Welcome to my stop on THE QUEEN OF SWORDS by Nina Mason Blog Tour. I’m so excited to be a part of this debut author’s blog tour featuring this amazing paranormal. I hope you’ll stick around after an excerpt and my review for a quick Q & A with Nina followed up by a tour wide giveaway!
***eARC provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review
Blurb for THE QUEEN OF SWORDS:
When Graham Logan, a Scottish earl turned vampire by a dark wizard’s curse, draws the Queen of Swords, he knows he’s about to meet the love of his life. For the third time. But surrendering his heart will mean risking her life…or making her what he is. Neither of which his morals will permit him to do. Graham, who believes he lost his soul to the curse, rages at God: Why give her back only to take her again?
Cat Fingal, the third incarnation of Graham’s twin flame, won’t let him escape so easily. As soon as they meet, she feels she knows him and begins having past-life flashbacks. A white witch, she casts a spell to summon him, wanting answers and to fill the void she’s felt all her life.
Graham has other problems, too. Like the seductress who wants him for herself and the dark wizard who cursed him and killed his beloved the first two times.
Will he find a way to save her this time around? Or will she save him?
* * * * *
Biting his lip, Graham turned the card of the here and now quickly. Seeing what he’d most feared tightened his chest. The central figure sat in profile upon a throne carved with angels and butterflies. She wore a white gown and a cloak decorated with clouds. More clouds gathered in the background, suggesting a storm was coming. The woman’s left hand reached out toward someone or something unseen in the distance. Her other hand gripped the up-thrust symbol of her suit.
The Queen of Swords.
He’d drawn the card only once before: the morning he’d met Catharine La Croix at a sidewalk cafe overlooking the Seine. To say her resemblance to Caitriona discomposed him was an understatement. He’d been floored by the likeness. He’d also been drawn to it like a sailor to a siren’s song.
Unfortunately, he’d had no ship’s mast to rope himself to until the danger passed. Within a few weeks, they were deeply in love. He never suspected she might meet the same fate as her previous incarnation. Not until it was too late, anyway.
He’d done his best to protect her. After seeing Gerard Fitzgerald, the dark wizard who’d cursed him, on the street outside her apartment on Rue de Cherche Midi, he’d kept a watchful eye on her. Being as stubborn as before, she didn’t care for his vigil. One morning, she slipped out after he’d fallen asleep. He’d searched for her everywhere, out of his mind with worry. He’d had her blood, should have felt her, but he didn’t. That evening, he learned why.
Fitzgerald had done it. Of that, he was certain. He just didn’t know why. Now, it looked as if history was about to repeat. And what could he do about it except tear out his hair, beat his fists on the walls, and cry to heaven, “Why? Why give her back to me only to take her again?”
Grief closed around his throat like a strangler’s hands. Coughing to ease its grip, he overturned the card of his future. Surprise stung his heart when he saw The Fool. Squinting, he studied the image of a gaily-dressed youth whose open arms seemed to embrace the world. His right hand held a knapsack, his left, a single white rose. Nipping at his heels was a wee white dog. The Fool, fearing nothing, looked skyward with a dreamy expression as he strode toward the edge of a cliff.
Bewildered, he shook his head. What could it mean? The Fool stood on the threshold. He was the protagonist of the tarot, the archetypal hero embarking on his quest, the soul starting its journey toward atonement. The Fool, in other words, was the polar opposite of the hopeless, faithless tightrope walker Fitzgerald’s dark curse had turned him into over the past one hundred years.
* * * * *
A story of curses, reincarnation, love lost, love regained, and carried by the fear of losing it all over again unless an evil wizard bent on capturing the soul of Graham Logan can be destroyed. Graham easily recognizes Cat Fingal as his twin flame, his soul mate, and his lost love who has come to him a third time. As much as he wishes another chance with her, he knows the only way to keep her safe is to stay away from her. Easier said than done when she’s a witch, and she conjures him into her presence and holds him captive under a spell for a weekend.
THE QUEEN OF SWORDS by Nina Mason is an excellent debut novel for this talented author. Caught up in the story immediately, it swept me away through images created in my mind as we learned the history of this boldly modern highlander who still carries himself like the lord that he is from a time long past. Through flashbacks of both Graham and Cat, we learned their history as lovers, how they were lost to each other twice before and the reasons for Graham’s hesitation when he first encounters Cat. Nina mingles knowledge of tarot cards as well as spells to keep the story moving forward while these star-crossed lovers’ attempt to stop Fitzgerald and break the curse that has a deep hold on Graham. The only time that I felt the story lagged was the two weeks journeying the Scottish countryside – it was interesting and a great way for Nina to boast her knowledge of Scottish history but I felt it took away from the excitement of their putting their plan against Fitzgerald into place.
I highly recommend reading THE QUEEN OF SWORDS by Nina Mason to anyone who loves a highlander story and the excitement of a paranormal. The love story is grand, the spells fascinating, and the happily-ever-after sweet.
Now, please help me welcome Nina Mason to Unwrapping Romance as we learn a little bit more about her world …
Amy: Nina, perhaps you'd like to tell us a little bit about yourself for those who don't know you yet.
Nina: This one’s always tough. One can so easily tell too little or too much. I’m an avid reader of fiction who turned her hand to writing it seriously six or seven years ago. Ever since, I’ve been trying to learn how to do this well and not let rejection sandbag me while eking out a living. On a more biographical note, I’ve always been creative, had a love of the written word, and have worked in communications and journalism most of my life. I was born and raised in Southern California, lived briefly in Southern Oregon, and now live in Georgia with my husband, teenage daughter, two rescue cats who enjoy shredding my furniture, and an adorable Westie named Robert.
Amy: THE QUEEN OF SWORDS is your first novel. It’s unique and exciting. What was your inspiration for it and your characters?
Nina: As far as I can recall (hey, it was years and several rewrites ago), I sat down to write a book about a human girl and a vampire who thought about more than getting into each other’s pants. Things evolved. The characters changed many times over. Well, hers did. He stayed pretty much the same from day one, except for his name. He started out as Robert then he was Cam, and finally Graham. She was Kat, then a thousand other names I can’t remember, and finally came back to Cat. The tarot cards were there from the get-go. I read tarot cards and wanted to include some sort of premonition for him that his twice-lost love would return a third time. Originally, the book had a lot about vampire literature. When we meet Cat, she’s working on her doctoral dissertation on the subject. This stemmed from my frustration with posts on the internet dissing Twilight by people who clearly understood nothing about the genre. I decided to write a vampire novel with characters who discussed vampire literature. At a deeper level, it’s also the new archetype of sexy bad-boy battling the old archetype of villainous seducer and murderer. On the surface, it’s a sexy paranormal romance, but it has layers for those who want to look for them.
Amy: Indeed, the layers are there – hints of homosexuality as well as BDSM. Is this type of romance where you see yourself staying with your writing, or do you see the possibility of dipping your pen into other romantic genre directions?
Nina: I like incorporating mythology, especially Celtic mythology, into my romance novels so I plan to stick with that element for a little while. My next book (The Knight of Wands) is the first in what will be a four-part series. It also features divination—astrology, mostly, but also tarot cards and runes. The hero was court astrologer to King James IV in Scotland and is now a political astrologer. The heroine is an English socialite who writes the horoscopes for underground newspapers in London. They’re opposites. He’s a fiery Leo and she’s a freedom-loving Aquarian (lion and butterfly). He’s also a type of faery vampire. The mythology is different than in The Queen of Swords, but not incompatible. After I finish book two in that series, I hope to get back to a book I started a couple of years ago about a merman who gets caught in an oil spill in the Hebrides. The heroine is the spokeswoman for the oil company. I also have a thriller coming out in August from CHBB, a sister imprint of Vamptasy, the publisher of The Queen of Swords. The thriller has no paranormal elements or divination, but does have a Scottish hero. So, at this point in my career as an author, that’s the unifying thread of my oeuvre. And the fact that my heroes all have internal demons to overcome (as one of my beta readers astutely pointed out to me). If I tried my hand at another genre, it would be Scottish historicals. I love them, but don’t know the genre well enough yet to come up with something fresh and new.
Amy: Sounds like some exciting reads coming. I’m especially intrigued by the one with a merman. I know you're a reader as well as writer. My readers like to know what authors have influenced your writing, so which authors have inspired yours?
Nina: I only wish I could write half as well as some of them. Diana Gabaldon, Anne Rice, Jane Austen, Wallace Stegner, Barbara Kingsolver, and Stephen King. So many authors have inspired me, it’s hard to name just a few.
Amy: That’s certainly a very good list with which to start. My last question for you and my personal favorite: if you could be ANY character in ANY book, who would it be and why?
Nina: Wow… That’s a tough one. I wouldn’t want to be in Diana Gabaldon’s books as wonderful as they are because she’s pretty vicious when it comes to her characters. Anne Rice’s also suffer (did you see she’s going to finally release another in the Vampire Chronicles series?—so excited about that one). How about Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice? I wouldn’t mind sleeping with Mr. Darcy and living at Pemberley would suit me fine. And from the wrap-up, it sounded as if her mother didn’t visit very often, so, yeah. Let me be Lizzy in P&P.
Amy: Love your reasoning and no, I didn’t know there was a new Anne Rice vampire coming, thanks for that info. Nina, thank you so very much for joining us today, and for sharing THE QUEEN OF SWORDS with us. Congratulations on your debut and I'm sure my readers are as excited as I am to read more from you.
My dears, Nina is offering a tour wide giveaway of 3 digital copies of THE QUEEN OF SWORDS. A Free Copy to 3 lucky people, folks, this one is definitely worth the cost of admission so don't pass up a chance to get a free copy.
Nina: Here’s my question:
Which literary vampire famously said, “Evil is a point of view”? Hint: He’s about to make a comeback.
Amy: Thank you, Nina, for that great question – if you’d like to enter the Giveaway, please use the rafflecopter and when it’s time to enter by leaving a comment, I hope you’ll give Nina’s query a shot but if not, I’m sure she’d love to hear from you with questions or comments. Good Luck and as always …
Happy Reading Everyone!
THE QUEEN OF SWORDS by Nina Mason, Vamptasy Publishing, available now in ebook format at Amazon.
***click on links or cover below for purchasing information