Saturday, October 25, 2014

Amy Burgess gets Beneath The Skin this Halloween!


Cate: Please welcome Amy Burgess to my special Halloween celebration. Amy, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Amy:  Hi, my name is Amy Lee Burgess and I write paranormal romance. I love the supernatural element in novels.  I live in Houston, Texas with three dachshunds. I’ve published eight books so far – six novels in my wolf shifter series, the Wolf Within, and two in my vampire series, The Circle.  I can speak French (badly), love to travel, and autumn is my favorite season.

Cate: Mine too! What do you love most about Halloween?
Amy: Carving my jack o lantern on Halloween night surrounded by candles and incense and Halloween decorations.  I love the idea of Halloween – people dressing up in costumes and going out into the darkness!

Cate: Do you have a favorite memory of a Halloween past?
Amy: I’m glad you asked this!  My father loves Halloween too and for years he dressed up as Frankenstein and helped out at a local haunted house run by a couple I’ll call Mr. and Mrs. M.  For Halloween they opened their house to neighborhood children to tour.  They even had owl wallpaper in the living room.  When I was little I would go to the haunted house and brave the stairs to go visit the wicked witch, but when I got older I actually got to help haunt the house. I was always a vampire in a long white nightgown with blood dripping down my chin. I’d hide in a real coffin in the dining room and when kids would knock on the wood, I’d knock back from the inside and they’d scream! 

After everyone was gone, we always had doughnuts and cider in the kitchen.  I still want to have doughnuts and cider on Halloween night in honor of the M’s and their haunted house.

Cate: Have you ever had an unusual experience you couldn’t explain?
Amy: One time I was visiting a supposedly haunted plantation in Louisiana.  As I walked around the grounds waiting for my tour to start, I looked up at one of the windows and saw a little boy waving at me.  He was standing between the window shade and the glass and I wondered why his mom was letting him touch the shade.  I figured he was on the tour before mine.

During the tour we found out about how a slave woman had poisoned a birthday cake that the lady of the home and three of her children ate. She wanted them to get sick so she could nurse them to health again and be in good favor with the plantation master.  Only the lady and two of her children, little boys, died, and the slave woman was hanged.  Her ghost supposedly haunted the plantation.

The tour went through most of the house, but we didn’t go into that area of the house where I’d seen the little boy. When the tour ended I asked the guide why we didn’t go that area.  She told me it was the B&B part of the plantation and people stayed in those rooms. “Ah,” I said. “That explains why the little boy could touch the shade and not get in trouble.”  The guide asked, “What little boy?”  I told her what I’d seen and she said, “There are no children staying here this weekend.  Can you tell me which window he was in?” I told her and she said that was the nursery window where the two little boys died.  Had I seen a ghost?

The best part of this story is that three years later I was back in that little town staying at a B&B near the plantation.  At breakfast I was talking with a mother and her daughter who had just visited this plantation the day before.  And the daughter said, “We think we saw a ghost!  There was a little boy waving out the window of what was once the nursery!” 

I had not told them my story, but when I did tell them, the whole table got very silent and I know a shiver went down my spine!

Cate: What frightens you the most?
Amy: The dentist.  Ugh.

Cate: Ever gone on a ghost tour? Or ghost hunting on your own?
Amy: I lived in New Orleans and I went on a lot of ghost tours.  I never saw a ghost though, except for the little boy at the plantation house.

Cate: Any favorite Halloween recipes you’d care to share?
Amy:  I love pumpkin seeds, so here’s a recipe I use:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Seed your pumpkin and put the seeds into a colander and rinse under cold water.
Shake them dry and spread them on an oiled baking sheet and roast them for 30 minutes.  This will dry them out.
Next, toss them olive oil and salt (sometimes I toss them with cinnamon and sugar instead for sweet seeds) and return to the oven and bake for about twenty minutes or until they turn crisp and golden.

Cate: Tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Amy: I’m going to talk about my first book in the Wolf Within series because the series is going to print this month and I’m excited.  I hope to interest some new readers!

Beneath the Skin is about a wolf shifter named Stanzie Newcastle. She’s gone to a Great Pack Gathering in Paris to find a new bond mate after living on her own for two years. Her former bond mates, Grey and Elena, were killed in a car crash and Stanzie was driving the car.  She’s been away from the Pack and wants to reconnect.

In Paris she meets the mysterious and haunted, Liam Murphy. His bond mate died three years previously when she fell down the stairs and broke her neck. He’s also been living away from his pack in exile. His pack convinced him to come to the Gathering. They want him to find a new bond mate but he is SO not interested. 

Then he and Stanzie are thrown together by a murder at the Gathering. Stanzie’s a suspect, but Liam is convinced she’s innocent.

Buy links are here: Beneath the Skin

Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Amy:  Here’s the scene where Stanzie reacts to the death of the murder victim.
***
“Stanzie,” Rudi gasped, his eyes locked pleadingly to mine. Then he died.
The light left his eyes. Something bright and essential leaped from his still body and dissipated into the nothing.
His body convulsed, his fingers slackened and his arms fell to his sides. His eyes—his empty eyes—stayed open. But he saw nothing.
“Rudi?” I choked out. My disbelieving hand reached out to touch his face and my fingers communicated the truth to my stuttering brain.
I screamed then. I screamed and couldn’t stop because this was not happening. This was not real. It was a nightmare and if I screamed loud enough I would open my eyes and be in my little single bed in the Paris hotel. The day would just be starting, it would not be ending. Not this way.
The screen collapsed when I blundered into it, as I shrieked both his name and my wordless horror.
Somebody grabbed me, forced me down to the ground and I struggled, kicking and clawing, but he was stronger.
“Stop. Constance, stop screaming. Stop screaming right now!” There was an Irish lilt in the man’s voice, more Irish than he’d sounded the night before when I’d met him. He was scared too but in way more control than I was.
“You’ve got to stop screaming and tell me what happened!” Liam Murphy had lipstick on his cheek. His white shirt was half unbuttoned. His hair was tousled as if someone had passionately run her fingers through it. He hadn’t shaved and my scrabbling fingers rasped against the stubble on his cheeks and chin.
“He’s dead! Rudi is dead!” I screamed at him. I hit out at him, tried to hurt him because Rudi was dead and there was nothing I could do about it.
***

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Amy:  Beneath the Skin was a NaNoWriMo novel.  I didn’t know what I was going to write about, just that I wanted to write about a wolf shifter named Stanzie.  So this novel was completely and utterly pantsed and any themes it contains were not planned! 

Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?
Amy: You can find me on Twitter @amyleeburgess. 
I’m also on Facebook

Cate: Yay, Amy has a giveaway for you guys! Be sure to leave your email address with your comment.
Amy:  I’d love to give away an electronic copy of Beneath the Skin to someone who tells me why they like wolf shifters in the comments. 

Cate: Thanks for joining the party, Amy! Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Desiree Holt's here to make your Halloween wild and wicked!



Cate: Woot! Desiree Holt's here to add some spice to our Halloween celebration. Desiree, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Desiree: I’ve ben published since 2006 and I have to say, writing is my passion. I did a lot of different things before I became an author, everything from higher education to the music business. I enjoyed them all and they provide background for many of my books. My children are all grown and on their own and in different ways participate in my career so it’s kind of a family activity (although they don’t read what I write! Wink) I live in Texas, love it, and most of my books are set here.



Cate: What do you love most about Halloween?

Desiree: I think all the legends and stories that are built around it. Everything from ghosts to goblins to vampires to shifters and stuff in between. I’m a big paranormal fan so of course Halloween is one of my favorite days.



Cate: Do you have a favorite memory of a Halloween past?

Desiree: Before we moved to Texas my late husband and I lived in Florida and we always decorated for Halloween. He loved holidays. Anyway he created a big stuffed dummy that looked like a corpse and put it on our front lawn in a rocking chair. We had a little portable stereo that we set up and whenever kids came up the driveway he would play spooky music and pull the strings so the dummy sat up. It was hysterical.



Cate: What frightens you the most?

Desiree: The specter of death, although I write about it a lot. Go figure.



Cate: Ever gone on a ghost tour? Or ghost hunting on your own?

Desiree: Went on a ghost tour in downtown San Antonio. The Menger Hotel, where five other authors and I hold our Wild Wicked Weekend every February is haunted and sometimes you can see a piece of furniture move. One person said she saw the floor moving gin a wave and we even had people tell us someone touched them in a room when they were alone. On the ghost tour I got to see a lot of those spots.



Cate: Oh, I so want to go to the Wild Wicked Weekend! I'm going to start saving. :) Any favorite Halloween recipes you’d care to share?

Desiree: Iced pumpkin cookies, hands down. I give them to my neighbors  now that I live alone or I’d eat all three dozen myself!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.

To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.



Cate: Yum! I'll have to try these out on the grandboys. Tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.

Desiree: Eyes of the Wolf is just out and part of the Red Hot Teats collective. Link to follow



Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?

Desiree: Absolutely. Meet your neighborhood shifter.

When Jamie Dalton moved into the mouse her grandparents left her she was just looking to reconnect with her past and settle in familiar surroundings. Digging through the attic for treasures, she found a nearly life-sized statue of a wolf and a very old, very strange book, Legends of the Werewolf. Each night after returning home from her job as the town's head librarian, she curled up in a big chair with her little black cat, Mischief, fascinated by what she read. She was shocked when her new neighbor, Mike Volka, introduced himself and the eyes watching her looked just like the wolf in the book.



 Mike Volka's ancestors once owned Jamie's house and the book that is his heritage as a wolf shifter, the one that will guide his future, is hidden somewhere inside. He sure didn't expect the intense sexual heat the erupted between them. When he sneaks into her house and sees her asleep in the big chair, the book open on her lap, the temptation to have her is too great for him. Using the hypnotic power of the shifter, he draws her into his web and they have sex so hot it nearly burns down the house.



But can a union born in stealth survive? Is she the human mate his family had told him might be waiting for him? Will Jamie succumb to his hot alpha impact and can she believe what others dismiss as a fanciful legend? On Halloween night it will come to an explosive conclusion but will the heat consume them or bind them closer together.



Cate: Also very yummy! :) What inspired you to write about the theme?

Desiree: I love shifter stories. I’ve done some cats but wolves are my favorites. The legend of the Chupacabra is very big in Texas and my daughter suggested I build a series about the hunt for it, which I did. And of course, most of the Night Seekers are … wolf shifters. I think the wolf is such a noble, romantic animal I love to write about it.



Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?

Desiree: I hope everyone will follow me on FB and Twitter where you camn get all the news ofmy latest releases and activities and ask me any questions you’d like t. I love “chatting” with readers.



Cate: You lucky peeps! Desiree has a fantastic giveaway!

Desiree: Yes. One lucky person will win all four copies of NIGHT SEEKERS. I’ll choose from comments about Halloween.

Cate: Thanks so much for partying with us, Desiree! Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eva Lefoy puts some bite in your Halloween!

When the bite’s the cure
by Eva Lefoy

These days, vampires are popular. Once they hid in creepy haunted castles and terrorized the neighborhood peasants, preying upon hapless passersby and sleeping in velvet lined coffins. Then, they were relegated to Halloween costumes, complete with fake blood and glowing plastic fangs. These days, the vampires are truly more out in the light. If you’re a fan of the Twilight series, you know those ultra-modern vampires sparkle in the sun, they don’t shrivel and burn like in the old horror movies. All these changes must give vampires an identity complex. One second they’re evil monsters and the next they’ve got a glitter overload! But one thing about vampires that everybody agrees on – they bite.

Vampires bite to drink the blood of their victims, not just for biting’s sake. But in some Urban Fantasy works, bites of say a werewolf or a vampire or a demon might turn you into one of them, through some sort of viral infection.  After all, their immune system and their bodies are totally different from normal humans so who’s to say what kinds of damage their bite can cause?  Or what about the opposite? What good could a vampire’s bite do you?

Well, if you’re willing to suspend belief for a while, how about a bite that heals? After all, they’re often depicted as having super-human powers. Agile, speedy, and dangerous, their senses and their reactions are quick and deadly. Usually, they also heal at a rapid speed – usually after a nice rich dose of blood! What if healings is a nice little perk of a vampire’s bite? Would you take the risk?

In Darkest Flowers, botanist Henri Muller is scarred in a forest wildfire. When he arrives at the vampire’s door, he has no idea the gorgeous naked man can heal him with his bite. After the first one, he has a mind to risk another even though he’s fearful it will lead to his death. Will he accept the vampire as his lover or run away, back to his empty life?

Ah heck, what’s a little nibble between the boys?

Darkest Flowers is a M/M romance from MLR Press.

Thanks to Cate for having me here during the Halloween month. Cate, I hope you get all the goodies you desire this Halloween and if you’ve been very bad…. Well… you know!

Eva

DARKEST FLOWERS

Botanist Henri Muller will do almost anything for a flowereven brave a forest fire. Scarred and heartbroken, he journeys to a greenhouse run by a reclusive proprietor with a mysterious green thumb and a potent sexuality. Henri’s startled by their passionate encounter, but when he discovers the vampire’s bite soothes his tormented body and soul he longs to stay though the cure is deadly.

Ambrose is a shy monster with a lonely heart. Will Henri choose to become his mate or will he let Ambrose wilt and die like a neglected flower? With each passing day, Ambrose grows weaker...

EXCERPT
Siskiyou National Forest
Southern Oregon
Saturday night, August 30th

Henri clicked the laptop closed and checked his watch. The sun had already slid to the western horizon. Damn it, I’ve stayed too late. I should have paid closer attention. He rejected the idea that secretly, he’d wanted to stay, because if he had, that meant… No. I didn’t do it on purpose. I don’t have a death wish.
The greenhouse door opened. Ambrose appeared, wearing nothing at all, and began to water his plants. He seemed to hover over one in particular, using his soft low voice to talk to it like a lover. What is he saying?
Henri watched the graceful movements, struck anew by Ambrose’s suppleness. How old was he? How long had he lived here, alone? More questions tumbled through his mind as Ambrose spied him and sent him a shy smile. He set the watering can down.
“You’re still here. I’m glad.”
“I’m finished with my work. At least as much as I can get done for now. I’ll complete the paper back at the college.” Henri stood and stretched. After sitting for hours in the same position, his legs ached. But oddly, the right one didn’t hurt any worse than the left. Ambrose’s bite had almost completely cured his pain. And earlier, when he’d looked in the rearview mirror, he’d seen his real face for the first time in forever. No ugly scarring. No need for the netting. He was whole. The idea he could have his old body back tugged at him. Ask him. Ask him if he can cure me for good.

BUY LINKS

Author Bio and Contact

Eva Lefoy writes and reads all kinds of romance, and is a certified Trekkie. She’s also terribly addicted to chocolate, tea, and hiking. One of these days, she’ll figure out the meaning of life, quit her job, and go travel the galaxy. Until then, she’s writing down all her dirty thoughts for the sake of future explorers.

Thanks so much for joining the party, Eva! Hope your Halloween is spooktacular!