I am so excited to welcome Cera here today. I 'met' Cera this summer during her blog tour for A Hunter's Angel. Now, the lucky lady has had the second book in the series (A Hunter's Blade) released early! So, here she is to tell you all about her sexy vampire series.
I’m a former high school social studies teacher who couldn’t find a job after graduating and decided to change careers completely and went to school to become a medical assistant. Now I work for the Army as a medical secretary. But my dream has always been to be a writer. I’ve started many books over the twenty odd years since writing my first book in high school. I even ventured into Star Wars fan fiction for a while. I’ve written something like 40 stories over 4 years, including 7 novels and won reader awards for my efforts. But it wasn’t until I came up with the premise for A Hunter’s Angel that I actually sat down and wrote book I could pursue publication of.
I write paranormal romance under the name of Cera duBois and have two books, A Hunter’s Angel and A Hunter’s Blade published by The Wild Rose Press. I also write contemporary Westerns under my real name of Sara Walter Ellwood. I have my first Western, Gambling On A Secret (book 1 of The Colton Gamblers series) coming out January 7 from Lyrical Press. And Heartstrings, a second contemporary Western, releasing in April.
I love vampire stories and followed your book tour this summer and loved the character interviews you did from A Hunter’s Angel. For those not familiar with it, can you tell us a little about the story?
Thank you so much for your support during my book tour. I really enjoyed doing the short stories series. I’d love to share a little about the story. I’d like to think I took the very traditional tropes of the vampire and werewolf(the heroine of A Hunter’s Blade/book 2 is a werewolf) myth and shook them up enough to make my stories unique.
In A Hunter’s Angel, Ian is not only a vampire, he’s a vampire hunter. But he works in the human world as a FBI agent who specializes in serial killers. Grace is the brand new police chief of her tiny Western Pennsylvania home town, which seems to have become a target of a vicious serial killer.
Here’s the blub and short excerpt:
From Chapter 2:
Part of Grace desperately wanted to look up, and a bigger part of her dreaded this moment. She couldn’t hide for long. After all, she was in charge of this shindig.
Standing, Grace sucked in a fortifying breath and rubbed her sweaty palms together. Everyone stood respectfully when she moved from around the table to the front of the room. “Please. Be seated.”
Determined not to look at the woman and three men standing off to the left, she stared straight ahead. Her heart raced, and her scalp itched where perspiration gathered. “In order to better protect the citizens of our communities, I called this meeting to ensure we’re all on the same page regarding the investigation of the murders. Although I’ve been in contact with all of you since the first murder, four weeks ago, and have led the investigation, the FBI has sent a crack team of experts to assist us in hunting down the murderer.” Her voice betrayed nothing, but her mouth was dryer than the dog days of a Pennsylvania August. “Special Agent in Charge Ian McHenry?”
She looked at Ian and her heart stuttered over a beat. How could he be so calm and act as if nothing had happened between them?
How could he lead her on? Hadn’t the chemistry between them been instant and intense enough for them to throw caution and office taboos out the proverbial window?
Did he forget all those times they’d gone out for drinks and dancing? They’d spent weekends antiquing the countryside of Chester County. He’d taken her horseback riding at his magnificent country estate he’d inherited from his uncle. What about the beautiful necklace he’d given to her for Christmas, had it meant nothing?
He’d always been such an old-fashioned gentleman and seemed interested in her as a person and not just for sex. She fell so deeply in love with him it hurt. Had it all been a ploy to get her into bed for a one-night stand?
Why did you leave me?
The muscles in Ian’s back tensed as Grace’s silent question ricocheted around his head as if she’d screamed it at him. He forced a smile and looked around the room. “Thank you, Chief Wallace. I’d like to thank all of you for coming today to meet with us. Now to introduce my colleagues.”
With a gesture of his hand, Ian indicated an attractive, thirty-something, dark-haired woman and the dark-skinned, younger man. “This is Dr. Beth Otto and her assistant, Mark Hazelton. They will be working closely with Coroner Swartz. They both specialize in forensic pathology.” He then pointed toward a tall man dressed as Ian in dark pants, shirt and blazer. “And this is Special Agent Brad Morris. He and I will be working closely with the rest of you.”
Ian let Beth take the first round of discussion. An excellent medical examiner, she had worked with him and Brad for the past four years. Now was one of those times, he wished she wasn’t part of his team. She was extremely hard to fool. She’d never discovered anything that pointed to a vampire, and even if she had, her scientific mind would discredit it. But Ian always had a harder time coming up with reasons for the inconsistencies when things didn’t add up.
You’ve mentioned you got the idea for the “Hunter” series from a quote from Edward in one of the “Twilight” books. Being firmly on Team Edward myself, I’d love to know more about that.
“You’d be surprised, Bella, at how often my kind are the source behind the horrors in your human news.” Edward from Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer, page 25 of the hardback edition. In this scene, Edward and Bella are discussing the 'serial' killings and disappearance of young people in Seattle. For whatever reason that concept of a vampire being mistaken by human law enforcement as a serial killer bugged me for weeks after finishing Eclipse. So much so I started thinking up my own vampire/serial killer story. In my very first ponderings of this story, Grace was the bad vampire and Ian was a human hunter. But that plot had been done to death, and I didn’t want the female being the bad vamp. To me, it felt too close to what happens in the "Twilight" stories with Victoria. So, I let my ideas stew a few more days, and before I knew it, A Hunter’s Angel was born.
Coming early next year is the second book in the series, A Hunter’s Blade. Would you care to tease us a bit and share an excerpt with us?
Actually, A Hunter’s Blade was released early on Amazon. It is available now! Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Hunters-Blade-Dagger-Series-ebook/dp/B009KET33M/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_3
Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt:
Brigit Wolfe, a born werewolf, hasn’t killed a human in over a hundred years, although now, she wonders if the animal attacking people in Silver Creek, Colorado, isn’t her. But she might have bigger problems when her cowboy neighbor, Austin Calhoun, ambles into her bar. Austin hasn’t been a vampire for long, but he is determined to prove to himself that he’s worthy of his hunter’s dagger. Brigit’s rare beauty and blade-sharp tongue enchants him. She ignites a passion he thought was dead, but is she the killer his master sent him to destroy? During Austin’s investigation regarding Brigit’s involvement in the deaths, an old crime surfaces connected to her human best friend. These two immortal enemies have to join forces to solve the mystery before someone else dies. But can they survive the heat of their own desire?
From Chapter 3:
When preternatural power touched her nape, Brigit assumed Bo Reynard was back, which was unusual. He never came in on Wednesdays, the slowest night of the week. Brigit set a margarita before a woman flirting with one of the other regulars at the end of the bar and took the man’s money for the woman’s drink.
After closing the cash drawer, she turned and sucked in a breath. The most beautiful pair of hazel eyes she had ever seen stared back at her from the other end of the bar.
The cowboy vamp removed his hat and set it on the empty stool beside him. Grinning at her, he ran his fingers through his disheveled hair. “Hello, there. I’ll have a glass of red wine,” he said in a voice as smooth as Kentucky bourbon.
She swallowed hard, took a deep breath and earthy spiciness tickled her senses. How did he smell that damned good? He’s supposed to smell like a rotting corpse. “Uh...which one?”
He shrugged with wry amusement playing on his lips. “What was my friend drinking the other night?”
“Syrah...the most expensive red wine I have.”
He pulled his wallet from his back pocket and flipped it open to take out a bill. “I’ll have a glass of that.”
A moment later, she set the glass before him and told him the price.
He handed her a bill and smiled. “Keep the change.” Before she could turn away, he said, “So, how long have you lived here? I’m new in town.”
She narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. “Yes, I know. You bought the Wagner ranch. Just moved in. Your name is Austin Calhoun.”
He raised an eyebrow and picked up the glass. “Checking up on me?”
“I like to know who all my neighbors are.” She bent closer and hissed, “So when they start dropping dead I know who the prime suspects are.”
He leaned over the edge of the bar, peered deeply into her eyes. The image of him closing the distance and covering her mouth in a kiss zapped through her. His low-pitched voice did nothing to ease the erotic vision.
“Interestingly, I like to know my neighbors for the same reason, Brigit Wolfe, werewolf.” She narrowed her eyes and fisted her hands. His voice dropped even lower as he said, “You didn’t answer my question. How long have you lived in Silver Creek?”
She wanted to turn away, but something in those amazing eyes made her stay, and even more alarming, answer his nosy question. “Almost a year—this time. Why are you here? I know it wasn’t for the wine.”
Straightening his spine, he sipped from the glass and shrugged. “I thought I’d drop in to see you.”
“You’ve seen me, now leave.” She turned away.
Austin snorted. “Not so fast, puppy.”
She faced him with her hands fisted at her sides. “Oh, that’s mature. You think because you’re one of Lucas Pomeroy’s pet bats you’re so much better than the rest of us.”
He smirked and set his glass on the bar. “You do know I can’t turn into a bat, don’t you?”
She rolled her eyes, and he chuckled, infuriating her further.
“I follow a different code of ethics, you could say, than most of the damned and undead.” He looked around.
With only an hour before closing, there were only a handful of people in the place. When he locked those shifting golden-gray-green eyes on hers, she shivered.
“I think we should have a private chat after you close.” The serrated edge of his voice sawed through her. “I have some questions and want to get all the facts straight before I become judge, jury, and executioner.”
A cold lump fell into her stomach, but she fought the urge to run and leaned closer. Her mouth so dry she had to lick her lips to speak. “I’m not the one doing the killing, bloodsucker.”
“Then you shouldn’t mind helping me find out who is.”
Brigit spun away to take an order for a drink. How could she help him find the killer when she wasn’t a hundred percent sure she hadn’t attacked those humans?
What made you decide to write a series?
That’s an easy answer. I fell as much in love with Brad and Ben as I did Ian. They deserved their own stories with their own heroines.
Is your short story Bloodwine (A fabulous read, by the way!) part of this series as well?
I’m thrilled you enjoyed it! But no, Bloodwine isn’t part of the series. Although, I like the word I built in that short story. The mix of ancient vampires set in a futuristic world. I’m toying with expanding on my ideas and writing an actual book. But until I either become independently wealthy so that I can quit the evil day job, or someone invents a cloning device, it will have to wait. I’ve got too many other projects going on.
What got you interested in writing?
I’m not really sure. I think we are born to it. It doesn’t matter if we have never read a book before, we are either born storytellers or we aren’t. I was always making up stories in my head. Or in the games I’d play. I was, for the most part an only child—my brother was 6 years younger than me—and I had no other children around I could play with, so I invented siblings and friends. I gave them lives and homes and came up with stories about each of them.
But I hated to read in elementary school and writing was even less enjoyable. I’m dyslexic and was classified with a learning disability when I was in third grade and couldn’t read above a kindergarten level.
I eventually read my first book for my pleasure in eighth grade, the novelization of the TV miniseries The Blue and The Gray. Soon after finishing it, I started thinking up my own stories. Only this time, instead of just telling the story in my head, I wrote it down. Those ideas eventually morphed into my very first book which I wrote as a journaling exercise in eleventh grade.
What comes first, plot or characters?
Usually the characters. Then I think up the plot in which to torture these poor unsuspecting characters who have the misfortune of popping up in my psyche.
How do you come up with the titles for your books?
The titles for the books in The Hunter’s Daggers Series actually came fairly easy. Each of the ending words, Angel, Blade and Wings (the yet to be written book 3) all have a greater meaning to the “hunter” in each story.
In A Hunter’s Angel, Ian is trying to find divine forgiveness (or grace *grin*). Angels are the symbol God’s forgiveness/grace.
In A Hunter’s Blade, Austin (he is a character from A Hunter’s Angel, but changes his name after being turned into a vampire) only wants to be the best darn hunter that he can. He wants to prove to himself that he’s worthy of his hunter’s dagger (or blade).
In A Hunter’s Wings, the banished Guardian Angel, Tarial, wants her wings, which she lost after she saved the vampire master Lucas almost 2 thousand years ago, back.
I ended up using this same method when I had to re-title my (as Sara Walter Ellwood) first contemporary Western release, Gambling On A Secret. The working title had been “Butterfly” which is a metaphor I use in the story. But alas, my editor didn’t think it fit a Western. After a day of thinking about the themes in the series and the first book, Gambling On A Secret and all the other titles within the series came easily. I actually love these titles better than the ones I’d originally had for the books.
What is the hardest part of writing?
Honestly, now it’s just finding the time to write. Between my family, the day job and the promotion, not to mention completing my deadlines for my two editors, I’m having a hard time getting into a writing grove. I used to be able to pound out three to five thousand words a day, now I’m lucky if I get a thousand.
What have you learned from being a published author that you wish you knew before you were published?
There’s a whole heap of things I wish I would’ve learned before now, from effective promotion to time management. But mostly I wish I’d been more active on Facebook and Twitter and would have learned how to use them to my best advantage—because now I don’t really have time to do so.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received/read?
The best advice I ever got was from an editor who rejected my first contemporary Western about three years ago. She told me to read Debra Dixon’s GMC. I ended up reading Mary Buckham and Dianna Love’s Break Into Fiction. That book saved me. I have since read GMC too, but I learned the structure of writing a publishable novel from Break Into Fiction. Before then I’d include things that weren’t really need to tell the story. In fact, A Hunter’s Angel had been a mess before I applied what I’d learned and rewrote it.
Any advice for new writers?
Never give up. Never stop trying. And never stop learning.
Where can we find you and your books?
To Sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mVxXf
Buy Links for A Hunter’s Angel:
The Wild Rose Press: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=980
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-hunters-angel-cera-dubois/1112272613?ean=2940014993968&itm=1&USRI=cera+dubois&
Buy Link for A Hunter’s Blade:
Thank you so much, Debra.
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