Monday, October 7, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Daughter of the Dragon Princess by Nina Croft INTERVIEW+GIVEAWAY

Daughter of the Dragon Princess
by Nina Croft

Genre: Paranormal romance
Date of Publication: 7th October 2013
Number of pages: approx.. 240
Word Count: 60k
Cover Artist: Keith Draws


Found abandoned as a baby and brought up in a children’s home, Lily Palmer has no clue that she is the last of the Dragon Princesses and destined to be mated to a king. But when she wakes up one night to find her apartment invaded by a stunningly gorgeous, but totally deluded madman, she can no longer ignore the dreams which have haunted her life.

Exiled on Earth, and trapped in human form, the dragons have waited two thousand years for the only person who can open the portal between their world and this one. Now they have found her and Malachite Smith has one job—to deliver Lily to his King. According to dragon law, only the King and the Dragon Princess together can open the portal and take them home.

But neither Mal nor Lily are prepared for the overwhelming attraction which flares between them. Or for his reluctance to hand her over to a king he despises. Can they stand as one and challenge the old ways, even if it means destroying his people forever?
Chapter 1
“You know, all I ever wanted was to be normal.” Lily swiped the rain from her eyes and glared at the scene in front of her.
They stood on the crest of a hill. All around them, the land fell away steeply, and straight ahead, the stone circle loomed out of the mist.
“Doesn’t seem very ambitious,” Joe said, coming to stand beside her, his tall figure hunched against the downpour.
“Maybe not, but they didn’t exactly encourage us to dream big in the children’s home, and I thought—be realistic—keep my life goals small. How the hell hard can normal be?”
Too fucking hard, obviously.
She kicked a rock at her feet, and then winced. Trudging up here, cold, wet, her heels rubbed raw from her new hiking boots, she’d somehow convinced herself this whole thing was a figment of her imagination.
No such luck.
The scene before her was familiar. She’d seen it so many times… in her dreams.
It was official—she was a crazy lady who had visions.
She turned to Joe. “Sorry,” she muttered. After all, this wasn’t his fault. He’d been a real sweetie. Nor was it his fault that beneath her shirt, the mark on her arm tingled, reminding her of its existence. She rubbed it absently and caught Joe’s speculative gaze before he glanced away.
“What’s the matter, Lily?” His voice was gentle, his gray eyes worried.
“Nothing.” She gave him a bright smile. “So, this is where you found me?”
“Yes. Hard to believe it was over twenty years ago.”
A lifetime—her lifetime anyway.
Coming to this place had been a whim, when the dreams had become too much, invading even her waking moments until they were impossible to ignore. Something had told her that the answers were back here where it had all started. Illogical—but then nothing about her life made sense recently.
She’d never met Joe before—well, except for the one time, but she had no memory of that—though he had sent her a “birthday card” each year on the anniversary of the day he’d found her. He’d sounded genuinely pleased when she’d called and asked if they could meet.
“Will you tell me what happened?” That’s why she was here after all. At the children’s home, they had told her she’d been found abandoned as a baby and handed in. Nothing else. And by the time she was old enough to ask questions, she’d seen enough of life to accept that she probably wouldn’t like the answers.
Joe nodded. “I was checking the sheep down in the lower pasture when I heard some sort of explosion. I ran up here and there you were.” He waved a hand in the direction of the circle. “All alone, so tiny. You were naked but with this mark, like a tattoo, wrapped around your arm. I kept thinking—why would anyone do that to a baby?”
Why indeed?
But a faint quiver of excitement tingled in her gut. Was this the answer to the dreams and visions? That she’d been here before. Was it that simple? Okay, she’d been a baby. Even so, those memories would be locked in her brain somewhere. Now they were trying to get out. That was all. There was nothing weird or unexplainable about what had been happening to her.
She took the last few steps, which brought her into the lee of one of the great stones. It was slick with rain, but warm to the touch, and she traced the swirling patterns cut into the rock, too regular to be carved by nature. Resting her forehead against the warmth of the stone, she allowed her fears to drain away.
Maybe she wasn’t crazy after all. She could go home. Forget all this and get on with her nice, normal life.
As she raised her head, she caught a glimpse through the gap in the stones to the amphitheater beyond—also familiar. The space was empty except for a flat table-like slab in the center and behind that, a stone arch, as tall as the uprights. She stepped into the circle, prickles shivering across her skin as she passed between two of the huge pillars.
“You were lying there, on the altar stone,” Joe said from behind her.
A faint hum filled her ears. The sound arose from within the arch, and she walked slowly toward it.
“Do you hear that?” she asked. The hum grew louder, more a buzzing now like a swarm of hungry bluebottles.
“Hear what?” he asked. “There’s nothing here.”
“But there is. It’s coming from the arch. You must be able to hear it.” It seemed impossible that he couldn’t.
She came to a halt in front of the flat stone and peered into the archway, to the gray sky and the standing stones behind it. As she stared, the image wavered, a ripple running through the view.
Her heart pounded in her chest, her whole body rigid. Even as her feet itched to run as fast as possible in the opposite direction, longing washed through her, an impulse to step through the arch and find whatever was on the other side. Taking a deep breath, she forced her feet to remain still while her hand reached forward, fingers outstretched. Joe called out from behind her but she ignored him. Flames flickered within the frame of the arch. The crackle of fire filled her ears as the scent of smoke teased her nostrils. On her right arm, the mark burned through her skin like a brand.
The noise grew and grew until a shrill scream crowded her head, drowning out her conscious thoughts. A jolt of electricity slammed through her.
Then blackness.
Can you please share with us a little about yourself?

I’m actually English, but I now live on an almond farm in the mountains of southern Spain. I share the farm with my husband and a whole load of animals (four dogs, two cats, a horse, four chickens, two goats, and a three legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig called Piggles!) and I spend my time, reading, writing and picking the occasional almond.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

No, but I’ve always been a voracious reader and I actually started writing out of desperation when I ran out of books to read. I was working as a volunteer in Africa at the time, with no electricity, no TV, no internet, and hardly any books (this was way before ebooks!). So writing my own stories seemed like a good idea.

Can you share with us your typical writing day.  Is there anything you have to have while writing?
I usually get up at first light and deal with the animals. First, I feed Piggles (she’s the one who asks the loudest, so she gets fed first), then I walk the dogs, feed everyone else and do any other chores that need doing. After that, the day is pretty much my own. I usually write new stuff in the morning and then do everything else in the afternoon with maybe a horse ride at lunchtime to get me away from my desk.
The only thing I really need when I’m writing, is coffee.
What would you say is the most challenging or rewarding part of writing?

For me, probably the most challenging part is making the decision as to what to write next. There are so many stories I want to write, but there comes a point when I have to pick just one. The most rewarding part is when I actually start writing—that first day when I begin a new story, the words start to flow and the characters really come alive.

Can you please tell us about your latest book?

Daughter of the Dragon Princess is a love story about a woman discovering who (and what) she is, and an honorable man (well, actually a dragon) fighting against what he knows is his duty, but which he now suspects might be wrong.
Lily was an orphan and she has no idea of her heritage or that she is actually the last of the dragon princesses and the only person who can stand beside the dragon king and open the portals between the dragon world and ours.
Malachite has the job of finding Lily and delivering her to his king. Unfortunately, as he gets to know her, handing her over becomes impossible…

How did you come with the idea for this story?

I wanted to write a paranormal romance, but I’d just finished a story involving vampires and werewolves and wanted to do something different. I’d been reading a lot of fantasy at the time, and dragons really appealed to me. But to fit the paranormal romance genre a little more, I made them shape shifting dragons.

Can you share with us your current work in progress?

I’ve spent the day putting the finishing touches to Temporal Shift, a sci-fi/paranormal romance and book 4 in my Blood Hunter series and I’ve just sent it to my editor. Next is a contemporary romance, Taking Control, book 3 in my Babysitting a Billionaire series, which I will start writing tomorrow. It’s about a tough, female bodyguard and the man she has to protect (whether he likes it or not!)

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I read across most genres, and my favorite authors tend to change depending on my mood, but they include Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Harlan Coben, Anne Bishop, Susan Elizabeth Phillips…

Do you feel that any of your favorite authors have inspired your writing style?
Not really. Though I read far more than I watch television, TV shows probably influence my writing more than other authors.  I love anything by Joss Wheddon – strong female leads and snarky humor.

Open your book to a random page and please reads us a few lines.
“This is getting to be a habit,” Cole said from the doorway. “As soon as my back’s turned, you jump into bed. You could at least have waited until I was on my way home.”
Lily peered up sleepily from where she lay curled in Mal’s arms. “Did you get my chocolate?” she asked. She was obviously a little concerned about this no-food-in-Ankesh business. She was going to make the most of Earth, just in case they ever got stranded there.
“Yeah, and the underwear. You know, in all my life, I’ve never bought a woman underwear.”
“You’re repressed.”
“Too right, and I’m planning to stay that way. Here.” He tossed a bag onto the bed. “Clothes. I suggest you put them on before I see you again. Not that I’m complaining about seeing you naked, it’s…”
A low growl came from the bed beside her.
“Hah. I thought talking about you naked might wake him up. Not that I believe for a minute that he was actually asleep.”

What is in your To Read Pile that you are dying to start or upcoming release you can’t wait for?
I’ve had A Clash of Kings, book 2 in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series on my kindle for ages. I absolutely loved the first book, but I want time to sit down and read the whole series straight through before I start on the next. And right now, I just don’t have it.

Have you ever used anyone from your real life encounters in any of your books?
No, I never use real life characters (even disguised) in my books – I like making stuff up too much!

What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while you were writing?
Maybe that I can have self-discipline, if I try. Writing is hard work; it needs dedication and resolve. You need to sit down and write the words. I can be quite unfocused and even a little…lazy, but writing has shown me that I can work hard when I want to (and when it’s something I really enjoy!)
Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.

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