Monday, October 1, 2012

Krystal Shannan Interviews - Tory Michaels - Blood Mage - Give@way!

Please help me welcome Tory Michaels! So excited to have her.

Originally from the Sacramento Valley, Tory packed up and moved all the way to Southwest Florida in 2004 with her husband (a Florida native) under the premise that ‘hurricanes almost never hit that part of the state.’ That year, 4 blasted the area. 4 more came the following year, and her husband blames her for bringing the hurricanes. She now resides in Jacksonville and is relieved that, thus far, no more hurricanes have followed her around.

She began writing in kindergarten when a turnip wished to be human and, other than a hiatus shortly after getting married, has never stopped. Her love of vampires began somewhere in junior high, and combining the two loves didn’t take long. She loves music, considers herself a ‘book slut’ whose reading habits would break her family financially if given free reign, and is (usually) delighted to be a mommy of twin Shrimpettes and a Shrimp.

Did you always want to be an author? What made you choose to write romance?
I don’t know if I actually chose to write romance. It just turned out that I couldn’t write without having some sort of connection between my main characters. I would almost prefer not to write romance, because then I could avoid writing sex scenes. Heh.

What is your favorite part of being a writer/author?
Seriously – I love playing God without the insane part that would come with actually thinking I was God. I mean, c’mon, in my current WIP (Prophecy of Blood, 3rd book in the Dream-Walker War), I get to…oh, wait, probably shouldn’t spoil that one. Then again, if you’ve seen some of my Facebook posts, you might have seen some BOOM comments in late August. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about it.

Also, I love being able to share the characters who have become so real to me (on a non-crazy-person level).

Tell us a little about your books. What inspired you to write them?
My Dream-Walker War series came about from some old role-playing characters I created back when Prodigy Classic and their chat rooms was around. I played some Vampires: the Masquerade at the time, and the earliest versions of Dara, Chris and Anthony all showed up. Jordan…not so much. I did a short story with him in it, but he was never a character I (or anyone else) played.

A couple of years ago, the characters of Dara and Anthony took up residence in my head and refused to go away, so I had to write them down. They underwent some serious changes (primarily Anthony, who went from being as dark and evil a man as I have ever created to my White Knight Hero).

After 3 incarnations of the book that became Blood Rage, Chris Javert announced she got her own book. I tried to pair her off with a demon half-breed named Marcelo. That didn’t work so well, but it did get me to take another look at the character of Jordan MacNaught (who comes across pretty danged evil, if you see him in Blood Rage). And then ::grumble:: my sociopath (aka Jordan) announced he was in my head to stay, and if I wanted him to ever go away, I would have to hand over a book. And then one book wasn’t enough, he had to have two (Blood-Mage Rising, currently out, and Prophecy of Blood, which I’m working on finishing up now). But, I have to say I’m probably proudest of how Jordan developed.

For eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived in relative peace together. The peace is threatened when three bodies turn up less than a mile from the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs in Tampa, all bearing the signature of vampires who once terrorized Europe.

The Bureau’s chief liaison to the vampires, Dara MacKechnie, learns that the Tampa victims are not alone when her ex-lover, and head of the vampire’s Great Council, Anthony Caldwell comes calling.

The pair discovers the lie that separated them two centuries ago only banked their passion, not extinguished it. Dara must decide whether she can trust Anthony with her heart a second time as they try to head off the war that threatens all they hold dear.

Instinct helped her draw back before she took more than she should. Dara sucked in air, trying to wipe away the addictive taste of him even while she absorbed the new details about his true nature.
    “Good lord,” she said against his throat. “Wow doesn’t seem quite adequate.” The exchange was bliss itself, but ultimately left her unfulfilled. Her body throbbed with it, and she felt the same need in him, rock-hard desire pressing up against her core through their clothes. Dara shifted, trying to alleviate the pressure trapped between her thighs.
    Anthony’s arm around her waist tightened, holding her still. He groaned, teeth grinding together. “I suggest, my pet, you stop moving if you wish me to remain a gentleman. There’s a reason exchanges take place during sex.” 
    Her mouth fell open. Chris had mentioned something of that nature on more than one occasion.In for a penny, in for a pound, Dara reasoned. It would be better than walking away right then, knowing they wanted the same thing. Maybe a second night would quench the lust, and she could let go of the need, the hunger for him he created just by breathing.
    She shifted, straddling his lap to settle more firmly against the erection that bulged in his jeans and wrapped her arms around his neck. She felt reckless right then. A second night wouldn’t hurt anyone or anything. Dara found the notion liberating. “Do you really want me to stay still, Tony?” 
    His dark eyes glittered with familiar intensity as he clutched her hips. His mouth curled up at one corner. “Don’t call me that.”
    “What?” She leaned forward and nuzzled the side of his neck, just above the tiny marks from where she had bitten him, and reached for the button on his jeans. “I don’t know. I rather like it. Sarah might be onto something with that. Tony Caldwell, man about town. Maybe I can convince you to like it.”
    Anthony groaned as she slid the zipper down, shifting back on the couch. “Unlikely, but you can always try to convince me. What do you propose to do?”
    Dara trailed her fingers just inside the waistband of his pants, toying with the firm flesh there. “I have an idea or two. It might be easier if you took your pants off though.”
    “Are you going to reciprocate?” He set her own her feet before standing, towering over her.
    She grinned up at him, easing the pants over his narrow hips until she could cup the rampant erection he sported. “Wasn’t planning on it quite yet.”
    He shucked the pants off the rest of the way, kicking them to one side. A heartbeat later, his shirt joined the heap on the floor. Dara leaned back to admire the gorgeous sight he made, standing there totally nude. Oh, to have her camera, take a picture to remember this night for the rest of her existence, long after they moved on. Broad shoulders, chiseled abs leading down to his waist, with only a faint sprinkling of body hair.
    She slowly circled him, trailing her fingertips over his middle, watching with delight as goosebumps rose in their wake.
    Anthony held up his hands, watching her as she paused in front of him, clearly debating her course of action. It was a bit of a role reversal, as he was well-used to having her naked while heremained clothed. But he was inclined to give her her head and see where she led. “Now what?”
    “Sit.” In that effort, she rested her hands, silky smooth and warm, on his chest to urge him down.
    Yes, he liked this more decisive, assertive woman. He cherished the memory of her innocence and enthusiasm, but he found it quite alluring, a woman who knew what she wanted. And clearly she wanted something beyond the obvious. He settled back on the couch, arms spread along the back. If he didn’t, he’d reach for her and end this now. Control, Anthony, control.
    His breath caught in his throat when she dropped to her knees between his legs and took him in her hands, stroked along his length. His world narrowed to just the two of them, everything not her fading rapidly as he thought only of the soft hands caressing him, something he’d long feared might never happen again. Anthony groaned. “You’re going to kill me, woman.”
    A tiny, teasing smile crossed her face. “La petite mort, yes. That’s certainly the idea,” she said, cupping his balls. Warm breath tickled the length of him as she spoke.
    His hands clenched into fists. He wouldn’t be able to take much of this, or he’d thoroughly disgrace himself by coming too soon. When she took him in her mouth, his eyes crossed. Gods, yes. If Odin himself popped in and offered to take him off to Valhalla, he would turn the god down in a heartbeat, just to stay like this. It’d been so long.
    Dara allowed herself a satisfied mental smile at his raspy growl and swirled her tongue around his cock, continuing to caress him. He’d never let her get away with calling him Tony, but it’d been an excellent segue to this.
    Her eyes closed as his fingers speared into her hair, massaging her scalp even as he slowed her pace.
    “Such a talented mouth, pet,” he said, tugging strands free from the braid trailing down her back. “I’ve miss this so damned much.”
    The words echoed round and round her head, and she hummed with satisfaction, drawing another long, tortured groan from him. And then voices from the past exploded from her subconscious, rough hands pulling at her. Such a good little pet. Dara choked.
    “No!” She fell back, scrabbling away on the floor. Voices pressed in on her, upper-crust British accents, laughter, and pain. The newly recovered memories dug their claws in, and she buried her face in her knees, trying to force them back.

Blood Rage Buy Links

In the eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived side by side, relatively at peace.  In an attack that leaves his wife dead, Jordan MacNaught is caught up in the start of a war meant to turn the other races against the vampires. He knows beyond a doubt the vampires of yesteryear are not involved in the attacks. They're all dead, except for him.

     Jordan asks for Chris Javert's help in hunting those who murdered his wife. She's no stranger to hunting vampires. After all, she nearly destroyed Jordan when she ended the reign of his Aristocrats in Europe two hundred years ago.

Despite the disturbing turn to her daydream, the shower centered her. It certainly ended her bout of the hornies. When she exited the frosted glass enclosure into the steam and gardenia-scented room, Chris could face the world, and Jordan, again. Cool marble tile provided a sharp contrast against the balmy miasma blanketing her. She needed to get dressed and back to work.
“It’s about time you got out,” Jordan said as he materialized, seated on the edge of the counter between the sink bowls. His legs dangled over the edge.
“Son of a—” Chris yelped and leaped for her towel.
He blinked slowly, warning, and she just caught herself before the last word slipped out. The last time she called him a son of a bitch, he buried her alive for disparaging his mother. For some reason, he objected to the pejorative, even though rumor had it he’d killed his mother at some point. She clutched at her towel like a shield.
“What are you doing in here?”
“To quote a certain someone, I should think that it’s fairly obvious. I wanted to talk to you.” He flashed a smile, fangs just barely showing, and leaned his weight back on his palms. “You know, Chrissy, if you’d just given me a bit longer, you wouldn’t have had to resort to alternative methods.”
She might be claustrophobic, but right then she wanted the floor to open up and swallow her whole. Dear God. Her reflection turned a nice, brilliant, beet red, and she looked around for her bathrobe, finally finding it slung over the door that separated the toilet from the main portion of the room. “Mother of Lorminstra, you perverted jackanapes!”
Jordan blinked again, the picture of innocence. “I am the perverted one? Which one of us just masturbated in the shower?”
This absolutely can’t be happening. Please let this be a continuation of the weird-ass dream. Chris snatched her robe down and yanked it on, surreptitiously pinching her side in the process. Pain flared and dissipated. Unfortunately, the bathroom invasion continued unabated.Damn, no dream. She belted the flimsy scrap of silk, not feeling much more secure than with the towel. “You could have waited five minutes.”
“I did. Then, when you still didn’t emerge, I thought I’d wait in here.”
Since the universe didn’t see fit to rescue her by sending a great bolt of lightning or a tsunami to kill her, she needed to brazen the situation out. And had her shower really taken that long? Good lord.
“What was so important you couldn’t wait? And while there’d better not be a next time, next time let me know you’re there. I could have finished...ah, I could have gotten, ah, ….”
There really wasn’t a good way to end that statement, and she floundered. He didn’t seem inclined to rescue her either, judging by his grin. Asshole. The recently departed headache began to squeeze her temples again.
“I wouldn’t have enjoyed it half as much if I had interrupted, unless I joined in.”
“Well, why didn’t you?” In her brief glimpse before she bent at the waist and flipped her hair over her head to begin toweling it dry, she got good visual confirmation that he definitely enjoyed the view. Must have been in mist form to see much, given the frosted glass that surrounded the shower.
“And get my clothes wet? Don’t be absurd.”
“A normal person would join me.” She wrung her hair out with more force than strictly necessary. “Now, explain what was so important you felt the need to become a Peeping Jordan, and then get out!”
“I think you need to have another go in the shower, if you’re still this waspish.”
Anthony would thank her if she killed him.
“I’ll make this brief. You’re fond of gambling, aren’t you?”
“What of it?” She continued to rub viciously with the towel, not sure she followed him yet. “I’m fond of lots of things.”
“Earlier, you propositioned me.”
Chris choked. “I did no such thing!”
“Then what would you call it?”
“Losing my mind.”
Jordan chuckled. From her upside down position, she saw his legs stop swinging as he leaned forward. “I propose a bet. Just to make our time a little more interesting, although I doubt it will beat what I just saw.”
She purposely ignored the latter half of his statement. Finished with her scalp she moved on to the longer portion of her hair.
“If you win, I will walk the straight and narrow for, hmmm. Two decades should be impetus enough, even for you. While not admitting to having done anything that might get me in trouble under your country’s Rights and Responsibilities Act, I promise not to indulge in any of my more exotic entertainments for that period. No murder, no torture, nothing of that nature.” Her eyes widened, and she stood, towel held loosely in her right hand. “I thought that might garner your exclusive attention.”
Mouth dry, she swallowed hard. For that offer, he wanted something big in return. “And if I lose?”
“I get your blood. More specifically, we forge a blood-bond.”
No chance in hell.
Though she wanted to say the words, she didn’t. If she rejected him out of hand without a good reason, he might wonder. Vampires commonly shared blood. It wasn’t safe for her to do, since most people would feel obligated to turn her over to the Circle for execution if they figured out what she was.
She couldn’t dismiss the possibility he’d offered the bet to see how desperate she was to avoid sharing blood. In that case, she should say yes and win, no matter the cost.
“Quite the stakes. What’s the bet?”

Blood-Mage Rising Buy Links

Do you plot and outline or do you just write?  Plotter or Pantser?
::insert dumb look:: What is this strange word you use? Out. Line. ?
Seriously, I’m a pantser. I have used an outline to get me started (the third version of Blood Rage was built off a synopsis, at least, and I outlined about 6 chapters of Prophecy before the story finally gelled).

Can you tell us about the process of getting your first book published?
Mine was a bit weird, I guess. I did the whole trying to get an agent thing, along with a couple of contests (never came close to finaling). Finally, I decided to give it a shot with a couple of epublishers. I got offers and after a lot of soul searching, turned them down.

Yes, you read that correctly. I turned the first two offers down. I decided I wasn’t ready to go that route. And, in retrospect, I don’t regret that decision at all. A year and a few months later, and two full books written later, I submitted to a couple more e-publishers. Both of them said yes (within a day of each other, though the submissions were two months apart). I went with Evernight, and haven’t regretted it since. I don’t have phenomenal sales, but I’ve learned a lot and if I’d gone with one of the other publishers, I would never have met Super Editor who gave me some phenomenal help in polishing Blood Rage.

What advice would you give new authors?  What have you learned about the business?
Don’t rush your first submission. Polish it and don’t leap into anything without a good, long talking to yourself.

Do you have another book in the works?
Yup. As of this writing, I’m about 2/3 done with the second draft of book 3 in the Dream-Walker War (Prophecy of Blood) and poking at some scenes for book four (tentatively called Legacy of the Blood).

Boxers or Briefs? Neither – they get in the way of getting to the good stuff!
Cookies or cake? Cookies.
Pizza or hamburger? Pizza.
Beer, Wine, or mixed drink? Girl Beer! (Schmirnoff, Mike’s, etc) 

(Hero/Heroine Character Questions)
What were your first impressions of each other?
From Blood Rage:
Anthony: She was surprisingly innocent and alluring. I have no regrets.
Athdara: I thought he was the butler, not the duke. Erm, oops.

From Blood-Mage Rising:
Chris: He was a stuffy, pompous English aristocrat. Absolutely disgusting, considering I was a patriot during the Revolution.
Jordan: She was a vivacious, obnoxious Colonial upstart who, surprisingly enough, I didn’t want to kill. First time ever.

What’s your favorite characteristic of each other?
Anthony: Her passion and drive to protect her family.
Dara: He makes me laugh.

Jordan: Is this a family-friendly site, or can I be honest?
Chris: His ability to deal with whatever comes at him and stay true to himself.

What are your plans for the near future? 

All Four: Stop the Aristocrats from starting a world-wide species war.

You have been so much fun to interview! Be sure to enter the rafflecopter below..... AND.... Everybody, please be sure to visit Tory@ 

Rafflecopter html code: a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Sounds awesome! Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and getting involved in the giveaway, Cassandra!

  2. Happy Halloween, thanks for the giveaway.deb P

  3. Have enjoyed all the books of yours that I have read. It is interesting to hear how your writing career started. what a great imagination you have.