Wednesday, November 13, 2013

J.D. Brown, Dark Liaison (An Ema Marx Novel 2)

AUTHOR: J.D. Brown
BOOK TITLE: Dark Liaison (An Ema Marx Novel 2)
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing

1. Please tell us about yourself. 
Hi, I’m J.D. Brown, author of the Ema Marx series. I’m 28, live in southern Wisconsin, and am an avid coffee drinker, book reader, shoe addict, and dog cuddler. But more so, I’m a big vampire nerd. I love mythology and history and thinking of new ways to spin paranormal characters while still keeping them grounded in their origins. That, along with a dash of humor and a sprinkle of romance, is my foundation for writing.

2. What inspired you to write your first book? 
Dark Heirloom, the first book in the series, was inspired by a cornucopia of things that finally came together the right way in a specific moment in my life and was my first triumphant work of fiction. But in a nut-shell, Dark Heirloom is the result of my wishing for a book with only vampire characters in it. In most vampire novels, the protagonist is a human female whose story ends shortly after she is bitten and turned. I wanted to know what the heck happened after that. She’s finally a vampire, now what? How on Earth is that her happy ending? When I couldn’t find such a book that satisfied my curiosity, I decided to write my own.

3. What are your thoughts about promotion? 
I love promoting my work. Why wouldn’t I? It’s hard to write a novel—let alone one someone else thinks is worth publishing! I’m very proud of myself and so incredibly grateful to get to do this full-time. Of course I want to spread the word. I think authors who dread promotion are making it harder than it needs to be.

4. What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel? 
I do read all the reviews my books get—or at least all the ones I can find online. I don’t take them too seriously because I would have ulcers in my stomach if I freaked out every time someone said something negative, but I do pay attention and try to learn from them—as well as anything my fans say to me directly—but the series is all on Ema and my characters. They are the ones driving the plot, not me.

5. Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it? 
I think writing has taught me a lot about what I want in a career and in life; what things I’m okay with sacrificing (money, time) and what things I’m not (family, this crazy career) and what things I need to learn to work on (relationships). There is no right or wrong way to be an author or write a book. There is no manager or boss on the other end with a list of rules or a time-punch card. It’s a huge learning curve and those who really want it bad enough I think learn to fight the hardest.

6. What are your current projects? 
I’m currently working on the third book in the Ema Marx series, title Dark Becoming, which is due in 2014. I’m about half-way finished and I know exactly how it’s going to end. I’m very excited to share it, but dang it, I need to finish it first! I’m also producing a monthly web series in conjunction with everything. The web series is a prequel to the Ema Marx books and is free to read on my website. It’s called Athena’s Oracle.

7. What do you plan for the future? 
I find this is a never-ending question as projects grow in ways I could never have predicted. I’m already plotting a fourth Ema Marx book titled Dark Ascension. I’ve also started a young adult paranormal romance, but at this current point in time who knows when I’ll finish it. My vampires are hogging all the fun. ;-) 

8. How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.? 
The best way to contact me and keep up to date with all my happenings is through my Facebook page. I also do the Twitter (@AuthorJDBrown) thing on occasion. My website is chalk full of free sample chapters and extras, plus my free web series, Athena’s Oracle.


1. What genre do you write in and why? 
Urban Fantasy. I adore darker characters; heroes who could just as easily be villains and villains who were once tortured heroes. I love blurring the lines. I also love the mystery and magic that surrounds creatures of the night. Werewolves, vampires, shifters, incubi, demons, Gypsies—they all come alive in the Ema Marx series.

2. Tell us about the current book you’re promoting. 
Dark Liaison is the second book in the series. After being manipulated into releasing an ancient evil in the first book, the heroine, Ema Marx, is on the run. She, along with the hero, Jesu, find themselves hiding in Berlin. While plotting their next move, they also battle with their feelings for one-another. But the evil that wants to end Ema is also plotting and he has no problem striking first.

3. Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why? 
Dark Liaison introduces a handful of new characters that weren’t in the first book, so I’ll try to keep this simple. Love—Jesu. His love for Ema is so genuine. Hate—Bridget does a good job of getting on my nerves. Fear—The zombies are pretty gruesome. Pity—Ema. She isn’t getting a break any time soon.

4. Which characters were the hardest to develop and why? 
Bridget is a new character and Jesu’s old flame. While I kind of love her and weep over what she’s been though (which the reader won’t learn about until later), it was still hard for me to think of Jesu with anyone else other than Ema. But he has loved in the past and that past comes back to make his present a little cloudier.

5. Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind? 
I did extensive research of Germany, specifically Berlin and the surrounding area. I also had to brush up on my werewolf lore. ;-)

6. Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you?  Why or why not? 
No, it doesn’t bother me. Violence and sex are a part of life and would naturally be a part of my characters’ lives. That being said, I think the sex and violence in Ema’s story is pretty mild.


1. What do you do when you’re not writing? 
Facebook and Candy Crush Saga take up a good chunk of my time. It’s sad, I know! When I’m not doing that, I’m either reading or marketing or at Starbucks ordering coffee.

2. What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun? 
Well, aside from genre, I look for characters that make me laugh. I love laughing and if an author makes me literally laugh out loud, I’m pretty much sold.

3. What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel? 
I can’t stand too many different point-of-view characters. Knowing every character’s motive and backstory kills all the mystery and suspense for me. It’s why I prefer books written in first person.

4. What book are you currently reading? What do you like or not like about it? 
I’m currently reading Heartless by Gail Carriger. I love the main character, Alexia, because her 1800s socialite wit and sarcasm make me laugh. Plus she’s not afraid to challenge werewolves or vampires. She’s kind of a badass in bustle. What I don’t always like is the author’s narrative style, but in a way it goes with the period, so it’s not so bad.

Excerpt from Dark Liaison Chapter Two:

A single glance through the window proved the pool room was empty but the door was unlocked and we let ourselves in. Like the rest of the hotel, only a few soft tea lights embedded in the high ceiling lit the dim room with a hazy glow. The large pool sat nestled in the center with a low diving board over the far end. The crystalline liquid sloshed lazily against the edges. Gold ribbons of light reflected off the water’s surface and glittered elegantly across the blue walls, flowing as the tiny waves rose and fell like a living pulse.
Jesu’s movement broke my trance as he went to one of the plastic lounge chairs and set his towel on it. Then he crossed his arms over his chest and pulled his shirt over his head. My breath hitched at the sight of his lean back muscles flexing, pulling his pale blue skin taut over his spine, curving down into the mounds hidden under his shorts. I glanced away and mentally checked myself. I was certain the bloodlust was gone by now, the chlorine having burned through the last of it.
I watched from the corner of my vision as he walked to the pool’s edge and then stepped one foot onto the water’s surface. The lapping waves froze solid under his bare touch. He continued to walk out to the center of the pool, his frozen steps instantly melting behind him. I scoffed and placed my hands on my hips. “Don’t tell me you’re not going to get in the water.”
He faced me and grinned. “I will eventually. Join me.”
Heat rose to my cheeks and I glanced at the floor. I still didn’t want to be seen in the bikini, but that’s stupid, right? Jesu’s seen me in my underwear a few times and it was quite possible he’d seen me naked too even though he’d sworn he hadn’t. I inhaled a deep breath and then slid the skirt down my hips and pulled off the tank top. My feet crept to the edge of the pool and then stopped. A sly smile twisted my lips as I floated over the water’s surface and joined Jesu in the middle.
He chuckled. “I did not think you would do it.”
“You’re not the only one with tricks,” I teased.
His sideways smile looked bashful as he glanced at my hands and then wrapped his fingers around mine. Before I could ask, he lifted my hands and then draped them against his shoulders. His palms came to rest on my waist and then he pulled me gently to the right in a small circle.
I laughed. “We’re dancing?”
His grin dimpled his cheek. “Yes.”
“There’s no music.”
I couldn’t argue. Nor did I want to. We twirled across the water’s surface, his feet making soft pitter-patters as mine hovered just above. The ribbons of golden light shimmered across the planes of Jesu’s chest, wrapped around his biceps, and sparkled in his deep green eyes. His muscles flexed under my palms as he led me toward the end of the pool near the diving board and then around to the other end.
It was easy to let my troubles melt away in this fantasy room, surrounded by liquid blue darkness and glittering gold, dancing over water as if in a dream. A serene fog numbed my mind and I rested my head against Jesu’s chest, facing his neck so I could inhale the sweetened scent of him instead of the chlorine.
His hands adjusted to the increased closeness of our bodies by sliding a little tighter around my waist. As if by reflex, my own hands gripped his shoulders a little harder. His even breath and rhythmic pulse played against my ear and I could swear it thumped at the exact same time as the water sloshed at my toes. Even my heart seemed to adjust to the calming vibrations of the room. It’s like we’re one.
“Ema?” Jesu’s voice gravely carried a trace of hesitation. “Are you still under the effects of the blood?”
I blinked, taken aback by his question, and considered it, but I wasn’t fidgety or wanting to kill anyone. “No…why?”
“No reason.”
We continued to dance, but I couldn’t focus. Why would he ask about the bloodlust? Did I do something wrong? I mentally ran through all the movements I’d made. Maybe he was timing me to see how long the effects lasted. Maybe he was taking notes for training purposes.  It wasn’t until I lifted my head to glance at him that I realized we’d stopped dancing a moment ago. We stood over the center of the pool, exactly where we began, holding each other.
His gaze locked on mine. I opened my mouth to ask what we were doing, but my breath caught as his hand came to rest on my cheek. He wet his lips and leaned forward until his nose brushed against mine. His mouth hesitated just over my lips, our breath pooling together. My muscles tensed as realization struck. Suddenly, every bone in my body felt like lead and I dropped like an anvil into the water.

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