Interview and Giveaway with Kate Hill

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kate Hill, whose latest book in her Scarlet Nights, Feasting with the Enemy, was recently released. Leave a comment or ask Kate a question for a chance to win a digital copy of Starving Artist, the first story in the Scarlet Nights series.

Kate’s been writing for as long as she can remember and has always loved telling stories.

“I still have a box of stories I wrote in elementary school about the adventures of talking fruit and I have several boxes of romance and adventure novels I wrote in my teens,” she confessed. “They’re awful but I can’t bring myself to throw them away. There are too many memories attached.”

She’s currently working on a romantic comedy adventure about two men who are tracking Sasquatch–they are extreme opposites and are stuck in a tent together. It sounds like it’s been a lot of fun to work on!

When she’s not writing, she loves to work out and makes time to do so every day–she loves walking, jogging, doing strength training, yoga, and practicing martial arts. She also loves to watch movies, in particular horror and action movies.

“I love horror so much that one of my blogs, The Compelling Beasts Blog, includes regular recommendations of movies I’ve enjoyed,” Kate told me. “I’ve also interviewed some people involved with two of my recent favorite indie horror movies, Zombie Ninjas vs Black Ops and Tales of Dracula. The blog also features a lot of paranormal books and authors.”

If she’s struggling with writer’s block, the best way for her to conquer it is to put aside the story she’s working on and work on something completely different, even if it’s just fan fiction she would never show anyone else. If she works on something that’s just for fun, it usually gets her creative juices flowing again.

“Who is your favorite author?” I wondered.

“Alexandre Dumas. I love everything about his stories. They have adventure, romance, intrigue, and camaraderie. Pretty much everything I love in a book. Stories like The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers I can pick up at any time, turn to my favorite parts and get lost in them just like the first time I read them.”

Her favorite character, however, comes from Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera, Erik.

“I’ve loved that character for ages and while I’ve enjoyed several movies derived from the book, to me nothing compares to the original,” she said. “I have several copies of the book with one that I bought just to highlight my favorite parts and makes notes in the margins. Erik is definitely in my top five all time favorite characters.”

As you might expect, Phantom of the Opera and The Three Musketeers feature in her list of book that have influenced her own writing.

“I love writing antiheroes and Erik the Phantom could fall into that category. I also love to include a lot of action and adventure in my stories and The Three Musketeers is one of my favorite action/adventure stories,” she explained. “Another book that influenced me was Bloodwind by Charlotte Boyett-Compo. She was the Queen of Tortured Heroes. No one could write them like she did.”

Kate tries to write from the heart and not be influenced by whatever is popular at the moment.

“I want to tell my own stories, not try to copy the current trend,” she said. “That means I usually only appeal to a small niche, but I’m fine with that.”

In addition to her writing, Kate is very excited about the Compelling Beasts Blog she started last June. I asked her to tell us about it.

“I’m a huge fan of antiheroes and antagonists. My favorite characters aren’t necessarily villains, but antagonists. I love shades of gray characters and villains turned hero. The Compelling Beasts Blog is dedicated to those types of characters and also to indie horror and action movies, and comic books and novels that focus on action stories, antiheroes and paranormal creatures. If it’s dark or supernatural, I like to blog about it or host others who have something to share about that theme.”

Finally I asked, “What is the most embarrassing thing your mother ever did to you?”

“I can honestly say that my mother has never embarrassed me, at least not in front of other people. She raised me to be respectful of others and she showed me how to do that by example. That’s not to say she isn’t the first to tell me if I’m being a jerk, but she does it in private and even now it’s usually enough to make me realize that yes, I should probably step back and think about what I’m saying or doing.”

After more than a century sharing a bed and fighting at each other’s backs, vampire warriors Blair and May have forged an unbreakable bond.Now the mysterious New Reign is seeking additional members. Their philosophy–recruit or destroy. Using mind manipulation, they stir up dark memories from the past to tempt Blair and May into killing each other.

Given the chance to resurrect his murdered first wife and children, will Blair now sacrifice the woman he loves–his wife and blood child, May?

 

 

 

 

About the Author: 6_24 kate hill kahi2016Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, an erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels. When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and watching horror movies.

Website | Blog | Compelling Beast Blog | Twitter | Compelling Beast Twitter | Faceook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Romance – Main Course or Side Dish? by Kate Hill – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kate Hill, whose latest book The Red King, was recently released. Check out the giveaway at the end of the post.

Romance – Main Course or Side Dish?

From the time I was a kid and saw the movie Love at First Bite, romantic stories have been my favorite. If romance is food, then I generally prefer it as a main course. I enjoy other types of stories too, but I still like a little romance mixed in.

Though a die-hard romance fan who loves to watch a relationship grow between the main characters, I believe a good romance generally needs other elements as well. What are my favorite side dishes that complement romance? For me a story usually requires some kind of action. I enjoy battle scenes and one-on-one fights. If characters go on an adventure, whether it’s a hike through a forest or a trip into outer space, it’s fun to go along on their journeys. I also enjoy historical or fantasy settings and paranormal elements. Vampires, aliens, shapeshifters, ghosts and magic add a fantastic layer to the story and take me away from the real world for a short time. Even subtle paranormal elements in a story are enough to add spice to an already deliciously romantic dish.

What is your preference? Do you like romance as the main course or a side dish? Either way, what other ingredients make a story even tastier for you?

If I could create a recipe for favorite fiction, mine would be:

Kate’s Fictional Smoothie

1 cup of romance
1/4 cup action
1 tablespoon paranormal
Historical (to taste)

Blend and enjoy!

What fictional recipe would you create?

7_23 theredkingkatehill200x300Part of the Knights of the Ruby Order series.

Torn from her beloved convent home, Delia is forced to marry Areus of Lortia. The contract states she must deliver an heir within a year or the marriage can be annulled. Delia vows to control her fate by ensuring there will be no child–until she is mesmerized by Areus, the proud, virile warrior king.

Areus agrees to marry Delia to gain her father’s army to continue his fight against Hypatios, the mad prince of Zaltana. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with a convent-reared mouse, but from the first, Delia rouses his lust and touches his heart.

Their life together hangs in the balance as the war with Zaltana advances and Areus discovers Hypatios is far more than just his sworn enemy.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Seated at the high table between her husband and her father, Delia had never felt more angry or frightened. She had thought to escape this fate.

She told herself that she still could. All she needed to do was see that there was no heir. Katerina had again been helpful by providing an herb that prevented pregnancy. Delia must be careful with that secret, however. If Areus and her father found out–she didn’t want to think about it.

Yet she would be mistress of her fate. If they wanted to treat her like a broodmare, then they deserved to be lied to and tricked. Areus had already proved himself inconsiderate and disrespectful. He hadn’t even spoken to her since the meal started. He and her father engaged in conversation while Delia, like her mother, sat in silence.

Delia lifted her gaze to that of her maid, Echo, the only person at the ceremony to whom she felt close. When Delia had been sent to the convent, Echo had gone with her. To Delia, she was much more than a servant, but her closest friend, despite a seven year difference in their ages. The maid offered an encouraging smile and Delia tried to return it, but didn’t quite succeed.

Finally Areus said, “You haven’t asked why I was late, but you deserve an explanation.”

He had spoken to her father. Not to Delia.

Urion waved his gnarled hand. “Not necessary. I’m sure you had good reason.”

“I’d like to know,” Delia said in a loud, clear voice.

“Silence, girl,” Urion snapped. “If you don’t–”

Areus held up his hand and Urion stopped mid-sentence.

No one had ever silenced her father before and certainly not with a mere gesture.

“My wife has the right to ask,” he said. His green gaze held hers. “Before I left, a group of Zaltanian soldiers crossed our border. There was a skirmish and I couldn’t leave until it was settled. I sent a messenger to tell you, but his horse went lame halfway here. We found them on our way. My apologies, Delia.”

“No. It seems I’m the one who should apologize,” she said, hoping she didn’t look as taken aback as she felt. She had assumed the worst, that their wedding meant so little to him that he hadn’t cared about showing up on time. “I hope the casualties were minimal.”

He nodded. “No one on our side was killed. This time. We were lucky. Zaltana pushes harder all the time, trying to wear us down.” He turned back to her father. “Now that our kingdoms have allied, we can discuss strategy against them.”

Urion looked rather surprised. “Strategy? You mean defensive, of course.”

A slight but almost wicked smile tugged at Areus’s lips. “Now isn’t the best time to discuss it.”

“Agreed,” Urion said. Despite his gruff demeanor, concern shone in his eyes.

Strategy.

Did Areus plan to attack Zaltana? Doing so would be suicidal, yet he couldn’t hold them off forever and two kingdoms united against them were stronger than one. Not to mention Areus had connections to the Knights of the Ruby Order. Still, during the battle for Tanek even the knights had suffered severe casualties and they were among the strongest warriors in the world.

The feast continued long after dark. Despite the dry meat, everyone ate and drank freely–everyone except Delia. She didn’t have much of an appetite. Areus didn’t overindulge, either, though he seemed to have a healthy appetite. Of course he and his men had ridden hard to arrive and they had fought a battle just before leaving.

Most people were still celebrating when Areus glanced at her and said, “We should retire.”

“Of course,” Urion said with a leering grin. “You traveled hard today and I’m sure you want the comfort of a soft bed and a softer wife.”

Delia’s felt a bit ill. Such an innuendo from her own father was disturbing.

Areus ignored the remark, his attention fixed solely on Delia.

Enter the Giveaway:

You must be 18 or over to enter this giveaway. Void where prohibited by law.
To enter for the chance to win a pdf download of one backlist book in the Knights of the Ruby Order series (winner’s choice of title), leave a comment below stating that you would like to be included in the giveaway. Three days from the time this post goes live, a winner will be chosen at random from the entries. The winner will be contacted by email and also posted in a comment here. Thank you!

About the Author:

Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.

When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets.

She enjoys hearing from readers and she can be contacted at katehill@sprintmail.com. Kate also writes under the name Saloni Quinby.

Website | Twitter | Facebook.

Buy the book at the author’s website.

Halloween Blogfest: Kate Hill

Top 5 Autumn Favorites

As a native New Englander, I love the dramatic seasonal changes that take place here. Although there’s something about every season I enjoy, my favorite is autumn. I’d like to share my top five autumn favorites.

1) Halloween. Not only is it my favorite holiday, but my mother’s birthday. My family loves to celebrate Halloween. Although I keep at least some Halloween decorations out all year long, I look forward to unpacking the rest in October. It’s also fun to decide on a costume to wear to our family Halloween party. I enjoy making traditional autumn recipes for Halloween as well as some fun, creepy or disgusting ones.

2) Scenery. Autumn is a beautiful time of year in New England. I love the red, gold and orange of fall leaves. Just driving or walking around looking at the scenery is enough to put a smile on my face.

3) Pumpkins! Not only are they cute to look at, but they taste great. I look forward to pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin doughnuts. Pumpkins are so much fun to decorate. Few autumn decorations are as mysterious as carved pumpkins.

4) The weather. Autumn weather is perfect for getting outdoor chores completed in comfort. On a cool fall day it’s more fun than work to split and stack wood for winter.

5) Apples. Who doesn’t like the look of a rosy apple, a fabulous fall fruit? Apple picking is a pleasurable autumn activity. There are so many delicious apple recipes I look forward to in autumn. Apple crisp, apple cookies and apple pie are just a few. One of my favorite apple recipes from my kitchen is apple salad. I love to start lunch or dinner with it.

Apple Salad

1 medium apple
1 large radish
1 celery stalk/rib
1 tbsp olive oil
Vinegar, to taste.
I tbsp grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

Also needed: A plastic bowl with a fitted lid.

Wash and chop all vegetables into bite size pieces and place in a plastic bowl. Add oil, vinegar and cheese. Cover the bowl with the lid and shake for about 20 seconds or until the vegetables and fruit are evenly covered with the oil, vinegar and cheese. Ready to serve!

Although there are many reasons to love autumn, these are my top five. What are yours? Let me know in the comments and you’re entered to win a pdf download of one book in the Weapons of Redemption series by Saloni Quinby (winner’s choice of title).

swordandshieldmedAbout Kate

Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.

When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets.

Kate also writes under the pen name Saloni Quinby. She enjoys hearing from readers and she can be contacted at katehill@sprintmail.com. Visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com

Why I Love Romance by Kate Hill– guest blog and giveaway

Why I Love Romance

 I started reading romance in my teens and now in my forties I’m still reading and loving it. When I thought about why, the obvious reasons were the first to come to mind. Is it the gorgeous heroes and heroines? Possibly, but too many times I’ve fallen in love with imperfect characters. To me the flawed ones are the easiest to relate to and gorgeous is subjective. Maybe it’s the hot love scenes. I love reading them, but I’ve read lots of great romances without them as well.

Then I thought about other elements that interest me, like action, adventure, history, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and the paranormal. I’ve always been drawn to movies and books with those elements. I love fighting the good fight through the eyes of great heroes and antiheroes, but before I discovered romance I was frustrated by how these characters would only have brief encounters with love interests. Many times the romance was cut short and not as important as the action, horror, sci-fi or fantasy elements. In romance novels, the relationship between the lovers is the main focus of the plot, or at least as important as the other elements in the story. Throughout the battles and intrigues, strong friendship, love and passion develop between the partners. You get to look into their hearts and usually they get their happily ever after.

That’s why I read romance–to watch characters discover each other, overcome trials, argue with each other, defend each other and ultimately become best friends and lovers. When I finish a good romance, I’m left feeling joyful. After nearly thirty years of reading romance novels, they still make me happy. To me that’s a great reason to keep reading.

 

Contest

To enter this contest you must be 18 or over.

 

To enter for the chance to win a download of an ebook from my Ellora’s Cave backlist (winner’s choice of title) please comment. The contest will run for three days from the day of this post. At the end of that time, a winner will be selected from the comments. Thank you!

 

Northman’s Pleasure
by Kate Hill
Viking Romance
Release Date: July 17, 2013

 

7_17 northmanspleasuremedLegend is Grim Hammerhand is half wolf. Vowing never to marry, the muscular, red-haired warrior saves his passion for the battlefield and the forge. That is, until the woman he secretly lusts after is abducted.

Asgerd has loved Grim for years, only to be ignored by the object of her desire. She has eluded the bonds of marriage, hoping that someday Grim will notice her, but her dreams are shattered when she is captured and defiled by the brutal warrior Stein.

After the king sends Grim to rescue his daughter and claim Stein’s land, the passion between the couple finally ignites. In the end, Grim’s mistrust of all women could destroy their one true chance for happiness.

Excerpt:

“Defiant females must be common around here then.” Grim raised an eyebrow and held up Asgerd’s bonds, then tossed them aside.

It felt so good to be free of them. She rotated her ankles. He grasped her foot and lightly rubbed the place where the metal had worn away part of her boot. Their gazes locked and Asgerd’s heart beat faster. She studied Grim’s angular face and lingered over the breadth of his shoulders. Glancing at the long-fingered hand curled around her ankle, she imagined how it would feel on other parts of her body.

After what she’d endured with Stein, she’d never imagined being aroused by a man, but it seemed he hadn’t fully killed her passion.

For so long Asgerd had managed to save herself and avoid coupling with men she could never love. Truly, in a girlish fantasy, she’d imagined Grim falling in love with her, marrying her and taking her to his bed. Now, whether he claimed her or not, she had been ruined by Stein. She wondered if she’d ever cleanse her soul of that filthy pig’s touch.

“Is my cousin Thora alive?” Asgerd asked. She hoped Thora had survived the attack during which Stein had taken Asgerd captive.

“Yes,” Grim replied.

Asgerd sighed with relief.

Grim finally released her ankle. He stood and she couldn’t help admiring the length of his muscular legs. His hard thighs strained against his trousers and his soft boots hugged his well-developed calves. He raised his hand and Asgerd instinctively flinched—not that she believed Grim would strike her, but after being with Stein, she’d learned to dodge blows.

His brow furrowed. “I was merely reaching for the shackles,” he said, taking them from the table. Their gazes met for a moment and he glanced at a rough-looking slave woman who was cleaning off the table. “Leave that to the others. I want the bed closet emptied of Stein’s belongings and the bedding aired. From now on my wife and I will be staying there.”

Asgerd’s heart sank. She forced herself to sound just mildly interested when she said, “Wife? I didn’t know you married, Grim.”

“I haven’t yet. Your father offered me this land if I defeated Stein. He also offered me your hand in marriage.”

Purchase Link:

http://www.ellorascave.com/northman-s-pleasure.html

Northman’s Pleasure is the sequel to Northman’s Passion.

http://www.ellorascave.com/northman-s-passion.html

 

About Kate

 Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.

When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets.

Kate also writes under the pen name Saloni Quinby. She enjoys hearing from readers and she can be contacted at katehill@sprintmail.com. Visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com.

Favorite Paranormal Creatures and Contest by Kate Hill

Favorite Paranormal Creatures and a ContestFor as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of the paranormal. Growing up I enjoyed horror movies and classic horror fiction. Later I developed a taste for paranormal romance and action shows and movies with a paranormal twist.

I’d like to share five of my paranormal favorites and my top three reasons for liking them.

1. Vampires

*They have long lives during which they can experience so much.

*They’re powerful physically and psychically.

*Vampire legends and traditional vampire characteristics are the most fun to contradict when writing stories.

2. Werewolves

*They’re the wildest of the wild.

*They’re a perfect combination of human and beast.

*Depending on the story, they’re the best protectors.

3. Centaurs

*They’re the prettiest human-beast combination–a beautiful man or woman and a magnificent equine.

*You can ride them, if they’ll let you.

*They emanate strength, honor and dignity.

4. Aliens

*They probably exist somewhere.

*They make you think about how big the universe truly is.

*In alien romances, the possibilities are endless.

5. Reformed Demons

*I can’t resist stories of revenge and redemption.

*They’re the ultimate antihero.

*They’ve overcome evil, so they know how to fight it.

There are lots of other fascinating paranormal creatures, but these some of my favorites. My Whisper series is about a town built for the supernatural by the supernatural. Some of these creatures, along with many others, are residents of Whisper. The town is home to vampires, wraiths, werewolves, various shifters, aliens, ghouls and more. It was a lot of fun to write about a place where many paranormal beings live in harmony.

What are some of your favorite paranormal creatures? Do you think they’d get along in a town filled with other supernatural beings?

Contest

To enter this contest you must be 18 or over.

To enter for the chance to win a pdf download of a Kate Hill or Saloni Quinby Changeling Press ebook (winner’s choice of title), please comment. The contest will run for three days from the day of this post. At the end of that time, a winner will be selected from the comments. Thank you!

Whisper 4: Black Catby Kate Hill

(M/M Vampire/Shapeshifter)

From Changeling Press

1_8 KateHillBlackCat

Vampire Edmond Chancellor and cat shifter Tobias Crawford have had a not-so-secret affair for over three hundred years. Edmond wants to bond with Tobias permanently, but Tobias has reasons for keeping his distance.

On a chilly December night, both men turn to past memories for guidance, but it’s a present danger that makes them realize that time is precious, even to men who are practically immortal.

The following excerpt from Black Cat is for readers 18 and over.

It was dark outside and although Edmond was a night person, there was nowhere else he’d rather be at the moment than here in bed with Tobias. His lover’s head rested against his shoulder and Edmond caressed his sable hair.

“Thank you,” Tobias said, pressing a tender kiss to Edmond’s chest. “For joining the rescue.”

Edmond’s brow furrowed. Cupping Tobias’ chin, he stared into his eyes. “You doubted I’d come for you?”

“I’m not your responsibility.”

“I wasn’t yours, but how many times have you watched my back?”

For the first time Edmond could remember, the cat shifter was speechless. Edmond took the opportunity to kiss him.

When it broke, Tobias had regained his voice enough to whisper, “Make love to me.”

“You’re sure you’re ready?”

“I’ve never been more ready in my life.” Tobias straddled Edmond and kissed him.

Previous books in the Whisper series:

Whisper 1: Dragon’s Bar

Whisper 2: Bronzed

Whisper 3: Mating Call

About the Author:1_8 katehill[1] Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.

When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets.

She enjoys hearing from readers and she can be contacted at katehill@sprintmail.com. Visit Kate online at http://www.kate-hill.com.

Halloween Blogfest: Kate Hill

Photobucket
Countdown to Halloween
Planning starts weeks ahead. It’s a search for recipes that include seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as some gross and funny dishes to fit the holiday mood. Pumpkin pie, apple crisp and cookies are yearly treats that are always delicious and fun to make.

Decorations are next. Unwrapping old decorations is comforting and pleasurable. Then there’s the new ones that were purchased last year during the post-holiday sales. Ghost and pumpkin candles, jars labeled as magical potions, spider webs and window decorations are taken out of their packaging and transform a normal house into an enchanted one. Let’s not forget the traditional Halloween village that gets assembled on the coffee table. Every year at least one new piece is added. Most are purchased from the Halloween section of the local craft store, while others are made by family members, such as the clay sea monster that guards the paper lake in the center of the village.

Once the decorations are up and the food is planned, work starts on the costumes. It’s surprising the costumes that can be created from articles in the closet. Cut out leaves of red, orange and gold fabric sewn onto a basic black shirt and gloves make a perfect garment for an autumn wizard. An elegant enchantress might wear dangly jewelry, a flowing dress and a feathered mask.

Halloween approaches. The night before almost all the food is prepared. Halloween morning is a great time for carving pumpkins. That evening, when trick-or-treaters arrive, smiling jack-o-lanterns are waiting to greet them.

It’s finally here. Delicious food. Funny, scary or sexy costumes. Cool decorations. Family and friends.

That’s what Halloween is about.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a download of Dark Before Dawn (writing as Saloni Quinby) and a download of Back to Haunt You.

About the Author: Kate Hill is a vegetarian New Englander who loves writing romantic fantasies. When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, and researching vampires and Viking history. You can visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com and http://www.twitter.com/katehillromance. Also visit Kate’s Halloween page at http://kate-hill.com/halloween/halloween.php.

SPRING IS BUSTIN’ OUT ALL OVER: KATE HILL

Spring Fantasy

The first scent of spring air and the sight of the ground peeking through melting snow stir thoughts of a hidden world that exists in fantasies.

For me spring means it’s time to think about gardening, flowers and outdoor activities. It also makes me imagine stories about fantasy creatures–fairies awakening after a winter sleep, elves strolling through forests still partially stripped of leaves, and merfolk finally able to glimpse above the surface of a lake without bumping their heads on ice.

Fantasy creatures captivate me and I enjoy incorporating that passion with my love of the outdoors. When springtime comes, I can’t wait to start cleaning my yard, getting ready to plant a garden and hopefully add a touch of fantasy with some new garden decorations. I love my mushroom people and playful signs that mark different arrangements in my yard. I look forward to watching seeds sprout in the pots by my window and seeing the mix of flowers outside, especially the purple ones!

Bringing a bit of fantasy indoors helps me stay patient during the early spring days when an occasional frost reminds us that winter isn’t quite ready to say goodbye for another year. Some little touches that help keep the spring feeling are placing fairy windows and doors–little stickers or figurines that offer a peek into a fantasy world–throughout the house and spraying my favorite floral scents that always remind me of spring. Recently I found a pot that made a wonderful addition to my springtime fantasy collection. It’s made in the shape of a pale pink root with a cheerful face and big feet with the toes painted deep pink.

What do you love about spring and what keeps you in the springtime mood even when it’s a little cold outside?

What do trips around the world, endless nights of breathtaking sex, and a muscular, 6-foot 3-inch, brown-haired, blue-eyed significant other have to do with Kate Hill? Absolutely nothing, but she can dream, can’t she? In reality Kate is a single vegetarian New Englander who loves writing romantic fantasies.

Currently, she might not be traveling around the world, but Kate has visited Europe and Africa and those beautiful places have been wonderful inspiration for her writing. While working at various times as a clerk, assistant karate instructor, house painter and banker, Kate dreamed of being an author. In 1996 her first short story was accepted for publication and since then she has sold over ninety short stories, novellas and novels.

When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, and researching vampires and Viking history. Visit Kate online at http://www.kate-hill.com. Read an excerpt from her latest releases, Wild Woods and Inked: Rough Waters, at http://www.kate-hill.com/roughwaters.html and http://www.kate-hill.com/wildwoods.html .

Friday Spotlight: Kate Hill

Why Does the Hero Fall For the Heroine?

In romance novels it’s often easy to understand why the heroine falls for the hero. Usually he’s physically appealing, successful, powerful and focuses his full attention on her.

What is it about the heroine that makes him lose his heart to her? Even the most arrogant, free-spirited hero is happily bound to the heroine by the end of the book.

Heroines generally accept the hero for who he is. She knows he’s a danger-loving, emotionally scarred workaholic and she’s willing to not only ignore his faults but love him because of them.

While others shun the rogue or bow to the alpha warrior , the heroine reaches out to him. She isn’t intimidated by him, or at least her apprehension doesn’t discourage her from approaching him. This might annoy him at first, but deep inside he’s impressed by her courage and touched because someone is allowing him to be vulnerable. Usually the hero isn’t allowed that luxury.

The heroine might be similar to the hero. Perhaps she’s a warrior, too, or maybe she has supernatural powers that challenge his. Or she might be his opposite, a businesslike mortal woman who has her heart set on an outcast werewolf. The one common link in romance heroines is their loyalty and acceptance of a man who, whether he knows it or not, is searching for unconditional love.

Why do you think the hero falls in love with heroine? What is it that sets her apart from others and allows her to capture his heart?

Thursday Spotlight: Kate Hill

Does Negative Feedback Help or Hurt?

I’m not sure that anyone likes hearing bad feedback, but depending on how you look at it, negative feedback can be helpful.

Having someone point out something that doesn’t work for them in a story can improve your writing. It can even inspire ideas for future stories.

For instance if someone picks out something in a book they feel needs more development that might be an opportunity to write another story expanding on that character or world. Sometimes a reader saying a story is too short could mean they’re interested enough to want more. Those characters or that particular world might be worth exploring in a longer work.

Other times negative comments can’t be taken as anything but dislike of the work. Not everyone is going to enjoy every story. Knowing you satisfied a reader feels greats. As a writer that’s what I hope to do, but realistically I know that pleasing everyone is impossible. What one person loves, someone else won’t and vice versa. If you go to the movies with friends, each person will leave with a different opinion, which is great. Diversity offers more options. For instance some people like bad boy heroes, others like sweet ones. Some readers love blood and guts while others like milder stories.

Listening to comments both good and bad is important and helpful, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide what works best for your stories. Sometimes you won’t agree with the majority. Other times you might want to make some changes in future works.

How do you feel about negative comments? How about positive ones?

Wednesday Spotlight: Kate HIll

Why Do I Want to Write. . .

1. In the shower. Without fail, as soon as I step under the water and have no access to a computer or even a pen and paper, I figure out how to solve a plot problem or my characters have a conversation in my head that I can’t immediately transcribe.

2. While I’m driving. I cannot take my eyes off the road or my hands off the wheel, so I can only hope that the new story idea that has suddenly popped into my head won’t fade away before I reach my destination. When I do, the pen in my purse better not run out of ink.

3. When I’m at my second job. If I didn’t iron out that pesky plot problem in the shower that morning, the solution is bound to strike me when I’m at the second job. I certainly can’t pull out a pen and pencil to work on a hot-and-heavy love scene there. Fortunately the rule goes both ways and when I’m working on a book the other job doesn’t enter my mind.

4. In bed. The lights are out and I’m completely relaxed and comfortable, about to drift off when an idea for a new story hits me. Maybe I’m obsessive compulsive, but I promised myself the day–or night–I stop getting out of bed to write down new ideas is the day I stop writing altogether.

Whether you’re a writer, artist, musician, craftsperson or have another passion, what are some of the most inconvenient times inspiration has struck?