Carla interviews Shanna Gekko about ‘Skin Deep’

Hi, I’m Carla Roma and welcome to Bandit Creek, a small town with a mountain of secrets. For this next adventure, I didn’t even have to leave my own house.  Butt planted firmly in my chair, I was exploring the realms of Azeroth in World of Warcraft when I wandered too close to a Mountain Gronn in Nagrand. My patootie was being firmly handed to me when a Night Elf Druid swept in, healed me then shifted to cat form and mowed down the Gronn in a couple of swipes.

Shanna: I had forgotten about that! I had been bored and was farming leather when I came across your tenderized body. I don’t mind helping out others in the game once in a while. I remember being that level and if I hadn’t had a pocket priest for a husband I may never have gotten through some of those quests!

Carla: I have you to thank for saving my life that day.

Shanna: Oh, you’re welcome, but the best thing about being a gamer is that you have lots of lives.

Carla: That’s very true. From then on we quested together, stepping onto Northrend for the first time, surviving the Cataclysm. We made quite a team, didn’t we Moon?

Shanna: Definitely good times, but since we’re out of game, please call me Shanna instead.

Carla: Oh, sorry about that! <laughs> Just habit. Now can you tell me why you picked and stuck with a Druid all this time?

Shanna: I’ve always loved the fantastical and Druids seem to embody that. They have tons of magic, can be a tank, healer, or damage (dps), but most of all I like the shape-shifting. I’ve had dreams about being a shape-shifter since I was about seven.

Carla: Wow! I can see how they would draw you in. Is that what made you want to tell Kai’s story?

Shanna: Absolutely! That and the fact that there are so many Native American legends about their own type of shape-shifter, skinwalkers. Seems a lot of cultures and races have some sort of lore on people or beings that can take on different forms, from wolves, to dragons, to coyotes and bats.

Carla: Most of the lore on shape-shifters involves them being evil. SKIN DEEP has that element as well, but focuses mainly on Kai Hunter, a born skinwalker.

Shanna: I wanted to explore the idea that whenever evil ascends, good will rise up against it. How would this be possible against a being with inhuman powers, unless you have someone else with equally fantastical powers. Enter Kai’s tribe who have been fighting off the yee naaldlooshii for generations.

Carla: And what about Hazel, the heroine of this story? There certainly is a lot of fire between her and Kai.

Shanna: I don’t want to give away too much, but I believe you have to be on equal footing for a relationship to last. This goes for inhuman traits, too.

Carla: Let’s leave it at that, then. Thank you so much for stopping by! SKIN DEEP will be available on and on January 1, 2012. If you have any questions for me or Shanna Gekko, please leave a response and we’d be happy to reply!

‘The Gift’ Released Today!

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of THE GIFT today!

Want it in another format? Click here!

When is the wrong thing, the right thing to do?

Amy Gold, Bandit Creek’s kindergarten teacher, is not the sort of person to flout the law. Especially since she’s dating the local deputy, Gray Cassidy. But an unexpected Christmas gift is about to change everything–not just Amy’s plans for a traditional Christmas, but her entire future, and Gray’s as well.

Read an excerpt.

Carla Interviews CJ Carmichael about ‘The Gift’

Hi, I’m Carla Roma and welcome to Bandit Creek, a small town with a mountain of secrets. It’s no secret that I love mountains and when I was last in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, I was about to hike the beautiful Larch Valley when I came across romance novelist C.J. Carmichael. Before I could whip out my copy of “Perfect Partners” (which I always carry with me) for an autograph, CJ was warning me that a grizzly momma and her cubs were ahead on the trail and I’d better turn back. CJ, I guess you saved my life that day.

CJ: Not at all Carla. Grizzly bears rarely attack hikers. But it’s better to give them a wide berth if possible. Especially when they have young ones to protect. You know how ornery mothers can get if they think their babies are in danger.

Carla: Hm, I think you’ve just maneuvered our conversation to the subject of the short story you wrote for Bandit Creek.

CJ: That wasn’t really my intention, but you’re right. The maternal instinct is a central theme of THE GIFT. My main character, Amy Gold, has loads of it. That’s part of the reason she makes such an excellent kindergarten teacher. Her house is full of art projects and gifts her students have given her over the years.

Carla: She sounds like a real sweetie. But maybe a little dull, too?

CJ: Actually, she’s pretty complicated, which makes her an interesting character. Also, she has a secret she’s been keeping from her boyfriend, Gray Cassidy. He’s a rancher and part-time deputy in Bandit Creek. Amy never expected their relationship to be a serious one, but now that it’s turning out that way, her big secret is causing a serious problem.

Carla: Your tag line for THE GIFT is: “when is the wrong thing, the right thing to do?” This has to be a trick question, right? I mean, it’s never right to do the wrong thing.

CJ:  I have to disagree. Real life is full of challenging dilemmas where no right answer is obvious. I always feel these moral dilemmas make for the most interesting fiction. Take the subject of euthanasia for instance. I sure understand the arguments for not making this legal. The potential for abuse is really scary. On the other hand, if I was suffering terribly, with no hope of recovery, I’d be pretty grateful if someone released me from my pain. Then again, if I were actually in this situation, maybe I’d feel differently. This is what I mean by no right or wrong answers. I could probably argue this topic (with myself!) for a long time without landing on the “right” answer.

Carla:  So THE GIFT is a story about euthanasia?

CJ: No! That was just an example.

Carla: So what is the moral dilemma your characters face in THE GIFT?

CJ: I don’t want to give away too much. Let’s just say that Amanda finds herself in a situation where the law requires her to do one thing, but her heart tells her to do the opposite. If you remember, her boyfriend is a deputy, so the pressure to follow the laws of the land are going to be pretty high.

Carla:  So you would characterize this as a pretty intense dramatic story?

CJ: Yes. But it’s also heartwarming and sweet. I wanted to give my readers the sort of Christmas story that leaves them feeling all warm and happy inside when they’re done. Tis the season, right?

Carla:  That it is. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, CJ.

CJ: Same to you, Carla! And to all our Bandit Creek readers!

Carla:  Thanks for coming by today, CJ.  You can find out more about CJ Carmichael at Her short story, THE GIFT will be available from and on December 15, 2011. If you have questions or comments for me or for CJ, please leave a response and we’d be happy to reply!

‘Quinn’s Christmas Wish’ Released today!

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of QUINN’S CHRISTMAS WISH today!

Want it in another format?  Click here!

As far as twelve-year old Quinn is concerned Christmas has lost its magic. Since his father’s death life has lost its sparkle. His mom is now a widow struggling to put food on the table. Quinn is no help, and the mysterious illness afflicting him only makes things worse. Even Christmas, complete with decorated trees, ribbons and bows has no meaning…then along comes Jazira.

Jazira doesn’t know what happened to her former self, the eleven-year old little girl. She drowned, didn’t she, along with half the other folk of Bandit Creek in 1911? Somehow, she’s grown four furry legs complimented with a large wolf head and body. Scared and alone, she reaches out to Quinn and a strong bond is formed. Jazira learns Quinn, and his mother, are threatened by a wealthy powerful citizen of Bandit Creek. She is determined to protect her new family, no matter what.

Christmas Eve finds Quinn staring up at the adorned tree and muttering a quiet prayer. Will the Spirits of Christmas grant his wish, or will the evil surrounding Bandit Creek prevail once again?

Read an excerpt.