Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wicked Haunt-o-ween with Laura Shinn

Karen: I'm thrilled to introduce Laura Shinn! She pens magical and mysterious tales of romance. She also creates lovely book covers for Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery, Victory Tales Press, Western Trail Blazer, and Writers Exchange E-Publishing.

Conceived in Darkness is Book 1 in The Darkness series and Laura is giving us a sneak peek into her world. 
***Contest: Laura is offering a PDF copy of CONCEIVED IN DARKNESS to one lucky winner. SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS.
About Laura Shinn:
My writing began during my junior year in high school. A friend encouraged me to write a short story, like the one he was writing, and I gave it a shot. It was a spin-off between Mork and Mindy and Star Wars. Needless to say, my first attempt was pretty bad.
Over the next few years I read like crazy, mostly historical novels. I didn’t begin reading contemporaries until I married several years later. I decided I wanted to write a time travel like the one my favorite authors and thus my motivation to become a published author was born.

I love to read and the desire to write comes to me daily. The idea that you can create a magical or mysterious world with only the touch of your fingers to a keyboard delights me.
I have a wonderful husband, two boys, a winter white hamster and four dogs.

Conceived in Darkness
The Darkness series: book 1
Prince Orekon is out of time and out of solutions. He must mate and he only has until sunrise in three days or he will lose his throne. The alternative would be disastrous for his people. The females from his world of Astovia are lovely and willing, but his heart remains cold. There is no one among them who wants to discover the heart within the beast. And Orekon refuses to mate with any available female. He wants one who will join with his heart as well as his body.

Music is Kathryn Schaffer’s life and passion. It’s the only thing in her life that keeps her going, waiting for each performance. When a strange man in a corridor holds her captive from behind, Kathryn is momentarily terrified. Until his touch softens and he whispers words of passion and love in her ear. Knowing she will never experience those emotions in her entire life, Kathryn takes a chance and opens her heart to a stranger.

However, falling in love is never easy and trials and challenges await back on Astovia for the mated couple. Orekon is confident in his ability to maintain the throne, but Kathryn is in a world unlike her own. Will she find a way to win over the hearts of the Astovian people as she did with Orekon?
Additional Info about author:
Other books available by this author:
Laura Shinn’s website:
Contest question:
How is the mate of an Astovian male identified? (read the excerpt below) Don't forget to leave your email. Good luck!
After setting the controls in the pod to take them to Astovia, Orekon sat down and placed his arm
over the back of Kathryn’s seat. He looked hard at his uncle. “Is it Gammon?”

“Yes. He heard you left Astovia to find your mate on Earth and has issued a challenge.”
Kathryn’s eyes opened wide, startled when Orekon growled a warning.

“So be it. He has done nothing but push for the chance to take my family’s throne for the last two seasons.”

“Piershin, forgive my ignorance, but what will this mean to Orekon, this challenge?”
“If a royal is challenged for the throne, he can rebuff the challenge and still remain in power, but he will lose the respect of his people. If Orekon agrees to the challenge, he will fight Gammon or his champion.”

“You mean they’ll have an actual, knock-out fight? Until one of them goes down?”
The men exchanged a telling look. Piershin answered.

“No, Siena Kathryn. The challenge is to the death.”

Kathryn gasped and stood, moving away when Orekon reached for her hand. “No! You can’t allow this, Orekon! I—I just found you. I won’t lose you now!” The tears were coming but she bit her lip hard to force them back.

Orekon stood to try and soothe her fears, but she moved farther away, facing the window leading to space.

Kathryn heard a movement and looked over her shoulder. She found the guard down on one knee before Orekon, a knife drawn and held out to the prince, hilt first.

Orekon shook his head, keeping the man’s gaze. “I thank you for this honor, Niellem, but if I am to rule with respect and honor, I must fight.”

Piershin spoke to Kathryn, drawing her attention. “Niellem is within his authority as a royal guard to offer himself as Orekon’s champion. Orekon can accept and will not lose face. The choice is his to bear.”

Orekon stepped forward and took Kathryn into his arms. “Have faith in your mate and your prince, Siena. I will not fail you or my people.”

Kathryn nodded and pressed her lips together to keep the tears at bay, but they spilled over onto her cheeks. Orekon leaned down and kissed the wetness from her face. Piershin and the guard turned away, allowing them some privacy.

Orekon held her against his chest, running his fingers through her curls and massaging her neck until the pod landed close to the Royal Palace.

The four made their way to the throne room where Gammon and his only son waited, surrounded by armed guards. No sooner did Orekon enter the room when Gammon issued his challenge again.

Orekon motioned for Kathryn to wait with Piershin and Niellem. Kathryn felt an incredible pressure, almost like a choking heat wave against her heart. Am I having a heart attack? It took several minutes of listening to Gammon rant and rave before she realized she was feeling his hostility, in her heart.
What does this mean? Can I help resolve this peacefully?

Gammon took another step forward and pointed an aged finger toward Kathryn, changing targets. His mouth wrinkled into a hateful sneer. “And this…creature you have brought into the royal palace… She is clearly not Astovian and no longer of her own race. This half-breed mutation is not worthy of a royal position in our world, which negates you returning with an Astovian mate by the allotted time.”
Kathryn could remain quiet no longer. She took a step forward and felt hands stopping her from each side. She turned her head and faced each man, her head held high and proud. Their hands dropped immediately. That single look transmitted a reminder of her royal position and its subsequent authority. For the very first time, Kathryn felt the weight of power and responsibility as the Astovian princess.

She moved toward Gammon and felt a great sadness when his eyes opened in fear. Prejudice was a fruitless state of mind, based on ignorance and fear of the unknown. How could she help this old man see he didn’t need to fear her or what she represented?

“Valder Gammon, I respect who you are and the position you hold in Astovia. I ask you this question— How is the mate of an Astovian male identified?”

Gammon clinched his teeth together. He was trapped and knew it. The female knew the answer and what it signified. He clamped his lips shut and waited for the inevitable.

Kathryn lifted her curly black hair and revealed Orekon’s mark on her neck, turning in a slow circle so even the servants in the room could see it. She let her hair fall back into place. “The fact that my eyes are green or my hair is curly is no different than you not having the same DNA or appearance as Piershin or Orekon. These are my traits and part of my appearance, but they in no way negate my connection to Orekon as his mate…or as Siena of Astovia.

“You have challenged my mate. I find very little reason for you to do so when it is clear that Orekon has returned with his Astovian mate…by the allotted time.”

Gammon looked down his nose at Kathryn and stepped away, as if avoiding contamination. The insult was clear.

Kathryn simply shook her head. “I guess prejudice is a universal trait throughout the galaxy. And it is very difficult to overcome when there is no love in the heart.”

The old man growled and turned away, using his cane to assist him over to his only son. He turned sharply and pointed a finger at Orekon. “A challenge is given! Do you accept or rebuff it?”
Orekon stepped forward. “I accept.”

“Tikom, my son, will fight as champion for our family. Do you choose a champion?” The old man narrowed his eyes, looking for signs of cowardice or weakness.

“I will fight for my mate, my people, and my family’s rightful place on the throne.”
Piershin stepped forward. “Let it begin.” 

Can't wait? Purchase your copy of CONCEIVED IN DARKNESS at these locations:


Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

What an interesting world you have created, Laura. I enjoyed your excerpt.
The answer to your contest question is: a mark on the neck declares a selected mate.
You are such a talented author and your covers are beautiful.
All the best to you.
starcriter at yahoo dot com

Jean MP said... Best Blogger Tips

by the mark on her neck is how she is identified. Really enjoyed the excerpt. Look forward to reading more of this world and its characters.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Laura Shinn said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks, Sarah and Jean! Just got home from church and eating with the clan. *g* I'll be placing your names in the "bowl" for the drawing come tomorrow morning. Thanks for also leaving me your emails. So glad you enjoyed the excerpt. The second book (and possibly a third) will be about their children who decide to visit the planet where Mom is from. *g* I can't wait to start writing it, when time allows.

Also, thanks to Karen who is hosting this event and has so kindly allowed me to feature one of my paranormal books for today. Thanks, Karen! You're the best!! *g*

Shadow said... Best Blogger Tips

Great excerpt! Love it! Sounds great! Thanks for sharing! Happy Halloween!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Love the concept of your world you developed. Thanks so much for sharing with all of us.

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Laura, this is a genre I am not vry familiar with but you have written a very powerful excerpt which grabbed me and drew me in.
The answer to the question is by a mark on the neck, specifically the back of the neck in this case.

Rebecca J Vickery said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Laura, Karen, and everyone,
This is such a great event and I am enjoying it almost too much. LOL I loved this short story of Laura's and my only complaint was I wanted more. I am sooo looking forward to the next in the series, but I'm afraid we don't give her much time for writing as we keep requesting all these beautiful covers she designs. Lately she's been helping even more with formatting and miscellaneous duties.
Love you to bits, Laura!

Laura Shinn said... Best Blogger Tips

Shadow, Linda, Becca & Karen...

Thanks, ladies, for all of your wonderful comments on my story. I had a ball writing it!! I do hope to write more eventually. I have the story in my head, bursting to get out... LOL I have several other shorts I've started but haven't had a chance to finish. Becca's right...she keeps me super busy! *g* And I work for another publisher as their Chief Designer as well, plus freelance projects, so my writing time is cut way low. I need to get a "writing schedule" together to go side-by-side with my work schedule so I can actually find time to write and finish many of the stories I've begun. I have an Inspirational "sweet" story I've promised to Becca, if I can get the finished book transferred over from typed paper to my PC. *g* Soon, I hope.

Thanks again, folks, for stopping by and leaving a comment or two. It's such a nice feeling to know your hard work is appreciated. {hugs to all!}

LisaRayns said... Best Blogger Tips

Great excerpt and I love the cover. Happy October!

bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

Nice excerpt. A mate is identified by a mark on her neck.


Laura Shinn said... Best Blogger Tips

Congrat's to Jean MP!! My son just picked the contest winner from folded up pieces of paper that I threw onto the carpet... LOL Thanks to EVERYONE who read the excerpt and info during my book's day last week. This was a lot of fun. Thanks, Karen, for having this great event for all of your featured authors. *g*