Thursday, June 27, 2013

Guest Post: Natalie Owens and Zee Monodee: Do Mash-Ups Work?

Today I have the pleasure of hosting my friends Natalie Owens and Zee Monodee. These two creative and hard-working writers tell us about the creation of their new series, "The Eternelles," and what happens when you put a bunch of supernatural creatures together. 

Take it away, Natalie & Zee! 

Do mash-ups work?

The Eternelles series follows the adventures of two immortal women who find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that will ultimately destroy their world. The nucleus of the supernatural world is the town of Shadow Bridge, where all kinds of otherworldly creatures co-exist. In book one, INESCAPABLE, we introduced the myriad characters—witches, fae, werewolves, vampires/vampyres (two different factions of this race), demons, soul stealers, Greek and Egyptian gods. And of course, there are the protagonists, Sera and Adri—the first, the product of phoenix and gypsy blood, the second, the daughter of Dionysios, Greek god of wine and revelry, and a maenad. The men in their lives also have different origins, and this in itself complicates matters. This list of sups is by no means exhaustive, and we’ll be introducing more as the series continues.

One could say that reading about so many types of creatures in one book would induce a splitting headache, right? Information overload? We didn’t think so.

The key for us was to do a slow and gentle reveal of the lay of the land and the people inhabiting it. Our world-building isn’t thoroughly put in place in the beginning, but with each chapter comes a new revelation, a fresh and clear perspective, always from the eyes of Adri and Sera. Over the course of this series, the reader will know the town of Shadow Bridge like the back of their hand.

Every supernatural race in Eternelles has its role and function. Territories exist for each of them—like Besom Forest for the witches, and an Amish-type community for the fae. The vamps own the nightclubs, while the werewolves are naturally macho and have great investigative skills—perfect fit for the Shadow Bridge police. Greek gods have a definite role in the plot, while other characters, such as demons and soul stealers, appear to stir things quite a bit. 

A mash-up of myths and species works here because Shadow Bridge is what one could describe as a global village in the supernatural world. The TV series “Supernatural” and “Charmed” inspired us to a great degree. In these shows, mash-ups are a given, and we wanted that same vibe for Eternelles. Every thread is weaved into the story in a way that doesn’t leave the reader confused—we worked really hard on making the complex both simple and exciting, with readers in mind. Hopefully, we’ve achieved our goal and welcome feedback from all readers.

Thank you so much, Dana, for the opportunity to talk about our new series!


Intrigued? Here’s a sneak peak into INESCAPABLE, the first in the Eternelles series:

An immortal born from an unlikely alliance...

Beautiful mythic Greek heiress Adrasteia "Adri" Dionysios has roamed the world for millennia, taking her pleasure where she wanted. Until one night, when Fate drops a baby wrapped in fire into her arms. Motherhood is a formidable challenge, but so is figuring out the identity of a mystery man who makes her pulse race. 

A vampyre’s obsession…

Seraphine "Sera" Dionysios' origins are shrouded in mystery. Torn between a mother whose blood saved her life, and a man who now possesses her soul, the only thing Sera can still cling to is her heart.

One rule matters above all others: Always protect the portal…

When Evil comes to Adri and Sera’s hometown of Shadow Bridge, a place where the mortal human world ends and the supernatural realm starts, it’s up to them to stop a prophecy as old as time itself...or die trying. 

The two short prequels to this series, ADRASTEIA and SERAPHINE, are also available now from all major online retailers. Both are free everywhere except on Amazon. Other channels coming soon.



About the authors:

Zee Monodee
Author, smitten wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween boy, best-buddy stepmum to a teenage lad, bookaholic, incompetent housewife desperate to channel Bree van de Kamp & Nigella Lawson (and failing miserably!)... Zee hails from the multicultural, rainbow-nation island of Mauritius, in the southern Indian Ocean. Shamelessly addicted to Supernatural, Glee, and Gossip Girl, she did put her brain to good use by getting a degree in Communications Science. Romance remains her big love, though, and she likes nothing more than writing strong, kick-arse heroines. Find out more about Zee and her work at

Natalie G. Owens
Pink velvet and black lace. Light and darkness. A world of contrasts exists in Natalie’s stories because every rose has its thorn. Her favorite stories to write are romances with a dark edge featuring brooding heroes, strong heroines, and a good dash of fantasy. Married, with one son, she now calls the beautiful island of Malta home after eleven good years in Atlanta, GA. When she’s not working or writing—or muttering to herself about it like a batty old maid—she enjoys spending time with family and friends (both online and offline), reading, cooking, watching a good movie, taking trips, and ogling shoe store displays. Find out more about Natalie and her work at

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My favorite books of 2013 (so far)

Last December, I shared my favorite books of 2012. Since I love sharing great reads with other people, here are my favorite books of 2013 so far. (Note that these are books I've read in 2013--that doesn't mean they're all new books, only that I've just now discovered them.) 

If you read last December's post, you'll know that my hands-down favorite of the year was Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. The next in her series, Bring Up the Bodies, will most likely top my 2013 list as well--and I say that knowing the year is only half over!

Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel - Amazing follow-up to Wolf Hall. We all know the story of how Anne Boelyn came to grief, but somehow Mantel makes it fresh and exciting. She's a master at sketching a character through a few choice words. Cromwell remains a fascinating character; we're in his head the entire time, and yet somehow he's still a bit of an enigma, managing to hide essential bits of his character for long stretches, so that we're continually surprised and riveted by this man and what drives him. Ever pragmatic, ever clever, ever resourceful, Cromwell is also determined to better the lot of the poorer classes, while profiting handsomely from the foibles of the rich. He bends to suit the shifting winds, and yet he steadfastly plots in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to take revenge on those who've wronged him or those he loves. I can't wait for the final book!

I was a huge Stephen King fan as a teenager, and I dip back into horror from time to time when I want a change. One of the best I've read so far this year is Jack Kilborn's Afraid.

Afraid, Jack Kilborn - Super, super creepy story! I don't want to say much about the plot for fear of spoiling it (you kind of think you know what's it about, but you don't, not really, for a long time). I very much liked the main characters and rooted for them along the way; I even teared up near the end. And the bad guys are truly frightening. This story doesn't let you feel safe for even a minute; anything can (and will) happen. 

A word of warning if you have a weak stomach; there's gore galore in this story, though the author does leave some of the worst stuff to your imagination (which is maybe worse). Very well done, and I highly recommend it to horror fans. I read this story all in one go; I couldn't put it down, even though I had pressing things to do. 

My favorite in historical romance so far this year is Forever a Lord by Delilah Marvelle. She writes historical romance like no one else!

Forever a Lord, Delilah Marvelle - My favorite of the Rumor series! Nathaniel is a great hero--tortured, complex, and with his heart in the right place--and Imogene is a very relatable heroine. I also had fun learning more about bare knuckle boxing, which I knew nothing about. Once again, Ms. Marvelle treats us to a unique storyline and locations. I love her historicals because she manages to come up with fresh and interesting facets of history to explore. Looking forward to Ms. Marvelle's next series! 

In paranormal romance, my favorite so far this year is Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones. The Charley Davidson series has rapidly become one of my favorites, and I'm looking forward to the next book!

Third Grave Dead Ahead, Darynda Jones - Wow, wow, wow. I enjoyed the first two books in this series, but this one was even better. Charley and Reyes are quite the pair--scorching hot together, but oh, what a mess! I don't want to say much for fear of spoiling the story, but I will say one of my favorite things about this book is that it holds out some hope for Charley and Reyes maybe, possibly, having a future together one day... at the same time that it lets us know that future is very much in jeopardy. And did I mention this book is laugh-out-loud funny? 

Somehow, I went on a bit of a gigolo romance kick (started by Showtime's Gigolos series--don't ask!). Here are three I enjoyed: 

Escorted, Claire Kent - This book was a total page-turner for me, and I finished it in two days. The premise drew me in, but it was the characters that nailed it. Lori is interesting enough--she's a famous romance author, and yet almost utterly clueless about men and sex--but Ander, the male escort she hires, is something else altogether. He's an enigma for much of the book, with the sort of tortured back story that I love. The more we learn about him, the more fascinating he becomes. I like that the author didn't go all "Pretty Woman" with the story and instead made it relatively realistic.

My Gigolo, Molly Burkhart - I loved this book! The premise is entertaining in itself (concerned sister hires a gigolo for her sister who's been single too long, hoping this will spark the single sister into dating), but the characters and the writing made this book a truly compelling read. The story develops in a fashion I didn't expect, but that comes down to the characters. This isn't one of those books where you can predict every single scene in advance. Sure, you know they'll end up together, but how they get there is hardly clear and certainly not smooth sailing. 

Most of all, the writing is compelling. Tight pacing and great character and plot development meant there was never a dull moment, and I could hardly put the book down. I love it when a book makes me late to appointments and makes me blow off errands because I don't want to stop reading. My Gigolo is that kind of read. It's a sexy book to be sure, but it has so much more going for it than just that.

Memoirs of a Gigolo (Vols 1-6), Livia Ellis - If you're looking for quality literary erotica, this is it. Tightly written and with a sexy, cynical, sharp as a tack, honest to a fault narrator in Oliver, the titular gigolo, this story sucks you in, and you won't put it down until you finish.

Volume 7 was just released, and I can't wait to dive into it!

And then a friend of mine got into M/M romance and shared some of her favorites with me. She recommended Aleksandr Voinov, even though what he writes is really best termed "gay erotic fiction," as he likes to call it rather than M/M romance. What he writes is unique, raw, disturbing, and somehow utterly addictive. 

Dark Soul: The Complete Collection, Aleksandr Voinov - I'm not sure what to say about this book, other than "Wow." From the first sentence, I was drawn into this dark, disturbing, and amazing (and amazingly well-written) story. I went into it thinking it was M/M romance, but it's not. There is a love story, yes, but it's not a romantic one in the traditional sense. It's a twisted, violent, and raw story of flawed people coming together in a highly charged environment (the Mafia) and learning to love and care for each other. The characters are human, deeply human, and deeply real and imperfect. 

This is not a story for the faint of heart. There's violence (including sexual violence) and other behavior that most people would consider immoral or disgusting. And yet, even if I didn't like everything that happened, I was able to understand it and why the characters had done it. Mr. Voinov is truly skilled; he made me empathize with these characters even when their behavior was so far removed from anything I'd ever consider "right."

Was this book perfect? No. Is it for everybody? No. Will I remember it for the rest of my life? Yes. Will I read more by Mr. Voinov? Hell yes. He's an incredible talent, and my hat is off to him.

Yes, I know this is an eclectic list, to say the least! I definitely like to switch it up.  

If you want to see more of my recommendations, feel free to friend me on Goodreads

And now it's your turn: What books have you enjoyed most this year so far?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Win a Signed Copy of "Malavita" at Goodreads!

I’m doing a giveaway on Goodreads for my latest book, "Malavita," the prequel to my existing “Blood and Honor” romantic suspense series, about two warring Mafia families in Italy. Enter now to win a signed copy!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Malavita by Dana Delamar


by Dana Delamar

Giveaway ends July 10, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Psst: Book 1, “Revenge,” regularly $4.99, is on sale now for only 2.99/£1.99!

Diesel | Kobo | OmniLit | SmashwordsSony 

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Malavita" (Blood and Honor Prequel) is here!

Hi everyone! I'm very pleased to announce that Malavita (Blood and Honor Prequel) is finally available at Amazon as an ebook and a paperback. Malavita will be available at all online retailers in September.

I hope you all enjoy this prequel to the "Blood and Honor" series. Some of the scenes that appear in Malavita were originally written for Revenge, but were cut for one reason or another. After hearing from several readers who wanted to know more about the origins of the feud between the Lucchesis and the Andrettis, I decided to write a prequel that tells the story of how Enrico came to be married to Antonella.

I know many of you are impatient for Antonio's story (Redemption), and I apologize for the extra delay, but if the reaction of my beta readers is any indication, you'll love Malavita and hopefully forgive me. :) And here's the good news: I'm roughly a third of the way through Redemption and plan to release it in the fall, so you won't have too much longer to wait!  

Here's the book description:

Malavita (Blood and Honor Prequel) by Dana Delamar
A son determined to avenge his family. A daughter desperate for peace. Two fathers intent on destruction...

Enrico Lucchesi never wanted anything to do with the Mafia. But when his brothers were murdered, he accepted that he would someday be the next don. However, he doesn't accept that he must marry the daughter of the man who killed them. Enrico will never trust an Andretti, never mind love one. The Andrettis are up to something with their so-called "truce"--and Enrico must avenge his siblings. But will his dark secret spell the end of his vengeance--and possibly the Lucchesis? 

After Antonella Andretti's father tries to destroy the Lucchesis, she persuades him that an alliance--achieved by her marriage to Enrico, the "golden boy" she's loved from afar--would be in everyone's best interests. As her wedding day approaches, people close to her father start dying, and her fiancé's behavior is suspect. When she learns Enrico's true feelings about her--and what her father's actual plans are--will Antonella damn their families to eternal war, or will she broker a peace that might destroy her heart?

To those readers who have written to me, reviewed my books, or come out to see me at a book signing, thanks so much for all your kind words and support! I truly appreciate it and am so glad to know that you enjoy reading this series as much as I enjoy writing it. On to Redemption