Haunted Flint

Haunted Flint

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Interview with ND Jones - Shifted Into Love: Hotel California



Do you write in different genres?

Primarily, I write paranormal romance—witches, dragons, werecats, angels, demons. My first published novella, Fire, Fury, Faith, was a paranormal romance with five-hundred-year-old angels who were once humans. Since those early beginnings, I’ve written fantasy novels with romance as a subplot. Recently, I wrote a contemporary romance trilogy—The Styles of Love. It began with me writing an office romance novella, The Perks of Higher Ed, for an anthology with the same theme of office romance. I loved the story and the characters so much that I decided to expand that world, turning a simple novella into a series that covered the trials and tribulations of love for two couples. I like to refer to this series as “grown folk romance.”


If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

Even though I’ve written in other genres, my favorite is still paranormal romance. I love creating supernatural characters and their world, while also exploring how and why they love. Whether dragons, witches, or lion shifters, the search for love, the fight for love, the heartache of love transcends biology. Throw in magic, aerial battles, and a lot of growling, and hot sex scenes, paranormal romance has enough to make most readers happy.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

The book included in the anthology is entitled A Queen’s Pride. I purchased a premade cover with a female on the front flanked by two lions. The cover reminded me of Sekhmet—a lion-headed goddess from ancient Egyptian mythology. Originally, I had the cover designer add the name Sekhmet as the title. Once I decided to write a story for the Shifted into Love anthology, I brainstormed a story. Remembering I owned a cover with lions on the cover, I decide to focus my brainstorm on a story that would fit the cover. As brainstorms do, my idea evolved. The main characters are lion shifters. The heroine, an eighteen-year-old, becomes alpha (queen) of her kingdom. Pride is exemplified by the heroine during her struggles throughout the story, but pride also represents the group of lions she leads. For those who read my story, they’ll discover that I did not abandon the goddess. Indeed, Sekhmet is very important to my young heroine, Asha.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I always title my novels before I begin writing. My titles are normally linked to one or more of the book’s themes. As such, the title helps me stay focused on the story’s big ideas. A thematic title is also great for ensuring the title makes sense with the content. For me, the title and the content inform each other, so it’s critical, for me to have an established title before I write the first chapter, much less before the book is complete.

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

The novel addresses themes of violence, intolerance, greed, hubris, justice, and revenge. My heroine finds herself in an awful situation born of others’ greed and sense of superiority. Her life and very humanity are challenged and threatened. She is the best kind of damsel-in-distress. She needs help but she isn’t helpless. She is victimized but she refuses to act the role of victim. Readers are left to draw their own conclusions about the characters’ actions as it relates to the themes.

Last week, I listened to a great YouTube video on the damsel-in-distress trope. Admittedly, I had only viewed that trope through the lens of a helpless female. The video opened my eyes to the other ways in which this trope can play out that has nothing to do with the female character being helpless and at the total mercy of her captives. That’s what I was going for with my character of Asha. If interested in this eye-opening video, check it out at https://youtu.be/_rLfENrnsoQ

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

A Queen’s Pride is very much drawn from the history of the indigenous people of the United States and those who colonized North America. In fact, I begin the story with three treaties that outlines the oppressive and violent relationship between humans and shifter nations. From humans’ push to form their own country, two nations come to exist on the continent of Zafeo—one for humans, the other for cat shifters. Thus, the impact of colonialism, whether in the United States or elsewhere in the world, serves as the foundation upon which the book was written.

What book are you reading now?

I enjoy supporting fellow indie authors. I just started Qatarina Wanders’ Adopted by the Owl. I also pre-ordered Alexis D. Craig’s A Killing Moon and Lynn Emery’s Voodoo Lily. The book I really need to delve into is Kate Clifford Larson’s Bound for the Promised Land. It’s about the life of Harriet Tubman. I purchased the book as a reference I’ll use as I prepare to write a paranormal story about the freedom fighter. 

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

Crimson Hunter is my most recent project. It’s a Red Riding Hood reimagining that will release on Halloween. I’m working with my editor to finalize the book, so it’ll be ready for release day. This novel is the first book in my Fairy Tale Fatale series—a series of fairytale retellings with strong female leads and the men who love them.



Shifted into Love: Hotel California
Shifted into Love
Book Three        
Phoenix Williams, Shai August, Alexis D Craig, ND Jones
                         
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Three Fortnights Press

Date of Publication: October 8, 2019

ASIN: B07XLHVP38

Number of pages: 271
Word Count: 72,000

Cover Artist: Covers in Color

Book Description:

Welcome to the Hotel...you know the rest. It's a lovely place but these paranormal romance writers are taking you on spine tingling adventures with shifters and fantasy creatures that will keep you wishing that you never have to leave.

From paranormal and erotica author, Phoenix Williams -The Haunted and The Hunted

Isabella Robertson is being haunted and that’s the least of her problems.

Shai August’s The Case of the Lost Opera Singer

Special Agent Shifter Colt Landry is going undercover with the unfriendliest Steward Agent he's ever met: Special Agent Witch Theresa 'Reese' Freeman.

Paranormal and thriller author Alexis D. Craig offers No Good Deed

Pallas is a prisoner of his own devices. A veteran of the Fairy Wars, between his PTSD and his curse from the Fae Winter Court, his nightmares leave him trapped within himself and within the hotel he runs, The Presidio. At least, until she arrived.

USA Today bestselling author N.D. Jones brings you A Queen's Pride  

For eighteen-year-old Asha, traveling to Vumaris with her parents, alphas of the Kingdom of Shona, should’ve been a simple matter. Yet, greed and corruption know no boundaries of time and place, turning a family trip into the bloodiest night of Asha’s life. Will Asha and her boyfriend bodyguard, Ekon, survive the night of terror at Hotel California?


Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/2mmvrK7

A Queen’s Pride by ND Jones
Excerpt:

Asha grasped his hand again, tugging him away from the closed door and to a circular pit in the center of the room. With her urging, they sat on a plush, leather couch in the shape of a semi-circle. The burgundy color complimented Asha’s white-and-gold dress.
Picking up the remote from the table in front of them, the television in an open cabinet opposite the pit, Asha clicked the unit on. Sound blared but was quickly lowered.
“I thought we could watch a show. I like funny ones. But you can choose whichever one you want.” Kicking off her sandals and scooting close, Asha handed him the remote control and leaned her head against his shoulder.
Ekon had never met a more even-tempered, sweet girl. She could be mischievous, sure, and a little obstinate, but nothing more than what was typical for an eighteen-year-old with a strict mother. At twenty, Ekon was little better, and he had far fewer responsibilities than Asha.
“Mom only wants what’s best for me.”
“I know.” Lowering his face, he sniffed her gorgeous mane of hair, tempted to run his hands through the dark, curly locks. She smelled of the countryside of his birth—lavender, moss, and with a hint of mint. “What do you want?”
“For you to hold me while we watch some awful but humorous television sitcom. Then for you to kiss me.”
“I shouldn’t have ever kissed you.”
“You don’t mean that.”
No, Ekon could never regret crossing the line with Asha ten months ago. “You’re right. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said it. It’s just, I don’t want to mess up.”
“You won’t.”
“You only say that because I’m the first boy you kissed.”
Asha patted his chest. “You aren’t the first boy I’ve kissed.”
“Wait. What?” He shoved her until she sat up. “I’m not?”
“I never said you were.”
True but—
“You are, however, the first boy I’ve wanted to do more with than kissing.”
That stopped his mind from whirling and started his heart racing again. “You can’t go around saying stuff like that.”
Her smirk reminded him of what he already knew. “Okay, fine, we’re the only ones in your suite. But you know what I mean.”
“Actually, I don’t. It’s not as if I asked you to have sex with me right here and now.” A sure hand found his thigh and rubbed. “Unless, you know. We could. No one would know but us.”
“And your mate, if your parents don’t approve of our union.”
“They won’t choose my mate. They’ll weigh in on my choice, but they would never force me into an alliance not of my own choosing. Besides, I don’t have to be a virgin when I take a mate. I only need to be faithful to him, which I will be.” She patted his chest again. “You aren’t ready for us to become lovers, so this conversation is moot.”
Affronted, his eyebrow winged up. “Not ready? Who’s twenty and who’s eighteen?”
“Being twenty doesn’t make you ready. It just makes you two years older than me.” She nodded to the remote. “If you don’t intend on selecting a show, I’ll do the picking. Or,” she kissed his cheek, “we could kiss and touch and pretend we’re going to go all the way but know we really won’t.”
Ekon liked that idea, but her statement about him not being ready, despite his age, had pricked his pride a bit. The sad truth was that she wasn’t wrong. Him not being ready had nothing to do with Ekon having had sexual experience with only one person—a high school girlfriend who broke up with him before beginning college.  His feelings had been hurt, but she’d warranted no stronger emotion, certainly not anger or even disappointment.
Asha, on the other hand, had a way of turning him into knots. Worse, she managed the act with unconscious effort like calling him on his unvoiced fears, while also making herself vulnerable to him by revealing her own desires.
Ekon kissed her, lips gentle, tongue patient. When she opened for him, her moan a scratch behind the ears of his inner lion, Ekon slid inside.
Licking.
Tasting.
Exploring.

About N.D. Jones:

N. D. Jones is a USA Today bestselling author who lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. She is a dedicated educator, committed to equitable and excellent education for all students. N.D. has served in the role as teacher, department chair, and professional development teacher specialist, supporting the learning of students and the professional growth of teachers .

She writes what she sees as a dearth in the romance genre--African/African American love with a paranormal twist. She spends a lot of time developing the mythology of her novels, as well as the execution of the paranormal element. When she writes a book with witches and shapeshifters, for example, she thinks it's important to show what it means to be a witch and shapeshifter. That's one thing a reader of books by N.D. can look forward to. The paranormal is not a sidebar in her novels. It's center stage and critical to the plot.





The Haunted and The Hunted by Phoenix Williams

Excerpt:

I was running.
That should have been my first clue that something wasn’t right. My fat ass didn’t run for fun. Yet, here I was, breasts jumping in the cheap Walmart bra, long thick legs burning as I ran down a never-ending foggy corridor. Bright magenta, gold, and teal lights swirled in the smoky mist that surrounded me. Numbered doors passed by in a blur.
Screams echoed all around me so loudly that I could barely make out the snarl in my own throat. Every muscle in my body ached. My mouth was filled with the salty tasteof my tears. My soul felt like it was being ripped in half and, yet, I continued to run.
“Bella.”
The smoke and whiskey voice had my heart pounding harder than it was already. My legs pumped faster. Sucking in gulps of the fog, the bright colored lights swirled faster before my eyes. Rounding a corner, I slammed face-first into a solid body. Arms like steel bands wrapped around my thick waist.
“Bella,” the voice groaned. “You’re mine.”
Sitting up straight in my bed, I placed a shaking hand on my pounding heart. I glanced at the clock and groaned. Three thirty-one in the morning. I had less than ninety minutes of sleep left but I knew there would be no going back to dreamland.
This was the fifteenth night in a row that I’d had the same dream. Each time I got closer to the voice, the details of the hallway were clearer. I had tried everything to get rid of it. Meditation. Exercise. No sweets after sundown. Getting pissy drunk. None of it worked.
“Three more weeks,” I assured myself.
In three weeks, I would have answers.
In three weeks, I would meet with the Seer in Hell Fire Valley.
I just hoped I could survive until then.

About Phoenix Williams:

Based out of Illinois, Phoenix Williams is an erotic romance, paranormal romance, and street lit author and lover of all things quirky.

She is a Jane of all trades. Award-nominated author. CEO. Producer. Screenwriter. AAMBC Journal contributor. As an author, she has built a brand that specializes in romance and self-acceptance.

She has been an author for Delphine Publishing since July 2015. Phoenix has created several series, the award-nominated Bird Family series, her bestselling Sex, Lies, and Friendship series, the Phoenix After Dark collection, and her first paranormal series, Queens of Beasts.

Phoenix Williams is currently creating two new series, Club Sugar and The Celestials. She is also working on adapting her Bird Family series into a Motion Picture.





No Good Deed by Alexis D. Craig

Excerpt:          

His rifle felt heavy in his hands, fingers numb, palms sore from firing and climbing, finding places to hide from the unrelenting onslaught of Goblin troops. The air was too warm, his feet hurt from walking, and the smell, all the fucking gods and saints, the smell. A mix of crushed lily of the valley and powdery iris overlaid with the metallic tang of blood and ichor, never failed to turn his stomach and make his teeth sweat.
Around the corner, he knew, was the ambush that would end the lives of the five fae with him. Why and how he survived was still a mystery that had no answer. Especially considering it led to him losing his wings not a week later. He wasn’t even supposed to have a gun, not really. He was a medic by training and had been en route to the mobile field hospital when their convoy had been ambushed, leaving him stranded with the remnants of his escort.
There’s a certain heartrending irony about the medic surviving and being unable to save anyone else.
Pallas could almost count down to the moment when the whole scene would erupt in a fountain of gunpowder, lead, iron, and blood. The fact he knew it was coming didn’t make the pounding of his pulse in his ears slow or still the shaking in his hands, but it gave him a little bit of comfort for when the time came.
“What are we hiding from?”                               
“Fook me!” The soft, feminine voice over his shoulder scared the soul out of him and sent him flailing, crab-walking backwards away from her sudden appearance.
She was… new. Not part of the dream. With her mane of long black curls, mocha skin, and incongruously cute white tank top and blue starfish pajama pants, she’d just appeared out of nowhere with her strange smile and sharp eyes. Dropped whole cloth into this theatre of combat without a weapon, wings, or any kind of protection whatsoever.
“Who the… how the… I...”  Pulling a hand down his face, Pallas blew out a deep breath as he tried to collect himself, his mind’s internal clock screaming that they needed to take cover because the assault was inbound. “Who are you… how did you…”
The explosion that took out a large part of the wall next to them killed his questions, his escorts, and rocked both of them off their feet.
“Holy hell!” The woman, barefoot and wide-eyed, was on her feet and yanking him away from the site before his mind had a chance to kick in gear. “You coulda warned me!”
He could have done nothing of the kind because the moment she touched him, her soft, delicate hand warm on his forearm, his brain did a hard reboot. It would have been easier to ask him to speak the language of butterflies—he could, but it would take a minute for him to think about it. The power rolling off her was immense, and natural, so far as he could tell, and so heavy it was like she cast no shadow. It clouded his thoughts, overwhelmed his senses. It made no sense.
Once his mind came back online, he yanked her down the block and posted up behind the cover of an old delivery van.
“Who are you?” Pallas demanded as he rounded on her. He kept a hand on his rifle but didn’t raise it against her. “How did you get here?”
Her eyes were dark, fathomless like black coffee and just as warm. Back straight, shoulders back, she was a tiny little thing, very slight of frame, that barely came up to his armpit but carried herself like she could take him and three of his friends, too, with little to no resistance.  “I could ask you the same thing.”
“You first.” The breeze was hot and oily like car exhaust as it rushed over his skin, the scent of approaching Goblins and the rumble of associated heavy artillery. They needed to move out, now. To his amazement, she touched her wrist and a black hairband materialized for her to remove and tie back her unruly locks into a thick braid. There was heavy magic in play here, and frighteningly enough, he had no idea as to its origins. Last thing he needed was to cross another member of the Fae Legion.
“I’m a Bishop,” she murmured as she looked around, her eyes taking in every single detail from the rooftops of the buildings along the bombed-out streets to the varying abandoned cars.
“By name or profession?”
She squinted at him for what seemed like a long damn time before quirking an eyebrow. Whatever scrutiny she’d given him, he’d apparently passed because she offered him her hand. “Syta Bishop, of the Sedona Bishops. And I don’t know how I got here. Where’s here?”
Pallas couldn’t help the way his eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open. Aside from Sedona being maybe 250 miles from his physical body’s location, there was no way for this to be happening. Right? Was this just a trick of his mind? His subconscious or the curse finding a new way to fuck with his equilibrium and mental health?

About Alexis Craig:

Alexis Craig was born in Tucson, Arizona and moved to Indiana when she was eleven. She's been there ever since, not counting the three-year stint in New York for college.

She is an avid reader of romance novels and forensic science manuals, a wife, a godmother to many, a loving aunt, avid ghost hunter, and collector of rescued pets.

In her free time, she tends to wander through haunted houses, bike along the Indianapolis Canal downtown, and travel to new places.





The Case of the Lost Opera Singer by Shai August

Excerpt:
Plainview, Texas was almost the exact place where the landscape of deciduous trees started to recede to the land of desolate scrub brush, and the tires of the luxury sport utility vehicle rode like a dream over the miles of broken blacktop of West Texas. Opera music, Magda Olivera’s nineteen ninety-three recording of a selection of Adriana Lecouvreur blasted through the custom speakers. The opera singer’s unusual voice and singing style was still controversial even after her death.
She chose to be surprised by his choice of music, but she shouldn’t have been deceived by the golden boy persona that he cultivated. Her regular partner, Artis Patterson was fascinated by Special Agent Shifter Colt Landry, ‘Mr. Perfect’ she called him sighing like a preteen whenever she said it. Reportedly, he’d never broken a single rule and there were so many rules, which is why her service record looked like triptych of ink splatters. She’d had moments to study Agent Landry through her friend’s eyes and her own. He was too everything; too handsome, too sexy, too by the book, too perfect from his brown speckled green eyes to his blemish free butterscotch skin to his spotless Agency record.
She fanned herself, October should never be this hot. The dog days of summer were indeed real as the heat wave was on outside the SUV as evidenced by the waves bouncing off the blacktop. Inside, Colt Landry’s brooding had raised the temperature of the SUV with his smoldering good looks and the waves of heat that emanated from his hard body or maybe it was just her own body temperature that was soaring. The air conditioner was blowing full blast, but it didn’t seem to cool her in the least.

Colt

The scent of her was everywhere. They’d only been driving for eight hours, but mentally it felt like they’d been together for eight days. In his twelve years as a Steward Agent never had he wanted to quit a mission before it started, she was a quiet, non-communicative distraction. If they’d shared more than twenty words the whole drive, he’d be dismayed.
He’d seen Special Agent Witch Theresa ‘Reese’ Freeman and her partner several times at Headquarters, he’d just never been in close sniffing range. Now he could feel his beast prowling the perimeter of their mind, pushing him. No, urging him to lean over the console and breathe in a nose full of her scents. Her natural body scent was that of apricots and honey, but the scent of her magic was warm brandy. Combined, the trio of smells were a heady intoxicant that had him partially drunk and ready to sink his teeth and manhood into her.
He needed to distract himself from the glorious smells. “Want to review our cover story one last time? Before we get too close to prying eyes and listening ears?” They were still an hour from their destination according to the in-dash navigation system.
“How do you know we aren’t being observed already?” she challenged, her Alabama accent was thick, like her hair and her lips and her hips and her thighs, which was visual eye candy to him. His gaze could barely stay on the road with her leaned back in the passenger seat with one perfect thigh crossed over the other in a tight white romper.
Stifling a groan as his mind and that of the beast began undressing her for the hundredth time since they’d left Headquarters in Houston. “I’d assume that you would have informed me if you suspected surveillance. Was I incorrect in my assumption?”
“No.” That no dropped from her lips with the force of a bomb. That no felt like a curse word, she didn’t seem pleased to be around him at all and it made the beast want her more. They loved a short chase, but Reese was more of a big game hunt.
“I’m Troy Wilmington the Third,” Assuming his poshest, oil and gas money had greased the skis of his whole life Texas accent, he practiced, “and you are my blushing bride, Felice Wilmington.”
She looked down on the French-set diamond banded ring with the four-karat emerald cut diamond sparkling in the middle, courtesy of the property room. Every woman on the floor had inhaled dramatically when the Special Agent Warlock in charge of the Property Room brought it out.
“You’re a stockbroker or some type of finance guy. I, Felice can’t be bothered to know the details, just as long as you keep me in pretty baubles.” She flashed her left hand, showing the ring and the matching tennis bracelet that dangled beautifully from her slim wrist, against her creamy dark skin. Skin he wanted to lick to see if it tasted of apricots and honey.
“You’re a classically trained opera singer,” he started in the posh accent, but dropped back to his own natural one. “Can you really sing opera?” he asked skeptically.
“Do you really believe Zosime would send an Agent undercover who couldn’t do the assignment?” she countered, referring to the centaur head of the Shifter and Magic Task Wardens.
The paranormal version of the Federal Bureau of Investigations that they worked for, even though the Stewards were older than the FBI, CIA and MI-6 combined. The Stewards were the police force shifters and witches called when the regular human police wouldn’t do. You didn’t want human cops trying to arrest a pack of werebears, that’s how you got massacres.
“You’re a witch who sings opera? More than that, you’re a Freeman witch, given that thick Alabama accent means more than likely, you hail from Freemanville, Alabama, and as far as I know, Alabama is not a hot spot on the opera touring companies.” The woman was a fascinating mix of contradictions and he wanted to undo the knot. He chuckled. More than her scent had gotten to him, she was invading his psyche more every minute. He should turn this SUV around and head back to Houston.

About Shai August:

Shai August is a country girl with a big imagination, more than a touch of wanderlust and a never-ending desire to live in both an RV traveling the world and a library. Her love language is words of affirmations followed by books, bacon and bourbon.

She's a born and bred Louisiana native, but is currently doing an impression of a yellow rose of Texas. She is fluent in English, sarcasm and memes. Her goal is to write fast paced, character driven paranormal fiction for women of color.





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2 comments:

ND Jones said...

Wonderful. Thank you very much for spotlighting Shifted into Love on our release day. We appreciate the opportunity to meet your subscribers and to share our anthology with them. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win great prizes from excellent authors.

N.D. Jones

Unknown said...

Great interview ND! Thanks for featuring the Shifted into Love anthology on your blog.