9:33 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest


CONTEST: One lucky commenter will be chosen on Thursday, Nov. 10th to receive a copy of Serena's recent release, A Magical Return. Good luck!

AL: Hi Serena! Welcome to Blog Bites.

Serena: Hi Ann! Thanks so much for having me here for the next few days, I can’t wait to check the place out…you know peek around corners, meander down forbidden hallways, burst through closed doors. I’ve read your Eternal Series, so I just know there must be some sexy vamps here somewhere… ~wink~

AL: Naughty girl, but true...I'm sure you'll find a vamp or two in a shadowed corner waiting to nibble on someone. So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Serena: Well, the hubby and I just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary this year…and I’m happy to report that we both looked at each other that morning and said, “lookin’ good, how about another 15?” My eleven year old, Darling Diva, has decided that rather than a jewelry designer, she would like to be an actor/singer (Man those were the days, weren’t they? Every kiddo must want to perform at one point…I sure did.) And I am, hopefully, going to be rid of my yearly bout of bronchitis. Yep, a writers dream…let’s write some sex today, hack, cough, hack. LOL

AL: Tell us about a current or upcoming release.

Serena: My current release is entitled A Magical Return. It’s a story of somewhat human lovers, who have an affinity to the elements and a special ability to carry inside themselves another being. An Other, or a magical essence, here to help protect humans from evil.

Unfortunately, as is the case in romance, all hell breaks loose (literally) and tears our couple apart. But, as the title implies, they get a second chance at love; if they can get over all the bumps in the magical road home.

AL: Sounds like another great read. You know this reader will be checking it out. What other works are you deep into?

Serena: Well, right now I’m nearly finished with my second Jaguar shifter story, The Submission. This time it’s all about Marina’s (heroine from The Challenge) sister LeAnn and her mate’s, Rick and Trent. I had originally thought to have The Submission out quite a while ago, but the characters threw me for a loop the first time I was close to the end. I found myself dismantling the entire story and starting over… Frustrating, for sure, but the characters are always right though, and now the story is that much better.

AL: I have a couple that's like that. You've me them. Christian and Alynn. Who is the author(s) that inspired you to write?

Serena: Wow, you know, I have so many authors I just love to read and find inspiring so it’s hard to pick just one. I will say that while I’ve always had the writing bug, it was my first paranormal romance that made me say, “Oh yeah, I am so going to do this one day.” And the author I was reading at the time…Christine Feehan.

AL: Of your books, whose your favorite hero and heroine?

Serena: Gasp, but I love all my characters!! Currently, though, it is not a character from one of my published works or WIP who I find the most fun to scribe for. I’ve been writing flashes on my group blog Shapeshifter Seductions http://shapeshifterseductions.blogspot.com/ that take place in a fictitious town by the name of Talbot’s Peak. This is a wicked fun town, with a cast of characters as long as my…leg. ~wink~

My favorite to write about is Ziva and Nick. Alpha werewolves who put out the town paper and still find time to torment each other.

AL: Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters wanted to go in another direction. What did you do in such a situation?

Serena: All the free-wheeling time! LOL I swear I must have the mouthiest, and orneriest, characters around. All the time with what they want and how they want it, never mind what the actual author wants to do… BUT ~I have to whisper this so as to keep the hooting and hollering inside my poor brain to a minimum~ much the same as good customer service, the character is always right. Yep, I said it; I let my characters get away with anything and everything they want, because in the end, they are always right.

AL: It’s time to get personal! Do you have a favorite sport, &/or team that you follow?

Serena: Oh my, when you said personal I thought for sure we were gonna talk sex! Ooooh wait, can we include sex as a sport?? No…Okay, but, what if… No again… You’re killing me here, Ann ~wink~

Now, where was I? Oh yes, sports. See, I’m not much for sports, unless we’re talking the Olympics. Baseball, Football, Hockey…I can take them or leave them, but The Olympics are a must watch for me. Summer or winter, doesn’t matter I like them equally. In the summer I can watch them swim and dive, in the winter bobsledding and skeleton. How awesome is that!

AL: Come on, Serena. A man in a football uniform. Now that's a sexy-sport on a stick. Yum! All those hits, and running and more hits, all that male verility on display. Wait....fanning myself. Now, can you describe yourself in 3 sentences or less?

Serena: How about 3 words…Sexy, Sassy and Sensual!

AL: If you weren't writing, what do you suppose you'd be doing?

Serena: Beating back the voices in my head! And probably working an office job where I’d drink too much coffee and gossip incessantly! So, for the safety of others, I’d best continue to write. Heh heh

AL: Where would you like to travel if you had the chance?

Serena: Everywhere! I was bitten by the travel bug at a young age and the need to see everything has yet to wear off. I would love to take to my car, with my hubby and Darling Diva, and see every one of the states in this here country…top to bottom, side to side and with a slow boat to Hawaii at the end. When it’s all over…we’d be off to Europe!

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2012 and beyond?

Serena: Writing, writing and more writing! I have such a back log of idea that need to be written and new ones jumping in everyday, that I could be busy for the rest of my days! I’ve also given some thought to getting my toes wet in the indie publishing market with a few of my Talbot’s Peak shorts, but I’m still trying to decide on that end.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Serena: Here are a couple of my favorites. Wise words I try to remember every day.

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in. ~Arlo Guthrie

And lastly, the quote that speaks to the reader, the writer and the dreamer in me…

If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in! ~Shel Silverstein

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Serena.

Serena: Thanks for having me here, Ann! I always feel so incredibly welcomed in your lovely writer’s cave. Plus, this time I found the room you keep your naughty night dwellers in, so I may never leave! ~wink~

AL: Have fun, Serena! If you’d like to find out more about Serena please visit:

http://serenashay.blogspot.com/                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Shapeshifter Seductions-grp blog- http://shapeshifterseductions.blogspot.com/ 
Serena Shay’s Fan Page- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Serena-Shays-Fan-Page/267531343271739 
Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/serenashay



The Loss

Conleth “Cole” Douglas, warlock and vessel, needs a miracle. A destructive force has taken hold of his town and it will take more than just he and his magical Other, Cole, to eradicate the Evil. When an attempt to open his lover, Emterra, to their shared destiny fails, Conleth and Cole take extreme measures to stop the rising darkness. Their only option: take it, and themselves, into another realm.

Emterra “Irene” Azzurra, untapped witch and vessel, has given up on finding her own happy-ever-after. Devastated by the loss of her one and only love she becomes disinterested and remote, closed off from a life without Conleth. Even her job as the mayor of the dying town of Douglasville, MO, fails to sustain her, until she gets a blast from the past…

The Return

He’s back, alive and whole, but he didn’t come alone. The evil they’d hoped to contain in a distant realm has returned with him and is out to finish the job it started. There can be no failure this time, the now middle-aged, Emterra must accept her Other or doom the town to an agonizing death.

Skeptical of his sudden homecoming, Emterra is afraid to hope that his return could be true. She balks at the idea of opening her heart to him again. Especially when he looks like the same young Goth from ten years ago and tries to convince her she’s sharing skin with a magical being.

Can Conleth prove his claims of magic and the Others to be true? Can Emterra allow herself to believe in love and his wild claims? Or will the returning Evil finally swallow this town and all its inhabitants into the deepest realms of hell.


April 1st, 10 years ago

Northern Missouri, outside of Douglasville, in a barren tobacco field

Giant plumes of fire shot into the air, bracketing both the stage and Conleth ‘Cole’ Douglas within their heated embrace. The pyrotechnic display filled the night sky with showers of crackling flames.

An unknown force had let loose a demon within the town of Douglasville. Malevolent was too nice a word for this beast. This evil was a promise maker, a soul sucker, a bloody life taker, and now it was Conleth’s job to send it back to Hell. The only problem—he wasn’t nearly strong enough on his own. For this, he needed Em.

Emterra Azzurra was many things to him, his friend and lover, his soul mate—but right now what he needed the most was the thing inside her. Deep within the body, he knew quite intimately, was a being of magic, a source of goodness, an Other—one who had the ability to work with his own Other to defeat the evil bearing down on them now.

“Terra quod ventus nos queso ye, adeo nos, reperio vestri populous.” ‘Earth and wind we beseech ye, come to us, find your host’.

Together Conleth and his Other called the wind and summoned the earth. The task put a strain on their waning energy, as neither power was theirs to wield. Yet, they could only hope there was enough force to release Emterra’s powers, link her to the earth and air around them, and free her Other.

Magic spiraled through the crowd, seeping into pores and burrowing under skin, looking for its host, looking for Emterra. She was here. He could feel her; his Other had scented her life force as she’d entered the field of battle.

Con knew Emterra had the power to control the wind and a body to embrace the being she carried inside. With practice, she would hone the skill to become truly powerful, a force to be reckoned with, but time was an indulgence neither could afford. He had to encourage her to try, right here and right now. A gentle introduction to her new life was something he could not give her this time as he had in the past.

He prayed she would forgive him.

“Em,” he whispered inside her head. Her thoughts were a confused jumble of fears and questions. She didn’t yet believe in psychic links as Conleth did, but this was the only way he could find her in the mass of humanity about to be used as food.

“How can I…in my head…Con.” Her emotions were scattered, but in her newly cop-like way, she’d locked them deep down inside. “What are you doing?”

“Something good, my love, nothing that can hurt you.” He hoped. “But I need you to trust me.”

“Con, I’ve always trusted you, but…but this time, you’ve gone too far…please stop.”

“Do you remember our last concert, Em?”

He flashed a vision of them into her mind, taking her to a past where they soared into the eclectic world of musical freedoms and expressions, while around them, drugs and liquor flowed freely. Amid the rabid throng, they too screamed and beat their hands in the air to the squeal of the electric guitar and each bang on the skins of the drum.

“Don’t, please don’t make me remember this, Con.”

Her mental plea broke his heart. A heart that had always and would always beat for her and her alone. Unfortunately, his love and devotion to her were not enough to keep him from what he had to do, no matter how painful it may be.

“I’m sorry, my love, but you must remember. I need, no—we—need you to remember.”.

He sent her another vision. This time it was a memory of those magically successful moments when she had relaxed and let go enough for her Other to come close. She stood in the past, her hands high above her head as he’d cupped her breasts from behind. They swayed to the ballad screeching from the massive speakers. Nipples hardened to painful points between his fingers and thumbs as he squeezed them. He held her tight as she shook, he knew, from the shocking power filling her body.

“Say it, Em,” he’d whispered. “Say the words.”

“Vicis congelo,” she screamed into the sky above them. The Latin words for ‘time freeze’ rang clearly through the air.

Everything slowed. The band, being further away from them, moved as if they were stuck in a muddy bog, starting and stopping, their sounds low and slurred. The fans surrounding them, however, froze in pre-and post-head-banging modes. They stood amidst the previous chaos, enthralled by the strength of this new gift.


A steel door ended the vision with a finality that worried him. They were back in the present, with evil all around them, and again she squashed the emotions and thoughts inside her. “Em, please…”

“No Con, that vision is nothing more than a drug-induced nightmare of a time best forgotten. It wasn’t real…”

Conleth’s Other began demanding release. “It was very real, Em, and what you did then, controlling time, is what we need now.”

“Stop it, Con, just stop this. The time for foolish pranks and pretending to be magical are over—it’s time to grow up!”

Goddess, he thought as he was pushed back into the background of his mind, exchanging consciousness with his Other—they were screwed.


Yep, clearly, Emterra had taken too many hits, swallows, and pills that crazy night, but youthful stupidity in the past did not explain the weirdness of tonight. First up on the loony list, Con “speaking” to her, inside her own head. That was just not possible, right…

“It has to be a drug flashback or a bad trip.” Of course, she no longer took the short road to psychedelic bliss. Self-preservation and a career in law enforcement had curtailed that activity long ago. What was it then, did she just long to hear Con’s voice in her head? Did she miss their youthful hijinx enough to imagine the gothy, witchy phase was real?

“Am I going crazy?” If talking to one’s self and hearing voices was any indication, she’d jumped on the crazy train the moment she stepped foot on this barren tobacco field.

Hordes of people writhed under the oppressive heat of the flames bursting into the air on stage. The energy was similar to what it had been like at the concerts of her youth, yet the mood was vastly different. The power, drawn from every soul she passed, beat at her with excitement, arousal, and agony. She yearned for more of their pain, but cringed at the cruelty inside her. These people were hurting and she was enjoying it on some level.

Tonight, she didn’t even have mind-altering drugs to blame.

Bodies writhed in the dirt of the farm field, screaming for release. Children sobbed next to adults who begged for it to be over. Wisps of red smoke swept over the crowd, a bloody evil probing for a way inside each soul it passed.

The leader of this invisible raping, pillaging mess of hellish torment, it seemed, was Conleth. Arms lifted skyward, he chanted words she’d never heard before, sounds that pulled at her. His words fed life into the columns of fire beside him. Higher they climbed, releasing the bloody red wisps, or possibly pulling them back in—she couldn’t tell. Her heart beat faster, pounding to the rhythm of his words. She had to get to him, stop him before it was too late.

She ran full out, palming her Taser as she made a beeline toward the man she loved. Electrified air charged the hair flying around her face. She never faltered; it was as if she were running on the wind.

“Conleth, stop,” she screamed at him from the dirt in front of the stage. “Please.”

“Malum phasmatis, reverto volo.”

Emma shook. He was speaking in Latin, and again she understood. ‘Evil spirits, return to me’. Oh Con, what have you done?

“Conleth Cole Douglas, cease and desist. Now!” She used her best cop voice in an attempt to take control of the situation, though she had no idea what the situation was. This night was to have been a magic show to support the families hit hardest by last season’s crop failures. The invite extended to the entire town with a request that everyone dig deep and give what they could—food, time, money. Anything would help.

Rumor had it, Martin and Wilhemina Douglas sponsored this worthy cause; but suspiciously, their son Conleth had been the only one to show. He’d promised big name magicians, bands, as well as a plethora of rich and famous people, ready to lend a financial helping hand.

Again, Con was the only one here. He was looking guiltier by the second, but of what? Mass hypnosis? Con was a master at hypnotism, but more one-on-one than a crowd this big. One look at the Labradorite stone he wore around his neck and she was a goner. The grayish-blue gem, with its green and blue flashes could pull her under in less time than it took an arsonist to flick his bic.

But that was one small gem; there were hundreds if not thousands of people gathered in this field. No way was he putting all these folks under, unless it was really the chanting doing the work.

Still he went on. “Malum phasmatis, reverto volo.” Over and over again, but that didn’t make sense. How could ‘evil spirits, return to me’ be used as a focus?

“Ut is est, sic vadum is exsisto.” A Latin phrase forced its way past her lips, ‘as it is, so shall it be’. The words seemed random to her, but to Con, they appeared to make sense. His head turned to her and the blood red eyes staring back at her climbed inside her skin and stilled her heart.

“Emterra Irene Azzurra, finish it,” the man she loved said in a voice not his own. “Please.”

“Con, get down. Now!”

“Finish it!” He screeched into the night sky.


“Finish it!”

“I can’t, I don’t know what you mean.” Fear seeped under Emma’s skin while bugs skittered around her brain. The pain was unbearable.

Tendrils of fire weaved through her body, meeting the air pushing its way in through her pores. A bright star burst to life beneath her skin. The light was more brilliant and loving than anything she’d felt in her entire life. The presence filled her, touching every lonely spot inside her with calm and well-being. There was safety within the light, protection. Yet she struggled to get away from the nexus of peace.

As quickly as it had come, the presence departed—torn from her with the subtlety of a rusty axe. The pain of it dropped Emma to her knees. She writhed upon the ground with fellow town members, praying for death, wondering how and why Con would do this.

Briefly, Latin words whispered through her brain, perfectus, per meus mos– ‘finished, by my will’, but the pain swept the words away, leaving only Conleth’s voice to fill the void in that dying field with a Latin rhyme.

“Per meus mos–‘By my will’, may this adnihilo, ‘demon’, return to me, cling to me. Take me, leave them be. Alive, but ten years more before we settle thy wicked score. Per meus mos,” he screamed, before disappearing in a flash of flame, miles high.

The blessed darkness overtook her.

REMEMBER: One lucky commenter will be chosen on Thursday, Nov. 10th to receive a copy of Serena's recent release, A Magical Return. Good luck!