Author Archives: madeleinedrake

Madeleine Drake has confidence in sunshine, dark chocolate, and the geckos that live in her garden. Raised by a pride of cats, a friendly mutt, and the Sonoma County library system, she loves to read about ancient history and mythology, anthropology, gender roles, and sexual archetypes. Her homeworld is located out past the constellation Orion, but she currently resides in Texas. She writes paranormal romance.

Interview/Giveaway: Michelle Miles, author of Only for a Knight

onlyforaknight_msrMichelle’s back, and today she’s giving away a signed print copy of the first book in her Knight series, One Knight Only, the prequel to her new release Only for a Knight!

Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! Can we talk about your new book, Only for a Knight? Who are Derron and Elyne?

Derron is a knight who is also the Protector of the Realm and future Guardian of the Sword of Light. He likes to hang out in the human realm at jousting tournaments because he’s bored by the Otherworld.

Elyne is a princess and future ruler of the Otherworld. She’s desperately in love with Derron but too stubborn to admit it. When her world starts to fall apart, it brings the two of them closer together.

Would you mind telling us a little about Derron and Elyne’s world?

Not at all! Their home is the Otherworld, the Faery realm that exists behind a veil and is hidden from humans. It’s separated into two courts – the Light, or Seelie, and the Dark, or Unseelie. The Unseelie realm is where the thieves, robbers, murders are banished from the Seelie. They are condemned to live in exile there ruled by the Dark King who is content with his realm. Until the Dark Elf, Lord Kieran, decides he can do better.

The first novel in the series, One Knight Only, takes place in Scotland, but this sequel takes place in the faery Otherworld—how was it to move your characters from the historical setting to a fantasy setting? Did it change the way you approached this story?

For me, it was a lot more fun to move into the fantasy setting. I’m a fantasy lover at heart, so writing about the Fae, Elves and dragons was awesome. It took me a while to really get going on the story because I had some world building to do. I needed to figure out exactly what the Otherworld was and how it was mapped out. So even though I started writing, and even though I knew what the conflict was up front, I still had to go back and figure out why the Elves and Fae hated each other. It was great fun.

What kind of research did you do when you were creating the Otherworld?

I already knew a lot about Celtic mythology and how the “Otherworld” was. I drew on that as I wrote the story. I also wanted to incorporate the four Fae treasures, though, so I did a lot of research on what those were and then sort of made it for what I needed and wanted for the story. Two of the treasures – the Sword of Light and the Stone of Destiny – are the most famous. For the other two – the Club of Dagda and the Spear of Lugh – I used what I found in text to make it more than it actually was. One of the treasures was a cauldron, which does make an appearance in the story as well.

What’s your favorite place in the Otherworld?

The home of the Elves, high in the trees. 🙂

You chose to split the Otherworld community into two factions, Fae and Elves—can you tell us about that decision, and how it plays into the story?

You know I’m a Pantser (grin), so when I sent Elyne to get help from the Elves and the king wasn’t so willing to give it I had to think about why. I started asking myself some “what if” questions about the Elves and the Fae to answer the why question. Why are they divided? Why do they dislike each other so much? The more I wrote, the more I realized there was some bad blood between the two races and the root of is was Queen Maeve’s fault.

How about a blurb?

After saving her love, Princess Elyne returns to the Otherworld by order of her mother. But it’s not the homecoming she expects. Furious Elyne has meddled with humans the queen imprisons her and strips away her magic. The only way Elyne can get it back is to perform one selfless act.

When Queen Maeve sends Derron to find the Guardian of the Sword of Light, he can’t leave without releasing Elyne. After all, she altered time to save his life. But freeing the princess comes with a steep price—he must take her with him on this dangerous quest. And the two must deal with feelings of past hurt and the love growing between them.

Their search becomes more than a pursuit for the missing Guardian as Lord Kieran rises to dominate the Unseelie court. He will stop at nothing to gain control of both the Otherworld and the human realm. Even with the help of Elves, dragons and their human friends, the odds are stacked against Derron and Elyne.

oneknightonly-200pxWas there a moment when you were writing One Knight Only where you knew you were going to write Derron and Elyne’s story?

Actually, yes. When I realized they had unfinished business with each other. It was closer to the end of the book when Elyne realized Derron might have died and she truly loved him. That was the moment where I knew I couldn’t allow their betrothal to remain broken. I had to get these two together!

Was there any point in Only For A Knight where one of the characters surprised you?

Maeve did. She’s always so hard on her daughter than toward the end, during the big battle scene, I had no idea what she intended to do until I wrote it. 🙂 That’s what I love about writing!

What’s your favorite thing about writing Fae characters?

They’re just fun. Plus, I’ve always had a fascination with Celtic myths and legends. This book finally gave me the opportunity to write that story!

My first encounter with faeries was probably Tinkerbell in Peter Pan. I remember, as a very small child, daydreaming about how cool it would be to fly anywhere. What’s the first faery you remember encountering?

Tinkerbell for sure. Who hasn’t seen Peter Pan as a kid? I’ve always loved them, though. I have a few I’ve purchased in various places – Scarborough Faire and Medieval Times. Plus I love fantasy art that features fairies. There are some wonderful artists out there.

What’s your favorite book or movie featuring the Fae?

Great question! I’d have to say book and by far Karen Marie Moning’s FEVER series. It’s so dark and delightful! I love those books.

Will there be a third book in this series?

Yes! I’m currently working on the third, A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER which will feature Queen Maeve and her love interest. 🙂

What are you working on right now?

Too many things! I have all those voices in my head. I’m currently working on the third Knights book, a new erotic novella featuring hunky Atlantis guys and an urban fantasy with angels and demons. Plus, in the New Year, I will be re-releasing my contemporary novellas with brand new covers and new titles.

Thanks for having me here! I enjoyed it!

Where to purchase Only for a Knight:
Ellora’s Cave:
Barnes & Noble:

Where to find me online:
Website and blog home:

Want to be entered in the drawing for One Knight Only?  Leave a comment for Michelle below!

Miles5Michelle Miles found her love of writing buried in the fantasy books of Patricia A. McKillip and the beautiful romances of Victoria Holt. It wasn’t until her high school years she decided to take up the pen and try her hand at writing. She created faraway lands, space adventures, and even princesses who just wanted to be saved. Never learning to plot, she always believed that jumping in feet first was the way to go and has since become a self-proclaimed Pantser, writing sexy contemporaries and sizzling paranormal and sweeping fantasy.

A Native Texan, she loves hockey, football, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. You can read her daily antics at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas  and Plotting Princesses.


Interview/Giveaway: April Vine, Author of Unbound

Please welcome romance author April Vine! Her new release from Ellora’s Cave, Unbound, is funny and sexy and full of magic. She’s graciously offered to give a free copy to one lucky commenter.

Unbound, by April VineStaid and straitlaced Michelle Stein has two thoughts fueling her mind…

1. Floor the first man to walk into her antique shop.
2. Throttle her three witchcraft-practicing aunts.

They promised her a tiny spell to fix her ridiculous inhibitions, but instead mischievously delivered a full-blown, sanity-squashing lust spell. The temporary curse apparently has no boundaries either…since the first man who walks through her door is the same man who broke her heart ten years ago. Despite Michelle’s vociferous resistance, Sebastian becomes the only man who can appease her unending physical hunger.

Thirty, heirless and restless, Sebastian Gray is drawn back home to Cape Town to claim the only girl he ever loved. What he finds in her place is a hotly bewitched erotic seductress. Now with the reparation spell her aunts cast gone awry, Sebastian might be on the losing end of a futile battle against a strength-ascending hex, no matter how hard he tries to keep Michelle satiated, alive…or even just human.

April, can you tell us a little bit more about Unbound?

It’s a sometimes funny, sometimes dark love story that unfolds when my highly reserved heroine is cast with a lust spell but in all that finds true love and accepts who she really is.

Would you mind introducing us to Michelle and Sebastian?

Michelle is staid and straitlaced. She wants nothing but rigid order to her life, something that is hard to achieve because the three aunts she lives with and takes care of practice real-life witchery. They’re constantly messing with her ordered existence but more so when they cast a lust spell on her and turned her world upside down.

Sebastian is at an age in his life where he wants to settle down. He spent time in special forces, then took over his father’s company and now needs heirs to leave his legacy to. Of course only one girl ever owned his heart and that’s Michelle, so he comes back home to Cape Town, to claim her. Only to find in her place a hotly bewitched seductress.

What’s your favorite moment in this story?

The ending. I felt Michelle and Sebastian did get their happily ever after after all so my work was done!

Will there be a sequel to Unbound?

There are two more books I plan to write featuring the three matchmaking-witch-practicing aunts. The next two will feature each of Sebastian’s friends, Zach and Nick.

How did you get started as an author, and how long have you been writing?

I can’t pinpoint a time when I started actually writing, I feel as if there was never a time I wasn’t writing. But of course marriage and babies took priority and now that my youngest is in school, I decided to write full-time. So seriously for about four years now.

I submitted a contemporary romance to a publisher and somehow it landed on the wrong editor’s desk. That editor was an erotic romance editor. She liked my voice and wanted to work with me and then recommended I read a few erotic romances to see what she was looking for. Once I picked my jaw up from the floor, I blindly dived in to writing my first erotic romance and realized I enjoyed it thoroughly.

What was the very first story you ever wrote? What was it about?

The first true story I ever wrote was an historical romance of mammoth proportions and an editor’s nightmare. I threw in everything I knew into that book and it showed in a bad way.

What are the key elements of an April Vine story?

Humor, emotion, conflict and definitely a happily ever after at the end.

How do you balance the erotic and the romantic in your stories? How do you see those two aspects conflicting or enhancing each other in fiction?

I don’t see erotic and romantic aspects as separate factors, but rather that the erotic is a bonus of the romance. There must be romance first in my opinion, for the erotic to be meaningful. So definitely erotic descriptions of a sex scene should wholly enhance the romance itself or the scene will leave me disinterested. The other way I look at it is the romance brings the emotional conflicts and the eroticism makes those conflicts hotter. 🙂

How does your family feel about the fact that you write sexy romances? Do they know?

What they don’t know won’t hurt them. 😉 No one knows what I write except hubby, who is my reason and my sanity and my pillar and even my research partner!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read! It’s the safest hobby I could come up with. When I’m feeling brave, I bake or cook. Shoes, the beach, chocolate and lounging around are other stuff I like and do from time to time.

Who are your favorite authors?

I have met so many wonderful authors since becoming published and have read their books and enjoyed them so much, that I couldn’t name all of them. One that comes to mind immediately is you, Ms. Drake, love your books. 🙂 Others include Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Dostoevsky, Ayn Rand, Austen, Hemmingway, Coetzee to name a few.

*blushes* Thanks, April. For those readers who are just discovering your work, what other April Vine books are in print?

I have three short erotic romance ebooks out with The Wild Rose Press. Details are on my website.

What are you working on now? What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

I just finished the second book to follow Unbound and I will start working on the third one soon.

Would you mind sharing an excerpt from Unbound with us?

I’d be happy to.

Chapter One

Michelle leaped from the floral-embossed Victorian chair, gripped the edge of the walnut desk and dropped her chin to her chest. Labored breaths somersaulted from her mouth. Her heart beat with swift speed. Her skin screamed under a raging fire.

She was having an attack.

Not a panic attack.

A sex attack.

Oh how she vowed to strangle her aunts, wring their collective witches’ necks and put them on a diet of cabbage for as long as they lived. She thought they’d agreed with her terms and stipulations.

Obviously not, since they’d turned her into a raging sex fiend who without any hesitation would attack the first man who walked through the door of her antiquities shop. Not by her own doing, because how could she, twenty-six-year-old, staid, even-headed and collected Michelle Stein, sign up for such reckless sexual abandonment? Not ever.

She resisted the urge to squeeze her scorching nipples and the temptation to bunch up her cotton panties and pull them taut against her clit. She couldn’t give in. Not while her door remained opened for business.

She wobbled out of her office to the entrance of the store. Pressing her legs together, she chewed her lip in agony as the slightest movement ricocheted spasms of pleasure through her body. Her eyes fixed on the gold-plated sign hanging on the inside of the glass door meters away from her. Her mission to flip it around and keep out any possible victims until the crazy her aunts bestowed upon her evaporated.

Too late.

The door swung open. Eighteenth-century chimes hanging from the paneled ceiling danced in the afternoon breeze. Their former melodious jingle a sex-alert siren in her ear now.

She zeroed in on a musky scent mingled with the clean, self-assured aroma of pure red-blooded male. Her senses hummed. She licked her lips then swerved to a dead halt.

Bedeviled with the worst kind of heat known to any man, woman or animal for that matter, and who chose to walk into her ordinarily sedate but presently doggoned world?

Sebastian Gray.

He who broke her heart in two.

“Glitterbug.” His gravel-and-silk voice spiked and inebriated her nerves. She tore her gaze away from his killer smile and stared into his wicked green-tinged blue eyes, which teased her the same way they did ten years ago.

Only one thought shot through her mind.

Oh dear, I’m going to molest Sebastian Gray.

She stepped back—her restless hands crossed over her breasts, curled around her neck and intertwined behind her in a clammy mess. She squelched the incoherent reverberations tickling against her closed lips, afraid she’d growl at him instead.

She backtracked into her office. He followed her, his stride unhurried, lazy, unaware of the red-hot danger he seemed intent on pursuing. She held up her hand. Cease! her palm screamed at him. He closed in, his eyes narrowing at her fidgety silence.


The part of her wanting to keep him out of her office died in distress. The other part, the part her aunts had concocted wicked mischief with, purred with glee. She’d managed to lure her prey into the confined space of her office.

No, he is not your prey.

She grew up with him, fell in love with him then realized she missed his league by a mile and a half—a gap he had no intention of closing when he left without saying goodbye. She’d beat the potion dragging her hormones on a no-recourse sex fest. She’d resist him, really she would.

She opened her mouth to speak.

The will to resist him crashed and vanished. She charged, grabbed his jacket and pulled him down to her level. Her lips assailed his gorgeous face. She kissed his beautiful eyes, licked his delicious clean-shaven jaw.

Her desperate attempts to devour his face had nil effect on his balance. His chuckle, deep and sexy, ambushed her nerves. Her teeth sank into the fleshy part of his earlobe. Her long skirt tangled about both their limbs as she tried to climb up his six-foot-two frame.

“Glitterbug…whoa.” He forced an arm’s-span distance between them. Her cheeks burned. She’d never live this day down in her life. Never. “I’m happy to see you too. But shouldn’t we talk first? How are you?”

He insisted on niceties? She wanted him naked and inside her. She pushed into his chest and toppled him onto a velvet-upholstered Louis XVI loveseat. Her surge of foreign strength caught them both off guard.

“I haven’t seen you in…” His voice reverberated down her spine, setting off lively celebrations in all her nerves.

“I’m sorry.” She straddled his lap, ripped his tie apart, broke the buttons off his shirt and unfastened his belt. “I’m so sorry. I can’t seem to stop myself.”

Her hands ran up and down his concrete eight-pack. “I can’t control this. Oh, oh, oh.” His powerful thigh wedged between her legs. She ground her pussy against his contracted muscle, rocking herself, and was sure she turned a new shade of red. “This isn’t me.” Her breasts. He needed to touch her breasts. She captured his hand and smacked it against her chest.

“Squeeze.” She manipulated his fingers around her engorged flesh and licked her lips at the torturous pleasure. “I have no power to stop this.” She looked into his face and begged he’d see how useless a grip on the situation she had.

A bemused grin flitted across his lips. “Do your aunts have anything to do with your new uninhibited self?”

“Yes!” she screamed. “Yes,” she repeated, less vociferous. If anyone could understand her strange behavior, Sebastian would. He knew her three chubby and cheerful aunts, who lived in a cottage on his father’s land, practiced real live witchery. He’d understand and forgive her, her erratic, uncharacteristic conduct. “They said they would help me with a bit of flirting. In fact they talked me into it. Said I needed help in that department. I’m getting old as they put it and they thought a tiny little spell would make me less…cold and more…inviting. Look what they’ve done to me instead!”

Available at Ellora’s Cave:

April Vine writes erotic romance by night and is a professional dreamer by day. She has two precious sons who keep her sharp and one very tolerant husband who chivalrously and bravely defends her honour daily.

Writing keeps sane her, or so she says. She’s been found on more than a few occasions eyeing her laptop lasciviously, pulling her hair out in front of her laptop, smiling stupidly or cussing badly at her laptop, pacing nervously before her laptop, shoving it under the bed and more than once, she’s been seen hugging her laptop with tears in her eyes. Case rested.

She writes contemporary erotic romance and paranormal erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave and The Wild Rose Press.

Connect with April:

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Unbound, take a moment to say hi to April in the comments!

Interview/Giveaway: Michelle Miles, author of Phoenix Fire

Please welcome back Michelle Miles, author of a new paranormal romance with historical elements: Phoenix Fire!

A fantasy romance with a gladiatrix heroine–so much fun! Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

I dreamed this book. Not from start to finish but I had this amazing, incredible dream about a gladiatrix who had to fight her lover to the death in the arena. I distinctly remember this day, too, when I woke up and could not stop thinking about the story. I thought about the whole time I got ready for work and drove to work. I had the main plot worked out and ended up writing a synopsis. Granted, I didn’t follow it much when I wrote the book, but it gave me an outline as to where I wanted the book to go. Elena and Cassius were born out of that dream. I wish all my books came to me like that. 😉

Would you mind introducing us to Elena and Cassius?


Elena is an orphan. She never knew her father and she was stripped from her mother at a young age and put into an orphanage. She grew up there, defending herself and other girls from boys and men. She’s always been a fighter, very feisty and not overly beautiful. She’s scarred, emotionally and physically. When the Emperor plucks her from the orphanage, originally she’s to be a house maid, but she gets herself into a lot of trouble there, and the Emperor puts her in the Games. She’s his favorite and he rigs the Games to keep her alive in the hopes that he can seduce her into his bed one day.

Cassius is a former general of the Legion. He’s lost everything dear to him–his family, his honor. He will do anything to keep from going back into the Legion and working for the vile Emperor–so he becomes a hired assassin. When a Senator bent on getting rid of the current ruler hires him, it alters his life in a way he never expected. Initially he refuses, but the Senator uses his power to take away the one thing Cassius values most–his freedom. He is tossed in the Games and finally agrees to assassin the Emperor. In the Games, he meets Elena and sees someone desperate for freedom like him. He offers her an alliance–she helps him kill the Emperor and he’ll guarantee her freedom.

How closely is Hixyl based on ancient Rome?

It’s as close as I could get it without making it Rome. 😉 I added mythical creatures—centaurs, nymphs, etc for that fantasy flare. I knew I needed an arena for the gladiators, but I also added a coliseum for the chariot races (yes, there are chariot races).

What kind of research did you do for this story?

I read a lot about the Romans, including their customs, clothing, food, entertainment. I also read a lot about gladiators, where they lived, what they ate, etc. Of course, not everything made it into the book. I needed to know what my city looked like, so I drew a map on graph paper and outlined everything in the book. I referenced that a lot when I wrote the book so I could keep the location of everything straight.

Are any of the characters based on historical figures?

Not really. I read up on a lot of different Emperors who ruled in Rome, but didn’t use just one to pattern him after.

Do you have a favorite Roman?

Cassius 😉

What’s your favorite part of the story?

I love the chariot races. It was probably the most fun to write.

Phoenix Rising is a bit darker than your recent paranormal release, One Knight Only. Do you find darker stories more emotional to write? Or different in any other ways?

They’re more intense. I have to be in a certain mindset to write darker and it’s harder for me. I tend to struggle a little with the storyline.

Will there be a sequel to Phoenix Rising?

I would love to do a spin-off with Elena in her earlier years! I haven’t quite decided if I’m ready to write a sequel, though.

You have quite a range: time travel romance featuring medieval Scotland, historical-based fantasy, wicked-hot contemporaries. Do you have any tricks for switching between genres?

Hehe I write what I’m interested in at the moment. I’m a Gemini, so I tend to get distracted easily and my Twins are always at odds with each other on what to write next. So I choose whatever is pulling at me the hardest. I try to stick with one book at a time but usually I’m writing new material and editing old at the same time. I have a scheduled hour of writing and really try hard to stick to that. In the evenings, I edit or critique. It just depends on where I am in the process.

What are you working on now? What can Michelle Miles fans look forward to in 2012?

I am currently working on the sequel to ONE KNIGHT ONLY, featuring the two Fae characters, Elyne and Derron. I have completed a new erotica futuristic that needs to be polished for submission. It will be a new three-book series and is on the darker side. I also have a novella, TAKE ME I’M YOURS, previously published that I’m polishing and getting ready to self-pub, so look for that soon.
What’s your favorite…

…movie? Raiders of the Lost Ark

…dessert? Cookies and ice cream

…gemstone? Emerald

…shoe style? Stilettos!

…supernatural creature? Oh! That’s hard. Do Elves and Faeries count?

How about an excerpt?

Excerpt from Phoenix Fire

Elena lived to kill and killed to live.

Such was the way for the lowest of the low. A slave to slaves. Her pathetic excuse for a life teetered on the edge of her blade every time she swung it. This time, it made contact with the minotaur’s skull in a crushing blow. She could hear the snap of bones as she sliced through skin and fur hair.

She watched the creature fall to the sand, bleeding it red as it gasped its final breath. After years of fighting, she’d gotten used to the sight. It no longer made her stomach queasy like it once did. Nor were her nerves shredded on the edge of shattered glass. This was her life. She’d long ago accepted it and stopped fantasizing about freedom.

Her victory was short lived as another attacker engaged her. This one was barely a Youngling, a female centaur. Much too young and frail to fight in the arena. But then again, the Emperor was known for being twisted. Pitting the Youngling against Elena, Phoenix of the Grand Arena and Hixyl’s best gladiatrix, was a sure death warrant.


The screench of metal against metal as swords crossed. The cloying stench of blood in the air. The roar of the crowd. All familiar. All part of her daily existence.

Clink. Clink. Clang!

Her sword clashed hard against that of the girl, who seemed to have surprising force. The steel reverberated up Elena’s arm, jarred her bones, shuddered her soul. She clenched her jaw, her back teeth throbbing. Shrugging off the pain, she dogged the scrawny centaur as it reared up on hind legs and tried to kick with front hooves. She carried a round shield like Elena’s, a short sword her weapon of choice.

Behind her, another battle raged. Men pitted against men. Centaur against centaur. Elena tried to concentrate on her own skirmish instead of the scuffles around her. Thankfully the slit in her steel faceplate blocked her peripheral vision, forcing her to focus all her attention on her own fight.

Sweat plastered her long brown hair against her skull under her helm and dampened her brow. She could feel it, too, rolling down her spine. Her armor wasn’t much more protective than the girl’s, though she was lucky she was allowed to wear leather greaves, bracers, and a leather and steel tunic with shoulder plates. Perhaps that gave her an unfair advantage, but then that was how the Emperor worked.

Elena gripped the round shield in her other sweaty hand. Her fingers cramped from holding it so tight. But she dare not release it, for she knew her fate if she did, even though she was fairly certain the girl wouldn’t know how to kill her if she tried.

Her attacker lacked skills, but made up for it with agility. She charged, thrusting her sword towards Elena with an ear-splitting war cry.

Her opponent stabbed the short sword toward her again. As Elena raised her shield, the sword bounced off it with a thump, back towards the skinny yet muscular Youngling. The impact caused her to lose her footing. Her back legs crumpled, her arms flailed, and she exposed her ribs and chest.

Elena lunged, plunging her sword between ribs, right into the heart. The crowd cheered as the Youngling fell back and Elena reclaimed her sword, now dripping with blood.

The female centaur’s death had been a silent one, but her face had said it all.

It was the faces Elena remembered. Always the eyes widening with surprise. The brow creasing from several lines to none before the light diminished. The tense muscles releasing as life ebbed.

After participating in the Games for years, Elena could no longer smell the familiar reek of blood and death and rot. She could no longer hear the death noises of men and beasts slaughtering each other. The screams of defiance. The splish of blood against sword. Being inside the arena was like home—and hell.

“Elena, look out!”

Heart pounding, she whirled in time to block the sword. Holding it two-handed, her muscles contracted to ward off the attack. Fatigue had slowed her reaction, turning her limbs into sweat-soaked noodles. The seedy-looking fellow grinned, showing off decaying yellow stumps of teeth.

Their swords clashed and he threw all his weight behind his, pushing her backward. Energy failing, she stumbled, giving him enough opportunity for his stumpy fingers to latch onto her throat and squeeze.

Marcus—the Serpent—had given her the warning and now came to her aid. He stabbed the man in the back of the neck, severing his spine. The man dropped like a lump in the dirt to the boisterous cheers of the crowd. Her chest heaving, she gave a nod of thanks to her fellow fighter.

They were the only two left standing. Elena didn’t want to see who had been lost to death today and who had been merely wounded. Instead, she turned toward the stands, waiting as the Emperor rose from his cushion. He stood at the railing for all to see as he stuck out his arm, his hand fisted. When he gave both standing gladiators a thumbs-up, the crowd cheered louder. Some threw roses and streamers to show their appreciation and adoration to the gladiators.

Accolades for slaughter.

Leave a comment and say hi to Michelle, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of Phoenix Fire!

Phoenix Fire available as ebook at:
All Romance eBooks:

One Knight Only available as print and ebook at:
Ellora’s Cave, Amazon.Com, Barnes & Noble and All Romance Ebooks

Connect with Michelle:
Twitter: @MichelleMiles
Plotting Princesses:

Coming Soon: Warrior Bound

Cover of Warrior BoundJust wanted to give you a sneak peek at what’s coming in 2012!  I got the rights to Blood Hero back from the original publisher, and have decided to revise it and republish.  I want to continue the story of Rihat and Iltani, so I’m also working on a sequel.  My plan is bundle the two short stories, Blood Hero and Monster in a single volume, titled Warrior Bound.

For those of you who bought Blood Hero when it was available from Excessica, just email me a copy of your receipt, and I’ll send you the new version in the format of your choice as soon as it’s available.

The lovely cover for Warrior Bound was created by the even lovelier author/artist, Laura Morrigan.

Interview/Giveaway: Michelle Miles, Author of One Knight Only

Michelle Miles, author extraordinaire, returns to tell us about her new time-travel romance set in medieval Scotland. 

There will be jousting. 

And sexy rogues. 

And stand-up knights with brogues.

The generous Ms. Miles is giving away a free copy of One Knight Only  to one lucky commenter! 

Let us waste no more time with introductions…welcome, Michelle!  Can you tell us a little about your new book, One Knight Only?

One Knight Only is set during a jousting tournament in the Middle Ages. It’s the story of Maggie, a woman from the present day, and Finn, a Scottish Knight with a gambling problem. It also has some paranormal elements that were a lot of fun to mix into the story.

Here’s the blurb:

A snarky Faery princess, a Scottish knight with a gambling problem, and a murderous earl all add up to one thing: Trouble. Maggie’s medieval education never prepared her for life in the Middle Ages!

Do-gooder Maggie Chase throws her thesis out the window when she wakes up in the arms of a hot Scottish knight. When she realizes she’s somehow ended up back in time, she embraces the persona of Lady Margaret. But she may be in over her head when she realizes she has to keep the sexy knight alive during a jousting tournament in order to get back to her own time.

Sir Finian “Finn” McCullough is a gambling man and owes a very large debt to an evil earl who is after his family estate. When the beautiful and outgoing Maggie arrives in his bed, he can’t remember tupping her the night before and thinks she’s a spy for one of his neighboring clans. He intends to find her kinsman and return her safely but he can’t resist her charms, her smart mouth or her sex appeal. Instead he keeps her close, taking her with him to an important jousting tournament—one he has to win or lose his castle forever.

What’s your favorite moment in this novel?

There are so many! I had so much fun writing the entire book that it’s hard to pick just one. Maggie has a lot of funny dialogue with Elyne (the Fae princess). Plus Elyne butts heads with Finn because she thinks he killed her love, Derron, on purpose during a joust. There are two scenes I really like: when Maggie jousts in Finn’s place (you’ll have to read the book to see how she ends up in the saddle) and when Finn is in the gambling tent playing cards.

What do you like about the time travel genre?

I like the idea of taking a modern character and sending them back in time to experience the wonders of the past. I’ve done it more than once – the Ranson & Fortune series with Samhain is a time travel.

Are there paranormal or magical elements in OKO besides the time travel?

Oh yes! I have a Fae princess, Elyne, who uses magic to alter time and other things. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. 😉 She’s in love with a Fae knight who is jousting and masquerading as a human. But Elyne’s use of magic in the human world is strictly forbidden by Fae law and she gets in trouble with Mom, the Queen of Faery.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while researching this novel?

Aside from jousting itself, I did a lot of research on games in the Middle Ages. Specifically card games and dice games. Hazard is the predecessor of Craps. Playing cards were actually introduced to the Western Anglo world in the mid-1300s. The suit system we know today was adapted by the French in the fifteenth century and referred to as a French deck. Other regions had their own suits (e.g. Germany, Italy, Spain). Some of the earlier suits had cups, swords, coins, and batons; others had animals, flowers, etc.

In what ways are you like Maggie, the heroine of OKO?

Oh, that’s a hard one. I think there’s a little bit of me in every character. With Maggie, it’s her stubbornness. She’s a do-gooder who wants to help everyone and she won’t let anyone, not even an evil Earl, stand in her way.

If you could travel back in time to experience one event in history, where and when would you go?

Just one? Hm. Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation, to see the beginning of her reign, which I think would be awesome!.

Derron the seductive rogue or Finn the honorable knight — if you were going to get to spend a night with one of these characters from OKO, which one would you choose?

Ooo! That’s hard! But I love all things Scottish and that includes beefy men with a brogue. Finn wins this one. (Poor Derron.)

You’ve been writing a lot of contemporary romance (the uber-sexy Coffeehouse Chronicles, for example). Is OKO your first paranormal romance release?

I have a time travel series with Samhain Publishing—the Adventures of Ransom and Fortune. The first book is A BEND IN TIME. When hit man Dane Fortune was hired to kill Skye Ransom, he never counted on her leading him on a game of cat and mouse through time…or that he’d just as soon kiss her as kill her. He chases Skye Ransom, who knows she’s his next target, but she inadvertently transports herself back in time—with Dane.

I’m also one of eleven authors in the ENTANGLED paranormal anthology. All proceeds are going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, so I’m very excited I was asked to be part of something for such a great cause.

How did you get involved in that project?

My good friend, Misty Evans, asked me one day if I would be interested in doing a short story for a paranormal anthology releasing around Halloween. Of course I said yes! It was also a great way to give back to a community that writers don’t often have an opportunity to give back to. All the proceeds from the sales of the anthology go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The book is for sale through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks, and other online distributors. So far, we’ve sold over a thousand copies and I hope there are a thousand more to come. My short story is SINFULLY SWEET and is the story of a witch who bakes a little magic into her cupcakes.

Do you take a different approach when writing contemporary romance vs writing paranormals?

I think I take a different approach to each and every book. They all come about in a different way. Some I just start writing because a character showed up in my head and demanded attention. Others start with the seed of an idea (“I’d like to write a book about INSERT SUBJECT HERE”). And still others start with a snippet of dialogue that nags at me until I start writing.

What was the first paranormal romance you ever read? What paranormal romance authors have influenced you?

Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series was the first paranormals I ever read which are all time travels and—surprise!—Scottish romances. So she’s definitely influenced me and I devoured her Fever series. Plus I enjoy reading Sharie Kohler/Sophie Jordan, Gena Showalter, Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kim Harrison. I also read a lot of fantasy. Authors I like: George R. R. Martin, Patricia A. McKillip, Terry Goodkind.

Are you planning a sequel to OKO, and if so, do you mind giving us a preview?

Yes, I’ve already planned out the next book which will be about Elyne and Derron. It picks up where ONE KNIGHT ONLY leaves off with Elyne in some hot water with her mother, the Queen of Faery, over Elyne using magic in the human realm. Her mother is making an example of her and sends her off to Fae prison, where she’s stripped of her powers and left to think about her actions and the consequences.

Meanwhile, Queen Maeve has asked Sir Derron to go in search of his missing father, Guardian and Lord of the Sword of Light. The sword is also missing, causing the queen much concern. She bides him to bring them both back and Derron readily accepts the challenge. But not without busting Elyne out of prison first. 🙂 I have lots of fun things planned for this one that includes dragons, dark Fae kings, and kick-ass Elvish warriors.


“Who are you? How did you send me back in time?”

“I am Fae royalty, a princess of the Otherworld—you humans call it Faery—and you’re nothing but a gnat on the map of the world.”

“Fae?” Dawning began. “You seriously can’t mean Faery?” Then snorted. “You’re telling me you’re part of the Tuatha dé Danaan? Yeah, as if.”

“Believe it, human.” The Fae princess glared at her, a hint of an Irish lilt coming out in her speech now. “I’m a direct descendant of the Daughters of Danu, the royal bloodline who protects all Fae magic and those within the Otherworld realm.”

“If you’re Fae, then how old are you?”

“Older than time itself,” Elyne said. “Older than you can comprehend. I’ve seen your past, your present and even your future. A future you could not imagine.”

“So you just snapped your fingers and poof here I am.” Maggie snapped her fingers to enunciate her point.

“No, I did not snap my fingers.” Elyne snapped her fingers back. “It took a lot of effort to sift the sands of time and put you here, where you certainly do not belong.”

“Did you wave your magic wand? This fairy tale—sorry, no pun—just keeps getting better and better.”

Maggie giggled and perched on the edge of the bed. She could believe in standing stones that possessed a certain magical ability on certain days of the year such as Beltane and Samhain. In fact, she did believe in them. But magic? Magic wasn’t real. It belonged in bedtime stories. The ones Dad used to read her before she’d fall into blissful slumber as she dreamed of fair princesses in towers and sugarplums that danced in her head.

“You would be wise not to mock me, human, or I can make your life a living hell while you’re here in what you refer to as the Middle Ages. I am a princess and you will address me as such.”

“I know history, your highness,” Maggie said, thumbing at herself. “I’ve spent the last six years studying it and I’ve never heard of the Fae meddling in ‘human’ affairs. It’s not history. It’s myth and legend.”

Elyne took a step toward her, standing toe to toe. “History,” she hissed. “Not myth. Not legend. History. My history and I’ll thank you not to mock it, or me.”

Touchy, isn’t she? Maggie held up her hands in surrender. “Sorry.”

Elyne crossed her arms, giving Maggie a superior look. “It happens among you lesser folk. At any rate, your knowledge should come in handy where you’re going.”

“And where am I going?”

“Like Finn said. To tourney. Middleham, England, if you must know. South of the Scottish border. It’s about a week’s ride from here.”

“You can’t make me do anything.”

Maggie’s eyes narrowed as she looked at the blonde-haloed wispy woman. She didn’t look all that tough. In fact, she looked nothing more than a servant girl. Perhaps she was playing an elaborate hoax on her.

Or somewhere in her sleep-deprived mind, her imagination had run amok.

Elyne laughed, a surprising bellow of a chortle from the pit of her lungs. “You silly human. You think you have so much control.” She punctuated the sentence with a lift of her head, looking down her straight, pointy nose at Maggie as though she were nothing more than pond scum. She leaned forward, her voice dropping to a dangerous level. “You have no control of your own destinies. You are nothing but simple fools.”

A pounding on the door made them both jump. “Lassie?” It was Finn, his voice muffled through the thick chamber door.

Maggie huffed out a breath. “Not ready yet,” she called, hoping to stall.

“You best be in the next few minutes or I’ll be dressing you myself.”

Maggie tried not to think of his hands on her trying to dress her. It sent too many erotic images through her fertile imagination. She held her breath, waiting for him to boom through the door again but he must have left since all fell silent. She turned back to Elyne.

“Send me back.”

“As I said, I cannot. Not until tournament is over.”

“And what if I can’t keep Finn alive? Then what?”

“Then…well… Then that’s on your pretty head, isn’t it?”

Available for purchase at Ellora’s Cave and Amazon.Com

Michelle Miles found her love of writing buried in the fantasy books of Patricia A. McKillip and the beautiful romances of Victoria Holt. It wasn’t until her high school years she decided to take up the pen and try her hand at writing. She created faraway lands, space adventures, and even princesses who just wanted to be saved. Never learning to plot, she always believed that jumping in feet first was the way to go and has since become a self-proclaimed Pantser, writing sexy contemporaries and sizzling paranormal and sweeping fantasy.

A Native Texan, she loves hockey, football, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. You can read her daily antics at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas  and Plotting Princesses.

And the winners are…

First, I want to thank everyone who voted for Blood Hero and Faery’s Bargain this month!  I appreciate you taking the time to help me out in both the Siren and the Preditors and Editors Polls.

Now, on to *your* contest…I’ve drawn the names, so here we go:

Winners of Faery’s Bargain and Blood Hero:

J.W. Isley
Earlene Gillespie
Kimmie Lange
Suzy Roy
Kat Duncan

And the winner of the $25 Amazon gift certificate is:

Sue Duncan

If your see your name here, please contact me on Facebook or by email (maddydrake AT gmail DOT com) and so I can send your prizes to you.



Faery’s Bargain Nominated in Preditors & Editors Poll

Last week, I learned that Blood Hero was nominated in the Paranormal Romance category of the Siren Book Reviews Best Books of 2010 contest.

To celebrate, I decided to give away copies of Blood Hero and Faery’s Bargain to five people who’ve “Liked” my Facebook author page.

This week, I’ve learned that my erotic urban fantasy, Faery’s Bargain, has been nominated in the Romance Short Story category of the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll!

More celebration is in order.  🙂

Rather than create a second contest, I’ve decided to add to the pot that’s already up for grabs:  in addition to giving Blood Hero and Faery’s Bargain to five fans of my Facebook author page, I’m going to also give a $25 Amazon gift certificate to a sixth fan.

You don’t have to vote for Blood Hero or Faery’s Bargain to enter — all you have to do is “Like” my Facebook author page before February 1st:

Hope to see you there!


Blood Hero Nominated in Siren’s Best Books of 2010

Siren Book Reviews’ “Best Books of 2010” contest is on, and Blood Hero is nominated in the Paranormal Romance category!

To celebrate, I’m giving away copies of Blood Hero and Faery’s Bargain to five fans on Facebook.

To enter, all you have to do is “Like” my Facebook author’s page by February 1st:

Siren is also holding a giveaway for voters, so don’t forget to vote!

TRON: LEGACY and the Power of Theme

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: I’ve made an effort not to reveal anything about TRON: LEGACY that you wouldn’t get from the trailers, but I can’t guarantee that I haven’t mentioned something that you might consider a spoiler.

Virtual reality is practically a science fiction cliche these days.  The holodeck on the Enterprise.  The Matrix.  The “Better Than Life” game on Red Dwarf.

But in 1982, when the first TRON movie was released, the idea of a human being experiencing a computer-simulated world was new and exciting.  This was two years before William Gibson’s Neuromancer–the book that introduced the term “cyberspace”–would be published.  In 1982, personal computers were primitive and considered the province of nerds, modems had just gotten sophisticated enough to spur the rise of BBSes (bulletin board services), and we were still seven years away from the inception of the world wide web by computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lees.  If you wanted to play a game on your PC at home rather than at the arcade, you could choose between text adventures like Zork or games with extremely simple graphics by today’s standards.

You can see why my 14-year-old mind was blown by the idea of anthropomorphized programs living in a computer-based reality and worshipping their users.  Plus, that mind-blowing idea was tricked out with amazing special effects and a love story set in the midst of revolution against an unjust corporate overlord.  How could I not love TRON?

So when I heard that Disney was making a sequel, I had mixed feelings.  I love TRON.  But in the 28 years since the original movie was released, we’ve seen much more sophisticated depictions of virtual reality.  How could Disney possibly return to the TRON universe and come up with something that would grab me today?

As it turns out, I liked TRON: LEGACY–but not because Disney came up with a newer, better twist on virtual reality.  Sure the 3D graphics were stunning, the action sequences were intensely exciting, and the TRON universe was brought to life even more vividly than the original.  But that’s not what grabbed me.

Disney got me with good old-fashioned storytelling.  More specifically, they got me with theme.  The plot of the movie was simple, but it had multiple themes running through it that added complexity and emotional depth:

  • The Revolution: as in the original, the villain is a powerful overlord who deserves to be overthrown
  • Absent Father, Lost Son: a father who disappears because he’s literally gotten sucked into his career, leaving his stuck-in-childhood son struggling to grow up emotionally
  • Religion Gone Awry: the villain’s story is also a metaphor for how religions get started and how they become corrupted
  • The Perfection of Imperfection: in his quest to create a perfect world, the villain fails to recognize the beauty and goodness that already exists in the imperfect world, and as a result, destroys it

Yes, TRON: LEGACY is mostly high-powered action scenes interspersed with brief exchanges of dialogues, but because these themes drive the plot and motivate the characters, what could have been a mind-numbing onslaught of explosions and special effects is transformed into a coherent, emotionally-engaging story.

That’s the power of theme.

What side would you choose in the Coffee Wars?

Please help me welcome romance author Michelle Miles, author of the Coffee House Chronicles.  Her latest release, The Coffee Wars, is #5 in this hot contemporary series, and one of you lucky readers is going to win a copy!

Thanks for joining us today, Michelle!  Tell us about the Coffee House Chronicles.  What are they about?  How do the individual books in the series relate to each other?

Thanks for having me! All the books are set in and around a coffee house – The Bitter End.

TALK DIRTY TO ME (Samhain, 2006) is about Claudia, who is a phone sex operator, and Blake, a lonely doctor looking for love on the other end of the phone. A chance meeting brings the two together and Claudia realizes the hot doctor could be the sexy voice on the other end of her phone.

NICE GIRLS DO (Samhain, 2007) follows ex-stripper, Cara, on her journey to reinvent herself and gets a job at the local coffee house, The Bitter End. But things go awry when she meets bad-boy Mark and son of the coffee house owner. Especially when he and his brother, David, vie for her affections. When Cara and Mark learn the coffee house is in danger of closing, they team up to keep the doors open and rescue the coffee house.

TAKE ME I’M YOURS (Cobblestone Press, 2009) goes in a little bit different direction with Graeme, whose love is painting but whose bread and butter is designing adult websites. When Marion, the jilted bride of his ex-best friend, comes back into his life, he sees it as a chance to get the woman of his dreams—and paintings. Marion is encouraged by her fashionista best friend, Delilah.

SEX, LUST & MARTINIS (Cobblestone Press, 2010) picks up where TAKE ME I’M YOURS left off, but this time Delilah is in the driver’s seat. Meeting up with her ex-husband after a long separation makes her realize she still has feelings for him, but he’s never been the responsible type. Sam does everything in his power to make her see he’s changed…and he wants her back for good.

THE COFEE WARS is a short novella where David finally gets his turn in the starring role. He meets Lily but there’s definitely more to her than meets the eye.

All the books have one thing in common—love conquers all. Oh, and lots of hot sex. 🙂

What inspired you to write contemporary romances revolving around a cafe?  Did you set out to write a series?

It was all sort of an accident. I wrote TALK DIRTY TO ME in about six weeks and at the time, a friend encouraged me to submit it to Samhain, who was new and looking for submissions. On a whim, I did and about two weeks after submitting, I was offered a contract. The actual coffee house came from a NaNoWriMo novel I wrote in 2005 (which was dreadful). I threw everything out but the coffee house. *grin* I had so much fun with TDTM, I started writing a second one. And then a third…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Do the books need to be read in order?

Not at all. You can read them in any order. They’re all written as stand-alone.

Is The Bitter End based on a real cafe?

It’s one I made up. I wanted a place to sit and drink a latte.

How about a blurb or a summary for The Coffee Wars?

Get ready for a throw down!

Lilly owns the new up and coming, Java Perks. She’s determined to be the number one coffee house in town, crushing her competition down the street, The Bitter End.

Meeting a mystery woman in his coffee house, David immediately wants her for himself. After a hot encounter on his desk, he can’t stop thinking about her. Until he learns she’s the owner of the place trying to put him out of business.

When David confronts Lilly accusing her of using him, she throws down the gauntlet. Now the two are at war and may the best woman win!

What’s your favorite moment in The Coffee Wars?

All the sexy fun on the desk!

Do you plan to write more in this series?

I haven’t quite decided yet. I thought I was done with Delilah’s story but then an opportunity presented itself and I ended up writing THE COFFEE WARS in four weeks to submit for the Christmas line. I may have more stories to tell at The Bitter End.

I have a magic lamp, and I’m going command the genie inside it to bring one of your Coffee House Chronicles heroes to life for a night.  Tell me about each of these sexy men, so I can decide which one I want to meet.

FUN! Okay. Let’s see…

Blake (TDTM). He’s a hot, suave doctor who likes to tease. He knows what words to use to turn a woman on and how to get her right where he wants her.

Mark (NGD). Total bad boy. Knows what he wants and how to get it. He won’t let anyone get in his way (even his brother) to get what he wants. Tall, dark, seriously good-looking.

Graeme (TMIY). Mmm. I love Graeme. He’s the epitome of a passionate guy. He’s a painter, after all! He loves women. He loves loving women. But there’s only one that can turn him into the monogamous guy he’s always wanted to be.

Sam (SLM). He’s the strong silent type who tries to do the right thing. He suffers in silence and pines away for the woman he loves. He goes out of his way to do nice things for her and woo her.

David (TCW). He’s a lot like his brother, Mark, except without the bad boy attitude. He also knows what he wants and this time, he’s not going to let his brother take her away from him.

What are the key elements of a Michelle Miles story?

Sarcasm and a lot of hot sex. 😉 I really want my stories to be entertaining and fun.

What’s your favorite thing about writing contemporary romance?

Even though there’s still worldbuilding, it’s not as intense as writing fantasy. When I want to bang out something quick, it’s a nice change.

How do you balance the erotic and the romantic in your stories?  How do you see those two aspects conflicting or working together in fiction?

I really think they work well in fiction together. I like to let the story dictate how much “erotic” and how much “romantic” there should be. It just depends on the characters and the storyline.

How old were you when you read your first romance, and what was it?

Oh, I remember this vividly. It was Victoria Holt’s The Road to Paradise Island. It’s the story of Annalise Mallory who finds the diary of her long-dead ancestor with a map to a mysterious island. Her brother set sails to find it, but never returns. Annalise decides to find him and is drawn to an island in the South Seas where there is lots of action, adventure, and a bit of romance. It’s a wonderful story.

What was the first story you ever wrote?  What was it about?

Well, the very first thing I ever wrote was fan-fiction (Star Wars/Star Trek/Indiana Jones). The first full-length novel I ever wrote was a fantasy romance and clocked in at nearly 100k. It’s a story that’s still near and dear to my heart but needs a lot of work to be publishable. Maybe someday.

How long was it between when you first started writing fiction seriously and your first publication?

I got back to writing fiction seriously when I was on maternity leave with my son. That was in the fall of 2001. My first novella was released with Samhain in the summer of 2006. Before that, though, I wrote two serials for a now-defunct online magazine called Keep it Coming. One of those serials was actually how my time travel series was both (both books are available in print and ebook from Samhain, A Bend in Time and A Break in Time).

How does your family feel about the fact that you write romance?

My man thinks it’s awesome. *grin* He loves that I’m a romance writer and he gets to be the subject of “research”.

Who inspires you?

In the big-name world, Nora Roberts. To put out the volume of books she writes is amazing. In the real world, there are several people who inspire me. For one, my fabulous critique partners. I couldn’t function as a writer without them.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to read. I also cross-stitch. I find it very meditative. And when I’m not doing any of that, the Man and I like to watch sports: football, hockey, baseball.

What are you working on now?

Honestly, nothing. I’ve been wrapped up in getting a wedding/honeymoon out of the way. *grin* By the time this posts, it will all be behind me. I’ve got plans though! I’m going to finish edits for a book I’ve been working on way too long and trying to sell, plus finish writing a time travel. I also have an idea for something that has cowboys in it. That idea is definitely still in its infancy. I have big plans for 2011!

The Coffee Wars is available from Cobblestone Press: