Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview: Kasey Mackenzie

UFI welcomes Kasey Mackenzie Author of the Shades of Fury series. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

I often write longhand in notebooks when my “muse” (okay, subconscious) decides to be stubborn, which is preferable to staring at a blank screen contemplating competuricide. I also have a colored pen fetish – I prefer teal, turquoise, and purple – and am always looking for great pens in those colors. (Shout out if you have any favorites that fit this description!)

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

Playing board games with my son, playing computer games with my husband, and knitting (although I’m still very much a beginner). I also love scrapbooking and playing softball. I really love going to conventions and meeting other writers and readers, but finances required me to limit my appearances this year. Drat the luck!

What is your Favorite part of writing?

I think that world-building and characterization are my favorite parts. I do a little bit of both at the outset of a new project, but mostly I’m a “write by the seat of my pants” (AKA pantzer) writer and these come out organically as I write. I have a blast discovering things as I write, just like my readers hopefully enjoy discovering plot and character elements as they read. Of course, pantzing also means I have to go back and layer in foreshadowing after the fact quite often, so it doesn’t seem like things came out of “left field”—although technically, for me they did. Gotta love how the subconscious mind works!

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?

As I mentioned above, if I’m having trouble feeling creative writing on the laptop, I switch to writing longhand with “pretty” pens in “pretty” notebooks. The one absolute constant when I write is that I have listen to music. Thank goodness for iTunes!

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/
Paranormal Genres?

Oh wow, I have a lot, but I’d say my top favorites include Jim Butcher, Shannon K. Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Jeaniene Frost (Bones, Mmmm!), Karen Chance, Chloe Neill, Kresley Cole, Nalini Singh, Richelle Mead, Michelle Rowen, Kim Harrison, and…well, I could go on all day so I’ll just leave that as a sample. Ha!

How would you pitch your books to someone who has not heard of them before?

She’s a Fury from mythology who works for the Boston Police Department. He’s a shapeshifting Warhound mercenary who drives her crazy in more ways than one. Together, they fight (supernatural) crime! Okay no, that’s not really how I’d pitch it, but it’s not far from the truth.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that The Shades of Fury Series is set in?

Sure! My world is what many would call an “open” versus a “closed” urban fantasy in that the supernaturals are “out of the closet”. I consider it a near future alternate version of our own world. Arcanes (my name for supernaturals based on their “official” Latin name, Gens Arcana) have always moved in and out of the mortal realm at their own whim, with some settling permanently among humanity, but mostly in secret. That all changed 50 years before Red Hot Fury, when the arcane realms began dying and arcanes started immigrating to the mortal realm en masse. Some of the arcanes, led by the super- arrogant Sidhe, decided they weren’t content to remain hidden and wanted to rule over their mortal playthings if they had to stay here, so they started a war. Unfortunately for them, mortals had vaster numbers and technology on their side, so the war didn’t go at all the way they planned. Fortunately, the Furies—who start out mortal before their arcane blood kicks in at puberty and straddle the fence between mortals and arcanes—were finally able to hammer out a Peace Accord between the two groups and now they live in an uneasy balance. The scales have been tipped in the favor of the mortals by virtue of their greater population and ruling the governments, but things are slowly starting to change.

Do you have a favorite scene in Green-Eyed Envy?

Wow, good question…Green- Eyed Envy was a book of “firsts” for me. First finished sequel, first book written to deadline, first book written that was already sold, and first straight-up murder mystery. Some readers hated that they easily figured out who the villain was in the first book, but Red Hot Fury wasn’t intended to be a mystery to us—instead, it was about Riss figuring out who the villain was and how that realization impacted her. In Green-Eyed Envy, however, it is very much a murder mystery where (hopefully) the reader is just as surprised by the identity of the villain as Riss is. I think my favorite scene is where we actually see Riss discover just who that is, and how she grits her teeth and wades in to take that person down.

Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?

Riss is absolutely my favorite character. I love that she can be both hard and soft, both feminine and “tomboyish,” both arrogant and insecure, both snarky and sensitive…She’s a contradiction in qualities sometimes, just like every person under the sun. I hate flat, two-dimensional characters or Mary Sues who are perfect (or think they are). Riss has her flaws and they hang out there quite clearly, but at heart she’s someone who cares very deeply for other people of ALL kinds and she’s willing to lay down her life for them if she has to. Though obviously, she would way rather not. The hardest character to write about…Hmm. I’m not sure I have a hardest to write about. I even enjoy writing about the villains because to me, they’re just people who have opposing goals to my MC, even when they have ruthless or conventionally “evil” goals in mind. It’s all about perspective.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?

Next year you’ll be able to read the third book in Shades of Fury, Black-Hearted Betrayal, which builds
on events from both books 1 and 2. In that book we’ll learn a lot more about the Fury world and the three classes of Furies. We’ll also see some Immortals (real Immortals, not just arcanes) and of course, Riss will have to go through a lot of emotional and physical trauma before she makes it to her happily-for-now. (Ultimately she WILL have a happily-ever-after whenever the series ends, but she’s gonna have to work really hard for it!) I have a YA urban fantasy my agent is shopping right now which has a Djinn (i.e. genie) MC who has to track down her lying, murdering ex of a boyfriend and also comes up against an evil undead Djinn. Hopefully, that one will sell! Other than that, I have a lot of projects (mostly urban fantasy with some post-apocalyptic fantasy) that are in various stages of completion.


Author Bio: Kasey Mackenzie lives with her husband and son in St. Louis, Missouri; home of the Gateway Arch, the baseball Cardinals, and the world’s greatest thin-crust pizza.  Kasey was one of those students who always had her nose in a book—so no big surprise when she was voted “Teacher’s Pet” in her high school yearbook.  Today, she is a voracious reader of fantasy, romance, suspense, and “soft” science fiction.  She adores her German shepherd puppy, two cats, playing softball, and has recently taken up knitting.  So far she can cast on, do the knit stitch, and cast off.  Hey, it’s a start!
Find Kasey and her books

Green-Eyed Envy
Shades of Fury #2
June 28, 2011

Jealousy can be a killer...

As a Fury, Marissa Holloway belongs to an Arcane race that has meted out justice since time immemorial. As Boston's chief magical investigator, it's her duty to solve any crimes committed by or against supernaturals.

Months have gone by since Riss discovered some unwelcome truths about her past--and managed to stop a supernatural war. Since then things have been quiet. Too quiet. But that all changes when the bodies of Bastai, shapeshifters also known as Cats, begin piling up in Boston's magical underbelly--even though the legendary shifters are supposed to have ninety-nine lives.

One common thread ties the victims together: all were old flames of FBI Agent Harper Cruz. And since Harper and Riss's lover Scott Murphy enjoyed a one-night stand before he and Riss reunited, the Fury has twice the incentive to crack the case wide open, before the killer's green-eyed gaze turns in Scott's direction..

  Red Hot Fury
Shades of Fury #1
June 29, 2010

As a Fury, Marissa Holloway belongs to an Arcane race that has avenged wrongdoing since time immemorial. As Boston's chief magical investigator for the past five years, she's doing what she was born to do: solve supernatural crimes.

But Riss's investigation into a dead sister Fury leads to her being inexplicably suspended from her job. And to uncover the truth behind this cover-up, she'll have to turn to her shape-shifting Warhound ex for help.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest blog, Interview & Giveaway: Jeannie Holmes

UFI welcomes Jeannie Holmes Author of The Alexandra Sabian Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

The Art of the Psychopath

After reading a draft for the manuscript of Blood Law, a fellow author whom I greatly admire looked at me from across the table and said, “You write crazy very well. In fact, you scare me.” Naturally, I took her statement as a huge compliment.

I’ve been accused of various forms of insanity over the years—some accusations may have been warranted but others were completely out of line—but I claim no expertise in the realms of psychology or psychiatry. All I have is a genuine curiosity in learning why someone could lose touch with reality to such a degree that he/she would resort to violent extremes as a means to exorcise their inner demons. This curiosity has led me to research all sorts of fun stuff* like serial killers, abnormal psychology, and criminal profiling.

As I said, I’m by no means an expert in these areas, nor do I want to be. I simply want to satisfy my curiosity and gather enough information and understanding to write a good book that (hopefully) provide a few chills for the reader. However, I’ve learned there is an art to “writing crazy.” It’s a delicate balance between the macabre and the believable.

Take the Dollmaker in Blood Secrets, for example. While I can’t say too much about him for obvious reasons (No spoilers here!), I admit that living inside the mind of a deranged killer for months changes your perception of the world. Obsession dominates the Dollmaker’s life and gives it order, even a purpose albeit a twisted one, and yet he has rules and boundaries that even he won’t cross. This isn’t always the case in real life, just look at Jeffery Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy if proof is needed.

But why give a “psychopath” boundaries, you ask? Answer: To make him believable. As I said, there is an art to writing characters like the Dollmaker. He’s actively challenging both Alex and Varik—both of whom are vampires and cops—in Blood Secrets. He’s outnumbered, and for that reason, he must be intelligent and willing to take a few calculated risks to achieve his goals. Alex and Varik, on the other hand, are bound by the laws they’re sworn to uphold. The Dollmaker isn’t. His boundaries are of his own making. His rules are his own.

The true art is in knowing when to push the boundaries and when to break through them. Giving the Dollmaker—or any fictional bad guy—a set of rules and having him stick to them in a show of restraint while knowing how easily it would be to tip him over the edge into complete chaos makes him all the more frightening.

*I call it “fun stuff” in a somewhat sarcastic manner. While I find it interesting, I find it far from the “fun” of, say, a theme park or a day relaxing at home with my cats.
* What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

That’s a loaded question! Let’s see… When I was five years old, I told my mother I wanted to be a professional bellydancer when I grew up. I was set on that path until I discovered at the age of six that I have no rhythm and two left feet.

* Can you tell us a little bit about the world that the Alexandra Sabian series is set in?

The world for the series is the modern world – 2009 time frame. Vampires have been living openly among humans since the late 1960s, and have integrated into society with relative ease over the years. However, there are still pockets of intolerance throughout the world. The town – Jefferson, Mississippi – where Alex is assigned as the local vampire Enforcer has a population of roughly 6,000 with about half being vampires. Because of the large vampire population, tensions are usually running high in the town and violence often erupts as a result.

* Do you have a favorite scene in Blood Secrets?

I have a few favorite scenes. There is one scene between Alex and Varik about midway through the book where Varik is trying to make a point and uses some rather unconventional means to make it. I’m also fond of the final scene.

* In the series which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?

Alex is my favorite with Varik being a close second. When I’m writing a scene with both of them, the conversations and arguments practically write themselves. It’s also easy to slip into their points of view. The hardest character to write so far in the series has been the Dollmaker. He’s creepy, and I don’t like being in his head. It’s a dark place. I’m not afraid of the dark or of taking a story to a dark place if that’s where it needs to go, but the Dollmaker has difficult.

* What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Genres?

I love Charlaine Harris, Vicki Pettersson, and Kim Harrison. There are so many great authors in both genres it’s hard to picks favorites.

Author Bio: Jeannie Holmes is the author of the Alexandra Sabian series, and fears spiders, large bodies of water, and bad weather. She moved from the backwoods of southwestern Mississippi to the Alabama Gulf Coast where she now lives with her husband and four neurotic cats. She enjoys art, exploring old cemeteries, traveling, and when she isn’t writing or has her nose stuck in a book, she spends her time searching for a really good cup of coffee.
Find Jeannie and her books

Blood Secrets
Alexandria Sabian #2
July 5, 2011


Alex allowed a case involving murdered vamps to get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: She must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancĂ©, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex, and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present.

When Alex and Varik discover a carefully handcrafted doll at a crime scene, neither of them can see how close the danger really is or that a killer known as the Dollmaker has made Alex the object of his horrific desire. Now the only way out of the Dollmaker’s lair is through the twilight realm of the Shadowlands, where all secrets—for better or worse—will be revealed.

Blood Law
Alexandria Sabian #1
July 6, 2010
To stop a vampire killer, she’ll have to slay her own demons first.

A provocative and savvy vampire, Alexandra Sabian moves to the sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi—population 6,000, half vampires—to escape the demons lurking in her past. As an enforcer for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI), Alex must maintain the uneasy peace between her kind and humans, including Jefferson’s bigoted sheriff, who’d be happy to see all vampires banished from town. Then really dead vamps start turning up—beheaded, crucified, and defanged, the same gruesome manner in which Alex’s father was murdered decades ago. For Alex, the professional has become way too personal.
Things get even more complicated when the FBPI sends in some unnervingly sexy backup: Alex’s onetime mentor, lover, and fiancĂ©, Varik Baudelaire. Still stinging from the betrayal that ended their short-lived engagement, Alex is determined not to give in to the temptation that soon threatens to short-circuit her investigation. But as the vamp body count grows and the public panic level rises, Varik may be Alex’s only hope to stop a relentless killer who’s got his own score to settle and his own bloody past to put right.


Winner will receive
- One winner will receive a signed copy of both Blood Law and Blood Secrets

1)  Leave a question or comment for Jeannie on this post. =)
2)  Must leave an email address so I can notify you!!
3) Open to US and International Readers.

Giveaway Ends 7/6/2011 at 10pm EST
Winner will have 48 Hours to reply to my email or I will pick another
Winner chosen randomly with the help of

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: Everdark by Elle Jasper

Author:Elle Jasper
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Signet
The Dark Ink Chronicles Book #2
ISBN:   0451233778
ISBN13: 9780451233776
Genre: Urban Fantasy

When Savannah tattoo artists Riley Poe is ambushed by an undead enemy, she inherits some of the traits of her attackers-and a telepathic link with a rampaging vampire. Now, she's experiencing murder after murder through the victims' eyes. And her new powers will not be enough to stop the horror-or the unending slaughter...

I absolutely LOVED AFTERLIGHT and could not wait to get my hands on EVERDARK. Riley and Eli's relationship is a bit easier now but it seems like they consume each other and have a hard time being at all apart and it ended up being a bit annoying having them all over each other at every moment. Riley is also fighting against the venom that is now in her system from the attack on her from Valerian and Victorian at the end of book two. She is getting stronger and getting new powers to go along with the lost time and violence she has to deal with in the beginning of the book while also dealing with her new unwanted bond with Victorian. There was a lot of action and danger in EVERDARK. Riley, her brother Seth, Eli and his family are searching for a killer that is obsessed with Riley and is sending horrific visions of his killings to her as they happen.  I enjoy Elle's descriptions and the flow of her writing but I feel that EVERDARK wasn't as good as AFTERLIGHT It just didn't hold my attention as much and I found myself getting a bit bored. Also be warned that the ending is a huge cliffhanger so you will definitely want to read book 3 when it comes out in March of 2012.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

New Releases June 26-July 2

Tue June 28

Black Heart Loa (Hoodoo, #2) by Adrian Phoenix
Burn the Night (Dark Days, #6) by Jocelynn Drake
Crave The Moon (Nightcreature, #11) by Lori Handeland
Dark Awakening (Dark Dynasties #1) by Kendra Leigh Castle
Eternity (Fallen Angel, #2) by Heather Terrell
Feast: Harvest of Dreams by Merrie Destefano
Fins Are Forever (Fins, #2) by Tera Lynn Childs
Never Cry Wolf by Cynthia Eden
Spectyr (Book of the Order, #2) by Philippa Ballantine
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Thur June 30
Luminous by Dawn Metcalf

Please contact me if you see something is missing and I will add it. :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: The Vampire Stalker by Allison Van Diepen

The Vampire Stalker
Author:Allison Van Diepen
Release Date: June 1, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Point
ISBN:  0545283752
ISBN13: 9780545283755
Genre: Young Adult

What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world--and came into yours?

Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction.

I found the whole concept of this book interesting. It would be so neat to have some of my fave vampires come out of their books and right into my life.  Seriously who doesn't wish that would happen while you are reading?  I enjoyed the authors creation of dual Chicago. Her descriptions were a bit lacking and I wasn't able to picture everything in my head but I liked the way she explained that some people can tap into the "Otherworld" and that is actually what the Author of the books was doing all along. I enjoyed the romance between Alexander and Amy. Amy is absolutely in love with Alexander in the novels so I figured that Amy would see him and go all fan girl gaga over him but she really composed herself and though she was all fan girl inside, she was way cool and in control on the outside. There romance built up really slowly and felt genuine. There was parts of the story that come of unbelievable or predictable. The story moved along like there was a timeline that had to be followed 1. this must happen, 2 that must happen. etc... Instead of flowing and bending if that makes sense.  Even taking that into consideration THE VAMPIRE STALKER really just ended up being a neat, fun read that I'm glad I read and I think any teen would be happy to pick it up.

I gave it 3/5 stars

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week in Review: 6/19-6/25

Books Ive Bought/received

Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett- From Publisher for review

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland- From publisher for review

Night Veil by Yasmine Galenorn- From publisher for review

Bloodlust by Michelle Rowen- From Publisher for review

Eternity by Heather Terrell- From Publisher for review on blog tour

Books I read

Hammered by Kevin Hearne
Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield
Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
Bloodlust by Michelle Rowen

Reviews posted

Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Zombies Sold Separately by Cheyenne McCray
Forbidden Blood by Felicity E. Heaton
Torn by Erica O'Rourke
Hammered by Kevin Hearne


* New Releases for the week. Was there anything you were looking forward to reading?

* Terry Spear stopped by on Thursday with an Interview and is offering up a giveaway of her latest release.

* I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Early Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Author: Kevin Hearne
Release Date: July 5, 2011
Publisher: Del Rey
Iron Druid Chronicles Book #3
ISBN:  0345522486
ISBN13: 9780345522481
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher

Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.
HAMMERED felt a lot different then the first two Iron Druid Chronicles books. Everyone and everything was way more serious and intense. I had a  bit of a hard time getting into it at first but after the first couple chapters I was able to connect more with the story and get back into my Atticus reading groove. Atticus is determined to accompany and help Leif and a handful of others to Asgard to kill Thor no matter how many people tell him its a horrible idea and that there will be huge consequences. We lose a few people that have grown on us, we meet some new people, and we also get some great information from Leif about his life. As with all of Kevin's books, there is some great action scenes, Humor with our favorite hound, descriptive and imaginative locations and plenty of mythology thrown into the mix. The book ends way to soon with a bunch of stuff way up in the air and major drama happening but thankfully Kevin will be continuing the series in at least 3 more books, two of which will release in May of 2012.

I gave it 4/5 stars

Friday, June 24, 2011

Review: Torn by Erica O'Rourke

Author:Erica O'Rourke
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Kensington
Torn Trilogy Book #1
ISBN:   0758267037
ISBN13: 9780758267030
Genre: Young Adult
Review Copy Source: Publisher 

Everyone has secrets.
Even best friends.
Swirling black descends like ravens, large enough to block the glow of the streetlights. A dull roar starts like a train on the 'L', a far-away rumbling that grows louder as it pulls closer, until it's directly overhead and you feel it in your chest, except this doesn't pass you by. Verity, white-faced and eyes blazing, shouts through the din, "Run, Mo!"
Mo Fitzgerald knows about secrets. But when she witnesses her best friend's murder, she discovers Verity was hiding things she never could have guessed. To find the answers she needs and the vengeance she craves, Mo—quiet, ordinary, unmagical Mo—will have to enter a world of raw magic and shifting alliances. And she'll have to choose between two very different, equally dangerous guys—protective, duty-bound Colin and brash, mysterious Luc. One wants to save her, one wants to claim her. Which would you choose?

The book starts out emotionally with Mo waking up in the hospital after being attacked to find out that her very best friend is dead.  That sets off events that reveal that Mo didn't know Verity quiet as well as she thought she did and Mo is determined to find out what exactly is going on. I enjoyed the characters in TORN. Mo was a "good girl" and got sick of it so she finally starts doing things for herself which causes a bit of friction with the family she thought she knew. Mo has two love interests, Luc who is a mystery in itself. She doesn't quite know which or whose side he is on but she is attracted to him all the same. Colin is a protector and determined to keep Mo safe, not only because its his duty to do so but because he falls for her pretty quickly. Mo quickly finds out that she will have to play a big part in saving magic for magic users even though she doesn't have any magic herself. She is put in danger multiple times and has a hard time trying to figure out what path she wants to take. The pacing of TORN was done really well, I had no trouble turning the pages eager to find out what would happen next. I did find that some parts of the book came off kinda whiny but it was minor and was easy to overlook. All in all TORN had some good mystery, a hot guy love triangle and likable characters. Book two TANGLED is expected in February of 2012.

I gave it 4/5 stars

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Interview & Giveaway: Terry Spear

UFI welcomes Terry Spear Author of The Heart of the Highland Wolf. Thanks for Joining us!!

-What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

Hi, Stacy, and thanks so much for having me here at Urban Fantasy Investigations today!

Most probably don’t know that I’m not fond of heights, so when I had to rappel off the side of sheer brick buildings or a wooden scaffolding, I wasn’t really happy. When they asked the Army ROTC cadets who wanted to do the Australian rappel, which was face down instead of with your back to the ground, I was not one of the cadets who stepped forward to experience the fun! But I’m glad I did experience the mountain climbing and all the rappelling I’ve done because I have used my Army and other adventurous excursions in my stories. It’s so much easier writing about them if you’ve really experienced it. Of course, not having shifted into a wolf yet, I have to go by what my characters say the process is like…

-What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

Turning my yard into a forest—well, it’s not even close, but I’m working at growing more trees to shade from the hot Texas sun, which reminds me I need to water the trees I’ve planted before it gets too hot. And reading. I love to immerse myself in other authors’ worlds! And hiking when I can find someplace shaded and cool to hike. When I do so, I feel that I’m part of the medieval world that at one time existed in the natural environment. Just like my heroine was running through the ancient Caledonian Forest in Scotland
and feeling connected with the whispers of the past, I felt that when visiting a glen in the Highlands as I headed for a pasture to take pictures of Highland cows, which have long fur and smaller faces than our cows. While I was walking toward the fence, I heard Celtic music playing, and I thought how exquisite it was to hear the music in such an idyllic setting, but it stopped just as I reached the fence. There were no homes or buildings out there, just a river, hills, woods and the meadow and the cows. After I finished taking pictures, I asked my two lady friends what they thought about the lovely music—they hadn’t heard a sound.

-What is your Favorite part of writing?

Beginnings and Endings. It’s fun coming up with a unique way that the hero and heroine can meet, find that first attraction, and conflict! Throughout the story, they learn more about each other, but the beginning is so much fun to create. And then the end. If I can, I try to write in a way that the characters come full circle from that unique beginning. It’s important to wrap up all the loose ends by the end of the story, have a satisfying “ah” feeling that the characters made the right choice to be together and that whatever major conflict they were dealing with has been dealt with!

-Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?

I work full time at a library, so I HAVE to write before work, during lunch break and after I get home. On my days off, I have to start at the crack of dawn to really get some writing in. But part of the writing process is promoting and so I spend an inordinate amount of time keeping up with fan email and blogs. It’s just as important to me to keep connected with fans as it is to write!

-What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Genres?

Karen Monig, Christine Feehan, Joy Nash.

-How would you pitch your Werewolf Romance Series to someone like me who has yet to read your books?

If you’re looking for a werewolf romance where the werewolf in wolf form is all wolf, if you like humor, suspense, mystery and romance, if you want to feel as though werewolves truly do exist, then these might be a series for you. I based my werewolves on real wolves in the wild. They’re not some beastly horror creature. I could never envision getting hot and bothered over a hideously beastly wolf! And I love wolf pack dynamics, so it’s been fun doing the research to make them as real as possible. Although since they’re half human, they can’t be ALL WOLF all the time. A critique partner once said that my humor would sneak up behind her when she was least expecting it. And I have a lot of readers who love the mysteries in the stories.

-Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Heart of the Highland Wolf is set in?

It’s a contemporary world set in the Highlands where the pack leader, Ian MacNeill, is also a clan leader of the MaNeills, living in the ancestral home of Argent Castle. The name is Gaelic for silver, and since they are gray wolves, I thought that was the perfect name for the castle. When a red wolf romance writer, who writes about werewolves, comes to Argent to do away with her writer’s block, she also is on a mission to find a secret box hidden in the castle. Ian’s already frustrated enough that an American film crew is filming a production at his castle due to investments in a conman’s grand scheme that leaves the
clan’s funds in dire straits, but when the little red wolf arrives, he’s aware she’s not part of the film crew as she states and he wants nothing more than to learn exactly what her game is. At least that’s what he tells himself. He’s intrigued in her in a lot more ways than that, and the feeling is mutual.

-Do you have a favorite scene in Heart of the Highland Wolf ?

One of my favorite scenes in the story is the part where the brothers don’t want to cook for Ian MacNeill and his red wolf temptress. It’s not really an intact scene, so to speak, but an ongoing discussion about who is going to do the cooking.

All the men in my life, father, husbands, brothers-in-law, son, love to cook and do a great job of it. So often, my heroes love to cook also. This time I wanted to make a twist.

Ian sat down in his favorite high-backed chair in front of the fire. “ What amuses you, Duncan? I don’t believe I’ve seen you this cheery in eons. Not unless you’ve been successful in a sword fight, and even then your delight in your win is shown in the most reserved manner.”

Duncan sank into a chair next to Ian’ s. “ We have a situation. Guthrie says you’ve put him in charge of dinner.”

Ian raised his brows. “ Ah, and this is what amuses you?” He wasn’t worried about a situation, not if Duncan was pleased about it.

“ Aye.” Duncan’ s faint smile grew, only it was hard to tell what he was thinking. Not a happy smile, but more of a hunter’ s smile, as if he’ d just found prey to make sport of.

“ And?”

Duncan turned from the fire, the flames glinting off his dark eyes. “ Cook took the night off. To be with MacNamara, rumor has it.”

“ MacNamara? Who swore off women after his wife divorced him five years ago?” Ian frowned. “ She doesn’t intend to turn him, does she?”

“ He is just a diversion. So she says.”

“ Ah.” Ian watched Duncan stretch out his legs.

“ The truth of the matter is that Guthrie realized you needed information about the lass, and yet you’ve ordered him to do the cooking.”

“ Cooking?” Guthrie never cooked. Well, at least not since he’ d ruined a few meals in the process. Ian swore his brother did it on purpose so he’ d never be asked to cook.

“ Aye. You put him in charge of having the dinner ready. But Cook is with MacNamara.”

Realization dawning, Ian folded his arms and smiled slightly. “ I wanted him to tell Cook to have dinner ready in an hour, but that he was to research who Miss Julia Wildthorn is in the meantime. Since he cannot be doing two jobs at once, and the other is of more importance, you will have Cook’ s job.”

Duncan’ s smile vanished. “ Me? I cook worse than Guthrie.”

“ Aye.”

“ If you’ re thinking to win your ladylove with a meal fit for an earl, you can forget it. We’ ll have whatever I can throw together that won’ t need any cooking.” Duncan looked glum.

The cooking issue came up earlier, as you can see, and comes up again a few times before we finally see what happens.

-Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about? 

I really enjoy writing about all my characters. It’s fun making them different from each other. For instance, the brothers are quadruplets. So they’re going to look similar, but they have very much different personalities. I enjoy showing how they each deal with conflict differently. Note in the above passage, Duncan is the dark warrior, so when he’s smiling about something, it’s in a hunter’s predatory way. He is the youngest brother. If it had been Ian’s next oldest brother, Cearnach, he would have been smiling in his typical always lighthearted way. Guthrie is the financial wizard in the family, and he’s trying to maintain his professional demeanor in light of the whole sorted mess. Ian is the pack leader and clan leader and he expects his demands to be met. But of course that doesn’t mean they will be, exactly.

-Heart of the Highland Wolf is the 7th book in your Werewolf series. Have you found it any easier or harder to write the series as it gets farther along?

Each story is hard and easy. I always have to come up with a really new story, plot, characters, same world. So the easy part is having done so much research into wolf behavior. The hard part is ensuring that each story is uniquely different from each before it so that fans of the series don’t feel they’re reading the same story over and over again. Also, it’s fun taking characters from previous books and giving them their own story. But the hard part is making sure that they still keep their personalities in the original book. Although it’s only human nature to act differently when there’s a new woman on the scene.

Thanks so much for having me at Urban Fantasy Investigations, Stacy!

I was curious what any of your readers would think if they ventured into a Highland field and heard the most beautiful mystical Celtic music playing?

Author Bio:
Award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval historical romantic suspense, Heart of the Wolf named in Publishers Weekly's BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, NOR Reader Choice for BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE. 

Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelors in Business and Distinguished Military Graduate of West Texas A & M. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, to include personalized bears designed to commemorate authors’ books. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses.

Find Terry and her books

Heart of the Highland Wolf
Heart of the Wolf #7
June 1, 2011

Ian McNeill, laird of Argent Castle finds his capital squandered through unwise investments and the wolf clan's home that has been theirs for centuries is in danger of being forfeit for nonpayment of taxes. When a movie producer contacts him with the notion of using his castle to produce a movie, Ian abhores the idea, but it's his only salvation. Even worse, his people become extras in this epic Highland movie. But when one American werewolf romance author, Julia Wildthorn, slips into the castle under the guise of being with the movie company, except she is trying to jumpstart her muse with writing a book set in old-world Scotland--specifically about his castle and his people as the characters in her newest book venture--she and Ian tangle.
Winner will receive
- One copy of Heart of the Highland Wolf

1)  Leave a comment or answer Terry's question above. =)
2) This giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers.
3) Must leave an email address so I can contact you.

Giveaway Ends 6/30/2011 at 10pm EST
Winner will have 48 Hours to reply to my email or I will pick another
Winner chosen randomly with the help of

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Forbidden Blood by Felicity E. Heaton

Forbidden Blood
Author:Felicity E. Heaton
Release Date: June 18, 2011
Publisher: Self Published
Vampire Venators Book #1
Genre: Paranormal/Vampire Romance
Review Copy Source: Author

In a dark world where vampires exist and where Source Blood, a rare human blood type, can bestow godlike powers upon them, the vampire Venators of the Sovereignty fight to protect the humans by banishing those who drink it to the endless dark.

Exiled from his family and with only his duty to sustain him, Kearn has been on the trail of an elusive Source Blood abuser for three years. When he saves a beautiful human female from the vampire’s grasp, it turns out she’s the lead he’s been waiting for. Amber is a Source Blood and the perfect bait, but for who?

As they race to catch the vampire and survive the cruel games he plays, Amber is pulled deeper into Kearn’s world and discovers the painful secrets he hides behind his handsome but emotionless exterior—hurt that she has the power to heal if she is brave enough.

Forbidden Blood is book one in the Venator series and a dark, sensual tale of betrayal, revenge and a love that knows no bounds.

A great book for any Paranormal Romance fan. I really enjoyed the characters and their development throughout FORBIDDEN BLOOD. I took to them right away and had no problems tapping into the emotions that they felt. Kearn starts off pretty cold with Amber and slowly thaws out to become a great protector and partner. I felt that Kearn and Amber's relationship progressed at a great rate and they complemented eachother really well. The sex scenes blend into the rest of the story perfectly and never seem out of place. I can honestly say that I didn't catch on to who the villain was until close to the reveal, Felicity did a great job of giving just enough clues and information. The pacing of the book as a whole was great and I never got bored or felt rushed. There was some great action and suspense scenes. There were many time throughout reading FORBIDDEN BLOOD that there was no way I was going to get up off the couch and put it down no matter how loud my kids screamed at me to get moving lol. I will definitely be following this series and cant wait to see what comes next.

I gave it 4/5 stars

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Zombies Sold Separately by Cheyenne McCray

Zombies Sold Separately
Author:Cheyenne McCray
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Night Trackers Book #4
ISBN:   0312946430
ISBN13: 9780312946432
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Nyx hates Zombies. Seriously. Hates. Zombies. Ever since she was a youngling, she's been haunted by them. And even though she's a big girl now—a half-human, half-Drow private eye, to be precise—Nyx bristles at the mere thought of the walking dead.

Meanwhile, the corpses of humans and paranorms alike are turning up all over New York City. Now it's up to Nyx to find out who—or what—is behind this series of horrific attacks. But it's only a matter of time before Nyx is drawn deeper into her darkest fears...and her worst nightmare about meeting a real, flesh-and-blood-hungry, body-snatching Zombie comes blindingly to life. Or death...
Nyx is back in ZOMBIES SOLD SEPARATELY and is still landing herself in rough situations. We find out that Nyx had a horrible childhood experience that she completely blanked her mind of because it was so traumatic.  She has to face the fear of the event and help solve the new zombie situation. As usual with the Night Tracker novels we get plenty of action and bad guy drama. Nyx has some issues with her personal relationships as well as some of her team getting into sticky situations as usual. There is also a huge shocker at the end that will definitely add to the series. I enjoyed the pacing and storyline a little better in ZOMBIES SOLD SEPARATELY  then I did with the previous book in the series VAMPIRES NOT INVITED. I'm excited about the addition of a new dragon character Colin and cant wait to see where Cheyenne takes him and Nyx. Any previous fan of the series cant go wrong with picking this book up and if your new to the series I would suggest starting from book one DEMONS NOT INCLUDED so you can get to know everyone from the beginning.

I gave it 4/5 stars

New Releases June 19-25

Tue June 21

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Dead Rules by Randy Russell
Embraced by Blood (Sweetblood, #2) by Laurie London
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen #2) by Rebecca Maizel
Witches of the East End (The Beauchamp Family, #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

Please contact me if you see something is missing and I will add it. :)