Please help me welcome author Kristine Cheney to my blog! The day she's been nervously biting her nails waiting for is here.
The Release of Spartan Heart
(insert Kim and Kristine happy dancing here)
Kristine, I'm so happy for you, and I'm so glad you stopped by to share your amazing news, and book, with us. First off, can you tell us what your book is about?
Sent away to college in America, Evangeline swore she would never return to England. Anger loses its value when tragedy forces her home to assume ownership of the family's beloved Greco-Roman museum.
Placing a foolish, drunken kiss on a Greek statue in the museum's basement, Evangeline unknowingly frees a Spartan prince from an evil oracle's curse. Suddenly, her lonely life is invaded by the rakish man with knowing emerald green eyes who never eats or sleeps, and seems to know her every thought and feeling.
Falling in love is dangerous, especially when it's with a man who has already been claimed by the bitter oracle, Demona. From the moment of her kiss, Evangeline is swept into Dorien's world of mystery, danger, and passion. The oracle's fury only mounts as they unravel Demona's darkest secrets, but not before Demona finds out about their unborn half-breed immortal twins.
Demona uses her knowledge of the future to manipulate and destroy, but sometimes love has a will, and a heart, of its own.
WOW! Sounds like an amazing story:) How were you inspired with the idea for your book?
I was having a melancholy day, and my sister Amanda was trying her best to encourage me. She asked, “You know, a long time ago you used to write. How come you never write anymore? Whatever happened to that girl?” Her words hit me; hard. I was inspired right then, I had to write. I decided I was going to write a book. A lifetime lover of archaeology and Greek mythology, the idea sparked in an instant. I began writing on my computer and the story came so quick. Like a life of its own, it just came into being. It only took three months to write Spartan Heart.
THREE MONTHS! I'm so jealous, you have no idea (me giving Kristine the "evil eye" via the Internet). Do you have a special writing routine or inspiration besides your love of archaeology and Greek mythology that helped you write your story so quickly?
My writing routine: I love candles. I like to light a bunch of candles before I sit to write. They're relaxing, ambient, romantic, and the scent fills all of my senses. (Partylite candles are my favorite because they smell so good!)
You must be lighting LOTS of purple candles. They're the candles of creativity:)
My inspiration: I decorated a “writing room” which is now my favorite room in the house. It's filled with my candle holders and the décor is feminine and inspiring. I don’t listen to music when I write because I find it distracting, but if I hear a song in the car, it can inspire lots of fabulous ideas. My true muse is water. Rain. The sounds of a storm. The waves of the ocean. A babbling brook or stream…and yes, even the shower, lol! *blushes* Being an Arizona native, we have to take water whenever we can get it. Needless to say, a lot of my ideas have been inspired while in the shower!
LOL! Can you tell us a random fact about your story.
I chose my daughter Taryn’s name for Evangeline’s best friend. Also, when creating my story, I used Spartan historic facts and blended them with fiction (which was so much fun!).
That does sound like fun. Can you tell us a random fact about you.
I became a grandmother at the age of 36. (I now have three grandbabies!)
I had my first baby at 36! (to be fair, I had been a step mom to 3 wonderful kids for 9 years already).
What's your favorite line in your story?
Taryn was a woman possessed, making a bee-line towards the dance floor. Sipping her golden suds, Evangeline laughed and fought the temptation to fetch a priest. Taryn was a delicious sight of jiggle and bounce. Looking Heavenward, Evangeline caught herself praying. Only the assistance of divine intervention would help that poor red tube top last the night.
Great line! What are you woring on right now?
I'm currently editing Part II of Spartan Heart, which is scheduled to be released on March 8th. I'm also writing Spartan Surrender, which is the next book in the Spartan Heart Saga. This story encompasses the romance of Spartan warrior Thessalus and Taryn, both of whom were introduced and featured in Spartan Heart. When I finished Spartan Heart, I had skipped Spartan Surrender and wrote the third story called Spartan Proposal, which tells the story of Celeas and Meghan. Their story was so running rampant in my thoughts, so I had to write that one first. After completion, it was evident I needed to give Thessalus and Taryn their moment of glory. So here I am, weaving their tale.
Sounds wonderful. I can't wait! What's something a reader might not expect about you?
Lets, see. I have five sisters. I have three grandchildren at the age of 39, and I've been married 21 years. I'm left handed (but I cut and bowl with my right hand!). I'm sensitive and cry at movies and even commercials. I also make funny faces when I write because I get so caught up in my story. I have actually caught myself doing it. I must be an awful sight to whoever watches! How embarrassing!
Funny faces. A woman after my own heart. Which leads to my next quesiton.
Who is your favorite Muppet?
That's a hard one. I just love those two old hecklers! I totally get their sense of forked humor. But if I had to choose one Muppet, without a doubt, it would be Fozzie Bear. He is lovable, so cuddable, and is an organizer. He tries so hard to be funny and is able to laugh at himself when he is at the expense of his (and everyone else’s) jokes. Above all, he is a loyal friend; the one every one relies on. He brings order out of chaos. (As the eldest of my sisters, he kind of reminds me of myself) "Wocka Wocka Wocka".
(chuckle) You're so funny! What's your favorite movie?
I love The Notebook. Never has a story ever been so finely woven or expressed that has touched my heart so intimately. My other favorite movies are Practical Magic (I can relate to Sally, who is always the strong, resourceful, and reliable one), and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. My favorite childhood movie is Xanadu (I love that Greek inspired story).
You did not just say Xanadu!! I may have to give you a paper cut! Just kidding (kinda) What are your goals for this next year?
My goal is to continue to grow with Astraea Press. I have a bunch of book ideas for the Spartan Heart Saga and also for a few single titles that I'm anxious to crank out.
So basically your goal is to have your nose pressed to the computer 24/7. A woman after my own heart. I knew I liked you. What do you love most about Astraea Press?
When I wrote Spartan Heart, I was troubled by the pressure to write graphic love scenes in my books. For me, I felt to include the graphic references went against my faith and my conscience. At the pressure, I would write them in and take them out, then re-write them in and re-take them out. It was eating at me, literally. It began to sap away at my joy of writing. I wanted to have the freedom of creating an intimate love scene that was realistic, yet something I felt most women would be comfortable with reading because they would be able to relate in some way. I'm grateful Astraea Press has taken away this pressure and am so grateful they allow me to do what I truly love…just write.
Amen! I'm so glad you stopped by! This sounds like an amazing story and I can't wait to get my hands on it!! I would love to get a taste of it! I hope you brought us an excerpt (hint hint).
Dorien analyzed the woman’s thoughts. The amplified effects of intoxication took him by surprise. Intense emotions of loss and pain were fresh and vivid, almost to the point of being unbearable. He filtered through her memories. Her life flashed before him like a picture show. The girl was too easy to read. Her feelings were raw and grated. It was obvious she had suffered recent loss. Her parents. The woman carried enough guilt for a legion of men. Searching harder, Dorien found the source of what he was looking for: An argument. A forced decision. Separation. Anger. Unexpected loss. Overwhelming regret. With better understanding, he withdrew from her mind.
But he couldn’t stop staring at her. The woman before him was not only beautiful…she was stunning. Dorien tried to think of a better word. Nothing was adequate. Sizing her up, he admired her medium height and healthy stature. She had the face and body of a goddess. Almond shaped eyes were the color of fiery copper. Weary and sad, they were shadowed by the blow of loss. Where had he seen their rare color before? Disregarding the question, he didn’t care to place it. He was too immersed in her.
Her perfect small pert nose held him captive. Juicy bee-stung lips made him think of long demanding kisses. Her face was young and delicate. Long blonde hair hung to the middle of her back, thick with curls. What would it feel like to run his fingers through the length of its silky softness? The color was so rich, a lustrous shade of blonde. It reminded him of the goldest wheat ready to be threshed. Her large round breasts were full and perked, their ripe curves teased from the neckline of her dress. The valley between them wasn’t much. Amply pushed together, they promised to overflow from the bounty of his hands. Her hips were strong, begging for breeding. Something his culture had always put such faith in. With a wicked sigh, he acknowledged it would take hours to love her proper.
Dorien groaned. Never had a woman looked so delicious in a little white dress. It made his imagination run wild. Thin wispy straps rested on soft bare shoulders, holding the sheer fabric to her body. He desired to lift that garment high and cup her buttocks. What would it feel like to glide his fingertips over the expanse of her velvet-like flesh? How would this beauty look lying in his arms? The explicit scenario only ravaged his mind. He groaned to himself in tortured agony.
Why was he thinking like this? Logic only spoke truth. If he were smart, he would stop all of this madness and force away these cruel visions. Yet, here he was, aching from the relentless contractions of tense chorded muscles. He was well aware of his reaction to her presence. His current predicament was sobering. It helped him wrestle his body under control. Here, passionate thoughts were pointless. Unsated lust was destined to be his only partner.
Thank you so much, Kristine. This has been so much fun. I'm so happy for you. I hope you'll all leave her well wishes and come back throught the day to read more excerpts from Spartan Heart. I know I will. Or...if you can't wait to read more, hop on over and pick up your copy at one of these links.
Available soon at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
Kristine has generously offered to give away one PDF copy of Spartan Heart to a lucky poster!!
Stick around and enjoy the party! Congrats again, Kristine:)
Ok, I've made you wait long enough!!
Here's another excerpt from Spartan Heart:
The heavy mahogany door opened without a sound. Dorien stood in awe, surprised at the sight of such elegant décor. Even as a prince of Sparta, his people were modest and simple. They didn’t allow for such luxuries. Every room in this house was more decadent than any palace court.
Carnal thoughts were forced aside. He admired the massive, old world four-poster bed. Its violet and gold jewel-colored covering was regal. Large over-stuffed pillows were inviting. Majestic nightstands stood on both sides of the bed. A velvet, gold, chaise lounge beckoned at the foot. Colorful tapestries and paintings graced every wall. He appreciated the triple dresser and boisterous armoire. Spotting the huge stone fireplace, its presence enhanced the room. The warmth of a fire would fill this chamber with a tranquil, seductive ambience.
Dorien froze and gasped out loud. Sight of his reflection was caught in the mirror. Gazing upon the cast of a stranger, how many years had it been since he last looked upon his own face? He shook his head. The only thing pressing him this moment was Evangeline’s comfort. Laying her on the mattress, Dorien flinched. His chest felt the impact of a physical blow.
Her lips were blue!
Wet from head to toe, Evangeline’s tender flesh was covered in goose bumps. Honey-wheat strands of saturated hair stuck to her face and shoulders. Her teeth chattered hard, almost enough to break. Her body shook in a responsive effort to warm itself. Dorien had been a fool! How had he not noticed? He should have paid close attention to her mortal needs!
In a flash, he reached the fireplace. Thick logs of timber were tossed, thudding against the back of the hearth. He needed to hurry; a fire would help ward off her chill.
Evangeline stirred. Dorien’s attention flew back towards the bed. Her head rolled back and forth. He sensed confusion and fear in her thoughts. Her fingers reached for him blind. The helpless sound of Evangeline’s cries penetrated his soul. She was well aware she wasn’t alone.
“D-d-don’t leave me, p-p-please! H-h-help me!”
Dorien rushed to her side and fell to his knees. He rubbed his hands up and down the length of her velvety arms. “Quiet, Evan. I am here and will not leave you. Let me start a fire, love. I promise not to leave you. I shall come right back.”
Evangeline’s eyes were large and vacant; she was bewildered. She stared into his face. Reading her thoughts, she was fighting to place him.
“W-w-who are you?” The fear in her voice was evident. Its tremble wasn’t from chill.
“My name is Dorien. I am here to help you and will not harm you. Will you trust me?”
She nodded profusely, pulling tight fists over her chest. It was a weak attempt to find warmth. Dorien rose to his feet. He was slammed by the impact of her panic the moment he tried to leave her side. Evangeline clawed at him in desperation. Her gasps came in forced ragged breaths.
“No! P-p-lease help me. I’m s-so c-c-cold.”
Lost in her shivers, she struggled to remain conscious. He winced at the sight of saturated clothes. They clung against every curve of her beautiful body. He hadn’t broken a sweat through the passage, but the cold, damp air soaked her clothes, chilling her to her bones. Life as a soldier had taught him well. If he didn’t light a fire or remove the garments, she could fall sick or worse. Disappointment in his negligence ran deep.
How had he been so careless?
He decided again to get up, but Evangeline refused to let him leave her side. There was only one other thing he could do. Gritting his teeth, he untied the flimsy shoulder straps of her drenched white sundress. It was torture freeing fragile pearl buttons snuggled between her breasts.
Fire was igniting all right, but it was in all the wrong places. His fingers brushed her pale tender skin with every shivered breath. He leaned her body against his chest. Pulling the dress over her head, he threw it across the room like a venomous creature. Dorien laid her back against the mattress. He didn’t deny himself the opportunity to gaze upon her. His stomach tightened. The curves of her body beckoned for his touch. He couldn’t tear his gaze from the delicious sight of violet lace panties.
Women of Sparta never wore anything like that!
Dorien felt like he needed air. His immortal hands actually shook. The ache of desire increased a hundred-fold. Ignoring the pain was useless. His fingers looped the sides of wet panties. Pulling them off one tortuous leg at a time, he forced himself to look away.
WOW! What an awesome day! Thank you so much for being my guest today, Kristine, and I wish you many sells and many, many more books!!
Before we go, Kristine's going to give you one last yummie taste of her book!
Stripping himself of his cape and coverlet, Dorien slipped naked into her bed. The weight of his body rested against her skin. His cold immortal flesh would never be enough to warm her. Pulling the covers around his shoulders, he held her close. Shivered breaths pressed her breasts flush against him, drilling into the muscles of his chest. Dorien gazed above him, searching for imperfections on the ceiling. He fought to keep his mind and body distracted.
Evangeline looped her arms around his neck. Her legs encircled his middle. Dorien’s body went rigid with warning. The closeness of their bodies was way too dangerous. With a groan of distress, he tried to resist the beckon of her curves. He even tried not to think about it. But ripe instinct made him shudder in hunger. The woman didn’t have a clue. Dorien remained still. He reminded himself over and over of the many reasons why he had to protect her. She was traumatized. She was intoxicated. She was oblivious to their delicate predicament. She was oh, so soft.
What were his reasons again?
He prayed she would stop moving. The torment of being a statue for centuries paled to being frozen in this position.
He tried not to choke. “Yes, my love.”
“H-h-hold me, please.”
He was holding her! That was the problem! If he were any closer, she would be in big trouble!
“Evangeline, please, you must listen to me, sweet. You must stay still. Can you hear me? Evan, don’t move! I don’t want to hurt you. I must not compromise you.”
“I-I-I know, I-I-I’m trying, Dorien. P-p-please come closer.”
She was oblivious to the danger she was in. By Zeus, this couldn’t be happening! He had to get through to her. Temptation would be his death. How much longer could he hold out before the wages of sin gave in? The carnal desire to take her was too intense. Strict training as a soldier never prepared him for this type of assault. Surely he’d be better off in the hands of an enemy. Dorien grit his teeth in agony. It was a good thing his soldiers would never know. They wouldn’t believe their Prince was begging in desperation, trying not to make love to a woman!
“Evan! Please, love. Be still! You are in grave danger! You must understand! I don’t know how much longer I can resist you.”
Desperate for distraction, Dorien kissed Evangeline. Groaning at the sweetness of her mouth, it was so much better than sin. But it backfired completely, only revving his desire. He rode the brink of insanity. The soft moist sounds of her response took him by surprise. He never expected this beauty to return his kiss.
Evangeline’s moan drifted into his mouth. In an innocent gesture, she relaxed, and adjusted her hips. Dorien slipped, and all was lost. Her fingernails embedded deep into his back, unable to penetrate the armor of his skin. Her eyes were dilated, large with need. Her labored breaths brushed over his face. Dorien fought to remain still. Intimate knowledge of her body taunted him so cruelly. The reactive arch of her back made him flinch.
“Evangeline, are you all right?”
He saw her nod in the darkness. Her heart pounded. She panted. Reading her mind, he knew. She was breathing through the abruptness of their union.
“Evan, I am so sorry. You must know how hard I tried to avoid this.”
It felt so good to love her.
Dorien’s conscience jolted him. He had to do the honorable thing. As a warrior of Sparta, he wouldn’t stay in this predicament. Never against her wishes.
“Don’t move, Evangeline. I will remedy this situation at once.”
She now coaxed him closer. Evangeline’s hands locked tight around his neck.
“No! Please don’t leave… I don’t want you to go.”
She wriggled beneath him. Dorien groaned. It had been too long since he last made love to a woman. Learning of her innocence only bated him to possess her more. If she wasn’t careful, he would soon forget his manners.
“Evan, you don’t know what you are asking. If I don’t stop now, I won’t be able to later. It is now or never. There are some things you can never take back.”
He cupped her buttocks, a botched attempt to hold her writhing body still. But the naughty little sprite kept moving. Her hands unlocked from around his neck. He flinched as her fingernails raked across the skin of his back. She boldly kissed him. Her perfect teeth nibbled at his bottom lip and the warmth of her tongue explored the inside of his mouth.
Dorien breached the point of no return. It was too late to turn back. Now she was his. The sight of her beneath him was better than he ever imagined. Evangeline’s eyes glazed over, half shut in passion. Her mouth trembled in anticipation of his kisses.
He loved the way her golden hair splayed like silk across her pillow. His cold lips claimed her slow, wanting to taste every bit of her. He cradled her face in the bounty of his hands. Without a doubt, he would give this little vixen exactly what she wanted. But time would tell if she could handle what she asked for.