Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Tour: Starfire by Michele N. Zugnoni Interview & Giveaway

Genre: new adult paranormal romance
Publisher: Forbidden Press
Date of Publication: July 30
ISBN  978-0-9895690-0-2
ASIN: Not assigned yet
Number of pages: 400
Word Count: 110,000
Cover Artist: Michele N. Zugnoni

Book Description:
From an ancient battle comes a forbidden love … and the chance to hope again.

Destined to destroy vampires, or refuse and be executed, seventeen-year-old Julia Kirkwood finds herself drawn to two things: a life of partying and rebelling against the law, and Clay Blackwell. The trouble is, Clay happens to be the son of the Lumince high priestess, the leader of a race of peace-loving vampires, and Julia’s father’s unspoken enemy. For Julia isn’t just a Reaver, she’s the daughter of the Reaver Chief. And Julia’s father is furious to discover she’s secretly dating and falling in love with a Lumince, particularly after an attempt at peace crumbles in bloodshed.

When her father intensifies his attack against the Luminces, endangering the lives of Clay’s people, Julia’s forced to take a stand. She must choose to accept her destiny as a Reaver, or claim her heart and find the inward strength to declare war against her own flesh and blood. Interwoven with her fate are the ramifications of a love story as forbidden and passionate as her own: the ancient romance that sparked the creation of Reavers and Luminces, igniting this centuries-old feud. Will Julia’s feelings for Clay be enough to transcend centuries of love-turned-hate? Or will their final hope for peace be incinerated in a fiery war?

An excerpt from chapter 2, Clay’s POV…
“D’you ever wonder,” Julia’s fingers glided along her cat’s back, blazing a path into its fur, “if there’s a place so far away, it just has to be perfect? That –” she sighed, “that maybe if we traveled far enough, we could – I don’t know, we could maybe cut around the bull shit and the lies and just live the life we’re supposed to live? Free of everything but the truth and ourselves?”
            Clay tilted his face toward the stars. “Maybe. If there’s a place far enough away.”
            “Sometimes I feel like there has to be.” She pulled her gown around her legs, letting the material drift against her skin. “Otherwise, what the hell else is there?”
            “Mrow,” agreed the cat, nuzzling its cheek against Clay’s hand.
            “Nice cat.” Falling onto the deck, Clay scratched behind the creature’s ears. “What’s its name?”
            “Pandora.” Julia pushed herself to her elbows, causing the feline to fall onto her lap with a startled mrow. She smoothed her apologies against its fur. “Named her after a story my mom told me once. When I was a little girl.”
            His heart sprinted as he stared into her eyes: stained with starlight and sparking with secrets, they grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go. “A story?”
            “Hmm.” She nodded. “About a girl who just couldn’t take no for an answer. She opened this box she wasn’t even supposed to touch, and let out all the dark, evil things of the world. Anger. Jealousy. Spite. Malevolence. Everything bad. Until she got smart and slammed the lid shut, trapping just one thing inside. You know what that was?”
            “Tell me.”
            Julia tilted her face to the heavens. “Hope,” she murmured, her answer mingling with Clay’s whispered: “Hope.”
            A crease formed between her brows, and she lowered her gaze to skewer Clay with her fiery stare. “Thought you hadn’t heard the story, Lumince?”
            Clay shrugged. “I’ve heard it. I just wanted to hear you tell it.”
            The starlight faded from Julia’s eyes and she reached for her bottle of champagne. “Aren’t you breaking the rules? Coming out here to talk to me?”
            Clay smothered a grimace. “Rules?”
            “Yeah, you know.” Curling her hand around the bottle’s neck, she lifted it to her mouth in a fluid yank. Her throat spasmed around the rush of alcohol; plunking the bottle onto the deck, she moistened her lips and leveled him with her stare. “Should any vampire be caught keeping company with a human,” she air-quoted the law with her fingertips, “that creature will suffer no less than two years in a Reaver-run penitentiary and –”
            “And no less than thirty lashes of a pinewood whip.” Clay tugged his fingers through his curls, swallowing a sigh as Pandora curled onto his lap. “I know the law.”
            “Then why are you out here talking to me?”
            There was a dare in her eyes, in the way she pushed her fingertips against his hand; capturing one between his fingers, he held it in his grasp. “Last I checked, Reavers didn’t exactly qualify as human. Or have the laws changed again?”
            Julia arched a brow. “Nice,” she drawled, twisting her fingertip from his hand. It fell against his arm, where it burned her touch into his skin. “Do you talk like this to all the girls, or am I just special?”
            Clay met her gaze and took a breath. “I’m still trying to figure that one out.”
            She blinked. “Well, let me know when you do. ‘Cause I’m just dyin’ to find out.”
            She tilted her head for another drink, and Clay watched as the neckline of her dress fell open, revealing the Reaver mark etched into the skin below her collarbone. Unbidden, his fingers drifted to the design: a jagged “R” seared within a circle, smooth against his touch. “Did that hurt?”
            He thought he heard her breath catch; he knew he saw her eyes widen as her gaze drifted to his hand. “Enjoying the feel?”
            “Sorry.” Clay yanked his hand away, his cheeks burning against the warm September breeze. “I just…I’ve never seen one this close before.”
            “You mean my cattle brand?” She skimmed the mark with her hand. Her forehead creased and her mouth puckered as she stared at the fingers he’d touched her with seconds before. “It’s okay, I guess. It’s just – I’ve never had anyone touch it before. It’s . . . kinda weird.” Her hand brushed against his arm, causing his breath to catch. “But it didn’t hurt. Or, it did for a minute, when I first got the flash.”
            “The flash?”
            “Yeah.” She nodded. “It’s like…a moment, when you know you were chosen. A searing pain, and then you get the mark. It happened when I was thirteen. A full year before any of my other friends were chosen, which really kinda sucked.” A sip from the bottle, washed down with a tuck of her mouth. She smacked her lips together. “But it’s okay. I’ve gotten over it.”
            “Wow.” Clay raised his brows.
            “Yeah. I guess.” Shivering, Julia swigged another long drink. He took the opportunity to caress her hand with his thumb, sliding it beneath his palm.
            She shifted until she was sitting, her gaze drifting to his mouth. “I wonder…”
            “What do you wonder, Jewels?”
            Her eyelids fluttered at the endearment, a spark of surprise sizzling through her gaze. “I – I wonder if …” Julia’s free hand glided into the air, and she skimmed her fingertips against his lips. “Do you mind?”
            Clay swallowed and leaned forward as her touch seared itself into his skin. “D-do I – Oh.” He blinked. “Oh, yeah. Um, okay. Sure.” He slid open his mouth to reveal a pair of gleaming white fangs.
            She smoothed her fingers over their tips, wincing as they pricked her skin. “They’re sharp.”
            “It’s okay.” Flipping his hand, he captured her fingers between his own. “I don’t bite, and I never hurt.”
            He was caught within her stare, pulled within the molten fire flashing through her eyes. His heart dipped as she yanked her hand from his touch, a guarded mask slipping over her features. A second later, and the bottle was at her lips, the rush of liquid flooding her throat. He caught the bottom with his hand, causing her to lower it until it hovered between them both. “Why do you drink so much?”
            “Why do you care?”
            “Actually,” he lowered his hand and she plunked the bottle onto the deck, “I guess I’m trying to figure out why you pretend so hard like you don’t.”
            “Maybe it’s easier that way.”
            “Yeah, maybe.” Clay scratched behind Pandora’s ears, making the creature purr. “Or maybe you’re just too scared to try it any other.” Her eyes flashed fire, but he caught her hand before she could flail him with her words, flipping it to run his fingertips along the lines of her palm. “I told you. You don’t have to be afraid of me. I don’t hurt, and I never bite.”
            “No.” She ripped her hand away. “You only touch.”


  1. Where did you get the idea for the novel?
You know, it’s interesting. I had no idea I wanted to write STARFIRE. I was happily penning away at another novel, eagerly anticipating the next scene, when all of the sudden, I hit a case of writers block. And when I say writers block, I mean writers block with a capital WB. This was so intense, it led to several conversations with my computer, in which I threatened the blasted machine’s life if it wouldn’t help me come up with at least a few new words. Unfortunately, it proved uncooperative.

A bit miffed, I tossed the computer onto my bed (thank goodness it comes with warranty), grabbed a bottle of Corona and headed out onto the pool. And when I was done swimming and drinking the sweet nectar of beer and lime? I proceeded to hop into bed and forget all about writing. Or so I thought …

At about five in the morning, I woke up with this rather insistent voice inside my head. The problem? The voice wasn’t mine; it belonged to a character named Julia who insisted she had a story to tell. And even though this story was completely different to the one I’d been writing, I was interested enough to give it a try. That day, I sat down and composed several scenes between Julia and the vampire who would turn out to be her lover, Clay. And by the end of the day, I was hooked. I had to know these characters. I had to know their world. I had to know their story. My life hasn’t been the same since.

  1. Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
*lol* Oh, my title. Do you have any idea how many incarnations that thing’s been through? First it was “The World Between,” then “The Space Between,” then “Pandora’s Box.” Finally, in the wee hours of the morning (my muse really enjoys keeping me up at night), I awoke with the idea for “Starfire.” When I told my friends, they threatened my life should I change it again. So STARFIRE stuck. And here we are now. ;-)

  1. Which came first, the title or the novel? 
Didn’t I just answer that question? ;-)

  1. Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Being here, talking to you today. Yes, I’m serious! I love getting to know my fans. It’s amazing to think that I’ve written a story that people really enjoy; that they enjoy so much, they want to know more. My readers are the best.

  1. What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading “Fated,” by Alyson Noel. It’s this amazing story about a girl who discovers she’s a shaman, and the family legacy she must both overcome and embrace. I really love fantasy/

  1. What was your first book that you ever wrote (very first one you wrote, not published)?
*lol* You really want to know that? Well, okay then … The very first book I ever wrote was about a troll who looked an awful lot like my father. I was seven, and I’d just been punished for doing something I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to be doing. Sorry, Dad!

  1. What is your writing process?
Writing process? You mean I’m supposed to have a writing process? *lol* Really, it just involves me becoming so struck by an idea, I just have to know more. I’ll usually write several scenes in which I get to know my characters, dig up some pictures of people and places that strike a chord, and jump right into writing the story. The best part is when the world really comes to life, and the characters become so real, I feel like I’m writing about real people.

  1. Who are your favorite authors of all time?
J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Richelle Mead, Trudi Canavan

  1. At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say? 
If I know the person, I definitely make a point of saying something personal. If I don’t, but I form a connection with them, I’ll write about our connection. If I don’t form a connection, it’s usually along the lines of “Have an awesome read.” But like I said, I love getting to know my fans.

  1. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a wolf of a tattoo howling at the moon decorating my right shoulder blade. The wolf is very much my spirit animal. In fact, he seems to pad his way into just about any story I write. In STARFIRE, my wolf is present in Trent Wolfish, my hero’s best friend who just loves howling at the moon and cockblocking his buddy.

  1. How do you react to a bad review?
Bad reviews? You  mean I’m going to get bad reviews? (I’m kidding, of course.)

When I received my very first negative review, I moped about it for a week. I must have been insufferable. But then I realized: there’s lessons to be learned in any review, bad or good. And I learned something in this one. The thing is, not every story is for every reader. You have to find the stories that are right for you, just as you have to write the stories that are right for you. If someone gives me a bad review, it simply means we don’t mesh as reader/writer. The best part is finding the readers with whom I do connect.

  1. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
Went out and got rip roaring drunk. No, not really. I did have a beer, though. And a yummy dinner at Fuzios, complete with bacon pizza (I’m a bacon nut). After, I went to see a movie. Thank you for asking! ;-)

About the Author:
Michele is a recovering demon (AKA attorney) who left the legal field to follow her dreams of writing and teaching college-level English. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling as far as her credit card will take her, reading an assortment of fantasy and paranormal, and playing with her frisky animals (two black cats and two loud-mouthed cockatiels).

She’s loved vampires since she was four, when her BFF confided that her older sister was a vamp who enjoyed drinking blood. Like any four-year old, Michele thought this was the most awesome thing ever. Michele currently lives in Modesto, California, but will move to Santa Barbara to begin a Ph.D. program in education and literacy this fall.


Starfire came out July 30, and to celebrate, we're lookin' to give away some loot. To enter
this rockin' contest, simply follow the actions below, and you'll receive the corresponding
number of entries!!!
*Comment on any tour or Facebook post (see for tour dates and info)
*Like Michele's Facebook page (
*Share Michele's Facebook page on your own Facebook or blog
*Like Michele's Twitter account (
*Purchase Starfire and comment on Michele's Facebook page "I just purchased this fiery new
paranormal romance! Can't wait to read."
*Review Starfire at Goodreads, Amazon, on your blog, or anywhere else on the web (but be
sure to let us know on Michele's facebook page).
*Host Michele on any virtual tour stop (interview, review, spotlight, etc.)

*1 Starfire shot glass
* 3 Starfire mugs (2 Julia/Clay, 1 Mia/Brennan)
*5 autographed copies of Goddess Kissed, the Starfire short-story prequel coming out Sept. 1
*10 red or black velvet bookmarks (with assorted charms)
*2 $25 gift cards to
*1 $50 gift card to!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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