Today it’s my pleasure to welcome over Isabelle Saint-Michael, author of Practical Uses for Princes with Pointed Ears, Otherworld Realms, Book 1. Love Paranormal and Fantasy Romance? Then cozy in and check out a fabulous interview.
Publisher: Otherworld Romance, LLC
Date of Publication: November 14, 2014
Number of pages: 380
Word Count: 95,000
Cover Artist: CL Smith
Giveaway! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter after this post for a chance to win 4 prize packs full of goodies and swag.
Keep in mind! Both titles spotlighted today will be on sale December 21st through December 27th. Practical Uses for Princes with be marked down to $1.99 and Holiday Spirit to .99.
Lillian Chambers was just an ordinary high school teacher, until she fell through a Fairy Circle. When she came to on the other side, she was surprised to find herself in the company of an Elven prince she thought only existed in her dreams. Now she’s slaying monsters and rescuing Prince Tallyn, instead of playing the part of the damsel in distress.
Tallyn had been the protector of his kingdom for over one hundred years. He knows that the world is filled with danger around every corner, but these days he’s finding himself babysitting the annoyingly fearless Lady Lillian.
When their worlds collide sparks fly, humorous situations ensue and the only thing for sure is that neither will ever be the same. Practical Uses for Princes with Pointed Ears takes readers on an adventure into a modern fairytale where we explore what it really means to fall for Prince Not-so-Charming.
Available at Amazon
My dreams were more vivid than usual. It was like I was standing there with my favorite imaginary hunk. He and several others were packing up horses. There was a great deal of laughter and teasing among the men. They poked at each other until finally he had to step in and tell them to calm down.
Even as he reprimanded them his smile shone brightly. I had never seen him smile with such a youthful presence.
Moments later another man appeared, just as handsome as my dream guy. “Tallyn!” he called, and my heart skipped a beat as I watched the man of my dreams turn to wave.
“Tallyn,” I could feel myself whispering. He turned and looked in my direction, as if he had heard me. His face fell a little when he couldn’t see me standing there.
“What’s wrong?” the taller man asked him.
I watched as Tallyn shrugged. “I was just thinking about how I was going to have to see your face every morning for the next few days and it quashed all the fun out of our camping trip.”
The taller man laughed, only to turn when someone called, "Maerryn!" which I guessed was his name.
I could feel the cool breeze on my skin, causing the hair on my arms to stand up. I watched with interest as the men finished packing up and began to ride away. I followed them through the forest I had seen a hundred times in my dreams. After a few hours they crossed the river in a shallow area then headed up a steep cliff, guiding their horses one at a time along the narrow ledge.
By midday the group reached the top of the cliff and stopped for lunch. The food smelled amazing cooked over the open fire. I felt my stomach rumble. When it did, Tallyn placed a hand on his stomach and looked around with confusion.
He was beautiful to look at, even with uncertainty creasing his brow. His green eyes deepened in color and his breath stilled. It was like he was looking right at me but couldn’t see me. With a shake of his head, he rejoined the conversation around him.
They packed up and left, heading across a path at the top of the cliff that led into another forest. The group seemed more hesitant when they entered the new area. They rode close together for hours, and when darkness finally threatened, they found flat ground and made camp. The horses were tied up, dinner was caught and prepared, and then the wine came out.
Boys will be boys, I thought to myself as they laughed, sang and passed around the bottles.
Behind me I heard the crack of twigs underfoot. Suddenly, I sensed someone else was there. I turned, looking in the direction of the sound, and I saw shadows moving through the woods towards the encampment. Panic filled me and I tried to scream, but I was just a watcher without a voice.
Genre: Holiday/ Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Otherworld Romance, LLC
Date of Publication: November 14th, 2014
Number of pages:164
Cover Artist: CL Smith
When life handed half-werewolf Grace MacGregor a pink slip four weeks before Christmas, she was determined to get back to work as soon as possible. She just didn’t expect it to be the very next day – or at the North Pole. She now has four weeks to make other people’s holiday wishes come true, but will she be able to grant her own while she is at it?
Justin Kringle is the nephew of Santa Claus and his job is to keep operations of the Pole on point. When Grace is dropped bed and all into his work shop, he can’t decide if it’s love or hate at first sight. First impression: she’s a total mess. Can he keep her on track and remember to not mix business and pleasure?
Available at Amazon
I settled into bed with my favorite boyfriend, my laptop. Before long I had updated my resume, applied for a half dozen jobs, checked flights home, and Facebooked with all of my friends to see if anyone had any leads. I was about to shut down when the pop from my email caught my attention.
I closed the other tabs and stared at my inbox. It was from the OAC. The Otherworld Alignment Council was a group of magical beings, things that go bump in the night, and people that made sure that there were universal laws and regulations used across all the realms. They made sure there was a common language, rules about magic, and laws that kept peace between the different races. Why they were emailing me I didn’t know.
To: Grace MacGregor
Subject: The North Pole Needs You
Dear Ms. MacGregor,
It has been brought to the attention of the OAC that you are no longer employed during this busy time of the year. Every Holiday season we rely on the help we get from the Otherworld community to make the season bright. Your talents could be used now through the end of the year helping deliver joyful winter holidays across all the realms.
Please see the attached application. Applicants will be considered for a paid position. Please send a resume, two letters of recommendation and magical aptitude test scores to the email listed below. If chosen we will need you to report immediately for work.
Thank you and Happy Holidays,
Otherworld Alignment Council
I looked at the email again and shrugged. “Why not?” I asked myself. I attached my resume, two recommendation letters and a quick note explaining my father was a Scottish Werewolf Clansman and that I was half human. I figured my lack of magical abilities would keep me out of the fray. My father told me to always answer the OAC right when they contacted you because they made the IRS look patient.
With a giggle to myself I closed the windows on my laptop and shut it down. Snuggling deep into my pillows I closed my eyes, giggling about what use I could possibly be to the Great Holiday Front up North. Strangely enough I fell asleep with thoughts of sugar plums dancing in my head.
I awoke the next morning to the sounds of clinking, clicking and power tools. I opened my eyes involuntarily when a particularly loud noise sounded right over my head. It was then I noticed my bedroom was swarming with Gnomes and they seemed too busy to care I was sleeping.
“Excuse me!” I yelled. “Why are you in my bedroom?”
A few of them stopped, exchanged looks with shrugs, and returned to work. I wasn’t answered until a man with a heavy red braid down his back appeared.
“You are in their workshop, and it’s about time you got up.” I climbed out of bed angrily, prepared to demand that they leave. “Nice pajamas,” he said with a grin as he looked me over. “If you follow me we will get you assigned duties, uniforms and the rest of your paperwork filled out.”
I looked around what should have been my room. I was on a toy factory floor. Only it looked like FAO Schwarz met Ikea. Bright colors with industrial-grade shelves mixed with the old world charm of hand-carved wooden trim. All around me Gnomes were hustling to complete toys. I looked in the direction the redheaded man had gone and chased after him, abandoning my bed to the factory.
What inspired you to write these books?
Practical Uses for Princes with Pointed Ears came to life because of a blog I publish. Growing up I often felt out of place in my family and used to dream I was adopted or a Changeling. In early 2014 I started planning a blog that would follow my daily life re-imagined as if I were in my own personal fairy tale. When it caught on I started getting emails from readers asking about back stories, other realms, and side characters.
Fueled by reader interest I developed the first story to take place in one of the alternate realms. I thought it would be fun to write a Fairy Tale for grown-ups that still captured the spark of magic from childhood, but included all the lusty fun-filled moments Disney would be sure to leave out.
I knew I wanted a woman to save the day in my story because we live in an age where we have to be able to save ourselves. If we can’t stand on our own and be happy by ourselves, how can we be happy with anyone else?
Holiday Spirit for Hire is the first of my tales to introduce us to the inner workings of the North Pole. Christmas and the entire holiday season was always filled with wonder for me growing up. I come from a small town in New England and have seen just how magical it can all be. Almost all of my Christmases there have been white and spent surrounded by my family with the fireplace popping in the background. Greeting cards and the Hallmark Channel have been cashing in for years depicting the kind of Christmases I had.
Most of the characters in Holiday Spirit are based on real people that I love and miss this time of the year. I wanted a story where these characters that feel so close to me could come together and exist. So I dug deep and remembered my first Christmas far away from home and started there.
What I ended up with was a story that reads like a fairy tale set in a magical place where anything feels possible. But it shows us that magic doesn’t make things easier or perfect, it just adds another layer of complication to feelings that can already be powerful.
If you could spend an hour in real life with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Hands down I would spend it with Joy, Justin’s mom in Holiday Spirit for Hire. I based her off of my grandmother (whose name was also Joy). Joy is one of those characters that never meets a stranger. From the moment you walk through the door until the moment you leave this world you’re family. It isn’t just her massive heart though, it’s the years of wisdom and her constant sunny personality that draw me to her.
I think of all the stories she probably has, all the recipes she knows, and all the things she has probably seen over the years. I’m not sure an hour would be enough.
Tell us about your book cover and how it relates to your story.
Holiday Spirit for Hire’s cover actually came before the cover for Practical Uses for Princes with Pointed Ears. I was on a site for a designer and noticed he had some pre-made covers. Earlier that same day I had joked with a friend about how my main character was going to have this horribly impractical uniform complete with a wreath for headgear. There on the pre-made cover page was a picture of a woman wearing said headgear. I took it as a sign and reached out to the artist to see if he would be willing to make some minor changes for a reasonable rate. When I bought the cover, I didn’t even have the title yet, let alone a working story. I just had notes in a notebook.
When it came time for Practical Uses to get its cover I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. So I spoke with a couple different artists and ended up coming back to the artist who made the pre-made. I told him what I was looking for and a little about the story.
He made me three cover options. The first was EXACTLY what I thought I wanted and the 2nd and 3rd were other ideas he had. I was really conflicted because I really liked his other concepts a lot as well. I ended up polling friends and family and decided to go with cover number 2 because it was the crowd favorite and I really loved it.
What sort of personality does your hero have?
Both of my heroes are anti-heroes.
Practical Uses for Princes with Pointed Ears
Tallyn is the bastard born son of a king. He was always raised as a prince with the privileges and opportunities that come with it. But despite what his father and brother have both told him his entire life, he feels doesn’t deserve to wear the title. This doesn’t mean he lacks confidence or has low self-esteem. It just means he thinks the world puts too much stock in a title.
Tallyn is grumpy, curt, and duty driven. He believes he must be these things in order to serve his people the best he can. He is an Elven warrior first and everything else second.
Holiday Spirit for Hire
Justin is a workaholic that takes his obligation to the family business very seriously because he doesn’t think anyone else will. The downside of working all the time and never leaving the North Pole is that he doesn’t really get to date. After several painful seasonal flings he just decides love isn’t for him.
If you get Justin to get his mind off of work he is jolly and mischievous. He enjoys the little things in life and loves his family passionately even though they drive him nuts.
Tell us about your favorite writing environment. Is it indoors, outdoors, a special room, etc.
When I moved into my new apartment here in Seoul I built my “office” using 2 Ikea loft beds. We use the above area for storage and curtained off the under section. I wanted a place that was comfortable so rather than a desk and chair I opted for a twin bed with lots of pillows and a small folding table that I could easily move around. It’s been awesome because I feel like I’m tucked away writing in my diary or when my editor comes over it feels like a pajama party with both of us lazing about on the bed.
How long have you been writing? How long have you been published?
I have been writing pretty much been writing as long as I understood the idea of putting words down on paper. However knowing I wanted to write really came to me in my early teens. I had a teacher tell me I would never succeed and that I should consider other options where I showed more talent. My answer was to go home to all of my teen magazines and research their requirements for submitting freelance articles. Seven of my articles ran that year in some of the largest national teen magazines in the US (1999). I continued to write from then on. I went on to publish articles in magazines, newspapers, short story collections and even in a few cookbooks. It wasn’t really until the last few years I began to consider fiction as anything other than a hobby. Fifteen years later I’ve written a little bit of everything. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it up until now and look forward to what I hope will be at least another 45 years of sharing my words with the world.
Do you write books in series? If so, share a bit about the series you currently have published or are coming soon.
Both of these books are part of a series called the “Otherworld Realms Books”. My publisher Otherworld Romance loved the name of the series for obvious reasons. All of the books under this series will tie back in to the Elven Life Blog that is on my website (http://elvenlife.com), meaning all of these characters co-exist in the same time but maybe not the same realm. Case in point, Tallyn’s older brother Maerryn is one of the cases that Grace handles in Holiday Spirit for Hire.
Even though the books are written on a timeline that corresponds to things happening on the blog, each book is a standalone story and can be read in any order. Meaning if you want to read the holiday book first because of the season, you won’t have missed any needed information from book 1 for the story to make sense.
The 3rd book from the series will be out sometime after first of the year, probably in late February or early March. It will follow the story of a female mercenary hunting a Dragon.
Also, in late 2015 I will be launching the first book in a new series set in Asia. What if all the anime, manga and kung-fu movies we watched were real? What if those forms of entertainment were just fancy cover stories to keep the public in the dark?
If you’re interested, watch my blog or my publisher’s website for more updates.
If you could make changes to a story you’ve already written, which would it be and why?
When I originally outlined Holiday Spirit for Hire I had planned for it to be a larger novel like Practical Uses for Princes with Pointed Ears. I was then given feedback from several of my resources that holiday stories should be kept on the shorter side. With that in mind my editor and I cut several scenes before the major writing process even began. In the end I went back and added in 2 of the scenes that were cut but I loved all of them so much I think if I had it to do again I may have published the story with all the scenes even if it was lengthy for the genre.
As a Christmas gift to my fans, though the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s I plan to post a few of the scenes that were cut in the process on my website. The bonus materials will be free to all my readers.
About the Author
Isabelle Saint-Michael is a cupcake enthusiast, shoe addict, and globetrotter. She is known for her sense of adventure and geeky hobbies. She is frequently seen haunting coffee shops and pubs into the wee hours of the morning. No matter where she goes, shenanigans and mirth are never far behind.
The blog that started it all- www.Elvenlife.com
Twitter @IsabelleStMike or https://twitter.com/IsabelleStMike