Monday, April 14, 2014

Author Interview & Giveaway: Raven's Blood by Cassandra Lawson

Raven’s Blood
Moon Virus
Book 1
Cassandra Lawson

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Number of pages: 300

I have always been a bit of a rocker. For that reason, I wanted to share some of the songs that I listened to while writing Raven’s Blood. Since Raven’s Blood is set in Oakland, Alameda, and San Ramon, I decided to limit my playlist to San Francisco Bay Area musicians.

Music Playlist

Book Description:

Following the death of her wood nymph mother at the hands of vampires, Raven worked hard to build a life for herself in one of the few remaining human settlements. Her life takes a frightening turn when she finds herself an unwilling guest in a vampire settlement, but things are not anything like she expected them to be. Still, she cannot help but feel that her attraction to the vampire leader is a betrayal to her mother’s memory and her human friends.

From the moment Connor first laid eyes on Raven she has thrown his entire world off-balance. In order to prove his strength as a leader, he has no choice but to take her up on her offer to trade her freedom for that of her human friends. Having begun his life as a slave, he has no interest in keeping the wood nymph captive. As a man, he has no desire to feel this overwhelming attraction to a woman who hates him and his kind.

As Raven spends more time with the vampires, her feelings for Connor grow even stronger and Connor finds that she may be the one thing he cannot live without. Unfortunately, a new danger emerges that could threaten the survival of vampires and humans alike. As Connor struggles to unravel the mystery of the attacks from a new species of vampire, a madman will go to any lengths to get Raven’s blood.

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PRFL would like to extend a very warm welcome to Cassandra Lawson, author of Raven's Blood. Cassandra, can you tell us where you're from, and where/whom did your love for writing come from? 
I am from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve lived here my entire life. My love of writing started in middle school. I was learning to type and the instructor told me to write a story to practice. I just couldn’t handle typing one more sentence about that quick brown fox. I never finished the story but I began writing other stories after that. I was also greatly influenced by a play writing class that I took in junior college. The one act play that I wrote for that class was the first story that I actually finished. Coming up with ideas was easy, but it takes a lot to actually write them out from start to finish.

Can you say that your journey to publication was difficult? If so, what were the hardest moments to get through? 
I was my biggest hurdle in my journey toward publication. For years, I resisted any suggestion that I publish a book. I made a lot excuses about how the extra work involved would take away from the joy of writing. The truth is that letting other people read my books is a lot like walking into a shopping mall on Christmas Eve naked. I had to move past that some. I’m still anxious when it comes time to hand something off to the first beta reader. I’m still nervous when it’s time to publish, but I’m getting better.

How do you overcome i-suck-it is, that little voice in your head that tells you your writing isn’t good enough?
I try to remind myself that I’m doing what I love and that’s the most important thing.
What is your dream vacation? I would love to do a hiking tour across the highlands of Scotland.
Describe your writing style in five words. Idea, write, rewrite, caffeinate, rewrite
What movies are you currently excited to see? Yikes! I don’t even know what movies are coming out. I have to admit that I’m not much of movie fan these days.

What are you currently reading? 
Wallbanger by Alice Clayton and Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward.

If you weren’t a writer, what other careers would you pursue? 
I homeschool my youngest children. I suppose if I wasn’t writing I would probably just sleep more than 4-6 hours a day. I would probably also gain fifty pounds because I would have more time to bake.

If you could create a holiday of your own, what would it be called?
National finger food day! This could just be a shameless excuse to eat appetizers.

For people who haven’t read your novel, how would you summarize the plot? 
Raven’s Blood is a dystopian paranormal romance about a born vampire and a wood nymph. The story is set one hundred years after a virus, which was designed to kill most of the poor in the United States, creates two races of vampires. In this story, the born vampires are in charge of the new government, but there is a lot of unrest and danger for humans and vampires. Raven is a wood nymph who has lived in a human settlement most of her life. She hates vampires and that make it very hard to adjust to life when she finds herself an unwilling guest in a vampire settlement.

What are two of your pet-peeves? 
People who push their carts side by side in the grocery store so they can talk and block off the aisle. Then they look at you crazy when you’re trying to go the opposite direction and expect them to move! Second pet peeve is my husband’s inability to understand the difference between the spatula drawer and the mixing spoon drawer. Needless to say, I put away the dishes.

To you, what makes a good story? 
For me, a good story has to have characters that I feel engaged with. The more real the characters are to me, the better the story.

What usually turns you off about a story? 
I’m bothered by unexplained inconsistencies in character behavior. If a book describes a character as shy and sexually repressed, there had better be a darn good reason for her going to a frat party and hooking up with five guys.

If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose, and why? 
I’m not really sure I could collaborate with anyone. I like to write with loud music playing to drown out any background noise. It would be like trying to collaborate in a mosh pit.

What is on your night stand? 
That can vary from day to day with two small children in the house. Right now, I have my tablet, an Agent P stuffed animal, a princess ring, and a card that my six year old made me.

What is your favorite book? 
My all time favorite book is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. My father urged me to read it when I was in middle school. It will always hold a special place in my heart because it is the first book that I just could not put down. I remember running into a wall because I was walking around reading it. Yes, I am always that graceful. Luckily, you don’t have any questions about the things I’ve walked into or tripped over.

Thank you so much for spending time with us today, Cassandra! Good luck and great sales with Raven's Blood! Readers, please be sure to check out the cookie recipe Cassandra has created, called Raven's Blood Cookies!! Yum! 

Raven’s Blood Cookies

I love to bake and I am always experimenting with new cookie recipes. Okay, I also love eating cookies. As a busy mom and author, some days I need a simple recipe to satisfy my cookie cravings. This recipe requires very little effort but results in a cookie that is chewy on the outside with a moist cakey center.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 18-20 minutes
Makes: 22-24 cookies
Preheat: 350ºF (175ºC).

Chocolate Cookie Base
Ingredients:                                         Directions:
1/2 cup butter softened                       Mix butter until it has a nice creamy consistency, around
1 box of chocolate cake mix               5 minutes. Add cake mix, egg, egg yolk, oil, and vanilla
1 egg and 1 egg yolk                           extract. Mix until well-blended. Fold in chocolate chips.
2 tbsp. vegetable oil                            Form balls of dough and drop on cookie sheet lined with
1 tbsp. vanilla extract                          parchment paper. Place about 1 inch apart. Press down on
1 cup mini chocolate chips                  center of balls with a spoon to make an indent.

Red Velvet Center
Ingredients:                                         Directions:
1/2 cup butter softened                       Mix butter until it has a nice creamy consistency, around
1 box of red velvet cake mix              5 minutes. Add cake mix, eggs, and oil. Mix until well
2 eggs                                                  blended. Form smaller balls of dough and then drop them
2 tbsp. vegetable oil                            in the indents on the chocolate base. There will be extra red
velvet dough. I recommend forming balls of dough, dropping them on the cookie sheet and sprinkling powdered sugar on top.
                                                           Bake cookies for 18-20 minutes. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

About the Author:

Cassandra Lawson is an author and homeschooling mother of three from the San Francisco Bay area. She has always had a very active imagination and loves making up stories. When she is not writing she enjoys baking, spending time with her family, listening to music, or curling up with a good book.

Author Contacts:
Blog | Goodreads Facebook 

Tour giveaway details: 
5 eBook copies of Raven’s Blood
a Rafflecopter giveaway