A Bloody Good Cruise by @DianaLRubino a #fallingintolove read

Diana Rubino is here to tell us about her latest release, A Bloody Good Cruise, a Falling Into Love read, including an interview with her heroine, Mona Rossi.

falling into love buttonThank you for hosting me today, Linda. A Bloody Good Cruise is a fun-filled blend of the vampire world and luxury cruises, starring romance author Mona Rossi and Fausto Silvius, a full-blooded vampire. The popularity of cruises and vampires make it a unique blend, but a very fun setting.

My stories are romances set against a backdrop of political upheaval, court intrigue, poverty general drama of the surroundings, and at times a splash of the paranormal. What I’m trying to get across in my stories is that love can prevail no matter what the conflicts and obstacles, earthly or not.

Coffeetime Romance says in its review, “A Bloody Good Cruise is a high seas adventure with twists and turns around every corner. The lively cast spins non-stop excitement with thrills and enough snags to keep the pages turning.”

I wanted to combine Italian vampires, comedy and cruising in one package, so I hopped on my imaginary ship The Romanza to get my characters in all kinds of trouble. I envisioned the hero, Fausto, as actor Vincent Irizarry (Dr. Hayward on All My Children). That made my job so much easier. He is THE perfect vampire. Italian vampires and hunters (the Vampire Ball Busters) leave the field wide open for comic relief, and I had plenty of chances in this story. Since I’m hooked on cruising and I’m Italian, I didn’t need to do that much research. The name Fausto came from an Italian woman I met in the 1980s, Fausta. I knew I had to use some version of that name in one of my books.

My husband and I are hooked on cruising, and my very first cruise was on the Eastern Mediterranean, beginning in Rome and ending in Istanbul. The ports of call included Rhodes, Cyprus, Santorini, and Egypt. Because I love Italy and cruising, I wanted to combine those passions with a humorous story about vampires and how they face prejudice in the human world.

I met an Italian woman named Fausta in 1983 and always loved that name–I always planned to use that name in one of my books someday. I finally got the chance with the hero Fausto, close enough!


Mona forced a dose of cheer through her jangly nerves. Vampire hunters wouldn’t have the balls to attack Fausto and his friends on this ship. Security was tight. “Well, you’re here, so does that mean you’ve been going out, and aren’t confined to your house any more?”

Fausto shrugged. “Almost. I couldn’t wallow in self-pity forever. And I knew seeing you would make it worthwhile.”

She smiled and gave him a genuine Italian cheek pinch. “I’ll cheer you up, faccia bella, you can count on that. You must feel safe.” She gestured at the tacky duds. “I mean, relatively speaking.”

“Don’t let this scare you, but –” He glanced around over the rims of his shades. Uh-oh. Whenever he said “don’t let this scare you,” it scared her. “I got an ominous message at the doctor’s office earlier.”

“What—” She swallowed a lump. “What kind of ominous message?”

He looked away, shaking his head. “Nothing to get alarmed about. The hunters just want me to know they’re here. After the initial jolt wore off, I said, ‘okay, I’m being stalked again.’ But I’m used to it. It doesn’t make me constantly look over my shoulder like in the old days. My family’s murder gave me a reality check. If they want me, they’ll get me. I can’t let it interfere with my work, or what little leisure time I have here. And you shouldn’t either.” He gazed at her adoringly and cupped her cheek. His hand was surprisingly warm. “But you’re still scared. All the blood’s drained out of your face, and not in a good way.”

An Interview with Mona Rossi, heroine of A Bloody Good Cruise:

DR: Readers love to know about their favorite heroines, and this is your chance to make them feel close to you. If you have 2 hours free time tonight, what would you rather do? Why?

Soak in my hot tub overlooking the Tuscany Hills with a chilled glass of Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Riserva from right there in Tuscany. Fausto bought me a case of this for our one-year anniversary. It’s a deep ruby red with intense aromas of notes of leather and cherry. Upon sipping, you get an astringent taste.

At $389 a bottle, I splurge when I sell a book—then I buy another bottle when the book sales hit the 1,000 copy mark.

But when I can’t be so decadent I drink Beaujolais Nouveau, produced in the Beaujolais region of France. (sorry, Fausto, it’s not
Italian.) It comes out once a year, and goes on sale the third Thursday of November. If you don’t get to a store in time, you can miss out. It sells out fast. Distributors deliver it to stores at 12:01 a.m. local time. I’ve seen people in line waiting for it. I’d do that for a Springsteen concert, but not for a bottle of wine!

Yes, I’m a Springsteen fan, and that’s something else I’d do with two free hours—go to one of his shows or blast his CDs and dance like crazy. But along with the wine, I’d have Sinatra or Dean Martin playing in the background, with a vanilla candle. And if I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll bring three white chocolate truffles, and eat them fast so they don’t melt.

DR: What kind of books do you love to read? Why?

The same kind of romances I write—suspense, where the heroine gets into one mess after another. I read out loud, it improves my diction for when I speak at writers’ conferences. I also like to browse cookbooks. I take a snapshot of the recipe in my head, then go and improvise.

My favorite author is Linda Howard. She writes such pulse-pounding suspense. And I know this sounds hokey, but when I met Fausto, I began reading Anne Rice. Fausto and his family aren’t the same kinds of vampires she writes about, but it gave me some perspective. To me, the original book Dracula, by Bram Stoker, was scary as hell. But I do consider it one of my favorite books because it was so innovative. I never believed in vampires before that book, and look where I am now!

I like to go to Goodreads to seek out new titles. I don’t read the reader reviews, though. Too many of them have misled me. I just read the book summary and make up my own mind.

DR: What is your stress buster?

A Pilates class or watching my favorite shows while working out on the elliptical trainer—I watch comedy working out, certainly not the news—I want to bust stress, not increase it. I have DVDs of some classic sitcoms: I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, All in the Family, Seinfeld—and some live standup: Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, Richard Pryor, the pioneers, the greats. No comedians working the clubs today come close to those legends.

Moving for an hour to comedy—or music—is the best way to relieve stress and work it all off. When not on the elliptical, I’ll get out my iPod, close the door, pull the shades and torch some calories dancing to my cardio mix—a scientifically engineered mix of songs that burn 450 calories—one of my warm up songs is Scream by Usher, one sprint song is Pump It by Black Eyed Peas, a recover song is Goin’ In by J.Lo, and a cool down song is Halo by Beyoncé.

DR: What is your favorite food? What food do you seek when you’re sad, sort of a comfort food?

Cheesecake made with cottage cheese—it’s healthy and low fat, and tastes every bit as good as ‘real’ cheesecake but much lighter. I also make honey balls, “Struffoli” which is a Christmas treat, but I make them year round. I added the recipe below. Every morning I make a healthy smoothie with almond milk, coconut milk, yogurt, either spinach or kale, cinnamon, and protein powder. If I use chocolate powder, I also add peanut butter. You can’t even taste the spinach or kale, but it does turn the smoothie green. I also do some creative things to oatmeal—top it with cinnamon or nutmeg. I make it with a green tea bag instead of plain water for a healthy boost.

DR: Describe yourself in one word.


DR: What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Being turned—but it was a matter of life and death. I trusted Fausto with my life, and here I am.

DR: What makes you happy/sad/disappointed/frustrated/hopeful/angry? (Pick one)

What makes me angry is intolerance. After I went through with Fausto and his family, I saw first-hand what someone different must go through to gain acceptance. I’m trying to change that by giving talks about vampires, explaining who we really are, so someday prejudice against us—and anyone else the ‘majority’ deems ‘different’ will be an ugly thing of the past.

DR: What are your wildest dreams/fantasies/kinks/quirks?

My wildest dream is to live a week in Ancient Rome, as a Senator’s mistress.

DR: What do you most want out of life, and what’s its opposite?

I most want social acceptance and its opposite is to disappear in the crowd, to be an ordinary citizen.

DR: What would you never say, do or think?

I’d never insult someone just to show I’m better or smarter.
I’d never let anyone boss me around.
I’d never think I’m inferior to anyone because of my new status as a vampire.

DR: What are some of your faults?

I’m too assertive at times. I still worry about what people think of me. I overcompensate to get them to accept and like me. I make a mess after cooking and don’t clean it up right away. This drives Fausto nuts. He’s a neat freak. Another fault that also drives him nuts is that I put off going to the doctor. We’ve been granted eternal life, but we do have to get checkups along the way!

A Bloody Good Cruise is available in: Kindle Version and paperback.

I’m a longtime a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association.

Please visit me at www.dianarubino.com, www.facebook.com/dianarubinoauthor
Blog: www.dianarubino.author.blogspot.com
and on Twitter @DianaLRubino


Thanks, Diana. Mona is quite an interesting character!

Leave a comment below for Diana, and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and a 2015 Mouse Pad Calendar.

Linda / Lyndi

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Meet Queen Morgan from King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by @KimHeadlee

King Arthur tour bannerKim Headlee is here today with a character interview of Queen Morgan from her new release, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court.

KH: Thanks for sitting down with me today. Tell us a little about yourself.

I hight Morgan.

That is to say, my name is Morgan, so chosen by my mother, Duchess Igraine, to honor the Great Queen of the Old Religion, Mór Rigan, goddess of war. I am the daughter of Duke Gorlois, the sister of Queen Margawse and Queen Elaine, the wife of King Uriens of Gore, and the mother of Sir Uwaine of the Table Round. Blessed good fortune made me all of these things.

By the capricious hand of ill fortune, King Arthur became my younger half brother, spawned upon my most virtuous and blameless mother by that demon in man’s raiment, Uther Pendragon.

All call me Queen. Most call me ‘The Wise.’ No man dares call me ‘le Fay,’ lest he die.

KH: Right, then! I understand you have some kind of special power, Your Majesty. Can you tell us about it?

I am, quite simply, the mistress of magic. My citizens of Gore know well the extent of my powers, and my will to unleash them as the situation warrants. No spell or charm or enchantment has eluded me…save one.

KH: Did you have special education or training to hone your power?

Indeed I did. While I was yet a maiden, Uther ensconced me in a nunnery, never realizing that I would there become introduced to the magical arts. Prayer is, in fact, a most potent form of magic, as much misused as it is misunderstood. It was the first form of magic I ever learned, and I expect it shall be the last to desert me, should my fortunes ever fall that low.

KH: Do you consider your power a gift or a curse? Why?

In spite of what anyone may think of me, I remain ever a dutiful daughter of the Church. As such, I believe that my magical ability is a gift from Almighty God, and I must be a good and faithful steward of His gift. It is when I forget the Source of this gift, and turn my mind toward its use for selfish purposes such as revenge, that the gift becomes a curse for me.

It is very likely that I never would have found myself sojourning in your century if I had cast my time-travel spell with the intent of peacefully persuading The Boss Hank Morgan to remain in his era. Instead, I had harbored malice and murder in my heart, and thus set the stage for my own temporal dilemma.

KH: How does having this power complicate your life?

The one enchantment ever to elude my control—traveling to the place and time of my choosing—cast me into Washington, D.C. in the latter portion of your century, even though I had intended to travel to The Boss’s demesnes and day, a misfiring of 300 miles and 200 years. Since I know not the precise reason why this calamity of the arts has befallen me and therefore cannot correct my error, I dare not assay the spell again.

Mayhap ’tis my doom to remain trapped in this era, fifteen centuries removed from my rightful time, as punishment for my presumption.

KH: What does your lover think of your abilities?

Queen Morgan’s lips bend into a slow, sultry smile.

Though I have known many men—Round Table knights, for the most part, and many of my London Knights baseball players—in what you would call the biblical sense, there have been but two in my sixteen hundred years of existence upon whom I would confer the title lover.

Mayhap ’tis my doom to remain trapped in this era, fifteen centuries removed from my rightful time, as punishment for my presumption.

Sir Accolon, my chosen champion of sixth-century Gore, knew the shape and extent of my powers, but as my loyal supporter he never gainsaid my use of them.

Alexander “Sandy” Leroy Carter is the one man, of any era, for whom I ever chose to eschew the use of magic. He only disapproved its use whenever I felt tempted to exercise my powers in inappropriate ways, and for that gentle guidance I shall always be grateful. Sandy and I were—are—will be well matched indeed.

King Arthur's Sister cover
King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court
by Kim Iverson Headlee
Science Fiction/Fantasy Time-Travel Romance
Released Nov. 1, 2014
Published by Lucky Bat Books
Cover Artist – Jennifer Doneske
Illustrators – Jennifer “The Royal Portraitist” Doneske and Tom “The Creature King” Doneske


Morgan le Fay, 6th-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.

Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.

Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball…and the human heart.


KH-author300x447AUTHOR BIO:

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She also writes romantic historical fiction under the pseudonym “Kimberly Iverson.”

YouTube video interview: http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – http://www.amazon.com/Kim-Headlee/e/B001KE2LK2
BLOG – http://kimiversonheadlee.blogspot.com/
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/KimIversonHeadlee
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/KimHeadlee
GOOGLE+ – https://plus.google.com/+KimHeadlee
PINTEREST – http://www.pinterest.com/kimheadlee/
GOODREADS – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/845537.Kim_Headlee
LINKEDIN – http://www.linkedin.com/in/kimheadlee/
YOUTUBE CHANNEL – http://www.youtube.com/user/gyanhumara

Check out Kim’s giveaway prizes:

– 10 e-copies of King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court

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Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to enter this month’s Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Linda / Lyndi

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