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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight with M. Flagg


Candlelight flickers from standing candelabras flanking either side of the stone fireplace. The hardwood floors gleam in the muted light. Two burgundy throne chairs sit before a lion leg glass table. Dried gardenia petals in huge pewter vases permeate the air. Dragon gargoyles stand guard at the bar. Dressed in black flowing gown, Lady Sharon undulates into the room and takes a seat. Violin music softly strums in the background.

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! I am pleased to have M. Flagg, the amazing paranormal author of
THE CHAMPION CHRONICLES
With me in the house today. We will be chatting it up about book three in the series
HIS SOUL TO KEEP
So, come into my parlor. If you dare.

When the raven wall clock strikes midnight, the doorbell rings, chimes echoing through the mansion, Count Oliver, looking devilishly handsome in black leather, bouquet of fresh gardenias in hand, swaggers down the corridor and answers the door.'You rang, Mademoiselle Flagg.' Handing her the flowers, he kisses her neck and smiles. 'Follow me to the parlor where Lady Sharon sits in waiting.'

Mademoiselle Flagg: “Count,” I whisper. The sweet scent of gardenias fills my senses, and his smile causes each flame to blaze on candelabras in the far away parlor. The brush of such luscious lips, well, one can’t help but tingle. Who wouldn’t? I’m drawn to follow wherever he might lead. But the gracious Lady Sharon waits upon my arrival. Forcing my mind to focus, I take his arm and bask in the presence of Count Oliver.

A moment later, Count Oliver escorts Mademoiselle into the parlor.

A Chopin nocturne swells as Mademoiselle Flagg enters the parlor. Looking elegant in red cocktail dress and black leather boots, she air kisses Lady Sharon before sitting down on opposite throne.

Lady Sharon: Welcome, Mademoiselle. You look fabulous. I trust you had a good trip?

Mademoiselle Flagg: “It was one filled with anticipation. Thank you for having me back, Lady Sharon. As before, I am in awe of the lovely d├ęcor in the parlor.” …And that hunk of a butler. “You’ve redecorated. Burgundy is a favorite color of mine as well.”

Lady Sharon: Thank you for noticing. I love to decorate, one of my many passions.

Count Oliver slinks into room, roguish grin on his face. His eyes gleam as he arranges a platter of stuffed mushrooms and two chilled gin and tonics on the lion table. Taking Mademoiselle’s hand, he kisses it. 'I’m captivated, you are so lovely, Mademoiselle.'

Mademoiselle Flagg: The iced glass is positively chilling! Forget the mushrooms. I mean, who could chew fungus while feasting upon such, such maleness? The line of his wide hand is stunning. “Dear Oliver, it’s wonderful to see you again.” I dare not say more. In fact, there are no words. A quick sip cools the flash as I settle comfortably into the chair.

Lady Sharon: That will be all, Count Oliver. Do run along. The ladies, both countesses in another century, raise their glasses in a toast. Cheers, darling.

Lady Sharon: We are all dying to hear all the delicious details about book three in the Champion Chronicles. Do dish about

HIS SOUL TO KEEP

Mademoiselle Flagg: “Perfect, Lady Sharon. I love details. Perhaps that is why Michael’s journey unfolds in three books and not one. His road’s a bumpy one, but I’ll give a bit of who this sensual vampire really is. After two centuries as a merciless killer, and then another hundred years of harnessing the beast within his soul, Michael, a rather heroic creature of the night, not too hard on the eyes, either, is granted the unprecedented gift of being returned to human form. To find true love within his mortal life has always been his unspoken desire.”

Lady Sharon: Fascinating. Do tell about Michael’s looks

Mademoiselle Flagg: “Think tall, dark, and wickedly handsome.” We both sigh and nod. “Sired in 1690 by a powerful vampire, Michael was legendary for his lustful destruction of virginal women. Not only enjoying their necks, but hell-bent on other pleasures. In 1890, the evil in him soars to new heights and he crosses a tricky line only to seek an end to his undead existence. Instead of spiraling towards Hell, an angel intervenes. He is made mystically enhanced, a Champion who controls the beast within and knows the difference between good and evil. Then (in a dramatic twist) a full century later, Michael witnesses the birth of his son, Lukas, a human child who shouldn’t exist. Lukas is taken away from him immediately. Michael often revisits the very spot where his son was born, and one night, he finds Alana there and falls in love with the Guardian of Souls. This is, however, a forbidden romance. Alana’s mission is to destroy all demons in this world. When Alana leaves Michael, he’s primed and ready to seek revenge for what was done to his son. He is poisoned and captured, but Alana saves him. And as he heals, his very existence begins to change.  

Lady Sharon: Holds hand to heart, oh so dramatic. Now, Alana has questions and is curious about the other woman in Michael’s past. Do share.

Mademoiselle Flagg: Ah, the sultry Veronique Durant. For centuries, there were quite a few sensual romps with the dark goddess and Michael remembers them all. He knows what Veronique is capable of doing to an adversary, especially a former Guardian of Souls. Jealousy surges in Alana, who isn’t convinced Michael can put a silver sword to Veronique’s pretty little throat. That doubt will loom between Alana and Michael until the very second Veronique turns into bits of dust and bone.

Lady Sharon smiles. Ah, yes, the green-eyed monster indeed.  This book ends the trilogy. As they say, parting is such sweet sorrow. Your thoughts, m’dear?

Count Oliver freshens the cocktails, casting Mademoiselle a wicked wink.

Mademoiselle Flagg: Oliver has the most incredible eyes, just as hypnotizing as… “Oh. Yes. This parting is both sad and sweet. I enjoyed creating a cast of characters who gave Michael a reason to challenge himself and become a Champion. When I knew this story’s these would be redemption, it was only natural that such a commanding vampire had to have a super-strong support system. Naturally, Alana and Lukas became living, breathing entities along with Thorn and Celia, the Georgian Circle, and mystical healers called Catherines. I prefer to sink my teeth (pun intended) into juicy sagas with lots of characters and description. It’s said we write what we like, so I guess ‘three’ was the magic number, but each novel is also a stand-alone. A recent reviewer who read the entire trilogy was intrigued by Lukas, Michael’s son. Other fans of the series have asked what happens to him, the empathic Thorn and Celia as well.  Who knows? Maybe someday they’ll demand a few hundred pages of their own.

Lady Sharon: Most excellent. What’s next? Do tell us about your upcoming paranormal.

Count Oliver appears, carting a decadent devil’s food cake. With great ceremony, he slices a huge slice and feeds to Mademoiselle.

Mademoiselle Flagg: Can someone say heaven here!!! Oh Lord, his eyes. I push the plate away. Quick.

“Well, Lady Sharon, I’ve changed my writing name for this spicey paranormal novella. The reason is rather complicated, so I’ll simply say that Shela Sky’s The Vampire’s Touch, with a cover to die for, will be released this October from The Wild Rose Press.” Oliver brushes a delicious crumb of chocolate off my lips and a dreamlike “Thanks” drifts to his ear alone. Where was I? “Yes, my paranormal romance. This new vampire hero will unlock passion in a woman who has denied herself the right to love. Early reviews are exciting.”   

Lady Sharon: Mmm…sounds delicious. I’ll look forward to it. You simply must share a favorite legend or superstition with me.

Mademoiselle Flagg: “I’ll go with a superstition here; a silly one, in fact. In The Vampire’s Touch, my heroine walks along an icy street focused on skipping cracks in the cement. As a little girl, I remember singing the rhyme, keeping my fingers crossed I’d make it all the way home without one misstep. For Genevieve, opening her heart to love will expose her in a way she’s not ready to accept. The unconscious riskiness of avoiding cracks and not the ice beneath her feet foreshadows Genevieve’s internal dilemma.”  

Count Oliver returns with a copy of
HIS SOUL TO KEEP

Handing M. Flagg a pen with his blood-drawn ink, he smiles. Might I have your autograph, Mademoiselle?

Mademoiselle Flagg: My hand trembles. Oliver steadies it. “Yes. Of course, for you anything,” I breathe, less steady than I’d hope to show the renowned Lady Sharon. 

Lady Sharon: Sadly, that ends this most enchanting visit. Thank you for a fabulous chat. Always a pleasure catching up with you, Mademoiselle. Before you depart, do tell readers where they can buy your books.

Mademoiselle Flagg: “Lady Sharon, you are truly a gracious host. And the service is superb.” My eyes slide to Oliver. I hand him back the book as my heart flutters. “The Champion Chronicles: Retribution! Consequences… and His Soul to Keep are available in print and e-book at www.thewildrosepress.com, Amazon, and B&N. Thank you, dear Lady Sharon, for inviting me.”

Excerpt

HIS SOUL TO KEEP
THE CHAMPION CHRONICLES: BOOK THREE
By M. Flagg

From the kitchen table Alana watched a new day begin. Sleep had not been possible. Hours earlier, Michael had come home withdrawn and pale. He hadn’t said a word. She had watched him walk into the den, close the door. Then she called her father. He offered little information and not wanting to jump to erroneous conclusions, she did what relaxed her the most.

Automatically, she had mixed the necessary ingredients in a ceramic bowl; then kneaded the dough until it was smooth. And as full sun finally brightened the kitchen, she stared at two loaves of hot Italian bread. Dressed in one of Michael’s black silk shirts and a pair of leggings, she nursed a third cup of coffee.

His distinctive footsteps sounded in the hall. She drew in a deep breath and waited.
Instead of coming to the kitchen, Michael went into their bedroom. The shower started in the private bathroom. Alana set the table for breakfast… and worried. She thought about what she’d say to him, and worried more. When he sat at the table in silence, she placed the fresh bread and sweet butter down. A slight smile came from her as he stared at it. “It’s Zia’s recipe.


After a small bite, wonder showed on his face. “You continue to amaze me, my love. It’s delicious.”

She poured fresh coffee into a familiar crystal mug, and when he took it from her, she noticed his unsteady grip. Avoiding her gaze, he didn’t offer an explanation. “I spoke to Dad. Guardians are on the student house in Siena. Who is this ancient vampire?”

“Veronique Durant,” he bit out.

“Dad thinks she’s involved.” She waited for him to say something. Instead, he turned and stared out the window. Bells and whistles instantly went off in her head, having to draw information out of him after what she witnessed last night. “So tell me what I should know about her.”

Michael’s dark eyes grew intense enough to pierce through her. “Veronique sired Cyril. She was his mistress for many centuries. I knew her as well, way back when.”

She skipped over the ‘I knew her’ part. “How far is way back when, decades or centuries? Was she ever in New York? Maybe shipped her coffin over for a romantic rendezvous—or two?”
“Of course…Cyril lived there for hundreds of years.”

“When did he move to the Vermont estate?”

“During World War One,” he stated. “Before 1890, we often crossed the Atlantic to be with her. I said before 1890. Veronique flitted between continents whenever she wanted, but she preferred Florence.”
Don’t jump to conclusions, she reminded herself, and unable to ask the one question she needed him to answer, she said, “And?”

“We met the year I was turned, if that’s what you’re looking for.”

Alana leaned in. “Just met or—” His glower cut her short. “So what’s she like?”

After an endless pause, he leaned back. “Veronique’s pretty. Does that answer the question?”

It didn’t. “Just how pretty is pretty? How old is she, anyway? If she sired Cyril, that makes her your grandsire. And there are other connections. I’m just guessing.”

“Leave it alone, my Guardian. It’s ancient history.”

“I want answers, buddy.”

His right eyebrow rose, a typical reaction to the term and the tone. “Ah, the green-eyed monster strikes again. Last May it was aimed at Gabby, a holy healing sister. Now it’s a crotchety old vampire.”

“I’m guessing Veronique Durant doesn’t have wiry gray hair and warts.”

“You’d be right.”

“How is it that Cyril looked like a bleached prune and she doesn’t?”

She feeds often. Probably uses every type of bewitched cream and magical mud bath to fight the aging
process. Veronique is more than vain. Cyril was a recluse who avoided human pleasures. This vampire craves passion.”

“Just like you—before your re-acquaintance with conscience and soul.”

“I never touched Veronique after I reclaimed my soul—after 1890, if it’s any consolation, darlin’. In fact, I never touched any woman, alive or otherwise, after I saw you.”

Her foot kept time with war drums in her brain. “She’s going down, darlin’, right home to Hell along with your old friend who has stolen yet another soul.”

“The beast within isn’t my old friend, Alana,” he angrily replied. “I contained its need to kill for the last hundred-plus years.”

“This girl is an innocent. The Catherines will save her the same way they saved you.”

I didn’t welcome the beast within when it swallowed my soul in 1690.”

“You actually believe she welcomed this thing?” She took her coffee cup to the sink. It clanged against the black porcelain. “Why didn’t you ever tell me about Veronique?”

“Why didn’t you read up on other vampires besides me?”

As she turned, her face flushed. Her glare intensified. “Just answer my question.”

“Those centuries have nothing to do with us. Let it go. It was a different existence.”

“Gee, I can’t keep up. The brash 1690s Englishman looking for sex in all the wrong places, the gorgeous vamp with a-a virgin fetish, the mystically enhanced creature who fought for his soul, the immortal being who vowed to walk through the fires of Hell for me, and now, a living, breathing man telling me to let it go. There have been so, so many Michael Malones.” She turned back to the sink, wishing it full of dirty dishes to scrub. “For more than a week, I’ve craved conversation, not a battle of wits. And you still haven’t explained last night.”


He came behind, locked her against the counter. “I don’t want to bicker. None of it matters, Alana.”
Warm lips pressed against her neck. Kisses traced her right shoulder. Just the slightest touch fueled a fire she couldn’t control. She fought the peak of frustration telling her pulse not to race. “We need to talk,” she said as her temperature soared. Bracing her back, she turned to face him.

BRIEF BIO: M. Flagg’s His Soul to Keep released at the end of July in print and e-book format. It is the final novel in The Champion Chronicles Trilogy published by The Wild Rose Press. Writing as Shela Sky, The Vampire’s Touch, a spicy novella, will be released by TWRP in October 2011. Learn more about Mickey at http://www.mflagg-author.com/ or read reviews of her and Shela’s stories at http://paranormalpassion.blogspot.com/


25 comments:

Sharon Donovan said...

A warm welcome for Mademoiselle Flagg

Oliver said...

Count Oliver kisses Mademoiselle's hand, hands her bouquet of gardenias and a gin n tonic.

Debra St. John said...

Mmmn mmnnnnn. Vampires are my favorites. Your books sound perfect for me Mademoiselle Flagg.

And Oliver in black leather?! Hold me back...or wait, don't! (wink)

Hugs and kisses to you, Sharon.

P.L. Parker said...

Love those vampires! Enjoyed the post!

M.Flagg said...

Good Morning, Lady Sharon and Count Oliver! I'm thrilled to spend some time with both of you.

After yesterday's earthquake, my nerves have finally settled down. Who would have expected that northern New Jersey could actually shake, rattle and roll? Quite an unnerving experience I won't soon forget. Come to think of it, I may need a few gin and tonics!

M.Flagg said...

Hello Debra and P.L., and nice of you to come by. Vampires are a favorite of mine, too. They are such unpredictable heroes and very exciting to write. That dark side is exciting to explore. Don't you agree?

Calisa Rhose said...

Ooh so intriguing! I would love to add this to my tbr pile. Wonderful interview. Kiss Oliver for me!

Oliver said...

Ladies ladies, doubles all around after yesterday's earth quake. Oliver walks away singing, 'I feel the earth move under my feet...'

Sharon Donovan said...

Welcome, Debra, Patsy, Calisa, yes we all love our vampires and Mickey has a winning trilogy. Mickey, I was writing a cemetery scene yesterday when my computer chair began rolling for about a minute. It really freaked me out and when media reported that we had just experienced an earth quake in Pittsburgh, I was stunned!

jamiebabette said...

Fun interview, Mickey! Best wishes on the releases.

M.Flagg said...

Nice to meet you, Calisa. Thanks for your interest in The Champion Chronicles. Writing and editing Retribution! was a learning experience. By the time Consequences was released I had a better handle on what it means to write and get the word out there. BTW, you have a very nice blog :)

Best of luck to you and your writing!
~ Mickey

M.Flagg said...

Oh my, dear Oliver! What a great voice and a perfect song choice. Did you know I'm a musician? Would have loved to have you in my chorus...

I'll take that double now.

M.Flagg said...

Oooh, Sharon, a cemetery scene? Sounds right up my alley. I was working on a report at home when the laptop as well as the table began to jiggle. Then the cat shot out of the sunroom as the deck literally rolled. Quite memorable and a bit disconcerting, wouldn't you say?

As for the trilogy, I'm forever grateful to my talented editor, Callie Lynn Wolfe for her guidance and belief in my storytelling. She gave The Champion Chronicles its title. It was perfection!

M.Flagg said...

We have another talented writer here. Welcome, Jamie! It's great that you stopped by. I can just imagine how busy you are this time of year.

Thanks for the best wishes:) Hope to see you at the NJRW conference in October!

Mary Ricksen said...

What an incredible idea for a story! I love vampires, the badder the better. Lovely blog today ladies. I think I'll read some more...

M.Flagg said...

Hi Mary. Glad to hear you're a vamp fan. Michael's a 'different type of vampire' as a few reviews have stated. Finding the different spin on redemption got a bit tricky, but the lore is such fun to play with. Alana's a bit Buffy, but Michael would give Angel a run for his money. And then there's always Dark Shadows.

It's great to see you here!
~ Mickey

Sharon Donovan said...

Jamie, so nice to meet another talent, have a cocktail with us.

Sharon Donovan said...

Mary my sweet darling girl, so nice of you to visit. Do have a seat on satin settee

Sharon Donovan said...

Oooooh my, Mickey, what an experience, being in the throws of an earth quaike of all things. Your poor kitty, although fabulous atmosphere for paranormal, wink.

Hywela Lyn said...

Good afternoon ladies, may I say how elegant and lovely you look in your beautiful gowns - and hello Oliver! Mmmwaah!

Mickey, The Champion Chronicles sounds like an amazing series, and I'm so intrigued by the excerpt!

Sympathies to both you and Sharon, thank must have been a very unnerving experience. Thankfully we rarely get anything more than a mild tremor here in the UK - can't imagine what a real one must feel like - although since I'm in the middle of an earthquake seen in my current (futuristic) WIP perhaps I'd better do some secondhand research. (No way do I want to do it first hand, thank you!:)

All the best with your series Mickey, it sounds like a scintillating and original take on the vampire.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Lyn, sweet friend, so good of you to pop in and join us. Do sit in one of the lion chairs or settee sofas. No, my dear, no way do you need to feel the earth move unless it's well....grin...

M.Flagg said...

Hi Lyn. Thanks for those lovely compliments. Red and black are a winning combination. His Soul to Keep brings a happy conclusion to Michael's story.

Sorry for the delay in getting back here. I had a book signing and discussion quite far away from home. Unfortunately on the heels of our earthquake there was a horrible bus accident on the road I was on. Traffic absolutely crawled... Highway to Hell would be my song choice for the New Jersey Turnpike today.

Now we are bracing for hurricane Irene. Need I say more? Perhaps Oliver can serenade us with "Singing in the rain" or something just as appropriate.

Thanks for stopping by!

M.Flagg said...

Lady Sharon and Count Oliver, thank you for having me today. The company was top-notch, the drinks just what I needed:) I just may have to spend the night.

Blessings to both of you!
~ Mickey

Sharon Donovan said...

Mickey, my dear, of course you can spend the night, such a horrid week, but one for added theatrics for a future book, I dare say!
We loved hosting you, come back any time. Best of luck with your upcoming release, sounds enticing. Until next time, Mademoiselle Flagg, take care Wishing you all good things, don't step on any cracks!

Sharon Donovan said...

A warm thank you to all for stopping by. A special thank you to my dear friend Hywela for adding the beautiful graphics. Thanks, Lyn, very theatrical. Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and blessings,
Sharon