Ladies and Gentlemen, we have with us today the wonderful Karina Cooper. Karina is the author of the The St Croix Chronicles as well as the Dark Mission series. Karina is out on tour to share her newest release in the Dark Mission series, Wicked Lies. While she’s out and about touring the sites she is giving away a killer prize of 1 full set of the Dark Mission print books (released to this point) which includes: Blood of the Wicked, Lure of the Wicked, All Things Wicked, and Sacrifice the Wicked. (open to US Shipping Only) Be sure to fill out the entry for your chance!
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Now please give a warm VRB welcome to Karina Cooper!
A Dark Mission Novella
Genre: Paranormal Romance (Avon’s first male-male romance)
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Date of Publication: 3/5/2013
Number of pages: 112
Word Count: 29,159
Formats available: e-book
Jonas Stone has been given his first independent operation: rescue the insurrection leader’s imprisoned grandson from the Mission. Getting the job done means more than getting Danny Granger out-it means staying with him while he heals. Staying too close, for way too long.
Danny is everything Jonas isn’t: confident, optimistic, honest–a man to be reckoned with. If only it didn’t mean going against everything Jonas has planned. He’s kept his secrets for years, hid behind a mask no one could see through…until now. Danny isn’t the kind of man Jonas deserves. But he might be exactly the man he needs…
For my Uncle Stephen. You were the first man in my life who bravely came out to me, and who paved the way for me to be myself. I loved you so much before, and I love you just as much now.
You are my inspiration.
And for every gay, lesbian, bi-, trans-, queer, and questioning youth out there. Life can be hard, sometimes it can get mean. There will be days when you feel like it’s impossible, but I want you to know that there are people like me out here who support you. I promise : it gets better.
A blue-white light flickered in the dark. Sparks glinted off the tool racks bolted to the wall across the shadowed room, reflected from the metal braces left leaning against the desk. As silence—mind-numbingly loud, thick as water, and twice as hard to breathe—filled the narrow room, that blue-white light caught in the circular lenses of a pair of glasses and threw a glare across the screen.
Jonas Stone stirred. “It has to be now,” he said, his voice too loud in the oppressive weight of the shadows behind him. He couldn’t look away from the feed spilling its incandescent glow over his desk, his keyboard.
Because the man framed in that digital feed—the kid strapped to the chair dead center of the surveillance footage—wasn’t the first suspected heretic to sit there. To sweat there.
“Be sure, Jonas. We get one shot at this.”
His brain wanted to look at the comm unit beside his left hand. His body refused to obey, every cell focused on the prisoner’s dark, drooping head. Scarred fingers twitched, knuckles whitening, and Jonas frowned as he realized his right hand had closed into a painful fist.
It had to be now. The kid wouldn’t last much longer.
“There’s no alternative,” he replied. “We’re not going to get another opening soon enough to .” He hesitated.
The voice over the comm link didn’t waver. Not even a fracture. “Soon enough to save him.”
Only through recent experience did Jonas know that the raspy, lifetime-pack-a-day voice coming out of the secure line belonged to a woman named May. Leader of a rebellion that had saved Jonas’s life, and the perpetrator behind a string of hacking jobs that left Jonas seriously reconsidering a career shift before the Church had made that choice for him.
The fact that she was very, very good was all that kept him from throwing in the towel now.
But he’d never met her in person. Hell, he’d never met the prisoner now struggling to raise his head in Jonas’s feed, either. Instead, all he had was a picture in a box, a hacked security feed, and too many hours spent staring at the incandescent screen until his eyeballs throbbed and the vicious curl of helplessness inside him turned to a spiraling ache.
That boy didn’t belong in that kind of interrogation room.
A single light, faded blue, gleamed over shoulders broader than Jonas’s, but not by much. The prisoner was athletically lean where Jonas was simply skinny. The narrowly defined muscles of his chest were outlined by the stained remains of a thin, long-sleeve shirt. Blood and sweat had turned it nearly brown. His slumped shoulders strained against the restraints confining him to the hard metal chair, a position not just awkward but painful as hell. Jonas hadn’t seen his face for over an hour.
He didn’t have to. He knew what he’d see when—if—the kid raised his chin again.
Blood caked into a ridged scab across the fine slash of his upper lip, under his broad nose and over a determinedly sculpted chin. He’d see the blackened stains of it dried into the man’s ears, blending into his dark brown hair. Even now, that greasy fringe flopped over his forehead, long since sweating off the gel that had held it into its fashionable spikes. The longest of the textured strands would slide into one swollen eye, if it ever opened again.
The prisoner had eyes the color of the computer-lit confines of the places Jonas preferred to inhabit. Almost black, even without pain stripping them to an endless void. When open, those eyes all but crackled with an intensity that could take a lesser man’s objectivity away in a single glance. Like a hungry kid or a kicked puppy.
Or a man on the edge of desperation.
Jonas’s chest kicked.
“Let me know when your people are ready.” He didn’t bother hiding the raw regret in his voice. He’d felt a lot of it, lately. After all, he used to be the man who helped put people into rooms just like that.
“Fine.” May’s voice cracked. Flattened. “I’m trusting you, Jonas.”
“I know.” They always did. “Let me try. I’m positive I can get him out. They won’t expect it this soon.”
About the Author:
Born from the genetic mash-up of lesser royalty, storytellers, wanderers and dreamers, KARINA COOPER was destined to be a creative genius. As a child, she moved all over the country like some kind of waifish blonde gypsy and thrived in the new cultures her family settled in. When she (finally) grew up, she skipped the whole genius part and fell in love with writing because, really, who doesn’t love making things up for a living?
One part romance fanatic, one part total dork, and all imagination, she writes dark and sexy paranormal romance and urban fantasy. When she isn’t writing, Karina is an airship captain’s wife and Steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful and rainy Pacific Northwest with a husband, four cats, two rabbits, the fantasy of a dog, and a passel of adopted gamer geeks.
One Terrific Interview!
Hello Karina and thank you for taking the time to stop by VampireRomanceBooks.com to answer some questions for our readers.
Hi! Thanks so much for having me today! I’m always happy to wander on by. Especially if there’s cookies. Vampire cookies? We’ll work something out.
Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
I’m… Uh. How do I condense me? I’m a gamer, I like video games and roleplay and cosplay and dressing up in awesome ways, and I’m a writer—obviously. I love to read, I love to story-tell, and it seems like I’m always doing one of those things at any given moment. The mancandy and I are also parents, of a sort, to a host of animals: four cats and a rabbit. Because, you know, there’s nothing like pet hair around the ankles to really make one feel attractive.
Since you’re out touring the blog world for your new Dark Mission book Wicked Lies, can you tell everyone about the series and what we can expect from Wicked Lies?
The Dark Mission series begins with Before the Witches, a prequel set fifty years before the official first book, Blood of the Wicked. The series tells a story of good and evil, and those ambiguous choices that make neither option look very good. What’s good isn’t, necessarily, and what’s bad is sometimes the only way. How far would you go to right the wrongs of a world you had no part in shaping?
The context involves witches, who are often caught doing very bad things, and the witch-hunters tasked with the protection of the city of New Seattle. But are the witches all that bad? Are the hunters really doing what’s best? The Dark Mission reveals it all, layer by layer.
Wicked Lies is the novella set between Sacrifice the Wicked and the finale, One for the Wicked. It tells Jonas’ story—prying open the lid he’s kept on tight through four books, putting him in an altogether different kind of situation that he’s just not equipped to handle. It’s Avon’s first m/m novella, and I’m so happy to be able to give Jonas and Danny their shot at love. More, every dime I’m making on this novella is going to the It Gets Better Project, so I’m very excited.
You also have a very popular steampunk series The St. Croix Chronicles, can you tell us about that series?
This is a whole other bottle of paraffin! This series follows the exploits of a single character, Cherry St. Croix, as she navigates this in-between life, caught with one foot in Victorian London’s upper echelon and the other mired in the much rougher streets of London low as a bounty hunter. Fiercely independent and unhappy with the demands placed on her as a wealthy heiress, Cherry would much rather explore scientific theory and collect bounties to fuel a laudanum addiction than marry, comport herself, or otherwise give in to Society’s pressures.
Tarnished introduces Cherry to the grim workings of a madman working with the dead, and Gilded follows her as she copes with the fall-out—which, naturally, includes finding new madmen to hunt down!
What are you currently working on?
Corroded is the third in the St. Croix Chronicles, and in it, we see Cherry as we never have before—reeling from a bitter betrayal and trying to put her life together. This will be out with Carina Press in Fall of 2013. But I just finished The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway, which is a prequel novella coming out this summer. In it, I share Cherry’s first collection ever—and her first meeting with the much more impatient Micajah Hawke, five years before Tarnished. The best part is that it was inspired by a steampunk celebrity, and we’ll be working together to promote the novella for Make a Wish.
Reading your blog and website, you seem to be a truly down to earth and fun person. What impact has becoming a famous author had on your everyday life?
Thanks! I’m delighted to hear that. Honestly, not too much impact. Every morning, I am wakened as I always am by my alarm—a fellow named Alfred Jarvis, who already has my coffee and oatmeal waiting…
I kid. Honestly, I don’t think I would ever view myself a “famous”. I’m just this guy, you know? I put my pants on both legs at the same time because, honestly, who actually takes the time to do the one-leg dance?, and I take my coffee in bulk. If anything, I’d say it only increased the pressure I put on myself to deliver. You know, because I wasn’t neurotic enough.
As an author of paranormal romance/urban fantasy and steampunk/historical, do you find a large number of readers easily crossover from one genre to the other or are there some that prefer strictly one or the other?
I think that with anything, there’s some give and take. My Dark Mission series has been called “paranormal romance and urban fantasy crossover done right” by the Vampire Book Club, but then I’ve had readers complain that my “happily for nows” aren’t the “happily ever after” wrap-ups that they want. I’ve had folks tell me there’s not enough steampunk in the St. Croix books, or that there was too much romance, or not enough romance, or too much mystery…
Then again, others seem to think that as they are is good enough for as they should be. I mean, where do you turn? I like to think that my Dark Mission books are a good crossover for UF readers who might want to taste some romance, or that my St. Croix books are ideal for folks who want to dip a toe in steampunk, but what I intend and what readers feel don’t always mesh. All I can do is write good stories and hope that readers like them.
Is there a character in any of your books that you would love to kill off simply because they give you such grief when you’re writing?
Not yet! When I want to kill a character, it’s usually for maximum shock value reasons—or because I hate them as people. Like, I’d love to murder the Marchioness in the St. Croix Chronicles, but I’m afraid to say that she’s hale and hearty as of this interview. Le sigh. But the real beauty is figuring out why characters are such gits. What drives them? What motivates them? That’s the key, and if you kill them too fast, you’ll never know.
So, no characters are at risk of getting axed just because they’re prats. Yet. But hey, my career is young!
Do you read the reviews of your book?
Only when I’m having a very bad day—which, honestly, is sort of self-defeating. The thing I’ve learned is that readers all have different opinions on what worked/didn’t work/why. They have suggestions, they have threats—such as the reader who solemnly refused to buy another book of mine ever because of Gilded’s cliffhanger—and when you’re already feeling down, these things can weigh like a stone around your neck.
It’s typical writer neuroses, I think, that makes us take the bad to heart and think the good ones are people just being nice. In the end, I read the ones that people tweet or email directly to me, because there’s usually text involved that gives me a clue, and then I stop. And I honestly try to stay away from Goodreads reviews. I find the audience is so varied there that it’s too much information; it’s impossible to process it all.
Okay, enough serious stuff, lets have some random fun!
Whee! I’m not even going to think about these, I’m going to do the James Lipton thing and throw it out there. And… go!
Favorite time of year? Summer! I live in the Pacific Northwest where sunshine is rare. Gimme, gimme!
Favorite Color? Burned, very deep orange. It changes, though. Last month, it was all things teal.
Favorite Animal? Lynx! I want to ruffle its fur until it makes that noise—and probably eats me.
All time favorite movie? No such thing! I am easily entertained by movies and I usually have any number of favorites at any given time. Standby movie? French Kiss. Hilarity.
Favorite guilty pleasure? Yaoi manga! I’m totally hooked on the stylistic art and the pretty, pretty boys in them. Right now, my absolute favorite ongoing story is Teahouse (www.teahousecomic.com — totally NSFW!).
Favorite book you read this year? What? It’s only February! I have been on deadline since December! I haven’t read anything. Um… um… I got nothing. But I have a Victoria Dahl book waiting for me to finish writing Corroded!
You and two author write a book together. Who are the other two authors? Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin hearne. It would be the sassiest, sauciest, most awesomest epic ever.
You’re going to a secluded island (no internet or cell service) for 2 weeks. What 5 things will be going with you? My iPad, for writing and reading purposes, the mancandy (he counts!), my swimsuit (unless it’s, you know, secluded, in which case swap that for a sarong), my hair-care products (oh, trust me on that one), and… and… bug spray. I am nothing if not practical. Do they make shark-repellant?
Thanks again for stopping by Karina! Is there anything you’d like to add or say to the readers?
Aww, thanks so much for having me! This was great. I hope your readers enjoys the books, and I’m ever so grateful for the chance to talk about Wicked Lies and the It Gets Better donations. Happy reading!