My Books!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tasting Fire

Welcome to Shelly Holt's blog tour.  Shelly will award a $20 Starbucks GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour so follow her and comment often.  you can find a list of her stops at
Shelly, we're so glad you stopped by. 
QWhat genre do you write in and what drew you to it?

Shelly HoltI technically write paranormal romance.  After you read Tasting Fire it becomes obvious that the story really straddles several different genres.  There are elements of the paranormal in that the plot focuses on shape-shifters, but unlike other paranormal romances there is no magic in Tasting Fire.


The extremely well developed plot uses the hypothesis that shape-shifters that are recorded in the mythology and folktales of cultures all over the world and throughout history actually developed due to a bacterial infection.  There are also very strong spiritual overtones that help define the story and bring it to its incredibly satisfying end.  The love scenes are smoking hot and keep it well within the parameters of romance.  It's truly a unique story. 


Basically, I decided to write the book I always wanted to read.  One of my favorite authors, Sharon Shinn's extraordinary world building skills, inspired me to strive to build a rich culture for the Pari.


It takes several chapters to explain who they are and what challenges they are facing as a people.  If you are expecting the main characters to just jump in bed with each other, like in erotica, then you might get a little frustrated (no pun intended).  The relationship between the two main love interests develops, but slowly.  Without explaining the context of their backgrounds, the relationship just wouldn't have worked.


QWhat do you think makes the book a page turner?

Shelly HoltThe incredibly fast paced plot twists that occur after the introduction and budding romance of the two main characters.  I also created well developed secondary characters that helped carry the story.

QHow many works in progress do you have going on?


Shelly HoltI have started the research for still untitled second book in the Tasting Fire series.


QWhat other authors if any have influenced your writing?

Shelly Holt  -  As mentioned earlier, I love Sharon Shinn's Samaria series.  One thing I learned from her work, was that as a reader, I much preferred two new romantic partners to be introduced in each book. I also learned that less is more in romance.  Overly descriptive scenes rob the reader from creating the scene in their own mind.  I describe my characters physically, but rarely go overboard in relying on their physical appearance to push the plot along.  I do call them the handsome shape-shifter and the  beautiful scientist many times in the story, but only to refrain from overusing their first names during the course of the story. 

QWhat do you think is the hardest part of writing?  The easiest?


Shelly HoltEditing and copy proofing are the hardest for me.  It took me three months to edit and proof  Tasting Fire and that was working at least 50-60 hours a week on it.  I probably have read it at least 500 times at this point, and yes, I see snow leopards in my sleep.


The easiest for me was creating the mythology of the Pari and bringing my characters to life.  Some characters were a little more of a challenge than others.  I had to work really hard to make Kai Tenzin more than just a cardboard love interest.  I gave him several of my own personality traits to flesh him out.  For example, Kai doesn't sleep on planes, because I don't sleep on planes.  His relationship problems with his father, however, are not a reflection of his author's relationship with her father.  I get along just fine with my dad.


Nawang, however, was a totally different story.  He just flowed out of me, sometimes it felt like I was taking dictation from him more than I was writing him.  Nawang is honestly my favorite character in Tasting Fire and I think it shows.


Rae was somewhere in the middle of the two, in terms of difficulty.  I lived for two years in Las Vegas and those experiences definitely helped me to build her character.  For the record though, I worked in a call center for a major international bank.  I was never a topless dancer!


Thanks for having me visit today and share my experience of writing Tasting Fire with your readers.
You're very welcome.  I hope you have great success with your book.

Shape-shifters have always walked the earth. Shrouded in myth and folklore, hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting. Advances in modern science are now about to reveal them to the world. Kai Tenzin is the self appointed leader of the Pari people. He and his kind evolved from the most reclusive predators on earth. They live and hunt in the most fearsome and rugged terrain known to man, the Himalayas. Kai leaves his small village where the mountains touch the heavens, determined to do anything to protect his people. When he is forced to enlist the aid of the beautiful American scientist Dr. Rae Hales, the last thing he expects to find is a woman who will ensnare his heart and endanger them all. Their action-packed adventure will take them around the world to discover the truth behind the legends and reveal the future of humanity.  

The short ride to Kizhi island was exhilarating on the open hydrofoil.  Kai helped Rae off the boat as it docked at the seven mile long island.  The tour group followed their guide off the dock and onto the island.  They listened intently as the guide in stilted English advised them that the site had become a  world heritage site in nineteen-ninety.  There were more than eighty pieces of wooden architecture that made up the outdoor museum’s collection.  The guide then gestured for the large group to follow him.  The tour group was led up to a magnificent structure.  The center piece of the collection that was known as The Church of Transfiguration. 
Rae felt as if she had stepped right into a storybook.  The guide started his official recitation on the history of the structure “the Church of Transfiguration has twenty two onion domes.  It was built during the reign of Peter the Great.  No nails were used in the construction and it was created by using interconnecting wood pieces only.”  Kai stood back taking picture after picture of the breathtaking silver domes.  The guide then indicated for them to enter and put his finger over his mouth to indicate silence.
  As Kai and Rae walked in they could hear why the guide silenced them.  A trio of singers were performing a deeply moving mass.  Behind them a gold leaf Russian icon painting glinted in the light that was streaming in through the dusty windows.  The effect transported the tour group back in time.  They were now in a time before digital cameras, before cell phones, to a time when the Tzars ruled Imperial Russia with an iron fist.
Author Information:
My name is Shelly Holt and I live in the middle of the harsh and unforgiving Mojave desert. I write my stories looking out of a window that shows sweeping desert views. Outside is a barren and severe landscape, yet inside my head lives a world filled with exotic shape-shifters come to life, pulled from the pages of myth and legend, ready to entice and seduce any reader brave enough to take them on.
It's funny, I never wanted to be a writer!  In 7th grade English, we were given an assignment.  We were told to write an original poem and turn it in the next day.  I was determined to turn in not a good poem, but a great poem.  I spent the whole night working on it instead of watching my favorite show, The Waltons.  (Hey! it was 1980.)  I turned it in the next day.  Apparently, I succeeded a little too well and was accused of copying it from a book. (1980 remember, no internet yet).  The teacher stated and I quote "this is too good for a seventh grader, where did you copy it from?"  Well, I didn't write for 30 years after that. In my 40's, after a life changing move to rural Nevada as a caregiver to my father, I realized I needed a way to earn a little money on the side.  I did some research on the internet and read all about a certain little book, about a certain little college student and a handsome billionaire with some ahem! (issues.)  I decided after reading that book, I could do that, and Tasting Fire was born. I'll admit it's been strange revisiting a talent buried deep inside for so long, forgotten, but apparently not lost. It's been an important journey and one I am quite thankful for and excited to see where it takes me.
Shelly Holt
 P.S. Mr. Jordan, I really did write that poem!



Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Rita Wray said...

I didn't realize how much work it is to edit and proof a book.


Unknown said...

Thanks for inviting me on the blog today.

Unknown said...

Yes, it was a lot of work, but that was because I chose to self publish.

Catherine Lee said...

Shelly...Even when self-publishing, it's a good idea to contract with a professional editor. Did you think about having an editor?
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Elaine Cantrell said...

Shelly, thanks so much for coming.

Unknown said...

I would have loved to have hired a professional editor, but was quoted over $20,000 by one person and $9,000 by another. They were simply beyond my budget.