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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Guest Author Interview: Caris Roane

Alexis: Hi Caris. Welcome back to Happily Ever After Thoughts.  Thank you so much for coming.  Your Guardians of Ascension series is really taking off! How do you keep all these stories headed in the right direction?

Caris: I’m so happy to be back with you and your readers!  Ah, my Guardians of Ascension!  I’m smiling as I write this, can you tell?  Creating this series has been one of the finest experiences of my life and now that I get to hear from the fans, I’m pretty much in heaven…all the time! 
            As for keeping the stories headed in the right direction, it helps to have an initial end-point in sight.  In this case, we’re building to a major war-ending battle in Book #10, so that all the stories, beginning with Ascension—which is Kerrick and Alison’s wonderful HEA—have to lead to that.  So far, so good!  I’m writing the 5th book in the series as we speak…and we’re building, we’re building.  I’d give details but man that would be a bunch of spoilers!
            I also want to state for the record here that Book #10 is only the end of this first part of the series.  When we get there—fingers crossed—we’ll leave behind our wonderful Second Ascenders and head to Third Earth where a whole new set of problems awaits an entirely new set of hunky vampires (or maybe shifters…).  FYI, I’ve already mentioned someone in the first three books who will be a major player on Third Earth, but I’m not tellin’ who it is!  

Alexis:  Ugh, talk about leading me on! And you’re only writing book #5 now?  That’s okay. The journey is most of the fun :-)  Speaking of the journey, you just had a novella released, Brink of Eternity. How does this book fit into the Guardians of Ascension Series?

Caris:  Brink of Eternity, as a novella, gave me the opportunity to develop the Militia Warrior side of things.  Within the framework of the series, the small elite group of warriors, called the Warriors of the Blood, have a mountain of power and can battle the enemy—the heinous death vampires—single-handedly.  But the Militia Warriors are the peacekeepers of Second Earth and number in the hundreds of thousands all over the world.  They also battle death vampires, but only in squads of four, so they have less power.  But they are warriors and Brink essentially shows how much pride and courage this force has.  So the novella gave me the chance to explore this aspect of the larger world of ascension.  It also shows the continuous theme of ascension that I’ve dubbed ‘emerging powers’.  

Alexis: I like the sound of that :-) Why did you decide to write a novella and for these two characters in particular?

Caris:  Well, the initial impetus was a request from St. Martin’s to do an original work for the website called, Heroes & Heartbreakers.  What I love about this website is that they feature authors from all of the pub houses, not just St. Martin’s.  Of course I said yes, because the novella would be a free read on the website through the month of May and it would help introduce the online e-reading audience to the series.  So, as I considered possibilities for subject matter, I thought, why not take a Militia Warrior on the brink of becoming a Warrior of the Blood?!?  It was the best concept for what I’m trying to accomplish with the series generally, that is, to show characters in flux, growing, working out issues, and arriving at new levels of competence and power.  At the same time, I took the heroine and put her through her ascension to Second Earth, transforming her from a mere mortal to an ‘ascended vampire’.   No biggy!  Ha, ha!  The fact that she almost dies in the process?!?  Well, what can I say…paranormals are basically suspense novels with fangs and fur!   
Alexis: Oh, I like that description. You also have a new book coming out the end of this month titled Wings of Fire.  Can you tell us a bit about that one?

Caris:  The third book in my Guardians of Ascension series, Wings of Fire, basically picks up right where the second book, Burning Skies, leaves off…and yes, I ended Burning Skies with a painful cliffhanger, so hang-tough, my friends…Wings of Fire answers all the questions posed in the preceding book.  
Without giving too much away, essentially Wings of Fire tracks the tumultuous relationship between Warrior Antony Medichi and his breh, or bonded-mate, Parisa Lovejoy.  He’s trying to keep her alive since the enemy wants her really dead, and she’s trying to find her own way through her new, ascended life without giving up her identity or her power.  Sparks fly and the war, which defines the core struggle for Antony and Parisa, puts a tremendous pressure on their growing, intense relationship.  What sets this novel apart from the previous two is that the profound quality inherent in their magnificent wings plays a significant role in how their relationship resolves, why they are finally able to commit to each other, and how together they are able to create a new power that will impact the war.

Alexis: This book sounds fascinating. I can’t wait for mine to come in. In the first book, Ascension, you introduced us to your wonderful, hunky Guardians. How do you decide what kind of woman is right for each one?

Caris:  For me, the ‘pairing’ process has evolved into something highly organic, and by that I mean that most of the decisions I make are intuitive rather than intellectual.  Although, I truly wish that I could simply reason out many things about the series—like plot, like characters, like pairings, even settings—but basically the activity of writing, day-in and day-out, causes a kind of magic to happen and all these tremendously unexpected elements just suddenly show up.  Of course, this leaves me surprised every single day that I write, which is awesome.  All that to say, that only as I work with each warrior, as I see him from the point-of-view of his brother-warriors, as I see him interact with the significant woman in his life, as I delve into his thoughts and all the ‘why’s’ of his conduct, do I get a sense of who he is.  Even then, I don’t really think, ‘Oh, this kind of woman would suit this warrior’.  Instead, at the same time that I’m writing my warrior, putting all these words on the page, his woman is developing in the writing process as well…who she is, what she wants, what she fears, what she hopes for in life.  And somehow in that back-and-forth of writing, processing, pondering, examining, and eventually through my dreams at night, the right couple emerges.
Is that clear as mud?  LOL!  

Alexis: Absolutely opaque. So, what book will be next, and whose story will it be, and most important, when will it be released?

Caris:  On January 3rd, the fourth book of the series hits the market:  Born of Ashes.  This book is all about Warrior Jean-Pierre and his woman, who of course you’ll meet in Wings of Fire.  But more I will not say for fear of giving too much away about what goes on in Wings of Fire

Alexis: Kill joy. Okay, okay, I get it. Your books and this world are so amazing. I can’t wait to read every one. Thank you so much for taking a few moments away from your Ascension series and visiting with us at Happily Ever After Thoughts. We like talking about romance novels here and learning about the imaginative authors like yourself who write them :-)

Caris:  I loved being here!  Meeting up with readers is one of my absolute favorite things!  Thanks for having me.  

Alexis: For more information on the Guardians of Ascension go to Caris’ website at  And don’t forget, for a chance to win your choice of one of the Guardians’ books, leave a comment.
To read the first 2 chapters of Wings of Fire, go to Heroes & Heartbreakers.
For just a taste of Wings of Fire, here is the first scene of the book:

My Beloved
In the twilight I think of him
He sees me in the wonder of his eye
I allow the air to breathe
He does not move with swift feet

His thoughts turn to me imagined
I wait beyond the faint boundary of time
He does not rush
My steps are measured

I have known his love from the beginning
I perceive his beauty angled, firm
He is earnest in his movements
Love rises on wings of fire

Maria Medichi, 707AD – 732AD
Translated by her husband, Antony, 1845

The search is futile
When carried out by the avenging heart.
           Collected Proverbs, Beatrice of Fourth

Chapter One
In the last three months, since the abduction of his woman, Antony Medichi, out of Italy in the late Roman era, had become a killing machine.  He had steel for bones and molten iron for blood.  He rarely slept.  He battled death vampires at night sending to perdition any who crossed his sword.  But during the day, when most of the pretty-boys were asleep, Antony bled his wrists on his altar and hunted rogue vampires on Mortal Earth searching for the woman he’d lost three months ago.
Those hunts also ended in death.  Not his.
He stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon, Mortal Earth, looking down, tracking a death vampire flying in the shadows.  Even though he was far from the touristy areas, he still cloaked his presence with a heavy concentration of mist, a preternatural creation designed to confuse the average human mind.   For most mortals, he simply couldn’t be seen and right now he didn’t want to be seen.
Antony stared into the abyss.  The profound silence across the canyon formed a strange juxtaposition to the visual feast.  The Grand Canyon was all for the eyes, not for the ears.  But he hadn’t come to admire the view or to embrace the quiet.
His predatory gaze followed the death vampire flying below, legs straight back, glossy black wings glinting in the early morning sunshine.  He’d been hunting this particular bastard for weeks now.  All clues had led here.  This pretty-boy had known both Eldon Crace and Rith Do’onwa, two sons of bitches who had harmed women belonging to the Warriors of the Blood.   Both vampires deserved death.  Crace had already gotten what he deserved and within the depth of Medichi’s mind, Rith Do’onwa, the fiend who had kidnapped his woman three months, was a death waiting to happen, nothing more. 
Three months ago, Medichi had served as Parisa Lovejoy’s Guardian of Ascension.  She’d entered his world as an anomaly, a mortal with wings, a woman of extraordinary preternatural power in need of protection from the enemy.  No one, except the first ascender, had mounted wings on mortal earth.  But Parisa had.  She’d also arrived with the ability to voyeur, a power that allowed her to focus on an individual or a place and to see what was happening in real time, to watch events unfold in an entirely separate location, even a different dimension. 
So much power, and beauty, and a strong analytical mind. 
But for all these immense gifts and abilities, they paled in comparison to the call of the breh-hedden, the myth of vampire mate-bonding, that had proved as real as the air he breathed.  She was his breh, his mate, the one destiny had selected for him, the one he craved.
He hadn’t asked for a mate.  He hadn’t wanted one and he sure as hell didn’t deserve one, but she’d come, he’d served as her guardian, and she’d been abducted on his watch.
So here he was, a wrecked, shell of a warrior, struggling to find his way back to her. 
When Rith had abducted Parisa, Rith had not only blocked his trace, which indicated an enormous amount of preternatural power, but he’d deceived Medichi with a hologram of Parisa that lasted for at least half a minute.  Medichi didn’t know anyone, not even any of his warrior brothers, the powerful Warriors of the Blood, who could create a hologram.   So, yeah, Rith had power, which made him a clever, dangerous opponent.
But the death vampire working the airstreams of the Grand Canyon had known Rith.  He had answers and Medichi meant to have them.  Right now.  This morning.
His heart pumped hard in his chest.
The death vampire flew close to the canyon walls as though trying to hide in the shadows.  Medichi smiled the hard smile that tended to work his jaw at the same time.  Did the death vamp actually think to hide in a place this size? 
            Medichi bound his hair, not in the ritual cadroen as he was supposed to but with a narrow leather strap over his forehead, tied at the back of his head so that his long warrior hair flowed free.  He was uncivilized now, a wild beast hunting for what was his by right, for what had been taken from him.
            He had his wings at close-mount, tight to his body since any breeze would send him off the canyon’s edge otherwise.  But now it was time to take care of business.  With the practice of thirteen centuries, he spread his wings to full-mount, adjusting with infinitesimal shifts to balance the air currents, then launched into the empty air space over the canyon.
A rush of pure adrenaline shot through his heart then sent dizzying endorphins into his head.  There was nothing like flight, nothing like falling off a cliff and knowing that spreading his wings to their farthest span would catch, hold, then carry him where he wanted to go.
With a slight adjustment, the barest drawing back of his wings, his body shifted at an angle that meant down, and down he started to fly.  Down and down, into the varying degrees of cool shadow and warm light as the canyon walls jutted and receded.
He was close now, his quarry an eighth of a mile away, less, less, a hundred yards now.
The bastard looked up.  Shit.  Maybe Medichi’s shadow had crossed him.
Panic seized the pretty-boy’s eye and he banked left then drew his wings into close mount.  He threw his arms forward as though diving, his body now aimed in the direction of the Colorado River.
Medichi didn’t hesitate.  He folded his wings close to his body and instead of flying in long pulls through the air, he became a missile as well and headed with fierce intent after his prey.
The bastard was good and he was old, which meant he had power, speed, and lots of fucking skill.
            But then so did Medichi.  He had never mounted his wings during battle, but he flew, a lot.  He practiced, a lot.  And now he smiled, his jaw twitching.
            The mile deep canyon walls sped past him, the striated layers of rock blending into an orange-beige fusion as he jetted toward the blue and white ribbon below.  Closer. 
He could almost touch the bastard’s foot. 
            If he could wrap a hand around his ankle.
            The waters rose up and up.
            The death vamp leveled off just three feet above the water but Medichi took a huge risk, kept his missile shape for a split-second longer and just as the death vamp started to plow air, Medichi caught his ankle and jerked him down, straight into the frothy rapids of the river below.  At the same time, with the steel of his bones, the molten iron of his blood, and a swift mental command, he snagged his levitation ability and threw his wings into parachute mount, cupped at the top, to keep from plunging into the frigid water.
            The death vamp wasn’t so lucky.  His wings went under and he surfaced screaming because the water had trashed his wings.  The mesh superstructure that held the feathers in place was fairly fragile and the smallest injury hurt like a bitch.   This tumbling in wild waters would be a form of torture.  As the current dragged him in a heap, tossing him over and over, the death vamp screamed each time his head breached the water.  He landed back first against an enormous rock.  Medichi heard the crack as well as another shriek.
            Medichi flew after him and when the pretty-boy would have slid into the heavy currents that swirled at the base of the rock, Medichi grabbed him by his long, dark hair and hauled him out of the water.  He threw him face down on the rock.  How many mortals had this motherfucker drunk to death?  How many ascenders?  Death vamps didn’t differentiate when it came to dying blood.  Any human, ascended or not, would do.
Medichi wafted his wings slowly to keep his balance against the air currents that streamed through the canyon.
            God, the bastard’s wings were a mess.  The vamp shook hard, maybe from the icy water but probably from shock and a mountain of pain. 
            “Where’s Rith?” he asked.  Time to keep the questions simple. 
            The death vampire shifted slightly to cast one dark beautiful eye up at Medichi.  Calling death vampires ‘pretty-boys’ was more than accurate.  He was exquisite, chiseled features shaped by the effects of dying blood, porcelain skin with a faint bluish cast, enhanced no doubt by the freezing water.  Medichi felt the pull of attraction, an allure that created a swelling of ease within his chest.  Fuck.  Even shaking with pain and approaching death, the bastard was trying to enthrall him.
Medichi punched back with a shot of mental power that acted like a blow, pushing the death vamp’s face into the rock.
            “Even at this hour,” Medichi shouted, “when you face death, you’d try to enthrall me?” 
            A smile curved the side of the pretty-boy’s mouth.  Blood dribbled from his lips onto the wet black rock beneath his face.  “Fuck you,” he whispered.
            “Where’s Rith?” 
The death vampire just smiled.  Yeah, questions would be futile but he always gave them a chance because what he intended to do next would hurt like hell.
            He retracted his wings then dropped to his knees beside the death vamp.  A bone jutted from the bastard’s thigh, shiny and white.  Blood ran in a rivulet down his ruptured skin, but the water, still shedding from the nearest feathers of his broken wings, kept washing it away.
            “You sure you don’t want to just tell me?” Medichi asked.  One last chance.
            The same reply returned, this time in a much stronger, “Fuck you.”
            “Fine,” Medichi said.  “We’ll do it the hard way.”  He put his hand on the vamp’s forehead.
            The struggle began as the pretty-boy’s mind bucked against Medichi’s touch as though trying to cast him out of his head.  He put up a good fight, too, but more than just Medichi’s body had grown tougher over the past three months of forced separation from Parisa.  He’d been working his mental powers as well, trying to find his woman telepathically.  In doing so he’d gotten stronger.
He shoved hard and the vampire’s mind gave way.  The death vamp screamed but Medichi ignored his cries and began the real hunt.  
He cast aside memories like batting at flies until Rith’s strange face emerged, the Asian cast to his features, the broad forehead and wide nose.  He focused on those memories and gained a portrait of the man as a powerful servant of Commander Greaves but then what else would he be?  Greaves was the acknowledged enemy of all that Medichi held dear on Second Earth, in this beautiful dimensional world.  Darian Greaves had ambitions to rule both Second Earth and Mortal Earth and was creating a powerful army of death vamps to back up his efforts.  Rith was a favored servant.
            Within the death vampire’s mind, he saw Rith’s lairs, sometimes in great caverns, sometimes in tents, sometimes in suburban homes, but all in various geographical locales.  He kept picking through them, trying to feel the presence of his woman.  All the while the death vamp screamed at the invasion. 
            Medichi came across the memory of one of Rith’s properties that was shrouded in a mental shield.  What the fuck was that?  This death vampire didn’t have enough power to create a deep mental shield like this, which meant that Rith had done it himself.
He tried punching through the shroud but couldn’t and then the preternatural sensation stole over him, of simply knowing.   He knew.  He could feel that this was where Rith held Parisa captive, cloaked even from Central’s advanced high-tech grid system that could locate anything on two earths.
Sweet Jesus.  He felt light-headed.  He struggled to breathe. 
At last.  He’d found a connection to her at last.  He focused on breathing for a moment.  He had to get command of himself if he had any hope of extracting the information he needed.
When he was calmer and while he was still inside the pretty-boy’s mind, he moved around the shrouded entity as though walking a mental circle.  The death vampire sobbed now but Medichi didn’t give a rat’s ass.  He’d witnessed too many of the bastard’s memories, those that involved securing dying blood, and the women he’d victimized to get to it, always women because they were easily subdued physically, all the women he’d killed.
So, yeah, let the bastard feel some pain.   Let him feel a lot of pain because it wouldn’t be even a fraction of the devastation he’d created in the women he’d killed and the families left behind to deal with all those losses.
            He focused once more on the shrouded dwelling and from deep, deep within the death vampire’s mind a location at last came forth, Burma, Second Earth.
            Medichi couldn’t quite grasp the sensation that plowed through him but it popped a firework in his mind until glitter rained in his head.  Relief flowed, pure exhilarating relief that after three long horrible months of hunting, he had just limited his search to a single country, located on only one of two dimensional earths.
His entire body sagged and his throat tightened.  He had a chance now of finding her, of finding his woman.
Parisa on Second Earth and in Burma.
 Even so, it would still take a few days given Rith’s level of preternatural power, to find the lair that held her captive.  With Rith’s ability to create shields, no doubt the dwelling in which Parisa was kept was under some crazy-ass mist.  The grid would have to search for an anomaly; something non-specific and unidentifiable, in other words something vague that didn’t belong. 
But what were a few days after searching for three long months and finding nothing?  Yeah, he could wait a few days for the grid to uncover an anomaly.
He closed his eyes.   He took a long, long moment to offer thanks to the Creator, lifting his face to the heavens, his heart almost floating in a chest that had been constricted from the moment, three months ago, when the hologram of Parisa had disintegrated in front of his eyes.
            He felt the pretty-boy’s life fading.  He drew from his mind and the death vamp vomited blood, a lot of it. 
            Medichi sat down beside the creature that had once been a proper vampire youth.  He put his hand on his shoulder, and kept it there.  His touch calmed the shaking. 
Medichi lowered his head to his knees.  He despised what the death vamp had done, but he’d also seen that as a young ascender, a Twoling born on Second Earth, he’d tried dying blood on a dare, offered not from a body but from a goblet at a party.  He’d been promised no ill-effects, just pleasure.  Well, pleasure he’d gotten but he’d also gotten about three centuries of addiction, killing, despair and no way back from a stupid teenage mistake.  He hated all this shit, the treachery of Greaves and his forces, the resulting mortal victims, but he remained close to the vampire, as much a victim as those he’d killed, until he felt the final breath.
            Stillness overcame the broken body.  Medichi looked up.  How far away the rim of the canyon seemed.  The rush of water was loud in his ears and dominated his impression of the space.  Above, complete silence.  Below, all this rushing noise.
With his hand still on the death vampire, he spoke words that had been his ritual for centuries.  He was a man of faith if not a believer in structured religion, so in certain situations, like this one, he did what he thought was right, even necessary.
He looked at the now empty shell beside him and spoke against the hurtling water, “May the Great Spirit help you atone for these your terrible sins.  May you be forgiven and may you find peace in the arms of the Creator.  Amen.”
He released a heavy sigh. 
So much death in their ascended dimension when it wasn’t necessary.  Vampires were essentially immortal, or had the potential for immortality, to live forever.  But the terrible nature of dying blood, which seduced every death vampire who partook of the addictive substance, made it necessary to kill mortals and ascenders alike in order to reach the infamous dying blood.
 In turn, Commander Greaves, bent on the domination of two worlds, used dying blood as one of his weapons.  He not only encouraged the creation of death vampires, but he built armies made up of them.  There were even rumors he provided the blood not just to his armies but to those High Administrators around the globe that he’d persuaded to join his faction.
Medichi had no qualms about being the sword of justice.
He left forgiveness to God.
Still sitting, he pulled his phone from the pocket of his black leather battle kilt and drew it to his ear.  He thumbed it.  The phone was the size of a credit card and was a direct line to Central.  For all other calls, he had a Blackberry.
“Hey, Warrior Medichi,” Carla said.  “Did you get him?”
“I got him.”
He heard a whoop and a shout and then Medichi smiled.  Thank God for the women at Central.  They were chosen for their calm tempers and positive outlooks even in the face of nightly death.  They also did clean-up through a sophisticated inter-dimensional process that was more technology than preternatural power. 
“Has Jeannie gone home for the day?”  Carla and Jeannie overlapped their schedules.  Carla had the day shift, while her best friend, Jeannie had the night shift.  The women were gold and served seven days-and-nights-a-week just like the Warriors of the Blood. 
“Yeah,” Carla said.  “I kicked her out an hour ago.  She has a brunch this morning with a Militia Warrior.”
He bristled.  As a Warrior of the Blood, his protective instincts were always in overdrive, even where Jeannie and Carla were concerned.  The Militia Warriors, though less powerful than the elite Warriors of the Blood, were still strong hombres and carried a shitload of testosterone in their own right.   “Is he treating her good?” he growled.
“He’d better if he wants to stay alive,” Carla responded, but she was chuckling.  “Hey, don’t worry.  Not only can Jeannie handle herself after this many centuries as a vampire, but our Militia boys aren’t stupid.  They know the Warriors of the Blood would be all over their asses if either of us got hurt.”
“Damn straight,” he cried, but more softly, he added, “You still dating your man?” 
She giggled then sighed. 
“I take that as a yes.”
“He’s gorgeous,” she cooed.  “Almost as pretty as you.”
Medichi found himself smiling all over again even though he was exhausted and had a torn-up and really dead pretty-boy beside him.   Yeah, this was his life, finding small measures of comfort while sitting next to a corpse.
“I need a little clean-up action,” he said.
“I see him.  What a mess.  Oh, God, look at those wings.”  In recent months, satellite imaging had enhanced the grid’s capacity as well.  Medichi wondered if Carla could see the scars laced down his back although right now his long warrior hair hung almost to his waist.  Well, if she’d seen his scars anytime in the last three months she hadn’t said anything, one more reason to love her.   “Close your peepers.”
            Medichi let his eyelids fall.  Damn he was tired because it felt good to shut down like this, on a wet rock in the middle of the Colorado River.  “Ready,” he murmured into his phone.
            He saw the flash of light behind his lids.  He felt the air move beside him.  He opened his eyes.  The death vamp was gone as well as any traces of blood, bone, or other feathered debris.  “Clean as a whistle as usual, Carla.  Thanks.”
            “I know you’ve been after this death vamp for weeks.  Please tell me you have some news for me?  Anything I can use to find our girl?”
            Our girl.  That’s why he loved the Central staff.  They made everything feel like a team effort, that no matter what you went through, you had back-up.
That earlier feeling of relief flowed through him again, like a cool breeze on a hot day.  “Actually, I have the best news.”  He explained getting inside the pretty-boy’s head and finding the shrouded dwelling. 
Carla squealed several times in the telling.  He could hear her tapping on her keyboard.  “I’m reconfiguring the grid to Burma, Second Earth even as we speak.  If I find so much as a fly speck out of place I’ll call you.  Just remember that this will probably take two or three days.  Jesus, this country is so frigging big.  Did you know it’s the size of Texas?”
“Do what you can do,” he said.
“If we were looking for a power signature it would be different, but we’ve already searched both worlds and didn’t find one, so expect some near-misses.”
 “Hey.  Trust me.  I know the drill.”
“I know you do but oh, how I want this to go fast and it just can’t but holy shit—” and Carla rarely used profanity, “Burma, Second Earth.  This is fantastic news.  Have a limoncello on me.  Now head home, Warrior, and for the Creator’s sake, get some sleep.  You’ve earned it.”
Aw, hell.   Carla was such a sweetheart.   “Can’t.  Not yet.  I’m heading over to the Cave.   Some of the brothers might still be there having their morning bullshit session and I’ll want to talk to Thorne.  I’ll let him know about the shift in grid coordinates.”  Thorne was in charge of the Warriors of the Blood including all communications with Central.  But once the warriors had checked in from a night of battling, searching for Parisa took priority. 
Medichi wasn’t alone in his despair.  All the warriors had been wrecked by the disappearance of one who had been lost on their watch.  If it could happen to Medichi, it could happen to any of them. 
Carla’s voice dropped to a whisper.  “And you’ll let us know about…well, you know.”
“Of course.”
“Good.  Now give me a second to reconfigure the grid.”  The tapping started.
He sighed and his heart pulled into a hard knot. 
Every twenty-four hours he had contact with Parisa and everyone knew it.  What they didn’t know was the personal way in which it happened and like hell he’d ever reveal that truth because it was like having phone sex, but without the phone.   Once a day, and always in the morning after he’d battled all night, he’d go home, shower up, sit on the side of his bed and that’s when he’d hear Parisa’s voice in his head, only once, ‘Antony’; a sweet telepathic whisper that fired his heart and kept hope alive.
That was the only form of communication he had with her.  She wasn’t even ascended, so not all of her powers were developed.  And for whatever reason, even though she was a mortal with wings, she couldn’t communicate with her mind, at least not yet. 
Despite this critical lack, she had another preternatural power that was considered a Third Earth or third dimension ability—she could open a voyeur’s window and see events unfold in real time.  If she was indeed in Burma then this meant she was halfway around the globe when she sent her single telepathic communication of, Antony.  It would be night to his day.
Sweet Jesus if that were true, then she had enormous telepathic capacity, she just hadn’t learned how to use it yet.
It still meant that in a half hour or so, he would go home, get ready for bed, and discover whether his woman was still alive.
His heart tightened a little more.  He both dreaded and longed for the experience because honest-to-God he didn’t know what he would do if he didn’t hear her say his name today within the depths of his mind.  If he thought for even a minute that she might be dead, he’d go mad.
            Carla’s voice came back on the line.  “The grid’s on Burma, Warrior, and you’re in my prayers.”
            His eyes burned.  “Thanks,” he said, but his voice sounded hoarse.  “Later.”
            He thumbed his phone and with a thought, folded to his villa to change out of his kilt and weapons harness.  He still hadn’t revealed his scars to his brothers.  Only Marcus knew that his back was covered in a basket-weave of silver scar tissue, and he’d promised his silence.  There was no way he was going to the Cave to meet with the brothers while wearing only a kilt and a weapons harness.  The latter, though broad enough in the front to support two daggers, had only a heavy narrow strip of black leather running down his spine.
            Shit.  He knew the time had come to reveal this hard truth about his mortal life, what had happened to him and to his family thirteen centuries ago, just before his ascension.  But he dreaded speaking about the why of his scars, of letting anyone get that close to him.
            Well, he wasn’t ready to talk just yet.
He changed into his usual; a black tee, black cargos and steel-toed boots.  He thought the thought and headed to the Cave.

Alexis: Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win one of these great books.  Winner gets to choose :-)


  1. Great interview! I absolutely love these book covers. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of the Guardian series books.


  2. Oh, Caris, the first chapter of Wings of Fire is fabulous beyond description. I feel like I'm seeing old friends I haven't seen for a while (Carla & Jeannie whom I've loved since your first & second books and of course, the Warriors). I can't wait to pick up my copy and welcome your characters back into my life!


  3. Hi, Everyone!
    Just wanted to say a good morning to all of you who read the blog today, even if you don't post a comment. I sooooo get that! I'm kind of a lurker by nature myself. But I hope you enjoyed the interview and have a wonderful Sunday!
    To Alexis, who is grappling even now with Tropical Storm Irene, stay safe, my friend, and we're thinking of you!


  4. Jess,
    The covers, I KNOW, right?!? I have the best covers in the world and I can brag about how beautiful they are because of course I had nothing to do with them! I've also had several fans say they read the book because of the there ya go!


  5. Marie,
    Carla and Jeannie are interesting because we never see them, we just get to enjoy how they relate to the warriors and occasionally how they interact with our wonderful women, especially Endelle! But what I love about them the most is how tuned in they are to the warriors and always respond with whatever they need; if the warriors are stressed, Carla and Jeannie get on with things, or if the warriors are a little more lighthearted, they'll joke with them. Yeah, these women are great!

    Soooo glad you enjoyed the first scene of WOF. I'm loving the writing of this series more than I can possibly express!

    A vast Sonoran Desert of a good way! (Referring to 'size' not 'content', lol!)

  6. I bought the first book on whim because I loved the cover, and I am so very glad I did! I love the series...such a refreshing and truly unique new twist for those of us that love vamps!

    Can't wait for the new book...Parisa's character left me with the urge to b!tch slap her in Burning Skies. Funny how protective us ladies can be over this intriguing group of winged warriors!

  7. Hi Caris--congrats on your new release. Don't enter me in your contest--I'll order my own copy to go with the others--but just wanted to stop by and say hi and hope to see you soon!

    Take care!
    Erin Quinn

  8. Marie is Me!
    I have to admit that Parisa was a tricky character to write because I knew she had a long way to go. BUT I also knew that once she got there, she'd be awesome! So hang tough. You'll love where she ends up and you'll love the woman she becomes as she embraces all her power. (You the rest of us mere mortals!!!)

    But I know what you mean about these warriors! It's nutty, isn't it? We want so much for them...actually, I think what we really want is to hop in and take over for our heroines who at the outset haven't got a clue! LOL!

    Personally, I keep turning around hoping that one of them will please just walk into the room. *sigh*

    An ocean of blessings,

  9. Erin,
    Thanks for the Twitter boost! You ROCK!!! Yes, I'm super-excited about WINGS OF FIRE hitting the shelves on the 30th! I have many, many anxious fans and of course I'm driving them all crazy because I keep talking about how I'm writing book #5, Thorne's book, and book #3, Medichi's book is still over a week away from release. This may border on fan torture, not sure! But I think we're having some fun!


  10. Wow, great interview, and the series looks amazing! I can't wait to read every last one of them!

    Robin D
    robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

  11. Robin,
    Hope you enjoy the series! I'm having an absolute blast writing it. Vamps are just plain fun, although mine are so much more. My vampire warriors battle really evil death vampires, they're guardians of the ascended world in which they live, then they get put through the mill of 'falling in love' with super-powerful women! I know...who could ask for more than that! Oh, yeah, and they also have wings! Big wings to fit their big warrior bodies! Woot!

    Thanks for joining us today!


  12. I have had a BLAST reading these books, and with each one I'm finding myself more and more immersed in the world that has been created. Now I can't wait until the next one...and somehow I need to find me a man with wings....

  13. Melissa,
    Oh, if I could wave my magic wand, I would create a hunky warrior with wings just for you! Sometimes I'm appalled at my 'lack of powers'! I would be the virtual 'fairy-godmother' if I could! I would grant all these wishes--RIGHT NOW!

    Soooo glad you're enjoying the series. BTW, you won't believe what happens to Endelle in Book #5...shhhhh!!! Oh, the writing of this is sweet agony!

    A mountain of blessings,

  14. Earlier this year I discovered paranormal romances. Ascension was in that first stack of books I purchased and turned out to be one of the first ones that I read. I just fell in love with those warriors. Upon completion of Ascension, I started searching for release dates for the 2nd book and was pleased my wait wasn't too long. I've cleared my calendar on the 30th so I can have an evening to myself reading the next book in this series.

  15. Lori,
    Isn't paranormal great? I've loved science fiction since I can remember, but mostly I LOVE romance. Imagine my thrill when this incredible market rose up so that I could take some fantasy/paranormal elements and blend it with romance!

    Aren't the warriors just a kick in the pants? I'm indebted to my favorite para authors, who you might enjoy as well: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter, Lara Adrian, JR Ward, and Kresley Cole, to name a few. I know you'll enjoy this new reading path for years to come!

    Hope WINGS OF FIRE takes you to the heights!

    A mountain of blessings,

  16. Caris,

    I haven't had so much fun reading until I discovered the fantasy/paranormal romances. I've been reading Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series for the past two weeks. I'm finishing up the 6th one today. I have read a bit of Kresley Cole. As for the others, I have some of their books in the waiting to get read stack.

    The real kicker, my teenage son enjoys fantasy/science fiction too - Jim Butcher/Terry Goodkind/Angie Sage to name a few. But he also likes vampires, shifters and the like so he has been reading paranormal romance and urban fantasy years before I was. He was the one who suggested I try a paranormal romance and suggested Christina Dodd's Darkness Chosen Series since he had already read them.

    We do have a few series that we read together and we are constantly suggesting new series' to each other. Boy, we do have some great conversations about the books we read. As always, more books than time to read them.

  17. Lori,
    I think that's just fantastic! Don't you think literature of any kind is a great place to start a discussion with your son? I'm very big on talking, talking, talking with teens about everything under the sun. Movies are great jump-starter as well.

    And yes, always more books than time to read! ALWAYS! You've hit on my biggest frustration right now.

    But have you read any of Laurell K. Hamilton? I'm a fan of her Anita Blake series, the wilder the better. I just love the scope of Laurell's imagination. Of course, I haven't gotten to HIT LIST yet for the aforementioned reason, lol!

    Hope my Guardians of Ascension continue to please...I'm having a ball living in this world and with all these characters. Right now I'm in the sweetest kind of agony with all the trouble Endelle is having with her second-in-command, Thorne, in book five (the one I'm writing even as we speak!)

    Many blessings!

  18. The son and I have had lots of great conversations about the books we've read. He came home today and we talked about the summer reading books he finished this weekend for school - loved one and really disliked the other. I can't wait to hear the stories he'll have about what his peers thought of the books they read this summer.

    Thanks for a new author suggestion - I haven't read or looked into Laurell K Hamilton books, but I certainly will.

    Is it the 30th yet? I'm looking forward to my date with the Guardians.

  19. Lori,
    Love your pic! I miss my dogs, even though they've been gone quite awhile now. I hope to get a dog soon, maybe in the next year or so. But they are a bit of work...but I do miss my buddies!

    Savor this time with your son! And your books! Can't wait for you to read my WOF!

    And now it's my bedtime!

  20. Hi, again, everyone!
    This is my last comment for the night! Thanks to everyone for taking the time to leave a comment. I enjoy hearing from all of you, getting a chance to know you, and to hear your thoughts on my Guardians of Ascension.

    With every hope that all your dreams come true,
    And with a ton of blessings,

  21. Late in popping in! But just had to say that I sooooo LOVE this Series, Caris!! I was intrigued by book number one, left holding my breath with the ending of book number two, and NOW turning blue waiting for book #3!! Can you write any faster?

    Beautiful covers too!!

    hugs, Kari Thomas,

  22. Kari,
    Turning blue!!! Oh, don't do, wait...I think I want my readers that anxious for the next book! But your comment made me laugh again and again.

    Now, as for writing faster, believe me I've tried! But these books demand at least the four months I'm giving them...imagine that! *laughing hard now*

    A sky full of blessings,

  23. Caris,

    Great interview and I am so heartwarmed and inspired by your success. I'm probably too late to qualify for a book, but hope maybe not. I can't wait to read the second one.


  24. Thanks for sharing such a generous clip of your book. Intriguing topics! How do you keep the ten books straight in your mind as you're writing them? Do you plot out everything in a file or notebook and then meander as your character's tell you?


  25. Connie,
    I assure you, you're not too late to qualify for the drawing! I believe this post is up for three days, something like that, so good luck!

    May your writing bring you every joy and all the success you desire!


  26. Lyndee,
    How do I keep all ten stories straight? It's more like seeing a distant light and continuing to aim for that light no matter what events occur in each story. The light is the war-ending battle in book #10.

    Book-by-book, I'm more concerned about telling the story of each warrior, how they come to find love, what issues have them ham-strung and somehow in all of that I also decide, once they've completed their mate-bonding, how they'll affect the war both in their subsequent activities and then finally in the Armageddon-like battle itself.

    But the men are the guideposts, no question. The rest is a set I build around them.

    Keeping the details straight? Well, I have a massive excel spreadsheet for that.

    Again, clear as mud!?!

    All the best to you and all blessings,

  27. I love your answer,Caris...Yay for spreadsheets, lol...Thanks for writing back.

    Lyndee :)

  28. I enjoyed reading this interview and so happy for you, Caris, that you have found your niche in life and are so good at it! Congratulations!

    Connie Fischer