Thursday, November 01, 2012

Release Day Blitz The Valkyrie’s Guardian by Moriah Densley

Hi, Roxanne. Greetings to a fellow red-head and night owl! Thank you so much for hosting me today.

Thanks Moira I'm always thrilled to have new authors on the site. Tell readers a bit about yourself. What inspired you to become an author?

I think most authors are voracious readers who decide to turn an idea into a project. That’s my story too. I got started and couldn’t stop - I wrote five novels that first year, and didn’t burn out. (The first wave of rejection letters did that *smirk*) Reading is still my first love, but there’s also nothing like creating your own world. Not to mention the borderline schizophrenia, voices in your head…

Do you write in different genres?

Yes. The Valkyrie’s Guardian is my first paranormal release. Song for Sophia, my historical debut, finaled in the 2012 RWA Golden Heart contest and released June 2012 from Crimson Romance.

Which is your favorite genre to write?

Paranormal or historical - chocolate mousse or key lime? Depends on my mood, and it’s refreshing to do something else if I stall out on a project.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Cassiopeia feels like a loser surrounded by fabulous shiny people. She flunked out of her residency, has no impressive superpowers, missed out on the immortality gene, and is hopelessly in love with her bodyguard. Thinking she has nothing to lose, she gives all she has. That’s where she finds fulfillment: in being selfless.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

The idea for The Valkyrie’s Guardian came to me while I was waterskiing at Lake Powell, my family’s perennial vacation spot in Arizona. The only thing I do impressively on a ski is wipe out, but I got a kick out of watching the pros. I saw some crazy stunts  and it made me think “What if?” I’d already been researching Celtic and Norse mythology, so it occurred to me a berserker would have a ball with water sports. The Barney Fife-inspired park ranger required little embellishment.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

I love a book that not only transports me to another world, but also changes the way I think. A truly prolific book stays with you, haunting and inspiring you long after you’ve finished.
A few books in my zombie apocalypse survival kit:

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

You bet! I’m having a blast with my “geekfest,” which is what happens when the hero and heroine meet on a university campus. Kyros Vassalos, the “boss” à la Professor Xavier of X-Men, is a three-centuries-old Greek warrior/physicist with the power to alter electromagnetism. He meets his match in Lyssa Logan, a sassy crime-fighting violinist who doesn’t even know she’s a rare “extra-sentient” with extraordinary power. Here’s the opening scene, where Kyros unexpectedly finds what he’s been searching three hundred years for:

Kyros Vassalos almost ignored the sound, but the reverb made him pause.

It couldn’t be.

Yes - one mind in the crowd, echoing an unfiltered pastiche of every mental voice in its twenty-foot radius. Nearby, definitely on campus. A signature so staggering, he paused mid-sentence and dropped the marker. It made an unsightly line through the formula scribbled beneath his hand.

“Class dismissed,” he mumbled, leaving a roomful of bewildered physics students as he dashed out the door.

He couldn’t walk; he tried not to bowl people over as he ran through hallways and across the lawn, vaulted over a wall and cut through a maintenance yard. Kyros honed in on the signal, searching for the source: someone like himself, not quite human. Extra-sentient.
He felt her energy as he drew closer. It had an electric edge which reacted with the proximity of his, giving him a bizarre giddy feeling. Kyros bustled through the exit and bounded down the stairwell, eager for the sight of her, his hope warring with expectation. Practically impossible in the first place, this was probably some sad mistake—
Then he saw her. The panicked feeling evaporated. It seemed time and space expanded, a perception his brain manufactured as a defense mechanism against shock.

Amidst droves of silly girls dressed to exploit their bodies and painted like Parisian whores: a lady. Mia kyría, a donna. Refreshingly innocent, old-world lovely, the embodiment of grace—

Then she tossed her head back and laughed, giving a view straight down her gullet, as American women are prone to do. Chesty, boisterous - not a dainty sound. But sincere and contagious, he conceded, allowing himself a smile.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Yes. My “artistic temperament.” I get obsessed with a WIP and write nonstop for days, even weeks on end, then burn out for a while. I envy those methodical, steady writers with shiny organized plots. (Incurable pantser here.)

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Charlotte Brontë was a mad genius. Exquisite imagery and characterization, emotional drama and shocking controversy that scandalized our Victorian grandmamas – romantic Gothic horror at its best.

Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?

Music for water skiing? Navy SEAL operations? Hand-to hand combat with an enraged valkyrie? Easy. Queue your favorite metal or techno tracks.

Recall Jack MacGunn is a “true blue kilt-wearing, pipe-playing Scot.” Traditional Celtic music appeals to me; I even bought uilleann pipes and learned to play them as part of the research. Jack’s music plays a big role in the story and has a symbolic meaning to Cassie, the heroine.

This is a flashback, Cassie’s first memory of Jack:

She remembered sitting up and taking in the rustic sight of a log fire burning in the hearth, of homespun rugs covering the rough-hewn wooden floor. A sound wafted from another room, and she had to concentrate to identify it. Music—strange tones, rising and falling in patterns foreign to her ears.

Cassie followed the silvery vibrations as though beckoned. The source proved to be a woodsy, reedy voice that filled the air with tangible resonance. How could an instrument make a sound like a human voice, a mythical place, and a painful memory all at once?

Jack’s hair was lighter and longer then, it hung in unruly waves over his face as he leaned into the music. He wore torn and dirty camo fatigue pants, and she still recalled the pungent smoke smell from the burned spots in the fabric and his singed hair. The largest arms she’d ever seen cradled a bizarre instrument.

She watched his right elbow lift and press against his side in a ponderous rhythm, and she recognized the apparatus as a sort of bellows. Long filigreed tubes lay across his lap. His fingers slid and shook over a sort of flute held diagonally across his chest. She watched, mesmerized as the contraption produced delicious music. The same hands which had wrought violence in combat also worked with gentle skill over the delicate instrument.
She blinked, confused by the tears swimming in her eyes. The mournful ghostly music filling the room called to her. She felt utterly safe. Cassie remembered it clearly, because it had changed her. Just as his scent brought her home, his music meant safety.

Here are few of my favorite Celtic tracks that inspired the scene:

And for Jack and Cassie, this sounds like falling in love. Subtle, sentimental, and folksy – Edgar Meyer’s “Sliding Down” 

The Valkyrie’s Guardian
Moriah Densley

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Publisher:  Crimson Romance / F+W Media

ISBN:  1440551375
ISBN13:  9781440551376

Number of pages:  300
Word Count:  91K

Book Description: 

“Augmented strength, lightning weapon, chronic PMS – you’re a valkyrie, Cass.”

You might call them superheroes. “Extra-sentients” are one in 4.5 million with the extraordinary ability to unlock the full potential of the mind.

Cassiopeia Noyon is descended from the most powerful known extra-sentient, but she’s a dud – no impressive talents except a healing ability which lands her in trouble. She’s all wrong for Jack MacGunn, her dazzling immortal berserker bodyguard.

Cassiopeia Noyon has a medical degree at age twenty-one, which makes her a total loser … for an extra-sentient with merely superhuman strength and healing powers but not much else. Cassie may not even be immortal, which is a downer since the man she’s adored since age six, is.

Jack MacGunn is King of the Bad Pick-Up Line. A true blue kilt-wearing, pipe-playing Scot descended from a long line of berserker warriors; if he’s awake, he’s either hungry or itching for a fight. Lately Jack feels lost. His career as a Navy SEAL detachment agent is on a slow train to nowhere. He suspects it has something to do with his out-of-control superhuman rages.

The one task Jack has never failed at is guarding Cassie from their enemies, but now he fears he can’t protect her from himself. Even if they could go a single day without fighting, Jack knows he’ll never be good enough for her. The boss’ granddaughter is off-limits anyway.
A chance encounter with a villain long assumed dead sends Jack and Cassie on a race to save the children secreted away at Network One, the academy for genius extra-sentients. Jack discovers a new side of Cassie when in the heat of combat she invokes unheard-of powers. Has Jack finally met his match?

Read Chapter 1 free:


Without much effort she summoned static in the air. It gathered in her hands as she wrestled to equalize the tension between ground and sky. The shift in atmospheric energy sucked down a dull pressure she could feel in her skull and chest. The charge crackling in her fingers burned ice hot.

Cassie walked calmly to the men locked in struggle and set a hand on each of their shoulders, transferring a mild dose of purple electricity into their bodies. They jerked back and screamed. She exploited their surprise and shoved them both apart, hurling them several feet.

She heaved slow breaths to calm her anger, resisting the temptation to fry their idiotic brains. They rolled slowly and strained to sit up, mist steaming out of their collars.

“Jack. Ben. That’s enough. Look around, you morons. Is this what you want your family to see?” They glanced around and saw the somber faces watching from inside the great house, all the small ones who had just been taught a bad lesson.

“Bloody hell. What is she?” Ben muttered, wiping his split lip.

“The voice of reason.” She stood between them. “You two have to work together while we’re here. This is your clan, and you are the leaders. Now start acting like it.”

She waited while they sucked in deep breaths, trying to calm themselves from the rage.

“Do you think your family should see you shake hands, or did you mean to start a war today?”

Ben breathed an oath in Gaelic under his breath, and Jack made something pop in Ben’s hand as he squeezed. She closed her eyes in forbearance.
*             *             *
At that moment, three pagers went off. Jack, Chief, and Pops all retrieved their phones and checked the display with identical motions.

Jack said, “CO called in the whole team. It’s probably nothing, but we have to go.”

“Run like the wind,” Cassie replied flatly, as though she had no curiosity at all about his urgent summons to headquarters. “Nice meeting you, Chief, and ah, Papa Smurf. I’ll find my own way to the barracks.”

Damned if she didn’t show them her back and strut away like a tabby cat. Of course he stared, mesmerized by the dual motion of her hips and swaying hair. A draft of her honey-anise scent lingered. Catnip. “Eighteen-hundred hours, baby,” he called, a last ditch effort to claim her with the officers observing.

She spun 180 degrees and walked backward. “Sorry, I have to polish my pistol.” Chief and Pops sucked in a breath at her suggestive tone—with that purring sound in her voice, anything sounded like innuendo.

Jack couldn’t help it. He winked. “Sure thing, darlin.’ After you polish mine.”

*             *             *
Cassie could always count on Jack for two things: he would come from near or far at the sound of food cooking in the morning, and he went ga-ga over women in workout clothes. Forget lingerie–Jack wanted yoga pants and a racerback top. This morning Cassie brought out the heavy artillery with both his vices: smoothies and spandex.

Revenge, torture–either would do.

Ice clunked around in the blender as she added peach slices, raw almonds, yogurt, and lemon rind. Perfect timing—Jack jogged down the stairs and nearly tripped over Cat, dropped his duffel, and made a beeline straight for the kitchen. He rocked back on his heels, apparently expecting Anne the housekeeper, not Cassie. She made a point of opening the fridge as he entered, as though she hadn’t seen him.

When she turned around, his eyes widened and he visibly swallowed hard.

Unapologetically his eyes roamed from her long swinging pony tail down over her shoulders exposed above a skin-tight cropped tank. His eyes lingered on her navel, watching it contract as she breathed, before scanning up and down her legs once, twice, and again. He wore the expression of a tiger watching a platter of meat through the bars of his cage.

“All the subtlety of an anvil, Jack.”

“I might say the same to you, sweetheart.”

*             *             *
“Bait?” Cassie coughed, then half-shrieked, “Bait? You think it’s funny? Jack—you promised!”

Jack tried to tuck her behind his shoulder and interrupt, but Cassie leaned around him and jabbed an accusing finger at Memphis.

“No more bait, no more turkey shoots! You tell him no, Memphis, or answer to me. Find another way, whatever. He comes home in a body bag, and I come after you.”

She glared, the silence stretched, and she wanted Jack’s buddy to know she meant it, every word. Bad enough that they went willingly into danger, no reason they should play high-stakes games with their lives. No operation was worth that.

Memphis raised his eyebrows and Jack seemed stunned.

Cassie exhaled in a gust and muttered, “I think I just grew a few gray hairs.”

Memphis surprised her with his softened, sympathetic expression. “It takes a strong woman to love a soldier. You’ll get used to it, honey.” He nodded his head, “We always come home.
Don’t worry.”

Jack sputtered then argued, “Oh, we’re not—It’s not–”

“You’re gone, bro. I give it two months, max, and we’ll all be in our dress whites.”

Cassie looked between them, confused, then hacked into Memphis’ thoughts to discern he meant their formal Navy uniforms, for the occasion of her and Jack’s supposed wedding. 


Memphis winked at their twin shell-shocked expressions.

Author Bio:

2012 RWA Golden Heart finalist Moriah Densley sees nothing odd at all about keeping both a violin case and a range bag stuffed with pistols in the back seat of her car. They hold up the stack of books in the middle, of course. She enjoys writing about Victorians, assassins, and geeks. Her muses are summoned by the smell of chocolate, usually at odd hours of the night. By day her alter ego is your friendly neighborhood music teacher. Moriah lives in Las Vegas with her husband

Website + blog:

Goodreads book page:  

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RT Wolfe said...

Happy release day, Moriah! May you have many sales and a great tour!
-R.T. Wolfe

Moriah Densley said...

Thanks for the well wishes, R.T.!