Thursday, May 3, 2012

Giveaway and Interview with Xandra James and her books

Good Morning my lovies and welcome to this stop on Xandra Jame's book tour!!  I was lucky enough to catch an interview with the lovely lady herself, so we get some insight into her writing as well at a sneak peek inside both of her books!!  So let's jump in!!  Take it away Xandra!!

Hi and thanks for having me at your blog today!

It was a pleasure to be able to host you!!

How old were you when you first realized you wanted to write?
I was probably around 10 years old. I'd always been an avid reader but at that point, a friend and I started writing our own stories. Mine was an eclectic mix of ya romance, nonsense and love of New Kids On The Block!! Lol. Many, many notebooks (and a couple of years) later, I had the longest unfinished manuscript ever ;) But, ever since then, I caught the writing bug.

Most authors have an unusual story or way that they come up with their ideas for books…Do you have one?
Not really, lol. I usually start with a character type or the opening of a specific scene. That will be enough to get the juices flowing and my muse out of bed. From then, I take influence from anything and everything – but I write everything down in one of my trusty notebooks because I have an awful memory. Most of it is just thoughts and 'maybe' scenarios but then my imagination will give me a break and it will push me in a certain direction. Ta-da, a story is born ;)

What was your biggest influence that steered you towards writing?
The females in my family have always been very big readers and were very encouraging.  I guess my biggest influence was falling in love with books at a very young age. It seemed a natural progression to eventually start writing. 

I have to ask, what are the hardest scenes for you to write?
Can I say anything in the middle of the book?! Lol. No, it's very often the black moment. You want to make it emotional enough to be believable but also to make sure you don't allow your characters to go in a direction that isn't befitting. Of course, you want your readers to feel their pains too so… yeah, tough.

Are sex scenes difficult for you to word?
Sometimes I think it would have been easier if we all still spoke in purple prose! I enjoy helping my characters to find their fantasies, but, occasionally, it's really hard to find a word that fits the situation without either being too crass, overly used in general or doesn't tickle my fancy. If only I could use descriptions like 'steel love pole' or 'velvety honey pot', it would at least bring a smile to my face… ;)

Do you see yourself writing in another genre?
I currently write in paranormal but would love to spread my wings and try other things. Never say never, is all I'll say.

Has your family been supportive?
Absolutely! My hubby is one of the best beta readers ever – he gives it to me straight and, even though he refuses to read romance (I'm wearing him down!), he'll give me advice on the male perspective. But yes, I'm very lucky in that my parents were always very supportive in my writing and, extra lucky to find a hubby who merely rolls his eyes when I talk romance ;) lol.

Are any of your characters reflective of you?
I think it's very hard for there not to be anything of me in my characters. One thing that I notice time and time again though is their sense of humour. I love to laugh and I will very often transfer that into the characters I write.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Sleep or try to get out of cleaning the house, usually! Erm… reading is still a major passion of mine but I also love watching films too and being creative.

Who is your favorite book heroine?
From one of my own books? I'd say it's Sienna from Reluctant Revenge. From all the books I've ever read? That's a lot tougher… probably either Merit from Chloe Neill's books or Dizzy from the latest (Alphas: The Blood Bar Chronicles) by Cherie Nicholls. I love a girl who can hold her own!

Do you have any unusual habits that revolve around writing?
Again, not really. I do prefer silence in the house when I'm in the zone and will often live on coffee but, apart from the listening to voices in my head thing, I'm relatively normal.

What is you favorite mystical creature?
Now that's a toughie. I'm going to be predictable and admit I do love my vampires – there's something very sexy about them. I also have a soft spot for demons… yum!  I've also started writing about my own special gargoyles. Can I say HOT? ;)

What were some of your biggest challenges at the beginning of your career?
Confidence – Even now it makes me itch at the thought of others looking at my story before it's published. Another big issue was actually finishing a story. I got over this with practice but it's hard to see a whole new idea through to the end, at least it was for me.

How do you feel about reader comments?
Love 'em. Obviously I prefer them to be nice comments though, lol. But I get a kick out of new readers finding my books and hopefully enjoying them. And I love to hear back from them.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Learn to finish that story in a timely manner, know that rejection is going to be in your future (at some point) and keep writing. You WILL get better if you take the time to learn the craft. And I'm totally stealing this from a friend of mine, Raven McAllan (she's very wise!!), don't try and fit the way you write into a line where you're not suited. Just write the book of your voice.

Where are your books available?
I'm at Bookstrand, Amazon, Are and all good online retailers J

What can we expect from you in the future?
Well I've just signed a contract with Evernight Publishing for a short story in an anthology (called Keyboards And Kink) with them. It's called Her Demon Charms and it's tentatively out in June. I've also got another short story in an anthology, this time with Breathless Press, called Protecting His Own and that'll be in the Protectors; The blood bar chronicles, book 2. That's roughly out in September.

Where can we reach you and become informed of updates?
I'm usually online somewhere and you can reach me via facebook, twitter, goodreads or my website.

Thanks so much for hosting me today – really enjoyed answering your questions.

Again it was my pleasure!!  Now let's take a look at your books up for grabs:

Nash was bound to Sienna completely – by a blood connection and a deep desire. An Enforcer for the Supranormal community, he was obligated to protect his sexy assignment, despite her family devastating his world.
After being betrayed, Sienna falls into the arms of her surly protector; a demon with a secret of his own. But can she face her destiny knowing she's more dangerous than those Nash was protecting her from?

"I don't believe you."
"You don't believe what?" He made himself comfortable in the ratty looking seat and turned to her, his eyes already dismissive of anything she had to say.
"About the hunter thing. Why would you tell me that?"
"I don't lie, Sienna. Your family has been doing this for many years." He turned to look out of the windscreen. "Too many years. And they've hunted a lot of creatures." Nash turned to face her once more. "And even a human or two. Not that your family seems to have many qualms about that." His face had hardened, she noticed, lines appearing around his eyes as he glared at her.
Sienna looked at him hard before actually making herself jump when a gurgle of laughter erupted from her mouth. He frowned at her which made her laugh harder.
"I'm sorry, I really am. But I think you might have inhaled too much gun smoke." She wiped her right eye where a tear had started to form. "I appreciate the save earlier on and obviously we need to get to the bottom of why I was chased, but I really don't think it was ghosts that were behind it all."
Nash looked like he wanted to throttle her. It sobered her slightly but the mirth still hovered. This sexy man was seriously cuckoo. Why were all the pretty ones gay or nuts?
"Ghosts weren't behind it. I believe Strix were."
"And what are Strix, may I ask?"
He hesitated for only a moment before speaking again.
"Vampires who eat flesh with animal ferocity."
Now, that was what she needed to snap her out of her sense of humour. He was talking blood suckers now. Did the police force know he should be suspended on medical grounds? She thought about her dilemma. Here she was, stuck in the middle of nowhere with a cop who thought vampires were real. Although she was pretty sure he wouldn't hurt her – hell, he'd saved her from certain death earlier on – he was still a tad unpredictable. Maybe she could talk to him about it all? Make him think she believed him until he dropped her off at the nearest police station? Mind made up, Sienna smiled sweetly.
"Tell me about these vampires then. Are they like the ones in the movies?"
"They are much, much worse. Believe me." He smiled at her and if she didn't know better, he had figured out she was just humouring him.
"So... can I see one?"
"That wouldn't be your smartest idea, Princess." Sienna nodded, pretending to be deep in thought and ignored the Princess quip.
"Are you one?"
"But you are human though, right?" Nash chuckled again, looking back towards the front windscreen.
"Do I look human, Sienna?" Nash turned towards her and whatever she was about to say went out the window. Her breath caught in her throat and she stumbled away from the car door.
Eyes that were once green now shined in a golden hue, his pupils dilated into slits, reminiscent of a cat. But that wasn't what had caught her attention and made her hair stand on end. As she watched, the once tanned face that she'd admired minutes before was changing. No more was his skin clear but intricate markings had appeared in a line along the side of his face and disappeared down under the collar of his t-shirt. The hand that held the steering wheel caught her attention then and she watched in horror as the nails grew into small points and turned a deep black. 
Nash was a... he was a...
She didn't know what he was.
Sienna's brain finally gave her two choices. Faint, which she longed for to put her into a state of unconsciousness. Or, run.
Her feet made the decision for her.

Luka was a bounty hunter who just wanted to do his job and get paid. Being a banished Shadow, he'd learnt the bitter lesson long ago that he was alone, after he was expelled from his home world by his own blood. Now, he needed to understand why he was wanted dead whilst his desire for the fiery haired witch erupted, out of control.   
As a rare moon-witch, all she'd ever known was a life of misery under the oppressive Fae-Guard. Nine years ago Cerys escaped the Meta-World after regretting the forced banishment of a Shadow. Now, she leads a normal life without her abilities and all she wants is to blend in. When a bounty hunter wants to take her back for a crime she didn't commit, she's willing to take a chance on her future by trusting the man who had no idea she'd wronged him years before.
He watched as she looked incredulously at him and spun on her heel to march down the road in the direction they’d just come from. Her ass—the same ass he’d fantasised about when he hadn’t known it belonged to Cerys Bailey earlier—taunted him. So did that wavy red hair of hers. Luka had a thing for redheads. Who knew?
Cerys turned back to him, a fiery glint to her eye and stalked back toward him, standing toe to toe, “I was happy. For the first time in my life, I was happy. I wasn’t Cerys Bailey, moon-witch. I was Julie Travis, Ms Normal. And then you came along—”
“Technically, you’d already been busted. I was doing my job.” Luka tried not to grin, he really did, but she just looked so cute, all small and angry.
She spluttered for a few moments, the moonlight making her look wild as her hair fell in waves around her face and anger fisted her hands at her sides.
“I could tear you apart, inch by stupid inch if I wanted to.” She stood on tiptoes to face him almost eye to mouth, and Luka was temporarily distracted by the flowery smell that emanated from her hair. “I’m dangerous. Didn’t anybody warn you of that?”
Luka chuckled then laughed as steam practically erupted from her ears. “Sweetheart, if you could do more than heal yourself and look pretty, you’d have done it. I know that. Right now? You’re stuck with me until  we get out of the situation that you’ve got me into.”
“That I’ve got you into? Weren’t you listening? It’s you they want. I’m just a happy little bonus for them.” Luka scratched the stubble on his chin and shook his head.
“Either way, you’re still my bounty until I can figure out exactly where I stand.” Luka watched as Cerys’s mind ticked over and waited for the inevitable reaction, whatever that might be. She wasn’t a natural redhead, but she sure had their passionate temper, and that thought excited the hell out of him.
What he wasn’t expecting from her was a kick to his groin and for Cerys to hightail it back along the track through a cloud of his pain and a mass of her hair. Any blood that had amassed down there retreated to his face and ears.
Luka staggered and he sucked in his breath, pain shooting into his stomach. Moments passed, and he couldn’t move.
“Bitch!” The word was wrenched from the depths of his soul.
As soon as his eyes began to clear from the tears that threatened to fall, he began to run like a drunk chasing a ten pound note in the wind with little focus at first, but slowly he gained on her. She glanced around in panic and stumbled, allowing him to gain precious distance.
And then he switched.
Luka knew the moment it dawned on Cerys that he was no longer playing fair. The look of horror spread across her face as the inky blackness in front of her enveloped her and brought her down to the ground.
Although Luka preferred his human form, his Shadow made him feel alive—allowed him to become one with nature. He couldn’t touch her in his Shadow form but he could manipulate the air around her. It also wouldn’t stop his nuts from throbbing for the next few hours.
Appearing back to her in his human form, his mouth was inches away from hers. Cerys opened it to scream, but Luka took advantage and kissed her hard and fast. The woman was a menace. To herself and to him. The quicker he got to the bottom of all of this, the better.
She moaned beneath him, and any thoughts of resisting her charms, drifted away.
Luka didn’t want to feel anything from the kiss. He was scratching an itch that had been there since the moment he’d met her as far as he was concerned. Yet the more he tasted of her, the more he wanted. And that just wasn’t good.
Her skin was flawless, and he was momentarily taken aback by its perfection as he looked down at her. Luka swallowed as her tongue darted out to moisten her already damp lips. There was no way he should be doing this.
Pushing her away from him, he looked deep into her gorgeous green eyes and saw exactly what he was feeling—a deep longing desire.
Both books sound amazing!!   Just fill out the rafflecopter for your chance to win!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Cherie Nicholls said...

NKOTB RULE Jordan Knight FOREVER!!! Great POst Xandra and great excerpts!!!

Anonymous said...

*waves to Xandra*

Great interview!

jorja lovett said...

With your love of notebooks and NKOTB, I think we might be sisters :)

Kiru Taye said...

Hi Xandra! I love the longest unfinished manuscript. I think I had one of those too as a child.

Kassandra said...

Reluctant Revenge would be my choice. I have read and enjoyed reading Shadow Justice.

Texas Book Lover said...

I would choose Reluctant Revenge.

Thanks for the chance!

Joanne said...

Both books sound great. Either one would be fine with me. Thanks for the giveaway.

Na said...

I would choose The Reluctant Revenge. I like that there's a demon involved.

Arianne said...

Shadow Justice

Xandra James said...

I loved visiting the blog today and answering the questions - thanks for inviting me, Nikki.

And I apprecaite everyone stopping by and commenting!

Cherie? It was Donnie for me - NKOTB 4 eva!!! ;) LOL

April Alvey said...

I Would Love To Have Reluctant Revenge.

Linda said...

Would love a copy of Shadow Justice but both look so good!

wanda f said...

I would choose Reluctant Revenge

Shadow said...

If i win, id love to have Reluctant Revenge please. Thank you!

wyndwhisper said...

Hi Xandra,
thank you for the chance at such a great giveaway. i love the covers of the books, they are both so gorgeous and the excerpts make it very hard to choose just one of them.

i guess if i Have to choose :) it will be "Shadow Justice". i like the interchage between the two of them and how she gives as good as she gets. :D i can't wait to see what happens next.

tammy ramey

Xandra James said...

Thanks so much for commenting, everyone :)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I would like reluctant revenge but both look good!

Cathy M said...

Hi Xandra,

Great interview. My favorite paranormal stories combine humor with a sexy romance story.

I would love to read Reluctant Revenge.

Lacey Thach said...

I would choose Reluctant Revenge :)
Thanks for the giveaway!

Filia Oktarina said...

Reluctant Revenge would be my choice :)
Thanks for giveaway!!

Psyche said...

I would choose Shadow Justice.

Unknown said...

They both sound really great but I would choose I would choose Shadow Justice for now and add the other to my wish list :)

Unknown said...

They both sound really great but I would choose I would choose Shadow Justice for now and add the other to my wish list :)

Xandra James said...

It's really interesting to see who wants what... I think Reluctant Revenge is in the lead very slightly so far!! ;) lol.

Thanks so much to all who have commented so far; I really appreciate it.


Alison said...

Great interview, and would love to read either, but probably Reluctant Revenge first :)

divavixenqueen said...

Reluctant Revenge.

Barbara said...

I think I would choose Reluctant Revenge. Thx for the giveaway op! :)

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