"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Dark and Dangerous
Spotlight on Dark Paranormal Romance
Charlee is the author of over forty books, the first nine of which are the WindLegend Saga which began with THE WINDKEEPER. Married 40 years to her high school sweetheart, Tom, she is the mother of two grown sons, Pete and Mike, and the proud grandmother of Preston Alexander and Victoria Ashley. She is the willing houseslave to five demanding felines who are holding her hostage in her home and only allowing her to leave in order to purchase food for them. A native of Sarasota, Florida, she grew up in Colquitt and Albany, Georgia and now lives in the Midwest.
She won Inscription Magazine's 2000 Engraver Award for Favorite E-Author and The Writecharm's Simply Charming Award for promoting e- books and their authors worldwide. Her sci-fi/futuristic novel, BLOODWIND, stayed on Dark Star Publications bestseller list for over 18 months and has now been released in paperback. It was named as one of the Best Books of 1999 at eBook Connections as was her dark historical, IN THE WIND'S EYE. Her psychological thriller, IN THE HEART OF THE WIND, was nominated for a 2000 R.I.O Award and has been named as one of the Best Books of 2000 at Inscriptions and was awarded a Reviewer's Choice Award at Scribe's World. It also the 2004 Bloody Dagger Award for mystery/thrillers. BLACKWIND won the SF/Fantasy Top Choice at Preditors and Editors for 2002. IN THE HEART OF THE WIND won the 2002 Bloody Dagger Award in mystery/thriller and NIGHTWIND won the 2002 Bloody Dagger Award for horror. Both WINDREAPER and BLACKWIND won Awards for Excellence for 2002 from WordWeaving. BLACKWIND won the #2 Top Choice from readers at Amber Quill Press for 2003. BLOODWIND was one of the Top Five Bestsellers for 2003 at Hard Shell Word Factory and has been consistently in the top 25 of Fictionwise's list of dark fantasy bestselling novels along with DARKWIND and NIGHTWIND. PRINCE OF THE WIND was honored with the 2003 CAPA (cupid and Psyche Award) for Best Paranormal Romance. Both BLACKWIND AND BLOODWIND were in the Top Five Dark Fantasy Bestsellers for 2003 at Fictionwise. DARKWIND was honored with a Top Ten in SF/Fantasy at Preditors and Editors for 2003 and in 2004 won The Fallen Angel Reviews coveted Recommended Read. In 2004, her website was awarded An Author's Site of Excellence by Preditors & Editors. In 2005, her erotica novel, DESIRE'S SIROCCO, was chosen as the Best eBook Romance of 2004 by The Historical Romance Club. In 2006, her erotica novel PRISONER OF THE WIND was given a JERR Golden Award and a coveted Blue Ribbon Award for Romance Junkies.
PNR: Have you always known you wanted to be a writer; when did you begin writing?
Charlotte B.: When I was a little girl, my maternal grandfather and I would sit on the front porch swing listening to the cicadas and the crickets beyond the screen and make up stories together. He'd start one and I'd have to embellish and finish it. The bigger the yarn, the more complicated, he would either applaud or tell me to think a bit on it and tell it to him again some time. How was I to know he was editing me back then? J He was an Irishman who was an expert fiddler and sometimes, he'd play a song he'd written and then have me put a little story to it. We would spend so many hours spinning our tales and getting lost in then that when he died, a piece of my heart went with him. He understood me as no one else ever could because we were two peas in a lima bean pod. PaaPaa would call me his young seanchaí <pronounced shan nuh key>. A seanchaí is a person who is an expert storyteller, who can weave words like a pro, and the seanchaí should be able to do it in such a way, the listener is transported beyond the here and now to mystical, magical lands and really see the mysterious landscape in his mind's eye. It is an honorable talent, this 'Gift of the Gab', my PaaPaa would say, and when the gods grace you with the ability, you don't dare disappoint them by not giving the telling your best effort. You work at making yourself the best seanchaí you can and the gods will grant you an audience. Years later when I began writing in earnest, I would get inspiration from music just as I did when I was a little girl. One of my favorite pieces of music is Ashokan Farewell, the haunting violin music so beautiful and lilting I fashioned an entire novel from it. One day I'll find a publisher for that piece of post-Civil War storytelling. My PaaPaa would be proud though he died long before that particular piece of music was written.
PNR: Having written over forty books, you are very prolific; tell us about your writing schedule.
Charlotte B.: For Christmas two years ago, my husband bought a 12 x 24 wooden shed that was designed to my specifications and positioned right off our deck in the back yard. I wanted sliding glass doors on the south side to let in plenty of light. The sliding doors face ten acres of rolling Iowa farmland and it is so quiet and peaceful here on our little dead end street and the building is so soundproof, the bird dog next door can be barking like mad and I won't hear him. I must have complete silence.
When I get up. usually around 8 a.m. I go out to my office and take care of the business side of this profession—emails, interviews, webpage maintenance, etc—then I start in to work. I'll usually go back over what I'd written the day before and do a few revisions. I'll write until noon time and if my hubby is home, he'll take me out to lunch. When we get back, he goes to work and I go back to writing until 2 p.m. when I'll stop to watch General Hospital there in my office. Once that's over, I go directly back to work. Most of the daytime writing is the bones of the story because I do my best writing late at night when my family has gone to bed and there can't be any possible interruptions. Tom has learned not to intrude after 9 p.m. That's when the intense scenes like fights or sexual encounters are always written. I usually turn in about 11:30 but it's not unusual for me to get up at 3 or 4 a.m. and go out to flesh out something I've been contemplating or even start a novel. This is a seven day a week gig but there is plenty of time to take breaks and go shopping or to church or a trip over to Des Moines with Tom. Most of the time, I put in about five hours of steady writing, getting about 10-12 pages down each day.
PNR: Most writers are avid readers, is this true for you? With your demanding writing schedule do you even have time to read, if so, what titles would we see in your TBR pile?
Charlotte B.: I HAVE to read! The only time I get to do it is when I'm eating and no one else is around. I'll sit in the den with a novel and read while I eat and then put it away and go back to work. Every now and then I'll knock off around 4 p.m. and go lie on the sofa in the den and read a chapter or two. That is unusual for me, though. I always take a book with me when I'm out when Tom because he's been known to forget I'm out in the car while he's in with a client. That's okay. I get some quality reading done that way. A book or two always goes with me on vacation, too. There's nothing like lying beside a pool, soaking up rays, and reading.
There are several authors whose work I never miss: Dean Koontz, Brian Lumley, and John Saul for horror; David Wiltse, John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Stuart Woods, Robin Cook, Andrew Greeley, Mary Higgins Clark, and John Grisham for mysteries; Rosemary Rogers, Shirlee Busbee, Johanna Lindsey, and Jude Deveraux, for romance; Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon and her alter ego for paranormal romance; Paul Riser and Dave Barry for comedy. My tastes are eclectic and I'm beginning to branch out with a few new authors in between the releases of my must-buy favorites.
Right now I have the two J.R. Ward novels in my TBR pile and several anthologies I bought with Feehan and Kenyon in them. I'll be reading the other stories in those books in between the full-length novels.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Charlotte B.: You must be able to write convincing dialogue as well as fashion believable characters. I loathe reading a novel in which the characters are well-drawn and intriguing yet the dialogue is stilted, even amateurish. On the other hand, good dialogue being delivered by implausible characters is just as bad. You can lose a reader's interest if you fail in one of those two areas. Most importantly of all is the storyline. It takes a special ability to pull the three main ingredients of a story together to make it something the reader will enjoy and be unable to forget. You must have a good, strong plot, realistic characters - even if they come from the frigid climes of outer space - and dialogue that sounds like you're listening to real people speaking. Your readers have to believe in what you are writing and if you don't capture their interest in the first one hundred words of a tale, you aren't going to hold their interest for the rest of the novel. Having a great opening line should be right at the top of essential elements. A line like: Jonas Harvey was dead. He just didn't know it will grab the reader's attention quickly but you must have the ability to hold that attention if your novel is going to be a success.
PNR: Paranormal romance has recently become the “romance du jour.” What do you feel accounts for the genre’s recent recognition?
Charlotte B.: The women of my generation sharpened their reading intellect on the stories of writers like Rosemary Rogers, Valerie Sherwood, Fern Michaels, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Jennifer Blake and Roberta Gellis…whom I had the great honor of meeting in Chicago a few years back…and we swooned over those bodice ripper covers and stories. Forced seduction and the rape of the heroine by the hero was commonplace and we ate it up with a spoon. We didn't question the rightness or the wrongness of the swashbuckling, heavily-muscled, well-attributed male or the simpering, always-getting-her-shapely-rump-in-a-mess heroine. As the next generation 'more politically correct than us' started reading such stories, they condemned them for their lack of sensitivity and for not being PC. It became an unpardonable sin to be caught with a bodice ripper cover in your possession. God forbid you should enjoy the hero forcing the heroine into doing what she wanted to do anyway. Now this generation has been weaned on cable television where anything goes and they want romance novels with a twist but not with the bodice ripping fervor that began it all in the 70s. They want the politically correct thingie but with more realistic sex using realistic words. No purple prose wanted here, guys! This trend toward matter of fact writing but kicked up a notch is one of the reasons paranormal erotic romances have taken off so spectacularly and with the thrust…no pun intended… of publishers like Ellora's Cave, the writing is edgy, sexy, and more like real life than ever before. New York can say what it wants, claim what it will about starting the trend of publishing paranormal erotica, but Ellora's Cave was in the vanguard of the movement. Tina Engler started the game and now New York is playing catch-up.
PNR: For readers who are not familiar with your various 'Wind' series, could you give us an overview?
Charlotte B.: The main series is the WindLegends Saga which is sword & sorcery romance adventure set after the last world war when everything has been destroyed and once more the world is based on medieval themes. There are currently nine books in that series beginning with WINDKEEPER which we be re-released from New Concepts Publishing the first week in April this year with the remaining books coming out roughly every other month. There are two prequels to the WindLegends Saga series and they are WINDCHANCE AND WINDFALL available from Twilight Times Books and one stand alone novel that is tied in to the series called PRINCE OF THE WIND, coming soon from Cerridwen Press.
There are two SF/Futuristic series: DemonWind Trilogy which began with BLOODWIND and DARKWIND and is ending with EVILWIND. That book is currently being reviewed for publication by Hard Shell Word Factory. If I don't hear something soon, I may withdraw it and take it to another publisher since my readers have been clamoring for that story. The other series in that genre is the WindVerse series which began with a short story in the Fated Mates I anthology. It continues with PLEASURE'S FOEHN, ARDOR'S LEVECHE, PRISONERS OF THE WIND , and PHANTOM OF THE WIND….all from Ellora's Cave.
The WindWorld series is dark fantasy romance set on Earth after the final nuclear war when the world has reverted to medieval times. Those books are DESIRE'S SIROCCO, LONGING'S LEVANT, RAPTURE'S ETESIAN, LUCIEN'S KHAMSIN AND DESERT WINDS…also all from Ellora's Cave/Cerridwen Press.
In the Western Wind series, I write about my signature Reapers…shape shifting vampires…and these are paranormal westerns that take place after the last world war when the world has moved past reversion to medieval times into an Old West era. The first book in this series…WYNDRIVER SINNER…was released in February and the second…REAPER'S REVENGE… comes out in April. The third novel…PRIME REAPER…comes out in December. These are all Ellora's Cave releases.
I currently have two novels in the BlackWind Trilogy. Sean and Bronwyn came out last year from Cerridwen Press and Viraidan and Bronwyn came out in January, also from CP. The third book in that series is in the planning stages.
The ShadowWind Trilogy began with SHADOWLORD and it will be re-released from Cerridwen Press later this year.
I have a mystery/thriller trilogy called the WindTorn series which began with IN THE TEETH OF THE WIND and IN THE HEART OF THE WIND. These books are available in e-format and print from Hard Shell Word Factory. I am half-way finished with the third book, IN THE ARMS OF THE WIND.
As for stand alones: There are NIGHTWIND (horror romance: Hard Shell Word Factory), TAKEN BY THE WIND (erotica mystery/thriller: Cerridwen Press), HARDWIND and PASSION'S MISTRAL (erotic mystery/thrillers: Ellora's Cave, IN THE WIND'S EYE (dark historical romance: Cerridwen Press) and SHADES OF THE WIND (erotic paranormal: Ellora's Cave.
PNR: Your series encompass several paranormal sub-genres, which is your favorite to write, and why? Do you have a favorite series to write?
Charlotte B.: I prefer paranormal because I can create new worlds and fascinating creatures to populate that world. I can give my characters supernatural abilities and bend the laws of physics. I feel a bit like Mary Shelley must have felt when she wrote FRANKENSTEIN OR THE MORDERN PROMETHIUS. I am thoroughly enjoying writing the Western Wind series because they star my beloved Reaper characters. I love telling the tale of the Reapers. On my webpage, you can see a history of how they began, what makes them what they are, an entire lineage from the first Reaper "Viraidan Cree" to the next. I started out with seven Reapers in WYNDRIVER SINNER and wanted to write a book for each of them. I now have eight Reapers in that series and I've written the stories of three of them. I intend to do the other five over the next two years. I think I enjoy writing this series so much because I was a huge western movie fan growing up in the 50s and Lash LaRue was my hero. I borrowed a great deal from his characterizations for my whip-wielding heroes.
PNR: Your stories are dark and very sensual; do you find it challenging to write the love/sex scenes in your books?
Charlotte B.: The challenge lies in the creation of variety. There are myriad ways to make love but basically it comes down to the same two actions. In order to intrigue and titillate my readers - and I admit that is what I do in writing my erotica - I need to make the love scenes as memorable as the characters. Inserting part A into part B can get pretty monotonous and the readers will start yawning if you repeat the same actions over and over again without spicing it up. I liken it to leaving the seasonings out of your spaghetti sauce. Bland is bland and bland is unappetizing to most of us. In order to make the fare palatable, you need to surprise the reader with a hint of something that will make your reader…as Rachel Ray says of nutmeg on her 30 Minute Meal cooking show on the Food Network - go ummmm. Every love scene has to be different even when it is like a thousand other love scenes in terms of logistics and performance. Sometimes it takes a great deal of imagination and ingenuity on my part to take the love scene from ordinary to zinging. That's where the challenge lies.
PNR: Readers cannot get enough of the dark worlds you create but it is your characters that capture the imagination; can you tell us what inspires their development?
Charlotte B.: I LOVE tortured heroes and all my male heroes have something in their past that makes them loners yet makes them terribly vulnerable. Most women have that motherly instinct in them that draws them to want to kiss it and make it better for men they perceive to be hurt and sad. Women who have given birth to little boys will see the child in the man and will reach out to that child. To comfort the hero, to keep the world from trying to break him, to lift him up out of the gutter of his soul's despair is something most females can relate to. Men may be the guardians in life but it is the women who are the true protectors. Given the same opportunity to run to mommy or daddy when he's hurt, the little boy will almost always choose the mommy for it is in her arms he feels the safest. In her nurturing and soothing way, she holds the key to peace and happiness. The same holds true of a tortured hero in one of my novels. He might believe himself to be invulnerable, invincible but the heroine knows differently. He is need of protection and she will provide what he needs but in a way he will believe he is in charge. Sometimes what a man doesn't know won't hurt him.
When I create a woman, I want her strong but vulnerable. I want her loving and willing to do what it takes to win her man over. She must have a good head on her shoulder and possess a terrific sense of humor in order to handle her recalcitrant, arrogant lover. She's not going to get her ass into trouble simply to have the hero extract her from it. She's not going to go out after dark alone knowing a homicidal maniac is lurking behind the door with an ax. She has a level head but she also has a sweet, soft side that isn't averse to kicking butt if she needs to. You won't find any simpering, whimpering, foot-stomping, and pouting, Scarlet O'Hara's in any of my novels unless they are there for comic relief.
PNR: It seems everyone has there own definition of “Dark Romance,” how would you define this sub-genre?
Charlotte B.: To me, not being OBLIGATED to provide your story with a Happy Ever After ending while at the same time breaking steadfast Romance Writers of America rules when it comes to the creation of a love story is what makes Dark Romance what it is. Don't you DARE give me an HEA in which the hero rides off into the perfect 75 degree windless heat of a glorious sunset on a pristine white horse that never expels gas or drops offerings to the ground, where the heroine's low décolletage covers her lush breasts at all times while slipping seductively from her creamy shoulder, and her big hair never falls into her face but rather cascades silkily down her trim back, where her velvet gown gives us just a 'hint' of her ankle, where the hero never belches or scratches at his crotch or has a booger dangling from his nostri - you know: Just like real life.
Ask most writers of dark romance and they will tell you their stories are not cookie cutter images of what has been written in the past. The characters are flawed and the storyline is intense but geared to more sexiness. It may or may not have an HEA and isn't required to. That is what most of us who write in this genre define dark romance to be.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months? Do you have any additional series in the works? Single titles?
Charlotte B.: Currently I just finished TEARS OF THE REAPER, the fourth novel in the Western Wind series. I am also working on three other novels at the same time: HEADWIND, TO THE WIND, A DAUGHTER, and WINDSTONES. I finished the first round of edits on CEMETERY WIND, HUNGER'S HARMATTAN, and THE WYNDMASTER'S LADY and will start turning those in later this summer. As I mentioned before the WindLegends Saga series will be released every other month and at the equinox and solstices I have four carnally erotic short stories coming out from New Concepts Publishing. The first of those "SPRING WIND' came out on St. Patrick's Day. Coming up this year from Cerridwen Press is TAKEN BY THE WIND, SHADOWLORD, DESERT WINDS, and PRINCE OF THE WIND. Ellora's Cave will be releasing PHANTOM OF THE WIND, SHADES OF THE WIND, REAPER'S REVENGE, PRIME REAPER, DREAMS OF THE OASIS IV, and HARDWIND between now and the end of December. Hopefully, Hard Shell Word Factory will contract EVILWIND. If not, I'll be looking for a new publisher for the three books in that trilogy.
I will be starting a new series that will hopefully be going to Cerridwen Press next year. The series is called WindSeer and will be 'of course' dark fantasy romance with the creation of a new type of being.
PNR: Thanks Charlee, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what's new and how can they contact you?
REAPER'S REVENGE - There's unfinished business in Haines City...
Cynyr Cree and his wife Aingeal have returned to the western town to protect its citizens from two men the Reaper thought he'd killed. With Cree have come the other six Reapers of his team, sent there by the Shadowlords to help stamp out an impending threat to all mankind lurking in the mountains of the high desert.
Otaktay, the Jakotai brave who once owned Aingeal, has sworn to take her back from Cree and to slay the Reaper before her eyes. Teaming up with Silas Gibbs, another Rogue, the Jakotai will let nothing stand in his way of retrieving the woman he believes belongs to him even if it means becoming a Rogue, himself.
From the blackness of space, the Triune Goddess Morrigunia keeps a close eye on Her beloved Reapers. When She senses death and danger stalking one of Her own in the form of the Ceannus—the immoral network of scientists who had brought the Rogues to Terran shores to destroy humankind— She returns to Terra with vengeance in Her eye and annihilation in Her black heart.
Take another exciting journey to the future with Cynyr and Aingeal.
WYNDRIVER SINNER - In the year 3478 Reaper Cynyr Cree has been sent to the western territories by the High Council as their executioner in taking out rogues. He's hot, tired, dusty and not in the best of moods when he happens upon a young woman in the process of being attacked. Dispatching the assailant with a careless flick of his laser whip, Cynyr doesn't give the woman a second thought until she follows him to his camp in search of food and protection.
Sold by her ex-husband for a brace of horses, Aingeal has known the hardships of being the property of a Jakotai brave intent on keeping her at all costs and she has run away. Being rescued by an infamous Reaper seems the only way she can escape her captivity and she's willing to do what it takes to stay with Cree.
Taking lives comes easy to Cynyr. Living one is another matter. Always keeping his distance from others, he is stunned to realize he doesn't want to let Aingeal leave him.
When a man named Cynyr decides to make a woman named Aingeal his own, no man will ever take her from him.
BLACK WIND - A Chilling Love Triangle:
Book two in a two-book saga.
Bronwyn McGregor has known the depths of heartache. Having lost the man she's loved since childhood and the child their great love created, she has thrown herself into her work as a psychologist, determined to help those who cannot help themselves. The last thing on her mind is finding romance among the criminally insane at Baybridge Sanitarium.
From a seething cauldron of evil, Viraidan Cree was created in the frigid winds of space. Dredged up from a teeming bog in the wilds of Ireland where he has spent centuries of unlife, he is a Reaper, a warrior among warriors, a being so lethal, so dangerous he cannot be controlled. Yet lurking within the re-born warrior is the spirit of a dead man whose love has survived against all odds. Given the job to secure the safety of those who work at Baybridge, Cree takes one look at Bronwyn and vows to make her his own.
But the NightWind Danyon Hart is listening to the Reaper's deep desires. He too has his sights set on Bronwyn and will allow no one to get in his way...especially not a Reaper! Note: We recommend reading BlackWind: Sean and Bronwyn before reading BlackWind: Viraiden and Bronwyn. Not for the faint of heart.
PRISONERS OF THE WIND - Marin Deringnoe and her friends from the exclusive boarding school they attended were in deep trouble. Protesting the policy of no women in government, they had egged the chief tribunalist's runabout and earned for themselves a lengthy stay at the Fiáin women's prison where they would perform their community service.
Taegin Drae, the captain of the prison transport ship, frightened the virginal Marin more than the strange dreams she'd been having of a tall, dark and lusty lover. He was the most intimidating male she had ever seen and one look from his golden eyes made her knees weak. But was it from fright or a building passion that seemed to come over her each time the handsome shape-shifter was near?
In the vastness of space beyond her ruthless mother's reach of power, Marin would become a woman in the arms of her mother's worst enemy.
BLACK WIND: SEAN & BRONWYN - Book one in a two-book saga.
Sean and Bronwyn have loved one another since grammar school. Believing Sean isn't good enough for their child, Bronwyn's parents will do everything in their power to keep them apart, including spiriting Bronwyn off to a secluded convent in Ireland.
But Sean isn't entirely human. Born of an Earthly mother and implanted with an alien parasite that makes it possible for him to shape-shift into a wolf-like creature, the young man is far more than Bronwyn's parents counted on. Determined to be reunited with the woman he loves, Sean will do what is necessary to have her in his arms once again.
From the mists of time and space, another creature lies in wait, eager to steal Bronwyn from Sean. Danyon Hart is a NightWind, an immortal created to aid women in their times of despair. He has heard Bronwyn's lonely cries and has come from the far reaches of the megaverse to claim her.
Fighting to get back to one another, the lovers must strive against a brutal evil that is dogging their every footstep.
Featured in this Issue:
Additional Titles by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
Evilwind (coming 2006)
|Desert Wind (coming July 2006)|
|Fated Mates I: Secrets of the Wind Phantom of the Wind (Coming August 2006)|
|Prime Reaper (Coming December 2006) Tears of the Reaper (Coming 2007)|
|Viraidan and the Goddess (Coming 2007)|
|In the Arms of the Wind (coming 2007)|
|Shadowlord (Coming October 2006)|
|TROPICAL WIND SERIES|
|Taken By the Wind (Coming May 2006) Shades of the Wind (Coming 2006) Journey of the Wind (Coming 2007)|
|THE ANTHOLOGIES and SHORT STORIES|
WYNDWIELDER SERIES (coming in 2007)
THE WYNDMASTER'S LADY HUNGAR'S HARMATTAN WINDSWEPT THE WINDSTONES CEMETERY WIND WYNDWIELDER: THAISON CRAVING'S CHINOOK THE SEASONAL WINDS ANTHOLOGY
SHARDS (Memories in the Wind)
MILLENIAL MILESTONES (The Winds of Change)
DREAMS OF THE OASIS IV (The Sting of the Wind) Coming in Dec. 2006 from Ellora's Cave
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