Genre: Paranormal Suspense/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Midnight Frost Books
Date of Publication: November 25, 2014
Word Count: 70k estimated
Serafina Murano is no stranger to the paranormal. All of her life she’s lived harmoniously alongside demons. Damon Serpe is a conflicted demon on a mission. Unexpectedly, they collide into each other’s lives and are inexorably drawn to one another.
Dark deadly secrets, gut wrenching betrayal, and elusive questions haunt her and have her entire life. Instinctively, Serafina realizes Damon holds the key to her understanding. If she trusts him, can he help decipher her recurring nightmares and unravel the mysteries surrounding her?
On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, she must select her path and make a difficult choice. One which will change her, and perhaps the world, forever.
Will Serafina embrace the truth and face her evil?
Book Trailer http://youtu.be/U9wMf4zX7os
Already late, Serafina began sprinting toward her building. She was still deep in thought and failed to pay attention. A second later, she slammed into what felt like a brick wall. Her coffee cup filled with mocha latte went flying, landing all over an impeccable pinstriped suit.
She stopped breathing when she faced the victim of her morning beverage. A handsome bronzed man, almost two feet taller than Serafina, stood in front of her. His irises were so light they looked almost clear. They held a world of intrigue and reeled her right in. Those iridescent opal eyes were magnificent and haunting, telling her almost everything she needed to know about him. He was a demon.
His smile was perfection, revealing a set of incredibly beautiful teeth. He was stunning and he wasn't human. Serafina wiped her moist palms on her dress and gave him a half-smile. "I'm so sorry." She rummaged through her purse for napkins or tissues, not fully understanding why the universe had chosen this moment, a time when her best self wasn’t present, to meet a gorgeous demon, like him.
"No problem, I’m Damon.” His smoky voice made her shudder with pleasure.
"Serafina,” she lowered her voice but it didn’t sound natural and it wasn’t nearly as sultry as she wished it had been. She stepped forward to shake Damon’s hand and her heel caught on the pavement. As she began to tip over, he grabbed her arm and pulled her up straight, all in one swift motion. Now attached to him, her arms wrapped around his waist in desperation. When she realized what she was doing, she shuffled away from him and tried regain her balance.
"Are you okay?" His expression showed his concern.
"I'm fine. But, I didn’t have my coffee yet." Serafina tried to flatten the wrinkles in her dress and right herself.
Damon laughed, catching her off guard. Relieved, Serafina laughed too. She didn’t expect her attempt at humor to work. Given her morning, she didn't think there was any wittiness in her to begin with, let alone, for it to come with such ease.
When Serafina’s laid eyes on the mess she had made, her posture went rigid. It was a coffee crime scene, straight out of a forensic textbook. Luminal would have exposed her caffeine attack for all to see. For her assault, she should have been handcuffed on the spot. "I've ruined your clothes.”
Damon brushed himself off and buttoned up his suit jacket. "I’m fine.”
"Yes, you are." Serafina meant to say it in her head, or at the least under her breath, but it had come out of her mouth loud and clear. Her face became hot in an instant, so she began fanning herself.
"This might sound like a line, but I’m glad you bumped into me. Where are you from?” Damon’s eyes twinkled, but his question sounded forced as if he already knew her answer.
"Home, today that is.” She failed horribly at making another joke. “But I've lived at the Jersey Shore all of my life." She tried to redeem herself "And, yes, it did sound like a line.” He was definitely the new one in town. "Did you move here recently?"
Damon shook his head. "I'm as new as you. I've lived in Rivershore for many years. I work in Maroon County and for just as long."
Rivershore was an upscale town not far from where she grew up in the modest beach town of Silver Lake. Although she had worked in the city for several years, Serafina spent all of her free time at the Jersey Shore, mainly Maroon County. Even more coincidentally, Serafina would turn thirty years old soon, so Damon was technically the same age as her. Demons never aged past the age of thirty.
From what he said, they had shared the commonality of living and working in nearby towns. So, it didn’t make sense she had never seen him before. Clearly, he had a knack for hiding. However, many years in demon terms could have been any amount of time since demons were practically immortal.
She studied him for more reasons than one, although he was striking and easy to admire. Damon’s exquisite appearance reminded her of a model or an actor. He had a rugged look, yet he was polished. He wore his expensive suit coupled with his five o'clock shadow as if it were a fashion statement. His ebony hair was long enough to push behind his ears. He was a unique mix of a tattoo artist and a Hollywood movie star. The combination really worked for him.
Serafina’s eye contact with him was firm but her muscles lost all of their tension. “Where exactly do you work? I can’t believe I’ve never seen you before.” She felt weak as she visually devoured Damon. She was certain she would have remembered him if she had seen him before. The fact their paths had never crossed was inexplicable to her. Then, so was the supernatural. Humans living with a paranormal reality made anything possible.
Right as Damon was about to answer, his watch alarm went off. He silenced it. "I've got to run, but it was nice meeting you, Serafina. I hope to bump into you again, and soon.” He touched her arm lightly in a goodbye gesture and once more flashed his award-winning smile.
By the time Serafina summoned the nerve to reply, "Me too," he was already gone.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Yes, since I was a kid! I was a shy kid and books were my whole world. I started very young, writing stories that were my own versions of stories by other authors I liked.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I’ve pretty much always thought of myself as a writer! I was always either scribbling fiction or working as a writer in my job.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Either four years or twenty. I first started writing with hopes of publishing when I was in my early twenties. But then I gave it up for a long time. I started again when my daughter was very young. The first full-length novel I wrote at that time was GHOST PLANET, and that was published by Tor Books in 2012.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I work as editorial director for SilkWords (where I’m also a partner). SilkWords is an interactive romance and erotica publisher. We publish branched fiction (Pick Your Path), and Reader Vote stories. If you’re curious, there’s a lot of free content up on our site: www.silkwords.com.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My tour book is RAVEN TAKES A PEARL, a steampunk BDSM novelette, second in my Fantasies in Color series. Twenty words was hard!
Steampunk lass leaves home for the first time to steal back her mother’s prize possession — finds herself instead.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
Both! I publish science fiction romance novels via Tor Books, and I indie publish my erotica novelettes.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
My first published novel took less than two months. (True story!) My second took a year and a half. (Alas, also a true story.) My erotica stories are novelette length and take a couple weeks to write the first draft.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
There are more Fantasies in Color stories coming! I also have a new Tor book out on Feb. 3 (ECHO 8, a paranormal, suspense, sci-fi mash-up with a love triangle). And I have an in-progress novelette on Wattpad — RED: LOVE IN THE TIME OF FLESH-EATERS (free read).
What genre would you place your books into?
Sci-Fi/Fantasy, though I do love mash-ups (see previous question!).
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I’ve always written speculative fiction, and probably always will. I really love worldbuilding, and steampunk has such compelling settings. RAVEN is sort of a dark sister to a sweet steampunk romance I wrote for SilkWords, A HEART FOR COPPER. They both are set in the same world, have a hero who’s an inventor, and have a heroine who experiences an awakening.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites. She’s smart and doesn’t take crap from anyone, not even the powerful and secretive Mr. Rochester. Ha, I just realized you said from one of MY books. But I think that would be like choosing a favorite child, so I’ll stick with this!
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
Since I was six! Books inspired me to write.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Post book contract, writing becomes as much profession as passion, and I’m pretty businesslike about it. In other words I work at my desk in silence most of the time. But it does get lonely, so sometimes I go to coffee shops just to be around other people. And I do sometimes listen to music when editing.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I’m on a self-imposed intervention with review reading. Up until recently I have read every word of every review. But occasionally there’s a really painful one and it’s impossible to scrub it out of your brain once you’ve read it. Nowadays if I see less than three stars, I don’t read it.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Almost without fail I choose a title first, and the rest of the story unpacks from that. But for RAVEN, I was well into writing the story before the title came.
How do you come up with characters names in your books?
Sometimes I name them after a literary character I love (like Elizabeth in GHOST PLANET). Sometimes the name is symbolic (like Pearl in RAVEN). Their name may have a meaning in another language (Asha and Pax in THE OPHELIA PROPHECY). And sometimes it’s just a name that seems like it suits them (Tess, Ross, and Jake in ECHO 8).
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I always have some sense of the character by the time I’m a few pages in, but it’s usually in the revision process where their characters really develop.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Not so much morals, but higher-concept stuff does seem to creep into my work. What it means to be human is a very common theme, explored through characters like Master Raven who are not fully human, and are often marginalized because of it.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I have a Kindle but still love paper. Trade paperback, I think. Nice big words, not too heavy.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I’m not very good at choosing favorites (more on that below!), but a few books I loved and read multiple times: A WRINKLE IN TIME (loved the close family bonds, and awkward Meg), WATERSHIP DOWN (amazing characters), and LORD OF THE RINGS (amazing characters and setting). These days I don’t ever seem to have time for re-reading.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Some do, yes. Readers have to adjust expectations when it comes to films — things that work in books don’t always work in movies. My current favorite is the TV adaptation of OUTLANDER. A friend and I did an eight-hour binge on that one! I love it because it’s got great writing and they made good actor choices. I think my least favorite adaptation was THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. I didn’t think the screenplay did the book justice.
Your favorite food is? Your favorite singer/group is? Your favorite color is? Your favorite Author is?
I suck at favorites! If I pick one, pretty soon I’m thinking about all the reasons I love a different one!
Kristina Rienzi was born and raised at the Jersey Shore where she still lives today. Her debut paranormal suspense novel, CHOOSING EVIL, is being published by Frost Books on November 25, 2014.
Professionally, Kristina has been active in the writing community as a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime-Central Jersey, Romance Writers of America and New Jersey Romance Writers, serving as Chair of the Literary Book Fair in 2013. Kristina has her Masters Degree in Psychological Counseling and her Senior Professional in Human Resources Certificate, working in both fields throughout her business career.
Personally, Kristina is married and a doggie mommy to Pekingese and Shih Tzu pups. Although a lover of New Jersey, she dreams of one day moving to Hawaii and living the “Aloha” way. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, watching paranormal investigations, rooting for her West Virginia Mountaineers or relaxing with her loved ones, wine in hand.
Kristina is currently working on BREAKING EVIL, the sequel to CHOOSING EVIL, as well as another paranormal suspense novel, UNLEASH THE WICKED, about an unsuspecting witch at the Jersey Shore.