Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dark Diamonds (The Jewel Series)

Dark Diamonds (The Jewel Series) by Serena Zane

Agent Lucy Montgomery's twin brother is missing, and an art thief is on the loose. Lucy is part of an underground law enforcement agency called F.I.U.W. - Forced Intelligence of the United World, a privately-funded anti-terrorist organization. When she discovers that her brother was involved
in a case involving art theft from International Museums, Lucy devises a scheme to get him back.

Everything falls to pieces when they learn the thieves they're dealing with are much more than they appear. Hormones are on full tilt with the sudden appearance of Agent Kevin Garrett, her ex-teammate, and the man she's named the Ice King. Lucy must deal with her feelings and put aside an old grudge to save her brother, and solve the case he was working before tragedy takes over.

Serena Zane is a best-selling eclectic author who writes Paranormal Romance, Action/adventure Romance, and Sweet Romance. She lives with her husband and son in the Northwest. She works hard at her full-time job, plays hard, and spends her time studying the Middle Ages, crossing swords on the battlefield in a re-creationist organization called the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc (SCA); and writing.

Zane broke into the writing scene with her best-selling short stories published through Books To Go Now. Her latest release, The Hunter Diaries anthology, is a compilation of four of her shorts and is out in both print and eBook.

Inspired by her mother, a strong independent woman who loves to help others, Zane writes strong female leads and hot alpha males with sizzling fast-paced plot lines.
In 2009, she became a member of Romance Writer's of America, and is currently the secretary and web minister of the Olympia, Washington Chapter.
Zane won the Lucy Monroe Award in 2011 for her accomplishments as an author through her R.W.A. chapter. Always an writer, she laughs as she recalls her first story (written in kindergarten) entitled "My First Romance Novel" on construction paper in purple and pink. She fell in love with the idea of writing a contemporary action/adventure romance while she attended college to study Criminal Justice. Since then, Zane has combined both her knowledge of Criminal Justice and her love for all things paranormal into her writing.
Her series include: The Hunter Diaries, The Dark Warrior series, & The Jewel series. Zane has also released three Sweet Romance shorts, which are based around her adventures in the S.C.A.
To check out what Serena Zane is up to via Twitter or Facebook - friend her twitter@serenazane or facebook.com/serenazane - and check out her website where she maintains a blog & often participates in giveaways - www.serenazane.com

Let’s start out by telling us about yourself..

I live in the Northwest with my gorgeous husband William and our son, Cirdan. I’m a writer, a violinist, a singer, and a seamstress. If it goes bump in the night, I’m normally there, and love to add a twist to old tales and mythology.

And your book?

Which one? I have several out, but I love to write paranormal romance, action/adventure romance, and some semi-sweet romance. I got into writing because I love my HEA (Happily Ever Afters), but I got bored with the books that were out. Finally. I realized that if I wanted to read a particular thing, then I might just have to write it myself. So, I did. The Jewel series is based around the Alpha Team from a privately-funded anti-terrorist organization called F.I.U.W (Forced Intelligence of the United World) in a post 9/11 world. The Hunter Diaries series is a paranormal romance series based in Seattle, Washington. The stories center around the lives of the Wills’ - a vampire hunting family, and their friends. And last, but certainly not least is the Dark Warrior series, based in Boston, Mass (one of my favorite places), the main character is Detective Nikki Adams, who teams up with a pair of vampire P.I.’s to solve supernatural crimes, when Nikki discovers that she too is part werewolf, the story really takes off. The Dark Warrior series is actually a short story serial that is going to go on indefinitely. I currently have about seven books mapped out in that storyline.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written, in fact, my mother just brought my old memory trunk to my house last Christmas and it had my first romance book in it. Written in Kindergarten with BIG block writing on pink and purple construction paper. I think maybe it was always meant to be. I did, of course, spend time at other careers first, but this is perhaps where I was meant to end up.

How did you pick your pen name? 
I actually play in the Society of Creative Anachronism, Inc. which is a educational-based re-creationist group for the Middle Ages, and I have gone by that name for over twelve years, I thought maybe three names would be a bit much to remember, I chose to stick with Serena Zane. That way I only have split personality disorder and not multiple personality disorder.

How long did it take you to write your book? 
My first book took about two years. Now, I can bust out a short novella in a weekend, and a whole book in around two months. It’s the editing that kills the time.

What genre is your book? 
What made you choose to write in that category?  As I said, I write in paranormal romance, action/adventure romance, and some semi-sweet romance. We’ll work a little backwards here. My semi-sweet romances branch off actual experiences I have had in the SCA. I take little snip-its of an event and create a tale, it’s fun and light-hearted, and it helps with my imagination to take me back to a time when courtesy wasn’t dead, and besides, who doesn’t like swords? The action/adventure comes from my love of crime and punishment. I’ve never quite been able to pin down why I love reading and watching shows or stories with a criminal element, but I see them and go, “Ooh cool.” I went to school to get my degree in criminal justice, and during my class in Terrorism and Counter Terrorism, I got some homework assignments that actually came with warning labels. I thought perhaps instead of freaking myself out late at night while I did homework alone in a dark house, I could put some of my ideas to paper. Thus, the Jewel Series was born. Now, to my favorite...Paranormal Romance. I once was told by another author that you should write what you love. I love vampires, werewolves, and all things that go bump, and I love romance. I literally rolled over in bed one morning and noticed my bookshelf was full of almost all paranormal romance novels, and I thought, why not give it a try. I combined my love of the paranormal and my knowledge of the criminal world together, and suddenly a story was born.

What was your work schedule like when you were writing? 
As I write constantly, and am working on being able to be a full-time writer, it’s hectic. I spend around one hour a day promoting, five hours writing/editing, and eight hours - five days a week at my day job. Between that, I fit in my family, exercise, friends, the SCA, and playing music. I don’t really have any “down” time. I do take one hour a day to catch up on some of my favorite shows - Vampire Diaries, Warehouse 16, Beauty and the Beast, and Lost Girl.

Are you a boogier or quiet writer? (Music playing or silence?) Both? 
Can I say both? It really depends. I went and got my pugs, which I stick in when I don’t want my family bugging me as I write, and I’m doing a really intense scene. Then I put on appropriate “mood music” and write. Be it Disturbed to my favorite European band Apaika.

What type of research goes into your books?
Lots and lots of research. Text books, the internet, sources (that’s people in the field), actually going to places and doing things that my character would do. One time I actually learned to fly a Cessna because I wanted to know what my character Cindy experienced in Crystal Clear as a pilot.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written fifteen books. So far, my favorite is Ruby Red, the fourth book in the Jewel Series which is being released this month.

Are you currently working on another book? 
If so, is it part of a series or something different? Yes, I am currently working on a full-length single title (that means it will be around 300 pages or more when finished). It is a stand alone, but references some of the characters and ideologies in The Hunter Diaries series which are all short stories. My readers have asked that I write a longer novel, so I am.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
Play in the SCA, sword-fighting, play the violin (I concentrate on music from the 16th century), sing just about anything, and hang out with my friends and family. Sometimes I paint (oils).

What does your family think of your writing? 
My son thinks I’m cool, and tells his friends his mom is a writer. He even read one of my shorts out loud to a group of 16-year-old boys. Ha! It was one of my semi-sweet romances, I wouldn’t let him read the others. My husband is proud and in fact encourages me, and helps with continuity edits.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in creating your books? 
I have a really dark side.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 
Act, write, and sing.

What snacks are a must have when you’re writing? 
Beef jerky. I’m not really a sweets person, but if I can’t get my red meat and coffee, watch out!

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  1. Thanks for having me. I look forward to hearing from readers.

  2. Hi Serena, nice to write a draft of a novella in a weekend. Darn, I envy that. It takes me forever. Then the editing takes me longer than forever. Your series sound like fantastic adventure reads. Just my kind of stuff.
    Good luck and keep them coming.

    1. @Lorrie - Thanks for dropping in. Sometimes a weekend is enough if I focus only on that and let everything else go. Nanowrimo actually taught me that you can write more than you ever imagined possible in a short amount of time if you focus. I do Nano every year, my husband makes a joke that he doesn't have a wife for the month of November.

  3. looks like a great book! and the answer is sword fighting

    1. @Linda - Sword fighting is great. Total stress-reliever. If you purchase a copy of Dark Diamonds, please let me know what you think. I have three more in the series to be released soon.