Sunday, October 12, 2014

Release Day ~ Damsel Not by Kristina Circelli

In the days of old, one knight fought to save the maiden he loved – a battle that
 ended in a bloody promise for the future. 

In the days of the 21st Century, Izz doesn’t believe in prophecies. A recent widow, she struggles to find the passion that once fueled her life – a passion that is reignited the day a knight in disguise cuts into her life in a flash of
swordplay and seductive grins.

Izz doesn’t want to love him. The guilt of moving on nearly crushes her, yet she
finds herself unable to resist the touch, the feel, the scent of the man who
leaves her breathless with just one look. But each day Izz finds herself drawn
to Cade, the more danger she finds herself in, for someone believes Izz to be
at the center of an ages-old prophecy – and will do anything to stop it.

When threatening messages turn even more dangerous, Izz must rediscover a part of herself she’s never known before and fight to save her knight in shining armor. With only a sword passed down throughout the generations to guide her, Izz must prove to her adversary that unlike maidens of old, she will never be a damsel in distress.

Eyes opening, Izz strode to the wall of weapons
and ran a finger down a battle ax. With a gleam in her eye, she asked Cade,
“You up for a duel?”

Brow furrowing,
Cade uncrossed his arms and took a few steps closer. “Are you challenging me, m’lady?” Izz pulled a staff from the wall, figuring it was a safer bet than one of the huge swords she likely couldn’t lift, and dropped into a fighter’s stance. Cade only stared at her. “Why?”

“Because I won the bet and get whatever I want.”

“And you wish to fight me?”

Izz never dropped her stance as she replied, “Where
is your sense of adventure, Knight Cadian?”

With a grin that matched the challenge in her eyes,
Cade yanked an identical staff from the wall and began to circle her. She
watched him carefully, so intently and so eagerly that he was nearly unnerved.
He had a fleeting thought that perhaps she actually knew what she was doing,
then brushed it off as a foolish notion.

“I’ll go easy on you, m’lady.”

Izz twirled the staff in one fluid motion. “As will I.”

Author Questions for Kristina Circelli

Your next book, DAMSEL NOT,
comes out on Oct. 12th. What makes this one stand out from the other novels
you’ve written?

For starters, it’s
my first romance . The book is similar to my others in that its characters are deeply flawed in many ways, but I think it’s different because of the subject matter. Love isn’t typically the driving force in my books like it is in this one.
Plus, it has a hot knight. That’s a first for me!

What was your favorite book
to write? Why?

Definitely Fragile
Creatures. Although the topic itself isn’t necessarily happy, as it focuses on
a teen struggling to accept her father’s death, the concepts surrounding the
book made the writing process enjoyable. I used to work at the zoo and for a
shorebird rehab center, so obviously I love animals (more than most people...).
Getting to put that knowledge and experience into a book was so much fun,
especially when it came to writing about the animals, as the two main ones (a giraffe and goat) are based on animals I know and love. In fact, I’m going back to visit them on my birthday and I can’t wait!

What was the hardest book
to write? Why?

That would be A
Single Swim, which is an awareness book about a brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri. For starters, it’s my first non-fiction book, so it was hard putting aside my fiction-minded brain to write about real, hard science (which is extremely confusing to me). I not only had to understand the biology and ecology of the amoeba, but also be able to explain it to the average reader.

But more than that,
it was hard because the book tells the stories of real victims of the amoeba, mostly children, and one of which was my cousin. I interviewed the families and worked with them on some awareness events. It was hard writing about these sons, daughters, husbands, brothers, sisters, who aren’t made-up characters, who were and are still so loved. My main 
concern was telling their stories right and doing them justice. The book was about and for them, and the families’ approval meant everything to me. The whole process was more difficult than I imagined it would be, but so worth it in the end.

You teach creative writing
for a living. Where do you find the time to write? Do you have a routine you

Well, I don’t
actually teach anymore. I used to, but decided to take a year off to start my
editing business, Red Road Editing, and see where it went. That actually ended
up taking off like wildfire, so I didn’t go back to teaching. I have a
full-time job completely unrelated to writing, my editing business, and my
books. To be honest, I think I’ve forgotten what “free time” feels like . I
don’t really have a routine. I have my set hours at work, then come home and
edit, and I write in between those jobs. The laptop is nearly attached to me at
this point.

Is there something that you
need in order to write? Like a cup of coffee, chocolate?

I have to have
background noise, so the TV is almost always on at my house. Usually something I’ve seen a hundred times before (I love reruns!), both TV shows and movies. I am a movie junkie so I enjoy writing to them. Food wise, I don’t really need anything, but I won’t turn down a cold Mr. Pibb and bag of blue Doritos. I
almost always write on the couch. And if I’m on the couch, I must have a couch
blanket. But that’s a given whether I’m working or not. I think I have seven
blankets at the moment. This may be symptomatic of a soft couch blanket-buying problem.

Happily Ever After? Or not?

Eh, I can take them
or leave them. I think people (authors and readers alike) often get too hung up
on the HEA, and that’s just not real life to me. Sometimes it surprises me how
angry people get when there isn’t a HEA. I don’t believe in insta-love and I’m
a cynic in most aspects of my life, so it’s safe to say most of my books have a
bittersweet ending. Will the guy get the girl? Maybe, but something pretty
depressing will likely happen along the way. Or, who knows, maybe one of them
will die. It’s a given that at least one person gets killed off in every one of
my books, whether a bad guy or the one everyone loves most.

If it feels natural,
then I’m not against a HEA. But more often than not I just focus on the character’s journey, and I rarely know the end of the book when I start writing, so I have no ideaif it will end in a HEA until I actually get there.

How many drafts do you go
through typically before you are ready to hand it over to an editor?

Hmm, hard to say!
According to other authors, I have a weird process. I call my first draft my “skeleton draft” because it is just one long document of text with no chapter or section breaks, and usually scenes missing that I didn’t feel like writing at the time. After I finish the skeleton draft, I do my first read-through. During that
time, I read for grammar and plot issues, and write those missing scenes. The
second read-through, I add chapter and section breaks while fixing other issues I come across. Then I usually send it to my mom to read since she is great at pointing out areas that conflict or don’t make any sense (and she yells at me when I kill characters she likes). Sometimes I’ll send it to a couple others.

After I get their feedback,
I make those changes while doing a third edit. I think that’s when it goes to
my editor. But, I don’t send it to her unless I feel it’s as perfect as
possible. So, I guess about four drafts? But that may change if I feel it still
needs work.

After I get it back
from the editor, I make her changes and then read through the whole thing again. Depending on the time, sometimes I put the manuscript away for a month and then go back to it to see if there’s anything I want to change.

What is one thing you wish
readers knew about you or your work?

I take pride in
being a storyteller, in weaving together words. Maybe it’s my Cherokee heritage
peeking through my weirdly pasty skin (seriously, I should go outside more
often). For me what matters most isn’t so much what happens in the story, but
how you tell it. I absolutely love writing itself and will agonize for hours
over something as simple as using “a” versus “the” or
whether a character should make a sentence a question or a statement.

Sometimes my
tendency to obsess over what seems like minor details is annoying even to myself, but I like to think it’s worth it in the end. I want readers to love the
journey of the story as much as they love the story itself. I want them to be
there, in the scene, able to see and hear and feel everything the characters

Best fan memory?

I don’t honestly
know that I have a favorite. I love when I can talk to young readers who want
to be writers but never realized that their dreams are actually possible. When
they hear how young I was when I started, or how they really can publish a
book, it’s awesome to see how excited they get. So often kids are told that
they dream to big or that their writing/publishing goals are just pipedreams,
and I like getting to go in and tell those young aspiring writers to listen to
me instead, because their dreams are 100% possible.

Working with
everyone in A Single Swim was extremely rewarding as well. The families were so gracious, and they trusted me to tell their loved ones’ stories and share them with the world. I continue to work with them and I hope that in the future we can really make a difference.

What is the perfect day for

Christmas . An
average day, though? On the beach with my husband, just hanging out, no electronics, lots of junk food, hardly any other people around.

Wait. Maybe an
all-expense-paid day at Disney World. THAT would be pretty damn perfect.

Some authors use music and
even create soundtracks for their books. Do you use music when writing?

Nope, not even a
little bit. As much as I love TV and movies, I’m not really a music person. I haven’t listened to the radio in probably two years, except when Christmas music plays from Thanksgiving to Christmas. When I drive, I listen to soundtracks and film scores, but to be honest most of them are Disney related, with the occasional Pink and Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert thrown in.

What other projects can we
expect to see from you in the future?

Lots! Next year I
have two books planned. One is the sequel to Fragile Creatures, which originally wasn’t even planned but I caved under fan pressure . The other is a secret but will be contemp with the slightest of fantasy. I’m not sure how to classify it yet, as I’m terrible when it comes to categories.

BUT 2016 will be
pretty awesome. I recently signed a 5-book contract with Permuted Press for a
new horror series. This will be the Five Flames series centering around a home
in Savannah, Georgia, that houses five evil spirits. Each book will focus on
the unlucky person who encounters one of those spirits, and the havoc that
ensues as a result. These will be my first 
horror books, and since being possessed is pretty much my number 1 fear in life, I plan on being constantly terrified for the next two years.

Circelli is the author of several fiction novels, including The Helping Hands
series, The Whisper Legacy series, "The Never," and "The SOur
Orange Derby." A descendent of the Cherokee nation, Circelli holds both a
Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from the University of North

Whisper Legacy series is steeped in the spoken narratives of Native American
lore, and is at once a gripping story of a father's love and his search for
redemption as well as a written record of a Nation's belief system. Part
adventure, part myth, and altogether riveting, this series from Kristina
Circelli signifies the emergence of an important voice in Native American

her extraordinary ability to vividly create heretofore-unknown worlds to her
engaging prose, Circelli's novels position her as one of the freshest new
voices in all of contemporary American fiction. She currently lives in Florida
and works as an author, book editor, copywriter, and creative writing professor.


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