Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Countdown--8 days to go!

Countdown Christmas is an event at A Bookalicious Story to celebrate the coming of Christmas in 2 weeks time. There'll be fun interviews, Christmassy excerpts and giveaways just brimming with bookish-goodness ranging from YA Fantasies to New Adult Contemporary Romances to Adult Historical Romances. I hope y'all will join in this celebration! The more the merrier, aye? ;)

Sorry late post! 8 days to go, how are y'all spending your time? :)) Today, I have invited an author of a DRAGON novel!! Dragons have been one of my favorite mystical beast of all time, and of course dragon romances are the coolest.

So, innnntroducing..

Lorenda Christensen!
About Lorenda

A native of Eastern Oklahoma, Lorenda lives with her husband and two sons in a house that feels far too small during the stay-inside winter months. Lorenda loves chocolate, hates snakes, and despite living two years in Bangalore next- door to a native preparer of Indian cuisine, cannot cook anything but ground beef. She is a recovering nail biter, and is currently celebrating five years bite-free.
Lorenda is the 2012 recipient of the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® award in the Paranormal category for her debut novel, Never Deal with Dragons.
She was born in Arkansas and immediately smuggled across the Oklahoma border. Lorenda is a past resident of Bangalore, India and a current resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She’s not a neat person. Or even a somewhat tidy person. Okay – Lorenda is a completely filthy and disgusting failure at all things housekeeping. She also kills plants, but not on purpose.

Connect with the author:
Author's Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Never Deal With Dragons

Consoling a sobbing dragon and serving pig buffets are just part of the job for Myrna Banks. Working for a mediation firm, it’s her job to get humans compensated for damages caused by the dragons who now rule. But her “typical” day is interrupted by Trian Chobardan, an old flame who sneaked out of her bed two years ago, taking her heart and a handful of classified documents with him.

Myrna would love to show Trian the door, but he’s been sent by North America’s reigning dragon lord for help negotiating a truce with a powerful rival to avert war. Myrna agrees to help, even though she’ll be stuck with Trian as a partner.

As the two work together, Myrna finds Trian to be surprisingly supportive—and still irresistibly attractive. Though her brain tells her not to forget his betrayal, her body feels differently. When they learn the enemy dragon lord is planning something no one could have imagined, Myrna has to learn who she can trust before she loses not only her heart, but her life.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Carina Press

Watch for these upcoming releases from the Dragon Trilogy.

Book #2: Dancing with Dragons (Tentative Release 2014)
Book #3: ‘Til Death or Dragons (Tentative Release – TBD)


An Interview with Lorenda Christensen

Hi Lorenda! Thank you so much for coming over to the blog. :)

1) I heard you're hard at work with Carol's book, Dancing with Dragons. Can you tell us a little about Never Deal with Dragons and Dancing with Dragons? Will they act as standalones or a series?

Lorenda: Sure! The plan is for this series to be a total of three books all based in the same world—a post WWIII Earth where dragons are the ruling class and humans are simply trying to survive.

Each book focuses on a different couple, so they can be read as standalones. The stories do flow chronologically, however, and you’ll see mention of plot items from earlier books in Dancing with Dragons and Book #3 (working title: ‘Til Death or Dragons), but I don’t think it’s necessary to read them in order.

The first book, Never Deal with Dragons, focuses on Myrna Banks, a woman who works for a company specializing in dragon and human relations. Myrna’s job is…unusual to say the least. I had a lot of fun writing about her frequently crazy run-ins with dragons. The second book, Dancing with Dragons, is Carol’s story. Carol is Myrna’s best friend and an employee of an advertising agency. She helps Myrna out on a project, and manages to find herself embroiled in an international, dragon-infested mess than she has no idea how to get out of.

Both ladies, in addition to their dragon troubles, have romantic issues to deal with as well, each of them having to wrestle with their own dream man/pain in the rear-end (depending upon the situation).

Book #3 is a work in progress, and I hesitate to reveal too much, just in case my editor needs to change things, but I feel somewhat comfortable saying that the setting will be the circumstances surrounding Myrna’s wedding.

2) In your novels, do you usually tend to focus more on the romance or the plot? More Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance?

Lorenda: While I feel my books have a heavy dose of good old-fashioned romance, I would say my stories are more urban fantasy than paranormal romance. Never Deal with Dragons was the 2012 winner of the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Award, so obviously there’s a bit of romance between the pages, but you won’t be seeing the hot and heavy sexy-times that you’d get in a J.R. Ward or Nalini Singh book, and I feel like my characters are more action oriented than emotionally driven.

3) When you're in your writing cave, do you listen to music? Do you feel what your characters are feeling? Like cry when your characters are going through some hardships or get all hot and bothered when y'know, it's a steamy scene? *winks* haha

Lorenda: “Go away, husband! I’m…uh…working!!” Ha!

Actually, I’m convinced my brain doesn’t have the same number of working parts as everyone else, because I can’t listen to music when I write. I just don’t have the concentration to do it. Music is my reward when I hit my word counts!

As for feeling what my characters are feeling, I’m more manipulative Greek god than benevolent ruler. I’ve been known to cackle aloud as I place my characters into difficult or hard-rending situations. Officially, the unabashed glee is because I finally found something exciting to put in my plot, and it makes me excited to help them work out their issues on-page. (But just between you and me, it’s really because writing is the only legal means for me to set my sociopathic tendencies free.)

4) Hahaha, whut. That's not normal! What made you write about dragons?

Lorenda: Did I mention my sociopathic tendencies?

Actually, when I sat down to write, it occurred to me that there weren’t many romances out there featuring dragons. And there should be, darn it!

5) Yessss, I agree! Ugh, I'm just waiting for that one perfect dragon romance, y'know? But if you could shape shift into an animal/mystical creature, which would it be? Other than dragons!

Lorenda: Hmm. I think I’ll have to go with the lowly ant. Because my secret ambition is to become a spy, and ants can get into almost anything unnoticed. Plus, it’d be cool to be able to lift twenty times my weight.

6) Are there any books that are about that animal? Any recommendations? Any recommendations for other dragon-related romance novels? I've loved dragons since forever, but dragon romances are quite few (as in not as many as wolves, lions, and such), and there has been many hit-and-misses for me.

Lorenda: No books about were-ants that I know of. Maybe I should scratch that into my book of ideas!

And I agree, I’m still hoping dragons will be the new vampires, and lots of authors will start writing dragon-books.

A couple of series that I enjoyed that aren’t strictly romance novels but are dragon-centric were Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books. For romances, you can’t beat Thea Harrison’s Dragon Bound or the Light Dragons series by Katie MacAlister. Rebecca York also has a series called the Chronicles of Arandal that feature pretty yummy dragons. Allyson James also has a dragon series out that I have in my TBR pile – if anyone has read her – tell me what you think!

7) If you could live in the world of any book, maybe one you wrote or another favorite author's, which would it be?

Lorenda: I would love to live in the world of Linnea Sinclair’s Dock Five series. Mostly because I’m a space nerd, but also because her sci-fi setting has just enough Earth familiarity that I could enjoy the awesome parts about living in space without the pesky homesickness.

8) Aw no, haha not for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm fascinated with the outside universe and all (especially the constellations!), but it's dark and there're lots of things undiscovered and unknown up there. I could accidentally drive my space cruiser into a black hole and BAM, instantaneous death. :/

What kind of characters do you like to write about? Which kind of scenes are the easiest/hardest to write?

Lorenda: To readers of Never Deal with Dragons, it won’t come as a surprise that I enjoy writing characters with touch of snark. And I feel like the scenes heavily dependent upon dialogue are the easiest for me. (What can I say? I’m a talker.)

The hardest scenes? The sex scenes, hands down. There’s only so many ways those parts fit together, y’all! I have plans on hitting up some erotic romance authors to see if they have any good tips, but in general, the lovey-dovey scenes take me at least five times longer to write than anything else. (which is probably why you don’t see more of them in my books)

9) Hahaha, true enough. Can you quote a favorite scene or line in Never Deal with a Dragon?

Lorenda: My favorite scene from NDWD will always be the opening scene, because that’s how Myrna came to me – ankle deep in a pile of dragon barf wearing a pencil skirt. Here it is below:

It’s amazing how often my day starts with a three-legged dragon and an enraged dairy farmer. I stood, clad in a set of knee-high muck boots and a brand new pencil skirt and tried to restore some order to my first appointment of the day, an encounter involving a very hungry dragon, and the dairy farmer whose cattle had been unfortunate enough to be within grabbing distance at meal time.

Rapid Response Questions

1) Pen and paper or Microsoft Word?

Lorenda: Computers all the way baby! (I write software programs at my “day job”) and my penmanship is hideous

2) Hot chocolate or Bailey's Irish Cream?

Lorenda: Hot chocolate (with whip-cream or marshmallows)

3) Thor or Loki?

Lorenda: Until the movie came out and I saw Chris Hemsworth’s abs…I’m sorry, what was the question again? Lol.

Thank you so much for your time!

It’s amazing how often my day starts with a three-legged dragon and an enraged dairy farmer. I stood, clad in a set of knee-high muck boots and a brand new pencil skirt, and tried to restore some order to my first appointment of the day, an encounter involving a very hungry dragon and the dairy farmer whose cattle had been unfortunate enough to be within grabbing distance at meal time.

“It was j-j-just a l-little sn-sn-snack!! My doctor’s appointment took way l-longer than it was supposed to and I was h-h-hungry!” The floor literally shook with the dragon’s sobs. Isiwyth Armatoth, lovely purple dragon and niece of our nation’s dragon lord, balanced atop a thick wooden beam that served as the room’s sole dragon perch. Her birdlike claws contracted rhythmically with tension as she tried to explain herself through tear-induced hiccups. Mrs. Isiwyth Armatoth was a mess.

And so was my office. The cattle hadn’t all hit the floor when Isiwyth lost her lunch. Instead, their mangled remains had landed dead center of my sturdy wooden desk, and were currently dripping a mixture of saliva, blood and stomach acid onto the small space heater I used to warm my toes while riffling through paperwork. The noxious fumes were probably permeating the entire building at this point.

My coworkers loved me.

While her hind legs made kindling out of my office furniture, her front legs waved wildly to punctuate her sobs. Well, her front leg. The other one was missing, thanks to the farmer’s skill with game traps. I shifted slightly onto my toes so I’d be ready when I had to move fast. Isiwyth’s claw had started to heal quite nicely, but I still had to dodge the spatters of blood she sent sailing with each gesture. And I had to do it discreetly. In a pencil skirt and muck boots.

I waited until the volume of her tears had dropped from deafening to loud, and then pulled out my most professional tone of voice. “Mrs. Armatoth, we understand. I can only imagine how much energy it takes to keep those two dragonlings healthy and growing. When did you say they were due again?” The doctor’s appointment that had kept Isiwyth from her normal lunch was a checkup on the two tiny dragons stretching her already enormous stomach.

The purple dragon sniffled once more, but stopped crying. “Next month. I have the ultrasound photos if you’d like to see.” Her gorgeous green eyes gazed into mine, judging the sincerity of my interest.

I smiled widely. “Absolutely.” Anything to get Isiwyth’s mind off her injured claw. The dragon giggled, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently even expectant mothers loved talking about their children, and Isiwyth was no exception.

As Isiwyth dug around for the prints in a large satchel strapped to her side , I dropped the smile and arranged my face into a more serious expression before I turned to the room’s other occupant. Switching from dragonspeak to English, I laid a hand on the farmer’s shoulder. “Mr. Sompston. I’m so sorry about today’s events. Would you mind telling me exactly what happened?” I’d managed to piece together quite a bit from Isiwyth’s sobbing monologue, but it was never a bad idea to hear both sides of the story.

Mr. Sompston raised his face from his hands and met my eyes. “Annabelle! She ate my Annabelle!” With those words, Mr. Sompston promptly broke down in tears that nearly rivaled the dragon’s.

I blinked. This wasn’t good. From his stony-eyed expression upon their arrival, I’d assumed the dairy farmer was simply irritated at the loss of his cattle and impatient to hammer out the details of the compensation he was due for the consumption of his stock. I didn’t realize someone had been killed. Here at DRACIM, officially known as Dragon Relations, Arbitration, and Cooperative Interspecies Mediation, property loss was one of the more common cases we handled, especially here in Reparations, the department where I was employed. But if Mrs. Armatoth had indeed eaten Annabelle, I needed to get the legal team in here.

I cleared my throat. “Excuse me—did you say Mrs. Armatoth ate someone named Annabelle? Was this your wife?”

Mr. Sompston wiped his nose and frowned up at me. “Of course not. I’m not married.” Once more his eyes welled with tears, but he dashed a hand over his face and visibly composed himself. “Annabelle was my baby. I raised her after her mama died giving birth. I bottle-fed her from my own kitchen floor.”

From his own kitchen what? And then it came to me.

“Mr. Sompston, are you saying Annabelle was a pet?”

The farmer glared at me from bloodshot eyes. I was obviously not displaying the appropriate level of outrage. “Annabelle was more than a pet. She may have been a cow, but she was family. And that thing—” he pointed to Isiwyth, who was waiting patiently with ultrasound photos in hand, “— gobbled her up like she was nothing more than an appetizer. I wish that trap of mine had taken her head instead of an arm.” He glanced at my desk, where parts of Annabelle still dripped to the floor, and lost it completely, his chest heaving with the effort to suck in enough air for the sounds of despair rolling from his mouth.

I sighed. No one could accuse my life of being glamorous. In fact, on days like today, it was downright annoying. Especially when this entire mess should have belonged to my boss, were he in the habit of arriving on time for work. But Emory, as usual, had yet to make an appearance.

My name is Myrna Banks, and I’m a dragonspeaker. And today’s little scene was what I handled for a living.

When a dragon was caught on film as she flew over Portugal shortly before the end of World War III, humans’ belief in the superiority of their race was rocked to the core. Human armies quickly redirected their focus from bombing each other to the goal of eliminating these interlopers. The massive creatures possessing the ability to completely take over our planet suddenly seemed more important than oil rights or religious disagreements.

Most historians agree that World War III officially ended when the charge to kill dragons began.

Scientists managed to gather enough data to infer the dragons had actually been created by humans—more specifically they found it was some doctor in a research facility who tripped over a massive unforeseen by-product of genetic splicing in an effort to cure cancer.

The doctor did manage to cure cancer—but he also mixed up the human DNA with that of some particularly hardy reptiles in a few hundred test tubes. With cancer cured and his research project complete, he hopped on a plane to accept his Nobel Prize in Medicine and left an underpaid assistant to dispose of his earlier test subjects.

The assistant tossed all the tubes into an in-house incineration unit and voila, after a three- year incubation period, dragons were born.

It was ten years before the humans figured out what happened, and meanwhile the dragon race had been happily breeding. By the time of the Portugal photo incident, there were thousands of them. Completely freaked out by the new life-forms, humans quickly tried to eradicate the dragons.

However, on top of their growing numbers, the creatures were practically unstoppable. Impervious to the effects of a vast majority of our weapons—nuclear or otherwise—dragons had seated themselves firmly at the top of the food chain. The human race had been in real danger of becoming extinct.

Until dragonspeakers were found.

Only a few humans were able to turn a series of dragon snorts, huffs, and smoke streams into something approximating a human linguistic pattern. One such individual, Joseph Green, managed to persuade some of the political higher-ups to give him a chance to negotiate with the dragons. His attempt proved successful, and he was able to hammer out an agreement with them that not only stopped the war, but provided humans a set of guidelines that protected our well-being and livelihood.

Joseph, with the full approval of the remaining world governments, proceeded to install an office of dragonspeakers near the cities around the world where the seven original dragons decided to settle. Thus the birth of the DRACIM empire.

I worked in the Tulsa DRACIM office, in the middle of the North American dragon lord’s territory. Five years ago, I’d honed my talent with as many books as I could get my hands on, finished college, and then I’d applied for a job. Today, I was still waiting for an opportunity to move out of the business of vomit cleanup and into the more glamorous position of arbitrator.

Which, granted, still involved an inordinate amount of vomit cleanup, but at least I’d get a pay hike, new boss and fancy nameplate hung outside my door. As Emory’s assistant, I’d been doing all of his arbitration work anyway. It would be nice to have a set of business cards giving me credit for my trouble.

Unfortunately, today was not shaping up to be that day. I pinched the bridge of my nose and willed my headache to subside. Isiwyth had long since tired of my conversation with Mr. Sompston—I’d been too busy panicking about dead wives to translate—and she was currently using one of my pencils to pick her teeth. Her actions only served as a reminder to Mr. Sompston that his favorite dairy cow was now a hamburger. His understated sobs morphed into outright wailing.

So of course my boss chose that moment to open my office door.

“What the hell is going on in here?” Emory shot me a look that was a mixture of shock and annoyance. His gaze absorbed the chaos of the room, and I knew things were about to get interesting when he placed himself behind my desk and hitched his pants up an inch or so under his round belly. The move was his “sheriff’s stance” and it signaled that he was about to start barking orders. I hustled to reach his side, knowing that Emory’s particular brand of “mediation”—an odd mixture of complete nonsense coupled with an alarming number of derogatory slurs on dragonkind in general—was the last thing we needed here.

To this day I’m still not sure how Emory managed to land his job. He wasn’t a dragonspeaker, which was rare enough here at DRACIM, but on top of that fact, he didn’t even like dragons. More than once he’d referred to their species as “those filthy beasts” when speaking to his coworkers, and more than half of my job was trying to find creative ways to translate his words into something the dragons wouldn’t want to kill us over during arbitration.

I’d heard rumors that Emory had some political buddies who managed to wheel and deal him into DRACIM management, but I’d never found actual proof. His continued presence with the organization was one of life’s great mysteries. The majority of individuals lucky enough to interact with dragons on a daily basis realized that most of them were pretty lovable if you could ignore their penchant for loud roaring and very raw food.

Speaking of raw food…

I’d managed to make it halfway across the room when my rubber-soled muck boots hit a slick spot on the floor. My arms windmilled wildly as I attempted to do the impossible and stay upright. Just when I’d given up any chance of saving my skirt from the same blood-covered fate as my blouse, I felt a hand on my shoulder and another against my lower back.

“Easy there,” a male voice drawled.

My heart stopped. I knew that voice.

“Hello, sugar. Long time no see.”

“Trian.” I spat his name from my mouth like a rotten apple and struggled to loosen his grip.

A year ago, I’d felt myself privileged to hear that smooth rumble near my ear while snuggled in my bed during a particularly cold December. A year ago, I’d been happily dreaming of an engagement ring for our one-year anniversary. And a year ago he’d disappeared from my life without a word, taking some very sensitive work papers with him, and dooming me to who knew how many more years under the incompetent management of Emory.

Before, there’d been no question I was on the fast track with my chosen profession. With my specialized training—I’d studied all the dragon history DRACIM had available, and knew more about international dragon politics than anyone in the building—I was jumping rungs on the career ladder.

Until Trian.


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Thanks for visiting! You can refer to the master calender of events on Day 1's post. :)


  1. DRAGONS!!!!! i must add those to my wishlist right away!! thank you for teh discovery and thank you for this fuinny interview to learn more about teh author!

    1. Hey, Miki!! Haha, I know right!! Dragons are awesome. No problem, by the way! :) Hope you'll enjoy the book, yeah!

  2. Hey Miki - If you choose an Allyson James book, seriously - tell me how it is. I've been dying to get to her for ages!


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Cyp's Abbreviation Dictionary

DNF = Did Not Finish
HEA = Happily Ever After
PNR = Paranormal Romance
UF = Urban Fantasy
YA = Young Adult

Erotica Reference

BDSM = Bondage/Discipline, Dominant/Submissive, Sadism/Masochism
f/f = female/female
m/f = male/female
m/m = male/male


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