Welcome to this week’s edition of Cozy Guest Friday! Today I’m pleased to roll out the guest carpet for a very dear friend of mine, author Marguerite Arotin whose newest romance, The Last Sorceress, is available now from Passion in Print….
She played the game never expecting it be real or deadly. But when Janet Lind becomes her sorceress alter-ego can she fight to protect her son and Dazzart the Bold, the sexy ogre who brought her to his world?
Dazzart finds himself drawn to Janet in both human and sorceress form. Yet he knows that nothing come from his attraction to her because of his brutal heart and hideous form. How can a sorceress and an ogre live happily ever after in the shadow of an evil sorceress and her demonic horde when more than passion is on the line?
Tink: Thank you, Cozies! I would like to point out again that since the local tribe has appointed Captain Jack Sparrow their king, I thereby consider myself to be his queen and consort and should only be addressed as Her Majesty :)
Time for another round of drinks from the tiki bar. Marguerite, if you were a mixed drink what would you be and why? Tink: And now we hula! From PutSomeRumin'it, this is Tink, Jack, and Marguerite signing off....
Marguerite: Probably a Midori Sour because sometimes I’m about 50% sweet and 50% sour ;)
Tink: If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring only one of the following…what would they be? Person? Song? Book?
Marguerite: Person- My husband of course because after being married to him for so long I couldn’t imagine even being stranded without him. Song- Don’t Stop Believing by Journey because it’s my theme song :) Book- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows because I love the way Ms. Rowling ended the series and I could read that book over and over again.
Tink: What would be the name of your pet gourd?
Marguerite: Kermit, in honor of my favorite Muppett :)
Tink: Now for a bit about your book. If you wrote to music, what would be this book’s theme song?
Marguerite: Possession by Sarah McLachlan. Beautiful song and the lyrics perfectly describe what my heroine goes through when she stumbles into an alternate world in the form of a beautiful sorceress.
Tink: What are the first words your hero speaks to your heroine (or vice versa)?
Marguerite: Janet is an Ogre Nation convention/gaming tournament when she first meets Dazzart in his human form as the hunky CEO of Ogre Nation. When she learns that the newest Ogre Nation game release will be called The Last Sorceress, she gets a little nervous. So to the embarrassment of her teenage son she raises her hand and says: “You call this game The Last Sorceress. Does this mean that the players can’t play the sorceress avatar in the new game?” Her question perks my hero’s interest because he’s been coming to our world for years, searching for a woman who could be the sorceress that his mother foretold would bring peace to his world.
Tink: Would you define your hero as an alpha or a beta? Why?
Marguerite: Mostly Alpha but a teensy bit of beta. He’s a battle hungry ogre, a warrior. Always out to fight to protect anything he cares about. But deep down inside of him, there’s that softer beta side. He’s smart and passionate. In the course of the story, Janet manages to bring that sweeter beta side out. I’ve always been a sucker for stories like that so this was fun to write.
Tink: Does your hero prefer to wear boxers, briefs, a kilt? Or commando? ;)
Marguerite: Commando ;). But while he’s on Earth and takes on his human form of Glenn Bowman, he wears boxers because he knows that’s more acceptable to the human norm of things.
Tink: What is your heroine’s idea of the perfect date?
Marguerite: Getting dressed up like a fairy princess and attending a ball or large banquet.
Tink: What is your favorite thing about each character?
Marguerite: The insecurity in Janet. I think every woman wonders if they’re pretty enough or brave enough. I also love how she finds that inner strength to protect anyone she cares about. She has a fierce devotion. With my ogre hero, Dazzart, I love both his warrior side and the softer side that Janet brings out in him. They complement each other nicely because he gives her the courage she needs and she gives him the confidence he needs.
Tink: More seriously, what was your biggest challenge crafting this story or these characters?
Marguerite: Creating the large scale fantasy battles. This was my first foray into the world of fantasy and writing the battle scenes scared me a little. But I watched a lot of The Lord of the Rings movies and that helped me to visualize the battles a lot more.
Tink: Now for a more in-depth look at the author… I will now ask you a round of nosy and nonsensical questions developed by Bernard Peevo and used by James Lipton on Inside the Actor’s Studio…. Brace yourself :)
What’s your favorite word? Least favorite?
Marguerite: Favorite- it’s a word I borrowed from my brother- Fantastical Least Favorite- Cannot because my mom told me long ago there’s no such word as can’t so I try to keep that in mind and always have a “can do” attitude.
Tink: What sound or noise do you love? Hate?
Marguerite: Love- The sound of a babbling brook. Hate- The sound of one of cats hacking up a hairball because it not only sounds painful, I know I’ll have to clean it up eventually.
Tink: What’s your favorite curse word?
Marguerite: Although I only save it for when I’m really angry or passionate ;)- the f-u-bomb ;)
Tink: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Marguerite: Graphic design or web design
Tink: What profession would you not like to participate in?
Marguerite: repetitive factory work
Tink: Now for a sneak peak from your latest release, The Last Sorceress….
She was a failure as a mother and a gamer. Spence hated her now. Nothing she could do, nothing she could say would change that fact. A small voice deep inside whispered, Your son is right.
Maybe she did have a few confidence issues. Any woman who stuck by the guy she loved when he was a geek only to be tossed aside when he got better looking would feel the same. Any woman who was constantly compared to her perfect sister growing up would think she wasn’t worth much. But Janet hated to hear it from the mouth of her only child.
When they headed for the exit, a grayish green hand grabbed her shoulder. She turned and looked into those big, warm eyes and expected to see disappointment. But there wasn’t. Those amber brown eyes glittered with what looked like amusement. He handed her a brown paper package.
“Here, open it when you leave,” Glenn said.
“Um, thanks, I guess. Will you be doing another conference in the Cleveland area anytime soon?”
“We will meet again, very soon. Do not worry, Maurelle.”
He was gone before she could ask why the heck he’d called her Maurelle. Janet did see him hand identical packages to Spencer and Anita. Anita gave her an awkward little smile as Spencer rushed straight for the exit. His face was red and his fists were still clenched. She wanted to say she was sorry for giving up without a fight. Her pride prevented her from speaking to him at all.
Spencer charged through the door and stopped. Janet almost ran into him.
“Spence, what the—” She broke off as she looked over his shoulder.
One white stone room, covered in thick vines, was all that remained of the massive convention hall. She would never know if the vendors or the rest of the convention goers noticed that the entire network room had vanished, but her jaw dropped as she turned. They stood in the middle of a huge forest. There were no forests in Cleveland. The Metroparks ran through the suburbs, but even the Metroparks had roads. Tall, majestic trees surrounded her. Deer ran wild and free. A dragon with thick, blood-colored scales soared above their heads. It’s wild, lion-like call held Janet spellbound. Hold it, a dragon? No, it’s an airplane. It has to be a plane, if it was a dragon that would mean we were all in the...
“M-mom, d-did y-you s-see that t-th-thing?”
“It’s an airplane, sweetheart. That’s all it was. Come on, let’s go find our car.”
“N-no, that was not an a-airplane.”
“Spencer is right,” a small voice whimpered. Anita approached. Her entire body trembled. “It was red. It had scales. I heard it roar.”
This cannot be happening. Carnitha is not real. We’re still in downtown Cleveland. We’re not that far from Burke Lakefront Airport. It was just a special airplane decorated like a dragon. Maybe the air show was in town?
A tree branch snapped behind them. Janet turned to see a very large ogre with golden-brown eyes smiling at them. “Open the packages now. It should explain a lot.”
The paper crinkled in her hand when she slowly ripped through her package. She didn’t know how to react when she found the leather get-up Maurelle wore and a large, golden book. The only thing missing was the staff. But before she could say anything, the handsome man dressed in an ogre costume handed her a golden staff with a large opal stone on top.
He grinned, and Janet shuddered at the sight of his glistening fangs. “It was too large to wrap. Go try it on. I’m eager to see how you look in it.”
“Okay, this isn’t funny, Shrek.”
She winced when Spencer looked to the sky, as if he prayed for a dragon to fly by and carry him off to its lair. Sorry, kiddo. I know that one was pretty bad. Slipped out of her mouth before she could take it back. She sighed when Dazzart laughed. Why is everything I say or do the end of my child’s mortal existence? Then again, she was pretty sure this was the end of their mortal existence.
“Shrek, yes, I saw the movie,” the ogre replied. His raucous laughter filled the forest before he continued, “Real life is far more interesting. I wonder where your movie moguls get their ideas from.”
“Okay, we’ve gotten off track here. We shouldn’t be discussing movie ogres. We should be talking about why you gave us this stuff. Number one, I don’t have the body to wear this sort of thing...”
“Oh, I beg to differ.” He laughed. “Look down.”
Her boobs had ballooned to twice their normal size. Now, she wasn’t about to complain about it but did feel pretty uneasy about the sudden chest growth spurt. It wasn’t just her breasts, though. Her legs were longer. Janet’s jeans looked more like capris. She reached behind her neck, gasping as she realized her plain old short hair was gone. It was longer and felt like it had been braided. She grabbed the braid, tossed it over her shoulder, and saw that it was velvet black.
Janet glanced over at Spence and Anita. They had changed too. Anita was now a pretty little elf with silvery blonde hair and very pointy ears. Spencer was a tall elf with black hair, dark blue eyes, and a frightened look on his face.
“What the hell did you do to us?” she shouted. “Change us back right now.”
“I can’t,” the ogre replied. “You are no longer Janet Lind. Henceforth, you shall be Maurelle Windhaven, your son shall be Nidhogg Windhaven, and Anita, you shall be Gilraen Elenzar.”
“No, no, no! No, this sort of thing doesn’t happen. This is a sick joke. Did my ex put you up to this? Take off that ridiculous costume now and change us back.”
“Why is my human form more appealing to you, my sorceress? I saw the way you looked at me during the conference.”
His voice was still very husky and very sexy. It made her long to see the man beneath that mask again. She reached forward and gave his chin one heck of a yank. Very odd—it didn’t feel like latex.
He grabbed her arm, and she felt a loss of circulation from his strong grip. “I would advise you not to do that again. Put on your uniforms now, please. The others are all waiting at Fort Greenbalm, and I have to return in time to welcome the rest of the gamers to our world.”
She stood there, frozen for a moment, rubbing her pulsating temples. Her heart pounded, and she could barely breathe. Okay, so the guy I thought was my knight in shining armor is really an ogre, I am not Janet anymore. A dragon flew over my head. Holy crap, the growth on the walls of the network room, that’s how the bastard lured us here. It was real. This place is real. I’m really a sorceress. Oh shit, that must mean Adieal really existed. At that point she did what any woman in her position would do. She freaked out.
Tink: And the final questions the pirates have been waiting all day to ask…. If you could choose anyone (real or fictional) to be the captain of your, er, ship…who would it be? :)
Marguerite: A little known pirate by the name of Howell Davis because he relied on his wits and charms more so than brute force. I like a smart captain :D
Tink: Which savvy piece of the Caribbean would you most like to take home – the Black Pearl, the Dead Man’s Chest, or the Fountain of Youth?
Marguerite: Fountain of Youth
Tink: Would you rather take your chances with a zombie, a mermaid, or Blackbeard?
Marguerite: Blackbeard because you could always bribe him with rum and treasure ;)
Tink: And most importantly – Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, or Commordore Norrington?
Marguerite: Captain Jack. Although Will is sweet, I’ve always been a sucker for the bad boy pirate ;)
Marguerite: I’m running a contest through the weekend and all you have to do is e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) me with the answer to this question to enter: What is the name of the RPG game in the Last Sorceress? I mention it above and here’s a hint, it has the word ogre in the title. One lucky person will win a flash drive with the e-book version of The Last Sorceress in their choice of format preloaded on it. Included on the flash drive will be a gorgeous desktop wallpaper my super talented cover artist sent to me and select MP 3 files from Midnight Syndicate’s Dungeons and Dragons because everyone should have mood music to listen while reading a fantasy story ;).
Thank you, Tink and Jack (of course) for another great interview! A big thank you to Marguerite for answering all of Tink's nosy questions....
Marguerite Arotin has been writing since the third grade when she wrote her first story for a Halloween class project and loved the praise she got from it. She didn’t pick up her first romance novel; however, until the age of nineteen when she met her husband who showed her that true love does exist.
She lives in Ohio with her hero of a husband, smart son, and two loveable cats. When she's not writing, she can be found on her purple princess dell laptop, procrastinating on Facebook, Wordpress, or Twitter and calling it promotion. Or surfing the net and calling it research.
***Cozies, be sure to let Jack know what you would like from the tiki bar and for this week's discussion - pirate or space pirate?