Join RNIC in welcoming author Alyssa Cole to the site! Today, Alyssa is introducing us to her novel, Eagle’s Heart and doing a giveaway. But first, let’s get to know her.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a newly published author who is having a lot of new experiences: getting married, learning a new language, learning to drive, learning to swim…it’s been a very interesting couple of years, to say the least. I’ve written forever—my mom swears a I wrote my first novel in pictogram when I was two—and I’ve always been a sucker for romance. I work as a science editor, and while science is sexy in its own way (I mean, cell fusion is a romance novel at the microscopic level, right?) there’s nothing I love more than reading about, or dreaming up, interesting romance characters.
What are your pet peeves?
In no particular order: people who clip their nails on the train, people who blast music from their headphones, people who stand too close to me in line at the deli, people who stand on the left side of the escalator…yes, I’m a New Yorker, why do you ask?
What are your favorite types of movies to watch?
I really, REALLY love bad movies. A movie that is so crazy and over the top that it makes you laugh even when it’s trying hard to be serious. One thing I love about it is the joy of watching that movie with someone else, and sharing in the ridiculousness. My family watches bad kung-fu films over the holidays (The Protector beats It’s A Wonderful Life, hands down). My favorite podcast is How Did This Get Made, and Mystery Science Theater was one of my favorite shows as a child. Snarking on bad films has been a lifetime hobby.
What types of books are on your bookshelf at home?
Besides romance, of course, my tastes run from the classics (Moby Dick) to Russian lit (Master and Margarita) to graphic novels (Duncan the Wonder Dog) to non-fiction (The Warmth of Other Suns). I’ll read just about anything, or at the very least add it to my to-be-read pile. I think it’s important for romance writers to read widely because you never know when inspiration will strike.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
I’ve loved so many places I’ve visited, and it’s very hard to decide, so I’ll say either Paris or Vienna. I love cities that are soaked in history (no disrespect to NYC) and thinking about the uncountable number of stories that have unfolded.
What is your favorite body part on a man?
The forearm to wrist area. I don’t know why, but I’ve always liked a man with a nice forearm. Not too veiny, hair coverage can vary…I can’t be the only one. Can I?
What dish, when you prepare it, has everyone asking for seconds?
Baked macaroni and cheese. It’s my mom’s secret recipe, and people always flip out over it—when I get the proportions right, that is. But one misstep can result in a soupy mess. I generally give my mom puppy dog eyes until she makes it for me, because mine will never be as good as hers is. Hers has the extra ingredient of mom love.
What would be the title of the movie about your life?
The Procrastinator. It would be like a less interesting and more neurotic version of The Terminator. “Come with me, if you want to…watch me freak out because I wait until the last minute to do everything.”
Why should readers consider buying your books?
Well, because they’re good (I mean, I’m biased but still…). But seriously, I try to write stories that provide a unique experience for readers, so that when they’re done they’ll have laughed, cried, gotten a little hot under the collar, and leave the book with the happy romance reader feeling glowing inside of them.
If you could date the hero from one of your books, who would it be and why?
Julian, from Eagle’s Heart. Definitely Julian! He’s hot, speaks several languages, and kind. He’ll do anything to protect his woman, but more importantly, he’ll do anything to make her smile. The most common response to Eagle’s Heart from readers is along the lines of “I want my own Julian!”, so I’m not alone in this assessment.
What was the nicest comment or most interesting question you’ve received from a reader?
The best comment was from an Albanian reader who was pleased to read about an Albanian hero. When your people are always stereotyped as thugs, it can be nice to see a positive depiction.
Julian awoke with a start in the apartment he’d been given for the duration of his assignment. The olfactory memory of burning hair and flesh dissipated as he wiped a hand over his sweaty face and took in his surroundings. Bare walls, cheap furniture, central air. It wasn’t home. No place could ever really be home again as far as he was concerned, but like the dozens of places he’d lived since moving to the States, it would suffice.
A series of loud bangs outside the window made him flinch; he was reaching for the gun on his bedside table before he remembered.
Fourth of July. Fireworks.
He flopped back down on the too-soft mattress with a grunt. He attempted to blot out the ghastly vestiges of his dream, trying to focus on anything but death and despair. The first thing that came to mind was innocent enough, but completely unexpected:
I wonder what Salomeh Jones is doing today?
Was she going to a barbecue with friends, or was she back to secluding herself in her apartment?
He didn’t like how the teacher kept popping up in his head, distracting him, and in his Internet searches as well. Maybe that was why she’d been his first concrete thought. He’d stayed up late into the night reading her thesis papers on how to create excitement about learning in urban schools, her pleas for capable people to join the mentorship programs she participated in, and of course the horrible tabloid accounts that had undone all she’d worked for.
She seemed like a good woman.
It doesn’t hurt that she’s beautiful, the unhelpful voice of his libido chimed in. His late-night search-engine binge had provided a vast amount of information about Miss Jones, things she would probably be horrified to learn were only a click away for anyone so inclined. Those forays into her personal life could be considered work. Research. Following a lead. But there had also been pictures. Pictures of her smiling brightly with her students and speaking enthusiastically at educational events. In those photos, his gaze had been drawn to the way her tailored suit jackets had buttoned tightly just below the swell of her ample cleavage and hugged the flare of her hips. Her skirts were modest, but her tight calves and strong thighs were impossible to ignore. And then there were the candid photos.
Julian wasn’t a man who lost control of his sex drive easily, but those images had tested him sorely. One in particular had gotten to him even though it should have been innocuous. In it, the teacher was gulping a bottle of water while paused on a dusty hiking trail. Curls had escaped from her tight bun, framing a face that was tinted with the blush of physical exertion. Her head was tipped back, exposing the long column of her neck, and the way her lips were wrapped tightly around the water bottle…
Julian was painfully hard now, from his memory of the picture alone. He felt a flash of impropriety as he slipped his hand under the blanket tentatively, like he was a nervous teenager expecting someone to come bang on the bathroom door.
Fantasizing about someone who figured in the most important case he’d ever handled probably wasn’t the most professional thing he could have done, but if it was just this once, maybe it would get her out of his system.
Here’s the info on the giveaway!
Prize: A $20 Amazon gift card, as well as a digital copy of Eagle’s Heart and Sweet to the Taste.
Eligibility: You must be a subscriber to the RNIC newsletter.
How to enter: Leave a comment answering the question- What is your favorite romance novel? (I always like adding to my to-be-read list!)
Deadline to enter: April 18, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced, Monday, April 21, 2014.
Note: By participating in this contest, the winner has given permission to RNIC to share his/her name and email address with the person conducting the contest so they can forward the prize(s). Prizes opened to U.S. and international entrants.
Where can you find Alyssa online:
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/AlyssaColeLit
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. In 2016 she took over the management of this site and relishes her new title of “Overlord of Awesome”