Aug 24, 2010

Author Barbara Monajem - Guest Blog and Contest

A big welcome back to Barbara Monajem who today celebrates the release of her paranormal/vampire novel Tastes of Love and Evil, Dorchester Publishing Co. (August 24, 2010). This is the second book in the Bayou Gavotte Series.  

Thank you, Barbara for sharing this special day with the readers of Patricia's Vampire Notes!

[Read a review of Book one Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil.  See contest details at the end of the post.]


When I started writing vampire paranormals, I thought it would be fun to write a story that was close to real life – just beyond the boundaries of possibility.  I picked the aspects of vampire lore that worked for my purposes and ignored the rest.  So, my vampires aren’t undead. They’re fine with garlic, crosses, and sunlight. They ‘re born with a vampire gene, grow fangs at puberty, develop a taste for blood, become sexually irresistible, and have enhanced senses. Not too far from ordinary reality, I figured. In my first paranormal romance, Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil, the heroine is a vampire. Sure, the cop who falls in love with her has some good instincts, but that’s nothing we don’t see in real life.

Then I started writing the second book, Tastes of Love and Evil, which has just been released.  Rose, the heroine, is another vampire. Which was fine, but suddenly in walked Jack, the hero, and…turns out he’s a human chameleon. He can literally fade into the background.  He’s a paranormal version of the kind of guy who can make himself largely unnoticed, and he uses that ability to save abused women.  Let’s face it – disappearing is a little farther from reality than having fangs, but he was such a cool character that I couldn’t say no.

Fast forward to book three, which I’m working on now. Constantine, the main character, is a far cry from a regular guy.  He slipped into my almost-normal world as a secondary character in book one. Secondary characters are sneaky. They rise out of the writer’s subconscious ready-made, apparently to fill a role in a story, but really, they’re just trying to muscle in and take over. Constantine can send dreams – and nightmares. He can plant thoughts in people’s minds. He can make them see what he wants them to see.  And that’s not all. As I write the story, I learn more and more about his paranormal abilities. Believe me, I didn’t plan this one. Give the paranormal an inch and… wheeeee, you’re on a roller coaster ride far, far away from the world as we know it. So much for keeping things almost real!

Here’s an excerpt from Tastes of Love and Evil.  Jack has just been shot by some bad guys, and although Rose doesn’t know him (she thinks of him as just some random man), she’s given him her hotel room key so he can take refuge. But the bad guys are posing as feds, and they’re searching the hotel.

    The room was empty.

    No, it just appeared to be. “I told you there was no one here.” Her nostrils quivering, every sense alert, Rose scanned the bed, the curtains, the embroidered mantle draped on a chair, the Elizabethan gown on the luggage cart. “Now get out of my room!”

    The gunman ignored her, ducking in and out of the bathroom, glancing into the closet, going efficiently through every hiding place. Warmer, cried Rose’s senses, warmer, warmer, damn, oh God please no, as he shoved past the luggage cart to the window, and then as he returned, colder, warmer, colder, where the hell is the man? One-handed, the fake fed lifted the mattress and box spring, but no one was concealed underneath.

    Sirens cried in the distance, and a second later the gunman’s phone squawked a warning. He left without looking back.

    Rose retrieved her breakfast, double-locked the door, and scanned the room. Aha. She’d seen this phenomenon once before. She knew Random Man was in the room, somewhere near the window. “They’ve gone,” she said softly. “You can come out now. You need to have that wound tended.”

    Nothing. Where was he?

    “I brought coffee and doughnuts.” She put the food on the table. “I’d be happy to share, once we’ve patched you up.” Pause. “I know you’re here. I can hear you breathing.”


      “I can smell you,” Rose said, her voice rising, tendrils of allure escaping. You and your blood. “I’m here to help, you fool!”

       Still nothing. Or maybe…a faint shimmer, like heat rising in summer air, over on the luggage cart, right by the Elizabethan gown. Damn it, thought Rose. If he stains that costume…  Anger coupled with the aroma of blood overwhelmed her senses, and her fangs slotted down. Purposely this time, she directed her allure toward the luggage cart. Another shimmer, instantly controlled, and then absolute stillness.
No more pussyfooting around. She smiled and sent a wave of allure crashing across the room. Random Man resolved into view, gold and tan and brown blending with the dress, then gradually reacquiring his own muted shape and colors, blue denims and Saints jacket, nondescript but definitely all there.

“God help me,” Random Man said. “Not another vamp.”


If you were going to write a paranormal romance (or if you do write them), what abilities would you like your characters to have?

What kind of paranormal characters are most fun to read about?

Why do you suppose it’s so hard to keep paranormal characters close to real life?

Answer only one of Barbara's for a chance to win a signed copy of Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil.

Be sure I have access to your email address.

Contest ends August 31, 2010. Contest is open worldwide!

This Contest is closed. The winner is Debbie. Congratulations! 
And a big thank you to all who participated!


SandyG265 said...

I think the idea of a chameleon is really interesting. I like to read about characters with unusual abilities.

sgiden AT

Suzanne said...

I think paranormal abilities are kind of like potato chips--it's hard to stop at just one! And seeing how "normals" and other paranormal critters react to the different skills is so much fun. I'm really glad Constantine is coming back in book three!

Tore said...

If you were going to write a paranormal romance (or if you do write them), what abilities would you like your characters to have? I would like them to have the ability to read minds and also be able to shield themself so they wouldn't get hurt.

What kind of paranormal characters are most fun to read about? I love reading about shapeshifters vampires wolves and angels.

Why do you suppose it’s so hard to keep paranormal characters close to real life?
Because they are made up and don't really exist. They are fantazy creatures and their abilities are different than what real humans do.

Please enter me in contest.

Anonymous said...

my favorite abilities include impressive speeder strength, enhanced healing and one ability unique to that character (cloaking, tranportation, etc). If they're going to live a long time they should get an extra power like that! quilter892ataoldotcom Steph

Beth Trissel said...

Sounds like another winner to me. You have a deeply creative mind, Barbara. :) Mega high five on your new release!

Mona Risk said...

Barbara, congratulations on the release of your book.

In the only paranormal I am still working on, my characters dwell in the Egyptian mythology. They use their superpower to help (heroine) or to destroy (villain). They are able to transport themselves to far away places within their territories, to see people who are not with them.

I think we need to give them limitations otherwise if they are too poweful they stop being interesting.

Barbara Monajem said...

Sandy - I had a lot of fun writing the chameleon man. It's fascinating to imagine how paranormal abilities would work in real situations.

Suzanne - I'm glad you're glad! Constantine is a fun but challenging character to write. I'm looking forward to your Louisiana stories!

Tore - Sounds like you're a big paranormal fan. I think you're right about why it's so hard to keep paranormal characters close to real life. It's way too tempting to give them all sorts of abilities we ordinary mortals don't have. :)

Steph - Sometimes I wish I could stick to just one unique ability per character!

Beth - Thanks! High five back re your latest release, Red Bird's Song, which has one of the most beautiful covers I've seen lately.

Barbara Monajem said...

Mona - re limitations, that's exactly what my editor advised me. If the characters are too powerful, they don't have any challenges to face. Now I just have to learn to take his advice, LOL.

Andrea I said...

Vampires are still my favorite, but I do appreciate other paranormals. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. I loved your first one.

Barbara Monajem said...

Andrea - Thank you! I'm so happy you enjoyed Sunrise. Vampires are what drew me to writing paranormals in the first place. :)

Pamela Cayne said...

Oh, I've been waiting for the chameleon book for sooooo long and can't wait to get my hands on it. Woo hoo!!!

I hope this series goes on and on.

debbie said...

I think it is hard to keep them close to real life, because those same traits that are paranormal, come with completely different problems than we deal with. That adds new issues to their personalities. When you combine that together, it gets farther away from humanity.

Barbara Monajem said...

Pamela -- Thank you! I hope so, too.

Debbie -- That makes a lot of sense. In fact, one of the traits that made Ophelia, the heroine in Sunrise, so interesting to me was that she was irresistible, which caused a whole slew of problems ordinary women don't have. :)

Judy said...

Barbara, I love your Random Man... So cool. I wish I had that ability!! LOL Great fun. Good luck with the book!

Asylumgirl said...

Why do you suppose it’s so hard to keep paranormal characters close to real life?

Personally, this is why I read paranormal, to escape real life and what is perceived as normal. If I'm going to dream, why not dream absolutely out of this world big.

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

Tony-Paul said...

I had the privilege of reviewing Barbara's first vampire novel and am looking forward to also doing the same for the second. The covers alone are eye-catchers.

Mary Ricksen said...

I am so excited about this new book!
I'd like them to be an empath, I like the now you see him, now you don't. That could be very helpful.
I love shape shifter and vampires.
But, I like them to have the human thing. That's what makes it real to me. They could be among us and we wouldn't know it.
How many times have you felt something and looked and there was nothing there. Out of the corner of your eye a flash of something. then it's gone. Love paranormals.
Gotta have this one!
Barbara, you have taken off like a rocket, there's no stopping you now! Good luck!!

Roberta said...

I would like to read about a paranormal that used mind control to cause physical effects on their lovers. You know...get into their sleeping, resting, meditation minds and cause them some type of orgasmic relief without any physical contact or blood letting ;)
More love and fantasy and less gore is what I like. Fondly, Roberta

Mary Marvella said...

Hey, Barbara, in my current paranormal book 4 sisters have different abilities or powers. In hears people's thoughts and conversations in her head, like telepathy.

Joanne said...

Hi Barbara,
You are a very imaginative writer. Books Two and Three sound so enticing. I like the idea of the dreams. Best wishes on your continued success.

Patty said...

This is why I love your blog...I would never have heard of this author anywhere...and now I can't wait to read both books...

Barbara Monajem said...

Judy - Thanks. His ability is very useful for playing fly on the wall. The potential for interesting stories is endless. :)

Deidre - You're absolutely right. Why not dream big?

Tony-Paul - Thanks for the reviews. The covers truly are beautiful, and I'm so grateful for them.

Mary R - A friend once told me those flashes in the corners of your eye are ghosts... I'm not sure I want to believe her, LOL.

Roberta - Constantine, hero of book three, has telepathic abilities something like that... they're seen from other people's points of view in the first two books, and now I have to follow up and show how they work from his point of view in book three. Fun!

Mary M - Isn't writing about telepathy fun? It can be manifested in so many ways.

Joanne - Thanks! Now to get book three written.

Barbara Monajem said...

Patty - Patricia's Vampire Notes is wonderful! I'm so grateful to be a guest here.

Patricia Altner said...

Patty - I'm so glad you enjoy PVN! The reward for maintaining it is the opportunity to introduce authors like Barbara to readers like yourself.

And Barbara, many thanks to you for your kind words.

katsrus said...

Your book sounds really good. Love the cover. Very pretty.

What kind of paranormal characters are most fun to read about?
I love vampires, werwolves, zombies, shapeshifters.
Sue B

Julie said...

I like to read about characters with special abilities, like telepath, or empath. Those are kind of fascinating.


EVA SB said...

Being a healer would be a treasured abilities and after that incredible strength and speed.

I think it is difficult keeping paranormals close to reality beccause the human world is defined my trials and obstacles.[@]gmail[.]com

Judi S said...

I'm going to have to say that all the different kinds of praranormal characters/creatures are the most fun to read about! I would get bored real fast if I had to read about just one supernatural being all the time, that's for sure. I love 'em all: vampires, weres, fae, atlanteans, dark hunters, demons, and angels.

Barbara Monajem said...

Sue - Thanks re the cover. I'll have to let the art department know (again) how many compliments their artwork gets. BTW your kitty pic is so cute!

Julie - I find telepathy and empathy fascinating, too, and love imagining all the positives and negatives of having such abilities.

Eva - The trials and tribulations of people with paranormal abilities sure do make for interesting stories. :)

Judi S - Variety really is the spice of life, in writing as well as reading!

Pamela Vee said...

Barbara, I loved Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil and can't wait to read your new book. Your excerpt has already captured my attention. Enjoy your success.

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

If I was writing one I'd like my character have the ability to become invisible and have the ability to kiss some one and see all their secrets, except from his soul mate.
alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Barbara Monajem said...

Pam - Thank you! I hope you enjoy the new book, too.

Lisa - Sounds like a great idea - a sort of Kissing Bandit who steals people's secrets. :)

writtenwyrdd said...

If you were going to write a paranormal romance (or if you do write them), what abilities would you like your characters to have?
>I make my human protagonist smart and stubborn. Really smart against magical creatures is fun to write.

What kind of paranormal characters are most fun to read about?
>Feisty and smart heroines who either are learning about their powers or who have none are a lot of fun for me to read about.

Why do you suppose it’s so hard to keep paranormal characters close to real life?
>I'm not so sure that it is difficult--in the sense they are, at base, portrayed as human in some fashion, if only emotionally be the love for another. But there is also the tendency to want the fairy tale story, the yearning for escapism and the HEA ending. And we all know that the fairy tale isn't real, we just want to dream about What If!

Barbara Monajem said...

writtenwyrdd -- Smart, stubborn and learning to cope with (or without) powers sounds like a lot of fun to write. And it's definitely the kind of story readers love -- as in, for example, the Harry Potter novels. Or The Lightning Thief, which I'm reading (and loving) now.

Luna_Divine said...

If you were going to write a paranormal romance (or if you do write them), what abilities would you like your characters to have?

Mind reading & Super Strength. They may be paranormal beings but they still need to be able to protect themselves.That's why I chose these three abilities,Super Strength for fighting/getting attached & they could use the mind reading to not only help themselves but also help other people.

Barbara Monajem said...

Hi, Luna. I can see why super strength might be useful if you can also read minds, because people might get really upset if they knew you knew their every thought!

donnas said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for sharing.

I really think vampires are the most fun to read about. With them living so long, they have experienced so much in history that its fun just to get to know their backstory.

bacchus76 at myself dot com