Thanks so much to the lovely, Kitty Kelly, for hosting us today! One day, Kitty, I’m going to get the opportunity to meet you and it’s big huge hugs and a glass of wine all the way around. Today, it’s all about the release of The Winter Realms, a loosely-related series of books set in a magical bubble where magic and fairytales are absolutely real.
I brought my good friend, Sidney Bristol, along with me and yeah, I’m asking her to answer some questions about her offering for The Winter Realms, How Zombies Stole Christmas. Yes—you read that right ZOMBIES!! Woohoo!!!
So let’s do this thing.
Lea: So, Sid—ZOMBIES? At Christmas? Your brain is an amazing place—you gotta tell me where the idea came from.
Sid: Um, I wanted an excuse to write zombies and I wanted to write a Christmas book, but I’d also wanted to do something with a highlander—so I got to thinking: How can I combine all these together? The plot and zombies kind of came along together. I knew I wanted to do a “weird monster” type story. I’m a big fan of movies like Sharknado, so I gave it some thought and decided I’d do a twist on zombies. Some people will argue that my ice zombies are more like this or that other fictional creature—but for my book they’re ice zombies. As far as how they’re made, you’ll have to read the book to find out!!
Lea: Is this your first dip into the paranormal pond?
Sid: This is my first published dip into the paranormal pond. I’ve written quite a number of paranormal stories, but nothing has ever been published. Yet. Most of it will never see the light of day, because let’s be honest, these are all old books. And they are Not. Good! That said, I’m super, uber excited about the opportunity to write this book and put it out there.
Lea: Most of the stories in this collection involve daughters of Jack Frost. We all did it a little different. Tell me about Evelina, your daughter of Frost.
Sid: Another thing on my big ‘ol list of things I wanted to write was an Ugly Duckling story. I was fascinated with the idea of a half-fae-half-human person who has had to live with her bastardized status and the physical indicators of her heritage all over her skin. We see a lot of make-over stories where the heroine is invisible before her transformation to a beautiful seductress. I didn’t want to tell that story. And that’s not who Evelina is. She’s someone different. And that was the story I wanted to tell. I dedicated this book to Ugly Ducklings, because I’ve always identified with that story, and someday I hope to like myself as much as Evelina likes herself.
Lea: One thing I absolutely love about your story is how wove so much Russian mythology into the pages. Where did your love of Russian mythos come from? Was it easy writing or was there a ton of research involved?
Sid: Oh lord, you just want to uncover all my uber nerdy history, don’t you? Okay, so take this trip through history with me. In college I got involved with the SCA, or the Society for Creative Anachronism. It’s a renaissance reenactment group of adults. I joined because I was now over 18 and all the equestrian activities for adults cost a huge fortune to participate in. But in the SCA I could joust. The trick was that you had to have a persona, or a person to be, with a history and the whole works. Since I’d lived in Russia when I was 16, I decided I’d go that route, so I started researching and reading stories. And I kind of fell in love with it. When the idea to do the Winter Realm cropped up, I knew I wanted to use all that stored up knowledge—so I did!
Lea: I have to know where the inspiration for Kameron came from. Tell me about this man who is a Yeti who is hotter than h-e-double-hockey-sticks.
Sid: Dude, that’s supposed to be a semi-secret! Okay, so you figure it out pretty quick, but oh well. So Kameron. Again, I wanted to do something crazy and absurd with this book—so what if my weird monsters aren’t all evil? What if my hero is something pretty crazy? Also, I’ve kind of wanted to write historical but without the insane restrictions to adhere to history and culture. He’s got a heartbreaking story about why someone from Europe ends up a yeti, so I won’t spoil that bit for you, but it tugs on your heart strings.
Lea: What can we expect between Evelina and Kameron? What’s your favorite line of dialogue between them? What’s their dynamic?
Sid: Um, “Yeti smash,” probably. Can you blame me? These two are something of an odd couple. Kameron has stayed kind of frozen in time. He hasn’t progressed despite living through hundreds of years, while Evelina has. It creates an odd kinship between them, though they don’t always understand each other.
Lea: Any plans to write anything else in The Winter Realms or the more far-reaching Secret Realms worlds?
Sid: Heck yes! It’s going to be a little while before I revisit the Winter Realm exactly, but I do want to revisit this mini-world. I’d love to retell and twist some of the older, Russian fairy tales. They aren’t something a lot of people are used to hearing, so I think the characters could really interest readers, especially when I use my special, twisted touch. In the meantime, I fully intend to explore some other nooks and crannies of this world in a Halloween themed story that will combine voodoo, Camelot and racial prejudice. I can’t keep it simple, can I?
That’s all I’ve got. I’ve had the joy of reading How Zombies Stole Christmas. Heat that melts snow and ice? Yes. Zombies that threaten to destroy Christmas? Yes. All of the books in The Winter Realm are waiting for you. We’ve got a little something for everyone.
Are you ready?
Do you have a question for Sidney or Lea? Two random commenters will win copies of How Zombies Stole Christmas or Starry Night.
Lea Griffith began sneaking to read her mother’s romance novels at a young age. She cut her teeth on the greats: McNaught, Woodiwiss, and Garwood. She still consumes every romance book she can put her hands on, but now she writes her own.
Lea lives in rural Georgia with her husband, three teenage daughters, two dogs, a cat, and a Betta fish named Coddy George. When not working at the EDJ, she’s usually at her keyboard writing. She loves romance and nothing is off-limits when it comes to her muse.
It can never be said that Sidney Bristol has had a ‘normal’ life. She is a recovering roller derby queen, former missionary, and tattoo addict. She grew up in a motor-home on the US highways (with an occasional jaunt into Canada and Mexico), traveling the rodeo circuit with her parents. Sidney has lived abroad in both Russia and Thailand, working with children and teenagers. She now lives in Texas where she splits her time between a job she loves, writing, reading and belly dancing.
She was banished but has never given up.
Three hundred years spent on an ice planet has not broken Talini. As a daughter of the Fae, Jack Frost, she is made of all things ice and snow. But then she meets a man who warms her as no one ever has and she is set adrift with desire.
He has contracted to find a woman lost for three centuries.
Kian has searched for a long time. Jack Frost has agreed to pay him a lot of money to find his daughter and he’s determined to see his goal met. Then he meets a woman who makes him shiver and shake, thawing his cold heart.
She has been lost but now he has found her.
Together they will set on a journey that will lead them down a perilous road. They will forge a bond as fragile as a snowflake but as strong as forever. Together they will prove that love can bloom amidst the frost.
Every creature in Haven snuggled down in their beds, ready for another Christmas, they liked it a lot. But not everyone in this magical land shares their holiday cheer. . .
Evelina Frost is a woman used to staying in the shadows, but this year Christmas needs a hero, and with Santa away, it’s up to her to save the holiday from ruin.
A figure dressed in white cast a spell and from the frozen land, ghastly zombies appear.
Kameron is a creature out-of-place in the frigid land, but he’s carved out a life, away from his Highland moors and pastures, happy to live alone. Until a woman barges into his life, and awakens urges he hasn’t known in centuries.
“I’ll take their Christmas, their cheer and their hope,” the figure says, as zombies descend on the Snow Palace, ripping the trees and presents from the hearth.
Together, Evelina and Kameron delve into the history of their land, fighting a magical blizzard, ice zombies and an all-consuming lust for each other as magic seeks to create another fairy tale from their lives. They must fight together against the odds and save Christmas, though they might lose their hearts in the bargain.
Hope flares each morning in the tiny flash of a second before Lette touches that first thing. And destroys it.
Her online journal spans a decade, beginning with the day a thirteen-year-old inherits an extreme form of the family ‘gift’. Every day whatever she touches converts into something new: bunnies, bubbles, bombs, and everything in between.
Lette’s search for a cure leads her to Stefan, whose fairy-tale looks hide a monstrous legacy, and to Rag, an arrogant, crabby ex-angel with boundary issues. The three face an army led by a monster who feeds on children’s fear. But it’s their own inner demons they must defeat first.
Adonia has been isolated from society her entire life. Banished from her pack for crimes committed before her birth, she lives a solitary existence with her mother in the wilds of Siberia.
Zephyr has been sent by the ruler of winter, Jack Frost, to find a daughter he just found out existed. When Zephyr finds her, the storm that erupts is both literal and figurative.
Fated to mate, Adonia and Zephyr must find a way to put an end to the blizzard burying them in snow. Battling forces of nature neither of them understands, they are trapped inside Adonia’s small cabin, waiting for…the inevitable.