Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stephanie Rowe Interview: Plus Order of the Blade Spot Light and GIVEAWAY!

 STEPHANIE ROWE:  INTERVIEW

 Where did you grow up? Do you thing your childhood impacts your writing? 
  I grew up in a suburb of Boston, and my childhood impacted my writing in that I was a voracious reader. I read hundreds of books every summer, and was writing stories from when I was ten. I was never much into movies or television, but books were my thing. That love of books stayed with me my whole life, until I finally got series about writing in 2000.
Do your siblings if you have any, find their way into your stories?
 I have two brothers, but they don't particularly enter my stories. What does enter my stories, however, is a real commitment to the importance of family and the support they give each other. That's what my family is like (even though we drive each other crazy at time), and my characters always find that bond with someone, whether it is biological family, or people who become family because of their bond to them.
Growing up were you considered a “bookish person”? 
 I never went anywhere without a book. I was one of those kids who would take a flashlight to bed and read under the covers for hours after lights out. I made the mistake of telling my daughter that I used to do that, and now she does it. 
Are you married, single? Children? 
 I have an awesome daughter who is well on her way to becoming a book addict like her mom.
Who do you read?  What genres do you enjoy? Can you list 5 that you think we would enjoy?
I love all genres of romance, but my most favorite to read are historicals. I love getting swept up in the fantasy of historical times. Since I don't write historical, reading them is pure indulgence for me. When I read paranormal, although I love it, I often find myself analyzing the story instead of letting myself get caught up in the book. Some of my favorite authors are Lisa Kleypas, Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, Christine Feehan, Sabrina Jeffries and Dick Francis.
Who is your all time favorite author and why?      
Oh, between the ones listed above, I don't think I could pick a winner. They all offer different things. I think the book that stands out most in my mind, though, is Mine 'Til Midnight by Lisa Kleypas. At the time I read it, I was going through a brutal time in my personal life, and that book was so beautiful and full of hope and affirmation that it really gave brightness into a very dark time.
Ebook or paperback?  Why?      I have always been a paperback girl, but I have lots of books on my kindle. I have to admit that I am beginning to appreciate the ease of reading on a kindle and ordering books instantly. So, I'm a hybrid.
How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?        
Before I became a single mom, I read a ton of books each month. Now, my time is a little less free, but I still try to read at least a book a week. I wish I could read more, and I am currently focusing on ways to get more "me" time back into my life and to get off this endless treadmill and try to get some balance. The stress was just destroying me, and I realized I had to make changes.
What's your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
 I love to play tennis. I also adopted a rescue dog last summer, and he gets me out for a walk in the woods every day. I have come to cherish those walks, no matter what the weather. There is nothing like breathing in fresh air while surrounded by nature and an ebullient dog to lift the spirits and slow the craziness of life.
Do you have a favorite quote?  Does it have a special meaning to you?      
 In the last few years, I have actually become a huge quote girl. It's been a difficult period for me personally, and I look for nuggets of hope and inspiration everywhere I turn. Facebook is great for that, and I am often writing down quotes that people post on there. My quote of the moment comes from the movie Croods, which I just saw this afternoon. The theme of the story is that you can't hide in fear of getting hurt—you may keep yourself alive, but you aren't truly living. Instead, you have to rise above fear and fly into tomorrow, because that's when you really start to live. I found that a really powerful message. See the movie. I highly recommend it.
Where do you get your story ideas from?  Does your environment, mood play a part in what you write?      
Everything I experience goes into what I call "the vault," which is a place in my head where ideas get stored. Things can stay in there for years, until they finally get called upon. I think, however, that a really compelling story doesn’t come from the plot or the idea, it comes from the depths of emotions of the characters: loss, fear, love, betrayal, desperation… all those things that every person understands. My difficult period of the last five years has been tough, but at the same time, it's torn away my emotional shields and enabled me to experience the true range of life's emotions, which I then pour into my characters. I think you can't truly write suffering, loss, love, betrayal, fear and all those things until you have lived it.
 How long have you been writing?    
I started writing with the goal of being published in 2000. I wrote 18 books before I sold my first one in 2003.
Do you have a writing “ritual”?  Where, music, etc.  If you use music can you share a few of the titles so we may check them out. 
 I don't really have a ritual. I park myself at my desk with one of my wickedly cool water bottles and get to work. I never play music because it distracts me. I just write. I usually keep the house cold enough so I can bundle up in a hoodie and a fleece blanket. Feeling warm and safe makes me write better. Weird, huh?
How do you do your research?  Ahead of time or do you “drop ship” it as needed.      
I do my research as I run into the need for it. I will usually stop mid-scene and look up what I need to know to write that scene. I don't like to leave things blank to go fill in later because by then I lose the thread of what I wanted to know.
Do you set daily or weekly writing goals? What are they word count? Chapters?       
I set a deadline for my book, and then have daily and weekly word count goals. Even when I brainstorm, I have daily goals. I track my word court in 20 minute intervals. I have found that's the right about of time for me to focus intensely, and I'm most efficient when I'm tracking my words every twenty minutes. I even have an excel spreadsheet. I find I have to do this or else it's too easy for time to slip away while on the computer. 
Do you get a chance to write every day? If so do you prefer to write during the day or at night?     
 I don't write every day. I never write when my daughter is home, because life is too short to miss out on what is important. This means that I almost never get any work done on weekends, vacations or holidays. Although this sometimes stresses me out, when I look at her, I remind myself that she is getting older every day, and time passes way too quickly. I sometimes write at night, but usually I am too tired to do much. So, my best time is during the day while she is at school. I try tobe hyper-productive during the time that I do work so that I can make up for it.
What do you hope your Books bring to readers?   
 Hope. I feel like sometimes the toughest part of life is when it feels like everything is crashing down on you and there's no way to resolve it. I know that I'm not the only one who has tough moments, so if I can give someone relief from those hardships and make their heart soften with peace, love and adrenaline, then I've made a difference for someone, in the same way that books have made a difference for me.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 5 years, 10?
 Hopefully still writing full-time! With the way this business is changing so rapidly, there's no way to really predict the landscape in 5 or 10 years.
Would you like to tell us what you're working on now?
I'm just finishing up the brainstorming for Darkness Unleashed, which is book seven of the Orderof the Blade series. I'm planning to start writing on Monday or Tuesday.
What advice would you give to unpublished authors?      
Don't take shortcuts. Dig deeper into your emotions than you are comfortable with when writing. Be more daring and original than you think you should be. Don't self-publish just because you can—have the discipline to know when your books aren't ready. If you aren't regularly getting agent requests and contest finals, then you probably aren't ready to publish. And never lose the joy. 
Favorite color?    Pink.
 Favorite food?      
Grapes. Filet mignon. Chocolate chip cookie dough.
 Favorite time of year and why?      
Springtime, because it is a time of rebirth from the dark times of a cold winter.
3 things you want us to know but we did not cover above!
I am terrified of failure every time I start a new book.
I am learning to get over that fear.
I have a chocolate addiction. Sigh.
Tell us about your latest release. 
 Darkness Arisen (Order of the Blade, Book Six) is the story of Ian Fitzgerald, a warrior we met in the first book. His story was introduced in more depth in his novella, FOREVER IN DARKNESS, and we finally get his full story in DARKNESS ARISEN.  It's sexy, passionate, dangerous and wickedly intense. Readers will meet new characters and explore an entirely new world from what they've seen in previous Order of the Blade books, but will still get plenty of their hot, tormented warriors. Here is the official blurb for the book:
Darkness Hunts Him.
Calydon warrior Ian Fitzgerald refuses to die. Cursed by black magic, he has stayed alive through sheer force of will and unyielding commitment to a mission he is sworn to complete. There is only one thing that can defeat him…and she has just found him.
Desire Torments Her.
Ravaged by her own passions, tarnished angel Alice Shaw is fighting desperately for salvation before all she cares about is lost forever. Her sensual allure, and the forbidden power buried inside her, are outshone only by the burning need she awakens in Ian.
Fierce Passion Ignites.
Raging desire explodes between Ian and Alice, pushing them to the brink of destruction. They cannot afford to succumb, but the cord that binds them will never let them go...not until their most dreaded nightmares come true. Together, they are destined to fail. Together, they will fight to survive the impossible.
And here is the excerpt:
Alice's heart began to race as she saw Ian dive through the waves in pursuit of her, his powerful body breaking through the white caps with minimal effort. Just like before, the mere anticipation of his nearness sent waves of awareness and desire rushing through her...along with a pulsing sense of danger.
He was too determined, and the look on his teammate's face too arrogant as he followed Ian through the waves. She didn't know what they wanted from her, but she knew she couldn't afford it.
She quickly turned her back on them and moved to the edge of the rock, scanning the surface of the ocean for the bumps that were too sleek and too misty to be natural. The pearl was still cold in her hand, clenched there despite all that had happened since she'd thrown herself into the water.
/b>
The Mageaan had known she was in the ocean. They'd tried to kill her, which meant they were nearby, or they had been at least. Were they still around? Trying to ignore the sound of Ian getting closer to her, Alice inched toward the edge of the rock. She opened her hand and looked at the pearl. Glittering streaks of red, orange, crimson and silver sliced across its surface, like the clouds at sunset on the eve of a hurricane. "Please let this work," she whispered. It was such a risk to reveal that she had the pearl. To give it away was to surrender the one safeguard she had against an eternity of hell, against the future that Ian seemed to be pushing her towards.
But without the help of the creatures in the water below, she had no chance to find Catherine. The Mageaan owned the oceans. They knew everything and everyone that passed through their waters. They would know where Catherine was, but they would never reveal it. Not to an outsider. Not to someone who represented all they had lost…unless she had something to offer them that was more than they could resist. 
The pearl was that item. She might be able to convince the Mageaan to trade information for the jewel. Of course, once she reached Catherine… A cold chill rippled through her. How would she manage that without Flynn? She couldn't do that on her own.
No. She couldn’t worry about that now. None of it mattered if she couldn't find Catherine in the first place, and the Mageaan were the only ones who would know how to find the lair that was hidden, obscured by magic and tricks so that no one could find it. No one but the man who had created it... and those who haunted the ocean.
She carefully held the pearl up between her thumb and index finger so that the moon's blue-green rays seemed to refract through it, bringing it to life. She glanced over her shoulder and saw Ian was almost to the rock, his muscled shoulders churning powerfully through the whitecaps as he neared.

Crap! He was almost to the rock! Alice quickly extended her hand out over the ocean. It was risky, exposing it like that, but she was over a hundred feet above the water. The Mageaan were ocean bound, and they would not be able to steal it from her up here. "I have one of the Pearls of Lycanth," she shouted. "I will trade it for your help!" The wind seemed to strip the words from her mouth and thrust them out across the water, reverberating again and again. "You can have it," she yelled, even as fear rippled through her at the idea of giving it up. "I will offer it freely!"

A haunted call sounded across the ocean, making the hairs on her arms stand up. Alice searched the water, and she saw a faint drift of mist forming on the horizon. Excitement shot through her. Was that the Mageaan? "I have the pearl," she yelled again, holding it out for them to see. "It's genuine. I will trade it for your help!"

The mist swirled closer and thicker, and the water churned more violently as the wind began to howl. Her hair slashed her cheeks, her clothes snapped in the gusts. On the edges of the wind, Alice thought she heard the sound of a woman screaming. Dozens of women screaming, the kind of screams that heralded a brutal death coming for them. Their torment was horrific, the pain of souls being ripped apart for an eternity of suffering.

She froze, horrified by the sound. Oh, God. What was that? Was that the Mageaan? If it was, it was so much worse than she'd expected. She'd heard the stories. She'd been warned a thousand times. But there had been no way to comprehend the depths of such suffering. The edge to their screams was like a blade shredding the night. Was that her future? Was that what she would become without the pearl to protect her?

Real terror rippled through her. I can't do this. Her hand faltered, and she started to lower it—

A violent gust of wind slammed into her shoulders from behind, thrusting her forward off the edge of the rock. She screamed as she was thrust into the air, and then the wind tore the pearl from her grasp. "No!"

Anguish tore through her as she lunged for it, but her hand closed on empty air as the pearl plummeted down toward the water, the wind howling in triumph, as if the Mageaan themselves had compelled it to help them. Beneath her swelled the mist, but it was no longer white. It was a seething, frothing purple and black pool of poison—

"Hey!" A hand clamped around her wrist, jerking her backwards.

Alice gasped as she ricocheted back against the side of the rock, her body slamming into hard granite, suspended above the tumultuous ocean by one arm. She looked up, and her heart stuttered when she saw Ian down on one knee on the top of the rock, his fingers locked around her wrist. "No, no!" She tugged at her arm. "Let me go! I have to get the pearl! I dropped it in the water!" Frantic, she kicked at the rock, trying to tear herself out of his grasp.

"Hey!" He tightened his grip, ocean water streaming down his arm over his hand. "A pearl? You're serious? You'll never find a pearl down there. That ocean is trying to kill you."

"I don't care! Let me go!" Without the pearl, she had nothing: no future for herself and no way to find Catherine. "I have to get it!" Frantic, she twisted around to search the frothing depths, but her heart sank when she saw the ocean churning beneath her. Hate-filled green and purple swells fighting to get to her, to reclaim the victim they'd lost once, and deadly mist swirled over the surface of the water.

She couldn't survive that. There was no way she could reclaim her pearl from that. Despair coursed through her, utter despair. It was gone. Without it, Catherine was lost to her. One moment of fear and hesitation for her own stupid life, and she'd lost her chance. Frustration and guilt burned through Alice, and all the fight drained from her body. She hung limply from Ian's grasp, the cold wet rock pressing against her as she dangled over her death. This couldn't happen again. She couldn't fail again.

"Alice." Ian's voice was low. Impatient. "Look at me."

She pulled her gaze off the ocean and looked up, compelled by the urgency in his voice. The moment she met his intense gaze, awareness coursed through her. Awareness of the man, of herself, of something more personal than it should have been. Fear rippled through her, fear of the warrior who held her wrist.

"I've never met someone more likely to die than I am," he said conversationally, as if he wasn't the only thing standing between her and a nightmare. "It's damned inconvenient."

She met his gaze, her jaw jutting out. "I'm not afraid of death."

"No, I can see that." One eyebrow was raised, but his eyes were cool and calculating. Water was streaming down his arm over hers, but his grip was tight and secure. "What is it that you are afraid of, Alice Shaw?"

What was she afraid of? Unbidden, the memory flashed into her mind. Her mother, blood pouring from a wound in her chest, laboring to breathe. Her mother's blond hair matted with blood and dirt, her bright blue eyes glazed over with the onset of death, her lips parted as she fought to share those last words while Alice sat there, inches away, unable to do the one simple thing that would have saved her life—

Ian's gaze sharpened. Who is that in your mind, sheva? Who died like that? His voice was soft and gentle, reaching deep into her soul, tearing away at the protective shields that enabled her to get through her life every day.

She quickly stiffened, and shook her head. "Leave me alone."

Ian's eyes narrowed. "Maybe you should save that request for after I pull you back up."
Alice grimaced, and glanced down, the sea was still churning beneath her. Waves splashed up, reaching for her ankles. Instinctively, she pulled her feet up, bracing them against the rock. "You have a point."

"As I thought." Ian grinned then, and braced himself on the rock. "Ready?"

She met his gaze, fighting not to be swallowed up by his piercing stare. "Ready." She dug her toes into the rock.

"On three." He cocked an eyebrow. "One." He held his other hand out to her.

After a split second of hesitation, she reached up and took his hand. His grip was strong around her wrists again. Damn, the man was powerful. How was that fair? He could probably take down the world, and she, the angel of life, couldn't save even a single person, no matter how simple a task it would be to help them.

He nodded. "Two."

She wrapped her fingers around his wrist, and electricity jumped between them. Dammit. Why hadn't things lessened between them? Why was he still affecting her like this?
 "Three." He gave a curt nod and pulled.


She pushed off the rock as he shifted his body, easily swinging her to the top of the rock. Her bare feet landed silently on the rock, her toes tiny and pale next to the heavy boots he was still wearing. "Swimming's easier without boots," she said, trying desperately to put distance between them.

He shrugged. "I was in a rush. You were getting away."

There was that sense of being hunted by him again. Alice instinctively pulled out of his grasp. "What do you want from me?"

Ian went still for a moment, and his gaze bore down on her. She felt pressure in her mind as he tried to break past her barriers, connecting with her too intimately. She stiffened immediately and folded her arms over her chest, raising her chin as she faced him, fighting against the swirl of emotion he aroused in her. "You're not stalking me because of the soul mate thing, are you? Because I'm not yours—"

"Yes, you are." His response was instant and unyielding, and she felt her pulse quicken in response.

She couldn't afford to belong to him. She didn't want to crave him so badly that she felt like her own soul would burst into violent flames if he walked away from her…but she did. It was like he'd ignited a raging fire within her, one that he stoked ever higher with each touch, with each word, with each kiss.

And as a smug grin spread over his face, she knew that he was well aware of exactly how he affected her.

"Damn you, Ian," she snapped.

He grinned more broadly, and she suddenly realized that she'd just laid down a challenge that he was delighted to accept.

 Darkness Arisen Can be Purchased:

A fun fact that readers wouldn't know about you.

My dog sleeps on my bed tucked up against me every night. 


Thank you so much for having me, Alexx! (For those of you who don't know, Alexx is one of my beta readers and she is AWESOME! Love you, Alexx!)

ORDER OF THE BLADE SPOTLIGHT

DARKNESS AWAKENED
Order of the Blade Series, Book One


The Calydons are a race of ancient immortals cursed with a dark side. Each Calydon is destined to meet his soul mate, to be so drawn to her that he is unable to resist bonding with her through the rituals of his race…

…but their destiny is to destroy each other and all they care about the moment their bond is complete.

Quinn Masters will stop at nothing to rescue his rogue teammate. To save his blood brother and ensure his brand of justice triumphs, Quinn will break every rule of his kind and partner with the sensuous, courageous woman destined to be his ultimate destruction.

Haunted by a brutal past, Illusionist Grace Matthews will risk everything to save her kidnapped sister, including putting her life in the sinfully capable hands of an immortal warrior whose ravaging kisses and intense passion propel her ruthlessly toward a fateful destiny she can't afford to believe in.

Available Now!


DARKNESS SEDUCED
Order of the Blade Series, Book Two

Immortal warrior Gideon Roarke made an oath five hundred years ago to the woman who died for him. The ancient Calydon is ruthless in his quest to honor that promise, even if it means risking everything by teaming up with the one woman who will either destroy him, or finally bring redemption to his blackened, hardened soul.

After escaping from a two-year imprisonment at the hands of a madman, the only thing Lily Davenport wants is to go home and reclaim her life. Unfortunately for Lily, standing between her and that goal is a sensual, demanding protector whose dangerous seduction threatens to claim her life…and her soul.

The Calydons Destiny: The Calydons are a race of ancient immortals cursed with a dark side. Each Calydon is destined to meet his soul mate, to be so drawn to her that he is unable to resist bonding with her through the rituals of his race…

…but their destiny is to destroy each other and all they care about the moment their bond is complete.

Available Now!



 DARKNESS SURRENDERED
Order of the Blade Series, Book Three


Six hundred years ago, Elijah Ross was tortured into insanity and thrust into a mental hell that no living creature has ever survived…except him.

Now, that same evil is back, and Elijah is all that stands between it and the destruction of all of humanity, but each step he takes drags him further back into the nightmare that once consumed him.

Elijah's only chance is Ana Matthews, whose sensual kisses and passionate fire thrust hope and light into his blackened heart and fragmented mind, but her deadly past could be the final trigger for his descent into irretrievable madness and the destruction of his soul…and humanity.

Available Now!



FOREVER IN DARKNESS
Order of the Blade Series, Book Four
Cursed to die for a choice his ancestor made, Ian Fitzgerald has spent six hundred years fighting the curse and trying to restore honor to his family's name. But his time to die has finally come, and his doom is in the guise of the one woman he cannot walk away from: his soul mate. Or is she really who she seems?

Light and darkness, shadows and death, reality and illusions swirl around Ian as the curse hauls him relentlessly toward his own demise. Desperate to survive, Ian fights ruthlessly to uncover the truth about the sensual, desperate female who has died in his arms already…twice. Can she save him, or will she be the final key to the destruction of everything he has fought to protect?

Available Now!


DARKNESS REBORN
Order of the Blade Series, Book Five

Talismans carved into his body. A lethal darkness amassing inside him. A woman who calls to his spirit on levels so intimate and so passionate that his deadened soul screams in agony. Calydon warrior Kane Santiago has a past he can't remember, and a deadly legacy closing in on him. His only chance is Sarah Burns, a sensual, courageous woman fighting to save herself and her family from an ancient, brutal evil.

Sarah is on the verge of losing everything, but she can't afford to trust Kane, who is either the key to her final destruction…or her only chance of survival. Bound together by a connection so deep that it has the power to bring the past and all its nightmares back to life, Kane and Sarah must tap into the hearts they closed down so long ago or lose everything, including their souls.

Available Now!


Stephanie Rowe Bio:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Four-time RITA® Award nominee and Golden Heart® Award winner Stephanie Rowe is the nationally bestselling author of more than twenty published novels with major New York publishers, including Warner/Grand Central, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dorchester & Sourcebooks. Stephanie has received starred reviews from Booklist and high praise from Publisher's Weekly. Stephanie writes romance (paranormal, contemporary and suspense), teen fiction, middle grade fiction and motivational nonfiction, including her bestselling dark paranormal Order of the Blade series.
Connect with Stephanie:


Stephanie is giving away winners choice of eBook from either the ORDER OF THE BLADE, EVER AFTER or ALASKA HEAT series to ONE winner at EVERY Tour Stop.

Please leave a comment with your email address and your choice of Stephanie's eBooks to be entered.

I want to thank Stephanie Rowe for the awesome interview, also as a fan of her work, the hours and hours of entertainment a pure enjoyment she has given me and her fans.

8 comments:

  1. I love the Order of the Blade series. I am dying to read Ian's story, I have it on my wish list at Amazon. Thanks for the chance.

    sheryll1974@netscape.net

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  2. Oh my goodness!!! Stephanie, thank you so very much for this amazing interview! It is probably the best I have ever read! Now I truly get just how you made Ian's book, Darkness Arisen, so amazingly, hauntingly, beautiful and full of such deep emotional turmoil. You laid him and Alice bare, gave them no quarter, and like a potter at her wheel, re-shaped them both from tragedy and heartbreak. And yes, you are so correct in saying that unless we have, ourselves, been subjected to loss, failure, grief, depression, joy, happiness, fear...etc., we can not truly write about them with conviction! Love you, sweetie!! And, thank you, Alexx, for doing it!!

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    1. OOOppps... brandypm@optonline.net!

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  3. As always another good book to read. Now cant wait for #7 your books keep me wanting to read more awesome action and romance.

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  4. Hello Stephanie. So glad I "met" you on this blog tour. I commend you on your attitudes about reaching for tomorrows instead of yesterdays...and spending as much time as possible with your daughter. I was a single mom once (for five years) and it was so hard to find the time to spend with them, but I did it. By doing that you are giving your children their hope for tomorrows. If I am so fortunate as to win one of your books, I will be glad to accept any one you care to send from your Alaska Heat series. Thanks much! jdh2690@gmail.com

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  5. HI Stephanie. The order of the blade series is by far my favorite. I had Ian's story read the day I bought it because I couldn't put it down. Now I can't wait for book 7 to come out later this year. Thank you! Boldenamy.1@gmail.com

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  6. I'd love to get a copy of Darkness Arisen (I've read all of the others already and loved them! What a great interview- I appreciate your commitment to family ( even if it makes me sad b/c it means its a little longer between book releases maybe?)
    Ekaf2022 At gmail Dot com

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  7. I just started Darkness Surrendered, I can't read these books fast enough. Thank you Stephanie for creating this fantastic world.

    proudarmymom32(at)yahoo(dot)com

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