Monday, December 9, 2013

Interview with the Authors of Shadows in the Mists

1. Kristine Cayne: Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

One of the most fascinating things I learned is that the military has actually funded research on telepathy. In the past it was natural “mind-to-mind” telepathy, but more recently, they have turned toward synthetic “mind-to-computer” telepathy.

2. Kristine Cayne: What is the most interesting things you have physically done for book related research purposes?

When I was writing Deadly Addiction, I visited the Kahnaw√†:ke Reserve near Montreal Quebec. In addition to spending hours interviewing a culture specialist, I got to do a ride-along with the Peacekeepers, Kahnaw√†:ke’s native police force. 

3. Kristine Cayne: Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?

The world in Origins is very much the current world. However, it is one in which the US Navy has been experiment with animal DNA on a select team of men. By imbuing them with certain traits, it hopes to create an elite team of super-assets that can be used by the Navy in water-based combat situations. Unfortunately, the Navy scientists have not fully studied the potential risks to the men, nor the risks to humanity.

4. Kristine Cayne: With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

Origins is the beginning of the series, so this is the perfect time to jump in. 

5. Marianne Stillings: Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

I have no formula, as such, for developing characters, but I always have various character traits in mind when I begin a story. Because I write romantic suspense, the protagonists must have some of the traditional hero/heroine personalities romance readers expect to find. Secondary characters can veer off in a variety of directions, depending on whether they are intended to complement or irritate the main characters.

Once I have the basics of each character in my head, I just write and let them tell me who they are. I’ve tried planning what a character will say or do, but until I get to writing, I don’t know who they truly are; they have to tell me. And they always do. I don’t understand this phenomenon, but many authors will tell you the same thing.

6. Marianne Stillings: Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

Many of the characters I’ve created share common traits with me, others have facets that I’ve observed in friends, family, or total strangers. Writers are always writing, even when they’re not. What I mean by that is, I/we may hear an off-hand comment in a restaurant, on a bus, at work, from Mom or a neighbor, and quickly jot it down so we won’t forget it and can work it into a story.

Most of my characters have an off-beat or wry sense of humor and can be quick with a comeback. They get that from me. Hopefully, it works.

7. Marianne Stillings: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it? 

I once read that there is no such thing as writer’s block, that such an impasse comes from poor planning, or a story has taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way. 

I agree with both those statements, but writer’s block can also come from upheaval in my own life. It’s very hard to focus on a story when you’re dealing with a loss of any kind, illness, stress, familial tension; any number of things, even happy events. 

Sometimes, if I hit the wall, I take a break and distance myself from my story and get back to it when I feel ready. Other times – as when there is a deadline to meet and taking a break isn’t possible – I examine my story and if it’s going according to what I want, then I look to personal issues I may be facing at the time and try to shut out the world long enough to get more words down on paper before I consider backing off again. Usually, if you try to write through the problem, just the act of writing generates the urge to keep going.
Every writer deals with blocks differently, and since every block is different, desire to get the job done must be stronger than whatever barrier is keeping you from moving forward.

8. Marianne Stillings: Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

Not really. The only thing I can think of is that when I sit down to write, I’ll open my story document, then let it sit, and open a game, such as Solitaire. I play until I win a round, then go back to my story. It’s silly, but I need to entertain my brain before I can put it to work pulling a comprehensive manuscript out of thin air. I call it a “warm-up” but really, it’s creative avoidance.

Writing is hard. It just IS, and putting it off as long as possible is an art form. But at the end of the day, the story won’t write itself, so after I’ve had a little fun, I turn to the dreaded blank page and think, “Okay, what happens now?” and get back to work.

9. KL Mullens: Do you write in different genres? 

Yes. I like to experiment and don’t like to restrict myself. I just write what about what interests me. I have eclectic tastes.

10. KL Mullens:  Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

No, I don’t find that difficult. I find writing is difficult in general. To get what’s in your head, the movie you play over and over again for YOU out in a coherent fashion so others will get what you want them to get—that I find difficult. What I love the creation process. I love immersing myself in another world, and I absolutely love learning new things. Love, love love it!

11. KL Mullens: When did you consider yourself a writer?

That’s hard to say. Reading, or shall I say, listening to stories was my first love—then reading—then writing. You exhaust your library, then you exhaust THE library and what’s left? You have to come up with your own stuff – at least that’s how it was for me. I feel like I’m more a storyteller than a writer, if that makes sense. I’m still learning this writing thing, but I can talk, tell a story to death all day long. I’m a writer-in-progress sounds better.

12. KL Mullens: What are your guilty pleasures in life? 

Ha! Probably all the old tv shows I grew up watching that I still watch—over and over and over again—Bewitched, Lost in Space, H.R. Pufnstuf, Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse.

13. Sherri Shaw: Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life? 

I am a Photoshop junkie. I create my own book covers and banners. To me it’s like digital drawing.

14. Sherri Shaw: What was the last amazing book you read? 

Alter of Eden by James Rollins.  An action/adventure in the same vein as Michael Crichton. I really enjoyed the story and his writing style.

15. Sherri Shaw: Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot? 

I read anywhere I can get a chance to settle into a good book. Usually, it’s in my favorite chair or in bed.

16. Sherri Shaw: What can readers expect next from you? 

I am working on the second book of the Magically Perfect Series entitled Perfectly Jinxed. Two people running from their past are bound together by magical strings. They must work together to break the jinx, not realizing the magic that binds them will also set them free.

17. Dawn Kravagna:  Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

It varies. For instance, I'm working on a book featuring a woman and her dog who move from Seattle to a small town. I needed a name for a woman in her early 20s, so I researched the most popular names for the year she would've been born.  Sometimes I pick names that echo the tone of the story. For instance, the lead character for an unpublished horror short story I wrote was named Enson Vars. I thought it sounded sinister. For women, I try to come up with beautiful names, unless they are unpleasant people.

18. Dawn Kravagna:   Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

In "Evil Bites" it was challenging to create the Seattle police officer and boyfriend,  Alex. because I wanted him to be tough but also soft enough for her to snuggle into and feel secure, not only because he could physically protect her, but also he was capable of being emotionally supportive.

19. Dawn Kravanga:  Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

The lead character, Kim, because it was the first time I published a story written in the first person. It was a fun challenge to create someone who is strong and courageous, yet tender in her love for her sister and self-reflective.

20. Dawn Kravagna:  What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course? 

My favorite scene is in Kim's apartment when there is something at the window. I think the scene comes off both scary and shows a Kim in a vulnerable moment.

21. Where can readers find you on the web?

Kristine Cayne’s links




New Releases List or 


Marianne Stillings links:




Shannon O’Brien links:


Dawn Kravagna links:

Sherri Shaw links:

Facebook: facebook/

Kristine Cane: A little teaser or excerpt from the book?

In this short excerpt from Origins: The Men of MER, the heroine, Claire Montgomery, has just been caught in an explosion in Elliott Bay. The boat she was in is now on top of her and she’s fighting to get free of it.

A sharp pull on Claire’s foot yanked her down, tearing her away from what little hope she had of surviving until help came for her. Pinwheeling her arms, she tried in vain to grab hold of the boat, to pull it down, to bring that little pocket of oxygen with her. It took all her resolve not to scream. An instant death sentence.
Her only chance for survival was to stay calm. If she panicked, she’d drown.

She slid her hand down her leg to her ankle, hoping she’d find only a piece of seaweed. No such luck. A rope was wrapped around her foot. Was it loose? Something tied to the boat? She yanked her foot and the rope cinched tighter.

Oh God. She was stuck. Frantically, she twisted her foot every which way, but couldn’t free it. The rope chafed and cut, the salt in the water making the wounds burn. Her lungs couldn’t take much more. Neither could her mind.

She was so tired. If she could just rest a little…

Images of her father and Wyatt flashed before her eyes. She couldn’t give up. She forced herself to think, to search the dim world around her and evaluate her situation. When her gaze landed on the abandoned drydock beneath her, her chest squeezed painfully and any vestige of hope she had seeped away. Several dozen nets, which workers had used to raise boats out of the water, hung off the wreckage of the drydock. 

In this killing zone were trapped hundreds of dead or dying fish and birds, even some seals.

And now one human woman.

Sherri Shaw – In this short except from The Eye of Lilith.  Cindi Jones needs to disarm two gunmen who are after a valuable artifact. The time spell she casts is supposed to freeze everyone in the immediate area. 

“—time.” Marc finished. He stood, caramel brown eyes fixed on her. “It’s you. You’re stopping time. When you started to chant in Gaelic, your ring began to glow and then the next instant everyone was stuck in some bizarre state of suspended animation.” 

“You understood what I said?” Panic and surprise hit her at the same instant. More disturbing still, why wasn’t he affected by the incantation like the others? She wanted to ask him but realized the foolishness of such a question. He wouldn’t know the answer any more than she would.

He towered over her, all six-feet of his muscular body stiff with outrage. “Enough to get the gist. Who are you? And what did you do to them?” 

“I’m saving their lives.” His disturbing proximity, more than his daunting stare, spurred her into action. “Like I’m saving yours. Now please, I don’t have time to explain. You’ll have to trust me. Stay here where it’s safe.” She turned and ran toward the steep path leading to the cliffs, but only made it a few feet when she heard the unmistakable sound of following footsteps.  

“How did you freeze all those people? Are you some kind of magician?” he asked.

“Sure,” she lied and pushed herself to move faster up the incline. Let him think her a magician; it was much easier than admitting she was a witch. 

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Shadows in the Mist
Marianne Stillings, Kristine Cayne, Sherri Shaw, Shannon O’Brien, KL Mullens, Dawn Kravagna.

Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Kristine Cayne

ISBN: 978-0-9891970-2-1

Number of pages: 230
Word Count:  110k

Cover Artist:

Book Description:

From the misty waters of Puget Sound across the wrinkles of time to the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius, mystery and magic intertwine to create haunting tales of everlasting passion.

Murder at the Mausoleum
by Marianne Stillings
17,000 words

Out of work and desperate for a job, Stephanie Gabriel reluctantly accepts a position as Housekeeper/Girl Friday for Dr. John Mercilus at his isolated Northern California mansion. Sure, he's wealthy, hunky, and single, but the fact he's a Vampire has Stephanie more than a little worried. Though Mercilus promises she'll come to no harm, there is nonetheless danger afoot. When a major snowstorm maroons them along with an odd assortment of house guests, it's more than inconvenient – it's murder, and the clues all point to Stephanie's boss as the culprit.

Now she has to decide whether to trust the enigmatic "Creature of the Night" she's falling for, or find a means of escape before she becomes the next victim.

Spellbound in Seattle
by Shannon O’Brien
17,600 words

When Rose McCarty’s boyfriend was killed, she swore off witchcraft and love. But when his tall, dark older brother washes up on her houseboat’s deck three years later—muttering about doppelgangers and incubi—Rose’s lonely, spell-free world comes crashing down.

Dead Moon
by KL Mullens
11,000 words

During a Dead Moon Elspeth Saint has a strange encounter she can't explain and a door previously closed becomes open; a gift is given; a promise is kept; and Elspeth who has never known what it is to be loved; learns what it is to be cherished.

Evil Bites
by Dawn Kravagna
16,500 words

Kim seeks revenge on the serial killer who viciously attacked and maimed her lovely sister. But she soon discovers that evil can bite back.

The Eye of Lilith
by Sherri Shaw
19,500 words

Marc Blakely has been bewitched by a rare artifact rumored to drive a man insane before compelling him to commit suicide. As a member of the Speaker of the Word coven, Cindi Jones uses her magic to destroy enchanted relics and protect the innocents they infect. Can she save Marc in time, or will he succumb to the Eye of Lilith?

Origins: The Men of MER
by Kristine Cayne
28,500 words

Petty Officer Wyatt Black had no idea what he signed up for by joining the Navy's experimental MER program. When a domestic terrorist attack almost kills Dr. Claire Montgomery, the woman of Wyatt's dreams, he is exposed to a lethal illness that poses a horrifying threat to mankind—but only because of what the Navy has done to him. In the midst of saving Claire's life, Wyatt is forced to face the terrifying truth of what he has become: something not quite human.

About the Rainy Day Writers:

Writing fiction is difficult and lonely and more often than not, the “normal” people in your life don’t understand the writing process and can’t fathom why you are possessed and obsessed with finding the perfect word or phrase that says exactly what you want to say right where you want to say it. Only other writers comprehend and accept that kind of torment.

To fill this need to surround herself with like-minded obsessive-compulsive self-doubting lunatics, in 2005, Marianne Stillings established what came to be known as The Rainy Day Writers.

There were only two requirements for joining the group: You must be serious about writing and getting published, and any criticisms of co-members’ work be honest, gentle, and kind.

Over the years, the membership has changed; some people moved on, others joined. The group we have now has been stable and constant since 2009. The Rainy Day Writers are a family.

Find the authors at:

Twitter: @CattleCapers

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Kristine Cayne said...

Thank you for the great post, Fangtastic Books! I enjoyed the interview, and I hope you'll all enjoy Shadows in the Mist!

Karen D said...

This sounds like a great read, with a little bit of everything paranormal. I'm looking forward to snuggling up and reading it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having us, Fangtastic Books. Great interview questions!

KL Mullens

Dawn Kravagna said...

Thanks for giving us so much screen space! I appreciate the opportunity to talk about my work. Your questions were great and I enjoyed answering them. (I'm also wondering where KL finds "Lost In Space" on the TV set.) You also have a lovely website.

bn100 said...

Interesting stories