Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest blog and Giveaway with Amber Skyze and Katalina Leon

Ideas When You Least Expect Them
by Amber Skyze

I’m often asked where do find ideas. I find them everywhere and sometimes they find me.
My most recent book, Claimed by Dragons, co-authored with Katalina Leon, came from a visit to Salem MA.

My husband and I wanted to visit Salem during October when we knew the town would be full of the Halloween spirit. The shops were hopping with things to do. If you wanted your palm read or a tarot reading, Salem was the place to be.

My teenager and her two best friends were along for the trip with us. They visited a shop where the owner told them to pick a stone out of a black velvet bag. She instructed the girls to make a wish and return the stone to nature and their wish would come true.

When I told Kat about this, we both said, “Wouldn’t that make for a fun book.” One book idea turned into four and so began the Bag of Tricks series. Four women on a reunion in Salem. Four stones that will lead them to their true love.

Most of the time I’m not looking for ideas, they just seem to find me. :o)

by Katalina Leon

I get my ideas all over the place, but I love the challenge of working with a partner’s ideas and developing them as far as we can go. I’ve done that for years with various mixed-media art installations and group art shows and now I’m learning to do it as a co-author with Amber Skyze and The Bag Of Tricks book series. I get a huge hit of inspiration from the people I’m fortunate enough to work with. Working with Amber was a dream. She’s so creative, modest and open to collaboration. She’s incredibly trusting as well. She handed me a beautifully written 32k story and allowed me to expand it. We each have our own areas of expertise. Amber has years more experience than me and I’m honored to be working with her. A dragon-shifter novel was all her idea, her characters and plot. I was given a great structure to embellish on. I added in-depth dragon mythology, world building for the Marduko dragons, action scenes and additional sexual content, because an erotic adventure must be erotic and Claimed By Dragons certainly is. I’m super proud of our lovechild. Claimed By Dragons is a high-octane addition to the growing dragon-shifter sub-genre and I hope a few of you will give it a try.


(In this scene Jael has just pulled a stone from the wish bag. Witch Casey offers to tell Jael’s fortune.)

“Let’s sit in the corner where we can have some peace.” Witch Casey steered Jael toward a small table set with a melted tallow candle and two chairs. She encouraged Jael to take the chair facing the window.
Jael sat. Her gaze drifted toward Devon and Becca, who were standing on the far side of the shop trying desperately not to look like they were eavesdropping when clearly they were.
Witch Casey sat opposite Jael.
Jael looked closely at Witch Casey for the first time and noticed how beautiful the older woman was. Witch Casey had curly red hair that cascaded to her shoulders and piercing blue eyes swept with a thick fringe of black lashes that looked convincingly real. Something about her crisp profile reminded Jael of the classic beauties of old Hollywood. “You have such a wonderful face. May I ask where you’re from?”
“I’m originally from Greece. Do I look familiar?” A brilliant smile lit Witch Casey’s face. “I used to be known as the second most beautiful woman in the world.”
“Were you a runner-up in a Miss Universe pageant?” Jael asked innocently.
“No.” Witch Casey shook her head. “Helen of Troy was hailed as the most beautiful woman in the world, and I don’t begrudge her the title. Helen was breathtaking. No one could argue with that. I earned the dismal title of ‘Cassandra,’ the second most beautiful woman in the world, after I spurned Apollo’s amorous advances.”
“Apollo who?”
“The Apollo!” Witch Casey looked scandalized. “My goodness, there’s only one. I must say, being hailed as the king of the gods, driving a golden chariot, and having grabby hands are a bad combination.”
“You mean Apollo, the Greek sun god?”
“Yes, Apollo. Who else would I be talking about? Apollo came on too strong, and I rejected him. In different but certain words I told him he was a jerk! I’m one of the few women who did and lived to tell the tale. He’s a vain and vengeful man, and of course he punished me for my honesty. When Apollo granted me the gift of prophecy, he meant it as a curse. I’m cursed to tell the truth to all I speak to, whether they want to hear it or not. Over the years speaking the truth certainly has cost me friendships and ruined a few wedding receptions. I won’t deny prophecy can be problematic. But little did Apollo know that I would learn to make good use of the gift and prevail.”
Jael’s heart dropped. She was wasting her time sitting with some crazy lady. Damn. It was too late to get up and run, though she wanted to. She hoped against hope that even a madwoman might have some insight into her chaotic love life. It could happen. Sometimes the insane did speak lucent moments of truth. “What tarot card deck do you use—Rider or Thoth”
“No cards.” Witch Casey wagged her raised finger in the air. “I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to use a more precise divination tool.”
Witch Casey reached under the table and withdrew a round, tightly woven basket the size of a small pumpkin, removed the lid, reached inside, and pulled out a wriggling snake.
“Whoa!” Jael gasped and bolted backward as a speckled gray snake hissed and slithered across the tabletop directly toward her.
“Oh my God!” Devon and Becca burst into shocked laughter and rushed behind the counter to escape the snake.
Witch Casey glanced around in alarm. “You’re not afraid of reptiles, are you?”
“No, but you should have warned me!” Jael leaped against the wall as the snake slithered closer, flicking its blue tongue at her.
“You are afraid of reptiles.” Witch Casey lifted her chin. “It’s a shame, because reptiles are such lovely creatures. People fear them for no proper reason at all. For instance this snake is completely harmless, unless you’re a mouse.” She looked Jael up and down. “You’re clearly not a mouse, so there’s nothing for you to worry about. Please, sit and listen with reverence to what this cunning little snake has to say to you.”
Holy crap, this woman is wacko. Jael bit her lower lip. “No more slithery surprises?” Witch Casey pronounced with certainty, “If your future is half as bizarre as I suspect, there will be many shocking surprises!”
Jael swallowed a tense breath. “What do you mean?”
Witch Casey picked up the snake and brought the wiggly creature to her ear. “The snake is telling me that you have a date with an ancient destiny. This is so refreshing.” She sat silently for a moment as if she were listening intently to the snake. “I’ve never heard talk quite like this. The snake says the lovers who are coming into your life are old souls you’ve agreed to be with in this life, and the best part is...” She giggled as the snake’s flicking tongue tickled her ear. “Oh, you wouldn’t believe what this snake is telling me. This is utter madness!” She burst into a fit of giggles. “Coming from me, that’s saying a lot.” She seemed to struggle to compose herself and spoke with a sense of importance. “The snake says you shall come to love the scaly ones. You will be bound to them in fortune and blood. Isn’t that sweet? You’re going to be a reptile lover after all!”
Jael was flummoxed. “Is that all the romantic advice I’m going to get? Love the scaly one?”
“Not one. There will be two masters of your heart.” Witch Casey’s demeanor sobered. “Two equals shall claim you as their own, and you mustn’t resist. This love was meant to be.”
Jael rolled her eyes. “Two snakes are going to fight over me? Terrific, I can’t wait. No more lonely nights for me.”
“No!” Witch Casey crossed her hands over her heart and sighed. “It’s not what you think. I’m cursed to speak like a madwoman, but I do speak the truth! In a hot and ancient land, where beasts roam free and the grass sways above your shoulders, you shall know ecstasy with a race of men who once soared above the earth in great numbers. It is your privilege that you shall love the best of the high plains Marduko.”
Jael shrugged impatiently. This was complete bullshit. “What’s a Marduko?”
“Ancient royalty from the Draca constellation. They were exiled here many millennia ago and forced to survive on their wits.”
“Oh, those Marduko.” Jael played along. “I understand now. They’re not really snakes, are they? They’re more like handsome princes, am I right?” She tried desperately to get Devon and Becca to look her way and signal for them to rescue her from the madwoman.
“Yes, exactly. That’s a better way to say it. The Marduko are like handsome princes.” Witch Casey enthusiastically nodded in agreement. “With wings and scales.”
Jael huffed in disbelief. “Gee, I hope I recognize my mystery dates when I meet them.”
“That’s the funny part.” Witch Casey cheered. “You probably won’t recognize them at all! The Marduko are a secretive race. They’ve had to be to survive. Their lives are constantly at risk. To this day they are hunted by a secret order of knights, and any woman they choose to love will also be asked to put her life on the line. The Marduko can appear completely human, and indeed, they all have human mothers. A casual observer would never notice them as anything unusual. Marduko males would never reveal themselves to any but the truest of hearts.”

It’s not long before Jael life gets turned upside down. Beyond this Jael story really heats up fast!

Claimed By Dragons
Bag Of Tricks Book 2
Amber Skyze and Katalina Leon

Genre: Erotic-romance, paranormal, dragon-shifters, ménage & polyamory.

Publisher: Loose Id Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61118-903-2

Number of pages: 286
Word Count: 92k

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs

Book Description:

In an odd Wiccan shop in Salem, Jael pulls an unusual stone from a witch’s wish bag. Little does she know her wildest dreams of adventure and a torrid affair with two gorgeous co-workers are about to come true—in spades.

Jael’s dreamy boss, Roarke offers her the assignment of a lifetime: a photo safari to Mount Kilimanjaro. The African scenery is stunning but the unexpected arrival of her two office crushes, Roarke and Kypton ignites her passion. Just as the trio is getting steamy at a beautiful waterfall, danger intervenes forcing the men to reveal their secret. They're dragons. And now, to save her life, they have no choice but to abduct a startled Jael to their mountain lair on Kilimanjaro.

In the dragons' love nest, Jael learns the truth about their origins and explores all the erotic possibilities two eager lovers can offer. Love awakens, but the guys are being stalked by a covert group of dragon hunters and withholding a life or death secret that will push Jael’s courageous heart and commitment to the limits.

Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: anal play/intercourse, male/male sexual practices, menage (m/m/f).

About the Authors:

Katalina Leon

I’m an artist, an author, mother and wife. I write for Loose Id Publishing and Ellora’s Cave. I try to bring a touch of the mystical and a big sense of adventure to everything I write because I believe there’s a bold, kick-ass heroine inside all of us who wants to take a wild ride with a strong worthy hero.

Amber Skyze

From a very young age, Amber Skyze began making up stories–the only child syndrome. Telling tall tales to all her friends she never dreamed of putting words on paper. In fact if anyone asked her if she would write when she grew up, she’d have laughed.

It wasn’t until raising children and reading all those romances that she decided–hey, I can write these. HA! Easier said than done.

When not crafting hot, steamy tales, this New York transplant now resides in Rhode Island with her husband, four children (who force her to work a day job), and three dogs.

She currently writes for Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id and is self-published.

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Katalina said...

Thank you Roxanne for hosting us today!

Stay_Cee said...

Found some new stuff to read :)

stacey (dot) marin (at) laverne (dot) edu

KMichelleC87 said...

oh thanks so much! this is a great giveaway


Katalina said...

Hi Stacy and K! Thank s for dropping by!

elaing8 said...

Great excerpt.I'm gonna have to go back and get book 1.

Debby said...

Two for the price of one. How great is that!
debby236 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Great post. Can't wait to read the book!

bn100 said...

This sounds good.

*Pernille* said...

this sounds great.