There is a definite mind-set to a front porch. Maybe its because I'm originally from the south that it speaks to me of a slower pace, an appreciation of the moment, listening to the gentle sounds of a neighborhood awakening, the soft patter of rain on the roof and the leaves, or maybe visiting with family and friends with a nice glass of tea or lemonade after a long day.
So come on up and take a moment here on my front porch, to visit with a lovely author--Cate Masters, whose book is helping to launch a new line by Decadent Publishing, called TEASE. ALLURE (Paranormal) ENTICE (Contemporary) and CAPTIVATE (Historical) make up this exciting new line of shorter works that range from mild to spicy in heat , but always give us an HEA, or the hope of one!
Cate's book-CURSED--is part of the Tease ALLURE line.
Amanda: Welcome to the porch, Cate! First tell us a bit about yourself.
Cate: Thanks so much for having me over, Amanda! I looove your porch. I'll bet it's a wonderful reading spot. So relaxing! :) I've now call beautiful central Pennsylvania my home, but I'll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When I'm not spending time with my dear hubby, I can be found in my lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with my cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. I'm always grateful for the opportunity to talk about what I love most: writing. I'm so thrilled that Cursed has finally released! And that Decadent selected it to launch its new Tease line.
Amanda: I'm always interested to hear what inspires an author to write a particular story--what was yours?
Cate: This story has been surprising me from day one. And day one was actually about two years ago. A line in a Goo Goo Dolls song stuck with me: "I'd give up forever to touch you." I started jotting notes, but nothing felt right. I'd already released a few stories about angels who gave up their wings for mortal love. I wanted something a little different.
I love to read odd articles, and a few of those stuck with me too. My brain, in its usual strange and wonderful way (my subconscious works overtime, lol), connected three very different news stories - one about Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man sketch (ta da! my hero emerged from it), another about the 10-day Carnevale festival in Venice (woot! the setting) and finally one about studies of the "love drug" hormone (yay, my heroine's a scientist!). And so it began unfurling. And kept unfurling. (*find more unfurling behind the scenes here!)
Another wonderful surprise of this story is that the more I learned about these characters, the more their world kept expanding. It absolutely hooked me. I had to find out more, so I kept writing. The result -- the second in the series, Charmed, is now in edits with Decadent! And I recently subbed the third, Claimed.
Amanda: It sounds like the muse smacked you well with her magic wand! Do you foresee any more books in this series?
Cate: The more I wrote, the more I fell in love with these characters. Not just the hero and heroine, either. There are so many great characters in this series. I hope to return to this world again and tell more of them. :)
Amanda: I like to ask guests to share two things when they visit--a recipe and a juicy excerpt, what treats did you bring us??
Cate: I don't know whether you've suffered the same heat wave, but here in Pennsylvania it's been almost tropical! Crazy weather. Unless I'm grilling, I hate to cook when it's so hot. But here's a little something that's perfect for those hot days when you just want something light and refreshing - and it's almost as yummy as my hero, Bruno. :)
Tri-berry Spinach Salad
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons frozen raspberry-lemonade concentrate
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
OR - to make this even easier, use bottled berry vinaigrette :)
1 (6-oz.) pkg. prewashed fresh baby spinach (about 7 cups)
1/3 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/3 cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sliced red onion, separated into rings
In small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; mix well.
In large serving bowl, combine all salad ingredients. Pour dressing over salad; toss gently to coat.And last, here's a sweet treat for dessert! A look at my paranormal, Cursed. A little different excerpt than the usual:
Melina should have stayed in her room. Finding him had seemed like such incredible luck. Now she wondered whether luck had turned against her.
That sound—almost an animal sound—had that come from him? Had she imagined it? Strange things went on during Carnevale, her online friends had said, some so inexplicable no science could explain them. She’d laughed when they warned her she might get in over her head. The sheer strength of his muscles, the raw power beneath his clothes, thrilled her. His pace conveyed the same urgency. Pressed to his side, nerves jangling, her foot slipped on the stone step.
In one fluid motion, he scooped her into his arms and continued hurrying along. “Are you all right?”
“Unless embarrassment leaves a mortal wound. I’m normally not so clumsy.” She settled against his broad chest. Such incredible stamina. An image pierced her mind: his muscular, naked torso above her, his hips rocking against hers. His presence overwhelmed her, and she was acutely aware of every motion, every breath.
At the bottom of the stone stairs, he set her on her feet but maintained his firm hold. “Dampness has a habit of lingering here. You’d best allow me to assist you.”
“Please.” She fitted herself against him, acutely aware of the way his body moved against hers.
“In these calle of San Samuele,” he said, “Giacomo Casanova spent his youth.”
“Calle?” She should have brushed up on her Italian.
He dipped his head closer. “Narrow alleyways.”
“Narrow and dark. I wonder how many trysts Casanova had in these alleys?” And Casanova had nothing on Bruno. Women probably flocked around him constantly. Acid flashed through her at the thought.
“Too many to recount.” He paused, then added, “If one believes the writings in his diary. His mentor, the poet Giorgio Baffe, lived just down there.”
“Mentor?” She didn’t recall Casanova writing poetry. Did Bruno as well? Or was he not romantic that way?
“Of a sort. The man who introduced Casanova to worldly pleasures.”
The way the last two words rolled off his tongue, so enticing. She glanced at the dark steps that led to deeper shadows beside the canal.
She surprised herself by steering him down there, tugging him to an abrupt halt. “Do such mentors still exist?”
He whirled her against a wall. “Why? Would you be interested?”
She let her hands wander across the contours of his chest. “You did offer to introduce me to the delights of Venice.”
The same growl as earlier rumbled in his throat, unmistakable this time. “You do like to play with fire, don’t you?”
And he knew how to ignite one.
Amanda: Indeed! This looks like a great read, just in time to add to your summer must read list!!
I'd like to thank Cate for stopping by.Own a copy of CURSED now through these fine distributors:
Learn more about Cate, join her social networks, sign up for her newsletter, and find out more about this and all her books!!
Until next time, remember-