Romance Author of the Month Caris RoaneWe have a real treat for our readers in the final installment in our series on Romance Author of the Month Caris Roane. If you’ve read our earlier articles on Caris, you’ll know that she’s the author of the Guardians of Ascension series. She’s also the author of numerous Regency romances under the name Valerie King. We’ve been so fortunate to have Caris on this month, and we’re doubly lucky that Caris agreed to write a guest post that we can put up here.  She’s also been extremely generous in agreeing to do a giveaway. Read on to find out more about Caris and her books… and also to find out how to win a signed copy of one of Caris’ books, and many other prizes!


I want to thank BEST ROMANCE STORIES for featuring my work throughout the month of August!  I’m so honored to be here!  And I am giving away a signed copy of the winner’s choice of one of my Guardians of Ascension novels.  Details at the end of the post…

First, a little about me, some lesser known facts:  I grew up in a lumber town in Northern California in the ‘50s, I’ve traveled in Europe and Central America but only recently visited the Grand Canyon in my current home state, and one thing I’ve learned about living in the desert for the past 20 years is that I really really don’t like scorpions!

Now to clarify about my Guardians of Ascension:  no angels – just vampires – with wings!  I always feel I need to make that super-clear because of the covers and of course because there are so many wonderful ‘angel’ novels out there…

Writing the Guardians of Ascension series has been one of the finest experiences of my life.  Of everything that I’ve written so far in my 20+ years of being published, my gorgeous, hunky, winged vampire warriors have stolen my heart.  The series is set in a world of ascending dimensional earths, with six known dimensions though most of the action takes place on Second and Mortal Earth.  Once a mortal ascends to Second, he or she becomes a vampire.  But the world is at war, with the heinous Darian Greaves striving to take over as many dimensions as he can, using death vampires as the backbone of his army.  At the helm of all of Second Earth, is a fashion-challenged woman, Endelle, who is wonderfully profane and dictatorial.  Her elite group of warriors, the Warriors of the Blood, work constantly to save Second Earth from Greaves’s ambitions.  My beloved, overworked and super-sexy warriors star in each story.

What I’ve tried to do in my novels, is to take the reader well beyond just the romantic experience.   I work hard to show characters in the midst of change, each growing into more than he or she ever hoped to be.  You’ll find my heroines always develop new and surprising preternatural powers like ‘a voyeur window’ or ‘darkening capability’.   And my heroes emerge from dark, lonely, tortured places and, through the powerful mate-bonding of the breh-hedden, discover they can love again.

6 Gates of Rapture by Caris RoaneThe sixth installment, GATES OF RAPTURE, arrives December 26th.  We’ve met our hero, Leto, in the first book, ASCENSION, but in that story he is a despised traitor, a former Warrior of the Blood.  Now we come full circle and get to meet Leto as he goes through his remarkable transformation.  His story was especially fun to write because I’ve known him such a long time and also because he ‘goes beast’, a process of physical change that he can’t control, but which his woman ends up loving…a lot!

I hope you’ll take the time to explore my world of ascension.

I also want to reach out to those of you who are new writers or maybe you’ve been writing for a while and want a daily pick-me-up.  I’ve started the most fun daily blog on writing tips called:  WICKED WRITING SKILLS!  Join me if you’d like.  Each post is short and meant to offer some take-action idea for the day.

GIVEAWAY:  Today, I’m giving away the winner’s choice of a signed copy of one of the Guardians of Ascension novels, as well as bookmarks and romance trading cards.  Please leave your email address and a comment about why vampires intrigue you!  This giveaway is international.  Good luck, everyone!

Readers can find me at:

Website: and

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Romance Author of the Month Caris RoaneIf you’ve been following our series this month on romance author of  the month Caris Roane (who also writes Regency Romances under the name Valerie King), then you’ll know that Caris is the author of the Guardians of Ascension series. is delighted to have Caris answer some of our questions in this exclusive interview. Read on to find out more about Caris’ books, which authors inspired her to write about vampires, and what superpower she’d like to have. And come back next Friday to read a post written by Caris herself, where you’ll also have an opportunity to win a signed copy of one of the Guardians of Ascension books, and other great prizes!


Welcome to, and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! Obsidian Flame, the fifth and latest book in the Guardians of Ascension series came out in April 2012, and the sixth book, Gates of Rapture, is scheduled for release in December. What would you like to tell our readers about the Guardians of Ascension series? Would you be able to give readers a sneak peek into what we can expect with Gates of Rapture?

First, I need to let your wonderful readers know that my books are all about vampires, not an angel in sight, even though there are wings on the covers. One of the first magical things that happened for me as a writer when I first started putting the Ascension series together, was the emergence of wings. Yes, my vampires have wings!  It was a real departure from the norm, but one day, while writing, a scene emerged in which a vampire was floating in midair with enormous black wings. I was hooked from that moment on.

Each story features a powerful vampire, a Warrior of the Blood, with the weight of the world on his shoulders. For centuries these warriors have been battling against an ever-increasing number of death vampires under the power and control of Commander Greaves. Lonely, battle-weary, the warriors serve Second Earth.  Then the women come, preternaturally powerful and each bearing a unique scent that calls to one of the warriors. Caught in the grip of what becomes a bonding ritual, each warrior takes on the role of Guardian of Ascension to his woman and the struggle to protect her against Greaves and his army of death vamps begins.

Gates of Rapture by Caris RoaneGates of Rapture is the sixth installment of the series.  My publisher has decided that for their needs Gates of Rapture will be the last of the series that they will publish and several plot threads do get tied up. But my heart is with my warriors and I’m hoping to self-publish many more stories in the coming years.

Warrior Leto, former spy under Commander Greaves, has returned to the Warriors of the Blood.  But his woman, Grace, was taken by a Fourth Ascender and now Leto must try to resume his previous life.  He struggles with a beast-issue, a strange condition that transforms him physically into something bigger and more powerful but which he can’t control. When Grace returns to Second Earth, determined to bring Greaves down and end the war, Leto must work to protect her not just from death vampires and Greaves, but from his own beast as well…and that’s just a taste!

You’re an award-winning author in the field of Regency Romance (as Valerie King), and you’ve been writing Regency Romances for over twenty years. What inspired you to start a paranormal romance series about warrior vampires?

I’ve always enjoyed the vampire myth and even included a family of vampires in one of my Regency romances many years ago, so the transition felt really natural to me. But what inspired me the most were other paranormal authors. I relished Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series and devoured J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I went on to feast on the works of Christine Feehan, Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter and a few others. I couldn’t get enough. Pretty soon, I knew I had to create my own world and the Guardians of Ascension were born.

Vampires have become a huge part of popular culture in recent times. Why do you think vampires are such a big draw, and why do you find vampires interesting?

Recently, I did a post for Heroes and Heartbreakers addressing that very question.  I called the post: Vampires Are Just Like Us! Basically, I think what makes vampires, and other paranormal creatures, really work for us today is that authors have taken very human qualities and simply exaggerated them. A vampire has an undead heart, for instance, and haven’t many of us been in a relationship in which we swear that the guy doesn’t have a heart, or if he does, it doesn’t beat? So a vampire ends up as a larger-than-life metaphor addressing issues we can all relate to. Add to that, the hunkiness that most of us now give our vampires, and who can resist that:  the ultimate gorgeous bad boy, but with fangs. 

As a paranormal romance author, you probably spend a lot of time building new worlds and creating stories where many unusual things happen. Have you ever had a paranormal or unexplained encounter in real life? Tell us about what you saw or experienced!

I tend to keep myself closed off to all things paranormal in the real world  because the idea of it scares me to death! BUT, I spent a weekend at a haunted hotel a couple of years ago. Again, I kept myself closed off to paranormal experience and had a nice stay. But the next year, when I fully intended to return, I called the hotel and booked a room that I had seen before, with a beautiful balcony that overlooked the valley below. I couldn’t wait to go back. Shortly after I made my reservation, however, I had a dream in which a psychic I know said to me very clearly, “You can’t stay in that room.”

Can you guess how fast I cancelled my reservation!!!  And I haven’t been back to that hotel either! 

Do you have any quirky habits, or are there any rituals or routines that you have to go through before you start writing?

Yes, my quirky ritual is forcing myself to get out of bed, lol! Actually, I don’t really have a ritual but I will tell you that I play solitaire a lot while I write and edit because it helps clear my mind when I get stuck. 

Who are some authors who have made an impression on you, and who influence your work? What are some of your favorite books?

If I go back a long ways, I would start with Gone with the Wind, Jane Eyre, and Shogun. Fast forward and the author Georgette Heyer snagged me with her work and I spent years collecting as many of her novels as I could find.  I even have one hardcover edition.  And as I mentioned before, a whole slew of paranormal authors inspired me to write my Guardians of Ascension series.

Please tell us three things about yourself that you think will surprise readers.

I didn’t start writing until my mid-twenties.

 I was a tour guide at Disneyland many years ago.

Though I totally enjoy writing my steamy paranormal novels and my characters often swear up a storm, I’m a pretty straight-laced person. My DH is my one and only, I rarely drink, I’ve never done drugs, and I try to tell the truth.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

That is the easiest question in the world for me. If I had one super power it would be the power to heal physical or mental suffering. With such a gift, I would do nothing else with my time.

Caris Roane/Valerie King can be found at the following places:

Fans of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove contemporary romance series will soon get to see their favorite characters on screen. The Hallmark Channel has given the go-ahead for a prime time adaptation, with a two-hour pilot set to kick off the series. The series, not surprisingly entitled “Cedar Cove”, will star actress Andie McDowell.

The book series, which currently comprises twelve books, centers around the fictional town of Cedar Cove. It’s loosely based on Macomber’s own hometown of Port Orchard, Washington. McDowell will play Olivia Lockhart, Cedar Cove’s family court judge. The divorced mother of grown children, Olivia has to juggle her family, her opinionated mother, and a love interest.

Cedar Cove will make its debut on the Hallmark Channel at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year.


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Romance Book Author of the Month - Caris RoaneIn Part 2 in our series on Caris Roane, our romance book author of the month for August, we’re turning the spotlight on Caris’ Guardians of Ascension paranormal romance series.

Romantic Times says that “Roane’s worldbuilding is complex and intriguing, and in addition to her compelling protagonists, she serves up a slew of secondary characters begging to be explored further. The Guardians of Ascension is a series with epic potential!”

Read on to find out more about the five books in the series (a sixth will be published at the end of this year). Be sure also to check out our earlier author spotlight article on Caris!


Ascension by Caris RoaneBook 1: Ascension

Alison Wells is no ordinary woman. Born with supernatural powers, she can never make love to a man without putting him in grave danger. But when her special vision reveals  a glorious muscled man soaring overhead on mighty wings, she feels an overwhelming attraction she cannot resist—even as he tells her: “I have come for you. Your blood belongs to me.

Kerrick is a vampire and a warrior who has fought his hunger for a woman’s love for the past two hundred years. As a Guardian of Ascension, he is sworn to protect Alison from the death vamp armies who crave her blood and her power. But Kerrick has cravings of his own—a forbidden longing to open his heart and veins to Alison. To share his blood…satisfy his thirst…and seal their fates forever.


Burning Skies by Caris RoaneBook 2: Burning Skies

A vampire warrior in exile, Marcus Amargi resists the call to return to the ranks of the Guardians who fight the death vamp armies. Here on Mortal Earth, Marcus has another battle on his hands—the seductive lure of Havily Morgan. The woman meant for him. Whose blood he craves. The one who comes to him in dreams—and demands his surrender…

A beautiful immortal with extraordinary powers, Havily lives in the realm of Second Earth but, in her fantasies, yearns for her winged lover Marcus. Soon, their bond will be put to the ultimate test. When their bloodthirsty enemies set the night on fire with sky-blazing weapons, Marcus and Havily must unite body and soul, to unleash the full power of their passion—and fight fire with fire…


Wings of Fire by Caris RoaneBook 3: Wings of Fire

By night, the winged warrior Antony Medichi fights the death vampires who threaten his world. By day, he hunts the rogue vampires who invade Mortal Earth. But deep in his heart rages the fiercest battle of all—his soul-searing passion for the one mortal he is sworn to protect…the one woman he is doomed to love.

Parisa Lovejoy is so beautiful, and so powerful, that Antony cannot fight the feelings she arouses. But his unexpected love only intensifies his strength as her Guardian—a strength that is put to the ultimate test when Parisa is abducted. Her captor, Commander Greaves, enslaves mortal women for their blood. If Parisa hopes to survive—and ascend—she must forge an even deeper bond with Antony…in the flames of eternity.


Born of Ashes by Caris RoaneBook 4: Born of Ashes

For years, she was kept as a human slave—one of seven unwilling “blood donors” for the death vampires who thirst for absolute power. Now, Fiona is a free woman, haunted by her memories of being strapped to a gurney, drained of blood, then revived at the last moment. She lives to avenge her captors—but only one warrior can help her…

Jean-Pierre has lived and fought for over two-hundred years. He knows the triumph of slaying a death vampire, but has never known anything like the feelings that arise when he becomes Fiona’s guardian. Her beauty, her pain, her passion—and her growing power—consume his senses. Now the warrior must draw his sword once more…and fight the gates of hell itself—for love.


Obsidian Flame by Caris RoaneBook 5: Obsidian Flame

For a hundred years, Marguerite has been imprisoned and used for her powerful psychic abilities. Her only relief comes from her regular visits with Thorne, her vampire lover.  His every touch leaves her hungry for more..and aching for their next encounter. When Marguerite is finally set free, she returns to Mortal Earth to begin a new life for herself.  She dyes her hair white-blonde, paints her nails blood-red, and seduces a sexy-hot stranger. Why can’t she stop thinking about Thorne?
Now that Marguerite is gone, Thorne craves her more than ever..and follows her to Mortal Earth.  Unfortunately, he is not the only vampire who wants her. As one of three powerful women with obsidian flame abilities, Marguerite is a valuable treasure—and a dangerous weapon. For Thorne, she is a soulmate he must protect at any cost…even his own life.


Categories : Fantasy Romance   
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The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsThe Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I’m a big fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and have had her latest offering, The Great Escape, on my wish list for months now. Truth be told, I bought the book the day it came out, but have taken some time to reflect on how to write the review. I wanted to like this book. I really did. But to be honest, I’ve found SEP’s latest books rather disappointing. I wasn’t terribly impressed by Call Me Irresistible, and The Great Escape, which has been touted as the follow up to Call Me Irresistible, was similarly rather flat.

Lucy Jorik is the adopted daughter of a former President of the United States, and has always tried to live up to what’s expected of the POTUS’ daughter. Of course, it all goes spectacularly wrong – and in the public eye – when Lucy runs away from her own wedding, leaving her husband-to-be at the altar. Lucy hops onto the back of a stranger’s motorcycle, and embarks on an adventure that sees her spend summer at a rustic beach house on an island in the Great Lakes. As summer unfurls, Lucy finds herself embroiled in the lives of a young boy and his guardian, dealing with a bitchy has-been TV personality, and struggling with her attraction to Panda, the sexy man who swept her away on his iron steed.

There’s a lot going on in this book, not just Lucy and Panda’s story, and while it’s always nice to get value for money, a few less moving parts might have kept the focus a bit better. There were the characteristic SEP tear-jerker moments which I enjoyed, but my enjoyment of the book was a bit hollow. A big part of that was because I really didn’t like Lucy and kept wanting to slap her and tell her to get over herself already. Still, The Great Escape is a romance novel, so all’s well that ends well, and everyone in the book got their happy ever after, even the bitchy TV personality.

The Great Escape is definitely not SEP’s best, and I much prefer her Chicago Stars books. Still, fans will enjoy catching up with the characters from SEP’s past books, and yes, there are some lines that remind you of how good SEP’s writing can be.

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Sweet Talk by Julie GarwoodSweet Talk by Julie Garwood

Julie Garwood has a new book out featuring yet another feisty heroine. Regular readers should be familiar with Garwood’s brand of romantic suspense that skirts around topical issues, while remaining light and entertaining. Sweet Talk features IRS agent Olivia MacKenzie. Olivia is in the middle of trying to bring down a Ponzi scheme, when she stumbles into an FBI sting. FBI agent Grayson Kincaid has to intervene to save the young attorney, and in so doing, throws away months of work and ruins months of work. Despite his partner’s ire at Olivia for inadvertently destroying their sting operation, Grayson finds himself drawn to the tough young woman whose drive to bring down the perpetrators of the Ponzi scheme have roots in her own past. And when there are attempts on Olivia’s life as she delves deeper into her investigation, it’s Grayson who she turns to for help. While not technically a part of the Buchanan series, there are links between Kincaid and the characters from Garwood’s earlier romantic suspense books.

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Romance Author of the Month Caris is thrilled to have Caris Roane as our Romance Author of the Month for August. Caris (who also writes as Valerie King) is the author of the Guardians of Ascension paranormal romance series, which winged vampire warriors in a unique vampire world based on ascending dimensional earths.

Ascension by Caris RoaneAscension, the first novel in the series, made its debut in January 2011, and was an instant success, receiving a nomination for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award in the category of Vampire Romance. Ascension was followed in quick succession by Burning Skies, Wings of Fire, Born of Ashes, and Obsidian Flame. The sixth book in the series, Gates of Rapture, will be out on December 26th, 2012.

Although Caris is a relative newcomer to the paranormal romance genre, she is certainly no novice at writing romances. She has been writing for thirty years, mostly in the field of Regency Romance as Valerie King. Indeed, Romantic Times awarded her the prestigious Career Achievement award in Regency Romance in 2005. She has more than sixty Regency romance and paranormal romance books and novellas in print. Caris isn’t resting on her laurels of course. In addition to the Guardians of Ascension books, Caris launched her self-published Blood Rose Novella series in May 2012 with Embrace the Dark. Caris also launched the Amulet series, another short novella series, in July 2012 with Wicked Night. As if all that isn’t enough to keep her busy, Caris also has a website called Wicked Writing Skills where she shares all the things she’s learned in thirty years of writing and publishing in a series of daily writing tips to aspiring authors.

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering why Caris decided to switch to writing paranormal romances after having had such immense success in the Regency Romance field over several decades. Caris says she’s had a long-time love affair with vampires, and even included a family of vampires in one of her Regency Romances years ago. But what inspired and intrigued her were warrior vampires of the sort found in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. Reading books by Ward, Kenyon, and various other authors such as Christine Feehan and Kresley Cole inspired Caris to begin creating her own brand of warrior vampire (with enormous wings!), and voila, the Guardians of Ascension were born.

Caris spent her early childhood in northern California, and then grew up all over California as her family moved around. As a child, Caris loved to read, and this eventually translated into her career as a writer. No doubt Caris’ love for reading was due, in no small part, to her late parents’ love for reading. Caris says that they both always “had a stack of books going” on their nightstands. Caris’ parents were supportive of her writing, and her mother told her she loved her books, even though she wouldn’t typically read female authors. Her father too was a fan, reading her books faithfully – even if he wasn’t very much into reading romances otherwise.

Caris lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her two cats, Sebastien and Gizzy.

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