This week’s author profile is Karen Marie Moning. She is the author of two series’ that I read. She writes the Highlander series and the Fever Series. Both of these are highly successful and acclaimed.
Before Karen Marie Moning was the acclaimed and successful author that she is, Ms. Moning went to Purdue and studied Society and Law. After receiving her degree, she worked as a bartender, computer consultant and insurance specialist. When Ms. Moning began her career as a writer, she started out writing paranormal romance set in Scotland. This became her Highlander series. While writing her Highlander series she became very interested in the Celtic mythology and focused her second series, the Fever series, on the Tuatha De Danaan. These two wildly successful series have opened many doors for Ms. Moning. Her books have been translated into over 21 different languages and at her signing events she draws fans from all over. Ms. Moning is now focused on her new Fever World series that branches out into the lives of some of the secondary characters from the Fever books.
I decided this week to give you two excerpts from my two favorite books written by Karen Marie Moning. My first is The Highlander’s Touch. This was my first introduction to Ms. Moning’s Highlander series and I fell in love with the characters. I love to re-read this book to relive Circenn and Lisa’s love story. Here is an excerpt from The Highlander’s Touch:
“Hey! Watch where you’re going!” Lisa cried, as the Mercedes zipped around an idling taxi and passed dangerously near the curb where she stood, splashing sheets of dirty water up her jeans-clad legs.
“Well, get out of the street, you idiot!” the driver of the Mercedes yelled into his cell phone. Lisa was close enough to hear him say into the phone, “No, not you. It looked like some homeless person. You’d think as much as we pay in taxes …” His voice faded as he drove off.
“I wasn’t in the street!” Lisa yelled after him, tugging her baseball cap lower on her head. Then his words sunk in. “Homeless?” Dear God, is that what I look like? She glanced down at her faded jeans, worn and frayed at the hems. Her white T-shirt, although clean, was soft and thin from hundreds of washings. Maybe her slicker had seen better days, a few years before she’d bought it at Secondhand Sadie’s, but it was durable and kept her dry. Her boot had a hole, but he couldn’t have seen that, it was in the sole. The chilly puddles from the recent rain seeped into her boot, soaking her sock. She wriggled uncomfortable toes and made a mental note to duct tape her boot again. But surely she didn’t look homeless? She was spotlessly clean, or at least she had been before he’d come whizzing by.
“You don’t look like a homeless person, Lisa.” Ruby’s indignant voice interrupted her thoughts. “He’s a pompous ass who thinks anybody not driving a Mercedes doesn’t deserve to live.”
Lisa flashed Ruby a grateful smile. Ruby was Lisa’s best friend. Every evening they chatted as they waited together for the express shuttle to the city, where Lisa went to her cleaning job and Ruby sang in a downtown club.
Lisa eyed Ruby’s outfit longingly. Beneath a dove-gray raincoat with classic lines she wore a stunning black dress adorned with a string of pearls. Strappy, sexy shoes displayed French-manicured toenails; shoes that would feed Lisa and her mom for a month. Not a man alive would let his car splash Ruby Lanoue. Once, Lisa might have looked like that, too. But not now, when she was so deeply in debt that she couldn’t fathom a way out.
“And I know he didn’t get a good look at your face.” Ruby wrinkled her nose, irritated with the long-gone driver. “If he had, he certainly would’ve stopped and apologized.”
“Because I look so depressed?” Lisa asked wryly.
“Because you’re so beautiful, honey.”
“Yeah. Right,” Lisa said, and if there was a trace of bitterness, Ruby tactfully ignored it. “It doesn’t matter. It’s not like I’m trying to impress anyone.”
“But you could. You have no idea what you look like, Lisa. He must have been gay. That’s the only reason a man could miss a woman as gorgeous as you.”
Lisa smiled faintly. “You just never give up, do you, Ruby?”
“Lisa, you’re beautiful. Let me doll you up and show you off. Take off that cap and let your hair down. Why do you think God gave you such magnificent hair?”
“I like my cap.” Lisa tugged at the faded bill of her Cincinnati Reds cap protectively, as if she feared Ruby might snatch it away. “Daddy bought it for me.”
Ruby bit her lip hesitantly, then shrugged. “You can’t hide beneath that hat forever. You know how much I care about you, and yes”—she waved away Lisa’s protest before it even reached her lips—”I know your mother is dying, but that doesn’t mean you are too, Lisa. You can’t let it defeat you.”
Lisa’s expression grew shuttered. “What are you singing for your opening number tonight, Ruby?”
“Don’t try to change the subject. I won’t let you give up on life,” Ruby said gently. “Lisa, there’s so much ahead of you. You’ll survive this, I promise.”
Lisa averted her gaze. “But will I want to?” she muttered, kicking at the curb. Her mom, Catherine, had been diagnosed with cancer a few months ago. The diagnosis had come too late, and now little could be done with the exception of making her as comfortable as possible. Six months, maybe a year, the doctors had advised cautiously. We can try experimental procedures, but… The message was clear: Catherine would die anyway.
Her mom had refused, with unwavering determination, to be the target of experimental procedures. Spending the last months of her life in a hospital was not how either Lisa or Catherine wanted it to end. Lisa had arranged for home health care, and now money, which had always been tight for them, was even tighter.
Since the car accident five years ago that had crippled her mother and killed her father, Lisa had been working two jobs. Her life had changed overnight following her father’s death. At eighteen, she’d been the cherished daughter of wealthy parents, living in Cincinnati’s most elite, private community, with a brilliant, secure future ahead of her. Twenty-four hours later, on the night of her high-school graduation, her life had become a nightmare from which there’d been no awakening. Instead of going to college, Lisa had gone to work as a waitress, then picked up a night job. Lisa knew that after her mother was gone she would continue to work two jobs, trying to pay off the astronomical medical bills that had accumulated.
She winced, recalling her mother’s recent instructions that she be cremated because it was less expensive than a burial. If she thought about that comment too long she might get sick right there at the bus stop. She understood that her mom was trying to be practical, seeking to minimize expenses so Lisa would have some small chance at life when she was gone, but frankly, the prospect of life alone, without her mother, held little appeal for her.
This week Catherine had taken an irrevocable turn for the worse, and Lisa had been slapped in the face with the inescapable fact that she could do nothing to ease her mother’s pain. It would stop only with death. The gamut of emotions she experienced lately was bewildering to her. Some days she felt anger at the world in general; other days she would have offered her soul in exchange for her mom’s health. But the worst days were the ones when she felt a twinge of resentment beneath her grief. Those days were the worst because with the resentment came a crushing load of guilt that made her aware of how ungrateful she was. Many people had not had the chance to love their mothers for as long as she had. Some people had far less than Lisa: Half full, Lisa, Catherine would remind.
As they boarded the shuttle, Ruby pulled Lisa into the seat next to her and maintained a stream of bright chatter intended to lift her spirits. It didn’t work. Lisa tuned her out, trying not to think at all—and certainly not about “after.” Now was bad enough.
How did it come to this? God—what has happened to my life? she wondered, massaging her temples. Beyond the glass and steel panes of the express shuttle to downtown Cincinnati, the chilly March rain began to fall again in uniform sheets of gray.
The second excerpt will be from Darkfever. This is the first book in Ms. Moning’s fever series. This was also the first book I read by Ms. Moning. It was yet another treasure I got from Barnes and Noble’s Free Friday selections. I fell in love with Mac and Barrons and can’t wait for their next installment. Here is the excerpt from Darkfever:
My philosophy is pretty simple—any day nobody’s trying to kill me is a good day in
I haven’t had many good days lately.
Not since the walls between Man and Faery came down.
But then, there’s not a sidhe-seer alive who’s had a good day since then.
Before The Compact was struck between Man and Fae (around 4000 B.C. for those of you who aren’t up on your Fae history), the Unseelie Hunters hunted us down like animals and killed us. But The Compact forbade the Fae to spill human blood, so for the next six thousand years, give or take a few centuries, those with True Vision—people like me
who can’t be fooled by Fae glamour or magic—were taken captive and imprisoned in Faery until they died. Real big difference there: dying or being stuck in Faery until you die. Unlike some people I know, I’m not fascinated by them. Dealing with the Fae is like dealing with any addiction—you give in, they’ll own you; you resist, they never will.
Now that the walls are down, the Hunters are back to killing us again. Stamping us out like we’re the plague on this planet.
Aoibheal, the Seelie Queen of the Light, is no longer in charge. In fact, nobody seems to know where she is anymore, and some people are beginning to wonder if she is anymore. The Seelie and Unseelie have been smearing their bloody war all over our world since her disappearance, and although some might say I’m being broody and pessimistic, I think the Unseelie are gaining the distinct upper hand over their fairer brethren.
Which is a really, really bad thing.
Not that I like the Seelie any better. I don’t. The only good Fae is a dead Fae in my book. It’s just that the Seelie aren’t quite as lethal as the Unseelie. They don’t kill us on sight. They have a use for us.
Though they barely credit us with sentience, they have a taste for us in bed.
When they’re done with a woman, she’s a mess. It gets in her blood. Unprotected Fae-sex awakens a frenzy of sexual hunger inside a woman for something she should never have had to begin with, and will never be able to forget. It takes a long time for her to recover—but at least she’s alive.
Which means a chance to fight another day. To help try to find a way to return our world to what it once was.
To send those Fae bastards back to whatever hell they came from.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, ahead of the story.
It began as most things begin. Not on a dark and stormy night. Not foreshadowed by ominous here-comes-the-villain music, dire warnings at the bottom of a teacup, or dread portents in the sky. It began small and innocuously, as most catastrophes do. A butterfly flaps its wings somewhere and the wind changes, and a warm front hits a cold front off the coast of western Africa and before you know it you’ve got a hurricane closing in. By the time anyone figured out the storm was coming, it was too late to do anything but batten down the hatches and exercise damage control.
My name is MacKayla. Mac for short. I’m a sidhe-seer, a fact I accepted only recently and very reluctantly.
There were more of us out there than anyone knew. And it’s a damn good thing, too.
We’re damage control.
If those excerpts have wetted your appetite for more by Karen Marie Moning I would suggest going out and picking up one of her novels. You will not regret it. Her writing is inventive and wildly imaginative. She has a unique style all on her own. I truly don’t know where she came up with her ideas even if they are based on Celtic mythology. She constructs a world within the bounds of reality, yet not. I know I look forward to her next novel Iced (A Dani O’Malley Novel) coming out October 30, 2012.
If you would like more information about Karen Marie Moning you can visit her website at www.karenmoning.com. If you’d like more information about The Highlander’s Touch, Darkfever, the Highlander’s series or the Fever series please visit Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.