Monday, August 30, 2010

Release Day Review: HellFire

HellFire
The Demonslayer #2
Author: Kate Douglas
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zebra
Released 8/31/2010
Available in Paperback and Kindle Format

Summary: A new, more dangerous vortex has opened in the besieged Earth and the innocent souls of animals are being invaded by the malevolent strength of a powerful demon. For Ginny Jones, there can be no greater wrong - and to make it right, she joins forces with the Lemurian, Alton, a hard-bodied hero not of her world. Under a black moon, pitched battles for the survival of all that is good will be fought once more. The heat of their sensual passion emboldens the two warriors...but such passion may well betray them...Yet Alton is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice - life itself - for the human woman he loves. But time is fast running out...and time, like fire, devours all...

I won an ARC of HellFire by Kate Douglas during one of her Facebook contests. I'm still amazed I hadn't read any of Kate's books until this one. She's a prolific author of paranormal romance and erotica that has written something for everyone. Don't miss the interview and contest with Kate below the interview.

HellFire is the second book in The Demonslayers series. The first book, DemonFire, introduced us to the Lemurians, who are peaceful and nonviolent, though a tad apathetic towards earth and humans. This paranormal romance series is set in a world where other dimensions exist, including one where demons live and one that is much like Atlantis. The author has created a world accessed by portals in our world, that is fascinating with it's political intrigue, history, and magic.

Ginny Jones, our heroine, unexpectedly decides to visit family and ends up in Phoenix dealing with a group of possessed animals, including her cousins huge, shrieking cat. She can't get her mind off the odd thoughts she's been having of a good-looking guy with a sexy voice she can't forget, though they only met once. Things just keep getting stranger.

Alton is not from our world, and he's oddly attracted to a woman who is nothing like the females where he comes from. I love his awkward way of dealing with Ginny. He means well, but just can't grasp how to handle an independent young woman, who doesn't feel she needs taking care of or rescuing.

HellFire is gritty and a little complex at times, yet it's also sexy and fun. Urban fantasy mixed in with sensual paranormal romance makes for a great read. The ongoing plot of political unrest and intrigue in this series is complex, but never confusing or strung out. The author blends that part of the plot with the romantic elements perfectly. Discoveries are made that impact both characters and make for some kick butt fight scenes and soul searching on both their parts.

Kate Douglas has developed rich characters with depth and substance. The plot is well thought out and fascinating. I think this series will only get better as it continues, and I hope we have many more books to read and enjoy.

Demonslayers Series
DemonFire (2010)
HellFire (August 2010)
Crystal Dreams (in Nocturnal 9/7/10)
StarFire (Spring 2011)

You can find out more about Kate Douglas on her website at http://www.katedouglas.com. The first two books in the Demonslayers series, and the Nocturnal anthology are available in paperback, and also on the Kindle.

CymLowell

Interview & Contest With Kate Douglas

After I read Hellfire, and realized what a talented and prolific author Kate Douglas was, I couldn't resist asking for an interview. I thought everyone would enjoy picking her brain along with me:) P.S. Don't miss the contest at the end of the interview. ~Brenda

You have written an amazing number books including erotic and paranormal romance. Did you start out writing erotic romance or was it something you felt would appeal to readers, so you gave it a shot? Were you nervous the first time you wrote a steamy sex scene?

I actually started out writing contemporary romance and have four books with Hard Shell Word Factory that were published in 1999-2002. They’re still available, and continue to sell—the bestseller of all of them is Cowboy in My Pocket, which is a romantic comedy that sort of makes fun of category romances—it’s got the cowboy hero, marriage of convenience, amnesiac heroine...it’s really fun. My original goal was to write for Harlequin, but I didn’t have any luck with them, which is why I started writing for the early epublishers. I heard about Ellora’s Cave and, since I’d always liked the sexy stories, decided to give it a try. My first erotic romance, Lionheart, was submitted in 2001 and I got an email from the editor about an hour later telling me they wanted the story. I still have a number of stories with EC, including my StarQuest series. Lionheart was the first one in that series.

I’ve always loved the steamy stories and have never been at all nervous writing them. In fact, I was on a panel years ago at a Romantic Times convention up in Reno where we were asked to read some of our erotic writing. I read an extremely graphic, ├╝ber-explicit oral sex scene, first person from the woman’s point of view—you could have heard a pin drop in the room, but I got my point across—if you’re not comfortable with the words, the language or describing the sexual acts themselves, you can’t write it effectively.

Hellfire is a paranormal romance but it's rather gritty like urban fantasy as well. I loved the characters, and your world building. How did you start developing the story at first? Did you take detailed notes, and fill in as you went, or did the entire world "pop" into your head?

I’m a true panster. I don’t plot. I did have a brief synopsis for HellFire, since I’d had to write one to sell the series to my publisher, but once I signed the contract I tossed the synopsis and just wrote what came to me. The original series began with a conversation with my agent:

Agent: Kate, you need a big book if you’re going to move beyond the erotic market.

Me: (to myself: big book? What the HELL does she mean by a big book...big theme?) Okay, how about good vs. evil? (said with a snicker)

Agent: Great! Send me a synopsis!

For some reason, the idea of demons infesting garden gnomes got stuck in my head, and that’s about all I had when I started writing the first book in the series, DemonFire. Oh, and I knew I wanted a dog—LOL! I loved giving away stuffed wolves with my Wolf Tales books, so I wanted a dog so I could give away stuffed dogs, and that’s how I ended up with Bumper, who’s a cross between a pit bull and a poodle. HellFire grew out of the first book—Ginny Jones was merely a secondary character who felt terribly real to me, and once I started writing Alton the Lemurian, I wanted to keep him around for awhile, so they became my hero and heroine for HellFire. That’s how I do a series—when I connect with a character in a book, I generally carry them over to the next story. The hero in StarFire is the veterinarian who appears in HellFire. Dawson Buck was not meant to be a main character, but I really liked him and decided to give him his own book...and the stars of the final book in the series, CrystalFire, are Taron the Lemurian, and Willow, who finally gets her own body so she doesn’t have to continue hitching space with Bumper:)

I once ran across a blogger that was "creeped out" when she found out some authors were her parent's age, because they shouldn't be writing sexy stories. I laughed at that because I was turning 50 at the time. Do you feel there is an age boundary for romance writers? Would it matter if the writer was 20, 50 or even 70?

Good lord—I’m sixty. If that creeps my readers out, that’s their problem! I didn’t even sign with NY until I was 55, and I fully intend to keep writing for a lot longer. Author Anne McCaffrey, who writes absolutely wonderful science fiction, is 84and still writing—and she’s a Wolf Tales fan, which I absolutely love, because I’ve been a serious fan of hers for a long time. If that blogger thinks people her parents’ age aren’t having sex, she’s got her head buried in the sand. You have to remember—those of us in our sixties were young during a pretty unique time in our nation’s history—after The Pill (yes, in all caps!) and before AIDS and herpes. Sex was not scary for us—it was just a lot of fun. Age doesn’t slow you down in the bedroom—attitude might, but luckily I don’t have that problem, and neither does my spouse.

Writing sexy stories isn’t limited by age—only by imagination. I can’t imagine not writing—I love what I’m doing and really enjoy the fact that my readers look forward to my new stories as much as I look forward to writing them. It’s a wonderful life and I’m very lucky to be doing what I do.

Thank you so much for your time. I loved Hellfire, and can't wait to read the rest of the series!

Thank you! And for readers who are enjoying the series, there’s another story coming out September 7 in the NOCTURNAL anthology with Jacquelyn Frank—Crystal Dreams is connected to the DemonSlayers and is about a young woman named Marigold Moonbeam Schwartz who not only discovers she’s a witch, but that the sexy guy who’s just saved her life from demons—which can’t POSSIBLY exist—is from the mythical world of Lemuria. It’s a fun story and one I think readers will enjoy—plus it’s packed in with great stories by Jacquelyn Frank, Jess Haines and Clare Willis.

KATE'S GIVE AWAY
Kate is graciously giving away a book to TWO readers who can choose from Demonfire, book one in the Demonslayers series, Hellfire, book two or Nocturnal, the new anthology she mentions above.

Please leave Kate and I a comment, which book you would like if you win, and IF your email is not associated with a Google profile leave that in the comments. I will randomly choose the winner on September 7th. Thanks everyone!

You can learn more about Kate and her books on her website at http://www.katedouglas.com.