I’m doing my regular gig at The Jaunty Quills today. I’m blogging from the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans – stop by to see what’s been going on in The Big Easy!
Guest Author: Cynthia Eden & Giveaway!
I’m thrilled to be hosting one of my favorite writers (and people!) on the blog today – Cynthia Eden, who writes FANTASTIC paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Cynthia is a national best-selling author whose books have received a great deal of acclaim, and have been published in several foreign languages. Her publishers include Kensington Brava, Harlequin Intrigue, and Grand Central. She’s here today to tell us about Angel Betrayed, the latest wonderfully dark and sexy book in her current paranormal series.
Angel Betrayed is your second Book in the Fallen series. Why do you think angels have become such a popular figure in paranormal romance, especially fallen angels?
I think angels are interesting because they are powerful figures that can both offer hope…and promise some serious danger. Angels can be good, they can be bad, and they can be all sorts of things in between. My angels tend to fall more on the “darker” side since they are Angels of Death, and I think (hope!) that readers are enjoying reading about this new breed of paranormal bad boys.
Tell us a bit more about your Fallen series, and this book in particular? Sam sounds like an unrepentant alpha male, which is just how I like them!
Thanks so much for asking about the series! In my Fallen books, my angels do not feel any emotions until the moment they lose their wings. So when they become cast out from heaven, they plummet, their wings burn away—and with that burn, they lose their immunity to emotion. As they hit earth, they are also hit with every emotion that humans feel…love, anger, hate. Sometimes, these emotions can drive a fallen angel insane.
Sam is a definite unrepentant alpha. A tough guy with some serious bad-ass powers. He’s the fallen that most paranormals fear. And I loved writing about him!
Why did you pick New Orleans as the setting for this book?
New Orleans is one of my favorite cities. I try to visit the Big Easy at least 2-3 times each year. Because I am so familiar with the city, I knew I could incorporate some great landmarks in the books, and I was looking forward to doing that. New Orleans is also a city that just seems magical. Whenever I’m there, it’s all too easy for me to imagine that paranormal creatures are lurking in the nearby cemeteries.
Can you also tell us a little bit about your self-publishing ventures and anything else you’re working on right now?
I’d be happy to chat about them! I am working on several projects right now (I like to keep busy!). I will be releasing four books with Harlequin Intrigue (2 are completed, 2 will be done by the end of the year), and I will also be releasing a new phoenix shifter series with Kensington Brava (2 are completed, 1 is in the works). On the indie front, I hope to have at least 2, maybe 3 more, releases by the end of the year.
These indie titles will be paranormal stories. I’ve gotten a lot of great fan mail from readers asking me to write a full-length Bound story (vampires & werewolves) so that is something I am strongly considering. Another one that I am working on is an altered reality story—in this story, humans are the endangered species, and the vampires and the werewolves are the ones battling for dominance.
Thank you very much for taking the time to interview me! It has been a pleasure!
Cynthia, thanks so much for joining us today. Lady, you are a powerhouse! I can’t wait to read your latest book, and I’m also very intrigued the by idea of your upcoming phoenix shifter series. Readers, Cynthia is kindly giving away a copy of Angel Betrayed to one person who comments today. Just tell me what you think about angels as heroes for a chance to win a copy of Cynthia’s new book!
New Orleans: It’s Complicated
After hubs and I went to Mobile last week to visit with writer friends Manda Collins and Cynthia Eden, we decided to swing by New Orleans for a quick visit. I love NOLA, and Randy has never been, so we were both eager to go. But I haven’t visited NOLA since Katrina hit, and I was really hoping the city was staging a comeback in a big way.
What did we find? It’s complicated.
We all know about the devastation wrought by Katrina on the Gulf Coast, and most of us have seen pictures of the Ninth Ward, one of the worst hit neighborhoods in the city of New Orleans. We’ve heard the reports that reconstruction and recovery has been a slow and difficult process. Still, we hoped that the uniquely beautiful NOLA was roaring back to its prominence as both a tourist destination and a cultural gem of the South. It is still those things, of course, but to a much lesser degree than we anticipated.
As we drove into the city, we were stunned by the level of destruction that was easy to spot, even from the interstate. Neighborhoods that still looked wrecked, some with rebuilding going on, and some with little evidence of activity. Exiting onto Canal Street, the first thing we saw were large office buildings and hotels, clearly abandoned. I guess that’s not surprising, since a lot of business simply packed up and moved after the hurricane. There was some rebuilding going on in the downtown core, and I take that as a hopeful sign. But like most cities in the country, NOLA has been hit pretty hard by the recession, and the Gulf oil spill had to be a significant blow, too. Given that a significant segment of the population was forced to move away after Katrina, I imagine the local tax base has been substantially diminished.
I know I sound gloomy, and it was hard not to be depressed by the signs of struggle and devastation. But NOLA is still a beautiful city with much to offer. As soon as we dropped our bags off at the hotel, we headed to the French Quarter to sample the food, drink, and fascinating mix of cultures in the Vieux Carre. We wandered through the gorgeous streets, marveling as always at the beautiful balconies and centuries-old streets.
It’s Mardi Gras season, too, and many of the houses and shops are decked out for the celebration.
After lunch, we headed down to Jackson Square and the magnificent Saint Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States. St. Louis is a spectacular church and well worth the visit, if only to see the unusual pulpit in the shape of a giant shell.
Of course, no visit to NOLA would be complete without a stop at the Cafe Du Monde, the original French coffee house just off the Square. The beignets and coffee are simply amazing, and better than I remembered from previous visits. And Jackson Square is as beautiful and interesting as ever, surrounded by a collection of wonderful shops and home to tarot card readers and musicians hanging out in front of the Cathedral. Here’s a picture of me, with the Square in the background.
You’ll notice, though, that the Square looks pretty quiet, another thing that really concerned me. I’ve been to NOLA in the winter before, and it was a good deal more crowded than it was on this visit. Maybe the weather didn’t help. As you can see, it was a cool, overcast day that made everything seem a bit gloomy.
Of course, if you’re feeling in need of a pick-me-up, you don’t have to walk far. Bourbon Street hasn’t changed at all, as you can see from the sign below.
Not that you’ll find me ripping off my shirt to get some beads, but the young folks seem to have a good time. And, as always, there’s something you come across in NOLA that makes you scratch your head.
I’m hoping a hand grenade is a drink. They do like their drinks big down in NOLA. And how can you not love a city that still proudly proclaims, after everything they’ve been through, that their favorite alcoholic beverage is the Hurricane?
Our trip to NOLA was short, and we barely touched the surface of all the things to do. We never got to the Garden District or visited the cemeteries. We’ll save that for next time, whenever next time rolls around.
But I can’t help worrying about the future of NOLA, especially since it seems to have faded from the news. So many disasters and crisis have pushed NOLA off the front page, but the struggle to reinvent herself is, clearly, far from over. But NOLA has survived an incredible number of catastrophes and come back better than ever. I hope NOLA and her citizens pull it off again, and I hope we never forget what was lost and has yet to be recovered.