Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Regina Morris United Service

I want to welcome Regina Morris to the blog today. She is not only a wonderful author but a very amazing person as well. If you are not yet familiar with her work please check out all that we have here to day and be sure to pick up book one of  The Colony series Eternal Service (The Colony)

4.5 Stars

Vampires exist among us. They can be our neighbor, best friend, our child's teacher ...
They alter their aged appearance based upon the amount of blood they consume. They move to a new area, drink a lot of blood, and appear young. Slowly they limit their intake of blood and age, right in front of our unsuspecting eyes. After decades, they fake their death, move, and do it over and over again.
Most live quiet lives in an effort to blend in.
Some however want power and control.
The Colony is an elite group of vampires sworn to protect the President of the United States from these rogue vampires.
Sterling, a half-breed vampire who works with a covert team of vampires to protect the President of the United States, is the weakest link in the chain for his team, and he knows it. Because he was born to a human mother, he no standing in either the vampire or human worlds.
He has a unique ability to glean information from inanimate objects, and his life is like CSI meets the West Wing, where key positions are held by vampires. Vampires can alter their age based on the amount of blood they consume, which should allow Sterling to blend into human society. However, his ability has painful side effects that cause him to live a lonely life down in the evidence room at FBI headquarters. He's a lonely bad-boy looking for love in all the wrong places.
His current case involves the kidnapping of vampire children by a religious cult who is trying to save them. Sterling snatches the opportunity to do some field work by teaming up with a purebred vampire, Kate, who is the nanny of one of the missing children. Sterling's world is turned upside down by Kate. She is everything Sterling could hope for in a mate and he wonders if she'd ever consider loving a half-breed.
Kate is beautiful, intelligent, charming and sophisticated.  Kate has led a sheltered life and is considered handicapped by vampire standards. Could she possibly trust Sterling enough to share her dark personal secret with him? 
Together, can they save the kidnapped children and find true love for themselves?

UNITED SERVICE (book #2 of The Colony series)
Title: United Service
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Series: The Colony
Series Num: Book #2
Author: Regina Morris
Author website: http://www.reginamorris.com
Publisher: Silkhaven Publishing, LLC
Date Available: September 8, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9888222-6-9
Number of words: approx 100,000
ARC formats: epub, mobi, pdf

   Selena's Thoughts: After reading book one I was so intrigued by Sterling's character that I could not wait to read more about him. He was clearly damaged on an emotional level, his Dad, Raymond, didn't understand him, everyone seemed to treat him differently because of who and what he is. I am proud to say that getting onto his head was truly awesome. There was so much going on in his thoughts at the beginning of the book and as his mystery began to unfold so did my love for him. My heart swelled to the breaking point for him. When Sterling meets Kate everything changes. Suddenly two people who have never been able to experience what it "truly" means to be touched by another human being, begin to realize that what they may have always been missing are each other. 
   These novels are so many different things all at once. A love story, an action/suspense story, a crime drama and a good laugh along the way. If you have not read this series yet, you should give it a go. 

Happy Reading!! :-)

Check out this one page teaser for United Service

Sterling closed his hotel room door and took a long, deep breath before heading towards Kate’s room where he knew Kate and Ben waited for him. They needed to save the children. Duty called. He never thought too much of being a hero. All that mattered was that the people were safe, or they had had closure. Of course, most days he had sat alone in an evidence room with a headache.
Traveling around with a lovely woman was a rarity. He sighed heavily as he leaned on the closed hotel room door. It was time to be superman to everyone and everything in this whole damn world.
He turned and hit the door soundly with his fist. Luckily, the wood did not split in two. He didn’t know what the hell was going on with Kate, between the two of them, or fuck, life in general now. He needed to put all personal issues aside and focus on those missing kids. But, all he wanted was Kate. He wanted her body. He needed her like he had never needed anything else in his life.
Their kiss still lingered on his lips. He remained at the door another moment before going back to Kate’s room. He needed to keep his thoughts on their mission, but he knew that with just one look at her, that he would be tempted to be the most selfish bastard in the world. He remembered the feel of her as she lay under him. Her soft skin. Her delicious lips.
He quickly walked down the hallway to Kate’s room and found the door open, so he let himself in. Ben stood alone in the center of the room. “Where’s Kate,” Sterling asked.
“Bathroom.” Ben glanced over to Sterling. “Like I told Kate, I found the next victim. She’s only a few hours away.”
“Why do the Hands of God suspect her as a pre–trans?”
Ben’s eyes shifted away. Slightly under his breath he said, “She’s sort of related to Stephen Miller.”
Sterling spied two coffees on the dresser, and one still sitting in the cardboard container. He walked over and claimed the cup. “Related? How?”
Ben sheepishly answered. “The two are paired off for marriage after they transition.”
Sterling raised the cup to his lips and took a sip of the hot liquid. The brew tasted more bitter than normal. Of course the two were in an arranged marriage. The two were teenagers, both probably from wealthy families … they were probably paired off while still in diapers. Super easy. Incredibly convenient.
Hot coffee spilled from the cup as Sterling realized he was crushing it. He set the cup down and gave Ben a nod. “Let’s get going.” Turning towards the bathroom he shouted, “Kate.”

About the Author
Regina Morris is the author of the humorous paranormal romances that make up The Colony series. She loves paranormal romances featuring vampires, but her personal taste is light-hearted and humorous – not horrific and gory. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children. She enjoys meeting with her monthly critique writing groups and meeting other writers in the Austin area through the WLT events.
She has lived in many different parts of the world. She graduated high school in Germany and she attended the University of Texas at Austin where she received a degree in computer science with a minor in math.
Besides writing, she is an amateur portrait and sports photographer. After enjoying a career in the software engineering business, she discovered that writing was in her blood, and had to put pen to paper!
Please connect with Regina Morris through various social media which are listed on her personal author website http://www.reginamorris.com


United Service: Interview with Sterling

Q:  Sterling, can you tell me a little more about the Colony and its role for the US government?
A: There’s not much to tell. We’re a group of dedicated individuals who protect the President from rogue vampires.
Q: And, you are a vampire?
A: Duh.
Q: Okay, then. Um. How would a vampire attack on the President be different from a human one?
A: Vampires are stronger, more efficient killers. The biggest difference would be that the President probably wouldn’t see a vampire coming. Plus, he’d be drained of blood afterward.
Q: Is the President aware of the existence of vampires?
A: It’s one of the perks of being President. We try to limit our exposure to humans as much as possible so people won’t know of our existence. Our existence is on a need-to-know basis. The President, since he’s a big target, needs to know.
Q: The Colony director – can you tell us more about that person’s role?
A: He’s the human buffer between us and the presidents. Some presidents don’t like having us around, but some are more open minded. The role of this buffer changes with each administration depending upon the President’s comfort level.
Q: Has any President taken un-kindly to having vampires around?
A: Don’t even get me started. There have been several who have been scared shitless because we exist.
Q: Is the current President nervous around vampires?
A: No. He’s a great guy.
Q: I understand you work with your father.
A: Yes. 
Q: He’s the leader of the Colony. Can you tell us about him?
A: Not much to tell. He founded the Colony after Abraham Lincoln died. Most of the time he’s a pretty level-headed vamp. Sometimes though, he’s a dick.
Q: A ‘dick’?
A: You’d have to know him.
Q: So, let’s go back a minute. You said the Colony was formed after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Did he know of the existence of vampires?
A: Yes, but he was fighting a war of equality between the humans. He couldn’t take on another species, so he kept quiet about it. After his death, our team was formed.
Q: I know this will be a delicate question to ask, but with the vampires protecting the president, how was it that JFK was assassinated?
A: That day sucked ass. Damn convertible car.
Q: I’m sure your team did everything it could to protect the President.
A: Not enough.
Q: Can vampires die? What can kill you?
A: [blink] Do you really expect me to answer that?
Q: Um, not really I guess. Now, your father, he’s a purebred vampire, right?
A: Yes.
Q: Most of the team are either purebred vampires or turned humans.
A: [silence]
Q: You’re the only half-breed in the group.
A: So?
Q: Well, does that make you a liability to the team? 
A: [snarl]
Q: You do come across as very menacing. Do you want to talk about your human mother?
A: She’s dead. Same with this damn interview.

Guest post from Regina Morris

Vampires. Is there no greater (or sexier) hero out there? Shape-shifters do catch my eye, but for me, vampires are the sexiest heroes in paranormal romances. I’ve always preferred the lighthearted romances compared with the darker stories. Put a misunderstood, lonely vampire in a novel that doesn’t want romance, or doesn’t know he wants it, and introduce a love interest that steams up the page? Yep. That’s a good story!

There are so many vampire novels out there to read. For me, what makes each one unique is their individual worlds. Some authors have their vampires unable to be in sunlight, some authors have their vampires dead all day, while others, like me, prefer vampires around 24/7.  It really is up to the author what vampire lore they want to keep for their stories. Plus, some authors throw in a twist to make their vampires even more unique. The vampires in my Colony series novels can alter their age based upon the blood they drink. A lot of blood daily, they're young. Wean off of the blood, they can be old. This comes in handy when you live multiple lives as federal agents protecting the presidents of the United States over the last 150 years. 

My novel Eternal Service is the first book in the Colony Series. This story follows the coven master, Raymond, who is a lonely individual with great responsibility. He has noble beliefs, but falls short. He’s a flawed character, and who doesn’t love that? His only friend is the token human of the group who is the human liaison between the team and the President. This human is retiring, thus the story introduces the love interest, Alexandra Brennan, who is the man’s replacement.  Raymond secludes himself from interacting with humans, especially female humans, but he is drawn to Alexandra. Will his heart or is mission be compromised? Alexandra has a past that haunts her and she’s un-trusting of men. Will she follow her heart or her career? Together, can they save the President?

Book #2 of the Colony Series, United Service, will be available September of 2013. It is the story of Raymond’s half-breed son Sterling. Sterling is a modern-day vampire who clashes with his father’s antiquated ideals. Being the half-breed of the group, Sterling knows he’s the team’s weakest link and he hates it. Sterling jumps at an opportunity to do some field work rescuing kidnapped vampire children and is accompanied by a nanny of one of the kidnapped children. The nanny, Kate, is a purebred vampire. Can Sterling put behind his bad-boy ways and woo the lovely Kate? Will Kate accept the advances of a half-breed? Can they save the children from a religious cult who wants to kill them?

Book #3 of the Colony Series, Enduring Service, will be available in 2014. Sulie (Raymond’s sister) has been in love with the same human man for nearly thirty years, but refuses to allow herself the joy of true love because her love is unrequited by her human boss, Dixon. As Dixon’s retirement looms near, and his memory of Sulie and the last thirty years of his life is about to be erased, does she confront her fear of intimacy and take a leap of faith before it's too late? Dixon has decided that it’s time to retire and enjoy what time he has left. When Sulie is kidnapped during a medical emergency, Dixon realizes that retirement means giving up everything, and everyone, he’s known for the last three decades. Will he risk his life, and his heart, to save her?

Book #4 of the Colony Series, Reliant Service, will be available in 2014. After retiring his first, and only, alias with the Colony, Daniel Brighton discovers the mandatory sabbatical to be less than exciting. He chooses to do a favor and act as a security guard for a fading pop-singer, Lori Austin, whose career is winding down. He travels across Europe with her and discovers her past to be one of deception and intrigue with a past leading directly back to the Colony itself. Lori Austin is struggling to keep her career alive, and is willing to do what is necessary to save it. From bad press and scandalous stories, she travels across Europe on a relief tour to revitalize her career. Discovering a hidden family secret, she realizes that the one man who can save her is the handsome security guard she fought so hard not to hire. 

I've read many vampire romance novels and have discovered five critical elements that exist in the books that I love and read over and over again. When I began writing my novels I made sure that all of these elements made it into my books. First, I made my vampires not want for money. Who wants to read a story of a broke vampire who lives on the streets? I’d rather have them in a stately mansion that is exquisitely furnished. Secondly, the vampires are not loners. I wanted my vampires to work together in a group and have a close bond to one another. Third, I didn’t want blood to be an issue where they spend half the novel hunting humans. The Colony receives bagged blood from Uncle Sam. Fourth, I like when the vampires have a common enemy or goal. Lastly, I enjoy stories where there is some sort of ruling body governing the vampires. In my Colony series the Vampire Council arranges marriages, blood deliveries and much more for the vampires.

Author Interview

What inspired you to start writing?
To this day I'm still not sure what the determining factor was. The idea of being a writer never occurred to me as a child. I didn't write, I hated reading, and my scholarly focus was always in computers and math (far away from the literary classes). My niece kept badgering me to read one of her favorite books and eventually I gave in. The genre of the book was paranormal romance. I had no idea such exciting books existed. I went from reading zero books a year to over one per week. After a few years of this, the idea of writing a book had sprung into my head. It was a fleeting thought, but fifteen minutes later the entire world of my book series, The Colony, was in my head. That was just a few years ago and I have just finished writing my fourth book in the series.

How long have you been writing?
Two and a half years. Since I stayed away from literary classes all my life, I've joined writing groups and have taken classes on how to write, how to format books, how to market your book, etc. I've taken so many classes I feel like I'm back in college.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Write what you love. Be passionate about it, but don't be arrogant. There are plenty of people in this world who will love your work, and there will be plenty who will not. Write because you love to write. Publish because you want to share. I would also advise that you hire a professional editor. I have a content editor and a line editor. There is a cost, but well worth it.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
No, I really don't. However I have noticed that I write my best in the mornings and late at night. This does free me up to focus on my full-time day job when I'm at work.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
Characters. I meditate in the mornings and scenes will come to me. Sometimes I have to determine which character will work best for a scene, but the characters are always first.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Plotter. I outline all the time. I work on whatever scene I'm most passionate about for that day. So, sometimes I write the ending of the book before the beginning.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
The main character, Raymond, has a half-breed son. These two vampires could not be more opposite of each other. We have Raymond who has high ideals and a noble quality about him, and we have Sterling, his son, who is just a notch above a man-whore. Raymond wants his son to find a wife and settle down. Sterling just doesn’t see the appeal. It’s not until the second book in the series, United Service, that you understand Sterling’s point of view. Raymond and Sterling don’t see eye-to-eye in the first novel, but there are tender father-son moments in book two where their relationship is patched up.

Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?
My second book, United Service (to be released Sept 2013), features Raymond's son Sterling. Sterling is a half-breed who doesn't fit into either the human or the vampire world. He's the weakest link in The Colony group of vampires, and he knows it. He jumps at the chance to do some field work to find some kidnapped vampire children and teams up with a nanny of one of the children. He's a bad boy looking for love in all the wrong places, that is, until he meets Kate. She's a purebred vampire that is making him rethink true love. Books #3 and #4 of the Colony Series are at my editors and will be released next year.

What are you reading now?
JR Ward “Lover at Last.”

What author or authors have most influenced your writing?
Kerrelyn Sparks, Lynsay Sands, and JR Ward.

What is your work schedule like when writing?
I try to write in the mornings and late at night. Since I have a full-time day job, I spend a lot of time on the weekends writing.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A computer software engineer. I got my computer science and math degree years ago.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?
Dark Chocolate is by far my favorite. I personally feel that when we do venture out into space, and do find extraterrestrial life, that “chocolate from Earth” will be a delicacy that aliens will pay a lot for. Least favorite is liver. I really don’t think I have to give a reason for that.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
I have a degree in computer science with a minor in math, I am a trekkie, and I do have a favorite math formula. People who know me find it hard to believe that I can write such humorous and passionate romance novels. My two lives seem so opposite each other.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?
In my opinion, JR Ward walks on water.

What would we find under your bed?
Dust bunnies and probably all the socks I can’t find the pairs to.

If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an
upcoming project, where would you mostly likely want to go? Why?
I have traveled extensively, but the one place I’ve never been is Washington DC. My novels are set at the capital and surrounding areas and I would love to visit, take notes, visit museums, nerd out, etc.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
Emerson’s “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, would you consider straying outside your genre?
I have a four-part YA time travel mystery series just dying to be put on paper! I’m looking forward to writing it.

What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
I have two books of The Colony series being released this year, and two next year. I might even get that first time travel book out ... so I think what I would love to accomplish is laying the ground work so I can quit my day job, come home, and write for a living.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer
It was after the inspiration for The Colony series popped into my head and I had written the first draft of Eternal Service in only six weeks. It took a year and a half of writing classes, major editing on my part, and the hiring of content and line editors to bring it together, but it was that first six weeks where I had felt so alive that I knew I had to write.

Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?
I never got “the call.” (I’m assuming you are referring to an agent/publisher calling to let you know that they want to pick up your book.) I had sent a query letter to about a half dozen agents and it took up to nine months before I collected all the rejection letters. It was a terribly slow process, so I decided to create my own publishing company. I do my own cover art, layout formatting, website design, and marketing. I hire out the editing.

Who gave you the writing advice that sticks with you to this day?
Most of what I’ve learned about writing came from reading books. However, one piece of advice about reading comes to mind. An English teacher once told me that people who don’t enjoy reading have not found the genre that will open the doors for them. I thought she was crazy at first, but just a few years ago I discovered paranormal romance and she was absolutely right.

Describe the “perfect hero.” What about the “perfect hero” for you?
A perfect hero would be someone who does their best, but is flawed. Someone who is noble and helps those in need. 

What are favorite pastimes?
Reading, photography, watching tv.

What has been your biggest adventure to date?
Having kids. Your world changes so much when you become a parent.

What is the one modern convenience you can't do without?
My toothbrush? It seems so basic, but I wouldn’t go on a trip without it. I have however left my tv, computer, microwave, and phone at home when I travel.

Describe the ideal romantic evening
To start, the kids are at slumber parties and my house is so immaculately clean that my mind won’t wander to what needs to be cleaned, scrubbed, or sanitized. I’d also toss in the idea that I’ve had time to fix myself up which would include makeup, my hair curled and a ‘to die for’ outfit being put on. My husband and I have the house to ourselves. We order our favorite gourmet pizza (the food I never allow myself to eat because of the calories) and eat by candlelight while soft music is playing. 

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