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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Release Day Blitz The Valkyrie’s Guardian by Moriah Densley




Please share a little about yourself, your genres.

Hello, Wenona! Thank you for hosting me today. I see we have weddings in common – you’re a wedding planner, and I’m a violinist for a wedding string quartet. In “fabulous Las Vegas,” I’ve seen a lot of bizarre weddings. Not sure if the 20-foot-tall dancing Chinese dragon which interrupted the ceremony or the drunken Elvis wedding takes the prize in that department…

I’m a musician by day, author of historical and paranormal romance by night. The Valkyrie’s Guardian is my first paranormal release. Song for Sophia, my historical debut, finaled in the 2012 RWA Golden Heart contest and released June 2012 from Crimson Romance.

Tell us a little about your latest release.

I loved writing an “opposites attract” story. Tough jock gets geek girl. Jack MacGunn is a Scottish berserker warrior who works for the Navy SEALs when he’s not on bodyguard duty for Cassiopeia Noyon. Posh, bratty—a sexy librarian fantasy. Jack can’t decide if he wants to throttle her or kiss her.

Cassie can’t figure out why Jack’s been trying his bad pick-up lines on her: “Here, you take my lollipop, and I'll improvise.” Flirting? Immortal, dazzling Jack is oh-so out of her league, isn’t he?

No wonder my hero and heroine spend most of the story mixing attraction with fighting. In the following excerpt, Jack is in trouble with Cassie, again. The night before, in a moment of honesty, Jack confessed his feelings and gave her a kiss that curled her hair. Not to mention her toes. When his boss—her grandfather—catches them, Jack promises he has no intention of pursuing Cassie.

How does she handle the rejection?

Cassie nearly jumped when Jack’s arms reached around her to drop a peeled banana into the blender. He hooked one arm around her waist as he leaned to pull a handful of wheat grass growing in a windowsill pot. The grass went into the blender, as well as a scoop of bran, which required him to press his hips into hers to reach the canister.

She sliced fresh avocado and he purred in approval, an overtly sensual sound right in her ear. Cassie remembered being entertained as a kid by Jack’s lifelike animal noises, but the jungle-cat-purring against her neck now made her want to stretch out on the counter and arch her back. Still, she feigned nonchalance.

She scoffed as he drew his KA-BAR from his pants to cut coconut chunks. Couldn’t he use a sanitary kitchen knife? Blueberries and carrots went in the blender as his knee rubbed the inside of her thigh—he was trying to coax her into submission. Persuasive, but she couldn’t let him blow hot and cold and think she would still be at his beck and call. Girls who did that got into all kinds of trouble.

He poised his hand over the top of the blender, ready to crack a raw egg when Cassie cracked first. “Gross, Jack! I draw the line there.”

“Great protein. Grows hair on the chest.”

“Just what I need.”

He reached for the blender again. “You won’t even taste it.”

“No egg!” She blocked the top with her hands. “See? The smoothie already looks disgusting. No reason it should stink too.”

She realized the revolting sewage color would be lost on colorblind Jack, who probably saw an indeterminate shade of gray-blue. He dropped in five more peels of lemon rind and two pinches of cinnamon.

“Back off, you’re ruining my smoothie.”

“I like these pants, Cass.” He ran his fisted hand down the outside of her thigh and back up, thankfully without breaking the egg. He teased it over her navel, tracing in circles with a more facetious mood than seductive.

“Not a chance.”

“I think you’ll change your tune.”

“Wishful thinking, Jack. And I'm not just talking about the egg."

What surprised me in developing Jack and Cassie’s story was how the characters didn’t quit giving each other a hard time even after they fell in love. A heroine with a medical degree and a classic Greek novel in her purse isn’t going to understand why the hero likes “extreme cliff diving.” Still, Jack would give his life for Cassie, and she makes him feel like everything is right with the world. Not to mention once she starts kissing him, she can’t stop. It’s true—opposites attract.

Are you a mom?

I am the proud “mean mom” of four adorable kiddos. Their names are Drama, Space Cadet, and meet the twins, Mayhem and Destroyer. Ninja sparring on the bus, doodling monsters instead of doing math, skipping class to play “spy” in the library … and after the last phone call from the school principal: “Your son climbed the flagpole,” I decided to crack down. Video games and movies? Outlawed. Lists of chores are taped to the fridge, and they have to practice the piano, every day. Until the school takes me off speed dial, I am a mean, mean mom. The upside? My house is sparkling clean.

Do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?

I’ve learned to write for ten minutes, correct a math problem, write for five minutes, put out a small kitchen fire, write for seven minutes, tie a shoe … you get it. Sometimes I just stay up late and write to my heart’s content. I’ve always been a night owl. Sometimes a little sleep deprivation is worth a few thousand flowing words in the WIP.

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Yes, always. Children are great inspiration, and often prove the “fact is stranger than fiction” theory. “He did what to the cat?” Usually my characters are a conglomerate of traits from interesting people I know, or an exaggeration of their fiction-worthy qualities. Being a resident of Las Vegas provides plenty of plot and character inspiration. Weird stuff happens here, all the time.

Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

Cassiopeia feels like a loser surrounded by fabulous shiny people. She flunked out of her residency, has no impressive superpowers, missed out on the immortality gene, and is hopelessly in love with her bodyguard. Thinking she has nothing to lose, she gives all she has. That’s where she finds fulfillment: in being selfless.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a soccer mom and neighborhood music teacher, so the CCW (concealed weapons permit) in my wallet usually surprises people - I love ordnance and marksmanship. I got a rifle for my 16th birthday. I shoot 3-inch groupings at 25 feet. I own a thigh holster. Showing my redneck roots, I guess. 

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

Now you’re not surprised to hear I’m a regular at “Ladies Day” at the gun range. I also love collecting unique or bizarre beads and making jewelry - but hate wearing it – so I usually give it away as gifts. As a “part-time fitness junkie,” I catch a Zumba, kick-boxing or yoga class at the gym almost every day, but you’ll also catch me stuffing my face with chocolate cake at a party. (That would be the guilty pleasure: my closet addiction to junk food.)

Which romance book or series do you wish you had written?

I love Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark is a riot. Lisa Kleypas’ Travis family Texas-themed series is brilliant. Suzanne Brockmann’s Tall, Dark and Dangerous Navy SEALs series is a favorite. Currently enjoying Sherrilyn Kenyon/Dianna Love’s Alterant series.

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

I’ve been watching Stephen Hawking lectures on quantum physics so I can write the next in this paranormal series. Kyros Vassalos, the “boss” à la Professor Xavier of X-Men, is a three-centuries-old Greek warrior/physicist with the power to alter electromagnetism. He meets his match in Lyssa Logan, a sassy crime-fighting violinist who doesn’t even know she’s a rare “extra-sentient” with extraordinary power. Ordnance and music I can fake. Physics? No dice. Back to the classroom for me.


The Valkyrie’s Guardian
Moriah Densley

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Publisher:  Crimson Romance / F+W Media

ISBN:  1440551375
ISBN13:  9781440551376

Number of pages:  300
Word Count:  91K

Book Description: 

“Augmented strength, lightning weapon, chronic PMS – you’re a valkyrie, Cass.”

You might call them superheroes. “Extra-sentients” are one in 4.5 million with the extraordinary ability to unlock the full potential of the mind.

Cassiopeia Noyon is descended from the most powerful known extra-sentient, but she’s a dud – no impressive talents except a healing ability which lands her in trouble. She’s all wrong for Jack MacGunn, her dazzling immortal berserker bodyguard.

Cassiopeia Noyon has a medical degree at age twenty-one, which makes her a total loser … for an extra-sentient with merely superhuman strength and healing powers but not much else. Cassie may not even be immortal, which is a downer since the man she’s adored since age six, is.

Jack MacGunn is King of the Bad Pick-Up Line. A true blue kilt-wearing, pipe-playing Scot descended from a long line of berserker warriors; if he’s awake, he’s either hungry or itching for a fight. Lately Jack feels lost. His career as a Navy SEAL detachment agent is on a slow train to nowhere. He suspects it has something to do with his out-of-control superhuman rages.

The one task Jack has never failed at is guarding Cassie from their enemies, but now he fears he can’t protect her from himself. Even if they could go a single day without fighting, Jack knows he’ll never be good enough for her. The boss’ granddaughter is off-limits anyway.
A chance encounter with a villain long assumed dead sends Jack and Cassie on a race to save the children secreted away at Network One, the academy for genius extra-sentients. Jack discovers a new side of Cassie when in the heat of combat she invokes unheard-of powers. Has Jack finally met his match?

Read Chapter 1 free: http://moriahdensley.com/chapter-1-the-valkries-guardian/


Excerpt

Without much effort she summoned static in the air. It gathered in her hands as she wrestled to equalize the tension between ground and sky. The shift in atmospheric energy sucked down a dull pressure she could feel in her skull and chest. The charge crackling in her fingers burned ice hot.

Cassie walked calmly to the men locked in struggle and set a hand on each of their shoulders, transferring a mild dose of purple electricity into their bodies. They jerked back and screamed. She exploited their surprise and shoved them both apart, hurling them several feet.

She heaved slow breaths to calm her anger, resisting the temptation to fry their idiotic brains. They rolled slowly and strained to sit up, mist steaming out of their collars.

“Jack. Ben. That’s enough. Look around, you morons. Is this what you want your family to see?” They glanced around and saw the somber faces watching from inside the great house, all the small ones who had just been taught a bad lesson.

“Bloody hell. What is she?” Ben muttered, wiping his split lip.

“The voice of reason.” She stood between them. “You two have to work together while we’re here. This is your clan, and you are the leaders. Now start acting like it.”

She waited while they sucked in deep breaths, trying to calm themselves from the rage.

“Do you think your family should see you shake hands, or did you mean to start a war today?”

Ben breathed an oath in Gaelic under his breath, and Jack made something pop in Ben’s hand as he squeezed. She closed her eyes in forbearance.
*             *             *
At that moment, three pagers went off. Jack, Chief, and Pops all retrieved their phones and checked the display with identical motions.

Jack said, “CO called in the whole team. It’s probably nothing, but we have to go.”

“Run like the wind,” Cassie replied flatly, as though she had no curiosity at all about his urgent summons to headquarters. “Nice meeting you, Chief, and ah, Papa Smurf. I’ll find my own way to the barracks.”

Damned if she didn’t show them her back and strut away like a tabby cat. Of course he stared, mesmerized by the dual motion of her hips and swaying hair. A draft of her honey-anise scent lingered. Catnip. “Eighteen-hundred hours, baby,” he called, a last ditch effort to claim her with the officers observing.

She spun 180 degrees and walked backward. “Sorry, I have to polish my pistol.” Chief and Pops sucked in a breath at her suggestive tone—with that purring sound in her voice, anything sounded like innuendo.

Jack couldn’t help it. He winked. “Sure thing, darlin.’ After you polish mine.”

*             *             *
Cassie could always count on Jack for two things: he would come from near or far at the sound of food cooking in the morning, and he went ga-ga over women in workout clothes. Forget lingerie–Jack wanted yoga pants and a racerback top. This morning Cassie brought out the heavy artillery with both his vices: smoothies and spandex.

Revenge, torture–either would do.

Ice clunked around in the blender as she added peach slices, raw almonds, yogurt, and lemon rind. Perfect timing—Jack jogged down the stairs and nearly tripped over Cat, dropped his duffel, and made a beeline straight for the kitchen. He rocked back on his heels, apparently expecting Anne the housekeeper, not Cassie. She made a point of opening the fridge as he entered, as though she hadn’t seen him.

When she turned around, his eyes widened and he visibly swallowed hard.

Unapologetically his eyes roamed from her long swinging pony tail down over her shoulders exposed above a skin-tight cropped tank. His eyes lingered on her navel, watching it contract as she breathed, before scanning up and down her legs once, twice, and again. He wore the expression of a tiger watching a platter of meat through the bars of his cage.

“All the subtlety of an anvil, Jack.”

“I might say the same to you, sweetheart.”

*             *             *
“Bait?” Cassie coughed, then half-shrieked, “Bait? You think it’s funny? Jack—you promised!”

Jack tried to tuck her behind his shoulder and interrupt, but Cassie leaned around him and jabbed an accusing finger at Memphis.

“No more bait, no more turkey shoots! You tell him no, Memphis, or answer to me. Find another way, whatever. He comes home in a body bag, and I come after you.”

She glared, the silence stretched, and she wanted Jack’s buddy to know she meant it, every word. Bad enough that they went willingly into danger, no reason they should play high-stakes games with their lives. No operation was worth that.

Memphis raised his eyebrows and Jack seemed stunned.

Cassie exhaled in a gust and muttered, “I think I just grew a few gray hairs.”

Memphis surprised her with his softened, sympathetic expression. “It takes a strong woman to love a soldier. You’ll get used to it, honey.” He nodded his head, “We always come home.
Don’t worry.”

Jack sputtered then argued, “Oh, we’re not—It’s not–”

“You’re gone, bro. I give it two months, max, and we’ll all be in our dress whites.”

Cassie looked between them, confused, then hacked into Memphis’ thoughts to discern he meant their formal Navy uniforms, for the occasion of her and Jack’s supposed wedding. 

Wow.

Memphis winked at their twin shell-shocked expressions.



Author Bio:

2012 RWA Golden Heart finalist Moriah Densley sees nothing odd at all about keeping both a violin case and a range bag stuffed with pistols in the back seat of her car. They hold up the stack of books in the middle, of course. She enjoys writing about Victorians, assassins, and geeks. Her muses are summoned by the smell of chocolate, usually at odd hours of the night. By day her alter ego is your friendly neighborhood music teacher. Moriah lives in Las Vegas with her husband

Website + blog:  http://moriahdensley.com




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2 comments:

RT Wolfe said...

Climbing the flagpole? Love him. I have 3 boys. Oh! The stories! Good luck on the tour!
-R.T. Wolfe
www.rtwolfe.com

Moriah Densley said...

R.T., 3 boys? Then you must have some great stories too!