Genre: Paranormal Romance
Cover artist: Michael Tilton Williams
Length: 70,000 words
Heat rating: steamy
Tag line: If one is real, doesn't that mean they could all be real?
Shape-shifters have always walked the earth. Shrouded in myth and folklore, hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting. Advances in modern science are now about to reveal them to the world. Kai Tenzin is the self appointed leader of the Pari people. He and his kind evolved from the most reclusive predators on earth, the Asian Snow Leopard. They live and hunt in the most fearsome and rugged terrain known to man, the Himalayas. As a young man, Kai left his small village where the mountain touches the heavens, determined to do anything to protect his people. When he is forced to enlist the aid of the beautiful American scientist Dr. Rae Hales, the last thing he expects to find is a woman who will ensnare his heart and endanger them all. Their action-packed adventure will take them around the world to discover the truth behind the legends and reveal the future of humanity.
What are your main character's names, ages, and occupations?
Kai Tenzin is 41 years of age and the founder and leader of the The Shan Trust, an organization dedicated to help protect and conserve the Pari people/Asian Snow Leopard.
Dr. Rae Hales is 32 years of age and a biologist.
Dr. Vadim Leonidov is 48 years of age and a biologist.
Nawang Wangdo is 82 years of age and a highly successful business owner and shape-shifter.
A Word from the Author
The sex to plot ratio is a tricky balancing act for any romance author. Too much sex and your story becomes erotica, which is fine if that is what you intend to write, but if you're shooting for romance and you have too much plot, your story becomes another genre altogether. When I approached writing Tasting Fire I was extremely unsure how to deal with the ratio as this was my first romance novel. My story is extremely strong on plot and to make up for that I wrote in six major love scenes. I did my best to blend them in harmoniously with the plot and not just throw in a love scene for the heck of it.
Tasting Fire also has strong spiritual overtones which of itself is unusual to say in the least for a romance novel. It also has extraordinarily well developed secondary plots that involve personal growth and fully defined characters. All of these well designed aspects make for a truly unique paranormal romance.
I will warn readers at this point, if you want a book where the hero and heroine fall into bed within the first two minutes of meeting and have mindless sex, this is not the book for you! If you are looking for a rich, textured romance and if you want to lose yourself in an original, intelligent, romantic, sexy, adventure, then this is your book!
Rae took an admiring look at the vista below as she dropped her heavy pack on the ground. The mountains in the distance looked purple and the desert brush spread out below them like a master oil painting. It was awe inspiring to human eyes. Rae wondered what would it look like to a snow leopard. She suddenly realized many a biologist would sell their very soul for the opportunity she had at that moment.
Rae turned to Kai who had been sitting on the ground with his pack and fishing around for lunch and asked him, “What is it like when you're in your Shan form out in country like this?”
Kai rewarded Rae with the most brilliant smile she had yet seen to grace the handsome shape-shifter's face. He seemed truly delighted to discuss the subject with her. Kai stood up to answer Rae's question. He addressed the human scientist. “It's like nothing you can imagine Rae. Every sense is in tune with the planet. See that tree over there” he pointed a few yards away at an ancient gnarled pinyon.
“Yes” Rae replied.
Kai walked up behind Rae and put his hands on her shoulders and directed her to look even closer at the tree. He whispered intimately in her ear as if they were in a church or another sacred space. “When you look at that tree with your limited human vision, the average person can certainly appreciate its form and color. A biologist like yourself would ask what type of tree it is and how old it is. A philosopher might ask who may have sat underneath it in the past or who might sit underneath it in the future. All of you might even wonder when will it die. That's the limit of your human perception. When you're in Shan form every single leaf will bid you a glorious greeting as you walk up to the tree for the first time. Every drop of sap tells you the history of the tree's life like an intimate biography written in the utterly sensual language of scent. The tree itself will tell you if it's healthy or sick. You can smell if the water that nourishes it is bitter or sweet. If you deeply pay attention you can smell every animal that has ever been there.”
Kai looked to Rae like he was experiencing a spiritual moment and Rae suddenly realized he was.
The enthralled shape-shifter continued to explain to Rae the nuances of the animal world. “When you are ready to move on to another place you reach up with your powerful claws and dig deep into the bark to mark the tree with your scent. It's added harmoniously to the scent of hundreds of other animals. You do this not just to mark your hunting territory, but to tell every animal after you have left this world that you lived and breathed here at one time in the great mystery that is life. That is your only immortality in the animal world. There are no monuments to mark a man's ego, or family albums for a mother to remember her children by, but neither is there hate, nor fear of the future or regret of the past. You are fully alive in each and every moment. It's a wonderfully free existence. I wish I could truly share it with you... words, words pale in comparison.”
Kai looked so happy at that moment.
Rae was moved by what he had just shared with her. all she could do was reach out and touch his wrist. “Thank you,” she whispered.
Kai nodded at her in acknowledgment, but he was too emotional to even speak.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I tried publishing through the big boys and received over 40 rejection letters. I decided after learning about Kindle Direct Publishing to self publish in a more marketable genre than children and YA.
What websites do you visit daily?
Facebook, I spend way too much time on Facebook. The Consumerist, I am addicted to reading it, it's amazing how power corrupts. I read about how some of the big companies treat the little guy when they think no one is watching.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
I wrote a children's book and a YA book and received over 40 rejection notices for my trouble. I wish I had jumped right into the romance genre first. I would have saved a lot of time and heartache.
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it be?
Amanda Hocking. Even though usually a mentor is older than you, she is actually 16 years younger than I am. She has done at a very young age what I am attempting to do now, earn a living self publishing e-books.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
I have held a variety of jobs prior to trying my hand at writing romance. I have been a 911 dispatcher, and a customer service representative.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
Romance, science fiction, YA.
What do you think is the future of epublishing?
The sky really is the limit. I believe a whole industry will evolve to help self published authors polish their work and give it more legitimacy. I personally worked with a great formatter who put up with me and my endless last minute corrections. I also licensed my beautiful cover art from a professional photographer. I believe that many more editors and copy readers will go freelance to help support this growing industry.
I do believe that some writers, however, are not taking responsibility for properly editing their work before publishing on Amazon. This is causing serious issues of spam all over Amazon and makes it really difficult for authors who have invested huge amounts of time and energy producing polished works to get noticed.
If you were to describe your book in two words, what would they be?
What good book have you read recently?
I recently read Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh.
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
Toni Collete. My life is Muriel's wedding, without the wedding, or being Australian.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Teal, I have no idea why.
Which statement is more like you:
“I am a ten countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible.”
I am definitely on the ten day itinerary, always rushing, and it sucks.
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with ginger ale.
I'm always ready for a book store.
When I'm alone, I check Facebook way too much.
You'd never be able to tell, but I don't really like rural life.
If I had a halo it would be for being a devoted daughter.
If I could sing I'd be on TV.
I can never be sure of anything because I'm a Libra and I see both sides to every issue.
Books Coming Soon
The yet unnamed sequel to Tasting Fire.