Monday, 16 July 2012

Welcome Ellora's Cave author, Nara Malone!

Hi, Nara and welcome to my blog! I was really pleased when your post dropped into my inbox because I've done a lot of interviews lately so it was nice to see a post. Looking forward to reading what you have to say - all the best with your ongoing tour!

Journey into the Next Dimension
I like to think of my writing journey as a quest. I approach it the way I would a good adventure game. I assess current skills and create a map going forward that plays to my strengths. Then I work through each obstacle to reach the next level. 
There are levels of skill to acquire as an author, and there are levels of the game to complete as a storyteller. Like any good game/story, the experience has me looking inward as I go. My author quest, by its nature, forces me to examine who I am. It forces me to dig deep and stretch in order to grow in my craft.
Call to adventure
Quests begin with a call to break away from safe routines and try something new.
As is often the case, my call to adventure was an attempt to escape. My father was dying, that slow disintegration of bones and organs that we call aging had reached a crisis level. He was on a downward spiral I knew he couldn’t come back from, but he was not going down without a fight. I was helping my sister take care of him and the emotional toll of watching his battle was beating us both into the ground. So I came up with an escape plan. We’d write those books we had always wanted to write. We’d escape into our story worlds to get a break from the stress of reality.
We signed up for NanoWriMo. At the end of Nano I polished what I had and submitted it in the Passionate Reads Stroke of Midnight contest, hoping for a little feedback on how marketable my story idea was.
Enter call to adventure:  I won the contest and only had a few months to finish my book. That book, The Tiger’s Tale, was requested by Raelene Gorlinsky and became my first published novel.
Leveling Up
Once I had a foot in the door of the publishing world, I wanted to head in new directions with my writing, explore new ways to tell stories. From the time  I first saw a holodeck in Star Trek TV series, I’ve wanted the experience of stepping into the story world and interacting as the protagonist.  Unfortunately, publishing tends to be a rather conservative, stick-with-what-works sort of medium. And new authors aren’t the ones they pick to blaze new trails. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to convert publishing to switching from books to holodecks over night and there were still a few technological details to work out. But just because you can’t have everything you want, doesn’t mean you can’t have some of it.
My next book, The Dungeon Gourmet, told the story of a kinky blogging French chef, Master Bond, who blogged inside his book and after he won his HEA in the love story, he continued to turn up in real world blogs. He’s  still whipping up sensuality and heat in the kitchen.  Last summer he led readers on a quest to rescue me after plot bunnies kidnapped me.
While  Bond was entertaining readers with his Cook Naked blogs at Passionate Reads, I was working with Orchid Games on an adventure game for women, Spirit Walkers: Curse of the Cypress Witch. Spirit Walkers allows the player to step into the role of protagonist, as the heroine Maylynn, and help her save her friends and the Cypress Witch. It’s almost like a holodeck adventure. I’m getting closer.
 The Next Level
Experimenting is my addiction. It’s my fuel. My motivation, compelling me to keep mixing things up.
I was dutifully working on the sequel to The Tiger’s Tale, when the heroine for Snatch Me, Jolie,  took over my brain. In Snatch Me a young woman turns to virtual reality to escape the grief of losing her father. She’s so caught up in the game that it becomes an addiction.  I bent rules, telling the story of her reality in third person and her in-game virtual experiences in first person to convey that the fictional world was more real to her.
Snatch Me was another opportunity to bring the fictional world and the real world closer together. Could I make the fiction feel more real than the  reality?
I was pretty sure my editor, Grace Bradley, would never go along with the story as written.  But she loved it  was so enthusiastic about that she visited the virtual reality model world I built of the Quarterz—the post-apocalyptic world that served as the setting for Snatch Me. You can check that world out yourself here:
When a story moves people to step out of their comfort zone and into one of my virtual worlds, I feel I’ve done my job as a storyteller.

There’s Always Another Story, and Another Level
Blind Heat, my newest novel, is the sequel to The Tiger’s Tale and the  second book in the Pantherian Passions series. I envision a long series.
Because readers wanted to know more about Pantheria, the fictional world my shifters are from, I built a model of the main Island and posted it online for readers to visit. There are eight Islands in the chain, one for each Pantherian tribe, so expect Pantheria  to grow.
In addition to the virtual world, I made, a companion website to the series where all things related to the Pantherian worldbuilding can be shared with readers as I go along. I have a primer up about the Pantherian race, a lexicon, a blog, links to virtual worlds. My next addition will be a bestiary.
You could ask, is all about gimmicks? After all, isn’t the real power of a story the art you create with words.  It is. That’s the first level. I spend most of my time getting that level right.
 Still, there is a limitation to stories that I would like to overcome. When I write a story, or a game adventure, you can only arrive at the happy ending I choose, with the solutions I can see. And it has to be that way for some stories. But…
I also want to create stories that give readers some room to take their own hero’s journey, discover their own lesson and happy ending. And beyond  that, I want to write at least one never ending story, one that can be revisited, be new every time it’s read.
A tall order? Impossible dream?
Augmented Reality, Google Glasses, an agent interested in a unique twist I came up with for the old Choose Your Own Adventure stories—are real opportunities ahead of me. New calls to adventure. I hope to use them to prove my dreams are not so far from reality.
You can follow me and my quest in the following places:
My personal blog:
My Series Blogs:, www.Passion’s
Twitter  @nara_malone

Blind Heat
by Nara Malone



Allie is determined to build an ordinary life. To survive, she needs to be the sort of woman no one notices. She has a generic job, lives in a generic apartment, and thinks maybe one day she’ll find an ordinary Joe who wants an average Jane sort of woman.

Marcus is anything but an ordinary Joe. Even if humans don’t know he’s a shifter and millennial being, he’s the sort of man women notice. A night of passion spent with Marcus is a night any female, human or Pantherian, won’t forget.

But Allie does forget. She repeatedly fails to recognize him even after an intense sexual encounter. Marcus discovers the source of her problem—face blindness, a genetic disorder with no cure. And he decides to use erotic rituals to teach her to see with more than her eyes. What he doesn’t count on is Allie seeing past the man—and recognizing the beast within.



The greatest threats from a man were injury or death. She’d known how to read those kinds of threats in a man before she was old enough to read a book. She could see no intent to harm. No evil. He looked at her as if he’d discovered something precious. A warmth seemed to reach from his eyes into her soul, drawing her closer. She made her choice.

The red cloth shimmered with an aura of passion, dared her to press her body to it. The thought sent her blood zinging through her veins. There was something there, something irresistible. His eyes spoke promises she could feel. Her feet wouldn’t let her turn away, but took the risk. Took one step. Then the next. Her lips burned with a need to glide over his jawline, explore planes and angles with kisses and nips. Her heart hammered so loud he had to hear it even over the rain.

True to his word, he didn’t move an inch until she was right there in front of him, reaching to press her hands to the shirt, feel its heat, prove he was real. Her palms sighed with pleasure, like the fabric was a meal to be savored. His strong fingers closed around her wrist then, not painfully but with the finality of a manacle, reminding her that he’d said he wouldn’t let her go until he had what he wanted.

“Good girl,” he whispered, soothing away the little trill of fear that rose with his touch, stroking her face with the backs of his fingers. Her body sang like chimes in the wind, notes shivering down her spine.

“I won’t stop at a kiss,” he said. “But you can start with one. Make it sweet.”

She rose obediently to her toes, finding his lips, feeling them firm, parting under hers. He ordered and demanded with such a low, seductive tone. If he’d told her to go rob the jewelry store, in just the same way, it would have seemed a good idea.

He shifted, turning quickly so she was between him and the tree, cutting off any chance to change her mind and run. He held her face between his hands, and her own hands felt small and fragile against the breadth of his. He kissed his desire into her. Her mind grappled to reassert caution, but her thoughts slipped away, formless as water spilling through fingers. He didn’t stop kissing until she stopped thinking, until the rigidity in her muscles softened, until she kissed him back.

He tasted like spring rain.

His hands were warm through her soggy shirt, his fingers curved under her chilled breasts, his thumbs stroking over the tops. Thumbs and fingers came together, squeezing until she squirmed. His lips and tongue moved over her neck, tracing the line of her collarbone, a warm, sensual touch that made her whimper. He split the worn cotton with a sharp twist. The ripping sound jolted her. Her shirt split down the center, parting to offer her breasts. A wave of fear welled in her belly. of desire trickled between her thighs. She glanced down the puddled path. He pressed her tighter against the tree.

“You had your chance,” he whispered. “It’s the last I’m willing to give you for a while.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Like the heroine, Allie, in Blind Heat, Nara is face blind and lived with the condition not knowing there was a medical explanation for her inability to remember faces.  It’s a rare and only recently publicized condition.  She hopes Blind Heat will help get the word out about face blindness.

Nara lives on a small farm in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When she's not writing, she loves to run, hike, bike, and kayak. Every story she tells incorporates her love of animals, nature, and adventure.

The interactive world Nara built for Blind Heat is here--


Nara will be awarding a digital copy of The Tiger's Tale, first in the Pantherian Passions series, and a $10 Ellora's Cave GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a GC to purchase a video game targeted for female gamers written by Nara Malone with Orchid Games, Spirit Walkers: Curse of the Cypress Witch to a second randomly drawn commenter.

Encourage your readers to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


  1. Hi Rachel :). Thanks so much for having me. In my post I talk about my pursuit of an impossible dream. Anyone else here chasing a dream that feels impossible?

  2. Just bought Blind Heat and can't wait to start reading it!

  3. Nara, fantastic post. Writing is a never ending journey and adventure. As long as you have a drive and feel the passion to do what you love that is what matters.

  4. Thanks for dropping by Leah and Savannah. :)

  5. I like how you describe your journey like a video game. :)
    I am not chasing a dream at this point. My life is kind of at a stand still with my little ones, but maybe someday I will resume. I am okay with it though, because I truly love my family and enjoy spending my time with them. Wonderful, sexy excerpt.
    Good luck with chasing your dreams though, Nara. ;)
    trb0917 at