Spring Blog Carnival!! *Daisy Chain Story Booth*

carnivalbannerHello, my lovlies!! Spring is in the air, and what better time for a carnival?? THIS carnival, however, you can attend without bugs flying around, the chance of rain, or losing all your coins to those clever-but-impossible crane games. We’ve still got lots of interesting booths to visit, fun activities and challenges, and PRIZES to win!!!

My booth at the 3rd Annual Spring Blog Carnival (hosted by Candace’s Book Blog and Pure Imagination) is a “Daisy Chain Story Booth”. It’s really like a “round robin” style of storytelling. Each commenter will leave ONE sentence that continues the story from the commenter before them. I’ll start with the premise, and give you the first sentence, then… it’s off to the races!!! The idea is to get as creative as you can, while still keeping the storyline connected from one sentence to the next, much like you would daisies in a springtime daisy chain. Please keep in mind, however, that YA blogs are participating, and therefore younger readers may stop in here. I’d love to see some paranormal elements included, and even some romance if the story grows that way, but please keep things PG-13, at most.

To add a bit more fun to the game, my delightful friend Karina Cooper will be stopping in from time to time, to add sentences!! And all of YOU who comment will get a chance to win one book in Karina’s Dark Mission Novels or her St. Croix Chronicles. In addition, the winner will also win the lovely daisy chain bracelet shown here…

DaisyChainBracelet

You can leave as many sentences as you like… but only one per comment, and please, no back to back commenting. Snag your friends to play along, or just build off the random commenter before you. Each sentence will give you one entry to win a Karina Cooper book of choice and the bracelet. Contest starts now, and ends at the close of the carnival on May 12th.

Thank you all for stopping by my booth… be sure to check out the rest of the booths in this funtastic blog hop for more activities and prizes:

Spring Blog Carnival Booths

1. Land of Make Believe Booth at Candace’s Book Blog 16. Globetrotter’s Booth at YA Booklover Blog 31. Guess the Weight Booth at Dizneeee’s World of Books
2. Kissing Booth at Pure Imagination 17. Dunking Booth at Cover2CoverBlog 32. House of Pain Booth at Bewitched Bookworms
3. Haunted House at Reading Angels 18. Face Painting Booth at JennReneeRead 33. Top Secret Booth at Book- Marks The Spot
4. Alpha Arcade at Crazy Four Books 19. Ring Toss Booth at Harley Bear Book Blog 34. Tilt-A-Whirl at Book Jems
5. Karaoke Booth at Actin’ Up with Books 20. Lucky Dip Booth at The Girl in a Cafe 35. Palm Reading Booth at lilybloombooks
6. Ticket Booth at Writer Quirk 21. Fishing Booth at I am a Reader Not a Writer 36. Horse Rides at Oh, Chrys!
7. Moonlit Grove Booth at Psah to Reality 22. Southland Booth at Adventures In YA Publishing 37. Hall of Mirrors at WinterHaven Books
8. Belle of the Ball at Paperback Princess 23. Food Booth at Rainy Day Ramblings 38. Second Chances Booth at Debbie’s World of Books
9. Tunnel of Love at The Daily Bookmark 24. Magic Carpet Ride at TSK TSK What to Read 39. Poetry Booth at Basia’s Bookshelf
10. Mud Run at The Book Swarm 25. Zipper Booth at Forever 17 Books 40. Mythology Booth at Seeing Night Reviews
11. Ferris Wheel at Ink Skies 26. Bumper Cars at A Bookish Heart 41. Make-Over Booth at Pink Polka Dot Book Blog
12. Killer Cliff Booth at Bookittyblog 27. Shooting Gallery at At Random 42. Weaponry and Dangerous Magic Booth at Amy’s Book Den
13. Dragon Booth at On Starships and Dragon Wings 28. Reading Rollercoaster at Melissa Turner Lee 43. Popcorn Booth at Snowdrop Dreams of Books
14. Bed and Biscuit Booth at Manga Maniac Cafe 29. Fun House at Into the Mystic 44. The Charade of Masks Carnival Auction at A Bookish Escape
15. Match-Making Booth at Emily’s Crammed Bookshelf 30. Down the Rabbit Hole Booth at Willing to See Less 45. Daisy Chain Story Booth at Books Make Me Happy

To begin our “Daisy Chain Story”…

The grass in the meadow crinkled under the heavy boots of the hunter, daisies grinding to a flowery mash as she made her way to the entrance of the carnival.

Review: WICKED LIES (Dark Mission novella) by Karina Cooper

WickedLIes-Cvr-186x300Title: Wicked Lies (Dark Mission Novella, #4.5)

Author: Karina Cooper 

Date of Publication: 3/5/2013

ISBN: 9780062126733 ASIN: B0092QPCXS

Pages: 112 

Formats available: e-book

Disclaimer: Book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Karina Cooper’s Dark Mission novels take place in a much darker, much harsher version of our world. With their already crazy lives turned on their proverbial heads, Parker, Silas, and the rest of the crew are scrambling to pull themselves together and keep their people safe. One of their people is Danny Granger, and Jonas is determined to bring him home.

WICKED LIES picks up the Dark Mission novels storyline in a bad place. I’m not much for graphic violence in a story, so the first few pages of this was really hard for me. Danny’s abuse while held at the Mission was detailed, and although I didn’t enjoy that part, I do think it was necessary to feel a little of the anger and helplessness that Jonas felt as he also watched, unable to stop it.

One of the things I love about Jonas is his ability to keep a cool head and a quick wit. That cool head, in the face of all that *could* go wrong, not only maneuvered Danny away from his captors, but the quick wit gave Danny something to smile about before he was even free. Danny’s confidence and determination were essential not only to escaping, but also in dealing with Jonas. The connection between the two was apparent from the beginning. More than just a man saved and his savior… their bond has more to do with their personalities, and how one is strong where the other is weak; making the whole better than the sum of it’s parts.

Considering that this IS a novella, I was a bit worried, honestly, about their relationship. Would we get enough of a buildup that it was believable and didn’t feel rushed? The answer was both yes and no. The relationship WAS rushed, but it was also believable, which is very hard to do. The circumstances were extreme, and the men involved were both strong willed and passionate. That combination created a spark that ignited in the best way. The only thing that bothered me was the “morning after regret” that tends to come in those situations. It makes me crazy, even though it may be realistic. I wish characters would just SAY what they want and mean, but it’s a losing battle on my part, lol. I knew it was coming, it made me mad, and then I got over it. But I did grrrrrrrrrr at one of the men for about a chapter or two. And thank GOODNESS for Naomi, is all I have to say, lol.

Overall, I loved the story. It’s, honestly, not much of a plot turner where the series storyline is concerned, but I AM curious how Jonas’ new relationship will change his attitude or personality in the next book. I don’t expect a whole different man, but I wonder how having someone in his life will affect him and his role on the team. Regardless, I CAN’T WAIT for the last book in the series… ONE FOR THE WICKED… available April 30.

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Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours, you can read a guest post from Karina about her choice to feature two human characters in this series full of witches HERE (includes contest information!) And below is an excerpt from the novella. Also, keep an eye out in the next few days for my interview with “Jonas” and “Danny” for a chance to win a copy of WICKED LIES!

Excerpt

Dedication:

For my Uncle Stephen. You were the first man in my life who bravely came out to me, and who paved the way for me to be myself. I loved you so much before, and I love you just as much now.

You are my inspiration.

And for every gay, lesbian, bi-, trans-, queer, and questioning youth out there. Life can be hard, sometimes it can get mean. There will be days when you feel like it’s impossible, but I want you to know that there are people like me out here who support you. I promise : it gets better.

Chapter One

A blue-white light flickered in the dark. Sparks glinted off the tool racks bolted to the wall across the shadowed room, reflected from the metal braces left leaning against the desk. As silence—mind-numbingly loud, thick as water, and twice as hard to breathe—filled the narrow room, that blue-white light caught in the circular lenses of a pair of glasses and threw a glare across the screen.

Jonas Stone stirred. “It has to be now,” he said, his voice too loud in the oppressive weight of the shadows behind him. He couldn’t look away from the feed spilling its incandescent glow over his desk, his keyboard.

His conscience.

Because the man framed in that digital feed—the kid strapped to the chair dead center of the surveillance footage—wasn’t the first suspected heretic to sit there. To sweat there.

To bleed.

“Be sure, Jonas. We get one shot at this.”

His brain wanted to look at the comm unit beside his left hand. His body refused to obey, every cell focused on the prisoner’s dark, drooping head. Scarred fingers twitched, knuckles whitening, and Jonas frowned as he realized his right hand had closed into a painful fist.

It had to be now. The kid wouldn’t last much longer.

“There’s no alternative,” he replied. “We’re not going to get another opening soon enough to .” He hesitated.

The voice over the comm link didn’t waver. Not even a fracture. “Soon enough to save him.”

Only through recent experience did Jonas know that the raspy, lifetime-pack-a-day voice coming out of the secure line belonged to a woman named May. Leader of a rebellion that had saved Jonas’s life, and the perpetrator behind a string of hacking jobs that left Jonas seriously reconsidering a career shift before the Church had made that choice for him.

The fact that she was very, very good was all that kept him from throwing in the towel now.

But he’d never met her in person. Hell, he’d never met the prisoner now struggling to raise his head in Jonas’s feed, either. Instead, all he had was a picture in a box, a hacked security feed, and too many hours spent staring at the incandescent screen until his eyeballs throbbed and the vicious curl of helplessness inside him turned to a spiraling ache.

That boy didn’t belong in that kind of interrogation room.

A single light, faded blue, gleamed over shoulders broader than Jonas’s, but not by much. The prisoner was athletically lean where Jonas was simply skinny. The narrowly defined muscles of his chest were outlined by the stained remains of a thin, long-sleeve shirt.  Blood and sweat had turned it nearly brown. His slumped shoulders strained against the restraints confining him to the hard metal chair, a position not just awkward but painful as hell. Jonas hadn’t seen his face for over an hour.

He didn’t have to. He knew what he’d see when—if—the kid raised his chin again.

Blood caked into a ridged scab across the fine slash of his upper lip, under his broad nose and over a determinedly sculpted chin. He’d see the blackened stains of it dried into the man’s ears, blending into his dark brown hair. Even now, that greasy fringe flopped over his forehead, long since sweating off the gel that had held it into its fashionable spikes. The longest of the textured strands would slide into one swollen eye, if it ever opened again.

The prisoner had eyes the color of the computer-lit confines of the places Jonas preferred to inhabit. Almost black, even without pain stripping them to an endless void. When open, those eyes all but crackled with an intensity that could take a lesser man’s objectivity away in a single glance. Like a hungry kid or a kicked puppy.

Or a man on the edge of desperation.

Jonas’s chest kicked.

“Let me know when your people are ready.” He didn’t bother hiding the raw regret in his voice. He’d felt a lot of it, lately. After all, he used to be the man who helped put people into rooms just like that.

“Fine.” May’s voice cracked. Flattened. “I’m trusting you, Jonas.”

“I know.” They always did. “Let me try. I’m positive I can get him out. They won’t expect it this soon.”

Blog Tour: WICKED LIES by Karina Cooper

Wicked Lies Button 300 x 225Hello, my lovelies!!! Today’s post is really exciting for me, because it involves one of my very favorite people, and a story that I absolutely adore!!

This week, Karina Cooper released a novella in her Dark Mission series called WICKED LIES. OH. MY. WOWZA!! I loved this story (you can read chapter one, and my review HERE), and I love the series in general. There were a lot of interesting things about this novella. First, in a series focused on witches (and those that hunt them), this story was about two NON witches. Two characters that are caught up in the fight, and involved in all the aspects of the paranormal world, but whose strengths and weaknesses are purely human. Also, it features a M/M romantic relationship, something I’ll talk more about when I post my interview with “Jonas” and “Danny” in the next few days. Keep an eye out for that!!

Here’s a little about WICKED LIES…

WickedLIes-Cvr-186x300Wicked Lies – A Dark Mission Novella

Karina Cooper

Genre: Paranormal Romance (Avon’s first male-male romance)

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Date of Publication: 3/5/2013

ISBN: 9780062126733

ASIN: B0092QPCXS

Number of pages: 112

Word Count: 29,159

Formats available: e-book

Purchase Links: http://www.avonromance.com/book/karina-cooper-wicked-lies

Book Description:

Jonas Stone has been given his first independent operation: rescue the insurrection leader’s imprisoned grandson from the Mission. Getting the job done means more than getting Danny Granger out-it means staying with him while he heals. Staying too close, for way too long.

Danny is everything Jonas isn’t: confident, optimistic, honest–a man to be reckoned with. If only it didn’t mean going against everything Jonas has planned. He’s kept his secrets for years, hid behind a mask no one could see through…until now. Danny isn’t the kind of man Jonas deserves. But he might be exactly the man he needs…

Karina was kind enough to share this about her choice to share Jonas and Danny’s human story…

imgBioPhotoBWIf you’ve been following along with the Dark Mission books, you know that the premise—witches versus witch-hunters, morality versus survival, good versus evil—makes for a rather explosive environment. Blood of the Wicked introduced a witch and a missionary in a pairing unlikely to go quietly. Lure of the Wicked pitted a witch-hunting missionary with a human descended from witches.

I go on like this in every book: two witches from opposing forces, a missionary and a hunter double-teaming it for the witches, and—in One for the Wicked’s finale, I drop the head missionary’s daughter in with a human insurgent looking for revenge on the witch-hunting Mission. It’s true, I won’t hide it. I take twisted pleasure shacking up two people diametrically opposed and—if you’ll forgive the borrowed phrase from Robin Williams’ Broadway insanity—making them deal with their shit.

Wicked Lies is different. Jonas Stone and Danny Granger are both human as they come.

Jonas was never a hunter, not in the same way Silas, Naomi and Simon are. He was part of the administrative arm of the division, like Parker but with none of the authority. He was the eyes and ears, the info-gatherer and the troubleshooter behind the comms keeping everybody together. Magic? None, unless you count what he can do with computers “magic”—a very human talent. Combat prowess? Not in any way that would make a difference on the field, which is why he wasn’t the kind of missionary you took to the fight.

Danny Granger is no fighter. Grandson to the rebellion leader, he’s a guy who believes with his whole heart that everybody should get the chance to live free. He’s got no magic, and no martial skill. He’s not a killer. He’s just this guy, you know?

And despite the fact that they’re living in this world saturated with witchcraft and paranormal elements, surrounded by men and women with “extras”—power, authority, cultivated genetics—their problems are not “paranormal” problems.

I wanted to take some time off from the paranormalcy and show that people in New Seattle still have the problems we do. They still have trouble communicating—with each other and themselves. They still can’t read minds; they still aren’t sure of themselves, whether they should speak out or remain silent, reach out or keep to themselves. Danny isn’t sure that Jonas would appreciate a come-on from another man, while Jonas doesn’t want to drag Danny into his internal mess. They still do what we all do for those we care about—protect each other from themselves.

Wicked lies. We tell them, to ourselves and to others.

But hey, look at it this way: paranormal world or normal, dystopia or utopia, isn’t it a little bit comforting to think that we’ll always be doing the same dance, nursing the same dreams and regrets, and striving to make ourselves—each other—better?

So… How important are the human characters in the worlds of urban fantasy and paranormal romance? Do we need that grounding familiarity in the fantasy story? Personally, I think yes, what do YOU think?? Each commenter will have a chance to win the WICKED LIES novella. Contest will be open until the end of the tour, April 1st.

And there’s MORE!!! Below is a link below for a tour wide contest to win a complete print set of all currently released Dark Mission novels!!! If you have NOT read this series… go… now… click… enter… READ THEM!!!!

Enter To Win Karina Cooper’s Dark Mission Novels!

Words & Music Monday with Karina Cooper

Hello all!! This week we get to hear from one of my favorite new(ish) authors. Karina Cooper’s Dark Mission series is really fantastic, and the third book, ALL THINGS WICKED is coming out on January 31st.

Music Is My Drug

Hi. My name is Karina, and I have a confession: I have 12.5 consecutive days’ worth of music on my hard drive.

Since the dawn of computering–okay, wait, before I date myself, I mean since my dawn of computering–I have kept music. I remember the first mp3s. I can go back farther and talk about the files upon files of midi music I used to own. (I remember being quite displeased with Enya, who was in turn quite displeased with the many upon many midi files made from her music across the burgeoning internet.) Over a decade ago, when I first starting dating the mancandy, I remember owning a machine with a 1 GB hard drive — of which exactly 4Mb of space was left free. I kept that space full with an mp3.

For some, 12.5 days of consecutive music isn’t that much. It translates to roughly 21.15 GB of music (if iTunes is to be believed). I know folks with upwards of 60, 80, 100 GB of music, into vast and mighty Terabyte land, but there’s something to be said for mine. Because unlike a lot of mp3 collectors out there, I can state two things for certain: 1) most of my collection is purchased,    either from CD or iTunes/Amazon (mmhmmm), and 2) I listen to all of it.

Well, okay, I don’t just turn on my music for twelve and half days, but I have all of my music organized into playlists, and each    playlist has a purpose. There’s my Inspiration playlist, my Star Wars playlist (don’t judge me), my playlists for each of my    Changeling characters over the years, my Steampunk playlist (titled ApocaSteampunk for no real reason), my bagpipe-laden Gray & Gaelic playlist for the rainy days, and–of course–my writing lists.

It’s rare that I don’t have music on when I write. Sometimes, I find myself needing the quiet to really wring words out, but the vast majority of my writing time is spent with music leaking out of the speakers in various stages of volume and flow. There are two rules to be a candidate for “music Karina writes to”, and they are as follows:

    1. No lyrics. I find them distracting, and it’s virtually impossible for me to write something like, “As he stroked his fingers down the soft skin of her inner thigh,” without somehow adding, “I’m talking about everybody getting crunk, crunk, boys tryin’ to touch my junk, junk,” because I’m singing it at the top of my lungs. I am not a quiet music-listener, and that’s not quite the mood I’m going for.

    2. Nothing that is too evocative of the movie or show it came from. For example, I can’t listen to Pirates of the Caribbean when I write. Why? Because that refrain comes in full-scale and I’m suddenly imagining Johnny Depp buckling his swash, and while that’s got it’s own particular charms, it’s not the imagery I need. The less the music reminds me of the place it came from, the better.

You can imagine I have a lot of movie scores. Everything from Constantine to music from Alone in the Dark; The Exorcism of Emily Rose to Steve Jablonsky’s Transformer’s scores. No Gladiator, I’m afraid. No Lord of the Rings. I own them, of course–let’s be serious!–but I don’t write to them.

And to compound my music fetishism a little bit more, I don’t usually re-use music once I’ve written to it, unless the series follows the same “feel”. I wrote a majority of the Dark Mission books to a mix of Constantine and The Da Vinci Code (including Angels & Demons). And yet, when it came time to write All Things Wicked (out January 31st, 2012), I found neither of these things worked for me. The music I needed had to be low-impact to balance the grim reality of the images in my head; it had to be evocative enough to tease the truth from somewhere inside all the ADD-rattled fluff inside my skull.

It needed to be the kind of music that I would play to soothe a wild beast. A murderer’s lullaby.

I wrote Caleb and Juliet’s story to one soundtrack. Set on repeat and left to play over and over, I wrung every last note out of it. It’s not at all what I would have chosen for myself, but it apparently worked for Caleb.

To my surprise, it wasn’t hard rock refrains or epic battle-music that coached me through the sticky processes of my hero’s determined brain. Nor was it mysterious operatic chorales or haunting, ghostly stalker-like music. Instead, the sweet piano-heavy score of Alexandre Michel Desplat’s The Painted Veil became the catalyst for murder, mystery and mayhem–and, of course, romance.

Not at all what Caleb would choose for himself, if he had to. Well, he’s not much for music. He finds most of the stuff on the entertainment feeds not worth listening to, and anything he’d want to hear, he’d want to hear loud. Which, when letting your    guard down could mean losing your life, isn’t the smartest thing to be doing. But if he had to, he’d pick some good old-fashioned power ballads. Love songs with some major kick.

And he’d threaten to do something horrible involving your teeth and knees in one go if you so much as breathed a word to anyone.

There’s the Caleb we know!

Aaahhhhhh… Caleb… your rock ballad secret is safe with me!! :-) Thanks to Karina for sharing some of her musical inspiration. So… who’s got some instrumental music/score ideas to share??

“BLANK” Makes Me Happy – Karina Cooper

This month we get to venture a little bit into the happy times of debut author Karina Cooper. Her Dark Mission Novels are dark and dangerous stories of witches and witch hunters. You can read my review of the first book in the series, Blood of the Wicked, HERE.

This is what Karina has to say about what’s making her smile these days…

Life Makes Me Happy

Wait, wait, I swear this isn’t a cop-out! See, I started this post    like five times. And every single time, I’d be halfway through it    and I’d start thinking, “But, this other thing make me happy, too.” It seemed kind of unfair. So, instead of just one thing that’s    making me happy at the moment—currently, a hot cup of a coffee and my littlest cat purring on my lap—I figured I’d give you a sweeping overview of ranom things that make me happy. So, here we go. My ADHD is out in full force, so hang on for the ride. Ten things that make me happy!

1. Animals Make Me Happy
This one isn’t that hard. I have four cats and a rabbit, and every one is super loving and sweet. I adore all of them. When I write all    day long, my youngest kitten (named after the heroine in my second book, I admit it!) curls up on my feet or on my lap and keeps me company. When it’s TV time, my oldest tank cat strolls out from wherever he’s been hiding his 24 pounds of badassery and climbs up on the couch with me. The other two are more independent, but the princess cat is super sweet first thing in the morning (further proof she’s not my cat) and the fanged princeling strolls by to check in every afternoon. My rabbit will prop up on her cage and lick the bars with excitement when I walk into her room. Having these furballs around always raises my spirits!

2. Writing Makes Me Happy
I don’t know if I can explain this one beyond the simplest sentence: Plotting, writing the first draft, revising and turning in a book    makes me ridiculously happy. I thrive on it. What can I say? The fact that Blood of the Wicked came out Tuesday, May 31, is one of those things that will make me happy for ages and ages. Look, world! I did it!

3. Sweating Makes Me Happy
Don’t judge me! I’m sort of a closet exercise evangelist. Only not so much closeted, these days. As the life of a writer is pretty sedentary, I didn’t start working out until fairly recently. Problem is, I got hooked. How in the world am I supposed to be lazy and addicted to working out? It’s just one of many conundrums that infects my life. (Virgo, meet Libra. Libra, cross Virgo. Rinse,    repeat.) Right now, I’m working out with a friend when we both have the time, and I’ve started a belly dance class that mixes pilates and yoga in with the course. It’s intense, and super sweaty, and I feel so good at the end of it that it almost makes up for    the full-body pain that follows the day after. Almost. … Oh, who am I kidding? I love it.

4. Cherries Make Me Happy
When the cherries start hitting the stores, I’m always so thrilled! I can eat those until my tongue turns red and I’m buried in a sea of cherry pits. I love, love, love cherries. I’ll put one in my mouth and suck on it for as long as I possibly can until it’s all dessicated and I have to tear into it to find the rest of the flavor. I’ve accidentally swallowed a pit or two in my time by doing this, but I can’t stop! I can’t wait for cherry season again.

5. Military Commercials Make Me Happy
…Especially the ones that have anything to do with welcoming home soldiers. I get so heart-warmed about it — it’s the weirdest thing, really. I just start getting all sniffy and I’m all, “Waaaaah, he was all alone and he thought no one was there to greet him and they    just did a party out of nowhere and he’s all, ‘Welcome home, man,’ waaaaah!” It’s ridiculous.

6. Hair Dye Makes Me Happy
SO MANY COLORS… Wait, sorry, where was I?

7. Harem Anime Romances Make Me Happy
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Ouran High School Host Club. You’ll see exactly what I mean. I’m a sucker for romances anyway, so when you add in comedy and and handful of gorgeous men, it just makes my day. (I always, always go for the black-haired one… I can’t help it!) And when the protagonist finally makes his or her decision, or when one of the suitors finally makes that move that you know won the heart of the protagonist, I squee out loud. Involuntary squealing! I’m such a sucker.

8. Shoes Make Me Happy
I get a fabulous little feeling when I open my closet and look at all my shoes. My collection (teetering as it is) makes me squee with    glee. I have so many that the mancandy has forbidden me to buy more—like that’ll work. I love wearing cute shoes, usually with high heels because I have a short complex. I always want to buy more!

9. The Mancandy Makes Me Happy
Ten years together and my heart still does that breathless little thump when I see him. The fact that he’s blonde makes no sense,    either. But that’s happiness for you.

10. You Make Me Happy!
I love waking up to find email and tweet @replies from those of you who took the time to send me a love note! I wish I had more hours in the day to dedicate to just responding back to everything, but I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading about your experiences with Before the Witches and Blood of the Wicked. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, in the world like the love notes of dedicated readers.

So there’s a glimpse into the various things that make me squee with joy!

When you really look at it, it’s safe to say that yes, in fact, life makes me happy.

I hope that among all those other things that make you happy, reading Blood of the Wicked counts among happy moments in    your day. Sure, it’s dark, gritty, a little bloody, but it’s also been called “sexy as hell”. Take a few, curl up, get something hot to drink, and enjoy. Besides, who says gritty tales of love and intrigue can’t make someone happy? They count for me!

It counted for me, lol… Here are a few questions that I had for Karina, about her happy things, and about Blood of the Wicked.

1) You mentioned “plotting” your stories. What’s your favorite part of the story to write? The beginning, the middle or the end? What’s the HARDEST part to write? What part requires the most cherries, lol?

My favorite part of the story to write is… It’s… Hm. You know what? I think my favorite bit to write is the whole thing! The way I write, I actually break the story down to scenes. I don’t even consider beginning, middle or end as I’m writing, I just take it scene by scene until I’m all done. I really enjoy doing this because the way I plot, I already have told the story — I’m just putting the words to it, now. It takes all the pressure off, so I don’t start sweating what needs to happen int he middle, the end, etc. I’ve already done that sweating. All that said, the hardest thing for me to right are fight scenes. I don’t know why, but I sit and stare at my pages for hours before I actually dive into a fight scene.

The bit that needs more cherries is — wait. Um. Let me rephrase this. When I sit down to write a sex scene, I — Damn. How do I    phrase this without sounding really, really bad? Of course I mean the fruit, here, but there’s just no way to say this without snickering like a 12 year old. Okay, fine: My sex scenes need more cherries. There. Happy? (Oh, hey: Being juvenile makes me happy, too.)

2) Did you know there’s an entire SHOW about soldiers coming home, and people who suprise them or plan big events for them?? *buys you stock in Kleenex*

NO. Is there? Oh, man, I’d never get anything done!

3) Are any of your characters general behaviors based on people you know? (I’m curious mainly about Silas.) Do you draw from your real life friends/family/aquaintances for character building?

Ohhh, Silas. I love him. But to answer your question, all of my characters are influenced in some way by everyone I know and meet. I’ve never mirrored anybody, but a few traits I pick up on might end up in this character or that. Part of the process. Silas isn’t based on anybody in particular, or even in general; he’s his own person, an amalgam of various traits and quirks and beliefs. If anything, Silas’ tendency to swear is actually based on my own. Ahem.

4) How did you come into the idea of the underground Seattle storyline? It’s really incredible, and very different from anything else I’ve read. Not someplace I’d ever like to go, but someplace I think I can actually see because of how detailed you were in the description.

Aw, thanks for saying so! I actually don’t remember what initially inspired it — I think I was drawn by the idea that Seattle already    has a bit of a precedent for building on itself. Even now, if you go to Seattle, you can take a tour through the Underground, which is  all the subterranean passages that used to be Seattle and first-floor shops back in the day. It’s really surreal! It reminds me of a line from Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series: “What Ankh-Morpork was built on was Ankh-Morpork.” 

5) I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cottage by the river! It kind of reminds me of a Thomas Kincade painting, lol. Will we see that place, or Matilda again? (I’m guessing we must, since we HAVE to find out why she has such an interest in Jessie!)

Oooh, now that you mention it, I can see what you mean! Matilda’s place — which I very tongue in cheek call “Sexytime Sanctuary” when I talk about it — came to me in vast swatches of color. The green and purples and the gray or sun-lit sky above. The warmth of the steam (pond faeries!), the flagstones and giant fronds. I’d love to have a little cottage like that. We will see it again, and certainly you’ll see Matilda again. After all, it’s not the first time you’ve met her… (Right?)

6) Are all the books in the series going to mention the previous characters? I know that Lure of the Wicked features a character we meet (and don’t really like very much, to be honest, lol) in Blood of the Wicked. Will get get to see what happens with Silas and Jessie?

Ah ha! I’m actually quite glad you don’t like her very much. I did my job right!

We will revisit characters as the series continues, but not every book will feature the same characters over and over. Blood of the Wicked, Lure of the Wicked, and the third book, All Things Wicked (out early 2012), are tightly conjoined in that we see a lot of the  same characters as their stories wrap around each other, but not all following books will be the same. Certainly, as we see familiar faces again, we’ll also meet new faces and get embroiled into new stories along the way, including events that lead us out of the metropolis and into the wild.

Some might surprise you. Others might disappoint you. It’s a sad fact that not everyone can have a happily ever after, but I can promise you everyone who gets one will have to fight tooth and nail for it!

Ok… there you have it… “out of the metropolis and into the wild”. THAT sounds like fun!! So… my lovely book people, what do YOU want to know about debut author Karina Cooper or her Dark Mission series? Karina will be popping in and out today to respond to comments and answer questions. And maybe, just maybe, there’s a FREE e-copy of Before The Witches in it for one random commenter! So… ask away… and make sure you go pick up Blood of the Wicked, you won’t be sorry :-).