Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Land of the Falling Stars by Keta Diablo - Guest Post, Character Interview: Featured Author

After her parents die in a fire, Sophia Whitfield struggles to save her beloved home, Arbor Rose. The Civil War has devastated the South, and another blue coat has come to steal her meager possessions. Before the hated enemy inflicts his destruction, she shoots him. And soon discovers the soldier is Gavin, the champion of her childhood.

Gavin's dark secret lurks in Sophia’s future. When she discovers the truth, she's torn between a burning hunger for the man she truly loves and loyalty to Jesse, their childhood friend. The despicable acts of war have changed everything Sophia and Gavin once cherished. Yet somewhere deep in their hearts, the mystical Land of Falling Stars still exists.

Buy Links:
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Here's a snippet:
Keta Diablo never fails to surprise me with her talent for creating characters that come alive – passionate, obstinate and wholly believable.  Then by placing them smack in the middle of one of the most tumultuous eras in American History, she spins her magic.  Keta has created a story that is like a majestic tapestry.   Read the whole Review Here


Why I wrote Land of Falling Stars . . .

I love historical romance, always have. I cut my teeth reading Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss. Oh-oh, I think I just gave away my age. I remember reading Rogers under the covers with a flashlight, my heart thundering in my chest while I waited to see what Steve would do to Ginny once he discovered her latest faux pas.

Today, I read everything Joanna Bourne releases (Spymaster’s series) and Helen Kirk man. At least once a year, I rediscover the magical characters in a book called The Windflower (a pirate novel) by husband and wife team Laura London. Alas, they never wrote a sequel. I would have devoured books about their secondary characters, particularly Cat.

It’s little wonder when I started my writing career, I gravitated toward Historical Romance. The inspiration behind my books arrive through various vehicles—a dream or by people-watching.  For Land of Falling Stars, I read a true-life article about the Civil War, specifically cousins who lived in the same county and fought for opposite sides. This was not unusual at the time. County boundaries were murky and sympathizers for the North frequently lived in the South—and vice versa.

Let’s draw an imaginary line across this great country we live in, and let’s imagine a civil war breaks out. You live in the upper part of the US, but have close family and friends who live in the bottom half. Near the boundary lives a horde of people who aren’t sure where they stand but are forced to choose. And they do choose for one reason or another.

The story about the cousins fascinated me. I couldn’t fathom how one could pick up arms and fight against their brethren. I spun off from that plot in Land of Falling Stars. What if two childhood friends grew up and fell in love with the same woman? What if one man fought for the North, the other for the South? What if the bond between the three was stronger than cement and not even war could separate the vast love they held for one another?

Thus, Land of Falling Stars was born. This is the story of Jesse, Gavin and Sophia. They lived in Virginia, a state with citizens deeply loyal to the South in all respects. Yet, Gavin’s family hailed from the North. You can see where this is going, right?

LOFS is not a complicated story; but a simple account of what happens between people when war knocks on our door. It’s a narrative of friendship, loyalty, betrayal and vast, abiding love. We won’t always like the characters’ actions or motives in the book, but to truly understand them and the world they’ve been thrust into, we must put our modern belief system aside and walk in their shoes of the time.

I hope you enjoy reading Land of Falling Stars as much as I enjoyed writing the book. 

My best to you with sincere wishes that all your reads take you on memorable journeys you’ll never forget,



Set-up: Gavin is wounded from a knife fight with one of the villains. He finds Sophia hiding in a barn after the fight.

~ ~ ~

Sophia pressed her back against the rough-hewn planks of the stable wall and inched her way down to a bed of hay at her feet. With her heart thudding, she closed her eyes and willed the brutal images to leave her mind. Gavin could be dead, his blood seeping into the ground. The irony. Three years he'd been gone, fought in a hundred battles only to be killed after he'd come back . . . back to her. Oh, God, she couldn't think about it, couldn't stand to watch him die. She ran hard and fast the second Billy sliced through the soft, golden skin she longed to touch again. Sweet Mother of Jesus, what if he was dead and she’d never . . . .

"I found you."

She lifted her head and looked into Gavin's eyes. A horse neighed several stalls
over and the moon spun out from a patch of clouds shrouding his lean body. His bare chest oozed blood and trickled into his waistband.

Relief flooded her and then panic. "You're bleeding again."

"Am I?" He glanced down at the wound and back to her face. "It looks worse than
it is."

She hesitated when he held his hand out. She didn’t know what would happen when her skin come into contact with his. Beneath his bold perusal, she lifted her trembling hand.

"You're frightened," he said, his forehead creased. “Of me, Sophia?"

She shook her head and hoped he didn't see through her lie. After witnessing his
rage moments ago, she didn't know what to expect from him.

"I would never," he said in a hoarse tone, "harm you." Moving in, he forced her back against the wooden planks. His warm breath fanned her cheeks. "I don't want you to fear me, ever." His chest rose and fell on torn breaths, and his mouth hovered over hers, mingling their breaths. "Kiss me, Sophia."

She looked into his eyes, transfixed by the depth of passion residing there. He placed his hands on the wall and bracketed her head. Their lips met. In the aftermath of the violence, she expected a harsh, demanding kiss, but it was anything but. Gentle and languorous, it shook her to the very core. His tongue caressed her lower lip seeking entry. She responded without thought, parting her lips on a small moan. The erotic dance against the tip of her tongue sent a stream of wild sensations through her limbs. Her hands sought the warm flesh of his chest, every inch ridged muscle. He flinched when her fingers made contact with the fresh wound. Astounded by the emptiness she felt when he broke from the kiss, she gathered her battered senses and looked into his eyes.

“Is that how it felt when Jesse kissed you?"

Trapped between the wall and his body, she looked away from those wicked eyes.
Deliriously weak, shocking images of him crushing her beneath him stormed through her mind. Dear God, what's the matter with me? Promised to Jesse, bound to him heart and soul, I can’t allow myself to think about Gavin's powerful limbs tangled in my bed sheets, his head thrashing in delirium, or his hot, feverish eyes. Since Gavin had returned, her mind swam with carnal thoughts of the man.

A hand came down and lifted her chin, forcing her to look at him. "Hmm, Sophia, is it?"

"I'm so befuddled." Tears pooled in her eyes. "What about Jesse? I promised I'd wait no matter what happened, but . . . ." To speak her heart would be the epitome of betrayal to the person they’d both loved since the day they sailed the Rappahannock dressed as pirates.

He kissed her eyelids. "If he returned tomorrow, you'd fall into his arms; pretend you feel nothing for me, deny this passion between us?"

"Gavin, don't . . . ." She averted her face.

He tightened his grip on her chin, his tone harsh. "Would you, Sophia?"

"Yes," she whispered. "I'd go to him, banish this from my mind."

"It would be that easy?"

"Not easy, Gavin, but . . . ."

"You need to leave Arbor Rose!" His raised voice startled her. "There's nothing left for you here! Your parents are dead and Jesse isn't . . . ."

Without conscious thought, she slapped him. "Don't say it! I can't leave Arbor Rose. Jesse will return and−”

"He's not coming back and you have to face it." He brought a hand to her cheek. "The entire country is about to explode, and if you had any god-given sense, you'd go to your mother's people in Illinois."

She narrowed her eyes, her tone icy. "Let me go. Jesse's coming back and when he does I'm going to keep my promise and marry him.” Her voice softened. "We must forget this, whatever it is."

She shivered from the volatile emotion in his eyes. The same feral snarl that came over him when he crushed Billy and his companions spewed from his lips. He grabbed her wrists, pinned them over her head, and took her mouth, hard. His tongue plundered her lips and forced them apart. She writhed to free herself, but he held her fast, imprisoning her in their mutual desire. Erotic pleasure surged through her veins. Her fingers moved to his long, black hair and she seemed incapable of stopping the moans from the back of her throat.

Clinging to him like a child, she whimpered, "Gavin . . . please."

"You want me, admit it," he said against her mouth.

He clutched a length of her skirt and shoved it over her hips, allowing his fingers to slide up the hot flesh of her thighs. A sound erupted from her throat again, no longer a moan of pleasure but a sob. He stopped on a heartbeat, stepped back and dropped his hands to his sides. Their eyes locked. His shone with lust and anger. She wanted to draw back, knew she should flee but something powerful held her immobilized. Warning bells rang in her head yet she longed to return to his kiss, feel his body against hers.

He drew a deep breath. "Leave, Sophia, now!"

She inched her way along the wall, turned to look at him one last time and scurried through the door.


Interview with Gavin Langdale
Swoon-worthy hero from LAND OF FALLING STARS
Thanks for joining me today. I’m getting ready to take a trip back in time to talk with Gavin Langdale, the hero in Keta Diablo’s newest release – Land of Falling Stars – out now with Books We Love Spice!  Care to join me?  Great! Hop in! *flicks a couple switches on the time machine.* Ready? And we’re off to the 1860s!
Whoa *grabs the edge of the door, head spinning a bit.* I think we’ve arrived at our destination: 1864, Fredericksburg, Virginia here we come.  *stepping out, looking around* Ah, ha -- there’s Arbor Rose, which means Gavin should be around here somewhere.

Man: “Looking for me?”

Turning, *gasps at the huge, hunky man behind me* “If you’re Gavin, then why yes, I am.  Keta told you I was coming right?”

*A nod* “Keta, she’s that sex author, right; the one who interviewed Sophia and me?”

“Yes, that’s her.”

“How do you pronounce her name anyway?”

“I believe it’s pronounced Kee-ta (rhymes with Cheetah).”

“And they say southern names are strange.  *offers a wicked grin and a hand* “Yes, I’m Gavin Langdale. At your service ma’am.”

“Good. I promise I won’t take much of your time. I’m sure you want to get back to the lovely Sophia.” *Settling down on the wide veranda* “Okay, let’s cut to the chase, that is, the beginning of the story. From what I understand you fought for the Union in that horrific Civil War.  Tell us why you returned to Sophia and Arbor Rose after—well, after your ordeal.

I had to speak with her about-well, about something terrible that happened at Spotsylvania. People say there are no coincidences in life; some even say everything in life is pre-ordained. I’ve done a lot of thinking about those theories and I wish I had answers.  I’d like to believe Jesse’s death was a quirk of fate or a satirical act of Satan’s doing. I loved Jesse, and so did Sophia.
Some say you’ve loved Sophia since childhood. Did you still love her even after she shot you?”
*a deep throaty laugh* “She shot me all right. Guess I should have waved or called out. Would have saved us both a lot of angst.” *a far-away look crosses his dark blue eyes* “I have loved Sophia since we were children. I can’t remember not loving the contrary woman.”

“Well it sounds like it was only fair she saved you after putting a bullet in your chest. But moving on, tell us what Sophia was like as a young girl? Was she a tomboy or the proper little lady?”

“Now that depends on who’s looking at the time. Sophia tagged along with Jesse and me everywhere we went. And we didn’t have to look for trouble; it found us. We got a kick out of turning out the neighbor’s cows and shooing them down the road. We laughed like hyenas while tipping over privies and then there was the day Sophia almost drowned while we sailed the river in a raft Jesse and I built from hollow logs. *shakes his head with another laugh and then his expression turns somber* But when Sophia was around the elders, she acted like a proper young lady of the South. Guess you have to live here to understand what’s expected from the refined elite of the gentry.”  

“A little birdie told me Sophia loves to dance. What is the Samba-de-Roda and has she ever tempted you to dance with her?”

“I’ve never seen anyone dance like Sophia, except for the darkies. That’s who taught her the Samba-de-Roda.  Nap and Brister say the samba originated in Africa and Brazil. The slaves brought it to the Continent like they did many of their customs. They dance in a circle to the beat of a drum and often sing and clap while they dance.  And yes, Sophia has asked many times to join her, but . . .” *he looks down at the ground and points* “Two left feet. I don’t fancy making a fool of myself.”

“And who’s this shaggy fellow?” *holds out hand to approaching dog* “Is this the infamous Ricochet? From my understanding you trained him? I bet that’s come in handy a time or two. Why does Sophia call him a deserter? He sounds like a loyal, lovable wolfhound. “

“That’s Ricochet, all right. I taught him how to knock a man from his mount before I left for the war. Damn, if he didn’t remember when I returned. Sophia has called him a defector or a traitor at times, but she’s just jealous of the attention I give the hound.” *leans forward and murmurs* “She likes to be the center of attention if you know what I mean. Deep down, like me, she loves Ricochet.  He’s saved her sorry ass almost as many times as I have. Damn, that woman attracts trouble like tics on a dog.”

What a brave fellow, a definite hero, our Ricochet. *shifting in chair* Was he there the night Sophia lost her sight?  That’s a double whammy, her going blind and finding out about Jesse. Isn’t that the night you told her what really happened to Jesse and why you came back? “

“Do we have to talk about the night of Sophia’s accident and Jesse’s . . . well, his accident too? I think you should read the book Keta wrote. She covers the incident on the battlefield with Jesse and the night Billy Cooper set Arbor Rose on fire. I get all riled when I think about those things and think it’s best to leave it alone.”

Very well, I’ll spread the word about Land of Falling Stars. *leans in and lowers voice* “I hate to ask about Mule Copper – that horrid man – but why do you think he possessed so much evil in his heart?

“I knew Mule since I was a yonker. He was mean then too. Sophia’s Pa hired him as overseer at Arbor Rose and thanks to Mule, Rueben didn’t live long enough to regret it. 

“I hear on your trip to Boston, you met up with a caravan of Gypsies. Do tell us about them.”

Three words describe the misunderstood Romani people – colorful, hard-working and loyal. Sophia and I have many fond memories from our stay with Vandlo’s people, despite the troubles dogging us at the time.

“Ultimately, despite everything, you leave Sophia in Baltimore, that must have been very hard. What kept you going during the time you were apart? And what made you decide to go back after her?

The hardest decision I ever made was to leave her at the school – in the hands of strangers, but I was left with few choices at the time. I kept going one day at a time, with one purpose in mind – give back to Sophia what she lost because of the war. I went back to bring her home to Arbor Rose. And . . . because I love her, always have.

“Ah the ultimate love trumps all! Thank you for answering my questions, Gavin. *peeks around Gavin’s shoulder* “I do believe the enigmatic Sophia is calling you to dinner, and I must be off myself.” 

“Goodbye, ma’am and thank you for visiting Arbor Rose.” *rises from the chair and bows at the waist again* “Come back anytime.” *pauses briefly* “Do you think that writer woman will write another story about us?”

“Could be, Gavin. Tell you what, I’ll ask her the minute I get back.”


Okay it’s time for the time-hopping traveler to head back to the future. Ms. Diablo, author of Land of the Falling Stars, is giving away a free copy of her critically- acclaimed book Where the Rain is Made to one lucky peep. Make sure you comment and leave an email where she can contact you in case you WIN!  Don’t forget to check out Land of the Falling Stars (psst – I think you’ll fall in love with Gavin. I know I did *swoon*).
 This giveaway ends December 31st at 11:59PM Central Time. 


Keta is a multi-published author of paranormal, historical and occasionally gay fiction (paranormal). In 2009, her erotic romance Decadent Deceptions was a finalist in the RWA Molly contest. In 2010, Keta's entry Phoenix Rising finaled in the Scarlet Boa contest and in 2011 Keta's acclaimed paranormal shifter, Where The Rain is Made, was nominated by Authors After Dark for a BOOKIE AWARD AND by Deep In The Heart of Romance for BEST ROMANCE OF THE YEAR.

Many of her books, including her gay fiction series CROSSROADS have won numerous awards: Top Reviewer's Pick, Recommended Read and Best Book of the Month.

If you'd like to know more about Keta and her latest releases, she haunts the Net here:

Keta's Keep Blog,
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ketadiablo
Facebook Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/KetaDiablo.Autho...
Gay Fiction Blog: http://thestuffofmythandmen.blogspot.com...


1 comment:

wyantebay said...

Thanks for the amazing giveaway.. I really, really want to get my hands on a copy of this.