough — she was 16 when she wrote it — amazing! I am super into short story collections right now (I can’t write a short story to save my life) and I’m really digging southern regional writers like Ron Rash, Luke Whisnant and Amy Willoughby-Brule. Wow, can they ever twist a phrase.

Yup, I’m with you on the not being able to write short to save my life, once my characters start there’s no reigning them in *sighs* That’s half the fun though, surely? (Just me, okay, moving on!) What five things could you never do without?

Family, friends, humor, imagination and adventure.

Good list! Tell us a bit about your new release.

THE JOCK AND THE FAT CHICK is about Kevin, a high school senior, who has to ask himself how much he’s willing to give up in order to fit in with his friends. He keeps two secrets. The first is that he failed an assignment and is now forced to take the most embarrassing course ever–domestic tech. The second is that he is falling for his domestic tech classmate, Claire.

As far as Kevin sees, Claire does have it all: she’s funny, smart, beautiful, and confident. But she’s off-limits. Because Kevin knows what happens when someone in his group dares to date a girl who isn’t a cheerleader, and there’s no way he is going to put himself—or Claire—through that.

But steering clear of the girl of his dreams is harder than he thought…especially when a cooking project they are paired together for provides the perfect opportunity for things to heat up between them outside the classroom….

Ooh, sounds fun! Where did your inspiration for it come from?

A friend of mine said that growing up, whenever his mom cooked, dinners consisted of two steps, a can opener and a microwave. That hit me pretty viscerally. Days later, I thought, what if I had a character who was an athlete and his mom cooked meals like that? What if he thought that he could do better, but in reality he did much worse? I know, I’ll have him eat nothing but energy bars, shakes and gels. So now I had a character who means well, but is misdirected. At the same time, I’d been reading books with plus size teen girls in them and they all seemed to be similar: depressed, bullied or the bully, or abused. It left me feeling sad and got me thinking, how can I put my food challenged hero (Kevin), and a non-depressed/bullied/abused/ plus sized character (Claire), together? The story just unfolded from there.

It does sound like a good combination, and you’re quite right there often seem a shortage of plus-size heroines who are also happy and confident in themselves. What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?

All the scenes with Kevin and Claire. They liked to laugh and I’m the same way. I also loved writing how they got in sync—mentally and physically—whenever they were cooking. I could just hear the sizzle of the food, the chopping of vegetables, the knives tapping wooden cutting boards. I loved their energy and their passion for food.

Aww, couples cooking sounds like a great step to romance. What was the hardest part about writing it?

Kevin makes terrible choices and at times his honesty and self-reflection is pretty raw, but at his core, he’s a good guy.

Who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)

Both Kevin and Claire. Kevin because he really grows throughout his ordeal. Being fatherless, his friends serve as subconscious surrogates, but they’re not exactly ideal. I also love Claire because she’s positive, energetic and driven to succeed. Plus, I’d totally eat at whatever restaurant she owned.

Well, I’m kinda hooked already, but sum up for us… why should we run out and buy it right now? 

Diversity in YA that includes #bodypositivity. Plus, it’s a sweet story.

jockBlurb:

No one ever said high school was easy. In this hilarious and heartwarming debut, one high school senior has to ask himself how much he’s willing to give up in order to fit in.
Kevin seems to have it all: he’s popular, good looking, and on his way to scoring a college hockey scholarship. However, he’s keeping two big secrets. The first is that he failed an assignment and is now forced to take the most embarrassing course ever–domestic tech. The second is that he is falling for his domestic tech classmate, Claire.
As far as Kevin is concerned, Claire does have it all: she’s funny, smart, beautiful, and confident. But she’s off-limits. Because Kevin knows what happens when someone in his group dares to date a girl who isn’t a cheerleader, and there’s no way he is going to put himself—or Claire—through that.
But steering clear of the girl of his dreams is a lot harder than Kevin thought…especially when a cooking project they are paired together for provides the perfect opportunity for things to heat up between them outside the classroom….

Sounds like a fun read, and if you’re wanting to get your mitts on it, you can buy at the following links:

HarperCollins

Amazon US

iBooks

Barnes and Noble

Chapters

Kobo

Google Play

You can also connect with Nicole on social media:

via Twitter, her blog, her Facebook or www.nicolewintersauthor.com.