Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 2 of The 12 Days of Christmas




Debbie Christiana would sit in her room as a little girl and write stories about ghosts, unexplained events and things that go bump in the night. She combined her love of the paranormal with her fascination of unusual love stories and decided to write paranormal romance. Her debut novel, Twin Flames, was released in 2011 with Black Opal Books. Her second book, Solstice, is a 2013 release. This year she’s had two short stories published. The Land of the Rising Sun, was one of ten included in the anthology BITES: Ten Tales of Vampires and The Thirteen Steps is featured in BELTANE: Ten Tales of Witchcraft. Debbie is a member of RWA and Secretary of the Romance Writers Chapter of Connecticut and Lower New York. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children

The last thing forty-year old Natalia Santagario expected was to be sitting on a Manhattan barstool ogling a man she has never met, but swears she knows.
The mysterious dark-haired woman at the end of the bar stops twenty-eight year old Marc Tremonti in his tracks. His head assures him she’s a stranger, but his heart tells him otherwise.
Their attraction instant and enigmatic, they travel back in time only to discover they have spent hundreds of lives together as lovers and Natalia holds the secret to Marc’s puzzling birthmark.
But their reunion in this life is complicated by a kind, albeit confusedalmost ex-wife, an unfortunate accident and a temporary bout of amnesia. When a mischievous ghost from their past decides to help them, what could possibly go wrong?
 
 

Reviewed by Nana Prah Nov 5th 2012

If you don't believe in soul mates, you will after reading Twin Flames by Debbie Christiana. This paranormal romance novel is about a couple who has known each other for over a hundred lifetimes and the adventures they go through in order to be together in this lifetime. I fell in love with the connection between the spunky smart ass Natalia and the cool, level headed Marc who were immediately drawn to each other when they first met.
Twin Flames reinforced my belief in soul mates, especially with the fantastic soul mate quotes at the beginning of each chapter, and introduced me to the term 'twin flames' which I found to be a fascinating concept.
The past life regressions that Natalia and Marc experienced were like mini stories within a well structured bigger story. The fact that they could remember all of their previous lives when the session ended actually made me want to undergo regression to find out about my own past lives. That's how I know a book is really good, I'm compelled to do the things that the characters do.
The portrayal of the love and passion between Natalia and Marc was heart stirring. The characters had a love that transcended time and this made their love in this current time even stronger and yet concurrently fragile. The supporting characters were entertaining and the links between them were were surprising. The involvement of a ghost was interesting, I never thought I'd like the presence of a ghost so much. The book had me laughing out loud, frustrated at points and hungry for Italian food (and a hot Italian man, wink wink).
Debbie Christiana has woven a spectacular tale of love and time that I am pleased to recommend to everyone I know because it was just that good. I just wish I could have seen that compelling birthmark, I don't think my imagination did it justice.
 
 
Ten vampire stories by ten authors:

1. TANGLED DREAMS by Liv Rancourt
Sometimes it's safer to leave history's secrets alone.
2. REALITY BITES! by Jim Bernheimer
Vampires have problems just like the rest of us.
3. NIGHT TRAIN by Rayne Hall
The train is about to enter a tunnel - and vampires are on board.
4. WINTER FLOWER by Jonathan Broughton
Dark desires unfurl where shadows thrive.
5. IT'S IN YOUR BLOOD by Pamela Turner
Be careful when accepting an invitation.
6. THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN by Debbie Christiana
When you help someone, it may come back to bite you.
7. THE FLEDGLING DOUBT by Lana Bange
What if you're one moment too late to protect a victim?
8. THE DHAMPIR'S KISS by Carole Ann Moleti
Can any vow survive immortal life?
9. EXILE by April Grey
Death could be just the beginning.
10. WHY I WON'T READ SONG OF SOLOMON by Douglas Kolacki
A vampire may feed off a victim without leaving bite marks on the neck.
 
 
Reviewed by: Ravenz Reviews on Oct. 19, 2012
Bites is ten different stories written by ten different authors. Each author has taken their own individual views on vampires and created this fun and entertaining anthology.

First up:

Tangled Dreams
by Liv Rancourt
(mysterious)

Choir chick, Allie, meets a mysterious and very handsome man, Roderick, after choir practice one night and after an amusing conversation about the choice of music, the pair agree to a dinner date. Allie's sister Renee imposes herself on their date and so it is that the three go to dinner. Dinner is bizarre, to say the least. After excusing herself to the ladies room, Allie returns to the table to find that both her sister and Roderick are gone. Several hours late, with the help of a waiter from the restaurant, Allie locates her sister. Renee is sitting on a bench with a blank star, mumbling. What did Roderick do to Renee to leave her walking like a zombie? That is the question...

Reality Bites
by Jim Bernheimer
(fun)

Reality Bites is a fun read. Mr. Merrill is now a member of the undead and he wants his life insurance money. Unfortunately, Fundamental Insurance doesn't recognize vampires as being actually dead, since they haven't officially experience death.

Night Train
by Rayne Hall
(macabre)

Shelley, having just been touring Switzerland, decides to board a train and move on to less rain laden territories. The train is crowded and Shelley has a difficult time finding a sleeping car to occupy for the trip. Once finding a car to sleep in, she settles in for the night. Moments later, the conductor comes around to collect tickets. A polite man, he offers a friendly warning to Shelley about robbers and...vampires. She immediately thinks he's joking, but then other occupants of her car nod in agreement. The conductor continues to explain this is especially a problem in the winter. Right away she starts thinking of ways to get off the train but the next stop isn't until morning. Paralyzed by fear, she climbs into her little space to wait out the night...and to see who didn't make it.

Winter Flower
by Jonathon Broughton
(romantic)

Set in London in what I can only guess is early 1900's, Cecelia is anything but the proper lady her mother wishes she was. Old widow Lady Milligan is known for her psychical research and her knack for successfully matching couples. Cecelia's social climbing mother has high hopes that Lady Milligan has chosen Cecelia for a very important match. Cecelia has no desire to marry anyone she doesn't love and would rather spend her time in the gardens tending to her flowers. Despite her mother's insistence to stop acting like a common gardner, Cecelia pursues her love of horticulture.
During her visit with Lady Milligan, Cecelia becomes entranced with Antoine, the Lady's servant. Upon learning of her love for horticulture, Lady Milligan asks Cecelia to accompany Antoine to the library and help him translate the names of the herbs he needs. Almost too excited to contain herself, Cecelia agrees to help Antoine. Once the pair are alone, Cecelia learns of Antoine's true intentions. The match has been made. This story really displays the romantic side of vampires nicely.

It's in your blood
by Pamela Turner
(Goth)
"Emily claimed Goth citizenship, Anna carried a green card"

The two met in college when Anna became curious about the music Emily was listening to. It was in that moment the two became friends and Emily taught Anna everything she needed to know about the Goth subculture. One night, Anna and Emily are preparing to go to a party in a cemetery, though Anna is reluctant. Once they arrive at the party, Anna realizes this is no ordinary party and that she is the guest of honor.

The Land of the Rising Sun
by Debbie Christiana

After a deadly earthquake hits Sendai, Japan, Karl and his search and rescue team go in to look for survivors that the former search and rescue team couldn't reach. Karl's team has certain advantages over the other team. Moments into the their search, Karl and his partner find a young woman who has been crushed from the waist down, clinging to life. Karl sits with her while his partner goes for help. In the brief moments alone with the young woman, Karl makes a monumental mistake, one that will cost many people their lives.

The Fledgling Doubt
By Lana Bange

Vampire hunter, Amy Hunt, is tracking a fledgling through the Farrington Subway station when it all goes terribly wrong. The fledgling is killed, leaving behind a gory mess but before he was killed, he managed to bite his victim, only Amy isn't sure about that yet. So, she accompanies the woman to the hospital and stands vigil until she knows if a change will occur. By the time the whole ordeal is over, the only thing Amy wants to do is leave London.

The Dhampir's Kiss
by Carole Ann Moleti
(revenge)

This is a hard one for me to sum up and review. I can't say I really enjoyed this story. Lord Dhampir Raul recalls the events of the night his mother was killed and he was changed into a vampire, as he stalks Taina. If I am understanding this correctly, Taina is seeking revenge against the vampire and werewolf that attacked her more than a decade ago. Raul plans to silence her either by turning her or killing her. You'll have to read this one and judge for yourself.

Exile
By Amy Grey
(erotic)

Madeleine Jameson, a Vegas showgirl, decides to take a vacation after injuring her leg during a chorus. Laying out poolside at the resort, she meets fellow American, Ricki Shannon who openly admits to her use of gigolos and suggests Madeleine gives it a try. Madeleine, slightly appalled, politely excuses herself and goes about her business. Days blend into weeks and Madeleine is enjoying the "zen-like balance" she has achieved, her bizarre conversation with Ricki already forgotten. One night, while getting ready for bed, a man knocks on her door saying that Ricki sent him. With every fiber of her being, she wants to deny him entrance but something inside her won't let her. Their night together is nothing short of amazing and they agree to meet again for a second time. After their second time together, they both admit to falling in love. Madeleine knows that if there is a third time, she will become one of him, a vampire frozen in time and pain free. The idea of this new kind of life is so appealing that she almost goes thru with it. Almost....

 
1. AN ACCIDENTAL WITCH by Liv Rancourt
A little harmless magic nearly turns into more than this Wiccan can handle.
2. ALBA by Karen Heard
In a race against the clock, will Sgt. Taylor discover the witch behind the murders at Bindings Wood?
3. BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS by Jonathan Broughton
Hell hath no fury like a witch scorned.
4. THE CAT MAIDEN by Mertianna Georgia
This kitty cat is a lot more than what she seems.
5. THE MAY LADY VANISHES by Pamela Turner
A missing witch may tear this coven apart.
6. HANGING WITCH OF PAINTER MOUNTAIN by Lawrence Barker
On Painter Mountain, your lust for life or death is measured.
7. THIRTEEN STEPS by Debbie Christiana
The past returns, seeking justice.
8. FOUR BONY HANDS by Rayne Hall
Nasty things sometimes come in small packages.
9. MISHMASH MAGICK by Carole Ann Moleti
Surviving in The Bronx requires new ways of doing things.
10. LOVE MAGICK by Debra Dunbar
Sometimes magic will only show you what was there all along.
 
Reviewed by: Ravenz Reviews on Nov. 02, 2012                        
Beltane was truly a great book. It is a compilation of ten stories by ten different authors all about witches and witchcraft. Each story is unique in its own respect with varying views on who and what witches are and what witchcraft is to them. I really enjoyed the different styles and seeing how others view witches. Being a pagan myself, you never know how authors will perceive witchcraft when putting pen to paper. A couple of the stories were fun and though stuff like that never happens, it was still refreshing. Other stories had a bit of a macabre feel to it, but if you read between the lines, you know that, though things don't happen exactly like that, there are negative forces at work in the witchcraft community, usually by uneducated imbeciles who call themselves a witch. I really did enjoy reading this one and definitely wouldn't mind reading future books like this by the same if not similar authors.
 
 Author Interview

What inspired you to write your first book?  My mother was an avid reader and it was through her I found my own love of reading. When I was about twelve years old, she became interested in reincarnation. There were books on the subject all around the house and since she found it so interesting, I picked one up and have never looked back. As I got older, I looked for tales of reincarnation. There weren’t many but I found Green Darkness by Anya Seton. Published in 1972 (although I read it years later) it’s still one of my favorite books about reincarnation and spending different incarnations with the same people more than once. I knew then I wanted to write a book about reincarnation and combined with my love of the paranormal, it seemed to be the perfect fit.
How did you come up with the titles of each book? My editor Rayne Hall titled the two anthologies I’ve been fortunate enough to be featured in. She has a number of Ten Tales anthologies.
Twin Flames is a type of soul mate in the belief system of reincarnation. It goes back to the ancient Greeks who believed the Gods created one soul; split it in two, a female and male half. The humans the souls inhabited would never truly be happy until they found their “other half.”
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I like to put my characters in situations that require them to make a choice. They may not make the choice that we would or that we think is right and there is always a consequence, good or bad. I like to show that most things in life aren’t black and white, but very grey and until you walk in someone else’s shoes, you may not be as sure as you think at what you’d do in a certain circumstance.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? I did a lot of research for Twin Flames, which included meeting with a therapist who does past lives regression and wrote a book about it. She was great and very gracious with her time and patience with me. She gave me permission to use her method of regression and we went over it step by step. That was very cool.
I was in one of my favorite Italian restaurants in New York City at Christmas time sitting at the bar. The bartender had a strange but beautiful tattoo on his arm. It reminded me of an Asian design of some sort. I asked him about it and while he was personable as a bartender, he didn’t really want to talk about the tattoo. All he said was “it tells a long, involved story.” That’s where I got the idea for Marc’s tattoo and birthmark and where he and Natalia would meet.
What books have influenced your life most?
My books on reincarnation and past life regression take up three rows of bookshelves and are important to me. I’m a huge horror fan and have every Stephen King and Dean Koontz book, but I read and enjoy many genres. Two of the most moving and beautiful books I ever read were The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini and The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. They both stayed with me for a long time and I’ve reread them a number of times.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Rayne Hall is a horror and dark fantasy writer who lives in England. I’ve never met her but I’ve known her for a little over two years. I’ve taken online classes from her including, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing Fight Scenes, Deep POV, etc. When the class is over, the relationship is not; she keeps in touch with her students and forms groups for alumni of her classes. When she critiques your work she’s tough but fair. She expects a certain level of writing and makes you do it over until you get it right. She’s had a tremendous influence on my writing and I’m a much better writer for knowing her. Someday I’m going to fly to England, pop up on her doorstep and thank her in person.
What book are you reading now?The First Grave on the Right by Daryanda Jones
 
Are there any new authors that have grasped you attention? It’s so much fun to meet new authors online and at conferences and support them by reading their books. I’ve read many books by my fellow Black Opal Authors and they’ve all been great. It’s hard to pick just one. There are many wonderful new writers out there.
What are your current projects? I have a new romantic suspense, Solstice, coming out in early to mid 2013 from Black Opal Books. Sofia, an Italian hereditary witch or a Strega must break the 250-year-old curse on Armend’s head by his 30thbirthday, the winter solstice, or….you’ll have to read it to find out J
I’m working on a sequel to Twin Flames, tentatively titled Eternal Flames. It’s so much fun spending time with Marc and Natalia. I’ve missed them.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books? No, I don’t think so. I made plenty of mistakes but learned from them. I’m proud of the wayTwin Flames turned out.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? It stemmed from my love of reading. I used to finish a book and try to think of different endings for it, even if I liked the ending the author wrote. Then one day I sat in my room with an old typewriter and wrote a story about the mummies coming back to life in ancient Egypt (another fascination of mine). I still have it hidden away under lock and key where no one will ever see it.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Sex scenes. Not because I’m embarrassed or worry about what anyone will think because I like a good amount of sizzle between my characters. I want to keep it interesting, different and I like to add some humor. We are human and have missteps in all aspects of our lives, even in the bedroom. In the romance genre, thousands and thousands of sex scenes have been written and it’s a challenge to make them fresh, fun and to write something that hasn’t already been done.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? I had this story inside me for a long time, so for the most part the first draft flowed easy and then the editing began. I can’t say it was the hardest thing, but I wanted the past life regression and the past lives Marc and Natalia spent together to be realistic and believable. It entailed a lot of research and rewriting but it was a labor of love.
Did you learn anything specific from writing your book and what was it?
1. Patience
2. A writer needs skin at least six inches thick
 
Do you have any advice for other writers? Don’t give up. Rejection is a huge part of a writer’s life and always will be. You can’t let it bog you down and defeat you. I have a quote by Agatha Christie on my desk. “Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing and aren’t writing particularly well.”
 
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Thank you! I’m very happy with the response to Twin Flames. It’s thrilling to think that people actually bought it, read it and liked it. It was a debut novel from a new and very green author. It’s been a dream come true and it wouldn’t have happened without my readers.
What would you do in a zombie apocalypse should it occur on Black Friday? I’ve never once gotten up and shopped on Black Friday. I would think with the amount of people in the malls that day, the zombies would have an ample food source, a virtual never-ending buffet. I’d make myself a nice Cape-Codder sandwich and relax…until Saturday.
 
If you could be any Christmas character, what would you be and why? The Grinch. At some point each year, between the chaos and stress of the holidays I think we all have a little Grinch in us. But in the end, we all realize that whatever you belief, however you celebrate, it’s a season full of light and hope and we cherish the time with our family and friends.
Favorite Christmas movie? I have two, The Muppets Christmas Carol and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Favorite Christmas CD? A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. I grew up watching the show and love the music.
Favorite thing to do for the holidays? It changes through the years. When the kids were little we had some fun traditions, but now they’re older and have outgrown them.
I grew up in New York in a big Sicilian family. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a tradition celebrated on Christmas Eve in most if not all Italian households. My husband and kids aren’t lovers of fish, so we have stuffed clams, bracioles, chicken, artichokes, Stromboli. The food, fun and wine flow freely and I look forward to it each year.

 
Contact Debbie
 
 

21 comments:

  1. Thank you Raven for being such a gracious host and working hard to put this wonderful event together.

    Debbie

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    1. Thanks, Sharon and I'm so glad you stopped by. Happy Holidays.

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  3. Great interview Debbie! What a great idea Miss Raven - great compilation of stories.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Christine. It fun writing for anthologies, much different than writing a whole novel. Just as much editing, though, LOL.

      Enjoy the holidays!

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  4. I love your questions Raven. Great interview Debbie, I like that you want people to know that most things in life aren't black and white,there are certainly lots of different shades of grey in there. I loved reading Twin Flames and I'm sure anyone who reads it will be impressed.

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    1. Thanks, Nana. They were great questions that made me think a bit, which is good :) I'm so glad you stopped by and thanks for all your support.

      Enjoy the holidays and Happy New Year.

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  5. Nice post - and great interview Debbie! Very interested in checking out Solstice when it is released.

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    1. Hi Debra, thanks for stopping by. Solstice was great fun to write. I hope it's out by April. I'll keep you posted.

      Enjoy your holidays.

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  6. Great interview, Debbie. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Twin Flames and now loving Beltane as well. Keep up the great job.

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    1. Thanks, Zrinka. Are you reading BELTANE? Great, please let me know what you think and thanks for your support with Twin Flames.

      Happy Holidays!

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  7. "I like to show that most things in life aren’t black and white, but very grey and until you walk in someone else’s shoes, you may not be as sure as you think at what you’d do in a certain circumstance."
    There's so much wisdom in that statement, and I think it shows through in your work. Great interview, and Deb, I wish you all the best with Solstice!

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  8. Thanks, Liv, you're a sweetheart! Well my kids think I'm old and with age comes wisdom, so maybe... Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful holiday season.

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    1. Thanks so much, Melissa! Have a great holiday.

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  10. What a wonderful interview! I'm definitely adding Twin Flames to my to-read list. I love the idea of reincarnation and soulmates, of finding the other half to your whole. It sounds fascinating! Happy holidays, Debbie!

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  11. Thanks, Kay. It was a lot of fun to write. I was also intrigued by your books, yesterday. That's another great side of this event, we get to see other authors works and find things we like to read as well. Enjoy your holidays as well.

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  12. Thank you! What a great way to meet new authors. I cant wait to read these wonderful stories

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  13. Hi Jennifer, thank you for stopping by. I agree, it's a great way to meet new authors, even for us authors. We love to read too, LOL

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  14. Hi Debbie! Great interview! I'm cracking up at "The Grinch"... just happens to be one of my fav all time characters. lol

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  15. Thanks, Leslie. The Grinch isn't really a bad guy, just misunderstood, right? Thanks so much for stopping by

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