Interview with Author H.N. Sieverding


Happy Friday Eve! Today I’m really excited to have one of my author friends, and all-around cool lady, H.N. Sieverding back on my blog! I interviewed her some years back, around when I first started this blog, so we’re long overdue to check in with her. In addition to being a bestselling author of vampire and sports fiction novels, Ms. Sieverding is a fabulous graphic designer (she’s made all the book covers for the Reborn series!). She was also one of the first author friends I met via WordPress, and I’m so glad we’ve been able to keep in touch over the years.

Check out my interview with her below, followed by an excerpt from her sports romance novel, Verona Wolves.

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Author Bio: H.N. Sieverding is an author and graphic artist. Several of her novels have hit bestsellers’ lists, including the Christian’s Kisses, Nightwalkers, and Check Mate series. She’s known for her vampire and sports fiction novels, but writes in many genres, from horror and fantasy to sports fiction and suspense.

Outside of writing, she designs book cover art and promotional material for authors and publishers. Several of her cover designs have won cover art competitions for literary magazines.

Coffee or tea? – Coffee. I think I drink more coffee than I eat some days. I started drinking it to replace pop years ago. I don’t drink soda anymore, but coffee became a worse addiction. Less sugar, but…lol.

Favorite place to visit or go on vacation? – It’d be a tie between the smoky mountains, or bumming on the beach. I love the ocean.   

How long have you been writing? – If you mean “novels”, I wrote my first novel when I was about sixteenish, and wrote short stories when I was a kid. I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. Though, after watching She-Devil as a little girl and thinking authors were rich, I thought writing would pay way more than it does.

Tell me about your current WIP. – I’m working on two. I’m editing Vulcan’s Nightmare (a paranormal/horror) and writing Astoria Foxes (a sports fiction/romance).

Since I chose an excerpt from Verona Wolves, I’ll introduce its sequel, Astoria Foxes

It follows the life of a professional hockey player, Firebird Callahan, and his move to a different country when he signs for a foreign team. Not wanting to leap on his own, Firebird marries his girlfriend on a whim and promises to become the perfect father to both her teenage brother and the couple’s new baby. Firebird struggles with the role of Dad, and at nineteen and still a kid himself, Firebird’s in way over his head.

Worse yet, he clashes with his new team’s alpha, Kai Tremblay, and the pair can’t find common ground. Firebird’s perfect life seems like it’s falling apart, and as he drowns in his mistakes, and all he worked for seems to slip away, Firebird fears he’ll lose more than his career if he doesn’t get back on his feet.

What’s the hardest part of writing a book? – Editing. Writing the first draft is like coasting down a hill. You can see the end, and it’s a fast ride. Editing feels more like climbing a mountain on a cloudy day. You can’t see the peak, the pace is slower, and it requires more work. You get tired as you go, and sometimes you feel like you’ll never get there, but if you keep trekking, you’ll get to the top. Once you’re there, the view is worth all the hard work. 😉

Tell me about your latest/upcoming book release. When will it be published, and where can we buy it? – My last book released last fall, and you can buy it on Amazon. It’s a sports fiction/sport’s romance called Verona Wolves and is part of the Firebird Series. I’m writing the sequel to it now, Astoria Foxes. It’s a comedy, so it’s lighter than the darker themed novels I’ve written. It’s fun to switch up genres.

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And now, an excerpt from Verona Wolves! (Sport’s Romance/Sport’s Fiction)

Book Description: When an accident takes the lives of her mother and step-father, Sophie moves to Verona to care for her brother, Christopher. Sophie struggles to connect with him, but can’t find common ground. Obsessed with anything hockey, its Christopher’s greatest passion and the one thing that will help her get closer to him. She finds an ally in Firebird Callahan, the loud-mouthed center for the Verona Wolves. Not only does Callahan school her on hockey, he gives her the cringe-worthy nickname, Mistletoe.

Get Verona Wolves on Amazon.

In this scene, Sophie meets Hunter after going to the wrong rink. She doesn’t realize he’s her brother’s favorite player on the Wolves, Firebird Callahan. To mess with her, he chooses not to tell her. 

– H.N.

Location: Wolves Ice Arena: Verona, Palisades

Five minutes later, Sophie arrived at the ice arena. Christopher told her to park in the lot, but she only found a parking garage. It said ARENA PARKING, so it should be fine. She paid the fee to park there.

Late, she scurried to the first door she saw. It didn’t have a sign posted near it, but women came out of it, so she assumed it was an entrance. It should take her where she needed to go. A lady on her way out held the door for Sophie, and Sophie thanked her with a smile. 

Sophie moved here in August and never stepped foot in the arena before. She took Christopher to buy hockey gear yesterday, and he left his stick in her car. Now, he had hockey practice and didn’t have what he required. She wanted his hockey season to be perfect, but it was already bumpy. 

She and her sister still scrambled to get the hang of this parenting thing, and Christopher didn’t give them any breaks. But given what happened to him in the last few weeks, he should be moody, so she let it slide.

When Sophie opened the door to the main arena, she peeked inside. They dimmed the lights, and a Zamboni made runs over the ice. Massive, the stands held thousands, and they covered the walls with screens and advertisements. 

Sighing, she realized this wasn’t the place. This was the arena for the Verona Wolves, a team part of World League Hockey. The league had teams all over the globe competing for the coveted Webley Cup. This was hockey royalty, and it showed. 

Annoyed with herself, she backtracked. There must be a hallway leading to the public rink. The ramp’s directions led her here and there wasn’t another rink on the street, so it was close. 

Frustrated and fretting about not getting to Christopher in time, she trotted through the halls searching for it. Weighted down, she toted a bag with her tablet and work materials in it, a zip-up hoodie over her arm, and Christopher’s hockey stick.

She wore Christopher’s Pup’s T-shirt, but it was tighter than she predicted, and her amble breasts stretched the logo. The long necklaces and bangles she wore didn’t match her casual shirt, and either did her black jeggings and tall boots.

When she fled the house, she took off her blouse and forced the tee over her tank. It was a splendid idea to cheer him on, but now she wished she didn’t do it. She looked silly.

Her phone sounded off with a text. Sophie tucked the stick under her arm to read the note from her boss. Distracted, her attention glued to her cell as she typed and walked to her destination. After banging into the wall a few times, she paused near an intersection to complete it.

Annoyed, Sophie tried to finish fast and concentrate on finding Christopher. She didn’t have time for this, and it showed in her stiff jaw and thinned lips.

A man dashed around the corner and knocked into her. The impact slammed her into the concrete wall. Shrieking when she landed on her brother’s stick, Sophie’s back burned. She gritted her teeth as she hissed, pain running down her spine. She dropped the stick and it fell to the floor.

The man startled and ripped off his headphones. He held a phone, and it appeared to be an accident. “Fuck, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.” Apologetic, he spoke with a quick tongue. He slung a duffle bag over his shoulder and wore a tight black long-sleeved shirt and loose track pants. “You all right?” He shoved his earphones and cell into his sack.

“What are you composed of? Concrete?” Sophie pressed her lips together, her jaw rigid as she groaned and rubbed her back. She spoke under her breath in Italian, “Hard as rock.” As she readjusted the strap on her bag over her shoulder, she checked the floor for the stick.

“Shit, I’m told.” He smoothed his wet reddish-blond hair as he sought to make a joke. When she went for the stick, he swept it up before she did.

“Must be coprolite, because it really hurt,” she replied in a whiney tone as she ripped the hockey stick from him with a swift hand.

“Corpro what?” Still in a stupor, he gawked at her with a vacant expression.

She spoke with a quick tongue. “You know—fossilized feces—like rock.” She shifted her focus to the stick as she examined it for damage.

As he licked his lips, he ran both hands through his wet hair. Her eyes ticked to his and back to her task. Sophie gasped as she took note of the split wood. 

“Damn it,” she uttered in Italian. She stomped her foot as she ran her hand over the fracture, her pout growing. “I snapped it. Christopher will be so mad at me. I just bought this stupid thing yesterday, too.” She grumbled as she banged the butt of the stick on the tile and scanned the surrounding signs.

 “Lemme see.” In a lightning-quick action, he stole the stick and surveyed the damage.

She took a step closer and fawned over the stick’s injury. “It’s bad, isn’t it?” she whispered in a babyish voice.

She inhaled the cologne mixed with a spicy body wash radiating off him. The fresh scent ignited butterflies in her belly, but now was not the time to flirt, so she gulped and drove back the interest.

Because of this seductive-smelling man of steel, Christopher would have to sit out on his first practice, and he would be livid with her.

His eyes narrowed as he checked out the stick from various angles. “Ouch—sorry. You must’ve hit it just right. Happens with those cheaper brands.” 

“Cheap my ass,” she breathed. She crammed her cell in her back-jean pocket and was furious with herself. Stretchy, her jeans hugged her body and revealed the outline of her phone. “They are not.”

“Who’s Christopher?” His baby blues gave her a quick once over. His eyes paused on the logo on her T-shirt, then moved to her eyes. “Your boyfriend?” His question was sarcastic, but she couldn’t tell if it was a joke or he hit on her.

“My brother,” she corrected. She shied from the dapper man’s eyes. On closer scrutiny, she noted his roots were flaming red, and he added blond highlights to tone it down.

She wasn’t fond of redheads, nor did she date guys younger than her. He looked about twenty, so she guessed he could be younger. Though he was attractive, their age difference made her back off. His flirting wouldn’t get to her.

“He plays junior hockey.” She seized the stick and studied the damage further. As she ran a finger over the crack, she avoided his eyes.

“Junior hockey?” Confused, his eyes narrowed, but his manner was cordial. “The Wolves are a world league team.” He shifted a three-foot duffle bag on his shoulder. Black, it bore a prominent sports brand emblem on the side. It was like the hockey bag Christopher threw his gear in for practice. lea

“No, like kids’ hockey.” She was unsure of her answer and fumbled with her words. Flustered, she couldn’t think.

“Kids? Like pee wee? Bantam?”

“What’s that?” She met his eyes and though he found the exchange humorous, she didn’t. He had a cheerful smile, his teeth an unnatural white like he bleached them. His top row was perfect and straight, and she guessed they were false. If he played hockey, it wouldn’t surprise her.

“Kids’ hockey.” He slicked back his hair with both hands, but it tumbled down again and fell into his face.

After discharging a huff, she bounced the stick on the ground to ease her nervousness. “Christopher plays for the Pups. He’s a freshman in high school.”

Oh, he’s a Midget, eh?” He motioned toward her shirt.

“Huh?”

Midget,” he spoke in a deeper tone as he sought not to snicker. “That’s what they call kids his age.” He drifted closer and picked at the yellow tape woven around the rounded end of the stick. Christopher taped it yesterday on the car ride home, and this guy peeled it up with ease. It must not be stuck tight.

“Really?” She laughed off her ignorance.

He gave a slow nod as his attention ticked to the logo on her breast. His eyes lingered and he fisted the toe of the stick. “Now you know.” In play, he rattled the stick until she met his gaze.

She still fisted the shaft and kept the stick steady. “Sorry, I’m not familiar with hockey ranks.”

 “Apparently,” he quipped as he withdrew his hand to tuck hair behind his ear. “And I was just fucking with you.” He snickered and danced on his feet as he waved the discussion away with his hand. “I know who the Pups are.”

“And I don’t mean to be grumpy, it’s just—” Her phone beeped, and Sophie pulled it out of her pocket to view the message.

[Christopher] Did you bring my stick?

She huffed and palmed her forehead. Sophie pleaded with him, “You know hockey stuff. Can you help me? Is this fixable for the night?” She tapped the end of the stick on the tile and gestured to the damage. She joked as she shot him a stressed smile. “Like, with tape? Don’t you guys use it to fix everything?” 

“Tape doesn’t fix everything.” He threw her a mischievous smile and held in a chuckle. A genuine redhead with light skin, there was a troupe of freckles dancing over his nose and dotting his thick neck.

She pushed her lips together and studied the stick, her attention fixated on the break. “Darn,” she grunted. “I thought maybe it could be a temporary fix.”

He plucked at the tape on the curved end of the stick again and brushed against her side. The flirt caused her to meet his eyes. Dry, the skin on his fists bore a few splits. “But, hey, since it was my fault, I’ll get you one he can use. I’d hate to see the kid have to sit out on a game because he doesn’t have one.” 

“Thanks.” Her tone brightened with his offer. “And it’s practice, silly. They don’t start games until October.” She giggled as she took in his expression. “As a hockey guy, you should know.”

“’Ya got me there.” He shrugged and showed his palms. “Practice, then. How old did you say he is?”

“Fourteen—almost fifteen. His birthday is at the end of this month. The twentieth.” Shivering, she bounced the stick in a nervous action. They cranked the air conditioner here because of the ice, and there was a drastic temperature difference inside versus outside. She set her bag down and plunged her arms in the zip-up hoodie she carried. The emblem of Azure Magazine was on the front.

As she picked up her bag and hoisted it over her shoulder, she met his eyes. His eyelashes were a light brown, and his eyes an alluring ice blue. He trapped her in his gaze, and she averted her eyes.

“And thanks so much. You made a terrible day better.” She removed her hair from under the collar of her sweater. Her complexion was darker than his and her eyes a light greenish-blue. 

“Glad to help…” He gestured for her to fill in her name with his hand.

“Sophie.” With a sunny smile, she held out her hand in greeting. She repeated, “Sophie Moretti.” She introduced herself in the same generic tone she used with clients. 

“Hunter.” He shook her hand, his grip tight, and his hands rough and calloused. He peeked at her fingers, rings covering most of them. She loved jewelry, and it showed.

“Nice to run into you, Hunter.” Her cheeks reddened as they shared a laugh.

“How long’s he played?” Hunter motioned for her to go with him, and Sophie hopped to his side. The halls were silent, and their words echoed in the vacant hall.

“Since he was four. He’s my half-brother, so we didn’t grow up together. He’d call me when he won games and sent me videos and pictures, but I’ve never seen him play in person. So, I’m excited to get the opportunity to now.”

“Where you from?”

“The Marion Hills.”

“I can believe that,” he snickered and watched the tile at his feet as they strolled.

She ignored his remark. “But maybe I’m too involved. Like, he gets annoyed with me because he says I drill him about hockey like I’m interviewing him. Like I’m weird.”

She palmed her chest as she spoke, her words casual. “I don’t mean to. I just want to learn about it, you know.” She pouted her lips as she fidgeted with her necklaces. Her worry showed in her hurried words. “So, when I’m watching him play, I know what’s going on. I don’t want to say the wrong thing around his friends and embarrass him. He’s sensitive about stuff. I like to enter the scene researched and prepared.” 

He opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off. 

“Oh, my gosh!” She covered her mouth and gasped as she talked over him. “Do you think I’m trying too hard? I don’t want to make him feel that way or smother him.”

He tried to speak again, but she continued.

“I am, aren’t I?” She pouted, a babyishness in her voice. “And I wore his shirt and I look so stupid.” She dropped her hand and groaned. “I’m such an awful sister.” 

“Naw.” He faced forward, his gaze bouncing over the banners in the hall. “It should thrill him you’re researching.”

“Maybe,” she whispered. As she adjusted the belt on her shoulder, her gaze bounced around the corridor. “So, do you play hockey? You look like an athlete. I mean—” She gestured to him, her eyes narrowing on his tight shirt defining his muscles. Before she grew flustered, she adverted her eyes to crush the wicked thoughts he kindled. “Like, you—” 

“Work out?” He caught onto her fumble and threw her a mischievous grin. 

“Yeah.” She refocused and swung the stick as she walked. She skimmed the wall lined with endorsements for the Wolves. “This complex is so huge, there’s like a million teams playing here.”

“Just so you know,” he gave his answer with a chuckle. “All the city stuff is at the rink across the street.” He pointed to his right. “This is the Wolves arena, so technically, you’re not supposed to be in here. I don’t even know how you got in here without a key.”

Seriously?” She halted as her jaw dropped. Wiping away her worry, she scowled and stiffened her lip. She resumed walking and mumbled, “Well, that explains why I can’t find the way to the public rink.” She spun to face him, irritation in her voice. “The signs on the ramp make it look like it connects all the rinks. They need to fix that.” She pointed the stick at him. “So, technically, it’s the sign maker’s fault I’m lost.”

“Don’t worry about it. It happens a lot,” he whispered as he peeked behind them and back at her.

 “Do you play for the Wolves?” Her lips filled with a grand smile flushing her cheeks. “My brother loves you guys.”

“Yeah.” Annoyance replaced his upbeat mood. She wasn’t sure why, but she overlooked it.

She signaled to him with her stick. “And this may sound a little silly but—” She shot him a smile, her eyes meeting with his. “—maybe you can autograph something for me? Christopher would be so thrilled. He’d forgive me for the whole ‘forgetting his stick’ thing.”

“Sure. I’ll get you something before we leave.” He nodded. “So, who’s your favorite player on the Wolves?” Hunter fished, his grin devious. From his expression, he wanted her to choose him. If she knew his last name, she would say it.

You, right now. So, what’s your name and number? I know players from that.” She giggled, but it was soft as she hopped ahead a few strides. Sophie palmed his shoulder and squeezed his hard bicep in play. 

He fired off a caustic remark. “Don’t I have to sleep with you before I give that out?” 

“Stop,” she quipped as she waved the stick as she walked. “That was a serious question.” Her sweetened tone showed he didn’t offend her. “Since I can’t choose you, I’ll go with Christopher’s favorite, Callahan. They call him Phoenix.” 

 “Firebird,” he corrected. His cheeks flushed as he shied from her. 

“I guess he’s amazing.” Her gaze ticked to a hanging banner of Callahan in full gear. Taken at a game, it was a shot of Callahan chasing a puck, his teammates near him. Though a helmet covered his face, she noted “24” on his sleeve. Christopher claimed Callahan was the VIP, though she didn’t know if that was true. Callahan was Christopher’s favorite, so it might just be his opinion. His dad liked Bellows, and she discovered a few jerseys in her mother’s bedroom.

“Christopher makes this dumb joke about him.” Her eyes ticked to the ceiling. The lights installed in it were sharp, but it was white light and not harsh yellow. “Stick with twenty-four. He always scores.” She scrunched her nose and grinned. “It’s so cheesy. He says it whenever I tell him I like his shirt.”

“I bet he could score in your five-hole.” He snickered and stared at his white sneakers as they strode. The remark amused him, and his cheeks flushed red. 

“Knock it off.” She punched his arm and sought to contain her laugh. 

“Seriously, though.” He shook her shoulder in play and revved for another dirty joke.

“You think I’m hot as fuck—” He fisted the fabric of his shirt near his chest and shook it. “—but I’m only the warm-up. ‘Ol Firebird’s the game, baby. Fucker brings more pussy to the ice than a bowl of tuna.”

“I never said either of you were hot, Bello,” she chirped as she faced ahead, and strolled at his side. “I said he’s Christopher’s favorite, and he has like ten shirts with his name on it. I think he plays middle and—”

“Forward,” he corrected her as he wet his lips with his tongue and rubbed his red stubble. “Everyone likes those guys.” He dodged her gaze and peered into an open door they passed. They were now in a section closed to the public, and he appeared uneasy to be here with her.

She sought to blow off the worry. “See?” she cooed as she patted his bicep. “I told you I don’t know much.”

He released a muffled chuckle from his nostrils and ran his hand up and down the strap of his bag. “Apparently.”

“Yeah, maybe I need to research him more to impress Christopher. Or you can teach me about your position.”

“Sure, then I’ll give you a ride on my zam-boner.” 

“Knock-it-off,” she said between laughs. She punched him in the chest, her face sore from laughing. “You’re horrible.” 

As he walked backward, he got in her face. He jabbed at the logo on her sweater. “Why? Gonna give me five minutes in your penalty box for misconduct, Sophie?” 

She filled the gap between them and tapped his nose. “It’ll take more than that to get in there.”

“I could check you from behind. Smash you to the boards. Make you go down.” Returning the advance, he scrunched his nostrils as he tickled her sides. “Huh, Sophie?” He was rough, his play making her drop the stick and her knees buckle. “Maybe you’ll give me a few extra minutes for high sticking?”

Giggles escaped her lips and echoed in the corridor. He held her hips, so she didn’t slip to her knees. He kept up the banter. “Let me beat on that box like I lost the winning shot with ten seconds in the game. Angry like a frenzied gorilla.”

Her eyes watered with her laughter. After a few seconds, she swatted him away and took a step backward. “Seriously, knock it off.” She plucked a strand of hair sticking to her lip. Smitten, he got to her. By his cocky smirk, he knew it.

She drew a deep breath and sought to calm her voice. “Okay, stop. I’m trying to be a good sister and get my brother his gear and you’re distracting me.” She paused when her phone beeped. She plucked it out of her back pocket and read the note aloud. “Coach had an extra woody. You owe me ice cream for being late and making me ride with Camilla.” She glanced at Hunter. “What’s a woody?”

“Stick.” He tapped the top of the stick as he retrieved it from the floor. He stopped next to her and read her new message from her brother. 

[Christopher] Next time YOU take me. Tell Camilla NOT to come to practice.

“Nice kid,” Hunter noted.

“He’s just grumpy.” She wrote a note back.

[Sophie] Sorry!

“Little pucktard.” Hunter chuckled.

“He’s not. He’s fourteen and mad at the world.” She grimaced as she opened her social media account. “My mother and stepfather died in a car accident along with three of his siblings two months ago. That’s why I moved here—to take care of him.”

Dumbfounded, he regarded her with a blank expression. “That’s horrible. I’m sorry to hear about that, Sophie.”

“Thanks.” Her voice dipped, and the loss was still raw. “Maybe you read about it. The Rosewoods? It happened out near the turn on Burden. Semi hit them coming off the ramp. Christopher was at a friend’s that night, so he wasn’t with them.”

“Actually,” he said with a drawn-out tone, “I think I remember that.”

“Well, that’s our story.” She opened Christopher’s social media profile and handed her cell to Hunter. “This is my brother.”

Checking back in with H. N. Sieverding


HN SieverdingBack in April of this year, I posted my first ever author interview with H. N. Sieverding. Well, a lot of exciting things have happened since that interview, so I thought it was about time to check back in with her! Now a Secret Cravings author, Ms. Sieverding has published the first two books in her delectable Christina’s Kisses series, Initiation and Seed of the Master. (Follow the links to purchase them on  the publisher’s web site. You can also find them on Amazon, Bookstrand, All Romance ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.) They were bestsellers on Bookstrand and the publisher’s web site. I’m also especially excited for the release of her paranormal romance The Bloodlust Prince. I was a beta reader for it and loved it! The ebook comes out in December, the print version in June 2014.

Ms. Sieverding’s stories have strong themes of dark fantasy, paranormal romance and sexy horror. Right now she’s jumping between edits for her upcoming releases and working on Black Hawke, a Paranormal Romance about a photographer and her secret bad boy boyfriend.  (Throughout the book she is trying to figure out his real identity…or if he’s married…) She’s also one of the hosts of Freshly Booked.

Check out our interview below, followed by an excerpt from Initiation and a list of all of her upcoming releases!

Her blog: Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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“What you produce as a writer is art.  A voice that opens a vein and leaves the reader lapping at the blood that’s been drawn.”  

-H. N. Sieverding

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christain_header_quote6SL: When did you first start writing stories?

HN: When I was in grade school, I used to write about a family of alligators that I named the Ellers. I wrote my first novel, Alexandria, my junior year of high school. I decided to write a novel and I sat down on the desktop in our crowded kitchen (I come from a family of seven) and did just that. I was so proud of it (though now it makes me cringe to read through it) and to me that was a huge feat that most people would never accomplish. From that day on it was my dream to become a published author and now I am.

SL: Who or what most inspires your writing?

HN: I get inspired by things around me but it’s not always people or stories. It might be a line I heard someone say or facial expression that sparks a character/story idea. I find the most inspiration when I’m alone listening to music or during a nice drive in the countryside.

SL: Do you listen to music while you write, or do you need peace and quiet?

HN: I write in front of the TV or while cuddling with my son and his ipad, so I can write anywhere. My ideal writing place is sitting on the bed donning a pair of earphones without any distractions. Whenever I get a moment to myself where I can do that, I will take it. Music drowns out the world and helps me concentrate better, giving me that escape I need to write. I’m a big fan of hard rock so on my playlist is Darkest Days, Hollywood Undead, Disturbed and Saliva. The song in my head right now-Levitate (damn it’s catchy).

SL: Which of your stories is your favorite?

HN: Ooo…hard question. If I absolutely had to choose, I’d say The Bloodlust Prince. I could read that story a million times and never get bored. I’m also a big cat person and I love that they are both Cat Demons (more like anime Cat Demons/vampires than real cats) and have lots of cat-like qualities that make their courting both unique and super cute.

Coming in second would be Nero, even though most people ignore that one. I think the whole description of the ‘zombie army’ throws people off. It’s actually a love story about Nero coming to terms with the tragic death of his love (who isn’t really dead-sshhh) and his father’s insanity. My favorite thing about it-the character of Nero. He’s by far my greatest creation-I love em 😀

SL: Who is your favorite author?

HN: Myself. I write all the stories I would love to read. Beyond editing and reading others writing on blogs, I don’t read (unless some asks me to read something of theirs). The last book I read was Paula’s, Queen of Ages, which was pretty sexy by the way. I could say Reverend Wilbert Awdry is my favorite author but not many people would get that reference 😉

SL: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

HN: If you’re serious about becoming published, make sure you have a thick skin and can take bad reviews. Know in advance you will most likely be met with A LOT of disappointment-whether it be having no fans/readers, bad reviews, no reviews and having your awesome novel be ignored and blend into the woodwork. Remember that writing is something you do because you love it, not to get rich or popular. Most authors don’t make much money (if any), so don’t expect to get rich off this career path.

Below is a sexy excerpt from Christian’s Kisses Book 1, Initiation. Happy reading!

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Her eyes wandered over to the table where the elites sat near the back of the room. She tried to avoid eye contact with them but soon Inititiation_MEDfound herself trapped by a pair of curious eyes. Her brow rose when her eyes grew wider, her baby blues reflecting the innocent fear of child as she returned Christian’s relentless gaze.

Although she knew how dangerous this man was, she couldn’t break the stare, her dazed expression showing her intense fear of him. She watched him take a slow drink from his glass, a devilish smile gracing his lips as he took in this angel that would soon meet the fate he would create for her.

He was drinking what appeared to be blood, the rings on his tanned fingers sparkling under the lights. He was surrounded by beautiful women, all of them fighting to sit next to him and get as close as possible. Addison took a few steps backward, the intensity and promise of sin in Christian’s gaze terrifying her. Even though the sight of her pleased him, he didn’t appear to be in a good mood, his mind seeming distracted.

Swallowing the lump building in her throat, Addison decided she should leave instead of seeing what more could come from this silent staring contest with Christian. She quickly turned around and started toward the large double doors. She wanted to get out of the room as fast as she could, her lower lip quivering as fear overtook her body. Then, someone grabbed her hand, making her turn around and halting her retreat.

One of the elite vampires, Samson, was holding her fingers, his large fangs kissing his bottom lip as he smiled at her. “Come join us.”

Addison nodded, her fear of him silencing her voice. Samson put a loose arm around her shoulders, leading her over to their table.

Samson laughed when he felt Addison tremble under his hands. He ignored her uneasiness and maneuvered her through the crowd gathered around the table. She kept her head down as she passed people so she didn’t see Christian motioning to the girls around him to leave.

Samson placed her next to Christian, and Addison slowly sank down in the chair. She tried not to look over at all the women that were staring at her angrily, but she could still feel their eyes on her.

Christian sat up a little straighter, pushing a glass of champagne in front of her, “What’s your name?”

“Addison.” She forced a smile, glancing up at him briefly then back down at the drink in front of her.

Addison knew who Christian was, her nervousness about being around such an important person wearing thick on her gentle features. She had seen him a few times at swanky functions held for museum fundraisers and auctions, but their only interactions had been a small smile or a wave in passing.

She worked in the preservation department at the CartwrightMuseum, one of the largest in the country. As a member of the staff, she was allowed to attend the events, but mostly as another body to fill the room. The museum employees weren’t allowed to converse with the donors, like Christian, unless they had reason or were approached by them.

He eyed her curiously, licking his lips as he set down his half-empty cup. Addison studied the contents, noticing it wasn’t blood, but some kind of unidentifiable brownish red drink. Her shaky hands picked up the glass in front of her, and she purposefully took a sip, her long fingers wrapping tightly around the stem.

“Are you enjoying my club?” Like a cat, Christian’s eyes scanned the room quickly, watching a few people that walked by their table.

Addison’s voice was soft and inaudible over the voices of the crowd around them, “Yes. It’s great.”

“What?” Even though he had heard her, Christian pretended like he hadn’t. “I cannot hear you over the music.” He scooted his chair closer to her, his hips banging against hers and making her jump a little. A sly smile appeared on his face as he caught her in his gaze. He knew he was making her nervous.

Addison laughed, her light blue eyes darting all over Christian’s handsome face, “I said it’s great.”

Christian picked up his drink again and took an unhurried swallow, the shifting of his stare smooth as he once again scanned the crowd in front of them. Christian’s poise was unfailing. He was extremely attractive, his firm build and striking eyes enough to cause Addison’s heart to race and make her slightly dizzy.

Even though she knew he was a killer, being in his presence was intoxicating. His good looks were a sin against nature, and sitting next to someone so inhumanly flawless carried an indescribable feeling. This was the lure of the devil that made any woman bow to his every whim.

A beautiful girl with platinum blonde hair and perfect breasts sat down next to Christian, rubbing his shoulder and making him turn to her. However, his attention didn’t stay on her and quickly switched back to Addison. He placed his hand on Addison’s knee for a few seconds before letting it slide up her dress. Then, he rubbed her inner thigh, his touch soft and light. Addison jumped at his action, a fearful expression on her face as she choked a little on the champagne she was drinking.

He looked over at her and chuckled, his devilish eyes settling on hers before he spoke softly into her ear, “Relax sweetheart.” He moved her hair behind her shoulder, gazing at her neck for a few seconds. Leaning even closer, Christian continued to brush his fingers up and down the inside of her leg. “I am not going to bite.”

Christian felt her body shake a little at his comment, which ignited a small chuckle from his lips, “Yet.”

*****

Upcoming release dates (the links take you to the book trailers):

  • Initiation (Christian’s Kisses Book 1) releases in print January 2014.
  • Seed of the Master (Christian’s Kisses Book 2) releases in print May 2014.
  • Secret Scarlet releases in ebook September/October 2013 and in print April 2014.
  • Blood Kisses (Nightwalkers Book 1) releases in ebook November 2013 and in print May 2014.
  • The Bloodlust Prince releases in ebook December 2013 and in print June 2014.
  • Forever Black (Nightwalkers Book 2) releases in ebook January 2014 and in print July 2014.
  • Blood War (Nightwalkers Book 3) releases in ebook March 2014 and in print September 2014.
  • Forever Mine releases in ebook May 2014 and in print November 2014.

 

P. C. Cast Series Showdown


I finally, finally finished reading one of P. C. Cast’s books set in Partholon, Elphame’s Choice. So tonight’s Sunday Showdown is more of a book review and comparison/contrast of her Partholon books and vampyre saga The House of Night. I’m not really picking a winner since they are two very different series, but feel free to share your favorite in the comments. But if you haven’t gotten around to exploring either world, read on to find out a little more about these books.

(Also, on an unrelated note: I’m still working on my next Once Upon A Time fanfiction adventure, so please click here to take my poll of your favorite potential couples!)

And now, on to the showdown:

1. House of Night

The House of Night world is much like our own, except vampyres exist alongside humans, and everybody knows it. Those human adolescents that already have vampyre DNA are marked by Trackers, which begins their transition into adult vampyrehood. This is what happens to Zoey Redbird, who transfers to a high school for vampryes, the highly esteemed House of Night. But Zoey isn’t just a normal fledgling; she has been chosen by her goddess to be a leader among her kind. The first two books (which unfortunately is all I’ve read so far) follow Zoey’s adventures with her new group of friends, unresolved issues with her old life, and battles with new, supernatural enemies. These books are cowritten by P. C. and her daughter Kristin. If you enjoy young adult vampyre books, you’ll enjoy the House of Night books. They’re a satisfactory mix of  Egyptian-based mythology, dark vampyre lore and quirky humor.

2. Elphame’s Choice

When I picked up this book, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I had  never read one of P. C.’s Partholon books, and the cover and tagline were vague. (And misleading. The tagline makes it sound like there are vampyres in the book. It’s a similar idea, but they are blood-sucking, winged demons. And the girl on the cover doesn’t look like what Elphame is supposed to look like.)

One similarity between this book and the House of Night series is that Elphame is another young adult that has been especially favored by her goddess, in this case Epona. It’s refreshing that P. C.’s societies are matriarchal. As a fawn and Epona’s Chosen, Elphame has always felt like an outsider, until she travels to MacCallan Castle and works to restore it to its former glory. At her new home, she befriends Brenna, a Healer disfigured from a tragic accident, and the centaur Huntress Brighid, and she finally starts to feel like she’s a part of something rather than just a distant symbol to be worshipped. In the forests surrounding MacCallan Castle, she also meets her soulmate, Lochlan, a human-Fomorian demon hybrid. She struggles with how to present her forbidden lover to her kingdom, which drove the Fomorian species from Partholon hundreds of years prior.

Overall, I enjoyed Elphame’s Choice, although if you’re familiar with the House of Night series you must prepare yourself for a completely different P. C. Cast. This book has an omniscient narrator, which I sometimes found annoying since it jumps between perspectives rather abruptly, and the prose is very formal and long-winded. But P. C. creates very complex and sympathetic characters. My favorite was Brenna, the tiny Healer who captures the heart and soul of Elphame’s dashing brother. (Although, as P. C. constantly describes the meek Brenna as letting her hair fall over the disfigured part of her face, she sometimes started to sound like Emo Brenna, but that is neither here nor there.) I also really liked the human-Fomorian hybrids and would have liked to have seen a lot more of them. Also, as Elphame’s Choice was published by Harlequin Teen (which I didn’t even know existed until now), things do heat up in several parts of the book…which I’m totally ok with, but I know that some people don’t like.

Really, the biggest criticism I have of any of P. C.’s books is that they never completely draw me in. I never feel like the worlds she creates completely engulf me so that I cannot put the book down. But as I said, it was pretty enjoyable, and I would recommend it to fans of fantasy and paranormal romance.

Book Review: Betrayed (House of Night Book #2)


This blog is only about a month old, and already I’m starting to slack. I haven’t had the time to prepare anything of my own to post (I guess that comes with being a scientist by day, aspiring smut writer by night), but for now here is another book review.

I enjoyed the second House of Night book, Betrayed, much more than the first. The first one was entertaining, but it had to set everything up so it didn’t exactly pull me in. But Betrayed had a lot more action in, and the Casts weren’t afraid to push their characters in new directions. You start seeing characters you hated in Marked in a different light, and characters you loved turn out to have a more sinister side. I love it when authors can blur the boundary between good/evil, instead of having clear sets of heroes and villains. Although the House of Night books aren’t quite there yet, the Casts start to play with this in the sequel.

I don’t want to summarize the book too much because it always ends up sounding like the pitch on the back of the book, but I will say that Betrayed is part paranormal romance, part murder mystery. Human teenaged boys are winding up dead, their blood sucked dry. They are also all boys that Zoey has some connection to. The unresolved subplot from Marked becomes one of the main focuses in Betrayed: Zoey finds out the truth about the “ghosts” of the supposedly dead vampyre fledglings. Through clues revealed through the first person narration that Zoey doesn’t even quite understand, the reader connects the dots faster than she does.

 You’ll either love or hate how the Casts try to distort your opinion of Aphrodite. Ok, I’m going to make another Harry Potter comparison…Aphrodite reminds me of the female Draco Malfoy, and not just because they’re both blonde. Like Malfoy, Aphrodite has affluent, control-freak parents, and although she has some moments of brief redemption, she’s basically mean and weak. I wonder how much this will change as the series progresses.

Also, Betrayed is waaaaay sexier than Marked. Zoey has THREE young men in her life: vampyre fledgling/actor Erik Night, her human ex Heath, and now Loren, vampyre Poet Laureate and part-time professor. Although Zoey is only 16, not gonna lie, the Loren and Zoey subplot was my favorite. He’s everything you could want in a book crush: Mysterious, sexy…yeah, basically those. But I kept switching back and forth between Team Loren and Team Heath. Since Heath is a human, he and Zoey have that forbidden-love thing going on. Although Erik Night sounds like the perfect boyfriend, his character is too bland for me to really root for him.

So, in general it was an excellent read. However, there’s still something missing from this series that I can’t put my finger on. I guess I’ll just call it the “epic” quality. The books don’t have that epic feel to them that some authors are able to create.

Anyway, I’m taking a break from this series to finally read the 50 Shades trilogy…almost done with the first one.

Book Review: Marked (House of Night Book #1)


Well, I’m back from a fantastic week-long beach vacation, over which I finished Marked, the first House of Night novel written by the mother-daughter writing duo P.C. and Kristin Cast. The book sets the stage for an alternate reality in which humans and vampyres coexist (and in which, apparently, some famous country stars are vampyres). Fledgling vampyres are humans whose vampyre DNA gets triggered during adolescence; they are Marked by a Tracker vampyre and must leave the life they know to be guided through the change by adult vampyres. However, not all fledgling vampyres are guaranteed to make it through the transformation and will die.

The book follows Zoey Redbird, a teenager experiencing some typical high school problems as well as some troubling family problems, who is Marked and transfers to the House of Night, a school for young vampyres. In a nutshell, at her new school Zoey clashes with Aphrodite and her powerful clique the Dark Daughters, crushes on the handsome budding actor Erik Night and fends off her obsessive human ex-boyfriend. Although her distinctive Mark initially sets her a part from the other newest fledglings, she ultimately finds a place for herself at the House of Night with a group of genuine and loyal friends.

In general, I really liked this book, although it didn’t suck me in like other series in the same genre have. Also, not gonna lie, my initial reaction to the whole vampyre school thing was that it sounded like a Harry Potter copycat. But I decided later that this is an unfair judgment – J. K. Rowling most certainly borrowed from other sources, and Harry Potter is so ingrained in our culture now that it would be hard not to think of it when reading another “school for [insert fantastical human/creature here].” And they’re obviously very different books. The House of Night sounds more like a typical American high school (you know, except for the part where they’re all going to be vampyres, and go to school at night – which was an awesome touch). The authors do an excellent job of incorporating pagan elements and rituals into their vampyre culture (I’m not describing them as “pagan” to mean something bad, that’s just the only word I can think of to sum it up). Although in my first post I wasn’t enamored with the first person narration, it definitely grew on me, although I’m still not entirely convinced that teenagers really sound like that. But it’s engaging and funny, and Zoey is a likeable, believable character. (Her favorite cereal is Count Chocula, which she realizes now is quite ironic – another nice, humorous detail the Casts include.)

So, if you’ve read The Vampire Diaries, Twilight or any similar books, I definitely recommend giving Marked a chance. I’m excited to have a new young adult paranormal series to, uh, sink my teeth into for the rest of the summer (cliché intended).