Today we’d like to welcome Cassandra Dean to Silken Sheets and Seduction! She is here promoting her latest release from Decadent Publishing’s Western Escape imprint and if you go all the way to the bottom…there’s a contest!
Cassandra grew up daydreaming, inventing fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures. Once she learned to read (First phrase – To the Beach. True story), she was never without a book, reading of other people’s fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures.
Fairy tales, Famous Fives, fantasies and fancies; horror stories, gumshoe detectives, science fiction; Cassandra read it all. Then she discovered Romance and a true passion was born.
So, once upon a time, after making a slight detour into the world of finance, Cassandra tried her hand at writing. After a brief foray into horror, she couldn’t discount her true passion. She started to write Romance and fell head over heels.
The love affair exists to this very day.
Cassandra lives in Adelaide, South Australia.
How long have you been writing?
Ever since I can remember! However, writing with an aim for publication only happened in the last 10 years or so, with it beginning in earnest around four years ago.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve got a few on the go! Riveted by Meljean Brook, part of her her Iron Seas series. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led The Revels There by Catherynne M Valente. And…Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James. That last one has been on the go for a couple of months now. I can’t seem to get past chapter four
What inspired you to write your first book?
Oh wow. I can’t even remember. The very first book I wrote…Gosh, it was bad. So very bad. Um…It was a hodgepodge of different Regency tropes, and is a big mess. One day, I’ll try and finish it off (especially as my critique partner, Lucy Clark, will kill me if I don’t!) but it’s probably best it remains hidden away for the time being.
As for the first book of mine that was published, well tis an interesting tale! I was quite obsessed with the TV show Spartacus: Blood and Sand and imagined a whole tale surrounding the rather delish lead character. Hijinks ensued, and three days later I had a story! I submitted ENSLAVED to a few publishers, and Decadent Publishing offered me a contract. Voila! First book published! Now, I’m up to my third, ROUGH DIAMOND, with another to come. Huzzah!
How did you come up with the title?
ROUGH DIAMOND is a historical Western tale featuring the Diamond Saloon, coal mining and two characters who are a bit of diamonds in the rough. The title seemed kind of a no-brainer ;p
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Oh. Maybe I should have taken a bit of time. And possibly not have shouted 😉
Again, this is a bit of no-brainer for me. I think Joss is just the bestest writer ever. His characters are so distinctive and instantly sympathetic, and his bad guys are so deliciously bad but still so sympathetic. He places emotion and character above anything else, and lives by the mantra “Don’t give your audience what they want, give them what they need.”
I hope I do the same.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are a few ‘new to me’ authors. I’ve just discovered Jillian Stone’s Phaeton Black series (Sorcha Says:Oh! I get to meet her this month.), which is a bit of fun. Charlotte Stein is rather amazing, and I must toot the horn of my fellow Decadent Authors, Tamara Gill and Jessica E Subject. Love those ladies work!
What are your current projects?
I’ve just signed a contract for ROUGH DIAMOND’s sequel! FOOL’S GOLD features secondary characters Pearl La Monte and Ethan Garrett, and is set on Christmas Eve. Look for it around the Yuletide season, and make sure to check out my website for updates!
I’m also working on a sequel to ENSLAVED, featuring the heroine’s son all growed up. Apart from that, I have a series of books surrounding law students at Cambridge in the mid 1800s, as well as other bits and pieces.
What genres do you write besides ROUGH DIAMOND?
I seem to be a bit of a hodgepodge writer! I predominantly write historicals, but I jump around the eras. My first book is set in Ancient Rome, my second in the Early Victorian era, my third and upcoming fourth in the Old West ,and I have a few short stories set in late Victorian and contemporary times. I also have ideas for a steampunk series and a paranormal series.
So, you know. Hodgepodge. 😀
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I really love Loretta Chase. Lord of Scoundrels is just an awesome book, and I love the strength of the heroine, and the brutish, uncertain hero. I think Ms Chase is superb at dialogue, and mixing humour and tragedy to engender intense emotions in her readers. Just stunning, really.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The accent! I just couldn’t hear the Western accent in my head. The hero, Rupert’s, Englishness was no problem, but the heroine’s Western tinged way of speaking was a real struggle. The first few drafts, Alice’s voice just wasn’t there, but after watching the entire run of the TV show Deadwood and reading every Western romance I could scrounge up, I managed to hear her voice. Yay!
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Coal mining. Oh, there was something I never wanted to know anything about 😉 How long it took to travel the breadth of the continental United States in 1876 by train. How to get to San Francisco from Cheyenne in 1876. What sort of lamp would have been sitting on the dresser. All fun things to know!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Persevere. It’s the hardest thing to do, but the most necessary. It’s so hard to hang in there when you’re submitting your work and you’re getting rejected. I think I just about went insane before I received my first contract, and I don’t envy anyone going through the process. However, the rewards are awesome!
Coffee/Tea? Coffee, but I do love a bit of tea now and then.
Coke/Pepsi? Pepsi, but only if its Pepsi Max!
Heels/Flats? Flats. I do love heels, but I love comfort more
BDB/The Order? Oh my lord, wow! I haven’t been asked this before, and I’m actually kinda chuffed I know what you mean. BDB!
Fly/Drive? Fly – you can go WAY more interesting places ;p
Thanks so much for having me, I’ve had a blast!
Owner of the Diamond Saloon and Theater, Alice Reynolds is astounded when a fancy Englishman offers to buy her saloon. She won’t be selling her saloon to anyone, let alone a man with a pretty, empty-headed grin…but then, she reckons that grin just might be a lie, and a man of intelligence and cunning resides beneath.
Rupert Llewellyn has another purpose for offering to buy the pretty widow’s saloon—the coal buried deep in land she owns. However, he never banked on her knowing eyes making him weak at the knees, or how his deception would burn upon his soul.
Each determined to outwit the other, they tantalize and tease until passion explodes. But can their desire bridge the lies told and trust broken?
~ Excerpt ~
Lifting the glass, Alice studied its contents. “There is nothing quite like the enjoyment you get from a good whiskey. There’s the look and color of it, and the way it burns in the light.”
“It’s the same color as your eyes,” Llewellyn breathed, his own wide and empty of thought.
A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. That’s right. Fool me into thinking there’s not an ounce of calculation to your words. “Is it? Mighty kind of you to notice.”
A happy grin was her response.
Well now, she was surely going to enjoy this. Setting her own half-smile, she tilted her glass, watching as the whiskey caught the light of the candle. “Have you ever noticed the feel of glass? It’s smooth against your fingers, and though the whiskey burns you, the glass is cool. It seems strange, doesn’t it? That such fire could come from something so cool.”
Intensely aware of his gaze upon her, she brought the glass to rest on her bottom lip. “You lift the glass to your lips, and all that coolness rests upon your flesh. The scent of the whiskey hits you, sweet and fiery. Your mouth waters, and you can’t wait to have it inside you. Slowly, so slowly, you tip the glass, teasing yourself as long moments in want of its taste stretch unbearably.”
He no longer wore a smile. Dark eyes watched her as strong fingers dug into the glass before him.
A prickle washed over her skin, her heart a steady beat in her chest. With hushed voice, she continued. “Liquid slides down your throat. The flavor explodes inside you, a glorious rush of sensation that overwhelms and consumes. You curl your tongue, enjoying the lingering sensation in every part of your mouth. Then, you look at the bottle.” Finally, she met his gaze direct. No subterfuge. No tease. “And you know you can do it again.”
# The small print: Comment before midnight on 21/11/2012 (Australian Central Daylight Time) to be entered to win an ebook copy of either ENSLAVED or TEACH ME, one (1) signed ROUGH DIAMOND postcard and one (1) ROUGH DIAMOND magnet. Winner will be selected via random.org, with winner’s name posted on this blog by 22/11/2012. Cassandra will also contact the winner by e-mail; the winner will be required to reply with their postal address so Cassandra can send the prize to them.
Only one entry per ISP address. Entrants must be over 18 years of age. By entering, you agree Cassandra can use your name when announcing the winner if you should win. If potential prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. International entries are welcome. No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Void where prohibited by law.