Friday, September 2, 2016

Interview + Giveaway: Beautifully Burned by C.J. Burright

UFI welcomes Author C.J. Burright. 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’m a huge Phantom of the Opera fan. The only way friends can convince me to go to Vegas is if I’m promised tickets to Phantom. I always weep when he lets Christine go. Breaks my heart. I know he committed some *cough, cough* questionable deeds, but he’s so emotionally scarred, you know? He’s endured so much and deserves love and his own happy ending. Phantom has definitely colored my own stories. I love damaged characters, and writing their stories allows me to satisfy that need for a happily ever after, the one phantom (did you know his name is actually Eric?) never got.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

What is this ‘down time’ you speak of? ☺ Since I work full-time outside of writing, a huge part of my evenings and weekends is spent on bookish things…all those lovely activities I’d prefer over the nine to five routine, but alas. There are bills to pay, cats to feed (and a husband who eats considerably more than the cats), books to buy, and a daughter in college. I read (or listen to books) while I work out, try not to let the weeds in my garden conquer, spend some time in the martial arts studio when my shoulder is cooperating, and November is my self-indulgence month. I slack on everything to play the newest Assassin’s Creed. It’s glorious.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Creating that perfect sentence or paragraph, one that makes me smile or shiver. I think James Michener says it best: “I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” Yes. Exactly.

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

If I have a serious block of writing time, I like a candle burning. For whatever reason, it helps me focus. And I usually have music going. Other than that, routine is out the window.

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

Ooh, I adore Anne Bishop. Her urban fantasy Others series is awesome, but I first fell in love with her Dark Jewels series. She writes an awesome damaged character. Anything by Karen Moning and Gena Showalter’s paranormal stuff I love too. I’ve stalled on Zsadist in the Black Dagger Brotherhood because I can’t move on from him. He stole my heart. Right now, I’m reading the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, which has blown me away.

How would you pitch the Dreamcaster Series to someone who has not heard of it before?

The Dreamcaster Series is urban fantasy with a paranormal romance edge, focusing on brooding, damaged antiheroes and the women they can’t live without. There are the V’alkara, men who invade dreams and transform into nightmare creatures. Their counterparts are the dreamcasters, women who have the ability to channel nightmares. The V’alkara hunt dreamcasters, so there are some trust issues, which makes falling in love all the more problematic…and fun.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Beautifully Burned is set in? 

The setting is our modern day world, and the supernatural stuff is attached only to dreamcasters, the V’alkara, and their enemies. The average Joe isn’t aware they exist, and the V’alkara want to keep it that way. No one wants to become a science project, right?

Do you have a favorite scene in Beautifully Burned?

Ah! Picking a single favorite would be too hard, but one of my favorite scenes included Daxen catching Ella trying to sneak off and a subsequent trade of Shakespearean insults.

Daxen worked his jaw, as if battling a smile. “Shame. I’d trade half my library to see nightmares pop out of your cute little rump.”

Ella drew herself up straight. How dare he compliment any part of her? And bring up his sexy love for books? “Well, I’d auction off my bottle of Kauffman Luxury Vintage Vodka to see your glossy hair on fire, Dingleberry.”

His eyebrows rose. “Dingleberry?”

“Don’t make me taunt you a second time.”

Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
My favorite is Taey of Lured by Darkness. This fantasy/realm travel romance is on submission right now, and it’s close to my heart. Taey is damaged, scary, grumpy, believes he’s unworthy of love, and has an antiquated speech going on. Archaic words and speech patterns make me giddy (how could you not like the word ‘forsooth’?), so I had a blast writing him, especially when he’s up against my protagonist, who is from the present world and time. He doesn’t always understand her modern language or what she’s getting at, so it’s fun to watch him stumble.
Dax of Beautifully Burned was definitely the hardest. He did not want to open up to me. We had many, many struggles before he revealed his personality and secrets. After too much sweat and cursing, I won.

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

I’m going in all directions! My agent’s reading the first book in a YA dystopian fantasy series right now, which I hope to get out on submission soon. I’m also finishing up my first contemporary romance, a push out of my author comfort zone. I love my supernatural stuff, so I was skeptical, but I’ve fallen head over heels for the characters and the story, so much so that I intend to make it a series. And then Zaire’s story is up next for the Dreamcaster series. See. No down time, but I’m not complaining. I get to do what I love.

Thank you so much for having me on UFI!

C.J. Burright was born and raised in Oregon and loved it so much she never left. While she has worked for years in a law office, she chooses to avoid writing legal thrillers and instead leans toward urban fantasy, paranormal romance, or—since all things medieval and magical fascinate her—fantasy romance. A member of Romance Writers of America and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, C.J. also has her 4th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and believes stories should always include a fight scene, gratuitous or not. In what spare time she has, she enjoys working out, gardening, all things musical, Assassin’s Creed, and rooting on the Seattle Mariners (preferably with wine to curb her outrage when they lose). She shares a house with her husband, daughter, and a devoted cat herd.  

Find C.J. Burright and her books

Beautifully Burned
Dreamcaster  #2

Grandma warned me to resist him.

I know what he is. Even if he doesn't sparkle in the sun, hiss at holy water, or go by the traditional name of vampire, I know.

He doesn't want or need my blood. He wants my dreams...more specifically, my nightmares. And I've got oodles of those, so many they leak.

He's emotionally scarred, growly, dangerous, and kindles all my senses. Love isn't on his agenda. Having him for a guardian isn't on my list of fun, either. My touch sends him into darkness.

I shouldn't want him.

I can't want him.

But I do.

If I surrender instead of escape, I'll lose everything--my sister, my will, my life. Gran forgot to tell me the most important detail of all: how am I supposed to resist him when he's everything I've ever dreamed of?
Beautifully Burned is told in a dual, third person POV, and may be read as a standalone. 
Excerpt #1:

Five steps from her truck, Ella skidded to a stop. The sexy, sober book lover leaned against the fence a few yards away, as if he’d been there the whole time.
Her heart somersaulted twice. She might be tired, her thoughts preoccupied, but no way had he been there a second ago. Frick. He didn’t look like the type who scared easily and her nearest neighbor was two blocks away, so screaming would be pointless. With those long legs, he’d probably won some track medals, which nixed running for it. Her best bet was to get into her truck, lock the doors, and take off. Chin lifted high, she finished the short trek to her getaway wagon.
“I must speak with you.” Whether ordering a Shirley Temple or making soft, unexpected demands in a midnight parking lot, his gravelly voice was seductive as sin.
Her nerves tightened and she steadied her hands enough to jam the key in the lock. “Look, it’s late, I’m tired, and you decimated my maraschino cherry supply. Time to go home.”
He pushed off the fence and ambled toward her.
Ella struggled to turn the ancient lock. Stupid rust. “Bartender counselor sessions are closed until tomorrow. Sorry.”
“I have questions for you.” He leaned his hip near the tailgate, too close. “They won’t take long.”
“Oh, you’re a collection agent.” Thank God her voice remained cool and steady enough for the pretense. The truck lock finally gave with a loud snap. “Check’s in the mail.”
“I’m interested in your dreams, not your finances.”
A tremor coasted her spine and she paused, fingers wrapped around the door handle. No way was his dream comment random, but the press to escape dimmed beneath the desire to hear him out, to see if someone in the wide weird world had helpful information about her curse. A little chitchat never hurt anyone, and if he tried anything shady, she knew how to handle him. Her special self-defense was always ready.
She sucked in a breath. Without knowing when or how, he had moved closer, so close she had to crane her neck to look into his face. He smelled faintly of campfire smoke, a fond reminder of the frequent overnight hiking trips she used to take with Gran and Ginny. Back then, fire had made her feel warm and safe.
“A moment. Please.” He planted a hand on the door, keeping it shut and boxing her halfway with his arm. His ‘please’ sounded more like an attempt at manners than a request.
Curiosity warred with concern. If he wanted to attack her, he could’ve already sliced her, diced her, and left her for the stray dogs to gnaw on. What did he want to talk about? What words had the man who lured her mother away used? She wasn’t a mindless sheep, no matter how beautiful the wolf may be, but there was no denying this man did something witchy to her blood. She wanted to know why. Maybe that would set her questions to rest, ease her guilt, cure her curse.
But Ginny depended on her. She had to play it safe and get rid of him.
Ella shifted and rested her back against the truck door. He didn’t move, and a secret thrill coiled in her stomach. Ignoring it, she netted all her emotions and observations, pushed them to the back of her mind, and focused on his blue sea eyes.
“Go home,” she said in the hushed, haunting persuasion voice she used on drunks and perverts. “Forget me. Forget Dany’s exists. Never come here again.”
He went utterly still.
A bewildering stab of loss staked her chest. She’d never see him again. He’d go back to his life and she’d return to hers, no harm done, no questions answered. For some insane reason, she wanted to curl up on the asphalt and have a long, hard sob-fest.
A tiny crease formed between his black eyebrows, and instead of obeying, he studied her with a scientist’s concentration. “Are you trying to compel me?” His voice was gently accusing. He leaned nearer. “I’m V’alkara. I can’t be compelled.”
Ella leaned hard on the cool frame of her truck. Compel was a good explanation for her uncanny persuasion powers, and if he recognized it, getting rid of him would be harder than she thought. “Who are you?”
“Daxen v’al Solanis.” He watched her, unblinking.
“And V’alkara?” She swallowed the sawdust in her throat. Was that another word for vampire? “What’s that?”
“Me.” His small smile made a snarling wolf look friendly. “Ready to talk now?”
“You had all night to talk to me.”
“I wanted you alone.”
A fire bell warning clanged in her head, a command to escape, yet she couldn’t peel her attention from his jaw. Stubble shadowed the hard angles, a darkness contrary to his pale neck. She had a sharp, nearly overwhelming urge to touch him there, to experience the disparity of prickly and smooth, to slide her fingers down his throat to the ridge of his collarbone.
Ella blinked rapidly and gripped the keys tight, breaking the spell. “Are you trying some hypnotic woo-woo on me? Not cool. Kindly remove your hand from my truck.”
He cocked his head and his eyes flashed. “Don’t you want help with your nightmares, Ella?”


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