First, I'd like to apologize to everyone for getting this up so late, but better late than never! While Gracen is enjoying a much needed break, I've offered to pick up some of her slack. Unfortunately, my physical maladies had other ideas today. So, again, I apologize for the delay. So, let's just get right to the good stuff, shall we?
While this is really the last day of May, we're kicking off today with our June questions. Hope you enjoy the interview, because we sure had fun coming up with these questions!
ME: There are many holidays within the month of June to celebrate - Holidays/Special Days: 1st – Atlantic Hurricane Season; 5th – World Environment Day; 14th – Flag Day; 19th – Juneteenth Day (Freedom/Emancipation Day); 20th – Father’s Day, 21st – Summer Solstice; 24th – St. Baptiste Day; 27th – Helen Keller Day - and we thought it would be fun to see how different authors celebrate them!
GRACEN: When you stop to consider trends and traditions, June marks a time of beginnings (marriages, commencements). What about you, any weddings, anniversaries or graduations to attend this month?
REBECCA: I always like to commemorate the first day of summer by spending the day outdoors with my family. Since we now live in Hawaii, we are planning a trip to the beach – our favorite place! My youngest daughter was also born on June 29, which makes June a special month.
GRACEN: While April 22nd marks Earth Day, June 5th is World Environment Day. What will you do to celebrate our environment?
REBECCA: There are so many things to do in Hawaii to celebrate the environment. We like to go to the beach, go hiking, and spend time with the wind blowing through our hair at the Pali Lookout – the site of the pivotal battle when King Kamehameha I conquered the island of Oahu.
GRACEN: Speaking of the environment, do you strive to be more energy efficient or more environmentally conscious? How you accomplish this goal?
REBECCA: We try to teach our kids the importance of being environmentally conscious even if it is in only small ways. For example, hanging our laundry to dry and taking a home lunch in reusable containers.
GRACEN: While the summer solstice occurs on June 21st, warmer weather usually arrives earlier than that, encouraging people to get out and enjoy the weather. What activities do you usually start in June?
REBECCA: Actually, we just continue the activities we are able to do all year long in Hawaii. The weather here is perfect for the beach essentially 365 days of the year. Going to the beach is our family’s favorite pastime.
GRACEN: While people generally clean in spring, they need to do something with all the stuff the find they do not need. If it isn’t given away or donated, many people have rummage or estate sales. What about you, do you like to hit the rummage sales on a nice warm morning? Do you go alone or with someone else? Is it a family tradition?
REBECCA: I occasionally got to rummage sales, but I don’t really have an eye for finding those gems. I wish I did – my mother-in-law can find amazing items at rummage sales!! I think it’s a gift I just don’t possess.
GRACEN: The weather in June seems to be a great mix in almost every state, and most people tend to plan vacations in June. What about you, are you a June traveler? If so, where will you be going? If not, when do you prefer to travel and why? Where have you gone or will you be going this year?
REBECCA: As I’ve said, the weather in Hawaii is fabulous. We live in a place that for many people is a vacation get-a-way and we like to take advantage of it!
GRACEN: We’ve had our fun now, so let’s put the focus on your writing. While there are many genres to choose from, what specifically brought you to romance? Why this genre over the others?
REBECCA: I love the idea of having a happily-ever-after story. Maybe it’s the little girl inside me who never grew up, but I think this is one of the most appeal aspects of the romance genre. I actually do write in another genre, but I think my talents are in romance.
GRACEN: Even though the popularity of the romance genre continues to grow, it’s still not always a highly respected genre. What, in your opinion, is the reason for the continued interest in the genre and for the lack of respect it receives?
REBECCA: I’m not really sure the answer to this question. Maybe it is the sort of “in the closet” aspect of reading romance books? Personally, I never shy away from the fact that I like to read romance and that I write romance. I’ve had comments here and there (about the content of my stories), but I ignore them. If what I write bring me pleasure when I write it and pleasure to readers, that is all that matters to me.
GRACEN: For a writer, inspiration can be found everywhere and in almost anyone, but sometimes specific people, places and events can inspire certain characters, personality traits, events or situations that happen in our stories. In your current story that we’re promoting here today, insert name here, did any one particular person, place or event inspire you? If so who/what was it (were they), how did it/they inspire you and how is this inspiration reflected in your story?
REBECCA: There are two inspirations for my debut novel “Have Stake, Will Travel.” The location (the story takes place in Bora Bora, part of French Polynesia) is inspired by my own home here in Hawaii. I am completely in love with the beauty of the South Pacific and my characters very often find themselves here! My main character was inspired by my favorite vampire television series, Buffy – although Orion Masters is more like Faith!
GRACEN: Without giving away anything pertinent to the story, tell us about the hero and heroine (s) of your story. What do they look like? How do they meet (or “did” if this is not the first book with these same characters)? What are their personalities – Are they comical cut-ups, are they serious or are they a mix of the two? Please give us a little bit of dialogue from the story that can illustrate this. (Not much, but just a few lines and from a different section than the main excerpt – Thanks!)
REBECCA: Orion Masters is a vampire slayer with a corporate sponsor. Julian Hunter is a vampire she meets on her latest gig to Bora Bora. The two meet on the hunt and fall in love.
BLURB: Orion Masters is no ordinary slayer, she's a dhampir—half vampire—and she uses her superhuman abilities to her advantage.
After all, a girl's gotta make a living.
But her life takes a dramatic u-turn on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The balmy nights of paradise hold a forbidden temptation. Hot, steamy sex with Julian Hunter.
Like Orion, Julian is a slayer. Unlike Orion, Julian is a pure blood. Their paths cross on the hunt and Orion finds herself unable to control the allure of Julian's seductive powers. Yielding to her body's instinctive, passionate reaction to Julian, she discovers the erotic lure of heritage, shared blood, and destiny.
EXCERPT: I leave right before sunset to return to the gothic lair, but I don't bother to put on either of the sexy dresses I brought with me to the island. The vamps are in the rented house; I sensed their presence. I don't need to lure them away with promises of sex. I'll walk right in and kill them. My jeans and t-shirt will do fine.
I breathe a deep lung full of air before I start the long walk. The salty taste of the tropics fills my mouth. Mmm. Tastes like a good night for slaying.
By the time I reach the vamps' vacation hideout, the sun has already set. I'd hoped to get here quicker, while there was still more light. That would've been the only sure way to know every remaining member of the family would still be inside. Now that the sun has disappeared below the horizon, some or all of the bloodsuckers could already be gone. Searching for their next meal.
But tromping through the thick jungle cover of the tropical forest that surrounds the vacant property adjacent to the house took longer than I'd anticipated. I didn't want to walk up the driveway—who knows who may have seen me. I don't need any nosey humans getting in my way. Not tonight.
I sneak to the edge of the thick line of trees near the rear of the house, staring at the same porch where Kinau made himself at home earlier today. Then, the mansion looked almost cozy. A shiver runs down my spine now when I look at the place. I hadn't realized how foreboding the joint is.
The dark brick façade grabs what few rays of light dare to still struggle to shine and locks them away in the recessed crevices that cover the walls. The tall spires jut into the darkening sky and the quickly gathering clouds hug each gable, as if coming home. The windows suck the looming night into their panes and reflect only darkness.
All the widows, that is, except the one closest to the back door. There's a faint glow coming from inside that window. The vamps that are still here must be congregating in whatever room is on the other side. A meeting place before they walk out the door to feed.
God, I hope they're all in there. Six vamps, one room, me. That would be sweet! Victory is at hand.
I move as stealthily as my legs will carry me past the tree line, over the perfectly manicured lawn. Man, whoever owns this gothic abode loves Bermuda grass. And lilies.
I stop to glance briefly at an ornate black wrought iron gate that encloses a pooled garden of night blooming lilies. The flowers open their blood hued petals to the now fully risen moon. Awakening for the night, like the vamps inside.
Night blooming lilies?
Is that normal for the tropics? I'm not sure. But in the mere seconds I afford the questions, I'm caught off guard. Something big and hard crashes into my back, knocking me face first into the soft Bermuda grass.
The wind is knocked out of my lungs and I take several seconds to recover, despite my dhampir strength.
"What the f—?" I spit grass out of my mouth. My exclamation is cut short when I roll over onto my back and see what hit me.
His dark features are accentuated in the moon's light, making him even more irresistible looking than the night in the club. Smoldering gray eyes, jet-black hair, shadowed skin, all burning luminously in the night.
His blue aura, highlighted by the moon's glow, dances in waves around his skin. The light moves around him mystically, like the Aurora Borealis, except this is the tropics, not the North Pole. And the aura signals his status as undead, and aren't the result of photon emissions in the Earth's upper atmosphere. Or a dance of the spirits.
The reason for his glow doesn't matter; his light is beautiful. I didn't think it possible for him to be more good looking. I was wrong.
"Orion, what are you doing here?"
I struggle out from under his grip and jump to my feet, dust myself off. "My job. What the fuck are you doing here?"
You're one of them, I think the words but I don't say them. That's what I get for letting a damn vamp get into my head.
I am not one of them. His words are a soft, seductive whisper. "I'm here for the same reason you are."
"What do you mean?" Now I'm confused.
"To kill the Lumière family." He smiles and his teeth sparkle eerily in the night.
I stumble back a few steps, taken off guard by his matter-of-fact explanation. He catches my arm and pulls me to his chest. He tries to wrap his arms around me, but I back away again, determined to stand my ground.
"What do you mean, you're here to kill . . . did you say Lumière family? I didn't know their name." He obviously has more information about these creeps than the Corporation, and that makes me very nervous.
"Yes." He glances behind him toward the back door to the house." Listen, if we're going to kill them, we've got to do it now. Before they leave for the night to feed."
He's right, but I'm not about to agree. This is my kill, not his.
"There's no we in this plan, Julian. The Lumière family is mine." I push past him and stomp toward the back door, leaving stealth lying on the grass behind me.
"Actually, they're mine. The Council sent me to take them out. They're a danger to my kind. This is my job, Orion." His determination matches my own." We might as well work together."
The Council? That's one I haven't heard of before. His job? What is Julian, some kind of vampire terminator? Maybe Julian and I have more in common than I thought.
"I don't work together on any kill and certainly not with one of the enemy."
"Enemy?" He actually sounds a little hurt and a tinge of regret bites at the edges of my conscience for using such a harsh word with him. "Is that who I am? The enemy?"
"Um, hello, vampire—vampire slayer." I use my thumb to motion quickly between us and roll my eyes.
"I am not your enemy, Orion."
Want to learn more about Rebecca or her books? Then check out:
her website: www.rebeccaleighromance.com
her blog: blog.rebeccaleighromance.com
Want to learn more about Orion Masters, vampire slayer?
Check out her blog: orionmasters.blogspot.com