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Interview With Author Lexi C. Foss- Two New Series Debut

 

I am very excited to feature a debut author here on my blog. Her name is Lexi C. Foss, and I’m predicting she will be a well-known author in no time! She debuts in May 2017 with not one, but TWO new series, and already has the interwebs abuzz. Her paranormal romance, Blood Laws, and her Contemporary Romance, The Prince’s Game, will both be released in May 2017. Lexi took time out of her ultra-busy release schedule to tell us a bit more about her herself and her exciting new releases.

Welcome, Lexi! It’s unusual for an author to debut two separate series at the same time, so tell us how that came about.

I’m still debating if this was a good decision, or one made in a moment of insanity. I wrote both books around the same time because I needed to balance the dark with the light. Blood Laws is a bit edgier with darker elements, while The Prince’s Game has a humorous undertone and light subject matter. I’m curious to see how they do in comparison to each other with readers. I’ve always loved statistics, so I’m sure I’ll have some fun playing with the results of this case study.

When did you make the decision to write your books and how did you decide on indie publishing?

I’ve always been a daydreamer. On a boring day back in 2009, I decided to write down some dialogue that was floating around in my head. Then I added some description, and suddenly I was staring a 300,000 word monstrosity that I realized was a full blown series. I toyed with various voices, wrote a few other story ideas out, and then I went back to school for my Master of Public Health. My hobby was put on hold until last summer (2016) when a friend of mine encouraged me to get back into writing and take it seriously. She told me about indie publishing, introduced me to an awesome group of writers, and the rest was history.

In Blood Laws, you created a world with paranormal creatures, who appear on the surface to be everyday people. What challenges did you face to make your characters stand out?

I don’t know that I really faced any challenges in making them stand out, but I have faced challenges toning down some of their voices. They are all very loud in my head, demanding I write one thing or another, and sometimes I have to put them in timeout for unruly conduct. Balthazar is the biggest offender. He wasn’t supposed to be in Blood Laws at all, but he kept badgering me until I gave in (he would tell me – “I told you so” – because his scenes did make sense in the end). They all have their own quirks, and I love writing about them. Their voices and unique mannerisms are what makes brings them to life on paper.

The Prince’s Game is a bit different from the intensity of Blood Laws. Was it a challenge to write two series at the same time?

Not at all. The Prince’s Game offered me the mental break I needed after writing Blood Laws. It was a lighter, funnier story that is very different from darkness of Blood Laws. Writing both books so close together kept my creativity fresh, and gave me a break before starting on what will be a very dark novel – Forbidden Bonds.

Will you be attending any conferences this year, so readers can meet you?

I will be all over the place this year:

  • Romantic Times Convention in Atlanta, Georgia: May 2, 2017 – May 7, 2017
  • Romance Writers of America Conference in Orlando, Florida: July 26, 2017 – July 29, 2017
  • Book Obsessed Babes Author Signing Event in Destin, Florida: September 9, 2017
  • Indie Romance Convention: October 4, 2017 – October 7, 2017
  • For the Love of Books & Alcohol in Chicago, IL: October 14, 2017

What’s next? Tell us about your upcoming works in progress or new releases.

Blood Laws will be released on May 2nd and The Prince’s Game will be released on May 9th. So those are my upcoming new releases.  As for works in progress: I’m currently writing Forbidden Bonds, which is book 2 of the Immortal Curse series, and outlining The Charmer’s Gambit, which is book 2 of the Mershano Empire series.

Just for fun, let us know something personal about you…

I was born into a family of Eclipse Chasers. You might be wondering what the means… Well, it means I travel all over the world to see total solar eclipses of the sun. I have see 5 so far in my lifetime (Mexico 1991, Caribbean 1998, Zambia 2001, Turkey 2006, South Pacific 2012), and I will be adding a 6th one to my list in August 2017 (Nashville, TN).

Thanks Lexi! I’m so looking forward to reading all of your books. Here are the important links for everything Lexi C. Foss:

Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Blood Laws Buy Links

The Prince’s Game Buy Links

 

 

 

Paranormal vs. Supernatural- Time for a new Subgenre?

Teenage me reading fortunes

Teenage me reading fortunes

As a reader of Romance Novels, and even more so as a writer, I am fascinated by the ebb and flow of the market. Genres and subgenres of Romance rise to power and then fade away, and everyone is desperate to determine what will be The Next Big Thing. Cashing in on a wave of popularity can and does happen; many authors do it, but they will tell you it’s not easy. So I just observe what’s happening, and keep it in mind, but as most successful authors will tell you- you should write what you want, and then try to find an audience.

I can’t write to a trend yet, can you? My respects if you can do that, if you are prolific enough and have your process down to a science, and can crank out as many novels as you want per year. I’m not there yet. I may never be. There are enough stresses with the business side of writing, social media, research, and then finding time to write the actual book itself, that the added pressure of having to be sure it’s trendy is too much at this moment in time.

I’ve talked about Romance genres and subgenres before, and even though I have done hours of market research, I am still not sure where my stories will fit in when the time comes to market them. In my last post I talked about my author tagline, “The Power of Love with a Supernatural Twist”. There was a distinct reason I chose the word “Supernatural” instead of “Paranormal”.

The subgenre “Paranormal Romance” is a pretty wide umbrella. Surfing through Amazon and Goodreads you are likely to find stories about all kinds of creatures and extraordinarily gifted humans. But for the most part, the word “Paranormal” usually brings to mind vampires, demons, werewolves, shifters, dragons, fae, etc., as those have been some of the most common characters in Paranormal Romance stories the past several years. The word Paranormal is defined in most dictionaries as, “of or relating to the occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation; phenomena not of this world.”

Witches, ghosts, and psychics have been huddling under the Paranormal umbrella, too, but I think it’s time for differentiation.   The word Supernatural is defined in most dictionaries as, “Above nature, transcending nature, belonging to a higher realm.”

Sure, ghosts and psychic phenomena have not been explained by science (yet). But Paranormal characters are often other-worldly, or complete fabrications of imagination, whereas witches, psychics and ghosts are (or were) mostly human, thus based in nature. (Of course there may be exceptions to this, as they are millions of books in the world, but I am simply looking at trends).

So if we break it down to where Supernatural is human, or nature based, and Paranormal is for anything beyond human, would that help to differentiate stories, so readers could find them? I know keywords and other marketing tools will also help, but the Paranormal genre has become so massive. I believe it is going to splinter into more specific subgenres as popularity of the genre itself reaches critical mass.

Most of the projects I am currently working on feature ghosts, witches, and psychics, and I have been looking for ideas on how to market to the folks who prefer reading these types of stories. I know they are out there, and I know I’m not the only one writing Supernatural Romances. Here’s hoping we find each other when the time comes!

What do you think? Any new genres or subgenres that you think are the next wave? If you could invent a hot new genre or subgenre, what would it be?

 

 

 

The Metaphysical Side of Love

pages of a book curved into a heart shape

Are you fascinated by the unexplained? Do you enjoy reading about concepts that expand your mind? I must confess, I have always been curious about the supernatural, the metaphysical, and unexplained phenomena that have caused humans to wonder for centuries now. What is even more fascinating is the fact that what was considered unthinkable as little as a hundred years ago, is commonplace now. Just take a look at your smart phone, and think about it for a minute. What would the folks in 1915 say about it?

The umbrella of “paranormal” covers quite a bit of unexplained phenomena, at least in the Romance Novel world. Vampires, shape shifters, angels, demons, witches, fairies and ghosts are only the tip of the iceberg. As I examined in an earlier post, folklore and legends abound featuring these types of entities, providing fodder for endless stories. Add to that, humans with supernatural capabilities, such as elementals or psychics, and there is no end to the variations one could write about.

So how are smart phones related to paranormal entities? One is science (technology) the other, fantasy. But wouldn’t it be cool if science and fantasy were combined?

That’s what happens when we read about paranormal situations and creatures. Our disbelief is suspended as we are drawn into the story. We get to experience what it might be like if something unbelievable were true. Add to that the relationship of the Hero and Heroine, and the result can be something truly magical.

That is the type of stories I tend to write. I have several works in progress at present, and all have some metaphysical aspect to them. All are Romances, but they have a supernatural twist to them. A Contemporary Gothic ghost story; a Fantasy family saga about elementals; and a story about a couple who can astral project together (for an earlier snippet, click here). All projects are in various stages of writing or editing, and I hope to have something ready for publication this year.

I read primarily romance, but I love science fiction, and some fantasy. I like my romances on the steamier side, so I tend to combine esoteric concepts with the erotic. It seemed to work well with my astral-projecting couple, who had some unique, metaphysically hot sex scenes!

Most of all, I want to have fun with it and maybe learn something along the way. If combining science, fantasy, metaphysical concepts and hot sex sounds interesting to you, stay tuned. I’m just getting started….

What kind of interesting, unexplained phenomena would you like to see in Romance Novels?

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Elissa Stark, author of Seven Souls

Elissa Stark

Elissa Stark

 

It is really exciting when you witness something great in the making. Like the recent launch of a debut novel that is one of the most intriguing and interesting stories to come along in quite a while. A novel with suspense, mystery, romance and a Southern-Style helping of the Paranormal.

Seven Souls, (Harrow #1), is the debut novel of author Elissa Stark. I had the pleasure of finding out all about her new series, set in the fictional town of Harrow, on Georgia’s coast. (Think Savannah, but more ‘small town’ with unique, engaging characters).   If you love a good crime story, but with a Gothic/psychic twist, you need to read this series! Here’s how it went down when Elissa and I got together recently:

  • Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, Seven Souls (Harrow Series)! From what I have heard, this story is just the beginning of an Urban Fantasy Series that promises intrigue, romance, suspense and some other-worldly action. What else can you tell us about this introduction to the world of Harrow?

 

I’ve always been drawn to cities like New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston. I wanted to write about a smaller town that had a haunted Southern atmosphere while exploring themes in mythology and religion. Harrow, a fictional town on the Georgia coast, has regional tourism in sea creatures, ghosts, and hauntings, but there’s so much more to its reputation than that.

Phoebe Harris, as my protagonist, has special abilities (psychometry) but is new to the unseen side of Harrow. Readers follow her as she works alongside Jack Gregory, solving supernatural mysteries. We’ll also see how Phoebe herself is a mystery and how the supernatural world deals with her.

  • Your background makes you uniquely qualified to write about the Paranormal Elements in your novels, such as Angels, Demons, etc. Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the premise of this series?

 

My degree is in Religious Studies and Classical Civilization. I’ve always been interested in the texts, legends, and mythology surrounding the Mediterranean. When I fleshed out the cosmology surrounding Harrow, I wanted to create something that could appear as a different interpretation, a world derived from the same stories but with a unique feel.

I also like exploring fate versus free will and the idea of the ancient hero versus the modern hero. I look at each character’s story arc through the lens – those who were born with free will have destinies to fulfill while those who adhere to the idea of fate leverage their will.

As for coming up with Harrow, I developed Jack first. His history with Harrow practically jumped out of my head fully formed. His connection to angels and demons drive many of the cases Phoebe and he explore, as well as his relationship with Phoebe and her past. I built up the city and cosmology around him. He’s the foundation of Harrow.

Phoebe, on the other hand, is a mix of reckless and vulnerable, lost and found. She’ll be our guide in exploring the world of angels and demons but I also wanted her to be a mystery. She’s still figuring out a lot of things – her place in society, her family past, the origin of her abilities, but she’s not afraid to discover more.

  • How much is the setting for this series a part of the story?

 

What starts as a small, haunted town will become central to a clash between the realms. What comes to pass in Harrow will have wide-reaching consequences.

We’ll see Harrow grow and change, not only through Phoebe’s eyes but also with the population of the otherworldly that flock there. In the first book, readers are introduced to the major players but will get to see more of Harrow in short stories, novellas, and future books as the series progresses.

  • Do you have any other projects in the works?

 

I’m working on Six Wives, book two of Harrow, which I hope to have ready later this year. I hope to have book three out early next year. I am also working on a couple short stories that have been kicking around in my head.

Whenever I need a break from Harrow, I research and dream up stories for a sexy contemporary romance series surrounding politicians and royalty.

  • Where can readers find you and buy your books?

 

I can be found all over the place:

Seven Souls, book one of Harrow, is available at Amazon.

Thanks, Elissa! I for one cannot wait to read the next novel. Looking forward to spending more time in Harrow, as well as finding out about your upcoming projects!

 

Seven Souls

Seven Souls

Where Do Paranormal Romance Ideas Come From?

Ever wonder why you might be drawn to a particular type of Paranormal Character?

Writing Paranormal Romance (And Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, etc.) requires a vivid imagination. By its very nature, there is an element of suspended reality- creatures, beings, settings, and cultures that are ‘not of this world’. That is part of what makes them so enjoyable for fans- not knowing what you will uncover between the pages.

Has he overstayed his welcome?

Has he overstayed his welcome?

As I mentioned in my earlier post, many themes or tropes have been used over and over again. Some legends simply capture our imagination, and each author puts their unique spin on it. Vampires, for example have been popular figures of legend since antiquity. Several cultures, including Mesopotamia, the Hebrews, even the Ancient Greeks and Romans, had tales of various blood-drinking entities. There are also similar legends throughout history from India, China, Africa, and Europe, so vampires have been a source of fear and fascination for centuries. Of course, our modern image seems to have been modeled after the 1897 version, as described by Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. Today we have thoroughly modern, twenty-first century versions in uncountable books and movies.

He looks hungry!

He looks hungry!

Werewolves, another popular mythological creature, have their origin in ancient history too. Also called Lycanthropes, they are the most popular of all human-to-animal shifting legends. The ancient Greeks and Romans had tales of humans that became wolves, but Europe, and eventually America, is where the legend really took hold.

Fairies, elves, gnomes, and their ilk were common in Celtic Folklore, one of the most famous (though by now, cliché) being the leprechaun. Animals such as unicorns, gryphons, and gargoyles are present in various forms in many culture’s folk tales.

witch

One of my personal favorites is witches (and wizards), and here’s why: they are usually portrayed as humans, but with extraordinary abilities. Maybe it is not as exciting as “shifting” from a human to an animal, or as terrifying as drinking someone’s blood (eww), but I like it precisely because it is closer to reality. Humans today can perform all sorts of “magic” compared to what humans a thousand years ago thought was possible. Right? The fact that magic utilized by witches, wizards and other sorcerers in fiction is remotely possible, makes it even more interesting to me. (But I am a skeptic, as I explained here). Seems like there is more a chance I could learn some extraordinary “magic”, than turn into an animal or die and come back to life, right?

Much of the time, witches and their related beings use the powers of nature and/or the powers of their minds to conduct feats ordinary humans cannot. That intrigues me, for as my earlier post,   pointed out, we do have the power to create our own reality. If we can learn to use it wisely.

So it turns out there is a veritable goldmine of ancient legends, urban myths, and folk tales from which authors can draw from. Peruse Amazon or Goodreads sometime and you may be astounded at all the variations of these paranormal legends that have been created.

What is your favorite paranormal creature or being? Have you ever wondered why that particular one ‘speaks’ to you?