Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Friday, December 14, 2007

Author Interviews - Eden Robins & Cassie Ryan

This week I’m welcoming Eden Robins and Cassie Ryan. Some of you might recognize Eden as one of the “Queens” of the Romantic Times Faery Court! Cassie, like me, is just a faery princess!

JC: Hi Eden and Cassie! How about a few words about your recent releases?

Eden Robins: My upcoming e-book release, BENEATH A CHRISTMAS MOON, is due out on December 13 through Cerridwen Press. It’s a Christmas themed paranormal romance anthology I wrote with fellow authors Ariana Dupre and Karen McCullough. My tale in this anthology is LANDER’S MOON. The anthology is available for purchase on the Cerridwen Press website:

Here’s a little bit more about LANDER’S MOON: Free spirited healer Selena Alvarez has a thing for bad boys. Unfortunately, having to escape from a very violent one in the middle of a wicked snow storm, and being saved by an enormous beast isn’t exactly how she imagined spending her Christmas vacation. Lander Paletsos, the legendary Nemean Lion, is an immortal with an attitude. Cursed to walk the day as a human and prowl the night as a giant lion, he never expects to find an injured woman lost in his territory during a blizzard. Snow bound in Lander’s castle in the woods, they soon discover if the heart of a brave healer can soothe the soul of a wild beast. Find out more at and

JC: Ooh, a cursed, immortal lion shapeshifter! Yum. What else could a girl want!!!! Cassie, what’s up for you?

Cassie Ryan: CEREMONY OF SEDUCTION was released by Kensington’s Aphrodisia line August 1, 2007. It’s available at any brick and mortar bookstore, Amazon, etc, or as an eBook through the Kensington website and It’s a very steamy erotic romance.

When Dreams Of Desire…
Twenty-three-year-old Alyssa Moss has lived her whole life in the shadow of her beautiful family. Voluptuous where they are lean, brunette where they are blonde, Alyssa is convinced she is an ugly duckling who will never become a swan. The only thing that sustains her is a recurring dream in which a seductive stranger named Stone worships and pleasures every inch of her. But maddeningly, Stone always disappears just as Alyssa is on the edge of dizzying ecstasy—with a puzzling promise that one day he will find her. That day has come….

Become Reality…
For years, Stone has searched for the kidnapped first princess of his people—an other-worldly clan whose life-force is sexual energy. Alyssa is that princess, stolen by a rival faction and banished to live on Earth. But now Stone has found her and will return her to her rightful home, one in which she will own the curvaceous body she was born with—and the passionate desire that throbs within it as she learns an endless variety of delicious pleasures and discovers the infinite power she feels when all her cravings are satisfied…

Readers can find an excerpt at Or, stop by and visit me at

JC: Haven’t we all suspected we were actually princesses kidnapped at birth? I know I have! Sounds like a great story, Cassie. Now how about spilling some deep, dark, author secrets – like what happens to your writing schedule during the holiday season?

Cassie Ryan: It gets even harder to stick to my writing schedule during the holiday season, but since I usually have a deadline—either real or self-imposed—I usually stay on track and then catch up on sleep and sanity after the first of the!

Eden Robins: My writing schedule definitely goes out the window! I don’t get to write as much as I’d like or need to during this time, but I try to take it in stride and keep perspective. In other words, I know how the holidays will affect my writing, so I sort of go with the flow. So, if I would normally write five pages a day, I understand that I might not be able to do that everyday. I make my goals more flexible and accept it as a temporary situation. I know this isn’t always easy, especially with looming deadlines, but I think doing what I can and being okay with it, rather than beating myself up and stressing out even more is the best way for me to approach my writing during the season.

JC: Cassie, what's the most memorable holiday present you ever received?

Cassie Ryan: I have the most horrible sense of direction, and I’m constantly getting lost or totally turned around. A few years ago, my husband bought me a GPS system for my car :) I know it sounds silly, but I really love that thing. It’s nice to be able to hit that “return home” button when I get lost, or even to program in an address and know it will take me there without me accidentally ending up in Canada or

JC: I can relate! I’m good with a map, and I thought I’d hate the talking GPS, but once I got used to the one my husband gave me last year, I found I really liked her! I named her Trixie and hubby programmed her to speak with a British accent, just for fun. She’s gotten me out of a couple tight spots.

JC: Eden, you’ve just celebrated Hanukkah. Do you have a favorite menorah? What does it look like?

Eden Robins: My favorite menorah is the one made by my children. They took molding clay, shaped it into a menorah, painted it with splashes of blue and green, and sprinkled it with silver glitter. I take it out during the holidays and hope when they’re grown up, they’ll smile with fond memories in mind when they see it, just as I do now.

JC: Cassie, do you have a favorite holiday ornament?

Cassie Ryan: We have a Christmas tree (which my son and I call a Christmas Tree and the hubby calls a Hannukah I have two favorite ornaments. One is a brown bear with a picture of my son when he was six years old in the bear’s tummy. :) The other one is my son’s from when he was ten years old. It’s a star of David and has a little round picture of him in the middle—he was such a cute little guy! But if my husband asks, I’ll swear my favorites are all the Star Trek ornaments he keeps buying every year...LOL!

JC: Cassie and Eden – you both live in the hot, sunny Southwest. How do you make up for (or take advantage of) the lack of snow during the holiday season?

Eden Robins: We play outside! J The mild winter weather is fantastic for just enjoying the great outdoors. Our extremely hot summers are like freezing snowy winters in colder climates. But instead of going from one heated place to another, we go from one air conditioned place to another. So, when the temperature drops, Arizonans get out and hike, barbeque, attend outdoor parties by the fire pit, go for walks or bike rides, picnic, enjoy local festivals and take sightseeing trips around the state. And if we’re really missing those snowy days, we head up North to ski at Snowbowl in Flagstaff, or Sunrise Resort outside of Pinetop, or snuggle up in a cabin up in Strawberry. The great part about that is when we’re tired of the snow and ready for warmer weather, we just head back South!

Cassie Ryan: Since I’ve spent most of my life here, I don’t think I really think of snow as synonymous with the holidays except on TV or movies. I did spend one very cold Christmas with my dad in Dayton, Ohio and thought I was going to die. I was soooo cold, it took me a week back home to feel warm again. I do like it to be cold enough where it at least requires a coat at Christmas—otherwise it’s not much fun to make a fire or have hot cider or anything. This year is not looking promising, I swear there will be people still wearing shorts :( But at least we won’t be shoveling snow off our driveways when we sit on our back porches during the holidays. :)

JC: Got any quick and easy holiday recipes to share?

Eden Robins: I make this fast, simple and tasty appetizer at gatherings in my home and to bring to parties during the holidays, and I’m ALWAYS asked for the recipe! Adjust the amount of chili paste to your heat preference


1 package frozen meatballs (16 to 20 small meatballs)
1 to 3 teaspoons red chili garlic paste (found in produce section or Asian section of your grocery store)
2 tablespoon of tube basil paste (found in produce section of your grocery store)

Cook meatballs in microwave as directed then toss with the chile paste and basil. Heat for one more minute in microwave and serve with toothpicks!

Cassie Ryan: Mmmm, I recommend Holiday Eggnog!


12 large eggs
1 1/4 cup(s) sugar
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
2 quart(s) milk
1 cup(s) dark rum , (optional)
2 tablespoon(s) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg, extra for sprinkling
1 cup(s) heavy or whipping cream

1. In heavy 4-quart saucepan with wire whisk, beat eggs, sugar, and salt until blended. Gradually stir in 1 quart milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly or until custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon well, about 25 minutes (mixture should be about 160 degrees F, but do not boil or it will curdle).

2. Pour custard into large bowl; stir in rum, vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and remaining milk. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.

3. To serve, in small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy or whipping cream until soft peaks form. With wire whisk, gently fold whipped cream into custard mixture.

4. Pour eggnog into chilled 5-quart punch bowl; sprinkle with nutmeg for garnish.

JC: Thanks a bunch! Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Fantastic NewYear!

Happy Reading!


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» Saturday, December 01, 2007

Author Interview - Diana Groe

This week's interview is with historical author Diana Groe. I met Diana for the first time last April at RT in Pittsburgh, and was very intrigued hearing about her Dark Ages and Medieval romances, especially Silk Dreams, set in 11th century Byzantium.

I finally got to read Silk Dreams last month, and was not disappointed! I absolutely loved it. It's gone right to my keeper shelf. Diana's characters are so real, and so wonderfully flawed. There is not a cliché to be found in Diana's books. I really got into the romance between Valdis and Erik. Valdis and Erik are both from the northlands, outcasts from their homeland who end up in Byzantium for different reasons. Their romance unfolds so beautifully. There are several very compelling secondary characters as well. The wealthy eunuch who buys Valdis in the slave markets, seeing her as a cog in the wheel of his political plotting, was one of my favorites.

JC: Diana! Welcome! Tell us a bit more about Silk Dreams.

Diana Groe: SILK DREAMS is the story of Valdis, a young epileptic Northwoman, whose family has sold her into slavery because they believe her “witched.” Her new master, a late-made eunuch who has his own demons to slay, wants to use her seizures to fool his political enemies into thinking she is in contact with the spirit world and can foretell the future. In truth, Valdis has no such power, but she is plagued by a prescient dream that warns of the death of the exiled Northman who would dare anything to love her and see her free. My hero is a convicted murderer who has earned a place for himself as one of the Emperor’s elite Varangian Guard. Set in 11th century Byzantium, SILK DREAMS is cast against the backdrop of the most glittering, sophisticated and dangerous court of its time. It’s a story about redemption and love overcoming loss. The Chicago Tribune called SILK DREAMS “lushly sensual, sumptuously written.” You can read an excerpt on my website

JC: You have a March 2008 release coming up, Distracting the Duchess, writing as Emily Bryan. What's it about, and why the name change?

Diana Groe: Even though DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS is set in the more familiar Victorian era, the characters are not the usual suspects. My heroine, Artemisia (sounds like amnesia) is a widowed duchess who wants to make her mark as a serious artist. My hero Trevelyn is the 2nd son, the “spare,” of the Earl of Warre. His father believes he’s a lay-about, but Trev is actually an intelligence operative for the young Queen Victoria. Both the spy and the duchess are blind-sided by the passion that distracts them from their goals. Mistaken identities, an accidental betrothal, a little well-meant larceny and of course, love ruins all their plans.

DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS is my first foray into lighter fare. After writing 3 epic, dramatic historicals, I was ready for some sexy fun. So when I pitched the idea of an artistic duchess who mistakes Her Majesty’s spy for her next nude figure model, my editor jumped at the idea. The story is pure fun, the tone light-hearted and frankly much sexier than my previous work, so my editor thought a new pen name was required. Emily Bryan was born. I hope readers who enjoyed my Diana Groe books will give Emily a try and vice-versa. Don’t we all need light and dark, joy and sadness to stay balanced? Check out the first chapter at

JC: You've written books set in the 9th century Ireland and 11th century Byzantium. (sp?) Your upcoming Emily Bryan books are set in eighteenth and nineteenth century in (locations??). How do you go about researching so many different places and time periods?

Diana Groe: I adore history. The research is playtime for me. Librarians hide when they see me coming. But not all my research is done in the library. I visited Ireland to prepare for my Irish love story, ERINSONG. And when I was writing SILK DREAMS, since my heroine was going to be in a harem, I figured I needed to learn how an odalisque seduces her master. I took belly-dancing classes with one of my sisters. Wow, did I discover muscles I didn’t know I had!

JC: Whew. You would not catch me in a belly dancing costume - that's for sure! You've written in so many time periods - which is your favorite so far?

Diana Groe: I’ve lived in 9 different states, 4 time zones, and I always like where I am at the moment best! So I try to make what I’m currently working on my favorite. Right now, it’s a Georgian-set prodigal pirate tale. PLEASURING THE PIRATE, my 2nd Emily Bryan romance will be an August 2008 Leisure Book. The first chapter is waiting for you at

JC: The holidays are upon us! What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Diana Groe: I used to sing professional opera and one of my favorite roles is the Mother in Menotti’s AMAHL & THE NIGHT VISITORS. The three kings stop to rest at the cottage of a poor woman and her crippled son on their way to see the Christ Child. It’s a little jewel of an opera with a little bit of everything—comedy, drama, a little ballet and a miracle. I don’t sing it professionally any more, but I try to see it every year.

JC: Do you have a fast and fabulous holiday recipe to share?

Diana Groe: My dear grandmother had the best cinnamon roll recipe on the planet, which she shared with all of us. It is an intricate, complicated labor of love and requires several hours of hard work, but darn well worth it. One of my favorite childhood memories is waking up in her house on Christmas morning to the aroma of her fabulous baking. However, Grandma also had a few secrets. If she was pressed for time, she’d just get a canister of store-bought biscuit dough (Ballard’s, for choice), stretch out the biscuits, dip them in melted butter and roll them in cinnamon and sugar. After tying them in a knot, she’d bake them according to the package directions. We never knew the difference. My younger sister was the early riser of the clan and she caught Grandma at it. Grandma swore her to secrecy and my sister kept it until Grandma’s 80th birthday when she was totally “outed.” Anyway, I have adopted Grandma’s “Express Cinnamon Rolls” recipe as my favorite. As long as you throw away the incriminating evidence (i.e. the biscuit canister), you can get away with passing them off as home-made for decades!

JC: Thanks, Diana!

Happy Holidays & Happy Reading, everyone!


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