Get into Bed with Aria Kane (Author Interview)

Blog Tour ButtonKeira: In a zombie apocalypse, what three items do you grab and what’s the first thing you do after grabbing them?

Aria Kane: 1 – Water filter. In an apocalypse, even a zombie one, lack of potable water is going to kill more city folk than just about anything else. I have one designed for hiking, that’s light weight and will filter out most danger organisms.

2 – A crowbar, baseball bat, whatever you have that’s good for decapitation. If I’m at my parents, I’m going straight for the gun cabinet.

3 – My dog. No, seriously. Watch I Am Legend. A dog will save your ass more times than you can possibly count. My booboo’s not normally fierce, but he is protective of me.

Keira: Your new release, Once Upon a Darkness, features zombies. What do we, the readers, need to know? Do we bring along our zombie survival kit?

Aria: I will say that hardcore zombie fans might be a little disappointed. Once Upon a Darkness reads more like an action adventure than a horror and the zombies are only up close a few times. But if you have guys like Clint, Hank, and Erik backing you up, you’re golden.

Keira: In your opinion, what is more dangerous: zombies attacking or humans attacking and why?

Aria: On the one hand, zombies are incapable of reasoning. On the other hand, humans are capable of reasoning. Zombies are relentless, but they’re not very smart. Humans are effing smart – and cruel. You only have to look at things like the atom bomb to answer this question: zombies just want to find dinner, humans want to watch the world burn.

Keira: Do you plan to go see World War Z? And if you are, is it for the zombies or Brad Pitt?

Aria: Heck yes! As soon as I can convince someone to spend the night with me afterward – funny enough, I’m a HUGE scaredy-cat when it comes to zombies.

Keira: What’s next on your plate? More zombies? (Brains!)

Aria: I’m currently working on something new for me – a contemporary romance. I’m working on a sexy continuity with a few author friends of mine and – I think that’s all I’m allowed to tell you about it right now!

OnceUponADarkness_v2Blurb:

Gretchen and her twin brother, Hank, were abandoned to a zombie horde when they were five years old. Intended to be a sacrifice by their zealot parents, they were instead rescued by The Company. Raised to become soldiers in the war against zombies, they now provide safe passage through danger zones, one contract at a time.

Clint’s only skill is war, but he’s weary of killing other men. When his contract with the Marines runs out, he takes a job on Gretchen’s team, hoping that the search-and-rescue life will suit him better.

On Clint’s second day, their four-man team is attacked, drugged, and taken to a prison full of frightened civilians. The only way in or out is by helicopter and, here, their enemies are human. One by one, the captives are culled from the holding area. Rumors say the facility director uses the prisoners as experimental subjects for the testing of a zombie cure.

When Hank is culled, Clint and Gretchen must put aside their personal feelings and find a way out of the prison, surrounded by thousands of starving zombies, before Hank becomes just one more disposable guinea pig in the hands of a twisted mad woman.

Buy: Once Upon a Darkness

Excerpt:

“Can we try something else?” Clint swung the practice sword in a wide sweep. “I think I got this motion down.”

“When you’re facing a crowd of zombies, there’s no time to think,” a woman’s voice said behind him.

He spun, sword in hand. She lunged at him. He had enough time to register pale skin and straight white-blonde hair atop a lithe frame before her arms crashed into his shoulders with shocking force. Air rushed painfully from his lungs as his back hit the ground. His sword rattled out of reach. She crouched on top of him, somehow holding him down with not much more than a hundred pounds to her. Eyes the color of ice on an Alaskan glacier stared back at him.

“If I were a zombie, you’d be a three-course meal right now.” The woman, who was maybe a few years younger than him, snapped her jaw and laughed.

“Or a new zombie, yourself,” another male voice said. Clint looked over her shoulder to find the male version of his attacker standing about twenty feet back from the scene. Next to him, a mountain of a man smirked with amusement. All three of them were nuts.

She shaped her hand like a gun and pressed it to his forehead. “No, I’d kill you before I let that happen.” She said it casually, like telling someone lunch was ready.

“Thanks?” Was this some sort of weird initiation?

The woman leapt to her feet and yanked him up after her. She tapped the back of his skull. “When you’re attacked, your lizard brain takes over. You have to do something like a sword swing or a roundhouse kick thousands of times so that it becomes instinctual. Hesitation is fatal.” She punctuated her words with practiced movements; the swinging of an imaginary sword and a roundhouse kick aimed at the practice target.

“Right.” He had known this, of course, but had forgotten it in the absolute boredom of swinging the sword the same way for hours.

The woman stood there with her hands on her hips as if she were waiting for some kind of applause. He didn’t know what else to say that would keep her from jumping him again. Though, now that he got a good look at her, maybe he wouldn’t mind another roll in the dirt. She was tall, with long legs bared by khaki shorts. A tiny white tank top stretched over a black sports bra that definitely earned its keep. Lean muscle stretched along the full length of her arms, torso, and legs. Strapped to her legs and waist were weapon holsters of all varieties that – in his mind, at least – only made her sexier.

“What are you, Zombie Slayer Barbie?”

Buy: Once Upon a Darkness

Giveaway: To celebrate the release of Once Upon a Darkness, Aria Kane is giving away a Kobo Vox (Android) eReader with a red leather case to one winner (US residents only), and a choice of any Entranced ebook to another winner (international entries welcome).

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AriaKaneAbout the Author:

Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. She lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he’s a Chihuahua.

Author Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aria_Kane

Website: http://www.ariakane.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ariakaneauthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ariakane/

My Writing Process

Guest blog by Kristin Miller, author of Gone with the Wolf

First, I have to say thank you for having me on your lovely blog today! I get asked a lot what my writing process is like and where I write, so I thought I’d take some time to break that down.

As for my process, it’s pretty simple. Usually a scenario or scene strikes me first, and I stew for a bit on how to mold that scene into a book. It’s like looking at a piece of wall art, deciding that you love it and want to buy it, then trying to imagine where you’d hang it in your house. You’ve had that happen before, right? Yup, it feels exactly like that. After a few days a character takes shape, and for me, it’s usually the hero. I keep a notebook for each book I write, and as the scenes and characters grow, I write them down. Within a week or so, I have the hero and heroine mapped out (their physical description, emotional baggage, former relationships and how they changed them, etc.), a few key scenes that need to happen in the book for the characters to grow, and the big black moment that’ll tear the hero and heroine apart.

Easy, right? 😉

As for where I write, take a look:

Kristin Millers desk

The notes for my current work sit to my left, my cup of coffee to my right, and a box of general writing stuff (contracts, notes from previous books, etc.) behind the laptop. I wish I could get rid of that gigantic printer, scanner, fax machine to my far right, but the cord that came with the machine is too short to allow it to be at my feet. (Had I known, I would’ve invested my cash elsewhere.) The desk sits in my living room so that I can write while my kids play. It’s difficult to get work done when I’m constantly breaking up fights and getting snacks from the pantry, but I’d rather know what my munchkins are doing than be locked away in an office where they’re left to their own devices. :shudder: I also have a tiny canvas hanging on the wall in front of me that reads: your story matters…tell it. When something in the writing process becomes difficult, I glance up remind myself that I have to keep plugging along.

Every now and again I take my laptop and run to my nearest Starbucks to write. I order a Grande Zebra Mocha, sit in the corner, and type away. 🙂 Those writing days usually turn out to be the best (though they’re few and far between) with clean words and pages written quickly.

Gone with the Wolf was mostly written at my desk. Drake Wilder, the CEO Alpha werewolf hero, came to me first and Emelia Hudson, his carefree secretary came to me second. I knew I wanted to create an ememies-to-lovers relationship, and I knew they were going to be perfect for one another, even though they’d fight me on that idea to the very end.

gone with the wolf

Gone with the Wolf

By Kristin Miller

Entangled Publishing – April 2013

CEO and alpha werewolf Drake Wilder has given up the search for his one true love. When he discovers that she’s a secretary in his company, Drake’s primal instincts kick into overdrive.

What he wouldn’t give to have her fingers rake over his body instead of the keyboard…

Free-spirited bartender Emelia Hudson wants nothing more than to make her Seattle-based bar succeed. But when profits decline, she slips into a dress suit and secures a nine-to-five. After learning that her bar has become property of Wilder Financial, Emelia is determined to get some answers.

Two can play the ruthless business game. If only her attraction to the boss wasn’t so intense…

When Drake’s twin brother senses that Drake has found his match—and now inherits their father’s billion dollar estate—he hatches a plan to take Emelia out. Drake vows to protect her at all costs, but he might have to pay with his own life.

Title: Gone with the Wolf
Author: Kristin Miller
Publisher: Entangled
Imprint: Covet
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 207 pages
Release Date: April 23, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-144-2

Buy: Gone with the Wolf

kristin millerAuthor Information

Kristin Miller has had a passion for language and literature her whole life. Born and raised in northern California, she often made up stories about faraway places and edge-of-your-seat adventures. After graduating from Humboldt State University, Kristin taught high school and middle school English, married her college sweetheart, and had two beautiful munchkins. In 2008, she took time off from teaching to raise her children, and started writing while they napped.

Her first novel was published in 2011, and since then she has had seven other novels published (mostly paranormal romances). She is the author of Gone with the Wolf with Entangled Publishing, the dark and gritty Vampires of Crimson Bay series with Avon, and the short-but-steamy Isle of Feralon novellas with Harlequin Nocturne Cravings.

Author Website:www.kristinmiller.net

Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristinMiller

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KM_Miller

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/kristinmiller

Buy: Gone with the Wolf

Tour Giveaway

Kristin is giving away a Gone with the Wolf themed prize pack to one lucky winner! Prize pack includes:

  • Gone with the Wolf swag including a custom made beaded bookmark
  • Seattle’s Best coffee & Starbucks travel mug
  • Ghiradelli chocolates
  • Too Much of a Good Thing is… Wonderful! wine bottle charm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy: Gone with the Wolf

Review: Waking Up Immortal (Universal Security, Book 1) by Rachel Carrington

Waking Up ImmortalHero: Kier is part-man-part-machine and is the head warden for the most dangerous prison in the galaxy. One particular inmate is a huge problem and despite all efforts to isolate the man and contain his powers, the inmate keeps progressing forward a master scheme to get revenge and gain his freedom. So when the inmate’s daughter starts looking for her father, Kier gets a little edgy.

Heroine: Chloe nearly dies and learns from her mother that she’s an alien. Apparently dying triggers some immortality gene and she’ll be young and pretty forever. Chloe has no desire to live that way and decides to find her absentee father and get the goods on reversing this little tick. Along the way she finds out her father was tortured and then imprisoned by two different parties and hopes he’s not as bad as everyone says he is… A handsome Terminator-like fellow tries to persuade her otherwise, but Chloe is going to get answers!

Review: The world-building for Waking Up Immortal is too vague. You can catch the general picture of the setup but the nuances are missing to really solidify the how the aliens/humans on earth interact and what exactly is their purpose/mission. Chloe goes back and forth quite a bit on wanting to meet her dad, and when she finally meets her dad he tries to kill her / turn her over to the people who tortured him and everything gets a bit muddled. She disobeys Kier when she should listen to him in a very (too-stupid-to-live) TSTL kind of way– I mean really, the girl just realized she’s an alien and has no clue what is really going on and instead of listening thinks she knows best? The dad is a very interesting villain and the head-case drama he can pull is creepy. Kier by far is my favorite character.

[Rating:2.5]

Buy: Waking Up Immortal (Universal Security)

Review: Mockingjay (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 3) by Suzanne Collins

Brief Overview: 13 Districts rebelled against the Capitol. 1 was supposedly destroyed while 12 suffered under a harsh treaty for 75 years. Now we’re back at the beginning and once more 13 Districts are rebelling. This time is different though, because this time the rebels have a cause and a face of the revolution: Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire. The Capitol has Peeta, captured from the Quarter Quell, and they wield him like a weapon against Katniss. Can she survive a broken heart?

WTF? No seriously, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot…???

“Are you, are you coming to the tree?
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here.
No stranger would let it be if we met up
At midnight in the hanging tree.”

Wishlist: Katniss needs to sing to Peeta, like a lot and happy songs or songs about hope. Her singing made an impression on him at 5, she should sing that song again! Break down all those shiny memories in one fell swoop. 😀

My 10 Favorite Scenes:

Not in order of preference or sequence in book.

  1. Katniss figuring out how Snow is really using Peeta. Angst! Angst! Angst!
  2. Brainwashed Peeta (attacking Katniss). Well, until I realized there’s wasn’t a cure-all for it. Stupid shiny memories.
  3. Real or Not Real. This was a good one…

    “You’re still trying to protect me. Real or not real,” he whispers.

    “Real,” I answer. “Because that’s what you and I do, protect each other.”

  4. Peeta figuring Katniss out. Not that she tries to help him sort it all out. She runs a bit too often for my tastes.

    “Ally.” Peeta says the words slowly, tasting it. “Friend. Lover. Victor. Enemy. Fiancee. Target. Mutt. Neighbor. Hunter. Tribute. Ally. I’ll add it to the list of words I use to try to figure you out. The problem is, I can’t tell what’s real anymore, and what’s made up.”

  5. Peeta trying to remember the truth about them. Can we say ouch? So freaking awesome… the angst!!!

    “I must have loved you a lot.”

  6. Declaration of Love. Such as it was… (who else wanted more to this scene? I did!)

    “You love me. Real or not real?”

    I tell him, “Real.”

  7. Who is Peeta? The most telling sentence Katniss ever said…

    “You’re a painter. You’re a baker. You like to sleep with the windows open. You never take sugar in your tea. And you always double-knot your shoelaces.”

    He also likes the color orange.

  8. Peeta remembers? It looks like it with these sentences but he still comes off as damaged beyond repair in the epilogue. Sniff.

    “Katniss. I remember about the bread.”

    and

    “Let me go!” I snarl at him, trying to wrest my arm from his grasp.

    “I can’t,” he says.

  9. Katniss killing President Coin. Needed. Though, I won’t lie the aftermath of that is pretty confusing. Being trapped in Katniss’ head did not give a big picture view of what was going on outside her impromptu prison/isolation. I bet the movie will do it better.
  10. Katniss and Gale parting. Gale is bitter, but he was not a good match for Katniss. She’d lose herself completely in his hatred. In broken Peeta, perhaps our equally broken Katniss can heal?

Conclusion: The Hunger Games Trilogy is not a romance. It’s a dystopian warfare driven trilogy with romantic elements. If it was a romance, the ending would have been sweeter, Peeta wouldn’t have been brainwashed and his character mutated (I once did this to a fanfic character, oomph, cheated the whole story, so I know what I’m talking about here). He should have been fixed more than he was at the end.

Peeta was the driving force of the romance in the story, because Katniss never truly confessed in a declaration of love (to herself or to Peeta, though she does tap dance around it several times). At least not like how we know them in the romance genre. At best it was halfhearted, and while “Real or Not Real” was good, it could have been better. For example something like, “Real. I love you Peeta and here’s why…” With Katniss blind and resistant from the beginning to her feelings she needed to really open up at some point to Peeta.

“All those months of taking it for granted that Peeta thought I was wonderful are over. Finally, he can see me for who I really am. Violent. Distrustful. Manipulative. Deadly. And I hate him for it.” – Katniss

So in effect, warping Peeta warped the romance. He had all the best lines too between them, which you can see when you check out my favorite scenes between the books.

Also, I get that PTSD would have been prevalent, but romances as we define them in the genre mean a real HEA, where the characters heal each other and not merely survive together (and watch their kids play on top of mass graves… shudder).

“Oh, that I do know…Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can’t survive without.” – Gale

Additionally, I don’t buy that Katniss would have had children with Peeta. That was a no-go from the get-go.

I feel all this could have been fixed with an additional chapter or longer epilogue. I doubt I am alone in this.

What really needed to be addressed and was never addressed, was Katniss’ statement to Peeta revealing that Haymitch orchestrated the romance on her part during the first Hunger Games. She implied most of it was Haymitch, but not all of it was Haymitch. If Peeta had latched onto that semantic like a pitbull we could have gotten somewhere with her. 😛

Final thoughts: So yes, I was disappointed with the romance, but the trilogy is a good one. Peeta makes the series for me, no question. I would reread it for him alone.

Bonus: 74 Books to Read if You Love the Hunger Games

[Rating:3]

Buy: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set, The Hunger Games Trilogy (digital)

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Review: Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 2) by Suzanne Collins

Brief Overview: Against all odds, Katniss and Peeta survived the Hunger Games and became the first ever dual victory. A little hope is a good thing, but too much leads to disaster. President Snow is not happy and he lets Katniss know it. But Katniss has already put her foot in it and alienated Peeta, so there’s no help from that corner. Then the Quarter Quell (every 25 years there’s a special version of the Hunger Games) is announced and it seems once again the rules are changed specifically for District 12’s starcrossed lovers. They’ve got to go back into the arena and this time it doesn’t look like either will be allowed to win.

Fandom Comments:

Team Peeta or Team Gale?

No contest. Team Peeta.

Gale never stood a chance.

Peeta killed Gale’s chances in Hunger Games and then wiped him off the map in Catching Fire. You got to love our boy with bread!

Side comment – Capitol sensibilities sound like the Romans’ again with their feasting parties where it’s natural to puke to make room for more gorging on the provided banquet of food. A tour guide called the Roman “puke rooms” vomitoriums when I was at a Roman site in Turkey last year, but I think they had the wrong word? Because the definitions I find online of the word mean an opening that allows a hoard of people to fast exit a building. Anyway, back to the point, Romans (and the Capitol) lived to eat and Katniss and Peeta are horrified by that, because to them, you should eat to live.

What I didn’t like – Katniss and Peeta’s show and tell with the Gamemakers. Really? Peeta, I get to an extent because he can paint like nobody’s business, but why Rue? Rue was Katniss’ friend and not his. I also think Katniss should have shot the arrow at the Gamemakers again through the force field chink, even if doing so messed up the setup for the Quarter Quell. She was smart enough to do it. Why a dead dummy of Senaca Cane? Honestly.

My Top 10 Favorite Scenes from the Hunger Games:
Not necessarily in order (either by preference or in sequence with events in the book)…

  1. Katniss can shoot! When all the tributes watch her with the bow and arrows during training and then want to team up with her for the games. Pretty funny, especially because Katniss doesn’t want the victors who could help her win, she wants the rejects.
  2. Rooftop Picnic. And cuddling on the train. And hungry kisses.
  3. Finnick Giving Peeta CPR. Katniss thought he was kissing Peeta and is so confused. Haha.

    I pull an arrow, whip the notch into place, and am about to let it fly when I’m stopped by the sight of Finnick kissing Peeta. And it’s so bizarre, even for Finnick.

  4. Katniss realizing Haymitch lied about saving Peeta:

    “We had to save you because you’re the mockingjay, Katniss,” says Plutarch. “While you live, the revolution lives.”

    The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol’s plans. The symbol of the rebellion. It’s what I suspected in the woods when I found Bonnie and Twill escaping. Though I never really understood the magnitude. But then, I wasn’t meant to understand.

    I think of Haymitch’s sneering at my plans to flee District 12, start my own uprising, even the very notion that District 13 could exist. Subterfuges and deceptions. And if he could do that, behind his mask of sarcasm and drunkenness, so convincingly and for so long, what else has he lied about? I know what else.

    “Peeta,” I whisper, my heart sinking.

  5. Peeta and Katniss on the beach.

    “Because I don’t want you to forget how different our circumstances are. If you die and I live, there’s no life fore me at all back in District Twelve. You’re my whole life,” he says. “I would never be happy again.”

    I start to object but he puts a finger to my lips.

    “It’s different for you. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be hard. But there are other people who would make your life worth living.”

  6. Before the Quarter Quell when Katniss knows she will grieve Peeta, if he dies.

    “No one really needs me,” he says, and there is no self-pity in his voice.

    It’s true his family doesn’t need him. They will mourn him, as will a handful of friends. But they will get on. Even Haymitch, with the help of a lot of white liquor, will get on. I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.

    “I do,” I say. “I need you.”

    He looks, takes a deep breath as if to begin a long argument, and it’s no good, no good at all, because he’ll start going on about Prim and my mother and everything and I’ll just get confused. So before he can talk, I stop his lips with a kiss.

  7. Peeta’s nightmares:

    “Peeta, how come I never know when you’re having a nightmare?” I say.

    “I don’t know. I don’t think I cry out or thrash around or anything. I just come to, paralyzed with terror,” he says.

    “You should wake me,” I say, thinking about how I can interrupt his sleep two or three times on a bad night. About how long it can take to calm me down.

    “It’s not necessary. My nightmares are usually about losing you,” he says. “I’m okay once I realize you’re here.”

  8. When Haymitch says to Katniss…

    “You know, you could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him.”

  9. Katniss against the World, Protecting Peeta. She knows she has to kill Peeta to keep him from being tortured by the Capitol, after they’re taken out of the arena. When she comes across Haymitch and he says…

    “So it’s you and a syringe against the Capitol? See, this is why no one lets you make the plans.”

  10. Peeta’s interview on TV. He’s so good at these.

    “But I have to confess, I’m glad you two had at least a few months of happiness together.”

    I’m not glad,” says Peeta. “I wish we had waited until the whole thing was done officially.”

    This takes even Caesar aback. “Surely even a brief time is better than no time?”

    ”Maybe I’d think that, too, Caesar,” says Peeta bitterly, “If it weren’t for the baby.”

What are your favorite moments from Hunger Games?

[Rating:4]

Buy: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set, The Hunger Games Trilogy (digital)

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