Girls*Heart* Books: Tammy's Two Cents.. Author Appreciation Day 16.. Kristine Cheney

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tammy's Two Cents.. Author Appreciation Day 16.. Kristine Cheney


Find all Kristine Cheney books on Amazon.com (Spartan Heart 1, Spartan Heart 2 and Secret Santa)

Sent away to college in America, Evangeline swore she would never return to England. Anger loses its value when tragedy forces her home to assume ownership of the family's beloved Greco-Roman museum.
Placing a foolish, drunken kiss on a Greek statue in the museum's basement, Evangeline unknowingly frees a Spartan prince from an evil oracle's curse. Suddenly, her lonely life is invaded by the rakish man with knowing emerald green eyes who never eats or sleeps, and seems to know her every thought and feeling.
Falling in love is dangerous, especially when it's with a man who has already been claimed by the bitter oracle, Demona. From the moment of her kiss, Evangeline is swept into Dorien's world of mystery, danger, and passion. The oracle's fury only mounts as they unravel Demona's darkest secrets, but not before Demona finds out about their unborn half-breed immortal twins.
Demona uses her knowledge of the future to manipulate and destroy, but sometimes love has a will, and a heart, of its own.

This book is just fantastic. It was a perfect blend of sexy, intriguing, mystery and romance that I couldn’t put it down. Our heroine, Evangeline, heartsick over the death of her parents and slightly intoxicated stumbles upon Dorien (hubba hubba hot Male lead!) cursed by a psychotic oracle and encased in a statue. Evangeline releases Dorien and they fall madly in love but, lookout for the afore mentioned psychotic oracle.

This was such a good book, I cannot wait to read book 2… I, as well, loved Secret Santa! Short enticing read that you won’t be able to put down.

Kristine answered some questions for me about her books and herself, she also offered up a fabulous giveaway (details to follow the interview).

*Tell me a bit about yourself. I’ve been married for twenty-two years to my high school sweetheart, Brett. We have three children and I’m blessed with an amazing step-daughter. By the age of 39, I was already a grandmother to three little ones. Let’s see….I’m left-handed (but I cut and bowl with my right hand!), I’m quite sensitive and cry at movies and even commercials, and I also make funny faces when I write because I get so caught up in the emotion of my story. (I’ve actually caught myself doing it!) I must be an awful sight to whoever watches! How embarrassing!

*Tell us how 2011 treated you in regards to your writing.2011 was my debut year as a published writer, and what a year it was. I released three books: Spartan Heart, Part One, and Spartan Heart, Part Two, and Secret Santa, while maintaining a full-time job outside of the home. Spartan Heart, Part One, won The Romance Reviews Best Paranormal Romance for 2011 in Time-Travel, and my Spartan Heart, Part One, cover won Best Cover for August 2011 at the Sassy Brit Book Cover Award at Alternative Reads. All of my books have frequented the Best-Seller’s lists, and so I’m proud to be considered an “Award-Winning, Best-Selling Author.” *Squee*

*Where were you born and where do you call home?I am an Arizona native, born in Phoenix, and raised in Glendale. I am currently living in Surprise, Arizona, which is only a short jaunt away from Phoenix and Glendale. I currently work at a law office in downtown Phoenix.

*What inspired you to become a writer?When I was a child, I loved to write poems and songs. I would hear music and make pretend scenarios in my head like music videos. I always liked to diary and journal and was an avid reader of books. But when I got married and had children in 1989, I let my passion go, and forgot all about it. Now that I look back, I always felt like a piece of me was missing. In 2008, I was having a melancholy day, and was asked, “You know, a long time ago you used to write. How come you never write anymore? Whatever happened to that girl?” Those words hit me hard! I was inspired right then that I had to write and decided I was going to write a book. I’ve always been a lifetime lover of archaeology and Greek mythology, so the idea sparked in an instant. I began writing on my computer and the story flowed so quickly. As if it having a life of its own, Spartan Heart came into being. It took three months to write this story.

*A lot of authors research the Era that is the backdrop, so to speak, for their novels. What type of research did you do for Spartan Heart?My desire was to have a focus on characters that weren’t popular or well known, which allowed me to breathe my own characteristics and traits into what little was documented. I created this book based on common, noted history by taking historical facts and weaving them into my world of fantasy. I chose Spartan Prince Dorieus, which in reality is the older brother of the famed Spartan King Leonidas. There wasn’t much recorded for Dorieus, other than his striking good looks, his jovial sense of humor, and his merit and respect as a prince of Sparta. He delighted in tours across the world with a handful of his most loyal men, which indeed were the Croton Philip, who was his best friend and ally, and fellow Spartans Thessalus, Celeas, and Paraebates. It is recorded that when Dorien’s crazed half-brother Cleomenes (think absolutely, mad insane…such as the ruler in Gladiator!) was chosen over him and elected to the throne, it was painful to know that Spartan tradition had overlooked Dorien’s merit and favor, for he was truly the best choice as ruler. It devastated him so much, that he left Sparta, refusing to watch his insane brother rule over a country he loved and believed in. Dorien and all of his men died on a battleground at Heraclea Minoa in 510 B.C. My thinking was….what if they really didn’t die that day, and instead, they were actually the victims of an evil oracle’s curse?

*What are the Pro's and Con's to being and Indie Author?I have the privilege of riding both sides of the publishing fence. The first books in my series, Spartan Heart, Part One, and Spartan Heart, Part Two, are published with Astraea Press. I decided to Indie my Christmas novella, Secret Santa, through my own publishing entity, Enchanted Muse Press. Spartan Surrender is the next book in my Spartan Heart Saga, and it will also be published Indie through EMP.

Being published with Astraea Press was an amazing feeling, and I covet the experience and knowledge I learned from them. Absolutely priceless! I wouldn’t change it for anything. It was there that I earned my writing wings. My recommendation for anyone who’s considering self-publishing is to first try and publish with a small press. No matter how ready you feel you are, I believe it’s vital to allow for the opportunity to learn the ropes and grasp the facets of what is expected of you as a writer. Even now, when I look at my first book SH1, and then consider Secret Santa and Spartan Surrender, I’m amazed at how much my writing has evolved.

Now that I’ve had this experience, I felt confident to tread into self-publishing, which works best for me. While I won’t rule out being published by a house in the future, the main thing I covet as an Indie is having absolute creative control over my work. As little money as a published author makes with a house, I also enjoy knowing that after my book vendor is paid, that all remaining royalties belong to me. My dream is to one day be a full-time novelist. I will never achieve my goal by accepting pennies for my work after a publishing house gets their share of what little is left after a vendor’s cut. Believe me, it adds up.

*Have you decided how many books will be in the Spartan Heart Saga series? Are you a "this is a trilogy, period" person; or a "I will write the story until I think it's told" person?My original intention was to make this a family saga, and to write a book for every Spartan warrior. Dorien’s story is Spartan Heart (Parts I&II….soon to be re-published in one Spartan Heart book). Thessalus’ story is Spartan Surrender (expected for release April 1), Celeas’ story is Spartan Proposal (expected late 2012), Philip’s story is Spartan Rapture, and Paraebates’ story is Spartan Fire, and both are expected in 2013. I have introduced a new immortal, Dastan, and may plan more books accordingly. I haven’t decided whether to make a story for Demona yet. And then there are the half-breed children to consider….hmmm. The possibilities are endless.

*Do you have a specific writing style? To be honest, I just sit down and tap away at my laptop. But I am always thinking about my story (sometimes plural!). It’s like the brain never shuts down. I can become so immersed in writing that it isn’t uncommon to notice the need to take a break and six hours have passed. I do love to set the mood for writing…I adore candles. Lighting a bunch of candles before I sit to write is relaxing, ambient, romantic, and the scents fill all of my senses. (Partylite candles are my favorite because they smell so good!) I also decorated a “writing room” which is now my most coveted room in the house. It is filled with candle holders and the d├ęcor is feminine and inspiring. I don’t listen to music when I write because I find it distracting, but if I hear a song in the car, it can inspire lots of fabulous ideas.

My true muse is water. Rain. The sounds of a storm. The waves of the ocean. A babbling brook or stream…and yes, even the shower, lol! *blushes* Being an Arizona native, we have to take water whenever we can get it. Needless to say, a lot of my ideas have been inspired while in the shower!

*Whom in your life would you say has influenced you the most?I would say my grandmother Bobbie. No matter what, that woman always stood beside me and never tired of saying how proud she was of me. I was her first grandchild, so the relationship we had was like no other. I don’t think anyone else in my life has ever loved me with the same intensity as she did. Sadly, she passed away in 1999, and I often find myself wishing that I could share the accomplishment of my books and my love of writing with her. I like to think she’s swooning with a grandmother’s pride somewhere in Heaven and believe that she knows.

*What has been the most interesting comment (or review) about your book?It is emotionally jolting to hear that someone was touched to the point of tears by reading my books. There’s nothing better than sharing the essence of something so raw, intimate, and heartfelt with my readers. I’m a sap that writes with a lot of feeling and passion (Born in the middle of July…I can’t help it!) I would say that above all, hearing several times that my Secret Santa is worthy of being compared to a “Hallmark Channel story” is among my most coveted of literary reviews and complements. That makes me cry!

*Tell us your latest news.Spartan Surrender is in editing phase and I’m hoping for an April 1st release! Whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I’m so very excited about it. The cover is being created by the super uber-talented Michelle Richelieu as we speak, and I must brag that it’s quite magnificent! I have already Written Spartan Proposal, so it only needs a good editing before publishing. I also have several single-title books that are half finished. I’m encouraged that 2012 will be a great year for several releases.

*Please, do tell why we should read your novels.If you’re a lover of paranormal and contemporary romance and craves strong, yet feminine characters, and have a huge penchant for Alpha males with conviction and heart (sometimes hidden!), then my books are for you. I’m a big strategist when it comes to creating a world where what is visibly on the surface isn’t always as it seems. I’m known for my twists and turns, and am a sucker for belly-dropping surprises. I’m a rabid fan of the good vs. evil dilemma.

*Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I would say yes. A lot of women make mistakes. They do things backwards, or start off on the wrong foot. Despite this, every woman deserves a happily ever after. Everyone possesses the power to make the wrong things right. You can forgive yourself for past mistakes. Obstacles and diversity only makes a gal stronger. Sometimes one must lose everything in order to gain it. Often in life, we are thrown hard punches. But if you brush off your knees and keep moving forward past the pain and disappointments, you will always find your destiny waiting for you.

*Finally, I have to give a shout out to Secret Santa... I LOVED this book! What's the story behind it?Awwww….thank you. *blushes* I always wanted to write a holiday story, so when this idea popped into my head last Fall, I knew I had to get started. Writing Secret Santa was truly a journey of the heart. My desire was to make a short novella that carried the emotional impact of a full novel. It was my Indie debut and I am very proud of this heartfelt, Christmas story.

Contest entry, rules and details:
Grand Prize: SH1, SH2, and Secret Santa ebook pkg + 2 Bookmarks
First Prize: SH1 and SH2 ebooks + 2 Bookmarks
Second Prize: Choice of SH1 or SH2 or Secret Santa ebook + 1 Bookmark
Third Place Prize: 1 Bookmark

You MUST like Mel’s Book Blog on Facebook; You MUST like Kristine’s fan page on Facebook (Spartan Heart Paranormal Romance Saga) and You must leave a comment here, on the blog.. who is your favorite leading male or female character from a book. The contest will run through next Friday 3-23-12