Do you write in different genres?
Yelena: I mostly write urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but have ideas for contemporary romance and, in the future, I might try my hand at historical fiction.
Tina: Yes, I write urban fantasy, paranormal romance and suspense, and New Adult contemporary. I’ve never been one to dabble in only one art form.
If yes which is your favorite genre to write?
Yelena: Urban fantasy is my favorite genre but I always keep an open mind.
Tina: Anything urban fantasy and paranormal will always be my first love. But, I’ve had a great time writing in contemporary as well. It really is about what strikes me and inspires me.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
The title, A TOUCH OF DARKNESS, came from a girls’ night brainstorming session. We had a different title originally, but wanted to come up with something unique. Our friend, Melissa, had the idea to link Cassie’s unique “touch” with the theme of the book.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
We hope readers appreciate the twist on the more traditional angel-demon mythologies. In the writing process, we were cognizant of incorporating bits and pieces from different traditions, and not monopolizing the beliefs of any one particular spiritual, religious, or philosophical system. The world we created is not one of absolutes or black and white reasoning. It is a complex universe, completed with many grey areas. Even the decisions of our heroes are complicated.
Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
What books/authors have influenced your life?
We could name a dozen each, but in discussing it together, we came up with three in our genre. Frost, Andrews, Singh and so many others inspire our writing. Singh’s unparalleled ability to create a unique and vibrant world pushes us to detail our universe and up our world-building skills. Frost’s mastery of characterization and dialogue makes us want to study and adapt techniques to make our characters fresh and original. Finally, Andrews power unit of husband and wife team, Ilona and Gordon, demonstrate how truly effective co-writing can be when both authors are in sync.
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
We are working on the 2nd book in the Keys Series, as well as an entirely different urban fantasy project. We are each also working on individual projects.
Yelena: I have two urban fantasy “works in progress” and a novella.
Tina: My paranormal romantic suspense, Code Black, is coming out in a box set called “Masters of the Hunt: Fated and Forbidden” this June. It will then release individually this fall. The second book, Red Alert, will come out in the winter.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Yelena: I can’t really name one, I have so many. From the classics, Alexander Dumas is one of my favorites. His novels were some of the first I remember reading and been fascinated with when I was younger. They have history, adventure, romance – everything to keep you entertained and turning the page. Within my own genre, Ilona Andrews stands out. Everything this husband and wife team writes is amazing as far as urban fantasy (at least that’s what I think).
Tina: J.R.R. Tolkien will always be the ideal fantasy author for me. Yet, I admire so many authors; everything from Greek myths to Shakespeare to Austen to modern day authors. I enjoy the works from Nalini Singh, Gena Showalter, J. R. Ward, Ilona Andrews, Jeaniene Frost, and so many more.
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
Yelena: So far most of my research consisted of the Internet, books and knowing the places I write about. However, there will definitely come a time when I will need to travel for research and I’m looking forward to that. I love traveling.
Tina: I love to travel and do it as often as possible. Yet, the availability of the internet and social media has made research possibilities much more accessible. The willingness of other authors to share their expertise has been amazing.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yelena: If writing is your passion, never give up on it. You were given a gift. Don’t get discouraged, keep writing and working on your craft.
Tina: As the great Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Believe in your work. Believe in yourself.
A Touch of Darkness
Yelena Casale and Tina Moss
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance
Publisher: City Owl Press
Date of Publication: 3/2/2015
Number of pages: 295
Word Count: 75k
Cover Artist: Tina Moss
Cassie Durrett dreams of the darkness. And lives the nightmare. She's working for a tightwad boss at a pretentious NYC diner, dealing with paralyzing pain that doctors can’t diagnose, and trying to hide her hands that glow purple whenever she ...well, whenever.
So, when mystery man, Gabe, walks out of her dreams and into her life to spout some nonsense about her being a mythical creature, she chalks it up to one more crazy thing to add to her it’s-a-crappy-life list. Yet, when his predictions start to come true, she'll need his help to beat back the darkness-spawned creatures invading her reality.
Pretty soon Gabe has her running half way across the country in search of answers. As a bond grows between them, Cassie worries not about losing her mind to the paranormal madness, nor her life to hellish monsters. Rather her deepest fear is surrendering her heart to a powerful man fallen from grace.
FIRST PLACE in 2014 Readers' Crown Award for urban fantasy.
FIRST PLACE in Central Florida RWA's Touch of Magic
contest for paranormal romance.
Cassie moaned as the remnants of the attack wore off. She opened her eyes to stare into her dream man’s gaze. Oh, just great. I need to dream about him again? Her body already tingled with pleasure at the familiar vision. A trench coat molded to his tall frame. Across his chest, droplets of water clung to a black shirt, then dripped down to run over his dark jeans and heavy boots. Gabe. The name came to her. How do I know his name’s Gabe? Reality flooded back with a vengeance, the whole encounter snapping into focus as if the picture emerged from a snowy TV. What she didn’t recall was what happened after and why this man was now here, in her apartment.
Her gaze darted around the room, looking for something to use as a weapon. Bookcases lined the far wall with plenty of thick books inside, but she’d never make it past him to reach the shelves. A tiny statue of a marble angel stood on top of the old TV just a foot out of her reach. Next to the TV sat an opaque yellow vase with a couple of long-stemmed white calla lilies. Neither the statue nor the vase, she decided, would be adequate for the job. When she couldn’t find a satisfactory weapon, she opened her mouth to yell.
Before she could utter a sound, Gabe moved so fast she saw him in nothing more than a blur. His hand covered her mouth and he breathed into her ear. “You fainted. I had to get you home, off the street. Please don’t scream. I mean you no harm. I promise.” As if to punctuate his last words, he took his hand away.
Cassie suppressed the rising terror as she considered the situation and chose anger instead. She narrowed her eyes and curled her hands into fists.
“How did you find out where I live if I was unconscious?” she said, her body tensing in the fight or flight response.
“Your wallet. I went through it.”
“Oh...” Her hands remained fisted.
“You’re a strong woman, but you shouldn’t direct your anger at me.” He went to touch her shoulder, but she flinched away. “Look,” he said. “There’s something we need to talk about. But first tell me, how long have you had these headaches, this pain?”
“How do you know about them?” Her voice raised an octave higher.
“I just know. I also know what they mean. Do you?” He seemed eager to hear the answer.
“I’ve had these episodes forever,” Cassie said, unsure why she answered him. “They’ve been getting worse lately.” Her head titled to the side. “Are you a doctor or something?”
“And have you ever felt any other feelings or sensations during or after the headaches?” Gabe went on, ignoring her last question.
“Yes...Maybe...But how on earth would you know?”
“Tell me more,” Gabe insisted, his voice flowing smooth like water.
She pressed her lips together and shook her head. “Enough. I’m not telling you anymore until you tell me what the hell is going on, who you are and what you want from me.”
Cassie heard him whisper under his breath, “Easy...” It seemed more instructions to himself than to her. She ignored it and waited for his answer.
“Cassie, I know everything I’m going to say will sound crazy to you, but you’ve got to listen to me. Haven’t you ever wondered at all the weird things happening to you over the years, at the feeling you get with the headaches, the energy?” She was about to interrupt but he raised his hand to silence her and continued, “This is not going to be easy for you to understand but...there’s more to you than you think.”
And I thought I was crazy. Cassie started to tremble. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well...you’re not exactly...technically...you’re not...” He struggled with whatever he was trying to get out.
“Just say it.”
Gabe locked his gaze with hers. She didn’t look away. She couldn’t.
“You’re not completely human.”
About the Authors:
Yelena Casale is an award-winning author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, she moved to New York at thirteen. Being very curious, she has been a devoted reader and writer since childhood. As a 2nd degree black belt and instructor in Shotokan karate, an avid traveler, and history and art enthusiast, she weaves universal themes with martial arts philosophies into her stories. She lives with her amazing, supportive husband and the best Siamese cats. In her spare time, she reads, paints, watches cool shows on TV and tries to get more sleep.
Tina Moss is an award-winning author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and New Adult novels. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5'1" Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that fierce things come in small packages.