Fangtastic Friday Welcomes Veronica Scott

I’m thrilled to welcome Veronica Scott to Embrace the Shadows today, and after reading her biography and reviewing her interesting blog, I’ve got a few burning questions.

I know you’re a stickler for research, Veronica.  I, too, tend to get lost in the research, sometimes to the detriment of my deadlines.  How much research is too much, or is there ever too much?

I really enjoy doing research – love finding those buried nuggets of information! Ancient Egyptian history and mythology is so incredibly complex. But I do have to limit myself or I’d never write the actual story. Usually I get a sort of excited creative feeling, a nudging at the back of my brain that says “Yes!”  And then I know I’ve got what I need for either the specific story problem I was working on, or for lighting a little fire to work on something new and I’d better stop researching and seize the creative moment. Use it or lose it!

I do a lot of research but I am working in an alternate, paranormal version of Ancient Egypt, so I make no claim to be writing actual historical novels. I play with the details to serve the story.

Your book, Priestess of the Nile, explores the Egyptian civilization of 1,500 B.C., which is a rare period in history for romance.  I love that you’ve created something so different.  How did you come up with the premise for this book?

I’ve always enjoyed anything to do with Ancient Egypt. The 1500 BC era was a time of flux; Egyptian civilization had been going on for a very long time already but was facing challenges from within and without. Yet since it’s 3000 years removed from us, there’s a lot of mystery, many things seem possible. An unsettled time is a good time for adventures!

I personally enjoy fiction where the gods and goddesses intervene in real life the way ancient people believed and wanted them to do.  There was a challenge involved in taking a character like the Crocodile God Sobek through an emotional arc. What writer can resist a hero with a conflicted back story? He’s been around since the universe was created yet never felt true love, has been put under the command of newer, more powerful gods, doesn’t really relate to humans much… drifts in and out of affairs with goddesses (four that I know of!)…

Once, I realized he was a shifter, to use our paranormal terminology, I could write his story. And most importantly for a paranormal romance writer, he could experience romantic Happily Ever After love with the right human woman.

You’ve lived through earthquakes, tornadoes, and near-death experiences.  How have these near tragedies affected the way you live your life?

I try to appreciate people in the moment, express my feelings, do things I want to do NOW, not wait for a future time.  As you say, certain events in my personal life have taught me how fleeting life can be, there are no guarantees and it’s better to express the feelings. I was widowed many years ago but my daughters and I have always had the comfort that we took an extra minute to have a family hug and say good-bye that sunny afternoon, which we didn’t always do, before my husband “just” went for a bike ride.

You’re a voracious reader, and you enjoy the full spectrum of romance genres, from regency to paranormal.  If you had to choose five favorite books, what would they be?

My caveat always is that my favorite depends on my mood but since you’ll let me have five (whee!) – in no certain order then:

  • Alpha & Omega by Patricia Briggs
  • Frederica by Georgette Heyer
  • All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
  • Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas tied with  The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky
  • Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings

Wow, five comes up fast! Didn’t get to Nalini Singh, Christine Feehan….so many!

Okay, just for fun, if you had to pick five people to have dinner with (and they can be living, dead, or fictional), who would they be…and why?

I think I’ll have an all girls evening so let’s invite:

  • Lessa of Pern (from the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey)  a smart, tough cookie, but also a wife and mother, balancing tremendous responsibilities with a personal life
  • Sascha Duncan (from the Psy Wars series by Nalini Singh), again as a person who balances life in uncertain times, huge responsibilities married to the leader of the DarkRiver Pack, yet still having a happy personal life
  • Jane Austin, who needs no introduction. I’m sure she could help us keep the conversation sparkling, not entirely focused on world changing events
  • The Egyptian goddess Lady Ma’at, keeper of Truth, one of the Judges in the Afterlife. She’d have interesting stories to tell since she measures the worth of each person’s heart (and not as scary as Isis)
  • Anna (from Patricia Briggs’ Alpha & Omega) who is still feeling her way in the werewolf world and gaining confidence.

Wish my table sat more than five guests! Fun to think about….

Where can readers buy your book, Veronica?

The book is available at Carina Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Thanks so much for spending time with us today.  Following is an excerpt from Priestess of the Nile.

Chapter One

The old abandoned temple remained one of his favorite spots along the Nile, overlooking the river from a small bluff, with a deserted beach below. Bek stood gazing across the sparkling water at bronze- and black-spotted crocodiles sunbathing in the final rays of the setting sun. A breathtaking mix of colors stained the sky as the Goddess Nuit spread her cloak across the heavens, sprinkling the black velvet with stars.

A beautiful soprano voice rose from the beach below the bluff. Bek recognized the words of a familiar old song, given new meaning by the hypnotizing, alluring voice. I must see this songbird. She’s cast some kind of spell over me.

He strolled along the path from the ruins toward the beach. Taking the last turn on the trail, he walked out on the sand and found the woman. She waded in the water, casting a small fishing net and retrieving it, every once in a while picking out a wriggling silver fish and throwing it into a waiting basket on the beach.

Her ample breasts flashed into view when she leaned over. She had kilted her skirt to her thighs, revealing shapely legs. Long ebony hair was caught behind her ears with combs in the shape of seashells.

Wouldn’t I like to take those combs out and see her hair tumble down—she’s as beautiful as her voice. He must have made some sound. She stopped singing and wheeled, taking an involuntary step deeper into the river at the sight of him, a stranger. Her face paled under her tan and her eyes opened wide as she staggered, caught by an eddy of the current.

“Don’t be frightened, please. I mean you no harm.” He held his hands up, palms out, and smiled. “I heard your singing and it drew me here. I only wanted to give my thanks for the concert.”

She laid one hand on her graceful throat, toying with an amulet on a thong. “You startled me.” Poised to bolt, the girl appeared wary, probably planning an attempt to run past him.

“I apologize.” He kicked off his sandals and waded into the water at an angle from her. The net drifted lazily in a whirlpool; he reached out and caught it, lifting the tangled strands from the river.

“Oh, don’t! You’ll ruin your fine kilt, sir.” She came to him hastily and took the net from his hands. “The river runs muddy at this time of the year. Your servants will labor in vain to get the stains out.”

He glanced at his waist. Oh yes, I did choose to wear the pleated white kilt of a nobleman. He followed her to the shore as she splashed through tiny waves with her net. “Fortunately, I have no servants to worry with such things.”

While putting his sandals on, Bek frowned at the Nile crocodiles lying deceptively immobile on the opposite bank, then glanced at her. “You take great risks, walking into the river with those beasts nearby.”

One of the animals twitched. Bek glared at it. The creature met his eyes for a second, then settled onto the sand.

“Oh, I’m not afraid. I’m protected.” She was busy folding the net and packing it into a compartment in the lid of her fish creel. She didn’t even spare a moment to consider the predators across the water.

He coughed to cover his instinctive laugh. “Protected? And exactly how are you warded against attack?”

She stood briskly, raised her chin and tugged an amulet free of her dress to show him. It was a small green stone crocodile hanging on a frayed black leather thong. “My great-grandmother was the last priestess of the temple on the bluff above.”

He indicated the amulet. “May I see it?”

The girl unlooped the cord from her neck and handed the necklace over. “Great-Grandmother told me the amulet was blessed by the Crocodile God himself and would protect me from his creatures.” Bek chuckled, holding the tiny figurine in his large meaty hand. “Mighty protection indeed.” He momentarily closed the pendant in his fist, then tossed it to her with a slight bow.

“Nonetheless, you shouldn’t take such chances. Crocodiles are crafty and fierce.”

When she refastened the amulet the stone pendant fell between her shapely breasts. She unkilted her skirts and the simple dress fell to her ankles. As she bent to lift her basket of fish Bek put his hand atop hers on the handle. She gave him a wide-eyed glance but stepped aside to let him lift her burden.

“Thank you, sir. I’m going to sit in the shade and eat my dinner now.” She pointed at the nearby grove of palms. “Would you care to join me?”

“I’m not hungry, but I’ll sit if you don’t object. An hour of good conversation is a pleasant way to end the day.”

She peeked sideways at him while she walked. Eventually she smiled shyly. “I’m grateful for the company. My name is Merys.” She stood nearly as tall as him, unusual in a woman, but he found it distinctly attractive. Her face was lovely, oval and browned by the sun, which set off her sparkling black eyes. She was all lush curves and smooth skin—his cock stirred with lust but he restrained his arousal.

She seems to be an innocent maiden, of good family by her educated speech, not a woman to be lightly trifled with for an afternoon. He realized he was standing rooted to one spot, lost in admiration of her beauty. Shaking his head, he started walking again. “Call me Bek.”

“A propitious name for this place, if your naming was in tribute to the Crocodile God.” Merys slanted a look at him sideways and chuckled. “Are you a merchant? Is your ship anchored somewhere nearby?” Not waiting for an answer, she sank bonelessly under the tallest palm. Lifting a shawl that lay draped there across some wicker hampers, she pulled out a hard roll filled with dried meat.

Bek set the stinking fish creel on the sand well away from where he planned to sit, but safely in the shade. He lowered himself into a cross-legged position and leaned against the tree, hands clasped behind his neck. “I travel along the Nile quite often, yes.”

She blinked and raised her eyebrows. He hadn’t precisely answered either of her questions but she didn’t press the matter. “Did you come to see the temple ruins?”

He nodded. The truth, as far as it goes.

5 Responses to “Fangtastic Friday Welcomes Veronica Scott”
  1. Thank you very much for having me here as a guest today! I really loved the questions you asked, especially about the dinner party!

  2. I LOVE books with a bit of mythology in them, and Egyptian mythology is one of my faves. In case those words alone don’t convince you, I’ll say I was a Classics/Anthropology Double-Major in college, lol. Thanks, I’ve added this to my TBR pile. 🙂

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