Q and A with #paranormal #romance author Jessica Kong

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to a new author who I’ve met. Jessica Kong is a paranormal author specializing in Science fiction settings. Her latest book, A SEACAT’S LOVE was recently released and is already pulling in praise. I asked Jessica to come speak with my readers today and she graciously took time out of her crazy-busy holiday schedule to do so.

For readers who’ve never met you can you tell us a little about yourself, so my readers can get to know you?

Author Jessica KongJessica Kong: My name is Jessica Kong. My writing career began with the publication of the first two books in the Sea-anan Saga, A Lost Kitten and A Forgotten Kitten. The themes and story lines of my books are based on my real-life experience in an interracial marriage. I also incorporate experiences my triplets went through growing up, like being treated as outsiders by kids who weren’t minorities or multiracial, or, now that they’re older, being labeled or avoided. My books have a message about not judging others before you get to know them. Also, by making the differences between races more exaggerated, I emphasize how, when you look past the tiny factor of race, we all share the same basic needs, desires, and cultures.

Care to tell us a little about your novel A Seacat’s Love?

Jessica: A Seacat’s Love is a science-fiction action-romance about a grieving government spy and a humanoid feline scientist who meet in the corridors of a secret laboratory during an attempted escape. The first book in the Oceanan Trilogy, it’s an exciting action-adventure with themes of friendship, honor, and trust as well as doing what’s right, not being too quick to judge—and intergalactic love.
Rick McCall is a spy who can’t forgive himself for making the bad choice that led to the death of his wife and unborn daughter. Leonora is a brilliant scientist and high-ranking Seacat Warrior from the planet Oceana who is captured by the human army, imprisoned, and secretly subjected to experiments by government agents. All it takes is one look into her pale blue eyes, when Leonora collides with him during her attempt at freedom, for Rick’s heart to stir and his life to change its course.
When he discovers that Leonora’s claims about the government experimentation are true, Rick sees that he must help her and her colleague, Tigif, escape the planet, at great risk to his life and career. As they try to retrieve the aliens’ ship while avoiding a massive government dragnet, Tigif’s treachery turns out to be more than an obstacle to the growing relationship between these two people of different worlds, and his advances on Leonora become more and more forceful.
Combining the imagination of science fiction, the steamy passion of a romance, the thrills of an action-adventure, and the all-too-human conflict of a drama, A Seacat’s Love will appeal to a wide audience of readers. And fans of the Sea-anan Saga will be thrilled to find out how the parents of the multiracial protagonists they’ve met in books one and two come together.

What inspired the story of A Seacat’s Love?

Jessica: Shortly after my triplets were born, I sat in front of my computer hoping to escape into a world that I had complete control of. As I played my video game, I thought of a scene from a black and white romance movie that I once saw. It was a couple laying on the beach in an intimate embrace as the incoming waves washed over them. While I continued to play, I also recalled my favorite books and movies. Even though the stories were great, there was always something I wished the characters had done differently. This led me to ask the ‘what if’ question. What if the man on the beach was a secret agent and the woman he held in his arms was an alien from another world that he was protecting from his government? What if this alien humanoid evolved from felines? My mind began showing me a storyline heading in a different direction than the movie’s. I found it interesting and fun, so I turned off my computer game and opened up a word document and started typing. My new ‘escape from a chaotic world’ was created.
As I wrote about this blossoming romance, the couple became more real to me. Their story continued to unravel in my head. It began to include family members, best friends, traveling into space, even a timeline. As my triplets grew, I wrote storyline after storyline from that one beach scene, eventually writing my first book ever, “A Seacat’s Love”, a science fiction romance of how that human spy and alien feline met.

You’ve self-published several titles, what made you jump into self-publishing and have you been pleased with the results? Does it live up to your expectation?

Jessica: In the beginning, my plan was to go the traditional route. However, I read how more and more authors were leaving the publishing houses and going solo. The higher royalties and total control over book content was definitely a plus for me, and the reason I decided to go at it alone. For the most part, being self-published is great. The only downside for me is the time I have to spend self-promoting. Time spent on promoting is time away from writing. Then again, if you don’t promote, you don’t sell.

I hear that! Is there anything you haven’t yet achieved in your career—or any specific thing you haven’t written about yet—that you dream of doing some day?

Jessica: I have yet to reach the top bestseller list, have yet to receive 100 reviews, have yet to win any awards. :) I say I have a lot of growing, learning, and improving to do.

What’s on tap next for you? Any new manuscripts in the works, currently?

Jessica: At the present, I am working on the third installment to the Sea-anan Saga called, “A Kitten’s Tale”. :) This is the story about Mathew McCall, Areo’s twin brother. I will show how he is reunited with his childhood friend and relative, Sev, the king of the purebloods. I will also show how he meets Serena, the woman that stirs up deeply suppressed feelings of hatred and betrayal in Mathew towards the race that had tossed his family to the curb like garbage. Their relationship has its ups and downs during their trip to the Sea-anan Empire on board a White Star. I plan to publish this book before next year’s end.

Sounds like you are going to be busy in 2015.  Where can people find out more about you and your works?

Jessica: All my books are on sale at the following locations.

My Amazon US Author Page

My Amazon UK Author Page

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/jessica-a-kong

Books-A-Million.

A Seacat's Love by Jessica A. KongAbout A Seacat’s Love:

In the first book of the Sea-anan Saga, A Lost Kitten, readers meet John McCall. The second book, A Forgotten Kitten, features Areo McCall. Both of these intriguing protagonists are children of an intergalactic marriage. Now, fans of the saga will be thrilled to learn the story of how their parents get together.

A Seacat’s Love takes readers back in time to planet Earth, where Rick McCall is committed to living the lonely life of a government spy after losing his wife and unborn daughter due to his own arrogance and poor decisions.

Leonora, one of the top scientists on the planet of Oceana and a high-ranking Seacat Warrior, is a humanoid feline who has come to Earth to study human evolution and find similarities between earthlings and oceanans. But her expedition’s camp is stormed by the human army.

Rick and Leonora first encounter each other at a secret military lab during the cat woman’s attempt to escape her captors. When she collides with Rick in a corridor, Leonora begs for his help, claiming that the government has been experimenting on her, and one look into the frightened feline’s pale-blue eyes is enough to stir the hardened spy’s heart. For Leonora, the spark ignites in her chest after Rick dares to defy his government and his own commanding officer to aid her and her colleague Tigif. She recognizes the nobility in this selfless act of helping strangers—aliens from another world, no less!

Now committed to helping Leonora and Tigif remain safely out of the clutches of a wrongful government and find a way back to their home planet, Rick faces many difficult choices—but he doesn’t want to repeat the past and make another devastatingly wrong decision. His relationship with Leonora grows in fits and starts, constantly undermined by Tigif’s devious plots, and Leonora is threatened by Tigif’s increasingly forceful advances. As they avoid a massive government dragnet, fight off dangerous feline fevers, and try to retrieve the aliens’ ship, heated emotions of jealousy, distrust, and resentment that arise in the confusion put their very lives in jeopardy.

Author Jessica Kong seamlessly blends multiple themes into her Sea-anan Saga and Oceanan Trilogy books, including loyalty, racism, family, and love. In A Seacat’s Love, the theme of multiracial relationships is particularly prominent, where the difference in race between the two protagonists is exaggerated to galactic proportions. As in all of the volumes in the series, this book shows how fundamentally similar we all really are when it comes to our basic needs, desires, and even cultures.

But readers don’t have to be fans of the saga to enjoy A Seacat’s Love. The novel stands on its own as an exciting and exotic science-fiction action-romance. Though it is an adult-content book, it is written in simple language that is easy to read—and even easier to get caught up in. Its cross appeal to science-fiction enthusiasts, romance lovers, action-adventure fans, and anyone who enjoys exploring human nature through the lens of creative imagination makes it attractive to a wide audience.

Thank you for being with us, Jessica! And best wishes on your series, and for your forthcoming books. We will be looking forward to them! Folks, if you’d like to learn more about Jessica Kong, see her website at:

http://www.seaanan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Kong/155150417957328

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/AreoMc

Good reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6533956.Jessica_Kong

And you can find all her works at the above links. We hope you enjoyed this conversation, have a lovely day, and as ever, keep reading!

The Romance Reviews Third Anniversary

Oh!! And before I forget, I’m taking part in the Romance Reviews 3 year Anniversary party today–that is, March 30.
Romance Reviews 3rd anniversary

There are more than 450 authors participating with giveaways and the grand prize is  a $100 Gift Certificate! You need to be registered and log in to participate in the giveaways so head on over there now to do that.

cover art for Passion's Sacred Dance. Cover art by Kim Mendoza

Cover art by Kim Mendoza

And I’m giving away an e-copy of my paranormal romance novel Passion’s Sacred Dance to one lucky winner. My Q and A contribution is up here. Good luck!

Q and A with author/editor Rebecca Buchanan

This morning I have something a little different for you. I’ve been following the pagan writing community for quite a few years now. Along the way, I’ve met some very talented authors and poets, made some good friends, and wanted to introduce you, my readers, to a few. Recently, I had the pleasure to interview editor of Eternal Haunted Summer, Rebecca Buchanan. Rebecca is the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and the editor of pagan fiction and non-fiction ‘zine Eternal Haunted Summer. She has been published in Bards and Sages Quarterly, Cliterature, The Future Fire, Into the Great Below, Fire Jewel: A Devotional For Freyja, Linguistic Erosion, and Luna Station Quarterly, as well as Beyond the Pillars, The Shining Cities, Unbound: A Devotional Anthology for Artemis, Written in Wine, and other venues. She blogs semi-regularly at BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature.

Hi, Rebecca! Thanks for being here. I know you’re busy and I appreciate your time! What would you like people to know about Paganism?

Rebecca Buchanan: Primarily, I would like people outside of Paganism to understand that — whichever path or tradition we follow — we are completely serious and sincere in our devotions. This is not playacting or a phase.

Most pagan writers have a personal pantheon they’re dedicated to, and to which they dedicate their art. How did you connect with your personal pantheon?

Rebecca: I have loved mythology since childhood, especially Greek and Egyptian; those were always the books I lugged home from the library (along with the fairy tales). I would read the stories over and over again, study the paintings and sculptures, the photographs and schematics of the old temples.

Since my earliest exposure to the Gods was through books, I guess that is why my devotions now primarily take the form of writing and publishing.

Can you tell us a bit about how your path influences your own writing?

Rebecca: My devotion to the Greek pantheon has a *huge* influence on my writing. I would say ninety percent of what I write — poetry, short fiction, essays — is about the Gods and Goddesses. Plus, the fact that I could not find a market for my writing led to the creation of Eternal Haunted Summer; I wanted to offer a venue for other frustrated Pagan writers. It also led me to accept the position of editor-in-chief at Bibliotheca Alexandrina, so I could oversee the production of anthologies in honor of the Gods and Goddesses.

As a writer, is there any genre you haven’t tried that you’d like to?

Rebecca: Oh … tough one.

I try. ;)

Rebecca: Aside from the poetry, most of my writing could be broadly defined as science fiction or fantasy; there are a couple of dark fantasy/horror pieces, too. I guess I would like to try my hand at a mystery, an old fashioned, honest to goodness murder mystery. Maybe starring a modern-day devotee of Nemesis … or priest of Thoth ….

Ooh that’s does sound intriguing! What inspired you to take on the editorial spot of Eternal Haunted Summer?

Rebecca: Frustration! Pure, unadulterated frustration! I had written dozens of poems and short stories in honor of the Gods and Goddesses, and yet there were no reliable venues in which to publish them. The majority of religious publishers out there are Christian in their focus, and my stuff was *too* religious for the fantasy publishers. I heard the same complaint from other Pagan writers. Thus, Eternal Haunted Summer was born. It’s been a real honor to host so many talented authors.

It’s been an honor to find you too, Rebecca, and I have to agree. I have had the same experience in my path to publishing too. I’m glad to see that changing a bit. Next question: Is there anything/any aspect of Paganism, or topic you see little of in the submissions that you’d like more of?

Rebecca: I would love, love, love to receive more submissions which deal with myths, heroes, and Gods from outside Europe. I can appreciate a good Dionysus poem or an essay about Freyja as much as the next girl; but there are so *many* pantheons. I want Aztec-themed poems! Essays about the kami! Short stories centered on Spider Woman and Sedna and Marie Laveau. Reviews of books and comics and movies about Mongolian shamans and La Llorona and Maori tattoo traditions.

I would also love more essays which tackle difficult topics. I am not afraid to run a controversial piece; animal sacrifice, veiling, abortion, hexing, whatever. If it is articulate, thoughtful, correctly cited (as necessary), and respectful in tone, I am happy to consider it for publication.

What would you say to encourage a young Pagan writer to apply their path to their art?

Rebecca: Many people feel especially drawn to one or two Deities within a pantheon (though which Deities may change over time). In the case of a writer, my first suggestion would be to focus your writing on that Deity/ies. Create a poem listing the Deity’s epithets, or a short story retelling a favorite myth; or, write about anything you want, but dedicate the work of creating the story and the story itself to the Deity. Oh, and pray before you start working on it.

Same goes for any kind of art, and even such things as exercise and cleaning; dedicating any kind of work or creative act to a Deity will make it more meaningful.

What would you like readers to know about Eternal Haunted Summer?

Rebecca: That I am open to just about everything. There are very few restrictions when it comes to submissions. Sex and gore should be appropriate to the context of the story. The tone should always be respectful (no bashing other people’s Gods). Pieces about Atlantis or Mu or subterranean civilizations or aliens don’t interest me. Submissions with a monotheistic or Abrahamic focus wouldn’t really be appropriate either. Other than that, any format, any genre, any myth, any Deity, any pantheon.

What’s next for you? Any exciting new projects to tease us with?

Rebecca: Bibliotheca Alexandrina has new anthologies in honor of Demeter, the Morrigan, and the Muses, which will be available soon. I am currently editing the Spring Equinox issue of EHS, which is shaping up to be an awesome edition. I personally have a short story which will appear in the next issue of The Future Fire, and I’m working on a few other stories. Um … basically I am keeping busy. Must write!

fantasy, pagan fiction, pagan fiction authors, metaphysical fictionfantasy, pagan fiction, pagan fiction authors, metaphysical fictionUnbound

I hear that! Thank you again, for being here. Good luck with all you do. I can’t wait for the Spring issue! ;) It should be out by the Equinox, if I’m not mistaken. In the meantime, friends, do check out some of Rebecca’s work. I think you will enjoy it! :) You can find out more about her at:

Eternal Haunted Summer:  http://eternalhauntedsummer.com
http://neosalexandria.org/bibliotheca-alexandrina/
http://witchesandpagans.com/BookMusings/Blogger/Listings/rebecca-buchanan.html

and the EHS Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/268696863150514/
or Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/24893808890/

A questing maiden takes a break to chat–Terri Rochenski’s Hyla

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I walked into a local pub recently and who should I find there? well, I suppose you’re never going to believe it. You know how pubs are, usually filled with questing Neanderthal heroes or adventurous wizards? Well, this time who should I happen upon but a woman on a mission from god–Hyla, the star of Eye of the Soul–and her faithful scribe, Terri Rochenski? I know, such a sweet pair to find in such a place. I simply had to find out what their story was!

Good evening, ladies, thanks so much for joining us. Hyla, I know how important your mission is so I won’t keep you long,  all right?

Hyla, you’re in the middle of an epic journey. If you could’ve avoided it, what would you be today, you think?

Hyla: Doubtless I would still be on our island home of Taran, finishing my apprenticeship to became a Healer. I would also be alone, never having had the chance to make true friends outside my people.

Oh, well. Maybe it was a good thing this happened then? But…. we all know stuff happens, so just to be a little evil, I have to ask, what do you hope not to find at the Pool of Souls?

Hyla: I’m heading to the Pool of Souls for a reason – to find the one Native who can help our people – and gods forbid I find disappointment instead.

Yeah, I can see how that would kinda ruin your day.  What do you wish Terri hadn’t revealed about you?

Hyla: My Talent, my curse. Few know what plagues me, what keeps me from making friends, for it makes me an outcast among my people.
What’s your favorite bedtime story?

Hyla: I’ve never been told a bedtime story. I was orphaned upon birth, and Soroca, the woman who became my guardian, had no time – or desire – to amuse me with more than harsh words.

Awww…I’m sorry. That’s so sad.  (I have this friend Terri, maybe she can help you out with that. I hear she weaves a mean bedtime story! ;)) Let’s try for a happier question: Jadon or Conlin? ;)

Hyla: I’ve dreamed of love and children, but such a life is not possible because of my curse. As for the two mens’ personalities, Jadon is a womanizer and full of himself, and Conlin … I don’t know him as well, but he seems sweet and caring.

(*Takes Hyla aside* Given the two, Hyla, a bit of advice: go for the sweet and caring guy. Believe me, you might be saving yourself a whole lot of trouble!)

Now, Ms. Terri, as Hyla’s creator, I couldn’t leave you out. So I have a few questions for you,  a) What inspired the Pool of Souls series?

Terri Rochenski: A trying of my own faith, patience, and identity a few years back. For the full story, you’ll need to stalk my guest posts during the EotS tour.  ;)

(The full tour list is on Terri’s site here: http://www.terrirochenski.com/eye-of-the-soul.html  if you’d like to follow along, folks.)

And secondly, now that Eye of the Soul is out, what’s next for you and Hyla?

Terri: Book #2, Secret of the Souls, is due out in Oct. of 2014. Being preoccupied with a pregnancy & now newborn, the final few chapters that need written have taken a back seat! After the completion of this manuscript, Hyla’s story comes to an end.

EotS-500-copyblurb:

Escape.

That should be Hyla’s first thought as her people are chained and imprisoned for no imaginable reason.

Instead, Hyla finds herself traveling through a land void of Natives, with human soldiers pillaging in desperate pursuit of her, and in search of the mystical Pool of Souls—home to the one man who can save her people.

Or so she believes.

Led by her faith in the deity Fadir, Hyla is met along her journey by Jadon—a human male and fierce King’s warrior, and his childhood best friend Conlin—one of the few Natives aware of his Fadir-given Talents.

Protected by Jadon, guided by Conlin, and with an unfailing belief in the purpose of her pilgrimage, Hyla carries on.

Like her, though, another searches for the Pool, and should he gain access first, everyone she loves, and everything she knows, could be lost.

Forever.

Excerpt:

Cursing her arthritic fingers, Miri squeezed out a rag and draped it over the human man’s hot forehead.

“I’ve seen a lot more harvests than you, old goat,” she muttered, lifting his eyelids. “I’m thinking you’ll never catch up either. Doubt you last another half-moon’s phase.”

Miri pushed to her feet and stretched her hunched back. A heavy sigh slipped past her wrinkled lips as she glanced around the sick house. Keeping the night watch wasn’t too bad—she’d volunteered often since her old bones wouldn’t allow much sleep.

“Joints wasted, hearing all but gone …” Miri yanked on the long white braid lying over her shoulder. “I’m the old goat.”

She shuffled down the aisle, woolen kirtle swishing in the silence. A cool, autumn breeze rustled the crimson leaves of the magnolia and palm fronds overhead, drawing her gaze upward. Violet streaks lit the pre-dawn sky.A dog barked, yipped, and fell silent.

Miri peered across the village green to the thatched buildings beyond. A shadow passed between two cottages. Another three hurried toward the neighboring dwelling.

“Sight fading or my mind, too?” Miri rubbed her watery eyes, blinked, and leaned forward. Light flickered through the palm trees behind the outlying homes.

Torches?

The flames drew closer, weaving between the trunks.

Humans from the mainland? Miri’s hand clutched at her throat. Soldiers. Fadir have mercy.

The men crept through the village, taking up positions at every doorway. Two brutes, more horse-like in size than human, approached the sick house.

Sputtering torch held high, the first strode forward, dark eyes intent upon Miri. A green surcoat covered broad shoulders and fell to his thighs. The golden wheat sheaf of the city of Varosh adorned his chest.

Cold sweat beaded upon Miri’s brow. Breath burst from her lungs, and she moved back, clutching the door jam.

The second soldier stepped closer, chains and shackles clanking in his hand. He stopped two paces away from Miri, and a smile stretched his stubbled cheeks, revealing rotted teeth. “Good morning pointy-ears.”

Miri stared, heartbeat thundering in her ears. She’d been called worse in her eighty-three birth passings but never with such malice.

A single cry rang out across the village, and doors crashed inward. Screams rent the air.

“Don’t fight Native woman,” rotten-teeth sneered, shackles outstretched.

“W-why?” Miri whispered, taking a step backward.

A scowl narrowed his gaze, and his fist shot forward.

Bursts of light and pain exploded through Miri as she crumpled to the floor.

#

Miri’s people huddled on the village green as fall’s pale sun crested the trees. Cold metal had been clasped around their necks and ankles. Many trembled in the cool air, little more than night clothes covering their nakedness. Miri held to her braid with a white-knuckled grip, her head and its egg-sized bump throbbing in time with her pulse.

A handful of other battered Natives who had attempted flight were the last to join them, the soldiers tossing them forward like sacks of potatoes.

Sounds great doesn’t it? She’s included a giveaway of a signed paperback, signed bookmark, a notebook, and pen, folks so, go here to participate in the Rafflecopter Giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YzBlNDU5NWM5ODFhNjA3ZGZmY2UxMDkzYmEzOWNlOjM3/

Thanks for being here today, Ladies! Hyla, I wish you the best on your quest, and Terri, the best with Eye of the Soul (and  with your forthcoming WiP). Folks if you’d like to learn more about Terri Rochenski and her fine works see her website and blog. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Good Reads. (You can also add Eye of The Soul to your “want to read” shelf here.) Eye of the Soul is available at:

or from J.Taylor Publishing in epub, Kindle and paperback.

RocheskiTerri-Head-ShotcopyAbout Terri:

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with the fantasy genre.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not potty training or kissing boo-boos, she can be found on her back patio in the boondocks of New Hampshire, book or pencil in hand.

Thanks, Terri, for being with us today and good luck with Eye of the Soul!